Monday, June 15, 2009

A World in Flux

Everything around us is in flux and there are good reasons for this. The Earth is, quite literally, shaking: what has been termed as ‘earth changes’ are occurring with greater frequency, with ever increasing destructive consequences, and dangerously close to irreversible tipping points. Global human society too has accumulated such complex interdependencies that it has affectively become like a woven body – where a pain in one of the limbs will affect the whole. Further, this ‘whole body’ of global humanity has reached critical points in its equilibrium. It is at a point of dynamic critical vulnerability; and at such moments the slightest of impacts can set into motion an unpredictable chain of events. However, the opportunity also presents an incredible moment in the capacity for transformation. An intervention at the right time, and in the right manner, can bring forth accelerated change. We are thus passing through an ‘evolutionary moment’ of heightened sensitivity – a period of transition - with the possibility for unprecedented accelerated human-socio development (breakthrough); or for sudden and cataclysmic collapse (breakdown). How this epoch plays itself out will be a defining moment, either way, for the human species on this planet. It is, in all respects, a ‘trigger point’ within the evolutionary journey of humankind. And the implications stretch much wider for the evolutionary journey of life exists within a vast and complex system of impacts that are planetary, solar, galactic, and universal. It is an immeasurable Indra’s Net:

Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net that has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each “eye” of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in all dimensions, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process symbolizes a cosmos where there is an infinitely repeated interrelationship among all the members of the cosmos. This relationship is said to be one of simultaneous mutual identity and mutual intercausality.’[i]

Within this ‘abode’ of mutual intercausality all things have their connection. Processes reflect each other, and so a period of development can be, to use a familiar phrase, a rising tide that lifts all boats. Other times there is no ‘trickle down’ effect, just a tornado that brings everything into the eye of a hurricane.

In these current times of ‘tornados and hurricanes’ it can be a time of immense fear and insecurity. After all, all those support structures that exist to keep everything together are now being shaken badly, or for some pulled away. Many people will have lost much of their savings; future securities thrashed; stability and order decapitated; and, importantly, perceptions and beliefs stretched to the limits of credibility. Such degree of change is plain unnerving at best and increasingly fearful in less than best situations. It has to be said that many people actually ‘fear’ change; for them it brings trouble, hassle, and the unknown. And what people can’t understand usually means it becomes a self-created specter of fear. Politicians often perform the best in this category – usually because change in the long-term is a no-voter, and short-term change involves something negative for the people. So the status quo is safe; only that there is no future for the status quo in today’s global events. Transition is upon us whether we accept it or not, and the last thing we need is to be stuck in mimicry. We need to know for ourselves what is happening, how this will affect us, and what we intend to do about it.

[i] Cook, F. (1977) Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

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