What We Once Knew But Have Since Forgotten

Are you thinking of remodeling post-pandemic? You might want to consider copper. Why? Because copper destroys viruses and bacteria. You know all that hand sanitizer and hand washing you have to do? Well, much of it would be unnecessary if the proper surfaces were made or coated in copper. As the world gets smaller and a deadly virus can circumnavigate the globe in a matter of months, I think we see the value in slowing down the spread as much as possible. Every place that Covid-19 comes to a dead-end helps us fight the disease. 

This article highlights something that I think is true of Yoga as well, that ‘new’ is not always better. I believe there is a tendency for modern people to look at our ancestors and primitive peoples as somehow knowing less than us, less wise, less sophisticated, less awake. However, I see very little evidence to support this idea. With record levels of stress, anxiety, financial insecurity, student loan indebtedness, mental illness, depression, suicides, and drug overdoses present today. As well as diseases like cancer, diabetes, and allergies on the rise, we can ask ourselves the question if all our scientific knowledge and understanding are serving us.

Now, I want to be very clear. I am not anti-science or anti-progress. But I am against progress for progress’ sake. And I am against the idea that everything that has not yet been proven or studied by science is thrown out for newer, more technologically sophisticated “scientifically verified” solutions. Sometimes all “scientifically verified” means is that someone had the money to pour into a study. It does not mean that the alternative solution, which may never make anyone a lot of money, is less effective or viable. It may be more so, but there simply are not funds to conduct proper research. 

So until the government and the scientific and medical communities are interested in finding the truth and the best solutions to things, I think we will find that things may continue to get worse in some regards, all in the name of “progress” and “science.” 

Again, dear reader, do not take this as a rant that the ‘golden age’ was in the past. This essay, and my sharing this article, is about what I always teach about, awakeness and awareness. There are areas of life for which modern life is the best it has even been for our species. However, I think if you are even slightly awake, you see how in so many respects, we seem to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater in the name of “progress.” 

Ironically, I think it is socially where we as a species can let go of the past most successfully, and, indeed, we may need to face our rapidly approaching future. However, this seems to be where many people entrench themselves. They will go out and buy the new gadget, use modern medicine, eat new processes food without a second thought. Still, they have no problem judging others based on antiquated ideas of right and wrong that come from cultures and places that are long gone that didn’t know about cell phones, or birth control or automobiles. 

The idea that these values are still relevant today because human nature doesn’t change ignores the fact that there are successful cultures all around the world and throughout human history that have held radically different value systems than our own. Our own unwillingness to see that our culture and value system is simply one among many and not necessarily the latest and greatest is simply unconsciousness. This attitude is the one most people have. That the values they happened to grow up with are the right ones, healthy, sound, the best. 

What I see happening now is a confluence where modern technology is meeting groups of humans who are unwilling to update their views and values, yet they embrace the fruits of science and research that some of them look down on. In my opinion, this is a recipe for disaster.

We are where we are today, both good and bad, because of the relentless advancement and acceleration of technology. But there is more and more evidence that our technology is getting away from us and using us instead of us using the technology. 

I want to be very clear; humanity has never been here before. These are unprecedented times we live in. No humans have had to deal with so much change as we have to deal with right now. Change can be stressful, especially to an ego. The answer, from my viewpoint, is critical, non-judgemental, loving awareness of what is. From there, we can move forward. Loving ‘what is’ doesn’t mean we can’t change what is. But it is from respect to how things are, not how we believe they should be that we can navigate these uncertain times. 

With that awareness, we can take the best of the past and the present and create a better future. Without this, I wonder if we will have what it takes to navigate what is coming. 

May the spirit be victorious!

-Douglas Johnson

Sounds of Summer - A Yoga Retreat

July 19th-21st