Xanadu

First a quote from a highly respected friend.

“No scent is as wonderful as that of freshly dug soil. Oh – the scent of grass and air after a thunderstorm comes close. And I loved having my bare hands right in the soil – I never used gardening gloves unless I had to deal with brambles and such.”

Outwardly this quote celebrates the senses of touch and smell.  But in the subconscious it goes much further than our conscious awareness of sight, taste and hearing.  There we are taken into the complex interaction of sensory perception and consciousness.  What added value do our somatosensory, olfactory, gustatory, vestibular and visual systems have in the overall mix of perception?  When variations of temperature, air pressure, movement, balance, spatial orientation, the chemistry of the environment, colour and pain are thrown into the mix.  How can we possibly be aware of our individual potential with such a limited understanding of ourselves and the environment in which we live?

When that sensory kaleidoscope meets with our ability to memorise, reason, think, and the chemical reactions and electricity of emotion then our world opens up.  Together these things are an acknowledgement of being human and living in the real world.  A spiritual world in which we belong and a world in which we have evolved to inhabit and try to understand.  In this world we exist in our conscious and subconscious

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Turning soil can be repetitive but it can be done to some degree in a state of automation. 

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The repetition of manual labour allows the distraction needed to free the mind from the continual tsunami of information that is the burden of technology.  The more information we have the more we need to cure the disorientation, like a vicious circle.   As the content and speed of information increases our contentment reduces and our attention span shortens.   We look for surprise in the endless flow of packets of data.

If we leave our conscious mind to deal with that ticking clock of anxiety and escape into our subconscious we escape into the realms of sensory perception, deep thought and meditation.

Time to dream and explore the mind and the senses.

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Digging the new vegetable patch is such a time.

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Drudgery has been taken away by machines and mass production.  We have been freed from many of the hardships of life.  Pain has been taken away by drugs.  Drugs defined as pharmaceuticals and those that are non-pharmaceutical.  There are many easy options and many opportunities to save oneself from the difficulties of life.  Comfort and convenience can become routine, routines can become habits and habits become addictions and addictions become prisons.

Surely we are in such a prison now?

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Break down the earth with the side of the fork.

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Sharing can be an unselfish act.  There is a theory that all our actions are, in some way, selfish.  In questioning the motives of our actions and thoughts, and discerning what is selfish or unselfish, we wander into an area that can be difficult to navigate.  Surely common sense must play a part as with the common sense offered in such script as the New Testament, Buddhist teachings and Natural Law?  If we can ‘love oneself’ then we can see that in the context of the Golden Rule “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Human behaviour has evolved over such a time it is embedded into our DNA.  To question is a natural action and part of that evolution. To question is the basis of all scientific endeavour.  Instinctively we know what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad.  We have an inherent moral compass, a compass that can be found wanting in more than one direction.  Guilt and selfishness are but two destructive emotions that can skew that moral compass.

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Be careful not to put the fork into your foot.

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Addiction, obsession and dogma will help remove the pain of life and the hardship of questioning, they dull the senses, inhibit choice and erode the ability to question and explore oneself.  They can produce subconscious arguments that are self-fulfilling, hiding oneself from reality.

There are rational and practical arguments for the removal of mundane matters.  The freedom acquired thus comes with responsibilities, as do all freedoms, and voids to fill.  If that void is not filled what then?  It becomes hard to justify the need to remove those mundane matters if we cannot deal with ourselves.

Consider at least two directions in our paths.  Regression or progression, idleness or productivity, retreat or advance, ultimately bringing happiness or sorrow.  We may travel in either direction multiple times in a lifetime not always out of choice.  Choice is not the same as chance but with both we can always aspire to do better.

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The soil is full of hope and promise as each clod is turned.

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It must always be more important to know ‘how one thinks’ rather than ‘what one knows’.  That is an argument for the humanities over the sciences.  The consequences of literature, art, history, as well as human morality, culture, and values will always trump technology, geology or any of the other ‘ologies’ that deal with what we know about our environment.

If only it were that simple.  Possibly the truth is in balance where the two are inextricably intertwined.  A ‘model’ that creates a conflict between two aspects of human endeavour must surely be fundamentally flawed and a rethink required?

Is our method of questioning, or indeed our method of thinking, fundamentally flawed?

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How sweet the little Robin is.  Friendship without commitment.

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At some point AI will solve the problems of science and so scientists will become ‘technicians’ until even that occupation becomes redundant.

What will we be left with?  Will decisions be about what we want to happen, how we want to live, what is our purpose, and basically, who we are or what we can become?  At that point the Technological Age will be over, denigrated to that of the Iron Age and another ‘age’ of human enlightenment will begin.  But before we have the chance to stop and think Technology may enslave us and prevent us from filling the void created by the removal of ‘mundane things’.  An Age of Enlightenment, if one were to exist, will be found in the humanities not in the sciences.  It will be an age of spiritual understanding.

If we continue on our quest for ultimate technology the real world may be eclipsed by the virtual world.  This is already happening with smart phones where a mixed reality of social media and reliance on ‘apps’ to think takes away real world experiences; a death by a thousand emoji and packets of shallow information.  Is ‘mixed reality’ augmented reality or a slippery slope to a loss of real world ability and independence?  How appealing ‘virtual reality’ sounds, but is in fact a reality that is anything but virtuous.  Should it not be called artificial or synthetic reality?

How language matters.  How meanings are lost.

All beginnings have ends.  Likewise all ends give opportunities for new beginnings. In the human world we have no control over time or the workings of the universe.  No one can save us from death but we strive to do our best while we are alive.

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The worms will forgive you, but try and spare them

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The frailty and vulnerability of humans has always allowed for plenty of personal mistakes, but our weaknesses and ignorance also allow for manipulation, control and predation by those who seek power.

Our internal demons of greed, lust, pride, guilt, fear, dogma, are joined by external ones of control, domination and exploitation.  Technology is the new ‘tool’ of the jailer.  Not technology itself but our obsession with it.  Those controllers design the toys to escalate addiction, obsession and reliance.

Are we neglecting our emotional and mental health, cutting away our spiritual roots and corrupting our moral compass for the convenience and comfort afforded by technology?  By choosing the deception of someone else’s reality we ignore the wonders of the real world.  In forfeiting our own privacy, freedoms and individual independence, we allow a bogus world to eclipse our individual search for truth.

Information and communication have never been better.  The value of temptation is known by those who wield power.  They are not saddled with the weight of guilt or the need for balance, their moral compass was broken a long time ago.

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Remove that piece of couch grass and the bindweed.  Those pernicious weeds will have their own place but not here.

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By corrupting science ‘the powers that be’ control the mother of technology.  By owning technology they control those obsessed with technology.  The evidence is all around us and becoming clearer by the day.  There are many interpretations of the acronym ‘SMART’; strategic, motivating, agreed, relevant and trackable are as popular as any, but one point must be made clear the objective is not primarily meant for our benefit.  How naïve we are, not to realise it is a tool with which to manage us.

In the emerging virtual world of the meta-verse will we have the colour and diversity of the real world?  Will our experiences belong to us?  Will limitations, responsibilities and consequences be selective or imposed?  Will we find truth?

Living in the prison of the virtual world where privacy and independence do not exist, will we eat virtual bread and drink virtual water?

Attempts to understand and deal with this mass psychosis being imposed upon us is not just  a spiritual struggle within ourselves but a battle with those that wish us harm, and surely they exist.  Rediscovering reality and deciding what really matters.  Rethinking how we think and asking ourselves “what do we want to become?”

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“The Lord grant that we may all be tillers of the soil” 

Nikolai Gogol

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We may find our own Xanadu, but it won’t be easy.

As the space ship docks to the sound of Strauss’s Blue Danube we can only hope that the humans on board are not just trans-human biological components of the ship’s operating systems.  Let us hope that they still have those incredible senses that make us unique spiritual entities.

The final notes wisp into the ether and the beat of a metronome surfaces only to be replaced by the sound of a ticking clock.  Time will tell.

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Well that is the new vegetable patch dug. What now…ah yes garden compost?  Pay attention now…..

 

Written by a PenwithCAN member

 

 

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