So what did I originally imagine my role in “saving the world” would be? Well, before I go into that I should remind you of how far back we have to go to discuss my original intentions/expectations.
This all began in 1986. At the time I was 42.
There’s a lot you can expect to do when you are moved to do it at 42. But, at the time I was overwhelmed by all the rational training and inclination I’d previously lived my life by. My experience, which, in case you’ve forgotten, or never knew, was totally contrary to everything I believed in and/or had been trained to believe in. I knew well to disbelieve, discount, and dismiss anyone who claimed such an experience as I, myself, actually had.
I had a Vision–as in a revelation; a super-religious experience; a Moses and the bush-, Joseph and Gabriel-, Jesus and the dove-type Vision. A total break with reality–some, myself included, would even call it a psychotic break, although I don’t think that now.
Whether my initial response was an excuse or not, the result was that I did little or nothing about it for 15 years. It took a near death experience in 2001 that was both undeniably certain death missed by less than a second, and totally inconsequential insofar as physical repercussion, to jar me into acting with ernest.
Even that was years ago. Ten, in fact.
When that happened, I imagined that, by simply reporting on the research I’d managed to do in the first 15 years, and telling people the truth about having had a Vision, I could muster enough of a following to begin a sustained movement that would eventually both preserve this planet (long enough to accomplish the next bit) and prepare a place for the lifeforce from planet earth to continue after we were no longer able to save it here.
It all seemed so obvious. What can be less difficult than the observation that, if we don’t save the planet, and we hope to save the planet’s life, then we have to get Her lifeforce securely established on another planet?
Mathematically, it seemed absolutely transparent. Oh, there were some points I had to work out about why space stations and such wouldn’t suffice, no matter how robust our technology might become, but they were pretty easy and almost as evident.
But I’d vastly underestimated how totally humans have adopted the axiom that all things are about humanity.
Looking back on it, I was terribly naive.
The basis of all religions I know anything about is firmly rooted in this assumption. What would make me expect people to open their minds to the idea that humans have anything of importance in common with the sponges?
Yet that is precisely what I’m asking them to do. And there’s no need to assume the holder of this negative view of our commonality with sponges lies only with those of us who aspire to God’s good graces. Our religions have been instrumental in shaping our cultures.
The very word “we” is, by almost everyone’s utilization, confined to subsets of humanity. “We” might be meant to describe just my wife and I, but it rarely is inclusive of even my pet dog and I, let alone the cockroach in the cupboard and I.
Yet to understand what I’m trying to convey, one has to understand that, when I quote the aural portion of my Vision by saying, exactly as the Voice said, “We’re not going to make it. We’ve got to get off,” I’m using “we” in the most inclusive manner I can imagine it being used. “We,” as I use it, means every living creature on planet earth.
And that is precisely how the Voice was using it.
Strange thing about Visions: The Aural part is the least of it. You know instantly so much more than you ever imagined before, including things like exactly what is meant by the Voice. I don’t understand it–but that’s the subject of my earlier book, and only gets in the way here.
What I want to talk about here is how pervasive and subtle everyone’s concept of “we” is. A good example of both is the extremely common response I get when It becomes clear to someone that I’m predicting the death of every living creature on earth–plant or animal, fungus and extremophile alike. That reaction, of course, is incredulity.
“Nothing we could do would possibly kill everything on Earth!” “Do you have any idea how tough life is?” “You know about mass extinctions in the historical record, don’t you?” “What in the world are you thinking? Man is simply not that powerful”
And you might at first think I’ve misspoken by claiming these types of reaction illustrate the elevated sense of self so pervasive in our cultures. How could a position which, essentially, maintains that “mankind isn’t so influential that anything he’s done, is doing, or might do in the future, could possibly kill the entire planet,” be interpreted as one rooted in the limited concept that “we” is a term which applies to, at most, all of humanity? Those seem unrelated, don’t they? Maybe even contra indicative.
But you would be overlooking what is really being said– “It doesn’t matter if we kill everything. What matters is that humanity survive.”
It’s the potential of our killing off our own species that has everyone’s attention. The belief we could never kill everything else is merely a subconscious way to “keep our eye on the ball.” If it comes down to it, life will come back when “we’re” gone. To even entertain that broader thought is to be distracted.
Well, the reinvigoration of planet earth would be a reasonable expectation if you’re thinking only in the limited view of “we” when you envision “us” dying off. But it’s very unlikely if you’re thinking in the greater concept of “we” that is inclusive of all living creatures on the planet. When it’s that kind of “us” that dies off, it’s not coming back anytime soon. Anytime at all.
What’s most destructive in terms of facing the pervasive nature of this idea, however, is how it manifests itself in our use of another term, “sustainability.”
So long as our understanding of “we” is restricted to “humanity,” “sustainability” is restricted to the issue of keeping humanity well. And, for the most part, is deeply rooted in the belief that one of the best indicators of health is growth.
And it is humanity’s continued growth that will, in the end, kill the living creature that the planet Earth is, Gaia. Unfortunately, on our present trajectory, that appears not to be very far off.
So, I had hoped to “save the world” by being honest and rational with people, gaining a following, and dying a natural death with hope for the future based on the start I could already see happening.
My bike ride today disabused me of any hopes of “getting a following” in my lifetime. That’s not going to happen.
So now the question comes down to whether I can prime the pump while I’m still alive, or even through the means of my death. I hope to find a method that fits the aura of the former, but also wish, if it comes down to it, that I may be able to rise to the level of devotion implied in the latter.