by Jim Park
We call ourselves Homo sapiens – Wise Man. Yet I see very little wisdom in today’s world.
Wisdom requires the successful learning of life lessons – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – that originate in the multidimensional reality that each of us perceives and experiences uniquely. It also conveys compassion and responsibility; compassion for the welfare of all living things, and responsibility for nurturing the various environments that the self resides in.
Logic demands that all informational sources, documented and experimental, written word or eBook, provide the facts and tools necessary to allow us to understand the mechanics of physical reality. We are told that scientific knowledge must be accumulated in a strictly objective manner; the observer must be isolated from that which is being observed. Generally speaking, emotional responses to the observed object and its current experience, by the observer, are suppressed as much as possible. We use mechanical instrumentation to build a wall between ourselves and that which is being studied. In short, we try and turn ourselves into biological computers, analyzing information and developing probabilistic theories to explain the universe around us and the many forms of energy that are expressed in a myriad of ways.
Experience, on the other hand, is easy. It is automatically accumulated from our first breath to our last. It is simply a lifelong record of our interactions with the outside world. Our brains split those interactions into positive and negative poles, with intermediary gradations based on the percentage of the interactions that are assigned to each pole. Those that help us to physically and emotionally survive, to “feel good”, are deemed positive; those that are destructive to our wellbeing and “hurt” us in some way are deemed negative. We learn from these interactions so that we spend our energies actively seeking out positive experiences and trying to avoid negative experiences.
But does knowledge plus experience equal wisdom? Not necessarily. A third component is required, a much more nebulous concept, arbitrarily called worldview expansion. It is this component that, when combined with the other two, allows us to understand the path we have trodden in the world, the joys and sorrows that have painted our lives, and provides the tools we need to create a happier, more fulfilling future for ourselves and our loved ones.
Human beings have a highly developed sense of self-identification, or ego. Ego seeks personal fulfillment at the physical level. This fulfillment includes the acquisition of goods and services, a sense of purpose and accomplishment, recognition by others, and the ability to control events and outcomes for personal gain. This last factor is called power, and the more power a person has, the more influence that person has on the other ego components. Logically, then, everyone seeks power.
However, ego is a very selfish master. Its primary focus is to expend energy on the creation of circumstances that benefit the individual. We refer to this major part of our being as “I”. “I need this”; “I want that”. To this end, the world’s power structures have developed. Individuals expend much energy striving to attain status, wealth, and power; power over others; power over the Earth. There is a need to control; to shape in one’s own image; to not be forgotten. And thus the world’s institutions have evolved to allow power to be used by a few for control over global financial, religious, political, educational, and scientific affairs. These mental structures allow a few individuals to greatly influence the daily wellbeing of many. If these few individuals had been democratically chosen by the world’s people to serve as beacons into the future, where wisdom, compassion, and a global viewpoint are prerequisites, the world would be a very different place. Unfortunately, that has not happened. Instead, the power that these people have wrested for themselves corrupts the ego, bringing greed, cruelty, selfishness, destruction, pain, and inequity to the earth and everything in it. A hierarchical class system develops where the rich and powerful control the resources required by all the earth’s people for survival and fulfillment. In this way, the many serious problems facing humankind today have their sources in the egos of those who have sought and attained power for themselves.
To create a compassionate, sustainable future, we must rewrite our definition of success and reprioritize the expenditure of our energies. Let us start at the very beginning. Though not politically correct, the source of many of the world’s problems can be simply defined: overpopulation. There are just too many people on the Earth competing for limited global resources. It is no coincidence that those with wealth and power have fewer children than those who are poor with virtually no power, because there is a greater chance of childhood death among the poor than among the rich, who have access to more nutritious food, improved availability of good health care, and a cleaner environment. Therefore, the first step in creating a better world is to redistribute and allocate global wealth to ensure that all people on the planet have access to adequate housing, clean water, a good education, proper health care, sufficient land to grow food, and job opportunities that allow for creative self-expression and self-respect.
From the moment of birth until adulthood and independence, a child is monitored by both parents and medical professionals to identify individual strengths and creative abilities as well as potential mental, emotional, and physical problems. The educational curriculum is a combination of home and school-based learning. Parents teach interpersonal and practical skills, the importance of responsibility, and strive to provide a loving and supportive environment in which the child’s potential interests, talents, and abilities can develop and be expressed. The parents work with educational and personal growth professionals to observe and record these unfolding natural inclinations, and to develop a unique educational and self-development program for the child. As the child ages, the program is modified to accommodate the changing focus and interests of the child. As the child ages and becomes better equipped to make personal decisions, and to express mental, emotional, and personal goals and desires, discussions increasingly are shaped by the child’s own input. It is always adjusted to ensure that it provides the most opportunity for the child to further develop the innate talents and abilities that the curriculum is structured to educe. The parental love is expressed through the desire to see the child become the best that he/she can be; they experience the joy of helping another person to try and achieve his/her full potential by providing the environment to do so. Concurrently, communication channels are sent out into the business world to identify career paths that will allow the child to earn a living through the expression of his/her talents, abilities, interests, and other skill sets in a self-fulfilling manner. If the person enjoys what he/she is doing, he/she will be more productive and take less time off from work. In addition, the overall work environment becomes nurturing and cooperative rather than distrustful and competitive.
To create a world of harmony and sustainability, we must become attuned to the beautiful and unique life energies of all the other life forms on the planet. Other expressions of life energy must be respected and appreciated for their individual contribution to the global mosaic in which we all live. Animals and plants, earth, air, and sea, become our shared responsibility. The same love and nurturing that we show to our children must be extended to the natural world and all its creatures.
The global economic system must change. Current trends demonstrate that fewer people control an ever-increasing percentage of the planet’s wealth, and the power that goes with it. As businesses evolve from small, family-owned businesses to international conglomerates that eat up the small businesses, there is a corresponding decrease in the “human touch” that smaller businesses once provided. The conglomerates are amoral, lack compassion, and are exhausting the world’s natural resources at an ever-increasing rate. They have no interest in the individual except as a potential source of revenue. Their corporate vision statement could be: Maximum profits at the minimum cost in the least time. As can be demonstrated repeatedly around the world, they are greedy, crave power, and are soulless. When a resource company identifies a source of natural resources, especially in a third world country, they move in, temporarily elevate the local economy, strip the community of its resources, pollute the environment, and leave. The local economy becomes depressed and the inhabitants are much worse off than before because they have gotten used to a higher standard of living and the land is no longer clean and fertile enough to grow food.
Mining and oil companies are the worst offenders. Their pollution legacy can last for generations. Because these large corporations often pay large amounts of money to governments for the right to extract their resources, and because many large conglomerates now have financial resources that are larger than the entire GDP of some countries, the governmental representatives become puppets to their corporate masters. Greed, corruption, violence, and hypocrisy become rampant, and national and international laws become two-tiered, one set of laws for the rich and powerful and one set for the ordinary citizen. The global institutions that have been established to promote equity, justice, and international cooperation have themselves become corrupted because of money. The IMF, World Bank, and United Nations are all controlled by the small cadre of the world’s richest and most powerful people. They are despicable hypocrites; while promoting causes such as eradication of hunger, disease, ignorance, and poverty, their economic strategies are structured such that these problems are exacerbated by these economic policies, making people poorer and less self-sufficient, using procedures that promote the very problems that they claim to be addressing. Increasingly, it is charitable organizations and other NGO’s that have had to try and address these issues using money gleaned from average working people who still retain some sense of compassion for the plight of others. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
The Baby Boomer generation was born into a moment in history where the old social, political, and economic institutions that have served humanity for thousands of years no longer work. The frequency and intensity of global crises are increasing. There is a widening gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Violent and chaotic energies are becoming increasingly rampant. A growing number of the science community is becoming convinced that humanity is on a path to self-destruction. It is time for Homo Sapiens to show wisdom.
The mythical firebird called the phoenix is a symbol of rebirth, immortality and renewal. It is also strongly associated with peace. Its powers of healing and regeneration bring comfort and an end to suffering. In the 21st century, the phoenix has reached the end of its life and is about to burst into flame. Old institutions are dying and new ones are springing up all around the world. The old, gargantuan top-down power structures no longer serve the needs of the people, and smaller, more versatile power structures are springing up to replace them. These new institutions are localized within communities, created and guided by groups of individuals who share a common vision. As their influence on society grows over time, a new relationship with the earth and its creatures, as well as with each other, will replace the old ways.
Balance, compassion, generosity, sensitivity, creativity, equality, and a more spiritual perspective will allow human beings to live in harmony with those other life forms that share the planet with us in a loving, compassionate, respectful, supportive, sustainable manner. First, though, we must learn to constructively channel the ego energies into creative self-expressions that benefit others as well as ourselves. We must learn humility and be thankful for the lives that we have been given. To love another means to joyously and selflessly give of your own energies to provide whatever support and encouragement you can to the spiritual growth and fulfillment of the other. We are individuals and therefore each of us has unique gifts to give to the world. We must accept and heal ourselves in order to find inner peace and fulfillment through helping others on their journeys of self-discovery. By helping others, we help ourselves. We must accept our animal origins for it allows us to no longer feel apart from nature, but to rejoice in our communion with the natural world around us and all the plants and animals that are part of it. The earth deserves our respect; she is our Mother and from her all life has sprung. It is when we reach this harmony with ourselves, each other, and with all the other lives, big and small, who share this planet with us, that we will achieve true equality between the beautifully diverse expressions of consciousness who call this world home.