When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers,
any more than you read words when reading books. You will be reading meanings. ~ W.E.B. DuBois
Interdependence is a fact not an opinion. ~ Peter Coyote
Ground: up until now, immediate and local threats like a bear at the door of the cave, separation
Light: from now on, gradual and large-scale threats like the disappearing rainforest, interdependence
This week I picked up a book I read 30 years ago when it first came out. New World New Mind is by Robert Ornstein and Paul Erlich. The authors’ premise is that, biologically, our brains are wired to handle immediate and local threats; that it’s much more difficult for us to see and entertain, let alone handle, gradual and large-scale threats. They continue with how, given that biological evolution takes time we don’t have, we need to “…take our own evolution into our hands and create a new evolutionary process, a process of conscious evolution.”
After I put the book down, I scrolled through my news feed. Recently I have noticed a shift from reporting primarily immediate and local threats like to now including many more reports of gradual and large-scale threats like fires in the Amazon rainforest and glaciers melting in Greenland. And with the articles I read, what caught my attention was the enormity of the numbers.
Globally, according to the World Wildlife Fund, the rainforest are being destroyed at a rate of 27 soccer fields per minute. Doing a bit of calculating of 27 x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 365 days = 13,802,400 soccer fields a year. A soccer field occupies about 2.5 acres x 13,802,400 soccer fields = 34,506,000 acres a year. And these statistics come from before the current escalation in Brazil.
During this summer alone, with the accelerating melt with the heatwave, Greenland is expected to lose 440 trillion tons of ice according to Time magazine. That’s 440,000,000,000 tons. Take that times 2000 lbs in a US ton and the number jumps by three more zeros to 880 quadrillion lbs. I then calculated how many 5 lb bags of ice that is. You know, the kind we buy to put in a portable cooler? It comes to about 137,000,000,000,000 (137 quadrillion) bags of ice.
I cannot begin to fathom the meaning of these numbers. And as for accuracy, different sources give differing numbers. But, of course. Who really knows the actual numbers? What matters more in these examples is the ginormous magnitude, the direction of the wind, and the potential implications.
Everything about the viability of our current paradigm is being called into question. Granted, we are in a moment when the local and immediate threat of poor leadership by some who have global impact can and does easily capture our attention. After all, that’s how we are biologically wired. Yet, gradual, large-scale threats continue to grow – and they are not so gradual anymore. The frequency and intensity is accelerating. Thus, we are being challenged – and called – to step into new ways of imagining, comprehending, and responding to our world today and tomorrow.
As we see with the fires in the Amazon rainforest, the usefulness and value of nation states is called into question. Is it okay for one nation to ‘own’ and destroy a resource that is essential to all life on earth? This is a very important question and one that moves our collective conversation into entirely new territory, so to speak. A gift of our time is that we are being challenged to entertain and grasp unfathomable numbers in more and more situations. Unfolding circumstances within our whole Earth system are compelling us, pushing us, and aiding us in consciously evolving our brains. This is a hopeful message full of potential and possibility. After all, as has been said all the way back to Plato in the Republic, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
About the Stones
This necklace is part of the Infinite BlessSings collection and is associated with the star, Sirius. Associated with Consciousness, ‘Sirius’ means flaming or glowing. It is the brightest star in the night sky in both the northern and southern hemispheres. It is 8 light years or about 50,000,000,000,000 (50 trillion) miles from Earth. The special stones in this necklace are green garnet, pink chalcedony, and kunzite. Green garnet is related to manifesting abundance and prosperity. Pink chalcedony is associated with inner calm and centeredness. Kunzite is about having a high capacity for wisdom and understanding. Together, the stones are a complement that expresses focus, letting go of the old, holding strong beliefs and ideals, and having deep personal integrity.