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Manifestation and evolution


Evolution, intended as a general unidirectional change towards complexity and progress, is one of the major paradigms of the modern thought. We can find its countless applications in almost every philosophical, scientific and sociological field. We don't pretend to deal with all the broad spectrum of implications of the evolutionary thought. Here we will focus particularly on the biological application of this idea. Our goal is to show in an elementary way that the major claims of evolutionary thinking in the field of biology are unsound from a theoretical point of view. As known, from Darwin to nowadays evolution paradigm has challenged the ancient creationist worldview. Darwinian macroevolution hypothesis supposes a gradual step-by-step random transformation of all species from a unique simple ancestor. According to Darwinism "man himself is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind". What we will try to prove here is that Darwin's idea, in whatever of its versions, is groundless when examined from the perspective of the fundamental cosmological principles.


The existence of animal and vegetal species on the planet Earth is an infinitesimal part of a bigger scenario: the so-called manifestation or universe. Nevertheless the arise of the terrestrial life in all its richness is a phenomena appearing so "miraculous" that perhaps the question about its cause and origin is the more interesting problem ever faced by humankind. To understand well the basis of this problem is necessary to know exactly what manifestation is. To understand what manifestation is one needs to know something, at least theoretically, about its principle. Doing so, we will follow a deductive top-bottom line of reasoning, from principle to its consequences. Only in this way we will be able to explain the relations (if any) existing between manifestation and evolution.


In the modern concept of evolution (and in all its applications) is implicit, and more or less declared, some sort of transition from an inferior or less rich status to a superior or richer status. "In nuce" the modern concept of evolution always implies a passage or process from "less" to "more", from a "lower" thing to an "higher" thing. Typically in the biological field the less rich status corresponds to a simpler organism, meanwhile the richer status corresponds to a more complex organism, namely un organism with some morphological novelty or some new apparatus. One asks how life arose? Evolutionism simply answers: "it evolved". If we ask how a certain species arose, evolutionary biology literature routinely answers: "it evolved". If we ask how a certain complex morphological property of an organism arose, evolutionary textbooks always answer: "it evolved". In other words the term "evolution" has become a sort of factotum used to explain everything. Some asks if change from less complex to more complex is truly an essential feature of Darwinian macroevolution. Evolutionists themselves defined (and in this case even illustrated) the terms of the issue. For evolutionists the concept of macro-evolution of species is related to the evolutionary phylogenetic tree of organisms. This cladogram shows at its root the less complex forms (bacteria, archaea and eucarya), at the top more complex forms (mammals, man...) and in the middle medium-complex species. Hence macroevolution implies an increase of complexity for definition. If someone says instead that at the beginning all the biological complexity we see today existed then his position is not properly an evolutionary one. Obviously in this last case it remains intact the problem of knowing where all this complexity comes from. As everything in the world it comes from the principle of the world itself. Obviously this last statement needs some explanations.


Before considering the principle of manifestation it is necessary to explain some elementary propositions from causality theory. A first statement affirms that from nothing nothing can derive. This is a self-evident axiom. A thing from which another thing derives and to which is in debt of its existence is called its cause. The next step is to consider a set of effects and the cause they derive from. If in the set some effect existed not having something in the cause from which it derives, we would have an effect derived from nothing. That is impossible because contrary to the above axiom. As a consequence one can say that all effects "stay" virtually in their cause and there are no effects without a cause. There are no exceptions to this rule. The interesting thing about causality is that if we really follow very carefully step-by-step its key idea from the ground-up we are unavoidably led towards the understanding of prime causes, in the same time as we succeed at least partially to comprehend their very nature. Meanwhile we are going from bottom to up in the causality tree we find causes and things always more qualitative, more complex, more essential, richer and not otherwise. Further continuing to go backward in the causality tree we necessarily arrive to a first cause. For what we want to explain that is enough about causality.


If we think of the universal existence as an enormous set of effects then universal existence must have an ultimate cause. This first cause is called Being. Being, or metaphysical Unity, must contain virtually all the effects and beings present in the manifestation. Since we see around us in the universe a huge numbers of very complex things the transcendent cause of the universe must be extremely complex indeed, for this cause must contain all the possibilities or essences of these complex things:


«The principial Unity, in its absolute indivisibility, has an extreme complexity, for it contains eminently all that, descending to the lower degrees, constitutes the essence or qualitative character of the manifested beings. [So the evolutionary idea of a "primitive simplicity" is absurd because...] why should things always begin simple and get complex in the following? On the contrary, if one thinks the germ of any being must necessarily contain the virtuality of all that this being will become in the future, which means that all the possibilities that will be developing during its existence are just included in it, we are led to think that the origin of all things must really be extremely complex, and that is indeed the qualitative complexity of essence; the germ is little from the quantitative or substantial perspective only, because, transposing symbolically according to the inverse analogy the idea of "greatness", one can say that the littlest in quantity is the biggest in quality»[1].


In other words, in the manifestation can never absolutely exist something of really "new" respect what Being synthetically contains just from the beginning. The minimal thing or possibility must have its metaphysical "root" or "germ" in Being, root that really constitutes the eternal indestructible archetype of that thing. Metaphysically all the possibilities of manifestation stay in Being. From a metaphysical point of view in a sense manifestation is rigorously and fundamentally teleological. In the First Cause there is absolutely no evolution. To suppose any form of evolution into the metaphysical Unity means not to understand what metaphysical possibilities really are. Metaphysical possibilities are eternal, unchangeable and maintain forever all their characteristics and attributes. There is absolutely no change, no alteration and no movement into metaphysical Unity. Only from this metaphysical point of view we can understand Plato when saying "in a sense every change is a death"[2] and somehow the world (and its evolution) is the reign of death. As Aristotle rightly affirmed, First Cause, being the "First Motor" of all things, must be fixed under all the aspects, i.e. it must be an "unmoved motor". The fact that the First Motor is unmoved doesn't deny at all the existence of changes in the manifestation. More, manifestation is indeed a continuum series of changes. But whatever changes occur in the manifestation, they are always related to certain unchanged and fixed possibilities in Being. The beings themselves change on a continuative basis. Living species themselves are able to change in a relative and limited sense, according exactly to what is allowed a priori in Being. This represents the biological phenomena called "microevolution". That comprehends sub-species, varieties, hybrids and races and all that is possible to obtain with artificial selection (hybridization, breeding...) and natural selection. None denies these possibilities. But - as a general rule - absolutely nothing in the manifestation can change if this alteration itself is not virtually included into a fixed possibility in Being. By the way that's what in systems theory reads: a system can develop only the possibilities that are potentially included in his design. Also in systems theory one can speak of the "evolution of the system", i.e. all what is happening and changing into the system during its functioning. The fundamentals laws of thermodynamics tell us that such "evolution" trend is always in the sense of an increasing of entropy and disorder. And that perfectly agrees with the old and true meaning of evolution we deal here.


The formation of the world or manifestation develops by mean of a descendent process that, starting from archetypal principles, and passing through some intermediate planes, arrives at the end to the corporeal world we all experiment. This descendent process is a development of possibilities from a unique immense and transcendent principle. This development or deployment is the very meaning itself of the term "evolution", used by modern men without remembering its original sense. The term "evolution" derives from the ancient latin verb "volvere"= to unroll, to unwind, to develop, to unfold. Thus, if we take the term "evolution" in its etymological meaning, it doesn't suggest at all the modern idea of a evolutionary process from "less" to "more", but the scenario of the deployment of the possibilities of existence, which are just contained, without proceeding one from the other, in the totality of Being. In this old right sense "evolution" is simply a process or a set of changes from "more" to "less". Hence the term "evolution" in its etymological sense means exactly the contrary of its modern use!


The application of the above concepts to the supposed Darwinian macroevolution of species in the biological field is straightforward. Darwinian macroevolution claims that all species derives one from the other starting from a unique common ancestor. Macroevolution would be a set of a countless number of transformations from a less complex species to a more complex species. A transition from a less complex species to a more complex species entails an increment of information. An increment of information needs intelligence. This need of intelligence disproves the classic unguided neo-Darwinian random mutation and natural selection theory, because obviously neither chance nor necessity - per se - are intelligent and then they unable to provide information. What is the ultimate source of any intelligence? Of course Being, the First Cause. Then one might imagine that Being himself is involved in some way in the transformations from a less complex species to a more complex species during history of Earth. This is the classic Theistic Evolution position, i.e. the idea of a "guided" evolution; in other word God would have "used" evolution to create beings. But causality implies that for transforming a less complex thing to a more complex thing Being must have into himself the essence of that last more complex thing. According to causality the more complex things must exist virtually in Being just from the beginning as archetypes. And in general Being effectively contains just before "creation" all the essences manifested in the universal existence. But if Being has the essences of the more complex things just from eternity why should not he manifest them directly from the non-manifestation, without passing just in the manifestation from the less complex things as evolutionism believes? Evolutionism doesn't answer this question. It doesn't for the simple reason that there are no sensible motives for Being not to manifest directly from the non-manifestation anything or any being he wants. Moreover there are no sensible motives for Being to have problems to manifest a thing instead of another. Said another way: for Being to manifest a lower thing or an higher thing is the same, in the sense that Being never "force" himself meanwhile he is manifesting. To think that Being needs strives to manifest something is anthropomorphism. Being doesn't suffer human limitations.

We can also see the issue in another way. A transformation from a thing A to a thing B is a process able to transform A into B. What does causality theory say about transformations? According to the above causality laws A must have its cause. The transformation process itself must have its counterpart in the cause. The question is: is B contained in its cause or isn't B contained in its cause? In other words, whether the transformation process exists potentially in the cause, is it necessary that the object B stays in the cause too? A transformation is a binary relation. A binary relation implies necessarily two subjects (in this case the "transformable" and the "transformed") and a link between them. A transformation with one subject only cannot exist for definition. Hence B is contained in its cause too, for otherwise the transformation wouldn't have both its subjects and it wouldn't be a relation. Notice that our ascertainment is valid independently from the fact that we consider the transformation as teleological or not. Metaphysically, as we said above, all things are in a sense "teleological". In fact eternal archetypes and essences transcend time. Transcending time all products or final results of any transformations are present just from the beginning like all their causes and boundary conditions are.

The traditional conception of manifestation is cyclical. The manifestation intended as the major cycle is subdivided in minor sub-cycles. Every cycle is analogous to the super cycles containing it. To illustrate the concept of cycle by mean of an elementary example, think of time. Time is cyclical. We have the year subdivided in four seasons. Every season is subdivided in days. Every day is subdivided in four principal parts and so on. When considering a fundamental cosmological cycle from the point of view of causality we find that it develops from two poles called "essence" and "substance". The arise and fall of a terrestrial humankind is a fundamental cosmological cycle in this sense. By the way this big cycle is traditionally divided in four major parts or era. But here it isn't necessary to detail more this. It's enough to say in general that a cosmological development is a "descent":


«We must consider the movement of cyclical descent as carrying out between these two poles: from unity, or better from the nearest point to unity in the domain of manifestation relatively to the state of existence considered, it goes even more towards multiplicity [...] this descent is carrying on from pure quality to pure quantity, whereas both represent limits external to manifestation, because they, relatively to the special conditions of existence of this world, are an expression of the two universal principles called "essence" and "substance", namely that two poles between every manifestation develops»[3].


These words of Proclo have quite the same meaning "Every thing that is corrupt, decays when departing from its cause"[4]. Manifestation in a sense is a "departing" and "unfolding" from Being. As such its temporal "evolution" is simply a descent from essence to substance. Hence one can say that evolution is simply what leads all natural things towards what Aristotle names the reign of "generation and corruption". Technically this descent is not an "evolution" as evolutionists and progress supporters believe but something of opposite: a "devolution".


But what about the arise of cosmos from the chaos?

«When one says that the world formed from "chaos", he is examining it from the substantial perspective only; in such case we have to consider this beginning outside time, because evidently time doesn't exist in the "chaos" but in the cosmos only. Therefore, if we want to deal with the order of development of manifestation, which in the domain of the corporeal existence and accordingly to the conditions defining this last one unwinds in a temporal succession, it is not from this side that we will have to begin, but instead from the side of essential pole, from which manifestation, accordingly to the cyclical laws, departs constantly for descending towards the substantial pole. "Creation", as far as resolution of "chaos", is in a sense "instantaneous" and is properly the biblical Fiat Lux; but what is really at the origin of the same "cosmos" is the very primordial Light, namely the "pure spirit" in which the essences of all things stay; and effectively, starting from there, the manifested world can do nothing other than to descend more and more towards "materiality"»[5].


The cosmological law of descent applies to every cycle of manifestation. In particular it apply to the cycle of the present terrestrial humanity, humanity that we must consider embedding all the inferior not-human forms of life living on Earth, which can be considered as sub-species respect the human one. A transformation from a less complex species to a more complex species (as evolutionism hypothesizes) would be instead a minor transition from substance to essence. In fact more complexity means more information and information stays on the side of essence. Then in this hypothetical morphing we would have an inversion of direction respect the major descent, which develops descending from essence to substance. And that is absurd because the fundamental cosmological truth of "descent" must apply at any level of manifestation, at the major scale like at the minor ones. This cosmological ascertainment rebuts theoretically Darwinian macroevolution and any kinds of theistic macroevolution. Why should Being transform a less complex species into a more complex species during history and ipso-facto violate his general law of "descent" meanwhile - as we have said above - he can simply manifest the more complex species as they are just from the beginning without violating his law of "descent"? Here the principle of sufficient reason suggests us that Being, who is Truth, can't be incoherent and can't go against his laws themselves. For these reasons any Darwinian evolution and theistic evolution theory have serious drawbacks from the point of view of traditional cosmology.


To sum up in few words: the very reason for which macroevolution is an illusion from a deep point of view is because all terrestrial species (and all beings of the universe of course) are present simultaneously as archetypes in their not manifested cause. This simultaneous metaphysical presence grants their manifestation itself can be simultaneous or, said another way, is time-invariant and may happen in every instant during the history of Earth. After all that's only a corollary of a more general metaphysical truth that reads: "all states of being, considered in their principle, are in perfect simultaneity in the eternal present"[6].

[1] René Guénon "Le Règne de la quantité et les signes des Temps", chap.XI.

[2] Plato, Eutidemo, 283.

[3] René Guénon, "Le Règne de la quantité et les signes des Temps", Introduction.

[4] Proclo, Elements of Theology, XLVI.

[5] René Guénon "Le Règne de la quantité et les signes des Temps", chap.XI.

[6] René Guénon, "La Métaphysique orientale".