We humans need to rediscover who we once were. There was a time when we understood that we could not destroy our environment because that would destroy us.
Individualism is partly to blame. We have come to worship individualism, but in so doing, we have lost track of the importance of the group. It is true that a long, long time ago humans probably worked on their own or in family groups to guarantee survival. Eventually, it became apparent that groups larger than families would be useful to assure survival; for example, hunting for larger animals would have required bigger groups. If you question this idea, consider how we began to develop language. Words became necessary and they had to be commonly understood. Oddly enough that is what we call language, and it is proof that when it first arrived, we understood group survival – both that of animal beings and that of human beings. We were group thinkers.
Unfortunately, we eventually invented agriculture and voila, there was an abundance of food. This also meant that a class of owners evolved, and they were greedy guys. Coincidentally, organized religion reared its ugly head about the same time and the guys who invented it were not into group sharing either. They liked power too. Working with the landowners, they used their power to coerce previously independent people into becoming virtual slave labourers (I say virtual because even if some were not de facto slaves, they had little opportunity to be something else). These slaves were important for two reasons. First, they provided really cheap labour, and second, they provided a use for surplus production. Ultimately, this transition contributed to divisions within cultures and societies which have been handed down to this very day. My wife works for a large and successful Canadian company. Apparently, it should be something to be proud of, but she knows that she is just another glorified slave.
Sure, we hear about the value of being an individual but that is a song and dance. The only possible individuals are those rich enough to control things and those who somehow have found a way to escape to a place cut off from the rest of the world.
So, what am I proposing? I think we humans need to find meaning outside the corporate, religious, and political thinking that dominates our western culture. We need to stop living this lie of individualism because it is destroying us and our planet. Am I optimistic? Absolutely not! Slaves are too valuable to be allowed to walk. On the other hand, it is possible to appear to buy in while finding your own path.
I have been a rebel all my life and a lot of the people I worked for and with never noticed. Maybe they thought I was being dumb or a pain in the common philosophy, but I knew who I was and I knew I was right. We need to change, and even a small number of us can get it started. We must rediscover the group thinking that we once had, where we understood our place in nature’s big picture, where we understood and accepted the importance of all of its parts and not just our little one.
I am the author of The Summer of the Ennead and I want to use this blog to engage readers in a dialogue about what this book means to me and what I think it has to say to others.