The Spiraling Organic Way Moves Humanity to the Next Stage: Learning to Live Together

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The Spiraling Organic Way Moves Humanity to the Next Stage: Learning to Live Together

Norm Hirst

Through out history human advancement has occurred in stages from merely staying alive through domination of nature. The next stage in human development will be the ability for humans to live together in the variety, creativity and freedom that life offers. The stage is now set for learning how to be truly human at its best. This includes the freedom to be without the chains of past error of inorganic living and such debilitating dogmas as being born in sin. We will have the ability to create new realities, to cooperate for greatest good while supporting individual fulfillment. We will discover we were born in blessing, not sin. We will come to know the real meaning of love and its power.

Transitions from one stage to the next requires fundamental changes of consciousness. I see such a change in consciousness occurring now. During such a change the world can seem chaotic and dangerous. It can seem as if we are out of control and losing our values. Instead what has formed in our cultures and societies is undergoing a transformation. Coming into our consciousness are values that are in support of the richness and variety within the living domain. Earlier stages were aimed at control of nature to assure survival. We've learned self-awareness and upon achieving some degree of safety, at times, we've experienced peace of mind. However, examing where we are today with fear and warring on the rise, it would appear we are going backwards. And indeed that is the spirally process of such major transitions. It's like we have to go back to visit what isn't working so we can create the next reality.

This entire spiraling process is natural and organic.

Thinking about the stages of human development I am reminded of the work of Clare Graves, (1914-1986). He was a professor of clinical psychology at Union College in New York. After years of research studying the history of human development, he concluded:

   “The psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower order, behavior systems to newer higher order systems as man’s existential problems change”

The phrase “life style” means a combination of the values one lives by and the beliefs about how to fulfill those values. What does organic mean? For our purpose here I suggest that organic means that which resembles a living organism in organization and/or development. A society organizes itself in much the same way the living organisms do that make up society.

In short, an organic life style would be to live in a way that conforms to the laws of life and supports life. Knowledge of such laws has emerged in the last two decades. Through the lens of these laws, it becomes most apparent that the dominant life-style of today's world is actually anti-organic. The ways of earlier stages have taken on such habit as to become destructive of life. It's as if we don't know any better, nor do we believe we can do anything else.

So here we go down the rabbit hole. How far would you be willing to go? To explore new possible realities, let's realize that each of us is spiraling, oscillating and emerging through the following processes of development whether you know it or not. Each of us will find ourselves at different levels in different contexts. Recognizing this immediately helps us to manage and value our differences. The problem solving styles of the earlier levels cannot be applied to higher more complex levels as we are now entering. People and policy that function from the lower levels cannot manage the emerging new reality.

Grave's work indicates that societies evolve by spiraling and oscillating through the following list of existential problems:

  1. Maintaining physiological stability, staying alive
  2. Achieve relative safety
  3. Live with self awareness
  4. Achieve peace of mind
  5. Conquering the real universe
  6. Living with the human element
  7. Restoring viability to a disordered world
  8. Accepting existential dichotomies

Humans develop through the same sequence. Based on individual experience each of us progresses through the hierarchy of competencies.

This dynamic view would indicate that thinking about life as constant and consistent is deeply erroneous. The environment we live in is not constant. It is evolving to higher and more complex orders. We are not constant ether. We are evolving throughout our lives from lower to higher problem solving abilities. If one plots the number of people at each level one gets a bell shaped curve. Some may be just beginning. Some may be the leading edge. In the middle will be the bulk of the population characterizing the dominant problem solving activities for that particular society.

Life now is moving from level 5, conquering the physical universe, to level 6, living with the human element. This is a time of profound change. Such times are also times of confusion, chaos and frightening.

The bulk of the world society's population is about to shift into the 6th stage; learning to live with the human element. That is our current task. There are many factors we need to understand in learning to live together. From the way life functions we know that we learn by personal experience. Based on personal experience we know how to act.

General Zinni who commanded our forces in the Middle East until his retirement in 2000 spoke here in Camden in 2005. He explained that we were ready to enter the 21st Century. The Arabs were ready to enter the 20th Century. All we needed to do was be helpful. We could have achieved so much without regime change, without destroying a country and killing tens of thousands of people.

In international affairs the relative development of each side must be understood. There is no value judgement here. It is not to say that the more advanced society is better in the eyes of God. It is simply the consequence of time and history. People who have never experienced freedom may not want it. They may be frightened by the prospect. No amount of external force will make them free. The best we can do is take General Zinni’s advice and help.

In our own society there will be people who understand what is required. There will also be people who haven’t yet learned problem solving in the arena of the human element. As they speak of “axes of evil” they reveal their lack of readiness to deal with living together. There are no axes of evil. There are just different people wanting to live their lives in peace, as they understand how to live.

I have heard people say that many are dying now rather than face the future. They may be right. But after the transition I see a more wonderful future than has ever been known. It is time for a profound change in consciousness.

In science the last decade has produced mind changing discoveries concerning how life, living organisms, function. For example, it is now known that living entities are not discrete independent functioning units. Previously unknown fields such as biophotons connect all life. Living organisms radiate light. It is weak enough that we do not usually see it unless we see auras. It reminds me of pictures I have seen with holy figures radiating light.

Further technology has developed that enables viewing living organisms as they live. These observations change virtually everything we ever thought we knew about how life functions. It is not computational. The idea that computers can simulate life is nonsense. Computers can be a great contribution but promoting them with neither wisdom nor understanding is becoming a serious threat.

In religion rather surprising ideas are emerging. A central dogma of Christianity is now being challenged. That is the dogma of the fall and redemption and Christ dying for our sins. I recommend the book “Original Blessing” by Mathew Fox. Also “The Sins of Scripture” by Bishop Spong. Spong points out that there are two kinds of language in the Bible, reporter language and spiritual language. To focus on the reporter language after 2000 years of changing reality and development of knowledge is no way to find the world of God.

Further, the traditional concepts of God, pantheism and theism are being merged into panentheism. Pantheists believe that God is in everything and everything is in God. Theists believe that God is a transcendent being with whom we have merely a subject object relationship. As I understand it we all are living entities in the life of God who, as a transcendent being, is ready, willing and able to guide us towards a better life by his/her love.