The land down under has turned up over everyone lately, with people driven into the sea and a billion animals killed in wildfires. Here in northern California, Paradise still casts a long, dark shadow. Microcosm is indistinguishable from macrocosm.
The refrain I heard from an Aussie before the fires rings hollow: “A global transformation in consciousness is happening through innumerable citizen movements where local areas, cities and other citizen-led groups are leap-frogging over their national governments to make transformational changes.”
Another in Australia’s capital, the female founder of a well-known contemplative church, echoed the sentiment: “I absolutely agree about the necessity for a global transformation of consciousness, and feel that this is in fact underway through the renewal of contemplative prayer in a whole range of contexts.”
This idea comes entirely from progressives, people who espouse a global view rather than a nationalistic one.
Contradictorily, the same people speak in terms of national contexts, such as the prominent women’s leader in Canberra saying, “It is my daily preoccupation to find ways to cheer along citizen- led movements in an Australian context.”
Is a global transformation in consciousness already happening,” but it’s just “frustratingly patchy?” Or has it not ignited, and human consciousness is growing darker by the week? Clearly it is the latter. So has the fat lady sung on our age?
Finding out whether a transformation of consciousness is actually underway, or it’s just wishful thinking, is crucial not just for contemplatives and activists, but for anyone who cares about the present and future of the earth and humanity.
Seeing things as they are is not the cause of hopelessness and despair; the refusal to see things as they are and the insistence on seeing them the way you want to see them is.
Clearly, a psychological revolution has not ignited, and to insist that it has, and that just “more deepening and strengthening of the practice of contemplation and activism is still needed,” is a liberal form of denial.
So what are these and many other women and men referring to when they say, “a transformation in consciousness is already happening?” They are speaking of their need to believe that human consciousness is gradually improving, that the gains in women’s rights, civil rights and human rights are not being eroded but built upon.
They are referring to a battle between regressive forces and progressive forces in human history, and boosting themselves with the hope that because the right words are spoken and positive emotions evoked in people they know, a consciousness revolution is underway.
Human consciousness is not radically changing because human nature is not being challenged. In different ways, both progressives and conservatives take human nature as a given, though they can’t or won’t say what it is.
It simply doesn’t cut it to “cheer contemplatives and activists along in an Australian [or any other national or local] context.”
A global revolution in consciousness that puts Australian, American or any other national or local context first is no revolution at all. Doing so, under the guise of global citizenship, is fooling oneself while operating from the same old fragmentary, gradualistic thinking that lies at the core of the human crisis.
The human race is in a race between the worst and best within us, and it does no good to say we’re winning it when people of insight and intelligence are losing to people adhering to power, greed and tribalism.
The psychological revolution that changes the disastrous course of humankind may ignite in one place, but it won’t be local, and will be immediately felt in all places.
How it manifests will vary, though a global, a non-power-holding body that generates insight and helps guide national and international organizations through the perilous passage to a genuine global civilization needs to emerge.
On the political level, it’s fitting to ask: can and should the UN, in the form of the General Assembly, be salvaged and reformed? The UN is an international organization. A global body is urgently needed.
It won’t be an arena where everyone’s opinion must be listened to, much less honored in some quaint, global court of public opinion. It will be a body that generates insight by diverse people questioning together without assumptions.
It’s insight that will save humanity, and contemplatives (which simply means people with an inner life who are igniting insight within themselves) are the true revolutionaries.