You probably know that I am a student of the integral model of understanding the plight of human that shows humanity is still developing, becoming more and more complex and able to solve problems that are becoming more and more complex. I’m seeing that some systems that we have taken for granted for many generations are no longer adequate to deal with complexity of twenty-first century problems. Because of this I am believe that we humans have a prime directive and that is to intentionally engage in practices that stimulate and precipitate personal development. The scientific community might say it as “Evolve or die out.” The religious community would understand this as a call to become more and more like the One who created us – to fulfill the will of the Creator.
You may not know that I am also a fan of Star Trek, not that I am wowed by the great acting, but by the underlying message and theme of the show. The original series displayed great diversity in its crew and its willingness to engage with diverse cultures and life forms, even if doing so sometimes created problems. Both Voyager and The Next Generation versions of the show emphasized commitment to what is known as the Prime Directive: To explore the universe in search of unknown life forms without interfering with those life forms, their culture or development.
I recently watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which problem to be solved was the legal question of whether the android Data was or was not a sentient being. If Data is only a machine, “it” then is the property of the Federation and must submit to being disassembled with the possibility that much of “its” experience with sentient beings could forever be lost. If Data were a sentient being, then he would not be required to submit to that demand. The purpose of disassembling Data was that it seemed necessary so that more Datas could be created. The long-term implications were the Federation could create a race of beings which it owned and could use or sacrifice as it wished, a race of slaves, so to speak. All the empirical evidence, history of having been made, not born, super-human mental and physical abilities, etc. seemed to point to his being certainly not human. It fell upon Captain Jean Luke Picard to demonstrate that Data was more than “just a machine” and he did so by showing that Data could and had established relationships with other beings, he also had self-awareness and other qualities that complied with the definition of a sentient being. The judicial decision was, “I don’t know whether Data has a soul, whatever that is, but I cannot condemn him to destruction without knowing that he absolutely does not.” Data was saved or spared.
Humanity has the capability of destroying the world in or on which we live. (Don Beck says the only things to survive a nuclear war would be cockroaches and viruses.) The problems we face will not go away or become easier to solve. Nuclear war is not the only way we may destroy ourselves. There are environmental issues, physical and mental health issues that outpace our ability to deal with them, and economic issues that continue to divide and create conflict.
Yes, we have the ability to destroy, but we also have to ability to use our collective intelligences to create flexible systems that can adequately address the hard issues at hand. But it will not happen by accident. It will be intentional. It is up to each of us to grow up, wake up, clean up and show up. We must mature intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. We must wake up to our true nature and our Oneness. We must face our own prejudices, biases and blindness. And we must join with others in whatever way we can to help make a difference. This, I believe, is the Prime Directive of our time.