The payoff of going through the transition from the House of the Tribe to the House of Humanity is very large. If we can make it across the painful threshold from our small but formerly comfortable dwelling space into this new and grander place, we gain an entire fascinating WORLD of people.
People to learn from, to visit, to photograph, to love, to sing to, to listen to, to argue with, to trade with, even to combine talents and efforts with, so as to accomplish great and noble tasks. The United Nations, the International Space Station and the Olympics are all House of Humanity works – absolutely impossible to accomplish in any smaller House.
Part of stepping across these metaphorical thresholds is the simple fact of outgrowing our present abode. We grow through all the available rooms of our self-absorbed childhood house until we are forced by the limited space to look for something better.
Another factor, though, is the supply of friendly guides who are already there, who convince us of the benefits and serve as role models or mentors.
Still another part of it, though, can be exterior forces that push us through. This type of transition can be decidedly un-smooth. In all too many places on our planet, we engage in dreadful activities – wars and genocide – which, because of their universality, appear to be House of Humanity works. Instead, they are the expressions of a determination not to step through a door into the next larger House. Think of a war as a defensive attempt to stay in your own tribal House. To do it by subjugating others to your way of life if you have the strength or, if you don’t, to convince them to leave you alone.
Moving out into the House of Family, we look back and discover that the House of Self is a tiny dollhouse. The House of the Tribe sheds the same sort of light on the House of Family. As we continue to grow, taking each transition in turn through these one-way doors, we look back and always find another dollhouse – a place too small for us to live in anymore.
Once we get to the House of Humanity, though, it’s hard to imagine it as a just another dollhouse. Learning to live in it is the job of lifetimes. The place is simply too big, too changeable, for us to ever really absorb it all. Surely this House must be the final one, the ultimate possibility we were born to experience. How could there be anything beyond a bustling, turbulent, creative seven-billion-member brotherhood?
I have reason to believe there is at least one more door, though.
There’s a great deal missing, even in this grandest of Houses. Having lived for all my adult years with the enormous mass of mankind around me, I’ve come to see that we in the House of Humanity are just as self-involved and self-absorbed as any of the occupants of those smaller houses. We are inward-looking and largely ignorant of what might lie outside.
More than that, nothing in the House of Humanity can account for the connection that clicked into place with Molly.
Molly was my key to this next door, but it took me more than a decade to figure out how to step through it. Even with plenty of people gone before me – through portals of compassion or ecological concern – making the transition was no small chore.
In the midst of all the wonderful things I’m discovering here in this new House, I look back and see, to my dismay, that the apparently boundless dwelling place of most of the people on the planet really is just another dollhouse. Busily engaged in the inbred affairs of the House of Humanity, most of us are unaware there is a larger space in which to adventure and learn, a place wider and more interesting than anything we’ve had – a place that will welcome us as the larger selves we could become, a place that has a real need for our human talents.
This is a House that can’t be complete without us, but that needs an “us” as we’ve never been.
The discomforts of this particular transition are stronger than any before, and the main one, as ever, is leaving behind the old. Old toys, old culture, old ways of thought. But as we take our place AMONG the other creatures of Earth rather than over them or apart from them, one of the many payoffs is a kinship, a sense of belonging, off the scale of anything we’ve ever known.
Someday I WILL write that book I spoke of earlier. I’ll tell what I’ve learned about the Big Picture, and lay out clear directions for how to get to this bigger place beyond that final door.
It will be a collection of conceptual highlights, the way-points and directional signs that facilitated my own escape from the last dollhouse, and out into the House of Earth.