Sunday, November 13, 2016

A time for hope . . . ?

This week I heard an uplifting talk by the American evolutionary biologist, Elisabet Sahtouris.
Along with other wise advice, she recommended that we should abandon our long-held preference for pyramids.  We must move on, she told us, to the wisdom and maturity of the circle.

Her comment set me pondering . . .

It's true, we live in a world of pyramids.  There are national pyramids, political pyramids, religious and corporate pyramids . . .  I'm sure you can think of many others.  Pyramids that compete with each other, pyramids that, on occasions, go to war against each other.

Within each pyramid there's the leader holding his own at the top of the pile, the supporters below keeping him in position, and those at the bottom maintaining the stability of the structure.  You'll note that I say 'his' and 'him, the pyramid is essentially a masculine concept.

The leader's position is always precarious.
Those just below him may be his supporters, they may also be wishing to usurp him.
His attention is focussed on retaining his position, which means that he's largely out of touch with the workers who form the base.
He's privileged, obeyed . . . but isolated.

For those on the way up the situation is different, they can have dreams .  . . they can aspire to reaching the top.  At the same time, they, too, rely on those below them to ensure their stability and safety.

But what about those at the bottom?  They have little to aspire to.  Looking upwards all they can see is the rear view of those above.
Yet it's on their strength, and their willingness to co-operate, that the stability and permanence of the pyramid depends.  Should they pull away, the whole edifice tumbles.

Isn't this what's happened both in the UK Referendum and the US Presidential Election?

The pyramids had grown top-heavy, those at the top were out of touch with the base, whilst those in the middle were doing well out of self-serving alliances, thereby distorting the structure and making it harder for those below.

Understandably exhausted by the weight and the lack of reward, those at the bottom finally rebelled.

As Elisabet Sahtouris pointed out, whilst civilisations are young and growing, the pyramid structure encourages expansion and enterprise.  However, with age it becomes top-heavy, unwieldy and out of touch with its components.

The circle, a feminine concept, is devoid of the competitive factor.  There's no high point to aspire to, no-one is carrying a burdensome weight.  Each person is individual, but equal . . . each voice is heard.  Those in the circle communicate whilst looking at each others' faces, not at the back of their legs.  Whilst pyramids are sharp-sided, circles blend.  Pressures and tensions are borne equally and contributions are shared on a communal basis.  With competition no longer rampant there is a calming down of the energy, a collaboration of effort, a lifting of pressure.

All of which makes sense.
But what if we added another simile to this story?

Nature, as we know, is constantly evolving.
What if we looked upon the pyramid as the caterpillar stage of man's evolution?  What if the move from pyramid to circle was also a move from all-consuming caterpillar to self-supportive larvae?

And what if, in the not too distant future, a resplendent butterfly was waiting to emerge . . . ?

It's impossible at a time of transition to see what lies ahead.
But, as the pyramids crumble and the circles start forming, could this, perhaps, be a time for hope . . . ?