I believe there is an emerging movement increasingly focused on the conscious evolution of social systems. It hasn’t landed on a broadly agreeable name or identity, but I see a number of trends converging toward a common ground from fields as diverse as activism, evolutionary spirituality, organizational development, and systems thinking. For the moment I will call this a movement of social evolutionaries. Very definitely they are not social engineers inspired by social Darwinism. Rather, they are conscious of a broad spectrum of evolutionary dynamics more focused on cooperation than tooth-and-claw competition. They share a sense that we are all participating in a profoundly important evolutionary moment whose outcome depends on a radical shift in awareness and action that will largely determine the fate of humankind.
Clusters of us are in conversations to explore a series of inquiries we believe could help this emerging movement find greater coherence and self-awareness to help it have socially useful impact in a timely manner. These inquiries branch off of a core inquiry — What would an intergenerational movement of social evolutionaries look like?. Among them are these:
* What would such a movement focus on?
* If we were to be such a movement, what would we need to know — principles, models, tools, capacities…?
* What tactics and means would we use?
* How would we organize ourselves and expand, consistent with and serving the self-organizing dynamics of nature and the deep impulses of evolution?
* What story would we be living?
Here are some of my own answers to these questions:
The emerging social evolutionary movement combines the social change spirit of past activist movements with the evolutionary understandings, inspirations, and motivations emerging from a sacred understanding of evolutionary science and integral studies.
* It sees todays challenges as compelling opportunities for evolutionary leaps of consciousness, culture and the structures, principles and processes that constitute social systems.
* Although it is informed by past political ideologies and agendas it takes its guidance primarily from the dynamics of evolution and natural systems and their analogues in the emerging dynamics of conscious social evolution. Its tactics include and transcend all previous movement activities and are, above all, grounded in collective learning and co-evolution.
* It finds meaning and inspiration in the ongoing cosmic, biological, and cultural unfolding of the 13.7 billion year evolutionary epic. Social evolutionaries see their work as a co-creative manifestation of an emerging evolutionary era whose greater conscious evolutionary intention and wisdom constitute a new chapter in this venerable evolutionary drama.
A Curriculum for Social Evolutionaries?
What are the most important maps and models needed by social evolutionaries? The following — each of which could form the basis for weeks or months of dialogue, learning and practical application — are examples that could be core to such a curriculum. Most can be found online.
Overall evolutionary models
* The Great Story / Epic of Evolution
* Peggy Holman’s and Tom Atlee’s Architecture of a Movement for Conscious Evolution
* Bill Moyers MAP – Movement Action Plan
* Paul Ray’s New Political Compass
* John Atlee’s “Democracy: A social power analysis”
Models of evolutionary dynamics
* Peggy Holman’s model of Emergence
* Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics
* Various models of Cosmogenesis (the creative dynamic that is the cosmos) – Communion, Differentiation, Interiority/Self-organization, Interaction, etc.
Domains of evolutionary work
* Ken Wilber’s Quadrants and Lines
* Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Wheel of Co-creation
* Ecotrust’s Pattern Language for a Conservation Economy