Even though the signs of mental dis-ease, cultural disintegration, and environmental degradation are everywhere, there is still enormous social and psychological resistance to becoming aware of the threat these closely interrelated factors pose, not just to the wellbeing but to the very existence of humanity. A relative insularity is at the very heart of what we collectively know as reality, both cultural and psychological, therefore, keen attention to the limitations and dangers of this fragmentary reality is in some sense a transgression of the definitions and controls with which both tribe and personal psyche know, protect and further their exclusive identity. We are known, and know ourselves as part of something greater in which we find solace and security: our family (nuclear and extended); our friends; our neighborhood; our race; our language; our socio-economic class; our ethnic, professional, gender, and age groups; our religious faith, and our national affiliation. However, excessive identification with these fragments for the purpose of protection and gain is precisely what has brought the personal irrationality, social fragmentation, and environmental devastation that are now a threat to human survival at large.
Every human being exists and persists by means of on-going identification with a largely private record of experience that includes the norms and values of a particular set of groups and ideologies. Thus, what is collectively “normal” is a certain degree of mental isolation and cultural encapsulation that makes the species as a whole permanently unable to think and act together for the common good. In this general context, the emergence of a global mind, a mind that cares deeply for the human species (and for existence as a whole), implies a radical departure from the defining, protective, but terribly limiting pale of self-projective memory: strict cultural affiliation, insular personal identity, and small-minded (egotistical) self-projection.
Seen the other way around, the multiple afflictions presently hounding the human psyche and the species as a whole reflect the absence of this global concern. The harrowing possibility of a self-inflicted environmental and/or nuclear catastrophe is clearly the result of a collective, chronic insensitivity to the harmony of life on Earth, and an even deeper alienation from the cosmic dimensions of our mysterious participation in life.
Now, if the presence of separate self and its divisive and destructive ways represent the absence in humanity of an affectionate regard for the whole of life, what can then be the locus of the latter? In other words, if it is not “you” or “me,” or any “one” else, who or what is it that sees completely, and thus loves humanity as inseparable from the totality of existence?
To be continued.