The Santa Barbara-based Foundation for Conscious Evolution (FCE) was founded in 1992 by New Age author and public speaker Barbara Marx Hubbard, a self-described “spiritual/social philosopher/activist.” “It’s not a revolutionary movement,” explains Hubbard. “It’s an evolutionary movement and it’s aligned itself with anything that’s life enhancing.”
Advocating a decisive break with traditional human nature, the Conscious Evolution theory asserts that “humankind has attained unprecedented powers to affect, control and change the evolution of life on Earth.” That being the alleged case, FCE urges humanity to assume the obligations of nature and to direct its own evolution, toward what FCE vaguely calls a “higher state of being.”
Hubbard, who serves as FCE’s President, has a clear vision of the radical utopian society to which this “higher state of being” would, in her view, give certain rise. “It will vastly change the economic system from one of scarcity and competition to one of co-creation and the liberation of the whole human species from a bondage to poverty,” Hubbard told an interviewer in 2001. “Maybe we’ll go beyond the economic system altogether. I think we’ll go beyond money. … Our [FCE’s] story is the story of the birth of a Universal Humanity, capable of restoring its Earth, freeing people from want and necessity, limiting population growth, designing new social systems, and exploring the vast regions of inner and outer space.”
Running through FCE’s radical plan to recast humanity anew is a deep aversion to free-market economics specifically, and to Western culture generally. Fueling such anti-Western feeling is a powerful contempt for the country that FCE deems the worst of the West, the United States. In an interview shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, for instance, Hubbard said that any attempts to hold the actual terrorists to account were misplaced. Rather, suggested Hubbard, “Let’s see where the United States of America has to be more conscious of its effect on the environment and on the tremendous inequities of economic differences in the world.”
“We are informed by our environmentalists that within 30 to 50 years we could destroy our life-support system,” says FCE. The organization’s website bears the warning: “We do not have much time. Within the next 30 to 50 years, we must change our fundamental behavior to be more in alignment with our natural systems and our visions of a positive future. Never before has the human species had to change this quickly in order to survive.”
Hubbard and FCE have called for the creation of a “Peace Room” in the White House. Literally an alternative to the war room, the Peace Room would serve as a place “to scan for, map, connect, and communicate what is working in America” and thereby promote world peace. Hubbard first conceived the idea in 1984, while vying to win the vice-presidential nomination on the Democratic ticket. To date, FCE lists as its principal accomplishments the creation of a website and an “on-line peace room.”
In partnership with the Oakhurst, Calif.-based Emerson Theological Institute, FCE, which is presently not certified to confer academic degrees, seeks to eventually develop Graduate and Masters programs in conscious evolution — programs whose core curriculum “embraces the spiritual ideology of the presence of God in humankind and the power of right thinking.”
Between January 2000 and May 2003, FCE raised $1,180,097 in donations. Its top sponsors — that is, contributors of $100,000 more — include Sheryl Leach, creator of the Barney children’s television program; Harold Rosenfeld, who, with Leach, established the Shei’rah Foundation to underwrite a score of leftist causes; the technology entrepreneur William Melton and the feminist activist Patricia Smith Melton of the Melton Foundation; and the late philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller.