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 How Reincarnation May Generate Complexity

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Number of posts : 1919
Age : 47
Location: : Connecticut
Registration date : 2007-01-24

PostSubject: How Reincarnation May Generate Complexity   Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:02 pm

I thought that this was interesting.

Quote :
How Reincarnation May Generate Complexity
Frank Poletti

Frank Poletti followed Wheeler by joking that the next Dawkins-esque scholar in the field of survival studies will likely publish a book titled "The Selfish Soul," in which the hypothesis is put forward that the most competitive souls are the ones most likely to survive in the bardo and reincarnate! More seriously, Poletti added a few observations about the evolutionary theory conference that he has helped organize before he vetted a theory of his own about the survival hypothesis to the group. In his brief presentation Poletti attempted to situate the evidence for survival within the larger worldview called "evolutionary panentheism," which has been described and developed over the years by scholars such as Hegel, Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin, Michael Murphy, and Ken Wilber.
Drawing from an essay posted by Ken Wilber a couple months before the conference on his Shambhala website titled "Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Subtle Energies," Poletti noted that the core insight Wilber touts in his essay is that complex gross forms are necessary for the expression of higher consciousness and subtler energy. This means that Spirit (the Infinite, Eternal One, Ultimate Mystery, etc.) needs the material universe in order to express Itself, find Itself, and discover and explore Itself in and through millions of shapes and forms. Poletti said that even if we grant validity to this general idea that underlies evolutionary panentheism, Wilberís recent essay on subtle energies and reincarnation only describes what Spirit is doing with the evolving manifest universe. Poletti emphasized that he is interested in adding to that what by proffering a theory about how the universe may be accomplishing that awesome task.

To address the how aspect of the evolutionary panentheistic worldview, Poletti described a synthetic idea that combines insights from the Indian seer Sri Aurobindo and the complexity theorist Terrence Deacon. Poletti started by indicating that Aurobindo thought that philosophies of reincarnation should be considered within the context of the larger evolutionary intent of the universe. For Aurobindo, the evolution and reincarnation of human souls should follow the same general laws and trends that inform the evolution of matter, life, and mind. Itís one universe; thus all its diverse manifestations should share in one general arc, even if it is difficult to spot it at first glance. Next, Poletti drew upon the central idea that Terrence Deacon had presented recently during a CTR conference on evolutionary theory, namely that biological life created (or emerged) closures, shells, and boundaries, which then have the capacity to re-enter information and learning (stored in DNA) into the larger ecosystem of life. According to Deaconís theory, this continuous process of "closure and re-entry" is the central mechanism that drives the rise of complexity from bacteria all the way up to humans. In other words, this process is the how at the heart of the rise of complex life forms. To make this idea a bit clearer, Poletti said that scientists know that in the early earth, DNA (which is a form of stored information and memory) somehow managed to get inside membranous enclosures called lipid sacs. Scientists still do not know exactly how this was accomplished, but the very fact that we are here today is evidence that DNA-based cellular life must have started at some point in the early earth. Millions of years ago, a tiny bit of learning was stored as memory in a few strands of DNA. That then found a protective enclosure in a cell-like lipid structure. This total structure was then re-entered into the larger ecosystem of life with its learning and memory intact. This process of continuous re-entry of past learning stored in DNA was then repeated millions of times. According to complexity scientists like Deacon, this bare minimum process of enclosed learning and re-entry drove the rise of complex biological structures. This is the how that corresponds to the well-known what (or mere observed fact) of complexity that exists all around us.

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