It will soon be a new year and we are almost a quarter of the way into the first decade of the new century. Where are we heading now? What will happen to the human race? Will it overcome its shadow side and migrate to the stars, a vision of Star Trek, or will it annihilate itself, the way the Roman empire, the greatest empire on earth, the pride of the ancient world, whose brilliant legislature, political organization, unrivalled military might, grand architecture, innovative engineering and artistic achievements have now been relegated to dusty archives?
The future of humanity depends on awareness of its plight. Without awareness, extinction is highly possible. With awareness, a critical mass for change can happen.
At no time in the last ten thousand years since the Ice Age have we exhibited such astonishing genius or such abominable disregard for sentient life. Somehow we have arrived here in this new century despite the worldwide suffering and traumatic events of the past one.
The greatest peril facing our species may be the overpopulation of our planet. Our very success with science and technology to improve the survival of all human life may be our downfall. The current rate of growth is about 1.9 percent a year. This may not sound like an alarming figure but it means that the population doubles every forty years. Right now it is around 6 billion. By the end of this century it will be around 40 billion. By then, it will be too late to do anything. That is the current lifetime left for humanity unless we become sophisticated enough to migrate to the stars.
It seems that in the last century of the last millennium everything changed for humanity.
Sigmund Freud exposed our dark human instincts. Evil men dominated whole nations and slaughtered millions. Conquering people began to coexist with those that they had once subjugated. Economic power shifted from one part of the globe to another. And the rate of knowledge expanded at a bewildering pace. Never before had humankind experienced so much, learned so much, and been exposed to so much raw power that it had learned to harness from nature.
In this new century we find ourselves experiencing an expansion of the cultural and global patterns we created earlier, and our greatest strength, our raw power and unsurpassed intelligence, can also turn out be our greatest weakness.
What will happen to humanity? Will the currently existing outbreaks of war expand to become an Armageddon? Will political, economic, military, industrial, and religious rivalry outweigh any common sense? Will we simply overpopulate and pollute ourselves to death? Will the accelerating economic inequality and exploitation of natural resources create its own brand of chaos? Will prevailing human helplessness at the size of our global problems overshadow us or will we choose to become more aware, educated, cooperative and communicative?
Humanityâ€™s future has become extreme: it faces either an apocalypse or evolution to a species that will live in space-stations and travel in star-ships. Everything hangs in the balance based on what we do this century. We have survived the past, but if the same naive patterns continue into the future, we will not make it.
Ultimately, even if we can overcome our individual and collective shadows, even if human decency can outweigh primitive aggression, even if human collaboration is finally possible and human genius is allowed full self-expression, we have one last hurdle to overcome, otherwise the past millennium will have been the last one for our species. Each decade, the stakes are rising. The warning of futurists has fallen on deaf ears. The probability of perishing in the coming millennium is no longer science fiction, it is becoming observable fact to even the most indifferent and ill-informed people.
A time will come when we will need a new home. No force on earth can stop over-population other than widespread devastation due to belligerence or the depletion of limited resources. Our only possible hope is to become star travelers.
Will we be ready to make the new leap to the stars or will the light of human genius, hindered by territorial animal disputes, fail to rise to a level that will save our race from oblivion?
Instant communication and rapid travel has shrunk the world. Can we now use our global brain, the Internet, to communicate in a meaningful way to create a collective change in the consciousness of humanity? We owe this not to ourselves but to generations yet to come. Positive action has to happen this century, a critical mass of awareness has to be reached, otherwise the resulting chaos will be beyond control.
In the past, according to the literature of various traditions, avatars would show up to guide us to wisdom, but we persecuted them. As witnessed by the atrocities of the past century, our shallow intentions and brute instincts are still with us. The only hope for humanity is a collective renaissance of awareness, because only the birth of a widespread intelligence will prevent catastrophe. An expansion of mind and heart has to happen at a critical mass.
The future can no longer be a revalidation of the past. There is too much at stake. Intelligence has evolved us from the apes, but the lack of itâ€™s positive application may also be our nemesis. Alone as individuals, we will not have much of a chance of saving our planet, but collectively, there is no limit to human genius. Can we evolve to a species that colonizes space or will we perish before we get there?
The antidote to apathy and withdrawal is awareness.
Humanities emerging power of numbers, economic expansion, scientific exploration, and technological advances will be used for extinction not evolution. We have already grossly abused the power that we possess. Our power in all areas is expanding as our knowledge expands. Military toys are becoming deadlier; viruses are adapting to our most potent antibiotics and becoming unstoppably virulent; and ideological fanaticism is reaching a point where nuclear proliferation is not possible to contain. Awareness right now is our only hope. Unless, through awareness, humanity as a whole is willing to give up its conscious and unconscious hostilities, disaster is inevitable.
We can use the Internet to spread these ideas to every home and corporation and government in the world. Only 6 degrees of separation lie between us and anyone else in the world.
Without awareness, positive change is not possible. We owe it to generations yet unborn to spread awareness. This is the meme that will save our species. Awareness can blossom into knowledge and knowledge into positive action; but without awareness; through mere blind, reflexive living, chaos will erupt as surely as night follows day, or one century follows the next.
Please send this article to one or more people or post it somewhere. In a strange way, the fate of the world may have something to do with us. Let us act, each in our own small way, on an impulse, no matter how faint, to help the greater good.