Humanity’s collective faith
by Anton Jarrod
One of the firmest and most comforting of illusions held by some people of the current age is that humankind has the keys to understanding, and the power to resolve the situations in which it finds itself. Largely, it is felt, this power resides in its higher capacities for reason and for love, which it may activate and draw upon at will. Through activities such as modern physical and social science, humankind, it is believed, achieves a fine degree of knowledge and understanding, upon which, over time, future human evolution will be based. Its future depends upon the development of its already-known and manifested repertoire of skills and capacities; the future will not look much different to how it is today, although things will generally be “better”.
Of course, this rather simplistic generalization, like so many, does not play a role in any serious discussion of the modern temperament. The truth is, things are more complex than that. However, there does exist a vague and general “collective faith” in humanity which finds its expression in the standard perspective, which is to say: a faith based on the understanding that human beings are completely independent entities, entirely separated from the surrounding environment by virtue of their physicality, and able to control its own fate, to a certain extent, in accordance with its expressed desires. There is a somewhat “humanistic” bias in that faith, which obviously has a historical antecedent, but in the current age its expression and manifestation is quite marked, even endemic.
In some ways this faith is grounded in or arises out of a vague apprehension of a truth; yet, it is a truth that, in its details, is quite unlike the general conception would have it. In this, the faith is both blind and genuine: essentially, humanity does have a power to control its own fate, but superficially it does not. Humanity makes an error not least when it determines that its powers lie in its manifest qualities. The “collective faith” behind the humanistic temperament is both relatively reasonable and necessary, and quite natural for the state and stage of awareness human beings are currently at. Yet, it is this very faith that acts as a prominent factor in keeping humanity in its gridlock, and keeping it locked on a trajectory in which only further gridlock may arise, for it is a faith which limits the horizon of humanity’s potential to the singular, “physical” dimension, where the problems it faces cannot really be solved.
It is difficult to give up or go beyond a reasonable belief. Indeed, only a newer, more superior reasonable belief can replace it. Collectively, this can only occur over a long period of time. It means that humanity must continue to work with and live in the illusions concerning its state. It must continue to believe that it is the master of its own fate and the planet. Only life itself, and the situations it will present, will help humankind come to a different, more enhanced understanding of what is actually the case.