Knowledge base

Wrestling with the Unknown

Since the advance of modern science and the industrial revolution humans have declared to be lords of nature, refusing to adopt our primal condition as being part of nature instead. This flawed dichotomy is currently surfacing at the global eyes during the coronavirus pandemic, as our faces are getting ruthlessly slapped in the presence of the unknown. The masses worldwide are being forcefully invited to come in contact with own vulnerabilities and frailties as ever before, revolving around deep fears and a sense of helplessness. Despite all the modern technology and the acquired legacy of knowledge, humanity is clumsily battling against an invisible entity while nature keeps on thriving and flourishing all around effortlessly. On the social context, strict measures have been put in place, encaging billions of people in their homes in a record time. In this perspective, moral discourse, religious preaching or any other attempt to sustain an ethical conduct could virtually become obsolete should people just empathise with the turmoils of living in captivity and the embodied experience of a widespread alike suffering humans have egoistically been inflicting on every other living form. To proclaim evolutionary achievement as a supposedly justification for a deliberate anthropocentric overwhelming atrocities may turn out as an outrageous discourse, an expression derived from sheer cosmic arrogance to be realised in our fleshes and hearts.

How far down into the rabbit hole we will need to dig in order to awake an awareness that beckons to us external pain as of our own? How much psychological, social and emotional dysfunctionalities and distress humans ought to endure in order to reevaluate our habitual patterns and narratives? Nature has recently posed an irresistible invitation to savour our own venom, ironically triggered by the spreading presence of mere virus, considered by the biological ethos not even living creatures when outside a host. Mankind is facing not only critical challenges on the health and economic realms, we are potentially dealing with a way deeper level of crisis, rarely brought into the global awareness as one single event that is affecting all corners of the world boundlessly. We are negotiating an existential checkmate, a threat on the god-like forged human status. It might feel disgraceful at first to admit and embrace the powerlessness conceptually architected and masqueraded by the power of thinking abstractly, particularly by the materialistic scientism perceptive. Such dynamics, though, don't need to be doom and gloom all the way. Many people are given the chance, on the other hand, to spend precious time in solitude, time for self-reflection rarely to be found, had the global pandemic measures not been set in place.
Questioning appears to be a favourable exercise when a dreadful uncertainty is dismantling the present and daunting the future. What are going to be the lessons we will take with us once the pandemic begins to subside? Are we going to simply resume life with similar previous set of behaviours, or we are going to acknowledge the turmoil and suffering as a transformative diving-board towards more encompassing and considered social codes? Will we be wiling to humbly take some steps down in the evolutionary ladder or we will further pretend and continue on a mindless technological pursuit as the sole promising solution for the survival of our species? How much will we give the permission and power for the so called technocrats to dictate the human fate? How much will we give the consent to centralised governments and diminish our inherent autonomous capacity to explore life freely? How much will we let ourselves become enslaved and dependent on the increasing overtaking of the machines, robots and AI?

The edge we are riding on is one of exceeding sharpness. The current choices to be made are determining for the formation of our future grounds. Perhaps we won't find easy answers from the stormy outpouring of information from the media. Likely humans are startling realising that "not-knowing" is the prevalent communality, no matter how academically educated one may be. Knowledge is no longer a reliable confusion dissipator, inasmuch as it becomes strikingly evident and transparent the various hidden agendas used to misinterpret the facts and to misdirect public's opinions for self-interest purposes.

Perhaps this critical moment is also asking for utter sensitivity and an urge for inwardly examinations as well as contemplative unbiased self-check, instead of rushing after control-orientated external explanations. Such healthy deviations from the establishment would imply a great deal of courage and self-responsibility to detach ourselves from the familiar pillars used to sustain our opinions and thought-systems. How should look like the new mosaic we ought to articulate and compose from these random life fragments many are left with? How to make the soil fertile again to allow other paradigms to manifest when the crystallised layers on its surface are currently intoxicated with collective fear anxiety and terror, trivially accepted as the new norm?
In "normal" times when life runs ordinarily, death subject is often treated as taboo, a morbid subject rarely engaged in social circles, somewhat a remote occurrence left for those moments we think will never happen to us, at least in a near future. The growth of the pandemic has opened up the pandora box, throwing into the face of humanity all sorts of questions, doubts, insecurities but also revelations and unprecedented opportunities to resignify basic values. Unfortunately much of the facts from the mainstream media has been permeated with sensationalism that is doing a great disservice by instigating unnecessary collective hysteria, panic, fear, anxiety, and terror, the main protagonists at the newest plot.

Fear has dismissively been portrayed in suspicious manipulative manners, largely contributing to plunge down human emotions into states of despair and hopelessness. Facing death with such daily proximity is a tough endeavour indeed for many, particularly for those inhabiting death-phobic cultures. Fear of death has an interesting correlation with the fear of the unknown and uncertainty anxiety. Fear of death is symbolic, a mental projection. The idea of dying is experienced in the now whereas the actual dying is not an idea but an ever-present process entrusted in life that takes place from moment to moment till the last breath. We can approach the unknown and mystery with disdain and resistance but we can also choose to look at it with reverence, humility, respect, honesty, gratitude, grief and curiosity. A composition of those later qualities are beneficial for the remaking of a versatile soil from which fresh perspectives, healthy organisational notions and models may bloom gracefully in a closer alignment with the way of nature functions. In this respect, an intimate dialogue with the unknown appears to be a wise habit to integrate frequently, a human skill, that once sharpen, may provide the necessary strength, emotional intelligence and practical tools to weather the storm with lightness and perspective.
The remaining questions are:
What is going to be like of the future of mankind after the pandemics?
Are we going to head for GMO manufactured bodies and souls in the premises of a high-tech society seasoned by artificial intelligence, enhanced global surveillance, cuddled by the big Pharma and orchestrated by technocrats - the prophets of dystopias?
Will humanity dare to face own blindspots and shadows in order to dispel the dark forces towards more promising scenarios?
Will we, as a collective organism, be capable of tapping into truthfulness to create more enlightened societies?
In the end, not choosing is also inevitably a choice, so we are left with no other choice but taking responsibility for all the choices and no-choices that will be or not taken, regardless.
Text: Bruno Caverna, Formless Arts Founder
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