You may be getting tired of hearing that we find ourselves at a critical point in history. And you may wonder what all the disasters and major events of the past 5 years have in common.
In 2008, the world experienced a financial crisis. Then, a ruthless war in Syria sent millions of refugees to seek shelter, unwanted, from country to country. And we felt it more than the other atrocious wars all over the planet because its impact swept through the orderly life of Europe and disrupted it. We saw young people all over the world march out of their classrooms to start a movement for climate justice and to shock complacent adults and policy makers that it is their lives — the lives of the next generations — that are at stake in the denial of climate change and environmental disasters. Just as that movement gained momentum, COVID struck and paralyzed the planet for two years. And just as the world began to emerge from the pandemic, an authoritarian Russian President decided to plunge his country into a disaster to prove a case to neighboring Ukraine and to the West. Ukraine’s courage awakened an unsuspected sense of oneness throughout Europe, and its plight became a constellation of what we can all descend into and what we can all rise to. Once again, millions of refugees are sweeping through Europe and the world is on edge with atomic threats. And the same young people who marched for climate justice three years ago, are profoundly disillusioned with the lack of credibility of governments and adult policy makers who talked the big talk at COP22 but stuck with short-term interests and are letting the world slide into accelerating warming with no sense of urgency or responsibility to future generations.
What do all these extreme events in just the past few years, and the many others not mentioned here, have in common?
They are increasingly shocking us into a rude awakening to the unavoidable reality of our interdependence. They are rocking and exposing the centuries-old dominant paradigm of self-interest and separation. They are showing us ever more clearly that our moral crisis is at the core of all these dramatic events, and that we can only come out of them if we embrace our undeniable oneness and act in unity.
The forces of divisiveness are very strong. The long arm of former totalitarian secret services continues to purposefully stir militarist and combative attitudes all over the world. Thanks to these manipulations, former East European countries continue to grapple with underground forces which destabilize and paralyze any effort at social change toward overcoming communist era corruption and creating social transparency. The same long arm reached all the way to Spain and the U.S., stirring culture wars and insurrections that seek to destabilize democracies.
What is our choice in the face of all this? We can join the public choir of fault-finding and finger-pointing, of constant complaining and arguing. Or we can ask ourselves, how can justice be done in a way that recognizes the humanity in all and brings all to collaborative decision-making?
Of course, we have no role models for that. Historically, we have mostly experienced the choice between two alternatives — accept injustice and oppression and be silenced; or argue our rights and point of view. Neither of these choices align with spiritual laws.
What do I mean by spiritual laws? Physicists, cosmologists, chemists, biologists, social scientists are increasingly recognizing the nature of reality as primarily consciousness, and only then — matter. They are also recognizing, in convergence with all wisdom traditions, that consciousness is not static — that its innate purpose is to evolve. Hence, if we accept that the spiritual law of the evolution of human consciousness implies finding new and ever more harmonious solutions to the social and physical challenges of living, it follows that it is time for us to find a new way to solve our planetary dis-ease.
We can recognize how much arguing further polarizes the social spaces and leads to a dead-end for all. We can recognize that even though there may be those among us, who serve divisive underground forces and keep stirring conflict, we have the choice to refuse to engage oppositional attitudes, to change our language, our discourse, to speak to the light within each of us. Eventually that choice will prevail because all human beings want the same thing — human security. And the reason we fight and argue so much is that in a world based on domination and half-truths, and lacking enforced international laws that protect all, no one feels safe. To do real justice to one another, we must adopt a collaborative attitude to each next discussion and problem-solving. That is the only path to ultimate safety.
The deep rivers running through the social chaos we are living are evolutionary processes moving us to grow stronger in resisting the long historic legacy of disunity and divisiveness, and to intentionally keep choosing higher ground — working toward the unity of humanity.
And though this vision may seem as remote as the Himalaya peaks, mountaineers know that you put one foot in front of the other and you keep going…