Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done 385 of them now. And if this is new to you, please go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu, and you’ll see all the previous ones categorized and organized in about five different ways. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. And so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it in any amount, large or small, there are donate buttons on the donate page that explain other ways of doing it if you don’t like PayPal. My guest today is Duane Elgin. Duane, well I’m going to read his bio in a second, but I just want to say for starters that – I really I say this occasionally – I really enjoyed preparing for this interview. I had a cold this week. And so I was able to indulge myself and sit around a lot and I managed to read all of one of Duane’s books, “The Living Universe” and a fair amount of a couple of other ones: The Awakening Earth” and “Voluntary Simplicity” which I have on the shelf behind me. I forgot to get it here. But I really, this kind of stuff as you’ll see as we get going in this interview is right up my alley. Duane talks about a lot of things brilliantly that I often bring up in interviews, and that really excite me. So I’m really happy to have him on the show. So welcome, Duane.
Duane Elgin: Thank you, Rick. So good to be here.
Rick Archer: And you’re welcome. So let’s do a little bio stuff on this – Duane grew up. Incidentally, Duane, Everybody pronounces your name, Elgin, but I could swear that in one of your interviews, I heard you pronounce it, Elgin, but it’s
Duane Elgin: Yes, it’s Elgin. If you go to Scotland. Oh, and it’s Elgin in I suppose in the United States, so I’m okay with either pronunciation.
Rick Archer: Okay, maybe we’ll switch back and forth for the sake of our Scottish listeners. So Duane, grew up in a farm in Idaho. And was it a potato farm by any chance?
Duane Elgin: There were potatoes, onions. We had apples and pears. We had all kinds of crops, chickens and cows and pigs and all the rest. It was a farm. It was a big farm.
Rick Archer: Sounds healthy. And you worked there until you’re like 23 years old on the farm? Well, obviously getting an education at the same time. You become an internationally recognized author, educator, speaker and media activist. You have an MBA from the Wharton Business School and an MA in economic history from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006, you received the Peace Prize of Japan, the Goya award, in recognition of your contribution to a global vision, consciousness and lifestyle that fosters a more sustainable and spiritual culture. Your books include the ones I just lifted up “The Living Universe”. “Where are We? Who are We? Where are We Going”, that’s the subtitle, “Promise Ahead, a vision of hope and action for humanity’s future”, “Voluntary Simplicity – toward a way of life that is outwardly simple in really rich” and “Awakening Earth”, which I also just held up exploring the evolution of human culture and consciousness, also with Joseph Campbell and other scholars you co-authored the book “Changing Images of Man”. And as usual, I’ll be linking to all these books from Duane’s page on BatGap. In addition to that, you’ve contributed chapters to 23 books and have published more than 100 Major articles. So in the 1970s, Duane, you worked as a senior staff member of a presidential commission looking 30 years into the American future. Which president was that, Nixon?
Duane Elgin: Yes
Rick Archer: Okay. And to what extent did your prognostications work out?
Duane Elgin: Very, very much so. It was – we said in the early 70s. By the year 2000, there was going to be a water crisis in the south western United States, for example, in the Los Angeles, San Diego basin, it was very clear. And so here we are really facing a water crisis in that part of the world and we have not anticipated in the way and had policies to respond as we could have.
Rick Archer: Yeah
Duane Elgin: so it was too little too late.
Rick Archer: That’s,
Duane Elgin: yeah Yeah
Rick Archer: Because there’s plenty of warnings and that’s a much bigger and more global problem, Yeah, typical and interesting when we consider global warming
Duane Elgin: Yeah
Rick Archer: which we’ll probably talk about. So then let’s see you. You worked as a senior social scientist with the think tank, SRI International, where you co-authored numerous studies of long range future. In addition, for nearly three years while working at SRI, in the early 70s, you were the subject in initial government sponsored PSI research into remote viewing and other intuitive capacities. And finally, over the past 30 years, you’ve co founded three nonprofits and trans-partisan organizations working for citizen involvement, empowerment, rather, and as citizens voice to creative uses of the new media that surround us. So I thought we might start Duane, if you don’t mind by talking a little bit about what you talked about in the appendix to this book in “The Awakening Earth” where you were doing intense spiritual practice, and you had some kind of profound awakening that might be in the context of this show, that might be a good place to start.
Duane Elgin: What..
Rick Archer: Well, describe what happened to you? I mean, you were doing what kind of practice and what kind of experience did you end up having?
Duane Elgin: Well, this was the experience you’re describing was in 1978. A long while back. But I’d been years before that for about six, seven years before that I’ve been deeply involved in Tibetan Buddhist meditation. And at the same time, as you mentioned, I was involved with the Parapsychology research there at the Stanford Research Institute. And so I was developing a literacy of consciousness, if you will, over a period of years, both with feedback from very sophisticated instruments and with support from very sophisticated teachers of meditation in the Tibetan tradition. And finally, I decided that I had learned so much intellectually, and so much intuitively, experientially, but the two were not coming together, I essentially had two lives, I had one life as a professional researcher and the rest, I had another life of deep spiritual practice and intuitive understanding, and they were not coming together. So I took a half year, essentially, in 1977, and 1978, to give myself the meditation space, to bring those two together. And after a half year, they hadn’t, I was more more overwhelmed than ever with the, with these two different tracks of my life. And what I did was I said, this was utter desperation and utter confidence, if you will, combined, I said, I’m going to sit in meditation until my life does come together. And essentially, I sat for three days straight.
Rick Archer: without sleeping?”
Duane Elgin: Lightly two evenings. But it was a, it was there’s no way that I could describe the intensity of that, it would be – an analogy would would suggest, imagine you have a 100 watt light bulb, and you take that 100 watt light bulb, and you put it up against a steel plate, and you leave it there for an hour a day, whatever it may be, the plates gonna get a little warm. Now on the other hand, if you take that same amount of power 100 Watts, and put it into a laser, really focused, put it on that plate, and within an hour or so you’re gonna burn a hole through that steel plate. And so the difference between the half year of preliminaries, if you will, it was like just warming, warming, warming. And finally, those last three days it was burning a hole through the eagle eye that was holding me back from understanding the larger connecting with the larger universe, if you will. And so what finally happened was the universe said, Well, okay, here it is, here’s, here’s who you are. Here’s where we are. And it’s utter simplicity, directness. And what emerged was the, just a very clear insight many people have had, that I am a part of a larger liveness. More than 2000 years ago, Plato said the “universe is a single living creature that encompasses all living creatures within it”. what I saw. Okay, here I am. I I’m a part of this larger aliveness. And I’m no longer cut off from myself and the cosmos rather, I am completely at home. And that’s – so it was no change other than feeling finally at home in the larger universe, and knowing that that is who I really am.
Rick Archer: And that kind of stayed with you.
Duane Elgin: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Nice. Some people go through this? I got it. I lost it kind of thing for a while. But once you had that laser breakthrough, you it sort of stuck.
Duane Elgin: Yeah, it wasn’t something that was added. It was rather something. It’s taken away. It was like, I had covered up that insight. And what happened was, okay, let’s take the cover off and just see clearly. And so, yes, so then that has persisted.
Rick Archer: Great. Since you mentioned living universe. Let’s get right into that for a bit. You wrote a book by that title, “The Living Universe”, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And what’s the basic premise of the book?
Duane Elgin: Basic premise is what I just quoted from Plato, that the universe is not a collection of bits and pieces, but rather it’s as an integrated whole system as a cosmic hologram, if you will. And we are an integral part of that wholeness, and but the wholeness is not simply a mechanical wholeness, it’s a living wholeness, and we can enter into an understanding of that living wholeness through our direct, intuitive experiential practice. And when we do if we shift our understanding, from a dead to a living universe, it transforms our entire lives and transforms. Personally, societally. And we can explore that but this is a the key transition. I think we’re going through right now as a human family, to say no, we’re not living in this existential deadness waiting for a miracle to keep us alive. No, we’re living in deep aliveness right now. And we can grow into an economy of aliveness into relationships that grow our sense of aliveness. And I think that is the great transition that we’re beginning to make right now as a human family.
Rick Archer: Let’s go into what we mean by aliveness or living. I mean, obviously, we hear these debates. Is there life on Mars? You know, this? Probably almost definitely not life on Venus, certainly not life on the sun, you know, so they’re referring to life as biological life as we know it. But when you say the universe is living, I’m quite sure you mean, everything – neutron stars are living and empty space is living and a rock is living. So clarify what you how you would
Duane Elgin: Yeah Good
Rick Archer: define that.
Duane Elgin: Good. So there are levels of aliveness, obviously, levels of aliveness. And there’s the foundational aliveness that that Plato was speaking about saying, well, the whole thing is a living system. And then within that living system, there are creatures of varying degrees of self reflective, self organizing aliveness, if you will. And we happen to be a creature that not only knows that we’re here in this universe, we know that we know that we’re here in this universe, we know that we know. And that’s a higher level of aliveness. But that doesn’t diminish the wholeness of the universe as an integrated living system. So how would you then say that, if it’s if the universe is actually alive, it has to have a few basic properties that would go with any living system. The first property is it must be a whole system. It can’t be just a collection of pieces. It has to be an integrated whole. Now, quantum mechanics is telling us deep down nonlocality says this is an integrated whole universe. There are a lot of pieces indeed, but those pieces are connected deep down into a wholeness as a living system. Second thing if it’s alive, it must have energy moving through it. Now it turns out 95% of the known universe is invisible. It’s dark matter and dark energy. There’s immense amounts of energy embedded and flowing through the universe. The physicist David Boehm said the universe is an undivided whole. It’s unified in flowing movement, universes and undivided home flowing movement is arising moment by moment. And if we think about the energy it would take to bring this universe into existence moment by moment is phenomenal, it’s unimaginable. So number two, it’s unified it has immense amounts of energy flowing through it. Number three, there’s consciousness and every level of the universe that we can look at, we can find evidence of a reflective capacity. They, for example, go down to the atomic level. The physicist, Nobel laureate, Freeman Dyson said that the atom, the electron moving around, in the electron shell of an atom behaves as if it had a mind of its own as if it had – as the atom, then we can just go right on up the chain to higher and higher levels of organisms, and we can find evidence of a reflective consciousness at every scale. So that’s number three, I mean, we see the capacity for consciousness and reflection. Number four, there has to be some degree of capacity for reproduction, if you will, if as a living system, and again, and again, cosmologists are now saying, well, the universe has the ability to to seed other universes, and every black hole on the other side of a hole is probably a white hole. And it’s budding off a new universe, a new universe, and there are billions of them in our universe. So the point is, if we start adding up the attributes of living systems, and we say, does the universe have those attributes? Indeed, it does. Now, that doesn’t prove the universe is alive, but it says, Does it look like it’s dead at the foundations? Or does it look like it’s alive? And I would say it’s alive. It’s that’s, and then you can ask, well, it looks that way. But what is it feeling? What is the experience that people actually have of this living in this living universe? But let me pause here before I
Rick Archer: Sure.
Duane Elgin: See if there’s anything you wanted to add, Rick, to that
Rick Archer: you’ve obviously been interviewed a lot, you know that it’s that you want to pause from time to time, that’s great. Sometimes I have to cut people off. Sometimes they have to cut me off. But, okay, question. Have you ever debated any of the so called New Atheists like Daniel Dennett or Sam Harris, or, you know, Christopher Hitchens, or any of those guys?
Duane Elgin: Well, not those persons specifically, but certainly people that say, well, you’re crazy. If you think this is a living universe, I just look around if they were showing me the words alive, another person will say, Well, you’re crazy. If you think this is dead. Look at the beauty, the elegance, the the design, intelligence in this construction of the universe is so fine tuned to be as it is. And so what I am seeing, it’s about 50/50. And we can go into the surveys that show this is actually pretty accurate for the population at large. About half the public says, Well, of course, it’s alive. The other half says, well, you’re crazy if you think it’s alive. And so this is truly a tipping point for the culture. Because if you say it’s a Dead universe, well then materialism makes sense. Consumerism makes sense in a Dead universe. What do we got? Just a bunch of dead stuff, you better exploit it better use it up. And remember James Watt? Yeah,
Rick Archer: He was Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, I believe, and his philosophy was, Well, Jesus is coming anyway. And the whole, you know, the whole world’s gonna end so let’s just rape the environment as much as we can, you know, get everything we can out of it.
Duane Elgin: Yeah. So that’s the materialistic mindset of a Dead universe. If it’s a living universe, simplicity makes sense. You want to you want to take care of the aliveness of that living system, the earth. You want to have a conscious regard for the universe, that is your larger home. It just transforms the way we relate to one another to ourselves to what we’re doing here. If it’s a Dead universe, well, then why you know, it’s going to take a miracle to save us. If it’s a living universe. We’re already deep into the aliveness right now we’re deep into the aliveness. And what we’re learning to do is live in that aliveness that changes the entire journey.
Rick Archer: Yeah. In a way, it doesn’t matter if half the people believe it is or if none of the people believe it is or if all the people believe it is because it is what it is, regardless of what we believe. I mean, there was a time when people believe most people believed the Earth was flat and that it was the center of the universe, but that the universe actually didn’t care. You know it continued to operate the way it has been, regardless of what we little humans thought.
Duane Elgin: Indeed
Rick Archer: When I think of this idea of a living universe enough, and I thought, I think about it a lot, and I brought it up in many interviews, it’s like, we kind of take for granted, what we’re actually going through here, what we’re actually experiencing, and if we pause to consider it for just a moment, take a look, take a look at a blade of grass or something. And you consider what science has told us about what’s actually going on there, you know, and the amount of intelligence and orderliness that is operative at every single level from the cellular down to the subatomic. If you think Holy mackerel, it’s a total miracle. And it couldn’t possibly be random, it couldn’t possibly be arbitrary or capricious little billiard balls somehow bouncing into each other and creating blades of grass and, and everything else. And you also think that, well, where could I possibly go? Where I wouldn’t find that? And the answer is nowhere. I mean, as you were saying, the universe is a whole, it’s a whole system. There’s no gaps. I mean, there’s you could go anywhere, large or small, near or far. And you’re going to find laws of nature functioning in ways which we don’t even fully comprehend, and which are certainly, and obviously not random. So, you know, when I ponder that sort of thing, I wonder how anybody who, especially a scientist, somebody who studies this stuff could possibly think of it as dead.
Duane Elgin: You know, one of the most remarkable insights that I think has come from modern science in relation to what you’re saying, read the miracle of existence, is if you imagine a ruler, a cosmic ruler, from the very largest to the very smallest scale, and we look at ourselves, in the universe, we look out, we say, Oh, we’re so small, we’re just so insignificant, we’re so trivial in the larger cosmic scheme of things. But on this ruler, from the big to the small, it turns out, humans are roughly in the middle, or actually a little bit on the big side, and it means there’s more smallness within us, than there is bigness beyond us. And it’s extraordinary how much space there is beyond us. And it’s just mind boggling to imagine how much more space is there and within this in smallness. And so we’re in the middle ground, we’re giants in this universe, we are literally physically giants. And we tend to diminish ourselves relative to the larger scale of things. And one, one thing I love to do is to say, Oh, you’re big, you’re creative. You’re a creative giant in this living universe.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, that that’s triggers two thoughts. And one is just to elaborate on the smallness bit like in your book, you mentioned that if, if, atom, if you took the atom and you made the nucleus the size of a golf ball, then the electrons would be about a mile and a half away, or at least the inner ring of electrons whizzing around that golf ball at trillions of times a second. And so that’s an interesting thing. It can reveals amazing dynamism. Plus, I mean, the nucleus of an atom is ginormous. When when contrasted with you know, deeper, more fundamental, more microscopic levels of of creation. It’s huge. I don’t even know it might even be closer to us than in size than the Planck scale or something.
Duane Elgin: Yeah, it is.
Rick Archer: So there you go. So yeah, so that’s one thought. And to think that, you know, each little atom is this perfectly functioning unit, obviously, not random, obviously not arbitrary. Displaying marvelous laws of nature, which again, we still don’t fully understand, and that there are more of them in a, in a handful of sand than there are stars in the known universe, I mean, just enormous amounts. So it’s just It amazes me. And like I said before, it’s like we take this stuff for granted and we just go waltzing through our day. But there’s this incredible, profound complexity and sophistication in every little iota of creation.
Duane Elgin: Indeed,
Rick Archer: Yeah
Duane Elgin: indeed.
Rick Archer: So the second thought that that triggered when you say, you know, we’re giants and all that. What if we ask, Well, what do we mean by we? And when we consider that the real we the real self that we are actually does, actually dwarfs the universe because it’s unbounded. It’s unlimited. It’s it’s vast, then, and then we’re really giants.
Duane Elgin: Indeed, that’s the bio cosmic self, we are a part of the Living Universe. And one key attribute of a hologram if the universe is regarded as hologram is that each piece of the universe contains information about the whole. And that’s where so called Parapsychology and such makes sense. It’s nothing more than the functioning of the quantum realm while nonlocality. This is just how the universe works. There’s nothing magical or mysterious about it. So we enter into that realm, we are entering into the non local reach of the entire university, we’re implicated into the entire cosmos. So the idea that we could have cosmic consciousness totally makes sense. We’re a part of the consciousness of the cosmos. And people have that experience on an increasingly more frequent basis. Let me share a statistic as really empowering. In 1962, a survey was done in the United States to see how many people said they had had a mystical experience, a feeling of communion with the universe, a feeling of profound love at the foundation of the universe, a sense of peace, and connection with it all. How many people had had that kind of experience, and it turned out in 1962, it was 22%. Year by year that’s been growing. And the last survey that was done, it was in 2009. And it was 49%, of the American public said, Yes, I have had a mystical experience. So we’ve gone from 22% to 49%, over a generation, let’s say, and it means we are at least as much as society of mystics, as we are a society of materialists. And we are in a process of measurable transformation and change. I mean, this is measurable transformation and change. And we’re not really talking about it except on programs like this. What we’re being told is no, you are what you consume. Be a good consumer, use your materialism to make you happy. And we’re really creating a schizophrenic society, because we’re divided against our own aliveness, we’re divided against our own liveness. And the deepest wound that we have, I feel, as a human family, is the wound of separation from the Living Universe.
Rick Archer: So as a futurist, and as a scholar of cultures and their evolution, do you ascribe to the notion that there is some kind of mass awakening taking place in the world, you know, the sort of new agey idea of heaven on earth or an age of Enlightenment coming along?
Duane Elgin: Well, I think it’s measurable that there is changing attitudes and values and perceptions, just like I indicated, there’s more evidence than that. So it’s not a utopian possibility. This is from a farm boy, this is from a farm boy, say we got to get down to earth here and start handling things because we are in a time of great transition as a species, and we are not stepping up to the game that’s called from us. And so that’s how, you know,
Rick Archer: good. So, you know, I mean, I don’t want to get too much into politics, but after the last election, you know, people sort of, oh, I got, I thought things were gonna get so much better. You know, Bernie gave us a lot of hope and, and whatnot. And, and then, you know, the new administration comes in and appoints people like James Pruitt to the EPA, and, you know, various appointments that seem so regressive. And so, you know, inimical to environmental issues, and, you know, the welfare of the economy. I mean, we’re setting ourselves up for another bank failure, and so on. So how do you put that in context of some kind of awakening taking place? And I know that you’ve said that in 2020, as you felt like we’re going to really hit a wall in terms of the way we’ve been carrying on do you see this as a sort of a necessary acceleration of outmoded ways of thinking and doing things that will bring us to that wall and that we need to get to in order to, to get beyond it?
Duane Elgin: Yeah. I see very deep driving trends at work, that that go beyond current politics. I mean, I think current politics is is an expression of a deeper dynamic at work, the unraveling of the industrial era paradigm. Let’s look at the limits of what we’re doing right now, it is helpful to just maybe start with that. If we look at just a couple of factors, population, climate and such, when I was born, there were 2.2 billion people on the planet. 2.2 billion, there are now over 7 billion. It means that in my lifetime world population has more than tripled in my lifetime. With any luck, it will more than quadruple in my lifetime, because we’re going from 7 billion right now towards eight, nine 10 billion by mid century. Now, the estimates are that the carrying capacity of the Earth is roughly 2 billion people living in middle class Western lifestyles. That means we are billions of people beyond carrying capacity right now. And we’re going to exceed that even more in the in the coming decades. Now, that is an evolutionary crisis. It’s not only an ecological crisis of pushing against the limits to growth which the planet can sustain. It’s an evolutionary crisis, because who are we that we would over consume the earth and put ourselves into such a difficult situation? So we I’ve been saying since 1978, in the 2020s, we’re going to hit an evolutionary wall. And people have said, well, that’s more than 40 years from now. And well, okay, now, it’s three years from now. And so I’ve been watching this decade by decade by decade, and I think, yeah, somewhere in the 2020s, where the rubber is going to hit the road, we’re going to have to make some choices, not only individually, not only as nations, but as a human family. And if we don’t make those choices, we’re going to move from an unraveling – a very difficult situation – into an evolutionary collapse. So these are dangerous times, in a sense. If we don’t step up to the game, and use our capacity for conscious choice and collaboration. If we pull apart in conflict, these are very dangerous, very dangerous time.
Rick Archer: Just a footnote here, people interested in this notion of carrying capacity, might want to watch my interview with Michael Dowd. And also, there’s a link on my page of that interview to a book by a guy named William Catan, where he talks a lot about carrying capacity of the earth, which I’m sure you’ve studied. So do you get the sense that we are stepping up to the game? Or how have you phrased it that we are meeting these challenges? Are we just blithely going along and going shopping?
Duane Elgin: Now we’re in denial. We’re significantly in denial. And we’re in what I would call self denial. Self denial is where you say, Well, yeah, we do have, let’s say, too many people with current levels and patterns of consumption, we, we do have climate change, for example. But they would say, Well, climate change won’t hit us very soon, it’ll be another 50 or 100 years, or it won’t be so bad, it may actually improve our agriculture. It won’t impact the entire Earth, just some selected portions of it. In different ways people are diminishing, and pushing away the realities of our of our situation. And my sense is by the 2020s, the next five to 10 years, we won’t be able to push it away. It’ll be on top of us. And and we will have to deal with the with the Earth that we have allowed to emerge.
Rick Archer: Incidentally, I just want to interject that the reason I think that the discussion we’re having right now is relevant to the theme of BATGAP, is that I do feel that there’s a spiritual awakening taking place in the world. I think – this is my opinion – that it says – we’ll see what you think, is that it’s in response to or in somehow in sync with the the crisis that has become insurmountable through any conventional solutions, and that ultimately, all problems can be seen as spiritual problems as symptomatic of insufficient development of consciousness and development of all the facets of personality that should go along with spiritual development. And that, you know, just as lack of development, in certain ways, results in problems in an individual’s life. Lack of development on a mass scale among 7 billion people results in global problems. And I think that as individual consciousness rises, as it seems to be doing more and more and more, that will bring about shifts in the world and its problems just as it does in an individual’s life. And so I think that spirituality, some people, I actually was at the Sand Conference one year, and some guy was asking a spiritual teacher who was up on stage about the environment and climate change and stuff like that. And the guy sort of brushed it off. It’s like, oh, you’re just like little speck of dust and and what does it matter? But I think it matters tremendously. You know, you wouldn’t say that if you were in a desert, dying of thirst, you’d want water. So in any case, I just wanted to interject that to bring this into the picture of the relevance to this show, and let’s have your comments on it.
Duane Elgin: Well, I think we’re facing a very pivotal choice as a human family. It’s either break down or break through. We’re seeing, I think, a very predictable process of institutional breakdown. It’s and it’s to be expected. I mean, we are transitioning from one societal paradigm of nation states and materialism into another, which is the global reality. And in a living universe, let’s say, this is a pivotal change beyond which, beyond anything we’ve ever experienced, as a human family, we’ve never done this before, collectively, in such a short period of time. This is an evolution in the raw, this is a hyper compression of this is going to be a very, very, I think, demanding and difficult transition to go through. And the push of necessity, though, in responding what you’re saying, Rick, the spiritual awakening, the push of necessity is being met by the pull of extraordinary opportunity. And the opportunity is for us to find through the collective insight of our wisdom, traditions, the understanding, we’re living in a living universe, let’s wake up, let’s grow into that aliveness, let’s collaborate, let’s work together. Let’s create an economy of aliveness, let’s create a culture of aliveness, let’s create the artistry, let’s create the education. This is an amazing time to be alive, and to be creatively engaged in the kind of spiritual enterprise that you were speaking about. Let a thousand flowers bloom. So on the one hand, this is were – these are desperate times in some respects, but they’re pushing us into extraordinary times of creativity and innovation globally, as well as right on the ground locally, creating new kinds of community that will support that new kind of living economy.
Rick Archer: Yeah, one, one idea of the Living Universe is that it is responsive to what we do. Like there’s that old margarine commercial, you know, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. If you remember that. And, you know, there’s going to be blowback, and you can’t just sort of dump billions of tons of crap into the atmosphere, you know, on and on and on and not expect serious consequences. So a couple of thoughts here, well, again, as a futurist, as the guy who’s has been studying trends all his life? And, and, you know, probably looking at the news every day, and seeing to what extent it fulfills your predictions? I mean, how do you see it playing out over the next 5-10 years? Since you said a minute ago that we seem to be in denial or the soft denial? And what’s going to wake us up? Get us in agreement make us get on board? Or is there gonna have to be complete and utter chaos before we manage to sort things out?
Duane Elgin: So really the question, if you see someone that’s an alcoholic, they didn’t have to lose the job, the family, the car, the house and all the rest. But perhaps they did. Maybe they had to hit bottom. Now, are we like that, as a human family? Do we have to hit bottom? Materially, are you – another possibility is that we could visualize, we can use our last media to say, look, what is it going to look like if we continue along this path? What will the world look like 20 40 50 years from now? What would it look like if we took another path and let’s work into the future in our social imagination, rather than trying to work it out passively and let it unfold by itself? too little too late, if you will. So we have right now a choice to either pull together as human family or pull apart and right now you can see around the world not only in this country, the kind of pulling back to conservatism but in France, you can see that in other parts, in Italy, in other parts of the world. So the World has kind of hunkering down and saying, golly, this looks like a dangerous place, I better take care of myself. And actually, the best way to take care of ourselves individually is to reach out collectively and say, Let’s reconfigure this in a way that really serves the whole world being sustainable over the long haul. And that’s the challenge. And the extraordinary creative opportunity in front of us.
Rick Archer: Seems like both things are happening at once, as if, as if polarities are increasing, you know, more and more people are reaching out more and more people are pulling back and it says, As if the sheep and the goats are being separated or something.
Duane Elgin: Yeah, indeed.
Rick Archer: Well, it’ll be interesting to play to see it play out. I have a feeling that a lot of the great spiritual teachers who have come along have known and have predicted in fact, they have that times were changing that things like this were going to happen. In fact that there’s a book that I read in the 70s, called By Moira Tims called “Prophecies and Predictions, Everyone’s Guide to the Coming Changes”. And she took all these ancient traditions and what they predicted from around the world, and then correlated them with events that had actually unfolded, since those predictions were made, and up to the present time, which at that time was the 70s, or maybe early 80s. And then she projected forward in terms of how she thought things might unfold, and bring fulfillment to those predictions. And basically, they all agreed that there was going to be, as you have said, a time of great turmoil. And but that things will look good on the other side of it.
Duane Elgin: Yeah, there is a promising future, if we’ll just step up to the game. There are two ways, two ways of looking at this. The one is the more research oriented analytical approach to say, Well, let’s look at population, let’s look at resources in the environment, these driving trends. And I’ve done that for decades. But people find that disempowering, they say, Well, I don’t really understand trends, and I don’t know quite what you’re talking about. And so in a way, we need other another language for looking at our times and great transition.s And so let me give you an example. I’ve gone around the world over the last 20 years with the following story. And I’ll step up to an audience and I’ll say, Look, before I see anything, let me ask you a question. Question is, what is the life stage of the human family? What is the life stage of the human family? Are we toddlers? Are we teenagers? Are we adults? Or are we elders? Four choices? And I say before I say anything, I want you to talk among yourselves. And we’re going to make – do a vote as a community and see what life stage we’re in toddlers, teenagers, adults, or elders, I have people talk. And we come back, and truly all around the world again, and again. And again, overwhelmingly, people say
Rick Archer: we’re teenagers
Duane Elgin: we’re teenagers, we’re acting like adolescents, we’re acting like teenagers. And
Rick Archer: And remind us what the way – we’ve all been those – but remind us of what teenagers do and why that’s relevant to the way we’re behaving.
Duane Elgin: Well, the teenager says, Well, I want and I want it all right now. And I am what I consume. Look at the brands that I’m wearing, Who’s In Who’s Out? It’s like, a us and them kind of mentality, and so on.
Rick Archer: And I’m indestructible. That’s another one. You know, I can take these drugs, I can drink this, this booze, whatever, I’m fine. I’m gonna live forever.
Duane Elgin: That’s right. So they don’t say to people, okay, well, then you told me we’re in our adolescence, okay. What did you do to move from your adolescence to adulthood? Because what was most important for you is probably what’s going to be most important for all of us. And people will say, Well, look, it was a rollout. Someone really inspired me to live a different life. And I said, Well, where are the role models? It’s sports stars and movie stars. Are they taking us beyond adolescence? No. Okay. Well, it was a bigger story about life. While we’re the stories about life, it’s on television for the most part, and their stories about pretty mean spirited, not so spiritually motivated, people if you will. And so the stories that we have are taking us into a more promising future, someone will say, Well, look, what really got me moving into my adulthood was I took a hard look in the mirror. I say, Well, look, are we taking a hard look in the mirror as a society? Well, where is it that’s in television? Well, you look at television, we’re not seeing ourselves, we’re seeing a distorted image of a consumerist, materialistic mindset, if you will. So my point is, if we look at some of these stories, like humanity is growing up, there are all kinds of insights that come from our personal experience that we could say, you know, let’s have role models, let’s have bigger stories, let’s have these changes that we know work in our own personal lives. And let’s apply those to our collective evolution. And so there’s deep wisdom that we already have, that we could apply to help us understand what’s happening, and then move into a more promising future.
Rick Archer: Okay, so the adolescent thing is, is one of the things another nother story of great transition that you outline is the global brain is waking up. You want to riff on that one a little bit?
Duane Elgin: Oh, that’s so you know, I will be standing around. And people have very different views on what’s happening in the world. But if I just pull out my cell phone, hold it up, I say, you know, is the global brain waking up. And with that, that’s all it takes – someone someone’s gonna say, you know, boy, for sure it’s the Occupy Wall Street, it’s the revolution that happened in the Middle East, a few years back
Rick Archer: Spring
Duane Elgin: The Arab Spring. And we are now able to mobilize ourselves with a new kind of capacity through the internet through the global brain, waking up. And it turns out right now, 51% of the people on this planet have access to the internet, a majority of the people for the first time in human history can talk with one another, through the internet, it’s already there. And if we want the technological capacity to have a dialogue, as a human family, about our collective future, we already have that capacity, and it’s growing very rapidly. Within two or three years, it’s not going to be 50%, it’s going to be 60%. And it’s just going to keep growing, and we are a wired world we are becoming – the global brain is waking up and the question in my mind, will the global heart awaken fast enough to help guide the global brain and its intelligence?
Rick Archer: That’s an interesting question. And obviously, because of the communications, we’re aware of deplorable things that we might have been oblivious of before, you know, you know, child prostitution in Bombay, or, you know, start a famine in the Sudan, and, you know, different things like that. And so, I mean, some people feel like, it’s overwhelming, and they really can’t deal with all those things, because their own life is is such a project. But um, I think it’s definitely, and many people I speak with, it’s definitely stirring compassion, and a sense of the world is my family to have that kind of awareness of what people are going through,
Duane Elgin: you know, there’s the receptive side, and then there’s the expressive side. And we’re learning, learning, learning, receiving. And soon I think we’re going to be increasing the amount of expressing that we’re doing through the internet and through the media. Basically, I feel, we’re not going to have a real sense of hope, without a sense of a strong voice, for the body politic for the citizens of this earth. And most citizens of this earth do not feel they have a strong voice. They feel disempowered, disconnected, the billionaires and oligarchs are running the politics and so on. How can we have a voice in our collective future? Well, this is it. Here, we’re you’re connecting with 1000s of people. And it could be billions, potentially, because the technology is here to allow that connectivity to occur. So we’re on the verge, I think of discovering a new voice for the earth by using something that’s never been there, which is this kind of technology to say, let’s come together in ways that transcend nation states, the gridlock of nation state politics, and let’s call for a more promising sustainable future for for the earth. And I think is what’s going to be required as institutions break down is for humanity to rise up in its collective voice to say we have a common future that we care for. So this is a key part of the transition. And as the media goes, as the social media goes, so goes the future, I feel
Rick Archer: it’s exciting. Even back in the 70s, when I was teaching meditation here and there, I, I would often say, you know, look at what we can do now, with, with video, I mean, a teacher, it used to be that a teacher could maybe reach as many people as he could walk around in that area, you know, in a lifetime in his sandals. And you know, that it would take generation after generation for it to spread around the world if it did. And now we have videotapes that we can send all over the world. And at that point, we’re starting to have satellites that could beam things live. But it’s gone way beyond that now with the internet. And in fact, you know, there was a saying that freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. And in a sense that now we all own one. You know, we can all be broadcasters, if we want to be and
Duane Elgin: that’s right,
Rick Archer: get something out there as BatGap is an example of so you had a third story, and your transition stories, which is a time of planetary birth, something new is being born a species civilization,
Duane Elgin: you know. So what was the story? The idea is to find stories that are common to the entire human family. And virtually the entire human family says, Yeah, I understand that we’re maturing, we’re growing up, I understand the Internet, and we have access to the internet, and the global brain is waking up. The third one that’s very powerful, in my experience, is people saying this is like a time of birth. Because what’s being born is not, is something that hasn’t existed before. And that’s a global citizen. And the birth process itself, is very instructive for what we are experiencing. In birth, there’s a contraction, relaxation, contraction, relaxation, until finally that process reaches a crescendo. And then there is no more relaxation, it is just birth. Yeah. And then on the other side of that birth is it may be a stillborn baby, or it might be a new life of a kind that we just don’t know. And that’s where we are. We’re in times of contraction, relaxation, financial contraction, ecological contraction, relaxation. And then I think in the 2020s, this is going to be full on labor, full on labor, until we either give birth to a sustainable species civilization, or we go down it collapses. So that’s how I see this a very powerful metaphor for understanding the dynamics of change right now. Do you want to place your bets on which way it’s gonna go? Okay, I tell people, I wouldn’t bet a dime, that we’re going to make it. But I would bet my life. And that’s what I’ve done. So I’m not putting any money down on it. I’m putting my life down.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I’m optimistic. I, you know, I don’t know. I mean, if I don’t know what the optimum population of the earth should be. And if it’s not 7 billion, and if we’re going to go through a readjustment period and get things to the way they should be, you know, the prospect of half the world’s population not making it is actually pretty dire, when you consider how that’s gonna play out. I mean, climate change alone could cause hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people to have to migrate. And we’ve seen how that went with Syria, which was also caused by climate change. That’s right. I imagine that on a global mass scale. Anyway, I don’t mean to be morbid, or, you know, try to be a scare monger. But I think it’s good to contemplate this stuff. I think it’d be
Duane Elgin: real.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Duane Elgin: Let’s get real here. Because we are doing ourselves a great disservice to pretend otherwise, let’s take a hard look at what’s going down and begin stepping up as a mature human family to the realities of what we created. And I know there’s a promising future out there if we’ll step up to the challenges.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, “let’s be real” is a good, good phrase. I mean, there’s all this sort of fake news out there these days and all this sort of denial of scientific evidence of things. And, in fact, you have a thing here, it kind of reminds me of Elisabeth Kubler Ross in “stages of grief”. Or maybe that’s where you got this stages of transition, denial, confusion, anger, blame, recognition, acceptance, integration, and we could talk about that for a minute.
Duane Elgin: Well, is, yes. So the question is, as we go into these times of profound transition at a global scale, not just nationally, but globally, what are the psychological and cultural dynamics that will play out? Well, the first one is denial. And just back and forth, and just the waking up process itself is huge.
Rick Archer: Even now, the plenty of denial.
Duane Elgin: Oh, huge amount, I don’t think we have yet collectively a woken to the reality of our situation. A number of people have, but many people have not so. So first stage, is that of denial? The second is, I would say confusion, like, Whoa, what is going on here? I didn’t realize this was happening. I am confused. I don’t understand. So a third is okay, well, wait. This is so messed up, someone’s to blame, I’m upset. There’s someone I’m going to be blaming and anger angry about. And then they learn more? Well, it turns out, maybe it’s me, my behaviors, my consumerism, and all the rest has been a contributing factor to the world that we have. So I have to move beyond blame to some degree of acceptance of my own participation in what is being created here. And beyond then, the that is then the final integration, say, okay, okay, I’ll take responsibility, I’ll grow up, I’ll be a good role model. I’ll create a bigger story. And here we go into another future. So there’s an evolutionary dynamic of waking up, growing up and then engaging with, with this new world that we have yet to really move through.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, you’ve probably heard that, I think NASA says that at least 2 billion planets, there are probably at least 2 billion earth like planets in our galaxy. And maybe it’s even more than that. And that, you know, they now feel that there are probably more than 2 trillion galaxies in the known universe. And you talk in your book about what physicists say about the possibility of there being infinite numbers of universes. So this being a living universe, and with the you know, the, the abundance of earth-like planets, and who said they have to be earth-like the universe could very well be teeming with life just absolutely buzzing with life. And I saw “Arrival” last night, I thought it was a fantastic movie. But do you kind of feel do you go this far in your futureism to contemplate our joining a larger community of of life forms through who are like Star Trek kind of thing? Once we have matured enough, once we’ve gotten past the absolute, the adolescent stage on this planet? And are, you know, mature enough to be welcomed into the club, so to speak, right?
Duane Elgin: Well, I think you hit it right on the nose, that the Prime Directive and Star Trek prime directive is you don’t mess around with another species evolution, right? You you let it go, you let it play out, you don’t interfere. And my sense is that we are being observed by other intelligences. There’s just overwhelming evidence of something going on. But at the same time, I don’t see interference in the unfolding of what’s happening. So I think as you indicated, Rick, first we have to demonstrate our own maturity as even family, we can take care of our own matter, we can take care of the earth. At that point, we’re then good candidates for the Galactic Confederation or whatever it might be. But we have to demonstrate our own maturity first, I think before we’re gonna see other other civilizations connect with us.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I think it was Groucho Marx, who said I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club, though. I wouldn’t want to join any club that would accept me as a member. It’s like, you know, who would want us to sort of partner with them on a larger scale when we’re making such a mess down here as it is, but it’s exciting. I mean, it might seem like “woowoo”, but it’s exciting to consider because consider the technologies that might be out there and the benefit that those could have and so on, as some of our science fiction movies and books have suggested and, you know, if we could just get our act together a little bit more we could make much more accelerated progress than we’ve even made and, you know, stop and really live in, in a marvelous world. It’s, it’s heavenly, not only technologically, not only consciousness wise, but and not not really resorting to some simple agrarian, you know, digging with a plow kind of lifestyle, but, you know, something that’s both technologically and spiritually advanced to a profound degree.
Duane Elgin: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. You know, I wrote this, the book, “Voluntary Simplicity”,
Rick Archer: Right.
Duane Elgin: And there’s a tendency, very strong tendency for people to say, well, that’s a regressive lifestyle, it’s going back to the past. No, it’s going into a very promising future. And it’s a future, we have yet to really imagine, create, as new kind of economy, and all the rest. And so Simplicity is the foundation for sustainability in this new world. Also, Arnold Toynbee, famous historian, he at one time had over 20 volumes, looking at the rise and fall of civilizations around the world. And he finally summarized everything he knew about the rise and fall of civilizations in one law, about civilizational growth, and it was called the “Law of Progressive Simplification”. Love it, the law of progressive simplification. And what he said was the measure of a civilization’s growth is its ability to transfer energy and attention from the material side, to the non material side, and non material side being like art, education, the capacity to govern ourselves with with a with an informed body politic, and so on. And so these ephemeral things were really the pinnacle of evolutionary achievement. And what we need to do was to create the strong material foundation for that to be developed. And what instead we’re doing is privileging the material foundation and not really going for the the juice, the aliveness, that’s there with the ephemeralization that Toynbee talks about: progressive simplification.
Rick Archer: Yeah, we’re saying things like, well, we need to cut education because the military needs more money. Yeah, yeah. You mentioned in your book that American Indian lore speaks of three miracles, what are the miracles,
Duane Elgin: this is wonderful. The first miracle is that anything exists at all. The second miracle is that living things exist plants, and animals. And the third miracle is that living things exists, that know they exist. And that’s ourselves, capacity for reflective consciousness. And I often say, we are so absorbed with that third miracle of our reflective knowing and consciousness and all the rest. There’s a tendency to forget the first miracle that there’s anything here at all. And that’s where we started: the universe is a living system. Plato says it’s a single living creature. And we’re a part of that larger aliveness. So if we forget the first miracle, we’re forgetting the larger aliveness of we’re part of. So it’s vital to remember the first miracle as well as the third miracle, and then between them the rest of life. So they’re all They’re all important.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that was something you mentioned in your book. And I think, I think Robert Lanza talks about this a lot. And that is that the fine tuning of dozens of key factors is essential, because even the most minut variation would have resulted in no universe at all. So maybe you can mention what a few of those key factors are.
Duane Elgin: I’m not so – I just know that had the expansion rate of the universe, for example.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Duane Elgin: When it was born, had it been ever infinitesimally either slower, it would have collapsed and into nothingness or faster it would it would have inflated and just exploded into into I don’t know what but but it has this extremely fine tuned capacity neither growing too fast nor too slow to be exactly steady in its its development over billions of years now, almost 14 billion years.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and there are a number of other such things. I mean, it’s, I’ve read articles and stuff about this, but there are so many different things that if they were just a teeny tiny bit off, we couldn’t have had a universe it just wouldn’t have remained in existence. And so that the reason I bring that up and the reason you brought it up in your book is that it again, sort of points to there being some very profound intelligence that seems to be orchestrating things. And there are there are scientists like Stephen Hawking who say, Well, you know, yeah, but then there there are probably an infinite number of universes and are and most of them didn’t result in life. Ours is a fluke. You know, it’s just a chance universe in which, which life was able to evolve. But I don’t think it works that way.
Duane Elgin: That’s that’s an interesting opinion.
Rick Archer: Yeah. An opinion, it’s like a desperate attempt to adjust to, you know, hang on to the materialistic paradigm really. Another thing you bring up in your book, which I’ve often I mean, some of the times when we talk about, you know, intelligence governing the universe, and so on, people might say, Well, that sounds like intelligent design. How would you contrast intelligent design, as it’s ordinarily defined with what you’re saying, you know,
Duane Elgin: intelligent, often intelligent design is meant to say there is a designer, that is it actively engaged in the unfolding of this universe. And so that has in the background, this hidden designer, this intruding into the reality of this world, another way of looking at it is to say it’s, the universe is intelligently designed itself. It has dimensions, for example, and every dimension opens up not only into a physical space, but a psychological space. If we see the universe in three dimensions, we’re seeing the depth of things. In three dimensions, we can see nature going around and around, we can see nature’s cycles and rhythms. If we go to four dimensions, we begin to see not only the cycles are going round and round, we’d begin to see relativistic dynamics, how one thing moves relative to another. And then we have the mindset, I think that gives rise to the industrial era. And the and the materialistic relativistic dynamics comes out of four dimensions. So the universe is intelligently designed, I feel in its very foundations, the dimensional structure of the universe, not only structures, physical space, but also psychological and spiritual space. And we are learning our way into more and more dimensional openings, more and more spaciousness in how we regard and engage the universe.
Rick Archer: Yeah, of course, there are certain Eastern views of it, that, you know, God is not only not some kind of old dude, and you know, in the clouds with a beard, you know, like acting like some kind of puppeteer, but God is … He breathed, I think, the Upanishad say, you know, God breathed himself into creation, that, that the whole creation is really nothing but God, nothing but pure intelligence, interacting within itself, that we are like cells, or, if you will, sense organs of that infinite intelligence that, you know, Muktananda used to say God dwells within you, as you. As you know, we’re kind of seeing through various instruments, whether we’re an Aardvark or a dog or a person or whatever. It’s that same divine intelligence, living, experiencing a living reality through a particular nervous system.
Duane Elgin: Exactly. See, that is that – that brings us together that transcends all of these places of division to say we’re together in the aliveness of living universe, simple as that. And we can recognize that in our direct experience is not a concept, love. It’s a feeling it’s a deep appreciation of our connectedness, our communion, we’re communion of subjects, not a collection of objects is Thomas Berry very famously said. So we’re learning our way into a universe of, of communion with one another with ourselves and recognizing there’s a vastly larger, opening, evolutionary, beckoning, all of us to a higher possibility, it will step beyond materialism and into our lives.
Rick Archer: So as you know, when I was reading your book, “The Living Universe”, I stumbled upon a footnote that was several pages long, all about continuous creation cosmology, and I found that I found that really exciting. And I had you send the text of it to me, so I could send it to a physicist friend. And so it gets a little heady, but, you know, let’s talk about that for a few minutes. I think it’s fascinating. Why don’t you explain what that is,
Duane Elgin: you know. Many people have had the experience of – just this last Christmas of the virtual reality, putting on one of those headsets and entering into virtual reality and feeling themselves immersed in another world. And that’s the kind of the cosmic hologram view of things, if you will, that this universe is a kind of like a cosmic hologram. And moment by moment, it is being recreated. It’s being refreshed, just like a film is refreshed moment by moment with a new projection, a moment by moment, we’re being refreshed with a new manifestation of the entire cosmos. And this insight is emerging not only from the frontiers of cosmology and science, as deeply there in the world’s wisdom traditions that the universe is or is being recreated in its totality moment by moment by moment. Now, the interesting thing about that various interesting things, first of all, if it is being recreated moment by moment, then there is what we would call in a computer language, a refresh rate, the rate at which the screen gets refreshed. So the question is, what is the refresh rate for the cosmic hologram? Because we are inside of it, we can stand outside and see that we have to make inferences from the inside of the hologram. And what we can do is say, Well, there’s one thing that we know is constant, and that is the speed of light. Speed of light is constant. Why would the speed of light be constant? Well, what if the entire cosmic hologram is being woven together with precise evenness? Precise simultaneity across the entire universe, and that is being lifted, the entire cosmic hologram is being lifted manifested into existence at this continuous speed. And the premise that I’ve suggested is that the continuity of creation at the cosmic scale has been seen as the constancy of the speed of light at the local scale. And so the the, the constancy of the speed of light is then a byproduct of something happening at a much larger scale, the cosmic scale of being continuously created, moment by moment at a very precise, even flow. And that’s, so I’m suggesting hypothesizing, that’s where the constancy of the speed of light emerges from,
Rick Archer: yeah, essentially, you mentioned in your book that the reason we can’t – a physical object can’t reach the speed of light, is that as Einstein said, as it begins to approach it, it gets heavier and heavier and heavier. So you need greater and greater propulsion to continue accelerating. And at a certain point, it would become almost infinite, and you couldn’t get that much propulsion. And secondly, it begins to collapse physically, as I understand it. And so as you say, it’s like you you’re trying to, by trying to push the speed of light, you’re trying to step outside, that very thing that created you. you quote, might have been David Bohm here as, yeah, describing matter as condensed or frozen light. And there’s a quote here, I don’t know if this is you, or Bohm: “the solid stable world of matter appears to be sustained at every instant by an underlying sea of quantum light. Any comment on that before I elaborate or say anything more?
Duane Elgin: Right? If this hand is getting created at the speed of light, and we move it up to the speed of light it’s going …. And we try and move it faster than that, we’re going to try and move it faster than the speed at which it’s coming into existence. So if it’s happening at the speed of light, it can’t go faster than the speed at which it’s arising in the first place. And as it approaches, the speed at which it’s coming together, is going to run into itself becoming itself as it runs into itself becoming itself. It’s an impossible situation. It can’t go faster than that. So there’s the self limiting nature of relativistic dynamics that Einstein described. He didn’t know why it did that. He just said it will do that. I’m saying, why will it do that? Because it’s running into itself becoming itself. No, I think that the basic building block of this reality is light. One way of regarding it is that it is so wonderful, Jesus was asked by one of his disciples, he said, What should we tell people? If they asked us Where did we come from? And Jesus replied, This is the Gospel of Thomas. He said, Well, if they ask you that, tell them we came from the light, we came from the light – of a place where light established itself of its own accord. Einstein would have loved that – that we came from the light the place where light established itself of its own accord. So we’re Beings of Light and I in a light universe, if you will.
Rick Archer: Just one more thing about this continuous creation cosmology. I mean, we’ve all heard about the Big Bang, and there’s this little tiny point and it exploded, and it’s been expanding. out for 14 – 13.7 billion years. But another way of thinking of creation, which you’ve just alluded to is, is that it’s happening continuously. It’s not just something that happened and we’re just kind of expanding out. But and physicists describe this as being the sort of manifestation from the unmanifest unified field level of creation to more and more more and more manifest levels of creation and their whole … I’ve seen whole unified field charts that kind of explain all the sequential, spontaneous symmetry breaking as more and more diversification happens as manifestation occurs. And this is something that’s happening continuously. It’s not just something that happened a long time ago. And you’re saying that it happens at the speed of light?
Duane Elgin: Essentially, that’s a yes. That’s crudely stated, if you will, because light, the speed of light then is not necessarily constant, it can vary. But what’s what’s required is the consistency of creation at the cosmic scale. And the byproduct of that is the constancy of the speed of light at the local scale.
Rick Archer: Essentially you need to consider that if you were a photon, you know, then for you there, it’s almost like as if your omnipresent photons coming from the Andromeda galaxy appear to us to take 2 million years to get here. But from the perspective of the photon, it the trip is instantaneous, which kind of means that everything is everywhere. Everything is here now and that the photon can almost say I am. I’m the present.
Duane Elgin: Yeah. The Quantum the quantum reality. We know is that. We know that in the quantum realm. nonlocality is real. It’s been demonstrated again and again and again. And so the nonlocality means at at the subatomic quantum level, we are connecting with the entire universe as a unified system. And so, on the other hand, we see ourselves as very unique differentiated, all the rest. That’s true. And the amazing thing is both are true. We’re both unique, absolutely unique, and absolutely a part of the cosmic whole. So we’re we’re both unique and whole. And and there’s no problem in having those both be true.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I mean, you were saying a minute ago that Jesus said that we come from light. And, you know, we were quoting earlier that it’s all God that you know, and people have said, God is light. I don’t know that. I don’t know how to quite tie those thoughts together. But there’s, there’s something very interesting and all that,
Duane Elgin: oh, yeah, we’re Beings of Light and we’re becoming enlightened. Yeah, we’re waking up to the light within.
Rick Archer: Here’s something nice, you say, “awakening is never finished, we will forever be enlightening ourselves, becoming lighter, so that we will have the ability to participate in ever more free, subtle, open, delicate and expressive ecologies of, of being and becoming
Duane Elgin: Okay, something I think is really important. In my estimation, what we’re doing here, we’re, we’re just getting a hold of ourselves here, we’re not in the in the 3000th dimension of an infinite universe are the three hundredth, or the third, we’re in the third dimension, we’re only two steps above a black hole, we’re just getting started. We’re just crawling out of the contraction of a black hole, to get to a place of presenting ourselves as differentiated beings in this universe. And I think our challenge now is to get a hold of ourselves in the sense of recognizing the light within the invisible aspects within ourselves, that are actually the majority of ourselves is invisible. 95 96% of the known universe is invisible, that includes us. And we need to get a hold of the invisible because we are deep down inside a body of light, as you were saying, we’re a body of love, or a body of music, resonance, or we’re a body of knowing, these are all invisible. But if we use our time, while we have this visible body, this biodegradable body, and we use it now to explore that we’re a being of light, love, music, knowing we can then take those qualities of being into the deep ecology of the universe, and we may die obviously, but ourselves as a body of light, love music and knowing. Then we have a body that can move into the deepest ecologies of the Living Universe, without without forgetting itself, and so the universe is saying in freedom, do this … discover yourself, find yourself discover that third miracle of knowing that you know that you are a being of reflective consciousness in this living universe.
Rick Archer: I’m reminded from that quote from the Bible, “if your eye is single, your whole body will be filled with light”.
Duane Elgin: Yeah,
Rick Archer: A question came in – this might be a good one for us to aim toward wrapping up on because it’s kind of practical. It’s, it’s from Mark Peters in Santa Clara, California, who often sends in questions. And the question is, how have your insights impacted your own lifestyle? Have you consciously endeavored to minimize your consumption and shrink your carbon footprint? Do you have any advice?
Duane Elgin: Yes, it’s radically impacted how I’ve lived my life, I dropped out of traditional employment, if you will, in 1976, that’s 41 years ago, and I didn’t have a savings, I didn’t have a nest egg, I didn’t have a source of income, I just said it’s time as a citizen of this university to step up and engage a world in great transition. So I never would have done the work that I’ve done, co-founding three nonprofits, for media accountability, writing books, and all the rest, had I been intent upon living a more comfortable lifestyle with with more secure income, often, I will have only two or three months of secure income in front of me,
Rick Archer: Even now?
Duane Elgin: Even now. Even though I feel very grateful to know three months from now I’ve got, I’ve still got some money in front of me. So this is a very challenging way to live. But on the other hand, I am hugely grateful for the great gifts I’ve been given for being willing to do that, if you will.
Rick Archer: Well, that’s wonderful. And as far as other people are concerned, who, you know, raising families and doing this and that, and you’re not suggesting I suppose that everyone go out and quit their job, but um, you know, what, what kind of takeaway points can people take from this interview that they could apply in their own lives without? Well, they might want to make some radical change, or maybe there’s some smaller incremental changes they can make that would upset the applecart too much.
Duane Elgin: You know, I tell people these are these are the most profound turning times that the human species has ever encountered. That’s what we’re going into. And let’s not pull back from actually describing what’s going on. This is the greatest transition humanity has ever gone through. And this is going to be a rough ride, I feel just looking at the dynamics at the time. And what I would encourage is find your true gifts, find those talents, the skills that you have, that will contribute to a more sustainable future and a more sustainable community. And having lived in a cohousing community and kind of an eco village community, as I look at the future, I think one of the best things to do is to start developing multiple skill sets. For example, you might be a lawyer, but you could also be a gardener. And you could also be learning woodworking skills, and you could learn maybe elder care or education or whatever. And if you’re in a small, let’s say, eco village community, and you have a range of skill sets, and you know how to garden, you know how to maybe work with solar, you maybe know how to work with kids, and so on. And you can bring those skill sets together, you have a livelihood, you have a future of meaning and purpose that will carry you into the future. So I see a new kind of arrangement of skill sets, to live in community in a sustainable way as we make this great transition into a more promising future. So I would say, forget the near gifts that you have, that you probably used to earn a living, what are the true gifts that you have that will really take us into a more promising future? And now is the time to reach for those true gifts.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think when value of everyone kind of studying a little bit of sort of Futurism and future predictions and stuff, is just to sort of put things in context. I mean, it seems to me that most societies in general never, they kind of feel like things are always going to be the way they are now. You can imagine people in the 1800s thinking oh, we’re always gonna have railroads that’s gonna be the fastest means of transportation and horses and buggies. Of course, you know, and, and, you know, if you’re a blacksmith, then at a certain point, your livelihood got seriously threatened by the automobile coming along. And you could either hang on to that, or you could learn new skills as you were saying, and seriously, kind of during the last campaign, Trump going to West Virginia and saying, Well, I’m gonna bring back coal mining, we’re gonna map mine so much coal, and then the coal industry is dead. And, you know, there was a guy on the news just the other night saying, well, he said, he’s gonna bring back the steel mills, I’m so excited about that. But um, we have to be more agile than that. And we can either do it willingly, or we can just have the rug pulled out from under us.
Duane Elgin: Yeah. The word “agile” is so appropriate, we have to be nimble, we have to be light on our feet, we have to be able to move. Because these are transition times and the ability to move to be lighter on your feet to be nimble, and your businesses and your work and your life is critical, I think for viability in the future.
Rick Archer: And you know, the thought that comes to mind when you say that is something really valuable is to have some, I mean, most of the people listening to this show have this, but some sort of spiritual practice that really works for you. Because it makes you more nimble, it makes you more flexible, it makes you more creative, less habitual, less conditioned, and all that. So you can really kind of go with the flow a lot more and jump at opportunities when they come along.
Duane Elgin: You know, so the whole idea of a living universe is a reframe, of spirituality. And as in my cosmology, intimacy with a living universe is spirituality. That’s spirituality. It’s becoming intimate with the ordinary reality around us. And engaging that in its depth. That is a miracle.
Rick Archer: Great. All right. Well, that’s probably a good note to end on. Yeah. So you want to make any kind of wrap up plan? Or was that a good enough for watery eyes? Good. Okay, great. Let me make a couple of general ones. Just that as most people watching this know, this is an ongoing series. And we keep putting up a new one each week. If you found this show interesting, and it’s new to you, you might want to go to batgap.com, and check out previous ones. And you could also sign up to be notified by email each time a new one is posted. And there’s quite a few other things on the site. I won’t run through them all. But there’s an “at a glance” menu, which if you look at that, you’ll kind of see what’s available on batgap.com. So I really appreciate your listening or watching. Next week, I’ll be speaking to a fellow named Brian Yosef, who’s going to talk about Enlightenment and awakening from the perspective of Judaism. And I’ve never really covered that topic. And he himself is, I’m not sure if he’s a rabbi or is just very deeply into Judaism, but also had a very profound spiritual awakening. And so that’ll be an interesting thing to discuss. So, thank you, Duane.
Duane Elgin: Great Thank you, Rick.
Rick Archer: Been a lot of fun
Duane Elgin: Good to be here.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I’ll probably see you in October at the Science and Non Duality conference.
Duane Elgin: I look forward to it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And again, thanks again. To those who’ve been listening or watching. I will see you next week.