Potential of Post Darwinian Evolution – A Plethora of Primates
What, not who am I is a question that I have lived with for over 50 years. For me, clarity on the answer to this question emerged as I came to understand the strength of Darwin’s thesis that all of life shares the same underlying principles and that all life forms are successful adaptations to the opportunities to thrive afforded by our planet. Human Beings are Primates, which are Mammals, which are Vertebrates, which are Animals, which are the citizens of the Kingdom of Living Things which are able to move. As I studied this further it became apparent that all of these levels of refinement of the evolutionary progression are embedded into and form the foundation of further refinements. This area of study of Evolutionary Theory called EXAPTATION. Exaptation illuminates the strict influence the structure of this hierarchy exerts on our physical, movement, sensory processing, behavioral and cognitive expressions. Clarifying the architecture of this structure facilitates more efficient management of thoughts and actions by enabling us to more accurately employ our structural and functional assets how they were intended. The more efficiently these assets function the more energy is liberated to explore otherwise inaccessible opportunities for awareness. Energy is the limiting factor for exploring our potential.
What differentiates our species from others is our ability to think about what we think, or Second-Order Cognition (HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS). This ability has turned the natural order of evolution on its head. We now direct change whereas previously our changes were directed by the surroundings. Evolving to this level is an astonishing achievement and we have dedicated many centuries of activity to technological evolution – continually adding features to our built environment (BUILT ENVIRONMENT).
Second-Order Cognition is thought that does not originate from instincts or emotions but is rather self-initiated. This awareness can either be self-directed (egocentric) or directed at an abstract phenomenon such as art or mathematics. When Second-Order cognition is egocentric our awareness is captivated by the underlying cognitive mechanisms found in drives, instincts, and emotions. Understanding the influence of these ancestral forms of cognition helps liberate Second-Order cognition from these chains, moving the focus of our awareness beyond our personal interests. If there are compensatory or adaptive fixations embedded in our cognitive processes due to developmental/ maturation issues or trauma our second-order cognitive processes retains dominance, inhibiting further development.
Thinking is a mechanism for manipulating forms. Said another way, Form provides a framework for analytical processes to unfold. From the perspective of a thinking mind, everything exists as a form, which can be abstractly manipulated. The outside boundary of Second-Order Cognition is the boundary of form. Our modern world is a world where Form is manipulated in the quest for a better variant. The question of what is the content of form does not have high relevance relative to the question “Is this a better form?”, or phrased another way “Is this the best thing to do?”. However, the question “What is it that we have created in what we have made?” extends perception beyond these limitations into the realm of awareness disentangled from thinking. Awareness of the content of Form, or the absence thereof, is a rather elevated level of Second-Order Cognition that opens a path to further extension of our human potential.
Awareness and cognition are not the same. Awareness can be, and usually is focused on cognitive processes and can easily fixate on some attribute of perception. However, it is entirely possible to be aware without thought, simply present in the experiences of a living being in a living system. This would perhaps be described as Third-Order Cognition. A way to experience this is to shift the focus of perception from the form of things to awareness of their content, from “Doing” to “Being”.
ABANDONING THE “I”
WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO HOW YOU ARE DOING IT – AWARENESS OF THE INTENT OF ACTION (IS IT AN EXPRESSION OF LOVE?) BEING PRESENT IN THE INTENT OF HOW YOU ARE ACTING REQUIRES INTEGRATION OF ALL OF TH UNDERLYING EVOLUTIONARY LAYERS
Awareness decoupled from thought is experienced as simply being alive in the present moment and is our conjoined experience with the living biomass of this planet which creatively flourishes without the ability to form complex thoughts.
A discussion of Third-Order Cognition is not the primary intent of this website, which is to liberate Second-Order Cognition from being fixated on drives, instincts, emotions, and ego. However, Third Order Cognition is presented here as an indication of the way forward once Second-Order Cognition is decoupled from fixation.
RELIGION VS SPIRITUALITY
Resources to facilitate this entry into a more immediate, less abstract experience of self as an energetic living entity, an expression of the Force of Life, are presented here: