An adequate and integral orientation to cosmology recognizes the broad ark of conscious evolution. Earth yielded an

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

Image via Wikipedia

arch of self-awareness that constituted the human experience and forever changed our home. At home, the ever-developing capacity to see still fulfills itself through the unification and complexification of material and consciousness. A ‘worlding’ is upon us.

We know that “history is sound and fury”.[1] Wondrous origins, feats of survival, and gross reality mark the development of Earth’s biotic organisms. Earth developed mineral compositions, cellular multiplication, and plant proliferation. With the emergence of animal life scales of development increased and converged, speed and flight manifest. Life built language and culture, tool making and machine, evolving itself toward its own perception – its own history. The Earth too, wished an incarnation of self-consciousness – adding to its spherical development an envelope of thought, a noosphere.

Humanity became a champion at memory. Becoming wise, human ability constructed the past in the present and oriented itself toward the future. Its powers of concentration and complexification grew through sociological metamorphosis.[2] Humanity became the greatest of tyrants and the most magnificent artists. Our machines grew larger, and our powers of control and mastery constituted new paradigms. The experience of hominization was also an experience of conscious evolution.

The Planetary Era emerged. It took the cumulative insight, risk, and discipline of many, including Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein to initiate human consciousness into a modern experience of cosmological orientation, where we became a spherical planet, gravitationally determined to orbit the sun.[3] Jettisoned into a universe where life became an isolated, biotic, autopoietic event, meaning became a precarious phenomenon bound to an evolution of organic consciousness, seated in a geological time called the anthropocene.

Globalization, through our commercial and material exchange, became the driving force behind our era. Our local worlds multiplied through communication and mobility and our Earth shrank. Great worries have beset our time. Bound within a history of accumulation, debt, and expenditures, the only ground contemporary society seems to value is the sound of wasted bodies and grinding cultural production. Despite the emergence of profound thinkers, thinking the whole, the external movement of markets, technology, and knowledge subsists without adequate internal orientations – the practice of globalization is happening through capital entropy, but no one knows why or where ‘we’ as a global species (nor our fellow plant and animal companions!) are headed.

Many of the most attentive contemporary thinkers believe that the human condition – its industrial capitalism, increasing international competitions, and energy deficits, along with the massive amount of unaccountability regards historical violence, military complex, and overwhelming waste – is determinately blind. The ‘invisible hand’ is ‘invisible’ indeed – the relationships of asymmetrical access, value, and power do not produce the ‘best possible world’. The more efficient machines become does not necessarily mean humanity becomes ‘happier’. In our race toward progress, power, and performance the force of human evolution seems to have lost its way. “The threefold race in science/technology/industry that has taken over the human adventure is now out of control: Growth is out of control, its progress leading to the abyss.”[4] Edgar Morin’s commentary on the “Earth In Crisis,” is powerful. It considers problems across global domains: economy, population, pollution, and ecology. It is a ‘tragedy of development,’ he says, and is congruent with the spiritual deficit now so overwhelming little hope remains for global systemic balance.

The fundamental complexity of our time is undeniable. Though there exist “ONE WORLD” (telluric consciousness)[5] there is not ‘one worlding’. Many worlds are developing astounding inter-relationality while at the same time other worlds pass away, face defeat and deterioration. The hope of integrating biology with information technology is on the forefront of development. The emergence of synthetic cells that can house big data offer possibilities of true hybrid forms, data that can travel within human bodies will change the composition of genetic potential and an age bound within local time scales. The threefold manifestation of nanotechnology, genetics, and robotics offers the future outstanding achievements of performance, access, mobility, security, and even wisdom. For as many thinkers who highlight exponential growth curves of decline across all sectors of contemporary society there are others who insist that valid research shows exponential growth curves of acceleration, growth curves that change the form of possibility and potential, curves that culminate in singularity.[6]

A decent dose of humility would suggest that the broad sweep of Earthly evolution is not driving the human project toward oblivion nor is evolution fulfilling the secular salvific determinism that the mythic courts of science would lead us to believe. Humility exercises its weight, even over our collective ego, even over probability. There exist what Morin calls an “ecology of action” or “political ecology” with all things. “Actions tend to break away from the intention of those who initiated it as soon as it enters the play of inter-retro-actions of the environment into which it is introduced.”[7] Crudely speaking, feedback loops exist that render the long-term consequences of any action unforeseeable at the beginning. Even our most pessimistic attitudes toward the future are bound in uncertainty. Everything remains fuzzy. Change still happens, anomalies still persist, and while human global affairs develop along the predictable lines of political economy, we are still discovering Earthly powers of creativity and the human/non-human possibilities of latent evolutionary potential.

[1] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 2.

[2] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 2.

[3] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 27.

[4] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 72.

[5] In French, the same word: terre/Terre means both land and Earth.

[6]Transcendent Man” is documentary about the life and work of Ray Kurzweil. Incredibly fascinating. Kurzweil is a ‘futurist’ who specializes in the study of exponential growth of information technology as well as the interface between biology and machine. He talks about the point of accelerating returns in genetics, robotics, and nanotechnology which will eventually lead us to an event he calls the “singularity”. At this point anything is possible. Perhaps, if Teilhard de Chardin is right and matter and spirit are one then an “Omega Point” is closer than we might have ever predicted. Enjoy:

[7] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 104.

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