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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

John Stewart is an Australian evolutionary thinker who is a member of the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition Research Group of the Free University of Brussels.  He has worked as a labor union official, manager of Australia’s north eastern fisheries, and as a senior policy advisor to the Australian government on labor relations regulatory issues.  His main interest is in the development of an evolutionary worldview that reveals to us who we are, and what we should be doing with our lives.  His work on the directionality of evolution and its implications for humanity has been published in a number of key papers in international science journals.  These include papers on the potential for humans to enhance their psychological capacities through the future evolution of consciousness.  He is the author of the internationally acclaimed book ‘Evolution’s Arrow: the direction of evolution and the future of humanity’.  More recently he has finalized ‘The Evolutionary Manifesto’ which outlines an evolutionary worldview and explores its relevance to humanity.  The Manifesto demonstrates the potential of the worldview to provide meaning and purpose for human existence, and uses it to identify the actions that we need to take if humanity is to fulfill its potential to contribute positively to the future evolution of life in the universe.

Key Academic Publications:

Stewart, John E. (2022), The Evolution and Development of Consciousness: The Subject-Object Emergence Hypothesis. Biosystems, 217: 104687.

Stewart, John E. (2020), Towards a general theory of the major cooperative evolutionary transitions. BioSystems, 198: 104237.

Stewart, John. E. (2019), The Trajectory of Evolution and its Implications for Humanity. Journal of Big History, 3, pp 141-155.

Stewart, John E. (2019), The Origins of Life: The Managed-Metabolism Hypothesis. Foundations of Science, 24, pp 171-195.

Stewart, John E. (2018), Evolutionary Possibilities: Can a society be constrained so the "the good" self-organizes? World Futures, 74, pp 1-35.

Stewart, J. E. (2016), The Evolution of Cooperative Organization and the Origins of Life.  Presented at the OEE Workshop held at ALIFE XV, Cancun, Mexico, 4 July 2016.

Stewart, J. E. (2015), The Self-Organizing Society: A Grower's Guide. ECCO Working paper 2015-12.

Stewart, J. E. (2014), The direction of evolution: The rise of cooperative organisation, BioSystems, 123: 27-36 download

Stewart, J. E. (2010), The meaning of life in a developing universe, Foundations of Science, 15, pp. 395-409.

Stewart, J. E. (2007), The future evolution of consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 14, pp. 58-92.

Stewart, J. E. (2001), Future psychological evolution, Journal of Dynamical Psychology.

Stewart, J. E. (2000), Evolution’s Arrow: the direction of evolution and the future of humanity, (Rivett, Canberra: Chapman Press).

Stewart, J. E. (1997), Evolutionary Progress, Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 20, pp. 335-62.

Stewart, J. E. (1997), Evolutionary transitions and artificial life, Artificial Life, 3, pp. 101-120.

Stewart, J. E. (1997), The evolution of genetic cognition, Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 20, pp 53-73

Stewart, J. E. (1995), Metaevolution, Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 18, 113-114.

Stewart, J. E. (1993), The maintenance of sex, Evolutionary Theory, 10, 195-202.

Podcasts, Videos, Interviews, Discussions

For 9 YouTube Videos in which John Stewart talks about the evolutionary worldview and its implications for humanity, go to: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpotN6lpXPsYj_MVoznhE27lJ3RqyJ4L-

For example, see this discussion with John Vervaeke:

And here is a discussion with John Bunzl about the evolutionary imperative for humanity to move to a unified, cooperative and highly evolvable global society that is enabled by appropriate global governance:

The Global Governance Initiative

The "Global Governance Initiative" is an attempt to get evolutionary science to confirm that there is an evolutionary imperative for humanity to transition to a cooperative, sustainable and highly evolvable global society. This transition is essential if human civilization is to overcome the threats to its survival that are emerging in the form of the possibility of nuclear war and environmental degradation (including global warming).

As part of this initiative, the following four emails have been sent to over 700 evolutionary scientists whose work deals to some extent with the large-scale evolutionary processes that have shaped life on Earth and that will determine its future: first email; second email; third email; and the fourth email.

The third email contains links to separate emails that were sent to 15 leading evolutonary scientists in an attempt to get them to use their reputations to lead the initiative.

Relevant non-academic articles and materials about the evolutionary worldview

2022, Materials, Practices and Technologies for Developing Higher Psychological Capacities.

2019, A short overview of the evolutionary worldview and its implications for humanity.

2017, Enlightenment and the Evolution of the Material World. Spanda Journal, 2017, Vol VII, 1, pp 107-114

2016, Review of Otto Laske's Primer on Dialectical/Metasystemic Cognition. Integral Leadership Review, August 2017.

2012, Does the persistence of bacteria, frogs and fish meant that there is no direction to evolution? Integral World.

2011, The First Planning Meeting for the Second Enlightenment.

2011, Evolucin intencional, Athanor, 88 July/August issue.

2010, Is this the meaning of life?, an article for The Guardian's Science Blog 

2009, The Ubermensch, in the online magazine Re-public: re-imagining democracy, Special Issue on Transhumanism.


2008, Evolution towards global cooperation, Kosmos Journal, Vol VII, 2, pp 56-58.


2007, The Potential of Evolution, What is Enlightenment?, Issue 35, pp 40-42.

2006, Space and Humanity's Evolution,  Beyond Earth: the future of humans in space, Ed: Bob Krone, pp 156-59.

2003, The evolutionary significance of spiritual development, Metanexus: The Online Forum on Religion and Science.

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 to promote this debate and consideration by circulating copies of the Manifesto or links to this website as widely as possible.  For example, you could email links to people who might be interested, put links on web sites, 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

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

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.

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 accepted for publication in the journal Foundations of Science.  The paper (The Meaning of Life in a Developing Universe) 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
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