Absolute and relative of any story


This is getting choppy, but that’s ok.

Here is yet another, slightly wider, framework for many of the popular evolutionary views today (and any other story).

In an absolute sense, it is all just stories. Form itself is a thin surface on the vastness of awake emptiness, and stories just a way of interpreting the world of form.

In a relative sense, each story has a grain of truth to them, and all their reversals do as well (together revealing the inherent neutrality of the situation).

If we take a story as an absolute truth, we set ourselves up for misery. If we take it as only a relative truth, of temporary, limited and purely utilitarian value, it can be very useful in our human life. But that is about it.

The value of evolutionary stories, whether from conventional science or from integral frameworks or new age, is that it sets our life – and our daily experiences – in a wider context within form. Personally, I find that the insights from biological evolution can be very helpful as a context for much in my daily life… it sets my emotions, reactions, impulses and much more into a far wider context. The integral evolutionary frameworks can be helpful in understanding where people are at, and where we personally came from and may be going. The Universe Story can give people a real sense of belonging to the larger whole, and of meaning.

And even the more new agey views, which rings of wishful thinking and triggered the initial post on this topic, may have value I suppose. It may give people temporary comfort (although tinged with stress). It may have some value as a self-fulfilling prophesy (probably in a very limited way). It may have entertainment value. There may be a grain of truth in it, and encourage some people to explore it in a more grounded and serious way. The inherent stress in believing it may help people question beliefs in general. And I am sure there are more gifts in it as well.

Hope, fear and wishful thinking


After having done The Work for a while, it becomes even more clear how hope and fear are two sides of the same coin, and also how any belief is stressful, no matter its content.

In some evolutionary spirituality groups, they see human evolution as moving towards a larger-scale awakening to who (as individuals) and what (as spirit) we are. Humanity as a whole is evolving, and we are evolving towards awakening.

In some groups, they see us evolving towards God awakening to itself through groups and even humanity as a whole, or even as the Earth awakening to itself through humans.

And yet another flavor emphasizes how everything will change. Not only will all problems go away, but we will shift into another dimension etc.

It is a tricky landscape to navigate, if we want to have a differentiated view and not blindly accept or reject it (both of which are from blind beliefs and wishful thinking).

The questions to ask of any relative truth

Of course, as humans in the world, it is useful to have maps and frameworks. They help us orient and navigate. But there are also some questions to ask about these maps, before we adopt them: (a) Is it necessary? (b) What are the effects of having this map? (c) What is my motivation for wanting to adopt and use it? (d) And finally, is it valid?

Is it necessary?

In the case of seeing us evolve, on a large scale, towards awakening, as far as I can tell, it is not necessary at all. A not-knowing mind seem quite sufficient, and far more practical. It keeps my thinking receptive and responsive to changing situations.

What are its effects?

What are the effects of these beliefs?

Complacency is one possibility. Everything is taken care of, so I can just sit back and relax. A related one is denial. It will all be OK. Just trust the process. I know it will happen, and nothing can make me change my belief.

Fear and compulsion is another. What is my role in this awakening? What if I don’t discover my role? What if I am left out? Maybe I will be the only one who doesn’t get it, who is left behind? Maybe I will be the Neanderthal in this evolutionary shift? What if humanity screws it up? What if it is all planned out, and we do something to derail it?

Cognitive dissonance is yet another. I know that it will all work out, but it certainly doesn’t always seem that way. There are still lots of huge problems in the world, and not much movement in the right direction. Also, I know that it is only an idea, so it feels false to try to make it appear as anything more than that. Something in me knows the deception in trying to make a relative truth appear absolute.

And eventually, hopelessness and disillusion. I thought it would happen by the magic year 2012, but it didn’t, so what now? My one hope fell through, maybe even my whole worldview.

(Of course, all of these are really gifts. They are invitations for us to examine what happens when we cling to ideas as more than just a relative truth, and see that every belief – no matter how nice and supportive it looks on the surface – has stress and suffering built into it.)

What is my motivation for adopting it?

And why would I want to adopt it? The only reason I personally can find is to feel better about myself and our collective situation, or in other words wishful thinking.

Is it valid?

There is certainly data to support evolution, but not much solid data to support the idea of larger scale awakening. And in any case, the future is always wide open. Trends do not equal certainty of outcome.

Any amount of support still leaves not-knowing mind

Since any idea, including any map, has only a relative truth, it is something to hold very lightly. It can, at best, have practical and temporary value. There is nothing absolute about it.

I may have amazing visions showing me the future. I may have solid research, showing clear evolutionary trends. I may have the most sophisticated and refined theories and explanations about it. I may have the support from the most respected scientists or gurus.

Yet, what it comes down to is that it is only a map. Only an idea.

The idea of gravity has lots of support. I have a great deal of experience with it. It seems consistent. It has the support of science (although they don’t know exactly what it is.) Yet, it still remains only an idea. And if I believe in it, a belief. The idea and belief tells me that if I hold a ball out and release it, it will fall to the ground and it may even bounce a few times. But if I am honest, I cannot know what will happen. It may stay suspended. It may float away. It could happen. I don’t know. No amount of evidence can tell me for certain what will happen in the future.

It is true for gravity, and it is even more (and far more obviously) true for our human and planetary evolution.

It is a nice idea that we will evolve towards becoming more awake to who and what we are, but that is all it is. If solid data seems to support it, then it may help us navigate that terrain. But if data does not seem to support it, then we can let it go.

Personally, I cannot see much solid data for it yet, in spite of all the anecdotal support from certain groups and people. At best, it seems flimsy, and also as wishful thinking. (It may also be one of the side-effects of an initial awakening process, a projection out there of what is more truly going on right here.) We believe in it, because we want it to be true. And we do so without exploring the consequences for ourselves and others of that belief.

As an idea, as a map clearly seen as having only limited and temporary value, it may turn out useful, but maybe not yet. And as a belief, it brings stress and dissonance as any other belief.