The first odd reality we need to understand is that only our species lives within the context of what we believe….that is to say that the other animals on this planet are not concerned with the intellectual concepts that guide our lives and provide us with a never ending source of drama. For them, there is neither a past to cling to, nor a future to fear. There is only the moment..the now that is their life.
Each of our cultures, subdivided by religious and political verbal structures is rooted in their own stories of our origin. In what we call The West, Adam and Eve discover Good and Evil, leave the paradise of the timeless day they share with the other animals, and via metaphor, launch what evolutionists refer to as the Agricultural Revolution.
They also begin what we call a family, bringing into the world two brothers, Abel and Cain, personifications of good and evil. Their drama is centered on inheritance, which of them is rightfully entitled to determine how the accumulations of the past are to be transformed into the development of the future. That drama has served our kind in every generation from Pharos to Kings…from Parliaments to Politburos.
And it is the central drama, displayed via our daily news, dominating our lives today. Within the Religious and Political organizations of every so called country on our geographically defined planet the struggle is how to use the Past to define the Future.
In the United States, what we call the “far right wing” declares its mission is to “take back our country”. It declares a variety of dangers and solutions which can be summarized as a return to a society dominated by what we call “White males”. This is an attempt to prevent the emerging social reality that this once dominant group, dominant in numbers as well as influence, is being shifted to a minority status.
In every Western Country one variation or another of the same political struggle is taking place. That fear is growing into panic as the stream of refugees from the Middle East is transformed into a flood.
At the center of the international stage the political and religious drama of rightful inheritance is manifesting itself as an attempt to institute a Caliphate to govern the world as its current generation understands the Past…and to govern it by a selective use of the most modern technology available.
The polar opposite to that narrative is found in the political positioning of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party in the United States. Ironically, and often unconsciously, it is trying in its own way to utilize the following understanding of what is referred to as “American Exceptionalism”:
The United States, despite the devastation it caused the native populations, and despite its treatment of African slaves, and despite its reactionary responses to every wave of immigrants that ever found its way to these shores, and despite its history of racial and ethnic conflict, was designed by the accidents of history to be the MODEL of how human beings can learn to overcome tribal roots, differences in language, religion, and cultural heritage in order to function for the benefit of all of us, instead of our tribes of origin.
And beyond that, for the benefit of the other animals, and for the plant life and ocean life of this earth, referred to over and over again throughout our tribal histories, as our mother.
As the only creatures plagued by and promised to a past and future we of this time are the unwitting protagonists of our ancient dramas. We have stumbled out of the caves we once called our homes, but we have not yet fully freed our selves from the cognitive structures we utilized to get free.
Our need today is to learn how to use the wonderful technology, and scientific discoveries that are emerging so quickly, to rescue ourselves and our planet from destruction. To do that we need to learn how to re-interpret our separate cultural histories as the Buddhist saying goes, “as fingers pointing to the moon, not as the moon itself.”
How we decide to understand the past is determined by how we want to create the future. There is enough plasticity in our history as creatures, and enough plasticity in our selves as individuals to create loving resolutions to this drama we are in.