The hidden cost behind technology addiction, the knowledge culture, and the abandoning of wisdom.
By Eh’den Biber
Once upon a time there was a successful scholar who was dissatisfied with his life. One day, he decided to make a deal with the devil, to give up his soul for all the world’s knowledge and pleasures. This ancient German tale that has been captured so vividly in the writings of Goethe at the late 18th century is one of the most known stories about deals humans have made with the devil. Fast forward to the 21st century and we are constantly being tempted by knowledge and the pleasures of technology. But what price do we pay? Are we exchanging something more important by our addiction to this flashing thing we call reality?
A Race to the Top
“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” T.S. Eliot.
The “knowledge age” had deeply impacted human societies. Endless sites provides constant update on the current insecure state we all face. Streams upon streams about vulnerabilities, technologies, news, regulations, hacks, violations, and innovations. Countries, organisations, and individuals presents commentary and solutions to the ongoing struggle between “the good” and “the bad”, trying to inform you, seduce you, scare you, promise you, grab your attention.
Individuals, organisations, religions, cultures and countries are in a struggle to the top, trying to change their current state for the better, rushing forward because they know that if they will stop for a moment they will be thrown down to the button of the pit, where only those who have nothing to lose physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually reside. No one wants to be in the state of the “untouchables” sect in India, or like the Yazidi in Iraq, so we fight and rush.
Many people believe that technology breakthroughs can help us solve many problems humanity face. Many people strongly believe that knowledge is the solution to all our problem – but is it true?
Throughout human history the message is different: wisdom does not come via knowledge. Wisdom has nothing to do with knowledge. We might be going through a knowledge revolution, but in many ways it is stripping us down from wisdom. Knowledge is beautiful, it allows us to expand our ability to experience, and it is essential part of the reason why we are here. We are here to experience, and knowledge gives us an exquisite experiences, but up to a point.
The Chicken and the Egg
“I am not young enough to know everything” (Oscar Wilde)
What came first – knowledge or technology? Knowledge and technology goes together hand in hand. Knowledge is the ability to structure information. Knowledge is all about information, facts, figures, and experiences we go through that creates a reference system. Knowledge and technology feed each other, make each other, and depend on each other. In this complex adaptive system we call life or existence Information is structured into knowledge, which give rise to emerging properties, or technologies, which creates more information, which is than structured by existing technologies into knowledge, which give rise to more emerging properties of technologies – and so on. Knowledge, by nature, is a technology driven experience, and technology can be found in DNA, in RNA, in books, the alphabet, cultures, languages, money, species, and of course the internet. Technology is everywhere, and there is nothing “wrong” or “bad” about technology and knowledge. In fact, evolution is based on technology, even our universe is a technology (but that’s a subject to a whole different article).
Wisdom on the other hand is… well, we been struggling to define it for generations because trying to define wisdom with our mind is like trying to describe colours to a colour blind or music to a deaf person. Wisdom is another dimension of experiences, one in which knowledge and technology plays no part, a place where our minds and our egos cannot go. Wisdom gives us the ability to see beyond our ego and mind. Wisdom is beyond time or space. Wisdom is eternal, while knowledge and technology which are bound to this realm are always temporary.
“The more you know, the less you understand” (“Tao Te Ching”, Lao-Tse)
It is extremely tempting to get addicted to what we feel as experiences that expand our minds, and since our mind is made out of technology and knowledge most of us, like Faust, choose the knowledge and technological pleasures. I call this state being an educated fool because while there is an increased level of experience, it only thickens the walls of the prison of own perception. Educated fools invest more on technological and technical solution than they do on seeing beyond their biases. Educated fools believe they can become less fragile by investing into technology that will “protect” them and turn them into robust or even better – “anti-fragile”. Take for example information security – educated fools assume that security can be bought, or taught. Educated fools invest more on “firewalls” and “anti-malware” and “governance program” than they do on trying to help the employees understand what awareness is, or look at their internal processes in an unbiased way. Educated fools cannot see it, because they use their own mind to understand, and the minute they hit a bias (or fear) their ego will stop listening. The ego has a beautiful quality of hearing only what it wants to listen to.
In a previous article I explained that awareness is consciousness which is aware of itself, recognising what it is. Awareness is where knowledge, technology and wisdom are one, because everything is.
Some humans have heard about it via their culture, but most adults don’t remember that sense of what awareness is. Because of that, the word “awareness” has been misused and abused endlessly by everyone – including by “myself”.
“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” (Oscar Wilde)
There is no such thing as “awareness training” because “awareness training” is an oxymoron. You cannot train yourself to be aware, the same way that you never “make love”. You don’t make love, love makes you; you cannot be trained to become aware, awareness comes from lack of all attempts, from the stillness of the mind.
What we have today is an attempt of knowledge training, not awareness training.
Creating knowledge via training is a serious challenge because trying to make someone see there is something beyond their own prism of reality is extremely hard when they are educated fools. Since educated fools wake up into information and are constantly being bombarded with it they lose the ability to see beyond their perception of reality. As I said before, educated fools reject what their ego fears or feel as unimportant due to their biases, and the result is that educated fools run around like headless chickens without even realising that, and then wonder why they suffer so much. To make someone change their belief system, to recognise that they are educated fools is extremely difficult. As Matthew Lieberman recently wrote “Changing someone’s beliefs, even when there is an unassailable right and wrong, is among the hardest problems people ever face. It is much harder than calculus or quantum physics”.
A sense of awareness
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Jesus)
There is no shame or blame here – we are all perfect as we are, where we are. Training can teach you knowledge, but it cannot make you wise. Training cannot allow you to bypass some of your physical/biological/biochemical/mental barriers/biases. The idea that knowledge is going to make you wise is just a mind game. Any expansion done via the prism of the mind just leads to the expansion of the illusion, not to freedom, or wisdom.
In this endless existence we are in, the only thing which always stays is consciousness, or the quantum field, or god, or source, or whatever you choose to call it. Nothing as it seems, nothing is “real”, there are no “real” atoms, we are quantum expressions. Until you experience it you will never understand it, and you can never fully grasp the endless of it via our minds because it is a made out of technology and knowledge.
The purpose of this article is to share with you my understanding that life is a constant stream of choices we make with every experience we have. We choose every second, and while we sometimes (or all the time) like to blame everything and everyone (including what we believe to be “ourselves”) for the condition that we are in – it is just a mind game. To be free from that, to be fully unbound to the illusion we call life, to be “in this world but not of this world” requires you to reach a state of understanding that gives you that freedom. A state of wisdom, of awareness. You can’t buy it, or get it. It gets you.
I can end this article with references to what allowed me to see beyond my mind, but this will be just another mind game. Wisdom and awareness are an inner thing, so don’t believe any promises about awareness or wisdom by “experts” or people who might seems as if they obtained it. Awareness has nothing to do with the outside world or your mind, and everything to do with that is beyond that, with what you really are.
What I can share is that awareness and wisdom create a field of love, compassion, kindness, happiness, and stillness. This is the true sense of awareness.
“Remember who you are
Remember what you are not, which is embraced within what you are” (My teacher)
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