SCIENTIST'S SANE VISION FOR THE YEAR 2000
Wake up! At the turn of the millennium, we're facing far more peril than the so-called millennium bug. According to world-renowned visionary scientist Peter Russell, the millennium bug is just a symptom of our problems. Systems and stock markets may collapse in the wake of computer failures, but, he argues, our focus must be broader. In his new book Waking Up in Time: Finding Inner Peace in Times of Accelerating Change (Origin Press: October 1998), Russell shows that greatest challenge facing humanity is not any particular social or technological change, but change itself.
Russell studied with Stephen Hawking at Cambridge University, England, from where he has degrees in physics, psychology and computer science. In this highly-acclaimed work, he offers a gripping account of the ever-increasing pace of change from the origins of life on this planet to the present day. He shows that this acceleration is not just a twentieth century phenomenon; it is a pattern intrinsic to evolution itself. He arrives at the startling conclusion that the pace of life is set to continue accelerating until ultimately it reaches a time of unimaginably rapid change. Mathematicians call this a singularity, a point where the growth curve becomes so steep it is effectively vertical. Moreover, this point is not set thousands of years ahead, but sometime early in the next century.
How will we cope with such unprecedented change? Russell draws an analogy with a tree facing a storm. If the tree is to survive, it needs both flexible branches and strong stable roots. Similarly, if we are to survive the hurricane of change that lies ahead, we must develop a greater inner flexibility, creativity and adaptability, along with a greater inner stability, so that we are not thrown emotionally by each new change. We must balance the increasing turmoil on the outside with an increasing peace and stillness within. This he shows has been the goal of many spiritual traditions over the ages. Today, as never before, we are being called to put this wisdom into action.
The key, says Russell, lies in a very simple, but very profound, shift in thinking. We have become caught in an outdated mode of perception. This materialist mindset, as he calls it, is not only contributing to the accelerating destruction of the world around us; it is also stopping us from finding the inner peace and tranquillity that each of us seeks. He shows how we can release ourselves from the grip of inappropriate beliefs and mindsets about what we need to be happy, and through doing so not only find greater peace in ourselves, but also more love and understanding in our relationships.
Such a call for spiritual rebirth from a trained scientist, makes this book unique. It is not some pie-in-the-sky proclamation, but a grounded, coherent argument that shatters many of our cozy notions of the future and replaces them with a vision that is far more exciting and significant than most of us have ever dared imagine. The book concludes by arguing that we are heading toward a moment of unimaginably rapid awakening-what Teilhard de Chardin called the Omega Point of human evolution. We could be on the threshold of a moment towards which our evolution has been building for millions of years.
Waking Up in Time is a thoroughly rewritten, newly illustrated edition of Russell's classic work, the White Hole in Time (Harper SanFrancisco: 1992). Observing that the rapid changes and transformations over the last few years have confirmed his earlier predictions, Russell takes us on to an even deeper understanding of the present times. Weaving notions from physics, psychology, ecology, evolution and spiritual teachings, Peter Russell proposes that the next frontier is not outer space but inner space-the exploration and development of human consciousness. Waking up will be the key that determines how well we face and cope with the millennial challenges now facing us.