Home / Culture and Society / Science and Technology / Can We Get There From Here?

Can We Get There From Here?

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

I’ve been gone from BC for a while now. There were reasons, some of which I may discuss later, but not now. There are bigger fish to fry.

Let me begin with a story. Those of you who have followed my writing in the past know that I always tell stories. I turned 60 a few weeks ago, which brought on a whole host of things to consider, some pleasant and some unpleasant. Among the unpleasant were the regrets. I was particularly brought down by my regret as regards my academic, intellectual achievement. As a teenager my dream had been to go to Cal Tech and become a physicist. I wasn’t accepted however, even though well qualified. Since that time my interest in life has become trying to understand what it means to be fully human on this planet and pass it on if I can.

Now I believe in synchronicities. There are rational underpinnings for that understanding, but I won’t get into it here. The other day I was sitting at Peet’s Coffee when I chanced to overhear a conversation near me. The man seemed familiar and I knew I was supposed to pay attention. He mentioned that he had recently been at Cal Tech where a physicist had told him that we cannot possibly create enough alternative power to meet the scale of the world’s coming demands. At the moment I was still in my post-60 funk.

What this moment of overheard conversation told me was that even physics of the highest order is not what we need at this point in our existence. We still don’t understand what it means to be fully human and what our responsibilities are to that knowledge. Without some sort of mass realization of our place in existence we are lost. (I have to insert a disclaimer here. I am not a New Ager. I cringe at the general reductionist simplicity in the thinking.) We are running out of time and the attempts to create alternative power sources, though noble, are the proverbial rearrangement of the deck furniture on the Titanic. As I was leaving Peet’s I suddenly realized who the man was. It was Donald Johanson, arguably the most famous anthropologist in the world, discoverer of Lucy, and noted explorer of our human origins. Without knowing it, he was causing me to regain my bearings and to get back on course in exploring the nature of what it means to be fully human.

In a post a few years ago I wrote about my hopes for the Internet and the cyberworld. I also noted my disappointment at how we were using it. When I look at the Internet I see a physical manifestation of the collective unconscious of human kind with all the good, the bad, and the ugly inherent in the collective mind. This great cacophony cannot be really controlled or corralled, but it can, however, be guided. In this fact lies our greatest hope, however we are using the great power of the cyber-medium to play mindless word games on the deck of the Titanic and to otherwise numb our minds to our impending fate. Our only hope lies in this aforementioned mass realization of our place in existence. This direct awareness of being is something that can be passed from mind to mind. The question is, how can we use this electronic medium to create a virtual mind-to-mind transmission of this direct awareness of being? This transmission is the only thing that can operate at the speed that life on this planet requires.

The underlying motivation of all that I do, whether it is building a piece of furniture, teaching in a classroom, or writing, is to manifest this direct sense of being. My hope here is to somehow, in mind-to-mind fashion, fire that same sense of beingness in you and have you carry it forward mind-to-mind. This is what life needs from us in this moment in our history of fear. We are asked to stop and see clearly. It is the least we can do. Can we get there from here?

I hope to provide a place for questions and dialogue without diatribes and polarized opinion. Pleas join me.

Powered by

About John Spivey

  • gonzo,

    Yeh, it’s me. Good to hear from you again and hope to hear more. There’s a new posting today under Sci/Tech (if they keep it that way).


  • oh my stars and garters…!

    good to *see* you back at it John, you’ve been missed

    can’t wait to read the next bits!

    for John


  • Sonny,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I’m working on another post, but I have to weave it around my work schedule in my shop.


  • SonnyD

    Good to “hear” from you again. But a post-60 funk? You have to be kidding. I barely noticed 60. Just another day. Now 70 is another matter.

    The internet does have potential, doesn’t it? And most will go on using it for mindless word games because they are not ready for anything deeper. But there are many who are ready and probably searching for what you are talking about. The problem is how to reach them or let them reach you.

    It can be done though. NaNoWriMo went from twelve people to thousands in just a few years because they all have a common interest in writing fiction. It did cause a few problems, though, when they expected 140 people to register and 4,000 showed up.

  • duane,

    The question is not rhetorical. I’m answering it for myself by this act of writing. There will be more. There is actually no single answer. If through my writing you suddenly come to your real self, then inherent in that is the knowledge of what you need to do yourself and how to direct your own skills and talents in the service of the greater. I know that somewhere out there are people whose talents are capable of doing what I cannot do. My task is to awaken them if I can.


  • duane

    I was particularly brought down by my regret as regards my academic, intellectual achievement.

    No doubt you stopped and sensed the universal condition inherent in being inside the ever-expanding sphere of knowledge. I think you’re in plenty of good company.

    … even physics of the highest order is not what we need at this point in our existence.

    I don’t see that this is anything but self-evident. Who would argue that “physics is all you need”? Physics (and science in general) is a wonderful thing, but it cannot cure the ills of the world. Only a dreamer would claim otherwise. The “human condition” still lies far outside the purview of quantitative science.

    The question is, how can we use this electronic medium to create a virtual mind-to-mind transmission of this direct awareness of being?

    Is this rhetorical, or is there a Part 2 in the works?

    I hope that’s not too antipodal or whatever the adjective form of diatribe is. Diatribal? Diatribistical?