Man always carries his whole history and the history of humanity with him.
Carl Gustav Jung
Many years ago I had the thought that at this point in human history it will be a matter of involving large parts of the population in decision-making processes. Gone are the days of authoritarian rulers. At least then, if something really new is to emerge.
I should perhaps mention that I have always been interested in how humanity has developed into what it is today. With all its light and dark sides. And above all, today I am more interested than ever in where the journey is going. Where it could go. What would be logical if one assumes that the principle of evolution is change, the development towards ever more complex forms of life and consciousness?
What does a look into the past show me?
First of all, it shows me that the way we humans perceive the world we live in and ourselves has changed again and again over the millennia. And this has a lot to do with the development of our brains and especially with how we use them.
Reality (as a synonym for the true nature of the world) is a questionable construct. The reality in which most of humanity lives today is that of being separated from nature. Modern“ human beings live in a world of objects that exist separately from one another and in which relationships with one another are shaped by considerations of utility. Because we are conditioned in a way that is based on hierarchical thinking, we learn from the very beginning to discriminate (separate) and to value.
This new era in human history began with the advent of agriculture. What we experience today as an aberration – the terrible conditions in factory farming, but also the destruction of fertile soils through overuse and overfertilisation, the contamination of water – it was laid as a seed from the beginning. Why? – Because the earth became property. Because the raison d’être of living beings has since been made dependent on their usefulness to humans. Because this goes hand in hand with the devaluation of living nature. And with it also began the devaluation of the feminine. The original concept of understanding nature as our habitat, which gives us gifts and needs our care, has given way to a concept of subjugation and exploitation.
For us, this way of thinking about the world is indeed reality, insofar as it determines our being in the world, our relationships, our actions and our personal reality.
But there are other realities elsewhere in the world, remnants of past eras in which humans still see themselves as part of nature and use the possibilities of their brains to communicate with it.
And they are slowly but surely coming back into our field of vision.
At this point, I would like to refer to Christoph Röhrs‘ letter to the editor. I had written in an earlier text that I find the concept of subjugation mirrored in the biblical quotation „subdue the earth“.
I have to admit – I have a hard time with religions in general. Unlike spirituality, which needs no institutions, no interpretations and regulations by experts, not even special houses of worship, religions have placed rulers at the head of their institutions who exert(ed) farreaching influence on the lives of their „flocks“. One had to submit to this. I recall the persecutions of witches. In my birthplace there is a so-called witch tower. In the 14th century, alleged witches, and occasionally also sorcerers, were actually tortured here. The medieval instruments of torture can still be seen there today.
The structure of the institution of the church as such favours a concentration of power and with it the abuse of power. I am sure that Jesus of Nazareth, whose birthday is coming up again these days, would have been a resolute critic of this development.
The term (note: subservient) appears in many Grimm fairy tales and has a clearly different meaning there. It refers to different positions of people in the social structure and, in connection with persons usually called king or queen, stands for their caring attitude in leading people entrusted to them. There have always been such leading people, and this was quite justified; they were the spiritual elites who are and were necessary to pave the way for a purposeful evolution.
(from the letter to the editor by Christoph Röhrs, see the section Letters to the Editor)
In principle, I am not interested in a „reckoning“ with the past, with persons or institutions. In my text on the Maya calendar I wrote:
If we assume that all historical developments are inevitable steps on the way to the development of consciousness, then an insistence on apportioning blame (evaluations, condemnations) is not helpful because it divides humanity.
This does not mean, however, that an examination of the past is superfluous. This includes questions such as why patriarchy was able to establish itself in such a sustainable way, even though the cooperative principle of early hunter-gatherer communities had proven successful over such a long period of time.
One of the essential questions, I agree, is indeed what it takes today to pave the way for purposeful evolution.
We look back to a past in which roles were clearly distributed. Already at birth it was clear „how far“ one could go. The „common“ people could neither read nor write and most spent their entire lives in close proximity to their place of birth. They were dependent on the whims of nature and those of their liege lords.
Often life was a „struggle for survival“. Since they never got to see anything but their own kind, their perspective was limited. Things are different today, in the 21st century, at least in the western industrialised nations. Attending school is no longer a privilege, but a duty. Many people have the opportunity to travel and get to know other cultures. With the internet, global communication has reached a new dimension.
And even if we are still far from equal opportunities – the individual has many more opportunities to gain knowledge. And that is not only pleasing, it is also necessary. Necessary in view of the immeasurable creative potential that is still not being used because too many people are excluded from areas where the „creation“ of reality is at stake.
The elites have always been the privileged – landowners (often aristocrats), factory owners and merchants. A change in the conditions of which they were – and are – the beneficiaries was not and is not in their interest today. So can we expect the impulses to initiate fundamental changes from the elites?
The question of where we come from and where the journey is going has also preoccupied the evolutionary biologist and anthropologist Carel van Schaik and the historian and literary scholar Kai Michel. Together they have written two interesting books: „The Diary of Mankind. What the Bible reveals about our evolution.“ (2016) and „The Truth about Eve“ (2020).
In their first book, they try to trace the extent to which religious and cultural ideas take into account the changed living conditions of sedentary people and what the Bible tells us about how people dealt with the new challenges.
Here I would like to take up the thesis of the „three natures“ of man.
The first nature is our innate feelings, reactions and preferences. They have developed over thousands of years and proved their suitability in the everyday life of small hunter-gatherer groups. (…) First nature speaks out as intuition and gut feeling. The existential problems brought about by the new, sedentary life were so urgent that quick cultural solutions were needed, leading to new habits, conventions and mentalities. (…) The third nature we call our rational nature. These are those culturally anchored maxims, practices, institutions that we follow on the basis of a largely conscious rationality – for example, as a result of a purposeful situation analysis.(…)
( Carel van Schaik, Kai Michel: „The Diary of Mankind. What the Bible reveals about our evolution.“)
Now it is not the case that one „nature“ has completely replaced the others. Rather, the coexistence of these three „natures“ leads to inner conflicts. For „Natures two and three are cultural products. They can hardly make us happy.“ (ibid.)
How could they? After all, the separation from nature does not correspond at all to our original feelings. That this is the case could be an advantage in the process we are currently in.
What happens when a living being is permanently forced to live against its nature? Will it be able to fulfil its potential? Will it be able to live in harmony with the world, to remain physically and psychologically healthy?
Is the state of the world not a clear indication of an inner and outer balance that is out of joint?
Scientific understanding has dehumanised our world. Man stands isolated in the cosmos. He is no longer interwoven with nature and has lost his emotional involvement in natural events, which until then had had a symbolic meaning for him.
C. G. Jung
We behave on this earth like children who are excited about what the earth has to offer and what can be done with it. The earth is just showing us our limits. Children have to try things out. They cannot and should not limit themselves. But since we are no longer children, but already teenagers, some of the consequences of our actions would have already been foreseeable. But we just couldn’t stop „gambling“.
Now it is time to come to our senses and ask ourselves: Who am I? Where am I? What do I have to give?
In order to make good, „adult“ decisions, a person needs valid information, a good general and sometimes expert knowledge, in order to be able to place them in a larger context. In addition, we need experience. Only then does an accumulation of information become knowledge.
Sensation establishes what is actually there. Thinking enables us to recognise what what is there means. Feeling, what it is worth. And finally, intuition points to the possibilities of whence and whither that lie in what is presently there.
C. G. Jung
I know, that many people suffer from being excluded from decision-making processes. In a less hierarchical world, we would have completely different possibilities to create open spaces in which doing things together is a joy and sets creative processes in motion. And if we had to spend less energy on asserting ourselves against the competition, there would also be more time for our own maturing process, the connection we feel to the cosmos and the care for what is entrusted to us. The feminine principle would regain its rightful place alongside the masculine and balance would be restored. In many places this other way of living is already being tested.
Nothing is impossible, because nothing is without alternative.
Your vision becomes clearer only when you can look into your own heart. He who looks outward dreams; he who looks inward wakes up.
C. G. Jung