According to the Mayan Calendar, we are already in the period of time leading to the close of the Fifth World Age. And according to the evidence of your senses, we are clearly living in a time of profound global change. Forgetting for a moment all the apocalyptic hysteria, what might we expect from this shift? A world age shift doesn't happen overnight. Despite having an "end date" in mind (and there is scholarly argument about this exact date), the years preceding that date imply the ending of the old age, and the new date is only the beginning of the new. What can we realistically expect to change?
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First, we need to understand the nature of the "old age". According to Mayan cosmology, the existing world age began approximately 3000 BCE. Interestingly, this coincides closely to our consensus western understanding of "world history". Most contemporary historians still look to ancient Sumeria for the beginning of writing. Interestingly, this was also in the 4th millennia BCE-the beginning date for the current Mayan world age. In fact, some fundamentalist Christians claim that the entire world began somewhere within that same era. In this sense, they're not too different from historians, who claim that non-written records of the past are unreliable and therefore don't qualify to be called "history". These "undocumented" versions of the past are called "prehistory". Of course, this assumes that written records are more accurate than oral histories, which is just another result of intellectual dependence on what can be pinned down to a physical source.
Not coincidentally, the earliest Sumerian records were records of trade-the records of buying, selling, and making (or losing) money. It seems reasonable to characterize this age of "written history" and "buying and selling" as an age of materialism. Even our science has been based on what can be seen, measured, and touched, and the extent of materialism has been growing ever more dense during this world age.
Scientific materialism has become the dominant world view within the last two hundred years. This paradigm enshrines the materialistic worldview into the sole source of Truth. Let's explore our recent history to track this theme. Until the mid 19th century, for example, anyone who thought about the world and how it physically worked was called a "philosopher", not a "scientist". Those who thought about the physical world were called "natural philosophers." But since natural philosophers were holistic thinkers, meaning their thoughts included the unseen world of thoughts, of forces like "gravity", the idea of what held the stars in the sky, their thinking soon ran them into collision with the power of the Church in the western world. The church as an institution can be dated back to the middle of the first millennium CE. It's a pretty new part of the existing world age, and historically had a lot to do with buying and selling and making money, as well as gathering worldly power into its own purview.
The Church and Natural Philosophy collided in a way that concretized the materializing trends of this world age. How did this happen? The Church claimed all authority over unseen things. Natural philosophers were relegated to measuring the HOW of the natural world, but were prohibited from addressing any questions of WHY it worked. The WHY was only the province of religion. This division led to a divorce between philosophy (holistic) and "science" (physically measurable world). Therefore Galileo could LOOK at planets through his telescope, but was prohibited from offering an interpretation of what he saw. A natural philosopher who continued to philosophize about the whys and the unseen interconnections of the natural world was at risk of torture and death by the Inquisition (which was not dissolved as an arm of the church until late in the 19th century!). This was a profound shaping of how the scientific mind works. The message was loud and clear: "Think about more than the measurements and you may be tortured to death."
This led to what Stephen Schwartz (via Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
) called the "Grand Material Worldview", or the "The Materialist MegaParadigm". A paradigm is the shape within which all thinking must fit in order to be considered "acceptable" thinking. The current Materialist MegaParadigm posits that:
- The mind is a result of physiological processes.
- Each consciousness is a discrete entity
- Organic evolution has no specific goal
- There is only one time-space continuum, providing for only one reality. (ref. Stephen Schwartz, The Secret Vaults of Time, p. 269.
The resulting of this thinking is the tautology, repeated by many "scientific thinkers" of our time: "If it's unseen, it's not science. I'll stake my life on that." (This is pure PTSD [post-traumatic-stress-disorder] on the part of rational thinkers, caused by latent memories of the Church's promise: "If you offer thoughts about the nonphysical you may be tortured to death.")But the fifth world, the world of the material, is coming to a close. We are leaving behind the divorce between science and Nature. We are leaving behind the divorce between This and That; Self and Other. The new paradigm sees the universe as a whole, full of promise and mystery, and guided by what is good for all.
THIS is what is shifting in our shift of ages. The material world is beginning to reflect our dawning realization that the Materialist MegaParidigm is tattered and broken. The infrastructure lies in tatters and the megalopoly of buying and selling is disintegrating around us, but the new paradigm hasn't yet birthed our "new world".Wayne Dyer tells us "a change of thought precedes a change in society"
. Obviously, the structures of society have not yet accepted a new paradigm. Those people whom Ray and Anderson (authors of The Cultural Creatives: How 50 million people are changing the world
) call the "cultural creatives" are already aware of the new paradigm. Their values and impetus toward change actually pull society in the direction of the new paradigm. While the bureaucratic structures of society may be resisting this change,just as obviously, the system is breaking.
We are likely to reorganize ourselves around what the cultural creatives would recognize as the dawning paradigm. New breakthroughs in physics are leading the way to a new way of understanding the world around us-a way in which the previously materialistic and deterministic interpretations are expanded and eventually discarded. These new breakthroughs show us a new way of envisioning our environment in which thoughts, previously unthinkable, are forming a new organizing principle.
Here are a few of them.
1. The mind is separate from the body. The brain is the vehicle for the mind in the physical world, but the mind exists independently. Mind may be the preeminent operating principle in the universe. (Oddly, this is not a new idea. The Corpus Hermeticus states that the first creation of God was The (universal) Mind.)
2. Everything is connected. The entire universe is a single organism, and the fate of any part affects the whole.
3. Organic evolution is shaped by the Mind of the Universe for the goal of the universe's well-being (e.g. the well-being of all, since all parts of the universe share in the well-being of the entire cosmos).
4. There are multiple, overlapping time-space continuums, and time is a dimension in which may be able to move as easily as one does in space. In fact, time itself has many qualities, and is not simply the strictly linear ticking of seconds that we once thought it was. (Pre-clock cultures already recognize this.)
What will be the results of this kind of paradigm shift? Clearly there are many more than I could list or you'd wish to read, but just to get your juices flowing here are some results of such a paradigm shift:
1. People will realize that all their actions affect all others. Actions causing pain to any part of the cosmos will cause pain to the individual taking the action. Therefore testing cosmetics on animals would be unthinkable. Not watering your plants (or planting things that don't naturally grow in your environment) would be unthinkable. These would be things that cause pain to living beings. Conversely, caring for and nurturing and giving joy to any living being adds to the joy quotient of the universe, and the person taking the action quite literally would feel this increase in joy.
2. Government organizations would truly focus on the good of the all, because pain in any part of the world would truly and immediately affect the lives of leaders and lawmakers, and the positive results for others would bring joy to the actors.
3. Short-term gain at the cost of long-term suffering would not be possible, since the long-term suffering will cause a ripple of pain in the universe.
4. The health of the planet, the solar system, the galaxy, would all be important. (Space junk may not be a viable way to decommission old satellites.)
5. The exploration of the entire cosmos may be possible through meditational and psychic means. These means will become acceptable tools for discovery.
6. The holographic link between every part of the cosmos (physicist Nassim Haramein's new black hole theories) provide evidence for the psychic link between all of us.
These are just a few thoughts about where the new MegaParadigm might take us. As we remove ourselves from a strictly materialistic "truth detector", we will become open to other ways of knowing, honoring the information gained during meditation, holotropic work, and other altered states of being. Our understanding of the nature of reality itself would expand from only what can be measured by instruments of our devising, to include valuing the metaphysical and wisdom experiences of those whose contributions to the world increase its well-being for the long term.
If the ancient wisdom of the Mayans is speaking to the period of changes we're experiencing now, we still can't expect this new MegaParadigm to emerge, full-blown, from the chaos of our dissolving mind-set. Children being born today will be lucky to see the beginnings of a new social structure based on these concepts. Still, it seems consistent with current patterns of change to anticipate this kind of intellectual and consciousness revolution to grow as we cross the divide of the ancient world ages. As we move into this ever-more-chaotic period of upheaval, it is useful and comforting to have a sense of where we may land when we reach the other shore.
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