What we don’t know
The absence of information is information.
Detecting a lie we discover something true.
Every obstacle is a potential gift.
If we put these together it’s possible to see how we can gain by coming to realize that not only do we not know what is going on. We cannot know.
Not in the sense that there is no objective truth. Although most candidates for such a thing are false.
Not that we cannot tell a truth from a lie. Although we have been trained to accept the most bald-faced malarkey. If not as true, then at least as innocuous, maybe funny.
Not because there is no truth….
If we just look at the turbulence on the surface of all the information and opinion we have thrown at us daily we can begin to see that there just is no way to sort it out. The system of communication is being gamed by so many parties at so many levels of sophistication and in such a blunt overpowering fashion that it is impossible to tell who is telling us what and why. Let alone whether what we’re reading/seeing has any validity beyond propaganda for or against some faction battling for control.
This appears frightening and disorienting. We repeatedly throw ourselves back into the fray, hoping that this time we’ll discover something honest and true.
What we fail to see is that it does tell us something honest and true: We cannot know what is going on beyond those realms in which we place our selves in actual relation to what is going on. Even this is difficult enough! We have to sort out our projections and expectations and assumptions and then respect the fact that even then we do not know enough about how anything works to be able to control an outcome, or even simply know what we want and why.
This work. The work of living, a life’s work, is enough to absorb all our attention, all our energy. Yet we continue to evade this opportunity to respond: to be responsible: to be able to respond.
The distractions of the Spectacle aren’t the only forces interfering with our attention, but they are formidable. They are also one thing we can actually do something about.
It would be easy to say, Don’t listen to them. Just stop!
Not bad advice….
So long as we don’t take this as a call to repress our curiosity. This kind of trying-not-to, as with any other, just ties us in knots and does not let us leave the bind behind.
There is a way for this compulsion; a compulsion to believe that we need NEWS! to be informed, make judgements, act responsibly; for it to dissolve away as the series of illusions of command-and-control that they are.
The Spectacle, especially as it presents itself in each new, innovative, groundbreaking medium that pops up to demand our attention — including this eponymous Medium — provides us with an opportunity to witness, to attend to the totally unmanageable tangle of threads that hold us in this bind.
Look at it. Examine it, but not with an eye to untangling it. Or even of cutting through it.
The lessons of our time may take us beyond where we find ourselves, but only if we truly attend to this first lesson: Everything we’ve come to expect is not what it seems and is part of what is killing us and destroying life on a grand scale.
This lesson is not learned by argument, by persuasion, by having a series of bullet-points convince us of its merits. This lesson cannot be taught at all. No leader will carry us through its vale of tears into the promised land.
This lesson, any lesson, can only come home through attending to the questions it holds before us. Only by suspending judgement, not jumping to conclusions, not turning to denial in frustration, or to intoxication in reaction to “How it makes us feel!”
Only by attending to the questions and listening for the quiet voices, internal or external to our current sense of self, and distinguishing these from all the amplified voices — whether they present themselves to us internally or externally — can we find our way.
Do you know what it feels like to be on a crowded platform waiting to see a loved-one pop out of the sea of faces? Or what it’s like to want something to be true so badly, and then to finally have what is really true show its face?
These are examples of what it’s like to attend and recognize the quiet voices. There is such a qualitative jump from, “I wish!” to “There she is!”
This same sensation is available anytime we attend fully and watch what happens. The truth arrives and we know it.
Until we can disabuse ourselves of all the lies and bad assumptions that have accumulated in us, among us, between us; we have no chance of finding the attention and energy required to actually come up with creative responses to our situation. Until then we continue to remain trapped in our reactive habits. Unable to see anything with clarity.
The first clear view available to us is in recognizing how muddied and impossibly turbid the sea of media actually is. So long as we refuse to acknowledge the impossibility of seeing anything meaningful in what is thrown at us in various and layered forms of propaganda we remain stuck, chasing phantasms and chimeras.
Attending to what all this actually shows us and coming to a profound realization that none of the shiny, loud, frantic, urgent calls on our attention offers us anything useful beyond the realization that they only offer manipulation and confusion; brings us into an actual confrontation with something true. Gives us something to release the binds and provide a taste, a sent, a hunch, at what it actually means to engage with what-is as opposed to continuing to battle with illusions.
Illusions, projections, hold us in binds because they refuse to give us any traction. All they can do is keep us habituated to forcing ourselves to feel, believe, react in some way we know at some level to be false. Until we recognize this we cannot access the traction of the tangible.
Once we do, there’s no turning back!