What role has our technology played for us? Why have we gone as far as we’ve gone with our rational minds? Built roads? Gone to the moon? Developed LSD?
It’s extraordinary when you look at what it means for the spirit to emerge in a place in the West, and you see how obviously over-determined the system has been. When you read Marshall McLuhan, you see how the development of television, the development of transportation vehicles of such speed, changed our sense of space and time, and has brought us closer to the “here and now” through breaking down the meaning of time and space. Then you realize that a child of 11 years old now has, through filling in the dots on the television screen, vicariously and intensely and emotionally lived through hundred and hundred of adult roles: he’s finished with them.
This is like a mirage maker. That’s what television is; it’s a finishing with worldliness. He doesn’t have to become ‘Mr. District Attorney,’ he’s already been ‘it’… He doesn’t have to become a thief for the CIA, he’s already been ‘it’. He doesn’t have to become an astronaut, he’s already gone to outer space. In other words, the whole undercutting of the achievement ethic is occurring through technology itself. Our human mind, which is a prerequisite for man to gain self-consciousness that allows him to see through the illusion, while a cat can never know it’s a cat, and a dog can never know it’s a dog, that very instrument, which has become our ruler, rather than our servant, has within it the seeds of it’s own transcendence. By taking us through it’s trip to the point where we see the finiteness of reaching for things through our senses.
Our rational minds have taken us on some extraordinary trips, but they always lead us to the same place, which is not enough. What we are facing now is, because of the fantastic affluence that our technology has given us, the place where many, many of the members of our society have fulfilled every desire they can think of… and it wasn’t enough. So there is a kind of desperation.
Why did we go West? Because it would be better in the West. Why make that chick? Because it’ll be groovier than that one. Why discover this? ‘Cause then we’ll know this. We will know we know, we know, we know. It’s always this, it’s always that, this is the image of it all and when you end up, that’s never enough in there. Never enough. It’s so much and it’s still never enough.
– Ram Dass