Three Areas of Oneness

April 29, 2017 Carol 1 comment

As time goes by I find myself feeling less alone and less afraid of death. I attribute these feelings to an increasingly strong belief in what Duane Elgin calls  “a living universe.”


In the video below, Elgin says,”Today the human family faces the perfect storm of a world in systems crisis. The climate is warming, the population is growing, and resources are dwindling. The question is: In the face of all these great sources of conflict, is there a common place of understanding that we share that will give us a place to come together and to work together for our common future?” He asks,”Who are we? Are we biological beings no bigger than our physical bodies, or are we much bigger beings whose consciousness connects with aliveness of a living universe?” He concludes that “Awakening to a living universe provides a common ground that can unite us as we grapple with these immense challenges to our future.”


This video fills me with optimism and joy. Watch it, and experience it for yourself.

The title of this post is based on another video by Duane Elgin. Below is a snippet from the video, but please do watch the entire video —  it’s only about 3 minutes, and well worth it.

We are beginning to see that the world is an integrated living system,not just the human system, but the Earth system of water, air, and earth. So we have to learn how to live sustainably within the Earth system, and we need to learn to live compassionately within the human system, and then . . . we have to learn to live at home within the cosmic system, the universal system – because that’s where we come from, and when we die, that’s where we go.

In the quote above, we see the three areas of oneness highlighted in bold. They are: the earth system, the human system, and the cosmic system.

The Earth System

If  the material consumption of a fraction of humanity is already harming the planet, is there an alternative path that enables all of humanity to live more lightly upon the Earth, while experiencing a higher quality of life?
Duane Elgin, Voluntary Simplicity

This very short video speaks volumes. Take just 41 seconds to watch.

See the connections that “make nature happy,” and why they matter.

All it takes is a stroll through your local park to see that the world is saturated with life. At a glance, the eye takes in birds, mammals, reptiles, trees. A stretch of ground chosen at random will reveal hordes of plants, insects, tiny worms, fungus and bacteria hidden from the naked eye.
  E.O. Wilson

In his acclaimed book The Diversity of Life, E.O. Wilson reflects on the evolution of life and man’s destruction of the natural world. Here are a few excerpts:

The sixth great extinction spasm of geological time is upon us, grace of mankind.

Species are disappearing at an accelerating rate through human action, primarily habitat destruction but also pollution and the introduction of exotic species into residual natural environments. I have said that a fifth or more of the species of plants and animals could vanish or be doomed to early extinction by the year 2020 unless better efforts are made to save them.

Why should we care? What difference does it make if some species are extinguished, if even half of all the species on earth disappear? Let me count the ways. New sources of scientific information will be lost. Vast potential biological wealth will be destroyed. Still undeveloped medicines, crops, pharmaceuticals, timber fibers, pulp, soil-restoring vegetation, petroleum substitutes, and other products and amenities will never come to light.

The Human System

Through history, humanity’s capacity for self-reflective consciousness has developed progressively—from the magical world of the hunter-gatherer, to the nature-based world of the agrarian farmer, then into the dynamic world of the urbanindustrial society, and now into a holographic perspective and collective consciousness rapidly awakening within our global brain.
— Duane Elgin, Deep Big History: A Living Systems Paradigm 

Duane Elgin and Peter Russell are internationally recognized visionaries who have known one another for decades, and share an interest in awakening consciousness, both personal and global. In collaboration with Coleen LeDrew Elgin, they co-created Pete and Duane’s Window—”a view of the world’s dynamics and trends, the potential for conscious evolution, and the opportunity to live sustainably and compassionately.” The shows are available on their YouTube Channel.

Thus, because we are rapidly advancing along this non-sustainable course, the world’s environmental problems will get resolved, in one way or another, within the lifetimes of the children and young adults alive today. The only question is whether they will become resolved in pleasant ways of our own choice, or in unpleasant ways not of our choice, such as warfare, genocide, starvation, disease epidemics, and collapses of societies.
Jarred Diamond, Collapse

Elgin, Russell , and Jarred Diamond (to name a few) see this time as pivotal for our species.

I agree — we are at a critical point in our evolution. I talk about  this in my blog post Simple Living Could Save Our Planet.


A “perfect storm “of events has landed us at a very critical point in the evolution of the human race. There are three powerful forces, two pushing, and the third pulling, all to the same place. The forces doing the pushing are climate change and economic instability. The force doing the pulling is the desire to achieve a freer, happier, and more productive life for ourselves and others.

What is this place? It’s a crossroads, where we must choose between two paths:

  1. We can continue on our current path, described by Duane Elgin as a path “of denial and bargaining, using up precious decades, until we slam into an evolutionary wall.”
  2. The other choice, as described by Elgin, is to “confront the reality of unsustainable consumer societies, bring this taboo topic squarely into our public conversation, and search for realistic alternatives.” “We can awaken ourselves from the dream  of limitless material growth, and actively invent new ways to live within the material limits of the earth.”

three areas of oneness

In The Perfect Storm, I have optimistically depicted the second of the two choices. By choosing to live simply, we can transform catastrophe into opportunity. We can make the great transition to an era of sustainable prosperity.

The Cosmic System

I recently saw a documentary film, In the Shadow of the MoonIt’s the first thing that came to mind when I got to this section of the post. It’s such a powerful, awe-inspiring film. And who better than these astronauts to talk about the cosmic system?

Sington has amassed rare and beautiful footage of the Apollo missions, some of it never seen before, and he illuminates it with interviews with nine of the ten surviving astronauts (the reclusive Neil Armstrong declined to participate) who made the 480,000 mile round trip journey to our closest neighbor. It’s truly astonishing, and it fills you with a sense of awe at the audacity, the vision, the technology, the commitment, the luck, and the stunning courage and coolness of these men and the army of scientists who sent them on their way.

In many ways this is a story of perspectives. The men who walked on the moon speak in hushed, almost mystical tones of the view that they alone, of the billions of people born on this planet, have had of Earth. “A jewel that hangs in the blackness of space,” marvels one, while another muses that he could hold up his thumb in front of his eye and blot out his home planet. “It really is an oasis,” says David Scott, “and we don’t take very good care of it.” Mike Collins reflects that from out there in space, “maybe some of our terrestrial squabbles don’t seem quite so important.” In the aftermath of their lunar experience, many of the astronauts found themselves searching for ways to explain to themselves the feelings engendered by their unique perspective. Charlie Duke found it in Christianity, Egdar Mitchell in mysticism and global activism, while Gene Cernan looked to “something above the religions that we create for ourselves.”
Text 2007 Jonathan Richards –


A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.
—  Albert Einstein

Do you share Einstein’s view? What do you make of Duane Elgin’s ideas about “oneness” and “a living universe”?

1 Comment on “Three Areas of Oneness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *