Tuesday, September 13, 2005
50000 year cycle
James Burke and the KnowledgeWeb
“Unfortunately, so much specialization falsely creates the illusion that knowledge and discovery exist in a vacuum, in context only with their own disciplines, when in reality they are born from interdisciplinary connections. Without an ability to see these connections, history and science won't be learnable in a truly meaningful way and innovation will be stifled.”
Humanity’s Evolutionary Journey by Duane Elgin
Our thinking is so locked into the framework of hunter-gatherer gives way to agriculture that gives way to the industrial age that ends with the information age that we are blind to a longer, more important cycle: the hero’s journey of humanity.
Elgin describes a 50,000 year cycle in which homo sapiens goes from being one with nature to developing a strong sense of self and thinking ourselves independent of nature. The uneasiness of our age results reconnecting with nature, this time with strong identities of our own.
It has taken roughly 50,000 years for us to pull ourselves free from absorption in nature and stand apart in our uniqueness. Now our hard-won separation threatens our survival. This is a pivotal time in our evolution: we have to choose whether to make a momentous turn to reconnect with the natural world and heal the separations that divide us-without losing the scientific understanding and technical sophistication we have gained. This may be the most important evolutionary turn that humanity will ever have to make.
"Our mental model of the way the world works must shift from images of a clockwork, machinelike universe that is fixed and determined, to the model of a universe that is open, dynamic, interconnected, and full of living qualities."
Joseph Jaworski, Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1996.
Tachi Kiuchi, past chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric America, has explored the workings of rainforests for insights on how to run a successful business. Writing in The Futurist, he states "If we ran our companies like the rain forest, imagine how creative, how productive, how ecologically benign we could be. We can begin by operating less like a machine and more like a living system."
There is substantial reason to believe that humanity can make this evolutionary leap forward. In addition to our enormous material and technical powers, we have four intangible powers that are even more transformative:
- the power of perspective -- to see the universe as alive and to consciously bring a soulful dimension into the human journey,
- the power of communication -- to engage in a new level of dialogue as a human family about our common future,
- the power of choice -- to voluntarily choose a sustainable and meaningful way of life, and
- the power of love -- to bring reconciliation and transformation into relationships of all kinds.
Thoughts: It’s Time to Grow Up
“We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
This goes back to Adam & Eve, to the dawn of consciousness. Our species has been growing up. Homo sapiens have been reading What Color is Your Parachute: Eternal Edition, and doing their information interviews for the last 50,000 years. Now it’s time for humanity to take the next step on the path, commit to a direction for the future, and start to work.
I am in the midst of writing a book on Informal Learning that's taking me on a trip through humanistic psychology, network effects, culture shocks, complexity theory, and a bunch of other whistle-stops on the pathways through our deeply interconnected world. Sometimes I go into a state close to automatic-writing mode and learn from what pours out. A few minutes ago, pondering humanity's journey along the path of evolutionary consciousness, my fingers tapped out:"This goes back to Adam & Eve, to the dawn of consciousness. Since our species appeared as babes on the savannah, we have been growing up, ever so slowly. Homo sapiens have been reading What Color is Your Parachute: Eternal Edition, and doing their information interviews for the last 50,000 years. Now it’s time for humanity to take the next step on the path, commit to a direction for the future, and start to work."