The global crises that we are experiencing one after another – or even simultaneously – do not happen by coincidence. In-depth, their common cause is a fundamentally wrong view of the deep-mental side of the human being.
Ancient wisdom and cutting-edge science have been trying to wake up humanity ― until now, in vain. Even more, it’s getting worse every year. Dear reader, this is very much about you, too. So, before going further, I ask you not to close the door (to yourself, mainly). That would comfortably enable you to keep sleepwalking and – less comfortably – maybe fall out of the window. Keeping your door open may invite powerful vested interests to enter your territory. At least, you will be able to handle them while awake.
Globally, this is about millions of deaths and trillions of dollars ― yearly and mounting. Without any doubt, an awakened future will judge us for that. Dear reader, I am sorry but since you are reading this text, this is about you, too.
This usually happens during a phase of deep sleep. One appears to be awake but, at close view, clearly isn’t. The sleepwalker is seemingly unaware of this state and can carry out actions usually associated with being awake. In ‘social sleepwalking,’ this can be related to many and much.
The biggest problem is that sleepwalkers can get into dangerous situations, even life-threatening to themselves or others.
Humanity needs to wake up to itself.
Two intermingled issues form the problem:
- the view of body and mind as two intrinsically (!) separate entities (whether or not seen as separate parts of one whole),
- the view on conscious awareness as if it is the prime originator of thoughts, feelings, and motivations.
Fully opposite to these:
- Body = mind ― sorry, no independence.
- No conscious content whatsoever drops into conscious awareness just like that, without being formed in deeper mind at every occasion ― sorry, no magic.
On top of this comes the tension provoked by the dissonance between both illusions and reality. This tension eventually causes the sleepwalking and thus also the sleepwalker’s challenge of being fully aware of the tension itself.
The above issues are intermingled. The mind is not some magically floating ghost-like phenomenon. Brain science thus increasingly clearly shows a picture of the mind in which much is going on under the conscious hood. Going deeper into this, one can encounter many layers of human depth. Many crises – from healthcare to local or geopolitical matters – originate here. See also Global Problems through Lack of Depth.
The fundamentally wrong view of the deep-mental side of the human being forms the tip of an upside-down pyramid. Because the entire pyramid rests on this, it all gets shaky through any flaws at this point. This image can give you an idea of how relatively little can lead to huge crises. Unfortunately, while people are sleepwalking, these flaws translate into several global disasters.
Note that this century’s biggest threat – being A.I.-related – is not yet a present-day crisis. Since we, humans, are developing this new intelligence, it is also profoundly linked to our self-image in several ways. For instance, striving for ‘value alignment’ may – inadvertently or not – instill our inner aggression into the systems we create. I have extensively written about the immense opportunities and threats of A.I. as stemming from how we manage ourselves Compassionately or not. See: The Journey Towards Compassionate A.I.
Too big to fail?
You may deem it inconceivable that fundamental flaws continue on such a big scale and with such hugely dire consequences. Meanwhile, you see the consequences getting bigger and bigger.
Then please look again at both issues mentioned above. Try to imagine a world in which both are ubiquitously answered in an illusory versus a realistic way. I hope you see the difference and feel the challenge. A related problem is that this challenge may just be too big to behold. It equals a Copernican revolution, only this time not in outer space but in the inner universe of the mind. A paradigm shift is always difficult to fathom from inside, especially while asleep, and even more when the domain is also ‘the inside’ itself ― nevertheless.
The following are just some examples of what it leads to.
Body-mind-related, while much science indicates the untenability of both above illusions, we are still in the Middle Ages of associated insight. In other words, psycho-somatics – in which I earned a Ph.D. – pragmatically and also largely theoretically is still stuck in both.
This shows in every medical specialty. Nobody gets ill without a brain/mind. The only question is how big the role of the latter is. In the joint illusion, this may seem small ― in reality, not.
As another example, this one not overt because it’s ‘business as usual’: psycho-cardiology ― in this, the subdomain of angina pectoris, up to myocardial infarction. See my two articles about this on my science page. You can read them and judge how much the evidence points in one direction (the mind being all over the place) and how little in the other. Yet, cardiologists worldwide generally don’t even consider the causality of the mind. At my specific asking in Brussels and Antwerp hospitals, apparently not one was even remotely interested in the topic. This is, well, heartbreaking. Millions yearly could at least get some alleviation at the cost of almost nothing. We don’t know how many better-spent dollars and even lives can be saved annually, but I guess it’s very many. Dear reader, maybe yours next year?
Serious enough? Time to wake up?
The example I choose here is war – any war. I’m not talking about individual soldiers or some war party, but war itself. Remember the above tension I mentioned ‘on top of both issues.’ It may not be directly experienced, but much of it is felt indirectly as unfathomable stress, burnout, depression, etc. If unresolved, the tension also shows as outward aggression that may grow in many people and overflow in violence that nobody initially wants.
To give peace a durable chance, one can try many things directly related to the concrete situation. However, if the bucket is full, it will overflow here or there, sooner or later. To prevent the overfilling, the bucket needs to see itself for what it is. That is not bound to happen within the fundamental flaws. Wars are therefore the straightforward results of sleepwalking.
Note that the community forecasting platform Metaculus currently sets a predicted chance of another world war – involving 50% of world population or 30% of GDP – to +/- 22% by 2050.
Serious enough? Time to wake up?
Unfortunately, huge organizations/industries have much incentive to keep people sleepwalking ― the weapons industry being one of them, the pharmaceutical industry another.
Most people working for any of these carry no guilt ― except for sleepwalking themselves. Also, these industries generate and are generated by broader social issues. These issues, then again, are related to the tip of the pyramid.
A lot of waking up is direly needed.
I just described a few of many rampant problems and crises that originate in a deeply flawed view upon ourselves. Meanwhile, humanism as the field of thinking about what and who we, humans, basically are, is frequently stuck in a view that pertains rather to centuries ago. Most people still act without taking mental depth properly into account, even while keeping up appearances. This is profoundly related to the sleepwalking. Of course, a conundrum lies in trying to make the sleepwalker perceive his state. By default, he doesn’t. In my experience, this stems from a triplet appearing in this order: not daring, not willing, not being able to. In most cases, the first is the most powerful.
Eventually, all of us are responsible for waking up and seeing ourselves for who we are. This is not just the problem of some high-level thinkers. Besides, most of these are sleepwalking themselves, dodging their huge responsibility, engulfed by turtle vagaries at the immense expense of many and much. Therefore, nobody should wait for anyone else.
Neither should you.
If you feel the need to take decisive action, please join this consortium. You’re welcome.