Journal of Futures Studies

Social Evolution and the Planetary Crisis

by Jay Earley


This article provides perspective on today’s planetary crisis by seeing it as a transition within the larger picture of human social evolution. There are certain ground qualities that were present at the beginnings of our social evolution – natural living, belonging, vitality, community, equality. Over the span of human history certain emergent qualities have developed to give us greater power in the world – technology, social organization, rational thinking. However, in developing these qualities we have suppressed the ground qualities, at the expense of our health and wholeness and now leading to a profound crisis. The next step in social evolution is to take conscious charge of our future by integrating the ground qualities with the emergent qualities.

This article presents a model of social evolution that explains how the present planetary crisis has emerged through the natural flow of historical trends and how understanding these trends can shape the transition to a better world. In nurturing this transition, if we comprehend these evolutionary forces, we can align with them and use them to create a healthy world future. These ideas developed in much more detail in the author’s book, Transforming Human Culture. (Earley 1997)

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Journal of Futures Studies

Tamkang University, Tamsui Campus
Taipei, Taiwan 251
Tel: 886 2-2621-5656 ext. 3001
Fax: 886 2-2629-6440

ISSN 1027-6084