|Featured Columnist – Meditations
Martin LeFevre: It’s autumn in northern California, and the weather has changed with the season. Though cloudier and cooler, we’ve had little rain as yet.
The leaves are beginning to turn, but it’s still warm enough today to run in shorts on the track. With the sun streaming over the bleachers at 5:00 pm, and the football team ending practice for the day, it looks like I’ll have the facilities to myself.
I thought too early. Waves of young cheerleader squads, most in elementary school and none older than sixth grade, descend on the track. Like girls everywhere, they are so engrossed in their gabbing as they jog around the track that they don’t even turn when I ask them to leave the outside lane open.
After waiting for an open lane to finish my intervals, I do a few starts and warm down on the grass. A few minutes drive later I’m laying on my back in the cold creek, holding my breath while floating downstream, the current flowing around and over me.
It’s impossible to hang onto problems and concerns while floating on your back in a stream, feeling the current literally swirling around you. Accretions melt away, and when you look up through the leaves gently swaying in a slight breeze under a cobalt sky, the cosmos draws you into its depths.
Nearly all “philosophies of human nature” claim an upward spiral of progress in human civilization. Accelerating advances in science, and the loosening hold of religion and tradition on the human mind, are in these optimistic views spurring the “evolution” of the human species.
But there is no evolution as such. Indeed, the reverse is happening; the human race is undergoing rapid devolution, not evolution. The question is: Does this devolution have a bottom, and with it, a new beginning?
The main reason so many people have given up on humanity (even if they say otherwise and consciously maintain that the human race is evolving) is that deep down they believe that man is hopeless. It is the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy.
Conventional wisdom has it that economic growth trumps all other issues. The slogan for the eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency—“it’s the economy, stupid”—has assumed the force of law in the global economy.
But the consumeristic limits of the world economy (not to mention its gross disparities of wealth) are tied to man’s ecological destruction, which is also tantamount to spiritual erosion.
It’s true that the vast majority of people don’t care whether half the species of animals and plants on earth are destroyed in their lifetime, as long as they can go to Disneyland, eat Big Macs, and shop at Old Navy.
But the global economy is increasingly impacted by ecological devastation and depletion. Humankind has to find another way to grow the economy and bring half the world out of poverty besides destroying the Earth.
Can ordinary people face the bleak reality of an accelerating downward spiral of humankind?
What choice is there? “Progressive” politics have become stagnant, and the reactionaries are dangerously regressive, threatening to become repressive. So what is an adequate response?
There are two overall trends, one apparent, the other underground. First, there’s the downward spiral of humankind, with the vast majority of individuals (including progressives) adapting in some way to the malignant globalizing culture.
But the pressure is also growing for radical change in consciousness, and a few are responding. When self-knowing and questioning exist in a sufficient minority of people, a revolution in consciousness will ignite and manifest, socially and politically.
This shift is not some New Age ‘what the bleep’ amalgam of quantum quaaludes and paranormal piddle, but the radical change from thought-based consciousness to insight-based consciousness. When a genuine psychological revolution begins, the downward spiral of human consciousness will end, and we’ll move in a new direction.
By completely owning one’s own darkness, and non-accumulatively learning about oneself every day, one meets collective darkness with increasing capacity.
One is propelled into quickening growth as a human being, contributing to the transmutation of consciousness. Beyond survival and health, that is the only growth that matters.