Evolution's End: Claiming the Potential of Our Intelligence

Evolution's End: Claiming the Potential of Our Intelligence

by Joseph Chilton Pearce
Harper San Francisco, 1992; hardcover.

In the introduction to Evolution's End, Joseph Chilton Pearce states that his real thesis is the magnificent open-ended possibility of our higher structures of brain/mind, the nature of our unfolding, and what we can do about it. Primarily, Pearce is concerned with how humanity can improve its evolutionary process, particularly by changing our approach to child development. Actually, he finds very little in this area that does not need alteration, frequently through a return to former practices in childbirth and child rearing.

This book is a sequel to The Crack in the Cosmic Egg (1971), one of three previously published works.Pearce lectures internationally on intelligence, creativity, and learning.

Pearce defines what he terms the "cerebral universe" as shared by all, and contends that personal experience is formed by the individual brain/mind as it translates from the universal field. He perceives the evolutionary process as developing from infancy and holding potential of awesome proportion and scope, unless it is led astray and thus ceases prematurely. Unfortunately, Pearce believes, common practices with children before the age of fifteen are inhibiting the process.

In his view, the heart of the individual plays a role in the evolutionary process, with an intelligence that should ideally unfold at adolescence and that can move us away from destructiveness. This process is global as well as personal. Pearce frequently comments on his own practice of meditation and his meditation teacher, who has told him that "only the heart can develop intellect that lies outside and beyond brain systems."

Pearce proposes that the neural fields (linked neurons) of our brain are "the median between the wave-field and particle displayed." Mind and matter are two aspects of one whole, as postulated by the physicist David Bohm (to whom Pearce dedicated this book), and the particle displayed is as we see it. Quoting the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Ilya Prigogine; the author points out that whatever we call reality is actually what is revealed to us, and that it all derives from the "cosmic soup" of physical, emotional, and intellectual experience.

The triune brain is described as evolutionary, beginning with the reptilian or R-system (or core brain), then evolving to the old mammalian or limbic system, and eventually to the new mammalian or human brain. The author relates these to the three orders of energy described by Bohm (the implicate order, the supra-implicate order, and the explicate order). Pearce refers frequently to Eastern thought and shows parallels with scientific understanding. Also, he compares Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields to Vedic Samskara and finds both demonstrating stabilization of the field effect.

Central to Pearce's argument is his contention that a failure to establish the "infant-mother heart bond " can lead to loss of intelligence, love, care, and nurturing leaving the individual in "a gross defensive reptilian world," the lowest level of development. Mother-child bonding is interfered with, according to Pearce, by five practices commonly encountered today: hospital childbirth, day care, television, premature formal education, and synthetic growth hormones in various foods. These practices represent "the disaster of the twentieth century" by interfering with the culmination of three billion years of evolution, and this can lead to evolution's end, according to Pearce. Procedures that are widely considered modern enlightened practices are actually a "most destructive force" contributing to suicides, drug abuse, and family breakups.

Pearce also expresses concern for nourishing the child’s intuition and imagination through storytelling, family play, and conversation (rather than television). These are the foundations of the child's creative intelligence, and all of these together should lead to "great expectations" during the child's adolescent years. But Pearce warns that development after the age of fifteen depends upon the earlier years during which the ego-self forms.

The writing is powerful and fearless and utilizes research of twentieth-century scientists convincingly. Most readers will not agree with all of Pearce's firm recommendations on child development, but will recognize that the twentieth century is nearing its end with dire evidence of the need for personal and social change. The proposals in this book, which signal a need for total change in family lifestyle, should be seriously considered.


Summer 1994