How human beings locate information and learn about what they need has changed dramatically. Today, more than at any other time, information is available literally at our fingertips every second of every day. While there are some very positive benefits to this type of information availability, there are also some significant risks and potential dangers to consider. Understanding how the quest for information has evolved over time is the first step towards knowing where we need to look for the answers.
Initially human experience and learning was passed on through conversations and story-telling. In other words parents educated the children in basic survival skills, which enabled them to function in life as a member of the clan. The children learned to make tools, shelter, and to hunt from their family unit and community. Over time stories were told to pass on the history, tradition and wisdom of their elders. These stories were based on truth and through this oral history a respect and appreciation for the ancestors was developed.
In time, really not that long ago historically, stories and information were transposed into print. The invention of the printing press allowed information from distant and non-connected groups to be shared, creating a much more educated view point. Stories became more for entertainment rather than for education and survival. Although originally only the rich and affluent could read, soon the general population had access to education and printed material from around the world.
Besides books, the printing press also allowed the production of more immediate information. This soon included magazines and newspapers that kept people abreast of real time events in their local area and in the other continents as well. Opinions, editorials and facts became intertwined in the reporting of what was considered newsworthy. Controlling the truth became the job of those who wrote the articles and managed the news companies. It soon became difficult to know whose opinion you were reading, as the newspaper industry was big business and it also had huge backing from companies that had an agenda to follow.
Films and television evolved next. With the advent of the cinema, it was possible to get a picture of what it looked like in places you would never visit. Soon television brought this information right into your sitting room. You did not even have to make the effort to read, you could sit back, relax and just enjoy the pictures. Television became an easy escape from reality and a way to avoid having to interact with others. Research studies show that this is the case. When diagnosed with serious health conditions such as cancer, people often choose to watch TV, rather than deal with the health issue they are confronted with.
After the TV, came the internet. There are definitely some very positive aspects to the ability to get information quickly, but there are some drawbacks as well. In most areas of the world houses now have a computer, while children at schools have access to computers for both educational and leisure time activities. This means that children and adults as well have access to websites, whether legal or illegal. It is now possible to access websites including topics ranging from pornography, gambling, violence, bomb making, to how to manufacture drugs at home.
Online addictions such as gambling and pornography have seen a real escalation since the advent of the internet. Seeking help is the first step, but with the accessibility of these sites, recovery can be very difficult. In addition to this aspect, families now spend more time online than talking to each other, leading to feelings of isolation within the home.
Evidently there are some wonderful websites on the internet as well. Charities, good causes, self help information and health programs are available at the click of a button. Websites that provide help, support and encouragement are just as common as the harmful websites, allowing those seeking assistance to readily find what they need.
Finding the answers to our life questions is much more of a challenge in today’s fast- paced, information-rich times. Trying to establish connection with our history, understanding and appreciate our ancestors, traditions and families is not as simple as it once was. We are no longer connected to the land on which we live. Instead, we are often connected to others that also are lacking established roots, as we live in a society that moves and inter-marries frequently. Respect for the earth usually comes second to higher profitability.
This disconnect from the earth results in a feeling of being lost or living without a feeling of belonging. For most the answers are thought to be external, somewhere in cyberspace, not within our own hearts and minds. We look to others to guide us in our decision making and how we should be and what we should value. This puts us in a position of weakness as we hand over our power to whoever it is that we are listening to, or whoever makes most sense today.
Questions such as “Why am I here”, “What am I on Earth for?”, and “What happens when I die?” seem to go unanswered. This is because we have no or very little connection to what is sacred, traditional or of value in our lives. We lack a connection to our heritage or the wisdom of the ancients.
To answer the questions of life we need to look into our own hearts and minds. Everyone has a connection to a power greater than themselves- the trick is to learn how to listen to it. For some listening is impossible, as their heads are so busy that nothing can be heard. For others, with practices like meditation, silence becomes a friend and in the still quietness, the guidance can be heard. We have access to all the information in the universe, if we can manage to quiet the busy mind. Once we have closed off all the mind chatter, we can really start to discover who we are, and what we believe, and what it is that we are supposed to be doing with our lives. In the silence, we make room for the wisdom. This is where the answers are, in the stillness in your heart.
My website is the culmination of many years of seeking answers about my own health and well-being, and studying the human condition. I write articles, am a healer and give talks about subjects relating to spiritual growth and personal development. I am passionate about healing, recovery, and assisting others to grow.