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Monday, 25 August 2014

"Conscious Evolution" and Missionary Zeal

Okay, perhaps allowing myself to be a little too contemptuous of, or at least annoyed by jargon, but I think I have a legitimate beef - I think too often neologisms or phrases are a deliberate attempt at obfuscation.
If what you think is controversial, or arguable, or dissenting, or flat wrong in the minds of those with whom you are pretending to be in solidarity and communion -- say it in a way that incomprehensible, or even essentially meaningless in context, giving you plausible deniability when you are called out on your agenda.
(I have discovered, for instance, that if at the beginning of a conversation you seize the buzz-word "uplifting" and describe, say, Gregorian chant thusly, proponents of sacchro/sacro-pop are pretty much incapable of making any claims for the aptness of praise music for liturgical use other than that people "like" it. "Luminous" and "vibrant" are similarly misused all the time.)

RelEd is tailor made for such shenanigans, comprising as it does the twin fields of Faith and Education, both of which have fallen on hard times in the common sense department.

Anyway with all the nattering about the LCWR, or whatever order those letters go in, of late, one reads; and I must admit, the great bugbear of "conscious evolution" seems to me a defensible concept - depending on how slippery its meaning is allowed to be.
It seems to me, as a spiritual concept, it ought to mean something closer to intentional metanoia, (see? I'm good at jargon!) a deliberate and if need be arduous conversion.
Evolution, after all, means little more than change, hopefully for the better.

But then its champions start babbling.
 Cardinal [Muller's]  words... [offer] an opportunity to say a few words about conscious evolution and, more broadly, the mutual engagement of science and religion.
The term “conscious evolution” was not coined by Barbara Marx Hubbard, although she has made significant contributions in understanding the implications of conscious evolution for our age. The term itself emerges from the sciences of evolutionary biology, quantum physics and cognitive neuroscience, among others. The term does not belong to science per se but is descriptive of our species, Homo sapien sapien: evolution brought to self-reflective awareness. To use the words of the renowned Jesuit Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are the universe become conscious of itself.”
Seriously,  I know you were a great and wise soul, but we are NOT the universe, conscious, comatose or otherwise.
We're just not.
We're a pretty tiny part of it, actually. (Ya know, you'd think those who often seem more involved with saving the planet than saving souls, saving natural resources than saving unborn lives, would bristle at  hinting at such human exceptionalism, but there you have it.)
And then, this.
 We are the ones “who know that we know” (Homo sapien sapiens); hence it is important to reflect on our choices and decisions for the future. Conscious evolution refers to the idea, expressed by Teilhard, that we humans are the arrow of evolution, the crest of the ongoing evolution of the universe. We are co-creators of an unfinished evolutionary process toward more being.
What the hellenism does "more being" mean in this context?
Co-creator? Okay, cooperators with the Creator...
Unfinished evolutionary process?
All right,  every day, in every way, we're getting better and better -- as we journey toward the Kingdom and our final destination.

But "toward more being"?
What is that supposed to mean?
Greater actualization of potential?
But it could mean anything, and therefore means nothing.

I know Teilhard de Chardin contrasts it, ("plus-etre") with "well-being" and perhaps in French but really..... cant and gibberish.

In fact, I think it is dangerous to use such a phrase alongside the word "evolution" in discussion of spiritual growth, since in the paradigm of evolution of species, yeah, the objective is more- rather than well- being, nature does not care about our happiness or goodness or comfort or beauty or Godliness - the objective of all things in nature is simply to reproduce as proliferately, (profligately?) as possible, to broadcast their genetic material, to blanket the universe with their  DNA, to spread seed -- with an utter disregard for any other creature's existence except as it can be exploited to ones own advantage.

So basically, with Conscious Evolution we could be talking either ecological hegemony, (which seems at odds with the tree-hugger reputation of most of its adherents,)  or, if we mean spiritual evolution, such zealous and triumphant proselytization that it leads to universal conversion, which again, seems to be against the spirit of ecumenism as understood b those seem adherents.

Um... Catholic.

Hmmm.... maybe they are on to something.

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