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Updated: Oct 9, 2023

With less than a decade to minimize the most catastrophic effects of the climate change and the 6th mass extinction that humans have set in motion; we continue to invest little in collaborating and innovating to improve our situation. Instead, global competition, social unrest and conflict dominate our focus as a species. Now the good news...

We are also the solution.

To understand why we're at the brink of total systems collapse (again), we must first understand how we got here. Within this wisdom lies a practical path through (and out) of this pattern, altogether. All this to say: There is reason to remain hopeful about our future.

How did we mess things up so fast?

Random neocortical mutations ~100K years ago vastly expanded our cognitive powers. Overnight, we began to collaborate and innovate based on creative imagination.*

1. Collaboration: While all the other homo species negotiated social structures based on mutual grooming and extended family units, homo sapiens began to collaborate based on shared beliefs, like a reverence for the eagle spirit. This allowed us to organize by the thousands, using our superior social organization skills to wipe out our nearest relatives in short order. *

2. Innovation: These same mutations allowed us to innovate creatively. Not only did we identify with the eagle spirit, we also started asking what it might take to fly like the eagle. In 1903 a bike mechanic and his bird enthusiast brother took flight. * Individual Imbalance

Unfortunately, the fear of the other and the scarcity instincts of our mammalian and reptilian brains did not evolve to match our increased primate capacities to collaborate and innovate.*

Systemic Inequity

As a result, while our efforts to collaborate and innovate have led to global social structures and unprecedented control over the planet's resources; the unconscious bias toward the other in our limbic system and the fear of environmental threat baked into our endocrine system has made these organizations and technologies deeply hierarchical, exploitative and destructive.*

Fragile Infrastructure

In fact, enough stress will take our entire neocortex offline, which results in structural dissociation. When it comes back online, we codify our unconscious fear and bias into discriminatory cultural, political, religious and economic structures that allows oppression, exploitation and maltreatment to go viral. All we had to do is freak people out and then tell them who's an "us" and who's a "them." This is when we really started to mess things up at scale. This is also why large swaths of people are freaked out about truly inconsequential issues, but remain unswayed by what's really putting us in danger, like climate change. *

A Systemic Tipping Point

Today, nationalism and capitalism determine the wellbeing of almost everyone on earth. With so few wild spaces remaining, cultivating a relationship with the natural world is impossible for many. With monotheistic religion dictating God's will, a spiritual ecosystem dominated by "masters" and "gurus;" and, a large swath of society dismissing anything not yet measurable with their scientific tools; building your own relationship to the spiritual realm can be challenging, too. This makes us super ungrounded in our own truth. That level of disempowerment is perfect for perpetuating fear-based systems of control, keeping us in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze, which means we're in no place to collaborate and innovate to solve challenging problems.

Manifesting Our Destiny

The brain structure that latches on to the validity of kings and queens, genius CEO's, free markets, a specific dogma, and/or dogmatic atheism is called the 'Default Mode Network.' Also called the "ego," this system incorporates inputs from our reptilian, mammalian and neocortical brains, forming an operating system that rationalizes our behavior after the fact. As primates, social rejection is the greatest risk to our survival, especially when we're young. Thus, internalizing these stories (no matter how ridiculous) is critical to our survival. As a result, the Central Nervous System (which is inextricably interwoven with our immune system and threat system) operates as if our social constructions are absolute truths.*

Making Ourselves Sick

This means that living in a fear based society makes you sick, not only with anxiety and depression, but chronic pain, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, stroke, addiction and suicide.* Depression is currently the leading cause of disability and biggest drain on productivity, worldwide.* The direct, causal relationship between income inequality and 200+ health outcomes has reached a tipping point and global longevity is beginning to decline based on diseases of chronic despair.* Said succinctly, fear-based social structures that disconnect us from our bodies, each other and the planet continue to march us toward the cliff.

Case Studies in Healthy Ecosystems

Conversely, when individuals are part of social systems where humans are valued, included and connected to themselves, each other, the land and the spiritual realm, we live longer, healthier lives. Blue Zones provide examples of how local systems can make us healthy, if we are living in alignment with our primal wiring; namely, to work with close knit social systems of extended family and friends.* In fact, social bonds are so critical to our physical health, they are the greatest predictor of how long we'll live.* This is why even those supposedly "benefitting" from our deeply unequal systems are not the healthiest. The division inherent in deep inequality and the inauthenticity of relationships built on economic force, versus genuine connection are synthetic substitutes for the real thing. The body knows it and suffers accordingly.

The Emperors Have no Clothes

Both in the United States and around the world, division has reached fever pitch and Imperialist power plays threaten deeply fragile Democracies, including our own.

The Empire Doesn't Care

In the private sector they're challenging each other to cage matches (fight); launching penis shaped rockets into space (flight); and, inviting us to the Metaverse to simply ignore the mess we've made of our bodies and the planet (freeze).

So what do we do?

Step 1: Heal Yourself

Step 2: From your prosocial state, collaborate and innovate with others to uncover wisdom from the planet and universe to restore individual, social and ecological health

Step 3: Scale apocalypse reversal via Radical Collaboration

*If you have the immense privilege to do this safely

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