Awakenings occur when something so profoundly changes the world that all of the old rules no longer apply. A powerful new order arrives, completely unexpected and without warning, and things are never the same again. Today, humanity stands on the cusp of the Fourth Awakening.
Awakenings have traditionally been accompanied by a long and turbulent transition period. In the past, these adjustment periods have been violent with the authority figures that held power before the Awakening doing everything they can to cling to their position and wealth. This time, it may be different…but it’s up to each of us.
The First Awakening…
occurred approximately 200,000 years ago when Homo Sapiens emerged in East Africa, but it took another 150,000 years for things to begin to get interesting.
The Second Awakening…
saw the emergence of spoken language, early shamans, and great myths being told around the campfire. For the first time, early humans became self aware and while still considering themselves a part of nature they understood they were now different. We became aware of our own mortality. We started to fear death and began to seek a deeper understanding of the cycle of life and how it applied to us. We started to develop increasingly complex rituals of burying our dead to prepare them for the afterlife we hoped existed. We began a desperate search for immortality in any form.
In the middle of the Second Awakening we saw rudimental art in the form of cave drawings and crude figurines…and with it the first indications that humanity is deeply interconnected. The famous Chauvet and Lascaux caves in France. The aboriginal Ubirr wall art in Australia. The Pachmari Hills in India. The Apollo 11 and Wonderwerk Caves in southern Africa. Fell’s Cave at the tip of South America. All of this art was produced at roughly the same time and is very similar, yet it was produced by people in different corners of the world who didn’t know the others existed.
In the middle of the Second Awakening, the last great ice age ended with the perfect storm for human development. As is the case with every Awakening, something clicked on inside us. During the Second Awakening, humanity began to perceive the future and past in new ways that enabled planning. Fourteen thousand years ago, this allowed us to begin to plant crops and keep livestock which in turn allowed for larger fixed population centers. As the food supply grew and became more predictable there was a population explosion and a series of cultural revolutions.
In addition to farming…metallurgy, ship building, and astrology all emerged at around the same time worldwide in roughly similar form. During the last part of the Second Awakening the changes in mankind were stunning. In a clear example of universal consciousness, many completely independent cultures around the world went through their own Bronze and Iron Age at approximately the same time.
In only a few thousand years humans went from grunting cave dwellers living in small groups to building city-states and writing epic poems. The quest for immortality shifted, in part, to being expressed through culture. If one could contribute to a culture that would outlast them, a sense of immortality was attained. Virtually all culture relates to this. It gives us the opportunity to perpetuate something larger than ourselves that we’re tied to and will out live us. Making contributions to one or more of our cultural institutions serves the same purpose.
The Third Awakening…
began around 3,000 years ago. It saw the rise of all modern religions, as well as science. Between 800 BC and 400 BC, there was a religious explosion. The key events in the Old Testament occurred, from which emerged Judeo/Christian beliefs. At the same time Taoism was being followed by Confucianism in China. The same was happening with Shintoism in Japan, and Hinduism and Buddhism in India, and later Islam.
For the past 500 or so years the political power of religion has waned while the power of science has flourished. With a few exceptions most of the people today live in societies with secular governments. For many scientists knowledge hit a tipping point about 150 years ago. Universities began to switch from religious institutions to being based on the German research model. While skeptical of religion, before that time all of the great minds were looking to science to prove there was a God, not to disprove it.
During the Third Awakening, the written word became increasingly commonplace. As it did the quest for immortality was no longer bound to culture or religion. For millennia this was about the best you could hope for, aside from religion. The problem is that it doesn’t take a genius to see that contributions made to Sumerian culture didn’t last forever. Rather than artifacts relating to a culture, science offers the opportunity to create universally relevant knowledge and thus a higher form of immortality so, practical benefits aside, it’s not hard to see why it caught on.
The basic underpinning of science is universally understood truth but as they have piled more and more on, the whole structure of it is starting to buckle. When the big ideas from the previous Awakening start to collapse, a new Awakening is on the horizon.
The Fourth Awakening…
is just beginning. This is the one you get to participate in (whether you like it or not). All of the previous awakenings have one thing in common, they relate to thought. When we think, we think in symbols. The Fourth Awakening brings a new mode of being with it, one that goes beyond symbols and beyond thought. Glimpses of it have been written about for thousands of years. During the Fourth Awakening, all of us will discover that the immortality we’ve been seeking for 200,000 years has been a part of us all along. Are you ready?