I am sure that I am not alone in sensing that ours are extraordinarily dangerous times. Any thorough examination of current affairs makes patent that we have little or no control over the inter-related demographic, social, economic, military, and ecological variables that multiple and always limited and contradictory expressions of our thought and desire have set in motion.
After thousands and thousands of years of division, antagonism, and violence strangely intermingled with a not insignificant measure of exclusive pleasure and joy, most human beings still judge even the worst of today's present circumstances as fairly normal. Enormously loyal to tradition and habit, all they expect is relatively minor adjustments in certain social structures and psychological patterns that would make things a tad better and a little less dangerous, but without disturbing the way in which they habitually think and behave. These slight modifications implemented by separate groups and individuals to their own institutions, cultural patterns, and personal habits are, of course, the way in which the general mental system manages to endure while remaining as toxic as ever.
There is, however, a growing number of individuals who are painfully aware of the real existential threat posed by present levels of mental distress, cultural fragmentation and injustice, the wholesale disruption of the natural equilibrium of the planet's ecology, and the steadily growing possibility of a regional or world war in which thermonuclear weapons are used. They are also conscious that this particular set of circumstances is the net outcome of billions and billions of human beings born with the same brain, a peculiar organ uniformly conditioned by the tortured record of the species' physical and mental evolution and also, but more particularly, by the cultural and psychological traits that parents and educators routinely transfer to every child, and that subsequent accumulation of personal experience and formal learning will modify and perhaps expand, but never quite transcend. What is more, seeing themselves as the fundamental source of this harrowing global condition, sensitive and alert individuals open themselves to a revolution in consciousness that involves the end of their conditioned cultural and psychological isolation.
The very nature of the challenges confronting us, not just as separate and flawed cultural groups and individuals, but as a wayward, seemingly suicidal species, demand that we stop pretending that our traditional political, technological, and cultural ways are sufficient to deal with these global challenges. It is now evident that we cannot continue thinking about, and treating the problems that concern and torment us personally and collectively as though they were separate from the personal patterns of thought and action from which they originate and project themselves. Something is terribly wrong with the mental content and thought projections from which every human being derives its personal identity and its very sense of existence, and it is only when a given individual awakens to the fact of her or his contribution to the totality of human affliction, that an unprecedented mode of human existence comes into being.
This extraordinary awakening cannot occur without the simultaneous dissolution of the habitual presumption of personal righteous innocence and its attendant projection of blame onto others and circumstances, and this radical cleansing leaves the mind outside the particular cultural groups and institutions from which it had all along derived its personal identity and social status. A mind free of false claims of innocence based on particular personal traits and talents, and no longer enduring the limitations of a self-protective membership in this or that special or "superior" cultural consensus is an enlightened mind. Its perceptual field is wide open, and its potential for ample, caring intelligence fully realized.
Awareness of oneself, not just as an unwitting contributor to the current crisis, but as the very root of the immense and chronic problem of being human is naturally averse to deploying any action informed by predetermined knowledge and fueled by self-serving motive, because such an action would only prolong and worsen a general condition the very of nature of which cries for the immediate cessation of tribal/personal thought as the only viable approach to it. Thus, only the realization that one's mental reality and the mess in the world are each other's cause and effect has the power to free the mind from the divisive and contradictory thought and behavior that in giving shape and endurance to the conceit of self-centered existence have been the bane of humanity from the very beginning.
Our current crisis may well be the end of our tether. The Earth is no longer yielding as in times past to our unreasonable demands on its generosity, and our incessant quest for exclusive wealth and for ideological and/or economic domination over others is generating social conditions and levels of violence that the very presence of humankind in the cosmos may not survive. (The escape of a group of a technologically advanced, but otherwise still primitive and violent human beings to another planet leaving behind the Earth in ruins, is a scenario that is scarcely better than that of the egalitarian destruction of the entire species by its own folly.)
However, in making the cruelty and irrationality of our present state of division and conflict more evident than ever, this same crisis presents an unprecedented opportunity, one that each one of us must take freely to let the indivisible truth of life dissolve our long-standing addiction to different forms of secular and religious ideology and the fantasy of a separate personal existence.