Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time to wake up?

What can I do to persuade you to read the book I've just finished?

Now that you're in the middle of writing your own book (something I strongly support) it's odd, if not perverse, to urge you to stop writing and start reading. But, believe me, this book is different. Not only is it different, it is vitally important.
How can I convince you?

The other week we were talking about climate change. At other times we've talked about personal development . . . spiritual development . . . the unity of all life. We've talked about the pressures of daily living, and the disconcerting way in which the world seems to be spinning out of control. Whilst embracing all those topics, this book is, by extension, bigger than any of them. It's the whole picture in relation to life on earth - and earth before life as we know it.

Written by the scientist, Peter Russell, it's called 'Waking Up in Time'.
Let me whet your appetite with one of his opening contentions.

He asks us to envisage the evolution of the Earth as a year-long cinema epic. Seen in that time-scale, it isn’t until May that we glimpse the first emergence of the plant kingdom. Fish would appear in November, dinosaurs in December, and it would be just before Christmas that the dinosaurs would die out. Our early, ape-like ancestors would make their debut on New Year’s Eve, whilst human beings would delay their appearance until a quarter to midnight. That’s how long we’ve been here!

Now that man has arrived, just watch his progress in those final fifteen minutes! Human language doesn’t occur until the final five minutes, in the last minute farming begins, the first civilisations come thirty seconds later. Buddha achieves enlightenment seventeen seconds before the end, and Christ is born three seconds after that. The Renaissance, two World Wars and the Industrial Revolution rush past in four seconds. The world of the Internet is no more than a flash.

Now do you get this sense of how everything is moving faster and faster? How, with ever speedier, more innovative technology, the twenty-first century is rushing headlong towards . . . what?

Peter Russell charts this speeding up process which, as he sees it, is caused by the ever-increasing development of man’s mind, his acquisitive nature, and his manual dexterity. He charts the growth in population worldwide, the fact that today each one of us consumes, believe it or not, up to a thousand times as much of the world’s resources as a person living before the Industrial Revolution. Citing the rapid scientific developments in the past twenty years, he says (and who could disagree?) that no-one can possibly anticipate where this rapid acceleration will end, nor what the next ten years will produce.

But, take heart! Despite climate change, an exploding population, and our seemingly lemming-like charge to the cliff’s edge, this isn’t a scare story. It offers guidance and hope, has faith in the future, and is based on age-old spiritual truths. More than anything, as the title indicates, it's a wake-up call - a call for another evolution in the development of man, a major shift in consciousness if we are to survive.

Near the end of the book, Peter Russell quotes Teilhard de Chardin. I'd like to share the quotation with you.
“The day will come," he writes, "when, after harnessing the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of Love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."

I was left feeling strangely invigorated. I also felt humbled. Humbled by the responsibility of being a 'human doing' here on earth who must, as soon as I possibly can, learn what it is to be a 'human being'.

Now . . . I've only given you a flavour of this outstanding book.
May I offer you a copy . . . ?