Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A Letter to George: Ruminations on the Frustrations of Communicating Knowledge and Wisdom
Ultimately, what you are pointing to is abstract. Most people want to be spoon fed concrete data, not abstract data. If we are to believe the Buddhists, all things and beings are energy. In this, physics agrees. Higher Consciousness or Directed Energy exists or flows through some life forms while many other life forms are like little machines, strictly focused on their jobs. In humans, our minds develop flawed models of the world. Instead of taking the time to look and observe, we make snap judgements and move on. Calling it sleepwalking or dreaming or delusion are just ways of pointing to the affliction, but they are imperfect as all words are because they are limiting. Words can never encapsulate, never totally describe an experience. They can only serve as a sign or a label to an event or thing. They are not the thing. But people confuse the two.
You point to the mystical - the mysterious, but people do not understand you. The Buddha had the same problem. Jesus had the same problem. Every prophet, wise man, and woman has this problem. It is a problem due to the limitations of language and the way we are taught to not think, not comprehend. Thinking is dangerous to those people who are in power because a thinking awake populous wouldn't put up with the inequalities promoted by the so called powerful(1). Perhaps you should aim your sermons at children. Their minds haven't been trained to blind their perceptions of the world. This is why Jesus advocated becoming like a child. The other alternative is to teach in different ways because people learn differently. Language arose through speech and hearing first. Reading arose much later. Much spiritual teaching is best done through public speaking and experiencing due to the way the human brain has evolved. Reading is adding another layer of abstraction. Or, one can be a cynic and state that many people are just thick (stupid). I believe that a better analogy is that it is very difficult to awaken a sleeper and many people are deeply asleep, trapped in a dream.(2) I wish there was a way to identify those who are lightly sleeping, so that they could be awakened first.
1. Modern K-12 schools were created to manufacture factory workers. People who do monotonous, repetitive labor for reasons of efficiency to greatly enrich a few, and if they are lucky, enrich and empower themselves. Institutions of Higher Learning were created to manufacture the leaders, thinkers and artists of the world. Educational institutions have been corrupted to an extent by money and been overtaken by technological changes (the network we call The Internet). Critical thinking and unbiased perception has been mugged by bad television programming and journalism and what we call spin, but what others in a simpler world would call subtle lies or sophistry. Intel people call it disinformation which is closer to the truth.
2. The saying "Don't confuse them with facts because their minds are already made up" is another way of illustrating the phenomenon. (The solution - seek a more receptive audience if one can.) However, Zen masters sow confusion through the use of koans in an effort to provoke understanding. So, we should be confusing people to provoke (or is that, promote?) wakefulness.