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The Basic Cause of Humankind’s Highly Problematic Existence

Being concerned for the state of our planet and humankind’s condition led me to these observations:

  1. The most precious asset we possess as human beings is our consciousness. How it is shaped, how we are oriented on this planet largely determines the outcome of our life’s journey.
  2. Unfortunately, we are not informed or it is not emphasized that we are programmable beings whose orientation is shaped by programs encoded on our consciousness by prevailing institutions around which we happen to be situated – governments, schools, religions, families, etc. As such, an orientation is imposed on us, rather than consciously chosen by us.
  3. Furthermore, we are not encouraged to question the programs advanced by prevailing institutions. Instead, we are encouraged to be faithful to their programs and assume that humankind’s highly problematic existence is either unchangeable or caused by the faulty orientation of others, rather than consider the possibility that the orientation imposed on our consciousness may be faulty.
  4. The programs advanced by prevailing institutions have not been sufficiently coherent, moral, and universal to orient humankind in a manner that inspires us to move forward together meaningfully, joyfully, and peacefully. Instead, the programs advanced have led and continue to lead to illusions, prejudices, self-limiting ideologies, and other forms of conceptual imprisonment that diminish us as individuals, separate us into warring camps, and perpetuate the endless cycle of misadventures, destruction, and despair that humankind endures.

I believe the combination of those observations leads us to the basic cause of humankind’s highly problematic existence – conceptual imprisonment. That important discovery prompts the question: Do we possess the wherewithal to (a) transcend illusions, prejudices, self-limiting ideologies, and other forms of conceptual imprisonment, (b) generate coherent, moral, and universal programs that will inspire us to move forward together meaningfully, joyfully, and peacefully, and (c) fulfill our best possibilities as individuals, as societies, and as a species?

My answer would be yes, if we were oriented in a manner that frees and empowers us to become aware of what is possible and what to demand of ourselves and of our institutions. Instead, the reality is that it has become natural for us to assimilate during our lifetime the combination of programs that are imposed on our consciousness by:

  • the schools we attend                          
  • the religions we practice              
  • our family’s orientation     
  • governments and other institutions

We are not encouraged to question the fundamentals of their programs. Are they coherent, moral, and universal? Will they free and empower us to direct our life’s journey from our own point of view, rather than thoughtlessly follow their programs? Do their programs inspire us to become comprehensive, critical thinking, self-directed individuals?

Given this condition, not enough of us have been or will become aware of what is possible and what to demand of ourselves and of our institutions. Such lack of awareness does not bode well for the future. Not only would we fail to fulfill our best possibilities, the chances are, like all the other major civilizations that came before us, we will become just another failed one that had taken root and flowered for centuries, but eventually decayed.

S U G G E S T E D   N E X T: How We Can Transcend Conceptual Imprisonment