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Signs of the Times for Fri, 24 Feb 2006

Signs Editorial:

Signs of the Times
24 February 2006
If the world is the expression of those who inhabit it, the mirror of ourselves and our ways of interacting with each other, then surely the only way for the world to evolve is for its inhabitants to evolve.

Change takes place naturally, whether we wish it to or not. Look at pictures from fifty years ago, you'll see how our dress has changed, how our cars have changed, our telephones and planes and televisions. Lacking from the photos will be cell phones, iPods, and desktop and laptop computers and the other "revolutionary" advances in technology that have so shaped our current society. Go back one hundred years and you'll see horses on the streets instead of cars. A little over two hundred years and you'll find kings and queens in the place of presidents and legislative assemblies.

Such great leaps and bounds in the outer world, in the various forms of clothing in which we wrap ourselves to provide the multiple layers of shelter we need to protect ourselves from the world!

But man himself? How has he changed in fifty, one hundred, or even a thousand years?

Has he evolved at all?

There is a difference between change and evolution. The examples above are those of change. Another name for change is "progress", and "progress" is the technological and material shape-shifting of appearances. Only the outer shell moves. It is a mechanical process that has no consciousness behind it. There is no decision based upon a well-thought out choice that determines the direction of this movement. Think of that new god of our society "the free market" with its "invisible hand" that knows best and works for the improvement of the lot of us all. This deity is being imposed upon the world, in the name of neo-liberal economics, and the invisible hand hiding the tyrannical fist is refashioning all areas of our lives, one after another. Health, happiness, and family life are all being contorted to fit the economics of the bottom line. In a pathocratic turnabout, real blood is being spilt to "get us out of the red".

Somewhere, someone is undoubtedly laughing at the irony, perhaps a conscious irony, at that.

Unfortunately, mechanical changes in the world can have an affect upon the inner life. When one allows oneself to be buffeted by the mechanics of "progress", having no inner anchor, the chaotic, contentious, contradictory, and confusing environment is internalised. It is, in fact, a feedback loop, because as I said at the beginning, the world is the mirror of its inhabitants, and this mechanical and chaotic tempest began as the expression of our inner lives, of the multiplicity of voices we hear within contending to be obeyed.

In the face of this chaos, there are three choices: one can align oneself openly with chaos, which appears to be the choice of the Bush Reich and its supporters; one can choose to not choose, which is to align oneself with chaos while pretending to wipe one's hands of the decision, the apparent choice of most people on the planet; or one can choose to live, act, and BE in a way to bring order to the world. One can consciously choose to confront mechanical change by deciding to work consciously to evolve rather than change or be changed.

To choose chaos is to choose subjectivity, our own limited and filtered view of the world, shaped by our past, our traumas and their emotional sting, our needs and wishful thinking. To continue to allow our perceptions and subsequent construction of our inner world view to be determined by the chaotic outer life built upon our chaotic inner life is to throw oneself wholly into the maelstrom, to not be the subject of one's life, but to remain the object upon which life acts.

Ouspensky quotes Gurdjieff as saying:

"In speaking of evolution it is necessary to understand from the outset that no
mechanical evolution is possible. The evolution of man is the evolution of his
consciousness. And 'consciousness' cannot evolve unconsciously. The evolution of
man is the evolution of his will, and 'will' cannot evolve involuntarily. The evolution,
of man is the evolution of his power of doing, and 'doing' cannot be the result of
things which 'happen.' "

Conscious evolution demands an objective assessment of ourselves and our world. As long as we remain tied to our subjective understanding, we are lost in a dream world. We are not seeing things as they are. The first step to an objective understanding of the world is to see ourselves as we are, free from any illusion. But we all have blind spots, areas that we can only identify with the help of others. That is why we need a network, a group of individuals committed to seeing themselves and the world as clearly as possible. They help each other to root out their programmes, to identify the different small 'I's that we cannot see for ourselves.

Moreover, even if our reading instruments are well-tuned, we each have only a partial view of the world. The network of collinear individuals has a broader view of the whole, able to bring more data than any one person. The greater the number of individuals, the more objective the network's view can be.

That is the goal of the Signs page and the Quantum Future Group, to provide an environment where people who see the application of the ideas found here can work and battle their subjectivity. Our new forum and our casschat group on Yahoo are the first steps in that practice. Here, interested people can get their feet wet by exchanging with others. They can learn to apply these ideas in their own lives. They can slowly work to become conscious of their mechanical nature, of how they are acted upon by their surroundings, in order to step by step begin to make conscious choices about their future.

We receive many emails from people wondering what they can do. They feel small and impotent in the face of the horrors of the world. Our current fundraiser will raise money to help us to extend the reach of these ideas to others. For those of you who already know our sites and books, the work on the self, the work to overcome our subjective states and join with others to build a collinear network in which the creative spirit of many can be nourished and developed is the next step. We cannot change the world. It is as it is. But we each have the power to change ourselves, to evolve from mechanical beings to conscious beings. If enough of us make that choice, we will set the butterfly wings flapping, and, then, who knows what might happen?

Have a question or comment about the Signs page? Discuss it on the Signs of the Times news forum with the Signs Team.

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