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We are in the first stages of a period of dramatically accelerated cultural evolution – a sea change: a shift in the dominant values of humankind toward a closer fit with reality. The religious and spiritual manifestation of that process has been termed “a Second Axial Age” (after the First Axial Age, which gave rise to the great religious traditions). The dominant characteristic of the new axial period is the emergence of global awareness, concern, commitment, and spiritual understanding.

Spiritual evolution unfolds as a key dimension of the process of cultural evolution: the slow, steady (and occasionally dramatically accelerated) shift of prevailing cultural values, assumptions, memes, and behavior patterns toward a closer fit with our best understanding of reality.

“Four strong winds” of cultural evolutionary sea change drive the process and will help to shape the Dialogues:

Complexity: the tendency of human culture to grow steadily more complex and, in the process, more evolved;
Chaos to Order: a dynamic system’s inclination move from turbulence to transformation…from apparent chaos to emerging order;
Creativity: cultural evolution from the bottom-up, through the astonishing processes of “self-organization” and “emergence”; and
Cooperation: human social evolution’s inherent bias toward interdependence: the rise of “non-zero-sumness.”

Every cultural evolutionary passage needs to find its thematic moment and its first voice. We believe that the Charter Dialogues can help to shape a genuine Axial Moment, calling attention to the shifting paradigm, and helping to facilitate the religious and spiritual healing of the world.

The Dialogues will model the harmony of the world’s great religious and spiritual communities – their common ground and the differences that give them unique identities – demonstrating that a shared vision can transcend differences and reveal wisdom. This value of this undertaking will lie in the contribution it can make to global evolutionary awareness and transformative action.