The Accelerating Velocity of Knowledge Part 2
We learned in part one that as the speed of processing information increases man becomes more godlike, and that as man becomes more godlike there is an incumbent increase in responsibility for the power of knowledge. That knowledge, like all knowledge, has the potential to increase goodness and its opposite in the world. Thus knowledge becomes the fulcrum on which free choice balances, and man is the godlike creature who stands above those scales and is empowered to use his knowledge for good, or otherwise.
Our question now is why do we see what we see in the world, an astounding phenomena ; that as man increases his ability and speed of knowledge transmission, as technology in general expands and spreads its network world-wide, (even throughout the solar system) one would think human beings would be more fulfilled with the access to such power and knowledge, more complete in their purpose and functioning in society, more satisfied by their increased ability to communicate, to hear and be heard by others.
And yet we often see that the opposite is true. That as our speed of accessing knowledge increases, as our technological capacities expand, as our ability to communicate grows exponentially, we see a strange phenomena; people are more isolated and less patient with themselves, their machines, and their fellow human beings.
This observation is personal. Truly the first place I need to look to find evidence of this phenomena is in myself. And I’ve seen it. An increase in expectations from myself, my machines and fellow humans. Life has not become easier, it has become faster. The expectation is that I have to keep up with the pace or be left behind. This is turn increases anxiety, the fear of loss of time, loss of money, loss of knowledge, loss of entertainment and the loss of comraderie, fellowship, relationship.
Clearly this is not the reason we were created, nor the reason we have faith in the Creator or his Torah.
Rather, Rabbi Nachman explains a critical part of the process of acquiring new knowledge, (which means new power). He explains in Likutei Moharan, that every piece of knowledge we learn is first incorporated into our mind as ‘ours’. We learn it. It is ours. We treat the new knowledge as if it were our own. However, the Rambam (Maimonides) writes, ‘He is the knowledge, and the Knower.’ It is not ours.
Thus when we learn something new, there are stages of integration. The first is ‘owning it’. The next is recognizing that I do not own it. The third is that the piece of knowledge has been given to me, as a gift. The fourth is to realize that although the knowledge comes to me through the filter of the mind of the author, it is originally from the Creator of all knowledge, ‘The Knower.’ The fifth is to apologize to the one who gave me the knowledge for appropriating it as if it was my own.
This process purifies the heart from the klipah, the shell or unclear psychic filter that is consciousness itself. When we learn new knowledge in this manner, we remove the ‘sin’, the ‘fall’, the ‘poison’, from the original ‘eating’ from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. We restore consciousness to the state of the Garden before the fall.
To be sure, we must do this many, many times, for every piece of knowledge that we acquire, in order to be readmitted to that pristine state of consciousness called, Adam before the Fall. Yet that is the goal of being human. And the goal our Creator set out for us in the beginning.
Let’s return to our previous question with this new knowledge in hand. Why does technology make us more impatient and intolerant of machines and people?
Since we understand that knowledge is power, and the faster we can acquire knowledge, the faster we receive power, we can then understand that our balance of power and humility is offset. When we incorporate Rabbi Nachman’s teaching, and the Rambam’s assertion that He is the Knowledge and the Knower, we are also asserting that He is the power. This removes the layer of false power that surrounds self consciousness. Behind it hides God consciousness; just beyond the filter of self.
Rabbi Nachman once said, I can purify you of all stains except personal honor (ie; power.) This we must do ourselves. The Baal Shem Tov said not to follow any Rabbi who says he can purify you of this mark. And this is the reason that as technology hastens our access to knowledge we become more agitated and impatient. It is the incipient imbalance of receiving new power without new humility.
When we strip the ego from our learning, we attain a purer mind and heart. And the Knowledge we acquire contains a greater revelation of the Knower. When the heart and mind are pure, we can also learn faster, as Rabbi Nachman teaches that pure Knowledge does not take up space, and is easier to remember. And so the filter of human consciousness advances slowly towards Divine Consciousness. We become more Godlike. We receive humility from knowledge, instead of arrogance. We remove the shell that separates man from God. We become what we always were deep inside. A Tree of life.
To be sure to receive these levels, we must pray and return each new piece of knowledge to the Knower. We must be vigilant and self examining each time we learn so as not to fall into the trap of thinking we own Divine knowledge. Rather the opposite is true. It owns us.
Once we have entered this process we can more readily cope with the acceleration of knowledge acquisition and integrate what we learn into a more humble intellect, where what we learn becomes part of the elixir of life, and not that poison of dual consciousness that was injected into Adam and Eve so long ago.
Rather each new piece of the puzzle of Divinity fits neatly into a vision. It is a vision that bridges the paradox of God and man, and embraces the Two as a unique unity. We neither have the arrogance to assume ownership of Knowledge, nor the false humility to ignore its miraculous presence. We understand how all knowledge can be equally present everywhere. And this is the terminal velocity in the mind of the Knower.
The implication is that all men can be divine, each at his level, which is the Knowledge he needs for any given moment to fulfill God’s will.
The Master said, “You can be like me. Mamash!”
That was the way Moses looked at every Jew.
He saw God in his fellow man . . . because he saw God in himself.