A Paradigm Shift In Consciousness

Tenants of the shift to interdependence, unity and love

Diverse cells rise, become illuminated and enter a circle of light, expanded consciousness. Higher yet is the Great Mystery where infinite potential resides.

According to Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, a paradigm shift is an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way. The phenomenon was defined and popularized by Thomas Kuhn in his 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolution, where he argued that scientific advancement occurred in “intellectually violent revolutions” where “one conceptual world view is replaced by another.” Examples from the modern world include the Industrial Revolution, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the digital revolution, the internet, quantum physics, smart phones, artificial intelligence, robotics, gene splicing and nanotechnology. 

Since the early ‘70s, authors and scientists have been writing about the coming “transformation,” describing  shifts in consciousness from independence to interdependence, and from separation and fear to unity and love. It’s important to note that ten random people asked to describe the “current significant shifts in our ways of thinking” would result in ten different lists, possible with some duplication, certainly with different language and emphasis. 

My research into paradigms turned up sites that specialized in business, political and economic shifts. Also, there were sites where individuals and organizations with particular agendas described both positive and negative shifts. Acknowledging my interest and philosophical biases—humanity’s evolving consciousness and a positive future—I list here a brief summary of the tenants I’ve been reading about since George Leonard published his book, The Transformation in 1973. (Amazon has the paperback listed at $768.00. The Kindle edition is $3.95).


Tenants Of The emerging Paradigm


To live authentically is to make choices based upon the deepest part of our being, rather than the opinions or expectations of others or society.


Whole-systems balance requires harmonizing components, all stakeholders. Harmony occurs more often when there is a balance between matter and spirit, and heart and head. “In a democracy, there is not a center. Rather, needs and resources are balanced for the good of the whole by all its parts.” (McFague, 2013). “A customer-centric store shifts the balance of power away from the merchant and toward the customer… it’s about empowerment of the individual.” — Jeff Bezos

Competition and Cooperation

“Evolution depends on competition and cooperation, on independence and interdependence. Competition and independence are both important to individual survival, while cooperation and interdependence are important to group, social and species survival. Individuals and their societies are holons at two levels of the same holarchy. These levels must achieve mutual consistency by looking out for themselves and working out between themselves a balance of competition and cooperation, of dependence and interdependence.” (Sahtouris, 2000).


The great wisdom traditions held that the universe is consciousness, the excitation of consciousness, the activity of consciousness and the experience of consciousness. It evolves in consciousness, and we evolve in consciousness. “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative of consciousness.” (Max Plank, physicist).


The great advantage of diversity is resilience, the ability to adapt to changing situations. For a diverse community to become resilient, it must be aware of the interdependence of all its members. As they are enriched, the community is enriched. (Capra, 2018)


Equatable economic systems need to safeguard the viability of the whole community. Only as they thrive will their members thrive as well. “This begins with sustainability and distributive justice, not with the allocation of resources among competing individuals. The community must be able to survive (sustainability), which it can do only if all members have the use of resources (distributive justice). This kind of economics is not value-free. Its preference is the well-being and sustainability of the full spectrum of holons, including the Earth.” (McFague, 2008).


“We need to teach our children, our students, and our corporate and political leaders, the fundamental facts of life—that one species’ waste is another species’ food; that matter cycles continually through the web of life; that the energy driving the ecological cycle flows from the sun; that diversity assures resilience; that life, from its beginning more than 3 billion years ago, did not take over the planet by combat but by networking.” (Capra, 2018).


The laws of quantum physics indicate that the universe is constituted of energy. Energy is primal. Matter is derivative. There are far more information and potential in what we cannot see, than in what we do see. Space is not empty. (Laszlo, 2017)

Ethics and Integrity

“To retain a positive image, businesses must be committed to operating on an ethical foundation as it relates to the treatment of employees, respecting the surrounding environment and fair market practices in terms of price and consumer treatment.” (Horton, 2020)

Inner / Outer

“The inner world precipitates the outer world. Perceptions, beliefs and attitudes are a higher order than genetic endowment. Through perception and belief, we can modify 30,000 variations of every gene. Our perceptions and responses to life dynamically shape our biology and behavior.” (Lipton, 2008).


All living systems are interconnected and interdependent. “This interdependence of parts and the whole applies in both spatial and temporal terms… Anything that exists and has an identity does so only within the total network of everything that has a possible or potential relation to it. No phenomenon exists with an independent or intrinsic identity.” (Dalai Lama, 2005).


“To live is to communicate life because life is essentially a spreading, growing phenomenon. Therefore, the more one communicates life, affirms life in one’s fellows, gives oneself to enhance their lives, the more one is alive, is truly living, and thus, is truly oneself.” (Bruteau, 1979)

Pattern & Trajectory Of Living Systems

Enduring patterns in the evolutionary process demonstrate that life moves inexorably in the direction of increased freedom, order, diversity, integration, novelty, complexity and consciousness. “Increasing diversification and integration are driven by selection. An understanding of the trajectory and causal drivers of the trends suggests that they are likely to culminate in the emergence of a global entity. This entity would emerge from the integration of the living processes, matter, energy and technology of the planet into a global cooperative organization. (Stewart, 2014).


The paradigm of dominion, “power over,” is giving way to “power with,” the empowerment of others. The ideal structure for this is not the hierarchy but the social network, which is driven by interconnectedness. The network hubs with the richest connections and resources become centers of power. They connect large numbers of people to the network and are therefore sought out as authorities in various fields. Their authority allows these centers to empower people by connecting more of the network to itself. (Capra, 2018) 


“Our essential nature is identical to the central nature of the cosmos—pure consciousness, or love or spirit. According to all the major wisdom traditions, we are here to access, embody and transmit this divine consciousness into the world until material reality is made sacred—that is, until cosmic consciousness returns to Earth or, alternatively, until ultimate reality—God—returns to its original form of infinite oneness.” (Laszlo, 2017).


From an ecological perspective, “spirituality” is not about what gods we praise and how piously we do it, but about how our lives affect other human beings, including natural habitats and the Earth viewed as a living system. (Berry, 1999)


As members of one, whole and living body—the Earth—we are responsible for our actions concerning it. Acting responsibly means doing no harm and preserving, ideally promoting the health and well-being of all living things. Geologian Thomas Berry distinguished between an “environmental movement” that seeks to adjust the earth community to the needs of human beings and an “ecological movement” where human beings adjust to the needs of the earth community. (Berry, 1999).


The universe is one, a whole, living, creative, evolving, self-organizing and self-making system. “All evolution is a dance of wholes that separate themselves into parts and parts that join into mutually consistent new wholes. We can see it as a repeating and sequentially spiraling pattern of unity-individuation-competition-conflict-negotiation-resolution-cooperation-and new levels of unity.” (Sahtouris, 2000).


“A worldview is a way of describing the universe and life within it, both in terms of what is and what ought to be… In addition to defining what goals can be sought in life, a worldview defines what goals should be pursued.” (Kiltko-Revera, 2004). Individuals who hold negative worldviews eventually demonstrate what does not work for the good, the qualitative sustainability, of the whole. Those holding positive views of the world have the potential to make lasting contributions.



Shifts is consciousness can be difficult for individuals. They can happen quickly, as when we adopt a more workable idea, or over a long time where we grapple with a concept that requires a worldview adjustment. For a society, nation or humanity as a whole, a shift in thinking that’s newly introduced requires testing. And that can take years, decades or longer because it upsets the status quo, established ways of thinking that are working for most people.

Throughout the testing period, when a worldview that was once successful starts to become toxic it meets resistance. The same with consciousness. Too many people may depend on it for life and livelihoods. For instance, when it became obvious that manufacturing industries were polluting the air globally with devastating health consequences the voices of concern and innovation, the emergents, were disregarded or drowned out by politicians, lobbyists and executives who made the case in support of the status quo. 

But the status is never quo. Change is constant. And the emergents lead the way with more viable thinking, in part due to the increasing pressure of entropy. Unresolved breakdowns escalate into a crisis. Evolution favors the thinkers who, while adapting to changing conditions, find a better way to sustain and increase life. The more encouraging thing about a paradigm shift in consciousness is the realization that it’s both fundamental and directed. Everything emerges from consciousness and it’s always ascending. As Buckminster Fuller said, “You can’t learn less, you can only learn more.” Life is an ascent. The direction of evolution is onward and upward because that which becomes more complex becomes more conscious, centered upon itself. More aware.

This means that whatever drives learning, be it a crisis, innovation or aspiration, life eventually learns and grows. As conscious members of the web of life, human beings are now the leading edge of evolution. So it’s up to us to determine whether, how and how quickly we, as a species, will learn to live in harmony with each other, the rest of life and the planet.



Berry, Thomas. The Great Work: Our Way Into The Future. New York, NY.: Random House, 1999.

Bruteau, Beatrice. The Psychic Grid: How We Create The World We Know. Wheaton, IL.: Quest Books, 1979.

Capra, Fritjof and Pier Luigi. The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. Cambridge, UK.: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 

Koltko-Revera. The Psychology of Worldviews. Review of General Psychology, Educational Publishing Foundation Vol. 8, No. 1, 3–58. 2004.

Lama, Dalai. The Universe in a Single Atom. New York, NY.: Three Rivers Press, 2005.

Horton, Melissa. The Importance of Business Ethics. Investopedia, July 1, 2020.

Laszlo, Ervin. The Intelligence of the Cosmos: New Answers from the Frontiers of Science. Rochester, VT.: Inner Traditions, 2017.

Lipton, Bruce. In Daniel Goleman, Measuring The Unmeasurable: The Scientific Case for Spirituality. Boulder, CO.: Sounds True Publishing, 2008).

McFague, Sallie. A New Climate For Theology: God, the World, and Global Warming. Minneapolis, MN.: Fortress Press, 2008.

McFague, Sallie. Blessed Are The Consumers: Change and the Practice of Restraint. Minneapolis, MN.: Fortress Press, 2013.

Sahtouris, E. Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution. iUniverse, 2000.

Stewart, John E. The Direction of Evolution: The Rise of Cooperative Organization. El Sevier Abstract, Vol. 123, September 2014, Pages 27-36.


Email: smithdl@fuse.net

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