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Center for Enlightened Leadership

We’re All Feeling It!

  Adam Sokolow
  Adam Sokolow
Senior Advisor

We’re all feeling it! Our lives seem to be speeding up at an ever-increasing pace while at the same time we feel as if we’re pushing against a headwind that is inhibiting our ability to keep pace. We’re able to instantaneously know about events occurring anywhere on our planet and have what seems like the world’s sum total of knowledge available to us through our cyber search engines; we can literally stay connected with anyone on the planet in real time yet we are personally feeling alienated, with a sense that we’re living in a world which is increasingly becoming more incomprehensible. And while we are enjoying the benefits of marvelous technologies that have increased our range and power, there seems to be a pervasive discontent, a fear that we are losing control over our lives. Some would argue that this is simply a 21st-century version of what humanity has experienced periodically in the past. But I believe that we are living in a pivotal time that is quite distinct from most other times in both complexity and scale.

The convergence of the shadow side of our social and technological advancements—the rapacious exploitation of our natural resources along with the toxic polluting of our natural environment, exponential increases in our world’s population growth (the seven-billionth person was just born), an ever-increasing divide between the superrich and everyone else, the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and the impotence of the political class to effectively address any of these issues—has brought humanity to a critical juncture. Despite having the means to effect changes on a global scale as never before in human history, we face the very real possibility of bringing about a negative quantum shift in the quality of our own lives as well as those of future generations.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If we reframe the problems that we face as a wake-up call, then we can seriously begin taking appropriate actions that will ensure a more positive future. And we have the means to do this. All that’s really necessary is our collective will to do so. Difficult but not impossible, and it is absolutely essential that we begin now!

It may be easier to get a perspective on the macro view of what is currently unfolding if we place ourselves in the developmental arc of history through mythological storytelling. These days, most of us are feeling the tension between the possible unfolding of two diametrically opposed mythological futures: Armageddon and the Age of Aquarius.

The Armageddon myth is apocalyptic and religious in nature. This view is quite pessimistic about humanity’s ability to positively direct its own fate, and consequently the Earth needs to be divinely cleansed in a final violent confrontation between the forces of good and evil where “The Chosen” are redeemed by God and transported into a celestial safe haven while “Those Left Behind” must fend for themselves in a degraded physical world. Contrast this pessimistic view of humanity’s ability to set things right with the spiritual myth of “the coming of the Age of Aquarius,” which by the way unfolds from the same set of present-day circumstances. But in this positive possible future, humanity finally wakes up to the challenge and takes a more enlightened activist role in cooperation with divine forces to create that life-sustaining safe haven for all right here on Earth.

We can recognize the underpinnings of these two mythologies churning not too far beneath the surface of much of the social and political rhetoric of our contemporary culture wars. For example, the environmentalists are trying to protect the “common good” of our natural legacy for future generations, while the other camp’s view is aptly summed up in the words of James Watt, Secretary of the Interior during the Reagan administration: “I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns.” And: “If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or at the ballot box, perhaps the cartridge box should be used.” So how you answer this simple question—Is our planet heating up because humanity is producing too much greenhouse gases through overreliance on fossil fuels?—is pretty much a litmus test, consciously or not, of which side of the mythological divide you are on.

Within the context of these two overarching contemporary relevant mythologies that represent respectively the polarities of fear and hope, pessimism and optimism, and the need for external divine intervention versus relying on the creative resiliency of humanity’s God-given right to self-determination, there are two more mythological tales that have relevance to our present-day storytelling.

The story about the lost civilization of Atlantis is a clear warning shot across our bow to pay heed unless we want to suffer the same fate. The people from Atlantis brought about their own destruction because they unleashed powerful technologies that were beyond their moral and ethical ability to control. This sounds like a fairly accurate description of the dilemma we face today—for example, with our double-edged technological advances in genetic and nuclear engineering.

The last story, left to us from the Mayan civilization, informs us that if we are willing to make the effort to recognize the patterns of what is going on around us now, we most certainly can chart our own course toward a positive future. We are currently only a year away from December 21, 2012, the end date of the Mayan calendar. Beyond this date they were silent. The ancient Mayans were astute stargazers with an uncanny ability to recognize the confluence of external events, which were synchronous to archetypical patterns of human behavior. And what they predicted was basically this: At this time in human evolution, there will be great shifts in how we experience ourselves and the world in which we live. Using a contemporary computer analogy, what they implied was that if indeed we want to have a future, now is the time that we need to upgrade and reboot humanity’s spiritual operating system.

These aforementioned mythological stories, however, are in fact just stories that perhaps have no real anchor in our scientifically verifiable materialistic reality, yet they do have relevance to us, for stories have always been an effective way in which humans explain the world (and ourselves) to ourselves. They serve as miraculous artistic mirrors that reflect back to us our fantasies, our unspoken hopes and fears, and the truth of the distortions that we wish to hide from ourselves.

Therefore, these four mythological stories coalesce into a relevant contemporary tale of a warning and hope. The warning is clearly embedded in the Mayan and Atlantis tales: Recognize that there are catastrophic consequences to what you’re doing wrong, so get honest with yourself and change your behavior, or you will cease to exist. The Armageddon mythology seems to be a self-fulfilling paranoid prophecy, wherein some among us are committed to bringing about the very things that they fear the most. And the Aquarian tale holds out the possibility that we really can start listening to our higher angels and start doing the right things for the right reasons so that everyone benefits.

Okay, this sounds very inspiring, but we all fear that there’s nothing we can do to really change anything. We’re living in a world of powerful forces beyond our control, we have a political system that no longer seems responsive to the will of the people, governmental and corporate entities have rigged all the games in their favor, our media hyperbolizes any issue for a buck, and freedom itself seems to have been redefined by how much money you have.

Here’s the trick, so pay close attention: The above paragraph is simply another fear-based mythology construct, a story that we tell about our world and ourselves to ourselves. Sure, it’s a powerfully reinforced story because there’s some truth to it, but it’s not the whole truth, and you simply don’t have to buy into it. It would be more helpful to you and everyone around you if you committed yourself to become the actual embodiment of a hope-based story that is grounded in the belief of your own free will and self-determination to create a positive future for yourself and everyone else.

I feel very strongly about what I have just conveyed to you because this is, in essence, the core message of what all the people I know within positivist life-affirming spiritual communities are talking about right now.

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