Conscious Evolution: A Matter of Collective Resolve

June 2012

“Do you think we will do it?”

This is a question that I am frequently asked when I speak about conscious evolution – the potential we have to transform ourselves and our institutions in time to avoid irreversible deterioration in our quality of life.

I know we have all the ingredients to do the job, I tell them. What I don’t know, I add, is whether or not we have the collective will to do it. So here is the question facing us: Do we have the collective resolve to choose a path different from the one we are presently on? defines resolve as “a resolution or determination made, as to follow some course of action; firmness of purpose or intent; determination.” I call this intent or purpose “conscious evolution” – to proactively determine to evolve in a way that is sustainable, mature and respectful of all of Nature including our fellow human beings.

Here’s what the Global Guild of Evolutionary Architects (“GlobalGEA”) says about it: “Conscious evolution, as used on this web site, is much more than a philosophy. It’s an in-your-face global imperative. We have a choice. We either take extraordinary initiatives to learn how to consciously evolve ourselves and our social systems, or risk a spiraling devolution into an increasingly hellish global situation. Conversely, if we get serious about serving as co-evolutionaries, we have the potential to design a future that nurtures all life for all time.”

I wrote about GlobalGEA in my April guest blog at the Global Dialogue Center (linked here). The GlobalGEA website is a treasure trove of content calling for evolutionary architects to bring about a metamorphosis of our social systems as part of this conscious evolution. To quote from the website:

Humans are a recent product of Nature’s 4.54 billion year evolutionary journey on this planet. We are a very young species, still pretty much in the adolescent stage of our development. 2012 is the year to declare that we’re ready to make the passage into adulthood — to consciously choose to take responsibility for the well-being of all life. The well-being of our children and their children are dependent on the well-being of all life. We can demonstrate our passage into adulthood by learning what it takes to consciously evolve ourselves and our social systems in ways that serve all of life.
The evolution of our biosphere is our best example of an “infinite game.” Today’s social systems (education, healthcare, commerce, governance, etc.) overflow with examples of devastatingly “finite games.” Conscious evolution can be seen as a commitment to transform these systems from finite to infinite games.

Tom Atlee, founder of The Co-Intelligence Institute, reminds us so poignantly, “the question now isn’t whether we will evolve–because we will and are evolving, no matter what. The question is rather how consciously and wisely we will go about evolving… If we fail to harmonize our individual and corporate self-interest with the wellbeing of the whole of life, we will soon be gone. We have become too powerful for it to be otherwise. This is not a fate to which we are doomed. It is a challenging opportunity to which the evolutionary process has brought us. And rising to that challenge will constitute a heroic evolutionary leap — one we can only take consciously. The more consciously we leap, the more likely we’ll succeed with the least unnecessary suffering and the most powerful learning and thrill.”

And no discussion of Conscious Evolution would be complete without mentioning Barbara Marx Hubbard, president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution, who examines the potential we have as an entire species to evolve with intention, consciously, and create a future of our own choosing rather than a simple projection of what’s happened in our past. She writes, “Conscious Evolution is a social movement, a call to action that offers real hope for the world. In fact, it is a ‘movement of movements.’ It connects positive, life-enhancing initiatives and insights in every field leading toward a higher level of cooperative action. It stimulates learning, personal mastery and systems theory applied to social change…it brings forth practical visions of hope and the fulfillment of humanity’s most profound aspirations.”

Back to the question facing all of us: Do we have the collective resolve to choose a path different from the one we are presently on? Do we have the collective resolve to consciously choose a path of sustainable living and abandon the unsustainable path we are headed down today? Hubbard states that conscious evolution is a movement, but movements are self-propelling and don’t require leaders. This will be a movement when vast numbers embrace it as a new way of living and working. That is, when it becomes a new habit for the human race, replacing the habits that have brought us to the brink of human extinction.


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John Renesch

John is a seasoned businessman-turned-futurist who has published 14 books and hundreds of articles on social and organizational transformation.

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