Enlightenment is therefore a progressive realization and does not represent a finished product, or a final end, or the completion of the evolution of spiritual possibility.
If practically everything in one’s life depends on the evolution of the level of one’s consciousness, it would seem that, aside from the mere survival needs, developing the level of consciousness would eclipse all other endeavors in importance. That would seem to be so, but that has to be integrated into the overall context of one’s life. Endeavors and activities can remain the same but need to be recontextualized and repositioned within a spiritual framework. To spiritualize one’s life, it is necessary only to shift one’s motive. To constantly be aware of one’s actual motive tends to bring up positionality and the pairs of opposites, such as gain versus service or love versus greed.
Spiritual goals tend to become increasingly important and integrity becomes the yardstick of happiness. This leads to the evolution of consciousness in which the ultimate goal becomes the perfection of one’s relationship with God.
The evolution of consciousness requires a wide range of opportunities and a playing field that affords almost unlimited options for development. If human life represents a learning process, then society is the ideal school that affords an extremely wide range of options for numerous levels of consciousness to develop, progress, define, identify, and grasp endless subtleties as well as learn more gross lessons. The ego is extremely tenacious and therefore often seems to require extreme conditions before it lets go of a positionality. It often takes the collective experience of millions of people over many centuries to learn even what appears upon examination to be a simple and obvious truth, namely, that peace is better than war or love is better than hate.
The process of evolution can only be described as the gradual insertion of more and more freedom into matter.
`Mind’ and `matter’ appear as two aspects of our unitary mind-bodies. There is no separate supernatural realm: all phenomena are part of one natural process of evolution. There is no basic cleavage between science and religion; they are both organs of evolving humanity… This earth is one of the rare spots in the cosmos where mind has flowered. Man is a product of nearly three billion years of evolution, in whose person the evolutionary process has at last become conscious of itself and its possibilities. Whether he likes it or not, he is responsible for the whole further evolution of our planet.
Biology… has thus revealed man’s place in nature. Hs is the highest form of life produced by the evolutionary process on this planet, the latest dominant type, and the only organism capable of further advance or progress. Whether he knows it or not, whether he wishes it or not, he is now the main agency for the further evolution of the earth and its inhabitants. In other words, his destiny is to realize new possibilities for the whole terrestrial sector of the cosmic process, to be the instrument of further evolutionary progress on this planet.
If the self-conception of novelty is the basic wonder of the universe, this eliciting of mind from the potentialities of world-stuff, and its intensification and increasing importance during evolution is the basic wonder of life.
Social evolution is a resultant of the interaction of two wholly distinct factors: the individual… bearing all the power of initiative and origination in his hands; and, second, the social environment, with its power of adopting or rejecting both him and his gifts. Both factors are essential to change. The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.
Like all evolution in nature, the slow evolution of society is followed from time to time by periods of accelerated evolution which are called revolutions.
The next great advance in the evolution of civilization cannot take place until war is abolished.
The greatest step forward in human evolution was made when society began to help the weak and the poor, instead of oppressing and despising them.
Evolution... is comprehensible only if we admit that it is dominated by a finality, a precise and distant goal... telefinality orients the march of evolution as a whole and has acted, ever since the appearance of life on earth, as a distant directing force tending to develop a being endowed with a conscience, a spiritually and morally perfect being. To attain this goal, this force acts on the laws of the unorganized world in such a way that the normal play of the second law of thermodynamics is always deflected in the same direction.
Judaism can be viewed as the evolution of a people in the grip of two toweringly great ideas. The first is the idea of One God - imageless, primordially creative, and utterly transcendent - who, nevertheless, cares for the creation. The second is the idea of human dignity: men and women become fully human only by responding to the moral intuitions divinely etched in their hearts.
The meaning of evolution is that man is the result of a purposeless, and natural process that did not have us in mind.
If there is any purpose or direction in the evolution of culture, it has to do with bringing people under the control of more and more of the consequences of behavior.
While the theory of evolution spells out how the changes take place, any concept of a cosmic plan would specify why.
What is human nature? It is not the genes, which prescribe it, or culture, its ultimate product. Rather, human nature is something else for which we have only begun to find expression. It is the epigenetic rules, the hereditary regularities of mental development that bias cultural evolution in one direction as opposed to another, and thus connect the genes to culture.
Humans have the ability to act consciously, and collectively, [exercising foresight to] choose their own evolutionary path. In our crucial epoch we cannot leave the selection of the next step in the evolution of human society and culture to chance. We must plan for it, consciously and purposefully.
The ultimate objective of social futurism [is] not merely the transcendence of technocracy and the substitution of more humane, more far-sighted, more democratic planning, but the subjection of the process of evolution itself to conscious human guidance. For this is the supreme instant, the turning point in history at which man either vanquishes the processes of change or vanishes, at which, from being the unconscious puppet of evolution he becomes either its victim or its master.