Why is it time for the “Old Man” to move over? Basically, old men, particularly white old men, hold most of the power on the planet. So let’s look at the current state of the world they have created.
There is increasing talk that we are in greater danger now than during the cold war. The threat of nuclear weapons comes on top of already so much violence in so many places. According to the Global Peace Index only 11 countries out of 195 can be considered really at peace – that is only about 3% of the world’s population. Humans are spending currently, $1,700,000,000 on weapons to kill other human beings. The mind boggles at how much food that would provide for starving people, or clean water and toilets, or hospitals or schools, or alleviating incomprehensible levels of inequality….
Then there is global warming, which will make every problem worse, including the conflicts, the starvation, the deteriorating water situation…. Incredibly, governments, including the ones we elect, are currently subsidizing the fossil fuels responsible for most of this climate change to the tune of more than $1,000,000,000 of taxpayers’ money every year. As Osho puts it, “Do you think you are living in a sane world?” Planet Earth is becoming more like one of those terrible institutions for the “criminally insane.” But what is driving this insanity?
The main event shaping the human mind on a global and individual level today is the reaction to the slow revolution in who controls the levers of power.
In particular, in only a couple of generations we are witnessing a huge shift: away from a world where the power of the masculine went largely unchallenged. Of course the males had their hierarchical ladder, from the elites at the top to the serfs at the bottom, but within each category men ruled, so even the male serf still ruled his particular roost.
As Osho points out, “The future belongs to the feminine qualities” and exactly that is happening.
The shift is not only about gender. These males are also white. Across the world, the supremacy of the white skin color is also being challenged. These males were of course also the adults, where children “were seen but not heard.” No longer. So, not only are women and non-white skinned people increasingly rejecting their historical role as second-class humans – as dictated by the men – children too are now insisting that they be not only seen but also heard!
Every human grouping is being profoundly affected by these changes – not to mention the reactions by those who object to this loss of power.
The second major change for humanity is globalization. As Osho explains:
“Dependence, independence – both are fictions. Interdependence is the reality.”
Try telling the climate, or pollution, or the coronavirus that you are “independent” and it needs your permission to enter “your” airspace! Not to mention trying to control the inevitable global flow of music, design, science, laughter, love…. Or the birds and the bees. And yes, the people!
You can shout for Brexit, or “Build the Wall” as much as you want, existence just isn’t listening. The only thing you can wall off is the human mind, which is exactly what the old man wants to happen – with only catastrophic consequences.
So, again, within a generation or two, the old walls between groups have started to disappear.
Transportation has been revolutionized so that people and the products they create are crossing the planet diluting what used to be local and parochial into an ever more global and diverse experience.
Even more impacting is the revolution in communications. What once went largely hidden in one part of the world can now be seen by everyone. Whether it is female genital mutilation in an African country or the UK, or white policeman shooting black people on the streets of the US, everyone can know about it, read about it or watch it on a screen somewhere. The world is becoming ever more transparent.
Preventing women from driving cars in Saudi Arabia became an absurdity that more belonged on Comedy Central than a serious “cultural value” in some distant land that others “should” respect. Honor killings that must have been happening forever in the dark recesses of the planet, now disgust billions. Today, anyone can read how the much-heralded “war on drugs” was simply started by the Nixon administration as a way of crippling the black community in the US.
Whether it is the horrors of people jumping from the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, or photos from Abu Ghraib, or the effects of US waterboarding, or the rape and butcher of a woman on a New Delhi bus, the world is watching. And increasingly watching “live.”
At the same time, the people around the world are also exposed to incredible advances in science. Children everywhere see pictures of an apparently infinite universe of uncountable galaxies; are increasingly familiar with atoms and molecules, genes and evolution, the essence of matter and its manipulation for spectacular technological innovation. They are, in short, exposed to the incredible interdependence of all natural phenomena. They can watch the fully-grown black bear, lion and tiger in the Atlanta Zoo, living happily together, and can see, at least for these two big cats, that “black lives matter.”
Consider the work of Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She writes, “Children reason in complex and subtle ways that cannot be explained by simple associations or rules. Furthermore, when children unconsciously use this Bayesian statistical analysis, they may actually be better than adults at considering unusual possibilities.” Or the work of Paul Harris who shows that children as young as six can distinguish the reality of invisibles like “germs” and “gods” because they never hear adults declare that they “are true believers in germs.”
These kids today can find George Carlin making such wonderful fun of God and religion, or watch Richard Dawkins declare that, “Such delusions of grandeur to think that a God with a hundred billion galaxies on his mind would give a tuppenny damn who you sleep with, or indeed whether you believe in him.”
Watch out for these kids! As Osho describes what happens when children have half a chance of finding out for themselves what is going on. They are “well grounded, centered, strong enough…. You will be surprised to meet such a child. He will be as sharp as a sword. His eyes will be clear, his insight will be clear.”
What this means is that for the first time in human history the younger generation is for the most part much smarter about the world than their elders. They are also more articulate, more feminine, browner – and more scientific and less likely to be impressed by ancient myths.
What is the effect of all this? The crux of the matter is that the priests and politicians of the old male-dominated religious and secular tribes that have ruled the world for ages are freaking out. They may have been useful in the past, but now they know their time is up. It is only a matter of when, not if.
How much longer can the religious tribes sell their myths about a white guy in the sky checking on your every move, or a heaven and a hell, or angels, or virgin births, or someone walking on water…? Not much it seems. Already more than one-third of young adults (34%) as religiously unaffiliated, according to a recent survey.
How much longer can the secular tribes convince intelligent people that their tribe has some divine right to control a particular part of the planet, and can use whatever force is required to assert that control? Or that it is acceptable for the elites of these tribes to drown in luxury while those at the bottom eat dirt?
These ideas are already well past their shelf life.
As these tribal chiefs see their power falter, they become more extreme. They are circling the wagons, preparing to fight to the end.
They struggle against the inevitable course of history in any way they can. They persuade others to die fighting the competing tribes – rather than confront the destructive nature of their conditioned beliefs. Some are lured into fighting one at a time with suicide belts. Others are encouraged to look forward to a global suicide at a place called “Armageddon”: some do it by building nuclear weapons, others do it by denying climate change….
“Born again” protestant Christian George Bush ignited the embers of bitterness across the Middle East, which is now aflame. The resurgent Russian Orthodox Church has eyed the Middle East, particularly the Holy Land, for centuries and is now turning Aleppo into a Dresden, a war described by Patriarch Kirill as “Holy.” The ancient fault line between Catholics and Orthodox Christians runs right through Ukraine and on into the Balkans and simmers away. Many parts of Africa are burning, and all these conflicts are spilling over onto the streets of Europe, where the reaction brings back memories of past inter-religious and inter-ethnic horrors.
South Asia is boiling while China just declares ownership of the South China Sea. After all, “might is right,” right? And having learned the lessons of the US invasion of Iraq, North Korea is hell bent on getting the requisite “might” under its belt as a necessary precaution.
Brexit and the Trump phenomena reflect exactly the same dynamics: the defense of old dying value systems and a refusal to see the reality of an interdependent world.
Misogyny, racism, intolerance, bigotry, violence… naturally follow. These are the bedrock values of the old male-dominated tribes.
American blindness to climate change is another perfect example. You can pretend to be as exceptional as your egos demand, you can build as many walls as you want, but whether you like it or not, the climate makes no such exception for your posturing. Denial is all there is left – short of honesty.
Instead of fixing the problems, those in power make them worse: a perfect strategy for making people more fearful and insecure, so they are more likely to stick with the existing tribes – and urgently needed changes can be at least delayed.
The politicians keep deceiving people about the benefits of “more and more.” But they know that as growth inevitably stalls, the size of the pie stays the same. The result is that with inequality off the charts, we are allowing ourselves to be turned into drowning rats – scrambling to save ourselves with the help of the rest of our tribe – pulling down those ahead of us who have more, and kicking away those behind us who have less.
Osho nails it as always:
“The problem is that the forces that we created to keep man from falling apart into chaos are now so powerful that they don’t want to leave you free to grow – because if you are capable of growing, becoming an individual, alert, aware and conscious, there will be no need of all these people.
“They will lose all their jobs, and with their jobs, their prestige, their power, their leadership, their priesthood, their popehood – everything will be gone. So now those, who were in the beginning needed for protection, have turned into the enemies of humanity.” 1
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