Conscious Evolution Through |
Process of Human Evolution
Evolution's Next Step
||Emboldenment of Philosophy|
In this essay we'll examine how humankind's conscious evolution can most effectively occur through the realization of Cooperative Communities as explicated in The New Commonwealth. To explore the features of this conscious evolutionary development, we'll counterpose the basic concepts and practices involved in establishing Commonwealth Communities with the ideas of several principal thinkers, including P.D. Ouspensky, a 20th century student and expositor of sources relating to the Perennial Tradition.
Charles Darwin agreed that human evolution advanced through "natural selection" on the physical level only during the early pre-historic eras. During the last ten to fifteen thousand years, human evolution has occurred exclusively in relation to "intellectual and moral faculties"--that is through conscious effort.
"Mr. Wallace, in an admirable paper before referred to, 3 argues that man, after he had partially acquired those intellectual and moral faculties which distinguish him from the lower animals, would have been but little liable to bodily modifications through natural selection or any other means. . . The case, however, is widely different, as Mr. Wallace has with justice insisted, in relation to the intellectual and moral faculties of man. . . We can see, that in the rudest state of society, the individuals who were the most sagacious, who invented and used the best weapons or traps, and who were best able to defend themselves, would rear the greatest number of offspring."
Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, 1871
P. D. Ouspensky, The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution, 1945
". . . Psychology is the study of the principles, laws and facts of man's possible evolution.
"Our first question will be--what does evolution of man mean, and second, are there any special conditions necessary for it? . . . We must deny any possibility of future mechanical evolution of man; that is, evolution happening by itself according to laws of heredity and selection, and without man's conscious efforts and understanding of his possible evolution.
"Our fundamental idea shall be that man as we know him is not a completed being; that nature develops him only up to a certain point and then leaves him, either to develop further, by his own efforts and devices, or to live and die such as he was born, or to degenerate and lose capacity for development.
"Evolution of man in this case will mean the development of certain inner qualities and features which usually remain undeveloped, and cannot develop by themselves. Experience and observation show that this development is possible only in certain definite conditions, with efforts of a certain kind on the part of man himself, and with sufficient help from those who began similar work before and have already attained a certain degree of development, or at least a certain knowledge of methods. We must start with the idea that without efforts evolution is impossible; without help, it is also impossible.
"After this we must understand that in the way of development, man must become a different being, and we must learn and understand in what sense and in which direction man must become a different being; that is, what a different being means. Then we must understand that all men cannot develop and become different beings. Evolution is the question of personal efforts and in relation to the mass of humanity evolution is the rare exception. It may sound strange but we must realise that it is not only rare, but is becoming more and more rare. . .
"The evolution of man depends on his understanding of what he may get and what he must give for it. If man does not want it, or if he does not want it strongly enough, and does not make necessary efforts, he will never develop.
"You have always confused understanding with knowing or having information. But to know and to understand are two quite different things and you must learn to distinguish between them. In order to understand a thing, you must see its connection with some bigger subject, or bigger whole, and the possible consequences of this connection. Understanding is always the understanding of a smaller problem in relation to a bigger problem. . . You cannot understand and disagree. In ordinary conversation we very often say: I understand him but I do not agree with him. From the point of view of the system we are studying, this is impossible. If you understand a man, you agree with him; if you disagree with him, you do not understand him. 'to understand' means to agree. People who understand one another must not only have an equal knowledge, they must also have an equal being. Only then is mutual understanding possible.
"Another wrong idea which people have or which belongs particularly to our times, is that understanding can be different, that people can, that is, have the right, to understand the same thing differently. This is quite wrong from the point of view of the system. Understanding cannot be different. There can only be one understanding, the rest is non-understanding, or incomplete understanding. But at the same time people often think that they understand things differently. We can see examples of this every day. How can we find an explanation of this seeming contradiction? In reality, there is no contradiction. Understanding means understanding of a part in relation to the whole. But the idea of the whole can be very different in people according to their knowledge and being. This is why the system is again necessary. People learn to understand by understanding the system and everything else in relation to the system."
Commentary on Ouspensky's material
Philosophy, Psychology, and other metaphysical areas of study must be approached from the perspective of humankind's conscious evolution.
It's necessary to realize that just as humans can only evolve through conscious effort--not through such non-intentional elements as "survival of the fittest"--so a genuine community can only be developed through conscious, intentional operations such as screening, training, and testing.
We can't develop a better society with persons as they are now: acquiescent to capitalist brainwashing, suicidally indifferent to their plight as capitalist cannon fodder, and rapidly degenerating further.
A society for the common welfare of all its members requires persons who have trained themselves to understand their society and their own inner nature, and who have developed sufficient intelligence to realize that they must join with like-minded persons to build developmental, self-governing institutions, practices, and laws that will allow its members to escape from ever-increasing capitalist devastation of workers worldwide.
Such self-transformed persons will have divested themselves of the capitalist mind-set of dog-eat-dog greed and developed genuine traits of altruism, cooperation, and unity. They will realize that only a small group of humans possess the necessary capabilities to qualify them for membership in such a cooperative society.
The New Commonwealth "pattern" includes a viable process for creating new communities: through taking control of small municipalities within the United States.
As we have seen in the essays, enlightening groups and transformative groups, an evolutionary community must institute the dialectical-interchange decision-making process that facilitates consensus. Achieving mastery of the dialectical-interchange process requires training in its principles and practices. Once instituted, this decision-making process assures consensus, not merely majority-rule.
Dialectical consensus decision-making is a process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also attempts to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. Consensus decision-making is intended to de-emphasize the role of factions or parties and promote the expression of individual voices. The method also increases the likelihood of unforeseen or creative solutions by juxtaposing dissimilar ideas.
In consensus decision-making, minority views can be considered to a greater degree than in group decision-making processes where a majority can take the action and enforce the decision without any further consultation with the minority voters.
Celebrating Human Ignorance and Maliciousness
In November, 2012, the History Channel began a series purporting to describe humankind's historic advancement. As with the History Channel's other fiasco, the Men Who Built America, the series does nothing but inadvertently expose the utter ignorance of the persons producing the show. With both TV series, the individuals chosen as "spokespersons" (e.g. Donald Trump: "real estate mogul" and Richard "Mack" Machowicz: "military expert and former Navy seal,") reveal the unqualified intellectual incompetence of both the producers and the "spokespersons." The producers of the Mankind series made a revealing choice of narrator: Josh Brolin, whose voice (a cross between Dubya and Matt Dillon) epitomizes the twang and lack of nuance of an uncouth oaf--we must remember that Brolin was chosen to portray the imbecility of George Bush II in the movie W.
The Mankind series is nothing but a glorification of militarism and dog-eat-dog struggle for survival (euphemized as commerce), ignoring such cultural icons as Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato and cultural watersheds such as mathematics, philosophy, and rational thought, to focus on such historical irrelevancies as an obscure Athenian military leader.
Conscious Human Evolution
Once humans develop certain physical traits such as a larger brain and the use of tools, further evolution must occur exclusively in the development of mental, moral, and spiritual qualities such as the enhancement of language and reasoning, moral refinement, and social and spiritual advance--through conscious effort. All elements of physical evolution can be used either for positive or negative purposes: to encourage the complete realization of humankind's potential or for the deliberate debasement of humans to a retrograde state. With few exceptions--such as the age of Plato, the original teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment--humankind has devolved to an increasingly lower state: vulture capitalism, militaristic imperialism, and fascism.
None of the contemporary "programmes" for improving humankind's lot are viable:|
"A new society is possible only if, in the process of developing it, a new human being also develops . . . if a fundamental change occurs in contemporary Man's character structure."
Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?
The only way to counter humankind's rapid loss of the ability to understand reality is through developing small cooperative communities in which human evolutionary development can be achieved in all areas of life. Persons in these communities can then make available the framework for a New Culture--the one viable answer to the present political-economic-social chaos that faces us. Humankind's spiritual--and physical--evolution has been guided by seers such as Hermes, Plato, Jesus, Rumi, Francis of Assissi, and Shakespeare, and continues to be inspired and directed by contemporary Perennialist teachers.
"The main role of creative intellect lies in practical invention. 'Invention' here is being used broadly to mean acts of intelligent discovery by which an animal comes up with new ways of doing things. Thus it includes not only, say, the fabrication of new tools or the putting of existing objects to new use but also the discovery of new behavioural strategies, new ways of using the resources of one's own body." Nicholas Humphrey, "The Social Function of Intellect," 1976"
1 Idries Shah, The Sufis, 1964Reference and Updates:
2 Authentic Sufism, a small part of the entire world of Sufism, is one of the embodiments of the Perennial Tradition.