Welcome to EnlightenNext, the magazine for Evolutionaries! Who is an Evolutionary? Anybody who’s interested in everything about evolution, all the way from our cosmic origins to the leading edge of cultural development. An Evolutionary is someone who is turned on by life and excited by the enormous creative potential that exists within us as human beings.
The evolutionary impulse—the urge to become—is an inherently spiritual impulse. I have noticed that whenever an individual or group of individuals awakens to this impulse, in a miraculous way the inner light of consciousness becomes infused with a passion and an optimism about what’s possible that is nothing less than life changing.
You might not know it, but what you have in your hands is not just a magazine; EnlightenNext is an international organization of individuals who are first and foremost committed to sharing this enlightening perspective and liberating experience. All of the work that we do is dedicated to furthering this cause. In fact, as you read these words, we are busy planning an international conference about the relationship between the evolution of consciousness and culture to be held in 2010. We are also holding our first-ever EnlightenNext Being & Becoming twenty-one-day spiritual retreat in Tuscany, Italy, next summer. These retreats help catalyze the kind of awakening that makes evolution mean a lot more than what Darwin had in mind!
All of our loyal readers will know that for the last seventeen years we have been publishing under the banner What Is Enlightenment? The reason we decided to change our name to EnlightenNext was because we now want the name of our magazine to express what our broader mission has really always been: to energetically inquire into the future of spirituality, culture, morality, philosophy, science, cosmology, and consciousness. We’re interested in making the deepest rational sense out of life while remaining true to the most transcendent mystical insights. We’re interested in the future and how we can all create it together in the most spiritually enlightened manner.
That’s why, for example, in this inaugural issue we’re presenting the compelling ideas of philosopher Susan Neiman, who, in the feature “Idealism for Grown-Ups,” explains how the political right has usurped the high ground when it comes to the prickly question of what morality is. She calls progressives to embrace a new kind of heroism based on our highest ideals. In “The Interdynamics of Culture and Consciousness,” the great American philosopher Ken Wilber, the “pandit,” and myself, the “guru,” continue our six-year-long in-depth discussion about our favorite topics: What does it mean for enlightenment to evolve? How is the evolution of consciousness directly related to the evolution of culture? What is integral consciousness? And more . . .
In “A Theologian of Renewal,” executive editor Carter Phipps eloquently paints a personal and philosophical portrait of an evolutionary hero of our time—Catholic theologian John Haught. Haught passionately and courageously embraces the great contributions of Western science and has a deep appreciation for the highest mystical dimensions of Christianity, expanding upon the evolutionary insights of the extraordinary twentieth-century Jesuit priest and theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. In “The Integral Emergence,” associate editor Joel Pitney investigates the many groups around the world that have taken up the integral banner. He presents a thoughtful picture of what this new and important emerging worldview is all about and what those individuals who are its leaders are saying about their fledgling movement. We are also pleased to be able to present a unique inside glimpse of the personality of the Tibetan saint the Dalai Lama by filmmaker Joshua Dugdale. While to most the Dalai Lama may seem like a compassionate and dignified yet inscrutable elder statesman, in this moving piece you will see that beneath his monk’s mild manner there is a rambunctious provocateur whose sense of humor at times matches his compassion and love for humanity. And in the final article of the features section, trailblazing political pundit Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post points us all to a truth beyond both left and right.
As you can see from the contents of our premier EnlightenNext issue, we take the evolution of consciousness and culture very seriously indeed. And for those of us who want to effect real and meaningful change at the leading edge, moving higher and deeper is something we have to engage in together. In order to do so, we must appreciate the inextricable connection between the innermost dimensions of ourselves and the outer world that we ceaselessly create. The more we recognize this connection, the more profound will be our ability to take responsibility for such a lofty aspiration. Join the adventure!