Reunion with Reality
From the Dominant Worldview to a New Worldview
We face many problems in the modern world, in part because we have lost touch with the wisdom of the ancients. Animism and religions of indigenous peoples recognize the sanctity and wholeness of life. Humanity is a part of the whole, not removed from it; neither above it nor below it. We occupy a realm in the middle.
In the current era, the dominant worldview has replaced sense of the sacred with worship of the material. Material goods and resources are accumulated with little regard for consequence. The world has become an open mine pit and piles of gangue, waste product, surround us on all sides.
Other people are often viewed as competitors, if not enemies, in this quest for material security. Other cultures, ethnicities, nations and economies become antagonists. Although this is a millennia-old problem ranging back to prehistory and traditional cultures, in the modern world, what has changed is the scale.
With space and resources limited, and a growing population that demands more and more in a habitat that is rapidly degrading, competition becomes fierce and leads to violence. This is a zero-sum scenario. This is the dominant worldview, especially in Western culture. The sad news is that it is spreading over much of the rest of the world.
I hope we all want to survive this century as a healthy species in a sustainable world. I don’t think this possible within the current paradigm. But, if we learn from each other and from other cultures and are willing to let go of what is destructive and build the constructive, we might.
A new worldview can rise out of the old, adopting the best of new and old traditions and cultures. We can view and experience humanity as one: one species without race, one culture with many ethnicities, one consciousness with many points of view. We can come to view the world as a whole: one biosphere, one noosphere, as Gaia, as Earth.
This approach embraces the rich diversity of cultures and ethnicities that enliven Earth. It recognizes that diversity is the real stuff of which our wholeness is made, which includes humanity and all creation: organic and inorganic, changing and changeless.
Competition over limited resources leads to division and violence, which leads to suffering and alienation.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a New Story emerging in which we realize the true nature of human beings and our environs and our proper place in them, in the context of global awareness.
Indigenous peoples in traditional society have lived this “new story” since time began, within the context of their culture. Many have been “one” with their world, inorganic, organic and human. They can share experience and insight with us in the West that we lack. We must turn to them as exemplars of sacred experience.
Yet, we live in a new context today. With the interconnectedness we experience now through media, communications and the accessibility of information, our awareness stretches beyond the scope of our individual cultures. We can no longer be territorial in consciousness.
History has brought us to the point where we can begin to think globally. We can be all-inclusive. We cannot leave out any one, any thing or any place. We can to bring our selves, our minds and bodies under the control of higher faculties.
We can to learn to love. We can to learn to worship. We can to learn to respect. We may need reminders, like offerings made on the sidewalks, that we live on a sacred planet.
Time and again, walking the busy streets of Bali, we saw shopkeepers and homeowners squatting outside the entrance of their abode with a tray in one hand, using the other hand to set an offering in the sidewalk. It was ordinary. It was worship.
Copyright 2017 James Phoenix