The world today is one suffering from multiple narrative-driven crises. Whether what happens next is our long-incubating chrysalis or our inevitable annihilation remains to be seen. If we continue to believe in ‘false gods’, however, I fear this may be our last dance with the devil.
To look at the Great Apes — the ones Jane Goodall famously studied—is to glimpse Eden before the Fall. They are, for all our feelings of superiority, mirrors to our intrinsic humanness. They form bonds of deep kinship; live light on the land, in harmony with it; and freely share resources to prioritize the health of the group over the gains of the individual.
This type of intimate living still exists in human form, too. The Irina Jaya. The Yanomami. The Hadza. They are mere hundreds among billions, untouched by the Faustian bargain we struck when we traded living in the ‘real world’ for one driven by human fictions—aka false gods. In doing so, we have swallowed the biggest lies of all. And they may just kill us.
This is not a wistful or teary-eyes paean to life before modernity. It is a 50,000-foot, clear-eyed perspective of Project Human as it presents itself in what I fear is its mature state, but quietly hope instead is an early-stage chrysalis.
The proverbial dark before the dawn.
Because to view humankind now from a distance isn’t pretty. It reveals a species wildly out of sync: with family; with the Earth; with one another; and with our cardinal North Star: purpose.
It’s no wonder we can’t parse truth from fiction anymore. We are so far removed from our ‘mother’ that we don’t even recognize her. How could we trust her?
A sampling of current gyrations pits Authoritarianism v. Democracy, East v. West, Capitalism v. Socialism, Economy v. Sustainability, Secularism v. Religiosity and Citizen v. Immigrant. None of it is new. Not by a long shot. Gyrations are more the rule than the exception in human societies.
We are yet again on a pendulum swing, somewhere between where we were yesterday, and where we were the day…