While trying to assemble the human jigsaw puzzle in my mind, I have been keeping track of the missing pieces which must eventually spell the end of civilization as we’ve known it through history and as we sadly observe it today.
One of these major missing pieces is a sentient species’ sense of destiny. Most people, it seems, do not possess a personal sense of destiny – certainly not in any serious sense. The same is true of man as a species: it does not have a declared sense of destiny. The question to keep in mind while considering this problem is, “Can a sentient species call itself human and not have a sense of destiny?” (Question for another time.)
For millennia we’ve relied on the gods to map our destiny for us. We were “powerfully motivated” not to think about destiny except as decreed by the gods’ varied and various institutions and we responded with slavish obedience and mindless praise. The gods died, one by one, and one day when no one was really looking, they’d been officially replaced by crass materialism, Marxism and evolutionary Darwinism. What should have been a triumph of humanitarian accomplishments and freedom turned out to be a giant, possibly catastrophic, step backward for man and his little world. OK, backward is wrong. Better put, two giant steps sideways, one to the left and one to the right.
Whereas the gods had always offered specious promises of some type of eternal life thus unwittingly providing a bulwark against massive and unchecked growth and material exploitation, Marxism and Darwinism created the dead end, fall over, cliff into perpetual darkness. The new gospel proclaimed that an individual came from nothing and passed into nothing. The future of mankind was no longer to be found in spiritual development or mental expansion but would be tied to the vagaries of a mindless finite material universe. If a thinking individual thought of “the future” at all, it was in terms of some nebulous “future of mankind” or “future of the planet.”
The results of this approach were not long in manifesting. There came a rage to “live in the now” manifested as mindless consumerism and hedonism. Destiny, if it was even thought of in those terms, was understood as the bolstering, protection and expansion of the Status Quo as determined by a numerically shrinking, exponentially richer class of elitist individuals and “noble” families.
Our civilization is plunging into chaos because it isn’t aware of whether it serves a greater purpose, or none at all or whether it is just supposed to serve itself… at whatever costs to… whatever and whomever.
Before science took over man’s mind, the gods, or increasingly the great male god, provided man’s purpose and that dead end purpose was stated as “to praise, serve and obey god.” No other reason was given whereby man could find his purpose in life and if man refused to kowtow to god, his end would be inconceivably horrible. If he managed to jump through all the legalistic hoops and traps set out by the god’s priesthood, remaining on the straight and narrow every minute, he just might be saved. That kept some people very busy, very fearful and very poor. It also kept them very ignorant of everything, particularly of the cosmos they lived in.
Then science, or perhaps better put, pseudo science, prostitute of political and financial forces, took the upper hand, using obvious foolishness and fallacies of organized religion to push its own theories on how it all worked, onto civilization’s stage. It claimed the limelight and after a few lucky guesses, established itself as “the Voice” of reason and knowledge. Once established, it could now stick out its hand and receive the dues from the Status Quo that used to flow into Religion’s coffers. The same dirty money into a different set of bloody hands.
What did man get from that exchange of powers? A new pseudo destiny, probably best described by a novel I read once: Tomorrow, the Stars (Heinlein, if you must know!). Key word here? Tomorrow. Religion, all over again. Patience, hope, faith… and tomorrow you’ll have it, if you donate, believe, pay your taxes and accept marginalization. The problem with this is, “tomorrow” never comes. All the tomorrows of science were soon sold out to the highest bidder, and instead of “light ships” capable of doing many times the speed of light ploughing through space to find “brave new worlds and new civilizations” man inherited nuclear weaponry and other weapons of mass destruction. He was given poisons with which to kill unwanted lifeforms and increase depleted soil yields and science called that “the Green Revolution.” He was given nuclear power plants and dams… and pipelines and highways on which to burn whatever flowed out of the pipelines. In short, man was given a much wider and faster treadmill than he’d ever experienced and he was ecstatic. For a very short while.
Religion gave man death through endless wars. Science added a poisoned environment to endless wars.