The World Forum of Spiritual Culture, Astana, Kazakhstan October 18-20 2010
Speech by Rev. Patrick McCollum Copyright 9/12/2010 . Mr.President, Members of the Parliament, Distinguished Colleges, and Ladies and Gentlemen:
As humankind continues to multiply and compete for resources, we see a devastating effect both upon one another and on the planet we call home. These shifts and changes are brought about mostly through cultural, religious, and political ideologies, which often manifest as economic incentives grounded in the concept that we as humans are somehow above the laws of nature, and that all of nature and the universe is ours for the taking to utilize and/or capitalize upon as we see fit.
In modern times, as the sheer number of people on the earth continues to rise at an exponential rate, these ideologies accompanied by the rapid expansion of the earths populations contribute to an ever increasing level of destruction of the earths natural resources, while at the same time exacerbating the level of tension between competitors. In the end, as these two converging paths hurl toward their apex, the end result becomes more and more obvious. Either we stop the destruction, find ways to work together to share and conserve our resources, and consider ourselves to be brothers and sisters of the human race rather than separate and competing interests, or we escalate wars and similar confrontations to reduce the competition until such time as all of the resources are finally extinguished … ultimately ending in the extinction of mankind itself. Neither of these possibilities seem reasonably tenable to me, and so it becomes
1obvious that something must come forward to change this frightfully disastrous course … and today my friends I believe it has!
Thanks to the work of Dr. lubov and others, we now have the Noo-Constitution to be considered, which offers hope for a viable future, and hopefully also provides us with the resources necessary to put it into place.
As Religion and Spirituality play a huge role in the way humanity views their place in the world and their responsibilities relating to it, it is critical to include religious and spiritual perspectives both within the greater dialogue about the problems we face, and in the formulation of the potential solutions to resolve them. Where the glitch enters in this otherwise obvious inclusion, is in recognizing that many of the ideologies which have led us to this critical juncture actually stem from religious ideologies at least in part … That is, most of culture develops around our belief systems much more so than any other factor. And those belief systems in turn lay the foundations for our behavior. Our morals, ethics, and how we perceive the world we live in and our relationship to it are all for the most part, a direct result of either our religious and/or spiritual values or those of our ancestors. For example, if a particular theological tenet of religion X states that as members of religion X, we must each cut down one large tree on the first day of each and every month and burn it to send prayers to the divine, eventually, if that theology takes hold and grows globally, one day we will end up with a planet without any trees and with skies filled with toxic gas. Of course not all religious and spiritual ideologies which have affected our environment and our relationship to our brothers and sisters on this planet, are so clearly identifiable, but I believe its safe to say, that many have still had a profound effect on the end result.
Considering this factor, and the fact that religion and spirituality also provide many positive aspects to our culture, it seems clear that including their voices is not only an important component of our discussion, but perhaps even one of the more important cornerstones to incorporate.
It is also imperative that all religious and spiritual voices be heard and supported by the Noo- Constitution, and not just those that are currently popular or in power. It should be noted with distinction, that in recent years, more and more indigenous voices are finding their way into the conversations regarding our dilemma, precisely because some of their long standing religious or spiritual values which have long been minimized by the mainstream, are proving to be more in line with our survival than some of those we’ve been following.
In my spiritual tradition we have a saying: You can call a tree a bird, but its still a tree … Truth and perception are not the same thing. And what we have before us now is a crisis of separating reality … that is … Truth, from perception! We must as a human race, acknowledge that some of our perceptions need to be changed and that our only hope is in looking at where we are in reality, and where we are headed, and what changes we need to make to end up with a desirable outcome. And this is where the intersection of science and religion can partner for a better future.
As a spiritual person, I must confess that having someone tell me what I should believe or how I should alter my theology is not likely to be well received, and I am not suggesting that we attempt to do that. Instead, what I am suggesting, is that we create inclusive language that invites religious and spiritual voices to fully participate and focus on the problems before us, centering on our similarities and shared values as humans, rather than our differences, so we can feel like we are all working together on the same team.
In considering the possibilities for a framework that could encompass and support all faiths, spiritualities, and scientific disciplines for the purpose of creating a Noo-Constitution which would support both the freedom to pursue faith or spirituality in accordance with one’s conscience or to utilize reason and science as a guiding factor, and at the same time promote the conservation of the earths resources and the honoring of each and every sentient being, I propose a touchstone based on the following model :
In considering the beginning of existence, prior to creation as we know it, most disciplines I propose would agree; that creation itself likely originates from a central initial point, reaction, response, or initiating factor, a point I like to call the luminescent light of beginning. If this concept that many of us might agree holds true, then everything, including all of humanity, is literally made up of the same original stuff. That is, either it’s made up of the stuff of God or Spirit if viewing creation from a spiritual point of view, or of the reactive material that seeded creation as we know it if one chooses a more scientific approach. Coming to such a point of understanding does not require fully understanding the nature of creation, any particular theology, or any particular discipline … only the reality that creation itself has come to be, and that we and everything else within it are an integral intimately connected part of the whole.
If we can just agree on that, we shall then see that we are all intimately connected to one another, no matter what our beliefs, cultures, or race may present to differentiate us. And that even with all of our differences and disagreements, we can still all come together on this most fundamental point that unites us.
This premise neither requires changing one’s beliefs nor solicits agreement as to the validity of another’s beliefs. Rather, it focuses on the one factor that is required if we all want the freedom to be who we are, believe what we choose, be equal to one another, and at the same time remain a part of the human and planetary family. Obviously, accepting this premise does not validate any or all actions that an individual or community might ascribe to or choose to promote, instead, it merely points out a starting point which applies to all of us and against which further conversations, responsibilities, and actions, can be checked.
In reaching this understanding, I note that each and every different point of view can continue to promote its own idea and understanding of the meaning or purpose of creation, and that the framework I propose only gives us common ground to work together from, as we strive for survival of the human race, our planet and all of creation.
The foregoing understanding brings me to three initial components that I believe needs to be inserted into the wording of the Noo-Constitution:
1) All of humanity is family to one another. We have a common ancestor … creation. And each and every one of us carries within us a piece of that sacred event!
2) All of our planet is family to us. Both we and our planet have a common ancestor … creation. And each and every sentient and non sentient manifestation carries within it a piece of that sacred event!
3) All of the universe is family to us. Both ourselves, our planet, and our universe have a common ancestor … creation. And each and every aspect of our combined existence carries within it a piece of the that sacred event!
An additional point I also believe needs to be included in the wording, is the concept that:
Each component of creation is like a piece of a giant puzzle. By itself, it is somewhat meaningless and unfulfilled, but as each piece connects to a kindred match, the whole of it becomes clearer. And it is not until every piece is given its proper place and acknowledged for its contributions to the whole, that the puzzle itself has meaning and is complete.
I firmly believe that as pieces of the puzzle, each of us has a fiduciary duty to every other connection. And that failure to recognize and embrace that responsibility, negates not only our kindred brothers and sisters value … but also our own, and in the end, promotes a broken model with missing parts, with no way to effect repair.
As the Noo-Spheric proposal denotes, we as a global culture, have reached a point where all of humanity and our relationship with each other and our planet, has reached a critical mass. It can no longer be said that we are but insignificant specks on our planet or that our actions here are inconsequential as they may have been in the far distant past. Instead, through ever increasing sheer numbers, advances in science and technology, and our rapidly advancing proximity to one another, our impact on this planet and each other has now crossed that tangential line that has always held the balance of the future in check. In effect, we and all that we know, sit precariously perched on a razors edge. And as that analogy denotes, the slightest movement in the wrong direction can easily tip the scales with disastrous and irreversible results.
And yet in understanding our touchstone and what its revelations imply, there is hope that far outreaches our first glance at its meaning. A meaning that is better conveyed in story rather than conjecture.
One day I was driving through an agricultural region of my country with a friend. As we made our way across the farmland, my friend pointed out a huge tractor equipped with a 50 foot wide series of plowshares. My friend commented how incredible it was that we had invented a devise that could produce so much food at one time by tilling all of those rows simultaneously . As I considered his comment, I realized that at some time in the ancient past, some ancestor somewhere, faced with the inability to feed all of their tribe through primitive means, had imagined and produced a pointed stick to create the first furrows to increase the efficiency of planting. In considering this fact, it hit me profoundly that: Everything necessary to create the tractor working before us, was already present in Creation way back when that ancient relative imagined the stick and its possibilities, and that the only reason that the person in the story invented the stick instead of the tractor was because they had limited their imagination to the simpler devise instead of stretching their imagination to the greater.
In reviewing the whole scenario, I came to the realization that everything necessary to fulfill every need, that the answer to every question, and the tools necessary to overcome every challenge, are already intricately included in the creation itself, and that they … like you and me… are family! In other words, creation itself is whole and complete and nothing is outside of it! And if that is so, our imagination which is also a part of creation has to be whole and complete too. And so, if we can imagine something, it has to be possible, like the tractor was when our ancestor imagined the stick. Think about it? Is there anything that we’ve imagined that we haven’t been able to accomplish once we have stretched our imaginations? In the past, our ancestors imagined overcoming the terrible wasting diseases that devastated their populations, and most of the diseases they faced then have been overcome and conquered. Other ancestors imagined that we would some day fly, and so it is, we now fly daily! And I’d even be willing to 7
bet that most of you, flew to be here! And beyond that, some ancestors even ridiculously imagined that using the power of the quartz crystal, we would be able to communicate across oceans and continents, and now we have the internet! Some even imagined that we might travel beyond our world, and conquer space. Or even more astounding … replicate life itself. And today … so it is!
I could go on and on, but in the end it all neatly plays out as you can see.
And so here we are in this beautiful country of Kazakhstan, and you are some of the best minds of our time, and together we are struggling to create a Noo-Constitution for humanity that will secure the Cultural, Religious and Spiritual rights for all of our global citizens. We seek to find common ground that will allow us to save our species and the planet which gives us sustenance. And the key to our success … my esteemed colleagues, is to stretch our imaginations far enough to address all of the world’s problems in our grand proposition.
And so I say to you, with all my heart and spirit … Let us create a Noo-Constitution based on core principles that we can all sign onto, like those I’ve presented today and those that many of you have shared. Because for centuries at least, and perhaps for millennia, many of our forbearers have imagined world peace and a sustainable home. And if they and we have imagined it, it is absolutely and unquestionably possible. So the real question before us here today, is not whether we will finalize a constitution for humanity and our planet, but rather, Will we imagine a Tractor … or a just a Stick?
The answer my friends depends on what we do with the work before us here today. And the fate of the world, and all that we hold dear … is at least in part, up to you!