We live in a world that has arrived at the brink of a cosmic developmental crisis. Those in power over the human world literally have the future of this world and its inhabitants in their hands. There is a lot of talk about the need to preserve the environment, the dangers of uncontrolled expansion, the evils of political corruption, and the ever present danger of war with weapons of mass destruction. Even space is not safe from human manipulation. Although it is popular to promote the protection of endangered species it is still obvious that humans have an anthropocentric bias resulting in lack of consciousness beyond the immediate time and their own species.
Before an evolutionary concept can actualize into social recognition it must have a conceptual description that can serve as a psychic handle, or so it seems. Kazimierz Dąbrowski provided just such a mental structure for the process of moral development. Dabrowski was a Polish psychiatrist who developed a theory of moral development called Positive Disintegration that ventured into the social moral and creative development of human psychology. His theories are still not well known in the West. They are primarily used in presentations about both childhood and adult giftedness. I was first introduced to Dąbrowski by a Jungian oriented therapist in Denver. The aspect of his theory that gripped my attention was a concept of levels of moral development that seemed far more enlightened than the routinely taught theories. One of Dabrowski’s greatest influences was Plato; "Mankind will not get rid of its evils until either the class of those who philosophize in truth and rectitude reach political power or those most powerful in cities, under some divine dispensation, really get to philosophizing.”
Very little has changed since Plato’s time except external technology. By now its obvious that philosophy alone is not enough. I often wonder why this is so. Why is there such a gaping chasm between true wisdom and the fruit of intellect? They seem to be two dimensions that seldom connect within the human mind. Humans are very clever and some are capable of amazing mental and technical achievements. Nevertheless there is so little progress of soul and spirit beyond a few enlightened individuals. I watch Science Fiction movies that are built on incredible and fantastic technologies of the future but the characters and their motives are as ancient and primitive, as were those of our first ancestors. The same applies to scary aliens. Although the media presents them with superhuman abilities and they are way more technically advanced than we are these movie aliens only excel technically or biologically. The assumption seems to be that this is all there is. I think it is obvious that philosophy is not enough. It may lie out the map but it can’t get us to the destination.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
At times it seems that the world is controlled by the mentality of a 14-year-old male geek. There is passion, technology, cleverness, creative imagination and hubris. The spirits of both power and experimentation are well represented but balance and wisdom are totally lacking. It is the problem of “the sorcerer’s apprentice.”
The modern human world seems seldom to notice that intellect and wisdom have a different source. One can be a genius intellectually and yet be emotionally and spiritually undeveloped. Dabrowski called attention to the absent developmental steps to Wisdom. We have come to admire a powerful intellect but IQ tests don’t reveal anything about emotional or spiritual powers and very little about creative powers. I am suggesting that there are many levels of intelligence but MIT educates on the first two levels. The problem with this is that it is this limited kind of intelligence that is ruling our present and determining our future and it is creating a world out of balance. The emotional and spiritual abilities are still undeveloped and it is these that are expressed in the shadow side of power.
What Motivates Us?
Perhaps the core problem is the fact that humans are actually motivated by emotion not by intellect and yet emotional development is the missing link to wisdom. One can be a creative and intellectual genius and still lack good judgement and developmental balance. It is significant that there is a recent interest in indigenous cultures that are rooted on the concept of maintaining balance with the natural forces. How ironic that after hundreds of years of attempting to force indigenous people to adapt to our ways the so-called civilized world now looks to the often demoralized remnants of these cultures for guidance. To quote from the New Testament in the gospel of Matthew, “In the coming kingdom, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.” Iconoclastic psychologist Fritz Perls often reminded patients that in a conflict between top dog and underdog, underdog always wins. By this he meant that the part of a person that is least conscious and often denied holds the energy cards. It plays the part of trickster and undermines one’s conscious intentions because the conscious intentions don’t represent the wholeness of being.
Although we are nagged by environmentalists warning us that the world as we know it is on the way out, due to global warming, destruction of natural habitats, etc., we are caught in a political economic merry-go-round and are afraid to jump off. The momentum of the spin is huge. But I would like to suggest that we might not be as totally in control of the fate of this planet as we think we are. Here again our anthropocentrism skews our perception. We are still children of mother earth and citizens of the stars. Our organic origins bear down stronger than either the individual ego or the social ego. Mother Earth and the laws of the universe will prevail even if life and human identity as we’ve come to know it is sacrificed in the healing process.
Is This The Kali Yuga?
|The 10 of Swords. Final defeat before the dawn|
Dawn is already on its way at the darkest hour and the creation process involves destruction of the previous form before re-construction begins. I’m reminded that we are already in the Kali Yuga, the final age of destruction before the cycle of creation begins again according to the Hindu tradition. And yet I don’t see the world as a continuous circular repetition of stages in the classic Hindu tradition rather I see it as a spiral in continuous developmental expansion just as the universe is expanding.