This week’s post is the eighth of a monthly series of open-discussion posts focusing on books I’ve written. Our theme for the present is Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth, and this week we’re discussing “The Seventh Law: The Law of Evolution” (pp.72-84). I’d like to ask readers to keep their questions and comments focused on that chapter and the ideas it contains; we’ll have another Ask Me Anything post later this month, and of course a substantive monthly post or two in due time.
In place of an outline, here’s the Seventh Law, as it appears in the book:
Everything that exists comes into being by a process of evolution. That process starts with adaptation to changing conditions and ends by establishing a steady state in balance with its surroundings, following a threefold rhythm of challenge, response, and reintegration. Evolution is gradual rather than sudden, and it works by increasing diversity and accumulating possibilities, rather than following a predetermined line of development.
The rest of this section of the book expands on the concept this definition sketches out. It’s not an easy concept for a lot of people these days; it’s become standard practice to confuse evolution with progress, and to assume that progress amounts to identifying whatever we’ve already done to extremes and then taking it to the point of absurdity. For that matter, the thought that evolution might not have a direction — that we may not be caught up in a lockstep (or goose-step) march toward some predetermined future, either glorious or ghoulish, but rather might be moving outwards toward no particular destination at all — terrifies a great many people, since it relates to one of the things most people love to praise and can’t bear to practice—that is, freedom.
Questions? Comments? Discussions? Have at it—subject, of course, to the usual rules.
In other news, I’m delighted to announce that my annotated translation of Giordano Bruno’s On the Shadows of the Ideas—the most important work on the Art of Memory by that art’s greatest Renaissance practitioner—is now available from Miskatonic Books in a gorgeous, heavily illustrated hardcover edition. Check it out.