It is easy to use the catch-cries of the clown in the current chaos of Europe. I do not believe that the “meeting of three”, namely Germany, France, and Italy, was an inner circle deciding policy to be imposed on the rest. It smacks to me of a beleaguered Germany trying to crack the whip with France and Italy to prevent another Greek-style tragedy. Look at the state of the Eurozone now. The Eurozone was badly designed but intended as a device to stabilise the mixed economies of Europe as they tried to build a political Europe. The Eurozone is not another name for what was the EEC or for what is now the EU. I suggest that Germany is trying to patch up the mess they created in the Greek situation., and hoping that it can be done “diplomatically” without precipitating further disasters.
The Left in Europe did not stand by Greece. Too many site-seeing old Socialist tourists just hoped that the bravura of Syriza would rub off on them, but, the Left failed Greeece because it has no coherent set of values and beliefs on which to build new policies that will respond to today’s problems. Outdated Marxist mantras do not resonate with today’s world. But then what are the attractions of neoliberal Capitalism in a world of negative interest rates?
We have learned a lot from earlier empires and political systems. I believe, however, that neither Marxism nor Capitalism is any longer relevant as an “off-the-shelf”. Both are based upon the dialectic it leads to confrontation and conflict and this, in political terms, has led to the “either/or” position. This means that if the Right wins, the Left must lose, and vice versa. In consequence, there is no progress but permanent revolution. The Marxist Dialectic was based upon Hegel’s triad of “Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis” but appears to have dropped the third stage in practice, other than in the fade-out sequence of the imagined Socialist Millenium.
These three steps are a generalised, theoretical model for solving problems and planning change. In brief;
- Thesis -The statement of the problem or the present situation or a proposal for change;
- Anti-thesis: The statement of the opposite argument or the converse of the problem or an opposing proposal for change;
- Synthesis: By the process of argument and discussion, the best of both thesis and antithesis are worked out, and a new thesis is developed based upon the best parts of the other two being integrated and co-ordinated.
Look at Europe today. Podemos (Spain), Left Bloc (Portugal), Die Linke (Germany) show no signs of creating a break-through; in France the Socialists are slowly self-destructing. Italy is in the middle of a banking crisis that can only be resolved by Italy defying the Eurozone regulations. Germany cannot afford to let that happen. That, I suggest, is a more realistic assessment of the Bunker Trio meeting. Neither can any European who stands for democratic principles afford to let the Eurozone destroy Europe. We have had too many wars in Europe over the centuries and we do not need to blunder into another one. The only parties to benefit from the present situation will be the far-Right parties of France, Italy, Poland, Hungary, and Brexiting Britain.
If we are to evolve to a better and more equitable society, we must forego the conflict inherent in both Marxism and Capitalism and opt for a third way that aims at synthesis. We must replace revolutionary opposition with evolutionary development. Up to now, creatures have developed on this planet by random events in evolution, with those that could not find a better niche being left behind and eventually dying out. This has happened in the case of humanity also, with competing hominid branches failing to survive. We seem to be destined to conntinue moving in that direction with the survivors inheriting the planet. The new movement of evolutionary activism is aimed at synthesis, the development of a third way that combines the best of the other two, thesis and anti-thesis, capitalism and socialism. That is now possible because humankind is the first time that evolution has produced a creature capable of reflection upon its self and its history and making a choice.
Economics is an important bank of knowledge for the modern state. But so also are Sociology and Philosophy, Technology and Medicine, when applied to and included in our political plans. Economics deals with measurable aspects of society but ignores the spiritual dimension, even denies it. Whether we wish to be described as nation states, as tribes, or as ecowarriors, the only relevant commonality when it comes to organising society, is that we are humans, and it is a shared humanity, “with a seat for everyone on the bus”! But that humanity shares the planet with other sentient beings. Is it time that we took our stewardship role seriously and included them too as our relatives as well as recognising that Nature has its rights also that must be recognised. That, truly, would be a Brave New World!
Two issues face us. Can we rescue “Europe of the People” from the parasitic clutches of the Eurozone. And if we can rescue it, is it worth rescuing. The second issue can be rephrased as “do we want to turn the clock back to the 1960s and 1970s and start again!” From my point of view, however, there is a greater and more serious problem to be addressed. And that is the binary nature of Right-Left politics with an imputed Centre. The binary nature of the present system has an inherent instability that the Centre parties cannot control. The binary system is also a “flip-flop”, an “on/off” system, or a zero-sum game. The emphasis of the Right has always been based on the imputed or alleged rights of the Individual not being submerged by the lumpen mass of society. The emphasis of the Left has basically been based on the rights of society to cater for all and bearing in mind the differentials in intelligence, in skills, in understanding, and even in desire to be involved in any society.
The way ahead is not clear but we have two main tasks to face before we destroy the planet. Firstly, I suggest that we need to start working on how to balance the rights of the individual with the rights of society seen as a unit in itself. This will not be achieved by monolithic structures or hegemonic regimes. We need a new way of seeing things, and a new way of organising our world in a way that promotes shared goals, allowing for differences. When we examine today’s world, or indeed any previous stage in the development of our planetary society, we see that shared consensual realities or “dreams” were and still are the norm. Over the generations and the centuries, our inherited cultures, traditions, and social structures teach us what to “see” as our “reality”. That goal of “Changing the Dream” and “Awakening the Dreamers” is going to take a lot of time to achieve but climate change has set the clock ticking and we are close to 23:55 h in Cosmic Time.
The second task is gargantuan in comparison to the first. It is a long, long way from the evolutionary branching tracks of our cave dwelling ancestors as well as the other hominids that failed to make the starting line for the Ultimate Race to Space! Up to now, evolution has been an independent variable that enabled the survivors to thrive and left the others to be interesting fossils for palaeoanthologists and grave-diggers. The second task is that of raising our sights to encompass conscious evolution. Each previous major stage or jump in the evolutionary process, has led to enlarged brain power with increased brain functions developing. The next stage is probably only a few millenia down the track from us now and what is that compared to the previous 14.7 billion years of our galaxy’s existence. But if humankind has a future then it is most likely out there in the Noosphere. Let us, at least, sort out Europe first.
- The concepts of conscious evolution, noosphere, and evolutionary development, are well worth exploring. I first came across them in “The Phenomenon of Man” by Theilard de Chardin. He also coined the word “Noosphere”. The Noosphere was something of an abstract concept when I first met it, but it needn’t be so today. Think of the Noosphere as a virtual World Wide Web. The only difference is that instead of using your computer to link over the Internet with other computers, you will be using your own mind and brain (software and hardware equivalents) to link with other sentient beings (human, animal, plant, rocks, you name it) for a session of telepathic communication! The Noosphere is imagined as a belt around the Earth, like the Stratophere, or the Biosphere.
- That book was given to me as a present when I was a student at UCC in 1959 by my friend Valentine Rice after I gave him a short grind on Maths Physics when he joined our course. Val went on later to become Professor of Education at Trinity College Dublin. I reread the book again recently and added a few more by de Chardin to my library. And remembered Val (R.I.P.).
- Where climate change and environmental activism are concerned I can strongly recommend a short online workshop (2 hours duration) provided free by the Pachamama Alliance. It is a great introduction to the world of climate change politics and activism. If that “floats your boat” or even “cools your planet”, then I would encourage you to sign up for their moderated online programme lasting 7 weeks called the “Game Changer Intensive”. Visit <https://www.pachamama.org/engage/intensive> for further details. I would add that these programmes are available free but if you can afford it you are invited to make a contribution. If you have any questions you can also contact me as I am a Course Moderator with the Pachamama Alliance.
What is the Noosphere?
The noosphere is the planetary sphere of mind or thinking layer of planet Earth. To grasp the idea of the noosphere we must elevate our consciousness and open ourselves to the most general, elemental and cosmic principles of life on Earth.
Manifesto for the Noosphere:
The Next Stage in the Evolution
of Human Consciousness
by José Argüelles
As the mental sheathe of the planet, the noosphere characterizes mind and consciousness as a unitary phenomenon. This means that the quality and nature of our individual and collective thoughts directly effects the noosphere and creates the quality of our environment—the biosphere.
As the Earth’s “mental sheathe,” the noosphere represents the breakthrough to a new consciousness, a new time and a new reality arising from the biospheric crisis. This is known as the biosphere-noosphere transition.