I recently have been looking at and trying to describe the situation regarding our human quest for meaning. In fact, the opening chapter in my new book UNIFIED focuses on exactly this and describes how most people have been living with a particular worldview for so long now that it is becoming difficult, extremely difficult, to give it up. As humans, we tend to carry our previous luggage forward as we travel into new territory. It is like the tale of the fool who arrives to his house on the back of a donkey and then tries to ride the donkey into the house. The vehicle, or medium, which gets a person to one destination may very likely not be suitable for continuing the rest of the journey. Like that fool, humanity now needs to realize that it cannot continue homeward on its epic journey clinging to the back of a donkey.
There is a feeling that, as a collective social group, we have grown estranged from ourselves, from each other, from our natural environment, and from the greater cosmic reality in which we live and breathe. We feel alone amongst the stars. Humanity rises daily to the grind of increasingly fragmented lives. Lives splintered into digitized timeslots, monitored by constant beeps, surveyed by artificial eyes, manoeuvred into positions by seen and unseen hands of power, fed by food-on-credit, and programmed by a morass of dumbed-down information. Somewhere along the way, we got terribly lost. Not only did we lose our sense of self – we also lost our greater sense of being cosmic players in a wondrous game of life.
Yet it wasn’t always like this. Once, when we looked up into the night sky and saw the sparkle of stars, we were awed and enchanted. We recognized the grace, the wonder, and the excitement of the unknown. Everything came alive with possibility. That possibility is still there. It never went away. Only that so many people have closed their eyes – their hearts and minds – and closed the connection. Or life’s uncertain, and sometimes cruel, circumstances closed the connection for them. Yet there remains an enchanted world out there, and it beckons, waiting for humanity to respond to its call. Underlying all life is the quest for meaning.
As human beings we desire, long for – need – a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Modern scientific, rational consciousness has become an alienated form of consciousness, afraid of its own participation. It views the world from the position of an uninterested observer, or as an uninvited guest. Yet this is not how things are – it is only the latest picture of how things seem to us. We have been forced to construct our own meanings about a world we have let slip from our grasp. In other words, humanity has disenchanted itself from a living cosmos. Until now, that’s the way it’s become.
Things are going to change – they will have to change. We need to remove ourselves from a modern landscape that is now more about administration than adventure. A landscape that strives for control rather than compassion. People are being programmed to become entangled into a system that does not have their welfare at heart. Rather than disentangling themselves, many people are being excessively persuaded to buy more and more into the system, and to accept its inanimate ideology. The inner psychological landscape of so many people has become infected with a form of world weariness, and it is spreading like a contagion. This is no surprise considering that the dominant lens which we have looked out at the world around us, and at the cosmos, has been one of a dull disenchantment. Whether we call our present age the modern or post-modern, the underlying current is the same. Many people seem to be spending their lives not only in fear of what may happen to them (fear fantasies), but also in fear that nothing will happen. This malaise has, for many, been turned into an expression of anger and harm, both to self and to others. This psychic space, where reality and unreality are in conflict, is a response to our dominant state of consciousness.
Yet we have now entered a period of deep transition. During such times of change, the impulse for meaning and significance becomes a more prominent and necessary urge. In such moments of social-cultural transformation, when bases of knowledge and constructions of reality are questioned, the need to seek meaning within the self grows stronger in the individual. In such transitional times there is urgency, opportunity, and an interior push to re-connect with a sense of meaning, both personal and cosmic. In other words, there is a fundamental need to understand one’s ‘self’ and its place in the larger scheme of things. The instability in the world in these current times is a further indication for the need to find the roots that connect humanity with a more permanent stream of knowledge and meaning. This is precisely the theme of my book UNIFIED: Cosmos, Life, Purpose where I explore how each person now needs to find a way back to themselves – to gather themselves together.
The search for meaning has never been more urgent than it is now. Our human species longs for unification. We naturally need to sense an integral empathy of relations, contact, and meaning. This is the sacred reality that needs to be re-installed and rebooted into humanity’s collective consciousness. This is, for each person, the way back home.