THE HEART &WINGS JOURNAL,P.O. Box 574Lebanon Springs,NY,12114,
6/issues yr. $12.00 - a publication of the Sufi Order of the West.
HIGH TECHNOLOGY MEETS THE ANCIENT WISDOM
By Kenneth Reese
Ifyou're like me, you've probably succumbed to some level of
consumer electronics mania. Maybe it started innocently with a digital
watch or calculator and then worked its way up to a VCR and then to a
personal computer. You might even have felt some twinge of guilt when
you suddenly realized these gadgets had become indispensable (when one
of them breaks!). Perhaps you've felt all this runs counter to your
commitment to humanistic values. However, as I see it, new age values
and technology are inextricably bound together.
Thefact thatmany peoplefirst involvedwith thehuman potential
movement were later drawn into the world of high-tech (and vice versa)
is a measure of the affinity the two worlds have for one another.
Futurist John Naisbitt identifies it as a high tech/high touch
polarity. For the majority of people who have feet planted in both the
worlds of advanced technology and human potential the affinity has
long been obvious, but perhaps not well articulated.
Exactlyhow the interests of thetechnology enthusiast and the
person on the path merge is not in any way readily obvious. The
relationship between the two can be better revealed by considering the
various tools of high technology as artificial devices which magnify
the human senses and human experience. With such a comparison several
observations easily follow.
Aclassic example of thismagnification of thehuman senses can
be seen in the home video revolution. Technology is used in a
straightforward fashion as an extension of the human senses of sight
and hearing. This results in a thousand-fold increase in an
individual's power to receive impressions. This has been made possible
by television combined with more recent inventions -- the
communication satellite, back-yard dishes, cable, videocassette
recorders, laser discs, and other breakthroughs in video and audio
technology. In short, for the person in front of the enormous increase
in video and audio choices, there has, in effect, been an
amplification of that individual's capacity to experience reality
through the medium of sight and sound. And, of course, all this choice
is delivered by the exploding global network created by the news,
communications, and entertainment industries.
Similarly, withthe personalcomputer revolution therehas been
an amplification of the mind. An individual using a personal computer
has a level of technological power that rivals that once available
only to large corporations and governments. This magnification of
power may be used to accomplish a variety of directed tasks or in more
playful and creative ways. The net result is that the individual may
greatly increase personal productivity and expand mental and creative
powers by using an electronic tool.
All this potential amplification of the power of a single
individual by use of these human-made artifacts greatly increases the
need for a center or focus around which unprocessed information can be
organized in a meaningful fashion. In other words, the individual
requires more than ever a sense of purpose simply because the
personal capacity for experience and action has been greatly enhanced
by these new technologies. At this point, the tie-in to the new age
becomes more obvious. There is no more exact a science for the
processing of impressions and the discovery of purpose than the
ancient spiritual traditions and their modern expressions in
transpersonal psychology and the human potential movement.
It is no accident that new age people often find themselves
thickly involved with new technologies. There is a real void in the
midst of the silicon chip revolution for knowledge which can balance
one of the effects of the information age -- a communications
explosion which threatens individual and cultural stability with an
overload of raw, unprocessed information. This overload confuses both
individuals and, more dangerously, nations and their political and
military institutions. Spiritual traditions have long taught ways for
maintaining a center in the face of chaos and offered time-tested
techniques for controlling the senses, disciplining the mind, and
discovering purpose and right action.
Thisknowledge isnow applicableat bothan individualand global
level. Ancient wisdom has never been more relevant than it is today,
to help guide and focus the tremendous power unleashed by the
electronic awakening of the planet. Esoteric knowledge has been sought
throughout the ages by a select few as a response to an inner call to
discover personal meaning in life. Today, the growth of a planet-
wide communications network both enerates the need and provides the
means for the spiritual quest to become of vital global importance.
The enthusiasm ofsome futurists(such as JohnNaisbitt whoends
his international best-seller 'Megatrends' with the line 'My God, what
a fantastic time to be alive!') is a reflection of the tremendous
Power for Good inherent in technological advances. But high technology
is without a mind or a soul unless it is guided by an intelligence
more powerful and compassionate than simple human cleverness. Ancient
wisdom provides the vehicle for such an Intelligence.
Three decades after the threat of planetary annihilation was
delivered to humanity on a silver platter of scientific achievement,
it is gratifying that at least the instruments for planetary salvation
and evolution have been delivered by the same means. However, this
possible salvation is a process which can only be achieved by each one
of us using the power of our lives and all the tools at our disposal
in positive, creative, and purposeful ways. The myth of technology
saving us from ourselves was long ago proven false. Salvation for
humanity is not a scientific formula but a very human one -- the
individual heart in its search for God multiplied by the number of
people on this planet.
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