ErosValue: Early Thoughts – Dr. Marc Gafni

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The core Value of Cosmos is Eros. Indeed, the words cannot be fruitfully split.

Eros IS ethos.[1] Or said slightly differently, Eros is Value exponentialized as the Infinite Value, which suffuses Reality. Nothing exists outside of the circle of Eros as Value and Value as Eros. Eros IS ethos, and ethos, or Value, is the Ought implicit in Reality, which suffuses all of Cosmos. This is what we refer to in CosmoErotic Humanism as ErosValue.

Eros is life.

Eros generates new life.

Eros is a First Principle and First Value of Reality itself.

Eros is Value.

And Value is Eros.

Indeed, it is for that reason that we coined a new term in CosmoErotic Humanism:

ErosValue.

ErosValue generates the Value of Life.

In its creative movement, ErosValue generates ever-greater life through ever-deeper contact. It is the movement of Cosmos that brings together separate parts into larger wholes. The greater wholes have ever-more value. At every greater level of value, the emergent whole has greater depth, consciousness, and capacity.

A subatomic particle has a certain level of depth, consciousness, and capacity—all expressions of Value.

An atom—which contains, within it, subatomic particles that have come together to form a larger whole—has more depth, more consciousness, and more value.

The notion that there is already proto consciousness at the level of atoms is found across the interior sciences and is now appearing in multiple forms across the leading edges of the exterior sciences. The premise, which explains empirical reality far better than the other stunted hypothesis, is what we call pan-interiority. Reality is neither material nor spirit [value]. Rather, Reality is interiors and exteriors all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain. Alfred North Whitehead, who wrote Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russel, called this proto interiority at the atomic level prehension.

Atoms come together to form larger wholes, molecules, which have more depth, capacity, and consciousness—more value.

Molecules form a larger whole, macromolecules, which have more depth, capacity, and consciousness—more value.

Macromolecules come together, intensifying their intimacy, aggregating, alluring separate parts into a larger whole with greater depth, capacity, and consciousness—more value—emerging as cells.

Matter has become life. The physiosphere has morphed into the biosphere. This is the inherent process of Eros—animating the processes of classical science and mathematics, as well as the interior sciences—which drives life all the way up the evolutionary chain. At ever-higher levels of emergence, there is more depth, capacity, consciousness, and hence more value. But while there are self-evident gradients of values, all of Reality has inherent Value. Value lives all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain. Eros is value generating ever-more value.

Ethos and Eros Are One: Eros Is ErosValue

Not only, however, is Eros virtually identical with ethos. Ethos is identical with Eros. In other words, there is a feeling to the ethos-suffused movement towards wholeness. That feeling is Eros. The Universe feels, and the Universe feels Eros. For the feeling of ethos is Eros. (more…)

ErosValue: Early Thoughts – Dr. Marc Gafni2024-04-09T06:55:22-07:00

Resources for the Parallax Course “Opening the Eye of Value during the Meta-Crisis”

The Eye of Value: Early Draft Essay

Dr. Marc Gafni, 2020

Read “The Eye of Value”

On the Erotic and the Ethical

Dr. Marc Gafni, Tikkun, 2003

Read “On the Erotic and the Ethical”

NonDual Humanism

Dr. Marc Gafni, 2006

Read “NonDual Humanism”

The Wisdom of Solomon

Dr. Marc Gafni, 2006

Read “The Wisdom of Solomon”

The CosmoErotic Universe

An Excerpt from A Return to Eros

Dr. Marc Gafni, 2017

Read “The CosmoErotic Universe”

Eros as Value Perception

An Excerpt from Your Unique Self

Dr. Marc Gafni, 2011

Read “Eros as Value Perception”

Eros and Ethics

An Excerpt from A Return to Eros

Dr. Marc Gafni, 2017

Read “Eros and Ethics”

ErosValue: First Thoughts

Dr. Marc Gafni, 2023

Read “ErosValue: First Thoughts”

Value: For Its Own Sake

An Excerpt from A Return to Eros

Dr. Marc Gafni, 2017

Read “Value: For Its Own Sake”
Resources for the Parallax Course “Opening the Eye of Value during the Meta-Crisis”2024-04-09T04:09:02-07:00

The Eye of Value: Early Draft Essay – Dr. Marc Gafni, 2018

Four Prisms of the Eye of Consciousness: The Eye of Value, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of the Heart

The Eye of Value is a term coined and shared by Dr. Gafni in multiple oral teaching over many years and in this more formal essay from 2018. This early draft was drawn from the forthcoming volumes of The Universe: A Love Story—First Meditations on CosmoErotic Humanism in Response to the Meta-Crisis by Dr. Marc Gafni. A more expanded version will also appear in forthcoming work by Gafni, Stein, and Wilber under the moniker of David J. Temple.

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 PDF of the Essay

The Empiricism of Love: The Three Eyes of Knowing—The Three Eyes of Eros—The Three Forms of Gnosis—The Three Eyes That Are One

How do we know that Love is Real?

Not because of faith or dogma.

Rather, we know Love is real because the depth of our direct felt experience of Love tells us it is so. Our experience of Eros generates gnosis. That Love is real, and not a social construction, a fiction, or a figment of our imagination, is, like all good science, an empirical truth. This is, in fact, how all true knowledge in every field of inquiry is obtained.

Knowing through experience, however, is precisely the opposite of dogma. Knowing through experience is what we call empiricism. And knowing that Love is real—in fact more real than anything else, as the intrinsic value of Cosmos it is—is what William James correctly called Radical Empiricism.

Indeed, all of science, as opposed to organized religion, is based on the authority of direct validated experience. This is true both in the exterior science and what we have called the interior sciences. Indeed, in exterior and interior sciences, there are three ways to unfurnish our eyes—or what have been called the Three Eyes of Knowing. In fact, these Three Eyes are three distinct forms of the Anthro-Ontological Method.

In CosmoErotic Humanism, we refer to them as the Eye of the Senses, the Eye of the Mind, and the Eye of Consciousness.

The Eye of Consciousness is also known by at least four other names: the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit, or the Eye of Contemplation.

It is this last set of eyes, by all of their names, which discloses Love’s Ultimate Reality, which is Love’s Knowledge, which is Love’s Value.

But we will see, as consciousness evolves, these very distinct eyes begin to come together, and we realize that, at the higher levels of consciousness, they inseparably inter-animate each other.

Each of these eyes illuminates a different dimension of Reality.

Each one is the province of particular dimensions of knowledge.

At higher levels of consciousness—what is sometimes called, in the interior sciences, nondual realization—the different dimensions, perceived by the different eyes inter-animate, pointing towards a larger Seamless Field of Eros.

Each of the Three Eyes goes by different names.

The Three Eyes Are:

The Eye of the Senses or the Eye of the Flesh.

The Eye of the Mind or the Eye of Reason.

The Eye of Consciousness, alternatively known as the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit, or the Eye of Contemplation. [These names, however, are not quite synonyms. Rather, each implicitly implies a different quality of the Eye of Value. As such, we will occasionally use all of the names together with the lead name(s) being written first and the other names in brackets next to it.]

The Eye of the Senses [Eye of the Flesh] is generally referred to as empiricism. This eye is what is classically called empirical knowledge. But, as we shall see, it is referring to a very narrow strain of empiricism.

The Eye of the Mind [Eye of Reason] is generally known as rationalism, while the Eye of Consciousness [alternatively the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Heart, or the Eye of Value] is generally known as mysticism.

But it would be more accurate to say that all of the eyes are forms of science, what we refer to, in CosmoErotic Humanism, as exterior and interior sciences. All Three Eyes are forms of empiricism. (more…)

The Eye of Value: Early Draft Essay – Dr. Marc Gafni, 20182024-05-21T08:24:09-07:00

The Three Selves: A Memory of the Future

An Essay by Dr. Marc Gafni

This is an early draft of an essay, written by Dr. Marc Gafni. It is part of The Phenomenology of Eros: Meditations on the New Narrative of Desire by Dr. Marc Gafni with Barbara Marx Hubbard & Dr. Kristina Kincaid. 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 PDF of the Essay

Desire: The Heart of Reality

We will start with just a couple of sentences recapitulating what we have discussed in depth elsewhere.[1]

We live in a CosmoErotic Universe. Reality itself is animated and driven by Eros.[2] That is one of the tenets of what we have called CosmoErotic Humanism.[3] The core understanding, drawn from an extensive integration of a broad range of exterior and interior sciences, is that the human participates directly and uniquely in the larger Field of Value, which is Cosmic Eros.

The human being is the CosmoErotic Universe in person. And by CosmoErotic Universe we do not imply merely the physical structure of matter, but rather the entire Universe in all of its interiors and exteriors. The realization that the CosmoErotic Universe distinctly incarnates in every human being is the core of CosmoErotic Humanism.

An essential quality of Eros is desire. Throughout traditional, modern, and postmodern societies, the surface chatter of human culture has tended to identify desire with sex. The two words are virtually synonyms. But deeper levels of realization in all three time periods inform us that desire is not in any sense reducible to the sexual; indeed, sexual desire participates in the larger Desire of Reality—a Desire that powers Reality.

When I am on the inside, when I am fully intimate with myself, I am able to access desire, the most wanton and poignant quality of the erotic experience. Desire is an essential expression of Love and Eros. But when I am on the outside, a stranger to myself, I am alienated from my deepest desires. I cannot access my yearning, though longing and desire are vital strands in the textured fabric of Eros.

It was Rilke, rebelling against the old religious dogmas, who wrote of the shivering blaze that is Reality’s Desire as it awakens in human consciousness:

You see, I want a lot.

Perhaps I want everything

The darkness that comes with every infinite fall

And the shivering blaze of every step up

So many live on and want nothing

But what you love to see are faces

That do work and feel thirst.[4]

Desire is a quality of Cosmos itself. To place desire only in the realm of the sexual is to exile the erotic to the sexual[5]—but we must remember that twelve billion years of Cosmic Eros existed before sex disclosed itself.

(more…)

The Three Selves: A Memory of the Future2024-05-27T05:59:13-07:00

Story as a First Principle and First Value of Reality

By Dr. Marc Gafni

 This is an early draft of an essay, written by Dr. Marc Gafni. It is part of Volume Two of a forthcoming six-volume book series, The Universe: A Love Story, by Dr. Marc Gafni & Dr. Zachary Stein with Barbara Marx Hubbard. 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 PDF of this Essay

We often speak of three great questions of CosmoErotic Humanism.

The first is Who—as in Who am I? Who are You? Who are We? This is the great question of identity.

The second question is WhatWhat do I really want? What is my deepest heart desire? These inquiries are closely linked to the great question of normativity. What is there for me to do? What is there for you to do? What is there for us to do? What ought I do? What ought we do?

The third question, the one which we want to focus on here is WhereWhere am I? Where are You? Where are We? This is the question of Universe Story. In CosmoErotic Humanism, we respond to the Where question with the following series of brief, precisely formulated sentences:

Reality is not merely a fact.

Reality is also a story.

Reality is not an ordinary story.

Reality is a love story.

Reality is not an ordinary love story.

Reality is an Outrageous Love Story, or what we might also call an Evolutionary Love Story.

An Outrageous Love Story is not a pollyannish love story. Rather, an Outrageous Love Story embraces the full ecstasy and agony of life.

“Reality is a Love Story” applies to the narrative arc of the Whole—all of Reality, in its sequenced movement, contingency, and freedom in the context of telos and plotline.

YOUR love story is chapter and verse of the Universe: A Love Story.

Your Unique Self intimately participates in the Love Story of Reality.

One of the key purposes of the writings of CosmoErotic Humanism is to validate every phrase in these sentences, based on the validated insights at the frontiers of human gnosis as found in the exterior and interior sciences across space and time. More specifically, we are engaged in synergizing traditional (premodern), modern, and postmodern Principles and Stories of Value into a new grammar and Story of Value that is greater than the sum of all previous stories or plotlines.

Here we will focus particularly on the elements and dimensions of Story. The series of sentences featured above points towards what we are calling the narrative arc of Reality.

Our point is that Story is not a mere human contrivance that developed and survived because of its adaptive power. Rather, the adaptive power of Story is rooted in its fundamental, ontological status. Reality itself is stories all the way down the evolutionary chain. Said differently, Story is a First Principle and First Value of Reality. Human beings think and feel in stories because this first Value of Reality lives in us, as us, and through us. And here we are referring to the anthro-ontological Principle that lies at the very heart of the epistemological method of CosmoErotic Humanism.

The First Principle and First Value of Story is implicit in both the interior and the exterior sciences. To approach this First Principle, we need to pause and briefly unpack four implicit elements that apply to every manner of Story all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain, through all levels of matter, life, and the depths of the self-reflective human mind. It will then become apparent that these core elements of Story are at play throughout all of Reality, across space and time.

The Four Elements of Story

The first element of Story is a thread of action, in which events and dynamics are causally connected to each other. (more…)

Story as a First Principle and First Value of Reality2024-03-27T07:03:03-07:00

Introduction from the New Book on “First Principles & First Values”

Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, the Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come by David J. Temple

CosmoErotic Humanism is a philosophical movement aimed at reconstructing the collapse of value at the core of global culture. This movement emerges in response to the meta-crisis, understanding existential and catastrophic risks as rooted not only in failures of economics, politics, and technology, but in failed worldviews. The core of CosmoErotic Humanism is a system of First Principles and First Values that recasts cosmic evolution as a Story of Value in which humanity plays a unique role. These First Principles and First Values ground a comprehensive set of theories, including self and psychology, epistemology, scientific metaphysics, education, theology, mysticism, sexuality, and value.

CosmoErotic Humanism thereby responds to the three great questions: Where? Who? and What? It offers a new Universe Story (Where am I?), a new narrative of identity (Who am I?), and new vision of ethics (What ought I/we do?). These are some of the first words on the possibilities of a world philosophy adequate to our time of civilization transformation. What is offered by CosmoErotic Humanism is a new Story of—eternal yet evolving—Value that can serve as a context for our diversity, finally allowing us to speak of humanity as part of a shared Story of evolving Cosmic Value.

Download Chapters 1-5 of the Book HERE

To the Reader

The propositions collected here unpack the urgent moral need to articulate a new vision and theory of value. Simply put, humanity must redefine what it understands to be valuable if it is going to survive. Humans must understand the importance of what they value in the Cosmos—the reality of value itself—beyond the notion that what they value is, for example, simply an arbitrary price that can be fixed to a commodity. The idea that a tree is only as valuable as what it can be sold for is absurd. The idea that a person is only as valuable as what they can contribute to society is also absurd. In fact, both incarnate a dimension of value that is immeasurable and fundamentally irreducible to its commodified form. Yet just this kind of absurdity has been driving global culture for centuries.

There has been great confusion in value theory over the last two hundred years. On the one hand, conservatives have attempted to simplify the discussion to a single list of preordained and eternal values, which must be protected, and to which all people must pledge allegiance. At the same time, driven by a reductive materialism, scientific communities largely claim that only what is described by physics is real and that therefore nothing ultimately has intrinsic value. Given this metaphysical assumption, contemporary value theory has stridently argued that value is but a contrived human invention. The rise of postmodernity has only exacerbated this trend, labelling all values “social constructs,” “fictions,” or “figment of our imaginations.” This claim has now entered mainstream culture. To cite but one example, two extremely popular books by Yuval Harari, Sapiens and Homo Deus, present these kinds of dogmatic postmodern claims as taken-for-granted assumptions. Harari’s books have received enthusiastic endorsements from popular cultural luminaries, including prime ministers, presidents, corporate leaders, and myriad literary, spiritual, and religious figures.

Value, however, is not merely instrumental or economic. It is not a social construction or cultural contrivance—not a mere fiction covering over a truly valueless and therefore ultimately meaningless world. The propositions here begin to demonstrate that value is intrinsic to Cosmos, all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain. Value is foundational and evolving. It is not that human beings contrive value; rather, value precedes life. Life is an inherent expression of value. Life is contrived in pursuit of Cosmic Value. Cosmic Value in this way generates life, as life emerges in pursuit of value. We live inside of value even as value lives inside of us. Reality is value. But this is all ahead of the story.

The material collected here from the internal writings of the Center for World Philosophy and Religion. The Center is co-founded and led by Marc Gafni and Zak Stein. Together with Ken Wilber—also a cofounder of the Center—and an international team, they execute the Center’s mission: to evolve culture as needed in response to the looming threat of existential and catastrophic risk. This movement in culture has become referred to as CosmoErotic Humanism. Future volumes will include many colleagues who have been in leadership positions or dialogue with the Center for World Philosophy and Religion over the years—including Barbara Marx Hubbard, Lori Galperin, John P. Mackey, Howard Bloom, Ervin László, Sally Kempton, Daniel Schmachtenberger, and others. In each volume, as appropriate, we will recognize any particular partners who played a key co-authorship role in that particular work.

Taking the form of forty-two telegraphic propositions, this extended monograph provides a brief unpacking of CosmoErotic Humanism’s First Principles and First Values. We are not making our full arguments here; these will appear in longer forthcoming volumes. Please read through the propositions themselves, skipping ahead to those most interesting to you, those that elicit the most desire. Also review the list of First Principles and First Values (see pages 168–170) and try to hold the whole picture before beginning to read through them in sequence. Here we are putting it all on the table, as it were, so that, as we begin to publish more and elaborate on these themes, there is no confusion as to where we stand.

David Judah Temple
October 2023
Vermont, USA

Photography by Kristina Tahel Amelong

The following is the Introduction from our new book “First Values & First Principles” by David J. Temple.

Download Chapters 1-5 of the Book HERE
Order the Book

David J. Temple is a pseudonym created for enabling ongoing collaborative authorship at the Center for World Philosophy and Religion. 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.

Dr. Marc Gafni is a visionary world philosopher and futurist, one of the leading formulators of world spirituality and religion of our time, and a beloved teacher and public intellectual with a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University. He has more than twenty books to his name, including Your Unique SelfA Return to Eros, and three volumes of Radical Kabbalah.

Dr. Zak Stein is an educator, groundbreaking educational theorist, and futurist who specializes in developmental theory and metrics with a doctorate in the philosophy of education from Harvard University. He is the author of Education in a Time Between Worlds, among many other publications.

Ken Wilber is the creator of Integral Theory, with over twenty-five books to his name. He is one of the most influential philosophers of our time.

Introduction: On Redefining “Value” & Realizing Intimacy with All Things During the Meta-Crisis

The world is not what it was when the great wisdom traditions first began to (re)connect (“religion” is from the Latin religare, meaning to bind or tie) the human to the Cosmos through the identification of a Field of Value in which all life participates. The last century has seen more change in the conditions of human existence than any other period in known history. Technologies and societal evolutions have moved the center of culture outside the Field of Value. Humanity has become untethered from Reality, and more specifically: divorced from the Reality of Value. And so there is an urgent need for new forms of religion, philosophy, and culture that reconstruct value and reconnect humanity with nature and Reality.

Concern for the legacy of the great traditions is what unites the writing collected here to the modern tradition of perennial philosophy. This tradition suggests that a common core of truths can be found within all the best works of humanity’s religious imagination and interior sciences of contemplation. We propose here an Evolving Perennialism in which universal and eternal truths can be identified without becoming fixed. Eternal values evolve. As explained below, this is one of the ways beyond the devastating criticisms of accepted forms of value that modernity and postmodernity have rightfully offered. The failures of prior traditions that enthroned value do not put an end to value; in our hands, these critiques serve to evolve value. (more…)

Introduction from the New Book on “First Principles & First Values”2024-03-12T08:34:49-07:00

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 & Dr. Zachary Stein with Barbara Marx Hubbard. 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.  (more…)

The Narrative Thread of Cosmos: The Evolution of Intimacy Through the Four Big Bangs2024-02-28T07:51:55-08:00

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

The following creed was written in 2017 and signed by Dr. Marc Gafni, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Dr. Zachary Stein. It emerges from some of the core tenets of CosmoErotic Humanism.

THIS SHORT PROLOGUE MUST BE READ AS PART OF CREED:

The Evolutionary Love Creed is not merely poetry or metaphor. It is the most accurate take on Reality that we have today, based on the deepest integrated insights from all the premodern, modern, and postmodern sciences – and from both, what we call the interior and the exterior sciences – woven together in a higher evolutionary embrace. Elaborating the tenets of this creed in practice and theory constitutes the combined work of the Center for World Philosophy and Religion and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution.

The Evolutionary Love Creed

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 LoveIntelligence. 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 that humanity gives birth to 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 Stein2024-03-05T07:27:51-08:00

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.

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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

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

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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

Is Religion for the Happy-Minded? A Response to Harold Kushner

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Written and published by Marc Gafni in 1986 for Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought, Vol. 22, No. 3 (FALL 1986), pp. 54-65.

In a very profound way, Harold Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People (Avon Books, 1981) and the themes it treats evoke in the reader feelings of warmth, compassion, and drawing one closer to all who suffer in this world. The tragic story of Aaron Kushner (the author’s son) and the very real depth with which his parents experienced suffering cannot but make one feel like reaching out in love and respect to the author. Yet, at the same time, I found the underlying premises of the book deeply troubling. Its message, meant to be comforting, is, in fact, nothing short of terrifying.

Kushner, claiming to speak for Judaism, asserts that God is, in his term, “powerless” (pp. 42-44). “God does not, and cannot, intervene in human affairs to avert tragedy and suffering. At most, He offers us His divine comfort, and expresses His divine anger that such horrible things happen to people. God, in the face of tragedy, is impotent. The most God can do,” Kushner eloquently proclaims, “is to stand on the side of the victim; not the executioner.”

That God gives free reign to an executioner is a common Jewish position, classical, medieval and modern. “Once permission is given for the destroyer to destroy, no distinction is made between the righteous and the wicked.” (Rashi Exodus 12:22).

While Judaism certainly maintains that God, in His divine empathy, stands on the side of the victim, no classical Jewish position has ever maintained that God is incapable of controlling the executioner.

Kushner uses the book of Job to lend the weight of religious authority to his position. Merely to point out the obvious-that Kushner’s interpretation of the book of Job, for instance, has little or nothing to do with the Biblical book by that name-fails to undermine the popular appeal that has propelled Kushner’s book to the bestseller lists. In fact, Kushner feels quite comfortable admitting to intellectual dishonesty. In an interview with Moment magazine (November 1981), he was asked: “You argue that it is simply wrong to blame God for the bad luck, for the nastiness, for the evil; and yet you are perfectly prepared to praise God for the good, to thank God. How do you reconcile that?” To which he carefully replied: “Walter Kaufman calls it ‘religious gerrymandering’.’ That is you draw the lines for your definition of God to include certain things and exclude others.”

While I certainly believe that profound suffering moved Kushner to take up his pen, that still cannot justify intellectual gerrymandering.

The heart of Kushner’s position is the claim that traditional beliefs about God’s relationship to the universe, and to man, are wrong, and that his own account is right.

Kushner’s basic method of argumentation is anecdotal. He cites particular cases of suffering and then a,· mpts to demonstrate the inadequacy of various theodicies as applied to those cases. But the best theodicy is still a human, all too human, theodicy. No theodicy can give pat answers for every circumstance of suffering. Theological reflection can deepen our appreciation of the problem and provide frames of reference with which to approach the experience of suffering. However, from no single set of theological premises can an all-embracing solution be expected. God, we believe, knows the results of all good and evil, past, present, and future, and measures the diverse values (spiritual; intellectual, ethical, aesthetic, hedonic, etc.) which the universe displays, and with which man is confronted. Man does not. Therefore, we must beware of “refuting” theological reflection by showing that it has difficulty fulfilling claims that it has never made.

II

It is instructive to examine Kushner’s position on his own terms. This section of the essay will comment on six of the life cases which Kushner cites to support his general conception of religion, his rejection of classic theodicy and his central claim: that God cannot control what happens in our world.

The Case of Bob (pp. 94-96)

Bob has just made the difficult decision to place his mother in a nursing home. Although his mother is “basically alert and healthy and does not require medical care” she can no longer live alone. After a brief attempt, Bob and his family decide that “they are not prepared to make the sacrifice of time and lifestyle which caring for a sick, old woman requires.” That weekend, Bob, who did not usually go to synagogue, went to services hoping they would give him “the tranquility and peace of mind he needed.” As luck would have it, the sermon that morning was on the fifth commandment. The clergyman spoke of the sacrifices parents make in raising children and the reluctance of children to make sacrifices for older parents in return. He asked: “Why is it one mother can care for six children, but six children can’t care for one mother?” It bothers Kushner that Bob was made to leave the service feeling “hurt and angry.” Bob feels that religion has told him that he is a “selfish and uncaring person.” He is haunted by the idea that if she dies soon he will never be able to live with himself “for having made her last years miserable because of his selfishness.” And Kushner, too, is upset with religion because “the purpose of religion should be to make us feel good about ourselves” after making difficult decisions. (more…)

Is Religion for the Happy-Minded? A Response to Harold Kushner2023-11-01T04:56:14-07:00

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

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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…)

A New Story of Value in Response to the Meta-Crisis2023-12-26T09:17:44-08:00

Love or Die: White Paper by Dr. Marc Gafni

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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…)

Love or Die: White Paper by Dr. Marc Gafni2023-12-06T05:10:39-08:00

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…)

Three Universe Stories: Beyond Creationism and Scientism: CosmoErotic Humanism2023-11-28T08:27:32-08:00

First Principles & First Values: Toward a Universal Grammar of Meaning in a Time Between Worlds – A White Paper

Living in the Tao: Toward a Global Ethos for a Global Civilization

<<< DOWNLOAD PDF >>> 

<<< DOWNLOAD PDF >>> 

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First Principles & First Values: Toward a Universal Grammar of Meaning in a Time Between Worlds – A White Paper2023-06-17T12:21:06-07:00

Dr. Marc Gafni: From the Failure to Participate in the Conspiring of Reality to Conspiracy Theory

On the Failure of Eros, First Principles, and a Portal to Evolution’s Next Step

by Dr. Marc Gafni

This article is an edited Transcript from One Church – Episode 189 – May 24, 2020. You can watch the whole episode on the Watch page of the One Mountain, Many Paths Website. One Mountain, Many Paths is a project of our sister organization, the Foundation for Conscious Evolution.

Read below or download the article here:

The Great Conspiring of Reality: What Do Conspiracy Theories Get Right?

On every news channel in the world in the last six or seven weeks, the conversation is around one thing. The conversation is around conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theory has moved from the periphery of culture, from its fringe to its center. Why has conspiracy theory moved from fringe to center, at this particular moment in time? And why do we need to talk about it, why does it matter? In newspapers in Asia and in Europe and in South America and in Africa, all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, why is conspiracy theory in the mainstream media the lead item? Why is it so critical for us to understand this?

Because it’s actually speaking to something unbelievably important. The sensemaking that we need to do is to understand this in the largest light. The sensemaking that’s being done around conspiracy theory, there is some truth, there are some good things being said, but it’s so shallow, almost insipid, pallid. Neither the conspiracy theorists don’t understand the mainstream media, the mainstream media doesn’t understand the conspiracy theorists. Both of them dismiss each other. It’s an expression of the larger polarization, the larger culture war.

Why are we attracted to conspiracy theory? Why is it driving the click bait structure of the virtual world? What is attractive in it? Where is the allurement? Where is the attraction? That’s the deep question. Anyone who believes every conspiracy theory is a fool. Anyone who doesn’t believe any conspiracy theories is also a fool, perhaps a greater fool.

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Dr. Marc Gafni: From the Failure to Participate in the Conspiring of Reality to Conspiracy Theory2023-06-17T12:26:43-07:00