We need a new way to live.
Whether it is the political stalemate in the U.S., the financial system that keeps failing most people or expensive health-care structures that don’t truly heal, the call for change is everywhere. Not just change. Fundamental change.
Future scenarios do paint a radically different world. However, most solutions are cast in terms of ever-more-clever technology. In fact, if today’s society is characterized by the interplay between technology, communication and the market economy, the conventional view of the future is more of the same: more technology, more communication and more market. Simply put: We’re waiting for an even more compelling iPad. Add to that more speed, and the future becomes an accelerated extension of the past. But that’s exactly what the hunter thought before the farmer replaced him. And the coachman never saw the automobile coming.
No, our future probably won’t be one in which technology, communication and the market dominate even more. “I don’t believe the science fiction like Star Trek where people are essentially the same 400 years in the future,” says renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. He predicts that biological systems will continue to evolve to keep ahead of electronic ones and rejects the idea that technological inventions will remain the focus in a world devoid of new social breakthroughs.
What, then, will the future look like? Many ancient traditions have predicted a new era. The Mayan calendar with its end date of December 21, 2012, is the most famous sign of such a new beginning. The stories of these traditions speak about a new phase of our development that is not about technology but about harnessing our inner potential. The promise is that we are at the threshold of a consciousness revolution. Some compare the opportunity to the cultural renaissance of 15th-century Italy, which made room for humanity in a world ruled by an omnipotent God. This spiritual renaissance opposes our god—the power of the market and technology—and offers humanity a new social place.
In past centuries, humanity has enthusiastically pursued the discovery of everything that can be seen and touched. The overwhelming question regarding the “why” of our existence—the understanding of consciousness—was shoved aside for the sake of convenience. But that doesn’t mean evolution can escape the question. In fact, physicists have been discovering ever-smaller particles. There is no smallest piece of matter. It seems that matter is ultimately dissolving in energy. At the same time, recent brain research shows that our thoughts—the proof of our consciousness—are energy as well. So it may well be that the science of matter is leading to the question of consciousness and bringing us closer to our biggest “why?”
History offers hope. Evolution is marked by trend-breakers. Problems lead to solutions. We’re not courting disaster. We are verging on a new face of humanity.
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