“The world is going to change so fast that people and governments will not be prepared to be stewards of change. What will save them is teaching-learning communities… The only way to have a possible society… is to develop the possible human at the same time.” — Margaret Mead
“Why am I so neglected in your theories of the universe? Why am I given such a contingent place in the scheme of things? Why does the creation myth by which everything is explained in Western culture — evolution through time — put me in, if at all, at a late stage and such a little space, inside human skulls and skins? What do your theories of matter, their mathematical formulations, their astronomical calculations, your very notions of reality say to my actuality and its main concerns with living on earth and the puzzles of love and beauty, of justice and right action, of breeding and sickening? Why do philosophical cosmologies afford scant nourishment to the interiority, imagination, sensuousness, and suffering that these same cosmologies declare to be my domain?
I want cosmological help, a therapeutic cosmology; cosmotherapy. Psychotherapy can never accomplish its tasks with the soul since the world view in which psychotherapy works is fundamentally limited by cosmologies that declare the soul to be inferior, whether these cosmologies be materialistic, monotheistic, evolutional, or idealist. None start in soul.” — (Cosmology for Soul: From Universe to Cosmos, James Hillman)
“(Hillmans) powerful questions help me to better understand why I have long felt a mysterious but strong aversion for ‘popular’ cosmologists like Carl Sagan, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking…All of them display a creepily gleeful zeal for humanity’s pitiable insignificance in the infinitely vast universe.” — Paul De Fatta
“God is still in his Heaven,” say those who assert that we are too insignificant and powerless to destroy the world. According to them, we can carry on exactly as we are and God will fix anything we break. No need to worry our little heads about climate change and pollution. No need to change a thing.
And these are adults speaking, not children. Those “possible humans” that Margaret Mead is talking about seem pretty impossible when you look around and take note of how “responsible people” are influencing our affairs. Whole industries depend on the belief that we can use and abuse nature however we please until the cows come home. As long as money goes into our bank account, everything’s game.
Yet, insignificant little humans in large numbers, with just such small visions of things, have the power to wipe the planet clean of all living beings. And likewise, if these same people had the vision to see the beauty they are swimming in, if they had the ability to love and care for it, life on our planet would thrive.
That possible human is the crux of the matter, not some all powerful deity sitting on his throne of clouds. It’s up to each of us to become a possible human and contribute to creating a possible world.
Hillman brings up the word “interiority.” I don’t see how we humans can develop a possible society without getting intimately acquainted with the universe inside us. That hidden cosmos has waylaid us precisely because we shunt it aside. We are not acquainted with ourselves. We don’t see who we are. We don’t see the effects of who we are.
In our part of the world, normal life keeps our nose to the grindstone so that we hardly have time to look up and ask ourselves what’s going on and what role we play in this drama. Because we do play a role, each of us. As we each begin to cease lending our weight to the tidal wave of death encircling the globe, we deprive it of power.
That means stepping away from the norm we see around us. It means changing ourselves into possible humans.
- Anima Fire is my pub.