How can we rescue ourselves and each other from the dangerous
world we have created?
Our advanced scientific knowledge has produced technologies of tremendous power. We move great objects at stupendous velocities. Our so-called “intelligent machines” perform trillions of calculations in fractions of a second. Everywhere around us our mastery of material processes has refashioned the world of our experience. We have changed the planet and ourselves in ways unimagined by previous generations.
But all this scientific and technological progress has also produced processes that threaten to bring us great harm – harm to ourselves and to our world. Our knowledge turns out to be limited. By focusing our minds on exclusively materialist conceptions of existence, we managed to produce a century of physical and psychological horror on a scale unprecedented in human history.
As we look upon the post-modern landscape, we must ask ourselves, what is it about the way we have conceived of the world and our place in it that has proven so destructive to both our environment and our collective psyche?
Our search for order within the apparent chaos of life has created systems of rigid cultural orthodoxy while maintaining chaos – in the form of unending war, political and economic strife. Even our entertainment media, which we have ostensibly created as havens from the incessant roughness of the real world, are replete with violence and images of brutal inhumanity.
Prodded by atavistic fears we are impelled to create fortresses of safety and security, yet we fail to notice until it is too late – we have enclosed the most dangerous thing within the fortress walls.
We are the most dangerous thing. We have the power to multiply the natural terrors of the world a thousand times over. When we desensitize our crucial neural connections of empathy and feelings of compassion for others, we lose sensitivity and compassion for ourselves as well.
We are learning from our historic failures that we must reformulate our fundamental assumptions about the world and our place within it. The end of the old sciences of separation, reductionism, inflexible logic and absolute certainty leads us ineluctably toward a new science of connectedness, relativity, complexity and possibility.
As we learn to listen more attentively to the beating of our hearts and feel more deeply the breath in our lungs, we come closer to our common humanity. As we begin to ask the right questions, we observe the answers are present within us.
Our minds move inevitably toward the conclusion that instead of what can be accomplished by competition, power and domination, the ultimate purpose and meaning of life can be cultivated by compassion, communication, collaboration and cooperation.
“Dangerous World” by Tullio DeSantis