Charles Eisenstein Transcript

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Charles Eisenstein Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I have conducted over 390 of them by now. And if you’d like to look at previous ones, go to And go under the past interviews menu where you find all the previous ones, archived and organized in four or five different ways. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative viewers and listeners. And so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there’s a Donate button on the site. My guest today is Charles Eisenstein. Charles is a speaker and writer focusing on themes of human culture and identity. He is the author of several books, most recently, sacred economics and the more beautiful world our hearts know as possible. His background includes, excuse me a degree in mathematics and philosophy from Yale, a decade in Taiwan as a translator, and stints as a college instructor and yoga teacher, and a construction worker. He currently writes and speaks full time. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife and four children. And that little introduction doesn’t really explain why I have Charles on the show. So let me say a couple things. And as we get into our conversation, it’ll be very clear. Why have Charles on the show, you’ve often heard me suggest that spiritual development is not in any way, divorced from the real world and the problems that beset us in our world, both individually and as a society. And that, you know, the various problems such as global warming, economic problems, political problems, health problems, all the things that, you know, humanity confronts are symptomatic of the consciousness of the individuals that make up the world. Just as let’s say the, the color of a forest, if you flew over it would be symptomatic of the healthiness of the individual trees in the forest, it might be gray, it might be green, depending upon the overall health of the trees. So I find that Charles thinks along similar lines, and at least I hope I understand it to be doing that if I understood him correctly. And he does so very eloquently and very deeply. And I’ve just finished reading his book or nearly finished reading his book, The more beautiful world our hearts know as possible. And he delves really clearly and deeply into a number of points that relate to what I’ve just said. So I’m really looking forward to this conversation with Charles. And I think we’re going to cover a wide range of topics related to what I just said. So how did I do Charles? Did I do justice at all, to you know where you’re coming from?

Charles Eisenstein: I don’t know. I always feel a little bit embarrassed about the official bio. I’ve been trying to erase it from the internet. But it’s, I mean, what does it really tell you? You know, like, the whole the whole thing about introducing myself to people I don’t know. Like, normally you sit, you only say the good things about yourself, you know, but that’s not actually even honest. But if I tell the bad things about myself, that’s a little bit you know, too much information and not an appropriate boundary. So it’s kind of weird.

Rick Archer: Charles used to take candy from babies because he knew it wasn’t good for the babies and that it made them cry and we can go into things like that. Yeah. Well, let’s just just for the sake of people getting to know a little bit better who you are and what your background is. I know that you know, you mentioned that you were very sensitive child, which I which is often characteristic of people who later get an interested in spirituality. You got bullied in school that had a big impact on you. Give us your background. I mean, just you know, what, five minute background what led you to where you are now and where you see things.

Charles Eisenstein: My background is not actually that unusual. I’m not I haven’t done anything especially heroic. You know, I don’t have any really dramatic story. And I was saying it’s nothing, nothing special, actually, which I think is a very good sign. Because if it were only the very unusual special people who were resisting and trying to transform the deep stories that run our culture, that would be bad news, if it’s only for special people, but like, actually, I mean, I’m not gonna say I’m an ordinary person, but I’m not like that unusual or that extraordinary either.

Rick Archer: And, you know, the subtitle of this show is interviews with ordinary spiritually Awakening people. And the title of the show Buddha at the Gas Pump. The implication is that, in this day and age, all kinds of people are waking up. And, and you it’s likely that you’ll be encountering a Buddha, and you know, at the gas pump, you know, some some guy who is living an ordinary life, or some girl or woman who is living an ordinary life appears ordinary, but has got something really interesting going on inside.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s, that’s a really accurate kind of depiction of our times, whereas maybe 50, or 100 years ago, it was only profound visionaries that saw through the illusion of our civilization, but now, everybody’s waking up to it. And so, you know, there I was a kid, stable home, loving parents, you know, good school as far as that goes. And I still, maybe because of the sensitivity, I still felt a very intense presence of a wrongness in the world that I couldn’t identify. But it was obvious enough to prevent me from fully going along with the program. So I kind of ripped through childhood and adolescence kind of half in half out doing just enough to get by, you know, went to an elite university, but didn’t really apply myself, you know, and maybe there was a voice that said, Well, there’s something wrong with you for doing that you’re lazy, you’re not motivated, what’s wrong with you for not complying with the instruction set of the system. But from another perspective, there’s something right with you and anybody who is listening to this, if you were procrastinating, or if you’re lazy, that may not be a problem, if that’s your unconscious way of resisting participation in something that is not really what you want to participate in. And that’s happening to a lot of people. Because the the kind of overarching story of our civilization that says, here’s where we’re going, here’s how to participate in it, here’s how to be human, that story is falling apart, and a lot of people, but there’s a lot of pressure to conform to it. But then there’s this inner kind of rebellion, this soul rebellion against it. So we’re kind of a lot of people are in that place half in half out, resisting unconsciously with, with addictions or something like that. And so I think that my story is really many, many people’s story and more and more so as the instruction set becomes less and less relevant.

Rick Archer: Yeah. You were born in 1967, which was the summer of love. First time I took LSD and a whole things were going wild that summer, the Beatles came out with Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Jefferson Airplane came out with surrealistic pillow, and the Haight Ashbury thing was at its height. And, and people then were saying some of the same things, you just said that, you know, the old system isn’t working, the world is falling apart, I’m gonna tune in, turn on and drop out if I got those in the right order. But now here we are 50 years later. And, you know, a lot of people felt like, well, it didn’t happen, you know, it didn’t change and world is getting worse and worse. I mean, how do you kind of reflect on people’s expectations back then visa vie, you know, what’s actually panned out?

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, most of those people became lawyers and dentists. Right? Yeah. But But, so what they learned is that, I mean, they were seeing something real, they were seeing, um, this is what I call the more beautiful world our hearts know as possible. They were seeing something real. But what they didn’t realize is that they were carrying a lot of baggage, a lot of wounds, a lot of habits of the old story. So when they went to make their perfect little societies and their communes and all of their other visionary projects, the, the, the hidden baggage of the old story, came with them, and then came out to the surface and had to be dealt with. And so they, you know, it’s like you get I mean, LSD is kind of like that, you know, you get transported to a place. But then after it’s over, like you get a glimpse of something and in that moment, you know that you’re seeing something have found, but then it’s over, you’re back to who you were. And like, yeah, you could try to take it again and again. But eventually you realize that the only way to get to that place is not to be picked up and put there. But to walk there, and to try to transfer traverse the entire territory in between. And so that’s what we’ve been doing on a cultural level, after this magnificent glimpse of hippy planet, you know what the world could be? Then we realize, you know, there’s a lot of stuff to work through to get up there. But we have an advantage today, like, yeah, I am saying some of the same things that were said in the 60s. But the advantage we have today is the 60s. The advantage we have today is that we’re standing on the shoulders of the people who tried and failed to create the world that we want to live in. But we can learn from their wisdom. And they’ve also created kind of an energetic template that that makes, like when they were telling their parents about this stuff. It was like they were aliens from another planet, like there was no possible way for their, for the society to even understand what they were talking about. But that’s not true today, like my parents were born before the hippies. I mean, they were before baby boomers, you know, they were born, like, during World War Two or before, but they, you know, still heard about it an awful lot. And, and so these concepts are not foreign to them. So I think that we are making progress toward a collective Enlightenment. But it’s yeah, it’s not like all of a sudden that happens.

Rick Archer: No, things never do. Yeah, either individually or collectively, you know,

Charles Eisenstein: you get a glimpse all of a sudden, but but there’s still the stuff to work through.

Rick Archer: Yeah, one thing I heard you say, I listened to quite a few hours of your podcast, in addition to reading your book, and especially like the ones with Rupert Sheldrake, and one of the things I heard you say was that when things are about to collapse, they become exaggerated. You know, on our current political you, these may, these were made before the recent presidential election, you predicted correctly, that Trump was gonna win. And you kind of like, saw that as a indication that things are really coming to a head because of the sort of exaggeration of certain qualities that really don’t have a place in a more enlightened world. You want to reflect on that. But

Charles Eisenstein: yeah, like through the farcical nature of politics, for example, that’s not new. It’s been growing for decades now. So but you know, you could still pretend until last year, you can still pretend that the system was fundamentally working, okay, with just a little bit of self delusion, you could say that the political system is functioning, we have a functioning democracy, and you know, it’s working. But with the election, it is now it’s like so in your face that and not that there’s some people, even the people who voted for him now. It’s not like they think that normal is working either. A lot of them voted out of this kind of nihilism or fatal realism or this, like really, kind of, I don’t want to psychoanalyze everybody, but nobody thinks now, it’s almost impossible to think that the American American democracy that we learned in civics class in high school is functioning that way, the story is broken. And yeah, it’s taking on a very extreme. Like, the farcical nature of it is, is the farce is at an extreme now,

Rick Archer: you probably don’t consider yourself a futurist. But and you probably don’t want to make specific timeline predictions. But however long it takes, you know, what do you see? The more beautiful world our hearts know as possible, actually looking like, and whether it takes five years, 10 years, 30 years? What do you see it actually looking like? And what sort of changes earthquakes do you think that we’ll have to undergo in order to get from here to there? Well, that’s a pretty broad question. Well, you know, well, it Stokes broad strokes answer. Yeah.

Charles Eisenstein: So I think that on one level, things are gonna get a lot worse before they get a lot worse before they get better. And that will be its Crisis and Emergency and, and sometimes suffering that brings forth the gifts that are needed to trance to transition to the next level. So we are going to witness because of crisis, we’re going to witness the emergence of human qualities, modes of interaction that have been marginal up until now. It’s But they will come forth according to the need. So on one level, things are going to be worse. But we’re going to say, I think, in my lifetime, and I’m not saying five or 10 years, but I’m saying, you know, 40 years, maybe we’re going to be able to say, yeah, things have gotten much worse on every measurable level. But we’ve turned a corner, we, as a civilization are now basically in consensus about why we’re here on Earth, and where we have to go. And the consensus will be that we are here on Earth, to bring healing to the biosphere. And after that has been accomplished, who knows while we’re here on Earth, but right now, that right now we are participants in healing of nature.

Rick Archer: You speak Chinese and as I recall, doesn’t the Chinese symbol for crisis contain the symbol for opportunity, or some such thing

Charles Eisenstein: I’ve heard that’s like such a cliche. But in fact, there’s like, a lot of cliches have a little truth in them. And it’s that the the word that is using the word for crisis, she is also using the word for opportunity. And it kind of can mean either one. It can be a turning point of a fulcrum, kind of.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think I might have heard that point from Elizabeth tourists, who is a futurist and an evolutionary biologist. And I guess she was saying, like, you know, the caterpillar goes into a real crisis when it turns into mush. But you know, the imaginal cells within the cocoon, begin to form a butterfly. And that comes out a completely different thing. I one thing I heard you say in one of your talks, is that if you look at the many problems besetting humanity, I mean, global warming, nuclear waste, many other things. Take any one individually, and we can’t figure out how to solve it. And the fact that there are a multitude of them makes it all the more overwhelming. And somehow you I think you use the word bewilderment, when you brought up that point, and how being COC sure have the answers, you know, I know how to solve this, I’m going to get jobs for everybody, I’m gonna, you know, you’re all gonna mine coal, again, I mean, that that kind of attitude, doesn’t really lend itself to going deep enough to actually solve problems that they’re that we need to sort of enter into a phase of not being so sure of ourselves. You want to elaborate on that?

Charles Eisenstein: Sure. So when you don’t know what to do, and I think right now we’re facing a time where we really don’t know what to do, then the most positive step forward you can take is to stop pretending that you know what to do. And to say, like, I would love to see a political candidate, say, you know, I have no idea what to do about the economy. I just don’t know. Like, why does everybody have to know, I mean, it’s a habit that we got in school, where you are supposed to know everything, because the answers are made available to you by an authority figure. And your job is to reproduce those answers on an exam. So we have an ingrained habit. Also, it’s built into the scientific worldview that says that phenomena are fundamentally predictable, if you know the initial conditions. And then you can apply the equations. If you know where every mass is, and how every force is operating, you can calculate what’s going to happen. So, in principle, the world is controllable. And so therefore, if something that you don’t like is happening, you try to understand what the causal forces are, and then you try to counteract those forces. This is in its grossest form, this is war mentality, where you see a problem first, this is a habit of our culture, you see a problem and you try to find the perpetrator you try to find the cause the linear proximate cause the thing that’s making it happen as if you see a car moving and so you say well, who’s pushing the car? Right who’s what’s what’s driving it, there’s something that’s that’s a force that’s making it happen. And then you counteract that force or you go to war against that force. So you see that thinking throughout politics, you see a problem crime. What’s what’s the reason? Criminals so we shouldn’t walk them up. Right? Problem terrorism. Reason terrorists solution, kill the terrorists or problem. Disease. Reason, germs solution, kill the germs problem. Climate change reason greenhouse gases, solution cut greenhouse gases, problem. I mean, I could go on and on and on agriculture, medicine, weeds, you know, it’s Like pasts. And the solution is always to kill something, lock something up, suppress something, control something. But that eliminates or blinds us to the complex web of causes that we ourselves are part of. In the example of terrorism, yeah, I mean, it’s really convenient to just blame it on those evil terrorists who hate our freedoms. But when we understand where terrorism is coming from, how it is involved with neoliberal economics, and the imposition of austerity and free trade policies that are making farmers in Syria, and maybe are unable to continue farming, because of the influx of cheap foreign goods, so then they become radicalized,

Rick Archer: not to mention like not to mention drought, global warming, that sort of exacerbated the problem in Syria.

Charles Eisenstein: Right, or deforestation caused by the entry into the commodity system, I think a lot actually, most drought is caused by deforestation. And which is a lot harder to stop than, anyway, this is that’s a whole other, I’m reading a book now on climate change. But but so so these this web of causes, it’s less convenient to go there, one, because when you see how big it is, you don’t know what to do. Secondly, because it includes you. Like it includes the economic system and includes our tax dollars paying for drones and bombs, to bomb them and radicalize them, right. So then, so that, that’s, that’s a place that we don’t usually go. So this I can’t remember where I started here. But But this

Rick Archer: will essentially you’re saying problems are not solved on the level of the problem, there’s a deeper structure. And if we just stop, you know, attack, surface level of the thing, we’re not really getting at the root cause

Charles Eisenstein: and right and, and it leaves out how that problem reflects something in ourselves, either collectively or personally. Yeah, and so then if you don’t go to that level, if you don’t see the how a problem, most of the problems are symptoms of something so much deeper, then you’re forever chasing the symptom, forever. You know, fighting an endless supply of enemies that are being created by your fighting of enemies. And that’s for I mean, agriculture is a perfect example of that, you know, one super weed after another after another, that are caused by the application of herbicides, and then that creates other problems. The soil gets destroyed, you have to make more and more inputs are causing the very problem that you’re using the inputs to solve. That’s a general pattern throughout our culture, yeah,

Rick Archer: or medicine. I mean, these ads we see on television all the time, ask your doctor about such and such, and then half, more than half the ad is all about the side effects that you’re gonna get. And then there’s drugs to deal with those side effects. And probably those drugs have side effects. So, you know,

Charles Eisenstein: the first the first extends beyond politics, right? And so people are just kind of not really believing in the system anymore, not like they did when I was a kid, or when my parents were a kid, you know, and when it was just taken for granted, without question, that science and technology were going to bring on a perfect society, a technological utopia, we would be the masters of nature, and it’s just going to be great. Like that. unquestionable that we would have, you know, have conquered all disease by the impossibly futuristic year 2000. Do you remember how futuristic year 2000 was? Like it was gonna be robots, you know, and bubble cities and space colonies and Jetsons, the Jetsons? Yeah. And so that was part of our story that was part of our narrative, or our mythology, even that the mythology says, I mean, that’s how we learn how to be human. The mythology says, here’s who you are, here’s how you participate in the world. And that’s breaking down. People don’t believe in that anymore. And, and that’s dangerous, you know, because then somebody like, Donald Trump comes along and offers some kind of version of a mythology, or, or some version of the old mythology and says, Here it is, and people cling on to that, but that’s also part of a transition process, in personal life to clinging on even more tightly to what hasn’t been working. That’s part of the process. And if you try to surrender prematurely, then you’re going to end because some spiritual teacher said the path is of surrender. Okay, yeah, I’m gonna do that. Now. Like that becomes the new to do that. That premature surrender is actually fake surrender. And you ended up realizing actually, I was still holding on. I was trying to use surrender in quotes in order to avoid truly surrendering, and it doesn’t work. So anyway, just saying like this, the process that our society is going through now is, is kind of normal in psychological terms. And it’s a symptom of a pretty advanced stage of breakdown.

Rick Archer: I think Winston Churchill said something about, you know, Americans cannot always be counted on to do the right thing, after having tried every other alternative. And it kind of is implicit in what you’re saying that, you know, we have to really sort of, have it demonstrated to us very, very concretely that up obsolete approaches don’t work before we’re really ready to let go of them.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, but I think it’s kind of good news, you know, because even though on the surface our, our social, political, economic institutions look more entrenched than ever, more dominant than ever, more inescapable than ever, the the core underneath them, the ideological core, the core of buy in, has really eroded. The elites don’t even believe in them anymore. But in the 50s, they did. They really believed in America, now it’s become brand America, it’s become like the cynical kind of PR ploy that they don’t, that core belief is gone. So it’s just a shell that’s left, that everybody thinks, me, I get that, and I don’t watch much TV or anything. In fact, I’m on a news fast right now. But But I remember like, you know, occasionally I see some pundit, you know, I’m in the airport, and I’m watching a pundit, you know, and I’m like, and they’re mouthing the establishment dogma about foreign policy and containing Russia, are this that noticing? And I’m like, do you really believe that? Do you actually believe that Russia is this big threat? Now? Do you actually believe that things are saying no, like, I’m sure if I got the guy in a private moment. And there were no cameras and no mics. I’d be like, Come on, dude. You know, you don’t actually believe all this crap do and be like, no, no, no, this is the game I’m playing. And I’m playing it well, and I’m getting rewarded for it. And if and if you play it, well, then you get the status, you get the rewards, even though no one else playing the game believes in it either. But if you deviate from it, then they’ll pile on and call you irresponsible, and not serious. And they kick you out of the club. So it’s not important. And I think that that, to some extent, it’s true of the entire public, like no one even believes the mass media or thinks that the things that they’re being told are important are actually important. But it’s more of a thing where everybody thinks that everybody else believes and privately doesn’t believe. But it looks like everybody believes because everybody’s pretending to believe because everybody thinks everybody else believes you know what I mean? Like the emperor’s new clothes. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, it’s exactly the emperor’s new clothes. Except when the little boy says, hey, the emperor is completely naked. Everybody says Shut up, because they don’t want to look like a fool.

Rick Archer: Yeah, so a cartoon about that the other day, Trump was the emperor and he was walking down the street naked, and everybody jumped and started beating up the little boy when he said he’s taken. So let’s get back to the sort of the mechanics of problems. And in doing so, I think we can make it more clear why this is relevant to spirituality and to Enlightenment and awakening and all that stuff. You know, what you were saying a minute ago is that you take any problem, and the kind of the conventional way of dealing with it is to attack it on its own level. You know, you got weeds Kill the weeds, you got terrorists, kill the terrorists, and so on. And but what you were indicating is that there’s a deeper mechanics to any problem is more like a symptom than a problem. It’s a symptom of something deeper. So it would seem that the way to really solve a problem is to kind of trace it back through its more and more fundamental causes to its source, whatever that source might be. And if it could be dealt with there, then the problem might just be found to disappear, like dry leaves on a tree would be seen as a problem. What do you do? Well, what are the leaves, obviously, they’re dry, but you really need to water the root in order for the leaves to flourish, because that’s where they get their nourishment from. So, yeah. So play off that point a little bit.

Charles Eisenstein: Sure. Yeah. I hesitate to use the word spiritual to talk about such things. Maybe

Rick Archer: as long as we define it clear that maybe as we go along, we can

Charles Eisenstein: be talking about the inner level, you know, yeah. The inner dimensions to things or the personal level. But yeah, the same patterns. We reiterate them personally, too, especially, I’m making a kind of an online course. Now about food and diet. And this is one of the areas where the war on nature, it gets mirrored internally as a word of the self. So you have a problem, say the problem is overeating, or obesity or something. And again, it’s finding the pattern is to find this linear quantitative culprit that you can go to war against and try to control. So it could be that you say, Well, you know, fat is caused by in taking more calories than you burn. So obviously, I’ve got to burn more or taking less. So I’ve got to control it, I’ve got to make myself do something, or make myself stop doing something. And then so then it’s like, okay, so the problem is that I’m overeating. I’m eating too much. And I’m going to try to control that instead of seeing overeating, perhaps as a symptom. Like, why would you eat more than you need? Why would you eat more than is even giving you pleasure? Like, it doesn’t even feel good? To stop yourself? Especially 10 minutes later, or half an hour later? Why, why? Why do you? So why would you do that. And one of the things I’m developing in this course is, is essentially saying that, for a lot of people, the desire to overeat or the desire for sugar, or the desire for whatever other thing that you’re taking in, and it can go way beyond food, but whatever you’re taking into your, the, the desire for that is displaced from something else, it’s a secondary need that you’re meeting. So maybe the real desire is for connection. Because modern society leaves us cut off from community cut off from nature, cast into this world of strangers, and we need them. And when we don’t have these intimate relationships ongoing, when we go outside, and we just see cars going by, with people we’ve never seen before in the cars, and we go to the supermarket and or shop online, and it’s just abstract data points, or, or random strangers, you know, we feel like, cut off, we feel like we don’t even belong in the world. So in order to meet that need, sometimes people might overeat. Because food is a direct experience of being at home and the universe, a direct experience of connecting with that which is outside of ourselves. But food cannot meet our full need for community for intimacy with nature, our can’t meet our full need to feel like we belong in the world. So when someone is overeating and stuffing themselves, and still feeling hungry, it’s not that they’re actually hungry for food, it’s that they’re hungry for connection, or whatever other need food can meet a lot of different needs, hungry for intimacy, hungry for excitement, hungry for a break in the humdrum routine, hungry to challenge their boundaries, whatever it is, different addictions, meet different needs, needs. So. So if that underlying hunger is not met, and you simply go to war against the desire for food, then that desire is going to get stronger and stronger and stronger, as long as, as the underlying need is not that. And eventually it will burst forth as a binge or something like that. And you’ll fail. And you’ll think that the problem was that you didn’t control yourself hard enough, when actually, what you’re seeing is the bursting forth of an unmet need, which takes the form of a desire that finds whatever is available to meet it. So that’s that would be an example on like, a personal level of how these patterns play out.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think you mentioned in your book that people who have bariatric surgery where they have their stomach stapled so they can’t eat as much, very often end up getting getting into other addictions, you know, like drugs, drugs, or gambling or, or something like that. I’m just reminded of a verse in the Bhagavad Gita, which is, the objects of sense fall away from him who does not feed upon them, but the taste for them persists on seeing the Supreme, even this taste vanishes. Uh huh. So in other words, yeah, there’s you can’t you can suppress the the indulgence in various things, but the craving is still going to be there and can only be satisfied by when in this case, they’re saying the supreme the, you know, pure Being or whatever that’s going to provide the fulfillment you were actually looking for.

Charles Eisenstein: All right. That’s interesting because that that passage is not saying that you should fight the taste for the sense impressions. You know, it’s not saying that you should go to war against those things. It’s saying like, just to like, like you were saying, they fall away when you have the connection to the Supreme.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s another verse which says creatures act according to their own nature, what can restraint accomplish? So they’re saying, Don’t restrain, just take recourse to that, which is the wellspring of all fulfillment? And then, you know, you won’t these unnatural cravings will fall away.

Charles Eisenstein: Right? Of course, that still leaves the question, how do you get? Well there have that experience of the Supreme? Or how do you find what unmet need is driving your addictions?

Rick Archer: That’s, that’s, that’s a whole whole train of conversation. I mean, they’re, obviously all kinds of spiritual practices, which can give you access to that, and, and so on. I mean, in my own case, I was, you know, taking a lot of drugs, doing all kinds of crazy things, I learned to meditate, all that stuff just fell off, and I never had the craving again, I felt better all the time that drugs were making me feel temporarily, therefore, there was no interest in them anymore.

Charles Eisenstein: And I mean, I don’t know, we could talk about that. And I could ask you, would you turn that into a formula for like a universal prescription? Or did that happen? Because on some level, you were ready for what meditation was giving you and that just to offer that as a blanket? Prescription may not work for everybody?

Rick Archer: Do you have any? You’re right? I mean, I have I knew people who were meditating, and we’re still alcoholics. And, you know, and ended up dying from that, and so on. So, but it certainly, and I had definitely bottomed out, you know, jaw dropped out of high school, and all kinds of other stuff. And so for me, I was ready. Yeah, and other people, maybe not so much. But I think there is also a blanket prescription, which is that however you do it, if you can find access, you know, I mean, all the scriptures say there’s the kingdom of heaven is within such Chetananda, and so on, if you can find access to that realm, within yourself, then a lot of stuff on the surface level of your life is going to change.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah. But even when you say, if you can find it, you know, it feeds into this general formula, again, that spirituality or Enlightenment is something that you do. And that buys into a key precept of the what I’m calling the old story or the story of separation, that that says that who you are, is the separate self in a world of other. So it could be the technological self manipulating matter. It could be the economic man maximizing self interest. It could be the biological, you know, phenotype, maximizing reproductive self interest, it could be the Cartesian soul encased in flesh or any of these things. So this separate self goes out and does stuff. So part of that is, yeah, well, what about Enlightenment? What about spirituality? Well, that is also an accomplishment of the separate self. And I think that, that we’re kind of waking up from that. And realizing that, for example, Enlightenment is a group process, that anybody who you judge is not getting it or being unenlightened or something like that are not awake, like that person is reflecting something new. That is not awake. And that your, your further unfoldment depends on how you interact with that person. Like they’re showing you something. We’re another way that we’re awakening from this delusion of the separate self is to understand that, that a lot of what we’d like to take credit for is actually happening to us. We are so it’s not that you can find necessarily something it’s that you search and you search and you search for that inner voice, search, Bing, etc, whatever. However, it’s aimed. You searched and searched and you can’t find it. And in that moment, where you get everything and hasn’t worked, give up, then it finds you. Yeah, and yeah, so that’s I’m just starting to kind of wrap my mind around that because part of me just rebelled against that. It’s like, no, no, give me something to do make it hard. Give me and therefore, if it’s hard, then I get credit for or because I did something hard and you didn’t, that I didn’t that guy did. They didn’t really try they didn’t in their work. They didn’t wake up at 4am and meditate it and do all this stuff. Oh, yeah, but I did. So I’m better than you. Well, you

Rick Archer: bring up several points. Firstly, when I learned to meditate, I learned in such a way as it was very effortless, and I don’t think I would have stuck with it if it hadn’t been because I wasn’t a terribly disciplined person. In fact, all my friends said, oh, yeah, Ricky’s often his new trip, he’ll be off for this one and a couple of weeks on to the next one. But you know, I’ve stuck with it for 50 years. And it was always very, it was, it was, and I’m no longer you know, associated with TM movement, but it was effortless. And boy, it really worked from day one for me, and I had no trouble sticking with it. Second, another point, you kind of bring in and, and there are techniques, which are very hard, and which is like, I’m doing this, you know, and by golly, I’m gonna break through and you know, and, you know, that, to me is like an inception of individual effort. Whereas, you know, some kinds of meditation or more of a relaxing of letting go of individual efforts, sort of like a surrender, you’re letting some letting nature sort of run the show and getting out of the way. And nothing you bring in is the sort of point of spiritual ego, it’s like, which can, you know, before anyone is like, oh, man, or like, cool. I’ve been doing this so diligently. And this, this cashier at the grocery store, boy, they they’re so ignorant, they don’t know what’s going on. But here I am, they’re so lucky to be interacting with me. And you know, that’s something one has to look at and oneself I think, but the guy I’m going to interview next week, John Yates, who goes by the name of cool, dasa apparently coined the phrase, Enlightenment may be an accident, but spiritual practice makes you accident prone. Which kind of implies that it isn’t something you do. And yet, paradoxically, you appear to be doing something which brings you more and more into the possibility of this accident happening. And yet, when it does happen, you realize, you know, it wasn’t really anything I did. In fact, I’ve never done anything and never not been in this state. I just failed to recognize it. You know? Anyway, this is just some thoughts on what you just said, well,

Charles Eisenstein: like, I’m not saying, you know, I mean, in fact, I do practices that are extremely demanding of willpower and effort. I’ve done a lot of yoga and stuff, I do Kundalini Yoga, you know, we’re like, you’re holding your arms out for like, 15 minutes, or whatever. And I do some Chi Gong, that’s pretty physically intense. But even that, it’s like, okay, I’m doing something that requires a lot of willpower and discipline. But where did I get the willpower and discipline? Did I generate that myself? It’s? And if so, then what about those times in my life, where I just couldn’t get off, get up off the couch, where I couldn’t make myself do anything. And if someone said, Just get yourself together and make more of an effort, like that was ridiculous, you know, the day ahead of me, the year ahead of me just was so forbidding that I could not I was, I was not, and I didn’t have the willpower, like, willpower, does that come from you? And I think it doesn’t, I think that these things are all gifts. And that when you are in a phase where you are doing diligent practices and, and, and making great efforts, that’s wonderful. And you the proper, or the accurate, that the truthful. attitude toward that is, thank you, you know, thank you for the conditions of my life that has enabled me to do the best. And then to realize that these conditions may not last forever, and that many people do not have these conditions. Therefore your practice is on their behalf as well. Yeah, as the collective has elevated you to a point where you can do these practices on behalf of everybody. And you’re being you’re being used as an instrument of the collective evolution.

Rick Archer: Yeah, beautifully put. And that gets us into morphogenetic fields. You know, that your friend Rupert Sheldrake talks about that, you know, there’s that poem by John Donne. No man is an island is not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for the we’re all interconnected. What’s the phrase you use? interbeing or something like that or

Charles Eisenstein: being Yeah, yeah. That’s tick, not Hans word, I believe. That’s what I’m told. And I’m happy to bow to that lineage. But yeah, I just means it’s kind of the shorthand I use for the emerging story. That’s new to our civilization, but also very ancient. That that says, Yeah, we’re not a separate self. In a world of others. We are the totality of relationship. We are a holographic mirror of everything. And not not Yeah, not separate.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And that’s kind of what I was alluding to earlier, were saying that problems are just symptomatic of trends in collective consciousness, you know, global problems, and that everyone is contributing one way or the other one influence or another. And so, you know, people might say, What can I do about the whales? Or what can I do about, you know, the slavery or whatever is going on? Well, you know, it definitely helps if, if you’re doing something to elevate your own consciousness. But that may not be enough. I mean, a lot of people talk about sacred activism, I think you use that phrase quite a bit that, you know, if we all just sat on our butts and meditated, it may not be enough to, to change some of these problems, we, there needs to be people who are out there in the trenches, also, Doctors Without Borders, or whatever. And, and yet, the point you just made, you know, it might be that we’re not in a position to do something like that. But we’re actually kind of helping doctors without borders by elevating our own consciousness. You know, I mean, they’re the people who are actually doing the stuff, if we’re not able to our kinds of instruments have a positive quality and collective consciousness that we’re helping to enliven.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, and it’s not necessarily just a magical connection, where you’re, you know, your meditation in a cave, generates a mysterious field that makes the doctor without border, wake up more energized that day. I mean, it could be that

Rick Archer: could be that could also be helped to donate some money or something to, or it might be

Charles Eisenstein: because you’ve done your you know, after you meditate, you feel really good. You go to, you know, buy something at the liquor store, and the clerk there is really nasty. And because of your meditative practice that you’ve been fortunate to receive, you respond with humor? And

Rick Archer: yeah, that’s funny, I just finished meditating. And yet I’m in a liquor store,

Charles Eisenstein: get the Well, that was kind of be tempting to be funny myself. So like, yeah, like you go, like, maybe you respond with, with humor and compassion, you know, and rough day at the liquor store, ha, you know, and then he’s like, yeah, and then maybe he’s a little bit, the next guy walks in as the doctor without border. And he’s more friendly to him. And that just, you know, like, things can spread in very mundane ways, too, and we don’t know, what the ultimate effects of our actions are gonna be. Yeah, that’s very true. We just don’t know,

Rick Archer: there have been some movies made about that sort of thing. So I have got three pages of notes here, I want to make sure to get to them. All kinds of interesting points, I’m gonna just read some little passages from your book and formulate questions from them. Some of them we may have covered, and maybe we’ll just cover them, respond to them again, briefly. And others, we might delve into more deeply. Well, this is this phrase is, this one’s very popular, and in the collective consciousness these days, at least the spiritual community that the planet is a living being, and that the health of anything is essential to the well being of the whole. We’ve kind of just been touching on that. Anything you want to say about that?

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, yeah, there is. Okay. You know, I’m writing this book on climate change, which, on the one hand, it’s, it seems at least to be giving people like a really good reason why you should

Rick Archer: care. Climate change does, because in

Charles Eisenstein: the past, and when, yeah, in the past, people would say, Well, you know, who cares about the forests, right? And now you can say, well, you know, the forests, you know, mitigate they sequester greenhouse gases or something like you can give a reason. That seems to like put some kind of hard headed rational legitimacy onto what were these mushy, you know, tree huggers. Right, right. But I think that that is a really dangerous argument. It’s a really dangerous strategy. Because anything that doesn’t seem to contribute to healthier climate then gets minimized when you’re using the climate narrative, to define what green is,

Rick Archer: such as, Oh, give us an example

Charles Eisenstein: rhinoceroses like, like, it’s hard to make a climate based argument why it’s important to preserve the rhinoceroses or you could do it but it’s a stretch. Or how about

Rick Archer: are there other arguments for that, though? I mean, it’s it’s known that when species go extinct, it has a ripple effect and with all sorts of unforeseen consequences.

Charles Eisenstein: Right, but it’s very hard to quantify those. Yeah. And if you’re if you’re trying to make policy based on the numbers, based on on quantified metrics, then the things that are easy to quantify get emphasized the things that are very difficult to quantify. Okay. are ignored. So that’s, that’s one reason I think that and the second thing,

Rick Archer: which would just be free to do the second thing, which was sort of presupposes that reality has to fit into our ability to quantify that’s very anthropocentric, you know?

Charles Eisenstein: Right. And some of the assumptions. Yeah. And from like, like indigenous people, they have a very different understanding of how this planet works and how how it maintains its health. And for example, one one tribe in Brazil, was telling a friend of mine who’s an activist down there, that they think that the, that the reason that the climate is running, is becoming deranged, is that we are taking metals from the tropics, and transporting them to the northern hemisphere. And that that does something to the Earth’s energy system. But that’s invisible in terms of carbon metrics. And the idea that, like the gold, for example, is the Sacred Heart of the mountain. And when you take too much gold away, the mountain dies and is unable to communicate with the other beings of Pachamama to tell them where the water needs to go. And that whole worldview, that is not going to come up in your metrics, right, that’s invisible. And I think we need to start listening to that. And not and instead of until two to respect and learn from indigenous worldviews that may, they may have some wisdom that that we don’t have. But that is not available to us, when we’re making the decisions based off on carbon numbers, because where does it matter where the gold is? Or where the copper is? I mean, maybe it takes some energy, combine it, but you know, what, if we use renewable energy to mine, the metals?

Rick Archer: Yeah. And usually we get in there and cut up trees down and stuff in order to get at them.

Charles Eisenstein: Right? In practice, all kinds of horrible stuff happens, right? And then the question for the further question is, who’s doing the measure? And how are those how do those numbers, you know? And are the people doing the measuring somehow involved in the profiting? Usually, the answer is yes. Right? Or the whole system that’s doing the measuring is also dependent on the profits.

Rick Archer: So they’re biased.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, maybe even an unconscious level. But anyway, that’s when when we understand that to return to your question that that guy is a living being, yeah, then, of course, anything that happens to any of its tissues, or any of its organs, or any part of it is going to weaken the whole thing. And one, and in my research for this book, it’s becoming obvious that that the ability of healthy intact ecosystems to regulate climate is much greater than we thought. And the negative effect of destroying ecosystems is much worse than we thought. Which means that even if we cut carbon emissions to zero, if we continue to degrade ecosystems, drained swamps, pollute marshes, develop coastlines, overfish the ocean, kill the whales, etc, etc. Free continued to do all this, then the planet is still screwed, even if we cut emissions to zero.

Rick Archer: Yeah, and one point that the what the indigenous people that you just quoted, are implying and which I think is really critical point to our conversation is that everything is alive, which not only is the planet a living being, but you know, all of its bits and pieces, my cup is alive. And by that we mean if you look closely enough at this cup, you see incredible intelligence functioning in every atom and every subatomic particle, something that could not possibly happen through random chance or, you know, dumb little bits just kind of like, bumping into each other. There’s there are laws of nature conducting or orchestrating everything from at every level from the from the most, you know, subatomic to the galactic and there’s no place you can identify large or small neural far which that intelligence cannot be seen if you look for it properly.

Charles Eisenstein: That’s right. Yeah, everything is alive. And that leads to the second thing I was gonna say which is that the whole motive of care about the forest because if you don’t bad things will happen to you. That’s not the motive that we need to tap into. We need to tap into the motive of respect the forest take care of the forest because we love the forest because of It’s beautiful because it’s alive. Like for the same reason that I take care of my sons, you know, like, no one has to say, Charles, you better take good care of your four year old because otherwise you’re gonna get charged with child neglect. And even if you get away with it, when you grow, when he grows up, he won’t take care of you in your old age. And I say, Okay, you’re right, I better take good care of them. Like, that’s the equivalent of a lot of the environmental arguments today that are framed in terms of climate change, look at the economic damages, for example, look at the danger to civilization, well, what about, like, if you if you have to give me those reasons to care about my son, there’s already a problem. And I’m not going to take very good care of him, even if I believe your reasons. I’m not going to, he’s not going to thrive. So that’s, that’s another shift in the mindset that I’m that I think comes it only makes sense if you really understand Earth as a living being and a forest and a river and a mountain. Because then they’re, they’re lovable. Again, yeah, and not just a bunch of resources and a bunch of stuff. You know,

Rick Archer: also, I mean, in the case of your son, there’s a unity with your son, you know, closeness, almost like you’re the same being with just two different, you know, appended to different, two different appendages of the same underlying thing or something as little harder to see that with, you know, some forest and in Brazil, or some rhinoceros in Africa or something. But if you really get right down to it, and many people do in their actual experience as spiritual awakening dawns, they, they, they feel the pain of the world, because they are the world, you know, there’s, there’s no place at which they end and the rhinoceros begins, it’s all one thing, and they see it that way.

Charles Eisenstein: But another thing that, that what you’re bringing up, I think, is that it can’t just be abstract. Like, in theory, I

Rick Archer: love to be intellectual has to be experiential,

Charles Eisenstein: right. And that means it has to also be local and place based. And we need to redevelop connections with the land, the place around us nearby that we interact with, with our senses, and not just the screen. And that’s why the local food movement, for example, I think, is so important. Because it like, like, you were saying, me and my son, you know, like, there’s love there, because, in part because of familiarity, you know, and, and I mean, I, you know, I changed his diaper, you know, I feed him, I mean, it’s like this daily, give and take that, in a standard American lifestyle, people just don’t have the land around them is little more than a spectacle. But when you start gardening, when you start, even, you know, going out into the forest, to gather herbs or to hunt animals, when you are getting water from a spring, when, when you’re on a sensory level involved and participating in nature, then the love is not abstract anymore. And there’s something more than love, which might be called intimacy, or something related to love, which is called intimacy, which is on a sense level. So I think that, and that’s hard to have when, you know, we’re living in a commodity world, and having abstract relationships with distance strangers, and it doesn’t get more basic than food, as far as an intimate connection with the other. So I think, just to maybe point out one of the bright spots here, the local food movement is reconnecting people to and have helping them fall back in love. I mean, especially if you’re gardening or something like that, but helping people to fall back in love with the actual material world. And that’s really powerful for society.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great. I mean, it’s almost a joke. But you see these videos of people walking into light poles looking at their phones, or, you know, tripping into fountains at the mall or looking at their phones. And, you know, people sitting at the dinner table, and they’re all staring at their phones, you know, people have just gotten so divorced from nature and from from the real world, that, you know, sounds like what you’re saying is a real good antidote to that. Yeah. Okay, I’m gonna read another passage from your book here, we kind of covered this next one, the ecological crisis, like all our crises is a spiritual crisis. I’m quoting you there, is there. I don’t know if you want to elaborate on that anymore. That the external institutions reflect our basic perceptions of the world or into our invisible ideologies and belief systems. Shall we go on and you won’t say anything more about that? Just go on. Okay. I think we are unburden. So at one point in, in your book, he posed five or six questions. And he said, like, who am I? Why do things happen? What is the purpose of life? What is human nature? What is sacred? Who are we as a people? Where did we come from? And where are we going? And you say the answers to these questions are culturally dependent, yet they immerse us so completely, that we have seen them as reality itself. These answers are changing today, along with everything built atop them, which basically means our entire civilization. We’ve talked about that earlier that the civilization is changing, but we didn’t really talk about it with reference to these kinds of questions. So yeah, let’s touch on that for a minute.

Charles Eisenstein: Well, those are the questions that are mythology answers. So I have talked a bit about the mythology of the separate self, which goes along with the mythology of, of domination and control. Because if you’re separate from nature, than nature’s, just these random forces were competing, other separate selves, then your well being depends on controlling the random forces and dominating the competing others. So so the story of self is related into the story of the people, which has humanity on this triumphant course toward domination of nature. So that’s, that’s what I call the old story or the story of separation. And that answers these questions like What is human nature? It says, well, human nature is to maximize self interest. And we see that as reality as the truth. And then say, well, you can’t have a good civilization that way. So we have to protect ourselves from each other, we have to have laws and deterrence and punishments, in order to rein in human nature, which is selfish, and force us to act in socially beneficial ways. Like that goes along with that, that that story, the money system, reflects wrote a book this one of my other books was about the money system also draws from that story, the end and the answers it gives to those questions. Like what is human, the human role in the world, so we have a money system that propels endless growth, and only works if there is endless growth, like the money system is completely enmeshed in the domination of nature, turning more and more of nature into products into commodities. And also making us separate from each other make force forcing us into competition. So we have, because you look around, and it does look like everybody is, in fact, maximizing self interest. You know, you go online to buy something, and you compare some prices, you know, like, here’s a goggles, I used to look at computer screens. And you know, this website hasn’t for 799. And that one’s 1299, well, which 1am I going to buy? Am I going to care? You know, maybe I’ll buy the 1299 ones, because they need to make a fair profit. And, and you know, and they’ll be able to pay their employees better and get the more expensive for us. Like, we just don’t do that, do we? That’s not normal behavior. So we look around and even look at ourselves. And it’s like, yep, everybody’s trying to get the best deal. Everybody’s maximizing their self interest. And we don’t realize that that behavior isn’t core human nature, but it’s a response to circumstances. And if we were in different circumstances, for example, a gift to society, which is what all societies were, where, where your social prestige, age, and your security depends on how generous you’ve been throughout your lifetime. Because if you’ve taken care of people, your whole life, you’ve been generous, and they’re going to take care of you and be generous to you too. And that’s kind of a savings account. And maybe you’re not that calculating about it, but but the reality that you’ve seen is that, that wellbeing comes through sharing. If you’ve seen that your whole life, then you’re not going to think human nature is this competitive rush to control.

Rick Archer: So you say all societies were that I presume you’re referring to some indigenous societies or something, because they’re not too many obvious examples. And, you know, the western history that we study.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, I mean, everything up to 5000 years ago. Yeah. And any society that has not been fully modernized, will have a lot of gift elements remaining. I mean, even in America, like the more traditional parts of the country, you know, the Amish people like that. Yeah, we’re just even like small towns in Iowa or something. People take care of each other. People know each other. You know, we look after each other.

Rick Archer: Yeah, um, It’s interesting that when there’s an emergency like hurricane Sandy or a big snowstorm or something, it brings out that quality and people, you know, they get out there and they’re shoveling shoveling the neighbor’s driveway and making sure that the old lady down the street has food, things in a way it awakens something in people.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, when the structures that enforced separation breakdown, then another aspect of human nature can can be free to come out. And I feel like it’s bursting and wants to come out. But people are afraid to be generous and afraid to share. Because because we’re anxious, we’re subjected to constant survival anxiety. Because if I give away my money, then what about me, because I don’t see anyone else taking care of each other. But if you have a crisis like this, like you said, a hurricane or something that, that makes it obvious that you see other people taking care of each other, then you feel safe to do it to and your money isn’t going to help you that like you’re liberated from the structures that make us separate, and generate the perceived reality of separation. So yeah, those are the Yeah, so those questions you listed are, are answered by our mythology. And when the mythology breaks down, then then you don’t have answers anymore. And you’re like, gosh, I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what’s real anymore. I mean, people had that, after the election, when reality was kind of breaking down, and people were actually disoriented. Because everything, it seemed so real and permanent, was was in shambles.

Rick Archer: So you’re talking about gifting society, and you know, people like Michael Moore and Bernie Sanders, and people like that are always reminding us that, in certain cultures, Western Europe, everybody gets health care. I mean, Michael Moore’s movie, who should we invade? Next? He was showing how all these companies are, like, you know, they give big long lunch breaks and vacations when you get married, and all kinds of stuff. And maybe the CEOs don’t make as much money, but they say, Yeah, who cares? Who cares? You know, people are happier, they live better lives, they make better employees. I wonder why. And right now in the US, you know, health care is a big debate. I wonder why somehow, we’re not able to? What is it about American culture that’s preventing us from from moving into a more of a gifting mentality?

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, I mean, that’s a question with, you know, I’m sure historian could discourse on that for hours. But maybe what I’ll say is this is another kind of place where I think people are starting to really disbelieve in the dominant story and to feel betrayed by it. Because we’re supposed to have leisure society by now. Like, why did why do people have to work harder, and suffer more anxiety? More financial stress than they did a generation ago? Why? Is it because we’re not as productive? Is it because our machines are no longer working? Is it because we’ve regressed in our technological levels? Like we have machines that can do things? I mean, you used to have to have, like a whole roomful of people to produce a magazine or brochure or, you know, like, things that were like a spreadsheet, even like you had to have people with with, with typewriters and shit, you know? Now, people, we have so much more productivity, yet, we’re working harder than ever for less. Like, why is that? And I don’t think people typically ask that question that explicitly, because they take us kind of for granted that it’s gonna get harder and harder, more and more competitive. Like, why? Why is the world getting more and more competitive? Why should it? And the answers, I mean, there’s historical reasons why maybe this attitude in the US is especially strong, but there’s also economic reasons that I wrote about, in that other book,

Rick Archer: sacred economics,

Charles Eisenstein: sacred economics. Yeah, that essentially, we have a system that only works if there’s economic growth. And economic growth means that consumption has to continually increase exponentially. And that means that instead of working less, we are consuming more and more and more. And a lot of that consumption is not actually enhancing our, our material well being. But we have to do it anyway. To meet needs that should not even be met with consumption. For example, and this goes back to the food conversation, but another addiction is shopping or we’re For or another need might be to have space to live out a life that used to be public space, used to have a tiny little house, and for entertainment for companionship, just to pass the time, if you weren’t working, you would go out and you would, you know, sit on the plaza. And there was a public life. And if you don’t, if that gets taken away, then you need much more indoor space to compensate for it. So the private realm expands in compensation for the shrinking public realm. And, and our public realm has been taken away from this is coming. I mean, this has come up for me as a father, remembering when I was a kid, and going outside, and there are other kids outside and we play all day. Yeah. And you can’t do that anymore. In fact, I’ve almost gotten arrested for letting my kids be outside unsupervised doing the same things that I used to do. When I was a kid, it’s illegal to let your kids roam around unsupervised, wow. And so, and but even if it were an illegal, like, it’s just not like you send your kids outside, there’s no other kids playing outside, because they’re in front of screens, or because they’re being carted off to martial arts or to whatever other classes were put into. And so this, this public, this kind of public domain, this was a kind of a gift economy. I mean, anything that’s not a service that’s honored for money is in the realm of gift. So play, recreation, leisure, he’s we’re not consumer products, but they’ve become consumer products. So to meet these basic basic needs, now, you know, you got to like pay for daycare, the basic need for a child to play with other kids, like you got to pay for something, you got to pay for martial arts class, or little league or whatever, whatever you pay for now. So we are, it’s not that we’ve become wealthier because we’re buying all these things that used to be free. It’s that we’ve become more dependent on money, and therefore more stressed and insecure. So that’s part of that, like, yeah, that’s part of the puzzle here. I mean, you can see it goes really deep into the whole fabric of society. And that’s why I personally think that that kind of incremental, quote, progressive changes, aren’t really going to make that much difference, because the things that really need to be questioned are not even looked at by any political party. Right, left or center. I haven’t heard any candidate speaking about the decline of public space, and civic life. And, you know, children going outside, and there’s no no other children to play with. I mean, there’s books about it last Last Child in the Woods, for example. But these are kind of fringy things. So that’s, that’s, yeah, part of my disengagement from politics, is for these reasons, like the questions that I’m concerned about are not on the not on the menu. Like Obamacare, you know, like, no one’s talking about holistic health.

Rick Archer: That’s a good point. I mean, with all this health care debate going on, in Bernie Sanders saying, well, health care is a basic right. And, you know, my feeling is, yeah, well, true. But with rights come responsibilities. You know, there’s so many things people do to make themselves unhealthy. And, you know, people need to be educated and supported to live in such a way that they don’t get sick, that’ll bring down health care costs. So it’s, again, kind of going back to a more fundamental cause.

Charles Eisenstein: Right? And then how do you educate them, like, once you say, Okay, we’re gonna educate them, then the educational industrial complex, grabs ahold of it, and it turns it into some belittling lesson plan about the four food groups or something like that. And that actually ends up encoding the financial interests of the food and pharmaceutical industries, and not real health because real health is not a profit center. Real health is going to reduce the demand for goods and services. You’re not going to have to pay experts to keep you healthy anymore. And it’s going to be a much more distributed and this is what I see for the for the future, you know, a much more distributed health healthcare system where, where not all but maybe 80% of medical functions have kind of gone back to the people. Going back to massage therapists and the herbalist and the people who, you know, are working with their hands that don’t require expensive technological devices that don’t require expensive pharmaceutical medicines. Like these. I mean, I’m sure that you, you know, you know about these things, and I’ve run into people who have had miraculous experiences or who can be my wife, you know, she practices. She’s a doctor of oriental medicine. I mean, I’ve seen her heal people of conditions that are medically considered incurable. Like pretty routinely. And, and like, that is not even on the radar screen. So yeah, anyway, you’ve caught me on my soapbox.

Rick Archer: No, that’s good. And not even not even relying on massage therapists and herbalist. I mean, one can live one’s own life in such a way as to as to be much less dependent upon any kind of professional, you know, just eating right, exercising properly, doing things like that, you tend not to get sick. I mean, but anyway, you said that you don’t see incremental change, you did the, quote, rabbit ears as being about as actually being effective. So that implies that there’s got to be some kind of more radical shift somehow, or, or something. I mean, how do we get from here to there, if if incremental change and political solutions and so on aren’t going to do it, if they, you know, if the agricultural industry or other powerful moneyed interests are going to clamp down every time someone tries to introduce in innovation. And, you know, you mentioned in your book, he said, if even the most powerful of our system, the presidents and the CEOs feel at the mercy of forces greater than themselves, constrained by their roles and job descriptions, so much more powerless, are we. And that brings me to a point that I’ve often always felt for many decades, which is that, you know, the more fundamental you go, the more leverage you have, you know, the the molecular is more powerful than the mechanical, the atomic is more powerful than the molecular. And by, by the same token, you know, more fundamental levels of awareness, if one can learn to function from there, have greater leverage, they’re more powerful. And that’s why personally, I see kind of spiritual awakening as being the ultimate fulcrum, the ultimate, certainly, you know, control switch board from which change can take place, and it’ll it’ll ripple up.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, yeah. So that quote that you read, the point I was making there is that if we are going to rely on operating the level the levers of power, in order to change the world, it’s not going to work. Because even people who we think, have access to the levers of power, they don’t feel themselves as actually being able to have much freedom to make any changes. We saw this, you know, in Greece with Syriza, coming into power, and they were helpless to do anything but what the previous governments had been doing. I have, I’ve collected stories about this, I’ve had, you know, encounters with parliamentarians and people who, and, you know, I asked people who were like, you know, they have a certain leeway. But they can’t deviate too far from their job description. Yeah. So then Then the question comes up, okay. That theory of how to change the world, operating the levers of power, that is actually based on the old story, the story of separation, that says that change happens when you exert a force on a mass. And that if you want to be a big change maker, you got to have a lot of force, you got to have a lot of money, you got to have a lot of guns, you got to have a big platform. So if you want to be an influential blogger, Rick, you’re going to have to expand your audience. And that’s going to come at the expense of someone else’s audience. And you got to kind of tailor your thing and sell out to what the most people are going to hear, right. And if you do that, I’m not saying you’re doing that. But if you did do that, then your message would become an influential because it would, in order to expand your audience, you’d have to become more and more and more anodyne more and more land, more and more common denominator. So that formula is wrong. It’s what I’m saying. Change doesn’t actually happened the way that we’ve been taught that it happens. And and so what the what I’m connecting with what you were saying, when we say okay, well, how does big chain if the people operating levers of power are puppets of forces beyond themselves, then how does change actually happen? Well, these forces ultimately arise from the mythology that contains us all that contains our civilization that contains our money system. So if you want to change that Then you got to change the mythology, you got to change the story. And changing the story then comes all the way down to the personal level of who am I, because that story includes the story of self, as well as the story of the world, the story of the people. And that’s what you might call a spiritual dimension, the story of self. And so it’s, it’s related to the story of the people, it reflects it. But that’s the level that the deep change has come from. And I’m not saying like you shouldn’t engage the system and shouldn’t try to, you know, protect people from from ending Obamacare from the immigration authorities or whatever. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that as we do that, we have to simultaneously be aware of the deeper levels and integrate all of these responses.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Good. And, and getting down to the question of who am I is not just an intellectual matters, it’s an experiential matter. I mean, self realization is not just sort of a new understanding of who or what I am, it’s more of a, you know, it’s a deep, conscious realization that, that ultimately, and ideally is abiding, you know, your experience shifts in such a way that you have a completely different orientation to who and what you are, and you and you live from there. I just want Yes, just wanna throw that in. And it’s funny, you shouldn’t, I’m sorry, go ahead.

Charles Eisenstein: Well, that means that, like, I’m not saying that you should go around telling people, you know, you are not a separate individual. Jewel, you are the totality of your relationships, you are a holographic mirror of everything. I’m not saying that just words can change. But you can change the story by giving them an experience of that, yes, which could be an experience of kindness, of generosity of humor of whatever is called forth by by compassion. Taking the candy from the baby, maybe not. But you so it’s to and like you’re saying, when you’re coming from that place, then even if you’re using words, the words will carry a vibration that communicates on a level deeper than semantics. And that’s what, that’s what I strive to do. I mean, I’m not like, trying to be like, some smart guy who finally got the answer, you know, got it. Right. And here’s the answer teacher, you know, here’s my assignment now change the world for me. Like, that’s not going to happen. But when we are in service, and filled with and inhabited by the story of venture B, and the the felt states that are part of it. Then we transmit that,

Rick Archer: yeah, that’s the word I was looking for. Yeah, we transmit that. Yeah. Yeah. You just mentioned myth and archetype. And coincidentally, or synchronistically. A question just came in from Chris in Montana, who asks, Joseph Campbell, said that the new myth cannot be known and will not be consciously created, but will arise from the mythic depths? How do you see the collective moment in terms of archetypes and where in the mythic journey of death rebirth Do you believe us to be?

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, yeah, I agree with that, quote, like, myths are not something that we make up, you know, there’s something that have an existence. beyond ourselves. It’s not just that mountains and rivers and planets are alive. But but stories are alive to myths are alive. They’re these enormous beings. And a new mythology is being born. I’m creating it at all. I’m just kind of reporting on it. As far as

Rick Archer: what is creating it.

Charles Eisenstein: I don’t know what’s, I don’t know where these things come from. Okay. The Universal Mind or I don’t know, something. I mean, maybe they just come into being maybe they have been here as seeds, and now they are sprouting because the seeds go back. Indigenous people, you know, lived in a mythology of entropy. And anyway, so as far as like the, the journey of few archetypes you could say that, that we’re going through a death process, or a birth process into a larger world, into a different world. The world that had it’s more of a birth process. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t remember either one of these but I in many ways, it’s like a birth process where the the womb that had contained us and allowed us to grow is becoming confining and pressing in and there’s no more room for growth, like literally no more room for growth. And that reaching of limits is generating crises. This is especially true economically, like our system only works if there’s growth. If there’s no growth, we have financial crisis, endlessly worsening. And so yeah, reaching limits of growth, which triggers a birth crisis triggers being propelled very intensely into a world that you cannot really imagine from the other side. But you can catch little glimpses of it maybe, or you have an intimation of it, you see a light at the end of the tunnel, when the service opens, when the cervix opens. So there’s some sense that there is a world that we’re being moved into. So that’s one way that that kind of archetype of birth and death fits onto our collective experience. And many people’s personal experience to the world falls apart, they can’t grow anymore in their career or their relationship. And that reaching limits of growth triggers a process, right, that happens on a personal level too. And then the other metaphor, or archetype, I like to draw on to describe what’s happening to us is neither birth nor death, really, but a transition into adulthood, likening our current moment to a coming of age or deal. In traditional societies, they might take you and put you in isolation, feed you psychedelic plants, subjected you to physical pain subjected you to, to some kind of physical hardship, thirst, hunger, isolation, etc, etc. And, basically, the purpose of all this was to was to shatter your identity, to shatter the child’s identity, and open the space for you to step into the adult identity. And after the process, which could last months even, and evolve many more deals, you would go back to the tribe universally recognized as an adult, and not having this thing in our culture where you’re in your 20s, your 30s, and you feel like a child playing grown up, and you’re not really sure, if you’re, you know, that wouldn’t happen. So this, I believe that, that civilization, our collective being is going through a crisis, a lot like that, where our identity who we thought we were, is being shattered by this ordeal. And we are becoming therefore open to taking on a larger identity. And in adulthood, then to become an adult, and part of being an adult is to use our gifts toward their true purpose. Whereas a child is just kind of playing around, you know, and that’s what we’ve been doing with technology, we’ve been messing around, making a lot of messes. But I cannot say that humanity is use technology for its true purpose. And I’m sure that there is a true purpose, because I believe that nature is intelligent and purposive. And that that no species has a gift, that is just a mistake. But it has a purpose, you know, and so if we are transitioning into adulthood and being welcomed into the tribe, as a full member, of the tribe of all life on Earth, part of that has to be to turn our gift of, of hand in mind to its true purpose, which I think I might set this before, which initially is probably going to be to heal the damage that’s been done. And after that, who knows, but that so there’s a lot of ways that that the, our current moment fits into more of a coming of age initiation than a birth or death. And another part of it is that, that seems really true is that in a coming of age, ordeal, you’re not sure if you’re going to make it. And in fact, in certain moments, it seems impossible, because the resources that you knew you had are not enough. It seems like you’re faced with an impossible task. This is this is actually reflected in fairy tales to some of the fairy tales are maps of initiatory processes. So you’re, you’re faced with an impossible task. But in that moment of, of despair, and giving up and surrender capacities that you didn’t know that you had become available to you. In fairy tales, they often take the form of magical assistance and or some kind of aid from the outside. That comes through some kind of process of testing, testing of sincerity. So I don’t know if I want to like right now try to map all those things, specifically to the collective human experience, but there’s death Probably something there that it looks like we’re not going to make it. And if you look at some of the climate prognosticators they can make, like, like, what’s his name? Ian MacPherson. Yeah. Your what’s his name? No. Guy McPherson guy, right? Yeah, Guy me. Like he makes a pretty strong argument that we’re screwed. We’re facing near term extinction. And if you don’t believe it, you’re just in denial, you know, you’re just not looking at that scientific evidence. So you can make a good case that the situation is hopeless, we’re not going to make it through this ordeal. And a well designed ordeal is designed that way. It’s supposed to look impossible at a certain moment, in order to make you give up what you thought you knew. That’s what opens the space for practically speaking, it’s what opens the space for the things that we label as alternative and holistic today and push them to the margins. Yeah. You know, on on, I mean, the things. They’re not unknown. They’re unknown to the kind of collective consensus intelligence about what’s real. They’re not on a political agenda. But they’re, like the cure for any disease, is there the way to grow enormous amounts of food with zero ecological impact, in fact, positive ecological impact, it’s there. To have energy that doesn’t pollute, I mean, all that stuff, it’s there. But it is not in collective reality yet. And so that, so that means that existing collective reality has to be shattered for the new reality to come in. So yeah, that’s those are the similarities I see between coming of age process,

Rick Archer: I’ve often felt that. Okay, I’ve often felt that the that how traumatic the shattering would be, could be mile moderated somewhat, and that the spiritual teachers who’ve been running around the world, trying to wake people up and you know, raise collective consciousness, kind of a lot of them have actually explicitly said that this is coming. And there’s no way of escaping it. But they’re trying to minimize the trauma, but they’re trying to smooth the transition as much as possible by raising people’s awareness. It’s like, if you kind of get the lesson, you don’t have to be slapped around as much as if you’re totally obstinate and refusing to get it. Here’s a passage from your book that I think is worth reading. Right now. The situation on Earth today is too dire for us to act from habit to reenact again, and again, the same kinds of solutions that brought us to our present extremity. Where it is the wisdom to act in entirely new ways comes from come from, it comes from nowhere from the void that comes from inaction. And that reminds me of an old phrase that Maria, she always used to say, which is rest is the basis of activity, he used to use the example of shooting an arrow, if you want to shoot an arrow, you don’t just sort of put it on the bow and drop it, you kind of put it back on the boat, and then just let it go effortlessly, and it has the momentum to fly forward. So you know, if you had to drive 500 Miles tomorrow, you wouldn’t stay up all night watching movies and playing video games, you’d want to get a good night’s sleep, because rest will prepare you for that. And so just or you wouldn’t want to stay up all night studying the roadmap and working on your car and you want to rest. So doing sometimes doing the opposite of what we need to do is the best way to prepare for doing it.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, I think yeah, I think you’re right. I think these spiritual teachers, wisdom holders, visionary people have seen early on that our society is unsustainable, but the direction we’re going in, cannot continue forever and have been preparing us. And that means that would be the same in a traditional society that has initiations to like, you’re gonna have your father, your uncle’s preparing you to meet the challenges. Yeah. And I also think that, you know, sometimes people do not make it through the initiations, that’s what makes them real. Yeah. You go forth. And I was hearing about one where the women like, grab on to their sons and try to physically prevent them from going. And part of it is kind of a dramatic performance. Because they know that the Son has to like pull away in order to become a man But partly it’s also genuine because they know that not all the sons are going to come back. So we are truly, you know, it’s, I don’t want to say, oh, you know, don’t worry about it, because it’s just this process, we’re going to come through, like, coming through it successfully depends on fully engaging that experience, and reaching that point of desperation. And I’ll do anything to get through to reaching that point of, of, like really having to fall back on your resources and what you really know. And on a collective level, I mean, I could also relate this to another archetype, which is the archetype of hitting bottom. And addiction. hitting bottom means different things for different people. For some people, it might mean, just like a mild encounter with the dark could be that, you know, their wife walks out, and does go on for three days with the kids. And that’s, that’s the wake up call for another person, it might be that hitting bottom doesn’t happen until they’re on their deathbed. And they’re still smoking cigarettes through their tracheotomy hole, you know. So the question if you are using that particular narrative, that sobriety or the new life doesn’t come until you hit bottom, then the question becomes, how do you raise bottom? Good point? And I think that yeah, so for, like what distinguishes the alcoholic who quits more easily with the one who doesn’t quit until his on his deathbed? Maybe it’s the amount of love He received in his life. I don’t know. But I think that that the things that Well, I’m sure about actually, what I know irrationally, but I know it is that all of the invisible actions that people have done in humble circumstances throughout history, humble, invisible actions of compassion, kind, kindness, generosity, and love, are raising bottom, they are necessary and important and maybe more powerful than anything that the great leaders have done with their power. Or the smart guys have done with their platforms, for example, speaking of you and myself, so that that is, and this is something anybody, all of us can do all the time. When we are in a state of gratitude, and therefore evil and desiring to pass on what we’ve received. We’re all the time raising this kind of psychic, this collective psychic field that makes the difference between do we turn around when there’s still some natural beauty left on this planet? Or do we turn around when we’ve paved over the whole thing, and we’re gnashing and wailing, wailing and gnashing our teeth with despair, and grief for what we’ve destroyed and it’s too late like is that when we turn around, like we got to raise bottom and protect the wealth that remains including the the inner wealth that we draw on the spiritual wealth, that that like this relates to like, Where does the desire for meditation comes from? Where does the desire to do spiritual work come from? I think it comes from I think it’s something that we’ve received. And sometimes even like, a tiny moment of I’ll tell a little story to illustrate. It’s from my dear friend. It’s my I actually, I’m not going to say names because but he’s my ex wife, husband. And he works in a in the belly of the beast in a he’s like a custodian, repairs, things, janitorial stuff, whatever, at a juvenile detention facility, where, you know, it’s a stop on the school to prison pipeline, basically. And these kids are, they haven’t received 1% of the things that a child needs. And they’re locked up in these places. And they’re mad, and they smashed off all the time. And his job is to fix the things that they smash or buy new ones but he likes to fix things. Because Because he’s like real like working class aspect, but a very highly developed like a hidden yogi. You might call him a hidden yogi. And he was telling me one time about So this door that was, you know, ripped off its hinges and stuff and, and he was repairing the door. And he said, No, he said, I polished the hinges, and I cleaned the door. And so he made the door, he treated that door as if it were the door to the king’s chamber, and put it back on these teenagers room, you know. And I thought, you know, like, who knows, when he can’t give them 1% Of what they need. But that tiny moment of being treated with respect, like you deserve a really nice door, I’m going to make it nice for that. You know, that moment of respect, who knows? 1020 30 years later? How that is going to affect that young man’s life? Who knows if that might be the tipping point, in a certain moment when he was going to pound on somebody. But that little experience he had of respect, maybe made him do something different?

Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, you mentioned in your book, some guy who was in Liberia, and he was like a fighter, and he was torturing and murdering lots of people and all kinds of stuff. And he was and the war ended. And he was out of a job because they didn’t need tortures at the moment. And so he was going over to some other country to join that war. And his car broke down or something. And he and some other people’s car happened to break down near his got stuck in the mud or something. What Why am I telling you a story, you can tell it better? Go ahead and finish the story.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, and yeah, and he runs into the everyday Gandhi’s peace workers and he decides to become a peace worker. Because

Rick Archer: this is because of lack of kindness

Charles Eisenstein: act. They didn’t act in a way that fit his story, his story about the world and a story about himself. He thought they were when they when they realized who he was, he thought they were going to start beating them up or kill him, you know, because he was General Bethel son. Bad dude. But instead, they hugged him. And they said that they loved him. And he was like, Ah, maybe everything I thought about the world is wrong. You know, like that moment penetrated. So this is what I call disrupting the story we’re offering, like, what my, I don’t know, what do you call it, ex husband in law, ex wife’s husband. This guy, like, he, he just this is how he is every single day at that place. He is giving data points to people that don’t fit into their story. And anytime you receive, like, I’ve had moments like this in my life, you know, like, one impactful one was was I was like, trying to show off to somebody you know, and make myself look like really amazing. And he saw right through me and kind of called me on the way that was so gentle, and with so much love, that I realized at that moment that maybe I was lovable underneath all of the pretence, just because I’m a being, you know, and like that was a data point that didn’t fit. And when you have an any experience can be a religious experience an awakening experience, or seeing a UFO or whatever. When you haven’t, are just receiving generosity, kindness, we haven’t experienced that doesn’t fit into the story. Then it’s kind of says to you maybe unconsciously, it says, oh, no, maybe you don’t know who you are, and what the world is. So that raises bottle. It, it says that this isn’t all that there is it makes that transition easier. So all of these lightworkers. And it could could be spiritual teachers, but it could be like really humble people. I think that the great souls are doing the humble things for which they get no thanks. No reward, no recognition, no one, you know, calling them guru and looking up to them. But doing stuff that as janitors, you know, and washer women and people like that, upholding the fabric of reality, in a place where we can make this transition. All of those actions are their story disruptors. They say, there, this transition can happen. There’s more to it than just this. They make that transition possible for the rest of us.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Here’s a great little passage for your book that relates to this. You say? complexity theory teaches us that in the chaotic zone between two attractors tiny portray tiny perturbations can have huge unpredictable effects. We’re in such a place today. Our civilization is approaching a phase transition. Who can predict the effects of our actions?

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And if we, if we like, condition our actions on whether they’re going to have like a big picture effect or not, like for one thing, we’re never going to know and we’re not going to Do the things that might actually have an on our understanding, you know? Yeah, it’s like I get a little bit, sometimes impatient like, a lot of guy usually guys actually smart guys come to me and they’ve got it figured out the point of mass. And here’s where you should put your intention in. Here’s, here’s what’s going to scale up and here’s gonna go viral, you know, here’s the leverage point, like, haven’t you had people like, come to you and say, here’s the leverage point. That’s a mechanical metaphor. And it kind of do, you devalues the things that couldn’t possibly have a leverage point. The mother telling her child a story when he’s sick and in the hospital, and he’s dying. And she’s there with him. 24/7. And then he dies. Like, Rationally speaking, that’s not a leverage point, that kid’s not even ever going to grow up and pass on that love. Right? But you know, that that woman is doing something important. You know it, no force in the universe can tell you that that was a waste of time. Even though the kid was gonna die anyway.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you told some story about somebody taking care of his 91 year old mother in law or something, instead of doing some supposedly important thing. What was that story?

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, he was like a magazine publisher, you know. And he spent lots of his time taking care of this woman who was, who was was divorced, like ex wife’s mother. He had no legal or any obligation. But he loved her. He took care of her did really humble stuff. I don’t remember the details. It might have been changing her bedpan for all I know. But, you know, he could have been starting to gain. Microphone thought, yeah, he could have been just starting a new campaign or doing some big thing where, where he could show by the numbers that he was having a big effect. But you know, again, part of it, we know on some level that you can’t live life like that, you know, by what you can calculate. That’s, that’s, that’s no way. In fact, that way of living is what’s gotten us into this problem in the first place, making choices based on the rationally calculable impact. That’s what you how you make financial decisions. You assess the risks and the outcomes, and you weigh them and you measure them and you do the projections. And that’s the policy I’ll choose. That’s not that’s, that’s not how to make choices.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, there’s a, there was a person in your book, I think, where you were talking about, I forget what terminology you use, but how things can really just kind of go your way, in ways that you couldn’t possibly have foreseen or, or Calcia, calculated, you know, what I’m saying that, that we used to call it in the TM, where we used to call it supportive nature, like even maybe simple as needing to find a parking place, and there it is, or something, but it can happen in much bigger and more complex ways that the various things come together for you that, you know, you couldn’t have orchestrated, it’s too complex, too coincidental, and so on. But things just come together and save the day or enable you to succeed in something you’re you’re trying to do. And I think there’s a deeper mechanics to that which again, brings us back to the underlying or innate intelligence of nature. And that is, you know, that ultimately, we are one with that intelligence, it’s our intelligence that the nature the intelligence that grows a butterfly or, or gets, you know, causes the earth to circle around the Sun according to, you know, certain laws of gravity or, you know, is the same intelligence that is at our root and the more deeply we are established consciously, in an as that intelligence the more it cooperates, in fact, there’s a verse from the Rigveda it says How’s it go ritual X ray param, Avi Oman, Yasmin, Deva Ida visionary initiator, it’s that the transcendent field is the source or home of all the laws of nature which orchestrate and govern the material universe, He who does not know that field? What can those laws do for for him, but he who does know it, it goes on to say, you know, the laws support him, they work on his behalf. So, I think this is key to our whole discussion in a way because, as we were discussing earlier, the problems, the setting the world are too complex, too dire for us to figure out rationally at the same level at which we’ve been operating and at the level of which we created cause problems. But if we can resort somehow and align ourselves and receive the support of nature’s intelligence, then it could sort it out more efficiently and successfully than we could ever imagine.

Charles Eisenstein: Right? Yeah, if if having a Livable Future depends on us figuring out how to do it, we’re screwed. And there’s no way yeah, like any any plan I could come up with, you can easily shoot it down, and tell me why it won’t work. So that means that to have a Livable Future, or more beautiful world, we have to reach it according to a path by a path that we cannot see. In advance, we cannot plan out a chain of cause and effect that will, that will work that will be convincing. And that means that we have to rely on things like well, we will be at the right place at the right time. But that’s this kind of this thing you described about being held by this larger intelligence that breaks out into our awareness as synchronicity, that, you know, these, these chance encounters that seem to have meaning, and relevance, and sometimes even are life saving. And that especially happen in transition points in life. Maybe when you move to a new city, or when something breaks down. It’s they happen precisely when we release, control, and release, imposing this linear cause and effect. Or just, you know, she’s trying to impose our structure and our understanding, even, like, here’s how the world works, here’s why things happen. When we let go of that, then there’s room for this larger intelligence to poke through. Yeah. And that’s what we need to listen to. And, I mean, that’s the only way that we’re going to accomplish the impossible. The only way, and I

Rick Archer: think letting go is it is a big part of it. But at the same time, you have to somehow become aligned with that deeper intelligence, you can’t just sort of say, oh, whatever, I’ll just sort of like drift along here. Because you know, you still have to make decisions and take actions and things that you have to do in life. But at the same time, if you can somehow attune yourself or connect yourself, or realize your essential identity as that deeper intelligence that governs everything, then it will, you know, support you.

Charles Eisenstein: I mean, I think that that, one way that I look at that is to say that, that the new story, or the more beautiful world our hearts know as possible, whatever that is for you. It could just be like some project, maybe an eco village or an organization or something that you’re creating in your life could be something very modest. But whatever it is, if you balance a service to that thing, then it knows how to do what you don’t know how to do. All it requires is your service. And that’s and your readiness and your willingness. So it’s not that like you sit down and just don’t do anything, right. Or don’t attend, and don’t intend anything in the audience. But it’s yeah, you orient towards something. And you say whatever it takes, like I’m at your service, whatever it takes. And then when you do that, you’ll be given opportunities that will test your sincerity even say, Okay, here’s what, here’s the thing you should do. And, and sometimes it might be really easy to help you take that first step. But then sometimes it might be something that’s, you know, almost beyond your courage to do, but then you’re like, I know that this is the thing. And you take that step. And that opens up new possibilities that you hadn’t imagined before. So I do think that there is there is like a, an intentionality. But it’s an intentionality of service that doesn’t depend on knowing how to do it. But like, I run into people all the time who are like, committed, so committed to something that seems like a pipe dream. But it’s not like there’s also such thing as a pipe dream, that if you’re honest with yourself, it doesn’t even feel real to you. But then there’s the thing that if you’re honest with yourself, it does. Real is I have no idea how it’s gonna possibly happen. But you know, that’s, that’s the thing that that exercise is power. And for me, the more I call it, the more beautiful world my heart knows is possible. My heart knows not my mind. My mind is like, no way. But I know that I’m seeing something real. I have no idea. Like how we’re going to get there. I don’t have a blueprint. I don’t have a map. But what we have maybe is a compass. And as long as we stay Yeah, and we can deviate from it even and look away. And that’s maybe the practice is to keep looking back again. And again, just like TM, you know, you just keep going back, even in a very gentle way, go back again and again and again, turn your eyes once again, toward this, this thing that’s beckoning so beautifully. That’s maybe all you have to do.

Rick Archer: If for some reason, during this conversation, I’ve kept thinking of the Lord of the Rings, you know, and what an impossible task Frodo had, you know, getting that ring to the mountain to him or whatever, and throwing it in the fire. But how? Just because he had that innocence, it was just a little hobbit there. And because he had he committed himself to the task, all sorts of unexpected means of support kept presenting themselves. And even the very vote last thing, it was like he couldn’t do it. Because the closer you get to the fire, the more powerful that ring was, but then Gollum bit his finger off and dove in there with the ring. So I don’t know. It’s just a cool metaphor for a lot of the stuff we’re talking about. Yeah, yeah. Here’s a question that came in for you from Mark Peters in Santa Clara Marcos sends a question, How have your insights impacted the daily choices you make with regard to shopping, eating care for the body, interacting with neighbors consuming news, etc?

Charles Eisenstein: Well, one way, one thing that I work with I mentioned it a little bit before, but it’s the idea of Prashanti. And this is such a big question. I guess I’ve become a lot less. Controlling. And, like, one thing I’ve decided, are so like, I can say all this stuff. But I noticed pretty recently that when I was making decisions on, like, what events to speak at, you know, where to travel and so forth. Because I get a lot of, I get more invitations than I can possibly say yes to. And so I had like, this kind of calculus about you know, okay, so where’s it going to be the biggest audience, you know, and the most impact, and so on and so forth? Are these going to be influential people like, using those same metrics that I’m saying are not the way to navigate the world, not the way to make decision? So I’ve decided I’m just going to be even more unreasonable. But I can, you know, this has been something that’s been, you know, I’ve been thinking about for a while, but, but I’m like, No, I’m just going to say yes to the things that just feel like a really strong open invitation and unreasonable feeling of Yes. Even if I can’t justify it on any other grounds, could be like some little student group, you know, that has reached out. And without even expecting a positive answer, but we really want you to come and speak in our group, you know, like, Okay, I’ll do that. Even if it means not going to some like, really prestigious conference or something like that. And I’ve been guided to follow that a lot more. So that’s one way that it’s having an impact. So

Rick Archer: with your heart more going with your intuition more,

Charles Eisenstein: just Yeah, trusting how things feel. Even when that conflicts with mental calculations about what would be the most impactful. Like, so that means, like, not trying to, I’m like, I’m even trying to expand my audience, you know what I mean? Like, I’m not, like, it doesn’t feel good to do marketing. So I’m not going to do that. Like, just, like, I’m not gonna have a Facebook logo on my website, I’m redoing my website. Like, you know, because that doesn’t look good. To have that thing up there. You know, it’s like, oh, a corporate logo right on the front, you know, is that what it’s all about? Yeah, if someone wants to share to find a way, you know, and just kind of following the example of, of these humble people, who if you want to talk about awakening, at the gas pump, you know, the Buddha at the Gas Pump, I mean, these are the, these are the, my teachers who just with such beautiful lives, and give so much love and are never recognized beyond a very small circle.

Rick Archer: I have two more points. One is and they’re both quotes from your book. One is we’ve kind of touched on this but I just want to touch on it again as we as we wrap up. But when civilization as a whole enters the space between stories, then it will be ready to receive these visions, these technologies and social forms of interbeing. So it seems like you’ve touched on this, I just want to touch on it one more time that we are kind of entering the space between stories, the old story isn’t working, the new story seems to be emerging. I don’t know whether we’re at the midpoint, or if we’re, or seems like the old story still has a pretty firm grip. And the new story is just a faint, you know, glow on the horizon. But I feel like it’s the sun is rising, and you know, and the transition is going to happen. So, just refund that just a little bit as part of our conclusion.

Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, I feel about going to riff on it much. I’m just gonna say that. We’re still on the old story. Yeah. But we are in that in the late late stages of it, where we’re just clinging on to it, and everyone knows that it’s the game is up soon.

Rick Archer: I would say that, I’d say that if everyone knows it. With some people, it’s very subliminal, you know, some people can articulate it. Other people. It’s just sort of a gut feeling like, you know, why, why? Why isn’t my life working? You know, why is the world going to hell in a handbasket and that kind of thing?

Charles Eisenstein: There’s a feeling of impending doom, you know? Yeah, like, something big is coming. Right, right. Yeah. In the financial industry, it’s like widespread, everyone thinks that the system’s not gonna last much longer.

Rick Archer: Are you saying that in the financial system there, even though the stock market is above 20,000, that people are saying we’re going to have a total collapse of the economy? Is that what you’re alluding to?

Charles Eisenstein: Insiders? Yeah. And they’re still buying, because they think everyone else is still gonna buy a little longer? Yeah. And there’s always a greater fool.

Rick Archer: There was that movie that came out recently about the guys that foresaw the collapse of the real estate market and bet on that, and everybody thought they were crazy, but they saw it coming. All right. Well, pardon me for persisting in this, but what would you do? I mean, if you if knowing what you know, feeling what you feel, which would you like, you know, turn whatever money you have into some kind of concrete goods that are going to have, you’ll have in hand when the when the economy collapses? I mean, if the money is going to become worthless or something, what would you do?

Charles Eisenstein: The best strategy is to invest in generosity. Because that’s the only thing that can persist through a really severe crisis. Depends how deep the crisis is, if it’s just, you know, like, it wasn’t 2008, you know, then there’s certain investments that might make sense, you know, but if it gets really bad, then even the convention that we call property is no longer reliable. You could invest in gold bars. But if society breaks down, enough men with guns will come and take your gold. They’ll take your physical goods, they’ll take whatever you’ve invested in your stores of gasoline and food. I mean, there’s no security. But if you’ve been really generous to a community, and if you have skills that will enable you to continue benefiting those around you, then that’s a kind of a savings account that that fires cannot burn and thieves cannot see.

Rick Archer: It. I’m sorry, go ahead.

Charles Eisenstein: No, I’m done.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there was a story in the news last night about how there’s this big boom in the industry of building underground bunkers. And right, yeah, the guy is saying, I used to get, you know, like a few orders a month. Now I’m getting six a week of building these great big, fancy underground bunkers for people. So there’s something in the mentality of certain people that they’re gonna kind of hole hole up underground until it all blows over.

Charles Eisenstein: It’s a much better security, to have to prepare with things that will enable you to take care of people around you. Because then they’ll take care of you too. Yeah, good point, if you’re a total misanthrope, that’s the best strategy. Ideally, that strategy should be animated by a genuine desire to take care of people around you, like, what’s going to happen near you are in your bunker. And like a haggard woman with like, a three year old, who’s like starving comes by, who are you in that moment? Are you going to let them in? Are you going to share your food with them? Are you going to shoot them? Like from your bunker? Like that’s the question that those people the prepper should be asking, Who am I for real? When push comes to shove? Who am I? And how then and once you realize that, you know, I probably would not that woman and I probably would feed that child and Then the whole mentality about prepping changes. And it’s like, how can we? How can I prepare for to exercise my compassion? How can I prepare to exercise my desire to be of service to to express my job to the people that I love to take care of my community? Like, how can I prepare for that? That’s completely, then you start to get into I mean, that’s, that changes everything.

Rick Archer: I don’t know if too many people who are buying the bunkers are thinking that way. But that’s a nice thought.

Charles Eisenstein: It’d be nice to ask them that question and put to like, if you have a conversation with them, like, put them in that situation, you know, touch, what, because there, there’s a whole culture around this, you know, that that’s all about maximizing your self interest. Yeah, but but they’re human beings too. And they have another human nature that needs to be spoken to. Because probably, it’s not going to come to people in their bunkers, you know, it’s going to unfold in some other way. And I think it’s really good to invoke the best in people, and to see people to hold them in a story in which they are beautiful, in which they are generous. Because sometimes when you hold the story for somebody strongly enough, they step into that story, it’s, it’s an invitation to them. Or it might even at the least awaken that in them, you know, you’re saying, I know you, you, you would love to take care of people. If you could, you would want to take care of that three year old girl, you’d want to feed her, I know who you really are. And if you can hold that for somebody, it can be really powerful, especially when it’s more than just words.

Rick Archer: The final point I want to bring up is another quote from your book, it was a quote from Chan Buddhism. It’s that the ordinary person avoids consequences, the bodhisattva avoids causes. I wanted to bring up that last because I think that theme came up again and again, in our talk, that, you know, if you wait until things bubble up to symptom, symptomatic level, and try to deal with them on that level, it’s it’s kind of hopeless. If you can nip things in the bud get down to the to the root cause and prevent that from arising. It’s like I’ve used the analogy before. This is obviously not literally possible. But if you wanted to change the course of a river, if you try to do that down at the mouth of the river, like let’s say the Ganges down in Calcutta, can’t do it, the river has already run its course, if you tried to do it halfway upstream someplace and hardwire something, you might be able to change part of the river, but it’s still kind of hard, and the river has forest and it’s already run half its course. But if you could get up to Gangotri where it starts out and shift its direction, then with very little effort, you could send the river off in a different direction. Again, it’s not really possible, and we wouldn’t want to send the Ganges off in a different direction. But the closer you get to the cause of things, the source of things and avoid that or change it there, the more easily, you know, you do more with less effort, basically. Yeah, yeah.

Charles Eisenstein: I mean, I don’t think I can phrase it better than you did. The causes, you know, the symptoms are a gateway to the cause. They’re a trail that we can follow back to the cause. So it’s not to ignore the symptoms. And sometimes I think it’s, it’s only by futilely fighting the symptoms that we discover that, that we can even discover the deeper cause. It’s, it’s a journey that’s set out for us by something very wise. And at some point, we start to see the patterns. And we become better able to recognize symptoms as for what they are, and become more familiar with, with what the causes are. I don’t really have anything

Rick Archer: that’s good. That’s a good kind of concluding statement in a way. You know, we we’ve kind of it may be if we’re shifting stories as a culture, that the story we’re shifting to is to learn to function from the root from, from the, you know, from a much more causal or fundamental level, both in our individual lives and as a culture, rather than sort of, you know, battling the consequences of it is that that phrase from Jesus for forgive them Father, for they know not what they do. It’s like we keep blundering along doing things and then being surprised at the consequences but if we were aware of the sort of deeper dementia of it all week, we could, there’s another phrase like quotes are coming to mind from Patanjali Yoga Sutras avert the Dane Drew, which has not yet come. Yeah, same idea. Yeah. Yeah. Great. Well, thank you very much, Charles. I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you. You’re going to be same conference this year? Yeah, great. I’ll probably run into you out there. Sand conference for those listening is the science non duality conference over October out in San Jose, for a plug for them. So, I will be putting up a page on on about this interview. And as always, I’ll be linking to Charles’s websites and his books and so on. And so you can follow those links to get in touch with them. And, you know, see what he’s up to and what seminars he might be teaching or whatever, right. And you say, I’m working on a book on global warming, I’ll be interested in climate change. They’ll be interested in reading that when it comes out. Yeah. All right. Couple more before you disconnect, hang on. I just want to make another concluding point in general, which is that you know, this is an ongoing series of interviews. If it’s new to you go to Look under the add a glimpse menu and you’ll see everything summarized there, so I won’t have to elaborate it. And next, the next interview, as I mentioned, will be with a fella named Charles John Yates, who goes by the name Culadasa, really interesting looking fellow. So hope to see you then. Thanks for listening or watching