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In integral thought, involution is the process by which the Divine manifests the cosmos. The process by which the creation rises to higher states and states of consciousness is the evolution. Involution prepares the universe for the Big Bang; evolution continues from that point forward. The term involution comes from the idea that the divine involves itself in creation.
Involution is the process by which the Many is created from out the Absolute, the onmipresent reality, After it ends, the process of evolution begins and continues with all that follows.
Involution is the process by which the Absolute manifests the creation, the universe, the cosmos. It is the process by which the Many emerged from the One as a universe of divided, ignorant forms. Involution is that which occurred to enable the creation to manifest from the Original Principle, the Divine, God, the Absolute, Brahman, Eman. Involution is the process of self-limitation, of densification, by which the Absolute veils itself by stages until it assumes the appearance in the cosmos, the universe we know of, beginning with unconscious forms. The Infinite wishes to create the universe in order to objectify itself and its spiritual properties in infinite possibilities of the creation, for the purpose of Delight of discovery which the forms in creation will come to experience thereafter.
Involution according to Avatar Meher Baba
- Main article: Involution (Avatar Meher Baba)
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For Meher Baba, as described in his book God Speaks, involution is the journey of the fully-conscious human soul back through the higher planes of consciousness (consciously). According to Meher Baba, there are seven planes of consciousness beyond the gross plane. Planes 1-4 are in the subtle world (pran, or energy). Planes 5-6 are in the mental world (mana, or mind). Plane 7 (seven) is the Real, or beyond the creation.
Involution according to Sri Aurobindo
- Main article: Involution (Sri Aurobindo)
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For Sri Aurobindo, involution is the process by which the Omnipresent Reality, i.e. the Absolute, Brahman extends Itself to create a universe of separate forms from out of Its own Force/Energy.
The reason for involution is Delight - the Delight of Being (the Spirit or Absolute) moving to Delight of Becoming (temporal existence, the cosmos), throwing itself into a multiplicity of forms, becoming lost in the inconscience of matter (Life Divine Ch.11-12), and then through evolution the Delight of rediscovering the Spirit which had been hidden.
Evolution is thus the movement forward by which the created universe evolves from its initial state of inconscience (as matter), evolves as Life through animated life forms and mental beings (i.e. humans), and then continues to evolve spiritual properties, and in that process rediscovers its Source.
Evolution of animated forms, mental beings, spirit out of physical matter is only possible because they are Involved at each point. So e.g. the evolution of animated life out of inconscient matter supposes a previous involution of that animated life capacity; as well as mental and spiritual capacities. (It is like a seed that already has the essence of the tree that will emerge from it.) This is true for each plane that emerges inthe evolution.
Each plane not only emerges from the existing plane, but that new existing plane descends from its higher order plane from the Infinite. Thus, when mentality emerged in the universe, the universal plane of Mind also descended in those beings harboring that mentality. In this way, there is a dual movemtn in evolution; from within the form itself of an involved capacity, as well as a descent from the higher corresponding plane.
The evolution is the development and progressive movement of all in the cosmos, including humans, to attain their fulfillment, including discovery of spiritual Delight, that was/is the experience of the Source Creator. The evolution is the progressive development from the original inconscience of matter into life (movement, sensation, desire, etc. and living physical beings), to mind (in conscious beings, animals, including the human, the self-conscious thinking animal), to spiritualized mind, culminating in The Supermind or Truth Consciousness (as supramental individuals, leading to a supramental, i.e. a divine life on earth.)
Involution according to Esoteric cosmology
In Theosophy, Anthroposophy and Rosicrucianism, involution and evolution are part of a complex sequence of cosmic cycles, called Round. When the universe attains a stage of sufficient density, the individual spirit is able to descend and participate in the evolution. Involution thus refers to the incarnation of spirit in an already established matter, the necessary prerequiste of evolution:
- As an example, the so-called descent of the monads into matter means an involution or involving or infolding of spiritual potencies into material vehicles which coincidently and contemporaneously, through the compelling urge of the infolding energies, unfold their own latent capacities, unwrap them, roll them forth; and this is the evolution of matter. -- (de Purucker, 1996)
The period of time devoted to the attainment of self-consciousness and to the building of the vehicles through which the spirit in man manifests, is called "Involution": to slowly carry the life into denser and denser matter for the building of forms, till the nadir of materiality is reached. From that point the life begins to ascend into higher Worlds: this succeeding period of existence, during which the individual human being develops self-consciousness into divine omniscience, is called "Evolution".
Involution according to Ken Wilber
The integral philosopher Ken Wilber refers to involution in his online chapter of Kosmic Karma, employing concepts from Plotinus, Advaita Vedanta, Tibetan Buddhism, and Sri Aurobindo. According to Wilber, the cosmic evolution described in his previous works is preceded by an involution of Spirit into Matter. This involution follows the reverse stages to the sequence of evolution - e.g. Spirit to soul to mind to life to matter. Once the stage of insentient, lifeless matter is attained, then "something like the Big Bang occurs", whereupon matter and manifest world come into concrete existence, from which stage evolution follows.
- Sri Aurobindo The Life Divine, Sri Aurobidno Ashram, Pondicherry, 10th ed. 1977
- Naisbitt, John, Megatrends. Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives. Warner Books. 1982
- Posner, Roy Theory of Creation - the Involution (2006)
- G. de Purucker, Occult Glossary, TUP, 2nd ed., 1996 quote
- Wilber, Ken Introduction: From the Great Chain of Being to Postmodernism in Three Easy Steps Shambhala, 2005
- Harkins, Art and Kubik, George: 2005 Buddhists and Futurists
A Mindful Approach to the Future ... adapting futures techniques for MegaFuturing
- McLuhan, Marshall: 1967 The Medium is the Massage written with Quentin Fiore;
produced by Jerome Agel (Random House; 2000 reprint by Gingko) ISBN 1-58423-070-3
- Naisbitt, John: 1990 Megatrends 2000, William Morrow & Co; ISBN 0-688-07224-0
- Strategic early warning system: Cites prior megatrends research by John Naisbitt.
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