Lately my mind has turned to thinking about big topics such as human evolution! I’m interested in the shift that we’re experiencing in society and where we go next. Here are my simplistic musings on these massive topics.
If I consider human history I could argue that it’s evolution could be characterized in five stages. Firstly there is the Mystical. In this tribal, pre-modern phase, humanity saw spirits in nature, in the rocks, and rivers, in trees and animals. It revered the natural world out of an awareness of its dependence upon it. In order to ensure good harvests or not to dishonor the animals that gave their lives so that man could eat, the people performed rituals to the gods and spirits or honoured the sacrifices the animals made that died in the hunt.
The next phase we could define is the Religious phase. Organized religions sought to make sense of the Mystical, to impose order on it and to use the mind to create structure. In this priests became the mediators between the sacred ‘Truth’ (the divine) and the people.
After this we move into the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, (although I would say it is wrongly entitled the Age of Enlightenment). This was less an age of enlightenment (from a spiritual perspective) but an era of bringing light to the darkness of the mystic. It signified the era of the dominance of the mind. Science and the mind became the dominant forces in society, gradually over-taking religion.
Scientists have become the new priests of our society, the holders of the sacred Truth
Religion is reduced to ‘faith’ rather than Truth. Huge, significant advances were made in western culture and of course the comforts of things that allow us to enjoy our modern lives are a product of this way of thinking.
Towards the end of the 19th century, starting most significantly that of Sigmund Freud, what I see coming next is what I call the Age of Emotion. In this, and especially in the latter half of the 20th century, humanity began to explore the unconscious, to get in touch with our feeling states. Various therapies emerged to work through suppressed and repressed emotional states. They reached a peak with the Human Potential Movement of the 60s ,70s and 80s that hailed deep catharsis as the answer to all our emotional problems. On the other hand ecstasis (the experience of mind-altering pleasure) emerged as an alternative to catharsis – provoking the search more and more intense positive emotions through sex, drugs and various altered states of consciousness.
Both catharsis and ecstasis have shown their limitations
We have seen that they are not effective in bringing about the changes to society that their proponents might have hoped for. It’s possible to have wonderfully positive experiences (say in sex or on drugs), but very difficult to integrate these peak experiences back into every life and consciousness. Similarly with cathartic healing, studies have shown that despite the short-term feel-good results, this approach does not yield long-term positive behavioural or mood change.
What is significant about this emotional phase is that humanity moved from the physical and mental body to the emotional body. However, as described above, it has come up against its limitations.
It is at this edge that I believe we find ourselves now. We seem to have used up our material (physical), mental and emotional resources. The planet is being asset-stripped faster than it can regenerate resource, our minds can only take us so far. Science becomes more and more specialised and focused which takes us away from an understanding of the whole. Similarly, the answer is not more catharsis or more ecstasis.
So where do we go from here? I feel a shift is happening away from these former phases of materialism, mental dominance and emotional volatility and towards something new. That new thing is a new understanding of the energetic realms.
I believe that we are moving towards the Age of Energy
Very often the first movers culturally are the avant garde of creative, musicians and artists. You can see this in music. The vast majority of music from the latter half of the 20th century was emotional: I want you, I need you, I love you, You betrayed me, I hate you. These five statements sum up a significant percentage of all popular songs in this period. Now consider the next waves of music that have followed – trance, house, dubstep and so on. Each of these is more about an energetic state than an emotional one. We can follow this argument through to art and other creative applications too.
So if we are transitioning to the Energetic Age, what does it look like? I believe that we need to dive deeper into the realm of intuition and felt sense and away from the constraints of the mental and physical. I feel our current evolutionary edge is to familiarize ourselves more non-ordinary states of consciousness, to expand our awareness to move beyond the rational and the already known and into what has been called the Transrational Field. This is a field of consciousness in which all information is accessible, in which we can speak to past and future parts of ourselves and gain knowledge from them, or heal them backwards in time.
I am not suggesting some kind of Luddite archaic revival, where we ignore science and reason. I believe it is an age where we can acknowledge and respect science but recognise its limitations of approach and knowledge. In the Energetic Age, we need to be able to access the energetic realms that underpin all of material reality, and work with creating change in these realms so that they can manifest in this reality. Science is tentatively beginning to understand some of this and acknowledging the limitations of the material reality. I believe we need to transcend and include the confines of the material world if we are to overcome the huge social, economic and environmental challenges that are emerging in the 21st century.
What is needed is different from the old school hippy or spiritual understanding, much of which encouraged its followers to disown the material world as illusion. Instead, we need to access the energetic realm and the knowledge held within it, and bring it back into this reality, so that we can manifest a new reality here. I believe this is our greatest hope for survival in the time of chaos that we are already entering and the next phase of evolution for humanity. If we succeed in this we will have truly entered a new phase of humanity.
If all this seems hard to grasp, think of this. Imagine two priests of the Religious Age, sitting down to try to understand the Copernican revolution or the advances of the latest scientific developments. Think about the abreaction that Darwin’s theory of Evolution elicited amongst religious thinkers. Such thinkers would be baffled and skeptical, perhaps even outraged by the suggestions being put forward. Yet we now know that those ground-breaking, heretic, scientific understandings are true. What if we are living at such a time of change right now and that the energetic realm is the answer to humanity’s existential crisis? Perhaps we are living at the beginning of the true Age of Enlightenment.