We have grown fat from pillaging the resources of the earth, a necessary period of intense growth.
It has brought us science, technology, democracy, and wealth. But it has also ravaged our planet, our societies, our minds and our bodies — global warming, the atom bomb, mass mental illness, unprecedented physical illness. The list goes on.
Our education system was built to produce factory workers, and it now churns out cogs for the corporate machine. For most, it never feels quite right, but there doesn’t seem to be any viable alternative.
But there is a growing discomfort and dissatisfaction with what is. There is a growing awareness that more consumption will kill us.
The Caterpillar Becomes the Chrysalis
So we fight the system, condemning corporations, blaming nation states, trying to pull down what has been built to stop it from causing more harm. This is a natural reaction, justified even. But destruction is not creative, it does not put anything sustainable back in its place. It does however, make way, create space for what comes next.
We cannot replace what is, until it is readily apparent that what is, is not working. There still exists a global illusion. Science will fix global warming. Robots will make life easier. The free market will spread wealth to the poorest.
How does the man logging in the Amazon feed his children if we forbid him to cut down trees? How do we get paid if robots take our jobs? Why does the gap between rich and poor continue to widen?
Are these the source of our problems or are they just symptoms of a deeper problem? Is our whole worldview in need of an update? Do we need to relook at whether the way we practice capitalism, democracy, science and education are fundamentally flawed?
We could say, “to each his own.” Let each person, each nation have their own beliefs, their own ways. Isn’t it best not to judge? But the problem is bigger than that now. It’s not national warming, its global warming. An invention of a self-driving car in America or Germany or Japan, once exported, make driving jobs everywhere obsolete. How can we blame China for the mass pollution when the iPhones and washing machines and toys we all use on a daily basis are made there?
Each caterpillar needs to be fed. It is easy for those well fed, cozy in their chrysalis, to say we should stop eating.
So in a sense, we need a revolution in each realm of society, a stronger push against the prevailing norms until realization comes that a fundamental change is absolutely necessary. Sometimes nature needs a fire to devastate an area to make it fertile again. When the world burns to the ground we create the conditions for something new to arise from the ashes.
The Chrysalis Releases the Butterfly
Before everything falls apart, what structures can we put in place to catch the pieces? What can we do to be ready to make sure we don’t have to start from scratch?
The butterfly sees from a radical new perspective. Taking flight and looking from above, history below reveals itself — from hungry caterpillar to stagnant chrysalis to beautiful butterfly. Would a butterfly blame a caterpillar for being hungry or a chrysalis for its impulse to breakdown what is?
What if we are all right? But only partially? What if the whole truth encompasses both opposing and conflicting worldviews? Only in different times and in different contexts?
As humanity we have the benefit of having individuals at different stages in the evolutionary process. Some butterflies find purpose in illuminating the way. Some caterpillars learn from the butterflies. And some chrysalises are in transition.
How can we take what we know from science, and from the most ancient traditions, as well as the intuition that arises within us to take this evolutionary leap?
The universe has birthed the stars. Our planet has birthed life. Life has evolved to become self-aware. We are a part of the universe evolving to be conscious of itself. How can we each play our role in consciously unfolding ourselves to continue the evolution of our universe?
The time has come where we are at a crossroads. We can eat ourselves into extinction, destroy what we have built or find a way through our hunger and destruction to emerge anew — the next stage on our evolutionary path.
Knowing all of this, I cannot sit idle. It’s not an impulse to ‘do’ that arises within me, but rather an impulse to ‘be’. It’s clear I have a unique and crucial role to play in this evolutionary story. So do you. So does every living human. We have made mistakes. We have also done a lot of good. We have the potential to bring more beauty, truth and goodness to the world.
We are the gatekeepers of a dawn of a new era, a turning point in history, an evolutionary step, where we, the incarnation of the universe itself, take hold of the reigns of the future and guide ourselves into our evolutionary potential. The future is literally in our hands.
As you break out of your chrysalis, taking the uniquely beautiful form nature has endowed you with, how will you use the shape, color and energy of your wings to fulfill your purpose? Who will you fly with? Which butterflies will you look to for guidance? How will you help the caterpillars and chrysalises on their evolutionary journey?
A flap of your wings could change the world.
I believe it will.
Also published on Medium.