Evolution in Transition

the -human-brain

The other day a neuroscientist described the human brain as the most complex biological structure in the known universe, containing hundreds of billions of cells, and trillions of connections controlling every thought, feeling, movement and function of our bodies.

If this proves anything, it is the fact that – outside of explanations invoking religious mythology – the human brain has evolved through a teleological process that was directed from the inside out, to be what it is today, and instantiated within each of us at some point along the way towards its desired objective, whatever that might be.

In that context the arrival of the human species can be seen as constituting a transitional and critical period in anticipation of the next phase of cosmic evolution,  as organic life has likely been pushed to the limit of what it is able to accomplish beyond the mere act of survival and propagation.

What I am referring to here is our species’ precarious status as a creature that has one leg still firmly in the animal kingdom, our past,  while the other is in a future we know little or anything about. And so we are acting accordingly, with no clear idea of what is expected of us, making us inherently unpredictable if not an unstable life form at best, as evidenced by its self-destructive tendencies, including suicide, homicide,  genocide, and undermining  its own life-sustaining environment.

However, there is one area of human endeavour  where we have clearly gone beyond our animal traits and can claim some considerable accomplishments since arriving as a brand new species relatively recently. This might suggest that our arrival on the cosmic scene brought about the transition of matter’s evolutionary pressures from a strictly internal process  to an external one.

We can point to the ingenuity of our species to manipulate and restructure matter into ever increasing organizational complexity as reflected by the various aspects of technology that we are familiar with today. Through us, nature has achieved a quantum leap in the creativity department, now being able to push its evolutionary objectives over significantly shorter time frames. In this sense, human beings function as nature’s evolutionary agents, pushing these objectives along an ever increasing pace for no other reason than that it seems to be the natural thing to do …

And so the question remains as to how and why this process exists within matter, such that it is able to sort itself out within the apparent randomness of  cosmic events into the direction of ever more complex material structures and organizational capacity.