In today’s episode of” Healing From Within” host Sheryl Glick welcomes Steven McIntosh author of “Evolution’s Purpose” a book that looks at how everything is subject to evolution and change, including matter, life, and human culture. As” Healing From Within” welcomes scientists and spiritualists who concentrate their focus and studies on energy patterns, evolution and higher consciousness while noting patterns of the past and the beginning of life we seek to answer age old questions of,” Who are we? and how did physically and energetically begin These questions led to new insights into evolution on a human, cosmic and cultural level. In today’s discussion we may begin to integrate these distinct approaches as cooperative in nature and meaningful for recognizing evolution’s purpose for the many receptive individuals now with a growing internal need to realize beauty, truth and goodness as part of our human development.
Our guest Steven McIntosh is a leader in the field of the integral philosophy movement, and currently works as a founding partner of the new social policy foundation, “The Institute for Cultural Evolution”. Previously, Steven was a founder of the consumer products company “Now and Zen” practicing law with a large American law firm, working as an executive with Celestial seasonings Tea Company, and involved in Olympic class bicycle racing. Steven’s first book was” Integral Consciousness and the future of Evolution.”
As we explore concepts related to quantum physics and self-organizing systems and the study of consciousness we become acquainted with a new form of philosophy know as Integral Philosophy. Integral philosophy is a study of evolution that emphasizes the evolution of consciousness as a central factor in the process of evolution overall. This idea demonstrates the connection between personal development of each person’s value’s and character and the development of human history. Steven suggests that many people who have received the economic and educational benefits of living in the developed world now feel a sense of personal responsibility to help improve the human condition. When awareness of our energetic connection to everyone and all of life, is heightened or awakened within our inner being we begin to recognize and remember the dual nature of our life as experienced by our ego-mind nature designed for physical survival, and our soul energy or inner awareness, both part of the process of evolution. It is possible to merge the needs of our inner and outer world. Those who reach this state of knowing must seek cooperation and communication with all people, equally and justly. That is one of the defining qualities of those people at this time in our course of human development and this stage is called a “ Postmodern Worldview.” Steven describes the three stages of worldwide development which are Traditional Worldview- Modernist Worldview- Postmodern Worldview.
In discussing the twenty-first century challenges and the way we will deal with these issues, Steven suggests issues will be met and resolved by Cultural Evolution. Cultural Evolution will be the means for getting beyond global problems including environmental degradation, nuclear proliferation, the exhaustion of natural resources, overpopulation in the developing world and hunger and poverty. As evolution is Universal it includes three forms-cosmological, biological, and cultural.
In the past philosophy was a major force for social progress and Socrates Plato and Aristotle during the Greek Golden Age, and other higher visionaries during the Age of Enlightenment in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries provided discoveries and theories which led to advances in Science and new ideals of freedom and morality. Sensitive thinkers of today are beginning to feel that intuition or inner knowing along with science is beginning to reveal much about our evolving universe and this reveals a monumental truth that transcends the boundaries of scientific inquiry. These metaphysical explanations must be part of the equation as we become more aware of our connection to Energy, the process of BECOMING and the senses and material world that offer only one part of this expansion of awareness.
In a discussion of the progressive state of Consciousness Steven mentions that this process is neither random, accidental or meaningless and has been building upon itself for billions of years. Also consciousness can be raised to a higher level by increasing empathy and compassion and by cultivating knowledge, understanding and forgiveness and building political will and the determination to achieve social and environmental justice. A feeling of connection to everyone and knowing that we will create that which we give out to the world may conquer the fear of being alone and at the whim and mercy of others for survival. In other words giving up the “Me” first and foremost mentality, will lead many to a sense of community and responsibility for all neighbors whether local or far away. The human condition will improve as a result of this new range of emotions thoughts and actions.
The new understanding of evolution and emergence over the last few decades suggests that this process has been affecting everything in the universe for billions of years and is shaping the physical world of
MATTER-ENERGY which is the biological realm of life and the cultural domain of human history. Emergence ties all forms of evolution together. Biophysicist Harold Morowitz describes emergence as follows;
“When the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, indeed so great, that the sum far transcends the parts and represents something utterly new and different-we call this phenomenon EMERGENCE.” A scientific account of this leads us to conclude that each new level arises out of and depends on the elements and characteristics of the level below it. For example our consciousness depends on the functioning of our brains, yet, we also have degrees of freedom transcending our biological determinants. What causes emergence? Although the substance of life is nothing more than matter and energy the emergent forms of organization results in a force which drives living things to survive, strive to fulfill their needs, and reproduce. Now from this force of emergence comes our inquiry into Purpose, We become aware all life forms have a purpose and can thus fail or succeed at achieving a desired goal or outcome. This leads us to a need to consider how consciousness affects these emerging purposeful evolutionary trends.
What is human consciousness? Human consciousness is partially independent of our brains and includes our thoughts, intentions, values, memories and sense of self. In becoming aware that evolution is not merely a matter of external phenomenon but that evolution is occurring on the inside as well as the outside, this causes us to consider a new aspect of evolution. Perhaps while the origins of life remain a mystery, scientists explain biological evolution as random mutation and an environmental pruning idea of natural selection but these concepts alone cannot provide a credible account of human consciousness. So therefore when we go beyond how science relates to the physical world we discover knowledge of immaterial being. Metaphysics can then come after, or go beyond physics, to a search of extraphysical.
As we steer past the assumption that reality is randomly created we recognize that we are both observers, finders and makers of reality. We appear to be so much more than our physical world and then can begin to recognize all of life is energy – thought movement and creation. Many open minded biologists have begun to see that evolution much like healing is a multi-level process of co-evolution occurring between genes and ecosystems. These scientists recognize other mechanisms of evolution besides natural selection, and this leads us to a new field of evolutionary developmental biology referred to a “evo-devo.”
At the heart of the inquiry in the process of evolution we ask ourselves what is the ultimate purpose of change advancement and our evolving universe and humanity. The fact emerges that we all have a direct experience of purpose that we know from “within”, and this gives us a sense of kinship between our human awareness and the purpose experienced by all forms of life. The force or drive that causes us to physically survive and reproduce also drives us to seek our own self-actualization and to share or give our internal or spiritual gifts and talents to the world. Our individual purposes are related to the macro purposes that we seek to discover in evolution as a whole.
If we want to discover evolution’s purpose we need only look inside ourselves. Our purpose are its purpose, and our ability to grow and continually make things better is predicted by the pursuit of both self-improvement and the giving of ourselves to the larger community. A degree of balance is achieved by such action. Steven McIntosh in a thoughtful intellectual and well documented search into the philosophy and journey from pre-biotic forms of life right up to the development of human consciousness and our global civilization by exploring evolution, its framework throughout history and it’s many purposes gives us a greater view of our physical and inner world experience.