Sept. 6, 2013: Growing awareness of ‘oneness’ leads to new global consciousness, by Sister Carolyn Teter
Some 300 years ago, humankind made a major cultural shift from the agricultural era to what we now call the Industrial Age.
Today, researchers believe, we are in the beginning decades of another cultural transition that is just as significant — to a global culture in which we are aware of the interconnectedness of the deep web of life. This new way of looking at the world is critical for the continuance of life on the earth.
In 1997, authors Duane Elgin and Coleen LeDrew conducted a study to discover whether human consciousness is significantly changing in such a way that new patterns of values and approaches to living are emerging. They concluded that a new global culture and consciousness have taken root and are beginning to grow in the world.
According to Elgin and LeDrew, this awakening enables us not only have ideas about the world and its workings, but also to experience what is happening and take action to bring about positive changes in our private and public lives.
From their study, Elgin and LeDrew drew several conclusions:
— There has been a revolution in our ability to communicate at a global level. In the next several decades, we will be enabled to achieve a quantum increase in our functional intelligence as a species.
— Environmental protection is a major concern of many people. They give a higher priority to this protection than economic growth and they are willing to pay for that protection.
— People are making shifts in their value system. For example they are making lifestyle changes to maximize sustainability and subjective wellbeing. There is also a shift toward greater gender equality, democratic participation and reliance on personal rather than institutional authority.
— There has been a spiritual shift among a growing number of people. They are losing trust in hierarchical institutions in general and are seeking to balance their inner spiritual life with their action to create a just and peaceful world.
— Sustainable ways of living seem to be important for a majority of the Earth’s people. Americans are seeing the value of changing their diets by buying organic foods and reducing meat consumption; and on their environmental beliefs by recycling, watching their electrical and water use, etc.
While it is impossible to estimate what fraction of the world’s population is making this shift to a global consciousness, in the United States there is a conservative estimate that the number may be around 10 percent. And Elgin and LeDrew believe those people are at the leading edge of a broader wave of global cultural change.
Since this study 16 years ago, there is even greater evidence of this shift to a global consciousness. Today we are much more aware of our oneness with everyone and with all of creation.
For life to continue on the earth, that awareness must continue to grow and the entire human family must work together to build a sustainable and meaningful future. This global consciousness urges us, compels us, to put an end to all forms of violence: physical, economic, racial, religious, cultural, sexual and psychological.
Diarmuid O’Murchu in his book “Evolutionary Faith,” put it this way: “It is time to outgrow our dysfunctional relationship with creation whereby we pursue a ruthless and relentless exploitation of creation’s resources to the detriment of the fragile earth itself and all the vulnerable creatures who inhabit it. It is time to embrace the awakening consciousness of our time, inviting us to reclaim the ancient wisdom of the one earth and the one universe. A new universality characterizes our time. It is a cultural and spiritual breakthrough inaugurating new evolutionary thresholds inviting us humans to respond in a much more enlightened, creative, and cooperative mode.”
— Sister Carolyn Teter is a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia and a member of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee.