The passage from childhood to adulthood happens when the child begins to realise that life is hard, death is certain and the chances are pretty good that he or she is going to be struggling for the rest of their life. These harsh realities wash away the idealism, naiveté and illusions of youth. Also this maturation process causes the youth to have a new understanding of what responsibility and stewardship means as well as the desire to make an impact on reality and leave the world a better place. This process occurs as a result of both experience and information. As a youth gathers more information through the experience of life he or she reaches certain inevitable conclusions.
The initial inquiry into life involves the consumption of vast amounts of information. Some of it is fascinating and life-altering but sad to say, much of it useless within the confines of daily life. As one matures, one begins to learn the art of discernment and to weave their way through information, discarding that which is not useful and keeping that which is. This is how information becomes knowledge. Once information has gone beyond facts and has woven itself into a coherent stream of knowledge, a certain kind of confidence is engendered in the individual.
As we grasp and understand the world around us through the process of turning information into knowledge, we begin to gain experience in a multiplicity of different facets of reality. As a thinking person matures, he or she gains greater knowledge and experience of the multitude of seemingly disparate aspects of reality until they reach a clear cohesion of thought and heightened level of awareness. This new level of awareness occurs when the individual begins to not only look outward to perceive the facts and forces that shape our reality, but focuses inward to digest and distil all that they have learned and experienced. This maturation process, which happens in later adulthood, is called Gnosis or wisdom.
A key to this process is the discovery and understanding of the deceptive power inherent in the massive amounts of manipulation and psychological imprinting that has taken place over the course of life. As this occurs, one gains the ability to perceive reality from a higher perspective and detach from the storm of emotional cravings and psychological addictions, which have veiled his or her innate awareness and cohesion as a human being. Through this process, one learns to discern and clearly decide which of these varieties of knowledge is important and meaningful to his or her life and which is not.
The gathering of information and experience is the first level of this process. The activity of turning information into knowledge is the second part. Turning knowledge into wisdom is its final aspect. Our youth is a relatively short, confusing and often chaotic processing of information. Schools, religious institutions, and the media fill our heads with gigabytes of information. By the time most of us reach puberty the glut of information that has been poured into our heads makes most of us dizzy. It is at this stage in life where the separation of those who will have an effect on the future of the world and those who won’t occurs. The sudden realisation that old age is imminent, death is certain, and working for a living is a necessity causes a large number of people to recede from the act of information gathering. They stop reading. They stop questioning. They are no longer interested in the ebb and flow of the mechanisms of the larger reality. They become numb, jaded, cynical, defeated and desensitised to the power and beauty of the extraordinary gift of human life. The second group embraces the dizzying array of information being offered to them and by puberty they are turning information into knowledge. At this time in their lives, through devotion, focus and discipline, people begin to excel in their chosen areas of exploration be it math, science, sports, the arts and many other fields of endeavour.
Long after college, the birthing of children, and anxiety about employment, if they are lucky, a wonderful new mental process begins. It starts in the late 30s and 40s. Synaptic pathways in the brain that were disconnected from each other previously have now woven themselves into a situation where the countless pods of knowledge begin to interconnect. Revelations, visions and comprehension of their own gifts and unique place in the nature of human experience begin to occur. This interlinking of thought distils experience into wisdom. This next level of discernment, not only engenders the creation of books, movies, philosophical treatises, inventions, and innovation, but also it brings with it a certain inner peace and sense of fulfilment that the immature self lacked.
Fully immersed in life and creative expression, the fear of death begins to recede. From this heightened spiritual perspective, the ones who attain wisdom begin to look at the world around them and bear witness to the evidence arrayed before them. Yes, the vision of connectivity, beauty and wonder that inspired their pursuit still lives within their hearts. However, at the same time, the undeniable evidence of a pathetic and immature reality filled with destruction, divisiveness, nihilism, egotism, greed and sexual depravity is ever present. There is a reason why students are not allowed to study the Kabbalah until they are 35 years old. The human intellect cannot possibly be mature enough until that age to fully comprehend the inner dynamics of the Kabbalah or any of the other deep spiritual and esoteric traditions that have been left for us.
Until around 1992, the human race lived and operated in an extremely isolated fashion. Until the invention of the telephone, telegraph, automobile and train in the early 1900’s people were even more isolated. It is really only in the last 50 years that the human race has become fully aware of the vast and varied cultures, languages and peoples that exist on the Earth.
But in 1992, something happened. Whereas much of the human race before were like isolated babes in the woods surrounded by wolves, confused and simplistic, in 1992, the first coherent stream of information was released all across the planet at the same time. It was appropriately called the World Wide Web. For the first time in human history, any human being who had a laptop or computer could increasingly access all of the information concerning the vast wealth of human history, experience and expression.
This shift was disorienting and confusing just like school was when we first started. A startling and mind expanding compilation of the best and worst aspects of human endeavour, the Internet overwhelmed us with facts, distractions, disinformation, lies, distortions, hopes and fears, everything. It became a mirror of who we are as a species and reflection of our collective psyche. Critics arose decrying that the Internet was a jumble of false ideas, a free for all, a place where a housewife in San Antonio has the same power and voice as a columnist for the New York Times. It can be safely said that the Internet was and is a land of incredible opportunity, massive confusion and one of the most important tools that has ever been invented by the human race.
2012 represents the 20-year anniversary of this great event. Through the course of this time, through the consumption, digestion and integration of massive amounts of information, many people have begun to notice that there is a spiritual awakening occurring. It’s just a rumbling underneath the surface but we all can feel it. More and more we sense there has to be something more to human life than slavery to the manipulations and whims of what many call The Controllers. Rising like a powerful tide, the collective yearning for clarity, intimacy, community and harmony is the result of 20 years of endless information being spewed out by the Internet.