Neuroscientists have 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 would be the fact that – outside of explanations invoking religious mythology – the evolution of matter was able to bring something as intricate and organizationally complex as the human brain about through a teleological process that appears to be internal to it.
And when I say “internal” I mean this in the sense that the drive to evolve is a property of the material universe that will manifest itself in the presence of conditions that would allow for it.
As such evolution utilizes the seemingly randomness of cosmic events to arrive at ever higher levels of organizational complexity through a process of trial and error to find the required material stability and biological survivability that would allow it to achieve its desired objective, whatever that might be.
In that context I see the arrival of the human species as a stop along the way and the introduction of a critical transitional period in anticipation of the next phase of cosmic evolution, by pushing organic life beyond the mere acts of survival and propagation, and venturing further into the realm of consciousness and its content such knowledge and ideas.
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.
But there is one type of human activity where we have clearly gone beyond our animal traits and can claim some considerable accomplishments since our arrival as a brand new species: the areas of science and technology. Our successes on this front may well be proof that our relatively recent arrival on the cosmic scene constitutes the transition of matter’s evolutionary prowess from a strictly internal process to an external one as we apply our sciences and technologies to just about all aspects of our material existence.
We can point to the ingenuity of our species to manipulate and restructure matter into ever increasing levels of organizational complexity, such that – through us – the cosmos, nature, has achieved a quantum leap in the creative productivity department, and is now able to push its evolutionary objectives – whatever they may be – 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 …