There is a lot of suffering in the world, and while being highly intelligent can be useful in finding certain kinds of success, it is, to me, quite often little more than a persistent fuel for the fires of depression, anxiety and excessive rumination. I liken the modern world as something not too dissimilar, in effect. Beyond simply having a high IQ, we have to strive for the elusive notion of wisdom.
I am of a personality type that can lean all too frequently into spirals of negative thought. Being able to see and understand the apparent failings of humanity and the world — and the sheer chaotic mess that is the pervading human condition — it can be exceedingly crippling. On the one hand, broad, systemic solutions and reparations seem to always be just within our reach. On the other, systemic collapse is happening all around us. This is, of course, a rather negative perspective. On the positive spectrum, I can see and feel an infinite potentiality and idealism and morality, sufficient enough to ice the largest of reality cakes. We are remarkable, multidimensional constructs of this vast, conscious universe, so what gives?
Finding our way in the world can be difficult enough, regardless of smarts and how well we do on academic tests. Knowing — or at least, predicting — the deeper sense of ultimate futility is maddening. It’s not about creating some kind of Protopia, though the notion does generate a strong sense of possibility and promise. We can philosophize until the last moonset that sees another civilization die and fade into someone’s future history. But clever language, animated discourse and strongly worded essays influence only the one who is currently engaged in its temporal instance. So far as energetic systems go (i.e., Earth), unless a significant number of us get in on and embrace the same general locomotive ambition, we’ll keep progressing in mere fragmentary, dissociative methods.
The world we experience today is a result of cumulative reinforcement of the archaic, with a sprinkling of the novel and truly genius. I’m talking millennia, not decades. It is only in recent generations that the tragic consequences of unevolved enterprising-ideas-past are ramping up exponentially, due primarily to the massive increase of the world’s population. This, coupled with the naturally memetic (or perhaps, mimetic) desires we propagate, market and disseminate, results in a global population complex of contrasting and conflicting means, needs and aspirations — each segment striving for their own, specific notion of “better” for them, and their loved ones.
Long-held, hierarchical power structures dominate the narrative, and are leading us largely toward self-termination, while the conflicted masses are predominantly engaged in squabbling, politics, flirting with activism, binge-watching entertainment, generic rigmarole and predictable evolutionary patterns. The modern era has critically exposed, and is shining an unnerving light upon, just how deeply-seated our primal values and underdeveloped ideologies are. While we adore our newfound means of unlimited expression and addictive information gathering, we abhor our dependency on ancient power systems that have been apparently leading us in the wrong direction. It leaves us largely feeling bewildered and impotent to sway momentum away from an inevitable collapse.
How do we fix this?
The highly intelligent, the institutionally educated, the visionaries and the innovators, are all aware of the “best” solutions. This, too, is problematic. Fear, uncertainty, genuine and artificially induced urgency — and our inherently competitive nature — are yet again creating rifts and conflicting agendas, while polarizing cultures and societies amongst themselves. Billionaires are accelerating toward their grandiose visions and untested panaceas. Many believe in broad, aggressive and violent fixes, none of which — if implemented — can be predictably successful without (continued) significant loss of life, without the curtailing of civility or civil liberties, or outright war. This is an inherent attribute of outdated, industrial philosophy.
Historically, long-term, incremental change has sustained us; it has gradually improved quality of life, enhanced and expanded all of our systems, their inherent utility and functionality. Yet the unconscious, unsustainable bias toward material gains, and the exponential overuse of the planet’s resources, has proven decidedly to be arrogant, ignorant and myopic. I can say, again, that this is a problem with consciousness; it’s a crisis of meaning, purpose, intent, intuition, ideation, spirituality and logic. Our world is desperate for cohesion of the intellectual and the emotional; the practical and the prodigious; the logistical and the loving.
Ultimately, it is a crisis and disparity of the masculine and the feminine; the constructive and the nurturing; the aggressive and the sensible. Is that at all surprising? Wisdom is an inevitable product of the long game, of patience and incremental, purposeful changes and calculated modifications of an ever-evolving process. It’s bias must be toward unity and egalitarian aims, subsuming the best and the worst of everything we’ve failed and succeeded at — inclusive of all contexts, all systems, ecologies and peoples.
Solving for wisdom requires next-level consciousness. If you were to stop moving and incessantly doing for a moment, to take a good look around you, you would find an emerging, vastly impressive crowd of willing and able compatriots with which to engage and introduce this rising tide of innovation, regeneration and spiritual illumination unto the waiting world.
Accept that in many ways, we have failed. Accept that much of the old world of ideas and industry are collapsing. Get excited about deliberately building something epochal and significant that will outlive you and your children.