It was 1992. I was taking my regular morning four-block walk from my Prince Street apartment to my Soho office. But this walk was different. En route, as I looked up at a beautiful blue sky filled with just a few floating, cottony-like cumulous clouds, I was captured by another view in the sky. What I "saw" -- or what my creative imagination saw -- was a parade of people from different ethnicities, cultures, religions, ideologies and genders circumnavigating the contours of the planet Earth. People were coalescing into pairs, seeking their opposites, to engage in dialogue. Their purpose seemed to be to find the common ground between one another, but also to discover something new that could be learned from the other. Then I heard a voice. It said, "The time of convergence is here."
This was a momentary, fleeting but powerful impression that had suddenly been thrust upon me. Before it left me, what also came through was the sense that the actualization of human potential was vital for the next step in creative evolution to occur. Each person had a birthright -- and that was to fulfill his or her unique talent. We needed to acknowledge and help our children along in this realization.
The energy of that moment was intense -- and it led to a website called Enrichment.com, dedicated to advancing dialogue between people, and to supporting the fulfillment of every person's unique mission and talent in the world.
And yet, with this wonderful vision placed squarely upon me nearly 20 years ago, there is a shadow side to all this that is real, insofar as "real" means "here with us, and affecting us now."
Let's take a look at Facebook. It's surely a wonderful idea, and I'm delighted to be aggregating new "Friends" who seemingly have an interest in me and my life. And yet, I'm still scratching my head, wondering if anyone is really out there and really cares. I recently posted a video of Raymond Massey, as Abraham Lincoln, pleading for an end to slavery in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Surely, one of the great acting performances of a great actor portraying our greatest President. How many of my friends commented on it? Zero. Shortly after that, I posted the video of Dr. Martin's Luther King's "I Have A Dream Speech". Greatness personified. Response? You got it. Zero.
But willing to give Facebook its chance, I've been noticing for a long time, in general, that communication as genuine and spirit-filled interaction between people is declining. "Communication" as a means to an end -- in journalistic reportage appearing in print or on-air with the scintillating, the gossipy and that which appeals to a lower common denominator of tastes in order to draw readers or viewers in, to benefit from larger ad revenues - is on the upsurge. Communication as what appears in film that focuses on violence, or sex, is on the upsurge. Communication as to what some companies pay PR and advertising people for the promotion of decidedly non-quality services or products, is on the upsurge as well.
Because big money is behind all these communications ventures, communications is booming; and sadly reflects that part of our culture that is all about bucks first, and reaching people's minds and hearts with something worthwhile to say...a distant second.
Sadly, these values are reflected in the culture, and the culture reflects these values. I see less and less real communication and meaningful connection between people in our communities. I see, increasingly, more and more disconnection and fragmentation between people -- even between neighbors. I see people less interested in getting to know their fellows, within their neighborhoods and wider communities, than ever before. I see more and more of people treating one another as a means to an end, and not as ends in themselves.
I see less of "community" -- of people reaching out and caring about one another. Less talking to one another in neighborhoods, or on the dinner table. I see less "listening" to one another -- and less real sharing of one another's lives and stories. I see less caring and less heart. Less authentic acknowledgment.
As I see technology becoming more sophisticated and advancing rapidly, large corporate interests seem to encourage the lowering of tastes and values, a media too often bought into the delivery of mediocrity in programming, and less heart in communications on a grand scale -- and in one-on-one personal interaction. The culture is declining not in technology, but in the quality of its humanity. More technology...less heart.
Decisions by assignment editors in television news departments have also, for a very long time, sought out what is scintillating, what lowers consciousness, which in their minds will increase ad revenues. Sadly, with notable exceptions, both TV newsmakers and TV programmers are guided by capturing the public's need for aliveness through messages that appeal to their lower tastes and values -- when the opposite could be the case if we learned more from Oprah and PBS.
It seems, too, that the emergence of the Internet is a double-edged sword. Because while there is a revolutionary new opportunity for inter-human communication, as is evidence, just as an example, of what is happening right here on Huffington Post, not enough online creativity has been achieved as yet that will move us in this direction.
If only all this were not so, but this is what I see. It's time for a cultural revolution of the heart, which reestablishes real communication about what's important. What's most important, it seems to me, is seeing each other, and acknowledging each other, and meeting each other in our mutual presences, for the unique and extraordinary beings each of us truly is, connected to one another by the Web of Life, our common humanity, our need for love and recognition of our own and others' precious lives.
Such a revolution of the heart can create an increased demand within the culture for a higher and more humane standard of values. A culture so transformed would then reflect back on the quality of our individual lives. The technology of the Internet can serve this higher aspiration, as can television, radio and film.
Can we move in this direction? Can we realize the fulfillment of our potential? Can we grow more as humans by truly communicating with each other from the heart? Can our technology expressing through our various communications mediums serve us in this higher calling?