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By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. The Future Evolution of Consciousness. Tom Lombardo. Consciousness is the medium in which everything that is meaningful to humans is manifested and understood. Although humans possess physical bodies, and live within a physical world, and utilize a host of physical technologies in the management of their lives, human contact with the physical world comes through consciousness.

At the core, humans are conscious beings with conscious selves that think, feel, desire, remember, and imagine within their conscious minds. How can we meaningfully and plausibly consider the future of consciousness, without some level of understanding of its nature? Further, consciousness appears intimately tied to the physical world, since consciousness is our interface with the physical world and our conscious minds appear embodied and dependent on our complex bio-physical make-up, notably our nervous system and brain Lombardo, b.

Understanding consciousness and its relationship with the physical universe is, however, one of the central challenges, if not great conundrums, within science and philosophy. There are numerous competing theories regarding the nature, dynamics, and structure of consciousness, and in particular, how activities within the brain and within consciousness are connected Blackmore, , ; Damasio, ; Koch, ; Nagel, ; Tononi, ; Chalmers and Hameroff, Acknowledging these challenges, I believe certain scientifically valid and philosophically sound statements, as pieces of a solution to the overall puzzle, can be made regarding consciousness and its relationship with the physical universe.

To begin, human consciousness is a rich and complex phenomenon. Within consciousness, we experience an ongoing stream of varied thoughts, emotions, desires, feelings of our body and its movements, memories of the past, creations of imagination, multi-sensory perceptions of a physical world, intentions and acts of will, and an overall and ongoing sense of personal identity and self Baars, Consciousness is a highly differentiated unity Edelman, ; Koch, ; Tononi, In short, there is both unity and diversity and relative stability and change within human consciousness.

Continuity and change also exist within the physical universe. The physical universe shows an overall evolutionary pattern and history. A hierarchy of levels of increasing order and complexity have emerged over time, successive levels of increasing order and complexity building upon simpler previous levels. Thus across time, starting at the beginning, diffuse energy flow, quarks and electrons, atoms of increasing complexity, stars and galaxies, chemical molecules and planetary systems, self-replicating molecules, nucleated cells, bio-ecological systems, and technologies and societies have successively come into being Morowitz, Finally, creativity and the repeated manifestation of novelty permeate the ongoing evolutionary process, and are especially apparent at the emergence of new levels of complexity.

Ongoing creation and self-transcendence are a significant dimension of evolution Fraser, ; Davies, ; Kauffman, ; Lombardo, e. Consciousness is embedded and has evolved within this evolutionary physical universe. There are, however, two different views on the evolution of consciousness set within the context of the evolution of the physical universe: 1 Consciousness was present within the physical universe from its beginning, even if in an ill-defined form; versus: 2 Primordial consciousness only emerged within physical systems once physical systems realized some necessary level of complexity for example, the formation of a primitive nervous system in animals Lombardo, b and then began to further increase in complexity.

Living in an evolutionary universe it stands to reason that the long term history of consciousness reflects an overall evolutionary trajectory. Evolution, as a general theory of the dynamics of the cosmos, has been applied not only to consciousness, but to a variety of associated dimensions of human reality, such as culture, society, and technology. These complex systems of order, imbued with intelligence, are frequently seen as the highest or most evolved systems within the known cosmos; they are evolutions of evolution at the top of the hierarchy of existence Kelly, ; Phipps, Human existence, encompassing consciousness, is a multi- level evolutionary phenomenon, existing at the cutting edge of evolution.

Hence, contrary to many futurist visions, which conceptualize our conscious minds as being fundamentally the same in the future, yet set within transformed technological realities, we should realistically expect that human consciousness will significantly transform in the future. Human nature is not a static but rather a transformative reality, set within the context of a transformative universe Lombardo, Furthermore, we should anticipate that the future evolution of consciousness will be holistic, involving cognitive, emotional, motivational, behavioral, and personal dimensions; again, contrary to another common futurist vision, we will not simply be smarter in the future faster thinking, bigger memories , but our feelings, desires, and values will also evolve.

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The Next Human

As noted above, human consciousness is a rich and complex dynamic reality. Reciprocity is a key principle regarding the relationship and ongoing evolution of consciousness and the physical universe. At the most general level, consciousness and the physical universe form a reciprocity: Consciousness is always embodied within a physical system, and the physical universe is experienced and meaningfully understood through consciousness. There is no evidence for disembodied conscious minds.

Reciprocally, our most immediate or direct contact with the physical universe is through conscious perception vision, hearing, and touch, for example , but even our more abstract and penetrating grasp of the physical universe, through science and philosophy, is contextualized and grasped within the categories and constructs of the conscious human mind.

Moreover, if the evolution of the physical universe has facilitated and supported the evolution of consciousness, the evolution of consciousness facilitates the evolution of the physical universe. We are transforming the world around us through social evolution and technological creations, which are manifestations of our purposeful and intelligent consciousness.

It is, in fact, a noteworthy reciprocal loop of interdependency that our conscious minds intentionally transform our physical reality including medical and biological interventions , and in so doing, instigate psychological changes within consciousness, thus further empowering us to orchestrate additional changes in ourselves and the world Lombardo, , a, b.

How evolutionary theory guides policy

As noted earlier, there is a dynamic and transformative quality to human consciousness, and this ongoing dynamic quality exhibits an evolutionary pattern and directionality throughout the length of an individual life. The life span of each conscious mind is an experiment in evolution Edelman, The evolutionary dimension of individualized consciousness becomes more pronounced as the underlying physical system across evolutionary stages becomes more complex and flexible.

Human consciousness, though clearly exhibiting dimensions of stability, preservation, and survival, shows notable developmental changes throughout the individual life span. Individualized human consciousness is an evolutionary flow with a notable directionality and increasing complexity and maturity across time Lombardo, a, b. Humans, through learning, self-assessment, planning, and goal setting, purposefully evolve their conscious minds throughout their lives.

The evolutionary flow of individualized consciousness is greatly facilitated through the evolution of past and future consciousness.


That is, as consciousness has evolved across animal and human history, awareness of time has expanded and articulated, inclusive of the capacity to remember and learn from past experience and the capacity to act with knowledge, anticipation, desire, and purpose toward future goals Shlain, Consciousness of the past, through learning and memory, brings increasing meaning and understanding to the present and informs and empowers consciousness of the future, while consciousness of the future, through anticipation, imagination, planning, and goal direction, not only brings further understanding to the experience of the present, but influences the unfolding of the future.

It is this process of understanding, integrating, and guiding the ongoing present flow of consciousness through learning and anticipation that generates increasing complexity and evolution in the individualized life span of consciousness Lombardo, a, , a. The integrated capacities of past and future consciousness have become especially pronounced in the human mind, and represent an evolution of evolution—a generalized capacity to speed up and bring evolution under intelligent and purposeful guidance and control.

If evolution at the biological level involves random trial and error and natural selection, evolution facilitated at the conscious level through learning and purpose enriches and empowers the biological evolutionary process.

Mindfulness" A key for personal and collective evolution - Linda Carlson - TEDxCanmore

The flow of events into the future—the ongoing evolution of both consciousness and the surrounding physical world—becomes a consequence of acquired knowledge, envisioned future states, purpose, goal setting, and planning. Bringing the flow of evolution under conscious control, with a sense of both past and future, is a significant jump forward in the mechanisms of evolution. Our conscious minds—indeed, the central function of our higher brain processes—revolves around the capacities of future consciousness, including anticipation, goal setting, purpose, and planning. This future directionality of our consciousness, from an evolutionary point of view, makes perfect sense, since it is much more efficacious to anticipate, think out, and guide the future than it is to react to it as it unfolds and manifests in the present Hawkins, ; Kurzweil, ; Seligman, et.

Conscious evolution - Wikipedia

Future consciousness, though, is a psychologically holistic capacity involving cognition, emotion, motivation, and personification, drawing into its operations all the fundamental dimensions of holistic consciousness. Future consciousness is the total integrative set of psychological processes and capacities utilized in creating meaning, value, and direction with respect to the future Lombardo, a.

Future consciousness guides the ongoing development of individualized consciousness —humans attempt to guide and direct their psychological development and life paths through future consciousness. Across generations, through future consciousness we attempt to direct our collective development and transformation.

For example, through learned anticipations, we attempt to nurture and guide the development of our children. The expansion of past and future consciousness within the human mind is one dimension of the overall evolutionary trajectory within living forms toward expansiveness of consciousness in both space and time. Integrating greater vistas along both temporal dimensions of awareness moves the conscious mind progressively away from egocentrism and the immediate here and now, which are qualities of the more primitive mind Lombardo, a. This ongoing evolutionary process which is mirrored or recapitulated in the psychological development of individual minds from birth to maturity facilitates the development of ecological, global, historical, and cosmic consciousness.

This expansiveness of awareness and understanding is a fundamental dimension of wisdom Lombardo, a, c, d. The Self and Society A key feature of the conscious human mind has been the ongoing development of an integrative coordinator and center of experience, the purposeful human self. The conscious human self is self-reflective and self-evaluative, and articulates and coordinates, to various degrees of success, purposeful human action and thinking. Moreover, the self assesses and guides its own purposeful self-evolution. The self engages in self-narrative and self-talk, providing an ongoing story to itself for interpreting experience and guiding its future development.

The self is the narrator, audience, and main character in the ongoing self-reflective story it tells itself about itself. The self lives and navigates within the dynamic flow of its self-generated narrative. On one hand, the ongoing evolution of an individualized conscious mind requires social interaction and shaping. Each of us is educated by others; each of us attempts to model our own identities based on significant others; each of us presents ourselves within the social arena for evaluation and feedback.

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But, reciprocally, individualized conscious minds facilitate social-cultural evolution. We present ourselves and voice our values and beliefs in the social arena, in a manner analogous to genetic variations populating an ecosystem. The social arena evaluates these varied voices and incorporates the input of those individuals that hold the most perceived value and promise for the group.

In both cases, the evolutionary process, to a significant degree, is purposeful and under the guidance of future consciousness, the intent of which is to improve the intellectual, personal, and ethical capacities of individuals and groups. We purposefully self-evolve through social interaction and mutual evaluation. A popular argument is that the individualized self is an impediment to the further evolution of consciousness and human society.

The conscious self needs to be transcended Anderson, , Yet, contrary to this point of view, our present sense of self seems ill-formed, fragmented, and only marginally efficacious when it comes to self-control of our actions Baumeister and Tierney, As captains of our ships, we are far from a position of clarity, unity, and complete self-empowerment. A key dimension of the future evolution of consciousness and human society—for the capacities of the whole reflect the capacities of the parts—will be the purposeful development of more integrated, focused, and capable conscious selves.

The Theory of the Singularity There have been significant evolutionary jumps in complexity within the physical cosmos. Each is an evolution of evolution. The self-conscious human mind and the human species will be transcended through our own actions of purposeful evolution. We are a journey rather than a destination—a chapter in the evolutionary saga rather than a culmination. Just as probable, there will also be a diversification of species and types of conscious minds.

It is also very likely that new psychological capacities, incomprehensible to us, will emerge as well. The creation of intelligent, conscious machines has been a common theme within science fiction Gerrold, ; Clute, ; Egan, ; Sawyer, , There seems to be no convincing reason why such an achievement could not be realized Lombardo, We can view such future minds as our evolutionary children, transcendent to our more limited spheres of consciousness and intelligence Moravec, But, two basic concerns regarding this futurist vision need to be addressed.

First, it seems that creating an intelligent, conscious mind entails possessing a sound theory of consciousness and how consciousness fits into the physical world. On this first concern, at present there are numerous competing theories, and all these theories, philosophical and scientific, seem to various degrees inadequate or incomplete.

Though an effort to address features of the puzzle of consciousness has been presented in this essay, the general mystery of consciousness remains. The society becomes more and more interwoven, interdependent. Technology serves as the evolutionary focus of growth of the human mind. So the question arises where does technology go? Is it a destructive force? Is it a positive force? That will depend upon the intentions of those who create the technology. Knowledge can be used to make bombs that can be used to destroy the entire population.

Or it can be used to heal, to help, to create growth and development. Let us assume that the desire to really evolve the evolutionary pull on the human psyche that brings greater and greater awareness of the wider sense of Self, and broader and broader intelligence will transcend small body-mind desires for eternal physical survival, pleasures and powers.

The collective evolution, the collective good, will be served by the natural instinctual urge to move towards wholeness. People are naturally pulled towards that which fulfills their deepest longing and the deepest longing for all human beings is for eternal happiness, for love that is unconditional. Assuming that this deep urge of the human heart will create the direction of evolution for human beings, a growing unity will ensue. Despite all of the turbulence, human beings will emerge with enhanced form, enhanced capacity, the ability to be interwoven and interconnected to the point where even the physical body becomes unnecessary and the collective intelligence of human beings melts into one entitative experience.

Physical, non-physical, is a transmutation of being. It is a shift in awareness of consciousness from embodiment in physical form, to embodiment in a subtler form. The evolution of humanity is moving towards unitary wholeness of being. This evolutionary process of a species is a natural process that goes on across the cosmos.

There is individual evolution, the yoga which brings divine union, but there is also collective evolution, which brings this divine wholeness. That collective evolution brings the entire society of living beings to a unitary wholeness with all of life. As life grows, as consciousness expands, it becomes melded into the cosmic mind, rising into the higher koshas or layers of mind and rises into the higher lokas or planes of reality, so that the evolution moves from bur and bhuvarloka, from the earth plane, through the svarloka, the astral plane, through maharloka to the subtle plane of divine existence and the race of human beings evolves to its culminating point and onto dissolution into the cosmic whole.

So this question you have asked is from the perspective of biological beings, afraid of their own evolution. It is not a matter of artificial intelligence as opposed to biological intelligence; it is a matter of evolution that follows the natural course towards wholeness.

Does it make sense to you? Do you have any questions?

Q: Baba? I remember your physical expression you were talking about a species in India that was I think alien and how they contributed to some kind of evolutionary jump on this planet, can you comment on that or clarify that? Yes — these biological forms have been cultivated on this planet. The human form is not unique to this planet, nor is this planet unique in the universe. And those species are also in evolutionary processes. There has been assistance; there has been the development of the human species.

Partly a result of the natural evolution, but this evolution is guided; as there have been people living on this earth who are not from this earth. It is a very big universe amid many other universes and this planet is on a new sun in the outer rims of the universe. It is new territory. It is natural that older species, older life would seek new territory to expand its reach. And so a young planet is a very good place to have some colonies, to do some research, to do some experiments.

Life is seeded and life evolves and develops. This planet is not alone, you are not alone in this universe; there are many different beings, many evolving life forms. And that evolution is multidimensional, so some of it is in the physical sphere, some in the astral sphere, some in the super-conscious sphere.

The bhuvarloka, the svarloka, the maharloka all contain life in different dimensional expressions, some more crude, some more subtle. And why should this place be unique? From the age of six, his year-old father and guru began teaching him how to properly interpret his dreams, meditate, channel, and develop his innate psychic abilities. By the time he was nineteen, he had traveled around the world three times, speaking with his father on the radio, television, and lecturing on a variety of metaphysical, spiritual, and New Age topics.

After his father's passing in , Jason became depressed, ridden with anxiety, and debilitated by an inner ear disorder, TMJ, chronic fatigue syndrome, and mercury toxicity. This compelled him to go inwards and begin his journey of transformation. After suffering severely for over a decade, Jason began his healing with upper cervical care in Two years later, in , he discovered the numerous detoxification health benefits of an infrared sauna for his mercury toxicity, and subsequently founded Sunlighten.

In Jason's life was utterly transformed by an ancient mystical inner body experience known as a kundalini awakening. Afterward Jason's creative prowess helped to propel Sunlighten to become one of the fastest growing companies in America for three years in a row, making the coveted "Entrepreneur's Hot " list for , , and Sunlighten and Sunlight Day Spa co-founded in are companies dedicated to empowering wellness through products and services that provide drug-free pain relief, drug-free detoxification, drug-free stress relief, massage therapy, and whole body rejuvenation using state-of-the-art wellness technologies such as far-infrared therapy and sound vibrational therapy.

In Jason founded Transformational Art, a company to promote his fine art of mystical expressionism. Since then, he has exhibited his artwork in many prestigious galleries around the country, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Convert currency. Add to Basket. Paperback or Softback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory BBS More information about this seller Contact this seller.

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