“Folks, it’s time to evolve. That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right?”
― Bill Hicks
In my early thirties I signed up for a two year course training to become a yoga instructor. I remember a discussion with a fellow student, in the Bhagavad Gita class, who espoused the theory that homo sapiens had gone through many incarnations and had always managed to destroy itself. He refused to believe that humans had only walked the planet for thousands of years when the earth was billions of years old. His theory was not a shock to me as we certainly do have a knack for anger, hate, self destruction and dancing to the tune of politicians who steer us to war. If Social Media was programmed to eliminate hateful users there would be very few survivors. (Latest scientific theory is that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and we, the current species of homo sapiens have populated it for 200,000 years).
Also in my yoga days, I became a vegetarian, decided to try AHIMSA and took a vow to do no harm to any life form. When my wife would scream at me to remove a spider from the house I would spend hours trying to capture the spider and remove it unharmed to the outside world. I invariably ended up pulling its legs off and consigning it to the outside world crippled and misshapen, to live the rest of its life in agony. The path to hell is paved with good intentions. My AHIMSA vocation came crashing to a halt because of my allergic reaction to the yellow jacketed wasp. One afternoon while relaxing on the patio, soaking in the sun’s rays, a wasp landed on my arm. I froze and very carefully reached out my hand to flick it away. Feeling irritated I then searched for the fly swatter and went to war with the wasps killing about eight in an hour. It was either them or me, survival at its most primal. My irritation subsided when a vision of a giant hamburger floated in front of my eyes and I said “that’s it, a sign from God ” . So ended my vegetarian and AHIMSA period. It had lasted three months.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein
So how do we survive our innate instincts to lash out and destroy that which we don’t understand or feel threatened by? The conclusion I have come to is to treat human life as sacred. I have a feeling of awe and reverence towards human life. I remind myself of the miracle of conception and the baby taking form within the womb, growing cell by cell possibly evolving into an Einstein or Madame Curie. I meditate on what a unique being I am, a whole micro eco system thriving within my body. I never to cease to wonder at the working of the brain, of being conscious and self-aware. We should all be self aware, to be the ripple in the pond reaching out trying to improve the conditions of life wherever we go. This includes acting positively on social media when our instincts want to lash out.
I don’t know if we need new institutions but we certainly need to renew present institutions. Religious institutions needs to evaluate its dogmas and update them in light of modern discoveries instead of being stuck in the past. They need to put its followers before the preservation of the institution. Political ideologies need to tone down their rhetoric and not be so polarizing. We should order our civilizations around ideas that are species preserving, life preserving and life advancing. Nietzsche’s ideas not mine. We have to try because our technological achievements are outstripping our mental capacity to keep pace. If we have evolved over the last 200,000 years, how are we evolving into the future? Have we reached our evolutionary limit? Can we progress and overcome our base natures before we destroy ourselves? I am somewhat optimistic. All I can do is ensure I do my best to evolve in my thinking and actions, and the rest is up to how others behave. I like the concept of building the City of God. But I’m going off topic. I’ll have to save that for another day.