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Materials and Practices for Developing Higher Psychological Capacities

As outlined in Evolution's Arrow and The Evolutionary Manifesto, humanity must develop higher psychological capacities if we are to move successfully to a sustainable, unified and highly evolvable planetary society.  In particular, two new capacities are needed:

1)  The ability to free ourselves from the dictates of our conditioning, habitual thinking, emotional responses and feelings.  When we achieve this freedom, we can act more wisely and intelligently. Instead of pursuing wants and desires established in us by past evolution and by our cultural conditioning, we will be able to find motivation in pursuing whatever goals are useful for our future evolution.  Individuals with this capacity are self-evolving beings - individuals who can move at right angles to the dictates of their evolutionary and cultural past and who can adapt in whatever ways are necessary to contribute to the future evolutionary success of humanity;

2)  The cognitive ability to understand and deal with complexity.  This higher form of cognition is referred to here as meta-systemic or dialectical thinking.  It is the cognitive capacity to understand complex systems and processes, and to use this understanding to manage complexity effectively.  Our current level of analytical/rational thought is unable to do this.  It can represent mentally only those limited aspects of reality that are relatively mechanistic.  Analytical/rational thinking is largely incapable of representing complex patterns and processes, transforming systems, emergence and complex relationships.  It is therefore manifestly incapable of solving the complex environmental, social, economic and political problems that are besetting the planet.

As a key element of my strategies for intentionally stimulating the development of these higher capacities, I co-organized the First Planning Meeting for the Second Enlightenment which was held in San Francisco in September 2011 Details about the meeting, including the agenda, background notes and participants, are here.

The key issues that were addressed by the meeting were:  what new ways of thinking will enable humanity to understand and manage the complex challenges that we are facing?  Is it possible to train people in these new ways of thinking?  If it is, what strategies will spread the higher forms of thinking to sufficient people across the planet in time to make a real difference before global crises undermine human civilization?

Following the Planning Meeting, I worked with Victoria Wilding of Symplicitus to develop a 10 week program designed to equip individuals with the tools they need to work on themsleves to develop these higher capacities.

A description of the Escalator program written from the perspective of a participant was published in the January/February 2014 Integral Leadership Review.  The article written by Mark Roddam can be accessed here

An online teleseminar organized by Otto Laske that provides a succinct overview of the program was conducted on 26 February 2014.  The slides of the presentation made to the teleseminar are available online.  The presentation provides a conceptual outline of the key elements of the program, and a discussion with Otto Laske about central issues in the training of meta-systemic/dialectical cognition.  The PowerPoint slides for the presentation are here.

This webpage provides links to the basic materials and resources that were used in this program (note that these materials are very limited.  The emphasis in the program is on participants working on themselves, not on intellectual descriptions of how the higher capacities can be developed):

An Overview of the Escalator program is here

Appendix A to the Overview which outlines the basic steps that individuals need to take to develop a Higher Self and to use it to remake themselves is here

Appendix B to the Overview which outlines the basic steps needed to develop meta-systemic cognition is here

Appendix C to the Overview which contain additional notes on meta-systemic cognition is here

Guidance on how to use Kleopatra Ormos' CD of practices to begin the development a Higher Self  is here

KO's CD of practices (Induction to Meditation) can be purchased here

A document that provides a short summary of the Escalator program is here

The Evolutionary Manifesto

The Evolutionary Manifesto is a 34 page overview of the evolutionary worldview presented in Evolution's Arrow.  The Manifesto uses this science-based worldview to address the big existential questions that face humanity: Where do we come from?  What are we? Where are we going to? What should we do with our lives?

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)

An easy-to-print and easy-to-circulate PDF version of the Manifesto is 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 is 'in press' for publication in the journal Foundations of Science.  A pre-print of the full paper (The Meaning of Life in a Developing Universe) is here  

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