History Is No Guide During Unprecedented Times
By Martin LeFevre
Oct 5, 2021, 10:26am
"It is impossible to say where we stand in relation to our own crisis. Perhaps the worst is yet to come; perhaps we've already sailed through."
That is simply wrong, and deeply misleading. It shows that avoidance and denial still rule in the mainstream media. Simply aware people see the way things are, and the way things are going, and that without radical change within and without, society and the world will continue as they are, only worse.
Why are intellectuals the last to grasp that during unprecedented times, history can provide little or no guide? Is it because they are so invested in accumulated knowledge over direct perception, in idea over insight, in 'perspective' over truth and actuality?
By definition, the fact that the human crisis is unparalleled means that there has been a deep rupture with the past, and previous historical cycles do not significantly pertain to the present.
That doesn't mean we can't learn by studying the history, including the evolutionary history of humans, just that a higher level of insight and creativity is required during the unique, multi-faceted crisis facing humanity in the present age.
What makes the present time unique? First and foremost, man has never threatened the basic balance and biodiversity of the earth before. The so-called march of civilization, with our deeply conditioned ideas of progress in the West, is running smack up against the reality of a degraded, decimated planet, if not ecological collapse.
New insight is the wellspring of expanding knowledge, but the state of insight, which occurs during methodless meditation, is a different animal altogether.
Throughout history, there have been very few human beings who have lived in a state of insight. That's mostly due to the fact that the state of insight is not accumulative. It doesn't matter how much insight you've had in the past; it only matters what insight you have in the present.
The state of insight, whether it lasts for a few timeless minutes or hours after a complete meditation, or whether it is irrevocable, is synonymous with illumination. Strictly speaking however, illumination is irrevocable, and the question that besets me is, why does the brain return and revert to consciousness based on thought -- that is, symbol and memory?
In any case, I'm sure the survival of humanity now requires many human beings of insight. That means a new human being, unlike the humans that have existed in history or prehistory.
The psychological, spiritual and ecological crisis of humankind is unprecedented, demanding an unparalleled response - a new human being.
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. email@example.com
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