Today's Crisis of Consciousness
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive
We may very well be living through the fall of Western Civilization. It seems that society has lost its soul through spiritual and psychological emptiness and alienation.
Our civilization can not sustain the same path of violent competition, ever expanding economies, continued depletion of resources, and growing contribution to greenhouse gases and climate change. The convergence of so many problems compressed into such a brief period of time is what E.O. Wilson, a Harvard biologist, calls the “bottleneck” in time. Scientific American characterizes this bottleneck as “ a period of maximum stress on natural resources and human ingenuity." At face value, society’s transformation process seems to be in the stage of emptying Pandora’s box, or the subconscious mind), moving then into the next stage of retrenching, resisting, and resuppressing subliminal fears, and followed by old structures breaking down and dissolving.
We experience addiction (work, food, sex, drink, TV, internet, drugs). We live in an alienated world which is no longer meaningful for us to participate in. Our children are in apathy and denial and teen suicide rates are at all time highs. Transcendent values (spiritual, moral, aesthetic) no longer exist. We are barraged with new products when we need fewer and rather more experiences.
We are in collective apathy and denial, and probably we need to hit bottom first (as in Alcoholics Anonymous' 12 Step program). We have a lack-based, desire-based, separation-based living.
We suffer from a lack of meaning and have a crisis of meaning and need to find a way to get past our overwhelming spiritual, psychological emptiness in modern life. spiritual, psychological emptiness, alienation. Society has lost its soul.
We have a crisis of consciousness. While we chase false gods of growth and materialism, our foundational institutions are outrageously failing to serve the people. Our global brain is an insane brain, egocentric and focused on money only. Our people are no longer engaged. Outdated centralized economic, political and social structures need to fall away.
As individuals, we have deep individualistic separation from one another in our “me” orientation. We have little bond with other humans or nature. We experience fear and suspicion, anxiety and worry, and hostile competition with one another. We think we dominate passive life and nature, separated. We have a scarcity mindset, a sense of “lack.” This indeed is a crisis of consciousness.
If a transcendence of certain needs and self-mastery of mind and flesh were fully realized and integrated in people, we would have a new kind of life on this planet.
Many Hindu mystics view the world as a vast physical illusion, or Maya. What we seem to see as solid and certain is only real in our physical realm, limited by our internal sense and cultural biases. We now recognize through quantum physics that the atoms of matter are influenced by thought, feeling, emotion and belief to become the reality of our world. We hold the world together by our joint intention, our group consensus that defines our world and gives it shape. But if we shift our view from the simple gaze of the crowd to a sharper focus, we begin to see for ourselves with greater objectivity.
We need a step change in consciousness as a human species, to move us beyond our current crisis of consciousness, and indeed certain types of extraordinary human development may herald a next evolutionary transcendence. Perhaps a new evolutionary domain is rising in the human race, both spontaneously and through transformative practice which was previously made possible over millennia by quantum jumps in development such as fire, language, and the birth of religious awareness.