The Age of Consciousness
Is Artificial Intelligence paving the way for the next era of human evolution?
We live in what experts and historians call the Age of Information. A historical period that began in the mid-20th century, where the centre of the economy and society shifted from industrial production to information technology. In this era, therefore, information is the main currency.
Considering the trend in human history — we have gone from the thousands of years of the Neolithic Age to the two centuries of the Industrial Age — the Age of Information is expected to be considerably shorter than previous ones.
The first revolution that changed our society, the agricultural one, took thousands of years to fully develop its effects; the industrial revolution needed centuries to do the same. This last revolution will take just a few decades.— Luciano Floridi, Oxford Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information and Director of the Digital Ethics Lab, author of The Fourth Revolution
In this era, thanks to our increasing capacity to store and process information, humanity has progressed at an incredible speed in almost every area of life.
Though, are we leaving ourselves behind?
This is the question with which I opened my preface to the book Subtraction: The Subtle Art of Unleashing Boundless Innovation. One of the motivations that compelled me to co-write that book was a growing feeling that this ever-faster race towards the future was leaving part of humanity behind. Not only the one outside but also the one inside. I felt we were dehumanising ourselves, which concerned me to the point that I felt the urge to seek a new way of approaching innovation, an inclusive one leaving no parts of humanity and humanness behind.
In the almost two years since the book came out, the ludicrous progress in the field of artificial intelligence is further accelerating humanity’s evolutionary process. We are experiencing a leap forward, challenging many of our certainties and sparking profound inquiries.
Starting with what it means to be human.
This disruption is bringing us closer to what feels like the peak of this era, and it’s paving the way to the next phase of human evolution: the Age of Consciousness.
This would be an era that, compounding on the possibilities opened up by the Age of Information, will lead us to reckon that we hold, in the very essence of our humanity, the capacity to transcend the current paradigms to step into new, unexplored and pathless territories. A necessary step to take if we want to get closer to the truth. In fact, the ability to acquire, store and process information can take us only so far in this journey.
The first step into the Age of Consciousness is a spiritual awakening. A call to adventure inviting us to a crucial paradigm shift. One that recognises that human beings are not just the most advanced biophysical machines on the planet. We must reckon that there is a fundamental, underlying reality (consciousness or awareness, I use them as synonyms in this context) from which matter, in the broadest sense, is derived.
As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear-headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about the atoms this much: There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. . . . We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter. — Max Planck.
The Age of Consciousness will take us beyond our ability to acquire and process information to explore the full spectrum of our humanness. And from there, we will build a harmonious collaboration between man and machine. If artificial intelligence is becoming a massive accelerating factor, expanding the core essence of humanity will determine success in every field.
To get there, we need to expand our awareness through a process of Subtraction. The book I co-wrote explores this powerful methodology rooted in the ancient science of consciousness. For now, let’s say that is a methodology that allows us to remove the constraints that hold us back from fully connecting with and sourcing from that essence.
So the question is: are you ready to listen and respond to your calling to adventure?
Because that will start a journey into a pathless land. A journey that will be neither easy nor linear, challenge-filled, unscripted and unpredictable. A highly personal adventure that can provoke strong inner duality and tension. The transition into the Age of Consciousness is one for the daring, the adventurous, the courageous, the patient. One that will ask you to slay your inner demons and soar like the phoenix from the ashes of your former self.
If you do that, however, you will contribute to the evolution of humanity, going from managing diversity to promoting uniqueness, from competing to cooperating, from collecting stuff to connecting people, from transactions to transformations, and from growth through addition to expansion through Subtraction.
I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. — Krishnamurti’s Dissolution Speech