Evolving Consciousness

A day conference held on Saturday 30th November 2019, London.
Organised by The Scientific and Medical Network with generous support from The Fetzer Institute.

We hope you will enjoy what emerged during the day in these films and podcasts. (Podcasts can be downloaded here.)

The gathering was prompted by a sense that the inability of individuals and society to perceive spiritual reality has, today, become critical. But also by the possibility that our could crisis itself be significant. Might it be valuable, even necessary for the evolution of human consciousness?

In the twentieth century, thinkers including Owen Barfield considered this possibility. They concluded that the experience of being human shifts fundamentally across cultural time. Understanding the nature of this change is essential and can greatly illuminate our current spiritual task.

You can also read a report and reflection by Mark Vernon. Mark’s book on Owen Barfield, A Secret History of Christianity, was the initial inspiration for the day.

1. Introductory dialogue

The day began with a conversation between Gary Lachman and Mark Vernon to introduce the idea of the evolution of consciousness particularly as understood by Owen Barfield.

2. Panel discussion

Next, Marilyn Monk, Simon Conway Morris, Jessica Kingsley and Malcolm Guite talked about the evolution of consciousness in relation to their areas of expertise, and took some questions.

3. Experiencing participation

After lunch, Pippa Evans led improvisation exercises as an experience of participative consciousness.

4. Roundtable discussions and feedback

All participants were then invited to join a group discussion to pursue what the evolution of consciousness might mean today. They were organised to focus on one of four themes: i. personal formation; ii. religious & spiritual traditions; iii. science & modernity; iv. mysticism & gnosis. Here’s the feedback.

5. Final discussion and concluding thoughts

Richard Tarnas and David Lorimer returned to the meaning of our times, how we might participate in its evolution, and what that means for the future. The day ended with concluding thoughts and comments.