There’s an old adage that says “If you don’t understand the underlying nature or cause of your problem, no solution, no matter how creative, will successfully solve your problem.
So here’s the problem. Why is humanity ignoring six critical threats to human civilization and global stability?
For example, why are supposedly smart politicians and government leaders around the world so adamantly denying the findings of 97% of all the world’s credible environmental scientists? An alarming number of our nation’s elected politicians and government leaders continue to publicly deny the reality of global warming and climate intensification…..without offering any hard data to support what are clearly their own personal opinions. They are blatantly ignoring the world’s credible environmental scientists who, supported by scientific data, are clearly warning us that…
- the devastating consequences of global warming are happening,
- they are arriving faster than predicted, and
- they are expected to intensify to dangerous levels for human civilization in the years ahead.
Our elected politicians certainly know concern over climate change increased significantly in 2016; that roughly 40 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats now consider global warming to be a serious problem. Yet there is an ominous and resounding silence regarding global warming coming out of Washington. Why? Opinionated denial of a scientific reality supported by 97% of all environmental scientists just doesn’t make any sense. Most of these deniers are not stupid people…..uninformed perhaps, but not stupid.
So again, why is humanity continuing to ignore the six critical threats to human civilization and global stability? Why are we so willing to ignore the reality of these threats to the survival of our species?
Based on over three decades of experience working as a psychotherapist and life coach observing human nature, and refining the human developmental theory of Primitive Ego Psychology, here are my thoughts on that important question.
The Six Critical Threats To Human Civilization: The “Underlying Cause And Nature” Of The Threats
The most important insight using Primitive Ego Psychology is the sobering realization that the “underlying cause and nature” of the urgent and growing problems currently threatening humanity are directly related to the unconscious primitive ego of early childhood conditioning. This early childhood conditioning creates the emotionally reactive, unconscious primitive ego thinking process that currently controls the operating system or “adult consciousness” of almost all adult humans. It is a primitive ego level of human consciousness that compulsively and aggressively ……
- needs to be “right”,
- is driven by a greed-based, self-focused “what’s in it for me” thinking process,
- fears “change”, and
- prefers “immediate gratification” (surviving the present moment) over long-term thinking.
We are a sophisticated species when it comes to left hemisphere rational thinking such as science, mathematics, and logic, but we are still using a very reactive, immature right hemisphere emotional intelligence in our day to day decision making. The primitive emotional intelligence of our right hemisphere routinely “knee-jerks” and overpowers, or hijacks, our left hemisphere ability for logical, rational thinking. For centuries, humanity has been unconsciously using this emotionally reactive early childhood thinking process to deal with the challenges of the adult world. Unfortunately, emotional primitive ego thinking has significantly inhibited our ability to solve critical problems threatening the survival of our species and the stability of human civilization.
For example, our childhood primitive ego aggressively resists change and prefers to stay in its comfort zone embracing the “status quo”… because its primary goal is always the protection of our childhood “self-identity”. We see this rigid resistance to change, and the need to be right, whenever reality or new information encourages our primitive ego to change its personal beliefs, personal opinions, personal worldviews, personal assumptions, and personal expectations. When our beliefs and opinions are challenged by the introduction of credible new information, our primitive ego’s first response is usually denial, avoidance, anger and aggressive resistance.
Until we intentionally awaken our consciousness and learn to tame our unconscious primitive ego through intentional growth in self-awareness, we may look and sound like an adult, but in reality we will continue to function as emotionally reactive, ”self-focused”, seven-year-old children… stubbornly resisting change and unconsciously pretending to be adults.
The politicians, the media, and the talking-head media pundits repeatedly tell us that the global threats that face humanity are too complex and complicated to fully understand. They’re not! We are currently unable to create effective solutions to the growing problems threatening the survival of our species and the stability of human civilization because we have failed to understand the “underlying source, cause, and nature” of these critical problems.
Stated simply, the six dangerous threats currently facing the future survival of our species and the stability of human civilization are continuing to grow in severity because of humanities collective primitive ego and its unconscious;
- denial of change,
- greed based “what’s-in-it-for-me” thinking,
- never-ending need to be “right”, and
- never-ending desire for immediate gratification.
Because the six threats currently facing humanity were originally created by these four unconscious, emotionally driven aspects of humanities collective primitive ego thinking, creating effective solutions to the six threats will require a collective awakening of our human consciousness. An awakening of our species that will require a level of intentional growth in self-awareness capable of taming our unconscious primitive ego and its early childhood conditioning.
Until we fully awaken our collective human consciousness and understand the “underlying cause and nature” of the threats that face us… every decision we make, and every solution we come up with to deal with these six rapidly growing threats, will be continue to be ineffective! Until we clearly understand and deal with the fundamental underlying cause and nature of the threats facing us, searching for creative solutions to the six threats, will continue to be an exercise in folly. This is because the underlying cause and nature of the problems facing us will continue to exist and undermine our “creative” attempts to solve the problems.
I want to stress that this article is not a political bash of the Republican GOP, Donald Trump, or the Democrats. In fact, I am convinced that both sides are right! And both sides are wrong! Stated simply;
- both sides are adamantly resistant to change (ideological rigidity),
- both sides adamantly need to be “right” (ideological rigidity) ,
- both sides are adamantly trapped in greed based thinking (what’s-in-it-for-“me”), and
- both sides prefer immediate gratification over long-term thinking (I want… what I want… now).
Using these four early childhood conditioned and unconscious characteristics of our collective human primitive ego we’ll now look at some insights and conclusions from Primitive Ego Psychology that I believe address the six threats to human survival, and the growing social and political instability we are witnessing in so many nations around the world; including our own.
Six Critical Threats To Human Survival And The Stability of Human Civilization
Critical Threat #1: Unlimited Economic Expansion.
Unlimited economic expansion is the underlying assumption and fundamental problem of capitalism. Unlimited economic expansion is based on the dangerous illusion that unlimited economic expansion is both possible and sustainable. It’s not! Unlimited economic expansion is a benign and misleading term used to describe unsustainable exponential growth. When any system grows and compounds its growth year after year it’s not simply growing……..it’s headed toward infinity and unsustainability.
Story Of The Ancient King
Exponential growth is well illustrated in the ancient and well-known story of the king that granted one of his citizens a wish to reward the citizen for his service to the Empire. The citizen humbly asked the king for one grain of wheat to be placed on the first square of the king’s chess board. Then two grains on the second, four on the third, eight on the fourth, and so on. The king laughed and granted the wish thinking the citizen to be a fool. Of course, by the time the king got to roughly the 30th square, the kingdom was bankrupt. The amount of grain had increased exponentially to billions of tons. That’s the power of exponential growth….what we benignly call unlimited economic expansion.
Unlimited economic expansion is a dangerous greed-based illusion that;
- is placing unrealistic and unsustainable demands on our fragile planetary home,
- threatens human survival,
- is causing the destruction of our planet’s natural resources and its environmental systems, and
- is currently creating our planet’s sixth major extinction event.
*(A level of species extinction author Elizabeth Kolbert is calling the Anthropocene epoch in her book The Sixth Extinction)
The Creative Solution Needed: We are rapidly running out of time to create a new economic system based on sustainable growth, not unlimited growth. And we have to do it now. The problem, of course, is no-one has come up with a sustainable economic system to replace capitalism and its greed based illusion of unlimited economic expansion. The politicians and governments of the world, and the primitive ego greed of the 1% current running our global economy, are passionately resisting this necessary change. They fear replacing capitalism with a greener and more sustainable economic system will have a massive negative impact on their wealth. Given the four underlying aspects of primitive ego thinking, achieving agreement on a “right” economic alternative is highly unlikely. In other words, the rapidly growing threat of capitalism based on unlimited economic expansion is being conveniently ignored.
The future survival of human civilization will continue to be problematic until we find a way to create a more sustainable global economic system. The only question is whether the inevitable coming changes are the result of climate chaos or the result of humanity working cooperatively to create a more sustainable economic system. But one thing is certain. Change is coming. And it is coming soon. Right now, humanity’s collective primitive ego is running the show. As some would quip, “What could possibly go wrong?”
Critical Threat #2: Global Warming.
If global warming is accepted as “reliable science”, it would mean that humanity has finally accepted the reality that change is needed. That our global economic system needs to rapidly replace the carbon-based energy of petroleum, gas, and coal with renewable sun and wind energy. The move from carbon based energy to renewable green energy would create massive economic change in the short term. But long-term, it would put human civilization on a more sustainable path. Once again, the resistance to change, the financial impact on the greed of the 1% which is currently supported by our petroleum and carbon based energy systems, the lack of delayed gratification and long term thinking, and the fact that we have no “right” sustainable new economic alternative yet, currently has the problem of global warming on hold, actively ignored or denied.
The primitive ego’s of the greed based 1% built their wealth on the current petroleum-based economic system, and they are not going to go quietly into the night. The petroleum industry and the 1%, are doing everything they can to deny global warming and create doubt. Politicians that depend on the funding provided by the 1% are not about to rock that financial boat. So they too become deniers and creators of doubt.
The Creative Solution That’s Needed: The gridlock we are currently experiencing toward solving the problem of global warming is not going to go away until we the people stand up and demand our world’s governments and politicians fix the problem. We need to accept the warnings of the 97% of credible environmental scientists and begin to reverse carbon emissions now. Before it’s too late.
A new economic system based on renewable and sustainable energy sources would create the massive short-term economic changes discussed above, but it would also be a massive long-term jobs creator. Regardless of its impact, I don’t believe we have a choice. Global climate change is an unpredictable black swan event that was created unintentionally out of ignorance and a lack of science. But today we have the science. We understand the severity of the problem. We can no longer claim ignorance as the excuse to do nothing and continue ignoring global climate change hoping it will go away. We know it won’t. And we know what’s causing it.
And most importantly, Nature’s built-in negative feedback systems are going to force our hand. Nature will rapidly remove our ability to “choose and implement” a sustainable, renewable path forward. Once again, the “underlying cause and nature” of humanity’s collective primitive ego thinking process is running the show. Until “we the people” are willing to stand up and demand change, the problem of global warming will continue to be intentionally ignored and denied by the people who have the power to make the changes needed.
The question is whether the change we will experience comes through Nature created chaos, or whether we will find the courage to work together to cooperatively create that change. The change will come. And soon.
Critical Threat #3: The Failure To Live Our Stated Core Values.
The middle class in our nation is declining due to the income and wealth inequality created by greed based global capitalism. The middle class and the poor are losing hope. The number of humans suffering from poverty and hunger in our nation, and around the world is, is already creating increased violence and cultural instability at a rate not seen in modern times. Our world is rapidly becoming a global, interconnected, networked world! The poor and hungry of the world want to share in the middle-class lifestyle and benefits of the Western world.
The current global economic system that encourages and supports greed and wealth inequality is a core values problem that is currently being ignored and resisted by the Republicans, the Democrats, and the 1%. We are not walking our talk! An intentional implementation of our nation’s stated core values would, of course, lead to the massive economic changes we’ve been discussing; changes that are currently being resisted, denied and avoided by primitive ego thinking; the “cause and nature” of the problem.
It’s only a matter of time before the lack of hope, the suffering, the poverty, and the hunger of so many people on the planet turn into violence and chaos. History has shown that people with no hope, people who are hungry, and people who have nothing to lose are dangerous to the law and order of human civilization. I believe that day of violence and chaos is coming sooner than most of us think. We are already witnessing a growing religious, political and economic instability in almost every nation on the planet.
The Creative Solution That’s Needed: A recognition of the unconscious primitive ego “underlying cause and nature” of the problem that’s keeping us from actually living our stated values. Until we awaken and tame our collective primitive ego, the unconscious “underlying primitive ego cause and nature” of the collective human consciousness embedded in both political parties will continue to gridlock our government and create conflict and violence around the world.
We need an economic system that truly embraces our stated “core values”of mutual benefit, common good, human rights, and concern for the poor and starving; realities that are clearly and obviously being ignored by both parties nationally and globally.
Nature (Gaia) has been teaching the concepts of cooperation and mutual benefit for over 4 billion years. We need to awaken our collective human consciousness and pay closer attention to her wisdom. Right now, the “underlying primitive ego nature” of the collective unconscious childhood primitive ego conditioning is running the show and ignoring Nature’s wisdom.
End of Part 1
Three decades as a mental health therapist and life coach evolving and refining primitive ego theory and Primitive Ego Psychology, has convinced me that awakening the human consciousness and taming the childhood primitive ego through intentional growth in self-awareness is the only way we are going to successfully navigate the overwhelming critical challenges and threats facing our human species. Fortunately, this is a work each of us can choose to undertake simply by intentionally paying attention every time we need to be “right”, resist “change”, desire “immediate gratification”, or make decisions based on “what’s in it for me”.
Because of the length of this article, I will end Part 1 here and hit the send key. It is already longer than many readers have time to devote in one sitting. In the next Stonyhill-Nugget, I will wrap up Part 2 of our discussion with a focus on:
Critical Threat #4 – Donald Trump,
Critical Threat #5 – Ultra-Nationalism, and
Critical Threat #6 – American Imperialism
(Here is a link that will take you to Part 2 of the article in two weeks)
As always I welcome comments and feedback on all of my Stonyhill-Nugget blog posts.
I am currently dry-camping and writing this article in the Borrego wilderness of southern California comfortably surrounded by desert and mountains, and actively supported by solar panels bathed in full sun. So my awareness of “mutual benefit” is higher than usual right now. Time for a beer and another amazing sunset. See you in two weeks with Part 2.