We live in a surreal place during a strange time. The world we accept as normal is the stuff of fantasy, or of nightmare. In the wealthiest nation on earth, our populace labors under the illusion of scarcity, the conviction that there are not enough resources to go around, that one acquires more by insuring that others must have less. Those who have the most are most frantic to possess more.
The result is that a very few possess power and affluence that ancient myth ascribed to gods, while many live in poverty that would be considered deprivation in third world countries. Those in between these economic extremes trend toward extinction as material wealth trickles up and moral rot trickles down.
We live in a culture where all identities, age, gender, economic, and even religious, have been commandeered as mechanisms of subjugation and exploitation. Practically all our public institutions have been enlisted in preserving and enhancing white male privilege, often under the banner of protecting the public good.
Such social, sexual, and spiritual aberrations are historically the marks of a species in terminal disarray and dissolution. Watch the news media for a single week, and a reasonable mind might be tempted to lose hope for the survival and continuance of our democracy, our country, or human civilization.
During our last Dark Age, monasteries, of all places, preserved the seeds of compassionate enlightenment in their libraries and communal life. We can’t count on religious communities in our present round of unbecoming, but scattered and unheralded, small bands of kindred souls are already gathering across the world, within and outside institutional boundaries, to nurture among themselves a transformational evolution from egocentric to ecocentric engagements, and to foster this spiritual enlargement among those encountered in times and spaces touching their immediate communities.
Earth will have the last word regarding our residence here. Whether or not that is a welcoming or damning word depends on how soon we can grow beyond our instinctive tribalism to embrace our creative role as vocationed servants to all our fellow creatures, familiar and alien, near and far, human and non-human. We will survive together, if at all. The future depends on our attributing to all Creation the same sanctity we have coveted for ourselves.