The end of any given year changes little in ones life, but as a new one begins hope grows for something different.
Last year might be described as an epiphany for most. The realization of the sorry state of much of the world we have created, economically, politically and personally and perhaps a growing appreciation of the damage to our natural and real world that has been caused by the folly of human greed. One could easily become discouraged by the misuse, abuse and waste.
The ongoing financial crisis stumbles from one partial catastrophe to another, never ending, or so it seems. There is the sorry state of world politics in authoritarian, despotic and democracies alike. The resultant stress is exacerbated by the continual depletion of nature’s bountiful resources, because some want it all. Even more tragic is the human disasters, which are happening throughout the world, some of these made worse by inept systems and often power struggles by competing factions created to alleviate the suffering.
Most of what ails the world is the result of the outmoded, perhaps obsolete, systems and their institutions created to manage our world. Most have appeared to have lost their way, grown too large, too cumbersome (too big to fail) and too insular; only concerned with maintaining themselves. As can be witnessed, their ability to respond to the most insignificant threat, much less huge disasters, is impeded, if not immobilized.
One could despair, were it not for the willingness of so many to give time, money and support during human tragedies and catastrophes. The inbuilt goodness of the human psyche, the real soul of a human being, is intact, albeit encumbered by dysfunctional systemic approaches to life. Most institutions have lost their human direction and now often work counter to peoples’ desire to be more humane.
The epiphany, to which I refer that is in evidence this year globally, relates to the reality that more and more are realizing how dysfunctional our systems have become and how repressed people are as a result. Increasingly, people are recognizing the flaws, even perverseness, evident in so many institutions created within our systems. Everyone suffers from this global malaise, none more so that the poor and deprived, of which, there are more and their numbers are growing, even in richer societies, as the dynamic of aging populations increases.
This insight, for many, stems from the obvious damage to our natural world and the apparent growing numbers of tormented individuals in our societies. The enlightenment evolves from the humanness that emerges, as people recognize that there needn’t be so much suffering in such a world of plenty. It is only thus, because of control by the few.
There are two fundamental challenges facing human inhabitants of the world. The first is the demographic shift, unlike any other in human history. The second, perhaps most important, is the spiritual vacuum, even void, that exists in almost the entire world. Both are related and enmeshed.
It was largely our generation that disregarded and began the diminishment of many of the myths that held society together, as they sought freedom with abandon. This generation barely realized the responsibilities intrinsic in any such freedom, much less its complexities. The younger generation has built upon this with the embrace of pop cultures and the inherent technological advances that have evolved. Truly we have created houses (not homes) and cities (not communities) built on foundations of sand.
Today, unlike other times in most of the world, there are no sureties; much less truths. Truths last as long as the next media blitz or the next “scientific” study. Both of which have proven wanting.
As a result the older generation (us) is coming to the realization that in our current world they face a dire future, with little means to support themselves. Younger people, in order to survive, have had to invest so much to get an education that they will be indebted like slaves.
What is required is not the tinkering in the margins, attempting to solve the unsolvable, by addressing the symptoms of our distress. There is a need to get to the real and fundamental issue: that of the spiritual decline or vacuum that exists in our world. For without addressing this primary issue the others will only grow in significance.
There is need of a spiritual revolution, not one of violence, but of tolerance, kindness and care. These are the foundations of community. It is only this that can rebuild hope that is life itself, fortify faith, the very basis of belief and intensify feelings, the foundation of love. The fledgling beginnings of such a revolution are becoming apparent.
When theses values are once again rooted in the hearts of people the other dilemmas will soon dissipate. The causes of global warming will become important, the flawed approaches to economy, mostly driven by greed will moderate and the people who terrorize will have no need, as their needs and desperation will disappear.
When these real foundations of community are rebuilt, families, homes and communities will eclipse the focus on monetary speculation, financial wealth, and material worship as the basis of human accomplishment.
January 6th, 2011