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The Narrative Thread of Cosmos: The Evolution of Intimacy Through the Four Big Bangs

By Dr. Marc Gafni

This is an early draft of an essay, written by Dr. Marc Gafni. It is part of Volume 2 of a forthcoming six-volume book series, The Universe: A Love Story, by Dr. Marc Gafni & Barbara Marx Hubbard with Dr. Zachary Stein. The essay was edited and prepared for publication by Kerstin Tuschik. We welcome substantive feedback as we prepare a more advanced version of this essay.

Download the Essay as PDF

It is the new information of the sciences that opens us to the most profound realization that the essential nature of Cosmos itself is Story. This narrative view of Cosmos informs what we briefly termed above as cosmological, biological, and cultural evolution. It is only now that the leading edges of modern science are beginning to realize that there is a direct throughline, a narrative thread, if you will, beginning with this current Universe at the Big Bang and moving all the way from matter (chemistry, physics, and cosmological evolution) to life (biology and biological evolution), to mind (spirituality, psychology, and cultural evolution).

Before we turn to the Four Big Bangs, which we will unfold as the narrative arc of Cosmos, the core of the Universe Story, and particularly of Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe, some crucial contextual notes are in order.

Evolution as Crisis and Invitation: The Context for the Four Big Bangs

In other writings on CosmoErotic Humanism, we will unfold six plotlines of the Intimate Universe. To simply state them here, evolution evolves to more and more Eros. The plotlines of Cosmic Eros include

more and more complexity,

more and more uniqueness,

more and more consciousness,

more and more creativity,

more and more care and concern,

more and more intimacy, and

more and more story.

For the sake of this writing, however, let’s just focus on the evolution of intimacy as the overarching vector of evolution’s progression. Eros and intimacy evolve within a narrative arc. The narrative arc of the evolutionary plotline—the evolution of Eros and intimacy—is what we have termed the Four Big Bangs. They form the crux of the narrative thread of Cosmos. Central to the emergence of Conscious Evolution is our very recent ability to discern precisely this narrative thread.

To grasp the narrative arc of Cosmos more fully, we need to place our discussion of the Four Big Bangs in a larger context. One common feature of all evolutionary theories is the idea that evolution is hard, painful, crisis-prone, and existential—a matter of life and death. It is clear that, at key moments, evolutionary crises occur—cataclysmic events that bring into the Universe something that is totally new and truly unprecedented.

As we have already discussed in Volume One of this series, there is little doubt in the minds of those thinking seriously about evolution that we are in the midst of an evolutionary meta-crisis. This is the first totalizing crisis of the Anthropocene, as humanity and the planet itself are forced into what we have termed a reconfiguration of intimacies toward higher-order evolutionary emergence.[1] This is a moment of crisis, and yet, such a crisis is perfectly in sync with the narrative structure of Reality. Everything we know about evolution suggests that, precisely at such a moment of breakdown, we are poised for breakthrough.

But our choices matter. That is exactly what Conscious Evolution means. It is the movement to the pivotal role of conscious human choice—evolution in person as us—in both ensuring that there will be a future and in designing the quality of that future. Our choices are the leading edge of evolution itself. We are the verbs in the arc of evolution. This narrative arc will become clearer, as we outline the Four Big Bangs below.

This meta-crisis must shift not only our physical systems and exteriors (infrastructure and social structure), but also our interiors—our consciousness—or Eros itself (superstructure). And this evolutionary leap will be catalyzed by the meta-crisis that we are in the midst of, right now. This crisis has not only to do with the geo-history of technology and the limits of the biosphere. It is not just about the complexity of the planetary stack. It is, more fundamentally, a crisis of self-understanding. Or, as we frame it in our writings, virtually every crisis, at its core, is a crisis of intimacy. We are not intimate with ourselves, and our world, and as such, we are not in love with ourselves, or our world.

But the two are related. We need to be in love with our world, our planet, and with our Cosmos. It is because we are not, that we are naturally not intimate and in love with each other or ourselves. Or said slightly differently, we need a Universe Story, in which we can locate ourselves. We need a Universe Story that meets the depth of our longing and the depth of our knowing—the truth of the interior and exterior sciences.

One of the core sentences of CosmoErotic Humanism is:

Evolution is Love responding to need.

It is the depth of this need, emergent from the meta-crisis of this moment that can generate such a new Universe Story. Our CosmoErotic Humanism is one model of precisely such a new Universe Story. Only from the depth of such a new Universe Story can we articulate a narrative of identity, in which are literally in love, in which we participate in the very fabric of Reality’s Eros.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented species-wide identity and relationship crisis (and this is happening during the very decades when the self-inflicted extinction of our species has become a potential reality for the first time). Our Universe Story and its derivative narratives of identity, power, desire, and community have collapsed on themselves, no longer able to claim alignment with any genuine features of Reality beyond the surface structures of what postmodernity calls social construction. We no longer know what it means to be human.[2] And for the first time we are aware of this ignorance, collectively.[3] Dogmatic materialism coupled with postmodernism and superficial evolutionary psychology, the conventional narratives of the age, have de-story-ed Reality. Together, they reject the notion that we have any intrinsic purpose on the planet.

And yet, at the very same time, the leading edges of post-dogmatic and post-conventional thinking in the sciences, both interior and exterior, have begun to tell a new Story. At the leading edge of thought, there is a growing understanding that consciousness, and the Eros that animates it, as well as our own core self-understanding, are not epiphenomena. Eros and consciousness are not side effects in our lives. They are the main event. Eros, consciousness, our Universe Story, and narrative of identity are not merely supervening or reacting to a more basic bio-technological base. Rather, human Eros or its lack and its desire for greater intimacies, consciousness, and self-identity (or their lack) are at the core of everything. It is because of Eros’s fundamental and central nature that failures of Eros are driving the global crisis on all levels. We cannot live without Eros, for it is our fundamental nature and the nature of Cosmos. Reality is Eros.

As we point toward in other writings of CosmoErotic Humanism,[4] when Eros breaks down, pseudo-eros in the form of every kind of substitute gratification seeks to fill the void. Pseudo-eros is the direct cause for the collapse of ethos. Formalized succinctly, we can say: All failures of Eros lead directly to a breakdown of identity, which in turn engenders a collapse of ethics.

Our generation is in an unprecedented position to take responsibility for participating in profoundly generative and destructive evolutionary crises. The question is: Can we understand our crises in a Cosmic Context, as opportunities for the emergence of the unprecedented, and as invitations into a higher form of life?

The only effective response to the meta-crisis is, in fact, the movement from unconscious to Conscious Evolution. And Conscious Evolution means, as we noted at the outset, not only the structural realization that we are a direct emergent of and expression of evolution. It is not enough to know that evolution lives in us and that the evolutionary impulse beats in our hearts. Conscious Evolution means that we have gathered new information from the sciences, integrating its interior and exterior disciplines. In doing so, we have realized that evolution itself is love in action. And as Conscious Evolution, we are, quietly and literally, evolution as love in action in person. Indeed, this is the impulse that moves the project of CosmoErotic Humanism itself and all likeminded meta-projects.

What moves us to gather all the fragments of information—myriad separate parts—into a new larger whole, weaving strands from all the diverse disciplines into a larger embrace, is none other than the same Love that moves the Sun and other stars: Evolutionary Eros itself. And the primary action of Evolutionary Love is the evolution of love itself.

That evolution has now awakened to itself inside of our own identities. That is what we refer to as Conscious Evolution. We now realize that we are personal incarnations of the Force of Evolutionary Love pulsing fiercely and tenderly in us and as us. So, it is Conscious Evolution from here on out: We are able to know and do too much to pretend otherwise; we must consciously orchestrate the future of the planet and the biosphere. And as we have begun to unpack above, the next step in Conscious Evolution is the realization of the Universe: A Love Story.

The interior sciences remind us that the inside of consciousness is Love, or what we are calling Eros, which is defined by an incessant drive for ever-deepening intimacy and creativity. And, as we have begun to point towards,[5] and will deepen future writings, intimacy and creativity are the same movement of Cosmos.

As we began to unpack earlier, new intimacy is created by fostering ever wider and deeper shared identities in the context of (relative) otherness. Separate parts allured together to foster new wholes is the essential movement of both intimacy and creativity. It is the movement of becoming, which characterizes the Story of the Intimate Universe.

 

The Story of the Four Big Bangs

We must come to see that the evolution of the Universe and biological life is not just a fact. It is a story. Evolution is a story about us, who we are, and what we are going through now. The Universe itself is best understood as a Story, not as a mere fact. The Universe is a Love Story. Like all true love stories, and unlike Harlequin romances or romantic comedies, it has been a Story of profound crisis, cataclysm, tragedy, hope, emergence, and creativity.

One of the best ways to summarize the narrative arc of this Story was offered by Teilhard de Chardin (1955), who followed C.S. Peirce, as well as cryptic strains in Kant’s early metaphysics of nature, and organized his master work according to three epochal emergent properties of the evolving universe: matter, life, and thought. This same tripartite division has been rehearsed recently by Holmes Rolston III in his Three Big Bangs: Matter-Energy, Life, Mind.[6] We use this framing to tell the Story of Cosmic Evolution; only we add a Fourth Big Bang.

 

A First Glimpse at the Elements of the Fourth Big Bang

The Fourth Big Bang itself includes three core dimensions. At the core is the planetary phase-shift resulting from evolution becoming conscious of itself in and through humanity. This is the dawning of the age of Conscious Evolution, which intimately co-emerges with the advent of existential risk to the future of humanity itself.

Co-emergent as part of the Fourth Big Bang are

a new Universe Story (the Universe: A Love Story or the Intimate Universe),

a new narrative of identity (Unique Self and Evolutionary Unique Self), and

a new narrative of We-Space (Unique Self Symphony).

All of these are key strands in the emergence of the New Human and the New Humanity—Homo amor—animated by the evolutionary philosophy of CosmoErotic Humanism.

We stand today on the edge of this Fourth Big Bang and have only a glimmer of the unimaginable horizons it opens. The best image available to capture what is currently potentiated in humanity is the image of a universal, non-coercive human superorganism, constituted as a Unique Self Symphony. What we have termed a Planetary Awakening in Evolutionary Love through Unique Self Symphonies is core to the emergence of Conscious Evolution and Homo amor. This is the plotline of the Intimate Universe, the Universe: A Love Story.

Essential to the Fourth Big Bang is the realization of the narrative nature of Cosmos, in which we are personally implicated.

The realization of Homo amor is that your story

the love story of your life

the intimacies of your life in all the realms of your life

are chapter and verse in the Universe: A Love Story, or the Intimate Universe.

Key to this vision is precisely the disclosure of the narrative nature of Cosmos, or said differently, the realization that Reality is not merely an eternal fact but an evolving story. We must tell this story, because understanding that Cosmic Evolution is a Story, and being able to see its narrative arc, is an essential part of expanding the self-understanding of humanity during this time of crisis. Importantly, our ability to position the evolution of humanity in the vast deep-time context of Cosmic Evolution emerged only recently. For example, Einstein himself was initially unaware and barely able to grasp the breathtaking idea that not only life but the Cosmos itself is evolving. It is, however, precisely the quality of the Universe: A Love Story, which is disclosed when we realize that, in the same historical moment, we are confronted with the perilous reality of our impending self-induced extinction, we are also confronted by a breathtaking new vision of humanity’s precious and miraculous place in Reality.

The future depends on our ability to make sense of the past. This means not only our cultural and social history, but also the narrative arc, the big history of the cosmological and biological story that led directly to our species and to the cultural story in which we now find ourselves. There is a direct line between cosmological, biological, and cultural evolution, the Story of Reality’s emergence from matter to life to mind. And by mind, we mean our self-reflective and self-creating humanity.

The First Big Bang

One of the seminal moments in modern science was the discovery of the First Big Bang—although, as has been suggested, a better name might be the Primordial Flaring Forth. With remarkable irony, a scientific worldview dedicated to denying the existence of the unmeasurable and questioning the reality of the immaterial led inextricably to the conclusion that everything in the Universe came into being as a spontaneous explosion of something from nothing. The mystery school of modern physics tells of many mysteries, but none is more mysterious than this.

Moreover, we are told that in less than a millionth of a second after something exploded out of nothing, intelligent structures began to emerge, structures that would make it possible for the Universe to unfold toward a kind of structured novelty, leading to the emergence of new and more intricately organized structures, such as solar systems, suns, and planets.[7] In the language of the interior sciences that we will unfold in more depth in other writings, the Infinite disclosed its intimate nature. The Infinite desires the finite. The Infinite yearned for intimacy—to love and be loved.[8]

The Second Big Bang

As billions upon billions of years passed, a Second Big Bang was being prepared, breathtakingly improbable from the perspective of the sciences that have demonstrated its reality—the emergence of life from (seemingly) lifeless matter. Seen more deeply from the perspective of CosmoErotic Humanism: The intensification of intimacy between interconnected parts generated life from matter. Matter itself is not actually lifeless or insentient in an absolute sense. It is rather a structure of allurement generating unique configurations of Eros moving to ever deeper and wider levels of wholeness or what we have termed coherent intimacies.

The genesis of the biosphere on Earth generates almost as much radical amazement and wonder as the explosion of everything from nothing. And as many science writers have demonstrated, the sheer statistical improbability of such an occurrence is truly mind-blowing.[9] Yet, it is a scientific reality that cannot be denied. Earth would come to be entirely encased in life, an explosion of ever-evolving configurations of intimacy, as the surface of the once barren rock was transformed into a teaming wilderness of biological diversity. The tendencies displayed in the evolution of the material universe, such as the spontaneous confluence of diffuse matter into organized forms and the emergence of higher-order structures, resulted in even more complexity—coherently intimate configurations—during the evolution of the biological world.

Thus, in the past decades, emergence and self-organization have become the watchwords of the branches of biology seeking to explain the earliest forms of life on Earth. Simply put, emergence appears to be an intrinsic property of the Intimate Universe. Intimacy generates emergence. The Universe: A Love Story is a living process, in which synergies and symbioses—resulting from self-organization—propel matter toward unprecedented new forms. When what were once independent entities reach a certain density of interconnectedness, they spontaneously become potentially intimate elements of a new higher-order coherent whole, and in so doing they can no longer be understood as separate parts. This is the progressive deepening of intimacies, which is the plotline of the Intimate Universe throughout the arc of all the Big Bangs.

The Third Big Bang

As the evolution of intimacy, the movement toward ever deeper and wider levels of wholeness, had unfolded on Earth for billions of years, a Third Big Bang was being prepared. It is again a seeming miracle from the perspective of materialistic science: the emergence of self-conscious awareness and human culture.

Each of the Big Bangs implies the miraculous in the sense of the Latin word mirari, from which miracle derives. Mirari means to behold with rapt attention. Such attention, sensing a quality beyond that of the merely material, is what our colleague Howard Bloom has termed a material mysticism.

It is not clear exactly when the transition from animal signaling to human language occurred, or when the natural activities of foraging and hunting became tied into the reflective transmission of culture and technology that characterize even the earliest human societies. Aside from the very first microorganisms that transformed the atmosphere of the Earth into oxygen, and thus created the conditions for the possibility of the biosphere, the emergence of human culture is perhaps the most significant moment in the history of the planet.

There is a narrative logic in the Big Bangs themselves. The physiosphere (matter and energy) fulfills itself in the biosphere. Each stage of emergence leads to the next. This is one of the many expressions of the dialectical paradox of randomness and nonrandomness, holy chaos and holy order, that form the Heart of the Universe: A Love Story. As scientist Harold Morowitz points out in his excellent study of evolutionary science The Emergence of Everything: How the World Became Complex: Each stage of emergence inherently leads to the next stage.

Each stage of matter has independent value, and that value gradually accumulates with matter ultimately fulfilling itself—triumphing—as life. In a similar sense, each stage of life is inherently self-validating and has inherent value and dignity, even as there is a dimension of life that fulfills itself—triumphs—in the depth of the self-reflective human mind. In other words, from one perspective, that of the narrative of arc of Cosmos, matter fulfills itself in life, and life fulfills itself in the depth of the self-reflective human mind. Cosmological evolution fulfills itself in biological evolution, and biological evolution fulfills itself in cultural evolution. Or said yet again: The physiosphere fulfills itself in the biosphere, and the biosphere fulfills itself in the noosphere. From the vantage of hindsight, a clear telos emerges.

And yet, the sorting mechanisms for this powerful thrust of life, driven by the creative advance into novelty, is Darwin’s holy idea of natural selection, which includes contingency and randomness. That is the free and open-ended nature of the Universe: A Love Story, which emerges from Source—from no-thing—as an expression of apparent otherness. The Universe emerges, driven by its own inherent ceaseless creativity, self-actualizing, based on ever-deeper and more complex in-formation, which unfolds through spontaneous and free chance interactions, inherently animated by the Tao of an unseen telos.

We can access this pulsing Heart of the Cosmos anthro-ontologically. By Anthro-Ontology, as we have already noted above and more deeply in Volume 1 of this series,[10] we mean for now, simply, the lived truth that the Intimate Universe lives in us, even as we live in it. Human beings are constituted—literally—of all of the previous layers of Reality’s evolution. We are made up of both, the physical stardust, all of the elementary particles, and all of the previous stages of evolution, as well as the felt allurement and interior gnosis that live in the core of our being.

Echoing evolutionary mystics and interior scientists of the last several hundred years, we might offer the mysteries are within us as a succinct, five-word summation of Anthro-Ontology. It is for that precise reason that we can access the working of the Intimate Universe within our own clarified interiors. Evolutionary Mystic Kook captures the Anthro-Ontological Axiom of Reality in a short passage:

It is necessary to explain the nobility of studying the secrets of Torah,

in conjunction with the requirement to honor the inner knowing of the human being,

who is the foundation of the world.

And increasingly,

this culture of externality

comes from this formula:

the more that a culture’s valuing of externality increases,

the more the human eye fixes on discerning the external,

and the more it disregards inner knowing,

and as a result of this, the true value of a human being dwindles and declines,

and the liberation of the world depends on elevating the value of inner knowings,

which emerge and shed light,

by means of the great intimate entry into the depth of interiority,

which itself is the fascinating engagement with the secrets of Torah,

with holiness and purity,

with humility and special courage.[11]

In other words: The mysteries are within us. We live in an Amorous Cosmos. And the Amorous Cosmos lives in us.

The Dialectic of Freedom and Telos: Moving Toward the Fourth Big Bang

It is the nature of all intimate relationships to be a dialectic of telos, patterned order and symmetry, dancing with surprise and contingency. Intimate relationship with a person, a body of knowledge, or a community always moves between patterned, symmetrical, intimate order and open-ended curiosity, new possibility, and transformation. All evolutions of love, both personal and collective, take place in this dialectical context of love. There is open-ended freedom and possibility on the one hand, and patterned order and regularity that create trust on the other. Without either side of the dialectic, the intimate Reality becomes undone at every level of Cosmos.

The telos of the progressive deepening of love self-actualizes as life, through the laws of physics and chemistry, guided by the inherent structures of information[12] that literally, in David Bohm’s evocative phrase, in-form each stage of emergence as the Story of Reality. Reality moves through stage-by-stage emergence from the physiosphere toward its triumph in the biosphere.[13] Life is the triumph of matter, fulfilling itself in a quantum jump, a second great flaring forth, the Second Big Bang. The Second Big Bang is the emergence and the evolution of the biosphere. But just like the First Big Bang, the emergence of matter and energy from no-thing, it is not the product of an inevitable causation from some past set of events that we have measured. The First Big Bang, at least according to the classic scientific story of cosmogenesis, is the emergence of something from nothing. But however we tell the story of the birth of cosmological evolution, it is clearly an emergent. It is not the product of simple past causation.

In the interior sciences, the story is told of involution before evolution. There was no- thing before there was something. Infinite No-thing sources everything. Indeed, as the new science of relativity informs us, the spacetime continuum itself is a product of the Big Bang. Speaking in the metaphors of time, we might say that Cosmos is an invitation from the future. But by future, we mean not a point in time but the intention of Eternity.

The code for this radical gnosis of the interior sciences, in the specific language of the interior sciences of Hebrew wisdom, is the four-letter Name of God—Yod He Vav He. We have already briefly discussed above the Name of God as the DNA code of early expressions of CosmoErotic Humanism in the interior sciences.[14]

We add here the dimension of the future. The first letter, Yod, is the point of eternity which calls in the future. The last three letters, He, Vav, He, form the Hebrew word for present. The Name of God is thus an equation, which expresses the eternal point that lives in the present, calling it to the future. The entire Name spelled together means: It will be. It is Reality called into being from the future, but the eternally becoming future, beneath the spacetime continuum.

The Evolution of Love from Physiosphere to Biosphere to Noosphere

It is in this sense that the physiosphere appearing out of no-thing is not a product of past physical causation but a necessary and free emergent, a great flaring forth.

In the same sense, the biosphere comes out of the physiosphere, in no way violating any of the laws of physics or chemistry, and yet, the biosphere is almost infinitely more than a necessary product of matter and energy. It is a momentous leap into the future, in full integrity with its prior causes but called into being by the future, the infinite point of being that self-organizes evolution into the becoming of tomorrow. The biosphere is thus a new Big Bang, a radically new, emergent flaring forth called into being, self-organized by Reality’s inherent eternal future.[15]

The biosphere follows the same dialectical pattern, that of symmetrical order and radical freedom—radical symmetry, law, and order, coupled with radical freedom, spontaneity, and contingency. Life goes through the many distinct stages, which in retrospect present a self-evident sequence of emergence, from single-celled bacteria all the way to hominids walking on the African savannah more than 2.5 million years ago.

At that point, the biosphere fulfills itself in a quantum jump, the Third Big Bang, with the emergence of the noosphere. This is the triumph of the biosphere in the noosphere. Life triumphs itself as it is transcended and included in mind. Here again, like the physiosphere and the biosphere, the emergence of the noosphere, the human world, is not the product of necessary causation from the past. It is, like the previous Big Bangs, radically new, unlike all that came before, and inexplicable in terms of antecedent causation without remainder.

Noos, or mind, is the world of the self-reflective, self-representing human being.

This human being

passes down knowledge,

which multiplies exponentially,

speaks language,

creates art,

trades,

creates the superorganisms of culture,

and continually evolves his/her own interior consciousness,

even as his/her human organism remains the same.

The noosphere, then, goes through many structural stages of development. These evolutionary stages have been famously charted along different lines of development, or what we might call vectors of evolution.

For example, one could trace development of the techno base of society

from hunter-gatherer,

to horticultural (early farming with a hand instrument),

to agrarian (later farming with an animal-drawn plow),

to industrial (the Industrial Revolution),

to informational (the age of the computer, telecommunications, etc.),

to the emergent age of what we might call exponential tech (biotech, infotech, nanotech, AI, machine learning, augmented reality, and all the rest).

Another line of development, however, might be communal—the movement

from clans

to tribes,

kingdoms,

great religions and empires,

all the way to nation-states, including both dictatorships and democracies.

These communal stages of development roughly correspond to the techno-base stages.

But perhaps the most important line of development is what we might call the evolution of consciousness itself. It is the evolution of worldviews. This includes both the Universe Story of a particular epoch, as well as the consequent narrative of identity that derives from the Universe Story and all the consequent values, including forms of government. This is the evolution of interiors. It is, according to Jean Gebser, the emergence

from archaic

to magical

to mythical

to rational

to integral consciousness.[16]

In parallel to these worldviews is the evolution from early clans and later tribes ruled by a chieftain all the way to modern democracies. All of these are further progressions in what we have called the evolution of love or the evolution of intimacy. All of these stages of evolution are inter-included with each other, and they are all part of the Third Bang—cultural evolution within the noosphere.

Evolution moves

from cosmological (physiosphere, matter and energy, and all of the stages of its evolution from elementary particles to planets)

to biological (the biosphere and all the stages of life from cells to humans)

to cultural evolution (the noosphere and all the stages of human development).

Each of these levels of development can be understood as stages in the evolution of intimacy. The progressive deepening of intimacies is the plotline of evolution throughout the narrative arc of Cosmos—the first three Big Bangs.

Within human evolution, the Third Big Bang moves

from the egocentric consciousness

of survival clans

and early (magical) tribes,

to the ethnocentric consciousness

of later (mythic) tribes,

empires,

and early nation-states,

to the worldcentric consciousness of twentieth-century democracies.

Each of these emergent levels expands the boundaries of intimacy to ever-wider circles of inclusion.

The Dark Side of Evolution

But for now, we want to revisit a point we already noted above, one of the key paradoxes of evolution. Every new structure-stage of development brings in its wake new promise, as well as new potential pathology.

To state it somewhat simplistically, rocks do not get cancers, but animals do. Animals clearly represent an evolution of intimacy beyond rocks. The interior of animals is, self-evidently, exponentially more intimate than the interior of a rock. The intimate relationships between all the interior parts and systems of an animal far exceed that of a rock. Concurrently, the interaction of an animal with others evokes exponentially more intimacy and love in intersubjective relationships than does the interaction of rocks. That is perhaps why people do not keep pet rocks, while pet dogs and cats are wildly popular. But at the same time, animals get cancer and rocks don’t. The evolution of intimacy from matter to life, from the physiosphere to the biosphere, also brings with it a higher level of potential pathology.

The same is true with the evolution of love from the biosphere to the noosphere, and with each progressive widening of Love within the noosphere. Let’s just give two examples.

Human beings are capable of far deeper love than animals. To be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that is generally why people date and marry other human beings, and not other mammals or animals. While there is clearly pain and suffering in the animal world, there is a broad consensus among scientists that the level of anguish and emotional pain and trauma caused by human relationships exponentially exceeds and outstrips the experience of pain and suffering that we witness in the animal world. To cite but one statistic that supports this view: The animal world does not suffer a million suicides a year, which is the rate that the human world is now approaching.

The second example, however, brings us to our main point. Within the human world, there is also a progression of love from ethnocentric to worldcentric consciousness. This means, as we will unpack in multiple conversations across the writings of CosmoErotic Humanism, an expanding circle of love and care—from one’s own nation or religion (ethnocentric) to every human being on the planet (worldcentric).

That evolution of intimacy is based on, at least, two major factors:

First is the evolution of technology, which itself is a form of new intimacy between separate parts. Technology connects a distant world.

Co-emergent with technology is, however, second, the evolution of intimacy just described—from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric intimacy.

But worldcentric intimacy—facilitated by the new connections of technology, allowing for new forms of rapid communication and travel in the industrial age, and instant communication in the information age—also generates new pathologies. A world civilization can contract cancer in the body politic. What, after all, is cancer if not the metastasizing of one cell, or set of cells, which disassociates from the larger whole of the body and its needs? Just like new structures of intimacy create cancer in the body of the lifeworld, in a way that was not possible in a rock, new structures of global communication and intimacy create the possibility of dangerous cancer in the body politic. Cancer means that a cell, and then a set of cells, disassociates from the larger shared story of the body, or body politic, with its protocols, values, and telos.

A brief explanation is in order. Paradoxically, in the world of ethnocentric intimacy, which characterized the major political, social, and religious structures[17] of premodernity and modernity until after World War I, there was a shared story within every ethnocentric group, be it a clan, tribe, kingdom, empire, religion, or nation-state.

The good news of that shared story, which included a Universe Story and its corollary narratives of identity, community, power, etc., was that it created a potent basis for love, dignity, nobility, honor, obligation, meaning, shared purpose, and shared action within the ethnocentric in-group.

The bad news was that many, although not all dimensions of the shared story were based on what later turned out to be false dogmas.[18] These made the other less than human, allowing all manners of ethical violation, including murder, whenever the other refused to comply with the will of the more powerful incursive party. Coupled with those intense shadows was the treatment of women and children, the relationship to personal uniqueness, to the body, and to what modernity established as the basic rights of human dignity in myriad forms.

The ethnocentric communities of multiple forms, from religions to ethnic groups were themselves unable to distinguish the genuine shared depth of insight and destiny, which they authentically shared, from socially constructed surface structures, which were false and simply perpetuated extreme and oppressive forms of in-group/out-group dynamics. Similar lack of discernments between depth structures and surface structures also perpetuated upper-caste- and lower-caste-type dynamics within the ostensible in-group. The result was oppression by the in-group of all who were considered the out-group, the infidels of all forms, and oppression against the lower castes of the in-group.

Beginning with seeds of universalism,[19] the old in-group and out-group dynamics began to fall away. A new worldcentric consciousness, standing for universal human rights, sourced in the dignity of all human beings, struggled to emerge to some extent within significant swaths of the population. It was concentrated mostly but not entirely in the democratic world.

The massive problem was that this new worldcentric consciousness lacked the soil of a shared Universe Story, rooted in a shared Story of Value, rooted in First Principles and First Values, within which to take root. After World War II, late modernity stripped away many of the false social constructions of early and middle modernity and premodernity. But it did not distinguish between the validated insights of the great lineages of the interior sciences in the traditions—as well as the important gnosis of modernity—and the social construction of both. This generated false or corrupt dogma.

The postmodern moment deconstructed but never engaged the reconstructive project. In other words, postmodernity did not articulate a new shared global Story of Value rooted in evolving First Principles and First Values in the place of all that had been appropriately deconstructed. We will engage this failure of story in more depth in other writings of CosmoErotic Humanism.[20]

The result, however, was a world of global interconnectivity and the fragrance of potential global intimacy. But there was no interior technology within which to ground the potential vision of global intimacy. The results, as we outline them in Volume One of this series, were disastrous.

The world was de-storied. There was a glaring absence of a shared global story, which might generate a global ethic for a global civilization. In what seemed like a flash of time, technology had connected everyone. But the connection created not intimacy but heightened alienation. Everyone was crashing into each other. There was no narrative of shared identity to foster a sense of shared pathos, and therefore shared purpose and passion.

Sans a shared story, the void was filled with the success story, measured by win/lose metrics, which in turn fueled a disastrous model of necessarily self-terminating growth based on perpetual extraction, production, and consumption. The win/lose-metrics success story coincided with far-flung, complicated, and therefore fragile systems of global interconnectivity. These two factors were exacerbated by exponential tech, which made exponential power, including destructive power, available to relatively high numbers of rogue actors.

The failure of a shared global Story of Value rooted in First Values and First Principles were coupled with the win/lose metrics and undermined the articulation of shared codes of honor. Those codes of honor, if rooted in a universal grammar of ethos, might have limited the proliferation of destructive exponential tech. The vacuum of a missing shared global Story generated a high number of rogue non-state actors as well as rogue state actors with access to world-destroying exponential tech.

In effect, the progression of intimacy through new technology and the potential global intimacy of the world community was existentially threatened by the new pathology it generated. The global intimacy disorder with multiple rogue players and communities of players engaged in rivalrous conflict de-generated into multipolar traps, races to the bottom, and tragedies of the commons. These types of dynamics pose a genuine set of catastrophic and existential risks to the future of humanity.

In effect, the de-storied world generated the genuine, even likely possibility of cancer in the body politic. This cancer involves both individual human beings and communities of human beings experiencing their identity as separate selves. These are ontologically isolated from the whole and their Eros, therefore, derives only from a success story based on rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics. Moreover, the experience of most communities is that they are merely individuals in random superorganisms—products of the random walk of evolution.

Even those who profess classical or alternative forms of religion or spirituality are infected with the virus of what is presented as a de-ontologized universe. Although they may live in a particular religion or spiritual view, they are invariably infected with the dogmas not of science but of scientism. The latter constantly injects its non-scientific, dogmatic materialism into the bloodstream of culture. The result is a new pathology taking hold, side by side with the apparent evolution of love—the promising move from ethnocentric to worldcentric consciousness. A global intimacy disorder sets in, which undermines the promised emergence of a genuine global ethos. For a global ethos cannot emerge sans the Eros of a shared Universe Story and narrative of identity. This is where we stand today—at the end of the Third Big Bang.

Crisis Is an Evolutionary Driver: From Caterpillar to Butterfly

It is crucial to realize, however, that the telerotic drive of evolution is as strong as at the pivotal moments of the First, Second, and Third Big Bangs. The same evolutionary impulse that has driven all the great breakthroughs of evolution is at play right here and now. The evolution of love is not over. It is self-evidently in mid play. Indeed, in this time between worlds and time between stories, the progressive deepening of Love is poised for another momentous leap. As we are poised between utopia and dystopia, the Fourth Big Bang is beginning to emerge.

The Fourth Big Bang follows the inherent narrative logic of Cosmos that is apparent in the first three Big Bangs. Much like the physiosphere fulfills itself in the biosphere, and the biosphere fulfills itself in the noosphere, the noosphere also desires its next stage of evolution.

How does the noosphere fulfill itself?

This is the movement from Homo sapiens to Homo amor—the emergence of a New Human and a New Humanity based on a new Universe Story—the Universe: A Love Story and the Intimate Universe. It is not coincidence but the intimate nature of Cosmos that the Fourth Big Bang is just now beginning to explode. For, as we already described in Volume One of this series, the alternative is a level of existential risk that might well result in the last chapter of the human story.

The image of the chrysalis turning into a butterfly aptly captures this moment in time, where the noosphere necessarily seeks its own evolution of consciousness. This is the Fourth Big Bang, the caterpillar dissolving, while dormant imaginal discs begin to transform into imaginal cells that generate a butterfly, and not a moment too soon. As always, crisis is an evolutionary driver, and at its core, the crisis is always a crisis of imagination. The old society, convinced that its story is the only possible way society can function successfully, kills the attempted emergence of new imagination, which might birth a new Story.

A caterpillar goes through a powerful process as it evolves into a butterfly. It begins with massive consumption. The caterpillar eats as much as a hundred times its weight every day. At a certain point, it is too bloated to continue. This is the beginning of the crisis. So, the caterpillar hangs itself up. Its skin dries into a chrysalis. Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar digests itself, until there is only soup left—with one exception. Certain highly organized groups of cells survive the process. They are what biologists call imaginal discs. These have been part of the caterpillar—one disc for each body part of the butterfly—since it hatched from the egg.

The imaginal discs hold the memory of the future—the butterfly. The memory of the future is the Fourth Big Bang. That is, however, not the inevitable result of prior causation but an invitation from the future. But the imaginal discs are the seeds of imagination already present in the old world, before it breaks down. The imaginal discs are not generic. They are holding a unique vision of each dimension of the butterfly that needs to emerge. They are the voices that see the coming breakdown and are already imagining the possibility of a butterfly.

But in the old world, the systems of society move in myriad ways to choke the seeds of imagination from the nourishment they need to bloom. The imaginal discs are not resourced. They are marginalized, dismissed as fringe, or even attacked in more aggressive ways. It is only when the crisis, long predicted by them, collapses the society (caterpillar[21]), when what was too big to fail actually fails, that the crisis of imagination of the old world may be potentially resolved in the vision of the imaginal discs. The imaginal discs feed on the soup. They literally ingest the crisis and turn it into the evolutionary driver of new life birthed by new imagination. Their willingness to ingest the new reality is the cause for their transformation into imaginal cells.

The caterpillar’s immune system—the old system of society—kills the imaginal cells as they arise. But, with the immune system breaking down, the imaginal cells keep emerging faster and faster. The imaginal cells, driven by the search for new intimacies and new coherences, are allured to their partners and co-creators. The imaginal cells begin to link with each other. New configurations of intimacy cohere and emerge. The crisis of imagination is resolved in the imaginal cells coming together in new intimacies of what we call Unique Self Symphonies.

With that new intimacy comes a new freedom. The cells are now free to each turn to their unique function in the life of the butterfly. The imaginal cells turn into the butterfly, which emerges from the chrysalis.

This is a compelling archetypal story about how crisis precedes transformation. It is not a fairy tale or myth but a story rooted in scientific facts sourced in nature.

The old system breaks down. New visions begin to emerge, but the old guard shoots them down. We have called this stage of the process, in other essays, the Murder of Eros.[22] The old guard represents the old level of consciousness. This is the immune system of the caterpillar, which views the new consciousness of the imaginal cells as a threat. The immune system moves instinctively to destroy these harbingers of a next level of consciousness—the butterfly—the next level of humanity.

Eventually, however, enough of the imaginal cells are allured together, and the old guard dissolves. New imaginal cells emerge from the crisis, and a beautiful butterfly emerges from the chrysalis.

The chrysalis embodies the core structure of evolution. Crises serve as evolutionary drivers. A new Universe Story and a new vision of identity begin to emerge in the Fourth Big Bang. At the core of the Fourth Big Bang is the fulfillment of Homo sapiens in Homo amor.

The Fourth Big Bang

Human self-consciousness led to the development of civilizations, and eventually our modern capitalist world-system.[23] This is, of course, a long and complex story, which goes through many stages. But as culture evolved through various and largely cumulative political and scientific revolutions, a Fourth Big Bang was being prepared. Eventually, culture itself would come to be informed by thinking about evolution. Evolution was becoming conscious of itself in a new way through human consciousness.

This has been a halting, error-prone process. Even today, the majority of the world’s population does not believe in anything like a scientifically informed theory of evolution. But even more importantly, those who do trust the science of evolution view it as a theory of origins and not as a radical revisioning of what it means to be a human being. Nevertheless, there is good reason to believe that the coming decades will be those during which evolutionary realizations spread like wildfire, and a new species-wide self-understanding emerges, including new ideas about the nature of the self and human personality, and new ideas about the evolutionary function of human collectives and cooperatives.

Shadows of Early Evolutionary Narratives

The emergent truth of evolution is love in action. When we lose sight of this, the result is potentially disastrous. Evolution disassociated from its intrinsic nature as love in action is potentially pathologized in multiple forms. Indeed, the first glimmerings of an evolutionary view of humanity and the Universe coincided with one of the most violent and divisive periods in human history. This includes the specter of eugenics that still haunts all attempts to apply evolutionary theory to the social world.[24] These demons cannot be exorcised without having the courage to call them by name and look them in the eye. What has been said again and again, and was perhaps best said by Gould and Kevles,[25] is that these first attempts at applying the biological sciences to the design and governance of society resulted in a nightmare. Evolutionary theory was co-opted by warring capitalist nation-states and used to buttress racist ideologies that perpetuated nationalism, imperialism, and ultimately a global war.

This is all true. But it is important to know exactly why things went so horribly wrong, especially given the optimism expressed by many early pioneering biologists, that evolutionary theory would unite humanity, an optimism shared by many to this day.[26]

Two things stand out that should free us from the fear of inevitably repeating the horrors yielded by our progenitors’ attempts at applying evolutionary theory in thinking about human systems.[27]

One is that these early attempts were based on extremely simplistic ideas about genetic inheritance, selection, and other key aspects of evolutionary processes. There are a massive number of key advances in the biological sciences that have recently obliterated such outmoded forms of thought. Yet, despite the simplicity and easily demonstrable inadequacy of their ideas, the early eugenicists had huge ambitions, ambitions that, they should have known, actually required extremely complex ideas and tools—ideas and tools they did not have, and which were decades away. They needed a scalpel; all they had was an ax. So, why did they run ahead into surgery on the body politic anyway? It appears this was a case of politics trumping science, and of scientists being co-opted by money and power, intoxicated by state-sanctioned violence, and caught up in the kind of utopian dreams hatched during periods of profound social upheaval. Today, we have fundamentally more adequate tools and ideas about the nature of evolution, no question. But can we shield them from co-optation by political and economic powers that have no interest in scientific truths and their ethical application, especially during a time of great crisis?

The second is that early attempts at applying evolutionary theory to society radically under-theorized human interiority, consciousness, and especially the nature of human personality. There was a kind of dogmatic materialism which ignored interiors. In the new language of this writing, they failed to marshal the evidence in the interior and exterior sciences, which would point to the realization of the Intimate Universe, or the Universe: A Love Story. It is not an ordinary love story but an Evolutionary Love Story whose very plotline is the evolution of love. That Love Story moves from cosmological to biological to cultural or human evolution to yet another future breakthrough.

Awakening from the Shadows: From Unconscious to Conscious Evolution

It is only recently, however, that we have awakened from unconscious to Conscious Evolution. We now understand that humanity is directly implicated in the next chapters of the Universe: A Love Story—or else there may be no chapters for humanity at all. Humanity is the Universe evolving in person. But not only humanity. Every unique human being is personally implicated. Every unique human being is the Intimate Universe in person. Every human love story is chapter and verse in the Universe: A Love Story.

We are finally transcending the desiccating dogmatic claim that the self and its experiences can be understood as artifacts of the racial group or functional purpose under which any given individual is subsumed. This alienation from interiority and consciousness disabled empathy and ultimately gave ideological justification to state-sanctioned violence of unimaginable proportions. By looking only at evolution in terms of exterior physical systems (genes, biology, technology), the evolution of individual and collective interiors was occluded from consideration. A whole generation was blinded by reductive evolutionary thinking and rendered unable to see the other as anything but a vehicle for the evolution of bloodlines.

The Fourth Big Bang: Three Elements

Today, we not only need a theory of evolution that is qualitatively more complex and adequate in its dealing with the material and external aspects of evolutionary processes, but we also need one that can illuminate the evolution of interiors—the evolution of self and culture.

We are called to weave a unified vision of humanity as part of an evolving Universe, one that integrates interiors and exteriors—matter and consciousness—agency and communion. This is the nature of the Fourth Big Bang, in which we are participating as the Universe in person at this very moment. The Fourth Big Bang has three major elements:

First, the movement from unconscious to Conscious Evolution.

Second, essential to Conscious Evolution is the realization of the interior nature and narrative thread of Reality, namely the Intimate Universe and the Universe: A Love Story.

The third core characteristic of the Fourth Big Bang is the movement from unconscious to conscious uniqueness. The emergence of Unique Self is key to the emergence of the New Human and the New Humanity. We have termed the Fourth Big Bang the first glimmering of the emergence of the New Human and the New HumanityHomo amor. Homo amor is the Intimate Universe, or the Universe: A Love Story, in person.

The Heart of the Fourth Big Bang: Unique Selves and Unique Self Symphonies as the Emergence of Evolutionary Intimacy

A fundamental set of insights that guides the emergence of Homo amor is articulated in Unique Self Theory.[28] Unique Self Theory understands that one of the central dimensions of the evolutionary process is uniqueness. That is, one of the things that evolution does is to produce the unique—and, as evolution unfolds, uniqueness increases. This means that the idea of evolution becoming conscious of itself can be reframed in terms of uniqueness becoming conscious of itself. The moral implications could not be more important.

We will return to Unique Self and the evolution of uniqueness in the context of Homo amor in Volume Four of this series. For the purpose of this Volume, we will lay out the basic ideas in schematic form as a series of related postulates:

  1. Evolution is a process that moves from simplicity to complexity—and from less consciousness to more consciousness.[29]
  2. Greater complexity means greater interconnectivity. Evolution moves to deeper and wider levels of interconnectivity.
  3. Reality is—definitionally—interiors and exteriors all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain.
  4. The interior of interconnectivity is intimacy.
  5. Evolution can therefore be thought of as the evolution of intimacy.
  6. Intimacy always implies the coming together of unique parts.
  7. This movement toward greater complexity, consciousness, and intimacy is also a movement toward increasingly unique forms of life.
  8. Thus, the greater the uniqueness, the greater the potential depth of the new intimacy.
  9. Increases in complexity, consciousness, intimacy, and uniqueness correlate with increases in creativity and Eros as organismic potentials.
  10. Evolution is thus the move from unconscious uniqueness to conscious uniqueness.
  11. The self-reflective Evolutionary Unique Self—the organism aware of its own evolutionary uniqueness—becomes a possibility with the emergence of humanity and can be thought of as a key strange attractor in the evolutionary process.
  12. Thus, your Evolutionary Unique Self is the personal face of a universal evolutionary process. In this way, your unique qualities of personhood beyond ego participate in the evolution of the Universe.
  13. It is necessary to pause here to clarify the meaning of Unique Self and to preempt some common objections. Firstly, there is a difference between what is typically referred to as ego and Unique Self.[30] The term ego is typically used with reference to a contracted sense of self, where one emphasizes difference and asserts self over other. Unique Self, on the other hand, can be understood as individuation beyond ego or beyond separate self.
  14. Said slightly differently: Separate self is both real and an illusion—both from the exterior and interior perspective. Albert Einstein was referring primarily to exteriors when he pointed to the self-evident truth of the contemporary ecological evolutionary sciences that the notion of a separate self is an optical delusion. The interior sciences of the perennial philosophy, across space and time, have pointed to this same validated truth from the perspective of interiors. This is understood by Unique Self Theory to mean that there is no consciousness and desire which is separate from the larger Field of Consciousness and Desire. This knowing is our true identity of True Self—the identity in which every human being must consciously participate, in order to know themselves at the most fundamental level. Unique Self is not separate self. That would be a pre-True-Self Realization. Rather, Unique Self is a post-True-Self Realization. In other words, Unique Self is the unique perspective and unique quality of intimacy of the LoveIntelligence, LoveBeauty, LoveDesire—individuated beyond ego—or beyond separate self. To know one’s identity is therefore to awaken to one’s Unique Self.
  15. Naturally, this does not mean that Unique Self comes online only after a full realization of True Self. What is required, however, is what we might call a general sense or fragrance of True Self. Once one has a fragrance of the larger Field—which one can access just by reading the last couple of points—the part of you that understands the sentences above is your True Self—you can then awaken to the realization of your Unique Self. Your Unique Self is the unique expression of the Field of the True Self.
  16. This notion of identity is the most inclusive framework we have around identity. It is supported by the classical sciences, both exterior and interior. Unique Self makes sense for Albert Einstein, for quantum physics, for molecular biology, even as it is a perspective that makes sense in a-theistic Buddhism, especially in its Vajrayana forms, as well as in the esoteric realizations of Judeo-Christian, Sufi, Hindu, Confucian, and Native wisdoms.
  17. Note that this is different from most typical spiritual and ethical teachings, which suggest overcoming or forgetting one’s personal story—disappeared and outshined by the Absolute—be it the Eternal Fact or the Evolutionary Impulse. Rather, our story is a part of the larger Story. Each unique personal story drives the larger Story. There is no split between personal evolution and the evolution of Reality. You don’t overcome or forget your story; you clarify the uniqueness of your story. There is an evolutionary imperative to promote uniqueness. And uniqueness is a relational category.[31]
  18. Unique Selves come together to form Unique Self Symphonies, which is how the Universe optimally and ethically self-organizes and evolves at the level of human culture and personhood.
  19. The realization that the Universe inherently self-organizes or self-actualizes based on simple rules is emergent from work done during the last centuries of the twentieth century, emergent from Alan Turing’s work in his epic [32]
  20. At the level of ant hills and slime molds, pheromones seem to participate in communicating the self-organizing queues of the Cosmos.
  21. What drives self-organization at the human level?
  22. In the Third Big Bang, self-organization is driven by different motivational architectures at every structure stage of consciousness. In developmental language, we might refer to the structure stages of the Third Big Bang as the first tier of human consciousness, as described in overlapping forms by myriad developmental theorists as aptly recapitulated in Integral Theory.[33]
  23. At what developmental theory calls second tier, a new structure stage of consciousness, recognized in some form by myriad theorists, uniqueness is the self-organizing instrument of the Fourth Big Bang.[34]
  24. Unique Self Symphony is an emergent form of superorganisms because it requires that we care about everyone’s story. It has social justice—the view from everywhere—at its core and leverages the benefits of justice to promote further harmonious evolutionary emergence.[35] Unique Self Symphony is the personal and communal expression of what we call Evolutionary Intimacy.

Footnotes

[1] Anthropocene comes from the Greek roots anthropo, meaning human, and –cene from kainos, meaning new or recent. This term is now being used as a formal unit of geological epoch division, basically suggesting that humanity has so impacted the Earth that, from a strictly scientific position, our age constitutes a new geological epoch, a new stage in the history of the planet’s basic physical being, especially its atmospheric and chemical composition. The term has deep roots but was brought to prominence by Paul Crutzen, a Nobel-Prize-winning atmospheric chemist. The second shock is a cultural corollary of this, our new planet-changing species being.

[2] Don’t misread the recent upwelling of fundamentalist religion as a sign to the contrary. This reactive and often violent grasping and entrenchment of tradition is driven precisely by the now inescapable and hegemonic force of the non-stories about the meaning of humanity. The biggest sacrilege—and what looks to fundamentalist cultures like godlessness—is really the storylessness of postmodern culture, which stems in part from its (pseudo-)scientific basis: a non-foundationalist, open-ended, choose-your-own-adventure worldview that glibly dismisses ancient traditions by citing the latest scientific headline, and then, dismisses that headline when a newer study is released.

[3] To avoid any misunderstanding, it should be said that humanity has never known its true identity and purpose. This is not something we once knew and have forgotten, or something we lost and must now find. No doubt, certain cultures have previously been convinced of a particular identity and purpose for all humans, and there have been visionaries who have offered their stunning guesses at the riddle of our being. The difference now is not ignorance—we have always been ignorant—the difference is that now there is widespread knowledge of our ignorance and an unprecedented groping toward truly new answers, answers that are post-dogmatic, post-disciplinary/academic, post-conventional, and trans-national/ethnic. It is also true that premodern and classical modern culture held at least some important truths about the nature of Reality, which have been lost in the dissociations of both extreme modernity and postmodernity. At the same time, there are, as we have already noted, crucial new insights, including the narrative nature of Cosmos itself, which were not available to either premodernity or modernity.

[4] See Gafni, Marc and Kincaid, Kristina. A Return to Eros: The Radical Experience of Being Fully Alive. BenBella Books, Inc, 2017, pp. 113-130, 178-192. And see the original formulation of the distinction between Eros and pseudo-eros in Gafni, The Mystery of Love, Atria, 2003, pp. 24-31.

[5] See for example, Gafni, Marc and Kincaid, Kristina. A Return to Eros: The Radical Experience of Being Fully Alive. BenBella Books, Inc, 2017. See also, Homo Amor and CosmoErotic Humanism: First Thoughts, Marc Gafni and Zachary Stein [2018]. This book was completed in 2018 but will be released in 2024. We, however, keep the date on the book as 2018, as it marks an earlier stage of our thinking, which has, with the grace of Cosmos, advanced significantly since that time.

[6] See Three Big Bangs: Matter-Energy, Life, Mind, by H. Rolston III, 2010, Columbia University Press.

[7] By calling these structures intelligent we are taking a stand on the conscious Universe vs. materialism debate, but we are not endorsing any kind of intelligent-design argument. We are noting, however, the fact that the Universe was born already intrinsically structured in configurations of coherent intimacy, ordered and erotically allured toward increasing complexity and self-organization along certain very specific lines. This could be simple chance, some big Cosmic Oops! But to believe that would be to cling to randomness and chance in the face of obvious Eros and telos, or what we are more neutrally terming self-evident structure and purpose. Again, we are not arguing for intelligent design, which is the idea that there is some purely extrinsic intelligence that designed and built all we see before us. As Henri Bergson was wont to say, evolution is much more than a plan. The problem with the view of evolution as a plan is at least twofold: It is usually professed by those claiming allegiance to an ethnocentric and homophobic God, and is thus a fundamentalist ruse; but also, it denies the reality of an immanently self-organizing and self-evolving Universe, a reality that is now well established both theoretically and empirically. We are arguing that the Universe itself is intrinsically intelligent and animated by Eros. We are affirming the self-evident truth that matter itself is full of life, meaning, and purpose—these qualities need not come from outside the Universe, they are primordial properties of the CosmoErotic Universe. Moreover, from a nondual perspective, there is no outside or inside to the Universe. Thus, technically speaking, we endorse a form of panentheistic evolutionary nondualism—what we have termed CosmoErotic Humanism—with the understanding that none of those concepts can, by themselves, replace an actual waking up in consciousness that grasps the Ultimate Mystery. Otherwise, all of these terms are just more dualistic concepts (even nondualism, as a concept, only makes sense contrasted to dualism—which is why the great Buddhist sage Nagarjuna denies both terms as being adequate for Ultimate Truth).

[8] The Infinite acts in the Eternal Now. Yet, we place these sentences in past tense because we are writing and describing—from within time—the primordial movement from nothingness to something as the yearning for intimacy, which discloses itself as the inception of the Universe and time itself.

[9] This is not the place to get into these numbers, which include more zeros than could fit on a million single-spaced pages of 1-point font. For good overviews of these issues see: The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution, by S. Kauffman, 1993, Oxford University Press; The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision, by F. Capra and P. L. Luisi, 2014, Cambridge University Press. For a discussion of the compounding improbabilities involved in the emergence of higher-order life forms—i.e., beyond the already stupefying improbability of primordial ooze—see: Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, by P. Ward and D. Brownlee, 2003, Springer, and Robert Shapiro, Origins: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Summit Books, 1986. In non-scientific parlance, the term impossible comes to mind when considering these kinds of figures; and yet, here we are.

[10] See also the section “Anthro-Ontology and the Anthro-Ontological Method” in Volume 5 of this series. See also David J. Temple, First Principles & First Values: Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, the Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come (2023) and see also the fuller conversation in David J. Temple, First Principles and First Values: Towards an Evolving Perennialism: Introducing the Anthro-Ontological Method.

[11] Orot HaKodesh [Lights of Holiness] (Vol. 1), (p. 96), by A Kook, 1937, Jerusalem.

[12] On information as core to the structure of the animating Eros of Cosmos, see above section “The Great Problem of Pain in the Universe: A Love Story—The Dance of Certainty and Uncertainty” and footnotes there. See also “A Short, More Formal Statement of the Four First Principles and First Values We have Discussed” below.

[13] See The Emergence of Everything: How the World Became Complex, H. J. Morowitz, 2004, Oxford University.

[14] See the section in this Volume called “The Name of God Is Eros—The Universe: A Love Story.”

[15] Said differently, the Big Bang is the emergence of something from no-thing. In other words, life does not emerge from the aggregation of things. Life is not the densification of matter, which becomes life. Rather, there is something radically new in life, a dimension that literally flares forth from no-thingness. In the scientific reading of CosmoErotic Humanism, integrating the exterior and interior sciences, life emerges from the intensification of intimacies between the parts of matter in such a way that the new intimacy flares forth into life. We know this to be true anthro-ontologically—in the depth of our own interiors. For within ourselves we know that the intensification of intimacy is what generates new Eros, new possibility, and new creativity, which in turn births new levels of wholeness. Mathematician and complexity theorist Stuart Kauffman (At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity, 1995, Oxford University Press.) alludes to this understanding of the intensification of intimacy being cause for the emergence of life in more formal scientific terms in the following passage on p. 62 of the Kindle Edition: “as the diversity of molecules in our system increases, the ratio of reactions to chemicals, or edges to nodes, becomes ever higher. In other words, the reaction graph has ever more lines connecting the chemical dots. The molecules in the system are themselves candidates to be able to catalyze the reactions by which the molecules themselves are formed. As the ratio of reactions to chemicals increases, the number of reactions that are catalyzed by the molecules in the system increases. When the number of catalyzed reactions is about equal to the number of chemical dots, a giant catalyzed reaction web forms, and a collectively autocatalytic system snaps into existence. A living metabolism crystallizes. Life emerges as a phase transition.” Similarly, the intensification of intimacy within the biosphere generates the awakening of the new depths of self-reflective human consciousness, the emergence of human consciousness and culture. The third level of consciousness does not emerge simply putting together more cells, or life. There is a radically new emergence flaring forth from no-thingness.

[16] See Gebser, Jean. The Ever-Present Origin. Noel Barstad (Translator), Algis Mickūnas (Translator), Ohio University Press. The Ever-Present Origin is a translation of Ursprung und Gegenwart, a book that was published in German in two parts around 1949 and 1953.

[17] There were, however, intimations of worldcentric intimacy in multiple streams of thought, in both premodernity and modernity, but they were virtually always peripheral to the social, political, and religious power structures as well as to the center of gravity of popular thought.

[18] Key dimensions of the shared story were based on valid gnosis, derived through the Eye of Consciousness—in its expressions as the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of Value, and the Eye of the Spirit. The Eye of Consciousness is one of the three Eyes that reveal Reality to us: the Eye of the Senses, the Eye of the Mind, and the Eye of Consciousness in its four expressions (with their injunctions/practices): the Eye of Contemplation (Meditative Practices), the Eye of the Heart (Practices of Loving), the Eye of Value (Practices of Ethical Discernment), and the Eye of Spirit (Practices of Rituals, Ceremony, & Sacred Text). Some of these dimensions are the shared universals, derived through direct experiment of the interior sciences, which disclosed crucial gnosis about the nature of self and Reality. Other dimensions of this knowing involved the unique quality of intimacy between the Field of Consciousness and that particular nation, religion, or tribe. That is what we have called the Unique Self of that particular tribe, nation, or religion—the unique quality of intimacy between the Infinite and the finite, which is the story of that tribe, nation, or religion. But inextricably entwined, mixed in, with these valid dimensions of gnosis, there were all of the ethnocentric shadows.

[19] Universalism was sourced in ancient texts but first showed up at the cultural center of gravity of the Renaissance, and only came to more significant political and cultural fruition after World War I.

[20] See also David J. Temple, First Principles & First Values: Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, the Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come. And see the fuller conversation in David J. Temple, First Principles and First Values: Towards an Evolving Perennialism: Introducing the Anthro-Ontological Method (forthcoming).

[21] And with it the juvenile hormone that used to prevent the growth of the imaginal cells.

[22] Gafni, Marc and Kincaid, Kristina, A Return to Eros: The Radical Experience of Being Fully Alive, BenBella Books, Inc, 2017, Appendix B “The Murder of Eros,” pp. 471-480.

[23] The idea of world-systems is essential for any serious thinking about evolutionary futures for the human species. See: World-Systems Analysis, by I. Wallerstein, 2004, Duke University. World-Systems Analysis is a growing trans-disciplinary field, encompassing economics, politics, sociology, and history. The modern world-system, which began to emerge during the sixteenth century, is the largest functionally integrated unit the human species has ever created. Its existence and continuation have fundamentally changed the very frontiers of human possibility and fundamentally altered the self-regulatory processes of the biosphere. It is the highest-order unit of selection and is unprecedentedly close to literally encompassing all of humanity, something never achieved before by any actually existing historical world-system. Wallerstein argues that, at this point in geohistory, when there emerges a world-system without peripheries or frontiers, an evolutionary crisis ensues, and a fundamentally new world-system must be painfully and violently born—one no longer predicated upon endless accumulation, growth, profit, and exploitation.

[24] I (Barbara Marx Hubbard) was myself initially taken by some of the transhumanist arguments in a number of domains and expressed myself inaccurately, in ways that were prone to tragic but sometimes understandable misinterpretation. My encounter with CosmoErotic Humanism opened me to Unique Self Theory, the centrality of the Evolutionary Eros, and much more, which caused me to recant some of the earlier transhumanist ideas I had expressed, some of which I now deeply regret.

 [25] See, for example, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity, by D. J. Kevles, 1985, Harvard University. Also, The Mismeasure of Man, by S. J. Gould, 1981, W. W. Norton.

[26] Make no mistake: Racism was a major problem throughout the world-system during this period and remains a major problem today. The arguments offered here are not intended to downplay this aspect of the historical context. Instead, the goal is to identify the illicit epistemological moves that allowed for the perpetuation of racist ideas by creating the illusion that they were backed by scientific theories and objective measures. When the early IQ testing movement, for example, is simply dismissed as racist, without further analysis, we have gained no insight into the mechanisms by which science was made an accomplice in the crime of political inequality. Moreover, we miss the fact that many of these mechanisms are still in play as aspects of contemporary ideology.

[27] However, we must always continue to be in touch with this fear of repeating history. And we ought to continue to retell and remember the horrors we wish not to repeat, even if only to honor the victims and to educate the younger generations who might otherwise forget.

[28] The notions of Unique Self and Unique Self Symphony emerged at the interface of religious scholarship, psychological meta-theory, and evolutionary meta-theory—expressed collaboratively in different forms by Gafni, Stein, and Hubbard. This work naturally integrates with Hubbard’s seminal work expressing and exploring Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential, by B. M. Hubbard, 2015, New World Library (revised edition). For a detailed look at the genesis of Unique Self Theory itself, see the special scholarly issue of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 6(1), which is dedicated to Unique Self Theory. The volume was edited and largely penned by M. Gafni, with the lead article, “The Evolutionary Emergent of Unique Self: A New Chapter in Integral Theory,” by M. Gafni, 2011, JITP, (6)1, 1-36. See also major works by Gafni (2012; 2014) Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment and Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter, on the core articulation of Unique Self Theory. And see the forthcoming work by Z. Stein and M. Gafni, Toward a Politics of Evolutionary Love. For the first book-length treatments of First Principles of CosmoErotic Humanism, see A Return to Eros by M. Gafni and K. Kincaid, 2017. The Center for World Philosophy and Religion is supporting a series of book projects currently underway involving scholars from over a dozen fields, including business, psychotherapy, attachment theory, evolutionary theory, medicine, and technology. For more details about this emerging school of thought, see the think tank at the Center for World Philosophy and Religion: https://worldphilosophyandreligion.org/.

[29] This is Teilhard De Chardin’s notion of law of complexity and consciousness. See The Phenomenon of Man by T. P De Chardin, 1959, Harper & Brothers (Original work published 1955 in French as Le Phenomene Humain by Editions Du Seuil).

[30] See Your Unique Self, by M. Gafni, 2012, for 25 Distinctions between Unique Self and Ego. There is no space to go into all that here. For a free copy of 26 Distinctions between Unique Self and Ego from Gafni, Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter, see https://worldphilosophyandreligion.org/dr-marc-gafni-26-distinctions-between-ego-and-unique-self/.

[31] Uniqueness is what philosophers call a relational category, which contrasts with an entity category. This means uniqueness describes something that occurs between and among things, arising out of relationships, as opposed to being an intrinsic abstract property of a thing in isolation. Uniqueness is not just about difference; it is about differences defined through relations. Interesting enough, it was our friend C.S. Peirce who did the first pioneering work on the differences between relational categories and entity categories; See The Continuity of Peirce’s Thought, by K. A. Parker, 1998, Vanderbilt University.

[32] Alan Turing, “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, Vol. 237, No. 641. (Aug. 14, 1952), pp. 37-72—https://www.jstor.org/stable/92463.

[33] See the charts in Wilber, Ken, Integral Psychology, Shambhala; 1st pbk. ed edition (May 16, 2000). For an important critique and up-level of the way development is often presented in Integral circles and other forums, see Zak Stein’s article “On the Use of the Term Integral,” especially the section “Growth-to-Goodness from Baldwin to Wilber,” in Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 9(2) pp.103-113, http://www.zakstein.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Stein_ITC2010_REVISED-copy.pdf. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that one of the foundational volumes of CosmoErotic Humanism under preparation—this one by Stein and Gafni—is titled In A Unique Voice. We intend it to integrate Unique Self Theory and developmental theory, and it will be a key pillar of the new Story of Value—CosmoErotic Humanism.

[34] See, for example, the essay/dialogue by Marc Gafni and developmental theorist Suzanne Cook Greuter in this regard, JITP 6:1. We also note the reaction of Don Beck on reading the original Unique Self Book—Your Unique Self, The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, with Introduction and Afterword by Ken Wilber, Integral Publishers, 2012. Beck remarked, “Your Unique Self is the bible of Yellow, referring to the first structure stage of second-tier consciousness.” Most importantly, however, note Zak Stein’s chapter on Unique Self Theory in his Education in a Time Between Worlds: Essays on the Future of Schools, Technology, and Society. Bright Alliance, 2019.

[35] The image of the Unique Self Symphony elaborated in these pages—as the pinnacle emergent property of Earth’s evolution, the culmination of human capacities for autonomy and community, and an embodiment of justice itself—echoes a history of such images of justice as a kind of embodied interpersonal harmony, which are found especially in the Western philosophical tradition. The great eighteenth-century philosopher Immanuel Kant was the first to tentatively and cryptically suggest that the laws humanity gives itself are best read as an autonomous extension of the self-regulative and self-organizing processes of the natural world. According to this view, humanity’s autonomy—literally its self-legislating capability—represents nature’s crowning innovation, wherein are found startling advances toward novelty and complexity. Importantly, a capacity for autonomy entails the acceptance of responsibility. This is the root of the notion that humanity is somehow accountable for the trajectory of evolution. Kant argued that humanity ought to facilitate the transformation of the kingdom of nature into the kingdom of ends by proceeding such that the norms of our actions might be fit to serve as universal laws (akin to natural laws). The kingdom of ends—a kind of idealized coordination and harmony of all beings in perfect justice—is given esoteric significance by Kant, who views it as the teleologia rationis humanae, a vision of reason’s future, an immanent catalyst of the corpus mysticum. This was some of Kant’s motivation, when he articulated one of the earliest and most influential normative global meta-theories in a series of publications about the history of human civilization and the necessary future emergence of a polycentric global governance system.

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The Narrative Thread of Cosmos: The Evolution of Intimacy Through the Four Big Bangs2024-02-13T06:35:44-08:00

The Evolutionary Love Creed by Dr. Marc Gafni & Dr. Zachary Stein

We seek to live according to a new Story of Self and Cosmos. We believe that the human being and the Universe are both expressions of an evolving LoveIntelligence. Therefore, the nature of the human is to embody and express the evolution of love itself.

The Universe is not simply a fact or event; it is a story. It is not an arbitrary or meaningless story. It is a love story. It has direction and is driven by an underlying force. The Universe is a Story about the evolution of love. It is a Story in which love emerges into ever-new and higher forms.

Reality at all levels is animated and driven by a Force that can be called Evolutionary Love, or Eros. This Force moves all of Reality towards ever-greater contact and wholeness. Reality evolves toward ever-higher and more complex forms of interconnectivity. The interior experience of this interconnectivity is intimacy. The true nature of Reality is thus a profound and growing intimacy among all beings.

The Evolutionary Love Story that is Reality – like all love stories – includes mystery, agony and ecstasy. All unfolds within the arch of ever-deeper configurations of intimacy. Humanity is a key player in the CosmoErotic drama that is the evolution of love.

Thus the human must always inquire:
Who am I?
Who are You?
Who are We?

Every human is an irreducibly unique expression of the LoveIntelligence, LoveBeauty, and LoveDesire that is the initiating and animating Eros and Energy of the Universe. Evolutionary Love is that which lives in you, as you, and through you.

As such, you have an irreducibly unique perspective and an irreducibly unique taste, like none other in the Universe. You incarnate an irreducibly unique quality and place within a cosmic web of configurations of intimacy. Your unique quality of intimacy and your unique perspective come together to form your Unique Self. 

You are (every human is) a Unique Self participating in the evolution of love. 

We, the species Homo sapiens, are evolving into Homo amor. We are becoming the self-conscious stewards of evolutionary love on a planetary scale.

The fullest expression of humanity as Homo amor occurs when each and every Unique Self is able to give its Unique Gift of Evolutionary Love. Every human (and all other beings) emanates a quality of unique being and doing whose enactment is the intention and purpose of their life.

Every Unique Self lives in the context of evolving configurations of intimacy. We are all part of a larger Evolutionary We-Space. The Evolution of Love in and through humanity reaches beyond individual Unique Selves to form Unique Self Synergies.

Unique Selves can unite (beyond ego) in cooperation to create symphonic harmonies of collective love-intelligence. These Unique Self symphonies are unions that emerge as a natural outcome of human diversity.

Thus does the love story of the universe manifest through humanity in the form of a Unique Self Symphony – a jazz symphony in which every Unique Self improvises their own irreducibly unique part in complex and intimate harmonies with all others.

It is in these crescendos of interconnectivity and love humanity gives birth Homo amor. We are becoming a new species that is conscious of its role in the Love Story of the Universe. Homo amor will remake the Earth and explore the galaxy in the pursuit of advancing the evolution of love.

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The Evolutionary Love Creed by Dr. Marc Gafni & Dr. Zachary Stein2024-02-02T11:36:36-08:00

“Twelve Faces of Eros” — with Dr. Marc Gafni and Kyle Kingsbury

New podcast series ‘Twelve Faces of Eros” based on the book A Return to Eros: the Radical Experience of Being Fully Alive by Dr. Marc Gafni & Dr. Kristina Kincaid.

This amazing new podcast with Marc Gafni and Kyle Kingsbury is the first introduction to a series of episodes on the Twelve Faces of Eros as Dr. Marc Gafni outlined in the audio workshop The Erotic and the Holy and the book A Return to Eros.

We are honored to have this 14 episode series’ home be with the Kyle Kingsbury Podcast.

May this illuminating podcast help us all see a common horizon and work towards the more beautiful world we all know is possible.

This podcast series is based on the book A Return to Eros: the Radical Experience of Being Fully Alive. 

Discover the hidden relationship between Erotic, the Sexual and the Sacred.

None of the four old philosophies about sex are sufficient to inspire us or even hold us in our sexuality. Sex is not merely negative or positive. Sex is not just neutral, nor is it merely sacred because it creates babies.

Erotic Mystics from the hidden tradition of Solomon’s temple taught a secret doctrine. Sex is the source of all wisdom. Sex is an expression of the erotic impulse of existence itself alive in us-the yearning for contact, pleasure, and aliveness. The Sexual however is not the sum total of the erotic. Rather, the sexual models the Erotic. The sexual teaches us how to live an Erotic life in all dimension of our existence.

It is these secret doctrines that were later taught by Mary Magdalene and that sparked excitement around bestselling novels such as The Da Vinci Code.

Deep understanding of the sexual becomes the portal to accessing aliveness in every dimension of our reality. This realization demands that you live sexually without shame and shows you how to re-eroticize all areas of your life.

A Return to Eros: On Sex, Love, and Eroticism in Every Dimension of Life, from Drs. Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid, reveals the radical secret tenets of relationship between the sexual, the erotic, and the holy. They reveal what Eros actually means and share the ten core qualities of the Erotic, which are modeled by the sexual. These include being on the inside, fullness of presence, yearning, allurement, fantasy, surrender, creativity, pleasure, and more.

A Return to Eros shows why these qualities of the erotic modeled by the sexual are actually the same core qualities of the sacred. The relationship between the sexual and the erotic becomes clear, teaching you how to live an erotically suffused existence charged with purpose, potency and power.

To be an Outrageous Lover–not just in sex but also in all facets of your life–you must listen deeply to the simple yet elegant whisperings of the sexual. This book will forever transform your understanding and experience of love, sex, and Eros.

Buy the book

Listen to the Erotic and the Holy Workshop

Imagine walking into your place of worship – your local church, synagogue, mosque, or meditation center – to find that all of the usual adornments have been replaced with statues and pictures of sexually intertwined cherubs. Chances are, you’d be quickly taken aback.

But according to Mark Gafni, bestselling author of “Your Unique Self” and “Soul Prints”, these were the precise images found atop the ark of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. “These ‘angels of desire’ were, for the mystics, the very key to the mystery of love at the heart of our lives”, he explains. Now listeners can join him in exploring the tantric secret of these cherubs, and experience Eros in all of life’s activities, including the spiritual, with “The Erotic and the Holy”.

Download for free
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“Twelve Faces of Eros” — with Dr. Marc Gafni and Kyle Kingsbury2024-01-31T07:14:42-08:00

January Updates: Early Ontologies in the Interior Sciences Point Toward the Universe: A Love Story

New Book Release

Our new book can be ordered from the US and Canada. We are working on creating direct ordering from Europe and other countries – please stand by!

FIRST PRINCIPLES AND FIRST VALUES

Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, the Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come

by David J. Temple

AS THE META-CRISIS DEEPENS, THE FATE OF CIVILIZATION AND HUMANITY HANGS IN THE BALANCE.

First Principles and First Values is the tip of the spear in the fight for a humane future. Establishing frameworks for a new school of thought called CosmoErotic Humanism, the book is built around forty-two propositions that provide new source code for the future of planetary culture.

Like Europe in the early Renaissance, humanity is in a time between worlds, at a time between stories. First Principles and First Values contains blueprints for the bridge needed to cross from this world to the next.


“The position argued for in this book is of vital importance . . . it needs urgently to be read.”
IAIN McGILCHRIST, author of The Master and His Emissary


David J. Temple is a pseudonym created for enabling ongoing collaborative authorship at the Center for World Philosophy and Religion, a leading international think tank whose mission is to address existential risk by articulating a shared universal Story of Value for global intimacy and global coordination. The Center focuses its work on a world philosophy, CosmoErotic Humanism, as the ground for a global vision of value, economics, politics, and spiritual coherence. The two primary authors behind David J. Temple are Marc Gafni and Zak Stein. For different projects specific writers will be named as part of the collaboration. In this volume Ken Wilber joins Dr. Gafni and Dr. Stein.

Order Here

New Online Video Course with Dr. Marc Gafni

CosmoErotic Humanism: The New Story of Value – Birthing the New Human and the New Humanity (recorded in 2022)

CosmoErotic Humanism in Seven Chapters:

Chapter 1:  Responding to the Meta-Crisis with a New Story: CosmoErotic Humanism
Chapter 2: Reading Texts of Culture: Don’t Look Up Explores Value, Beyond the Intention of Its Writers
Chapter 3: Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?
Chapter 4: The Radical Path to the Transformation of Shame: From the Shame of Finitude to the Celebration of Finitude
Chapter 5:  The Leading Edge of Human Identity
Chapter 6:  Towards a New Universal Grammar of Evolving Value as a Context for our Diversity
Chapter 7:  Blessings of the Father and Blessings of the Mother: Am I Welcome in Cosmos?

Each level consists of the main teaching by Dr. Marc Gafni that was recorded on one of seven days during Eros Mystery School in Holland in 2022. It contains dharma talks, practices, prayers, chants, movie clips, songs, poems, and dance sessions – seamlessly woven into one whole. It is kind of like being at a Mozart concerto played on that day – in those hours – unrehearsed and raw – never to be played in that way ever again but recorded for you in this course journey which is reality’s gift for you.

Learn More About the Course Here

This page provides links to everything that has been posted on this site in January 2024.

Featured Essay in January 2024

Early Ontologies of Both—The Universe: A Love Story and Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe—in the Interior Sciences

An Early Draft of an Excerpt from Volume Two of

The Universe: A Love Story

First Meditations on CosmoErotic Humanism

in Response to the Meta-Crisis

The first draft of this essay was written by Dr. Marc Gafni. It is part of Volume 2 of a forthcoming six-volume book series, The Universe: A Love Story, by Dr. Marc Gafni & Barbara Marx Hubbard with Dr. Zachary Stein. The essay was edited and prepared for publication by Kerstin Tuschik. We welcome substantive feedback as we prepare a more advanced version of this essay.

Download a Preview Draft of the Essay
For Related Video Teachings by Dr. Marc Gafni Click Here

We now turn to early ontologies of both, the Universe: A Love Story and Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe, in the interior sciences of the great traditions. By this we mean both realizations of the Cosmos as animated and driven by Eros, as well as a sense of Eros as the animating and motive force of the Evolutionary Story.

We alluded to Charles Darwin in passing above. But before we turn again to Darwin himself, more ancient sources for the ontologizing[1] of love—the realization of Love as an organizing Cosmic Principle in the interior sciences—are important sources which require at least some prior mention. By ontology we of course mean to refer to Eros, not as a materialist social construction of reality but as an intrinsic meaning structure of value of Cosmos.

Early sources for this understanding of Love as a basic ontology of Cosmos—as the animating energy of Reality, and particularly as the Creative Process—appear as an esoteric thread that runs through key texts of the interior sciences. We speak not of a premodern dogma claiming a central place for love as the motive force of Reality but of the contemplative realizations of the great traditions. These sets of common realizations derive from the cross-cultural interior investigation and experimentation conducted by some of the greatest hearts, minds, and spirits in known human history.

The writings of the interior sciences on the motive force of Eros deserve at the very least their own volume. Indeed, each of the interior science traditions deserves its own volume, with a second volume integrating their shared perennial features. But since that is beyond our purview here, we must at least mention them as part of the larger source context for the ontology of Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe, the Universe: A Love Story, and the Intimate Universe that we are presenting here. After we adduce below at least the fragrance of these important ontologizers of Eros as the motive force of Reality, we also need to briefly explain why these sources have been largely ignored—with some notable exceptions—in the contemporary evolutionary conversation.

One great tradition that has a profoundly historical, even proto-evolutionary character is that of Hebrew mysticism. Here, Eros is often portrayed as the central animating force of both Reality itself and what would come to be called the evolutionary process. I (Marc) have written an entire volume on this realization of the Universe: A Love Story and Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe within the interior sciences of Hebrew wisdom. That volume is entitled: The Wisdom-of-Solomon Matrix of CosmoErotic Humanism: Early Ontologies of the Love Story of the Universe in the Interior Sciences of Hebrew Wisdom.[2] The next section will naturally not cover all of the material but will at least evoke some of the parameters of this crucial lineage in the interior sciences.

I first described these sources in 2003, in a work called The Mystery of Love, later expanded under the title A Return to Eros.[3] In the early work, there are thirty pages of primary sources, drawn from two millennia of texts, supporting the above claim.

The premise of that heavily footnoted work, The Mystery of Love, and its later recension, without the explicit footnotes and in a more evolutionary context, as A Return to Eros, is that we live in a CosmoErotic Universe—and that the CosmoErotic Universe lives in us—and that Reality is incepted, animated, and driven by Eros all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain. (more…)

Read the Whole Essay

Podcasts, Videos, and Audios Published on This Site in January 2024

Read the Most Recent Essays on Substack

Follow Us on Substack

January Updates: Early Ontologies in the Interior Sciences Point Toward the Universe: A Love Story2024-01-31T09:24:21-08:00

The Inside of God’s Face — with Dr. Marc Gafni and Kyle Kingsbury

Enjoy this podcast with Dr. Marc Gafni featured on Kyle Kingsbury Podcast. 

Kyle Kingsbury about this podcast:

I am without words yall!!! Marc Gafni came and delivered on all of my deepest podcast dreams. We had a proper introduction. Marc gave us one of the most informed recountings of what it’s like on The Inside of God’s Face. Walked us through “I-We-All”. Then casually wove together the relationship of Light and Dark. This one is special. Enjoy!!!

The Inside of God’s Face — with Dr. Marc Gafni and Kyle Kingsbury2024-01-31T06:59:37-08:00

Early Ontologies of Both—The Universe: A Love Story and Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe—in the Interior Sciences

An Early Draft of an Excerpt from Volume Two of

The Universe: A Love Story

First Meditations on CosmoErotic Humanism

in Response to the Meta-Crisis

The first draft of this essay was written by Dr. Marc Gafni. It is part of Volume 2 of a forthcoming six-volume book series, The Universe: A Love Story, by Dr. Marc Gafni & Barbara Marx Hubbard with Dr. Zachary Stein. The essay was edited and prepared for publication by Kerstin Tuschik. We welcome substantive feedback as we prepare a more advanced version of this essay.

Download a Preview Draft of the Essay
For Related Video Teachings by Dr. Marc Gafni Click Here

We now turn to early ontologies of both, the Universe: A Love Story and Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe, in the interior sciences of the great traditions. By this we mean both realizations of the Cosmos as animated and driven by Eros, as well as a sense of Eros as the animating and motive force of the Evolutionary Story.

We alluded to Charles Darwin in passing above. But before we turn again to Darwin himself, more ancient sources for the ontologizing[1] of love—the realization of Love as an organizing Cosmic Principle in the interior sciences—are important sources which require at least some prior mention. By ontology we of course mean to refer to Eros, not as a materialist social construction of reality but as an intrinsic meaning structure of value of Cosmos.

Early sources for this understanding of Love as a basic ontology of Cosmos—as the animating energy of Reality, and particularly as the Creative Process—appear as an esoteric thread that runs through key texts of the interior sciences. We speak not of a premodern dogma claiming a central place for love as the motive force of Reality but of the contemplative realizations of the great traditions. These sets of common realizations derive from the cross-cultural interior investigation and experimentation conducted by some of the greatest hearts, minds, and spirits in known human history.

The writings of the interior sciences on the motive force of Eros deserve at the very least their own volume. Indeed, each of the interior science traditions deserves its own volume, with a second volume integrating their shared perennial features. But since that is beyond our purview here, we must at least mention them as part of the larger source context for the ontology of Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe, the Universe: A Love Story, and the Intimate Universe that we are presenting here. After we adduce below at least the fragrance of these important ontologizers of Eros as the motive force of Reality, we also need to briefly explain why these sources have been largely ignored—with some notable exceptions—in the contemporary evolutionary conversation.

One great tradition that has a profoundly historical, even proto-evolutionary character is that of Hebrew mysticism. Here, Eros is often portrayed as the central animating force of both Reality itself and what would come to be called the evolutionary process. I (Marc) have written an entire volume on this realization of the Universe: A Love Story and Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe within the interior sciences of Hebrew wisdom. That volume is entitled: The Wisdom-of-Solomon Matrix of CosmoErotic Humanism: Early Ontologies of the Love Story of the Universe in the Interior Sciences of Hebrew Wisdom.[2] The next section will naturally not cover all of the material but will at least evoke some of the parameters of this crucial lineage in the interior sciences.

I first described these sources in 2003, in a work called The Mystery of Love, later expanded under the title A Return to Eros.[3] In the early work, there are thirty pages of primary sources, drawn from two millennia of texts, supporting the above claim.

The premise of that heavily footnoted work, The Mystery of Love, and its later recension, without the explicit footnotes and in a more evolutionary context, as A Return to Eros, is that we live in a CosmoErotic Universe—and that the CosmoErotic Universe lives in us—and that Reality is incepted, animated, and driven by Eros all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain. (more…)

Early Ontologies of Both—The Universe: A Love Story and Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe—in the Interior Sciences2024-01-26T06:54:38-08:00

The Failed Love Story at the Root of All Evil w/ Aubrey Marcus & Dr. Marc Gafni

We are absolutely delighted to share with you this new, incredible podcast with Aubrey Marcus and Dr. Marc Gafni, in which they talk about one of the most complex issues in philosophy and religion: the root cause of evil.

The thesis that Dr. Marc and Aubrey present is that the evil we see in the world is rooted in failed love stories. Our own love stories—personally and collectively—are, in Marc’s words, “chapter and verse in the Universe: a Love Story.” Evil therefore—the opposite of “live”—is at its root the failure of the love story, which is the very plot line of the real.

Marc and Aubrey unpack the potent and poignant realization, that when you lose the plot line of the real you act against Reality. This sacred hermeneutic—lense of sensemaking—allows us to begin to approach so much of what we see in the world today.

The fundamentalist distortions of Jihad, the hidden power agenda’s of military industrial complexes, and the AI driven “digital dictatorships in the making”, all share a common root: their dissociation from the plot line of “Reality is a love story.”

This frame will help bring understanding to much of what we are seeing in today’s culture, from AI to the war in the Middle East.

The surprise reveal is how the box office hit Barbie, actually points to the reality of our failed love story in Western culture.

We encourage you to slowly listen to every sentence of this deep and nuanced podcast. Marc and Aubrey speak with broken hearts, with clarity, but always in the unknowing. Always in devotion to the Mystery. Yet every sentence and literally every phrase in every sentence, offers new insight and whispers love in every distinction, opening hearts and minds with every breath.

This stunning conversation is not an ordinary podcast. It can’t just be listened to—it must be studied, meditated on and engaged deeply.

It is only that level of deep listening that both allows us to integrate the new Gnosis, even as it generates our own unique contribution, addition and even challenge to this new Dharma.

So that we can together birth “the new human and the new humanity.”

It is our prayer that this deep conversation begins to evoke what we call “a new story of value” that has the power and poignancy to respond to the meta-crisis.

The Failed Love Story at the Root of All Evil w/ Aubrey Marcus & Dr. Marc Gafni2024-01-31T06:58:57-08:00

December Updates: A New Story of Value in Response to the Meta-Crisis

Our new book can be pre-ordered from the US and Canada (we are working on creating direct ordering from Europe and other countries – please stand by!):

FIRST PRINCIPLES AND FIRST VALUES

Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, the Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come

by David J. Temple

AS THE META-CRISIS DEEPENS, THE FATE OF CIVILIZATION AND HUMANITY HANGS IN THE BALANCE.

First Principles and First Values is the tip of the spear in the fight for a humane future. Establishing frameworks for a new school of thought called CosmoErotic Humanism, the book is built around forty-two propositions that provide new source code for the future of planetary culture.

Like Europe in the early Renaissance, humanity is in a time between worlds, at a time between stories. First Principles and First Values contains blueprints for the bridge needed to cross from this world to the next.


“The position argued for in this book is of vital importance . . . it needs urgently to be read.”
IAIN McGILCHRIST, author of The Master and His Emissary

Pre-Order Here

This page provides links to everything that has been posted on this site in December 2023.

Featured Essay in December 2023

A New Story of Value in Response to the Meta-Crisis

Download a Preview Draft of the Essay

Excerpt from the Pre-Version of the Book

The Rise of Evolutionary Relationships

The Evolution of Relationships

In Response to the Meta-Crisis

By Dr. Marc Gafni

&

Barbara Marx Hubbard

Decades of research and study have led us to the conclusion, as we will briefly unpack below, that only a New Story of Value can avert unimaginable suffering or worse and change the vector of history towards ever-deepening expressions of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. As perceptive historians point out, history changes when a compelling New Story [hi-story] emerges that changes the vector of cultural evolution.

Indeed, it is only a New Story that has the capacity to change the course of history. Technology matters. But the story we tell about technology matters as well. Exponential technology matters. But the story we tell about exponential technology matters exponentially more.

Without such a new, shared, evolving Story of Value, our capacity to escape unbearable suffering and, based on hardheaded analysis, even extinction seems, from a human perspective, unlikely. The results of not being able to articulate a New Story of Value are excruciating, both in the level of suffering for billions of human beings, as well as the entire life system—and, more than even all that, for the trillions of lives that will remain unborn.

All of the past depends on us to fulfill its dreams.

All of the present depends on us to live.

All of the future depends on us to be born. 

This essay is also part of a whole volume, The Rise of Evolutionary Relationships: The Evolution of Relationships in Response to the Meta-Crisis. The purpose of that volume and its companion volume The Future of Relationships: On the Evolution of Love is to provide a first articulation of this New Story of Value in the domain of relationship, which, as we will see below, is the core structure of Reality itself.

The Ontology of Story: Story Is the Structure of the Real

Postmodernity argues that Reality is merely a story, that no story is better or worse than any other story, and that stories are but social constructs, fictions, or figments of our imagination.[1]

But of course, postmodernity is not only deconstructing the ontology, or Reality, of Story, but also the ontology, or Real Nature of Value.[2]

These deconstructions of Story and Value are true but partial. It is true that there is a plentitude of stories we tell about Reality, and that Story is the underling unit that constitutes Reality. But it is not true that Story is mere fiction. There is a plentitude of stories, not because there is no Real Value or Meaning, but rather because there is a plentitude of Value and Meaning.

Story is the structure of the Real. This is what we have referred to, in other contexts, as the Ontology of Story. Story itself is the source code, not only of culture and consciousness, but of all of Reality all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain.[3] It is for that reason that to evolve the Story is to evolve the source code.

Emergent from the recognition of the Ontology of Story is the recognition that we live in inescapable narrative frameworks—Stories of Value—which define the nature and quality of both our personal and collective human lives.

Stories are not merely randomly contrived conjectures. Rather, stories are attempts to gather information, interior and exterior information about the nature of Reality, and translate it into a coherent Story of Value.

Not all stories are equal. There is a hierarchy of stories. In other words, there are better and worse stories.

A better story takes deeper account of more meaning or information, exterior and interior, and weaves that meaning and information together in the most elegant, good, true, and beautiful fashion.

A better story is aligned with more and wider Fields of Value, even as it integrates more contradictions into greater wholes.

A better story weaves a narrative thread that articulates the most coherent and compelling framework that embraces, honors, and uplifts the most-possible people.

A better story must be not only an eternal story—aligned with eternal structures of value—but also an evolving story, aligned with the evolution of value—the evolution of love—the evolution of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.

A better story is an eternal and evolving story.

We cannot trust stories that claim to be only eternal stories, or that claim to be ever-evolving stories with no ground in Eternity—in the Real, which is not dependent on the changing mores of time. The more deeply we investigate Cosmos, both in its exterior and interior faces, deploying the interior and exterior sciences, the more accurate—and the better, truer, and more beautiful—story we can tell.[4]

A story with flawed, incomplete, or distorted plotlines can bring us—and indeed has brought us—to the brink of existential risk, the potential end of humanity as we know it. To respond to this meta-crisis, we need to evolve the story, which is to evolve the source code of culture itself.

What Is the Meta-Crisis?

A simple image:

Let’s turn to a cultural artifact, the Death Star in that cinematic classic of the late twentieth, early twenty-first, century—Star Wars.

The Death Star is a battleship armed so intensely that it poses an existential risk—that means that it has the destructive capacity not just to attack and damage but to destroy a planet. (more…)

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December Updates: A New Story of Value in Response to the Meta-Crisis2023-12-27T03:44:57-08:00

Exploring the Self with Dr. Marc Gafni and Paul Chek

The state of our world is in such a fragile place right now, which means it’s up to all of us to step up to the plate and do our part to make it better. You can’t be that agent of change, however, if you don’t know your self…

Explore the concept of self and be prepared to tackle the three most important questions any human being has to answer as Dr. Marc Gafni returns for another deep dive into cosmo-erotic humanism in this Living 4D conversation with Paul Chek. 

Paul Chek is a world-renowned expert in the fields of corrective and high-performance exercise kinesiology, stress management and holistic wellness.

In this conversation Paul Chek and Marc Gafni explore what Self really means. Discover the three most important questions a human being has to answer and the one thing we need to get right to not go extinct!

SHOW NOTES
  • The most important questions a human being has to answer. (4:14)
  • “If we don’t get this right, we’re going to go extinct.” (10:15)
  • The second simplicity. (18:41)
  • The separate self is a puzzle piece. (32:18)
  • Your unique self. (40:23)
  • Uniqueness: The currency of connection. (52:57)
  • “God is an ultimate wholeness…” (59:09)
  • Evolutionary unique self. (1:11:33)
  • “My unique self is my unique eros.” (1:33:11)
  • The self as an archetype. (1:53:26)
  • Your storyline. (2:10:44)
  • One of the mysteries of reality. (2:20:37)
  • Certainty and uncertainty: Values of the cosmos. (2:27:59)
  • The other door in the self. (2:35:28)
RESOURCES & FURTHER READING

Paul Chek on Marc Gafni: “His work is absolutely friggin’ phenomenal!”

Note: On this website link below, right underneath the one hour video version, you’ll find the longer audio-version: 

Listen to the full podcast here
Exploring the Self with Dr. Marc Gafni and Paul Chek2024-01-04T09:28:25-08:00

Barbie, Hamas, & Homo Amor: From Degraded Love Stories to “The Universe: A Love Story”

Looking at two seemingly unconnected events — the Barbie movie and the Hamas atrocities of October 7, 2023 — helps us clarify our perception and articulate a third possibility. Although there is zero moral equivalence between Barbie and Hamas, both are degraded love stories.

That’s what makes them so dangerous.

  • Hamas is a wildly destructive expression of fundamentalism; it degrades and demonizes the body and desire itself. Desire, perceived as evil, is projected outwards, onto ‘infidels,’ and then brutally destroyed.
  • Barbie is an expression of postmodernism: it disqualifies love, value, and desire as non-real, as mere social constructs.

In absence of real value, we lose capacity for moral distinctions; that’s why Hamas atrocities were celebrated on university campuses across the Western world. Postmodernism and fundamentalism are swelling movements in today’s world, and both will destroy us.

Our only chance is the third way, the third possibility — articulating a shared story of value rooted in the clarified realization that the Universe is a love story, Reality is desire, and no one is excluded from the love story.

This series below is from One Mountain, Many Paths, a weekly live broadcast of Evolutionary Sensemaking with Dr. Marc Gafni. Click here to register to participate live every Sunday at 10 am PT.

(more…)

Barbie, Hamas, & Homo Amor: From Degraded Love Stories to “The Universe: A Love Story”2024-01-04T09:17:42-08:00

November News: Love or Die

This page provides links to everything that has been posted on this site in November 2023.

Featured Essay in November 2023

Love or Die: White Paper by Dr. Marc Gafni

Download the PDF of this White Paper

Introduction

Eros is life. The failure of Eros destroys life. Our lack of Eros is poised to destroy the world. We call this existential risk, or the second shock of existence.

The first shock of existence is the realization — at the dawn of human existence — that the skull grins at the banquet. Life, before it continues, is first confronted by death. The first shock of existence is the death of the individual human being.

The second shock of existence is the death of humanity, or in a second form, the death of our humanity.

All civilizations have fallen because the stories that they lived in were, in some sense, stories based on rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics. Every civilization was weakened by interior polarization caused by the lack of a shared story of value.

We now have a global civilization, but we haven’t created a shared story of value. We haven’t solved the generator functions that caused all civilizations to fall. Our global civilization has exponential technologies and extraction models depleting the earth of resources that it took billions of years to create, which is going to lead to a civilizational collapse.

Existential risk: risk to our very existence.

The choice is clear: love or die.

(more…)

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November News: Love or Die2023-12-26T09:13:25-08:00

From the Holy of Holies: A Dialogue between Drs. Tom Goddard and Marc Gafni on ErosValue and Choice and Choicelessness

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Here is the transcript of this dialogue between Dr. Marc Gafni and Dr. Tom Ronen Goddard.

Marc:                          Let’s talk about this new word in the Dharma, which is a word that appeared maybe a year ago, which is this word ErosValue. That’s our topic for the next few minutes. And in some sense, as you know, my love, we didn’t start talking about First Values and First Principles. The first time I ever mentioned that term, it was probably 2018. I mean, in other words, we talked about the Dharma until then. And at a certain point, I realized that’s the wrong word for lots of different reasons. And so we moved to First Values and First Principles that’s turned out to be extremely rich and necessary. The topic of the first book we’re putting out with World Philosophy and Religion Press is called First Values and First Principles, and according to, whatever the subtitles are, David J. Temple book. I should introduce you to him.

Tom:                           No, I met him in Vermont.

Marc:                          Yeah, that’s right. He did stop by for a second, didn’t he?

Tom:                           Yeah, absolutely.

Marc:                          He was there. That’s true.

Tom:                           I’ve got some of his writing right over there.

Marc:                          Wow! Wow! That’s awesome. That is awesome. That is awesome. Yeah, that is awesome. So it’s very, very, very big deal to put those words together as one word, And we started doing something like this when we started talking about maybe five, six, seven years ago, eight years ago. We started talking about maybe a decade ago. We even started talking about LoveIntelligence and LoveBeauty. And then I added LoveDesire, LoveIntelligence, LoveBeauty and LoveDesire.

We realized that in those words that we had to construct new language. Because if language is this building block of reality, and if we want to evolve reality, we have to evolve language. And Elena actually just wrote me a 10,000-word paper on the nature of language because she’s a linguist and how that fits into the intimacy formula. So language is its own gorgeous world. So ErosValue, what does that mean? What does the ErosValue means? What does it mean to you? Let’s just talk about it. This is not a dial-a-lecture. This is not dial-a-dharma Let’s study it together. What’s Eros?

Tom:                           What first occurs to me is bidirectional. I mean, Eros generates value, but there’s also Eros as a value.

Marc:                          Right. So on the one hand, so I started saying it as Eros, we made a list of First Principles and First Values. We could only do like deep in Holy of Holies. So we made a list of First Principles and First Values, and there’s 18 of them, and that shows up in the new book. And okay, so what’s the primary values? The primary value is Eros, and it’s all of them in a certain sense emerge from Eros, But it’s also true that when I say that there’s intrinsic value in the cosmos, what I mean is that value is erotic. What that means is that value is alluring. My value is alluring. I’m allured to value. It’s not a dry category. It’s not a desiccated category. It’s wet. It’s too messy. It’s pulsing. It’s alive, which is why value arouses will.

Let’s go really slow here because we get to like breathe here and go slow, not like quick in a one minute. So what’s will? Let’s see if we fill in the pieces of it. It’s very exciting and it keeps me up at night in a good way. So will as we know is ratzon, R-A-T-Z-O-N.

Tom:                           Right, I remember that, yeah.

Marc:                          Ratzon. Ratzon, always as well. That’s the word. So in radical Kabbalah, for example, there’s an entire extremely important chapter. And again, if you can, as we start Holy of Holies again, there’s like the Sixth, Seventh core books, like have them accessible so you can find this stuff, because it’s…

Tom:                           Right over there. Radical Kabbalah right over there.

Marc:                          Right over there. So there’s a section on ratzon. So ratzon is literally Ratzon Hashem, the Will of God, or Hashem, H-A-S-H-E-M, the Will of the Name.

Now let’s go slow. So will is my will. But where does my will come from? So free will. So I’m looking at this book. It’s popular these days. It’s a very bad book, but everyone thinks it’s brilliant, by Sapolsky basically saying determined life without free, becoming the du jour position these days. Lots of reasons. So bracket that for a second. So ratzon is will. So we’ve got the sense of will.

Okay. So where does my will come from? So if we look at the Song of Solomon and we opened the Song of Solomon, and let’s just read it together, let’s just open it together. Maybe open it up. Read us the first four verses. You give us the first four verses. Give us a slow, dramatic Ronen reading of the first four verses of the Song of Solomon.

Tom:                           Oh, I need a bookmark in that. Here we go. The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s. Oh, that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth for your love is better than wine. Your anointing oils are fragrant. Your name is oil poured out. Therefore, the maidens love you. Draw me after you. Let me make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you. We will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.

Marc:                          So let’s do that last verse. Okay? So draw me after, read that one again. Mashcheni Acharecha Narutzah.

Tom:                           Draw me after you. Let me make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exalt and rejoice in you. We will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.

Marc:                          So this is a major text. So let’s look at the whole thing, we could, but let’s just go for that verse. Mashcheni Acharecha, draw me after you, Mashcheni Acharecha [Hebrew] Narutzah, and I will ruts, I will run after you, but run doesn’t make haste loses the sense of it, is the sense of ruts is to run. And in the account of the chariot, the Maaseh Merkabah, in Ezekiel and Isaiah, [Hebrew], the animals, the wild animals, but also the [Hebrew], that’s how the lineage reads it, [Hebrew] is the aliveness, [Hebrew], the aliveness, ratzo, ruts, ratzo, runs towards, expands, explodes, Ronen explodes. [Hebrew] and then comes back and rests.

So the movement of cosmos, the movement of She, the movement of divinity in Maaseh Merkabah, in the account of the chariot, which is the locus classicus of divine science in the Western world, has this word as its major word, the explosion, the ecstatic explosion is ratzo, to run towards. Make haste is like boring. No, no, it’s like Mashcheni Acharecha, draw me after you, [Hebrew] Narutzah, and I will run towards you.

Tom:                           Right.

Marc:                          [Hebrew], the king has brought me into his inner chambers, Nagila V’nismecha Bach, let us rejoice ecstatically in you, Ki Tovim Dodecha Meyayin, et cetera. Okay, this is a very, very, very important word. So ruts, Ratzon Hashem, very beautiful brother, at the will of God, means this moment in Eros where the first stages, and you wouldn’t know anything about this, but you may have friends.

Tom:                           I’ve read books too. Yeah.

Marc:                          Books.

Tom:                           Yeah.

Marc:                          Sketches. So Mashcheni Acharecha is the seduction. It’s like, “Draw me after you.” And the word meshiha in Hebrew means literally to draw towards or meshiha in Hebrew, you would say, [Hebrew], are you drawn to her? So meshiha means attraction, literally. So Mashcheni Acharecha, allure me to you, so that’s the first stages of allurement. Then there’s a certain moment at which I’m in. You cross that line. There’s a certain line, it’s an invisible line in the sand. Up to the moment of that line, there’s choice. The second you cross that line, choice disappears.

Now in bad literature of sexual harassment, “Oh, I was so and I felt coerced,” we’re talking about the exact opposite. We don’t go choice downward, we go choice upward. So from choice to choicelessness, which is the word that we use in radical Kabbalah in Part 7, Volume 1. So I’m now so in that I’ve crossed the line, I’ve given up my sense of choice, and that’s ruts. That’s running towards, which is will.

So you see something very subtle and very beautiful. We get to slow down and breathe in Holy of Holies, it’s like, “Oh, so will is the place where choice is given up.” That’s the ultimate paradox. Meaning I give up all of the senses of rational choosing, or of what we call in the Zohar ratzon tachton, lower will, and I moved to ratzon elyon, to higher will, which is the place of choicelessness,

So why am I connected to Tom Ronen Goddard? Just because higher will, choicelessness. You might go back and say, “No, no, no, we made a series of choices.” We had Shalom [Mountain Wisdom School] and we had that conversation behind the house. Of course, we chose. There were lots of other people around. There were lots of students. There were lots of teachers. Not that we were stuck and had no choice. True and not true at all. Choicelessness.

Tom:                           I can actually think of the moment I crossed the line with you. I was in the middle of that wisdom school and was like, “Oh, well that’s obvious.”

Marc:                          That’s what this verse is describing.

Tom:                           Beautiful.

Marc:                          Ain’t that gorgeous?

Tom:                           Oh, gorgeous.

Marc:                          Crazy gorgeous. It’s exactly describing that. So that’s where will, paradoxically, comes online. We would think in kind of classical materialist western culture, “Oh, that’s where will disappeared.” No, that’s where the obfuscations in the impediments to will disappeared, what seems to construe itself as will disappeared, and now we cross that line. At the moment we cross that line, you’re in, like, boom! So in a certain sense, everything that led up, we were in Don Manor. In other words, that’s all part of Mashcheni Acharecha, draw me after you. But then there’s a moment where we cross over. And that moment is will. That’s ratzon.

Tom:                           Yeah.

Marc:                          Very, very, very beautiful. Let’s find this first segment. So ratzon, will, is an erotic word. That’s so interesting. That word is tumescent with Eros in its very linguistic structure, not as a kind of later overlay. No, no, no, that’s the point. So it’s through my will that I choose value, but my will is Eros. It starts to get really beautiful, starts to get really beautiful. And what’s happening is, love, just to speak into this little pocket of Tom’s frustration, I’m trying to say big things like this in a minute in One Mountain, which you can’t quite do rely because there’s not enough. It’s why we talked about needing a wisdom school again. You got to go slow. And that’s what I do myself all the time. Everyone thinks I think fast and I don’t. I think very slowly. I read very slowly. And I got to step. Okay. No, no, no. Did I understand that or did I not?

Now I try and find it in my body. What is that? Because it’s in my body, [Hebrew]. To my body, I vision God. That’s the core of our lineage. So if I can’t locate it here, it’s not true. So we can locate it. We could locate it in our erotic union. We could locate it with Jubi, and you could locate it again and again. You can actually find it. The sexual models of the erotic, it doesn’t exhaust the erotic. And the Song of Solomon is, all of the Field of Eros, incarnate in the field of the embodied somatic, sexual, physical. And so we’ve got this notion of will is what chooses value.

And of course, the problem with this book is that it’s frightening. And this is becoming the du jour understanding. Frans De Waal, the [INAUDIBLE 00:15:41] dude. He writes in his usual frank and amusing style. Sapolsky argues that free will is an illusion. His stance is both hard to accept and hard to deny, an utterly fascinating topic with mind bobbling implications for human morality. Thank you, motherfucker. It’s intense. We’re saying something else. We’re saying that actually… it’s only my will that can choose great value. There’s no free will. There’s no point in talking about goodness. Conversation’s over. You can’t speak in terms of value unless there’s an ought in Cosmos. There’s only an ought in Cosmos if there’s a will in Cosmos. And that will has to reside in me and it has to have a dimension of freedom.

Otherwise, Cosmos is a mechanical manual. It’s not actually a sacred text. It’s actually a tech manual. I mean, it’s a very beautiful way to say it. Cosmos becomes a tech manual, if you don’t have that notion. And that notion of will which chooses value is Eros. It’s not you’ve mean to see it, and this hit me like a year ago. It’s not that Eros is a value or that value exudes and is suffused with Eros, although those are both true. But no, Eros and value are literally the same thing. And you’re like, “Oh, oh, ErosValue, one word, capital E, capital V, all the way up and all the way down.”

And let’s say we were doing wisdom school, by the way. What would we do? We’d spend an entire weekend on this term. That’s what we developed the Dharma. This is not a plug for doing wisdom school. Although in a non-Holy of Holies conversation, if we don’t do it at psalm, which my guess is we’re not moving that direction, we should do it. It isn’t necessary. I’m going to do a large wisdom school with Aubrey, but that’s a show. That’s a performance. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the way we did it.

Tom:                           Study hall.

Marc:                          That’s right. What we did at Shalom birthed Dharma.

Tom:                           Yeah.

Marc:                          And it’s desperately missing in the system. We don’t have it. We just do an entire weekend and adjust on ErosValue, which we do practices on ErosValue. We do texts at ErosValue. But you can see it now. And as I’ve mentioned ErosValue in One Mountain, probably 15 times in the last six months that you’ve been there for, but it didn’t because it can’t land. It’s too subtle. It’s an actual realization in your body. Every decision Tom makes is ErosValue.

Now here’s where it gets really crazy. Is he choosing or isn’t he? Well, draw me after you, and I will run towards you. And so on the one hand, there’s this sense of, “Oh, reality, goddess, the awake fabric of cosmos, is drawing me towards. And in that drawing me towards, I have an actual experience of choosing,” which is real. “And then I step over a certain line and then she’s living me. I’m being lived as love.” She’s living me. But it’s not that it’s before choice, it’s beyond choice. It’s not that I’m less than choosing. It’s not that there’s no moral force in cosmos. It’s that I am the moral force of cosmos.

Now you might say, “Okay, Sapolsky would say you’re not choosing even in that first stage.” And so that is a mistake because it assumes that all of cosmos is measurable and quantifiable. And therefore, all reducible to antecedent causation. But actually there was a black box in cosmos. The black box is irreducible, it’s non-quantifiable, it’s non-commodifiable, and it’s directly available to you through a disclosure of the deepest anthro-ontological knowing. So there’s an ontological knowing, which is not breakable, downable, it’s not quantifiable, it’s not reducible. But it’s not an ontological knowing only. An ontological knowing means direct access, direct realization, direct experience. It’s an anthro-ontological knowing, which is our new word for the last three years. Because Tom cannot make sense of his experience without saying that on some level he chose Jubi, and on some level he didn’t. But Tom cannot feel, “Oh, I had to do this Holy of Holies with Marc.” It actually takes away some of his joy.

Marc says, “God, someone put a gun to my head,” or Cosmos, it had to be with Tom. No. No. It’s actually this free delight arose in me, which I got to reach out to, let’s meet once a quarter. And Tom said, “Yeah, let’s meet once a quarter.” And those two freedoms met and danced and created joy. And we have a direct access to that. Now could you then measure and go backwards and say, “Well, that which led to that moment, I’ll give you the entire trail of antecedent causation”? Legitimate? It doesn’t matter. But in that moment, something emerges from that moment, which is new.

Now how do I know that new things emerge from moments? That’s called emergence, what happens all the fucking time. So in other words, if antecedent causation ruled the universe, how would you have emergence? But you can only know it in the first person experience of will. And if you can’t know it, ratzon, you can’t know it in mind, and only known in a first person experience. And what I’d like to suggest is that the next time we have Holy of Holies in three months from now, I will bring a set of texts that we’ve never looked at in Kook, never been translated, which are on this notion of will, which are basically unreadable texts, sacred texts. We’re going to read them for the first time. We’ve never read them in our circles either. And this notion of ratzon and tzorekh means necessity. Couldn’t be any different. Living the relationship between those two is where realization lives.

So ErosValue says, on the one hand, value is free will. So subtle. Look how deep it is. It can make you shiver. It’s so beautiful. Value is like, “We choose.” Value means there’s free will. Eros means Mashcheni Acharecha, draw me after you. Narutzah, let us run. No free will. That old nursery rules disappeared. I’ve crossed the line, and we’re in. There’s no backing out without someone shooting you because you’re in, because there’s a higher will that’s living you.

ErosValue, actually, we now begin to see this very subtle, beautiful thing, which is that Eros is choicelessness and value is choice. Shit, is it beautiful. And now I’m going to tell you something that’s going to flip you out. It’s going to flip you the fuck out, which is really beautiful. The depth of our love and our relationship significantly clarified this to me, myself, as I transmitted it to you. That’s what Holy of Holies does. So I know this and understand this better than I did 20 minutes ago. That’s what Holy of Holies is. It’s not just that I shared information, and it’s your depth of presence, and all of our years and all of our trust, all of our love, that actually allowed this to emerge. That’s the space between the cherubs. That’s why we do this. What else is there to say?

Tom:                           It’s gorgeous.

Marc:                          It’s gorgeous. It’s crazy.

Tom:                           Bring on the unread Kook. Let’s do this. I may not be able to wait three months. How I might be tugging on Suzanne’s coat?

Marc:                          It’s gorgeous, right?

Tom:                           Yeah, it’s beautiful.

Marc:                          Gorgeous. Wow! Wow!

Tom:                           Oh wow!

Marc:                          We had no idea Ronen what would happen in this Holy of Holies. And it was up to her to either [Hebrew] place her scarf on her Holy of Holies, or to not. It’s hers. And she did. There’s no bone in my body that takes that for granted. She just opened the door and she confirmed us and in this huge and gorgeous and tender and beautiful way.

Tom:                           I’m inspired to add just one recollection of that beautiful sit down you had with Jerry*** and there were like probably a half a dozen of us in the room, Sean and Victoria and Adele, and we’re kind of surrounding you at the table view with your wine and Jerry with his two little glasses of carrot juice, as I recall. The question was, “Is it urgent or is it not urgent?” What just came to me is that the urgency feels like this, I will run after you, ratzon.

Marc:                          That’s exactly right. No, that’s beautiful. That’s very brave and that’s exactly right. We should find, let’s ask. So I believe we should have that someplace.

Tom:                           You know, Sean has that. He sent it to me about three times. So I have it.

Marc:                          Let’s find it and let’s post it. And my thought is, like a crazy idea, we could even post this and that together. Let’s clarify the Dharma.

Tom:                           Beautiful. Beautiful.

Marc:                          Isn’t that gorgeous?

Tom:                           Gorgeous!

Marc:                          It’s crazy good to us. I love you beyond mad, my friend. I’m grateful.

Tom:                           I love you. I’m in tears.

Marc:                          I’m in tears too. Yeah.

Tom:                           I miss you.

Marc:                          All the way. All the way.

Tom:                           I run after you.

Marc:                          I run after you, my love. Together. No words.

***See this beautiful dialogue between Dr. Marc Gafni and Jerry Judd, the founder of Shalom Mountain.

Listen to the Dialogue between Jerry Judd & Marc Gafni on Unique Self and Urgency
From the Holy of Holies: A Dialogue between Drs. Tom Goddard and Marc Gafni on ErosValue and Choice and Choicelessness2023-12-11T07:24:22-08:00

Discovering Your Unique Self Is the Key for New Conscious Business Leadership — with Dr. Marc Gafni and Studio Stijn

In this episode Marc Gafni shares his ideas about Conscious Business, Conscious Leadership, purpose and the importance of developing yourself as a conscious leader, manager and, in fact for any human being,  in order to serve others. He elaborates on the idea of ‘The Unique Self for leaders and their business in todays world’.

Marc is a visionary thinker, spiritual teacher,  social activist, passionate philosopher, and author of ten books, including the award-winning Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment. He holds his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University, is a rabbi and had a talk show on Israelin television.

Together with John Mackey , CEO of Whole Foods Market and entrepreneur Kate Maloney he brings revolutionary ideas on how business should and can be meaningfull far beyond the individual benefit but serving for the better of society and the world.

Marc is known for his rare combination of brilliant mind and overflowing heart. He is a leading public intellectual and has been called a trail-blazing visionary in opening up new possibilities for love, Eros and relationship.

In that regard he is the co-founder and president of The Centre of Integral Wisdom and at the end of August he will be in Belgium leading a retreat called the ‘Eros mystery School’. If after listening you feel like you want to participate to this great event, you can use the link below.

Listen to this podcast here
Discovering Your Unique Self Is the Key for New Conscious Business Leadership — with Dr. Marc Gafni and Studio Stijn2023-12-11T07:35:43-08:00

Navigating the Mind, Body, and Heart Connection with Dr. Marc Gafni and Aaron Alexander

In this episode of the Align podcast, Marc Gafni talks about the mind, body, and heart connection. He covers the different ways tension manifests in the body, and the ways we can communicate with music. He also dives deep into the importance of our psychological self, mystical self, and future self, as ways to view our past, present, and future. We end the conversation with an exploration of love and compassion, and methods to be more mindful in day-to-day life.

Listen to this podcast here
Navigating the Mind, Body, and Heart Connection with Dr. Marc Gafni and Aaron Alexander2023-12-11T07:44:06-08:00

The Hidden Wisdom of the Temple Solomon Recovered w/ Rabbi Dr. Marc Gafni and Aubrey Marcus

What is the wisdom of the Temple of Solomon that has been hidden for over 3000 years?

The Hebrew Wisdom sage, leading world philosopher, my teacher, Dr. Marc Gafni, has been on a quest to decipher these texts like the Da Vinci Code, and the evolution of the secrets revealed may be exactly what is necessary to deliver us from the existential threats we face today.  

For more on the wisdom from the Solomon lineage, and a deeper understanding of the CosmoErotic Universe, check out the book: ⁠A Return to Eros by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid. 

Time Stamps:

00:00– Intro

2:00– The Lineage Of The Temple Of Solomon

17:00– Totalitarianism, Invisible Controllers, AI, Dystopia

41:12– Downloading The Temple Of Solomon

1:05:33– Understanding Eros More Deeply

1:17:50– Desire, Will, & The Name Of God

1:33:53– The Feminine Desire & Pleasure

1:40:55– Paganism, Eros And Ethics

1:53:34– What Actions Can We Take?

The Hidden Wisdom of the Temple Solomon Recovered w/ Rabbi Dr. Marc Gafni and Aubrey Marcus2023-12-06T05:29:26-08:00

On Tantra, Erotic Humanism, & Pleasure (Part 1 & 2) with Dr. Marc Gafni at Untamed & Unashamed

In this episode we discuss:

-what brought him to his studies on eros and mysticism

-What is Eros

-What it is to live in Eros

-how our culture has institutionalized the fall of eros in to the sexual

-All ethical collapses come from the failure of the erotic

-what is Tantra

-the word messiah means conversation

-we put someone on the outside, in order to feel on the inside

-Orgasm means light

-There is no Hebrew word for charity

-sexuality contains with in it all wisdom

-the different voices of pleasure

Dr. Marc Gafni on Tantra, Erotic Humanism, & Pleasure (Part 1)

Click here to listen to this podcast.

Dr. Marc Gafni on Tantra, Erotic Humanism, & Pleasure (Part 2)

Click here to listen to this podcast.
On Tantra, Erotic Humanism, & Pleasure (Part 1 & 2) with Dr. Marc Gafni at Untamed & Unashamed2023-12-06T05:20:48-08:00

Challenging the Purity Culture: All of Reality Is Driven by the EROTIC — with Dr. Marc Gafni and the Medicin Podcast

In this important conversation, we are challenging the ethos of Purity Culture and offering a new shared Story of Value.

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Timestamps

00:00 Intro + What Marc would gift to the world

08:28 Our upbringing in purity culture

15:17 Sex: Negative, Positive, Neutral + Sacred

28:50 New Narrative: Sex Erotic

35:20 Purity of F*ck

44:40 How GOD becomes more GOD

50:20 Many qualities of love-making

55:55 The “Holy of Holies” of the Bible

1:02:00 Collapsing under unbearable shame

1:10:23 The tragedy of Fundamentalism

1:16:04 How to start experiencing Eros

1:26:30 Accessing your unique script of desire

1:33:33 Boundary breaking in Eros

1:41:24 How to approach with our children

1:42:00 Free gifts from Marc

1:45:08 Where to find more from Marc

Challenging the Purity Culture: All of Reality Is Driven by the EROTIC — with Dr. Marc Gafni and the Medicin Podcast2023-12-06T05:40:46-08:00

Dr. Marc Gafni: Anthro-Ontology and the Three Eyes

Download a PDF of the Essay HERE

This is an early draft of an essay drawn from the forthcoming volumes of The Universe: A Love Story—First Meditations on CosmoErotic Humanism in Response to the Meta-Crisis in the Great Library of CosmoErotic Humanism. The first draft of this essay was written by Dr. Marc Gafni in conversation with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Dr. Zak Stein. It was edited and prepared for publication by Kerstin Tuschik. We welcome substantive feedback as we prepare a more advanced version of this essay.

At the core of CosmoErotic Humanism—in contradistinction for example to the Kingship model of God that dominates much of classical organized religion, or the flatland reductionism not of authentic empirical science but, rather, of the dogmas of scientistic materialism—is the realization that Reality is Eros. Eros, as we have noted, is not a one-dimensional force of allurement. If it was, Cosmos would disappear in a split-second. Rather, Eros is the precise balance between allurement and autonomy—attraction and repulsion—fusion and fission.

It is this kind of First Value and First Principle that animates our words when we write, we live in an Intimate Universe—or what we sometimes refer to as a CosmoErotic Universe. Eros seeks intimacy. Indeed, the plotline of Reality is the progressive deepening of intimacies. Evolution is the Love Story of the Universe—The Universe: A Love Story.

This gnosis of First Principles and First Values, however, is disclosed to us not through natural law, which would then be subject to the naturalistic fallacy,[1] nor through what is classically termed a supernatural intervention of revelation. We do not turn first to nature. Nor do we turn to the caricature of a small local God, owned by one nation or religion.

Rather, we turn inward. And here, we invoke the Anthro-Ontological Method. At the core of Anthro-Ontology is the realization that not only do we live in Reality, but Reality lives in us. We not only live in an Intimate Universe, but the Intimate Universe lives in us.

The far-reaching implication of this realization is that our own clarified interiors—as humans (= anthropos)—disclose a deeper truth (ontology) about the nature and structure of Reality itself. That means that the Eros—or Love—that throbs at the core of our being is not isolated or local. Rather, the qualities of clarified Eros that live inside us participate in the largest qualities of Evolutionary Love, as intrinsic to Cosmos.

These First Principles and First Values of evolution are both the ground and the telos of Cosmos.

It is within the context of this telos—these evolving First Values and First Principles—that the Reality of Cosmos unfolds.

In this context, there is no contradiction between freedom and necessity, or between contingency and elegant order and design. Eros is full suffusion and presence, and full freedom—living in dialectical relationship—which is the core nature of the Eros that animates Cosmos. Radical presence, which animates, suffuses, seduces, invites, and even subtly directs us, lives dialectically with contingency, freedom, and surprise—with the possibility of possibilities inherent in every moment.

As our close colleague, the philosopher and scientist Howard Bloom, expresses it, from the perspective of exterior science, opposites are joined at the hip.

Indeed, this notion of paradox—opposites joined at the hip—has been articulated by us, together with Howard, as itself being one of the First Principles and First Values of Cosmos. In the Eros of Cosmos, we directly experience ostensibly designed, elegant order and telos—dancing with contingency and freedom.

You can access this quality—anthro-ontologically—directly in your own experience.

Consider a truly great conversation between close friends, unfolding over many years, which is almost a sacred process.

The nature of such conversations is never pre-planned. There is no formal itinerary, no designated or designed program. They are filled with radical surprise. They are defined by contingency.

At the same time, they are not in any sense random or arbitrary. Indeed, they are filled with elegant order and inherent design. Pieces, strands of conversation, and themes weave themselves together into a larger whole that would have taken months of painstaking planning had they been pre-ordained or written out as a script. And it is doubtful that such pre-design could yield that level of elegance, nuance, and depth. Such conversations are ultimately meaningful and often disclose depth and originality in an always surprising and often shockingly beautiful fashion.

In the Eros of the conversation, the apparent contradiction between elegant design and contingent surprise disappears.

That is the nature of a genuine sacred conversation.

Conversation itself is the erotic structure of Cosmos. Conversations—exchanges of inherent design, proto-interiority, and freedom—define Cosmos from its inception.

It is in this sense that, as noted above, we join Howard Bloom in referring to Reality as the conversational Cosmos. All the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain, within the conversational Cosmos, randomness and contingency are paradoxically seamless with elegant order and telos.

(more…)

Dr. Marc Gafni: Anthro-Ontology and the Three Eyes2023-12-06T05:10:18-08:00

September/October 2023: News from the Center for World Philosophy and Religion

Featured Essay in September and October 2023

Three Universe Stories: Beyond Creationism and Scientism: CosmoErotic Humanism

An Early Version of a White Paper by Dr. Marc Gafni in Conversation with Dr. Zachary Stein and Barbara Marx Hubbard

This is an early draft of an essay written by Dr. Marc Gafni in conversation with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Dr. Zak Stein. It was edited and prepared for publication by Kerstin Tuschik. We welcome substantive feedback as we prepare a later, more advanced version of this essay that will be published in due time.

Download the PDF of this White Paper

The Evolution of Conscious Evolution

CosmoErotic Humanism, as we are describing it here and in other writings, is the next step after what has been described as Conscious Evolution. My (Marc’s) dear friend and evolutionary partner (and co-author of this short book), Barbara Marx Hubbard, has been called the mother of Conscious Evolution.

In our collaboration, she shared so much that was of value and wonder, and we were also able to evolve together the presentation of Conscious Evolution. In the old presentation, as Barbara articulated it over the years, unconscious evolution meant two things:

First, evolution until now has been unaware of itself.

And second, evolution until now has been a primarily random process, or what Barbara called evolution by chance.

In this early articulation, these two points reverse themselves in Conscious Evolution:

First, evolution has only now become conscious of itself through human awareness of evolutionary processes.

And second, we can now move from what Barbara called, evolution by chance to evolution by choice.

This early understanding is important, inspiring in certain ways, and true, but, as we together realized over many conversations, only partial.

So, we must evolve our understanding of Conscious Evolution.

In our new understanding, by Conscious Evolution we do not mean that evolution becomes conscious of itself for the first time through us.

Rather, the new vision expresses itself in at least five distinct ways:

First, from the beginning, evolution possesses its own intrinsic consciousness. In other words, evolution is inherently—at some level of depth—intelligent or conscious.

Second, the consciousness that inheres in evolution is itself evolving. This process has evolved through several stages:

from matter

to life

to mind

—and through each of their sub-stages—

e.g., within matter, the evolution

from elementary particles

to atoms

to molecules.

At each state, as Reality dances into novel becoming, consciousness itself is clearly evolving.

This does not mean that evolution is a linear movement of ever-greater consciousness in all regards, in which the earlier is always lower and the latter always higher.[1] According to a vast literature based on empirical observation, various forms such as bacteria, anthills, and beehives seem to have depths of superorganism consciousness that human beings have not (yet) cultivated.

Indeed, the simple exercise of epistemic humility[2] reminds us that we do not have interior access to the quality of consciousness of any dimension of Reality other than our own.

At the same time, there are dimensions of consciousness that most definitely seem to evolve in some genuine fashion.

For example, there seems to be a clear evolution of the potential for ever-deeper goodness, truth, and beauty. To the best of our knowledge, there are no hospitals caring for the vulnerable animals in the wild, nor is there a general felt sense of kindness, care, or sacrifice for the sake of a stranger who is not of one’s kind.[3]

Moreover, in the worlds of matter and life, there do not seem to be creations of art, drama, music, literature, or the like, as we know them in the human world of value, including the classic triad of goodness, truth, and beauty. There also does not seem to be a process that transmits and evolves truth through bodies of knowledge, like science or moral philosophy.

It is therefore fair to say that not only does evolution possess innate consciousness at the cellular level,[4] but there is also an evolution of consciousness. These first two features significantly evolve the original version of Conscious Evolution, which suggested that evolution suddenly awakens only through human consciousness.

Third, in the evolutionary process, human beings eventually emerge. In specific ways,[5] we are more evolved or advanced expressions of consciousness than anything preceding. As such, we have the capacity to become aware of the entire evolutionary process. Significantly and beautifully, the human being is now, for the first time in history, aware of the entire evolutionary story, with the capacity to tell that great story. Humans are awakening to the realization that we are Conscious Evolution in person. Evolution may have always been intelligent or conscious, but until now, we had no sense that the evolutionary story was being told.[6]

Fourth, as part of that process, human beings have become self-aware to the extent that we consciously realize that we are part of the process. Humans at the leading edge of consciousness self-identify as evolution. And more particularly, as we examine in other writings on CosmoErotic Humanism, we each realize individually that I am an irreducibly unique expression of evolutionary intelligence, desire, and intimacy. In other words, I am not just evolution generically; rather, I am the personal face of the evolutionary impulse.

Fifth, all these uniquely human qualities have together generated the Anthropocene, a global civilization with exponential technologies, in which human choice has virtually unlimited impact on the course of evolution. And humans are becoming increasingly conscious of the power of choice.

This is clearly a new level of Conscious Evolution that is just coming alive in this period of human history. In that sense, it is accurate to say that evolution is becoming aware of itself in what may be a qualitatively different way than ever before.[7] (more…)

More Essays and White Papers Published on This Site in September and October 2023

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Podcasts, Videos, and Audios Published on This Site in September and October 2023

On November 5th, We had Episode VI of the Podcast:

Love or Die 

Next Episode Coming Up December 3rd

11 am PDT • 2 pm EDT • 7 pm UK • 8 pm CET

We are super excited to announce a new episode in the interview series with Dr. Marc Gafni at Parallax, hosted by Andrew Sweeny, from Parallax — a wonderful center of culture and creative debate, aligned with our vision at the Center for Integral Wisdom and Unique Self Institute.

Welcome to this series of dialogues, hosted by Parallax in partnership with the Unique Self Institute:

Homo Amor, Unique Self, and Unique Self Symphony: The Holy Trinity of CosmoErotic Humanism

If you register, you will receive your personal Zoom link that you can use for all calls. After registration, you will have an option to save all dates in your calendar with your personal Zoom link. If you lose it, you can always sign up again.

Read More and Register for the Zoom Link Here
Watch and Listen to the Previous Episodes

On Thursday November 2nd, we had a live dialogue with Dr. Marc Gafni & Andrew Cohen:

Evolutionary Spirituality: Towards an Engaged Evolutionary Mysticism Episode VII

Topic: The articulation of an Evolutionary Spirituality as an overriding moral imperative in response to the meta-crisis

Evolutionary Spirituality: Towards an Engaged Evolutionary Mysticism

The topic of this dialogue with my (Marc’s) friend Andrew Cohen was:

What is Evolutionary Spirituality and why does it matter so much in response to the meta crisis? 

Allow me to try and explain why this feels so beyond vital. 

There can be no intelligent and transformative understanding of any crisis in the world, including the devastating targeted massacres of civilians that we just witnessed in Israel these days, without the articulation of a compelling Evolutionary Spirituality. 

Evolutionary Spirituality brings together two distinct fields:

  • The first is that of spirituality.

  • The second is that of evolution or evolutionary studies.

The general assumption in culture has been, that these two fields are fundamentally distinct and even opposed to one another. Evolution as a theory was thought to replace spirituality. Evolution was the rejection of spirituality as an explanation of reality — replaced by an evolutionary explanation. Evolution was though to be about the emergent and the Avant Garde, while spirituality seems stuck in the moray of tired and discredited lineages.

Watch and Listen to the Previous Episodes
Read more and Register for the NEXT Dialogue

September/October 2023: News from the Center for World Philosophy and Religion2023-11-09T07:53:12-08:00

Israel-Hamas: The Impossible Questions – Podcast Aubrey Marcus with Dr. Marc Gafni

Note to Listener from Aubrey Marcus and Dr. Marc Gafni:

We are at a time between worlds, at a time between stories.

We live in a world of outrageous pain. We live in a world of outrageous beauty. We live in a world of outrageous love.

In this time between stories, we step beyond the old stories of good and evil in its primitive forms. But that does not mean that we are moral relativists or that value is not real. Indeed all of reality, all of life is Value. We can feel the truth of this in our bodies. We may not be able to explain it perfectly, but when we feel we know. And this is what gives us courage to stand on the side of Life.

And to stand on the side of Life is to take a side. A stand for Life, is by nature a stand against anti-Life, or anti-Value. What that means about what should be done is a question of impossible complexity, pain and uncertainty.

We stand for a culture of Eros against a culture of death. We stand for intimacy against alienation. This requires us to be both tender and fierce, to stand for Life against the forces of anti-life.

It is not that there is no value in the universe and therefore naturally no battle between value and anti-value. Value is real. Good and Evil are real. But good and evil are not split along racial or national, or ethnic or religious grounds. This is a seductively simple conception, that in and of itself is the cause of so much horror.

In our formulation, Good and Evil is discerned simply: To be Good is to be ALL IN FOR ALL LIFE.

No one is outside of the circle of Life. To be All in for All Life requires the cultivation of radical discernment within a broken information ecology, and full blown 5th generational warfare in the form of attention hijacking and propaganda. To stand for Life means to make love to the tender sensuality of sensemaking.

Feeling our way slowly and carefully, but not with timidity masking as humility.

Evil is evil.

As much as we might be tempted, we cannot be afraid to call it what it is. Within that is a rejection of universal moral relativism. It is a solemn vow to protect the innocent, all of the innocent, and to protect the world from being held hostage by the forces of anti-life – wherever they are found.

We speak with broken hearts, with clarity, but always in the unknowing. Always in devotion to the Mystery, while always whispering love in every distinction with every breath. It is our prayer that this inspires a story that is unifying rather than dividing. Clarifying rather than confusing. It is a prayer for all Life. Comments will be off on this video, so that everyone can watch it and feel with their own hearts and minds.

Israel-Hamas: The Impossible Questions – Podcast Aubrey Marcus with Dr. Marc Gafni2023-11-01T05:05:16-07:00
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