"Awakening Global Consciousness"
"Awakening Global Consciousness"



"The key to ending violence between cultures and advancing to global cultures of peace, nonviolence and mutual flourishing is our individual and collective advance as beings who live in patterns of deep dialogue."

"Awakening Global Consciousness"

 Why It Is Vital for Cultural Sustainability

 by Dr. Ashok K. Gangadean

 from Kosmos – An Integral Approach to Global Awakening

 Vol. 3, Number 2; Spring/Summer 2004


Click here to download the PDF version of this article.

Perhaps the single most powerful event facing humanity today is a great awakening on a planetary scale that has been millennia in the making. We humans are in the midst of a profound advance as a species to a higher form of global consciousness that has been emerging across cultures, religions and worldviews through the centuries. This awakening of global consciousness is nothing less than a shift, a maturation, from more egocentric patterns of life to a higher form of integral and dialogic patterns of life. In this drama it is seen that egocentric patterns of minding and living directly lead to fragmentation, alienation and human pathologies at the individual and collective level. The great spiritual traditions have long seen that the key to our survival, sustainability and flourishing turns on our conscious evolution into dialogic patterns of life which bring forth our true moral, rational and spiritual nature as a species.

This crossing as a species into global consciousness involves the direct encounter and co–creation of the common ground between worldviews – the fundamental Logos which is the source of diverse cultural and religious worldviews. Here it is seen that the primary source of chronic violence and breakdown of human relations traces to egocentric patterns. The key to ending violence between cultures and advancing to global cultures of peace, nonviolence and mutual flourishing is our individual and collective advance as beings who live in patterns of deep dialogue. We suggest that this transition as a species has arrived at a critical turning point and that the single most important event now facing the human condition and a key to our future is this advance to awakened global consciousness.

Many visionary leaders across the planet now realize that how we self–consciously manage our cultural life in the next two decades or so will be decisive. This challenge calls for a new and unprecedented awakened global consciousness and new mindful institutions which will play a vital role in fostering our highest and best collective self–transformation for mutual flourishing. The World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality is one such key instrument and institution for leadership and creative change.

What is "Global Consciousness?"

The awakening of global consciousness is a new and monumental event in human evolution, even though it has been emerging throughout our diverse spiritual traditions through the ages. But this great event in the human drama is not readily apparent because people tend to process reality from their personalized perspective, worldview, narrative or cultural lens. Whereas access to global consciousness comes only if and when we are able to stand back and gain critical distance from our particular localized perspectives and enter the more expansive space of a global perspective in the awakening of the global mind.

Selected Themes on Awakening Global Consciousness

The following themes have been distilled from works in progress over the past three decades. Earlier books, lectures, public essays have been published, especially the two volumes – Meditative Reason: Towards Universal Grammar and Between Worlds: The Emergence of Global Reason. These two volumes seek to open deeper rational space, global reason and integral intelligence. These themes are more explicitly presented in the forthcoming book – The Awakening of the Global Mind, in which it is made clear that global spirituality is not an ideology or religion, but the deeper rational process of awakening the global mind as vital in the genuine encounter of Reality. This Journal explicitly suggests a direct link between spiritual awakening and the encounter of reality. It is important to recognize now that spirituality is global consciousness, rational and integral intelligence, whatever the worldview. In this respect global consciousness and spirituality are independent of the doctrines or dogmas of any religious practice. This fundamental link between global spirituality and Reality is accentuated in what follows.

• The global turn in cultural life is inherently encoded in our great planetary cultures and has been emerging throughout the ages.

• Our great spiritual traditions and teachers were all in diverse ways fostering and opening the way to the awakening of global consciousness.

• The mature awakening of global consciousness that we now face in the 21st Century is new and unprecedented in the human condition.

• Access to such global consciousness can only emerge from and through the transformation of rational awareness and intelligence into a global perspective.

• A truly global perspective taps a higher dimension of existence, reality, rational intelligence and experience.

• When we stand back from privileging our personalized perspectives, and localized worldviews, narratives, ideologies or cultural lens the horizon of the global perspective, the global lens opens. This is a key stage in becoming a critical thinker.

• When we enter the integral space where diverse worldviews originate and meet we gain critical distance from the localized perspectives and new and astounding dynamics and global patterns across and between worldviews come into focus. We arrive at the deeper common ground that is the generative source of all worldviews.

• Here we see that our great spiritual traditions (east, west, indigenous and other) have recognized that we humans co–create our living realities through our mental and conscious activities – that we are as we mind. How we process Reality (our inner psychic life, our outer world and ecology, our experience) is all important in making our living realities. It matters how we mind.

• One striking pattern in this global horizon across worldviews is that humans have been in a deep and painful maturation from egocentric or monocentric patterns of minding (processing reality and experience) to more holistic, integral and dialogic patterns of self–making and world making. When we look at human evolution through this global lens it becomes overwhelmingly apparent that a lead story is our maturation as a species from more adolescent egocentric patterns of minding to more coherent, rational, moral, integral and holistic patterns of life. This dramatic shift in fulfilling our human destiny as we become mature global beings has been emerging over millennia through our great spiritual endowment.

• The egocentric (monocentric) mind is a stage in our human development (evolution) which tends to separate and objectify the thinking subject from the objects of thought, and to remain centered in and privileging its particular worldview (religion, ideology, cultural lens) as the exclusive measure of reality (meaning, truth, fact, value, experience, existence). The egocentric mind is broken off from the Integral Field of Reality and packages, constructs, separates, divides, polarizes, and fragments all it touches.

• Our great global spiritual traditions have noticed that this way of constituting and processing experience and reality (this technology of minding) inherently leads to fragmentation, polarizations, dualisms, irreconcilable splits, and alienation which is a primary cause of human and cultural pathologies of all sorts. It divides and fragments the Self in its inner life, it artificially separates off the Integral Self from its world, from Others, from relations to Nature and the Ecology, and sets in motion profound and chronic clashes between worldviews, cultures, religions, identities, perspectives and is a primary source of degeneration in all aspects of the human situation, at the personal and collective levels. So a global consensus (diagnosis) is that ego minding is a primary cause of the spectrum of human pathologies. And the consensus prescription is that to change this mentality is the single most important factor in transforming the human condition.

• One striking result of the general global law – we are as we mind – is that egocentric or monocentric patterns of minding generate and create life–worlds and living realities that produce human suffering and pathologies: egocentric minding generates egocentric realities.

• Another great finding is that we humans have a choice in how we mind. Diverse spiritual teachings – especially in their moral force – show the creative alternative to egocentric patterns of minding.

• This creative alternative is to break the deeply entrenched habits of ego minding (as if it were a mental vice) and advance (through strategies of rehabilitation and reconstitution) into more integral, holistic and dialogic patterns of processing Self and World. This transformation is a key step in awakening global consciousness and the global perspective. To enter the global perspective is to co–awaken the global mind, and vice versa.

• Crossing into global consciousness: global perspective, global minding, global lens opens a higher and deeper dimension of reality; this is what is new and unprecedented in awakening the global mind and the global reality that is disclosed in this integral technology of minding. So "global consciousness" is not just about "thinking" or "concepts" or "theory," it is, as we shall soon see, the most profound, pragmatic and practical action we humans can take to change our world.

• But humanity has hitherto lacked an adequate global grammar and a global lens to fully activate this integral/holistic/dialogic technology of mind; and since our living realities are co–created by our patterns of minding, the supreme technological advance in the human condition is this advance to the integral technology of minding.

• This new and unprecedented activation of a global grammar and global lens begins to become clearer and more accessible if we now experiment with some simple symbolic notations to help us clarify these two contrasting technologies of minding: the global narrative of cultural evolution brings into relief two great contrasting domains or fields of Language, Consciousness, Experience, Human Ecologies: the Egosphere and the Logosophere. It is now of highest urgency to distinguish, disentangle and clarify these two domains of human existence.

• The great spiritual endowment of the planet converges on the insight that there is and must be some Primal Originating Cause or Force or Power that is the source of all that appears – of all worlds, worldviews, perspectives, cultures, religions, ideologies, narratives and phenomena; this primal force is found to be Infinite and First: What–is–first.

• Diverse spiritual and philosophical (including scientific) traditions have sought to name this First Cause in diverse grammars, narratives, rhetorical forms, languages, names: for example, Tao, Aum, Yahweh, Allah, Christ, Emptiness (Sunyata), Nature, Energy – to name a few; but there remained no common universal (global) grammar or language to express What is First in a common and generic name. We have lacked a truly global name. But a "global name" requires a "global grammar" – a universal grammar across cultures and worlds.

• Deepest research into What–is–First reveals that this Ultimate Source must be Infinite and hence the same Unifying Force generating all worlds and worldviews across the spectrum of religions and cultures, the sciences and other disciplinary narratives: we lack a truly global name for this Infinite First.

• It is also clear that the meditative traditions converge in developing powerful strategies and technologies to cross from egocentric minding into the holistic or non–dual patterns of meditative (integral) minding. This is the essential teaching, for example in Hindu Vedic texts, such as the Bhagavad–Gita, or of the Buddhist teaching of overcoming egocentric life by meditatively crossing into the non–dual unified field where all things inter–connect and co–relate. But these teachings too lacked a global grammar and a global technology of minding.

One striking pattern and disclosure that is of the utmost importance for seeing that entering the global perspective is a dimensional shift to a higher encounter of a global reality is the realization that there are two contrasting great technologies of minding that have emerged in human evolution: the ego mind conforms to a logic or technology of minding whatever its worldview may be; whereas the integral–holistic or global mind follows a universal pattern and logic whatever its spiritual teaching or vocabulary may be. So there are two great contrasting fields, domains, dimensions of Language. Thought, Speech, Reason, Experience, and Meaning. This dimensional shift to the global lens is well beyond a mere "paradigm shift" within egocentric mind. It actually taps a deeper ground of Reality. It is an existential shift.

In conclusion, then, it is of the highest importance for our individual and collective flourishing to appreciate the importance of global consciousness and spirituality in opening deeper access to our encounter with Reality. There is more to Reality than any one cultural, religious or disciplinary narrative. And awakening the global lens, the global heart and mind has been a perennial concern of our great spiritual traditions through the ages. Our future now depends on making this shift together.

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