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Our Role in the Future Evolution of Life

John Stewart
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 completed successfully.

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 success.

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 the Manifesto.

For the full Manifesto (PDF version) go here

**NEW**   Leland Beaumont has created a great Wikiversity course on Intentional Evolution that is based on The Evolutionary Manifesto. The course is freely accessible at https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Intentional_Evolution

For a short 7-page overview of the Evolutionary Worldview and its implications for humanity that is optimised for circulation by email and social media, 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 (US$1.99)


For the html version of the Manifesto go here

Tweet about the Evolutionary Manifesto by clicking here

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For further technical justification of the evolutionary trend to increasing cooperation (including references to relevant scientific publications) see my book Evolution’s Arrow which can be accessed here


For more 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


Help to promote discussion of the evolutionary worldview

Feedback from those who read the Manifesto indicates that whether or not they are prepared to embrace the new evolutionary worldview immediately, they generally agree on one thing:  as a matter of urgency the Manifesto should be widely circulated and subject to extensive discussion and serious consideration.

You can help promote this debate and consideration by circulating copies of the Manifesto and links to this website as widely as possible.  For example, you could email links to people who might be interested, put links on websites, in blogs, in comments on blogs and discussion groups, and so on.

Tweet about the Evolutionary Manifesto by clicking here

Post to Facebook about the Evolutionary Manifesto by clicking

Subscribe to email list

If you wish to receive occasional emails about key developments in the spread of the evolutionary worldview, send an email to announcelist@evolutionarymanifesto.com with 'subscribe' in the subject line.

Strategies for Advancing Evolution

What can intentional evolutionaries do to advance the evolutionary process?  A 24 page document 'Strategies for advancing evolution' is online here

**NEW**   Materials and Practices for Developing Higher Psychological Capacities

As outlined in The Evolutionary Manifesto, intentional evolutionaries need to develop their cognitive and other psychological capacities if they are to be effective in intentionally advancing the evolutionary process on Earth. Materials and practices designed to build these higher capacities are here

The San Francisco Planning Meeting for the Second Enlightenment

I co-organized the First Planning Meeting for the Second Enlightenment which was held near San Francisco in September 2011.  Details about the meeting, including the agenda, background notes and participants, are here

The Meaning of Life

The paper I delivered as a keynote speaker at the first International Conference on the Evolution and Development of the Universe in Paris in October 2008 has been published in the journal Foundations of Science.  The paper (The Meaning of Life in a Developing Universe, Foundations of Science, 2010, 15: 395-409) is here    

How Computer Games can Develop Consciousness

Six blog posts that explore the potential of computer games to develop humanity and to advance the evolutionary process are here

HomeAbout the Author | Contact | Manifesto.pdf | Strategies.pdf | Meaning of Life.pdf | Computer Games