The Economist [also] online has recently added a couple articles from their recent issue about the impact of humans on the planet, and the suggestion that we might be moving into an Anthropocene Age, an age of man.
“Rather than placing us still in the Holocene, a peculiarly stable era that began only around 10,000 years ago, the geologists say we are already living in the Anthropocene: the age of man.” [via]
Of course, this reminds me of the human centered philosophy of Thelema, and the works of Aleister Crowley, not the least of which is Liber OZ, Book 77, of which a key statement is:
“There is no god but man.” [via]
Then again, one thing that seems to me to be missed when most people talk about this is that with privilege comes duty, but in these articles about a speculative Anthopocene Age there is effort to make clear the responsibility that entails for human actions on Earth.
“The Anthropocene is different. It is one of those moments where a scientific realisation, like Copernicus grasping that the Earth goes round the sun, could fundamentally change people’s view of things far beyond science. It means more than rewriting some textbooks. It means thinking afresh about the relationship between people and their world and acting accordingly.” [via]
Thinking fresh can be a great idea, and this is definitely a secular as well as scientific example of the reversal of not just a way of thinking but also a way of acting.
“For centuries, science has progressed by making people peripheral. In the 16th century Nicolaus Copernicus moved the Earth from its privileged position at the centre of the universe. In the 18th James Hutton opened up depths of geological time that dwarf the narrow now. In the 19th Charles Darwin fitted humans onto a single twig of the evolving tree of life. As Simon Lewis, an ecologist at the University of Leeds, points out, embracing the Anthropocene as an idea means reversing this trend. It means treating humans not as insignificant observers of the natural world but as central to its workings, elemental in their force.” [via]
The notion that humans are a kind of elemental force should have resonance with anyone who’s studied esotericism, and the notion of the fifth power of the sphinx, the power to go, as an initiatory power; which in turn can be corresponded to the fifth element of the Western elemental model. This in some ways brings the story full circle by turning the secular and scientific notion of a new Anthropocene Age toward the scientific illuminism which is part of a New Aeon current. In an Anthropocene Age it might quite clearly follow that the age is one of rapid change due to instability in the way the world works; but, that can be an advantage, like the inherent and intentional instability of modern fighter aircraft in order to increase maneuverability, that merely is part of the increased opportunity for the advancement of the human race as part and participant in the world, seen and unseen, human and more than human.