392. Healing the Collective & Awakening to Unity w/ Charles Eisenstein

Charles Eisenstein

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

The world is in a bad way and it’s not getting better. Charles Eisenstein has undergone a radical awakening and has some insights into how things have flown so far off course.

Charles Eisenstein is an essayist, speaker, and the author of several books including The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

The world is in a bad way. I don’t care what your political beliefs are, it’s hard to look around and deny that something is going wrong – that it has been for a while.

Charles Eisenstein has undergone a radical awakening in his life. The truths he was opened up to have proven to be so profound that he’s spent much of his life, since, trying to disseminate them to the rest of the world. At the core of it, is the idea that the systems that make up our society all have a deep, shared flaw that’s permeated every aspect of modern civilization.

We question the need for progress through control, how political paradigms have shifted into polar opposites, and finding strength in letting go and admitting when you’re wrong. It’s a powerful and enlightening conversation that I certainly needed. Enjoy.

00:41 — What COVID Has Taught the World 

  • Letting go of being right 
  • Ego gratification and self righteousness 
  • The realistic formula for change 
  • Letting go of your beliefs
  • The space between stories
  • The world of duality and playing our roles 
  • Imposing “suffering for the good” as a license to do evil
  • Choosing between punishment and healing 

38:55 — The Division of our Society

  • Disagreeing with and forgiving without enabling or cosigning evil behavior
  • Showing micro-compassion
  • Humor as a way of disarming rudeness
  • Following your heart’s GPS

55:51 — The Shifting Political Climate

  • How liberals and conservatives flipped belief structures
  • Science vs. religion
  • The gradual co-opting of science by authoritarianism
  • Science as the orthodoxy of our time

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

[00:00:00] Luke Storey: I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology. The Life Stylist podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you. Charles, welcome to the show.

[00:00:27] Charles Eisenstein: Thanks, Luke. Good to be here.

[00:00:28] Luke Storey: Yeah, I'm so glad you rolled through town, and I got wind of it, and was able to track you down. You're someone I've wanted to have a conversation with for a while. And as I was telling you before we recorded, I'm just like, ah, I guess I'm going to wait until it's not a Zoom, and then magically, you appeared. I want to start by asking you what is the most—the world is in such a strange transition right now, and I think from one perspective, people could say we're in a really bad way, others could say we're in an awakening about which we don't know the outcome yet, but ultimately, good will prevail. To you, what's the most exciting and amazing thing in your life right now?

[00:01:09] Charles Eisenstein: Oh, I have the feeling of a lot of new horizons opening and the shifting of my tribe through this process that we're calling COVID, there's been a lot of rearrangement. People who I had thought of as deep allies have taken a different path and I've learned, I think, one thing maybe, I would say we've learned who is brave, and who is reliable, and who is willing to change.

[00:01:48] One of the most important character qualities that I've come to appreciate and to cultivate it myself is the willingness to be wrong, and to accept that, and to not hold so tightly onto a story and narrative in which the hero, in which I've been right all along, in which I'm going to be vindicated, that's all kind of a domination mentality that it's been very freeing to, I can't say I've totally let go of it, but to let go of it a bit. And I think that maybe one thing to answer your question that gives me a lot of hope and optimism is that I'm starting to see signs on a collective level. Even at the same time as there's a lot of doubling down on old stories, I feel like they're loosening their grip, and that gives me a lot of excitement and hope for the future.

[00:02:49] Luke Storey: Yeah, it's really interesting to see, as all of these changes have taken place, that sort of addiction or attachment to positionally, right? And because we're dealing with so many things that seem to just, I mean, literally threaten one's life, right? And so, you have people just kind of push to the edges of their base instincts, and within that rigid perspective of who's right and who's wrong, and that sort of ego gratification of self-righteousness, I mean, I see a lot of that, but as you said also, I think there's a lot of moderate people that maybe weren't involved in some of these difficult conversations that are sort of being brought to the table because of the necessity of their contribution or lack thereof.

[00:03:38] Charles Eisenstein: And I think it's also really important to hold that for each other rather than seeing each other, especially people on the other side, as so set in their beliefs that they're never going to change and to cast them as the enemy who have to be overcome and defeated in order for change to happen. I don't think that that is even a realistic formula for change.

[00:04:05] I think that change is going to happen not as a victory over the other side, but because many in the other side defect, because in fact, they were never as ideologically committed as we might have thought they were. And why did we think they were? Well, it actually is validating to yourself to hold the other side as these irreconcilable enemies. So, there's a lot of psychology in here that is coming up through the conflictual social political environment that we're in, a huge opportunity for learning about ourselves.

[00:04:54] Luke Storey: Yeah, I guess if we're willing to do so. What about the kind of phenomenon that I see so much outside of like the victim-perpetrator narrative in us versus them, but just this massive large scale cognitive dissonance that people are experiencing. I think so many people are realizing, oh, wow, this system in which we live as a human species is broken, and there's so much deceit and corruption within that system, specifically kind of from the top of the pyramid of the system trickling down.

[00:05:33] And as long as we had our job, and our family, and our food, and everything was kind of covered, we didn't have to question it. And now that many people have been given the opportunity to question it, there's also a large sect of people that are sort of covering their eyes and ears and saying, no, it can't be so, and kind of toeing the party line and just adamantly siding with the state and unable to acknowledge that there are, in fact, nefarious characters at some of the highest levels of our cultures and there's just this incredible denial in that. 

[00:06:13] Charles Eisenstein: So, yeah, for one thing, it's really hard to let go of a belief, especially when it's not some disembodied, abstract intellectual belief, but it involves your own identity. And beliefs about the world, how the world works, usually involve yourself because you play a role in that world. And who you are is defined in relation to the system. So, when your view of the system begins to disintegrate, when contradictions appear more and more undeniably, it's a crisis in identity, and therefore a threat, a threat to the ego's construction of itself. I recently read about how like when your life is threatened, like say I had a gun to your head, the part of the amygdala that responds is exactly the same as when I assault one of your beliefs.

[00:07:21] Luke Storey: Oh, wow.

[00:07:22] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, it's taken at that level of threat. And I think we have to understand that and not be contemptuous of people who are clinging to their beliefs, but we have to understand like this is a huge challenge that a lot of people are facing now. And so, the question then is how do we make that easier for people to go through the process of cognitive dissonance and release and stepping into the I don't know, because that's the way station in between the old story and the new story?

[00:07:58] Luke Storey: The I don't know, that's good.

[00:08:00] Charles Eisenstein: It's the space between stories, where you have to be comfortable with not having the answers to the questions that the old story answered, such as, what's real? How does the world work? What's important? Who am I? What's the purpose of life? Like to be in between stories, you don't know who you are, you don't know what's real, you don't know how to do this thing called life. And it's a very tender and sacred place to be, and I think that we can actually encourage change to happen faster by holding a gracious, gentle, and generous space for people to move through that process.

[00:08:50] Luke Storey: Wow. I like that. Yeah, the way station. I think that that spot is informed by humility and open-mindedness, right? I mean, to me, that's kind of the gateway of personal, and interpersonal, and even change on a larger scale is that, hey, this is what I think and this is what I believe to be true. I know that I have an awareness that I'm deeply identified with this position, but there's a willingness to surrender the positionality and to have the courage to weather the perceived storm of being wrong, right?

[00:09:30] Luke, yesterday, you said that X, Y, Z was true, and now, you're flip-flopping. There's that whole thing. They're flip-flopping, you can't trust them. I mean, I love people that flip-flop, right? I mean, not out of integrity, but someone who has a point of view that's firmly held, and says, wow, you know what, I have to admit, there was another way to look at this. It's so healthy. I mean, just saying it feels good in my nervous system, to just like let go of that clinging to what I think is right and what I think is a representation of who and what I am versus just an idea. 

[00:10:02] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah. And just in case anyone thinks I'm being preachy, like it's not that me, and my side, and our side, we've arrived at the truth and other people still have to go through this process of letting go. Okay. I don't care who you are, the nature of our times, the initiatory moment that we are in will offer every single person an opportunity to go through this in one way or another. And maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit for rhetorical effect, but the offering is that there's something that you held dear that may not be true or may be true no longer.

[00:10:50] And what does true mean? Partly, it's a state of being that because of the story that we live in co-resonates with a state of human beingness, and as we grow and fulfill that story and that state of being, then the story that contains our growth becomes confining and we want to break free. And often, the breakout, at first, it's like it's just another version of the same thing, because you haven't actually gotten to that point of total surrender, the total I don't know. It doesn't have to be like every aspect of life, I don't know, but there's something that was held dear, something that was part of who you were. And that's why I think that these times are initiatory. And so, like if you don't mind, I don't want to dominate the conversation too much.

[00:11:54] Luke Storey: No, you're supposed to dominate the conversation, and please do, because otherwise, I will, and afterward, I'll be like, Luke, shut up, you talk too much. So, no, please, I love to listen to you talk.

[00:12:04] Charles Eisenstein: Okay. There's just a lot of my mind these days.

[00:12:06] Luke Storey: And right, I mean, I think people that are aware of your work and those that weren't are going to be after this conversation. But no, I mean, when you rap, bro, like I dig it, so please. 

[00:12:16] Charles Eisenstein: Okay. Thank you. Yeah. So, one of the things that struck me as you were talking, so like the cognitive dissonance of seeing that there are nefarious characters at the apex of the power structure administering a system that is not to our benefit, and that is an awakening and it can also be a return to the comfort zone of a deeper story, which is the fundamental pattern of diagnosis of, if there's evil in the world, it's caused by a perpetrator caused by a pathogen. 

[00:13:01] Like that's the basic diagnosis, and the solution then is if you get rid of the pathogen, if you get rid of those horrible people in the power structure, the problem is solved. And it can be a bewildering revelation to encounter people in the power structure and experience them as not particularly evil at all. But as avatars of a system of an ideology that prescribes their roles and has them do things that cause a lot of evil, even if they have no consciousness of malice.

[00:13:42] So, I think if people like Bill Gates in that regard, and I'm not saying like he's a good guy necessarily, but like I could see how somebody who is fully immersed in the ideology of control and technology, and the ideology that human advancement means that we apply technology to more and more areas of life that we datafy, quantify, track, and control everything rationally, administer it so that we can maximize the good of all. And who's in charge of this? Well, the good guys are. I am. And so, I can imagine Bill Gates having the consciousness of wanting to serve humanity, and the way to do it-

[00:14:41] Luke Storey: This is good. This is good. You're stretching my capacity for greater understanding.

[00:14:46] Charles Eisenstein: The way you do it is to control everything.

[00:14:49] Luke Storey: Including the population.

[00:14:50] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah. Like maybe there's people out there who are going to commit some crimes, but we can anticipate that. We could have implants in everybody that would measure the stress hormones that precede violence. And there could be like a kill switch. I mean, maybe not kill them, but incapacitate them. Like why wouldn't that be good? And okay, yeah, it could be abused, but luckily, we good guys, we smart guys, we rational guys, usually, it's guys, are in power. 

[00:15:24] And so, we're not going to let that happen. We're only going to use it for the good. And part of the good is protecting our power from those who would usurp it, who may not be good, so we have to control the opposition who are poisoning the body politic with fake information, fake news, disinformation. So, like this mentality of power can exist without anybody malicious at the top. Now, there could also be highly psychopathic individuals in the power structure, even at the top.

[00:16:00] I'm not saying that that's not possible, but in my understanding, it's not necessary to explain things. And then, so I go to the deeper pattern of diagnosis, and I see a parallel between the diagnosis of evil in the world being a diabolical cabal and the diagnosis of the decline of health being a pathogen or a bunch of pathogens. There was a comfort, almost a relief when COVID hit, because here, we have an entire generation that's getting sicker and sicker, whether you talk about autoimmunity, addiction, depression, like all of these chronic conditions, allergies just at levels many times what they were when I was a kid, but it's not going well and we don't know what to do about it.

[00:17:08] Like there's no pathogen. They would love to find the gene that causes X, the virus that causes Y, they would love that. Because why? Because we know what to do. There's something to fight, something to control. So, finally, COVID comes along, and this latent anxiety, and it's not just about health, okay, I mean, our society is degenerating in many ways ecologically, socially, politically, COVID comes along, and now, we can focus all of that latent anxiety and fear onto something that we can control through lockdowns, through distancing, et cetera, like all that stuff, masks, vaccines.

[00:17:58] It fits the old story. So, I just want to put a word in for a deep questioning of all of the dimensions of the story of progress through control, because I think that the real revolution here is not going to happen by hauling out the perpetrators, the psychopaths, the corrupt, and sending them to the guillotine. We've seen that story before. They're not the first. I mean, they're not the last to be guillotined. Nope.

[00:18:44] Luke Storey: Well, this brings me to, I mean, one of, I think, the major inquiries not only for myself, but for so many people, and it's sort of at the base of atheism in many ways. And that is, okay, if there is a benevolent, all intelligent, all loving creator or being, then how and why is there the existence of evil in the humans and entities that perpetrate this evil? And I've been able to zoom out from that pretty far at times, specifically in ceremony, and I've looked at someone like Bill Gates or people that I perceive to be these diabolical evil characters and gotten to the place where in a world of duality, they're playing their role perfectly, right?

[00:19:40] But then, coming out of that awareness and back into being this guy they call Luke Storey walking around and wanting to make a positive contribution to my own life and the lives of those I interface with, then comes back, yeah, but we still have to stop them. But there's just going to be another one, and another one, and another one until consciousness collectively is able to sort of rise above or supersede that duality. And without this duality, we don't really have the grist for the mill in Earth school to have contrast of choice.

[00:20:11] So, if I incarnate as this guy and I don't have something on the other end of the spectrum of the most diabolically evil political person in power versus the Dalai Lama, or whoever, Mother Teresa, at least people that we at least hold up to that. It's like, if I don't have options, then what am I doing here? There has to be the contrast of duality in order to have that human experience.

[00:20:36] So, that leaves me with kind of almost not like apathy in a sad, low energy way, but it's just like, I don't know, maybe I shouldn't try to change anything except myself. And then, that leads us back into kind of what I was alluding to before we recorded. I don't know that there's a question in there, but it's almost like the world is perfect just as it is, do your own work and just focus on getting along with your step mom. You know what I mean?

[00:21:01] It's like the kind of mass spiritual bypass of focusing on the externals, and wanting to change and get rid of all these characters that are just going to be replaced, versus what can I do interpersonally within myself to elevate consciousness and escape my own trap of duality, and good versus evil, and all that? There's totally not a question in there, but anything you want to grab in there, these are the things just I wake up going, huh, what do I do with this? Because it's all perfect, really. It's all the way it's supposed to be, yet I, for some reason, feel within me I need to change things.

[00:21:40] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah. Okay. So, first, this is not a question that can be resolved by principle. So, here's another basic solution template that we need to question, which is that in order to know what to do in life, you formulate a differentiating principle. So, like the principle of, okay, do the inner work first, or don't try to change the system, or it's all good, like we're looking for some kind of crutch.

[00:22:09] Luke Storey: Right. I want a definitive answer that this is the way you do it, that's not the way you do it, right?

[00:22:15] Charles Eisenstein: But in fact, you already know what to do. And the evolution of the collective organism of humanity and beyond, Gaia, it's actually even cosmic, you have a role in that, and the role is communicated to you mostly through the body, and through the heart, and through the blood that soaks up everything happening through the—how esoteric should I get here or how woo-woo should I get here?

[00:22:53] Luke Storey: All the way. Take it as far as you can.

[00:22:56] Charles Eisenstein: Okay. So, you know how water is a carrier of information?

[00:22:59] Luke Storey: Yeah.

[00:23:00] Charles Eisenstein: And the blood is especially sensitive to everything happening in the world. So, it is patterned by the ecological and psychic field of this planet. And moving through the heart, the heart is primarily a listening organ, not a pump. In fact, it isn't a pump at all. Like how could a pump push a viscous fluid through like miles of vessels? It's not a pump. It catches, and passes forward, and listens to the blood, and receives that information, translates it into passion, into care, into love.

[00:23:46] So, the signal from the coordinating power of the evolutionary process comes through the heart in the form of, what do you care about? And at one moment in your life, you may know that repairing the relationship with your mother in law is the best thing you could do for the planet, but you don't even frame it in those terms. Like you know what to do, because you are life, just like an animal knows what to do. Contacting that knowledge and the truth of what I said is a powerful awakening of that knowledge.

[00:24:36] So, that's like my preamble to this, you said, but these people have to be stopped, right? Yes, they have to be stopped, and sometimes, that signal of care will have you like put your body between the perpetrator and the victim. Like I'm not advocating any kind of withdrawal from engagement in the issues of our day. They have to be stopped as part of the change when that is what's calling to you. They don't have to be punished. When you slip it- 

[00:25:23] Luke Storey: That's the juice right there.

[00:25:25] Charles Eisenstein: Yes.

[00:25:26] Luke Storey: That's when, I think, the ego feels like, the change that it wants has transpired is that those people who are causing suffering suffer, right? It's the whole thing we saw in 2016, I hate these people that hate people, right? That mentality, right?

[00:25:43] Charles Eisenstein: Right.

[00:25:44] Luke Storey: I want to punish them because they've hurt people. It's this vicious cycle of the egoic victim-perpetrator model that just goes around and around in circles.

[00:25:53] Charles Eisenstein: Which is the template. The template of that is imposing suffering for the good.

[00:25:59] Luke Storey: Oh, right.

[00:26:01] Charles Eisenstein: And that is what dictators, tyrants have done for thousands of years. It's always justified, oh, but our justifications are good and theirs are bad. Well, oh, yeah? Like, yeah, we're on the side of good, so that gives us license to do evil, because we're in the side of good. It brings up my favorite quote, Philip K. Dick, "To fight the empire is to be infected with its derangement". This is a paradox. Whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the empire. It proliferates like a virus imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby, it becomes its enemies.

[00:26:50] Like you are actually part of the empire when you participate in the mentality of vengeance, of punishment, of imposing suffering for the good, because they deserve it. There will come a moment where you have to decide, and this could be in your personal realm, it could be in your social political engagement, there will come a moment where you have to choose between punishment and the healing. And you'll have to choose if it is necessary for the healing of society, if it is necessary for all of this to stop, that the perpetrators get off scot-free, do you accept that? They walk, and maybe they're never humiliated and you're never vindicated. But it changes, but it stops, are you willing to do that?

[00:27:45] Luke Storey: That's good.

[00:27:45] Charles Eisenstein: If you're not willing, that means you're serving something else besides healing on a subtle level. And the call to participate in the transformation that is before us requires absolute impeccable dedication to the aim of healing. If we want to experience that in our lifetimes, we have to put everything else on the altar and commit to that. And if you do that 90%, we'll live in a 90% healed world. If you do it even 1%, the world will still be much more beautiful in a generation than it is today. But we have an opportunity to give it 100%.

[00:28:34] Luke Storey: Well, this brings the contrast of power versus force, right? Because what you're describing to me is an unconditional love, an unconditional compassion, unconditional forgiveness for the totality of human expression, even as it expresses individually through these "enemies", right? And that energy field of love and forgiveness is infinitely more powerful than the biggest fit of rage that you could summon, right? I mean, anger has some power, right? Fear has power, courage as power, but nothing has power of love. I mean, this is where a mother lifts the car off the baby and this is where people are able to endure great suffering.

[00:29:23] And Viktor Frankl, to turn it around and help thousands of people with their message, right? It's like nothing beats that, right? That's the trump card, not to say the T word. I try not to say the word, Trump, on my show. I mean, the listeners, I don't think it triggered, but it's just a funny thing I always say. At least, I think it's funny. But I mean, this really is it. So, if the way to a more fulfilling, subjective experience is to universally and objectively just throw more love and compassion at this whole thing and understand that every perpetrator that I have vilified is truly doing what they believe to be right, and at one level, are inherently innocent.

[00:30:06] I mean, everyone's really innocent, because each person is doing what they believe to be right. But within that, I think you kind of alluded to this, where sometimes, love is like, no, stop, fuck you, that's also love, right? That's someone's victimizing someone that you care about, and that love expresses itself as a firm boundary. That's also still love.

[00:30:31] So, I think that's where I get kind of caught up, because I have a pretty easy time of forgiving all of these baddies, and just going, wow, I don't know the full picture. In 200 years, 500 years, we'll look back and go, ah, this George Soros was like the perfect thing we needed at this point in time, because look at the ball of thread that unraveled after that and here we are living in utopia, and that was a necessary linchpin of that great experience.

[00:30:59] Charles Eisenstein: So, as you were saying before, the perpetrators, whether they're talking about people, or ideologies, or systems, they give us an opportunity to love when it's hard.

[00:31:15] Luke Storey: Oh, yeah.

[00:31:16] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, they give us an opportunity to be brave. Otherwise, we would never really know who we are. We would never know ourselves to be capable of choosing love when our lives are threatened or our livelihoods are threatened. So, this process of revelation and growth requires what we're calling evil. And I generally agree that whatever, Bill Gates, George Soros, that they are very much products of their conditions, their subculture, their upbringing, and the reigning ideologies of modernity that are in a specially distilled form in the worlds of tech and power politics. And if I were in that totality of circumstances, I would very much, very likely do as they do.

[00:32:12] Luke Storey: Yeah, totally. 

[00:32:13] Charles Eisenstein: Right? That's forgiveness. Forgiveness is simply understanding. It's not an act of indulgence. It's not patronizing. It's not tolerant. It's not saying, oh, well, I would do better than you if I were in your circumstances, but I'm a nice guy, so I'm not going to hold it over you. That's not forgiveness. Forgiveness is the authentic understanding that, yeah, if that were me, I might do that, too. And how deep can you go into that?

[00:32:43] There was a case a number of years ago of a woman who drowned her five kids in the bathtub one after the other, each one knowing something was horribly wrong, waiting their turn. And like that's one of the ones that really got under my skin as a parent. I mean, unimaginable. And I really went like, what would it take for me to do that? What would it take for me to be in such deep despair, and despondency, and psychosis?

[00:33:17] What would have to happen to me? What would have to happen to me to act like the people that I demonize act? Can I go there? Because if I can't, if I say, well, they're just evil, that means I'm shying away from actually going there. And maybe I never will know exactly the reasons, but that's what forgiveness is. It comes as a result of trying to understand. And the marker that you do not fully understand is when you're in judgment.

[00:33:51] Judgment meaning they're just different, I wouldn't do that if I were them. So, all that said, there is also the phenomenon of a psychopath. But I think that psychopaths, true psychopaths are, A, misunderstood, and, B, much rarer than we think, that psychopathic tendencies are activated by the system. But like the real psychopaths are usually not in positions of top power, because one of the really underappreciated traits of psychopathy, there's a fantastic book, like original book on psychopathy by this guy, Cleckley, it's written in the '40s called The Mask of Sanity, and the ruthlessness and total lack of compassion is one of the axis that describes a psychopath.

[00:35:02] The other axis is impulsivity, like taking ridiculous risks for trivial rewards just to get a kick. Like that does not lend itself well to being in power. So, anyway, I don't want to go too far down the rabbit hole of psychopathy, but just to say like, yeah, sometimes, you just have to stop somebody from doing something. But to diagnose the whole system on that term is a trap. 

[00:35:40] And okay, maybe I'm wrong, but again, I can understand pretty much, and sometimes—okay, I was trying to say two things at once. I can understand pretty much everything that's happening without thinking that it's a consciously conspiring, diabolical cabal in charge. And that is disorienting, because then we don't know what to do. We know how to save the world if it is a diabolical cabal that can be removed.

[00:36:17] Luke Storey: Yeah, you just pick all the ticks off the dog.

[00:36:22] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, same solution as everything else, kill something. Same solution as weeds in the field, kill them. Same solution as terrorists, kill them. Kill, destroy, conquer, force the perimeter, like we're comfortable with that. But if the evil is systemic, if it enrolls each of us as participants in it, and if it can't be reduced to specific individuals, then what do you do? That is a pregnant question.

[00:37:01] And if you are able to step into that unknown, into that uncertainty, new powers will be born, and you are speaking of one of them, you called it the power of love. Tremendous creativity comes from being in reality, the reality of, if I were you, Mr. Soros, I might be doing the same as you're doing, so what is it like to be you? That's what compassion is, what is it like to be you? It's not, again, an indulgence. And maybe the result is, yeah, I'm going to fight you with every force-based tool at my disposal.

[00:37:42] That could be the conclusion, but it's not the predestined conclusion as it is when I see people as irredeemably evil. Seeing them that way, we're locked into war as the only way to change things. And so much of our discourse around, say, health freedom, it's framed in these war metaphors, which I'm not saying that it's never appropriate, but we have to open our palette to other colors to paint a picture of a more beautiful world.

[00:38:28] Luke Storey: I mean, it goes to the line of thinking that spending one's energy or collective energy on tearing down a system, right? So, we have this industrial pharmaceutical system, which, to me, at the present time, especially is a great threat to humankind in general. I mean, just to blanket the whole thing, I'm like, wow. So, we got to fire the CEO, put this one in prison, yada, yada, yada, right?

[00:38:54] Like that's kind of the immediate perceived gratification, versus the other idea of just, cool, you guys do your thing over here, we're going to build this other thing, and we're just busy constructively building this other thing and hoping that it kind of outgrows yours, right? It seems to me that that's probably the most effective way to do it. I'm using a really simplistic example of that, but that could also be interpersonally.

[00:39:20] Charles Eisenstein: So, again, like I think that's important, but again, I would say, you can't say that that is the solution as a principle, but a lot of people are called to that. And you can make the argument that that's the way to go, but then, again, like you create your beautiful parallel system, and then it gets crushed. So, there's also-

[00:39:43] Luke Storey: Right. Oh, man, there's no way out of this. One thing I want to touch on, I think, is really important, especially because we have so much division now. I mean, things have really gotten quite black and white at least in this country and I guess in many Western countries, you're with us or you're with them. I mean, there's not a lot of overlap. And this idea that when I look at someone with whom I vehemently disagree and judge that if I can project myself into their life experience, if I was born to their mother in that hospital with that missing or abusive father, and so on, and so on, and so on, that I would be making the exact same choices they are, right? 

[00:40:27] But it's difficult for me to get there because my experience was different, right? So, to find that compassion. But I think that's such a beautiful exercise and it sort of stops. So, I think what we discovered is, okay, yeah, so I'm there, but how is that not co-signing or sort of enabling them to perpetuate however that experience is manifesting that's negatively impacting so many other people. It's like, how do we forgive someone and still stop them?

[00:40:59] Charles Eisenstein: Well, one thing you can do is to introduce a new element into their circumstances. Every interaction you have with somebody changes their circumstances. So, you could take, say, like a very stingy, ungenerous person, and you give a gift to them that's important to them that disrupts their view of reality and human nature, that, yeah, everyone's in it for themselves, that we live in a world of scarcity, that it's not safe to give, and you provide a glaring exception to that. In the right moment and it gets under their skin, and that data point doesn't fit into their story, which means that it is an offering for them to let go of that story. Not a guarantee that they will, but it's an anomaly. And so, that's like just a little micro-example.

[00:42:01] Luke Storey: That's really good. That's really good. I do that on a good day. It's one of, I don't know where I pick this up, one of my teachers must have passed this along to me. But like you walk into the bank, and you're in a good mood, and you're just chilling, living your life, you got to go do the thing, transaction, and you go up to the counter, and the person is just hateful, just being super bitchy, super dicky.

[00:42:23] And of course, that—well, not of course, but at times, that impulse would be like, ah, meet them with that right. And I've made a practice not perfectly, obviously, but getting much better at this, it's just like actually sending that energy field of love to people, it's really easy to do when it's met with a smile, and that's what they're automatically giving you. But to just like love the anger out of someone in that situation and almost use it as a challenge to myself, like can I pattern-interrupt this person's negative experience of their life or of me interacting with them?

[00:43:01] Can I watch that transmutation happen? Can I be a willing participant in that micro experience of turning the energy around in an interaction? I love doing this, but not in a—because you could be like, oh, how are you? You could fake it right and be sort of, what's the word I'm looking for, like placating or kind of one-upping someone, because you're being more compassionate and they're lower on the totem pole of their spiritual evolution or whatever. No, but really, really doing it, and really loving on them, and seeing that grimace turn into a smile.

[00:43:36] And I mean, it's like, who knows what the ripple effect of that is, right? They go have a meeting with the manager, and that goes better, or their subordinate, or they get home, and pick their kids up from school, and they're just a little more compassionate, and that kid had a hard day, and so on, and so on, and so on. This ripple effect just of one-ten thousands of a second decision on my part to just go, go that way, just lean that way, just a hair. It's all it takes. And I think it's a beautiful way to live. It gives us something to work on continually, right?

[00:44:10] Charles Eisenstein: Yes.

[00:44:10] Luke Storey: Because it's never, oh, yeah, that thing. I read that in that spiritual book and I did that, I passed that stage. Well, no, you didn't, because you're still in a body, right? There's still going to be an opportunity to exert that level of unconditional compassion, empathy, love for the people with whom you interact.

[00:44:27] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, it's an orientation. I mean, most of these interactions will be micro-interactions. And I mean, you don't want to like say it's going to change someone's life, because I smiled at them in the checkout line, but the more that—like those micro-interactions are also practice for the more significant interactions.

[00:44:52] Luke Storey: Oh, right. Kind of building that muscle, so when it's a higher stakes exchange or interaction like familial, something like that, you're in a divorce now or separation of a business partnership, and how can you bring that-

[00:45:07] Charles Eisenstein: And the temptation to hold them in a story of, they're deplorable, they're horrible, is so strong.

[00:45:16] Luke Storey: Totally.

[00:45:17] Charles Eisenstein: And really, like it's a basic form of solidarity. It's like I refuse to see you as an enemy, and yeah, maybe circumstances have converged so that we are on opposite sides of something, but fundamentally, we're in this together in this drama of life. And I'm not going to forget that, and I'm constantly making peace offerings, constantly making invitations to step into that knowledge of solidarity, because our differences of opinion, even the ones that erupt into conflict, they are based on a delusion.

[00:46:02] Like all of the conflict that comes from the people on the other side are just horrible. That is all based on a lie. You have to paint people as horrible in order to go to war against them, and we see in our politics right now, both sides painting the other side as horrible. You get rid of that, okay, there's still might be differences of opinion, but this common agreement that the other side is horrible, that both sides share, disappears, and the disagreements are then so easy to resolve, because there's not this other agenda of winning.

[00:46:41] It's like, yeah, I will. So, this is solidarity that if you think that this planet is going to heal, that life is going to improve without solidarity, you're going to be disappointed, because this is the nature of the revolution right now. So, in some of these micro-interactions, it's hard to know like what to do in a situation where someone's just being really rude to you. 

[00:47:15] And maybe sometimes you can't reach them, but the orientation, you're always attuned to an opportunity, and that attunement becomes a habit. Like you're always looking for the right thing to say, and the willingness and desire to do that generates creativity and spontaneity, often taking the form of humor. Like when all else fails, the deepest common denominator we have is humor, because humor is an offering that it's an invitation to step outside of these roles and opinions that we take so seriously.

[00:47:54] And that's why humor is offensive to highly ideologically committed people. The stereotype of the feminist, that's not funny, or what's happening in politics a lot today. So, humor, actually, you have to actually accept the peace offering to laugh with somebody, because, really, what you're saying is it's not all that serious. And so, you step outside the Matrix through humor with someone. And so, that's like if I'm at the airport or in something like that, that's the offering that I like to make. I mean, yeah, I like to smile at people, be polite, be friendly, but sometimes, it's the humor that makes people feel not alone anymore.

[00:48:51] Luke Storey: Yeah, it's one of my other favorite things to do is to kind of break someone out of their social role by just pattern-interrupting, by saying something that I at least perceived to be funny. I mean, right, like airport is a great example, you're at the ticket counter, and every person's just like, here's the ID, and not necessarily being outgoing or friendly, and I love when someone's especially in a uniform, and I just ignore their whole uniform, and just like, what's up, dude?

[00:49:16] Like just talk to them like I would one of my friends or a normal person and have the same sort of lightness and sense of humor. And you can't always do it. There's a guy at the UPS store over here. I've been working on him for a good three months and, hi, sir, how are you? Oh, okay. What can I do for you today? He sounds like he's like on a TV commercial, but I'm standing there right with him. And I haven't gotten to him, but many others I have where I'm just like, hey, man, human right here, you're a human, I see you, you don't have to see me, but I see you, let's have some fun. Like just pattern-interrupt, break that rule. 

[00:49:49] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, it's an invitation. People can say no to the invitation and you have to be okay with that.

[00:49:51] Luke Storey: Yeah, I guess I'm not, because I'm still working on this one, but I'll get through to them or I won't.

[00:49:57] Charles Eisenstein: You won't. I mean, sometimes, like it's also a bit of boldness and holding that solidarity more important than maybe some image. Like one thing that just came to me is like, I'm at the juice bar at the airport, like there's a juice thing, and I'm like, yeah, don't put pineapple on that, please. Pineapple gives me hemorrhoids. Did you really want to know that? Maybe not. Never mind. I didn't say that. Like just something like that. Like it's pretty hard to pretend to be normal like when you talk about your swollen hemorrhoids. But yeah, it's like the creativity that—creativity comes from letting go.

[00:50:44] Luke Storey: Mm-hmm. And there's sort of, I don't know, you can just feel the ease in your nervous system when one stops taking themselves that seriously, the ability to kind of laugh at yourself without being false humility, or being self-deprecating, or coming from a shame place, but really just coming from, I mean, I guess it's just humility, right? It's like seeing yourself more realistically for who, and what you are, and where you are, and where you aren't, kind of taking some degree of ownership for the good parts about yourself and also acknowledging the things you need to work on.

[00:51:18] Because I used to view humility as like it was more of the false humility. Like you give me a compliment, I'm like, no, no, no, not me, I'm not that smart, or that talented, or whatever you're complimenting me for, but that's actually kind of not humility, because I'm not just acknowledging a truth, right? It's like not wanting to play too big or play too small. Playing small is also kind of a shadow ego thing, right?

[00:51:43] It's not humble to play small and not be in your full expression, but to be in your full expression at the expense of others or in a self-perceived way of being superior to others, then you lean into ego, but somewhere in the middle there is kind of just a loose, lighthearted, humorous way of being that is always kind of the place I'm wanting to stay as much as I can. It's kind of a center line of being on that beam of kind of wearing the world like a loose garment and not taking anything too serious, including and especially myself.

[00:52:17] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah. And I want to just add in one thing here. Another one of these like really deep patterns that it will be overturned in this revolution, don't take any of what we're saying as a new instruction set about how to be good. It's like, okay, now, I know how to be a good person, I'll walk this balance beam, I'll be compassionate, like that's not the reason we're doing this. 

[00:52:52] And really, if you excavate this being good, what it really means is being acceptable, what it really means is getting approval from the internalized parent and the internalized social group, and that craving to be a good person, really, is to see yourself as a good person, it's really what the craving is, and for others to see you as a good person, that comes from a deep seated self-rejection and history of conditional love that we get it from our parents along with the unconditional love.

[00:53:40] We get it from society. I mean, it's endemic in society. So, it comes from a wound. And to recognize that and to touch the part of you that doesn't need to be seen as a good person, but can trust yourself without that reward, shame, bludgeon that we think we have to use to keep ourselves on that balance beam. Without that, then who do you become? Can you actually trust yourself without this enforcer? It's kind of scary to step into that.

[00:54:23] Luke Storey: Well, it as you were talking about before with the heart rate, that the heart is this sole GPS system, you didn't use this term, but it informs the nervous system, and the blood, and the water in our blood that's carrying information, and I know that for myself, the closer I can get to following my heart, the further I from carrying if I'm fitting within some model of what's a good person. 

[00:54:50] Because even if I'm following my heart, and I believe that I was, and then I inadvertently offended someone, or hurt someone, or made a decision that maybe didn't get the outcome that I would have hoped it did, all I can really come back to is, well, I'm pretty sure I was following my heart and that can't be wrong. It's like that seems to be the way to avoid that perception of myself as perfect or imperfect, good, bad, right, wrong.

[00:55:19] Like there's no duality in the heart. It's just like, go in the heart, move forward, proceed. I mean, I was talking to my wife about this, this morning. She was feeling some guilt around a situation, and I remember the situation, and when it was about to happen, she's like, my heart's telling me to do this, this is what I'm guided to do, she did. And then, afterward, the intellect kind of came in and like, ah, I think you fucked up.

[00:55:44] And I was reminding her, no, no, no, remember? This was a heart-based decision, and you followed that, and we have to just trust that, ultimately, it was, for all intents and purposes, the right decision, right? And to absolve her of guilt, and that, no, actually, you did something really courageous and you followed the plan that was given to you by what you perceived to be your heart, by intuition, my source, your higher self, call it what you will, I think that's a really good way to live, because it falls outside of self-perfectionism, or spiritual pride, or any of that stuff, that baggage.

[00:56:22] And then, I guess when you make a mistake and it's revealed that you did, you amend that however you can. And maybe you thought you were listening to your heart, but there was something else speaking to you, and it might have got you off track for a minute. One thing I wanted to cover with you, let me check the time, because I know—it's 11:26 AM right now, you have until 12:00, you said?

[00:56:46] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, we can go for another 20 minutes, easy.

[00:56:49] Luke Storey: Okay. Perfect.

[00:56:50] Charles Eisenstein: yeah.

[00:56:50] Luke Storey: So, that'll kind of inform where I want to go with this, because I do want to ask you, there's one thing I definitely want to get to, but something that I'm just fascinated by is socially, and I guess sociopolitically, this reaction to the whole COVID situation, and really, even maybe before that when Donald Trump ran for president and was elected for president, this strange axis polar shift of liberal and conservative sort of mindset.

[00:57:29] And it goes into that cognitive dissonance as it pertains, I guess like the culmination of that is like the people that are really into the experimental gene therapy and the people that are really not into it, right? In growing up in the '70s with a mom who was really liberal, born and raised in Berkeley, I've always thought of myself as a peacenik liberal, like I don't like war, I like human rights, I accept all races, sexuality, do whatever you want, marry.

[00:58:01] You know what I mean? Like I have no desire in anyone controlling how someone's lived as long as they're not hurting other people basically, and also that the government should not intervene and trample the rights of people, whether under the guise of medical procedures or lack thereof, right? Now, the positions that I take, and I try to hold them loosely, as we've been discussing, maybe imperfectly, I think I'm like on the side of a right wing extremist or something.

[00:58:32] If you had to label me as something in today's climate and I see that what is labeled kind of left or liberal has become somehow aligned with the state in more totalitarian and authoritative authoritarian. It's just weird. I don't know what to make of it, and sometimes, just kind of step back, and look at social media and even mainstream media go, how did they manage to do this?

[00:59:00] How did this inversion happen and/or has it happened? Is it just me? What's your take on all of that, where you have like someone who would call themselves, refer to themselves as a liberal, who is saying, no, it's appropriate for the state and these pharmaceutical companies to tell you what to do with your body, and if you don't, you're a horrible person and you should die. It's like, how did we get here? How didit get flipped? And if so, who flipped it?

[00:59:30] Charles Eisenstein: Okay. There are many tributaries into that stream.

[00:59:33] Luke Storey: Yeah. And you're like, yeah, I've probably got 20 more minutes. I'm like, here, have a six-hour answer.

[00:59:38] Charles Eisenstein: I can probably condense it. So, yeah, part of it is an inversion, but part of it is just like everything going into the mixing machine, but it has been perplexing, because like you, I've always thought of myself as, like I would say, even a leftist. Not just a liberal, but like a strongly anti-war, anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, radical environmentalist, leftist who like you, it's like, yeah, of course, like people should choose without shame whatever sexual expression that they want. 

[01:00:21] And of course, like there should be no discrimination based on race, and we have to rehumanize each other, et cetera. And like all of a sudden, the label of liberal or left is going toward people who are accepting with little question the messages of the corporate political complex, and believing what the intelligence agency is saying, and believing what the pharmaceutical companies are saying. I'm like, Hold on. I thought that questioning authority was left, and the right was supposed to be authoritarian.

[01:01:14] I'm like, I'm confused here, why are you calling me a right-winger when I'm doing the same thing I've always done? Like since when is like believing the messaging of the pharmaceutical like Big Pharma, Big Ag, Big Chemical embedded in all of the other Bigs, and the captured regulatory agencies, and all that stuff, like why are we, all of a sudden—so it's an interesting question, and partly, it's just that the label, the concept, the category of left has been essentially co-opted and turned into its opposite.

[01:01:52] It's almost like a branding thing. It's like, yeah, let's use brand, progressive. Okay. But there's more to it than that. Another element has to do with science as an institution, which for most of my life was offered in contradistinction to right wing fundamentalist religion, which said, God hates gays, a woman's places in the kitchen, was used to justify racism, was used to justify social inequality, was, yeah, biblical fundamentalism, so that was the choice we were offered.

[01:02:36] And of course, as somebody who believed in equality for gay people, and for women, and for all races, and so forth, it's like, yeah, I don't want any part of this irrational, deluded religion, science, man, science. So, now that science has been co-opted by and occupied by authoritarian powers, they are leveraging this old distinction and this old identification. But there's another aspect even deeper than that, which is the ideology of progress itself.

[01:03:26] And it's in the word progressive, which means, basically, that we are marching toward a more rational, more scientific, more enlightened society, and that the very essence of good government and progressive thinking is to do things more scientifically by using quantity, by making quantitative decisions based on measurable costs and benefits, by reducing things to quantifiable values.

[01:04:11] And it's related to the mentality of control, too. Like we'll be able to make a better world if we can label everything and deploy our resources rationally. So, this is one of the deep solution templates to any problem. You find something you can quantify and you control that variable. It's applied to climate change. Like how do we solve the ecological crisis? Find the one thing that everything else hinges on and address that one thing.

[01:04:38] So, this mentality of progress is deeply woven into the ideology of quantity and the science that is built around it, because science is fundamentally the study of quantity. To put something into scientific terms, you have to quantify it. And like this is starting to fall apart, like there's like qualitative research, and what does that really mean? That's a whole other rabbit hole. So, there's this ideology of progress that includes an imperialist aspect, like we go to countries, go to places in the world where people are superstitious and we educate them.

[01:05:20] Luke Storey: Right. It's progress for us. But if you ask them, I mean, speaking of an indigenous culture that gets decimated by these imperialistic, power hungry, resource hungry demons, they're happy the way they are, they're fine, leave us alone.

[01:05:37] Charles Eisenstein: It would be if we weren't undermining their way of life.

[01:05:39] Luke Storey: Yeah. I mean, thinking of the Amazon, right?

[01:05:42] Charles Eisenstein: Right.

[01:05:42] Luke Storey: It's like the people that were living there and are living there probably aren't like, we need progress, they seem to be doing just fine before.

[01:05:49] Charles Eisenstein: Right. So, there's a missionary aspect to this as well that closely parallels Christian missionarism in the last century. So, as a die-hard anti-imperialist, I really question all of this and question the idea that the increasing control and quantification of life, which is the domestication of life, it's the subduing of the wild and caging it into our categories and our numbers.

[01:06:24] Luke Storey: The dominionistic [making sounds] over-

[01:06:26] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, it's a very deep pattern. So, I've questioned that my whole life, and I think more and more people are questioning it as science and technology have really failed to deliver their promises. Life is not qualitatively better than it was when I was a kid, and you can even like measure happiness indicators and stuff, like it is not qualitatively better. We were supposed to be in utopia by now.

[01:07:00] Luke Storey: Yeah, flying cars, man. 

[01:07:01] Charles Eisenstein: Flying cars, the end of disease, a rationally—my father was a political scientist, and he studied in the '50s, got his PhD in like this early '60s, and he was like, he was absolutely sure that it was just not even a question that we were going to have amazing, enlightened government, because the politicians are going to look to the research that we're doing so that they can administer the system better. 

[01:07:30] Like we're going to bring science to the realm of politics and we're going to bring it to the realm of like sociology and psychology, and like the triumphs in the material realm will now be replicated in the social realm. And certainly, by the unbelievably futuristic year of 2020, we're going to have a much more rational society. We're going to engineer all of these social ills out of existence.

[01:07:59] This was like this flush of enthusiasm for progress. And so, in like the progressive ideology, there's still a clinging to this vision. Therefore, it is very orthodox in the sense that this scientific ideology and the ideal of a data-driven, quantified, rational society is the religion of our time. That is the orthodoxy of our time. And I say it's a religion, and this would be another rabbit hole, because it is based on metaphysical principles.

[01:08:42] For example, that you can reduce everything to number, that you can isolate and control variables, that you can separate the experimenter from the experiment or from the experiment fundamentally. I mean, I won't go any more into that, I have stuff written on that. But I guess just like, say, the turning, which is what revolution means, goes that deep. This is the moment.

[01:09:17] It's not just like throw the old people out and put new people in, and it's not only systems change, it's mythology change. It's the answers to the deepest questions that we ask as human beings. Who am I? What's real? How do I do this? Why am I here? That is what is changing. And along with it, all of our relationships to each other and especially to other life that we call nature. Like the whole division between human and nature, that's not sustainable. 

[01:09:56] Luke Storey: Oh, my God.

[01:09:57] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, everything is changing.

[01:09:59] Luke Storey: How much of that change you describe is dependent on a change in the overall level of consciousness of humanity, versus, is the massive change in consciousness coming as a result of that change? Is that a chicken before the egg, cart for the horse thing? It's kind of all one thing, right?

[01:10:21] Charles Eisenstein: It's a gestalt. It's the human consciousness and the systems that are built on human consciousness are both changing altogether, and it can't be any other way. Neither one is necessarily prior to the other. Like you might say that your consciousness comes first, and when you change it, then your circumstances change. But I mean, haven't you ever like been put into different circumstances and you find that your consciousness is changing?

[01:10:53] Luke Storey: Yeah, it does go both ways. It's not an either or, because of course, like there's always self-referential arrangements that I'm doing while you're talking, I'm like, oh, well, how does this relate to me in my past and experiences? But yeah, there have been times of benediction, right? Just [making sounds] an up-leveling of awareness, sense of being, understanding, dare I say, wisdom, and then change externally has been affected.

[01:11:18] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, like you find yourself at Burning Man.

[01:11:20] Luke Storey: I mean, I've never been there, but in a similar situation, yeah.

[01:11:23] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, like who you thought you were just does not apply anymore. It's not even relevant. And parts of you that had not been visible, including a consciousness that has not been visible comes to the surface. And conditions are changing now, and so people are, on the one hand, afraid of it, and trying to stop it, and retreat into the familiar, but as reality invades the fortress, more and more people are being called in to explore new parts of their consciousness.

[01:11:36] Luke Storey: Yeah, it's the best time ever. Who's the quote from? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

[01:12:07] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, Charles Dickens.

[01:12:09] Luke Storey: Thank you. Yeah. I think of that even though I can never remember who said it, but I'm like, yeah, because I'll look at just the most insane collective experience that we're having now, I mean, just all you have to do is like look at Twitter for five minutes, and I'm just like, wait, what? This is the worst ever. But like subjectively in my own life, and I guess I have some karmic merit, perhaps, or grace and some hard work, but like if I ignored everything going on in the world that I perceived to be like the worst ever and things are going terribly for humanity, in my personal life, it's never been better, by all measurable metrics. Like if I had no TV, no phone, and I was totally cut off from the world, I would be happier than I've ever been in my life and more successful internally, externally, every single way. So, like how do you even hold that dichotomy?

[01:13:02] Because it goes like Ramana Maharshi, right? And this is the thing I always hit up against when I feel like, oh, I see a thing in the world that I don't like and I think it could be better, I want to exert my will over it and change it. Ramana Maharshi said, don't bother trying to change the world, because the world you see doesn't even exist, meaning that everything you see is but a projection of your own consciousness and your positionality or perception that's actually creating the world that you see. Now, I don't know what the answer is, so just don't do anything, but-

[01:13:33] Charles Eisenstein: No. Yeah. Like I'm not going to try to untangle that, because I could interrupt that with paradoxes. Who is this I whose consciousness is generating the experience? But there's one thing I wanted to say, when you were saying like, I don't know why I'm having such a good experience, now, maybe there's some karma, there's something that I have done, and I'm heavily influenced by Taoist thinking, I spent a lot of my life in Taiwan, and there's a concept of fortune in that way of thinking, that like, sometimes, like fate and fortune, Ming and Yin, like things happen to you and you don't try too hard to tame them with explanations, which is a kind of a control mindset. If I can explain why I'm having a good experience and why he's having chronic disease, if I can reduce that to some choice that I've been making, then I'm in control again.

[01:14:54] Luke Storey: Yeah, because I can keep making that choice and getting the desired outcome.

[01:14:56] Charles Eisenstein: Let me figure it all out. Let me reduce the wildness of this universe to principles so that I can be in control now. And I would invite, at least temporarily, a release of that for a lot of people and to greet your good fortune with gratitude.

[01:15:19] Luke Storey: Well, it's funny you say that, because there's almost a guilt. Like even when I was saying like my life's better than ever, I'm like, God, what about all the people who are really struggling? I mean, even before the situation we find ourselves in now, but even before that, the starving kid in Bangladesh, whatever, right? It's like, oh, God, it's like that playing small thing, God, dare I announce my success and happiness, because it's going to hurt someone's feelings or offend them?

[01:15:46] Charles Eisenstein: Maybe you don't announce it. Like what comes from the gratitude might be that you do hold it close, and what comes from it maybe is that like from gratitude comes generosity. Gratitude is really taking in that you've received something, that you've received a gift. To create a narrative that, well, I've earned this. That's a repudiation of the feeling of gratitude. Gratitude is scary to feel in a way, because the ego says, well, if I accept that this was a gift, then it's not really mine, and I need to give forward, and I'm under obligation, it scares the ego to feel full gratitude.

[01:16:33] Luke Storey: Or, just acknowledging its own impotence and affecting change, too, right?

[01:16:39] Charles Eisenstein: That's true, too.

[01:16:39] Luke Storey: Right? Like I remember trying to get sober, and it was like, God, I can do this, I can do this. It's like, oh, I just got to try harder, I need more discipline, more will, and that failed. And then, eventually, the ego's shell had to crumble and make room for the grace of God, literally, to come into my life, and just go, poof, you're good.

[01:16:59] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, maybe you can't do this.

[01:17:00] Luke Storey: Yeah. And then, kind of after the fact, going, either at times like, yeah, I did this, but more than anything, going, okay, it's even scarier that I didn't do this. I just kind of showed up in a humbled state, humiliated and humbled state, and something of benediction went poof, waved its magic wand, and here I am, 25 years later, sober.

[01:17:25] Charles Eisenstein: And I'm not saying that there's no such thing as a choice. But even when it's clear that you made a good choice and it brought good things to your life, and yeah, maybe you celebrate having made that choice, however there's also the gratitude for having been in the position to even know that there was a choice to be made, because most of the choices we make are unconscious. So, even as you hold for somebody that they are not victims of circumstances, like this is a paradox coming in, because we talked before about how people make their choices from the totality of their circumstances, but it's also true that we are not slaves to our circumstances.

[01:18:22] And one way to see the maturation process that's happening today is that we are becoming aware of our capacity to choose in areas where we had not been aware of it before, and we can be allies, and brothers, and sisters to each other in reminding each other of this truth of being in choice. So, what I'm saying is that even our capacity to choose can be greeted with gratitude. There's a truth in that.

[01:19:03] And the release, the surrender is the surrender of being able to take credit for it, because it's a trap, because then, the next step is, well, I am making these choices, and so and so isn't. It's I'm better than you sneaking in through the back door, and then you emanate the stink of sanctimoniousness, and you become no longer a walking invitation for others to be in choice.

[01:19:34] Luke Storey: Yeah. Well, I love what you said before, too, about the gratitude kind of facilitating the ability to serve, right? I mean, if you know that some benefit that's reached you in your life is coming out of an act of grace, and maybe you were in the right place at the right time, or you made decisions that aligned you for that experience, but any time, and especially going back to just the phenomenon of being able to be sober for me all those years ago, it's like not that I was even available to be of service and I start caring about other people, it's like I had to, because I knew there was something that had been done for me that was so miraculous. I was just was and am continually, maybe even more now than ever, compelled to give of myself, because I'm going, God, look at this amazing thing that I've been graced with. I have to have other people have that experience.

[01:20:33] Charles Eisenstein: Amazing grace.

[01:20:34] Luke Storey: Yeah, to just be able to play even a minute role in that thing happening that's above and beyond all of us.

[01:20:41] Charles Eisenstein: Just sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

[01:20:44] Luke Storey: Exactly. And I mean, that's really, I think, one of the fundamental principles of addiction recovery in the 12 steps. Obviously, it's like you take the 12 steps, which are just such a fascinating and powerful teaching to arrive here on the planet when they did, and the culmination of the whole 12 things is that, now, you go out and be of service. Like that's the goal, is to have this spiritual awakening, where you're fulfilled enough that, now, you can go help other people. It's not like at the end of that, they're like, and now, you just chill and get what you want.

[01:21:17] Charles Eisenstein: And I love the formulation of the 12 steps in its purest form. It's not a prescription of here's what you have to do next, it's a description of what happens, and it's phrased like that exquisitely.

[01:21:33] Luke Storey: Oh, interesting.

[01:21:34] Charles Eisenstein: Right. What's the first one? I realized that I was

[01:21:37] Luke Storey: Admitted to myself that I'm powerless over the alcohol and that my life has become unmanageable.

[01:21:43] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, it's a description of a process.

[01:21:43] Luke Storey: Oh, right. I see what you're saying.

[01:21:43] Charles Eisenstein: And so, it's not like, this is one of the deep traps, is to turn everything into a to-do, therefore an accomplishment, and therefore another source of stress, and conditional self-approval, and self-righteousness, and all that stuff. But if you really go to the pure essence of the 12 steps, it's a description of a process.

[01:22:14] Luke Storey: Oh, my God, you're so right, dude. This is great.

[01:22:17] Charles Eisenstein: Yet, even though it's just a description of a process, it has a potent transformational effect. And this goes back to power versus force, you don't have to force yourself to go through the process, you can trust that when the information comes in, the description of the future comes in, it's written in the past tense, the 12 steps, but you can trust, when that comes in, it works on you. You have taken in a medicine. And then, you find yourself fulfilling the description. Wow.

[01:23:00] Luke Storey: So true. That's such an interesting observation. I'm, of course, thinking of all the other ones, like even the next one, came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. This always used to kind of bug me within a certain perspective of the 12 steps and whatever kind of group it manifests to—whatever pathology they're set to address, is like people have this really shortsighted understanding that the steps are like this process that you do once, like I worked the steps, people in recovery often say that, well, I work the 12 steps, and now, I'm going off, and doing this and that, and thankfully, I met people that introduced me to them in a way that was more, this is a lifelong application of spiritual truths.

[01:23:46] Charles Eisenstein: The steps work you.

[01:23:47] Luke Storey: Yeah, exactly.

[01:23:48] Charles Eisenstein: The steps work you.

[01:23:49] Luke Storey: Exactly. And that it's not like there's no point at which like, oh, I finished the steps, like there's not a being done with them, because like you just take that one, came to believe, like, well, there's no ending to that, right? It's like it's an ongoing process or step 11, sought through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God, asking only for his will for me and the power to carry that out. I mean, how do you do it? That's not a done, that's a doingness, right? Sought, what is soughting? Soughting, seeking, well, it's not really seeking like you did it, it's sought as an ongoing thing. I don't know.

[01:24:24] Charles Eisenstein: It's the naming of something that's already true.

[01:24:27] Luke Storey: Ah, okay.

[01:24:28] Charles Eisenstein: But just because it's already true doesn't mean that it's active. Like the naming of something already true that then paradoxically makes it true, that's called prophetic speech, and the 12 steps have a very strong quality of prophetic speech.

[01:24:44] Luke Storey: Wow. So cool, goddamn, I didn't know we were going to get to this. I feel like we could do another one sometime, we just like dive into the steps. It's so interesting.

[01:24:52] Charles Eisenstein: There's a technology inherent in the 12 steps, and I don't want it to be like it's just an example of a much broader technology that accomplishes things without pushing. This is another one of the metaphysical foundations of science that things only happen if you make them happen. If you push on a mass, it will move, and if you don't push on it, it will not move all by itself. So, the technology of force is a realm that can only accomplish certain things, and we're talking about a much more powerful kind of technology. Well, you don't have to push, but something happens.

[01:25:43] Luke Storey: Damn, I'm going back to step three, made a decision to turn my will in my life over to the care of God as I understand him, right? It's like, what did I do? I just made a decision. How long does it take to make a decision? That fast, right? It's fascinating. I mean, I've looked at it from this perspective, but like a different lens.

[01:26:05] Charles Eisenstein: Imagine what a society or civilization would look like if we took that kind of technology as our guiding light as fundamental, if we built a society around that rather than the technologies of force. We're no longer than at odds with the universe. We are no longer in opposition to creation, seeking to impose our intelligence onto a world that we think has none. But we've become participants in the creative process. It's a total revolution in human beingness.

[01:26:42] Luke Storey: Well, also, within the 12 step movement are the 12 traditions, right? Sometime after the deployment of these 12 steps and some of the literature, in order for the groups to start forming, there were certain principles that were imbued within those groups, like autonomy and one can't control the other. And you can do whatever you want as long as you don't fuck with AA as a whole, and no one can get famous, no one can get rich, it's never profitable, it had this, I don't know, sort of insurance policy built into it of other truths that were related more to the group versus the individual, as the steps pertain more to the individual. It's fascinating. And if you look at just the fact that AA and the 12 steps in general, whatever group they take form, have really never been corrupted. Like it's not many things that eventually don't get fucked up because of egoic drives.

[01:27:38] Charles Eisenstein: Monetized and stuff, yeah.

[01:27:38] Luke Storey: Yeah, just the whole thing. It's there in its little church basements and does what it's supposed to do.

[01:27:44] Charles Eisenstein: And like I think people do misunderstand it, and misapply it and stuff, and turn it into a to-do list, and all that kind of stuff, but it spiritual essence is still there. And some of the foundational texts, like there's one just for today, I'm familiar with it because my amazing, wonderful former wife was an addict, and there was a time when she was working that book, and I saw its power, like some of the foundational texts are like, I mean, they're a scripture.

[01:28:18] Luke Storey: I agree. I mean, it changed my life. I mean, that was the absolute—well, it really is like, I think, the foundation of everything that I am and everything that I do, although I've, gone off, and gone to India, and done all these other things, plant medicines even, but still, there's just kind of a core of those truths that just never fail you, right? Open-mindedness, humility, willingness, making amends, prayer, meditation, service.

[01:28:47] I mean, they're not like out of the 12 steps, they just happen to be put together in a way that there's kind of a logical order to them, and they build something. They build a character within you, and it's like any time I'm off, it's because I veered away from those truths, right? And it's like, oh, how do I get back? I'm lost. Boink, go back to the truths, because they're just universal and they work. Yeah. So, thank you for kind of bringing us there. It's 11:59. So, I think we're about on time. There's so many more things I want to talk to you about, so I would love to do a Part two at some point.

[01:29:23] Because I mean, well, the people that don't know of your work will now know by the time they've listened to this, but the people that do, I think what they enjoy about you is just your way of thinking. And when you verbalize the way that you think, it's just fascinating and it evokes, I think, more thinking for those that are reading your work, your books, your essays, hearing you on other podcast, the podcast you put out. Whenever I hear you talk or read your writing, it's like, oh, never thought of it that way, cool. It's just a really unique gift you have, and thank you for sharing it with us.

[01:29:57] Charles Eisenstein: Well, thank you for appreciating it and seeing it, and yeah, I'd like to do this again some time when the vortex of Austin sucks me back in, which seems to be happening more and more.

[01:30:08] Luke Storey: Good. I'm glad to hear that. Yeah, I'd love to discuss with you two other things which we, for sure, don't have time for, and that is next time, to just put a pin in this, how psychedelics have informed your worldview and your work, and I'd also really like to talk to you about your worldview and perspective that you've shared here today, and how that pertains to parenting.

[01:30:27] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, I would love to do that.

[01:30:29] Luke Storey: Would be really cool, because I'm hoping to be a parent, and realize like, I know nothing about it. So, I always tend to talk about things on the show that I personally want to learn about. I know right now, man, we've got an opportunity here to kind of create a template.

[01:30:46] Charles Eisenstein: We can do a whole thing on parenting, because it's something that I've-

[01:30:50] Luke Storey: I'm assuming you have to be pretty good at it by now because you're really a bright guy and a very conscious guy, and you've got a few kids. I'm like, oh, I bet he's good at it.

[01:30:57] Charles Eisenstein: I've made lots of mistakes that I've learned from, so I would love to shorten the learning curve for others.

[01:31:01] Luke Storey: Cool, man. Okay. Great. One last question for you, who have been three teachers or teachings?

[01:31:06] Charles Eisenstein: Don't ask me to make lists of three things. My most important teachers have been people who are utterly unknown. And they teach me through love. They're the invisible people, the humble people. But to tell you that, I would have to tell their stories, so I can't just name names.

[01:31:38] Luke Storey: Okay. I love that. That's maybe the best answer ever. And I know exactly what you mean. It's the enlightened master that comes to fix your toilet, and you just look them in the eyes, and you go, oh, they have it, right? I've had that happen so many times in my life, where I meet someone or-

[01:31:57] Charles Eisenstein: The great souls come and do thankless work. Unlike me, I mean, people are always telling me how important my work is and stuff, but not like-

[01:32:07] Luke Storey: When my wife and I were living in LA, we had this lovely woman that we used to pay to come clean the house. And she was the happiest person I have ever met in my life or that I've been around a number of times. I'm sure I've walked by someone and they have a big smile, oh, they look happy, but she had the game figured out, you know what I mean? And I don't know exactly what she did, but she was so full of joy and gratitude, and she just lit up the room. We were so excited for her. It's like just come over and sit on the couch, don't even do any work, just be here, your energy is so contagious and so beautiful.

[01:32:43] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

[01:32:45] Luke Storey: Yeah, it was a great lesson, because I might look at it like this, I could sort of project an experience on her, and go, oh, man, poor lady, she's having to clean our house, like God, that's got to suck. And again, back to that perspective, apparently, for her, based on her gratitude, graciousness, the joy that she exuded, she loved it, and she would tell me how much pride she took in her work and how she loved being in these beautiful homes.

[01:33:14] And all of her clients were such great people, including us, and she is living the dream. But I project my experience onto that like, oh, my God, I would kill myself if I had to go around and clean houses all day. So, I totally get that. Sometimes, our teachers are unassuming and even more profound than the ones that we see on stage or read a book by. So, thank you. Speaking of books, tell us where we can find your books, website, all that stuff.

[01:33:39] Charles Eisenstein: The internet.

[01:33:40] Luke Storey: The internet.

[01:33:42] Charles Eisenstein: My most recent essays are all on Substack. That's charleseisenstein.substack or substack.charleseisenstein, something like that.

[01:33:52] Luke Storey: And those are linked on your website, too? 

[01:33:54] Charles Eisenstein: Sort of, yeah. My website is a bit in disarray, but-

[01:33:58] Luke Storey: Charleseisenstein.org, is that it? 

[01:34:01] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, that's right.

[01:34:01] Luke Storey: Okay. Because I was researching some of your writing and I found links to them on there. I mean, I dug a little bit, but it wasn't that hard to find. So, thanks, man. Thanks for coming by and taking the time. I know you're on your way to the airport here soon, I appreciate you carving out a Monday morning, really set my week off to a great start.

[01:34:16] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, my pleasure. It's great.

[01:34:17] Luke Storey: Great to get to know you, too.

[01:34:19] Charles Eisenstein: Yeah, likewise.



Inside Tracker
Link to the Search Page
Leela Quantum Tech
Link to the Search Page
Link to the Search Page

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the statements on this website. The information provided by lukestorey.com is not a substitute for direct, individual medical treatment or advice. It is your responsibility, along with your healthcare providers, to make decisions about your health. Lukestorey.com recommends consulting with your healthcare providers for the diagnosis and treatment of any disease or condition. The products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Join me on Telegram for the uncensored content big tech won’t allow me to post. It’s free speech and free content: www.lukestorey.com/telegram


No related episodes for this episode.

continue the discussion at the life stylist podcast facebook group. join now.