“It’s just the way things are.” “Things have always been this way.”
I’m sure you’ve been told things like this before. As I’m sure your parents were, and their parents, and their parents’ parents, and their parents’ parents’ parents! Yet, it is said that people from every era believed theirs was a unique time in history: surely there was never an era that just felt like waiting at the bus stop of history.
Still, I would bet my music collection that a common belief in every era was that things would never change: the status quo would ever remain. Even now the idea “this is just how things are” is, for some, a tightly guarded dogma.
So, I’d like to go on a bit of a rant about how the times we live in right now are especially extraordinary. This is the only time in (recorded) history where:
- We’re everywhere! Humans have fully inhabited every inhabitable land on the Earth (even Antarctica, the least hospitable destination on Earth);
- We’re all in touch! Humans are almost constantly and instantaneously connected, globally, through the Internet – a kind of artificial global mind; and
- Change is constant and widespread… The entire global population is in the midst of an unprecedented exponential transformation!
Flying right into the face of the Things-Will-Never-Change-Dogma is this undeniable fact: the “way things are now” came about virtually overnight relative to human history – or in an instantaneous flash relative to the *13.7 billion year history of the universe! (*If you’d like to read a brilliant analysis of this process, see Book of the Avatar: Cosmic History Chronicles Volume II, by Jose Arguelles and Stephanie South.)
Homo sapiens first appeared about 200,000(!) years ago, and it was only about 5,500 years ago when (what we call) civilization began. For almost all of our history, human culture (and population) was very steadily and slowly growing, that is, until the Industrial Revolution, roughly 300 years ago. At this point, the exponential transformation of our planet started to really take off! To give some perspective: 300 years is just 5.4% of 5,500 years and only 0.15% of 200,000 years…
So… maybe the Things-Will-Never-Change-Dogma is so persistent because it has been around for at least 5,000 years (if not 200,000 years!). Maybe change was just so slow and steady as to be unnoticeable to contemporary humans of most eras? Whatever the case, when the Industrial Revolution came about human population hit an exponential growth curve. In scarcely 300 years we went from 1 billion to 7 billion humans! That’s a 700% growth in just 5.4% of the history human civilization, or 0.15% of the history of human life…
In that abrupt yet intense acceleration the human biomass became like the atmosphere or lithosphere: a new spherical layer of the Earth! Concurrently, the human mind extruded from itself a pseudo-global-mind: the cybersphere/internet, training wheels for a truly global consciousness (noosphere). This is a pretty rapid and radical mutation… And we’re still in the midst of it!
Now we have a global population presenting the early stages of an incipient, or nascent global culture. And here’s what fascinates me: Although our global culture is certainly in its infancy, it connects cultures all over the world that have been evolving for centuries, or even millennia…
And in spite of the seemingly pervasive chaos in the world, what I see in people is a naturally growing appreciation (miles beyond plain tolerance) for other cultures, and diverse ways of thinking and expression. So, I just can’t help but be comforted by the perception that we really are becoming a planetary humanity.
As a result of this, several entrenched modes of thinking, organization and governance no longer make sense. Our arbitrary national borders fail to impede ever growing numbers of entrepreneurs who conduct global business online. Artists can collaborate across the planet without even leaving their living room. Spiritual leaders from completely different cultures can more easily interface and deepen their understanding of each other. My ultra-optimistic list goes on and on!
Becoming a planetary culture creates new opportunities for connection, understanding and creation which are totally unprecedented. Case in point: July 25 is the Day Out of Time, the only “holiday” introduced by the 13 Moon Calendar. It’s a day for celebrating Time as Art, and planetary peace through culture and has been observed around the world since 1992.
I’ve attended (and even organized some) Day Out of Time celebrations every year since 2002. What I love most about it is that people from any culture can celebrate a day of peace through culture. And since the focus is on art, the events often become an exposition of many diverse cultures which together become a larger work of “Whole Earth Art”, in tribute to our truly planetary nature! Find (or create!) an event in your area!