The zoologist Sir Alister Hardy (Go to Alister Hardy Society), besides being much respected as a Marine Biologist, is increasingly being acknowledged for another great service to science and society: to reconcile evolutionary theory with spiritual awareness. Like other evolutionary scientists he saw the evolutionary imperative as acting not just at the biological level (the so called 'selfish gene') but with 'behavioural selection' also critical. Key to this, as the Dalai Lama suggests in The Universe in a Single Atom: How Science and Spirituality Can Serve Our World (2005) is the recognition that compassion and co-operation offer mankind perhaps the best hope for collective survival.
Similar ideas emerge from the work of paleontologist and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (e.g. The Phenomenon of Man -1955). Not only was he part of the 1926 team that found Peking Man (Sinanthropus, a key find in the search for human origins) but he was convinced that The Spirit of Fire (the title of Ursula King's 1996 biography of Teilhard) is the evolutionary imperative within us all. That is, underlying all our religious and scientific seeking is an inner, undeniable, impetus to evolve to wholeness.
I, like Hardy, Teilhard and the contributors to my research, recognise something in Being Human that is beyond beliefs and intellect, which embraces a deeper sense of a shared humanity. Thus, an increasing number of us, individually and collectively, are finding that we need to question our beliefs, engage more deeply with our feelings and develop our personal connection into this 'evolutionary consciousness'. What this means in practice, and how we can encourage and enable this process is at the heart of my on-going research and experiential teaching.
Copyright 2012 by Keith Beasley