The books I have examined so far in our literary expedition (The Story of B, The Chalice & The Blade) have centered around this question as applied to the sight of the current condition of human Industrial-Technical civilization. The loss of freedom by peoples around the world (especially in the US), the suffering caused by extreme weather aberrations (natural and human-made), the extreme disparities in living conditions between the haves and have-nots (wealth inequalities), the promulgation of open-ended war, the rise of brutal political extremes, the depletion of fossil fuels, and the economic collapse of the "first world" are elements of the (impending) scene of destruction to be explained. That explanation is their primary theme and concern.
We have learned from these books that humanity's problem is that it is, indeed, fallen. This fall, however, is a matter of culture, that is, it was a change in the overriding structure of the beliefs and directions that govern people. This change was from one of peaceful equalitarianism and partnering relations among people (and among the sexes) to one of domination (by the males over women and by one group over another) and competitive hierarchy. This change was (to use Daniel Quinn's terms) from a culture of Leavers (leaving world rule to the gods) to one of Takers (taking world rule from the gods).
The authors of these books (Daniel Quinn and Riane Eisler) indicate that there is no flaw within human beings, but rather, the flaw is in the Taker (or dominator) culture that is the prevalent culture over all the earth. In fact, Quinn makes quite a point of this, especially in My Ishmael. But if that be so, then why has humanity remained in thrall of the Taker culture--a culture oppressive of most humans and destructive to the earth--for some ten thousand years? I believe, as I noted in my previous journal entry, that it is because the Taker culture rewards and promotes psychopaths. So, generally, those at the top of the pyramid are the worst of us, and they now have the power and the tools to keep the rest of us (though greater in number) under control.
But the arrogance and God-complex of these ruling elites (declaring with Lucifer: "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High") has reached a point of destructiveness such that life on earth may not survive. Ms Eisler saw this some twenty years ago:
What may lie ahead is the final bloodbath of this dying system's violent efforts to maintain its hold.
And this is the point in our journey that looks most bleak to me. I see the oligarchs that rule the world as fighting hard against the limits of growth heralded by the depletion of cheap fossil fuels and sheer over-population. They have very powerful tools now, powerful enough to take us all down with them, and that seems to be their intent. They are still eating of that fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, imagining themselves as gods, and deciding who lives and who dies.
At this point, I could down a very dark road, indeed. But I will not do that. I want to travel a higher road.
In writing my Dentville novels, I am envisioning a time beyond this present darkness. I see us as having made it, and being forced to face the consequences of the long reign of Taker culture and living at a much simpler level (that I believe will be at a roughly Neolithic level). Our fight at that time will be against the resurgence of the Taker culture.
So if humanity survives, it will be because of a brightening of a light from our higher natures to a point of prevalence, perhaps aided by Gaia herself.
My next book in this expedition speaks of the higher nature in all of us, though in many of us it is buried deep. That book is Adventures Beyond the Body by William Buhlman and is a chronicle of his out-of-body experiences. The hope I pull from books of this sort is the idea that we are more than the physical. The greater truth of our existence is the higher, spiritual one that expresses itself through our physical bodies in this dense, physical dimension. It is the realization of the truth of this spiritual side that will, I believe, get us through this time, if anything does.
There are a number of books I could have chosen that deal with the expression of this spiritual side of our life, day-to-day. I probably will write about them in the future, but for now, for this expedition, I'm reading what I believe is the last of the books on shamanism by Carlos Castaneda: The Eagle's Gift.
I've read about Castaneda but I've never read any of his writings until now. Though a lot of doubt is cast on the story he tells, his writings are generally regarded as instructional in the basics of shamanism. I'm interested in that because shamanism is the fundamental spiritual belief of indigenous Americans. It represents, for me, the baseline belief that arise in a people living close to nature, much like the druid beliefs among the Celts in ancient Ireland.
In Dentville, the spiritual beliefs of people, especially as expressed through the sages and the Order of Gaia, are based on folk beliefs as I understand them. The sages in my stories are shamans, working as liaisons between people in the physical life and the spirits. People struggle through this physical existence with hardship and fear, and look to what's beyond to provide meaning and support. We'll need that as we go along, struggling into our future.
Understanding how we got to this place, in this mess, can help with our struggle. The explanations of Ms Eisler and Mr. Quinn have been a revelation to me in that regards. Both mesh nicely with my view of the world that has evolved from my early, very religious, years through my scientific phase, and into my more spiritual time. I'm sure I'm not unique and many others will catch the same resonance when reading their work. If you're so inclined, I highly recommend both.
You can find my review of The Chalice and the Blade here (Goodreads).