The Power and Importance of our Evolutionary Coherence

Have you ever wondered whether these trends of accelerated changes, activated tipping points, and increasing tension could be part of a much larger process that goes beyond our human story? While many of us are living through this pressured time-tunnel experience of accelerated change, it might be difficult to sense what else could be going on.

From my many years of research and transformational practice, there are three key insights that have become foundational for everything I do.

  1. First of all, and you may have heard this before — Life is a unified reality. What that means is that Oneness is real, and not just a philosophical concept. We are One, and our diversity is part of how Oneness evolves and expresses itself.
  2. Secondly, we are interdependent and not independent. We share many visible and invisible interconnections.
  3. Thirdly, our unity is evolutionary coherent. What that means is that each living system, each organism, each being like you and me, share something incredible; the capacity to grow and evolve ourselves from this prior unity AND developing the sensory organs of our unity. This is an innate capacity of all living systems and the foundation for learning. We can each attune to our unity in the dance of our diversity. This also makes it possible to harmonically align with each other, and Life as a whole. Life truly is like a huge symphony — a Multi-Verse!

If you have never heard of the term “evolutionary coherent”, here is my working definition:

Evolutionary Coherence is a dynamic state of harmonic resonance and spontaneous collaboration between the diverse elements and relationships of complex living systems. A natural state of attunement to the innate wholeness and unity of life

Let’s explore this further by looking at the concept of ‘future’ from a cosmological perspective. Future as a flow of time emerges from the expansion of space. Futures are also possibility spaces, imaginal places to dream into, and places of higher choice that provide us with the opportunity to envision, renew, transform, and ignite a deeper shift of being and understanding.

All living systems are designed to be future creative — by enabling new choices, new combinations, and new structures from the manifest and potential information that is available within and to the system. To better understand this we need to understand what is meant by information.

There is a growing body of research that forms part of the “new paradigm sciences,” which includes fields such as cosmology, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, complexity sciences, and complex adaptive systems research. What this research reveals is that the universe exists and evolves as a unified entity through implicate orders of reality that literally in-form the emergence and evolution of life (Smitsman, 2019). This is best understood through the holographic principle in physics, which suggests that the appearance of our physical universe as a three-dimensional space (with the flows of time as the fourth dimension), originates from a two-dimensional holographic surface or boundary that is mathematically encoded at the smallest level of physical reality (Smitsman and Currivan, 2019). This is the foundation for the emergence of evolutionary coherent growth and development.

In other words, what we perceive as our physical reality is essentially information, and more precisely digitized holographic information. It appears that our universe is not composed of separate parts and particles that are held together through mechanical processes and random events, as was the classic scientific worldview. Instead, we live, grow, and evolve in a universe that is intelligent, whole, and unified. The same living structures that form part of the universe are also within our own body and mind, and in all living systems.

So how does Our Universe Evolve?

Let’s explore this further through something a little more complex.. the first two laws of thermodynamics, and reinterpret those as laws of Infoydynamics (informational dynamics), see Dr Jude Currivan’s research and our article “Systemic Transformation into the Birth Canal,” based on my Ph.D. research at Maastricht University. In this article, we explain why from an informational perspective our universe behaves as a cosmic hologram. This idea of the universe as a cosmic hologram is also gaining traction in new physics, which suggests that the universe is informationally unified at all levels and scales of existence. What this further reveals is how evolution is a process by which nonlocal information becomes embodied in the processes of life, through which our universe grows more complex over time.

When reinterpreting the laws of thermodynamics as laws of infodynamics, it becomes evident how our universe is a single unified entity that exists to evolve. What this also reveals is that informational complexity expressed as space-time, manifests as increasing variability and diversity within our living systems. In other words, through the expansion of space and the flows of time, complexity increases.

Here is the keyThis complexity is evolutionary coherent as long as it remains sourced or rooted within the nonlocal unified fields that are the implicate orders or structures of life. Knowing that our universe behaves as a Cosmic hologram and a unified entity is one thing, our challenge now as humans is to apply this informational architecture of wholeness for the design and redesign of our societal development — so we can finally resolve the root conditions of our sustainability crisis (Smitsman and Currivan, 2019).

There is more.. living systems, like forests, ecosystems, and even our body, have this unique quality to stay tuned to these implicate orders of the informational dynamics of life, and thus tune, attune, adjust, and evolve our complexity, which makes it evolutionary coherent.

Let’s explore this further through the analogy of music. When adding more musicians in an orchestra who know how to align their instruments to the harmonics of the music, these additional instruments will not give us a feeling that it’s too much. Complexity when harmonically tuned and evolutionary coherent is wonderful and feels great, vibrant, and amazing.

Another example, a forest can grow in complexity through increasing diversity and yet become more resilient and healthy as a consequence. Living systems are evolutionary coherent, as long as they remain tuned to wholeness and unity of life. In other words, life is essentially harmonic. What’s more, the forest also learns and evolves collaboratively through its biodiversity.

So what else is going on concerning accelerated changes?

Now back to our human societies. The trend of increasing complexity, increasing information, and rapid growth expansion is not just human. This pattern of increasing embodied information and thus complexity started 13.8 billion years ago and is part of the growth patterns of our universe! Yet, we as humans, have built on this pattern at the expense of our evolutionary coherence, and that is precisely why most of our societies and civilizations are designed to collapse and not to thrive.

We are part of a much larger story, and yet we are so unconscious of this... Sometimes we wish to revert back to earlier stages of development that were less complex — desiring a world with fewer people, less complexity, less diversity, and less variability. Yet, there is no going back on evolution. Instead, let’s learn how to evolve differently, consciously, and regeneratively.

What do we as the Universe and as humanity need to realize about increasing complexity and destructiveness? As mentioned earlier, attempting to reduce diversity and complexity is not the answer.

The Pattern of self-destruction leading to collapse

When civilizations reach a critical size and a certain stage of complexity, they have a tendency to become parasitic and self-destructive. Something gets triggered that sets in motion the patterns towards collapse. There have been many extinction events before. What can we learn from this now?

Could it be that when we grow in ways that are not evolutionary coherent, and not just from a sustainability perspective, that something gets activated that turns divisive?

Here is the key insight from my Ph.D. research When the evolutionary coherence of a system drops below a certain threshold, a self-destruction pattern gets activated in the system. This appears similar to when an immune system loses its coherence and now starts to fight and attack itself.

Once the self-destruction pattern becomes dominant the behavior of the system accelerates towards collapse. The greatest challenge now is to become conscious of this while this pattern is active within our world. Previously, large civilizations went extinct, and yet have we learned from these earlier experiences?

We have an incredible opportunity now to become conscious of our self-destruct patterns. Once we become aware of the deeper patterns, we can take action. Unconscious of what is driving us, we will merely repeat the pattern of civilizational collapse.

The self-destruction pattern is also playing out in the fields of politics and narrow economic interests, as well as the growing social tensions and polarization. The potentials for escalation events are increasing, virally one could say... All those phenomena might be the result of much deeper triggers that are activating now.

Human beings love growth, so let’s apply this understanding to how we grow and develop ourselves and our societies. As mentioned earlier, growth without deepening evolutionary coherence will trigger self-destruct patterns, and once triggered it may be very difficult to change the collapse trajectory that has been set in motion. We have a deep responsibility now to get conscious about the patterns we set in motion.

How do we restore and deepen our Evolutionary Coherence?

The study of living systems can provide us with essential wisdom for how to restore and deepen our evolutionary coherence. For example by asking: what we can learn from nature, how do forests grow in complexity in a way that is evolutionary coherent? How are living systems able to grow in diversity and complexity, and become more resilient?

Nature shows us the key: namely to embody manifest and potential information holarchically and not hierarchically (which turns it divisive and dualistically polarized). Just a quick, but important, side note. Futures can also be considered as information in the superposition state of potentiality. By embodying potentiality, we attract our futures into being. More about this in my book series, the Future Humans Trilogy, with my co-author Dr. Jean Houston.

Now back to nature. Living systems are fascinating sensory organs for attuning to the deeper informational codings, patterns, and flows of life. We too are a living system and we can apply this same strategy to ensure that our complexity does not become self-destructive, which starts by stopping and transforming our hierarchical forms of organization and zero-sum-game and win-lose competitive growth patterns.

In our human societies, most information systems are not designed for or from wholeness and are definitely not attuned to unity with life. The informational codings of our societal growth models are mostly decoupled from the implicate orders of life and our universe. Accordingly, we create patterns of disconnection, division, polarization, win-lose competition, harmful progress and development, and trajectories of civilizational and planetary collapse.

Our civilizations have collapsed many times before, yet now we have a choice to grow, develop, and evolve differently.

How About Music and Evolutionary Coherent Tipping Points?

Here is another key, which is so much simpler than many of the complicated institutional responses to our sustainability crisis. Evolutionary coherence is literally like music! Our indigenous cultures have knowns this since the beginning of their time. It is the secret behind their Songs, sacred Sounds, and Music — to literally sing our world into being by activating our evolutionary coherence and embodying future potentials of unity and thrivability.

Harmonic sound creates coherence in consciousness and information. Cosmological sounds are harmonic and help to embody the unity of life. As mentioned earlier, without evolutionary coherence, diversity turns competitive and divisive. When diversity remains unified informationally, collaborative and co-creative behaviors naturally emerge. This is our greatest learning right now.

When we restore our evolutionary coherence we naturally raise collective consciousness. This can be done musically, by combining and harmonically aligning the power of each of our voices, sounds, and songs. It can also be done by regenerative design for our economic, governance, and educational systems. Namely, by creating information systems that are designed for evolutionary coherent growth and development. Here are some examples through my own work:

  1. I have been applying design for evolutionary coherence as an architect and researcher for SEEDS and Hypha, for the archetype structures of Hypha and have applied these principles in the design of the SEEDS Constitution.
  2. I have also applied these principles for the r3.0 Educational Transformation Blueprint, through 7 Learning Perspectives.
  3. We can also restore and strengthen our evolutionary coherence through consciously aligned social tipping points for our societal transformation, which is the architecture for our EARTHwise Tipping Point System.

Read “What’s the maximum goodness we can create together” to continue this exploration about living systems and our evolutionary coherence. And discover more about “futures” and the Cosmic architecture of life through our “Future Humans Trilogy”, with my co-author Jean Houston, Ph.D.

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Anneloes Smitsman, Ph.D., LLM, is a visionary scientist, published author, futurist, system architect, and leadership catalyst for the transition to a Thrivable Civilization. She is Founder and CEO of EARTHwise Centre and holds a Masters degree in Law and Judicial Political Sciences from Leiden University, the Netherlands, and a degree of Doctor from the Maastricht Sustainability Institute (formerly ICIS), Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Her groundbreaking Ph.D. dissertation “Into the Heart of Systems Change”, addresses how to diagnose and transform key systemic barriers of our world crisis through its proposed Transition Plan for a Thrivable Civilization. Anneloes is the co-author of the Amazon International Besteller “The Quest of Rose”, book 1 of the “Future Humans Trilogy” with Dr. Jean Houston, and is the author of the Amazon International Bestseller “Love Letters from Mother Earth — The Promise of a New Beginning”, as well as many scientific articles and chapters in international peer-reviewed journals and books.

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Anneloes Smitsman, PhD

Anneloes Smitsman, PhD

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Futurist, systems scientist, award-winning author, coach, CEO & founder EARTHwise Centre