The Turning of the Year

On the eve of the year 2016, humanity finds itself in a strikingly different place from where it was 100 years ago. To be a human in 1913 – the moment before the turning of the Age – is categorically different from what it means to be human today. The changes launched in 1914 transformed every aspect of human life in ways unprecedented in history. Since then, everything that matters in the life of a human being – government, medicine, warfare, food production, pollution, technology, entertainment, relationships, reproduction and population, on and on – has undergone a revolution.

Many of these changes have been for the better. Medical technology prolongs life and cures problems that used to have no answer. Most likely my life has been saved by the changes since 1914, and without question I would be mostly blind today were it not for these advances. It can also be argued that weaponry capable of destroying the Earth actually brought a halt to the occurrence of wars on a massive scale. The list of advances is endless. Yet, yet….

At what cost? In our race to “advance” what have we lost? For everything comes with a cost. We are products of this natural world, but how far have we gone to separate ourselves from that world? Have we come to the point that human survival is now relatively impossible without the advancements we have achieved? In the process of our rush forward are there important lessons and aspects of who we are that we leave behind at our peril?

Are we dulling ourselves, through abundance, entertainment, technology, and our incessant cling to “security” in the face of no real danger or ones that have always been with us, to our connection to this world at its most fundamental levels: to a connection that goes beyond the data, to the senses that can and have served us so well? We can easily chalk up the events of this life with a quip that, “It was meant to be.” It comforts us when perhaps some things that were meant to happen didn’t; and some things that weren’t meant to happen did. There is a truth of information beyond the screen of feelings that can right the course of our irrational boats, but behind the truth of information there is that which cannot be rationalized or explained, and where the road of rationality runs out and dumps us into a land of myriad paths shrouded in the beautiful unknown. Today, there are many faux guides and appointed prophets who will offer a map – for a fee. But there is no substitute for stepping off the machinery of modernity and delving into the depths to know thyself. Beyond the issues of this day, beyond the truth of our lives, lies the Truth of that which is ineffable. And every day, in our rush to make it through another day, we often take no time to engage in this Truth. That is a choice; and the tragic nature of that choice is beyond comprehension. And it is one that for each of us can be changed with the turning of the Year.

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