A Sense of History: Aftermath of the Age of Self-destruction
Copyright 2016, John Manimas Medeiros
My college history professors said that what had happened in our modern age, from 1500 to the present (20th century) was essentially that Europe invaded the world. At the same time we could add that the Europeans invading all of the occupied territories outside of Europe also insulted, attacked and exploited and abused most non-European peoples. Many cultures were treated with extreme cruelty. The European invaders had a difficult time overwhelming a few ethnic groups that proved to be more tenacious and more secure than others: the Berbers of North Africa, the Chinese, and the Russians and other ethnic groups who lived on the Russian steppes, in the Ural Mountains and interior East Asia. Many groups adapted, adopted, and fought back and re-built their ancient cultures with some modifications, which usually entailed accepting European or "Western" industrial technology, military technology, economics and commerce, clothing styles and legal structures. The dominant European or Western cultures would call this "modernization" or "development." It was not until the 20th century that people all over the world, the Americans, the Europeans, and all of the invaded and "conquered" societies noticed, with great dismay, that in the process of "conquering" the world, the Europeans had caused great destruction to the natural, life-supporting environment. In fact, the changes caused by the bad science of the Western ideology, changes to the soil, water and atmosphere, are expected to cause mass extinctions of plants and animals, possibly extinguishing the human species who caused it by a characteristically narcissistic and blind form of technology without understanding.
The European culture was dead wrong from the start. The Native Nations of North American tried to warn them, tried to educate them in natural science, by teaching: "Walk the Earth as though every living thing is your relative." The Europeans justified themselves with an especially narrow and obtuse interpretation of the ancient scriptures of a small tribe at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, near the juncture of Europe, Africa and Asia. They argued that the creation myth described in the "Genesis" of the Hebrew scriptures meant that the entire natural world, the planet Earth, was given to humankind to exploit in every way possible, to engage in a kind of "harvest" until everything had been harvested or mined or extracted to feed the human hunger for food, power, control, minerals, toys and entertainment. Unfortunately, that interpretation was totally wrong all along. What was meant, as was concisely and clearly corrected by Jesus, another Jewish Teacher, was that the human species is charged with the responsibility of good stewardship, the obligation to take care of all that lives on the planet Earth, which is in the hands of the human species, who are technological animals. The invading Europeans persisted in their fantasy that they are not animals but something above or better than animals. It is as though, according to the Western narcissistic religion, to be an animal or physical being is inherently inferior or distasteful or unacceptable. And we humans are too good to be subject to the same laws of the universe that govern all other living things. This is the cosmic spiritual mistake of the "Western Civilization" who invaded the nations of the Earth as though they, the Europeans, came as visitors from another world. They perfected their mindless exploitation of the life-supporting environment by sucking all the fish out of the seas and turning the atmosphere into a kind of greenhouse shell that will heat the Earth until much of the life on its surface is cooked to death. The humans are so intractably committed to their self-serving fantasy that they are above the laws of nature, they have plans to travel to another planet and start over. But there are rumors not only that there is a magical God, but also that there may be some very non-magical and real "guardians of the sky" who would most likely agree with the teaching of Jesus, who said that if those hired to care for the vineyard neglected their duties and killed the servants, they would in turn be thrown onto the fire and replaced with new servants who understand their obligation to take care of life. That is the discussion ongoing at the end years of the "Age of Self-Destruction." We now live in the "Aftermath" of the "Great Invasion" and we watch for the human capacity -- or incapacity -- to reform itself and correct its errors. We observe our own transition to a New Age on Earth, where our most enduring contribution to the planet might be extinction by "unintended consequences." Our record of changing technology is good; our record of changing ourselves is weak, if it exists at all. What is our dominant survival trait? Self-knowledge or denial?
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