BY KW JAMIESON
The chaos all around us is the result of a war of worldviews. The tectonic plates of perspective are shifting, causing shockwaves across our global human system. The ‘mechanistic’ lens of scientific materialism, encapsulated in capitalism, is gradually losing acolytes while its ancient adversary – the ‘creationist’ lens of the Abrahamic monotheisms – remains emboldened. Meanwhile, a third ‘organic’ outlook is growing globally. Only this worldview is capable of reconciling our need for both science and spirit, because one of its central tenets is the realization that our world is interwoven and reflexive. Through this lens everything in the universe is connected to everything else and, rather than standing apart from nature, we humans are a deeply embedded part of our environment.
Far from simply adapting to a changing world, we therefore co-evolve with our environment, simultaneously shaping it and adapting to our co-creation. Seeing the natural world as one integrated whole, while working consciously towards its coherent evolution, requires a level of lucidity beyond that available through either the mechanistic or creationist filter. With an organic worldview we abandon any notion that outcomes are determined by omnipotent forces, or result from linear relationships, but instead come to understand that living organisms will automatically heal themselves if they are if exposed to environmental conditions conducive to their coherence.
We therefore need the nourishment of a values-based system because only by aligning ourselves with shared values, do we stand a chance of bringing warring factions together to create the cultural conditions from which peace may emerge. An organic worldview is essential to cultivating such conditions because it perceives primary reality as the relationships between entities and is organized around the principle of energy flowing to create new forms, in which opposites are unified through interaction and alignment. From this perspective, building new economic, political, social or spiritual structures which are solid and unchanging will never serve us well, because our experiences emerge from the dynamic flow of data and are made fully flexible by our interpretive abilities and free will.
This understanding of how living systems actually work is rooted in quantum science, rather than the machine metaphor of classic Newtonianism. It is also at odds with the ‘survival of the fittest’ mantra adopted by many, who wrongly see life as an adversarial struggle in which one party must win while the other loses. These lenses have legitimized an approach to nature, based on greed, exploitation and warfare, which has had a disastrous impact on both our humanity and environment. However, this approach no longer has any basis in science because it fails to incorporate the contrary yet integrative principles via which living organisms self-organize. Only a genuine understanding of complex adaptive systems, where results emerge as the unified output of opposing tendencies, can yield appropriate design solutions. Only by cascading positive ideas, amplified by feedback loops, will we be able to leap to new states of stability via enhanced global integration. However, such is the deeply interwoven nature of our worldwide system, no single political ideology could ever be guaranteed to deliver such desired outcomes. Indeed the current left:right dichotomy simply serves to sustain our polarization.
Instead, the natural growth of new ways of working at the global level must be fuelled by how communities focus their energy at the local level, in order to change ‘how things work around here’. This will necessitate the interweaving of new ideas across boundaries, as well as the societal structures to support them, yet without significantly restricting or dictating the direction they may take. A principle of epistemological modesty must therefore be adopted under which no theory or model may be more fundamental than any other, so ideas can flow freely – growing, reshaping, shrinking or dying in accordance with the energy afforded to them by civic society. It us ultimately our free will, exercised locally, which will drive what emerges at the global level because only our conscious choices can overcome the subliminal influence culture has on our actions. Free will exercised from an organic worldview, with higher consciousness and intellectual modesty, then activated via genuine democracy and active engagement in civic society, are all pre-requisites for the cognitive integration of our collective global mind. Initiatives must be energised to grow those capitals required to counterbalance the damaging dominance of economic capitalism – social capital, human capital and moral capital.
In future we must become better at balancing all four, so that each capital moderates and mutually strengthens the others. Our prolonged obsession with only economic capital has dangerously de-stabilised our world – an imbalance which must be addressed if we are to recover the dynamic stability of a healthy organism. Replenishing human capital via higher consciousness is essential to our healing because both social and moral capital with automatically grow as a result. Elevated consciousness will reconnect body, mind and soul, re-stimulating our desire to cultivate inner virtue and to do good in the outer world. It will also unleash the latent creativity required to rebuild the essential structures of civic society; Edmund Burke’s ‘little platoons’ which will ensure our future unfolds as we wish, by focussing our energy and attention where it is needed. Only when enough people attain higher consciousness, then convert their cognitive energy into physical energy by connecting and collaborating with others in social activism, will enough power cascade across the entire network to generate a significant and sustainable systemic shift.
Critically, smart technology now makes each of us an active node in a global neural network, with the ability to influence others way beyond those we know personally. Although we may not realize it, every day we post, tweet, like or share we are shaping the future of our species in small, imperceptible ways. However, higher consciousness must constantly guide our thoughts and actions because smart technology on its own won’t build social capital, indeed it can just as easily be used to spread lies and fuel mistrust. New media also cannot replace the real-world relationships required for genuine empathy, social cohesion, ethical activism and global co-operation to flourish. A deliberate and determined democracy is therefore required; formed by engaged, passionate citizens, all committed to elevating individual and collective consciousness and to creating initiatives and institutions which will increase coherence at every level of our societal system.
We are naturally self-creating, so our energy and ingenuity is automatically oriented towards seeking better solutions to the problems we face. We are also naturally self-regulating, so, perhaps rather controversially in our post-modern age, we need greater moral homogeneity rather than increased pluralism or relativism. Democracy must yield a global consensus around morality, based on universal human values which, for example, enshrine the sanctity of life, ensure civil rights, guarantee gender equality and protect our planet. We must learn lessons from an agreed interpretation of our evolution as a species so far, elevating them to ensure alignment behind a positive vision of our shared future. The wellbeing of all humans must become paramount and be placed above economic prosperity in our priorities, ensuring a ‘balanced scorecard’ of measures against which the success of our societies can be assessed.
In the final analysis, the cognitive revolution we require emphasises that healthy, dynamically stable societies emerge from the relationships between those in them. Ultimately, the nurturing of relationships – the root source of human happiness – requires us to operate with an organic worldview and at a higher level of individual and collective consciousness. Such is the complexity of our global system it is easy to assume that each of us can have no impact. Yet such is its deep interconnectedness, our actions can easily become amplified, sending shockwaves which cascade change across the whole system. Whichever path we follow will unfold as the emergent output of the global mind we collectively create, so each of us has a role to play and a contribution to make. Who knows, in our ever-more connected world any one of us could be the final catalyst which tips global human society into a new era.
KW Jamieson is a writer and author of A World In Two Minds, why we must change our thinking to change our future. https://www.kwjamieson.com/