woensdag 22 juli 2009
How has mystery changed over the years; where is our attention?
In early human history, mystery was embedded in the natural condition. We were awed by the spirit of creation and were at weather’s mercy. Our creation stories shifted from the earth and to the sky as religion’s miracles began to hold our mysteries. In time, political society and trade shifted out the attention towards abstract systems and conspiracy. We have been in search of trade secrets, cracking military codes and exploiting nature with science.
You could point towards a paradigm shift in mystery once humans began to control nature with machines and science. Another shift in the context of spiritual mystery can be observed when spirituality in itself became a choice, an element of consumer culture. Mystery has moved from the world of nature to the world of human creation. In other words, where does the source of our knowledge come from; how can we trust abstract systems like money, food industry and energy? Who is really in control and can we ever find out?
The question, “How much are we allowed to know?” is a reflection of conspiracy thought. In our time of information overload we are able to ask more questions and raise more doubts. Did we really land on the moon, did you see it? In the early 60’s video manipulation was unknown to the masses but maybe not to governments. Maybe the whole event was made in a studio. And whatever happened to the eminent visit / invasion by aliens? What are our governments testing: genetics, propaganda or weapons? Is there a secret society like the Free Masons that can save us? But maybe governments aren’t even in control; it’s the multinational corporations. How many life and energy saving patents have been bought up and hidden away by large corporations interested in extending their profit margins at the expense of our wellbeing. How thick is the wool over our eyes?
Mystery evolves as the quality of our attention shifts with new priorities. Our attention is related to zeitgeist and therefore a process. We could say every generation and culture has its own set of mysteries. I suppose some fundamental questions like where did we come from and where are we going will always be there but the context with which they are asked changes. By creating a scenario axis derived from the driving forces in our world it is possible to envision where mystery will hold our attention.
Our relationship with nature has been in flux for centuries but never so dramatically as the last 100 years. Our planet is approaching an exhaustion of resource and a climate change. Or is it, and can we do anything about it? The vertical axis measures our relationship with nature. Political stability is the horizontal axis and measures the rate of change in the world order. Are there wars or cooperation; are we democratic, anarchistic or lead by dictators. The axis crosses the environments made by nature and that of humans… the two being the source of all mysteries.
Published in the Dutch leading consumer trends journal SecondSight