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Sleepwalking Into Despair

“We have a generation bloated with trivial information and starving for wisdom.”

 

Captain Bob overheard our conversation and came over to share his experiences building Kalea in Tahiti over a period of four years with the help of some locals:

 

“My life as a general contractor in Florida before the financial crisis of 2008 was financially rewarding, but very isolating. I was going down that path of more and more communication with clients and subcontractors being done via electronic means. I rediscovered the joys of personal connections and shoulder-to-shoulder work when I took on the four-year boat building project. The friendships and relationships I made during that project were far richer and more rewarding than any I had made during the last decade of my life as a contractor. I had forgotten how wonderful it is to be connected into a larger community, a circle of belonging, where there is no shortage of people happy to help in times of need.”

 

I replied,

 

“Unfortunately, we are losing social skills, human interaction skills, how to read a person’s mood, how to read body language. People are having difficulty being patient, waiting for their moment to make a point. I think this is due to obsessive use of electronic gadgetry. It dehumanizes what should be a very, very important part of community life and living together.”

 

Lua expressed her opinion that on the mainland, we have a generation bloated with trivial information and starving for wisdom. Smartphones offer more access to knowledge, but these same technologies are seducing us away from moments of solitude and the ‘still point’ that reconnects us with our deep intuition — the seat of our wisdom. Fast and furious has been the rise and impact of social media in our lives. And trending quite neatly right along with the latest viral videos and Twitter tantrums is the rise in stress-related diseases and clinical depression rates. We are becoming unconscious slaves to this addictive, soul-deadening experience.

You mainlanders are collectively sleepwalking into despair from several artificial and destructive divisions that you have created for yourselves, she noted. You have an ecological divide — a disconnect between self and Nature, resulting in a disconnect from the natural world and overuse of Earth’s finite resources. You have a social divide — a disconnect between self and other, resulting in extreme economic and social inequalities that are getting worse and worse with late-stage capitalism. And you have a spiritual divide — a disconnect between social/outer self and spiritual/inner self, which has resulted in suicides in recent years taking more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined.

 

I could hear the song, Mad World, playing in my head:

All around me are familiar faces worn out places worn out faces

Bright and early for their daily races, going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling, up their glasses, no expression, no expression

Hide my head I want to, drown my sorrow, no tomorrow, no tomorrow

 

And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying, are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles, it's a very very

Mad world, mad world

 

Children waiting for the day they feel good, happy birthday, happy birthday

Made to feel the way that, every child should, sit and listen, sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous, no one knew me, no one knew me

Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson, look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying, are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles, it's a very very

Mad world, mad world

 

But Lua also observed an emerging ecological mindfulness that is beginning to break down these troubling divisions. After all, the root cause of all these problems, Lua claimed, was not too difficult to diagnose: outdated models of economic thought.

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​© 2020 Rich 'Rico' Leon