The Edge of Humility

Humility is an Edge.  

Its horizons are Earth and Divinity.  

Its liminal moves constitute incarnation.

Humility is not an attribute highly praised in contemporary society. A Western age rich with pride, advance, and consuming exchange has little interests in such words. Humility is bound to religiosity. Wikipedia‘s interests extend at least this far. But in a post-enlightenment culture when religiosity, especially of the Christian type, are generally regarded as “behind the times,” stuck in superstition, and mythic consciousness the secular gaze offers little sympathies. Humility is associated with Christian piety, with connotations of servitude, lowness, and surrender – even egolessness.

Christ came to the world, humble. St. Paul‘s Letter to the Philippians 2:1-8 captures the enduring meaning: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not considier it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Humility has all the religious effect one might conjure – “obedient to the point of death…” Equal with transcendence and absurdity, the lesson humility offers seems both grandiose and desperately naive – just edgy enough to drive a 2000 year old movement of institution and belief.

Now, in age enormously critical of Christian hegemony and thoroughly disenchanted, the word, humility, offers enough edge to revitalize old soil. Humility comes from latin root, “humus,” meaning “earth” or “ground.” In agriculture humus refers to maturely composed soil rich with organic matter and stability. Humus is rich because it has undergone a process of transformation where microorganisms thrive and produce organic carbon. It is often called the “life-force” of soil. (thanks wiki)

Leaf lamina. The leaf architecture probably ar...

The edge of humility is the space where religious meaning can be revitalized. We are asked to remain humble while the work of preparation continues to offer life new possibilities. The lesson of humility needs not a mere 2000 years, it is as old as the Earth itself, 4.3 billion years strong. Its soil bound between vacum and gravity, it is sure and stable; it constitutes our living memory and is boldly performing humanity – in the likeness of the hum-an.

The edge of humility is the space between the organic and the spiritual, the material and the divine. It is the “life-force” behind an incarnation, the space between God and Human. It lives us daily an an ecology of multitude. It breaths us and though we have forgot our former states, it matures us through its own convincing power.

Unto death…

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An adequate and integral orientation to cosmology recognizes the broad ark of conscious evolution. Earth yielded an

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

Image via Wikipedia

arch of self-awareness that constituted the human experience and forever changed our home. At home, the ever-developing capacity to see still fulfills itself through the unification and complexification of material and consciousness. A ‘worlding’ is upon us.

We know that “history is sound and fury”.[1] Wondrous origins, feats of survival, and gross reality mark the development of Earth’s biotic organisms. Earth developed mineral compositions, cellular multiplication, and plant proliferation. With the emergence of animal life scales of development increased and converged, speed and flight manifest. Life built language and culture, tool making and machine, evolving itself toward its own perception – its own history. The Earth too, wished an incarnation of self-consciousness – adding to its spherical development an envelope of thought, a noosphere.

Humanity became a champion at memory. Becoming wise, human ability constructed the past in the present and oriented itself toward the future. Its powers of concentration and complexification grew through sociological metamorphosis.[2] Humanity became the greatest of tyrants and the most magnificent artists. Our machines grew larger, and our powers of control and mastery constituted new paradigms. The experience of hominization was also an experience of conscious evolution.

The Planetary Era emerged. It took the cumulative insight, risk, and discipline of many, including Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein to initiate human consciousness into a modern experience of cosmological orientation, where we became a spherical planet, gravitationally determined to orbit the sun.[3] Jettisoned into a universe where life became an isolated, biotic, autopoietic event, meaning became a precarious phenomenon bound to an evolution of organic consciousness, seated in a geological time called the anthropocene.

Globalization, through our commercial and material exchange, became the driving force behind our era. Our local worlds multiplied through communication and mobility and our Earth shrank. Great worries have beset our time. Bound within a history of accumulation, debt, and expenditures, the only ground contemporary society seems to value is the sound of wasted bodies and grinding cultural production. Despite the emergence of profound thinkers, thinking the whole, the external movement of markets, technology, and knowledge subsists without adequate internal orientations – the practice of globalization is happening through capital entropy, but no one knows why or where ‘we’ as a global species (nor our fellow plant and animal companions!) are headed.

Many of the most attentive contemporary thinkers believe that the human condition – its industrial capitalism, increasing international competitions, and energy deficits, along with the massive amount of unaccountability regards historical violence, military complex, and overwhelming waste – is determinately blind. The ‘invisible hand’ is ‘invisible’ indeed – the relationships of asymmetrical access, value, and power do not produce the ‘best possible world’. The more efficient machines become does not necessarily mean humanity becomes ‘happier’. In our race toward progress, power, and performance the force of human evolution seems to have lost its way. “The threefold race in science/technology/industry that has taken over the human adventure is now out of control: Growth is out of control, its progress leading to the abyss.”[4] Edgar Morin’s commentary on the “Earth In Crisis,” is powerful. It considers problems across global domains: economy, population, pollution, and ecology. It is a ‘tragedy of development,’ he says, and is congruent with the spiritual deficit now so overwhelming little hope remains for global systemic balance.

The fundamental complexity of our time is undeniable. Though there exist “ONE WORLD” (telluric consciousness)[5] there is not ‘one worlding’. Many worlds are developing astounding inter-relationality while at the same time other worlds pass away, face defeat and deterioration. The hope of integrating biology with information technology is on the forefront of development. The emergence of synthetic cells that can house big data offer possibilities of true hybrid forms, data that can travel within human bodies will change the composition of genetic potential and an age bound within local time scales. The threefold manifestation of nanotechnology, genetics, and robotics offers the future outstanding achievements of performance, access, mobility, security, and even wisdom. For as many thinkers who highlight exponential growth curves of decline across all sectors of contemporary society there are others who insist that valid research shows exponential growth curves of acceleration, growth curves that change the form of possibility and potential, curves that culminate in singularity.[6]

A decent dose of humility would suggest that the broad sweep of Earthly evolution is not driving the human project toward oblivion nor is evolution fulfilling the secular salvific determinism that the mythic courts of science would lead us to believe. Humility exercises its weight, even over our collective ego, even over probability. There exist what Morin calls an “ecology of action” or “political ecology” with all things. “Actions tend to break away from the intention of those who initiated it as soon as it enters the play of inter-retro-actions of the environment into which it is introduced.”[7] Crudely speaking, feedback loops exist that render the long-term consequences of any action unforeseeable at the beginning. Even our most pessimistic attitudes toward the future are bound in uncertainty. Everything remains fuzzy. Change still happens, anomalies still persist, and while human global affairs develop along the predictable lines of political economy, we are still discovering Earthly powers of creativity and the human/non-human possibilities of latent evolutionary potential.

[1] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 2.

[2] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 2.

[3] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 27.

[4] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 72.

[5] In French, the same word: terre/Terre means both land and Earth.

[6]Transcendent Man” is documentary about the life and work of Ray Kurzweil. Incredibly fascinating. Kurzweil is a ‘futurist’ who specializes in the study of exponential growth of information technology as well as the interface between biology and machine. He talks about the point of accelerating returns in genetics, robotics, and nanotechnology which will eventually lead us to an event he calls the “singularity”. At this point anything is possible. Perhaps, if Teilhard de Chardin is right and matter and spirit are one then an “Omega Point” is closer than we might have ever predicted. Enjoy:

[7] Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth. 104.

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Sanctus Januarius

“In all things and on the whole, I wish only to be a Yes-Sayer.”

I find Nietzsche again. An offering to the Saints and the Holy month of January find their place in my heart. It is a theme of

English: Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882...

Image via Wikipedia

his forth book in the Gay Science and a disposition I look to rekindle with Nietzsche – the strength and resolution of becoming the “Yes-Sayer” to everything one is fated to live. The will behind this power has scarcely been with me the last few years. Like Nietzsche I have wondered. Times of dismissal have bred in me resentment towards growth. The work of resentments is loosed when repetitions and apathy steal freedom. Resentment is a thief; A failure of consciousness; A depressant; A dependency gone bad.

Living through; Overcoming; Becoming More… This is this age. A deep breath of resolve; the courts of spiritual appeals finds a verdict of affirmation, of fate. Fated to End Well.Enhanced by Zemanta