Our Evolutionary Crisis
I certainly want to continue with our discussion and I want to explore the profound ideas of Charles Sanders Peirce further, but first I wanted to say a few words in general that I have been thinking about. As some of you may know I have been a student of a spiritual teacher named Andrew Cohen and his teaching of Evolutionary Enlightenment for the past 16 years. During that time I have become very close to Andrew and have become in a sense a teacher myself. I am not writing this blog to attract people to Evolutionary Enlightenment (although I am happy if they find it.) I am writing this blog because I feel that life on this planet is in the midst of an evolutionary crisis. This blog is my attempt to explain what I think I have learned about our evolutionary crisis and the way to get beyond it.
The evolutionary crisis that we face stems from the fact that the circumstance of the world we live in are changing faster than we are. The pace of evolution is increasing beyond the current ability of human beings to change in response. As a result, we find ourselves unable to effectively meet global and even personal challenges. I know I often feel like I am still working on yesterday’s problems only to realize that today’s are already upon me. We simply find ourselves unable to adapt quickly enough to changing circumstances.
I believe that the solution to this is a shift in consciousness and by that I mean a fundamental change in how we understand ourselves and the universe we are a part of. That shift, as I understand it, has two stages – that don’t necessarily come in a particular order. The first is a shift that is characterized by unity. This is a shift from seeing a universe made of separate objects of which we are one, to seeing a universe that is one whole which includes separate parts; more like an organic system. The embrace of a higher unity that includes the separate parts has long been explored in different ways by most of the great spiritual traditions and the worlds philosophies and the sciences.
The second stage of the shift involves the evolutionary awakening to the fact that we and the universe we live in are not static. We are changing and evolving constantly. The evolving nature of who we are has not been explored by humanity as deeply or for as long as the exploration of our fundamental unity. In fact it has only been over the past few hundred years that this investigation has really taken shape in the west. And it is only since the acceptance of Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection that we can really say that the modern investigation of evolution has begun. I personally feel that this investigation of what it means to shift from a mainly separate and static relationship to life, to an essentially whole and evolving one is the key to the future. That is why I am writing this blog and why I appreciate so much those of you that join me either by reading or, even better, by contributing your own thoughts and insights. I appreciate having the opportunity to be challenged and to learn from you as I hope you do from me.
When I discovered a few years ago how much American Philosophy revolved around the question of, “How do we adapt to the new truth of evolution?” I nearly fell over. I couldn’t believe that well over a century of deep thinking had already gone into this investigation, just within the relatively limited circle of American Philosophy. As I have tried to study this philosophy it has become clear to me that there is a great deal more to learn. But in the end I think that learning is only as valuable as it helps us think clearly for ourselves. I am not a scholar, as most of you have undoubtedly already realized, but I am a firm believer in the power of philosophy and the human spirit. I don’t believe that we can change our world without changing the way we think, but I do believe that we can change our world if, in the midst of our Evolutionary Crisis, we find it within ourselves to change the way we think.
Thank you for participating in this journey with me.