Spiritual bread immediately refreshes, Truth revitalizes and Light animates!

Chapter Two

Lords of misrule

WHATEVER MAY BE the state of the array of our psychological challenges, we are also culturally being pulled along in a world of fast evolving technology that is invisibly modifying experience. Technology is a paradigm of the intellect, which, as already noted, embraces the mental capacity to learn and reason. Thinking is also an action of the intellect. The intellect issues from the brain, specifically the frontal brain. It is by the intellect that we begin to sort and process the manifold impressions that assail us moment by moment. It is also via the intellect that we express choice and execute action in the world, be that in learning, in aspiration, our drive to improve ourselves, our desire for something or someone, in liking, amusing or trusting others, or the opposite in our inclination to cause others pain and suffering and thereby cause our own decline into bullies, tyrants or brutes. We receive impressions, learn to form and associate ideas, and communicate them. However, thoughts and words are vehicles that transport not just fleeting impressions from the brain but, more importantly, the much more significant and powerful perspectives of our deep, inner feelings and perceptions, which channel acts of will driven by the power of our core of being, which is our spirit. In this way, our thoughts and words as well as the actions we take carry responsibility which we cannot evade and it is shortsighted to think that a keen intellect is all that is required to live a full, meaningful and responsible life worthy of a human being, because the intellect, as an executive tool, will invariably fail if we allow it to become the sole determinant of our being. Word-making is a distinctly human activity, endowing our mental life with the ability to anchor the inner volition in the visible gross material world, thus channelling creativity, and words can weave an enormous power. Language can enlighten, bewitch or bamboozle us. It is the most patent and potent communication tool at our disposal, but it is really much more than that in its cultural impact; in its effects it is able to give rise to intangible forms that exert influence, so that its misuse can have appalling consequences for individuals and even entire nations. George Orwell touches on a cosmic truth in saying that language can corrupt thought and vice versa.

Technology impinges intrusively on our lives. We can hardly getvarious forms of technology; our existence has become dependent upon the plethora of devices thrust upon us from all sides. Since many of the devices or gadgets considered as indispensable today did not even exist just a few years ago, we must ask ourselves some serious questions as to where this is all heading. Today, more than ever, we need to remain in control of how this technology is applied, for to allow it to monopolise our thinking can only be detrimental to ourselves and to the environment. Quite apart from the horrific nuclear, chemical and biological weapons we have developed, the pillage and inordinate grab of the natural resources and consequent degradation of the natural environment, which is fuelling this technological revolution, has led to dire consequences for man and beast, which are evident everywhere, from acid rain to flooding, famine, loss of habitat and climate change. Added to this is the new wave of criminal activity centred on the internet, from child pornography to fraud and identity theft, not to speak of the damaging cyber-attacks, which, for example, breach privacy and jeopardise the security and safety of vital information, and can cripple entire industries or sectors. We are culpable for the unwholesome state of our technology. We are not robots, what we do we do voluntarily through the agency of free will. The state of the planet and the ecologically disastrous future into which we are plunging it through our reckless urge to rule over nature, to tame its raw power or brand our cultural trademark on the landscape everywhere, is clear testament to the unwise use of our capacity for free will. In our megalomania, we remain ignorantly ambivalent, despite the strong indications that much of our cultural behaviour today pose existential threats both to ourselves and to everything which surrounds us.

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