Global Gathering: The Role of Collective Consciousness in Times of War & Suffering

April 7, 2022
Claudia Welss

Our hearts go out to all those suffering as a direct result of this tragedy, even as we acknowledge that, in a paradigm of interconnectedness, no one is unaffected by what’s unfolding in Ukraine. I’d like to dedicate our time together to a humanity in profound transition, and especially to the most vulnerable among us, those most impacted by the dynamic-tension playing out between an old consciousness based on a belief in fundamental separation and a new consciousness that recognizes our oneness.

We called this Global Gathering as an opportunity to be together, and to remind ourselves of our noetic commitment: that IONS was founded by Ed Mitchell as a scientific research institute with a humanitarian mission — to demonstrate the primary and causal nature of consciousness in the world, not as an academic exercise, but so we can realize the highest evolutionary potential for humanity and secure a thriving future for our civilization and our planet. 

At a moment when, even before the events of these last weeks, the Doomsday Clock was predicting that humanity is only 100 seconds away from an apocalyptic midnight, it can help for us to remember that in ancient Greek, apocalypse means “revelation” — and that our mission at IONS is to reveal the true interconnected nature of reality through scientific exploration and personal discovery, where it becomes inescapably obvious that we’re all in this together, and that we’d better start behaving like it.  Or, as Ed would say, our Spaceship Earth can’t afford —and we can’t afford — a mutinous crew.

Ed had this revelation — which has been called the Big Picture effect, the Overview Effect, or the Cosmic Perspective — coming home from the moon in 1971.  He saw the thin veil of Earth’s protective atmosphere, and the fragile veneer of a human civilization that could be shattered by a single border dispute.  Fifty years later both may appear just as fragile, but I don’t think we should be fooled into thinking nothing’s changing.  The political statesman Vaclav Havel said that while we’re taught in physics that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction, that dynamic is also true — at least for now — in civilization.  What if the increasing chaos and violence we’re experiencing in the world is an “equal but opposite” reaction to a growing coherence around a higher version of ourselves that’s taking shape in the collective consciousness of humanity, bringing darkness into the light to be transformed?   

Last century, the Fetzer Institute published a seminal report that predicted the inflection point between our species being driven by a collective unconscious and the awakening of a collective consciousness would be around 2020.  Our mission at IONS for almost fifty years and counting is to equip humanity to make it through that critical evolutionary window by illuminating, from a scientific perspective, the vast potentials within human consciousness and how to embody them — to elevate humanity out of the old reductionist materialist paradigm to a new one that recognizes our profound interconnectedness, so we can elevate our collective experience of reality and finally end the seemingly endless cycle that keeps the worst of human history repeating itself, and that keeps us locked into experiencing only incremental advancements (that are easily eroded) in our attempts to create a thriving world for all life.

IONS was founded for this time — this is our moment. As Carl Jung said, “The upheaval of our world and the upheaval of our consciousness is one and the same thing.” In this interconnected view, reality is an activity of consciousness.  We know it’s possible for complex systems that are far from equilibrium — as our world is now — to be “tipped” into a higher order by a critical mass of coherence. This coherence will come with the recognition of our true selves, and is, as modern mystic Thomas Hübl says, a part of the “self-healing mechanism of life.”

Ed recognized through his epiphany that there is no “other.”  Whether a belief in “the other” is expressed as war or as part of “disclosure,” as climate change or social injustice, our role at IONS is to help shift the paradigm and prepare humanity to operate out of the higher spectrum frequencies of consciousness sourced from Oneness — like the unconditional love that Ed perceived (and that many of us intuitively believe) is the organizing principle of the entire universe — so we can, in Buckminster Fuller’s words, help “convert humankind’s tendency toward oblivion into a realization of our potential.”  This is our noetic commitment. 


About the Author

Claudia WelssClaudia Welss is IONS Board Chairman and lead citizen scientist of the Global Consciousness Project 2.0. Her collaboration with IONS began when President Willis Harman invited her to join a five-year peace-building inquiry at the Fetzer Institute while she was at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business working with corporations pioneering CSR efforts. She’s on the boards of Space for Humanity and HeartMath’s Global Coherence Initiative, and is founding Chair of Invest in Yourself at NEXUS Global, bringing practical consciousness research to philanthropists, impact investors, and social innovators.  She’s convener of the IONS Collective Consciousness and Overview Effect webinar series, and contributing author of the award-winning “Our Moment of Choice” (Simon & Schuster).

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