I quote two paragraphs from his post. One is about each of us being but part of a system, a greater whole:
“The core tenet of Indigenous knowledge systems is the need to cultivate a sense of kinship with others and the environment. Relationships are the core aspect of existence. We are shaped and molded through our connections to our family, friends and place. Humans are not viewed as separate or isolated individuals but intertwined in a vast array of different living systems. Thus, we are just one component of the greater whole.”
And the second is about the need for balance and harmony:
“What Indigenous cultures understood is the importance of a developing a sense of reverence for the gifts provided by nature. Indigenous Peoples aim to maintain a sense of balance and harmony with the natural world. Natural resources and other species are not to be exploited but respected and carefully preserved… The goal is to establish a healthy and reciprocal relationship between us humans and the world around us.”
Yes, there’s a danger in viewing ‘the past’ as some sort of idyll, and by comparison denigrating modernity. Each era has its positives. And yet we have moved so far from that interconnection, way too far, and the natural world is paying back our negligence in its many ‘environmental’ crises, which are really crises of our own collective psyche.
So the BBC has just published salaries of its presenters at the behest of the UK government. Was this sensible or political manoeuvring against the Beeb?
It is clearly political, in that only the salaries of direct employees are being reported. Those who choose to hide their financial affairs behind suitable ‘distribution companies’ avoid such scrutiny and pay less tax into the bargain. The logical response of valuable BBC employees is to turn themselves into companies, and thus regain their privacy and pay less tax. Joan Bakewell is right, the government is simply up to some mischief at the expense of the BBC.
I remember the culture of industry during my ‘working’ years. Salary was something negotiated with your boss on joining, and subsequently once a year. There was no simple way of knowing if you were paid in any way commensurate with your peers – you relied on the boss to do that. Of course, those who shouted loudest tended to get the best deal.
Far more sensible would be a company environment where all salaries and remunerations are transparently visible to all – clearly fair, but a culture change a long way from where things are (still) at. There is a peculiar attachment to secrecy in money matters – of course encouraged by the main beneficiaries. So there is a germ of sense in the government’s position, even though its motivation may have been entirely malicious.
I was struck by this observation by Steve Taylor in his February newsletter:
“The cultural conflict taking place now is between the old values and traits associated with the human race’s old state of ‘sleep’, and the new values and traits associated with a wakeful state. The old traits are threatened, and so are trying to assert themselves more strongly. It’s almost as if, within our collective psyche, the state of sleep senses that it is being superseded, and is trying to tighten its grip. So that’s why, in spite of all the madness in the world at the moment, I still remain optimistic.”
No doubt Steve is referring to the chaos of Brexit, the Trump presidency and the resurgence of values of discrimination against minorities, racism, misogyny, nationalism, separation, beggar-thy-neighbour…
It can seem disheartening that the progress made over the 70 years since the second world war is under threat and apparently in retreat.
I do feel that it helps in this situation to see the wider context, as Steve suggests. Humanity is undergoing a great developmental change, and it is inevitable that the ‘old’ values will from time to time reassert themselves with renewed vigour. It is our job to weather the storm and forge the path forward to the new world that we would wish to bequeath to our children and grandchildren.
As the saying goes, it is always darkest just before the dawn.
Featured image One Minute Before Sunrise by Jessie Eastland, via Wikimedia Commons
provides a model of evolution that applies to outer and inner – objective and subjective
thus reconciles science and religion/spirituality, showing how their historical differences came about, and how primitive materialism can be transcended
gives a context for the ‘culture wars’ in the US and elsewhere, and outlines how they can be transcended
explains why areas such as the middle east present such an intransigent problem
gives a story of development of human societies that is convincing and explains why such things as democracy are so difficult to transplant to other parts of the world
gives a philosophy of hope, with a vision of an emerging spirituality and a realistic approach to getting there
shows how the good, the beautiful and the true provide the attractive direction of human development
explains why the so-called, traditional, modern and postmodern elements of society find it so hard to get on, and what is the transcending evolutionary process that can pioneer the way forward
shows how the dialectic is a fundamental part of the evolutionary process
puts evolution at the centre of the story of life, the natural world, the universe and everything
gives the hope that we are on the threshold of a New Enlightenment.
Well there is such a book. It’s all laid out, and more, in Steve McIntosh‘s Evolution’s Purpose.
If you’re familiar with the work of Ken Wilber and Steve’s other books on ‘Integral Philosophy’ you may not need to read it. But this is really great philosophical stuff.
This sort of approach is a fundamental part of the New Renaissance, as I prefer to call it. This book gives an idea of how it could just come about through the conscious development and gradual transcendence of each person from their own starting point – despite those who are just not interested.