The Preceding Stage of Evolution Includes Indications of the Subsequent Stages to Be Manifested

While we may observe qualitative and quantitative differences between material substances, plants, animals and man in terms of their manifestations of conscious awareness and responsiveness, it must be noted that close examination has shown that the elements of the next stage of the evolution of consciousness are present, albeit in a reduced form of overt expression, in the preceding stage.  Thus, scientific experimentation has shown that metals respond similar to human muscles when put under stress, exhibiting fatigue and recovery; and that plants show traits of perception and responsiveness that mimic later overt developments seen in the animal kingdom.

The groundbreaking work of Jagdish Chandra Bose of India included many hundreds of experiments which he documented in his published works Plant Response as a Means of Physiological Investigation and his Comparative Electro-Physiology and his later works The Physiology of Photosynthesis, Plant Autographs and Their Revelations, Motor Mechanisms of Plants,  and The Nervous Mechanism of Plants.. While initially rejected by the scientists of his day due to the unprecedented results he catalogued, he was vindicated when eventual further research proved out his conclusions and his work was shown to be well ahead of his time.    He concluded “In my investigations on the action of forces on matter, I was amazed to find boundary lines vanishing and to discover points of contact emerging between the Living and the non-Living. … Is there any possible relation between our own life and that of the plant world?  The question is not one of speculation but of actual demonstration by some method that is unimpeachable.”

An enormous amount of material, including a recap of Bose’ findings, showing the existence of nervous reactions of plants, and what appear to be the expression of rudimentary emotions in plants, has been collected by Tompkins and Bird in their book The Secret Life of Plants.

If, as Sri Aurobindo notes, consciousness is involved in Matter and from there evolves out, developing appropriate physical forms to house the higher ranges of consciousness, we would expect to see just such results as Bose and others have demonstrated.

Sri Aurobindo writes in The Life Divine:  “Already, in what seems to be inconscient in Life, the signs of sensation coming towards the surface are visible; in moving and breathing Life the emergence of sensitive Mind is apparent and the preparation of thinking Mind is not entirely hidden, while in thinking Mind, when it develops, there appear at an early stage the rudimentary strivings and afterwards the more developed seekings of a spiritual consciousness.  As plant life contains in itself the obscure possibility of the conscious animal, as the animal mind is astir with the movements of feeling and perception and the rudiments of conception that are the first ground for man the thinker, so man the mental being is sublimated by the endeavour of the evolutionary Energy to develop out of him the spiritual man, the fully conscious being, man exceeding his first material self and discoverer of his true self and highest nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Two, The Place of Man in Evolution, pp. 5-13

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