War is a timeless force in the human imagination—and, indeed, in daily life. Engaged in the activity of destruction, its soldiers and its victims discover a paradoxical yet profound sense of existing, of being human.

(James Hillman)

Russian troops invade and bomb Ukraine, civilians die, soldiers die, people kill each other in another warrior game, the headlines are alive, TV scenes vividly showing war machines, scared people, and though faced politicians in their ignorance and power games, justifying the terrifying games. It is the same show. Again, and again.

As a child, I remember hearing on the news about a war in Korea. A remote place I had never imagined existed. Meanwhile, in history class in school, they were talking about the endless wars that happened in the past, among people that lived then. I remember how my curiosity was aroused in a section of my history textbook titled The 100-year war that lasted 116 years!

As far as I could see, human history is all about wars, the causes for it, the alliances to win, victories, heroes and victims, and the new wars spawned, and so on. Big wars, small wars, long wars, short wars. Some were named with numbers, if they maintained a sequence, or given the name of the region where they took place or named after the combatant pair. War, people really killing each other, unlike the battles we boys would play in our neighborhood, using toy pistols and swords.

War, so much part of the human psyche, that in my Catholic primary school, peaceful nuns would teach us a song that started: “An army of youth fighting for Christ the king…”

“War is the father of all,” said Heraclitus the ancient Greek philosopher.

Today’s headlines focus on Russians invading Ukraine, but in my very recent memory there is also war in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and so many places of people shooting people, bombing civilians, of generals and soldiers, politicians, and pundits, killing or ordering or justifying the killing or subjugation of “the other.”

Today, as the world has become connected and interdependent, the first signs of global civilization are emerging. But the tension between this global impetus, and the tribal force of the past is rampant. And up to now, institutional globalization per se, more than linking human values and hearts, is linking vanity and corporate greed. Ignorance, fear, and selfishness still prevail in many, despite a rising cosmovision strengthened by science, of an interconnected universe, of one tapestry of life. Establishing beyond doubt that we are all in the same boat.

This ignorance and fear are being capitalized by power-hungry leaders, who manipulate, and propagandize them through instantaneous media. This has brought new momentum to our inherent egocentricity. People like Trump, Putin, Modi, Bolsonaro, Maduro, Ortega are just a salient example of political “leaders” who take advantage of fears, of the resistance to a transition towards a global civilization, to profit in power.

Our human species is a relatively recent output of the evolution of the universe. This “phenomenon of man”, as Teilhard de Chardin would title his pivotal book, is estimated to have appeared 2-3 million years ago, in a universe estimated to be 15 billion years old. Human civilization as such, with its knowledge and capacity to utilize and exploit its surround, goes back only six thousand years, to the dawn of agriculture. Human science and technology since then have created, in an exponential manner, a superstructure over the complex web of nature of planet Earth.

Today, thanks to the advances in scientific knowledge, there is a consensus that the universe is a continuous unified field of energy flows. Physicists, ecologists, cosmologists, philosophers, and mystics, seem to coincide in the interconnectedness of all the universe, on a common origin, and an evolutionary process.

Yet we are still driven preponderantly by selfishness, by an “us vs them mentality.” Yes, there are forces of collaboration, love, and acknowledgment of the oneness of life, and we have made progress in recognizing human rights both in principle and institutionally. But many are still entrenched in the “each one for himself” mentality, and most social and economic processes and institutions follow this behavioral model, even if the principles are aligned with a conception of oneness or collaboration amongst all.

This has been and continues to be the dilemma of humanity. A brief attempt to understand this nature could be as follows.

  • The human person can be seen as the result of 15 billion years of unbroken evolution through which now the universe thinks about itself.
  • Earth could be seen as a living planet where Humanity is the self-conscious awareness that enables the Earth to reflect on itself and the mystery out of which it has come.
  • The process of evolution of this consciousness throughout the energies and forces displayed in the development of the cosmic context including our planet Earth was based on continuous clashes of physical energies.
  • These processes were incorporated into the functioning of life, albeit tempered by catalysis and “cooler” energy processes. Struggle, competition, predator-prey, consumption of energy embedded in other forms was essential for life to be sustained.
  • Inertial instincts, organizational frameworks of multicellularity, gave rise to increasingly more complex forms which in turn acquired more sentient properties, vis à vis the environment, until eventually homo sapiens appeared with a fully developed capacity to be aware not only of its surround, of itself, but also aware of awareness.
  • This fully developed capacity for qualia now coexisted with inherited and constituent physical forces and behavioral instincts and encompassed a spectrum that went from the lower inertias to the more complex instruments of survival. The latter casting a shadow on the full consciousness, and somehow weighing on its behavior.

Humanity is a conglomerate of individuals. Its accumulated knowledge is not evenly distributed amongst all individuals. We could represent its collective progress in terms of awareness of its interconnectedness, by means of a rather flattened bell-shaped curve, where the awareness of a unified field of life and universe is perceived, more fully, by a narrow band in the foremost part of the curve, followed behind by varying degrees of awareness, until it ends in a still rudimentary awareness, populating the opposite narrow extreme of the curve. I believe that humanity’s progress as a collective total can be portrayed as a translational displacement of this normal curve.

The marvels of language contributed to an eventually explosive knowledge base that transformed gave us the capacity, that is now collectively emerging, to become aware, after 6 millennia of civilization, that the universe is an evolving continuum, where everything had a common origin and is interconnected. The capacity to imagine that Earth is a living planet where humanity is the self-conscious awareness that enables it to reflect on itself and the mystery out of which it has come.

We are so many now. At the dawn of agriculture, the population of the planet was estimated at roughly 5 million. Today we are more than 7 thousand million. Our modern technologies of relating to our sustaining surround, enable us to extract vast amounts of energy and material substances from nature’s support systems. And this, combined with our mostly, selfish, consumeristic behavior patterns, has led us to a crossroads: either humanity becomes a means that allows the Earth to appreciate its own beauty, and feel its own splendor, or it destroys itself.

A cancer cell is a normal cell disconnected from its genetic memory, cut off from billions of years of evolutionary wisdom. And by not being in harmony with the rest of the body, it experiences itself as separate, overpopulates, and consumes the very organism which supports it. Cancer eventually kills itself by consuming its own environment.

That is one option we have.

Or maybe we can let go of the illusion that we are separate, the attachment to the “each one for himself ” mentality, as is being sensed by a critical number of individuals in the normal curve, and embrace the truth, that we are all connected by an energy force called Love and begin to work together to set in motion a new humanity. That is the other option.

Of course, change happens at the individual level, but as more “human networks” start to connect to exchange best practices and share the yearning in their hearts for a new world, more and more people will become inspired to join them. And new leaders will emerge, empowered by the knowledge that change is possible, and they will start to reframe the challenges and paint the picture of a future that we all yearn for in our hearts. Then barriers will be broken down between nations, cultures, religions, and organizations as we embrace a unity consciousness that celebrates our diversity.

Just imagine if this is accompanied by a shift in culture that expands, some already existing trends, and myths and stories are hatched about the discovery by us as individuals of the gift to the universe that we are, the appreciative component of the mystery, the fairest flower of consciousness.

And imagine if this seeking and discovering expands through the human network and we connect at all levels of society. Then nations, religions, organizations will focus on understanding and bringing about the unique gift of wisdom towards the building of a new future. And suddenly, the deep intuition of Teilhard de Chardin starts to spread as we see the whole story of our 15-billion-year evolution as a universe and our 2-3 million evolution as humans as the growing process we had to go through for this understanding to bloom.

We all immediately start to work on fixing the problems facing humanity and the planet and everyone will find a much greater sense of fulfillment and purpose working on these “real” issues, rather than the old ego-mind driven purposes, that never provide enduring satisfaction.

Can we change the imagination of homo sapiens beyond it finding a perpetual casus belli?

Imagine all the people living life in peace…
Imagine all the people sharing all the world…
You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one.

(John Lennon)