Richard Thieme's Islands in the Clickstream:

Time for Yoda

Yoda - that great guru puppet of the Star Wars stories - knew how to wait patiently as cycles unwound and possibilities emerged with some discernible shape from a sea of seeming chaos. That ability to wait involved the principle of wu wei or "not doing," a "wise passivity," as Wordsworth said, rather than mere inactivity - a kind of settling back into the rocking chairs of our souls as we lean forward at the same time with eager anticipation.

When it looked as if Luke Skywalker might not be up to the job, Yoda said, "There is another," i.e. in a quantum universe, there are always other possibilities waiting in the wings. Seeing how to create them is the source of our real power. Our scripts, too, the ones we write for our lives, include alternative endings, and we contain inside ourselves an understudy for every role that we write. We are both star and understudy, teacher and learner, and wisdom means knowing when it's time for the star to step down and the understudy to step up:

When to catch the curl of a wave just as it breaks forth from the formlessness of the surging sea.

Here we are, after the rise and sudden plunge and rise again of the markets, surfing the currents of greed and fear that blew that bubble near to bursting, popped it, blew it up again.

Pop. Puff. Pop. Puff.

Greed and fear move markets. Long-term investors know that we don't manage money. We manage ourselves. We manage greed fear pride and hope, we manage our sense of self-importance. Money is a blank screen onto which we project the contents of our souls. Then we treat those projections as if something other than ourselves is out there.

This is a good time to remember the wisdom of Yoda. Dot.coms are falling all around us like the frog plague at the end of the movie "Magnolia."

Splat! Splat!

Reality is, after all, the final filter of our dreams. All excesses sift through the filter of real things. But reality is never what we think.

The net revolution will continue, of course, and the integration of a new kind of human being into the electric web will continue as well. But something else is being born, something we don't know how to talk about yet ... the collective experience of multiple generations that look at the world from multiple perspectives like facets of a fly's eyes. Longevity will soon stretch our lifetimes so that three four five six seven generations will occupy the same space, different perspectives that must somehow become cells in a singular matrix glowing with the wisdom and long view of a Yoda.

Or a Yodette. Like my online colleague, Kathleen Jacoby, author of the Vision of the Grail (serialized at who recently wrote:

"Living in Silicon Valley, where life and technology unfold at a dizzying pace, I watch my daughters being consumed by the industry and wonder where the idealic life is that we baby boomers envisioned. Being in the center of the new Athens of the world, I see cracks in the facade. People rush from activity to activity, overloaded, over-stressed, unable to process a growing amount of information.

"We need time for reflection. We need moments of pause and poise. We need observations that bring us back to soul purpose, reminders that we can take what is streaming forward and choose to ride gently with thoughtfulness, rather than jet ski upstream with nothing but dollar signs in our eyes.

"I feel as though our age group has somehow abdicated a position without giving a thought to the vacancy we're leaving. Well it should be that new energy refuels the life blood of a nation ... however, we abdicated too soon. The problem with our fading into the woodwork is that we have left a vacancy of maturity that we've gained through years of reckoning with life. We may not have the raw energy or money that the young here have, but we do have a viewpoint that is needed.

"In Silicon Valley, the lack of soul is evident. I think it's time to stand up and say, 'The Emperor has no clothes!'"

The voice of a minstrel, singing in the silicon wilderness.

Yoda had the viewpoint Kathleen evokes. He watched entire planets explode as the evil Emperor surfed the currents of the dark side of the force. Had he believed in fear (which is only faith turned inside out) he would have been impotent to mentor young Luke. He had to believe in a future and he had to believe in young Skywalker not blindly but because he saw his capacity for greatness of soul.

Wander through any hacker gathering worthy of the name, eyes closed and inner eyes open, and discern the essential excellence of the rising tide. Not merely intelligence obsession with knowledge passion or infinite curiosity but a gift of imagination and real soul power.

Yoda taught Luke levitation. Levitation is a way of saying that things rise according to the energies that lift them. Yoda taught Luke to use the Force. The Force is a way of saying that our hunger to engage with mysteries and manifest spiritual power is intrinsic.

Glimpsing deeper things puts everything into perspective.

There are more things in more heavens, on more earths, than we can imagine. Words like "miracle" fail to evoke what we see during moments of clear seeing: that consciousness is a sea in which we cannot help but swim, moving to the currents of our deeper intentions, deep below what we think makes the wheels turn and the cycles arise, the motive and soul power driving our real lives.

In a world of simulations, wise puppets make good mentors. Yoda knew that the bow the arrow and the target are just one thing. That the river curves to the contours of the earth. And that deep belief in the power that binds and transforms, binds and transforms.

For AJ: always more than meets the eye.

Islands in the Clickstream is an intermittent column written by Richard Thieme exploring social and cultural dimensions of computer technology and the ultimate concerns of our lives. Comments are welcome.

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Richard Thieme is a professional speaker, consultant, and writer focused on the impact of computer technology on individuals and organizations - the human dimensions of technology and work - and "life on the edge."

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