Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Sliding Toward Endtimes


There is an ancient myth about the death and rebirth of the world that repeats itself throughout history.  I wrote about this age-old human obsession in The Millennium Myth.  In the research for this book, I kept coming across examples of prophets of various creeds predicting doom and end of the world.  It was tedious, a continuous stream of false endtime predictions.  All failed.           


Until the climate scientists of the 21st century began to predict a coming world climate disaster. You don’t have to look far for signs of having entered the spring of end times—for example, the fact that the summer of 2023 was the hottest in human history.  The process that is fueling the world-wide climate chaos is out of control. Things are going to get worse, “worse” enough to prompt Noam Chomsky to talk of “world civilization” crashing.


Since the industrial revolution, human activities are responsible for the planet heating up—burning fossil fuels, consumerism, etc..  This evolving disaster is not the result of angry deities trying to teach us a lesson. It is science now that assumes the prophetic mantle.  Fires, floods, droughts, swamping of coastal cities, permafrost melting, bio habitats destroyed, migrations of peoples everywhere, growing food shortage, etc. are here already and will get worse.


 Climate chaos is a clarion call to humanity to learn how to live in harmony with each other and with the Earth that mothers our existence.   Humanity has never been in a situation of peril where, paradoxically, the enemy is ourselves: the destructive way we treat the environment and each other, human against human. In 2023, for example, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) parceled out $2.04 trillion dollars to the army, air force, space force, navy and marines.  All that colossal wealth and power spent to defend ourselves and kill anyone who seriously threatens us.


There is little reason to believe at least right now that enough committed humanity is coming together to cope with the forces that threaten to bring down world civilization.  At first the title of my book, The Final Choice: Death or Transcendence, seemed a  little over the top.  The notion of finality made me uncomfortable.  I rejected the idea of finality. We’re never completely cornered or locked down.  A way out is always possible. 


On the other hand, sometimes there are fateful moments of decision.  We’re forced to make a move.  Large consequences may follow that are irreversible. I believe we are in the midst of such a historic moment. By “we” I mean the collective drift of human behavior.


The endtime process is  entrenched in global habits, beliefs  and practices.  Stopping, even slowing, this process demands radical changes in the way humans live on Earth.  This is a message that the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Gutteres, has repeated, if there is any hope of palliating the pains and losses of future generations.


It’s not hard to figure out the path of possible progress, which has two components.  We have to revise the way we relate to the natural world around us and we have to revise the way we relate to each other in human society.   In both areas, we need to move from discord and exploitation to new forms of creative harmony.   


The fact is that we are sliding toward a rendezvous with terminal history.  A fully ripe awareness of what is undoubtedly looming could be useful.  It  might serve as a stimulus to transformation in whatever form it may assume.  We might entertain the possibility of a kind of collective near-death experience that will awaken us to a greater consciousness—the will to fashion a new Earth where all forms of life may flourish in harmony.  


ecoecho said...

Just posted a review of you Yoga of Sound book! thanks

Miguel said...

I had been wondering whether you had precognitively 'sniffed' out something regarding the terrorist attacks on innocent Israeli civilians of October 7th and the subsequent, continuing retaliatory assault on Gaza that is taking the lives of so many innocent Palestinians. Then today I read this CNN headline "Russia practices ‘massive nuclear strike’ during military exercise, https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2023/10/26/russia-nuclear-strike-exercise-contd-lon-orig-na.cnn and, again, I started to wonder. I suppose that the current situation is like one of those 'dejavu all over again' situations given that in the past there have been worse military confrontations and related conflicts. But with the ongoing war in Ukraine and Putin's nuclear saber rattling, the title of your post keeps reverberating in my head.

Michael Grosso said...

Behind my title are two inescapable facts, the constantly growing threat of world eco-catastrophe and the growing threat of a world war with the nuclear risk. The facts are screaming in our faces--and that also keeps reverberating in my head.

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