"…and considering what the world is now, with all the misery, conflict, destructive brutality, aggression, tremendous advancement in technology, and so on… it seems to me, though man has cultivated the external world and has more or less mastered it, inwardly he is still as he was: He is still brutal, violent, aggressive, inquisitive, competitive. And he has built a society along these lines." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
All crises in the world--personal, interpersonal, international, financial, cultural, political, religious--are rooted in a greater crisis.
To borrow a phrase from the great 20th century spiritual leader Jiddu Krishnamurti, the world has for decades been in something he aptly labeled a crisis in consciousness. To summarize some of his philosophies and incorporate similar ideas, here is a summary of points that describe the root of almost every problem that exists on the planet today:
- As a human being in the 21st century, the challenge to remain conscious--to obtain and maintain self-awareness--is greater than at any other time in history. This challenge arises from the attraction and distraction of illusion, which has increased its intensity, breadth and effectiveness with the massive and rapid growth of technology.
- The ability to be someone else and to be somewhere else other than who you are or where you are, respectively, is growing every day.
- The more civilized the society, the greater the capacity to escape reality--to dream, to hope, to buy and sell illusion.
- The Information Age is one of knowledge, which is not the same as wisdom. Knowledge is superficial; it is shallow; it has breadth but it has no depth. It is all brain and no mind or spirit. Knowledge feeds the ego and starves the Self.
- As a human, you prefer states that are temporary, rather than traits that are lasting. Almost every product or service that is bought or sold today is used to help others enter the state they desire and to re-enter the state when that one begins to fade.
- Most people stumble from pleasure to pleasure, doing their best to manufacture happiness. However happiness stretches and it thus becomes increasingly difficult to reach. You convince yourself that more money is needed to buy more things and the proverbial carrot-chasing, rat-racing existence continues.
- You consume things and increase your appetite for them; and your identity can be constructed completely of physical world forms, such as ideas, concepts, clothes, cars, houses, physical appearance and so on. You think that, without the things, you are no longer yourself.
- Computers, hand-held devices, social media, print media and everything you see on television is designed to distract and attract your attention, to convince you to buy the things to become the advertised identity.
- However, you are not the things; you are your attention; and if you are constantly distracted, you leave little possibility to be authentic, to be your Self; you become fragmented, others become fragmented, and so the world becomes fragmented.
- When you pay attention, what price are you paying and what are you receiving in return? Think about that.
- All of your biases and preconceived notions can be shaped by "Liking" only people and sources of information that agree with your egocentric view of the world. Your worldview can become more and more narrow and you may find yourself "against" more and more people but "for" nothing that is authentically you.
And so we have a great paradox: The world is more connected than ever but it is also more fragmented. People around the planet have the capacity for greater love and understanding of eachother, and also for understanding themselves as unique personalities. However we form figurative islands that separate and categorize, sharpen ideology and dichotomy, and thus create more stark divisions of financial, social, political and religious groups, which then create greater potential for interpersonal and international conflicts.
"See if you can catch, that is to say, notice, the voice in the head, perhaps in the very moment it complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: the voice of the ego, no more than a conditioned mind-pattern, a thought. Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it." ~ Eckhart Tolle
There are always crises in the world and they are all rooted in the crisis of consciousness. This is not deterministic or pessimistic, just observation. It is foolish to fight against nature and this includes human nature. It is natural for simplicity to evolve into complexity and for complexity to eventually return to simplicity. However humans also have the unique capacity for awareness--to think about thinking--to have a hand in our own evolution. Technology, and all of the devices that fall under this broad heading, can be used as a tool, just as I am using it as a tool to reach you now.
As Krishnamuriti said, "you are the world psychologically, and the world is you; and when you understand yourself you are understanding the whole human structure and nature." To help the world overcome the lower crises that fall under the greater crisis in consciousness, you begin by helping yourself, by learning more about yourself and eventually being your Self.
A great central theme of this blog is to wake people and to keep them awake. I am fortunate enough to have awakened from a constant, losing battle of keeping myself in an illusory state. The illusion was that everything must always be improving: Climb the corporate ladder, make more money, buy bigger and better things, and so on. To battle the stress of this existence, I survived by looking forward to the end of the day, to the end of the week, the holiday, the vacation, and the retirement. I was always Becoming but never Being. But at what cost? I was never living in the present moment, where life resides; I was caught in the crisis of consciousness.
I will have more soon on some personal developments in my life that may help you overcome the crisis in consciousness in your own life. Thanks for reading.