We’ve Reached The Tipping Point
Humanity has expanded in terms of both population and consumption to a point where we can no longer deny the ecological impacts of our unsustainable civilization.
The signs are everywhere. Our pharmaceutical and industrial by-products are showing up all over our rivers, streams, lakes and oceans, not to mention in our drinking water. Massive wildfires engulf huge chunks of the American West and Australia. Coral reefs are dying around the planet and fish-stocks are collapsing. The polar ice caps are rapidly melting. Earth is undergoing one of the largest mass extinctions in its history.
This is beyond climate change. This is slow-motion ecological destruction on a planetary level. For better or worse, earth is a small fish bowl, and we have reached a point where we are butting-up against the edges of that bowl. There are enough of us now that our waste products are literally poisoning the water we swim in. And it is making us and our habitat quite sick.
We’re at a point that we need to deeply acknowledge that our current model of civilization (economic, political, technological, cultural, etc.) cannot continue as is without major adverse effects on ourselves and all living things on the planet. This has been true for quite some time of course but, we are now at a point where we can no longer pretend, hard as we might try.
And we as a collective are quite ill. Unhealthy. Sick. Not well. How else can you describe a population where the prevalence rates of major chronic illnesses are:
The problem is that our technological capacity has developed and evolved way faster than our evolution in thinking, consciousness, and understanding. We have Quantum technology but Newtonian thinking. On a deep level we fail to grasp, ignore, or don’t value the reality that we are all incredibly deeply connected and inter-dependent and that this applies to us and every other living thing on the planet including bacteria, fungus, and viruses. And for a culture that so prizes intelligence we amazingly fail to see, appreciate, or respect the incredible intelligence operating and inter-operating on all levels of nature… intelligence far beyond our own.
Unfortunately, individualistic American culture actually goes in the opposite direction. The over-riding emphasis is on individual achievement and individual needs gratification.We are seeing the impact of over-emphasizing the individual versus the whole: the individual and the whole both become sick and unhappy. No amount of individual achievement, fame, sex, money, social status, or peer approval can ever truly compensate for a lack of community, communal purpose, and deep connection.
You cannot buy your way out of emptiness and disconnection.
You can’t eat your way out of it, fuck your way out of it, or drink your way out of it either, although many try. Frankly, we are malnourished on a connection level. We’re missing the vital nutrients of community, communal puropose and deep connection with others and the natural environment we evolved from. These are as vital for our health as vitamins and minerals, and similarly, a deficiency in them leads to illness.
If we truly understood inter-dependence and the unitive nature of literally everything in existence, I believe we would radically re-prioritize. The collective health of all species on the planet would matter. Our impact on the environment we live in would be the highest priority not the lowest. Our extractive industrial system that takes the natural world as a commodity to be used up as quickly as possible and completely ignores the impact of our waste products would make sustainability of process the prime directive. Our consumptive lifestyle wouldn’t make sense any more and would bee seen frankly as digusting, wasteful, and self-destructive. In short, our entire system of civilization would be overhauled.
Some people, mostly those in the fields of science and technology, believe that technological innovation will solve all our problems. I disagree. I think it will actually execerbate the situation by adding more firepower to our backwards understanding. And that’s not because technology isn’t incredible and magical. Its because the deficit is not on an informational or knowledge level. Its a deficit of perspective and understanding. A limitation in consciousness. For us and most living things on the planet to survive and thrive, our awareness and our consciounsess needs to expand beyond the self.
A monkey that can split the atom is still a monkey and operates with a monkey mindset.
It’s not that the monkey is wrong its that the monkey’s skills have evolved but its mindset has not and it continues to operate off the same principles that evolved to adapt to its native environment. Our native environment is long gone. Our skillset has and continues to evolve exponentially. But our mindset still operates off the basic survival programming that helped us to evolve in what was a finely-tuned state of nature. That mismatch between our skillset and our mindset is now slowly poisoning us and our entire planet.
So what do we do? I can’t claim to know what the solution looks like. But I strongly believe that we as a species have the capacity to adapt to, address, and overcome the present circumstances. These are not unsolvable problems. But if the collective doesn't see it as a problem how do we bring the incredible collective capacity of human technology, creativity, and engineering to bear?
Personally, I have resolved to do my part to help expand awareness and consciousness. And I believe that if everybody does their part, whatever that looks like, we will reach a different kind of tipping point, a tipping point in consciousness where enough people see and appreciate the collective bigger picture that the status quo radically changes and does so quickly.
And an expanded human consciousness rooted in our interconnectedness coupled with our incredible and rapidly evolving technological capacity could lead to a marvelous future for us, for other beings, and for the planet as whole.