473. The God Pod: Spiritual Evolution & a Vision of Value for Humanity w/ Marc Gafni

Marc Gafni

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.

Today, we're going to find a way to navigate ourselves into a higher state of being, both individually and collectively, during this conversation about love, spirituality, conscious evolution, and collective healing with Dr. Marc Gafni, visionary, social activist, and passionate philosopher.

Dr. Marc Gafni is a visionary thinker, social activist, and passionate philosopher. He is known for his “source code teachings,” including Unique Self theory, the Five Selves, the Amorous Cosmos, A Politics of Evolutionary Love, A Return to Eros and Digital Intimacy. Dr. Gafni is the Co-Founder and Co-President of the Office for the Future, the Center for World Religion and Philosophy and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. At the core of their shared missions is the articulation and delivery into culture of a Great Library, in multiple forms, which participates in evolving the source code of consciousness and culture in response to the Meta Crisis.

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.

Today, we're going to find a way to navigate ourselves into a higher state of being, both individually and collectively, during this conversation with Dr. Marc Gafni. Dr. Marc is an incredible human, to say the least. He's a visionary, thinker, social activist, and passionate philosopher known for his source code teachings, including unique self theory, the five selves, the amor cosmos, a politics of evolutionary love, a return to eros, and digital intimacy. 

I was introduced to Marc and his teachings through our mutual friend Aubrey Marcus, with whom he's been doing some incredible work toward a better future for all. This is one of the deepest conversations on love, spirituality, conscious evolution, collective healing and the human experience that I've had on the podcast, which says a lot because there have been many – and I am thrilled to share it with you. 

If you find value in this conversation, which I suspect you will, please feel free to share it with someone you love. You can find links to Marc’s courses, books, and other offers at lukestorey.com/marc.

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.

00:03:36 — Defining Enlightenment & Honoring the Magic of Language
  • Three teachers: Isaac Luria, William Blake, Søren Kierkegaard
  • Read: Zohar
  • How Marc defines enlightenment
  • A deep dive into separate vs. unique vs. true self 
  • The magic, power, and value of words and language
  • How specificity of language influences the meta crisis
00:29:14 — Deconstructing the Meaning of Suffering
01:03:15 — Propaganda Methodology & Healing Our Cultural Field of Value
  • Destructing propaganda methodology in our culture
  • Why humans succumb to conspiracy theories
  • Unpacking what polarization is
  • Explanations and examples of the field of value
  • Healing the field of value in culture
  • How childhood trauma impacts our evolution and destiny
  • Integrating the psychological, mystical, and evolutionary self to heal trauma
01:37:35 — Accepting Our Reality While Anchoring in Hope for the Future 

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

Marc Gafni: [00:00:00]Magic is the spell of desire and words. So words are magical. We talked aboutwords. We almost went down the word rabbit hole, but words are magical, and inorder to create a new story of value, that's not new agey, that's not humanpotential movement lost in its own declarations, that's not fundamentalistregressive, we need to actually create a new field of language which is potentbecause it's precise. Because words mean something, we use them carefully, andwe haven't managed to create that level of gravitas and culture. This is MarcGafni, and you are listening to The Life Stylist Podcast.

Luke Storey: [00:00:38]This is Luke Storey, your faithful host since 2016. Man, what a different worldit was back then. We have entered a new era. It's simultaneously the best oftimes and the worst of times, depending, of course, upon your perspective.Well, today we're going to find a way to navigate ourselves into a higher stateof being, both individually and collectively. 

This is Episode 437featuring Dr. Marc Gafni. He is an incredible human, to say the least. He's avisionary thinker, social activist, and passionate philosopher. He's known forhis "source code teachings," including Unique Self theory: the FiveSelves, the Amorous Cosmos, A Politics of Evolutionary Love, A Return to Eros,and Digital Intimacy. Astonishingly, he's also the author of 25 books, and heholds a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University as well as Orthodoxrabbinic ordination. 

Now, I was introducedto Marc and his teachings through our mutual friend Aubrey Marcus, with whomhe's been doing some incredible work toward a better future for all. And I'vegot to say, man, this is one of the deepest conversations I've had on thispodcast, which says a lot because there have been many, and I am thrilled toshare it with you. You'll find all the juicy show notes and resources for thisone at lukestorey.com/marc, M-A-R-C.

It's hard to summarizethis one as we dig into a vast range of topics in this dialog, so I definitelyencourage you to listen to it in its entirety. But here are a few of thenuggets of wisdom on which Marc and I riff: coming to terms with the inevitabledeath of the body; psychedelics as a tool for the evolution of consciousness;why humans are so damn susceptible to mind control and propaganda; why Godcreated duality and how polarization is created by being outside of the fieldof love.

Marc also offers hisunique definition of enlightenment; three religious models to help usunderstand the purpose of suffering; the grandiosity of trying to change theworld from the outside in; embracing trauma and transmuting our shadow; thethree types of selves-- separate self, true self, and evolutionary self; thepower of 12 step principles and other universal laws; the current pandemic oflost intimacy and shared values; social media and Metcalfe's Law; Cosmo-erotichumanism, and so much more. 

And if you find valuein this conversation, which I suspect you will, please feel free to share itwith someone you love. And with that, let's give a warm welcome to Dr. MarcGafni. Marc, here we go.

Marc Gafni: [00:03:23]Here we go, Luke. It's good to be here, man.

Luke Storey: [00:03:25]We're about to head down a massive and deep rabbit hole, my friend.

Marc Gafni: [00:03:29]Well, here we go. Long time coming. I'm looking forward.

Luke Storey: [00:03:31]I'm so excited for this conversation.

Marc Gafni: [00:03:32]Me too.

Luke Storey: [00:03:33]So I want to start by asking you right off the bat, who are three teachers orteachings that have profoundly impacted your life and your work?

Marc Gafni: [00:03:42]Beautiful. So one would be Isaac Luria. Isaac Luria is this unimaginably brilliantand beautiful interior scientist. And I try and stay away from words likemystic because they connote things that are unclear. Interior scientists meanswe go into interiors. We do experiments. We validate the results of thoseexperiments, and we establish something about the nature of the interior faceof the cosmos. 

So I call him, not amystic, as he's usually called, he's an interior scientist, and he's in the16th century. And there's an entire subtle literature not easily available onhow Luria actually shaped the Renaissance. In other words, there were thesevery important mystery schools prior to the Renaissance from which Hebrewwisdom, particularly Kabbalah, esoteric wisdom, but better said, interiorsciences, then went into Christian Kabbalah. Christian Interior sciences, ifyou will.

And then essentiallyformed the mystery schools that informed the entire Renaissance and all ofWestern civilization. So Luria is a very, very important hidden figure. And ingeneral, it's a different conversation, mystery schools are important. We hadin the West the Eleusinian Mysteries. There are, of course, eastern mysteryschools. There are Asian mystery schools. There are African mystery schools.Mystery schools are very important. So that would be one figure.

Luke Storey: [00:05:13]Cool.

Marc Gafni: [00:05:14]A second figure, who is unimaginably important to me was Kierkegaard, SørenKierkegaard, the Danish philosopher who talks about the relationship or theexperience, let me say it differently, the experience of trust like how I liveand trust. And he makes a number of very important distinctions between faithand trust. I think those distinctions are actually in many ways wrong. But adeep engagement with him was formative to me, for which I am eternallygrateful.

And a third figure whoI'm deeply in love with would be Blake, William Blake, who is an enormously anepic figure. And Blake is drawing on Luria. And maybe if I can just throw in afourth source, which would be a group of people, not one person. And ingeneral, we ascribe too much value to one person. There are groups of people--I'm about to put out a series of volumes at our think tank and we have five,six vectors of work. Each one is a group of volumes, but the central set of volumesis going to be published by David J Temple. And David J Temple, we joke abouthim.

Well, we met him inOxford once. He called, but he's actually a creative personality. And herepresents myself, and Zak Stein, and other interlocutors. But basically werealize that-- who wrote the Vedas? Well, we don't quite know. Who wrote theBible? Well, not quite clear, is it? Who wrote the Zohar? Which is the majorwork of medieval Hebrew sciences, not quite clear, but about 10 people. And sowe have this very win-lose metrics Western notion of the author, and the authoris important.

And unique self isimportant as central to my thinking, and yet there's also a uniqueself-symphonies. And instead there was a particular unique self-symphony ofcharacters, 3, 8, or 10, is not clear, who wrote this work called the Zohar, athree-volume work called The Work of Radiance, which is a very subtle,sophisticated, unimaginably beautiful Aramaic text, was a formative text in mylife where I still live inside of. And that was the text which really definedLuria, and then the Renaissance afterwards. It's one of those hidden esoterictexts of Western civilization. So that's a little bit of-- there's lots ofother ways to go.

Luke Storey: [00:08:01]Our show notes writer is going to be busy. Well, it's funny how you mentioned,though, the conglomerate of authorship and creation, and what came to mind iswe were just talking about the magic of music earlier, before we recorded. Andright when you said that, I thought of the Beatles, the archetype of just theultimate supergroup. And each individual part of that group, as a person, hadtheir own unique expression, their own body of talent. But put them together,and now you have this other entity. 

Marc Gafni: [00:08:34]And that's what music is, isn't it?

Luke Storey: [00:08:35]Yeah.

Marc Gafni: [00:08:35]And there's a commitment to the music. They asked Mick Jagger once, whoactually, was an old acquaintance of my partner, KK. So they asked Mick, howdid the Stones make it? And he said, we had so many conflicts and so much wentwrong, but we had a vision of this horizon called the Stones that we were allin devotion to. And it's actually a great answer, in other words. 

At the think tank, aswe're trying to write this new story of value and response to the meta crisis,what we realized was we have to go larger than the win-lose metrics in which weare cultural critics, or public intellectuals, or spiritual teachers, butbasically, we're in a win-lose metrics game trying to get a big book out, doinga series of tours. 

Basically, we'recommodifying spirit, and so much is like that right on this. So we said we haveto liberate ourselves from that and find this, and if I can use a word that wedon't use often, we're almost embarrassed by it, but purity, devotion,sincerity, those words that we use them as booby prizes. Oh, she's not verytalented, but she's very devoted.

Luke Storey: [00:09:50]Right.

Marc Gafni: [00:09:51]He's not very smart, but he's very sincere.

Luke Storey: [00:09:54]The word purity, though, to me, I mean, I see the puritanical, pious, onedefinition of it. But when I hear that word, what I hear is integrity. Yeah. Ilike that word.

Marc Gafni: [00:10:06]Isn't it a beautiful word?

Luke Storey: [00:10:07]Yeah. 

Marc Gafni: [00:10:08]You have purity.

Luke Storey: [00:10:08]I love words.

Marc Gafni: [00:10:09]Words are so gorgeous. That's what takes us down. But purity is a-- so that'swhy we came up with David J Temple. And so he's actually putting out his firstbook in two or three months on value. And maybe when that comes out, we'll talkagain. We're wildly excited about it. And to try and put a new great libraryinto culture that can actually evolve the source code of conscious and culturein response to this meta crisis. So that's all by way of saying hello. Hi.

Luke Storey: [00:10:37]That's great.

Marc Gafni: [00:10:37]It's so great to be here.

Luke Storey: [00:10:38]I often ask that question at the end of a podcast, give us three teachers,three takeaways, in other words. So you have this body of knowledge and wisdom,said guest, and where did you get it? But for some reason I wanted to startwith that because I knew you'd have a really interesting answer. How would youdefine enlightenment from where you are in your work and perspective right now?

Marc Gafni: [00:11:02]It's a great question. And this is actually quite clear. I think enlightenmentactually can only mean one thing. Enlightenment is sanity. That's whatenlightenment is. It's that simple.

Luke Storey: [00:11:13]Wow. I like that.

Marc Gafni: [00:11:14]And layman, and actually, any other understanding of enlightenment has to comeback to this. Insanity means, I know the nature of reality. I know who I am.So, for example, let me just give a simple example. If I say, I am Luke. No,you're not Luke. No, I'm Luke. You're Marc. So that might be slightly funny inthe first second or not. But if I keep at it, it's like 15 minutes and you say,wow, this is a little scary. I heard he was controversial but didn't know hewas insane. 

I was like, I don'tknow who I am. But here's the strange thing. The difference between Luke andMarc, we're roughly the same age. Luke's a little better looking, butbasically, two guys, roughly. Some distinctions which have uniqueness is veryimportant, but there's some overlap. But if I think I'm Luke, I'm insane. WhichI don't know who I am. 

But the gap betweenthinking I'm a separate self, and actually, knowing my true nature, as what Icall unique self, the unique expression of the field of consciousness anddesire, and actually knowing that that entire field actually lives in me, and Imean, discrete and irreducibly unique expression of that field, the differencebetween that and thinking that I'm a separate self is a far wider gulf than themistake of Luke and Marc. Now, of course, KK and Alyson might be quite upsetabout us making that mistake, but the rest of the world could deal with it.

Luke Storey: [00:12:47]Well, yeah.

Marc Gafni: [00:12:48]So enlightenment is sanity, and knowing my true nature.

Luke Storey: [00:12:51]That reminds me of-- there's two different ways you could frame the statement,I am God. One could be messianic insanity, and one could be the factual truththat in the field of consciousness, I and you are but one expression of God,but we're not separate from. We're a part of just one little unique thread inthe tapestry.

Marc Gafni: [00:13:11]Yes.

Luke Storey: [00:13:11]But it depends on the framing, right?

Marc Gafni: [00:13:13]Right. And that's very beautiful. And just let's emphasize that word, unique,which is a whole other conversation. But I am God doesn't mean that I'mabsorbed into the divine and I'm therefore lost. It means I'm inseparable fromthe larger field of consciousness and desire, a, and then, as you say-- but I'man irreducibly unique expression of that love intelligence, and that lovebeauty, and that love desire. So I'm not true self. That's the great mistake ofthe traditions. 

It's virtually allenlightenment traditions are flawed. They fail because they claim thatenlightenment is the move from separate self to true self. I'm separate. Now Irealize I'm part of the one. That's only the first step. And if you stay there,you actually remain insane. And that's really, really important. Virtuallyevery enlightened tradition makes that mistake. So can we play with this for asecond? Is that okay?

Luke Storey: [00:14:12]I love it.

Marc Gafni: [00:14:13]Okay, so let's say separate self is a puzzle piece looking for the puzzle who'stold there is no puzzle. So first off, it's hard to walk as a puzzle piece.Have you ever tried that-- it doesn't work. And you're told there's no puzzle,so it's completely pathologizing. It's crazy making. True self is therealization, no, I'm not a separate puzzle piece. There's just the puzzle. Theone. That's true self. But that's equally insane making because you look at thepuzzle and you see, oh, but there's these lines separating the puzzle pieces.

Then you say to yourteacher, but what about these separate lines? And your teacher says, sit on thecushion. Die on the cushion. Illusion. In other words, this huge tradition bothin West and East, both esotericism, which say that's an illusion, but you knowthat's not true because actually I'm Luke. That separateness is not a delusionin the mind, oh God.

And so then you've gotto, no, unique self is a puzzle piece that fits perfectly into the puzzle, apuzzle piece that perfectly fits into the puzzle. So I'm a unique self. I'm apuzzle piece, and I fit perfectly. And I actually complete the puzzleperfectly. And no other piece other than my piece can complete this puzzle.That's unique self. So I'm the irreducibly unique expression of the field oftrue self.

So now I'm getting toenlightenment. But then that's not enough because enlightenment doesn't includeevolution. And again, this is so critical. This is why I said to my friendMichael Murphy, who has a little place called Esalen on the West Coast, I said,"Michael, you're not impacting the mainstream because you're basicallyteaching uneven bullshit." Anyone teaches, it's all, no one captures theflag. It's all uneven. And the enlightenment you're teaching is completelyagainst the intuitions of Western civilization that actually my uniquenesscounts. And there's no evolution in it.

So the fourth level ofself is evolutionary unique self. So I'm a puzzle piece that not only completesthe puzzle, I'm a puzzle piece that evolves the puzzle. So in other words, LukeStorey, and the story of Luke Storey, if you will, that story is not just astory you're supposed to move beyond. That story is chapter and verse in theuniverse of love story. Its chapter and verse in God's sacred autobiography,the irreducible uniqueness of Luke Storey, not his separateness. 

So notice we're makinga fundamental ontological distinction which is lost in the traditions. They allget this wrong. They conflate separateness and uniqueness. Huge mistake.Separateness is not uniqueness. So I move beyond my separateness, I'm one withthe field, then I'm an irreducibly unique expression of the field. The field isseamless, but it's not featureless. 

And it's irreduciblyunique feature is Luke, who is, and this is the most shocking idea in theinterior sciences, Luke is more God to come. In other words, Luke is not just Iam God, Luke is more God than there was before Luke. So he's not just he's partof God. No, actually, divinity experiences a shocking self-recognition lookingat Luke that wasn't available to divinity before. And we want to make that veryavailable.

Luke Storey: [00:17:50]So good.

Marc Gafni: [00:17:51]It's stunning. If you make just available to your listeners, you could say itthis way. I was just talking to our mutual friend Aubrey, so I had a certainexperience talking to Aubrey. I walked in, and I saw you from a distance. Iremembered our meetings, and something opened in me, and some other part of me,I could actually feel it, oh, Luke. So Luke evoked in me a part of me thatAubrey didn't. And hopefully, Marc will evoke something in Luke that Jackdidn't. 

So it's precisely howit works. That's the anthropological method. Meaning whatever is happening inreality happens in us. So Luke evokes in divinity a dimension of divinity thatno other being that ever was, is or will be, can evoke. That's actually ashocking realization, but once you get it, it's actually obvious. Like, oh,great. And in that sense, if Luke isn't clarified, if he's not living Luke'sunique self, there's quite literally less divinity in the world. You can throwout the Prozac for at least a little while. I mean, it's just stunning.

Luke Storey: [00:19:02]That also fits in. It's funny the way you approach things is so much moreintellectual and academic. So I translate things, as you're saying, into moresimplistic, broad strokes, which is fun because you're the unique expression ofyou as God and me as me. But in thinking about the way I view solving humandilemmas, is by the elevation or evolution of consciousness. And it takes thefutility out of it, and actually makes it interesting to me because I know thatthe only way that I can contribute to the field is by doing whatever I can tocontribute to my own expression of the field.

Marc Gafni: [00:19:48]Beautiful.

Luke Storey: [00:19:49]So it's like-- but the way you phrased it, there's now more divinity becauseI'm expressing that. And imagine a world in which more people were expressingsanity, enlightenment.

Marc Gafni: [00:20:02]Enlightenment is sanity.

Luke Storey: [00:20:03]And the inertia of more awakened souls and human bodies, it's like the rising tideraises all boats thing. It's really beautiful.

Marc Gafni: [00:20:15]And I'm going to be, with permission--

Luke Storey: [00:20:17]You always have permission to do.

Marc Gafni: [00:20:19]So this might jump in, and this next sentence might get me uninvited to anyfuture podcasts. But I'm going to do it anyways because what the hell? Which isa, nothing you said was simplistic. So you said, I'm going to be simple, and itwasn't simple. It was clear. So I want to disambiguate simple and clear. Andwhat you were doing was not simplistic. It's what I call anthro ontology.Anthro, human. Ontology, it's for real, meaning the mysteries are within, and Ican locate it, and I can say it in terms of what I call second simplicity. Wetake a lot of complexity. And I think one of your gifts is, and hopefully weshare that, is the second simplicity. So that's one. But that matters, notsimplistic, second simplicity.

Two is this is theslightly bigger push back which is actually nothing I said was either intellectualor academic. And so I want to just-- academic implies a rarefied discipline inthe ivory tower that is jargon laden and siloed in particular disciplines andnot connected to a broader picture. So I'm going to throw that word outentirely. And intellectual suggests that it lives in the mind and it divorcesthe mind from the belly, and from the soma, and from the feeling tone. And soI've never in my life, Luke, brother, I've never thought of a good idea ever.

Literally withouthyperbole, I've always felt an idea. You feel it just like it's in your gut,and it just stays in. And then I look for words to spell feelings. I look forwords to spell desires. Magic is the spell of desire in words. So words aremagical. We talked about words. We almost went down the word rabbit hole, butwords are magical. And in order to create a new story of value, that's not newagey, that's not human potential movement lost in its own declarations, that'snot fundamentalist or aggressive, we need to actually create a new field oflanguage which is potent because it's precise. 

Because words meansomething, we use them carefully, and we haven't managed to create that levelof gravitas and culture. We have just an enormous amount of unevensuperficiality with some gems of wisdom like yourself. But we need now tocreate a field of language which doesn't become a homogenizing story, but weneed a, what I would call a universal grammar of value, a global story as acontext for our diversity. And if we don't get that, I'm fairly convinced, andI have been for the last decade or so.

We mentioned my friendDaniel. Daniel and I have been talking about this for a decade. I'm fairlyconvinced that the meta crisis will result in one of several possibledystopias, none of them which are looking good. And meta crisis is not ourtopic, so we won't go there. But it's real. The meta crisis is real, and theresponse to this meta crisis of existential risk, the death of humanity, orwhat I call the second form of existential risk, the death of our humanity,upgraded algorithms, downgraded human beings, and that whole story. 

So the response tothat, there's lots of work on infrastructure, and our friend Daniel is doing alot of work on infrastructure, which is really important. How do you detect bioweapons and wastewater infrastructure? Social structure. Second possibility,how do you regulate AI research? How do you create social bodies? So there'sinfrastructure and social structure, Marvin Harris's distinction, and I thinkthey're both important. I don't think either of us will take us home, althoughwe need to do that. 

But there's a thirdcategory which-- superstructure. Superstructure is the story I live inside of.And I'm convinced, brother, based on lots of information that I won't bore youwith now, that the only way to respond to the meta crisis, the only thing thatactually evolves the story of history is a new story, not a fanciful story, nota conjectured story, but a story that integrates the validated insights of pre-modern,modern, and postmodern into a new story of value rooted in first values andfirst principles. 
And in that we need to be precise in our language. And in that sense, scienceneeds to inform us. Science and poetry need to come together. Language needs toevoke, to invoke, to be poetic. But it also needs to be precise. No less thanscientific language. The interior sciences needs to be precise. So I apologize.That was a long, tender honoring play with the word intellectual and academic.

Luke Storey: [00:25:00]No, I appreciate the distinction.

Marc Gafni: [00:25:02]Yeah, total.

Luke Storey: [00:25:02]And you're talking to someone who loves language. I love listening to podcasts,recording podcasts, having conversations. I like foreign languages, althoughI'm only decent at one other one. Spanish. I got a little Spanish down. But Ilove words because of the power that they pack, especially words that arerooted in fundamental principles. And I think I got this, and this is somethingI was flirting with the idea of going into this, but I didn't know if you hadany experience or understanding of it, but when I came to really understand thepower in words and what they represent was through many years of devotion tothe 12 steps and adopting those into my life, first out of just desperation andself-preservation, but then--

Marc Gafni: [00:25:53]Always a good place to start.

Luke Storey: [00:25:54]Then digging underneath and going, wow, I mean, you can take one word likesurrender, acceptance, willingness, open-mindedness, humility, immense. Allthose just now, to me, like, well, yeah, duh, that's how you live your life.But for someone who had no moral compass and wasn't instilled with any sense ofmorality or value, as you say, finding those words, and teasing them apart, anddigging into the root of those words, and building a relationship with theenergy that they represent.

Marc Gafni: [00:26:29]It's gorgeous.

Luke Storey: [00:26:30]There have been signposts that have guided me. Turn left, turn right. Don'tturn that way. You're falling out of truth. You're falling out ofintegrity.  So those words led me into all sorts of other words. So when Isay academic or intellectual, I like that. It's just the way that if I get intosome dense content, it's the way that I can integrate it and digest it is byteasing it apart and finding a relationship to my heart with that.

Marc Gafni: [00:26:59]It's beautiful. 

Luke Storey: [00:27:02]The language of the heart. How do I imbue it with feeling?

Marc Gafni: [00:27:07]Gorgeous.

Luke Storey: [00:27:08]Back to enlightenment, as we all have, but I'll just speak subjectively, therewas a lot of suffering in the first half of my life. And so when I started toseek God and I started to follow different spiritual teachings and teachers andput this prize on self-realization or enlightenment, my early understanding ofit was not just sanity, but the end of suffering. It's like a destination. If Ican get to this point where I have less close relationship with ego, with thedestructive parts of the intellect, then I'll be free and I won't have anyproblems. So it's like chasing the carrot of enlightenment.

Marc Gafni: [00:27:52]How did that work for you?

Luke Storey: [00:27:54]Well, not very well. But I think, and this I want to dig more out, but I thinkthere is some truth based on your framing of it as just fundamental sanity. Andgoing back to the puzzle of that, but is not less suffering in your experienceinherent through the experience of more sanity? The more sane one is, the lessone suffers. 

So it's like eventhough maybe the goal isn't to evade the human experience of suffering andbeing embodied, but as I've become more sane, meaning for me, more aligned withtruth, with fundamental universal truth, then there's less inherent sufferingbecause I have a more broad contextualization of what we're fucking doing here.And so water does tend to roll off the duck's back a bit easier when you'rewearing the world like a loose garment.

Marc Gafni: [00:28:52]No, you got a better context for the duck.

Luke Storey: [00:28:55]And think things are just less serious. So I don't know if I'm enlightened, butI'm certainly more enlightened than I was a year ago, five years ago, 20 yearsago. It seems to be I'm becoming more sane.

Marc Gafni: [00:29:06]Very beautiful. So let's take a couple of steps here. First, let's just talk--you talked about two things. Let's talk for a second about words, and thenwe'll go to enlightenment.

Luke Storey: [00:29:15]Okay.

Marc Gafni: [00:29:15]Words are so beautiful.

Luke Storey: [00:29:16]I love how you can track all my randomness. The word is so great.

Marc Gafni: [00:29:20]So abracadabra. Magic. So abracadabra is actually two Aramaic words. Avra,cadabra. I create through the word. It's very beautiful. I create through the word,so the creativity of the word and the word itself, the word in Hebrew. The wordfor word in Hebrew is davar, D-A-V-A-R, which means both thing and word,meaning there's meaning, or value, or aliveness, or logos, or the word, orinformation if you want to use that. 

So information,meaning, value, the word, logos. Let's use those as a cluster of words that goall the way down. Meaning the thing isn't only an inanimate thing. In the word,word, in Hebrew, davar, D-A-V-A-R, you have both thing and word meaning thething is alive. It's self-actualizing, it's self-organizing. And so we startthe first nanoseconds of the Big Bang and we got these three quarks which cometogether. And from these three quarks, we get Beethoven. We go from dirt toShakespeare. We go from mud to Mozart. We go from bacteria to Bach. We get theidea.

Luke Storey: [00:30:52]Those are all really good. I think there's a book title in there somewhere.

Marc Gafni: [00:30:56]There somewhere. But that's why? Because the thing is a word. So words aremagic. And you can see the twinkle in your eye when you get the magic of words.And when words aren't magic, they betray something. So there's something verybeautiful. And I'm going to-- we could use Sanskrit, and we could use French literature.We could use Buddhist texts, but my native set of texts, and I love all thosesets of texts and play in them, but my native original set of texts is AramaicHebrew, so I often go back there. 

And so in Hebrew-- sowe all know there's an alpha. So alpha is Aleph. The first letter of the Hebrewalphabet. Alpha Waves. Aleph. And Aleph is the silent letter. So Aleph is thedeep silence beneath the word, but not a silence of absence but a silence ofpresence. A silence in which no word could capture the depth of that. Your bestmoment with Alyson, whatever that moment was, sometimes it's a silent moment.There's just nothing to say.

KK and I, we're sittingtogether, and we just get quiet, and we're just in the space together. And sowe're in that silence that's beneath words. And then the word emerges, and theword is supposed to give shape, to dress the silence, and to ornament thesilence. That's what the word does at its best. But the word can also betraythe silence because words, actually, they're opposites joined at the hip. 

So in Hebrew, you haveAleph, the depth of silence, silence of presence. Then you have BCD, so, A,Aleph, then B, C, D, Beit[Foreign], which means beget, which means betrayal. Soit's the betrayal of the word is when the word doesn't ornament the silence,when the word becomes alienated from the silence. And there's really-- in somesense, I'd say there's two kinds of people, and both kinds are beautiful, butone is trustable and the other is not. 

In other words, thereare people who speak, you can feel that their words come from the silence, thatthere's silence underneath the word. And then there's the other people. Andthose two kinds of people could be us at different moments in our lives also,where we speak to cover up the silence.

Luke Storey: [00:33:26]Oh, so good.

Marc Gafni: [00:33:27]And that distinction is so-- that's just a word on words, and so is soimportant.

Luke Storey: [00:33:32]That's great. It reminds me of-- and I know you'll track the other part.

Marc Gafni: [00:33:36]With the enlightenment suffering. We're going to come back to it.

Luke Storey: [00:33:38]Okay. But it reminds me of something a teacher used to tell me about music, andhe would say, Luke, the music is not the notes. The music's what's behind thenotes. It's that silent under the word. And there's like, why does a certainnote or a combination of notes that comprise a chord elicit a feeling? What isthat? What is that and why?

Marc Gafni: [00:34:03]What is that and why?

Luke Storey: [00:34:04]It doesn't really matter, but we know that it's true.

Marc Gafni: [00:34:06]And it's literally true when you look at the science of music, which is aseparate podcast. It's one of the things I'm most fascinated by. It's soimportant, the science of music. But music emerges. What music is originally isthe rhythm between the pulsations, and it's about the space in between, andit's how that space in between, how the moments in between then create music.So music is actually literally created from the space in between. And the spacein between is the silence.

Luke Storey: [00:34:39]That's so cool. Just like sound is created by the, or not created by, butexists because there's the silence beneath it. If there wasn't a context in afield of silence, there would be no noise. There would be no sound.

Marc Gafni: [00:34:51]That's right. And so music arises at the very beginning of the space timecontinuum. And that's very, very beautiful. Now, let's shift back to the secondvery beautiful opening which is the relationship of enlightenment to suffering.And that is-- it's such an important topic, and it's so confused both in thewritings of many of the traditions. And so let's try and make adistinction. 

The more clarified myawareness, the more I'm in the depth of true nature. The more unnecessarysuffering falls away. So I walk in and I say, wow, this is a really nice roomin Luke's house, and this is a really spacious downstairs. And it felt sogreat. Why is this not my house? In other words, oh, well, actually, that's notmy story. I didn't-- and as we have different vectors and different stories, sothen I get to walk in and be really excited that Luke and Alyson live in thisbeautiful place. So that'd be just a simple, banal example. In other words,unnecessary suffering.

So I can-- byclarifying my own identity and becoming more sane, I don't confuse my identitywith yours. Iago goes after Othello, and is just completely eviscerated in hisinteriors by Othello's arrows, and goes to murder him. And so jealousy,contraction, pettiness all come from a dissociation from my own true nature,and from my own unique true nature.

Jealousy always means Iwant to be you in some way. And if I want to be you, it means I'm actuallynot-- if I'm I because you're you and you're you because I'm I, then I'm not Iand you're not you. I have to actually be in devotion to your units. And I canonly do that if I'm located in my true nature. So yes, absolutely. The Buddhawasn't wrong in his developmental sequence that enlightenment reducessuffering. That's absolutely true. 

And there's a qualityof suffering that's mystery. And this is just so important. We try and explainsuffering because we want to get a handle on it. So we try and explain itthrough classical religion. You sinned, now you're being punished. Sin andpunishment. That's one move. That's a Western tradition move classical, Westernreligion. The Eastern move is not? You sinned, your mind wasn't clear. Yourmind wasn't clear. You couldn't get clear to mind, so therefore you suffer.Move two.

Move three inintellectual history is very, very popular in the contemporary new age humanpotential world. You attracted it into your life. How many times have we heardthat right? What did you do to attract that into your life? And go seek howyou-- all three of those moves--

Luke Storey: [00:38:08]Some people call that victim shaming.

Marc Gafni: [00:38:10]Victim shaming. And there's quite a bit of that, but if you go to--

Luke Storey: [00:38:14]But I don't entirely believe that's true. But that is a mind virus we have now.

Marc Gafni: [00:38:18]It's a mind-- and there's some truth. And each one of these three is true, butpartial. It's not that they're completely wrong. There's a spark of truth ineach one of them. And each one of them, if you step out and look at the broadfield, they're all making the same move. And the move is you can get a handleon the suffering thing, which is beautiful. That's part of human agency, andhuman power, and human capacity for transformation. And it's also a move forcontrol at the same time. 

There's a subtle movefor control. In other words, if I sinned and therefore I'm being punished, Icould stop sinning and not get punished. If I'm suffering because my mind isnot clear, I could get my mind clear and not suffer right. If I attract it intomy life, and that's why I'm suffering, I could not attract it into my life bydoing some inner transformation. I'll do the Avatar seminar, I'll do the forum,and I'll get it handled or life spring or whatever it happens to be. And thoseare all legitimate. I want to just a blessing to that. 

Werner Erhard called mea bunch of years ago. We had a couple of great talks, and we sat, actually, ata lobby of a hotel in San Francisco for five hours and just compare notes. Wehad a great time. And I think Werner did a great job at doing a particularthing, and not saying such a great job, but doing some other things. But hemade a real contribution. And so all these things are true but partial. And inthe end, one of the first principles and first values of cosmos is what we knowand what we don't know.

So there's gnosis thatwhich we can know, and that which we can actually get certainty on. And we knowthings. Post-modernity was wrong when it said we don't know anything. We knowshit. Gnosis is a real possibility, and there is a mystery. And mystery means,wow, we don't know. And we're actually able to live in the mystery. And themore I love, the more I can hold uncertainty. It's a paradox. 

The less I love, themore I need certainty. And even in relationship everywhere, the less I love,the more certainty I need to replace the fullness of the eros of love. The moreI love, the more I can hold uncertainty. And so there's a dimension of cosmoswhich is mystery. And suffering after all the explanations-- when I was 29,Luke, I sat for six months. I didn't move out of one room, and I wrote a400-page way too footnoted deep meditation on suffering. Because it's--

What do you do withsuffering? And so there's a dimension of suffering that's mystery, that can'tbe addressed by not attracting into your life, and it can't be addressed byclarifying your mind and knowing your true nature. And it can't be addressed bysin punishment. There's a dimension of mystery in the world. Now, the way wecan respond is two ways. One is we go to heal suffering. That's not an answer.That's a response. Meaning it's a mystery, but we get to respond. We live in aworld of outrageous pain, and the only response is outrageous love. So weactually go to heal to transform. That's one response. 

And the other responseis, is we realize that the fact of suffering, and even the fact of evil, thatevil and suffering are not what tell us that there's no goodness, truth, andbeauty, which is the classical position you'll hear all over the place. An it'show could you speak of goodness, truth, and beauty? How could you speak ofspirit? Take a look at Rwanda. Take a look. 

I mean, Deepak Chopra,send me a little while ago a book that he put out with Leonard Mlodinow a fewyears ago. It was called-- what was it called? He was all excited about it. Itwas called War of the Worldviews. And in it, Leonard was a Caltech physicist,essentially basically says, you know what, fuck this. My mother was inAuschwitz, and here's what happened. And there was a commandant who walkedbehind 10 prisoners and randomly killed one, and then killed the third one, andkilled the fifth one. Don't give me any-- Deepak, go away.

That was a goodquestion. Deepak didn't respond to it because the assumption is there's nothingto respond. There is. And the response is so subtle. It's so profound. It's sobeautiful, which is, the only reason we're bothered by evil, the only reasonsuffering offends us is because we live in an intimate universe. 

We live in a world in auniverse which is good, and true, and beautiful. And because we think the worldshould be just and it should be fair, that actually is the God force in us, andhence that which thinks the world should be fair and good, and that truth andbeauty are real, and that there is a pattern of intimate beauty to cosmos iswildly offended by suffering.
But if the world was just a reductive, materialist world, it was happenstance,if it was Shakespeare, a tale told by an idiot full of sound and furysignifying nothing, what's the problem with evil? Why would you expect therenot to be suffering? Of course, there's suffering. It's just a mechanistic,random world. Tale told by an idiot. Faulkner rewrote that book, The Sound andthe Fury, based on Shakespeare. No reason to expect it to be any different, butwe do expect it to be different. We're wildly offended, devastated bysuffering.

Brothers Karamazov. I'moffended even in Alyosha's talk. I'm offended it's-- we view suffering asrepulsive to the God force. That's true, which is why we know there's a Godforce. In other words, we're offended by suffering because the universe isgood. And that's very beautiful. All of a sudden you realize, oh, the greatquestion of suffering is not an answer, but it tells you that you live in aninanimate universe because suffering or evil is a failure of intimacy at itscore. So that was a lot. Was that too much?

Luke Storey: [00:44:25]It's never too much. Onto the existence of suffering and evil, which you sayare partners in crime.

Marc Gafni: [00:44:37]There's a lot to say about disambiguating them, but for now.

Luke Storey: [00:44:41]I mean, just to say, evil generally manifests as some degree of suffering forsomeone. So at the hands of the evil--

Marc Gafni: [00:44:49]They can be split apart, and they should be split apart, but for now, we canhold them.

Luke Storey: [00:44:53]We'll bucket them temporarily.

Marc Gafni: [00:44:55]Temporary bucket.

Luke Storey: [00:44:57]I am not an atheist. I've had experiences in my life that unequivocally proveto me that there is some universal, omnipotent, loving force present in me andaround me, and everything is imbued with that. Not all the time because I losemy awareness of it, but still, at times, it's been difficult for me toreconcile, and I'm sure this is much more difficult for someone who's atheistor agnostic, is the existence of evil. It's that question, well, if there's aGod, then what about Rwanda?

And this is somethingI've teased apart in all sorts of experiences meditation, ceremonies, etc. Andthe closest that I can get to reconciling the duality, let's just call itduality, is that since this thing that we refer to as God is infinite, and it'sonly one thing, in order for it to experience itself, it seems to manifestitself infinitely as all things. And those things from our subjectivepositionality, we would call, well, good over here and evil over here, but it'sall God. So that's the first part. 

And the second part isthat, speaking of just the earth realm here, that if there was no suffering andif there was no existence of evil, in other words, if there wasn't a spectrumof consciousness that could be traversed from low to high and vice versa, theworld would be pointless if the purpose of the world and our being here is toburn negative karma and to gain positive karma. 

In other words, it'slike the duality that's created, and the suffering, and the evil, and thebliss, and the love, and all of that is here with the purpose because it givesus an opportunity to go to school. It's like, if you send a postgraduatestudent to kindergarten, there would be very little utility value in thatexperience. So we seem to need this broad spectrum of a playground here where Ican, through my own agency and my will have the opportunity to be a serialkiller or a saint. And if we were all saints, then there would be no elevationto which we aspired to go.

Marc Gafni: [00:47:45]Yeah. See, here's the thing.

Luke Storey: [00:47:47]What's your take on that realm? I guess what I'm saying is I've reconciledduality by finding a value in it for myself that I now have something that Ican do here.

Marc Gafni: [00:47:59]And you're taking the tack very beautifully, and very eloquently of theclassical religions. And they basically go in that direction, and there's somepretty wise people there, so you're in good company. And there's some realtruth in that. Choice. Without choice, we couldn't transform. Thetransformation of the human being can only happen in this field ofduality.  And that's all true, and those are called, in the greattraditions, theodicies.

And how do we explainsuffering? There's some deep and real obvious truth in them, and they'reinsufficient. Because when you look at a baby suffering, when you look at12,000 people gassed a day in Auschwitz, there's nothing you can say in theface of burning children. There's no words that-- and one of religion's greatmistakes was its attempt to explain suffering. Before we explain suffering, wehave to actually say, I don't know. I actually have to hold the mystery andsay, here's what we do know. 

We know that ourexperience-- you described your personal experiences that brought you to somesense of knowing that the world has order, and has meaning, and has goodness.And so you know those experiences are true. I can actually have a first-handdirect experience of goodness, truth and beauty, of order, of cosmicconsciousness, of meaning. I know that's true. And I know I can't explain thesuffering. And so I actually, like I do in a love relationship, I hold themystery. I'd actually-- I apologize for my cough.  

Luke Storey: [00:49:49]That's okay. Hopefully, our editors will catch it.

Marc Gafni: [00:49:52]Editors, there we go. So I live in that space which I'm madly in love withreality. And I know that love is real. I know that we live in a cosmo-eroticuniverse in which Eros is real. And I can't explain suffering, and I live inthat mystery.

Marc Gafni: [00:50:31]I'm just going to finish this part because it's so important, then we'll take aone second break. And I think spirit loses people when it attempts to explainsuffering. And it's when Deepak attempted to explain it to Mlodinow, he lost him,correctly so. And there's this moment in the original Genesis text when God,the God force, and when we say God, the God you don't believe in doesn't exist.So whatever God means. The force of meaning, and goodness, and cosmos.

I often refer to God,Luke, as not the infinity of power, but the infinity of intimacy. And in eachgeneration, we need a new name of God, so we're trying to write a new story ofvalue at the center and response to the meta crisis, and the name of God thatwe've emerged and she whispered in our ear is we call God the infiniteintimate. God is the infinite--

Luke Storey: [00:51:36]I like that.

Marc Gafni: [00:51:36]It's beautiful. God is the infinite intimate. So the infinite intimate says toAbraham, I'm going to destroy, the famous story, the cities of Sodom andGomorrah. So Abraham should say, God's talking. God's clearly got thiscalculation worked out. Okay. I mean, God's the ultimate spiritual teacher. AndAbraham says, really? No. The guy said, what do you mean I'm God? You'reAbraham? And he says, no. Actually, no. And Abraham [Foreign], the judge of thewhole world not do justice. And the implication there is that Abrahamchallenges the divine and refuses to accept any explanation for humansuffering.

And God says, no,here's why I'm doing this. I got this covered. I'm God. Abraham says, no,sorry. I reject any explanation for human suffering. And that's a theme allthrough the lineage, is that any explanation for human suffering is not kosher.Any move to do theo logic. Theology. Theo logic actually deadens oursensitivity to the suffering. We actually have to look at the suffering andscream. We live in a world of outrageous pain, and don't use any theology orany metaphysics to deaden our sensitivity to the pain. 

And actually, when welook at suffering, one of my masters, he died in the early 19th century,Nachman of Breslov, who Kafka loved, says that when you see suffering, you haveto become an atheist. But not that you suspend belief or trust in the meaningfulnessof cosmos, but you have to take the response to it on yourself. You see a poorperson, you're an atheist. There's no God to take care of it. You take care ofit. It's yours to do so. That's what I mean. We live in a world of outrageouspain. 

The only response tooutrageous pain is outrageous love, and outrageous lovers commit outrageousacts of love. We become the God field. In any attempt to actually ameliorate orto soften the utter outrage at suffering is a violation of the divine. We actuallysuffer with the divine. And divinity suffers infinitely. So if divinity isinfinity of power and infinity of intimacy, it means divinity is also infinityof pain.

Luke Storey: [00:54:01]Yeah.

Marc Gafni: [00:54:02]So she suffers, that baby in Rwanda, she doesn't avert her eye. We look at itfor a second. She's living in that suffering, and that infinity of pain thatlives in us has to move us to become the God force and to create that newworld, that most beautiful, good, true world that we know is possible. And sowe avoid all explanations of suffering.

Luke Storey: [00:54:28]Well, this is a really good point because it's-- 

Marc Gafni: [00:54:32]Beautiful. 

Luke Storey: [00:54:34]As I've come to find peace with suffering evil, the other side of the scale, ofthe duality, to even explain it, that I'm okay with all the suffering and allthe evil. But at the same time, I'm not complacent, and I'm not uncaring. Andpart of my contribution to that understanding is to step in and to be helpful.To step in front of a bullet. All of that.

Marc Gafni: [00:55:05]So you got to hold both.

Luke Storey: [00:55:05]To serve. But I think some people view that perspective of like, no, this isthe way God designed the world. Just leave it alone. It doesn't mean thatyou're inactive, or passive, or uncaring. It is the playground that's beencreated that gives me the opportunity to help alleviate suffering.

If there was nosuffering there, then I wouldn't be able to do that. I wouldn't be able toaccess that expression of myself, which is really what I'm doing here on thispodcast. I mean, that's the core of it. I mean, not all of the podcasts that Irecord, ultimately, whether they're about the physical or the metaphysical,it's elevating consciousness and alleviating suffering that we might spark anidea in someone that changes the trajectory of their feeling or thoughts andbehavior.

Marc Gafni: [00:55:47]Ain't that beautiful? So your intention on this podcast is to alleviatesuffering. It's very beautiful. And that's a very clear intention. And so whatI'm just trying to tenderly do, or maybe not so tenderly, but fiercely, butalways with quivering tenderness underneath the fierceness is we want to stayoutraged about suffering. Pain is outrageous. 

I have a friend here inAustin, John, who's a grocer at Whole Foods. So John was the board chair of ourthink tank for a bunch of years. And John called me once, and John's a great guy.And John said, Marc, I don't think you should talk about outrageous pain. Let'scall it unlimited pain. So that's a nice word, because outrageous has the wordrage in it. 

And so I laughed, and Isaid, and John and I teased each other about this over the years, it's got tobe outrageous. You have to experience rage.  The profit experience israge. If you look at suffering, you're not outraged. You're actuallydissociated and alienated from the God field. And so there's that movie some 25years ago. I can't remember who starred in it. It was called Network.

Luke Storey: [00:57:04]Oh, yeah. There he goes bananas on the propaganda machine.

Marc Gafni: [00:57:09]That's right. And he--

Luke Storey: [00:57:10]Classic. I should watch that again because it'd be so relevant in the times inwhich we live now.

Marc Gafni: [00:57:15]That's such a great move. And he says, I want everyone to go out to the windowand say, I'm mad, and I'm just not going to take it anymore. And so he'saccessing outrage. And what metaphysics does is it actually blunts outrage,paradoxically. So I think we actually need to not get okay with it at all andat the same time realize that it doesn't take me out of the God field becausethe fact that I'm outraged tells me I live in a universe that's good. Because Iwouldn't be outraged if the universe was neutral. 

It's so gorgeous thatthe question of why itself is not the answer because there's no answer, butit's the response. There'd be no challenge. Suffering would not offer me anychallenge if I lived in a world which was a tale told by an idiot full of soundand fury signifying nothing. Suffering is only a challenge because I know thatI live in the field of the good and the true, and the beautiful. Sufferingviolates that field. 

So the fact that I'moutraged by suffering actually relocates me in the God field, and the divinefield, and the field of goodness, truth, and beauty, and I'm outraged, so thenit demands outrageous acts of love. Now, what we just did is we just rewrote2,000 years of history. In other words, what we just did is we just rejectedthe theodicies of the great traditions, not because they were wrong that theyeach have something important to say.

They're each true, butpartial. But they actually are insufficient, and they're offensive. There'snothing obscene in them. And all of secular modernity arises in rejection ofthe religious explanations of suffering. So I want to get how source code thisis. If we could, from the perspective of meaning, approach suffering in adifferent way, that's a source code evolution move.

Voltaire starts hisrevolution, remember the cruelties. You, Rousseau, Hobbes, Montesquieu. I mean,the entire Western tradition is about the rejection of religious explanationsof suffering. And the East doesn't do any better. The East works out the Dao.And it's all very nice. And I love Daoism, and I live deeply inside of it. AndI love Vajrayana and Myanmar Theravada a little bit less. But it's a mistake.

No, it's not justclarifying the mind. It's not just we're going to move beyond. Life issuffering. No. We're outraged by suffering. And the posture of the new humanand the new humanity is we're not just homo sapien, we're a loving person.We're homo amor. I'm Homo amor. I'm an irreducible, unique expression of thelove, intelligence and love beauty. And when I see suffering, I'm outraged. Butnot in a way that takes me out of the God field, not in the way that turns meinto--

Luke Storey: [01:00:10]Turns you into the thing that you're outraged by.

Marc Gafni: [01:00:12]That's right. It doesn't turn you into a monster.

Luke Storey: [01:00:13]And that's what we see so much in our culture, especially starting around 2016.I hate the people that hate. You just see the wheels spinning, going nowhere.And that's not the way up and out.

Marc Gafni: [01:00:30]It's not the way up and out. And that's so true in our culture. In other words,what we do in our culture is we say we're outraged by your position because wedon't realize that both of us are in the field of value. And in the field ofvalue, value can express itself in competing perspectives, but we actuallydon't experience ourselves as being in the field of value. It's very subtle.When I'm not in the field of value, I'm outside the Dao. I'm outside the fieldof value. Then my position is not an expression of value. It's my identity.

Luke Storey: [01:01:06]Bingo.

Marc Gafni: [01:01:07]And if it's my identity, I'm never going to compromise on my identity, so myidentity conflicts with your identity.

Luke Storey: [01:01:13]That puts a lot of pieces together. 

Marc Gafni: [01:01:15]Does it, really?

Luke Storey: [01:01:16]Yeah. Well, in terms of what we see now with the influx of cultural Marxism,for lack of a better term, but it's as though-- well, it's not as though,people are being encouraged to self-identify in all of these micro identifiesthat aren't actually inherently who they are.

Marc Gafni: [01:01:36]Because we have no identity. So there's a vacuum of identity.

Luke Storey: [01:01:40]And then when-- the way I perceive it at least, is when the ego goes, oh, I'mthat go, I'm going to grab that and identify with that so deeply and sointimately--

Marc Gafni: [01:01:50]Hijacks that identity.

Luke Storey: [01:01:51]Then that becomes my perception and my identification of who and what I am.Therefore, anything that threatens that identity directly and personallythreatens me and puts me on the defense or offense against those who aren'tthat.

Marc Gafni: [01:02:06]Luke, that's gorgeous. Let's play with it.

Luke Storey: [01:02:09]And it's such a mind fuck because it's such a disservice to humanity. Andpeople are blindly and innocently going along with it because the people thathave put these ideas into motion and injected them into culture know whatthey're doing. This is the conspiratorial part of me, that the illusion issomething we're so prone to because of our tribalism and just the way that weidentify with ego that if you give us that menu and say, pick that one and Ipick that, then I become entrapped and enslaved unto myself without evenneeding an oppressor to do it because of the inherent division.

Marc Gafni: [01:02:53]So let's go slow. Let's go slow. So there's two parts here. So one is-- andthey're both true. We need to look at them carefully. So one is there issomething called propaganda, which is real. Propaganda is not something thatappears on some fringe podcast that's made up. Propaganda is a very clear andintentional methodology.

Luke Storey: [01:03:16]And it's not just on a billboard from USSR.

Marc Gafni: [01:03:19]That's right.

Luke Storey: [01:03:20]We think of propaganda as like iconography or something. But it's a moreprolific mind virus, and it's multifaceted.

Marc Gafni: [01:03:27]Propaganda is actually the way culture works. And it's actually quite organizedand quite intentional. And it is organized by the legacy institutions. Andthere's an enormous amount of information on that which is very, very real. Sothat's one. Two, there are bad actors. But there are bad actors for one of tworeasons, either because there are some really demonic, bad actors, there arereal bad actors in the world. That's true. But generally, the bad actors viewthemselves as good actors. They basically say, oh, we're confronted by risk,different forms of existential risk. 

One of the first peoplewho fit into this world was BF Skinner, at Harvard, for six decades at Harvard.He's the rating psychologist. And we're actually about, myself and Zach Stein,about to come out with a book. It's probably going to be authored by David JTemple, which is a very careful analysis of the MIT Media Lab, which is at thecenter of the Web plex, and the source of the MIT Media Lab's thinking in BFSkinner.

Luke Storey: [01:04:36]Oh, interesting.

Marc Gafni: [01:04:37]Which is quite shocking. And BF Skinner basically operates under the assumptionthat the only way to respond to this risk is to control the whole system. Youcontrol it through propaganda. BF Skinner talks about creating-- being able tocontrol rats, and pigeons, and what he calls Skinner's boxes, where invisiblelevers of control the rats and pigeons.

And if you study theMIT Media Lab carefully, particularly the writings of one of its figures, AlexPentland, Sandy Pentland, who's not a demon, I'd be delighted to have Sandyover for dinner, but he's operating under the assumption that spirit's notreal, that value is not real, therefore we need to control the system. We can'tlet people know they're being controlled, so we have to use the levers ofsocial media to actually control and to create reality as a skinner'sbox. 

And the word thatPentland uses for Skinner's box, euphemistically, is living laboratory. Hecalls the Skinner's box-- there's 23 core issues which we won't get into now.It's its own podcast. Where Pentland is directly drawing on Skinner, pretendslike he doesn't know Skinner. But when you read the language carefully, it'svery clear that he does. And I read through all Skinner's works and pretty muchall Pentland's works because I'm crazy. And we have to do real work. We have tobe grounded. 

And it's very, veryclear that this notion that you're talking about, this move to control, andthat which the conspiratorial world doesn't actually ground itself and it justmakes claims, actually, there's something very real there. So there ispropaganda which is real, that moves to control the system. That's true. 

But there's somethingeven more insidious, which is, the reason we reduce human beings, the reasonhuman beings don't actually act from their highest, the reason that we havethese, essentially, pseudo eros self-understandings is because we don't have agood story about who we are. In other words, what a conspiracy theory is, is astory about what's going on.

Now when you're notoperating in a deeper story, what is the story of cosmos? When we don't have auniverse story because we only have a regressive fundamentalist story, but wedon't have a new universe story which tells us enlightenment, what's the natureof reality? There'll be lots of uncertainty, but what is reality? I don'tactually get that. Reality is actually a love story. The reality is not just afact. It is a story. And it's not just an ordinary story. It's actually a lovestory.

And it's not aPollyannaish love story. It's got filled with agony and ecstasy, but it's alove story from quarks all the way to subatomic particles that become atoms, toatoms become molecules, and molecules become macromolecules. It's actually astory of allurement, of separate parts becoming larger holes, of new synergiesand new emergences. Reality is actually a love story. That's actually itsnature. If you don't get reality as a love story, so you don't get reality asEros, then you're left with no plot line. When you're left with no plot line,you got to fill something in.

Luke Storey: [01:07:42]Boom.

Marc Gafni: [01:07:44]Boom, conspiracy. Reductive materialists.

Luke Storey: [01:07:46]And there you identify that your identity that in some cases has been handed toyou through propaganda on a silver platter--

Marc Gafni: [01:07:53]So you just-- 

Luke Storey: [01:07:54]And you gobble it up like one of Skinner's rats.

Marc Gafni: [01:07:57]Exactly. So you just tied us back in, which is gorgeous. So what happens?

Luke Storey: [01:08:01]It's cool.

Marc Gafni: [01:08:01]So there's no storyline. So I'm not actually an expression of Eros. I'm not anirreducibly unique self. Who is Luke? A unique configuration of Eros. But ifI'm not a unique configuration of Eros, of the field of Eros, so then I'mempty. Emptiness is unimaginably painful. So I don't have Eros. I need pseudoEros. So pseudo Eros is a contrived identity.

Luke Storey: [01:08:24]Oh man.

Marc Gafni: [01:08:25]I'm left. I'm right. And that's polarization.

Luke Storey: [01:08:29]We see so much of that right now too. 

Marc Gafni: [01:08:32]Isn't that amazing?

Luke Storey: [01:08:32]Yeah. And the momentum behind it is just staggering.

Marc Gafni: [01:08:36]It's staggering.

Luke Storey: [01:08:37]If you went in a time machine and just went back three or four years and poppedout today, you'd be like, what is happening?

Marc Gafni: [01:08:43]And let's just see how critical is what we're saying, brother, because we'retrying to actually get beneath all the punditry. There hasn't been oneintelligent article in the New York Times, on CNN, or Fox News, not one, or inGermany, or in France, etc, which actually explains, well, polarization. 

What we've just done iswe've actually unpacked what polarization is. Polarization comes from theexperience that I'm not in the field of value. I'm not in the field of Eros,that my story is not part of a larger story. I can't live without a story,without a plot line, without a self-understanding, without the eros ofself-understanding. Pseudo Eros comes in. I create a contrived identity. If Ihave a contrived identity, I'm Republican, I'm Democrat. I'm left, I'm right. Idie for my identity because I don't have anything else. That's polarization.

But if we both stepinto the field of value, meaning-- I'll just give you an example. So let's sayLuke and Marc are both in the field of value. We're in the field of value andwe're arguing over abortion, which is obviously a critically important issue.Now, you might tend towards pro-life or I might, or you might tend towardspro-choice, but actually we can hear each other because you're not saying-- soif you're out of the field of values, say I'm pro-life, meaning life is my onlyvalue, I ignore choices of value.

Luke Storey: [01:10:12]And I'm saying I am that, ignoring what I really am.

Marc Gafni: [01:10:17]That's right. So I'm not. So instead of us both being in the field of value,which, if we're in the field of value, we realize, oh, life's a value andchoice's a value. So both life and choice are expressions of a deeper field ofvalue. So we're both in the field of value. The field of value is beneath lifeand choice. It's the field of value.

Then that field ofvalue expresses itself uniquely as life and choice to individual values. Butwe're both in the field of value. So when you say life matters, I say, oh, ofcourse. It's a very important value. When I say choice matters, you say, ofcourse, choice is a very important value. So now life and choice need tosynergize, and we need to create a more whole new set of values that canactually embrace both positions. But if we're both outside the field of value,so then--

Luke Storey: [01:11:06]And out of that is born compromise and negotiation.

Marc Gafni: [01:11:10]And not compromise and negotiation, which is a sellout.

Luke Storey: [01:11:14]Cooperation? What comes out of that?

Marc Gafni: [01:11:18]Synergy.

Luke Storey: [01:11:18]Okay.

Marc Gafni: [01:11:18]Something more whole.

Luke Storey: [01:11:18]I'm just thinking about legislation and how things actually manifest throughthat.

Marc Gafni: [01:11:23]Absolutely. But that legislation is not because we're giving up. Well, I can'tgive up any of my value life because I'm betraying God. No, I recognize thatyour value is also an expression of the God field choice. So now we synergizeand we create a whole, greater than the sum of the parts. 

So we've got choice.We've got life. They're both in the field of value. So then those two valueshave to fructify each other, and they've got to generate a new emergent. That'show evolution works. Evolution works when there's an intimacy between parts, inthis case, values. They're not dissociated. They come together and somethingnew emerges. Let me try and say just one-- we have another minute on this?

Luke Storey: [01:12:05]Yeah.

Marc Gafni: [01:12:05]This is crazy important.

Luke Storey: [01:12:06]It's super cool.

Marc Gafni: [01:12:07]This is where all goes wrong in culture. So remember earlier we talked aboutthe levels of self. We said there's separate self, completely separate, puzzlepiece by itself, no puzzle. Then we said there's true self, I'm one with thefield. Then we said there's unique self, I'm unique expression of the field. Solet's look at it this way. One way of understanding value is as separate self.So there's life, there's choice, there's separate self. They're not in thefield of value. 

Separate selves clashwith each other. They fight. They try and kill each other. That's what Hobbeswrites. There's a state of war. But if I actually move into, oh, I'm now in thefield of value, I realize, oh, life and choice, those are both expressions ofthe field of value. In fact, those are unique self. Those are uniqueexpressions. They're not separate selves. They're unique expressions of thefield of value. Oh, those unique expressions of the field of value, they cometogether and then they evolve something new. 

They become a newevolutionary, unique self that evolves the whole field. We're living in adifferent world now. We just described a different world. In other words,polarization comes from the inability to realize that it's not a contradiction,it's a paradox in which both sides are actually holding value. It's a shockingrealization. What we do is we glom onto value. We hijack value for identity.That's the source of all polarization. 

And here's the weirdthing. Last sentence. Both the fundamentalist Christian community, on thisissue, and the liberal progressive community, they're both out of the field ofvalue because you would think, oh, the fundamentalist Christians, they're inthe field of value, and those postmodern liberal progressives, they're out ofthe field of value. It's not true. 

The fundamentalistChristians are not in the field of value. They're saying, no, there is no fieldof value. There's only our position. The Muslims are wrong. The Jews are wrong.The progressive Christians are wrong. That's not the field of value. That'sactually, I'm not in the field of value. There's just one unique configurationand one value that's the only truth.

It means they'vestepped out of the field of value. They can't hear the resonances of value. Andof course, the progressive liberal position is generally postmodern. There isno field of value. So actually, both postmodern progressives and regressivefundamentalist Christians have both stepped out of the field of value so theycan't hear each other. Now, that's true on every issue. And here's the crazything. I remember Dick Nixon.

Luke Storey: [01:14:36]You consider running for president?

Marc Gafni: [01:14:38]But ain't that beautiful?

Luke Storey: [01:14:39]He's got it. This is it.

Marc Gafni: [01:14:41]It's so beautiful.

Luke Storey: [01:14:42]Yeah. Imagine, though, and I'm not I'm not blowing smoke here. I mean, it'sbeautiful the way you're able to break this down. But imagine if you heard alegitimate politician speaking about our culture in this way.

Marc Gafni: [01:14:55]And we used to.

Luke Storey: [01:14:57]Dick Nixon.

Marc Gafni: [01:14:59]Here's the interesting thing. So Dick Nixon, John Kennedy, we all know thatthey had a big presidential contestation in 1960. If we followed it carefully,we know that Joe Kennedy probably stole the election. That's a separate--there's lots of literature on that. Let's not go down that road. And it's thenotion that that's a whole other conversation. 

But actually, DickNixon and Jack Kennedy were friends. They became friends in 1947 on a trainride where they shared a bunk, going to Washington. And they remain friends allthrough the '50s. And then they had this quite bitter contestation. Theyremained friends afterwards. They were in touch afterwards because they hadthis deep sense that they were in a shared field of value. It was beforepostmodernity, which is really modernity on steroids essentially, deconstructedthe field of value.

And if I can go likejust deep for 10 seconds for people. So modernity borrowed social capital frompre modernity. And the social capital of the bard was the field of value.Modernity said, "We're not sure how to work this out, but let's justassume there's a field of value."

So they borrowed socialcapital from pre modernity, the traditional world. The loan just sat there.Along came postmodernity and called in the loan, said, fuck you guys, there isno field of value. You guys made it up. You just borrowed it. That's not true.That's what postmodernity did. It called in the loan. It said there is no fieldof value. I mean, if you get an award, you're going to say, 500 years in threesentences, that's essentially what happened.

Luke Storey: [01:16:32]I just had a vision of an animation of this.

Marc Gafni: [01:16:36]That's great.

Luke Storey: [01:16:37]It'd be great to see the characters play this out.

Marc Gafni: [01:16:39]Isn't that great? And you can like, oh. So Jack Kennedy and Dick Nixon arestill in the field of modernity, so they haven't worked out in their mindsexactly how it works. And Jack Kennedy's not really a Catholic, but he is andis not. And Dick Nixon is a Lutheran, Protestant, and Presbyterian, sort of is.But they both assume-- they haven't worked this out, and we're in a field ofvalue. And so basically, they look at each other and they just assume thatwhich unites us is so much greater than that which divides us.

And Nixon wrote such abeautiful note to Jackie when John was killed. And you just felt. And theyliked each other. Can you imagine today two figures that contested so deeply inthe public sphere being good friends? And we've lost the sense that we're in ashared field of value, which is the source of polarization. And polarization isone of the three fundamental causes for existential risk. So what we're talkingabout here is not a meta theoretical, academic, intellectual teas conversation.This is everything. This is everything. If we don't understand the dynamicsthat creates polarization, we're fucked.

Luke Storey: [01:17:53]And there can be no civility without a field of value because the field ofvalue is the intimacy that draws us together as different but part of the samewhole.

Marc Gafni: [01:18:06]You're my new best friend. Yes. And at the core of everything is a globalintimacy disorder. I love right-- that's exactly right. There's a globalintimacy. And what causes intimacy? So Alyson and Luke. And so we're not goingto do a-- since I know nothing about your marriage, so we're not going to doit.

Luke Storey: [01:18:26]It's a beautiful marriage.

Marc Gafni: [01:18:27]Marriage conversation. It's beautiful. It's interesting. But in other words, sowhy does it work? Why is it a beautiful marriage? And of course, you've gotyour ups and downs, which everyone has in the world except for, of course, meand Kristina, who are perfect. Why is it a beautiful marriage? Because youhave-- there's some shared field of value. In other words, in all of the otherissues that we're trying to work on in a marriage which we all try and work on,and everyone tries to work on their relationship, and we all should, but thoseonly work if we're in a shared field of value.

So if there's no fieldof value between Marc and Kristina, between Alyson and Luke, then we can't haveintimacy. Intimacy requires a shared field of value. So an intimacy disorder atits core is actually a breakdown in the shared field of value. And everythingelse is an expression of that. That's a big deal. So a global intimacydisorder, which is, I think, the root cause of existential risk. Existentialrisk is based on win-lose dynamics and rivalrous conflict, number one, thatgenerates fragile systems, number two, that's a longer conversation.

Those are the generatorfunctions. But underneath those generator functions is a root cause. The rootcause is a global intimacy disorder. But the global intimacy disorder is rootedin a collapse of a shared story of value. So therefore, the way to respond toexistential risk is to reconstruct a shared story value.

Luke Storey: [01:19:50]Boom.

Marc Gafni: [01:19:51]Boom.

Luke Storey: [01:19:52]That's what we're doing.

Marc Gafni: [01:19:53]Boom. That's what we're doing here.

Luke Storey: [01:28:52]So if we've got-- Let's just simplify it. We've got two parties, and I thinkthe pro-life and pro-choice positionality was a really a good framing becausethere's so much polarity there. So say we've got both sides of that or anyissue, and there's a circle in the room of value, and both of us are standingoutside of that circle, and the solution to synergy is for us to at least beginby getting back in that circle of shared value.

Marc Gafni: [01:29:28]Step back into the--

Luke Storey: [01:29:30]Okay. So how is this possible when you have such vast numbers of people thatare living with unhealed trauma and addictions, for example, myself included inearlier part of life where I was reduced to my base nature, to my animal natureto such a degree that the only field of value in my capacity and available tome is how do I survive the next five minutes.

Marc Gafni: [01:30:07]Which is what addiction is about at its core.

Luke Storey: [01:30:09]Yeah. And the having had the grace and good fortune to overcome that, the worldstarts broadening a bit in my perspective starts to open because, wow, I haveto find meaning. I have to find value or I'm going to again be reduced to mybase nature and all of the inherent suffering that comes with that. So as wesit here, we're two men that are-- the refrigerator is full. 
We're not in fight or flight, suffering. We've worked on ourselves. We continueto work on ourselves. We're awakening. So you and I could have a conversationlike this where we're agreeing in a shared field of value, and we can worktoward a solution, and synergy, and cooperation. But how do we invite someonein who's still in a lower state of consciousness and caught in that suffering?

Marc Gafni: [01:31:01]That's beautiful. It's such a beautiful inquiry. Thank you. In other words, wehave to be able to heal the field of culture itself. In other words, what'sbroken is the field of value in culture. So there's a death of the father. Andthe father is the call of value. We love the mother, and I have written volumeson the mother, many volumes, a decade of my life writing about she, the fieldof the mother. So the mother is unimaginably important. And that's a wholeconversation. 

But there's a motherand a father. And the mother is the intrinsic value of everything at all times,but the mother doesn't always make a demand. When I say the mother, I don'tmean the gendered mother, I mean, the mother, the archetype, the mother, thequality of mother. And that the father, though, the father says there's nothingto do here. There's a demand. 

Now, the father gothijacked by the great religions. The father, just like the mother did, themother got hijacked by some of the early traditions, the great mothertraditions, which were very beautiful, and also bloodthirsty and horrific. Theywere very complex religions. The father religions also had great beauty andwere also bloodthirsty and horrific in their own ways, so the Westerntraditions. But you've got to liberate the spark of the mother traditions andliberate the spark of the father traditions. 

Each one has a spark ofthe sacred. Each one is a broken vessel. But in that broken vessel, there's aspark of the sacred. And we need to actually create a new world religion as acontext for our diversity and a new possibility. And in that new space, we needto actually reinvoke the blessing of the father and the blessing of the motherthat comes together and actually invoke this field of value that calls us tosomething. 

And so let me give youan example. A 1,000 years ago, ask a seven-year old about democracy or an85-year old wise one, and they'll look at you like, democracy? What? Humanbeings are going to choose their own government? It's just an utterly insaneidea. 

Now, ask any seven-yearold, at least in the Western world, about democracy, and they'll say, oh, ofcourse. So that idea is now stepped into consciousness. So there's a field ofvalue in which democracy is an expression of that field of value and it'saccessible to seven-year olds. Interesting. So what we did is we deconstructedthe field of value.

So when we deconstructthe field of value and I'm only a separate self, that's all I am, means I comeinto this world at birth, ages zero days till two years, I get traumatized. I'mwounded. I'm hurt. And my entire existence is I'm a prisoner of childhood.Melanie Klein. I'm traumatized and devastated because of the early lack ofattunements in my life and whatever they happened to be. And that's a veryattachment theory is very real.

And attachment theoryis an enormous evolution of consciousness, an enormous contribution. But it'salso fundamentally flawed because it assumes reductive materialist assumptions.And what does it assume? It assumes that, oh, everything happens between themoment you're born or prenatal, nine months before, and your first severalyears. It means you come into this world and there's no prior existence.There's no larger field of value. There's no continuity of consciousness. 

So therefore, ifthere's nothing else but this, well, then everything must have been formed thenif you were in some sense deformed in the time you're supposed to be formed,you're traumatized. How can you ever move beyond it? That's her assumption.It's a tragic assumption. What's actually more true is I'm born out of a fieldof value, into a field of value.

I'm a uniqueconfiguration of value. I'm born into a particular life that forms me in aparticular way, which is part of the invitation and destiny of my life. But I'mcalled by something larger. I'm not just formed by the traumas of yesterdaywithin my lifetime. I'm actually intended by Cosmos. I was born in a particulartime that I didn't choose in a particular place that I didn't choose with aparticular set of proclivities that I didn't choose at a particular time inhistory I didn't choose. Why do I think I'm so in charge of this?

In other words-- andI'm needed by cosmos. And my particular set of circumstances are the fate thatI need to turn into destiny. That's much more interesting. So it's not just I'mcontrolled by yesterday's past, I'm actually called by value itself. I live ina field of value. I live in the eternity of value in the present, and I'mcalled by value into the future. So what we have to do is we have to realignthe field. We can't do it through individual trauma work, although that needsto be done. Trauma work is enormously important. We all need to do that work.

Luke Storey: [01:36:09]Pardon the interruption, though. Is not one way in which the field isinfluenced, though, by my healing of my trauma, and then producing offspring,and being a loving, kind, attentive father?

Marc Gafni: [01:36:23]The healing of my trauma--

Luke Storey: [01:36:24]The generational aspect of it?

Marc Gafni: [01:36:26]The healing of my generational trauma, if I intend it as such, this is acredit, if I do it only in my own local world, then it has some effect. But ifI intend my healing of trauma for the evolution of consciousness, then I'mbeing an evolutionary by that act. And as I transform trauma from separate selfpsychological work into evolutionary work, I'm an erotic mystic reweaving thefield of Eros. 

Well, then my traumaworks completely different, and then my trauma work has much more capacity tobe successful because trauma work today is about organizing the memory of thepast. But there's not just the memory of the past, there's the depth of thepresent and there's the memory of the future. So trauma work has basicallydissociated from the eternal depths of enlightenment in the present and fromthe call of the memory of the future. 
So if I could frame it for a second, we live in a psychological self. And thepsychological self says that one quality of time dominates the past. Now,that's not wrong. Breuer's sitting there with Freud in Vienna, and you've gotall these hysterical women that are being labeled as hysterical, somehow almostevil women. And Breuer says, fuck you culture. Actually, these women wereabused. And we actually need to hold them with compassion. And they're actuallyvictims. And we actually need to go into their past, find the key to unlock thegate to their beauty and their depth. 

That's gorgeous. Sopsychology locates this, oh, there's this great wisdom in the past. We need togo back, and we weren't aware of that before. That was one of the greatestevolutions of consciousness in Western civilization, is that realization ofpsychology that we can actually reconfigure our past patterns by reentering thepast and reliving the past. That's stunning. That's the psychologicalself. 

But then you have asecond self which is equally important, which I call the mystical self. And themystical self is the self of the great lineages that didn't understand the past,but they did get the depth of the present, the eternity that resides in themoment. So notice this. The psychological self ignores the mystical self.Psychology generally ignores the depth of the transpersonal. 

The mystical selfignores the psychological self. So the mystical self says go into the infinitedepth of the present, and there you'll find wholeness. That's exactly halftrue, just like the psychological self is exactly half true. They both ignoreand cancel each other. But actually, you can't just get whole. I know a numberof people very, very good people who are very close to Muktananda. It was avery--

Luke Storey: [01:39:01]Oh wow. Muktananda, that's so interesting, you mentioned that.

Marc Gafni: [01:39:05]A very important American teacher. But the tragedy of the world aroundMuktananda, not just him, but the entire world of Eastern spiritual teachingthat came to the United States is it didn't get the importance of thepsychological, and it thought that the mystical self would heal everything,just like the psychological self ignored the depth of enlightenment. So there'sa psychological self which says the primary experience of reality is the past.The key to liberation is reliving the past. 

Mystical self ignoresthe psychological self. No, the eternity of the now. Those are both important,true, but partial. We need to integrate them both. But we need to bring a thirdself online. And I call the third self the evolutionary self. The evolutionaryself is called by the memory of the future.

The evolutionary selfunderstands that hope is a memory of the future, and transformation is a memoryof the future. That's what transformation is. Twenty years ago, I moved from 25to 20. Just 20 years ago, let's say 25, Luke is in a hard moment, but he has amemory of the future. He sees this other Luke, and he's called-- 

Luke Storey: [01:40:14]A vision of potentiality.

Marc Gafni: [01:40:16]It's a vision of possibility. But it's not just a psychological vision thatyou're called. You actually feel the call, that future Luke is calling me.There's a future self that's calling me. And actually that's the unique self ofLuke that needs to be recovered. So I don't just recover and reorganize thepast, I actually recover the vision of my future. And I can't actually get outof the mud-- excuse the crude metaphor. If I'm just pushing from behind, I needto be pulled by the future. 

So in our model ofself, if we can augment, we started with separate self, true self, unique self,evolutionary unique self. That was our four-puzzle piece model. That's modelone in this new story of value we call cosmo-erotic humanism. Model two, andthey work together, is there's a psychological self, and there's a mysticalself, and there's an evolutionary, a future self, and we need all three. 

One emphasizes thepast, the other emphasizes the present, the third emphasizes the future. Allthree of them dismiss the other one. Tragic. We need to integrate them in. I'mcalled by the future. I live in the depth of the present, and I recover andreorganize the memory of the past. So we need to do that for culture. That'swhat we need. That's what a new story value does. It actually allows people tolive in that story of value.

And I have a 12-yearold son who's a gorgeous young man, Zion. And he came to me and said, "Iwant to watch TikTok." And I said, "Not even a conversation.No." Let's negotiate. No negotiation. He said, "Why?" I said,"Because TikTok is videos that go every 45 seconds, which your mindactually turns off. They actually bypass the process of transmission of values.You get completely addicted to them, and your mind is going to be fried by 15.So you can be as mad at me as you want. I love you madly. No."

And that's what we'redoing. We're taking people out of the field of value. TikTok, Facebook, theentire social media complex is driven by profit by a series of privatecompanies. And it's actually shocking, private companies that are nowcontrolling our shared space. And Metcalf's law, we have no choice but to be inthat shared space, because if we're not in that shared space, we're cut offfrom social discourse.

So I've got to besomehow connected. And in that shared space, they're actually optimizing forengagement, which means addiction, meaning most time on an app which directlygenerates more, what's called digital exhaust, more breadcrumbs, which are thenfed into algorithmic structures, which then create predictive analysis aboutwhat my future behavior will be. And then that predictive analysis is sold inChinese auctions happening billions of times a day to misaligned third partiesor misalign with my highest value. 

That's a shockingreality, and no one's ever agreed to it. And the reason it started was becausein 2001, Google was having a hard time, and Sergey and Larry were living inSilicon Valley. And Sergey said, I don't want to be a schmuck and just have a$40 million company. And so they then reconfigured their business model againsttheir own internal sense of values, which was that a search engine couldn't doadvertisement.
And they figured out how to actually do advertising much more effectivelythrough this reality mining, turning digital exhaust into predictive analysis.2002, 2003, Eric Schmidt works on that very intensely. And the reason they getaway with it is because their own internal senses wasn't against the law. Itwasn't against the law because the law had become dissociated from value. Andlaw didn't even know how to address it because it was an emergent reality thatlaw couldn't address. 

So basically, Sergeyand Larry are basically postmodernists dissociated from the field of value attheir very core. So is Mark. Mark went to Exeter, Zuckerberg. Exeter is a placeI've taught, given public assemblies, met with hundreds of students. Exeter isutterly dissociated from the field of value. I spoke to one teacher at Exeterwho said to me when I came to Exeter, the good, the true and the beautiful werea given for everybody.

Forty years later, Ileave Exeter, neither the students nor the faculty actually subscribes to anyfield of value to any good, true, and beautiful. That's what educated MarkZuckerberg. So he goes to Facebook and he basically says he's trying to figureout, okay, how do we actually organize and control reality and actuallyorganize love based on algorithmic structures that are measurable? Because forhim, there's no field of value. 

And these companies,and of course, Baidu, in China, it's all over the-- they've taken over thesocial space. They've actually created our social space unregulated bygovernment because government actually doesn't have any data engineers, datascientists who know how to regulate it, to understand the algorithms. 

So there's no bindingforce. It's a shocking reality. So we get upgraded algorithms, very narrowvectors of profit for 15 or 20 people. It's actually shocking that are actuallycontrolling the space of consciousness world over based on appealing to thelowest common denominator, which can affect control, and they're actuallyrooted in Skinner. And Skinner writes a novel in 1948 called Walden Two, whichis far more frightening than the novel the year before by Orwell, 1984.

Luke Storey: [01:46:08]But not meant to be.

Marc Gafni: [01:46:10]But not meant to be. And Walden Two is a description of a city driven andorganized by what are called controllers who organize the space and operate thelevers of control without anyone in the city knowing it's possible. And thenSkinner writes afterwards, he says, Walden Two's the only way to respond toexistential risk. It doesn't use those words, but it's what he implies. Hesays, the problem is I don't have the instruments and the methods to accomplishit. 

Along comes datascience and provides the Skinnerian reductive materialist worldview withinstruments and methods. MIT Media Lab Steps in front and center doing dataScience. And we have this new reality driven by algorithmic structures, listento this, that no one voted on. So you think you live in a democracy. Well, dowe? No one voted on any of these things. Who voted? These are the mostimportant issues at stake.

Luke Storey: [01:47:07]Not only did people not vote--

Marc Gafni: [01:47:09]No one's even aware they were happening.

Luke Storey: [01:47:10]They don't know they exist.

Marc Gafni: [01:47:11]They don't even know they exist. No vote. And now as we're moving intoChatGPT-4, these new AI structures in which the entire AI race is driven by avery small group of people, and you've got about 20% of leading AI people todaywho think that AI is existential risk, meaning it can actually cause for-- it'sa different podcast. For a number of reasons, it can cause a values lock inbecause once we get to AGI, general artificial intelligence, then within a yearor two, whoever gets to AGI first, essentially, dominates all militaries andall economies. 

So let's say thathappens through China. You get a China values lock in for a 1,000 years. Imean, it's a very serious issue. So why are we doing it? Why do we keepdeveloping towards artificial general intelligence if there's a 20% risk thatthat's going to cause existential risk? Either an extinction, because we don'tknow what it's going to do. We don't know. It's a black box. It's what NickBostrom calls in a 2019 essay, called the Vulnerability Hypothesis. It's ablack box where you don't know what it's going to produce. Why don't we stop?Because we're out of the field of value.

And so the only thingin the field is a pseudo asteroid called win-lose metrics. So therefore, wecreate this world of multi-polar traps and races to the bottom tragedies of thecommons, where essentially everyone keeps developing it because no one knowshow to get off the wheel because there's this addiction, and it's literallyhappening today as chat GPT-4. And all of a sudden people are saying, oh, thisis a little scary, but the development goes on.

There's been, in thelast four months, an explosion of reinvestment by series of companies in new AItechnologies because one company was successful with ChatGPT-3 that blew Googleout of the water. Google was shocked. They then took off the shelves all theirdevelopment, ignored all the ethical concerns, even though they pretended topay attention to them. And we literally have an AI arms race because we're outof the field of value. 

So in other words, wecan't just deal with individual trauma. We have to deal with the collectivetrauma of being outside the field of value. And Fromm wrote a book-- ErichFromm, who's gorgeous, called The Sane Society. And his basic point was, youthink you're insane and you think it's your personal insanity, actually, itmight be a collective pathology. And there's no great accomplishment to bewell-adjusted in an insane society. That's right. 

If you're awell-adjusted in an insane society, there's nothing wrong with you. We shouldactually be outraged. We should experience the maladjustment. And it's onlythat emergence of political will, and political will only emerges from a fieldof value. It's only if you feel values being violated that you're outraged. Sowhen people look at the web plex today, why aren't they outraged? Becausebasically people aren't in the field of value. So they can't figure out, well,what's been violated. It's not against the law.
What's been violated is human personhood. I mean, Skinner and Pentland, at theMIT Media Lab, take it as a given, there's no human choice. Choice is an illusion.That's shocking. Atlantic Magazine, 2016, cover article, Choice is an Illusion.Personhood is an illusion. 

But if I don't believethat personhood is an intrinsic value of cosmos, if I don't believe choice isan intrinsic value of cosmos, if I don't believe transformation is an intrinsicvalue of cosmos, well, it's not against the law. Nothing's been violated.There's no outrage. 

That's why outrage isso important, because we don't even know what's been violated. And that's whatthat movie Network was saying. He was saying, this is wrong. Get mad. I'm notgoing to take this anymore. So we need to invoke outrage. We can only invokeoutrage when we're in the field of value. Otherwise, we get lost in the rabbithole of our personal traumas. And it's why I responded to your question in thisparticular way. 

Personal trauma iscritical, but can also become a form of pseudo eros. It can also become therabbit hole I go down to actually ignore the larger collapse of the field ofvalid to ignore existential risk, to ignore the larger vectors of the strikes.I'm not even sure what to do with it, so I just look away. Robert Jay Liftonwrote a book called Facing Apocalypse, where he talks about the deep desire tolook away. We've got to look towards. And so that's a big conversation.

Luke Storey: [01:51:47]There's something really interesting that came to mind when you were describingthe capacity we have to work on the past and to focus on the past. And thatthat's what shaped us, our traumas. And digging in the past and the wholeFreudian piece. And then you have the Muktananda presence, the eternal now, andthen you have the-- 

Marc Gafni: [01:52:11]Mystical self.

Luke Storey: [01:52:12]You have the mystical self, then you have the vision of the future self. And itwas interesting, as you describe that, because at different times I think I'vetouched elements of that along my own personal evolution. However, and I alwaysgive the disclaimer, I'm not saying this is the way for everyone, but as you'resaying that, my awareness is screaming, psychedelics, because those experiencesare where, for me personally, my story, not for everyone. Do your research, doyour own thing, people.

But that is where allof the pieces of psychology, mysticism, all of those constructs, all theversions of me, almost like a Russian doll, a vision that'll come to me asdoing inner child work, for example. I can sit with the therapist and I go, oh,shit, man. When I was five, this happened. Well, now I see why I'm this way.And I might get some incremental change in evolution out of that.

Marc Gafni: [01:53:06]It's valuable.

Luke Storey: [01:53:07]But I still saw, well, that was Luke, the little boy who doesn't exist anymore.He's gone. Now I'm this different person as an adult. And through theseprocesses, I've seen the Russian doll. It's like, no, every version of myselffrom my inception until this moment is actually still me and I'm still here.It's an integration process. 

And in some of thoseexperiences, I mean, to call it like a deep, reverent presence, there's nowords that can even describe the level of presence in the me now and theintegration of the past traumatized me and the psychological sort of model thatwas necessary to heal those parts of myself within me in the now. 

But more than anythingis like, okay, so I'm that, and I'm this, but what if I was that future self?The evolutionary mystical self is going like, oh, we're pulling you toward whatyou could be, but we have to pull you with what you were and what you are.Because it's all present in the eternal now.

Marc Gafni: [01:54:10]No, it's gorgeous.

Luke Storey: [01:54:11]And I'm sure many people-- I think you've said different paths to the samemountain or something.

Marc Gafni: [01:54:17]One mountain, many paths.

Luke Storey: [01:54:18]One mountain, many paths. I love that. I've never heard it said like that. Butthis has just been my path. It's 25 years of working in all the realms and thenthe past few years of integrating that with the assistance of ceremony andwhatnot. And those, I mean, those have been the exponential movers for me whereit's like, whoa, go spend a weekend somewhere, unpack all this, put it togetherwithout being encumbered by the mind, and the ego, and all the things and beingin more of a state of pure consciousness and having the veil of my senses outof the way, and everything is more clear. 

Clarity, putting thatall together in a comprehensive way and emerging as a different person. Notjust feeling different, but my whole life actually becoming different.Relationships, work, mission, purpose, my value, my field of value expandingand growing and becoming more inclusive of totality.

Marc Gafni: [01:55:24]Gorgeous. Psychedelics.

Luke Storey: [01:55:26]Yeah. So psychedelics.

Marc Gafni: [01:55:27]It's great.

Luke Storey: [01:55:30]I mean, I guess what I'm saying is when I heard you talk about those threedifferent aspects of us, I'm like, the answer is that.

Marc Gafni: [01:55:39]So psychedelics--

Luke Storey: [01:55:41]Can they take us there, collectively?

Marc Gafni: [01:55:45]Let me say three things. One, psychedelics are enormously important. They'reenormously important in addressing trauma both personally and collectively. Somy core understanding, which is central to this new story of value ofcosmic-erotic Humanism, is that part of acting a world religion is the ritualof psychedelics. Psychedelics is a critical ritual that actually gives peopledirect access to real states of consciousness. And like anything, it could bemisused. Anything can be misused. 

But fundamentally,psychedelics are a monumental breakthrough to open up democratization ofenlightenment. They don't replace practice, but they open up what the interiorsciences call itaruta dile'eyla, arousal from above. Ain't that beautiful?Arousal from above is you fall in love.

Luke Storey: [01:56:43]Got that right.

Marc Gafni: [01:56:44]I got that right. Got that one right. So you fall in love, arousal from above,then it's a year later and there's conflict, and there's separation, andthere's power struggle, and there's re-individuating. And that's fine. But youneed the original falling in love to actually feel the possibility, and thatthat becomes your North star. If you skip falling in love, and there's anenormous literature in the love relationship literature that says, oh, lovebegins when you fall out of love and you start to do the work. Bullshit.

Love begins when youfall in love. And that's a structure of cosmos, which is arousal from above.You then lose access to that arousal from above. Station 1 of love is fallingin love. Station 2 of love is you lose access to that. In the interior scienceswe call Station 1 [Foreign] submission. You fall in love. Where do we want tolive? Alaska. Sure. Let's move to Alaska. So it's a complete arousal fromabove. 
Second stage, separation, individuation, the power struggle. And then thirdstage, you actually follow the North star of that original arousal from aboveand you fall in love again at a higher level of consciousness. So psychedelicsare the experience of falling in love with reality. And reality falling in lovewith you, it's a gift. It's an arousal from above. Now, you don't then retainit. You don't live in psychedelics, but you now have a vision of what'spossible. 

Now you need to groundthat vision. And here I want to say a key sentence. And I did a journey with adear friend that joined me in Holy of Holies, actually, a mutual friend of ours,Aubrey. And he joined me in what I call Holy of Holies, which is a place ofstudy, a transmission of the dharma. And so we study a lot these days. And sowe're doing what I call the dharma. Dharma is the new story of value. 

And then we actually satand did a journey together, a journey into medicine and ceremony. And as I cameout of the journey, I turned to Aubrey and I said, the medicine needs thedharma, and the dharma needs the medicine. In other words, medicine withoutdharma is actually problematic just like state experiences can be interpretedin all sorts of ways. Nazis had very intense state experiences, and usedpsychedelics, and used occult. So an occult can be misused all the time, andpsychedelics can be misused. 

And there was a reasonwhy the conventional world was wary of psychedelics. It wasn't just crazypeople. There was reason to be wary. So psychedelics or medicine withoutdharma, problematic. But dharma needs ritual, needs practice, needs medicine.And so I think one of the essential structures of a new world religion, again,not a dominating world religion, a world religion as a context for ourdiversity, as the context for a 1,000 religions. Or a better way to say it isworld religion or a shared field of value, a universal grammar of value as acontext for diversity to address the meta crisis has to be informed by medicineand dharma. 

And Dharma informsmedicine, and medicine informs dharma. And without having direct access towaking up, and waking up basically means psychedelics, means medicine, meanspractice. There's different routes. But if I can't actually wake up and have adirect experience that I am the cosmo-erotic universe in person, and it'sbreathing and living me and the goodness of reality becomes self-evident, and Iknow that every place I fall, I fall into the hands of she, and I know thatbeauty is real, and truth is real, and goodness is real, and that it allmatters, and that it's all living and alive and it all wants me to transformand wants my success. And that all of reality is actually cheering me on. ThatI was intended by reality. I'm not an accident. I'm desired by reality. I'mchosen by reality. I'm recognized by reality. I'm needed by reality. If I can'thave that direct first-person experience of that, the whole thing fails. 

I mean, all of theseare just words until we live them in the stories of our lives. So beautifulpsychedelics is an absolute necessity. And of course, in the intimate universe,nothing happens without deep synchronicity. So the fact that psychedelics havebeen developed chemically in the last 40 or 50 years, and they're coming onlinetogether with plants, so you've got both a pharmacological, but quitesophisticated. Let's not dismiss MDMA. You have a quite sophisticated, let'snot dismiss LSD. 

These aresophisticated, subtle, often misused, but when used properly-- at the Mastersand Johnson Clinic, one of the people on our board, a wonderful person, theywere the clinical directors there. They used MDMA. MDMA is wildly important. Soif we can actually bring the plant online and the sacred technologies ofpharmacology, and have those become part of a deep world spirituality ritual,which itself is mediated through Dharma-- just an example, it doesn't gethijacked by like, okay, I have a psychedelic experience, and I'm completelyegocentric, so I'm God. Dangerous.

I have a psychedelicexperience. I'm totally ethnocentric. My people are the chosen people and noone else is. So in other words, psychedelics is always mediated through a prismof interpretation. So the Dharma needs the medicine, the medicine needs dharma,and that becomes the cornerstone of healing the trauma of culture itself. Howinsanely exciting and how insanely promising. And so it's not just we're beforedystopia. 

As we come to the endof our conversation, we talked about existential risk and we're talking aboutthis potential dystopia, but we're also invoking here together, which is soexciting, is we're not just poised for dystopia. That's a mistake. We'reactually in a time between worlds. We're in a time between stories. We'repoised between utopia and dystopia. 

We can create the mostbeautiful world imaginable, and we need the technologies to do it. And we cando it. And we're not waiting for the savior to do it. We are the savior. Shelives in us. And obviously, your podcast and your intention is part of thefabric of that field. So what a crazy delight.

Luke Storey: [02:02:58]It's beautiful. Yeah. It's such an it's such an exciting and interesting timeto be alive. 

Marc Gafni: [02:03:04]Oh my God.

Luke Storey: [02:03:04]If you are-- for me, if I let go of my attachment to how I think things shouldbe and understand that the way things are is largely based on my perception ofwhat they are and what I think and feel about it, but if I can be as objectiveas I can possibly be, you see the dystopia just growing like this fuckingmonster with all of the things you talked about, these elements of control, theempire, the state, the AI. And you just think, oh my God, I just want to hidein the closet. Yet at the very same time, there's masses of people waking uplike I've never seen in my short 52 years. 

I mean, speaking ofsocial media, I don't use TikTok, but Alyson does, and she'll send me justweird, I don't know, spacey shit, look at this weird post. And I'll look atthat and it'll be some young person in their 20s who's-- I mean, even thingsjust like, what's in Antarctica and why aren't we allowed to know? That's a22-year old, and I mean, just the meaning of everything. 

And you have peoplethat are at least questioning now, and many people are getting sidetracked onall sorts of weird shit that's not actually going to affect change. But thepoint is the minds are opening and the legislation toward psychedelics usedintentionally and all of the positive things that are happening, people arereally into spirituality. 
I remember when I started on this path when the book, The Power of Now, cameout, it was just like-- I mean, it became a popular book. But I remember firstreading that and going like, what? You're not your mind? That was a novel ideato me. There's this other thing, the pain, body, and the ego, and it puts somany pieces together. 

And now when I hearpeople talk, speaking of social media, it's like everyone just understands thatnow.  And young people too. It's not just the spiritual seekers going toEsalen and the Omega Institute. It used to be like, well, there's this smallsubset, a microculture of spiritual seekers that were kind of the new ageytypes or the personal development or mainstream types with the EST and allthat.

Now you just haveregular people going, hmm, there's got to be more. And they're reaching out,and they're expanding. And so as dark as things are getting, there's on theother side of the scale, it's like, holy shit--

Marc Gafni: [02:05:32]And we got to hold that hope.

Luke Storey: [02:05:33]We're stoked.

Marc Gafni: [02:05:34]We're stoked, and we got to look high. If we look low, we go low.

Luke Storey: [02:05:38]See, that's something I need to get better at because there's a part of me thatI want to know the whole scope of what's happening. I want to see the wholeplaying field.  But there's something instinctual in me that's like, let'slook at all the dark shit.

Marc Gafni: [02:05:55]And we can't look away from that. You're right. In other words, dystopia isreal.

Luke Storey: [02:06:00]But there's an addictive quality to it.

Marc Gafni: [02:06:01]And there's an addictive quality to it. And so we need to look really clearlyand not look away at the genuine existential risks and the genuine-- there'ssets of bad actors, and those are real, and we won't defeat that. And yes,there is a battle here. But it's not a battle, which is a propaganda battle.It's actually a standing for possibility if we don't actually see the dream.And more than even seeing the dream, we have to live the dream. 

In other words, if wewait to live the dream when it's all perfect, so we're being activists, and webecome very bitter, we defer the dream. Remember Langston Hughes, the blackpoet? What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sunand then at the end of the poem explode? So you can only change the world ifyou're willing to already live in the world that's already changed. 

So I've got to be theutopia, but not utopia in the 20th century, hijacked, Walden Two way, butactually a genuine, healthy, whole, gorgeous utopia. I've got to live thedream. I've got to be Homo Amor. That's our language for it in cosmeticunionism. I've got to be the new human. I've got to make love. I've got to bean activist. I've got to just be wildly excited about my food.  I've gotto be wildly excited about feeding the next person. I've got to be just blownaway by creating my home and the spaciousness of my-- I've got to live thedream. Because I don't live the dream, I don't know what the dream is.

In the interiorsciences, Sabbath, every seven days, Sabbath is 24 hours, was the technology ofliving the dream. And no matter where you were, what was going on, or what thebrutality was, or what the specter of risk was, Sabbath, you step into thedream, you step into the future world. So we have to-- there's this doomermentality that's pervading so much of the conversation and, I don't know,that's a huge mistake. We've got to live the dream and face dystopia at thesame time. 

We can only do that ifwe step into the field of value. And so all of these hopeful signs you point toare absolutely true, and they will dissipate. They won't coalesce. They won'tbecome imaginal cells that generate a butterfly unless we articulate a newstory of value that they can live in and articulate a new field of value. Sothat seems to be the-- that's the overwhelming moral imperative. And in thispodcast, we're excited to participate in that together. There's an enormous--we get to be excited.

Luke Storey: [02:08:41]Yeah, very much so.

Marc Gafni: [02:08:42]We're not naive. It's not naive excitement. We get to be excited. We get to beevangelical even.

Luke Storey: [02:08:47]It's not the spiritual bypassing love and light. And it's also not thedoomscrolling.

Marc Gafni: [02:08:51]It's not the doomscrolling.

Marc Gafni: [02:08:52]We're fucked either way, why bother, and just go into apathy and selfishness.

Marc Gafni: [02:08:56]That's right. But it is, I mean, if we can claim that word, it's evangelical. Itook three years off at some point in my life, different conversation,different story to actually feel like what would life look like not as acultural critic, world philosopher dude, you know, get a real job. So I got areal job for three years.

Luke Storey: [02:09:16]What were you doing?

Marc Gafni: [02:09:17]I was actually working in the entrepreneurial world and involved in companies.And so for three years, it was age 30 to 33, I would visit Infinity Loop inCupertino a lot which was Apple. Different conversation. So there were these,they were called Apple evangelists. That was the name of the company. Andevangelist, as you and I both know, it's the good news. They were just soexcited about Apple, and I, of course, didn't quite understand the technology,so whenever-- all of it. I'd get into a conversation, I would just nod, likeexcited.

So I was the mostpopular guy because I would listen to all the techies telling their stories.But they were beautiful people wildly excited about techno utopianpossibilities. They were wrong about the details, but they were evangelical,which was very beautiful. And so we need to be evangelical, meaning we can't beembarrassed by the thought that there's good news. That's what evangelist is.There's good news. So we're not doomers. We're not Pollyannaish. We're notavoiding apocalypse, but we're actually evangelical. 

You can be a publicintellectual, an extremely rigorous, and a philosopher, and be filled with anevangelical fervor, which is the good news that human beings are beautiful, andthere's a field of value we live in. And the Dao is real. And they'resuffering, but suffering actually tells us that that goodness is real. Andactually the story is going someplace. And Telos is real. And there's a plotline to this story, and we're part of it. My story is part of it. And that'sgorgeous. And we need to tell that to our kid like that.

Luke Storey: [02:10:48]Amen, brother. Thank you for telling our podcast listeners today.

Marc Gafni: [02:10:52]Yeah, thank you for having me in your home and in your beautiful space. It'sbeen a delight.

Luke Storey: [02:10:57]So fun. I love this, dude. I could do this forever.

Marc Gafni: [02:10:58]Crazy delight.

Luke Storey: [02:10:59]Definitely going to have to do it again.

Marc Gafni: [02:11:00]Amen.

Luke Storey: [02:11:01]I know it's a good one, and I've said this many times on this show, I alwayshave my manuscript partly just so that when you leave, I'm not like, ah, but Ididn't-- I don't like the sense of regret that comes with having a reallyimportant question. But it's really fun when I just forget about that. Then Iknow we're in some deep water and moving through in a different realm. So thankyou so much. 

Before we go, I waslooking, refreshing myself on your website, and I mean, you have a lot ofcontent, a lot of books, you have courses. What are you most excited aboutright now if people were intrigued by your perspective and want more of you?

Marc Gafni: [02:11:39]If I invite people to read one thing or two things, I'd say there's a bookcalled Your Unique Self, which is on Amazon. And a book I wrote with my mybeloved partner and deep partner and muse, Dr. Kristina Kincaid, called AReturn to Eros. So if you want a way--

Luke Storey: [02:11:57]I just got that that audible because I wanted to talk to you today, by the way,about sex, and love, and relationships.

Marc Gafni: [02:12:03]Well, let's put another one on that.

Luke Storey: [02:12:04]Yeah, but then I realized, well, I want to read the book or at least listen tothe book. I'm not that good at reading because of social media frying my brain,but I can listen well. But yeah.

Marc Gafni: [02:12:14]So our friend Gabriel Anwar actually is a wonderful person, beautiful actress,actually, she read it.

Luke Storey: [02:12:21]I started listening to it.

Marc Gafni: [02:12:22]In this great British accent.

Luke Storey: [02:12:23]Yeah, it's wonderful. Yeah. I got a few minutes into it and I realized, oh, no,I need to finish this and then we'll have a conversation about that.

Marc Gafni: [02:12:30]So those two books, also we run once a year in Europe, actually a mysteryschool, which we've been doing for the last decade, which is a deep diveintensive. So we'll send you a link to that.

Luke Storey: [02:12:42]Oh, cool.

Marc Gafni: [02:12:42]And every, week we run-- you mentioned it, we do this thing called One MountainMany Paths, which is a weekly online-- it's not really a podcast. It's more ofa coming together in community and telling the new story of value. And everyweek we try and work out another piece of the dharma as a revolutionaryevolutionary act.

Luke Storey: [02:13:06]Awesome. Is that like a group Zoom thing?

Marc Gafni: [02:13:08]It's a group Zoom thing.

Luke Storey: [02:13:09]Oh, cool.

Marc Gafni: [02:13:11]And my partner in crime in a lot of this is a person that's also studied withme as a student and became a very close friend and interlocutor, Dr. ZachStein, who's the co-president of the center, who's a key partner in cosmiccommunism, and of course, Kristina Kincaid, and John Mack has been involved,and my friend, Ken Wilber, and Sally Kempton. And so there's a-- DanielSchmachtenberg. There's a field of deep students, friends, partners,interlocutors, because we never move down the field ourselves. 

And so I just want tohonor Lori Galperin. There's a whole gang. There's a few dozen people at thecenter of the think tank. And the think tank is-- maybe the last sentence. Thethink tank is really a cover. There's a deeper conspiracy. And the conspiracyis really just a band of unimaginably good human beings, who are all outrageouslovers, just depth and grounded in. And so I could not be more honored to besurrounded by just such unimaginably good people.
And actually, Aubrey, our friend, is coming on board as the chair of the thinktank.

Luke Storey: [02:14:18]Oh, cool.

Marc Gafni: [02:14:19]He's stepping in. And so welcome.

Luke Storey: [02:14:21]Awesome.

Marc Gafni: [02:14:22]I look forward to-- Luke, this was just-- permit me a compliment. You were justa joy to talk to.

Luke Storey: [02:14:29]Oh, thank you so much.

Marc Gafni: [02:14:29]It's just a joy to talk to you, both the questions, but more just your space.Just being in your space was a great joy.

Luke Storey: [02:14:36]Yeah. Thank you so much. Yeah. I wonder if there's a-- you've probably teasedthis out, but I wonder if there's a more appropriate term than think tank. It'snot feel tank because you're not just, I feel--

Marc Gafni: [02:14:52]Action tank. There's thinking involved as well.

Luke Storey: [02:14:54]I've not been there but just the way you describe what you're doing in thesepartnerships, there's some other-- 

Marc Gafni: [02:14:59]It's a band of outrageous lovers.

Luke Storey: [02:15:00]There's a something tank.

Marc Gafni: [02:15:03]You're absolutely right.

Luke Storey: [02:15:03]Because I know you guys are doing more than thinking. You're being, you'refeeling, you're thinking, you're creating.

Marc Gafni: [02:15:09]You're absolutely right. I mean, the truth is, is that we use the word thinktank because it does also function as a think tank, but there's really no wordfor it. There's a gentleman named Philip Wexler who wrote a book calledSpiritual Societies. And what does it mean? You're in the renaissance. You'rein Florence. And you know, Paul Tillich, who's a theologian, but also is alittle bit of a cultural historian, points out that there were, Luke, not morethan a 1,000 people in the Renaissance who were really players in theRenaissance. You think it was this-- it was not a broad movement.

Luke Storey: [02:15:42]Oh, really?

Marc Gafni: [02:15:43]It was about a 1,000 people, really major players, and everyone else was justgetting drunk in Florence and doing what you do in Florence. And the Medicis,of course, enacted it. So what does it mean when there's an evolutionarycommunity? We don't quite have a word for it. It's not a church.

Luke Storey: [02:16:02]It's not a cult.

Marc Gafni: [02:16:03]It's not a--

Luke Storey: [02:16:03]There's no charismatic leader.

Marc Gafni: [02:16:06]Right. And the center of the movement is not the teacher, it's the dharmaitself. It's very beautiful. And the ark and the Hebraism tradition, and theark, you don't have the rabbi. You have the scrolls. And so at the center isnot the charismatic teacher, it's the charismatic dharma. And it's like akarate dojo. So anyone in our system, for example, wants to challenge me,challenged me, and if you're right, gorgeous. Let's evolve the dharma. 

So it's very, verybeautiful in that way. But you're right. I love your inquiry that ends us,which is we don't quite have a word for it. It's the, Teilhard de Chardin, theevolutionary paleontologist who was important in evolutionary theory. He talksabout the almost sensual yearning for the communion of evolutionary activists.Our desire to actually be in this field of community, and we find each other.So we found each other. We're allured to each other. 

And so it's anevolutionary community. It's a think tank. It's a spiritual community. It's acultural critic community. But it's none of those. It's more than all of those.So I love your pointing to the fact that we haven't worded it yet. Yeah. Andit's still in that ineffable and in that beauty.

Luke Storey: [02:17:26]Well, sometimes the best things are ineffable and you just kind of have tothrow a label on it so it gives people some semblance of an idea of what theycan expect.

Marc Gafni: [02:17:35]That's right. I mean, you can't actually fund a band of outrageous lovers, andwe need to resource it.

Luke Storey: [02:17:42]Totally. I'd probably invest. Yeah. Send me the deck.

Marc Gafni: [02:17:45]Send me the deck.

Luke Storey: [02:17:46]All right, you guys, we're going to put everything that Marc just talked aboutat lukestorey.com/gafni. That's G-A-F-N-I. So we'll put links to all of thethings that he just mentioned and anything else we can find to put in there. Iknow you've named so many relevant historical figures, most of which I've neverheard of, but I trust that they're important because of what you've derivedfrom their perspectives. But we're going to fill the show notes with a bunch ofgoodies.

Marc Gafni: [02:18:11]That's awesome. You have 10 seconds? 

Luke Storey: [02:18:14]Take all the time you want.

Marc Gafni: [02:18:15]In the public culture, you always deal with public culture, which mediatesfacts through a strange social media broken prism. So I've actually had thequite painful privilege of being also attacked and falsely attacked. And I'msure some of the listeners that-- whenever I do a podcast, there's always somepeople who encounter that. So I would actually-- I did a wonderful podcastwhich actually our friend Aubrey initiated with Kristina, Dr. Kincaid andmyself, and maybe we'll put that up there also.

Luke Storey: [02:18:51]Absolutely.

Marc Gafni: [02:18:52]Anyone's interested in like, oh. So friends, Romans, and countrymen, if you runinto kind of online controversy, you want to get a sense of it. First ofanyone's always invited to call me directly. Two is there's an entire websitecalled Who Is Marc Gafni, which refutes just the objective false constructionson the Internet. But my partner, KK, is far more beautiful, and subtle, andwise, and eloquent. And she and Aubrey talk really beautifully in this podcast.Maybe we'll post that there for anyone who is interested.

Luke Storey: [02:19:26]Absolutely. Yeah.

Marc Gafni: [02:19:27]Thank you.

Luke Storey: [02:19:28]Thank you for that. And it's unfortunate that you've had to bear that cross aswell.

Marc Gafni: [02:19:36]That's why--

Luke Storey: [02:19:37]Not to be melodramatic, but yeah. I mean, who is without controversy?

Marc Gafni: [02:19:42]Yeah. It's painful.

Luke Storey: [02:19:43]Yeah. Well, thanks, dude.

Marc Gafni: [02:19:44]Thank you.

Luke Storey: [02:19:45]Great dropping in with you. I can't wait to do this again.

Marc Gafni: [02:19:47]Madly. It was really great. Thank you.

Luke Storey: [02:19:49]Right on.

Marc Gafni: [02:19:49]Yay.

Luke Storey: [02:19:51]Well, my friends, if that one didn't provoke some deep contemplation insideyour heart, mind and soul, I don't know what will. As for me, this was anincredibly expansive episode. I felt like it pushed me to the edges of myunderstanding, and also helped put some pieces of my worldview in place. Imean, what a blessing this was. 

And if you're enjoyingThe Life Stylist podcast, I'd be so grateful if you'd take a moment to leave usa rating and review on your podcast app of choice. Now, this might not seemlike a big contribution, but trust me, in the world of podcasting, ratings andreviews are everything. When a listener like you takes just a minute to offersupport in this way, helps the show reach new people by rating higher iniTunes. 

And a little insidescoop here, that's why, we, hosts, frequently make this request. And frankly, Ioften forget. I've never liked the idea of doing a paid podcast using Patreon,etc. And I really enjoy offering this content for free, and I plan to continue todo so. Leaving a rating and review is a really easy way for you to support theshow without having to spend a dime. 

Now, if you want tosupport our show sponsors, that's great, too. But the lowest hanging fruit foryou is definitely dropping a quick review. And this also gives me some greatfeedback for the direction of the show, which helps me deliver the bestpossible podcast I can. So thank you in advance for your support with theratings and reviews. Keep them coming.

All right. Next week'sepisode is a real barn burner. If you're into the most cutting-edge healingtechnology, this one's going to knock your socks off, folks. I'm talking aboutEpisode 474: Advanced Light, Sound, and Frequency Technologies; A New Paradigmof Healing with Aaron Cameron. 

I recorded next week'sshow on a recent visit to my old hometown of Los Angeles, California, atAaron's wildly cool Q360 Club in Malibu. And man, I got to say, the stuff wegot into out there was freaking wild, so I can't wait to share it with you.I'll be back with number 474 early Tuesday morning. And until then, I wish youand yours the best week ever.



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