Who can doubt that humanity experienced
an emotional unity of consciousness on September 11, 2001?
Never before, never in the entire course of human history,
has a single event resonated in the minds of so many people
at the same time. This was a resonant event unlike any the
world has seen before, and now we must decide whether we are
going to rise to the challenge it presents or sink deeper
into the pit of violence. What we do with this tremendous
opportunity for change will most likely seal the fate of our
species for the rest of this decade, if not this century.
Until we give birth to a more civilized
world, we will have few waking moments during which the horror
of September 11th is not somewhere in our thoughts.
Like people who suffer from tinnitus, there will be a constant
ringing of sorts in our minds that never goes away. Even though
we will experience brief periods during which we can successfully
ignore the constant ringing, it will always be there to remind
us that the entirety of the human species has begun the next
phase of our evolution.
In the days immediately following the
maniacal attacks, the thought I heard expressed most often
was, “I feel so helpless.” Fortunately, there is a cure for
that feeling, and that is to take charge of your thoughts
once again and begin to engage in actions that make this world
a more decent, compassionate, and enjoyable place to live.
In other words, look for ways to re-humanize the organizations
you are involved with. You do this by coming up with new rules,
new ways of relating to your fellow humans, to your community,
to the environment, and to all life on this beautiful planet,
for the old ways of doing things have obviously failed.
can we do to take charge once again? The answers to that
question are as numerous as there are people on Earth. If
you are a student you can befriend more foreign students,
learn more about their countries and what people in
their homelands are thinking and saying about the U.S. If
you are a factory worker you can help out one of your co-workers
who is having a harder time at work than you are. If you work
in an office you can smile more. Put a mirror on your desk
and watch your expression when you talk on the telephone.
Force a smile if you must, eventually it will become contagious.
Teachers can help by using examples of good will expressed
by a wide range of people, not just U.S. citizens. You get
the idea. Just reach out and reconnect with that deep core
of humanity of which we all are a part. Then simply do what
you know in your heart to be right, and do it with love.
Our species has just experienced an event
that will continue to resonate in our consciousness until
we learn to live together peacefully. Life on this planet
has been punctuated by various other resonant events that
in hindsight led to what most people consider to be higher
forms of life. The oxygen crisis several billion years ago
led to the rise of mammals. The asteroid or meteor impact
that wiped out the dinosaurs, along with all other animals
larger than a chicken, precipitated the rise of primates.
We have now encountered a resonant event of equal magnitude,
but this time it is human consciousness that is being presented
an evolutionary challenge. We must accept the fact that our
entire species is indeed facing a moment of truth. We now
hold in our hands the power to destroy much of life on this
planet, but we also have the power to evolve into better human
beings. The day has arrived for each of us to ask ourselves
what being “human” actually means, for the destiny of our
species will be determined by our collective answer to that
question. Our options are actually quite clear. Either we,
as a species, evolve to a higher level of consciousness, or
we extinguish ourselves.
Fortunately, the large-scale evolution
of human consciousness began over 40 years ago. The tide has
turned, as researchers Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson reported
in their important book, The
Cultural Creatives : How 50 Million People Are Changing The
World. According to Ray and Anderson, one in every
four adult Americans:
- Is strongly aware of problems of the whole planet
- Is concerned about violence to and abuse of women and
- Is unhappy with both the left and the right in politics
and want to find a new way that is not in the mushy middle
- Is concerned about what the big corporations are doing
in the name of making more profits
- Love nature and are deeply concerned about its destruction
- Tend to be rather optimistic about our future and distrust
the cynical and pessimistic view that is given by the media
- Want to be involved in creating a new and better way of
life in this country
This is good news of great importance,
particularly since Ray and Anderson’s research shows that
in Europe there is an even larger percent of the population
who support these views. My guess is that the same holds true
throughout the world, that the subculture of “cultural creatives”
is growing at an unprecedented rate.
If this is so, one might wonder where
all of these people are hiding. And that is precisely the
issue Ray and Anderson point out as being the most significant
weakness of this rapidly growing population of forward-looking
individuals. They all believe themselves to be in a small
minority. This is where you come in. At the very least, one
in every four adults you meet wants to help build a better
world in much the same way you do. So the moment has arrived
for you to stand up and be counted. Speak up
for what you believe in, don’t remain silent the next time
you hear someone calling for revenge, war, and more bloodshed.
Do your part to help our collective human consciousness move
to ever more lofty heights. Move your thought processes up
out of the reptilian fight or flight part of your brain and
use the full range of your cognitive abilities. An enormous
amount of emotional energy is now stored very close to the
surface of our lives. Tap into it and use it wisely. If we
so elect, the resonant event we just experienced can provide
us with the focus we need as we channel this powerful (and
renewable) energy in positive directions.
As true as it is, that the future of
human civilization now hangs on a thin peg, it is also true
that thus far the peg has not broken. It is now up to all
of us to do what we can to strengthen that peg, each in our
own small way. Only by raising our level of awareness high
enough to see that we are all in this together, here on our
little spaceship Earth, will we be able to bring to an end
our long history of hate and war. Education, understanding,
cooperation, empathy, and love are the tools required to rebuild
this sadly fractured world, and I believe these tools are
in abundant supply. Now let us put them to work.
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