We must abandon our simplistic worldview and stop thinking that somebody or something (or as-yet-undeveloped technology) will save us
Thom, this is the piece. Salvationist/ Cartesian thinking is probably the cornerstone upon which our walls of smoke are built. In this mindset, we are not participants - we are spectators.
Everyone believes someone else is doing the thing that will "save" us, and further, someone else is doing what will doom us. It is a total extraction of the self from the story of why things are the way they are.
We think we're seated in the Colosseum, but it is they, the few, who attend our performance of this futile and fatal self-fulfilling belief.
No one is coming to save us from ourselves.
Just yesterday I found myself deescalating a fairly hostile situation. One of the parties involved stated "None of this matters. It's the Apocalypse. Jesus is coming soon to save us - don't you feel it too (to me)?". I don't use a lot of words in these encounters - just soft body language and listening. I didn't offer a verbal response to the question. There's just nothing to say to that in the moment. I simply acknowledge with my eyes, that yes, you are saying words and I do hear them.
No, I do not feel it too. What I do feel is we're coming to save ourselves or nothing at all. End of thought.
Hi Thom, This reminds be of the two worldviews revealed by the research of Professor George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist who wrote Don't Think of An Elephant. His research stemmed from watching a Republican convention to nominate Ronald Reagan and not understanding why this group supported a specific set of policies, and why he, as a progressive, supported a different set of policies. He combined his knowledge of language with the works of neuroscience and funcional MRIs to conclude there are two worldviews that start with the family and are reflected in our politics and economics. There is the Strict Father (authoritarian) family model and the Nurturent Parents model.
The authoritarian Strict Father model includes an imaginary social hierarchy to justify inequality, severe punishment as the main tool for teaching contradictory ideas that maintain inequality, which also requires suppression of our innate ability to empathize. Add to that a lack of understanding of systemic causation that leads to believing the individual is totally in control and individually responsible for one's survival, which also supports their idea of inequality as morally right.
On the other hand, Nurturent Parents understand systemic causation, believe in equality, use critical thinking as their primary teaching tool, and amplify our ability to empathize.
This two worldviews lead to two oppositional sets of political and economic policies.
Becuase these two world views represent either end of the political and economic spectrums, there are a miriade of views and associated policies spread between them. Here is a website that helps pinpoint where an individual stands with respect these two spectrums:
You just laid out the vision of my return to this world 55 years ago, as an innocent 22-year-old youth from the Midwest, who despaired of reaching any sort of spiritual understanding. But one day on a trail above Muir Woods, it suddenly became a need, and instantly there was literally nothing, not even me - just an infinite abyss that was both nothing and everything at the same time, and creation was the roiling expression of the dynamic between the two. Words cannot describe this state, of course, since it is beyond language and mind, but you captured it as well as words could in your phrase related to James Lovelock describing Gaia as alive and conscious - (I’d personally extend that logic to the entire known and unknown universe, but that’s another rant.) - so, methinks you have been there, too.
At the time, I was bitterly disappointed with salvationist thinking and had been since I was 16. I will not say I am done with Cartesian thought, but where I attended medical school (now known as Nebraska Center for Medicine) the curriculum focused much more on research than practice. Then, at one time only, during a break with my dissection mates in gross anatomy as we discussed what we wanted to do after our internships, I confessed that before I signed up for a residency, I wanted to work with the Native Americans on a nearby reservation for a few years. I did not even say I wished to offer something back for all the betrayal. Yet, for that I did say, I was shunned and verbally abused. I therefore dropped out at the end of the semester, climbed on my motorcycle and headed for California, where a half-year later I had that experience.
As I came out of it, I was on the ground, laughing with utter joy and gushing tears of gratitude, while my bride knelt on the ground next to me, crying herself and saying, "Oh my God! What's wrong? What's wrong?" To this I replied, "Nothing! Everything is perfect!" for I had seen the consciousness, the awareness, that infused everything on Earth and beyond, and which we needed to step back, as you put it, and let it do what it does with no center, no self - just, just. Well, the only word that comes to mind is Love. Aid with technology where safe and feasible, and otherwise let it embrace this wounded world.
The way I see it, our problems came chiefly from two sources. One was the concept of separation, which was the lesson from the Garden of Eden and the mythical rise of ego, and the other was a misinterpretation of an Arabic word when the Bible was translated into Greek, and that was that God gave man dominion over all of nature, when the correct translation would have been guardianship.
Very nicely done. But one important aspect seems to be missing: "We need to leave nature alone." We can't. We're part of nature. In the huge ecosystem that is in existence we play a role just as trees, microbes and other animals do. We're not sure what that role is because we don't understand the system in the same way a red blood cell could never understand what it's doing. But it may be that we're the ones whose function is to develop the kind of technology that can spread life beyond earth. Through evolution we know that nature has tried huge numbers of species to get wherever it is going. We may not be the species that works. With the natural extinction of species far before we were around to do it, there seems to be a lot of trial and error in nature's processes. Let's hope we're not the error.
"Around 70,000 years ago, humanity's global population dropped down to only a few thousand individuals, and it had major effects on our species. One theory claims that a massive supervolcano in Indonesia erupted, blackening the sky with ash, plunging earth into an ice age, and killing off all but the hardiest humans."-Google
Nearly 8 billion us...what a comeback! So how are you doing, cousins? That is exactly who we all are, despite the variety of DNA out there. And regarding my DNA, I determined it was not precious. I don't think yours is either.
Although it is not possible for everyone on the globe to plan their family, people with health care can. The youth of our nation are discussing health care and whether to have children. It's a start. Climate change is their biggest consideration. It's a start. There is almost never one answer to a complicated issue. We have identified a lot of the problems and some of the solutions, and we have started.
re: "And they’ll save us through science, which can do anything!”... You can also add that it ain't gonna happen in this world unless someone can make a buck off of it.
The world is over populated. The population has tripled in my lifetime. Study this site;