What awaits us in the 21st century?

In the 21st century, we will see the transition from the post-industrial and information age to a spiritual age

Wisdom that can guide us

Religion arouses resistance these days. Priority is given to rational thinking, averse to superstition and magical thinking. That is understandable because in this way man has freed himself from dogmas. However, the question is whether we have really become free and whether we are not under the constraint of new dogmas.

Instead of referring to religion, to the existence of God or to the truth of the Church, I propose to see the message of the Bible as a source of wisdom that makes the world humane. The Ten Commandments and the Gospel call upon people to prioritize what is most meaningful in human life. Instead of saying to believe in the one God and honor the Day of the Lord, in more modern terms we could say pay attention to what really matters in a person's life and devote at least one day a week to reflection and not to labour and material concerns. Now the one God seems to have been replaced by Mammon or by the almighty information technology and we live in a society gone mad where a battle must be fought for a moment of silence and reflection.

It is obvious that other biblical wisdom or commandments are essential for one's own and other people's happiness. For example: take good care of one's parents, don't slander, don't lie, don't steal, don't kill, don't covet other people's property, have sex only with whom one is married and love one's neighbor in a selfless and unconditional way. And what about the evangelical idea that the rich should divide his wealth among the poor?

I think that a person who thinks in good conscience will accept the above biblical wisdoms as the highest and most valuable.

Although the vast majority of people, of whatever race or creed, are of good will and want to show solidarity with their neighbors, humanity in the 21st century is also bewitched by idols. God has been replaced by consumption and technology. Technology makes man supposedly omnipotent so that he thinks he is god. The moral precepts, for example in politics, economics and social media, are anything but adhered to. Sexual morality is hard to find, at least among those who are seen as idols or influencers.

We now live under the constraint of economic dogmas and the dogma of individual freedom. With the current technology we would expect people to work less and spend more time on social relations; however, the opposite is the case. We are under more and more pressure because of the new gods. For many workers, their life resembles slavery. Parents no longer have the time to raise their children themselves.

Ignoring biblical wisdom is exhausting planet Earth and many are victims of the selfishness of those in power. Thousands of billions are spent annually on armaments to safeguard economic interests. Humanity is under the spell of idols that can make the world a hell. The current developments are anything but hopeful. 

A not so unlikely scenario

What measures should be taken if we enter a phase in which there is only enough food for the original indigenous population? What will happen if the economic malaise pushes a majority into deep poverty? How will the native population react if we enter such a phase?

I think it makes sense to think about these questions. This scenario is not that unlikely. The first two questions cannot be separated from the last: the reality is that biological forces erupt among the population in those circumstances. It's about survival. This will be a battle of all against all. The state is quite powerless against these forces and can be taken over by the winning or largest party. It is not inconceivable that a coup d'état will follow in extreme circumstances. What matters to me here is how we can uphold our ethical principles, without fooling ourselves and without illusions about human nature.

Survive first, only then can we think about ethics. In the extreme circumstances referred to here, voices will be raised to send all those who do not belong in Europe to their countries of origin. Only those who have lived here for five generations or more will have the right to stay. Each nation is responsible for its own country or country of origin. In Europe we will try to improve food production even further. Areas subject to prolonged drought are made fertile by new agricultural techniques and adapted crops. As soon as there is a surplus, other countries are helped with this. You must first have your own house in order before facing the world.

The psychological health of all humanity is at risk

You don't have to be a doomsayer to see what's going on in today's world. We are caught in a vicious circle of ever more armaments, on which two thousand billion are spent worldwide every year. This is an absolute disgrace that we should never resign ourselves to. That two thousand billion should be spent on improving miserable conditions, such as better care here and good education in developing countries.

Despite all the scientific and technological developments, we have not become any wiser. Wars are still raging. Hundreds of millions of people live in extreme poverty. Hundreds of millions of children lack proper education to develop their talents. Millions of refugees are in a hopeless situation.

Another vicious circle from which we cannot yet escape is the destruction of nature, the exhaustion of the planet, the attack on biodiversity, the terrible air pollution.

There is also the craziness of a gender ideology in which young children and adolescents are indoctrinated to such an extent that they start to doubt the gender differences.

Finally, a new kind of racism has emerged in which the whites have to pay for it, while they have created the most humane civilization since the Greeks . All this leads to a general, global madness in which the most obvious is suppressed. The latter is dangerous because it undermines the psychological health of all humanity.

There is a solution

However, we have the potential to turn the world into an earthly paradise. Especially in the West, people have it very good. Democracy reigns there, there is little corruption, people live relatively safely, women have equal rights, education is excellent and there are good social and medical facilities. There is always room for improvement and mistakes are often made and yet the whole world wants to emigrate to the West, as it were.

I have a proposal to get out of the vicious circles and to be well prepared for the great challenges of this century. We must evolve towards a spiritual age in which the question of meaning becomes central again. Creation has a meaning and if we keep that in mind, people will feel responsible for each other, for people far away and for future generations. Then every citizen sees it as his duty to dedicate himself to the land of his ancestors, to cooperate in solidarity with people who are in difficulty and to take responsibility for good stewardship of planet earth. The spiritual age means the end of the consumer society, because people will live frugally and pay attention above all to caring for each other. In the end people will be much happier because every person can live a more meaningful life and every person knows that there are others who care about them.

The spiritual age means that individuals are guided by ethics rather than by politicians who have failed. Traditional politics has led to the mess we're in. To be guided by ethics is what the prophet Ezekiel ( 34:1-11) said: the sheep were led by shepherds who cared not for them and were out for their own profit; that is why God (read: the ethics) has taken over from those shepherds.

Either we move into a man-made apocalypse in the 21st century, or we create a new Garden of Eden, with beautiful landscapes, a thriving nature and people who get along well..

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   © Juliaan Van Acker 2024