Resolving Planetary Challenges from a Universe-Scaled, Evolutionary Systems Perspective...
As language-using organisms, we participate in the evolution of the universe most fruitfully through interpretation. We come to grips with the world by drawing pictures, telling stories, conversing. These are our special contribution to existence. It is our immense good fortune and grave responsibility to sing the songs of the cosmos.
1995 Harper's February
Our world is at a turning point; revolutions are happening everywhere, and the push for change is in the air. Yes, change is literally in the air. Human activity is causing carbon in the atmosphere to increase about 2 ppm per year. We are now at 391 ppm, so if we continue with business as usual, it won’t be too long until we’ve reached 450 ppm. According to James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 450 ppm would correspond to a temperature increase of six degrees celsius in this century, and “the end of human civilization as we’ve come to know it.” So now’s the time to harness the revolutionary energy that is sweeping the world in order to save this planet and all of its beauty, to save all the glory of humanity’s existence.
If we do not curb our greenhouse gas emissions in a timely manner, we will be dealing with dire consequences that will affect us all. In fact, we are dealing with consequences already; tropical storms are taking paths never seen before, causing surprising flash floods in the southern Philliphines. And according to Mark Lynas, author of Six Degrees: Our Future On a Hotter Planet, if global temperatures continue to increase—even just two degrees Celsius—it would mean that “Miami would disappear entirely, as would most of Manhattan. Central London would be flooded. Bangkok, Bombay, and Shanghai would also lose most of their area. In all, half of humanity would have to move to higher ground.”
Recognizing the scope of the potential calamity, the Maldives has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2020. As President Nasheed said at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change in 2009, “If things go business as usual, we will not live, we will die. Our country will not exist.” Tuvalu also will cease to exist, should we be unable to curb the emissions that are causing temperatures and sea levels to rise so dramatically. How unlucky the citizens of those island nations would be if their homes just vanished completely. But truly, if these parts of our world disappear, it will be the loss of every inhabitant of Earth. Are we going to sit idly by and watch Earth’s various beauties sink and melt away in coming decades?
The effects of climate change are perhaps not so visible to all of us at the moment, but if given enough time, they will be. If the Greenland ice sheet melts completely, we all lose something. This planet is full of so many treasures, treasures that we may not get back after they’re gone. So it is time for us to come together as global citizens in order to solve the problems associated with severe climate change, ahead of time, before it’s too late. If we bring our energy, attention and intelligence to finding the best solutions to this complicated issue, we could potentially solve many of the other problems humanity faces in the process. But if we fail to deal with the increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, we won’t be doing much of anything at all. For, according to Mark Lynas, if we let our planet’s temperature increase by as much as six degrees Celsius, “it would cause a mass extinction of almost all life and probably reduce humanity to a few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles." Thus, it’s time to make things better—not just to prevent the worst, but to really make everything better—for everyone on this planet.
Written by Phoebe
A new Universe Evolutionary Worldview has evolved. Universe Day promotes this new worldview as a tool for effectively managing the biggest challenges that face our planet today.
San Francisco, CA December 1, 2011 -- Universe Day is an annual event that starts each December 31st at noon and runs until noon on January 1st. Universe Day seeks to pick up where Earth Day leaves off and to effectively solve our planet’s evolutionary problems from a universe evolutionary perspective.
"Universe Day is similar to Earth Day in that individuals and organizations all over the planet are encouraged to self-organize their own events and meet-ups to forward the Universe Day message. Universe Day is a no-ownership, no-egos, get-the-message-out-now viral event. Imitate it, adapt it, improve it. Steal it, even, if it hastens the spread of its message,” says Lawrence Wollersheim, Director of the Universe Institute and one of the founders of Universe Day.
The message behind Universe Day is derived in part from the wisdom of Albert Einstein, who said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” As most people are aware, the challenges we now face on a planetary scale—such as radically increasing temperatures, nuclear and traditional wars, pollution, environmental degradation, lack of sustainability and a troubled global economy—have serious consequences. Rather than allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed by these challenges, however, we can, as Einstein suggests, adopt an entirely new way of thinking. Such is the impetus behind Universe Day: to expand our approach to these issues by adopting the much broader Universe Evolutionary Worldview.
"The progressive evolution of the universe as a whole system is the power that sustains our physical existence—both personal and planetary. We are embedded in the unstoppable flow of the evolutionary process, which, though invisible, is the most dominant factor in all of life and in everything around us," says Wollersheim. "Recent innovations in cosmology and evolutionary biology have revealed more about the evolution of life and the cosmos in the last twenty years than in all the previous eras of human history combined, and our ability to accumulate more of this essential knowledge is accelerating. This is no small improvement. Humanity is now capable of understanding the full evolutionary scope of the biggest playing field there is—the universe."
Part of the message of Universe Day is that universe-scaled evolutionary science can help individuals work more effectively together to rise to meet the most critical planetary challenges of our times. “For starters,” Wollersheim says, “this requires that we all step up to ‘Job One For All Humanity’ and do the hard work that is necessary in order to lessen the carbon emissions that are causing our planet’s average temperature to rise dramatically. Job One for Humanity also includes building a more sustainable environment for succeeding generations, since the rising temperature of the planet will soon begin to adversely affect almost everyone on Earth.”
Universe Day (its official website www.theUniverseDay.org) invites everyone everywhere to self-organize and create their own local events. Click here for tips on how to do this, You can also “Like” Universe Day International on Facebook, and share your thoughts under the “Discussions” tab. Global ideas are welcomed that engage the levels of self, community, planet, and universe.
The Third Annual Universe Day is facilitated by The Universe Institute (www.UniverseInstitute.org) The Universe Institute is a non-profit think tank that researches the world’s most critical issues from an integration of evolutionary, whole systems, and universe-scaled perspectives while using the new dialectical thinking processes designed for understanding and managing the interacting complex systems affecting our lives.
For more information on Universe Day contact: manage(at)UniverseInstitute(dot)org firstname.lastname@example.org
The First Planning Meeting for the Second Enlightenment was held on the Creative Spirit Yacht in Sausalito, California on the 8th and 9th of September 2011.
The meeting was an intentional attempt to devise strategies to accelerate the spread of a higher form of cognition across the planet. This initiative was a response to the fact that our current ways of thinking are manifestly incapable of solving the complex environmental, social, economic and political problems that are besetting the planet.
This higher form of cognition was referred to in the meeting as "meta-systemic" or "dialectical" thinking. It is the cognitive capacity to understand complex systems and processes, and to use this understanding to effectively manage complexity. Our current level of abstract/rational thought is unable to do this. It can represent mentally only those limited aspects of reality that are relatively mechanistic. Abstract/rational thinking is largely incapable of representing complex patterns and processes, non-linearities, transforming systems, emergence and complex relationships.
The First (or European) Enlightenment was driven by the spread of abstract/rational cognition. The Second Enlightenment will be driven by the spread of meta-systemic/dialectical thinking.
As outlined in the agenda, key issues addressed by the meeting were: what new ways of thinking will enable humanity to understand and manage the complex challenges that we are facing? Is it possible to train people in these new ways of thinking? If so, which strategies will most effectively disseminate the higher forms of cognition to the greatest number of people in time to make a real difference before global crises undermine human civilization?
As demanded by its ambitious and challenging goals, the meeting brought together a small group of extraordinary people with a diversity of talents and backgrounds. Attendees were individuals with extensive experience and achievements in spiritual development (across a variety of traditions), adult development (both social-emotional and cognitive), dialectical thinking, evolutionary science, business consultancy, leadership development, evolutionary evangelism, Integral theory and practice, biology, ecology, natural resource management, marketing and public relations, psychotherapy, government policy development, and cult-busting. (Click here for the full and detailed list of attendees.)
The full effects of the Planning Meeting will take time to emerge, but one of its more immediate results has been to stimulate productive cross-fertilization and ongoing exchanges between two existing approaches to the promotion of and training in meta-systemic/dialectical thinking. These are the approaches developed by Otto Laske in the United States at the Interdevelopmental Institute and by John Stewart and Victoria Wilding in Australia at Symplicitus.
What should we do with our lives? How should we live? Where do we come from? Where are we going to? These are the big existential questions that face us all. A science-based evolutionary worldview is increasingly able to provide satisfying answers to these questions. This emerging worldview shows that evolution has a trajectory and is headed in a particular direction. But evolution on Earth will not continue successfully unless humanity commits to intentionally driving the process forward. Humanity has a key role in ensuring the success of the evolutionary process. If humanity is to continue to survive and thrive into the future, we must embrace intentional evolution. The Evolutionary Manifesto outlines the new evolutionary worldview and shows us how we can live a life that matters within this bigger scheme of things. The Manifesto is an intentional attempt to promote the shift to intentional evolution and the evolutionary activism that will drive it.