“The End of the World is Nigh” is a slogan that has been repeated ever since human beings could formulate the concept. Prehistoric cavemen found meteorites, volcanos, unusual weather patterns, changes in animal behaviour, and other such omens to be portents of doom and imminent destruction.
In more recent times the end of the world has been predicted through interpretations of religious texts and the approach of important changes of dates, such as the change of millennium. The most widespread fear in the public consciousness recently was that the Mayan calendar would end on the 21st of December 2012 causing an Earth-shattering apocalypse. None of these prophecies have come to pass.
Nevertheless, the planet, or let’s be more specific, humanity is heading towards destruction. It’s not at all an optimistic thing to write about, but humanity has its collective head in a bucket of sand and something has to be done about it if there’s any hope of avoiding this messy destiny.
What are the omens of this impending doom?
In no particular order of importance we can list them like this:
- An unbridled capitalist system, based on the abstract concept that money (in itself an abstract concept invented by human beings) miraculously and continuously gains value over time, in which an ever-decreasing number of people control an ever-increasing wealth.
- Increasing and totally disproportionate military expenditure, justified by the incessant destabilisation of several regions of the planet.
- The continued dependence on a nuclear energy system which generates enough toxic material to destroy all life including the human species and which is not safe and results in catastrophic accidents once every 20 years or so, leaving territory uninhabitable and rivers and oceans poisoned.
- An exponentially growing population and a corresponding destruction of habitats for other life forms on the planet, together with increased pressure on natural (and finite) resources.
- A dependence on non-renewable forms of energy and a woeful underfunding of renewable energy sources.
Any one of these points, and most likely a combination of all five, will destroy humanity, or in the best scenario take the few survivors back to living in caves.
The point is that this destruction is coming, maybe in 10 years, maybe in 50 years, or maybe in 200 years, but it is coming. Whether we like it or not the direction of global events is clear:
- Increasing physical violence and civil unrest as a result of economic violence caused by the financial system.
- Incessant wars because the military-industrial complex has to keep on using weapons in order to justify buying and developing new ones.
- Nuclear power plants out of control, either as a result of natural disasters such as the recent Japanese tsunami, or through acts of terrorism.
- Increased population leading to an increased strain on resources, leading to famines, plagues and everything else that escaped from Pandora’s Box.
- A final end of fossil fuels without enough renewable sources of energy to compensate.
In this scenario humanity will come to a violent and tragic end.
Is there a way out?
The good news is that there is a way out, the bad news is that those who benefit most from the current system are not going to like it, and as it is these people who control government, business, the media and the military, it is doubtful whether they will allow the current system to change until everything is out of control and it’s too late to stop the destruction.
The way out is difficult and complicated and it requires a huge commitment to a process of change in all spheres of human activity. But it is possible…
What is the way out?
The way out will come through a change in human consciousness and it will require a certain attitude to be adopted by the vast majority of the human race. We can describe this attitude as a “humanist attitude” which was first outlined by the Argentinean Master, Silo, as follows:
- Placing the human being as the central value and concern, in such a way that nothing is above the human being and no human being is above another.
- Affirming the equality of all human beings.
- Recognising personal and cultural diversity, affirming the characteristics proper to each human group and condemning discrimination, whether motivated by economic, racial, ethnic, or cultural differences.
- Developing knowledge beyond the limitations imposed by prejudices accepted as absolute and immutable truths.
- Affirming the freedom of ideas and beliefs.
- Repudiating violence in all its forms.
Once this attitude has been established in humanity, the changes actually become quite straightforward, because point 1 in itself is enough to revolutionise society.
Clearly, such a widespread attitude would result in these changes among others:
- A new economic system, eliminating the capitalist model and interest accumulation, possibly based on cooperative models, or other systems based on the concept of fair remuneration for work undertaken as part of one’s social responsibility.
- The end of military spending, including nuclear weapons and the massive reduction of armed forces and their conversion to security services, especially useful for deployment to bring assistance in times of natural disasters.
- The elimination of nuclear energy and huge investment in ensuring that the millions of tonnes of nuclear waste remain safe for ever, or until science discovers a way to safely transform radioactive material to a non-radioactive state.
- A stable population caused by the elimination of poverty and increased sensitivity towards social responsibility.
- A transformation of all energy sources to renewable ones.
Other side-effects would include good quality and free health care and education, social security for the most vulnerable in society and the elderly, the freedom of movement for all human beings, a spirituality not based on religious dogma but on the simple principle of treating others the way you would like to be treated, etc.
This world has been referred to by Silo as the Universal Human Nation and it is a dream that is appearing in the consciousness of a small yet increasing number of people.
What is one to do?
It can feel like an impossible task to create a Universal Human Nation. The people who believe in this ideal are few, and the resources they have are tiny compared to what the current system has available, yet no one should despair.
The task for each one of us is to find as quickly as possible all those who share this New Sensitivity. The people are there even if in most cases they are people who are so stressed by their lives that they don’t even know they share this sensitivity.
Our task is to give a signal, to wave a flag, to sound an alarm. Silo talked about the Doctrine of Awakening and this is exactly our task. We need to wake people up from their anaesthesia and plug them in once more to their sensitivity and to the current of humanism which is the only way out of the impending disaster.
There are many ways to participate in this current; through Communities of Silo’s Message, through organisations launched by the Humanist Movement, and there are other similar currents going in a direction which also share the humanist attitude. All of these expressions must be used, groups and communities must be formed and all of us should take the opportunity to awaken those in our immediate environment and as far as our influence can reach.
In 2004 Silo said, “Because this is not the end of History, nor the end of ideas, nor the end of mankind; neither is it the definitive triumph of evil and manipulation. And so we can always carry on in our attempt to change things and to change ourselves.”
The end of the world is approaching, there is no doubt and the vehicle we are travelling in is going very fast and is very hard to steer, yet the end of the world is avoidable and with a great effort by those of us awake we can create a Universal Human Nation. Isn’t it worth trying?