Spiritual Lessons From Evolution II
This lesson comes from research subsequent to Darwin, specifically our modern understanding of DNA, but it still falls under the broad heading of evolution.

We share DNA with every living thing on the planet. Not only can we prove all men are brothers and calculate the degree of consanguinity, we are related to animals, plants and even insects.

There's some research indicating that altruism has its orgin in relationship - an altruistic villager is helping his or her own genes get passed on because most villagers are near relations - but near or far, they are all related.

I'm not suggesting you put away your bug spray just as we don't invite distant cousins to move in (an occasional dinner together is okay, and extreme circumstances may change your views.) I am suggesting that we can be gentle towards our relatives.

There's a phrase about 'dominion over the animals' which crops up whenever I talk about this spiritual idea. I don't see any conflict. I had dominion over my daughter while she was growing up. I took care of her and kept her out of trouble; which sometimes meant that I told her exactly what she could and couldn't do.

(Okay, that worked for a little while, but long before she became a teenager she found out that she could do stuff on her own, sometimes with my approval and sometimes without. The point is the same, regardless of how messy the real life example can get.)

The degree of kinship is also higher than you might expect. I read somewhere that we share 96% of our DNA with chimpanzees. That's not quite kissing cousins, but it's close enough that we might want to invite them to an occasional dinner or its metaphorical equivalent.