The process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, organisms
that are better adapted to their environment tend to survive longer and transmit
more of their genetic characteristics to succeeding generations than do those that
are less well adapted.
After life started on Earth, the Healing Principle would quickly have become stronger
and stronger within successive generations of living things because those that most
sought to preserve their health and survival would have out-lived and therefore out-reproduced
All living beings are now built to ferociously defend and promote their own well
being, in all kinds of conscious, unconscious and biological ways.
In practice, it means making the most of environmental conditions, and doing the
work of nurturing, of putting the right conditions in place so that well being can
Facts and values
Human flourishing is probably the primary fact that human beings value. We value
it because evolution and natural selection favours those beings that survive and
stay healthy, because these factors make reproduction possible.
What we do for ourselves we can do for others, and this is called compassion. We
spend our lives seeking, gaining or maintaining evolutionary fitness or flourishing,
aiming to feel good in the short or long term (or preferably both). In itself this
is morally neutral but we may do it in a good or bad way, as far as it affects other
The Healing Principle is the currency of compassion
The Healing Principle – fitness, flourishing, well being – is the currency of compassion.
We love compassion
We love to see the Healing Principle at work in ourselves. We love to see others
happy and flourishing. We love and admire people we describe as brave, those who
risk their own well-being for the sake of others, or who expend effort for others,
or who protect others. We feel good when we produce it in others: when we share
our own well-being with others.
Frequent short-sightedness of the Healing Principle
Nature has built us for survival rather than happiness. However, we want both. The
Healing Principle can sometimes be rather blind and troublesome in its operations,
which can lead to unhappiness, for example when it makes us selfish or when the ego
constantly has us in a state of worry and high alert. If we want to achieve happiness,
then we may need to modify the natural order slightly, so as to apply the Healing
Principle in a way that is more optimum for happiness than nature intended.
Short and long term consequences
Some things make us feel good in the short term – but are damaging in the long term.
Likewise, some things that are uncomfortable in the short term bring success in
the long term. The short term only lasts for a short time, while the long term lasts
for a significant chunk of your life.
A natural purpose
The Healing Principle – the drive to seek flourishing and feeling good, in the short
and long term – can be thought of as one of nature’s purposes for us.
A rational faith
The Healing Principle – nature’s tendency to thrive in response to nurturing – is
an idea, based on evolution, that we can have faith in, because it is rational, and
because it works.
An atheist religion?
The Healing Principle is effectively a force that pervades all of nature, so therefore
it pervades you. It is at once personal and transcendent, within you, and all around
you throughout nature: the universal, active drive towards health, strength, feeling
good, well-being and survival.
It is perhaps the most sacred thing we have. As nature’s compassion (“God’s love”),
it forms one of the “DNA” strands of the existing organized religions, and together
with the concept of truth, affords a mystical and spiritual perspective to atheists,
as well as the grounding of an ethics of compassion.
The nurturing actions required by the Healing Principle can be treated as a meditation,
since actions take place in the present moment.
I will be with you – will you be with Me?
Richard Foster – “Life with God – a life-transforming new approach to Bible reading”
Did not He find thee an orphan, and shelter thee?
Did not He find thee erring, and guide thee?
Did not He find thee needy, and suffice thee?
As for the orphan, do not oppress him,
and as for the beggar, scold him not;
and as for thy Lord’s blessing, exalt it.
The Qu’ran: Sura 93
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you
will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who
asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door
will be opened.
Jesus: Matthew 7:7,8
The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like.” He said
to them, “It is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it
falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for the birds
of the sky.”
Jesus: Gospel of St Thomas
... evolution selects for adaptive actions.
Michael Tomasello – “A Natural History of Human Thinking”
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And
that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against
me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
Albert Camus – “Return to Tipasa”
In all species, nature works to renew itself as it works to nourish itself, and to
protect itself from danger, each by its kind and for its kind, in the great work
of continuation that is evolution. In humankind the work of renewal lies in the work
of affection, the bond of one to another made by desire.
A C Grayling – “The Good Book: a secular Bible”
Eventually Muhammed’s religion of al-Llah was known as islām, the act of existential
surrender that each convert was expected to make to God: a muslim is ‘one who surrenders’
his or her whole being to the Creator. At first, however, the believers called their
religion tazaqqa. This is an obscure word, which is not easy to translate. By cultivating
tazaqqa, Muhammed’s converts were to cloak themselves in the virtues of compassion
and generosity; they were to use their intelligence to cultivate a caring and responsible
spirit, which made them want to give graciously of what they had to all God’s creatures.
By pondering the mysteries of creation intelligently Muslims would learn to behave
kindly and this generous attitude would mean that they acquired a spiritual refinement.
Al-Llah was the great exemplar. Muslims were urged to contemplate His ‘signs’ in
order to appreciate His graciousness to the whole of the natural world. As a consequence
of his generous intelligence, there was order and fruitfulness instead of chaos and
selfish barbarism. If they submitted to His edicts, they would find that their own
lives could be transfigured by a similar refinement.
Karen Armstrong – “Muhammad”
chance uk – nurturing and healing troubled children
What is the difference between “I like you” and “I love you”? Beautifully answered
by Buddha. Buddha’s answer was so simple. When you like a flower, you just pluck
it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily. One who understands this, understands
The little girl loves the flower and so she waters it. Then the flower grows of
its own accord, and this is a universal principle of nature. You can be, at the same
time, the little girl and the flower. The water is compassion. What we do for ourselves
we can do for others.