SelfDesign Offers One Path toward a New Planetary Civilization

We live in, as Jean Houston reminds us, the most amazing time in known human history. The long, slow trek in the evolution of human consciousness over the past 190,000 years has become a sprint—and it continues to accelerate, as our communication technologies become increasingly ubiquitous, miniaturized, and cheap, at least in the calculus of the capitalist marketplace. There are more than five billion cell phone accounts on the planet now, with thousands more added every day. While this onrush of communication from more complex consciousness provokes reactionary, sometimes violent responses from many fundamentalists who, often unconsciously, perceive the limited future of their belief structure, the young in every society on the planet gain new and direct exposure to complexity, multiplicity, and direct connection with “the other.” The cell phone and the Internet are a planetary consciousness virus, with a particular attraction for the young.
Aurobindo Ghose anticipated our times 100 years ago
A hundred years Aurobindo Ghose anticipated much of the potential of our times. Along with Rudolf Steiner, Inayat Khan, and a little later on, Maria Montessori, Aurobindo explained that one key vehicle for the evolution of human consciousness was the conscious enactment of parenting and education norms that centered on providing the child and teen with the freedom to express her/his will within the safety of age-appropriate boundaries. The child’s will is the expressive vehicle of the soul, these spiritual teachers explained, and the soul, given the opportunity, will serve as the child’s inner teacher, guiding the child’s unfoldment through the stages of human potential.
Spiral Dynamics is a map of consciousness unfoldment
The Spiral Dynamics model gives us a map for this progressive unfoldment of consciousness. In the 1960s, for the first time we saw the manifestation of post-modern consciousness on a wide scale in the societies of the West, certainly to some extent as a result of more child-respectful parenting norms after World War II. Right now we see evolutionary movement of large numbers of human beings everywhere on the planet: from tribal consciousness into traditional; from traditional into modern; from modern into post-modern; and from post-modern into integral.
We see the numbers of people centered in integral consciousness growing from a handful of “sages” to thousands—or tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands—of planetary citizens. The “new planetary civilization” has to be an expression of integral consciousness: integrating positive values from all previous stages by transcending and including, grounding actions in a planetary evolutionary perspective, and resolving—or at least ameliorating—conflicts among traditional, modern, and post-modern consciousness by identifying and lifting up the positives in each stage.
Ontogeny does recapitulate phylogeny when it comes to consciousness
Ontogeny does offer the potential to recapitulate phylogeny. Aurobindo, Steiner, and Inayat Khan all noted that humans could access what Spiral Dynamics calls integral consciousness by the late teens or early twenties. The “new planetary civilization” requires as many young adults achieving this stage as soon as possible in the next few decades.
SelfDesign offers a contemporary expression of the insights described by Aurobindo, Steiner, Montessori, and Inayat Khan a century ago. First articulated by Brent Cameron, SelfDesign invites the child and teen to lead his/her own learning and unfoldment within the context of family, community, ecosystem, bioregion, nation, and planet. SelfDesign offers freedom within age-appropriate boundaries to the child and guidance and support to parents, teachers, and engaged community members. It is integral in its own expression, since it builds on spiritual insights and integrates cognitive, humanist, and transpersonal psychology, modern brain research, global community, and both post-modern and integral evolutionary perspectives.
I don’t know what the specifics of the “new planetary civilization” will be, but I believe that it will be created by people from across the globe who are centered in integral and post-integral consciousness. Not just a few sages or enlightened beings, but hundreds of thousands or millions of women and men who can transcend our current polarizations and lead the way into peaceful, just, and self-renewing social, economic, and psychological forms for all life on this planet.