Israel-Hamas: The Impossible Questions – Podcast Aubrey Marcus with Dr. Marc Gafni

Note to Listener from Aubrey Marcus and Dr. Marc Gafni:

We are at a time between worlds, at a time between stories.

We live in a world of outrageous pain. We live in a world of outrageous beauty. We live in a world of outrageous love.

In this time between stories, we step beyond the old stories of good and evil in its primitive forms. But that does not mean that we are moral relativists or that value is not real. Indeed all of reality, all of life is Value. We can feel the truth of this in our bodies. We may not be able to explain it perfectly, but when we feel we know. And this is what gives us courage to stand on the side of Life.

And to stand on the side of Life is to take a side. A stand for Life, is by nature a stand against anti-Life, or anti-Value. What that means about what should be done is a question of impossible complexity, pain and uncertainty.

We stand for a culture of Eros against a culture of death. We stand for intimacy against alienation. This requires us to be both tender and fierce, to stand for Life against the forces of anti-life.

It is not that there is no value in the universe and therefore naturally no battle between value and anti-value. Value is real. Good and Evil are real. But good and evil are not split along racial or national, or ethnic or religious grounds. This is a seductively simple conception, that in and of itself is the cause of so much horror.

In our formulation, Good and Evil is discerned simply: To be Good is to be ALL IN FOR ALL LIFE.

No one is outside of the circle of Life. To be All in for All Life requires the cultivation of radical discernment within a broken information ecology, and full blown 5th generational warfare in the form of attention hijacking and propaganda. To stand for Life means to make love to the tender sensuality of sensemaking.

Feeling our way slowly and carefully, but not with timidity masking as humility.

Evil is evil.

As much as we might be tempted, we cannot be afraid to call it what it is. Within that is a rejection of universal moral relativism. It is a solemn vow to protect the innocent, all of the innocent, and to protect the world from being held hostage by the forces of anti-life – wherever they are found.

We speak with broken hearts, with clarity, but always in the unknowing. Always in devotion to the Mystery, while always whispering love in every distinction with every breath. It is our prayer that this inspires a story that is unifying rather than dividing. Clarifying rather than confusing. It is a prayer for all Life. Comments will be off on this video, so that everyone can watch it and feel with their own hearts and minds.

Israel-Hamas: The Impossible Questions – Podcast Aubrey Marcus with Dr. Marc Gafni2023-11-01T05:05:16-07:00

Is Religion for the Happy-Minded? A Response to Harold Kushner

Download the PDF of this Article

Written and published by Marc Gafni in 1986 for Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought, Vol. 22, No. 3 (FALL 1986), pp. 54-65.

In a very profound way, Harold Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People (Avon Books, 1981) and the themes it treats evoke in the reader feelings of warmth, compassion, and drawing one closer to all who suffer in this world. The tragic story of Aaron Kushner (the author’s son) and the very real depth with which his parents experienced suffering cannot but make one feel like reaching out in love and respect to the author. Yet, at the same time, I found the underlying premises of the book deeply troubling. Its message, meant to be comforting, is, in fact, nothing short of terrifying.

Kushner, claiming to speak for Judaism, asserts that God is, in his term, “powerless” (pp. 42-44). “God does not, and cannot, intervene in human affairs to avert tragedy and suffering. At most, He offers us His divine comfort, and expresses His divine anger that such horrible things happen to people. God, in the face of tragedy, is impotent. The most God can do,” Kushner eloquently proclaims, “is to stand on the side of the victim; not the executioner.”

That God gives free reign to an executioner is a common Jewish position, classical, medieval and modern. “Once permission is given for the destroyer to destroy, no distinction is made between the righteous and the wicked.” (Rashi Exodus 12:22).

While Judaism certainly maintains that God, in His divine empathy, stands on the side of the victim, no classical Jewish position has ever maintained that God is incapable of controlling the executioner.

Kushner uses the book of Job to lend the weight of religious authority to his position. Merely to point out the obvious-that Kushner’s interpretation of the book of Job, for instance, has little or nothing to do with the Biblical book by that name-fails to undermine the popular appeal that has propelled Kushner’s book to the bestseller lists. In fact, Kushner feels quite comfortable admitting to intellectual dishonesty. In an interview with Moment magazine (November 1981), he was asked: “You argue that it is simply wrong to blame God for the bad luck, for the nastiness, for the evil; and yet you are perfectly prepared to praise God for the good, to thank God. How do you reconcile that?” To which he carefully replied: “Walter Kaufman calls it ‘religious gerrymandering’.’ That is you draw the lines for your definition of God to include certain things and exclude others.”

While I certainly believe that profound suffering moved Kushner to take up his pen, that still cannot justify intellectual gerrymandering.

The heart of Kushner’s position is the claim that traditional beliefs about God’s relationship to the universe, and to man, are wrong, and that his own account is right.

Kushner’s basic method of argumentation is anecdotal. He cites particular cases of suffering and then a,· mpts to demonstrate the inadequacy of various theodicies as applied to those cases. But the best theodicy is still a human, all too human, theodicy. No theodicy can give pat answers for every circumstance of suffering. Theological reflection can deepen our appreciation of the problem and provide frames of reference with which to approach the experience of suffering. However, from no single set of theological premises can an all-embracing solution be expected. God, we believe, knows the results of all good and evil, past, present, and future, and measures the diverse values (spiritual; intellectual, ethical, aesthetic, hedonic, etc.) which the universe displays, and with which man is confronted. Man does not. Therefore, we must beware of “refuting” theological reflection by showing that it has difficulty fulfilling claims that it has never made.

II

It is instructive to examine Kushner’s position on his own terms. This section of the essay will comment on six of the life cases which Kushner cites to support his general conception of religion, his rejection of classic theodicy and his central claim: that God cannot control what happens in our world.

The Case of Bob (pp. 94-96)

Bob has just made the difficult decision to place his mother in a nursing home. Although his mother is “basically alert and healthy and does not require medical care” she can no longer live alone. After a brief attempt, Bob and his family decide that “they are not prepared to make the sacrifice of time and lifestyle which caring for a sick, old woman requires.” That weekend, Bob, who did not usually go to synagogue, went to services hoping they would give him “the tranquility and peace of mind he needed.” As luck would have it, the sermon that morning was on the fifth commandment. The clergyman spoke of the sacrifices parents make in raising children and the reluctance of children to make sacrifices for older parents in return. He asked: “Why is it one mother can care for six children, but six children can’t care for one mother?” It bothers Kushner that Bob was made to leave the service feeling “hurt and angry.” Bob feels that religion has told him that he is a “selfish and uncaring person.” He is haunted by the idea that if she dies soon he will never be able to live with himself “for having made her last years miserable because of his selfishness.” And Kushner, too, is upset with religion because “the purpose of religion should be to make us feel good about ourselves” after making difficult decisions. (more…)

Is Religion for the Happy-Minded? A Response to Harold Kushner2023-11-01T04:56:14-07:00

The God Pod: Spiritual Evolution & A Vision of Value for Humanity with Dr. Marc Gafni and Luke Storey

This is what podcast host Luke Storey says about this episode:

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 amorous 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 https://lukestorey.com/marc.

The God Pod: Spiritual Evolution & A Vision of Value for Humanity with Dr. Marc Gafni and Luke Storey2023-11-01T04:55:31-07:00

The Meaning of Life | Lost & Found Podcast with Dr. Marc Gafni

This is what Sabri Gazail, host of the Lost and Found Podcast, who has since become a valued contributor to the Center, says about this episode:

Wow! This conversation with Dr Marc Gafni blew my mind. I first heard Dr Marc on the @AubreyMarcusPod and felt so much truth in the explanation of self, God, love and life.

We dive into – dealing with trauma and how the western therapeutic approach doesn’t work, what is the self, what is desire, why we are here, what our purpose is, what God is, what our relationship to God is and our meaning of life!

The Meaning of Life | Lost & Found Podcast with Dr. Marc Gafni2023-11-01T04:55:32-07:00

Redignifying Human Need | Dr. Marc Gafni at Ari in the Air

This is what Ari says about this episode:

In this episode, we get into his work with Ken Wilber and Zak Stein on CosmoErotic Humanism – a meta story of the universe that places humans in a meaningful existence. It’s a deep and huge topic, and this is just the first of many conversations with Marc.

For privacy reasons SoundCloud needs your permission to be loaded.
I Accept
Redignifying Human Need | Dr. Marc Gafni at Ari in the Air2023-11-01T04:55:49-07:00

Toward a New Story: Mini-Series with Aubrey Marcus & Dr. Marc Gafni

We are at a time in our world, where we need to birth a new story, and there is nobody that I know who has felt and thought through what this new story might look like, more than Rabbi Dr. Marc Gafni.

How do we respond to the meta crisis of compounding existential threats? The answer that Dr. Marc Gafni PHD gives is that the root cause of the meta-crisis is a global intimacy disorder.

As he puts it:

Global Challenges require global coordination which in turn requires global resonance, which in turn requires global intimacy, which can only be sourced in a shared global story of value.

For this very reason, we must articulate a shared global story of value.

This story, according to a set of compelling teachings by Dr. Gafni and his colleague Dr. Zak Stein, is the evolutionary love story of the intimate universe. This claim is not casual, but rather based on a profound integration of myriad wisdom streams in what they call the interior and exterior sciences across space and time.

But, and this is Gafni’s core point, not only must we be tellers of the new story, but we must also actually be the story. We must know that our personal story is chapter and verse in the Universe: A Love Story. And that story is a story of transformation.

And that therefore,

Y/our transformation is the transformation of the whole.

In other words, the change you are seeking in the world begins with changing the way you see yourself and your place in the world. You literally become the New Story.

You cross to the other side, awakening as the new human and the humanity.

This series of podcasts under the title “Toward a New Story” is about building what Gafni and Stein call CosmoErotic Humanism, a shared story of value as a context to celebrate our diversity.

While Dr. Gafni began his path as an ordained Rabbi intimately versed in the ancient Aramaic texts, we recognize together, that this new story must include and transcend the validated insights from all the great religions, philosophies, and cultures from premodern, modern, and postmodern times.

This is a historic moment, and for people who want to claim their seat at the table of history, this podcast is a resplendent invitation.

As Aubrey Marcus puts it:

I cannot imagine inviting you to a more important, heart opening, mind bending, and exciting journey than the conversations we are having in this podcast series.

Volume 1: A New Human for a New Humanity in Response to the Meta-Crisis

Volume 2: LoveIntelligence, LoveBeauty, & LoveDesire of All-That-Is

In Volume 2 of the series, we tackle the most fundamental question of our existence.

Who Am I?

Volume 3: The Path to Enlightenment Is Through Your Uniqueness

In Volume 3 of the series Toward A New Story with Dr. Marc Gafni PHD we continue with part 2 of the most fundamental question of our existence.

Who Am I?

Toward a New Story: Mini-Series with Aubrey Marcus & Dr. Marc Gafni2023-11-01T04:55:32-07:00

Healing the Wounds of Culture: Aubrey Marcus, Dr. Marc Gafni, and Dr. Kristina Kincaid

In this powerfully vulnerable podcast with host Aubrey Marcus, and Dr. Marc Gafni and his partner Dr. Kristina Kincaid as guests, they discuss the wounds of culture – meaning, the myriad wounds that culture can inflict – and their personal process of healing and resolution.

Healing the Wounds of Culture: Aubrey Marcus, Dr. Marc Gafni, and Dr. Kristina Kincaid2023-11-01T04:55:32-07:00

The Journey to CosmoErotic Humanism: Mini-Series with Layman Pascal and Dr. Marc Gafni

In this new mini-series, Layman Pascal talks with Marc Gafni about an emerging model he is developing together with Zak Stein and others, which they call CosmoErotic Humanism.

We will be adding to this post whenever new dialogues are being published. So, come back and scroll down for the most recent episode.

Episode 1: Certainty & Uncertainty

For episode one, Layman and Marc discuss the origins of this project, and Marc’s work on exploring and unfolding a model of Certainty and Uncertainty for addressing the meaning crisis, grounding moral value, and wrestling with perennial theodicies.

Episode 2: Soul Prints

For episode two, Layman and Marc discuss the concept of Soul Prints, the origin of the notion of the Unique Self; the importance of story and spiritual autobiography; the issue of working appropriately with boundaries; and towards the end of the conversation they begin to open up the question of evil and shadow in relation to the Unique Self.

Episode 3: Eros

For episode three, Layman and Marc discuss the concept of Eros, its understanding and role in esoteric Judaism, its connections to evolutionary spirituality, the uniqueness and irreducibility of desire, and much more.

The Journey to CosmoErotic Humanism: Mini-Series with Layman Pascal and Dr. Marc Gafni2023-11-01T04:55:32-07:00

Love or Die: A Conversation Series with Dr. Marc Gafni Hosted by Andrew Sweeny

This Series Is Hosted in Partnership with the Parallax Academy and the Unique Self Institute

We are adding to this post whenever there is a new dialogue. So come back and scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the most recent dialogue.

Also, if you sign up for our newsletter, you will be notified when there is a new dialogue coming up, and you can be there live.

Love or Die #1: The Global Intimacy Disorder and CosmoErotic Humanism

The first of a monthly series of discussions, Love or Die, in which Marc elaborates on what he has called the Global Intimacy Disorder and CosmoErotic Humanism. How can we rewrite the source code of the present epoch and create a New Story? The stakes are high. It’s Love or Die!

Love or Die #2: Radical Kabbalah

The stakes are high. It’s Love or Die! This week we delve into Hebrew Wisdom and Radical Kabbalah.

Love or Die #3: The Meta-Crisis, Hebrew Wisdom, and AI

The 3rd of a monthly series of discussions, Love or Die, in which Marc and Andrew discuss the meta-crisis, Hebrew Wisdom, and AI.

Love or Die #4: Sabbatai Sevi Part 1

In this passionate conversation, Marc speaks the unspeakable: about Sabbatai Sevi, the Hebrew Wisdom Messiah, and his wife Sara. Where sex and Eros meet religion and the clarification of desire.

Love or Die #5: Sabbatai Sevi Part 2

In part 2 of this passionate conversation, Marc speaks the unspeakable: about Sabbatai Sevi, the Hebrew Wisdom Messiah, and his wife Sara, where sex and Eros meet religion and the clarification of desire.

Love or Die #6: The Tree of Life Part 1

Andrew questions Marc about the famous Tree of Life and the ten Sephirot in Hebrew Kabbalah. An introduction and a radical interpretation. And a discussion on the first Sephirot, Keter, the crown.

Love or Die #7: The Tree of Life Part 2

Andrew questions Marc about the famous Tree of Life and the ten Sephirot in Hebrew Kabbalah. An introduction and a radical interpretation. And a discussion on the 2nd and 3rd Sephirot: Chokhmah and Binah.

Love or Die #8: The Tree of Life Part 3

Andrew questions Marc about the famous Tree of Life and the ten Sephirot in Hebrew Kabbalah. An introduction and a radical interpretation. And a discussion on the 4th and 5th Sephirot: Chesed and Gevurah.

Love or Die #9: The Tree of Life Part 4

Andrew questions Marc about the famous Tree of Life and the ten Sephirot in Hebrew Kabbalah. An introduction and a radical interpretation. And a discussion on the 6th Sephirot: Tiferet.

Love or Die #10: The Tree of Life Part 5

Andrew questions Marc about the famous Tree of Life and the ten Sephirot in Hebrew Kabbalah. An introduction and a radical interpretation. And a discussion on the 7th and 8th Sephirot: Hod and Nezach.

Love or Die #11: The Tree of Life Part

Andrew questions Marc about the famous Tree of Life and the ten Sephirot in Hebrew Kabbalah. An introduction and a radical interpretation. And a discussion on the 9th Sephirot: Yesod.

Love or Die: A Conversation Series with Dr. Marc Gafni Hosted by Andrew Sweeny2024-05-02T05:05:32-07:00
Go to Top