I keep trying to dig down to the root source of our global sickness, feeling that 98% of our attempted solutions to a broken world are like bandaids on cancer. It’s not just greedy, power-hungry politicians or bad laws or endless entertainment and shopping distraction or religions that promote terrorism, stop independent thought and murder love— it’s the spoken and unspoken world view that creates, sustains, passes forward what makes that all possible and sanctioned.
Clear thinking people are all loving science these days, celebrating those heroes creating vaccines, caring for us in hospitals, giving us the facts that once accepted, keep us alive. But let’s not forget that science is a large part responsible for getting us into this mess, lifting us from our given role as co-participants and co-creationists in nature, setting us apart, enthroning us as above the plants, animals and eco-systems and driving the forces of domination, from the extravagant misuse of fossil fuels to atomic weapons to nanotechnologies and robots determined to reduce us to a collection of mechanical parts explained by computer metaphors. The unseen, invisible world, the notion of an authentic human spirit and soul, the experience of being part of a shared consciousness, is summarily dismissed and we become mere inert matter living in a dead world (often coupled with religion’s pie-in-the-sky promise of a better home awaitin’ in the sky).
Our very human development is explained in pseudo-psychological objective terms, born into the world as a tabula rasa, our growth a mere collection of social/psychological experiences and impositions from family/media/ culture. We do what we can to get our little piece of the pie and die wondering why we bothered spending our life amassing all the things that we can’t take with us.
And yet. Indigenous groups, poets, seers, have long cultivated a very different point of view that created a much different kind of society, one that had its issues of territorial warfare and hierarchies that limited human potential, but never ever led to mass destruction of other cultures, of the environment, to the multiple disasters facing us now. “We all sit down to a banquet of consequences someday” said Robert Louis Stevenson, and while we’re gathered around the table, it is precisely these old ways of living and living together that need to lead the conversation.
Earlier, I gave seven shared qualities of traditional cultures and suggested ways that we could fold some practices into contemporary life, but now I’m looking at the root ideas that lie behind those practices. Stay tuned.