Imagine an orbiting ship crash and wreck a small group of technologically advanced humanoids on a finite system, an isolated planet perhaps in a lonely galaxy, like a very small island in the middle of the cosmic sea. You would think that the survivors rather than cannibalize each other, would collaborate and depend on mutual relationships for the benefit of the greater good.
If these humanoids implemented invasive actions that ransacked their new found home, their livelihood would irresponsibly degenerate quickly. It would be unrealistic to think of this island as expendable, entitling the survivors to exploit all the food and resources until depletion and then simply set sail to the next planet and then the next, creating one dump site after another ad infinitum. The throwaway mentality so familiar to our shrink-wrap take-out market of the early twenty-first century recklessly trashes all it encounters and perpetuates parasitic thinking.
What if this island contained another finite system lets say a forest, with roughly 1000 trees, the shipwrecked families would have to figure out how to generate food and shelter without depleting the forest. Evidently, if this wood was the only source of energy, in a matter of weeks no more trees would be left. No more shade would transform the micro climate and biodiversity under the canopy into a barren desert. One would think these people smart enough to prevent such disaster.
Lucky our shipwrecked families are blessed with cognitive furnaces; a breeding ground for ideas as evidenced by the blossoming of “Homo Faber” and the information age. Since necessity is the mother of invention, emerging solutions would soon flourish on this island. Real needs would sustain finite resources.
The first axiom to be understood by our stranded survivors is that unlimited growth and enterprise will tip the balance of available resources. The shipwrecked families would have to rely on clean energy and different social behaviors including more of a steady-state economy that would not interfere with the delicate biological structures of the forest protoplasm. The fragility of this island system has a thin critical veneer that can easily be broken.
However, aboard this mother ship, something went off course and the behavioral pathology of survival of the fittest arrived to offset human relationships. Greedy and self-absorbed individuals operating blindly for their self-interest became diluted and obsessed with addictions and control. This behavior corrupted the nucleus of patriarchal family members who had no interest in public collaboration. In competition, they became shortsighted losing perspective of the perennial species plan based on inclusive cooperation and compassion.
Collaborating for a greater good suggests surrendering self-interest for community service. Surrendering self-interest is not to the benefit of the ego-mind. Like the spoiled Western kid, the egotistic pathology of desire and cravings imposes its whims. This attitude set’s off “the attachment to stuff complex” or “accumulation syndrome,” this behavior generates scarcity in a finite system.
On this island, arrogant social predators have acted selfishly and wrecked the environment taking the rest of us to a critical point. The forest trees have become extinct along with the nutritious topsoil that sustains life. How could we be so stupid? Can somebody stop the insanity, might many of us step up to the sand hourglass maker awaiting the final chapter? The ascent of our technology will evolve into community activation. By understanding our fears and desires, we raise our collective consciousness. At that point, community arises and the ego takes a back seat.
The primal need for community service is at the heart of our ancestral connectedness. We have forgotten how to relate to each other and to the environment. In a system that generates abundance, the greater good does not disallow freedom to pursue individual passion, on the contrary it celebrates individuality. In a smart system, quality of life and community are primordial, with emphasis on empowering the individual. As a new norm, we can allow for creativity, innovation, education and nurturing the child within.
The nomadic groups of the Serengeti and Sub-Saharan Africa, work 20 hours a week and meet their primal needs, the rest of the time they engage in family, art, and contemplation. We need not be so industrious, especially when industry benefits only a small group of the people. Today we equate free time with doing nothing, dumbfounded by mass entertainment.
The industry behind innovation hooks us on a carousel of things, gadgets, and stuff we do not really need. Most of us spend our leisure distracted and mesmerized by these toys. If instead, we used our leisure time to activate community and system design, to grow internal technologies and art, we would be a star species light years ahead of our time, closer to a period where all work becomes playful.
In play, you are grateful and mostly present. Grateful for the gift of life, appreciative of the natural gifts that made possible the ascent of humanity. This playground has brought us far. We are now at a point of transcendence. In harmony with our mother island and not as masters of the land.
When we transcend we will realize that at the most fundamental level, nature is boundless and can give us infinite energy. Getting to the source of abundance in the energetic universe requires a leap in understanding. We must reconsider isolated and finite systems as only expressions of the radiated surface. On closer examination, we will realize we live in open systems full of energy, where living systems violate conservation of mass-energy laws and have negative entropy.
During the long cold winter of the Japanese Nagano Mountains, certain groups of Macaque monkeys fight and defend limited hotbeds around thermal springs. This gives survival advantages to one dominant clan over another.
Modern humans are capable of doing much better than this, in sync with what our hearts know is possible; spreading compassion and wisdom, living and sharing in abundance. Yes, climate factors are rough at the poles and extremes of this island, but moderate weather can be found in the tropical bulge around equatorial vectors. Nature has a way of capitalizing on almost all variable climates found on Earth. One example of this is the recent discoveries of pale fish living in Antarctica at great depth where mantle vents sheer lava and gasses into the ocean floor.
We live on abundant surface potential within the energy vacuum and we still have time to correct our course. We must realize the power of creation. Creation is fine tuned, it promotes forces that merge into unity. In unity, any disturbance in the field would disrupt the order and flow of the divine. The laws of thermodynamics are a constant on the skin deep scale and before we can devote time to go beyond the bubbling surface of materialism, we need to make peace with ourselves.
The overgrowth of water-lilies suffocating the pond and all life in the process, remind us that there should never be too much of a good thing inside the ego mind.
Like the shipwrecked humanoids of this story, we must together avoid self-destruction and matricide; perhaps then, undisturbed destiny will fulfill our mission to leave mother Earth-ship surface in grace.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carlos Cuellar Brown is a New York City media artist and essayist who has written on new media, social theory and metaphysics. His essays have been posted online by Opendemocracy, The Global Dispatches, The Pelican Web, Kosmos Journal, and STARDRIVE.
In 2013 his essay “Intermedial Being” was published by A Journal of Performance and Art PAJ #106 MIT Press Journals. In 2015 Mr. Brown was nominated for the TWOTY awards out of the Netherlands for his essay “Blueprint for Change”. He has been a regular columnist for Second Sight Magazine and Fullinsight.
His book, In Search of Singularity: Reflections and Chronicles from the End of Time, published 29 January 2017, is a series of reflections on the current cultural evolution from competition to cooperation, from patriarchy to reciprocity between humanity and the human habitat.