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The Importance of Community

The most primitive organism on this planet is the prokaryote.

Now, this prokaryote might be described as little more than a cell membrane surrounding a droplet of cytoplasm. I mean, you might think of it as something of microscopic goo balloon.

And yet this prokaryote (this most primate organism on the planet, you understand) eats, digests, breathes, excretes and even exhibits something of a neurological processing. It senses where food exists, and it slimes its way to the feast. It recognizes toxins and predators and slimes its way the other direction.

Said another way, our prokaryote displays something of an intelligence. Perhaps it can be said that that cells are smart.

And from that moment - say some 750 million years ago - that the earliest smart cells hooked up, they have formed ever more sophisticated communities (if you will), increasing their awareness of environment exponentially, subdividing the workload with more precision and effectiveness than the organizational charts of Google, and allowing many more to live on much less.

And these smart cells learn from experience - creating cellular memories, or genes, and passing these genes to their offspring. And not only are these genes shared among members of the same species, but they are shared among members of different species.

This sharing of learned information is no accident. If genes are the physical memories of an organism’s learned experiences, then this exchange of genes is a sharing of memories designed to enhance the survival of the biosphere; designed to enhance all life on the planet. Yes, the Beatles may have had it right all along. We really do “get by with a little help from our friends.”

In this understanding, organisms can no longer be seen as disconnected; there are no walls between species. When we genetically alter a tomato, we potentially alter the entire biosphere in ways that we cannot foresee. And scientists are acknowledging this invaluable role of cooperation in sustaining life in the biosphere in a newer field of study called Systems Biology.

It was the French biologist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck who presented a theory of evolution based upon such an instructive, cooperative interaction among organisms and their environment 50 years before Darwin’s work.

And while his theory of an evolution driven by community and cooperation was largely displaced by Darwin’s theory of an evolution driven by competition and struggle, newer biology would suggest that the overlooked Lamarck was not entirely wrong and the celebrated Darwin was not entirely right.

It was today’s Dr. Bruce Lipton wrote, and I quote, that, “If we fail to apply the lessons of our shared genetic destiny, which should be teaching us the importance of cooperation among all species, we threaten human existence. We need to move beyond Darwinian Theory, which stresses the importance of individuals, to one that stresses the importance of community,” that this belief in an evolution driven by survival of the fittest is incorrect and destructive – a primary cause of the problems that we face today.

James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis says the same thing in different words: that the earth and all of its species are one, interactive, living organism, that the biosphere is a tightly integrated, holistic harmonizing community, and that tampering with the balance of this superorganism (or Gaia) threatens its very survival.

Unity’s own Myrtle Fillmore wrote it this way, “God is the one perfect life flowing through us. God is the one pure substance out of which our organism is formed. God is the power that gives us motive power; the strength that holds us upright and allows us to exercise our limbs; the wisdom that gives us intelligence in every cell of our organism, every thought of our minds. God is the only reality of us; all else is but a shadow.”

Ernest Holmes, of Religious Science spoke to this same idea, and I paraphrase, that the infinite cannot oppose the infinite; that, in effect, God cannot oppose God. And this doesn’t mean that humanity can’t make unenlightened decisions. This simply means that humanity’s unenlightened decisions will ultimately be balanced in ways which may or may not support our collective addiction to pleasure.