Evolution and Egoism
Most of what I read about the theory of evolution is a lot of hooey. Mainstream evolutionary theorists are so anxious to appear “scientific” and have their musings corroborated as being “valid in scientific terms” (and that means, like physics and by physicists) that they have only ended up abbreviating, distorting and mangling the full truth of the matter, merely in order to make it appear “scientifically valid”. Consequently, rather than clarify things, mainstream evolutionary theory only muddies the waters even further, and makes it almost impossible to acquire much in the way of insight into our own nature.
Evolutionary theory, and the notion of “validity”, is distorted by ideological and methodological conformity in that sense. “Scientifically valid” means, actually, “somewhat less than the full truth”. You don’t have to just look for flaws in the logic. Your own experience, if you pay attention to it and don’t deny it and ignore it, will confirm for you that the mainstream evolutionary theories are distortions of the truth, and largely because of their over-eagerness to dismiss “subjective factors”, such as desire, as drivers of evolution.
It’s actually quite frightening, and fateful, how eager they are to suppress such subjective factors like desire. But even the famous “struggle for survival” makes absolutely no sense without the underlying desire to survive. Life begins in desire. That’s even a fundamental axiom of William Blake’s “fourfold vision”. Moreover, you know yourselves as beings of desire, from birth to death.
The term “desire” itself has an interesting history. It means, quite literally, “down from the stars” — de-sidere. It is connected to the meaning of “influence” — a “flowing inwards”. Those meanings date from a time when desires were felt to be the effects of the gods or Powers. Eros, Venus, Mars, Pan, and so on, were known by their effects, or the impressions and compulsions they left upon or had upon the plastic human ego. To be “enthused” was to be “filled with a god”, for that’s what the word “enthusiasm” means — en-theos, a god within. The passions and desires that aroused human beings to act, these were not human motives but the effects of the presence of a god.
Your own experience will tell you this. When you are born, your organism is faced with new desires and the need to satisfy those desires. Those desires suddenly come up against resistances to their satisfaction — resistances of time and resistances of space. These resistances of space and time must be overcome. Organic beings such as we are have evolved various strategies to overcome these resistances of time and space in order to appease or satisfy desires. In that sense, the universe is, indeed, hostile to life insofar as it throws up resistances to the immediate satisfaction of desire. True learning is always a self-overcoming, inasmuch as the organism must strategise ways of breaking down or overcoming these resistances. This is a world of Time and Death, and that presents a challenge to life’s survival in physical reality. Sexual reproduction was one such successful strategy for overcoming the resistance of time to life.
Life is desire. The human ego is one of life’s strategies for overcoming the resistances of time and space to the fulfillment of desire. That’s what the ego-nature is — a strategy. Life has experimented with many forms, some more successful than others, but all with the same intent — to overcome the resistances thrown up by physical existence to the satisfaction of desire or sense of need. The ego, even as the “rational ego” or intellect, has always been the servant of desire — even as the desire to know.
Evolution, in that sense, is a continuous self-overcoming or self-transcendence in the attempt to surmount resistances and challenges thrown up by physical existence — challenges of space; challenges of time. It is, in that sense, less about “adaptation” to circumstances than it is about overcoming those circumstances. If “necessity is the mother of invention”, it is because desire is constantly evolving and experimenting with strategies to overcome resistances to its fulfillment and satisfaction. Rituals (like courtship, marriage, etc) belong to such strategies.
In the beginning was desire.