Suddenly out of nowhere, it begins to rain in a place it should only ever snow and you realize the peak is melting. You're going to fall. What do you do? Calling your congressional representative is probably the last thing on your mind.
Using the energy of fossil fuels, humanity has climbed the highest mountain in the world. You can see this mountain in any graph charting population, pollution, or our exploitation of natural resources. The mountain, when all is said and done, is an artifact of burning oil.
The details of our climb, such as how tall the mountain would be, how fast we could climb it, and when it were rain were largely determined billions of years ago. Still, many people on the left love to blame George Bush's Administration for our dangerous circumstances; but Bush and his gang have only been around as we took the last few steps up the mountain. They didn't create the mountain, rig the velocity of ascent over the last century so that we reached the peak while they were in charge, and certainly didn't decide to climb it in the first place. All they did from a historical point of view was fail at their belligerent scheme to provide us a bit more time, at the expense of the Iraqi people, before the rains started falling.
We'd like to think that there's a pleasant, gradual decline to the other side of the mountain, but there isn't. If there was, we might have picked that side for our climb and proceeded with safety, caution, and prudence. Instead, we chose to ascend carelessly, and in real terms the downside is always more precipitous.
Time, the distance between planets and the inhabitability of other worlds, the geometry of spheres, and the cold calculations of cause and effect are all opposing us. These issues are epochal, geological, planetary. In terms of our little species in the face of nature, they might as well be cosmic in scope. Doctoring the numbers in our flow charts to prove prosperous futures is an infantile attempt at engineering reality.
I voted for Mr. Obama and am delighted he will be our next president, but I'm not so much in denial to believe that he or any world leader can solve humanity's problem. The challenges we face are not only bigger than any political party or government, they are bigger than any species on this plant. They are on par with the size and power of the planet itself. Moreover, while government is capable of doing great good, politics has on the whole been part of the problem for as long as we've been climbing.
But this is not an excuse for hopelessness or for not employing our institutions in this struggle, including our political ones. While there may be no political solution to our technological shortsightedness, there is a spiritual solution. That makes sense because it was a lack of spiritual understanding and perspective that brought us to this brink of extinction.
Albert Einstein, in addition to providing humanity with key insights into the way the cosmos operated, also provided one of the best descriptions of spirituality. He said, "The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self."
Narrow self translates into us versus them paradigms, shortsighted applications of our available energies, and extreme divisiveness. Expansion of the self and liberation from myopia means finding our contentment and happiness in service to humanity through self-sacrifice.
Human beings need to collectively sacrifice procreating until we sufficiently reduce our numbers to make a survival difference. This mandatory self-sacrifice could not be clearer, but it has to come from inside us. Once it does, we can to signal to the institutions of power our willingness to move in this direction.
The scary thing about this form of self-sacrifice is that if we do not impose it on ourselves by moderating our procreation, it will be imposed upon us by the colossal realities we face. Either way, our numbers are going to dramatically drop. We can accomplish depopulation peacefully through providing incentives to women to sterilize and adopt children instead of introduce new human life into the world, or it will be conducted for us through war, famine, and disease.
The choice is ours, but before we make it we have to understand that it is an inherently spiritual choice, not a political one. This choice knows no national boundaries and likewise must be made world-over. When we view it as our best spiritual option, the self-sacrifice it requires will be a great deal easier to shoulder.