Ideas, beliefs, rituals, and whole world views and cultural identities evolve, through a kind of natural selection process, akin to how genes do. Unfortunately, its often not the most true beliefs or inclusive values that proliferate, but the most proliferative.
The cultures that spread their beliefs in crusades offering a choice between the bible/koran/etc. in one hand and a sword in the other…proliferated much more widely and rapidly than those that largely kept to themselves. Those that pillaged more than they needed from nature to grow their population and empires, rather than maintain a steady state population in harmony with nature…also proliferated. The beliefs (religious, economic, and political) that led to these behaviors were naturally selected for and concentrated, evolving progressively more dominating beliefs and cultures.
While that kind of natural selection of dominance, unconsciously determined through violence, has got us here…. it has now made us powerful enough (technologically and in sheer number) that our biosphere can no longer support that way of being or evolving.
Also, natural selection is not anticipatory. It is only responsive. Which is why creatures (and cultures) hyper-specialize to what is selective now to then go extinct from changes that they couldn’t anticipate.
We are at the brink of a tipping point in the entire story of evolution, where the creatures being evolved are now capable of understanding evolution itself, and moving from simply being parts of the whole, to being conscious agents for it — the movement from evolution as an unconscious process of selecting largely for dominance and the immediate picture, to the conscious selection of what is actually true, kind, and sustainable. In the history of local universe, this marks an epochal evolution of the process of evolution itself.
Like most quantum leaps in evolution, emergence is motivated by emergency. It is the immanent termination of ways of believing and acting that have run their course, that can motivate the otherwise unbelievable jump in human consciousness being foreshadowed. I believe that nothing less than this — a global population of humans who recognize themselves as fundamentally unique and interdependent elements of a whole living system, stepping up to their potential as stewards of the whole — is adequate to our ongoing success as a species.
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