Ms. Carroll is a freelance writer who enjoys writing poetry, flash fiction and non-fiction on a myriad of topics.
What The Devil is Devolution?
It sounds devilish, doesn't it? Devolution! It is not meant to be evil, indecent, or immoral though it can be interpreted that way. The word has at least three meanings: one political; one scientific; and one existentially debatable.
In political terms, devolution means decentralization of government. The scientific meaning is spurious. Science contends it does not exist because it is crassly defined as "backwards evolution" toward our former primitive life. The debatable meaning is derived from disagreement between scientists and creationists. The pendulum is still swinging.
Science Versus Creation's Curse
Biologists claim that even small reversals in nature, whether by selection or happenstance, are merely synonymous with evolution marching onward. Darwin and Dawkins would probably agree. How this is reconciled with the second law of thermodynamics is unclear. Perhaps it is because there is no perfect order of reversal to be found, or because new systems are constantly organizing and growing. But the more energy is transferred, the more energy is wasted. It is normal for a structure to degenerate into a more disordered state. Helena Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy, even believed that apes devolved from humans. That's not hard to imagine when, as Blavatsky suggested, people demonstrate devolution by "putting themselves on the animal level."
Merriam-Webster sees more in the meaning of devolution. It is not death though it can be more primitive than life in its present status. It is a slow degradation into a lesser state than our current state of being. It is atrophy, entropy, decay, dissolution or dissipation. To extrapolate, it is the slow death of a tree from the inside-out. It is the slow erosion of stone caused by the elements. It is the missing ozone and the droves of species disappearing from our planet because they cannot protect themselves from environmental change and exploitation. Devolution can even be the heart that cannot heal; the mind that cannot find fault with itself. It is the inability of humans to stop aging which ultimately results in death. Creationists refer to this journey as "creation's curse." A plant geneticist and researcher with Cornell University, John Sanford, claims that the biological genome (DNA) is mutating poorly, and for this reason, Darwinian theory on evolution is impossible.
Whether scientists and creationists agree on all points of thermodynamics or not, elements of nature do 'devolve.' Human flesh devolves and human minds can likewise devolve. Forces in nature cause decay, erosion, and even total destruction. Just as the natural world has evolved with us in it, we devolve from the natural world. No matter which side of the debate we choose, we cannot separate devolution from science no more than we can ignore its multiple meanings. Boston University goes so far as to say the second law of thermodynamics predicts the end of the universe, where in a sort of heat bath, everything becomes the same temperature leaving atoms and molecules to dance as they randomly danced before creation.
Devolution Matters, Why?
Devolution matters to nature and men because both seek to preserve themselves. As strange as it may sound, devolution also matters to the heart. To feelings. Feelings change and the heart changes with them. Since the heart is not an inexhaustible energy source, it too, devolves.
It is proven that the human heart is negatively impacted by poor diet, trauma, or electrical interferences that disrupt its perfect rhythm. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy source for the heart, fuels up to 70% of human heart function including contraction of the heart muscle itself. ATP becomes inefficient as we age forcing other metabolic processes to step in and help slow death.
HeartMath Institute cites the heart as "the most powerful source of electromagnetic energy in the human body." It is not matter controlled, but energy dependent. It produces an electromagnetic field 60 times greater in scope than the brain, so much so that it can be detected anywhere on the body's surface and up to 3 feet away (using SQUID-based magnetometers or manual energy techniques).
The heart is also RADICALLY impacted by grief. Moments of growth and positivity lend themselves to life in living color, while moments of pain and negativity fuel a monochromatic decay. When the heart grieves, color stops. These monochromatic challenges to the heart remind us that to survive is to see again, feel again. These moments should force us to notice that our similarities are far more profound than our differences, but they do not. Hence, all grief aside, our hearts devolve.
Our Heart Is Our Purpose
Reinhard Friedl, an eminent German surgeon who has operated on thousands of hearts (and their stories), tells us that how we "perceive the world, friendly or hostile, depends on the pump and pressure functions of our heart and its signals to the brain." Friedl points out, "for this reason it is important to be balanced in the heart and to feel one’s voice. In a twist on the old saying: Man proposes, but the heart disposes."
Nature agrees. Stalactites form like icicles on a hardened heart. Stalagmites, in turn, rise from the floor like statuettes to greet them, offering warmth and solace. In the perfect emptiness of earth's darkest cavity, there are beautiful calcite crystals seeking not light, but stalactites! It takes one thousand years for either of these crystal beauties to grow a single cubic inch. Among these recesses are rarities of nature which men exploit while fiercely seeking meaning - to find none still.
Few realize that the true purpose of the human heart is merely to touch and to be touched by others. Aristotle said, "Nature abhors a vacuum." So does the human heart.
If every gap in the genome of humanity was filled, would devolution still be plausible? Would species forever exist? Instead, disease continues to taunt and serve as mortal menace. Coral reefs expel the symbiotic algae of their own tissue, turning their forced extinction into a graceful azoic light favoring the very bones of the men that bleached them.
Why, what man cannot extract from nature, they filch and plunder like loot? Why, what men cannot wholly gather from the human heart, they sieve or winnow like it is matter and not energy?
"Coral reefs expel the symbiotic algae of their own tissue, turning their forced extinction into a graceful azoic light favoring the very bones of the men that bleached them."
— Vicki Carroll
Not Broken But Made Whole
Devolution is the fracture of all things known and remembered; the fault-line of disrespected natural resources. To evolve is a splitting away of the dignity, greed, and selfish ego that distracts us from what is meant to be important — compassion, understanding, truth, compromise. Devolution saves us in the end, by making us finally approachable — yet filled with shame.
The spirit withers not when men reach for the sun with a healing, hopeful heart despite their crippled hands. In our greatest moments of triumph, we are made whole despite once being broken by defeat. We are ardent in our clamor for beauty, peace, and freedom. We rejoice at the prospect of victory and yet we marvel at the miracles of love and belief with a separate and disparate belief.
Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins said, "Wisdom is early to despair." True, but hope is last to give up. The grateful heart clings to hope like an innocent child clings to the ramshackle rope of a weathered tree swing. We intuitively know our life depends on BOTH wisdom AND despair.
For every portrait of wisdom, there is the prior reflection of a fool! Doubt not and learn not. Chance not and love not. Live not and die, or life was just phantasma.
Humanity is but a spiral meditation of substance and belief, OR, one of fantasy and disbelief. When the heart's energy becomes too abstract or painful to comprehend, we bend truth until color fades to monochrome. When we cannot recapture or grow beyond what is lost, we devolve. We should seek not to rebound but to regain, and realize when we cannot regain, our body degenerates into dependence on others or worse. The mind wanders while the body frails and our spirit departs for another dimension.
The first law of dynamics states that energy can be neither created or destroyed. That means the total quantity of energy in the universe remains equal (making conservation necessary). Question creation nor destruction. Question not devolution or death.
Question instead ...
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE HEART?