"It seems as if the world is entering the beginnings of a new revolutionary era: the era of 'Global Political Awakening.' While this 'awakening' is materializing in different regions, different nations and under different circumstances, it is largely influenced by global conditions." - Andrew Gavin Marshall, Center for Research on Globalization.
There are certain times when out of the hype of media stories comes something that actually transforms society. Out of the humdrum of political banter comes something truly novel. Every few decades we witness a historical occasion, but what we're seeing in the Middle East is of unique importance, not only for the region, but for the emerging planetary culture.
The spirit of revolution emerges often when times are darkest -- and what better place than the Middle East, an area of the world racked by endless violence and power struggle, pushed and pulled by hegemonic empires. Not long ago, it was the Soviet Union that lost their footing to the Western powers, now it's the United States and the West itself that may be losing control over the region.
The spark was set in Tunisia, and it can be said that websites like Twitter and Wikileaks helped influence certain events (such as the exposure of corruption in Tunisia, helping fuel protestors). In the West, the internet helped resurrect the once-demonized news network, Al-Jazeera, which was all but shunned in America post 9-11. Both culturally and politically, certain holds the West has had on the world are breaking down.
Turning of the Ages
What Andrew Marshall mentioned in his article holds a deeply significant and archetypal truth. Over a thousand years ago, the Viking invasions united the European people in fear, foreshadowing the eventual emergence of a European civilization.
In history, emergence is often heralded by darkness. So in our own age, the people of the world are again united in global strife; war, hegemony, industrialization, pollution and ecocide. We threaten to unite the entire world in a collective crisis, in which the only way out is up. Like previous civilizations before ours, the planetary human society is being born in the dark of the night. It's also very interesting that Egypt was one of the birthplaces of civilization. As we turn again on the spiral of time, we intersect with the ancient past and Egypt once again becomes an important symbolic (and literal) expression of transformation.
It's a good sign to hear that Muslim and Christian protestors have come together in a revolutionary spirit, protecting one another while they prayed.
This cultural revolution is also very similar to the cultural fires that swept across Europe in the push, first, for Constitutional Monarchies, and later on for complete revolutions in the form of democratic governments. In retrospect, we can understand that the advent of the printing press, and the subsequent literate society that emerged, helped fuel the cultural transformation at the time (as well as the scientific revolution).
It would be a mistake to ignore the impact the internet is having on our modern society. Like the printing press, it has radically altered the way we get information, and more so, the way we come together. The very structure of the web favors participation, transparency and collaboration. It has subsequently made it possible for websites like Wikileaks to ignite the protests in Tunisia.
If we were to pause for a moment and try to glimpse the larger picture at work in our society today, we might say we're witnessing a transference of power from industrial nation states, based on hierarchy where the center controls the periphery--to decentralized and noetic polities of collaboration and participation. This shift is not just another revolution to add to the pages of history, it's a very alteration in the structure of human society, not seen since the birthplace of civilization. Egypt's significance resounds as a symbol for human evolution.
Staff of Osiris, symbol of transformation & spiritual metamorphosis.
Civilization itself is based upon a center (city) that controls the periphery (agriculture, resources, peasants), and so we can liken the very structure of civilization to a kind of "collective ego," whose nature is hierarchical.
Perhaps, spiritually speaking, the death of a controlling "center" is a kind of spiritual initiation for human kind; an invitation to transform to a new kind of human life in which the center is everywhere and nowhere, and the people of the world are united in a democratic culture that is far more complex than we can imagine now.
The shift from a culture based upon the consumption of subterranean fuels to the open energy of wind and sky, from bordered nations to a literal open "web" (akin to Teilhard de Jardin's noosphere) could have a profound impact on our psyche.
In order for this transformation to take place, we have to recognize that oppressive forces offer us an opportunity to transform something leaden into gold, or something we consider to be impure and corrupt into something sublime. What was once a triumphant expression of power and dominion over nature, and other human beings, has now become a tomb we must learn to break free from, and so our global crisis now unites us in a global transcendence. I suspect that this is only the beginning of truly radical and evolutionary changes for human society.