“The consciousness of each of us is evolution looking at itself and reflecting upon itself… Man is not the center of the universe as once we thought in our simplicity, but something much more wonderful, the arrow pointing the way to the final unification of the world in terms of life.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Just as we can never imagine exactly what the view will be like atop an unknown peak, we can only speculate about how understanding our universe as part of a multiverse would transform us.
Nevertheless, we can still make informed guesses based on what we do know, just as it’s possible to imagine what the landscape would look like from a summit you haven’t yet visited.
If we look back at the history of evolution (at least in our little corner of the galaxy), we can observe an arc of development toward increasingly complexity and awareness. Despite ‘setbacks’ like the five mass extinctions that have occurred on our planet, the general trend for the material world over the last 4.5 billion years has been for it to become more and more aware of itself.
When atoms first began to organize themselves into primitive living molecules, this was a watershed moment in the history of our planet.
The hydrogen, carbon, and iron atoms that composed our planet somehow organized themselves into a living form. The potential of life in those atoms was present before, but hadn’t yet been fully expressed.
Like a fragile bud waiting for the spring sun, life was biding its time, waiting for the right conditions to emerge.
Out of those early pioneers, some stumbled upon the ability to replicate themselves. They began to organize themselves into more and more complex cells, which joined together to form organisms that could see, feel, and move their way through the environment. Some of those animals were quite intelligent and could manipulate their surroundings. But it’s only now, in the human form, that the organic molecules found throughout the cosmos have found a way to become aware of themselves.
When given enough time and space to do their thing, you are the dance that atoms spontaneously perform.
Many religions have taught that humanity is evolution’s end product. But looking back at this march toward greater complexity over the last 4.5 billion years, if would be an awful lot of trouble to end with an animal intelligent enough to invent atomic bombs, but immature enough to use it to harm others who are superficially different. I don’t know about you, but I’d feel kind of ripped off if we were the point final.
The question naturally becomes: if we are, as Teilhard and Aurobindo taught, a transitional species who can assist evolution in its push toward greater complexity and awareness, then what potential is waiting to emerge out of us?
We might be able to catch a glimpse of what the future evolution could involve if we look at people who embodied qualities like love, compassion, patience, and generosity. Perhaps figures like Jesus and Buddha are like the first fish that survived on land: forerunners of the future, exemplifying what the rest of us might become. Regardless of background, culture, or geography, we all have the capacity to transform ourselves into beings of light, love, and care for all, which to me seems like a qualitative step up from the enslavement to instinct we find throughout the animal kingdom.
A few individuals have blazed the trail toward awakened awareness, issuing descriptions of the fantastic view from atop this mountain, giving us directions for how to reach it ourselves. But for some reason, most of us are still wallowing in the valleys, content to live in the shadow of what we could become. Awareness of who we truly are is so tantalizingly close that wecome in contact with it from time to time. The question is how to integrate peak experiences into a consistent state of being.
The more of us who walk that path and live out the Truth, the easier it becomes for others to find. And the more people that walk up that mountain, the more we begin to catch an inkling of what Teilhard called the “Omega Point”: the point toward which Being is evolving, one where the universe reaches maximum complexity.
This is a pretty big idea, and thinking about it has lead me through some wacky crazy directions.
For instance, when I first heard about the “Omega Point,” my instinct was to think that, given the sheer scale of this universe and the possible scales involved in parallel universes, it must have been reached. It would be perfectly possible to think that in another part of our universe, or in another ‘bubble’ in the multiverse, there is an entire realm of beings who are arriving at the Omega Point, completing their evolutionary journey, becoming Self-aware in this very moment.
And in a completely different universe, other beings are experiencing that now.
Since there would be no limits to the numbers of universes within the multiverse, who’s to say that this isn’t happening every single second?
Thinking about this stretches my mind to its limits. But what’s becoming more and more clear to me is that stretching the mind to its limits is only useful to the extent that it can snap me back into awareness of the marvel of what is right in front of me right here, right now.
The mind has a seemingly limitless capacity to project its longings and unrealized hopes into celestial realms of perfection. If we’re not careful, thinking about the Omega Point leads us down the same road as all the past religious promises of heaven and paradise. It would be just a more modern way of getting us to put all our attention toward an unreachable future in a far off location, overlooking and denigrating the present moment in favor of a fabled land of liberation. It would be another example of our tendency to postpone enlightenment, thinking of it as a far off occurrence that we couldn’t possibly be around to see.
Any moment we’re released from delusion and ignorance into the infinity of what we already are, we have reached the Omega Point. The potential is within us now and every moment.
This is not as complicated or metaphysical as it might sound. Any time you express who you truly are, any time you put yourself in line with the explosion of creativitity all around you, any time you are touched by the magic and mystery of the life you’re already participating in here and now, the Omega Point has manifested through you.
The potential is open and self-evident to everyone in every moment. Just as many paths lead up a single mountain, there are any number of ways that will lead you back to the place you never left.
To reach the ground beneath your feet, you can devote yourself to serving others, sing out with praise of the divine, or lose yourself in love of a partner, parent, or child.
Or, on a cloudless night looking up at the heavens, you might think about all the other beings inhabiting the countless galaxies and universe out there. And that might be enough to shock you into the fact that simply to be aware of this possibility is the most profound and curious fact of all.
And like standing atop a peak where a distant landscape comes into view, this awareness of the miracle of the mundane transforms the way you see the rest of your life.