Today’s stren introduces a new word-switch whose meaning will change the way we understand ourselves. By now you understand that a word-switch is a signal to turn on a newer way of thinking that reflects our present state of knowledge and wisdom. In doing so, it switches off the more established mental pathway that was based on our previous state of knowledge. Trigger words generally direct our attention to concepts established by instinct and tradition. Word-switches modify our way of thinking by replacing the “mindless” prewired authority of instinct and tradition with common sense wisdom based on new knowledge. Let’s update our thinking to today’s knowledge by creating the word-switch “human becomings.” We must understand that we are a dynamic work-in-progress, not a static human being.
Let’s consider the evidence. Perhaps we’d be wise to begin with our knowledge that creation is itself a work-in-progress. I will be addressing this in greater detail in a book I am working on, The Story of Us. Here are a few highlights.
- We now understand our sun is an infant in the universe, one of billions of stars in one galaxy among billions of galaxies, including some so far away that it takes untold light-years just to reach us. A solar light-year is 9.46 trillion km/5.88 trillion miles. Instead of being the center of everything as we once believed, science indicates we are a relatively small piece of change from a first cause that is yet beyond our comprehension.
- Recent knowledge indicates that life on earth began about 3 ½ billion years ago. Science indicates that humankind is the growing edge of the gradual progression from simple to complex life. We remain among the 2 or 3 percent of life on earth that has not become extinct. We are not only the growing edge of creation, we have become powerful creators and destroyers of all about us. Unlike other life, we continue to enlighten ourselves to modify what instinct and tradition make of us.
- Our generation is the first on earth to create the power to annihilate ourselves within minutes, 24/7, by the word of a single person or a mechanical error. Within our lifetime or certainly our children’s lifetime, our ability to create weapons of ultimate destruction will be available to multiple tribes, including those who already indicate it is their intent to use them. Some invoke “God’s will” but others, such as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, among many others, justify their motives based on a godless ideology.
- As we grow our knowledge, we continue to modify the faith-based beliefs that determine our actions. Our ancestors created and worshiped idols. They devised rituals to placate them that we now consider foolish. For 200 years of Crusades, Popes offered indulgences, including escape from eternal Hell, in return for killing Muslims – acting with the infallible inspiration of God. Some Muslim leaders today justify killing those who fail to accept the specific views of their God. Yet, the idea that there is one first cause who has created all is more common than not. Allied soldiers during WWI were baffled to discover that every German soldier had inscribed on their belt “Gott mitt uns” (God is with us). How could that be when we knew God favored “our side”? Most people have the conception of a personal almighty force that favors “our side’s” beliefs against “not our side,” and periodically intervenes to take care of the bad guys. Were it not for the emotional power of instinct and tradition, common sense wisdom would indicate the transparent, self-serving nature of such assumptions. These examples are not meant to denigrate religion. They are offered to indicate we all progress in our mission to elevate ourselves by making mistakes and replacing instinct and tradition with common sense management. The state of our world indicates we have much unfinished work to do to make common sense common.
- Our recent scientific knowledge that creation is a work-in-process suggests we reexamine the creation stories of our ancestors, which were based on limited knowledge. The prevalent religious view that God created all we see in 7 days belies common sense unless we interpret God’s “day” as the equivalent of billions of years, or timeless.
The force that set creation in motion distinguished humankind from all other life on earth by the gift of a sophisticated cerebral cortex, what I call our “freedom organ.” We discover, store, share, and pass knowledge forward to future generations to make ourselves powerful creators. Knowledge is the discovery of the universal rules of cause-and-effect. Knowledge provides us an understanding of the process of creation and enables us to become creators. The greater our collection of knowledge the more powerful we make ourselves. Our ancestors were intelligent but they lacked knowledge. Consider the godlike power created by our most recent generations as we accelerate the speed at which we accumulate knowledge. We have learned to facilitate conception and increase the likelihood of multiple births. We are teaching ourselves to create life “our way” through cloning. We now decide which species will live and which will become extinct. We have made ourselves rulers on earth and now determine the fate of earth itself. We continue to extend our life span. Our most dramatic current feat is creating a race between Utopia and Armageddon. The U.S. Congress mandated study (The World at Risk) concludes, after interviewing over 250 world experts, that we can expect the use of biological or nuclear weapons, i.e. weapons of ultimate destruction, before the end of 2013. They conclude there is time to prevent the imminent threat if we take urgent action.
Our understanding of the progress of creation from simple to sophisticated inspires us to update the assumptions we make about ourselves. Interpretations influence the way we think, feel, and act. We now see humankind as a work-in-progress beginning with nature’s gift of its latest model brain. Like other organs, it has a specialized function. It is our means to free ourselves from instinct and tradition to assume responsibility for who we are and what we become. Historically and collectively, humankind is elevating itself well above animals. We still have quite a way to go before we teach ourselves the humane goals to which we aspire – kindness, mercy, and compassion, among others. Individually it is quite apparent we are born as servants to instinct. We then benefit or become victimized by our nurturer’s influence to become some combination of nature and our nurturer’s influence. Through our slow progress towards physical and mental maturity, we transform ourselves from helpless, dependent crybabies to powerful creators. We may manage instinct and tradition with self-mastery.
Common sense knowledge and wisdom lead us to the understanding that we are a work-in-progress with a mission. Mental freedom is the power to create alternatives and choose wisely or stupidly from among them. Our explosive growth of knowledge is providing us with creative and ultimate destructive power before we have sufficient wisdom to consistently direct our energy to beneficial outcomes. Our rapid progress towards godlike status has created the urgent need to collaborate in popularizing wisdom, in making common sense common. We have all the intellectual, physical, and technological resources that we need. We only lack sufficient will! Our most urgent work-in-progress is to mobilize our collective will to fill our world with wise creeds and good deeds. If we don’t succeed and there are survivors, we will be remembered as the generation of greed and speed.
Let’s now signal our freedom organ to recognize that we are human becomings. We have progressed beyond the stage of animals and that of our earliest ancestors who could more accurately be described as “beings” rather than “becomings.” Like it or not, the forces that have made us powerful creators have made us responsible for determining our own destiny, that of our loved ones, and even that of Mother Earth. The word-switch “human becomings” can help us recognize our task, inspire us to create a joyous meaningful life for ourselves and our loved ones, and preserve the world for humanity. Can you think of a more important mission? How does this compare with your current priorities?