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12 THE ASCENT OF HUMANITY



person do? These emotions too are symptoms of the same separation 

behind all of our crises. When I am a discrete and separate individual, 

whatever I do makes little difference. But this logic is founded upon an 

illusion. We—you and I—are actually powerful beyond imagining.

Because the illusion of separateness is crumbling, the alternative I 


offer is practical, natural, and indeed inevitable. The ruin and violence of 

the present age do not typify an immutable “human condition”. They 

originate in a confusion about self and world, a confusion embodied in 

our fundamental scientific and religious principles and applied in every 

aspect of modern life, from politics and economics to medicine and edu- 

cation. Social and environmental destruction is an inevitable consequence 

of this worldview, just as rejuvenation and wholeness have been, and will 

be, the consequence of a different worldview, one that has roots in 

primitive culture and religion, and that is the inescapable yet heretofore 

generally unrealized implication of 20th century science.

Our current self/world distinction, and its consequent parsing of all 

the world into discrete entities, has run the course of its usefulness as the 

dominant paradigm. Our individuation, as individuals and as a species 

separate from nature, is complete; in fact it is over-complete. What 

started with agriculture and even before, with pre-human gropings to- 

ward the technologies of stone and fire, has reached its outer limit. It has 

taken us far, this separation; it has fueled the creation of wonders. To the 

extent that the separation is an illusion and that we too are part of nature, 

that illusion has unleashed a new force of nature that has transformed 

the planet. But if the human gifts of hand and mind are natural too, then 


what happened to the “harmony, beauty, and authenticity” whose ab- 

sence everyone can feel in the world of technology? Can we ever attain 

that human condition that we sense is possible in those moments of 

spiritual connection? This book will explore the extremes of separation 

we have reached, as well as the potential reunion that lies in the fulfill- 

ment, and not the abandonment, of the gifts that make us human.



























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