Who’ll tell me my secret,
The ages have kept?
I awaited the seer
While they slumbered and slept…
“The fate of the man-child;
The meaning of man;
Known fruit of the unknown;
Out of sleeping a waking,
Out of waking a sleep;
Life death overtaking;
Deep underneath deep?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The hubris of our contemporary civilization is the belief that never in the world has existed a time better than our own, of course the only reason we can uphold such a statement it’s by our ignorance, and the shortsightedness of our weltanschauung (encompassing World view a philosophy or view of life; the worldview of an individual or group.) who is happy for the simple conveniences of life, like automated anything, and everything like a calculus machine that can do complicated arithmetic’s meanwhile we conveniently forget how to add or multiply, or the fact that more and more people it’s dependent on ready meals, that you pop on the microwave, and little by little forget, or never learn how to cook a good meal from scratch, thousand of examples come to my mind, but it will be useless to enumerate them, too much time consuming, and after all what we seek it’s saving time, shorten the instant we will receive gratification to the satisfaction of our desires, with the minimum of effort, and cost on our consuming part of the bargain, ignoring conveniently the labor, of others, and the real cost that entitles, not only in money, but in the destruction of our environment, the suffering of many other people on third World countries, were labor it’s so cheap that it’s more convenient to freeze fish caught by Scottish fishermen in the North Atlantic, send it in a boat to China, clean, and fillet it there paying very little for it, freeze it back, and send it back to Europe for consumption, saving on wages, that produce unemployment in Scotland, plus pollution all around the World, If that is progress, well I hate to be the bearer of bad news to you, but if I don’t it will defeat the purpose of you knowing the truth, about what is very important to be aware, since our future depends on it, sorry if I spoil your diner!
We posses a lot more than we did in the past, but we are not happy and never have enough, we eat more than we ever did yet we suffer of all kind of degenerative ailments, and overweight because of it, we travel at will only limited by your funds, and time available, you can be in Beijing in 11 hours and 45 minutes if you are in Venice Italy, something that would astonish Marco Polo and his father, and uncle who reached it after 3 and a half years!Not to talk you can be connected in seconds trough telephone or a computer.
Despite the numerous advantages you can cite, and they are many, we ignore what we have lost, and in my opinion weights on our future a lot more of what we have gained, which it is basically more comfort, and goods at the expense of ruining our environment, our health (based on our actual physical wellbeing, like being fit and in shape, not in our ability to fill a diabetic prescription that would keep you alive).
Gary Greenberg’s on Joel and Ian Gold on Suspicious minds how Culture Shapes madness
We not have lost our physical health, but our mental health here we have some excerpts that appeared in the NY Times.
“Joel Gold first observed the Truman Show delusion — in which people believe they are the involuntary subjects of a reality television show whose producers are scripting the vicissitudes of their lives — on Halloween night 2003 at Bellevue Hospital, where he was the chief attending psychiatrist. “Suspicious Minds,” which he wrote with his brother, Ian, an associate professor of philosophy and psychology at McGill University, is an attempt to use this delusion, which has been observed by many clinicians, to pose questions that have gone out of fashion in psychiatry over the last half-century: Why does a mentally ill person have the delusions he or she has? And, following the lead of the medical historian Roy Porter, who once wrote that “every age gets the lunatics it deserves,” what can we learn about ourselves and our times from examining the content of madness?
The Golds’ answer is a dual broadside: against a psychiatric profession that has become infatuated with neuroscience as part of its longstanding attempt to establish itself as “real medicine,” and against a culture that has become too networked for its own good. Current psychiatric practice is to treat delusions as the random noise generated by a malfunctioning (and mindless) brain — a strategy that would be more convincing if doctors had a better idea of how the brain produced madness and how to cure it. According to the Golds, ignoring the content of delusions like T.S.D. can only make mentally ill people feel more misunderstood, even as it distracts the rest of us from the true significance of the delusion: that we live in a society that has put us all under surveillance. T.S.D. sufferers may be paranoid, but that does not mean they are wrong to think the whole world is watching.
Having replaced, or at least augmented, neurobiological accounts of the mind with evolutionary and cognitive accounts, the Golds set the stage for considering what biological psychiatry has elided in its rush to reduce mental illness to brain dysfunction: the environment as a causal factor in mental breakdown. They note that the psychiatric disorders in which delusions play a role are more common in cities than in rural areas, which indicates that the more relationships one has to negotiate, the more likely the navigational apparatus is to break down. And, they point out, Internet-enabled cameras and cellphones, not to mention National Security Agency snooping, have turned the entire world into a single, if virtual, city and “a bizarre delusion about being watched into a sober worry.” Mass culture has become a “Panopticon of the 21st century”; we have achieved through technology what Jeremy Bentham’s infamous prison design tried to achieve by architecture — an arrangement in which inmates must always assume they are being watched. People with T.S.D. are those who, for whatever reason, are uniquely sensitive to the resulting loss of privacy. They are, in other words, the canaries in the data mines of the surveillance society.”
The Wisdom of The Ancients
But above all our loss our capacity to be one with our environment, and wise on the ways of Nature, most of us I dare to say we are not even aware we live artificial lives sustained by our technology, lives, that soon would come to an end if our society would suddenly collapse due to many factors, like wars, famine, or other natural disasters we have no control, ironically our indigenous communities around the world have a better chance of survival than we supposedly educated, and cultured individuals, for them things can get a little harsher than usual, but they are well equipped to deal with such contingencies. What passes as a wise man of today, are not wise at all, most them know a lot, but of very little, and ignore lot, gone it’s the ideal of a Renaissance man who would encompass all knowledge, an impossible thing today, but I will be happy with men/women with wisdom. In our search to dig in the structure of matter we have lost our ability to look at the heavens. And what I mean by that it’s just not only the physical facts of traveling outside of the city lights and look at the heavens like an astronomer, but to the fact we have lost our Myths, with first Christianity who persecuted the pagans, but also the Enlightenment, and modernism who discarded Spirit, ancient Religions wrongly named Mythology now days, possessed a holistic view of the World and the Universe, were all the aspects related to Nature and Man were integrated in to their World View and were capable to see the whole picture rather than just the details, as our shortsighted World View does now, were the sciences and the arts belong to the specialist, not to the common individual, and even our so called specialist, with few exceptions, are incapable of linking Music with Architecture, or Mathematics with any of the seven arts, or Astronomy with psychology, or agriculture, or religion, I could go on, and on giving examples of this sort of links between the sciences, the arts, the crafts, medicine, metallurgy, gemology, and many other obscure branches of knowledge the ancient cultivated since for them no phenomena was outside of their Cosmological World View, and everything was related by analogy, the base of Theurgy.
Theurgy (from Greek θεουργία) describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving Henosis, (Mystical Oneness, Unity) and perfecting oneself.
We have been diminish by our success, we live a life fragmented, disconnected, and most of the time devoid of meaning, and purposeless, yet in fear, and anxiety, searching for whims, and momentary pleasures to drown our sorrows, and existential voids chasing childish empty, and illusory dreams, mostly too crass, and materialistic in nature to bring real joy, peace and fulfillment to our subjective self, that the ancients used to call soul.
Ancient men were connected to the cycles of heaven by watching the stars, unlike today were we do rarely rise our heads to the night sky to be fill with awe, wonder, knowledge, and wisdom…
David Fideler on Pythagoras Cosmovision
The universe is a kosmos, because it is perfect and “adorned” with infinite beauty and
In a living cosmovision, the world is luminous and transparent. It radiates a divine beauty in which we are embedded. In the modern world, however, a great confusion has arisen about beauty. We see it as subjective, “in the eye of the beholder,” or as culture-specific, rather than seeing it as an objective quality of nature. Under the spell of materialism and the quest for efficiency, the world grows increasingly heavy and opaque. We are surrounded by the beauty of nature on every side, but fail to see it. And when we have become anesthetized to the beauty of the world, the world itself becomes exploitable—just “a natural resource” for human consumption. If we could come out of our protective, closed-down cocoons and once again see the world with unclouded vision and appreciation, we would treat it with reverence and realize that beauty reveals a deep and essential aspect of the cosmic pattern. While our human tastes are certainly in some ways individual and culture-specific, beauty itself is rooted in the deep structure of the world.
By destroying the beauty of nature in the name of economic growth, we are destroying our most vital link with the depths of the cosmic pattern. In terms of our evolutionary heritage we emerged from the beautiful, organic harmonies of the world fabric, but when we no longer have direct access to the organic harmonies of living nature something of our own nature is lost or forgotten. As the biologist Gregory Bateson pointed out, the aesthetic unity of nature reveals an ultimate unifying pattern far deeper than the findings of quantitative science can describe. He also wrote that the lost sense of this aesthetic unity—the common possession Beauty, Desire, and the Soul of the World of all traditional peoples—is one of the most serious failings of the modern world.
By entering into a deep experience of nature’s beauty, we are able to experience directly the vital patterns and organic harmonies that connect flowers, starfish, and galaxies, and our own human lives with the greater tapestry of the living universe. As Goethe wrote,“The beautiful is a manifestation of secret laws of Nature, which, but for this appearance, had been forever concealed from us.”
Ultimately, the beauty that we can perceive directly at all levels of existence and scale reveals the whole of nature to be an organically interconnected and comprehensive unity.
The Greek word kosmos cannot be translated in to a single English word,but refers to an equal presence of order and beauty. When the Greek philosopher Pythagoras first called the universe a kosmos, he did so because it is a living embodiment of nature’s order, beauty, and harmony.
The fact that the physical world embodies beauty and harmony can be demonstrated in many ways, but rational proof is only required when we have forgotten our own connection with the underlying fabric of life. When we can view the exquisite grandeur of a forest, mountain range, or the form of a distant galaxy with a clear and untroubled heart, the beauty and harmony of the universe becomes immediately obvious—not through argument, but through direct perception. As William Blake wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
In this sense, the perception of the world’s deep, intrinsic beauty and harmony was the starting point of ancient science and philosophy. In the vision of the ancient philosophers, the universe itself was seen as an embodiment of beauty, which is itself a manifestation of value.
Hence Pythagoras (570–496 b.c.) called the universe cosmos— a “beautiful order” — and explained that the world-structure arises from harmony or the “fitting together” of different elements through proportional relationships.
We can see the patterns of harmony reflected in the structure of galaxies, trees, snowflakes,the deeply elegant forms of living creatures,and the proportions of the human body. In the harmonic structure of the living universe, all the individual parts fit together to make up the greater whole.
For Pythagoras there could be no separation between science and religion or between the worlds of fact and value. The cosmos reflects a universal order, which is a fact, but is also an embodiment of beauty,which is a manifestation of value. Fact and value are not opposed,but two interrelated aspects of the same pattern, because it is from nature’s organic order that the beauty of the world arises. The cosmos is a living unity in which all things are related through kinship, harmony, proportion, and sympathy. Referring to the teachings of the Pythagoreans, Plato wrote that “the wise men say that one community embraces heaven and earth and gods and men and friendship and order and temperance and righteousness, and for this reason they call this whole a cosmos, my friend, for it is not without order nor yet is there excess.”
Or, in the words of another ancient writer, “there is a certain community uniting us not only with each other and with the gods but even with the brute creation. There is in fact one breath pervading the whole cosmos like soul, and uniting us with them.”