Signs that we are predisposed to work our way into predicaments have been around for a long time. And, the ways that we can evade them have been around for a long time as well. For example, the excerpts below come from Ancient Life in the American Southwest by Edgar Lee Hewett, published in 1930:
The European brought to the Indian world (America) a densely materialistic mind developed by ages of experience in human society that could have no other destiny than that which has overtaken it. It was a racial [by this I believe he means of this particular race] mind formed by immemorial strife in a restricted environment -- an environment which fostered distrust, war, destruction, armament for offense and defense. [p. 26]
Does any of this sound familiar? Keep in mind that this book was published in 1930. In some respects we have shifted more of this mindset into daily life through competitive practices that are wasteful. Think of how you are assaulted by advertisements as you go through your day.
In esthetic, ethical and social culture, the Indians surpassed their conquerors. In material development they fell short of the Europeans. In the use of physical forces they were the inferior race, as the ancient Greeks would have been, and the Hebrews. The races most advanced in material culture are not necessarily to be ranked as superior. Present indications point to their easy and rapid self-destruction instead of to the long maturity and slow decay of the races that placed the emphasis on the spiritual life. It is not certain that high material progress is conducive to racial longevity. [Indeed, the opposite is the case.] Efficiency in civilization is mainly a matter of racial point of view. [p.31]
I prefer the term mindful to spiritual. Mindful allows one to use all the information at one's disposal. For example, the religion of the natives of the Southwest was centered around trying to influence the source of weather. Now that we have a better idea of what causes weather, it would be more constructive to focus activities on preserving the system rather than on ceremonial rain dances. My comments here are not directed at any one culture, but at the entire culture. We are way past the time for defending any action that does not contribute to the rapid and comprehensive knowledge spreading that is required in this current predicament. Obama could have got off on the right foot by saying that we are not in a position to have but the briefest of inaugural activities. He could use the day to pull all the information out on the human predicament and share it with the general public. "While it is not time to panic, it is time to make some substantial changes."
The Pueblos exemplify to an extent not achieved by any other people in the world to my knowledge, except the Indians of Old Mexico and Central America to whom they are culturally related, the community type of social structure as distinct from the state or national type. There was no individual ownership in land. It belonged to the community, and individuals, heads of families, were granted the use of it by the council. [p.71]
What is the lesson to be derived from Pueblo communism? Simply that developing naturally as it did through the ages along with the color of the skin, and all the elements of his character, it was a good way for the Pueblo, as was his religion. That a similar system would fit a people of our race which has developed a totally different character through ages of totally different experience is as absurd as to expect the leopard to change his spots or the Ethiopian his skin by simple deciding to do so. [p.72]
A system based on mindfulness -- one that can develop political strength -- would in my opinion be based in the university. Not the university of today, but the university of the middle ages.
As I have repeatedly said, the religion of the Pueblos, as of all their cultural relatives, rests on two basic ideas: namely, belief in the unity of life as manifested in all things, and in a dual principle in all existence, fundamentally, male and female. [p.74-5]
Imagine a world where all religion was based on the "belief in the unity of life as manifested in all things."