Neoteny and the unfinished human metamorphosis
What is the source of contradictions in human behavior, of the numerous conflicts among people, the bloodshed and suffering which hold no natural justification nor necessity?
The human nature, the human behavior full of contradictions can surprise any heedful observer. We often say one thing and do the opposite. Yet the words may reflect our sincere wishes and intentions, although our deeds performed contrary to our words are also in a sense sincere and are in accordance with what is going on inside ourselves. Why do people talk about the necessity of loving each other, showing respect, being friendly, doing good deeds, being patient and reasonable, honest and frank, but by expressing these wishes they do not stop fighting with and killing each other by using the most outrageous means, slaying their peers and risking to be killed? Why are so many violent offences committed daily around the world such as robbery, looting, fights on the grounds of jealousy, enmity, hatred, greed and vanity? Why do so many people die of psychosomatic diseases, killing themselves with the harmful internal stress created as a result of bad relationships between the individual and the society, of wrong elements in their world-view?
Many more similar questions can be asked. There are lots of them.
I suggest considering one of the alternative explanations. The key notions for such an explanation are neoteny and unfinished metamorphosis.
Neoteny and unfinished metamorphosis in the Nature
According to the Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, neoteny (from Greek neos - immature, juvenile, and teno - I'm extending) is the ability of organisms to reproduce themselves in the early stages of development (e.g. in larval state). Neoteny is characteristic of e.g. axolotls, certain arthropods, warms and many plants (mosses, fern etc.).
Although neoteny is known to exist not only in amphibians but also in certain worms, shellfish, arachnids, insects of many groups of plants, the most prominent and popular example of this phenomenon is the famous axolotl.
Axolotl is the larva of tailed amphibians, ambystoma. It possesses a unique characteristic. On the one hand it represents just a larva, i.e. it is in the early stage of its development. On the other hand it is capable of sexual reproduction. Depending on the temperature of the pond and the availability of nourishment, axolotls can continue their development and transform into lizards living and reproducing themselves on land. For them living in water is thus necessary only in the initial stage of development while they are still larvae. However, under different conditions, at lower temperatures and with insufficiency of nourishment, they can stay in water forever reproducing themselves there and remaining as larvae. In this way they can survive for 12 -15 years. And this is by no means a short period. No wonder that they are of special interest to people who like to breed unique species living in water. They thrive in aquaria, and some people manage also to observe how an adult axolotl is transforming into an amphibian, a lizard. This happens to them, once axolotls' habitation conditions are changed being made similar to more dry and cold climate. In such a case, after reducing the water level and in domestic conditions, the axolotl transforms into an adult ambystoma, a lizard. This transformation happens also when the thyroxin hormone is added to the food or applied via injection. The transformation takes several weeks. As a result, the external gills of the axolotl disappear, its coloring and the body shape changes.
In nature, there are many similar examples of neoteny, unfinished metamorphosis. Let us discuss now how the above presented example can be related to humans.
In my opinion, this relationship is direct and rather interesting.
Neoteny and the unfinished human metamorphosis
Suppose that human beings have also found themselves in conditions which do not fully correspond to those foreseen by the nature for the fully adequate development of the human child and its transformation into an adult. Let us assume that some of the parameters of the living environment are not favorable for the human beings and they are forced to manifest neoteny. That is they have to live and reproduce themselves without obtaining the characteristics of a fully developed adult.
Axolotl is a "potential lizard" which in a given habitat uses gills. Although it has feet, it uses them mainly like a fish uses its fins, i.e. it does not jump nor run. Meanwhile, if the conditions change, it can realize its potential and become a real lizard, obtain a new habitat, start running on the land and breathe using its lungs instead of the gills.
If we consider the human beings, without being overly considerate and biased, as it often happens, they are rather "potentially wise" than wise creatures. All those contradictions in the human behavior, their thinking, desires and actions discussed above serve as proof of this conclusion.
Possibly the human being, similar to the axolotl, is also capable of becoming truly wise, provided that there are certain environmental conditions.
It is worth reminding that neoteny is the achieving of sexual maturity and of the ability to reproduce before full adulthood than it is accepted for a specific species. Can a the human being achieve sexual maturity before accomplishing its full development? Moreover, in Greek culture the age of 40 was considered to be the beginning of mature and responsible life. Why was this so?
And what did many Greek philosophers mean by referring to the mystic so called "initial human state" which had been lost some time in the remote past and which many of them earnestly tried to regain? Didn't they refer to the fact that people used to develop until they obtained other qualities which today's people can only dream of? Was not the continuation of the human development meant to be the so called spiritual maturation which resulted in their transformation into someone different from the present humans that helped them display capabilities such as healing by mental concentration, clairvoyance, the ability to see events happening somewhere far away, to see events from the past, from the future, to receive and transmit thoughts and ideas at a distance etc.?
Why not consider this assumption as an appealing hypothesis? After all, if a check produced a positive result, humans would get what they have been dreaming of for thousands of years!
To do so, one has to find out to what extent the organism of the common human being contains elements of uncompleted development and what environmental factors might have caused the halt of the human development and the triggering of the mechanism of neoteny.
One more possible research area could be to find out what important function in humans does not manifest itself due to the lack of role models in the surrounding environment.
After all, if a human child finds itself in an environment where there are only def people who cannot speak, write, read and nor communicate by using symbols, it will never discover that it has the hidden potential skills such as speech, ability of oral and written communication, symbolic thinking and abstracting abilities. All these regardless of how healthy such a child is.
What if certain events happened in the course of the human history which resulted in the losing continuity in handing down certain knowledge from adults to children, and now we are unable to determine them on our own? Perhaps the analogy with the axolotl and the contemplations of the possible neoteny, the possibility of past unfinished human metamorphosis, will help us to summon up the lost human capabilities and to complete our development attaining a stage of wholeness, true maturity, to become genuinely wise with all the positive consequences that follow. So why not?
Traces of the existence of another level of human maturity
After all, in many human cultures there are not only hints but very notable and important claims about some type of state of existence in which the most important and valuable human qualities and abilities are manifested. In some places this state is called a state of reviviscence, in other places enlightenment, sanctitude, initial ideal state or in a different way.
The essence, however, is the same - it means transition to a more developed state of the functioning of human organism as of a physical body, the mind, soul and the feelings. Today we can only make guesses about the details of this transition while before it might have been something standard, i.e. the result of the regular development of each individual.
Accordingly, it seems quite logical to try to study everything that could help to verify the above stated assumption. The both issues, the one related to the loss of certain habits in the history of mankind not handed down from parents to their children due to unknown reasons and the possibility of environmental changes that were not sufficiently favorable for the continuation of human development and thus lead to neoteny, i.e. to unfinished metamorphosis.
In support of the necessity of checking our assumptions, I would like to call your attention to one other argument. The nature does not grant such qualities important for the living which cannot be taken advantage of.
Usually, during their lives, most of the representatives of each particular animal or plant species manage to obtain and manifest those qualities that support their existence best. Put in rough terms, eagles are able to fly, lions can hunt, deer can run fast, wolves and dogs possess a good sense of smell etc. This is of course a very muzzy picture but fully sufficient for our example.
The human being as an individual, a person, for some reason does not usually manage to obtain those best qualities that have been referred to in many cultures as qualities typical of those who are reawakened, enlightened, sainted. Although on the one hand these things are talked about by completely different nations, which fact enhances the likelihood of the existence of real examples of such people, on the other hand, these qualities might significantly increase the chances of all individuals for survival. After all, a man able to see at a distance, to receive and/or transmit thoughts at a distance, see the past and the future, to restore one's own and others health by way of concentrating the attention, concentrating the energy of the hands, the mind, the breath or possibly something else, possessing phenomenal memory and logic - such a human being is undoubtedly better suited for life and can survive incomparably better than the today's man. All the more so if we consider a whole group of people enjoying such faculties.
Why is it then so that in all of the nature, the most important qualities for survival, if already realized, are practically inherent in all the representatives of a particular species while in the case of humans, it is the other way round. The most important qualities helping to survive are the most rare ones, exceptionally rare.
Is not it because in the course of the development of the human species there was something that went wrong?
Clues in the Bible. Neoteny and the unfinished human metamorphosis, the first sin and the expulsion from Heaven
Everyone knows the amazing story about people having been expelled from Heaven due to committed sins and about how it initiated their endless sufferings.
However, why not consider this well known story as another hint, an additional reminder of changes in the environment which used to be paradisial, i.e. allowed humans to gain all their most important abilities and exercise them, but suddenly they changed and did not permit this anymore. Human beings found themselves in conditions not really matching with their biological peculiarities and capabilities.
From this point of view, the story about the first sin could be interpreted as follows.
In the initial version of this story people would tell their children that some time ago we all lived in Heaven. And that in those days, the eating of the fruit of the tree of wisdom used to be an important stage in the development of every person, and that the Heaven gave such an opportunity to all people. This is why God had planted the Tree of Wisdom in the Garden of Eden so that people could taste its fruits and get wise. This means that the existence of the Tree of Wisdom in Heaven symbolized the ability of humans to develop into a state of wisdom, into obtaining wisdom in an environment which they used to call Heaven. It is no mere chance that next to it there was the Tree of Life and Death. It probably symbolized the possibility for humans to gain immortality in the course of their development say within the framework of the Solar system or our galaxy. That is to say immortality meant that one could live an incomparably longer life than at present. The goal of history was to preserve in the memory of the coming generations the knowledge about those stages of human development which had been lost and had been attainable in the past when people lived in a different environment.
As time went by, people increasingly lost their reason immersing themselves into forced sufferings and torment which even more deteriorated due to the loss of opportunities to gain wisdom and to realize the meaning of their own existence, chances to grasp the essence of the laws of subsistence, to be conscious of one's own mission and of what capabilities humans have and what they can and must do. As a result, people were getting more and more fearful, full of tension, anxiety and pain. Sooner or later, they had to interpret the history handed down from generation to generation completely differently biased by their new world-view, experiences, the state of their soul and body.
In this new version everything gained a different appearance. Trying to explain the fact of losing the Heaven, the dramatic changes in the environmental conditions, humans were compelled to invent the divine scourge assuming that such a catastrophic event could not have happened for no special reason and it must have been punishment from above. So, as in the story of losing the Heaven there was the Tree of Wisdom, and wisdom itself vanished into thin air, someone came up with the idea that probably it was prohibited to touch the fruits of that tree, and that all the misfortune came from these very fruits. Thus everything became clear for the poor and helpless human being shivering from fear and delusion forced to live in an alien environment and to permanently suffer from the insupportable pain. Sin and punishment. This was the only explanation that they were able to perceive in that state of existence and mind.
The damnation of Eve and Adam - the throes of childbirth and Adam's incapacity to satisfy his woman as indicators of neoteny, unfinished metamorphosis, i.e. forced manifestation of sexual activity before reaching full maturity.
In that very story, however, the most popular story of all times and all nations, there is one more very important clue which is in line with our assumptions.
Together with the sin of tasting the fruit of the Tree of Wisdom, humans obtained sexual maturity and become aware of their nudity which fact invoked God's suspicion and then his damnation.
In modern terms it means the following. As a result of significant changes in the parameters of the environment humans were forced to undergo neoteny. That is to say, to obtain sexual maturity much earlier than becoming a grown-up, i.e. earlier than usually. If in the original story this was mentioned as a fact to be remembered, the imputation and punishment were incorporated into it in order to achieve a match between the story and the world-view, past experiences and the state of mind of people who had forgotten about the life of the reasonable man.
One may conclude that people were compelled to attain sexual maturity prematurely and start reproducing before managing to become wise and grown-up. This is exactly the reason why it occurring before full maturity lead to women having to suffer from terrible throes of childbirth and men not being able to satisfy their wives. Eventually, this was translated into a language understandable to the senseless people as the consequence of punishment for sins. As it was, initially people would just simply talk about the causes of women's pain and men's problems with satisfying women.
Is not the correspondence between our assumption on neoteny, the unfinished metamorphosis in humans, and the biblical story about the lost Heaven amazing?
And I see no reason for not taking this correspondence seriously and not bearing this fact in mind while seeking the knowledge that would help us to change the state of affairs, i.e. to accept what the full development of humans and their growing-up is, what their qualities are as a result of such full development, what conditions should prevail in the environment to achieve this condition.
To be honest, I see nothing more important for people and for the mankind at the present .
Can there be anything more important than returning humans back into the Heaven, reinstating those human qualities and capabilities which pertain to them naturally and which it was forced to lose in the remote past?
This will enable us, humans, to experience in our development such an important event as the tasting of fruits of the Tree of Wisdom is, to obtain wisdom, to understand the sense of living our own lives, to discover the essence of the laws of the creation, to get to deserve acquiring immortality, to join the company of the immortals. This very fact is mentioned in the same biblical story about the first sin too.
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