Volume 10, Number 2 (July 2013)
Author: Maximiliano E. Korstanje
Book Review of Ervin Laszlo and Denis Kingsley (2013). Dawn of the Akashic Age. New consciousness, quantum resonance and the future of the world. Rochester, New York: Inner Tradition.
Laszlo and D. Kingsley present a philosophical book that connotes the need of a radical shift in the consciousness of humankind. To this change, author employs a neologism, the Akashic-age. This concept represents not only the urgency to reconstruct a new epistemological paradigm, but also focuses on the direction our world should take. The main thesis of this pungent project is that while the old top-down hierarchal mode of power is being employed to foster the centralization of politics, other new flowing system of ideas is being surfaced in parallel. This Akashic age is a novel stage in human collective consciousness.
The book is formed by four sections. The first one refers to the nature and evolutionary race of homo-sapiens in controlling their environs. At a closer look, the imagination of linear evolution depends on one question, what next? The quandary is posed to reconsider to what an extent we are living an outstanding era, a turning point in the human history. Sapiens-sapiens, our specie, exhibit an uncanny capacity to know, its curiosity is determined by environmental evolutionary factors, as well as its ability to manipulate the fire respecting to other hominids. The turning point was given by the fact human beings realized they no longer needed to survive; rather, they were success to establish habitation in a world which may be controlled and dominated.
The history of sapiens is well known. In this trace, we developed a fascinating will for control. The prone to control became in a trend to self-destruction. Given the dilemma that evolution depends on adaptation, we have serious problems to explain the case of humankind:
As Hiroshima, Chernobyl, and, more recently, Fukushima taught us, the genie we have let out of the nucleus of the atom is more powerful and more difficult to tame than all the others. Robots, computers, and the myriad new technologies of automation and communication we have come up with may not turn out to be reliably domesticated, either (p. 14).
It is important not to lose the sight that intelligence must not be equalled to success in adaptation. The question of predictability has been historically studied by genetics that showed that a genetic code encompasses all guidelines to produce life. This work criticizes the idea that points out the information encoded into the ADN chain may be promisingly projected to ensure future of the civilization. What one might see after examining the biological law seems to be that the manipulation of genes has been a legacy brought by Nazi´s ideology. From the end of WWII on, the evolutionary view devoted considerable resources to recreate a new type of subject, stronger, smarter and less prone to aggression and fear. As the previous argument given, the medical discourse emphasizes on the advantage of improving the specie. The homo-sapiens set the pace to the homo-super sapiens. By this dilemma, the problem lies in the fact our ADN will not resolve the problems we have created as civilization. The evolutionary medical paradigm faces big problems because after all, we keep the same DNA charge from the past 100.000 years. What should be seriously debated is the need to alter our sociological law (socio-cultural evolution). Further, the technological advance that has made from science and mobility their main aspects of distinction is not synonymous of moral evolution. Otherwise, we cannot explain why the intellectual sophisticated homeland of Wagner and philosophy paved the pathways to the advent of Adolf Hitler.
Well, this book explains that the technophile has created a non-local point of connection where events in one site affect the system all; Non-locality asneologism has been introduced to understand how the classical connection between cause and effect has been blurred. This does not provide information about what will but what could happen. Thus, the principle of uncertainty plays a pivotal role in postmodern times. The accelerated degree of connectedness increases the vulnerability of people. On this theme second section is based. The third section is plunged to forecasting how the world would be around 2030. The last section explores some valid and fresh educational suggestion to change the current paradigm.
There is a good metaphor for this concept of the world. Think of waves travelling over the surface of the sea. When you look at the surface, you see waves moving toward the shore, waves spreading out behind ships, waves colliding with waves. The waves move from one point on the sea toward another, yet there is nothing in the sea that would move that way: the molecules of water on the surface do not move from one place to another, they just move up and down. The motion of the waves is an illusion, an illusion not in the sense that there would be nothing that would correspond to it, but in that it is not what it appears to be. The waves travel across the surface of the sea, but the water of the sea does not travel (p. 67).
The similarly-minded logic we have shown above can be extrapolated to the current sense of space. Things do not move through space but within space. Everything in this world may exist within the dimension of space. This is exactly what Laszlo & Kingsley calls the “quantum resonance”. In this world, all things we can perceive seem to be linked to a much broader matrix; these things are only one in the matrix. Applied this to the sociological field, authors add, all we are one in this world, we are not separated persons struggling for personal interests with others. At the bottom, the Akashic paradigm reveals that “we belong to the world, and, in the final analysis, we are one with the world” (p. 68).
Undoubtedly, the Akashic paradigm leads to holism. Interconnected with other parts, all things exist through their interactions. The concept of reality is determined by wholeness. This begs a more than exciting point, is mobility conducive to achieve a better world? Detractors of technology advised on the importance to dismantle the hegemony of individualization process. Technology, for them, not only contributed to create an atmosphere of alienation of lay-people, but also to forge an instrumental logic that leads to egoism.
Following this hot-debate, Laszlo & Kingsley acknowledge that a positive change of paradigm must be achieved using the existent technology. If our existential view should be recycled so that human beings may create sustainable sources of energies, no less important seems to be that communication and information contribute to make a more egalitarian world. They supported technology because it evolves to new more decentralized forms of power. Starting from the idea that the developmental promise of industrialization convinced us to think the efficacy was the stepping and more significant aspects of our civilization, it is not surprising to see the rapid technological advance in recent decades. Nonetheless, this advance had a cost, the pollution of planet as well as the compromise of existent sources of energy. Resulted from industrial civilization, technology was applied to people generating a more isolated style of life. The psychological self was encouraged to compete to others in quest of recognition. This view, which characterized the life of industrial-society, is not useful anymore, and contributed to the expansion of West as never before. All globalized and connected economies today should embrace a new point of view. In doing so, we have to take advantage of the available technology. The operation of local hubs enrooted in global networks is one of the aspects that characterize the change of paradigm. What would be interesting to discuss is that domination should set the pace to self-motivation. The global and mobile platform for sharing with others is vital to understand the Akashic age. The global networks that reinforce the belonging to the local, may very well connect people elsewhere. The new paradigm extends the interest for others instead of self-interest.
The dawn of the Akashic Age will herald the beginning of an era when the human species begins to manifest a new form of consciousness: an integrated consciousness that does not tolerate the old paradigm of ego-driven greed and materialism. A tidal wave of transformational change will then sweep into society as a new generation it-self becomes the change (p. 117).
Capitalism existed because its ability to monopolize and stimulate the greed. To the extent to exhaust the existent natural resources, capitalism changed the work-force to pose the capital as a desired value. If from our miseries, greed is the worse, it is important to note that humankind faces a serious dilemma respecting to the protection of planet. The final sections of this interesting book contain good philosophical approaches of diverse authors such as: J. Petersen, N. Christi, C. Eisenstein, D. Elgin, M. Roveda, J. Raymond Frenk, Mary A. Thompson-Frenk, H. Henderson, S. Noppe-Brandon, J. Cann, & T. Nonaka. All they focus on the similar need of paradigm-shift to achieve a better world to live. The passage from the idea of the well-having to well-being would play a vital role in this process. People think that having things is a better way to ensure happiness. The misunderstanding lies in the confusion of what is well being with well having: Most certainly, companies should understand that profits are not enough to achieve the growth.
Dawn of the Akashic Age combines a convincing diagnosis on the current problems we are facing in politics, economy and ecology, with hopes of change. To my end, it is hard to catalogue the genre of this book. Philosophically speaking, Laszlo & Kingsley situate a debate that transcends various academic disciplines; a good job that stimulates our imagination, inviting readers to a profound self-criticism. With the benefits of hindsight, this humanist text evokes the needs of a better world, but rests on the discrepancy of ignoring the power of capitalism as an irreversible force.
We strongly believe that he future remains uncertain, and for that, it is impossible to orchestrate a valid change. To put this in bluntly, it is unquestionable the fact that we are living a substantial change. Not only states and social institutions are changing but also the power itself. What is more than interesting to discuss is to what extent this change will provide a more egalitarian consciousness. Capitalism far away of being exhausted is mutating to new more all-encompassing ways based on the concerns for ecology and pluralism. Although the logic of hegemony has changed, the material asymmetries that sustain capitalism persist. If old industrial societies, states exerted censorship on people by means of coactions and violence, in post-modern times the over-exposure of information (overloads) get the same effect. Unlike other periods of human history, the information today is not restricted to few hands it has been exploded to be reached by anyone, anytime and elsewhere. Any quest (through the web for example) pulls out thousand of records which are indeed very hard to grasp, digest and understand. The misunderstanding and uncertainty in an ever-changing and complex world disciplines the consumers by introducing a powerful sentiment, fear. Because of the excess of data, we are lacking our critical ability to discern the events. The process of reflexibility, egalitarianism, or globalization is conducive to the reification of capitalism in new more paralyzing forms. In medieval times, mobilities were limited to few people but imagination emancipated the mind of Europeans. Now, we have accelerated the time to launch to the conquest of new spaces; even, the body is carried in a more efficient, faster and safer manner than other times. Nonetheless, the psychological fear, which derived from the same process, paralyzed the self to explore the unknown other. In late-modernity, the overload of information not only accelerated the alienation of people, but also posed the fear as a mediator in human relationships.
About the Author
Maximiliano E. Korstanje is from the Department of Economics, University of Palermo, Argentina.