The basic reason why Western civilization, which dominates the world through the global economy, is now dying is because it is based on the belief that we human beings are separate from God, Nature, and each other, when the truth is that we are never separate from the Divine for a single instant of our lives.
So in addition to severe psychological distress, such as anxiety, stress, and burn-out, that many are suffering from today, as a society, we are also suffering from delusional, obsessive, and schizoid disorders, defined for individuals in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association. All these disorders are causing acute ecological damage, which will lead to the premature death of the human race if we are not aware of our suffering and do not engage in healing ourselves.
It might seem strange to say that a whole culture can be deluded, for The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology says that only individuals can be deluded, not a culture or sub-culture. But the symptoms of our sickness are so obvious, we ignore them at our peril. For instance, there is no better evidence of our obsessive behaviour than our infatuation for the antics of the financial markets. Our schizoid behaviour arises because of our separation from Reality, believing that what is called the ‘real world’ has independent existence and enduring substance.
Our delusions arise directly from our separation from the Truth, leading Western civilization to be based on misconceptions about God, the Universe, Life, humanity, money, justice, and reason, which we can call the seven pillars of unwisdom, a term introduced by Arthur Koestler in The Ghost in the Machine to highlight the absurdities and limitations of the biological, behavioural, mechanistic, and quantitative sciences.
The first pillar of unwisdom arises from our separation from God; the next three arise because we see Nature as other; and the fifth and sixth pillars support our notion that we are separate from each other. These six pillars of unwisdom are encapsulated in Western reason by Aristotle’s Law of Contradiction, which is the seventh pillar of unwisdom, lying at the heart of mathematical proof and deductive logic.
The antidotes to the seven pillars of unwisdom are obviously the seven pillars of wisdom, which are based on the certain knowledge that each of us lives in union with the Divine, Nature, and each other at every moment in our lives. In Reality, we live in both Oneness and Wholeness, for Wholeness is the union of all opposites.
|Number||Pillar of unwisdom|
|Separation from God|
|1||God is other; there is a great gulf between the Creator and created that can never be bridged. God does not exist.|
|Separation from Nature|
|2||The physical universe is the primary reality and all phenomena in the Universe can be explained in terms of the laws of physics, including Consciousness, which arises from the brain as an epiphenomenon. It is the task of science to master and control Nature, viewed as an objective reality, for the egoic benefit of certain groups of human beings alone.|
|3||Life is a property of the DNA molecule and first emerged on Earth some 3.5 billion years ago. Consequently, evolution is a process that has come about solely by purposeless transformations of the DNA molecule, aided by natural selection, without divine intervention.|
|4||Human beings are biochemical machines and nothing but machines. Physical and psychological disorders can therefore only be cured through either mainstream or alternative medication, not through spiritual, subtle, or mental healing energies. It is also possible for computer scientists to create artificial intelligence, artificial consciousness, and even artificial life.|
|Separation from each other|
|5||Technological development can drive economic growth indefinitely, and money is a commodity with value that can be bought and sold. We can understand everything that is happening in business through the financial modelling methods used by economists, bankers, and accountants. If we are to survive as individuals, we must selfishly compete with our fellow human beings for the precious resources of our beautiful planet Earth, including the money supply, which must be limited to hold its value.|
|6||Although it appears that we human beings have the free will to choose how we live our lives, being responsible and accountable for our actions, such a belief in such mechanistic causes and effects is just an appearance, not real, called maya ‘deception, illusion’ and lila ‘the play of the Divine’ in the East. The belief that we have the personal freedom to decide our destiny and how we behave leads to the legal principle that individuals can be blamed for what are called immoral, antisocial, or criminal activities, and can claim credit for what society regards as praiseworthy. Such a divisive society is characterized by people adopting litigious and vengeful attitudes, on the one hand, and, on the other, seeking and accepting recognition through prizes, honours, and awards.|
|7||For reason to be valid, it must reject paradoxes and self-contradictions, a principle encapsulated in Aristotle’s either-or Law of Contradiction, which underlies linear mathematical proof and deductive logic. Thus, to see both sides of a situation is a two-faced sign of weakness, of indecisiveness; a dualistic view that inevitably leads to conflict and suffering.|