How to get Enlightened
To be enlightened is to gain information, with an understanding of its importance or relevance and to be able to apply it in the process of personal and general evolution – or is it?
Gone are the days when encyclopaedias can be updated quickly enough to accommodate all the information that is coming to the fore and it is possible that a written archive of our knowledge, for instant reference, is a thing of the past – but we now have the electronic archive aka ‘The Internet’. It may be no more secure as a record than the lost libraries of Alexandria as, even if the information is stored, there may come a time when we, the individuals who would like to access it, will not be able to do so.
I often wonder what the percentage of truth on the internet might be – an optimistic 50%? I am concerned more here with information, rather than entertainment or marketing – if we concentrate on truthful information only, it is an interesting subject.
That leads me to wonder about information in general. A common quote about historical records is that it was mostly written by the victors and therefore would have a certain biased spin on it.
Reflecting on what I learned at school, I feel that most of it is now irrelevant as it was such a sketchy half-taught, half-learned fragment of what is available to learn, I have come to the conclusion that education isn’t about truthful information, more the learning of an ability to learn, and a way of keeping kids out of factories or off the streets.
As cynical as that may sound, I feel there is some truth in it, as one imagines the volume of 5-18 year-olds in your country alone. (What did we use to do with kids – well it was all about labour intensivity – as soon as kids could stand they were put to some good use, but they were not being taught information as much as useful survival skills.)
So what is information and why do we need it? Where does it come from and what do we do with it – apart from pass it around?
Those questions bring to mind the fact that we are thinking beings – sentient, interested, exploring, creative and intrigued beings; we love to find out stuff.
Which brings me back to truth – what, out of all the information that we think we know as truthful, relevant and established, is the actual truth?
I have Googled to my heart’s content when I want to know something but, on reflection, what I have found falls into a few categories.
1. Scientific data – knowledge from objective study, which we can call factual information, closest to the truth as we know it for the time being, but essentially only interesting to those working directly in research and development.
2. News – moment by moment reports about politics, finance, crime, sport, celebrities, fashion, scandal and weather – all of which is relevant for a day, as it is all transient and generally unimportant information.
3. History – various and dubious records of past events, which is interesting enough if we are going to learn from our mistakes but, well, it’s all in the past. From what I have discovered about history, there seems to be a lot of repetition, i.e. writers writing about the writing of other writers – ?
4. Speculations on the future – now this seems to be a very popular past-time – in just about everything listed above.
Speculation becomes much more interesting than studying what is known because no-one knows the future so everyone has a fair chance to come up with a winning theory – like betting – someone may be right. If we could really predict the future accurately, many people would be able to capitalise on it and make a fortune, but it would spoil the fun of speculation.
When speculation gets serious we are into another category of information that is mind-blowing. Prophecy and prediction.
What truth is there in a prophetic vision of a pious and solitary soul who wanders out of the desert and proclaims that he has had a conversation with God? For him, or her, it may well be life-changing, revelationary, interesting, thought-provoking and useful, but is it truthful?
It becomes ‘truthful’ when it is adopted by a few interested listeners who then spread the word and convince more interested listeners until it is all believed – as a truth.
It is at this point that I have my own revelation – I have a desire to know what is the truth, and to seek it out I go to a virtual deserted island, devoid of any other outside influence, and observe. I observe the simplicity of my virtual physical environment – a gently undulating empty ocean lapping against a pure untrodden sandy beach, with a cloudless sky of the brightest blue and the warmth of a friendly sun; the benignly swaying palms of the tall ancient trees and the magical calls of colourful birds from an interior to my desert island, where exotic fruits, nuts and berries await my attention should hunger arise and fresh water from sparkling springs to quench my thirst.
So here I sit, a virtual Girl Friday, and realise I have a dilemma: I am more than an empty mind in a simple body – I have memories, and all those memories are information that I have gathered from a complex connection with all I have left behind.
So I attempt to empty my mind, go into a meditative state where all thoughts become still, where I can be nothing, in a void. Even in this void I still have a sense, an awareness of self. It is here that the persistent and eternal questions arise – who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, and where will I go?
The truth is I don’t know, I can only try to build some answers based on information I have gathered, and speculate on what I can imagine.
(continued in Part 2)