Evolutionary Unique Self, Outrageous Love & the Unique Self Symphony (Part 6)

Taken from a first draft text from the forthcoming book The Path and Practice of Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid, this series elaborates on a critical advancement of the Unique Self Dharma that Dr. Marc has developed after Your Unique Self was published.

Continued from part 5.

The Second Shock

We now come to our postmodern age. Since the early farmer we have evolved through at least six major structure stages of cultural consciousness. We have entered deeply into the postindustrial, informational age, and death confronts us once again. Just as we are intuiting the first, faint glimmerings of being able to defeat personal death, a far more devastating world death looms on the horizon: the second shock of existence. The second shock of existence is the realization that our contemporary vision of success has failed and we are about to destroy ourselves.

First, our runaway technological success threatens a global crisis of dangerously dwindling supplies. We are running out of resources. We have cut down too many trees and dramatically affected the core structure of our climate. We have used the oceans as our dumping ground for our waste, including nuclear waste. The nuclear storage sites are housed in shocking conditions such that nuclear waste seeps into the ground. The meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant during the tsunami in Japan in 2011 continues to cause structure damage to our environment with implications we cannot yet begin to imagine.

The surface of the earth cannot breathe. Ecology is an incredibly subtle exchange between the earth, the soil, the creatures who live in the soil, the animals, the birds and the insects. The balance of life is subtle. We breathe each other’s breath. When certain species are destroyed, then other species are distorted and the entire system has been thrown out of balance.

Just tracing the potential consequence of bees dying off is shocking by itself. Many of the birds which kept the pine beetles in check are endangered species. The birds die out. The insects that attack trees are no longer in check. They gather in the pines and the pines begin to die. A thunderstorm hits, lightning strikes and wild fires destroy not fifty, but a thousand acres.

Add to that greenhouse gases, refrigeration and air conditioning. The atmosphere heats up and holes are punctured in the ozone layer, and climate change induced by human factors is upon us. All of these are contributing to the second shock of existence. Meanwhile, nuclear weapons are beginning to proliferate and advanced missile systems are being sold to terrorist militias.

Second, the failure of our current model is in our very definition of success. Success is considered primarily an achievement of the individual, group of individuals or the individual state. In our collective vernacular, success begs the question ‘have I succeeded?’ or occasionally ‘have we, the company or even the country succeeded? This vision of success is rooted in the limited, narcissistic consciousness of the separate, ego self run amok. The current model of success is not understood in a global and evolutionary context. Therefore, as people begin to improve their economic lot they want all the comfort and prosperity of developed nations. More and more upper echelons go into finance, creating wealth but not new value. Jobs are not created. Investments in infrastructure that benefit the entire system are non-existent. The gap between the wealth and the poor has grown too large to be sustainable. For example, in India, the poor population consists of hundreds of millions that live barely above the level of animals. They cut down their trees for timber or to trade for food and cash. The poor think in terms of survival and cannot hold a global consciousness. Accordingly, individual successes are producing a series of devastating externalities, which are about to cause a system-wide failure.

Whether the sense of impending doom comes from growing awareness around ozone depletion, peak oil, global warming and climate change, rogue nuclear threats, over fishing the seas, or unsustainable business practices the result is the same. Huge global threats face our planet. Those threats could easily result in the loss of billions of lives. Those who will be hardest hit are the most vulnerable and destitute among us. Those threats could also destroy nature, as we know it. The threats could easily be a death sentence on all of reality. The second shock is the possible death of our species.

What does it do to a child to be raised in fear that the world she knows will, in all likelihood –according to the standard prediction of climate change’s effect –be destroyed? What does it mean to grow up in death’s shadow? Noah’s flood is being predicted again, and life goes on as usual. Why? Because if we truly let the fear in we would not know how to respond. The threat is too large. What are we, as individuals, to do?

When we say we live in a world of outrageous pain we are referring not only to personal pain but also to the second shock of existence. The outrageous pain includes the personal pain magnified billions of times. But outrageous pain also includes the devastating planetary crisis of resource and environments. This crisis is directly caused by the modern and postmodern failure to enact a vision of self and success that is sustainable, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Every major threat confronting us requires a global response. And, we have the technical capacity to gradually, but effectively offer significant response to every single crisis. What we lack is not technology or ingenuity, but a shared narrative. Even as each individual is powerful and potent, we have no common language of meaning to unite us. We urgently need a new story. We need a pooled vision and a joint horizon. We need a normative narrative, which will allow us to create a space of ‘we’ beyond the seemingly powerful veils of separation. If it is to hold us together and inspire us towards tomorrow, it must be a love story. Not an ordinary love story. An outrageous love story, a flag of outrageous love values around which we can rally. It is only the lived realization, cognitively, emotionally, and bodily that the universe is an outrageous love story that will enliven us and enact the next stages of our evolutionary enlightenment. Without such a narrative, separation feels insurmountable, boundaries impermeable and borders hostile. But, when we articulate a collaborative, spirited language, the evolutionary intimacy manifested by the shared narrative would allow us to respond in symphonic unison across cultural and geographical boundaries, healing the challenges that plague the planet.

To be continued…