Beginning With Fire
The Story of Addiction, Human Nature, and Evolution
Chapter Twelve — Which Evolution?
The word “evolution” can have three different meanings; we are using all of them here. There is, of course, the non-directional, ends-neutral evolution of Darwinism. This is quite distinct from notions of evolution as being directional — as being “headed somewhere,” or “reaching.” The latter perspective is usually framed in spiritual terms. Pierre Teilhard De Chardin’s paraphrased quote, above, offers one view of such an evolutionary stage. As well, the term “evolution” can refer to progress along a line of potentiality. In this last case a person may be seen to be more or less evolved along any number of axes; moral, spiritual, physical, intellectual, etc.
Each of these three meanings of evolution is relevant to addiction — and vice versa; addiction is shaped by, and contributes to, all of these evolutionary scenarios. The seeming contradictions between the directional and non-directional perspectives will be harmoniously accommodated, albeit not “resolved” or reconciled. (Throughout the book we find that the creative and graceful accommodation of paradox is a signature feature of sobriety.)