RICK: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. We’ve done hundreds of them now and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to bat gap comm bat gap and look under the past interviews menu. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel if you’d like and they’ll give you more recommendations of these interviews to watch. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. If you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of bat gap bat gap calm. My guest today is David Lorimer. Welcome, David.
DAVID: Thank you. I’m very pleased to be on your show.
RICK: I’m pleased to have you. I’m a great admirer of you and your work. And let me just read a short bio here and then we’ll get going. So David is a writer, lecturer, poet and editor who is a founder of character education Scotland, Program Director of the scientific and medical network and former president of the wreckin trust and the Swedenborg society. He also has also been editor of paradigm explorer since 1986 and completed his 100th issue in 2019. He was the instigator of the beyond the brain conference series and has coordinated the mystics and scientists conferences every year since the late 1980s. Originally a merchant banker than a teacher of philosophy and Modern Languages at Winchester College, is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including radical prints the practical vision of the Prince of Wales, period. That sentence, his new book of essays a quest for wisdom comes out in March to 2021. David is the originator of the inspiring purpose values poster programs, which has reached over 350,000 young people all over the world. David is also chair of the Galileo commission which seeks to widen the science of consciousness beyond the materialistic worldview. And I’ve included links just about everything I just mentioned in the show notes for this interview, which will be on the permanent page when I when I put this interview up. So today, David and I are going to discuss something which I think is extremely important. I obviously think consciousness and spirituality are important, which is why I have been doing bat gap for 11 years. But I also think science is very important. You know, scientific knowledge and its technical, technological applications have brought tremendous benefits, but they’ve also caused great harm, including the possible extinction of human and most other forms of life. As David will explain these harmful consequences of scientific progress, may be due to a failure to understand consciousness and to experience it in its full value and to put it in its rightful place as the foundation of all knowledge. So how was that for a summary? David?
DAVID: Yes, well, that’s, that’s quite a starting point, isn’t it, to look at the whole of science and what it represents what is achieved positively and negatively, and its relationship to consciousness. But you’re right, that consciousness is something different from any other scientific topic. Because it’s not reducible to anything else, especially from a first person perspective from which we all experienced it. So you could say that each of us personally experiences the primacy of consciousness. But and therefore the first person perspective, but science operates from a third person view, looking from the outside in, which is correlated in my view, with the idea that mind arises from matter, that the brain produces consciousness. And for me, this is perhaps the essential point of appointed issue, and is one that has been looked into for, you know, 120 140 years, starting with the Society for Psychical Research in 1882. And then a pivotal moment in my view was the 1897 Ingersol lecture on immortality given by William James at Harvard. In this he, he says that what, in terms of the relationship between the brain and conscience SNESs there are three possible ways of looking at it. The first way is that the brain produces consciousness, which my friend Ian McGilchrist has called the he misses view, it gives it out. The second is that it transmits, in a sense or the transducer of consciousness. And then the third is that it permits only a certain range of consciousness, which is rather what Henri Bergson thought. And William James at the time, he said that, in terms of all normal scientific research was going on in the 1890s, the first view, and explains almost everything. However, when you look at what was then known as Psychical Research, and these include what we would now call near death experiences, and so on, it’s very difficult to explain that evidence as of any validity, through the idea that the brain produces consciousness. And so he, he felt that we needed a wider and deeper science of consciousness in order to be able to accommodate what what these sorts of deep human experiences, which of course, have continued to happen, and much better documented than they were in William James’s time.
RICK: And we feel like more of them in terms of near death experiences, because of advances in cardiac care and stuff like that. So a lot of people kind of die and then come back and have out of body experiences and all sorts of things that they can report. Yes, exactly.
DAVID: And my friend, Pim Van Lommel, who wrote the seminal paper came out in the Lancet in 2001. He was introduced to the N D, in exactly this way, that a patient who revived from a cardiac arrest told him what had happened to him. And that caused him to look more closely into it. And then to do this multicenter prospective study, where he, he interviewed everybody’s 341 patients, I think he interviewed everybody who had survived the cardiac arrest to find out how many of them had a near death experience.
RICK: They didn’t have a hard time getting that into the Lancet,
DAVID: I think is because it was a prospective study. And, and it was rigorously done with with unimpeachable, methodology and multicenter. So it’s quite a number of different hospitals, it was done in the method, the method was so rigorous, that they couldn’t just turn it away on the grounds that it was outside the box. And
RICK: that hits of course, at another thing, we’re going to be talking a lot today, talking about a lot today. But we’ll get into that a little bit later. I just want to have you elaborate on a couple things you just said. One is, are you comfortable with the notion? Well, first of all, the thing about science being an objective methodology, as I understand it, in almost every case, I can think of science involves the observer or experimenter, some kind of apparatus, and then the thing being observed, right? But in the case of consciousness, you can’t do that, because you can’t step outside of consciousness because consciousness is the knower or the perceiver. And so the whole kind of threefold structure of, of ordinary perception and scientific investigation collapses.
DAVID: Yes. And so this is exactly the problem. And of course, it’s a it’s a similar problem that occurs in quantum mechanics, with the relationship between the observer and the observed and the collapse of the wavefunction. That seems to be at least this is all a quite a controversial area. And I’m not a physicist, but there seems to be a lot of questioning around this relationship between the observer and the reserve, the knower and the known and it was Max Planck, who in 1931, famously said that consciousness is fundamental, you cannot get behind consciousness, everything we do, postulates consciousness, and he was the founder of quantum mechanics. And he that he shared that view with with a lot of other prominent physicists know, particularly Schrodinger. And then of course, Wolfgang Pauli collaborated with Jung. And so this interface between neuroscience and psychology or science, science and and Jung Eun Jung was a very, very interesting one it kind of bears on on the issue. I suppose that the nearest one can get to advancing on both fronts would be contemplative neuroscience. And because there you’ve got nuns or or Tibetan monks, who are your subjects, and they they are able to put themselves in certain states of consciousness and those those states of consciousness can then be correlated with changes in brain function. And so you can have us sort of correspondence between the inner and the outer in that sense, but of course, it’s, it’s not a kind of one to one in a causal sense. And it begs this whole question about which way if any, the causality goes? Because we also know that the meditate meditation and other spiritual practices can alter the structures in the brain, then by means of neuroplasticity?
RICK: Yeah. Well, there’s a lot to unpack there. Let me just pick up on one other point, which is that are you comfortable with if we think of consciousness as a field, which is common assumption among those who feel that consciousness is fundamental and matter is emergent? Are you comfortable with the analogy or a metaphor of a radio or a cell phone, maybe a shortwave radio, which can both transmit and receive as a kind of the tech and the analogy of the nervous system being like that in the sense that it can detect or reflect or pick up on consciousness. And at the same time, in turn, when we think in terms of psychic experiences, or telepathy, telepathy and things like that it can also transmit? Is that a good analogy? Do you think?
DAVID: Yes, I think it’s, it goes quite a long way. And of course, it’s something that goes back to the late 19th century with the invention of radio, but it’s still a metaphor and analogy. And so I do agree that that consciousness is as it as it were a field phenomenon. But the question is, and this, this sort of drills down into the subject, are we talking about a transmitter and receiver? Or are we talking about a long local field where there’s this analogy of transmission and reception, which is a good approximation actually doesn’t work because you’re talking about nonlocality where there’s no signal. But there must be something happening. But the electromagnetic
RICK: field is a non local field. And that’s why radios and cell phones work.
DAVID: Yes, I remember having a conversation with Roger Penrose about this. And you know, quite a number of years ago. And we were talking about quantum locality, and its comparison with consciousness. And he made that very point, that there’s no signal in that quantum field. And so he couldn’t see how the kinds of analogies that we were, we were giving. And in this case, it was a very interesting one, because a friend of mine had a client who came to see him on a weekly basis. And at three o’clock on Sunday afternoon, he’d suddenly felt an incredible emotion associated with this client. And he had no way of accounting for this. And then the next week she came in, and he asked him whether there was anything significant going on three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. And she had gone to visit her mother’s grave and had burst into tears. And, and he somehow he had picked that up. And so this is a really interesting question. And when given that, these are, these things do happen, though they are vertical in, in the language might use, then the question is, how do these things happen?
RICK: Yeah. Well, you’re gonna have Stephen G post on some kind of webinar in the next couple of weeks. And he had an experience when he was in college where he nearly died in a crazy motorcycle ride that he got, he got on the back of some guy’s motorcycle, and he finally got back to his dormitory and two in the morning, or something drenching wet and just like shaking with the trauma of what he went through. And as he was walking down the hall toward his room, that’s the payphone on the wall rang, which he didn’t ordinarily answer, and he just picked it up. And it was his mother calling from New York, you know, three in the morning, her time or something, saying, you know, Steven, are you all right? You know, she just was woken up from a sound sleep, feeling like something terrible had happened to him.
DAVID: Well, Rupert Sheldrake, who was another friend, he would say that this is due to morphic resonance, on the sort of similarity of, of frequency tuning into each other. And again, it’s one ask oneself, well, exactly how that does that work. But interestingly, in the telepathy and then text, experiments that he sets up on his website, where there are four possibilities of person who might be calling you and you have to guess in advance before they text you or, or phone you. And the people who are bonded, do much better than those who don’t know each other. And so this is a sort of indication I think of maybe this loving bonding connection underpins the connectedness in exactly the same way as you’ve just suggested with Stephen and his mother.
RICK: Yeah, you’re most likely more likely to get a phone call from your your friend or your mother than someone you don’t know, except for those who are trying to sell you an extended Car Warranty policy or something. Yeah, I get a lot of let me finish reading that Max Planck quote, because there’s some good stuff in this. You said the first part of it that, you know, consciousness is fundamental everything we regard as regard as existing postulates consciousness. And then he went on to say, there is no matter as such, it exists only by virtue of a force bringing the particle to vibration and holding it together in a minute solar system, we must assume behind this force, the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind, the mind is the mat matrix of all matter. So that’s cool, because that suggests that consciousness is not just some kind of plain vanila field that somehow underlies everything, but it’s, it’s intelligent. And I want to get into that more with you in the course of this conversation will, there’s quite a lot to unpack and that idea,
DAVID: now very much, and I see that also going back to the new thought movement, which I’ve studied in some detail. So for instance, there’s this idea of the oversoul in Amazon, or the the transcendental universal mind that you find in Ralph Waldo Trine Thomas tried and Charles Hall now in his Master Key System. And this, this could have developed into a kind of positive psychology of the day. But of course, it was overtaken by the rise of behaviorism in the 1920s. And indeed, William James died in 1910. And Harvard was offered money for a chair of Psychical Research in 1911. And they turned it down. Well, this Jenko has been alive, he would have accepted it. So this is shaping influence, isn’t there?
RICK: Yeah. And this segues into something I want to, let’s go at step by step in terms of how science came to be science as we now know it, and how it came to be dominated by a materialistic materialist paradigm in which consciousness emerges from matter and so on. So, back to the Middle Ages, obviously, there was there were a lot of strange notions floating about and people were, you know, I mean, that. That Italian monk, Bruno’s, his last name was, yeah, burned. Yeah, burn at the stake for suggesting that the stars might actually be other suns, and they might have planets around them and stuff like that. So the church dominated knowledge. And there’s pretty severe consequences for disagreeing with that, their worldview. And then somehow science emerged. So trace back a little bit of how science did emerge, and how it came to be a materialists orientation, rather than, you know, the one that you’re trying to promulgate now.
DAVID: Okay, well, I’ll do my best. It’s a big question. Just to remark on on Bruno, Bruno was part of a lot of hermetic movement, as well. And hermeticism was the other form of as it were heresy at the time, which which had the Anima Mundi, the the world soul behind it, so the church didn’t like that either. And this was a sort of Gnostic Movement, which could bypass the church where you wouldn’t need the the services of the church to achieve salvation. So that’s a sort of bracketing off and then you get the rise of the mechanistic philosophy, as it were in a mechanistic approach. And in my view, this arises between the distinction made by Galileo and Descartes, between primary and secondary qualities. And so, primary quality was something that was matter effectively, it was something you could touch way measure, it was all quantity was quantitative. And consciousness, broadly speaking, was a secondary quality. And the this was also asked us our quality or the sense of subjective self taste, anything which involves quality was a secondary quality. And it’s only it’s an easy move to say that well, if there are primary qualities and secondary qualities, and then the secondary qualities in some way arise from the primary qualities and the primary qualities what we can see, measure and experiment on. And so with the, the metaphor, the world soul, then became the machine, the metaphor of the machine. And so someone like Descartes, for instance, he said, the animals are basically machines, and that even if they looked as if they felt something by For crying out when they were heard, that actually was the kind of reflex mechanism that wasn’t wasn’t real in that sense. And there was a fascination with the development of even things like mechanical ducts. This is when you go into the 18th century, and Voltaire said that a duck which was able to metabolize in inverted commas, and even stuff coming out the other end was one of the great glories of France, you know, obviously, he was just making fun of it in a way. But the mechanistic metaphor, gave a handle, and way of looking at the world, which really has come down to our day and still dominates biology. I don’t think it dominates physics, but I think it dominates biology. And so, then, then you get the institutionalization of science. So, the role society was 1660, and the Academy of Sciences, only a few years later, the French Academy of Sciences and and then to get the whole scientific culture growing up and then the 18th century, then you will get the development of the the enlightenment and the importance of reason. And so reason was then applied to the outside world, and the and the experimental method. And in terms of our faculties, both St. Bonaventure is that there were three Faculties we had, we I have sense, the eye of reason, and the eye of contemplation, and science, as it’s currently constituted with its mechanistic, bias, or mechanistic tendency, really only looks at and is capable of looking at with those first two eyes, the eye of sensing the eye reason, but the eye of contemplation, which is the as it were, the inner eye, the Gnostic eye, is, I think, a valid eye, which has been talked about the eye of the heart by mystics from every tradition. And this is what we call in the Galileo commission report, the capacity to see into and to experience the deepest structures of reality. So I suppose the question is, then that science might be asking itself is, are there any deeper structures of reality? Are we capable of accessing them? And are they significant for our understanding of reality?
RICK: Okay, a couple thoughts on that, and then have you respond to those? One thing is that in one of your webinars, I listened to quite a few hours of your webinars, the that I guess that was the science and medical network, or maybe the Galileo commission put on, someone mentioned that, you know, there were kind of dire consequences to treading in the church’s territory as science was developed. And there was sort of, I don’t know whether it’s an implicit or explicit agreement that, alright, you leave the spiritual stuff to us. And we’ll let you mess with the material stuff that will let you focus on that. And so, you know, some if someone like Bruno or a scientist or someone, one of his successors, and, you know, wanted to study the material world, and yet at the same time, integrate consciousness or the spirituality or all that into it, he might have been tortured or killed for doing so. So there’s that my comment on that before I say the second,
DAVID: yes. So obviously, Galileo is a case in point because yeah, it was No, put on the house arrest. And the only way he could get his point across was the dialogue on the two world systems of 1623. And when he puts the, his boy, the, the voice of the church is is given to Simplicius, which is obviously an ironic attribution. And, and, and so that you couldn’t, if you were, if you were trying to move those those sciences forward the church’s authority, and indeed also the authority of Aristotle, and one mustn’t forget Aristotle, this is all taken for granted. And you’re right. I think it was the Council of Trent, around that time, where there was this sort of maybe tacit agreement, then that science would look at the outer, and the church would look at the spiritual and the inner, because you can’t really demarcate these things. And you can understand exactly why many scientists have reacted so vigorously against this authoritarian epistemological structure where you’re saying that the more you have to accept what we say In spite of your observations,
RICK: and I guess, as I recall, Galileo was also shown the rack and said, Would you like to try this? Or would you like to sort of revise what you’re trying to say? And, you know, so he was threatened. It wasn’t just house arrest, he was threatened with torture and death. And also the reason you call this the Galileo commission, right, tell us that story.
DAVID: Yes. Well, we actually use the example of the professor of philosophy of Padua, who was a colleague, obviously, of Galileo’s and he absolutely refused to look through Galileo’s telescope, to see whether there were any moons around Jupiter, because he knew that there couldn’t be. And so it was, why
RICK: couldn’t there be moons around you? Well, how would that conflict with church or orthodoxy?
DAVID: Well, it’s it’s this, this was really the church. This was the authority of Aristotle, because it hadn’t been mentioned in Aristotle. Oh, and it’s, it’s when people know in advance that something can’t happen, that the trouble arises, because then you don’t look at the evidence. Or if you do look at the evidence, then it’s got to be fraudulent, or the protocols are wrong or insufficient.
RICK: Right. And so the reason you called the Galileo commission is that these days, so many scientists, the majority, refused to look at the evidence that consciousness might be fundamental, or that one could have out of body experiences or reincarnation happens and all that kind of stuff, they refuse to look at it, because it doesn’t fit their paradigm. And they just assume, to waste my time, it couldn’t be real, who knows what these guys are up to, but I’m not going to spend any time on it and jeopardize my reputation by taking it seriously.
DAVID: Exactly. And I think that the part of the issue is that the social structure of science reinforces this. And also the fact that scientists aren’t actually trained in history in philosophy of science. And so they don’t know about the assumptions, or they’re not aware of the assumptions that underpin the way they look at things. And, and you can’t actually do any intellectual activity, without having some assumptions and presuppositions that inform them, or inform these activities. So I think that’s part of it. But for me, I wonder whether there’s a leverage in and I don’t know the answer to this, but I’m just raising the question. The fact that so many scientists and academics do have experiences that are out of the box. But they don’t want to share those with our colleagues, because they’re worried that their colleagues may think them think them weak headed. But the irony is that the same colleagues are in the same situation, they’ve also had these experiences. And I understand from Diane Hennessy Powell, who was on our, our core, and Julia moss bridge, then that people in the US intelligence services are in a similar sort of situation. And so how does one, how does one help these people come out in inverted commas, and then try and integrate the meaning and significance of these experiences into their overall philosophy?
RICK: I think there will probably be a tipping point, you know, once enough for them once their numbers are sufficient percentage of the whole, but um, so we’ll talk more about that, too. So one other thing I find interesting is how science has kind of encroached on religions territory over time. So for instance, in Galileo’s day, astronomy was off limits, you know, that’s the church had its say, on the way the solar system works. And yes, you know, Galileo had to be quiet. But obviously, science has completely overtaken that field. And so the church is, you know, it’s kind of shrunken, it’s been relegated to a smaller territory over the last several 100 years. And comment on that before I go on.
DAVID: Yes. Well, I think I think it depends on whether your interest in this topic is doctrinal or experiential. So the doctrines and dogmas as defined, they, they arguably have less and less scope for no being applied by ordinary people. But people still continue to have the core experiences out of which religion actually arises, you know, union with God, the feeling of oneness, feeling of cosmic love cosmic light, and which is so well documented that you can’t really deny that these significant things happen happened to people. And so, but the thing is that there’s a tension, I think, between the function of the priest and the function of the prophet or the mystic, so the priest has to keep The keep the institution going and maintain its integrity and structure, while the prophet is bringing in something new the spirit as against the letter of the law, and I suppose this is best exemplified in the legends of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky, where Jesus comes back to Seville, in 1500, in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition, and he speaks to the Cardinal. And the cardinal says to him, if you start promulgating your message of freedom, again, we’ll simply have to burn you at the stake. And we we realize that most people don’t want freedom, they want to be told what to do. And then we can guarantee that they get salvation in the next world. So don’t upset the applecart. And that’s where the dialogue ends. And I think it’s incredibly poignant dialogue, because it illustrates this, this tension between the pioneers and the institutionalization. And there’s a wonderful quote from CS Lewis from his, his Screwtape Letters was a senior devil and the junior devil. And the junior devil comes back and reports that Christianity seems to be doing rather well. And the senior devil says, Don’t worry, we’ll help them organize it.
RICK: Yeah, I’ve heard I’ve heard variations on that one. That’s very interesting. The whole point that religion starts with someone having a deep, inner, you know, mystical experience. And, you know, it’s not like Jesus, and all these Buddha and so on, just sat around and said, I think I’ll cook up a whole set of beliefs for people to believe in, rather, they had an experience. And then they tried to describe their experience, and they tried to impart their experience to others. But inevitably, something is lost in translation, something, you know, it’s not easy to impart the profound experience like that. And so, you know, Buddha and others have provided techniques and practices, do these for X number of years, and maybe you’ll have my experience, but you inevitably end up with a lot of people getting attracted to the thing, who aren’t having that experience and can only believe it, or take it on faith. And then the administrative types come in and start, like you said, the lesser devil start organizing and institutionalizing it. And then they begin to feel threatened by the mystics who were actually still having the kinds of experiences that the founder of the religion had. So it’s a rather bizarre turnaround. And it actually pertains, I think, to what we were discussing about science, which is that our natural, the natural orientation of the average person is that, you know, they’re they’re not sort of inwardly directed, they’re not aware of consciousness, pure state as being unbounded and foundational, and they’re just aware of concrete stuff. And so the natural inclination is, well, let’s analyze this stuff. Let’s see what this is made of. And let’s take it apart and you know, dissect it, and so on. And so there’s this outer directedness. And,
DAVID: yes, I think that’s very, very true. I just want to comment on a slightly earlier part of what you just said. And that’s the tension between pistols of faith, and Gnosis, and that the Gnostics got into all sorts of trouble now for claiming to have direct experience of God, and not needing the authority of the Church, as I implied with the story of the Grand Inquisitor. And they were they were accused of being elitist and exclusive. And if you look down the various structures, you always get this, this hierarchy in inverted commas of initiate, so people who’ve been through rigorous training, and have achieved a certain level and, and insight and Gnosis where they know they are the whole, then that’s the meaning of Gnosis. Whereas the people who haven’t had the experience, they they haven’t can’t do anything else other than join the pistis brigade as it were, but because that that’s an NGO on the tradition, which embodies the experience, but it is not the same as it. That’s the difficulty
RICK: is like saying that the people who run the Large Hadron Collider are elitist. And you know, why can’t I run it? Well, I don’t have the training, but I, you know, if I were young enough, and really wanted to work on that I could get the appropriate training and education and so on, and maybe I could end up working there someday. So I don’t know. It seems like an unfair accusation to say they’re elitist. It’s just they’re a little bit farther ahead than the average person in terms of their inner experience.
DAVID: No, precisely. And that’s, I think, broadly what they said, and I think I come from the Kathyrn region of France, and, and I’m very insular. tested in Catholicism as a, you know, one of the the heretical sects, or movements in the Middle Ages. And they regarded themselves as the true Christians because they, they had this message coming through from their own sources. And they were they were trained men and women. And that’s an important point, women were also initiates in, in Catholicism or they were trained rigorously and that they also had this, this kindness and this love, which underpin their whole attitude to life, which is why they weren’t known. The term Qatar is much later. So they were known at the time as the good man and the good women.
RICK: Nice. Now, during our conversation, if there’s anything that comes to mind that I’m not asking you questions about, feel free to just bring it up, you know, because I might not think of asking something that you want to talk about. But one thing I said in my introduction was that science as it’s currently formulated and practiced, and the technologies that it spawns have had a major impact on the world, obviously, we wouldn’t have be having this conversation without a lot of scientific development and understanding. And yet, the, the whole thing has been a mixed blessing because a lot of harm has been done, usually unwittingly, but sometimes intentionally through the development of various technologies. So let’s discuss how science influences the world because of its materialist paradigm. And how, including, you know, the the negative influences it has, such as the global ecological crisis and decreasing biological diversity and, you know, increase of chronic medical conditions related to lifestyle and social inequality and global warming, and so on. And how, if consciousness were, given its rightful place in the hierarchy of things, if it were recognized as the foundation, and everything arises from that, and if there were experiential technologies to experience that, rather than it just be a conceptual thing, how that might shift everything around, and perhaps some ameliorate these problems, which are actually capable of exterminating us as a species in the next century if they’re not addressed if not solved?
DAVID: Well, I suppose that I mean, the question is what entry point to take into this enormous discussion. But one, one would be the mutation of progress into growth. And, and the the ideology of economic growth, and its association with consumerism, and consumerism, is associated with a different meaning of materialism, but one which sort of runs in parallel, and also with the, with the mechanistic mindset, then which enabled us to exploit the world. And so for instance, EF Schumacher said there were two kinds of science, he said, there’s a science of understanding and a science of manipulation. And, and you can see the manipulation, and without any pejorative sense arises from our developments in technology, that, that we can, we can now control and develop things that were impossible, you know, only a few years ago. And we that you can see also the the development of the direction of travel of technology, particularly the the sort of electronic devices that we’re, we’re using at the moment. So I think the other the other issue has been, if you look at the impact of the US, of human humanity on the environment, there really there are two components of it. There’s there’s the consumption component, and then there’s the population component. And so if you look at the, if you look at the the whole philosophy behind this, then you find that it’s, if you multiply one by the other, then you get the total impact. So for instance, the impact of an American is 40 times the impact of someone living a more subsistence existence in in Africa. So that makes some people say, Well, the problem is, is is consumption rather than population. But the problem as you’ve identified is, is more one of overall impact then, which is made very clear in the recent witness statement by Sir David Attenborough and were wearing He talked about how much of the planet’s Agricultural Service was, surface was effectively devoted to agriculture and meat eating. And so it’s this i and this idea is somewhat coming apart. There the the association between economic growth and, and happiness or well being, because certainly if for the average American wage earner, their happiness hasn’t increased net income hasn’t increased that much either. Because we’ve got more much more inequality than we had. So I think if you if you then had that, which is second part of your question, if we had a sense of the primacy of consciousness and the oneness of consciousness, and I argue this in my book resonant mind, where I develop what I call an ethic of interconnectedness, then then we would realize that we are fundamentally each other. And if you if you based your politics and your economics, on this realization, in their lived realization, and then then you’d see something a little bit like, actually, what’s been argued in the very recent book I just reviewed by Richard Layard called, can we be happier. And he’s the he’s, he’s the man who’s behind the World Happiness Project in the World Happiness Report. And he, he presents something very simple, which I think is an implication of what we’re talking about. And that’s that, ethically, you could say that by being kind and loving to other people, then you are helping create happiness for others. So it’s happiness is not just a question of experiencing that state for yourself, but also of promoting it, and enabling it in others. And I, when I wrote in my review that I found that a very simple and beautiful idea that any any of us can practice, and then we can feel that we’re making a contribution to the hole.
RICK: Yeah, I don’t think you actually can be that happy if you’re not promoting it, or at least not radiating a positive influence. If you’re somehow hurting others than it’s gonna bounce back to you. Have You Ever Have you ever been on the skeptical podcast with Alex Securus? NHS? No, I have? No, I’m just curious. Because in almost every episode, he talks about he uses the phrase that science or the kind of the materialistic world, you regard us as biological robots in a meaning in a meaningless universe. In fact, I had a t shirt made that said biological robot on it and sent it to him. But But yeah, but if that’s one’s perspective, and you can tell me whether you agree that that’s the general scientific worldview, or the attitude that arises from it, then, you know, if life is meaningless, and if you cease to exist when the body dies, then right then and there, you’re going to be more inclined to, you know, do things that you wouldn’t do if there were any ultimate consequences. You if you think that, you know, matter is just dead in sentience stuff, then why not, you know, open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling what’s up there, just a few polar bears. I mean, Ronald Reagan had a secretary of the interior that wanted to just sort of completely eliminate environmental regulations, and they start drilling for oil in the national parks and all and he said, What does it matter what we do the environment, Jesus is coming in a few years anyway, and we’re all going to be taken away. Yeah, thoughts on that?
DAVID: Well, it’s interesting, because the materialistic view and the apocalyptic view will have the same implications, as you’ve just now just pointed out, but yes, I think it’s, I think the question of what is a human being is the key one. And if the human being is, has this has a transcendent component, and that we are intrinsically united, and one, even though we don’t realize it in our bodies, give us a different message, then then you you act, or you would logically act as if you were each other. And I’ve written about this in the context of the life review. And that’s reported in the near death experience and in fact, also in postmortem accounts. And what that there are two levels to it. And there’s one level which is just sort of panoramic memory of your life flashing in front of you, and where there’s no feeling attached to it. And then there’s what I call the life review, where you feel The totality of the event that you’re reviewing, which is not not just from your own point of view, but from the point of view of everyone else who was affected. And so if if you’ve been involved in something destructive in the general sense, then then then you you will feel that,
RICK: you know, Danny and Brinkley Have you heard his story?
DAVID: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. That’s one of the examples I used in my book, right? He
RICK: was, so he was like a sniper in Vietnam. And he had four near death experiences twice, getting struck by lightning, and then a couple of cardiac arrest and stuff. And in every one, he had to go through this, and he, you know, he experienced everything he had done from the perspective of the people it had influenced in Korea, including the, you know, the families of Vietnam, whose provider was killed by him and things like that. Yes,
DAVID: there’s one instance that I recall where he was involved in blowing up a hotel, because there was a suspected terrorist, no staying at it, but they blew up the whole hotel with everybody. And he said that he then felt not only the distress of the people dying in the explosion, but also the ripple effects of all their relations. And so my, my argument is that if people, if people took this on board, and really took it on board, then then they would realize that that any action which harms others actually is way of harming yourself. Yeah,
RICK: that’s a good example, actually, of how if consciousness were given greater emphasis and preference, for instance, if schoolchildren were given means of, you know, meditation, developing consciousness, and stuff like that, we wouldn’t end up in with a society in which it seemed like a good idea to blow up a whole hotels to, you know, kill a terrorist, you know, there’ll be greater sensitivity, you know, there’d be greater empathy, greater feeling that, you know, those are the world is my family. And those people in that hotel are my brothers, sisters.
DAVID: Yes. And this comes back to the earlier part of our conversation about know the Steven post, his mother feeling what was happening to him and realizing there was something he was going through a crisis. And I call this empathetic resonance. And it’s simply a sort of descriptive term that the that we are capable of feeling what it’s like to be other people. And in the life review that that comes to the foreground. Well, that’s what it’s that’s what it seems to me. And but you also get doctors and healers who can feel what’s going on in their patient and therefore then diagnose on that basis. So that’s, that’s, that’s another form of empathy. It’s almost like, like a tuning as it were. And actually, just this morning, I’ve been reviewing a book on the life of John Fetzer.
RICK: Oh, yeah. It was associated with Stephen post, right? Yes. One of the things that’s Templeton, I’m thinking Templeton. Yeah,
DAVID: Templeton is Steven Pope, they one of the things that struck me was that he was a enthusiast for Tesla. And of course, if you’re a radio person, then the whole idea of frequency and vibration, which Tesla did write about, now it makes, makes entire sense as, as your key metaphor. So instead of having mechanism as your key metaphor, then frequency, or vibration becomes your, your key metaphor, and therefore resonance begins to play an important role.
RICK: So we’ve talked a bit about how lacking its proper foundation as consciousness, science has been, you know, very destructive, in addition to the positive things it’s achieved. There’s also a kind of a short sightedness, which I think results from the insensitivity that arises from not having consciousness as your foundation, it was Upton Sinclair, who wrote the book called The Jungle who said, Never try to convince a man or of anything, if his salary depends on not believing it, something like that. And so, you know, there’s so many people, I mean, who will, you know, make a good living selling tobacco, even though there’s plenty of evidence that it’s killing, you know, millions of people or, you know, half of the US Congress denies global warming or doesn’t take it seriously. Why? Because they get a lot of donations from the fossil fuel industry. So, somehow or other I don’t, I hope and I’ve, I’ve seen a lot of evidence for this, but it’s not universal, that, you know, dedicated effective spiritual practice would awaken conscience and people and a sensitivity and an honesty to do the right thing, even if it’s Not to their immediate financial benefit?
DAVID: Yes, I think I think there’s a systemic issue here, which is that the politicians themselves depend on contributions from companies to get elected and reelected. And there’s a revolving door between many government, lobbyists and government appointments, and so that the agenda of these large industries tends to be prioritized. And the same people then who get together at the World Economic Forum, which is a place where politicians and prominent business people can come together. And so it’s, it’s, I think, only by radical reform of the constitute the whole electoral process. Could one really take that out, but, but it’s hard to see how one can really remove the influence of money because it’s so powerful. Well, one thing
RICK: that came to mind as you’re speaking just then is that self interest warps one’s judgment and, and Mote end, cheapens one’s motivations. And if your concept of self is very small and isolated, and, and, you know, short lived, like, you know, I’m going to die in several decades, and so, you know, he who dies with the most toys wins, then, you know, if that’s your self concept, your self perception, then all of your behaviors and motivations are going to ripple out from that. But if you actually really do begin to experience consciousness in its pure state, and realize that as your true nature, then you know, your self concept, that what you know yourself to be becomes this vastness, which is all pervading, not only on a sort of an abstract transcendental level, but which pervades all the beheld Behold, so, you know, Christ said, you know, love your neighbor as yourself. Well, what do you really mean by that, actually, you can reach a state at which you perceive your neighbor, as, as the self, you and your neighbor are actually the one universal self for being. And thereby, you have tremendous love and compassion for your neighbor, and for every blade of grass and everything you hold. So I don’t know, I’m getting a little long winded here. But go ahead and respond to that. Yes,
DAVID: no. I think I think part of what you’re getting at as well is, is what Richard Laird calls excessive individualism. And, and the idea that your individual self interest is paramount, or by extension, the the individual self interest of your family, or indeed your nation. And so starting from this point of self interest, is actually not good for the system as a whole. And so I feel that our institutions need to be recalibrated. So you, you start with the planetary interest, and then you move down to the continental interest and the national interest and, and the Dar, if our institutions, the UN and so on, we’re really far have had a far vision and far reaching in that sense, then, then they would realize that, that you actually have to behave in a in a systemic way, where the whole takes precedence over the parts, but also leaves the parts free to express themselves because what’s very important philosophically, I think, is, is to have a diversity within this unity. And that means cultural diversity in all that as well. rather than seeking to impose a uniform view by some kind of force.
RICK: That’s good. I saw Buckminster Fuller speak at a conference in 1971. I think he turned, he coined the term Spaceship Earth, you know that we’re all on the same spaceship. And if we we pollute the soil it we’re like jeopardizing our own existence. What was the point you just made? Because I wanted to also say something about that the last point you just made.
DAVID: And what I’m just trying to think about the example. It was to do with the Yes, extension of one’s idea of self and interest. I’ve lost love slightly lost the thread as well.
RICK: We’re both getting old. It’ll come back.
DAVID: I think there’s one one more thing I’d like to say just on this general topic. And that’s that, so long as you put power at the center of your political philosophy, and then you’re always you’re going to sanction, repression and violence. by that very existence of power. And then you’re also going to have these these geopolitical rivalries, which we can see no rank, no escalating at the moment with the sort of different players coming in and out of the scene. And, and this seems to me to be a fundamental misconception that life, political life is about power. And I was thinking on my wall this afternoon, whatever superpower were defined not by their weapons, but by the extent of their generosity to other countries.
RICK: That’s great. And think about that, you know, I mean, the amount that the US has spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a lot of these bases, trillions of dollars. And, you know, many, many lives have been lost over there, primarily among the people who live there. And what if, maybe this is naive and idealistic? But what if all that money were put into educational initiatives and health initiatives and stuff like that? So the people over there thought, Wow, these guys are great, there’s so much better than these Taliban or whatever that are, they’re trying to mess with us? I don’t know, it seems like it would have a very different outcome.
DAVID: Well, I’ve just been reading this book here. This is the new new book by Mikhail Gorbachev, it’s still alive. Yes. And it’s called what is at stake now. And it’s an extraordinary book, sending 112 pages or so but in its analysis, and vision, and so one of the things that he suggests is sort of immediately is that everybody needs to agree to a 10 to 15% reduction in military expenditure. But if you, if you don’t change your understanding of the system, and also the drivers of the economy, then it’s very difficult to do this, because you probably know that one of the reasons that the US economy was able to come out of the slump in the 1930s was precisely ramp ramping up military expenditure. And that’s, that’s gone on as a driver of the US economy. And a lot of powerful people are associated with this. And as you will remember, this was warned against by Eisenhower in 1960. In talking about the military industrial complex, right, and that he warned people no 60 years ago, that this was a danger. It comes back to the starting point of Bob, the primacy of consciousness, and the ethical implications that arise from that, that if this could be a widespread realization, then then our political systems would come eventually to reflect that, as well.
RICK: Yeah, I mean, goosing the economy by through military expenditure. And, you know, the military industrial complex is like boosting your energy by taking amphetamines, I mean, you get a short term benefit. But in the long run, it’s destructive, because it doesn’t produce anything. It’s, it’s, you know, it only produces death and destruction, it doesn’t actually produce anything. I mean, in the US, for instance, that the infrastructure is crumbling, there are 1000s of bridges that are on the verge of collapse, and highways full of potholes, and all kinds of stuff like that. And there’s so many marvelous things we could do in terms of, you know, electric cars, and all kinds of other things that would be good for the environment. But funding is always a problem. And yet, funding doesn’t ever seem to be that much of a problem for the military. So again, I think the reason we’re even talking about all this stuff is that it has implications for this whole is consciousness, primary consideration, because if consciousness were really put in its rightful place, and not only, you know, theory, philosophically, but experientially, if people in general were developing consciousness, then I think our priorities would completely reshuffle themselves.
DAVID: Yes, absolutely. And I think it’s important that to note that in the core, mystical experience, whether it’s in a near death situation or not, people not only experienced in one mind, and the realization that there’s only one mind, and they’re all parts of that we’re all microcosms of that one mind. They also experienced this cosmic love. And, and that this is, again, it’s a universal phenomenon. And so metaphysically we’re talking not about a sort of mechanistic foundation to our world, but one where light and love are fundamental. And of course, if you bring love into it in a positive way, we’ve talked a bit about kindness already, that then you then you’ve got a completely different driver. And in fact, if you think about it, Love is one of the most motivating, or the strongest motivations. And that we have, and people have done things for love that they’ve never been able to do. Otherwise.
RICK: Yeah, I remembered what you were saying that I wanted to comment on, you’re talking about power, and how it tends to want to make things uniform, and it’s oppressive and so on. And I’m reminded of sort of, you know, the rain forest where you have a very fertile soil. And it results in a proliferation of diversity, you know, whole fecundity of plant and animal life that you don’t see were in the, in the Sahara Desert, for instance. So, to me, to my understanding, consciousness is kind of the soil, it’s the foundation. And if it’s neglected, and people aren’t aware of it in general, then it’s kind of like the Sahara desert where it can’t sprout very much. But if if it’s if more and more and more people bring their attention to it, and enliven it within their experience, then not only within their individual lives, but within the society that they they make up, there will be a flourishing of creativity and, and also diversity. It’s not like everybody’s going to be the same or believe the same thing or fall, have the same cultural, you know, practices and so on. There’s no need for that. But they can realize their fundamental unity, while enjoying their diversity. And the diversity can actually be richer as it is in the rainforest.
DAVID: Yes, and that that also applies to another part of Gorbachev’s argument, this idea of mutual security. And that, it’s, it’s the, it’s the flourishing of all, not just the flourishing of a few. And if the when he makes the point that both ecologically and militarily, we can’t have unique polar security, because one person security is another person’s insecurity. And that’s what drives the whole process. And I also felt that his going back to the Earth Charter, and the principles the Earth Charter was another very good starting point, because that I think, came out in about 20 years ago, but to 2000. And so we actually do have documents that set out the necessary principles, which would create a new order in inverted commas. But we haven’t got to the point where we feel they’re necessary. And we’re always trying to just get to the next thing, that within the existing system.
RICK: Yeah, I think that’s probably because there, although this is changing, but there just hasn’t been a sufficient focus on consciousness. And even among people who start to get interested in this kind of stuff. There’s such a hodgepodge of different techniques and interests and you know, various some of it rather unusual or bizarre, and perhaps not very effective. But just one quick point on on garbage, the point you made about Gorbachev, I mean, a lot of authorities, including the Pentagon now realize that climate change is going to create some very serious problems in terms of tensions between nations fights over water, huge migrations of people, as certain places become unlivable. It’s gonna make the whole Syria Exodus into Europe look like a, you know, a cakewalk. And so, but the problem is, again, you know, people said, they live for the moment more or less than and these bigger problems which might be happening a decade or two from now. It’s it’s hard to get like David Attenborough and Greta Thornburg, and people like that have realized it’s really hard to to get people to wake up and take that seriously. And again, I just want to keep bringing it back to consciousness, because that’s the founding. That’s the focus of our discussion. I think that’s the missing ingredient.
DAVID: Well, we the I think the gradually boiling frog syndrome, yeah, Gearing is relevant here. Because they, we if something can be put off, and it’s not an immediate and urgent situation, that’s what So what’s one of the reasons why governments have reacted so quickly to the current health crisis? Right, because the crisis in their face? Yes, it’s in their face. And so, for instance, one section of this book deals with the danger of the militarization of politics and the proliferation of tactical and smaller scale nuclear weapons. And we’d bet we don’t very few people have their eye on that ball at the moment, because it’s, it’s not something which is, as you say, immediately in your face, and I think that we are wired as a species, you need to react to emergencies, because that’s known for years, decades, centuries, millennia, even then, that was how we how we how we best operated just by living in the moment. And if you predator comes along when you have you know what to do. And so I think it’s a wiring issue as well. It’s as somebody used to say, one of the one of the problems with humans is we’re running on 200 million year old software.
RICK: Upgrade. Yeah. All right, so let’s shift a little bit into discussing how science might transition to regarding consciousness as fundamental and matter as emergent. One thing that comes to mind initially is like 100 years ago, Max Planck and you know, other physicists were talking about, not only the sort of non material, essence of everything, but the fact that that consciousness seems to underlie everything. And it’s a little ironic that science still takes matter, as matters so seriously, when, you know, 100 years ago, these guys pulled the rug out from under that.
DAVID: Yes. As what Rupert Sheldrake says, matter has been D materialized. Yeah. And so that materialistic philosophy is is really a sort of 19th century type of inheritance before we knew what we now know about matter. And so I think it’s probably been being kept more in place by a biology than it has by physics. But then you also get this interesting question which Schrodinger raises in his essay nature and the Greeks. How long does it take for the implications of a really revolutionary idea to percolate through the whole of society. And so you could, that nonlocality is something that’s been known about for for decades, and experimentally proved their 40 years ago. And yet, it’s when you soon as you translate that into a metaphor for consciousness, then people say, Well, you can’t really do that. And, and yet, we have to think in metaphors. Because we have to use language, we have to frame things in a certain way. And we can’t pin anything down with language, but we can become more subtle in the metaphors we use. And I think just this year, many of your viewers may have seen this, the new film about David Boehm. Yeah, so infinite potential. Yeah. And, and so there you have, I knew him reasonably well. And it’s quite a number of years ago. And we ran a dialogue with him in 1988. But his he had a mind of extraordinary subtlety and depth. And so he would notice things that other people wouldn’t notice. And then he drilled down into these, Roger Penrose explained this rather nicely. And partly, it’s like, you’ve got a sort of Quantum Leap or quantum fluctuation, which sort of spread out in every direction, and after his initial focus, but I think Boehm really tried to reformulate this area, but with his model of the implicit and the explicit order. So what we’ve been talking about, just to make an explicit parallel, the primacy of consciousness, that would correspond to the primacy of the implicit order, and then these, the order of separation arises out of that implicit order unfolds, which is what explicate actually means unfolds from that deeper order. And so really, what we’re trying to say here, I think is is to see if we can apprehend this deeper order. And its implications because we actually live within this order.
RICK: What you just said about the implicate and Expedit s picot orders I find very interesting. I’ve heard physicists say, give talks about how, at deeper and deeper levels, nature becomes more orderly, and more correlated. In fact, some some physicists use the term infinite correlation to refer to sort of the deepest level of nature’s functioning, which would mean that every point is sort of correlated with every other point, which reminds you of Indras net, you know, the idea that the whole universe at its most fundamental level is to infinitely correlated, and that through something physicists call, sequential, spontaneous symmetry breaking, as creation becomes more and more and more manifest, then there’s, you know, there’s greater diversity and complexity and actually disorder and a asymmetries and then they’ve correlated this, some of them guys, like, you know, John Hagen, or MINUSCA fatos, who’s been on one of your things recently, they’ve correlated this with the human mind, which, supposedly, according to the spiritual traditions, can experientially traverse the full range of creation. And I know some physicists squirm when you try to make that correlation, but the, that deeper levels, it becomes more coherent and orderly and less fragmented and chaotic. And it and one, the one arrives experientially, at a state of coherence or in or perfect orderliness, and, and then imbibes, that, so that coming back into the field of activity, the mind, you know, functions in a more orderly fashion, having clarified its connection with the fundamental order, which actually underlies the whole universe, and we being part of the universe underlies our existence.
DAVID: Not very much like that. And it almost gives the idea of there being, you know, like inverted cones, and so you’ve got one cone representing the mind, and then the cone representing matter. Yeah, exactly. The joining point is, is an experience as a human experience, or even sentience, in fact, but there’s actually there’s a perfect symmetry between the two, because both mind and matter emerge from this deeper order. And I think what you said about the the ordering of the human mind, you might call that inner peace, yeah, would be a state of ordering contentment. And what struck me about when you read people’s mystical experiences, and near death experiences, then what they say is, I became light, I became love, I became peace, I became joy. And so that they weren’t separate from it, they actually were it. And that I think, is responsible for the radical transformations that occur when people come back from these experiences. It’s like they they’ve been reformatted. If I would use a sort of computer like, expression, or their, their vibration, or their frequency has been recalibrated. There will be another sort of analogy that you could use. And they are they’re less there’s there’s a coherence, which is a word that may one who used to use a lot, and Brian Goodwin and David Byrne, and so you become more coherent, and by becoming more coherent, and you’re also becoming more peaceful. And you say that your few feel more deeply human.
RICK: Yeah, there’s a verse in The Gita which goes on for many branched and endlessly diverse or the intellects of the irresolute. But the resolute intellect is one pointed. So you can think of it like bicycle spokes coming out from the hub or something. And, you know, the era’s loot intellect is flying all over the place. And in thinking in terms of science, you know, one has to specialize and specialize and specialize and get into minute little niche of, of that particular field of knowledge in order to progress any. But the resolute intellect, as it were, as is said, to sort of be basically that’s supposed to be one way of describing merger, with oneness. And thereby you sit at the home of all knowledge, the home of all creation, the home of all branches of knowledge. And, you know, you could go back to your profession as a specialist in some particular area, but you do so with a kind of an a growing awareness of the foundation of not only your field, but all fields of knowledge. And, you know, I mean, isn’t there something about how, because of the fragmentation of knowledge that creates a lot of problems. And perhaps if all people pursuing knowledge and applying it technologically, were to appreciate experientially the underlying unity, the unity that underlies all fields of knowledge and human endeavor, then that that fragmentation problem would be solved, and somehow all the disparate efforts to understand and influence the world who would be harmonized?
DAVID: Yes, I think you’re right, that there’s there is this fragmentation and specialization. So you get to the point where you know, more and more about less and less until you know, everything about median said, and this it’s interesting that in the Scottish university system, which I went through, I was at St. Andrews University in the 1970s. In those days you had to do a year’s floor. scifi in the in the arts department, which meant meant that you got a grounding in logic and metaphysics, which you could then apply to the various other subjects that you were, you were studying. And in a similar way, I taught at Winchester college was one of the things that you said in my mind biography. And I, I, I was what was called a div gone. And the div Don was somebody who taught general studies, but you could teach whatever you liked effectively. And what you had to do, it was structured round reading, and writing essays about four books every term. And so I chose those books. And then the boys would write about them. So some of the books I chose, I always had a Herman Hesse, a novel, for instance. And then I at one point, I had Fritjof Capra as turning point just when it came out. And so it was in the sort of early 1980s. And so I think the general point is a proper education would give you a cultural grounding, where you would understand the the whole cultural approach, and you would be able to see how your discipline and sub discipline fitted into a larger picture. And but I think the other the other thing that’s happened is that people are not only lost this sort of sense of their own discipline, and where, where it’s situated within the kind of fabric of knowledge. There’s also everybody’s not so busy, that there’s very little time for more leisure, Li reflection, and exchange. So for instance, a couple of weeks ago, we had Professor Elaine Eklund, talking from Rice University about secularism and science. And she she interviewed over 600 scientists from different countries about their faith and its relationship to science. And a lot of them said to her, that’s the first time I’ve been able to have a proper conversation about this, because I just don’t have time otherwise. And so I think this time pressure is further factor in addition to the kind of fragmentation that you you referred to. So it reinforces the the case for there being some more some grounding to education, that is more than just the disciplines that you’re studying as a specialist.
RICK: Yeah, and I would emphasize that if that grounding is just an intellectual exercise by, you know, studying things which broaden your perspective, intellectually, it won’t be sufficient, there has to be a grounding in actual consciousness, which is the real actual ground, and a thought of consciousness doesn’t cut it. You know, you can, it’s like, you can think about a delicious meal and starve to death while you’re doing so. So it has to be experiential, in my opinion.
DAVID: Yes, I think you’re right. And because that then raises the question, well, how would one bring that into the educational system in practice, and there are there are quite a lot of examples now of mindfulness practices being introduced into educational contexts, and the use of meditation. So for instance, the world community of Christian meditation has a particular intervention that they do in a number of schools, including primary schools, and I used to use meditation in my classroom, when I was teaching in Winchester, on a Saturday morning, I would just get everybody to, to sit quietly for five minutes, and the the atmosphere changes and they everything calms down, and they become more reflective and less impulsive. And then the other thing I did is on the Saturday morning, I issued everybody at the beginning of the academic year with a, a commonplace book. And an a commonplace book is where you write down things that inspire you quotations, poems, and, and so on. And then every Saturday, I bring in a pile of books, and books of quotations and things and they will just take a book, and then take it to their desk and then read through it. And note down what meant something to them. And then every day, I had a quotation on my board, as well. So some, some boys would take those down every day, into their commonplace books.
RICK: That’s good. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing I was getting at is, you know, some kind of experiential practice. I mean, I live I live in Fairfield, Iowa. We’re marshy International University is located and everybody there meditates in addition to their academic pursuits. And like you said, there’s mindfulness and Christian types of meditation and so on being introduced in, in schools. And, you know, I think that’s great. And I think it could, I think I think it’s an essential component It’s not enough to just shift attitudes intellectually in terms of, you know, like, if we’re going to be scientific about it, we can’t just say, consciousness is fundamental. And it’s not just a product of the brain, we kind of have to prove its fundamental. And obviously, some of the things you talked about, in the Galileo commissions such as near death experiences, and out of body experiences, and that kind of thing are a kind of, it’s a kind of a proof, definitely. But it’s still somebody else’s experience. And we can’t all just have near death experiences we would want to try. But we can practice various technologies and techniques, which might bring about direct personal experience of this whole idea that consciousness is fundamental.
DAVID: Yes, I think this this would need. I mean, there is Richard Laird, who I mentioned before with his book on happiness, he’s part of the, the all parliamentary group on mindfulness. And so the UK Parliament, has I think, about 100 of them meeting regularly for meditation and mindfulness. Wow,
RICK: you’d never know that. You’ll see videos of the parliament, they’re shouting at each other.
DAVID: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to before before you start a debate, you lit a candle in the House of Commons, but they did produce a report, I think, in 2018, which I’ve got a sort of PDF of. And so there is, there’s a little bit happening, but really, from the point of view of our conversation, I think not nearly enough, a lot more could happen. It needs, it needs thinking through, so as to situate it in a way that people that would be applicable in practice. So I mean, another example from my own experiences, the late 70s, I taught somewhere else in Edinburgh, 30s college, and I, I gave people the opportunity of doing a basic meditation, just really watching your breath. And then the headmaster called me in and said that as some of these parents are getting bit worried about this meditation, because they thought that it went with a whole series of dogmatic ideas, which might get their children to question their church’s Scotland beliefs. Nothing could be farther from the truth, because what we’re talking about here, as you say, is experience, not ideas.
RICK: That’s the same thing that’s been happening here. Even since the 70s. There have been efforts to introduce meditation in school, and generally the the kind of the more conservative Christians go up in arms and feel like Hinduism as being, you know, kind of it’s not getting through a Trojan horse kind of arrangement.
DAVID: But now that you just said they felt they feel they feel threatened by something, which is not their own worldview.
RICK: Yeah. And I mean, I guess we could say, Fine, you know, well, I don’t know. Maybe she could not go off on that tangent too much. But, um, I think that the times are changing, you know, there’s, since you and I first got interested in this stuff back in the 70s, there’s been a, you know, huge increase of interest in meditation, spiritual things. And, and, you know, maybe we could talk a little bit about how culture changes and how perhaps, a lot of change take is actually taking place before it becomes evident. Kind of like, you know, you can heat a pan of water, and it doesn’t look like very much is happening. And you can be at one degree below the boiling point and one more degree and it starts to boil. So I wonder how close we are to boiling in terms of consciousness.
DAVID: I agree that that’s that’s actually interesting question when, historically, then that one of the backgrounds, which is disgusting in Gappers turning point is the history of Arnold Toynbee, who is a British historian, who actually happened to be a pupil at Winchester where I taught he was a scholar there in the early 1900s. And he he studied the the decline, enjoy the rise and fall of civilizations, mainly European ones, and tried to see what factors were responsible for the rise and decline. And one of the things he points out is that in every case, there’s what do you call the creative minority? These are the people with the new ideas and it’s only about 5%. It’s nothing like the the even the majority of the population. And so the the new impulse starts with a small number of people and then gradually spreads out and then you get the if you look, if you change the metaphor slightly you get the initiators, then the early adopters And then and then the people who then come after that, and then there’s a tipping point. And everybody thinks, Well, it’s obvious. So, I wonder whether we’re not in a similar situation spiritually, though, to this Gnostic area, when no 1000 blooms were were flourishing, but that they, there wasn’t a kind of coordination or coherence in the movement, but the very idea of coherence that was exemplified in the authority of the Catholic Church. And that was all that was to coherent in a wrong way. And what we now know from physics, about coherence and fields is that you we can have these, these these coherent patterns that are arising. And I think one of these that I’ve been taking part in which I’m sure you, you’ve seen, and your some of your listeners will be aware of is humanity rising. And this is been spearheaded by by Jim Garrison is the same man who put together the state of the World Forum, with Gorbachev fetcher and bush in the late 1980s. And I have attended a number of these, these sessions and one to one in San Francisco and the final one in New York. So I do think that we need, we need this capacity to come together in coherence, which also happens in these these global meditations that are coming up on Monday, on the solstice. So So I think each of us is trying to do create coherence around us, but we can’t guarantee the outcome. We can only do what is within our sphere of influence, and then hope that overlaps in other spheres of influence, and eventually reach this tipping point.
RICK: That reminds me of another verse in The Gita, you have control over action alone, never over it’s fruits. Indeed, and regarding coherence, I mean, you probably aware of the research on meditation, bring about a set of brainwaves coherence that is ordinarily not seen, you know, between the different different parts of the brain. So that’s interesting. And and if that is indicative of a more orderly mind, more coherent mind a more harmonious way of functioning, then it could be some kind of objective proof that individuals becoming are becoming more coherent within within themselves, and that perhaps would ripple out, you know, if there are enough of them. In fact, I think aren’t you’re going to have David M. Johnson on for some kind of a
DAVID: we are, yes. And Barry seems to be back and Patricia Williams and antidote to violence, which is one of our webinars in, in February. And in their book,
RICK: there’s a little friend of mine. And, you know, he was involved in a lot of the research on large groups of TM meditators going to various trouble spots, like Lebanon or Iran, I spent three months in Iran, myself, and, you know, meditating all day long, and then having some kind of measurable influence on society, even though they were just holed up in a hotel room. They weren’t interacting with the public. But the theory was that they were kind of enlivening coherence within consciousness. And that being an all pervading field, that coherence would ripple out to the surrounding people.
DAVID: Well, I’ll tell you another sort of illustrative story from my friend Scilla Elworthy. And she she was started the Oxford peace research group in the early 1980s. And she she had small meetings of high level scientists and functionaries, civil servants connected with nuclear weapons. And, and they said they would lead small groups, people would meet on either from either side as they were in a totally private, secluded place. And on one occasion, they were meeting at CHARNY Manor, which is a Quaker retreat center in the middle of Oxfordshire. And on the second morning, then one of the American senior American people came up to her and said, I’m not quite sure what’s happening here. That seems to be some sort of special atmosphere, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. And, and she said, Oh, it’s, you know, quite a place. So, you know, people have been there contemplating being silent for years and no, no, he said something like, it seems like it’s coming up through the floorboards. And at that point, she said, Well, actually, the Quakers who are serving you lunch and dinner and tea, and meditating downstairs. Well, we are having negotiations upstairs. So there’s a fascinating story of by kind of corresponding field effect on a smaller scale,
RICK: essentially saying, Here’s a sensitive person to have been able to perceive that. And probably all of us have been in circumstances where we go into a place and just feel something beautiful and profound about the atmosphere. For instance, in. In New Mexico, there’s this little church called sanctuary, oh, they Chimayo. And I’ve been there a couple of times, and you just walk in, and it’s like, ah, you know, first time I went there, my wife just started crying, because the atmosphere was just so sweet and soft and beautiful. And, you know, to contrast that with some horrible places you could go, you know, the atmosphere would be the extreme opposite. So I think everybody’s had the experience of different situations and places having a very different feeling to them. And so I think what we’re getting at here is that the activities that have taken place in a certain place, such as that little church have, have kind of contributed to the atmosphere, you can go into Hindu temples in India, where people have been sort of worshipping and doing puja and whatnot for 1000s of years. And you can cut it with a knife, the feeling and the atmosphere is so thick. So you know what?
DAVID: I go ahead, comment on that. Yeah, because the way I see that, because you find this obviously in hauntings and things as well, and is that there’s some sort of record which is almost imprinted on the walls of a building like that. And, and the way the way I see that is related to psychometry, no object reading, is that you can get a sensitive in give them an object, and they will tell you something about the person whose name the object belongs to. And if the object is belong to more than one person, you might get more impressions coming from different time periods. And so if people go into a place in a meditative and prayer for state, then then that’s going to accumulate the very kind of atmosphere that you’re talking about. And I felt that most strongly, for instance, in a place of Chapel near Cortona, in Italy, where Santa San Francesco Sampson, Francis used to go retreat and pray. And you could feel that that atmosphere, you know, very, very strongly the first time I went, but the second time, unfortunately, they they allowed bus parties to come in. So far too many people were, were coming through this sacred place. And I felt that out, it actually dissipated the atmosphere in some way. So I think these things are filled up and dissipate. Unfortunately,
RICK: Rupert Sheldrake would probably have something to say about this with his morphic fields. And I would say that it’s not just when you say that something has permeated the walls because of what has taken place in that in that place. I think there’s a, it’s not just, you know, you couldn’t just grind the walls down and analyze it chemically and see something there. There is a subtle dimension to life, a subtle realm. And we can say subtle matter. And, you know, if there are, for instance, angelic beings, things like that, then they have bodies like we do, but they are composed of subtle matter. And I think that it’s, that’s true also of just the atmosphere and a place, and the subtle quality of the atmosphere can get enlivened by the kinds of things we’re talking about. Do you remember that point? Go ahead you and say,
DAVID: No, very, very much. And I think those those sort of when people have visions and, and senses of presence, then that also entails the kind of change of atmosphere or you might feel that, that there that a loving presence just brings love right into the room, or that there’s a lot of records of people and feeling these changes about the sphere, in accordance with some being months or maybe more subtle being in present.
RICK: So we’re not only talking about consciousness, development of consciousness, hopefully, changing the behavior of a lot of people in the world. We’re also talking about people becoming like little battery chargers, so to speak, that would be helping to surcharge the subtle atmosphere of the entire globe. With more software, you can say more, more purity more, you know, refined spiritual energy. There’s I’m reminded of that bit in the Bible where some woman Touches Jesus cloak, you know, he’s behind him, so he doesn’t actually see her but he turns around, he says, oh, you know, you touched me. I just felt the energy transfer something however he put it, you know, so there’s this kind of wholesome Phenomenon holds subtle level of life that really needs to be we not only need to understand consciousness and put it in its rightful place, but we need to understand the subtle mechanics of creation, which I think there are many gradations and implications of.
DAVID: Yes, I think this is also often felt through emotions. I’ve just read a book recently called sensitive soul by Michael Jawa, GJW. Er, I may have pronounced his name wrong. And that contains a lot of striking material. And if you think about it, telepathy, which is a word coined by Frederick Meyers, in the late 19th century means to feel at a distance. And so this, this what he calls highly attuned sensing, and he argues that this is in fact, our default state, which eventually kind of wears thin, or wears thick, we better way of putting it we get more thick skinned, and so we don’t feel as much. And so it’s it’s a, it’s a refinement of feeling. And someone who goes into a church or a place and senses that atmosphere is obviously has a has a permeable boundary, if I can, I can put it that way. And that that probably corresponds to what we were talking about earlier, which is an expanded sense of self.
RICK: Yeah, let’s finish the point you just made? Where did that phrase come from? The world is too much with me says some Shakespeare thing or something. It’s Wordsworth words, words.
DAVID: That yes, the world is too much with us. Yeah,
RICK: it’s life has contend to have a coarsening effect, you know, I mean, physical world is, is gross matter, there’s a lot of coming out us a lot of noise, a lot of responsibilities, a lot of pressures. And all that. And a lot of times I interview people who has little children, so angels, or auras, or things like that. And then as they got a little older eight, 910 11, they’d start to lose it. Because just I could, you could just be maturation on hormones, but it’s also kind of just the the impact the conditioning of interacting in a gross world with gross things. And, and then very often, those types of people when they get to be in their late teens, early 20s, they begin to long for that they realize I had something I lost it, I need to refine, regain it. And they might start out on a spiritual quest and eventually regain it. But I do think that we need to the average person, maybe some people are gifted naturally with, you know, being born sensitive like that, and staying that way. But the average person needs to somehow we rediscover that sensitivity, and to kind of refine their whole mechanism, Mind Body mechanism in order to and stabilize that refinement, so that you can be involved in the world in all of its challenges, and yet not lose it. Yes, I
DAVID: mean, I think the another poem that Wordsworth makes that similar point Intimations of Immortality, that gradually our our perception becomes coarsened by the tuning ourselves to the material world, and it’s concerns. But I think this, this is what spiritual practice is really about, is to maintain that centering, and, and to, and to refine that, that sensitivity so that you don’t lose it. But then you you have sufficient boundaries at the same time, so you don’t get affected by everything that’s going on around you, I think it’s a fine kind of balance.
RICK: You know, there’s something in physics called the Meissner effect, and it has to do with super fluids, you know, helium or something like that, where it gets so cold that it has this coherent behavior. And incoherence just sort of pass right through it or are deflected around it or something like that. I forget the details of the physics, but um, there are examples like that, where a really coherent system is impervious to incoherence.
DAVID: Yes, well, I think that’s part of the point was made by Ilya Prigogine, his idea of dissipative structures. Yeah. Because he was saying, of course, the order doesn’t necessarily need to be a good order. But there needs to be a perturbation of sufficient intensity for the order to change. Otherwise, it goes back to what it was before. And it’s almost like, you know, we’ve all had the experience of going on weekend workshops and coming back feeling quite different. Yeah. And then by Wednesday, you’re feeling much the same as you did before you went on the workshop. So it kind of wears off.
RICK: Yeah, you have to stabilize and integrate it. Acepromazine speak at a conference with marshy Mahesh Yogi in 1975. Talking about him and Joseph’s and not Joseph sins an interesting guy. I know he’s involved with the two Brian Joseph and yes, yeah, I should interview him.
DAVID: He’s an honorary member of the scientific and medical network, which is my kind of affiliation. And in fact, there was a conference we both spoke out last Saturday, at the Society for Psychical Research on on the search for a new paradigm and the role of parapsychology in helping bring about that new paradigm. And he’s he’s very creative individual. He’s, he’s, he’s still coming up with new formulations and new ideas. But I have to say, well, quite complex,
RICK: is a fascinating character, very eccentric. I mean, one time he kind of came into the room late when the conference is already underway, and it wasn’t easy for him to get to his chair behind the other participants who were sitting at a table. So he kind of just went to the floor and ducked under the tablecloth that was hanging on the table popped up on the other side.
DAVID: He said he’s, he’s very courageous, because he is the one of the very few Nobel Prize winners who actually puts his head above the parapet. And he’s criticized for his influence is for his interest in, in kind of consciousness studies that we’re we’re talking about, you know, by those very same forces that are trying to maintain a skeptical stranglehold on the academic world. Yeah.
RICK: So I have about 20 minutes left, I want to make sure we cover everything that you would like to cover. One thing that just came to mind, as you said, that was, you know, the work of Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and, you know, established paradigms being challenged by anomalies. And then there was, I think, it might have been Max Planck statement that science progresses One funeral at a time. So we can talk about that kind of stuff a little bit, but maybe other things, and what would you like to cover in the next 20 minutes or so that we haven’t covered? And maybe you can use what I just said, as a springboard if you wish to, and we can go into a few more things?
DAVID: Yes, certainly. I mean, that the the problem about the the funeral analogy, then is that the people in power then influence and educate and shape the next generation. Yeah. And so it takes more than that, for this real kind of systemic shift to occur. And I just wonder, what would be a perturbation of sufficient magnitude, you know, to produce that effect. And I think, in individual terms, it’s what Jeff Crapo calls the flip. And so people have have an experience which convinces them beyond any doubt that the inner is primary that consciousness is primary, and that any ideas they had about the nature of consciousness before that experience needs to be revised, in the nature of the experience. So the critical factor that moves people, there’s not a critical, it’s not a critical experiment, or crucial experiment, but a crucial experience. So how does how could one give people and I suppose that’s, that’s where maybe psychedelics comes in. Because if you think of these pioneers in the, in the 1950s, including Aldous Huxley, but also will it’s Harmon noetix, that his view evolved after he’d experimented. And then he became the president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and did a lot of very valuable work on on the science of consciousness and changing metaphors in the early to mid 1990s.
RICK: Yeah, that’s, that can be a big shift for people. It was for me in the 60s, when I did psychedelics, I, I suddenly realized that the world is not the same for everybody, everybody sees it differently. And the whole the name of the game is to change the way you see it so profoundly that, you know, all kinds of things might be possible. But if I had continued to do psychedelics, I wouldn’t be talking to you now, I’d probably be dead or in an institution or something. So you know, as who was it? Out of those? Somebody said, when you get the message, hang up the phone?
DAVID: Ah, yeah, very, very nice. Yes, that’s very putting it.
RICK: But a lot of things do happen quite suddenly and unexpectedly. And once they’ve happened, you kind of realize that you’ve been building up to it. It’s been it’s been building, for instance, the collapse of the Soviet Union or the, the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Or like in the 1950s. We had the McCarthy hearings in Congress, where the Senator Joseph McCarthy was accusing everybody of being communists and all kinds of careers and reputation. Patients were ruined. And finally, one day, some attorney said, after all, sir, Have you no shame, you know, have you no decency. And suddenly it snapped. And everybody realized, Holy mackerel, look what this guy has gotten us into. And he just kind of crashed and burned and, and the whole attitude shifted again. So, you know, maybe, maybe, as we said before about the heating water, maybe we’re building up to something, and it won’t have to progress One funeral at a time, but there will be, and then won’t even have to involve funerals, maybe there’ll be some kind of sea change all of a sudden, in, in the way people see things and all that sort of repressive, restrictive ways of controlling what graduate students can study and what things can get funded and so on will, will shift more dramatically,
DAVID: and then the research agenda would would shift accordingly. And we’d find out a lot more about the kinds of things we’re talking about, and research, the more more thoroughly.
RICK: Yeah, I heard you saying in one of those conferences that, you know, billions are spent on something like the Large Hadron Collider, and yet just a trickle is spent on, you know, research in consciousness and related fields. And yet, you know, how significant is consciousness compared to whether or not we find, you know, the Higgs boson or something, it’s, it’s potentially
DAVID: brings us back to an earlier part of our conversation about what is the human being, because if you’re, if you’re a transhumanist, and the future is his mind machine interface, and enhancement of our cognitive faculties, which Ian McGilchrist would say, is just left hemisphere analytical thinking, in other words, is being clever, rather than wise. Whereas what we’ve been talking about here is not that has nothing to do with technological enhancement, but everything to do with in a spiritual transformation. And so once talking not about enhancement, in that sense, but but about transformation, which is a universal process that humans have actually been going through in these different stages. And then for millennia, and so that there comes a point in many people’s lives, when they turn from the primacy of outer concerns to the primacy of inner concerns, Jung would say this is the agenda of the second half of life. And then and then that starts unfolding, this whole process of gradual emergence, if you’re lucky of have this sense of cosmic consciousness, and the interconnectedness of everything, and then all the ethical implications that go with that, that we touched on earlier.
RICK: My friend, Dan just reminded me that it was Alan Watts, who said that thing about when you get the message, hang up the phone.
DAVID: Otherwise things
RICK: Yeah, but I’d like to think that, you know, we’re, as a culture, we’re kind of undergoing the kind of maturation you just referred to, on an individual level that perhaps we’ve been rebellious teenagers, you know, playing with dangerous things and, you know, messing around and bullying each other, and so on. And, and, you know, perhaps, we’ll have we’re on the brink of evolving to a more mature society in, in which, well, everything changes.
DAVID: Well, this is very much the view of my friend, Elizabeth Sartoris. Who I’ve interviewed, yes, yes. Because she’s an immature species is competitive, and a mature species is cooperative. And so he sees movement in that direction. And I, that I, my whole educational program is actually based on this idea of global citizens in the making, and young people acquiring a sense of purpose, and the realization that they will need to cooperate and collaborate with each other, to address the challenges the planetary challenges that we face, in an unprecedented way. And I think there are signs that young people, they do have more of a cooperative mindset. So maybe, when we get over the way, this will emerge more naturally. Yeah.
RICK: One thing’s for sure. And that is that very rarely does anyone in any age, have a sense of what things might be like 100 or 200 to 300 years, hence. In fact, I think we kind of assume that things are always going to be like they are but you know, imagine yourself in the 1860s, you know, trying to imagine what things are going to be like today it would, it would be impossible, so And yet things keep changing and the pace of change seems to be accelerating. So it could very well be that within our lifetimes. We were both in the 70 ish range. You know, we’ll see Change is more dramatic than have happened in the past many decades. In fact, I have a quote here from Nikola Tesla, he said, The Day science begins to study non physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.
DAVID: Yeah, yes, no, I know that quote. And I think it’s, I think I
RICK: live very from from the Galileo commission report.
DAVID: And the so focusing on something, and then putting research money into it, that means that’s also a way of getting people to work on it. Because if you’re, if the only thing you can work on is nuclear weapons, because you’re that kind of physicist then or no gain of function research, if you’re, you know, specialist in that area, then you’re put in a very difficult situation of having to put bread on the table, and feeling obliged to choose something, which, which has these questionable, ethical implications, which you probably then have to rationalize to yourself, and that you’re using it only for defensive purposes. For instance,
RICK: maybe those guys can work on nuclear fusion and come up with some kind of some kind of safe energy technology or something instead?
DAVID: Well, I think Tesla was working, as far as I know, he was working on exactly this now over 100 years ago, but because it didn’t involve utilities, centrally distributing the power, and his his ideas were really just sidelined. A lot of his papers, I think just disappeared or burned. So I think if we followed the test line, we probably would have been in a very different situation than we are now. Yeah,
RICK: well, we can sort of lament what might have been, but um, we have to move forward. And yeah, I’m optimistic. One point. I mean, some people might say, well, you know, a lot of people aren’t so optimistic right now, the world is in the midst of this pandemic, and people are losing their jobs, and people are dying. And, you know, things seem really crazy. And there’s so many things to worry about, you know, Greta tune Berg says, we’re all screwed if we don’t change dramatically, but we don’t seem to be changing, and so on. But I don’t know, maybe again, maybe I’m naive. But I’m, I kind of feel like something is happening here. And you don’t know what it is to quote Bob Dylan, and that. We’re going to see a big shift. I mean, a lot of new agey people are predicting this kind of thing for a long time. And everybody made a big fuss about 2012, and on. But I think we can’t discount the proliferation of interest in consciousness and experiences. I mean, I talk to people all the time, who just are having these profound, beautiful experiences. Sometimes without even having shown interest in this kind of stuff before it just starts happening to them. Other times, they’ve been doing some spiritual practice. But something is blossoming in the in the minds and hearts of human beings all over the world. And that can’t help but have an impact, it just has to reach a tipping point.
DAVID: For what I think it’s important to understand about the dynamics of this is that everything starts as an idea, everything starts in the imagination. So my grandfather was quite a famous architect. And I actually, I’m actually sitting now in this interview at a desk that he designed. And so this bureau was once an idea in his mind, he drew it out, he sent the drawing to the craftsmen that he used to work with. And then the Craftsman bought the wood shaped it, and here I am. And I’m actually sitting on a chair, also designed by him. And so if you, if you translate this, this architect analogy into life in general, then you realize that everything around you once was once an idea. And the idea then gets manifested. And so I think we’re probably, as you’re suggesting this latent part of the process or stage of the process, where there’s a lot of lot going on under the radar, and at this subtle level, which in due course, will manifest and I think that’s the hope and the commitment, and it’s what David Nicole calls subtle activism. He wrote a book about that, which I reviewed a few years ago. And and subtle activism seems to me to be a complement to no getting on the barricades and and the outer activism, it’s activism of intention of coherence, and just the sort of interventions we’ve been talking about. So all of this needs to proceed on on multiple fronts, but I don’t think As you say, I don’t think we should underestimate the power of these inner orientations and intentions and attentions.
RICK: Yeah. And it’s probably a good safety feature that subtle intentions and attentions just don’t pop into manifestation, the minute we have them if if they did, it would be a pretty wild and crazy world. All kinds of things will be popping in. So it takes a certain while for, you know, something to become manifest. And perhaps there’s a sort of a guiding principle, I found this in my own life where the undesirable or misguided intentions kind of get weeded out, and the ones that are really going to actually be useful and coming to fruition.
DAVID: Well, there’s an interesting quotation by Whitehead, which when I read it, I was very struck, and he said, the, the instability of evil is the moral order of the world. And like that, it’s quite verging, because there is any destructive force, and is, by definition, unstable, and, and, and incoherent. And they life has its way actually of turning these events around into a beneficial result, you see that in your own. In our own, we see that our own experience, and some of the most awful things that people go through, and which look terrible at the time, are actually a stepping stone to their, their future flourishing and development.
RICK: There’s a Sanskrit saying that goes satyameva jayate, A, which means truth alone triumphs.
DAVID: Indeed, and I think there’s, we’re also in a situation where truth is sort of under siege, in a way, but I think what’s more serious, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the last few weeks, is the decay of trust. And but for me, if you don’t have integrity, and and as an IT person or an institution, then you can’t generate trust. So integrity and transparency are required, in order for trust to emerge. And trust, in itself, as Gorbachev says, in his book, in a political sense, is, is the most extraordinary kind of social capital. And so we should maybe be thinking about, and how we increase the sense of trust. And this really goes back to fundamental values. Because if your fundamental values are not sound, and then you put profit before integrity, or whatever, then it’s it’s everyone for themselves, greed and fear. They’re all of these things that’s embedded in our systems at the moment. And so we need we need to have the right route, though, for the, the the flowering of the tree to happen in the normal way. We need the right soil as well, as we’ve been we’ve been talking about throughout this conversation.
RICK: Yeah, interesting points. So if I said anything, in response to that, I’d probably be repeating myself. But you know, one thing, though, on trust is that it really has to be earned. And you can you can’t blame people for not trusting the government or not trusting this or that, because so many things have been done over the past many years, often without our knowledge. And then we eventually discovered them, you read a book, like A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, and just all the horrible things that, you know, have have taken place. So it’s gonna take a while, I think, to rebuild and regain that trust for many people.
DAVID: Yes, I agree. And I think it does go along with transparency. Because they, if you, if you look at the David Ray Griffin’s work, for instance, on American foreign policy, which is he’s written about, in addition to many other things. And he, he was very clear about the, the the role of covert operations in government policy. And of course, that’s not an official government policy. It’s, it’s all done through the intelligence services on the basis of what they call plausible deniability. And so you, you, you you’re using this goes back to our, the idea that the root was not the root but the main value is power over people. And any means is legitimate, in order to exert this power. And power over is contrasted with Empire mental power with which enables people to work together and therefore build up this trust. And so I think it’s the longest we’ve got a world which embodies this power Over ethos, then I can’t see things changing fundamentally.
RICK: Yeah, well, fortunately, you know, the more subtle is the more powerful. The atomic is more powerful than the molecular, for instance. And I think consciousness being the most subtle thing there is, has the most leverage. And I think, you know, if more and more people start really developing that, no matter how it’ll be a David and Goliath kind of thing, where no matter how powerful the governments or institutions may seem to be, they will have to, you know, align with a higher Dharma, we could say, or will crumble.
DAVID: Well, that would be the instability we were talking about. And also, this is, has to be a grassroots movement. And we see all this happening with the activities of NGOs, that if you look at the number of NGOs, bless it unrest, his book that talks about this, then you will see those incredible things going on all over the planet, no, which are exactly addressing the some of the issues we’ve been we’ve been talking about with integrity. And they’re providing some kind of vision for regeneration of our systems. So I don’t think sustainability is enough. I think we need regeneration.
RICK: Yeah, someone once said, there’s no, there’s no energy shortage. It’s just an intelligent shortage. But fortunately, there is no shortage of intelligence, all we need to do is tap into it. You know, if it were an oil field, it would be like, you know, the Bakken oil reserves under our very feet all over the world is there’s an ocean of intelligence at our very center at our core, and we just need to all tap into it.
DAVID: Yes, and that’s something we can all do. And it reminds me of that number Schumacher quote, he said, humanity is now too clever, to survive without wisdom, nice. And wisdom, wisdom comes from that, and tuning into that, that intuitive intelligence which is also a sense of creativity and unholy ism. And because the right hemisphere according to him, McGilchrist is able to grasp the new and then the left hemispheres function is to elaborate that in language and logic, and then send it back to the right hemisphere for for further intuitive development. So I think there’s a lot in his diagnosis that our our societies have become over analytical over outer focused and, and neglected the, the feelings as opposed to the thinking and the intuition as opposed to the rationality
RICK: of card for some reason, I keep thinking about the loud sir, you know, and he talks about how the Tao Te Ching, I guess it was how, if, if the if a people are in tune with the dial, then government is practically non existent. They say the same thing, the Indian tradition that sought yoga, they didn’t really need to be much government because everyone was just sort of in in harmony, you know, with with natural law or whatever you want to call it. And that the more out of harmony people get, the more complex and power hungry and you know, manipulative and controlling governments become. I mean, this is
DAVID: one of my that’s one of my favorite texts. Oh, good. And I was just discussing in my book review briefing this week, a version of it by Shan Tina Augusto Saba Dini, which which you can find on on Amazon. And, and he, what it reminded me of this getting slightly off to an angle was the, the parable of the rain maker. And the rain rain maker gets asked to come to a place where there hasn’t been any rain for some months. And he asked to be to be put in a heart for two or three days and just fed and watered. And after three days, it starts to rain. And, and so the message of the story is that by getting into this state of natural coherence, then nature itself will will revert to its normal rhythms which we are a part of, and so reconnecting with nature immediately and experientially. And I think is a part of that.
RICK: That’s so important. And that’s what tuning into consciousness does because consciousness being the foundation, it’s the home of all the laws of nature, which ultimately are responsible for Whether and everything else. And, of course, that’s just one example. But I really think that if enough people got tuned in that way, all kinds of things would change that don’t even seem to be within human control, like rain.
DAVID: Yes, I also, I also wonder about the power of ceremonies. And this has been brought home to me with various conversations I’ve had with recently with Leroy, LITTLE BEAR, and particularly with appeal of Colorado, who’s the president of the worldwide indigenous science network. And then they don’t do anything without ceremony. I mean, we should probably have lit and lit a candle at the beginning of the year, and maybe done some sage and just created the atmosphere, and then nothing comes to an end either, without the appropriate closing, and ceremony. And we’re just coming up to the, the solstice. And, and I can’t do that, because I’m actually taking part in a conference in India at the time. But normally, I’d try and go to a certain cave, Bethlehem cave, which is a Catholic cave, about an hour away. And then in about 12 o’clock, on the solstice, the sun goes right onto the otter stone. And so the altar stone is lit up. And it’s extraordinary. The experience to have and then, then we go along to another cave, where 20 minutes later, the Sun enters into the cave, which is the symbol of the feminine, and illuminates the cave, the dark cave is illuminated with light, which, of course is the symbolism of Christmas, the birth of the light, the return of light, and the transformation of darkness, this alchemical process, which we’ve been talking about.
RICK: That’s interesting. Yeah, there’s actually some, the New York City, Manhattan faces east west, you know, and so there’s a certain time of year, it’s probably the solstice where at a certain time of day, the sun just shines right down between the buildings and people gather on, you know, bridges and all to watch it.
DAVID: Well, these stone circles were all aligned astronomically in that way. And I wonder whether part of the function of this wasn’t there precisely, to harmonize human beings with these cosmic forces. Yeah. And that’s, that’s, let’s say, that rediscovering this, this power of ceremony, and in the cycle of the year might be one of the things that we can do, because we also we, if we ideally, we can come together with people to do this, so becomes community activity, and not just something we do on our own, especially help build the kind of field coherent field that we’ve been talking about,
RICK: which opens up a whole nother topic, which we won’t get into now. But it could very well be that with the sort of reemergence of natural law through the, you know, tapping in to consciousness by lots and lots of people, all kinds of ancient cultural, ceremonial, indigenous kinds of wisdom will, you know, we’ll reemerge and you know, have another Hay Day and perhaps contribute a lot to our modern understanding of things a way of doing things.
DAVID: Well, what I what I find interesting, is that if, if the cosmic intelligence can’t get through to us in any way, any other way, it can come through dreams. Yeah. Yeah. And, and the appeal has been involved with a sharp Academy where they do this kind of dream work. And, and they, they’ve been trying to synthesize and work out the themes appearing in these dreams. And there’s quite an urgency in the dream, saying, you know, we, we need to change course, quite rapidly. And of course, we’re getting that, that we’re getting it from David Attenborough. We’re getting it from Mikhail Gorbachev. We’re getting it from young people. And so I wonder whether another contribution here and this applies to our conversation in general, is whether if we start talking about a tipping point, more explicitly, and this will actually paradoxical not paradoxically, but intentionally help the tipping point to come about.
RICK: Like be if more and more people realize that there may be a tipping point coming. Is that what you’re saying?
DAVID: Yes. And even talking about it might bring the tipping point a little closer. Talks about this a lot as well. There he’s written a couple of books this year one reconnecting with the source and then What we do now, and, and that he talks a lot about phase transitions and the the break down break through process. And we see that on our own experience as well, that sometimes we have to have an element of break down for us to have a breakthrough. And I think this may apply at the collective level as well, like a kind of collective NDA II.
RICK: And that may be what’s going on right now. Because there is a bit of a breakdown happening. So and yeah, the the idea even I mean, imagine if you thought that you were a biological robot in a meaningless universe, and that life ends when the body dies. And society is, you know, going through this chaotic thing right now imagine how discouraging and depressing that would be. But, you know, just the intellectual understanding or perhaps hope that, you know, life is a continuum, and, you know, enter the body doesn’t mean the end of life. And and what was the other thing you just said, though, that there might be a tipping point coming, and then all this chaos could be leading to that I mean, that that alone, that perspective, could have a huge impact on a person’s psychology?
DAVID: Yes, I think so. And also, the sense that each of us individually, is a part of this and can contribute to it through our own choices, you know, through our own being through the way we live through the way we relate to nature. And living in this way, I live a very simple life that brings that that richness, to your experience. But in order to, to experience that richness, you have to notice things. And you have to you have to have what Jesus said, have eyes to see ears to hear.
RICK: Yeah. Well, that’s probably a good stopping point, I could talk to you all day. And we should do another one one of these days. And also, you’ve mentioned a lot of people, and you’ve had a lot of people in your conferences that I really should probably interview sometime. And maybe we can communicate later about, you know who you might recommend? Yeah, so you have a ceremony of closing ceremony for us. To have a ceremony,
DAVID: yes, I’m going to do I’m just going to get a candle. And so I will, I normally have one here, but I will, I will get one, bring it back. I don’t have any sage. So I can’t do that. But I can, I can light a candle. And so let me show this. And I’ll say two things in connection with this candle. One is a Chinese proverb, which says, rather light a candle than curse, the darkness. And the other is a quotation from what’s meant to be the complete gospel of Mary Magdalene, which is called the gospel of the beloved companion. And it goes like this. The light shines in the darkness, and never has the darkness, overcome it. The light shines in the darkness and never has the darkness overcome it. So that’s our hope. This Solstice is conjunction of south of Saturn and Jupiter of joy and freedom with order and restraint, which we’ll all celebrate on Monday. And so I’d like to send this light and its current correlating love out to everyone who is listening to this podcast.
RICK: That’s wonderful. David, that’s a really beautiful conclusion to a beautiful conversation of really enjoyed having the opportunity to speak with you like this. And I, I really admire the work you’re doing. I think it’s, you know, it’s not on the radar of most people in the world, but it’s, you know, having a an influence way disproportional to the small numbers of people involved. And it sounds like the numbers are growing. So keep it up. And we’ll be
DAVID: back. More people will find out about what we’re doing through this podcast and and the resources associated with it. So I invite people to come and join our community.
RICK: Yeah, now, I’ll be putting links to all the stuff that you know, I mentioned at the beginning, on your page on bat gap, is there anything what concrete steps could a person take if they’re really interested in the things we’ve been talking about? What is To join, what kind of conferences are there things like that?
DAVID: Well, I will send you a document with some information on it. But what people could do, if they’re interested in our webinars, they can go to mystics and scientists.org. We’ve got a whole program until June next year plan. If you’re interested in beyond the brain, our annual consciousness conference beyond the brain.org, if you’re interested in the Galileo commission, you go to Galileo commission.org/join-us. And you can join as a friend or if you’re an academic and scientist as a professional affiliate, and and then the main site for the scientific medical network is site med net.org, although that’s about to change, because we’re about to get a new website, which is in development. And then my educational work is inspiring purpose.org.uk. So those are the various places that people can go follow up.
RICK: Great. And as I mentioned, I listened to one of the conferences that you had recently, it was, I guess, the Galileo, commission Science and Medical network in association with ions. And you had Marjorie Well, yeah. Summit. Yeah, that was great. I listened most of it while walking in the woods, which is how I listened to things. But it’s one you know, wonderful stuff. And so you know, people who’ve been watching this interview, if the kinds of things we’ve been talking about are up your alley, you know, if you find these kinds of things inspiring, then I recommend that you do the things David just said. So thanks, David.
DAVID: Another, we’ll have other summits coming up next year as well for the launch of other new books, including one by the University of Virginia called consciousness Unbound, freeing science from the tyranny of materialism. Sounds great. We’ll be in June.
RICK: I’m going to try to listen to more of them as they come along. Because I think all of this is so exciting and valuable. So thank you.
DAVID: And well, thank you. It’s been a fascinating exchange. No, I really appreciate the opportunity of having this conversation with you.
RICK: Yeah, I think quite a few more of my brain cells have come online, just talking to you that you know, were previously asleep. woken them up.
DAVID: I hope that’s a good thing.
RICK: It is. So thanks, and thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching and you know, as you all know, this is an ongoing series and you can go to the website, sign up for email notification for the audio podcast, explore the menus and you’ll find some, some interesting things. So see you for the next one. And thanks, David. We’ll be in touch.
DAVID: Thanks so much.