There have been many powerful turning points in our collective history and now it seems that we are at the edge of another profound turning point in human civilization.
The question is: who will be the innovators, explorers and architects of the future?
8thLife is designed for individuals who are inspired by the idea that there is a different way to change themselves and the world, and to inspire many more to awaken to their calling.
Change happens when an individual begins to awaken to a new consciousness, a new way of being.
This in turn leads to the impulse to do something quite different in the world.
Acting on the principle that inner awakening leads to outer change, the awakened individual starts to want to take an active role in creating a new future and no longer wants a future that repeats the conditionings of the past.
Instead, there is a compulsion to create a new horizon of potential and possibility for all rather than simply survive the crises we are facing as a species.
The challenges we face demand a new way of understanding who we are and where we are going as a species.
We need a new worldview—a new way to make sense of life
Adapted from an Andrew Cohen workshop
The above quote is taken from a great lecture by Daniel Quinn, The Human Future: A Problem in Design, well worth reading when you have the time.
Create = Design, only designing tends to be more conscious by nature (we can create things subconsciously but designing is conscious), so Design means Conscious Creation.
When we teach Permaculture Design we emphasize the importance of understanding the language and rules of design in order to get ever more conscious about what and how we're designing, and why.
Conscious Evolution is about conscious Whole System Design - ie. what permaculture design is all about.
This is part of the Conscious Evolution image that Barbara Marx Hammond uses, with "Worldviews" and "Whole System Design" written in the middle, the different colour segments represent Science, Education, Justice, Health, etc. .. all the various aspects of our world, currently not integrated or synergized. It is a rainbow iris placed on a point in the evolutionary spiral where "the Noosphere opens it's eyes", or conscious evolution starts.
In 2002 David Holmgren published Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, launching this Permaculture Flower which summarizes in a graphic and colourful way how the permaculture design process necessarily has to pass through & consider all the various aspects of society - if it is to be called truly holistic and therefore truly permacultural.
This logo represents the playful nature of the enquiry that characterizes permaculture progress in action. It was designed (around the same time as the Permaculture Flower, but without it's knowledge, on the other side of the world) to represent the upward spiral of permacultural action-learning through all the various previously atomized aspect of our society, towards a holistic understanding and re-design.
This is the logo of NodoEspiral of the Permaculture Academy which a black paw (to remind that you have to walk the talk, otherwise it doesn't work) with the 6 coloured rays representing the 6 modules of the innovative Permaculture course we teach:
violet - People Care
blue - Design Techniques
green - Earth Care
yellow - Eco Technology
orange - Eco Economy
red - Community & Networks (joining it all up)
Since 2003 we're teaching an integral curriculum in this way.
from the Barbara Marx Hubbard site
Due to the increased power given us through science and technology, we are learning how nature works – the gene, the atom, the brain. We are affecting our own evolution by everything we do. With these new powers we can destroy our life support systems …or we can move toward a hope-filled future of immeasurable possibilities.
We are the generation of choice, and we do not have much time to choose!
Conscious Evolution is the worldview that has arisen precisely at this moment in history to deal with the new human condition. It is a vision and a direction to help us navigate through this transitional period to the next stage of human evolution. As Einstein admonished, humankind cannot solve its problems from the same place of consciousness in which we created them. A new place of consciousness is required.
In simple terms Conscious Evolution takes place when we intend to grow in consciousness and use our increasing awareness to guide our actions and achieve a positive future.
Bela H. Banathy, author of Guided Evolution of Society, offers this additional understanding of Conscious Evolution:
It is a process by which we can individually and collectively take responsibility for our future.
It is a process of giving direction to the evolution of human systems by purposeful action.
And most importantly, Conscious Evolution enables us, if we take responsibility for it, to use our creative power to guide our own lives and the evolution of the systems and the communities in which we live and work. It is a process by which individuals and groups, families, organizations, and societies can envision and create images of what should be, and bring those images to life by design.
Conscious Evolution is at the core a spiritually-motivated endeavor. Its precepts reside at the heart of every great faith, affirming that humans have the potential of being cocreators with Spirit, with the deeper patterns of nature and universal design.
The promise of Conscious Evolution is nothing less than the emergence of a universal humanity capable of its guiding its own evolution into a future of unimaginable cocreativity.
More information can be found in Barbara’s book Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of our Social Potential or her DVD entitled What is Conscious Evolution.
The Gaian Conspiracy
by Anodea Judith
(part of the article on the CAW web)
Gaea is not only alive, She is conscious. An organism that is alive changes. As a thing changes it either moves towards entropy, increasing disorder, or towards organization and greater complexity. We see in every untouched wilderness that Gaea keeps Her house beautiful and balanced. We know by the proliferation of species and the perfection of untampered ecosystems that Gaea resists entropy.
The ability to resist the natural entropy of open systems implies the influence of consciousness or intelligence. Gaea's ability to sustain the wild disequilibrium of which Lovelock speaks is indicative of a feedback process that elicits a self-correcting response. She is able to sense and to change accordingly to maintain the exact conditions needed for life--operative intelligence at work.
While Lovelock was strongly criticized for implying that Gaea's intelligence had purpose, by definition a thing that is moving toward greater organization is evolving . Since She is alive and evolving, we watch of the pattern and ask the questions, "What is She evolving into?" and How can we help?"
The basic evolutionary pattern in biological organisms is movement toward greater consciousness. Since the animals with the largest brains are the most recent additions, this progression is called _cephalization_. Simple homeostasis does not require a great deal of consciousness--our bodies maintain their inner temperatures and chemical balance with little if any attention from our conscious mind. But a circumstances require greater effort to maintain balance, greater consciousness is also required: when it gets really cold, we put a coat on or make a fire.
Teilhard de Chardin, apocalyptic theologian, spoke of the Earth growing a new organ of consciousness which he called the noosphere. The noosphere which is about two days old in Gaean time,(ii) is made up of creatures who are capable of sharing and spreading consciousness. It can be thought of as Gaea's cerebral cortex. Humans and animals may be the neurons of Gaea, growing neural networks via our wondrous communications systems, which are themselves only seconds old. This means Her consciousness is growing very rapidly.
What does a being do as it becomes conscious? Many spiritual systems, especially the older ones, have risen from the very fabric of this world. Gaea's evolutionary thrust is reflected in the spiritual goals of self-realization.
To realize one's self means to awaken to whom you are in your entirety, to harmoniously integrate your inner parts. Based on models of modern psychology, systems thinking and spiritual enlightenment, the next stage of planetary evolution will involve a reclamation of lost and severed parts; a reintegration and increased functionality of interdependent systems; and a continual self-examination and self-correction aiming toward complete identity as part of a planetary being.
Realization on a planetary scale means that a critical mass of the conscious aspects of Gaea realize the absolute importance of all the other Gaean components and unite with them. To come to understand that there is no "other," only a very large self that is highly diversified within, is a global process of epoch proportions which will extend far beyond our lifetimes.
Put simply, this means:
GAEA IS TRYING TO WAKE UP!
The noosphere is all sentient creatures as well as the interconnecting nerve fibers of the media and telecommunications networks. Even animals are part of this network: as we watch movies and documentaries about them, we bring them into our consciousness. In the same way that the occipital nerve of our central nervous system influences our consciousness by bringing visual information to the brain, the international communications medium is a neural network that affects our global consciousness.
While we sleep, we are unaware of external visual input and instead dwell in the archetypal realm. The process of awakening from sleep is reflected in an increasing ability to connect quickly and directly with what is going on around us.
So, too, is the planet awakening through the development of the noosphere. Once upon a time, war could occur in Europe without anyone in North America having any knowledge of it. Then the noosphere grew and we could know, but with a time lag, a buffering separation between the reality of the war and our consciousness of it. Now the planetary nervous system is awakening ever more and information about significant events reached a much larger body of consciousness more quickly. The experience is also a fuller one of sight and sound together. The noosphere is evolving, its body of consciousness self-organizing into an elaborate neural network.
When an injured person falls into unconsciousness, they cease to be aware of their wounds. As they come to, they first become aware of sensations and sounds. Then they open their eyes to their surroundings and next try to sit up, only to find their body racked with pain. Working toward awareness of the situation as a whole, they attempt to connect the sensory information impacting their groggy consciousness; they begin to remember who they are, where they are, and what happened.
Gaea is awakening now, as Her various members realize that they are part of a larger divine system. She got a look at Her face in the mirror when the pictures of Earth from space were broadcast into the minds of Her children. When all the part of Gaea recognize each other as participants in parallel growth heading for an Omega point of coalescence and integrative harmony, then the global consciousness of this planet will have awakened to a realization of identity as a global being.
We who are aware of this process are privileged to have a ringside seat. We are Her eyes and ears. Her voice and hands. Human beings, with our instruments of science and global communication, are in a unique position to understand the direction of this change and help it or thwart it--at our own liberation or peril. Asking and perhaps discovering in what direction Her evolutionary thrust is moving, in answering, we become partners in it.
Teilhard de Chardin observed: "Man is not the center of the universe, as once we thought in our simplicity, but something much more wonderful--that arrow pointing the way to the final unification of the world in terms of life."(iii)
But what expression is being carved on the face of the Goddess Gaea. In our rush towards planetary realization, we are creating the paralysis of _greedlock_.(iv) Since everything on this planet is part of Gaea, what in the world is She doing to Herself? Is destruction or our own habitat part of Her plan? Is She trying to get rid of us because we are a failed experiment? Or are we an inoculation hurrying Her own awakening? If we are She, and we are also destroying the most living aspect of Her, does that mean She is involved in self-destruction? If so, _why_?
GAEA IS REACTING TO A DEEP PSYCHIC WOUND
I return again to human beings as a model. People come to me in my healing practice to deal with self-destructive activities that they are unable to stop: drinking, eating, scratching themselves raw, ruining their relationships, hurting their children. They don't want to be doing these things and they aren't fully conscious of why they do. Our culture is full of this kind of addictive self-destruction.
In every case, the behavior was the result of one wound or several that had been glossed over, forgotten, discounted or distorted. An unhealed wound of any magnitude is an event that thwarts the evolutionary progress of the afflicted. Until the wound is healed, the organism cannot go on to become what it is meant to be.
Human addictive destruction of the biosphere can be understood as a systemic reaction on the part of Gaea to escape from a wound. It is a sign of something having gone awry, of a negative conspiracy , a self sabotage reflex, a circuit breaker. If this is, then what is the wound?
The wound that Gaea sustained is the wound of Her children turning away from Her. If her children were to be the arrow pointing the way to unification, then we are surely missing the mark. Instead of unity, our separation from Nature has resulted in a fragmentation of Her energy. Culture is severed from planet, much as mind is "severed" from body, the ongoing condition from wounds suffered. As a result, we are living with a biospheric amnesia and Gaea is living in a state of partial dissociation. The noosphere has become what Theodore Roszak calls the neurosisphere.
The imposition of patriarchal dominator values, which destroyed the religions and cultural models that revered the Earth, was the original infliction of this wound. It has been a 6,000 year process of separation of human beings from Nature (long for us, but moments to Gaea). In this time we have moved away from biological models for our cultural structure, replacing them with mechanistic ones. Powerful, but out of step with Gaea, they take us away from Her and from ourselves as biological beings.
But in reality this separation is not actually possible--we are utterly dependent upon Gaea. Our separation is an illusion that unfortunately has us firmly in its grip. Joanna Macy points out:
"Trying to escape from something that we are dependent on breeds a love-hate relationship with it. This love-hate relationship with matter permeates our culture and inflames a twofold desire--to destroy and to possess.
So our culture compulsively seeks to possess and destroy the very deity that gives us life. We are each part of Gaea. Her wound is our own wound. As we are separated from Mother Nature, we are simultaneously separated from our own nature. Our self-destruction is her destruction. As the face of our planet breaks out in biospheric acne, our social systems break down, our economic systems decline, our political systems wage war and our immune systems fail. Our despair is Her despair. Her pain is our doom.
But as we are microcosmic reflection of Her, so is our visions and our hope. Herein lies the good news.
"We're going to save this world by joining our passion and our genious to create"
Barbara Marx Hubbard