2006 #1 - Patterns of meaning
PATTERNS OF MEANING
The world is awash with information, flowing through a multitude of different channels: TV, the Internet, print, mobile phones, and so on. Trying to keep one’s head above this tidal wave is becoming more and more difficult, and the phenomenon of ‘information overload’ – having too much information to be able to make clear decisions – is now well known. What effect can this be having on the developing consciousness of humanity? What is it doing to us?
Part of the reason for this information glut is the success of the evolution of consciousness, for more people now have sufficiently focused and individualised minds to be able to express an opinion that is not just a repetition of the ‘received wisdom’, but expresses some genuinely original thinking. Not only that, but with the advent of the Internet, the ability to publish and publicise these opinions is vastly expanded – one of the most dramatic examples of this is the rise of ‘blogs’, easily updated web sites that can act as a global soap box. In an age where media is largely controlled by big business, these blogs create an expanded space for public opinion to be heard. But, with so many voices added to every debate, the effect is a kind of global cacophony, which can sometimes make it not less, but more difficult to sense truth. So it’s becoming ever more important to filter information intelligently, and to determine for yourself just how and when you receive information, and from whom. As the group Adbusters put it on their web site at adbusters.org/metas/psycho/mediacarta/, “Our minds have become a virtual dumping ground of pollutants – manipulative ads, distorted news, untold violence, spin and hype”, and there is a need to reclaim our “mental environment”.
Just what is it that we are receiving when we receive information? To put it in rather abstract terms, we are receiving meaningful patterns of energy. The key point is that they are meaningful – they produce some change in our minds or emotions, either of acceptance or rejection. Now recall the last time you were sitting in public transport on the way home. Your gaze wanders over the surfaces around you – a t-shirt printed with a company logo, the bland floor of the vehicle, the corner of someone’s magazine with half a headline visible, an advert, the various colours of clothes. A passenger sitting nearby is listening to music loud enough for you to hear, and a snatch of a recognisable tune triggers a memory. Other passengers within hearing range are chatting to friends and relations on their mobile phones. In this situation, and in many others in modern life, patterns of light and sound are imposing themselves on you without your consent, and often without your full conscious awareness. It is as if you are constantly snacking on information, a regime that does no good for the digestion or health. Add to this picture even subtler channels of information reception, the nascent telepathic sensitivities that mean you may unwittingly pick up on patterns of emotion and thought from those around you. True, you may get to process all these scraps of information some more, when you finally get some sleep – having attended to whatever domestic duties and crises await at the end of your journey. But just as the amount of information bombarding us has expanded, so the average time spent sleeping has decreased, shifting the processing/reception balance in an unhealthy direction.
Part of the answer may be the deliberate attempt to limit our consumption of media – for example, to go on periodic television and/or Internet fasts. This right to be “uninformed”, at times of our own choosing, is important, if we are to reach a point of inner silence through prayer and meditation. It is this inner silence that allows us to receive subtle impressions from higher sources of light and love. Yet over-indulgence in this would carry the risk of cutting us off from humanity completely: spiritual visions that do not help create solutions to planetary problems are a luxury that we cannot afford. Somehow, the server must learn to stand poised between the two realms, of lower information that can confuse the mind and emotions, and of higher inspiration that clarifies and redeems: for it is only by acting as a bridge between the two that the higher light can dispel the illusions and confusions of the lower realm. And in that clarifying light, more wholesome and trustworthy sources of information, themselves inspired from on high, can stand revealed. By thus clearing his own mind, the server can link up with other points of light, and act as a beacon for others, showing the way out of the fogs of irrelevant and unhelpful information towards a world where the flows of information serve real human needs.
GOODWILL releases the power to communicate, which is the hallmark of group life.
The Information Society is a key factor in the drive towards synthesis; for through information and communications technology, the collective mind of humanity can be more rapidly synthesised into an invoking agent of the divine. Before this revolutionary goal can be achieved though, humanity’s thinking must be integrated and appropriately directed.
In the pre-industrial age, the question of who a person was, their identity, was a much less complicated one. Few people travelled far from their home community, or had financial or commercial dealings outside of it; communities themselves were on a smaller scale...
Free Spirit is a non-sectarian organisation that helps teachers gain a greater understanding of spirituality so that they can help awaken the spiritual impulse in young people.
Transcending Terror by Ian Hackett, (O Books, 2004). In this thoughtful work, Ian Hackett explores the roots of nine faiths – Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and the Bahá'í faith – and seeks to draw out their common values.