Collective awareness evolves more slowly than individual awarenesses. It takes time on a generational scale for the former to assume the latters. Nowadays, talks expressing the unviability of our collective lifestyle are repeated to millions throughout the world during each of the 1,440 minutes of the day; but, with few exceptions, things remain as they were. Sterile is the indignation that leads to resignation –far more interesting is its opposite: to fully accept what is in fact, without giving up trying to avoid a tomorrow that repeats the today, but neither investing our hapiness in it. Resigned to the rules of a society that we think external to us and thinking ourselves incapable to transform it, our tomorrow is once and again like today and like all the yesterday that occupies our minds. We live entirely occupied in what is previous: our profession, relatives, doctors, procurements, maintenance of our finances…; to call the plumber or the dentist, to know the latest about this or that physical, political or socioeconomic earthquake, or about the performance of this or that artist, athlete or guru; in building our preaching, in rationalizing the offense we feel; occupied even in occupying our… leisure time?, free time? Colleges, universities, employment, couples, roles, retirement … concerned on our tomorrow to be comme-il-faut, to eliminate insecurity and, consequently to set our borders. And when we have ‘free time’ (ergo: not slave), we occupy ourselves on filling it up with readings, movies, television … in distraction, without leaving space for silence, for occupation on what simply is. We live in the role we assume, which is our prison: from it we look at the world and interpret it. We live preoccupied (pre-busy); and in what is previously busy (in busy-ness), there is no room for any new occupation. We are busy in maintaining the system of truths that keeps us still on forward. Giving it up seems us like a plunge into the abyss. Blessed abyss.
Leisure is not distraction. Distracted is how we live all day, without seeing what is in the very moment that we apparently face. Leisure, on the other hand, is conspicuous by its absence: there is no room for leisure where concern exists. There is no presence in the noise that fills a preoccupied mind. Presence is in silence, in business-free leisure. While living in business all day every day, there is no room for its opposite. Blessed leisure.
The soul of an individual can not be subject to cultures, traditions or countries, but should always emerge fresh, from the veracity of oneself and from beyond the one, so that it does not submit to any limits in time or space. Culture is not the past; culture is the fact of cultivating for flourishing. The past is culture only insofar as it serves to learning by doing.
We think that we see but we do not see what there is, but rather what our gaze encompasses. Our gaze is the fruit of our concern. We see what our concern –which is our past— allows us to see; and we interpret it according to its fitting into our system of thoughts. We give to it nouns and adjectives to conceptualize it, to label it in a way that fits our gaze, unable to see without judging. We look at what there is, each from the perspective of his gaze, and we persist in trying to convince the other that realty is what we see. One’s world is one’s gaze. If the gaze does not change, how could the world change? Further, why do we assume that we should change it?
The manifestations of conflict multiply: extreme weather phenomena, massive migrations, wars, struggles to control the increasingly scarce resources, poverty, political tensions, national or state nationalisms, ‘market’ battles … Manifestations of conflict are diverse, but conflict is one and unique, and is linked to our gaze, to our way of seeing what happens or, in its place, what our prejudices project. Conflict between theory and practice; between what we see, what we think or feel, what we say and what we do; between what we want and what we are or what there is; between what the one sees and what the other sees. Power conflicts among neighbours, peoples, regions, countries, continents; between colleagues, competitors, companies, ideologies; between interests to maintain what keeps us… We are our gaze. As long as we do not raise our gaze the necessary steps up, we will not see either the integrity of the other or our own; or understand that it is not that the other is wrong, but that he is seeing another face of the reality, if such a thing exists. We will not see the prison in which we live, from which we look at the world. We will not see with a comprehensive, inclusive, welcoming view of ‘the other’. In a non-comprehensive view what is seen is separated from what is not seen; what one’s world is from what is not, nor could it ever be because it is not even seen. The more we climb up, the more comprehensive our gaze becomes, because less will be left out. Only between non-parties the conflict ceases.
When we come to assume that we must leave room for other interests, we negotiate. Under a partial view the only possible way to evolve with a certain harmony is negotiation. That is to say: my interests are these, yours are those, so let’s see to which intermediate point we arrive to, yielding both sides in our declared claims. But, in order to bring the agreement point close to our interest, we declare anything that is not undeniable, anything that could ever be possible. In negotiation there is room for deception; even more: deception is a necessary by-product of negotiation. Negotiation occurs between nations, between regions, between cities, social groups, companies, political groups, NGOs, relatives … Negotiation becomes the least unsustainable way of evolution for our way of seeing the world, and its result is the certainty that tomorrow’s unsustainability will be bigger than today’s.
Negotiation is a human act, not a natural law: no species lives in negotiation. A successful negotiation, if such a thing exists, is only subscribed by the negotiating parties. The subject who has not participated in the agreement to which a negotiation may arrive will probably be harmed. In a non-comprehensive economy, much is left out of the negotiation: nobody deals with the resources that the so-called Economy, unable to consider them, groups under the concept of ‘externalities’. The lettuce, the snail, the water, the air, the following generations … cannot express themselves in a negotiation. However, they are affected by their results; and, through them, we are all affected again in the longer term. Thus, even if negotiations come to fruition, they can hardly be successful, because they raise up from myopia: either in time or space, they do only consider those who are close. They could not consider those who are farther away or later, because they cannot even be seen, when our world view is myopic.
Life lives herself by incessantly testing novelty, through a continuous trial-and-error, even in time lapses that are incomprehensible for our limited capacity of perception –our species colonized planet Earth 300,000 years ago, an insignificant 1/15.000 part of this planet’s history. Life can probably not count long on our species to continue living herself; but what is certain is that this Business Civilization is already out of the equation. Just as disease is a blessing that allows life to continue learning, our species or our civilization will have been a wonder that will have allowed life to discover itself, to learn that ‘the new’ will have to overcome, at the least, the existence of particular interests; and, at the most, the selfity. The self-consciousness, which is at the origin of homo sapiens-sapiens, is also our glorious tomb. Blessed collapse.
Looking at the world from our role, we do not see what happens, but we interpret it from what sustains us. Looking at the world from our yesterday there is no presence, there is no today, there is no novelty, there is no leisure, there is no innovation. There is repetition. We negotiate while we can to maintain our sources of security, because we do not accept the uncertainty; and when it is not possible to negotiate, we impose or resign ourselves to what is imposed on us, without accepting it. If we act to avoid or reject what is imposed on us, there is no action: there is reaction. In reaction the past is reaffirmed, there is no novelty. We reaffirm the system that keeps us when we close the door to insecurity; but in so doing we perpetuate it. Omnipresent, everlasting, necessary, blessed uncertainty that we unsuccessfully intend to deny. Without it, life would not capable of learning from herself.
Beyond negotiation, conversation emerges. Nice word, conversation. Derived from the Latin versare, which indicates movement (turn, change, spin), and the prefix con-, indicating ‘in company’. To converse is, then, to move together. It is not to dialogue (etim.: speechify rationally), or to exchange opinions, convince or persuade. It is not about confronting arguments so that an agreement can be reached at the end. To converse is to move together all along the expression process. In conversation there is no room for deception. Conversation occurs at all times insofar as it finds no impediment. If there are particular interests to gain performance or advantage in any way (money, recognition, pity, or any other), or prejudices that prevent seeing what is manifested as something new, then there is no conversation.
We fear: climate change, desertification, loss of resources. We are afraid of nationalisms, of the stupid occurrences of rocketmen, magnates or whatever politicians ‘of the day’; of markets, of the loss of employment, of tomorrow’s insecurity, of disease … Fearful, we give ourselves to maintain what keeps us, and so only a debacle could make tomorrow different from today. Where a tree lies, no new one can be born. Where the old lies, the new can not be born.
Unable to act freely, we can only repeat the yesterday. While we proclaim its infeasibility, we contribute to maintain it. We do our utmost to earn our livinghoods even if what we do contributes to preventing it from expressing novelty; to maintain what keeps us on, fattening the system that we abhor; to keep our security, prisoners of a past that we call culture, in which we include some rights that we have attributed without being who to do it. Prisoners of an Economy (with a capital ‘e’ for being a consensual denomination; and in italics for fallacious) radically failed for not being comprehensive (holistic), unable to assume that only life can be comprehensive, so only life can express economically (from ‘economy’ in a lowercase, as a natural law to which the Economy intends to approach, without achieving it). Prisoners of an uneconomic Economy. Blessed economy.
In its evolution, the Economy of modernity destroys resilience. In the process of concentration that necessarily entails -for its myopia-, it has destroyed the capacity of people to master their lives, by harming climate stability or harmonic change; by destroying the diversity of livinghoods, of professions, of rural life, of the richness of the soil, of the diversity of plants and animal species, of ways of understanding life: of the diversity of gazes. Western civilization, which flourished in terms of democracy, knowledge and diversity, is already in a clear process of degeneration due to impoverishment. As every manifestation of life; as everything that is a unit in itself as well as part of something greater, this civilization was born, grew and is now in the process of degeneration, before dying. Blessed death. Without it, we would still be protozoa. Without it, every today is yesterday.
We well know that conventions known as nation-states impede conversation, whatever their names and borders; that the elites are not going to promote it; and that what we have unduly convened to call Democracy (capital case and italics for the same reasons as above) is absolutely incapable of dealing with the serious threats that, already by themselves, and more so when accumulated, paint the traces of a chaotic world. To rely on an external change to ‘save us’ is pure illusion. A Democracy that is not either informed, cooperative or participatory is not truly democratic –it cannot be properly qualified further than ‘occasional elections-based’. Refusing to accept that humanity cannot count on our civilization is as illusory as believing that one should not die.
Radical transformation can only happen from the veracity of our lifestyles; without pretending to be a model or to convince, to be an authority or to follow one, to seek to save anything, because there is nothing to save; from pure action, not reactive; by just being the world that we say we want: by just being what we are. That, and no other, is the our days’ challenge: to discover who one is.
The novelty sprouting from collapse will keep record of what has been and will integrate what has learned. Life’s evolution, if such thing exists, never gives steps backwards in a number of patterns or principles –Ken Wilber refers twenty of them, but at the end it’s only about one: the way back to its original perfection, never invested in the apparent imperfection of creatures. What depends on us is not to avoid it, but to take care of the earth so that the novelty can sprout from healthy seeds. No other mission could possibly be worthier, more enriching, more beautiful and more joyfully compassionate.
Blessed collapse, blessed abyss, before which no partial fix makes sense. Blessed uncertainty, who are we to deny it? Blessed death, which leaves room for the new. To die every night and to be born again every morning, continuously questioning ourselves, dying at every moment for living its fullness, allowing life to express novelty.