We can imagine in great detail what a harmonious culture would be like. We have plenty of evidence of past societies that were stable, peaceful and maintained healthy long-term relations with their environments. Yet each was eventually overrun and demolished by dominator cultures with no apparent comprehension of or respect for the natural systems that made their existence possible.
We still have a chance to forge a civilization based on cooperation instead of conflict, harmonizing with natural principles rather than fighting them. Humans have repeatedly developed cleaner, safer sources of energy and raw materials, nonpolluting transportation methods, inexpensive full-spectrum healing options, and economic systems that promote abundance instead of scarcity. Despite generations of suppression by resource monopolists, these options still exist, ready to be deployed whenever we’re ready.
We know in our bones that impeccable behavior should be the reliable standard, not the remarkable exception. Compassion and generosity come naturally, unless people are conditioned to regard them as weaknesses to be exploited. Yet for all our envisioning and intending a bright new world, where peace, harmony and abundance prevail, we still aren’t managing to make it happen. We know better, yet seem collectively incapable of doing better. What the heck is wrong with us?
A problem can be solved only when it is fully and accurately described.
Its solution will be implicit in the problem’s description. When a problem persists despite many efforts to solve it, some key element is missing from the problem’s description. Where the missing element should be, we’ll find instead a faulty assumption or outright deception. The bigger the problem and the longer it’s lasted, the more deeply embedded the wrong assumption or deception must be.
When we extrapolate the eventual consequences of suppressing all efforts to establish a genuinely harmonious, sustainable civilization, there are no human conspirators that can ultimately benefit from doing so, no matter how strongly they may believe otherwise. Certain humans have clearly been persuaded that the outcome of such suppression of alternatives would be in their favor. Such humans would have to be totally self-absorbed, to the point of being oblivious to their underlying connection with the web of life, and utterly indifferent to all the suffering caused by their actions. But who or what is doing the persuading?
What sort of beings would think this arrangement serves their purposes,
and be capable of exerting the influence required, for so long, without revealing their role or even their existence? Can we work backwards from their effects to a description of their nature?
Their suppression of alternatives is causing long-term global ecological damage, turning forests into wastelands, poisoning soil, water and air, disrupting weather cycles, lowering oxygen levels and driving countless species to extinction. So even if all this is just a by-product of their agenda, they could not have human or even organic priorities. Whatever they are, they’d need to have either very long lives or absolute behavioral consistency over many generations. They’d have to be capable of continuous intimate contact with and influence over human minds, while remaining essentially invisible. And they’d have to have a motive, something they get from this mass manipulation of our species that makes it worth all the effort.
And if figuring all this out is going to do us any good, there must be some action we can take to remedy the situation.
If the underlying forces that artificially retard humanity do not originate with humans, the compulsion of some humans to acquire power over others and restrict their freedom is a symptom, not the cause, of the manipulation of human awareness. In that case those humans who are engaging in mind-control programs, for example, are just dramatizing on others something that has already been done to them at a much deeper level.
There is one irreducible quality that characterizes the humans who’ve appointed themselves the controllers and limiters of civilization’s options. All their behaviors ultimately flow from self-importance. And reinforcement of self-importance is the dominant theme in the prevailing social order. We aren’t just talking about egotism here, but rather the entire mode of awareness where everything around us is significant only insofar as it pertains to the self. This way of perceiving reality is so widespread that it mostly goes unnoticed, while other modes of awareness, with different criteria for significance, surface only occasionally. Humans who can disengage self-significance at will are embarrassingly rare.
What if self-importance is the very thing these hypothetical controllers of humanity are after?
This might be a good place to take a short break, because from here on this won’t be just an intellectual exercise, and it’s going to get kind of personal. So put down the magazine or step away from the computer, stretch, breathe deep, drink some water, even take a walk if you like.
PART ONE: WHO CONTROLS THE CONTROLLERS?
PART TWO: SHAKING OFF THE AWARENIVORES