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Part 2: Our Evolutionary Journey : Past and Future

Our Past

When most people think about evolution, if they think about it at all, it usually through a lens focused into the distant past and the fossils of extinct dinosaurs, mammals that once walked on the planet or remains of our cave dwelling ancestors.

From this perspective our evolution can appear to essentially be behind us.

After all many of us now live in huge cities and have the internet connecting us across the globe, self driving cars are becoming more commonplace, renewable fuel sources are coming online, we can 3D print human organs and there are increasing rights for marginalized people.

On the surface it can look like that apart from some ongoing improvements, we have essentially reached the peak of our human development, and for an ape that not so long ago was living in caves, we have made huge strides.

Our Future

Looking into the future, books and films usually envision people as basically the same as now, with the same kinds of values and ideals, even if we are living on Mars, traversing galaxies at lightspeed, augmenting our bodies with amazing prosthetics or even uploading our consciousness into a supercomputer.

The focus of the lens to the future is on our external developments and rarely are the possibilities for our internal transformation considered.

It will be humans as we know ourselves now that will be living in the future,

But what if our current stage of development is merely just that, a stage, and where we have got to so far?

Since the Big Bang 13.7 billion year ago evolution has been continuously moving forward and our human evolutionary journey has occupied only a tiny segment of this vast unfolding.

Yet in that time we have moved from single cell creatures to aquatic animals with gills, to then breathing air and making the momentous move to crawling out on to dry land for the first time.

We have gone on to evolve into little furry burrow dwelling creatures with a small and simple brain and scurrying around on all fours.

From here we moved up in the safety of trees, developed opposable thumbs, began to use tools and live together in social groups.

Something remarkable then took place as our original brain system wasn’t sufficient to manage the growing complexities of interpersonal relationships.

We grew an entirely new, and separate, brain structure - our emotional and relational limbic brain,

Over time we then descended from the trees, lost most of our hair and walked upright carrying implements for protection and hunting. We also began to plan ahead and communicate, by way of a more efficient voice box, in more and more complex ways.

Again our brain structure had to evolve to facilitate this, and we grew yet another additional brain structure, the neocortex, which gave us the ability to envision the future, learn from the past and co-ordinate events.

In our human journey we not only went through major transformations of our physical characteristics and a geographical spread from Africa to all parts of the globe, at the same time we also covered a huge territory in our consciousness and continually brought online new ways of interacting with each other and the world.

Huge as the changes we have been through are since we first stood up on two legs, what it means to be human has been relentlessly unfurling and there is no reason to suppose that evolution has stopped for us now.

So why is it that with with some 600 million years of ongoing transformation under our belts, many people just assume that our evolution has now somehow arbitrarily halted?

The fact that we climbed down from the trees, learned how to tame fire, discovered the wheel, put some of us on the moon, split the atom and are now carrying a smart phone does not mean that our evolutionary development has now now stopped.

What if the changes so far are merely the early foundation, and precursors, for what we can now become?

Co-Creating Our Evolution

But this time evolution doesn’t have to be something that just happens to us, this time we can participate in co-creating together a new future for a new type of human.

A future that has our underlying sacred unity at its core, and a new type of human that values our unique individuality, our connections with each other as well as our relationship with the natural world.

What could the world be like if this is how we chose to next evolve?

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