What is the best environment for our life’s curriculum?

A Curriculum Environment

In general, it feels to me that humans bumble along and don’t do very well in transcending their greed, and their fear, and their insecurity. I mean, when you look at the numbers of years we’ve had wars compared to the years we have in recorded history. There are very few years where we haven’t had wars. Actually, it’s something like 200 out of 2,000 or something like that.

So our ability as a civilization to evolve seems to me to be pretty thin. I look at this like a fourth-grade curriculum, where you take birth and you run through the curriculum. Then you go onto the fifth grade, wherever that may be. And I just don’t know that the fourth grade is evolving that dramatically. You don’t change the fourth grade into fifth-grade, because the fourth grade serves a certain function. It offers a certain learning. It has a certain kind of sandpaper. A certain kind of pressure in it to make you work out certain stuff. I see it as a curriculum environment more than anything.

I see individuals evolving, but not necessarily the whole scene. I don’t think the evidence is there that there is that much evolution in terms of our social form.

Our Digital Environment Connects Us

Now, from the other side of things, we are in such a new moment in terms of the information age. In terms of people who are multinationals, the changes, the breakdown of all of the social structures, the narrowness, that I find nothing unusual in the projects I am able to have going because of it. Projects in Nepal, one in South India, one in Guatemala, one in the United States.

And that’s no problem at all. Because it’s all emails and stuff like that. I can be tuned to what’s going on in the village in India, and in that sense, I really do feel the membership in the larger world community, because I’m working with the blind in South India, with the biggest eye hospital in the world, and doing 80,000 cataracts a year, of blind people seeing again, and yet simultaneously realizing what a drop in the bucket it is.

Life as Mystery

So when you open yourself, there’s a line in the Tao that says, “Truth waits for the eye unclouded by longing.” As long as you want something you see only the outward container, and our desire to keep the game going makes it very hard for us to see what in fact is happening. And I really feel much more that my life is at play as a mystery. Rather than something where I know how it comes out. I mean, I find, “I don’t know” is the best response I have to most of the kinds of profound questions people ask me. It keeps me open right at the edge of something I don’t really understand, and yet I don’t have to.

-Ram Dass

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