The goal of evolution, as portrayed for thousands of years before Darwin, has always been to journey through endless reincarnations until union with the Universal Mind, or All, has once again been achieved. Barbara Brown of UCLA Medical center declares that we are “evolving to a higher level of mind…[called] supermind.” At Esalen, the New Age center in the Big Sur area south of San Francisco where the Human Potential movement began, Michael Murphy and George Leonard offered a seminar on “The Evolution of Consciousness,” which suggested that “a transformation of human consciousness as momentous as the emergence of civilization is underway.” Darwin also recognized the spiritual implications of his theory. In The Descent of Man he wrote:
“Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen…to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there, may give him hopes for a still higher destiny in the distant future.”
Whether Darwin fully realized it or not, the mystical goal of the theory of evolution he championed had always been to become “God.” In The Atman Project, Ken Wilbur lays it out clearly: “If men and women have ultimately come up from amoebas, then they are ultimately on their way towards God.”
In Up from Eden Wilbur identifies this belief in man’s ascension to godhood as the heart of what has bee “known as the ‘perennial philosophy’…the esoteric core of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism….” As Jon Klimo in his book Channeling summarizes it, the “truth of truths” of the channeled material is “that we are God” and only need to “realize” it. So the serpent’s lie to Eve continues to dominate the ambitions of modern man, and evolution is his hope that the lie will one day be realized.
Evolution plays a key role in the occult. Theodore Roszak pointed out that mysticism is “the parent stock from which the theory of biological evolution springs.” Anthropologist Michael Harner reminds us that “millennia before Charles Darwin, people in shamanic cultures were convinced that humans and animals were related.” Evolution, as the core belief of Hinduism and witchcraft, is at least as old as the theories of reincarnation and karma, in which it is a key element.