Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Information Age









There seems to me to be an irony implicit in calling this the "information age." Mankind has more data available to him than ever before, but we're faced with the same problems we have always had- and far more of them.

Unsurprisingly, individual lives mirror this collective problem. At every moment, we have input pouring in from ten thousand sources, and it's hard to sort it out. It's as though we were a construction site where the trucks were pulling up every eight seconds with another pile of building materials and finding out the foreman isn't there. The result? Every truck just dumps its load of materials any old place and moves on to bring in the next load. Our inner workers frantically try to keep up, but the site is in chaos and every structure that begins to rise up doesn't follow the intention of the architect. The crews themselves become desperate- they know there is something wrong. They can't get a grip--they don't even speak the same langauges, to borrow from the famous parable--so they try to become architects themselves. New structures get thrown up and torn down right and left as competeing crews try to deal with the influx of material. They argue with each other. There's too much of some materials and not enough of others.

What we end up with is a huge pile of disordered rubble, all of which was intended to build something, but which goes terribly astray.

The idea of in-formation, to me, is not just data. It is the idea of forming something inwardly. In order to do this someone has to be in charge. There has to be discrimination- we can't just pile up materials on our inner construction site willy-nilly, we have to select materials intelligently. We need to know something about building and the site, and there has to be a plan. We're never going to get a tenant to move in if we can't create a suitable residence.

The process of in-formation invoves informing our inner parts. They're discombobulated: they don't talk to each other and in many cases they don't even know their partners are on the building site with them. So we need to get in touch with them and let them know there's an aim.

Increasingly I rely on my breathing to inform me. Every breath I take, if taken with attention, has the potential to help my construction crew remember what it's supposed to be up to.

With the help of my breathing, all day long I can remind them:

We're always on site, guys, and we are working against a deadline.

1 comment:

  1. The myth of the sacred cow states that in the golden age all connection with the divine was in Man naturally, and the cow stood on all four legs - there was no need of scripture or ethical law. then we entered the silver age and the cow lost a leg. then scripture and moral law was required by a loss of a vertical connection within man. when the cow lost a second leg we entered the bronze age and all manner of books and writing came into being - before, all things worth anything were considered worth remembering - thus the illiad and oddessey and myths and sacred scriptures were learned by heart by the bards, and passed orally. but now the cow has lost a third leg, and in the iron age, the age of the wolf, the kali yuga, all information and man's center moves outside of himself, leaving an emptiness inside where once he was filled. the true man has dissappeared into the fog of antiquity. what is left is an empty shell, and all things are kept as information, outside of Man. thus the "information age" and rise of the "internet", where all superficial information can be kept at arms left. there are a few however amoung men, who are known as the "bees", and they are given the task of collecting back into themselves, the pure essence of all the scattered and abandoned wisdom. only they know each other - to the outside they seem as lemmings going away from the cliff, and are taken as insane.

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