Photo by Katy Morikawa
We are living in pivotal times. Some call these the End of Days, others the Turning of the Ages, still others the end of the Holocene, which is a measure of geologic time. However you see it, most of us agree we face a number of crises. For me, climate change always tops the list, although there are others depending on the day.
My guide Aran, who you can read more about in the blog post About Aran, for which I have recorded audio (Episode 4 on the Katy Morikawa podcast) talks to me through imaginal dialogues. On this occasion, I was ranting about the state of the world.
He smiled at her. “You would not say that if you really remembered ancient times. Hammurabi was considered a great reformer in his day, but if you read the laws, they appear petty or brutal in many cases by today’s standards. Over the millennia, lawlessness and casual butchery have given way to increasingly higher orders of civilization and love,” he said. “Do not be distracted by the state of the world portrayed on the evening news.”
“What about the horrible corruption and corporate greed that persists behind the curtain?” she asked, suddenly outraged. “We are burning up our planet! While moneyed interests pay billions of dollars for propaganda campaigns to debunk climate change science! How is that an improvement?”
“Indeed,” he said. “Humanity is at a juncture it has not before approached, and so humans are adolescent, and inexperienced with the weight of responsibility that is only beginning to dawn on them. For millions of years, humankind has been subject to the environment, learned to adapt to it, but even as it has shaped it, has always remained subject to natural forces beyond its control. Now, for the first time ever, humanity has the power to shape the entire biosphere of Gaia. It is an awesome power and responsibility, that the human psyche has not yet adjusted to. The very concept goes against millions of years of instinct, although the instinct to shape the environment born ages ago has grown alongside the older more archaic instincts of awe and reverence for the forces of nature.”
“We are counting on these shaping instincts to move into the foreground. Once, awe and reverence were the foundation for a balanced and meaningful relationship with the Earth. Now they have rendered a rather too passive approach. What I mean is that humanity’s instinctive awareness of its smallness and powerlessness to affect something so large as planetary climate is delaying an appropriate response. It is time for humanity to grow up. For now, you are in the learning phase, and these times are always chaotic.”
He made things sound so reasonable, she thought.
He went on. “This is in large part what makes the stakes so high in the present time.”
At another time, she asked “Are we at a unique juncture?” “Yes,” he said reasonably. “Just as there have been other times when much was at stake.
As is so often the case, Aran’s perspective surpised me and felt infinitely more sane than my own ordinary thoughts. So I was happy for the input and it has inspired me to begin to take action wherever I can to combat climate crisis in my own small ways and to hopefully offer perspectives to help heal a fractured world.