Review: Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential

Consciousness & Social IQ
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars A Theological Masterpiece–A Practical Manifesto
September 20, 2009
Barbara Marx Hubbard

Although the author has written a more recent book, Emergence: The Shift from Ego to Essence, the later book is focused on helping the individual, while the book being reviewed focuses on the larger matter of social engineering.

I was growing up in Asia at the time that this extraordinary person was getting herself nominated, along with Geraldine Ferraro in 198, as a Democratic candidate for Vice President, and this book serves as both a practical statement of needs and next steps to achieve conscious evolution as a species in the aggregate (see also the book edited by Mark Tovey with 55 contributors, Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peaceand as a very self-effacing overview of the extraordinary life and social network of the author. I am tempted to speculate that hers was the first social network of consequence in modern times.

The core strategic idea in this book is that we are now capable of coming together across all boundaries at all locations to discourse on Conscious Evolution.

The author uses the metaphor of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly to make several points, including the need to end our Industrial Era's wasteful, destructive, and violent practices, the need for deconstruction to make way for new construction, and the manner in which the design for the new is embedded in the old.

There are a number of operational ideas in this book, and as dismayed as one might be to reflect on the fact that the author knew all of this a decade or more ago, the reality is that NOW is the time for her ideas to be implemented by organizations such as the Transpartisan Alliance.

Big Idea #1: Presidential candidates in the future should not just select a Vice President, but an entire Cabinet, each member fully familiar with the social innovations in their respective fields. Each would be responsible for connecting with, communicating with, listening to, all possible sources, and then as a body this group would create a balanced sustainable budget and campaign on the basis of proven social innovations (“what works”).

Big Idea #2: The Office of the Vice President in particular should be responsible for discovering and then disseminating more broadly “what works,” and for managing a Peace Room that would, for every region of the world, for every high-level threat to humanity, “scan for, map, connect, and communicate what is working to create a humane regenerative world–a cocreative society.” This Peace Room would factor in time and plan for the immediate, near, and far future across all sectors, but specifically, Governance/Law, Education, Economics including Business and Philanthropy, Health including Relationships and Personal Growth, Environment and Habitat, Culture including Media and Communications, Spirituality including Religion, and Science including Technology.

Big Idea #3: We are now ready to move beyond the Liberal Arts education that is more of a survey of ideas, and into a program that fosters conscious evolution. The author details a program for a Masters in Conscious Evolution, and I find the elements quite worthy, with the program following two tracks: social evolution, and self-evolution. Three courses would cover respectively:

a. Evolution of Consciousness and of the Human Self-Image along with Cosmologies and the History of the Idea of Conscious Evolution

b. The Person in Transition along with the Planet in Transition–an important outcome of this second course would be the creation of a Global Collegium connecting experts and direct observers on all aspects of our humanity and our habitat.

c. Fulfilling our Vocations of Destiny along with Design for a Positive Future. The outcome of this last course across the collective would be the creation of a future equal to our full potential.

Big Idea #4: The news media has failed us with its emphasis on the negative and its pandering to advertising. The author proposes something I think of as the Collective Consciousness News Network (CCNN), which could be a sub-set of CNN or a new independent public network.

Pages 128-129 provides a common-sense agenda for self-governance and constructive progress that I can only list the headings for given the Amazon word limit:

1. Governance and Law

2. Education

3. Economics, Business, Philanthropy

4. Health, Relationships, Personal Growth

5. Science and Technology

6. Spirituality and Religion

7. Environmental and Habitat

8. Culture, Media, and Communications

The author excels at identifying others with very good ideas, and one set of criteria for “golden innovations” as devised by social activists Eleanor and Mark Donahue, really struck me as worthy of replicating here.

1. The innovation moves society toward the goal of a just, humane, regenerative, and choiceful future–the evolutionary agenda.

2. It comprises core values of the new paradigm that embody higher consciousness, greater freedom, and more synergistic order. These values include integrity, sustainability, inclusivity, nonviolence, gender balance, and win-win solutions that foster freedom, personal responsibility, and respect for others and self.

3. It has the potential for major social impact; it is more than a good project, it is one that can assist in the positive transformation of a vital function in the social body.

4. Its success is measurable, and it has achieved better quantifiable results than the majority of other approaches in comparable fields of endeavor.

5. It is more cost effective than other approaches over the long term and ideally also in the short term.

6. It has at least a 2-year track record.

7. It is sustainable, replicable, and not dependent on one charismatic leader or other unique circumstances for its success.

The resource section, pages 231-267, is of special value, providing detailed information about 46 organizations and then also a listing of websites and publications that are aligned with this vision of Conscious Evolution.

I will end with the observation that the author represents in my own mind the ideal, the prototypical leader of the future, a leader of ideas, of sharing, of compassion, of win-win. I cannot think of a single female leader in politics or business that can approach this author it than sense. Barbara Marx Hubbard is an original, and I can only hope that she is heard by many more in time to co-create a generation of young leaders just like her.

SIDE NOTE: If Ron Paul decides to run for President in 2012, Barbara Marx Hubbard has my nomination, with Francis Moore Lappe as the alternate, for the vital role of Vice-President to the Republic (see her(see her Democracy’s Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life and also Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad

.  It is long past due we put Women's Voices in the White House–not butch women, but women true to the woman's intuition and focus on caring relationships rather than “rationalized justice.”  See Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women’s Thinking to Psychological Theory and Education to understand what we are seeking to add to the mix.

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