“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity” —Rollo May.
NOTE: This is part one of a three-part blog series. Part two can be read at this link. Part three can be read at this link. I have also created a pdf file of the entire post which can be downnloaded at this link.
We live in a world that continues to do battle with the content of “reality” with the inevitable outcome that little changes. The infinitesimal changes that do occur, inexorably amount to one-step forward, three steps back. The old adage that “history always repeats” could not be more accurate. We are a species so wholly attached to our stories and our dramas, that repetition is all we are capable of. Repetition is the progeny of sameness.
Louise LeBrun says it well in her blog post, Evolution by Intention: New Beginnings for Weary Souls, “We continue to live in a world that appears mindlessly committed to its own demise. Like punching a pillow, just when we think we might have made a difference in one place, we find ourselves bearing witness to another gaping protrusion that has formed itself elsewhere. And on and on it goes, a constant stream of the same problem played out by an endless variety of players, all with the same script. Our willingness, like our hearts, may be in the right place but our ability is lagging pitifully behind.”
From infancy on, the human mind is programmed for stasis under the guise of “comfort”. While growth is a biological imperative, somewhere along the way we lost the memo. Conformity is rewarded, compliance is praised, and authenticity is ridiculed, ostracized or worse. Sameness is the glue that binds the human species to the brutality of its separation from the spiral of life.
Sameness is changelessness, normalized.
The unquestioned normalization of sameness exploits the mind’s fear of change by blinding it to the possibility of anything else. Without the solace of sameness, there is no certainty. No familiarity. No predictability.
While discomfort and uncertainty are powerful catalysts for change, most humans prefer the comfortable familiarity of what is already known, regardless of how appalling it may be. By allowing ourselves to only know the story of the known, however, there can not be anything else. And we wonder why nothing ever changes.
No matter how often we tell the familiar stories of our lives and our world, doing so will not propel us into the accelerated evolution required to transform us as a species, and by default, transform the world. With each pass at the well-worn content of good/bad, right/wrong, blame/shame, me/you/us/them; the groove only deepens. Until the invisible process holding the content of our stories intact becomes visible, change is impossible. Only in becoming visible does it become malleable and susceptible to change. Transformation then becomes possible at a pace and on a scale that can rapidly redesign a collective reality. As a species, we are born with this transformative potential. But potential has no value if untapped. In fact in a global collective unaware of its existence, potential is worthless and stasis is all there can ever be. Given the state of the world we have created, this does not bode well for a meaningful future.
To quote Louise LeBrun once again, “It may well be that given what many of us already see, we have reached a point in our history where we will not be able to “OM” away the deeply disturbing trend in the evolution of our humanity and our species. Meditation, prayer, a positive attitude and a deep and abiding faith in a god that will save us all may no longer be sufficient to save us from ourselves. Not because I say so, but because the reality we are creating says so. And, like it or not, we are indeed the creators of this reality—and much of it is ugly.”
With consciousness not evolving beyond our perceived self-importance, we cannot know differently. By not knowing differently, we cannot choose differently. By not choosing differently, we cannot create differently and we remain perpetually trapped in the brutal story of separation. Such a simple concept, yet in a world of denial and ever-increasing complexity, a concept that few are able to comprehend. By refusing to choose differently, our world of culturally conditioned sameness is rapidly moving us toward the end-point of near-term extinction.
On a personal scale, I know the power of growth and accelerated evolution in my own life. As such, I live in an entirely different paradigm of my own design and creation. Whenever I leave the sanctuary of my own creation, however, I see the merciless evidence of mindless habituation, destructive choices, and cultural coma at all costs. In many ways, it reminds me of a disturbing movie called, The Endless; a movie with a time loop theme, among many other things. Personally, I find the concept of looping time to be quite frightening, yet here I am living in a collective reality based on just that.
As a species, the human tendency is enthrallment with the monotony of its culturally conditioned existence. The habitual distractions of eating, drinking, medicating, copulating, “working”, copulating, buying “stuff”, copulating, consuming, eating dead animals, copulating, gossiping, lying, blaming, copulating, pillaging the planet, and so on; render us incapable of restraining ourselves from anything but destruction—of mind, body, Earth, and Soul. For the vast majority of humans on Earth, the mechanical mindlessness of this existence is all they allow themselves to know. Because of our long history of separation from Life, very few are capable of the advanced knowing necessary to grasp the dire nature of our planetary circumstances. Fewer yet have the ability to make self-aware decisions beyond next week’s tv schedule, filling drug prescriptions, accumulating “friends” on Facebook, and finding a copulation partner.
Denial, Dissonance and the Crisis in Consciousness
When something is too overwhelming and painful, we tend to distract ourselves from it by denying it. We choose to believe something else so we can carry on with business-as-usual and pretend nothing is wrong. But it’s impossible to move on if we refuse to allow ourselves to see beyond our own discomfort. We may delude ourselves by believing our disconnect is comfortable, but the price we pay is high. The planet is a living example of the power of interconnectivity. Biosphere collapse is a living example of when interconnectivity fails. When we disconnect from our inherent interconnectivity, the only possible outcome is collapse of everything we hold dear. While denial may be the prevailing coping mechanism against overwhelm, fear and discomfort, the great irony is that it only ends up bringing us so much more of exactly that.
Because humans are programmed to breed, consume and deny the consequences of this behaviour, dissonance is rampant. It’s exceedingly difficult for people to understand something when their whole way of life depends on them not understanding. Being deeply invested in the brutality of the dominant civilization for their work, money, houses, cars, trucks, boats, fancy clothes, job titles, devices, bacon, chicken, steaks, and burgers, means the masses are incapable of seeing the bigger picture. In the air, the water, the soil; in the body, the mind, the spirit; in places and spaces far beyond our conscious awareness, the world is smothered by the evidence of coma incarnate. Coma incarnate can be nothing but asleep to its potential; asleep to the true power of what it authentically is.
The greatest problem in our world remains unspoken and pushed into the darkest crevices of our awareness. It is not social, political, economic, or even environmental. The greatest problem in our world is the crisis of consciousness that drives our insatiable consumption and infantile ways. It is exactly this crisis in consciousness that blinds us to our Essential nature and separates us from the ability to recognize this very same nature in all living things.
As a species, we have been hiding from our Selves for thousands of years, eventually forgetting our Selves completely. The result is a decay in conscience of unfathomable proportions. Inwardly, we have rendered ourselves uninhabitable to the very Soul of what we are. Outwardly we have created the perfect conditions for an uninhabitable Earth. By committing the eyes-wide-open decimation of Earth and Soul, human beings have earned the appalling distinction of the most powerful parasitic species on Earth.
Biodiversity and Free Will
In nature, all beings know how to act in unison and to move with their spirit. But not all benefit the other species around them. For example, the locust will devour everything in its path. A locust has no choice but to act like a locust. Ticks will gorge themselves on the lifeblood of others, sometimes to the point of anemia or death. Ticks have no choice but to act like ticks.
Neither the locust or the tick will ever make honey or pollinate plants the way a bee does. The behaviour of locusts and ticks is rigid, but a human is unique because we have the power of free will. As such, we can choose to act cooperatively like a bee, or we can choose to act rigidly like a locust or tick. Free will allows us to change and manipulate the patterns in how we interact with the world, therefore we can exist synergistically or antagonistically. Clearly, with the hostile world we have created, free will has not served us. We have not chosen wisely.
While diversity in the natural world is synergistic, diversity in the human world is antagonistic, aggressive and war-like. For instance, when multiple races, religions, belief systems, and cultures live in close proximity, conflict often arises. When non-human animal species live in close proximity to the human species, murder (often labelled, culling, hunting, trapping, poisoning, slaughter, etc) is generally the outcome. While humans are the burdensome thumbs on the scale, life has a balance and organic existence has an equilibrium that inevitably finds its way.
Even after humanity has decimated large swaths of the natural world through development, industry, clearcutting, fracking, hydro dams, tar sands, pollution, farming, fishing, mining, grazing, pesticides, and so on; when that ecosystem is finally left alone, it naturally finds its way back to diversity and equilibrium. Humans, with their mindset of separation on the other hand, are incapable of diversity and equilibrium. Because of this, our world gets smaller, more compressed and claustrophobic by the day, while the illusion of human supremacy proves itself to be the fallacy it has been all along. As we curl in on our Soul Selves, we have created a pressure cooker of dead potential, ready to blow at the slightest provocation. Nuclear war anyone? How about abrupt climate disruption, ecosystem, political, economic, and societal collapse? Potential unengaged makes room only for ugly possibilities. No potential engaged means no chance for the radical transformation we’ve so desperately needed. Soon our world will be so compressed from flatlined potential that even the endless loop of sameness will have its final day.