Brave New World? in Daydreaming on the Porch

  • Oct. 1, 2021, 2:17 a.m.
  • |
  • Public

Until a few months ago, I didn’t know much about Hinduism, but then I discovered learning opportunities through teachers and sages on YouTube, and my horizons have expanded. Previously, I’d just had this vague idea in my head about their gods and goddesses. I had no clue about the very ancient veins of wisdom and teachings by notable gurus that have periodically been popularized by such seekers as The Beatles, for instance. I was intrigued. Here is why.

I’ve long considered myself to be a lifelong learner. I first got interested in comparative religion in the mid-80s when when I read Huston Smith’s classic The World’s Religions and another classic, William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience. I highly recommend both of them to gain a broader perspective on religious beliefs and practices. They certainly resonated and have stayed with me over the yeas. Then in 1988, I and millions of other PBS viewers were entranced and fascinated by Bill Moyers’ series of interviews with Joseph Campbell titled The Power of Myth. That was a game changer for so many and illustrated the apogee of the power and scope of PBS to disseminate thought-provoking programming.

During the 80s I had also been exposed to the ideas and philosophies of Jiddu Krishnamurti, P.D. Ouspensky, The Theosophical Society, and Manly Hall’s
The Secret Teachings of All Ages. However, I found their writing difficult to absorb and didn’t pursue it, but always remained curious. Some day I would get back to that stuff. So intellectually stimulating, etc. etc.

That was then, this is now, 30 years later. The Internet arrived, and now YouTube alone has changed completely the way we spend a lot of our time (for some, most of their time) being entertained, amused and enlightened. Those dense and complex, mysterious and esoteric ideas of thinkers previously difficult to read or understand, are now available in endless variety and formats from countless individuals and organization: the authors themselves speaking, lecturers, speakers, and devotees of the works of these thinkers.

But, and I must emphasize this strongly, books remain the single best way to deeply engage with the ideas and experiences of other minds. I’m referring to old-fashioned printed books, but also to ebooks, the kinds of books you “purchase” on Amazon and read on Kindle or another type of e-reader. I find it difficult to read ebooks, but I keep buying them and have quite a library of books that take up no space.

Books take a lot of time and concentration. You can mark them up to go back and re-read passages, just like you did in college, but with no exams, after the reading assignments. The only examiner now is yourself.

Unfortunately, the lure of the vast and infinite offerings on the Internet take up so much time that reading a book seems like a huge luxury to indulge in during what little actual “spare” time I allow myself. “Tomorrow I’ll get off that phone and tackle a new pile of books, which I really do want to read.” But I convince myself that my time is always well spent online, which it isn’t, especially when I get stuck reading one news story after another, doom-scrolling the bad news, and falling into yet another news black hole.

I love it, for the most part, keeping informed about the major events and topics of the day, but I am absutely overwhelmed at times, and it’s all more than a little mind-boggling. Such is the age we’re living in. Globally, almost everyone now has access to these ideas and teachings, those brilliant interviews, talks, online courses, and so much more. Think of all the ongoing implications for education and lifelong learning. Instead of the Encyclopedia Britannica, we now have endless repositories of books, articles, and of, course, Wikipedia where everyone goes to find out something on anything whatsoever. Again, mind-blowing.

On the YouTube channels I referenced earlier, I have been quite interested in learning from a specific yogi and mystic called Sadhguru, who is very well known and popular today with young people particularly, it seems, and whose talks and discussions have opened up previously inaccessible ancient wisdom from Hindu traditions. I had never even heard of this man. Other interpreters of Ancient Indian wisdom and teachings featured on the channel have been Alan Watts and Ram Dass, who were very popular and revered in the counterculture days of the 1960s and early 1970s. I certainly was aware of those teachers, but again, my knowledge of what they taught was shallow or non-existent. What I’m trying to say is that it’s much easier now to expand one’s consciousness on a daily basis, to learn more and more which cumulatively open the doors to the mysteries of the universe, God, and that most tantalizing subject of wonder and awe — consciousness.

To me there never has been any conflict between science and religion or spirituality. We ourselves have created the splits, including compartmentalizing and separating mind and body — Cartesian mind-body dualism. It needn’t be. The more theologians, philosophers, physicists and those with open and inquiring minds probe the great mysteries of creation and consciousness, the more they discover the unity of everything, the more this is opening one massive portal into the unknown. It’s an especially exciting time to be alive, if our civilization can survive this century and advance exponentially toward enlightenment, awakening and union with God. Time will tell.

MageB October 01, 2021

Staying in the now.

Oswego MageB ⋅ October 02, 2021

So important to do that and learn from the past in the present.

ConnieK October 01, 2021

I see no conflict between science and spirituality, too. Humans are blessed with a deeper knowledge and we should embrace that gift, not reject it or mock it.

Oswego ConnieK ⋅ October 02, 2021

Yes, we should use those gifts of mind and our ability to delve deeply into all the mysteries of life and the universe.

Telstar October 01, 2021

I watch a lot of stuff on YouTube but don't subscribe to it.

Unfortunately most of what I watch is old episodes of "Highway Patrol" with Broderick Crawford while I reconcile my checkbook...................

Oswego Telstar ⋅ October 02, 2021

Hmmm. There’s so much to watch on YouTube. The search feature is very helpful, but I’ve gotten lazy because the algorithm recommends so much stuff it knows I will like. And I do. Artificial intelligence at work on me! Lol

Telstar Oswego ⋅ October 07, 2021


If you look at one old "Highway Patrol" - you most likely will get several more. I wonder if Broderick Crawford's estate gets residuals....................

Oswego Telstar ⋅ October 07, 2021

Broderick Crawford was a classic, no doubt about that. They don’t make em like that anymore. 🤔

Telstar Oswego ⋅ October 07, 2021

Supposedly Broderick Crawford made all his money doing "Highway Patrol" rather than in his Oscar-winning performance in "All The King's Men".

Go figure....................

Lady of the Bann October 02, 2021

Three years ago I took Morgan to the space exhibition centre in Leicester, England when we went home to visit my dad for his 90th Birthday. She and I loved it. At 9 was a good age to go with all the interactive stuff. There was a film showing of the beginning of the universe. It was beautiful with all the colour and exploding atoms. I saw it as a confirmation of the wonder and design of creation, not being just by chance. Then right at the end that is what they attributed it too. Morgan has had no religious upbringing but I felt the need to comment.
So science and spirituality are not contradictory, It is just peoples opinions.
I read books, both paper and kindle and also get caught up in a wormhole of clickbait. This morning about a newly adopted cat who kept arriving home with a pouch money. They really drag those stories out. Turned out it was a Mafia pay out to the previous owners. Then it turned out it was all a made up story. An atrocious one. 15 minutes of my life gone!

Marg October 06, 2021

It’s almost like nowadays there’s just too much choice - it almost works in a counter-productive way sometimes! But we’re still incredibly lucky to be living in such an age with all this information at our fingertips.

Oswego Marg ⋅ October 07, 2021

Yes, truly who could have imagined fully a science fiction world come to life?

Marg Oswego ⋅ October 07, 2021

Absolutely - I can’t get my head around it sometimes.

A Pedestrian Wandering October 06, 2021

More often than not, I am led to discoveries, sort of like YouTube AI. A book will be recommended to me and it either speaks to me or it does not. If it does, I explore the author's other books. I feel like there is always a message I am waiting to hear or learn. Step by step my knowledge grows in ways that are meaningful to me. What others choose to believe is up to them.

Oswego A Pedestrian Wandering ⋅ October 07, 2021 (edited October 07, 2021)


Good points! The YouTube universe is all-encompassing. There is something stimulating and eye-opening for anyone willing to explore beyond the easy and entertaining stuff.

Jinn October 12, 2021

“The more theologians, philosophers, physicists and those with open and inquiring minds probe the great mysteries of creation and consciousness, the more they discover the unity of everything, the more this is opening one massive portal into the unknown. “. So true !

Oswego Jinn ⋅ October 12, 2021

Everything is one. Some say the universe is conscious. That would make sense to me.

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