The central features of human civilization are the capacity to harness and control energy. Terms like first and third world are broad references to societies that have more or less surplus energy.
Our lives in the first world are marked by an underlying expectation that surplus energy is available and will always be available because it has always been available. Surplus energy such as the amount we have experienced in our lives has always been available, but has not always been so successfully harnessed. Nonrenewable sources of energy, when successfully harnessed, quickly diminish as a viable source of surplus energy for the foreseeable future.
Money and commerce have devolved into means by which to unevenly distribute surplus energy around the globe.
Due to the limits of technology and human sociopolitical organization, the amount of surplus energy in any given society is presently finite. Surplus energy is also diminished by various taxes -- events or conditions that spend surplus energy without any long term benefit to the spiritual and scientific progress of the human race.
War is generally a means to shift surplus energy from one location or group of people to another. It requires a great deal of surplus energy to enact but provides no return to the human race as a whole.
Pollution is a tax on surplus energy in that it requires energy to combat, reducing the amount of surplus energy available in the first place. By creating widespread diseases, especially in children, pollutants force the expense of more surplus energy required to treat avoidable illnesses.
Technological inefficiencies tax surplus energy, usually producing heat and waste without any real benefit. Left unchecked, these byproducts further tax the harnessing of surplus energy.
Divisive beliefs tax surplus energy by creating polarizing identities and psychological turmoil. Guilt is a widespread tax on human efficiency and harmony.
Consumerism represents a tax on surplus energy in that it is responsible for the manufacture of goods, usually with short life spans, that do not serve the basic needs of human beings or the progress of the human race as a whole. Disposable goods become pollutants.
Overpopulation, defined as that number and greater of human beings that do not serve toward the long term benefit of the human race, spends surplus energy in a host of ways. It increases pollution, accelerates the demise of past reservoirs of surplus energy -- from oil fields to top soil, increases scarcity and human suffering, reduces more and more human beings to a survival-mode of existence, and diminishes the overall level of education of the human race making increasing numbers of people vulnerable to social and cultural habits that squander surplus energy.
The amount of surplus energy in a society will inform the development of selfhood, ethics, and law. Increased availability of surplus energy will cause energy to spill into the lives of groups that might otherwise remain disempowered and uneducated. Hence women, gays, and other historically disempowered groups will rise in social power and standing as surplus energy increases.
Societies with scarce surplus energy will be rife with conflict and social disempowerment.
The spiritual expansion of the sense of self requires surplus energy in the life of the individual. Scientific advancements born in the mind of a human being similarly require surplus energy in the life of the scientist. In both cases, surplus energy translates into time freed from the constraints of survival habits.
Surplus energy is therefore not simply an element of human civilization. Surplus energy can civilize a human being. Spirituality, in the societal sense, can thus be defined as that unit of energy required to civilize a human being. This unit of energy increases as the age of the uncivilized human being increases. At a certain point, no amount of energy is sufficient to civilize a human being.
A civil human being is defined as a being capable of the self-sacrifice necessary to place his or her energies in the service of society. A civilized human being identifies his or her self as the self of society.
As surpluses of energy decrease, civilization and the civilizing power of surplus energy, when properly directed, falter and fail. Civilizations in decline are marked by a decrease in surplus energy and an increase on the taxes to surplus energy. Top soil will fail. Wars will increase. Hard-earned rights will be curtailed. Education will weaken. Checks on pollution evaporate.
Decreases in surplus energy in a society cause populations to pressure leadership to increase supplies of surplus energy with diminishing concern for the means by which surplus energy is increased.
Fossil fuel is a useful material as a storage for surplus energy, but commonly requires an internal combustion engine in order for its energy to be controlled. It can deliver its energy quickly through explosive nature, but it is nonrenewable.
Electricity is a useful medium in the control of surplus energy, but it does not store well. It hence cannot deliver its energy as quickly as can fossil fuel. It can be renewed with wind generators, photovoltaic panels, and sterling engines, among other technologies that harness energy from the tides and geological heat.
Civilizations, as marked by the presence of surplus energy, are macrocosms to the individual human microcosm.
The science of harnessing and controlling surplus energy for the individual microcosm is termed yoga. It is the responsibility of macrocosmic societies to make surplus energy available to individuals so that they may have the opportunity to apply the science of yoga in their lives. Through the proper application of the science of yoga, individuals self-civilize.
The long and short term capacities of a society or a broader civilization to harness and control energy is a direct function of the degree to which its microcosmic individual members understand and apply the science of yoga. With increased prevalence of the proper application of the science of yoga, societal taxes on surplus energy decrease.
By decreasing societal taxes on surplus energy, individual taxes on surplus energy likewise decrease.
Individual taxes on surplus energy mirror societal taxes. Individuals, whether practicing yoga or not, in any given society are susceptible to the societal taxes on surplus energy and must contend with them, spending surplus energy in the process.
Societal pollution increases toxicity in the human body. Sickness, disease, and continual assaults on the immune system exact a steady tax on the human body.
improper diet, defined as the ingestion of foods with high waste content, serve as a tax on the individual's surplus energy. Foods that are low in nutrients also cause a heavy tax on the human body.
Human beings are naturally drawn toward sugar, oil, and salt. The natural diet of human beings includes fruit, nuts, and small amounts of animal flesh. Infants ingest breast milk. Leaves, barks, and roots serve as medicines.
The agricultural revolution, wherein humans began eating rows and rows of vegetables, decreased the surplus energy in society and in the human being by increasing waste in the form of fiber and roughage. Enormous amounts of surplus energy gleaned from fossil fuels were then spent on farms to provide food produce on a scale never seen before in the evolution of human beings.
Materialism taxes the human mind by creating the habit of possession seeking. Surplus energy, usually acquired by one's labor, is then spent to feed this habit. Free time is devoured by materialism and diminished amounts of surplus energy are placed in the service of society. The capacity to self-sacrifice is gradually obliterated.
Obesity can be defined as that number and more of cells in the microcosmic body that serve no function by way of the progress of the human being in the expansion of the sense of self. These excess cells require a tremendous amount of energy for their maintenance, both in the way of food and in the way of maintaining their hygiene through breathing. Heavier breathing is a limit in the practice of yoga as it requires a great deal of surplus energy and keeps the heart working constantly to purify venous blood. Obesity creates a narrow body identity, limiting the capacity to self-sacrifice. It is difficult to impossible to place one's surplus energies in the service of society when they are required to serve the survival needs of millions of excess cells.
Just as overpopulation diminishes the lifespan of a society or ongoing civilization in a particular form, obesity diminishes the lifespan of the obese individual. As the tax on the breath is decreased, the lifespan of the individual increases, as more breaths are then possible.
The human microcosm is ground zero when measuring the waste of surplus energy caused by divisive belief systems and their corresponding guilt.
Yogic ascetic injunctions are designed to minimize the waste and inefficient uses of surplus energy.
Social asceticism is the practice of ceasing to supply surplus energy to centralized institutions of social power.
Centralized institutions of power, by definition hoard and squander surplus energy to a degree that removes justification for their existence, even considering the proper uses of surplus energy for which they are responsible.
An increase in a society in the number of individuals who properly apply the science of yoga can be measured by the degree to which societal taxes on surplus energy decrease.
So what's the bottom line?
There are several bottom lines. First, this gives new meaning to the "as in heaven so on earth" idea that has been batted around for thousands of years by Christians and Chinese and everyone in between. The real macrocosm the microcosmic yogi must be concerned about is the predominant civilization. The motions of surplus energy in a society will be mirrored in the motions of energy and awareness in the bodies of society's members. These microcosmic patterns, en masse, create sociomagnetism and are in turn influenced by sociomagnetism.
Also, the "heaven" is the expansive sense of self, meaning that has the self expands in an individual, so will that pattern of awareness, shifting toward a spinal centrality, influence patterns of awareness in other bodies and eventually, perhaps with the hundredth monkey, influence the general sociomagnetic pattern, or "earth."
Second, motions of wealth in society will parallel the motions of surplus energy, meaning hierarchical power will create parallel patterns in individuals. Authoritarianism will then be on the rise, limiting the intuitive capacity of society's members and acting as a limiting factor in any individual's attempts at properly applying the science of yoga.
Third, social asceticism and yogic asceticism, while not precisely one and the same thing, are practically one and the same thing. A yogic ascetic will invariably refrain from actions which distance individual surplus energy to centralized institutions of social power.
Fourth, service to society, which in the past was and presently is commonly referred to as "seva" (cognate with English "service" and "civis" or civil) or "karma yoga" in circles influenced by Indian texts and teachers on yoga, is nothing more than ascetic injunction and the degree of its success can only be measured by its positive influence on sociomagnetism, general flows of surplus energy and wealth in a society, and the predominance of social asceticism. Positive influence can be defined as the establishment of patterns of flow of surplus energy that foster the proper application of yoga, decrease authoritarianism, temper materialism, reduce taxes on surplus energy, undermine social stratification and divisiveness, undercut guilt, etc.
I hope at this point I don't have to describe the mangled corpse of the idea that spiritual bodies should be apolitical. Truly, the only way they could be apolitical is in that they deconstruct political bodies into their constituent elements of mechanisms that instigate certain patterns of energy and awareness in the body politic. That process of deconstruction obliterates them as entities or realities independent of those patterns.
Fifth, the practice of yoga is an individual and social event. The health of a society can be measured by the degree to which the proper application of yoga emerges in any of its microcosmic parts, or individual members.
Sixth, the distinction between social and personal or individual events is arbitrary. Conventional distinctions are useful, but are not unconditionally reliable.
Lastly, our society faces the challenge of increasing surplus energy while decreasing taxes on it. This twofold process is an essential branch of social asceticism, and requires the adept participation of social technologies emerging from material science and social studies, including sociology, economics, and political science.
Once society has established a permanent harvest of energy from renewable resources while minimizing taxes, the availability of surplus energy will be practically infinite.
The expansion of the individuated sense of self, requiring surplus energy controlled in a manner to civilize human beings, will both natural precipitate a practically infinite supply of surplus energy and is a natural byproduct of infinite surplus energy.
Ultimate bottom line, then, is that the practices of asceticism and pranayama are central to the development of civilization and spirituality -- macro and microcosms of the same flow of awareness and energy.
Again, I don't know when my next Expo entry will be posted. I hope this one provides enough food for thought to last until then, especially for those who exclusively rely on this site for that kind of thing.
Lots going on here. Right now, we'll be purchasing and planting more trees and vines, installing irrigation for alfalfa, comfrey, grasses, and said trees and vines, installing tons of fencing to protect all that from rabbits and mice, building a water tower, bringing in the electric grid, drilling two wells, and buying equipment like a compost tea brewer, more water tanks, and a small tractor. We're also going to buy more goats. Donations to The Pranayama Institute to support the creation of this community are always appreciated. I sincerely hope that one day this place will be ready to host a gathering where people can absorb the theory of self far more effectively than through the written word.