being natural, global change, Intelligence, natural

THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Hopefully, we all become more conscious as we go through life. Yes, I accept that it’s easy to think of exceptions, such as some current world leaders! Generally speaking, however, I believe that growing in consciousness is a natural part of life’s journey. As we get older, we notice and experience things that we had not noticed or experienced before – about ourselves, other people and the world. This growth in consciousness is normally accompanied by a corresponding growth in knowledge and understanding. In other words, as we notice and experience more, we understand better what we are noticing and experiencing. There is a growth both in quantity and in quality!

That much seems clear. The question I want to address today is this: is our normal growth in consciousness one and the same as evolution of consciousness? The short answer is yes, it could be, in certain circumstances. This needs a little explanation.

Conventionally, we call something “evolution” if it is permanent change, and if it applies to the whole species. Thus, the next generation is born with whatever has evolved in previous generations. A topical example of this is the remarkable ability of very young children (as young as 2) to use technology, such as mobile phones, TV remote controls, and to access their preferred YouTube videos, all without the help pf adults. My grandchildren, aged 3, can easily do what I found hard to do only a few years ago. There has undoubtedly been a generational change, and we are probably justified in calling this “evolution in ability”.

But does this also apply to consciousness? Is my grandchildren’s generation naturally more conscious than mine? For me, the jury is still out. I accept that something does seem to have changed in human consciousness. For example, as a species we are more conscious than ever that everything is connected to everything else, and that the familiar physical world is only part of a much bigger picture. We are also more consciousness of the “human family” and of this planet as a living entity. The problem is that a big part of this “greater consciousness” is knowledge and understanding, which have grown immensely over the last 100 years or so. Only part of what we call “greater consciousness” is actually consciousness! So, to be clear, what I am talking about here is not the fact that we notice and experience more. There can be no doubt that we do. What I am talking about is our capacity to notice and experience more. For me, it is only when that capacity itself grows that it counts as the evolution of consciousness.

Just to sum up, we are certainly evolving in ability, and we are certainly evolving in knowledge and understanding. There are many examples of this. It is also true that most of us growth naturally in consciousness as we get older. The only thing I am unsure about is whether there have been permanent generational shifts in consciousness. Has the youngest generation been born more conscious than mine? Despite my uncertainty, I am more than happy to give evolution of consciousness the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is happening. In any event, doing what we can to increase our capacity to be conscious can only be for the good!

CT
29 July 2018

global change, Intelligence, Uncategorized

OUR FUTURE EVOLUTION

When we think of human evolution, we normally think of the past, the history of our evolution. And we may have in mind our evolutionary achievements, such as language, technology, manual dexterity, and the ability to self-reflect. But do we ever think about the future of our evolution? Or do we assume that human evolution has stopped? Given the state of the world today, we can be forgiven for thinking that we have stopped evolving, and that all that remains for us is to constantly try to solve the problems of our own making.

In fact, there is much evidence that we are still evolving, and that we may still have a long way to go. Although we like to think of ourselves as “top of the evolutionary tree”, humanity may still be in its infancy, in evolutionary terms. The evidence is that we are still evolving in five significant respects:

We are evolving physically, and this includes our health and longevity

We are evolving in consciousness and in knowing and understanding. Many of us are more conscious, and as a species we know and understand much more

We are evolving in intelligence – defined as “behaving wisely and well”. It often does not seem so, when we look around us or watch the news, but the overall trend is positive

We are evolving in character and maturity. This means many things, such as our ethics and morality. In practice, it means we are becoming kinder, stronger, more disciplined

We are evolving in ability, in two senses: we can do current things better; and we can do completely new things, including that considered by some to be “paranormal”

An important part of the evidence that we are still evolving is that large numbers of people are working on their own evolution (although they probably do not use this term). Under headings such as “personal development” or “therapy” or “spiritual practice, they are working on their health, their consciousness, their intelligence, their character, or their abilities – any or all of these.

Given the existential threats that just one species – ourselves – pose to this planet, there is clearly an urgent need for we human beings to evolve as much as possible, so that we can become what we are capable of being – wise and kind, with the will and capacity to care for each other and this planet as they are meant to be cared for. I hope that it goes without saying that this will involve work, much of it. That said, if you work regularly on yourself, you will almost certainly evolve. And as you evolve as an individual, humanity as a whole will somehow reflect your personal evolution.