DOI link for Sociospiritual evolution
Sociospiritual evolution book
Environmentalism is characterized by different spiritual perceptions of the universe. Supernatural belief is central to animism and pantheism. Mystical beliefs are part of the worldview of many cultures. Holism—the understanding of the natural world as one interconnected entity with emergent properties—is a characteristic of many conceptions of nature. Moreover, demonstrated adherence to a system of morality is an aspect of group interaction and social membership. Religions can function as social control mechanisms, encouraging cooperative reciprocity and discouraging hedonic selfishness. Just as social control is central to religion, it is central to the social contracts that are the basis for environmental equity. Spiritual and religious systems have evolved along with human cultures. Recent evidence suggests a material basis to religious behavior and spiritual perspectives; this provides the physical basis that has been acted upon by cultural selection to result in such sociospiritual systems as animism, monotheism, and romanticism. The diversity of spiritual and religious tradition has placed modern environmentalism in a state of conceptual conflict. I argue that a productive environmental movement needs both the spiritual and material perspectives to emphasize the mental, physical, and social benefits that come from promoting and celebrating ecological and human communities alike.