By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
(Speech originally delivered at the New Humanity Movement event, 13 April 2014).
A cosmic explosion of incredible proportions gave birth to this Universe… Hundreds of billions of years later, a star was formed in the outer reaches of the Milky Way, bringing Light to a Solar System just being born…
A small planet within this system, life emerged, evolving over hundreds of billions of years, until some left the forests, wondered the savannah, and during their evolution became more aware of their surroundings and started to wonder about their creation, where they were from, were inspired to draw, speak, write, settle and began to build the first small villages and towns.
Was this an entirely natural process of evolution, or was there some agency that speeded the process up, giving us a helping hand along the way? We can’t be entirely sure… But even some evolutionists themselves question, how Humans have been evolving so fast, and how our brain capacities increased as rapidly as they did, on an evolutionary time-scale? While they will still maintain of course that this is what happened, it’s interesting to note even they question these particular points…
Those of us who’ve researched our ancient past, what historians refer to as “prehistory” question these points ever further, for even if we did evolve according to the standard evolutionary narrative, it seems our civilisation did not. Many ancient civilisations appear to have emerged fully formed, already with high degrees of sophistication, writing, mathematics, geometry, tool making, all at levels unexpected at the times they emerged. A fact that has only in recent decades started to become ever more apparent.
We are accustomed to being taught our ancestors thousands of years ago were primitives, yet somehow they managed to build some of the world’s greatest monuments, with a degree of precision unmatched, in some cases, even by us today! How can this be?
Our highly sophisticated advanced civilisation can’t even replicate the pyramids at Giza, and they’re but one example; and this even with our highly advanced modern technologies, mostly all developed within only the past few centuries… and here I’m being generous, many of our technologies have only matured within a matter of decades!
Something about this picture doesn’t quite fit…
My interest in this began with my own spiritual quest… Dissatisfied with conventional narratives, I was searching for answers. This lead many years ago to my conversion to Islam and an ongoing study of sacred texts and mythologies from a variety of spiritual traditions, which in turn lead me to research other subjects including history, philosophy, and I’ve always had a deep interest in the sciences.
In the process, I began to discover much of what we’re taught is at the very least, inaccurate, and in some cases, plain wrong. I’m not a conspiracy theorist either, although that is another area I had an interest in for a while… Nor do I routinely discount every aspect of such theories, as they often do touch on some important facts. Overall, I just consider them to generally hamper, rather than aid the search for truth.
One of the most fascinating scriptures I discovered, is the Sumerian Epic of Atrahasis… In the translation I have by Stephanie Dalley, I read with interest:
“The Annunaki of the sky made the Igigi bear the workload. The gods had to dig out canals, had to clear channels, the lifelines of the land.”
“For 3,600 years they bore the excess, hard work, night and day. They groaned and blamed each other, grumbled over the masses of excavated soil:”
“Belet-ili the womb goddess is present – Let her create a mortal man so that he may bear the yoke… So that he may bear the yoke, the work of Ellil, let man bear the load of the gods!”
Not in one of Zecharia Sitchin’s books either, but a translation published by Oxford University Press!
The Sumerians are a fascinating civilisation for so many reasons, not least their advanced knowledge of the arts and sciences, their awareness of astronomical facts we’ve only recently discovered. The ancient Sumerian and Egyptian civilisations are among the oldest we currently know of. Research in other parts of the world indicates they were not alone. Michael Tellinger’s ground breaking research in South Africa indicates their roots may in fact lie in that region, many millennia earlier.
In recent decades, Erich von Däniken, Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, and many other courageous souls have been travelling around the world to ancient sites, asking questions, making new discoveries and bringing these to Light. While the ideas they discuss in their search naturally vary, we cannot underestimate the importance of the work they do, and their courage challenging established paradigms.
While some accuse them of being unscientific; this is actually the way science works, constantly questioning conventional narratives, collecting evidence and suggesting new hypotheses. How else will we learn and make progress?
Dogmatism is one of the worst mistakes Humans make, getting stuck in stagnant modes of thought… Too often it has stood in the way of our natural progress and authentic spiritual development. We must learn to forever banish it to the trash-can of history, never again to permit it’s fear chains to bind us in dark ages. We are shining stars of inspiration, we must allow ourselves to shine.
Over the many millennia we’ve lived on this planet, Humans have founded and developed many civilisations, each with their own unique beauty and cultural flavour; developing new languages, philosophies, mythologies, religions, and eventually our understanding of ethics, sciences, representational governance etc. Often times civilisations clashed, wars were fought over access to resources, and sometimes in the name of ideologies. I could mention so many examples, but ultimately it’s the same pattern, spiralling throughout time.
Aside from their differences, there are many similarities between all Human civilisations, how they started, developed and fell. Some aspects are different due to time and place, but the same pattern has ruled them all. The Greeks followed the Egyptians, the Romans followed the Greeks, the Christian and Muslim empires followed the Romans; and this just in Europe! All started small, built cities, conquered neighbours, expanded into vast empires, then declined… eventually being conquered themselves or absorbed into neighbouring powers.
Whole theses could be developed on this subject alone… But we don’t have time to discuss that here today… My main observation being that civilisations have followed a general pattern of beginning, expansion, and decline. Something of great relevance today, as Global civilisation emerges from dissolving of national borders and the gradual merging of all nations in our present time.
No precedence, that we know of, prepares us for this turning point in our history, an important transition in the collective development of our species. No longer are we from this nation or that nation, looking on others of our species as “alien”…
Today we travel the world, making connections, doing business, and building relationships in person or online with fellow members of our Human Family from all parts of the Earth. We are becoming more conscious that what happens in one place, affects people everywhere. We are not alone… We are not isolated… Only through building bridges of Love and Understanding can we ensure the well-being of everyone in our Human Family.
Love is the only Way. Love is Creation!
With Love and Understanding, we have the tremendous opportunity to build a new paradigm, one that banishes forever the wars of the past to the history books. But we must act now, this is not merely an impractical dream… Rather, this approach is the most pragmatic solution for the challenges we collectively face.
After every conflict, the survivors must eventually sit around a table and resolve their differences. So why not beforehand? During war, nations pull out all the stops in their efforts to gain a victory, that like all victories of this kind, will eventually be revealed to be nothing more than a transitory illusion. For millennia, powerful nations subdued their neighbours, only to find themselves conquered in turn. Where does that ultimately get us? Other than nowhere…
Why don’t Humans pull out all the stops to establish a peaceful, harmonious civilisation that will lead to us living a prosperous, enjoyable quality of Life, unmatched in history? Indeed, what could be more pragmatic than that?
Our future must surely reside in building bridges of Love and Understanding with brothers and sisters in our Human Family from all over the World. Shifting from national paradigms, to a Human one with Universal aspirations.
The seeds sown by the Ancients, when they first established themselves on Earth have grown, and are finally beginning to fruit. Now is the time we must come together and build a future where our dreams will finally be realised. A future built on mutual Love, Respect and Understanding.
Many will consider this easier said than done, and they are right. One of the biggest obstacles we must transcend is our ego. No, I don’t just mean people with big egos! We all have that sense of self, which is no bad thing when within healthy parameters. Indeed, this aspect of our nature is part of what makes us Human. Nevertheless, desire is the root of those feelings that cause us to fall into a state of fear for personal or group survival, and can cause us to return to an unhealthy reptilian approach towards our existence.
Throughout history, our Human Family tried many ways to overcome desire or to reduce it to a more manageable level in order to achieve a sense of Equality, Brotherhood and Social Justice.
Revolutions of many kinds, in support of many ideologies have come and gone. Each claiming to have the answer to this challenge, but all failed because a state of harmony can only be achieved through fully aligning the desire to receive with the desire to give. Hence, why the importance of charity, sacrifice and serving are emphasised in many spiritual paths.
By nature, all living creatures have an altruistic aspect along with egoistic elements. Two apparently contradictory opposites; altruism and egoism, giving and receiving, exist in all manifestations, lifeforms, phenomena, and natural processes. On every level of existence, you will always find two forces, not just one. Balance is achieved through the combination of opposite forces, ensuring harmonious coexistence.
Consider for instance electrons and protons in atoms; negative and positive charges, rejecting and attracting in equal measure, acidity and alkalinity, or male and female. Every aspect of our existential reality is related to systems supporting it, and in turn those systems have a relationship with the ones supporting them. On every level, relationships consist of harmonious giving and receiving.
The Cosmos exists in such a way as to allow us to develop towards a state of perfection, to a condition of unlimited bliss. This is why we have this desire to enjoy. Correctly tuned, it actually facilitates our development. We do not need to destroy desire, merely to retune it, alter the way we use our desires to enjoy; shifting from a desire to receive, to a desire to give.
Desire is still the powerhouse that will drive this stage in our evolution, but in a form that benefits us all, rather than just one’s self. Besides, we cannot escape desire, it’s part of who we are, and therefore impossible to truly overcome or restrain indefinitely. As anyone who’s tried knows, this is ultimately impossible; desire is a fundamental aspect of the nature of our existence.
Our present condition may make us wonder if the Cosmos really is geared up to our enjoyment and peaceful future. However, this has more to do with our perceptions, and the fact that even after millions of years of Human evolution, we’re still at an early stage in our development. The famous Kabbalist, Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag explains this in one of his essays, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”.
“From all of Nature’s systems, presented before us, we understand that in any being of the four types—still, vegetative, animate, and speaking, both as a whole and in particular, we find a purposeful guidance, meaning a slow and gradual growth by way of cause and effect.
This is similar to a fruit on a tree, guided to a favourable purpose of finally becoming a sweet and fine-looking fruit. And go and ask a botanist, how many phases the fruit undergoes from the time it becomes visible until it is completely ripe.
Not only do its preceding phases show no evidence of its sweet and fine-looking end, but as if to vex, they show the opposite of the final shape: the sweeter the fruit is at its end, the more bitter it is in the earlier phases of its development.”
In truth, perfection will not be seen in any organism before it reaches its ultimate form. As in the Sufi parable about a caterpillar that is told one day it will be a beautiful butterfly. “Show me now,” says the caterpillar, “while I am crawling up this tree”.
Our present condition is not the complete and perfected one. Hence, it’s no surprise we at times feel negative. Nevertheless, like the fruit on the tree, we don’t need to destroy any part of ourselves; that which is unnecessary wasn’t there to begin with!
Desire is a wonderful aspect of our nature, which brought us here, and thanks to it, will take us into the future, enabling us to reach perfection both in it’s individual and collective aspects. Desire drives us, enabling our development. Without which we would not even have developed any form of civilisation, and would not have differentiated significantly from other animals.
Somewhat ironically, it’s thanks to desire, we are now beginning to realise we are not willing to settle for familiar pleasures and illusory material satisfaction. We increasingly desire that which lies beyond…
The root of our ongoing quest to build a peaceful harmonious global civilisation, one that finally transcends the flaws of past attempts, resides within us, each one of us. We should seek the wisest ways to use our desire to develop true bonds of friendship with people of all backgrounds. The way to do this is to retune our desire. To seek the pleasure of giving and serving, rather than just seeking to benefit ourselves.
We do not need to suppress our natural egoistic drives. On the contrary, we must acknowledge their existence, wisely retuning and working with them to reach perfection.
As we evolve, we must learn to combine all the inclinations and aspects of our nature harmoniously, and harness them to our collective goals and mutual well-being. When we learn to channel our natural inclinations in a positive and beneficial direction, we will attain balance with the Cosmos, allowing us to build that future we all desire; built on mutual Love, Respect and Understanding, where our dreams will finally be realised.