Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
I maintain that we are born and grow up with a fondness for each other, and that we have genes for that. We can be talked out of that fondness, for the genetic message is like a distant music, and some of us are hard-of-hearing. Societies are noisy affairs, drowning out the sound of ourselves and our connection. Hard-of-hearing, we go to war. Stone deaf, we make thermonuclear missiles. Nonetheless, the music is there, waiting for more listeners.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this view of the world, which is becoming more and more prominent among a growing group of biological and genetic scientists.
Cooperation, not competition, may be the true reason why life abounds in such a vast network of symbiosis, of working together for the life-sustaining mutual benefit of all.
On the Sufi path, as on every mystical path, this has long been taken for granted, as a gift of God’s grace to His creation. Indeed, the biological evolution of humanity and its spiritual evolution, as the Sufi Master noted in the novel Master of the Jinn, are like two inextricable strands of the same rope. It is now more and more evident that they are bound together even on the genetic level.
Every mother knows this bonding energy; every father knows this protective instinct. It is this natural instinct to love that is at the core of this new concept of evolution, the origin of the spiritual species. I suspect that it may even be the case that spirituality itself is also biological in essence, for what is evolution but a quest to reach higher than our grasp, the genetic drive to better ourselves as individuals and as a species.
“To love thy neighbor as thyself,” and its corollaries of kindness, generosity, mercy and compassion, are then not only noble attributes, but a sign of the biological evolution of humanity’s consciousness. We are very slowly but constantly growing away from our war-like and destructive primitive origins; It may take another fifty thousand years of doing good and being good, of being kind and civil to each other (which is the true meaning of civilization), but each conscious act of compassion is a step on that path of physical and spiritual evolution toward the Source of all Goodness.
We evolve in love towards God!