The Evolution of Consciousness and The Future of Humanity
The evolution of consciousness is a new idea for most people, but according to Roger Briggs, a game-changing one for us today. In his April 19, 2023 talk at Frasier, based on his book Emerging World, Briggs covered the following concepts and points:
- EVOLUTION is much bigger than just the evolution of life that we learn about in biology class. It includes the evolution of the universe beginning some 13.8 billion years ago, and much more recently, the evolution of culture which is unique to the Human lineage. Evolution is active and ongoing today, and Humans are still evolving, collectively and individually.
- Paleoanthropologists have mapped the evolution of culture by studying the stone tools that first appeared in Africa about 3 million years ago, and they have associated these with the emergence of various species such as Homo erectus, the Neanderthals, and Homo sapiens.
- The evolution of culture is the outer manifestation of something going on inside Humans, as new memory systems, cognitive capacities, and worldviews evolved, supported by a brain that tripled in size. This can collectively be called the evolution of consciousness.
- Scholars such as Jean Gebser and Merlin Donald have identified broad stages in the evolution of consciousness that humans have evolved over the last 3 million years. For example, the Mythic stage, now thought to have begun about 60,000 years ago when spoken language emerged, was characterized by story-telling and oral traditions, as well as an awareness, for the first time, of one’s own death. The Mythic structure of consciousness is still within us today, as evidenced by the meaning we find in stories.
- The most recent stage in the evolution of culture and consciousness began about 5,000 years ago with the emergence of civilization. For the first time, people lived indoors in artificial spaces, in cities ruled by a central powerful emperor or king. The nation-state, social hierarchies, and organized warfare all appear for the first time, as well as the attitude of “man over nature”. All of these are still with us today, except that emperors have, for the most part, been replaced by corporations.
- As we view today’s planetary crises through the lens of evolving culture and consciousness we can see that our 5000-year-old worldview is failing us. War among nations, inequality and oppression, and the destruction of nature are taking us toward widespread collapse. But something new is emerging within humans (and has been for some time).
- We are in the midst of the next evolutionary transformation, into a new structure of consciousness that allows us to see the interconnectedness and wholeness of humanity and the planetary system. We can call this the planetary consciousness.
- By some estimates, between 1 and 5 percent of humans are now substantially acquiring this new consciousness that sees one human family interconnected with all life and the planet.
- If enough people can evolve into planetary consciousness, the future will be bright, but if we continue on our current destructive path, it won’t be pretty.
- Many people and organizations are now working on the “Big Project” of supporting and accelerating the emergence of the planetary culture and consciousness. One of these is the Boulder-based Planet Project. Go to https://planetproject.io to find out more.
You can watch the full presentation here.