Evolutionary Working Paper



by Tom Atlee, May 2006

Evolution is about change. Where does change come from? What are its dynamics?

I notice a number of different ways to view change -- and ordinary causality is only one of them -- and very different ways to consciously engage in it and with it.

If we wish to increase our ability to understand and practice conscious evolution, exploring these different modes of change will probably prove fruitful.

Here is what I see so far:


1. CAUSALITY: Time unfolds from earlier to later, each step following more or less linearly from those before, driven by understandable causes. Through OBJECTIVITY, RATIONAL ANALYSIS, TECHNIQUE, WILL, DESIGN and STRATEGIC PLANNING consciousness engages with the causal dimensions of change.

2. ETERNAL EMERGENCE: Phenomena unfold from potentiality into reality -- moment to moment -- arising into being in and as an eternally unfolding Now. (E.g., David Bohm's quantum physics.) Through MINDFULNESS, ATTUNEMENT, OPENNESS, TRUST (LETTING GO OF OUTCOME), our FELT SENSE, and PRESENCE IN THE MOMENT consciousness engages with the enternally emergent dimensions of change.

3. TELOS (seemingly intrinsic purposefulness): The future calls itself into being through the present, through strange attractors, probabilities, trends, natural trajectories, instincts, and essential destinies that seem to draw phenomena toward certain outcomes or resolutions. Through PRESENCING (see Otto Scharmer, et al), PROPHECY, DREAMS, DESIRE/ASPIRATION, PURPOSE, VISIONING, and our SENSE OF CALLING, consciousness engages with the teleological dimensions of change.

4. CO-INCARNATION: Each new moment arises out of relationship, interaction and interbeing, with each event and thing creating context, energy, and reason for other events and things to manifest. It is all "co". Through RESONANCE (EMPATHY, COMPASSION), RESPONSIBILIITY, RESPONSIVENESS, CONVERSATION, and MANIFESTATION (see David Spangler), consciousness engages with the co-incarnational dimensions of change.


INTEGRATION: We can function largely in one or more of these dimensions, ignoring or neglecting others. But our evolving universe does not arise from one or two of them, but from all of them (and more?). Perhaps we can be most benignly powerful when we engage with all these dimensions of change using all these modes of consciousness. For example, when we are in an integrated mode of OPEN, ALIVE INTENTIONALITY, we may hold (in the present) a sense of a desired future -- invitationally, expectantly, responsively -- without attachment to outcome -- aware of our own presence-as-part-of-it-all, dancing in highly aware and active partnership with whatever is emerging and whatever causal factors, contextual fields, and teleological tendencies are at play in the situation.

We would do things that we think would serve our wished-for future, and support various events and energies that seem to promote it, but we wouldn't force things or engineer the life out of them. We would seek to become more broadly and deeply aware of what is going on, and let that influence the texture of our intention and our sense of the forms in which it might manifest. We would be patient, well connected to our place of passion about it but able to wait in trust, aware that everything is potentially a resource to work with, and create designs that facilitate synergy and evoke greater aliveness in the general direction of our desire. We would become a force of nature, a face of evolution, an indistinguishable part of the fabric of life out of which all further life unfolds.