You don’t need to change the world; you need to change yourself. ~ Miguel Ruiz
We live in an exciting time; technological advancements are blurring the boundaries between man and machine, but there’s also a rising sentiment towards human values, nature, and Eastern philosophy. The latter is often described as the New Age. The interpretations of such a concept vary widely, but I believe there’s a fundamental theme to it that resonates with a deep inner desire, which the post-modern world has failed to fulfil. This post is about the ascension of human consciousness towards a new age.
Search for spirit
The benefits of technology are ambiguous; it has given us a sense of control over our environment, but it has, both symbolically and literally, distanced us from nature. People have become cogs in the complex machinery we call modern society, but lost touch with their spiritual nature. Being slaves of a destructive economic system, a lot of people have lost faith in materialism and started looking for meaning and purpose. Ancient spiritual practices like yoga and meditation have answered to this increasing desire of having a sense of self.
We are part of a delicate and intricate cycle of life here on Earth. The Earth itself is also a living organism, even though it may not be defined as such by biologists. Rather, it is regarded as just an ecosystem, creating the environment for a complex cycle of life. Scientists have come to recognize the vulnerability of that ecosystem, and warn for any irreversible damage that we may be causing. However, the situation is not changing, because we fail to see that life is not just a function of biology, but also an expression of spirit.
Spirit is the reason why we feel connected to nature; it’s through spirit that we bond with animals. What characterizes the dominant scientific view on life is that it leaves spirit out of the equation. This may be understandable, because it’s hard to measure, but it also means we constrain our natural ability to be in harmony with life. The result is global pollution, extinction of species, and the destruction of our own.
Corruption from the top down
Personally, I believe technology has given us a lot, but it has made us lose track of the real miracle that is life itself. The proof is everywhere to be seen; the way we treat the Earth and our fellow living beings is disrespectful to say the least. Fortunately, there are developments in environmental awareness and clean-tech, but the short-sighted paradigm of unlimited economic growth (unlimited consumption) hinders the stimulation of such advancements. Money comes first and everything else second.
But money is not the same as wealth in the same way that technology does not necessarily make us more sophisticated. Since childhood we’ve been led to believe that our life’s purpose is to be an economical asset to the world, and the better we do that the better our lives will be. But the system is finance isn’t fair, because it enslaves people to those who have capital. Hard working people have lost their homes and pensions by the hands of greedy bankers. Fortunately, there is a bigger emphasis on human values now than ever before.
Crux of the New Age
In order to understand the New Age, it’s important to know where we came from. Human history plays a big role in the recognition of our true nature. For that matter, a particularly interesting series to watch is Spirit Science – The Human History Movie. Another knowledgable man who talks a lot on subjects like the Old World is Drunvalo Melchizedek, an esoteric researcher, like in his video Birth of A New Humanity. I would recommend watching these videos for the sake of allowing yourself a new feeling for history, sacred geometry, and metaphysics.
For that matter, the New Age can also be seen like a Grand Renaissance; the rebirth of humanity and human values, that stretch back all the way to ancient traditions, much older than the Classical societies. The world is already changing, because people want independence, quality of life, and connection. The truth is that deep inside we’re all looking for the same things. In the absence of knowledge, money has become a substitute for love. Fortunately, the economic collapse is showing us that something needs to change.
The importance of intimacy
Our individualistic society has made us strangers to our own neighbors. Our phones may have gotten smarter, but we have become dumber. When I sit in the train I’m always noticing the mesmerizing influence of smartphones when I observe the people around me; they’re completely unaware of their environment, while continuously seeking contact in an illusionary world. The truth is that social media hasn’t given us a greater sense of connection nor friendship.
I have hundreds of ‘friends’ on Facebook that I never speak to. In fact, I use social media more as a substitute of reading the newspaper; I’d rather read about people I’m at least slightly acquainted with, or check links and articles from people who share similar interests. However, it doesn’t provide me with the intimacy that I desire in human relations. For that reason, one of my aims is to do more offline projects in the future, such as organizing workshops, giving lectures, and performing live music.
A lot of people use social media for the wrong reasons; not in the sense that it isn’t right, but more in the sense that it doesn’t work. They seek attention, because we all have a desire for intimacy. However, if you sit next to someone in the train, I’m sure you’ll feel more intimate speaking to a stranger face to face, rather than WhatsApping on your phone. I myself am a bit more introverted, so I rarely start a conversation, but I like to listen!
Don’t get me wrong – I owe a lot to technology. After all, the internet gives me the means to write this blog. But technology shouldn’t consume us to the point that we’re merely existing in a virtual world and not living the real thing. It is typical of the New Age movement to seek that intimacy; people coming together to eat, dance, make music, give and receive massages, and getting to know each other.
Ascension comes with courage
Of course, creating a new society means giving up on certain things, and facing the truth of our own responsibilities in making that happen. A world that respects life and lives in harmony with the resources of the Earth can’t afford to produce junk food. Nor can it afford the economic paradigm of unlimited growth. Right now our economy runs on the sales of mediocre products that are designed to have short lifespans. This creates a lot of rubbish and pollution, wastes precious resources, and stimulates the exploiting of cheap labor.
In order to break the status quo, it’s necessary to have the courage to do away with old habits, and the inventiveness to come up with something new. Being able to think outside of the box has always been challenging, because it’s often criticized rather than rewarded. However, it’s the overcoming of fears that ultimately set us free. Rising to new challenges empowers us in the quest towards fulfilment and independence.
There are different movements going in different directions. On one level it seems as if people are becoming increasingly distant and selfish, whereas on another level we’re actually moving closer towards each other and are starting to feel more connected. Both observations are true, and it is a matter of choice in which world you want to live. Those who are too concerned with their self-interest just need more leverage to force them to take a look in the mirror. The New Age is a collective effort that starts within the individual.
When it comes to talking of the New Age, the central themes revolve around a search for meaning, spirit, humanity, and intimacy. We’re collectively becoming more aware of everything that’s wrong in our society, and start to look for solutions. Clean technologies will need to be further developed if we want to reverse the destruction of our planet. Ideas about wealth and prosperity will have to be re-evaluated in order to establish a sustainable economy. The New Age is about respect for life, harmony with nature, the recognition of spirit, and fair trade.
What do you think the New Age should look like? What values are important to you?