Sample chapters

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Sample chapters

  • Front matter (Table of Contents, Foreword by John Haught, PhD, and Author’s Preface) [downloadable PDF]
  • Chapter 1 [downloadable PDF]
  • Chapter 2 [downloadable PDF]

From the Author’s Preface:

“WHAT IS THE purpose of human life? This question has been pondered by philosophers, meditated on by mystics, and grappled with by ordinary folks for millennia. And humankind has responded with innumerable answers as the tides of history and culture have swelled and retreated, bringing with them new beliefs, mythic narratives, and philosophies. And yet, in our time of exponential change and material progress, many feel we have lost sight of any sense of higher purpose. When in the late nineteenth century Friedrich Nietzsche declared the “death of God,” he also expressed concern about the corresponding lack of human purpose in the modern age. He was prescient when his Zarathustra proclaimed, “A thousand goals have there been so far, for there have been a thousand peoples. Only the yoke for the thousand necks is still lacking: the one goal is lacking. Humanity still has no goal.” Nietzsche further stated, “The time has come for man to set himself a goal. The time has come for man to plant the seed of his highest hope.”

“This book is an attempt to plant that seed, to articulate a goal and a purpose for humanity in an age of unprecedented technological breakthroughs and previously unimaginable potentials for evolutionary progress. I believe—and intend to demonstrate in this book—that we are reaching a threshold or “tipping point” in our evolutionary path that is as radical as the appearance countless eons ago of the first biological cell on Earth. The result will be a revolutionary jump in the growth of complexity and liveliness in the entire known universe. Looking at the big picture of cosmic evolution since the Big Bang—at least that which we can infer—I am convinced that our purpose is to transcend our limiting biology and the resulting limitations in our consciousness, thus enabling the rise of new kinds of sentient beings, freed from our genetic limitations in the pursuit of the highest transcendental aspirations and the promotion of cosmic evolution. Of course, not every new sentient being furthers this cosmic vision, any more than all humans have furthered progress up to now. But there will always be pioneers whose influence far exceeds their numbers. Those who are on the frontier of expanding life and consciousness will effect the transformation and enlivening of the known universe. This, I believe, is our calling . . . “

Table of Contents [downloadable PDF]

Table of Contents

Foreword by John Haught, PhD, professor emeritus of theology, Georgetown University
Prologue
Author’s Preface

Part One: SETTING THE STAGE

Chapter One
The Search for a New Human Purpose    3

Chapter Two
Evolution: The Best Idea Ever   13

Chapter Three
Imagining a Posthuman Future   27

3.1. What the Posthuman Future Is—and Is Not
3.2. The Second Phase of Conscious Evolution
3.3. Confidence in Our Mission and Our Future

Part Two: WISDOM, COSMIC VISION, AND HUMAN POTENTIAL

Chapter Four
Human Wisdom   42

4.1. The Axial Age
4.2. Twin Pillars of Western Civilization
4.3. Eastern Wisdom: The Yin-Yang Reality
4.4. Reflections on the Axial Age and Human Wisdom

Chapter Five
The Cosmic View   85

5.1. The Enlightenment and the Evolutionary View of the Universe
5.2. From the Big Bang to Conscious Mind: The New Paradigm of Cosmic History
5.3. Seven Cosmic Patterns
5.4. Reflections on Truth and the Cosmic Future
5.5. Going Back: The Tao as the Mind of God

Chapter Six
Human Potential   115

6.1. Human Uniqueness
6.2. Unique Human Attributes
6.3. The Cosmic View: Funnel or Hourglass?
6.4. Human Significance: A View from the Future
6.5. Human Aspirations and Cosmic Potential

Part Three: HUMAN NATURE AND ITS LIMITATIONS

Chapter Seven
All Too Human  137

7.1. The Limits of Human Nature
7.2. The Limits of Science
7.3. The Limits of Culture and the Problem of Evil
7.4. What Drives People
7.5. The Human Is a Machine—or Is It?

Chapter Eight
A Theory of Perspectives     173

8.1. Two Eyes
8.2. The Psychological/Neurological Basis of Perspectives
8.3. Stages of Developing Personal Perspective
8.4. Patterns of Perspectives in Society
8.5. Heavy Lifting with Higher Perspectives
8.6. Happiness Cannot Be the Ultimate Goal
8.7. The Greatest Divide and a Leap of Faith

Part Four: CONSCIOUS EVOLUTION: ITS POWER AND IMPLICATIONS

Chapter Nine
Conscious Evolution    227

9.1. What Is Conscious Evolution?
9.2. Extreme Nature-Worship
9.3. Conscious Evolution Is a Wide-Open Game
9.4. A Greenhouse for Conscious Evolution
9.5. Get Ready for Failures, and Lots of Them

Chapter Ten
Risks and Fears    267

10.1. What Fear Is For
10.2. Overcoming the Fear Bias against Conscious Evolution
10.3. Addressing Frequently Voiced Fears

Chapter Eleven
The Moral Argument    309

11.1. “Is This Moral?”
11.2. A Realistic View of Human Morality
11.3. Moral Guidance: Religion, Science, Humanism—or a Transcendental Perspective?
11.4. The Pragmatic Nature of Transcendental Morality
11.5. Human Dignity: The Pseudo-Spiritual Argument

Part Five: THE COSMIC FUTURE

Chapter Twelve
The Cosmic Being    351

12.1. What Science and History Tell Us about the Future
12.2. Social and Technical Challenges
12.3. CoBe: The Cosmic Being
12.4. New Political Concepts and Relationships
12.5. The Second Axial Age

Chapter Thirteen
Reflection and Expectation     385

13.1. A New Perspective on Humanity
13.2. Do Not Settle for Too Little
13.3. Leaders, Pioneers, and Favorable Environments
13.4. “What can I do? What’s in it for me?”

Notes
Bibliography
Index