There are no breaking news at the moment

creation-of-adam

This new Homo sapiens contradictory planetary reality leaves not just the western world, but the whole world in search for answers. We need to find the reason we are heading so rapidly toward dangerous shoals. How could we, the most clever and brilliant primate ever, be bringing on our own demise? Where did we all go so wrong? Could it be the pattern of our thought process, laboriously pieced together over the centuries beginning with the bronze/iron/agricultural age ten thousand years ago, that is now working against our continuation? Could it be there are self-destructive elements in that thought process so dangerous as to bring on our end? And if so, what are those elements?

For the first time in our species history we are being faced with the possibility of an existential threat to our continued existence. And unlike threats in the past that brought down other species, this one will not be determined by a random meteor or other cosmological or climatic happening. It will be self-inflicted.

Early on those of the Abrahamic faith were told that our planet was given to them by their God. Those words have guided the western traditions through to this day. He said that we are to till it and care for it. He also told us to multiply. That was all this God said. Now Planet earth is telling the world that these words were far too simplistic. He did not warn us of human population size limitations. He did not tell us that our planet is a finite domain. He did not warn us that our economic and technological advancements could one day destroy the regenerative resource capacity of the planet. He did not speak to the danger of dumping into it every year hundreds of millions of tons of highly toxic chemical waste, much of it non-biodegradable.

This new Homo sapiens contradictory planetary reality leaves not just the western world, but the whole world in search for answers. We need to find the reason we are heading so rapidly toward dangerous shoals. How could we, the most clever and brilliant primate ever, be bringing on our own demise? Where did we all go so wrong? Could it be the pattern of our thought process, laboriously pieced together over the centuries beginning with the bronze/iron/agricultural age ten thousand years ago, that is now working against our continuation? Could it be there are self-destructive elements in that thought process so dangerous as to bring on our end? And if so, what are those elements?

Another question: Why is our response so muted? Could it be that there are inherent cranial/biological deficiencies in our makeup; so serious that we as a species are unable to comprehend that we have become a threat to our own future? Could the cranial/biological side of us also be our problem?

We have evidence past and present that our treatment of our planet and all other life on it is has been mirrored in ruthlessly competitive, mean, vicious, brutal, murderous behavior. The following ancient biblical verse speaks to this. It shows us that far into our distant past we were fully aware of our problem.

Jeremiah 17:9

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”

Looking at the world today; we can draw the conclusion that our cranial malware is the same as it was in the Jeremiah’s time. He writes about “deceit.” Is this the reason our extinction possibility is not understood? Is deceitful self-absorption the reason? Continuation of CO2, Methane release, exponential population growth, acidification of the oceans, resource depletion, corruption, extreme poverty, ISIS beheadings, Atomic bombs in the hands of psychopaths ‑ and the list goes on. Only pockets of human concern come to the surface. What care I most of us say? All of that is too far away, out of my vision.

The result; threats to our species’ continued existence remain hidden away, buried in the depths of the global human brain. Many of our citizens simply ignore the whole thing and go about their business. And when the harsh ecological facts are revealed, narratives are cleverly fashioned to remove those facts from reality. Life can then go on in a perpetual “Disney World” kind of existence. Tomorrow will take care of itself. It is easier to pretend everything is OK. Or my God will take care of it. Or for some within the Abrahamic traditions there will be an Apocalypse after which everything – at least for the faithful ‑ will be OK.

Even in academia, except for the physical sciences, humanity’s reality as to its relationship to Planet earth and the Cosmos is often turned into a confusion of professionalized internalized vocabulary and endless footnotes. This has become most obvious in the social sciences of psychology, sociology and economics. In the first two, reductive mechanistic “survival of the fittest” theory becomes the excuse for an explanation of our neurotic psychotic human condition. There is no inference to humanity’s meaning, purpose or mystery. Leave that to the religionists and philosophers they say. Let them argue back and forth as to what is or is not beyond the brain cage. Their answer is simple. We are the way we are because we are the way we are. We are in earthly fact no different from wind-up clocks. Find the faulty part and you have found the problem. Fix that part and you have solved the problem. And as for the social science of economics, there is even a hint among some – strangely even to include those who are in the atheist camp ‑ of raw market capitalism being “the hand of God” working its beneficence. So we see an absence of planetary inquiry in business schools the likes of Harvard, Warton and the University of Chicago. The need for negative external costs to be built into every investment decision that will damage the Biosphere is not to be a part of the decision process. Maximizing the return is. There is no interest in saving the planet. Becoming more efficient in raping it yes, but not in saving it.

Equally ineffective are many of those who study the world religions. As much as they try to look into the future, their mindset remains constricted by past thought. In many university departments of religion, staying within preordained religious codes and past philosophical constructs rules. Getting papers published rules. Esoteric long winded words rule. Tenure rules.

So, a perpetual “Disney World” existence even reigns among many academics. There is, however, a note of optimism here: In spite of this overall dementia at so many levels of society, larger and larger numbers throughout the world – in and outside of academia ‑ are beginning to understand that at no time in human history has it been more important to face the issue of the threat to our species survival, and at no time in human history has it been more important to search for solutions. The numbers are not high enough for there to be an overwhelming world critical mass, or even an organized collective struggle pointing to revolution, but they are high enough to make a difference. Pope Francis’ LAUDATO SI in 2015 and the COP21 meeting in 2016 are illustrations.

Those with this awareness find themselves facing the age-old challenge made long ago by the Plato. Have I the courage to remove myself from my friends – and their criticism of me – and step outside of the cave, turn my back on those in denial of the agony of the human condition and move into the bright light? Have I the courage to join the others out there who are in search for a new and yet undiscovered human purpose that can move humanity forward by way of a new form of thought that will contradict those failed presuppositions that are preventing human life on this planet from becoming integral ‑ at one ‑ with the natural forces inside and outside of the planet?

The term “Bright Light” in Abrahamic thought here refers to the state of man in the pre temptation Garden of Eden. In Buddhist thought that same state is defined as “Nirvana.”

Have I the courage to challenge all of our/my past thought grounded on ten thousand years of presuppositions; even though I know that this will call for a change greater than at any other period in our post bronze/iron/agricultural age history, and even though I may have to change the past and present validation of very much of what I as well as the society around me takes for granted, knows and believes? Am I willing to accept this challenge?

That is just the beginning. Now comes the hard part. You and I by challenging our beliefs and the institutional structures supporting them will not alone solve our problem. It will take more than just a change in your “belief” or my belief in this or that. That will be no better than placing bandages on a fatal wound. Our human society in its entirety will have to find the courage to confront the dark side of the human condition. It will have to examine that mysterious and often deadly juxtaposition between our dark side and our loving side, a perplexing dichotomy that continues, as it did for Jeremiah, to haunt our species. All of human society will have to move outside of the cave into the light.

Is this at all possible? Could it take place on a grand scale? Can we expect those in power throughout the world to change, many of whom are now controlling our thought processes through the academy, through the media, through the religious institutions, and in so many other ways? That is the question. As we are now beginning to see, those not ready to change will not step aside easily. For the powerful and privileged “they” it is they who come first, Planet earth second. Wealth and power comes first. Accreditation comes first. Also, we know from revolutions in past history how difficult change can be. We know that stated purpose is not always achieved. Often, there is a dark side to those who have power after a revolution. That dark side can be a dangerous driver of behavior.

As Jeremiah observed; our brain cage controls our thoughts and actions. No one is spared. So the biblical quote that we can be “wicked” should give us pause. It tells us that the pseudo “civilized” behavior we can observe in so many today is just a mask behind which hides the real them, the real you and the real me. That applies at all levels in our modern society, the lowest as well as the highest.

So, our species’ behavioral survival equation will not be an easy one to construct. Putting in place the necessary changes will be extremely difficult. It will entail challenging the validity of our social, political, religious and economic thought and the institutions that support that thought. It will entail separating out those originating presuppositions we have believed to be “inherent truths” that we are now discovering were built on ecological flaws.

And we will not be given the time we had during the last big change, beginning five hundred years ago – followed by the Industrial Revolution. We do not have five hundred years. We may only have one hundred. Our planet is right now caving in upon us.

Holding us back is the fact that there will be resistance every step of the way, some violent. Yet we can observe that larger and larger numbers of the earth’s human citizens are coming to the realization that there has to be a new equation. Larger and larger numbers understand that without it our psychotic and neurotic responses powered by our cranial destructive emotions: so defined by words such as: psychotic, aggressive, selfish, deceptive, mean spirited, ego centric, jealous, possessive, dishonest, power hungry, narcissistic ‑ and yes to again quote Jeremiah; deceitful and wicked, will spell our end.

Reduced to a few words; if we are to survive on this planet:

We will have to change the way we view our present social, political, religious and economic thought and the institutions that support that thought. We will have to separate out those originating presuppositions we have believed to be “inherent truths” we are now discovering were built on non-sustainable ecological flaws. In their place we will have to design and introduce into society forms of thought and systems of governance that reflect new ethical formulae the purpose of which will be the protection and continuance of the Earth’s diverse yet mutually supporting systems encompassing all life and nonlife.

Reduced to even fewer words:

We will have to step out of the cave.

David Anderson brings together a wide range of interests in his writings, namely; Western theology, history, evolutionary anthropology, philosophy, geopolitics, and economics.

He has published three books. A fourth is near completion. It is about the necessary geo political, social, religious, economic paradigm shift needed for human survival.

This Countercurrents essay is its FOREWARD.

See: http://www.inquiryabraham.com/new-book.html

David is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Hawaii (Harvard Asia Pacific) Advanced Management Program. Over his career he was an international risk manager and senior executive at several of America’s premier multinational institutions. During that period he became increasingly aware of the underlying cultural, institutional and religious causes of past and present civilizational dysfunction and conflict.

One Comment

  1. Alexander Pope dictum ‘ to err is human and to forgive Divine’ fits here. There are two sides of human beings -. Virtue and Vice. As long as we do not have a holistic approach, we are bound to suffer. If once we recognise both sides, then we can find ways of reducing ‘ vice’ and promoting ‘ virtue’ in all its splendour..