Ironic value of Bennett on ‘evolution’
Going through Bennett’s material on ‘evolution’ could backfire as solemn (and mostly stupid) converts to Gurdjieffianity suddenly get an idea of what is being said, and proceed to a mystical belief system or screed on evolution.
But I think not: Bennett’s view is New Age hokum, if you like, but actually still close enought to science to collapse via falsifying challenges. But this view is of use, not as a theory, but as a sketch with a set of questions that ordinary science tends to filter out of its deliberations.
We may need to set up a permanent stalemate between reductionist scientism and New Age evolutionism, as a set of potential dialectical positions.
In any case Bennet is useful here on evolution because he is a reminder that no living being, NOONE whatsoever, NOT EVEN such as Gautama or other enlightened beings, really understand the mystery of evolution. That can set you free from the authoritarian matrix the Eastern traditions threaten to create around religion and now evolution.
The point is obvious in one way: the scale of evolution as depicted by Bennett stretches over the entire period since the origin of life on earth, and computes in unites thereof in the stages of speciation: four milliion to seven million years since the division of man and chimpanzee.
Noone farting around claiming to be enlightened can tell us anything much about that, or about the evolution of man. Gurdjieff let loose a few ambiguous tidbits, mostly sadistic and violent, but clearly he does know what he is talking about.
So at least Bennett carries out the calculations of many New Age ideas of evolution. We can judge them on their merits, and in the process undermine the false authority of those staking a claim on evolution (like Ken Wilbur and Andrew Cohen).