Evolution is a form of change

Evolution suggests many things to many people, more than Charles Darwin anticipated. One way to look at evolution is that it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, and has no purpose in view. Aristotle believed that nature never makes anything that is superfluous. Sri Aurobindo believed that a conscious power draws the plan of life, and there is meaning in each curve and line. Darwin’s theory lays stress on competition. It suggests that the surviving organisms are superior to those that have gone extinct. Can this be said of elapsed time? One biologist said, “It’s not a question of being ‘better than’; it’s simply a matter of finding a place where you can be yourself. That’s what evolution is about. It’s not going anywhere; it’s simply exploring a space of possibilities.” If the ‘fittest’ can mean aggressive, violent, and most selfish, it can also mean the most loving, the best camouflaged, and the least selfish. A new understanding of evolution recognises the vital importance of cooperation in the evolutionary process. It is now believed that life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking. It is the ecosystem that has to evolve. It simply means, if you want to succeed, others must succeed as well. Change is to understand the intricacies of changes, especially the insignificance of individuals against the great flow of life.

We all like to tell our stories. Our stories, however simple, are, after all, our stories. We own them. We like to share our sorrows and tragedies. We all suffer from our ‘memory sins’. The more fabricated our memories become, the more trustworthy they seem to us. We want to retain some and get rid of others. Memory failure is like breathing failure; we don’t notice it until it fails. We often forget what happened yesterday but can recall the exact details of what happened 50 years ago. It is said, “We all possess photographic memory; in some, however, the film is missing”. Sometimes, our forgetfulness is deliberate. We often ‘edit’ or ‘rewrite’ our memory, unknowingly or unconsciously. Our memories are a collage of the old and the new. Our memories are fragile. The only way to freeze a memory is to put it in a story.

A graceful exit is as essential as graceful entry was. Graceful exit means “leaving what’s over without denying its value.” It is said that hope and fear can’t occupy the same space but the fact is that they do. It is also said, where there is no hope, there is no fear.