Shaping the Planet(s)
Human history is littered by the ruins of megalomaniac ruling castes and self-absorbed civilisations, each and all convinced they were situated at the summit of evolutionary achievement. Many of these overachievers aspired to immortality by any means possible; emperors impressing their presences into the pliable clay of racial memory via the slave-powered artifices of edifice complexes, flatteringly elaborated epics or the primal endurance of prolific biological reproduction
Modernish humans have been progressing through the ups and downs of planetary climate changes and extraordinary or mundane global catastrophes of various kinds for untold millennia. The species has been culled and shaped by what we currently regard as forces of nature - agencies which were viewed as conscious gods, spirits and Great Powers for most of human experience, in ages now relegated to superstitious realms of prehistory. Yet after centuries of advances in the physical sciences the most current ideas assure us that we truly know very little for certain about the nature of reality. The implications of many discoveries indicate that many assertions of the ancients may not have been so wrong after all.
Humankind is a self-tuning instrument and self-shaping tool, self-designed to adapt to a multiplicity of environments. Yet, like all life-forms whose business it is to circumvent the rote shadow play of apparent entropy in an infinite universe, we also alter the odds in our favour. All lifeforms shift the random patterns of chaos to fit their needs, whether they realise it or not; the process progresses continuously on a level of mind far more fundamental than the simian chatter of linguistically-based acculturated thought.
We shape the protoplasmic substance of the substrate of reality and continuously mould the matrix of the world and the web of life. To contact this implicitly instantaneous level of programming requires deep immersion in inner silence, an internal journey into the core of being, sans thought, sans dreams, sans desires, passion, expectation, scientific analysis or will itself. The passage through the portal of heaven is a needle’s eye, and any baggage you attempt to bring along becomes an anchoring millstone, blocking access to the centre of the celestial pool beyond the immortal gate of apparent death.
The continuous chatter of the linguistic mind is designed to protect us from harm, a repository of wisdom and knowledge that accumulates with time. It becomes our thought patterns, directing our actions and guiding us through the trials and storms of our domesticated primate childhood. During the course of our lives this pattern of guardianship - which is inexorably built into our very psyches - develops into a quasi-entity in its own right, becoming a self-conscious being for all intents and purposes; one that we soon identify with our own inner ‘self’.
This overriding monkey mind has been designed to operate within the realms of fear-driven needs, and it fears silence above all else. It equates stillness with extinction, and attempts to divert any attempt to reach a state of inner peace – and a realisation of one’s true nature - with endless distractions tailored to fit the passions and desires of its host and vessel. It rides and directs you in elliptical courses, revolving around the immortal core of being that is you, yourself, the eternal all-knowing presence that resides in your heart of hearts and at the still cyclonic centre of the mind; the silent witness that sees all, knows all, is intimately connected to the All.
We all reside within a universal holographic linkage of meaning that interconnects everything imaginable, and then some. You are inside everything, and everything is inside you. You are divine, psychically gifted, immortal and wise, and can divine the truth in any thing or being.
Yet the monkey chatters on, diverting you from the essential fact of your godhood with a fascinatingly dissembled essay on human divinity and the true role of the ascendant hominid species – the domesticated primate race that has styled itself the new kings and queens of Gaia’s much depleted planetary jungle. What could possibly challenge the sovereignty of the species that has enthroned itself at the apex of creation?
The simplest answer can sometimes be illumined by a question: What could have blinded us to the reality of our own nature? As we have interfered with the manifold processes of Mother Earth and her innumerable species of plants, animals and fungi, we have in turn been subject to many manipulations and interferences in the course of our development; repatternings, biological additions and excisions of which we have little memory, alterations which were often – but not always – created by our ancestors, ourselves. The species has developed a ‘protective’ amnesiac blind spot that largely occludes our awareness of the challenges to be found in the universe we create and inhabit.
The Anthropocene Era
All the lifeforms on this or any other planet are surfing through cosmic cycles, orbital variations and stellar variances. The spiralling cycles of time create local Earthly epochs of ice-capped stasis punctuated by short fiery seasons of change. In the last several million years, planet Earth has experienced no longer time of life-quickening warmth than the last ten-odd thousand years of relatively balmy weather.
An unwelcome fact has long been perceived by climatologists and geologists, based on mountains of data describing previous cycles in great detail; that the end of this warm interglacial period – the Holocene era which has seen the rise and fall of all historic civilisations (that arose after largely forgotten ‘antediluvian’ ice-age civilisations which seeded all similar subsequent outgrowths before the catastrophic end of the last glaciation) – appears to be well overdue. Based on all previous cycles an ice age is surely due sometime soon, though ‘soon’ is a malleable term, meaning anything from mere decades to a century or two, depending on a number of factors.
Glacial eras – Ice Ages – come in a series of small and grand cycles, and are characterised by planetary drying as well as cooling. All over the world, glaciers that have been trickle-feeding many of the rivers on the planet from vast frozen storage chambers, icecaps that have been sitting in place for periods of up to hundreds of thousands of years, are melting away in a dry-pan flash over mere decades.
Whether you believe humanity’s liberated waste gases are the prime cause of this warming or not, the entire human world is heating up and drying out. The fact that human civilisation usually destroys aquifers and soils and creates deserts where fertile ecosystems once flourished is beyond dispute. All empires of the past have fallen. Many were overrun by disenfranchised slaves, subjugated minorities and outcasts who’d been forced or coerced into building edifices for militaristic growth-addicted societies - but many more civilisations starved themselves to death and were smothered by their own waste products.
Can we be wise enough to learn to replant and water the world in time to avoid a similar fate? Can we stop polluting the planet and cease fouling our own nest? Can we share the bounty of the world more fairly? Can we seize the day and use the very real bogeyman of greenhouse gases to frighten ourselves into cleaning up our act? Great changes are afoot and we have to strike out in totally new directions if we’re to thrive, or survive.
Great ice ages and lesser glaciations have appeared in relatively regular patterns, and although their causes are still hotly disputed the relative regularity of their cycles is not. It’s quite true that in bygone ages, a buildup of global carbon dioxide often occurred after a planetary warming period had already commenced. This was often due to many interlinked factors, like volcanic upheavals triggered by extraordinary masses of water shifting around and disturbing the fractious fault lines of the globe, or continental forest fires triggered by planetary drying at the end of warm interglacial periods like our own.
Sometimes the causes of great changes were extraterrestrial – changes in the Sun’s output or close encounters with wandering neighbours – but great and lesser glaciations have occurred with surprising regularity since the time when the ancestors of Homo habilis wandered the plains of Africa.
Here we all are, approaching the dawn of an overdue desiccating ice age that would spell the ruin of all our aspirations and decimate the world’s population; and we’re pouring ‘greenhouse’ gases into the atmosphere like there was no tomorrow, seemingly incapable of reining in our greedy, comfort-blinded proclivity to pollute and despoil our air, water and soils. Could it be, after all, that the entire human species has been engaged on a collective endeavour whose scope has extended far beyond all crude interpretations of our undeniably destructive tendencies? Could it be that legions of domesticated primates have been laying bricks in the mortar of planetary salvation for centuries, all unknowing?
It has recently been suggested that the geological era known as the Holocene Epoch has drawn to a close, and the Anthropocene Epoch – the time when humankind began to shape the planet as thoroughly and surely as other natural forces – has already begun. While it’s true that variations of solar activity that occur as the Sun surfs its way around the galactic maelstrom of the Milky Way is the major driver of all climate change, humankind has now developed to the stage where its existence leverages all prevailing circumstances. The future is not inscribed in stony planets circling the Sun, but is writ by the collective will of consciousness itself.
Could it be that we’re steering the planet on a course through a coming storm, helping to guide the global ark to safe harbours and idyllic arbours, and somehow avoiding a sleety dash into the oncoming iceberg? If you dare to dream of the possibility of paradise on Earth it just may be possible - if you also plant enough trees and live the way you know is hearty and true. The new paradigm illuminated by the last century’s alchemical blending of physics and philosophy explains a simple significant truth - we literally create and pattern the matrix that underlies all physical reality.
Matter is only a shadow, a dancing interplay of sublimely intricate and interconnected waves whose source is the ephemeral nature of mind itself. On individual and collective scales we make small quantum shifts that alter the odds and tilt the template of randomness in our favour – in the directions most suited to ongoing life, exploration, growth, refinement and diversity. Acts which may appear primitive primate madness on a local scale may serve purposes unforseen by the semi-somnambulant monkey mind of a barely reawakening Humanity.
How else could we develop the ability to deliver payloads on rockets which could orbit the globe of the Earth and rise beyond its gravity well, but to engage in monumentally stupid wars that pitted the (allegedly) best minds of entire continents against each other in meaningless ant-like combative bouts of warlike competitiveness? How else could we force ourselves to look beyond our narrow feuding feudal horizons and develop the ability to send probes (and humans) to the planetary siblings of our Great Mother? How else could we be forced to face our greatest fear – the fear of species extinction – than to know that the power of life or death truly lay in our own hands? How else could we be induced to evolve beyond the biochemical dictates of the ancestral primate pack than to focus upon ourselves, and ask the simple seminal question; what do we really want?
There were doubtless many other, less destructive methods of achieving the beginnings of an awareness of our true nature and potential; but the Immortals work with the tools available at hand, painting schema not upon virgin canvas but on recycled palimpsests of forgotten pasts. The entire Earth has become a template upon which we all illustrate the evidences of our passions, hopes, fears and desires, a Tree of Life scarred by the graffiti of our love.
The Great Work of enlightened masters and mistresses and all the naïve fools of yore has won us all a dawning awareness of the fundaments of reality itself. Even as combative gladiators continue to disport in global arenas and the cut and thrust of biological addictions propels legions of primates into superannuated fantasies of feudal religiosity and destructive conquest, a new age of dream weavers imagines a world without fear. The ancient pre-interglacial Vedas have always proclaimed and elucidated the real nature of reality, the now the truer heirs of all human advancement and folly realise the difficult path faced by our newly maturing collective consciousness – that we are responsible for all that occurs to us, for the physical world is literally made of mindstuff, and so are we.
We are all the stuff of each other’s dreams, our actions all parts of a multiplex shared artwork involving and evolving our little patch of the multiversal hologram of timespace into unheralded realms of probability.
The next Great Ice age is almost upon us. Can it be that the proven human proclivity for venting large amounts of ‘greenhouse’ gases into the atmosphere can modify certain consequences of the grand cycles of time? Are we creating a cushion that can soften the effects of living through time on a spinning ball that’s orbiting a variable flaming cauldron of plasma – a buffer that might alter the hitherto unaltered cycles of desiccating death? Could we be doing the right things for the wrong reasons? Or is a webbery of conscious entities directing the actions of most humankind, puppeteering the species onward and upward to greater glories – and more demanding tasks?
Is our current awareness of the ramifications of our actions a sign that the species is maturing? Can we learn to modify our experiments more consciously and to paint our passion plays with non-toxic pigments? Can we learn to trust each other – and learn that we are each other? Do we dare to deserve to survive?
Immortals work with the tools at hand. Self examination has always been the key to true enlightenment – and immortality – and all answers await within, at the silent centre of the cyclone. Why not go there right now?
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images – author’s collages including work by Alex Grey
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