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Internet and Evolutioon

Oct 18, 1996 06:55 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

In response to Mark's (Art House) comments about the Internet:
indeed it is a "growing manifestation of group or planetary
consciousness" that can express the energies of the higher
parts of ourselves.  But it is also true that there is a lot
more kama-manas than buddhi-manas expressed on it.

This is, as you suggest, inevitable given that humanity's center
of gravity is kama-manas rather than buddhi-manas.  But I do
see a learning curve here.  It's rather like the way the
Vietnam War evoked intense anti-war sentiments because it came
into people's living rooms via TV.  The violence was no longer
remote, and with the buffers removed the American people became
much more sensitive to it.  Similarly, the Internet has greatly
increased the frequency of psychologically violent clashes
between people who are partisans of various religious,
scientific, philosophical points of view.  And perhaps more so,
it has increased *internal* debate and conflict within certain
spiritual traditions, including Theosophy and Baha'i in my
observation.  And all this is out there for everyone to see and
react to.  At a certain point, though, after exposure to
flame fests ad nauseum, and to dogmatic pronouncements from a
succession of know-it-alls, we awaken to what is happening and
see it from a higher level.  Instead of demonizing the *person*
who is saying the obnoxious things, we get to where it is
more natural to simply see what level the person is stuck at,
shrug one's shoulders, and wish them well.  Saturation in
kama-manasic combat can eventually make most people sick of it
all and willing to look for a new way of communicating.

Maybe I'm deluding myself, but I have the impression that all
the flames I have received, and maybe those I've given, have
been useful in forcing me to see things from a more detached
perspective, with greater compassion for those enmeshed in
belief systems that tell them to "fight for truth" and so on.
And I think theos-l has evolved over the years into a kinder,
gentler place; so have the Baha'i lists I read; so has the
Eckankar newsgroup that interests me.

In short, this tool I am using to communicate with you is
indeed accelerating our evolution.  So when JRC comments, quite
justly, that theos-l has had a series of people making dogmatic
ex cathedra pronouncements putting down everyone who didn't see
Theosophy the same way they do-- I respond that this is a good
thing, as it provides a learning opportunity for all
concerned.  Theosophy as a movement cannot grow beyond its
present level of consciousness until Theosophists begin to feel
uncomfortable with the dogmatism, the conflict, the resistance
to change.  Our comfort level with the movement has probably
declined, for those of us who have been on the list for years.
But that is a first step toward making necessary changes in
ourselves and the organizations.

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