Hegel and Lyell and others made philosophical and physical science contributions that led to the idea that such a thing as progress could exist.  With Darwin, progress was not a variable; contingency was king.  Species evolved according to the dictates of what was required to procreate.  Marx believed society was evolving toward a specific end in a particular way.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin believed the particular end was profoundly positive.  Others have run with variations on that theme.  At this time we have Social Darwinists, what we now call free market proponents, suggesting that economic survival of the fittest and societal progress are both true.  The wealthy have to be allowed to do what they want to make it possible for society to advance.  This is the entrepreneurial imperative.

In the West, we have been seeking to integrate these two seemingly incompatible beliefs:  evolution has no goal and society is evolving toward something specific that is good.  It would not be the first time that humans believed two opposite things to be true if it seemed there was a benefit in doing so.

What if both things could be true?  What if understanding how both contingency and progress could both be true had to do with understanding the evolution of compassion?

It has to do with understanding that biology and society are the same and that compassion is at least partially a result of changes in maturation rates and timing.

The heterochronists of the late eighteenth and early twentieth century were evolutionary biologists that explored changes in the rate and timing of maturation and development.  Stephen J. Gould tracked those theorists that focused on neoteny, or features of infants and embryos that over time appeared in the adults of descendants.  Gould, Montagu and others hypothesized humans evolved to a societal and then cultural species in no small part due to the selection of neotenous features in our species.  No theorists emphasized sexual selection as the selective process largely responsible for the neotenic trend.  There are indications that this is the case.

If humans were selecting humans because they looked and behaved like very young children, then perhaps those humans doing the selecting were being in turn selected themselves because they were attracted to the very young.  At one end, there were those that were selected because they looked and behaved like children.  At the other end, there were those selected because they were attracted to those that looked and behaved like children.

This might be called a feedback loop.  The evolutionary theorist R. A. Fisher called it runaway sexual selection.  Geoffrey Miller in The Mating Mind goes into detail regarding how these runaway effects occur.  Might it be possible that with the emergence of culture, this dynamic could inspire a Pierre Teilhard de Chardin positive Omega Point trajectory?  This would be where many of us are fully engaged in feeling attracted, not unlike the exercise of compassion, while the rest of us are consumed with exhibiting the playfulness and creativity of children?  What might result when what we experience is an integration of the two?

Random chance and deliberate intention can appear to be the same, depending on the scale of the observation.  We may be in the middle of a nonrandom pattern of compassion evolution created in a seemingly random way.

Let’s take this one step further.

Consider that biology cannot be random because creation is an exercise of deliberate intent.

With each creation, with each appearance of an individual in an egg or womb, we have an emergence of awareness.  Awareness is nonrandom if we use a playful definition.  Consider that awareness is the exercise of deliberate intent.

With neoteny, features characteristic of earliest ontogeny wiggle their way forward into older and older stages of descendants.  What is being carried forward into an adult human is an ontogenetic experience that features proximity to creation.  Our obsession with features of the young, and those attracted to features of the young, is engendering that which is the youngest, which is creation, in our adults.

By recognizing, embracing and integrating our conception we experience compassion and identification with all that is.

As individuals inside society inside biology, we arrive home through identification with creation to something we might call reality.

Reality being everything is aware.


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