|by Palden Jenkins
7th January 2005
One of Palden's occasional articles on the state of the world
The people of Aceh and the Indian Ocean have gone through a terrible disaster, and the world has gone through a quake and tsunami of the collective soul. This disaster was vast yet localised - unless the recently-observed geophysical effect of the quake on the Earth's inclination and rotation has a noticeable global effect. But in the collective psyche it has been global - a Richter Nine soulquake in which structures turn to rubble. 9/11 was perhaps a Seven, and that was shocking enough.
What is historic and definitive about traumas like this is that, when they happen, the deeper collective psyche convulses, breaks out and vents itself. It roars through the public domain and abruptly redefines the agenda. When all-that-we-hold-good-and-true grates and rips, the constituent bits of our worlds are wrenched around and everything is reshuffled. Everything suddenly looks different. People start doing abnormal things, like caring for others' welfare and feeling solidarity with utter strangers.
It's a global near-death experience. The sacrifice of so many souls to the clutches of death sharpens collective awareness, overriding the secure, regularised reality that normally keeps us ticking. It renders people grateful to be alive, overwriting our assumed sense of possessing an inherent right to life.
There's another characteristic common to near-death experiences. The threat of death renders things starkly clear, rearranging priorities and perspectives. Some things become blitzingly important, as if they should always have been like that. Other things lose relevance, upstaged by the immensity of what has just struck. The future starts from that point."
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[ Futurism/ Evolution | 2005-01-07 23:15 | | PermaLink ] More >