It seems at the moment that humanity is suffering from a kind of collective soul sickness. There is a global epidemic of existential distress. The numbers don’t lie; anxiety and depression is being diagnosed at levels we’ve never seen before. The United Nations in fact, has said that 800,000 people a year now are committing suicide across the globe. That is a larger number than the amount of people to die from armed conflict and natural disasters combined. The question is, whether this should surprise us? Perhaps our personal narratives, our collective cultural operating system, our cultural narratives about who and what we are, have hit their limit.
They are no longer serving us. I mean, at the end of the day, should this surprise us?
Man cannot live without finding a way to bridge the finite with the infinite.
Men cannot live without a continuous belief of something indestructible within himself.
Now we need to commune with the eternal, with the cosmos, in order to impregnate our life with meaning and signification. Religion used to provide this narrative, the light of this existential blanket, blanketing us from the void by telling us we will live forever in the kingdom of God but increasing sophistication, increasing scientific awareness and knowledge and increasing intelligence has actually made us more anxious because these old narratives are no longer serving us.
I believe the epidemic of depression and anxiety and general malaise and meaninglessness comes from this unique awareness that we are mortal beings but perhaps, what we need is a different story. Perhaps what we need is a cognitive re-framing, something really funny happens to astronauts when they go into orbit, these are secular materialistic engineers. These guys, on the back of science and knowledge, who are into the orbiting of the planet, all of a sudden they see the earth as a single solitary marble floating in the cosmos. They see everything they’ve ever known as just one thing. They see themselves and their planet as one and this psychic transformation is known as the astronaut overview effect.
Apparently such a dramatic change in perspective, such a traumatic re-contextualization of what we are, changes us and this ontological awareness gets rid of the feeling of meaninglessness and all of a sudden, informs our whole phenomenological worldview with this idea that we are part of something greater than ourselves, is a sense of poetic ultimate truth that goes deeper than everyday reality and in that moment, that poetic hijacking of awareness and understanding, that overview effect, changes these astronauts forever.
So, how do we give more of us this kind of experience to willingly induce metaphysical mystical experiences in the labs of psychiatry? Are we on the cusp of uncovering a telescope for psychiatry and for the mind? Are we gonna take a novice in the levers approached by the mentally change? Our awareness point B is we need. We need to awaken to our true condition to transcend our menaces which are the forgetting of the forgetting and remember what not.
This is a call to upgrade; this is a call to attack yourself. We are a chrysalis, about to turn into a butterfly. We are undergoing a metamorphosis and are about to spread our wings. We are not a cancer upon a host planet, we are fetus and this is our birth canal. It may be bloody, it may be turbulent but we can be reborn anew. We can come out of the other side transformed & transcended. It is our birthright. It is a calling. It is beckoning to call to awaken.