From the Renaissance to the November 2010 G-20 Meeting -- and how far have we come? Well, we started in the 16th Century by creating a manifesto for a birth of the new human self with possibilities for exploring and unveiling creative horizons. This energetic spurt, however, instead of leading to a new golden age of civilization eventually morphed into the hungry coal pits of England and the grab for industrial resources as nations entered the rapid spurt of mechanical growth. The technological age in which we are now living is a product of this expansion - from wood, coal, steam, oil, electronics to the digital age - all the time fuelled by the declining resources of fossil fuels. Humanity is now at a critical crossroads where another energetic spurt is required in order for us not to enter a post-industrial period of decline and contraction, much like what occurred after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Ours is now largely an interconnected global civilization that has a case of 'the shakes' as it wobbles between a possible transmutation from a now deteriorating materially-based culture into a more conscious-orientated ideational culture; or further into decline. This transition can be metaphorically outlined as similar to a rites of passage, an initiatory period, a hero's dark journey through the underworld, as the collective consciousness of humanity interiorizes this transition from old world to new world. Many of the leading nations are attempting to keep a reign on the old world and its heavier energies of materiality, consumption, fear and insecurity, in order to remain in control. This strategy, in the face of deteriorating systems (financial, social and political) and infrastructures (energy and food/water resources) is a recipe for greater strife and breakdown. However, these last ditch attempts (a dying gasp) to retain control over a rising consciousness within humanity will eventually fail. Or, rather, it must.
Plato wrote that humanity could only know the 'real' world in the form of memories; by what he termed anamnesis, meaning the recovery of buried memories, both individual and collective. Plato insisted that all thought was recollection, and that humankind generally existed within a state of collective amnesia, having only fragments of recollection as reference points for reality. Human consciousness today is akin to a fragmented mind trying to regain its full memory -- to return to a full working capacity. Its slumber has been supported by our social systems that have until now provided for most people in the developed nations... but now that is changing. The slumber is being disturbed - and this is good. These times will act as a catalyst, an alarm bell, to dispel our collective amnesia. However, first, we need to lose something -- something of value. Perhaps these coming years will see that loss... in exchange for an awakening? The alternative would be something akin to what well-known sociologist Anthony Giddens described as a 'juggernaut careering at full-speed towards the edge of a cliff'.
And then the G20 will be in a whole different ball-park: and we'll be in another. Let us remember the words of Buckminster Fuller:
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."