Evolution is driven by random mutation, intra and inter-species gene trading as well as Symbiosis.
Consciousness also drives evolution.
The image above shows Ants farming Apids. There are several ant species live in a symbiotic relationship with aphids. The ants protect the aphids from predators such as ladybirds and lacewings. In return, the aphids provide the ants with sugar rich honeydew. Delicate stroking from the ant’s antennae stimulates the aphid to release a drop of honeydew from its abdomen. The ants in turn care for the aphids by removing dead and diseased aphids which might otherwise infect the healthy members of the herd.
A few dozen hummingbirds of one species are placed on an isolated island (they are weak flyers so could not fly over large expanses of sea to reach another landmass). The island has one type of food source for the hummingbird. A hibiscus flower (which has a trumpet-like shape). The flower is extremely long and the birds beak is not quite long enough to easily feed from the flower. If the bird species survived on this island for a million years, would their beaks be longer than their ancestors? According to Darwinian evolution it is likely they would adapt to the food source through natural selection. i.e. those with longer beaks would prevail to produce offspring and those with shorter beaks die out. The cycle would continue until the beaks adapt to form an ideal tool for gathering nectar from the endemic hibiscus flowers. So in this case, symbiosis whereby the hummingbird and hibiscus flower mutually benefit from their relationship. This causes evolution of the hummingbird via random genetic mutations which infer an in beak length. But perhaps there is more to the selection process than merely genetic mutation causing favourable physical advantages. Many species have been observed to coexist in a dependent manner. The Koala and the Eucalyptus tree, archaebacterial and deep sea thermal Sulphur rich vents, Fly agaric mushroom with Reindeer and silver birch trees. Symbionts are the best example. One cannot survive without the other. In fact some symbiotic relationships between two completely unrelated species have even merged to form a single species – Lichens (symbiotic relationship between algae/cyanobacteria and fungus) forming the first plants. Most fungi form a root like network to release digestive enzymes into environment and absorb the resultant food substrate. But lichens are fungi which form something closer to a plant like structure and cultivate algae or cyanobacteria to produce some of their food via photosynthesis – a light harvesting operation to create sugars from carbon dioxide and water, utilized only by plants, algae and cyanobacteria. Humans psychedelic symbiotic relationship. Expanded awareness. Made other humans extremely boring. Put a theoretical physicist in a room with someone who watches hours of trash TV every day and you will get the jist. Humans have evolved to accommodate the broadest diet of any species. Thus as a species we are able to colonize every landmass (even Antarctica with foreign supplies!). So diet is directly responsible for characteristics developed through evolution. But perhaps the organisms that a species feeds on also play a greater role in catalyzing the evolution of that species? For example, Galapagos lizards are the only marine lizards known. They swim in the ocean feeding on algal masses. This means that their stomach must have developed gut flora to deal with breaking down the cellulose from the algae as no animals exist which produce cellulase enzyme. The bacteria in the stomach then play a part in controlling the bahaviour of the lizard so that it keeps eating the bacteria’s preferred food source. In effect the bacteria brainwash the lizard in respect to its diet choice. Perhaps they do this by directly connecting to the neuronal network in the digestive tract of the lizard. The gut is known as the second brain for its copious quantities of nerve cells, second only to the brain amongst all bodily organs. Where do viruses and prions come from? Ants and aphids.
During my 2 years spent working in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic in London. It became clear that the government backed methods are far from effective and reliable means to cure addicts from their destructive relationships with their substance of choice. Clients would seemingly appear cured, only to turn up several months later having reached rock bottom once more and fully in the grip of their addictions, with all the social, emotional, economic and health impairments accompanying in full flow. Fact: the average person that seeks NHS (UK national health service) help for substance misuse problem requires 2.5 cycles through treatment programs. One treatment program comprises 3 months primary (board and lodge), 3 months secondary (board and lodge), 6 months tertiary (outpatient visits). Primary and secondary treatment costs ranged from £500-£900 per week. For one whole year of treatment end to end costs are in the ball park range of £25,000-50,000. During my stint working in the rehab clinic, there were several clients who reported successful use of Ayahuasca and Ibogaine as to self-medication. A one time experience with one of the aforementioned entheogens appeared to make leaps and bounds towards curing them of addiction. Such methods offer huge gains to be made by sufferers of substance addition, but offer such poor profits to pharmaceutical companies, governments and health care establishments. What would these institutions be set to gain from a one time cure all? Do such experiences open our minds to realities that for the most part remain invisible to our perceptions? It is very difficult for a mind conditioned by western ideals to envisage that such alternative realities co- exist. Our minds are bombarded by materialism. Many among us have a mind subjected to lifelong abuse via TV, advertising, western gluttony, quick fixes, materialistic indulgences and the whole rigid rigmarole enforced by the education system and working a 9-5 job. It is therefore unsurprising that the ego seems to be the dominant force in conjuring our desires and manipulating our thoughts and actions.