I think we have gone past the point of no return. Our environment has suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable harm. We are running out of drinking water. Our food supply is polluted, diseased and oppressive. International governments have prostrated themselves at the foot of profit. We have a corporate controlled media. The police state is ever expanding. For those in the 3rd world, their terrible existence continues to get worse. For those of us in the 1st world, we are sinking into the 3rd. There may be a few isolated nations that have the programs in place to survive the coming decades (Scandinavia) but for the rest of the world that has been suckered into "Globalization" things will fall apart. Our house is infested with termites. Even if we rid ourselves of these pests, the damage has been done. The problems we face arise from the same issues that have wrecked all civilizations over time, only now this is on a global scale. The stakes have never been higher.
We cannot just recycle the same system. We cannot 'reform' the system. It is the system that is at fault, not the players. Unless we can breed sociopathy out of our species the only known systems of human civilization will continue to cycle. We will get a ruling class, they will steal from the people and the planet, they will support the rise of sociopathy, they will collapse, the people will rise up, a new ruling class will appear, forever and ever.
Now the perfect system would be a benevolent dictatorship, but the likelihood of that ever happening precludes me from expounding further on the topic. Theories are fine. But we need realities.
Is there a way forward? Are we doomed to cycle until the end of the times? Are we ushering in that end right now?
Mankind is the only species capable of consciously adapting to its environment. No other animal/plant can do so. We have the power to live and survive in whichever manner we wish. Just because things have always been one way, does not mean we have to accept that it is the only way for things to be. We can change our minds and in doing so change our lives.
I see three things as being paramount for the survival of mankind upon this planet and into the future. They require a changing of mind. If we choose to stand society upon a tripod, each leg must be equally strong and each leg must be made as strong as possible. The legs of this tripod are as follows: The Self, The Community, The Environment.
I will touch briefly on each and come back to them later for more detail.
We must work at improving ourselves, we must overcome our feelings of craving and aversion, our greed, our selfishness. We must embrace love, compassion and selflessness. The Buddha has shown us one way. There are others. Only through the constant improvement of ourselves can we hope to strengthen the other legs of the tripod.
Every action we make effects everyone else around us. We have to realize this. We do not live in self contained bubbles. We must all work together with this in mind. Not everyone can be a doctor, or a scientist. Not everyone can be a farmer or a cook. Not everyone can work in a factory or in an office. This is the great lie we have been sold. We are not equally capable. This is a good thing. This is what gives us such power as a species. We can fill each niche of our society with the most capable people. We can treat them as equals. We can share in our prosperity. We can be a community, not a collection of individuals.
This one is easy. If the planet dies, we die. We must learn to live as a part of our environment, shaping ourselves to live within the ecosystem. People living in the desert can not, should not, and will not be able to live the same life as someone living in the rainforest. Yet we try so hard to give everyone on this planet the same life. We must embrace the environment we live in, find out how to best use it's resources to aid in our existence. We must see it as an equal. For this, not the houses we live in, is our true home.
I have no idea how we can change the world, or how we can change peoples' minds. If we are to survive we must change. The world must be turned on its head, so we can set it straight. It may be tough, it may be painful, arduous, dangerous and improbable. But we cannot give up or give in. No less than the future of mankind is at stake.
Dune - Frank Herbert
The Master and His Emissary - Iain McGilchrist