Art by Norman E. Masters
In terms of historical time, humankind is about to take a leap forward of such a mighty kind that it simply boggles the conventional imagination. We are in the process of preparing to leave our cradle, the Earth, and develop human habitats throughout the length and breadth of our natural homeland -- the Solar System.
Such a momentous development makes the most colourful "HE-MAN" science-fiction fantasies of today seem utterly pallid and shallow. Because it involves infinitely more than a mere "colonization" of the circum-solar region -- an event normally seen in terms of a mere extension or transfer of the form and structures of our most primitive Earthly present into a much larger time and space setting. For such a Cosmic "quantum jump" will involve not just a gigantic extension of the "everyday" operations of humankind but will embody, at the same time, a total transformation of the human person and human society as we have come to see ourselves and our social doings ever since the dawn of written history.
The Solar-Age future, as well as being very different from the futuristic scenarios being painted by neo-patriarchal technocratic Man, will also be a far cry from the "millenium" ideas of some "new-agers" and "alternative" humans. The latter, all too often, tend to conceive of the future in terms of happy angelic-like humans living in a sort of pastoral setting for ever and ever. And any "far-fetched" ideas about space-travel and the like are condemned out of hand. The thinking of such people never goes beyond the notion of an Earth filled with new age communities made up of joyful earthlings growing their own food to the sounds of singing birds and playing children.
Such a picture is indeed an idyllic one; and there are times when all of us would like to experience this kind of existence in real life. But, in actual fact, an Earthly existence of this kind would not be a happy one. It would be a state of psychic death. Life would be colourless, dull, and filled with utter boredom. For human beings are not beings but becomings. We are Cosmic creatures filled with the dynamism of the universal evolutionary thrust. We embody in ourselves a divine thirst to know, to explore all the ramifications of material existence which it is possible for our kind to experience. We are far more than our past or present. And we can only find meaning -- in the ultimate truly spiritual sense -- by transcending ourselves, by ever exploding the apparent boundaries that circumscribe our contemporary being in the course of our ever onward and upward process of development.
Those Earthlings who say that we should solve our existing problems in our terrestrial present before attempting to reach out beyond the space and time limits of our little planet might be surprised to hear that they are displaying an extreme narrowness of mind. The problems of the present are a product of our contemporary social situation; and they simply cannot be solved within the context of the latter. Their real solution can only be found in and through the transcending of the actual circumstances which give rise to them. The development of a Solar-Age culture involves precisely that. But it also needs to be seen to involve the development of "wings" as well. For the very Earth itself, however big it might appear to us, will be regarded by Solar-Age humankind as no more than the original nest where humanoid forms evolved first in the Solar System. It should also be understood that the whole existing approach on the part of Technological Man not just towards the use of modern technology, in general, but towards the whole phenomenon of space-travel and the setting up of extra-terrestrial habitations, is far removed from what will be the attitudes and practices of Solar-Age humanity to come. We are still only experiencing the early dawn phase of human history. And, for all practical purposes, the process that is humankind has only just begun.
When looked at in the context of this wider space and time scenario it will be readily seen how little has been the distance so far covered by humanity in the course of its development. For so far -- except for the much publicized flights of the astronauts and cosmonauts into local Earth space -- all of human experience has taken place within a very limited terrestrial framework.
After some thousands of years of tribal living, as hunters and food-gatherers, humankind entered upon a most traumatic time of social change with the coming of the Agricultural Revolution. Within a relatively short span of historical time, the old traditional tribal ways simply disintegrated. Not alone that, but the tribal emotional/psychic structure of the "mass-individual" also underwent a gradual, though eventually, total transformation. A new social order came into being in the general area of the Middle East and some other parts of the then known world. This was the Patriarchal (civil) Society. It was completely different from the Tribal psycho-social scheme. It had a very new kind of social unit, the patriarchal family -- as opposed to the tribal clan. It had totally new kinds of social institutions and social practices. But, above all, the patriarachal person -- because of his or her particular kind of emotional/psychic structure -- was altogether different from the hunting and food-gathering tribal human. He or she simply perceived the world differently and felt and experienced personal and social existence differently. This was much more than a mere shift in consciousness. Because the whole psychic and emotional structure of the patriarchal person was different.
Basically, the development of Patriarchal Society involved a section of humankind leaving the ecological realm of the Tribe and entering a wholly new field of ecological niches. This, in fact, is what the Agricultural Revolution was all about: the process of humankind moving into a completely new ecological domain -- of developing a totally new kind of relationship with the immediate environment. First came the ecological change. This created the setting for the development of a new kind of social unit, social institutions, and social practices. And, in the course of this long and involved process, there also evolved a new mass-emotional/psychic structure. For all practical purposes, the history of humankind over the last six thousand years or so has been an account of the development of the potential of these three intertwined factors.
What the Agricultural Revolution was for the hunting and food-gathering Tribe, the Scientific/Industrial Revolution has been for Patriarchal Society. The latter overleap, first of all, involved a part of organised humanity leaving the ecological realm of Patriarchal Society and entering an altogether new field of ecological niches in what we call the socio-physical environment -- in contrast to the bio-physical world of plants and animals and the chemical or chemo-physical arena of chemical forms. Up to recent decades, this process involved little more than an incursion by Patriarchal Society into a new ecological setting. Nothing changed fundamentally. The general structure of the traditional man-dominated patriarchal family became modified somewhat, but basically remained the same. The general hierarchical class-structured form of Patriarchal Society was not altered in any profound way. For the overall structure remained the same while new social classes replaced the traditional ones in the social pyramid. There was some change in socio-economic functioning. Entering a new ecological field was reflected in new ways of producing society's needs. But the general pattern of the patriarchal social and economic system remained the same. A completely new social sector did emerge -- that of industry -- but each factory was owned and run in the same way as the old landed demesne: it was not long before there were little kingdoms in the industrial sector as there were in the case of those who owned the big land estates. What socialists mistakenly called "capitalism" was not a new society but merely a set of new socio-economic forms and practices which evolved within Patriarchal Society.
There was also no major change in the traditional emotional/psychic structure of the mass-individual. For the humans involved in the new innovations were no more than patriarchal individuals functioning in a new kind of setting. Both workers and capitalists shared the same general character structure. Their general emotional and psychic make-up was the same, however much Marxists have made them appear as being constantly at each other's throats.
A vital point to fully understand about the whole epoch that began with the early phases of the Industrial Revolution is that Science and Technology -- representing the new ways of dealing with the environment -- developed within the dynamic matrix of the powerful moulding socio-cultural currents of Patriarchal Society; and this has been one of the major underlying causes of the present world crisis. In fact, it has been precisely through the development and utilization of modern Science and Technology -- as applied in the fields of economic production and social life -- that the neo-patriarchal nation-state of today has evolved; and, which, in the case of the "super-powers", stands armed to the teeth with weapons of mass-death that threaten the very existence of all living forms on our planet.
Furthermore, it is because of the existence of such dinosaur nation-states that so many well-meaning humans ever since the Second World War have advocated the setting up of a single global state run by a single "World Government" -- as a possible way out of the intensifying planetary crisis. But the taking of such a step would not in any way solve the basic Problem; and neither would it constitute an advance in psycho-social development. For it would only involve the creation of a giant global nation-state armed with a world-wide network of computers in the hands of a vast impersonal bureaucratic machine depending on a multi-million strong global police force to maintain its control. A more horrendous world situation can hardly be imagined.
Fortunately, all the signs are that such a monstrous social machine will never rear its ugly fascist visage on Planet Earth. What is now occurring world-wide indicates that the psycho-social ground is being prepared for the emergence of a qualitatively new kind of social order which will be even more different from Patriarchal Society as the latter is from the Tribe.
One of the main signs of such coming social change is being manifested in the current disintegration of the patriarchal family on a global scale. The nuclear family of today is but a pale reflection of the patriarchal family of old. In fact, what we have today in the so-called "technologically-developed world" is a "no-Man's land" sort of society between traditional patriarchy and the Solar-Age to come. And the basic social unit of this transitional societal form is the nuclear family. One might well, indeed, see the social present in terms of the neolithic or "New Stone Age" society which evolved immediately in the wake of the Agricultural Revolution.
Accompanying the breaking down of the traditional patriarchal family over the course of the last hundred years or so has been a spontaneous attempt to develop a new kind of social unit. One of the least appreciated facets of the Russian Revolution was the spontaneous sexual-political upheaval that carried on for some alongside the purely military and political events that have been so widely written about. As Wilhelm Reich discovered later, over wide areas of what is now the Soviet Union the patriarchal family spontaneously collapsed and there was a major transformation in sexual-political relations between people. Thousands of communes sprung up overnight. These were centred around both places of work and ordinary life. In fact, the differences between these areas of social living simply disappeared. Unfortunately, however, all these important historical developments proved to be only temporary social innovations because the character-structure of the mass individual had not changed.
This kind of fate awaited all the other attempts in so many parts of the planet to create more cooperative living situations centred around a more communal social unit in which real loving and sharing is a foundation stone. The prevailing character structure ultimately prevented such a development. There was also the lack of a full-blooded spiritual vision commensurate with the nature of our times.
It is only NOW that the proper conditions are being created for real and permanent psycho-social advance. For a most significant development of today is the rapid dissolution of the general emotional/psychic structure of the individual at large. And this is a major reason underlying the sense of uncertainty pervading the life of the latter in our modern times. It is not just that the world seems to be an ever-more confusing place. But the very means -- his or her emotional/psychic structure -- through which the individual relates to that same world is itself in the course of breaking down. This often leads to the most intense personal suffering. A person can become "emotionally-disturbed" and "psychologically unbalanced" -- when, in fact, all that is happening is that his or her old patriarchal character structure is dissolving spontaneously. And, truly, the only "cure" for such a condition is to try and totally abandon one's old patriarchal self and life-style and begin living in a Solar-Age way -- within the framework of a wholly new social unit -- as our time demands.
And what our time demands is a social order functioning in harmony with the new social mode of dealing with the environment. This does not mean, however, that the coming Solar-Age social order will be "adapted" to fit into a particular field of ecological niches in the socio-physical milieu. One could well speak of adaptation in the case of the food-gathering and hunting tribe. This was basically a static society whose functioning and structure was well in harmony with its environmental role. Much the same could be said for the patriarchal societies which superseded the Tribe. For they were also static and conservative, in general -- often changing but little over the centuries. To a great extent, they occupied their respective ecological niches like a hand fitting into a glove -- that is, until the coming of the Scientific/Industrial Revolution.
A most important aspect about the social order and human culture that will eventually supersede Patriarchal Society in every one of its many forms is that it will not at all be a static society but an ever-changing psycho-social process. While it will be a human culture in harmony with Nature, in which it will be immersed, its rhythmic functioning will not be of the steady-state equilibrium-tending kind. On the contrary, it will be a most dynamic process ever on-going, ever-developing, ever-creating new material situations.
The set of laws of psycho-social evolution that applied in the case of the Tribe and Patriarchal Society simply will not be relevant to the Solar-Age. For a wholly new phase in psycho-social evolution will have been reached -- when the very means and mechanisms of this particular evolutionary process will themselves change and develop. This novel situation is being brought about at the moment through the overall process of terrestrial evolution becoming self-conscious. For the very first time in the whole history of the Earth, evolution has at last produced beings with mental structures capable of learning about the Past, anticipating the Future, and consciously changing the NOW.
The more progressive section of humankind has now come to understand that within certain limits we do make our own Reality. Not alone can we learn about the whole terrestrial evolutionary process but we can develop a range of possible models of Reality and set out to create our future "cosmos" according to one such model or a synthesis of them. The old monolithic reality-construct which has shackled the minds and activities of humankind for so long is in a state of collapse. We no longer have to be slaves of the irrational ideologies stemming from the Patriarchal idea-system with all its biases, prejudices, and limitations. As free "becomings", conscious of our place in the evolutionary scheme, we are now entering upon a phase of evolution which will be endless and unlimited, which will be filled with novelty at every turn, as we explore through purposefully developing an on-going experiential Reality in the domain of the physical world hand in hand with pioneering work in the realm of the psychic -- which in the future will become consciously integrated into the everyday experience of humankind.
The coming Solar-Age culture will be utterly different from anything we have known previous to our times. It will, as pointed out above, be a process and not a system as such. System will be of account only to the extent that the constantly evolving psycho-social process will manifest itself in the form of an endless series of transitional structures, none of which will have any permanent features. Their "being" will be seen as merely an aspect of the perpetual "becoming" of the overall evolutionary process. Social structures and institutions will harmonize with the functional requirements of the psycho-social process at each given moment. And such a happy complementarity of structure and function will be possible because the psycho-social process will itself be served and fostered by human becomings with emotional/psychic structures of such plasticity that they themselves will be ever-evolving as persons.
This whole psycho-social process of development needs to be seen at all times within the context of the whole Solar System. Basically, this whole system of planets, asteroids, and comets circling around our massive Sun should be viewed as an island archipelago in the great space-time ocean of our Milky Way galaxy. In this utterly gigantic catherine-wheel-shaped galactic scheme of some 100,000 million diverse suns we are very much on our own -- occupying a little niche in one of its revolving spiral arms.
That we are very much on our own is a highly significant fact that becomes very clear when we remember that the distances between the Sun and its satellites are miniscule compared with the spatial interval separating us and the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. The mean distance between the Earth and the Sun is some 93,000,000 miles -- or one astronomical unit, as the astronomers regard it. On this scale, Pluto, which conventional Science believes is the most faraway planet in our Solar System, is about thirty-five astronomical units from the Sun -- a vast distance by terrestrial standards. But the nearest star is roughly 6,000 times further from the Sun than Pluto. So, even if one or two other planets are found further out than Pluto in the circum-solar region, the picture we have of the Solar System remains very much one of a small archipelago alone in an immensity of galactic space.
Now, with the emergence of a Solar-Age culture, in the setting of the Solar System, another new and historic phenomenon will result. And it will consist of the convergence of the macro-evolutionary process of the Sun and its attendant planets -- taken as rough-structured matter-systems --- with the micro-evolutionary process of living forms and human societies -- seen in terms of fine-structured systems.
Up to our time, the micro-evolutionary process of fine-structured matter-systems has been confined to the Earth alone. And the wider processes of macro-evolution in the Solar System have been progressing most independently of its micro-counterpart. But with the emergence of a developing Solar-Age culture this whole picture will be radically altered. For a great convergence of the macro-cosmic and micro-cosmic evolutionary processes within the circum-solar area will come about and a wholly new phase of true Co-Evolution will begin. This is why it is so important that current progressive thinking about Future social development must be done within the conceptual framework of this supra-terrestrial co-evolutionary setting.
Perhaps when this Solar-Age future does become an actual Reality, it will be more proper to speak of humankinds rather than of one single humankind, as at present. Because, having left our terrestrial cradle, humanity -- through its Solar-Age culture -- will straddle the whole physical environment in the general area occupied by the Sun and its planetary retinue. Within this vast solar area, there will be a great field of Solar-Age ecological niches to explore and occupy in the vastly extended socio-physical environment of that future time. Multiversity will be the order of things. Humanity and the solar environment will be so interlinked in co-evolutionary developments that both sub-processes will together form one general evolutionary process with a multiplicity of facets.
In such an altogether new kind of psycho-social and socio-physical situation, we could no longer, in fact, speak in terms of "human society" as we do now. Rather, we would have to conceive of humanity co-evolving with the macro-Solar System, in terms of a psycho-social eco-system, or, better still, a psycho-eco-system. We would truly have to see the Solar System as a phenomenon in which the Earth-derived processes of Life and Thought permeated its every part.
An eco-system is a very different thing from a social system. A well or a bog are very common eco-systems, for instance -- as is the more complex "Gaia" Earth system. Briefly, an eco-system, in the ordinary sense of the term, consists of an organismically-functioning pluralistic whole made up of a great variety of contributing elements, which, in the case of the well, would consist of the animal and plant species it contains, together with the chemical content of the water, etc.
A Solar-Age culture, seen as the ever-developing process of a psycho-eco-system, would constitute the most radical departure possible from the conventional view of human society. There is just nothing in the history of humankind's terrestrial-bound past to compare with the phenomenon of a Solar-Age psycho-eco-system. The coming epochal overleap in psycho-social evolution will take the higher humanity involved to a point in development at which our Present -- in the face of every protestation of being "advanced" -- will appear as little more than an extension of the Old Stone Age. We will, in fact, be seen very much as Stone-Age people with atomic spears.
We stand on the threshold of great times. Progressive humankind -- in this most critical hour of Earth history -- is being given the Cosmic task of utterly transforming the on-going process of psycho-social evolution. This is what the global crisis of today is really saying to us. New Being and Becoming is striving to manifest itself in new psycho-social form and functioning.
Underlying all of this is the dynamic universal process of the materialization of Spirit -- of Spirit expressing itself in the language of material form -- of Spirit ever-bent on exploring, through creating, a cosmic kaliedoscope of ever-new and novel material situations -- of Spirit delighting in developing new Reality constructs in practice -- of Spirit feverishly filling every possible kind of ecological and existential niche so playfully invented by itself as it fills the whole wide Universe with the self-creative power of its innate evolutionary dynamism.
Right now, Cosmic Spirit, in our own local terrestrial context, is seeking to express itself in a Solar-Age way through the medium of progressive humans -- in their thinking and collective efforts to promote true social change. It is this which forms the most fundamental evolutionary trend of our time which will become more and more manifest in practical undertakings as ever-evolving Solar-Age Humanity becomes more and more the determining human factor in the world at large.(October 1982)
DEDICATION: I would like to dedicate this document to those progressive men and women who are preparing the ground for the Second Global Conference on the Future to be held in India in 1984 under the theme Toward Community: Thinking Freely, Acting Courageously. Further to this I would like to say that my thinking along the lines of the foregoing has been greatly stimulated by the advanced ideas on processes and systems of the late Erich Jantsch whose last book The Self-Organizing Universe shows that he was one of the 20th century's finest minds.