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A New Way Through Together

Our world today is in crisis. This message is repeated in documentary after documentary, whether they be of a political or spiritual nature. While many people react to such a dire pronouncement by retreating into denial or despair, futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard offers a welcome alternative. In her documentary series “Humanity Ascending,” she discusses her view of the crisis as an opportunity for an exciting evolutionary transformation.

The first DVD in the series is “Our Story: The Untold History of Humanity as Seen through Evolutionary Eyes.” In the film, Hubbard looks at the evolutionary journey of both the universe and our species beginning with the big bang 14 billion years ago. Going back through time, she illustrates how a crisis always precedes transformation. In the past, whenever organisms have reached a dangerous precipice, they have been given the signal to evolve or die. Hubbard believes that we are once again teetering on a precipice and, as in the past, we will choose evolution over self-destruction.

It is encouraging to hear that despite all the strife and suffering in the world, there are reasons to be hopeful about the future. Hubbard sees conscious evolution as the key to our survival. When a crisis exists that cannot be resolved by doing more of the same, we have to look to innovation and transformation. Now that we are conscious of our own evolution, Hubbard believes we can use that awareness to guide our transformation and purposefully move toward a universal humanity in which we all live in synergy.

But before this can take place, she says we must first be attracted to an image of the future. Hubbard presents a very enticing image: a future in which humans are awakened from within and our energy is shifted away from competition and destruction to creativity and connectivity. At first her vision sounds more like wishful thinking than a realistic scenario. But then she uses the metaphor of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly, and her image for the future suddenly seems possible. She explains how as the caterpillar creates a chrysalis, within the caterpillar there are imaginal disks that create the new code of the butterfly. These first imaginal disks are seen as foreign and killed by the caterpillar’s immune system. But as more and more of these disks proliferate, the caterpillar gives up and is transformed into a butterfly.

Hubbard regards the sixties as a period in which we first began to wake up. Those first individuals to hold an image of what we could become (the imaginal disks) — John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. — were assassinated because the “caterpillar body” was trying to stop us from transforming. But as more of us wake up and coalesce, we will become unstoppable. According to Hubbard, we will move toward “a future so magnificent that it will attract us beyond competition and beyond war to a future of literally infinite capacity.”

Hubbard makes it all sound simple. And really, it ought to be. After all, if president after president can lead us to war by telling us we’re fighting for freedom (because who can be against freedom?), then someone like Hubbard ought to be able to lead us into a new future, using words like creativity and connectivity. After all, who can be against creativity and connectivity?

Review by Shawna Galassi