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On 5 April 2012 - 4:05pm

“…intuitions of what work, love, human relationship, and health can be.”

Charles Eisenstein points to a world that is divine.

It’s a sincere manifestation of positivity and living at its best. It strips away self-focus so that we can conjoin with a greater nature. Actually, the self, and technological connections, don’t define us. Rather, principles of love, kindness and truth amongst ourselves, and in coordination with nature, are what create this new life.

Let’s embrace what Mr. Eisenstein is putting forth in his treatise The Ascent of Humanity.  We can encourage ourselves to ascend together: to a place of goodness where each part benefits the other.  It’s a new reality, and he encourages us to not accept anything less.  This new world is coming.

The Ascent of Humanity

Need the most sublime achievements of art, music, literature, science, and technology be built upon the wreckage of the natural world and the misery of its inhabitants?

We intuit also that something similar is possible collectively…Another way of being is possible, and it is right in front of us, closer than close; that much is transparently certain. Yet it slips away so easily that we hardly believe it could be the foundation of life; so we relegate it to an afterlife and call it Heaven, or we relegate it to the future and call it Utopia.

Underlying the vast swath of ruin our civilization has carved is not human nature, but the opposite: human nature denied. This denial of human nature rests in turn upon an illusion, a misconception of self and world…the reconception of the self… is underway.

Saints and mystics have tried for thousands of years to teach us how we are trapped in a delusion about who we are. This delusion inevitably brings about suffering, and eventually a crisis that can only be resolved through a collapse, a surrender, and an opening to a state of being beyond previous self-limitation. These spiritual teachings have helped me realize, at least partway, my intuitions of what work, love, human relationship, and health can be.  

The examples of what life is surround me and define what is normal. Do I see anyone around me whose work is their joy, whose time is their own, whose love is their passion? It can’t happen. Be thankful, say the voices, that my job is reasonably stimulating, that I feel “in love” at least once in a while, that the pain is manageable and life’s uncertainties under control. Let good enough be good enough.

… trying harder can never work.  Soon, though, this mode of being will come to an end, to be replaced by a profoundly different understanding of the self, and a profoundly different relationship between human and nature.

The root and the epitome of separation is the discrete, isolated self of modern perception: the “I am” of Descartes, the “economic man” of Adam Smith…Technology distances us from nature and insulates us from her rhythms. For example, most Americans’ lives are little affected by the seasons of the year. We eat the same food year-round, shipped in from California; air conditioning keeps us cool in the summer; heating warm in the winter. Natural physical limitations of muscle and bone no longer limit how far we can travel, how high we can build, or the distance at which we can communicate. Each advance in technology distances us from nature, yes, but also frees us from natural limitations. Hence, the “ascent”. But how can all these improvements add up to the world we find ourselves in today?

Even in the darkest days, everyone senses a higher possibility, a world that was meant to be, life as we were meant to live it. Glimpses of this “world of wholeness and beauty” have inspired idealists for thousands of years, and echo in our collective psyche as notions of Heaven, an Age of Aquarius, or Eden…

Source: Introduction, The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein

Charles Eisenstein graduated from Yale and spent ten years as a Chinese-English translator.  He is currently teaching at Goddard College.  He is also the author of Sacred Economics and The Yoga of EatingVisit his website to read more about The Ascent of Humanity.