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Alternative Culture Magazine

The Buddha and his followers taught with philosophy; Lao-Tse with poetry; Confucius and Mohammed and Moses with social and political precept, Jesus with parables. Each of these forms and formats has a value and a place in the overall balance.

Physics, Politics & Prophecy

Peter Russell, in The White Hole in Time: Our Future Evolution and the Meaning of Now, writes,


The window in time that opened when life on Earth took the leap into Homo sapiens sapiens is at the point of closing. We are in the last moments of our 50,000-year dash from emerging consciousness to full enlightenment. We are in a race against time itself.

It is we alive today who have the responsibility of guiding this species on. It is we who have to find ways to release ourselves from this self-centered phase of our development and open ourselves to the full significance of the timeless moment--and to the full significance of the present time.

The paradox is that in order to free ourselves from what Russell calls "having and doing," it seems we have a responsibility to do something. And yet, is that thing we have to do, simply be? To enter the non-propagandistic world of what Joseph Campbell calls aesthetic contemplation?

There is a place both for left and right-brain approaches here, as in artistic creation. Jerry Mander does a good job of analyzing the current dilemma in In The Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations (Sierra Club, 1991). He concludes with a list of specific actions to undertake:


Contact [action groups]....Get involved. Send money. Bring friends....

Arrive at a [lifestyle] standard and live by it.

Take time to learn what's happening [locally, in your bioregion], and make yourself felt....Decide that that place is one you will protect. Learn its natural history and its cultural history. Visit the place regularly. Watch it carefully. If it's threatened, do something.

Keep challenging yourself about technology, and begin to think about each glitzy new machine in other than its advertised terms.

Read everything you can by and about Indians and their struggles, and ...find a way to become engaged.

Most important, keep in mind that the big issues are far from settled.

Mander's approach is oriented more toward worldly considerations of lifestyles and politics than by future openings in psychic space.

In trying to synthesize and assimilate the lessons of both approaches, I arrive at several conclusions:

In this effort we all need the help of the native vision of sustainable life and spiritual insight to creation. Our long-term evolution will likely depend not so much on technological wizardry but rather in advances in consciousness and social behavior, which includes the wizardry of cultural innovation in ways that are sustainable, and in ways that keep personal and social values sacred.

As for attitude--optimism and despair--this is, as Mander says, the big issue. Because despair leads to saying what the heck, it's not gonna matter anyway what I do. But it does matter--especially because that attitude itself is causing the problem. A collective turnaround on that single question would make the biggest impact. In the moment of self-reflection, a seed is planted that multiplies to every action in the rest of life. To live in a way that everything matters, we all have a part to play, we are all in the picture, part of the action, engaged in the drama, responsible, accountable, in jeopardy, subject to our shit coming around to get us. It all matters, at every moment.

Not that we can't relax, withdraw, have solitude, or individual persuasions anymore: but that these don't imply endless or blind consumption, destruction, hurtfulness direct or indirect, or unwitting self-alienation. This is not to produce more anxiety, but rather more awareness and involvement in life in positive, constructive, healing ways. It means evaluation and re-evaluation especially when considering long-term strategies for technology and survival. Some considerations are purely practical: which tools and innovations will work, will last, will remain trouble-free? What will be in our control and means to maintain? Which choices and actions will be in harmony with environmental, aesthetic, personal and social values? If we dared to imagine a truly sustainable future, we might ask in the Iroquois manner, Which decision will take into account the well-being of the seventh generation from now?

--Nowick Gray

Update: Waking Up In Time: Finding Inner Peace In Times of Accelerating Change -- by Peter Russell

related links...

The History of the World

Alternative Spirituality


Mander Review

Timewave Zero


WorldView Readings


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