More often than not, it feels like we are in the midst of constant crisis as a species. At this moment everyone with access to a phone, computer, television, or radio knows that there are crazy things happening all over the world (both fantastic and horrendous). Does this increased access to information make things look worse than they have been in the past? It is an interesting question to think about but it can be answered quite easily by looking at the facts. Human history has unfolded in waves of peace, tranquility, war, and catastrophe all inevitably rising and falling. It is difficult to look at this progression objectively while we are in the midst of such upheaval in the areas of environment, politics, and social behavior, but it is more important than ever to take a step back in order to see clearly and to decide where to put our individual energies.
Through the course of my own recent history, I have struggled to find the place where my interests converge into a real purpose. My internet connection along with so many social applications that give me immediate access to knowledge about the lives and careers of so many other artists around the world can be intimidating and distracting to my own process at times. However, I think I have finally come to a place of understanding by using this immense amount of information as a tool instead of a teacher. Balance is key in action and in thought. I have also been able to use this infinite pool of human knowledge to seek out inspiring voices that lead my thinking in ever expanding spirals. A great epiphany moment came while listening to a recording of a lecture by Terence McKenna (link at the end). If this name is not familiar, take time to do some searching because he is a truly multifaceted individual who has a huge amount of insight to offer. I have been listening to his vast collection of recordings over the past year but only recently have I allowed the information to coagulate into solid ideas about the world as a whole.
"We take far too much responsibility for what is happening. What we have taken to be a staircase that we are climbing, is actually an escalator that moves upward even when we stand still."
It is easy to take this statement at face value and become offended by its suggestion of our lack of control. However, if we can take a step outside our ego and sense of entitlement the truth is revealed. McKenna reminds us that we as humans are not separate from biology but very much a culmination of it. He suggests that our actions stem from an overarching system of evolution that is being pulled towards a goal that is "as inevitable as a marble reaching the center of a bowl after it is placed near the rim." So although we have inflicted harm on ourselves as a species and on our environment, our destiny is tied into that of the whole universe, which in turn, has its own tendencies and agendas in which we play a possibly minor role. Once again, it is easy to disdain and reject this idea because it suggests that we are not "in control." But I, for one, find even greater satisfaction in knowing that I am a part of a larger process than I do in thinking that our species has control over the destiny of the earth.
This is not a call for inaction, it is a call for hope and enlightenment. We should still fight for what we believe is right, but at the end of the day we should take solace in the fact that we are a part of a bigger process that is being pulled towards something grand.