Month: January 2017

When and how, yes.  But whether or not?  Hardly…

This is a quote from Yuval Noah Harari’s “From Animals Into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind.”  Mine is a “draft edition,” without a cited publisher, but I’m pretty sure it was finally published under the title “Sapiens,” with the same subtitle: In the year AD 1500, five hundred million people inhabited the world. Today, there are seven billion.  In 1500, global annual production was equivalent to 250 billion dollars.  Today it’s close to 60 trillion dollars.  In 1500, humankind consumed each day about 13 trillion calories of energy. Today, we consume 1500 trillion calories a day.  (Yuval Noah Harari, “From Animals Into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind,” Draft Edition 2012) How long can this last?   Or more to the point, will it end with a whimper or a bang?  Personally, I think we’re whimpering now.  But I’m waiting for the bang (a big one, either real or metaphorical).  After that, it’s anyone’s guess.   Interestingly, this also makes me think of another quote:   “Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour…”  (Matthew 25:13)...

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Joseph Campbell on meaning…

The quote below is from Chapter 1 of “The Power of Myth,” the compiled transcripts of conversations between Campbell and Bill Moyers in 1985-86.  These video interviews were edited into the subsequent PBS series of the same name.  I’m not sure, but I suspect this book version includes some material not included in the series as aired.  Campbell: …People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life.  I don’t think that’s what we are really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. (Joseph Campbell, with Bill Moyers, “The Power of Myth.” Doubleday 1988.) Campbell’s statement approaches Point 3 in my response to Michael Weise, regarding my post on Armstrong’s “History of God.”  He’s not quite saying the same thing, but we’re converging.  But the fundamental insight I gain from Campbell’s quote is a vision of the vast majority of human beings I see around me, going through motions of each day, filling it with activity from rising to sleeping. And yet, you get the sense that so much of it is displacement activity, the kind of restless pacing of an animal in a cage.  Few ever reach “the rapture of...

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