Humanity in Existential Crisis?
The earth is not going through a moral crisis, but through an “evolutionary crisis.” We are not moving toward a better world…we are in the middle of a MUTATION toward a radically different world…Unknown to ourselves, we are in search of the new being; we are right in the midst of a human revolution.’
We have arrived at an important time in our collective human journey: humanity now has to face the fact that it is living within a dishonest civilization. The tentacles of our growth and progress have reached too far into the sullied bellies of power and greed. People are being tricked into falling for the superficial, the glamorous, whilst slipping into a potential future of the human-less. Our present landscape is morphing into a place where, for the first time, the human being, and mind, is finding itself out-of-place within its own territory. The very identity of our humanity is now in flux and we are in need of re-defining who we are and where we are going.
It is no exaggeration to say that humanity is entering a period of existential crisis that has perhaps not been last witnessed since the Middle Ages. Only this time, we don’t have our religious institutions to offer us salvation. The responsibility is upon our shoulders of finding ‘salvation’ through becoming fully human in the face of dehumanizing forces. We have to resist the huge, encroaching mechanical organizing forces of life. These are detrimental to the vital human force and its life instincts. We are being crippled by those forces that lie external to us, and onto which we have been accustomed (or conditioned) to place our dependence and trust.
We are right in the middle of a time of intense ‘enforced socialization,’ or what Edward Snowden recently referred to as an ‘architecture of oppression.’ For some, the only response to this overwhelming ‘architecture of oppression’ will be to find their comfort zones — such as sitting in their chairs at home in supplication to the digital distractions of online entertainment. This oppressing architecture will come less with batons and clubs and more with the enticements of a ‘Brave New World’ that Aldous Huxley outlined. Satisfactions, and the access to such satisfactions, will form part of the disciplinary structures that pretend to be democratic. A democratic totalitarianism is the deceitful dishonesty that has crept, or slithered, into our so-called regimes of modernity. What we have now is not only dishonest but dysfunctional towards a fully realized human future. Or perhaps that is the point? That what is trying to emerge at this time is not wanting to support the development of a fully human future but rather to form the architecture of a dehumanized, technologized future? Maybe humanity has now arrived at an important juncture on its journey that will decide which path forward it will take. That is, humanity has arrived at an evolutionary juncture that marks a passing of one era and a decision-point into what type of future era awaits. And it is here that we are in distress. It is this point that marks our existential crisis.
The Indian sage Sri Aurobindo said, in 1910: ‘The end of a stage of evolution is usually marked by a powerful recrudescence of all that has to go out of the evolution.’ The term ‘recrudescence’ is not popularly used yet refers to the recurrence of an undesirable condition. We can also consider it as a resurgence in order to expel, similar to popping a returned boil to release the pus. Perhaps what we are witnessing around the world is an expulsion of the ‘diseases of humanity’ that have crept into the human body. There is a correspondence here to that of viruses. Viruses are microscopic parasites that only thrive when within a host body. Many scientists consider viruses to be non-living parasites or, at the most, to be ‘at the edge of life.’ Others refer to viruses as self-replicators. These parasites then exist in the ‘twilight zone’ between life and non-life where they replicate toxic material until the host body produces an immunity. As an analogy, the corrupt and deceitful elements of humanity are replicating through the host global body until our collective consciousness can find and/or reach a state of immunity. This is the period of ‘recrudescence’ that Aurobindo states as marking the end of one stage of human evolutionary growth and its next. We may wonder here if the current state of global toxicity is this period of expulsion — the ‘popping the boil’ — before a new state of health can be regained? And through this, humanity can both individually and collectively find a new story for itself — a new and revised sense of purpose. Similarly, the French thinker Satprem (a follower of Aurobindo’s thinking) claimed that — ‘When a species fails to find its own sense, it dies or self-destructs.’ This may define our current dilemma — we are trying to find our sense within this toxicity and fluidity. And the stakes are high. We are in need of coming to our human good senses.
This period of fluidity (what I have previously referred to as the ‘bardo times’) represents a time of distortion, uncertainty and, ultimately, a disconnection with the past. It is a fluidity where concepts of truth are muddled, and the ‘true-false’ or the ‘false-true’ invades our consciousnesses in order to confuse and disorientate. We are coming close to a peak point where we swim in a hallucinatory or hypnotic state of false reality — a form of pseudo-reality. And we remain in this liquid, fluid unreal time until the immunity of human consciousness dispels these zombie self-replicating parasites ‘at the edge of life.’ That is, until we can heal our ‘wounded consciousness.’
We are perhaps walking dazed in the blurry last rays of twilight that divides a dying age from one yet to be born. We are unsure of our footing, and so we reach out for the shards of security that the dying age throws at us. Yet these are not a lifeline for the future; they are the threads that cling to the dying age and which eventually will only lead us into the underworld as Orpheus journeyed into Hades. We need to move into the light and, unlike Orpheus, we should not look back before reaching the light, lest we lose the object of our love.
Going forward and developing our humanity is not about ‘adding on’ new things or appendages — or becoming a bodily hybrid; rather, it is about falling away from such external appendages and finding our inner self-sufficiency. Rather than looking outside of us — staring up at the stars and waiting for extraterrestrial help to arrive — we should be seeking for the powerful secret kept within the intra-terrestrial. The evolutionary secret is kept — has always been kept — within us. And yet our external systems, those ‘architectures of oppression,’ are depriving us of our own means to push forward. Our social institutions are attempting — by distraction or design — to keep us from discovering our own evolutionary secret.
The human being — a bodily-physical as well as mental-emotional being — is in danger of becoming buried beneath not climate changes but a technical-medical age of bio-security that deprives the human being of its own choices and its own means for development. We are close to becoming self-doubtful of our own knowing. Once our channels of self-knowing are invaded and corrupted by a deluge of deliberate fakery, trickery, and pseudo-truths, we become suffocated by the compelling force of a new story that washes over us. If we too readily succumb to the script of this corrupted (imposed?) social story, we shall soon forget the threads that connect us to a soulful human life. We must take this time as a trigger to compel us to find the human evolutionary key that lies within.
Humanity has entered unprecedented times. Such times demand an unprecedented response. It appears that we are now being asked to ‘step up’ to accept our responsibility to become full human beings; or we slump into the cul-de-sac of becoming the ‘incurable clowns’ on the evolutionary ladder. There is no going forward in repetition, as if mimicking the self-replication of viruses. What is needed is a form of recalibration and re-creation. We need to push for a new phase that springs out from this current one as a fish jumps out of its fishbowl gasping for air. A new air. A new breath. This is what is needed. We must grow our new lungs — our new perceptual organs — if we are to be able to draw in this new air.
Humans have always had a thirst for the future; it is a type of inherent in-built longing that keeps us resilient. The promise of a future becomes our promise too. We promise it to ourselves even though we’re not sure how to keep such a promise. Again, quoting Satprem, who refers to humanity as: ‘A species in transition, unaware of the means of its transmission. And the guards of the Camp are preventing it by every possible means from finding its own key.’ We’ve lived so long within a thinking, mental jungle that we’ve become lost to how inner growth should take place. And the ‘guards’ of this mental jungle are preventing by ‘every possible means’ our way to find this key within each and every one of us. Each person is compelled now to dig within them, and to find and reach for that key which unlocks the prison door for them. If enough individual doors are unlocked, opened, and stepped through, then the prison dissolves. This is the twilight of our containment that comes before the dawn of liberation. We are presently, in the words of Aurobindo — ‘A painted bird of paradise in a cage.’ The key is in unlocking the cage door and finding a new air to breathe. And then humanity can soar as never before. The question of our time is — can we now continue our human evolution? Will we?
 See my book — Bardo Times: hyperreality, high-velocity, simulation, automation, mutation — a hoax? (2018)
 I explored this theme in my book ‘Healing the Wounded Mind — The Psychosis of the Modern World & the Search for the Self (2019)
 A reference to the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orpheus looked back too soon, before reaching the light, and lost his love.
Kingsley L. Dennis is the author of THE MODERN SEEKER: A Perennial Psychology for Contemporary Times and other books. Visit his website — http://www.kingsleydennis.com/