The word ‘diaspora’ comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “to scatter about.” Historically, it has referred to Jews living outside Israel. But we are all children of diaspora now, not the diaspora of any particular or special people, but of humans as we were, rooted in the land, ethnicity and tradition.
In an anthropological sense, we have always been children of diaspora however. The consensus in the study of human evolution is that somewhere about 75,000 years ago, the archaic human population suddenly dwindled to 5 or 10 thousand people in eastern and southern Africa.
It could have been due to a super-volcanic eruption in Indonesia, but genetic studies prove that every human now on earth, all 7 billion plus of us, is descended from those few thousand people. After the cognitive breakthrough ushering in modern humans, we scattered and populated the world.
Humankind came close to extinction then. Now we are overwhelming the earth and bringing many animals to extinction, and threatening our own survival.
So despite and because of our numbers, the situation now is similar to the near-extinction of our antecedents tens of thousands of years ago. There was an evolutionary crisis of man then; there is an evolutionary crisis of humankind now.
The human species is not evolving; it is devolving before our eyes. Can we radically change, before it is too late?
What does it mean to belong? To belong is a verity not to be challenged, neither by lost liberals or controlling conservatives. Both believe humans must belong to particular groups, and emotionally identify with separate peoples that no longer exist.
That is the basis of war. Now even so-called called progressives, indistinguishable from all but the most extreme conservatives, call for expanding the ‘war’ against ISIS.
The evil of terrorism is not only in our midst however; to a large degree it is generated by and within our own societies. The old calculus of war–seizing and holding territory–cannot eradicate it.
The very people bemoaning barbarians and bullies, exhorting others to raise their voices while ignoring or trying to refute the voices that have been speaking the truth for decades, have contributed to making things the way they are.
Rather than belong to humanity, and feel at home everywhere, they desperately seek redress for their loss of identification, be it Jew or Arab, American or Russian.
Clinging to memories not even their own, as if the detritus of human experience, so undeniably suffocating the human spirit, is the very thing to be cherished.
What is dead cannot be resurrected. The old human species, with its thick topsoil of tradition and character (for better and worse), is gone.
The phrase ‘failure of imagination’ covers too much territory. It has come to mean everything from the inability to respond creatively to a new situation, to brittle mindsets stuck in the past, confused beyond recognition and redemption.
Yes, liberalism is threatened. However, acceptance of human limits and differences is not possible when liberals themselves call for more war. And in another sense, our previous limits as humans have constricted to mean the narrowest self-interest. Besides, differences mean nothing when everyone and everywhere is becoming the same.
As far as multiple, incompatible truths, that is sheer humbug. ‘My truth’ and ‘your truth’ means there is no such thing as truth at all.
The tinny, fading voices of liberalism exhort us to raise ours before it is too late. For them it is too late, too late for desperate categories of belonging and being, the old mentality of us against them. There is no them now; there is only us.
They utter the stale charge of utopianism, conflating and confusing ideals that no longer exist with the despotism that rises again in Europe, and in America for the first time.
The transmutation of man isn’t a utopian idea. It isn’t even an ideal. It’s an urgent necessity. This age, and humanity itself, will sink into oblivion without it.
What can we do? Doesn’t the sheer scale of the human crisis suffocate all but the strongest? It need not. Scale is not the issue. People are all so interconnected now, and change always begins with a small minority.
Begin by ending the anachronism, indeed the atavism within oneself of belonging to particular groups. You belong to humanity. It isn’t so hard to feel, except for those who are pathologically attached to their identifications.
What we do now, those for whom the phrase ‘the human prospect’ still holds meaning, will determine the future of humanity, for the foreseeable future at least. Don’t just do something however; stand there, and awaken.