Man's Evolutionary Dimensions

How has man and his society been affected in the past? Has there been an evolution or at least some progress in all aspects of life? Or has there been none of it? Or is there a third alternative, namely considerable progress in some aspects and none or very little in others, not proportionate with technical advance and social organization? It seems that in social life, man has not made much advance, and if we assume technical advance and social organization as the body of a society, and man 1s social life as its spirit, we must say that while the body has grown enormously, the spirit has advanced little.

For this reason, views concerning the future are bound to be different.

Man's Future Evolution

Some people are doubtful about the future and wonder if there is a future at all for man and whether he is not threatened with destruction. This kind of doubt is mostly seen in Western men of learning.

Other groups go a step farther and are quite cynical about man's future and destiny, They think that his animal nature prevails, showing such qualities as lustfulness t egoism, selfishness, deceit, falsehood, oppression etc. They say since the beginning of man's social life, society has been a scene of evil and corruption, in both periods of barbarism and civilization.

They believe that neither civilization has brought about any change in his nature, nor has culture or any other factor. Thus, there is no difference between the primitive man of early times and the civilized man of to-day with regard to goals and objectives. The only difference is the manner of work, and form and appearance.

The primitive man, because of lack of culture and civilization, committed his crimes more openly and plainly, whereas in modern culture, the same crimes are covered up by fine words and forms. There is no difference in the deeds of either of them, except in form and appearance.
What is the conclusion? They say it is despair and there is no remedy for it. (Fortunately most of us think otherwise) Does the solution lie in a collective suicide?

Suicide As A Wrong Logic

It is strange to say that a human being who has attained cultural maturity should commit suicide. This attitude is prevalent in Europe in various shapes. Statistics show that in spite of all the comfort that exists in the civilised world, the number of suicides is increasing. Such statistics are published in newspapers from time to time.

This Hippiism, which is another social phenomenon, is a reaction against civilisation, showing that civilisation has failed to serve and change mankind. This Hippiism of the West should not be compared with ours, for they have a philosophy of disgust with civilisation which has not been able to solve any problem.

The reports of UNESCO about various places show how people resort to narcotics in those countries as a result of cynicism towards and despair of humanity.

When man reaches a stage where he finds no remedy even in reform and revolution, and a change of governmental and economic system is only a change of form and not of context and spirit, then he resorts to deviation in his despair.

Scientific Theory

The second theory is that man's future is not hopeless and science resolves social problems. This theory is supported, not by advanced countries, but by their newly progressed followers. This theory was suggested by Bitten and others as a remedy for all human sufferings. It is said that by building a school, you actually demolish a prison, and by knowledge and freedom, all difficulties are removed.

What are man's difficulties? Ignorance, weakness against nature, sickness, poverty, anxiety, oppression and greed.

In this theory, there is some truth, for knowledge removes ignorance and man's weakness against nature and his poverty in so far as it is related to nature. But not all of man's pains are connected with nature. The greatest of these pains is due to the relation of man to man, such as oppression and injustice, or related to man's inherent nature such as the feeling of loneliness and worry and anxiety, which pains knowledge has not been able to remedy.

This theory of knowledge as a remedy of all pains has become obsolete in countries which have advanced in science, but in other countries they still believe it, and do not realize that there are matters related to the human aspects of man about which science can do nothing.

Learned men reach a conclusion that science is neutral and cannot offer a goal for man and cannot elevate his goals. It only helps man acting as an aid in the direction he has chosen.

Today we see that most of man's suffering from human beings comes from learned men, not from ignorant men. Has it been the ignorant who exploited the ignorant in these few centuries? Was it the ignorant who exploited the learned or vice versa? Knowledge and culture give man an under­ standing of the world, but this is not enough. There are other things necessary besides understanding to resolve man's difficulties.

Ideology And Religion Governing Man

The third theory is that man should not despair of the future? Why, then, has he despaired in the past? This view claims that the reason for it is inability to find the root-cause of human pains. The reason lies not in ignorance and weakness etc., it lies in the kind of ideology which rules over man,

According to this theory, in addition to science, culture and technology, there are also ideology and religion which rule over man and society. To enable man to combat against his weak points, a change of ideology is necessary. In the opinion of adherents of this theory, since man abandoned the early communal system and replaced it with private ownership causing so much confusion throughout history, and has based these ideologies on private ownership and class system creating social systems on their basis, all these problems have existed as long as an ideology which rules over man dominates him, an ideology which allows him to exploit other human beings legally and legitimately, such baseness, disquiet, losses, bloodshed, disputes, wars, homicide and cruelties and every other kind of wickedness will exist.

All these will be removed only when this ideology is changed, and with a collective unity all beings will become equal and brotherly. Then, there will be no oppression, and no fear and anxiety. It is then that man, parallel with his material and technical evolution, will also gradually develop in his human dimensions, and with his physical growth he will attain mental and spiritual growth as well.

Marxism considers all the sufferings to have their root in class ideology and private ownership, and so an evolved society must be a classless one.

There are many objections to this view and theory. One of them is whether a ruling ideology is due to the nature of men, and of dominant men. Or is it because of the nature of dominant men that ideology has taken this form? Can you, who believe in objectivity as prior to subjectivity, say that the ruling class has an oppressive ideology because such a class has an oppressive nature? Or is it their sense of profit seeking that causes this? There is this quality in man that he seeks profit so far as possible. Thus, ideology is a tool in human hand, and not man as a tool for the ideology created by himself.

If an ideology is changed, human beings remain unchanged and there are other ways for them. Even with a human and anti-class ideology, man can carry on the exploitation of other human beings. The point is that with the changes in systems, man keeps on using his nature to play with those systems and use them as tools. Do human beings have freedom in the countries where there is followed a so-called anti-exploitation and anti-class ideology? Does there exist any equality?

There is no equality in happiness, but there is an equality in unhappiness. There are social classes but not in the form of economic strata. Ten million out of two hundred million people hold the rein of everything in the name of the Communist Party. Do they allow the remaining one hundred and ninety million to be in the Communist Party? If they do so, the privileges of the minority will be lost. (Or is it that the majority dislikes Communism so much that it willingly foregoes the membership of that Party at the cost of losing those privileges?

In fact, the worst types of suppressions and miseries take place in the name of an anti-class ideology, whereas actually a new class is formed without being called so.

Moreover, if an ideology is only a view or a philosophy, has this view or philosophy the power to change human nature? Never!

Why is knowledge unable to change human nature? Because knowledge is only understanding and awareness. An ideology whose elements are only recognition without having an element of faith, namely inclination, cannot affect human nature.

A view so long as it remains only a view or philosophy and is related to human mind and understanding, has no effect on human nature. It is only a way of distinguishing one's interests more clearly and becoming more far-sighted.

But it cannot provide a higher understanding, and if human nature lacks a higher goal, how can man find such a goal? When thought has no genuineness, it cannot control man. Therefore, Marxism must necessarily admit such realities as nature, faith, true morality etc. in order to resolve the problem of inclination.

World Vision Concerning Man

To resolve this problem, Marxism has resorted to a view called “Pensialism”, which is similar to materialistic world vision, but with a proposal to remove the defect in Marxism. As such things as humanism and human values, and matters such as peace, justice and moral principles are considered as idealistic and worthless in Marxism, “Pensialism” attributes some importance to human values in order to create a basis of inclination as something which would attract man and provide higher goals for him than materialistic ones.

But what are these human values that they declare in a materialistic world? You claim that the world is a mass of matter, material actions and reactions, and there exists nothing else. Thus, man, too, is only his physical side and has no other reality, and what can be related to this material aspect is profit. For him food, clothes, dwelling, and sexual matters are objective things. Where, then, have 'human values' come from? The answer they give is that man himself has created them. They are not independent entities, but as man possesses will power, he can create values which have no existence of their own.

This is a most comical and stupid theory! How do you create these values, when you consider man to lack generosity, chivalry, self-sacrifice and service, and when such things have no meaning and value in his own essence? If we say to a microphone 'I give you the value of gold', will it become gold? Iron is iron and its reality cannot be changed by man, Granting value in the sense of creating and giving objective reality has no meaning; but as a credible reality it finds all meaning.

This subject is not found in any oriental and occidental philosophy, and is only discussed by scholar Tabatabai in his book, “Introduction to the principles of philosophy method of realism,” saying that credible matters like hypothetical and conventional subjects can only be used as tools.1

Suppose a man from abroad has come to Iran. We can, by agreement, make him Iranian and grant him all the rights of a citizen of Iran. This agreement is based on credit which may be used as a tool, but not as a goal. If a man wants his wife who is ugly to be beautiful, can he credit her with beauty, and love her as a beautiful woman? This is like creating an idol and then worshipping it. The Qur'an says in Chapter “Al-Saffat” (the Rangers):

“What! Do you worship what you hew out?”(37:95).

Human goal must have a reality beyond credit and supposition. Thus, saying that man creates his own values is nonsensical.

Here then the final school presents itself as a school which is not cynical about human nature

It says that the testimony of man against human nature to the effect that it is based on evil and corruption is the unjust and ignorant testimony that the angels gave about man before his creation and which God rejected as untrue. The Qur'an speaks about this as follows in Chapter “Al-Baqarah” (the Cow):

“And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place in the earth a caliph (or viceroy), they said: What! Wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? He said: Surely I know what you do not know.” (2:30).

Thus God answers those who objected to the creation of man that they had only noticed his natural and animal inclination while they were unaware of his human and divine aspect. He said that we had placed in him love of truth, desire to seek truth, endeavour, love of justice and freedom. This being is a mixture of darkness and light.

Can an ideology which safeguards the interests of a group only, guide man? Or an ideology which is only a philosophy lacking the reality of man and his spiritual inclinations lead him?

They claim that man has no inclination towards anything and anywhere in his essence, and is solely a materialistic creature; or that he assumes a value for himself and then worships it, These are nonsense; man should know himself. It is an insult to the position of humanity to consider all the efforts of man in the past to be in the direction of individual, group or national interests.

The Conflict Of Right And Wrong Throughout History

There are two natures of darkness and light inherent in man, and each individual is engaged in a crusade within himself for the victory of one of these two natures. Those who have placed their mental and scientific powers form the group and flank of right in society and are supporters of truth and justice. And those who have supported wrong constitute the animal and decadent group. These two groups have had a perpetual clash throughout history; and as the Qur'an says, the most magnificent conflicts of human beings has been between the followers of right and wrong.

What do followers of right and wrong mean? A man who is liberated from outside nature, from other beings and from his own animal side, and has attained divine faith and ideal, is a follower of right, and he is different from a decadent, and mean seeker of profit who is a follower of wrong.

The Qur'an beautifully expresses this difference and contrast in Chapter “Al-Ma’idah” (the Food):

“And relate to them the story of the two sons of Adam with truth when they both offered an offering, but it was accepted from one of them and was not accepted from the other. He said: I will most certainly slay you. (The other) said: Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).” (5:27).

“If you stretch forth your hand towards me to slay me, I am not one to stretch forth my hand towards you to slay you surely I fear Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” (5:28).

“Surely I wish that you should bear the sin committed against me and your own sin, and so you would be of the inmates of the fire, and this is the recompense of the unjust.” (5:29).

“Then his mind facilitated to him the slaying of his brother…” (5:30).

Thus the slayer is enslaved by his own desire.

The story of Abel and Cain is one of the finest stories in the Qur'an, showing how a man of faith and ideal and free from social and material entanglements as well as those of the self becomes stronger and firmer in his belief, while others turn to mischief and rebellion.

The dispute between Abel and Cain should not be mistaken for class wars, for; it is not related to materialism. The Qur'an in showing the role of the oppressors on the other indicates that many wars are the wars between the followers of faith and profit-seekers. If man possesses these two aspects, society, too, possesses them. A school which believes in human values thinks of them as a reflection of divine attributes inherent in man, which should be discovered by him.

If so, what is the future of man? Should we, like God's angels, be cynical about it, and say that man has a wicked nature? Should man yield to suicide, hippyism, narcotics etc.? Or should he wait for miracles from a class ideology which says that class opposition is the agent of movement in history and an ideal society is classless?

After man resolves contrasts and removes his defects, he falls on his way to a higher course which has no limit and no end. Even a prophet has room for the exaltation which we cannot imagine. It is then the victory of the love of God over the love of Satan, and man becomes committed and duty-bound as an intelligent and free being with option and will power.

The conflict between right and wrong continues and society advances to a point foreseen by the Guardians of God's religion, leading to the rule of justice which is interpreted to mean the rule of Imam Mahdi.

Thus question of the evolution of man in addition to devotions, communions, recognition of God, abstention from sins and falsehood, treason, oppression and slander and beside its social aspects, also possesses an educational and human side which must be revived in order to rise above these matters.

This becomes possible only when human struggle comes to possess a basis of total faith, actual struggle, then, produces spiritual evolution, and this struggle must begin from within. These are the teachings of prophets and you cannot find them so magnificently elsewhere.

The Prophet sends an army against external forces and when his troops return victoriously, the Prophet, welcoming and praising them addresses them in the following manner:

“Praise be upon you for your victorious return, but there is still another combat to engage in [Al-Jihad Al-Akbar].”

They wonder at this remark and ask him if there is still a greater war. The Prophet says:

“He will indeed be successful who purifies it.”(91:9).

“And he will indeed fail who corrupts it.”(91:10).

This call for the understanding of man by himself, and his combat with the self does not find a place in the teachings of others, for they lack the capacity for it.

  • 1. Vol. 2, Article 2.