After a recent trip into space William Shatner described his experience and feelings:
…. but when I looked in the opposite direction (of earth) into space there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold…all I saw was death.
I saw a cold, dark, emptiness. It was unlike any blackness you can see or feel on earth. It was deep, enveloping, all encompassing. I turned back towards the light of home. I could see the curvature of the earth, the beige of the desert, the white of the clouds and the blue of the sky.
It was life. Nurturing, sustaining life. Mother Earth. Gaia. And I was leaving her.
The world and life are always in transition, each cycle and each day brings darkness and a new dawn. That is a certainty, and the very foundation of life and hope; if either ends, so would life as we know it.
Since life and time as we know it began, darkness brings fear, and the dawn relief and light. Once again as the darkness of conflict and uncertainty envelopes much of the world we can see, feel, and experience the dark fear of the unknown. What will the new dawn and its changes bring?
Will these storms and unrest continue, or will the dark clouds disappear so that once again we experience relative peace and the beauty of life. Or, as we often fear, will darkness continue, and life as we know it end? These fears are deeply rooted in our psyche.
Within my lifetime we have experienced a period of enlightenment, progress and positive development in much of the world after the darkness of a worldwide depression and the destruction and suffering of a world war.
The new dawn after this period of darkness brought us the light of fiscal and technological expansion unseen since the dawn of humanity. Humanity experienced a period of resource and wealth sharing, along with education, social creation and supportive governments throughout much of the world. This was would have been unfathomed during the darkness that permeated several decades.
Unfortunately, in many countries, societies are still living in a twilight, where the sun does not shine so brightly. Most yearned the new dawn and, fought hard to bring the new light to their countries, and many did through their belief and hard-fought battles with governments, institutions and businesses who still had rigid control.
But, yet again the frailties of humanity, raised their ugly heads, in small ways at first, but as greed grew a more destructive process evolved. A minority seeking control and wanting it all, captured the economy, and wrestled to control government. This led to unhinged development, rapid inflationary economies and resulting recessions, that for many people amounted to depressions.
More seriously it depleted natural resources, decimated environments and created a climate out of control. Corporations were unleashed under the guise of progress and rapidly sought and bought more power and control over everything that they could – even people.
As the light of life slowly dimmed and darkness enveloped more countries, there were many warnings – environmental, societal and spiritual. But most people were in a quest for a better and easy life based on bigger and more and resisted or ignored the wisdom of the prophets of care and concern.
These visionary voices have been drowned by the prophets of self (and doom) who were only concerned about themselves and having all they could accumulate, disregarding everyone and everything else that lived on this planet. Once again, the new dawn faded into twilight and growing darkness slowly encompassing more people and much of the world.
This has slowly led us to one of the darkest eras in human history, where not only human life is at risk but most of the natural life that exists in the world. In fact, it is threatening light and life on the only planet in a universe of darkness where we know it exists.
Our only hope is that we find a way to assure that life survives until a new dawn will appear and bring with it the abundance of light and hope. There is only one certainty: that a new morning will dawn as it always has. Whether life as we know it will exist is not guaranteed.
This is the first time in history that a single species has the power to wipe out all species. This is a big responsibility, and it is not shared by all.
Most living things use the darkness for resting, sleeping and reflecting (or hiding), everything slows and rejuvenates in anticipation of the dawn. Humanity has forgotten this concept in its rush for the much and more which we have labeled progress.
There is no rest, much less reset or contemplation of the folly of our quest as we plunder without regard the very nature that provides us the sustainability of life and living. The growing disparities, degradation, and despair affects every country and society. The resulting turmoil, growing conflicts, and wars to decide possession and ownership never cease.
The prophets of self now have the technology to perpetrate fraud, disseminate falsities and distribute all kinds of nonsense which causes ever more confusion and conflict and spreads violence.
The concept of a new dawn coming with its brightness after the dark bringing a new day filled with hope and opportunity to renew itself is at risk. A new dawn will appear whether we are here or not, and even if we destroy nature itself. The reality is nature always rejuvenates itself, what ever the tragedy that destroyed it – natural or human made.
Humanity itself does not appear to have this gift, and if it destroys itself, nature will find new creatures to inhabit the planet. The world existed before humans appeared and will exist when we have departed whether we like it or not.
Humanity still has the time and opportunity to stop its destruction, quell its hatred and build a peaceful society whereby everyone has enough, and no one has it all. We have the tools to help heal the environment and replenish what has been destroyed.
But it requires acknowledgement of our folly, and the realisation that human life is not forever but it can be for humanity with the proper concern, care, and consideration. There is time to change the things necessary to ensure that we live in a world that not only grows but flourishes like it used to.
It is necessary to listen to the visionary prophets who have been encouraging people to break down the barriers of fear and uncertainty being spread by the prophets of self and doom, espousing their false message of despair while claiming that they know best.
It is time to break the myths of deficiency, privilege, and disparity that still permeates much of our societies. We need to understand and realize once again the wonder, beauty and diversity of natural and human existence. The world, until quite recently, has always had enough for every creature and plant to exist.
The problem, as always, is the inability to control the human capacity for fear, greed and self-regard. Humanity has invented, over time, all kinds of gods who are supposed to protect us, care for us and lead us to a magical paradise where we can live together in peace and harmony without fear, need or worry.
We are the only species in the universe that, having been given life in a paradise, have been destroying it and fighting over the spoils as if there was never enough for everyone.
But the reality today is different as we have reached a moment where humanity is destroying the world itself. We have depleted the useful resources to a point of no return for ourselves, and every living thing.
There is still time to turn this around and recreate a world of wonder, and develop a human society with respect for each other, and for all life itself. We have the ability and the tools, but the challenge for humanity is the will, commitment, and courage.
We have reached a pivotal point in human history where we can either perish in divisiveness or survive in unity. We can come together in care, concern and love, appreciating the richness of humanity with all its differences and vagaries, or continue the path of fear, hatred and greed chosen by the few. The choice is death by destruction or life by compromise and respect.
William (Bill) Pardy
August 8th, 2023