Are we indeed on the brink of an evolutionary shift of our species? Visionary Barbara Marx Hubbard and others think so.
In this interview with Barbara Marx Hubbard, The EDGE embarks upon a nine-month journey to explore the fascinating idea that we may be living in an era of evolutionary change in our species. Hubbard, in her latest book Conscious Evolution (New World Library), presents her vision of what is taking place and helps us to see the bigger picture. The EDGE will present interviews and articles by others who are seeking to describe this shift that many of us are feeling in our bones.
Does ancient prophecy foretell of this evolutionary process described as the birth of the Universal Human?
Barbara Marx Hubbard: Yes, I think in some respects in the Old Testament: the covenant between Abraham and God for the Promised Land, the New Jerusalem, the new heaven and the new Earth, the lion shall lie down with the lamb. There’s been a prophetic trend throughout human history that continued through Isiah with “the peaceable kingdom”…Jesus with “You shall do the works that I do and greater”…Paul of Tarsus with “Behold I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, we shalt all be changed…in a moment…in the twinkling of an eye…at the last trump and the trumpeter shall sound…this corruptible will become incorruptible…death shall have no dominion.”
These are our intuitions, and then you can take it to the Middle Ages, the 12th century, with Joachim Fiore in the 12th century, who said that the trinity in history is God the father, God the son/daughter, and then God coming into person through Holy Spirit. And he called it the “new people” when spirit fully incarnates in us. From the Christian standpoint, this was the fulfillment of the Trinity, which is that we are the expression of the Divine ourselves.
Then there was the great mystic Emmanuel Swedenborg, who spoke of Divine influx, who would have been burned at the stake if he came out with this: He basically said that everyone is Divine, and that the only difference is in the degree of awareness. Of course, that was heresy to what the traditional, orthodox Christianity had said, but not heresy to what the founder of Christianity had said. That’s a big difference. My sense and my understanding of it were that the mission of Jesus was not to tell us what he could do, but to tell us what we could do.
Then you can carry this lineage of the universal human to Thomas Jefferson—”We hold these truths to be self-evident”; “All of us have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” That is setting the scene for the Universal Human, because the Universal Human cannot come out in a class, either as an aristocrat or a servant or as a slave. It has to come out as a sovereign person, a unique individual who is free. So democracy began to set the scene. I think there was a burst of it in transcendentalism in Boston with Emerson and Whitman—Emerson’s essay on self-reliance.
The Universal Human was certainly foreshadowed in the work of Sri Aurobindo, who saw the coming of the SuperMental, that we were an incomplete species, and through the work of the Mother, his partner, to actually transform herself at the cellular level. She felt the cells had an impulse toward immortality and that they would eventually no longer be degenerating.
I think we also saw it in the work of Teilhard de Chardin and some of the transpersonal psychologists like Maslowe and Stan Grof and others who are mapping the further reaches of human potentiality.
The lineage of the Universal Human is the intuition that our species is not yet complete, as we are, that there is more to come and that the more to come has to do with our being ever more in tune with the creative intention, the Divine process, as direct expressions of that unmediated self.
Now, in my understanding, in our generation something has happened that is going to call forth this kind of human. I first heard of this kind of human when I read Teilhard de Chardin. He felt there was a new type on Earth that had come into being maybe 200 years ago with the concept of evolution. Even though this type might have been inherent in the social body, it didn’t come forward until we had the idea that everything is changing and that we are part of that change, rather than the idea that everything is static or that change happens through some other force.
He said he could walk into a room and that if there were two people there with a mysterious sense of the future, he would be attracted to them and them to him, and a flame would arise in both of them. He called it “the flame of expectation.” And he called this type of human Homo progressivis. He felt this type of human was attracted to the future as an organism progressing toward the unknown, rather than the bourgeois, who was trying to hold onto things and make everything stay the way it is.
So when I read that as a young woman, I recognized within myself the quality of this mysterious sense of the future. I always felt there was something wrong with me, because I was attracted to the future, I wanted to connect up with everything and I was the mother of five children in Lakeville, Conn. And they thought I was neurotic. And then I met Dr. Jonas Salk, and I was telling him all the things that were wrong with me, that were making me miserable, of this neurosis of my attraction, and he said, “Barbara, this is not what is wrong with you, it’s what is right about you, this attraction to not only what is coming but attraction to your own potential to participate in creating what is coming.
You see, that’s a bit different. It’s the attraction to being the change and participating through your own creativity in the creation. He said, “You are a mutant. You combine in yourself the qualities needed by evolution now, and I will introduce you to some others.”
What happened to me was that overnight, I felt myself. I felt I had come into my own skin, and I acknowledged that I am connected to the entire path of creation. I am living at a nexus point where my creativity is needed, and I am participating in the creation of an everlasting future—along with all others doing the same.
As my work continued, I began to have some very deep experiences that the planetary system itself was undergoing a change. And when I asked the questions many years ago—What is our story? What on Earth is comparable to the birth of Christ? What’s happening to us collectively now?—I had an out-of-Earth experience. My mind’s eye went to outer space. I felt the Earth as one living body. I felt all of us as members of that body. I felt a struggling to coordinate, to breathe; I felt the pain of all of us collectively. And then, in an instant, had the experience that we as a planetary body were about to come into a shared experience of the light.
And I went back and tumbled through the spiral—universe, earth, human life, animal life—and I heard the words: “Our story is a birth. We are all members of one planetary body. This body is integrating now into one operationally organic system.”
The planetary system as a whole is integrating into one operational, living system and it is being born. I call it the story of the birth of a universal humanity. The universal humanity is the collective. Now within the collective of the universal humanity is emerging a universal human.
The Universal Human is you and me and all the millions of us who are awakening from within to express the passion of our own creativity for the good of the whole. We feel, in some sense, guided by an internal, spiritual motivation, and we feel intuitively connected to the whole, We feel energy to express that energy.
I call it the shift from pro-creation to co-creation, from reproducing ourselves to evolving ourselves and our world, with the population crisis and the limit to population growth. We’re the last generation able to double and survive, and that’s happening very fast. The women are being liberated to express unique creativity. And they’re liberating the men from supporting the huge families. I think we’re emerging as universal humans, meaning we’re literally experiencing ourselves as the growing edge of cosmogenesis itself. We are evolution evolving through us. We are the great creative process, expressing itself uniquely through each of us. We are the universe in person.
That’s a powerful statement.
Hubbard: It is. This is now what my teaching is about. There are three parts to it. The first part is that there is a universal, cosmic, evolutionary process that has been evolving for 15 billion years. It’s evolving now through us on this planet. If we learn how to evolve ethically, using our power for the good, we have an infinite future before us. We’re cosmic beings. We’re in a universe of billions of galaxies.
That’s one part of the new story, the story of the birth of a universal humanity. The next part of it is, wherever you are as a universal person, you are the universe in person—as you. So your motivation, your challenges, if you are depressed, if you’re lost, if you’re excited, wherever you are, it is the universe evolving in you. You are a co-creator. What that does is take all the human potential and spiritual growth work and place it in the context of the emerging species.
I’m suggesting that out of Homo sapiens is becoming a universal human, is coming Homo Progressivis, or Homo noeticus—or Homo evolutiens, the evolving human. I think that may be the best of them all: The human now knowing it is involved in self-evolution and we’re involved in the evolution of society. So it is self and social evolution joined in universal human.
Society is not calling us forward and calling us yet. Any universal human is a pioneering soul. We have to go out and create the culture that wants us, because no one gets hired to be a universal human. We get hired for doing things that we know how to do. There are some of us who are very fortunate who have vocations that we love to do. The goal is that the universal humans find within themselves their own genius code, rather than their genetic code. Find a way to express that through meaningful, creative function in the world.
Knowing that we’re part of this process, what do we do with it?
Hubbard: You have to find that calling within yourself, that which you are desiring to express. And then, it’s reaching out for others who choose to co-create with you this expression.
I’ve been working with my daughter on a life book in which we are charting the developmental path of a universal human. We’re starting out with the fact that, when you’re born, you have a local self and you have an essential self—your deeper soul self. Then what is it that awakens that deeper self in some of us? Often, it is a unitive experience, a flash. Suddenly, you see that you are more than that small self. Then you have woundings and things that hurt, things that reveal more to you. Then you have choices to make in your life. Do I actually choose to give myself to the expression of that unique genius that I am?
In my case, I was a mother of five. And when I got the idea that there’s a new story on Earth, I got a vocation. And my vocational signal was: Go tell the story. Now, when I had five children living with my children, could I give myself to telling my story if I stayed in my old past role. The answer was no. I had to go out and tell my story, and it led to a breakup of my marriage. I had to bring my children with me to a new place. When a person gets a calling, that is not always so easy.
And then there is vocational arousal. You get excited! It’s suprasexual. I think it’s a drive as great as sexuality. It’s a drive to express your own creativity, particularly in women now.
In our charting of this, you start to be born as a universal human when you enter co-creation. Let’s say you have a unique genius in you and I have in me. If I have to try to do this all alone, there’s a limit to how far I can come forth. But if I find others with whom to join, then what wants to come forth out of me can do so. I call this the fusion of genius. This is the bringing forth of the genius code. It manifests in chosen work. As Maslowe said, all self-actualizing people have vocation—all of them, without exception. You don’t get to be your full potential self unless you find vocation and surrender to it.
So what universal humans do with this awareness is find their own creativity. And they commit to bringing it into the world with as much love as you would commit to the birth of a child. And this is the birth of yourself. The self is a universal self. It’s a co-creator. It’s creating with the process of creation itself, uniquely expressed in that individual. It finds partnerships with others and enters the social body as co-creators.
I can see the picture here.
Hubbard: Isn’t it beautiful? And through multiple co-creators, there are new organs being formed in the social body right now—in health care, in alternative currencies, in new modes of education.
What are the signposts that you use to identify that this evolution is taking place?
Hubbard: There are several. One is within myself. I have to realize that every one of us is a pioneer, so we have to use our own laboratory. I am 69 years old, and I’m like at the beginning of my life. I’m so motivated. I say, “Who’s doing this to me?” Well, you know what it is: I have untapped potential, as we all do, and it wants to come out. I know it from my own creativity.
And I know it from others with whom I am intimately connected, who are totally turned on. Then, I know it from my study of social innovation. In my book Conscious Evolution, I just touched briefly on this. I am working now on a curriculum of conscious evolution, and my work is reading all these different people, these innovators, some of whom I know personally.
I just had lunch with Bernard Lietaer. His field is new monetary systems. We’re moving toward a time when there may be millions or billions of people who are unemployed or never employed in jobs. And we’re having more people live into their 80s and 90s and 100s. Society is going to collapse unless it develops a new monetary system. Bernard is pointing out the very great power of creating wealth through local currency, which he calls complementary currency. It doesn’t do away with the larger national currency, but it creates wealth through work and exchange. He’s now setting up an entire network for global bartering.
When I hear that from Bernard, knowing he is one of a hundred thousand initiatives, I think that this new culture is emerging here. It’s just that we haven’t seen it fully. Anybody who is working on it is usually working so hard on their own part that nobody has a chance to stand back and see the whole.
So I have a function here as a universal human. It’s no longer just to go tell the story. It’s to create the experience and the social processes and teachings by inviting others in to join me, such that we can experience our own conscious evolution as community.
So you are now focusing on developing models for the synergy that is created when people come together in different communities?
Hubbard: Yes, in the context of conscious evolution and the evolution of the universal human, not just to get together as a community. This adds such an incredible dimension.
Part of my work over all of these years is to try to bring into being a Peace Room, which would be as sophisticated as a War Room. The War Room maps the enemies and how to defeat them; the Peace Room maps the innovations and how to connect and communicate them.
So I have a function here as a universal human. It’s no longer just to go tell the story. It’s to create the experience and the social processes and teachings by inviting others in to join me, such that we can experience our own conscious evolution as community. So my first communities are Santa Barbara, Calif., Sarasota, Fla., and Calgary, Canada. I want to do these three in 1999. It is really a deep undertaking. It’s not coming and doing a single workshop. What I am doing now in these communities is still introductory, like a two-day event. What I have to do after saying, “What would happen if Santa Barbara experienced its own potential for conscious evolution?” is to do the follow-up work. And I don’t want to go too many places and start something until we have developed the materials and a vision for what people really want to do.
My sense of what’s going to happen in the next few years is that we will have some centers for conscious evolution. It will be points of convergence within the community itself of that which is evolving within that community. The way I see it is, it’s just not another thing to do, but it’s a way to synergize what already is so.
What happens when these individuals with that “Flame of Expectation” get together and get a glimpse of what is happening?
Hubbard: That’s what I call suprasex or vocational arousal. They get excited. They get a greater hope that they can do more. And they get activated, such that they want to stay together to bring something into form. If you never bring anything into form, it’s like sexual foreplay but you never finally have an orgasm and have a baby.
We’ve got to carry this thing through, not to build a church but to help recreate a world.
Conscious evolution is experienced many ways. One way is spiritually, from within, from inner guidance, with a desire to create. It’s also experienced socially as the desire to put that creativity into social form. And it is expressed scientifically and technologically as the actual understanding of how nature works, such that if we understand the atom and the gene and brain, we are evolving evolution itself, from natural selection to conscious choice.
This is a huge responsibility, because if we don’t do it, we’ll self-destruct. If we do it, we’ll evolve toward a galactic future. So the universal human is coming into focus at a time of the birth of universal humanity. That’s why we’re showing up all over the place.
What has been the response thus far in the sites where you are working?
Hubbard: It’s been very exciting to me. In Santa Barbara I gave a talk in October and asked, “What would happen if this community experiences its own potential for conscious evolution?” And 185 people showed up to find out. Our first event there will be May 8-9, and that will be an introduction to Conscious Evolution.
In Sarasota, the minister, the Rev. Carol Carnes of the Center for Positive Living is imbued with conscious evolution herself and she invited me to give a talk to her church. One hundred people signed up to help create the event for their city June 4-6.
In both communities, people are asking about the next step after the introduction. So that is the edge where I am at. How do I develop this at the next level? What we’re developing is a co-creative style of how to do this.
You have referred to a key part of conscious evolution as the necessity of evolving ethically?
Hubbard: Right. Eric Chaisson, an astrophysicist, says in his book, The Life Era: Cosmic Selection and Conscious Evolution, that we are undergoing the second great event in the history of the universe–at least on planet Earth. The first was when matter gained charge of radiated energy–sub-atomic particles, hydrogen, helium, super novas. When that self-organized into matter, and formed substantial bodies like Earth, out of which life could come, that was a huge initiative in the evolutionary scheme of things.
He says the second great event is when technologically competent human life begins to penetrate and understand matter, particularly on the atomic and genetic level. That means we are moving from matter dominance to life dominance. We’re entering the life era, because the power that our understanding of matter is giving us means that life is able to directly influence matter–and enter into it with human consciousness.
When we discovered that e=mc2 through Einstein, what we did was build a bomb. We used the power to destroy. Now we have genetic engineering. Are we going to use that power to create food that could destroy us, monsters that could destroy us, or are we going to understand the meaning of the power? That’s a big question, because we don’t fully know what it is.
But we do know that the use of ethical evolution would be to guide our huge capacities over nature itself in such a way that it is a benefit to the whole system. I think, at the deepest, most simple level, we’re speaking about the Golden Rule. It comes around again, in far more complex situations.
But if you take it as an ethic–Jesus called it, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” I call it conscious evolution–that means that I am conscious, you are conscious and each of us is part of this whole, that the whole system is greater than the sum of its parts, that every part has to operate within the whole without destroying it, and at the same time, without repressing the creativity of the parts.
Nobody is saying this is easy. But here’s my intuition: In the full-scale knowing of the human individual and the human collective–spiritually, socially and scientifically–we do know how to do this. But we are suffering from an illusion of separateness. That is the key problem. Whether it be separation of religion, or separation of nation states, separation of corporations, separation of rich and poor, separation from the environment, the separation allows the suffering to go on as though it’s not a member of our own body.
In the deepest sense, ethical evolution would be dependent upon healing the wounded separation in our hearts. How is that wound to be healed?
I think it’s to be healed through the process of experiencing the pain of separation so deeply that we’re moving into choosing, choosing, choosing…love over fear, unity over separation, in all the small ways until we build a morphogenetic field. Using Rupert Sheldrake’s words, morphic fields are causitive. This is my fate. There’ll be a critical mass of more holistic, unitive consciousness as a new norm. And that the emergence of the universal human, and us joining together with each other, and supporting each other in making that shift in consciousness, as well as in creativity, will be enough to do it And believing that’s so is very important, because the belief creates the reality. If we believe it’s not possible to shift our consciousness, that belief will diminish our chance of ever doing it.
As conscious evolutionaries and universal humans, we realize that our beliefs create our reality, that the idea systems we hold affect how reality turns out. So it’s not a neutral matter as to what we believe.
We’ve talked about the evolution of memes, the building blocks of our culture, but what do you sense about the evolution of our physical genes? Do you sense a mutation there as well as within our consciousness?
Hubbard: I think there is a slight mutation taking place, in a couple of ways. As we are ever more conscious that our emotions, our thoughts and our intentions are affecting our bodies, we are more conscious of our thought. I think that alone has an evolutionary effect on the body. It’s healing, it releases stress and allows the body to self-heal and self-rejuvenate.
Secondly, we’re living longer and longer lives. Haven’t you been reading about how people in their 60s, 70s and 80s are thinking it’s the best time of their lives? Longevity, and the degree of health that people can feel, are definitely changes in the body.
I think there is a change taking place in the body as a result of medical technology. Certain things that destroyed us in the past no longer do. We’re able to build new parts, and the body is changing because it is willing to accept non-human parts.
I think the study of aging itself—the aging mechanism and the mechanism of degeneration—may be on the threshold of altering the clock of death. But that would be lethal if we stayed in self-centered consciousness on a planetary system that is finite. However, if we move into universal consciousness and we begin developing the solar system and the galaxies, it becomes natural.
Ultimately, I think the reason we have the biological revolution is that we will be able to design new bodies for new environments—in a new world. Eventually. I think that’s why we have cloning and all of these apparently unnatural capabilities. They’re unnatural for a biosphere and a finite planet, but they’re probably perfectly natural for a universal species.
To what extent does the birth of the Universal Human involve the soul? It’s been said by some that there is a return of a large number of highly evolved beings into physical bodies at this time to help ignite this process. What is your sense about this?
Hubbard: I sense that an ever-increasing number of us are becoming more highly evolved. Whether it’s to do with old souls or planetary stimulus, I don’t know. But I do know that evolution raises consciousness and freedom through more complex order—from molecule to cell to animal to human.
We are an ever more complex planet, so by the natural tendency of evolution itself, we are being evolved to a higher degree of awareness. Through the whole work of Aurobindo and the Mother, and the interest in meditation and spiritual growth techniques, is evolving not only the mind and spirit, but the body. The yogis have great influence over their own bodies. More and more of us are becoming yogis.
To what degree is our seemingly increasing contact with angels and disincarnate avatars a sign of our evolution as Universal Humans?
Hubbard: I feel that all knowledge is available when you are in a highly attuned state. If it comes to you through angels or deceased avatars, that’s because that’s the best way you can get it.
Here’s my own path with this: I’ve heard an inner voice for many years. I’ve had Christ experiences in which I heard a Christ voice. And I have been guided from within to acknowledge that the voice I’m hearing is my own. That I am the voice that’s guiding me. I am the Universal Human who knows. I am the beloved I seek.
I have a local self who forgets, gets upset, but I now reside in dominion in myself. And I have shifted my identity from the local self who is asking to the Universal Self who is expressing and giving that which my local self needs. Now, the Universal Self that I am is connected to all knowledge that is needed in a non-local, omnipresent universe. When I am in full resonance, that is to say, when my local self is consumed within my universal self, when I don’t have that feeling of separation within me, my attunement is improved by a quantum factor. When I am in communion with two or more who are also universal humans in their identity, we begin to create a field of knowing that is transcendent to our separated selves.
This process interests me a lot more than disincarnate entities, because I think the work of the universal human is to become fully incarnated spiritual beings ourselves.
That does not deny the importance of higher guidance from any source, but I also think it tends to keep us in the position of being children in relationship to so-called higher intelligence.
I think the Seth material is extremely valuable. I think A Course in Miracles is a remarkable work that was brought in by a higher dimension. My own book of co-creation, Revelation, was brought in by the Christ experience. I have no doubt that I was put into a higher consciousness. But the guidance I am getting from that higher consciousness is Barbara, me, myself. A universal human is that. I’m the avatar, but not as a special, unique, extraordinary genius, but as the new norm. That’s who I am. I’m a new norm!
Although gurus have done a great deal for us, in some respects we are now saying that this is the democratization of the guru in the person. It also is the democratization of the angels and the avatars through incarnation. I think all the great religions were founded by advanced humans and that our job is to incarnate the qualities of all the religions: the mindfulness of the Buddha and so on and so on.
I’m not Jewish, Muslim, Christian or Buddhist. I’m Barbara. I’m a universal human being Barbara. And I draw on all religious traditions. But you cannot label a Universal Human anything.
And I think that’s part of the problem in the world of separatism. It cannot recognize what is taking place, because it’s dealing with something that cannot be categorized or labeled.
Hubbard: Right. I think the religions brought us to this place, but now we have to walk across the great divide, from creature to co-creator, one by one—from internal choice. It’s entirely a self-selection process. Your age, your race, your color, your creed, your national origin or your discipline don’t matter. The only thing that matters is your internal motivation to express your creative intention as part of the larger pattern of creation itself.
That’s true, it is up to each of us whether we want to go there or not.
Hubbard: And that’s why we can’t go there labeled. I cannot go across as a Jewish agnostic or an Episcopalian or a member of the Religious Science community, all of which I am. I love all of those things. However, I am not stepping across the divide from my creature phase to my co-creative phase to my universal human as a labeled religion.
Are there any do’s and don’ts for those people who are in that evolutionary space of walking across that bridge? What do you recommend for them now?
Hubbard: The first thing I recommend is that with every internal signal that you have—if it’s depression, if it’s upset, if it’s joy—interpret it as an evolutionary signal towards your own emergence as an evolutionary human. It’s not just a problem. Look underneath it and see what is revealed to you about what you need to learn, not just to be a better person, but to emerge as a universal co-creator.
Also, deepen your attunement of your own passion to create. Where is that impulse within you? Where is your compass of joy? And as that begins to be experienced, reach out to others who have an affinity for that same impulse. This interaction at this transitional point in the evolution of the universal human, in groups of two, three or four co-creative partners, is extremely important.
And then I would suggest writing in your journal. Take an “I am present” stance and speak directly in that voice in your journal. And try to speak in that way to group of two or more. Like I am saying now: “I am a universal human.” Respond from your own internal knowing of who you are, as that, directly. When we do that, the word becomes flesh. It’s incarnational to speak as that.
And then I would like people to know there will be teachings and a curriculum on this in the future.
Contact Barbara Marx Hubbard and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution at www.barbaramarxhubbard.com
Copyright © 1999 Tim Miejan. All Rights Reserved.