Ilia Delio Transcript

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Ilia Delio Interview

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 have done over 600 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. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. And there’s also a page that explains alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Ilia delio. Ilya holds the Joseph C. Josephine C. Connelly chair and Christian theology at Villanova University. Her area of research is science and religion, which is a topic that fascinates me with interest in artificial intelligence, evolution, quantum physics, and the import of these for Christian Christian doctrine and life. She holds a doctorate in pharmacology from Rutgers University, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and when she was doing that she was working on a cure for ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. And I heard her explained that she liked it, perhaps in an alternate lifetimes you’d like to get back to that, because she had some promising ideas for carrying it. But her life took a fork in the road. And perhaps the road less traveled by to paraphrase Robert Frost, and she ended up getting a doctorate in historical theology from Fordham University. She is the author of over 20 books, including making all things new catholicity, cosmology and consciousness, and the unbearable wholeness of being, God evolution and the power of love, for which she won the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award, and a 2014 Catholic Press Association Book Award and faith in science. She is founder of the Center for Crystal Genesis, an online educational resource for promoting the vision of Teilhard de shard Dan, and more broadly, the integration of science and religion in the 21st century. So over the past week, I have spent probably at least 15 hours listening to talks that Ilya has given and I also converted some of her books into spoken word and listen to those, then I really enjoyed it. And I felt like just about every sentence she uttered could be a springboard into a conversation. So I didn’t need felt the need to take a lot of notes here. Because I feel like we’re just going to have a conversation and it’ll roll. And of course, you guys who are watching can send in some questions too, if you like. But I think some of the things, we’re probably going to end up talking about God, certainly cyborgs, artificial intelligence, evolution, ethics, of the complexification of the universe, and the complexification of knowledge, pantheism, pantheism, and many other points. But this just gives you a taste of the scope of what we might cover today. And these are all topics that he has written on and is interested in. Alright, so thanks, Celia. So good to meet you. And to have this opportunity to talk with you,

ILIA: Gary, good to be here. And to be able to share some ideas with you in this community of the Buddha at the Gas Pump. I love the title of this, by the way.

RICK: Yeah, you know why I call it that?

ILIA: Now, Tommy, I have some idea. But you know, why don’t you tell me

RICK: what actually I didn’t think of the title. But the idea is just that in this day and age, there are Buddhists walking around, you know, there are people who are having profound spiritual awakenings who may appear completely ordinary from the outside, but there’s something something good happening on the inside and you don’t necessarily have to be able to hover three feet off the ground or wear robes or look, have your head shaved or you know, look unusual in any way glow in the dark. You know, there’s a kind of, we could say an evolutionary pandemic going on in the world. That is getting a lot less press coverage than the viral one. Electric cars I’m not sure what the how that fits in. Oh, put up the gas pump. Yeah. Of course, some people actually complain about that, you know, it’s not very environmental, but I don’t know, what can we do?

ILIA: I see the point. I think it’s a wonderful metaphor, really for the consciousness of everyday living.

RICK: So where do you think we should start among all those topics? I was thinking we might start with highest first, then try to get a grasp of what we mean by God. Oh,

ILIA: nothing like stop set the starting at the top, it’s very many evil have you at? Do you want it? You can start with God?

RICK: Yeah, let’s start with God, that makes sense. We’ll be using the term and since I think there are a lot of different understandings of what that term refers to, it’s good to define our terms.

ILIA: Right. So I think, you know, the first thing you want to just kind of underscores that God is not a proper name. You know, it’s not the name of some guy, because clearly image God as a guy named God, although, you know, the old series with George Burns.

RICK: Oh, right. And John Denver, that they had a movie together. Yeah, right.

ILIA: Yeah, gotcha. Anyway, I think the name God is just a name that points to absolute mystery, right? Absolute, maybe absolute consciousness, absolute, knowing, absolute love. And I think, you know, I think Ancilla Canterbury, actually, in the late in the 11th century said it best guide is that which no greater can be thought. So when our thoughts when we reached the ultimate end of our thinking, and life itself continues beyond that think thinking that’s God. So So I, you know, so God is that name of incomprehensible mystery. But we give it a name, because that mystery is actually at the heart of our particular lives of our individual lives. And where we are particular persons were not great collectors. So each one of us has a name. And therefore we approach that mystery by a name. Christians or, you know, the monotheistic faiths name it God, others might name it, the beloved. Others might call it the great compassionate one. I think that’s all I think those names are all pointing to the same. absolute reality.

RICK: What’s that quote from Meister Eckhart? I’ve heard you quoted that something like the AI with which I see God as AI with which God sees me? Is that right? Or that I get that right?

ILIA: Yeah, I wish that you said it correctly. The AI with which I see God is the same AI with which God sees me. So to put this in another way, as the French philosopher, Mystic, Simoni vai said, Whoever says, I lies, there’s no AI, without a doubt, without an eyeing without the abyss, infinite depth dimension of our individual lives. And that depth dimension is that infinite dimension is God. So, Christian, excuse me, Christian, say were made in the image of God, but even the image of God can seem like we’re just a mirror of something that is outside us, in fact, that God’s mentioned is at the heart of us,

RICK: right? Yeah, I was telling you before we started that I used to be a TM teacher. And I remember the first time I was on a course with marshy, he said, God is omnipotent. But the one thing you can’t do is remove himself from your heart.

ILIA: Oh, that’s beautiful. I love that. Yeah, that’s true. Right? We have a saying something like that. In the letter to Timothy, he says, like, we may be unfaithful, but God is always faithful because God cannot deny God’s own self. Other words, even if we reject God, or you know, get rid of God, or whatever you want to do about God, that God will never go away because that God God, that absolute infinite reality of love, and I like to think of God as love is the very heart of our beingness

RICK: reminds me of a verse from the Gita the Unreal has no being the real never ceases to be.

ILIA: Ah, beautiful. Yeah. Very constant. Yeah.

RICK: So a minute ago, you were speaking of God as a mystery. Do you feel that there have been mystics? Like I don’t know Meister Becker, Saint Teresa and St. John of the Cross and St. Francis and many others, for whom God became less mysterious because it the actual experience, the reality of God began to dawn in their experience and perhaps ripened very fully in their experience to a point of clarity and oneness and union with God.

ILIA: Mmm, yeah, that’s a good question. Although I think, I think just the opposite, I think actually as they enter into the mystery, and the mystery unfolds in their lives, They are brought into an even greater mystery. So it’s what the you know if you from the suta, Dinesh is on, you know of the great mystical tradition. The dioecious was that fifth century writer, what we call the very Applegate, who wrote mystical theology is the sort of the father of mystical theology and in the Christian tradition, and he said, the higher up we go, the more language fails that but the greater we’re into that mystery, it’s luminous, super luminous light, the mystery is even brighter, but it’s a it’s a learned ignorance. It’s like, words, we can’t say anything about it. It’s so overwhelming. So it’s not that we grasp the mystery. It is rather than that mystery, grass, us we are grasped in the core of our being, and therefore were pulled out of ourselves. And then you might say, We centered now in this oneness, or allness, of beingness. itself, of love, compassion, the unity of all life,

RICK: right? And words are rather paltry by comparison with that and inadequate to really convey it or encapsulate. Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, we can’t even really describe anything, you know, just tried to describe read, you can only compare it to something like an apple or my shirt, but you can’t, if someone were blind, what could you say to them? You know, read. I mean, it doesn’t mean anything. So you really have to have the experience in order to for the words to make sense. And I guess what we’re getting at here is to what extent can you have the experience of God?

ILIA: So yeah, right. So so even your, your example of redness is a really interesting one, because I think we’re pointing to what many philosophers and scientists today are grappling with. And that is, the nature of consciousness itself. And, of course, you know, since the advent of quantum physics in the early 20th century, there has been lots of discussions about Mind and Matter is mind is consciousness, a part of matter itself? Is it something that matter gives rise to, you know, is it something that only humans have? And I think more and more, we’re realizing, Hey, you can’t talk about redness apart from consciousness, right? You can’t talk about anything apart from consciousness. And so what we’re beginning to realize is that consciousness is the basic fundamental reality of matter. So matter. So you know, what I think is really interesting. So when we talk about the mystery of God, we’re talking about the mystery of matter. But it’s important to realize this, because I think for so long, we’ve talked about consciousness as almost like a spiritual phenomenon, or this mystical phenomenon that has an abstract quality to it, when in fact, we’re talking about pure materiality. And the heart of materiality is something that’s non material. That’s really what we’re saying here. And therefore is, you know, this mystery of God. I think it’s the same mystery that’s at the heart of physics itself. You know, physics can only describe things. And, you know, I think there’s a big, there’s a big to do today among physicists today, because the scientific method doesn’t work anymore. Physics is just replete with mystery, the more they uncover something, the more they realize they don’t know. They can’t grasp, they can’t name what something is. And they drill down, down, down, down, down, and they’re running out of tools. And they keep running up against the wall of what we call mystery, because I think the heart of that mystery that being is, is what we name as God, the absolute horizon of being itself.

RICK: You actually gave me goosebumps on that one is really good. Okay, I have about four points in there that I want to somehow flesh out with you. Well, let me take them one by one. So do you are you saying Are you suggesting that God and consciousness are really just two different terms for the same thing?

ILIA: Well, you know, I think I think they can be and I wouldn’t want read. So I do think the Eastern religions and they’re focused on God as pure consciousness, it’s closer to what the reality of God is. And yet God is even more than this. God is super consciousness. So if God is not just consciousness, God is hyper consciousness. God is the knowing of knowing and I think, you know, I think any of our language that that identifies something God is even more than that. So God is that but more than that is God consciousness, yes, but even more than consciousness. God is the consciousness of consciousness, you know, the God beyond consciousness, and that So, again, I think even in Have we go? Can we extend ourselves beyond consciousness? You know, even the unconscious is a type of consciousness, you know, in the sentence. So I think that’s what we’re saying here is this name God points to the infinite reality of absolute. So, and I like the term absolute because it’s, it’s, it’s beyond which nothing else can can go, you know, then and that can extend infinitely. Right? So, so we’re talking here about the mystery of exhibit a being itself that which gives life life itself. That is way beyond consciousness but certainly is conscious.

RICK: Yeah. Well, I think I agree with you, um, I often object to a kind of a plain vanilla connotation that’s applied to the word consciousness like that. It’s just sort of empty, and, you know, flat nothingness. But you know, I would have to regard it. And this gets closer to what, to defining it as God, as the sort of the home of all the potentiality that we see manifests as the universe home of all the laws of nature, we could say, like, yeah. And then that implies, you know, just sort of infinite intelligence, and even dread,

ILIA: right, yeah, let’s take that, you know, the home of cosmic potentiality. Right? You know, really, what are we talking we’re talking about? I mean, that’s very similar to the Divine ideas, I did it I did, the idea of fine ideas that the, you know, ancient writers spoke about Gregory of Nyssa, for example, the capitalization fathers, even Augustine, you know, this idea that God is the source, the word of, you know, the source of divine ideas, which is the same thing as saying, the realm of cosmic potentiality, or potential forms to use a platonic notion. And I would agree with that, you know, that consciousness. And yet, when we say consciousness is the realm of pure potentiality, we’re saying something about not just something abstract that, you know, matter is energy. And energy has an infinite source of potential forms. And intrinsic to those forms is a type of awareness.

RICK: Okay, several things in there. I think I first heard about you from your appearance on Tim freaks podcast is a friend of mine, and I’ve listened to his podcast. And he seems to be trying to cook up this theory, that God is coming into existence with the evolution of the universe. And I keep taking issue with him on that, because I feel like, yeah, you could say that of the manifest aspect of God is the form aspect, so to speak. But the unmanifest aspect with all of the laws of nature inherent within it, all the intelligence necessary for creating a universe must have been there all along, in order for a universe to spring forth. And so that you can think of these two aspects, there’s sort of the God in resting phase, you know, having the full potential to create a universe and then God and active phase in, you know, entering into and creating one.

ILIA: Well, I see, I see what you’re saying here. And it’s kind of interesting. Because I’ve seen some of these ideas before I would, I would maybe look at it, it’s slightly different way. Insofar as that let’s say, from a Christian perspective, this thing God is a is a name, a plural, plural relationships that we name is Trinity. And so if we think of God, not as just a realm of cosmic potentiality in other words, what was this potentiality doing before all these forms came into being, you know, or, you know, as the old Augustinian question, you know, what was God doing before creation? And he said he was creating hell for those who prior to the question.

RICK: Yeah, he was just chillin for a while, that,

ILIA: let me just say, this way, I think here’s my take on it. I think there never was a time when there when there never was not matter. Matter is energy. There never was a time when, when matter energy was not part of God’s life. I think God as Trinity is using Carl Jung’s ideas is an unresolved God. It’s a God who in a sense, is in slight conflict or tension in God’s own life. And therefore, I think God, God is another name also. And I agree with Gordon Kaufman here. God is the name of creativity itself. So we’re not talking about a passive cosmic potentiality but a creative so God as that infinite source of creativity, which is very, it kind of readily fits with the idea of a God whose Trinity a God who was relational, a God who is overflowing. If we say God is Love is overflowing love and therefore, a God who seeks to become the fullness of God, by sharing that divine life, with an other with creaturely life with human life. And I think that’s what we mean by God rising up in evolution. In a sense, Carl Jung was say, you know, evolution is really not about us. It’s really all about God, in a sense, fulfilling God’s own potential to become something more than God’s self. And that seems odd to these, you know, to the classical mind, theological mindset, like what do you mean, God’s becoming more than something and God, and it’s like, Well, God may be incomplete as God, you know, if God is pure potential, then God needs to realize that potential fully in something other than God, to to forgot to really become God, in God’s fullness of being, and therefore God rises up. In fact, Jung would see evolution as the rise of consciousness. In other words, consciousness comes to being comes to self reflective being, and therefore comes to the awareness of this divine power, at the heart of itself. And they’re like the Christ for young for Carl Jung is the self, the archetype, this, this coincidence of opposites, to say, we’re unreconciled being beings that are seeking what we call peace or unity, reconciliation of the opposite within us, is the, you might say, the realization of God, among us, you know, or as the God before us.

RICK: Good. I’m good with most of that. And I want to say that I don’t I mean, what doesn’t matter really what I think because what do I know? It’s like, we’re just kind of playing around here with what might be, and but what I do mean is that, you know, as best as I have been able to understand things, that resonates with it a lot, but there are some little lack. There’s some places where our Venn diagram doesn’t overlap. And so I want to keep exploring those with you.

ILIA: Yeah. You know, what’s interesting? Let me put this another way. Many, many people do not realize their own divine potentiality. Right. Yeah. I mean, most people, right. In fact, if you were to say that to most people, like you have, you know, you have a source of divinity of godly you have you have a godliness about you. And you are to realize that potential within you and, and live into that in the fullest. And they would love to feel like, you know, either you’re scandalous, or this is crazy. Are you out of your mind? Did you ever you know, did you ever see me in the morning? And that’s so that’s the beauty and this guy like the Christian God, by the way, because, you know, it’s this is like a, it’s like your Buddha at the Gas Pump. Yeah, this is an everyday god, this is not like a superpower thing, like we’re gonna solve all the problems of the world. This is a cannot a God, a self giving God, a God who is completely God with us, for us, like, in us, we are the living the livingness of God, insofar as into that reality. And that’s pretty awesome. You know, and what would our world look like?

RICK: Yeah, Swami Muktananda used to say God dwells within you, as you exactly. And somebody hearing that might say, Oh, the hubris, you know, who do you think you are? You You’re saying, You are God, but obviously, he wasn’t referring to the little, you know, six foot frame, or whatever it may be within it, he was he was just talking about the all pervasive nature of the Divine which can be located through this instrument.

ILIA: Right. And of course, you know, people can twist that think, well, I can use my power now to, to kill to overpower you to oppress people, because I’m God

RICK: wasn’t rom Das, who had a brother who was in a mental institution and, and he went to visit him. And he, he said to his brother, the reason you’re in here and I’m out there is that, you know, you think you’re God. But I realized that and so I but I realized that everybody is, you know, so he was kind of, like, caught up in the, you know, me, I’m God, you know?

ILIA: Yeah, you know, yeah, the difference between being in and out of prison, that’s a good one. And the thing is, we are God, but God is more than us. You know, I think that’s, that’s good. You know, if we think we’re, we are this is it like we are God, and that, you know, that’s it. And so I’m going to use my power to do whatever I want. But God is more than what we are and yet what we are and that’s the mystery. That is the mystery is going back to our original question of mystery, that God is always over spilling over our lives because God is always the infinite to kind of tea of what life can be.

RICK: Yeah, I’d like to think of us as sense organs of the infinite. And, you know, obviously you are more than your nose, or your more than your fingertips or something, there’s so much more to what you are then what any one of your senses can detect. And in the case of the infinite you know, there’s so much more than we have so little sense organ can detect. But you know, it’s God within us that actually is the experiencer through each of our sense organs, each of our our instruments sensory instruments, you being one eye being one, everybody else being one.

ILIA: Absolutely. I do love the, the is it the the Hindu greeting of Namaste, Namaste as lusty the guided me recognize the god

RICK: on you. Yeah. Okay. Continuing on this theme, I think we haven’t completely exhausted it yet. We never will. If God has really you said earlier there. Well, she said a couple things earlier, you said that you didn’t think there was a time when matter didn’t exist? I think the phrase, it’s something like that. But then I thought about well, what about the Big Bang? Was there a time prior to the big bang when matter didn’t exist? And then it came into existence? Let’s cover that one before we go on?

ILIA: Well, Rick, if I can answer that I will win the Nobel Prize? Because that’s the big question. Right? For scientists, you know, so science, science can only take us back so far, to the, to the Big Bang. And, you know, that point where science itself breaks down, the mathematics break down is called the singularity. Beyond that point, science must, must remain silent, because cannot speak. But it doesn’t mean that there was not something prior to the Big Bang, you know, so a lot of speculations on how we might have emerged out of a previous universe that collapsed, or, you know, we’re part of a cyclic universe or multi universe. So I would say, you know, um, with regard, what I think we’d want to warn you against is like, like this God, however, we conceive of God didn’t wake up one day and have a meeting and said, I think we need a creation. So I’m really bored, I need something to do. So let’s make this big bang universe, we’ll make it slow, you know, give us some time to, you know, cook. And then, you know, come into it and, you know, do a few things and wrap it up. You know, I just think God is. So I think we’re talking about the mystery of matter. And that’s really what we’re, I think, and I’d like to, you know, because I think our God conversations have been too abstract to divorced from our material world. And it’s landed us in a lot of problems, a lot of difficulties. And really, what we’re talking about is the mystery of matter, the mystery of matter, energy, the mystery of matter, energy mind, you know, and, you know, we trace that back to this to as far as we can, then our language breaks down, and we speak about God creating. And I think, yeah, I do think this mystery of God could has always been at work. I don’t think God ever woke up and decided to do something. I don’t think God will retire, you know, and move to Florida. Oh, God. I think God is creativity itself. And I think, you know, this would be following, like Alfred North Whitehead, for example. Who would say that God is creativity, and that creativity is eternal, and therefore, Whitehead would see God’s creative activity as eternal activity. A law

RICK: of nature does go through phases of rest and activity, that seems to be a cycle on every level. And so maybe God Himself and pardon the use of the masculine pronoun, I’ve actually had people criticize my use of that, but you know, just a little awkward to throw in all the possible pronouns are. But anyway, maybe somebody from Berkeley last criticize, criticize him on that. But anyway, couldn’t it be that God? Like, all of nature, goes through phases of rest and activity?

ILIA: Why not? Yeah, I think I like that it actually had an oscillating an oscillating divine activity. No.

RICK: I mean, even Genesis, right on the seventh day, he rested. So I like

ILIA: yeah, maybe God rest when, you know, at certain periods. Not sure when God is not resting now. So it’s hard to

RICK: now about matter, if God is really on the present, and I could give you some examples for why I think he is, then is there anything other than God? Because and if there is anything other than God doesn’t wouldn’t that mean that God has holes in them, you know, and isn’t on the present?

ILIA: I would hope to god omnipresent in God is there is nothing outside the exists God, right? Is existence itself. Good? Yeah.

RICK: Yeah. So if we look at our hand, or an apple or a rock, or anything else, and if we could look at it deeply enough, clearly enough. You know, if human beings are capable of this, we would be seeing God.

ILIA: Yes, exactly. I mean, you know, even the medieval as Bonaventure spoke about, everything, everything from a grain of sand to a leaf on a tree. Everything expresses God’s life, that that godly life. Bye, bye, its power is here. It’s your beingness its sheer. Goodness, you know, the beauty even of a grain of sand? You know, we know about it, because we have learned to look at the material world is inert stuff, you know, it’s just other random sand. Who cares? You know, when in fact, every grain of sand every leaf has infinite, infinite power of God and infinite beauty of God, just by its sheer beingness?

RICK: Yeah, there’s an example I like to use. There’s a name for this thing, I forget what it is starts with an A. But um, I heard that if you take a gram of hydrogen, and if you could make all the atoms and the size of unpopped popcorn kernels, it would come the atoms would just one gram, the atoms would cover the continental United States nine miles deep. Wow. And, and when I think of that, and then I think, okay, every single one of those atoms is a perfect little mechanism that’s governed by law unchanging laws of nature. And I see God in it. I mean, God is somehow orchestrating that level of detail. And then you can expand out to the whole universe. And he’s orchestrating that too. And it gives you this sense of the just sort of the massively in comprehensible intelligence that we’re swimming in, you know,

ILIA: yeah, no, I would agree with that. I would say, I think of God is absolute love. And because that is what New Testament revelation discusses God, God is love. And therefore, I think this you say, orchestrating I would think of God as absolutely loving the world, every every aspect of the world. Even my little finger, you know, my eye, my nose, the hair, the hair on my head, every whatever’s left of it, you know, whatever gray hair is left in my head, that every aspect of a tree and that’s, its first of all, love is always particular to being itself, right. Love. Love always likes a particular sense of something, a quality is something Dispeller something the tastes of something, you know, and I think God’s love is so infinite for every single in every single existent, that there is nothing in this creation that is unlovable, or unloved

RICK: by God. I mean, somebody might say, oh, all these yucky things happen? And is that really indicative of love. But I mean, the way I would translate that is to say, and this gets us into Taylor Taylor, I think, is that there’s a sort of an evolutionary imperative or force are something that the universe is one big giant evolution machine. And it’s, it’s, you know, complexified, more and more in order to bring about forms through which the turn of the infinite intelligence can express itself more and more fully. And that’s, that’s kind of how I understand that what you just said.

ILIA: Yeah, I would agree. Yeah, you know, this question of bad things happening. You know, if this is a God of love, why do bad things happen? That’s always the Odyssey question. But love, you know, this is a finite, it is a finite creation, right? It’s a, it’s a finite reality, wherever there are boundaries that are governed by law. They’re contingent, right? They’re always dependent on something else. And wherever there’s contingent boundaries, there’s always the possibility of failure, that you know, something is going to break down some some that someone’s going to violate the law. And so there’s always the possibility of, of suffering. There’s always the possibility of breakdown. And yet what’s so amazing about this universe we live in 13 Point 8 billion years 13 point 8 billion years of evolving emerging life. If that doesn’t point to something more than just your breakdown, like I always think what are we doing? Hear for such a long time, we carbon based intelligent beings

RICK: waiting for good dough, I suppose

ILIA: you know, able to think about and study the universe that has actually given rise to us, that is such an amazing process. It is fascinating. And, you know all of this to say is, there has it, if it evolutionary biological life did not undergo death, we would not be here, we do not our modern mindset has made death, suffering and death, the opposite life. When in fact, I think, you know, ancient cultures knew better that death is part I mean, suffering and death are part of the life cycle. If I think of, for example, in Scripture, you know, even Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, which is seems like such a radical thing. But who would who would give, you know, you know, so, so sacrifice and suffering, were part of worship, they were part now for our modern modern mindset that just seems terrible, like, why would you ever do such a thing, but for the ancient to the ancient mind had a much greater sense of cosmos of the whole, we so are questions, in part, because we don’t have a sense of being part of a whole, we don’t have a sense where, you know, what we are part of is more than our particular individual cells. And this, this wholeness of which, you know, be absolute, whole, uphold, that we name is God means that life will, suffering, you know, things will die, but new things are being born. And, you know, that’s the beauty of life. For everything that dies, those those nutrients, and those substances are taken up into new forms of life, even our lives, I think, even maybe what we might call resurrected life, you know, as we know, we pray Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, where does your dust go? And the Christian says, Well, you know, we’re going back to God, when I like, Well, I think you’re gonna go back to a God who was always at work in this cosmic life. And so we, you know, I’m not I don’t hold to incarnation per se, but, you know, there’s something about our lives will contribute, you know, even in the future to be overall, you know, for quantity of life.

RICK: Yeah, and a few weeks, or maybe a month, I’m going to interview a guy named Dr. Jim Tucker, who worked with Dr. Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia and carried on his work after Stevens and died. But in any case, their study has been with Children Now 1000s of them, who remember past lives, and who, and they go, and they, you know, interview the child, take the child to the town where he said, he lived and he identifies all these people, or the kid remembers the name of the battleship that he took off from when he was fight fighter pilot in World War Two, all kinds of details like that. So um, I have no problem whatsoever with, with reincarnation, that makes sense to me. And then just as in the context of evolution being quite a vast spectrum of possibilities for each individual soul, you know, which is very unlikely to be accomplished fully in one individual lifetime. So you pick up where you left off, and it’s like changing, changing clothes or, you know, putting on a new suit and carrying on and

ILIA: I to hold to the particularity of personhood, in other words, there will never be another Rick arctor, you know, on, you know, ever in all eternity. And there’s something about the particularity of personality, that I think is our eternal contribution to the overall the overall future of life and God, which I hold to be what I’m called cosmos, the Andric life that I didn’t Cosmos, and what we become will be entangled, you know, forever, which is what we call the body of Christ, you know, in more traditional language, but the particularity of personhood, I think is, I think it’s really important. I think every leaf will never be repeated, no grain of sand will be repeated. No person will be repeated.

RICK: Everyone agree? Yeah. And I mean, I’m a lot different now than I was when I was 10. In many respects, certainly the same in many respects, but very different. And, you know, if I have a next life, let’s say or when I do there, the essential stuff, I think, carries on, you know, I might be a female, I might have different intellectual capacities or what interests or whatever, but somehow rather the evolutionary progress that I have made in this life, will the circumstances of that next life will be designed so as to further that progress. based upon what has what has been accomplished so far,

ILIA: that could be but that’s, I mean, that’s kind of an interesting line of thinking, but

RICK: I didn’t originate that line of thing.

ILIA: I know. But what if, what if quantum entanglement is really the reality of our lives? So, so entanglement means that once particles have interacted, they are forever interacting, even if they’re separated at vast distances from one another. So, we take two particles here, and then I, I split them apart, and I placed one particle, you know, half on this desk in DC and another particle on Jupiter, you know, the planet Jupiter and I turn this particle 180 degrees up the particle and Jupiter will turn 180 degrees down at the speed,

RICK: not even at the speed of light instantaneously,

ILIA: right? It’s non local action at a distance, or spooky, I like the

RICK: call. Yeah,

ILIA: actually, this is because it’s really weird, right? Now, what if our consciousness is working this way? What if? What if we are actually living? If what if not entanglement? If we take that one degree further, and this is pure speculation? What if we’re already living different lives? You know, what if we’re, you know, what makes us think that this life now you know, we’ll go and then we’ll live somewhere else at a different time? What if we’re already living in multiple, multiple rounds?

RICK: That’s a good one. If and I’ve heard people say that they say that this linearity of time is just a human construct. And that, in fact, however many wives we may have, we’re actually living them all simultaneously. Yes, modeling.

ILIA: It is mind boggling. But it could explain in part, that different personalities that we assume in our lifetimes, you know, we’re an athlete this day, and then we’re a scholar this day, and you know, we might be more meditative one day, and then one day, we’re more of a politician. And they are they all just levels of consciousness within our individual being, or a day, in essence, different personalities that are being enacted, you know, in many different ways. So

RICK: yeah, it’s a good question. And, you know, I mean, I think neither of us is propounding these ideas as dogmas that you have to believe in, or something bad’s gonna happen to you. We’re just playing with possibilities here

ILIA: is pure speculation at this point, which is fine. Yeah, I do think I do think quantum physics, I think quantum computing. And I do think the world of AI is beginning to open up some of these more speculative realms of thinking we have to, really I do think for the sake of the planet, we have to get out of linear thinking, you know, it’s just very helpful. So Ooh, boy,

RICK: that well, that opens up some new tidbits for us to explore. But before we do that, here’s a question that came in. I asked this before we proceed. This is from Sonia rush in Amsterdam. She asks you, I presume she’s, yeah, she’s addressing you, you have a certainty in your voice and your beliefs, that is lovely. Awakening brings you to an edge in your beliefs and makes you doubt your certainty, to break you in order to be reborn. Can you express your experience with that?

ILIA: Yes, I like that. And I do think thank you for that. It does come from a deep experience of holy mystery of God at the heart of my own life, that I think I have broken through if I could use that accordion notion of break through to a sense of a freedom to even speculate about God beyond our traditional notions. And to be at home and that you know, to know that God actually delights by the way in our playing in the universe. Ours are thinking in different ways. I think God is trying to say please do not be so boring, that what

RICK: he is playing through, so he or she is yeah,

ILIA: um, so So I guess I do have a sense of certainty because I know that this God is much more than we have reduced God to and I think sometimes we’ve we’ve kind of imprisoned God into our own little, little thought systems and you know, little ideas on God and God’s trying to break through from these chains and to be at home in the freedom of are able to speculate to to dream to imagine that’s where God actually lives in those realms.

RICK: Yeah. It’s an interesting question certainty versus dogmatism and or versus doubt and so on. I mean, I remember the story of of Einstein when Sir Arthur Eddington observed the bending of starlight and proved one of his theories of relativity, I forget which one he would know. And some reporters said the Einstein Yeah, what would you have done if the theory had been disproven, and I Einstein said, I should have been sorry for the dear Lord theory is correct.

ILIA: Yeah, good one, though, you know, I always take even scientific laws. I take them for what they’re worth. And they do tell us a lot and govern a lot. But those laws will change, like even ice, right? I mean, we’re I mean, coming out of the Newtonian universe was no small feat. And I think he didn’t set out to overturn Newton’s paradigm. It’s just that he was brilliant little guy, you know, who had a whole set of formulas that could really help us think of a new. And so that’s fantastic about science, like the paradigms can change. Yeah, there’s something about religion we have yet to really embrace, right? We get stuck in religious paradigms. We’re like, oh, no, that you know, and God said, you know, it’s like, yeah, but you know, but God didn’t say, like, you must hold on to this forever and ever and ever and ever. It’s like, this is just, hey, this is a working paradigm, folks. You know, this is helping us to think about the depth dimension of our lives, about the breadth. And as the more as we know, from science, the more that paradigm of religious depth dimension should be able to change as well, which is why I don’t hold on too fast to dogmatism. Because you get you fall into what Whitehead called the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. Which a lot of people fall into like this, is it? You know, God said this? Well?

RICK: Yeah, who said God said? Yeah, I mean, that gets us into the sort of the science religion relationship, which has been, you know, kind of contentious in recent centuries. And I don’t think it needs to be, in fact, I think the two really need each other. I think science needs religion, because religion, or perhaps it could say spirituality or even mysticism offers tools for exploration that science doesn’t have. And, and, you know, there are definitely realities that mystics have experienced and discovered that scientists doesn’t even don’t even know exists. And they should know if they want to have the whole picture of what the universe is. And then conversely, spirituality or religion in particular has, like you’re just saying, gotten really hung up on dogma, and could really use more of a scientific attitude, if it really wants to be to serve the interest of knowing the truth of things. And I’ve seen spiritual people get hung up on all kinds of kooky ideas, because they just lack critical thinking skills.

ILIA: Right? No, absolutely. You know, and here, I do follow Taylor Dasia. Down, he said, science to religion are two forms of the of the one conjugate or act of knowing. So I think of science and religion as two lenses of a pair of glasses. If I only have one lens, I’m not going to see the world with, you know, unified clarity, I’m gonna have partial, you know, myopic vision, and it’ll be blurry, it’ll be out of sync. And therefore, I think science and religion are just two ways of knowing the one world when we only know science, or religion, we only really know, part of the world, we don’t have the full picture. And they do need one another. And it’s beyond dialogue, they really need to mutually compliment one another. I mean, and as you said, so Well, I think, religion I take religion, not as institution or dogmatism, I like to think of religion in the root meaning of tethering, like, like, what are we bound to? And that’s how I think of religion as the tethering of our lives. What you know, and I think of spirituality as the energy that tethers us so that’s how I see religion and spirituality, we’re oriented toward something religion says this is what I’m oriented toward, spiritually says, This is what I you know, which this is the energy that will move me toward there, but itself, you’re right, in more and more, it’s, it’s running up against this wall of mystery, and it says, We can exactly reduce everything to how we like to reduce it, so we can claim it and name it and measure it, you know, and tell you what it is. And it says, Every I have often thought of science, scientific research as a form of spirituality itself. Yeah, I think the most honest scientist would admit to that, like they’re pursuing a knowledge that is grip it pulls them in, and then as you study something, even like a single protein, for example, or a gene, the more you study it, the more there is to know you never really fully arrive at any, you know, final conclusive data, and so on. Tarek himself spoke of science, science as dark adoration, the act of adoring God in the worship any spoke of worship of holy matter. Now, normally we’re like what this is crazy, you know. But that’s what he’s saying at the heart of matter, at the heart of research of matter, is wholly mystery. And if we could begin to develop these two disciplines, with something of this understanding, we might have a very different world.

RICK: You mentioned proteins, I happen to have a quote here. I forget where I got this. But here it is, there are 20 elements in amino acids that combine in certain sequences to form the 700,000 kinds of proteins in our body. To make just one of these proteins, collagen, you need to arrange 1055 amino acids in precisely the right sequence. If this had to happen, by chance, it would be like a Las Vegas slot machine with 1055, spinning wheels, each with 20 symbols, and you had to get the same symbol on all the wheels to win the jackpot. The odds of achieving this through chance are far greater than the number of atoms in the universe. And that’s just one of 700,000 proteins.

ILIA: Shaco, non French, the French biologist, you know, thought it was all chance. And he was, you know, definitely challenged on that precisely for this reason. I mean, the odds of B all these proteins and proteins are, you know, again, amino acids, and then amino acids, the more and more we drill down into these things, the more we’re, you know, you take the atom, the atom, the electron, then you have leptons and quarks and hydrogens and both sides and it goes in. It’s endless. This is what and so it’s it’s absolutely mind boggling. How did all this stuff come together to form a protein, a substance called collagen, something that binds? You know, I mean, I had a colleague that worked for 35 years on one channel of a protein that governs calcium regulation in muscle. Now, imagine spending your entire life. But that’s, you know, that’s science. And, you know, and yet, it’s always against the wall of mystery. And that’s, you know, it says, There’s something here that escapes the measurement of scientists, the tool of scientists, and that’s where religion comes in. So religion is that depth dimension. And science, is that a measurement of attraction of what pulls things together, you know, how are they forming? How are they forming? What are they? And so these two vectors, you might say, are both necessary for the fulfillment of life.

RICK: Good point, I’m glad you mentioned the word fulfillment of life, because that’s what I was just thinking based on what your your friend who worked 35 years on that one very specific thing. You know, I heard in one of your talks, I heard you mentioned the necessity of the necessity of complexification of knowledge in order to advance knowledge. Because there’s so much to know, and you can’t specialize in everything, you have to zoom, you have to narrow down more and more and more, but the fragmentation that results from it. I mean, if everybody’s off, it’s like, imagine that a wheel with a hub at the center and all these spokes, everybody’s off at the end of a different spoke, you know, they can’t quite communicate with each other. They can’t, they don’t know the totality of knowledge, they, they’re just off on this little tiny thing. Now imagine you could sort of be established at the hub of the wheel, and then explore a spoke if you wanted to, then you’d kind of have the fulfillment of this, stretching the analogy, but you imagine the hub is sort of an ocean of fulfillment or pure knowledge or something like that. You’d have that. And then you can play around and explore the details of some particular area, according to your proclivities. I think that’s really one way in which spirituality can aid science, it can, it can provide that hub quality of, you know, order fulfillment to these specialists.

ILIA: Right. That’s, that’s a really good point. And it’s an important point, I think we’re beginning to realize today in higher education, truthfully, our educational systems are sort of, in some ways, they’re at the heart of our problems. Because we have developed the university system is kind of a Newtonian clockwork, you know, you you’re major in science, and then you major in biology, and then you major in cell biology, and then you major in, you know, the nucleus of a cell and then you keep drilling down, down, down, down, down. And so by the time you have finished your degree and you’re a specialist in this area, you can talk to about four people to your book. So, we’re beginning to realize today and this comes really I think, here I think, the new material isms, you know, the philosophy of new materialism post humanism, that term post humanism points to the fact that we need to change the way we know what we know. And rather than having these discrete specializations, I think certainly at a more fundamental level, we need to learn across disciplines, we need exactly what you said, how we learn from the place of spirituality, you know, we how do we do science from the place of imagined science, you know, a biology class with a level of say, mystical science, silence in it, or perhaps just kind of meditation on you know what you’re about to study. That’d be like, what that’s so crazy. sages say that’s so bizarre, right? But we have to begin to teach in a different way, we have to begin to learn across various disciplines, we have to learn from both the heart and the mind, I think that’s maybe a way of saying we need to reconnect these heart and mind, if we are to really form the whole person in a whole world, you know, a person who is part of a material, an ongoing material matrix of constructing realities, and a knower who can participate in what these realities become.

RICK: Yeah. Let me rephrase that and see if we’re on the same page. So we were speaking earlier of God as being the sort of the full potential from which the creation has arisen, like the kind of home of all intelligence and energy and creativity and laws of nature and orderliness and all that stuff, the repository field of all possibilities, whatever terminology you want to use, and we’ve spoken of our sort of ultimate oneness with that, that’s what we are in our deepest essence. Okay, so if we could realize that experientially, we’re still gonna have to specialize, if we want to know about this, or that teeny, tiny, little specific area of, you know, the kind of thing you were mentioning cell biology or something, we’re not gonna be able to do that and develop jet planes and be a brain surgeon, and you know, all the other things we have, we have to specialize. But if we could both do both at the same time, specialize and then capture the wholeness that exists actually closer than our own breath, then we can live a very fulfilled life, and we could also serve a particular Dharma, you could call it in, in the world advancing knowledge in a particular area.

ILIA: Yes, I think, yeah, I mean, I like that, Rick, you know, this is what I say, I think this this realm of cosmic potentiality that we name is God, this realm of divine ideas. This God is constant. This is God is active and alive now. So I always think of God as guarding the world as guarding materiality, that God is at, you know, engaging creatively, luring us to new possibilities, but we have the freedom to think and to choose. And so even studying science, it’s not so much what we develop, it’s, why are we developing these things? You know, it’s a question of our choices. And I think this is where spirituality can play a fundamental role. In other words, if our hearts are grounded in holy mystery, then we’re, we begin to choose, you know, in a way that’s consonant with the fecundity of life, with with, with an aim of the allness of God, you know, with so we’re not just choosing to create same robots because we just want a little help. We want you know, we don’t want to drive anymore, or we, you know, we want someone to vacuum our houses will have a robot, you know, but we create these things, because there’s something about this creation that can actually release might say, us to be more fully God, fully godlike in our actions, we can be maybe maybe a role rumba robot, you know, vacuuming my house can give me time to be aware that the poor, you know, the poor in our neighborhood, maybe the the need to share what I have in a deeper way. I think right now, our hyper specialists are hyper specialized disciplines consume all our time and energy. We’re so focused on getting ahead on achievement on success and being number one, you know, everything is you need to be, you know, the winner. So we have a lot of, we have a mentality of winning and therefore, if you’re a loser, you know, are you just mediocre? There’s really no it seems to be not much place for you in this world when that’s so outside the reality of our God reality. Is that everybody person, you know, every person God is God loving into, into the fullness of being every person has something to offer to what we become as a planet as an earth community. And so our I think our, I think we need to slow down our educational processes, we rush people through college and we push them on to become, you know, like when students said to me, I have to go to law school, or I’ll kill myself. I was like, seriously. Enjoying life, you know, and this is we feel compelled, you know, we feel compelled to achieve when learning is about loving. I mean, really, the classic notion of learning is that we can love more deeply, right? When we can understand understanding, knowing is, you might say, the breath of love, right, we learn to see things more deeply, we learn to understand them in a way that their beauty shines out their power, their magnificence. Creativity itself is a form of loving, so we don’t see knowledge, as I think the height of knowledge should be love, I don’t think it’s the power of knowledge, the power of knowledge is sort of a dead end, you know, then it’s a win lose thing. It’s like, I’m smarter than you are, you know, I have more degrees than you do. And it’s of competition. And this world of constantly eking out, you know, who’s lesser event, and I think this is the most unhelpful, dynamic we can have. So our educational systems need to change, I think towards a more a post, but I say post-human complexified, the disciplines learn spirituality, and science, learn, you know, learn, but learn meditation, and English, you know, history, learn these things in a way that we’re really prepared to be creative in the world, towards the fecundity of life.

RICK: Yeah, I mean, if, if that had been the case, let’s say over the last century, and if scientists also were enlightened, or God realized, or whatever term we want to use, would we have? Would we have developed the atomic bomb? Would we have developed technologies, which have totally trashed the environment? You know, I may be naive and optimistic. But I feel that if scientists and people in general were enlightened are in higher states of consciousness, that the entire world would be utterly different. Because the, I mean, what we see in the world is just an expression of our ambient collective consciousness, you know, that that’s created by all the individuals contributing to it. And if all goes if most light like a forest is either weathered in gray, or green, depending upon the health of each individual tree, and if individuals in general, were at a higher level of consciousness, we’d still have technologies and all kinds of modes of travel, and all these energy technologies and all sorts of things, computers, but their expressions would be benign, would be beneficial and not not such a mixed blessing.

ILIA: Right? That’s exactly right. And I like what you said, I mean, the world, the collective world is us. I mean, we are the world. It’s in its unfolding. And I think so many times we talk about

RICK: the enemy, and he is us the quote.

ILIA: Yeah, right. But we talk about the world as it as it as if it is an object outside us. Yeah. Like, it’s the container that we exist in. And I’m saying, No, we are the world, our thoughts, our action, what motivates us, we are what the world becomes. And I think if we, if we lived in this unfolding of space, time, matter, you know, with a consciousness of world becoming, with a depth reality that that God or holy mystery, or absolute love is at the heart of our lives. Not only and not only in luring us into a better meant, but into the fullness of life were created. I do believe we’re created for the fullness of life, we have the capacity for a new unified plan. I do I really do think that capacity is here. But we, you know, we have developed such an unhealthy mindset. You know, and now I think we’re just stuck in this mire of consumerism, and, and money, competition, business growth, you know, and it’s all about GDPs and, you know, growth, growth, growth and making more and more money and wealth. Well, well,

RICK: because of the state of mind most people are in because of the education that they received, because there’s very little appreciation of this deeper value we’ve been alluding to.

ILIA: Right, you know, and I think if I mean, one thing the pandemic should have at least caused just a slight pause, you know, in our mindless pursuit who’d have these things to say, you know, maybe the greatest wealth is health, yeah. But you know, the gift of our lives, the gift that we can wake up and have two eyes and ears and, you know, senses to, to, to experience life. And so, you know, I do think and this is where I think the mystics, you know, can teach us that, it’s in the simplicity of life, that the fullness of life is truly experience, we have so much stuff that blocks, you know, blocks us from really entering into what life is truly about. And sometimes it can be as simple as standing outside in the beauty of the day, and just breathing in, you know, the air, and be thankful for it, you know, because, you know, COVID-19 really took that away from a lot of people. And so, we are, I think we’re at a pivotal point in history, you know, we’re, we’re undergoing a major massive paradigm shift. And it has to do fundamentally with the way science and religion will either find a new resolution among themselves, or if they remain at odds, we are left in the gap to be filled by consumerism, competition, and, you know, unbridled progress, which is very unhealthy. So, we don’t have a sustainable future, unless we really make every effort to to really renew the depth dimension of our lives, the god dimension, the holy mystery dimension, to slow down, and to say, when enough is enough? Yeah, I haven’t.

RICK: I totally agree with you. I mean, do you think that let’s say that it goes well, and science and religion do wake up to their full potential and their mutual cooperation and all that? Do you think a time will come 100 years, 200 years where we’ll look back? And it would seem very odd that we want to distinguish them? The really, there’s just the acquisition of knowledge, and there happened to be several components to it, you know, but it’s both subjective and objective, and you can’t really have one without the other.

ILIA: Yeah, that’s an interesting question, actually. Um, you know, 10 yard, I think, kind of speculated in that direction. And I think in some ways, if we read his text closely, he might have been pointing that direction because he did think that we would move beyond what we are. he posited the term Ultra human, that we’re going to be moving, you know, beyond homosapien to kind of what he called a crystal Sapiens or homo progressivism. That’s the term he used the progressive human. But I think he meant we need to become something more than we are. And I think that more ness of becoming something new is perhaps a new, a new complexity between science and religion. We’re not saying that science becomes religion, or religion becomes science, we are saying that they each offer from the richness of their, their insights and their knowledge to a new fertilization of knowing the world and knowing what we are becoming in this world. And so yeah, I think we could maybe I would like to, I like my optimistic self said, Yes, I would like to anticipate that maybe in 100 years time, we can look towards a new type of science, why have a new name? Say it science, fair science, or I don’t know, religious science or something like that, you know, it’d be a new discipline that you have to get a degree and then you’ll look back and say, gee, you know, what a shame. You know, we went through that dark period. And I think people will look at, certainly the 20th century as a very dark period in the history of Homo sapiens, you know, in recent times, yeah,

RICK: I actually do have a degree in something called the science of creative, intelligent, master’s degree. And the basic premise of it is that everything we’ve been talking about in terms of God and intelligence and permeating the universe and all that, but that it actually can be explored systematically empirically, but methodically, and that it’s not just a matter of faith or chance, or, you know, whatever.

ILIA: Like

RICK: a question came in, this is from Elizabeth in Bergen, Norway, I see the body and the world inside of me instead of instead of me inside the body in the world, my experience is seen as wonderful because I feel totally safe in God’s hands. And freedom slash love is visible to me as this body person. That’s very nice. Can you comment?

ILIA: Well, first of all, I want to say that’s a beautiful insight and what responding, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth has, I think reached a depth of consciousness that I would like to see more, you know, more pervasive. So this is someone who, you know, Elizabeth has definitely. In other words, contemplation is not just contemplation of the world, that world has spoken, that world has entered into this the highest level of intermediate consciousness, where where matter begins, you know, conscious matter is knowing me it’s it’s and I do think, you know, this kind of mystical union, where the world and I are like Maria real case, notion of inner Belgium, you know, the outer world within the birds fly within me, trees grow within me. And therefore, there is no separation or division between my particular existence and what we are called the world or the body of the world, for that body of the world is my body. That is that is truly a heightened level of integrated consciousness and awareness of being itself. So kudos to Elizabeth, maybe

RICK: she’d probably have around Buddha at the Gas Pump. Okay, let’s do an abrupt gearshift here. Let’s talk a little bit about cyborgs. I mean, obviously, there’s some really great things being developed in terms of like artificial limbs for people who have lost limbs and things like that. Even, you know, possibilities for seeing if you can’t see, there was that recent movie, the sound of metal or the guy was able to be fixed with something that enabled him to hear, and, and so on, although he decided not to use it in the end. But then again, there are people like Ray Kurzweil and others who take it a big step further, and kind of want us to upload our mind to the cloud and achieve some kind of immortality. That way, and I kind of feel like there are certain fundamental misunderstanding is basic to his endeavor, that we are immortal. And we don’t need to, you know, try to make the body immortal or make the soul immortal, because it already is, and then kind of meddling with all these, you know, contraptions and planting things in us could actually be very problematic. What do you think about that?

ILIA: Yeah, well, let’s take into parts I think, I think the notion of cyborg, which really emerged in the 60s, which is travel, it means it’s a it’s an acronym for cybernetic organism. And I think just the emergence of the cyborg, the fact that we could strap instruments to a human being and send them into space, and they could function, you know, was a remarkable, both a remarkable achievement in terms of science. But also, it was the first time we began to realize, Wow, maybe the biological human person is more malleable or plastic, or than we thought. So, you know, for centuries, we have really worked with Aristotle’s notion of biology, you know, kind of form, matter, or form and substance. And we fell into this trap of biological essentialism that, you know, God created us as we are, you know, male and female, and nothing changes, while the cyborg says Guess what, folks, things do change. And so what the cyborg symbolizes. And so that’s the first thing I’d like to maybe just highlight, it’s a symbol of what we might call the plasticity of being human plasticity, meaning our boundaries can be altered. So biomedically this has been extremely valuable, as you indicated, right? People who are blind or with color blindness or death, you know, we can strap a device to them that Hans’s that capacity to see again, or to see colors. So what the cyborg just really says is that boundaries are local. They’re just, they’re just temporary, that you know, these boundaries can change the boundary of what defines me as a human person can be altered by a device. Now, does it change me as a person? You know, it can change maybe the way I function, but does it change me essentially, you know, am I still Ilia delio if I strap a machine to me, and you know, that’s where I think the question of human identity is certainly brought into a new light by the cyborg. What what it’s saying is that and I put it this way, we have the capacity to become something new. That’s But I think the cyborg symbolizes for us. We are not fixed, we are not, we’re not just essential beings, we are not constrained or defined by what we are, we can become something other than just that’s just symbolically saying that. Now Kurtzweil and and the transhumanist are some, some forms of radical transhumanism, which basically says, technology can enhance us, it can get us out of these kind of fixity of biological essentialism, you know, and we can become something more, we can become smarter, we can live forever, we can maybe never age, you know, and maybe these are alluring personally, I certainly don’t want to live on forever, you know, like this, I mean, I hope I can become something new. But the problem and I think you pointed this a little bit, I think transhumanism does not, as you indicate, Rick, give enough credence to our own inherent, the divine Tibet dimension, shall we say, of materiality, that we don’t have to become God by by, you know, loading our brains into a chip, that we have that God capacity in us? And I think, first

RICK: of all, and others probably never even pondered that, it seems to me, maybe they do, but it doesn’t seem to come out in their public statements.

ILIA: He’s a good guy. He’s Jewish by background, interestingly enough, these ideas on transhumanism that we can download our brains and live in another medium, because biology was never our destiny, you know, you know, that, you know, we’re, we’re destined for something immortal, and, you know, technology can bring us there. These are actually rooted in the Judeo Christian tradition, it’s the principles of immortality and salvation are deeply you know, a rooted in the Christian tradition, which means, and now, all the transhumanists are saying is, we don’t need a God to save us, we are that God, so we can download our brain and, you know, we can upload our minds, we can create, you know, new avatars, and we can become immortal beings, we can reverse the death barrier, which is a lot of research right now. And on turning back the time, you know, cellular aging, and, and the thing is, I think it misses out on the, the depth of biological life, that that the livingness of organic life is precisely the cycles of life, death and new life, that is the cycle. And so I think technology can be a great help. It certainly brought us through the pandemic, you know, thanks to zoom, and all these

RICK: other very conversation we’re having is the technique

ILIA: it can, it can be a great aid to what we can become, but it can’t supplant us. I don’t think, you know, and I think a lot of sci fi movies like x Mokena, or AI, you know, these movies are grappling with the limits of humanity. And, you know, how much do we want to change ourselves? How much do we really want to alter our DNA, you know, thanks to CRISPR now in gene editing, great for biomedical purposes, right? If you have a rare disease, or you have a life threatening disease, and we can fix the gene that causes that wonderful, but if you just don’t like the way you look, or your personality, you know, you just don’t like who you are. And you want to alter that genetically. That’s problematic.

RICK: Yeah, I mean, look at what a mixed blessing all the technologies we’ve had throughout our lifetimes have been primarily, we could say, because there’s an sort of an inevitable short sightedness, you know, when we develop a technology, we just don’t grok all the ramifications of it. And so we think we’re doing something good, but then all these unexpected side effects happen. And, you know, this, we live in a rather messed up world because of that. And so I’m just really kind of skeptical of how well these technologies would turn out because there’ll be so all kinds of unforeseen consequences, you know.

ILIA: For sure, I mean, we need to put it in the context, which I tried to do in my book, reinventing the earth. The fact is, nature has always been techni nature, I mean, beavers make dams. And they always found, you know, very practical ways to extend their lives to enhance their lives to optimize their function. So that’s what nature has always done since you know, life you know, since certainly life on Earth and maybe even before that. So we are technique by nature. But I think this I think complete Technology, and artificial technology really came upon us. I mean, we just woke up to this in the late 20th century, like, oh my god, I have a phone that I can, you know, I can send a message through it, you know, or I can see someone on it. And this was like Eureka, it was like, wow, look at this. But that technology was not just a sudden miracle of life. I mean, it was in the making all along. We went from sending smoke signals to, you know, Alexander Graham Bell, to the phone on the wall, you know, the rotary phone to a push button phone to, you know, people said, Oh, you could carry a phone in your hand. Like, that’s crazy. So the question is, what has been driving this? That’s the question. Yeah, I Are we driven? And so a Lord by technologies? And I think there’s two things one, I think, certainly computer technology, which was a threshold that I mean, I think, Alan Turing’s imitation test. And, you know, from the 1950s, on, we crossed the threshold with regard to technology, it’s not just the mechanical help to us. Now, it’s doing something for us beyond us. And I think, I think technology is, I will put it in this way. It’s extending what we are into the possibilities of what we can become, in a way that is rapid, it’s being this development is, is evolving exponentially. And as almost breathless, we have not sufficiently thought about what we want with our technologies, where we’re going with them. And so even back big tech, big tech companies are having, you know, the need to discern what are we doing here? What are we creating these four. And I think technology will continue to develop, we will develop with technology beyond our species, that is not a question that that’s almost where we are right now. So we will become techno Sapiens in some way. But it doesn’t mean to the neglect, or the disappearance of what, what gives us breadth and depth to our lives, it can enhance our lives. But now we’re at a crossroads where this is where I do think technology needs spirituality, or religion, or some type of ethical guidance as to where we’ll be going. Because we can either, you know, we can, you know, evolve with technology to the point we exterminate ourselves, you know, we become a past species of history, something radically different. Or we can use technology and enfolded it into our lives that we become maybe a better type of human, maybe a human that can connect and be more aware. And therefore, I would love for example, a technology that enhances compassion, a technology, maybe if I had a chip, if I need, if I had a chip selection on Amazon, I could select those chips for peace, nonviolence, compassion, a sense of sharing, you know, a sense of the well beingness of life. You know, imagine if we had technology that can actually enhance those things. awareness for us that we can, I mean, we have to eradicate the economic gaps that we have

RICK: we do, but I don’t know. That’s a tricky question. It’s like there is a technology which will enhance compassion, I think it’s called MDMA or ecstasy. You take some of that, and all sudden, you have all this love and everything like that.

ILIA: But yeah, it’s short lived. Yeah, it is. That’s

RICK: the key. That’s the point. And then the fact that we can have that experience by taking a pill shows that we actually have the neuro physiological wherewithal to develop that experience without the pill, and to have it be abiding rather than short lived. And so I just kind of get kind of leery when I hear about chips that might do this, or drugs that might do this, and so on and so forth. I think there’s certain things that chips and drugs can do that are great. Like you were saying, you know, could cure sickle cell anemia or something with the right kind of genetic engineering CRISPR technology. But there are other things which, you know, we might want to just resort to the, to God’s wisdom to the wisdom of nature, and learn to utilize the full, as you were saying earlier, the full potential that already exists within us. And the human nervous system without technological AIDS has the ability to do that. Right.

ILIA: No, I fully agree with you. In fact, you know, I think maybe another way of saying what you’re saying, but I would say is that spirituality is itself a type of technology.

RICK: It’s more like a technology of consciousness or a subjective technology.

ILIA: Yes, you’re harnessing the energies. What we have what we are as person, to, to an aim, you know, to the fullest life to well being to be able to have reach higher states of consciousness. So, yeah, I do think that we have an avid agree with you, you know, we have all that we need within us to really achieve a new type of personhood to really evolve into a new species. But there’s something about us that prevents, you know, there’s something about us that stifles that as well. Because you would need to reach a collective threshold of spiritual transformation. And that’s where I think, you know, harnessing enough people around the globe, however many we are now 6.9 billion or 7 billion, you know, into a spiritual awakening. Yeah. That would be really, really rather incredible. Now, can technology help us achieve that? And in some ways it can it is? harmful? Exactly right. Because our consciousness sample has evolved tremendously. I could say exponentially since the late 20th century. I grew up in New Jersey, where I didn’t even know there were other really, I mean, I thought everyone was an Italian American, New Jersey was very small, you know. And I was amazed to find out, first of all, that there was a place called California beyond the city, you know, then there were Protestants. Oh, no Protestant. For Hindus, and Buddhists, oh, my God, it just seemed so outrageous, you know, my whole little world of New Jersey was kind of a little bit shattered. But then as I grew into the rich diversity of religions, which technology does for us, right, I can, I can go on my social media sites, I can go on Yahoo, I can, you know, we, the news itself, is a global phenomenon. So we have a consciousness of belonging to a globe in a way we’ve never had in the whole history of the universe. And that is what technology has afforded us. Now, the question is, how do we bring the technology of spirituality, you know, into their, you know, how do we combine these things in a way that we can become the best of what we have capacity to become? You know, without losing that or sacrificing it to a chip?

RICK: Yeah, no, it’s important question. And I think it’s happening. I don’t know whether it’s happening fast enough, or whatever. But from my perspective, doing this show, and interviewing all these hundreds of people, it seems to me there’s some kind of a spiritual Renaissance taking place. And people like Elizabeth in Norway having these profound spiritual awakenings that famous mystics had. And so and that’s becoming commonplace, relatively. And, you know, the old phase transition idea that, well, there’s so many examples of it in physics, but boiling water is a perfect example, where you get water to 99 degrees centigrade, just looks like water, but one more degree, and boom, it’s boiling. So there could be kind of a phase transition and collective consciousness where something is building up, and we’re not aware of how close it is to a real breakthrough, where where very rapid and profound change takes place.

ILIA: Yeah, I would agree with that, Rick, I do think in, in many, many different groups that I’ve spoken with, and just being around the world, you know, I do think there is something profound taking place, a deep, profound spiritual transformation is taking place. And in some ways, it will be post institutional, you know, words are moving into a different a new type of collective consciousness, that is, I think, going to give rise to a new type of beingness, a new type of, of human if we want to use Ultra human, if I can use Tayyar, it’s term, a hyper personalization, where we know ourselves to belong to something more than ourselves, you know, and therefore, I, for all the difficulties of our time, I do have a faith in the future of our collective existence. Yeah, I

RICK: do. I would say no, it’s not like a sort of rock solid faith, but it’s a it’s a optimism, and not trust, a pretty enthusiastic optimism. I feel like something really good is happening despite superficial appearances.

ILIA: I would agree. Yes, I would agree to I think, I think the news, unfortunately, sometimes we kind of filter out anything good. And we just tend to focus on you know, what, what draws people in, which is basically violence, gun violence, in destruction and more violence. And so we’re kind of, for some reason we’re lured by violence. And yet, I think that’s because we have an unreconciled dark side to us, you know, within us, maybe that violent portion within us needs to be reconciled. But there’s something also that because there’s a lot of good people, and there’s a lot of good being done in this world in very quiet ways. You know, there Silent ways, and yeah, sometimes they’re not just major newsmakers, you know, it can be the person who just every day just, you know, gets the newspaper for her neighbor, because they’re, they’re elderly and can’t walk, you know, or, you know, it’s just the small things of life, done it in goodness and love that really that, you know, raises that love to a new level in the world. And I think it’s, it’s taking place. I see young people, you know, young people I actually have my students heard about my hope, because they have a deep concern for this world, for ecological sustainability for you know, for leveling out the disparate disparate levels of rich and poor, for, you know, for greening the earth for gender inclusiveness, you know, young people want a collective goodness, you know, they want an Earth where they belong.

RICK: That’s great. I was I heard you were writing a book called Christianity as a planetary religion. Did you finish that book?

ILIA: No, but that’s a great title. But you’re working on a book? I’m always working on something. No, well, I so I have been writing short things, blogs, for example, on my website, on Tayyar his idea of a new religion of the earth, that is words, that we we must move beyond the kind of the confines and what has kept us bound and held back, you know, sometimes institutional religions. And certainly from a Christian perspective, which Christianity being incarnational, like God mattering, really, if I were to put it in contemporary terms, a new religion of the earth. And therefore, I do think Christianity, if it could remake itself, you know, if it could really find a whole new zest and energy around this core doctrine of God mattering, you know, God becoming flesh and matter mattering to, you know, to absolute mystery, could be a planetary religion, and but it would take a whole reordering of things. But yeah, I

RICK: saw my planetary you don’t mean it’s supposed to dominate the planet and user other religions, you mean more kind of Earth centric or eco centric religion?

ILIA: Yeah. Yeah, we can’t, we can’t think out of while the wisdom traditions of the past the, you know, the, the religions of the past are great wisdom traditions, and we want to keep those traditions so that, that wisdom from the past at the same time, I think we need to begin to create something new for the future. And in some ways, you know, these religions of the past have remained a bit tribal, you know, this is my faith, it’s not yours, you know, I go to this church, you go to that temple, I met this mosque, you know, and so it’s, it’s good, but not good. And I think we maybe we can keep those in at the same time, we need to create a new type of religious sensibility, which will be post institutional, and it might take on different forms of ritual, different ways of gathering us community, different mythic symbols. You know, religion itself is an emergent, it’s an emergent aspect of biological life, if we follow from the pre axial period into the axial into the post axial periods, you know, so we’re still in evolution, we haven’t stopped, we’re evolving. And so we’ll be legend. And

RICK: most, most of the people I talked to, I’d say, have the attitude that they respect all the different religious and spiritual traditions, and they, I don’t think I’m just speaking generally, but I don’t think they think that they’re, you know, is a Christian God and the Hindu god and a Muslim God and all that stuff. There’s God and these different religions have been founded by mystics who experienced God and who spoke about their experience and and then you know, the religion was formed in a particular cultural milieu and and then of course, it degenerated and warfare and you know, fighting took place, but you know, most of the people I speak with I think, feel like there’s only sort of one ultimate reality and people it was a great line by the incredible string and light light that is one of the lamps be many. And you know, I I always take it beyond the Earth. I mean, as my desktop picture is changing every five or 10 seconds, I have pictures of galaxies and from Hubble Space Telescope and stuff. I just think that there must be trillions of inhabited planets throughout the universe with each one of them probably having half 1000s of religions, most of them thinking they were the only one and you know that it’s just the vast universe and God permeates and probably exceeds it and you know, people just beings just approach God in different ways. But there’s only one ultimate truth or reality.

ILIA: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think, you know, I think that’s what I see us moving into in the 21st century. In other words, in the past, these various religious traditions, had, you know, held strong defense walls around them out, you know, great. Okay, so it the question is, how do you how do you find holy mystery in your life? You know, and it can be through this tradition, or that tradition? I think our emphasis may be displayed, you know, it’s not so much what tradition or what religion are you? It’s maybe what pack brings you into this heart of life itself into absolute being into holy mystery. So many paths, as you say, one, one, not one heart of mystery, you know, the heart with many, many different vessels to it. As for us for religion, extending me on this planet? Absolutely. I mean, first of all, but if we think we’re it, I mean, we’re in the room, obviously, what a boring God building.

RICK: Yeah, really talking about specializing in a teeny tiny area where you have a vast canvas.

ILIA: Oh, my God, Julie, you know, what were you thinking? But I do think, yeah, I do think for sure, we will eventually discover other forms of intelligent life, if not already.

RICK: That was one of the main headlines that report to the Congress about the unidentified flying objects. And, you know, they just say, okay, they could be this, they could be that or Category Five. Other. We don’t know what they are. But yeah, so I think the Space Brothers are here,

ILIA: that for sure. I’m, I’m actually on a project on Astro theology. Ah, you know, in other words, yeah, sounds interesting.

RICK: Tell us about that. Yeah,

ILIA: well, you know, like, you know, how do we perceive the extension of religion and theological doctrine beyond Earth? And certainly, I don’t think it’s limited, I never did think it was limited to Earth. I think wherever there’s intelligent life, there will be the search for ultimate intelligence or ultimate life, there’ll be religion, in other words, and therefore, they may express their religious beliefs in very, very different ways than us, you know, just says, I do think another form of intelligent life will have a very different language from us, and definitely different parents from us. But um, that too, is an expression of God’s wisdom, and goodness, you know, so so we have reduced Gods some times to our image, when in fact, a God of infinite fecundity of infinite love will have the richest diversity of life. So, life and other planets, for sure, I think we will definitely, probably max out terrestrial life, we will have probably space travel, you know, within another. I don’t know, once we get the electric cars going, we’ll have electric electric spaceships. Yeah, I could see us, you know, and maybe it’ll be a humbling experience for us. That’s what I think

RICK: that we could use a bit of that. I think actually, that, you know, the more advanced forms of these religions or spiritual traditions on other planets, would sound very much like the most advanced forms of ours, because, you know, just as we and they would both have gravity we in they would both have photons and all the other, you know, physical phenomena. I think that the reality which religion points to is the same on Alpha Centauri, or in the Andromeda galaxy as it is here. And so when people get right down to the experience of that there will be kind of an agreement on it.

ILIA: Yeah, I do. You know, I teach a class on science and religion to my undergraduates in our last class was on extro, EXO theology or extraterrestrial, life and religion. And I don’t think many people are aware, but the Vatican runs one of the largest observatories, and has been deeply involved in these searches for extra I heard about that. That’s cool. It’s manned by a Jesuit by the Jesuits. A lot of Jesuit astronomers are involved in that

RICK: so so they’re making amends for burning what that guy Bruno at the stake for suggesting that the stars might be other suns. Exactly. In two weeks, I’m going to interview a guy named Steven C. Meyer. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but he’s written a book called The Return of The God hypothesis, and I’m seven chapters into it. And so far, it’s fascinating. And basically, it’s an argument for intelligent design, which I had always kind of dismissed, as, you know, I guess I had gotten infected by the materialistic bias, that intelligent design is pseudoscience. And it’s just some kind of a trick that fundamentalists are trying to use to get the Bible into the schools or whatever. But it’s really what we’re talking about here. I think, do you have any? What do you think about that term?

ILIA: I? Yeah. I mean, it depends how the term intelligent design is used. But I think we would have to admit that science cannot really, ultimately give us the full explanation of life, that there is just, again, just reflecting on our own existence, after you know, a very, very, very long amount of time in this cosmic universe. It does really suggest that there is, there is a divine force or guide or God, you know, that is somehow lorring and guiding this process of life toward the fullness of life. You might call that a sign. I mean, I don’t think that God, you know, just comes in alters all the fundamental forces of the universe, like, you know, tweaks them and, you know, pushes them around and stuff.

RICK: No, I don’t either. And that so far, I haven’t heard him talking that way. It seems to be more subtle.

ILIA: Yeah. So maybe a more subtle argument to intelligent design, I might find quite interesting, you know, and I wouldn’t entirely dispel it, I would want to qualify because that term intelligent design has been loaded up, and as you said, deeply tied to this kind of evangelicalism and literal, literal reading of Scripture, which has been unhelpful and unhealthy. So I’d want to kind of detach, detach it from that and reconsider it, you know, as Yeah, as the wisdom, as you might say, Divine Wisdom operating, you know, at work in guiding the processes of life towards the more pneus of life.

RICK: Yeah, we’ll see how it goes. As you know, I have the conversation with him, but I don’t think it will. I mean, I think there could be an understanding of intelligent design that wouldn’t refute Darwin, for instance, just the way Einsteinian physics doesn’t refute Newton, it just sort of relegates it to a more of a special case, or puts it in a little bit of a more limited context, it applies to say, to certain things in a certain way, but there’s a bigger picture of which that is now a subset.

ILIA: Yes, I mean, you know, Darwinian evolutionary biologists would say, well, we don’t need the talk of an intelligent designer, because nature has its own laws. Nature is lawful. But I think what we’re saying is even those laws of nature, Where’d they come from? Exactly. So, you know, that is always the question, you know, so great. So nature can explain, we can explain nature? Can we explain nature by nature alone? You know, fully, that that would be the question.

RICK: Yeah. That’s why should there be any ordinary loss? I mean, why, why? There’s a great quote from Brian Swimme. He said, You leave hydrogen alone for 13 point 8 billion, billion years, and you end up with rose bushes, giraffes and opera, you know, so why did all this come out of, you know, a soup of hydrogen?

ILIA: And truthfully, the laws of nature are nuts. I mean, what we think of law is, you know, guiding principles, you know, think of the way nature works, say, by chaos theory, by you know, complex systems by cybernetics. So, so, you know, Nate a lot of nature works like in non equilibrium states, it’s working always in this flux and flow of, you know, shared information. And so, there’s a dynamic activity undergirding nature, and I think of that dynamic activity undergirding nature, as maybe what we call divine wisdom or the presence of God. Yeah. In that flux and flow.

RICK: Okay, so we have about 15 minutes left, I always like to pause at this point, just to sort of check to, you know, scan what we’ve done so far. Give you a moment to think of what we should cover that we haven’t covered. I mean, some things that are near and dear to your heart that we really just haven’t talked about enough.

ILIA: Um, we might talk about the primacy of love. Okay. A little bit more. She’s that was really at the heart of tears vision, that the core energy of the universe is love. And that’s defined

RICK: love. I mean, everyone has a conception of it, and experience of it, but what does he mean? And it sounds like it’s kind of a cosmic type of love we’re talking about.

ILIA: Yeah. And he said, you know, at one point, he said, the physical structure of the universe is love, meaning that there’s a force there is an irresistible and unyielding force of attraction in all levels of cosmic life. Um, now that’s really interesting. It’s true, you know, from the, from the very beginning where hydrogen, helium, you know, like burst on the scene, there’s this attractive force. Of course, we know the four forces are strong force weak forces, I think. So what are these forces of attraction, you know, entired was say there’s something in this energy, this, this energy of what he calls love energy, that’s the term he uses attractive force of love energy that yields elements to elements, isolated elements, giving up their isolated existence to form something more complex in terms of beingness. And therefore, you can trace that love energy right up into us, right, humans are constantly falling in and out of love, means that we’re drawn to something, you know, there’s an attractive energy force at the heart of our lives. And therefore, I think, you know, that allows him to, you know, to say that, you know, God is that love that that force energy, that omega center, that principle of attraction within us. And so, whether we like it or not, you know, we humans are just not static beings were drawn to otherness we’re relational beings through and through. And so I think we have to, I think, you know, begin to deal with our deep relational existence. And that’s where love becomes the primary energy of relational existence.

RICK: So it’s kind of hard saying that, like, the same force, which causes nebulised, to, you know, congeal and become stars, is reflected in human life as love of another person or love of your cat or something like that. That’s a very same force just kind of functioning at a different scale.

ILIA: Yeah, exactly. And that’s what he does, he traces this force of love through the various scales of biological life, right into humans. So yeah, so the energy of love, in tears, you is our core energy. And out of the if we in his view, we have to reclaim that core energy. If we are to, he might say, anticipate fullness of life up ahead, or more life more beingness

RICK: when people say God is love, and so maybe we’re kind of back where we started from today, which is, you know, that God exists at our core, and therefore love, because God is love exists at our core. And yeah, it’s the sort of ultimate reality of the universe, which is the, the guiding force of everything from the macrocosm to the microcosm, from galaxies to atoms.

ILIA: Exactly. That’s exactly right. And therefore, you know, a tear, you know, basically, it’s put it this way, when we fall out of love, life becomes silent, right, it stagnates. It’s, you know, there’s something deeply disconnected. And we’re not happy with ourselves. Life lives best when it lives in love, you know, we are we are created for that deep relational, shared beingness of life. And therefore, God is always that, you know, that energy of love within us, but also before us, God is always more, you know, God is absolute love, the fullness of love, the infinite mystery of love. So even in love, even if you’ve been married for 50 years, you know, that love is never exhausted, you know, you don’t just say, Oh, God, you know, you again. You know, I say that, but but even underneath that, there’s a deep, you know, when love is alive, it keeps drawing people together, you know, even into that future of old age. And most old people, you know, even if they’ve had many difficult marriages, at the end, they’re sharing the same denture jar, you know,

RICK: oh, boy, something to look forward to.

ILIA: Yes, they know when the other is in the next room or not, because that’s what love does. Love knows in a deeper way. And that’s what Tara is saying that love energy is not only the force of attraction, that keeps moving life and evolving life towards more being in life. But that love is the highest knowledge, you know, and therefore, when we live in that fullness of love, we live in the highest knowledge, the knowing of, you know, what we are, what we are, what we’re created for, and what we’re what we’re destined for,

RICK: yeah, a lot of people who have near death experiences come back and say, you know, the most important thing is how much you’ve loved, you know?

ILIA: Exactly. That’s right. You know, like St. John of the Christ said, in the evening of life. We shall be judged on love alone. Like the sum of our lives, everything about them the choices we made the relationships before warmed or unformed, everything will be measured by love. I do think what we call resurrection in the Christian tradition is a measurement of our love, we, we are raised up and remembered to the, to the extent that we have loved in this life. And to the extent we have failed in love than we are, in a sense, you know, I’m gonna say forgotten, but not remember,

RICK: what comes to my mind is just the essential importance of continually contacting and recontacting. That inner reservoir that we’ve talked about. And if if you continue to keep that pipeline flowing, and you know that inner potentiality, gushing forth into your more manifest life, then, you know, then love stays alive. Exactly, in all its forms.

ILIA: That’s exactly right. Raking word love is alive, God is life. And so, you know, even to the difficulties of our lives in the sufferings of our lives, you know, there’s a saying, where there is no love, put love, and you will find love, that love is the deepest reality, you know, people who have, you know, wronged us who have, you know, who have injured us, and that’s the hardest thing right to forgive. Forgiveness is not making what took place in the past, right? Again, it’s over, you know, the only thing we can do is love and, and, you know, and, and put love to find love in a new way for a new future. The only thing we really have our only true reality is the future. And so terror, we say we must rest on that future. And we rescue the future by by seeking to live ever more deeply in that heart of love. So, you know, I do think that love is our is our truest reality. I think that living from a wellspring of love and making love may be the lens through which we see all of life, including all our knowledge, you know, even even if we were to talk about technology, do we develop technology with an aim to a loving world? You know, do we do our politics with an aim towards love? Do we recreate economics with an aim towards love? What were our world look like? If we actually lived out the fullest reality of love, which is our, According to Taylor, the fundamental force of the universe itself?

RICK: Those are good questions. And you’ve alluded to economic inequity several times today. So I mean, that might be an example. If, you know, some, some people have billions of dollars and even hundreds of billions. And you know, but, you know, a handful of people in the United States have more wealth than the bottom 75% or whatever, whatever the thing is, and all these people are living in poverty and struggling and miserable. There’s seems to me there’s a lack of love, and I don’t know exactly, and just trying to change economic policies, without somehow infusing more love into collective consciousness might be a losing battle.

ILIA: Well, you know, I think it’s an important battle to take up for the simple reason is not so much about having a not having truthfully, I think, while while I do believe in the equity of the equity of shared goods, the poor are not necessarily unhappy. That’s true. They can be happy in their own simplicity.

RICK: Places like Ladakh, you know, where people have very little and yet the the happiness index that they measure is very high.

ILIA: So, and conversely, there are many wealthy people who are unhappy, you know, they make pensions. And no matter how much stuff they have, and how much space they have, they have just existential unhappiness. So it’s anonibet stuff, per se. I think love is about a consciousness of shared being, that I do not live, just for myself alone, that I exist for another, and I am oriented toward another. It’s a consciousness that my life can only be really completed in relationship to your life, where love them becomes the core binding energy of completion, that you know, to choose to arts language union, differentiates, the more I am in union with another, the more I am truly myself, because it’s the core of myself. That’s the basis of Union. In other words, each of us has a particular flavor, a particular color to add to this mosaic of stained glass window universe. And it’s only when our light is held any relationship to another light. My light of a blue held to your light of yellow, makes a beautiful contrast and therefore there’s a richness precisely in the in the conflict. wins in the Union and the shared lightness of our beingness. And that’s a receiving by love. So so this so I’m how many times we have so many charities and stuff. And we can’t get out of the rat we’re in because we’re, we’re operating from the wrong principles. It’s not like, oh, I give so much money to charity, and I’m helping the poor, you’re not you’re not really doing anything. I mean, really, what it’s about is shifting the perspective of our awareness of being itself, to know that I do not exist as a self contained entity, I exist out of the, the the loving giftedness of matter itself. I exist from the from the womb of Mother Earth, you might say, and therefore love, as my deepest reality means I share it to share my being with the beingness of the trees and leaves, and the stars in the sky is just in love. It’s only when we have a consciousness of shared beingness, that love will truly nourish our lives in a

RICK: fuller way. Brother Sun, Sister Moon.

ILIA: That’s correct. Francis of Assisi did have that consciousness that, you know, the sun in the moon, where we laid it, he was related to them. And they to him, they were a community, a family that shared beingness. And so Francis had a saying he spoke a lot about love, love being for him, the goodness of God, overflowing goodness of God in all aspects of life. I think he’s the one he’s the one who said the love of Him who loved us is greatly to be loved. The love of what the one who loves us is greatly to be loved. And I think that is what we that’s really I think the purpose of our life, our lives are to live in that fullness of love, in all the various aspects of life we are in. And we have yet to learn what that means for us.

RICK: Yeah, let me just give you an exercise in imagination to end on. Imagine that, you know, every body in the world or 99% of the people in the world, we’re living in a state of consciousness, such as St. Francis or, you know, the Buddha or, you know, all the great seers and beings of throughout history, let’s say that was the norm. What do you think the world would look like? What would our political systems if we still had them our economic situation, our educational systems? And what? What would the world be like? What would it be like to live in such a world?

ILIA: You know, first? I mean, it’s a great question. So the first thing I just want to say is to live in love does not mean you have you don’t have a bad hair day, you will, you’ll get angry. Right? So that’s

RICK: such an enlightened world, would there be people getting angry?

ILIA: Absolutely. Because human and we’re limited, but it’s what we would do with that anger, it’s how we might move beyond that anger, or that, you know, feeling of resentment or whatever that is that grips us in that moment. In other words, the priority of love would, you know, we will be called back into what really, we’re about. And if I think of someone like Francis of Assisi, he definitely got upset with the brothers believe me, you know, he definitely, you know, he would say, like, Stop, you know, stop, stop following me around, I hear we get annoyed with them, but then he would have some remorse, he would feel bad, you know. And so living in it with a consciousness of love, gives us a new awareness that, you know, that brother or sister to whom I just spoke against, or just yelled at, you know, I have injured that person, and therefore, you know, we need to find a way to resolve that injury. But I do think your question of what would a world of love look like in terms of economics? In terms of politics? I think we would look at shared economics for one thing, I’m not, no may not be a bartering system. I’m not saying to do with capitalism, per se. But it may be a different way of the way money flows or how we might develop Bitcoin or, you know, digital currency, to get beyond things that might democratize, you know, economics. In a way, I think we would certainly have a greater awareness of where the poor live, who are the poor in our midst? How do we share what we have with those who do not have

RICK: that say that if everybody in the world live the way Americans do, we need six planets to support them? So there’s a problem there.

ILIA: There is a problem, our ecological footprint is entirely too large, and it’s unsustainable. And that’s that that statement is actually from a group of scientists who who develop the ecological footprint. So we cannot we cannot sustain this North American footprint indefinitely, it will, it will come to haunt us and we will, we will have profound suffering because As if it were already undergoing massive destruction, glaciers melting, species extinction, vast forest fires, you know, changes in weather patterns. And so, you know, to maybe, to live with a new consciousness of love, love as our deepest reality in all aspects of our lives could lead to the health of the planet. And you know, something I gave this as a final question to my undergraduate students. I can’t remember exactly how I framed the question. But it was about 10 yards notion of the primacy of love. They all answered it with an affirmative, this is the world we want. This is the world we want to work for. Love Speaks to every single person no matter what their economic status, their religion, their culture, their language, their disability. Every person has a human heart, and every heart seeks to love and to be loved. That is our core reality. If we can begin to live out of that core reality, we can have a very different world, a world of life, a world that could actually celebrate life.

RICK: Let’s do it. First, well, that’s a good note to end on. So thanks, this was great. I knew it would be a great conversation, and you’re such a fun person to talk to. I’ve really enjoyed it. And I really enjoyed all the hours of preparation that I spent this week. It’s, it’s really, it’s very enriching.

ILIA: Thanks. Good to be with you. Yeah.

RICK: And thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. If some of you are new to this, visit the website that kept calm and explore the menus. And if you’re an old timer, and check the upcoming interviews page, you’ll see who we have upcoming next week is a young woman who is a beautiful poet and it just kind of started coming to her she wasn’t into poetry or anything all these Rumi like Parliament started coming to her and she’s, she’s gained quite a reputation Chelan Harkin as her name and the week after that is the Intelligent Design guy I mentioned Stephen Meyer and so on and so forth. They keep rolling on there’s so many fascinating people to talk to. So thanks a lot and really appreciate getting to know you.

ILIA: Thanks for really appreciate being here and finding love blessings on your work.

RICK: Yes. And on yours. Keep it up keep writing more books. Thank you just getting started. Going and cure als do while you’re at it. Thanks, everybody. See you next time. Bye bye.