This morning I saw headlines that made my blood boil and made me sick to my stomach, and I started to go down that negative cycle that Google newsfeeds are designed to create (to glue you to the feed!) Horrible murders. Manufactured controversies about celebrities to sell ad space on newspapers-turned-worthless-blogs, and stupid people buying into the hype because they do want to help, but they don’t see it clearly. And on and on and on.
And then it hit me that I was looking at it the wrong way. Better put, from a limited perspective.
THE PAIN IS A SIGN OF HOPE.
Because even with all the enormous worldwide problems, there is a strong argument that the species (and the planet) is more conscious than it has ever been so far; and though infinitely better days will hopefully come (in no small measure due to that nascent collective consciousness), you could argue that this is the best time to be alive so far in the brutal history since ribonucleic acids decided it would be fun to try replicating themselves.
Things like technology (a function of enhanced consciousness) are rapidly making it possible for regular people to have experiences, standards of living, medical interventions, and knowledge far beyond even the wildest dreams of the Pharaohs (literal gods in their culture).
Obviously, there is a concerted effort among the plutocracy to create the greatest power/wealth differential in modern history; clearly, there is vast social injustice and climate crisis and more; but the fact that we are aware of those threats and starting to talk about and act upon them is a symptom of the Consciousness that has a shot at making this a pleasant and well-balanced planet to live on.
There is something here about Gaia theory, something about all conscious organisms as nerve cells in a Collective Consciousness, and something about Sagan’s “Universe become self aware.” It is not rosy colored optimism that turns a blind eye to the brutal reality; but there is something empowering about seeing the very consciousness of all the pain as a powerful sign of hope. This awareness is far from an Avalokiteshvara-like detached voyeurism that perceives suffering and weeps without taking action (though I do have some affection for that flawed but loveable bhodisattva); instead, the planet as an organism is awakening and rearranging itself in such a way as to heal itself.
(By the way, I feel that the savior complex so many of us wrestle with is partly because we forget that we are cells in a vast body, not the body itself. But that’s another rabbit hole).
Systems are becoming self aware through the very imbalances that serve as stressors to catalyze enhanced consciousness — and these systems are balancing themselves, even if it seems slow on a human scale.
Even just in biological terms, evolution is a process of unparalleled brutality; but the pain and brutality of that process has given rise to imperfect vessels of high consciousness which may serve as the gateway to the kind of deep intelligence that will be required not only to keep consciousness alive but to heal this planet and perhaps spread a balanced and healthy intelligence to new regions of space. Kind of like a mix of Asimov’s Last Question and Kurzweil’s Singularity and the best parts of Clarke’s Childhood’s End — humans are just one brief and tiny step on the road to a healthy, holistic, balanced, collective high consciousness.
So as bad as the headlines and the stupidity and cruelty of our species (which is like the Windows 3.1 of Consciousness), there is hope in the newfound awareness of the pain, because awareness means the kind of higher consciousness needed to heal the causes of the pains. Even further, the pain itself is like a chemical catalyst that ushers in rapid evolution towards balance and harmony; so even when the condition of the world hurts (on a personal or collective level), we can use the superpower of saying that “all things work together for the good” of the conscious Cosmos that is only now awakening from the darkling dream of its birth.
I guess, as always, it feels like a religion-free application of Faith, Hope, and Love is the takeaway from this chiaroscuro of beauty and pain that we call life.
HUMANS ARE NOT THE ENDPOINT.
And pain is a seed of something more beautiful than we can yet imagine.
Image: Shutterstock (Used Under License)