By David Bryson, M.D. (Yale, ’63)
November 5, 2011
The world is a mess. I was totally for Obama 3 years ago and now find him a perp for secret military activities and attacks. The only real positive is the worldwide Occupy movement.
This weekend (November 5-6) Occupy and the Sierra Club intend to form a human chain around the White House to protest the tar sands project. I suggest that 4 themes be joined together, one for each side of the White House. One side for the living biosphere with Sierra Club on that side. The opposite side is anti-military weapons and wars. Protesting Global warming on one side and global warring on the opposite side. The third side is for social and economic equalities with many more in the middle than on top. The last side is for the remaining 7 billion humans, the total world population estimated to have reached and passed 7 billion on October 31. Instead of encircling the White House, ensquare the White House.
The thinker who best expresses the spirit of the Occupiers is Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), a French archeologist and priest. He believed that human consciousness is the ultimate expression of evolution, and will spread around the earth to become the noosphere, above the biosphere. Human consciousness will reach what Teilhard calls the “omega point.” A Teilhard quote: Human Energy presents itself to our view as the term of a vast process in which the whole mass of the universe is involved. In us, the evolution of the world towards the spirit becomes conscious. From that moment, our perfection, our interest, our salvation as elements of creation can only be to press on with this evolution with all our strength. We cannot understand exactly where it will lead us, but it would be absurd for us to doubt that it will lead us towards some end of supreme value. From this there finally emerges human consciousness, for the first time since the awakening of life on earth, the fundamental problem of Action. No longer, as in the past, for our small selves, for our small family, our small country; but for the salvation and success of the universe, how must we organize around us for the best, the maintenance, distribution, and progress of human energy?
The energy of the Occupiers comes from gathering together in the same space, mind-to-mind and heart-to-heart. This cannot be done with electronic communication alone. I was watching a video clip of journalist Chris Hedges at the site in Manhattan – after speaking calmly and eloquently for several minutes he finally said (paraphrase) “this is not about me – this is about my three year old child” and Chris suddenly broke into tears on camera. This would not have happened in a TV studio. Being there with hundreds of other human beings tripped the switch from rational thoughts to loving feelings.
Five years ago I wrote three columns for Fog City Journal which proposed a global curriculum named Human History in a Hurry.
It never happened, and the world is worse off now than then. The great evolutionary scientist Ian Tattersall sees humans on earth as “accidental tourists.” Our species does not follow Darwinian rules for survival and reproduction, like every other one of the millions of species. We are a special species, one foot inside and the other outside the Darwinian world.
Another great evolutionary thinker, E.O. Wilson is soon to release his latest book “The Social Conquest of Earth.” From a recent interview: “Group selection brings about virtue, and – this is an oversimplification, but – individual selection, which is competing with it, creates sin. That, in a nutshell, is an explanation of the human condition.”
From Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man: “Created half to rise, and half to fall; Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all; Sole judge of all truth, in endless error hurl’d: The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!”
That’s us: accidental tourists, torn between me-first individualism and altruistic urges for others, the glory, jest, and riddle of the world.
Throw in Machiavelli, whose concept of “necessitat” argues that those in power will do whatever is necessary – lie, cheat, kill, praise, forgive –whatever it takes today to stay in power today and tomorrow. How can the Occupiers overcome that? Not with bombs or bullets, not with ballots. The central hope is that just because history has always repeated itself, it may not continue to do so. The Occupiers are growing worldwide, just like Teilhard wanted. The onsite meetings are announced on Facebook and other websites, fine tuned during the event on Twitter, and shown to all on YouTube. A new beginning for a new history of humanity.