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God and Evolution
God and Evolution
THE GLOBAL SPIRITUAL AWAKENING
Truth is eternal, yet unfolding. Unchanging, it assumes ten thousand guises. Its form varies in order to speak to a given age and its people. Indeed each one of us needs to find the truth that is ours, what works for us if we are to achieve the life we wish to have.
Every age creates the forms of truth by which those of us who create that age will live. The crucial variable is the extent to which awareness comes to recognize, experience, and live the truth that is most evolutionary on both individual and collective levels. The number and degree to which individuals are conscious of any portion of such truth, are able to align their truth with eternal truth, has varied enormously throughout history. When many individuals recognize the truth of their being and the nature of life itself, the world witness’s periods of incredible spiritual advance…a transformation, an awakening.
We live in such an age. Perhaps never before have so many people come to understand the truth of life to such an extent as is occurring at this very moment. We are living in the midst of what may be our histories grandest spiritual awakening, the beginning of an era of astonishing spiritual progress. We are, in fact, not only participating in, but creating this spiritual awakening from within ourselves. Such spiritual progress will, as it turns out, be the factor that solves the social, political, economic, environmental problems that vex humanity.
This global spiritual awakening, it can be argued, is an inevitable event in human history… an event whose time has simply come. A strong case can be made that this spiritual awakening is a logical outcome of the evolutionary process of life. The inference is that evolution is a process that works toward enhanced spirituality achieved by means of expanded consciousness on both the individual and collective levels. A central tenet of this spiritual awakening is the understanding that evolution takes the form of expanded consciousness and through this expanded consciousness can be channelled to yet further expand consciousness. The result is greater love of our selves and our fellows coupled with the unselfish desire to be of service to others. In this way world peace and prosperity for all will be achieved.
In terms of consciousness, evolution is a cybernetic, creative, self-referent, self-interactive, self-organizing system that builds upon its own inner nature to move onward with constantly greater impact, more rapidly, more deeply, more persuasively, and more beneficially…unfolding, infolding, expanding, and all inclusive. As the individual rises to new heights of awareness and joins others in this enterprise, that awareness spreads beyond even those "consciously" participating to become part of the fabric of the consciousness of the whole.
The evolution of this awakening can be traced through the ages, through the evolution of our world from geo-sphere to biosphere to no-sphere, in the advances of modern physics from Newton to Quantum Field Theory, in the evolving theories of complexity, in the growing convergence between religion and science, and between the philosophies of the East and the West
In our time, this global spiritual awakening, manifesting in ten thousand forms, has come full term. As a result we are discovering a new and deeper understanding of God, of ourselves, of the relationship between God and ourselves, of life, of death, of spirituality, and enlightenment. We are developing new values and models based upon those values for our social, political, economic, religious, and cultural institutions. We are reinventing ourselves and our world.
This global spiritual awakening is culminating now in a revolutionary experience of our selves, our collective consciousness, and our destiny. We are creating a true Age of Enlightenment. The advent of this Age of Enlightenment depends upon our collective choices. Let us choose together to bring this global spiritual awakening to fruition always remembering that we ever stand at the beginning. Our journey is an adventure without end leading to more and more happiness and fulfilment.
Evolution is the process by which life attains its fullest expression. Evolution is the process of actualizing the full potential of all the laws of nature within every individual so that all may experience an exalted and beautiful way of living. Growth in enlightenment is evolution. Growth in enlightenment is the evolution of the fullness of life whereby the potential of life becomes an actuality. The potential for unbounded spiritual development is the promise of evolution. Spiritual growth is the actualization of that potential. Every step of growth is a step in the direction of evolution.
Evolution is the march of creation toward the fullness of fullness. Evolution is the inexorable march of life toward the unbounded, overflowing abundance of life. The purpose of evolution is spiritual completeness, completeness in which every law of nature finds its total expression. Evolution is Life. Evolution is God creating. Evolution is God unfolding to God. Evolution is each of us creating our Selves, the process of our Self-realization. Evolution is God in action. Evolution is us creating in concert with God.
Evolution is inescapable. Evolution never stops. Evolution manifests as a move toward higher states of consciousness and spiritual development for every human being. Human consciousness is a product of evolution because evolution is consciousness on the move. Since evolution is consciousness on the move toward its most complete expression, evolution drives on toward the full expression of consciousness in every grain of creation.
We are agents of evolution, individually and collectively. We are co-creators of evolution. As we evolve, evolution evolves. The cosmic force of evolution gains strength as we evolve. In this global spiritual awakening we have become conscious participants in the evolutionary process. We have reached that stage in our own evolutions when we are able to consciously produce this evolutionary effect throughout our world.
As we evolve, so our world, even our physical world, becomes more beautiful and life supporting. Evolution is life ever moving toward more and more happiness. Evolution is life ever moving toward more and more love. Evolution produces greater unity and more vivid diversity structured in that unity. Evolution is the process by which we become love itself now and in eternity. Evolution is God and us together.
God is All That Is. God is all that is not. God is no thing. God is any thing. God is every thing. God is the one thing that is. All things are one thing. There is only one thing and all things are part of this one thing that is no thing. God is the Being. God is existence. All that exists has its existence in God. All that exists is God manifest in God's unlimited diversity of forms.
God is process. God is life. God is the unified field of pure consciousness that permeates every thing, with everything. We live within God. God lives within us. We are always living within God's loving embrace. God is love. And God is loving.
God is us: unbounded, transcendental, absolute, existential. God is all that exists. God is the All That Exists. God is existence. God is Being. God is our loving friend. God is friendliness. God is love.
God is life. God is unchanging. God is evolution. God is change. God is silence. God is dynamism. God is everywhere. God is all knowing. God is all powerful. God is love. Ultimate reality is Love. Love alone exists. God is love.
God is the transcendental, unbounded, absolute, existential field of pure consciousness. God is unbounded consciousness creating boundaries. God is the unity of knower knowing the known. God is that which knows itself. God is the Self of everyone. God is the transcendent, the transpersonal. God is the personal, loving God whose living presence is always available to each of us if we wish because God is our friend because God is love.
God is one and many, indivisible. God is unity and God is diversity. God is the unmoving moving. God is stillness on the move. God goes no where, but is every where. We are individuations of God created to share God's abundance even unto unbounded fullness. Why? Because God is love.
Life is God expressed. All that is life is God. God and human beings live in unity. We live with God. God is not separate from us. We are not separate from God. God does not stand apart from us. We are individuations of God. God is all of us. We are not separate from each other.
God never judges us, nor condemns us. God does not create us in sin, nor does God view us as sinners. God is our eternal friend. We are God's beloved children made in God's image and likeness with whom God is well pleased always. We are part of God. We are God's beloved. God gives us all that is God. God requires nothing from us. We were created to share the abundance of life that is God because God is love.
And so are we.
We need not only to understand a new spirituality, but create that new spirituality. We are in the process of enlarging and refreshing the traditional understanding of spirituality. In this process we will not abandon the best of our traditions, but select the best of those traditions while adding to them that which we are discovering and creating in this spiritual awakening. The result will be a new spiritual model that synthesizes old and new in a comprehensive system that is evolutionary, life supporting for our time and our future.
Spirituality is simply the quality or state of being spiritual. We are all spiritual. We are all spirit. Existentially human beings are spirit. That is the nature of our being. The spirit is by nature unbounded love, peace, joy, fulfilment. We were born, came into existence, in the spiritual realm of the unbounded absolute.
We are, in reality, an individuation of that which is All. We were created so that the All could have the experience of the All not merely the knowledge of All. Experience is the key to fulfilment. We were created to create the experience of life taken to its fullest. For this purpose we were given the gift of Life. Life is God expressed. The manifest realm floats on the ocean of spirit.
The journey of life is the continuous, eternal interplay of the spiritual and physical realms of existence, the absolute and the relative. In the spiritual realm, the realm of the absolute, we 'know' the reality of who we are. In the physical realm, the realm of the relative, we experience. In order to live fully, to experience the fullness of our Selves, it is necessary to be immersed in the relative, physical, experiential world. The result of that immersion for most of us is that we forget our spirituality to varying degrees. Yet it remains with us because it is us even if our awareness of that truth is temporarily overshadowed.
We are spirit beings who can have minds and physical bodies. During our lives in the physical realm when we have taken on a body, or we could say when we have chosen to allow a part of ourselves to vibrate at a lower frequency, we have difficulty being aware of our fundamental natures as spiritual beings. This is because our consciousness is focused or absorbed in the physical forms in which we are immersed. But we are not a body. We are not an intellect, or even a mind. We are a spirit that can assume a three part form of spirit, mind, and body.
Our journey in life is to create the fullness of our true nature, our spirit, our spirituality through experience. It is for experience leading to fullness that we come to the physical plane. As we live here we grow in the experience of our spirituality. This is the purpose of life, the purpose of a spiritual path, the purpose of our politics, our society, our culture, our science, our philosophy, our art, and our religion. Life is about the spirit becoming spiritual, growing in spirituality, in love, peace, joy, compassion, forgiveness, fulfilment through experience as a means of creating these spiritual qualities on the level of our growing awareness of who we are in reality.
Nor are spiritual principles any longer conceived as mere maxims or guides to right living. In this awakening spiritual principles have come to be seen as actual laws of nature as surely as any law of physics. Morality is that which works. That which works is that which functions in accord with the laws of nature, God's will. This realization has spurred extensive inquiry into the relationship between science and spirituality.
In this awakening consciousness has been revealed as the fundamental constituent of reality. Consciousness is not a by product of the human brain, but the antecedent and creative force from which the human physiology, in fact the entire manifest universe, has been created. Consciousness is the ultimate, fundamental, and indeed, only ultimate reality. Consciousness is the very state of Existence and Being underlying, creating, and upholding every aspect of the individual expressions of being that constitute the manifest realm of existence. This unified field is transcendental and unbounded in nature.
Consciousness is that which is aware of itself. It is self-referral, self-interactive, self-reflective, and self-organizing. Existential consciousness is, therefore, a field of the energy impulses created by consciousness within this unbounded field. The manifest universe and all that it contains including mind itself, is simply various patterns of energy impulses. Models created by modern physics in their attempt to understand the genesis of the universe have postulated a unified field of all the laws of nature that must be self-referral, self-interactive and self-organizing in order that the laws of nature and their manifestations are as they are. Every human being has, by their very nature, their own individual consciousness rooted in this unbounded field of consciousness. It is, therefore, possible for every human being to attain their full potential, their full state of consciousness. Unbounded consciousness is the true nature of every human being at their most fundamental level of existence.
Consciousness is not solely an individual matter. We all share the source of consciousness at the level of the unified field, the source of our being. The interaction of individual consciousness among all people creates a phenomenon known as collective consciousness. Collective consciousness determines the cultural norms that structure a given society. It too can pass from the most mundane to the highest states producing cultures of undreamt magnificence.
This awakening has revealed very clearly the systematic methods by which human consciousness can evolve to higher states. In these higher states one becomes aware that they are consciousness. In those states one's actions become perfectly attuned and in accord with the laws of nature, the laws that produce a fulfilled life, that produce thoughts and actions that are most evolutionary.
The result is a new universal human being that is the most complete expression of every spiritual life supporting quality: love, peace, joy, compassion, forgiveness, intelligence, creativity, health, a human being capable of achieving the highest ideals of human nature for every individual and their environment.
Consciousness is the source of all these spiritual qualities. As our consciousness grows, expands, and develops all these spiritual qualities become realities infused within us at the very level of our being. We become the creators and custodians of evolution and its gifts. In this way we become the beneficiaries of the gifts we bestow upon others.
METHODS FOR DEVELOPING CONSCIOUSNESS
An enormous amount of scientific research has been performed to establish the benefits that accrue to the practice of various methods for developing our consciousness. Science has shown that proper methods of consciousness development are not a matter of imagination or suggestion. Nor are the methods of consciousness development restricted to the arcane practices of a few elite 'mystics'. The methods are easily accomplished by anyone. The benefits are real. They involve every aspect of one's life: mental, physical, and social. Intelligence and creativity improve as does health and social relationships. This awakening has established the fact that what was once deemed to be mystical has a sound scientific basis and is available to all of us...
These methods have come down to us through the ages. The specifics include: meditation, prayer, Yoga, Tai Chi, diet, rules for living, service to and treatment of others, and many more... All of these have become part of this awakening in places were but a few years ago they were unknown. Many millions practice meditation while only a few years before meditation was practiced by a mere handful.
Most often these methods are associated with the East, but that is not accurate. Another facet of this awakening is the more general awareness that meditation has always been known and practiced in the West. Usually such practices were related to the more mystical branches of the western religions, but these mystical branches are now becoming well known, or at least much better known, by millions. The greater interest in Sufism, the growing exoteric movement among the Kabbalists and the discovery of the Gnostic Gospels are all associated with this global awakening. The same is true of physical exercises and dietary principles. Prayer, of course, has always been universal in all cultures, but its true nature and benefits are becoming better understood and experienced.
There are many forms of each of these practices. They can be involved or simple. Everyone is encouraged to discover for themselves which ones and which kinds of each one are most suitable for them. An enormous literature exists with which the beginner can examine the possibilities, but instruction by an experienced teacher is best.
Experienced practitioners have discovered that for maximum results, individual techniques are usually part of a larger system. Adaptation to the needs and experience level of the practitioner should be considered. For these and other reasons locating a competent instructor is most important.
In this web site we have identified some of the most prominent and successful masters of these various methods. We have also collected some of the most important works on this subject written by these masters. In addition we have made it possible to contact them so that you may pursue your interest if you do not already have a satisfactory program of your own. On the other hand it is always worthwhile gaining a little bit more knowledge and a bit more familiarity with the whole field.
LEARNING TO BE EVOLUTION
by Tom Atlee
If we wish to consciously evolve as a civilization
evolution has some lessons
we need to start learning, taking seriously, and applying.
evolution has some lessons
we need to start learning, taking seriously, and applying.
First of all, I want to be clear that this is not about Darwin or genetic engineering. It is bigger than that, much bigger. Those pursuing this inquiry see Darwin as a genius who opened new realms of understanding, while at the same time provoking profoundly deeper questions about what's really happening in evolutionary processes. Furthermore, we are exploring not only the evolution of living species, but the evolution of the cosmos, the planet, society -- everything from natural laws to the shape of our everyday lives.
Evolution is the process of change -- ongoing transformational change. It is the cumulative development of life, unfolding slowly and incrementally, with occasional sudden bursts of creativity, with evolutionary opportunities sprouting in climates of crisis. We are living through one of these disorienting bursts of creativity and crisis right now.
Through evolution new forms appear -- new organisms, new partnerships, new conditions, new systems. Some of them last and some don't. Evolution tests things out. Evolutionary testing goes on at every level, all the time. The universe does it. Life does it. Human societies do it. You and I are doing it every day -- sometimes in our lives, sometimes in our minds, sometimes in our conversations. New patterns rise and fall.
Billions of years of creative trial and error have added up to the world we live in. Some of that world is profoundly exciting and enjoyable. Some of it is increasingly scary. Things are getting better and better and worse and worse, faster and faster. Much of it is changing faster than we can follow, its novelty and complexity racing ahead of our individual capacity to understand and respond.
We face daunting choices about how to respond to changes that seem forced on us. We also face compelling choices about creating a better world from the depths of our hearts and our dreams.
How did we end up in this place? Individually and collectively, we are products of evolution. Evolution produced us through 13.7 billion years of trial and error and a few thousand years of more or less conscious choices by thousands of people we call our parents, leaders, elders, ancestors. Little did they know what would happen.
And now WE are the ones making choices that are shaping the evolution of the future -- not only future generations of humanity but future generations of all life on earth.
How conscious are we about who we are, what we are doing, where our motivations come from, and the consequences of the choices we make? Do we realize that our awareness, our intelligence, our desires and dreams, our creativity and efforts -- seasoned by wisdom, or not -- have become evolution, right here on earth, at least for now?
Nothing on earth can compete with the impact of 21st century humanity. Collectively we have become a semi-conscious branch of evolution. We are the shapers of the ongoing processes of transformational change -- half blind, half awake, less than half wise.
It is slowly dawning on us that our species will flourish or fade away, thanks to the evolutionary choices we make now, whether or not we know what we are doing.
We are at a critical stage in our remarkable human journey on this planet: We are coming to a place where the road ends. From here on out, we will be making the road as we walk it, in ways we've never had to do before. We now have the job of forging our own evolutionary destiny, and being prime agents of the process of evolution here on earth.
It behooves us to learn something about the job description, starting with the story of who we are.
Our remarkable evoutionary story
We now know from science that everything in and around us is made of the initial Great Radiance with which the universe began, the Big Bang. The Big Bang never stopped, and there is nothing outside of it. All the hydrogen atoms in the water (and in the carbohydrates) in and around us are almost as old as the universe, itself -- 13,700,000,000 years. The carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms that form the rest of us -- and all life on earth -- came into being in the bellies of red giant stars that lived and died before our sun was born. More complex elements -- calcium and magnesium, gold and silver, and all the rest -- were created in supernova explosions brighter than a billion stars, flung to the far ends of the galaxy as raw materials for Life.
It is not mysticism but hard science that now tells us we are made of stardust and light, waves and coalescences of stardust and light reconfiguring into cars and trees, oceans and civilizations. We -- humanity and the living earth we are part of -- are the soul and substance of cosmic evolution, happening right here and now. We are the living face of evolution, the eyes and hands and wings and minds of the universe weaving itself into its next manifestations, day after day after day. And humans are a growing edge of the universe becoming conscious, watching itself through microscopes and telescopes, mountaintops and meditations, awed, nudging its pieces into greater awareness and love.
We humans are also the universe broken apart in the illusion of separateness, the arrogance of our small but growing power, the pursuit of our small but growing desires. And we are the universe waking up from this dream of separateness and smallness into the discovery of ourselves as conscious, loving Evolution, finding ever more remarkable and inclusive forms of cooperation. We are both the universe's sleep and the universe's awakening.
Here on earth, we are stardust-as-human-civilization dawning into an evolutionary imperative: the creation of a collectively wise culture that is capable of its own conscious evolution. This unprecedented challenge is more than an enticing possibility. It is a collective necessity, a matter of survival. It IS our next evolutionary leap and we ARE that leap.
This is where the work of co-intelligence was born -- the work of preparing for wise, conscious collective evolution.
Learning from evolution how to be evolution
Lessons from our long evolutionary journey offer rich sources of guidance about how to consciously participate in the evolutionary process. Taking this guidance seriously can help us transform ourselves, our consciousness, our social systems and cultures, and our technologies in ways that serve our long-term collective flourishing as part of a flourishing Earth.
Here are just a few of the evolutionary dynamics and opportunities we can explore and use, which are described further at the end of this article. A major project of the Co-Intelligence Institute now is researching more of them, and how to best apply them all, and spreading that new old knowledge.
1. LOVE AT THE CORE. Our common past makes us kin, and deep inside we know it. We are wholeness enroute to new wholeness. This deep truth can be called forth to help us resonate with each other. Much of what we need to do next taps into this powerful fact of life.
2. A NEW DANCE OF COOPERATION AND COMPETITION. Evolution has evolved with cooperation enhancing competitiveness. As we become a global society, competition will necessarily evolve to support cooperation.
3. SYNERGY BETWEEN SELF AND WHOLE. Life on earth finds novel ways for self-interest and the whole to serve each other. We are called to create new ways to design this dynamic into complex 21st century societies.
4. HIGHER LEARNING. Evolution is, itself, a vast learning enterprise -- and emergence is its learning edge. That edge involves new forms of ongoing collective intelligence and wisdom, and reframing education to meet the challenges of conscious collective evolution. By its nature, learning on the edge requires a growing capacity to embrace the unknown.
5. SELF-ORGANIZATION AND EMERGENCE. Evolution starts simple and brings forth increasing complexity. At the same time, it creates remarkable ways for life to self-organize without top-down direction. Our social and technological complexity is now calling forth new forms of creative, conscious human self-organization.
6. EVOLVING CONSCIOUSNESS. Consciousness shapes social systems and culture -- and social systems and culture shape consciousness. This insight, combined with new and ancient methods of expanding consciousness, offer tremendous leverage for humanity's conscious evolution.
7. THE JUICE OF OUR DIFFERENCES. A major driver of evolution is the creative use of diversity, conflict, crisis and dissonance. And our uniqueness -- our individual specialness -- is a vast nascent resource for the world. These insights challenge us, in times of collective trauma, to move beyond peacemaking and crisis management to catalyzing inclusive evolutionary breakthroughs.
8. IT'S ABOUT PROCESS. The essence of evolution is the emergence of outcomes from powerful interactive processes. But it isn't about being attached to particular outcomes, since they, too, will change and evolve. If we want to become evolution, we would be wise to learn how to let go and focus on manifesting powerfully interactive, life-serving processes.
These eight evolutionary dynamics and their corresponding transformational projects are but a taste of the rich guidance available from the serious study of evolution's relevance for today. There are dozens of other dynamics and patterns revealed by evolutionary science and related studies which could also guide us -- and new ones are being discovered every year.
We are just beginning to learn how to apply these emerging undertandings to our lives, our societes, and our efforts to make a better world. This is a new field of study and practice. Its insights will help us see where our energy, attention and resources can be most usefully focussed to build a more sustainable, just, and life-serving civilization.
Perhaps most remarkably, in doing this work -- to the extent we learn to consciously apply the dynamics which are already at work in the evolution of life -- we are actually becoming a manifestation of evolution in a totally new realm -- conscious evolution.
Just as evolution shifted into major new realms of creativity when it discovered cells... then sexual reproduction... then multi-cellular organisms... then language... it is now shifting into a remarkable new game as it becomes conscious of itself, through us, and begins to consciously perform its transformational magic -- even consciously evolving its own consciousness into more profound states.
To make crystal clear what we're dealing with here: "conscious evolution" is not primarily about the genetic engineering of individual animals, plants, and humans. It is about far greater, more productive and vital challenges -- the conscious evolution of our societies, our lives, and our individual and collective consciousness -- and the conscious evolution of the knowledge, arts and tools that will make those developments possible. Therein lie tremendous hope for our civilization and an inspiring new view of who we are and what we are doing in this universe.
For we are not just organisms trying to survive, accidents of mutating materiality, or isolated individuals consuming one more wave of well-advertised products. In a very profound sense, we are the universe, itself, beginning another chapter in its truly remarkable, wildly creative, and keenly experimental Great Story-of-all-stories.
What we do next will be profoundly important. No matter what.
MORE ABOUT THE ABOVE EIGHT EXAMPLES OF EVOLUTIONARY GUIDANCE
1. LOVE AT THE CORE. The fact of evolution means we are all related. Not just we humans, but all entities in the universe -- all are expressions of one universe. We have been kin since the infinitely intense birth of this universe, when we were obviously One but not separate enough to notice the fact. We all arose from the Source of that -- whatever that may have been -- and we are all made of stardust, literally. Two hundred million generations ago, our ancestors swam in the sea; today the chemistry of the sea flows through our veins. Our bodies contain great civilizations of highly specialized and synchronized single-celled beings, cousins of the trillions of microbes that populate the world around us. All humanity is one family, rich with diversity yet sharing one root. Deep inside we know this, we resonate with one another, we are drawn into relationship, support, and celebration. Love is not something that needs to be added or built, only freed and nurtured, for it is our natural state. On the other hand, evolution is about moving from old states of wholeness into new states of wholeness. So love can and must find new forms and ways to be and do.
2. A NEW DANCE OF COOPERATION AND COMPETITION. Those who today detect directionality in the history of life note that evolution through time has produced ever more inclusive and intricate systems of cooperation, from molecular synergies to the global financial web of Visa. Cooperative achievements have been retained by the body of life not at the expense of competition but in service to it: Quite simply, cooperating entities are usually more robust in handling the challenges offered up by the world around them and beat their competition. However, this dynamic is now undergoing a radical shift. As human activities expand to embrace the global commons we all share, the win/lose games that drove human interactions in the past are being supplanted by cooperative games that recognize we are now all in it together. Our exploding power has made it clear that, in the final analysis, we will either win together or lose together. More inclusive, sophisticated forms of cooperation are no longer simply admirable; they are essential. In the next evolutionary surge, competition will be honed for its best gifts -- driving creativity and excellence -- but contained and constrained within globally cooperative contexts.
3. SYNERGY BETWEEN SELF AND WHOLE. Because individual organisms play their role in biological evolution by passing on genes, self-interest is foundational in biological evolution. And yet it is evident that the evolutionary benefits of cooperation throughout the journey of life have been achieved by creatively tying self-interest to the welfare of the whole. Sustainable cooperative systems thus contain feedback loops that help individuals experience the positive and negative effects of their own acts. On that loom, individual gifts can then be woven into patterns that serve the whole even as the whole enhances the lives of its individual members. Under the right social conditions, individuals "taking responsiblity for what they love" generate greater life for their whole group or society. Our job is to bring about those "right social conditions." This is evolutionary science. This is evolutionary economics. This is evolutionary sociology. This is evolutionary politics and governance.
4. HIGHER LEARNING. Evolution is a vast learning enterprise. In biological evolution, learning happens when organisms pass information from one generation to the next, using the genetic language of DNA. New genetic approaches (mutations, sexual recombinations, etc.) get tested in new environments, and workable ones spread. This change-and-test evolutionary intelligence changed radically -- accelerating and freeing life from many harsh consequences -- when it became embodied in minds that could test ideas and options in virtual safety before trying them out in the physical and social worlds. Then, as symbolic language emerged in the human realm, this intelligence became augmented by increasingly sophisticated methods for developing and transmitting knowledge over time and space -- writing, education, printing, science, telecommunications, the internet. And with those developments, collective intelligence -- which began with multicellular organisms and social insects -- rapidly evolved into totally new realms. Today, increasingly inclusive forms of collective intelligence and wisdom are embracing and creatively engaging with complexity, uncertainty, and mystery at the emerging edge of evolution. And quite naturally, this rapidly evolving higher learning is beginning to explore the subject of evolution, itself.
5. SELF-ORGANIZATION AND EMERGENCE. Evolution has steadily enriched the capacity of life to organize itself into ever-more creative, remarkable, complex, and workable forms. The wonder of the universe is not that it was designed from outside, but that it is designing itself from the inside, and getting better and better at doing so. (Some say God manifests in this intimate, imminent, infinite, ever-expanding creativity.) As complexity increases, linear forms of understanding and management become less and less workable -- both in the realm of human societies and ecologically in the world at large. The complexity sciences have vividly demonstrated that life operates primarily with distributed, evocative, loopy, self-generating, whole-system organic forms of organization and leadership, rather than through straight lines, boxes, command heirarchies, conformity, and unchanging rules (except for the deepest laws of nature). Using whole-system forms of intelligence, life generates its own newness at the evolutionary edge, which we humans experience as emergence, as a creative upwelling within us, among us and around us. The growing body of knowledge about healthy self-organization and emergence can help us transform problems and crises into evolutionary leaps.
6. EVOLVING CONSCIOUSNESS. Most native peoples experience the world as alive and aware: stones, mountains, forests, plants, animals are all alive and conscious, each in their own ways. Drawing upon mainstream science, as well as these indigenous roots, many other people are beginning to recover similar forms of depth communion with the more-than-human world. The resulting deep sense of interconnectedness engenders a more sensitive relationship with nature. In addition, for thousands of years, pioneers committed to exploring the interior dimension of reality have explored and mapped diverse, extensive, evolving realms of awareness, which are now becoming available to more people, deepening them into Spirit and ameliorating the destructive tendencies of materialism. More recently, social, psychological, and cognitive sciences have begun to clarify how civilization -- with its languages, tools, stories, and constructed environments and institutions -- shapes consciousness -- AND how individual and collective states of consciousness -- and the interactions and conversations among conscious beings -- influence and create culture and social systems. The more we explore these two, the more we discover that social systems and consciousness co-create each other and co-evolve. We suspect tremendous evolutionary opportunities will be found in the dynamics where these two powerful realites shape each other. As we engage those opportunities, we will become conscious agents of evolution, midwifing increasingly conscious and self-evolving people and social systems -- which will constitute new forms of consciousness, itself, evolving.
7. THE JUICE OF OUR DIFFERENCES. Diversity -- dynamic, interacting diversity -- is one of the deepest and most widespread realities in the universe. It could be called the most important engine of evolution, being the source of so much creativity -- AND transformational crises. Just as we all arise from stardust, we are each profoundly unique. Society can gloss over our uniqueness with conformity, prejudice, and politeness -- trying to restrain our mind-boggling diversity -- but it refuses to disappear, and constantly struggles to show up, to be recognized, to make a difference. When our differences come vividly into view, they often disturb our simple certainties and comfortable order. Those disturbances almost always mark something new and important trying to surface in our midst, so today we need to hear the call to acknowledge our differences while remaining connected with each other. Welcoming diversity and disturbance, and engaging them creatively, are powerful conscious acts that catalyze emergence at the growing edge of evolution. Efforts to simply resolve, solve, ameliorate, and calm troubled waters can short-circuit important opportunities for transformation. Our capacitance -- our individual and collective capacity to welcome, hold in dynamic tension, and creatively engage with diversity, dissonance, uncertainty, and complexity -- is a hallmark of co-intelligence and a source of evolutionary energy and guidance.
8. IT'S ABOUT PROCESS. Evolution IS process -- or perhaps we should say a vast family of processes that together add up to creative development, unfolding complexity, and ever-emergent wholeness. How can we be conscious agents of such processes? How can we catalyze them, live into them, embody them? These are guiding questions for those of us wishing to become conscious manifestations of intentional evolution-in-action. Most leading-edge processes used in groups, organizations and communities involve many of the seven dynamics listed above. They blend intentionality with a responsive "letting go of particular outcomes". They embody a trust in the capacity of living systems -- under the right conditions -- to call forth inspired, workable next steps. Creating those conditions is the task of the process worker, who holds a space for life's diversity to show up, interact, and learn in ways that welcome and empower breakthroughs. Reflecting on the creativity of the universe, we can imagine evolution pursuing and pushing the limits of an unspoken question: "What is actually possible here?" Evolutionary process workers use variations of that question to call forth the transformational energies of the people and systems they are working with. In the resulting conversations and interactive spaces, people explore their individual and collective dreams, passions, and circumstances and discover totally new possibilities they can work on or BE together. As those possibilities get tested in the real world, evolution continues, making space and energy for still newer possibilities...
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