Children of the World
“Is the Spirit descending from the heavens,
or is it ascending from the Earth?”
Our generation may finally discard this question as a false choice, since “the Spirit descending from above as tongues of fire” is the same Spirit that was wandering in the abyss before chaos became a cosmos. In their extreme limit, the high and low are touching.
This apocalypse (revelation) — initially confused and with little arguments — emerged as an absolute priority of the human conscience in the last 20 years: humanity can live only by re-organizing itself in sustainable harmony with the natural environment.
We realize that the whole sense of our cultural evolution in history was to prepare the coming of this moment of interconnection and self-awareness inspired by the World Ethos and embodied in the Internet, this new human conscience whose horizon is the entire web of natural interdependence.
We deluded ourselves long enough with the old polarized worldview that would separate the purely formal categorical imperatives at the very top, from a blind, mechanistic nature down here on Earth.
Nature, considered holistically and not from one of its many particular perspectives, is a rhizomatic impulse originating and feeding on one, common electro-magnetic field around the Earth.
Its ciclicity gives illusions of bi-polarity, and yet its direction is universal, since time goes always forward.
As many scientists and mathematicians have explained, life appears 3-dimensionally as a double helix, and proceeds in its evolutionary trajectory along the same spatial coordinates.
After developing, in the second half of the 20th Century, a cosmopolitan consciousness that led to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the first half of the 21st Humanity needs to become aware of its inter-connection and dependence with the biosphere, the natural environment within which it’s evolving.
“If they are not in symbiosis with Nature , the ‘human rights’ alone cannot claim any universality, and will become themselves factors of bio-disintegration, leading to the self-destruction of human life. ”
When St. Francis, as recalled by his first biographer, “recognized the secret essence of things” and called water ‘sister’, he wasn’t just making poetry: he was conscious of the free, mutual connection running between water and life, a connection that can’t be reduced to the chemical formula and that prevents us to consider water as a disposable means. The new World Ethos reveals us that Francis was right, and that water, and plants, and animals, even the smallest insect or bacteria, is an equally important element of the World Community and as such must be loved and respected.
Furthermore, at least since relativity, our cognitive understanding of the universe reveals us that Time is not some infinite principle external to the living phenomena: Time is the natural organism’s structural lifespan, so that the present it’s already containing the potential future, also in the sense that the duration of Life is correlated to the available energetic resources.
From here, the ethical consequence is very suggestive: a true love for humanity involves also the generations yet to come. The idea of ‘Humanity’ implies of course all the generations that preceded us, and prepared the ground (consciously or not) as well as the spiritual and material contents of our lives: the cities we live in, the language we speak, the tools we use, the food we eat. We can be grateful to our Ancestors, since they left us a chance. But we must learn from their mistakes, since this the only way to evolve.
The last generation had the dramatic privilege of realizing that the duration of History was in its hands, since Time is directly proportional to the available energy.
This generation can realize the Transition to a World Community,
where the common responsibility shifts its focus from the past, through the present, to the future.
To keep stubbornly using the traditional tools, even when we know they hurt us and they could abort our future, would only mean to betray the intention of our Ancestors, who had built them in a different time and a different world. To achieve the needed radical change in a lifetime, Humanity needs a joint-generational effort inspired by universal love towards the children of the world, the human generations to come.
Marx’s profound analysis about the causes and the processes of alienation, especially about the degradation that occurs when, from a state of natural availability where humans feed directly on nature, humans start consuming artificial products made by other humans, are today more relevant than ever. The subject/object relationship passes from one based on use value, Marx explains, to one based on exchange value. Following this shift, so evident in the industrial civilization, nature becomes more humanized, for sure, but only to enter the desert of reification, hence passing from a condition of necessity to another.
The balancing force should have been a ‘naturalization of mankind’, and that’s where Marx pays for the limitations of his anthropology, derived from classical-economy models. Nature undergoes a humanization process, but how can Humanity undergo a naturalization process if Nature itself is increasingly manipulated, and thus becomes unrecognizable?
Marx couldn’t grasp back then what today, thanks to the World Ethos, is finally clear: that between humanity and nature exists a level of reciprocity that stands before the utilitarian level of the production system. Between humanity and nature there is a free-loving relation analogue to that running between two human beings, that before the imprisonment in a master/slave relationship were facing each other as two equal subjects. More than a century later, it’s possible to trace back the original act of this utilitarian down-trend that eventually led humanity to enslave itself:
the moment when man felt so alien to nature to the point of seeing it as a passive object totally masterable by his own will.
When in the ancient religious language it was said that the World belonged to God, it meant that the power of man on nature has a limit that must be respected. And to incentive the respect of that limit, God gave the people of Israel a sabbatical legislation whose profound meaning we can easily recognize. The weekly holidays and the holy years were to be respected by humans and animals alike. Once a week, and one year out of every seven, the soil would be left virgin to regenerate. “This was — writes Jurgen Moltmann — the sabbath of the earth. Those who respected the sabbath of the earth would live in peace, while those who didn’t care would get hungry and sick, since they had compromised the fertility of the soil. According to that old biblical story, Israel is abandoned by God and left for seventy years in slavery in the land of Babylon, ‘until the nation of God had paid all its sabbaths’ (2 Cr. 36).
Today the regenerative rights of the earth and its web of life are constantly abused. Man-made chemical fertilizers and pesticides are forcing Nature to unnaturally intense fertility cycles, preparing the ground for inevitable and catastrophic consequences.
Who doesn’t respect the rights of the earth represents a menace to the future generations and to the existence of life as a whole.”
Israel was maybe a symbol and a seed of the forthcoming world gathering of the tribes. But the people of Israel were also delusional if they really thought that God had chosen only them over the other nations, as if a mother could love one child more than the others
As clearly shown by the recent ethnological research, the same sense of respect for the limit was already found and ritualized in almost every tribal society on the planet, through a recurrent constellation of sacred taboos every member would learn to comply with from a certain age. Significant is the case study reported by Vittorio Lanternari, in rural Ghana: “When the soil of a plantation has been cultivated for many years and has lost its humus, the community needs to prepare a new crop field, that has to be inevitably subtracted from the forest. The local farmers perform a prayer and libation ritual on the chosen spot, asking the many spirits indigenous to the forest for permission to cut down the trees where they live, and imploring forgiveness for forcing them to move”. Behind this apparently naive behavior, lies a deep awareness of what Lantenari calls ‘social pronosticability’, the realization that any form of aggression to the natural environment introduces and element of uncertainty and precariousness in the future of the social group:
hence the necessity of self-limitation.
The profound anthropological truth of such laws and customs becomes understandable rationally only when we consider Nature as a Subject, and our condition of humans as natively interdependent within an infinite plurality of living subjects ready to ripe open to our fruition if we approach them with love and respect, but that instead close themselves — or better extinguish themselves, preparing our extinction — if our approach is aggressively utilitarian.
The World needs holidays after all this stress,
and for the new World Community every day is a Holy-day.
‘Holy’ means that every human being is free to sacrifice some time everyday to see things from the perspective of the entire World: the free practice of holistic meditation can be a very useful technique for many humans, and could be an example of the new World Community’s collective rituals. No discipline will be imposed, and no hierarchies of masters and priests are needed, since
the call of the World is heard in every conscience at once,
and speaks through all creatures together.