When western man first began his search, he looked to the sky for answers and inspiration, outside of his body and outside of his awareness. He was looking up and away from his body and imagining a truth that somehow was to be found beyond his personal capacity to perceive it.
But eventually he learned that just looking at the sky was not enough, as it did not provide him a direct way to experience ‘reality’; it was beyond the realm and possibility of his own personal awareness and sensual contact, and, thus, just represented a fantasy.
Therefore, western man learned that if he was going to look for the truth, there were only two ways for him to ‘find’ it: either by hearsay, i.e. from the words and experience of others; or by experiencing it directly, meaning he would have to go ‘there’ himself and find out personally what was there.
One group was willing to believe in and trust the words of others, others who had ‘come down from the sky to tell them about it’. The other group was not; they had to see for themselves.
The former was content with remaining where they were and studying previously held truths, or previously reported truths. The other group was not; they had to go outside to find the truth, to experience it directly. They had to see for themselves, learn for themselves.
One group became the preservers of tradition and crafted rituals and dogma to formalize their accepted versions of truth. They became the ministers of truth. The other group became the explorers setting out in unchartered territory and unknown frontiers to discover the truth. They became the pioneers of truth.
One group feared change and grasped at what was known; the other group embraced change and set off to re-define reality.
Now after years and years of going everywhere to ‘see’ the sky, and after investigating every word ever written about it that ‘came down from the sky’, there is no mystery anymore.
Modern man ‘knows’ everything and anything about the sky, and has critiqued every syllable spoken about it, but he knows little if anything about life. All his exploring outside and beyond the body has not rendered any great or irrevocable truths; he is still just guessing or repeating age-old tales and he is none the wiser for it.
One group continues reading very, very old texts to define the outer horizons, and insisting that they are ‘speaking’ the truth, and the other group keeps making bigger and more expensive instruments to take us to the outer limits, and insists that they are ‘showing’ us the truth.
Modern man has become hopelessly and completely conditioned, whether it is by the teachings of religion or the teachings of science. Both have done everything to define the truth, and, as a result, every aspect of his life has been classified and labeled. No matter what man touches, smells, sees, hears, or thinks it has already been identified by others, critiqued by others, and differentiated by others.
Nothing on this planet is free from distinction and prejudice; everything has been classified and given a value. That’s one reason why there is no mystery in our lives anymore, because everything has been given a name and a previous cause.
Modern man organizes and compartmentalizes things, puts everything into little boxes. That way life is more dependable and predictable. Then he assigns a value to it. It’s all so… artificial. Like art. There is nothing inherently valuable about a piece of cloth and some watercolors. What makes the painting ‘valuable’ [so it can be sold, not appreciated] is the external or artificial judgment that is placed on it by a critic, which is entirely subjective.
Everything about man’s life today is measured in the same way—by subjective judgments. There is always somebody or some institution, or some government, or some religion, or some science, or some academic, or some ‘expert’ that is assigning an artificial and arbitrary value to it. Everything we think, taste, or smell or feel has first been given a name, then a value. There is no sense of wonder left.
To be sure, man, more than ever before in the history of the planet, has more freedom now and can choose and do pretty much what he wants; he can make decisions on his own without any physical or cultural impediments. But as the Ancients would say his freedom is an illusion, because all the knowledge he has, all the information he needs to make a decision has already been determined by outside forces, independent of him.
In other words, he is not free to choose, because he is not free of social and cultural conditioning.
One person grows up learning about one system; he knows no other system, so how could he imagine doing things in a different way? If you only know one way, your [free] choice will be determined by what you know. Similarly, if you grow up in a different system, you will only know that system, and the choices you take will be determined accordingly. It does not matter how much freedom you have to make a decision, you still cannot choose to do something you know nothing about.
If you add another system, or hundred different systems of knowledge to what the person knows, there will now be different choices to make, not one. But there is still no real freedom in the sense that the knowledge he has is not his; it has been introduced and created by others.
He is only free to choose from their ways, and not his. And how he makes that decision will be influenced by how they have conditioned him to think.
Life is no longer an adventure to personally experience, a way to create and form an identity of your own no matter how small or insignificant. Modern man is no longer creating his own imprint, paving his own path. He is copying the images of others, appropriating the path of others.
In the past, it didn’t matter how large or small your imprint was; the emphasis was on quality not quantity. What mattered was that it was your mark and nobody else’s. It was your imprint, and the way you lived life, identified the kind of mark you left behind.
It was your own signature; you carved your own self. You were the artist and the art; you were one and the same. You sculpted your soul.
Nowadays life is not an adventure anymore, how could it be, everything has already been discovered. It’s like living in a classroom where everything has to be examined and analyzed, down to its smallest and minutest component. We are no longer acting out our own life-dramas anymore; we’re having lessons.
Life has been reduced to a lesson to learn and we have become like students in a classroom, in which we are allowed to ask all the questions, indeed we are encouraged to ask. But the problem is others give the answers; they are not ‘our own answers’ to truth.
There is a right or wrong or a true or false box to tick, you might even be given a multiple-choice question. But you cannot answer outside the box. You cannot experience it personally; it has already been tried and tested by others. The game has been rigged. There are only limited answers and limited outcomes, like playing chess against a computer.
You can never win, because every possible move has already been calculated and installed in the program in advance. You can’t learn from life anymore that would have to come by directly experiencing it on your own. There is only the possibility of passing the exam and getting a good score.
When modern man looks up to the sky the way his ancestors did, he will never see or feel the sky the way they did; awe and wonder come from a sense of mystery. But all the mystery in life has been taken away from us since everything has come to be identified and classified. There are just cold hard facts.
What is there to feel awe about? Wonder? We have already been told what are out there, what it’s made of, how and when it began, and the laws behind the whole universe.