Living with the new 'Information Age': Accept the fact that there are no 'Absolutes'
We want guarantees and absolutes.
Human beings are always looking for a ‘sure’ thing; a guarantee…an absolute and we want formulas for everything we do. Eat right+don't drink+don't smoke=long life-freak accident = death.
We invented marriage to guarantee a lifetime partner, a guarantee that we will have a family and avoid growing old alone. We take great care of our bodies because it is a guarantee that we will live longer. We lead clean and ‘sinless’ lives in exchange for a life in the hereafter. We get an education with the idea that we will be guaranteed a good, stable job for our future. We save money in our IRA and retirement accounts so we will be guaranteed financial security when we retire. These are all ‘absolutes’ that are imbedded in our psyches; now comes the ‘information age’ and with it the challenges of knowledge. Sometimes knowledge is a mightier weapon than any man-made weapon of destruction; knowledge of the masses has threatened even the most powerful leaders in any context.
There is no question that our world is experiencing a mighty paradigm shift and as with any shifts of such magnitude, insecurity and fear abounds. Everything we thought was an absolute is being challenged to the fullest. People are dying of lung cancer that never smoked; more and more college graduates are unemployed; and every time our retirement savings begins to build, the stock market suffers a colossal crash and wipes out a good chunk of our savings. Even the Bible, our one source of solace and understanding, is being challenged as more and more information is learned around its history.
If there is one 'absolute' that a human being can count on, it is that there really are no absolutes. The information age is showing us that if we aren’t willing to be more flexible with our hardcore beliefs, we will suffer. If there is anything that will bring even the most peaceful person to violence, it is the challenge of their beliefs. Challenging the beliefs that once brought them security, their life preserver; yank it out from underneath them and they drown in panic and confusion.
Knowledge is powerful and...threatening.
Awwww...the power of knowledge. Powerful religious, political and corporate leaders are far more frightened of knowledge than they are of most any other threat. As long as you have your dedicated followers, you have back-up but arm them with knowledge and the walls will crumble from within.
That is one of the reasons Hitler was so powerful; he limited what the Germans would know because if they did know what was really going on, they may not have chosen to turn a blind eye. The ones who knew, who chose to see another angle and speak about it were killed or put in the very camps they spoke out about. Hitler telling their countrymen that these people were anti-patriots to the ‘fatherland’. The citizens of Germany were being faced with insecurity, the ‘fatherland’ saying one thing with the ‘anti-patriots’ saying something completely different. Who would you choose to believe? Father or anti-patriot? Which word brings about trust…well the words commonly associated with ‘trust’. Knowledge, how very frightening it must have been.
The political parties in the U.S. know the power of knowledge. Watch any media channel and you will easily detect the party they are leaning with, reporting the news from one particular slant and omitting anything that may contradict it. If we want neutral news reporting, we will have to dig for it and get it ourselves and we have the power to do that now because the information is available if sought after. Of course this will mean accepting the idea of a multifaceted perspective on any situation and many of us are still ignorant of how to read between the lines. Eating exactly what is fed, just like our parents and grand-parents. The idea of looking at something from other angles may be too challenging to our security and threaten everything we believed to be true.
Cuba: the little island that could.
The ‘information age’ is challenging everyone to change and change isn’t something that comes easily to most. Today, more and more information is being learned from countries we once thought were our enemies. How could our ‘enemies’ offer any knowledge we could use?
Cuba. Many people born in the 60’s have known Cuba as an enemy. After all, they are a communist country (communism….that evil, evil word) and no one can forget the ‘bay of pigs’ invasion, right? Anyway, the United States imposed an embargo on exports to Cuba in an effort to punish their regime. Rather than throw up the ‘white flag’, Cuba became quite resourceful by coming together as a country to produce much of their own food through sustainable agriculture and learning to live with a very limited oil supply.
There is much for us to learn from our ‘enemies’, especially Cuba, in our current state of insecurity as a nation.
Lessons from Cuba
- Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in an Era of Oil Scarcity: Lessons from Cuba: Julia Wright
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in an Era of Oil Scarcity: Lessons from Cuba [Julia Wright] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. When other nations are forced to rethink their agricultural and food security strategies in lig
Can our nation cope?
What can we do as a nation and as individuals to cope with the changes we are experiencing? Some ideas to think about:
- Be comfortable with being uncomfortable and secure in insecurity.
- Arm ourselves with knowledge rather than assault weapons. After all, what exactly has been accomplished this way? Yes, there is always a winner and a loser but the loss in lives and the suffering afterward should have taught us that there are most likely better ways. Why does there always have to be a winner and a loser? Why can’t we learn the art of collaboration?
- Understand that ‘truth’ is subjective, find our own and being willing to allow that truth to be flexible. Be curious…learn more of what was always believed was ‘bad’ because someone told us it was. Deepak Chopra says: ‘be a reed rather than an old oak tree so when the winds blow you won’t be broken’.
- Engage in a religion or belief system with the knowledge that not everything we are told is exactly the way it is. Be open to the idea that other belief systems hold powerful wisdom we can use.
- Believe in the tangible discoveries of science always remembering that new discoveries are being made all of the time that trump the old ones. Remember when scientists thought the world was flat?