Crisis is the mechanism used by evolution to evolve an organism to a higher level. If there is no crisis, nothing changes.
So maybe we should not be too pessimistic about the many crises that currently beset us, already listed in many other posts. They represent the opportunity for growth and change.
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.”
Kennedy was apparently wrong linguistically, but his theme has been accepted by many as representing a fundamental insight about life.
So what are the opportunities presented, through which the crises can be successfully surpassed? As a species we must rise above the causes that lie behind our many crises. To my mind it is not difficult to see what some of these are:
- the personal, religious and national egos that want to have it all, for themselves, regardless of the effect on other persons/religions/nations, that do not recognise the need to look after the old, the weak, the poor, the other…
- the perception that the outer, material world is all that there is, with a consequent relative lack of self understanding and/or cultivation of the inner psyche/spiritual life.
- the related denial that we humans are part of nature, need to be in empathy with it, and are now responsible for maintaining its wondrous diversity.
- the related worship of power, money, jobs and technology, at the expense of nature, the achievement of potential, and the pursuit of the good, the beautiful and the true.
“When faced with a radical crisis, when the old way of being in the world, of interacting with each other and with the realm of nature doesn’t work anymore, when survival is threatened by seemingly insurmountable problems, an individual life-form — or a species — will either die or become extinct or rise above the limitations of its condition through an evolutionary leap.”
It’s not that difficult to see what’s wrong. It’s clear that the evolutionary leap is required at all levels – personal, society/culture, political. We just need to all get with the programme, make a start, and persevere. It’s just possible that, if enough of us change, the ‘hundredth monkey’ effect will come into play, and everything will have changed.
Featured image adapted from one by Vector conversion by Mononomic, via Wikimedia Commons