‘What and Where are we?’: The evolution of Life and the birth of Conscience.



There is a great conflict running inside me nowadays. About what and where am I? About what and where are we? Not just as people and humanity but by realizing the fact that how lucky we are to be the only species of living things who can think of asking the question about their own intelligence and existence. Many atheists and dissent anatomists would answer my question by pointing out the work of the great scientist Charles Darwin’s Origin of the species in which he states that ‘populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. Individuals less suited to the environment are less likely to survive and less likely to reproduce; individuals more suited to the environment are more likely to survive and more likely to reproduce and leave their inheritable traits to future generations, which produces the process of natural selection.’ Darwin’s main philosophy towards the evolution of life is that everything in this world is Co dependent on each other and that is how the process of natural cycle goes on by the law of survival of the fittest and everything that there is, is a part of nature. He gave us his theory of the origin of Species based on the evidence he gathered while he was on his famous ‘Beagle Expedition’ the 1830’s.  And when a theory is based on evidence and proof it leaves no room for anything supernatural or anything, which is beyond our understanding.

This is where my dilemma starts, because if I was to believe in what the origin of Species states then a couple of doubts arise in my mind. That if everything in this nature is Co dependent on each other and if this has been going on since the inception of life and will go on till the end, then how is it that we humans evolved and are constantly evolving? How is it that we developed culture? How did we become different from the early man? How is that all the other animals still live the same kind of life since their inception? How is it that we became the most powerful species in Mother Nature? Though true till a point, I believe Darwin’s theory is yet incomplete. We humans evolved and became the most powerful species in the nature because of something supernatural, something so complex that is beyond our understanding. And by supernatural I don’t mean the idol Gods of different religions that we workship everyday. Let’s go beyond that, the answer is simple and lies within us. The supernatural thing, which I am talking about, is CONCIENSE (Vivek – in Hindi), which is our unique ability to distinguish between right and wrong, to do or not to do. From where did this complex quality come into our mind? Let’s consider, If we see a big dog trying to hunt a kitten on a street and stop it from killing the poor little thing are we not displaying our unique quality of selflessly helping the helpless and in turn defying nature’s law of survival of the strong?

This is where Hinduism comes in and the atheists lose interest; which is unfortunate because Hinduism was never a religion, it was a way to live life, Dharma. And all the scriptures, which are a part of Hinduism, try to explain us the way to live life and through which we evolve.  Before I dig deeper into what Hinduism ultimately states, there is a very interesting story in the Ramayana, which I read. Nature taking the form of Shakti comes to Shiva to talk about the way of life and Lord Shiva says that Tapasya is the way of Jungle where there is fortune to brute force and the fittest survive, Yagna becomes culture where Humanity thrives. Tapasya is a man’s solitude; Yagna is a man’s household. ‘Indeed, Tapasya is like the shaft of the bow. Yagna is like the string of the bow. Individually they do not create the bow. To create the bow, the shaft has to bend and the string has to become taut. Too loose, the bow is useless. Too tight, the bow will break.’

This was indeed a way to live life. The proper life. The life, in which we evolve and get the quality to judge right from wrong. When one has boiled down Hinduism to its purest level, beyond all the millions of Gods and stories and legends he realizes that Hinduism states only one thing, ‘Knowledge is God’ seek and you shall find it. I believe there is something beyond Mother Nature’s law of survival of the fittest. A super law. And that is Conscience. Something, which I can’t define yet, only state that it is the preliminary part of Knowledge, which resides in our minds. Which reminds me of something interesting my dad said when I asked him about it, that Mind is the actor and Conscience is the director. But the director can’t put his vision or thoughts into action without the actor.

Now I come onto the second issue of my mine, which is not very difficult and long to explain.  Of, where are we today? We humans today live in a society bound by a system, which makes us oblivious to the real happiness of life. We are so entangled and desperate to fulfill the petty and insignificant satisfactions, which are put forth by this society that we forget how to live life. Momentary satisfactions and our struggle for fulfillment of these petty dreams rots away the very foundation of true culture. I would like to state the philosophy of the great 19th century writer Leo Tolstoy, who for me is the greatest author ever to be born on this planet and has written the greatest epic War and Peace. So what Tolstoy tries to say is ‘that there is MINIMUM of free choice; but that people cannot live unless they IMAGINE that they have free will’. Now that is tons and tons of wisdom passed into one sentence and once you think on it deeply it will shatter your perception of society. I just wish we could break these chains of society in which we are bound and could seek the Conscience and Knowledge, which is the ultimate truth. It is very simple to tell this but enormously difficult to even begin with. Anyway, I just think that this quest to find the ORIGIN OF THE CONSCIENCE can be the greatest adventure to live for.


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