I enjoyed the interview w/Bill McKibben. He's done remarkable work, and his insightful comments sparked in me some ideas I'd like to share. I agree that our planet is on the verge of becoming something completely different from what we've known it to be. But I wonder if we get hung up by wanting desperately to cling to what we've known, rather than opening ourselves to the possibility that what our planet may become is something more beautiful, more meaningful, and more incredible than what we've ever known. The difficulty here is that this requires an immense amount of trust, both in God and in humanity. It's easy and tempting to view our impact on nature and the planet as largely negative, and to castigate ourselves for the 'mess' we've created. However, there is no separation between 'God' and humanity - each of us is an individual manifestation of the beauty and perfection of God, and therefore we're ultimately capable of not turning around or halting our current situation, but rather transcending it.
Was it Einstein who said that you can't solve a problem at the level of thinking that created it? I think our need to rationalize and understand things is slowing us down. In order to transcend our current situation we must allow ourselves to move to a higher level of thinking and understanding, one that does not rely on numbers, statistics, and a rational linear perception of time and reality. God and nature do not work in this way - humans are a part of nature, and if each of us is in our own way 'God,' we are capable of functioning at this higher level. We must accept that and open ourselves to help from sources we don't currently acknowledge or understand, and to shift our perception of time. I think technology is helping us to do this, and the young people (and old!) who immerse themselves in technology are perhaps the catalysts for this new way of interacting with the world.
The current thinking about Global Warming is based on the same type of thinking that creates separation - that is, that humanity is basically flawed, that in order to enter into 'heaven' we must first be punished and thereby redeemed for our sins. Is it possible that the 'mess' we have created is part of God's plan, or even just the next step in the evolution of our planet, and that our job at this time is not to limit ourselves with rational cause-and-effect thinking (i.e., the world as we know it is coming to an end - if we don't change our ways, we will fail the planet and ourselves), but to move to a higher level of thinking, one that is based on love and compassion (i.e., we do not have to be perfect and always do the right thing in a timely manner - we only have to accept and embrace the individual beauty and perfection that we each have.) The former way of thinking is easier because it's familiar and we understand it, we've been living and practicing it for the our entire history. The latter way is more difficult because it's largely just conceptual, not experiential. That is, it sounds great to be loving and compassionate, but how do we do that? It takes time and effort, right, we have to learn a set of challenging new skills. Easier to talk about recycling, reducing carbon footprints, local food production, etc. because it makes sense logically, but it leaves us feeling desperate and hopeless because it seems like we're 'running out of time.'
I'm not suggesting that these practical steps are not important or even necessary. Perhaps the difference in thinking I'm suggesting is largely a matter of semantics, or focus. Right now we tend to see the negative aspects of what is going on in our world at this time and act as if we're trying to beat some perceptual time line in order to 'save the planet.' This is rather dramatic to say the least, and suggests that our current way of seeing and experiencing the world is the best and only way. If we instead give our attention and efforts to what is good and right about the environment, politics, religion, and humanity in general, and above all allow ourselves to trust (eek!) that despite all our failings we might be heading towards an even more wonderful future than what we've ever experienced or can even imagine, we might get there not necessarily 'faster,' but perhaps with more elegance, grace, and ease.
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