By Gregg Braden
During the last years of the Cold War, I had a front row seat as a senior systems designer in the defense industry to one of the most frightening times in the history of the world, and the thinking that led to it. During the last years of the most potentially lethal, yet undeclared, war in human history, the super powers of the United States and the former Soviet Union did something that seems unthinkable to any rationally minded person today. They spent the time, energy, and human resources to develop and stockpile somewhere in the neighborhood of 65,000 nuclear weapons — a combined arsenal with the power to microwave the Earth, and everything on it, many times over.
The rationale for such an extreme effort stems from a way of thinking that has dominated much of the modern world for the last 300 years or so, since the beginning of the scientific era. It’s based in the false assumptions of scientific thinking that suggest we’re somehow separate from the Earth, separate from one another, and that the nature that gives us life is based upon relentless struggle and survival of the strongest. Fortunately, new discoveries in the fields of genetics, biology, physics and archaeology have revealed that each of these assumptions is absolutely false. Unfortunately, however, there is a reluctance to reflect such new discoveries in mainstream media, traditional classrooms and conventional textbooks. In other words, we’re still teaching our young people the false assumptions of an obsolete way of thinking based in struggle, competition, and war.
While we no longer face the nuclear threat that we did in the 1980s, the thinking that made the Cold War possible is still in place. This fact is vital to us all right now for one simple reason: For the first time in human history the future of our entire species rests upon the choices of a single generation–us–and the choices are being made within a small window of time–now. The best minds of our time are telling us that we must act quickly to avert the clear and present danger of a host of new crises that are converging in a “bottleneck” of time covering the first years of the 21st Century.