Here at Theosophy.Net we like to promote the idea of open source and study the behavior of the evolution of humanity, not only as individuals, but also as cultures and large groupings of people. As everyone is well aware of the bombings in Boston on Monday were a tragedy in just about every sense of the word, and given that there has been no reason given for the act it's even more senseless. However, this event has given rise to a new type of awareness, and that is the use of crowdsourcing as a means of crime solving.
Up until recently, most of the activity on media such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. has been the domain of the trivial and humorous (although lolcats ARE important!), as well as the building of a medium dedicated to marketing. The events this week, however show that there is a potential for social action in meaningful and effective ways.
The inspiration for this piece is an article on the site Xconomy, a site for those interested in the interaction between new media and the economy. From my perspective, the real power of social media is one that is only vaguely beginning to assert itself. As the article points out, the real power of social manifests when it is used to solve important problems. Therein leads to many questions which spiritually inclined folk, such as those here don't usually delve into.
So, here I go again...
What are the most important and pressing spiritual issues of today?
How can we effectively address them through connecting people and ideas together?
What kind of roles can social media play in addressing the issues mentioned above?
And how can Theosophy.Net help with this?
Well, that is some food for thought. Don't be afraid to think outside the box. I do have one other thought and that is to say that just dismissing social media as not important is NOT an answer. Whether or not anyone here likes it or not does not change the fact that the world around us is becoming increasingly connected. It is the creative imagination that we apply to emerging realities and to the world around us which will bring about the next iteration in the story of Theosophy. It is how we symbolize today's world and draw the connections between the material and divine that will show the true usefulness of a Theosophic view of the world and its continuing adaptability, one that has reinvented itself from the time of the Roman Empire, through the Renaissance and into the Information Age and beyond.
As far as I can see, there is only one issue facing us today and that is the disconnect between spirituality and our day to day living. We can trace the roots of this disconnect to several developments in the past but one of the reasons that stands out is that the practice of spirituality is prescribed only for individuals and not for the communities as a whole. The teachers themselves have become a tool in this isolating of the individual by following what Richard Ihle very appropriately terms as "insider trading" in his introduction to General Theosophy Vol.1.
So our response to this challenge facing us today is build knowledgeable communities of free thinking individuals who will not carry the baggage of the past on their shoulders but will bring fresh ideas and new insights into our thinking. We are on that path but we have a long way to go!
First, I want to express my condolences to all those whom fell victim of this tragic event.
So since we're open source :) I wanted to piece together two writings to form a thought. I might not touch the question of crowd-sourcing for crime solving, but I can say that Our course in society and social media is something that we can all learn from to bring us to higher levels of a social conscious and bring with it a much needed way to enlighten those without
I take an excerpt from H. T. Edge from The Science of Living:
“Science is a word to conjure with nowadays; but, judging by the state of the world, and by
the state of our own minds, there must be something the matter with our science … In the magazines and papers you will find every week articles on psychology as applied to education, the treatment of criminals, and the care of the insane. Science has made notable progress in the treatment of disease, but at the same time is responsible for many diseases; and some think that civilization is gravely threatened by disease.
But this is not the fault of science itself, for science means knowledge and is a sacred name.
The fault is that our intellect has been applied in the wrong direction, so that our science is
not really science. At least it is not the science of living. The fact seems to be that we have
no real science of living at all. The domain of that which we call science is confined to
external matters, and nowhere gets beyond the region which is defined by the perceptions
of the 5 bodily senses by the mental conceptions which we form from the data supplied by
these senses. But the actual fact is that our lives are comparatively little influenced by this
sense-world and its phenomena. They are influenced by subtler forces ruling in the world
of mind and emotion. Character and conduct are the things that count in life; and our
science does not concern itself with character and conduct.”
Now I bring in Rudolf Steiner from The Social Question and Theosophy:
“one must learn the laws under which the world is evolving. It cannot be a matter of science, rather it can only be an intuition of what we must contribute as law. This comes directly out of a perception that seems most fantastic to most people, but which is much clearer and more objective than much of the fantastic fantasy of our scientists. One that can tell what lives in the soul and then crystallizes outwardly, can also, out of the wisdom, out of the divine in the soul, tell what an individual can spread out into the world and what is proper for humanity.
If in the future you want to have such circumstances around you, if you want to have it set up that way, as an institution which will satisfy people, about which people will be able to say: “That's it—we want to live under these conditions,” then you must first pour humanity into these conditions, so that humanity will stream out of them again. The deepest humanity, the deepest soul-inwardness must first stream out of our own hearts into the world. Then the world will be an image of the soul, and in this soul there will be an image of the world. This will be able to satisfy people again. Therefore the human being cannot expect anything from all those quackeries in the social area that are perpetrated by looking at outer circumstances. These outer circumstances are made by human beings; they are nothing else but human souls which have streamed outwards. The first things that have to be worked over, what we have to take up first as the social question, are the souls of today, which produce the environment of tomorrow. You can see how better conditions stream into the environment if only you would study it. Again and again I have had to hear from social politicians: Make the conditions better and human beings will become better. Just let these people study what individual sects, developing themselves cut off from world evolution pursue as soul culture, just let them study what the latter contribute to the shaping of outer conditions. If human beings realize that the improvement of conditions depends on themselves, if they acquire Theosophical knowledge, and if they cognize the first fundamental principle to establish the kernel of a universal brotherhood “To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.” and develop it in themselves as a social feeling for the surrounding world, then the actual social is possible, and one is prepared for what will happen in the near future.”
I'm sorry it's a bit winded but, the way I see this view, is that majority of the social media aspect is drawn into all those outward circumstances, its focus is mostly on things that they do day to day, and concern themselves in trivial matters as to who's doing what, A little quote here and there to satisfy them for the moment. Pictures of sadness or happiness to grip at the emotions laying dormant in connection to the universe. As if only in tragedy striking, is when social media's not just a place for small talk or of frivolous things. As Edge wrote “our intellect is applied in the wrong direction” We seem to have a part on the right track, we are increasingly becoming more and more connected, but to what facets?
If only Theosophy would be the mainstream. If in turn, social sites said “We will REMOVE this LIKE button so as to have them think for themselves!” require them to answer WHY they 'Like' or 'Dislike' something.. Then, we could have people that actually think. People that search inside for what drives them to do what they do, to post what they post. Within that, is where they would have some self reflection and maybe find a true 'social connection' with their fellow man and the divine.
How can Theosophy.Net help with this?? We are here... we might not know all the answers, but together we can become the answer... our beacon of light is beckoning.
Once again, we are trying to shoot the messenger instead of reading the message. While H T Edge perhaps wrote at the time when neuroscience was not developed sufficiently, but today it is looking into all the aspects that he mentioned. Rudolf Steiner too, is merely repeating what we have known for ages, that we are a greedy, selfish and violent lot. Greater teachers than Steiner or Edge, like Buddha, Jesus or Gandhi recently have shown the way of love, compassion, sacrifice. have we improved? If not then why? What is wrong in our DNA?
Perhaps someday the same scientists who are being attacked everyday by the ignorant philosophers will come out with a molecule which will inoculate every new born against these vices., Or the spiritualists blasting those scientists will look within and search if their model of spirituality with strong emphasis on individual experience to the exclusion of others (those not in the brotherhood) is responsible for the failure of such great teachers.
Being that I am a scientist of sorts and I study Neurobiology [*cognition not neuroethics](hadn't posted as my skills here not knowing how to integrate it), I can see the great developments in neuroscience. It could be that maybe I was looking at a bit esoterically so I didn't relate his mention of science in the general aspect of science. Out of millions of Sciences, he refers to the Science of living rather than what most would think of science in the field of a profession or a technical study. The field in my opinion, that he refers to is as one would have a view of the mind and spirit, I took in that our field of studies focus on the outer rather than the within. Focusing on mind rather than spirit. I know in my studies, it doesn't want to focus on anything out of the neuronetwork. Because like you said some philosophers do refute anything concerning the quantum mind or quantum consciousness or having to do with spirituality. So with your thought I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place as they say. Is there really something wrong
with our DNA? I can only say that I know mention of and not proud of knowing, that scientist have in plan to develop a way to supress type gene by destimulate vMat2 and has already tested on the little snails(aplysia) and rats. Not cool... Why suppress it if they find no common ground to believe in it?
I digress, I don't think that social networks are bad, just that they are still in a baby
stage. I'm sure social scientist are having a field day with it studying how it can have direction for uses as such rather than extremely for leisure. We see social sites like that popping out here in there that are wanting to get on that exact social roll, this is the step in the right direction. As of right now, I'm not oposing the view that it will be useful in the near future as I hope it does. Below is some of what "scripted"(lol) officials had to say of it during this Boston deal. Unfortunately I still haven't addressed how we can push this engagement because I don't know how... Too bad Anonymous doesn't give out tips for social movements lol