But at the same time there are also continual chance variations and the new form that emerges from these apparently chance changes integrates the chance elements, creating a new structure. So form and matter, order and chance, are working one on the other the whole time. At each stage the organism becomes more complex and the organising principle more powerful and more structured. This is what Teilhard de Chardin calls the principle of complexification. (p.259) An atom of hydrogen is extremely simple, consisting of one proton and one electron. But then as there arise more and more complex atoms, and increasingly complex molecules and cells, at each level there has to be a more complex deep structure to hold it together and the energy within has to be stronger. This is Teilhard’s point of the within and the without of things. Atoms, molecules, cells, attain their structure from the outside, as it were, with regard to their matter but at the same time a force is appearing within each one which organises and maintains the structure. Matter is without; form, the organising force, is within. And so the form organises each thing in a more complex way and becomes more manifest as it develops, leading to increasingly greater and more complex formal order.
This process goes on continually, through plants and animals to human beings. It appears that the same forces which are at work in matter and sub-human life operate also in the human person and in human consciousness. The same principle of matter and form working together can account for the whole evolution of humanity. But what happens in human beings is that this organizing power, this form, begins to emerge into consciousness. We have seen that there is an organizing power at every level and this organising power has the character of a mind. Mind, it has been said, reveals itself as “a pattern of self- organisation and a set of dynamic relationships.” In this sense it can be said that mind is present in matter from the beginning. Form in Aristotle’s sense of the word is a power of intelligence. It creates order. It causes the self-organisation of all organic structures and creates a set of dynamic relationships. So mind is present in matter, and in plants and animals, and that mind becomes conscious in us. And so, in a very exact sense, it can be said that matter becomes conscious in human beings. This process which has been going on from the beginning of time becomes conscious in us. (p.260) It evolves into consciousness. We are that stage of evolution at which the material universe is emerging into consciousness in each one of us…
In the evolutionary and developmental process, once we reach the level of language we have already crossed a barrier because with language it becomes possible to form symbols and an inner world comes into being. There is the outer world around us consisting of all the energies of matter and nature, and now with language and symbol we create an inner world where we represent, through the imagination, what we take to be the structure of the universe around us. Outside us are all these energies at work, but through our senses, feelings, imagination, reason and will, through all the faculties of our being, we structure a universe around us. It is a very limited universe and a very limited understanding that we have. It is always that we are structuring this appearance of the world around us. It is not as it really is. The world is infinitely greater than we perceive it. We only perceive those aspects of nature, matter and the energies of existence which are reflected through our senses, our feelings, our imagination, our mind and our will, through the whole of our human organism, and this is our particular way of perceiving the universe. So matter emerges into consciousness in us and we create this inner world by which we can represent the world around us and that can gradually be extended. The whole aim of pure science and of philosophy is to get a more and more accurate knowledge of the world around, but we know now that understanding is always conditioned by the limitations of our minds.”
A New Vision of Reality (Western Science, Eastern Mysticism and Christian Faith)
Bede Griffiths, Templegate Publishers (May 14, 1990) pp. 258-262
“All things are made of atoms. Stars are made of atoms. Humans are made of atoms. When we look at a tree, we see ourselves.”
“To say that consciousness evolved from matter is to say that a TV evolved from a refrigerator. Such things do not happen.”
Cairns Smith, chemical evolutionist
“When science comes to eventually understand consciousness it will be an achievement in the face of which every other achievement of science will pale into insignificance.”
“The physical basis of the mind is the brain action in each individual. It accompanies the activity of the spirit, but the spirit is free. It is capable of some degree of initiative. The spirit is the man one knows. He must have continuity through periods of coma and sleep. I assume then that the spirit must live on somehow after death. I cannot doubt that many make contact with God and have guidance from a greater spirit. If he had only a brain and not a mind, this difficult decision would not be his.”
W. Penfield, one of the top neuroscientists of the century,
Science, the Ox, and the Spirit
“I went through my entire scientific career searching for life, but now I see that life has somehow slipped through my fingers and all I have is electrons, protons, and particles, which have no life at all. So in my old age I am forced to retrace my steps.”
Szent-Giorgi, the Nobel laureate biologist
“The origin of species and of much of evolution appears to be due to some organizing and partly intelligent spiritual agency associated with the animal or plant, which controls its life processes and tends to keep the being more or less adapted to its environment. But in addition to this there seem to be other spiritual agencies of a much higher type which have been responsible for what may be called greater evolution … These spiritual agencies appear to have worked by directing from time to time the inferior agencies which are associated with the animals and plants.”
Robert Broom, Evolution—Is There Intelligence Behind It?
South African Journal of science, Vol. 30 (October 1933), pp. 18-19.
“To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could nave been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species,
New York: New American Library, 1964, p. 168.
“It is difficult to discuss the beginning of the universe without mentioning the concept of god. My work on the origin of the universe is on the borderline between science and religion, but I try to stay on the scientific side of the border. It is quite possible that god acts in ways that cannot be described by scientific laws.”
Stephen Hawking, 2002
The cosmos”reveals an intelligence of such superiority that compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”
“If there is such an Infinite Being, and if… his will and purpose is the increase of conscious beings, then we can hardly be the first result of this purpose. We conclude, therefore, that there are now in the universe infinite grades of power, infinite grades of knowledge and wisdom, infinite grades of influence of higher beings upon lower. Holding this opinion, I have suggested that this vast and wonderful universe, with its almost infinite variety of forms, motions, and reactions of parts upon part, from suns and systems up to plant-life, animal-life, and the human living soul, has ever required and still requires the continuous coordinated agency of myriads of such intelligences.”
Alfred Russell Wallace, The World of Life
New York: Moffat, Yard & Co., 1911, p. 431
“To understand the esoteric philosophy it is best to forget bodies and to grip the essential consciousness of ourselves. The fatal error of Western thought in all its departments of religion, philosophy and science is that it concentrates on the body-aspects, therefore on the transitory, the ever-changing. We have forgotten that the way by which to understand ultimates is by facing and studying them; and the ultimate of ultimates is the divine Selfhood, essential consciousness.”
G. de Purucker, Fountain-Source of Occultism,
Theosophical University Press, 1974