Eric Cunningham and TC:The Onus of Leading a Spiritual-Scie

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Eric Cunningham and TC:The Onus of Leading a Spiritual-Scie

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Gonzaga Prof Eric Cunningham and Tom Campbell:The Onus of Leading a Spiritual-Scientific Revolution

Published on June 22, 2014
The day after The Way Forward workshop in Spokane, Tom Campbell sat down with Eric Cunningham of Gonzaga University for a wide-ranging discussion covering the topics of History: Christian theology and Love; Christianity, metaphors, and MBT; Defining a path to becoming Love; Is Tom Campbell a "Chosen One ?"

Is humanity uniquely favored, or uniquely cursed among the entities within our universe? What are our prospects, promises, and potential pitfalls?
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Pre-prepared Question and Answers: note that the actual text within the video deviates from this script and includes further discussion. This is not a transcript as such.
Eric Cunningham’s Interview Questions for Tom Campbell:

Question 1.
To the historian, history is not only a record of things that happened in the past, but also an interpretive structure in which past events are made intelligible through narrative process. Your TOE generally regards history in the former sense—as a record or file of events that 1) actually happened or 2) had some probability of happening, but did not, and are saved as part of a data base that can be retrieved by the inquiring conscious subject.

Is it possible that History is also, in the latter sense (as narrative process), a fractal replication of the Fundamental Process itself? Is our collective self-representation as time-and-space-bound entities simply a result of AUM seeking profitability in its own creative space?

(Answer 1):
History has two aspects, 1) the actual and 2) the created. The “actual” history represents what happened…the facts…ALL the facts…. but this aspect of history has little or no practical (as opposed to theoretical) impact on us – since we live in a tiny subset of the present. The second aspect of history (created history) represents what we think about what may have happened -- what we believe happened, and our opinion of why and how we think it happened that way. This created history will necessarily tell a story that is much different and less complete than what actually happened since all the facts are never known to those few who create the history. We re-create what happened in our minds (as we interpret what facts we have) according to the bias generated by our beliefs, fears, expectations, ego, fear, and our limited knowledge, understanding, and experience.

It is this “best-guess” created history that we write down and call “history”. As time goes by and entropy takes its toll, this history is often reinterpreted, added to, or ignored as necessary to serve the needs of each culture or society.

It is this “created” history that defines us as individuals, societies, and cultures…and that strongly colors our present choices as well as our future by instilling us with beliefs, attitudes, expectations, hopes and fears -- a filter through which everything else is interpreted, including our history. Thus, our history evolves as we evolve…not so much as an accurate and complete record of what happened, but rather as our personal interpretation of what we would like to think happened and how and why it must have happened the way we think.

Good historians focus on the facts they can accumulate and try to eliminate bias as much as they are able, however, due to the uncertainty inherent in the process, and the fact that they are themselves products of culture and of a created history, historians end up, more often than not, creating cultural propaganda that intertwines itself with threads of partial truth.


Follow up 1a.
Now, you’ve also characterized history (in a recent email) as an “organizational memory,” claiming—correctly I think—that “history has psychic inertia.” If this is the case, are the stories we write about our merely recording and represent the past, or are they in some way creating future possibilities by yoking the future to the past we remember and the present we experience on the basis of lessons learned in the past?

(Answer 1a):
It is very difficult to imagine, much less understand, things we have not personally experienced (history). Example: Pictures of ETs. We look forward through the limiting filters of what we imagine we saw behind us. History as psychic inertia serves the useful function of applying the brakes to changes that do not have what it takes to change the flow of history. That is, ideas unable to permanently change the hearts and minds and memories of the people.


Question 2.
On the question of philosophy, the Catholic scholars of the Middle Ages crafted a history-changing synthesis between Hebrew prophecy, Greek philosophy, and the Christian gospel of love and redemption. In creating a unified body of Christian knowledge, the Church established equivalencies between divine justice, Christian charity, and Greek transcendentals such as Being, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. Accordingly, the Catholic theologian describes God not only as a creative agent, but the very essence of Beauty, Goodness, Truth, and Love.

In your TOE, there seem to be only two transcendentals: Consciousness (the Ground of Being), and Love, which is the telos of the evolutionary process—maybe “profitability” has the status of a transcendental. It’s my sense—maybe I’m wrong—that your TOE would see such things as Truth and Beauty as either metaphors, or primarily subjective values—but I’m wondering—can Love stand alone as a transcendental? Does not AUM also necessarily possess and express the concrete properties of goodness, truth, and beauty?

(Answer 2):
Goodness, truth, compassion, justice, beauty can be subjective values, but that is not the whole story. At a deeper level, one finds something more fundamental than individual subjective (relative) values. Love is an absolute value, not a relative value – it is defined and measured in terms of entropy. Love is the mother of all transcendentals. Love subsumes, and thus describes, and finally defines, goodness, truth, compassion, justice, and beauty. Goodness is the eventual result of love in action (evil is the eventual result of fear in action) – truth is a tool, a logical consequence of love, it is how love communicates (lie’s are a tool, a logical consequence of fear, it is how fear manipulates) – Beauty is the aesthetic, the look and feel, of love (ugliness is the aesthetic, the look and feel, of fear). Compassion is empathy derived from love… and justice is a combination of goodness, truth, and compassion. Thus, given love, one may derive all the rest of the transcendental values. AUM (or the LCS) is the medium through which love and fear can be expressed…..and also the result of such expressions. (What evolves now is the result of previous choices made.)


Follow up 2a.
If Love is defined or characterized as a low-entropy state, how do we acquire a sufficient handle on our own entropy to be able to reduce it? Don’t the great religious traditions provide time-tested cultural structures needed? For example the boundless compassion of the Buddha and the sacrificial love of Christ?

(Answer 2a):
For the most part, no, they don’t. The boundless compassion of the Buddha and the love of Christ simply provide individual examples of right action. Religious traditions sometimes provide encouragements toward low entropy behavior at the intellectual and emotional level … but do not, so much, offer a general process, methodology, or approach for achieving right intent and right being. To reduce our entropy we need to fundamentally change ourselves at the being level…we need to reduce our fear, ego, belief, and expectation. Good example, reinforced with intellectual and emotional support, typically encourages behavior, thoughts, and feeling that better emulate a Buddha or a Christ -- but changing one’s behavior and attitude to better emulate others or conform to a belief or a religious ethic -- is only a very shallow response to the requirements of consciousness evolution. One does not grow up solely through the application of one’s intellect and emotions. Changing your intent at the being level means changing who you are, not doing a better job of emulating the master or following his creeds and doctrine. Consciousness evolution takes place at a deeper level than the emulating, following, obeying, and believing that has become the primary product now delivered by most religious traditions.


Question 3.
On the matter of theology, I’ve shared the essentials of MBT with two prayerful and very learned Jesuit friends. One of them, when I asked if he thought it was a problem that Christ might be a metaphor—he looked very thoughtful—and said. “I think I would use the word “icon,” not metaphor, since Christ is, after all the perfect image of God.” It made me wonder about the importance of aesthetics and culture in the creation of those “game-space” conditions that allow us to become love and live a low-entropy life. Is there a “Campbellian” aesthetic that you could identify?

(Answer 3):
I think your friend wanted to disagree (with the concept of Christ being a metaphor), and found a way to do it without being disagreeable. Icons and metaphors are both symbols. An icon is a well known symbol that either figuratively or literally represents or stands for something. A metaphor is a symbol that figuratively or literally) describes or stands for something. Both are symbols, and symbols are primarily about information. It is the information that is significant, not the symbol (icon or metaphor). Confusing the two is common in all forums – but particularly so within emotionally focused or passionate forums.

Confusing icons and metaphors with the information they stand for is a very common simplifying strategy because it produces a satisfying illusion of certainty for the least amount of effort expended. Fearful humans seek concreteness in order to avoid the uncertainty of theory or abstraction. They seek belief to avoid the uncertainty of open-minded skepticism. They seek simple answers and concepts to avoid the uncertainty of incomplete answers and complex concepts. They seek to become perpetual dependent and protected children to avoid the uncertainty and responsibility of adulthood.

To answer the second part of your question: “Is there a “Campbellian” aesthetic that you could identify?”

An MBT aesthetic is based upon developing and understanding that information is fundamental to the nature of existence in general, and to the nature our existence in particular (who we are, the point and purpose of us, the meaning of us, what we are supposed to be doing here and why should we do it) . Metaphors are used extensively to describe this information because PMR-based language offers few possibilities for direct accurate descriptions. However MBT metaphors are carefully labeled as such to help mitigate the tendency of people to confuse the metaphor or symbol with the information or function the symbol is trying to convey. This MBT cultural viewpoint is best summed up with the often repeated phrase: Don’t confuse a model of reality with reality.

Secondly, the MBT culture never tries to convince readers to believe what they read in the MBT trilogy or what they hear in MBT presentations. The often repeated phrase: “If it is not your experience, it cannot be your truth” and the constant praise of open-minded skepticism sums this idea up. My Big TOE is offered only as a catalyst to help individuals evolve their own Big TOE -- not to point out to others what they should believe or how they should view reality.

Thirdly, MBT is universal. It equally satisfies, supports, and appeals to atheists as well as agnostics and theists. It satisfies, supports, and appeals to philosophers, theologians, and metaphysicians as well as scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. It talks equally to the left brained and the right brained, the advantaged and the disadvantaged, male and female, Western cultures and Eastern cultures. There is no dogma, no creed or prescribed beliefs. Everyone is welcomed.

Fourthly, MBT sees the individual as the center of everything else. Growth (evolution) is an individual thing that must be achieved solely by the individual. Growth cannot be forced, taught, or manipulated by others – individuals must change themselves. The whole (LCS) evolves as individuals evolve. All cultural, social, and personal problems will solve themselves as more and more individuals grow up. There is no need for founders or leaders or organizations to validate preferred or necessary processes or concepts. All individual paths are valid and can eventually lead to positive consciousness evolution. Individuals do not need mommy, daddy or big brother, or any other authority, or anyone’s permission or certification, to come along on this ride and to succeed. There is no gateway, no filter, through which one must first pass. If one is sincerely interested in growing up, becoming more, or moving toward the light, that is enough.


Question 4.
Your books, videos, and workshops seem to put you in the “Gnostic” category of teachers. Like Rudolf Steiner and Edgar Cayce, to name only two, you have acquired knowledge of spirit worlds and you affirm that anybody can acquire this knowledge if they apply themselves to a path of meditation with discipline, patience, and perseverance.

But like these teachers, and many Zen masters, you’ve also insisted that the goal is not the attainment of “supernatural” abilities, but rather the increased [higher quality] consciousness that comes from the practice. This makes me wonder why you have been generally non-specific about the “praxis” of meditation—no specific postures, no specific mantras, no objects of devotion, no sacred texts to use as a way into meditation. Without clear guidance on the way one should meditate or be mindful, isn’t there some risk that an individual path could lead to the kind of ego-cultivation that stands in the way of “becoming love?”

(Answer 4):
No, they will be who and what they are. They are not children; they are responsible for their own evolution. I can only help so much, after that I become part of their problem rather than part of their solution. Specific guidance can be more of a problem than a help because it creates beliefs and expectations. It is not productive for people to want emulate me and have my experiences instead of being themselves and having their own experience. Success is not about doing, and not about having experiences, it is about using your experience and understanding to change yourself at the being level.

I want others to get there on their own, and they need to get there on their own…create their own path to success… or what they accomplish won’t be significant to them at a fundamental level. They must experience, not emulate. They must be different, not do things differently. I give plenty of general guidance (3 books, over 210 videos and thousands of email) about what to do and how to do it… after that, it is up to each individual to figure out about how to apply that information to themselves. Besides, there are multiple other ways to get that one on one interaction -- such as MBT focused forums and programs like The Lovit Center.

Growing up is something that each person must do in their own way and in their own time – for me to meddle with that natural process creates a lower, not higher, probability of long term success.

My way does not define the right way for anyone but me. For the same reasons I do not share my many experiences in NPMR – the down side (beliefs and expectations) is much greater than the up side (entertainment).


Follow up 4a.
On the assumption (and I may be wrong on this) that relatively few people have attained your level of knowledge, would it be wrong to think that you’ve been set apart or chosen in some way? You’ve obviously never claimed this, and have done much to reject attempts to make a guru out of you—but in MBT you suggest that there are “gatekeepers.” Is it the case, to paraphrase Jesus in the New Testament, that many are called but few are chosen?

(Answer 4a):
Your assumption is probably true -- I am unique, but only in the same way that we are all unique. All of us have our challenges, our roles to play, lessons to learn, and things to accomplish. We are all set apart and chosen for our next experience packet. We go into a situation designed to be challenging, yet well within our ability to be successful. Some experience packets are more planned and focused on specific goals than others. Some are more in service to the big picture, and others more in service to the little picture, while others are simply to gain experience and practice in making good choices.

The more you already know, the easier it is to learn more -- and the more responsibility you have to employ that knowledge to the best advantage of the whole.

The bottom line is that the LCS is a most perfect example of an equal opportunity employer. The probability of, and possibilities for, your advancement, is only limited by yourself.

We (all conscious life forms) are all in the same boat, more or less, trying to evolve the quality of our consciousness using whatever tools and abilities we have accumulated at the moment of each choice. Additionally, if we have the ability, we also want to help others find the light.

An analogy: Consider a ditch digger employed by a large corporation, he should dig the very best ditch that he can … and try to interact positively with all who he comes in contact with. Now, consider the CEO of that corporation. He should make the very best decisions he can and try to interact positively with all who he comes in contact with. Both positions would come with as many personal growth opportunities as one could use – there is very little fundamental big picture difference between them. Now, there are huge little picture differences…but these are of little to no consequence from a big picture perspective. Only the big picture perspective is significant in the long run.

I make little of my uniqueness – it is of very small consequence to anything significant. Remember, it is the information, the message, the value of the message, that is significant within this reality frame, not the symbol, and not the messenger – these represent little more than the mechanics of presentation and delivery. Likewise, seeing, understanding, or exploring the bigger picture and appreciating the the source of the message itself is also not necessary or important compared to delivering a message that actually helps facilitate the positive consciousness evolution of both individuals and the system. Otherwise, if one gives more than cursory notice to the symbols used to convey the message or the messenger, or even the source of the message,…. inevitably, one ends up with an unfortunate shift of focus from the message to the symbols and messenger – that is, a personality cult – because, as we said above in answering question 3: most people, being fearful and insecure, are eager to play the safe and easy role of children to those who would assume the authority to tell them how to act, think, and be (i.e., what to believe) – a fact of the human condition that has been the bane of religion… diluting, distorting and misdirecting genuine religious and metaphysical revelation since the beginning of time.

All significance lies in the value and effectiveness of the message, not in the symbols, not in the messenger, and not in the appreciation and understanding of the source of the message. In the past, the “guru, master or chosen one” had to forever carry the message into the future on his back… accepting dysfunctional, sub-optimal results in order to guarantee any results at all. In the information age, things are different, the messenger simply needs to do his job well and then get off the stage – consequently, the automatic penalties (i.e., having to accept a, sub-optimal process with severe limitations in order to get any results at all) no longer apply.

As I said yesterday: Finally, for the first time in history, all the necessary pieces of the consciousness evolution puzzle have come together to enable a major world-wide paradigm shift away from fear and toward love.


Question 5.
You’ve repeatedly stated that consciousness is the ultimate reality (can I call it the ground of being?), and that all phenomena in the PMR and NPMR possess it, either as dim consciousness or bright consciousness. In our reality frame, the human organism seems to be unique among the hierarchy of conscious beings, in that it is highly self-aware, culture producing, and capable of acting freely against its own instincts, and against its own reasonable judgment.

Is humanity uniquely favored, or uniquely cursed among the entities in PMR? What would you say are our prospects, promises and potential pitfalls?

(Answer 5):
We humans are neither favored nor cursed, in the sense of being granted unearned benefits or difficulties. However, at this time, we humans do represent the greatest long term evolutionary potential of all the life-forms on the planet. That makes us the main characters of this evolutionary play. All the supporting characters have necessary roles to play; however, the evolutionary long term outcome is ours to create through the application our free will choices.

This VR (our universe) represents a fast track opportunity for consciousness evolution…an opportunity that all of us humans should take seriously and be grateful for.
The actual Transcript and some timing notes:

Tom: Eric Cunningham and I have traded questions and answers, and I got a list of written questions, and I produced a list then of written answers. So what we thought we would do today is that we would read the questions, and then read the answers—Eric will read his questions, I’ll read my answers,--and then when we get to the end of it, we’ll just let it be informal and we’ll just discuss whatever comes to mind for a while, until we run out of time. So that’s the format. Eric, is there something that you’d like to add to this?

Eric: No, that sounds good. Thank you very much, Tom, for the event yesterday and for giving me some time to ask a few questions of you. To the watchers of this video, I became acquainted with Tom Campbell’s work about three years ago. And it may be rare among Tom’s students in that I’m an academic historian, and have found much of the content of My Big Toe to be very applicable to history, historiography, and the way the narratives of history are constructed. So it’s been kind of a preoccupation of mine since reading My Big Toe to try to figure out how one might apply some of your research experience to some of the larger questions of history—in addition to consciousness. So thank you very much.

Tom: You’re welcome. I’ve heard that you are actually using some of the MBT material in your classes?

Eric: I have, much to my students’ excitement, and confusion, at times. I’ve had, actually, great profit using—normally you would start a history class by saying, “What is history?” or some question like that. I’ve taken to starting with the bigger question of, “What is a world?” And taking that question, going back and looking at how reality itself is constructed, using a lot of your mechanics of reality. Using process, and some of the assumptions of reality. And it’s—my students find it quite fascinating, and it’s a very good lead into some of the more formal instruction on history and narrative building in a more modern context. So yes, it’s been great for my purposes.

Tom: OK, I see how you’re using it. I was wondering how you were using this material in your history classes, but I see you’re starting at the top: “How does history come about?”

Eric: How does it come about. And how does it work? How does a dialectical narrative of history look or operate? Like, a fractal process: how does it operate, in the same way that the Fundamental Process of evolution operates. And there’s been some amazing overlap—maybe not overlap, but some resonance between your theories on this, and even some more standard historiography. So it’s a really wonderful fusion for me. At least for me, I hope it is for my students. We figure that out every semester when they respond and evaluate my course, but so far the feedback has been very good. Very, very good.

Tom: Well it will provide them a bigger perspective. Rather than history is a collection of facts one memorizes for a good grade, they will have a much bigger perspective of, “What is history?” kind of in a fundamental sense, and why is it important? And start from there and lead into, “Well, what do we think happened and why?”

Eric: That’s right. In that sense, it has really been a very good foundation.

Tom: OK. Well let’s get to our questions and answers here.

Eric: Can I just start with some of the questions?

Tom: Just start with your questions. We’ll just go through them in order.

3:50
Eric: OK, now you talk about history in several cases in your book My Big Toe. Now to the historian, history is not only a record of things that happened in the past, but also an interpretive structure in which past events are made intelligible through narrative process. Now from my reading of your Theory of Everything, MBT generally regards history in the former sense: as a record, or a file of data—a record or a file of events that actually happened or had some probability of happening but did not, but were nevertheless saved as part of a database in The Big Computer, and can thus be retrieved by the inquisitive consciousness, seeking information about probable pasts. So I wanted to know, would you say that history is also, in the latter sense of being a narrative process, might we think of it as a fractal piece or fractal representation of the Fundamental Process itself? In other words, is our collective self-representation, as time- and space-bound entities simply a result of Absolute Unbounded Manifold (as you would term it) seeking profitability in its own creative space? Is history a copy, in some sense, of AUM seeking its own profitability?

5:24
Tom: The short answer is, yes: history is a collection of facts, but that’s not the important history, in my mind. There are the facts of exactly what happened, and in these databases, that’s kind of the history that we talk about, and everything that possibly could have happened and the probability that it did. And in the future, everything that could happen and the probability that it will. So that’s just a collection of facts, but that’s not really “history” in another sense.

History has two aspects, 1) the actual and 2) the created. The “actual” history represents what happened…the facts…ALL the facts…. but this aspect of history has little or no practical (as opposed to theoretical) impact on us – since we live in a tiny subset of the present. The second aspect of history (created history) represents what we think about what may have happened -- what we believe happened, and our opinion of why and how we think it happened that way. This created history will necessarily tell a story that is much different and less complete than what actually happened since all the facts are never known to those few who create the history. We re-create what happened in our minds (as we interpret what facts we have) according to the bias generated by our beliefs, fears, expectations, ego, fear, and our limited knowledge, understanding, and experience.

History has two aspects. One is the actual, and two is the created. The actual history represents what happened. The facts, and all the facts. But this aspect of history has little or no practical—as opposed to theoretical—impact on us since we live in a tiny subset of the present. The second aspect of history, created history, represents what we think about what may have happened, what we believe happened, and our opinion of why and how we think it happened. The created history will necessarily tell a story that is much different, and less complete, than what actually happened, since all the facts are never known to those few who write the history. We recreate what happened in our minds, as we interpret what facts we have, according to the bias generated by our beliefs, fears, expectations, ego, and our limited knowledge, understanding, and experience.

It is this “best-guess” created history that we write down and call “history.” As time goes by and entropy takes its toll, even this history is often reinterpreted, added to, or ignored as necessary to serve the needs of each culture and each society. So different cultures trying to write histories of the same events will tell two very different stories from those perspectives. So this history is a history that mirrors perspective, and it mirrors prejudice

Eric: And cultural bias.

Tom: Yeah it mirrors the cultural biases, and the fears, and the attitudes of the people.

It is this “created” history that defines us as individuals, societies, and cultures, because we are defined, in large measure, by our history.

Eric: As products of history.

Tom: Yeah. The present is now. The future hasn’t happened yet. But who are we in this present? That’s defined by our history, you see? And when you define it in terms of culture, that strongly colors our present choices as well as our future by instilling us with beliefs, attitudes, expectations, hopes and fears -- a filter through which everything else is interpreted, including our history. Well notice, now we have history being modified by how we interpret history, you see?

Eric: That’s right.

Tom: So history is changing history. We think things are this way because of the history we’ve recorded, which is basically cultural based and individual prejudice based, but then that history gives us our definition of ourselves—how we see ourselves—which causes us to act differently in the present because we see ourselves differently, which then creates a different history. So we have history creating a different history. So, yes, we have this fractal; we have this loop, where history is changing itself as it goes. Past history is changing what the future history is going to be.

Eric: So it is following the Process; it’s always a directive, even in its own contexts.

Tom: Yeah, we can’t look at history as a pure kind of thing. It’s a thing that feeds itself in many ways. Thus, our history evolves as we evolve…not so much as an accurate and complete record of what happened, but rather as our personal interpretation of what we would like to think happened and how and why it must have happened the way we think it did.

Good historians focus on the facts they can accumulate and try to eliminate bias as much as they are able, however, due to the uncertainty inherent in the process, and the fact that they are themselves products of culture and of a created history, historians end up, more often than not, creating cultural propaganda that intertwines itself with threads of partial truth.

Eric: Yeah, I don’t think most historians would argue with that. I think we would all say that there’s a bias of some kind, even in the most objective way.

Tom: Sure. It’s virtually impossible to not have that bias because you are a product of your culture. And you say, “Well, I’ll try to be without bias.” But that’s impossible unless you can be without culture. Without history. Without a connection to the past. If you’ve just dropped in from another planet, you might be able to be unbiased, but if you’ve been a part of this culture, and you’ve read that culture’s history, now you have an idea of what you think happened, and that changes how you interpret what’s happening now.

Eric: Right, so these circumstances will always shape the texture of the narrative.

Tom: Yeah.

11:03
Eric: That’s very interesting. OK so in a recent email exchange we had, you made an interesting comment. You characterized history as an an “organizational memory,” claiming—correctly I think—that “history has psychic inertia.” If this is the case—and I think it is the case—are the stories that we write about ourselves merely recording and represent the past, or are they in some way also creating future possibilities by—as you just said, in a way—yoking the future that we imagine to the past we remember and the present that we experience. In other words, the narrative constructing aspect of history seems to be very important: what kind of story you write; what kind of narrative you produce. What would you think about that?

11:57
Tom: It’s very difficult to imagine, much less understand things that we have not personally experienced. So what we see in the present, what we imagine in the future, is constrained by our past, by our history. For instance, pictures of extraterrestrials. When we see pictures of extraterrestrials, whether it’s in a Star Wars movie or any other thing, basically, what do we see? We see something with a head and a shoulder and arms and eyes and ears on the side of the head, two legs.

Eric: Like us.

Tom: It’s just like us! But, it’s got different color skin, it’s got big wrinkles on its forehead. We basically duplicate us and then we change it a little bit to make it look strange. And that’s our idea of an ET. Well why is that? We just can’t imagine anything else. And we can’t imagine anything else because there’s nothing in our history that tells us what this ought to look like. So we have to come up with a new concept. Here’s where we don’t have any history to guide us, and what do we do? We basically just duplicate ourselves and put a little fuzz around the edge—make cosmetic changes to that, because that’s all we can think of. We don’t have the imagination to do much of anything else. So all the ETs look pretty much just like us, at least all the ones you interact with. There might be a picture of one that looks like an octopus or something floating in the background, but they never play a part; they’re just there as eye candy in the film. The real characters that interact are all very humanoid.

So that’s just an example of what happens when you don’t have history. You don’t have any idea what to do with the data you have because you have no historical context in which to interpret that data. And that leaves you very empty. Our imaginations just aren’t that good, it seems. So we look forward through the limiting filters of what we imagine we saw behind us.

History as psychic inertia serves the useful function of applying the brakes to changes that do not have what it takes to change the flow of history. That is, ideas unable to permanently change the hearts and minds and memories of people. So it’s the inertia that I’m talking about. Inertia is a property that kind of retards change. If you try to speed it up, it takes effort to make it go faster. If you try to slow it down, it takes a lot of effort to slow it down. It wants to stay the way it is. It doesn’t like change. That’s what I mean by inertia. So because of history, it serves as the brakes.

Say we as a culture decide to go off on a fad, or something. Everybody may be into it—like beanie babies, who knows? Everybody may be into it—or it may be a change of more substance than that—but still, the inertia of history, what I mean by that is, if this thing that we’re going off and doing doesn’t eventually change the hearts and minds of the people, it just fades away. It doesn’t really become part of a longer history. Now it may show up in current events, it’ll show up in the newspapers, but when people write the histories, which is 20, 30, 40 years later—as the history of this period becomes a real history, not a current event, those kinds of things: one line mention, if anything at all. They’ll get a short paragraph, or a sentence. Oh, back in that time, they got sidetracked on this. And we go on with what’s important. So history just wipes that out, so it doesn’t have a big effect long term. Because we imagine the future, because we make choices in the present because of history, if the history doesn’t support it, we stop making choices that way. So that’s a brake. It keeps us from going off on some dysfunctional tangent. We don’t do that because it doesn’t support it if it’s not really fundamental.

What happens is, people look at their history and they see that this isn’t really a fundamental thing. Just like the spaceman that they can’t imagine, they can’t imagine going there, and then they kind of go back to the way it was before they did that because that’s where their roots are. So you’ve got to change those roots I guess to make a change, and history resists that change. So trivial changes get washed out in the big history and they don’t really get reported, and it’s only those big changes that actually are important to the culture that persist, and when you look at the history from a hundred years into the future, that’s the only stuff that you see. The rest of it all has gone away. So the history that kind of modifies or gives definition to those people a hundred years later is devoid of all of those side trips that weren’t very meaningful.

Eric: That weren’t profitable.

Tom: Yeah, weren’t profitable; really weren’t worth following.

17:33
Eric: Well how much do you think—to use this phrase “psychic inertia” again—in laying out the trajectories of future probability, isn’t there a great deal of inertia worked into the kinds of history that a culture might follow?

17:50
Tom: Sure, because, based on the history that we have, that puts constraints, that lays constraints on what’s likely to happen next. And remember, we started out saying that this history isn’t necessarily what happened, it’s just our idea of what happened, and because of our ideas of what happened, we put constraints on the choices we’re going to make today, which is what creates the future. So the future we create is constrained by the history that we imagine. In this way, we are creating our future; we’re creating our reality based on how we interpret what’s gone before. So it’s just another way that we are creating our own reality. We’re making the future happen in certain ways—we aren’t making it, but we are constraining it.

18:50
Eric: There’s a fairly common idea—I don’t want to get off our script too much—but the idea that in a sense the future, or the imagination of an ideal future will have the effect of creating a past. For example, if you take the ancient Hebrews, and they imagined a future goal of salvation or redemption, this maps out a trajectory for them; it gives them a path to follow, so that the way they interpret their past is as much determined by what they imagined coming in the future as by present circumstance.

19:26
Tom: Exactly. It’s how they imagine their future. And whether that imagination has moved forward into where they think they’re going, or whether that imagination is backward into where they think they’ve been makes no difference.

Eric: It can only be checked after it’s happened.

Tom: Yeah. Because they have ideas about the way the future ought to be. Like the transhumanists: they have ideas about the way the future ought to be, and those ideas, if this intertial thing I’m talking about doesn’t discard those, then they become: this is what we really believe needs to happen, then because of those ideas of what should happen in the future, we will make different decisions in the present. History gets interpreted and reinterpreted. We may even reinterpret some of the history from the past.

Eric: We certainly will.

Tom: So that when a hundred years later they read about the history of this time, it will be different than it would have been if you didn’t have this future idea of transhumanism.

20:29
Eric: That’s right, the day may come when we say the Japanese won World War II, you know, depending on how things unfold in the future. Do you think a historian—this is kind of a fanciful question—but would it be of any use to a historian to be able to go into probable futures or probable pasts in order to put together a different kind of narrative that’s more satisfying?

20:52
Tom: Well I think there’s probably a danger in that because when you go into probable futures and pasts, what you get there isn’t necessarily a line of facts. What you get there is your interpretation of data that comes to you describing these facts. Now this data that comes to you doesn’t come to you in linear—like, words written on a piece of paper. It comes to you in metaphor. It comes to you telepathically, in chunks, which usually are whole paragraphs, sometimes whole chapters. Phumph! You get it all at once. Now you get all this information dump, and then you have to translate that into language before you can even operate on it with your mind. You mind doesn’t work on the big dump. You feel that. You kind of intuit what all that means, and then you structure it linearly into language. Well how you structure that is dependent on your beliefs, your fears, your knowledge, your ignorance—all those things play into it. So to go into these databases, try to get information, and say, “Ah! This is the way it is.” Well, how good were you in making that interpretation? How good were you at parsing that information out? What did you add to it rather than what was there? Because that’s very difficult to separate—what you added to it—then best not to take that too seriously.

Eric: Very risky.

Tom: Yeah it’s very risky. So you take that information; now it’s more information that you have. But don’t take it so seriously that you start betting the farm on it, or that you start rewriting things in a different way because of what you think you learned. It’s too risky. It’s valuable in the sense that it will open your mind to other possibilities that you wouldn’t have thought of: “Oh, now I see how these structures might work out, or how they did happen, and that gives me an ability to sort through the data that I have in a different way. Because now I have a little more information.” But don’t take it too seriously. Use it as a guide, maybe, or as something that will help you see bigger pictures, but you still have to come to the conclusion based on what you see here, not on what you got someplace else.

Eric: Can I shift gears a little bit?

Tom: Sure.

23:22
Eric: As I was preparing these questions for you, I was looking at a lot of my own professional concerns, and one of them is in the area of Catholic Studies and Theology. Let me just put it this way: on the question of philosophy, I really believe that your work is on the cutting edge of a whole new kind of intellectual synthesis that will unfold in coming generations—coming centuries. And you alluded to that I think almost directly yesterday, which was very gratifying for me, to put it in this kind of context.

But there’s been these moments of great synthesis inside the mental world, inside the historical world. And in the Middle Ages, the Catholic scholars of the medieval world managed to craft an almost unlikely, history changing synthesis between Hebrew prophecy, Greek philosophy, and the Christian gospel of love and redemption. Three things that weren’t necessarily attached to each other in any way, yet they put together this unified body of Christian knowledge, creating a civilization, in a sense. In doing so, the church established the Church established equivalencies between divine justice, Christian charity—or love, Christian love—and Greek transcendentals such as Being, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. So the Catholic theologian would describe God not only as a creative agent, but as the very essence of Beauty, and the very essence of Goodness, Truth, and Love.

In Campbell’s TOE, the only two transcendentals that I can identify—I could be wrong about this—are Consciousness, which may be the Ground of Being itself, and then Love, which appears to be, in your writing, the telos of the evolutionary process—maybe “profitability” is also a transcendental; I don’t know. But it’s my sense—and again, I could be wrong about this—that your theory would see such things as Truth and Beauty either as metaphors, or primarily subjective values. So my question is, can Love stand alone as a transcendental? Or does it not also need the others? Doesn’t AUM, or Absolute Unbounded Manifold, possess and express the concrete properties of goodness, truth, beauty, and the other transcendentals: virtue, etc.?

26:05
Tom: As you talk about how a long time ago—Middle Ages—they took these various concepts, that all seemed like good ideas, but they kind of came up by different routes and different methods, and so on, and then they synthesized them. Well that’s a very good thing to do. What that is alluding to, that kind of a process—and we’re still doing that now—what that means is that if there is but one truth—there is just one truth. But there’s many, many paths to that truth. So here we had the Hebrew, the Christian, the Greek, these various paths, and they are all working toward a similar bigger picture. Now, they didn’t get but so far, and they had their own—maybe their rituals or dogmas or things were very different, but yet they were all working toward this bigger picture of: how does reality work and what’s going on here? But all these different paths are valid ways. It’s not like, this is the right path and those two are wrong paths. They’re all right paths; they’re just different paths. And it’s very helpful to combine them and see the rightness in all of them. Truth, and beauty, and justice: these are really good things. Everybody knows these are really good things.

So then you take that and you add it to law, that you get from the Hebrews; and they all get to be kind of connected.

Eric: Integrated.

Tom: Integrated. The law should have truth and beauty and goodness in it, and so on. So that’s kind of a natural combining of various paths into a bigger picture than any one path. So now we have a separate path. We had three before, now we have one that is a bigger picture than any one of the three because it’s combined them all, and taken these ideas. But first you need to get to the point where you see these other paths as valid. And see, that’s a big step. Because before that, it’s like, “No, this is my way. Your way’s wrong.” And as long as you have that, you stunt your growth.

Eric: Stagnation.

Tom: Yeah, and once you can see, “Well all of these are headed in the right direction, let’s pull them all in.” So that’s a very good idea.

Goodness, truth, compassion, justice, beauty can be subjective values, but that is not the whole story. They’re not just subjective values. At a deeper level, one finds something more fundamental than individual subjective values. We talk in our philosophy classes about values being relative or being absolute, and there are those who say, “All values are relative. It depends. Culture, all different situations, they’re all relative. You can’t say anything is absolute.” That’s wrong.

Eric: It’s the wrong question, too.

Tom: It’s wrong. There are absolutes. And in my theory, the absolute is: what we’re doing here is trying to lower our entropy. Trying to grow toward love, and that’s an absolute. Because that applies to everybody in every culture, under all circumstances. So there are absolutes. We’re not just talking about subjective or relative values. Love is an absolute value, not a relative value – it is defined and measured in terms of entropy. Love is the mother of all transcendentals. Love subsumes, and thus describes, and finally defines, goodness, truth, compassion, justice, and beauty. For instance, goodness is the eventual result of love in action. And the opposite: evil is the eventual result of fear in action. Truth is a tool, a logical consequence of love; it is how love communicates. Lies are a tool, a logical consequence of fear; it is how fear manipulates. Beauty is the aesthetic, the look and feel, of love. Ugliness is the aesthetic, the look and feel, of fear. Compassion is empathy derived from love… and justice is a combination of goodness, truth, and compassion. And all three of those I just defined as love; being derived from love. Thus, given love, one may derive all the rest of the transcendental values. AUM (or, as I often say, the Larger Consciousness System) is the medium through which love and fear can be expressed…..and also the result of such expressions, because what evolves now is the result of previous choices made.

Eric: That’s a very theologically profound answer. Really. And you’re describing all of these things as—I don’t know if I would call it an emanation of love, but certainly an operation of love, or part of love. It works the same way love works.

Tom: Yeah, love is kind of the summary. But it’s a summary that needs to be broken out because there are different aspects of the summary. So we need to get to the beauty and the compassion and the justice and goodness and all those things, but love is the core thing.

Eric: They can’t be alienated from love.

Tom: Right. And love is the key thing in my theory of consciousness. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about love because love is the lowering of entropy in this information system we call AUM. So that’s the core thing. That’s what we’re about. That’s what we do. There isn’t anything more fundamental than that, because that’s the driving force of everything else. So that’s why I would put that at the top. Because people could argue any one of these—they could put that one at the top and try to derive the others. But that’s why I put that at the top, and say that everything else falls out of that, because that’s the most fundamental of all of them, because that’s what the system’s based on. It’s a system based on love.

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Re: Eric Cunningham and TC:The Onus of Leading a Spiritual-S

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Eric: And it’s ultimately a good historical goal. It’s a good historical end point. I think that’s excellent. So, you could not have a regime of justice that wasn’t based on love. It would be false.

Tom: Right. If the regime was fearful—which means, full of ego, full of beliefs, expectations—you’re not going to have justice. There is no justice there. Justice is them getting whatever they want. That’s what’s defined as justice. So that just can’t happen. The thing is that we could work for goodness, we can work for justice, we can work for these transcendentals, but if we can work and make us and our actions and our choices love-based, all the rest of those things just happen. It’s just like that. You know, I talk to people who want to change the world. They want to tear this down: the government is bad and we need to get rid of this leadership, we need to put in people that are more enlightened, and so on. And they’re working at changing what’s outside. And that, in the end, won’t work. It’s only a temporary solution. That’s treating the symptom, not treating the problem. What we need to do is change ourselves at the root. If we become love-based, whatever government we have will eventually be exactly what we need.

Eric: I like the way you put that yesterday, with the economic systems; whether it’s capitalism, communism, fascism, socialism—fascism probably wouldn’t work, but—

Tom: Well, it would—if you started with fascism, if the whole population became love-based, how could you have a fascist government? Because the government is drawn from the population. You don’t go to some other country to find your leaders. They’re drawn out your population. They represent the people and if the people in that fascist government became love-based, it would cease being a fascist government because they couldn’t do that. Because that’s overrunning other people’s free will, and that doesn’t happen in a love-based thing. So the government would just change. What would it become? It would be whatever was most effective and most advantageous to everybody. To the whole. That may be different for different localities, different geographies, different resources that countries have—may organize themselves differently. But it’s love-based, it’s optimal, whatever it is. It’s optimal.

It doesn’t matter where you start. If you fix the people, everything else fixes itself, right down to the detail. If you’re annoyed because your neighbor plays music too loud, if we changed and became love-based, he never would do that because he’d be concerned about you, you see? All the little things fix. Things in the relationship between you and your children, your significant other, your boss, all these relationships, if we were love-based, all these problems that give us indigestion and give us anxiety and make us ill, they would all just resolve themselves. So it’s not that we should focus so much on stress management—it’s a good thing, but realize that’s treating a symptom. Stress is a symptom, it’s not a cause. The cause is the quality of our consciousness, and that drives everything else. So the quality of our consciousness means how far we have moved toward becoming love. So that puts love at the core of everything else that we do. Everything else is a derivative of that. At least that was my reasoning going in.

Eric: That makes great sense; I don’t think the revolutionaries of the world would care much for that, but—

Tom: No, they wouldn’t, because they believe that they change things the way they want them then everything would be better from then on out. And look at history. Has that ever happened?

Eric: No, it has not.

Tom: Never. It has never happened. We’ve had lots of revolutions in history; there’s been lots of coups and lots of people taking over and deposing other people—it has never resulted in a people or a society or a group becoming love, caring about each other, growing up. It hasn’t ever really done anything very important for very long.

Eric: And when you get back to psychic inertia, it’s unlikely to ever do that.

Tom: Right, it’s very unlikely.

Eric: Making the best revolution that’s ever been isn’t going to fix anything.

Tom: No. Temporarily. Temporarily you may depose some evil person and get some nice person, but if the population is evil, you’re going to end up with—an evil person eventually is going to get rid of that nice person. What you have to do is change the quality of the population. Our leaders, our institutions—whatever, our hospitals, our churches, our schools—all our institutions reflect us. They reflect who we are. They reflect our quality. So, you know, who is the enemy? Who is causing us all this trouble? We are. The old Pogo line: “I’ve seen the enemy and they are us.” Yeah, that’s the way it is. So that’s where the real change has to come. So what we do is, fix ourselves. That’s our optimal contribution to changing our politics, our economic systems, and everything else. That’s the basis, because now we’re changing the problem. We’re not trying to treat a symptom. If you don’t fix the underlying problems, the symptoms reappear. That’s why it’s transitory. Sure, it’s a kinder gentler place for a while, but it will reassert itself so that the institutions reflect the people. There’s no way around that.

So the people shaking their fists and, “We just need to pull those people down and fix that corporation; we need to do all this stuff”—it may work for a little while, it may help for a little while. Laws are helpful. I don’t mean you just give up everything. We need laws, we need structure. That’s what holds our culture and society together. But they are things that we institute because we’re not really grown up enough to do it without them. They’re there because we’re not there yet. We’re not grown up enough so we need laws to punish the people that steal and murder and do these things because, you know, we have people that are fear-based that do that sort of thing. If we were grown up, there would be very, very few laws. There wouldn’t need to be a whole lot of those laws.

Eric: I know you’re a fan of Lao Tse, and the Tao te Ching has this verse that says, “The best door needs no lock.”

Here’s a tougher question, then. Back to love and entropy: if love is defined—and I don’t know if you define or characterize it—as a low entropy state, how does the individual acquire sufficient handle on their own entropy so that they can reduce it? And, getting back to the structures—and this is a very important question about structures and laws, liturgy, sacraments, religious structures—don’t the great religious traditions provide us with time-tested cultural structures that we need to lower our entropy? If we look at the boundless compassion of the Buddha, the sacrificial love of Christ, the devotion of Mohammad: can these provide for us the Sanskrit word “upaya”—an expedient means, or a mode by which we can lower our entropy?

Tom: Well, the answer to that is, yes of course, that’s their purpose, right? That’s what they’re trying to do, and actually the question is, are they succeeding very much? And the answer is mixed. Yes, they succeed some; yes, they influence people to look at bigger pictures and to see things in a light that’s more constructive. So their purpose is to do just what you said, and that’s why they’re there, basically. The results, though, are very mixed. And we know that. We have seen very wonderful, kind, enlightened, and love-based things that have been created and organized from all the great religions. But we’ve also seen some horrible things that have been organized and created by all those religions. So it’s a mixed bag. And I think if you look at their successes, they tend to be more with individuals.

Eric: The bubbles.

Tom: Various individuals. Yeah, the bubbles. They encourage success with this person and that person. But for the masses, the general masses, I tend to say, not so much. Because the masses may or may not be too serious about their religion. The masses are basically whatever religion their parents were, and they go because that’s what they think they’re supposed to do, and it tends to be a social event as much as anything else, and seeing it as fundamental philosophy that is important for them to understand and learn, not so much. So for the most part, in the masses and in that picture, no they don’t.

The boundless compassion of the Buddha and the love of Christ simply provide individual examples of right action. Religious traditions sometimes provide encouragement toward low entropy behavior at the intellectual and emotional level … but do not, so much, offer a general process, methodology, or approach for achieving right intent and right being. In other words, the focus is more on behavior than it is at the being level, of being. Of being right. Now again, I’m talking about the way it interacts with the masses of people. It can do this with individuals, but for the most part, that’s kind of an issue.

To reduce our entropy we need to fundamentally change ourselves at the being level…we need to reduce our fear, ego, belief, and expectation. Good example, reinforced with intellectual and emotional support, typically encourages behavior, thoughts, and feeling that better emulate a Buddha or a Christ -- but changing one’s behavior and attitude to better emulate others or conform to a belief or a religious ethic -- is only a very shallow response to the requirements of consciousness evolution. One does not grow up solely through the application of one’s intellect and emotions. Changing your intent at the being level means changing who you are, not doing a better job of emulating the master or following his creeds and doctrine. Consciousness evolution takes place at a deeper level than the emulating, following, obeying, and believing that has become the primary product now delivered by most religious traditions. So that would be my thought on that.

Yes, the intention is good. They want to do these things, they were created to do these things, but a lot of other stuff has gotten in the way. And all organizations work this way. You have an organization with goals and dreams and understanding and knowledge, but if that organization spreads very wide, that original understanding, goals, and knowledge is diluted with that spread because the average person out there in the masses isn’t really ready to take on these ideas and knowledge, so it gets dumbed down to him to something that he can do, which is, “You need to act like this. You need to behave that way.” Well, that’s civilizing. If we all behaved better, we’d all live in a nicer place, but it doesn’t necessarily create any positive consciousness evolution.

Eric: Well would you say that if people were to, then, do what you say. To lower their entropy, do you think these provide suitable vessels, like a thousand years from now? Or are we at a state where our organized religions are just another state of infantile underdevelopment? Or do you see something moving categorically beyond?

Tom: I think they’re gonna move. You see, the religions are like—we talked about history as a product of its culture; religions are a product of their culture in the same way. And in our culture, we see the primary moral choice—moral imperative—as what you do. We look at morality, we look at ethics as, “What do you do?” But that’s not where morality attaches itself. Morality is attached to, “What is your intent? What’s inside? Why do you do that?” So you may do something, you may help a little old lady across the street because you think that’s the right thing to do. And you may check your watch and say, “Well, do I have time? Are a lot of people watching? If people are watching I’ll help her because that would be really good.” But it’s different than you just do it because it’s right. You don’t think about it, it’s just right. So one of them is at the intellectual and the emotional level, and the other one is at the being level. Our culture doesn’t recognize the being level. It doesn’t really recognize this deeper spot of the human—or we might call that the human soul, right? It doesn’t really recognize people at that soul-level. It sees people as their surface level. What they behave, how they speak, what do they say, what are their actions—

Eric: How do they vote? What do they buy?

Tom: Yeah, it’s all that how we define it. And religion as a product of its culture tends to focus on those things; focus on acting better. Focus on those things. But what we need to do—if we do evolve our culture to a more love-based, growing period, then religions are going to change, too, because they’re products of their culture and products of their history. And instead of trying to inculcate better behavior, let’s try to help them find their fear. Get rid of their fear. Eliminate ego. Let’s make them look at a deeper level than an action; make them look at the level of soul, at the level of being—what I call the “being level.” And that’s where the work needs to be done, and that’s where the encouragement needs to be done. They go to their religious organization, and that’s where the focus ought to be.

Now there are those people inside religious organizations—they gravitate to that focus. They know that what’s important is at a deeper level. It’s not the dogma, it’s not the rituals, it’s not the “don’t miss church every Sunday.” It’s not all that stuff. It’s what’s deep inside. And for those people, they can grow and evolve quite well within a religious structure. But that’s not the masses. The masses are out there on the edges where you can’t really talk to them about that part of them because they don’t relate. They’re not ready yet to assume that level of responsibility for who and what they are. So that’s the problem. We have religions primarily talking about behavior, and behavior is not where morality attaches to. Morality attaches to intent. And that’s kind of the difference.

So we need to be teaching people to find their fear and get rid of it, not saying, “You need to belong to my organization” because of fear—“If you don’t, horrible things will happen to you.” Now we’re giving them more fear in order to lock them into our organization. That’s counterproductive. And that’s also been a product of religion. They use the fear, they use the ego and other things—the prestige: “Join this church, it’s very prestigious. We have this and that, or we have all these social programs.” It becomes something other than what’s important.

Eric: Well in a world like this where we have old religious traditions that, as you say, don’t seem to be doing the job, or they’ve gone bankrupt in some sense; we live in a modern, mass culture where people are not conditioned to do what you’re talking about. So when people think, “Oh I need to become a better person. I need to lower my entropy, “or, “I need to raise my consciousness.” They’ll tend to gravitate toward a religious model, maybe finding it bankrupt, in a sense. So in a time like this—and I know you probably get asked this a lot—but what does one do? I know you’re not as big on praxis so much, but what might you do?

Tom: Well that does happen. I have a lot of people come to me who first felt this need—an urge—to understand, and to evolve; become something more. They knew they weren’t it, and they knew they needed to improve. And the first thing they do, because of the culture they live in: they went to religion. And they are in that for some amount of time, and they get very disillusioned because it’s not really affecting them at that level. They don’t feel like they’re a better person. And then they come bouncing out, but they bounce out with a real negative attitude toward religion. They bounce out, and religion is just a waste of time, you know, “We could wipe all the religion off the map and it would be a good thing for everybody.” They get very negative about it because it disappointed them. And I run into that all the time. I get tons of email and I’ve heard a thousand times this story about needing to connect with something that would help them grow, and trying religion, and now they’re very down on religion. It’s a very common story.

So what do those people do? Well today, they go on the internet, and they start Googling things, and they look around, and they find things that interest them, and they try a little of this, a little of that. So there is an outlet now for that. Before the internet, there was very little outlet for that. They just kind of were lost in the cultural machine. And then they became the agnostics, and the atheists, and they have their own associations; you can go to, you know, “Atheism Unlimited,” or something—they have their own organizations now that they can attend to, but basically those organizations don’t help them get to anything better either. All they do is, “I’m OK, you’re OK. We’re both better than they are.” It’s just more of the same. They’re feeding egos, they don’t have rituals, but it all has the same effect. They’re not actually helping these people get anywhere.

So then they bounce out of those things, and lots of people are in that sort of boat. And they are looking for something, and then they come across something that really works for them; it’s, “Ah! I’m so happy. I’ve found this. You’ve changed my life,” because they’re rudderless; they’re drifting in an ocean and there is nothing that satisfies. So religion needs to step into this vacuum with a good attitude toward—what we’re changing here is getting rid of fear, getting rid of ego, not selling dogma, or fear, or behavior, or attendance, or income, or any of that stuff, but here’s what’s really important. And I think that would be a sea state change for the religious community.

Eric: You talked about the internet, yesterday, as being a major piece of this puzzle.

Tom: It is.

Eric: So are you talking about that right now? Is that what you’re saying, that a lot of people who feel so disenfranchised and alienated now have the means to find the others.

Tom: They have the means to find the others. It may take them a little while searching. What they tell me, mostly, is, they go on the internet, they look for things, and then they get connected to things—one will lead into another. They’ll get connected to this book or that book and they look at out of body experiences; they’re just out searching for something, and eventually they land on my website, and they love it, and then they send me an email. These are the ones I hear from; I don’t hear the ones that land on my website and hate it. Only the ones that love it send me email.

Eric: That might have been me.

Tom: Because now they have something that really resonates with what they want to do. So if it weren’t for the internet, none of that would happen. So the internet’s a real significant player here that changes the whole dynamic of interaction that we have. Because those ideas, before, never got aired. You didn’t have all these ideas available to people. If somebody practiced—like Bob Monroe, he practices out of body and he wrote books about out of body, but people all over the world didn’t know about it. It takes 20, 30 years for him to build up—that people even know that he exists.

Eric: I found his books in an esoteric bookstore back in the late seventies. That’s where you would have to find it, not at your fingertips.

Tom: Right, you’re not gonna go search; say, “I need to find something more,” and then you run into that. But the internet gives us this connectedness that we’ve never had before. And that connectedness—we kind of take it for granted now: “Oh yeah, it’s the internet. It’s a good place to buy things and shop and see pictures.” But this internet is going to create a change in our culture and in the way we interact. In the way we change. It’s going to be more dramatic than anything we’ve seen before. You think the industrial revolution was a big change? The age of science was a big change? You know we have these things—the printing press: suddenly we could spread information—big change. These are all small compared to what the internet will do.

But now this internet, there are some people of course trying to control it, so they can get the paradigm back to the way it was. You don’t really get on the internet until you go through the big corporations first. That’s an effort. But there’s also people fighting on the other side saying, “We need a free internet. A level playing field so everybody can get on.” That’s very, very important. And eventually, it will be that way because this is something you can’t squash. See that’s the beauty of the internet. Like China tries, you can ban it, and somebody sticks up an antenna in their attic and they got it. It’s impossible to control. These aren’t the old days when you could put up a bridge and nobody can go to the next land. This internet is everywhere, and if it gets controlled, something will pop up and say, “Well you can use this internet. This one’s not controlled.” And eventually the people who have it controlled, their part of the internet will shrink and go away. And then there will be laws, just like in China, they’ll go get you and put you in jail if you have an antenna—people will do it anyway. So it’s not suppressible.

Eric: Yeah. That’s a good thing.

Tom: That’s a good thing. It’s not suppressible. In the short term it can be suppressed for a while, but in the long-term, it’s just not suppressible. So that’s the good news, and that makes everything different.

Eric: OK, another kind of minor shifting of gears here, moving, maybe, deeper to the question of theology. And you might be interested to know that I shared the essentials of My Big Toe—or Your Big Toe—with two very insightful, almost mystical, deeply learned, very prayerful priest friends of mine. Both of them agreed that the essentials of what you’re saying made perfect sense—some very good sense—but I said, “What about the idea that”—this is coming from your book—“looking at Christ or Christianity as a metaphor,” using the term “metaphor.” He was very thoughtful and said. “I wouldn’t use the word ‘metaphor;’ it sounds too literary. But I like the idea of ‘icon.’ Because Christ,”—he was referring to the letters of Saint Paul and the Corinthians, I think—“Christ is the perfect image of God.” And it made me wonder about the importance of aesthetics and culture in the creation of the contextual “game-space” in which we make our culture. And there isn’t a whole lot in your text about aesthetic, or the creation of aesthetic. I was wondering if there was one: is that something that’s waiting in the wings for you?

Tom: Well, I think your friend wanted to disagree with the concept of Christ being a metaphor because that sounds—

Eric: It sounds sacrilegious.

Tom: Sacrilegious and a little weak. A metaphor is something that stands for something else, basically, and it is literary. That’s how it’s used most of the time, and that would just sound like kind of a weak comparison. And he found a way to do it without being disagreeable: “Well, how about an icon?” Icons and metaphors are both symbols. An icon is a well-known symbol that either figuratively or literally represents or stands for something. That’s an icon. A metaphor is a symbol that figuratively or literally describes or stands for something. There’s only a little bit of difference. One basically represents where the other describes. That’s the main difference. Both are symbols, and symbols are primarily about information. It is the information that is significant, not the symbol. So information is significant, not the symbol—not the icon, not the metaphor, but the information. Confusing the two is common everywhere, in all forums – but particularly so within emotionally focused or passionate forums. Any kind of passionate forum, where people get together and they’re really excited about something, the symbols—the metaphors and icons—tend to all become intertwined with each other, and they’re not separated very well.

Confusing icons and metaphors with the information they stand for is a very common simplifying strategy because it produces a satisfying illusion of certainty for the least amount of effort expended. Fearful humans seek concreteness in order to avoid the uncertainty of theory or abstraction. They seek belief to avoid the uncertainty of open-minded skepticism. They seek simple answers and concepts to avoid the uncertainty of incomplete answers and complex concepts. They seek to become perpetual dependent and protected children to avoid the uncertainty and responsibility of adulthood.

So that is a major problem everywhere, and it has also been a major problem with religion, in that the symbols start to become the point of it all rather than the information that the symbol stands for. We get to confuse those. It happens in science; science does the same thing. The way I talked about yesterday: they only measure effects, and then they make up models. The model’s a metaphor. And then they believe the metaphor; they believe the model. And then pretty soon the metaphor—which is the electron rather than the effects of the electron that they measured—the electron, the metaphor, becomes the real thing. And the effect now is secondary to the real thing, which is the electron. But actually, the effect is the only thing that we can measure. The thing itself is just a model, and when you confuse those two, now the metaphor is the reality—is the thing. You’ve lost your bigger picture of what’s going on. You no longer have the big picture of what’s going on; you’ve just confused yourself. And then in science, you do things like saying, “Well, an atom has a nucleus and it’s like a basketball, and the electron is this little piece of mass with charge and it buzzes around.” Well, thirty years later, you say, “Oops, wrong model. It’s not like that at all. It’s really, you know, this sort of thing.” And then another 20 years after that, you say, “Well actually there really is no electron. It’s just a point, and it’s got the attributes of charge and the attributes of mass.” Well now we’ve gotten it back to information. So we measured something that was an effect, and we realized that that effect is just information. And it exists at a point in space. So now we’ve gotten back to basics, but meanwhile 50 years went by when we had the total wrong idea about the nature of reality because we believed in our metaphors as being the real thing.

And in religion, the same thing happens. You get beads, you get crosses, you get Stars of David, you get other things, and pretty soon they become sacred, and the sacred metaphors, the sacred symbols, are worth fighting over. They’re worth dying over. The flag: it’s a national symbol, right? “You desecrated the flag!”

Eric: Well, there’s icons and there’s icons. You might find this interesting. In the Eastern Catholic tradition, an icon is more than a representation. It’s an interface; it’s almost like a portal. It reminds me almost of binaural beats in a way, because binaural beats isn’t the thing; as you point out often, you don’t want to become reliant on crutches of any kind. But yet the mystic of the Eastern Orthodox tradition will actually go into image. So it’s more than just a picture—

Tom: Right, it’s a tool. It’s a tool for focusing your intent. For focusing what it is you’re trying to do. So the mystic sees that relic, or that icon, and they use that as a tool for focusing their intent—their consciousness—on a bigger picture. They become “one with it,” or like you say, they go into it, and it’s a tool. We don’t want to make our tools sacred things. We want to realize our tools are just tools, and as long as we call our tools “tools,” there is no problem whatsoever with using tools. Tools are necessary; we need to make these kinds of tools. When people use their minds to heal, they use light, and they put light on spots. The light’s a tool. There isn’t any light. There isn’t any spot.

Eric: You’ve talked about the chakras and whatnot as tools.

Tom: Right, they’re all tools, and these icons—often paintings, sometimes other religious objects—these icons, they’re tools in the same way. They’re tools that we use to help us connect in ways that are valuable to us. As long as we know they’re tools then there’s no harm done. As a matter of fact, there’s a lot of good done.

Eric: So you’re in favor of the proliferation of symbols of beauty.

Tom: Sure, things that we can use. Art would be the same way. You look at art and it gives you something that’s worthwhile, but the art is being used as a tool. So art’s good. Tools are good. It’s good that people heal with light. The light workers heal with light; that’s not a wrong thing. It’s not like, “Oh, that’s just a tool; you shouldn’t do that.” It’s a good tool: use it. There’s nothing wrong with tools. The only problem we get into is when the tools become things in themselves; become—

Eric: Mistaking the map for the territory.

Tom: Mistaking the map for the territory. Exactly. So, icons: yeah, sure. Metaphors: sure. Tools of all sorts: great. Just be aware that they’re tools.

Eric: How do we get around the words like “entropy” and “consciousness,” which are also tools, right? “Love” is a word that is also metaphorical.

Tom: All these things are metaphors. When I talk about the larger consciousness system as a digital information system, that’s a metaphor. AUM: that’s a metaphor. All these things are metaphors, and they’re ways—they’re tools—they’re ways to help people think about the subject. They’re structures. They’re ways to help people process the information. Because if the information is too abstract, most people can’t process it. So you make it less abstract. You say, “Here’s a system. It’s an information system. We’ll give it a name of AUM and it has these properties. And it creates individuated units of consciousness. Part of that is a Free Will Awareness Unit. And they do all these things.” And then people make these—

Eric: Everything in your glossary, essentially.

Tom: Yeah. When I do lectures and I have one of my slides, in some of the workshops I do, and it says, “We start with our body, we go up then to our aware consciousness, like the Free Will Awareness Unit, and then we have our higher self, and then our superego/higher self. There’s lots of these ways—

Eric: These layers.

Tom: Yeah, layers of ever higher or ever lower—and people break them into groups, you know. The chakras, and they’re on seven levels, and different parts of the body, and each one has different psychic connections.

Eric: The Thetahealers have their own five levels of this and that—

Tom: Exactly, all that stuff is just tools. They’re metaphors, and they’re metaphors that help people understand something. They make it more concrete. They make it in a way that they can relate. It’s like a functional diagram, and they can name these pieces and then work with them like they’re concrete things. But I warn people: these are metaphors. They give you an ability to form thoughts in language. If you didn’t have these tools and metaphors, it would be very difficult for you to think about the subject. You need these metaphors, otherwise you can’t even think about it. It helps you structure. But again, as long as you don’t think that the metaphor is the thing, the important thing; it’s not. It’s the information. What does the metaphor stand for? That’s important. The metaphor itself is not important. Now I use metaphors that were easy to understand in the 21st century. People understand virtual reality and information systems, the description for information, because it fits so well and because these are concepts and tools that people can have. And it makes a good metaphor.

Now there are good metaphors and bad metaphors. A good metaphor should connect almost every way you look at it and be meaningful. A bad metaphor: maybe it makes sense here, but it really doesn’t make sense other places. So you try to use good metaphors, and they’re essential for almost everyone to even think thoughts that are constructive about the subject. So we need them, but we don’t need to be fooled by them. We don’t need to think that electrons actually exist. We don’t need to think that that painting is really the magic painting. It’s just a tool; it’s not a magic painting of Jesus or something else. It’s just a tool that we can use to do something important.

Eric: So if you had to define a preferred aesthetic of some kind, would your glossaries represent that? Clinical language?

Tom: Probably. An MBT aesthetic is based upon developing and understanding that information is fundamental—so that’s the core—to the nature of existence in general, and to the nature our existence in particular (who we are, the point and purpose of us, the meaning of us, what we are supposed to be doing here and why we’re supposed to be doing it) . Metaphors are used extensively to describe this information because physical reality-based language offers few possibilities for direct accurate descriptions. However MBT metaphors are carefully labeled as such to help mitigate the tendency of people to confuse the metaphor or symbol with the information or function the symbol is trying to convey. This MBT cultural viewpoint is best summed up with the often repeated phrase: Don’t confuse the model of reality with reality. They’re two different things. Don’t confuse what you measure with the electron that you make up to fit the measurement. They’re different. The measurement’s the real thing. This is what you’ve just made up as a model to describe it. Don’t confuse those. So that’s kind of the fundamental thing.

Secondly, the MBT culture never tries to convince readers to believe what they read in the MBT trilogy or what they hear in MBT presentations. The often repeated phrase: “If it is not your experience, it cannot be your truth” and the constant praise of open-minded skepticism sums this idea up. My Big TOE is offered only as a catalyst to help individuals evolve their own Big TOE -- not to point out to others what they should believe or how they should view reality. We’re trying to be honest here, and we don’t want people to be misled, but probably 80% of them are anyway. I get stuff all the time—even if I say this over and over again—that say, “How does the higher self communicate or connect to this?” And they’re very tied up in structure.

Eric: In abstract structures.

Tom: Yeah in the structure. Because any metaphor doesn’t necessarily work well for every possible way that you look at it. And I write back to them, and I say, “Look, you’re getting all wadded up over the mechanics of how this works. That’s not important.” Just get the ideas. Get the fundamentals. What’s the real information here? It’s not, “How does the higher self relate to the Akashic records? How does the higher self—is that different than an oversoul?” Don’t worry about these things. These are not important things to worry about, how the higher self relates to an oversoul. It’s just two different metaphors that people have used. You know, “How do the chakras relate to the higher self?” They get confused about this, and I try to tell them, “Just let that go. It’s not important. These are metaphors. Look for significance.”

Thirdly, MBT is universal. It equally satisfies, supports, and appeals to atheists as well as agnostics and theists. That’s quite a thing, if you support the ideas of atheists and you support the ideas of theists equally well: how can you do that? To support them, it’s opposite, but this does that. Atheists look at it and they say, “Yeah, I knew it all along: it’s just a natural structure.” And theists see it and say, “Yeah, I knew it all along. There’s this creator who is creating.” So it basically satisfies the viewpoints of atheists and theists.

Eric: It’s the most adaptable metaphor.

Tom: Right. It satisfies, supports, and appeals to philosophers, theologians, and metaphysicians as well as scientists. See scientists can look at this and it supports science: it’s logical process. It talks equally to the left brained and the right brained, the advantaged and the disadvantaged, male and female, Western cultures and Eastern cultures. There is no dogma, no creed or prescribed beliefs. Everyone is welcomed. So this is like a universal thing, so that’s part of our aesthetic.

And lastly, MBT sees the individual as the center of everything else. Not the organization. Not the collection. Not the books, it’s not me, it’s not the theory. The individual is the center of everything else. Growth (evolution) is an individual thing that must be achieved solely by the individual. Growth cannot be forced, taught, or manipulated by others – individuals must change themselves. The whole (LCS) evolves as individuals evolve. All cultural, social, and personal problems will solve themselves as more and more individuals grow up. There is no need for founders or leaders or organizations to validate preferred or necessary processes and concepts. All individual paths are valid and can eventually lead to positive consciousness evolution. Individuals do not need mommy, daddy or big brother, or any other authority, or anyone’s permission or certification, to come along on this ride and to succeed. There is no gateway, no filter, through which one must first pass. If one is sincerely interested in growing up, becoming more, or moving toward the light, that is enough. So that’s kind of the aesthetic. Those are the key things that mark this philosophy; the key ideas.

Eric: That makes a lot of sense. This is a question about your role as a teacher, also in a sort of historical context. Your books, videos, and workshops would tend to place you in the “Gnostic” category. Like Rudolf Steiner and Edgar Cayce, to name only two people, you have acquired knowledge of spirit worlds and you affirm that anybody can acquire this knowledge if they apply themselves to a path of meditation with discipline, patience, and perseverance.

But like these teachers, and many Zen masters, mystics of many stripes, you’ve also insisted that the goal is not the attainment of magical powers or “supernatural” abilities, but rather the increased, higher quality of consciousness that comes from the practice. This makes me wonder why you have been generally non-specific about forms and “praxis.” You don’t give out postures, no specific mantras, no objects of devotion, no texts or liturgies. So—maybe this gets back to an earlier question, but without clear guidance on the way to meditate or to be mindful, isn’t there some risk that an individual could follow a strictly egocentric path that would get in the way of them “becoming love?”

Tom: I don’t offer prescriptions because prescriptions don’t work. The individual is the key. Every individual needs to find their own way. I don’t offer methods because that would be my method. That would be the method that I did, or I followed, or the methods that I know about. Individuals need to create their own methods. Again, it’s all about the individual. What the individual does. They need to go on their own path. They’re not children. They’re responsible for their own evolution. I can only help so much. After that, I become part of their problem rather than part of their solution because I give them something to do: “OK, do it this way.” Now they try to do it that way. That pretty much equates to them trying to have my experience. They’re trying to do it the way I did it. That’s not good. They need to find their own way. To take responsibility for their own direction, and not look for a prescription from somebody else to tell them what to do. That’s counterproductive.

Specific guidance can be more of a problem than a help because it creates beliefs and expectations. You give them something specific to do and they believe that’s the only way that they can get there. But that doesn’t work for them very well because it doesn’t resonate with them. Now they’re stuck because they believe there isn’t any other way to go: “This is the right way, because Tom Campbell said it’s the right way you have to go to get there.” I’m hurting them, not helping them by giving them that. So it’s not productive for people to want emulate me and have my experiences instead of being themselves and having their own experience. Success is not about doing, and not about having experiences, it is about using your experience and understanding to change yourself at the being level, and I can’t do that for anybody. Everybody has to do that for themselves. So it is a difficult thing because people in our culture say, “OK, what do I do? Tell me what to do.” They want a prescription. And I don’t give them a prescription. I say, “Just do it. Just start. You want to grow up?”—I give them little things; I say, “Anything that makes you feel ill at ease, anything negative in your life, that’s an ego. Find a fear. Work with the fear, get rid of it and the ego will dissipate. You’ll feel better. Your life will get better. Then pick another one and continue to do that. So that’s instructions, but it’s not telling them how to do anything.

Eric: Do this every morning.

Tom: Yeah. It doesn’t tell them how to do it, it just tells them that’s a process. But it’s a very general process. So I do give people general processes to approach this because they need some guidance. But I don’t give them specific processes: “Lie down in your bed with your head facing north. Now bring up an image of a—“ I don’t do that because that’s not helpful for them. I want others to get there on their own. They need to get there by themselves. Create their own path to success, or what they accomplish won’t be significant to them at a fundamental level. They must experience, not emulate. They must be different, not do things differently. I give plenty of general guidance (3 books, over 210 videos and thousands of email) about things to do and how to do it… after that, it is up to each individual to figure out about how to apply that information to themselves. Besides, there are multiple other ways to get that one on one interaction. There’s forums; there’s programs—several groups have sprung up around the country that come and discuss it. So there are ways to do that, but they’re all spontaneous things, pretty much.

Eric: But they’re not guru-bound.

Tom: They’re not guru-bound. My Big TOE is to encourage them to create Their Big TOE. That’s why I called it My Big TOE, because it’s mine in the sense that you can’t have my experience. You have to create your own big TOE. And it may not be right; that’s OK. Keep working at it. Eventually, if you keep trying, all the paths will converge to the right answer, as long as you keep trying to do that.

Growing up is something that each person must do in their own way and in their own time – for me to meddle with that natural process creates a lower, not higher, probability of long term success. If they can’t get it together and they just can’t try and they can’t put any energy to it, they’re not ready yet. And for somebody to push at them to try to get them to do it when they’re not ready will make them even less ready. They’ll back up. Whenever you get pushed, you tend to push back. So it doesn’t work.

My way does not define the right way for anyone but me. For the same reasons I do not share my many experiences in nonphysical reality – the down side (beliefs and expectations) is much greater than the up side, which is entertainment, mostly, or giving them some idea of what it’s like. Because that’s what it’s like to me.

Eric: I thought you explained that really well yesterday. Here’s a follow-up to that question. On the assumption (and I may be wrong on this) that relatively few people have attained your level of knowledge, would it be wrong to think that you’ve been set apart or chosen in some way? You’ve never claimed it, I don’t thing, in any of your writings, and have done a great deal to reject attempts to make a guru out of you—but in MBT you do suggest that there are “gatekeepers”—people testing you, letting you in, keeping you out. Is it the case, to paraphrase Jesus in the New Testament, that many are called but few are chosen?

Tom: Your assumption is probably true -- I am unique, but only in the same way that we are all unique. All of us have our challenges, our roles to play, lessons to learn, and things to accomplish. We are all set apart and chosen for our next experience packet. We go into a situation designed to be challenging, yet well within our ability to be successful. Some experience packets are more planned and focused on specific goals than others. Some are more in service to the big picture, and others more in service to the little picture, while others are simply to gain experience and practice in making good choices.

The more you already know, the easier it is to learn more -- and the more responsibility you have to employ that knowledge to the best advantage of the whole.

The bottom line is that the LCS is a most perfect example of an equal opportunity employer. The probability of, and possibilities for, your advancement, is only limited by yourself.

We (all conscious life forms) are all in the same boat, more or less, trying to evolve the quality of our consciousness using whatever tools and abilities we have accumulated at the moment of each choice. Additionally, if we have the ability, we also want to help others find the light.

An analogy: Consider a ditch digger employed by a large corporation, he should dig the very best ditch that he can … and try to interact positively with all who he comes in contact with. Now, consider the CEO of that corporation. He should make the very best decisions he can and try to interact positively with all who he comes in contact with. Both positions would come with as many personal growth opportunities as one could use – there is very little fundamental big picture difference between them. Now, there are huge little picture differences…but these are of little to no consequence from a big picture perspective. Only the big picture perspective is significant in the long run.

I make little of my uniqueness – it is of very small consequence to anything significant. Remember, it is the information, the message, the value of the message, that is significant within this reality frame, not the symbol, and not the messenger – these represent little more than the mechanics of presentation and delivery. Likewise, seeing, understanding, or exploring the bigger picture and appreciating the source of the message itself is also not necessary or important compared to delivering a message that actually helps facilitate the positive consciousness evolution of both individuals and the system. Otherwise, if one gives more than cursory notice to the symbols used to convey the message or the messenger, or even the source of the message,…. inevitably, one ends up with an unfortunate shift of focus from the message to the symbols or the messenger – that is, a personality cult – because, as we said above in answering question 3: most people, being fearful and insecure, are eager to play the safe and easy role of children to those who would assume the authority to tell them how to act, think, and be (i.e., what to believe) – a fact of the human condition that has been the bane of religion… diluting, distorting and misdirecting genuine religious and metaphysical revelation since the beginning of time. We turn what is a wonderful opportunity into a personality cult and we lose the message in the process.

All significance lies in the value and effectiveness of the message, not in the symbols, not in the messenger, and not in the appreciation and understanding of the source of the message. In the past, the “guru, master or chosen one” had to forever carry the message into the future on his back… accepting dysfunctional, sub-optimal results in order to guarantee any results at all. In other words, if you didn’t have a personality cult, everything just went away. You didn’t have anything at all. So the personality cult, because of the way people are, is what was cohesive enough to keep the ideas going. So they had to carry this through history—like I say—on their back, as a personality cult. In the information age, things are different, the messenger simply needs to do his job well and then get off the stage – consequently, the automatic penalties (i.e., having to accept a, sub-optimal process with severe limitations in order to get any results at all) no longer apply.

If you have a good message and people are getting it and they’re making their own Big TOEs—not relying on mine—I don’t need to get in the way of their progress to tell them how to do it, or how well they’re doing it. They need to just do it on their own. So I don’t insert myself into the process, and I try to keep as low a profile as possible. And people do kind of keep wanting to push me up there to be that guru, and they see me that way, but I don’t feed it as much as I can, because it’s really not helpful. It’s dysfunctional. We don’t need a personality cult to keep these ideas going. These ideas are in 220 videos on Youtube that have been spread to 2 million viewers, and they don’t need me to keep this idea going. If it’s an idea that works, it will spread. It will grow all by itself.

As I said yesterday: Finally, for the first time in history, all the necessary pieces of the consciousness evolution puzzle have come together to enable a major world-wide paradigm shift away from fear and toward love. And the guru, or the master, is a problem—a bigger problem than it is a help. It used to be a help because otherwise the idea would dissipate. But now, it gets in the way of people doing their own things and learning in their own way, and it has to be an individual process. It can’t be a group process. An individual has to grow up in their own way, with their own effort. The group isn’t going to do it. The group can help generate enthusiasm. You can have a cheerleading group: “All right, we’re all going to go do this! We’re all going to swear that we’re going to meditate twice a day and work on these things, and get rid of our fear.” And that will help some because it energizes people. But it isn’t going to help anybody grow a bit. It’s not going to help anybody become love. So the group is kind of on the side. Good for motivation, but not really good for achieving the goal.

Eric: And the gurus even farther on the side.

Tom: Yeah, and the gurus even farther on the side.

Eric: You’ve repeatedly stated that consciousness is the ultimate reality, and that all phenomena in the PMR and NPMR possess it—they possess consciousness—either as dim consciousness or bright consciousness. In our reality frame, the human organism seems to be unique among the hierarchy of conscious beings, in that it is highly self-aware, culture producing, and capable of acting freely against its own instincts, and against its own reasonable judgment.

Is humanity uniquely favored, or uniquely cursed among the entities in PMR? What would you say are our prospects, promises and potential pitfalls?

Tom: Very good question. We humans are neither favored nor cursed, in the sense of being granted unearned benefits or difficulties. However, at this time, we humans do represent the greatest long term evolutionary potential of all the life-forms on this planet. That makes us the main characters of this evolutionary play. All the supporting characters have necessary roles to play; however, the evolutionary long term outcome is ours to create through the application our free will choices.

This VR (our universe) represents a fast track opportunity for consciousness evolution…an opportunity that all of us humans should take seriously and be grateful for. So we are the choice-makers. We are the ones that have evolved to be able to make choices that evolves the quality of our consciousness more readily and more dramatically and in larger ways than any others. We have a greater variety of choices and things that we do. We’ve generated so many choices. We have dolphins and orca that have bigger brains than we do, but because of their environment, they don’t have as many choices. All the structures—the internet itself, their communications, everything that we’ve done—we have so many choices, so many ways we can go, so much that we can do, and create, and destroy, that our choices are greater, by far, than any other creature. Even if other creatures are more intelligent than us, we have more ways that we effect the world than do the dolphins or the orcas. There’s little they can do to destroy the world or remake it.

We are the key player here in this game, and the next step in evolution is that we, the key players, begin to understand that love is the answer. That we need to cooperate. And the next evolutionary step is that we human beings create something bigger. A lower entropy structure. That’s where we’re going. That’s what we have to do. Now we’re all scattered, we’re all individuals; everybody for themselves. But we have to change that, and we the humans will create a structure that’s lower entropy for all the creatures: for the plants, for the animals, and the ocean; all over the place. We will husband, we will take care, we will be mindful of them—we will love them as well. The forests, the natural things. It’s in our ballpark now. It’s our thing to do as humans to take the next evolutionary step, and that is to create something more than we are now.

Transcript thanks to board member S.Lareck.
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