When renowned futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard
first issued her groundbreaking call to action in her seminal book Conscious Evolution
in 1998, she was confronting the state of affairs at the momentous turn of the twenty-first century. Her clear-eyed, inspiring, and sweeping vision of a possible — and essential — global renaissance at the new millennium laid the foundation for the significance and impact around the world for the idea of evolving our world toward social synergy, interconnectivity, and spirit-based compassion for all.
Now, because current times are ever more ripe for — and in need of — radical reimagining, Hubbard has updated her vision in a revised edition of Conscious Evolution
. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book, in which she discusses the great awakening that is a key part of our collective evolution.
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The world is ready for the advent of a new stage of human consciousness and action. It is time for a “planetary birth experience,” a collective awakening, an experience of shared empathy, love, and creativity. Just as we once evolved from Neanderthal to Homo sapiens through a mysterious set of circumstances, not fully understood, so now we are emerging as Homo universalis, a species capable of conscious evolution on Earth and beyond.
What are signs of the emergence of a new era of evolution? Ken Carey wrote in The Third Millennium:
A mother never knows exactly what hour she will give birth to her child, but she has a “due date,” an approximate time when the baby is expected and will most likely be born. For millennia now there have been those in various traditions of both East and West who have known that the earth has a due date sometime during the second decade of the 21st century. Though there will be much awakening of individuals prior to the first unified movement of the awakened planetary organism, this movement, like a first breath, will occur in but a single moment.
Such a planetary awakening is happening now because the timing is right in relationship to our planetary life cycle. Let’s continue with our biological analogy. A newborn baby awakens at a specific time in its life cycle, just after it has made its journey from the comfort of the womb into the harsh and strange world. The child finally rests at peace. At one delightful moment, which cannot be predicted yet is expected, the infant awakens, relaxes, opens eyes that have never seen — eyes that were created in the darkness of the womb. For the first time the womb-veil thins, light floods in, and the infant focuses and sees its mother. A radiant glow of recognition and joy crosses its face and animates its body. It has come home to the new world, never to go back again.
Let’s compare ourselves as a planetary organism to a biological organism just after birth. We are facing a trauma that could be compared to the trauma a baby faces after birth. We are Generation One, the first generation on this Earth to consciously be aware that we can destroy ourselves by our own actions or evolve ourselves by our own choices. We are struggling to coordinate ourselves as one global system, feeling the panic of running out of Mother Earth’s resources. We are learning to change our energy consumption, to grow our food in healthier ways, to handle our own waste, to stop overpopulating and polluting, and far more. As we do so, we are beginning to recognize we are all members of one planetary body.
For the first time, in the 1960s during the Apollo program we opened our Earth-bound eyes, saw ourselves from outer space, and were amazed at the beauty of our Earth as a whole. For one brief moment we saw no boundaries, no nations, and no walls to divide us.
Now, millions of us are awakening to our participation in the whole, as our planetary body integrates and links up throughout the world. The internet, mobile phones, social media, and many other elements of our rapidly growing planetary nervous system are connecting us as individuals and groups, beyond the confines of time and space.
The process is unfolding. Let’s imagine that the internet is informing us of what is now working to evolve our world. Let’s assume that the NewNews in all its forms is communicating to us the news of who we are becoming. But we are still in a postnatal torpor, traumatized and confused by the abruptness of the changes we are undergoing. Many of us are without hope, without the sense that our future is desirable and attractive, forgetting that each of us has a part to play. Yet, as Teilhard de Chardin writes in The Future of Man, “The whole future of the Earth, as of religion, seems to me to depend on the awakening of our faith in the future.” At times, we live with an ominous sense of impending doom, which is realistic. We have never seen another planet go through a transition period wherein its inhabitants were able to create so many offspring, so much technology, and such high levels of pollution and waste. If we do not quickly adjust to our new condition, we may die. Our birth could be a death. The dangers we face are life threatening, just as the newborn infant faces critical problems that must be quickly handled or it will die.
Something more is needed to awaken us as a whole — an infusion of life, love, appreciation, and security to comfort us in our time of trial. Remember, everything that rises converges. The planetary dissipative structure is reaching maximum instability. Everything we do counts, especially in this critical time. Will the impulses of health and creativity prevail soon enough to counter the acceleration toward environmental and social breakdown?
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Futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard
is a prolific educator and the author of seven books, including a revised and updated edition of her seminal work Conscious Evolution
. She is an evolutionary thinker who believes that global change happens when we work collectively and selflessly for the greater good. Visit her online at www.evolve.org.