We are at a crucial stage in our development and the time for thinking about responsibilities, yet not acting upon them is past. As President Harry Truman once famously declared: ‘The buck stops here.’ Well, that buck was on the desk of one man – today’s buck reaches to every one of us, irrespective of country, race, gender, religion, or status. This new ‘buck’ is the collective choice we face concerning the future evolution not only of our species, but also of the Earth and all living forms included.
Every epoch has fashioned a corresponding mind-set, and frames of consciousness that have provided a functional use. The earlier mythic conceptions of a sacred world dominated by unseen forces and humankind’s integral relationship with powerful nature developed into a theistic consciousness. Here, divine authority on earth was conscripted into hierarchical dynastic rule as a governing device. This theistic mind-set became assimilated into the Logos concept of a divinely ordered cosmos with an ultimate prime-mover. This belief of an ordered cosmos soon evolved into the Enlightenment’s mechanistic ‘clockwork’ view of the universe where science sought to prove that natural laws held the world under linear domination. This materialistic mind-set has brought us up to the present moment. Now it is no longer of functional use. Rather, if it carries us any further, we are liable to become its victims.
An evolution of consciousness is required. I don’t mean this in any mystico-esoteric sense. I mean it in a very real and practical way. For the past 300 years society has provided us with a worldview and belief-system that sees the ideas of ‘survival of the fittest’, the sense of competition, and of conquest, colonisation, and consumption, as the main ideals. This materialistic conception has seen a rapid contamination of the world we share and has placed us on an evolutionary path to extinction. The next shift must involve a conscious decision to evolve our understanding, worldview, and wisdom, through intensive evolution rather than an extensive one. Intensive evolution replaces such obsolete material beliefs with ones concentrating on connection, communication, and consciousness. The energy inherent in inter-connectedness works on an exponential scale: that is, it develops at ever increasing rates. This is why in history most of our profound innovations have been the work of single, or minority, action. A conscious action produces an exponentially increased effect. Ghandi was right when he said: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ When you change yourself, you change the immediate world around you; those close to you, and the events you participate in.
An increased degree of communication through connection fosters an increased involvement of consciousness – and consciousness evolves through use, and latent properties are more likely to emerge when stimulated, just like a car operates better when warmed up. Again, this lies more in the realm of common sense than ‘strange goings-on’. Our era has shifted where we need to unburden ourselves of these obsolete and superstitious beliefs. True knowledge is sense that is not yet common, rather than esoteric or otherworldly. Science today, with its quantum theories of the ‘zero-point’ and ‘quantum vacuum’ provides greater understanding of our place in the present universe than at any time in our recorded history. Should we not be making use of this information? It is time to educate ourselves and to do our duty by changing ourselves first.
Thus, human contact and communication --> co-operation. Co-operation gives us Synergy. And synergy is the effect of combined action which is greater than the sum of its parts. As a whole, with unity, we can achieve things beyond that available to us as individuals. The next shift on our evolutionary path requires an evolution in consciousness, and we can all play our part. It requires inner-reflection, mindfulness, co-operation, and living in a harmonious and respectful way with others and with our environment. It doesn’t require any great sacrifices or burning of books: simply, it is living in accordance with our developmental needs rather than our wants. As one thinker has put it: ‘Live simply so that others may simply live.’ And living simply is evolving ourselves – our conscious awareness and understanding - to be in a harmonious relationship within a grander cosmic harmony. The ‘buck’ stops with us. Let’s do a good job of it.
For a more detailed discussion of these ideas, see: Ervin Laszlo, ‘Macroshift’ (2001)