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Living On the Precipice: The Dawn of a New Age


by Daniel Amyx, 1989

The Sultan and His Son

The Sultan was residing in his palace in Baghdad, when his favorite son came running in from the garden. He begged his father for the fastest horse from the stable so he could ride to Damascus. “I was in the garden just now”, the boy said, “when Death appeared and stalked me. I must flee to Damascus.” The Sultan gave his son the horse. After the boy had left, the Sultan went into the garden. There he found Death still loitering. The Sultan confronted Death, saying “How dare you threaten my son?” “My lord I didn’t mean to threaten him”, Death replied, “I was startled to find him here in Baghdad because I have an appointment with him in Damascus”.

Moral: Fleeing from impending crisis may only compound the difficulties.

Our planet is going through some of history’s most dangerous changes. Here we are, living in probably the most interesting of social periods. The environment, economy, social structure and our spiritual well-being are in a state of flux. It is up to us, as a planet, but more importantly as individuals, to play a positive role in the future development of this our home.

This IS a dangerous time. Here we determine our extinction or our survival as a species. Every small, seemingly insignificant action of each of us points the direction we are to go.

A Historical Perspective on the Dawning of a New Age

To help us better understand our current place in time we should know our past. Let us first look back at the major events of our social heritage. Events that signal the changes in an age or era, will help us more fully know the signals of this change to come.

resistance too, to the move from pastoral to agricultural

The end of the nomadic or pastoral age, where man hunted, herded or gathered his food, was also the beginning of the agricultural age. This transition from hunters and herders to tillers of the soil and animal husbandry was one of conflict. The hunters were more aggressive and fought hard to maintain their way of life. Herding helped buffer this transition, yet for a long time it was considered menial work to till the soil. This work was delegated to the women until they developed it to a sufficiently high level. At this point of success and authority, men took over and re-delegated women to the menial tasks of the house-hold. This allowed men to maintain their positions of power and authority.

As men became more involved, agriculture became more entrenched in daily life. The friction between the old and the new eras diminished. (Keep in mind that evolutionary changes may sometimes be localized and not global. There are still some places on this planet where people gather and hunt for food.)

the fight for Christianity ensues

The next major change to occur was Christianity, the religion of Joshua ben Joseph, known to most of us as Jesus. This was a religion for the poor, a new revelation of God to the down hearted and oppressed. This religion however never promised release from oppression but certainly provided relief. This new age did not come without its pressures and battles. It sounded the death knell for pagan mysticism, brought about a greater unification of peoples under a one-god religion and put great pressure on the patriarchy of Judaism

then comes the Renaissance – and the Inquisitions

After the traumas of assimilation of Christianity had receded (the dark ages), the next great change began to occur: the Renaissance. This was a time of the new “thinking man”. The science of Newton, the philosophy of Descartes and the inventions of DaVinci were but the early twinges of the birth of the Industrial age. The great thinkers of this time were at odds with the “blind (often un-thinking) faith” of the church. Resistant to change, those entrenched in the hierarchy of the church fought to maintain their power, and despite the rigors of the inquisitions, inevitably lost to the powerful evolutionary forces of a developing society.

leading naturally to the Industrial Age and Civil War

The fruits of the Renaissance began to ripen in the late 1600’s. A new continent had been discovered and was being created from the highest social, political and economic concepts of that time. The best of European society was being exported to the new continent of the Americas. The industrial age would soon be at odds with agriculture. Conflicts arose as the new colonies attempted to separate themselves from their aging agricultural parent. The American Revolution was a painful death for British Mercantilism and birthed a new country interested in the “free trade” of their products. These colonists were creating their own future, ad lib, with no script from past actors. Such is the way of evolution in the development of new concepts of life, new paradigms.

The Civil War or War Between The States was also part and parcel of this shift from an agricultural economy to the industrial age of free trade. The North was highly industrialized while the south was agricultural.

In a positive view, industrialism has touched every aspect of our lives. Its cheap non-renewable energy sources have developed the world economy, providing transportation, electricity and communication. Its educational policies have shaped young minds to be time conscious, to obey without question and to develop uniformity at the expense of individuality so that each person will neatly fit into the assembly line. Its mass production gave us modern medicines, automobiles, televisions and increased food supplies.

On the negative side, the effects of industrialism can be felt globally. Our air, water and soil are polluted with hundreds, maybe thousands of chemicals that are known to cause cancer and other deteriorating effects on the human body. Medicine has failed to prevent any diseases and merely acts to cover the symptoms of illness. The idea is that if you feel better then you are cured. Crime is becoming more and more serious as our political leaders are crippled by PACs and indecision, and population grows to the point of life losing its value. Drug abuse and suicide increase as people, without the skills to cope with the pressures of a run-away society, escape the best way they know how. And all of this will get worse before it gets better.

now declining, an old paradigm dies

The age of industrialism and assembly-line science has peaked and is now in decline. All our heavy industry is being taken over by countries, just now leaving the agricultural age. We are becoming decentralized, specialized and diversified; and things are moving fast. In using historical perspectives we can see that this transition is evolutionary. When a caterpillar has evolved to its maximum caterpillarness, it reaches a critical mass where-in it must evolve into a new creature or it will perish. So too, must our society evolve. Every social mechanism, including industrialism, eventually becomes outmoded and must be replaced by a new model more suited to the task.

This maintenance and development of worldwide civilization in this new era will be dependent on human beings, of diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, learning how to live together in fraternal peace. “Without effective coordination, industrial civilization is jeopardized by the dangers of ultraspecialization, monotony, narrowness and the tendency to breed distrust and jealousy.”(1)

Some of the events attending this paradigm shift include complicated changes in ecology, further destruction of the ozone layer, pollutants making our environment more hazardous to our health, shifts from state to global economic interdependence coinciding with decentralization of market economies, ultraspecialization of job functions and an increase in wars and skirmishes. “Some 22 wars have been raging in the eighties, more than in any previous decade in recorded military history. And some 120 armed conflicts in the third world alone since 1945.”(2)

Satanism is on the rise as are other cults, both Pagan and Christian.

There are many more apparently negative and disheartening events occurring at this time. To a fatalist it might appear as if the world were ending. And in a sense it is, at least in terms of the past paradigm.

“Mechanical inventions and the dissemination of knowledge are modifying civilization; certain economic adjustments and social changes are imperative if cultural disaster is to be avoided. This new and oncoming social order will not settle down complacently for a millennium.”(3)

a new age is birthed

Turning our gaze to the more positive side, we can see what changes are growing from the compost of industrial materialism.

Politics, power and economics are being decentralized. This places more power and responsibility in the hands of smaller, more efficient local groups. Examples of this abound. There is an increase in special interest groups, political action groups and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). Grassroots organizations for the environment, feminist political power and consumer groups are growing faster than ever before.

Individuals and society are beginning to take more responsibility. There is a heightened moral pressure on our corporate and political leaders; payoffs and adultery are not swept under the rug as they were 20-30 years ago. Compare the media handling of John F. Kennedy’s many affairs with the way presidential candidate Gary Hart was dealt with. (and in the 90’s, the controversy that has surrounded President Clinton’s affairs.)

More and more countries are becoming aware of the cost of environmental degradation and are passing legislation to slow or stop the destruction. Europe and the United States lead in this area, thus setting an example for newly industrialized countries.

The spread of information now happens at break-neck speed because of the use of computers, telephones and facsimile machines. The Berlin Wall came down partially because protesters communicated by fax. (And since then, the Internet pushed the Iron Curtain open and is forcing China to integrate itself more with the western world.)

Corporations are beginning to feel the pressure and are taking more responsibility for their environment. (At this time many are only providing lip service, but this will inevitably turn to action.) They are providing day care, cleaning their waste water, supporting the arts and fostering the inner growth of their workers. Knowing full well that these changes will benefit the corporation in the end.

the old makes room for the new…

If you look in the right direction you can see the rising sun of a new age. In crisis there is opportunity, and that is where we, as individuals, can help push the change in the right direction. The society is in the middle ground; one side is desperately trying to hang on to what they know, the old paradigm of the past; the other side is forging ahead to create the future. These “futurists” are actively seeking and working with new ideas and concepts for this, as yet, uncreated future. We must take part in the creation of this new societal order. To do this, each of us must function at the highest levels of our concepts of truth, goodness and beauty. Ever vigilant against the downward pull of the receding age.

Of course we can expect stress and confrontations, both individually and globally. More likely than not, things will get worse before they get better. Mental illness will likely increase as will suicide and drug abuse because many will tend to cling to this outmoded reality. Marriages will suffer as the role models of the past crumble. Men and women will have to create new relationships based on equality not patriarchy.

But the old order must die for the new one to grow. Much as the fallen leaves of winter become the new growth of spring. We must use this middle ground, this time of confusion and opportunity, to bring a new civilization, of empowerment, responsibility, and fraternity, into being. “At first life was a struggle for existence; now, for a standard of living; next it will be for quality of thinking; the earthly goal of human existence.” (4)

This is a period of change. It need not be a time of destruction; but instead a time of creation. It is up to us. We must be the teachers of this new era, and foster the highest good, not only in ourselves but in those we meet. It is in our thoughts and actions that the map is drawn for the direction we will go. And as we go, as we create the future, others will be affected and will follow in our path. One by one, person by person, the society will be transformed. It is in our collectiveness that we push forward toward the dawn of a new civilization.

Daniel Amyx is 44 yrs old, married to a woman he met in Russia two years ago while studying Russian Language at Moscow State Univ. They have two boys: Justin and Kirill. A member of MENSA and a lifetime member in the International Jugglers Assn. Daniel is a Licensed Optician in Florida with a BA in Psychology and a BA in International Studies.

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