This is an extraordinarily enlightening book for most anyone who ponders the deep meaning of faith, evolution, and the future. Written by Kurt Johnson and David Robert Ord, the book explores in wonderfully encompassing detail the trek of mankind from the trees to the present. With attention to biology, physics, history, anthropology, psychology and just about everything in between, the authors present a solid case that we as humans are on a journey to what is called Interspirituality.
Defined by Brother Teasdale in The Mystic Heart, interspirituality is the combined spiritual wisdom amassed across faith traditions and across time. It is that thing that so many of us now practice, the blending of several traditional practices from more than one faith center. Thus I may be as I am, a practicing Catholic (Christian), practice Tai Chi (Chinese), meditate (Hindu) all the while participating in an occasional Native American blessing ceremony.
With a strong command of what is going on in evolutionary biology and experimental physics, parallels are drawn between the search for unity in science and the ever-growing realization that this same unity is not only required by reason but is the nature of evolution of our species.
A historical look a the history of faith traditions suggests that there are essentially two kinds: revealed religions and consciousness ones. It should not be surprising that the revealed religions, the ones we are most familiar with in the West all share common motifs (messengers, sacred texts written by the God, and end time scenarios.
Our faith traditions reflected historically where we in terms of our organization politically. God-kings, totalitarian regimes, patriotism have all been epochal passages for us humans as we move slowly but hopefully inexorably toward a unity on a global scale.
The authors see that as we progress toward an integration of faiths into one great cosmic or global spirituality, it will lead us to approach our political and economic organizations in the same manner, bringing together a synthesis of all our skills for the good of all. Thus we trace the movement among some businesses to develop a more “circle” type method of decision-making away from more hierarchical traditional models.
Additionally, Johnson and Ord call for a recognition by the secularist society of the real value and truth of the spiritual realm. This is certainly backed up by much work being done today in the area of evolutionary biology which suggests that some of our less “touchable” skills may be in the areas of intuition, and empathetic responses to problems and concerns.
Clearly the point is that unity is being sought everywhere, and that is but part of our evolutionary destiny.
This of course in no way minimizes the real problems ahead. If the era of the 60’s and 70’s was one of the threat of nuclear annihilation, then surely we face similar threats in the disease of greed driven mega corporations and the very real possibility that if not checked soon, they will control governments so completely that there will be no hope for the masses of humanity worldwide. We will all be nothing more than the labor that runs the mighty corporate monsters for the benefit of the few.
Additionally of course we now face a calamity when it comes to our environment. While some claim we are already past the point of no return, others still think that we can turn things around and save planet earth. If we do not, however, this grand experiment called homo sapien appears doomed to join the dinosaurs as a species that didn’t make it.
The authors do point to lists of people and organizations and points in all fields, as evidence that we are making great strides in forging the tools and skills necessary to convert to a shared “we” outlook when it comes to this planet. While at times it seems that little progress is being made, that tends to be the case until the tipping point is reached. Things then take on a life of their own and proceed quite rapidly. The point is, as they point out, to keep on setting up the frameworks that will be used once that magic Archimedian point is reached–the perfect balance required to move the world in a new direction.
This is great reading and I would suggest, a most important one for anyone who contemplates all that the world suffers and wonders if there is a way out of this mess. The authors would say, resoundingly: YES. And I would too.