Barbara Marx Hubbard, 69, author of Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential (New World Library, 1998) and the president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution (www.cocreation.org).
"Thanks to initiatives such as the Human Genome Project, we are developing the ability to design and engineer human life. We have become conspirators in our own evolution. Which means that evolution is no longer just a function of random genetic mutations. Instead, evolution turns increasingly on the replication of cultural and scientific ideas — the "memes" that make up our social code. But will we be able to coordinate our positive capacities quickly enough to make evolution an act not of natural selection but of thoughtful creation?"
"Social problems can become evolutionary drivers. The global population could double to more than 10 billion people within the next 40 years. Another doubling after that one would be catastrophic. So we are the last generation that will be able to reproduce up to its maximum potential and still survive on Earth. If we apply ourselves collectively to this problem, we'll be able to live longer, and the energy now used for procreation will be available — especially in women — for creativity and self-expression."
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"We need a 'Memetic Project' to find, map, connect, and communicate the positive memes that will enable us to create a more humane world. This project would be a joint collaboration among various social institutions, but its success would hinge on leadership from business. Companies are our most agile and evolution-oriented institutions; they carry some of our most robust and valuable memes. Even simple business ideas — collaboration, radical honesty — can have a powerful evolutionary effect, provided that enough people practice them."
You can reach Barbara Marx Hubbard by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A version of this article appeared in the April 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.