No Impact Man, the dude from New York, has this question in his blog :
“When you look at the climate problem and the difficulties we have dealing with it and you combine that with a consumer culture that doesn’t seem to be making people happy, you’d think we’d be able to find a solution. You’d think we’d be able to do better by ourselves.
But things are moving so slowly. What I want to know is why? What is the fundamental human flaw? What is the single underlying assumption about how we live or what we do that is causing us to damage ourselves and the habitat we depend upon for our health, happiness and security?
What is the underlying problem with everything? What is it about us that, if we could work on it, would solve our difficulties? In short, what is your unifying theory of all our problems?”
Many people have posted their answers as comments. I reproduce my comment here. If you have thought about this, please provide your thoughts as comments in the above post.
“All of spirituality has been at this problem for a long time – from the Buddha to Christ to the many other mystics / yogis of the world.
Fundamentally, each of us think that we have an individual psychological existence that is trying to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Hence, we are constantly at war with others who come in the way of this objective. This results in we constantly living in either the past (remembering painful events) or the future (hoping for wonderful events). But, when one stills ones own mind and carefully trains it, we realize the falseness of this concept of an individual. Varying religions refer to this differently as maya (hinduism) or the original sin (christianity) or dukkha (buddhism). This is the root cause of all trouble.
The human society and all of its constructs is primarily for the human mind, of the human mind and by the human mind. Given that the human mind is dysfunctional (that it cannot be still for even a brief while, the individual seldom has control over many of thoughts in it like fear, anger etc), no change in any construct is gonna result in any significant change in the way our society functions. Only a total revolt of the individual where the individual transforms himself / herself totally to let go of all conditionings and psychological fears and desires can heal the dysfunction of the mind. And only when the society that has a good number of such people, can all the violence in it start to heal.”