How did we get in such a mess?

September 2, 2019

A thought came this morning: if I sit long enough and not do anything, will I finally figure out how we got in such a mess? Will I be able to figure it out? Seen through different lenses, we can and do attribute the causes to a variety of reasons. One piece I read recently attributes this mess to the whole patriarchal mind set we have all incorporated, a mindset that is one of “them versus us”, of superiority and competitiveness. Another one attributes it to the materialism and industrialization of the West starting particularly in the 19th century. We can look in many different directions.

And when I say mess, I am thinking a lot about the climate crisis we are all in. It’s a crisis that touches upon so much else: upon our endless taking of resources without any thought of the future, upon our separation from the earth, nature, creatures and in the end from each other and ourselves. We could also say our greed, our fears and our lack of care. Buddhism talks about ignorance and this could be called a grand ignorance, an ignoring of the facts that become more and more evident and that so few of us are willing to fully face. As well, so few of us are willing to change, and by that I mean a very Big change. It would mean coming together as a global community to mobilize all our ingenuity and all our love for our one and only home. What would that look like? How much would we need to change personally and collectively? And when has that ever happened in this world?

So again, how did we get here? Do we need to go way back to “Biblical times” and attribute the primal cause to the eating of the apple, the knowledge of good and evil, when Adam and Eve became self-conscious and were forced out of Paradise, the Garden of Eden? Was that the beginning of what could be called evil; separation from heaven, from goodness, from innocence?

When I think about us humans. I think we are capable of so much good, so much beauty, so much truth and then there is also so much emotional immaturity, so little foresight, understanding and perspective. We are still like children in many ways. Most people do grow up to some degree over time, but still how many of us, particularly in the West, keep striving for that which ultimately does not bring peace or joy or most importantly meaning to our lives?  

The essence of many of the religions holds so much wisdom and depth and there have been human beings throughout the ages who embody these qualities and are like beacons in the dark, but still we continue en masse to ignore, separate and hurt each other.

It’s unnerving because one does realize that no one person, group, state or country wants to destroy our Earth and yet that is what is happening on a daily basis. Do we not see how interconnected we are with all of Life and non-life? Are we so blind? Do we not care for our future generations, care for our humans, our animals, our seas, air, trees, plants, our mountains and lands?

The question still persists. How did we get to be in this mess?

The contemplation continues.