Are we ready for a new world? The old one reeks with a stale familiarity. We know all about it of course… it was given to us. It’s our inheritance. But what is really possible in this new world?
For more than 100 years now, there have been people trying to tell us something about ourselves that we have been gradually waking up too. Some come from western civilization, others from the east. Both traditions have been a precursor of this new world, where modernism and traditionalism must fuse to form either a new humanism, or a transhumanism.
What is this new world? Since man first stared into fire and wondered why the world is the way it is, we have made up stories about it to explain how it is. All over the world, since the bronze and iron ages, aboriginal peoples evolved separately to discover a higher level of understanding. We do not see our origins in this ancient past. Perhaps from an even more ancient civilization that the Earth has forgotten. Though we are different from our ancestors, we are in fact the same and of the same lineages. The fundamental commonality of our humanness is grounded in our ancestry and history. Now, like then, we are still evolving, however our world is now being transformed by our modern technology. While fire once lead to metallurgy, today it is our modern information technologies that are leading us toward our evolution. Today, our human culture is planetary, diverse in its origins and shared beyond all of our borders, and crossing over all regions and their boundaries. Tomorrow it will be the reality of human capabilities augmented with technological enhancements.
This is a living process. The new world is a blending and fusion of the old and the new. It is thesis and antithesis, the cultures of the east and the west converging, the unity of the material and the spiritual, the enlightenment of superstitions and the realization of transcendent by the sciences. In a new world we are all together as one despite our differences. All humanity is emerging in world culture living together in a fusion. If it succeeds, it will be a great reconciling force! A fusion of cultures, and a fusion of mankind with its technologies.
Mostly, in the world today, it seems as if the struggles of daily life for most people are material. Some parts of the world prosper and others barely survive. The difference is is that of technological development. However, conditions for more and more people are improving, and this is only one indication of the possibilities of global civilization organized intelligence to solve human problems. And yet, there is a question of the sustainability of our global civilization, and the ecology of our world. Given human impact on the world in which we live, a sustainable world is only possible when consensus and cooperation provide a universal integrity and work-ability. Technology cannot do it without out the human element. Is this really wishful thinking that we can actually get our affairs in order? This new world can only be based on finding common understandings about sustainability and using our technology in intelligent ways to augment our own capabilities. The realization of the truth of things that can only be seen by mind’s that observe what appears and that have no bias, and are willing to adapt in order to survive and thrive using the most effective means at our disposal.
We all have to give something up in this process of being transformed toward global civilization. Yet, this is the source of many of our challenges in the world today. That we are are unwilling to be transformed by what we discover in a process of observing what is emerging. Mostly we must give up our resistance to change. Can we see beyond pure self-interest, and see our collective security in cooperating and establishing a more sustainable balance. We see problems on our path, but we must realize the truth of them in the light of this new millennium we entered in the year 2000. These are our growing pains for the next 1000 years of human culture. If we do not grow in this process, we might not survive as a species. Mostly what we have to give up is what we have inherited from the past. This is the past that was based on tribal cultures, that grew to national cultures. This past is based on the principles of organization for materialist hierarchies inherited from civilizations. Since the bronze age, human civilization has been organized to dominant people, expropriate resources, and to consolidate power in active elites. What must come will be an adoption of some new beliefs, virtues, and attitudes, and a shedding of others. New ideas about sustainability and economics, and a return to holistic view about the world, in which cooperation rather than competition guides our evolution.
The power of our conversations in this process cannot be understated, nor negated. We perpetuate the past by conserving networks of conversation. It was through these networks that the old world successfully brought us to the verge of global civilization (largely as a function of the power of words). The transformation to a sustainable and cooperative world will also be a transformation of networks of conversation that conserve a new world that we could begin to inhabit by adapting together for a collective survival and systemic global equilibrium. We must understand that language is our fundamental technology. It is the natural evolution of our conversational ability to describe, to declare, and to question that is the key to the creation of this new world. But how? It is by continuously and publicly examining our beliefs, and challenging the beliefs of others, in order to discover what is true and what is false. By taking what is useful and discovering what can be verified. By appropriating what we discover to work in conserving and sustaining a new era of global cooperation, and making them our own. At the same time, by discarding what is useless, what does not work, or is harmful, and also that which is false or cannot be verified. We realize the necessity that we abandon ideas from the past that now hurt us and limit our ability to survive. This is also part of our transhuman future, that of recognizing that our own intelligence is a form of automation, created by nature, and it can be enhanced and augmented under human design.
Are we ready for the challenge of our transformation to sustainable living? This is an evolutionary process, so there will certainly be strains and struggles. As we drift toward it, there will be both extinctions and evolution of some cultures in a fusion toward a global human culture. In this process the stronger cultures will survive, and the weaker ones will perish and be absorbed and assimilated into the emerging culture . Nature has always been this way, but the outcome is never certain. Extinction is always an option. If it succeeds, this new world will emerge from the forces and influences that are now at work upon us. One of them, perhaps the most important, is the continued awakening of people to the realization of something true about our consciousness. There must be a transformation in our capacity to be responsible for the creation and maintenance of our world. It is possible that we can become something more than the tribal economic society as old as the Bronze and Iron ages which we have evolved from, and to finally emerge from Plato’s cave, to recognize the power of the fire which was a technology used to create shadows on the walls to deceive us, and to play a more conscious role in an emerging new world in which we are unshackled.
© Copyright 2020 Robert Fertman, All Rights Reserved. Substantially revised from an earlier essay from 2006.