Tag Archive: Duane Elgin



Duane Elgin grew up on a farm in Idaho and has become an internationally recognized author, educator, speaker and media activist. He has an MBA from the Wharton Business School, and an MA in economic history from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006 he received the Peace Prize of Japan—the Goi Award—in recognition of his contribution to a global “vision, consciousness, and lifestyle” that fosters a “more sustainable and spiritual culture.”

His books include: “The Living Universe: Where Are We? Who Are We? Where Are We Going?”; “Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity’s Future”; “Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich”; and “Awakening Earth: Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness” (Also available as a free download on Duane’s site.) With Joseph Campbell and other scholars, he co-authored the book “Changing Images of Man”. In addition, Duane has contributed chapters to twenty-three books, and has published more than a hundred major articles.

In the 1970s, Duane worked as a senior staff member of a Presidential Commission looking 30 years into the American future. He then worked as a senior social scientist with the think-tank SRI International where he coauthored numerous studies of the long-range future. In addition, for nearly three years while working at SRI in the early-1970s, Duane was a subject in the initial, government-sponsored psi research into “remote viewing” and other intuitive capacities.

Over the past thirty years, Duane has co-founded three non-profit and trans-partisan organizations working for citizen empowerment and a citizen’s voice through creative uses of the new media that surround us.

Just as there are relatively distinct stages that characterize the development of an individual from infancy to early adulthood, so too are there discernible stages in the development of our species as we move toward a planetary-scale civilization. Awakening Earth brings together views from science and spirituality, East and West, the practical and the visionary to present a new picture of human evolution. Based upon twenty years of research, this book explores the human journey from the initial awakening of hunter-gatherers roughly 35,000 years ago, through the agrarian era and industrial revolution, and then goes on to describe three additional stages of development essential for realizing our initial maturity as a global species-civilization.

A disoriented world civilization faced with dwindling resources, mounting pollution and exploding population is a recipe for ecological collapse and social anarchy. It is imperative that the human family begin to make rapid and profound changes in how we live together on the Earth. To accomplish this, we must now ask ourselves fundamental questions: Who are we? What are we doing here? Where are we going as a species? Awakening Earth provides a catalyst for this conversation with its integrative vision and inspiring map of the journey towards a sustainable, compassionate, and creative future.

While not predicting a sudden “new age” of social enlightenment, Awakening Earth does present the promising view that humanity is roughly halfway through seven major transformations in culture and consciousness required to build a planetary civilization that can endure into the deep future.


Duane Elgin is an internationally recognized speaker and author. His books include The Living Universe, Promise Ahead, and Awakening Earth. In 2006, he received the international Goi Peace Award in recognition of his contribution to a global “vision, consciousness, and lifestyle” that fosters a “more sustainable and spiritual culture.” He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

AWAKENING EARTH

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Challenge of Planetary Civilization

PART I: STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT

Chapter 1: First Stage—Contracted Consciousness and the Archaic Era
Chapter 2: Second Stage—Surface Consciousness and the Era of Awakening Hunter-Gatherers
Chapter 3: Third Stage—Depth Consciousness and the Era of Agrarian-Based Civilizations
Chapter 4: Fourth Stage—Dynamic Consciousness and the Scientific-Industrial Era
Chapter 5: Fifth Stage—Reflective Consciousness and the Era of Reconciliation
Chapter 6: Sixth Stage—Oceanic Consciousness and the Bonding and Building Era
Chapter 7: Seventh Stage—Flow Consciousness and the Surpassing Era
Chapter 8: Eighth Stage—Integral Awareness and the Initial Maturity of Planetary Civilization
Chapter 9: The Changing Dynamics of Human Evolution

PART II: DIMENSIONAL COSMOLOGY

Chapter 10: The Perennial Wisdom and Human Evolution
Chapter 11: Continuous Creation of the Cosmos
Chapter 12: Coevolution and the Meta-Universe
Chapter 13: Sacred Geometry and Stages of Growth

PART III: APPENDICES

Appendix I: Correlations with Psychological theories and Spiritual Traditions
Appendix II: Meditative Origins of Dimensional Cosmology

Is Humanity Growing Up?

Duane Elgin looks at the human species and asks, What is our collective level of maturity?


Published on Aug 22, 2015

Are we part of a living universe that evolves grows and is conscious ?

Available now on http://www.CuriosityStream.com: Deepak Chopra’s Curious Minds is a brand new series of intimate dialogues around the science of our universe ..featuring nobel laureates, academics & thought leaders.

Review on Duane Elgin’s “ The Living Universe ” can be viewed HERE


Pete and Duane’s Window is a series that explores our world in transition including topics such as consciousness, world trends, sustainability, spirituality, and our common future.

The Roots of Our Crisis pt 2 (Pete and Duane’s Window – Show 2)

Duane Elgin speaks at the FeelGood Speakers Series, a free offering to the public that provides an opportunity to converse with some of the world’s leading thinkers, writers and activists who are working to create a positive tipping point in humanity’s future: One that is just, thriving and sustainable. Recorded April 20, 2011.

FeelGood is a national youth movement of changemakers working to end global hunger and poverty.

To portray the richness of simplicity as a theme for healthy living, here are eight different flowerings that I see growing consciously in the “garden of simplicity.” Although there is overlap among them, each expression of simplicity seems sufficiently distinct to warrant a separate category. These are presented in no particular order, as all are important.

1. Uncluttered Simplicity. Simplicity means taking charge of lives that are too busy, too stressed and too fragmented. Simplicity means cutting back on clutter, complications and trivial distractions, both material and non-material, and focusing on the essentials — whatever those may be for each of our unique lives. As Thoreau said, “Our life is frittered away by detail … Simplify, simplify.” Or, as Plato wrote, “In order to seek one’s own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life.”

2. Ecological Simplicity. Simplicity means choosing ways of living that touch the Earth more lightly and reduce our ecological impact on the web of life. This life-path remembers our deep roots with the soil, air and water. It encourages us to connect with nature, the seasons and the cosmos. An ecological simplicity feels a deep reverence for the community of life on Earth and accepts that the non-human realms of plants and animals have their dignity and rights as well as the human.

3. Family Simplicity. Simplicity means to place the well-being of one’s family ahead of materialism and the acquisition of things. This expression of green living puts an emphasis on giving children healthy role models of a balanced life that are not distorted by consumerism. Family simplicity affirms that what matters most in life is often invisible — the quality and integrity of our relationships with one another and the rest of life. Family simplicity is also intergenerational — it looks ahead and seeks to live with restraint so as to leave a healthy earth for future generations.

4. Compassionate Simplicity. Simplicity means to feel such a strong sense of kinship with others that, as Gandhi said, we “choose to live simply so that others may simply live.” A compassionate simplicity means feeling a bond with the community of life and being drawn toward a path of cooperation and fairness that seeks a future of mutually assured development in all areas of life for everyone.

5. Soulful Simplicity. Simplicity means to approach life as a meditation and to cultivate our experience of direct connection with all that exists. By living simply, we can more easily awaken to the living universe that surrounds and sustains us, moment by moment. Soulful simplicity consciously tastes life in its unadorned richness rather than being concerned with a particular standard or manner of material living. In cultivating a soulful connection with life, we tend to look beyond surface appearances and bring our interior aliveness into relationships of all kinds.

6. Business Simplicity.
Simplicity means a new kind of economy is growing in the world, with healthy and sustainable products and services of all kinds (such as home-building materials, energy systems, food production and transportation systems). As the need for a sustainable infrastructure in developing nations is combined with the need to retrofit and redesign the homes, cities, workplaces and transportation systems of developed nations, it is generating an enormous wave of green business innovation and employment.

7. Civic Simplicity.
Simplicity means living more lightly and sustainably on the earth, and this requires, in turn, changes in many areas of public life — from public transportation and education to the design of our cities and workplaces. To develop policies of civic simplicity involves giving close and sustained attention to media politics, as the mass media are the primary vehicle for reinforcing — or transforming — the social norms of consumerism. To realize the magnitude of changes required in such a brief time requires new approaches to communicating with ourselves as different communities of citizens.

8. Frugal Simplicity. Simplicity means that, by cutting back on spending that is not truly serving our lives, and by practicing skillful management of our personal finances we can achieve greater financial independence. Frugality and careful financial management bring increased financial freedom and the opportunity to more consciously choose our path through life. Living with less also decreases the impact of our consumption upon the earth and frees resources for others.

As these eight approaches illustrate, the growing culture of simplicity contains a flourishing garden of expressions whose great diversity — and intertwined unity — are creating a resilient and hardy ecology of learning about how to live more sustainable and meaningful lives. As with other ecosystems, it is the diversity of expressions that fosters flexibility, adaptability and resilience. Because there are so many pathways into the garden of simplicity, this self-organizing movement has enormous potential to grow.

Duane Elgin is a speaker, author and non-partisan activist for media accountability. He is the author of “Voluntary Simplicity,” “The Living Universe,” “Promise Ahead,” and other books. Please visit his website, http://www.DuaneElgin.com for free articles and videos on thriving in these challenging times. Your comments and suggestions are much appreciated.

Einstein famously said that we cannot solve problems with the same level of perception that created them. We have to step up to a higher and more inclusive level of seeing what is going on in order to understand and solve great challenges. Certainly climate disruption represents one of the greatest tests humanity has ever faced because it is a much higher level problem than the actions which have created it: countless local actions (driving cars, running factories, etc.) have produced global consequences that respect no national boundaries and that imperil our collective future.

Here is how James Speth, former head of the Council on Environmental Quality and a top Washington policy maker, describes the up-leveling of perception required: “I used to think the top environmental problems facing the world were global warming, environmental degradation, and eco-system collapse.. but I was wrong. The real problem is not those three items, but greed, selfishness and apathy. And for that we need a spiritual and cultural transformation.” The transformation that Speth speaks about is a shift to a higher level of attention and seeing the world from a more objective vantage point with a witnessing or reflective consciousness.

Simply stated, what is required is a shift from an “embedded consciousness” that is locked inside the habits of our thinking mind to a more spacious “reflective consciousness” that enables us to become a fair witness or objective observer of our lives. This does not mean we stop thinking; instead, we stand back and, without judgment, simply watch what we are thinking and how we are relating to both the world and ourselves.

An up-leveling of our attention to a more reflective or witnessing consciousness makes an important difference in the flow of our lives. We are less bound by habitual and pre-programmed ways of perceiving and responding when we are consciously watchful of ourselves in the process of living. As we witness ourselves moving through daily life, we begin to cut through confining self-images, social pretenses and psychological barriers and begin to live more voluntarily and choicefully.

The ability to witness the unfolding of our lives is so ordinary that it is easy to overlook. An old adage states, “It’s a rare fish that knows it swims in water.” In a similar way, we humans seldom recognize the power and importance of a witnessing or reflective consciousness. To clarify, let me to ask: Have you been conscious of sitting here reading this blog? Did you unintentionally allow your thoughts to wander to other concerns? Did you just experience a slight shock of self-recognized when I inquired? What does it feel like to notice yourself reading while you read? To observe yourself eating while you eat? To notice yourself talking while you talk?

As our familiarity with this mode of attention increases, we get lost in thought and worldly activities less frequently. This is not a mechanical watchfulness; rather it involves making friends with ourselves and accepting the totality of who we are with all of our faults, foibles, and unique gifts. In living more consciously, we are able to notice our habitual patterns of thought and behavior, both personally and socially. We are more able to penetrate through the political posturing, glib advertisements, and cultural myths that sustain the status quo.

We are also able to respond more quickly to subtle feedback that something is amiss. We do not have to be shocked or bludgeoned into remedial action by, for example, massive famines or catastrophic climate disruption; instead, more subtle signals suffice to indicate that corrective actions are warranted.

A reflective or witnessing or consciousness also promotes a feeling of connection with the rest of life. We begin to see and sense our intimate relationship with all of life and this, in turn, naturally fosters feelings of compassion and caring. As we expand our interior learning to match our technological advances, we develop an inner maturation that is more equal to the enormous technological development that has occurred over the last several centuries.

Returning to Einstein’s insight, climate disruption and other crises are moving the capacity for a reflective or witnessing consciousness from the status of a spiritual luxury for the few to a social necessity for the many. This simple though profound transformation in consciousness is not confined to our personal lives. The human family is acquiring a witnessing or reflective consciousness at lightning speed as the growth of television and the Internet enable us to become a collective witness to our own journey.

By joining the deep but fragmented communication of the Internet with the broad but shallow communication of television, we are transforming our global capacity to witness our collective behavior and future. Working together, these tools are creating a broad and deep capacity for attention and collective conversation as a species. With the combined power of our communications technologies, we are fostering a new level of collective consciousness that can overcome our apathy, selfishness, and greed and enable us to discover a common future of sustainable prosperity. We are a witnessing species. Assisted by the communications revolution, we are becoming more fully awake and able to respond with to the supreme test of climate change from a higher level of perception and understanding.

A growing understanding of our universe reveals two remarkable dynamics at work that together intensify and expand our feeling for the spiritual nature of existence. The first dynamic is the universe story: A grand narrative that portrays humanity as descendants of a vast, creative lineage of life that stretches over nearly 14 billion years. The second dynamic is the universe emerging as a fresh creation at every moment.

While the universe story provides a stunning narrative of the “horizontal” unfolding across time, the insight of an emerging universe adds the “vertical” dimension of the universe continuously arising in time. The vertical dynamic of continuous creation slices through all that exists and reveals everything as a single orchestration happening all at once. At every moment, we are a part of this grand unity of creation.

The unfolding of the universe through time demonstrates an amazingly powerful and patient process at work. The continuous creation of the cosmos in time reveals another, stunningly powerful dynamic. When we put these two extraordinary processes together at an intersection called “now,” it reveals how we simultaneously exist in a place of both creative freedom and profound communion. Being and becoming converge into an experience beyond words — and we recognize that we already live in the realm of the sacred.

Our awakening to a new understanding of the universe in both its horizontal and its vertical aspects represents a stunning re-imagining of where we are as a species. Realizing that we live at the intersection of both the horizontal unfolding of the universe and the vertical arising of the universe presents a view of existence that reaches beyond any particular nation, region, or ethnic group. We are bio-cosmic beings who are waking up to the fact that we live in an ever-emergent universe and our evolutionary task is to grow into the bigness of who we are, both personally and collectively. This vision of the human journey is big enough to honor the diversity of our past and to act as a beacon for our collective future.

Although the idea of an ever-emergent universe has ancient roots in human experience, it is also radically new as the frontiers of modern science offer a growing recognition of how dynamic the universe truly is. The universe is not static, sitting quietly in empty space; instead, the totality of the universe is everywhere in motion and being regenerated moment by moment — a process requiring the flow-through of a stupendous amount of energy. In the words of cosmologist Brian Swimme, “The universe emerges out of an all-nourishing abyss not only fourteen billion years ago but in every moment.” Moment by moment, the universe emerges as a single orchestration — a uni-verse or single verse of manifestation. Because nothing is left out of the regeneration of the universe, we are participants in a cosmic scale process whether we are conscious of it or not.

This insight is not restricted to science. Based upon decades of research described in my book “The Living Universe,” harvesting the wisdom of human experience is like watching a picture gradually come into focus and seeing an extraordinary image of the universe emerging before our eyes. Within each major tradition — Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, Indigenous, and more — we can find remarkably similar descriptions of the universe and the life force that sustains it: Christians affirm that God is not separate from this world but continuously creates it anew, so that we live, move, and have our being in God. Muslims declare that the entire universe is continually coming into being, and that each moment is a new “occasion” for Allah to create the universe. Hindus proclaim that the entire universe is a single body that is being continually danced into creation by a divine Life force or Brahman. Buddhists state that the entire universe arises freshly at every moment in an unceasing flow of interdependent, co-arising where everything depends upon everything else. Taoists state that the Tao is the “Mother of the Universe,” the inexhaustible source from which all things rise and fall without ceasing. Confucians view our universe as a unified and interpenetrating whole that is sustained and nourished by the vitality of the life force or ch’i. Indigenous peoples declare that an animating wind or life force blows through all things in the world and there is aliveness and sacred power everywhere. And many Western thinkers portray the universe as a single, living creature continually regenerating itself as it evolves toward higher levels of complexity and consciousness. Beneath the differences in language, a common reality is being described — our life is part of a larger life that is being continuously renewed. The universe inhabits us as much as we inhabit the universe.

The unity of existence is not an experience to be created; rather, it is an always-manifesting condition waiting to be appreciated and welcomed into awareness. The “power of now” derives from the entire universe arising at every moment as an extremely precise flow. When we are in the now, we are “reality surfing” — riding the wave of continuous creation. Each moment is a fresh formation of the universe, emerging seamlessly and flawlessly. It is the doubly powerful nature of life at the intersection of emergence and evolution that gives such intensity and span of meaning to existence, and awakens naturally a spiritual appreciation for all of life.

A Living Universe?

Duane Elgin takes us on a journey to explore what kind of universe we live in? Who are we? Where are we?

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