Dr. Pat Bailey: Evolving Consciousness continues 8/1

Pastor Pat Bailey in front his church

Dr. Pat Bailey: Evolving Consciousness continues 8/1

Pastor Pat Bailey in front his church

Pastor Pat Bailey

At last Thursday’s presentation at the Wilkinson Public Library, part of our ongoing series, “Evolving Consciousness,” we viewed a video by philosopher Ken Wilber about the major shifts in the history of human consciousness.

Wilber offers a convincing argument that we are on the brink of another such shift, this time into what he calls integral consciousness. Anyone familiar with Wilber’s work knows that he has provided an in-depth map of cultural evolution and the workings of human meaning-making. Wilber is one of the truly great visionaries of our day who helps elucidate where we have been and where we might be going.

Wilber’s integral consciousness is a new stage, beyond tribal, mythological, rational, pluralistic ways of thinking, but it also includes all those as valid worldviews within the contexts in which they function. For Wilber, our movement into the future can only succeed if we come to recognize and respect the perspectives of one another as we move to a more world-centric outlook. He speaks about a tipping-point we might be approaching, when enough people (about 10%) advance to an integral worldview and the values of that worldview begin to influence the shape of culture in significant ways.

The vision presented to us by Wilber is in many ways similar to Brian Swimme’s proposal for the need for a comprehensive compassion that shifts our sense of identity from us-and-ours to a sense of ourselves as earth, as nature, as universe.  I think that what Wilber adds to that is a deeper appreciation of how our cultural evolution shapes where we are and where we are going — and so, how we might participate.

In last week’s post, I mentioned that I believed such visions of the human role in the future of our planet is not a matter of hubris but of humility. What I like about Wilber is that he insists that the way forward is not to ridicule or dismiss those worldviews that preceded our current consciousness or that we experienced in our own development. So, our own self-awareness must be coupled with an awareness of where other people are and from what worldviews they are operating and to recognize, then, that all worldviews offer both possibilities and limits. Having said that, though, the clear invitation is to expand and mature our consciousness as far as may be possible in our current stage of evolution.

This coming Thursday, August 1, we will hear from another visionary, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and explore her vision for a universal humanity, or a humanity that has expanded its sense of identity to include the universe . Sound familiar? Hubbard also offers a map of how we might translate worldview into the design of our culture in ways that effect such domains as art, science, economics, health, environment, and spirituality.

As I have promised, I hope to relate these visions to how they might also influence religious tradition and community. All of the major themes we have encountered in our conversation are also the major themes of our great spiritual traditions and the human spiritual journey. I see my own role as that of one who engages both ancient visions and the visions that strain to make out our newly emerging horizons in ways that allow both to speak deeply to our lives, hopes, and vocations.

I hope you will join the conversation.

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.

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