The accelerating changes occurring across our planet right now will have no alternative but to force a mind-change on a global and individual level. We are coming together as a global species like never before; despite what we have been shown and told by the mainstream media. We need to view this in both the immediate and the bigger picture. Due to our relatively short human life span we rarely reflect beyond a generation or two in front of us. We have evolved as a species that reacts to immediate concerns. This served us well in the past when we had survival needs in a restricted world of limited horizons. Yet now we need a perspective that is global at the very least – and even possibly beyond!

If we now look at the bigger picture we will see that a different type of consciousness has been emerging over the past 150 years. That is, since the dawn of the Second Industrial Revolution. The new technologies of the Second Industrial Revolution – the telephone, radar, cinema, automobile and airplane – called for a new reorientation of human perspective. A new perception of the dimensions of space and time began to birth a psychological consciousness – one that wanted to look beyond the borders and horizons of the physical frontier. The 3rd Industrial Revolution, which is now emerging, will be a convergence of digital communications combined with a young generation that is more globally aware. This has the potential to catalyze upon this planet a rising empathic, integral consciousness. Also, our global communications will encourage new relations in our extended connectivity. That is, increased multiple relations are likely to stimulate a connected, collaborative consciousness; rather than a consciousness of conflict and control. A planetary citizenry is emerging that will exhibit greater empathy, and which will create a different planetary society within perhaps two generations. Humanity already contains the seeds of these momentous potentials.

Many social changes within the upcoming years will emerge from the creative engagement and innovation of individuals and collectives worldwide – a shift catalyzed within the hearts, spirit, and minds of the people. Externally we may seem like a vast, distant, and separate collection of individuals yet in truth the human family is an intimate, closely entwined species comprised of various cultures. Many of the younger generation now are waking up to this fact. Youngsters the world over are growing up accustomed to having networks of hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of friends across the planet; sharing intimacy and empathizing easily with an international social group of like-minded souls. This younger generation is manifesting, whether conscious of it or not, a non-local level of human relationships. This expanded connectivity is impacting and affecting a change in our psychology and consciousness. We are now being impelled to live in ways that enable all other people to live as well. We are also being compelled to live in ways that respect the lives of others and that respect the right to the economic and cultural development of all people; and to pursue personal fulfilment in harmony with the integrity of nature. These traits may constitute what I refer to as an integral-ecological consciousness: a person acting and behaving as both an individual and as a part of the greater connected whole. Such multiple relations form a more varied, rich and complex life; they also provide a more diverse range of impacts and opportunities to develop the self. As well as providing challenges for developing new skills and learning, our diverse networks can form new friendships and add extra meaning to our lives.

Many young people today are comfortable in expressing themselves with strangers; they explore and express their inner thoughts, feelings, emotions and ideas with hundreds of unknown persons online, from various cultural backgrounds. More and more daily interactions are empathic as we react and share news, stories, and emotional impacts from sources around the world.

Empathy is one of the core values by which we create and sustain social life. Exposure to impacts outside of our own local and restrictive environments helps us to learn tolerance, and to live with experiences that are richer and more complex, full of ambiguities, and multiple perspectives. It is a mode of connecting that allows diverse people worldwide to construct a new form of planetary social capital. We have the resources to co-create a planetary human society where once again the focus is on social benefit rather than profit. We can see many examples of this today, such as in online collaborative tools and both local and global projects. The online global community is a model for the new paradigm that illustrates how sharing can work above the individual motive for profit. The values and ethics of communal sharing might seem odd or out-of-place to the old capitalist-consumerist mindset, yet these are the very values that will be on the rise within the coming generations.

The spectacular rise in global communication technologies (Internet and mobile phones, etc) reflects a new form of participatory consciousness, especially among younger people. This new model is a distributed one; in other words, it connects people through networks rather than through hierarchical structures. It also represents a more feminine energy that seeks relationships, to nurture and to collaborate rather than compete and conquer. It is this emerging feminine energy that underlies the rise in global empathy. Also, since people are connecting amongst themselves in multiple relations it impels them to have an active engagement. For those individuals brought-up within the older generation of communication technologies (radio, television, fixed phones), the interaction was either two-way or, for the most part, one way. In this era people were passive receivers, targeted by information they could not engage with. This has now shifted so that the receiver of the communication is both the user and the producer.

We have learnt to democratize our engagement and to activate choice through online social networks, phone messaging, video channels (e.g. You-Tube), and various other broadcast mediums. The younger generation is waking up quickly and learning how to set-up inexpensive, or free, radio sites (podcasts), home websites, newsletters, and are managing their own forms of self-expression. This new model is changing our thinking and behavior patterns. We are now getting used to dealing with multiple connections rather than single ones; and to becoming immersed in diverse relations and not just one-on-one dialogues. We are also being exposed to a myriad of viewpoints, beliefs, identities, and experiences. Within these new arrangements we are being asked to respond and engage with the outside world not in fear or with anxiety but with healthy, creative, and positive energies.

As a new generation enters a world where collaboration and connection is the new normal, we are likely to also see a different consciousness responding to such an environment. In this way, change will come through responding to new patterns and potentials. With patience, tolerance, empathy, compassion, and conscious communication we will see a different set of values catalyzing change throughout our cultures of the world.