Conscious Evolution all About ?
"Homo sapiens, the first truly free species,
is about to decommission natural selection, ... Soon we must look deep within
ourselves and decide what we wish to become.” Edward
Barbara Marx Hubbard, American futurist and visionary, was the first to coin
the phrase Conscious Evolution. The word evolution is defined
as a process of movement and continuous change, a period of growth or
development in a certain direction, usually from a simpler state to one that is
more complex and functional. Behind the complexities of Darwinian evolution is
a simple process consisting of growth,
change and development. We observe this process all around us in the
natural world and also within ourselves as individual people.
By employing the word conscious we
enter into more controversial territory. For much of our history on the planet
we felt like creatures at the mercy of alien forces which we strove to conquer
and eliminate, but rarely succeeded. Religion very much endorsed this view. In
Darwinian terms, the struggle was described as the survival of the fittest,
encouraging a strategy of fierce competition always favoring the strong and
dominant. In religious terms, the problem belonged to a fundamental flaw
(called Original Sin in Christianity) about which humans could do nothing in
this world unless they submitted to faith in Jesus and the salvation for
humanity which he wrought upon the Cross. Even if humans adopt the Christian faith they
still have to live with a lot of alienation.
Increasingly humans inhabit a planet saturated with information, generating
a new quality of awareness, which in scientific and spiritual terms is
described as consciousness. Evolution
today (material and human) is driven by a hyper sense of awareness – hence the
phrase, conscious evolution. It feels like we are in the process of
outgrowing – or desiring to outgrow – the mechanistic power of what the
Darwinians call natural selection.
Where once we were at the mercy of our environment, now our environment is at
our disposal to re-configure as we wish. Conscious evolution suggests that
humanity can choose advancement through co-operation and co-creation rather
than self-destruction through separateness and competition.
A New Evolutionary Threshold
Mankind is on the verge of an evolutionary leap in consciousness, to a
whole new way of thinking and being that – for weal or for woe – is changing
our self-understanding and posing whole new questions on our inter-relationship
with the web of life. Up to this point, the forces of evolution were understood
to be external to mankind, with humans as passive recipients rather than
In terms of self-perception, for long we have viewed ourselves as isolated
individuals battling for survival, competing with alien forces from within and
without, eking out identity through a specific family, ethnicity, religion,
nation-state, over-against all others who also took their identity from the
same foundational configuration. Individuality (ego-identity) defined the
person, the tribe, the religion, the nation State. And the dominant paradigm
was neatly encapsulated in the scientific dogma: “The whole equals the sum of
Along came Quantum Physics, and the evolutionary consciousness of the 20th
century, and seismic shifts not merely disturbed, but actually shattered, our
ego-identity. Now we are being moved along by a new consciousness –
subconsciously for the greater part – in an universe where: “The whole is
greater than the sum of the parts.” It evokes a radically different set of
perceptions and substantially new understandings of everything in our world. The
“parts” are awakening to the power of the whole. Simply put, we are now living
through the birth pains of the planetary mind!
Choosing the Way Ahead
Then comes the painful contradiction: many of our major institutions –
political, economic, social, educational, religious – operate out of the old
ego-focused identity. Business as usual! It is almost thirty years ago since
two American theorists coined the phrase: permanently
failing organizations, explaining the growing irrelevance and eventual
collapse of the institutions on which we all rely for our daily existence. Of
course, millions have walked away and continue to do so, leaving the
institutions more and more petrified and reactionary. And for those who do walk
away, the way ahead if far from clear.
At this juncture the advocates of conscious evolution offer a sense of utopian
hope: “You can – must – choose your own way forward.” One of the well known
advocates, Andrew Cohen (currently a controversial figure), puts it like this: “If you aspire to become an
evolutionarily enlightened human being, your ability to do so depends upon
accepting the simple fact that independent of external circumstances, you
always have a measure of freedom to choose.” From this point forward we will
consciously participate in the direction of our own evolution. We will become
what we choose to become. Exercising that choice is a great deal more complex
and problematic than most people realize.
And the advice may not be as authentic as it initially sounds. In evolutionary
terms, it is not so much about we humans making choices for ourselves, choices
that will enhance control over our destiny, prolong our longevity, or improve
the quality of our happiness and fulfillment. This could easily lead humans
into re-inventing the all-powerful deity we desire to dislodge. Instead of all
the emphasis on choosing to control,
the wisdom of this moment requires us to make choices of submission. We need to learn to flow with evolution’s unfolding. We
need to abandon our ego-superiority to the evolutionary lure of the future.
That is how the great mystics did it – and they are our more reliable guides
for this precarious and promising time.
Evolution is advancing in strides unknown to any previous generations.
Assuredly we humans are evolution becoming conscious of itself. It is in and
through us humans, that the awareness – the consciousness – is most cognitive
and transparent. And enormous responsibilities ensue. With all the wisdom we
can mobilize, we need to discern what
is actually transpiring at this time (the sciences are probably our primary
sources of enlightenment), its impact on our lives at every level, and the
receptivity we need to attend and discern responsibly. In the past, religion
claimed to be our primary resource for such discernment, but not anymore;
religion itself has become too ensnared in dysfunctional disintegration.
Yes, we are conscious with a degree of awareness that is very new for our
species. On a global scale we are launched into a new web of interconnection
and creative possibility. And we carry within us a deep hunger and passionate
urgency to dislodge our oppressive past and embrace the new horizon with a kind
of reckless freedom. Our subconscious sense of urgency could be our undoing,
leading us to a new dangerous anthropocentric self-inflation that will only
alienate us further from the creative freedom we desire. The responsibility to
respond in a discerning way rests heavily upon us. It requires a quality of
spiritual focus, largely unknown to mainline religions, and therefore, a
resource we must also co-create at this time. Barbara Marx Hubbard expresses it
well in these words:
“Conscious Evolution is a new worldview that is now emerging rapidly and
garnering worldwide interest and support. It acknowledges that humankind has
attained unprecedented powers to affect, control and change the evolution of
life on Earth. . . Conscious Evolution is at the core a spiritually motivated
endeavor. Its precepts reside at the heart of every great faith, affirming that
humans have the potential of being co- creators with Spirit, with the deeper
patterns of nature and universal design.”
Humankind is now in the process of shifting our normal state of awareness from
an individual/ego point of view to a global/spiritual point of view, and our
basic choice is to cooperate with that process and help it along. We must let
go of all the patriarchal domination, still so endemic to our politics and
religions. Empowered by the wisdom of the great mystics, we must learn to
submit to where the Great Spirit leads, and make the many adjustments evolution
is asking of us at this time. From here on we are called to be a participatory and
discerning species, not a dominating and controlling one.
As we shift away from the old, self-destructive patterns of
competing for energy and towards a higher spiritual potential, we evolve
collectively towards a culture that is oriented to co-creative growth and less
focused on outer technologies, as a means for survival. By being in harmony
with the universal flow, we begin to “vibrate” at a frequency that brings us
into unifying alignment with the Source and also with one another. In that way
we move towards the new freedom, the deepest aspiration of all the great
religions, and central truth of the great mystical traditions known to
Hubbard, Barbara Marx. 1998. Conscious
Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential.
Robert E. Ornstein, Robert E. & Paul R. Ehrlich. 2000. New World New Mind: Moving Toward Conscious Evolution.
Brumet, Robert. 2010. Birthing a Greater Reality: A Guide to Conscious Evolution.
Laszlo, Ervin & Kingsley L. Dennis. 2012. New Science and
Spirituality Reader: Leading Thinkers on Conscious Evolution.
Christi, Nicolya. 2013. Contemporary Spirituality For An Evolving World: A Handbook for Conscious