John Stewart

John
Stewart

Portuguese Evolutionist, Theoretical Biology Group, Department of Advanced Studies, Gulbenkian Institute of Science, Oeiras, Portugal, Author of "Evolution's Arrow: The Direction of Evolution and the Future of Humanity"

Author Quotes

life on Earth is entering a new, intentionally driven, phase, requiring a new worldview to understand it. He summarizes the future arrow of evolution into four main areas: Intentional evolution, Advancing evolution by organizing a cooperative global society, Advancing evolution by enhancing evolvability, The unique capacity of the evolutionary worldview to provide direction and purpose for humanity. [paraphrased by Wikipedia]

In an important further development, some individuals will begin to undergo a critical shift in consciousness. Instead of experiencing themselves as isolated and self-concerned individuals, they will begin to see and experience themselves as participants and actors in the great evolutionary process on their planet. They will realise that:
a life dedicated to the pursuit of narrow desires and pleasures cannot be worthwhile. They will see that their desires are evolution’s way of programming them to be adaptive and successful in past environments. In many cases their desires and pleasures no longer serve this purpose effectively – they often produce maladaptive behaviour;
the main game on their planet is and always has been the evolutionary process;
they can be conscious participants in the evolutionary processes that will shape the future of life on their planet. They can play an important role in the actualisation of the next great steps in evolution on their planet;
the successful future evolution of life on their planet depends on their conscious participation in the evolutionary process. Unlike past great evolutionary transformations, the step to a unified and sustainable planetary society will occur only through the conscious efforts of organisms, and not otherwise. Conscious organisms will need to envision the planetary society and design strategies to get there. If it is left to chance, it will not happen – in the past, chance took millions of years and many failures and false starts to produce cooperative organizations such as complex cells;
their actions can have meaning and purpose insofar as they are relevant to the wider evolutionary process. To the extent that their actions can contribute positively to the evolutionary process, they are meaningful to a larger process outside themselves that has been unfolding long before they were born and that will continue long after they die;
the evolutionary perspective therefore provides them with an answer to the great existential question that confronts all conscious individuals: What should I do with my life?
their awakening to the evolutionary perspective and the awakening of others like them is itself a critically important evolutionary event on their planet.
to maximise their evolvability, they will need to develop themselves psychologically to become self-evolving beings - organisms that can adapt in whatever directions are necessary to advance the evolutionary process, unrestricted by their biological and social past.

As more and more individuals make this transition, a wave of evolutionary activism will emerge, directed at the unification of living processes on the planet to form a creative and sustainable planetary society.

Three thousand million years ago, cooperation extended only between molecular processes over some millionth of a metre, the scale of early cells. Now some forms of cooperation extend between human organisms over some 12 million metres, the scale of the planet – and over some 380 million metres when there are moon landings.

Evolution progresses toward greater cooperation by discovering ways to build cooperative organization out of components that are self-interested… Evolution’s ultimate goal is an intelligence-filled, life-filled, cooperative universe.

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First Name
John
Last Name
Stewart
Bio

Portuguese Evolutionist, Theoretical Biology Group, Department of Advanced Studies, Gulbenkian Institute of Science, Oeiras, Portugal, Author of "Evolution's Arrow: The Direction of Evolution and the Future of Humanity"