Throughout the (recorded) history of humankind, many of our most sweeping and evolutionary course-changing catalysts have been dubbed to have been divine revelations - the laws of Moses, Mohammed, Joseph Smith and/or Jesus, clothing, animal husbandry, domestication, salvation, imperialism, democracy, gunpowder, capitalism, and/or the role of sex, and so on. It seems to me that humankind has an unfortunate tendency to blame the catalysts that have catapulted us to what, where and especially why we are now on 'divine' or 'higher' inspiration. This is foolishness, and is snowballing to a point where it has become a prime and acute threat to our survival as a species.
Life (itself) is the only real miracle in this universe, and we invest next to none of our resources in beginning to understand it. To say that we have no idea what we are capable of doing with said resources, and our own will, is therefore pretty much on the money. Stupid turn of phrase. I don't even want money. Or maybe it's not a stupid turn of phrase...it works...as does money. The sky is still above us, and the earth still below. So maybe we're not all *that* bad...yet. But I digress. Which is not a bad thing, it just appears that way to most of us most of the time. But I digress again. What fun!
So, we seem to at once be both up the creek without a paddle, and not all *that* bad. In the beautifully eloquent words of Viktor Frankl:
We KNOW this (did you get goosebumps reading that phrase too?), but we are still hurtling on at breakneck pace to our own decimation - and probably destruction. We know next to nothing about anything about our own planet, the flora, fauna, chemical reactions, physics, spirituality, and so on, around us. What to me is truly disgusting about all of this is how little effort we invest into rectifying it. Frankl is more right than he knew - we DO know what we are capable of, and we DO know what is at stake - but what are our excuses for acting as though we do not?
And yes, I know that there have been doomsingers and people crying about the apocalypse that is going to happen in our lifetime in every generation. I am not one of those. The first reason is that I am neither a narcissist nor insane. The second is that I don’t put enough stock in the worth of humanity, when considered against two factors: One, the backdrop of the truly epic temporal and spatial scale of the cosmos. And two, the inescapable law of causality – choices have consequences, no matter where you go in the universe, this is so…and our collective choices don’t hold much credibility in my mind. The third reason I don’t believe in any kind of ragnarok or ‘hard’ apocalypse is that they are divine revelations, too; another symptom of whatever spiritual malaise that we suffer from that compels us to thank (and blame) everything but ourselves for the situation we find ourselves in. And the fourth reason I differentiate from doomsayers throughout history is that the sparks of our ignorance have never conflagrated into a global inferno that is burning the only earth that will ever be beneath our feet.
It is a form of sheer arrogance to say that we need to ‘save the planet’ or whatever – we are not destroying the planet, but we are destroying its capability to keep us alive. And so I am not an environmentalist or ‘climate change crusader’ or a vegan or whatever, either. As Slavoj Zizek pointed out, these are becoming a ‘new opiate of the masses’ in the current twilight of religion. But it is not religion I am attacking, nor is it ideological thought itself – it is the disastrous consequences of such thought.
This is why I love Slavoj Zizek - he's bat shit crazy and strung out, which is probably why he is able to explain why ideology by revelation is wrong. We are disavowing, disowning, and destroying our responsibility to ensure our survival. And soon, it may not matter. Let's get some broader perspective here - the extinction cycle on this planet, as far as science can tell us, suggests that we have just about done our dash. And, quite frankly, it would serve us right. We are ignorant, dirty, petty, selfish, arrogant and blind. We have the capability to be so very noble, humble, powerful, inspiring, beautiful, and universe-changing. How is that for a paradox of wasted potential? And how funny would it be if we get what’s coming to us?
Here's the real onion - on the rare instance it occurs to us what we are, we disavow it into oblivion. Our recognition of our capabilities is non-existant. I mean, sure, the odd...oddball, like me, or Viktor Frankl, or Jesus, figures it out, but the collective human race exists at more or less the same level and pace - those who lag behind rarely suffer because it is hard for someone that simple not to be able to sustain themselves - subsistence is, after all, a piece of cake, unless of course we rob the planet of its ability to provide this for us. But you want to be wary of getting too far ahead of the curve - too different - because you do not want to end up nailed to a cross. Humans have a tendency to crucify anybody who is wiser/more enlightened than the norm with remarkable viciousness, relish, and alacrity.
We deny/dilute the naked truth about what we are, and have such stunning obliviousness to what we are collectively capable of – in the positive sense, I mean - Frankl put his finger squarely on the mark about our negative capabilities, which we demonstrate all the time.. We tend to, wherever we are, so scattered across the earth, attribute the really important stuff, whether good or bad, to divine revelation, and the consequences of this are hugely destructive. The idea of "revelation is obscene, not immoral" was what sparked this article, and despite getting caught up in the complexity of the ideas involved, I have endeavoured to remain focussed.
We should be known as the masters of limitation. I temper, second-guess, hestiate, edit, censor and silence and suppress, myself, too regularly because of the audience that doesn't even pay attention anyway. People really are screwed. Heh. We actually deserve it, and that, dear everybody, is the most honest truth you are ever going to hear. Fuck your hope, your divine inspiration and revelation, and your Guy Sebastian songs telling you not to worry and be happy (rant about this coming soon, stay tuned).
Have faith in yourself, your neighbour, your hard work and your planet. Love and care for all of these. Stop shirking the responsibility for looking after yourself, the people, and the world around you. I thought that humanity would take responsibility for itself when religion lost its chokehold. For our own survival’s sake, let us dispel the sickness we all suffer from that compels us to deny responsibility for the reality all around us in divinely ignorant idealism.