Saturday, April 03, 2010

Re-evaluating life principles

As events begin to unfold and social changes become more manifest it is likely that more and more people will feel the ‘pull-n-push’ towards downsizing and re-evaluating life principles and needs. The old thinking and energies of self-survival and material gain will need to be replaced with a new paradigm of creation, communication, and collaboration. The new imperatives and opportunities arising will require us to embark on a path towards re-vitalized partnership relations of community. The era of global excess and greed, which filtered down to the masses as consumer excess and credit greed, is no longer a viable future path. We have now been getting a wake-up call we cannot ignore. As one-time business advisor David Korten now explains:
Rather than to give in to despair in this often frightening time, let us rejoice in the privilege of being alive at a moment of creative opportunity unprecedented in the human experience...Let our descendants look back on this time as the time of the Great Turning, when humanity made a bold choice to birth a new era devoted to actualizing the higher potentials of our human nature - We are the ones we have been waiting for.
We have been waiting for the opportunity and challenge to adjust to new changes. In this respect, we have been waiting long enough for what will be an epochal transition. The challenges facing us are not so much about a ‘once change’, leaving us again to sit comfortably in our newly adapted state. Rather, we are encouraged to shift into a permanent state of adaptation so as to be better placed to face uncertainty. Such uncertainties may push social affairs towards reorganization at more contracted levels and scale of activity. In the face of these contractions individuals need to start thinking soon about what courses of action to take. We can walk into the future willingly, or we can be back-flipped kicking and screaming like children. Either way, it seems highly likely that novel social transitions are coming down the line.

Social Transitions

According to social commentator James Kunstler those of us who presently live in the comfortable ‘west’ are facing ‘the comprehensive downscaling, rescaling, downsizing, and relocalizing of all our activities, a radical reorganization of the way we live in the most fundamental particulars’. This may come as a shock to the many who are constantly connected into a networked global world. Does this mean we are to be transported back into the Dark Ages? In a previous post I made mention to an almost Dark Ages scenario that I termed ‘Lock-Down’. This was suggested as a physical possibility should tumultuous events play out over a prolonged period of time. However, once the turbulence has passed (which I feel will be short-lived rather than protracted), there will be a different kind of age. It will be a return to values and relationships no longer obscured by unbalance and folly. The 21st century should be the Age where we recover many of the valuable insights and skills in the art of living. Our efforts and skills, the very basis of our human activities – our spiritual and moral values – need to be re-directed towards creating a more integral relationship between human living and our earthly environment. In other words, we need to discover a ‘way back’ to the Earth that has been forgotten. We, as individuals, need to develop our critical reflexive faculties and to find a balance between inner and outer needs. We require food, clothing, shelter, and community; we also require a sense of worth and belonging, of communion with our environment. In giving shape to ourselves radical new social and cultural forms are needed. These new forms should serve to place the human within the dynamics of a living cosmic, creative, intelligent universe. After all, the universe of which we form a part is a fundamental sacred reality. By losing our connection with the sacrosanct we create a bubble of alienation between our species and our planetary and cosmic home. This is not esoteric blurb, these are natural laws. For many of us the context for our existence has become mechanical and often unfulfilling. We have lost touch with the organic, with the alive and renewing, and exist in material cocoons that are drip-fed. Within this barren context we obscure our natural capacity for intimacy and cohesion with the living sea of energy that surrounds us. We have so far lacked the epiphany (or revelationary experience) needed to shock human consciousness awake to its sacred communion with living processes. Perhaps that shock epiphany will come in the form of crisis transitions. In this sense we ‘need to reinvent the human within the community of life systems’. Instead of being a pivotal force the human has become an addendum or intrusion into organic, living processes because of a lack of spiritual insight and understanding. Cultural historian Thomas Berry reinforces this predicament when he says
The proposal has been made that no effective restoration of a viable mode of human presence on the planet will take place until such intimate human rapport with the Earth community and the entire functioning of the universe is reestablished on an extensive scale.
This point emphasizes that the human presence exists within both a physical environmental context as well as a cosmic universal one. All things thus exist in differing degrees within all levels: this is our integrative creative, living matrix. It is another name for LIFE (Living an Integrated Fulfilling Existence).

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