The environmental issue of global warming is proving to be a
great moral crisis of our time, argues Bill McKibben, author of
The End of Nature and Long Distance. Overindustrialization,
increasing vehicular traffic and other human influences on the
environment are wreaking havoc on our planet and the air we breathe.
Writing in the news magazine In These Times, Mckibben paints
a gloomy picture of things to come:
[All this doom and gloom has yet to be proven, but then the doomsayers have
been trying to scare us for the last few centuries. If all else proves wrong,
there's always Armageddon. -Estela Carson of BN]
In temperate latitudes, climate change will creep up on us.
Severe storms already have grown more frequent and more damaging.
The progression of seasons is less steady. Some agriculture
is less reliable. Most of us live lives so divorced from the
natural world that we hardly notice the changes. By the time
the magnitude of the change is truly in our faces, it will be
too late to do much about it: There's such a lag time to increased
levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we need to be
making the switch to solar and wind and hydrogen power right
now to prevent disaster decades away.
So maybe we should think of global warming in a different
way-as the great moral crises of our time. Why a moral question?
In the first place, no one's ever figured out a more effective
way to screw the marginalized and poor of this planet than climate
change. Having taken their dignity, their resources, and their
freedom under a variety of other schemes, we now are taking
the very physical stability on which their already difficult
And global warming is a moral crisis, too, if you place any
value on the rest of creation. Intricate ecosystems are also
spectacularly. All in all, the 21st century seems poised to
see extinctions at a rate not observed since the last big asteroid
slammed into the planet. But this time the asteroid is us.
It's a moral question, finally, if you think we owe any debt
to the future. No generation yet to come will ever forget us-we
are the ones present at the moment when the temperature starts
to spike, and so far we have not reacted….
You can't really get angry at carbon dioxide, and the people
responsible for its production are, well, us. We emit so much
more carbon dioxide now than we did a decade ago….There are
huge companies with a lot to lose, and many people so tied in
to their current ways of life that advocating change smacks
of subversion. But this has to become a political issue-and
fast. The only way that may happen, short of a hideous drought
or monster flood, is if it becomes a personal issue first.
Trying to launch a moral campaign is no easy task. It is the
sum total of individual actions that can bring about a shift
of habits and change of lifestyle in the collective whole-enough
to pressure governments to pass laws that would reduce the levels
of carbon dioxide and other lethal gases pouring into our atmosphere.
It is rare to find men of science, or those belonging to the
medical fraternity, who view science, spirituality and service
as the three sides of a triangle. The three merge with one another
at the deeper level, says Dr. K. P. Mishra, senior cardiologist
at Apollo Hospital, Chennai. He writes in Tattvaloka
Science is an inquiry in the world outside. Spiritualism
is an inquiry into the world within. Both are complementary
to each other….If we wish to know man in all his dimensions
and facets and also if we wish to study the entire world in
which we live, science and spirituality have to grow together
so that the total knowledge becomes comprehensive and integrated….
Service of mankind is actually, as Mother Teresa says, love
in action. There cannot be love without service, nor can anyone
serve without love. In fact, service is an appreciation of
the unity of creation….
This is the view of modern science also with the GUT theory
(Grand Union Theory) wherein the scientists postulate that
the entire universe is created and sustained by one form of
energy alone. The more we understand this aspect of life,
the more we get attracted towards service, because by serving
others we are only helping ourselves.
The entire creation is interdependent. Nothing can survive
without the help and support of the other parts of creation….This
is the law of nature. Every flora and fauna in the world is
interdependent for survival on others. The beauty of life
is in realizing this and giving abundantly to others.
A society or a nation that takes more than it gives perishes
in no time, whereas a society that gives more than it takes
flourishes and nourishes others. The story of all civilizations
is reflected in this eternal truth….
We have received all our lives many things in many ways,
without which we could not be what we are today. Isn't it
our duty to pay it back? Therefore, service is not a luxury,
a hobby or a fashion but an unavoidable obligation and a sacred
duty towards society…. To give is to live and to keep is to
die….Service makes us appreciate the unity in creation and
the love for fellow human beings.
While books and writing and other works of men often fade
away and are no more for subsequent ages, the great symbols
do not disappear. Hence "the religious and esoteric history
of every nation was embedded in symbols" (The Secret Doctrine,
I, 307), and thus preserved for posterity. The science of
true symbols and the art of interpreting them is little understood
today. Dr. S. A. Sarma is among the few who recognizes the
value of ancient symbols. In his book Kena Upanishad
The science of symbols constitutes a fascinating study
in itself. It is by means of this science of symbols that
the Unknown becomes the Known, the occult the obvious. Symbols
enter into almost every phase of human endeavour and pursuits:
in mathematics, mysticism and music, in art and architecture,
in the diverse rituals and ceremonials of the esoteric religious
systems and their practices, in alchemy and in astrology,
in the traditions of esoteric teachings, from the most "primitive"
mind's early perceptions to the most modern artistic apperceptions,
and in the intricate dialectics, in every field it is this
science of symbols that so ensures the satisfactory transmission
and appreciation of the essential "intent" of what is thus
A symbol is a visible sign of some thought, emotion, or
experience seeking to translate what can really be grasped
by the mind and imagination only by something that enters
the field of observation. "The Hindu Faith had at its service
the language of the utmost delicacy and flexibility with
a vigorous and fertile growth and an almost unlimited vocabulary.
Thus, it came to be so profuse in type and symbol."
Clear distinction between symbol and sign is essential:
symbols are less obvious than mere signs, require convention,
are not only abstract, but metaphysical in their content
and meaning, and often need explanation for history, religion
and customs. They do not depict but suggest subjects, do
not speak directly through the eye to the intelligence,
but presuppose in the mind the knowledge of any event or
fact that they so recall.
H.P.B. defines a symbol as "a embodied idea, combining the
conception of the Divine Invisible with the earthly visible."
Every object, every event, every being is an embodied idea.
Each human mind reading these millions upon millions of embodied
ideas interprets them in its own way. Each human mind is an
evolving, expanding, unfolding entity; therefore there are
superficial interpretations, partial interpretations, false
interpretations, as well as profound, complete and true interpretations
of all the embodied ideas. According to the bent of the human
mind are the milliards of embodied ideas evaluated.
One of the reasons for the misunderstanding of ancient truths
enshrined in holy symbols and myths is the rejection of the
invisible and with it of the spiritual. The false reasoning
that all is matter, and that integration and disintegration
of forms of matter is the whole of the process of evolution,
has brought about degradation in knowledge and consequent
degradation in ordinary life
. ….without the help of symbology (with its seven departments,
of which the moderns know nothing) no ancient Scripture
can ever be correctly understood. Symbology must be studied
from every one of its aspects, for each nation had its own
peculiar methods of expression. In short, no Egyptian papyrus,
no Indian olla, no Assyrian tile, or Hebrew scroll, should
be read and accepted literally. (The Secret Doctrine,
Tools from northern China were crafted 1.36 million years
ago, making them a solid evidence of people living there
at that time, say the researchers. In 1980, more than 3000
stone flakes were discovered in the Nihewan Basin. But only
now has accurate dating of the tools been possible. A team
led by Rixiang Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in
Beijing dated them from the pattern of magnetic fields in
sediments where they were found. Reversals of the Easth's
magnetic field, whose timing is known, are recorded in these
patterns. (Nature, Vol. 413, p. 413)
The tools are the oldest so far found in that part of Asia.
At this time, says the report, the region suffered periods
of drought, which suggests that those who made the tools
coped well with the hardships of uncertain climates after
emerging from the tropics.
The Chinese are not only one of the oldest nations of our
Fifth Race (The Secret Doctrine, II, 364), but going
further back the early Chinese are said to have been remnants
of the Fourth or Atlantean Race. (II, 603)
Quoting a Master of Wisdom, H.P.B. wrote in the Secret
Doctrine in 1888:
"What would you say to our affirmation that the Chinese-I
speak of the inland, the true Chinaman, not of the hybrid
mixture between the Forth and Fifth Races now occupying
the throne, the aborigines who belong in their unallied
nationality wholly to the highest and last branch of the
Fourth Race-reached their highest civilization when the
Fifth had hardly appeared in Asia." And this handful of
the inland Chinese are all of a very high stature. Could
the ancient MSS. in the Lolo language (that of the aborigines
of China) be got at and translated correctly, many a priceless
piece of evidence would be found. But they are as rare
as their language is unintelligible. (II, 280 fn.)
Failed marriages and broken homes are affecting children
in many ways. Studies suggest that children whose parents
had divorced are at increased risk for later problems in
their own marriages. This may be because their parents'
divorce undermines their thoughts and feelings about the
permanence of marriage. Children who grow up with divorced
parents tend to reach adulthood with a relatively weak commitment
to the norm of lifelong marriage, according to study author
Dr. Paul Amato of Pennsylvania State University. And, it
seems, when their own marriages become troubled, they tend
to leave the relationship rather than stick it out.
Overall, divorces are also common among children whose
parents had remained married but had a high level of discord
in the relationship, the report indicates. It seems that
if there is a long period of chronic, overt discord, children
learn that divorce is a reasonable solution to an unhappy
marriage, and that marriage is an unpredictable relationship.
Love and commitment, they come to believe, are often here
today and gone tomorrow.
Children constitute that segment of the population least
able to protect itself against psychological damage, and
the trauma of a broken home can go a long way. In the present
state of the fall of ideals in regard to family life, homes
are no longer centers from which influences radiate, giving
dignity and grace to life, exemplifying marital fidelity
and parental protection.