Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
– W.B. Yeats (1845-1939) from “The Second Coming”
Many people have an increasing sense that Western civilization is falling apart. Some of us trace this awful collapse back to the youth-quake of the Sixties, which was a decade so full of political assassinations and racial strife and so riven by a pointless war that it seemed to some to be the end of the world. Others trace our civilizational chaos to the polarization now being fostered by isolated pockets of conflicting information; and there even are those who put the blame on rhetoric coming from the U.S. President. But whatever reasons we might propose for the current collapse of order and basic decency in the Western world, I suggest to you that every one of these apparent causes is only a symptom. Our central problem is that human civilization was plunged so deeply into fear and negativity during the war- and strife-filled past century that it is now in an existential crisis. It has lost any sense of how to rise from here.
Please try to internalize how this works. If we cannot thoroughly grasp it ourselves, we can never help others to understand and address what has always been the central human problem! The only thing that exists is the creative energy-like potentiality that we experience as consciousness. All our minds are part of that potentiality, so effectively we all are part of one Mind. Like other forms of energy, consciousness vibrates, and its range runs from fear at the lowest and slowest end of the spectrum to love at the highest. We have said this here so many times that to see me recite it again has you rolling your eyes! But until you have so completely internalized this core fact of human existence that you stop seeing reality in any other way, you will not be able to get free of the illusion that you think you see around you. Everything is either love-based or fear-based.
Fear is not just a bogeymen thing, and love is a lot more than hearts and roses! You can take every bad or good thing and trace it back to the fear or love at its base:
This set of truths is the root of the Gospel teachings of Jesus, and in fact it lies at the base of most of what later became our fear-based religions. If you don’t like the thought of consciousness vibrating and having to raise your personal vibration, I’ll share with you a Native American story that is an especially beautiful way to approach the core of all human wisdom!
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” The grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”
This decision about which wolf to feed, the choice between loving or dominating others, the dilemma of whether to seek money and power on earth or the eternal greater wealth of Spirit: giving us a place where we can learn in an infinite number of ways to always feed the good wolf is the reason why this material universe exists.
Just a casual review of human history will show you that for the most part, humanity has sadly preferred to feed the evil, fear-based wolf. We seldom even notice his love-based brother lurking nearby, only bones and skin and by now desperate for us to throw him even a scrap! Every one of our institutions, and especially including our religions, is based in fear and not in love. And what may be worse, both science and religions are fostering in modern Western cultures an appalling level of fear-based ignorance! Religions instill in people fear of the wrath of their imaginary gods, since feeding our fears and then offering safety is the way all religions stay in business. Mainstream science also fosters fear, but it does that primarily by advocating for the three spurious propositions that reality is matter-based, that consciousness is produced by our brains, and that at death we will blink out like a light. Since fear of death is the core human fear, these ignorant dogmas that govern what is supposed to be an open-minded search for the truth are just as effective as religions are at cranking up all our ambient fears!
Every human evil is the result of people making fear-based choices. You can never think from fear and produce anything but greater harm! But our problem now is that while we finally understand why evil exists, few people on earth as yet are ready to hear this simple and logical explanation. Say to someone stuck in Christian terrors that Jesus came to do away with religious fears and teach us to relate individually to a love-based God, and he will be blindsided and horrified. Say to someone cowering behind locked doors that all the thugs outside were born as sparks of love, so once every child is properly reared we will do away with locks forevermore, and the poor soul may well reach for his gun.
Building love-based institutions in a fear-based world will need to be a stealth process. We cannot at first mention love or fear without being ridiculed for spouting woo-woo nonsense, but what we can do now is to advocate for the simple fact that love-based institutions work so much better. We can talk about the proven evils of our present institutions and suggest that we learn from these mistakes how to build institutions that really work:
A love-based institution is full of feedback loops. It insists on being accountable. It treats every human being, no matter how currently debased, as capable of fundamental goodness and unlimited spiritual growth.
But there is one thing we really will have to kill if we ever hope to make much love-based progress. What it is may surprise you, and perhaps seeing the harm that it causes will surprise you more. During the long pull of humankind through millennia during which we lived steeped in fears and we had no way to access the truths that would have helped us to address our fears, we relied on our faith. Humankind’s touching ability to believe in what we could not see was the only respite we ever had from the fears that otherwise would have overwhelmed us. But as our new era of certainty dawns, it turns out that our ability to believe without evidence, and our eagerness to put skepticism aside, will have to be vanquished. We’ll address this next week.
If you hear the song I sing, You will understand.
You hold the key to love and fear All in your trembling hand.
Just one key unlocks them both. It’s there at your command.
– Chet Powers (1937-1994) from “Get Together” by The Youngbloods