I’ve just started reading a darkly thought-provoking novel recommended by my daughter; its called Nod, in case you’re curious. I haven’t read far enough to tell you my overall verdict but, immediately, I’m hooked. Its the maelstrom of particular ideas, phrases, references and clevernesses that has me feeling this writer is, in some degree, like me, even thinking my thoughts, playing with nuance as I do; a profound familiarity in the way he regards the world, notices and connects little things, observes sub-layers of human behaviour. As I lie there reading in the bath, I find myself wondering why his stream-of-consciousness is so much more accomplished seeming (to me) than that of James Joyce, who I was forced to make a meal of all those years ago on my degree course and yet, here and now, he’s just one of a countless number of authors churning out novels that most people will never hear about. What was so exceptional, then and even now, about Joyce…yet is so un-worthy of fanfare about this, in this unforgiving era where we have access to just so many books, blogs and more that we can sample, read, discard and forget them in seconds on our devices? Because we have blasted this world, and all our ideas, apart, scattered like shards sprayed far and wide, only to find what looks, initally, like so much overwhelmingly more is, really, just more of the same. There’s always this niggling sense that we’ve seen it all before, even when we haven’t…
Because now its possible for writers, artists, musicians to draw on the stylistic “successes” of a myriad of other creatives to make their own creative product (in fact, impossible not to as these influences become embedded in us, from exposure to so very much, unless we live on a dessert island without access to technology). I know this for myself, when I create art or write. It always feels less like I draw on my own particular pot of genius than I am drawing from some vast well of creativity made up of all the creativity of all time. I can dip my brush, stylistically, into a touch of Monet mixed with a bit of O Keefe and a tadge of some photographer person whose name I don’t remember but whose work I once saw and which left an impression and I can use these influences like paint daubs, textures, effects…though I don’t even know I’m doing it. Its more like I tune in to the collective mind and intuit what is appealing, what has worked, what “vibes” at a frequency that I sense others have already been attracted to, what is similar enough to mix together, to morph, to evolve to the next level as my own creative product. With writing, if I get stuck as I feel for the right words to give it that creative flourish, the metaphor that will just “do it”, I just soften my mind and know that that exact right word, phrase or reference point will come to me, even if I’m not that familiar with it; I may even have to look it up to check its the right one, like it was an idea passed to me by an invisible friend. These days, it feels like I know so much more than I am deserving of, having not read all the books, done all the research and yet we are all left like that from contact with those who have; like the very vibration of knowledge is a fickle bird that flits from shoulder to shoulder, guided by the wind of the internet.
In other words, when I’m in that most creative space, the kind of day when I have my muse with me, it increasingly feels like like drawing from the Global Mind, some sort of super computer that we all have access to and which technology is reminding us how to access. Its not that it wasn’t there to start with, we always had it but imagine how difficult to access when very few realised this. Familiarity with the technology is showing us the ropes, getting us into the mindset of collective thinking, where we test the water with our ideas even before we put them out, observing the consensus, drawing on past geniuses, blending and manifesting to our own particular recipe yet calling on colours from a massive shared palette of humanness that, through its shared quality made up of familiar “colours”, others will instantly relate to; because without familiarity, who will buy our art, read our novel, talk to us? We will be left talking to ourselves. So our odds of communicating, of being successful, rapidly increase as we do this; we don’t have to fall down the same pitholes as others have done before, though we can revive obscurities that failed through someone else’s miss-timed step and breathe them back to life in our own times, now the flavour of the month because we gleaned the bigger picture and timed it rather better. So we play god in the miniature, picking a bit of this, less of that, formulating what is both new and yet relatable to whoever we are targeting with our output and all stylistically honed to make optimum use of the best of “before”. Is there any wonder I sometimes feel more like an editor than a creator; I throw creative mud at a wall and then hone back to what a kind of super editor inside of me feels is best to keep in, leave out, based on some sort of mega-experience that exceeds the scale of my own little life. In my view, we simply didn’t have this in-built facility twenty, maybe even ten, years ago, so what changed?
I talked in my last post about the extreme overwhelm of the younger generation and how depressed some of them seem to be, to a degree that is gaining the attention of all kinds of studies and articles. Its a topic I researched a little on the internet and, of course, its associated with the arrival of the smart phone since (at the surface of things…) no other circumstance has knowingly altered so significantly in the last 8 to 9 years to effect this sudden down-turn in the mental state of our young people. Yes, the eco-crisis is part of it but, really, that is nothing new, its just that the internet has made their generation more aware of, thus burdened by it than any other. Yet these same articles typically urge parents to limit technology use to 40 mins a day for mental health to be restored and this, of course, is not realistic; the cat has been let out of the bag and is now climbing trees in the yard, bearing its claws at anyone who comes near. Put another way, the horses have already bolted from the stables and a sort of re-wilding that has nothing to do with living in the woods is upon us.
Yet I agree, we are approaching a crisis point of such massive overwhelm amongst these kids, who can’t seem to be alone for five minutes; are never really alone any more given that, even on their most far-flung and remote travel adventures, they’re not complete until they have shared their exepriences and gained feedback from all of their friends. Its like they are on drugs, some sort of speed that they, at once love, are addicted to and yet bowing under the pressures of, to some quite unimaginable degree to those of us who only use our phones to make the occasional emergency call or tap out a five word text message. To them, the technology is part of them and there is no detaching it now without pulling out a part of themselves, like a giant tape worm that is already embedded, with access and sway over the very way they think. As someone who reads frequency, as I do, I notice how they are at fever pitch; franetic in their energy of multi-tasks. Its like I “hear” a shrill noise when they are around, in fact I can get red hot, sometimes, or wiped out just being near my daughter and, always interesting to me, I dream quite differently, at a different tempo, when she’s asleep in the same building (we long-ago noticed how we tuned into similar dream space). I can do it for a spell, can even be strangely upgraded from these brush-pasts with their high-wire youthful energy but to live there is quite a different thing.
In logical terms, based on old paradigm thinking, I see only a crash ahead, for many of them, as things are and the way they are accelerating their lives and emotions to try and keep up, with such detrimental effects upon their physical and psychological health. Yet, looked at another way, as I like to do (see my last post) I also see this as some sort of training ground for telepathy. These kids dont just think like this through their technology, they think collectively…full stop. Its their very way of being, along with the desire to be so close to one another that they seem to be constantly embroiled together and joined in the flesh, forever in contact with other skin, tangled hair, entangled legs, hugging, draping, lying on top of each other, nothing ever too much in ways that are alien to their parents. In all these ways and more, these kids are a completely different species to even my slightly older nephews and nieces, who are now in their 30s, and who didn’t grow up with this boundary-melting technology in their hands.
So if this is a training ground for telepathy, which I have always known to be an unused human skill, one that would come to be in some future age, perhaps not so very long after this one, then why is it going so wrong, why all the overwhelm, the depression, the out of control feelings around selfhood and what it means to be human? Because its as though all the skies have been opened up as a free-for-all and, having left the solidity of the ground, there are no lanes for their traffic any more. A world beyond separation, which is where we are all heading, is a grand-sounding idea but imagine the chaos that would ensue if that happened overnight, which is what these kids are kind-of sampling like the guinea pigs of an era. Did we ever think that we would step into this new paradigm calmly, civilly, like well behaved children queuing to get on a school bus to go on some sort of outing in the sunshine of a perfect day? A sky without air traffic control would be absolutely chaos; we need some sort of rules to keep us in lane yet these kids have access to all manner of information, to each others thoughts, to the opinions of audiences of potentially millions if they share their “stuff” on social media…instantly, devastatingly; which they seem to welcome and yet it has them battered and bruised even as they “must” have it to be like everyone else.
Those safety checks, the very-necessary lanes in the sky, can’t come from parents, who have no idea what its like to be these young people, to know and feel and share what they do, every minute of every day, in order to feel they belong to their generation. For instance, my daughter has a friend whose parents lock her phone in an actual cage to keep her from it while she studies, though she’s 18; and such ridiculous behaviours will only incite loathing and disconnect from their parents and even more determination to claim back what all the other kids have access to since they feel they need it like the air that they breathe. So it has to come from them; they have to EVOLVE this cautionary measure, the inside safety valve that ensures they actually choose what they gain access to and how much they share. And when they achieve this, they will be so much more advanced in their humanness than their parents or grandparents, whose reality was only kept in check by the entrainment of all the tight-fitting belief systems imposed upon them by those who taught and handed down their chosen dogma to them and by their ignorance of all but those experiences that happened in their immediate vicinity or that were writen down in accessible books (assuming books even were, largely dependent on social status). These kids have access to more layers and sublayers of what is happening around them than previous generations could even imagine in their wildest dreams yet they will need to learn to focus on what they choose to experience like never before. To quote Yoda, there is no “try” in this territory; they will either do this or they won’t, with very different consequences.
So presumably this is an insider job that some will evolve and some others, yes possibly high numbers, won’t make it…I suspect…but perhaps we will be one step closer to our telepathic future. If we are heading towards greater experiential awareness of the Global Mind, then developing our own-individual mindfulness is perhaps both the golden key to our own survival (which is what invests us so thoroughly in it, as we must be in order to give it our best effort…) and the success of the collective leap that we are all making together, since we all feed into that collective, just as surely as we draw out of it, as we are now starting to realise. These kids are learning the pitfalls of knowing, even sharing and drawing from, the minds of others “on the job” and its gruelling work. They have to learn to be respectful of what they put into the collective field, what unseen conseqences can butterfly from what they do or say, and of what they take out from it. Some of them already look ashen, ghostly, like they’ve seen too much or can’t put the gene back in the bottle. What it will lead to, what it will look like, in some not-so-future time remains to be seen but evolution can be costly, there will be those who will transition with ease, those who get the balance wrong and rue the consequences. We can only hope those we love will be amongst the ones who sufficiently hone their innate checks and balances (things we hopefully taught them through example…) in order to make it through in one piece, their selfhood and health intact, even as they come to realise they are co-creating our future as part of a rapidly evolving Global Mind.