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The Right Moment

“We are living in what the Greeks called the kairos – the right moment – for a “metamorphosis of the gods,” of the fundamental principles and symbols. … Coming generations will have to take account of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science.”

C.G. Jung (1956) (CW 10, par. 585)

As I sit writing this piece the East coast is under assault from Sandy, a storm of historic proportions. Over 10,000 flights have been cancelled, millions are without power, and storm surges in New York City are at record heights, and all of this just a few hours before landfall. People are already estimating the financial costs of damages in the billions of dollars. There are questions about whether this particular storm can be blamed on global warming. Climate skeptics point out that storms have happened in the past and this is just a natural event. Unfortunately, we no longer live in a natural world, if your definition of natural is a world where humans have no effect on Earth. The overwhelming scientific consensus (97%) is that humans are warming the planet due to the burning of fossil fuels and the associated increase in greenhouse gas warming. The scientific basis of this is unquestionable. It is based on fundamental physics and solid observations. We do not believe that the theory of global warming is real, we know it is. It is as sound a fact as the theory of gravity. For, yes, gravity is only a theory too. But I doubt many of the skeptics would want to test that theory! So, a natural world is a thing of the past.

The truth is that we cannot state with 100% certainty that Sandy is due to a warming world. There is always a chance that such things can happen without warming. But what we do know is that storms like Sandy are going to become more and more likely due to global warming. Few things in life are absolutely certain. Everyday we make important life decisions in the face of uncertainties. It is time to own up to what we are doing to the planet and start choosing a different way of living in the world. This is an ethical issue of global and historic proportions. I personally do not feel we have the right to condemn future generations to a planet where storms like Sandy are frequently disrupting life on Earth. We are talking about the safety of our children and their children, and generations to come for a very long time into the future.

As Jung notes, the Greeks had a concept of special or opportune moments in time when significant transformation can take place. I believe we are in the throws of the next “right moment” and the coming kairos is the most challenging of all. For we humans have now reached a point in our technological development where we are in the driver seat. Jung (CW 11, par. 870) also states that,

“Western man has no need of more superiority over nature, whether outside or inside. He has both in almost devilish perfection. What he lacks is conscious recognition of his inferiority to the nature around and within him. He must learn that he may not do exactly as he wills. If he does not learn this, his own nature will destroy him. He does not know that his own soul is rebelling against him in a suicidal way.”

Very little has been done to stop global warming. World governments have turned their backs on the problem, as have apparently both of our presidential candidates. It is time that each of us takes on the responsibility of making this “the right moment” for this problem. We need to bring more consciousness to bear on this issue. Consciousness of the science, the ethical responsibility we all hold for life on the planet and consciousness of the rejected parts of our selves. These rejected parts being our feelings and imagination, which hold the solutions to this terrible threat to the world. We can solve this problem, if we choose to make this the right moment.

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