Here is something I thought up in the shower this morning and I thought I should write is down. I admit it's rough and would need to be developed more to stand up to scrutiny, but I want to know what people think. So please read, comment and poke holes in if you want.
The Medium is the Message: The Lost Medium
Marshall McLuhan's “The Medium is the Message” shifted focus from the content of media to the medium itself as what is important to how societies function. A key concept he brings forth is that one type of media contains other types. For example, written media is contained in tv in the form of a script, oral media is contained in written media in the form of speech and so on all the way back to thought.
In his analysis, McLuhan, and the rest of our society as wrapped up in our mode of thought as we are, forgot, or didn't notice one type of media that was contained in other media in our history. The medium I am referring to is spiritual communications, be they signs, visions, dreams or what have you. This medium has been described by cultures across the world, including our own, though in the more distant past than most. The Bible is a great example of this, for in the Bible, a written media, is contained oral media (indeed the First Testament at least came from oral tradition and wasn't written down until long after it came into being, hence all the psalms), and within the oral media lies spiritual media. The easiest example that comes to mind is when Moses sees a burning bush and hears the word of God speak to him through the bush.
It is the spiritual media that has provided the moral grounding of societies throughout the ages. Oral traditions were used to translate spiritual media to those who couldn't access that media. Over time, the oral traditions were overtaken by written media, and in that process the spiritual media that was encased within oral traditions then became encased in written media. This transition created a situation where spiritual media became far more inaccessible to the regular person, and the church became the translator of all spiritual media through control of the written media (remember that in the beginning, written media wasn't very accessible as not many people knew how to read or write, and papyrus or parchment, the key materials used for written media before the 1600's wasn't easy to acquire or mass produce). With the the ability to be the (at least self proclaimed) sole translator of spiritual media, came great power, and with great power came the potential for great abuse. And abuse that power, the church did. The Spanish Inquisition, the burning of witches, and the elimination of the Templars are only a few examples of the abuses of the church.
The frequent abuses of power caused for a movement to separate church and state. This is what happened over the period of a couple of centuries and with that move emerged a new set of problems. The church remained the interpreter of spiritual media and the state was left to look after the physical well-being of society, which usually simply meant the economic well-being of society. It is important to note that since the state was not supposed to interact with the church, it did not have the spiritual media as the foundation of their existence that the church had. This left the state to look after the economic interests of their society without the moral foundations that had grounded society in the past. Of course this did not happen overnight, and for a long time the state was influenced by the morals of the previous spiritual dominated society that created it. However, in modern times and especially in Western society, states have become completely secularized and tied to an economic orthodoxy. This leaves us in our present situation where our economically focused governments can see only problems related to economic issues because that is all it has the space to do. They cannot address spiritual problems because of the separation of church and state. Furthermore, they cannot even acknowledge the existence of spiritual media because it is buried within the oral traditions which are buried within the written religious texts which they are not supposed to interact with.
Our governments are not equipped to deal with the moral issues of our time, be they inequality, racism, lack of spirituality/compassion/empathy in our society, or environmental issues (yes, I view environmental degradation as partially a moral/spiritual problem). And herein lies the problem with our society, because it is the government we look to to deal with these problems. What this means is that we need to understand that governments are not going to be able to solve these problems and we have to start solving them by other means, or we have to change the basic premise of how our governments work. If we want governments to deal with the moral issues of out time, we must re-incorporate the state with spirituality and most of all with spiritual media in a world that desperately needs it.