History and Human Evolution
I had this approach in mind. If we look at history from the evolutionary point of view, and we begin with life on Earth, and how life became slowly more and more complexly organized, and we acquired these so-called higher structures, higher forms- so if we trace the history of a human being, if you examine the brain cells and so on, and DNA, it seems that humans are the most complexly organized beings- they have the material of all other beings, in a way, because they say that human DNA contains all other DNAs, theoretically. Theoretically as in we can’t see it in practice. We can’t smell the way a dog smells, so we have lost a lot in this process. And I was thinking: at what point in history did some civilizations have a more evolved mind? And we can take famous civilizations, like the Romans, the Greeks, the Indus Valley Civilization, the Aryans, the Egyptians, and examine them closely. And we can see that some civilizations demonstrated this ability of an expanded brain- they can use a larger area of the brain, probably. Take the Indus Valley civilization, and you find things that are very unusual, like their Great Bath, where some 100 people could have a bath at the same time. And they had no swords- researchers couldn’t find the remains of a single sword, which is unusual, nor could they find horses. So things that are associated with war are absent. And it doesn’t seem that there was a great gap between those that ruled and the ordinary people- there isn’t much difference in the architecture, in the objects that are excavated. So probably they had something that got lost later on. And they found that their cities were very well-planned on a grid system, and that the level of sophistication of their drainage system was absent from the Western world until the 19th century. It was only in the 19th century that cities began to have those systems. So this is one way of approaching different civilizations: what kind of mind did they have? And is their any direct relationship between prosperity and intelligence? Some people say that first you gain prosperity, you gain all the means for survival, and then you become creative and create art and so on. Is this really the pattern everywhere? Or is there something else? Then we can also talk about people like the Buddha. The Buddha had access to something that people forgot for so long. And it’s only now, and mainly in the light of new science, that they are re-discovering those things. So probably at the time of the Buddha, and after the Buddha for some time, there were these communities that were practicing these things that evolve the brain. But then, again, it got lost. King Ashoka tried it a little bit but, again, it got lost. This history can be traced in terms of retrieving the means to access your intelligence and then losing it again and again. And now we have modern science- so it seems that before that people had been following their instinctive urge in a very superficial way. They say that human beings have these basic instincts- sex, aggression, hunger. Old psychologists, maybe they still do. And these instincts are there because we can’t access our inner resources, so without that we become worse than animals, because animals have other intelligences that we lack. So animals run after pleasure, and so do human beings- kings and their lavish lifestyles, enslaving others, not valuing human beings as this infinite opportunity for intelligence, every human being. Instead of that, using human beings for their own gratification. And then we could examine the past 300 years of modern science. It seems that scientists never gave any importance to mystical insights, to what the mystics were saying- they considered them madmen. And on the other hand, mystics never cared for science as advanced knowledge, they didn’t see it that way- they saw it as relevant in one area, but not as the knowledge that can lead to this evolution. So then were there points in history where science and mysticism worked together? It seems that there were those periods. Arya Bhatta in the 5th century was able to predict very precisely, to the exact second, when eclipses were going to happen, and he had no instruments, no computers, nothing. He had access to something internally. And his analytical brain, his logical brain was also very developed, because he gave this value of pi which is very close to the latest calculated value of pi. This shows that there were civilizations and people that had access to both of these areas of knowledge; what we call science, this logical, systematic study, and also access to these vast unconscious resources. And then from that point of view we could also talk about educational systems, now and in the past, because if we know how to access our entire brain, then that should reflect in the way we are teaching our children. So you can go to back to Greek civilization, Roman civilization, to people like Pythagoras. Pythagoras had to flee his country because the ruler was only interested in warriors- ‘we should only have warriors, no scholars.’ That is one story of why Pythagoras ran away. He ran away in quest of knowledge, but he also ran away because there was danger in staying. So he went to other cities in Greece, to India, they say. I was reading a book- Global Brain, I think- and it talks about Pythagoras coming to India and learning about ashrams, then creating an ashram when he went back to Greece. They say that in early Vedic times they had schools where they would teach the Vedas and all kinds of meditations, we don’t know to what extent, but there has been this scattered history of touching those areas, those methods that can lead to evolution, and then forgetting it. And we can ask: Why? Why do people forget? They were able to connect to the remotest areas of the globe through trade, so they could have easily spread this knowledge, but obviously something else was lacking. They say that Buddhist monks travelled all over with those traders, but I think many things were happening at the same time, and people lost sight of this inner evolution because of their over-engagement with external things. And it is still so. And as the teaching spread on these routes, it changed. They say that Muhammad never preached violence. Muhammad was against violence. He had his army to protect his life, he had enemies, that made sense, but Muhammad never said ‘if people don’t listen to you, kill them.’ But then later it got distorted, out of which a militant branch evolved. Similarly in Christianity, they started killing people who didn’t want to listen to the preachers. I was thinking that we could also discuss history from this point of view, since we are interested in evolution, and we are using knowledge for our evolution that was discovered by people thousands of years ago, like Buddha. He knew, and if he knew then maybe thousands of people who listened to him during that period gained this knowledge, and formed societies, universities like Nalanda. Nalanda was a great university that dates back to 200 or 300 BC, and survived until the 8th century AD. Those things existed, but they disappeared. And now through this modern science, through neurology, through genetics, we are trying to say some of those things again, in a different light. But by now the world has become so structured deeply in the materialistic science, and the philosophy that evolved because of that science, our social systems, our systems of governance, our judiciary, all of those treat a human being as an unpredictable creature, anything can happen, and therefore there should be a strict penal system. And there is terrorism- even in the name of religion there is terrorism. So all of those things are there and real knowledge, it seems, is missing from the popular religions, from education systems, from the way our political and economic systems work. Like in economics, they say a human being is basically greedy- that is the foundation on which the whole economic system is built. And it works because most of the people, most of the time, display that trait, greed. And they do so because that is the way they are trained from birth. If they were trained in a different way, we would access something other than greed, but because it applies to 99% of people, then they say it is true. Similarly, the idea of majority rule comes from the same belief. In democracy, if most of the people say this man should be the minister, then it is right because most of the people have said it. But history has not worked that way- most of the people didn’t say that time and space are curved, like Einstein did. Scientists are alone. Millions and millions of people are saying something, and this one scientist out of a million says something else, and until that is proven, then people don’t listen to this person. They may even kill him. But, of course, democracy came into being because otherwise there would have been monarchy and there would be the rule of the powerful, and the right to subjugate others out of might. Which makes sense, but then democracy, again, is not rooted in this deep knowledge. So then what kind of systems of government have there been in history? What were their belief systems? And finally, what should happen? Suppose we had some million people in an area, and they were all striving to live in such a way that they could evolve- then what kind of systems would we have? What kind of government? What kind of economics? We could discuss this. And do we see something like that in history, in any part of the world? Were there ever people living, in some extent, like this?
So it seems like what you are proposing is, alongside this traditional history of dates and rulers and battles and countries, excavating this thread of an idea and its history.
Because that history is also there somewhere, and there are bits and pieces, but they don’t get into this mainstream history because those things are disturbing, and they upset the way subjects are presented now. For instance, there is a scientist, David Bome- I think he passed away some ten to fifteen years ago- but he suggested that when a seed begins to grow, and a seedling emerges, then the entire universe knows. The sun knows how much sunshine is good for this seed, and the clouds know how much rain to give, and the wind knows how to blow- otherwise the seed wouldn’t survive. Why aren’t they hostile to its survival? We talk about chlorophyll. Say instead that it’s an entire network of life- all of life is together. The whole universe is a living thing, so everything is connected. The chlorophyll is not something that only belongs to the plant. The chlorophyll is something that is woven into the sunshine- ultimately it came from the sunshine. The Earth came from the Sun, and everything on the Earth is sunshine, and some of it is what we call ‘living.’ And other things we say are not living, though it may have a different kind of life. But then this chlorophyll and sunlight, because they are together in some deep way, can both change. They are together. It is not that the plant has to work very hard for its survival- it only has to open up. And what causes the plant to open? The infant doesn’t know anything about growing- so what makes the infant grow and learn? We say that the infant learns in this way and that way, but where does that way come from? If some infants don’t learn, then they say that there is something wrong with the brain. So what made the brain, then? And we can talk about belief systems- like the Mesopotamians believed that there is no other life, that death is the end, and that reflects on its history- so hostile, so many invasions. Very different from something like the Egyptian civilization, who believed that life can come again and built those pyramids, they had hope. Similarly in China, they had hope that the emperor will come alive again. So hope, even if its utterly unscientific- in India they talk about another life. They don’t say that life will enter the same body, but they say that there is reincarnation. And how did Buddha know that in the past lives we may have been animals, many of us. Darwin said something like that, in a different way. And now we know through this DNA that we evolved from something sub-human into human. The Buddha was saying that. There are several stories. One is that there is a prince who came to listen to the Buddha, and he had to stay the night because he missed the sermon that day. So people told him to stay the night and he can listen to the Buddha the next day. They didn’t know that he was a prince. So there was a bare step leading to a palace- a king had given the Buddha a palace for some days- and so he couldn’t sleep. He was a prince. There was no proper bed. And he kept thinking: ‘whoever this Buddha is, he should at least have some arrangement for princes!’ And by the morning he was angry, and he decided to meet the Buddha, bow to him and go away without listening. So it was four in the morning, people were getting up, and he asked: ‘Is there a way I could talk to the Buddha?’ They said: ‘Talk to Anand, he arranges meetings.’ And Anand said: ‘He is going to talk soon.’ And the prince said that he had to go. And Anand asked: ‘But didn’t you stay here last night?’ He said: ‘I did.’ ‘Why did you stay? To listen to him, right?’ But he insisted that he had to go. And so Anand took him to the Buddha and said that there is this man, and the Buddha said: ‘He is a prince, let him come.’ And so the prince came, and before he could say anything, the Buddha said: ‘Oh, this is a miracle! You were an elephant just before this birth. And the forest was on fire, and there was maybe only ten more feet of this dense forest before a clearing. You could easily have escaped, but many animals were running upwards against the fire, and a rabbit came by and jumped into a hole, and you put your foot over the hole to protect the rabbit from the fire. But there were dry branches above, and they caught fire, and you wanted to move, but each time you wanted to move you thought of the rabbit. And you died, but the rabbit survived. And because of that karma at the time of death, that even as an elephant you had compassion for this little creature, you were born a prince. But in this lifetime, just one night you spend without a bed and you become so restless.’ And the prince was shocked, and he asked: ‘How did you know?’ And the Buddha said: ‘I know your every thought.’ And so the story goes that the prince then starts crying and falls at his feet and becomes a disciple of the Buddha. So this idea that we have evolved from the animal probably can be accessed through some other way, not solely through the study of skeletons and so on. Mystics may have some other route of finding out. So is it that we have had many ways of accessing knowledge throughout our history, which were reflected in the way we live? If so, can we access that knowledge again, and use it? I was reading about a tribal society where at breakfast adults ask the children what they dreamt last night, then interpret the dreams. And they give tips about what you can do inside the dream to access real knowledge. One of the things was that, if in the dream you fought with somebody, hurt somebody, then give them a gift. These were probably their ways of creating harmony in society. Those kinds of things must be available to access, somewhere.