Individual Consciousness and Society

“Just because that’s the way it is, doesn’t mean that’s the way it has to be.” I don’t remember what movie that is from, but it is one of my all-time favorite quotes. It’s so empowering. It always reminds me that the thoughts and actions we choose, both individually and collectively, determine, to a very large extent, what we experience and how society works. And we can change things by making different choices...

We don’t have to be cruel. We don’t have to be fearful. We don’t have to be judgmental. We don’t have to be bigoted. We don’t have to be greedy. We don’t have to structure the economy so that so few have so much and so many have so little. We don’t have to go without healthcare or go bankrupt to have it. Corporations don’t need to have the same constitutional rights as people and they can be structured to have higher ethical imperatives than profit.

From one perspective, we have poverty, racism, pollution, drug addiction, crime, elitism, war, increasing chronic illnesses and other such problems in our society as a direct result and natural consequence of the levels of consciousness at which people live. In his book Power vs. Force, David Hawkins, MD presents the results of his more than 20 years of research on human consciousness.

I think that much of what he says has merit and I highly recommend you read his book. It offers a plausible explanation as to why communication, legislation and other aspects of crafting public policy can be so challenging.

In short, human consciousness embodies creative or Spiritual energy. Different amounts and frequencies of creative energy can be labeled as different levels of consciousness. The scale that Dr. Hawkins uses is logarithmic, meaning that the amount of energy represented by each level increases exponentially as one moves up his scale.

The levels of consciousness that fall below 200 on his scale, such as shame, apathy, fear and anger, are weakening to a person’s life on this planet. While those above 200, such as acceptance, compassion and reason, are strengthening. Courage sits right at 200.

An interesting characteristic of the different levels of consciousness is that each level of consciousness is associated with its own entirely internally-consistent world view. That is why people living at different levels of consciousness often cannot see eye-to-eye. That is also why otherwise reasonable people can disagree on politics, economics, the best solutions to problems and such. In general, personal and Spiritual growth happens when we open to higher levels of consciousness and grow to spend more and more of our time living from those higher levels.

So one of the first things we can do to improve our society is to do whatever it takes to increase the level of consciousness as much as possible for as many people as possible.

I disagree with one conclusion that Dr. Hawkins came to at the end of his book. He said that people are pretty much born at the level of consciousness they are going to live at the rest of their life. Dr. Hawkins wrote that it was unusual for a person to raise their consciousness by more than five points. This perspective leaves little hope that a people can learn to solve the problems that they created.

My optimism rebels! I think he draws that conclusion empirically and he sees such poor lifetime progress because so many institutions in our society are structured to keep people in the lower levels of consciousness. In my practice, focused on deep and real healing, I see people grow and change all the time. I don’t think we yet know how much personal and Spiritual growth a human can attain until we give it a better try.

I’ve got some ideas, born out of thirty years of medical practice, about what we can do, as individuals and collectively as a society, to raise our functioning level of consciousness. In the coming months, I’m going to blog about those ideas.

As our planet gets more and more crowded, our problems are at risk of intensifying. I see two possible roads ahead for humanity: massive die-off or massive enlightenment. I hope, as a species, we choose the latter.

Copyright 2012 Steven M. Hall, MD