Friday, April 30, 2010

Is this our existential moment?

Oil is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico at an alarming rate. The economy of Greece is or already has collapsed. The violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan grows daily. Pirates attack merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden. Wall Street bankers claim they did nothing wrong, in catalysing the "big dump" they foisted on the American people, 8 million of whom lost their jobs, income, confidence and for many their families.
Politicians talk about issues as if they were manipulating pieces on a chess board. Leaders everywhere, including Obama, have rarely more than 50% public support, if that. China, while pouring billions into the development of Africa, takes a strangle-hold on the U.S. economy, holding much of its debt. Iran and North Korea make ugly noises about nuclear weapons capability.
And North Americans are stuffing themselves with mostly what some might deem a mass death throe, trying to cope with too much information too readily available, too few agents of change and executive leadership who inspire trust and confidence, a quickly eroding sense that what used to matter no longer has relevance, and an emptiness of collective purpose, vision
and will to bring competing interests to a table, any table, to make better decisions to grapple with the multiple erosions.
Is this the global "Existential moment" when the world, collectively, grasps its own meaninglessness, and comes, collectively, collaboratively and quickly to its senses that only by concerted, long-term planning, holding all players' feet to the fire of commitment and delivery will we begin to bring calm to the seas of angst?
Is this the tipping point when history discloses that neither arms nor armies, hard power nor wealth, high technology nor low tech...hold real answers...but rather a common authentic grasp of the pan-threats, and a common and urgent need to humbly and honestly acknowledge both our fears and our vulnerabilities, and reach out to the best angels of each person everywhere now.
As the rabbi in the old legend that Scott Peck uses to introduce "A Different Drum" says, "The messiah is among you!" when the prior visits the rabbi to discuss the near collapse of the monastery, only to learn the rabbi is experiencing a parallel erosion in his synagogue. When we begin to expect and to gently seek and begin to hope that the messiah is among us, we have the hope that together we can, not conquer in some faux-triumphant way, but work through in the painstaking, and even painful and humbling way what seem like insurmountable complexities to us. And such a process is and cannot be exclusive to one country, one region, one faith or one poltical system or ideology.
And Greg Mortensen may be one of the prophets leading us out of our own blindness, arrogance and complicity with the ways of our past that have brought us here.

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