Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Safeguarding the Individual

There are many who use the phrase “We are all One”. They mean to promote our sense of community and to emphasize our inter-connectedness on this planet we share, to encourage us to look after each other and the world we live in and not pursure purely selfish motives. But in a greater sense they also mean to say that we are literally One, the idea being to transcend the ego and realize the true Self of which we are but a part. We are but a part of a whole which has been fractured and divided, separated from our original nature, and the spiritual path is one of returning again to what we always were and in realizing that our separation from it and from each other are merely an illusion. The analogy of the dreaming vase, told by rumijoy on Multiply captures this idea beautifully.

However, I believe this notion of Oneness is in danger of being misunderstood and misapplied to promote homogoneity and loss of the individual which is quite contrary to any mystical union.

On a grander scale, globalization and the international flow of money has seen an erosion of culture and identity, not because of the accompanying diversity and multi-culturalism, but because of the subsequent swallowing up of one culture by another in a monocultural Oneness, the triumph of that which is cost-efficient over that which is poor and unproductive without much regard to the longer-term happiness of society. It’s ironic that Europe in particular should be guilty of this kind of homogenization as entailed by European Union directives, when the French are known to pronounce “
Vive la différence!”. It can almost be seen as a response to the fear of being swamped by something else, America, so we can see this as an example of fear undermining the fabric of true diversity and driving people and nations to conform.

There are no doubt advantages to conformity. The loss of the nation’s sense of self also means a decline in patriotism, in the egotism of its leaders and thus in the likelihood of war between nations. However, as the turn of the 21st century has shown, it only takes a handful of people to commit dreadful atrocities, so as long as there are people on this planet there will still be war. Unless of course, as humans we could evolve into a state of harmonious Oneness. How appealing this sounds! But if that meant a loss of the individual, would that not be the most dreadful price to pay?

If we have seen a decline in the nation’s sense of self through globalization, the growth of new technology in the coming years will pose an extraordinary threat to the individual’s sense of self as the advancing fields of nano-, bio- and info-technology develop into cognitive areas where they may interact directly with the human brain. Previous enhancements of the human condition have never posed a threat to our sense of self. We’ve had spectacles for the short-sighted, drugs for the ill, and computers for storage, calculation and communication, but the self is the subject of these devices. Once we enter the realm where technology may pass beneath the veil of consciousness, we will become the object of manipulation. The loss of sense of self, or the boundary between self and other, and the consequent loss of responsibility to a computer chip with all its devastating implications makes the stomach churn.

It’s not going to happen, you swear. But let us imagine for a moment such a world where “We are all One” takes on a literal meaning. The parallels between such manipulation and mystical realization are striking. Manipulation entails a loss of individuality and the notion of a connected world-brain, while mystical union entails a loss of the ego and a realization of super-consciousness, a one-ness with God where we become a subject of a higher will: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done”. Manipulation turns the self into an object of the manipulation, mystical realization into an object of mindfulness, where we are creators of our own reality. Manipulation promises a cure for death, perhaps even a digitization of the self, mysticism talks of a state of dying before death and being re-born. Yet would the mystic not shudder at such comparisons? For turning ourselves into humanoid robots would constitute a loss of consciousness, not a raising of awareness to a higher consciousness.

How should the distinction be clarified? It seems that while the mystic might aspire to give up the ego, we must treasure our diversity within the whole, fearless in our individuality and stay clear of such meaningless phrases as “We are all One”. Rather, we are all unique shadows of the One, the life force that runs within us all, and “Vive la diff



  1. Great post! I have to get my daughter from University... I will be back!

  2. You should beckon everyone to this post, dude! You're great! Thanks for sharing!

  3. loved it, Okei...the "manipulations" make my stomach churn also BUT fear is the trigger and it is this very false emotion i am learning to detach from/put aside by giving it no credibility. What i focus on with fear becomes the dragon i must slay. Obversely, what i focus on with Love brings me closer to harmony and joy. Atonement is done at a much higher level than at the base level where all is homogenized and is the realization that we are one heart/one awareness directed by Source, not by human controllers.

  4. Beautifully written!

    I quite agree with the Oneness concept often being problematic. Unity with our authentic nature, through which 'the All' or the Field supports our purpose for the good of the whole, does not mean we are meant to be in the body and yet melt into some undifferentiated consciousness. But, I realize this comforts a lot of people.

    I understand your perspective and you've expressed the possible ramifications compellingly, but I see most of these technological innovations as making the critical kind of individuality you speak of, finally possible, for many more human beings than ever before.

    Anthropologists also tell us that the more homogenous the world becomes, the more cultures tend to maintain and intensify their cultural uniqueness in contrast so I don't worry much about loss of the marvelous uniqueness of human cultural history.

    And, surely homogeneity - as in understanding each other and being interdependent economically - is a protection against wars? Or at least it will be eventually? There goes my optimism again, but it has saved us from nuclear war already in India, not to mention so many other hot spots.

    Oneness within must come first - transcending the conditioned identity - or gifted people cut off from the greater whole in their isolated corners of the world can be crushed by the isolation and never find their passion or fulfill the purpose that brought them here. But, our interconnection surely (the eternal optimist) will expand the potential impact each of us can have on the positive unfolding of the whole if we achieve an enlightened state of consciousness.

    And, isn't sharing - like this - helpful in expanding the numbers of people introduced to spiritual transformation?

    Great topic!

  5. Well stated!

    This reminds me of Orwell's "1984" or Huxley's "Brave New World"

    But mostly, it reminds me of an old 60's song... "in the Year 2525".

    The resonating theme in this song is the rapidity of technological advances.. which tend to make folks uncomfortable.

    GLOBALIZATION is a fact. It has been happening since the mid 70's but the Internet has made it both apparent and facilitated its advance.

    Society has always pressured folks to conform....

    the difference now is that "we are one" is used as a salve when there is conflict rather than a means to achieve tolerance for differences.

    Great post

  6. I think I am beginning to understand what you are getting at, but correct me if I am wrong.

    I probably don't have to explain from which perspective I am coming, do I? :-)

    Technology of the kind you allude to certainly would affect the egoic identity, but I would argue the ego is purely defensive and essentially a product of brainwashing already - even at its most benign level. However, the True Nature/Self is NOT this defensive programming, but if we identify with it, we are very susceptible to group think and all the other calamities that you bring up.

    But, if we realize that as pure consciousness, we are not this limited conditioned egoic self, but rather the Observer of it, that Self-awareness makes us very unlikely to succumb to any controls or influences without.

    But, of course few people even have a clue that they are not their ego - the familiar role they play - with the thoughts, perceptions, feelings and reactions that feel natural as the "I."

    The ego's fears and attachments can ONLY be stripped away by the authentic Self, Observing those conditioned patterns of cause and effect, and when that is accomplished there is nothing left but Self-awareness and the ability to be fully awake and present in the Now.

    But, I would argue that this Unity/Oneness within - when the two become One - has nothing to do with disappearing into the All and becoming one big undifferentiated blob. It is the All that conforms to this Self so autonomy is exaggerated rather than the other way around. Even at death the individual field of consciousness is cohesive, although it continues to exist within the larger quantum Field of Reality.

    I would agree that our Self-awareness needs to be staunchly defended from interference of the kind you are discussing, but only the ego is "illusory," meaning it believes in illusions which control its MISperception of Reality.

    Interesting discussion.

  7. Thanks for that! Your comments were very "enlightening". :^) I wonder whether you believe the authentic Self is beyond manipulation? It must reside in the physical self because without the body, we would not have consciousness, but if it is not physical, then all the kinds of manipulations I mentioned only affect the body, and thus the "connection" with the authentic Self. In theory, then, such manipulations could heighten our Self-awareness without damaging the Self in the slightest, but I'd be very uncomfortable with this...

  8. IMO you are right to be uncomfortable....

    Because of the constraints of each body (whether or not you accept reincarnation as the natural order of things), the "self" or defensive thought system is extremely vulnerable to manipulation in childhood, and we can entirely forget that there is or was a Self before we came to accept this body level identity.

    Consciousness has evolved out of the massive increase in the size of the human cerebral cortex, but the primitive biological system in charge of our survival before the "thinking" brain begins to be usable around age seven, is what allows us to be easily manipulated in early life. No one is exempt from this until you've evolved enough as a "Seer" (using an old term) to stop placing yourSelf in an untenable family structure to begin with.

    The ego is deformed by the confines of that narrow early environment and the egos in charge of your life. Few people have enlightened parents or caregivers. Almost anything that is the least threatening can terrorize a child, and what I have discovered in providing spiritual direction over many decades, is that the soul's authentic nature is what is most vulnerable to even the least threat. It is what we are MOST certain about - what we KNOW - that can cause the most emotional devastation - when it is dismissed, disrespected, thwarted or leveled by adults. The terror felt by the young child is debilitating and this defensive and conflicted ego identity then wreaks havoc. UNTIL it is Observed and deliberately transcended.

    Before the thinking brain comes "on-line" around six or seven (doesn't complete development until around age 25) our reptilian survival brain and old mammalian emotional brain are in charge of keeping us alive and close to the herd/family even if that environment is threatening.

    The genuine Self or True Nature is simply the level of conscious Self-awareness we have when we arrive...but the programming of the brain/body system can wipe that out quickly depending on the level of threat in the environment.

    REMEMBERING who we are - i.e. WHAT we love - can be difficult.

    But, because Reality mirrors the contents of consciousness, transcending the insane ego is well worth the commitment of effort. Returning "home to Being" or stabilizing an experience of heaven in the eternal Now, is both simple and challenging. But, first you must begin to doubt your conditioned perceptions and be willing to give up those illusions. Few people will take that path until they are miserable enough to wake up and ask, "why is THIS happening again?" It is our life patterns (of repeated experiences) that can lead us back to the original CAUSE of the effects. Reality may just be a persistent hologram but we suffer nevertheless until we See that "cause and effect are never separated."

    However this can be exceedingly the Gordian Knot. We have to find the way to cut through it, because we can never completely unravel it.

  9. Hey, cool song, 2525. Somehow I think all the things in that video will come to pass a lot sooner than it suggests. There's apparently a book written by a British astrophysicist Martin Rees called "Our Final Century" saying that there was a 50/50 chance of us surviving it, and when the book was published over in the U.S., they thought they'd jazz it up a bit and make it more exciting by changing the title to "Our Final Hour".

    I agree that the early years are a fragile time, and a time of great responsibility. Yet, then again, there are times and places in history where children were subjected to some pretty stern discipline, yet those cultures didn't end up so much the worse for it, or maybe they did, but it's their hidden life that suffered? But even if not fragile, certainly malleable, setting patterns of thought and behaviour for later life that can be transcended, but as you say difficult. Early education is obviously very important. I'm reminded of the Jesuit saying, "give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you a man".

    But what if psychology advanced hand-in-hand with technology allowing us to program the brain and program out unwanted ego-attachments? I heard how meditation is like a form of mind-programming. What if this were imposed externally? Would it even be possible, and if it were, what arguments could one use against it? I'm now reminded of Clockwork Orange, *shudders*.

  10. And just for fun, a playlist of cool trance music by Robert Miles.

  11. Oh I am so frustrated.. Multiply went down as I was posting a comment... it was lost. I will return tomorrow.

  12. Ah, Okei,

    We have always been questioning the limits of science...

    There is a push and pull... give and take that seems to balance things.

    Our biggest challenge will consist more in the way we treat each other.

    And that has always been our challenge.

  13. Cyn, you make me think of Redemption Song by Bob Marley!

    I agree that we shouldn’t be afraid, though we should try not to be stupid either. Actually, science and spirituality might one day become friends though they seem opposites, and I think the interface between these two is fascinating. But I would like to keep them both as far away as possible from politics. This is reminding me now of your blog about science becoming a taboo subject because of its controversial nature, just like religion, sex and politics. And yes, sex should be kept as far away from politics also. There are ethical issues at the heart of science, spirituality and sex, and these need to be addressed philosophically and may I say it, “individually”, before politics with all its ulterior motives gets its dirty hands on it. (So I can’t avoid discussing the political after all.)

  14. The basic problem is that natural diversity is contrary to economic expediency. To use the analogy of the human body, a miracle of efficiency, and a paradigm of oneness, but would it be such a good thing if the world were modelled on it? All the storage and processing would be in one place, the production of nutrients and energy in another, the waste products sorted and handled somewhere else, and blood and nerve cells carrying energy and signals to every cell throughout the whole. Is it a dream or is it a nightmare?

    Oh! and I forgot those white bloods of the military mopping up any rogue elements or foreign particles that threaten the system. The individual cells have no choice, and no freedom, subject to a robotic command structure though the whole is by no means robotic. Meanwhile, cells which are outside this system and do not conform will be unable to compete and will soon die out. Echoes of H.G. Wells’ “Time Machine” with its idea of a split in the human race, and all that is good and beautiful being subjugated by that which is powerful.

  15. Returning to the spiritual dimension, I read the following written by John O'Donohue.
    "In each person there is a point of absolute non-connection with everything else & with everyone"

    He describes it as the hearth of our unconscious and a sacred opening of the soul which can be filled with nothing external and all the labels of the ego, our possessions and desires and beliefs are all a manic attempt to fill this opening.

    I wonder what you think about that idea and how it fits in with the idea that we are all One. And also whether from a higher level we should be concerned with a (perhaps lower) notion of individuality that needs to be defended. The twin threats are economic pressures for conformity without choice and also technology entering beneath the veil of consciousness (and also that these seemingly distinct concerns will very soon converge into one).

    There seems to me a kind of fatalism to spiritual discourse which says “if this is part of our evolution, then so be it”, and an apathy among the rest of us. Perhaps, if it’s part of our evolution, then there’s nothing the ego will be able to do to stop it, however much it would like to try! Not all evolution is positive though, and perhaps through awareness, we can do better. But in saying that, I realize I am judging.

    okei, still in a box.

  16. WoW...

    You really brought up some fantastic points. I need a little time to address all of them.

    I will start with the posts in chronological order... and return.

  17. I love this song!

    Have you ever watched the What the Bleep movie? or videos... not sure which. It is on youtube...

    Anyway, science is merging with spirituality already in some circles... I think you would enjoy those videos.

  18. The universe does share the same organization... And it seems that there will always be those that act like the crowd. But there are rogue cells.. or people that shake things up... and the herd changes direction until other rogues come along to shake things up. This is nature.

    What we do not know is the conscious thoughts of the herd cells. We only see their behavior. For all we know the herd creates the rogue by its desires and this too is a part of nature.

  19. No I thought this before too...

    And what made me less concerned is that I realized that the diversity is more prevalent than it appears...

    I do not think we are heading towards this... I think we are heading away from totalitarianism.... even China is slowly doing this. India is too.

    I have great hope for the human race. I just wonder if I will see any big changes in this life time

  20. Ah, yes. but it then only takes a handful of inspired folks to plant the seeds of change.

    Social change takes time. And often it is so incremental that it's only seen as we look back.

    Ideas... true solid ideas not fads or whimsical sentiments seed the world over time. The Internet is the fertilizer for these seeds.

    When has man been able to talk to anyone around the world the way we talk now?

    This technology allows us to plant seeds all over the earth. Much will result from this.

    Of course it is only a matter of time before it will be regulated... but we have it now.

  21. maybe you are one of the rogues... not in a box.


  22. Thanks for all your comments, Cyn! I'm glad you enjoyed my roguish thoughts. But I'm definitely still in the box. I'm painting stars on the ceiling and computers on the wall and telling everyone else to get out. Ladies first!

    I just got round to Nancy's thread where she posted the What the Bleep, blue circle in flatland video. Thanks for the reminder!

    I agree with all the positive points you made, especially the power of the internet to sow seeds of enlightenment.

    I don't know if the internet will ever be regulated, but it will be monitored (already is) and inevitably it will close up into private spheres (again, already is... like blogs here on Multiply... I was even thinking myself of restricting to friends only). It's that tension I alluded to in an earlier comment between secrecy and freedom of speech. To be able to speak freely means not to worry about what you say being on record worldwide forever, so sometimes we need some secrecy. But if everything is secret like in the Middle Ages, then to speak freely is impossible without worrying that we might be divulging a precious secret (of someone else). So it does seem a balance of secrecy is required. The same is true in government. We want openness and honesty and to be rid of corruption, but too much openness and the media revels over the slightest trivialities and scandals that have no bearing on reality and tarnish government as a whole to the detriment of the country. Probably also true in banking. If we knew the full truth, we might lose confidence, whereas keeping confidence, all might be fixed. Ha! Funny that... confidence = able to confide in, lol. No secrets means no more confidences.

    Also a good point about change being incremental, which means any collective awakening ideally takes place in a society that allows for it and where people have the freedom to speak out and make changes for the better, so the system from above must be conducive to the awakening. If not, then the awakening will only happen because things have got so bad and then things get unpredictible.

    Democracy is clearly far more conducive than the other options of the 20th century. But the "opposite" parties offer broadly similar visions. There's a lot of politics in politics and a lack of philosophy. China and India are heading into the same consumerism-driven culture that makes some people in the West buy cars as status symbols instead of vehicles to get from A to B. I exaggerate, but it's as Fromm said a "One World" system that's emerging, so the "one philosophy" better be a good one! I think the point he made about belief and Renaissance hints at the way forward. A renewal of belief in the human, and of ancient values of balance and spirituality, common to all religions.

  23. I agree with you in regards to secrecy...

    I am appalled by the personal things some people post on the Internet....but, there is so much of it that it all runs together. It will change. a new generation will decide not to post their sex life for all to see.. LOL


    Already young people .. many of them are eschewing identity with their nationhood.

    I am seeing this on the Guardian comment sections...

    "citizen of the world" is used frequently abroad ... not so much here but that will change if we can take a stand against defense spending. I see this as the major obstacle to letting go of Patriotism... we have quite a way to go.

    Yes. India and China are fueling consumerism... but they also are raising the standard of living which allows folks the peace to think philosophically... In a few decades, we will not recognize India and China... just my prediction.

  24. I admire the bravery of those who feel they can be open and share. I hadn't noticed people posting their sex lives, but as for it all running together, absolutely! When so many do it, no-one pays any attention, so if the motive is to get attention, it won't succeed. That's a good thing. It provides cover for those who want to be open and are shy about how people will react - few will notice and only parents or ex will care (he/she will be ex by then, lol). But parents won't be internet-savvy enough to know, and it will serve ex right. Maybe the next generation will be reading their parents' revelations and yucking, lol. The mysteries of divine conception laid out in blog perception.

    But as for internet becoming private, this means it will lose its universal power. Only those within "friends of Cyn" will have privileged access to Cyn's content, to use but one example. Replace Cyn by academic publishers - that's also happened. But replace Cyn by Google, and the internet would become a very different world.

  25. "I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world." (Socrates)

    I've always thought this way myself, but for me it's not either/or, but as well as.

  26. Well....

    It depends on what one is posting for...

    I go to a UK site and freely post my political views...but my personal life? Why would I give predators or possible future employers access to that kind of information?

    There are levels of openness... So that with societal concerns, I am willing to share my views....

    What possible good to society can be achieved by reading my meanderings?

  27. Ah... I did not know that Socrates said that!

    I have no identity with nationhood....

    Not sure why.

  28. By then, China will own our banking system. Then what? U.S. debt to China is $800 billion. That's already enough to buy Goldman Sachs to begin with.

  29. Yes.... and what is done is done....

    China is much too involved in its own growing pain to really be a threat to us....

  30. True. They have a population pyramid disaster looming. They will need that money themselves. And in the meantime, they are helping us.

    I didn't notice that you'd slipped your comments in between mine. ;^) Personal blogs being kept private is like a lock on your private shed. I've said before, you do good. :^) What isn't good is libraries and organizations which should be public and sharing their information locking up because they don't want their stuff copied. Or if certain information is shared among a select elite that can afford it. The power of teamwork is great as long as the team is inclusive.

  31. I should have made clear, I'm not one of them. I'm anonymous, okei. :^)

  32. Returning to the system for the "One World", to impose a system from above would be futile and contrary to the whole idea of diversity. So it must be a system that transcends systems. "Belief in the Human" must replace "belief in the system". It must allow for the freedom to be different.

  33. okei said "What isn't good is libraries and organizations which should be public and sharing their information locking up because they don't want their stuff copied. Or if certain information is shared among a select elite that can afford it. The power of teamwork is great as long as the team is inclusive."

    Yes... but it has been like this for awhile. I remember in the 80's I had top pay for a data search of studies that address the subject of my thesis.... I think University utilize the funds for this to do research.

  34. Yes.. and we are such a very long way to being that..
    But some are planted seeds! Seems Socrates was doing this.. LOL

  35. Hi Okei,

    I have been working through this same concept, so this will give me a chance to organize my thoughts on this subject. I read this yesterday and the day before, and I almost wish I had taken notes because I am sure I won't be able to remember everything I wanted to say.

    I feel like when as a species we are ready to unite in love it will be like everything is already ready to fall into place. As of now this is not the case of course. As spiritual beings we are still having a great time down here learning lessons and having our unique experiences. The collective ego (government) yearns for control in any way possible, yet this is not the will of the collective (conscious or unconscious). Although things are actually getting very, very scary. I could go into detail, but I don't want to dwell on that. Basically we need more openness and honesty!

    There has been revolutionary advances in consciousness already. It seems to me though that we have a long ways to go...but that is the thing about consciousness...when we are ready (hearts open and cleared), change in consciousness can literally happen over night! Seeds are planted by inspired individuals, and it takes love and patience for these seeds to grow into something we recognize as 'inspiring'.

    I agree that our individuality (and ability to express it) is constantly being bombarded. I feel that when the 'time' is right, our unity will be one based on harmony, all the individual pieces working as one as the true self. Like a musical note that is in perfect pitch, every person will know exactly who they are! Until that can happen we are going to have to work on our inner and see the outer reflect that hard work!

    Love, light and blessings!

  36. Oneness does not preclude uniqueness. Each has his or her own specific talents and presents a part of the... hmmm... what to call it here... "universal consciousness?"... that others cannot present in the same manner. Doing away with harm and destructiveness wouldn't be a bad thing, though isolating them from the rest of society seems to have been the only alternative in the past.

  37. great thread and discussion here Okei

  38. Hi Okei,

    Thank you Okei for wonderful response. I just wanted to add that I am nearly certain Lilith was the person who first introduced me to the concept that government is comparable to (or equal to) the collective ego. I am going to have to ask her to be sure, but just in case I wanted to add that :))

    Love, light and blessings!

  39. With regard to the point made by Cal about undesirable parts of the whole, the following thought came to me. Perhaps, it's overly idealistic, but instead of the more usual paradigm for dealing with them... of ignore, isolate, destroy each of these three progressively being used when the previous one is found to fail, we should instead listen, identify, transform each progressively used in that order.

    If something is wrong, there is some mistake, first we must be aware of it, and listen to it, then we must identify the root cause of how it could come about, identifying self and other, and finally we must transform it with our attention, intention, will or whatever.

  40. I have never aspired to 'give up the ego,' as so many are won't to do. But to 'reach a state,' where we become so unique and so 'individual to ourselves', that we examine self, find self-understanding (no easy task there, because were are already on an auto-matic pilot that insists we 'are awake') while we repeat the idioms of parental/societal/survival mode since the formation of our inception regarding ourselves and the world around ourselves.

    And to recognise 'in that state,' that any institution that forms itself, will corrupt itself, by the ego organism in another who will edge their own interests to the forefront of the group.

    So to be 'awake,' is truly to become, individualised, to the maximum ability of the consciousness, to be ONENESS which recognises its unique individually and from 'that state' comes the revelation, that thought itself is an energy and everything 'is' that energy of thought. Not to become, this massive blub blub blog, of sameness, but to achieve the pinnacle of individual awareness, that we are 'no longer,' lost in the mob mentality, but individualised, to the perfection of realises the continuity of being 'one thought,' of something higher, 'in realisation of itself.'

    Anyway, a government or corporation does, or a 'peace movement,' that does so with a leader will corrupt the very thing it took to protect. It is the nature of the beast we are, that we tend to vie for control which can be seen any any realm of our dealings with eachother. Even if you get ten people in a room who have dissected ego to the point that it is the vechicle they 'drive' rather than they are driven by, their progeny will eventually destroy it as they inherit it. An idea 'might be held onto' for awhile, but the ego of another that has its own interests at heart, will rise to grasp it.

    Oh, and another thing about the US. We are a society of immigrants and despite what you have heard to the contrary, and of course with aberrations of irrational behavior by 'idiots,' we 'get along very well together in our diversification. You are mistaking a 'mass exodus' of uncontrolled border invasion as a peaceful flow of give and take of the blending of many races, into the outsideside influence of 'one race alone.' So you need to 'get around the country and visit areas, and watch the even flow of reciprocation and over homogenization of areas, before you speculate upon the subject of diversity and 'forcing others to conform.' In fact the opposite is true.

    Outside of that little flourish a well thought out piece.

  41. Yes! Exactly!

    As for egos corrupting themselves, it is ironic that freedom fighters who used violent means to come to power have almost always gone on to become dictators.

    I'm confused what you mean about the U.S.. I don't remember mentioning it in the blog and if anything, the U.S. and U.K. are closer to being models of multicultural diversity than anywhere else. In France, they are much more suspicious of multiculturalism believing in a "French identity" that everyone must "fit into" which then comes with the sense of this being "under threat". This then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy with communities failing to integrate properly.
    But this also means they are also one of the staunchest defenders of their own "identity" on the global scale, fighting off perceived "American imperialism", in other words in favour of a multicultural world. Now what did I say about the U.S.? Only that the EU probably sees it as a model for a United States of Europe, and just as the individual States of America once had a lot more "local power", this too might be eroded over time in Europe.

  42. I must have misunderstood you on that point. I understand the french do not even like the french, depending on which region they are from.

    Anyway, you are a brilliant writer and thinker. I'm going to browse a few of the comments later on.

    Viva la Independence of thought!

  43. I think this "event" of artificial intelligence taking over is known as the "singularity".

    And here's a cool article I came across by someone whose whole site is dedicated to this issue.

  44. I have to apologize for not getting back to this thread sooner. The enormity of the subject and other things on my mind gave me a brain-freeze. So I'll try to get back into the flow now, and maybe things will clarify a bit...

    The ripples of Kasey's avatar must be very confusing for one on the surface of the water, but in the bigger picture, all becomes clearer. Unfortunately the bigger picture, like some grand theory of everything, is still well beyond my understanding.

    One might speculate the existence of some "universal consciousness". This can have no material explanation. It is the essence of our freedom, divine will, life force, Source, the Nothing, God or whatever else you wish to call it. It is that which science is unable to explain, perhaps because it is outside the realms of our universe. And yet if we are to believe that we are not robots, mere matter randomly acting out a pre-programmed will to live that has come about naturally from millions of years of evolution, if we are to believe in a "something more", an intangible notion of Self and "I", then we need that spark of consciousness. Many scientists would tell us that it's an illusion. And the spiritualists who believe "we are One" in a funny way agree with them, or at least see it as a misconception. The spark of consciousness is not our individuality, but the same spark running through us all. We lose our ego-self in an expansion of our consciousness to include everything, to realize the true Self. It's a beautiful concept. In a state of heightened awareness, perhaps we could almost feel it. But the ego doesn't let go so easily. In that case, in a very real sense, our individuality is our body, the matter and programming that make it up and the scientists had it right all along. But then to "safeguard the individual" is merely to look after this piece of hardware that we have the gift of living and experiencing. What a strange notion that is!

    Cyn, perhaps your meanderings will be useful. Who knows? The great power of the internet is interconnection. And I realize now that privacy and publicity both have a place. The first bread-thieves while farmers were out in the fields would have been followed by the first locks on people's doors. The elders of the village would have shaken their heads at the innovation, but without it people wouldn't be able to risk keeping valuables at home, or make savings for a rainy day. (And this must also be why communism failed.) People do need the freedom to express themselves, discover and grow in private in order to aspire to something greater. And when we choose, the internet also allows us to invite the whole world to our front garden, including the map-maker google, to check out what meandeflowerings we have on display for the world. If Socrates lived today, he'd have a whale of a time planting all those seeds. And he'd be just as unpopular with authority as he was then because of his "subversive influence".

    Kasey, you might have noticed that some of the things I wrote like the analogy of the human body were already inspired by things you'd said on Y!A before you'd even seen this thread. Thanks so much for taking the trouble to read and comment and I'm really sorry for not thanking you properly sooner. Government as collective ego... I'd never thought of that before! Openness and honesty are good, but they have their drawbacks... loss of freedom, loss of confidence among them unless there's complete trust, and the media are not very trustworthy in this regard. Politicians are subject to the neon glare of openness and honesty and I'm afraid the result is banality and conformity. Daring to be different is dangerous.

  45. Cal, you raise something interesting about dealing with the harmful and destructive that "is not One". At first we might not notice it, so we ignore it. Then we realize it, so we isolate it. But to use the analogy of the human body, that tells us that we should eliminate it, destroy it, if necessary radiate it... a very dangerous and uncompassionate consequence of a philosophy that "we are One" that we are moving into at present. The desire to fit all countries and all people into a "One world" system... Some aspects of this are good and beneficial for all, but systems like laws in general are so often imposed thoughtlessly from above without thinking things through properly.

    And Kasey, I love your positivity. Hard work, love and patience is a beautiful combination. And the resulting tune would be truly inspiring.

    Love, light & blessings to one and all!