A friend and editor, knowing that I’ve been feeling that my insights through this column over the last 25 years haven’t made a difference, and that humankind continues to plunge toward the abyss, sent me a quote and link he thought would be helpful. It prompted me to write this piece.
“Humanity is sloppily, awkwardly lumbering toward consciousness.” As much as I would like to believe that myself, it simply isn’t so.
The basic direction of humankind is rapidly becoming darker and direr. The need for hope denies the necessity of seeing things as they are. The human condition and consciousness are worsening by the week.
The few that haven’t given up on humanity believe the choice is between some variation of positive thinking, and what the author of the piece with the title above defines as “the more cynical and pessimistic corners of the internet.”
She immediately contradicts herself however, and proves she’s not seeing things as they are: “Because of the internet, humanity has probably changed more in the last 25 years than it did in the previous 2500.” Yes, for the worse.
The idea that information and knowledge equal change is, like false hope itself, dying a hard death. It’s no choice at all between cynicism/nihilism, and believing that we’re headed in the right direction as a species– they are two sides of the same coin.
Such examples as the knowledge of systemic racism and police brutality in America, and the grotesquely disproportionate use of force by Israel against Palestinians (think party balloons with little incendiary charges lighting brush fires vs. American-made fighters dropping laser guided bombs on apartment buildings) supposedly attest to an “expansion of consciousness.”
In truth, mass shootings are at an all-time high in the United States (17 in 3 days recently). Police, often seen with reason as the enemy, are quitting or retreating into a bunker mentality, rather than rethinking policing and responding intelligently to the many situations to which they’re called. As far as “the Israeli narrative crumbling because of phone cameras,” try telling that to the people of Gaza.
Also flying in face of reality, many parents believe, against overwhelming evidence of mob parties, binge drinking and widespread nihilism, “the young today are the kindest, most sensitive and most awake generation that has ever lived.”
That too I would also like to believe. But a mature adult continuously distinguishes between what they want to believe and what is.
My editor friend’s spokeswoman ends her pollyannaish piece on a more truthful note, except for one glaring clause that gives one pause:
“I don’t know if it will be enough to save us from all the existential hurdles our species faces in the near future; I just know we are rapidly becoming a conscious species, and consciousness and dysfunction cannot coexist. We won’t need to wait long to find out which one wins out.”
The fat lady hasn’t sung for humanity, but has she for our age? I don’t know, but the existential hurdles aren’t in the “near future;” they are now. And humankind certainly is not “rapidly becoming a conscious species,” but speeding toward a reverse omega point, a dark singularity.
Perhaps human consciousness is like the last scene in “2010, The Year We Make Contact,” the mediocre sequel of “2001, A Space Odyssey.” By some unexplained process in “2010,” the monolith begins to exponentially multiply over the surface of Jupiter, engulfing and endarkening that huge planet until at the last moment it bursts into light, becoming a second sun in the sky.
The projection was prophetic, because that is precisely what man is doing to the earth, and to human consciousness in direct proportion. Whether we will burst into the light of insight as a species at the last trumpet does not depend, as progressives are so fond of believing, on the gradual progress of collective action, but on replication without imitation of individual insight.
Clearly, we need to ignite insight, which is the light of the immanent intelligence of the universe, together. But fewer and fewer people care, much less are self-knowingly aware. The race is on, but in this stage in this age at least, humanity is losing.
Either way — dark singularity ending with an explosion of the light of insight, or the deadening prolongation of darkness –self-knowing, inwardly alive individuals need to prepare. The future of humanity depends on it.