The Dynamics of The Future

Thomas  Berry : The Dynamics of The Future

As we enter the twenty – first century we observe a widespread awakening to the wonder of the Earth….. The human venture depends absolutely on this quality of awe and reverence and joy in the Earth and all that lives and grows upon the Earth…. (GW, chapter 15, page 166)

Our present peril is not the first that the Earth and living things upon it have endured. The Earth found its way into being amid an amazing sequence of both creative and destructive experiences. A long sequence of cataclysmic events has shaped the continents and the various forms of life that have themselves engaged in a continuing struggle for survival. But the present danger to the planet is the first conscious intrusion on this scale into the natural rhythms of the Earth process…. (GW, chapter 15, page 167)

But while this peril is a cause for concern, it is also a cause for advancing consciousness. Responsible people no longer think of the world simply as a collection of natural resources. We have begun to realize that the Earth is an awesome mystery, ultimately as fragile as we ourselves are fragile. But our responsibility to the Earth is not simply to preserve it, it is to be present to the Earth in its next sequence of transformations. While we are unknowingly carried through the evolutionary process in former centuries, the time has come when we must in some sense guide and energize the process ourselves.

To succeed in this task of shaping the future, the will of the more comprehensive self must be functioning. The individual will can function in this capacity only through acknowledged union with the deeper structures of reality. Even beyond union with the human community must be union with the Earth, with the universe itself in the full wonder of its being. Only the Earth can adequately will the Earth. If we will the future effectively it will be because the guidance and the powers of the earth have been communicated to us, not because we have determined the future of the Earth simply with some rational faculty….(GW, chapter 15, page 173-174)

We must feel that we are supported by that same power that brought the Earth into being, that power that spun the galaxies into space, that lit the sun and brought the moon into its orbit. That is the power by which living forms grew up out of the Earth and came to a mode of reflexive consciousness in the human. This is the force that brought us through more than a million years of wandering as hunters and gatherers; that is that same vitality that led to the establishment of our cities and inspired the thinkers, artists, and the poets of the ages.

The same forces are still present: indeed, we might feel the impact at this time and understand that we are not isolated in the chill of space with the burden of the future upon us and without the aid of any power.

We are a pervasive presence. By definition we are that reality in whom the entire Earth comes to a special mode of reflexive consciousness.

We are ourselves a mystical quality of the Earth, a unifying principle, an integration of the various polarities of the material and the spiritual,

the physical and the psychic, the natural, the artistic, the intuitive and the scientific. We are the unity in which all these inhere and achieve a special mode of functioning. In this way the human acts as a pervading Logos……(GW, chapter 15, page 174-175)

We are not lacking in the dynamic forces needed to create the future. We live immersed in a sea of energy beyond all comprehension. But this energy, in an ultimate sense, is ours not by domination but by invocation. (GW, chapter 15, page 175)

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GW: The Great Work, Thomas Berry  ISBN 0-609-80499-5

The Fourfold Wisdom

Thomas Berry: The Fourfold Wisdom

In these opening years of the twenty-first century, as the human community experiences a rather difficult situation in its relation to the natural world, we might reflect that a fourfold wisdom is available to guide us into the future: the wisdom of indigenous peoples, the wisdom of women, the wisdom of the classical traditions and the wisdom of science. …(GW, chapter 16, page 176)

Indigenous Wisdom is distinguished by its intimacy with and participation in the functioning of the natural world…As the years pass it becomes ever more clear that dialogue with native peoples here and throughout the world is urgently needed to provide the human community with models of a more integrated human presence on the earth.” (GW, chapter 16, page 177)

The wisdom of women is to join the knowing of the body to that of mind, to join soul to spirit, intuition to reasoning, feeling consciousness to intellectual analysis, intimacy to detachment, subjective presence to objective distance. When these functions become separated in carrying out the human projects then the way into the future is to bring them together….developing both a sociology and a cosmology of women.” (GW, chapter 16, page 180)

“The wisdom of the classical tradition is based on revelatory experiences of the    spiritual realm both transcendent to and imminent in the visible world about us and in the capacity of humans to participate in that world to achieve the fullness of their own mode of being.”(GW,chapter 16, page 185)

“The wisdom of science lies in its discovery that the universe has come into being by a sequence of evolutionary transformations over an immense period of time. Through these transformation episodes the universe has passed from a lesser to a greater complexity in structure and from a lesser to a greater mode of consciousness. We might say that the universe, in the phenomenal order, is self-emergent,self-sustaining, and self-fulfilling. Awareness that the universe is more cosmogenesis than cosmos might be the greatest change in human consciousness that has taken place since the awakening of the human mind in the Paleolithic Period.”

…If the unity of the universe is one aspect of the wisdom of science, another aspect is the emergent nature of the universe. The third is the existence of human intelligence as an integral component of the universe. (GW, chapter 16, page 190)

It becomes increasingly evident that in our present situation no one of these traditions is sufficient. We need all the traditions. Each has its own distinctive achievements, limitations, distortions, its own special contribution toward an integral wisdom tradition that seems to be taking shape in the emerging twenty-first century.

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Cosmic Human                    Free picture Internet

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