WHY DO WE NEED CONSCIOUS EVOLUTION?
BECAUSE AN ENTIRE GENERATION IS SUFFERING FROM AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS.
“Conscious evolution is a double edged sword. It’s not just that we have the opportunity to consciously evolve but that we must…unconscious evolution may mean no evolution at all.’
– Carter Phipps
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Children as young as five are being treated for mental health in England.
Young people are looking at the world and the kind of life that they are expected to lead and saying “no, this is not how it’s meant to be”. Forty somethings are waking up one morning with everything they thought they wanted and asking themselves, is this it? And what’s worse it’s the most sensitive souls with the most to offer that are suffering the most.
This is a crisis of values. A value system tells us what is good, what is meaningful and what is worth aiming for in life. When our value systems fail to match up to our internal sense of what is good, true and beautiful then people suffer.
The traditional value system no longer stands up to rational scrutiny. The modernist value system is bankrupt in the face of climate breakdown and spiralling inequality. And the postmodern value system is failing to reach across boundaries and heal our increasingly polarised cultural space. None of these worldviews on their own is enough to deal with the increasing complexity of the world. What we need is a new value system which can integrate the best that all of the previous stages have to offer into a coherent narrative that stands up to rational scrutiny and yet speaks to the deep need we all have for meaning and purpose.
Conscious Evolution is the answer. It is the next emerging stage of cultural and consciousness evolution. It sees that all of these value systems are part of a developmental process. It sees they are all true, but partial. It sees that human cultural and consciousness evolution is the leading edge of a 13.7bn year process, and that the continued advancement of that process depends upon us.
Conscious Evolution tells us that any action which facilitates or aids the process of evolution on its way from matter through to Spirit is morally good. And that any action which slows it down or impedes it is morally bad. It tells us that a life devoted to consciously facilitating the evolutionary process will be a happy and fulfilling life.
“That next step will not emerge by itself – it must be consciously created by human beings who have awakened to the same impulse that is driving the process.’
– Andrew Cohen
CONSCIOUS EVOLUTION PROVIDES MEANING AND PURPOSE FOR HUMAN EXISTENCE
“Meaning is a prerequisite for happiness.’
– Roy Baumeister
Amongst all the animals humans are unique.
If you take a dog and give it some food, a place to run around, and other dogs to play with, a dog will be happy. That’s all a dog needs to be happy.
But humans need something else.
This is what Abraham Maslow aimed to set out in his hierarchy of needs. When all our security needs are met, a new need emerges: the need to ‘self-actualise’, the need to fulfil our potential, the need for meaning and purpose. It is this need to which Conscious Evolution speaks.
We are all different and so we will all have different paths to self-actualisation. But what Conscious Evolution says is that all of these paths have something in common. It says that underneath all our differences, there is a master key to a meaningful life.
The master key to a meaningful life is this: find your way of facilitating evolution, and your life will be filled with meaning and purpose.
‘There is nothing we need more right now in our culture than the kind of conviction that comes from knowing at a deep level that what we do is real and genuinely matters.’
- Carter Phipps
BECAUSE WE MAY NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT IT
‘Homo sapiens, the first truly free species, is about to decommission natural selection, the force that made us....Soon we must look deep within ourselves and decide what we wish to become.’
— E. O. Wilson
The latest climate change science raises the possibility that our maladaptive drives may be driving us to extinction. We have evolved impulses to reproduce freely, accumulate possessions, and eat meat, but in a highly populated world these behaviours have become maladaptive. The only way to free ourselves from these impulses is to cultivate an awareness around our choices, to look at our instincts and inclinations and discard those which no longer serve us. This is Conscious Evolution in a nutshell.
More generally climate change is a tragedy of the commons and can only be solved by global cooperation. Similarly, the threat of nuclear war will never disappear until we stop identifying with our individual nation and start identifying as global citizens.
Up till now the ever widening circles of cooperation seen in biological evolution and recapitulated in human cultural evolution have been powered by game theory and blind natural selection. There has always been an out group to compete against, to spur and incentivise the formation of ever larger cooperatives.
But now human cooperation spans the planet we have run out of out-groups to compete against.
And that’s why the transition to a united global cooperative can only be achieved consciously, intentionally, by human beings who have awakened to the fact that the unfolding of evolution happens through and in us, and that its future direction depends upon the choices we make right now!
“Our species is, in point of fact, determining the future direction of evolution on this earth.’
– Julian Huxley