Is Humanity's Cadence of Earned Knowledge Too Slow for Survival?
The purpose of life is “earned knowledge” according to the large channeled work of spirit messages to humanity in the Urantia Book. Regardless of that source this description seems to be a very concise, appropriate and transcendent description of why we flesh and spirit humans exist; assuming a position that we are an expression of a divine Creator with a purpose to all that It has created.
Operating on that premise, which I think is plausible, I have to wonder just how are we doing at “earning knowledge” that will propel us ever higher to the pinnacle of our potential as a spirit endowed species while I observe this chaotic age of natural and social turmoil? Why does it seem that social collapse, evidenced by mass demonstrations and conflict on all continents, is a global state of being? Why is our sociological development so far behind our technological development so that the later can actually be used to further retard the advancement of the former? Why aren’t our spiritual or religious institutions guiding us toward enlightenment? Are we really learning? Global governments still lean toward the totalitarian, the dictatorial, the dominant minority controlling the masses, to the point even some of our historically recent achievements in creating national North Atlantic region democracies in Great Britain, much of Europe, and America, and whose inclusive principles have spread elsewhere, are now devolving into fascist-leaning societies crafted as such by their wealthy elites who increasingly enforce this state of being via technologies often made possible by the creative freedom of ordinary citizens whose talents are cultivated by those democracies. (e.g. artificial intelligence, global computer surveillance, advanced militarized police and remote controlled drones, legalized predatory banking, false-flag perpetrated mass fear etc.)
This behavior displays historical ignorance by “all” societal participants! Spying, brute force, pillage and fear of “the other” are ancient strategies by the few to control the many! Modern empires, exemplified by Great Britain and the US, have and are employing these same methods, abroad and at home, enhanced by current technology. And the many, who react in pliant innate or conditioned repetition of ancient behaviors, seem to display little social evolution or awakening as we dawn the twenty first century! This is evidenced by a lack of outrage on a significantly large scale by citizens in the US and the UK in particular at the rapid dismantling of their democracies before their eyes. We have historical documentation of where we’ve been! Why must we repeat it?
British historian Arnold Toynbee, writing on collapsing societies, offers that the genesis of a society grows from a “dominant minority” who are the “creative minority” which solves challenges, others then follow. Decay occurs when the minority ceases to be creative, become prideful of its former self, and fail at addressing new challenges. Finally, he states: “First the dominant minority attempts to hold by force - against all right or reason - a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence when it executes its acts of secession.” With the later, collapse is in the making. Can’t we see this is happening now, again? Additionally, American anthropologist, Joseph Tainter, in “The Collapse of Complex Societies” explains that the sustainability or collapse of societies follow from the success or failure of problem solving institutions and societies collapse when investments in social complexity and their “energy subsidies” (internal or external resources) reach a point of diminishing marginal returns. In other words, and primarily, the society’s size and complexity is economically unsustainable; they can’t pay the mortgage! Other factors contributing to societal demise are featured in UCLA Geography and Physiology Professor Jarod Diamond’s book, “Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”, when he introduces overpopulation, climate change, hostile neighbors, trade collapse, environmental issues (degradation, invasive species, over consumption etc.), and, failure to adapt to environmental issues, into the mix. And, apart from assertions in these works, let’s not forget, we still have war! [And for the naïve, war is most often about money and power, not noble ideology! (See: “War is a Racquet” by US WW I Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler)]
Learning through religion is also fraught with obstacles typically stemming from man’s often immature attempts to personally understand the reality of the invisible, spirituality, to which he responds from a need to somehow reformulate spiritual teachings from prophets utilizing laws and managed institutions that are familiar and easier for him to understand but fail to provide transcendent illumination. Higher truth, beauty and goodness, exalted states of being, embodied in Fatherly and brotherly love are obscured by ceremonial and bureaucratic ritual harnessing man exclusively to a “waking state” of existence. He is “stuck” in the same place! Social psychologist H. A. Overstreet, in his book, “The Mature Mind”, says: “Throughout human history great insights are degraded by minds too immature to understand them and put them into practice….The concept of God degenerated into a mystery beyond man’s comprehension. Even worse God was made into a national possession and rallying point for nations in their wars with other nations…” Furthermore Overstreet offers this example regarding Christian religion: “The Decalogue – The Ten Commandments – was a statement of the moral law for all human beings as opposed to several ‘codes’ of laws which applied to separate groups and cultures…How have immature minds degraded the Decalogue? They have turned universal principles into a series of taboos which conceal the original subtle meanings of the commandments. ‘Thou shalt not steal’ is applied to simple stealing of another’s possessions, other acts of stealing are justified with different words such as imperialism, marketing etc.” So, the reality is that for those who somehow “need” an external authority to inform them of how to live morally and spiritually our human designed institutional religions can fall short or misinform when compared to messages which resonate personally from the inner knowing of ones’ spirit, as in Christ’s teaching: “…the kingdom of God is within you.” (Lk. 17:21) Religion can provide an introduction to learning about God but once humans recognize their spirit to spirit resonance with the Father, enter into a personal relationship with Him, and recognize that same state exists for all of their fellows, religion and church become unnecessary, except that all houses of worship be transformed into centers for the teaching of “universal” spiritual truths, historical and current, and, as places for the collective celebration of brotherhood.
I think a small but growing number of people word-wide are maturing to this understanding of Religion and church but, again, the pace is slow and religious conflict from perceptions of an exclusive ownership of God’s truth by each particular religion pervade and continue to incite un-Godly self-destruction!
Now we also have the over-arching harsh reality pressing against our survival that dwarfs all others, global warming; a very specific phenomenon within ever-changing climate cycles! Regardless of ideology, economy or ignorance humans have irrefutable scientific evidence it is occurring and, unlike previous planetary times, we are causing and accelerating it through our burning of fossil fuels. The 2012 documentary film, “Chasing Ice”, by former global warming skeptic James Balog, adds more proof to the existing evidence that this is a real phenomenon, now! The earth doesn’t care the source of its biochemical changes it will respond from its own design, regardless of us. The intelligent, adaptive thing for us to do, what all species do who survive, is change. Unfortunately, as in some past societies who’ve collapsed, many current dominant minority elites, unwilling to adapt the cultural ideologies and practices which solved their past challenges, are unwilling to let them go and adapt. The bad thing is that they are piloting the ship upon which the rest of us are passengers. Can you imagine being in the crowd gathered with tribal leaders at the last stand of trees on Easter Island, axes in hand, about to cut more wood for the erection of another stone monolith honoring your deity? Wouldn’t that stark physical reality scream at you? Wouldn’t at least a few speak up to say: “Wait; these are it! What do we do when they’re gone? Leave?” We don’t have anywhere else to go so perhaps we need to look realistically at the emerging ecological world we and our dominant minorities are shaping.
Rather than speculating on how the earth’s biosphere will be shaped from more carbon in the atmosphere we have existing evidence* of the results of a “fevered” earth from 56 million years ago! This period is called the Paleocene-Ecocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM. Fossils and rock sediment from then shows an unexpected large amount of atmosphere warming carbon was released over a few centuries time, some 4.5 trillion metric tons, similar to burning all the coal, oil and gas the earth holds, and lasted about - 150,000 years! The earth’s crust was changing then (e.g. Greenland and Europe were pulling apart) and volcanoes above and below the oceans likely “kick-started” the heating cycle by releasing methane trapped as methane hydrate in ocean ice and in deep or frozen soils. Methane warms 20 times more than CO2 generating more melting and releasing more methane. But, within two decades methane oxidizes into CO2 to maintain the warming trend over a longer period. What happened was a wholesale rearrangement of life!
Briefly, the recent samplings of various paleontologists, geologists, oceanographers and other earth scientists depict the biosphere of the PETM as follows: Oceans acidified and their temperatures world-wide warmed (floors to 60deg. F vs. mid 30’s F now, surfaces to 74 deg. F vs. 64 deg. F in the Paleocene), Apectodinium blooms flourished (an extinct toxic plankton) and certain corals died off with CO2 absorption. On land average ambient temperatures increased 9 deg. F in Bighorn Basin samplings, probably more nearer the equator, rainfall world-wide dropped 40%, plant leaf sizes shrank with less moisture, plants/trees got larger from more CO2 but had less protein so bugs consumed more of them; rainfalls were monsoon-like creating torrential flashfloods and limited soil absorption. Formerly wet forests became dry, like northern Florida now and arid region plant types migrated to newly drier and formerly incompatible regions. Animal extinctions occurred but many adapted. Tropical mammals migrated to cooler pole regions facilitated by the still connected land masses, populations of odd and even toed hoofed mammals (horses, cows, sheep, tapirs etc.) and true primate species exploded and during the PETM; some became dwarfed. (e.g. Horses became cat size and primates became mouse or rabbit size.) As the PETM ended the dwarfed species grew again, proving the rapid ability of mammals to adapt. Eventually, carbonates on the sea floors dissolved countering acidification allowing more CO2 absorption. After atmospheric CO2 peaked it gradually dissolved in raindrops, leached calcium from rocks which washed into the seas to combine with carbonate ions to make more calcium carbonate for more CO2 absorption; weathering! Balance was restored. Matt Huber, Purdue University climate modeler, brings this scenario home using a model least sensitive to CO2 but still comes up with an infernal result. His model of a reasonable best guess at a bad scenario, if humans continue burning earth’s fossil fuels, is that we WILL create a new Ecocene where ½ the areas humans now inhabit will become unbearable typified by summer temperatures well above 100 degrees F day and night, year after year! If his model is close, as in the PETM, our less numerable descendants will have to migrate toward the iceless but cooler poles and adapt biologically and socially to a much less habitable earth, eating and drinking less, becoming smaller and living in smaller communities.
*(See “Hothouse Earth” by Robert Kunzig, National Geographic, 10/11 for data in this segment.)
This global warming history indicates humanity WILL survive its own “kick-start” to another PETM aided by elements beyond its control, the design of the earth’s biosphere and man’s own biological design; although survival is not the same as learning or flourishing and might mean a temporary but crippling biological backtracking lasting many millennia if humans don’t respond collectively, and soon. People need to use what they can control toward their own growth beyond the current version of class and resources disparate societies. All people need to mature but the proletariat, the majority of people, need to become, and express, awareness of their collective commonalities, their brotherhood, ignore minor differences (gender, race, nationality, culture etc.) manipulated by the dominant minority to divide and distract, and cooperate as the true world’s wealth creators via their minds and muscles to confront, en mass, the old and stagnant world view of the dominant minority! Employment of a global version of the 1980 Polish Solidarity Movement in the Gdansk Shipyards, where 1/3 of the country’s working class used economy halting mass sit-in strikes and support generating mass peaceful street protests, to leverage US Bill of Rights style freedoms for everyone is a suitable and proven action plan. Theirs was bottom-up socialism peacefully defeating top-down socialism (totalitarian communism) through “group consciousness” followed by “group action”! Humanity has the accumulated knowledge to enact the protest banner slogan, “Another World Is Possible”. That “knowledge” has been “earned” through millennia of trial and error accompanied by the pain and suffering of tens of millions of this generation’s ancestors.
My sense is that the increased protesting planet-wide by ordinary people aided by modern communications technology is the quickening of the cadence of earned knowledge! Global group consciousness is on the rise and although it is generated by local issues commonalities are now seen and shared daily. If this cadence is held and accelerated, if it is lubricated with new and inclusive world visions and powered by increased creativity we just might withstand and conquer current self-defeating social patterns rooted in an evolutionarily stagnant template. If not sooner then it will happen later. We WILL be given the time, the “earning” capital, to fulfill our evolutionary destiny. In wisdom and in love of the thought that generated our very existence let us work to collapse the boxes in which we think and end the here-to-fore endless collapse of our narrowly conceived societies!