I had an unusual night last night. All kinds of things were mixing it up in my mind and body. First there was Adrianne Ross’s Dharma talk, which I wrote about on Dharma Seed. I had also finished listening to A Visit From the Goon Squad. Neither one knows what is really going on – and doesn’t want to know.
In a dream I had last night, I was in a large construction tunnel with two huge movable projects underway – both starting from opposite ends of the tunnel and meeting head-on in the middle. I was part of a small group of humans watching them meet. I was even given a video camera to record what was going on. If the dream had lasted longer, I would have seen these two projects destroying each other – with no one at ground level aware that anything was going on at all.
The Goon Squad says a lot – but says it subtly – and from all kinds of directions. In the last analysis, it comes to the same conclusion – but sugar-coats it. We think we are wonderful – do we ever! – but we are not.
I was terrifically impressed with Ms. Ross. This gal has been everywhere and done everything. But she hasn’t seen the big picture at all. I remember Spirit Rock (the finest meditation center in the world) once had a retreat that was supposed to solve this. They put all the top meditators in the world together in an a intensive situation that would guarantee great results – they thought. They even did some advance publicity about this.
When no such thing happened, they said nothing. They were telling the truth (they had no grand answer to the world’s problems) – but not the whole truth (that the world (the human world) was destroying itself). When it came to this, they were as ignorant as everyone else.
Our intellectuals cannot see this either. I am reading Foucault, for example, and was tempted to write about his ideas on normalization - one of the techniques of control that our society uses – without being aware of it. In our schools it is called grading on the curve. Everyone’s progress is compared to all the other students in the class. The teacher (who knows perfectly well what needs to be learned, and whether or not the student has learned it) is pushed out of the picture.
Applied to society as a whole – it means society has no way of detecting its overall trends – since everything is referenced to itself.
One of these trends is what I am writing about – society has become hostile to people. Something that could be easily detected if it referenced its gut feelings. Exactly what meditation is supposed to do. But meditators have the same unconscious instructions as everyone else – and do not do this. And society suffers from all kinds of problems as a result – including self-destruction on every scale.