The more I get closer to yoga and mindfulness, the more I think very many things about our modern society are just not going in a healthy direction. We often call that direction wrong, bad, toxic and sick. We all do. Name calling seems to be at the very core of our behaviour, like a fundamental need.
Nevertheless, I feel there’s some sort of hypocrisy in criticizing so much the culture and society we live in. In fact, they are the same culture and society that lead us to wandering, living life to the fullest or exploring.
When I find myself thinking about all the things I don’t like (which, in a nutshell, can be described as impossible standards and goals), I actually can’t help but ending up with a big handful of gratefulness for them exactly.
Global communications, transports of all kinds, 9-to-5 jobs, intensive productions, obsession over appearance and in general this society we breathe in are what, day after day, inspired us to not-be. They are our “dark side” (hey Star Wars fan, happy to meet you!).
These ideals and behaviours motivate us to not follow them, they show us the way to not take. They urge us to do what we love and makes us feel full, healthy and dignified.
In fact, if you think about it, they give us the actual chance to do it all, and provide us with many solutions, gear and services to achieve our goals. Traveling, exploring, sharing, searching and discovering have become so accessible thanks to them. Yet, we refuse them and blame them so fiercely.
But when we judge and attack so much we are no better than what we despise and dismiss as much. We all just want the best, the greatest and the biggest, but we don’t accept that they come with an equally present, inevitable and worthy opposite. We accept the comfort, the easiness and the convenience that all the “bad” stuff that our society provide us with, but we spit on all the rest.
So how do we think we can we promote a culture of peace, love, cooperation, empathy and wholeheartedness, if all we do is to divide, fight, denigrate and shame. If all we do is to play “your fault, not mine”? How can we make a change if we don’t change first?
Fortunately, there is a hope. And that hope lies in the quintessential manifestation of this whole society and lifestyle. My hope, paradoxically, lies in the internet.
A bit like when some very evil character in a motion picture makes a false step and creates something good and full of opportunities for our hero, the same way I feel about society, human behavior and, ultimately, the world wide web. Their “evilness” led inevitably to goodness, or at least it has the power to do so, exactly because in every single thing both sides lie in the same reality.
This invention, which in the beginning seemed to lock mankind in even more alienation and hectic timings, activities, standards and productions, can actually provide a big source of freedom and an incredible chance to promote something completely different from itself: real reality, as a very small friend of mine would call it.
The internet is what allows sharing and makes inspiration accessible to everyone. The internet is what can motivate us to switch it off and go outside. To switch it off and go see for ourselves. To switch it off and go fill our souls with beauty and nature and people and real life.
It gives us the chance to pursue our greatest, fiercest and freest dreams.
It’s what allows us to cooperate globally, help each other from one ocean to the other, inform each other from anywhere anytime. The internet is what allows us to generate consciousness and awareness.
So a bit like our own monsters and dark places, I strongly believe we should all thank all these bad guys and truly be grateful for them, for showing us what light and true connection mean. For showing us what we want and how we want to use them.
We will not be able to embrace our opportunities and dreams until we stop seeing our mistakes and flaws as weaknesses, until we stop blaming instead of becoming the change we want to see. There’s no strong or weak, good or bad, right or wrong. Only two parts of the same coin, two ways of using the same tool. No light without darkness, remember? No chance to shine without blackness. So why should we blame it and see it as an enemy to fight, instead of a presence to greet?
Of course, a balanced use, whether it’s of the internet or of any other aspect of life, is fundamental for all this to happen. As every other thing, addiction and reality distortion are behind the corner when it comes to misusage and excessiveness. However, the problem would not be the internet, or the production, or the purchase, nor the confrontation. It would be a lack of equilibrium that lies within ourselves and that would manifest anyways. We can’t blame it on the outside, we can only seek in the inside.
And many may argue this imbalance comes from this society exactly, the way we live, the tremendous amount of consumerism and obsessions and hate and should-bes and should-does we exist by and depend on.
I think this is just another way to not face our own responsibilities.
It’s pure human nature: we were born to generate harmony, have critical minds and reach balance. As every other existing being on this planet, something can go wrong if we do not follow and accomplish our nature. Actually, it will. It’s called adaptation and survival. We’re just experiencing it on a big scale.
There’s a story about a stone and how different men decide to use it. One would use it as a place to sit, one as a material to build. One other as a base to cook on, one as a thing to play with. Another other would use it as a weapon to wound and kill, one to create a barrier and generate division. Some used it as a tool to oppress and some as a mean to destroy and demolish. It is not about the stone, it is about the hand that uses it and and how it chooses to do so.
Mankind is here to serve (or not) this world through this choice. If we manage, we’ll survive. If not, we’ll go, probably a lot more cruelly than necessary, because this planet would probably come with us.
In the beginning, men weren’t travelers. They were either explorers and pioneers, or poor, stationary people who didn’t even know other places existed. Then everything changed.
In 1969 Walter Bonatti stated: “there’s no land on this planet that has not been visited or explored by mankind. However, the true danger of running out of chances to ‘explore’ doesn’t depend on the lack of unknown woods or mountains, but on the alteration of our souls. A new exploration era can begin, and maybe someone has already initiated it: an era of interior, human exploration”.
Human, indeed. Thanks to the internet and the consciousness that this society sparks in us we can become a generation of planet carers, protectors and preservers, advocates of change and sustainability. We can become explorers of new ways of living, producing, connecting and consuming.
We can initiate a culture of gratitude, sharing and belonging. We can use it properly. We can make our choice count and inspire other people to do the same.
We can become humans.