Maturing Story

February 12, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Category: Biology

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Maslow hierarchy of needs, or the Ken Wilber seven levels of experience, or the Gebser/Habermas scales of development all end up suggesting a succession of evolution theories that reflect a succession of personal/social developmental milieus.  Evolution theories are origin myths, stories that tease out patterns from experience that reflect how the interpreter experiences the world.

At first, there was no evolution theory.  The world just was.  The world was created at a point in an ancestor’s memory or an ancestor’s revelation and the world as it is now is pretty much how it used to be.

Then, in the West, evolution as a concept became widely embraced, even though there were few accepted explanations.  Darwin’s work emerged among an educated population, which to a large degree believed in the possibility of evolution; it just had no powerful theory.  Darwin provided a place where many could agree.  Only, where people agreed was where the theory successfully juxtaposed with their experience.  Darwin’s contemporaries ignored Darwin’s other two theories, sexual selection and pangenesis.  Natural selection made sense.  It was about survival, not females or the environment.

As we mature as a society, the story changes.

Since Darwin published On the Origin of Species, 150 years have passed.  Our origin myth is evolving along with the story’s description of evolutionary process.  Gradually, survival has come to be an unsatisfactory explanation of how everything in the world works.  New stories are emerging to nest within and then build upon old stories.

Just as the psychologists, philosophers and societal observers note maturation is an integral concept when they observe those things that humans are involved in, evolutionary theorists can interpret patterns in experience as revealing successions of stages.  Believers in natural selection apply their principles to molecular and cosmic scales to explain how things change over time.  Principles of maturation offer the same robust capability of translating how forces go through metamorphosis at small and large scales over time.

It’s all story.  Recognizing these theories as stories offers an ability to grasp the next one as it emerges.  First, there was no evolution.  Then there was evolution.  Then there was evolution through natural selection.  Now, consider evolution via maturation.  Next, evolution….

If evolution theory evolves, what is the experience that these stories all describe?


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