Dr. Pat Bailey: “Evolutionary Consciousness” Continues 7/25/13 at Library

Pastor Pat Bailey in front his church

Dr. Pat Bailey: “Evolutionary Consciousness” Continues 7/25/13 at Library

Pastor Pat Bailey in front his church

Pastor Pat Bailey

In our conversation around evolutionary consciousness, we have taken up several intriguing questions: How does our awareness of evolution now shape the ways we view our human relationship with the rest of nature? What difference does it make now that we can see the universe as a deeply interconnected and interdependent whole? If there are aspects of the natural order that seem to transcend time and space, then how do we respond to such mystery? Is there a correlation between a deeper vision of our external existence and a deeper awareness of our interior life?

Two weeks ago we talked about the relationship between what the rational, or day language, of science is now telling us and what the intuitive, or night language, of our religious and spiritual traditions have told us about the nature of reality.  In our last conversation, cosmologist Brian Swimme discussed how human consciousness moves the dynamics of evolution to a teleological phase. In other words, the human is the way in which life accomplishes its goals consciously. So, says Swimme, it is now quite appropriate to speak about evolution having a purpose in so far as the human has a purpose: natural selection is no longer the dominant shaper of life. The key shift in human consciousness that needs to occur, says Swimme, is a move to comprehensive compassion that shifts the center of our concern beyond ourselves and our group or even our species to a concern for all of nature.

So, the questions that will engage us for the final engagements of our conversation are: Is it realistic to expect that needed advances in human consciousness are possible and that they can effect a change in the evolutionary process on a planetary scale?  How can we participate in such a vision for the future? I personally feel there is great promise and hope in the realization that we are the universe becoming conscious of itself and that as such we have a decisive role in shaping the future of the whole. Rather than an expression of hubris, I believe that such a view is a call to humility. While humanity may indeed be the crowning glory of nature as it has evolved to this point, it is not a crown that removes us from the rest of nature or gives us dominion over it. In religious language, it is God’s kin-dom rather than kingdom to which we are invited.

In our next conversation we will look at two models that also envision the possible evolution of human consciousness toward expanded compassion: philosopher Ken Wilber’s integral and super-integral stages of consciousness and futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard’s universal humanity. So the conversation will engage the viability of such visions and how we might begin to enact them. I will also be carrying the conversation forward around how religious and spiritual traditions and communities are essential to the ongoing evolution of consciousness.

Prior to our conversation on Thursday, July 25, 6–7 p.m., Wilkinson Public Library, you might want to attend Dr. James Doty’s conversation about the latest and greatest happenings in the world of compassion. Dr. Doty is Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School Medicine and Founder/Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, (CCARE), of which His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the founding benefactor. In that capacity, Doty collaborates with scientists across disciplines, examining the neural bases for compassion and altruism. He is speaking at The Palm on Tuesday, July 23, 8 – 10 p.m., a culminating panel discussion (from a joint venture on Compassion between Stanford’s CCARE and the Telluride Institute). The talk, “The Science of Compassion: News from the Front,” also features distinguished professors and researchers Dr. Clifford Saron (Center for Mind and Brain, UC Davis) and Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas (The Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkley). See related post on Telluride Inside….and Out, https://www.tellurideinside.com///2013/07/telluride-institute-stanford-signs-of-compassion-news-from-the-front.html for further details.

Editor’s note: About Dr. Pat Bailey:

Pat Bailey of Telluride’s Christ Presbyterian Church, is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1987. For 16 years, Pat served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army. He is also an Iraq War veteran. Pastor Pat holds several degrees: a Master of Divinity from Columbia Seminary, a Master of Theology in comparative religion from Emory University, and (recently) a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. His primary professional interests are interfaith spirituality, evolutionary consciousness, nature spirituality, and accompanying others in spiritual community.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.