Waking Up To Our Genius

I am not optimistic about the future of the planet and human decision making. I even have doubts about human potential to change. But I have to be honest with myself and what I am aware of in the present. That is that the planet and all beings that live on and within it have entered a state of crisis. Maybe the planet can survive the catastrophic consequences of human decision making, over the last twenty thousand years, that have resulted in the accumulation of so many environmental and humanistic catastrophes.
I accept all this; that it could be no other way. I am not really that fearful about it all. Its not me,at sixty years of age, that it will be most affected by it. But I think that it could be different, if, as a species we were to become aware of the limitations of our way of thinking and the connected experience of being that we have brought and continue to bring. And. if, in becoming aware we were to change the way we live on the planet and relate to the planet, each other and other beings things could be different. There are those who are bringing awareness but there is no where near the kind of awareness needed to turn things around.
Human lives have become so overly structured; to the point that change does not come easy. It is the reality that we have created and have come to live by. In general our cultural and social conditioning has a lot to do with preparing our children to function within and to assume those structures; the consequence being that we have become habitual in that. We have forgotten what it means to be free and authentic. What is expected of us, and what we are expected to be, does not leave much space for honest reflection or truly creative choices. It is always possible that we can come to realize that there is something of us that is more fundamental and genius, as Thoreau suggests, than what we might have come to be; and that in seeing this possibility, we might step out from our prescribed and conventional ways. How and where we have been raised and taught to perceive life and ourselves is always an aspect of how we will negotiate the world but it need not be the dominant influence in defining who we are and how we should live.
Thoreau writes; ” Little is to be expected of that day, if it can be called a day, to which we are not awakened by our Genius, but by the mechanical nudging of some servitor, are not awakened by our own newly acquired force and aspirations from within, accompanied by the undulations of celestial music, instead of factory bells, and a fragrance filling the air—to a higher life than we fell asleep from; and thus the darkness bear its fruit, and prove itself to be good, no less than the light. That man who does not believe that each day contains an earlier, more sacred, and auroral hour than he has yet profaned, has despaired of life, and is pursuing a descending and darkening way.”

5 thoughts on “Waking Up To Our Genius

  1. I have hope for us, but it is a hope based on faith more than reason. Because I can envision a revolutionary change in human behaviour arising from a kind of apocalyptic falling away of our illusions and unhelpful ways of thinking, I believe in it. Perhaps it is like Pascal’s wager. No faith in our ability to survive will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. To believe it is possible and do what we can to foster it may prove to be in vain, but we will have lost nothing that matters. And if it is possible and we succeed because we believed it was possible, then we win the wager.

    • I couldnt agree with you more. I hold the same kind of hope as well and feel that we have the potential to bring change but maybe it is not meant to be in the way we can imagine. Possibly something will unfold from it all and hopefully that something will have a greater capacity for wisdom than humans. In general, humans seem to hold this unquestioned perception that they are meant to be the ultimate and only insightful form of being. There is something more that we are a part of that will continue to be, even if we should become extinct.

      • It would seem such a waste if we became extinct. Like nature having to go back to the drawing board. Our arrogance isn’t entirely unwarranted. Our intelligence and our opposable thumbs give us a big advantage. We also have a capacity for loving cooperative behaviour, obscured as it often is by our psychological problems (that sense of arrogance being one of them), which can all too easily drive us in the opposite direction. Whales are intelligent but they have no hands. Ants are cooperative but they aren’t intelligent. I think, as far as the earth is concerned, we are nature’s greatest invention. The problem is that, like so many other relatively new inventions (new in evolutionary terms) we still have some bugs to work out.

  2. It would seem to be a waste. We are the ultimate adaption. Maybe too much so. The realization that our adaptions can be getting in the way of the development of other species on the planet, the planet itself and ultimately our own species, to the point where our
    exstence is threatened is important. Its still being denied in some circles. That awareness itself might stir us to a more creative response. It seems that it is going to take more than our reliance on technology and that the experts can muster.

    • I think that one of the key problems is that fear paralyses us. Those who recognise the danger try to motivate the rest by instilling fear of what will happen if we don’t act, but this doesn’t liberate us to action but causes us to hide in denial or collapse in despair.

      This is why, in my writing, I take the self-help approach. How can we free ourselves from mental suffering? How can we find happiness? If selfishness is the natural self-directedness of the suffering individual – suffering from guilt or fear, maybe guilt about contributing to our ecological problems or fear about what might happen because of those problems – then helping people to find ways to free themselves from those feelings will liberate them from selfishness, will liberate their capacity to be loving and cooperative and generous. To what end can this new found generosity and cooperativeness be put? To sorting out our ecological problems.

      We need to work from the inside out, partly because it is our selfishness which is driving the ecological crisis (consumption etc.) and partly because the problem is too scary to face until we have all of our capacity for love and all of our courage liberated to tackle it.

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