Conscious Evolution: Our Challenge
There is now a wealth of physiological and psychological data on the mechanics of “everyday” consciousness. Scientists know how these mechanics evolved for survival and how they limit and distort our perception, and contribute to the seemingly intractable problems in the modern world: misdirection of effort in medicine and education; ecological shortsightedness; propensity to brainwashing; the constant failure to understand people not of our own “tribe.”
In our highly secularized world, we are prone to identify these mechanics as the sum total of our human nature. But we know they are not. Modern research also points to more “advanced” capacities in our nature — capacities often associated with the brain’s right hemisphere such as context formation, intuition, or “whole-patterned” thought. Though latent or less developed, these capacities are in evidence at the very heart of human creativity. They are reflected in our art, literature, music, scientific inspiration — even in the gravity-defying moves of a skilled basketball player.
The gift of modern science has been the identification of these capacities in all of us, providing an expanded framework for taking charge of our own evolution — for creative, focused application of new and traditional insights to education, health care, communication, resource planning, and international relations. What we do with this gift may well be the key to our continued survival.
The Psychology of Conscious Evolution Trilogy
When first published, Robert Ornstein’s classics, The Psychology of Consciousness and The Evolution of Consciousness, introduced the two modes of consciousness of the left and right brain hemispheres and a critical understanding of how the brain evolved. Ornstein considered these, along with his latest book, God 4.0: On the Nature of Higher Consciousness and the Experience Called “God,” his most important writings. The three books together provide a fundamental reconsideration of ancient religious and spiritual traditions in the light of advances in brain science and psychology, exploring the potential and relevance of this knowledge to contemporary needs and to our shared future.