This is the first of a series of Blogs on the content of a newly launched book I wrote, Cultural Cycles & Climate Change, which was published by White Oak, an imprint of Fitzrovia Press.
There is a continual stream of negative daily news and numerous books and articles stating that all is not well in our Western culture. However, the assumption by many people is that we are on a linear path of increasing progress based on the continual advances in technology, scientific knowledge and prosperity. This book attempts to look more objectively at that claim.
From my observations and research I saw a need for a wake-up call to be sounded for our western culture. Writing a book seemed to be the best way to communicate a reminder about the need to honestly acknowledge our cultural deficiencies and also the importance of the spiritual dimension of our existence, which has been seriously compromised by an excessive emphasis on the material realm.
Using a newly discovered 854 year cycle of time and a multi-cultural view of history over a period of 2500 years, a fresh perspective on the current state of society was revealed. In addition to the Western culture the Chinese, Indian and Arabic cultures were studied. What was revealed is that the conditions existing today in the West actually reflects a way of thinking and acting that is causing damage economically, environmentally and morally. When one looks with a more impartial eye, you see that Western culture is being driven by the mistaken belief that the acquisition of wealth, power, fame and pleasure will make us truly happy. The intense pressure to achieve these values has created a highly competitive atmosphere, leading to incessant activity with little time for rest, especially for the mind. Our historical analysis has shown that the focus on the material realm was also the case at the end of the Roman Empire and in fact existed in the final stage of the 854 cycle for other cultures as well.
What has become clear is that there is a real need for people of all cultures to acknowledge the actual state of their society and then to make a firm resolution to act in such a way as to eliminate the obstacles blocking the way towards living a truly happy, peaceful and productive life. Clear direction is presented about how a more positive life can be achieved when our intention and attention focus more on serving the needs of others, as well as our own. Our concern would then be more often about We, instead of only about Me.
One relevant example of the negative impact of excessive concern for material gains is the issue of Climate Change which we will deal with in more detail as we proceed. The lessons learned from the historical analysis have not only confirmed the repetition of these conditions at a certain stage of a cycle, but have also offered some useful suggestions on a good path to follow to meet the challenges. More quiet time, living natural values and service are the three main elements that are recommended to be able to effectively deal with the following critical issues:
• The real meaning of freedom, a fundamental aspect of our democratic society. We need to acknowledge that freedom does not mean freedom to do anything I want, nor is it only a concern for my individual rights. The needs of others and my duties also need to be considered.
• The limitations of the scientific approach as the means for explaining all aspects of life. Many scientists deny the existence of a spiritual dimension of our being, one which is beyond the mind.
• The negative aspects of a highly competitive lifestyle. Such a life is dominated by comparing, competing and criticising, with little compassion, cooperation and caring.
• The importance of avoiding a life of incessant physical and mental activity with little rest, especially of the mind. This way of life inevitably causes tension, stress and unhappiness.
• The natural human values that can best guide our life as opposed to the current materialistic oriented values. These need to be considered in the practical context of how we think, how we relate to others and how we act.
Considerable research was carried out regarding the other three cultures based on numerous books, online material and the input from knowledgeable individuals from all four cultures. We also worked with historians, authors of relevant books. for example The History of the World by Andrew Marr and The Human Odyssey by Lord Stephen Green. Three Indian Vedic Astrology experts reviewed and commented on the draft versions. Many people in the West are uninformed about the rich cultural history of China, India and the diverse Arab/Islamic community located in several areas of the world. In their peak periods, they all have made important contributions to human civilisation. A more objective view of their impressive historical achievements will help build a greater sense of mutual respect and a willingness to work together in guiding society on a path towards greater peace and happiness.