Preview of Worldview Essay
If only the human psyche could detect the Earth’s magnetic pull! If only the mind mechanism would instinctively subordinate its chaotic sense of direction to steady the point toward truth and meaning! The way of even the smallest of birds is more assured than the leadings of man’s capricious intention. Migratory flights follow specific courses and the acceptance of these courses has been perpetuated down through successive generations. Birds occupy lofty elevations but always return to the soil to glean for food, to rear their young, to rest their pinions. We soar high above the animalistic realm in superiority of intellectual capacity in sync with the guiding of our own judgments, rationale, and reasoning apparatuses. The impulse of consuming dream, the obsession with having to concretize life, the allure of expansive possibilities, the lust for knowledge, keeps our wings vigorously flapping and we forget to return to the Earth. Egocentrism’s gravitational pull throws our innate senses of knowing off kilter and we keel into self-absorption’s flurries of imbalance. Barreling into deceptive surface thinking, into narcissistic infatuation with grandiose visions of ourselves, we often distort our self-image, rupture our self-esteem, break critical bones of our confidence, and spiritually concuss ourselves. Oh, and to the nth degree we must know how far the horizon ventures! But even the wings that were granted to the sky fliers cannot beat eternally suspended in air. Have we forgotten Earth?
The collective flock of this generation, I’m afraid, may fall from exhaustion. Starlings move as one harmonious body guided by one source. Geese glide beautifully in formation skeins of V-shaped calligraphy, writing one continuous poem across the clouds every season bespeaking of one source. The zeitgeist of this time is one of massive stressor influx, displacing natural ways of living with a disturbingly abnormal dependency upon inorganic technology. We must stay informed! We must keep pace with fickle fashions and trends and fads! While sensationalized globalization is making the world a “smaller place”, entrenched chasms of incongruity are globally expanding interpersonal distance – “alone together” according to Sherry Turkle’s astute observation. “Human family” is a pleasant term but as long as we are strangers to one another, a unified and transformative ascription to the idea, regarding the context of its ultimate essence, is an unrealistic expectation. Many are now more concerned with individual survival or the prospective gains of comparative advantage over the other. Minds that become too egoistically engrossed quickly come to be destructive self-seeking missiles; whatever infrared signals compute as rewarding are targeted; therefore, ripping through the air, trampling any and everything obstructing the path, is done so furiously and heedlessly.
Hence, independence has taken precedence over empathic unity – competition over collaboration. If we could fly and our dreams miraculously morphed into pinions, our terrestrial mayhem would simply be stratospherically transmuted as each dizzying body swerved this way and that after “personal endeavor.” The diurnal birds would scoff at our gross flight inefficiency and the nocturnal fliers would satirize our gratuitous energy depletion as many of us would try to be the nightingale and owl both – awake day and night preying upon the elusive insects of enlightenment. Yet, many of us closely resemble mockingbirds mimicking the songs of other lives, stealing already extant melodies and streaming them into one syndicated repertory of our own. We’re too afraid to authentically compose and so we superimpose in order to overcompensate for our fears of nonconformity. We deceive ourselves into thinking the duplicated songs we sing qualify as original or are beyond the archetypal genres of “insecure”, of “unsure”, or “unfulfilled.” Have we forgotten our universal kinship?
The sky is limitless, yes, and infinitely fascinating but the intoxication of its addictive and electrifying air, of its refreshing freedom, and its rush of what seems to be impervious power, can induce amnesia. Birds lap generous libations of empyrean sapphire yet roost on branches of trees and forage at their feet. They have mastered the art of balance and are conscious of the imperative need for respite. Watch their joyous antic. Listen to their unscripted psalms of life – they teach us wisdom, content, moderation, peace every morning. But we are compelled to keep our transcendent intellects rapaciously biting at the heels of mastery, of enlightenment, of more knowledge, of notoriety, of conceited dreams! Free spirits we long to be but we find ourselves incarcerated in the bolted encasement of mortal flesh, in the padlocked coffin of terminal age-interment. Immortality we unconsciously believe in when young yet we’re forced to grapple with the stronger arms of death as time pins down the days.
No wonder we frantically scurry about in such confusion! No wonder the sky is so alluring – it takes us so far away from the dust of earthly decay. Somehow we manage to cope with our fears by exercising relative control – we control the dial to our air conditioning systems, we control the internal conditions of our homes, we can control the quality of our thinking, we can control our conscious decision to exert hard effort upon what we value as worthwhile. It is what we cannot control or command or configure that we find so unsettling. Who can determine the precise conditions of tomorrow? Who can genuinely know how to disentangle the confusion of today’s convoluted predicament in order to direct the outcomes of the future? Our spirits want for eternal security and preservation – not only for our own selves but also for the ones we love. There is an internal vying polarity, a fundamental schism of self that seems to be the curse of our existence, with which we all wrestle. The illimitable, immeasurable, fluid, and independently dynamic spirit is cramped within diminutive confinements prone to dry rot, to boundary walls, to deterioration, and malfunction. The torment of this ineffable reality sends man into a desperate frenzy. Mental acuity, agility, keenness, and speed all are paradoxically valued and envied at the same time. Why? Mind possesses powers of reality-altering imagination, creativity, and productivity – all cerebral dimensions that make for an enrapturing diversion. Therefore science, art, philosophy, etc. are treated with utmost respect and rigorous study. In contrast, take for example the caliber of the Native American as expounded upon in Charles Eastman’s (Ohiyesa’s) The Soul of the Indian:
“The Indian was a logical and clear thinker upon matters within the scope of his understanding, but he had not yet charted the vast field of nature or expressed her wonders in terms of science. With his limited knowledge of cause and effect, he saw miracles on every hand,—the miracle of life in seed and egg, the miracle of death in lightning flash and in the swelling deep!…
It is simple truth that the Indian did not, so long as his native philosophy held sway over his mind, either envy or desire to imitate the splendid achievements of the white man… He scorned them, even as a lofty spirit absorbed in its stern task rejects the soft beds, the luxurious food, the pleasure-worshiping dalliance of a rich neighbor. It was clear to him that virtue and happiness are independent of these things, if not incompatible with them.”
The Indian rejected the idea of decoding every unknown aspect of the ambiguous through fastidious classification, meticulous cataloguing, and boxing in by way of pedantic terminology. He accepted what he did not know and could not know; he kept his prayerful wings huddled near to the soil. Spirituality burgeoned forth from the hearts of these people like glorious field poppies at the first arrival of spring. Woodland creatures and trees were friends and brethren. They acknowledged the omnipotent presence of a force much greater than themselves, a force that reigned as superlative ruler over the heaven of heavens. Therefore, childlike reverence became a way of thinking and subjecting themselves to a supreme entity to which they were to answer became an integral part of their cultural consciousness. Expertise, specialization, and compartmentalization of knowledge – these things were foreign to the red man because everyday he rose at dawn to bathe and supplicate the Creator, he was granted peace of mind and resolved to simply exist and to synchronously exist well with all of life in sympathetic communion with the Earth. I ask, have we indulged our dreams and diversions too much? Have we contributed to an overall malaise in present-day society? Have we worsened the growing condition of separatism?
I pose these questions in the context of our current planetary crisis. Birds do not have the ability to care for the Earth nor do they have the ability to destroy it in unprecedented magnitudes. However, we do. As thinking and reasoning beings, we are in a unique position of stewardship. We have been afforded a beautiful privilege, but intellectual prowess, scientific discovery, technological progress, the appeasement of some scholarship, seem like the far better offers. Curious mind flocks to learning like feathers flock to crisp, uncharted air but this age of information overload, like a free oversupply of narcotics, has us starting to believe in our hallucinations of building towers of permanent residence in the sky. Meanwhile, we justify polluting the Earth so far below us. We justify abusing its lesser inhabitants. We justify inordinate consumption as a means to an end. End of what I ask? To the end of mortality? To the end of our necessity for the power of irrational “control”? To the end where mind meets immortality at last? Why are we in such a mindless hurry? When we leave the relative boundaries of very spiritual Earth, we leave our truest nature. We become antithetical facsimiles of our original design. The mind becomes fraught with an airborne virus that insidiously eats away at our highest order thinking capabilities when we linger too long in poorly oxygenated realms of unbridled passion, of nihilistic acquiescence to desire, of obsession with self-reward, etc. We start to experience delusions of grandeur when our feet haven’t felt the ground with its dirt and leaves for too long a time, when we haven’t allowed ourselves to look up at the sky and stars and simply wonder. The modern notion of development of self being top priority, of self being capable of limitless potential is very constructive but becomes destructive if made the sole focus especially in the educational setting, where minds are still malleable and receptive to all impressions made by molding hands.
We must be accountable for our actions, we must think of ourselves as small birds with young to feed back home. We are not gods nor can we ever be. Ruling out God leads to the aforementioned line of faulty logic. Nietzsche’s “God is dead” proposal has had drastic ramifications for modern society. If God is dead, then we become the exclusive determinants of our fate, then we can take arbitrary ownership of Earth, then we must step into his place and geoengineer, and sanction war, and create our own forms of modified life, and answer to no one. Our system of living is multi-dimensionally unsustainable. Our modern departure from Earth has distanced us so much from our beginnings that we scarcely know what home feels like anymore. Being voluntarily estranged from the only planet that ever sustained us is the apogee of folly and this tower of babbling banter, of babbling circumlocution will come crumbling down from its baseless foundation. Our destiny as a race, as a collective consciousness will largely be contingent upon our adoption of earthly consciousness. But is that probable I ask? Will there be a mass conversion of something so ingrained, so intangible as a pervasive mental attitude? Neither as a fatalist nor as an idealist do I believe that such a probability is highly questionable. The mounting issues we face today – global hegemony, widespread apathy and loss of empathy, rampant self-absorption – are not to be contended with by human forces. I feel we are far beyond the point of any feasible repair. The crux of the matter is spiritual. Somehow, I have full confidence that the Creator will throw his blows when the appointed time is here.