In this stage of increasing global disruptions there is little certainty of where this transition stage is leading us or how catastrophically it will unfold. It is all too easy to become overwhelmed by doubt, despair and dread of a future we are creating. In becoming overwhelmed and silenced by insecurity, doubt and fear we fall into a hollowed out state of disempowerment. In our compliant gullibility of our spoon fed news that promotes the corporate, political agendas, we seek surety in authority and certainty. A renewed perspective that views destructive endings as segues to the possibility of new beginnings can circumvent these destabilising reactions. Of course the challenge of stepping up to the possibility begins with the first step – where you are at, physically, socially and psychologically to constructively and realistically step towards the possibility for generative action.
But it is not easy to step up, even in my privileged position. As I watched and read news about the American riots, the systemic discrimination against African-Americans, the 434 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991, the arrogant destruction of a 46,000+ year old Aboriginal cave for greed, the unrolling failures of inept, immoral and corporate governance, the lack of apology for the Robodebt debacle and more and more environmental degradation, I felt the dread of the predicted and likely apocalypse of civilisational breakdown. The feelings challenge my intellectual need for taking a broader perspective towards it.
Apocalypse in Greek (apokálypsis) doesn’t mean catastrophe as we usually take it to mean but the uncovering, disclosure, revelation of something, whether it be of something hidden or some fundamental truth. So the systemic breakdown we see the evidence of everywhere is apocalyptic in the regular sense that there is increasing complexity and degradation, increasing angst, despair and confusion. But consistent with the Greek meaning, it implies a transition time for uncovering our collective need and capacity to overturn the systemic inequities and entrenched powers that have suppressed humanity, distracted and cajoled the majority into a false sense of immunity and powerlessness. From this reckoning the apocalypse is overdue.
The COVID pandemic and US riots are two obvious, well reported events (if often biased) that are uncovering and publicising the blatant systemic discriminations and inequalities, the destruction of ecological and life support systems and the erosion of social trust and cohesion. We have lost our moral and spiritual compass. It is the lack of reflection of the why question – why are we here/ am I here – beyond the survival, power and wealth reasons that means we have diminished our conscious connection with humanity, our spiritual heritage, and to the natural world we are part of. Our society, this disconnected civilisation has become mesmerised by external pleasures, living and dramas, yet asleep in the face of increasing crises.
These unfolding and deepening crises are apocalyptic and will continue to worsen. Each assault and murder by police thugs we witness or not, every politician supporting the degenerative systems and deriding protestors, every example of systemic undermining of our lives reveals our broken collective wholeness, our collective lack of perspective towards the why and who we are. The massive, destructive bushfires and the pandemic have for many people deepened their sense of physical and psychological frailty that was hidden behind day-to-day stability, technological convenience, white First world privilege and relative affluence, or just their busy, externalised gaze. Transition times represent uncomfortable, often difficult experiences for the affected, full of stress whether it be physical or psychologically or emotionally or spiritually.
To wrap up, I know I must balance witnessing the struggles and degradations with developing heightened perspective towards the ‘apocalypse’ if I am to not to withdraw into judgement, denial or nihilism. Only by letting go of illusory hope, yet not buying into powerlessness and letting come the possibility and actuality of regenerative actions may we allow our yearning for new beginnings to arise and sustain us through these difficult times. Listening and watching with compassion to the suffering of the Earth and its marginalised and oppressed peoples, wherever they live is the first step toward healing and transforming our perspectives and world. In this renewed interpretation of events and our expanding circle of compassion is the potential of creating a more resilient pathway through the apocalyptic landscapes of our world.