AWAKENING EARTH: Exploring the Co-Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness
By Duane Elgin, New York: Morrow, 1993. (Out of print but available through Amazon and elsewhere)
Just as there are relatively distinct stages that characterize the development of an individual from infancy to early adulthood, so too are there discernible stages in the development of our species as we move toward a planetary-scale civilization. Awakening Earth brings together views from science and spirituality, East and West, the practical and the visionary to present a new picture of human evolution.
Based upon twenty years of research, this book explores the human journey from the initial awakening of hunter-gatherers roughly 45,000 years ago, through the agrarian era and industrial revolution, and then goes on to describe three additional stages of development essential for realizing our initial maturity as a global species-civilization.
A disoriented world civilization faced with dwindling resources, mounting pollution and exploding population is a recipe for ecological collapse and social anarchy. It is imperative that the human family begin to make rapid and profound changes in how we live together on the Earth. To accomplish this, we must now ask ourselves fundamental questions: Who are we? What are we doing here? Where are we going as a species? Awakening Earth provides a catalyst for this conversation with its integrative vision and inspiring map of the journey towards a sustainable, compassionate, and creative future.
While not predicting a sudden “new age” of social enlightenment, Awakening Earth does present the promising view that humanity is roughly halfway through seven major transformations in culture and consciousness required to build a planetary civilization that can endure into the deep future.
“Challenging, thoughtful, original, well-documented, and plausibly hopeful. One of the best long-term futures books in many years!”
— Future Survey, Volume 15, Number 10, October 1993
“Awakening Earth argues that we are now collectively poised for a major “species shift.” If the first stages of human awakening involved separating ourselves from nature, developing our sense of autonomy as a species and discovering our ability for remaking the world, the next stages of evolution will require reintegrating ourselves with nature, exploring our deep bonding with one another and with the cosmos and developing our capacity to act in harmony with the universe. Though at times daunting in its comprehensiveness, the book’s ultimate achievement is its balance of vision and sober reasoning, in the tradition of Marshall McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller. Without denying the tension and suffering that go with change, Elgin conveys a powerful sense of what he calls “enthusiasm for the conscious co-evolution of life on Earth, for it is only through our individual awakening and creative action that the Earth will awaken as well.”
— San Francisco Chronicle, Review, April 10, 1994
“Elgin bases his tour de force on an awesome synthesis of his reading over the last dozen years and a personal spiritual experience documented as an appendix. He is the West’s version of Sri Aurobindo, an Eastern sage who created a mighty synthesis of East and West. For weaving together the strands of spiritual traditions, various thinkers and the new physics, this book is worth the read. For anyone who wants, as I do, the grand overview, you certainly get it here.”
–Initiatives, Newsletter of the Institute of Cultural Affairs, Vol. X, No. 3, Summer, 1994
Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Challenge of Planetary Civilization
PART I: STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
Chapter 1: First Stage—Contracted Consciousness and the Archaic Era
Chapter 2: Second Stage—Surface Consciousness and the Era of Awakening Hunter-Gatherers
Chapter 3: Third Stage—Depth Consciousness and the Era of Agrarian-Based Civilizations
Chapter 4: Fourth Stage—Dynamic Consciousness and the Scientific-Industrial Era
Chapter 5: Fifth Stage—Reflective Consciousness and the Era of Reconciliation
Chapter 6: Sixth Stage—Oceanic Consciousness and the Bonding and Building Era
Chapter 7: Seventh Stage—Flow Consciousness and the Surpassing Era
Chapter 8: Eighth Stage—Integral Awareness and the Initial Maturity of Planetary Civilization
Chapter 9: The Changing Dynamics of Human Evolution
PART II: DIMENSIONAL COSMOLOGY
Chapter 10: The Perennial Wisdom and Human Evolution
Chapter 11: Continuous Creation of the Cosmos
Chapter 12: Coevolution and the Meta-Universe
Chapter 13: Sacred Geometry and Stages of Growth
PART III: APPENDICES
Appendix I: Correlations with Psychological theories and Spiritual Traditions
Appendix II: Meditative Origins of Dimensional Cosmology