What is Evolution? And What is Our Role in Evolution?

“If we want to know what the agenda of the entire Universe is, it is progressive change, which is a two-word way of saying “evolution.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

We’re all familiar with the term evolution, but few of us spend time contemplating what that means and, perhaps more significantly, what our ‘role’ is when it comes to evolution.

Evolution has been happening in a continuum, and will continue to shape the Universe forever, where then do we fit into the picture? How can we be an active participant?

As Thom explains in this episode, evolution happens regardless of our awareness of it, and in spite of our attempts to control it. In fact the most active role we can play is to relinquish control and to enjoy the ride.

Viva la evolution!

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Episode Highlights


The Agenda of the Entire Universe



A Need to Become Conscious of Itself



The Genesis of Life



The Not Living Became Living



All the Laws of Nature in One Word



Complexity vs Complicated



An Evolutionary Life



Growing in the Direction of Cosmic Consciousness


Jai Guru Deva


What is Evolution? And What is Our Role in Evolution?

The Agenda of the Entire Universe

Evolution really is the Cosmic law. If we want to know what the agenda of the entire Universe is, it is progressive change, which is a two-word way of saying evolution. Evolution is a tendency embedded in absolutely every form and phenomenon in the Universe, from the tiniest quantum wave functions, all the way up to the super clusters of galaxies.

[00:01:19] So evolution is the trend of Nature to move things from less sophisticated material states to more and more sophisticated materials states with an agenda. And the agenda is that the universe is doing all of this movement in a way that is bio-friendly. Bio-friendly means that there are crucibles occurring in which things that previously would not be considered to be alive, can move into life.

A Need to Become Conscious of Itself

[00:01:59] And of course, this happened on our little tiny planet, going around one yellow sun in a particular spiral arm of a relatively small galaxy. When we look and we see billions upon billions of galaxies that are within our visible range of our telescopes, it occurs to most highly intelligent scientists who have a chance to consider this and transcend their biases, that there is a trend going on, and the trend appears to be that of the universe sensing a need to become conscious of itself, to make commentary on itself.

[00:02:37] Aren’t we doing that right now? Right at this moment, a little squishy form, named Thom by his friends, who is made up of the leftover carbon materials and other atomic particles from supernovae and other star explosions all around the universe, who managed to have an ancestry going back to some unicellular organism that caused itself to come into life out of a primordial soup…

The Genesis of Life

[00:03:09] There’s a very interesting area of science. The area of the genesis of life, where things that are simply atoms make the jump into being living things. So how do things make that jump? We know, for example, how to get all of the amino acids and all of the other elements together that we know are particles of the primordial soup that made the jump into life.

[00:03:40] And we can shoot it with electricity and try doing all kinds of experiments and things, but we as humans have not yet succeeded in causing matter to become reproducing matter, matter that goes into living form. Living forms that reproduce with each reproductive cycle are using a natural tendency that occurs inside the evolutionary processes of Nature to become more and more sophisticated through natural selection.

The Not Living Became Living

[00:04:09] Natural selection, the Darwinistic concept of that, leads us to the conclusion, if we reverse engineer it, that there must have been a time where things that were not living became living. Things that were living and less conscious became more conscious. Why do we say that? Well, because we’re here, we exist, we’re conversing on this topic.

[00:04:35] And so very often, when we’re asked these questions, we fail to recognize the unbelievable magnificence of our capacity to turn our vocal chords that were originally designed to make little grunting sounds and things and squawking sounds, to make our vocal chords create sound forms that we’ve trained each other to agree upon, refer to actions and to things, to forms and phenomena, and we call this language. And now using language, we’re talking about ourselves.

[00:05:10] And so from where did we evolve? We must’ve evolved from less and less sophisticated versions of what we became as a species, and if we go down to the absolute bottom line of that, there must logically have been some point where atoms and molecules made the jump into being alive, from not being alive. That’s just a very easy logical conclusion to draw.

All the Laws of Nature in One Word

[00:05:37] Where’s all this headed? It’s headed toward, from the Vedic perspective, and that’s the whole purpose of my podcast, the Vedic Worldview, it’s headed toward the concept of the universe and self-examination. We are certainly part of the universe. Every particle of us is made up of universal star stuff.

[00:06:00] And now we are universal star stuff, highly organized into a brain and able to contemplate our role in the evolution of everything.

[00:06:11] Is this only one little dot in the Universe where this is happening? To hold that position would be to lack considerable imagination and ability to conceptualize and, in fact, there are many scientists who consider such a position, that we are the only things that have ever evolved, to be an arrogant position, and arrogance is never a pretty thing. It’s always best for us to be open-minded and broad-minded about every concept that is possible.

[00:06:41] We live in a universe of all possibilities but one thing, absolutely we know for sure, the trend is toward progressive change, evolution. If I had to boil down all of the laws of Nature into one fundamental law, we could turn it into a one word sentence, which is an imperative sentence with a full stop at the end and that is the word, evolve. That’s the cosmic law ultimately.

Complexity vs Complicated

[00:07:09] The main thing that evolves in our spiritual path is our ability to become more and more conscious of larger and larger perspectives of time and space. As we become more and more conscious, it means we can fit a larger number of items into one awareness with simultaneity, with simultaneity.

[00:07:38] That means that the arrival of one new thing does not utterly distract us from another thing. Some people would use the word multitasking, but I think that’s a very hackneyed phrase these days. Just the ability of consciousness to process and engage in ever-increasing complexity. We have to make a distinction here between the word complexity and complicated.

[00:08:06] So I’ve said elsewhere that a working watch is a highly complex thing where all of the hundreds and hundreds of parts go together and function together in a highly-integrated fashion, to be able to tell you where the sun is in the sky- that’s what a watch is really, it’s a sundial- to tell you where the sun is so that you can have accurate expectations to within 1/10th of a second in one month of time. That would be a highly-efficient watch.

[00:08:38] And so is it complicated? Well, not complicated, but it is complex. When we have highly integrated complexity, we have sophistication. Something is sophisticated if it is the product of lots of complexity perfectly well integrated and functional, it’s producing a particular function.

An Evolutionary Life

[00:09:02] So what are you? Well, as your life went by there were certain pivotal events that took place, maybe you had a particular desire for a doll or for a toy or for a bicycle or something like that, and it utterly consumed you. And at the time, if you didn’t get it, or if you lost it, it would absolutely occupy you forever. It would seem forever, might have been a weekend.

[00:09:28] Then as we move on and expand our awareness to greater and greater possibilities, we can look back upon that, what seemed to be a traumatic experience of, “I couldn’t find my toy and I was upset for an entire weekend,” we look back upon that smilingly.

[00:09:46] Why? Because now we have an increasing perspective with which to view our own growth and our own development. And as we grow and grow our capacity to have larger and larger perspective, that means looking at things from a larger size of time and looking at things with respect to a larger field of space and all of the possibilities within space.

[00:10:16] We can look at our life and say, “Actually the whole thing was simply evolutionary. Even the things which at the time I considered to be problems were simply me having to confront what was necessary to develop the adaptation skills and so on to increase my capacity to be adaptive so that I had a larger number of skills to draw upon when the next change of expectation came along.”

Growing in the Direction of Cosmic Consciousness

[00:10:44] And so what we need to be aware of is the ever-growing nature of this. “I’m becoming more and more conscious. With each passing day as a meditator, I’m more and more picking up that Cosmic perspective and therefore I’m getting less and less rigidly attached to specific timings of things happening or specific outcomes.

[00:11:09] “Because I have an experience that’s building that actually all that’s ever happening is evolution. And so my tendency to have rigid attachment and to be a controller is starting to drop away. I don’t need to be a controller because everything is under control of a transcendent evolutionary force that permeates everything.

[00:11:36] All I need to do is continue to allow my awareness to embrace the expansive nature of the way things always have been.”

[00:11:46] So we’re growing in that direction of Cosmic Consciousness, which means Cosmic perspective on everything and that’s going to give us the ability to relax and enjoy the present moment with ever-greater ease.

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