by Antonia Martinez, Ph.D.
One of the most intense karmic dramas to unfold in recent years-the annihilation of New York City's World Trade Center-has sent a tumultuous shockwave through the consciousness of the world. The collective consciousness of Humanity was besieged with unforgettable, nightmarish images of people jumping to their deaths in attempts to save their lives, which had suddenly been threatened with extinction by the burning twin towers. The subsequent collapse of two of America's most recognizable pillars of power may signal the collapse of a paradigm in this country and the world.
Early Tuesday morning, on September 11, New York's World Trade Center came crumbing down. It was the result of a devastating, terrorist attack on the United States that also demolished a portion of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., forced evacuations of government and landmark building across the country, and shutdown air traffic and financial markets nationwide. Two hijacked planes pummeled the faces of New York's famous twin towers. The landmark skyscrapers, which were also major communication and command towers, demolished some of the surrounding buildings in New York's financial district as they collapsed. An avalanche of smoke and rubble engulfed the streets of Lower Manhattan, which temporarily resembled the streets of Pamplona during the running of the bulls as people fled for their lives. News footage of the major money-mecca now reduced to rubble resembled a mix of old World War II clips, scenes from a Godzilla movie and special effects from the film, "Independence Day." It left a chilling, apocalyptic vision of the smoldering island-city of Manhattan.
In the devastating physical and emotional aftermath of the terrorists attack, the City That Never Sleeps was shut down. "Not since Pearl Harbor," some would say, has anything like this occurred in the United States. "This is something I never expected to see," a New York news anchor commented. And her comment was an important example of some of the psycho-spiritual underpinnings of this disastrous event. The destruction of the World Trade Center was a prime objective of another terrorist attack back in 1993. Anti-U.S. sentiment has been steadily growing for decades with unofficial "Americans Keep Out" signs cropping up in numerous countries around the world. The terrorists' war against American people and their American ways has become increasingly heavy-handed over the years. The unacknowledged emotional impact of our relationship with the rest of the world is perhaps what helped make this attack so unforeseeable in America's collective mind.
The scope of what we call everyday life, and the parameters of what we conceptually think of as "our world" had drastically expanded in a manner of minutes once it was clear that the nation was under attack. As the unconscionable level of death and destruction hit in New York, Washington and other parts of the United States one right after another, the mix of prayer, song, shock and cheers that went on simultaneously in the world revealed the ghastly state of our current human condition as well as a whole new dynamic or rage against the Machine.
Reportedly with the aid of knives and box cutters, international terrorists successfully commandeered commercial flights and outwitted America's technological sophistication; it was like a dramatization of the inner conflict between Humanity's primal intelligence and its modern mind. At first it seemed a horrible plane accident. But then the second hijacked plane hijacked our false sense of security as it sliced through the second World Trade Center tower like a knife through a soft stick of butter, simultaneously cutting through our illusion of invincibility-one of America's most dangerous and long-standing ego-trips that goes back even before the time when the overcrowded, financial powerhouse called Manhattan was little more than an empty lot worth a measly $24.
The World Trade Center, as well as the Pentagon, represent a certain paradigm-a particular model, pattern and standard of thinking, being and doing-active in parts of the American and global consciousness. It has been a paradigm that, over the years, has come to value capitalism and convenience, opportunism and opulence, and dominion and distinction at the expense of Humanity's collective well-being, evolution, and basic sense of community. Did the world witness the collapse of that paradigm and the foreshadowing of a shift of power when the World Trade Center and parts of the Pentagon came crashing down?
The landscape of American and global consciousness has changed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, there was a call for an international, collaborative effort to help the victims, catch the "faceless cowards" who did this and put and end to terrorism for good (ironically, collaboration was one of the magical powers that made the terrorist attack so effective.) "We are in this together," some government official would say to the citizens and leaders of the world. It seemed that at a deep, emotional level America, infamous for its "all about us" and "F*** the world" attitude, came to an instant realization that its place in the world was not untouchable, that the rest of the world really did matter and that a safe existence has to be a group effort. Even with all the military, political and economic reassurances experts and officials repeatedly gave to the nation, America's global call for help seemed to echo a new conscious understanding: "What you do affects me. And what you don't do affects me also."
This writer, probably like most other Americans (especially other New Yorkers), finds herself wondering, "What's next?" The nation, surely, has a newfound appreciation for what could be called the "continuum of experience" that makes it abundantly clear that the decisions and events that we think of as isolated incidents have a continuous, intertwining relationship. They never really end, they're never really over; these incidents 'conspire' together to create the experience of whatever comes next.
Humanity now finds itself at an important juncture in its evolution as a society. To heal itself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, global society has an urgent need to collaborate on what comes next. But in determining what comes next, there needs also to be a definite awareness and agreement of where the continuum of experience needs to take us a society. Now just a remnant of something the used to be, the gaping hole where the World Trade Center once stood has created an important opening in the global psyche. An eerie, jagged fragment of the front entrance of one of the towers, which is all that was left standing of the World Trade Center, symbolizes our passage through and important gateway in the human experience.
A new world, a new civilization and a new network of global communication beg to be designed and erected. Simply returning as quickly as possible to business as usual will bring the nation back to the wasteland that the sands of time will gradually, but only temporarily, bury. More than anything else, we need a new paradigm, a new standard of thinking, acting and relating to the world. And we need a global commitment to the well-being of the entire human family. The universe as we knew it collapsed in on itself right before our eyes. The dream we were building is gone. The world now has a clearer view of the reality it's been constructing all along. As we become actively involved in the process of healing our people, our hearts and our minds we have a new opportunity to collectively decide what new pillars of power should really be the center of our world.