I have been working on a manuscript for a few years, off and on. It remains a work in progress – even the title is provisional. I thought I might share bits of the latest draft. Many, many thanks for reading! And have a great Sunday…
Humankind has arrived at its defining moment. We are come to the watershed of human history. Today we ride wave after wave of technological advance into the future, but find ourselves buffeted by technology’s most undesirable side effects: global warming, pollution, overpopulation, overexploitation, hyper-violent crime, poverty, and starvation. The destructiveness of modern age technology threatens to outpace the value it is creating for us, yet, inexplicably, we ignore the signs. Our use of technology is driving us closer, inexorably, to a place no one would want to be. How will we ever get ourselves out of this mess?
Despite the existential nature and number of the challenges we face, there is but one culprit for all of them…
Introducing the ego
Ego has ruled the roost for near as long as humankind has walked the planet. Should we continue to cultivate the egoic component of our nature, the misery of the last 5000 years will continue into the future and intensify – right up to the catastrophic dénouement of humankind. On the other hand, we could choose to cultivate the side of our nature we have heretofore ignored in ourselves and in others.
The time to choose, and the time to change, is now.
Technology is not the enemy. Technology is but a tool. The enemy is the hand that wields it, and that hand is ours. We have been our own worst enemy, and today’s world is the result. In our times, human individuals and societies are obliged to choose between two modes of being: to continue in the old way, or to embrace the new. Those who choose the new will transition to the next stage in human evolution. Those who continue in the old way are bound for destruction, as is the world they create and maintain. Which will we choose? Will enough of us choose to be guided by our non-egoic nature to make a difference?
Humankind is at its defining moment. What we need to have happen will not result from new technical knowledge, but rather from new consciousness. “New” is actually a misnomer – this consciousness is woven into the fabric of existence and cannot be new; but it can be rediscovered. Some very special people have, over the years, extended themselves into this consciousness – Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Gandhi, John Lennon, Mother Theresa, and many others. I am hopeful all of humanity will – very soon.
Why does it have to be now? Why not at some other point in history, or in the future? It is because the cumulative impact of human activity has grown to the level where it now imperils the environment’s ability to support us. Our Mother Earth cannot sustain the current levels of human activity and population. Not only is the earth unable to measure up to humankind’s rate of consumption and generation of waste, we face the possibility, indeed the probability, of either being struck by an asteroid from Space, or of global war; all the while being threatened with a plethora of emergent natural disasters. Our backs are to the wall.
The behaviour of humankind must change, and this may only be achieved by virtue of a change in spirit. This requires an inversion of human consciousness – on a global scale. Left to itself, the ego is no more capable of guiding the individual, than the tail is of leading the dog. The choice to frame the mind’s cognitive processes in non-egoic terms begins each human soul’s journey of rediscovery of who and what we truly are; where we came from, and to where we are headed.
Who would draw wood from the structure of their own home to build a brighter, hotter fire? Soon the individual will have no home at all, and the warming fire will burn out – leaving the individual cold and unsheltered. Yet, this is exactly what characterizes our approach to development. Only parasites and cancers continue to expand themselves to the point of killing the very thing upon which their livelihood depends. No rational collective of humans could allow themselves to behave in such a way with respect to their own planet, could they?
It seems they can. How is this possible? How could we allow ourselves to manage things so badly; or to participate so enthusiastically in impoverishing the planet which births and nurtures us? Does anyone seriously believe our me-first attitude with respect to other individuals, regions, countries, Faiths, future generations, and Mother Nature, can result in a positive future? If so, these people are guilty of building castles in the air out of the ground beneath their feet. In truth we may have already dug ourselves a hole so deep, future generations will have difficulty emerging from it. The sole reason most humans do not seem to recognize the multiplicity of real perils we are in is ego. The divisive and reactionary, short-sighted way societies and governments are behaving is trademark egoic.
The ego is not equipped to understand that taking what it wants, when it wants, is leading to its own destruction. Ego is by nature too limited to comprehend this. Even when presented with the plain truth, ego will manufacture a way to ignore it. People, governments, and humankind, can no longer afford to ignore the obvious. We do so at our own peril, and to the peril of the generations that will follow us.
As soon as each of us begins to cultivate non-egoic awareness; as soon as we feel in our heart and soul that the time to do this is now, then we will have reached the turning point. We will have come to the nadir of the human experience and begun the journey upward and forward. We would then be about the business of building the societies of conscience that will do away with fear, coercion, and scarcity, as the primary elements of social control. The era of imposing conformity upon that which best thrives in a milieu of tolerance, individuality, and diversity – people – will come to an end. The doors will open to unparalleled opportunities for self-actualization on the grandest scale. Someday, each of us will begin to see one another in the same way that God, Who loves us all, sees us, and we will thrive. We will look beyond the surface and discover we are, all of us, much more the same than we are different – that contrary to the egoic perspective, we have friends everywhere and are never alone.
The task before us is deceptively easy to succeed in; though the consequences of failure are beyond our imagining. We only need to listen for, and be open to, the guidance that God/the Universe is communicating to us at every moment. We may only hear God/the Universe speaking when we are not distracted with listening to our egos. We will hear and understand the universal message when we are in non-egoic consciousness mode.
It cannot be stressed enough that God/The Universe is speaking to all of us, all of the time, and that we need only listen to be informed about what is true, and truly meaningful, in Life.
The limitations of this writing, for example, are a direct result of my own failures to listen attentively. The failure to listen results from allowing ego to dominate my thinking. That being said – and this is the beauty of this exercise – anything I am about to tell you, if it is true, and not something concocted by my ego, you already know in your heart of hearts. You will feel its veracity for yourself; you will be able to discern fact from ego-concocted fiction.
There are many possible futures for humankind; however, if we do not recognize the truth of the following statement, there will be no future:
No one – no child, no adult, no nation, no culture, no society, is truly living in isolation. Our separateness is an illusion perpetuated by ego and by the negative energy generated among humans and in Nature. We will thrive in togetherness, or die in separation and disunity.
Either way, our fate will be shared with every other living soul, and inherited by those who follow us.
The solution to our individual and collective woes is quite simple. We need to recognize that we exist within a duality of consciousness: the ego conscious and the non-ego conscious. We are suffocating our non-egoic consciousness ‘component,’ relegating it to the back-burner, by according so much attention to the ego. We cannot be simultaneously conscious both ways anymore than we are able to think two thoughts at precisely the same moment. The ego masquerades as our ‘conscious’ mind because we choose to be ego-conscious.
The mind chooses, actively or passively, where to place its attention, what to be conscious of, moment by moment. We must self-monitor, and acknowledge the degree to which we are allowing our consciousness to be dominated by ego. When we do this, we will see, without anyone having to point it out, just how egoic and how limited our thinking has become. Then naturally, quite naturally, and without any effort at all, we will discard egoic modes of thinking in favour of non-egoic modes.
We will, without any effort at all, behave true to who and what we really are.
We were born with non-egoic and egoic consciousness in perfect balance. What we were born with has been conditioned out of us – by our institutions, by religion – or rather, the face of religion presented by the ego-bound faith purveyors of the world – and by the imposition of contrary behavioural norms. That we should be, by nature, living in the non-egoic stream of consciousness, is what got left behind in the Garden.
We must emerge from ego. When we promote our non-ego to the level of active consciousness, we fill a vacuum in our awareness which ego is unable to fill. Following our emergence, individual and collective being will acquire a quality of permanence. The war between Good and evil will experience a quantum shift, favouring the Good. The shift will be to the extent humankind has cultivated, and promoted, non-egoic consciousness over egoic consciousness.
It is the mind’s job to select the reference frame within which the person interprets and interacts with the world. Ego is one possible choice. But ego represents only a small part of who we are. It is no more intended to be the whole person than the root is intended to be the entire tree. Ego is an anchor; the starting point of our journey, the point from which our awareness proceeds; but by no means is it designed to be used as a tour guide. Our path toward enlightenment features self-discovery and discovery of the outside world; proceeding in parallel, and in equal measure; and naturally – the way it is with children.
Jesus is quoted as saying, Be as little children…Do you suppose the journey, and how to get the most out of it, is what he was talking about?