The Changes We Undergo

Change is the beating soul of our world, of our day to day lives, inextricably interwoven into the fabric of our being and consciousness. We rely on change nearly as much as we feel disgruntled, unnerved, and mistrustful of it. Our current political climate is such that change is happening at a more rapid pace, fueled by outright lies (read: alternative facts), smokescreens, gas-lighting, populist views, and skewed partisan rhetoric to deflect from more dubious legislative acts that adversely affect many of us. 

Do you remember when the first iPhone came out? That was an enormous change that heralded a new era of how we democratized information while on the go. No one quite knew how things would turn out. At the outset, it seemed like a fad for phones, but then quickly became one of the most indispensable items we can't imagine our lives without now. I remember people casting weary eyes at this new-fangled technology at first, worried about the GPS chips embedded in such phones, worried that it meant the Government would be able to keep a better eye on us all. Of course that has all come true anyway, and yet we continue to use it, despite how it affects people around the world.

Yet we embrace the changes (iterations) of technology now because we understand its inherent value to our every day lives. Long gone are the mistrustful glances at such technologies. We have a double edged sword though. We want, we need to feel connected to one another (hence Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), yet we also regard our personal privacy as sacrosanct, yet we willingly give too much information away to such media providers. These web-innovations (web 2.0) were also first looked at with suspicion, and some aspersions cast as well, and now we take them for granted (and take them with us on our phones). We want and need to feel protected, but we also want and need to be "out there", case in point: social media, our own websites, etc. It's all out there for the taking. And no matter the various security precautions we may take to undermine the efforts of hackers whose primary purpose is to disrupt, cause chaos, and perhaps profit from our misfortunes, there are always ways around it. These are changes we have all had to adapt to.

I work part time as a cashier at a major grocery chain. One of the most interesting things I saw recently was an elderly woman pointing her phone at the credit card terminal (Apple Pay) and successfully going through with the transaction. It *changed my mind and perspective about how I view an aging portion of the population and their own embrace of change. Yet there are some changes that are dangerous to embrace. Normalizing a wannabe demagogue and liar is, as far as I can tell, a mild embrace of dangerous change, a form of willful ignorance, and a lack of a sense of responsibility. Here lies the rub, though: not all changes are easy to spot. Most of the time our internal changes, our thinking process, our decision making (taking actions), our beliefs, and our perspective on the world also change every day. Taking this into consideration, we can't necessarily fathom all of the complexities that go into a deep change for the individual, and how that impacts the local collective, and spirals out from there.

At the encouragement of my wife, I've been reading a book called Sapiens, which is informing (if not somewhat changing) my view on humanity as a whole. Not for worse, and not for better. The changes I find reading this book leave me with more questions than answers, as I'm sure it has done for the author. On the other hand there are some areas where I hold on with all my might and grit in spite of some of the notions proposed by the author. I'm not a religious person, and you could technically call me an 'atheist' in that I don't believe in a personal 'God' above and a 'Devil' below, or even necessarily in 'gods and goddesses' that are 'divine energies' or manifestations or characterizations of the "One Supreme Universal God'. This begs the question: do I believe in a power greater than myself? If I didn't, this would be the true (to my mind) definition of 'atheist'. The truth is I do believe in a power greater than myself. What exactly that 'power' is or where it is I couldn't say. I've felt it. I've taught about it in the past, to the best of my understanding at the time, but I admit that whatever that something is, it's a total mystery to me. And I think that's a good thing. I don't know what happens when we die for sure. I know what happened when I died back in 2010, but I don't know that I'm really qualified to speak about it for a number of reasons, and I never felt comfortable talking about it to begin with anyway. For one thing, that experience happened without a brain death--a new study indicates that the brain continues functioning 10 minutes after a person is declared legally dead. I can easily see how many NDE's are spoken about with such conviction, but I can't really say that that is what I truly experienced.

This being said, I've had numerous mysterious incidents in my life, including my untimely death and resurrection in 2010 that I can't explain away or chalk up to the last gasping spasms of a hallucinating brain. I don't want to make any hard and fast conclusions, or easy breezy and generalized sweeping statements. I think we, as sapiens, human beings, animals, and potentially mystical spirits inhabiting temporary life forms, only have part of the picture and certainly not all of it. One of the arguments of the book is that we are all just animals, no different than the apes and gorillas we originally sprang from, save our 'Cognitive Revolution', and that one of our defining characteristics that sets us at number 1 in the animal kingdom is our ability to not only communicate, but to create myths, fictions, which serve to control the masses. We rely on them to safeguard us, and to keep us in an orderly state of cooperation with one another. I had suspected something along these lines for as many years now as I can remember, but having someone come out and say it in such eloquent language, with science and historical fact to back it up has been an eye opener, and has fueled even more change within me. I recommend the book. I don't think it's an easy one to wade through for certain reasons, but if you're like me, you'll stick to some of your guns (not fact-immune, but just skeptical of any story, no matter how well its told.) 

The book also states that for 2 million years we as sapiens lived just like the gorillas and apes around us, foraging, communicating as needed, etc, but with no order or civilization. It wasn't until after the 'Cognitive Revolution' that we began to venture into the territory of mass obedience to a cause, all founded in story (whether true or false, or some mixture of the two, no one knows for sure.) One of MY questions arising when reading about this is: what is the mystery behind this 'Cognitive Revolution'? Why did it surface when it did? What inspired it? According to the author, it was some kind of chemical rewiring of the brain. My brain tends to think there are reasons why mutations (or iterations, if you prefer) happen in the first place. If cause doesn't lead to effect, then it renders my questions moot. There's something happening ever nano-second in the quantum field that we can't understand, that we can observe and affect as we observe, but that we don't fully comprehend. There's should be credit to those thinkers who have gone to a great deal of trouble to try and explain the mysterious something or other in terms we can all somewhat understand, but there also needs to be greater light shed on it. We don't have all the answers. I'd venture to say this much: we don't even have one quarter of all the answers. And maybe the point is to always question, to always be a little uncertain. We don't know for sure anything about our lives or what comes when death arises (talking about CHANGE) unless we willingly ignore facts and embrace stories we've heard, stories we've told ourselves, things we believed even as we knew we were making it up on the spot. 

You might be curious about my Sparkling Aura book. I had those experiences, I believe I had those experiences, and that I still see things that are hard for me to ignore (okay, downright impossible to ignore), but I can't say that I don't have some strange chemical phenomena in my brain that allows me to see what I do--or that any of it is 'reality'. It's just stuff I see. No proof, no way to know its real. It feels real, but feelings and reality also rarely pair well. I used to be so sure my version of reality was correct. Now I'm not, and that's part of my enormous change. It's a different sort of cognitive revolution on a tiny scale in my own self. One that I welcome. I welcome the unknown, the mystery, and yet I will subvert my attempts at certainty to allow room for growth and change whenever I can. It keeps things moving along interestingly.

Change is our asset and our liability, it's also an ever present aspect of our lives that we must contend with whether we want to or not. We really don't have a choice in the matter.