It’s been awhile since I’ve written any consciousness posts. The beginning of last year featured a slew of them as I was still dealing with my brother’s passing and it also coincided with last year’s publication, Beyond Borders – The Social Revolution. It’s still something I have a passion for and I regularly consume literature, videos and articles on the topic. During my daily reading this afternoon I came across the featured photo, and I find myself returning to a familiar topic.
Long-term readers know that in The Expat Guidebook I extensively talked about unplugging from The Matrix. I used to feature some variant of this in almost all of the blog posts I wrote here. Definitely all of the ones I used to write over at the eponymous website and its blog (which I haven’t posted at in over a year since I merged the two sites essentially and started blogging here full-time).
It’s the concept of being awake. Self-aware. I honestly believe that travel and cultural immersion directly tie into human awakening. We are sponges. Sponges of information and experience. The more cultures we experience, the more viewpoints we come to appreciate, the more things we see, eat, smell and do…all of these experiences add up and enhance who we are on the physical and spiritual levels.
The person locked away in suburbia only ever experiencing the world through The Media of their home country only ever know a tainted, shadowed version of the real world that actually exists and surrounds us. This is especially true in developed countries where people are far more “plugged in” than they are in developing countries, consuming their information through filters.
In developing countries, I actually find more peers than I do in my home country. It just seems to me that in places where Facebook and Google+ and social media and the need for 24/7 connectivity don’t exist, I find more people with whom I can have an honest, intellectual conversation regarding culture, customs, spirituality, consciousness, awareness and human evolution.
I’ve found that the majority of the world craves information to the point where mere teenagers often speak two to three languages and are studying more, whereas the teenagers of developing countries crave release from their daily hell in the form of reality entertainment and wave after wave of new television shows and can barely speak their own language, let alone one from another country.
Do you know what it’s like to try and talk about another culture, another religion, another point of view with a person who is so firmly stuck in their virtual reality, so plugged in, so tightly secure in their blanket of conformity, that they can’t even comprehend what you are talking about?
True story: I was at a BBQ in the U.S. (Colorado) after just coming back for the first time in almost three years from living in Bulgaria. 2010. There were probably 50 people at the event, and we were all in the garage eating + drinking and someone was talking about the evils of social medicine. And I just couldn’t resist. I jumped in and talked about my experiences in Bulgaria, paying only $6 a month for universal coverage; how women can get more than a year off of work with 90% salary.
Jaws dropped. Literally. You could have heard a pen drop as I’m sitting there praising social medicine. How a woman from the U.K. was able to get 36,000 pounds worth of dental implants done for a mere 6,000 pounds, which INCLUDED her airfare and hotel stay for the week she was in Sofia. Someone muttered something about Communist (not a joke!), so I just finished my drink and wandered off. There’s no point trying to talk about globalization and equality with that type of crowd.
I also have family members who have blocked me/removed me on Facebook because I don’t salute the American flag or subscribe to the “America Is The Greatest Country On The Planet” mentality and because I don’t attend church or follow a religion. One Planet. One People. We are all the same, no need to act like one group is better than another. Equality comes with acceptance of all people, cultures and beliefs as deserving of equal respect.
By the way: Cris’s life was just saved by the social medical system here in Mexico and didn’t cost her a dime of money out of pocket or thousands per year in fees. Her surgery for internal bleeding as a result of the ectopic pregnancy was completely covered by her Segura Popular here in Mexico, something her tax dollars go towards paying for. Social medicine working, functioning, just as it does in the vast majority of countries around the world. Shout-out to the brilliant surgeons here at the hospital in Playa del Carmen who took care of her.
Almost every single one of the people I have met in my travels have been those who were already unplugged or working on unplugging themselves on a daily basis. People who don’t have a problem talking about multiple religions, cultural differences, who can tolerate another country’s customs because they are no better or worse than our own. Who embrace the concept of coexisting. Who don’t believe in religion, control and misinformation.
One Planet. One People. There’s a brilliant movie I’ve linked to before that I always feel is appropriate. It’s called La Belle Verte, or The Green Beautiful in English. It’s a French film that was banned in its home country (and in Russia) for its underlying message, which is simply “wake up and look at how ludicrous this whole pursuit of wealth and power is”.
I’ve found it extremely refreshing while watching the new Cosmos series with Neil deGrasse Tyson. What’s even more refreshing is that I’m finding that in the last couple of years, more and more people are starting to think like me. I’m seeing more and more people waking up, unplugging, and looking to science and technology for our future, not dogma and ritual.
This type of higher thinking transcends race, language, cultural heritage, religion and nationalism. One Planet. One People. Quantum physics, global and free Internet, the subsequent education of the entire planet through free information, the rise of intellectualism through the entire planet instead of a ruling elite. For those of you who are Star Trek fans, it’s a step in the right direction of that Utopian world of no war, no money, simply existing and pursuing one’s passions in life and having it all work out all right in the end.
However, it’s one small step at a time. And while I’m seeing more and more people casting off the wool and transforming into something more, there are still far too many who are still plugged in, baaaaa-ing away while they suckle on the teat of misinformation.
Put down your phone. Stop playing games. Stop watching reality TV. Read a book, or two, or three. Watch enlightening programming on science, discovery and human progress. Learn a new language, or two, or three. Travel the world and embrace your fellow men and women as equals. Discover their cultures. Discover their countries.
Be more than just a sheep.
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P.S. If anyone knows the original source of the featured image, let me know; I scoured the net yesterday and couldn’t find a 100% verifiable source to link back to.