Mass Formation – Life is not complicated, we are. Astrophysicist Hubert Reeves once said “Man is a most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature, unaware that this Nature he is destroying is this God he is worshiping.” It is as clear as crystal that nature is life and life is nature. We are born and created from nature and die and dissolve into nature. The problem with humans is that people prefer to believe convenient narratives rather than true ones. Finding ourselves at the top of the food chain on this planet we can afford to do that, for a while.
We cannot but agree that there is nothing more sacred on this planet than the life that exists upon it. This must be so as we would not be here contemplating these notions if we did not actually exist as part of this life. We are not alone in this life as we are in the good company of all species that exist on Earth. We do not get to pick and choose. If life is sacred then all of it must be so.
Sacredness should not be segregated to the realm of religions as it little matters whether nature emerged from the Christian God or the Buddhist Void or the Hindu Brahman. We also should not judge the religion of others. If we are interested enough to judge, we should be interested enough to learn more about it.
People feel superior to other species and separate from nature because of the analytical capabilities we derive from our intellect. Although rational thinking and analysis have some use, human intellect has not brought about any wisdom or compassion that are, by far, superior qualities. We have used our so called superior intellect to justify the destruction and exploitation of life on this planet. People have brought about the 6th mass extinction of life on Earth, an event that will end catastrophically for our and many other species in the not so distant future.
Author Alan Watts made the disarmingly obvious assertion that life is not complicated, we are. We create this complexity by dissecting objects, concepts and situations rather than looking at the whole picture. For example, scientists, in their search for the smallest particle of matter, reached the point where matter was no longer visible. They then created new hypothesis, apparatus and mathematical formulas of even greater complexity to dissect the old assumptions, formulas and hypothesis further, in their search for more ways and means to exploit life. This is just science propagating science. This type of science does not produce any valuable result and takes all of us further and further away from reality into the realm of false narratives.
There is an old German proverb that goes “Der liebe Gott steckt im detail” which translates as ‘God is in the detail’. I believe that we may have got this one the wrong way round.
Nature, life, challenges us every second of every day. We perceive the reality of the most ordinary things and everything else through our senses. Sometimes what we see, feel, touch, smell, hear and taste, common sense and experience contradict deeply held false beliefs or addictive, harmful social norms. Such a contradiction places people in a seriously conflicted state of mind that is called cognitive dissonance.
Some people move to resolve this conflict and get back to cognitive consonance, a choice that sustains their connection with the real world through their senses. Others choose to entrench themselves in false narratives, thereby becoming enslaved by them. When large numbers in a population choose false narratives over reality that is called mass formation or mass psychosis.
Mass formation is a phenomena that has been present in human society in different populations and in diverse geographical areas and across historical time. What is new in today’s world is that technology has made it possible to spread false narratives with greater ease and efficacy globally. All this is too complicated and unnecessary.
I do not believe that it is possible for us to unravel this tangled web. We can only walk away from it. We do that by choosing cognitive consonance, choosing wisdom over compliance, mindfulness over complexity, empathy over technology.
This article was published in the Senior Times of the Times of Malta on the 20th May 2022
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