With everything that’s going on these days, it’s fairly tempting to predict that we’re pretty close to “ruining” what we have on this planet – the chance at living. If harmonious coexistence with one another and the life-systems of the natural world are essential factors in ensuring our survival then, given how we’re doing on those fronts, things aren’t seeming entirely hopeful.
It’s just interesting to contemplate all the insight we now have, all the power to shape our future, yet all the rabbit holes we’re being drawn into that might easily threaten any stability that remains (Notes One). It’s incredible how greatly things have changed in the last hundred years or so; and, how quickly we seem to be starting to see it all as normal.
Isn’t “normal” a sense of relationships, meaning, engagement, causality? Having a realistic understanding of where we stand in life and what all of our choices, thoughts and actions really “mean” for the world and every living creature within it (Notes Two). Isn’t “that” the picture of normal, healthy, sustainable existence – the perfect example of which perhaps being that of nature, before we overstepped our boundaries.
Where, then, do we stand now in relation to the world around us? How aware are we of all our lives depend upon and all that our decisions – conscious or otherwise – are bringing into effect? Modern life, in so many ways, is demanding so much more of us. Much as the assistance of technology is superficially making our lives easier, the ramifications it has for us all, individually and collectively, are incredibly difficult to quantify.
If life’s a question of knowing ourselves – who we are, our worth and relationships – and interacting wisely so nothing valuable is lost and everything essential is allowed to remain, how are we to establish that in the face of these challenges? And how much, at this point, is effectively the human psyche run amok over the planet? Our greed, insecurity or intolerance stretching out to make themselves felt the world over.
In a way, modern life seems to be testing us on every level: throwing every conceivable temptation or distraction our way; hiding traditional forms of regulation, such as consequence or social scrutiny; pressing all the buttons guaranteed to drive us crazy with anger or despair. Isn’t this unrelenting demand for awareness and presence of mind asking something more of us all?
But then, evolution’s arguably “always” a question of how best to move forwards. Can we do so by becoming dependent on externalities; letting the “ease” of life now blind us to its inevitable complexities; feeling the justifiable uncertainty of no longer understanding our lives or precisely what they mean? How do we stand against “all this” and become more human, not less? (Notes Three)
Of course, it’s not at all easy to encapsulate the challenges modern life’s presenting us with, let alone agree on ways of addressing them. But can we afford not to try guiding things in slightly more life-affirming directions?
Notes and References:
Note 1: Power and potential
Note 1: Mastering life’s invisible realities
Note 1: Life’s never been simpler…
Note 2: Any escape from cause & consequence?
Note 2: How do ideas find their place in the world
Note 2: Things with life have to be maintained
Note 2: True relationship within society?
Note 3: Problems & the thought that created them
Note 3: Losing the sense of meaning
Note 3: Imperfection as perfection?
Note 3: Questions around choice
Note 3: Cutting corners