FUTURE [Will the trend continue? Integral by 2050?]

There is significant evidence that our stage development shows no signs of slowing down as we move into the new millennium. Let’s look at technology, economics, morality, and spirituality:

Technology.  Ray Kurzweil (“The best at predicting the future of artificial intelligence” says Bill Gates ) has shown that technology innovation is doubling every 10 years — and he claims it will grow faster in the future — so by 2050 we will experience more technology progress in four months than we are experiencing in all of our whirlwind 2000-2010 decade.
    Faster communications seems to be a key. For example, a scientist recently announced a superconductor breakthrough on the web and then rushed to prepare a paper for an upcoming conference. Arriving at the conference a month later, he was astonished to find a dozen other research papers based on his web announced discovery.

Economics. Technology and increased global communication — together with increased political and economic freedom and fairness, have unleashed the creative power of the world’s people to vastly increase our economic production. There are nearly 2 billion internet users and 4 billion cell phones in use today — one cell phone for every adult on the planet!. Cell phones not only help high powered entrepreneurs, but can greatly increase the market sales of a village fisherman by cutting out middlemen and locating the best market.


World Population

World income
(per capita)
(constant 2003 $)















$120/day (projected)

By 2050 the average world income per capita (in current dollars) is projected to increase six fold — more than a current European’s income. Globalization has fueled this recent increase — with workers in Asia and Latin America starting to see the same opportunities as those in Europe and the US saw in the last century. [But change engenders pain. See the “Challenges” section below for the major problems of inequality, conflict, and environment.]

Morality. Higher technology and economics seem to still be driving morality upward. As the fall of the Iron Curtain dramatically showed, to compete economically, countries need to nurture the creative energy of all their citizens by establishing a fair playing field of democracy, justice, fair economics, and a free press. In another positive shift, for example, companies in the 1950’s paid management consultants to improve efficiency, then in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to respect, value, and benefit from the creative energy of women and minorities.  Now, in pursuit of the new Asian markets, companies pay hard money to change their internal cultures in order to learn how to respect and value distant people as their equals. If a company today does not change and widen its value of others, it will lose out to the companies that do.
    A recent competitive trend for companies is
“transparency” – where a company has no secrets from its customers or employees — but works with them for the mutual benefit of all. This amazing trend is being forced by the bright glare of internet communications and shows happy signs of spreading to governments as well.  A second positive trend is “corporate social responsibility”
where companies voluntarily try to improve the quality of life for employees and society at large.

Globalization and instant communication is forcing, or rather allowing, all of us to see all the earth’s human beings as equals who are deserving of respect and compassion. It is my contention that we have always been touched by this compassion, but only in recent times has the economic base been established that can nurture and stabilize it at a higher stage.

Spirituality. The Rational stage began some 500 years ago with a rebellion against control of the Mythic stage priests and Church with its “Big Daddy God.”  Luther proclaimed their misbehavior, Galileo their misconceptions, Machiavelli their un-Godliness, and Guttenberg helped spread the word. But in our rebellion, we conceded true spirituality — the connection we all feel to our Source (or God) — to the priests and books of the Mythic religions.
    The rift has been deep and long lasting. Ordinary folk have often felt forced to choose Rational Science and lose Spirit — or choose Religion and lose Rational Science.

The great wealth in places like the US has shown us how a surfeit of material things can alleviate material suffering, but does not provide emotional peace and happiness. While a few Americans have sought that sense of peace in a direct experience of the ultimate in meditation or contemplation, many more have turned back to the fundamentalist Mythic church (and some even further to tribal era shamans).

Today, as we ratchet our way slowly to the mature or Integral level of Rational, there are signs of the healing of this century’s old rift. UCLA scientists are researching the impact of mindful-awareness meditation on the brain. Neuroscientists invited the Dali Lama to keynote their conference. And on the other side, Father Keating is teaching Catholics a meditation called Contemplative Prayer to directly experience God’s love.


Integral by 2050?  Spiritual by 2100?  Based on the projected huge increases in technology and economics — and the increasing number of people moving into more mature Rational levels — it seems possible that we could mature to the Integral-Rational stage by mid-century.

Integral is the first stage of consciousness that values all stages. The Mythic stage is quick to kill all infidels (tribal or scientific), and even the Pluralistic-Rational condemns other stages (i.e. The “politically correct” atmosphere of many universities scathingly marginalizes any divergent views.)

The Integral Stage values all levels. For instance: Magic for their imagination, Mythic for their needed rules (like stop lights), Individualistic-Rational for their technological prowess and energy, and Pluralistic-Rational for their diversity of viewpoint.

If Integral achieves world power, we will finally have a chance for world peace. We will have a good chance to avoid global meltdown and we will have a chance to eventually move on to the Spiritual levels — individually and culturally.

But it will take continued technological and economic progress. Only when we tear down border fences because developing countries make enough money at home, will we have a chance to move into an Integral-Spiritual era of peace.

We will need the experience of global wealth to realize that things and power are not a lasting source of happiness. Only when we experience this dissatisfaction can we let go of our craving for wealth and pass thru biblical “eye of the needle” to true spirituality.

Comments are closed.

Please check out my presentation to the 2008 Integral Theory Conference:

   "Is our accelerating technology driving us to a higher morality?"



for more details.














[Approximate start time - - years ago (ya).

bya=billion years ago. m=million. k=thousand


Each stage develops ten times as fast as its predecessor stage.

Each stage builds on its predecessor stage. Atoms form cells; cells form animals; etc. 

Each stage has interior and exterior manifestations. 




























[indefinite past]  Our universe of matter /energy starts with the big bang 14 bya, but current cosmological theory says the seeds were there earlier.  [Using the term  "consciousness" here is a stretch, but atoms do distinguish between self and other.]


[5 billion years ago The earth cools and 4 bya microscopic life/cells begin. About 2 bya nucleated cells and sex began - - larger, but still microscopic. [Cellular "consciousness" is pretty microscopic.]


[500 million years ago "Cambrian explosion" -- complex life (legs, eyes, spines, brains) forms from the cellular ooze. 350mya  animals crawled onto land. 200mya dinosaurs reigned.  [Reptilian brain, primarily instinct driven.]


































[50 million years ago]   Meteor kills off dinosaurs 65mya and gives mammals/ sex/ "love" a chance to flower. [Triune brain, emotional/ social drives.]


[5 million years ago Climate change impels apes to walk upright on the African plains.  [Bigger brains with globe spanning Homo erectus 1.8mya, signs/symbols but pre-conceptual. Early self consciousness.]

 [The fascinating new field of evolutionary psychology is examining how the last 5-10 million years affects our current genetic capacities for aggression, compassion, sex, etc. For instance, it is genetically advantageous for a man to be a supportive "dad" but an occasional opportunistic "cad". ]


[500 thousand years ago]   Evolutionary pressure produced big brained hunters that spread over the earth. Neanderthals, 350kya, had modern sized brains but changed little over time. The more verbally equipped anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa over 150kya, but did not flourish until the "Upper Paleolithic Revolution" 50kya.  

.[While the driving force for our evolving and expanding consciousness for the last 50,000 years seems primarily cultural, some scientists point out that the current rate of genetic evolution is 100 times faster than the 5 million years average -- and that there is substantial evidence that there have been critical genetic changes related to our cultural evolution from independent forager-hunters to regimented peasants to industrial workers and entrepreneurs.]


















[50 thousand years ago]
The "modern" human explosion of language, art, and invention. But infanticide, cannibalism, human sacrifice were common. Matured to "big chief" cultures. [Current magical tribal or child-like thinking. Pre-conventional. "I give you this joint of my finger Great Spirit" said the Crow Indian, "give me something good in exchange." ]

[5  thousand years ago]

Agriculture writing-empires civilization starts. With plow agriculture one man can produce food for several. Slavery or serfdom is the rule with bureaucratic priests controlling for autocratic patriarchy and God-Kings. Cherishes rules and roles. Current Islam and other fundamentalists world wide.  [Piaget's concrete-operational thinking. "Conventional" or "Traditional".]

[500 years ago
, but perhaps as late as 1650 ]

Printing-science-"age of reason"-democracy-market economy. Predominant first world thinking today -- developing from:

Individualistic (Modern) to
Pluralistic (Postmodern) to
Integral (Mature Rational).

 [Piaget's formal-operational thought.  "Post-conventional".]  (See Table 2 below for details)








but may start by 2100].   While a few individuals have achieved spiritual stages of development , just how this trans-rational highly moral culture will display itself is as unforeseeable as globe circling jets and the internet would have been to Plato.










Joey is a squirming bundle of energy who, like other children of five, views the world thru a magic-stage self-centered consciousness. For Joey, his bite can make a tomato morph into a frog, and Kermit the frog is as real as his sister, and his good behavior caused Santa to bring him a bike, and his bad behavior (he unfortunately believes) caused Daddy to leave him and Mommy.

    In a year or so he will develop to the mythic-stage where he can consider other people’s viewpoints, and where Santa no longer is magic, and rules and roles and mythical Gods reign supreme.

    By adolescence, his cognitive development will hopefully triumph over raging hormones and make it to the rational-stage. Later, frogs will lead Joey to a PhD in zoology, and a taste for magic will lead him to Zen meditation and the trans-rational spiritual stages of consciousness.

    Joey’s 50 year individual development from zygote to zoologist to Zen master echoes our five billion year collective development from amoebas to apes to astronauts.


















































































































[Distribution of adult population and power in 2000.]

[Percentages based on Spiral Dynamics and Wilber's "Integral Psychology" (2000). Note that Wilber breaks the AE Rational stage into three separate stages.]

All children start in the pre-mental stages and mature up their current culture stage (more or less).

While world power has moved to the Rational Stage, many country cultures are still at pre-rational (tribal, authoritarian, etc.) And some segments of even advanced cultures are also at pre-rational (gangs, fundamental religions, etc.)

PRE-RATIONAL (Magic and Mythic) STAGES.

[59% of population / 29% of power.]

Most of these people are in the later Mythic (conformist-rule-role or "Traditional")  ego developmental stage. However some of these folks in tribal areas or inner city gangs are at the Magic Stage [15% of population / 2% of power.].

INDIVIDUALISTIC RATIONAL (early rational or "modern" ) STAGE.

[30% of population / 50% of power]

Provided the initial break from the mythic church-state with science, democracy and the market economy. Still the dominant view. Strong in business and governments.

PLURALISTIC RATIONAL (middle rational or "post-modern" ) STAGE.

[10% of population / 15% of power. Small minority 50 years ago.].

Softens the Individualistic- Rational stage with multi-perspective human bonding, anti-hierarchy, diversity, and eco-psychology. Controls universities. Strong in Europe.

INTEGRAL RATIONAL (mature rational) STAGE.

[ 1% of population / 6% of power. Very few 50 years ago – but could double every dozen years and be dominant within 50 years.]

Expands and matures the Pluralistic view to integrate and value other stages instead of denigrating them. A holistic prelude to Spiritual.


[Very few today. But could easily be measurable in 50 years as people develop beyond the Integral-Rational.] Deepens the Integral view to an actual experience or trans-rational direct knowing of an impermanent non-separate self -– that we are all one -- and evolving.

















"Mystics need to become more scientific. Scientists need to become more mystical." 
 Andrew Harvey




























The idea of linear time is a relatively recent idea -- born of god-king proclamations and rational science investigations.   

For the mystics:

"Time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which figures come and go as if by magic."

A Course in Miracles.






























Omega Point. Those of you who are mathematically inclined may have noticed that the acceleration of stages is not just exponential but asymptotic - - with an implied transition singularity or “omega point" at about 2150. I see this as more like the “Omega Point" of Teilhard de Chardin – a pull of an evolutionary God force toward the highest level of “complexity-consciousness” that the universe can achieve -- and not the technological artificial intelligence singularity that Ray Kurzwiel envisions by 2050.
     Note that a transition time 2150  implies that all the previous stages should be shifted by 150 years. But beware of too much literalness about the inception of the spiritual stages or a final "transition point".  

     The very concept of time itself has shifted radically over the stages.  For the tribal shaman time was circular. For the mythic priest and even early modern scientist the world was only a few thousand years old.  Only in the last century did we start measuring the age of the universe in billions of years.  A future person with spiritual stage consciousness may find our current concept of linear time to be quaintly limited.



































































Osel Tendzin



























What we can do to reach the Integral and Spiritual Stages.


Rather than rejecting the spiritual as an irrational belief perpetrated by archaic religions, we can be open to a direct experience of the divine through meditation or contemplation.


Rather than fighting globalization with blood and terror, we can use globalization to help all the world's people find a better life.


Rather than defending outmoded American jobs, we can help other countries workers and our own consumers by retraining our workers.


Rather than clutching the scriptures as the only sacred view, we can be open to a direct experience of the divine through meditation or contemplation.


Rather than defending entrenched interests, we can help economic growth and our general welfare by maintaining fair laws and markets.


Rather than blindly protecting the environment, we can balance the needs of the people with the needs for the environment.


Rather than resisting the birth of a new era, we can midwife it with all our considerable compassion and skill.