Print from a Sumi ink painting made on glass
Few would doubt that in order to solve a problem there must be an accurate perception and a complete understanding of its nature. However, we —the human species— seem bent on trying to solve the multiple and interconnected problems we suffer from without bothering to acknowledge ourselves (our particular patterns of thought and behavior) as their source and ongoing sustenance. We are extremely reluctant to see that the disorder we see in the world and in our own lives is created by the particular experience and cultural influences that determine the way in which our minds operate and connect, or fail to connect with others. And there is a very good reason why this resistance to fact has endured for millennia. The very foundation of our identity and very sense of personal existence cannot withstand a full revelation of the dysfunction our self-centered cultural and psychological isolation brings to the human mind and society at large. We have reached a point, however, in which this reluctance to see and assume responsibility for the mental and social consequences of our habitual patterns of thought and action is threatening the very survival of the species. Sanity itself calls for suspension of our habitual veneration of secular and religious traditions, cognitive specialization, self-advancement, and social respectability.
We fear that the truth will damage or entirely terminate the story of who we each think we are, without realizing that the illusion that is most familiar to each one of us is the distance that separates from others and alienates the entire species from the plenitude of life. Existence is not concentrated and made most significant in the separate and self-sustained psycho-physical entities we believe ourselves to be. It is rather something that our perceptual and cognitive capacity limited and damaged by the record of exclusive experience cannot possibly sense and comprehend in any significant measure. The separate and antagonistic social and cultural fragments in which each one of us has become accustomed to live are mere caricatures of a much deeper, manifest and non-manifest reality, and our own contradictory psyches and troubled relationships are only a reflection of our species’ general state of alienation from the unthinkable truth of life indivisible.
The troubled state of the world and the disorder in our own minds and relationships make imperative that this general situation be confronted, not in parts and gradually, but as a whole and instantly. And if serious and thorough enough, this confrontation makes evident that, while our traditional structures and methods, both social and psychological, may well continue to produce slight modifications to particular aspects of this increasingly dangerous situation, they are intrinsically incapable of overcoming it. Something far more radical is necessary. At first sight, this general perception of our current personal and social reality and the unprecedented change in consciousness it presumes seem impossible, a dead end. However, the very social disenfranchisement and sense of insurmountable mental impotence that seeing things as they actually are brings to the mind is precisely the medicine without which our crazed species will never heal.
Still, why such extreme measure? you may ask. Is not the self produced by different and contradictory cultural, and psychological conditioning the enduring essence of our common humanity and, therefore, our only means to a better future?
Our present situation is clearly the net outcome of our stubborn reliance on the pre-established mental and behavioral patterns with which all social and personal entities generate, protect, and strive to expand their accumulation of exclusive experience. The very irrationality of this sustained reliance demands that it be blocked without delay and that implies, of course, no further projection of preferred exclusive outcomes generated by the same traditional sources of limited knowledge/belief and desire. Only this ending of the self-centered mental process of thought may allow the mind access to the boundless space and energy of compassionate intelligence. Only the dissolution of the particular cultural allegiances and the petty personal memories, fears, and whims that condition the mind makes possible the manifestation of its natural capacity for selfless, affectionate, and supremely active attention to these fundamental facts: the division of the species into contradictory and antagonistic cultural and psychological fragments, and the injustice, violence, suffering, and ecological destruction that stem from this division.
We are the problem, and its only solution lies on the emergence in each human organism of an ever unprecedented, and therefore selfless and deeply caring intelligence.