An excerpt from Original Thinking: A Radical ReVisioning of Time, Humanity and Nature
As modern humans, we are increasingly absorbed in thought — rational thought — and caught between two worlds: the outer and the inner. And, increasingly, the noise in our head is being shaped and mediated by our own technology, such that our human experience is becoming more and more detached and self-referential.
Many of us are entrapped in the shell of our minds, and this follows us wherever we go. We wake up each morning, and rather than taking a moment of appreciation for the miracle that is life, we snap to mental attention.
We make an immediate inventory of our egoic self — who we are, what we are, and what we are going to do today. We remain in the shell of our thoughts even as we leave the secondary shell of our enclosed houses, sipping our morning coffee as we enter the tertiary shell of our automobiles, backing out of our driveways, barely noticing whether the sun is shining or the birds are chirping. Bucky Fuller once said that if an alien being were standing right in front of us, we would not notice because we are too stuck in our way of seeing. This is probably true, but more importantly, we do not notice what is natural to our world any more than what is alien. We have done our best to insulate ourselves from the sensuous life-world all around us; we move from place to place within the shell of our retracted consciousness, literally lost in thought.
The sad fact is that we moderns spend so much time thinking that we ignore life’s beauty and vibrancy. And, even sadder, our thinking processes have wrapped us so much in knots that we have come to believe that our thoughts are all there is, and that the rest of the world is dead.
Let me put it starkly. The sum total of the modern paradigm is a belief that human beings are separate, superior, rational, and alone in our consciousness on a dead planet, without purpose. We have all inherited a worldview that is bereft of soul and stripped of life, cut off from our spiritual roots.
This would be exceedingly depressing if it were true. But, thankfully, it is not. The truth, as I have come to see it, is that we humans are not superior; we only think we are. We are just different. The planet is not “dead” or a mere machine; it is all alive. And we are never separate or alone in our consciousness, no matter what we might imagine. Some part of us has always known this. The very word “consciousness” originally meant knowing with, from the Latin con-scientia, or shared knowledge. The fact of consciousness is a radical expression of interconnectedness; everything that exists contributes in some way to the consciousness of the whole.
It is not that rationality — as we have come to define it in the modern world — is unimportant. It is important. But it is only one expression of our humanness, one part of our full potential. It does not, should not, define humanity. We are not only mental beings; we are whole human beings with physical, emotional, intuitive and spiritual aspects. We know this, and yet most of us still favor rational thought, even if unconsciously.
We do this when we compartmentalize our lives, itself an act of rational thinking. Our spirituality, for instance, may be relegated to church, prayer, mantra or meditation; our emotional life may be limited to interaction with our spouse and closest of friends; and our intuition, for many of us, is completely suppressed or marginalized. We, both women and men, but especially men, are trained to follow our head rather than our heart, to distrust our gut instincts and intuition. All of this reinforces and artificially inflates the importance of rational thinking.
In actuality, our intellectual capacities are useless unless they are connected to an inspirational source. When we exercise Herculean efforts to control the world with our intellect alone, it just does not work. We may think we are “masters of the universe,” as the Wall Street sharks used to say, but we are in for a fall later on. Even when we accomplish what we set out to do, it (intellectual savvy) does not equate to long-term happiness or satisfaction. We keep asking ourselves, where did we go wrong?
How can we recover the sense of interconnectedness we once enjoyed? To do so, we must go beneath and beyond rationality to uncover and rethink the ways we originally sought to understand our world and forge meaning in our lives.