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‘Focusing Within’ Using Tai Chi – Nisqually Valley News

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 12:43 am

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Local resident Diane Dondero uses the ancient exercise of Tai Chi to block the stress and restlessness of the outside world.

Having discovered the ancient martial arts exercise over 30 years ago, Dondero is taking it upon herself to teach the community how to let go of the outside world and focus within.

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'Focusing Within' Using Tai Chi - Nisqually Valley News

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July 8th, 2017 at 12:43 am

Tai Chi, Free Massages on Tap for Farmers Market Saturday – The Local (registration)

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By Vicki Hughes

The Ipswich Farmers Market is in full swing as we move into Julys long summer days.

This week essential, locally grown fruits and veggies will be available from Three Sisters Garden Project and Chickadee Hill Farm.

And as we all know, the market is not just a delightful spot to purchase healthful and delicious produce.

This week come and celebrate seniors with special activities and displays, listen to the band Greenhead play favorite tunes, pick up butterfly friendly plants, and ecology advice from The Monarch Gardener, support local crafts, get some honey and a cookie, have a rejuvenating massage, find a great deal on solar panels, meet your neighbors because who needs a water cooler or the mall when theres the Farmers Market on our own Visitors Green, every summer and autumn Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This weeks vendors include:

Chickadee Hill Farm Three Sisters Garden Project Lilla Grace Flowers The Little Grasshopper Cookies Uncommon Mass Produced Food Romney Ridge Yarn & Wool Pumpkin Vines Bee Graceful Honey The Monarch Gardener Art Haven RevoluSun Hara Therapeutic Massage & Wellness Boston Area Gleaners Rebecca Foundation IHS Robotics Team Open Space Committee Ipswich Compost and Recycling Committee Ipswich Electric Light Department

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Tai Chi, Free Massages on Tap for Farmers Market Saturday - The Local (registration)

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July 8th, 2017 at 12:43 am

Conscious Evolution (Kansas City, MO) – Meetup

Posted: August 17, 2016 at 1:47 am

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If you...

Become frustrated with "group think" mentality, and limited belief systems... Seek balance for High-frequency living... Seek meaning in life and understanding about the world... Wish to wake from the dream and illusion of who we think we are and move toward your authentic being, Welcome!

Most people are born originals, but die copies...

...Human evolution is a natural process with infinite potentials. We are not yet a finished product! In fact, there is no limit to the levels of evolution we can achieve, both as individuals and as a world society. We have within our capacity the ability to guide our own development as consciousness beings, and many of us are doing exactly that...

...Humanity as a sum total however, seems to be limited by its own concepts of life and right living. The only real limitations upon our continued growth as a species, are those concepts we continue to impose...

--Matthew Webb, The World Mind Society

The Groups topics: Consciousness, Evolution, Science, New Age, Mind - Body, Philosophy, Psychology, Spirituality, Metaphysics, Meditation, Awakening, Enlightenment, Light Workers, Unity, Oneness, Discussion, Humanism, Agnostics, Seekers, Singles, Friends, Indigo, Personal Growth, Self Help, Self- Discovery, Self-Realization, Self-Improvement, Life Transformation, Creativity, Community, Social, Volunteers, Peace, Green, Environment, Course in Miracles, Secret, Law of Attraction, Dreams, Reiki, Energy, Quantum, Healing, Holistic, Alternative Health, Near-Death Experience, Paranormal, Shamanism, Psychic, Reincarnation, Past Life, Soul Travel, Medium, Channeling, Astrology, Numerology, More..

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Conscious Evolution (Kansas City, MO) - Meetup

Written by grays

August 17th, 2016 at 1:47 am

The Conscious Evolutionary 2.0 | The Shift Network

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What lies beyond our current stage of human evolution? And how do you engage the leading edge of your own evolution opening to more passion, creativity and wisdom?

If you are curious about these questions and what they reveal about your own evolutionary destiny, youre invited to an important event with Barbara Marx Hubbard.

Barbara is not only one of the most beloved visionaries of our day, she is also deeply committed to taking the next evolutionary leap herself... and sharing all that she is learning as she discovers herself birthing anew at the age of 85.

Barbara has publicly committed to go all the way in this lifetime, which has resulted in remarkable revelations about our further evolution as a human species as new truths emerge through her experience and those around her.

In this special session, Barbara will share the leading edge of what shes beginning to understand about our metamorphosis, which requires integration of all levels of our being, into what she is calling the Conscious Evolutionary 2.0.

In the first phase of conscious evolution, we recognized that our evolution is the central story of our lives and that we can consciously choose to participate in it. In the 2.0 phase, we begin to go beyond solo evolutionary practice into a field of living intelligence and light opening the possibility of deeper co-creation with all those around us.

Barbara has started to experience this emergence through the practice of an evolutionary eucharist with a small group of committed allies and advanced students, particularly in her Sacred Journey of the Conscious Evolutionary program.

Whereas many spiritual teachers emphasize the individual seekers felt sense of union with God, Barbara has come to understand at a deeper level what happens in a field of communion where two or more are gathered in a state of loving resonance. This creates a field in which we can incarnate higher aspects of ourselves.

When Jesus disciples experienced the Pentecost and began speaking in tongues with each other, Barbara believes that they entered, en masse, into such a state of holy resonance that it resulted in remarkable transformations of their being and inspired the rest of their teaching mission.

Based on her recent experiences, she believes this was not a singular historical event, but a foreshadowing of what can eventually become a widespread phenomenon when we open to a field of grace as a community.

This state of heightened potential gives a glimpses of where we are going next on our evolutionary journey, where we literally integrate with our body of light something that has been chronicled in detail with many Eastern teachers and masters as well. Sometimes called the Rainbow Body, this elevated form of the human body, is our incarnation at a higher level.

This state requires releasing the resistance, judgment and fear that prevent its natural unfolding. It also seems to require a full balancing of masculine and feminine energies and a loving integration of all levels of our being.

While Barbara is still very much a normal and approachable human, mother and grandmother, her experiences and insights into what is beginning to birth within her are quite remarkable... and illuminate our own journey into the next echelon of our divinity.

Some see the process of integration as incarnating Christ consciousness, some call it the arrival of the Divine Human, but perhaps it is most accurate to think of it as the new normal as we begin to live in a new way fully connected with our full divine potential.

What is clear is that integrating aspects of this higher octave of our being HAS been demonstrated by historical mystics and that we are getting closer to being able to replicate this in a wider way.

Barbaras detailed chronicling of her own process of metamorphosis offers us a remarkable window into the evolutionary journey for all of us, as well as powerful new ways to open to spiritual illumination.

Join us for a special event that shares Barbaras latest insights into the frontiers of human evolution... which can inspire new possibilities for your own evolution.



We respect your privacy. Your information will never be sold, nor shared without your permission.

Barbara Marx Hubbard has been called "the voice for conscious evolution of our time" by Deepak Chopra and is the subject of Neale Donald Walschs new book, The Mother of Invention. And many would agree she is the global ambassador for conscious change.

At her heart, Barbara Marx Hubbard is a visionary, a social innovator. She is an evolutionary thinker who believes that global change happens when we work collectively and selflessly for the greater good. She realizes that the lessons of evolution teach us that problems are evolutionary drivers and crises precede transformation giving a new way of seeing and responding to our global situation.

As a prolific author and educator, Barbara has written seven books on social and planetary evolution. She has produced, hosted, and contributed to countless documentaries seen by millions of people around the world. In conjunction with the Shift Network, Barbara co-produced the worldwide Birth 2012 multi-media event that was seen as a historic turning point in exposing the social, spiritual, scientific and technological potential in humanity.

In 1984, her name was placed in nomination for the Vice Presidency of the United States on the Democratic ticket, calling for a Peace Room to scan for, map, connect and communicate what is working in America and the world. She also co-chaired a number of Soviet-American Citizen Summits, introducing a new concept called SYNCON to foster synergistic convergence with opposing groups. In addition she co-founded the World Future Society, and the Association for Global New Thought.

Barbara Marx Hubbard is not an idealist, nor does she believe that social and planetary change is simple. But she does believe that humanity has the tools, fortitude and resolve to take the leap towards conscious evolution.

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The Conscious Evolutionary 2.0 | The Shift Network

Written by grays

August 17th, 2016 at 1:47 am

Carruthers – The Evolution of Consciousness

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Return to articles on consciousness

Peter Carruthers

How might consciousness have evolved? Unfortunately for the prospects of providing a convincing answer to this question, there is no agreed account of what consciousness is. So any attempt at an answer will have to fragment along a number of different lines of enquiry. More fortunately, perhaps, there is general agreement that a number of distinct notions of consciousness need to be distinguished from one another; and there is also broad agreement as to which of these is particularly problematic namely phenomenal consciousness, or the kind of conscious mental state which it is like something to have, which has a distinctive subjective feel or phenomenology (henceforward referred to as p-consciousness). I shall survey the prospects for an evolutionary explanation of p-consciousness, on a variety of competing accounts of its nature. My goal is to use evolutionary considerations to adjudicate between some of those accounts.

1 Drawing distinctions

One of the real advances made in recent years has been in distinguishing different notions of consciousness (see particularly: Rosenthal, 1986; Dretske, 1993; Block, 1995; Lycan, 1996). Not everyone agrees on quite which distinctions need to be drawn; but all are at least agreed that we should distinguish creature consciousness from mental-state consciousness. It is one thing to say of an individual person or organism that it is conscious (either in general or of something in particular); and it is quite another thing to say of one of the mental states of a creature that it is conscious.

It is also agreed that within creature-consciousness itself we should distinguish between intransitive and transitive variants. To say of an organism that it is conscious simpliciter (intransitive) is to say just that it is awake, as opposed to asleep or comatose. Now while there are probably interesting questions concerning the evolution of the mechanisms which control wakefulness and regulate sleep, these seem to be questions for evolutionary biology alone, not raising any deep philosophical issues. To say of an organism that it is conscious of such-and-such (transitive), on the other hand, is normally to say at least that it is perceiving such-and-such. So we say of the mouse that it is conscious of the cat outside its hole, in explaining why it does not come out; meaning that it perceives the cats presence. To provide an evolutionary explanation of transitive creature-consciousness would thus be to attempt an account of the emergence of perception. No doubt there are many problems here, to some of which I shall return later.

Turning now to the notion of mental-state consciousness, the major distinction is between phenomenal (p-) consciousness, on the one hand which is a property of states which it is like something to be in, which have a distinctive subjective feel and various functionally-definable notions, such as Blocks (1995) access consciousness, on the other. Most theorists believe that there are mental states such as occurrent thoughts or judgements which are conscious (in whatever is the correct functionally-definable sense), but which are not p-conscious. (In my 1996a and 1998b I disagreed; arguing that occurrent propositional thoughts can only be conscious in the human case at least by being tokened in imaged natural language sentences, which will then possess phenomenal properties.) But there is considerable dispute as to whether mental states can be p-conscious without also being conscious in the functionally-definable sense; and even more dispute about whether p-consciousness can be explained in functional and/or representational terms.

It seems plain that there is nothing deeply problematic about functionally-definable notions of mental-state consciousness, from a naturalistic perspective. For mental functions and mental representations are the staple fare of naturalistic accounts of the mind. But this leaves plenty of room for dispute about the form that the correct functional account should take. And there is also plenty of scope for enquiry as to the likely course of the evolution of access-consciousness. (In my 1996a, for example, I speculated that a form of higher-order access to our own thought-processes would have conferred decisive advantages in terms of flexibility and adaptability in thinking and reasoning.)

But what almost everyone is also agreed on, is that it is p-consciousness which is philosophically most problematic. It is by no means easy to understand how the properties distinctive of p-consciousness phenomenal feel, or what-it-is-likeness could be realised in the neural processes of the brain; and nor is it easy to see how these properties could ever have evolved. Indeed, when people talk about the problem of consciousness it is really the problem of p-consciousness which they have in mind. My strategy in this chapter will be to consider a variety of proposals concerning the nature of p-consciousness from an evolutionary standpoint, hoping to obtain some adjudication between them.

2 Mysterianism and physicalism

There are those who think that the relationship between p-consciousness and the rest of the natural world is inherently mysterious (Nagel, 1974, 1986; Jackson, 1982, 1986; McGinn, 1991; Chalmers, 1996). Of these, some think that p-conscious states are non-physical in nature (Nagel, Jackson), although perhaps tightly connected with physical states by means of natural laws (Chalmers). Others think that while we have good general reasons for believing that p-conscious states are physical, their physical nature is inherently closed to us (McGinn). In respect of all of these approaches one might think: if p-consciousness is a mystery, then so will its evolution be. And that thought is broadly correct. If there is an evolutionary story to be told, within these frameworks, it will be an account of the evolution of certain physical structures in the brain structures with which (unknowably to us) p-consciousness is identical (McGinn); or structures which cause p-consciousness as an epiphenomenon (Jackson); or structures which are causally correlated with p-consciousness by basic causal laws (Chalmers). These will not, then, be accounts of the evolution of p-consciousness as such.

There is no good argument against mysterian approaches to p-consciousness to be found from this direction, however. To insist that p-consciousness must have an evolutionary explanation, and hence that mysterian theories are wrong, would plainly be question-begging, in this context. The real case against mysterianism is two-fold. First, it can be shown that the various arguments which have been presented for the inherent mysteriousness of p-consciousness are bad ones (Lewis, 1990; Loar, 1990; Tye, 1995; Lycan, 1996; Carruthers, 2000). Then second, it can be shown that a successful explanatory account of p-consciousness can be provided (see below, and Carruthers, 2000).

Since the focus of my interest, in this chapter, is on cases where evolutionary considerations may help to provide an adjudication between alternative explanations of p-consciousness, I propose to leave mysterian approaches to one side. In the same way, and for a similar reason, I leave aside theories which claim to explain p-consciousness by postulating a type-identity between p-conscious states and states of the brain (Crick and Koch, 1990; Hill, 1991). This is because such identities, even if true, are not really explanatory of the puzzling features of p-consciousness. The right place to look for an explanation of p-consciousness, in my view, is in the cognitive domain the domain of thoughts and representations. Accordingly, it is on such theories that I shall concentrate my attention.

3 First-order representational (FOR) theory

A number of recent theorists have attempted to explain p-consciousness in first-order representational (FOR) terms (Kirk, 1994; Dretske, 1995; Tye, 1995). The goal of such accounts is to characterise all of the phenomenal felt properties of experience in terms of the representational contents of experience. So the difference between an experience of green and an experience of red will be explained as a difference in the properties represented reflective properties of surfaces, say in each case. And the difference between a pain and a tickle is similarly explained in representational terms it is said to reside in the different properties (different kinds of disturbance) represented as located in particular regions of the subjects own body. In each case, a p-conscious experience is said to be one which is poised to have an impact on the subjects beliefs and practical-reasoning processes in such a way as to guide behaviour.

It seems plain that there will be no special problem for such accounts in providing an evolutionary explanation of p-consciousness. I suggest that the task for FOR theory is just that of explaining, in evolutionary terms, how the transitions get made from (a) organisms with a repertoire of behavioural reflexes, triggered by simple features of the environment; to (b) organisms whose innate reflexes are action-schemas guided by incoming quasi-perceptual information; to (c) organisms which can also possess a suite of learned action-schemas, also guided by quasi-perceptual information; to (d) organisms in which perceptual information is made available to simple conceptual thought and reasoning.

As an example of (a) an organism relying only on environmental triggers consider the tick, which drops from its perch when it detects butyric acid vapour (which is released by the glands of all mammals) and then burrows when it detects warmth. These are fixed action-patterns released by certain triggering stimuli, but which do not seem in any sense to be guided by them. As an example of (b) an organism with a set of innate action-schemas guided by quasi-perceptual information consider the Sphex wasp, whose behaviour in leaving a paralysed cricket in a burrow with its eggs seems to be a fixed action-pattern, but an action-pattern the details of whose execution depends upon quasi-perceptual sensitivity to environmental contours. (The states in question are only quasi-perceptual because, by hypothesis, the wasp lacks a capacity for conceptual thought; rather, its percepts feed directly into behaviour-control, and only into behaviour-control.) For examples of (c) organisms with learned action-patterns one can probably turn to fish, reptiles and amphibians, which are capable of learning new ways of behaving, but which may not yet be capable of anything really resembling practical reasoning. Finally, as an example of (d) an organism with conceptual thought consider the cat, or the mouse, each of which probably has simple conceptual representations of the environment generated by perception, and is capable of simple forms of reasoning in the light of those representations.

It should be obvious that the evolutionary gains, at each stage, come from the increasingly flexible behaviours which are permitted. With the transition from triggered reflexes to perceptually-guided ones you get behaviours which can be fine-tuned to the contingent features of the organisms current environment. And with the transition from a repertoire of perceptually-guided action-patterns to conceptual thought and reasoning, you get the possibility of subserving some goals to others, and of tracking and recalling the changing features of the objects in the environment in a much more sophisticated way.

There is no good argument to be found against first-order representationalist (FOR) theories from this quarter. Quite the contrary: that FOR-theory can provide a simple and elegant account of the evolution of p-consciousness is one of its strengths. According to FOR-theory, the evolution of p-consciousness is really just the evolution of perceptual experience. There are powerful objections to FOR-theory from other quarters, however; partly relating to its failure to draw important distinctions; partly arising from its failure really to explain the puzzling features of p-consciousness (Carruthers, 2000). I shall not pursue these here. Instead, I shall focus my discussion on a variety of higher-order representationalist (HOR) accounts of p-consciousness, in connection with which evolutionary considerations really do start to have a significant impact in guiding choice.

4 Higher-order representational (HOR) theory

HOR accounts of p-consciousness may be divided into four general types. First, there are inner sense, or higher-order experience (HOE), theories, according to which p-consciousness emerges when our first-order perceptual states are scanned by a faculty of inner sense to produce HOEs (Armstrong, 1968, 1984; Lycan, 1996). Second, there are higher-order thought (HOT) accounts, according to which p-consciousness arises when a first-order perceptual state is, or can be, targeted by an appropriate HOT. These HOT theories then admit of two further sub-varieties: actualist, where it is the actual presence of a HOT about itself which renders a perceptual state p-conscious (Rosenthal, 1986, 1993; Gennaro, 1996); and dispositionalist, where it is the availability of a perceptual state to HOT which makes it p-conscious (Carruthers, 1996a). Then finally, there are higher-order description (HOD) accounts (Dennett, 1978, 1991), which are like HOT theories, except that linguistically-formulated descriptions of the subjects mental states take over the role of thoughts.

Each kind of higher-order representational (HOR) account can make some claim to explaining p-consciousness, without needing to appeal to intrinsic, non-representational, properties of experience (qualia). I have developed this claim in some detail with respect to dispositionalist higher-order thought (HOT) theory in my 1996a (section 7.6), and so do not intend to repeat it here; and I think that it is fairly obvious that this form of explanation generalises (with slight variations) to any kind of HOR account. It is perhaps important, however, to give at least some flavour of the approach, before turning to adjudicate between the four different varieties. So let me just outline why subjects whose experiences are available to HOTs might become worried by inverted and absent qualia thought-experiments (assuming, of course, that they have sufficient conceptual sophistication in other respects such as a capacity for counter-factual thinking and have the time and inclination for philosophy).

Any system instantiating a HOT model of consciousness will have the capacity to distinguish or classify perceptual states according to their contents, not by inference (that is, by self-interpretation) or relational description, but immediately. The system will be capable of recognising the fact that it has an experience as of red, say, in just the same direct, non-inferential, way that it can recognise red. A HOT system will, therefore, have available to it recognitional concepts of experience. In which case, absent and inverted subjective feelings will immediately be a conceptual possibility for someone applying these recognitional concepts. If I instantiate such a system (and I am clever enough), I shall straight away be able to think, This type of experience might have had some quite other cause, for example. Or I shall be capable of wondering, How do I know that red objects which seem red to me dont seem green to you? And so on.

5 The evolution of HOEs

How might a faculty of inner sense have evolved? A prior question has to be: would it need to have evolved? Or might inner sense be a spandrel (Gould and Lewontin, 1979) that is, a mere by-product of other features of cognition which were themselves selected for? The answer to this question will turn largely on the issue of directed complexity. To the extent that a faculty of inner sense exhibits complex internal organisation subserving a unitary or systematically organised causal role, to that extent it will be plausible to postulate evolutionary selection.

5.1 The complexity of inner sense

HOE theories are inner sense models of p-consciousness. They postulate a set of inner scanners, directed at our first-order mental states, which construct analog representations of the occurrence and properties of those states. According to HOE theorists, just as we have systems (the senses) charged with scanning and constructing representations of the world (and of states of our own bodies), so we have systems charged with scanning and constructing representations of some of our own states of mind. And just as our outer senses (including pain and touch, which can of course be physically inner) can construct representations which are unconceptualised and analog, so too does inner sense (second-order sense) construct unconceptualised and analog representations of some of our own inner mental states.

The internal monitors postulated by HOE theories would surely need to have considerable computational complexity, in order to generate the requisite HOEs. In order to perceive an experience, the organism would need to have mechanisms to generate a set of internal representations with a content (albeit non-conceptual) representing the content of that experience, in all its richness and fine-grained detail. For HOE theories, just as much as HOT theories, are in the business of explaining how it is that one aspect of someones experiences (e.g. of colour) can be conscious while another aspect (e.g. of movement) can be non-conscious. In each case a HOE would have to be constructed which represents just those aspects, in all of their richness and detail.

As a way of reinforcing the point, notice that any inner scanner would have to be a physical device (just as the visual system itself is) which depends upon the detection of those physical events in the brain which are the output of the various sensory systems (just as the visual system is a physical device which depends upon detection of physical properties of surfaces via the reflection of light). It is hard to see how any inner scanner could detect the presence of an experience qua experience. Rather, it would have to detect the physical realisations of experiences in the human brain, and construct the requisite representation of the experiences which those physical events realise, on the basis of that physical-information input. This makes is seem inevitable, surely, that the scanning device which supposedly generates higher-order experiences (HOEs) of visual experience would have to be almost as sophisticated and complex as the visual system itself.

Now one might think that HOE theorys commitment to this degree of complexity, all of which is devoted to the creation of p-conscious states, is itself a reason to reject it, provided that some other alternative is available. This may well be so indeed, I would urge that it is. But for present purposes, the point is that mechanisms of inner sense would need to have evolved. The complexity of those mechanisms makes it almost inevitable that the devices in question will have evolved, in stages, under some steady selectional pressure or pressures.

5.2 Perceptual integration as the evolutionary function of HOEs

What, then, might have led to the evolution of a faculty for generating HOEs? The answer had better not turn on the role of HOEs in underpinning and providing content for higher-order thoughts (HOTs), on pain of rendering a faculty of inner sense redundant. For as we shall see shortly, HOT theory can provide a perfectly good explanation of p-consciousness, and a perfectly good explanation of its evolution, without needing to introduce HOEs. So even if some or all creatures with inner sense are de facto capable of HOTs, a HOE theorist would be well-advised to find some distinctive role for HOEs which need not presuppose that a capacity for HOTs is already present.

One suggestion made in the literature is that HOEs might serve to refine first-order perception, in particular helping to bind together and integrate its contents (Lycan, 1996). The claim seems to be that HOEs might be necessary to solve the so-called binding problem in a distributed, parallel-process, perceptual system. (The problem is that of explaining how representations of objects and representations of colour, say, get bound together into a representation of an object-possessing-a-colour.) But this suggestion is highly implausible. So far as I am aware, no cognitive scientist working on the binding problem believes that second-order representations play any part in the process. And in any case it is quite mysterious how such second-order processing would be presumed to work.

Suppose that I am viewing a upright red bar and a horizontal green bar, and that my visual system has constructed, separately, representations of red and of green, and representations of upright and horizontal bars. Then the binding problem is the problem of how to attach the redness to the uprightness and the greenness to the horizontalness, rather than vice versa. How could it possibly help with this problem, to add into the equation a HOE of my experience of red, a HOE of my experience of green, a HOE of my experience of uprightness, and a HOE of my experience of horizontalness? Those HOE states look like they would be just as discrete, and just as much in need of appropriate binding, as the first-order experiences which are their targets.

5.3 Mental simulation as the evolutionary function of HOEs

Another suggestion made in the literature is that the evolution of a capacity for inner sense and for HOEs might be what made it possible for apes to develop and deploy a capacity for mind-reading, attributing mental states to one another, and thus enabling them to predict and exploit the behaviour of their conspecifics (Humphrey, 1986). This idea finds its analogue in the developmental account of our mind-reading abilities provided by Goldman (1993) and some other simulationists. The claim is that we have introspective access to some of our own mental states, which we can then use to generate simulations of the mental activity of other people, hence arriving at potentially useful predictions or explanations of their behaviour.

I believe that this sort of evolutionary story should be rejected, however, because I think that simulationist accounts of our mind-reading abilities are false (see my 1996b). Rather, theory-theory accounts of our abilities are much to be preferred, according to which those abilities are underpinned by an implicit theory of the structure and functioning of the mind (Stich, 1983; Fodor, 1987; Wellman, 1990; Nichols et al, 1996). Then since all theories involve concepts of the domain theorised, it would have to be the case that mind-reading abilities coincide with a capacity for higher-order thoughts (HOTs). However, it is worth setting this objection to one side. For even if we take simulationism seriously, there are overwhelming problems in attempting to use that account to explain the evolution of a faculty of inner sense.

One difficulty for any such proposal is that it must postulate that a capacity for off-line thinking would be present in advance of (or at least together with) the appearance of inner sense. For simulation can only work if the subject has a capacity to take their own reasoning processes off-line, generating a set of pretend inputs to those processes, and then attributing the outputs of the processes to the person whose mental life is being simulated. Yet some people think that the capacity for off-line (and particularly imaginative) thinking was probably a very late arrival on the evolutionary stage, only appearing with the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens (or even later) some 100,000 years ago (Bickerton, 1995; Carruthers, 1998a). And certainly the proposal does not sit well with the suggestion that a capacity for higher-order experiences (HOEs) might be widespread in the animal kingdom on the contrary, one would expect that only those creatures with a capacity for mind-reading and/or a capacity for off-line imaginative thinking would have them.

Another difficulty is to see how the initial development of inner sense, and its use in simulation, could even get going, in the absence of some mental concepts, and so in the absence of a capacity for HOTs. There is a stark contrast here with outer sense, where it is easy to see how simple forms of sensory discrimination could begin to develop in the absence of conceptualisation and thought. An organism with a light-sensitive patch of skin, for example (the very first stages in the evolution of the eye), might become wired up, or might learn, to move towards, or away from, sources of light; and one can imagine circumstances in which this might have conferred some benefit on the organisms in question. But the initial stages in the development of inner sense would, on the present hypothesis, have required a capacity to simulate the mental life of another being. And simulation seems to require at least some degree of conceptualisation of its inputs and outputs.

Suppose, in the simplest case, that I am to simulate someone elses experiences as they look at the world from their particular point of view. It is hard to see what could even get me started on such a process, except a desire to know what that person sees. And this of course requires me to possess a concept of seeing. Similarly at the end of a process of simulation, which concludes with a simulated intention to perform some action A. It is hard to see how I could get from here, to the prediction that the person being simulated will do A, unless I can conceptualise my result as an intention to do A, and unless I know that what people intend, they generally do. But then all this presupposes that mental concepts (and so a capacity for HOTs) would have had to be in place before (or at least coincident with) the capacity for inner sense and for mental simulation.

A related point is that it is difficult to see what pressures might have led to the manifest complexity of a faculty of inner sense, in the absence of quite a sophisticated capacity for conceptualising mental states, and for making inferences concerning their causal relationships with one another and with behaviour; and so without quite a sophisticated capacity for HOTs. We have already stressed above that a faculty of inner sense would have to be causally and computationally complex. In which case one might think that a steady and significant evolutionary pressure would be necessary, over a considerable period of time, in order to build it. But all of the really interesting (that is, fit, or evolutionarily fruitful) things one can do with mental state attributions like intentional deceit require mental concepts: in order to deceive someone intentionally, you have to think that you are inducing a false belief in them; which in turn requires that you possess the concept belief.

I conclude this section, then, by claiming that inner sense accounts of p-consciousness are highly implausible, on evolutionary (and other) grounds. The take-home message is: we would never have evolved higher-order experiences (HOEs) unless we already had higher-order thoughts (HOTs); and if we already had HOTs then we did not need HOEs. Upshot: if we are to defend any form of higher-order representation (HOR) theory, then it should be some sort of HOT theory (or perhaps a higher-order description, or HOD, theory), rather than a HOE theory.

6 Evolution and actualist HOT theory

The main objection to actualist forms of HOT theory is at the same time a difficulty for evolutionary explanation. The objection is that an implausibly vast number of HOTs would have to be generated from moment to moment, in order to explain the p-conscious status of our rich and varied conscious experiences. This objection has been developed and defended in some detail in my 1996a (section 6.2), so I shall not pause to recapitulate those points here. I shall for the most part confine myself to exploring the further implications of the objection for the evolution of p-consciousness.

One aspect of the cognitive overload objection should be briefly mentioned here, however. This is that it is not very plausible to respond by claiming in the manner of Dennett, 1991 that the contents of experience are themselves highly fragmentary, only coalescing into a (partially) integrated account in response to quite specific internal probing. This claim and actualist HOT theory would seem to be made for one another (although Rosenthal, for example, does not endorse it; 1986, 1993). It can then be claimed that the p-conscious status of an experiential content is dependent upon the actual presence of a HOT targeted on that very state, while at the same time denying that there need be many HOTs tokened at any one time. Yet some attempt can also be made at explaining how we come to be under the illusion of a rich and varied sensory consciousness: it is because, wherever we direct our attention wherever we probe a p-conscious content with a targeting HOT coalesces in response.

This sort of account does not really explain the phenomenology of experience, however. For it still faces the objection that the objects of attention can be immensely rich and varied, hence requiring there to be an equally rich and varied repertoire of HOTs tokened at the same time. Think of immersing yourself in the colours and textures of a Van Gogh painting, for example, or the scene as you look out at your garden it would seem that one can be p-conscious of a highly complex set of properties, which one could not even begin to describe or conceptualise in any detail.

6.1 Actual HOTs and mental simulation

Now, what would have been the evolutionary pressure leading us to generate, routinely, a vast array of HOTs concerning the contents of our conscious experiences? Not simulation-based mentalising, surely. In order to attribute experiences to people via simulation of their perspective on the world, or in order to make a prediction concerning their likely actions through simulation of their reasoning processes, there is no reason why my own experiences and thoughts should actually give rise, routinely, to HOTs concerning themselves. It would be sufficient that they should be available to HOT, so that I can entertain thoughts about the relevant aspects of my experiences or thoughts when required. All that is necessary, in fact, is what is postulated by dispositionalist HOT theory, as we shall see shortly.

I think the point is an obvious one, but let me labour it all the same. Suppose that I am a hunter-gatherer stalking a deer, who notices a rival hunter in the distance. I want to work out whether he, too, can see the deer. To this end, I study the lie of the land surrounding him, and try to form an image of what can be seen from my rivals perspective. At his point I need to have higher-order access to my image and its contents, so that I can exit the simulation and draw inferences concerning what my rival will see. But surely nothing in the process requires that I should already have been entertaining HOTs about my percepts of the deer and of the rival hunter before initiating the process of simulation. So nothing in a simulationist account of mind-reading abilities can explain why p-consciousness should have emerged, if actualist HOT theory is true.

6.2 Actual HOTs and the isseems distinction

Nor would a vast array of actual HOTs concerning ones current experiences be necessary to underpin the isseems distinction. This distinction is, no doubt, an evolutionarily useful one enabling people to think and learn about the reliability of their own experiences, as well as to manipulate the experiences of others, to produce deceit. But again, the most that this would require is that our own experiences should be available to HOTs, not that they should routinely give rise to such thoughts, day-in, day-out, and in fulsome measure.

Again the point is obvious, but again I labour it. Suppose that I am a desert-dweller who has been misled by mirages in the past. I now see what I take to be an oasis in the distance, but recall that on previous occasions I have travelled towards apparently-perceived oases, only to find that there is nothing there. I am thus prompted to think, Perhaps that is not really an oasis in the distance; perhaps the oasis only seems to be there, but is not. I can then make some sort of estimate of likelihood, relying on my previous knowledge of the area and of the weather conditions, and act accordingly. Nothing here requires that my initial (in fact delusory) percept should already have been giving rise to HOTs. All that is necessary is that the content oasis should prompt me to recall the previous occasions on which I have seemed to see one, but have been proved wrong and it is only at this stage that HOTs first need to enter the picture.

I conclude this section, then, with the claim that we have good evolutionary (and other) grounds to reject actualist HOT theory, of the sort defended by Rosenthal. Greatly preferable, as we shall see, is a form of dispositionalist HOT theory.

7 Evolution and dispositionalist HOT theory

The account of the evolution of p-consciousness generated by dispositionalist HOT theory proceeds in two main stages. First, there was the evolution of systems which generate integrated first-order sensory representations, available to conceptualised thought and reasoning. The result is the sort of architecture depicted in figure 1, in which perceptual information is presented via a special-purpose short-term memory store (E) to conceptualised belief-forming and practical reasoning systems, as well as via another route (N) to guide a system of phylogenetically more ancient action-schemas. Then second, there was the evolution of a theory-of-mind faculty (ToM), whose concepts could be brought to bear on that very same set of first-order representations (see figure 2, in which E for experience is transformed into C for conscious). A sensible evolutionary story can be told in respect of each of these developments; and then p-consciousness emerges as a by-product, not directly selected for (which is not to say that it is useless; it may be maintained, in part, as an exaptation see below).

Figure 1 First-order perception

The first stage in this account has already been discussed in section 3 above. Here just let me emphasise again in this context how very implausible it is that perceptual contents should only be (partially) integrated in response to probing. For many of the purposes of perception require that perceptual contents should already be integrated. Think, for example, of a basketball player selecting, in a split-second, a team member to receive a pass. The decision may depend upon many facts concerning the precise distribution of team members and opponents on the court, which may in turn involve recognition of the colours of their respective jerseys. It is simply not plausible that all of this information should only coalesce in response to top-down probing of the contents of experience. (Am I seeing someone in red to my right? Am I seeing someone in yellow coming up just behind him? And so on.) Indeed in general it seems that the requirements of on-line planning of complex actions requires an integrated perceptual field to underpin and give content to the indexical thoughts which such planning involves. (If I throw it to him just so then I can move into that gap there to receive the return pass, and so on.)

At any rate, this is what I shall assume I shall assume that it is the task of the various sensory systems to generate an integrated representation of the environment (and of the states of our own bodies), which is then made available to a variety of concept-wielding reasoning, planning and belief-generating systems (some of which may be quasi-modular in structure see my 1998a, and Mithen, 1996).

7.1 The evolution of mind-reading and p-consciousness

Now for the second stage in the evolution of p-consciousness, on a dispositionalist HOT account. There seems little doubt that our mind-reading (or theory of mind) faculty has evolved, and been selected for. First, there is good reason to think that it is a dissociable module of the mind, with a substantive genetic basis (Baron-Cohen, 1995). Second, precursors of this ability seem detectable in other great apes (Byrne and Whiten, 1988; Byrne, 1996), having a use both in deceiving others and facilitating co-operation with them. And there seems every reason to think that enhanced degrees of this ability would have brought advantages in survival and reproduction. Consistently with this, however, we could claim that what really provided the pressure for development of the highest forms of mind-reading ability, was the need to process and interpret early hominid attempts at speech (Carruthers, 1998a; Gmez, 1998), which would probably have consisted of multiply-ambiguous non-syntactically-structured word-strings (what Bickerton, 1995, calls proto-language).

Figure 2 Dispositionalist HOT theory

Now the important point for our purposes is that the mind-reading faculty would have needed to have access to a full range of perceptual representations. It would have needed to have access to auditory input in order to play a role in generating interpretations of heard speech, and it would have needed to have access to visual input in order to represent and interpret peoples movements and gestures, as well as to generate representations of the form, A sees that P or A sees that [demonstrated object/event]. It seems reasonable to suppose, then, that our mind-reading faculty would have been set up as one of the down-stream systems drawing on the integrated first-order perceptual representations, which were already available to first-order concepts and indexical thought (see figure 2).

Once this had occurred, then nothing more needed to happen for people to enjoy p-conscious experiences, on a dispositionalist HOT account. Presumably they would already have had first-order recognitional concepts for a variety of surface-features of the environment red, green, rough, loud, and so on and it would then have been but a trivial matter (once armed with mentalistic concepts, and the isseems distinction) to generate higher-order recognitional concepts in response to the very same perceptual data seems red, looks green, feels rough, appears loud, and so on. Without the need for any kind of inner scanner, or the creation of any new causal connections or mechanisms, people would have achieved higher-order awareness of their own experiential states. And then once armed with this new set of recognitional concepts, subjects would have been open to the familiar and worrisome philosophical thought-experiments How do I know that red seems red to you? maybe red seems green to you? and so on.

Once people possessed higher-order recognitional concepts, and were capable of thoughts about their own experiences generally, then this would, no doubt, have had further advantages, helping to preserve and sustain the arrangement. Once you can reflect on your perceptual states, for example, you can learn by experience that certain circumstances give rise to perceptions which are illusory, and you can learn to withhold your first-order judgements in such cases. This may well be sufficient to qualify p-consciousness as an exaptation (like the black-herons wings, which are now used more for shading the water while fishing than for flight; or like the penguins wings, which are now adapted for swimming, although they originally evolved for flying). But it is important to be clear that p-consciousness was not originally selected for, on the present account. Rather, it is a by-product of a mind-reading faculty (which was selected for) having access to perceptual representations.

7.2 HOT consumers and subjectivity

It might well be wondered how the mere availability to HOTs could confer on our perceptual states the positive properties distinctive of p-consciousness that is, of states having a subjective dimension, or a distinctive subjective feel. The answer lies in the theory of content. I agree with Millikan (1984) that the representational content of a state depends, in part, upon the powers of the systems which consume that state. There is a powerful criticism here of informational, or causal co-variance accounts of representational content, indeed (Botterill and Carruthers, 1999, ch.7). It is no good a state carrying information about some environmental property, if so to speak the systems which have to consume, or make use of, that state do not know that it does so. On the contrary, what a state represents will depend, in part, on the kinds of inferences which the cognitive system is prepared to make in the presence of that state, or on the kinds of behavioural control which it can exert.

This being so, once first-order perceptual representations are present to a consumer-system which can deploy a theory of mind, and which contains recognitional concepts of experience, then this is sufficient to render those representations at the same time as higher-order ones. This is what confers on our p-conscious experiences the dimension of subjectivity. Each experience is at the same time (while also representing some state of the world, or of our own bodies) a representation that we are undergoing just such an experience, by virtue of the powers of the mind-reading consumer-system. Each percept of green, for example, is at one and the same time a representation of green and a representation of seems green or experience of green. In fact, the attachment of a mind-reading faculty to our perceptual systems completely transforms the contents of the latter.

This is a good evolutionary story that dispositionalist HOT theory can tell, it seems to me. It does not require us to postulate anything beyond what most people think must have evolved anyway (integrated first-order perceptions, and a mind-reading faculty with access to those perceptions). Out of this, p-consciousness emerges without the need for any additional computational complexity or selectional pressure. So other things being equal (assuming that it can do all the work needed of a theory of p-consciousness see my 2000), dispositionalist HOT theory is the theory to believe.

8 Evolution and HODs

The only real competitor left in the field, amongst higher-order representation (HOR) theories, is the higher-order descriptivism espoused by Dennett (1978, 1991. Note that I shall abstract from the major differences between these works particularly the claim in the latter that facts about consciousness are largely indeterminate focusing just on the alleged connection with language.) On this account, p-conscious states are those perceptual contents which are available for reporting in speech (or writing, or for representing to oneself in inner speech). Dennett can (and does, 1991) tell a perfectly good evolutionary story about the evolution of the required cognitive structures, in a number of stages.

8.1 HODs and evolution

First, hominids evolved a wide variety of specialist processing-systems for dealing with particular domains, organised internally along connectionist lines. Thus they may well have evolved specialist theory-of-mind systems; co-operative exchange systems; processors for dealing in naive physics and tool-making; processors for gathering and organising information about the living world; systems for selecting mates and directing sexual strategies; and so on just as some evolutionary psychologists and archaeologists now suppose (Barkow et al., 1992; Mithen, 1996; Pinker, 1997). These systems would have operated independently of one another; and at this stage most of them would have lacked access to each others outputs. Although Dennett himself does not give a time-scale, this first stage could well have coincided with the period of massive brain-growth, lasting two or more million years, between the first appearance of Homo habilis and the evolution of archaic forms of Homo sapiens.

Second, hominids then evolved a capacity to produce and process natural language; which was used in the first instance exclusively for purposes of inter-personal communication. This stage could well have coincided with the arrival of Homo sapiens sapiens in Southern Africa some 100,000 years ago. The resulting capacity for sophisticated and indefinitely complex communication would have immediately conferred on our species a decisive advantage, enabling more subtle and adaptable forms of co-operation, and more efficient accumulation and transmission of new skills and discoveries. And indeed, just as might be predicted, we do see Homo sapiens sapiens rapidly colonising the globe, displacing competitor hominid species; with Australia being reached for the first time by boat some 60,000 years ago. And the evidence is that our species was more efficient at hunting than its predecessors, and soon began to carve harpoons out of bone, beginning fishing for the first time (Mithen, 1996, pp.178-183).

Finally, a new and clever trick caught on amongst our ancestors, giving rise to what is distinctive of the conscious human mind. As Dennett (1991) tells it, we began to discover that by asking ourselves questions, we could often elicit information which we did not know we had. Each of the specialist processing systems would have had access to the language faculty, and by generating questions through that faculty and receiving answers from it, these systems would have been able to interact quite freely and access one anothers resources for the first time. The result, thinks Dennett, is the Joycean machine the constant stream of inner speech which occupies so much of our waking lives, and which amounts to a new virtual processor (serial and digital) overlain on the parallel distributed processes of the human brain. This final stage might well have coincided with the explosion of culture around the globe some 40,000 years ago, including the use of beads and necklaces as ornaments; the burying of the dead with ceremonies; the working of bone and antler into complex weapons; and the production of carved statuettes and paintings (Mithen, 1996).

8.2 HODs versus HOTs

This is a perfectly sensible evolutionary account, which can be made to fit the available archaeological and neuro-psychological data quite nicely. But what reason does it give us for thinking that p-conscious states are those which are available to (higher-order) linguistic description (HOD), rather than to higher-order thought (HOT)? After all, Dennett himself is eulogistic about HOT theories of consciousness, except that he thinks it unnecessary to insert a thought between an experience and our dispositions to describe it linguistically (1991, ch. 10); and he also allows that quite sophisticated mind-reading capacities would probably have been in place prior to the evolution of language, and independently of it in mature humans (personal communication). The vital consideration, I think, is that Dennett denies that there exists any thought realistically construed independently of language; and so, a fortiori, there are no genuine HOTs in the absence of language, either it is only when those higher-order contents are formulated linguistically that we get discrete, structured, individually-causally-effective states; prior to that stage, it is merely that people can usefully be interpreted as entertaining HOTs, from the standpoint of the Intentional Stance (on this, see Dennett, 1987).

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Carruthers - The Evolution of Consciousness

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August 17th, 2016 at 1:47 am

Back to the Future: LCWR nuns and Conscious Evolution …

Posted: May 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm

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Card. Mller, when addressing the LCWR nuns, spoke about problems with their Faith. He was not being political. He was not picking on them as women.

Card.Mller was effectively asking them: Do you want to be Catholic?

What the nuns are into is, basically, warmed-up gnosticism. Because we really want to be living in the 2nd century rather than the 21st. We need a new Irenaeus!

Card. Mller spoke to them about how they have gotten into conscious evolution. Lets call it CE. This is pure crap, of course, and spiritually dangerous and some of these nuns are in it up to their necks.

Do you want to do a little reading around the issue?


An evolutionary spirituality is emerging, experienced as the impulse of evolution, the process of creation, the implicate order, a patterning process coming through our own hearts. It is felt as the sacred core of the evolutionary spiral, the evolving godhead arising, or even incarnating within each of us as our own impulse to co-create. It is the creator-within expressing itself uniquely through each person as a new form of social cosmogenesis. The generating power of universal evolution is guiding us toward a more synergistic, cooperative democracy.

HERE Wow..

At the heart of Gnostic Christianity, as taught in the Sophian Tradition, is the view of Yeshua (Aramaic for Jesus) as a human being who embarked upon a spiritual or mystical journey and became Self-realized or Enlightened; hence attained Supernal or Messianic Consciousness. According to the Sophian Gospel he was not born Christ, but became Christed by the reception of teachings and initiations from his Spiritual Teachers and engaging in spiritual practice and spiritual living. It is said that Yeshua was, indeed, the incarnation of a Great Soul and that he had accomplished the divine labor of Self-realization or Enlightenment in previous lives. Nevertheless, incarnate in the world as a Light-bearer, he had to sojourn the Path to Enlightenment as any other human being. In so doing he became a living example of the Path to Self-realization or Enlightenment and was empowered to teach others how to attain Supernal or Messianic Consciousness.


This emerging human has been called by many names. Teilhard de Chardin called it the Ultra Human, orHomo progressivus, in whom the flame of expectation burns, attracted toward the future as an organism progressing toward the unknown. Sri Aurobindo, the great Indian evolutionary sage, called this the Gnostic Human, the individual in whom the Consciousness Force itself, the supramental power of universal creativity, incarnates and begins to transform the body/mind into the very cells that evolve beyond the human phase.

Others have called thisHomo noeticus, a being of gnosis or deep knowing of the Field out of which we are co-arising. OrHomo divina, as Sister Judy Cauley puts it. Or the universal human, connected through the heart to the whole of life, awakening from within by the core of the spiral of evolution. The implicate order is becoming explicate in us, turning into the essential self, animated by a passionate life-purpose to express our creativity.

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Back to the Future: LCWR nuns and Conscious Evolution ...

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May 1st, 2016 at 2:43 pm

Conscious Evolution – Home

Posted: January 25, 2016 at 4:45 am

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A Shamanic Astrology Readings intent is to help you understand your life from an archetypal and mythological perspective. An archetype is a model of people, behaviors or personalities that are innate, universal and hereditary. They are unlearned and act to organize how we experience certain things in our personal world or through what lens we may view the world.

We will be looking at the archetypes specific to your natal chart.We will first look at your lineage to be able to see what gifts, talents and possible addictions you brought with you into this lifetime to release and let go of.

We will then look at what the current story line is and what new archetypes or mystery school trainings you are learning and working with in this lifetime to evolve and stretch yourself.

Finally, we will look at what cycles you are currently in to help you work in a more conscious way with these cycles to get the maximum mileage possible and to flow with them as opposed to pushing against them.

When we know better, we do better


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Conscious Evolution - Home

Written by simmons

January 25th, 2016 at 4:45 am

Conscious Evolution

Posted: January 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm

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Conscious Cultural Evolution Alexis Zeigler

Humanity is facing an environmental crisis of unprecedented proportions. We are facing a crises of social justice. Ever since the rise of civilization, we have been divided into rich and poor classes. Now the rise of food and energy prices, combined with the extreme concentration of wealth among the wealthiest of citizens can only bring increasing suffering and greater conflict.

What is the root cause of these problems? It is not "human nature" to be greedy, aggressive, or to disregard the future. The anthropological record is clear. We are capable of being altruistic or selfish, aggressive or compassionate. Many humans have lived in sustainable societies for thousands of years. We must correctly diagnose our current predicament, and have a rational, coherent plan for how to address it. This web page is dedicated to that purpose.

We have a new blog about Integrated Activism and Living Energy Farm. Check it out!


Integrated Activism: Applying the Hidden Connections Between Ecology, Economy, Politics and Social Progress, Alexis Zeigler Due to be released from North Atlantic Books in August, 2013 Available at online booksellers now!

Beyond Greenhype, Real Solutions for Global Warming, a book about by Alexis Zeigler You can download a PDF copy here


Donations for this work are accepted!

Culture Change Constructive Panic Slideshow (Windows Media file, microsoft is evil, but that's how this file ended up...). Download here.

If you want a much quicker download, you can just listen to the audio portion. Culture Change Constructive Panic Slideshow. (It's a little over an hour, in MP3 format.)


An article by Alexis Zeigler entitled Dancing at the Edge of the Precipice - After Peak Oil published at The Oil Drum.

Another article by Alexis Zeigler entitled Biofuel and the Rise of Nationalistic Environmentalism was published at The Oil Drum, Reality Sandwich, and The Energy Bulletin

Biofuels and the Rise of Nationalistic Environmentalism

Will Biofuels Trigger Genocide?

BioFuels in Ecological Perspective

Concious Cultural Evolution, A Primer

Where Do We Go From Here?

Drug Wars, The Burning Times

The Past and Future of Women's Rights in America

Why Are We So Stupid?

Peak Oil, Biofuel and Culture Change


Listen to an interview of Alexis about his book Culture Change on WNRN radio from January 28, 2007. (It's a one hour interview, in MP3 format.)

And Now For Something Completely Different -- Fruit Trees!

My second obsession is growing fruit. To aid others in similar pursuits, I offer for you the following short book that tells you how to grow and propagate fruit and nuts without chemicals. Perennial Food, Easy and Reliable Methods for Growing and Propagating Fruits and Nuts.


Advanced Traffic Bicycling

Intenional Communities, Fellowship for Inentional Communities Directory of Intenional Communities An encyclopedia of information... "connecting the dots" between Peak Oil, 9/11, the War on Iraq, election fraud, media manipulation and the ecological catastrophe of climate change...

Contact: alex (email symbol) conev period org

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Conscious Evolution

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January 22nd, 2016 at 2:40 pm

About Conscious Evolution – Linda Goodman Forums

Posted: October 20, 2015 at 1:42 pm

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What Is Conscious Evolution? by Gregory Ellison

"Homo sapiens, the first truly free species, is about to decommission natural selection, the force that made us. ... Soon we must look deep within ourselves and decide what we wish to become." -- Edward O. Wilson Consilience, The Unity of Knowledge

Mankind is on the verge of an evolutionary leap in consciousness, to a whole new way of thinking and being that will put us as far above our present concept of "man" as modern man is above our stone age ancestors.

Until roughly the present time, the forces of evolution have been external to mankind. Whether we think of these forces as essentially physical/biological, or essentially spiritual, in either case we have not consciously directed the course of our own evolution. This is simply where the journey has brought us.

But no more. From this point forward we will consciously participate in the direction of our own evolution. We will become what we choose to become.

There are many things that point to this moment in history as a time of major transformation. Religious and spiritual prophecy from many different traditions point to this period as the "end times" where the old world falls away and the new millennium arises. Astrology recognizes this as the dawning of the "age of Aquarius," a transformation to spiritual awareness, peace and brotherhood.

But we need not rely on myth or revelation to know that we now chart our own destiny: science and technology too inform us that we will soon have the capacity to alter our own genetic code, extend our life expectancy, and expand our capabilities far beyond those nature has bestowed on us. Already we do not need wings to fly above the mountaintops, nor gills to swim the depths of the sea. We can throw our voices around the world at the speed of light, transmute matter to energy in nuclear reactors (and bombs), stroll on the surface of the moon.

We have superseded natural selection. Where once we were at the mercy of our environment, now our environment is at our mercy.

And therein lies the rub: we have become powerful enough to make ourselves extinct, and we stand shuddering at the doorway to this brave new world because we are scared silly that we might do just that!

We have grown in knowledge and power beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors, but our wisdom has not kept pace. In fact, it might be argued that human wisdom has taken giant steps backward since the astrological, shamanistic and mystical traditions that flowered thousands of years ago!

Our politics today are still based on the model of domination-oriented city-states that characterized the ancient Sumerian empire, our economics are still based on the same model of amassing personal wealth, our interpersonal relationships are still based on possessiveness and ego gratification.

The day of reckoning has come: unparalleled power without the wisdom to balance it is a mortal danger to all life. Unless our collective wisdom makes a quantum leap to match our Godlike power, we can look forward only to global warfare, totalitarian domination, and predatory consumption and waste-production, culminating in ecological suicide. What will we become?

The good news is, we are now at a turning point. Mankind is now in the process of shifting our normal state of awareness from an individual/ego point of view to a global/spiritual point of view, and our basic choice is to cooperate with that process and help it along, or to resist it. We can usher in a world transformed by Love and spirit, or see our world mired in the dark extremes of the unbalanced direction we have been heading. We get to choose.

The system of thought that has structured our collective reality until now is hierarchical organization:

This is the familiar "top down" model of organization that we use to structure nearly everything we think about. As you can see, it looks like a corporate organization chart among other things, with the CEO at the top and the workers at the bottom.

This is how we think about everything. It is how we organize scientific knowledge, how we classify library books, and how we organize our sports tournaments! It is also how we structure society, with kings, dictators and presidents at the top, bureacrats and the wealthy "upper class" in the middle, and the "unwashed masses (peasants) at the bottom. It is a "pecking order" view of reality.

There is nothing wrong with hierarchy - it is a mental tool that has served us well in many ways, making scientific progress possible and enabling our rational mastery of many challenges of the material world. But, like the once-useful notions of a flat earth in the center of the universe, it has outlived its usefulness as a model of reality.

The Universe as we are coming to understand it now is not a competition for position in a pecking order, but a harmonious unfolding of creative potential as separate "parts" merge into greater "wholes." The new consciousness sees the world through holistic eyes, as a holarchy rather than a hierarchy. In a holarchy, every element is in direct communication with every other element, but none are "above" or "below" each other. The relationships are not among superiors and subordinates, but rather among essentially equal "parts" and the "whole" that emerges from them.

In a hierarchy, order is imposed from the top down. In a holarchy, order emerges from the bottom up. When a studio producer hires musicians, assigns them parts to play, and hands out musical scores, that's hierarchy. When several musicians get together to jam and they gradually develop a "groove" together, that's holarchy.

Every part is a whole, and every whole is a part. Anything you can think of - a toaster, a galaxy, a supermarket, or your next door neighbor - is a "whole" made up of "parts." At the same time, it is also part of a larger whole, or perhaps many larger wholes. Your next door neighbor, for example, is a part of the human race (or so we hope!) What's more, every whole is similar to every other whole in some respects.

For example, atoms are composed of many sub-atomic particles such as protons and electrons. In turn, each "whole" atom is itself a "part" of a larger whole, such as a molecule. Going up the scale, the molecule is part of a cell, the cell is part of an animal, the animal is part of the living planet, and the planet is part of the solar system. And oddly enough, the electrons circling the nucleus of the atom bear a strange resemblance to the planets circling the Sun!

Every part is a whole, and every whole is a part.

Conscious Evolution is the evolution of consciousness to the next stage of awareness - the "awakening" of the parts to their awareness as a whole. Simply put, we are now living through the birth pains of the planetary mind!

Of course, this is not a new concept - the idea that "we are all ONE" is the fundamental notion of all mystical thought. But until now it has often been seen as a threatening idea, because it implies that we will lose our individual identities while being absorbed into a mystical one-ness with all life. We are afraid to take this leap for the same reason we are afraid to die, even though we "believe" in eternal life. The ego has been all-powerful for a long time, and it likes it that way!

But the new consciousness is showing us that this is an unfounded fear ... wholes emerge from their parts, they do not replace them! A single cell of my body is a living "creature" in itself, but when it joins with other cells to create a "higher" organism (me!) it doesn't lose anything of itself. It still has its own "identity" - its own boundaries, and its own limited consciousness - but to that is added the newly emergent properties of a human being, including my greater range of conscious awareness.

When the transcendant global mind emerges from our individual consciousnesses, we will not "lose" ourselves - instead, we will gain a perspective that puts an end to all war and hatred and the thousand-and-one faces of man's inhumanity to man. Can you imagine the cells of your right hand going to war against the cells of your left hand? Of course not! Nor will I harm my brother when I know in the very core of my being that to harm him is to harm myself.

Having taken the leap of Conscious Evolution, we still look out on the world through the same eyes in the same familiar body. But we know that the "I" who looks out through these eyes is the same "I" who looks out through all eyes. We identify ourselves as something much larger than our individual bodies and egos ... and that makes all the difference!

The mission of the Conscious Evolution website is to support this transition, both intellectually and through concrete activities and spiritual practices that aid the emergence of the new consciousness.

The features, articles, and discussions you will find here support this mission in an eclectic way, through traditional approaches like astrology and other spiritual paths, as well as state-of-the art insights drawn from general systems theory, cybernetics and quantum physics. There are many paths up the mountain, but the view from the summit is all the same. Call it cosmic consciousness, enlightenment, union with God ... or call it Love.

Welcome to Conscious Evolution!

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About Conscious Evolution - Linda Goodman Forums

Written by admin

October 20th, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Evolution – Conscious Evolution – Co-Intelligence

Posted: October 16, 2015 at 12:43 am

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Conscious Evolution

Evolution is happening right now in and around us. It is influenced by all that we do and don't do, and all that we are and are not. Whether we are aware of it or not, we have a lot to do with how evolution unfolds, especially right here on Earth.

Recent offspring in life's 13.7 billion years of cosmic, planetary, biological and social evolution, we are on the leading edge of the evolutionary process. We share that emergent edge with everything else in the universe. (From an evolutionary perspective, "everything else in the universe" is actually better described by that scientifically accurate Native American phrase "all our relations.")

Evolution has given us a special kind of consciousness, one that creates -- and is thoroughly conditioned by -- our languages, cultures, stories, and built environments. This consciousness and its companion social systems and technologies have awesome power to shape the world. We are just beginning to grow into a mature way of manifesting it in the world.

Part of that maturing process is learning the dynamics through which evolution does its transformational work. Understanding those dynamics, we can apply them -- intentionally and wisely -- to transform ourselves and our social systems.

To the extent we do this, we are evolution -- or at least one significant facet of it -- becoming conscious of itself. Across many domains of society, life and spirituality, we are in the process of birthing ourselves as conscious evolution.

The unconsciousness with which we have been evolving as a civilization is taking us rapidly toward collective extinction -- following in the footsteps of the vast majority of "failed experiments" (extinct species) in Earth's history -- and taking many more with us. This century's evolutionary challenge -- to become a civilization capable of conscious evolution -- is not only what can "save" us, but also one of the most significant evolutionary leaps in human history.

All the crises of our age are manifestations of our challenge to consciously evolve. Co-intelligent conversation and democracy are fundamental to successfully transforming these crises into evolutionary breakthroughs.

Those of us who are coming to understand and welcome this challenge to become conscious evolutionary agents are discovering new sources of inspiration and meaning in it, and find ourselves working in community with truly remarkable companions.

Something is Emerging - brief notes on conscious evolution

Learning to Be Evolution - includes 8 examples of evolutionary guidance

The Evolutionary Worldview - offering a 1-page description of the Great Story of evolution, some guidances for evolutionary action, and description of how the sacred evolutionary perspective relates to other religious traditions

Becoming Evolution's Conscious Weavers

The Evolutionary Role of Conversation

The Evolutionary Role of Citizen Deliberation

Consciousness takes us beyond avoidable force, waste, and risk

What is Consciousness?

Feedback, Social Power, and the Evolution of Social Systems

Democracy and the evolution of societal intelligence

Building a Wise Democracy as Crises Emerge

Crisis and Evolutionary Leverage in Philanthropy (doc) - also applicable to other evolutionary agentry

Learning from Our Evolutionary Past Into Our Evolutionary Future

Does Compassion Need to Evolve?

The Evolution of Genes and Meaning

A Movement for the Conscious Evolution of Social Systems

Four Dimensions of Change, and One Integration

See also

Conscious Evolutionary Agentry and Evolutionary Systemic Interventions

Evolutionary Salons - especially Growing Together at the Emerging Edge of Evolution, Tom Atlee's report on the first evolutionary salon May 2005

Evolutionary Life newsletter - a wild assortment of articles, images, resources, and opportunities related to conscious evolution

Evolutionary Spirituality - The Great Story - the evolutionary work of Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow

From Chaos to Coherence - by Peggy Holman - a model of emergence

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Evolution - Conscious Evolution - Co-Intelligence

Written by admin

October 16th, 2015 at 12:43 am

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