One day I found myself at a maximum-security prison sitting in the mess hall mentally criticizing everyone else there. I did this daily. How stupid these people were, how selfish, how unaware… everyday. I wasn’t like “them” I would tell myself, feeling some measure of satisfaction. I did this until the very real fact that I was there also became clear. If those people were are all that, then what did it say about me?
Sometimes I read comments on my blog and elsewhere or just listen to people in general and they remind me of myself at that time…
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-=[ Reality and the War on Our Senses ]=-
“We throw our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.”
We use one sense at the expense of the others. Ever since the invention of the photograph, for example, the visual sense has taken predominance over the others. We’ve become more and more insistent of having illustrations with stories. Eventually movies became all the rage. Then television arrived in our homes, followed by video, cable, computer graphics, digital animation, and virtual reality. Imagine someone in the far future trying to explain our obsession with this piece of furniture…
Our taste buds take second place. Fruits and vegetables are genetically engineered to satisfy our visual appetites, regardless of the sacrifice in flavor and nutrition. Poisons of every kind assault our biochemistry. Electromagnetic radiation zaps our natural bioelectrical fields that shape us.
Air pollution and synthetic fragrances dominate our sense of smell. Traffic, loud radios, and congested population overstimulate our hearing. In watching television, our right-brain hemispheres have to assemble the dots into a picture. As a result, we haven’t sufficient energy needed for left-brain discrimination. In actuality, heavy viewers literally become heavy; something in the habit of watching television slows down the metabolism.
“Natural flavors” are natural in name only, extracted from organic chemicals through harsh chemical processing. The multinational corporations that sell us these toxins call it “clean labeling” and the Food and Drug Administration calls it “okay.”
Our senses have become the pawns in a foolish game. Only when we awaken to our deepest, genuine sense will our intelligence flourish. I’m speaking here of a deep-seated common sense that chooses to remember, to know, to open up all the sensory channels and explore our intuitive common sense, what we call our imagination. Instead of asking, “Will we make it?” we should be asking, “What should I be doing now?”
As the historian Howard Zinn noted, we can’t be neutral on a moving train and we’re moving all the time, whether we want to or not. The wise among us are gathering their clues and direction from everywhere, even the knowledge of children and eccentrics, and those with whom they disagree.
The ability to question will be our saving grace. Our questions will be our liberators. When a large enough question has been asked, the lesson plan will appear. Years a go, a leader challenged the nation by asserting that in ten years a man would land on the moon. There is no such leadership available today (if there ever really was). Today we must become our own leaders, asking the questions needing asking and facing with creativity and innovation the challenges such questions pose.
It we are to thrive as individuals and as a society, the solution is the same: the deepest good sense to take leadership for ourselves. True visionaries identify with a cause that transcends themselves, family, and friends. Something bigger than a mere grasp for personal success. And we can get there from here. We are a problem-solving species. When we finally make the decision to call upon our resources we make the impossible possible, and the possible inevitable.
The good news is that we’re living in a moment in time where we have the advantage of the fruits of the cross-fertilization of art and science, of spirituality and science, of analysis and intuitive flashes. By pulling together the scattered threads of psychology and brain science, we can consciously learn to tap into our deepest common sense. The next evolutionary leap demands that we, in fact, become the people we were always meant to be.