Saturday, November 21, 2009

(3) Modern Comparisons

I even discovered some earlier material written by the late
Jonas Salk that I felt might also relate to Teilhard's earlier thought.

Salk was a medical biologist remembered especially for his
development of a polio vaccine. He was also the founder of and
directed the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (in La Jolla,
California) until his death.

As one of the world's pre-eminent biologists, Salk deeply
considered the emergence of Mind in terms of cosmic evolution.
And, for him the mind is part and parcel with the brain and is a
natural outcome of our biological development.

He believes that evolution sparked by our internal environment
brought forth the development of human intelligence. It brought
forth the qualities of not only intelligence, but imagination and
ingenuity as well.

Now that "contemplation, abstract thought, science and technology"
have finally appeared in man--Salk asks: then what is the nature
and meaning of these abilities?

For Salk ideas lead to new, unpredictable experiences--
and ideas possess a characteristic as tangible as material
substances. "Ideas evolve just as do living things." In their way
ideas are a kind of evolutionary feedback system, cycling from
the evolutionary process and in turn prompting further, higher
evolutionary jumps.

Salk stresses that by employing our mind both individuals and
society must share in the "talents and orientations which give
purpose or evolutionary direction to man, leading to still newer
and higher purposes. By becoming more aware of how value
judgments operate, are motivated, we can in a sense begin to
exercise a determined course over our own individual
development--and we could do the same at the societal level.

Salk believes that we need to come to understand evolution
better--both cosmic and biological. We need to come to under-
stand better the natural "arrangements" exhibited in living systems.

So--though Salk does *not* bring a divinity or even a cosmic
plenum into his thinking, he does focus on evolution and how
Mind has finally emerged into a fairly recognizable Noosphere--
albeit fairly new born, if you will.

What fascinated me was that Salk definitely brought-up the
need for personal and societal *responsibility* when it came to
our evolutionary development. Like David Bohm, Salk believes
that we are dealing with an evolutionary feedback system that
is connected with "ideas." It's just that Salk leaves it at that,
never referring to a Plenum or Implicate Order, much less a
Within vis-a-vis a Without. Still he conveys that evolutionary
sense that far earlier had "set off" Teilhard on his journey.