Passive content consumption is vilified and I get it. News reading, feed scrolling, video watching, all of these pools shimmer with the sheen of knowledge and value and I am drawn to them. Yet are they valuable? Do they help me gain knowledge?
The volumes of well-researched, well-worded, brilliant, reasoned Internet ideas challenge me and re-shape my perspectives. There is rot, but countless gems can be found if you know where to look. It follows then that yes, I can gain knowledge through passive consumption. And given that it does have a broadening impact on my worldview, I also feel that, yes, it presents value. But it is not all good value, as like a sharp knife consumption can be used for positive utility or for horrifying ill. A knife has no preferences and its alignment depends - in full - on the intention of its wielder.
Digital consumption is neither illuminating nor vacuous. It can be one or the other or both, or neither. A lazy finger and deadened eyes might flick through page after page, reading, and reading and watching - even if the contents are hollow. But the inverse is also true: an engaged mind, an inspired mind, can - with intention - consume nourishing perspectives and expressions.
The world is - unequivocally - at a tipping point and the likelihood of all descending into blood-soaked chaos increases day by day. As such, it is harder and harder for all roads not to lead to a clear view of the pile of burning garbage in our front yard. But more clever people than I have espoused the value of knowledge, and this experience of consumption - at its most passive - can lead to the development of knowledge and in knowledge lies power.
Our thoughts, these small, frantic cells that can evolve into our grandest ideas, are each precious. We only get so many, despite their often ceaseless and seemingly endless nature. And therein lies the danger of unintentional consumption: it is a slow, painful bleeding out of all the potential that makes you, you. It is cell after cell with no grand design, no plan and no capability of evolution, but as food for the hungriest and darkest of organisms that will grow unabated into the insatiable beasts of mass death and destruction; mere plankton for the greatest whales of sin and suffering. Yet there is a light, an inherent capacity for equivalent goodness and revolution in any thought.
Creation is, creation is, creation is and each time you make you make more of what is. Instead of flicking and reading and lazily learning, engage yourself and make something new. Fear will not extract toxic vapours from our atmosphere. Apathy will never bring the birds back to sing or the fish back to glimmer and swim. Defeatism will never rebalance the inequality of our lives and empower and inspire others.
Remember that consuming can make a person more knowledgable and that there is value in knowledge. But there can be no positive change until you create, either through potent actions in the image of these consumed ideas or through new images you make that encourage the actions of others.
This is my mantra and it is why you can read this. If one set of eyes reads something or hears something that then inspires the reduction of suffering on this planet, then an act of service is complete. These expressions are how I deliver my intention, that these seeds - through the desire for love to grow - may one day bloom into a productive perspective with hope, courage and determination. It is my service. And these acts of service are coupled with no expectation and carry no desire for reciprocation or compensation.
Every day I fight the dragons lurking in these elegant, never-ending feeds and comment sections, and every day I mash these keys for the betterment of my company, or the creation of these expressions. There is no fear, there is only focus, intention and sacrifice. These feeds and the places they take me are neither good nor evil - the intention I cultivate every day to alleviate suffering is the constant that is needed, how I align my actions. And intention requires discipline and personal sacrifice.
Compassionate curiosity and a desire for a better world for us all have delivered the end of me. There are no children carrying my namesake, but for the one inside of me with a furrowed brow and a clenched fist who, before his teenage years, had enough pure fury to burn down an army of reckless, thoughtless and careless machines. In this child with a stolen future exists an intensity so white hot and ceaseless that it takes constant, pure focus to prevent my hands from shaking, lest they be used to rip apart the greedy and feed their remnants to the last, bottom feeding creatures who alone will be fit to survive in the hells that our collective insanity have created. But I breathe, love, stay grounded and find the middle, and yet still I often feel a loss of control and get lost in the dark apathy of the scrolling feed.
And in these places it is bleak, no question - we might not make it, and if we do billions might not. But they were never intended to, as they - like you and I - are set to expire. We wish for and build towards an equal shot for all life and strive to avoid pain. But while the journeys differ the outcome never does. That is the trick, that is the joke: it ends. Even facing this reality, you can never say life is worthless. You can never say you did not have the knowledge, or did not have enough valuable insight to make the mountains move, or you did not have the resources. You did. You do. And you know you do.
In this darkness I remember: Every dollar I spend, every word I utter, every expression I make will echo through eternity. But when I expire, may time show that whatever is left of me echoes with love, and every bit of it glows with the intention of a better life, helping to alleviate the suffering of all beings, the humans and otherwise. In each tree planted, each tonne removed, in each back dusted off, I will last as we last.
We are at the point of necessity. As you discover moments in the labyrinth of distraction that give you joy and hope and shine a ray through our dark end, witness life beyond all doubt. Be with it, remember it and build towards it. Then when you find yourself back in the swamp feeds, remember that you - like all of us - are horrified.
Empty consumption is how we have learned to grasp at control, our attempt to jam reality into a small box of glowing, gorgeous and rare earth metal, so that we can manage it, understand it and overcome it. But it is false, fleeting and not real: it will not help. You are going to expire, either in the fiery hot death of a waring, doomed planet, or slowly alone with your screen and your feeds in whatever place of solitary abandon has given you comfort.
Distraction is fear. Recognize it in you, feel it, spend a moment with it, and let it go, thank it and then choose the other path: do - create, engage and help. When you consume, put your intention into love and be with yourself as you do. Otherwise put your intention into love, and do. I need your help. We need your help. The earth and every living being needs your help.>> Home