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The Spirit of the Times

Café-Salon Philosophique #58

April 22, 2000

No. of Participants: 5

Topic of Discussion: "The Spirit of the Times"

A small group assembled tonight. Mary brought the topic for discussion. She feels as if "a lot of spiritual changes are happening in the world today, but, because of the drive for materialism and changing technology, every one wants and expects "instant gratification."

As we continue to speed along in technology and electronics, the human body gets bypassed once again to make way for more intellectual stimulation - the internet. We are more interested in learning and discovering what is happening "outside" of our bodies, rather than discovering the "super powers" within.

Life on this planet is not treated with respect. We pollute the land, the body, and our own environments with an array of bad habits. Why are we attracted to things that are bad for our bodies; and in turn, to other fellow human beings? I know, it depends on what your definition of "bad" is.

Why do we find death, suffering and violence to be so interesting? Why not value life? Because we are conditioned to "follow" the "trends" that are popular in the world. The media continues to be a main factor in influencing our behavior. Why do we as a society accept this?

We learn not to give a damn about each other. Only to look out for our own interests, then maybe, for others.

Sure, there are activist groups, (the do- gooder societies) "talking about" what needs to be done, "demonstrating against" what needs to be undone, "raising money and donating money" for what needs to be done, but DO major changes really occur?

Oh, the various branches of government "lead us to believe" that they have our "best interests" at heart. Of course, the Corporate World continues to rule over all, along with the "Special Interest" groups.

So, because everybody lives in the world "for me," we become slaves to pleasure, desires, material goods, and instant gratification. We "kill time" by being busy and figuring out ways to "entertain" our selves. Harold says that are relationships as humans has become "mangled."

Samuel says that "role playing didn't start in the 21st century. We have been slaves to work for as long as man has been in existence." So, why do we work? Does the accumulation of material goods really make us happy and satisfied with life? "Work has created compulsive consumerism," he added.

The next questions was, "What would we be if we were not connected to other people?" What is the difference between aloneness versus isolation? Monks and some Buddhists carry this concept to an extreme. The repression of the mental and physical for spiritual upliftment is really "a curse" of conditioned poverty. They miss the point. The body does not need to suffer just to stay connected to "the source" or "God." One does not need to live in misery to discover this.

Samuel, who has lived in a variety of cultures remarked, "You can find poor people who are even more generous, than the rich. Even when they have nothing, they will offer you something if they can. They understand, "You are my brother."

In this rich nation, why do we have such a division of wealth? Why are there so many people suffering in the world?

Wouldn't it be nice to wave a magic wand and every one have the basic needs for survival - warm food, clothing, shelter and water? If only the aid would truly reach the people it was intended for. Our wasteful, throw-away Society doesn't think this way. As long as "it's not happening to me," then things are okay.

Instead, supposedly "Rich" nations and The Corporate World zero in on the stock market, internet, politics; and wheel and deal for control over money and status. And for what? What are we accumulating?

The group then bounced to discussing the original thought for the evening's discussion - "stagnation of the human spirit." We are like wind-up toys. We have becomed programmed and automated towards the new "electronic age." We are slowly losing skills in personal contact and with relationships. The movement of the mouse and one finger clicks is becoming our choice of relating.

To change the "stagnation of the human spirit" is going to require "new ways of thinking and doing" by visionaries. It is one thing "to have the notion of being free," and quite another one to "actually know how to put real freedom and being into action."

In order to do this, one must want to think and use their mind and body intelligence differently.

Concerted effort must be made to learn, retrain and practice a new way of thinking, being and doing with the mind/body intelligence. Then, the flow "of the spirit," "life force," will flow through.

The group then named some visionaries and inventors - Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.

Damien said, "In order to be able to learn about ourselves we need to simplify." "The simpler one's life, the easier it is to be with the self." "That is hard or almost impossible for most people to do," says Samuel. "Instead of being true to the body, we are imposters." We lie and deceit our selves. In turn, we relate to others in this manner.

Values need to shift beyond "making money," "just making a living," "living the good life." Our obsession with the accumulation of wealth and power has created a breakdown in relationships with families, friends and fellow co-workers.

Will we ever really be able to break through the network of systems we have built? How long will we continue to be hostages and slaves to companies, groups, organizations? Or do we even really care?

The next question, "So, where are we? Where are we going?" "How do we define happiness?" Happiness is a state of being. If you try to pursue happiness, you lose it. Various organizations tend to monopolize, manipulate or control the people. Religions can stifle, suppress, make one feel as though they need to suffer in order to live. Many feel guilty for being happy. And often times, others don't want others to be happy because they think they can't be.

In a world that glorifies mediocrity, we need to recapture our "artistic wonder and passion." New visionary explorers are needed to blaze a trail. A little more kindness and respect of each other would help.

Individually, we need to stop and consider, "Just what is the driving force behind my behavior, actions and deeds?" What have I learned from the past? What works? What didn't work?

Where am I now? Am I happy and satisfied with what I am doing? Is what I'm doing creative, productive and practical? Is my life simple? Or am I complicating things? What do I value and why?

And, where am I going? Do I even know where I am going??? What's guiding my direction? Is it really a direction?

This, of course, has been said many times before, but, "one has to want to change, and have the courage to change in order to make real progress in evolving as a human being." This type of journey requires alot of "alone time." This is hard for many.

It is rare to find a person who is 100% honest with themselves and others. People are dissuaded by outside influences; and open themselves up to judgement, criticism, and beliefs of other people. Even though this may make one miserable, they still find it more comfortable than change.

Are you one that might possibly be able to go to the edge without fear? Are you tired of prostituting your mind and body to everything but your self?

They say "at the edge, the fool can meet the wise one".....Are you game?

Our next Café meeting will be held May 6, 2000 at the Boulder Book Store located at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, CO. Start time is 6:30 p.m. Hope to see you there! Invite your friends. Bring a new and interesting topic.

Reported by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."

 

- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.