Darwinian spirituality

It has long been the criticism of Darwinian evolution that it lacks something that religions are viewed as being superior in: spiritual depth. Well – I happen to disagree. Let me tell you why.

Evolution works by chance mutation and non chance retention by natural selection thus moving towards ever higher levels of fitness. At the end of that process are you and me looking out of our skulls at our environment trying to make sense of it all. But evolution did not give us a large book with things that we should or should not do. However, evolution nevertheless kept close tabs on what has happened to our ancestors. Or rather what caused them to increase or decrease the chances of their gene’s survival and these chances are today encoded in our genes and it is our ancestors that are indirectly guiding our every action.

No – I do not mean that figuratively speaking. Think about it: imagine you cutting your finger. The pain experienced by you as a result is equivalent to the decrease in your ancestors likelihood of ensuring the survival of their genes. The pain is the averaged out equivalent of all your forebearers sharing their individual stories with you in that moment of pain. Think of distant relative Ungh who through your pain is whispering his story to you from the beyond how after having cut his finger contracted an infection, lost his finger and due to his reduced dexterity wasn’t an as effective hunter anymore. Or the sad story of the nameless rodent who after happening to cut its finger died not long after the incident from blood poisoning.

The same is true of cause with positive sensations. Imagine how many of your ancestors must have survived the winter because they happened to eat that sugary piece of fruit the previous autumn. Or how, held together by the loving closeness of a tenderly caressing partner, caused them to master the difficulties of life.

Next time you feel hurt or happy spend a minute reflecting on this causal link to your past. For you will be sharing the moment with thousands of your well wishing ancestors.

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