Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Earth and Humanity: a shared destiny

Leonardo Boff's weekly columns are available in Spanish from Servicios Koinonia. Some of his older columns are available in English at LeonardoBoff.com.

by Leonardo Boff (English translation by Rebel Girl)

We have to start the year with hope, because it is necessary to deal with the climate of shock and frustration that marked the COP 15 in Copenhagen. Certainly, global warming involves serious consequences. However, from a more philosophical perspective, the human planetary project would not be destined to be destroyed, but it would be forced to rise to a higher stage to be truly global. It is urgent to move from local to global and national to planetary.

If we look back at the anthropogenesis process, we can state: the current crisis, like previous ones, will not lead to death but to a necessary integration of Earth and Humanity. It will be a geosociety. In that case we would then face a rising sun and not a sunset.

This fact implies a subjective goal: the emergence of global consciousness with the perception that we are a single species occupying a common house, with which we form a common destiny. This has never happened before, it is new to the current phase of history.

It is undeniable that there is an ongoing process that is billions of years old already: the ascent towards consciousness. From the geosphere (Earth) emerged the hydrosphere (water), followed by the lithosphere (continents), then the biosphere (life), anthroposphere (humankind) and for Christians the Christosphere (Christ). Now would be the imminence of another leap in evolution: the emergence of the noosphere which involves a gathering of all peoples in one single place, planet Earth, and with a common global consciousness. Noosphere, as the word suggests (nous in Greek means mind and intelligence), expresses the convergence of minds and hearts, giving rise to a higher and more complex entity.

What we lack, for now, is a Universal Declaration of the Common Good of Earth and Humanity to coordinate the consciences and then make the different policies converge. Until now we have only been thinking about the common good in each country. We extended the horizon by proposing a Declaration of Human Rights. This was the great 20th century cultural struggle. But now there is concern for humanity as a whole and for the Earth, seen not as something inert but as a living superorganism of which we humans are its conscious expression. How to guarantee the rights of the Earth along with the rights of humankind? The Earth Charter that emerged in the early 21st century attempts to answer that demand.

The global crisis demands from us a global government to coordinate global solutions to global problems. Let's hope that totalitarian control centers will not arise, but a network of multidimensional centers of observation, analysis, thought and direction with a goal of overall well-being.

This is only the beginning of a new stage of history, the stage of the Earth united with humanity (which is the conscious expression of the Earth). Or the stage of Humanity (part of the Earth) attached to the Earth itself, together forming a single entity, one and diverse, called Gaia or Great Mother.

Now we are living in the Iron Age of the noosphere, full of contradictions, but even so, we believe that all forces in the universe conspire to reinforce it. Our solar system, perhaps even the entire galaxy, is marching towards it, and even this kind of universe, because according to string theory there may be other, parallel ones. It is fragile and vulnerable, but is full of new energy, able to shape a new future. Perhaps at the moment the noosphere is only a flickering flame, but it represents what should be. And what should be is strong. It tends to come to fulfillment.

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