Behind Annual Catastrophe: A Push to Elevate Values?

As our hearts ache watching the images of Japan’s Eastern Shores and our anger stirred by another nature-spawned tastrophe worsened by human imperfection, many of us pray for those affected by the tsunami and radiation fall-out in the Pacific.

In this two part article, I will discuss global crises within a larger discussion about humanity’s need to grow and change.  Natural disasters are highlighted in the first installment; economic dysfunction is in the second.  While unnerved by the mayhem, I search for deeper meaning behind the catastrophes that are occurring, year after year, on the scale of what used to be “catastrophes of the century.”

America’s compassion may be on the rise after its citizens suffered from no less than four major catastrophes within a decade, several of which targeted this county’s Eastern Regions.  Involved in all of these—9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, and the Great Recession—were several of the following variables associated with Japan’s events: unexpected tragedy, failed response and/or prevention, death, and grave ecological and economic ramifications.

With each catastrophe, with each failure, and with each reaction, the human race becomes increasingly aware of the challenges of our generations. We can no longer slumber through our day, blissfully unaware of our ecological imprint and of our failure to provide even the most basic needs to our fellow human beings.  One estimate, for example, indicates that 1.7 billion people are living in absolute poverty.

Global Problems as a Catalyst for Change

While we hope destruction in Japan and elsewhere is contained and relief begins, we can also hope that some benefit will follow. For it is my assumption that catastrophe also provides us a service.  Maybe, for example, the species, while being burned again when playing with the ultimate match stick of nuclear power, will better recognize its responsibilities. Our decisions about current and future energy consumption is of course one of the most integral issues when considering our greater relationships with and responsibilities to the planet and our fellow species.

A growing number of experts and laypersons recognize the alarming list of societal pathology that is manifesting at the global level. This list, which crosses various institutions and national boundaries, includes the following concerns: overpopulation; nuclear waste; natural disasters; weapon proliferation; war; poverty and famine; increasing disparity between rich and poor; disease; political and economic instability; climate change; air, water, food, and soil pollution; oxygen and mineral depletion; and species extinctions. An almost endless secondary list might include organized crime, nationalism and imperialism, corporate greed, discrimination, crime, ideological extremism, violence, human rights violations, drug trades, drug dependencies, and mental health concerns.

Such a list can seem overwhelming and depressing.  But for decades, if not centuries and millennia, we have heard doom and gloom warnings for our times of change.  They came from spiritual circles, circumvented various cultures, and, most recently, have arrived from our scientific research. The warnings are strong but come with a moving and dangling carrot.  Humanity must come to terms with the way in which it operates.  We must make concerted effort to seriously examine our collective behavior and its impact.  If so, the process will lead us to significantly better existence.

For a wider perspective to our daunting problems, I refer to my 2006 doctoral research. Through an exploration of esoteric commentary that has been circulating for decades, we find, among other claims, information intended to prepare humanity for and understand calamity.  For example, in her 2004 book, Path of Empowerment, Barbara Marciniak wrote, “the version of reality you have come to know will appear to be less and less stable. As events on the world stage steadily escalate into chaos and confusion, you will be compelled to wake up and really start thinking about what is occurring” (p. 15).

For many, the extreme degree at which these problems exist, heightens a sense of duty.  It forces a desire to question, to examine, and to seek.  For some, it begins a search to better understand interrelated causes that exist systemically. Others study the past to learn lessons, while some focus on the flaws of national and international law. During such examination, some find influential obstacles in the forms of cultural and political ideology, as well as powerful special interests.  Ultimately, many people are called to look within and to question their values and motivations, and those of others.  This leads to a considerable increase in the sense of ownership and responsibility.

This process, for many, then initiates a path of awakening away from powerlessness and victimhood and toward service and action, with the recognition that we must make proper but significant adjustments as a species.  Change is imperative, because, as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro warned in her 1995 work, Michael for the Millennium, “a culture that has become so rigid that change cannot be accommodated is ‘doomed’ to extinction … history is littered with examples of cultures that failed to adapt and have gone extinct” (p. 180).

With change, we might be able to do what some contemporary prophets predict.  That is, we might ultimately create societies based on higher values and higher thinking, as well as take much better care of our environment and those in need.  In the 1995 book, Reach for Us, Dorothy Roeder, for example, explained that we are in the process of learning how “to work together to produce a world” where people can exist more happily and with greater knowledge of their true selves. According to this source, this includes the discovery of our inherent ability to create. The prediction also includes the inevitable choice and process to live in greater peace, plenty, and equality. (pp. 4-5)

The Role of Natural Disaster

It is safe to say that we have not been prepared for the quantity and magnitude of the disasters that have surfaced over the last few decades.  The economic and human costs have been enormous. The planning for such contingencies is nearly impossible. Planning and response require foresight, resources, and tremendous levels of cooperation.

And as the number of disasters escalates, we are forced to look at our role in disrupting the climate. In Journey of the Soul, Shepherd Hoodwin reports, “humanity’s ability to destroy the earth can actually accelerate” change, as it encourages us to find solutions. The reorientation of awareness promotes our ability “to create societies in which there is more emphasis on caring for those who are less fortunate” (pp. 231-32).

In his early nineties book, The Chrystal Stair, Eric Klein announced that natural disasters will be dramatic, while Azena, in Earth’s Birth Changes, stated, “plates are shifting and nature is realigning itself to replenish the Earth” (p. 189).  As early as 1990 and in We, the Arcturians, Norma J. Milanovich asked that we accept such change by declaring, “the physics of the universe will no longer support the old [negative] energy that surrounds the planet” (p. 296). Lee Carroll similarly told us, in Kryon Book 7, that earth change helps by transmuting negative energy to restore balance.

With similar exploration into the relationship between tragedy and shifting human values, I will visit the role of economic challenge in this article’s Part II.