Evolution Goes Cosmic (It’s About Time)
By Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, FRCP
One of the strangest contradictions in science — and in how we view our place in the universe — is that evolution occurs on Earth but not in the cosmos. At first, you might not spot this contradiction. Just as one-celled organisms in Earth’s primordial seas eventually evolved into advanced life forms, didn’t the universe also evolve from superheated plasma and interstellar dust into galaxies, stars, and planets?
Actually, no. The laws of nature recognized by physics don’t include a law of evolution. Instead, the governing principle, known as entropy (the tendency of objects to lose energy) is a kind of anti-evolution. Entropy says that once you break a glass on the floor, the fragments cannot spontaneously reform into a whole glass again. Even the most advanced structure known to exist, human DNA, would be seen as an anomaly, termed “an island of negative entropy.”
Entropy is measurable, which gives it scientific validity. The evolution of life also provides data, in the form of genetic mutations. But by itself, there is no law governing physical evolution “out there” in space.
Until now. As reported in a Reuters news article, “…nine scientists and philosophers on Monday proposed a new law of nature that includes the biological evolution described by Darwin as a vibrant example of a much broader phenomenon, one that appears at the level of atoms, minerals, planetary atmospheres, planets, stars and more.” The proposed new law has a technical title, “the law of increasing functional information,” but in everyday terms, the law rephrases the creation story in the Book of Genesis by saying, “Evolution looked upon its creation, and it was good.”
Good, in Darwinian terms, means that a species has found a way to survive. Cosmic evolution doesn’t stray far from this notion, holding that as structures become more complex, the information they contain can find new combinations that continue on because they effectively serve a function. You can read the details in the original paper, titled “On the roles of function and selection in evolving systems.”
The paper’s authors tout this as the “missing law” in physics, which operates by building blocks made of information rather than subatomic particles — or along with subatomic particles. This breakthrough was personally thrilling to me, because 30 years ago, in my book Quantum Healing, I proposed that mind and body had to have the same source in the quantum field, an idea I have updated in a soon-to-be-published book, Quantum Body.
The crucial link with this “missing law” is that evolution begins at the very source of nature. Whatever happens in the quantum field must be reflected in how our cells function and how we think. Getting down to brass tacks, evolution must begin here, too. There is no way with existing natural laws to insert, invent, or suddenly discover evolution at some mid-point in creation.
Now there’s no need to. Physics, whose creation story is dominant in the modern secular world, is moving toward a “master quantum equation” that will describe how quantum events change over time. Such changes, once you jump to the macro level of clouds, trees, stars, and the human body, must be fundamental. If quantum events were stable and unchanging, evolution could never begin.
Now the question is whether mainstream physics, which might be willing to accept change in the quantum field (because it is infinitely dynamic) will take the next step and call these changes evolution. If not, science will remain stuck on describing life on Earth as the end stage of random events governed by chance strictly according to the basic laws of chemistry and physics.
You can see how atrophied such an explanation is if you look at the brain. Your brain cells operate strictly according to those basic laws of physics and chemistry as neurons fire in determined ways. Yet obviously the brain somehow processes a constant stream of new thoughts, words, sense impressions — the whole dynamic world in 3-D. This brings home the contradiction stated at the outset, whereby life evolves but not the physical universe.
Master equations are more inclusive than individual equations, as the name implies, and a quantum master equation would be incredibly complex because it would need to apply to an infinite number of quantum events occurring over time, and even then, the huge problem of consciousness wouldn’t be addressed, much less solved.
One can have a vision of a true master equation for the cosmos before science writes one out. To unify everything in existence, the following are required.
· Mind has to be unified with matter.
· The observer must be linked to the observed.
· The subjective world “in here” must conform to the processes governing the objective world “out there.”
· The existence of advanced intelligence, creativity, and discoveries displayed by Homo sapiens needs a valid source.
· A link must be forged between living and non-living things.
This sounds like a tall order, but each of us is already living the cosmic master equation. Our thoughts and feelings are instantly reflected in bodily processes, effectively linking mind and matter. We can see a tree “out there” in a field or “in here” as a mental image, which merges observer and observed. We didn’t have to invent the highest attributes of human consciousness — love, compassion insight, intuition, curiosity, creativity, intelligence, and spiritual experience — but can access them spontaneously, which implies that these traits exist as aspects of cosmic evolution. We shed dead cells through the spontaneous replenishment of living cells, indicating that Nature ignores the boundary between living and non-living things.
In the end, the “missing law” is the opening edge of the wedge. The wedge is a paradigm shift that puts wholeness, unity, and non-separation first and foremost, theorizing the harmonious interaction of every level of Nature. This is a case where theory has been lagging behind reality for millennia. Without cosmic evolution, there would be no scientists to come along and discover it.
DEEPAK CHOPRA MD, FACP, FRCP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 91st book, Total Meditation: Practices in Living the Awakened Life explores and reinterprets the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual benefits that the practice of meditation can bring. Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution for the last thirty years. His latest book, Living in the Light co-authored with Sarah Platt-Finger. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com