The world as we have known it is dying. After 5000+ years of patriarchal reign, the world built on fear, power and control is imploding upon itself. The symptoms of this death are everywhere to be seen by those who have eyes to see – increasing prejudice, hatred and divisiveness, a rapidly growing gap between those who have and those who have not, increasing violence, rampant corruption, greed, gluttony, over consumption and the most obvious of all symptoms – the revelation of deceit. The veil has been torn away and we are able to see clearly all the lies we’ve been told and the deceptions that have been played – all for the sake of power and control. Playing out on a global scale, the world as we have known it is dying and the death the symptoms of this death are evident in every single hierarchical institution created by man – religion, government, corporations, banking, healthcare, and education.
While the dying out of the old system is global, it is playing out in our own little worlds as well. In the tiny little town of Oshkosh, Wisconsin where I reside, for example, the death of the current educational system is happening in real time. Underfunded and over-challenged, our tiny little community is trying to figure out how to get blood from a turnip and (as always) it will be the vulnerable among us who will suffer. Those with means will always find a way to coerce an outcome favorable to them and have the available resources for navigating change. The same is not true for the poor or for the otherwise vulnerable (powerless) in our community. As a social justice advocate, I find myself in the throes of “the battle” while simultaneously understanding that what we are experiencing in Oshkosh is simply a microcosm of the macrocosm and another symptom of a dying world. We can do our best to support the needs of the vulnerable (ie: protect our children and the teachers who are trying to serve them), but we cannot prevent the system’s inevitable death.
Yes. Death is inevitable. By its design, the systems of fear, power and control that rule our world are unsustainable and after 5000 years, we have reached that point of critical mass. It is time for the house of cards to fall – and falling it is. If you want to see the fall playing out in real time, just watch a few minutes of the impeachment hearings (rolling my eyeballs out of my head!). Our dying systems cannot be saved. As is true of all life forms, there comes a point where death is not only inevitable, it becomes an act of mercy.
In the face of these deaths, mercy is our calling. We can be witness to the dying world, but we cannot save it. Any attempts to do so would only prolong the suffering. We can be hospice for the dying – offering comfort, counsel, a listening ear and a compassionate heart as the dying struggle through their fears and their attachment to what has been. We can also be hope for the dying – offering a vision of a new world that is not yet known. We can be promise for the dying – assuring them that in every death is the promise of new life. Our final act of mercy will be sitting vigil with the dying institutions while those who are here to build the new world are finally free to complete the task they came here to perform, no longer hindered by the weight of a dying world.