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Our Future Needs You!

by Andrew Cohen

For those of us at the leading edge who are serious about the urgent need to create new pathways into the future, I am convinced that the only way we’re going to actually succeed is by doing it together. We have to find a way to meet one another in a place we’ve never been before, in a higher state of consciousness and a higher stage of development that are unhindered by the separating influence of the narcissistic ego or personal self-sense. In spite of all the talk about spiritual enlightenment these days, the notion of going beyond ego, which has always been what enlightenment is all about, is something that very few people take seriously. And the thrilling possibility of a shared enlightenment, or intersubjective emergence of higher consciousness beyond ego boundaries, is so far from our day-to-day experience that it is almost impossible to conceive. But if we aspire to accomplish something of great significance in this life, to create something truly important, we must be able to work seamlessly together with others as one being, and simultaneously allow the innate strengths and unique talents of every individual involved to flower in a powerful way. For this to occur, our biggest obstacle—the postmodern psychological disease of extreme narcissism and self-concern—must be transcended to a profound degree by all committed parties.

For a long time now, I’ve been trying to explain to as many people as possible what it takes for a group of deeply committed individuals to come together for the highest evolutionary purpose there is: to create the future. I have found that one of the most accessible ways to express this is by using war metaphors—scenarios in which human beings unite in dramatic and extraordinary ways to protect themselves from annihilation. It seems that up to this point in our historical development, our capacity to come together beyond merely personal motives has more often than not been driven by a need to survive rather than by an awakened individual and collective passion to evolve. Ironically, the higher human virtues of heroism and selflessness, which often rise to the surface during times of war, are the closest analogy I have found for the spiritual qualities that are evoked in the awakened passion to evolve together with others for a higher purpose. Why? Because in the heat of battle, the intensity of the fear of death and the instinct to survive compel us to transcend our narcissistic tendencies, if only temporarily. Imagine a special forces unit on a mission. Here is a group of individuals who are absolutely united in their dedication to one another and to their goal. Because they are so committed and highly trained, each individual is more focused on the mission than they are on their own petty self-concern. That is what makes it possible for them to act and react as one body, with unselfconscious speed and precision, while at the same time performing their individual roles with maximum effectiveness.

In our times of greatest crisis, we human beings have proven to ourselves time and again that we can rise to the occasion. In our finer moments, we have even shown that we are willing to make the effort to come together beyond fear, attachment, and self-concern, not only to protect ourselves from our enemies but also in the name of higher values such as justice, liberty, and equal rights. But are we now ready to take the next step? Are we, the children of postmodernity, willing to make the heroic effort, here and now, to rise above our biggest obstacle to creating the future together at the leading edge—our cultural narcissism and self-concern? Are we willing to come together beyond ego and create new pathways into the future, for the sake of the evolution of consciousness itself? If we are, the miraculous new potentials that begin to emerge in individuals and through dynamic collectives will be beyond our ability to imagine.


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This article is from
Our Future of Women's Liberation Issue


July–September 2007