The turning of the age

 

This is a passage from the chapter entitled “The Turning of the Age,” in the book Sacred Economics written by Charles Eisenstein. The book explores the history of the financial system and the many stories that humanity is living out today that are leading to the rapid destruction of the earth, and the mass commodification of culture, nature, society… and everything really. It is definitely worth a read, and you can read it online at www.realitysandwich.com .

‘Two key developments mark the transition from childhood to adulthood, whether on the individual or the species level. The first is that we fall in love, and this love relationship is different from that of the child to the mother. In childhood, the primary aspect of the love relationship is that of receiving. I am happy to give all I can to my children, and I want them to receive it without restraint. It is right for a child to do what is necessary to grow, both physically and mentally. A good parent provides the resources for this growth, as our MotherEarth has done for us.

So far, we humans have been children in relationship to earth. We began in the womb of hunter-gatherer existence, in which we made no distinction between human and nature, but were enwombed within it. An infant does not have a strong self-other distinction, but takes time to form an identity and an ego and to learn that the world is not an extension of the self. So it has been for humanity collectively. Whereas the hunter-gatherer had no concept of a separate “nature” distinct from “human,” the agriculturist, whose livelihood depended on the objectification and manipulation of nature, came to think of nature as a separate category. In the childhood of agricultural civilization, humanity developed a separate identity and grew large. We had our adolescent growth spurt with industry, and on the mental plane entered through Cartesian science the extreme of separation, the fully developed ego and hyperrationality of the young teenager who, like humanity in the Age of Science, completes the stage of cognitive development known as “formal operations,” consisting of the manipulation of abstractions. But as the extreme of yang contains the birth of yin, so does the extreme of separation contain the seed of what comes next: reunion.

In adolescence, we fall in love, and our world of perfect reason and perfect selfishness falls apart as the self expands to include the beloved within its bounds. A new kind of love relationship emerges: not just one of receiving, but of giving too, and of cocreating. Fully individuated from the Other, we can fall in love with it and experience a reunion greater than the original union, for it contains within it the entire journey of separation.’

 

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