An Emergent Shift in Societal Values

We are undergoing a shift in societal values

“A radical inner transformation and rise to a new level of consciousness might be the only real hope we have in the current global crisis brought on by the dominance of the Western mechanistic paradigm”

Stanislav Graf

Thomas Berry, in his book The Dream of Earth, writes that this supremely important time is perhaps asking us for the most complete reversal of our human values that has taken place since the Neolithic era.  Our commerce, industry, and economics are, he says, grounded in the devastation of the earth. The “Great Work” is to replace our outworn vales and worldview as is now in progress as increasing numbers of people awaken to the values that express our responsibility toward life, each other, and the planet as a whole.

The Fund for Global Awakening identified a 28% segment of the US population which manifests the shift in societal values, vision, and beliefs in support of community transformation and a new life of wholeness. Paul Ray identified an emerging “Cultural Creative” group which matches these with 25% of the population made up of individuals in the middle to wealthy class, with twice as many men than women and concerned with their personal growth and lifestyle choices, which differentiates them from other groups. They prefer natural whole foods, holistic health care, holistic inner experience, whole system information, a holistic balance between work and play as well as between consumption and inner growth. They view themselves as synthesizers and healers, on the personal, community, national, and planetary level. They aspire to create change in personal values and public behaviors that could change the dominant culture beyond the fragmented and mechanistic world of the moderns.  Similar figures are emerging in Europe as well as in Japan, Australia, and Brazil.  This notion of holism catches the most profound spiritual instincts: to become a fulfilled and whole human being, to create healthy and whole communities locally and globally, to include and care for all elements and dimensions, to connect with and feel that we are part of the whole meaning and mystery of existence.

Ronald Ingelhart, political scientist at the University of Michigan, administers the World Values Survey and has found that over 58 percent of Americans say that they think often about the meaning and purpose of life.  Substantial, though lower, percentages of Germans, British, and Japanese report the same. He believes that the advanced world is in the midst of a gradual change in its operating principles, “a gradual shift from materialist values (emphasizing economic and physical security above all) toward postmaterialist priorities (emphasizing self-expression and the quality of life)”  Greg Easterbrook, an American journalist, says “a transition from material want to meaning want is in progress on an historically unprecedented scale- involving hundreds of millions of people- and may eventually be recognized as the principal cultural development of our age.”  We see in this shift in societal values that meaning has become a central aspect of our work and lives.

Recalling our latest findings in science, we must recognize our paradoxical nature:

  • We are each unique, yet totally connected with the entire universe, absolutely individual but integrated with all that exists
  • We are both the observer and the object of observation, the knower and that which is known. We are knowers who have physical bodies and a biological brain yet also knowers who participate in a vast field of consciousness through our intuitive intelligence.
  • We embody the paradox of being and becoming. Our nature is the continual flow of becoming.

With this new understanding of our world and shift in societal values, we will move to globally accelerate this human shift in consciousness/worldview:

  • Moving from an apathetic observer in a mechanistic universe to an active co-creator in a purposeful, meaningful universe
  • Moving from meaningless and lonely individualistic separation to the power of the coherent collective in heartful interrelationship and connection

Yet today there is no unifying vision of our purpose on the planet that could engage the whole of humanity and take us beyond the single vision of Newton’s sleep.  What is the “shared consciousness responsibility” where each of us need to do our part, independently but with common purpose? Where we can live in line with our values, larger sense of purpose, true vocation?

What is the clear emerging vision of our time that could offer a template for a conscious humanity?  It could be a vision which takes us beyond an outworn image of deity and offers us a new concept of spirit as a unifying energy field, a limitless sea of being, as well as the organizing intelligence within that sea or field, and a new concept of ourselves as belonging to and participating in that incandescent ground of consciousness.

This will require collective imagination.


Today's Situation: Humanity in Crisis
What is a Paradigm Shift? - Definition and Examples in Science