Destiny?  What Destiny?

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~]

While trying to assemble the human jigsaw puzzle in my mind, I have been keeping track of the missing pieces which must eventually spell the end of civilization as we’ve known it through history and as we sadly observe it today. 

One of these major missing pieces is a sentient species’ sense of destiny.  Most people, it seems, do not possess a personal sense of destiny – certainly not in any serious sense.  The same is true of man as a species: it does not have a declared sense of destiny.  The question to keep in mind while considering this problem is, “Can a sentient species call itself human and not have a sense of destiny?” (Question for another time.)  

For millennia we’ve relied on the gods to map our destiny for us.  We were “powerfully motivated” not to think about destiny except as decreed by the gods’ varied and various institutions and we responded with slavish obedience and mindless praise.  The gods died, one by one, and one day when no one was really looking, they’d been officially replaced by crass materialism, Marxism and evolutionary Darwinism.  What should have been a triumph of humanitarian accomplishments and freedom turned out to be a giant, possibly catastrophic, step backward for man and his little world.  OK, backward is wrong.  Better put, two giant steps sideways, one to the left and one to the right.  

Whereas the gods had always offered specious promises of some type of eternal life thus unwittingly providing a bulwark against massive and unchecked growth and material exploitation, Marxism and Darwinism created the dead end, fall over, cliff into perpetual darkness.  The new gospel proclaimed that an individual came from nothing and passed into nothing.  The future of mankind was no longer to be found in spiritual development or mental expansion but would be tied to the vagaries of a mindless finite material universe.  If a thinking individual thought of “the future” at all, it was in terms of some nebulous “future of mankind” or “future of the planet.” 

The results of this approach were not long in manifesting.  There came a rage to “live in the now” manifested as mindless consumerism and hedonism.  Destiny, if it was even thought of in those terms, was understood as the bolstering, protection and expansion of the Status Quo as determined by a numerically shrinking, exponentially richer class of elitist individuals and “noble” families. 

Our civilization is plunging into chaos because it isn’t aware of whether it serves a greater purpose, or none at all or whether it is just supposed to serve itself… at whatever costs to… whatever and whomever.  

Before science took over man’s mind, the gods, or increasingly the great male god, provided man’s purpose and that dead end purpose was stated as “to praise, serve and obey god.”  No other reason was given whereby man could find his purpose in life and if man refused to kowtow to god, his end would be inconceivably horrible.  If he managed to jump through all the legalistic hoops and traps set out by the god’s priesthood, remaining on the straight and narrow every minute, he just might be saved.  That kept some people very busy, very fearful and very poor.  It also kept them very ignorant of everything, particularly of the cosmos they lived in.  

Then science, or perhaps better put, pseudo science, prostitute of political and financial forces, took the upper hand, using obvious foolishness and fallacies of organized religion to push its own theories on how it all worked, onto civilization’s stage.  It claimed the limelight and after a few lucky guesses, established itself as “the Voice” of reason and knowledge.  Once established, it could now stick out its hand and receive the dues from the Status Quo that used to flow into Religion’s coffers.  The same dirty money into a different set of bloody hands. 

What did man get from that exchange of powers?  A new pseudo destiny, probably best described by a novel I read once: Tomorrow, the Stars (Heinlein, if you must know!).  Key word here?  Tomorrow.  Religion, all over again.  Patience, hope, faith… and tomorrow you’ll have it, if you donate, believe, pay your taxes and accept marginalization.  The problem with this is, “tomorrow” never comes.  All the tomorrows of science were soon sold out to the highest bidder, and instead of “light ships” capable of doing many times the speed of light ploughing through space to find “brave new worlds and new civilizations” man inherited nuclear weaponry and other weapons of mass destruction.  He was given poisons with which to kill unwanted lifeforms and increase depleted soil yields and science called that “the Green Revolution.” He was given nuclear power plants and dams… and pipelines and highways on which to burn whatever flowed out of the pipelines.  In short, man was given a much wider and faster treadmill than he’d ever experienced and he was ecstatic.  For a very short while.     

Religion gave man death through endless wars.  Science added a poisoned environment to endless wars. 

Of our destiny we remain blissfully ignorant.

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28 thoughts on “Destiny?  What Destiny?

  1. Notes To Ponder

    I’m not a fan of the term “destiny”. In my mind it speaks of everything wrong with religious control over populations. Science isn’t the problem, the nature of mankind is. Don’t think for one moment historical religious keepers of destiny wouldn’t have used nuclear weapons against indigenous people whose land/riches they coveted. The Spanish would have wiped out the Inca in one blast had they had nuclear technology at their disposal. “Destiny” is for cowards, the call of persons brainwashed by propaganda that transfers their fate to those with power over them. The sooner destiny is replaced by personal responsibility the better. Science isn’t the problem, complacency, indoctrination and fear are.:)

    Reply
  2. Sha'Tara Post author

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Personally I don’t see destiny as opposed to personal responsibility at all, rather the opposite. I live a life of self-empowerment, with a singular purpose that points to a destiny. But in my case my destiny is not something imposed on me, but something I chose long ago and continue to choose day by day. Destiny gives life meaning but in a dead end world where the overriding belief is of one life followed by either a mindless afterlife or physical death as the end of everything one is, it’s basically impossible to think in terms of having a destiny. Without a sense of destiny though, what’s the point of developing any civilization? What’s the point of anything beyond a constant quest for self-gratification?

    Reply
  3. Notes To Ponder

    Self empowerment is personal responsibility, we see it from different angles but both of us are looking at the same picture. 🙂 That said, the term destiny makes my skin crawl.As a firm believer is self determination, I consider destiny a hangover from for too many centuries of religious determination .Nothing is destined, for me to entertain that thought, would be to forsake an unshakable optimism in the purpose and possibilities of my brief time alive.In the end, whether you call it destiny, I call it purpose, journey or bumpy ride, what matters is living with an open mind and heart. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Rosaliene Bacchus

      I can definitely relate to your way of thinking. As a firm believer in self determination, I strive to shed years of religious and colonial mindset. But, I do believe that Sha’Tara is talking about a higher form of human destiny. (I will say more in my comment below.)

      Reply
    2. Sha'Tara Post author

      I think I see the “issue” here. I see destiny as something beyond, something noble (or the opposite) I can fulfill through self-determination which in turn comes from self empowerment, which then makes sense of free will, etc. What you call “destiny” is what I would call predestination, or pre-destiny as determined by gods or God (particularly having to do with the concept of “salvation”) and as adjudicated on earth by individuals and groups with agendas of their own. I abhor the concept.

      Reply
    3. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment. “what matters is living with an open mind and heart.” From a personal perspective, good way to look at it.

      Reply
  4. gserpent

    Science and religion are sisters. Both want to control the mind. Science only gives us consistency not truth. Only difference between science and religion is, science wants to keep you away from pain and struggle, religion wants to keep you in pain and struggle all the time. Either way there is no growth. Key is Balance. Balance between conscious desire, winds of fate and universal order. Great post Sha’Tara!

    Reply
  5. franklparker

    You , and those who have commented so far, seem to perceive religion and science as external constructs designed to control us. I see them as man-made/imagined by men (and occasionally women) who want to have power over the majority of us. Science is the result of an intelligent analysis of observed phenomena. Scientists for the most part do not have an agenda. But those same individuals who would use religion to control us certainly use science to do the same.
    Destiny? For each of us, IMHO, the best we can hope for is to leave behind a world that is marginally better than the one we were born into. Has my generation done this? Yes and no. It would take too long to enumerate the things that suggest the positives and negatives.
    It is possible, no, desirable, to deny religion. It is not possible to deny science. It is possible to use science for good or for evil and mankind does both.
    Does life continue beyond death? I have no idea. I think the worst thing we can do is to live our lives believing that there is.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      That is a very well (and concise!) stated viewpoint. I like this, and quote: “It is possible, no, desirable, to deny religion. It is not possible to deny science.” I don’t think that can be argued!!!

      Reply
  6. Rosaliene Bacchus

    Sha’Tara, thank you for yet another thought-provoking post. I was especially struck by your following observation:

    “Our civilization is plunging into chaos because it isn’t aware of whether it serves a greater purpose, or none at all or whether it is just supposed to serve itself… at whatever costs to… whatever and whomever. ”

    Like fellow blogger ‘Notes to Ponder,’ I’ve always taken a personal view of the concept of ‘destiny.’ But, I believe that you’re referring to a much wider meaning of our destiny as members of the human species.

    ‘Destiny’ in its general sense is predetermination for a specific purpose or place. Every living creature on our planet has its specific purpose in the grand scheme of the interconnected web of life on Earth. When we discard the gods and religion, we also throw out the ‘spiritual’ nature of our being. As you’ve noted:

    “The future of mankind was no longer to be found in spiritual development or mental expansion but would be tied to the vagaries of a mindless finite material universe.”

    We are an evolving species. As ‘Notes to Ponder’ rightly observes: “Science isn’t the problem, the nature of mankind is.”

    As an intelligent species with self-awareness, humankind has the destiny or responsibility to preserve and conserve all life on Earth. If we cannot take care of this tiny planet in our Solar System, we will continue to wreck havoc across the Universe. Perhaps, Earth is the learning ground, the preparation of our species for a greater role or destiny in our expanding Cosmos.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      thanks for that comment, Rosaliene. As you’ve probably gathered by now, I take a cosmic view of things. Also I’m not bound by the strictures of only one life to live, having been able to break the species amnesia programming and developed to ability to “remember” both past and future lives. I see life and “me” as one. Since life is infinite and eternal, then so am I. To make sense of this I have to accept shifting patterns within drastic changes. Like my Teacher YLea, I refer to myself as “I was/will be”. In the grander scheme of things, earth at this time is a tiny pressure cooker, an over-crowded spaceship in which some of us are challenged to enter into a cosmic mindset once we realize earth is never going to give us the answers we seek, that it serves only to raise the big questions in rapid-fire format. Earth is a chaos world. Some people accept this condition, finding ways to justify or rationalize what takes place here. Some go so far as to accept there can be no individual life beyond the death of the body. To them, that’s pure common sense whereas to me that’s utterly unthinkable. So when I address the concept of “destiny” I’m actually looking at an infinite expanse of space/time – a time I interact with; in which my “performance” here (or any other world I remember being on) comes into play wherever I happen to be, whenever I desire to accomplish something. My past, as in past lives, becomes either a curse or a blessing. Thus do I define my destiny: the sum total of what I was determines what I will be, ever and anon. An intelligent, sentient species then, follows the same pattern. If it denies having a destiny then it can only fail… unless there is some intervention that resets its collective memory.

      Reply
  7. Woebegone but Hopeful

    As always thoughtful and provoking post Sha’ Tara
    I’ll take a slightly different tack here being is the happy state of being both religious and fascinated by science
    To me science and religion are both efforts by Humanity to make sense of something which it inherently knows is much larger and greater than it will ever be. Which to me is fine: when we are dealing with a sky full of stars and the size of the world we see (which is pretty big actually) I think our inclination is to look for the reasons, to distil it comes down to ‘Wow! Look at all that!….So what am I here for?’
    The danger comes when the venal and the malicious take these reasonable questions and turn them into reasons to impose hatred and servility upon their fellow human beings. Followed by subsequent danger, the willingness of some people to follow those lies.
    If we only hold to Compassion. Tolerance. Respect then we will be doing just fine.
    As for destiny? Not up to us to say really. Way above our pay grade.
    Keep on keeping on
    Roger

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for that comment, Roger. Maybe I’ll just refer you back to my bit lengthy comment to Rosaliene as a reply, if you don’t mind? Otherwise I’d be repeating myself and boring everybody.

      Reply
      1. Woebegone but Hopeful

        Yes, on a cosmic scale I’ve no argument with the broad principals. We’re small parts in a vast enterprise and as light can be a wave and a particle we are at one, small but also carry our own significance.
        It’s the folk who think their greed and aggression are above all things who are the menaces.

  8. Pingback: Destiny?  What Destiny? | Tales from the Conspiratum

  9. Phil Huston

    “While trying to assemble the human jigsaw puzzle in my mind.” I read that opening line and I knew this was going to make my head hurt worse than Umberto Eco…Have you ever noticed how geopolitics is a lot like the grumpy old guy down the street? Hey you kids, get off my lawn!

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I had to laugh at that. Geopolitics… yes indeed. When the existing slate of geopolitical factors don’t suit us, we get some special forces and marines together and proceed to go about changing it. Like in Iraq and Afghanistan… or Libya (we came, we saw, he died) and now Syria. There, all better now. (I’ll stop now before “The Flight of the Valkyries” starts playing in my head again…)

      Reply
  10. Lisa R. Palmer

    Wow… wonderful, thoughtful writing combined with a vigorous, insightful discussion. Makes me smile all the way through my multi-dimensional, chaotic-time-less Being. We are not all sheep today. We are not all abandoning our selves. We are not all without power…

    We are, some of us, becoming aware. Not just of what is at stake in the living of our lives and how we express that Life, but in discovering who we truly are. Such chaos as we are experiencing now does “force” the few to “face” the truth of our existence. Sad to me to realize that growth always seems to come with a price, and the violent language we use to describe it merely highlights that “painful” process…

    As for your use of “destiny” here, Sha’Tara, I “hear” the word “purpose.” I sense nothing pre-destined about your experiences, but I feel a deep, abiding, unshakeable purpose. And when we commit so wholly to any course of action, to any plan, our behavior becomes “predictable”; I can anticipate how you might react to any given set of circumstances based on the depth of your commitment to your path. But you remain free to change your mind, adapt your responses, or simply “mess” with my predictions for the fun of it all… ;D

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Brilliant “analysis”. Quote: “growth always seems to come with a price” There is always “a price” though the nature of that price varies from place to place. When I was still religious in my thinking, the way I heard it was, “there are no shortcuts to sanctification.” That means, if I want to live a “virtuous” life, there will always be a price to pay to get there. I suppose it’s how we know we made that particular choice, like some sort of badge.
      As to my comments on my destiny, I think you got it bang on. It’s the sum total of “all of it” coming together, like a crew of people building a house. The purpose was to get a house built, but at the same time, that crew was destined to get that house built. There would have had to be a vision, a dream, as well as plans. More than just purpose? Not pre-destiny, and I think that’s what turns people off from the concept of destiny: the feeling that they have no control over it. I know that I control my destiny.

      Reply

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