http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_5_1.htmA Gaian Matrix
It might help in moving to a new perspective on evolution to consider the Gaia hypothesis and the suspicion that planetary life has a planetary source and nurture.
If we examine the ‘macro effect’ we see something far more complex than one-track evolution: we see a complex directional system that can multitask and deal with complex cultural entities and show feedback over long periods of time (intermittent teleology).
One should avoid the mistake of thinking such entities as ‘alive’: in all the muddle of J.G. Bennett’s work one issue seems to emerge as both novel and useful: the clear distinction between ‘aliveness’ and ‘consciousness’, a term whose semantics is completely scrambled. Bennett’s idea, which he could not complete coherently, was that ‘consciousness’, unlike the ‘vital’ energies of organisms in a natural environment, was a cosmic energy, was associated with the larger cosmic life. We don’t know what that means, and our discussions of consciousness in two or more almost opposite meanings is not helpful. Ordinary mechanical consciousness is not really conscious at all, as many in mindfulness workshops suddenly get a glimpse of. The issue of ‘cosmic consciousness’ is a new age plane wreck, but the core idea is onto something. The interest of Bennett’s take (although it is mangled Schopenhauer) is that the ‘will’ in nature can be a property of cosmic bodies. Beware of such a statement: it is not the ordinary sense of the will in man. And we should note that the planet Earth and the film called the ‘biosphere’ are related but different factors. The ‘will’ in nature is the higher end of the lower mechanical laws we find with physics. But the point is that ‘cosmic consciousness’ and the ‘will’ of cosmological entities are just about the right ‘bon idee’ for a future theory of evolution, if we can bypass the already accumulating pseudo-science being made out of Bennett’s fragile thinking.
The point is that we get a sense of something beyond life that can process the mechanics of a biosphere in the ‘gardens of evolving life’.
All of this amounts to saying that god as a designer in evolution/history no longer works. The ‘god’ factor has disappeared into a vast universe (or multiverse). The design of life springs from a lower scale of planets and biospheres.
This seems to suggest that cosmic entities, while not alive, are conscious. That doesn’t follow or make sense. Bennett’s system is too crude here. It refers to an ‘energy’ that is not focused via a ‘mind’. So what does it mean outside of that context? We don’t know, but pace Bennett it is the lowest cosmic energy. Note that the ‘will’ is not ‘conscious’.
The term ‘will’ is almost a mystery. The association with human ‘will’ power, confuses us. The laws of physics are to lower nature as the ‘laws of will’ are to a higher nature, thus in a continuum from the ‘laws of physics’ meanings. We see how the idea of ‘god’ so easily derailed into confusion here. This sounds weird, but this nexus of ideas is almost tautologous, given the right definitions of terms.