Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Flowing Water is Good, a Flood not so Much

I came across this blog entry by by Kyva Holman a few days ago while surfing the net . I thought it was  well said:

What is real is that humankind desperately needs to adapt an alternative to what Ken Wilber calls the “flatland” view pervasive in postmodern society. Far greater minds than mine have noted that tremendous economic, political, planetary, cosmic and karmic forces are coming to bear upon this time in the human saga. They require of us a monumental increase in the speed of accessing, processing and integrating seemingly incompatible phenomena into a whole which is synthetic and organic. The sheer volume of information available has outstripped our ability to use it effectively and appropriately. What is also real is that by some method – I will not attempt to name it here – humankind is in fact undergoing a spontaneous rise in consciousness. In every corner of the globe people are probing non-material realms and becoming deliberate co-creators of reality. I think it could be said then, without exaggeration, that the story of our era is a race between the forces of evolution and the forces of self-annihilation. ( I disagree somewhat with the last two sentences. Only a minority of us are taking the route of co-creators.)

Information is surging toward us at such a rate that we are not able to ingest it let alone digest it. The internet makes information of all kinds available literally at our fingertips. Considering how limited our access to real news is on the media, perhaps this flood of information is one way to control an internet that began as a government network but got out of government control before anyone saw it coming. Too much information too fast is the same as very little information.

I remember when I first began the serious project of reading cognizance-transforming literature.  I read  materials that raised my awareness and sometimes were so challenging they made chaos of my habitual mental arrangement. Then I would search until I found a particular way of arranging new information that would reconstruct me on another level, a level that would put the apparent contradictions to creative usage.

There is always a thrill when entering an intellectual venture into the unknown, both the danger and rapid ascension . This was as much a punch in the solar plexus as free falling down a mountain. In fact, mountains and the need to scale them are my favorite analogy. However, now there is so much material bombarding us at such an overwhelming speed that it can’t be assimilated, truly, too much of a good thing.  The same could be said of technology. The proliferation of media distribution via TV, computer and mobile devices is indigestible.  It comes barreling at us too fast to filter. We swallow a lot of flotsam and tide born garbage forced down our throats by the power of the surge.

Yet, back on land, there are cobblestone alleys where quality cafes of information can be found. However, for those raised on intellectual junk food they are located too far off the electronic freeway to notice from a speeding network. From the main highway, they are invisible.

The techno-world is like an addicting drug and it progresses for profit rather than for what it can do to improve life. Sometimes a new phone or computer comes out before you have time to acquaint yourself with all the mazelike complexities of the previous model. If you learned all the bells and whistles, you probably didn’t have time to do anything else. But perhaps you are a techi genius and if so, what a waste of talent.

I love computers, smart phones and cameras (four planets in Gemini). Electronics tug me in like a magnet. I find myself drifting to the electronic section of stores just to stroke, poke and caress new gadgets. Even old gadgets pull me in, the way paleontology pulls me back to my love of time travelling. But it is easy to forget the purpose behind the seduction, if there is one.

I still buy paper books and order several each month since the discovery of used books on Amazon.
Shadow on my Green Rocker
There is no doubt that electronic markets have changed buying especially in small towns.  Sitting in the upholstered green rocker each morning with a book a cup of coffee and a pen is my meditation. I read and write comments and insights on the margins. If I get really excited, I write in my paper journal as well. There is a sensual intimacy about this reading time that I can’t find on a tablet or keyboard. The cat feels it and jumps on top of the rocker above my head purring in accord. Early morning quiet time with electronics just doesn’t feel right.

After I first moved to Taos, I abandoned the 20th century (not the 21st, as this was a long time ago). I desperately needed to be near lots of red earth, junipers, pinons and buffalo grass.  It was vital to regenerate a connection with earth. Yet, after balance was achieved I needed to re-confront the world I left behind. For me a change in place was also a change in time/space,  although truthfully I never identified with that world. However, I brought my old computer with me though it was pre-internet and only useful for word-processing and my astrology program. Then in ’98 I sold some paintings, bought a Windows ‘98 computer and was stunned by the power to look up anything I wanted to explore. Back then, the internet was full of free information it was truly like a global village. I was in Gemini heaven. It was installed with Microsoft Office and the WinStar Astrology program. I was setup for magic. Later after upgrading, a friend gave me his previous edition of Photo Shop.Life seemed complete.

Nevertheless, the resources to acquire information are only the first step and with so much information available at such speed, we are often lost at that first step. Information is like food, it is worth only what you can assimilate. In-form-ation by definition must be integrated, and beyond that, it should transform you in some way. Not only that, but information needs an organic essence to be nurturing. This may explain the popularity of social media. People need to feel connected. The aspect that disturbs me is the sheer banality of most social media contents. Too much information becomes the same as too little. Another way to say it is, too much information is in effect, disinformation. Too much change too fast is much like too much water too fast, it rages over the surface creating chaos without soaking in.

All of the violent destruction portrayed in movies and on TV, broken only by commercials seducing us to buy, buy, buy makes us insensitive to the qualities of that island of real earth that we live on. Perhaps the controllers behind the scene having lost control of the internet so near its foundation are making up for it by encouraging useless mental junk food that numbs us to the taste of emptiness. In a sense, this false ethos is attempting to make disconnected sociopaths out of all of us. If they succeed, we will routinely blame somebody else for all evil, have no empathy for suffering and aim only for immediate gratification. Those years of living very simply in Taos allowed me to time travel to an earlier time and assimilate the world outside at a digestible rate. That’s one of the good things about living in a third world country. But of course, now there is the internet and Amazon.com so a healthy diet is entirely up to me.