Ultimate vs. Relative Intelligence
In response to my last post Brian asked, “Does your stated belief in ‘higherness’ include an obligation to live in accordance with it? If so, what does that look like?”
It is a fair question and one that I will attempt to answer – at least with my understanding at this point. First of all in regards to obligation I say “Yes.” I believe that the cosmic process of evolution has directionality which it is pointing generally in a particular direction and an inherent obligation to live in accordance with it. And I would assign a certain sense of intelligence to that directionality. I also believe that one of our problems when considering things of this sort is that we tend to attribute human qualities to things like “higher intelligence.” In this case, the directionality that I imagine driving the process of evolution would not be intelligent in any human sense – except of course in human beings.
I have been thinking of a metaphor that will capture what I have come to understand as the process of our evolving cosmos. The metaphor involves a wind tunnel. At the start of the wind tunnel, where I imagine a turbine is generating a stiff, but not overwhelming wind, there is a hole in the top of the tunnel and a hole in the bottom of the tunnel.
Objects of different shape and size are dropped through the hole in the top of the tunnel and then fall through it. Depending on the shape and size of the object that falls through the hole it will either get caught in the wind and blown through the tunnel or it will fall through the hole at the bottom of the tunnel and disappear from the tunnel (which represents our universe). The objects, of course, represent all of the forms that the process of evolution produces over time. Only those forms whose aerodynamics (I suppose in the case of evolution we could call it evolutionarydynamics) allow them to float will get caught in the wind and travel through the tunnel. Some of these will be two heavy or have two little surface area to catch the wind and will eventually fall to the tunnel floor. These represent forms/ species that become extinct. Some will travel further down the tunnel. These represent forms/species that are evolutionarily successful.
Some of the forms that travel down the tunnel are very simple, like sheets of paper, but others are more complex shaped like propellers and other clever looking objects. The propellers spin which helps keep them aloft. The propellers would think (if they could) that they are spinning, but of course they are not propelling, they are being propelled by the wind. The wind is the only thing that is really happening, and the wind is translated into many different relative motions in the different forms that emerge into the tunnel.
Analogously, there is intelligence in the universe. It was there from the start and it has been propelling the evolution of all forms living and non-living ever since. This universal intelligence, when it passes through complex living forms, results in relative movement that looks like the intelligence of the form itself, when in fact it is the intelligence of the universe that is being translated through the form into relative intelligence. The intelligence that we experience as belonging to us is not ours. It is the experience of universal intelligence as it passes through us, like wind through a propeller blade.
Living in accordance with that “higher” intelligence (although the descriptor “higher” is somewhat arbitrary and in need of definition) means doing ones best either through spiritual practice, or spiritual contemplation, to get a sense of the direction that the universal intelligence is moving in and then move yourself in the same direction. It is Evolutionary Aikido. You match the speed and direction of evolution and move with it.
There are some holes in the metaphor if you pull it apart, but it does convey something of what I mean. It is a bit dualistic though, as there is still wind and objects. To be more accurate you would want the forms that emerge to be created from the wind itself, like wind currents or air waves. Then you have a non-dual universe in which all form is created from varying concentrations of a single universal consciousness, although again what that pure consciousness is would be impossible to imagine.
So that is an image that represents my personal held belief about the ultimate nature of reality. I am sure it will change and be refined, but it is my working hypothesis for the moment.