This post concerns Cosmic evolution, Biological evolution, Cultural evolution, and Self-evolution and their relationship to rigidity and plasticity. Yes, I it is true that we live in a complex and changing Universe that is unfolding, flowing, fluid, renewing, and where everything is in a state of flux. However, many of the changes that happen are very slow. It was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who stated, “nature seen at a distance appears to be malleable and in motion, but seek to lay hands on it, to deflect by force even the least of its directions, and you will encounter nothing but absolute rigidity, an unshakably stubborn refusal to depart from the preordained path.” (1964) Cosmic evolution is the most rigid (slowly evolves). That is, cosmological evolution happens in an oscillating, unfolding, and expanding Universe over millions and billions of years. Biological evolution is the process of species evolving that unfolds over thousands and in some cases millions of years. Daniel Goleman referred to the “slow, deliberate focus of (biological) evolution.” (1995)
Cultural evolution is societies and communities evolving that takes place over 25-50-100’s of years. Frank Tallis maintained that, “human nature is conservative, and communities change slowly.” (2004) However, according to a hero of mine, Jane Goodall, “when compared with the ponderous crawl through time of physical evolution, cultural evolution leads to change in lightning speed.” (1999) I view self-evolution as a process of unfolding that takes place over the lifetime of a person, within the society we are born into. Personal developmental evolution is the story of our journey. Self-evolution is a gradual process of repeal, refinement, and replacement that takes place over many years. Gradual self-evolution (review a previous post) helps us learn some of the skills needed to manage life. However, for those who dream and envision a journey of growth and change that goes beyond just learning how to manage life, choices have to be made. Deliberate self-evolution involves making a choice that says yes-to-change (review a previous post). Deliberate evolution includes the confronting of cultural norms from the society one was born into. Unfortunately, many people (maybe most) do not make this choice. However, there have been and are those rare sagacious individuals who decide to make that choice, write their own narrative, and live their own story. I declare that self-evolution by several of these courageous people can initiate a force that can bring about an entire culture’s evolutionary change.