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The Three-Fold Impetus of Being

March 19, 2013

Ah, nostalgia. All through history people have looked back to the good old days. I myself spent my teenage days and nights on a lake surrounded by woods and wandered freely with my dog, a boxer. I hunted, fished, swam, played ice hockey, put my tent up in the woods, and used to climb a beautiful old tree across the street from our lake house and hang out there for hours on end sometimes reading and listening to music. Computers and smart phones had no place in my life, not even in my imagination.

Life changes, though, and technological innovation has been occurring at an ever-accelerating rate since those days. The enormous IBM 360/370 computers that I used to program using punch cards have given way to tiny, powerful computers that fit in our pockets and purses and allow us to communicate worldwide through the Internet. It won’t be long before we no longer carry computers and phones outside our bodies but rather within our very flesh, including our brains. Eventually these computers will be as small as our red blood cells and transmitting over whatever kind of invisible network we have then. We will be able, perhaps, to converse with people around the world, without speaking out loud or touching virtual keys, just through our intention and attention.

It’s not a matter of whether we want that future or not. Short of a great disaster, it, or something like it, is no doubt on its way. Those who are alive then will, of course, still be faced with the sacred work of searching, accepting, and welcoming, the work of awakening to the truth of who and what we are. And a tiny aspect of truth is that our technologies are a natural extension and development of our brains. The great chess champions can no longer beat the most powerful computers at chess, and computers are becoming exponentially smarter every year. You can be sure that their integration into our lives and the affairs of the world will become even more ubiquitous and intimate.

We humans are wondrous creatures, capable of great intelligence and great ignorance. How we engage our brain power and awareness does and will depend in large part, of course, on what’s in our hearts, but it will also depend on our level of ‘being,’ a word not referenced much in today’s world. Yet how important the reality that this tiny word evokes is and will continue to be to our integrity and potential!

Karlfried Graf Durckheim wrote, “Being is the animating force in everything that lives, and it provides a three-fold impetus; every living thing seeks to live; every living thing seeks not merely to live, but to become fully and uniquely itself; and every living thing seeks to fulfill itself in transcendent totality.” The question we must ask here, though, is whether we will indeed remember the great potential of our being and do what’s necessary to create healthy conditions for its “three-fold impetus.”

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