Since the dawn of humankind, we have observed the cycles of nature and struggled to survive in these powerful patterns. Life and death, night and day, the seasons, the ebb and flow of the tides, the arcs of the sun and moon, inspire human beings to “make sense” of these phenomena with explanatory narratives. In our relationships to each other, these cyclic patterns show up as love and fear, trust and mistrust, creative collaboration, and destructive adversity. We live in these cyclic patterns, moment by moment. We can accept them and adapt to them creatively, or we can challenge them and attempt to control them. These patterns of conflict inform much of human history.
Nature’s Challenge: The Dance of Death
The COVID pandemic presents another of Nature’s challenges to humankind. Add it to the global list of climate change, mass migrations, socioeconomic disparity, and political instability. Species survival has never experienced such complexity on a worldwide scale. Human Creative Intelligence, the innate creative response to adversity that mobilizes the coordination of group action and cooperation, is facing rapidly escalating challenges from nature.
Life against death is perpetual. Humankind is struggling to recover our biopsychosocial balance with the biosphere. The ancient zero-sum game of “man against nature” has misguided our application of science, technology, commerce, and religious beliefs into a self-sabotaging pattern of repetitious creativity and destructivity. COVID has revealed vast cultural differences in mortality based on racial and socioeconomic demographics.
We still create cultural systems from the perception of infantile reality: me against you, winner take all. We have yet to create cultural system from the kindergarten curriculum: take turns and share. Greed drives socioeconomic and military-industrial systems. Wealth and power hold the world hostage to the will of a small percentage of people. Human values remain a minority in the face of the compulsive quest for corporate and national dominance.
Generating a Global Mind from the Global Brain
Our invention of the internet empowers the potential to generate a Global Mind from the Global Brain of the internet. The evolution of a self-regulating Global Mind is inevitable. Will it be charged with humanistic values, reciprocal trust, and empathy? Or will it simply extend the 10,000-year-old structure of master-subject culture that has permeated human history. Currently the internet is being used as a self-centered stimulant, largely mindless, to trigger adrenalin driven excitement that drives behaviors to enrich the owners of the system. The hamster-wheel patterns of repetitious, compulsive, greed-driven behaviors persist.
The only potential for self-parenting is our inborn individual Creative Intelligence. Using the skills for reflective cognition, we can empower creativity to rewire the neural networks of our brain that can collectively change patterns of civilization.
Nature’s Gift: COVID Time and Creative Intelligence Practice
The paradox of surviving a pandemic requires both isolation and cooperation. The implicit “gift” from COVID is the time mandated for isolation and social distancing. Using the gift of time for contemplation, meditation, and reinventing ourselves in relation to others empowers resilience to the adversity of isolation.
It is natural to suffer from stress and pain with separation and loss of loved ones, triggering cascades of toxic hormones that cause mental and emotional illnesses and self-sabotaging behaviors. The consequence is a post-covid wave of mental and emotional disorders. Depression, anxiety, addiction, family violence, obesity, and many other serious illnesses.
Chronic stress hijacks the brain, leaving it without mindful or social self-regulation. The emotions of stress, anger, fear, and confusion, drive behaviors. The result is chaos, violence, and crime.
Creative Intelligence and Wellness
Redefining Wellness is critical to our survival. Wellness springs from the practice of Creative Intelligence, a creative approach to the practice of living. Wellness is kindled in mindful awareness of the present moment. One’s perception of reality, whether it is painful or pleasurable, is relative to the individual’s perception and experience. From the mundane experiences of hygiene, nutrition, sleeping, and exercise, our personal wellness forms the foundation of our resilience to stress and our joy in creating meaningful lives and relationships.
Wellness flourishes when we access our inborn Creative Intelligence. Nature has endowed us with biological resilience to adversity and an innate narrative for Creativity—the resilient body and the creative story. Creative Intelligence emerges with mindful integration of Nature’s gifts: Resilience + Creativity = Creative Intelligence.
Sustaining Wellness through the pandemic is a biopsychosocial communication process that mitigates the natural stress reaction to the threat of chaos and death. Contemplation, cooperation, and the coordination of action are critical to this process of stress regulation.
The COVID pandemic stress load on individuals, families, and the economy has yet to be fully evaluated. Far beyond the death toll, chronic, toxic stress is triggering a tidal wave of mental and emotional damage. Human Creative Intelligence is challenged to develop Wellness Training for the species on a global level. Wellness practices mitigate stress and promote creativity and resilience. Cooperation in all fields of knowledge from science, the arts, economics, spiritual practices, sports, politics, must lead the way in placing Wellness as the most important asset for species survival.
Impermanence and Relativity: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science
Like a physician for the human condition, Buddha’s Four Noble Truth’s defined Impermanence as the core of all human suffering. Fear of the loss of our attachments to our body, our families, our possessions triggers stress. Chronic stress is toxic to the body, the mind, and society. The COVID pandemic reminds us of our impermanence.
Nature’s challenge to our species with extinction level threats, from comets to Covid, recruits our Creative Intelligence for new survival strategies. Buddha identified our conscious awareness as the core of our perception of reality. Like Einstein, he identified “reality” as relative to the observer. If we train our mindful awareness to accept the “truth” of impermanence and relativity, we can enjoy our lives with gratitude in the present, even in the face of disaster. Neuroscience has demonstrated that mindful practices empower resilience to toxic, traumatic stress.
The Creative Brain: Being and Doing
The brain has built in creative powers that emerge in childhood and can be cultivated throughout life. Cultivating the brain state for creativity is accomplished by the simple act of childlike daydreaming. The only requirement to activate Creative Intelligence is secure emotional attachments to others in a calm body and clear communication. The ability to practice this critical process begins in the family during childhood.
Humanistic Optimism: Art, Science, and Species Tribalism Imperative
Historically, science and art help people across cultures adapt. Both the arts and sciences are grounded in the brain states required for Creative Intelligence. To meet Nature’s challenge, the universal acceptance of the arts and sciences holds the key to collective survival. Emotional self-regulation as a Species requires shared narratives of trust and respect. Science is dependent on peer review, not faith. Art communicates directly to conscious and nonconscious cognition and emotion. Art and science kindle wonder, activate the creative imagination, and bond people with different values. New information continually redefines action to successfully live and work together. Any social structure that empowers collective, global resilience will be grounded in Creative Intelligence and manifest in science and promote art.