On the Failure of Eros, First Principles, and a Portal to Evolution’s Next Step
by Dr. Marc Gafni
This article is an edited Transcript from One Church – Episode 189 – May 24, 2020. You can watch the whole episode on the Watch page of the One Mountain, Many Paths Website. One Mountain, Many Paths is a project of our sister organization, the Foundation for Conscious Evolution.
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The Great Conspiring of Reality: What Do Conspiracy Theories Get Right?
On every news channel in the world in the last six or seven weeks, the conversation is around one thing. The conversation is around conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theory has moved from the periphery of culture, from its fringe to its center. Why has conspiracy theory moved from fringe to center, at this particular moment in time? And why do we need to talk about it, why does it matter? In newspapers in Asia and in Europe and in South America and in Africa, all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, why is conspiracy theory in the mainstream media the lead item? Why is it so critical for us to understand this?
Because it’s actually speaking to something unbelievably important. The sensemaking that we need to do is to understand this in the largest light. The sensemaking that’s being done around conspiracy theory, there is some truth, there are some good things being said, but it’s so shallow, almost insipid, pallid. Neither the conspiracy theorists don’t understand the mainstream media, the mainstream media doesn’t understand the conspiracy theorists. Both of them dismiss each other. It’s an expression of the larger polarization, the larger culture war.
Why are we attracted to conspiracy theory? Why is it driving the click bait structure of the virtual world? What is attractive in it? Where is the allurement? Where is the attraction? That’s the deep question. Anyone who believes every conspiracy theory is a fool. Anyone who doesn’t believe any conspiracy theories is also a fool, perhaps a greater fool.
Local Conspiracy Theory
So we need to make some distinctions. Number one, we need to make a distinction between what we’re going to call a local conspiracy and a global conspiracy. A local conspiracy is a conspiracy which deals with a particular topic. How did the COVID-19 virus get into a pangolin or a bat in the wet market in Wuhan, China? How did that happen? Was it natural? Is it a result of the fact that we’ve cut down forests and bush meat as it’s called, animals slaughtered improperly, animals slaughtered cruelly, animals slaughtered in the wet market itself with radically unsanitary conditions with brutal degradation and pain caused to the animals and being sold to a poor population that doesn’t have resources available for sanitary meat? So is that actually how it happened? Was it a natural expression or in fact does it come originally from the P4 Lab in Wuhan, China, which is doing testing on certain kinds of vaccine and doing certain kinds of genetic research in conjunction with the United States’ labs in North Carolina, funded, in fact, directly by the United States? And for what ends? To create vaccines. Was that research appropriate? Was it inappropriate? Two hundred doctors signed against it. Fauci went ahead with it. Was he right? Was he wrong? We just need to look into the facts.
So conspiracy theory might be trying to find the facts here which are related to what actually happened. What the actual source of the virus is and try and check those facts carefully and actually, as Santayana said, learn from history so we can actually create a better world. That would be a legitimate local conspiracy theory.
Now, obviously local conspiracy theories are hijacked by political agendas. That happens all the time. So pro-Trump people, anti-Trump people, pro-China, anti-China can actually hijack the conspiracy theory. China actually is in many ways a bad actor. The Chinese Communist Party is a bad actor in the same sense of Stalin and Mao tragically, so there’s reason to be suspicious. At the same time, it has nothing to do with the Chinese people. They’re beautiful, sacred, gorgeous people, like all other people in the world. How do we look at this carefully? How do we understand what’s going on? How do we engage this deeply? That’s a local conspiracy theory.
Uncovering False Flags
There is a series of false flags in the world. For example, Gulf of Tonkin: did the North Vietnamese fire on the United States? We thought they did, but we realize now they didn’t. There was a hiding of the facts. A false flag, as we said, means a pirate ship approaches another ship. Ships are identified by their flags. The pirate uses a British flag in order to approach a British frigate, and only in the last second the British flag goes down and the pirates roll up their own flag and show their flag and then attack. So a false flag means a false story, a false identity, a false narrative that’s used to cover up what are almost always aggressive ends. But the pirates had this code of honor. They would lower their false flag and raise the truth of their identity, the truth of the narrative before they attacked. Today it’s much, much easier to hide false flags.
One dimension of local conspiracy theories in their best form might be to uncover and to find false flags. So we spent an entire week identifying 15 false flags and seeing where there might be local conspiracy theorists who might get a lot of the facts wrong but have a core intuition that the full story here actually wasn’t told and that story needs to be told and we need to speak truth to power. In that sense conspiracy theory, is driven by a search for truth, a deeper knowing.
For example, David Ray Griffin is the best scholar of Whitehead that I know. Every word he writes is careful and measured, and every sentence is careful. David left his post at the university in order to write about 9/11, about what actually happened at 9/11. It’s clear that the standard narrative that was offered by the mainstream media was incorrect, and when President Bush wanted to deflect challenges to the mainstream media by calling them conspiracy theories, he was using the phrase “conspiracy theory” to actually deflect an ability to actually search for truth.
Now, that doesn’t mean that all the conspiracy theories in all these local cases are right, not at all. Sometimes they’re paranoid. Sometimes they conflate facts inappropriately. Sometimes they have partial truths and they make huge, momentous jumps which are inappropriate. Sometimes they’re driven by political agendas, of course. But local conspiracy theories which are seeking truth are actually expressions of the Kosmos itself which seeks more value. One way of seeking more value is seeking more goodness, and another way of seeking more value is seeking more beauty, and another way of seeking more value is seeking more truth. So that’s a local conspiracy theory.
Global Conspiracy Theories
Number two, there are what we might call global conspiracy theories or world conspiracy theories. These conspiracy theories themselves break down into two kinds. World conspiracy theories are saying there is a hidden plot to reality, in many of the versions of them. Qanon in America is one version. Stories of the Illuminati are a second version, that is to say the world is controlled by a cabal and that cabal is perhaps interbreeded with lizards at some earlier point in history. And there is, by the way, a tradition that talks about that interbreeding in various sources in the great traditions, so it’s not actually completely made up, but it’s not scientifically validated self-evidently of course.
But the important thing is that the claim is, that this cabal is actually pulling the strings of all the governments and pulling the strings of all the corporations and that most people are actually unaware of them, but they are actually the people running the show and they are running the show for nefarious ends. They’re running the show in order to accomplish world domination, in order to accomplish control, in order to, for example, create an AI—artificial intelligence—matrix in which all human beings become but nanobots, easy to control, within that matrix and that they actually created a corona, for example, a hoax. That there is no real virus, etcetera. That’s a world conspiracy. That’s a global conspiracy.
Regressive Conspiracy Theories: Projection of the Devil
When you’re talking about global conspiracies, there are global conspiracies that are regressive. The version I just pointed out is regressive. It’s regressive in that, although it may have a core intuition of truth: it’s speaking to something, it’s addressing something, it’s feeling that there’s a larger story, it’s feeling that there’s a larger plotline to reality that we’re out of touch with, so that’s what it feels. It feels like there’s a plotline to reality, but I actually can’t find the plotline, so it fills in the plotline in a regressive way. It projects the devil. It’s a premodern projection of the devil in the guise of the cabal.
You look up the word “conspiracy” on the web. It means cabal, sect, mafia, syndicate, conspiring for bad ends. That’s how the dictionary defines conspiracy and we’ll come back to that definition later. So within that definition this global conspiracy theory which projects this devil-like power on this cabal, that’s a regressive conspiracy theory. It’s not regressive just to the premodern period. It’s also Superman, made up by a couple of great Jewish boys, sweet guys in Cleveland, who tell the story about Superman rescuing the world from the various cabals. If you actually watch Superman or you watch Batman, which is a later recension of it, you basically see different versions of conspiracy theory, of course. It’s the same impulse. The same impulse is there are bad guys, there are good guys, there are victims, and there are protectors. There is us and there’s them. There are devils and we need to be the good guys, which in the medieval period the Catholic Church claimed that position. We’re the good guys and we’re going to protect you against the devil.
So that same kind of thinking is now being applied to this cabal, because this cabal is being used to fill in the missing plotline of reality. That’s a regressive conspiracy theory. Is it correct? Probably not. Here’s what I mean. Are there forces that cover up all sorts of local issues? Yes. We described those—false flags. Talk about Enron. Talk about the American violations in regime changes. Even if it was for the greater good and it was often also for greater economic good. Talk about particular movements by Big Pharma. Big Pharma is now funding the American CDC and the World Health Organization. So how does that work—conflicts of interest?
There are lots of things happening behind the scenes that are actually corrupt, and corruption is real, and in that sense conspiracy theory is talking to something real, but is there, generation to generation, an organized group of Illuminati that are actually controlling the story as these lizard figures behind the scenes? I don’t think so. I’ve certainly never seen evidence for it. It doesn’t look like it’s true. It’s a dangerous theory, because it’s too easy to conflate it with anti-Semitic theories, like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion who identified the Jews as the global conspirators, and as a Jew, not true. I wish it was. I’d like to own the banks and the planes, but I don’t. I say that lightheartedly, but the point is conspiracy theories also have great danger. They create an us-them, an easy target to attack, and it’s very easy to turn that into scapegoating. So conspiracy theories were actually deployed negatively in very, very tragic ways by despots and dictators throughout history. Many of the conspiracy theorists today border on anti-Semitism or cross the line into despotic expressions, even though their hearts are trying to do the right thing, but they get lost. But these are regressive conspiracy theories.
Now, we’re going to talk about evolutionary conspiracy theories in a little while. We’ll get to that. I want to know step back. Now we’ve made some distinctions. Now, without these distinctions you can’t even begin the conversation. This is just an initial set of distinctions. If we don’t make these distinctions you can’t even have the conversation.
PART 1: Five Factors That Are Driving Conspiracy Theories
1. Core plotline of reality is broken – We are not part of the great conspiring of reality
Why are conspiracy theories happening now? What the conspiracy theorists intuit is that there is a plotline to reality. The intuition of the conspiracy theorist is that there’s a hidden story, there’s a plotline to reality, and they can’t identify the plotline. In that the conspiracy theorists are right. There is a plotline to reality. Reality actually is a story. Reality actually is going somewhere. Reality has a plotline. Reality is a story. That plotline is often missing, but because the conspiracy theorists can’t identify the plotline, they identify it negatively. There must be a plotline and that plotline must be negative. That’s a tragedy.
Actually, if you look up the word “conspiracy” in the dictionary, it comes into the dictionary in about the 14th century and the word is always negative—conspiring to commit murder. “Con” means we come together, like a conference. “Spirare,” like inspire, is to breathe. So imagine a bunch of people coming together really closely, huddled together. They’re breathing together really closely. They’re breathing together in order to do something negative, in order to do something evil. So conspiracy theory in the dictionary itself is identified as something bad, as something evil, coming together to do something wrong.
But the reason we identified conspiracy theory that way, the reason the dictionary since the 14th century identifies it that way (conspiracy theories are old) and the reason we’re attracted to it are similar, because that’s what happens when you’re not connected to the true Eros of reality.
Reality is Eros
I want to introduce the word “Eros”. Reality is Eros. Eros does not mean sexuality. Eros means the natural interior movement of reality. Eros begins literally with subatomic particles. It begins in the first nanoseconds of the Big Bang. Eros means the natural movement of reality, the inherent movement of reality towards ever deeper contact and ever greater wholeness. When Eros lives in you it’s the Eros of reality living in you, so it’s the experience of being radically alive. Eros is the radical aliveness of reality, it’s the being-ness of reality, but it’s the being-ness of reality going somewhere. It has a direction. It’s moving somewhere. Where is it moving? Eros is moving towards more and more value. More and more value means I’m moving to create ever deeper contact. Eros is reality’s desire to create ever deeper contact, which means ever wider intimacies. Intimacy means shared identity or ever larger wholes.
So subatomic particles—proton, neutron, electron—come together, they’re drawn together, and they create a new whole called an atom. Atoms come together and they create molecules. Molecules come together. They’re drawn together. They have an appetite for each other. They long for each other. That’s science. Science describes in exteriors. We can access it in interiors. Reality is interiors and exteriors all the way up and all the way down. That’s the best philosophical and scientific understanding of reality. It’s not conjecture, it’s not fanciful. So molecules are drawn to each other to create macromolecules. Macromolecules exchange information, exchange meaning. DNA, RNA, more complex than any supercomputer we have exponentialized could manifest, way before there’s a human neocortex, DNA and RNA drawn together through these codes of allurement and codes of meaning, creating larger wholes.
That’s the movement of reality itself. Reality is a movement to ever greater love, to ever great goodness, to ever greater truth, to ever greater beauty. That’s the story of reality. That’s the Eros of reality. So when I participate in the Eros of reality, when I experience that my love story is chapter and verse in the Universe: a love story. That my amor, my love is chapter and verse in the amorous Kosmos, and the amorous Kosmos is the meaningful Kosmos. When I realize that it’s not just true that love is not hard to find, but love is actually impossible to avoid. By love we mean not ordinary love: the love that is an infatuation between two Separate Selves and that’s the sum total of love. No, infatuation between two Separate Selves participates in the larger field of love, which is the field of Eros.
That field of Eros lives and moves in me. When that field of Eros lives and moves in me, when my purpose is aligned with reality’s purpose or when my gift is a gift to all of reality, when my story is chapter and verse in the universe: a love story, then I’m in my Eros, then I’m alive. Then the plotline of my life is not Shakespeare in Macbeth, Act V: “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in its petty pace, day after day, to the last syllable of recorded time.” Life is not, as Macbeth writes there, a tale told by an idiot full of sounds and fury signifying nothing. No, it’s tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow participates and moves towards the evolution of love, and my life and my deepest heart’s desire is part of the field of desire of Kosmos, and I participate in the desire of Kosmos. I am evolution in person. The evolutionary impulse lives in me personally and uniquely and I am needed by All-That-Is.
When I am living those first principles, I’m alive. So when I feel the Eros of the story of reality, when I’m connected to the plotline of reality, when I live that Eros then I’m fully in my life. When that Eros breaks down, when I’m dissociated from the larger story of reality, when I’ve lost the thread, I’ve lost Ariadne’s thread in the great Greek myth, I’m Theseus the hero lost in the labyrinth and I don’t even know what to do, I don’t know how to find my way out. That’s what’s happened.
Premodern – Modern – Postmodern: Four modern stories that can’t bring us home
We’ve lost our relationship to the premodern reality stories for a good reason. They were missing too much. They were too broken. They were egocentric or ethnocentric. They were often homophobic. They were anti-body. They left too much out, the premodern stories. They had a lot of good, a lot of truth, a lot of beauty, but they left so much out that they caused cruelty. So Voltaire champions modernity in a move from premodernity to modernity from the Renaissance on. Voltaire says, “Remember the cruelties.” We lose touch with the earlier stories.
In modernity we don’t quite know how to create a new story. We understand ourselves as being part of Descartes’s mechanistic Universe. We’re Separate Selves. Matter is insentient and dead. It’s only God interfering in reality that makes things move at all. We’re not part of a larger system, and we’re guided by the rules of reason as Separate Selves, and we’re taught to produce, and we’re taught to compete, and we’re taught to succeed. There is enormous dignity in modernity. There is enormous beauty. There is social mobility. There are human rights. There’s the emergence of the feminine. And yet there are also enormous disasters in modernity, which is the fractured storyline of modernity’s attempt to retell the story in which the human being is desiccated, dissociated from the larger fields of desire, from the larger fields of meaning, from the larger fields of value, from the larger field of love.
So modernity leaves us with just a couple of stories. The major story plotline is a success story. I’m only valuable if I produce. I’m only valuable if I can commodify my production and sell it, which is why, for example, in the United States we have so many people who are on the brink of starvation, because they haven’t properly commodified, but actually they haven’t because they didn’t have a chance because they didn’t have the opportunity, but we don’t feel responsible for them. That’s a tragedy. So actually the story of modernity is this success story. The success story, what we called seven or eight years ago at a conference we ran called Success 3.0, and I convened that conference with my colleagues in order to talk about this win-lose metrics, which becomes the first principle of the modern success story.
Since we feel that success story is still a little empty, it doesn’t quite fill us so we have a little side plot. We have a little romantic story on the side, romantic infatuation, me and one person, to exhaust all of my need for love, but it doesn’t work. It breaks down. We know that. The romantic story breaks down in a thousand ways when it’s dissociated from the larger field of outrageous love and Eros.
Then we have, when the romantic story doesn’t work, a little victim story. I was offended. I was hurt. I was violated. Of course, we want to stand on the side of all victims, but the victim story becomes my new identity, my story.
Finally, the best of us, we have this hero’s journey. That’s the fourth version. But the hero’s journey, the way, for example, Joseph Campbell told it and as it was explained, interpreting, it’s my own trauma, it’s my own wounding. It’s working through my trauma and my wound and coming to my own very personal transformation that’s isolated from the larger story.
So that’s what we have. Those stories are insufficient to hold us. At the very center of the whole thing, the success story, the win-lose metrics.
Post-Modernity: deconstructing reality
Then along comes postmodernity, and postmodernity says the only grand narrative we have is that there are no grand narratives. There are no stories that thread through. So postmodernity debunks, deconstructs whatever was left of a story in modernity and all of premodernity. So here we are as corona hits the world, left denuded of story. We’ve de-storied reality. To de-story reality is to de-eroticize reality. By Eros we mean, again, the experience of radical aliveness desiring ever deeper contact and ever greater wholeness that lives in reality all the way up and all the way down and lives in me, as me, and through me uniquely, so I’m needed by All-That-Is. What is that Eros? I’m going to say one more sentence.
Eros is the conspiring of reality.
That Eros is the conspiring of reality. The truth of reality is that reality is conspiring. We’re actually breathing together. Reality is in the interior sciences the inhalation and exhalation. Literally, our breath participates in that inhalation and exhalation. Reality is conspiring, meaning reality is moving somewhere. Reality is not a fact, it’s a story. It’s not an ordinary story, it’s a love story. It’s a story of Eros. It’s an amorous Kosmos. My story participates in that larger story, so I’m conspiring. I’m part of the great conspiring of reality, but when that breaks down, when I’m no longer part of the great conspiring of reality and I have actually lost touch with the conspiring with the breath of reality, I suffocate. I’m suffocating. I can’t breathe. I’m not breathless with reality conspiring, which makes me breathless with joy and I’m breathing in and out with all of reality, and I am moving towards… There’s telos. There’s direction.
Reality is not a fact; it is a story. Reality has direction.
As Howard Bloom, the great scientist and philosopher of science, has pointed out, science has wrongly gotten rid of telos. Science was so afraid of telos, meaning purpose and direction in Kosmos, was so afraid of the way premodernity hijacked telos that science removed telos. That’s a disaster. Science removed the obvious truth, not actual scientific fact but the dogmas of science removed the obvious truth that reality is moving from mud to Mozart, from bacteria to Bach. Reality has direction from quarks to culture, from egocentric love: love of me and my family—this is talking on the human level—to ethnocentric: I love my whole tribe, I’m willing to stand for my whole tribe, millions of people, to worldcentric love: I actually love and have a felt sense of care and concern for every human being, to kosmocentric love: I have a love and felt sense of care and concern for all of reality.
From ego-centric to world-centric
These are all descriptions: mud to Mozart, bacteria to Bach, quarks to culture. Within the human realm from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to kosmocentric love and Eros. From egocentric intimacy —felt sense of care and concern for me and my survival peeps— to ethnocentric intimacy —felt sense of care and concern for my whole people—, to worldcentric intimacy —felt sense of care and concern for every human being on the planet— and kosmocentric intimacy: I’m actually intimate with All-That-Is. That’s what Master Dogen meant when he said enlightenment is intimacy with all things. He didn’t have the science yet, but that’s what he meant. Nothing is outside the circle.
These are descriptions of the evolution of love. These are descriptions of the great Eros of reality. These are descriptions of the plotline of reality. These are descriptions of reality conspiring towards ever more goodness and ever more truth and ever more beauty and ever more love and ever more Eros. So when I lose touch with the conspiring of reality then I get a dictionary in the 14th century —and it gets worse and worse if you track the dictionaries over the last few hundred years—. If you look up in your dictionaries today, conspiring means you’re conspiring for the bad, you’re conspiring, as we said earlier, to commit murder, you’re conspiring to fraud, you’re conspiring to dominate. So when you don’t have the great conspiring of reality, when you don’t have the great Eros of reality, all you have left is pseudo-Eros.
What is pseudo-Eros?
What is pseudo-Eros? I want to get this really straight and really clear together. What is pseudo-Eros? Pseudo-Eros means when I’m disconnected from my Eros, I’m disconnected from my aliveness, I’m in the emptiness, so I cover up the emptiness not with real Eros, because I can’t connect to that, but with pseudo-Eros, with false forms of Eros. It might be addiction. It might be forms of heroin. It might be forms of addiction to work, workaholism. It might be this mad drive for success in the rat race. People forget you’re in the rat race. Even if you win you’re still a rat. So it’s this addiction, this acting out.
Whenever Eros breaks down, ethics always breaks down, because we act out in pseudo-Eros to cover the emptiness, to cover the pain. We try and soothe over the pain, and we do it with all forms of addiction, all forms of acting out, all forms of ethical breakdown. That’s what happens. The win-lose metrics, which is the only remaining storyline in the success story of modernity, becomes exponentialized and becomes pathological. The people that rise to the top of the systems are actually the most brutal. To rise to the top of the system you almost have to be today an apex predator, willing to deploy manifold forms of pseudo-Eros, which is tragic beyond imagination. So that’s pseudo-Eros.
So the regressive form of conspiracy theories are themselves forms of pseudo-Eros, because when the great conspiring of reality breaks down, what you have in its place, because the conspiring of reality is the Eros of reality, that’s the story of reality, when you de-story the universe you get pseudo-story, you get conspiracy theory. So one of the great reasons that conspiracy theory is so prominent is because we’ve lost touch with the great story of reality. Why now? Why in the last 30–40 years have conspiracy theories become ever more powerful and especially in the last two months, in the last several weeks?
2. Broken information ecologies – Violation of intimacy – Reality is information
Information genuinely is the codes of meaning of Kosmos, the codes of intimacy.
Part of the structure of reality is information but not information in the sense of Information Theory of Claude Shannon. When Claude Shannon did Information Theory he was talking about channel capacity. He was working for Ma Bell, the telephone company, in 1947 at Bell Labs, and they asked him to increase channel capacity through the system. So he turned actually content into electrical signals gorgeously and got the math right and made this huge breakthrough in channel capacity, which is fantastic. But as Weaver his co-writer wrote with him in a 1948–49 paper, really real information is information and meaning together. When Gregory Bateson heard Shannon in 1950 presenting information, he pointed out that real information is also meaning. So the way Shannon originally used the term “information” was inaccurate. As Howard Bloom says, he got the math right but the metaphor wrong. Information genuinely is the codes of meaning of Kosmos, the codes of intimacy.
Now, why am I using codes of meaning and intimacy in the same way? If you’ve never been with us, imagine an amino acid. An amino acid is a configuration of intimacy, when the parts are configured in a particular way. H20, water: hydrogen molecules, oxygen molecules configured in a particular relationship, which means a particular configuration, a particular pattern of intimacy. So RNA, DNA molecules are configurations, patterns of intimacy, patterns of information, but it’s actually information which at its core is not measurable. We’re not talking about measurable information in terms of bits and bytes. We’re talking about the meaning structures of Kosmos that are not measurable, that are beneath measurement, the Tao that cannot be spoken, the immeasurable.
For example, when three quarks become either a proton or a neutron, depending on how they’re configured, three quarks becoming a proton, what makes three quarks into a proton? You can’t measure that. That’s in-formation. It’s the interior that forms a new reality that generates a new meaning structure in reality. That’s information which is a new configuration of intimacy. So information is intimacy is meaning. It’s the same thing.
Broken information ecologies – violation of intimacy – second violation of Eros
So what’s happened is in the last 40–50 years something’s slowly shifted. Originally, in the Western world at least, we trusted our institutions of science, we trusted our institutions of journalism, we trusted our institutions of medicine. We went to our doctor. We listened. The professor told us something. We listened. The rabbi, priest, minister told us something. We listened. Journalists wrote something. We’d believe them. What’s gradually happened is our information ecologies have broken down. We spent a week or two talking about that. We now begin to realize that actually there is a fundamental misalignment between our agency, between our own Unique Self, our own sense of goodness, truth, and beauty and lots of the communications that are coming at us. We’re being marketed, for example, all the time, and the marketer, the person selling, is not thinking of our best interests. They’re not thinking of our highest good, our highest truth, and our highest beauty. It’s happening all the time. The marketing system per se is a misalignment of value. There is actually a broken information ecology.
We used to think it’s only marketing. We used to think, Okay, but we can trust peer-reviewed scientific papers. We now realize that’s not quite true. About half of peer-reviewed scientific papers are actually five years later considered invalid. That’s a little shocking. What does that mean? We actually realize that all scientific papers are funded, that research is funded and that research has an ROI, a return on investment, and there’s actually a win-lose metrics that’s driving virtually all research in the sciences, a win-lose metrics that’s driving virtually all research in medicine. The intrinsic curiosity to know and to heal and to transform that should drive medicine isn’t driving it, so medicine is a broken system in some fundamental way.
Mental health, all of the systems of science, the systems of journalism.. you begin to realize that intelligence agencies have actually paid journalists for years and we think they’re writing objective articles, but they’re not. I had a very deep engagement with the New York Times at a particular point and I was shocked at the brokenness of the system. What you think is actually objective, independent reporting is actually driven behind the scenes by multiple agendas and multiple motives and often by multiple streams of funding that are invisible. We begin to realize, wow, the system that we trusted, the medical establishment, the scientific establishment, the academic establishment are actually lots of great people, lots of beautiful people obviously, lots of great doctors, lots of sincere people, lots of sincere scientists, but the structure itself is rife with corruption, because it’s based at its core on this win-lose metrics.
So we begin to realize our entire information ecology is broken. That’s a violation of the intimate universe. That’s a violation of intimacy. Actually our very heart feels violated. We feel de-formed by the breakdown of the information ecology. So now there are two pieces. Number one, the core Eros of reality, the conspiring of reality towards the evolution of love, the core plotline of reality has broken down. Number two, the information ecology breaks down. The information ecologies that define and animate reality that we trusted in the Western world. In the Communist Bloc they never trusted the information ecologies, but in the Western world we thought we could trust the information ecologies and we now realize we can’t trust those information ecologies. Those in-formation ecologies, information equals meaning, information equals intimacy, and intimacy is an expression of Eros. Let’s go one step deeper. When the configurations of intimacy, which are the patterns of information, which are the very structure of reality, break down, that’s the second violation of Eros.
Definition of intimacy
We’ll go deeper. What is intimacy? This is a definition of intimacy that we’ve spent years developing. It works across all platforms. It’s a general principle. It works in economics and it works in science and it works in relationships and it works in systems theory.
Intimacy = shared identity in the context of (relative) otherness + mutuality of recognition + mutuality of purpose + mutuality of pathos.
Subatomic particles come together. They are driven. They have an interior movement towards intimacy, because as we’ve established in our work on the interior sciences in other contexts, evolution is the progressive deepening of intimacies. Not fanciful, not woo-woo—the core structure of reality. Evolution is the evolution of intimacy. What is intimacy? It’s the movement towards shared identity. Subatomic particles come together. They create a shared identity—they’re an atom—in the context of relative otherness, because the subatomic particles don’t lose their identity. Electrons, neutrons, protons, they don’t lose their identity. They recognize each other. They feel each other. Subatomic particles literally feel each other. They have mutuality of pathos. They have a shared feeling, they prehend each other, in Alfred North Whitehead’s phrase. And they have mutuality of purpose, because these subatomic particles come together and they have function, they have purpose as an atom.
That structure of intimacy moves all the way up the evolutionary chain. Reality is the movement of more and more information, which is more and more intimacy, in-formation, which is bringing separate parts together to form wider identities and larger wholes. So that’s the movement of reality, that’s how reality moves and that reality moves in us, because all of reality lives in us. We live in the intimate universe, but the intimate universe lives in us. So every proton and every electron and every neutron and all the elementary particles and the atoms and the molecules and the cells and the eukaryotes, the multicellular and all the organs and various forms of organisms and stars and stardust and planets, their elementary material at its core lives in us, literally lives in us. All of that lives in us.
So when we get fed misinformation, that’s not a detail. That violates the very structure of intimacy that lives in us, because we’re part of reality, reality lives in us, and when we actually begin to be fed a consistent diet of misinformation, we feel violated even if we can’t quite express why. We feel dissociated from the plotline of Kosmos. We feel dissociated from the intimate universe. We feel empty. We feel a kind of vacuousness. Then that vacuousness, that failure of Eros moves us to cover up the emptiness, and we cover up the emptiness with pseudo-Eros. That’s the third piece, this breaking of the information ecology, which is the intimate structure of reality itself, is the second dimension of the failure of Eros, which leaves us empty. We need to now cover it up with pseudo-Eros. That’s why these information ecologies breaking down have so contributed to conspiracy theories.
3. Eros of Being is in lockdown
The third factor that is driving conspiracy theories, the third failure of Eros. We hit corona. What happens in Corona? In Corona, the usual ways that we find whatever Eros we have left in Kosmos are not available anymore. Through our creative jobs, through actually hugging people, through meeting them, through public places, through beautiful concerts, through the delight of breaking bread together: these are all legitimate forms of conspiring. We come together and we breathe together. Those are the conspirings of being. It’s not the conspiring of reality’s telos, which is the conspiring of becoming. It’s the conspirings of being. But now we’re in lockdown, so we’re locked out from the conspirings of being, so that’s a third failure of Eros.
In that third failure of Eros, pseudo-Eros is quick, it is lurking at the door. So conspiracy theories, the pseudo-Eros that’s available to us on the web as we’re now zoomed in and webbed in. We’re now much more vulnerable, because our Eros has broken down on three levels. We’re not part of the great becoming of reality, the conspiring, the telos. That’s been true for 100, 150, 200 years. Our information ecologies have broken down, so we feel violated in our very intimacies, because information is intimacy and the intimate universe lives in us, so we’re violated. We feel the incoherence of it all. We lack the coherent sense of belonging to this larger intimacy. Then we’re violated because our Eros of being is in lockdown. Eros of being in this particular Corona moment actually disappeared.
4. Strategies of pseudo-Eros don’t work
Then, four, our normal strategies of pseudo-Eros have also broken down. Everyone in life has what I call an arrangement. What’s an arrangement? It’s the way you work out your pseudo-Eros. Everyone has the ways they work out their pseudo-Eros. We’re not going to do a “true confessions” right now where everyone writes: “How do you work out your pseudo-Eros?” No judgment but everyone’s got the ways they work out their pseudo-Eros, their ways of self-soothing. Some of them are more healthy, some of them are less healthy, but in lockdown all of those strategies of pseudo-Eros have also broken down. They’re gone. So now we have on these four levels all this stuff has broken down, so what happens in its wake? All four of those factors together conflagrate, they constellate, they crystallize in this moment of Corona and Conspiracy Theories go crazy.
5. We need a story that’s equal to our experience of reality.
Number five is the nature of reality: we need a story that’s equal to our experience of reality. For example, when we have our new power, we have literally the power of the ancient Roman gods, so we need a story that’s equal to our power. We’re now in front of a new situation in reality. We’re locked down. That which we said was too big to fail, has failed. I’ve been saying for 10 years, and Barbara Marc Hubbard has been saying for 50 years, but for 10 years we’ve talked together about how it’s going to fail, there’s going to be catastrophic risk. Catastrophic risk could, God forbid, be a dress rehearsal for existential risk. We stand poised between utopia and dystopia. But everyone said, “Well, yeah, we’ll listen to the interesting dharma Gafni says, but whatever he’s off on this second shock thing, forget about that.” Second shock of existence, it’s going to threaten us, catastrophic risk, existential risk? No one believed it. All of a sudden it’s happened. Catastrophic risk is upon us.
Old stories are insufficient to meet the new reality
So our old stories, whatever we had left of our old stories, are insufficient to meet the new reality. In brain science, whenever you encounter a situation, your brain looks at all the previous times you’ve encountered this situation to tell you the story how to interpret and react to this situation. Now, when you encounter a new situation, your brain tries to compare it to old situations to try and find a pattern or a story that can actually allow you to deal with the situation. That’s simple neuroscience. Now, what happens from the perspective of neuroscience when your brain can’t find a way to deal with this new reality? Your brain creates a false pattern. The interior of that false pattern recognition, is regressive conspiracy theories. Not conspiracy theories, but what we’ve called regressive conspiracy theories. Your default mode network moves to regressive conspiracy theories.
So, none of all five of these factors, have been identified. There’s an article by Karen Douglas which talks about what drives conspiracy theories: a desire to be superior, to blame other, to have safety… No, that’s all surface. I must have read 30 articles on conspiracy theory and why and they’re all just playing the surface. The opposite of the holy is the superficial. Without all these five factors we can’t actually understand what drives conspiracy theory. What drives conspiracy theory is all of these five factors together, this failure of Eros in this fundamental way, which then creates this overwhelming desire for pseudo-Eros, which is met by conspiracy theories.
PART 2: What do conspiracy theories get right?
This is where it gets really important. Do conspiracy theories get anything right or do they get it all wrong, including the regressive conspiracy theories? The regressive conspiracy theories, do they just get lost? Is it just a form of pseudo-Eros? Is it just a form of creating a projected devil, an us-them? Remember, when Eros breaks down you have pseudo-Eros. Eros means we’re all in the circle. We’re all in the circle means we’re all in the great conspiring, we’re all in the great story. When we’re not all in the great story, when we’re not in the circle, when our story is not part of the larger great story. That’s the circle, I’m calling that the circle. So pseudo-Eros means we place someone else outside the circle. That’s the Superman comic move. It’s the bad guys. It’s the Illuminati, the lizards, they’re the bad guys. We place them outside the circle to give us an illusion of being inside the circle. That’s pseudo-Eros. That’s all part of Part 1.
What do conspiracy theorists get right? The conspiracy theorists aren’t all wrong. They actually get something right. That’s what we said. What do they get right? They get right that there’s a hidden plotline to reality, but they attribute the plotline to these Superman-like caricatured players of lizard Illuminati, and they’re saying that’s what’s driving us. Most common versions of the conspiracy theories say it’s driving us to all be part of the AI matrix. There are lots of different details to this story: vaccines, vaccines containing nanobots, all moving towards control, false coronavirus, 5G. There are lots of pieces to the story, but the basic movement of the story is that we’re moving towards being absorbed but nanobots in this world-artificial-intelligence system where the individual is radically effaced, the individual ceases to matter. Reality is controlled by a 1%.
Think Hunger Games. Two years ago when I talked about this, we did an entire talk about Hunger Games as a very accurate vision of this dystopian reality in which the elites take control and everyone’s part of this large force of the masses that are ultimately completely controlled and dominated by this elite and that the Illuminati or whoever these hidden forces are, are driving reality towards this artificial intelligence web. Of course, Hunger Games didn’t focus on the artificial intelligence side of it. Other movies have. But you get the dystopian vision.
It’s so deep and it’s so beautiful. It’s an Orwellian 1984 with infotech and with biotech and with augmented humans and with machine learning and with artificial intelligence. It’s that movement. That’s the core of it. In the new plotline of the conspiracy theories, we’ve added in the world of nanotech and infotech and biotech. All those technologies now play core in the story. In that sense the conspiracy theorists are picking something up that Marx pointed out, that the mechanisms of domination in culture are always technological. It’s the means of production. It’s the means of technology. Marx wasn’t wrong about that. Marx focused too much on only that quadrant of reality, which is the quadrant of the exterior structures of the collective, the means of production, the means of technology, but Marx got right that the techno-economic base completely influences the interior structure of society.
So the conspiracy theorists are all noticing correctly this new exterior structure incarnate in infotech and in biotech and in nanotech and in machine learning and artificial intelligence, putting that together with the Illuminati story, the cabal, and telling us the story of this great hidden conspiracy in which all the strings are being pulled and even government leaders, presidents, prime ministers, corporate heads are puppets for this hidden cabal.
The conspiracy theorists view this cabal as driving us towards this AI matrix. What the conspiracy theory got right is that we actually are moving in an exorable tragic direction and that the plotline of reality has gotten hijacked, but the conspiracy theorists made the regressive devil or contemporary modern Superman move, which is the us-them, the inside the circle/outside the circle, which is the classical pseudo-Eros move. It’s when I’m not in the circle. I’m not connected to the Eros of reality. Reality’s Eros has failed me for the five different reasons that we unpacked. I make the pseudo-Eros move and I say, “These bad guys have hijacked reality and they’ve inserted into reality this negative, deleterious, degraded, gross, obscene, lizardian —as in lizard—, plotline.”
But that’s not what’s happening. It’s actually not right. That intuition is understandable, but it’s intuiting something but not quite understanding how it’s happening. We are actually moving rapidly towards an AI-dominated matrix. That’s actually true, but not because lizards created it that way. So I want to go deeper into this, because the conspiracy theorists, particularly the regressive conspiracy theorists, have a correct intuition but a disastrous and regressive and primitive explication of it.
Evolutionary Conspiracy Theory
I want to get to an evolutionary conspiracy theory, a progressive conspiracy theory—that was one of the two distinctions we made in the beginning. We said there’s a local and a global conspiracy theory. We made that distinction. Then we said there’s a regressive and there’s a progressive or evolutionary conspiracy theory.
We actually are being driven towards a dominated AI matrix. That’s actually true. That’s actually real information. I’m going to explain that in a couple of minutes, but let’s just step back. What’s driving us there? What’s moving us towards a world in which AI—Artificial Intelligence—has enormous domination? For example, many studies suggest that in 30 years AI will have 80–90% of the jobs in the world, so jobs will be disappeared. AI networks—Artificial Intelligence networks—will trade with each other. So the masses of human beings won’t even be needed for labor.
In the 20th century we were worried about exploitation, so we created unions, we created revolutions so that the masses shouldn’t be exploited, but actually in the 21st century as we move towards this AI-dominated matrix, the problem is not going to be exploitation but, as Harari already pointed out correctly, it’s going to be irrelevance, because the AI networks will trade with each other, the jobs will be done 90% by AI. There will be some human jobs and some jobs human and AI together, but 80-90% of the jobs will be obsoleted. People’s natural sense of identity that happened through the job, the remaining Separate Self kind of identity, will be obsoleted. Unbelievable!
Then what’s going to happen is, we’re going to do massive data collection. We’re going to be able to do data collection in consonance with having hacked the life science, so we know much more about, for example, the biochemistry of an emotion. An emotion is not reducible to biochemistry, but there’s a biochemical expression of an emotion. So we’re collecting data from everyone who’s online. We’ve hacked the life sciences so we can read the impulses, the gestures, the biochemistry of emotions, so we can actually begin to manipulate a person through their data, but their data is not just what they bought online. Actually we’re going to have biometric sensors. The world’s moving very rapidly towards biometric sensors, there is an enormous amount of information on that, which means not just you’re holding your iPhone and you need your iPhone, you’re addicted to your iPhone. Not just Bluetooth in your ear or Google glasses but actually under the skin. You’re not just holding it. You’re not just wearing it. It’s inside you. That’s biometric sensors. These biometric sensors, is which we’re moving towards in the world now.
The field of contraction – the principles of a win-lose-metrics
Now, the theory of the conspiracy theory is that it’s being organized and orchestrated. That’s the cabal. That’s the lizard move. But that’s actually not the case. It’s far more dangerous, for more perfidy, far more perilous but also far more promising, far more potential, for more ability for transformation. Because actually what’s driving us is not a cabal, it’s actually the field of contraction. I want to call this the field of contraction. The field of contraction is the operating system of reality. It’s the source code of the operating system of reality.
We’ve talked about this for several years now in great depth and really for 20 years in different versions, but let’s just get the core of it now. The operating system of reality is driven by a win-lose metrics, because that’s the only story left. It’s a success story, win-lose metrics. In the win-lose metrics I am a Separate Self. I’m separated from you. I’m separated from nature. We’re separated from each other. Matter is separated from spirit. It’s insentient hard balls of inert, lifeless matter. We are in this materialist matrix. We’re Separate Selves and we’re competing. There’s a win-lose metrics.
Now, you’ve got to get this win-lose metrics straight. It moves the system all the way up and all the way down. Within every company, you’re competing for your promotion. Within a family, the power struggle between the companies, between intelligence agencies. Companies with each other compete, departments within a company compete, charity organizations and NGOs are competing. You think the NGO world, the philanthropic world is any different? The philanthropic world is rife with massive competition. The academic world—return on investment funding, mad, brutal competition between different academics, different professors. There’s a close friend of mine who’s one of our board members at our think tank who just wrote an article on the trauma of collegial betrayal. She’s one of the leaders in the mental health field. She wrote an article on the commonality and trauma of collegial betrayal. Colleagues betray each other all the time, because there’s a win-lose metrics.
So the field between countries, between different sectors of countries, between different sectors of companies, the entire system is a win-lose metrics. For example, if I know there’s a pandemic coming, which lots of people did—there were several hundred people at the higher echelons of government who were very clear there was a pandemic coming. None of them or virtually none of them acted. Why? They were in a win-lose metrics. They didn’t want to speak out. They didn’t want to endanger their job. They wanted to be successful. They didn’t want to endanger their success. So there’s a pandemic coming. Five hundred people actually know about it. No one actually really whistle blows. Of the 90,000 people who died in America in this pandemic, I would say accurately 80,000 deaths very possibly were unnecessary, for sure 70,000 were unnecessary. We were completely unprepared, because the win-lose metrics dominates the system.
How many people here have heard of social media? We’ve heard of social media, right? Okay, good. How many people participate in social media? Lots of people. Who participates in social media or knows someone who participates in social media or is impacted by social media? Come one, let’s be honest here: all of us, everybody. Social media is everywhere. We’re participating not just in social media now. We are in an infotech coordination. Social media means Twitter, Facebook, etc., all the social media platforms. So we’re all participating in the social media experiment.
Now, we have an enormous amount of information today, that social media itself drives breakdown. There is a correlation, very strong, between depression and social media, between obesity and social media, between bulimia and social media, between various other forms of mental breakdown and social media, a direct correlation. Why are we all participating in this social media experiment?
Let’s get more specific. Let’s take Facebook. Where did Facebook come from and how does it work? Let’s just take that as an example of social media, because we all know Facebook. Facebook was started by a dude named Mark Zuckerberg. Blessings to you, Mark. Mark is not part of a cabal. He’s not Zuckerberg and the Warburgs and the Morgans and Rockefellers and the Trilateral Commission. Mark’s a dude who fought to get into Harvard. Win-lose metrics, you’ve got to get into the good school, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. In Harvard he was asked to do some coding by two brothers who had created a rating system —win-lose metrics— of women in Harvard for Harvard students. It did that and some other things. Zuckerberg, according to the court documents, apparently stole the core operating system—he paid lots of money for it in a later lawsuit—and then went and started Facebook.
Facebook is based on a win-lose metrics. There’s a “like” button. Everything is about displaying yourself, creating your profile. It’s not about depth. There are no deep friendships. There are Facebook friends. You try and accumulate friends. You try and accumulate likes. You try and accumulate views. The entire game is a superficial win-lose metrics game. One huge bundle of addictive pseudo-Eros, that’s Facebook. One, huge, tragic bundle of public, superficial, vacuous performance that people are addicted to. My phone? Addicted to it. We’re addicted to our phones. No one signed up for the social media experiment. Much of the world is addicted to it. I never go on my Facebook page, and I appreciate the people who keep it running, but who knows whether we should have it at all or not, but Facebook is an addictive social media tragedy. It’s pseudo-Eros.
Now, how did Facebook get into play? Did the cabal put Facebook in play? Did the Illuminati put it in play? No, the inexorable laws of the field of contraction put Facebook in play. Facebook was put in play by these inexorable laws. What are the laws? This is now a new point, a big new point. The way complexity theory works—complexity theory is a daughter of systems theory and a kind of mother of chaos theory. Complexity theory is systems theory exponentialized by mathematics. So one of the things that complexity theory has taught us, is that large systems which you can barely understand are called in meta-modern theory hyperobjects. Global warming is a hyperobject, the world economy is a hyperobject, global poverty is a hyperobject. A hyperobject has zillions of variables and factors, way too much for one person to assimilate that computationally we can begin to access in models. We begin to understand that vast systems —hyperobjects— are created, by simple first principles that are iterated again and again and again.
PART 3: Hyperobjects Are Created by Simple First Principles.
So you’ve got reality. Reality is this huge hyperobject—global economy, global systems, global travel, world currencies, schools, education, medicine, the whole thing. What drives the whole thing? What drives the whole thing is simple principles. What are the simple principles of the field of contraction, which is what the world system has become? The simple principles are win-lose metrics. I’m a Separate Self and I am in a success story trajectory. Remember, you can’t fight an enemy who has playgrounds in your mind, wrote Sally Kempton 25 years ago. The win-lose metrics are playgrounds in your mind. It’s an internalized win-lose metrics. You’re driven by win-lose metrics: Am I successful? Am I being liked? Am I being productive? It’s evaluated monetarily. It’s evaluated by status.
So we’re in this win-lose metrics, but you’ve got to see it. That win-lose metrics is iterated billions of times, trillions of times all through the system. The entire system is animated by win-lose metrics. That system, which is a field of contraction, that system is a lizard. The system is a field of contraction. The system is win-lose metrics. So the system has its own inexorable plotline. The plotline of this pseudo-Eros, of this bad story is a success story. It’s a win-lose metrics success story. When you’ve got a win-lose metrics success story, the plotline is going to drive you to Facebook and it’s going to drive us all to participate in social media.
How many people here signed a form: “I agree to participate in a social media experiment”? Not one. How many people here voted? Like Great Britain voted on Brexit, although no one understood what they were voting on, as Richard Dawkins pointed out, who refused to vote in the Brexit referendum about whether Great Britain should leave the European Union or not. But let’s assume that if they voted on Brexit we certainly voted, all of us, on this worldwide social media experiment, which is enormously dangerous, which causes bulimia and causes obesity and causes depression and causes mental breakdown. So who voted? You must have voted, right? I’m sorry. You probably voted for a politician who was presenting this side and that politician got in an office and therefore the leaders of the political world enacted social media, right?
No, social media was not enacted by governments. It was not enacted by any kind of political structure. It wasn’t enacted by spiritual leaders. It wasn’t enacted by professors. It wasn’t voted on by anyone. There was no referendum. No one agreed and yet everyone’s participating. Why? Because the lizards pulled the strings behind the scenes? If you pull back Mark Zuckerberg’s hidden mask he’s really an interbred lizard? I don’t think so. I’m sure Mark’s a lovely guy. Mark, brother, you’re invited to be with us right here and talk about this. You’re invited anytime, brother, total. I’m sure you’re a beautiful guy. But he’s driven not by a cabal behind the scenes but by an internalized win-lose metrics, so for Mark Zuckerberg Facebook has to be the dominant force on the planet and that matters to him. It matters to him enormously. You read the conversations between Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg. They’re driven by domination and they’re driven by a win-lose metrics. Facebook appeals to the win-lose metrics inside of us, so the field itself—the field of contraction is what we’ve called it for many years—the field of contraction actually is the plotline.
What the conspiracy theorists are sensing is that there’s a hijacked, distorted plotline of reality. The conspiracy theorists actually haven’t really recognized the original plotline, the great conspiring, the great story, the accurate first principles, but there’s this sense of a distorted plotline. That distorted plotline, though, is not driven by a cabal. It’s driven by the field of contraction itself.
Now let’s apply it to AI. The same way it drove us towards Facebook, it’s going to drive us towards an artificial intelligence world in which we have biometric sensors under our skin. So the biometric sensors are tracking our emotions based on the biochemical patterns, because we’ve hacked the life sciences. We have for the first time computational ability to analyze all the data. The KGB is following people in the Soviet Union, you’ve got a couple hundred million KGB agents some said, however many there were. Half of East Germany is Stasi agents, but they’re writing written reports and who’s going to read them? There’s no computational power. Now things have changed. One is we have computational power. Two is everyone’s online. Three is they’re moving towards biometric sensors. Four is we’ve hacked the life sciences so we can analyze the biochemical patterns of emotions.
Our sensemaking capacities have completely broken down.
Do you begin to see what’s happening? What’s happening is the two basic premises of Western society, which which we can actually do sensemaking, have broken down. That’s what it means to be a consumer, we can decide what to buy, we can do sensemaking. And we can actually decide who to vote for, that’s what democracy means. These two sensemaking capacities have completely broken down. They’ve broken down, because of a broken information ecology, but the broken information ecology that we’ve described in the last few weeks is child’s play compared to this AI-dominated world which is where we’re all going and are all participating in.
Why the fuck are you participating in Facebook? Because it’s convenient, because it gives you a quick hit, because you want to be seen, you don’t want to be out of the system. I can’t find an internal reference for my own aliveness, for my own goodness. I’ve got to be seen. If I disconnect from the matrix I’ll die. That’s the sense. You didn’t agree to that. No one voted on it. Facebook was put into play by the inexorable plotline of the field of contraction itself. And that same plotline, not lizards, is going to put into play this AI matrix.
I was talking to someone just yesterday who works in a company that actually offers people AI. “Hey, here’s how AI can help you.” Now, this person’s a fantastic human being, but no one has any sense, where is AI taking us? AI helps my particular company at this particular time to do a particular thing which helps our bottom line, win-lose metrics, but we don’t actually see, what is AI, where is it going to take us?
There’s no one looking at the whole picture. Facebook and Twitter, for example, just this week announced that they’re going to actually allow employees to stay at home. Everyone catch that? How many people caught that? Facebook and Twitter, are going to allow employees to stay at home. Let me ask you a question. Why did Facebook and Twitter say that? Because it helps their bottom line financially. It’s a total win-lose metrics bottom line. But what about the fact that by these employees staying at home there are going to be less marriages, there is going to be less love, there are going to be less Unique Self encounters, less meetings, less new creativities, because actually we need the office space. The office space is a place of meeting, it’s a place of touching, it’s a place of a million encounters and a million conversations.
The University of California, all give courses online. Okay, that might be necessary temporarily, but now universities are saying: “It’s much cheaper. We can actually go online and increase our endowments.” No, education is not technical information. Education is meaning and it’s meaningful encounters and it’s thousands and thousands of meaningful encounters. So if universities start to go online and Twitter and Facebook employees are staying home and office buildings start to shut down, do you begin to see what’s happening? That’s tragic. And no one’s actually taking into account the larger fabric of love, the larger field, because everyone’s operating in a win-lose metrics.
PART 4: When you change the first principles you actually change the entire nature of the field. The new story is actually a new configuration of intimacy.
This is also enormously hopeful. This is enormously good news. Once you can see the tragedy, you can go beyond the tragedy. Once you can see the peril, we can move to the promise. We can actually change this. How do we change this? We change it by changing the first principles. You change the system by changing the first principles. That’s how you change the field. When you change the first principles you actually change the entire nature of the field.
From Dogma to Dharma
We can change the whole thing, because we can evolve the source code. We change the whole thing not by giving a bunch of new spiritual seminars. That’s what I’ve been trying to say for 10 years to anyone who would listen. New spiritual seminars, getting a zillion people to an event. No, that’s not going to change the system. We have to evolve the source code. I remember a conversation with Tami Simon from Sounds True, several conversations, where Tami just hated the words “source code.” “I hate that you used the word ‘source code’. It’s dogmatic.” But that’s the liberal approach, the old neoliberalism: there is no source code. That’s the postmodern influence: does it sound true?
No, source code means that there are first principles that govern reality. They’re not dogma. You can’t impose your dogma. But they’re not dogma. First principles are the nature of reality itself. We actually can discern. We’re not just lost in uncertainty. We have certainties. You can always know truth by the balance of certainty and uncertainty. One of the litmus tests for false conspiracy theories is absolute certainty. Conspiracy theorists can explain everything. One of the litmus tests for also false misinformation is the mainstream establishment that with absolute certainty dismisses anything that any of the conspiracy theorists say. Reality is always a dance between certainty and uncertainty, between that which we know and that which is mystery. We dance between the certainty and uncertainty.
This is huge. First principles are the certainties. They’re evolving certainties, but they are certainties about the nature of reality that we can gather based on the best collection of validated truths from every field of wisdom, every line of development, from all the different states of consciousness, from all the different levels of structure stages of consciousness, from all the different dimensions of reality, interiors and exteriors, our collective knowing, our individual knowing.
We gather all the truths from the premodern period, the modern period and the postmodern period. All the truths of the great traditions, the validated insights, not the dogmas, not the surface structures but the shared depth structures of all the great traditions. The shared depth structures of the validated truths of science, not the dogmas of science. Science has dogmas just like religion does. We actually jettison all the dogmas of science and scientism and of false religion or dogmatic religion. And we gather the validated insights of premodern: which is the traditional period, modern: the modern knowings of psychology, evolutionary theory, feminism, scientific method, and postmodern: the realization of cultural influence and history and its subjectivity and the influences of power that try to create narratives.
We gather all the validated insights from all the different periods, all these different parts, and we weave them together into a larger whole. That’s not dogma. We’re going to give that a name. We’re going to call it dharma, but by dharma we mean the new story. The new story is not a fanciful conjecture. The new story is actually a new configuration of intimacy. That’s what the new story is. Ideas have energy. Ideas are not written on a piece of paper. Ideas are representations of the forces of Kosmos, different parts, different insights gathered together in a larger whole. So a new story is a new configuration of intimacy.
PART 5: The Breakdown of Corona Is an Expression of a Non-Intimate Universe
Corona and the breakdown of corona is really just an accentuation of the breakdown that was already here, which is the field of contraction. The field of contraction, its very core is a global intimacy disorder. We’re non-intimate with each other. We’re non-intimate with nature. Matter and spirit are non-intimate with each other. We’re not intimate with reality. We don’t have a shared identity with each other. We don’t have a shared identity with the Earth, with the plants, with the animals. We don’t have this larger shared identity. We don’t have this shared identity with the wider selves that we are. We’ve split off our shadows. We don’t have a shared identity with our storylines, not shared with the storyline of reality. There’s this global intimacy disorder.
Poor people eat bats that are brutally, cruelly slaughtered in the Wuhan market, because we don’t take care of them, because we’ve split them off. We’re creating bioweapons, fighting each other, because we’re lost in our ethnocentric limited circles and we don’t have this wider sense of a shared story. We don’t have a shared story. We’re polarized, because we hold onto surface stories, because we don’t have a deeper story. We hold onto our surface political stories, because we don’t have a deeper shared story based on first principles of who we are.
We’re united by a shared story.
Who am I? Who are we? Why am I here? Where are we going? What’s it all about? We haven’t answered the core questions of reality with the partial certainties that we have. We have partial certainties of identity. We can answer something very important about these questions, not from the perspective of dogma, but from the perspective of that which unites us, which is far greater than that which divides us, to create a new global coherence, not domination, not a kind of totalitarian world government. Unique Self nations should always thrive, but we’re playing the same music. There’s a larger score. We’re part of a Unique Self symphony of nations, and it’s a jazz symphony, and we each play a different instrument uniquely and beautifully, but that which unites us is far greater than that which divides us.
We’re united by a shared story. A shared story is doing what reality always does. It’s Eros. Eros brings together different parts to form a larger whole, to create new configurations of intimacy, deeper contact and larger wholeness. So we bring together in the interior technology of reality different parts and we form a new whole, which is a new intimacy. So it’s only a new story which is a new configuration of intimacy that can solve the global intimacy disorder. The global intimacy disorder is the cause for global action paralysis and global action confusion.
The virus breaks all boundaries
Just watch Corona. Watch the United States. Watch Europe. Watch Asia. Everyone’s doing their own thing, some more successfully, some less, but there’s a global action confusion. So the germ, the virus is moving around the world. The virus has no boundary consciousness. Trump said it’s a foreign virus. It’s not a foreign virus. What an absurd idea. The virus breaks all boundaries, there is no boundary. But we are in our little states pretending like each state in America, each country in the world, can actually deal with the virus independently with different laws and different systems and different standards. Are we out of our minds?
We’ve lost coherence. There’s a global action paralysis and there’s a global action confusion, because we’re not part of a shared story. We need a shared intimacy. We need to be part of a shared story. Like a couple in a marriage: when you don’t have a shared story about the marriage, a shared story about what happened, a shared story about where you’re going, you can never actually create intimacy and depth and passion and gorgeousness. You can’t have the genuine shared identity which is intimacy, because you don’t have mutuality of purpose and you don’t recognize each other, you don’t recognize a shared story.
The good news and the promise: the true storyline – Reality is the evolution of love.
So we’re at a place where actually we can respond. There’s enormous peril, which is the field of contraction inexorably moving along its trajectory towards an AI-dominated matrix which effaces the human individual, but we can actually shift it by restoring and evolving the actual nature of reality, the true storyline of reality. The true storyline of reality is not dogmatic. It’s not owned by one religion. It’s not owned by one country. It’s actually the dharma. It’s the shared understanding of reality’s plotline, where we begin to understand that underneath is being itself. All of the material world inheres with being. That’s what Whitehead wrote about. The hills are alive. Spirit is alive. Spirit has direction. It has direction. The material world inheres with spirit itself. It’s not materialism and it’s not dualism, which says there’s a God outside and all of matter is insert. No, matter itself has direction. Reality has telos. Reality has a plotline.
That’s the only way you can read the science. Science has to do enormous “blind itself” act. Howard Bloom has written about this extensively in great detail on the scientific side of things, an enormous amount of information. Reality of course has telos and of course has direction. Reality’s direction is to more and more complexity and more and more consciousness and more and more individuated, dignified uniqueness and more and more creativity and more and more caring and more and more goodness, truth, and beauty. Reality has an appetite. Reality has interior desires. The desire of reality is ever more goodness and ever more truth and ever more beauty.
Reality is the evolution of love. Now, it’s not a straight line. It’s filled with agony and ecstasy. We need to move from egocentric love to ethnocentric love to worldcentric to kosmocentric love. When we can’t feel the full Eros of the story, we actually draw a line and we say, “I’m in the Eros, because you’re outside the Eros.” That’s ethnocentric love. But actually from the very beginning of reality, from the subatomic particles, even before, the quarks that came together to be protons, all of reality is driven by allurement and autonomy. I’m going to create a new whole that has its own quality, and I want to come together, different parts, to create a new whole. Parts coming together to create new wholes, driven by allurement, by Eros, by love. That’s the movement of reality.
Even at the worst ethnocentric period of human history where there was always an in-group and an out-group, everyone understood there needs to be love between the in-group. At the worst times, the most despotic regimes, the in-group has to love each other. But we actually placed the boundary in the wrong place, because reality’s driven, the nature of reality is that we participate in evolution, there’s an inherent process of evolution that’s happening in us. So there’s an evolution of love, there’s an evolution of meaning. The mystery of reality is that it’s not by divine fiat. It’s not deus ex machina. The realization that we have is that reality is evolving. There’s an inherent process, that divinity/infinity clothes itself in finitude and there’s a process in which the inherent creative structure of reality moves towards ever greater levels of goodness, truth, and beauty. That’s the plotline of reality.
New First Simple Principles towards the field of Outrageous Love
What is the first new simple principle? One: the ontology of love, that Eros drives Kosmos. Two: that Eros moves to greater intimacies. Three: that Intimacy = shared identity in the context of (relative) otherness + mutuality of recognition + mutuality of pathos + mutuality of purpose. That’s a first principle. That first principle you can apply to atoms, but you can apply it across mediums. You can apply it to governments. You can apply it between agencies in a department. You can apply it in a couple relationship. You can apply it in an organization. Across every structure stage of consciousness you can apply that first principle of intimacy. So reality is the evolution of intimacy. That’s a first principle.
Let’s take the human being. The human being is an irreducibly unique expression of Eros. That’s a first principle. The human being is not a Separate Self. The human being is first True Self: I’m part of the larger field of reality. Then I’m a unique expression of that field: Unique Self. My Unique Self participates in the evolutionary impulse: Evolutionary Unique Self. We call that Homo Amor. Homo Amor is the fulfillment of Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens is the Separate Self in a win-lose metrics. Homo sapiens fulfills him/herself as Homo Amor, as an Evolutionary Unique Self, as a unique set of allurements expressing the movement of allurement of all reality. Those are all first principles. They change the game. You iterate Unique Self, you iterate allurement, you iterate reality. This is the progressive deepening of intimacies across every structure stage of consciousness. If in every field of reality from the inanimate to the animate to the human to every dimension of humanity, we iterate those first principles, the entire field changes.
Now, you might say, “Gafni, you’re out of your mind. How do you do that?” Of course you can do it. Take democracy. Democracy is a first principle about the nature of government. A thousand years ago we would burn people at the stake who would suggest the democratization of governance. Today we take the democratization of governance for granted. Two hundred years ago, women voting, “really, you’re going to allow women to vote?” In 1871, a woman sued in the Illinois Supreme Court for the right to be a lawyer. She took it all the way up to the Supreme Court of the land. She lost. I think it was seven to one in the National Supreme Court. Today, suggest that a woman can’t be a lawyer, you’ll get shot, correctly.
PART 6: We Download New First Simple Principles into Our Entire Technological Matrix. The Great Conspiring of Reality in Which We Participate.
Consciousness evolves. This is not our Separate Self imposing our will. We are participating in the evolution of consciousness. Our revolution is backed by evolution. Our revolution is backed by the Universe itself. So we have the privilege to articulate first principles of dharma, the best integration of all the validated knowings in all the periods of history in a second simplicity. So we take all of the principles and we articulate them. Not as a first simplicity, not as slogans. We don’t get lost in the complexity either. We integrate everything in a second simplicity, those are first principles. Then we actually download those first principles into our entire technological matrix. That’s the last step.
Right now our technological matrix—AI, Facebook—they’re completely animated by the win-lose metrics and the success story. We have to animate the system by these new first principles. That means every programmer, every designer of software, every designer of a preschool, every designer of a family—that’s all of us—every designer of a human life. We animate the entire thing with not “I am successful” but with: “We are successful. We’re part of the larger story. Am I giving my unique gift? Am I addressing a unique need in my unique circle of intimacy and influence? Am I evolving intimacy in my life? Am I experiencing my transformation as part of the transformation of the whole?
These are all first principle questions. I did it relatively briefly now, but you get what we mean by first principles. Just take the intimacy equation and apply it across different medium. That’s what first principles mean. There are first principles in exteriors and there are first principles in interiors. So you apply those first principles, those core algorithms across all of history and you get the great hyperobject of reality.
When you get that reality has a plotline—and the plotline is beautiful, it’s the great conspiring of reality—and we return to an evolved vision of the original Eros of reality, but we return to something that we were never at before. This was known by individuals along the way. It was known by sages and seers, but it was never democratized. We never democratized enlightenment. We never democratized awakening. We never democratized Unique Self. We never democratized greatness. We now need to have not a top-down but a self-organizing universe, a bottom-up, self-organizing universe where we self-organize towards our Unique Self, towards the fulfillment of my unique gift, towards the radical creativity which is beyond my job, which is the gorgeous unique way of being and becoming that’s mine to be in the world. Then we have a different world. Oh my god, we’ve got a different world. Can you feel that? That’s it, the great conspiring of reality in which we participate.
John Archibald Wheeler the physicist wrote, based on the deep structures of the exterior sciences, “We live in a participatory universe.” That’s true. We participate in evolution. We participate in eternity. Our story participates in the whole story. Oh my god, tears at the possibility. And we are the possibility. We’re not talking about it. We have to be it. We are the possibility of possibility.
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