(Page Original language: English)
Why do I say that the modern human society is barbaric?
Isn’t that obvious? Do I need to explain it?
Well…I think I should explain it a little bit because while most people who already read my books or are interested in my work would probably agree, it is critical that this basic understanding is communicated to those who may not have gotten to the point of questioning the current state of human affairs or even more, who may share some of the socially accepted pseudo-values or misunderstandings which are so much a part of what sustains this underdeveloped state that I call barbaric.
So, these are some examples of what happens around us and among us which is for me unequivocal evidence that we are a primitive expression of what we can be if we are ever going to deserve the name of Homo Sapiens-Sapiens.
Signs of Barbarism in the Material World:
Absurd Individual and Global Economy
I think it is evidently absurd that a few human beings accumulate so much wealth that they, and their heirs, will not be able to spent even a fraction of what they have, in their entire lifetime, while so many people in the same countries or on the same planet are not able to afford food, health and education.
What is the point of some people being able to buy 1,000 mansions or 10,000 cars if they will only use a few in their entire life?
I think a civilized society would have a cap for wealth the same as for poverty. I would not be against personal accumulation of wealth, as long as they are actually able to use it, but I don’t think it makes sense that people hoard resources that will not be used but instead, those resources should flow to benefit others.
I think it is absurd that a singer, an actor or a sports star is paid many millions of dollars per year, while other professions like teachers, bakers or construction workers have to struggle every day to pay for the needs of their families. It is not that I can´t accept that some occupations can be paid more, but it is about the extreme gap between some and others.
I think it is barbaric that millions of workers in Asia or Latin America have to work 18 hours every day and be paid just one or two dollars per day, with no medical services or proper housing, so that consumers in Europe or the United States can buy cheap clothes and what is even worse, for some factory owners and business people to live like kings.
I think it is barbaric this trend of big corporations concentrating ownership of almost everything, and the lack of regulations that allows them to keep buying smaller entities endlessly. When the huge corporations run free of regulations, the greed of always wanting to have more creates huge monopolies, undermining the benefits of fair competition. This is how the top corporations are becoming real power which controls almost everything, and democracy is losing its basic meaning.
Suicidal Relationship with Nature
It is barbaric that humans poison the land from which they get their food, for the sake of increasing short term profit, regardless of the foreseeable damage in the years to come.
It is barbaric that trees and wild reserves are being wiped out for some individuals to live rich, regardless of the importance of those resources for the entire human kind.
I see as barbaric that entire species such as the white rhino, the tigers from India or the gorillas from Rwanda (just to name a few) are being brought to extinction as we speak, just for some people to make money or for some others to entertain themselves in the questionable pleasure of killing life and beauty just for fun.
Suicidal Individual Behavior
Leaving aside the case of those who actually kill themselves for whatever reason in a conscious way, I think it is barbaric when people engage in self-destructive behavior without actually intending to kill or handicap themselves. This is exactly what happens when individuals proceed to actively and rapidly kill the neurons of their homo sapiens brains, through the use of drugs such as crystal meth, heroin or even the so popular cannabis. The same applies to those who attack their lungs and respiratory systems on a daily basis through smoking cigarretes or those who attack their livers and brains abusing alcohol.
The Worshiping of Violence
Guns and armament trade all over the world is an industry that creates wealth for a few out of the persistent barbaric tendency of so many humans to engage in killing each other. To satisfy this insatiable hunger for money accumulation, the cultural myth of the value of guns and violence in countries as the United States is fed every day by organized lobbyists and the congress people controlled by them. They are the kind who rapidly respond with “second amendment arguments” to the pain of parents and relatives who just lost their children under the blind violence of a society with too many guns and too little soul development (while the second amendment perhaps made some sense at the time in which the US was just being born as a nation and having guns was important in case of retaliation by the English Empire, it became an absurd anachronism in a modern country which prides itself from being a “nation of laws”.)
I think it is barbaric that while drug use and trade is illegal for public health concerns, guns use and trade is legal and considered “honorable”. I know the old rhetoric about “self-defense” but I think a civilized society would invest more in educating its citizens so they don’t become criminals, than promoting the use of guns to protect society from the criminals it is creating.
Unrestrained Human Reproduction
Humans have a proclivity to multiply themselves endlessly. The basis comes from the natural instinct to “preserve the species”. However, when combined with our capacity to compete and eradicate all other species which may otherwise compete with us for the natural resources supply, the result is extremely dangerous. Too many people and too few resources. When that happens in the natural world, the ecological equilibrium is broken and the species goes into extinction. Yes we are capable of so much destruction but we are capable of creation as well. We are capable to understand what happens when we reproduce ourselves incessantly, and to regulate how many new humans we bring into this world. We need to use that capacity to auto-regulate our reproduction rate.
At the level of individuals the world is full of children with no food, no health services, no education and no protection at all. Charity will not solve the problem, because charity can only cover a miniscule portion of what needs to be dealt with, and because it does not change the unfair resource allocation that is at the basis of the world poverty crisis.
I think it is barbaric that we have not built a society that can provide for the new children that we bring into this world and I think it is barbaric that individuals bring children into this world that they know they cannot provide for. The consequence of this irresponsible behavior is children starving to death or becoming prey of those with no moral restraints to trade with death and pain.
Religion in Barbaric Times
Religion is one of those things that we humans create to manage and support our emotional needs. Because it has been present and because it was actually born at the same time the human species was born, it is evident that it is an important part of human life and seems to be required by the complex brains of the homo sapiens-sapiens.
However, in its evolutionary journey, the archaic forms of religion often times represent a burden which hinders the evolution of the human species.
Here are some examples of this:
It is barbaric that so many humans think their religion is the only “true religion” without realizing that every society has the capability and the right to develop their own religions, in accordance to their own needs. This barbaric feature is particularly damaging for life quality in this planet, because it pushes people in the direction of attacking or killing those who do not share their religious beliefs. This is a big problem, because there is no way that all people would ever agree about what kind of religious practice they want to follow. Or even about whether or not they want to have a religious practice at all.
It is hard to believe that in this day and age we still have religious leaders speaking in public about their particular beliefs as if they were an official truth or as if their beliefs would have been proven or as if they would be shared by all. Have you noticed this? They speak on TV, on the radio, in churches, in public places, etc., with such authority regardless of the fact that what they believe is just a point of view of a particular individual who is part of a particular religion. Very strange… Of course everybody should have the right to believe in whatever they want, Santa Claus, fairy tales and angels in heaven included, but hey… respect the rights of others to choose whatever they want to believe.
I think it is barbaric when we confuse the domain of religion with the domain of science or the domain of civil laws. Religion is about faith and it is okay to believe just for the sake of it. But science is about proof, shared world research and knowledge and civil laws are about social agreements about what is allowed and what is not allowed for all, regardless of their particular religion. Laws are about rights and responsibilities for everybody. Just confuse those or try to mix them with religious beliefs, and what you will get is fanaticism, war and blind violence. Just look around, read the news, see what is going on in the world and you will recognize right away what I am talking about.
You want another example of what is really primitive? Taxes exemptions for religious organizations. Oh God, that one is really dangerous! Think about it for a moment; as a religious leader, you can do almost whatever type of activity; indoctrinate people with whatever kind of belief, no matter how weird, extreme or farfetched may be; you just label that as religious practice and you will be free of any oversight. In the material world, everybody has to pay taxes, business people, doctors, teachers, construction workers, artist, authors, etc. Everybody! Except who..? the religious guys! No wonder it has become so popular a business everywhere with new guys inventing new religions all the time! This is the one activity in which you can become obscenely wealthy, extracting money from people in the most bizarre and unscrupulous ways, even from the poorest people and nobody can take a look at your accounting or ask for taxes. Why? Don’t the religious leaders like money? They don’t spend? They don’t accumulate? Don’t they buy mansions, cars, jewels, and everything that money can buy like the rest of us? Why religion is better and deserves much more slack than those who create actual knowledge which can be proven and shared by all people? What makes them different so they don’t have to abide by the rule of the tax laws like the rest of us?
Well… I am not sure who started this absurd practice… but it is still rampant in most countries in the world. Even criminal organizations can succeed in money laundering just by making their dirty money go through religious organizations for that money to come back to the financial world all clean and tidy. I wonder if that is happening… what do you think?
One other aspect of the barbaric form of religion is their resistance to updating their body of beliefs so that they can serve better the needs of people as the human society changes with the passing of time. I understand that religion and faith represent traditions and in this sense we can understand the value of keeping some ancient parts of the religious ceremonies, so that people can feel connected to their ancestors from past times; however when the old forms are taken to an extreme we get to situations in which –because some individuals many centuries ago believed this or that- people of this XXI century is forced to do such things as cover their head with a towel, their face with a veil, or not allowed to decide who they want to share their sexual life with. Even basic human rights such as women´s right to learn how to write and read can be questioned by those defending archaic religious writings created by people who did not even know that the earth was not flat!
Because of this refusing to update their doctrine and beliefs, we have religious ideas conflicting with important matters of more modern creation, such as human rights, equality of men and women, education rights and care for all children regardless of gender or social class.
When the barbaric epoch of human kind ends, universal human rights will be present, respected and enforced both, by law and by consciousness, while outdated religious beliefs which does not respect them, will be as strange and rejected as any other way of crime, which should be prevented and avoided for the good of all. In an evolved society, civilized humans will develop religious practices that will not conflict with the declaration of universal human rights and with other higher values that we should continue developing we continue our journey to evolution.
And of course as long as they keep taking money from people, religious officials will pay taxes and will be accountable for their business and wealth, as everybody else.
Health as Merchandise
One more example of barbarism in the era of wild capitalism is the idea that health is just another merchandise that business people can make profit from, and not a basic human right. It is astonishing that in the same country with one of the highest per capita income in the world, with a numerous number of Nobel Prizes and some of the most important Universities and research institutions in the world (the US), there are still people –who are supposed to be intelligent- saying that universal health care rights are a “dangerous expression of socialism”, as if social rights were something to be scared about.
Why is good health care a privilege for just the few in many allegedly democratic countries? Why is a syringe paid ten times or more their street price in hospital bills when mass purchase should make them cheaper and not more expensive? Why is it okay for some doctors to afford Ferraris or mansions while decent working class people cannot afford to get their assistance when they fall sick?
Why medical services and medications are a gold mine to be shared only by pharmaceutical companies, hospital owners and insurance companies, but patients don’t have a serious saying on the matter?
I think that if we were real Homo Sapiens Sapiens, health care would be a right and not a merchandise.
I think it is barbaric that so many people with limited real education, still worry more about labels such as “socialism” or “capitalism” rather than considering the hard realities that most of people have to deal with in real everyday life.
Slaughtering of Elephants for Greed or Sadistic Entertainment
From the many examples of destruction of species and attacks against ecosystems I would only mention here that in the last year (August 2013) 10,000 elephants have been killed by cruel poachers and the heartless greed of ivory traffickers who cannot let them live, because they want their tusks to turn them into money. To this we should add those elephants which are killed not just for their tusks, but for barbaric pleasure of underdeveloped people -like Juan Carlos, the king of Spain- who feel proud of killing an innocent animal, who has no way of knowing the danger that a crazy man with a big gun represents for them.
This is of course, just one example of what humans who do not qualify as real homo sapiens-sapiens, are doing to so many endangered species such as rhinos, tigers, gorillas, and so many others!
These are just some examples of what I started noticing about humans since I was a child. Examples of what made me think that humans are still quite primitive and that their society is barbaric in so many ways. However, if the human beings are mostly predators and so persistently inclined to harm each other, what is the point of trying to go against that? It would be possible that that would be just “our true nature” and if that was the case… is there any hope for change?
Well… I happen to believe there is hope, and let me tell you why.
Here are some examples that prove that the human being has hope and that we can actually choose evolution instead of destruction and values instead of primitive instinct:
Slavery Becoming Illegal
Slavery was legal and considered “right” by a majority of people in most of the world prior to 1860. One hundred and fifty years later, it is illegal all over the world and while it is still happening in more countries than you would imagine, most people nowadays would strongly oppose the idea that humans can possess other humans and use them as personal property.
Women were not allowed to vote to elect those in charge of the government in developed countries until well into the twentieth century (even Switzerland did not grant women the right to vote until 1971). Now it is considered a universal right, even though some countries still keep chained to the ancient way of rulers who appoint themselves regardless of people’s will.
While child labor is still happening, there is a growing tendency to fight it and to provide education for all children.
Of course we are far from providing food, housing, health care and education for all, but at least there is a discussion about it taking place, and there are a lot of people out there who care, and who are fighting for those rights, not just for them, but for everyone.
Ethics Display in History
Throughout history, inspiring examples of what an evolved soul looks like, helps us to remember that yes, humans are capable of doing better and that there is hope.
Let´s consider an outstanding example of ethics which took place during times in which abuse, invasion and robbery was considered not only normal but even praised and rewarded. The passionate sermon of Dominican Friar Antonio de Montesinos, whom in 1510 would defy his Spaniards fellowman –soldiers, officials of the king and church members- for enslaving, abusing and killing the Taino Indians from La Española Island (nowadays Dominican Republic) that they had just invaded. This is how he spoke in front of the barbaric behavior of his own society:
“…Tell me by what right of justice do you hold these Indians in such a cruel and horrible servitude? On what authority have you waged such detestable wars against these people who dealt quietly and peacefully on their own lands? Wars in which you have destroyed such an infinite number of them by homicides and slaughters never heard of before. Why do you keep them so oppressed and exhausted, without giving them enough to eat or curing them of the sicknesses they incur from the excessive labor you give them, and they die, or rather you kill them, in order to extract and acquire gold every day… Are these not people? Do they not have rational souls? … DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND THIS? DON’T YOU FEEL THIS?”
I can think of the dignity of Socrates in the Classic Greece, drinking with serenity the cicuta poison that would kill him, while his friends were crying and offering him a way to escape from prison and from the death sentence that the Athens authorities had ruled against him, just for his love of truth and for asking questions that were uncomfortable to the politicians and other prominent members of his time: *
“…Why would I escape betraying the rules of the city which gave me an education and nurtured me for my entire life..?” **
**(you can read this story in Socrates´ Apology in the Dialogues of Plato)
Art –together with science- is one of the clearest signs of evolution beyond instinct. The examples abound all over the world in all times.
Van Gogh and Beethoven
It can be the beauty of the famous “Starry Night” painting of Vincent Van Gogh who before taking the grave and extreme measure of killing himself to escape the –by then- unbearable pain of his mental illness, cared enough to share with the rest of us the amazing beauty that he was able to see in the mystery of a night full of stars; or the passion of Beethoven, who being deaf was still able to create and give for humanity his Ninth Symphony.
The powerful vision of Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky whose madman character in the film Nostalghia (Domenico), addresses an indifferent crowd in the city:
“… just look at nature and you will see that life is simple.
we must return to the point we were,
to the point where we took the wrong turn,
we must go back to the main foundation of life,
without dirtying the water,
what kind of world is this
if it is a madman who has to tell you,
that you should be ashamed of yourselves…?”
(you can watch the speech by clicking on one of the following three links. Better if you see the full movie, but be aware this is art filming, with no typical commercial movie plot.)
In the world of science we know that a lot of scientific discovery has to do with questionable purposes, such as the technological progress which takes place nurtured by the urgency of imminent wars. But as we look back in history, we can see that most of the scientific quest took place just for the pure love for knowledge, and the fact that scientists have to make a living like anyone else´s does not change that the passion for learning and understanding is a pure component of the soul of the homo sapiens-sapiens.
Just for instance; I heard the other day a young scientist in a documentary about the Higgs Boson discovery and what it meant for him. More than his words, what struck me was the intent and the joy in his eyes as he shared about the Higgs´ Boson research. You could really feel his fascination to find out what the world is really made of and how that understanding can change the story of the human kind. He was there not for the money or the fame but for exquisite experience of understanding and unveiling a mystery that nevertheless surrounds us all the time. Once again, seeing a persona like that, made me admire and enjoy what human beings are capable to do.
Everyday People´s Instances
At a personal level, we all get to see countless incidents which show beautiful expressions of the human soul (and yes, evolution has a lot to do with the development of the soul):
It could be the beauty of a Grandpa’s thumb being held by the tiny hand of his recently born granddaughter. It may be the generosity of a child who shares his lunch with his little pal, who is not as lucky as he is, for having a mom who has the time and cares to make sure he does not go to school without a nice lunch; or the beauty of a human being comforting the one who is terminally ill with a loving hug, because that is all she can do.
Every time I see human gestures like these, my hope for what we can be gets renewed.
Then if I go to the soul records of experiences I have had and people I have met, I find there has been so much to love the human beings for. I have seen so much beauty!
El Mirador (the lookout) Maya
I remember the moment in which the surrounded beauty of the Guatemalan Jungle seen from way above, hit me taking my breath away, just as I arrived to the top La Danta pyramid in El Mirador; the pre-classic cradle of the Mayan civilization. At the top of La Danta, the circular view of the earth´s shape surrounds me; no lights or cities can be seen from here to the end of the horizon, 360 degrees around. I feel so connected with everything and everyone around me to the horizon and beyond… that I immediately realize why they built this amazing place! Thousands of years ago, and it is still here… doing its miracle.
Talking about people I have met, I remember Manuel, a Nahua indigenous man. He was a humble peasant in a rural tiny village in the mountains of Sierra Norte de Puebla. After a day of hard work farming the land, he was happily determined to share with me his little amount of tortillas and beans, which he had as his only meal for that day. There were no restaurants or city type food supplies around. That was quite a generous and valuable offering!
Remembering Manuel, from Santa Maria Tepetzintla, makes me feel hope in what we are and it what we can be.
I also felt hope after getting to know Guadalupe Guerrero, a lady in her mid-thirties who arrived many years ago to one of my jungle workshops by the Waterfalls of Aguazul in Chiapas, México. Her arrival was astonishing because instead of showing up with the typical adventurous kind of attire that you would expect for an expedition-like kind of workshop, she was dressing like an office secretary who would have just arrived for another day of work at her office, with heels, purse, skirt and a funny formal coat.
-What are you doing here?
– I came to participate in your workshop
-But you did not enroll or get the instructions and don’t even have the required equipment and personal gear to be here!
– I don’t care. Aren´t you Victor Sanchez who is supposed to support people in their personal development? I came here to work on my personal development and you have to take me!
That was bizarre! Where did she come from? Why was she so rude? I was intrigued… So I accepted her, which –later I thought- turned out to be a great mistake. She was a person with no manners, very aggressive and not good to follow instructions. She was a pain in the neck for those who had “the luck” of having her on their team. She was very difficult to deal with and tough with everyone.
At some point we learned that she became harsh and not-trusting-people because she had been abused and hurt repeatedly by her own father at an early age in her life. Of course there was a story behind her peculiar ways!
But anyway, somehow she made it through our fifteen day demanding program. At first, I did not like her, but I respected her determination. Still I have to admit that I thought she had no big chance to succeed in the business of changing herself for the better. But it turned out that that was just my imagination… The truth was that after that work in the jungle, she continued to participate in a continual work group that I lead for about a year… week after week. At the end of the program when I sent everybody home to not create dependency and so that they will do and apply what they had been learning from the group work in their everyday life, everybody freaked out.
Some got angry, others got scared and others just felt disappointed. Most of them just did not know how to take it. Except for Guadalupe Guerrero: she did not care! I wanted the group to end and everybody go to work on their own. She said no.
– We can continue working by ourselves as a group; we don’t need a Victor Sanchez to tell us what to do.
She convinced the others and they decided to keep working as a self-directed group. For more than a year she kept the group together and they made a very good personal development work; all by their own.
She changed so much in the process, to the point of being accepted by everyone in the group as a wise person who even learned how to be nice to others. She gained the whole group´s respect, and under her leadership, they all made a lot of progress in their personal development, in ways that I had not anticipated.
She surprised me so much and that is how Lupita Guerrero became for me a life teacher. She taught me that people are infinitely more mysterious than what my little mind can anticipate and their potential much larger. Seeing her change and her growth made me realize that despite hardships and trauma, human beings are able to change and grow, and really build their own destiny.
Antonio Cuchuri (Marakame)
Finally, I want to share an example from my adventures among the Wixarika indigenous people. In my book “Toltecs of the New Millennium” I tell about the night when I understood what the Marakame -the Wixarika shaman who is appointed to sing the voice of the “Grand Father Fire” during the ceremonies- really does and why what he does is so important for the whole world. He showed me -with his actions- what it means for a human being to have a deep connection with the forces of nature in a sacred way, and how when we take care of that connection what we do helps not only ourselves and not even just our children but everyone in the world. I know I may be talking a little bit obscure here, but please bear with me on this one. I just want to share with you that I have seen so much beauty coming out of that special place, from which special people like Marakame Antonio are able to operate. It is a much higher, effective and fulfilling place than what we have when we remain stuck in the lower levels of the predatory instincts which are also part of our biological background.
That special place… we all have it in us.
We just need to find it.
The samples of what is noble and inspiring in human beings are all around us. They are In every part of the world and every period of history. It is very important that we don’t forget that they exist and that we persist in looking for them, despite the negative propaganda of the news shows. We need to keep alive the confidence that we humans are capable of making it so much better and that we will make it better.
Knowing that we can be angels or monsters, should bring us back to a real sense of responsibility, in which we can and we should do the difference. Not just for us but also for all those that will come after us.
Working for that noble cause, is also a way to connect with a sense of life that transcends the narrow limits of our biological life time. This connection that transcends time will give us life too. It is perhaps the only perspective in which we will be able to touch a bit of eternity; by being an intentional part of the long journey through the evolutionary path of human kind.
Now, I invite you to take a look at what is our dream following the link above.