In LA recently it struck me how the expression ‘reaching out’ as in reaching out to someone, used in the vernacular instead of saying getting in touch. You may think it pointless analyzing expression-trends, because once one catches on people use it unconsciously. This however doesn’t mean they’re not also unconsciously attuning to the same initial sentiment informing whomever it was who first coined the phrase.
And while it actually caught my attention because like most fashion-phrases it smacks of utter pretension, especially when it’s someone in an accounts department ‘reaching out’ to you because your card didn’t work when they tried to grab your monthly payment and so forth, beneath the pretension there was something else flagging itself to my intuitive eye. And it inspired this proposition: the phrase resonates widely because essentially people feel isolated, hence picture themselves actually reaching out, presumably across some sort of divide.
Isolation is inevitable once we no longer live in actual (as opposed to virtual) local communities, and once we become narcissistically self-absorbed and obsessed with attaining to an appearance of perfection - unless that is, we realize ourselves as members of a truly global humanity.
Realizing ourselves as members of a global humanity, not just theoretically considering it a good and right-on idea but actually viscerally feeling and experiencing it as a reality, can only occur with a developed awareness of the binding factor informing each and everyone of us, the underlying invisible connective tissue of cosmic presence, the Chinese call Tao. Aware of the unifying binding force we see past the hitherto perceived differences and divisions among its 8 billion or so human expressions.
This was what was at the core of the trend that grew exponentially during the '90s before people grew afraid of globalization and before people became aware of the vast spoils being scored by a miniscule number of people by having the rare skill, know-how, boldness, foresight, vision, objectivism, and sometimes sheer ruthlessness, to manipulate for the first time something as huge as a global market. With awareness came envy. Envy precluded appreciating the unprecedented surge of relative prosperity even at the most impoverished level. Envy made vast swathes of people easy prey for ambitious self-serving populist politicians, whose way into the citadel was made easy by the middle-class kids unappreciative of their privileged lives, who started the anti-globalization movement and thus revealed a weakness in the city walls.
Before that though, before the envy set in, before the rot, and indeed before the greed of the few tipped profligate, there was global consciousness for the first time at least since the ice age – whether there have been four successive previous global civilizations as per Hopi and Aztec lore, each of which pinnacled and then self-destructed as we’re already in the throes of doing, no one actually knows for sure. But in the last 12,000 years at least humanity had never reached such a state of collective enlightenment.
But the boys comprising the various factions of the Islamist movement weren’t having any fun, and surmising they’d never find the keys to being the life and soul of the party this time round, chose instead to be the death of it instead. They had an agenda to influence humanity away from global consciousness and back into the parochial mindset.
And despite our vociferous assurances to the contrary, once such a dark agent is introduced into the chemical mix, all other agents are stained by it and react by mirroring it. Hence fundamentalism has risen up against fundamentalism, reactionary ignorance against reactionary ignorance, and the beautiful dream, fleetingly a reality, of a truly global family facing as one the immense survival challenges threatening to extinct humanity at any moment, has ceased to be.
It has been superseded by a retrenching to a new parochialism that with its trade tariffs, prejudices, fears, and hatred, will not only probably bring down the global economy and the global infrastructure it and we all now depend on, but reduce us yet again to mindless reptiles at war. The problem is now we have enough weaponry to destroy all of humanity in minutes.
Meanwhile, the big story everyone’s studiously avoiding: according to the official estimates of the scientific community they politely suggest by 2100 London will most likely be under water, not from the rain – it doesn’t actually do that much in England anymore contrary to the old rumor – but from the rising sea levels. However the likelihood is it will happen a lot sooner than that. And obviously it’s not that the world’s oceans are going to single out London. If or when the sea level rises enough to engulf London it’ll have risen high enough to submerge the vast majority of humankind, because most of us live at sea level. Along with humanity will be all humanity’s infrastructure – the energy production, the food production, the services, the water, the communications systems, all of it, everything we depend on is at sea level.
And according to the non-bullshit version I think you’ll find most clued in ecologists will concur with, had we stopped all heat-producing activity, all production, all shipping, all transportation (road, rail, sea and air), stopped using electricity and pretty much stopped doing everything in 1986 we’d have managed to reverse the warming effect and wouldn’t now be facing this murky, cold, wet spectre. But we didn’t. And all the well-meaning righteous green bullshit you may care to spout won’t change that, no matter how earnest or right-on your intentions may be.
Short of a totally unforeseen miracle, possibly intervention by well-meaning aliens with a giant refrigeration system, it’s alas according to experts when not being polite for the camera, a bit too late.
And that’s just one aspect of what’s swiftly shaping up to be a multidimensional catastrophe for humanity.
So the question I have is this. Would it possible for humanity to acknowledge rather than avoid this fact, and then having done so, collectively agree to desist from fighting each other for the remaining scraps of vital resources, stop trying to dominate each other, violate each other and generally make life difficult for everyone, and instead to celebrate each and every remaining moment of this stupendous miracle of relative collective abundance and elegance of organization and enjoy it while we can?
Or is that so outlandish a thought we must resign ourselves to this burgeoning insanity and inevitable destruction of all we love about this planet including ourselves, as if that’s not outlandish?
The fact is we each have the power to guide the Tao and if two or more of us engage thusly, we can guide in all sorts of miracles including even possibly those friendly aliens with the giant refrigerator to cool it all back down again or loads of life rafts and lunch packs for everyone to keep us all going awhile longer.
Meanwhile we continue talking as much verbal shit on a daily basis as we produce physically, possibly even more.
We inhabit a global loony bin and all of us are inmates.
The key, as I’m sure you’ll agree in the light of the above reality check, is to make our insanity work for us – both individually and collectively – to make it work for us rather than against us.
It starts by occupying your own back whence you’re able to bear witness to your own processes rather than be run ragged by them.
Once you’ve spotted your tropes, you’re then free to own them and use them as fuel rather that diversions from your soul-space.
Occupying your soul-space you can confer with the Great Way, you can talk with the Tao.
If you get through, tell it to infuse humanity with a sudden injection of sense and a way to turn this crisis to our advantage – for despite the logic of the above, I remain stalwartly optimistic we can make something good out of all this.
I do myself moment by moment, simply enjoying being alive – there’s no greater privilege – all the rest is secondary, even the sea level rising.
With love, Barefoot of the Royal Society of Divine Brotherhood and Sisterhood and President of the International Association for Lovers of Wayward Taoist Delights