Entelechy is a word that Aristotle used to describe higher guidance and purpose. It assumes that all living things in Nature already know what they will become, referred to as “the end within”. For example, a majestic oak tree is the entelechy of an acorn. Entelechy is encoded into every living thing and has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
In ourselves, we have to accept old age, sickness, and death as realities – facts we cannot escape. In the same way that we have to accept the death of our own human bodily form, we possibly have to begin to accept the death of our civilisation. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “This civilisation of ours is just one civilisation, and one day it will have to die in order to make way for a new civilisation to arise. Many civilisations have already come and gone. Global warming may be an early symptom of the death of our current civilisation. If we don’t know how to stop our overconsumption, then the death of our civilisation will surely come more quickly. We can slow this process by stopping and being mindful, but the only way to do this is to accept the eventual death of our own physical form. Acceptance is made possible when we know that deep down our true nature is the nature of no-birth and no-death.”
The wisdom offered by the Buddha is that we accept impermanence – our own death and the death of our civilisation. And after having accepted that, we will have peace and strength and an awakening that will bring us together. No more hate, no more discrimination. We can then look at the changes we need to make and the technology that is available to it to help us save our beloved planet as we know it.