The following is an excerpt from a talk given by Stan Grof in January 2005 at the Tomales Bay Institute in Point Reyes Station, CA
THE CURRENT GLOBAL CRISIS
Humanity as a whole possesses enormous resources in the form of financial means, technological know-how, manpower and womanpower. Modern science has developed effective means that could solve most urgent problems in today’s world – combat the majority of diseases, eliminate hunger and poverty, reduce the amount of industrial waste, and replace destructive fossil fuels by renewable sources of clean energy. The problems that stand in the way are not economic or technological in nature; their deepest sources lie inside the human personality.
Because of these human problems, unimaginable resources have been wasted in the absurdity of the arms race, power struggle, and pursuit of ‘unlimited growth’. They also prevent a more appropriate distribution of wealth among individuals and nations, as well as a reorientation from purely economic and political concerns to ecological priorities that are critical for survival of life on this planet. Diplomatic negotiations, administrative and legal measures, economic and social sanctions, military interventions, and other similar efforts have had very little success; as a matter of fact, they have often produced more problems than they solved. It is becoming increasingly clear why they had to fail. The strategies used to alleviate this crisis are rooted in the same ideology that created it in the first place. In the last analysis, the current global crisis is a psychospiritual crisis; it reflects the level of consciousness evolution of the human species. It is, therefore, hard to imagine that it could be resolved without a radical inner transformation of humanity on a large scale and its rise to a higher level of emotional maturity and spiritual awareness.
The task of imbuing humanity with an entirely different set of values and goals might appear to us unrealistic and utopian to offer any real hope. Considering the paramount role of violence and greed in human history, the possibility of transforming modern humanity into a species of individuals capable of peaceful coexistence with their fellow men and women, regardless of race, color, and religious or political conviction, certainly does not seem very plausible. We are facing the necessity of instilling humanity with profound ethical values, sensitivity to the needs of others (including other species), acceptance of voluntary simplicity, and a sharp awareness of ecological imperatives.
At first glance, such a task appears too fantastic even for a science-fiction movie. We seem to be involved in a dramatic race in time that has no precedent in the entire history of humanity. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of life on this planet. If we continue the old strategies, which in their consequences are clearly extremely self-destructive, it is unlikely that the human species will survive. However, if a sufficient number of people undergo a process of deep inner transformation, we might reach a stage and level of consciousness evolution at which we will deserve the proud name we have given to our species: homo sapiens.