Some things to think about : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

First Point - yeah, I know, this is not the most reputable source on the planet ... BUT, the points raised do merit some thought and consideration.

As a minister, I am frequently asked about 'other' viewpoints. My response is always the same - there are many ways of 'knowing.' No one philosophy, religion, or belief system works for everyone. Each must find their own way.

That being said, I submit for your consideration the following:

Y2K - An Overlooked Possibility

By Maurice Harter


Here is the aspect of the Y2K problem that I find most intriguing. On December 31st 1999 the people of planet Earth in numerous diverse ways are going to be celebrating the coming of the new Millennium. On the outside. But inside each of us, regardless of our level of confidence, faith or complacency, there's going to exist a spark of anxiety and concern about Y2K and its potential devastating impact. As the midnight hour approaches that anxiety will intensify. Outside we may be partying hearty, but inside we'll be wondering "What's about to happen?" Psychologists call it "cognitive dissonance". It's what occurs when the mind tries to hold on to two ideas that are contrary. By definition, cognitive dissonance, (or what I prefer to call "a gap of perception") creates physical tension and psychological anxiety. Directed positively, this "structural tension" can be a powerful motivating force, the energy that compels us to create visions and fulfill goals. But if we get caught up in what I call "worst case scenarios", if we dwell on and obsess over the negative possibilities, structural tension can be debilitating, draining our energy and plunging us into a spiral of despair. It may not be possible to totally eliminate gaps of perception from our psyches; it's the very nature of mind to consider all the possibilities in a situation, positive and negative. But we don't have to energize worst case scenarios, or act on them as though they are inevitable outcomes. We can't choose our thoughts - but we can choose the thoughts we pay attention to. For me this is one of the most powerful secrets of life.

In individuals, when the tension and anxiety created by cognitive dissonance becomes too overwhelming, the mind can snap, leading to psychological breakdowns - or breakthroughs. On Millennium 2000 New Year's Eve, people around the world are going to be experiencing intense cognitive dissonance with a single point of focus - Y2K. Will the possible planetary collapse of our technological infrastructure lead to mass psychological disturbance and a catastrophic breakdown of our institutions and societal structures? Or could the structural tension of that moment provide the spark that will generate a much needed and long-prophesied spiritual awakening, a new level of understanding about our natures, and about what's really important in life.

The idea of a collective breakthrough in awareness is not as flaky or mystical as it might appear to some. The controversial Jesuit priest and religious philosopher Pierre Teilhard De Chardin wrote about the possibility of knowledge reaching an apex that he called the Omega Point, and triggering a collective leap in consciousness. Visionaries like Buckminster Fuller and Alvin Toffler also saw the inevitability of a knowledge explosion. Futurists say that every 2-3 years all knowledge on the planet is doubling, with increasing acceleration. They speculate that in twenty years time, knowledge will be doubling every 75 days. (What no one is talking about is whether the human mind can adapt to such acceleration without frying its synapses, or whether such an accelerated way of living is even desired). The benefits of technology and computers are indisputable. We are able to communicate much easier and much faster. The Internet now allows for the instantaneous transmission of information, and that is reshaping our personal and collective reality, eliminating distance, expanding time, blurring distinctions, transforming how we learn, meet, socialize, romance, complain, play, and shop. Yet for all of the computer's benefits, little attention is paid to its primary downside. The computer has provided us with limitless ways to distract ourselves from what's really important. Visit enough personal Web pages and chat rooms and you realize that people are using computers and the Internet to create and live in their own personal realities. Whatever your interest, obsession, or fetish, the Internet makes it readily available, feeds your addiction in the privacy of your home, encourages you to band together with like-minded individuals in virtual communities. Which makes it easier than ever to ignore personal and social problems. There is a major gap of perception which I believe is the source of our inability to decisively deal with social issues. Yet it's the core of our physical reality. We live on one planet and it's a closed system. And in a closed system, energy and resources are finite. All of the time, energy, and physical and monetary resources that we direct to producing and doing things that are non-essential, are not available to help us meet real human needs and effectively deal with social problems. This fundamental idea links us as a species and yet we fail to understand it or its implications. I'm always astounded when I hear about the lifestyles of the rich and famous. They apparently don't realize that the production of the designer clothes, solid gold ashtrays, chinchilla bedspreads and countless other indulgences they use to validate their status and worth, means less resources to properly feed, house and educate the disadvantaged. The next time you visit the mall, notice all the things for sale that are basically non-essential and you'll begin to understand why we have so many people homeless. There appears to be a natural impulse for balance built into the structure of creation. But human civilization has become dangerously off-center in its priorities. The people who command the greatest salaries - athletes, entertainers, supermodels - are the people who do things to distract us, while the real heroes - teachers, social workers, farmers - have to struggle to survive. We are living in a precarious way that the Hopis call "Koyaanisquatsi", a "life out of balance". And we fail to notice that the rapidly-accelerating treadmill on which we run and struggle for balance has an off switch. Technology itself is not the culprit. But our dysfunctional, shortsighted, profit-driven approach to it has lead us down a dark path which we are just now beginning to acknowledge, and which Y2K is shining a light on. Early in the development of the computer, the desire to reduce costs by increasing computer memory is what prompted the decision to write computer code that only used the last two digits in a year. Even then, savvy programmers realized that this could cause problems when we reached the year 2000, but they figured that by then an entirely new approach to creating software would supercede the problem. That innocent assumption has cost us billions of dollars and threatens to bring down society as we know it. You would think that the powers-that-be would view Y2K as a wake-up call about the dangers in over-reliance on technology. But no. There is a mania in the air about computers, particularly in the business community. Investors see the Internet as the Goose that Lays Golden Eggs, and are pouring huge sums into start-up companies. Stores are expecting that people will prefer the convenience of on-line shopping to the real world tactile human experience of buying in person. America Online wants you to be able to access your e-mail from anywhere using your TV, cell-phone, PalmPilot, even gas station pumps. (I expect future homes will come with the bathroom wired so you can surf the Internet while on the toilet.) Web sites are inviting you to store your files, your calendar, your medical records on-line for free. Like previous technological fixes, E-commerce is being embraced like a religious vision that promises to save the world and make us all better people. All of this techno-preaching conveniently ignores or minimizes the very serious problems of the Internet, including malicious viruses, mischievous hackers, virtual theft (including identity theft), on-line scams and schemes (thieves no longer pawn their stolen merchandise, they sell it on E-Bay), and the threat of global cyber-terrorism. This head-in-the-sand attitude is like a replay of Y2K. Since we're living in a world of accelerating change, it would be useful to have a clear understanding of How Change Occurs. Through some hard lessons and intense self-examination, I've learned to recognize what I call The Change Dynamic, eight stages we move through when experiencing transition, beginning with... 1. Unconsciousness or Blissful Ignorance. Everything's OK. We are not aware there's a problem. We are disconnected from our feelings and intuition, and dismiss signals from reality and what others try to tell us. This continues until we get a... 2. Wake-Up Call. Something Jolts us out of unconsciousness. We realize that we are dissatisfied or unhappy and that we have a problem. We look for a solution and when we think we've found it we... 3. Make a Choice. Set a goal. Create a vision. Decide to do something different. Making the new choice now conflicts with our present reality, generating the dynamic of Structural Tension which causes us to... 4. Struggle. We ping-pong back and forth between our new choice and set patterns, between desired and undesired behavior. Learning new behaviors takes time and practice, but shouldn't induce heavy stress unless we try to hold on to our old reality. As both Christ and Buddha recognized, attachment causes suffering, which leads to... 5. Build Up. Stress and anxiety increases. Problems get worse and worse. But if our will is strong and our vision and desire for change is compelling enough, we will reach a moment of... 6. Critical Mass. A Crisis occurs. The old reality becomes so intolerable that something breaks inside us. Attachments are shattered and we surrender, leading to... 7. Breakdown / Breakthrough. We walk away from a bad situation, tell the Truth, just say No. We gain new insight, and inner and outer freedom. And we have to deal with the... 8. Aftermath. It most cases there are Aftershocks to deal with and Aftereffects to consider. We also get to bathe in the Afterglow of our experience.

Which returns us to the beginning of this rumination. Because the Change Dynamic model is archetypal, reflecting all the various types of change, including societal change and the Y2K dilemma. The early industrial years were a period of naTve awareness about technology, particularly its pitfalls. It spawned numerous industries - automobiles, pharmaceuticals, techo-agriculture - which, like embedded computer chips, have become an entrenched part of our society. Corporations trying to hang on to old, familiar ways of doing things block progress and thwart natural evolution, like the much needed, common sense shift to renewable resources which Y2K has exposed. The turmoil of the sixties provided a Wake-Up call, and the Human Potential movement helped shape a new vision of possibilities and offered more natural, life-affirming choices. Changing weather patterns, diseases, gun violence, are all warning signals about the Growing Unbalance we refuse to acknowledge - so the problems get worse and more pervasive. The Internet has electronically linked our consciousnesses and is accelerating the process of change. And that pesky little bug we've dubbed Y2K, regardless of how serious or slight its impact at year's end, has already brought us to a point of Critical Mass. Whether it prompts a Breakdown or Breakthrough is entirely up to us. The people who are going to have the roughest time dealing with the Aftershocks and Aftermath of Y2K are individuals with strong attachments - to technology, the stock market, money, habits, a particular standard of living, staying alive. My own education about Y2K (done ironically enough, on the Internet) and my intuition has me concluding that the problem has so many aspects and variables that it will be a miracle if severe disruption doesn't occur. So I've done the basic common sense preparation recommended by the Red Cross. (I practice the Sufi adage: "Trust Allah - and tie up your camel".) And I also believe in what I call the "X-Factor", the possibility that something totally unexpected can occur or intervene, be it angels, space aliens, the Second Coming - or a global spiritual Awakening generated by intense cognitive dissonance.

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge of.nowhere), January 01, 2000


head hung .... arrggghhhh ... formatting on this can be frustrating ... if anyone wants, I'll try again ... otherwise follow the link for a more readable version.


-- hiding in plain (sight@edge of.nowhere), January 01, 2000.

If you believe in angels or the second coming, how can you possibly believe in aliens or new-age awakenings? The first 2 being Christian concepts and the second two being anti-christian.

-- Todd.D (, January 01, 2000.

Todd - I am not advocating 'belief' in any of the awakening modialities ennumerated in the essay. Rather, looking at the deeper context described regarding cognitive dissonance.

Re-read my intro ... especially the part about "each finding their own way."

Finally, a personal observation. I do not think the author intended that list to be all-inclusive for any one person. Rather a listing of 'possible' modialities.

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge of.nowhere), January 01, 2000.

Todd: another point that NEEDS to be addressed.

An agnostic or aethist or member of another religious tradition who re-discovers Christ as an adult HAS undergone a spiritual awakening to Christianity. And I think most of them would be upset that you consider their acceptance of Christ as being 'New-Age."

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge of.nowhere), January 01, 2000.

Hidingin plain site.

You are a genius---plain and simple--

Intuition is the voice of God.

-- d......... (, January 01, 2000.

Thanks for sharing that, Hiding in Plain! Excellent. That says so much.

-- Sheri (, January 01, 2000.

I look forward to the day when wisdom increases as swiftly as the "knowledge" does. Judging by the responses to Y2k that I've seen both here and locally, that day is not yet upon us.

Yet I am heartened by the greater awareness of the interconnectedness of all systems that Y2k has brought to many people. Not just the interconnectedness of computers, but of all human activities. For many here, it seems to have brought a greater understanding of where they fit in the ecosystem, and how life can be lived more in balance. Life is no longer lived on auto-pilot, but with deliberation, keen understanding and appreciation.

May this precious gift be shared, and multiplied.

-- Firemouse (, January 01, 2000.

"And I also believe in what I call the "X-Factor", the possibility that something totally unexpected can occur or intervene, be it angels, space aliens, the Second Coming - or a global spiritual Awakening generated by intense cognitive dissonance."

I was taking the statement "global spiritual awakening" as a term for new-age philosophy or a one world religion. A christian does not take that statement lightly. I am holding that the author states he believes several religious philosophies which if he were Christian could not be possible. I believe most individuals are capable of coming to their own set of beliefs, but that a feel-good mixture is possible, but not practical. I am a Christian who had a "spiritual awakening" in mid-life, but concluded the author was refering to new-age beliefs becasue of the space alien comment. No harm done..we just read it different :)

-- Todd D. (, January 01, 2000.


First, THANK YOU for your contribution, discussion is important. Those who block any further input because of the "I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts!" syndrome lead to dead ends; both cognitively and spiritually.

On a humorous note: gotta watch that word "or." Its' use can lead to all kinds of confusion ... :-)

d - not a genius, just hoping that I am really paying attention! :) Thanks!

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge of.nowhere), January 01, 2000.

sheri - you are most entirely welcome.

firemouse - May be closer than you think. Each one who takes a step adds to the overall awareness. Just takes time for the new balance to become evident.

Many, all over the world, have gained both new awareness and new knowledge. Now comes the process of learning to adapt that knowledge to everyday mundane life. And therein lies the true manifestation of the Global Spiritual Awakening, one person at a time. For spirituality resides within the individual, not an institution.

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge of.nowhere), January 01, 2000.

May be closer than I think? Ah, you don't get all my thoughts here, I've got to hide some of them in plain sight myself, as some of them may be ones that a lot of people here can't understand... ;) Suffice it to say here in public that I'm quite active in some paradigm morphs outside of the Y2k arena, and that I accept many possibilities that to the average person would be out of the question.

Those interested in how angels and aliens share many of the same surprising characteristics might want to explore the book of the same title by Keith Thompson. It's out of print currently, but can sometimes be found as a used paperback. Excellent work, truly thought-provoking.

-- Firemouse (, January 01, 2000.

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