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Painting by Valerius de Saedeleer
“How are we going to live with the chaos of the coming years, as the structures that support our present global consumer society begin to fall apart?
Chaos itself is a life force, a time of creative regeneration. It is a descent into the darkness of unknowing and also the prima materia for alchemical change. Only from this primal formlessness is real change possible, a change that is not conditioned by past structures or ideologies. Chaos images the beauty of what is unpredictable. That is why it is so important not to try to define the future at this time. We have to allow chaos to transform our world, to bring its own quality of wonder into our lives. As in Nietzsche’s famous saying, “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” …
For those who can bear to look, chaos has its own light, its own dance. It is like the in-breath that takes life from form to formlessness, that frees us from patterns that bind. Chaos can strip us bare and so allow a space for new life, new patterns to form. It is both dynamic and ecstatic, even if it can be painful. Mythologically this energy belongs to Dionysius, a nature god of wine and divine madness, whom the Romans also called Liber, free. He is also the one who communicates between the living and the dead. As such he stands at the threshold between the worlds.”

— Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

We have organized our life so that it looks rational on the surface as long as we don’t look too closely. As our systems and assumptions begin to fall into dust, we suddenly notice that they weren’t that sturdy to begin with. They hid a lot of misbegotten ideas like cruelty and profiteering off of the weak and ignorant. How long can the world operate on rapacious self interest?

The energies of chaos are waiting in the wings. They are closer than we think. In fact, the life we’ve been living is rational and safe in name only. We’re trying right now to keep everything under control as our lives spin out of control. We just want to get back to normal, as bad as that was. We’re afraid of what’s coming next, especially considering that our politicians and business leaders are either clueless or outright criminals.

We got ourselves in this fix by pursuing “the norm.” Normal life for humans is a life of pain for the environment. Nature is in the midst of a holocaust while humans hardly notice. The order we have brought to the world is deceptive. We ignore the death we create around us. We’re capable of wiping out huge ecosystems. We create dead zones everywhere we go.

Ancient humans managed to live thousands of years in one place without doing that. Our modern methods can create dead zones in the blink of an eye. When a civilization dies, it releases a lot of energy. Our civilization is on the cusp of chaos, a direct result of determined ignorance and a society with small vision. The chaos that’s coming will upend everything. We will be asked to invent a better way of living together. After all, we live with an infinite number of lives and life forms. We form a collective with all living beings.

Recognizing that we are connected to everything might help us discover empathy. We need more feelings of connection and tenderness for the web of life we belong to. Our culture is built on a belief of separation, as if everything’s a discrete entity that lives its solitary existence unconnected to anything. What a strange fantasy!

There will be a lesson in the coming chaos. Will we learn it?

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