EVOLUTION & BIOLOGICAL CONTROL SYSTEMS
We still draw the boundaries of our
personality too narrowly. We always count as part of our
personality only what we separate as individual, recognize as
deviating. But we consist of the whole mass of the world, each
of us, and just as our body itself carries the development
pedigree down to fish and even further back, so we have in the
human soul everything that has ever lived. Hermann Hesse:
I am a lizard King - I can do
everything - J.Morrison
45-year journey with daily meditation, I've occasionally delved into
transpersonal realms so radically different from our perceived
reality that I can confidently state: Those who touch these
depths undergo a profound transformation.
This statement is particularly aimed for individuals anchored in
rigid worldviews, be they rooted in religious or scientific
dogma. I welcome having my own perspectives shaken, ideally by
those who have experienced, at least once, a kind of spiritual
epiphany that upends their understanding of reality as
decisively as a bolt of lightning would disrupt a quiet coffee
break. Alternatively, I value discourse with people who have
endured significant hardship. Suffering, when approached
constructively, adds layers of depth to our character.
young man, I glimpsed into the inner abyss, and it stared back
at me with 'unconventional' insights. In the ensuing narrative,
I endeavor to remain loyal to these insights through symbolic
and poetic language, challenging the prevailing, skeptical
perspective. However, I also aim to bridge the gap with the
rational mind, offering interpretive insights into my
imaginative universe, which is informed by ancient
bio-archetypes that have been a part of me since my primordial
days as a sea anemone, if not earlier.
The poem below written by the sufi mystic
Rumi, shows the development of life in a form of
Originally, you were clay.
From being mineral, you becamet vegetable.
From vegetable you became animal, and from animal, man.
During these periods man did not know where he was going,
but he was being taken on a long journey nonetheless.
And you have to go through a hundred different worlds yet.
I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disapearance through death?
Next time I shall die Bringing forth wings and feathers like
After soaring higher than angels-
You cannot imagine.
I shall be that.
Around the end of the 18th century, the writings of Sufi
mystics were translated into German.
Schelling was not late to
embroider further on Rumi in a journey from sleep to
The universal spirit,
which slumbers in the stone, dreams in the plant,
awakens in the animal, becomes conscious in man
and reaches its highest unfolding in the artist.
In this chapter, we will view the human cell colony as a Noah's
Ark for all previous life's bio-operating systems.
primal cells still sing life's fundamental tone for those who
make themselves silent. In hunger for the nourishing waters of
this primordial soup, I will turn Schelling upside down and
travel back to the slumbering stones, dreaming plants, and
half-awake animals that still reside in my inner darkness.
OUR BIOLOGICAL WORLD MASS
Our unique attributes evolved over a period of roughly 6
million years. They represent modifications of great ape
attributes that are roughly 10 million years old, primate
attributes that are roughly 55 million years old, mammalian
attributes that are roughly 245 million years old, vertebrate
attributes that are roughly 600 million years old, and
attributes of nucleated cells that are perhaps 1,500 million
If you think it is unnecessary to go that
far back in the tree of life to understand our own attributes,
consider the humbling fact that we share with nematodes
[roundworms] the same gene that controls appetite. At most, our
unique attributes are like an addition onto a vast multiroom
mansion. It is sheer hubris to think that we can ignore all but
the newest room.
David Sloan Wilson -
Evolution for Everyone, 2007
It would be a controversial thought for most that meditation is
also introverted archaeology. However, the following
scientifically verifiable examples will illustrate that the idea
is not as unlikely as it might seem at first glance.
Recipe for a human
Add an appropriate amount of precambrian primordial sea salt,
as the salt balance in our cells is still the same as it was in
the pre-Cambrian primordial sea. Take two kilograms of body mass
consisting of bacteria. They once lived, before they became
peaceful bio-citizens in the human body, their own free life or
a life in symbiosis with other life forms. Add countless forms
of viruses, including some types we inherited from the
The recipe is too long to complete here, but all ingredients
point in the same direction: Anatomically, humans are a baroque
composite, an impossible synthesis of living prehistoric beings.
Finally, sprinkle about one percent of actual human genes over
our simmering biological stew.
We rose from the primordial sea and still carry it in our cells.
In this sense, the human body is a surviving zoological museum
composed of life and behavioral forms that reach all the way
back to the earliest stardust.
These crossroads are life's provisional but certainly not final
We are surviving waves raised in storms from the primordial sea
and now washed ashore on the coast of life.
This odyssey would not have been possible without cooperation
WE ARE MADE OF RECYCKLING
We are made of recyckled bio-software. The most
ancient coding in this recycling is our 'urge' for survival. It is the 'reason' we
are still here. All previously functional Darwinian biological experiences, from
the primordial soup onward, are preserved as fundamental building blocks in our
current biological architecture.
Evolution essentially does not reshape the foundation of its
creation. Instead, it builds upon the already existing
biological architectures. From an evolutionary development
perspective, humans are composed of a whole range of different
survival systems. Our body consists, in this sense, of the total
zoological sum of our previous species lives.
We consist of reincarnated operating systems, whose main biological
task was and is to make us survive. As humans, we have been
guests here for a brief moment of 2.5 million years. As
zoological cell colonies, we are much, much older. Within us are
all of life's previous forms of consciousness. Cells,
microbiomes, worms, reptiles, and mammalian operating systems
have come together under a common roof in the body. Some of
these beings sleep, others are more awake and help us in our
Ion channels in the cell membranes of Necturus salamanders can
be found in rats and humans. Every single piece of DNA that has
proven to work in evolution is recycled by more advanced systems
at higher levels in evolution. The genes that control our
heartbeat were created in sea anemones. We share 25% of our
genes with trees. Our appetite is driven by genetic drivers that
were developed in roundworms. Our teeth were originally fish
Our face was fundamentally created when we were fish. A fish
face has eyes, a mouth, and sometimes, as is the case with the
blobfish, a nose!
The Blob fish - Psychrolutes marcidus
In the fetal stage, we go through
our entire species history and develop, for example, the
beginnings of gills. As we can see
in this BBC video, the face
of a human fetus is formed between the second and third month.
During this period, the face is assembled like a puzzle,
starting at the fish stage and ultimately coming together in a
recognizable face. The final connecting piece in this puzzle is
the philtrum, the groove below the nose.
Notice how the face, just before it takes on a human form, goes
through various zoological stages in the shape of animal faces.
During the fetal stage, we climb up all the previous steps on
the evolutionary ladder that our species has utilized.
Let me like a magic mantra repeat the wondrous, thought-provoking, yet simple fact:
As biological beings, we live and function at the intersection
of prehistoric animals' and life forms' operating systems. We
are a living zoological museum that has stepped out of time and
come together in a hub where even the ancient reptile has
survived the crushing teeth of time.
are a patchwork quilt of ancient
and modern, each layer adding complexity and richness to the
fabric of what we consider to be 'human.'
Let me now give a few additional examples quoted from the
library of our human DNA.
Consider the structure of the human hand. At first glance, it's
a uniquely human trait that enables us to grasp tools and
manipulate our environment. But this too is a biological
patchwork. The basic
pentadactyl limb configuration is hundreds
of millions of years old, shared with many other vertebrates,
from bats to whales. So, the human hand is not so much a
revolutionary design as it is a modification of ancient
If we move even deeper into the genetic layer, the idea of 'junk
DNA' also adds to the narrative of biological reuse. Once
thought to be useless, these stretches of DNA are now known to
play roles in regulation, development, and disease resistance.
Some may be remnants of ancient viruses that infected our
ancestors and became integrated into the genome. Here, the
evolutionary echo persists even in our genetic code.
Genes for Development - Hox Genes
Hox genes, which are responsible for body plan development,
are remarkably conserved across animal species. They control the
placement of limbs and organs in everything from fruit flies to
humans. In both cases, the same genes dictate the
anterior-posterior axis of the creature, showing that the basic
"blueprint" for laying out a body has been reused and modified
over hundreds of millions of years.
ATP Synthase: This enzyme is responsible for making ATP, the
energy currency of the cell. It is highly conserved across all
domains of life (Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukaryota), indicating
its fundamental importance. Even in vastly different species and
cell types, the mechanism for producing ATP is often strikingly
similar, a clear case of biological reuse at the molecular
Opsin Proteins: These light-sensitive proteins are found in
the photoreceptor cells of the eye and are vital for vision.
Remarkably, similar opsin proteins also exist in simpler
organisms. For example, certain algae use a form of opsin to
sense light direction for photosynthesis. The fundamental
molecular machinery for detecting light, therefore, appears to
have been reused for various forms of vision in more complex
Our gut microbiome is another fascinating area of biological
reuse. Comprising a complex ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, and
fungi, our gut microbiota affects everything from digestion to
mental health. Many of these microbes have ancient origins and
have co-evolved with us, playing an essential role in our
survival. These internal communities mirror ancient
environmental ecosystems, now internalized.
Fight-or-Flight Response: This basic survival mechanism is
shared across a multitude of species, from humans to small
mammals and even birds. When faced with a threat, adrenaline and
cortisol levels spike, preparing the organism for rapid action.
This physiological response has been conserved because of its
effectiveness in promoting survival.
The Neurochemical Symphony
Even our complex emotional lives carry the vestiges of our
evolutionary history. Neurotransmitters like dopamine,
serotonin, and oxytocin govern everything from our pursuit of
rewards to our social bonds. These chemicals are not unique to
humans; they serve similar functions in many other animals. The
pathways that produce feelings of happiness in humans can be
traced back to mechanisms that once helped simpler organisms
navigate their environments in search of food or mates.
Serotonin: This neurotransmitter, crucial in regulating mood
and emotion in humans, has a long evolutionary history.
Interestingly, it serves a similar function in invertebrates
like lobsters, which also use serotonin to modulate social
status and aggressive behavior. The conservation of serotonin as
a social behavior-modulating molecule across such diverse taxa
indicates a form of biological reuse.
Societies and cultures also engage in a form of 'reuse.'
Our collective memory in the form of myths, narratives, and social norms are reiterations and
reinterpretations of older versions. They function much like the
'old code' in our DNA, serving new purposes while echoing
ancient wisdom and survival strategies.
The Recursive Loop
Human art and storytelling frequently circle back to themes
and archetypes that have existed for millennia. The hero's
journey, the quest, and the transformation are recurring motifs
that resonate with us because they reflect deeply ingrained
social and psychological patterns.
Much like in biological evolution, our technologies also build
upon previous foundations. Consider the internet: it operates on
principles first laid out in telecommunication networks, which
themselves evolved from postal systems. Our smartphones are
little more than highly advanced, pocket-sized computers, whose
fundamental operating principles are decades old.
summary, the notion of 'biological reuse' extends far beyond
just our anatomical or cellular structure; it pervades our
emotional lives, our societies, and even our technologies.
THE BRAIN'S TRIUNE DISAGREEMENT
We are obliged to look at
ourselves and the world through the eyes of
three different mentalities, two of which lack the power of
The illustration below shows the
brain as constructed in three layers. This is, of course, a
strong simplification of the actual conditions. It may
incorrect. Nonetheless, it is thought-provoking. The project
here is not strict empirical brain science, but to intuitively
view the brain's different operating systems as deposits from
various time periods in our evolutionary history.
The innermost and oldest brainstem, the R-complex, we have in
common with reptiles. Here lies our most instinctive and
autonomously controlled behavior. These control mechanisms live
their own life, and can neither understand the animal brain's
emotions nor the human brain's language. The middle part, the
limbic system, we share with mammals. Here we feel ourselves and
the world in attention.
Finally, we have the uppermost and outermost part, the
neocortex, which we share with whales and great apes. This is
the seat of language and consciousness. The frontal lobes are
especially interesting in this context, as it is likely here
that wakefulness itself is formed.
The notion that our brainstem is
reptilian in origin, topped by a mammalian brain, provides a
compelling lens through which to view incidents like Uruguayan
soccer star Suárez's impulsive act of biting an opponent's
shoulder. After all, what is a soccer match if not a symbolic
struggle between two tribes over a valued resource, much like
animals fighting over food?
However, this triune brain concept should be viewed primarily as
a vivid metaphor. Evolution didn't merely stack new structures
onto old ones but also upgraded those ancient layers, much like
renovating an old house—right down to improving the damp cellar.
In this sense our urban civilization reflects the biological systems that
created it. In the cityscape, we see the same houses as there
were a hundred years ago, and there are cars like those from 50
years ago. One of the new additions is digitalization,
which today permeates all these older structures in the same way
that the newest layers in the brain have drilled neurons into
the brain's oldest layers. Just as I can live in a modernized
apartment in a house that is several hundred years old, I reside
in an inner body home full of old walls, doors, toilet pipes,
and windows - but now with freshly painted walls, modern heating
electrical wiring, refrigerators, flat screens, and internet
Goosebumps as Positive Emotional Markers
It's worth noting that these repurposed, older layers don't
function exactly as they did in their heyday. Take, for example,
the phenomenon of hairs standing on end. In our evolutionary
past, this response was associated with aggression or fear. In a similar vein to hairs
standing on end, the phenomenon of goosebumps was originally an
evolutionary response to cold or fear. The rising of small
"pimples" on the skin would have helped our hairy ancestors
retain a layer of warm air close to the skin or it would have
helped them to look bigger and more dangerous. Nowadays, we often
experience goosebumps during emotional or awe-inspiring moments,
such as listening to a beautiful piece of music.
Furthermore in mystical
traditions, many recount experiencing this same biological
reaction during profound encounters with the divine. I've had
numerous experiences myself where all my hairs stood up as I
felt a transcendent presence fill my soul. In this way, a
biological mechanism originally intended to signal threat has
been repurposed to signify intense, positive emotions.
Here are some additional examples of biological mechanisms being
repurposed or taking on new meanings.
Morphed Organ Functions
Lungs and Swim Bladders: In fish, the swim bladder is used
for buoyancy. It is thought to have evolved from the lungs of
ancestral fish that adapted to life underwater. In this way, an
organ used for gas exchange in one environment was repurposed
for buoyancy control in another.
In Public Speaking
The "fight or flight" response is a primal reaction geared to
prepare our body for imminent threats. Yet, in today's world,
non-life-threatening scenarios such as public speaking or job
interviews can spur this adrenaline surge. Interestingly, actors
and public performers often attest that a measured dose of this
age-old adrenaline can enhance the vigor and caliber of a
Blushing and Social Interaction
Blushing is thought to have
evolved as a social mechanism to show submission or a change in
social status, helping to establish social hierarchies without
the need for violence. Today, it serves as an involuntary
emotional signal, revealing feelings like embarrassment or
romantic interest, which can carry different contextual
Pupil Dilation as a Sign of Interest
Pupil dilation originally
served the purpose of allowing more light into the eye in
low-light conditions. However, it's also been observed to occur
during states of emotional arousal or when looking at someone we
find attractive, giving a new social context to an old
Tears as Emotional Signals
Crying is thought to have initially
evolved as a way to clean and lubricate the eyes. Now, tears
have a communicative function, signaling emotional states like
sadness, joy, or relief, and prompting social support or action
Laughter for Social Bonding
Laughter likely had its origins in
signaling contentment or trust within a social group. While it
still serves this function, it has been co-opted for various
purposes in complex human societies, ranging from a form of
critique (satire) to a way of strengthening social bonds beyond
immediate family groups. Similarly, smiling, especially when
showing teeth, can elevate oxytocin levels in both the smiler
and the recipient. However, flashing teeth in a smile to a dog
might be misconstrued as aggression.
These examples demonstrate how biological traits originally
evolved for one purpose can be repurposed or imbued with new
meanings in complex human societies.
However, glimpses of the original behaviors these bio-operative
systems were intende for can often be seen
through the veneer of modernity. Consider Western political
tendencies for power struggles and exploitation of other
cultures—aren't these just echoes of our ancestral primate drive
to dominate the food chain? The primal reflexes of our ape
ancestors are still lurking just beneath our tailored suits.
When we peer down into an abyss, we feel a sensation in the
sphincter and coccyx, regions rife with nerves that have
outlived their original purpose. These nerves remain blissfully
ignorant that the tail they once helped to balance has long
In this context, the layered perspective of the brain retains
Using Ernst Bloch's term
"unzeitgemäßheit" (untimeliness) — albeit out of its original
context — we can see that our bodies are complex amalgamations
of biological systems developed throughout life's vast history.
The past continues to influence the present; we exist in
multiple timelines concurrently. We are echoes of the primordial seas, bearing information from
every epoch. As a result, various parts of our anatomy differ in
age. While some body parts operate on ancient bio-software,
others utilize newer systems. Only the latest brain functions
operate in full consciousness, with older systems rooted in
primal, more dormant states of awareness. Most of our existence
unfolds in unconsciousness — not just due to Freudian
repression, but because our body, a patchwork of genetic
software, dates back to our earliest origins as single-celled
entities in ancient seas.
Transitioning from Knowledge to Wisdom through Mantra
I frequently recite these assertions as if they're mantras.
While the intellect may assume understanding after one
exposition, it quickly shifts focus due to its inherent
restlessness. However, genuine comprehension, termed
"innerstanding," evolves differently. Through a dynamic form of
repetition, we navigate from surface understanding to deeper
PSYCHIC ARCHEOLOGY - EXCAVATION THROUGH INTROSPECTION
There are people who, through concentration and
other yoga exercises, can bring the subconscious up to the conscious level where
they can discern and judge, and thereby benefit from the unlimited treasures of
the subconscious memory, among which not only the memory of our previous lives
is stored but also the past of the lineage, all pre-human forms of life, and the
memory of the consciousness that makes all life in the universe possible.
Lama Anagarika Govinda
Wittgenstein claimed that if a lion could speak, no one
would understand it. Wittgenstein is, to me, the ultimate
expression of the talking academic heads club, a club that
presupposes that one is so caught in the thought 'spin' that one
suppresses the fact that the head is firmly rooted on a pre-linguistic body.
The struggle between scribes and mystics dates back to Buddha's
Anyone who dares to turn inward and away from the world can see for themselves
that we consist of phenomenons way beyond the grasp of the smal part of the
brain corcened with language and rational conceptualization.
We 'innerstand' all life because we consist of recycling
In meditation we 'innerstand' the lion's roar.
We share most of our operating systems with it.
The deeper the introspective exploration of inner life goes, the older layers of
human evolutionary history are exposed. In this sense, meditative introspection
resembles astronomical extrospection. The further out into the universe we look,
the older phenomena we observe.
To own an insight through experience
One thing is to read about it... By looking and feeling into myself, I
experienced myself as the biological world mass. I have, as a sea anemone, felt
the tides in the primordial ocean. I have felt the snake crawl up the spine on
its way to the brain. I have felt the inner Stone Age man throw the first stone
at a man from a foreign tribe.
Just as researchers can recreate a dinosaur snout on a chicken by playing its
genetic coding backward, we can, through meditation, visit our own inner
biological prehistory on an evolutionary journey. This inner journey leads back
to what I, borrowing from Meister Eckhart, call the ground of origin.
Reincarnation is a scientific fact
The billions of cells that go under the designation, a human being, are a
living prehistoric cross-section of the entire journey of life. Anyone who
seriously turns inward can experience their earlier - not individual lives, but
universal life forms.
Again and again, there have been reports of reincarnation in connection with
deep meditative experiences, near-death experiences, and entheogenic journeys.
It seems that meditation under certain circumstances allows us to travel back in
our own zoological prehistory.
These experiences are often interpreted, because we in a normal state of
consciousness experience ourselves as individuals, as individual matters, where
Mr. Petersen experiences himself as Mr. Hansen in a previous life. That's how it
appears when our tiny mind takes
linguistic ownership of the experience. The little ego tries through language to
translate an experience from a fundamentally incomprehensible and languageless
multi-dimensional universe to our known world consisting of three dimensions.
Here our little ego is like the frog at the bottom of the well, trying to tell
itself and its fellow species about the birds' life in the sky.
Individual versus transpersonal life
Already here, the language's usual expressions are strained, which
syntactically are created to convey experiences in subject-object relations in a
three-dimensional universe consisting of time, space, and mass, as we know them
from our daily life: For there was no 'I' in the traditional sense to observe
Transpersonal experiences of pre-existence are not personal matters - for
individuality and language are a very new little evolutionary wonder, created
within the last few thousand years, which is less than a second compared to
life's cellular birth in the original primordial ocean.
Swimming in one's own Cambrian primordial ocean is just one thing you can do
without an 'I' in the traditional sense. Here you are a traveler in attention and consciousness without
the ego-operating system we normally use to navigate. For this reason alone, the
encounter with one's own evolutionary past can be frightening. There is no room
for the feeling of control that we, in our everyday consciousness, believe
ourselves capable of having.
The vast majority of this journey back must, therefore, be undertaken without
what we normally associate with an 'I' identity. Our traditional sense of 'I' must be left
behind for those who wish to set their inner zoological clock back just a
Every organism has its own self-referential consciousness
The illiterate mystic Nisargadatta Maharaj claimed that the sole
purpose of life is to protect, expand, and develop
For every life form, whether it is autonomous or functions as an
organ in a larger biological context, there is a feedback-based
operating system. In this sense, every living organism has a
companion in the form of a consciousness operating system. The
logical consequence of us being carriers of the biological world
mass is that we also have all previous forms of consciousness
within us. We not only share appetite-regulating mechanisms with
roundworms, but we also share consciousness with them.
These primordial forms of consciousness is what I in the
Many of these archaic awareness operating systems still
contribute to our maintenance as a human cell colony. Others are
rudimentary and/or dormant but can be awakened under special
circumstances. This is in this light I understand the Indian
mythology of the Kundalini snake entering the thousand petalled
lotus of the brain.
Even individual organs of the human body have their own field of
awareness, which in turn link up with each other in the same
way that countries form alliances.
It seems that these awareness fields, in their collective
connection in hubs, become increasingly conscious. The more
systemically complex they become, the more 'awake' they become.
It is my clear intuitive feeling that any self-referential
system becomes aware and thus alive when it reaches a
certain point of complexity. In this context, it might be irrelevant
whether it concerns machines or biological life.
THE JOURNEY HOME
A consciousness liberation of our inner nerve tree's long
delicate branches requires that, in our meditation, we address
sensitivity rather than flee from it. Let us now meditate
directly into the body and sensitivity to manifest the clarity
of consciousness that the Eastern traditions' Indian-anchored
survival strategy meditation forms have invested in life beyond
the body for good reasons.
Meditation is psychic archeology
Meditation.dk is for those who dare to venture into the darkness
of the body. Here, the brave explorer lights the light of
wakefulness. With this light, consciousness sees inward, while
attention feels the warmth of the light. For light can both be
seen and felt.
The word religion comes from the Latin word religare, which
means to reconnect, to re-establish a connection to something
earlier and more original.
In this sense I see Meditation as a religious project,
and this project involves traveling back and into one's own
biological world mass - not as we do every night when we fall
asleep, but traveling into this darkness with the wakeful light
of consciousness as a lantern.
This inner journey, in my opinion, is the most important journey
a person can undertake. It is a journey back to the roots, back
to one's biological past, which still exists in the living zoo
of the inner body.
For Freud, this journey stopped when one had reached an
understanding of childhood.
Jung took a much deeper dive beyond the boundary of our
individual lives. The ancient yogis explored inner landscapes
far beyond the intellect.
For the brave meditator, the journey has hardly begun here. For
it continues back to the beginning of life in the primordial
sea, a primordial sea that still exists encapsulated in droplet
form in our cells. Perhaps the journey only ends when we
recognize o urselves as the stardust our carbon molecules are
Yes, Meditation is psychic archaeology.