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Evolution of structure and Consciousness



Evolution of structure and Consciousness

Almost every spiritual tradition has fantasies that most people not immersed in the tradition consider implausible. Fantasy creation often has roots in instincts that move us in ways we do not understand. Taken literally the fantasy is nonsense but metaphorically it touches on a deeper truth. It is important to keep an open mind about the depth of our ignorance. This requires a respect for the subtlety and depth of our instincts. They can be leading us in ways we cannot comprehend. It equally requires that we do not make of those instincts a literal fantasy that we can comprehend. For then the fantasy can displace the deeper reality the instincts are striving for. This is not so easy to do. We like to have good clear reasons for our decisions. To go with what feels right without understanding why can be difficult. So we invent some nonsense to explain what we do not understand. Truth is an art that we are learning slowly and painfully.

Understanding the connection between mathematics and consciousness can help refine this art. It can give insight into practical problems. For example in Guns, Germs and Steel[2]. Jared Diamond investigates why certain cultures came to dominate the planet while others remained relatively stagnant. There were a variety of reasons but two essential ones were diversity and concentration of resources. One needed a dynamic tradeoff between these two for modern civilization to arise. A culture dominated by a single ruling elite like China inevitably failed to pursue possibilities essential to future development. Similarly a region like Africa with so many small communities could never marshal the resources needed for certain kinds of progress. Europe presented the ideal combination of diversity and concentration of resources.

Ignorance of the boundary conditions for creativity leads to limits on the evolution of consciousness. For it is all too easy to stray outside of the region where creativity is unlimited. The current bias towards megacorporations is potentially dangerous. It focuses on concentration of resources at the price of diversity. Everyone wants the biggest guns for competing in the global free for all. As we are increasingly dominated by global institutions we must incorporate the boundary conditions for creativity in the structure of those institutions. We need some way to objectively determine the structures that enhance creative potential.

Evolution is a profoundly creative process. It creates meaning. Human experience is not just richer than that of say insects but the nature of that experience is completely beyond the comprehension of insects. The creative nature of evolution and the hierarchy of mathematical structures suggests that this process of creating values is an ever expanding one. We can evolve into beings as far beyond us as we are beyond insects and all of our descendants can do the same no matter how far beyond us they are.


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