Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Great Puzzle - A Blog In Three Parts



Hawaiian Sunset, 35mm Ektachrome Slide


Part-2 - We Are All Disabled

Prolog - The Great Blue Herron
Part-1 - Indoctrination Into Our World
Part-2 - We Are All Disabled
Part-3 - The Hidden Senses

None of us consider ourselves to be Lemmings. We all see ourselves as individuals, charting our own course. But stand on a freeway pedestrain bridge and watch the cars rushing underneath you and you might wonder. Our ability to perceive the world around us is limited in many ways. Besides physical infirmities such as loss of sight, loss of hearing and mental illness, there are the blinders that society places on us as well. The thousands of distractions in our daily lives, some of them made by others and some that we burden ourselves with.

In many ways, the mainstream media treats us like so many cattle on the way to the slaughterhouse. The fact that we are told that McDonald's is food (I'm Lov'in It!) and that sitting through 45 minutes of commercials to see an hours worth of American Idol entertainment is crazy. If we weren't Lemmings we would be learning how to cook and studying how to play the piano. As humans we are distracted and manipulated into wanting the quick and the easy. To be one of the crowd and be accepted by our peers.

The more the mass-media tries to brainwash me, the more the old lessons I learned in college are born out. The #1 rule of business is; "Create a need and then fill that need". Our basic needs are already covered by the established industrial leaders of our age (Q-tips, toilet paper, canned beer, etc...). When new needs can't be created, spice things up with sex and violence. When even sex and violence can't inch up the profit margin, fear is the final act in the marketing bag of tricks. How many new drugs have you seen marketed in the last 3 years for maladies that we have never even heard of? All these distractions keep us from focusing on the really important things in life. Figuring things out, learning, helping one another, planning a better future for the generations follow.

Our greatest disability is our inability to break away from the path that the media and marketers continually nudge us toward. We stand on the verge of a great leap forward but we are hesitating at the start. As we are distracted by the melodramas of Brittany Spears and Princess Diana, we fail to question the motives of the marketers and instead are tricked into wasting time and money on their promise of instant gratification.

What our major focus should be is the possibility of a broader understanding of everything. I mean everything. In the last two decades our world and our ability to understand it has changed profoundly. When I was a boy, the personalized sum of all human knowledge was the Encyclopedia Britannica. Thirty-two hard bound volumes of knowledge that required its own book case and cost more than the family car. Today, that entire Encyclopedia can be downloaded onto my iPod, with room to spare for movies and music.

We have reached the threshold of infinite wisdom where any question can be answered with the click of a mouse. The only limitation that prevents us from understanding everything that mankind has learned up to this point is the speed at which our brains can process it.

What if you could write the Symphonies of Beethoven by the time you were 12, the poetry of Byron by the time you were 15, perform brain surgery at 18? What could you understand by the time you were 20? What revelations would come to you? We already have the knowledge at your fingertips, we just can't make sense of it all yet.

In past centuries a well rounded understanding of life and human interaction was termed 'wisdom'. It could only be learned from a lifetime of experience and observation. Now our condensed understanding can give us the ability to see the connections that make up the bigger universe and the learning curve that it takes to understand it all.

The current capitalist marketing idea only benefits those that market the things that we really don't need. There are bigger questions and answers that don't involve getting the McMansion in the burbs, the Hummer in the garage and the HDTV in every room.

Life was never meant to be a distraction. It is supposed to be a profound learning experience.

(Part-3 - The Hidden Senses - coming soon....)