Role in the Future Evolution of Life
Core Member of the Evolution,
Complexity and Cognition Research Group, The Free University of Brussels
A completely new phase in the evolution of life on
Earth has begun. It will change everything.
In this new phase evolution will
be driven intentionally, by humanity. The evolutionary worldview that
emerges from an understanding of our role in the new phase has the potential to
transform the nature of human existence.
At present humanity is
lost. We don’t know what we are doing here. We are without a
worldview that can point to our place and purpose in the universe and that can
also withstand rational scrutiny.
But this difficult period is
coming to an end. The emergence of the new evolutionary worldview is
beginning to lift us out of the abyss. The new worldview has a unique
capacity to reveal who we are and what we should be doing with our lives.
It relies solely on scientific knowledge and reason to identify our critical
role in future evolution. The evolutionary worldview can unite us in a
great common enterprise, and provide meaning and purpose for human existence.
At the heart of the evolutionary
worldview is the fact that evolution has a trajectory—it heads in a particular
direction. However, evolution on Earth will not advance beyond a certain
point unless it is driven consciously and intentionally. If this
transition to intentional evolution does not occur, evolution on this planet
will stall, and humanity will not contribute positively to the future evolution
of life in the universe—we will be a failed evolutionary experiment.
It is as if evolution is a
developmental process. Just as a human embryo is organized to develop
through a number of stages to produce an adult, evolution tends to produce a
particular sequence of outcomes of increasing complexity. Initially,
evolution moves in this direction of its own accord. However, at a
particular point evolution will continue to advance only if certain conditions
are met: organisms must emerge that awaken to the possibility that they are
living in the midst of a developmental process; they must realize that the
continued success of the process depends on them; and they must commit to
actively moving the process forward.
Across the planet at the
beginning of the twenty first century, individuals are beginning to realize the
importance of the transition to intentional evolution. They know that
they themselves have a significant role to play if the transition is to be
This role requires them to
promote the new evolutionary worldview that will drive the transition. It
also calls on them to begin to remake themselves and their societies in
whatever ways are necessary to advance the evolutionary process. Their
efforts, powered by the capacity of the evolutionary worldview to invest their
lives with direction and purpose, will bring forth a great wave of evolutionary
activism that will change life on this planet forever.
Evolutionary activists use the
trajectory of evolution to identify what they need to do to advance
evolution. Socially, the next great step in human evolution is the emergence
of a unified and sustainable global society. Psychologically, the next
step is to free our behavior from the dictates of our biological and cultural
past, so that we can do that which is necessary for future evolutionary
The organization of a cooperative
global society is an urgent priority. With it, the threats of world war
and global warming can be easily managed. Without it, human civilization
may end this century.
The Evolutionary Manifesto is an intentional attempt to promote
the shift to conscious evolution and the evolutionary activism that will drive
it. To read, discuss and circulate the Manifesto is to participate
in a great evolutionary transition on this planet.
Part 1 of the Manifesto
provides an overview of the shift to intentional evolution and of the worldview
that is motivating individuals to actively promote the transition. Parts
2 and 3 begin by identifying the trajectory of evolution and showing that its
directionality is produced by processes that are fully understandable within
mainstream science, without resort to teleology or mysticism. They go on
to use the trajectory of evolution to identify the agendas that guide
evolutionary activists in their attempts to advance the evolutionary process.
In particular, Part 2 deals with our future social evolution and Part 3 with
the future evolution of our adaptability, intelligence and creativity.
Part 4 of the Manifesto explores
the power of the evolutionary worldview to provide meaning and direction for
human existence. It demonstrates the capacity of the worldview to make
evolutionary activism the most significant political force on the planet.
In particular, it shows that philosophical arguments such as the ‘naturalistic
fallacy’ do not diminish the force of the evolutionary worldview presented by
full Manifesto (html version) go here
For a Kindle Book that
combines The Evolutionary Manifesto
with its companion article Strategies for
Advancing Evolution go to the book's page at Amazon here
easy-to-print and easy-to-circulate PDF version go here (34
further technical justification of the evolutionary trend to increasing
cooperation (including references to relevant scientific publications)
see my book Evolution’s Arrow which is online here
technical detail on the future evolution of consciousness (including
comprehensive references) see Stewart, J. E. (2007) The
future evolution of consciousness, Journal of Consciousness
Studies, Vol. 14, No. 8, Pp. 58-92. Also
see ECCO Working Paper No. 10 of 2006 which is online here