Synchronicity seems to turn life into flow when you pay attention to what is happening here and now. With this as a mantra, I pay attention to what is catching my attention at this moment. It is Easter Week, the full moon lights up the sky with an intense glow. Sap is rising in the trees. A transformational story of rising from the dead to new life is celebrated in Christian Churches.
I can’t help but wonder if we are collectively going through a similar story in our evolutionary process. Something being crucified, sacrificed, destroyed so that new life can arise, transfigured and transformed.
A perfect time to be reading Eisenstein’s monumental work, The Ascent of Humanity: Civilization and the Human Sense of Self. This is a big book in every sense of the word. Long and dense, it would put off most contemporary readers, used to the 150 letters allowed in tweets. But I am hooked on it because it offers a brilliant ex-ray vision of the rise of civilization and how each development has moved humanity further into separation from nature, each other, our selves as well as the underlying Source of all that is.
With crystal clear logic he reveals the inevitability of humanity moving into an evolutionary dead-end, because of its whole history – not just current trends. Quite a shock! He gives clues to the next potential leap in the introduction, but takes a long travel to explain why and how. And it is a journey worth taking. Passing page 103, I still find myself deeply engaged in the insights and understanding his explanations offer. Such topics as Origins of Self, Language and Label, Mathematics and Measure, Keeping Time, The Playful Universe are all small jewels of revelation. Ideas are linked in a new and empowering way. And you can find it all free on-line. Just the introduction is worth the effort!
One of my essential insights is compassion for where we are right now in our human evolution. No blame to assign – not even to the current bad-guys we like to point figures at! He gradual leads you to understand that this stage was inevitable from the start of our emergence as humans, given the nature of our consciousness. And that it is a necessary stage if humans are to move to the next evolutionary step. Quite a feat - to pull off that kind of an insight.
I relax a bit about the whole thing, knowing it will have to run its course and whatever doesn’t work, in evolutionary terms , will self-destruct. This doesn’t mean that we should just lie back watching it unfold. Nor does it mean that we should be fearful and or stressed out about it. It is actually Life doing its thing! We happen to be alive at a rather exceptional moment in the history of the Universe. Gradually I am learning to trust this process recognizing that it has a clear direction. And I recognize the common sense in embracing transformation with all of its difficulties and pain. Valuable insights for all aspects of my life, I discover.
“The Age of Separation, the Age of Reunion, and the Convergence of Crises That Is Birthing the Transition.”
These themes are already outlined on the front cover and are elaborated throughout the book. Calling the long period of human development the “Age of Separation” is brilliant. His elaboration of this theme gives a whole new understanding of our predicament and predicts the antidote by pointing to the “Age of Reunion”. This is about connectivity and oneness, that have been themes in all esoteric traditions throughout the ages. It is based on a recognition that all things are connected to the same Source. But this is hard for the ordinary person to see. Carlo Castaneda, whom I read back in the seventies, talks about our normal consciousness as only capable of interpreting a limited range of frequencies among all the frequencies in the Universe. We are like radios, set to one or two stations. This is where our consciousness may be on the edge of taking a big leap. I look forward to reading more about this as I continue through the chapters. Even still, I know that there are many new technologies already available to help us change the station and that the number of people accessing them are accelerating exponentially.
Regarding the “Convergence of Crises That Is Birthing the Transition”, in evolutionary terms, it is always real death-threatening crises that initiate a blossoming of new species on a higher level of development. You could say that evolution is a series of repeating cycles of stability punctuated by upheavals, followed by evolutionary leaps. These upheavals are caused by major environmental changes. There have been five such upheavals in the history of the Universe. Life has managed to survive, evolve and once again flourish beyond these upheavals and mass destruction. This is due to the intentional and adaptive mutation mechanisms that species use to counteract a changing environment. (For more on this see the blog post here, Spontaneous Evolution – there are many examples of this on an biological level.)
If we embrace the fact that crises cause mutation, experimentation and also major destruction it makes sense to look at the counter-intuitive view that Terry Patten so courageously presents in a fascinating blog post “After it’s too late” — the Bodhidharma Strategy Revisited”. He encourages that actions be oriented to the fact that there WILL be collapse of systems. Innovation should be focused on how to use this collapse as a “window of opportunity” to make large scale systemic change. He gives an example where this has actually happened with a group of Swiss activists who thinking in this way around anticipation of an eventual nuclear power plant disaster, became instrumental in helping Germany change their whole energy policy after the Fukushima disaster. The Swiss team had ALREADY established political contacts and showed what could be done if/when such a failure should happened. Once the disaster happened it was easy to get people to see the sense of initiating a new system. This seems to be why Germany was so quick to move forward with a green energy movement, surpassing all of Europe.
This reminds me of Shell’s scenario planning of many years back and makes good sense to me. But it can’t be done by individual companies alone but rather many diverse partners who are willing to think in a different way. Quite a different approach than using energy to prop up the current system which is not working.
To sum up, it is important to:
- Accept the inevitability of large scale change, with a sense that this is good although will be painful and difficult.
- Put the emphasis on building up systems that work better than the old ones in our own lives, communities and businesses.
- Find ways to expand our sense of self and our connectedness to all things.
- Join communities of practice in any of these issues whatever feels most attractive and touches your passion
In all of this, our biggest challenge is not to react out of a sense of fear or obligation but rather to open up to the sense of cooperating with the evolutionary impulse. May we be led by spontaneity and joy rather than stress and fear. This is not easy but works much better, I have discovered to my own surprise!