A movement for the conscious evolution of increasingly conscious
This vision of "a movement for the conscious evolution of
increasingly conscious social systems" was born at the first
Salon in 2005 and was first described in a
blog entry by Tom Atlee. The idea has developed significantly
This is not and cannot be a step-by-step program, but is rather
an evolving collective inquiry guided by a sense of what is needed
at this stage of social evolution.
Cosmic and biological evolution have been proceeding more or less
unconsciously for billions of years -- and cultures, tools,
and social systems have also been evolving more or less unconsciously
(through their internal dynamics and environmental challenges) for
tens of thousands of years. Consciousness
provides an opportunity to bring greater awareness, intelligence,
intentionality, choice, and wisdom to
the re-shaping of our cultures and social systems.
To the extent we choose to expand our consciousness and apply it
to the evolution of our social systems, we are practicing conscious
evolution of those systems. In a very real sense we are also acting
as or being
the evolutionary consciousness of those systems.
So how can we tell how conscious a social system is? The same way
we judge how conscious any other living thing is -- by its responsiveness
to stimuli and change. To the extent a social system as a whole
-- a community, a nation, a political system, an economic system,
for example -- manifests the ability to respond well and creatively
to changes in its environment -- in ways that enhance its survival
and well-being, especially if it enhances the survival and well-being
of its component people and groups -- that social system can be
said to be conscious.
This is obviously vital for humanity at the opening of this incredibly
challenging new century. So we are taking on the project of helping
our social systems become more wisely responsive to their changing
circumstances. In other words, we are setting out to nurture or
create increasingly conscious social systems that can deal well
and creatively with the challenges we face.
What would a movement -- a coherent engagement of thousands of
people inspired by this vision and calling -- look like? What would
it do? What would guide its work? How would it be organized or networked?
These are the inquiries we are pursuing now.
This is where we are as of the summer of 2008.
Much of the impetus for this approach came from the realization
that people who think of themselves as helping social systems become
more conscious would recognize
the evolutionary role of conversation and naturally gravitate
to the kinds of visions, approaches,
and methods long advocated by the Co-Intelligence Institute.
With the publication and popularity of our colleague Michael Dowd's
book Thank God
for Evolution!, we expect a burst of interest in this work
in the near future and are preparing to engage people in it.
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