All this conversation we hear and read about a “shift of consciousness,” about our species undergoing a transformation comparable to a grub’s becoming a butterfly, about a new stage of maturity, a New Age of enlightenment in which Cultural Creatives define a sane and sustainable modus vivendi for a truly humane humanity—is it true? Is it credible?
Or is that dream a desperate fantasy we invent to delude ourselves from despair as we watch the inexorable forces that Modernity has loosed on the world—through a combination of scientific prowess and political imperialism—destroy the very matrix of our life on Earth?
Can we as a species “come of age” and develop a maturity and wisdom hitherto unpracticed globally? Is there any reasonable hope that a “shift in consciousness” in a sufficient number of global citizens can do what Jesus, Lao-tse or Gandhi, for all their godly glamour, failed to achieve? How will “the mass of men” leading lives of noisy desperation be solaced and satisfied and civilized in the “mad, mad, mad” world we live in on 21st century Earth?
You and I, perhaps, have the affluence and leisure to dally with dreams and fantasies of loftier levels of consciousness and grand schemes of salvation in “a world that works for all.” But do we not delude ourselves that human depravity is no more than a passing stage of adolescent acting-out, which we’ll outgrow with time and guidance?
More realistic seems the Judeo-Christian premise of innate sinfulness as our default setting as a species. We are born broken. Looking out for #1 is our prime imperative: may the fittest defeat their adversaries to rule and exploit the weak. While cooperation and partnership are salubrious when possible, graceful side-dishes, the main course of society is force, the dominance of the strong in wealth, resources, and will to rule—the essential stuff of human history: power politics.