The Need For A New Paradigm
For The Current Millennium
By almost any measure of human endeavor, the pace of change our civilization is now facing continues to accelerate at rates never before experienced in all of human history. This is true no matter how one measures these changes: By population growth, by consumption of resources, by acquisition of new knowledge, by introduction of new technologies, by expansion of instantaneous and ubiquitous communications or by our continually shrinking global village. It is becoming increasingly clear that the way humankind has dealt with and often ignored rapid change is no longer appropriate or even viable for our collective survival. Pursuit of narrow, self serving interests at the expense of the greater good in dealing with these changes is no longer an option.
As recently as 150 years ago, the knowledge gained by the time a child reached age 8 was sufficient to last a life-time. Individual decisions made then would have had minimal impact, if any, on civilization at large. Today it is just the opposite. Our knowledge and understanding must be continually updated - it's half-life is now less than 24 months. With our modern technologies, one individual or a small group can have an enormous impact on our entire global civilization. Yet, even though so few can have such a huge effect on so many, our beliefs, value systems and the ways we act towards each other have largely remained the same over the last two millennia. Clearly these beliefs and values are based on knowledge and customs that are outdated (wars, violence, etc.) and increasingly inappropriate (materialism, greed, etc.) to meet the demands and challenges of modern society.
The ubiquitous acceleration of change has many far reaching consequences and our future can no longer be predicted by a linear extrapolation of the past. We are critically in need of updating our knowledge, our beliefs and our customs if we are to continue to thrive, let alone survive, these tumultuous times. Recognizing this leads to the obvious need for a massive effort at understanding the implications of the interconnections and interdependencies of modern society within itself and its environment. Since the time of the French philosopher Rene Descartes, our world view was split into two realms: science which supported the material world and religion which supported the spiritual world and issues of consciousness.
With several recent findings of modern science and their implications, we now have the ability to heal this split. This understanding is especially critical because it points the way to fundamental relationships between all things and integrates many diverse scientific disciplines (including quantum physics, cosmology, systems theory, biology, chaos theory, consciousness studies, etc.) all of which which support our modern belief systems. Such an integrated view will provide us with a more complete picture of the true nature of and interconnectedness of all things.
This integrated view is critical because we can no longer afford to treat our home, planet earth, as if it were an unlimited and boundless source of resources. Our current paradigm is to consume, use and abuse these resources with little or no thought for the consequences of these actions. Nor have we considered the long term implications of these actions on each of us for either our individual or collective future. We now know our home planet to be in reality spaceship earth and our only home. We and must treat it accordingly as the fragile oasis in the void of space that it really is.
"This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." Chief Seattle circa 1850.
Perhaps the wisdom of many of the indigenous tribes that inhabited North America before the arrival of European settlers is even more striking now than it was 400 years ago. We must move into the future with our eyes wide open and consider the implications for our actions not only for the next few years but for at least 10 generations ahead in our future and the impact they will have on the collective good. That requires the best understanding of the nature of our objective and subjective reality and its relationship to all things including each other.
Click on the following link to read Dr. Edgar Mitchell’s Call for a New Perspective. Do it, if not for yourself, but for the sake of your children and for generations yet unborn.