Consciousness Evolution and Planetary Survival:*Psychological Roots of Human Violence and Greed.
Stanislav Grof, M.D.Abstract.
Diplomatic negotiations, administrative and legal measures, economic and socialsanctions, military interventions, and other similar efforts have had so far very littlesuccess in alleviating the rapidly escalating global crisis. Drawing on the observationsfrom forty years of research of non-ordinary states of consciousness, the author exploresthe implications of this material for the understanding of the psychological and spiritualroots of the problems humanity is currently facing.The vastly expanded cartography of the human psyche that has emerged from thiswork offers a new understanding of insatiable greed and malignant aggression, twopowerful forces that have played a critical role in human history and currently represent aserious threat for life on our planet. The author suggests that the problems in modernworld are products and symptoms of a psychospiritual crisis and that any effectivesolution will require a deep inner transformation of humanity and a new scientific worldview emphasizing unity, co-evolution, and cooperation. He explores the possible role of ancient and modern methods facilitating spiritual opening and consciousness evolution inachieving these goals.
The two most powerful psychological forces in human history have beenwithout doubt violence and greed. The amount and degree of atrocities that havebeen committed throughout ages in various countries of the world - many of them inthe name of God - is truly unimaginable and indescribable. We can think here of thecountless Christians, sacrificed in Roman arenas to provide a highly sought-afterspectacle for masses, many hundreds of thousands of victims of the medievalInquisition who were tortured, killed, and burned in the autos-da-fe, the mass__________________________________________________________* Paper presented at the Thirteenth International Transpersonal Conference entitled
Spirituality, Ecology, and Native Wisdom
in Killarney, Ireland, June 1995.slaughters on the sacrificial altars of the Aztecs, and the millions of soldiers andcivilians killed in wars and revolutions of all times.Genghis Khan's hordes sweeping through Asia killing, pillaging and burningvillages, Alexander the Great's army conquering all the countries lying betweenMacedonia and India, the amazing spread of Islam by sword and fire, the expansionof the Roman Empire, the Crusades, the ventures of Cortez and Pizarro, thecolonialism of Great Britain and other European countries, and the Napoleonic wars -all these are examples of unbridled violence and insatiable greed.