Unconsciousness to consciousness to pathological consciousness – this has been our human trajectory so far as I understand it. The Earth has hosted us throughout, being progressively left behind, taken-for-granted, and degraded, as this evolutionary arrow of time has dragged us along, groping. All the while our blue shimmering planet with its swirling white clouds keeps on turning, hurtling through space. The sun and the moon, the planets and the stars shine and dance in a rhythm above us. Below our feet, little things crawl and wriggle. All around us, plant life breaks through the landscape and clutters our waterscapes; animal friends putter about on land, propel themselves through the seas, glide about in the wind. The congregating, many-voiced birds carry on with their songs up in the trees. And it’s hard to believe that Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring has all but arrived – but it has, in many more ways than we know, or that we are willing to accept, even when fully and repeatedly informed.
Scientists and naturalists catalogue the disasters we have foisted upon our green Earth while we forget about our embeddedness in it. Available studies present the body counts of our species-cleansing, the demise of our natural ecology through technologies that run counter to Earth-based cosmological rhythms of life; the pathos of our heedlessness. This has been the cost of the heroic emergence of our ego-minds in this industrial nation-state (non)beingness we have created for ourselves in our present era. For those of us who live in the “developed” world (or aspire to live here), within the four walls of our separation from nature, among the structures we have erected as replacements – wherein we bask and loll, self-absorbed in solipsistic detachment, while being mostly ignorant or illiterate of the means by which we have arrived in this synthesized, artificial environment – our minds have been captured by a culture-trance of a rationalism that denudes the spheres of life it ignores. The physical – the air, the water, the earth – the biological: our very bodies have become disconnected from us. We are disembodied minds, somatically numbed.
We flush toilets, ride in our poison-producing cars along roads that choke off the free-ranging of other species, mindlessly consume electrical energy from a central grid fed by polluting fossil fuels or hydroelectric energy from dams that scar the waterways and displace or kill other creatures – and despite the techniques we have devised for the treatment of waste and water and keeping the air from enclosing us with poison vapors, we keep over-extending ourselves in the names of “progress,” “economic growth,” “democracy,” “techno-modernism,” “nationalism.” We keep producing non-Earth-friendly chemicals that we pour onto our land, feed to our animals, and ultimately to ourselves – chemicals that run off into streams and rivers, lakes and oceans, into aquifers that are drying out; chemicals that burn off into the air which all life forms breathe. In a scientism gone berserk, supported and encouraged by a military-industrial-athletic-entertainment-academia-corporate-controlled-media complex, we live in a demonic ignorant bliss, destroying life that has evolved and diversified – and the soil and sea that have nurtured it – over millions of years.
This ego, this pathological consciousness, IS the Great Satan. Surprise! Most of us humans ARE the Great Satan! We participate in the myths we perpetuate – myths of old, modern myths of science – myth to math, as the saying goes. And in our individual and collective arrogance, we find our identities by projecting our deformities-of-being onto others, disbelieving we are the cruel tyrants of this planet. We know not what we do. We revel in an ultra-materialist comfort while giving lip-service to high political, ethical, moral and religious values; we effectively lust after the very things that oppress us; we are not able to know ourselves, disconnected as we are from the essence, of Spirit, that is immanent in all; we are dispossessed of our full human potential that only shines through from time-to-time in saints and sages who have discovered the esoteric Truth (that should, hopefully, one day be closer to our normative condition – e.g., Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega point), even if they have brought us only part of the story within the parameters of the particular age within which they have lived and taught.
The secularist-descender backlash against the domination in the West by the exoteric-ascender Church – that began in earnest in the 16th century – has exceeded its mandate. It has also exceeded its scope in that it has sought to present itself as THE paradigm for our world’s future, the future as a homogeneous corporatist technocracy. Lest we flagellate ourselves into oblivion here, a few observations are in order.
The chronicle of the achievements of the human race – a race in time and space – is exhaustively listed in books the world over. Through written language and our self-reflective capabilities we have produced a wealth of literature and art, science, engineering and architectural feats, medical and legal and theological knowledge.
How we have accomplished this – at the cost of our living planet and the sacrifice of our deeper sense of self – is the issue.In a hopeless impotence borne of an overwhelming sense of helplessness, a person might simply be driven to HOWL – howl in frustration under a moon hanging in the night sky! (Less bothered folks might pray or meditate.)
It is a tough philosophical nut-to-crack, trying to decide if humanity has been better off for civilization’s wonders – by such things as towering edifices and other alterations to the natural environment, or whether we might have been better off living in a deep ecology, non-“developed” state, e.g., similar to the native North Americans or down-under aboriginals or African villagers – who leave/left a richly natural culture heritage with few, if any, such monuments to themselves. As with the voicing of the female element embodied in the knowing of Carl Jung’s Great Mother archetype, the voices of indigenous peoples today who know and practice the old Way of life prefer this simpler way of being. But their voices are being drowned out by the status quo techno-modernism of patri-centric, plutocratic, hydra-headed corporate fascists in league with a government that includes both “sides” of one, conventional political spectrum.
Plainly we cannot turn back the clock, we cannot stop the arrow of time, we cannot return to some retro-romantic notion of a by-gone era – but we can begin to see the pathology of our own consciousness in these times. We can also use the environmental-friendly science and technology we have created and the great storehouses of knowledge we have generated, together with less hierarchical, more egalitarian modes of knowing, as a template for returning to a normative relationship with our Earth and the Universe; for creating a planet friendly to all species; for reviving the inherent notion of the sacredness within us and in the world around us. And it is the preservation of the planet’s natural ecology – a universal concern – that may be the guiding link for bringing together the Earth’s nation-states under new values of bioregionalism, evolutionary idealism, and developing strategies of global governance. The reclaiming of unprocessed, locally-grown real food for ourselves can help to guide us into a new millennial vision of balanced health within and more harmonious relations with one another. Proper nutrition and clean drinking water from local reservoirs – building strong bodies and minds – are a fundamental first step toward dispelling myths of scientism funded by corporate greed.
We are in an intelligible universe made so through narrative, through the stories we tell of our body/mind experience of it. There are some practical beginnings we can implement and undertake in order to realign our consciousness – from reading the accumulated literature to become more fully informed about the extent of our planetary ecological and consciousness tragedy, to planting our own gardens, being in nature more, and initiating home schooling programs at all levels wherein we can hear, in a more accessible way, this new-yet-age-old story of the universe, of consciousness, of Spirit. As Aurobindo puts it, “The time of religions is over.”(3) Major religions might instead heed the call of the Earth and speak out forcefully in an Earthfirst!-kind-of-way to help people to live within the reality of cosmogenesis (4) rather than to keep embracing an outmoded redemptive/salvation mentality that is antithetical to the body and to the Earth.
Aurobindo also proclaimed, “We have entered the age of universal spirituality, of spiritual existence in its initial purity.”(5) Such words echo in today’s world and may or may not redound in the collective consciousness. But not unlike that howl, still echoing in and among distant hills – slowly, the solitary way of more and more cultural creatives, viz., abnormatives, are gathering momentum. In fact, the abnormative view may already be giving shape, substance, and meaning to what is, in actuality, normative reality – the true nature, sacred inheritance, and full potential of our common humanity.
(1) See, e.g., Boylan, R. (1998) Transition form Fourth to Fifth World: "Thunder Beings" Return. Retreived Jan. 26, 2008 at http://www.wovoca.com/prophecy-rich-boylan-thunder-beings.htm; http://www.drboylan.com/; Jenkins, J.M. (1995) The How and Why of the Mayan End Date in 2012 A.D. (Mountain Astrologer, Dec-Jan '95). Retrieved Jan. 23, 2008 at http://www.levity.com/eschaton/Why2012.html
(2) Megre, V. (2005-2008) The Ringing CedarsSeries, Vols. 1-9. Retrieved January 23, 2008 at www.ringingcedars.com (NY: Ringing Cedars Press).
(3) McDermott, R., (1987) Introduction, p.34 to The Essential Aurobindo, quoting from Bull. I.C.E., p.6, Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press.
(4) A cosmological process/creation of the Universe – omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable.
(5) (McDermott, 1987: 34)