Thursday, December 8, 2011

Commentary: Of Oxytocin and Evolution

by Nelson Abreu

A researcher recently share a fascinating TED talk on oxytocin and its relationship to trust and morality.

The talk concludes that only mammals release oxytocin. The researcher wondered whether, on a planet where lizards evolved to the evolutionary level of humans, emotional relations and bonding - and thus the way that cosmoethics is expressed - would be different just because of this biological difference.

Firstly, thank you for such a neat question. In my view, emotional relations and bonding can be expressed extraphysically in the absence of a soma, let alone oxytocin. It is interesting that it correlates, physically, with these capacities and that those are expressed more in mammals. That points to, at least in our planet, consciousness evolutoin in terms of emotional evolution is more expressed in mammals with oxytocin being more the result than the cause? This would seem more in line with consciousness driving biological evolution than the reverse.

Related to this concept, I recommend the work of Alfred Russell Wallace, co-discoverer of biological evolution with Darwin, but marginalized by history due to his views that questioned the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm that attempting to reduce spirit or self away from the picture. Wallace, who developed an active interest in psychical phenomena and faculties, thought that natural selection cannot account for other faculties like mathematical, artistic, and musical genius, wit, humor, and “metaphysical musings.” He also believed that the raison d'être of the universe was the development of the human spirit (Wallace 1889).

The Phenomenon of Man by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuist priest and paleontologist who co-discovered of the Peking Man, offers an visionary perspective on the matter, tracing a progression from geogenesis, to biogenesis, to psychogenesis, toward noosgenesis (global consciousness) and predicted a unified and conscious Earth itself (gaia, the Internet). TheJofC issue 3 also featured an interesting article on this subject by Mark Siffer (Consciousness and the Anthropic Principle).

As we can see, it is not an entirely original idea, but I have called this, in previous works,conscientiomotor evolution. Conscientiomotor evolution proposes that biological evolution is driven by or is a reflection of the evolution of the non-physical consciousness. As the consciousness principle becomes more advanced, it stimulates the creation of a physical corpus more suitable to its kinetic, emotional, and mental capabilities. The biasing of random processes, exploiting the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics, could be the interface of consciousness (through bioenergy or qi) with physical events (genes and neurons).

We could also call this hypothesis consciential neo-Lamarckianism, since Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who put forth the first coherent framework for biological evolution in the West used expressions such as:
le pouvoir de la vie: the power of life, life force
la force qui tend sans cesse à composer l’organización: the complexifying or organizing force (anti-entropric, synthropic force)
l'influence des circonstances: the adaptive force
The common thread of these concepts is that while genes, neurotransmitters, and other physical information and control systems affect our physical behavior, our cosmoethics, sentiments, and all faculties that makes us a consciousness are in constant evolution but are not caused by these physical elements, which are but a gross representation of a deeper pattern that pervades the universe - physical and multidimensional: consciousness itself and its eternal push toward greater complexity and interconnectedness.

Nelson Abreu, B.S. Electrical Engineering, is a volunteer at International Academy of Consciousness - Florida Educational Center and contributing author of Filters & Reflections: Perspectives on Reality (ICRL Press 2009).

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