About Evolving Consciousness
From Light to Human Consciousness - Everyone's Story
Before diving into The Great Work suggested by Thomas Berry, before envisioning what a sustainable road ahead might look like, we found it helpful to reflect on where we have been and how we got to be present here today.
"Where we have been" is the Story of the Universe - Its an ancient story known intuitively by indigenous peoples, a common story embedded in all world religions, an ever unfolding and enlightening story as told in the language of science. Many of the chapters of this Story have just been written in the language of science within our lifetimes. It's an amazing Story that begins 13.7 billion years ago with an unimaginable light that has transformed itself into us at this present moment.
If you allow yourself to become embedded in this Story, you may initially experience a sense of insignificance as you reflect on the grandeur of the Cosmos, but you quickly acquire a profound sense of your unique importance to the interdependent web of Life that thrives on our Planet. Your physical arrangement, your neurological construction, your accumulated life experiences are all unique. As a result, your life contributes a different awareness, consciousness, and emotional experience to the Universe that no one else provides.
We divide the Universe Story into 5 segments. The first segment describes the emergence of matter from the Light, the emergence of galaxies, and solar systems. The second segment describes the emergence of Life on Planet Earth. The third segment describes the emergence of modern humans leading to the present. The fourth segment focuses on Life as it exists today - the good and the not so good. The fifth segment envisions possible Tomorrows - Tomorrows that address today's issues, and attempt to apply the collective wisdom that is emerging from the Universe Story - this segment is where we focus on "The Great Work" suggested by Thomas Berry. This segment applies the collective learning from multiple sources to suggest an update to our global morality. We have started to collect ideas pertaining to sustainability from a wide range of experts and assembly this information into guidelines for future human behavior - this is a work in progress - see: Ecomorality: Ethics of Sustainability and Evolving Consciousness.
This web site is intended to provide resources for further reflection on the collective consequences of 7 billion humans living on this finite planet with finite materials and finite fossil energy reserves.
The web site conveys the good news that with some minor but essential modifications to a broad range of human creations (ranging from material objects to social contracts), there is no known reason we can't live in right relations with the whole of our planet - and live joyful, loving, creative, fulfilling lives for hundreds of millions of years. We just have to re-invent some of our political-social-economic creations that are no longer serving us - human creations that are actually destroying us as well as countless other living species.
You might track our footprints on our virtual hikes as we revisit the past, marvel at the present, and envision a sustainable creative future in our Blog called Cosmic Reflections. There your comments are welcome and encouraged to enrich this adventure.
Humbled by the emerging realization that we humans are embedded within the dynamics of the planet, rather than the planet being embedded within the dynamics of the human and here for our use (as we were mislead to believe while we were growing up in the consumerism of our childhoods), we two elders are committed to spending our remaining Time exploring and sharing the insights of a whole new consciousness as it arises and begins to inform and inspire all areas of human beliefs and behaviors‚ a process that began in our lifetime!
When humans finally stepped off the Planet in 1969, people came full circle in the process set into motion during the Pleistocene Age, when something within humans “turned back on itself and ... took an infinite leap forward,” as Teilhard de Chardin describes that moment when humanity crossed the Threshold of Reflection (John McPhee, “Basin and Range“) and consciousness was born.
Ours is the generation that witnessed the shift in perspective from globe to Earth, from world to Planet, Solar System, Galaxy, Universe.
Now we are even glimpsing the very beginnings of Cosmic Time itself from some 13.7 billion years ago, and can follow its flaring forth into our solar system 4.5 billion years ago.
If we stand with our arms spread out full width, signifying the age of our Earth (4.5 billion years), we marvel that "the Cambrian (543 to 490 mya) begins in the wrist, and the Permian Extinction (244 mya) is at the outer end of the palm. All of the Cenozoic (65 mya to today) is in a fingerprint, and in a single stroke with a medium-grained nail file you could eradicate human history (10,000 years ago)" (ref: John McPhee).
Thus the human species occupies a unique place in spectrum of Time and within the context of Space: we get to reflect back on all of it!
We use today's story of the Universe, the History of Nature, to illustrate the uninterrupted evolution of light into matter into molecules into amino acids into cells into archea, bacteria, and eukaryotes into fungi, plants and animals including primates some of which became the ancestors of humans - beings capable of self-awareness and consciousness.
The Story of the Cosmos being told today is that science has confirmed the golden thread that stretches smoothly and continuously from the initial Light of the Universe 13.7 billion years ago through time to each and every living being here on Planet Earth today. We are now conscious of the fact that our bodies are constructed from "star stuff" - as is all life on our planet.
Yes, DNA has confirmed that we humans are all related. The different color pigments in our skin just document the road-map of the migration path our ancestors took out of Africa some 200,000 years ago to get to our more recent birth country. Yes, all 7 billion of us humans are cousins.
What is even more astounding is that our genetic code points out that we are also distant cousins of all animal life and more distant cousins of all plant life. The Phylogenic Tree of Life illustrates how all life on Planet Earth belongs to the same family. Indeed we are embedded within an interdependent network of Life - what we do to others we do unto ourselves.
The Universe Story has been summarized by others as the story of Emergence: the ongoing creation of something more (complex) from nothing but (what already exists) as a result of new relationships brought together by a source of energy.
The Universe Story may at first convey a feeling of personal insignificance. Upon further reflection, the Story assures you of your uniqueness and the importance of your contribution to our collective consciousness.
May you enjoy your journey as we travel together in space and time and ever evolving consciousness.