=1 "The future of evolution - A transintelligence"
The future of evolution: A transintelligence
That all evolution is due to chance is an opinion which seems to carry an official scientific stamp. But it is not really scientific: first because in this form it cannot be proven, and secondly because though it seems simple it is only simplistic: it avoids the difficulties of an explanation. The opposite opinion, that there is an intelligence behind things, we might not be able to prove either, in a physical, chemical or mechanical way, yet everywhere things seem to be arranged with great cunning.
The only proof of intelligent behaviour is in the result. And the results of that ultra-intelligence are all around us. If we had met intelligence only once or in only a single spot in the universe, we might logically expect it to be found elsewhere also. This seems the true scientific way. If in our dealings with a bank or a corporation we discover in a letter from them some sign of intelligence, would we expect the ensuing correspondence to be due entirely to chance?
As intelligent beings, it is almost impossible for us to accept pure chance, even where it is supposed to be most nearly absolute, as in gambling or in lotteries. Something in us simply refuses to believe in it. But there is also something which refuses to accept pure intelligence, which might, after all, be as intolerable as pure chance.
So far typical man. At the two extremes there are the imbecile, the moron, the depressed, to whom nothing makes sense, and the mystic and the genius to whom everything makes sense. But we who are in between have the capacity to choose once and for all or to be continually ping-ponged between the two – the sense and the nonsense of the universe.
Admittedly, when one sees intelligence everywhere one has to discriminate between its hierarchies, the degrees of manifestation. A cloud may be less intelligent than a planet. A planet may be less intelligent than a sun. The letter which we receive from our bank or from the income tax office do not all manifest the same degree of intelligence, and we might on occasion be able to appeal to the top executive for final decision.
Our vision of the future, our prospective science seems to be rather pessimistic, disregarding the real meaning of evolution. Population explosions, atomic wars, and God-knows-what apocalyptic visions fill our newspapers and magazines. Science fiction, when it tries to describe elsewhere in space or in the distant future worlds more highly evolved than ours, rarely succeeds in showing any positive aspects. A similar limitation can be seen in the literature of the past, when our poets, great and small, tried to describe paradise. To picture hell seemed very easy. Perhaps there is something which attracts the mind and imagination of man to wallow in descriptions of the terrible. Everywhere in popular art, in painting and even in music, there was an analogous tendency. Martyrdom, decapitations, tortures, assassinations and the horrors of war are only too abundantly represented in our museums and libraries. But to imagine a world more intelligent, more highly evolved, more conscious and beautiful than our own – very few have succeeded in this.
Science fiction has sometimes created beings more intelligent than man, a thing that should not be too difficult. But it is strange that that imagined intelligence is always accompanied by an even greater wickedness and malice than we find in man. The obvious fact that true intelligence, and not simply cleverness or craftiness, never comes together with evil, is completely overlooked.*
Evil is always a sign of a certain kind of blindness, of ignorance, some total lack of understanding, and a being that is both intelligent and evil is always a creation of man's imagination. It might seem that there could be an underdevelopment of intelligence which is not accompanied by moral underdevelopment. Yet a good but stupid creature, a saint with a limited mental capacity, is the creation of a wrong conception either of goodness or of sanctity or of intelligence. The same is true of the superintelligent but morally warped scientist or statesman of our science fiction.
There is something in us which is afraid that there really might be an intelligence superior to ours which could misuse us or make dupes of us. And that fear creates our fiction. But the only thing we should be afraid of is ignorance. A quality which simultaneously increases with intelligence is comprehension, and with comprehension comes compassion. It was not superintelligence that built the concentration camps. It was superignorance.
We might speak of a certain kind of intelligence which creates a weapon, the atomic bomb. But it is always ignorance which throws it onto the neighbour. It is the ignorance that doesn't know the law of the universe – that whatever you throw against something or someone always returns upon you, that the evil you do you can do only and exclusively to yourself. It is the same simple ignorance which makes someone pick up a hot iron with his bare hands: he doesn't know it is hot.
If instead of one Leonardo da Vinci or one Goethe per century, we were a race in which all men had that level of knowledge, there is no doubt that our planet would be, morally also, a better place to live.
Our capacity to enjoy this universe always grows with evolution. The more we evolve the more we will participate in the oneness of being and in that dimension of the universe which is still occult to the ignorant – the joy of being.
* We use the word ‘intelligence’ in its original meaning: to know from the inside the oneness of things.