It has been about five years since I first began using the term “conscious evolution”. For me, it is a shorthand for three beliefs: that human beings are still evolving; that we can accelerate our own individual evolution; and that humanity as a whole urgently needs to evolve. But are we, and can we, and do we really need to? Today I would like to revisit these three questions in the light of my experience these last five years.
The third question is easy. I have absolutely no doubt that humanity urgently needs to evolve. I could give a long list of reasons for saying this (including Trump and Brexit!), but I will give just one. I leave it to you to add any reasons you might have.
My one reason is that we human beings are systematically destroying the biosphere on which we depend for our continuing survival. The planet’s climate is changing dangerously, and there is much compelling evidence that we are the main cause. As if this were not enough, human behaviour is causing the decline of all our life-support systems. In case you are not aware, these are clean air, clean water, forests, topsoil, aquifers, fisheries, wetlands, and biodiversity. They are in serious decline because we overuse and abuse them. Although we keep coming up with “solutions” – such as electric cars, recycling, “green energy” – the most sustainable solution of all would be to evolve! Why? Because, as we evolve, we become wiser, more conscious and more ethical. This implies that we would automatically live wiser lifestyles that are kinder to the planet and each other. So, yes, we really do need to evolve, starting right now.
The first question – is humanity still evolving? – sound easy too. If we are systematically destroying the biosphere (and electing dangerous narcissists such as Trump), then we seem to be going backwards, and not evolving. I can well understand that point of view. However, one definition of “evolution” is successful adaptation to great change. Historically, we have successfully adapted to many big changes. In this sense, at least, we have evolved. The question is: are we still evolving, or are Trump and climate change signs that human evolution has stopped? I think that part of the problem (as well as part of the solution) is that human technology, human wants, and the human population have all grown to the point that we have become the cause of some of the big changes to which we need to adapt! Although this might feel like a vicious circle, I believe that it is a circle from which we can escape…by evolving. More specifically, by working systematically on our own personal evolution. By doing so, we are less likely to cause problematic changes, and more like to be able to adapt successfully to any changes that happen to come our way.
And so to the second question: can we accelerate our own personal evolution? I believe that we can and that we should. And I believe that many people are already doing this, although they might not use the term “evolution”. Any work we do on ourselves to improve our consciousness, or our wisdom, or our character, or our ability (ideally all of these) is a form of “conscious evolution”. It follows, I hope, that the more work we do on ourselves, the more we will evolve. And if large numbers of people are working on themselves, humanity as a whole will be evolving. This is surely what the world needs right now!