Our cyborg children need our lost philosophers

Absence of Discourse in the Age of Crashing Consciousness

I make much on this blog of the power of the Internet in positive terms.

I marvel at the potential it offers in its capacity to connect us to all the knowledge and wisdom of humanity while at the same time connecting us all to one another in a way that would enable us to share the fruits of that knowledge.

But as the father of three children now coming to grips with the allure that power has, I find myself lamenting the loss of philosophy in a time when we are undergoing perhaps the most significant surge in the evolution of consciousness in the history of our species.

My 12-year-old-daughter has an iPod. I don’t know if that is right or wrong. She uses it to listen to music, which I think is important. But she now uses it to communicate with friends across the street and across the Atlantic ocean. My wife and I monitor what she does and transparency is mandated but none of this is what really bothers me.

As someone who has long studied philosophy and the esoteric traditions, I am disturbed by our collective apathy around the Internet and what it represents as a drastic reorientation of consciousness in reality that is taking place in my daughter’s generation.

Have we really sufficiently thought through the implications of a generation of children, who, from the time they can walk, carry what amounts to a second brain in their pocket: a brain, no less, that provides them with instant access to everything that has ever been known by our species and connects them to every other being in existence — instantaneously — all the time?  Is this not a big deal?  How are we not concerned about what this means for out kids, and for our humanity?

The esoteric scholar, who appreciates how Western thought’s ferocious, snowballing imbalanced focus on the linear, rational functions of consciousness (math, science, language) over the more global, mythic functions (art, music, philosophy), speaks much about how our social institutions (I would add as a function of perpetuation of economic consumption and political management of the masses) has systemically devalued, trivialized and shoved our more “intangible” means of understanding and processing of reality the point where the are at risk being extinguished for good.

The esotericists understand perfectly how we have come to this point in the evolution of consciousness where the unchecked, unquestioned adoption of the fruits of right-brained, scientific, engineered, empiricist, reductionist innovation are integrated into our lives with total trust and minimal concern. What science does is now above reproach. Were there any philosophers left, they would say that, in the minds of our time, technology has become “the good”.

Speaking of philosophers… Remember them? Those members of a society who studied, examined, articulated, and foster discussion around the most fundamental aspect of our existence: consciousness and its relationship with reality?

Well, wouldn’t they be useful right now!

Bringing me to my point.

In a world that has come to value almost exclusively science and engineering degrees that can manifest the tangible, actionable, observable aspects of being, we have systemically diminished and devalued those explorations that can explore and manifest insubstantial — but no less important — aspects of being: what we are, who we are and how we fit in reality itself.

And now, when I look into my daughter’s frightened, confused eyes some days, I wonder if we haven’t been too complacent amidst the timeless, belligerent admonishments of drunk uncle’s with MBAs at family dinners that go something like…

“What the Hell you gonna do with a philosophy degree?”

It is unquestionable to me now that we are raising the first truly cybernetic generation of humanity. And as the ones who live in cyberspace — no, ARE cyberspace — they are struggling with how to relate to us: the ones who just visit there. Worse than that, they are struggling with how they relate to themselves, with each other, and the receding reality that exists on THIS side of the 4-inch blinky, beepy rectangle that is becoming more of who they are than THEY are.

There is no conversation happening and I fear, though they are confused, afraid, and possibly already lost, we can’t help them.

And I am convinced we will seriously lament how the people who could have helped them acquiesced to pressure to become experts in corporate communications instead of Plato.

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