The Interconnected Tribe of Tomorrow (Part 2)
This article is part of a series. Read Part One here.
How do we survive this technological adolescence? Carl Sagan, in his book Contact, once suggested it would take one single message from space to enable us to know it is possible for us to endure as a species. Sometimes, one has to wonder if we are living in a quarantined world, kept in a cosmic prison until our days of rehabilitation bear witness to the redemption from our madness. In such a scenario, what would be the criteria for the door to be unlocked and for us to meet our captors? Is our notion of “freedom” a simplistic concoction of a dysfunctional, tormented, ego-driven world or is freedom a cosmic constant? Would we greet those who emancipated us as part of our human tribe with whom we are finally reuniting, benevolent overseers or enlightened godlike masters?
To grapple with such a question, we may start by looking at our own sullied and not-too-distant past. As communities grew into empires, they seemed to follow the pattern of knowing what is best for the peoples who inhabited the lands they sought to inhabit, to conquer. From the Spanish in Central and South America to the British and northern Europeans in North America, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand, it seems that those of us who were “enlightened” by the advancements of a civilized society always had a conviction that our role was to save the natives from their primitive ways. For example, up until 1970, half-caste Aboriginal children were, by Australian law, abducted from their homes and families in the Outback to be reintegrated within the families of British transplants and eventually, through generations, have their color and primitive ways “bred out”. Are we, here on Earth, suitable for cosmic integration? Will it take generations for our self-driven, comparatively primitive natures to be “bred out” of us before we can viably join other more advanced societies in the galaxy?
True community requires a willingness to understand the other, even when the other you are facing doesn’t seem appealing, attractive, logical or reasonable. Millennia of cultural dogma have caused us to look down our First World noses at the culture, the skin color, the gender, the sexuality, and the economic status of the other. This spectrum of segregation has only served to stoke the fires of inequality and distrust. When another person is valued as an object, whether it be a captured African slave forced to do manual labor, a young girl married off to an older man in a Muslim culture, or a citizen of a western society is reduced to numbers, birth records, and the anticipated value of his value as a “human resource” by a central government, the degree to which we objectify other living things is in direct correlation to our ability to understand and thereby, connect with each other.
The constant overlay throughout history has been the significance of the procurement of resources and the resultant relentless pursuit of profit: from food to precious metals,to land, to subjects, to oil and now, information. Whereas, before, human pursuits were for a physical, tangible product to address basic tenets of survival or larger tactics of control, the shift we are now experiencing is an intensified quest to know and thus, to understand, a much more ephemeral concept for a traditional commodity. The technological creations that came to fruition throughout the 20th century, now as ubiquitous to our culture as the air we breathe, have shifted our focus from the lower density interest of precious stones and combustible liquids under tons of pressurized earth, undisturbed for millions of years. Information, in the current paradigm, is tactical and for competitive gain in a system governed by capitalism run amok.
Our truer aim should be in the pursuit of the coalescence of the synaptic firings of our collective and unbound imaginations. The combustible spark now triggers the idea. The precious stone is now honed from the initial state of that idea into remarkable and innovative feats, made possible only by the benefit of the analytical and creative aspects of the advanced brain of the human species, in itself in the most formative state of a global tribe, a tribe on which it is slowly dawning how great the potential truly is.
Like an orchestra whose various players come together under the focus and astuteness of the conductor and with immense devotion and practice, humanity too must face the rigor of disciplined amalgamation with one another to experience a frequency of accord that can take us to that near-magical, raptured state. Music seems to be quite an apt analogy in this case, which brings me back to the notion of the musical genre that began the first installment of this essay.
I am keenly aware, as a musician and composer, of the truism that music has charms to soothe the savage breast. The phrase was coined by William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, written in 1697. Now, in the full swing of our rush towards technological innovations bursting like a field of wildflowers in the warmth of spring, we are able to control sound, rhythm, image, light and language to further advance our understanding and our connectivity. Where once, thousands of enthusiastic fans at concerts held up portable cigarette lighters, they now hold up their smartphones, communicating, participating, engaging, capturing and connecting, if only for a few, brief, shimmering moments of higher consciousness. The beat pulsates, the chorus rises, the orchestra swells, the guitarist wails, the lights flash and…our consciousness shifts. For, in that experience, we were able to grasp who we authentically are, in our freest and most connected state.
In the highest sense of that connected state, the boundaries disappear, much like in a psychotropic state of trance, meditation or hallucinogenic experience. All boundaries are conventions, wrote David Mitchell, in his book Cloud Atlas. It was, I believe, the central meme that The Wachowskis and fellow director Tom Tykwer attempted to convey in their cinematic adaptation in 2012. The observation was made by the one character in the book who deeply understood and recognized the power of music in the world and through the ages. Not coincidentally, that character, Robert Frobisher, was a man out of step with the strict and circumspect culture of post-Edwardian England. His fictional symphony (lovingly co-written by Tywker for the film) was the crowning obsession of his young and tragically short life, providing the name for the novel itself. The declaration made in the trailer of the film and throughout the narrative promotes the idea that everything is connected. Energy is not destroyed and if that is true, neither is the consciousness that harnesses that energy to exist.
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B008N9AASC” locale=”us” height=”100″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51bWFMXZhOL._SL110_.jpg” width=”100″]Perhaps, it is then, in overcoming our fear of the other, including that state of existence on the other side of our own mortality, that we will be bestowed with a more convicted sense of freedom of who we are, making it trivial and dismissive to manipulate the lives of others without conscious awareness and compassion. In the last installment of this treatise, I will focus on the more nuanced disciplines needed for us to re-tribe, reconnect and repurpose our lives for the purpose of the next phase of our evolution: the evolution of consciousness. In the mean time, if you’d like a peek at where this is going, see the film Samsara, recently made popular by this viral video. Stay with me.
Image Source: Fotopedia
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