Our normal consciousness conceals a world of possible states, each with it uses and unknown functions: I mean stuff we call creative, paranormal, and mystical. I believe all these are pointing toward our potential future—we don’t have to look far to see we’re a long way from getting there.
Potential, however, does not necessarily imply probable. Dante had to make his way through Hell and Purgatory before the first glimpse of Heaven was possible.
The higher reaches of human potential need an environment that is friendly and supportive. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by enemies of our higher endowments. One sign of this is what a recent article in the ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’ refers to as the imminent “death of the humanities.”
Nowadays ‘higher’ education is less and less about history, literature, the arts, philosophy, comparative religion, etc., and more and more about initiation into the economic culture of corporate capitalism. In a culture that practices the mysticism of money, the path to higher consciousness is blocked on all sides.
But not for everybody! In every age and culture there are individuals that break out of their mental straight-jackets and choose to make their life an adventure of discovery. But it takes courage and the odds are against you getting to the promised land of your dreams and vision.
Higher, fuller, richer consciousness is not a practical ideal for the majority living under a plutocracy. Crippling student debts are a ball and chain on the lives of countless Americans. Teachers (the most important human profession) are variously abused, ignored, underpaid, and undervalued. Bizarrely enough, ministers in religious meetings are arming themselves so they can speak of love and peace! America sells more weapons of murder and mayhem than any nation on Earth. Not the best background for cultivating our better angels.
Many Americans love to talk about God but the same often really worship the gun. The idolatry of the gun is completely anti-Christian and anti-human. Without the gun, popular culture would instantly be hollowed out. Evidence for gun worship is in our face daily, proven by the constant mass shootings, the gang murders, the household slaughters, the epidemics of youthful suicides, the accidental taking out of babies, adults, bystanders. No matter how high the mountain of corpses, the right to own weapons of mass murder is clung to with the ferocity of the worst religious fanatics.
The NRA is the American Isis. I wrote to Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, and asked him how many of his children, family members, and close friends he was prepared to sacrifice before allowing any restrictions on gun ownership. No reply.
Americans put 2.3 million other Americans in cages, more than any country on the planet. 46 percent of these caged individuals are there for non-violent drug offenses., and most of them have dark skin There are people in jail for life because they sold some weed, a marvelous gift of nature that science is beginning to understand. Americans apparently like to lock people up. Trump revved up his ‘base’ by promising to ‘lock up’ Hilary Clinton.
There are trends at work gaining momentum that suggest we’re heading toward the collapse of world civilization. Catastrophic climate change, the grotesque production and sale of armaments and the growing will to use them, and the poisonous gulf between the corporate masters of mankind and the rest of us and indeed of all living nature. The convergence of these three trends--looming climate calamity, worsening nuclear threat, and the infinite greed and stupidity of the ‘rich’—do not suggest a happy outcome.
The entire horrific dialectic will require a miracle to be reversed. Sure, some aliens may storm DC and vaporize the entire Republican party and a good chunk of Dems—followed by a global celebration to last at least a year! But I kinda doubt this will happen. I think the downward spiral is going to have to play itself out before an awakening of the necessary forces becomes possible.
But this needn’t depress our vital energies. On the contrary, the greater the challenge the more likely are breakthroughs of the creative spirit. The very prospect of the world’s end may be just what we need to summon the force to create a new world. The force may be in abeyance but is waiting for us. It wants us as much as we need it.