Every generation has, as it advanced in years, declared the world is about to end, and longed for a mythological time known as *the good old days*. The fact that as I approach 60, I have developed these exact feelings can therefore be considered the normal and average response of some of my generation towards the future. This being said, I have to wonder if the other generations that muttered these dark words faced the challenges the modern world does, for it certainly seems to be that there is a perfect storm brewing that doesn’t bode well for humankind.
First, I see the condition of the planet, our home. There is no small amount of argument as to its causes, and very little attention paid to its reality. The water is polluted and filthy, and so is the air. The natural actions of the planet aside, this is reaching a critical point. Whether the planet is warming or cooling, it is most certainly changing, by its own action or the actions of humanity, the conditions are becoming both bizarre and hostile. I have noticed the wind seems both stronger and harsher lately, and so does the weather. The sun is fierce. I won’t even start here on humankind actually meddling with the weather except to say that some are quite proud of their ability to do so, and even have conventions.
And second is the condition of the Human Family. In every aspect, humanity is facing problems undoubtedly of its own making. In my own country I expect to see a revolution, and I actually believe in many ways it has already begun, and I am reminded of the words of John Kennedy: if peaceful revolution does not succeed, violent revolution is inevitable. One thing I notice is that while a portion of the US population tries as it may to change things peacefully, there is a strong movement by officials to militarize against the people. At the same time these same forces work constantly, and often illegally, to disarm the people so they are unable to defend themselves.
“I used to issue leaflets asking people to enlist as recruits. One of the arguments I had used was distasteful to the Commissioner: ‘Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. If we want the Arms Act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to Government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn.’ The Commissioner refereed to this and said that he appreciated my presence in the conference in spite of the differences between us. And I had to justify my standpoint as courteously as I could.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Peaceful revolution works much better when Kennedy’s “inevitable” is a possible response to continued refusal to accept the will of the people. In the early days of the American experience, secession provided a similar check against an over reaching Federal government. If a state disapproved, it could leave, and they threatened to on a regular basis.
Thomas Jefferson was, ideally, an anarchist. He believed the smaller the government, the freer the people, and no laws to be the ideal state. He realized that such a society would have to be intelligent, well informed and morally responsible. The primary purpose of government is to provide these tools, through education for all citizens, the honest and open access to information and the absolute freedom to seek moral guidance without interference of discrimination.
Gnosticism posits that moral guidance is found through personal reflection on the sacred. Buddha once mentioned “If you see Buddha on the road, kill him”. By this, I believe he meant that any distraction from the seeking of a personal knowledge of the sacred is at best a crutch, at worst a chain. Robert Heinlein would echo this thought in his novel *Stranger In A Strange Land*. Thou art God.
Science and Theology represent the polarity of knowledge, and as such are bound together by the rules of polarities: opposition, inter-dependence, inter-consuming, inter-supporting and inter-transforming. They oppose each other, yet neither can exist without the other. As one grows, so the other shrinks, Science grows by consuming Theology, and Theology grows by integrating Science. In the end, Science will never supplant Theology, nor can Theology exist without Science, their dance is eternal. These days, it seems to me, Science and Theology have taken stances of opposition, and forsaken the other qualities they share, to their own demise, as well as humankind’s. We have arrived at a time when we can do the unthinkable, and have no moral compass with which to tell us not to do it. Science is, by decree, absent of moral considerations.
The Perfect Storm.