It is coming. We know it the way animals know when a storm is coming. Deep in our bones. Through our bond with Mother Nature. Through our sense of the balance of life.
Call it “The Event.” A seismic natural disaster. The result of humans’ rapid expansion in a few millenia all over the planet. The result of vast technological and ecological changes.
The event that will change the general complicity in our lives. Dreaming of the house and the white picket fence, and the latest gizmos and the image – the fantasy – of the forever rising tide of the middle class.
The event which is the result of global warming. And maybe artificial intelligence. And maybe nuclear attack.
Maybe it won’t happen in 10 years or 20 years. Or in my life time. And maybe it won’t be one big event. Maybe it will be a series of events. But still, it is coming. Maybe it has already started.
The event which will force humans to confront the situation as a species. Something which will affect all humans, irrespective of race, religion, ideology and nationality.
What will we do? How we will deal with the event? How can we prepare for it?
There won’t be any magic consensus after the event. Differences between conservatives and liberals, atheists and theists, nationalists and globalists, capitalists and communists won’t magically disappear the day after. Or the month or the year or the decade after.
Intellectual battles won’t end. They never end. They go on, just like physical battles. And strongman leaders will come heralding the limits of reason and debate and the congress – heralding the need, the urgency of action. And the battle between the strongmen and their opponents will rage on.
As will the battles between the globalists and the nationalists. The globalists claiming that one government and one global state is needed to tackle global problems. And nationalists claiming the globalists are only elitists setting up a global plutocracy.
These are the coming issues of this century and the next.
The issues are too complex for easy predictions. And clear solutions. 10,000 years after humans settled down into an agricultural life, they have swarmed the planet and are on the verge of a cybernetic existence exerting mass impact on the planet.
Thinking is needed. Action is needed. Good intentions are needed.
But none will suffice. As it never suffices.
What more is needed to confront the issues – to face it head on – is a change in consciousness. A transformed mode of being. A lighter, freer, more compassionate awareness. An existence centered not on me and mine, but on ours. All of ours. On life itself.
An awareness and mode of being which can guide the thought. Give it the structure and direction which thought by itself never finds. An awareness which can guide action and the good intentions.
An awareness which doesn’t look to who is to blame – “the globalists!”, “the atheists!”, “The religious”, “Them!” – but which finds, lives and breathes our common humanity. Which binds us to each other while giving space for our differences. Which knows that we are all one, even as it knows that we can never all live or think the same way. That difference is as essential to identity and to love as sameness.
An awareness which embraces the grace of religious consciousness and the wisdom of skeptical philosophy.
An awareness which first arose from the communal mythical consciousness of hunter gatherers half a million years ago. Which transformed into the dances and visions of the shamans. And then into the rituals of the priests. And then into the faith of Christ on the cross, the stillness of the Buddha under the tree, and Socrates’ life affirming embrace of drinking hemlock.
These past guides show the way to the next stage of consciousness, the arrival of the new mode of humanity a hundred or two hundred years from now. After the event.
The event will bring great pain, loss and suffering. Millions will perish. Parts of the globe now flourishing might be inhabitable.
Those who give in to the fear and shock of the event will kick and scream, shout and fight, claiming to lead the way. But they will only make it worse, as fear only begets fear.
Those who can see the event with the gaze of nature, with a cosmic awareness, neither overwhelmed by it nor cold to the suffering in its wake – they will lead humanity onto its next phase.
What if the event destroys all of human life? Well, then, that is that.
But as long as humans live, they, as any life, can only live into a world where they survive. Where they adapt. Evolve.
The meaning of a seed is the plant. And the meaning of the plant is the tree.
The meaning of us now is who we will become. After the trials of fire. After the event. The meaning of us is those who will wake up from the ashes of the event, the way we woke up from the ice age, and since then from the rise and fall of civilizations.
Our consciousness now is the egg. We have to protect it, safe guard, yes. But an egg is meant to crack, under heat and pressure. So that the meaning of the egg can be born and thrive, long after the egg is no more. And in time the new being becomes the egg for the next being. And on and on it goes.