New Revelations

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 – Revelations 3:23? I bought a copy of the Steve Jobs biography and turned to page 323. There was nothing of interest there. Then I turned to Chapter 3 and counted 23 paragraphs in, where I found an intriguing story. It told of Job’s strange relationship with the manipulative spiritual leader Robert Friedland. Apparently, Friedland ran a commune called All One Farm. It was an experiment in socialism. Socialism is a system of ownership where all the members of the community share in the work and the final product.

Jobs would spend weekends at the farm, seeking enlightenment and pruning the Gravenstein apple trees. According to the book, “’Steve ran the apple orchard,’ said Friedland. ‘We were in the organic cider business. Steve’s job was to lead a crew of freaks to prune the orchard and whip it back into shape.’”

The commune was supposed to be a refuge from materialism. Materialism is the belief that comfort, pleasure, and wealth were of highest importance. Friedland’s cult followers were told to chop and sell firewood, and to make apple presses and wood stoves, for which they were not paid. Jobs and the other workers soon became disenchanted; they missed their comforts and having independence and control over their own lives. One by one they left the apple farm.

Experiments in socialism throughout history have always failed, largely due to the leadership of self-serving men who did not respond to individual needs and did not reward the individuals adequately to succeed as a whole. Having learned valuable lessons about managing and motivating people, he was inspired to create a new model of social enterprise. His management philosophy led to the innovative culture and broad market reach that came to define Apple Computer.

The Wall Street Journal article ended with this conclusion about Jobs: “We will not soon see his like again. Let us hope that when we do, it is soon enough to help us deal with the troubles that this century, and every century, will bring.”

Apple’s advances in technology now connect individuals around the world more readily with one another. Apple ipads and iphones give their owners access the internet and its vast amounts of information, multiple messenging options, numerous social media sites and millions of products. The internet is a veritable “Tree of Knowledge,” and the beguiling serpent of temptation is the biology of addiction, arising from the overuse of such portable devices. As with alcohol, drug and gambling, such addiction this brings a lack of discernment, senseless spending and a disconnect with reality. Children and teens are especially susceptible, and research is showing that these devices interfere with healthy brain, social, emotional, spiritual and physical development.

Living in an overly busy, noisy world of information-overload, how can people possibly listen to their own intuition, recognize the wisdom of others and think for themselves? This will require individuals to make a conscious effort to step back from technology and seek moments of inactivity and silence, in order to be able to reflect on who they really are, reclaim their independence and regain control over their lives. There is a healthier balance to be found between people’s technological, material and spiritual lives. Furthermore, everyone holds the potential to connect with the spiritual forces waiting to provide the guidance that can empower humanity collectively. Indeed, humanity has the potential to reshape the world into one that benefits all beings. Moving through the Information Age, perhaps the next step in human evolution is awakening to such a reality.

One common theme among my Storywalker stories for children and parents is the idea of slowing down and finding time to rest in silence, so as to be able to hear both the inner and outer voices of Spirit and to reflect on what is heard.

Secular Prophecy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 – Today our family received a rather strange anonymous note card in our mail box. The envelope was postmarked Providence RI. The sender had tucked a small slip of paper inside, which read: “I feel GOD has called me to make a card each day and send it to someone. I pray for names, then look them up on the computer. I hope you will read the scriptures and hear what GOD is saying to you. I hope to meet you someday in HEAVEN.”

An original ink drawing of pumpkins had been affixed to the face of the note card. The card also referred to three bible references, by book and number. I looked one of them, Revelations 3:23, and was surprised to find that it did not exist. The third chapter of the book of Revelation in my bible has 22 verses, and the title of the book is not spelled with an ‘s’ at the end.

Following my intuition, I did an online search for ‘Revelations’ and found the top listing led to an article titled The new Steve Jobs biography: 7 revelations. Posted just five days ago, on October 21, by The Week, the article shared seven revelations leaked by the press prior to the biography’s public release through booksellers, scheduled for October 24. The biography is about a college drop-out who became the famous genius creator of Apple Computer.

This was one among the recent string of articles written about Steve Jobs in the wake of his passing, at age 56 on October 5. Two weeks earlier, the headline SECULAR PROPHET had jumped out at me from a cover page of the Wall Street Journal. The headline struck me as oxymoronic. Secular means non-religious, and prophet refers to someone who proclaims the will of God… or so I thought. Below the headline, I read the words “Steve Jobs turned Eve’s apple, the symbol of fallen humankind, into a religious icon for true believers in technology. But can salvation be downloaded?”

Passing through the lobby at Migis Lodge at the time I saw the Journal article, I went to search the Migis library for a dictionary. I found a two-volume set published by Appleton Century, looked up the word “secular,” and read the first definition, which was derived from the word’s Latin root – occurring or celebrated once in an age, century or long period. Century? Appleton Century?

When multiple literal coincidences such as this occur, I wonder if some librarian angel was whispering into the subconscious mind of a journalist, perhaps some word that would catch my attention, prompt my curiosity and just happen to coincide with the most immediately available reference book. Like the word “dim” and Webster’s dictionary, this was part of the same spiritual secret code deciphering game.

Next I read the definition of secularisma system which rejects all forms of religious faith and worship, and accepts only the facts and influences derived from the present life; also the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.

After that, I read the definition of secularizemake unspiritual.

In this mysterious game of word play, as I accept the observational facts and influences at any present moment, I am able to creatively connect those to the existence of spirit, by pointing out unusual coincidences and hinting at a certain degree of preplanned destiny. Jobs most certainly belonged to and defined an age – known as the Information Age, the Digital Age or the New Media Age – characterized by the rapid shift from an industrial economy to an economy based on information technology. Can someone be both secular and spiritual? Apparently, Jobs converted to Zen Buddhism, which focuses on insight gained through meditation and pondering over stories, riddles and worldly issues. He dabbled in things both non-spiritual – like computers – and spiritual – like ideas. His life embodied both the physical and the metaphysical.

The Wall Street Journal article explains Jobs’s secularity in the following manner:

“This is the gospel of a secular age. It has the great virtue of being based only on what we can all perceive—it requires neither revelation nor dogma. And it promises nothing it cannot deliver—since all that is promised is the opportunity to live your own unique life, a hope that is manifestly realizable since it is offered by one who has so spectacularly succeeded by following his own “inner voice, heart and intuition.”

Was there more to the connection between the two articles, the anonymous note, Revelations 3:23 and Job’s biography? Was there a secret and perhaps more significant revelation yet to be discovered? Read more