Ecological Challenge and Changing Consciousness (Rocky Fjord)

I’ve been listening to Bohm’s Dialogues, the one’s recorded after Krishnamurti’s death. Before Bohm, I listened to Krishnamurti, from whom what was being said about thought was resonating. Before him Marshall Rosenberg on Conflict Resolution, before him Milton Erikson on the unconscious and hypnotism. I was listening to a hypnosis recording on the web by Dick Sutphen which seemed to be helping. I started with a site called Abandonment Recovery with Susan Anderson, when I’d typed in “abandonment of self” in the search window one night. An Australian friend has sent books, one of which has given me a view of Buddhist meditation. A European friend has barely introduced me to phenomenology.

So I came across your site while listening to Bohm on proprioception and googling the same. I confess I have not read your books or articles, which may preclude me from conversation, since you state the purpose of the site is the interaction between writer and reader. I don’t suppose you could distill your life’s attention and focus down to some key insights that, if acquired, may give me a Helen Keller moment? This reference from a talk Bohm gave, using Helen Keller’s breakthrough as an example of insight. I presume insight to be a flash of awareness. In H. Keller’s case, the insight was that the sign-language word for water was a symbolic representation, an abstraction for water, and thereby a way to learn to abstract concepts and communicate etc. The point Bohm was making is that whether we have senses, know words, or have concepts of things, we are still all blind, deaf, and dumb unless and until we have insight, i.e. inner sight, awareness, light.

Curious what’s on your mind in these times? Bohm talks about a cataclysm to come, based upon the math of world population which has not peaked yet, CO2 emissions, climate change, environmental destruction, depletion of fossil fuel as well as many other resources. The cause for the catastrophe, should it come, appears to Bohm to be homo sapiens’ higher brain function, i.e. thoughts which have produced the world which may ultimately be our demise. With this as background, I find myself having thoughts and feelings that I observe and wonder about.

Like Mexican immigration. I get an inner response or reaction which says that a smaller population is what the world needs, and so allowing tens of millions of people into a country in waves, then followed by amnesties, is not a good plan. I think I resent that Mexicans have not practiced birth control as effectively as might have been, had conservatives in the US and the Catholic church of course, not interfered with family planning efforts proposed in the 1960′s by the Johnson administration. So now hundreds of millions of increase later, we are faced with accommodating a migration that, if looked at realistically, cannot be halted under any circumstances, a fait accompli. I don’t like feeling this way, or feeling that it is wrong to feel this way. Was it wrong for aboriginal Americans to feel resentful of European migrations? One might say the circumstances are different. But they are not different for everyone, like unskilled laborers, who are marginalized like the aboriginals were in the second great migration into the continent.

So the question comes down to whether humans will evolve and adapt quickly enough to avoid a cataclysm of mass proportion, or whether there will be a huge environmental correction by nature’s push back. Will humans, or are they capable of, making changes which might preclude this catastrophe? Like world population. If an intelligent species, so called, cannot reverse the birth rate to prevent mass murder, starvation, and environmental destruction, then how hopeless is the human race? Why can’t the masses see? Why so blind? And why do we still insist always upon economic expansion, when it’s killing the planet and climate? Why are greed and money the driving forces for human existence?

So the question of insight is key to my thinking. All the technology, books, knowledge, money, power or whatever in the world cannot save us, if we are — like Helen Keller before her breakthrough — blind, deaf, and dumb, and lost for the connection of awareness, the flash of awareness such as insight is. Masses of Mexican migrants assume all they need is what the Germans between the wars called Lebenstraum: room to grow. That was a political movement but the underpinning is the same, or so I think. Doesn’t make Mexicans bad, or any superficial thought like that. We are all just blind. Insight is needed. Radical population reduction is needed, radical economic shrinkage. We need to adapt to our space and environment. The Sahara, once a rainforest, cannot be reforested in 50 or 200 years. But rich agricultural areas can become wastelands, dust bowls, arid, rather quickly and we have these precedent catastrophes to remind us. So will the human race adapt to avoid this fate? My guess is no. If it could, we wouldn’t have known mass starvation in the 20th century. Children in Calcutta wouldn’t still be starving to death along roadways. These are harbingers of things to come because human evolution has┬ánot caught up with the pace of civilization and technology.

But it’s still nice to imagine that some change of consciousness might unify humans to avoid the otherwise seemingly inevitable. Or so I think.