Barbara Smith Stoff

Barbara Smith Stoff
California, usa
April 17


Barbara Smith Stoff's Links
JUNE 26, 2012 2:41PM


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It’s time we take a look at how we behave at the edges we share and how that sharing affects our evolution as human beings. We need to take a closer look at the media in general, and at the social media in particular.

Bullying behavior is all too often highlighted at those edges. Ironically, I notice that just now, in the same week on television, there are two stories, pretty much at front and center, about bullying—one about the bullying by teens of a grandmother on a school bus, the other from a story told to “Conan” about his prankster father, Mitt Romney, having “playfully” pushed his son’s face into a plate of butter. The son went on to say that they now do that kind of thing with their kids too.

And there is the internet where edges touch in ways we are only beginning to look at. This is a subject I think about a lot...and I think it is a very important subject. I can't escape those metaphors "smart planet" planet...ay!

Christie Nicholson ( thinks about this too:

"Google and Facebook deal in data. Our intimate data, information about ourselves from sexual quirks to why we hate our boss to our divorce plans. We hand over such secrets willingly and gleefully to online networks and search engines as if it were over coffee with a close friend in our kitchen. Yet within these social networks, which give us the false impression of privacy, many people are watching, analyzing and using the details of our lives. And our revelation has serious consequences. ... It’s important to know that your digital self is becoming more important than your offline self. Increasingly technologies are being designed with privacy invasion in mind."—Christie Nicholson

This shared edge on the internet is the proverbial two-edged sword. It cuts both ways. It can bring us together toward a benevolent consensus, or it can cut us into the bits and pieces of a discouraging and frightening puzzle. Or perhaps the digitally jigsawed pieces can become a coherent picture and encourage that benevolent decision to protect our home planet and evolve into kinder and gentler beings. It’s up to each of us to monitor the thoughts, the bits and pieces, which we drop into the Akashic Field, this Noosphere with which we co-create our world. Perhaps we could think of the World Wide Web an active and dynamic weaver within this field.

Two poems come to mind…both I have kept close to hand for many many years…poems about edges and webs:

An Introduction to Literature
By William Stafford [1914-1993]

Look: no one ever promised for sure
that we would sing. We have decided
to moan. In a strange dance that
we don’t understand till we do it, we
have to carry on.

Just as in sleep you have to dream
the exact dream to round out your life,
so we have to live that dream into stories
and hold them close at you, close at the
edge we share, to be right.

We find it an awful thing to meet people,
serious or not, who have turned into vacant
effective people, so far lost that they
won’t believe their own feelings
enough to follow them out.

The authentic is a line from one thing
along to the next’ it interests us.
strangely, it relates to what works,
but it is not quite the same. It never
swerves for revenge,

Or profit or fame: it holds
together something more than the world,
this line. And we are your wavery
efforts at following it. Are you coming:
Good: now it is time.
--William Stafford

By Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them--ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,--seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form'd--till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.
--Walt Whitman

Fifty some years ago I have been thinking and reading about evolution. I mean evolution in the big petri dish sense of humanity continuing to evolve toward benevolent being on the planet here.

One day a friend brought me a copy of The Divine Milieu by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a book which spoke to so many of my questions that I began to read everything I could find by and about this paleontologist, this highly honored scientist—even three volumes of his journals. As I read now about Facebook and Google, and various other entities in their gathering of personal information from individuals who use the internet in any way, but especially the social media, I am remembering a thought from Teilhard that went something like this: “…gradually we will begin to live in the presence of the whole…” That was in a little volume entitled Building the Earth. I had actually kept for a time a little slip of paper with his words taped to my mirror for years, contemplating that idea.

Just today, as I was walking under some tall pines, and thinking about the internet, I suddenly began to see that quotation in a different light. I suddenly thought “virtually in the presence of the whole—as we take in more and more information, and interact more and more with more and more people.”

Actually, I think about the role of the internet a lot. If I think of it as a shaping function and holding pattern within the Akashic Field, my ‘lights’ go on, and I think that we have the possibility of monitoring each and every thought, word and image we drop into that field. If we do that with whatever conscious love we can muster, then we are participating in a real way a benevolent world.

I took in something of great value as I read Shirley MacLaine’s book about her journey along the Camino de Santiago.  Vividly I remember her experience with the menacing dogs.  They came up barking at her, frightening her.  After a few moments, she decided to visualize herself holding out to them an image of the heart, the human heart. The dogs stopped barking at her and actually retreated.  She continued her upon her path.

So I continue my own walk, thinking of the media in general, the internet, and Facebook, more specifically, the concept of ‘faces’ within the Akashic Field and I know that there we have a choice.

As I wrote these lines in a poem “Sea Changes” I was thinking of C.S. Lewis’ wonderful “Till We Have Faces”…

…We turn and lean into the wind

and glaciers move…

the wind in us and around us

etches lines

forming our faces,

(we must have faces!)

and glaciers move…

                                                                               –Barbara Smith Stoff

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