|The Hero's Journey|
The End of the World
But this is not a new phenomenon as some would assume. This culture of civilization, of empire, was an ecological catastrophe when it began some eight thousand years ago. It is this culture and its inculcated reality-view that is the disaster. Half of China was once a great temperate zone forest. That forest was gone before recorded history, destroyed by the Han Chinese Empire. The Indus River Valley Empire had ecologically destroyed its habitat before recorded history. We do have recorded history of the Sumerian and Babylonian empires. We know they decimated the forests and overgrazed the landscape. One third of the land in Iraq that should be arable right now is still so salinized from imperial irrigation four and five thousand years ago that it cannot be used. The erosion material coming down the Tigris and Euphrates rivers from that destroyed watershed has filled in 185 miles of the gulf. As we follow the history of this type of human culture we find the Mid-East ecologically denuded. The empires of Greece and Rome used Turkey and North Africa as “breadbaskets.” Now, there are towns in Turkey, North Africa and even in Italy that were port cities during those empires which are now ten and fifteen miles from the water - all filled in with erosion material from the ecologically destroyed landscapes. Then we go on to the destruction of the great forests of Europe and now the whole world. These examples and many more are indelible effects on the world ecosystem which have not recovered in thousands of years.
Our ancestors were well fed with a widely varied diet. Anthropologists studying the !Kung Bushmen of the inhospitable Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa say that each person’s daily protein intake was more than Britain and exceeded by only ten industrial countries. The proportion of men and women over sixty was only ten percent smaller than industrial countries. Forager/hunters who lived in more luxurious ecosystems did even better. This means that most of the people of the third world and the poor of the first world do not even have the living standards of the !Kung Bushmen and for eight thousand years, all of those who did breast beating about the superiority of “civilization” did not even come up to the living standards of free living forager/hunters - talk about being sold a bill of goods!
We live in an era in which a number of things are occurring that have never happened to the species before. We live in a time of human caused, mass, global, die off of species. This is the third and largest mass die off of species since life began on earth, the previous (and second) die-off being when the dinosaurs went down millions of years ago. Humans have also caused the ozone holes and the climate warming. But, we also now have planetary communication and through the internet we also have planetary communication available on an individual level. This is the first time that the human species as a whole can communicate. This is also the first time that humans are in control of evolution on this whole planet and the possible further manifestation of themselves. Humans are in control and the choices that they make in the next few generations will determine the course for the future of the species as well as the earth.
The center does not hold.. Oil and the resources of the earth such as soil and forests are exhausting as the mass swells. Can the hero make it through the disintegration? Can small land based, self-sufficient communities make it through, some of them? Can they carry the universal value of life through with their culture? Can they create a culture that will spread in the future that focuses on the highest development of each human as a person rather than the highest rung up the ladder of empire? This is what is being asked of the hero for initiation into human species maturity - nothing less than courage, the adherence to the culture of life over long periods of time and transformation.
All the elements that we need exist. We have examples of alternative buildings, created from local materials, with solar advantages that can heat and cool themselves with no outside energy inputs. We have a world-wide movement to Permaculture which can help us restore ecologies while producing more human food per acre than the industrial system. We have a wide and increasing selection of human development methods which can aid in the development of each individual to their highest potential - outside the materialist paradigm. We have planetary communication through the internet whose maintenance could require few resources.
When the hero can succeed at the matter of keeping the human species and the planet alive and see that as just a “housekeeping” duty, then we can get on with the truly challenging task of creating a positive and joyous human culture to which the hero is entitled.
By William H. Kötke author ofGarden Planet: The Present Phase Change of the Human Species. See at: www.gardenplanetbook.com and THE FINAL EMPIRE an underground classic book available for free download at: http://www.Rainbowbody.net/Finalempire .
TECHQUA IKACHI / LAND AND LIFE / TLALTICPAC AUH YOLITZLI