||CHAPTER 9: THE UNITY AND UNIVERSALITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS DEVELOPMENT||Page 27|
Consciousness development is a single, unified process that reflects both the unity of the individual and the unity of human history. Although we may distinguish six discrete steps of consciousness development, we should not lose sight of the essential unity of consciousness development in the individual and its universality among all human beings. In the individual, the steps of consciousness development build upon each other so that each step is transformed by the addition of the next and no development is lost. The steps are not separate, isolated qualities, but are interrelated in the functioning of a single "person," with his or her own "personality."
In the human species, consciousness development is a shared process of all people. Our values derive from a common history, in which we are members of a vast multitude of people that extends throughout the world and that includes those who have died and those yet to be born as well as those living today. We all face a future that is increasingly tied to the future of each other. Consciousness development is not the possession of a certain, select group of people, but is available to all who have language and membership in society. And the potential to reach the highest steps of consciousness development is available to all people, even if it is only attained by some.
The highest level of consciousness development comes only through the participation in the making of history, and for that reason at the present time, it can only be attained with peace activism. This is true because at the present time the achievement of peace with justice is the primary issue on the agenda of history. All other activism for social justice is related, in one way or another, to the quest for peace; it will all come to nothing if civilization goes up in the flames of nuclear war.
Today we have the opportunity to achieve a higher level of consciousness than in any previous period of history. Never before has there been such a single, universal threat to our species and such an all-inclusive, world-wide task as the task of abolishing war. Never before has our species as a whole been faced with its own ultimate question of life or death. We have come full circle: the species consciousness that gave each of us the opportunity to attain individual consciousness is now endangered; and only the full development of individual consciousness in the masses of humanity can save it.
(end of Chapter 9)