Chapter 16: Fear of the Future
The first question:
To me the future of the East appears bleak whichever way one looks at it - either poverty and starvation through fatalism, or Westernization through capitalism - for is it not necessary for the East to become West before people again become interested in their inner search? Is it not necessary for the people of the East to become materially rich before their spiritual poverty again becomes evident?
But the burden of the West already lies heavy on the world: the atomic bomb; violence through frustration; the automatization of the soul; the destruction of the forests and the pollution of the air and sea so that it is uncertain whether the environment can maintain its delicate balance. Can the world support another West?
The future only appears bleak, but it has always appeared so. This is not anything new. You can go as far back as possible in human history, to the very first moment of human beginnings when Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden, and you will find the future has always looked bleak. Just think of Adam and Eve being thrown out of the garden of God and the doors being slammed behind them. How was the future? It must have appeared very bleak. All that they had known was being taken away. Their security, their safety, their world, everything was being taken away. What future hope was there? Only darkness, death. It must have been frightening.
And this is not only a parable: each time a child is born the future looks bleak, because again the womb - the safe secure environment of the womb - is taken away from the child, and the helpless child is expelled. What do you think about the child? Psychoanalysts say that the greatest trauma is the birth trauma, and the person suffers it his whole life. The word trauma comes from a root which means “wound.” The birth trauma is the greatest wound; it is very rare to find a person whose birth trauma is healed.
It heals only when a person becomes enlightened, because when a person becomes enlightened he is again in the eternal womb of God; otherwise the wound goes on and on hurting.
Your whole life you try to hide that wound, but by hiding it, it cannot disappear. Each child being born, coming out of the birth canal, must be feeling the future is bleak; and each age has felt it. Because the future is unknown, that’s why it looks bleak.