From Evolution to Volution

From Evolution to Volution – the implications of cosmic geometry (cosmometry) on our understanding of life and the human story.

This is based on a paper submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for my PhD in Wisdom Studies at Wisdom University, following the course Fundamentals of Cosmometry, lead by Marshall Lefferts with guests.

The images of torus, jitterbug and vector equilibrium used with thanks to Marshall Lefferts.


The idea that we as humanity have evolved in a linear process over time is probably one of the most widely accepted ideas across the human species. There is debate between more religious fundamentalist perspectives and more scientific-rational perspectives about exactly when it all began (eg a few thousand years ago versus 14 billion years ago), but they all agree on the idea that since that beginning we have been evolving through historical time with a past, present and future. Indeed, even our most popular philosophers and spiritual teachers tend to promote an evolutionary perspective (Wilber (1996), Cohen (2011), Laszlo (1996)). In my own book (Merry 2009) I adopted and connected these various evolutionary theories.

However, over the last year or so, I have come to question this perspective, and the cosmometry retreat has strengthened my belief that there is a more adequate perspective on our human reality that better reflects the fundamental dynamics of life. This paper attempts to explore the broader perspective and apply it to our human story.Continue reading

Core Practice

Another element of my conversation with Tim included this precious insight.

I have been sitting for a while with a dissatisfaction around a description of Product and Process as separate things – or content/what and process/how as different.

In the conversation it became clear that this came from our experience that actually the new ways in which people and organisations begin to do things also become the new products that they offer the world. That in fact their own internal Practice becomes their Practice in the world.

A few examples:

  • The (re)evolution youth group lived through a transformation process, started doing and being differently and that is what they are now taking into their local community
  • An IBM business unit transformed its cultural and leadership resilience and they are now integrating that into a product for clients
  • An intentional community is making the shift from a more inwardly-focused spiritual community to becoming an example for how intentional communities can contribute to solving some of the core problems we are facing in the world. The process they are going through and the new practice they are moving into will become part of their core offering to the world

They have all developed a Core Practice which is at the same time process and content/product. This makes it fully authentic and powerfully attractive to others. And as a Practice it never stops nor is finalised. It is a continual evolutionary journey for ourselves and for those around us.

Collective Alignment

This is how we are currently aligning ourselves as the Center for Human Emergence (Netherlands). This concept and the organisation form is designed to be scale-free.

Core Purpose

To become a catalyser and crystalliser of action for the planetary transformation into integral evolutionary consciousness

Core Principles

  • We practice full presence and radical authenticity
  • We open our hearts to the voice of the whole
  • We pay attention to the evolutionary impulse as it arises as us
  • We move ourselves as that impulse with swiftness, precision and love

Vision and Mission

External Vision (An inspirational statement that describes the contribution we want to make to the world)

A catalyser and crystalliser of action for the planetary transformation into integral evolutionary consciousness

Internal Vision (A statement that describes organizational fulfillment)

To serve Spirit as its unfolding

Internal Mission ( a. What is our core business? b. What do we need to grow and develop as an organization?)

To support rapid self-organisation as the evolutionary impulse, by developing our compassion, insight and skillful means

External Mission (An inspirational statement that describes the service we provide to our clients, a statement that will inspire our customers)

To rapidly co-emerge vital and resilient individuals, organisations and cultures fit for present and emerging realities

The Fifth Day and Fifth Night (Evolutionary Time Dynamics)

We have just entered the Fifth Day of the Galactic Underworld (see – the Underworlds can be mapped onto the Spiral). The Fifth Day of every previous Underworld has always been a major breakthrough. The difference now is that the kind of change that happened in hundreds, thousands and millions of years in the past, is now about to happen in 360 days.

This increase in light will bring an increase in the visibility of shadow. This has already shown itself in my own inner experience and in the world news over the last few days. There will be no more hiding (from) karma. It is going to be right in our faces in the coming time – individually and collectively. This is not necessarily going to feel particularly pleasant or look very beautiful. The imbalances that have been created in our global system will surface for us to deal with. The unhealed wounds of our individual past will be there for all to see.

Critical at this point is holding our connection to the light in the Ground of Being, in which the shadow will eventually burn away. Practice, practice, practice. We are going to need it when the shift really hits the fan in the Fifth Night, starting mid-November next year. Expect to see the turbulence in our inner lives, physical bodies, relationships, economic and social structures, and ecological systems.

This is not about fear. This is about seeing clearly, feeling deeply, and acting with swiftness, precision and love. In the space that opens up as the old falls apart, we can start to play…

Integral Resilience

The essence of Integral Resilience is to maintain a dynamic balance between an individual’s, culture’s and structure’s wholeness and identity on the one hand (“agency” for Wilberians), and partness and belonging on the other (“communion”).

For the individual, resilience involves being clear on my Purpose and identity at this time whilst being open to sense and rapidly adapt to changes around me.

For a culture, resilience involves clarity of collective Purpose and Principles of behaviour, whilst being open to pick up the feedback of the world around and respond adequately.

For a structure (organisational, governmental, technological etc), resiilence involves the capacity for the structure to continue to deliver whatever it is that it is meant to be delivering, whilst learning from and adapting to continual feedback and more intense shocks from the world around.

When agency and communion are in a healthy dynamic balance, innovation, evolution and emergence occur in the dance of creative tension. We align ourselves as the evolutionary impulse of Spirit unfolding.

(R)Evolution and the Sensitive Soul

[(R) for Rapid – thanks to Elisabeth Sahtouris for this one.]

They don’t mix well.

What is it about the closed Sensitive Self (Spiral Green) that makes it such a draining system to engage? (And I emphasise “closed” – “open” and even “arrested” I have had great joy engaging). And why do I find myself feeling increasingly unsympathetic and impatient towards it?

One of Clare Graves’ key conclusions was not that it was our task to get everyone to second tier, but rather that we should aim to meet people where they are at, creating the habitats that allow them to flourish as the people that they are (so in AQAL terms create alignment across quadrants).

However another of his major findings was how “value systems” emerge in interaction with “life conditions” (in AQAL terms, the four quadrants co-arise / co-evolve). Now our current global life conditions are those of the sixth major species extinction on planet earth – according to scientific definitions of numbers and rates of disappearance. In the previous five extinctions, the dominant species has gone down with many others, unable to adapt. So it would be an exception if we survived this one. However, there is a signficant difference with this one – we are the primary cause of it, so we can also turn it around. We are also now aware of this evolutionary process itself, that we are.

Now these life conditions call firstly for seeing ourselves as part of the interconnected and evolving whole that our planet and universe is, and secondly for us to design integral interventions and act rapidly whilst learning continually on the job.

The Sensitive Self has an issue with both of these demands. Seeing ourselves as part of an evolving whole, and therefore as evolving ourselves, has implications – namely that different people are at different levels of development, which means that I am at a different level of development to others around me – more evolved than some and less evolved than others. Particularly that last one is tricky for Green.

It’s my experience that Green is the last major stand of the ego (by which I mean our sense of separate self). It is a confusing system. It calls for inclusion and tolerance, and believes that everyone has their own truth and therefore must be included in everything. The result is that if anyone tries to tell someone centred in closed Green that they have an obligation or responsibility to do something, they are likely to get told in no uncertain terms that they have no right to tell them what they should do, as they are their own individual with freedom to be who they want and do what they like – so bugger off with your authoritarian oppression. However the evolutionary context implies a natural hierarchy where others do exist who can see things more clearly than you, and whose leadership it should therefore be normal for you to follow. This, in my experience, is where Green reaches its limits, and will often freak out projecting all sorts of past hurt about not being honoured, respected, included etc etc. Not very pleasant stuff to have to deal with.

The other demand – natural design and rapid action – is also too much for the Green system. The reasons are obvious really – design and action are not things best done by including anyone who wants to be included (or by people democratically elected), but by people who have the vertical and horizontal competencies to do so. Would you rather have your airplane passengers elect pilots from amongst their own numbers, or have qualified people appointed by the airline? We need functional teams, appointed by those with complex enough value systems to be able to make that fit – and if that selection team does not include you, then the ego and Sensitive Self goes ape.

So basically, the primary reason for us to facilitate as many people as possible (including ourselves) out of Orange/Green into Yellow/Turquoise is not that the latter are better systems, but that the planetary life conditions are demanding it, and if we want to survive this time round then we had better get on with it.

So no more time for pandering to hurt egos, trying to help people feel like they belong, meeting lacks in people by granting them a place, giving in to demands for diversity and inclusion just for the sake of it, or submitting oneself to heart-sharing sessions just to make someone else’s Sensitive Self feel better.

Only time for standing in our own strength, free of the past, connecting with others to have an impact when the need requires, thinking for ourselves and trusting our insights checked with a community of the adequate, and aligning all that we do behind a purpose that serves the good of the whole.

Time to get on with it. If we upset Sensitive Souls on the way, that hurt belongs to them and not to us. Don’t let it distract us and drain our energy. Release the past, feel the pull of the future and joy of the present, and do what needs to be done.