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Spiritual evolution is a philosophical and esoteric idea that biological evolution is driven by spiritual or metaphysical forces. The view is found in many occult and new age writings. On a positive note, at least supporters don't reject evolution or the age of the Earth.
There have been numerous writers who have written that evolution operates not only on a physical but also a spiritual level, they usually describe evolution as a "directed process" and that nature has purposiveness. Those who advocate spiritual evolution are not always theistic as some do not postulate that a deity is the prime mover of the evolutionary process. Instead those who advocate spiritual evolution usually speak of "forces" or "purposes" directing the evolutionary process or working the ongoing processes of the universe.
“”For many men the abolition of that teleological kind of evolution was the most significant and least palatable of Darwin's suggestions. The Origin of Species recognized no goal set either by God or nature... The belief that natural selection, resulting from mere competition between organisms for survival, could have produced man together with the higher animals and plants was the most difficult and disturbing aspect of Darwin's theory.
“”Wallace and Mr. Mivart... are as stout believers in evolution as Mr. Darwin himself; but Mr. Wallace denies that man can have been evolved from a lower animal by that process of natural selection which he, with Mr. Darwin, holds to have been sufficient for the evolution of all animals below man; while Mr. Mivart, admitting that natural selection has been one of the conditions of the evolution of the animals below man, maintains that natural selection must, even in their case, have been supplemented by "some other cause"–of the nature of which, unfortunately, he does not give us any idea. Thus Mr. Mivart is less of a Darwinian than Mr. Wallace, for he has less faith in the power of natural selection. But he is more of an evolutionist than Mr. Wallace, because Mr. Wallace thinks it necessary to call in an intelligent agent–a sort of supernatural Sir John Sebright–to produce even the animal frame of man; while Mr. Mivart requires no Divine assistance till he comes to man's soul.
Later writers such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (The Phenomenon of Man, 1955) and Sri Aurobindo (The Life Divine, 1977) describe evolution as progression from inanimate matter to a future state of Divine consciousness. Teilhard de Chardin refers to this as the Omega Point, and Sri Aurobindo as the Supermind.
Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891), the founder of modern Theosophy; Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), the founder of Anthroposophy; George Gurdjieff (1872-1949), the founder of the Fourth Way and Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnosis movement, were deeply involved in the study, teachings of the occult. Their works borrowed ideas from Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Hinduism, Kabbalah, Neoplatonism and Mysticism and attempted to merge their ideas into the sciences. Most of these occult writers advocated the view that evolution is driven by purposive spiritual forces and rejected the Darwinian view of evolution which they equated with materialism.
The idea that an immaterial force is guiding evolution is a metaphysical viewpoint has been reviewed as pseudoscience by the scientific community, though many new age publications claim otherwise.
- Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Second Edition, 1962,1970).
- Mr Darwin's Critics by Thomas Henry Huxley
- Carl Johan Calleman The Purposeful Universe: How Quantum Theory and Mayan Cosmology Explain the Origin and Evolution of Life Bear & Company, 2009 ISBN 1591431042
- Ole Therkelsen Martinus, Darwin and Intelligent Design: A New Theory of Evolution Världsbild Förlag, 2010 ISBN 9185132853
- David Wilcock The Source Field Investigations: The Hidden Science and Lost Civilizations Behind the 2012 Prophecies Dutton Adult; 1st Edition edition, 2011 ISBN 0525952047
- The Ultimate Evolutionist Model: Evolution by Purposive "Forces" by Ellen Myers