Seeing Future Potential

Barbara Marx Hubbard

© dwij 2001

Article 2 in our series Future Link

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Barbara Marx Hubbard, noted author, futurist & social architect, is dedicated to understanding and communicating humanity's potential for a positive future.

Barbara is a founding member of the World Future Society, the Society for the Universal Human and the co-founder of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. Her latest book is Emergence:The Shift From Ego to Essence.

Seeing Future Potential 

Barbara Marx Hubbard is a renowned author and futurist, and the president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. She has written numerous books and has presented her futuristic worldviews through various mass media venues since the 1970s. In 1984 her name was placed in nomination, on the Democratic ticket, for the vice-presidency of the United States. Paul Ray, author of The Cultural Creatives, calls her "an American original . . . one of the great visionaries of our time."

Linda Gabriel, editor of, spoke with Barbara the day after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC, in which the World Trade Center was destroyed and the Pentagon severely damaged.


LMG: How do the events of yesterday affect how you see the future? Does this fit in with your vision of the future?

BMH: First of all, there is already, on this Earth, a global community of people in every area of expertise: education, business, science, art, and so forth, who are attempting to create a world that is more equitable, more sustainable, compassionate and free. This global community has never been connected with itself as a whole. It's scattered, but there are probably hundreds of millions of people, just like ourselves, who are not in power—we're not running the big networks, we're not running the big corporations—but we're here.

I think that what happened, the terrible tragedy that occurred with this terrorist attack on the United States, is an evolutionary crisis. What it reveals to us, to all of humanity and particularly to the global community, is that you can't make yourself secure by the means of massive defense and "smart" weapons; that we were penetrated by people with knives, and this huge, huge defense system was rendered impotent in the face of this kind of terrorism.

Now, I agree that it is necessary to tighten security and bring the terrorists to justice. But we've also got to start strengthening the social healers, the conflict resolvers, the people who are searching for common ground, the people who have very sophisticated means of peace building, the educators, poets, and social innovators. I think this is what's going to be required because I don't think any form of retaliation will actually work against terrorism for long. We're going to have to develop a new way, which is the way of healing, both by addressing the underlying causes of violence, such as hunger and poverty, while concurrently facilitating social synergy—the coming together of that which is emerging, creative and already transforming our world for the good.

This tragedy is a call to the global community to rise up. We in the transformational movement have been separated and more or less trying to deal with things at the personal, local and spiritual levels. But we need to come forth at a more effective level, for this crisis cannot be resolved by the current system. The current system is completely vulnerable, and underneath the terrorism there is a need—an insanity that's being caused by something. What is it being caused by? And how do we get underneath that and begin to heal while we're protecting ourselves?

LMG: In terms of "Future Link" what is it that you feel most poignant or most important that we might harvest from this experience?

BMH: I feel that, in general, we need to be activated and start the healing process wherever we can. The Dalai Lama is really among the greatest world symbols for this, because his nation has been constantly destroyed—by terrorists, if you want to say that—the way the Chinese are destroying Tibet. And he has attempted to bring forth the idea of healing, of kindness, of internal change in China, something other than force, because in his case it's impossible to meet force with force. So what I'm saying here, for the world, it's no longer possible just to meet force with force, and we need to activate the healing and the connecting and the loving tendencies of the human species. Finally, I think we've hit a crisis that can't be resolved by the means of superior force alone.

And the second thing here is that in every great tragedy, if there is some sense of deeper meaning, as for example, people in concentration camps, people in the most terrible situations as POWs, it is said that when they had a sense of faith and hope they could make it through. If you have no sense of faith and hope and think it's a totally meaningless act, it's almost intolerable. If you think that underneath this terror, this horror and this suffering that there could be a stimulus for millions, if not billions, of people to say: Let's go for healing; let's go for caring for each other; let's go for cooperation. Let's see where the United States of America has to be more conscious of its affect on the environment and on the tremendous inequities of economic differences in the world. We, in the United States, have to take some responsibility for what we're doing to the rest of the world. I would like to see an uprising of responsibility in social wellness and healing come out of this and that would be my overall statement.

If we can get a global media network on Internet and also on radio and TV, we as a global community can begin to create a field of connectedness so we know what's helping, what's emerging. And it isn't even something that we're "against" anymore. This is not a protest movement. It's not a revolutionary movement. It's an evolutionary movement and it's aligned itself with anything that's life enhancing. Evolutionary jumps are created through synergy, which is when separate parts come together to form a greater whole, like molecules form cells, and cells form multi-cells; now we are a planetary system becoming ever more complex. Jumps in consciousness and freedom occur to greater complexity and connectedness. So we at the Foundation for Conscious Evolution want to be of service in enhancing the connectedness of that which is life giving. There are literally hundreds of thousands of initiatives and they can't be organized, but they can be self-organized if there are vehicles for the connectedness. That's our goal.

LMG: Given what we hear in the media, the win/lose mentality, how do we get to a place of true conciliation and healing?

BMH: In terrorism, we have been given the most exquisitely designed problem to force us to move to another level of response. If you try to think of our government attempting to find this man bin Laden hidden away in the mountains of Afghanistan—if that's where he is—the options are you either bomb or you land soldiers there, or I guess you can do a kind of embargo where they starve the children—every one of those options creates more enemies in the entire Arab world.

I would hold a summit meeting of everybody who's been in peace building, conflict resolution, social healing, spiritual healing, and ask for their help. That's what I would do if I were President. I'd ask for their help, all around the world, people who've had experience. I know for example, Search for Common Ground, John Marx and his wife Susan, have gone into the most terrible places in Yugoslavia where they were doing these ethnic cleansings and actually brought the sides together. I remember Jim Channon, when he was in the army, wrote something called "Evolutionary Tactics" —how to resolve conflict without killing. You see, I would be calling in the alternative healers, along with the others. So it's like what they call complimentary medicine—you use western medicine when that works and you use holistic medicine when that works and you make a compliment.

LMG: So, in this world that we're experiencing right now—that's rampant with violence and abuse—how do we create that global culture that brings forth compassion?

BMH: In every great faith and in every ethic in the world somewhere it has been said, Love the other as yourself; Do unto others as you would have done unto you; Do not do to others what you would not have done unto you. It's interesting, we've all heard it, but we're not doing it.

The individual human being has to understand that within there is a deeper self—it's been called many different things: the Higher Self, the Deep Self, the Essential Self, the Christ Self, the Buddha Mind—and that that self is who we are. And the shift is from identifying with your egoic self-centered separated personality to shifting your identity to that deep self. I've just written a book about this called Emergence :The Shift From Ego to Essence. Every great spiritual path that you read has to do with how to shift from the separated egoic self to the deep self. Every one. They all do it differently, and I did it in a particular way that worked for me and I'm sharing that.

So, when you start shifting—and I could say to you, Linda, that I am that deeper self and I have a lot of local personalities that can get anxious, upset, or angry, but I am not those selves. I am the deeper self that can heal that. And I do. Now, the second part of our relationship is that if I feel I am that deeper self, and I can meet up with two or more who feel the same way, we begin what we call to form resonant cores. A resonant core is a core of two or more resonating, or echoing back, the deeper self to each other. And it's amazing that within a very short period of time you begin to create a field that helps sustain that consciousness of who you really are. And when that consciousness is sustained you begin to reach out to others to feel that they are the deeper self.

You see, I can't love the other as myself if I am an ego self. Because it's not lovable. It's not cooperative. It's out there to win. But if I'm my deeper self and I can feel that in you, and I look for that, and we talk about that and share it—we're willing to be vulnerable—we'll find that we support each other in that. So whatever your religious or spiritual path, or lack of one, if you form small groups and attempt to come from that deeper self, it's natural for it to happen. It will happen.

And then the next step is to find a deeper vocation, which is a life purpose. I'm sure you have a life purpose that's calling you to do this work, is that right?

LMG: That's right.

BMH: What difference does it make in your life, that you have a life purpose?

LMG: It gives me a focus for my life.

BMH: Exactly. So along with related personal work and relationship, we all need that focus. I have been a futurist and have been inspired by a positive potential of the future for 35 years, but it's only this year, 2001, that I feel I can offer a form to assist people in participating more consciously. And that form didn't happen until we got to the Internet.

At the Foundation for Conscious Evolution we have developed two new services for the emerging global community. One is a new school called "Gateway to Our Conscious Evolution," and the second service is an operating hub called the "Peace Room." The Gateway school takes the participant through 7 great themes that any person or group needs to know to participate in their own self and social evolution. It offers a developmental path to the next stage of human evolution. I have selected the best teachers and innovators. You hear their voices and you share your ideas. It is the beginning of a global community for co-creation. The second service, the Peace Room, is also being activated on the Internet. It scans for, maps, connects, and communicates what is working at the local and larger levels.

We are developing this new process for people of all ages, including those who want their masters or doctorate degrees in conscious evolution.

LMG: Barbara, beyond the work that you're doing and beyond the Internet, and in a world where most people seem to focus on limitations and fear of change, how do we shift to a culture where people understand and are skilled in the art of creative manifestation?

BMH: Everyone has to start with themselves. If all the people on Earth right now who are already changing toward a more holistic consciousness and spirit-motivated social action were to connect, it would create a global mind-change right now. Let's say there's X number of human beings who are attracted to doing what you say. I wouldn't be at all surprised that we're at critical mass now. The over-all goal should be that within this decade there will be a planetary awakening, where those souls like yourself and me—times millions—join together in a shared experience, not only in meditation (that's number one) but number two in music, and number three are projects that work—through all the networks that we can possibly find. We could, within this decade, create such a mass experience of oneness and creativity and actual problem-solving, that we could shift the tide on this Earth. We are informed by our environmentalists that within 30 - 50 years we could destroy our life-support system. There has to be a mechanism whereby we can evolve ourselves!—within the same time-frame.

We need a positive evolutionary intervention to create greater synergy among the positive initiatives and consciousness in this world now. As it is currently, we're structured in a way that almost makes it impossible for holism and creativity to surface and connect. But because we have the Internet and because we have different means of communication now, it's up to us to do it. We're not helpless; we're not victims. And complaining is not the answer.

LMG: What do you see as the biggest challenges we face right now at this time?

BMH: The most obvious challenge is that our generation has been given the power to destroy our life support systems, OR to heal our world and move forward toward an immeasurable future. And we are the generation born with this choice—that's the most truthful and powerful reality. In order to handle a crisis of this order, we need to develop an evolutionary perspective to see that nature has been taking quantum jumps for billions of years, and that the way that quantum jumps work is that if you can increase your connectedness with that which is innovative and creative, the system will help you jump to the next order.

So, the fact that we have the power to destroy and create is probably a natural evolutionary phenomenon, not a mistake. Our creative potential has to connect with other people's creative potential and we actually see there is a developmental path through this crisis to the next stage of evolution. And the fact is, we're already on the path.

If you see what's emergent in every arena starting with the person and going all the way on up to society, if you see that and feel there's a way for you to co-create with that, I think that we have huge hope. Most people I know now are very pessimistic, because they don't see it. I feel, after 35 years as a futurist, that my entire life's work is coming into focus. And part of the reason it's coming into focus is people know there's a crisis, so they're open to say: There must be a better way.

There is a better way and here it is: The better way is finding out what's already working and connecting it.

LMG: You say you "see" the path . . .

BMH: I do, I see the developmental path.

LMG: So, what is our future?

BMH: Well, if a critical number of us continue and become connected on that developmental path, I think our future is actually something that is radically new, but here are some elements of it:

I think we'll find that a more holistic, unitive form of consciousness is a new norm. In other words, I think we'll find we're evolving, all of us, toward a more connected consciousness.

I think we'll have altogether new healing capacities—from our spiritual and inner perspective, and from biological technology—and that we'll find that we will move to chosen births, chosen life spans, chosen death, chosen life extension.

I think we'll find that the average person is a genius and that we've used only a small percentage of our total potential, and that as we recognize that we're part of this whole and that everybody is needed, we'll find enormous breakthroughs in human creativity. I think we'll find that there are new energy sources like zero-point energy, which may be infinite, and it will vastly change the economic system from one of scarcity and competition to one of co-creation and the liberation of the whole human species from a bondage to poverty.

Maybe we'll go beyond the economic system altogether. I think we'll go beyond money. And I think we'll go into the co-creative revolution. It's a revolution of human creativity in alignment with a deeper pattern of nature and spirit. I personally think we'll become a universal species. Our story is the story of the birth of a Universal Humanity, capable of restoring its Earth, freeing people from want and necessity, limiting population growth, designing new social systems, and exploring the vast regions of inner and outer space.

LMG: That is a vastly more positive outlook than I generally hear.

BMH: And I want you to know that I'm not an optimist, I'm a potentialist. The difference is, an optimist thinks something inevitably will happen, a potentialist says: This is the potential.

LMG: But not necessarily the way things will happen.

BMH: It depends on us! The future is a contingency, not an inevitability. But here's the deeper thought—If you look at the 15-billion-year story from sub-atomic particles to atoms, molecules, cells, all the way on up, you see a tendency in evolution, an intentionality in creation that leads to greater consciousness and freedom to a more complex order. I don't personally believe that's an accident. Nor do I believe there's an external deity pulling all the strings. I believe there's an implicate order, an innate tendency in evolution and in all of us that is transcendent to purely human will alone. When human will aligns with this deeper pattern—in the old-fashioned languages we say, "Not my will but thine"—when my will and the will of the larger pattern become one, the power of the force of creation runs through us. I'm therefore spiritually oriented when I say this. This is a "faith" statement, not necessarily a provable truth. But it seems logical to me, when you look at the 15-billion-year story, to say that it's not purely accidental, and it's not just some great father in the sky—it's not either of those. But there has to be an implicate imminence to what we might call Divine Consciousness as a dynamic force. The ultimate reason I'm hopeful is I believe that consciousness is a dynamic force with a tendency to create beings evermore conscious of the consciousness that's creating us.

LMG: So the tendency is there and we have a responsibility beyond that tendency.

BMH: Exactly. We are entering the first age of conscious evolution. And humans, Homo sapiens, have always been conscious, but we haven't been conscious of our power to self-evolve or self-destruct. And I think since 1945, when the United States dropped the bomb on Japan, since that moment, we have been really participating in gaining the power to self-destruct or self-create—or self-evolve—and ours is actually the first generation for whom this is true. My work as a sort of spiritual/social philosopher/activist, if you want to put it that way, is to put forward and help develop the new worldview of conscious evolution and offer ways in which people can apply it in their own lives.

Barbara Marx Hubbard

Information about Barbara Marx Hubbard and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution, including the Gateway School* and the Peace Room**, can be found at:

*Gateway to Our Conscious Evolution is an Internet school that provides an opportunity to connect with others in the global community; a way for anyone, anywhere in the world who is on the Internet to enter in and meet the leaders, the teachers, the innovators in every field who are now evolving our world.

**The Peace Room is an operating hub tracking innovation, success, and breakthrough, mapping it according to function and geography, connecting it, and communicating it via all media so that people can participate, know what's working in our world, and how to get involved with it themselves.

Click the link below to support the work of our volunteer Internet publication:


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Editors note:

The Future Link segment of the Forum brings together an array of scholars and educators who have expertise in two fields of great importance: the physical sciences and metaphysics. In our articles some authors will share with you only from their area of study; in other articles authors will merge both paths in a flowing synchronicity. All paths of exploration are valuable and will give you seeds of insightfulness. Enjoy; we look forward to your comments on our topics.

©dwij 2001


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