The Universalis Project – Evolving Together
The Universalis Project – Evolving Together

Aviv Shahar and Kyriaki Nikandrou

July 26, 2023

A location note: Aviv and Kyriaki are writing here for the Portals’ team before we all go on a summer break for the month of August. Even as the Portals site rests during August, new video clips still will be released throughout the month on YouTube. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe to the Portals channel to make sure you get alerts when new videos are published. 

In this update we first reflect on the journey we’ve been on, and then describe some of the exciting frontiers in development, including two new series of conversations you can expect to see on Portals into the fall and next year: The Universalis Project and Evolving Together.

Central to the Portals’ Project is the inquiry about the future. There are several compelling storylines within this inquiry. The main thrust is the idea of evolution; that we are part of an evolving system; that life and the universe at large represent an evolving process. Initially described in Out of the State of Knowing, our big-picture context is The Epoch Journey.

Girl in a jacket

Inside this big picture is the meta-crisis which prompted a series of Co-creating Humanity’s future events. The meta and/or poly-crisis describes the convergence of several global processes: the ecological degradation; the energy exhaustion and extractive economic models; the breakdown in the free democratic ethos; the crumbling in trust and credibility of all institutions; the leadership void; and the disintegration in sense-making and meaning landscapes. We see these to be emanating directly from a collapse in the modern operating system and our capacity to adapt and retether to the wisdom of the human spirit.

While we are following this slow-motion collapse, we’re also seeing a vibrant sense of emergence of new experiments in communities working to promote a new sense of belonging, healers opening thrilling pathways into healing, and of entrepreneurs working to solve socioeconomic and ecological issues.

We are likely in the early days of what we believe is 100 to 300 years of transformational transition and have chosen to expand our inquiry and delve into the mind of the universe.

Alongside these we’ve been tracking the interior struggle and the human predicament in “Current Openings: What the World Doesn’t Quite Get Yet”. This special series has reflected on the addiction trap, the knowledge and emotion problems, and described in the Einstein brief the challenges of living a purposeful life in a time of chaotic change.

We offer practical advice, tools and practices to help understand and rise above these complex dynamics in the live Current Openings event The Polarity Problem, the Occult of Polarization and the 12 moves to mastering polarity.

To further explore the prospective evolution we intuit, and cultivate imaginal cells of possibility arising now, we are launching two new series of conversations.

The Homo Universalis Project #1

The Universalis Project

Girl in a jacketThe initial idea of the Universalis Human was seeded in the Portals’ conversations with Jeff Vander Clute: The 1000 Faces of Homo Universalis and Homo Universalis Activates. The new series will develop a broad range of inquiries and bring to life discovery pathways in this evolution.

Most of us grew up with the popularized myth that Homo Sapiens is simply a smart sophisticated ape; we therefore carry within us the fight or flight, kill or be killed, jungle genes, making distrust our built-in first nature. In Portals, we are inspired by the vision that evolution is not a one-dimensional vector from the bottom up, where a line of apes gave rise to meaning-making, wisdom-nurturing humans. Deep inside we know this is not the whole truth.

There is much that remains hidden and there are yet many undiscovered mysteries and unanswered questions concerning the time and the way of the birth and appearance of human life on the planet, the evolution of the human model, the various human models on the planet and how some disappeared, and others prevailed. Scientific disciplines, including evolutionary anthropology, paleontology and genetics are grappling with the many paradoxes and conundrums the findings present.

Universalis Project b

The biological trace of evolution explores the genetic and physical evolution of the human body and the development of social/behavioral patterns but ignores the psycho-energetic dimensions of human life and leaves out profound insights into the threefold nature of the human design and the spiritual lineage of human life, originating in a deep place in the universe, where life emanates from. This is a story we will endeavor to unfold in the future. It contains an awareness that the human line and its rise to erectness is both a pull from on high as well as a push from below.

It is a contemplation that observes human life to not be barbarous and rivalrous at its origin. Instead, it sees humans by nature to be caring and generous, kind and fair. Distrust and the accompanying scars of the human predicament are an accumulative byproduct of an injurious experience we can dissolve in ourselves and with others. Within truly trusting and healing relationships, we liberate our universal nature.

How much are we humans held back by our conditioning; by parents, the environment we grew up in, the traumatic or fortunate experiences of childhood; the overall human condition of the nation we are part of; and then, in the broader sense, by the bigger archetypal human story?

How open are we to truly receiving new insight and new perceptions about the human case, to listening to deep intuitions and knowing that are latent in our souls?

Are the stop situations of distrust and trauma that untethers a life from its potential a wall beyond which we cannot see? Can we awaken our sensitivity and intuition to our deeper nature and prospective evolution?

universalis project c

There have always been pioneers who sought to track the human story and champion new frontiers. Those individuals may have been like lonely stars in the dark night sky, often secluded in wisdom traditions and esoteric mystery schools. As knowledge proliferated into the 20th century, and then with the advent of the Internet into the 21st century, the challenge faced was how to transfer more than “head knowledge” and words.

How do you facilitate deeper intuitions, feelings, inspiration and imagination to bring about an embodied activation of latent human perceptions and realizations?

On so many fronts we’ve experienced superfast changes — in technology, communication, transportation and more. What about how we humans evolve together among ourselves? What about the evolution underway in the interior human realms?

As advanced as we are technologically, we often let other dimensions of life be frozen in time or even regress. Evolution has never been linear and never moved in just one direction. It leaps forward and it then regresses to address bugs in the system it developed.

For example, there are many places all over the world where people still expect to see an Alexander the Great and Napoleonic-style of leadership. At the same time, one of the most important trends in leadership over the last 60 years has been the rise of women and the profound realization of feminine leadership.

Still, in recent years we’ve seen the resurgence of autocratic despotic leaders. As with all other spaces where leadership is concerned, the future and the evolutionary process are not evenly distributed and not evenly arising.

In most of the core domains of life, evolution is not evenly evolving. 😊

Moreover, the process of evolution is one of conflicting crosscurrents, seemingly pulling and pushing in opposing directions, generating in the process more resilient and adaptive living systems.

Consider for example the crosscurrents in the space of learning and the transmission of knowledge from teacher to student. Apprenticeship, mentoring and initiatory learning were vitally important throughout the ages. In several ways, modern education has been on a march to automate and outsource this core dimension of the human experience. Are we now reaching an end point for the human-to-human transmission of knowledge? Will teachers and tutors be replaced by an AI Socrates ChatGPT?

If our very humanness was defined by human transferred knowledge, what would happen to the self-view of children educated and trained by AI robots? What will they view themselves to be?

This is one major current. Can you hold this bewildering thought in mind and entertain next to it a whole other current and dimension of consideration?

Could new latent capacities and sense organs in humans be waking up now, just as we seem to want to outsource and upload our humanness to the cloud?

While we are busily automating and delegating our human know-how to AI robots, could we also be waking up to discover our own interior luminescent evolution?

Could it be that we are in the early days of a spiritual renaissance, activated and powered by conductive blessings and permissions of the invisible diaphanous causing realms, calling us humans to discover and unleash our higher creative and connective potential?

Could it be that the turmoil and strife experienced in our global human village is an expression of these intense cross currents?

As we seek to facilitate the next update and create our own passport for the future, could we approach the search for a new human operating system not by ready-made answers, but by formulating permanent line questions? By transcending polarities on the way? By taking full responsibility for our inner and outer ecology, and for who and what we humans are becoming?

This is the journey we are embarking on in The Universalis Project.

Evolving Together

Adjacent and integral to the Universalis conversation is an inquiry that inspires the Portals series of conversations we call “Evolving Together.” We recognize that the challenge often holding us back in stop situations is not how we individually get inspired with brilliant new ideas, but how we are able to come together in those elevations and then in the fuller spectrum of life and living.

Some of the impulses catalyzing this exploration are:

Evolution is not something that happens outside of us. It happens through and inside us, and we can consciously choose to play our part. Evolution is fundamentally an integration process.

When we humans meet one another, something passes between us, and we may discover a new part of ourselves. We are carrying the potential of each other in ways we don’t even understand or appreciate most of the time.

We can do little alone and so much more when we are together. And yet, the process of coming together reveals the struggles and difficulties, and the possible development breakthroughs beyond these blockages.

Often when we meet, we don’t meet for real; we bounce off from each other. How do we help each other instead of stopping each other from what we can evolve into? How do we absolve and release the history of being ruinous to each other? How do we heal and uplift the best and set each other free?

We all carry personal and even ancestral traumas, which make us put on a protective suit of armor. Still, we feel and know that a new way of being is possible when we sidestep and gently release these tendencies, to unlock that deeper human nature that awaits our liberation and activation.

As described in The Five Selves, the evolutionary journey involved an important individuation discovery. We needed to find the unique individual human we each are in the whole of the universe. Then to give rise to a new, evolving post-individuation “we” because (a) we cannot get into the future on our own, and (b) because if we do not work together, we’re more likely to blow up the planet even faster.

Here, too, we are inspired by the conviction and belief in the human capacity to transcend animalistic reactive behaviors, through choice, as we learn to relax and regulate ourselves to a point where we don’t need to respond from a historic pattern.

We can rediscover and re-naturalize to who we truly are as humans: a species inclined to have consideration, care, patience and compassion, capable of deep attunement to another life. We are designed to function in these kinds of relationships, wherein healing naturally occurs.

Evolving Together and other Portals explorations at the edge of development will track and describe these processes as they arise. It is possible for us humans to find early or later in life circles of friends, crews of connected endeavor, pods of development that together function as new families dedicated to foster who we are becoming.

They happen around a sport endeavor, or in professional context, or around learning and practicing inside a body of work, or in a spiritual journey. They can be groups or circles, an intentional community or neighborhood set up or spread virtually all around the globe where a new “we” is emerging, a conductive healing presence of togetherness that can absolve and metabolize much of the trauma built by earlier conditioning. It’s where we can free ourselves from the wish to possess life, each other and ourselves; to be more open to the idea that life is a flow, wherein we meet and merge, in enduring or short-lived exchanges, to grow our experience and assist the living evolutionary process.



Kyriaki Nikandrou

Kyriaki Nikandrou

When I was a child, staring at the starry night skies, I was filled with awe and wonder, about the mysteries of the Universe, Life, Time, the Human and its place in the Cosmos, trying to connect the dots that link everything with everything…

Some years down the line, I still do. I am seeking to be in conversation with others in search for keys, for tools of understanding and application and for the real questions, the ones that become portals to contemplative journeys, leading to uncharted territories that feel like home.

I believe we are on a trajectory of multiple and unpredictable changes; it is up to each one of us to rise to the challenge of our times. Now, more than ever before, is the time to be true to ourselves and fulfill our potential.

Aviv Shahar

Aviv Shahar

Aviv is the Founder of Aviv Consulting, helping leaders unleash strategic innovation, and is the author of Create New Futures: How Leaders Produce Breakthroughs and Transform the World Through Conversation.

Visit: Aviv Consulting