[Note: This book is being published as I’m writing it, in progress, for readers to follow it chapter by chapter as many would follow a television show week by week. All reading are welcome to interact through the comments below each post and provide feedback or suggestions as this is the rough draft and final edits will be made later to include sources. Those who prefer can wait until the book is complete and binge read the full book in its finalized text. It will be posted, as with all of my books, free to download in its final edited pdf form on this site when finished. All material, once published here, is copyrighted. All rights reserved.]
As our social world grows larger and our ability to communicate with each other from various parts of the earth increases through the use of modern technology our previous notions of national sovereignty and racial or ethnic identity are beginning to seem antiquated. Banks and corporations are going global, government officials backed by elite financial interests are holding meetings around the world to establish unions for each continent, and a single world currency has been in the works. Traditions and cultural customs are merging as individuals select elements of other cultures that they like and fuse them with their own in new and unique ways. No longer does it mean as much as it once did to be American or Armenian, Japanese or Jamaican, Italian or Israeli. Open travel, mainstream entertainment, video games and the World Wide Web are bringing us all closer together. We are now living in a new global society with new global concerns and that requires us to adapt and evolve into new global people who think globally as well as locally. Many who cling to our past divisions while enjoying the benefits of living in the present scoff at the idea of a wiser humanity, united through a shared cosmological narrative. However, as Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “What old people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.”
There was a time during our evolution as a species when human beings were isolated from each other. Small clans of foraging humans discovered at different times in our history that it was easier to practice agriculture, cultivating crops, and raise cattle or other forms of livestock than it was to follow herds from place to place or simply hunt and gather as the food was needed. As they settled down in specific locations monogamous marriage arrangements would have followed among some with the nuclear family taking priority while for others the clan family was retained. Populations began increasing and clans evolved into tribes with either patriarchal or matriarchal hierarchies, distinct leaderships, customs and laws being established. When tribes grew beyond the number in which group cohesion remained possible the leadership was challenged, the tribes split, and conflicts arose as both halves felt the resources belonged rightfully to them. Add to that the fact that a new tribe might arrive on the scene and decide to challenge the local tribe to their resources and it’s not difficult to understand how battles would have made sense to our ancestors.
Little by little tribes established confederacies, grew into civilizations and selected kings and queens, emperors and pharaohs for their centralized authorities. Tribal superstitions were expanded upon and written down as human beings began drawing symbols to represent their spoken words and deities, religions took form, shamans competed as magicians or prophets and established powerful priesthoods, merchants began trading with different civilizations, currencies were created using local resources such as stored grain, hemp, shells, or gold and wars were waged by both male and female leaders who lusted for power and prestige. Just as the social arrangements among small foraging clans couldn’t suffice within many of the larger tribal social structures, the manner of living shifted time after time as civilizations became kingdoms, grew into empires, divided into nations and evolved into unions.
Technology has made a global view of humanity the only rational perspective. Nations no longer mean what they used to and patriotism is passé. Around the planet we are sharing cultures, exchanging our costumes, speaking each other’s languages, listening to the same music, driving the same vehicles, and eating the same foods. When a natural disaster occurs on one side of the earth people from around the world witness it on television and voluntarily send money to help or board a plane and fly there to provide more hands-on assistance. If certain groups of individuals strap bombs to their body and blow themselves and others up for political reasons masquerading behind religious masks the rest of the world experiences it and reacts, either in support of the attackers or the attacked. We’ve begun in the last century the initial steps of leaving the planet and exploring the rest of the universe. We are a global community, yet we lack a global philosophy to unite and ground us as human beings. A shared human narrative is missing.
This book, as an option for that shared narrative, is my own personal contribution to a future global society and humanity as a whole. I intend on spending the remainder of my life building upon this foundation and invite others to join me. In the Tao Te Ching the philosopher Lao Tzu is said to have written: “Knowing others is knowledge; knowing yourself is wisdom.” Over 2,500 years later Mahatma Gandhi, inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s book Civil Disobedience, said the following:
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change toward him. We need not wait to see what others do.”
When one person changes the way that they view other human beings and they refuse to participate in the illusory divisions that don’t exist in reality but only dwell in our minds others who come into contact with such individuals recognize their mature approach to living and imitate it. They admire such people and begin to look at the world the way they do. Haven’t we had enough wars and petty bickering? We’ve divided existence into so many dichotomies, pluralities and categories that we’ve become bitter and cold, arguing over issues that shouldn’t even be issues and demonizing everybody that doesn’t view the world through the same fragmented lens as we do. The solution isn’t to change the world, it’s to change ourselves. Our ancestors created the problems out of their own ignorance and we foolishly attempt to fix the problems when we are psychological byproducts of their divided ideologies. We are the problem and social problems are merely extensions of us since we have created our societies. It’s time that we stop treating the sickness and cure the disease; in order to do that we have to look within ourselves. The Greek phrase “gnothi seauton” (know thyself) wasn’t a reference to cataloguing the various labels we’ve attached to our ego as aspects of our identities. It meant, “know what you are without those labels”. To get there we don’t have to learn who we are; we have to unlearn who we aren’t. Only then can we see with clarity what we actually are.
Humanity is one family. On this religion and science can agree, if on nothing else. This planet is our home. We came from it, live as a part of it, and will return to it when our bodies decay. Somewhere along the way we forgot (or never realized as a whole) that we are nature, self-aware. When we go for a walk we’re not visiting nature, we are nature walking. We are an extension of it and it is an extension of us. When we look at a mountain the mountain becomes part of us and we carry it within us the rest of our lives even if we remain unconscious of it; when we die on the land we became a part of the earth. As Neil deGrasse Tyson so eloquently put it, we must each recognize that “the very molecules that make up your body; the atoms that construct the molecules are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars, that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other-biologically. To the earth – chemically – and to the rest of the Universe atomically. We are in the Universe and the Universe is in us.” Or as Walt Whitman stated in his poem Song of Myself: “I am large; I contain multitudes.” This applies to each and every one of us.
Defining and dividing existence within our minds may very well help us narrate our experiences with reality and navigate the physical world, but wisdom is in seeing that the separation between thou and that is nothing more than a psychological construct. Everything is connected to everything else directly and indirectly through causation and if anything can be called God it is that monistic process which brings planets together as solar systems, stars together as galaxies and galaxies together as a universe. For all we know our universe could very well be one among an infinite sea of others; systems within systems, with no beginning or end and a cause-effect chain that expands throughout space-time and multiple dimensions. How we live on one part of this planet is having an effect on how others are able to live on other parts of the earth. It’s time we live as if we know this.
We must look within ourselves and discover the universe within us before we attempt to explore the universe beyond our atmosphere further. The things which make us different – our artistic creations, philosophical ponderings and scientific theories – also make us uniquely similar as a species. No other creature on earth has developed art, philosophy or science. When we go in search of “intelligent life” in the universe, these are the traits in them we’ll be looking for. Do they have artistic interests? Do they question the value of their own existence? Have they developed a logical method for accumulating knowledge? If not then we cannot possibly view them as “intelligent” in the sense that we think of ourselves as such. But if we are going to view ourselves as intelligent life-forms it’s time we start living as if we are. We are able to map the territory, but as Alfred Korzybski noted . . . “the map is not the territory” and our abstractions are interpretations of reality, not reality.
With this book I hope to help redirect our attention as people toward self-actualization and enlightenment so that we may connect through our future communications and not create more conflicts. I’m aware that this is an idealistic and perhaps naively ambitious goal, but it remains my hope for us as human beings and I can’t sit idly by and dream that it will come about on its own without action. When I imagine the world of the future it is an extraordinarily beautiful place. When I think of us as a species working together, exploring our galaxy and beyond, it fills me with a sense of spirituality I imagine a Whirling Dervish feels when they spin or Jews sense as they pray to HaShem. That same awe that overcomes the Christian as they come into contact with Christ the Buddhist also knows – for what we are encountering is within us as well as around us all. We will always have our problems, but many of our problems today are self-inflicted and unnecessary. We don’t have to add to an already difficult existence by complicating it further. If we are truly intelligent we will make life more pleasurable for each other, not worse. While enlightenment is the realization that everything is connected to everything else and we belong to that cosmic unity self-actualization is an ongoing process, whether it be the self-actualization of an individual or the collective-becoming of a globally conscious species. Our journey toward a better world has been persistent and I believe this is merely our next step into the future.
I hope that you enjoy reading this book as it is the amalgamation of my observations throughout my 35 years on this planet. If it changes your perspective on life I ask that you share the information within these pages with others. Thank you for reading my thoughts. It is for the seventh generation ahead that I write this book. May they look back on all of us living today and celebrate our existence for laying the foundation for the new world that they will inhabit as Vitruvians.
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Brave New World