Part of “growing up” and doing our 4th internal monad is setting aside lingering imprinting and decades of conditioning in order to think and act more as an independent “party of one,” rather than just being a well-programmed member of various groups. This not only includes various social values, religious beliefs, and things that affect us personally and locally, but looking beyond the white picket fence surrounding our community and on out into the world at large. Many Americans have learned a great deal about regionalisms through the advent of television and are now more familiar with customs and the sound differences between New England, the South, and perhaps, “the English sound,” which might be from anywhere in the world left from the days of the British Empire.
But, we still make a heap of assumptions based on a very narrow world view that is still parochial and quite generation-based. Just like ripples spreading across a pond, each ring of awareness is progressively further away from the center. There might be four rocks dropped into the pond, each representing a different generation, and there will be four sets of rings rippling outwards, some colliding, until all reach the shore in overlapping and broken waves. They will not join and become a single ripple. This is because each generation has a fairly distinct but different worldview due to its background knowledge, experiences, and new interests and awarenesses.
For example, many in my generation mark the beginning of the entire ecology and environmental movement from the publishing of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” in the 50s — a book about the silencing of songbirds throughout the U.S. due to DDT pollution throughout the food chain. A best-seller that caused ripples of consciousness-raising and new legislation is largely unknown to the current upcoming generation. They “assume” that all of these laws for cleaning up rivers, Superfund sites, etc., to always have been, if they even know that our rivers were so polluted that they caught on fire, or that many had no fish as no fish could survive in the toxic waters downstream from tanneries, papermills, and other industrial complexes.
One of the few pluses of losing a great deal of our manufacturing to companies overseas has been the end of pollution for many rivers. A-ha! But, has it? The pollution has simply moved elsewhere, with fewer regulations, and to areas now pre-silent spring consciousness, such as China. China has become the biggest toxic dump in the world in many ways. Not only does it have a 1-billion plus population, but it’s playing catchup to the industrial world –running as fast as it can. And, pollution has become a reality to their world, whether it’s vast clouds of smog, chemicals throughout the entire complex dynamci of soil and water, to simply “too many people” and not enough sanitation and waste management infrastructure.
The Wall Street Journal as an interesting photo series on the garbage collecting behind the 3 River Dam. All of this garbage is floating downstream from communities that have no waste reclamation systems — i.e., they just dump it into the Yangtze. Most are also lacking sanitation plants — so guess where all of their sewage drains? But, then, it has for years — it’s only recently that they’ve produced a great deal of non-biodegradable plastic garbage that isn’t part of the “brown” look of their rivers.
But, not to put too fine a point on this being purely a local issue to the Chinese, the Indians, the Africans, or the Philippines, there is an uglier side. As the industrialized nations, such as the U.S., have discovered the long term costs of toxic materials going into our landfills and leaching into our water, they’ve started shipping these materials overseas. We haven’t stopped creating, buying, and discarding tons of non-biodegradable products every year — we’ve just stopped some of the toxicity for ourselves.
Humans are ruthless when it comes to being selfish in the now. The one time when it might behoove them to consider the future, they don’t. That’s when even westerners cavalierly quote the Qur’an, “The future is unwritten.” And, in a sense, this is very true and one of the most sardonic aspects of believing in incarnations–everyone of us will be living with the results of what we do and don’t do today for many lives to come and will have plenty of time to fix it.