The splitting virus: societal falsehoods that fragment people and planet
Any lie or manipulation of truth functions as a splitting mechanism in society.
A falsehood creates a split between the form of what is being communicated and its essence. It contaminates and depletes the informational system. Every living system is dependent on accurate information for its healthy functioning. Information is the nourishment we take in, whether it is physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual or energetic. False information, whether in the form of inaccuracies or outright lies or in the chemical and genetic tampering with nature and food, has severely compromised the personal and planetary information systems on which our lives depend.
If we compare our global system to a computer, we can apply the analogy of a virus that programs the computer with false information, multiplies itself exponentially and clogs and perverts vital communication pathways. If we use the analogy of a human body, we can use the metaphors of cancer or of an auto-immune disease virus that spreads throughout the body. On an emotional level, consistently being subject to unreliable information and false promises is known to be a factor in activating schizophrenia. Similarly, on the global level, lies generated by false and divisive notions of separateness, privilege and power are multiplying rapidly and fragmenting people and planet. We are damaging our shared planet by upsetting the balance of its intricate information system, developed over billions of years that has evolved to ensure accurate mutual nourishment among the parts and the whole.
We tend to blame specific countries, people, incidents or trends for our global crises. The identified causes for these crises, however, are usually only symptoms of a deeper systemic cause - the virus of falsehoods spreading through our global living system. From false political promises and rigid ideologies to manipulative advertising, the lying virus is fostering an increasingly insane and imbalanced world. Uncertainty as to the truth of what we are being told by media or external authorities severely impedes our ability to navigate safely in the world and to make healthy choices for ourselves and the environment. A lying culture depletes our personal and collective energy resources. We constantly have to second guess what is true and what is false. When children do not grow up in a world of truth it handicaps their ability to live with integrity as an adult.
The splitting mechanism can be seen as having its roots in the outdated notion that we are separate from each other, from the planet and from the divine. The notion of separateness generates further splitting concepts, such as those of hierarchy and privilege, us and them, win and lose, and success or failure. We have artificially split off and privileged humans over other animals and over the eco-system, the mind over the body, the rational mind from other intelligences and certain groups of people over others. Societies are built in ways that are split off from resonance with the natural environment. This in itself causes enormous destruction. The splitting mechanism acts like a virus with a depleting formula, exponentially fragmenting the flow of life energy as it moves through the system.
Beyond the false notions of separateness that are at the basis of much of social belief systems, the splitting mechanism has been widely adopted as a core social organizing mechanism. We have falsely split social sectors, such as education, welfare, business, culture, environment and security as though they were independent of each other. This means that these interdependent aspects of society actually compete with each other for resources, duplicating and fragmenting each other’s efforts rather than amplifying them for the benefit of the whole.
We also create a split between form and essence when we standardize that which is considered beautiful, successful, intelligent or valuable. In overvaluing certain intelligences and bodies over others, children from a young age learn how to try and become something other than what nature has uniquely endowed them with. We thus again deplete human resources by repressing the richness of diversity of people's skills and intelligences in service of society.
And then there are the lies – those socially acceptable and even legally enabled lies devised to seduce, manipulate and control for the benefit of the privileged. From political messaging to the overtly manipulative advertising industry, we are constantly bombarded by false promises. Advertising is the art of splitting form from essence to fool the mind of the customer. We are inundated on a daily basis with carefully crafted images that sell products known to be damaging to people and the environment under the guise of promising comfort, security, wellness, bliss, beauty, and immortality.
The essence of freedom has been split off from the essence of truth. The term “free market” justifies legal and advertising falsehoods and acts as a fig leaf that covers what is actually the freedom of the privileged to manipulate the market at the expense of others. Similarly, the notion of “freedom of speech”, has been perverted to justify the freedom to sell false promises, use legal language to obfuscate the truth, sell false ideologies and say things that can incite damage and destruction to others.
Falsehood is so pervasive in contemporary societies that many have learned not to recognize truth, expect truth or speak truth. Instead they learn to invest in learning how to play the game of manipulating truth in their own interest. From education to politics and finance to ecology, spreading falsehood has become a key organizing principle in society. The mechanism that splits form from essence, honesty from falsehood, and good faith from manipulation is the virus that is permeating our bodies, our souls and our planet. The obfuscation of truth means that often in good faith and with the best of intentions, we can participate in spreading dangerous lies.
To function as a healthy, interconnected organism we need to recognize and understand the dangers of the artificial and destructive fragmentation of form from essence caused by a culture based on notions of separateness. For the eco-system to thrive, accurate information needs to reach every part of the system. The idiom of “speaking with a forked tongue” conveys the image of the split communication that happens when one says one thing and means another. A forked tongue society is constantly under stress to sift that which is truly nourishing from that which is harmful.
To address global issues ranging from poverty and climate change to terrorism and malnutrition, it is essential to address the underlying culture of outdated notions and falsehoods in which the splitting virus thrives. Attempts to address the symptoms of the virus rather than the underlying splitting mechanism can only serve as a temporary band aid while the underlying disease continues to wreak havoc on the whole body. Social and planetary healing entails reintegrating form and essence by insisting on honest, accurate and mutually nourishing communication of information throughout the system.