For many of us, the world we have known for our lifetimes is changing rapidly and shifting into something very daunting. The new paradigm seems to be dominated by conflict, chaos, and catastrophe. Especially if the news and social media are the mediums through which they are getting their information.
This kind of nihilism is the symptom of a civilization that does not have a clear vision of its future. Or a clear understanding of its past. We are in very critical need for a new story that can inform the beliefs that form the basis of our understanding of reality and the behaviors that follow from them.
For the past couple of years I have been fortunate to work in a team focused singularly on the challenge of climate change and in helping to frame a new narrative for that massive threat to our societies.
It is the most profound irony that many devoted environmentalists vehemently reject the idea that the Earth is alive and conscious and ensouled – aka Gaia theory – because it’s not provable and thus not scientific. Which in their eyes threatens their position in the face of the current conflict against climate deniers who are waging a ‘war against science’.
I get it.
But the idea that people who are authentically and earnestly fighting for the Earth would deny her of a status that could actually, finally activate the hundreds of millions of others who are otherwise asleep and entranced in the face of her destruction is… one of the great paradoxes of our time.
Not for much longer.
We live in an age where empirical ‘science’ no longer works. Quantum physicists now openly admit the tool of their enquiry is woefully insufficient for determining the nature of reality. And the reductionists fall over themselves to deny that their school is one of the single most culpable for the ethos of non-holism that made the earth into a plane ripe for unyielding ecological exploitation and devastation.
But as the historical philosopher Arnold Toynbee taught us, the growth and decline of civilizations is a spiritual process.
Humankind, he wrote, “achieves civilization, not as a result of superior biological endowment or geographical environment, but as a response to a challenge in a situation of special difficulty which rouses [them] to make a hitherto unprecedented effort.”
That is why climate change, as my dearest Gayatri Roshan teaches, is not problem. It is the solution. It is the challenge Toynbee offered us in his prophetic writings.
This is why I know that despite the very frightening and paralyzing warnings we have now been given (that our civilization has little over a decade to radically transform our way of living on the Earth or my children will not have a livable planet to pass in to theirs), I am feeling very confident about our chances.
We are are the dawning of a new Age. One which will be marked by the rediscovery of a kind of ‘science’ which is sometimes called ‘mystical’.
Mysticism requires the belief in truth without proof.
This is the hardest thing for many humans to accept. But also the most transformative because in this scientific enquiry, ‘evidence’ can only be found in the intuition and sentiment that arises from the human heart and its companion, the immortal soul.
As this year closes I see, hear, taste, smell, and, most importantly, feel the grip of ‘science’ loosening and the rise of intuition and soul-driven connection to ‘truth’ arising in the yearning of our people to birth a new vision of ‘reality’.
Yes the last few centuries have given us much in the way of ‘progress’.
2+2 indeed is 4.
And, as my friend Christopher Hitchens, the penultimate materialist, was fond of telling me, “there was time when people used to die of their teeth.” Indeed, we have come a long way. But we will have to return to our most primal roots to remember what we have forgotten.
That 1+1 is only ONE.
And in this truth we find the most potent of all visions for the future of our civilization.
Bless you all my sisters and brothers.