Twenty Cross-Platform Applications of the Intimacy Equation

This early draft of an essay was written by Dr. Marc Gafni. It is part of Volume 3 of a forthcoming six-volume book series, The Universe: A Love Story, by Dr. Marc Gafni with Dr. Zachary Stein & Barbara Marx Hubbard. The essay was edited and prepared for publication by Kerstin Tuschik. We welcome substantive feedback as we prepare a more advanced version of this essay.

Download a PDF of This Early Draft Essay

Understanding that the evolution of love equals the evolution of intimacy liberates intimacy from its narrow anthropocentric predicament. There are three core meanings to intimacy, two of which we have already begun to unfold in the previous volumes of this series. We now move to a deeper take on both of these dimensions, even as we add a third element to the core structure of intimacy. We might also refer to this perception as the holy trinity or the three-core definition of intimacy. Each meaning or definition adds something fundamental. These definitions apply to more than human intimacy.

Remember that evolution is the evolution of intimacy. Intimacy begins in the first nanoseconds of the Big Bang and moves through every level of Reality, including the world of matter, the world of life, and the human world of culture. These three lifeworlds are birthed in—what we have already referred to as—three progressive Big Bangs.[i]

The process starts with the First Big Bang, which births the physiosphere. The physiosphere includes everything from the Big Bang to the macromolecules that make up the first cell.

Then, in a momentous leap of emergence—the Second Big Bang—the biosphere is birthed. Animate conscious life gradually leaps forth from the apparently inanimate world of atoms, molecules, stars, and planets. The biosphere includes everything from the first cell until the first hominids walk on the African savannah.

Finally, the Third Big Bang births the noosphere. The noosphere includes everything from the emergence of self-reflective cognition and emotion—that is, art, language, and trade—beginning from the first human being through all the distinct stages of human cultural development until modernity and postmodernity.

We refer to these processes as cosmological evolution, biological evolution, and cultural evolution. All through the entire evolutionary process, the same core definition of intimacy is at play, driving and moving Reality. The trajectory of evolution is the evolution of intimacy. What we are describing in this writing is the emergence of what might be called the Fourth Big Bang, the emergence of Homo amor, the New Human and the New Humanity.

The Intimacy Equation

By now, it is clear that we are talking about intimacy as the very structure of Reality’s being and becoming. Intimacy is the inner nature and the inherent telos of the Universe: A Love Story.

Popular definitions of intimacy, playing on the word itself, often run something like Into Me You See. Such definitions are not entirely wrong. And yet, at best, they contain an element of truth that is highly flawed and partial. For example, this popular understanding of intimacy wrongly views intimacy, in a limited and therefore distorted fashion, as a social, spiritual, and perhaps psychological experience that takes place between human beings. And that is, of course, true but partial—intimacy is an experience that takes place between human beings—but intimacy is so much more than that.

Human intimacy participates in that very large frame, which is so much wider and deeper—more potent, true, good, and beautiful—than human intimacy as a mere social construction. Naturally, as we have pointed out in other contexts, there is both continuity and discontinuity between intimacy, as it appears at every level of matter, life, and the depth of the human self-reflective mind. Intimacy is both the currency of Reality itself and the telos of the manifest Universe.[ii]

The following is our core intimacy equation, which describes the interior Face of the Cosmos from the perspective of the interior sciences, somewhat like the equation of relativity E=mc² describes the exterior Face of the Cosmos from the perspective of the exterior sciences.[iii]

Intimacy = Shared Identity in the Context of (Relative) Otherness x Mutuality of Recognition x Mutuality of Pathos x Mutuality of Value x Mutuality of Purpose

Continuity and Discontinuity All the Way Up and All the Way Down

The intimacy equation applies at all levels of Reality. Naturally, there is both continuity and discontinuity between how the elements of the intimacy equation appear at every level of matter, life, and the depth of the human self-reflective mind. In other words, shared identity is part of the equation of intimacy at every level of Reality—meaning there is continuity:

from subatomic particles that form an atom,
to atoms that form a molecule,
to molecules that form a cell,
to cells that form an organism;

or in social organisms, which are sometimes called superorganisms,

from a company with different divisions,
to a couple,
a country, or
a league of nations.

But there is also discontinuity between how this phenomenology of shared identity shows up at each of the distinct levels of matter, life, and mind, and at all respective sublevels—e.g., the sublevels of atoms, molecules, and complex molecules that are all part of the level of matter.

The same is true for each of the clauses in the intimacy equation, from in the context of (relative) otherness, to mutuality of recognition, to mutuality of pathos, to mutuality of value, to mutuality of purpose. Each of these distinct elements of the equation is both continuous and discontinuous at every level of Reality. For example, while there is some level of recognition between the atoms that build a molecule, it cannot compare to the recognition between cells, or the recognition between human beings.

To cite another relatively simple expression of this notion of continuity and discontinuity, we may turn to Eros itself, whose feature is desire and allurement. The quality of desire and allurement shows up continuously from the subatomic world to the human world, but there is also self-evident discontinuity between how Eros and its qualities of desire and allurement show up in each of these worlds.

That is why, on the one hand, people love having dogs as pets—because they love dogs (continuity of Eros, desire, and allurement)—on the other hand, people do not love dogs in the same way they love their human beloved (discontinuity of Eros, desire, and allurement). That is why, for all the challenges that marriage presents, people generally marry other people and tend not to marry dogs.

Shared Identity

The first form in which intimacy reveals itself is shared identity. Intimacy is not simply about being close to another in some vague way. Intimacy is about being close in a way that forms a new identity. The evolution of identity is, therefore, the evolution of intimacy, which is the evolution of consciousness. Reality itself is Consciousness, which simply means that Reality is the realization of Ultimate Intimacy.

When you evolve your consciousness, you evolve your identity and, by definition, you evolve your intimacy. What that means in simple terms is that more and more of the world is involved in your own self-identity; your circle of intimacy grows deeper and wider, as your consciousness evolves. This is what we mean when we say that intimacy is shared identity.

The Context of (Relative) Otherness

Otherness is crucial to the intimacy equation. A cult, for example, does not promote intimacy, even though there is a dramatic sense of shared identity. In a cult, there is no genuine otherness inside of the boundaries of its shared identity. Otherness is displaced to the out-group. Being other is seen as being separate from the group, which is viewed as an illusion and therefore, the ultimate sin.

But this is a limited and therefore flawed view of otherness. Otherness expresses uniqueness, not merely separateness. In this sense of uniqueness, otherness is Real—an ontology of Cosmos. We are—as has been validated by exterior and interior sciences—part of the same seamless Coat of the Universe. In this sense, we are never ultimately separate. But we are unique. Otherness is an ontology. But it is always relative otherness. For otherness lives in the context of a larger shared identity—a broader union. But the term relative remains in brackets because uniqueness is a Real Quality of Cosmos and in that sense, otherness is absolutely a quality of the Real.

In the words of Erich Fromm,[iv]

In contrast to symbiotic union, mature love is union under the condition of preserving one’s integrity, one’s individuality. Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.

Shared identity is not only core to personal human intimacy, but also to the very nature of intimacy. All the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain, subatomic particles are allured to one another to form atoms; atoms desire one another to form molecules. The core of their desire, the attraction of their allurement, is for wider and deeper intimacy—shared identity that doesn’t dissolve their identity as subatomic particles or atoms. In other words, they desire wider and deeper forms of shared identity in the context of otherness. The same drive for intimacy lives in us, as us, and through us. The Intimate Universe awakens in us in person.

We all move through stages of identity and intimacy as we become more conscious. In meta-terms, these stages are moved through historically, even as we move through them personally. Our personal lives mirror the life of the Cosmos. As the epic German philosopher Jürgen Habermas reminded us, ontogeny and phylogeny—at least in broad brushstrokes—recapitulate each other.[v]

We begin at the egocentric stage of identity. This level of identity is also what we call egocentric intimacy. At this level, we have a felt sense of care, concern, and love for ourselves and our immediate circles of intimacy on which we depend for our survival and safety. Identity and felt intimacy go together. I am identified with my egocentric circle, so I feel them, and they feel me. That merger of identity and pathos creates the first pillar in the structure of intimacy.

At a certain point in our development, for some of us, our sense of shared identity expands, and we move into an ethnocentric stage of identity and intimacy. At this stage, we experience a shared identity with our entire sociocentric community or tribe. Our felt sense of care, concern, and love expands to include our entire tribe. We identify with our tribe, and, therefore, we feel them. Our tribe is composed of those people who share the same beliefs and ideologies: our community, our religious affiliates, our political party, our nation, etc. We call this ethnocentric intimacy. In healthy development, this level transcends and includes the previous level, which means that we have a sense of shared identity with ourselves, our family, and our tribe. It’s worth noting that most of the world’s population exists in one of these two stages of identity and pathos—that is to say, at these two levels of intimacy.

That is not the end of the story, however. In the last two hundred years, we find that a significant leading edge, maybe twenty percent of the world’s population, has evolved into the next stage of identity and intimacy—worldcentric. At this level, we experience a shared identity with every human being on the planet. This is expressed through an expansion of our circle of care, concern, and love to embrace every person on the globe. Again, in non-pathological development, this stage transcends and includes the previous two stages. That means that we love our family, our group, and every human being on the planet. This is what we call worldcentric intimacy.

There is still another momentous evolutionary leap of intimacy to be made. The fourth stage of intimacy at the leading edge of consciousness is cosmocentric intimacy. At this stage, we have a shared identity with all of existence. We have a felt sense of love, care, and concern with the Earth, with every plant and animal, with all of Reality itself. We are identified with all of Eternity and all of evolution. We love and care for our oceans and forests, even as we care for every human being. And it is even more than that: We identify with the Cosmos itself. We feel the evolutionary impulse moving through us. At this level of cosmocentric intimacy, as at all previous levels, shared identity and shared pathos create intimacy. We have the experience of not only loving but also being lived as love.

We correct the misconception that evolution is a theory of origins. As evolutionary mystic Abraham Kook writes,

Evolution is happening at every level of reality and within each of us all the time.[vi]

We have the experience that we are evolution, or, more precisely, that we are Evolutionary Love. We are Evolutionary Intimacy.

Intimacy as the Currency of Cosmos: The Intimacy Equation Revisited

At this point, let’s deepen our insight into the First Value and First Principle of Intimacy by looking more closely into the different parts of the intimacy equation that we shared briefly above.

Intimacy = Shared Identity in the Context of (Relative) Otherness x Mutuality of Recognition x Mutuality of Pathos x Mutuality of Value x Mutuality of Purpose

The first element in the definition of intimacy is shared identity in the context of otherness, but that is not the end of the story. Intimacy deepens.

Mutuality of Recognition

The second element in the intimacy equation is mutual recognition. Genuine recognition has two components. The first is cognitive; that is, recognition—I see you. This brings to bear another core insight of CosmoErotic Humanism:

Love is not merely an emotion. Love is a perception.[vii]

To love is to recognize. To recognize is to know. All recognition is gnosis.

Mutuality of Pathos: The Em-Pathos of Intimacy

To know is not merely a perception of your inner depth, it is also a feeling of your inner depths. To know is to feel. Authentic recognition is sourced in em-pathos—empathy—or shared mutual feeling. Mutuality of recognition fosters mutuality of pathos. This is a third element in the intimacy equation.

There are three stages of deepening intimacy in mutuality of pathos. We refer to each of these levels as intimacy loops. We just established levels of intimacy as the progressive movement from egocentric to cosmocentric circles of intimate identity. These are levels of ever-widening intimacy, where each level includes wider and wider circles in their shared identity. We now turn to the intimacy loops, which are ever-deepening levels of intimacy, where our feeling of each other deepens from one loop to the next. Of course, deeper and wider—depth and width—are not entirely distinct here but rather directly amplify each other.

The first intimacy loop is,

I feel you; and you feel me.

The second intimacy loop deepens the experience of intimacy immeasurably. This loop expresses itself as,

I feel you feeling me; and you feel me feeling you.

The third intimacy loop deepens one more level of feeling. This third loop expresses itself as,

I feel you feeling me feeling you; and you feel me feeling you feeling me.

Naturally however, these increasing depths of intimacy also generate ever-wider circles of intimacy. The capacity to feel you feeling me feeling you allows me access to a deeper quality of you and what might also be called a wider circle of your pathos.

Your Need Is My Allurement: A First Look

The mutuality of pathos that is core to intimacy births the following sentence:

Your need is my allurement.

This sentence expresses shared identity in which we feel each other in multiple loops of ever-deepening feeling.

I feel your need, and I am allured to fulfill it.

We will speak more about your need is my allurement in one of the next sections. Suffice it to say, these two qualities of intimacy—shared identity and shared feeling, or mutuality of pathos—are profoundly entwined. At each level of ever-widening intimacy, including egocentric, ethnocentric, worldcentric, and cosmocentric, our felt sense of care expands horizontally. At the same time, even when talking about intimacy between two people, the intensity, beauty, and quality of the intimacy vertically deepen. The intimacy loop between two people infinitely deepens. In true Evolutionary Intimacy, the vertical and horizontal realms expand simultaneously.

Mutuality of Value

The third element of the intimacy equation is mutuality of value.

Value is an intrinsic feature of Cosmos. Value is that which a desire reaches towards. We have touched in the previous volumes, at least initially, on the realization that desire is an intrinsic part of the core structure of Cosmos, and we will deepen that exploration in this volume. Desire always desires a value that is not fulfilled, or not fully fulfilled, in the present but through some course of action can be fulfilled, or more fulfilled, in the future. Desire always reaches for ever-more value. There is a directly proportional relationship between the strange attractor of value and the activation of desire.

At the level of the human self-reflective mind, in its depth expressions, where there is an apparent dimension of freedom, the clarification of value naturally births the clarification of desire—and the converse. In other words, there is a recursive loop between clarified value and clarified desire. But value, that to which one is allured, whether one be a lepton, an atom, a molecule, a cell, an organism, or a person, is an intrinsic feature of Cosmos.

As we have explored in the previous volumes, there is a set of interdigitated words that all connote this sense of value, which is intrinsic to Cosmos, and its inherent strange attractor of desire, all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain. These words include terms like meaning, information, story, and consciousness. To say that we live in a value-laden Cosmos is not different, at its core, than saying we live in an informational Cosmos. To say we live in an informational Cosmos is to say that we live in a Cosmos of meaning—again all the way down and all the down the evolutionary chain. Or said differently, we live in a Cosmos animated by telos and Eros. For what is telos if not the plotline of Cosmos—the Cosmic Story—a narrative of desire—desiring ever-more vision and value?

Said slightly differently, Eros, allurement, desire, value, meaning, information, telos, and story belong to the same word cluster.[viii] Each of these terms points to an overlapping, intercluded, interdigitated, yet not utterly isomorphic expression of the First Principles and First Values that form the core of Cosmos.

When we say that intimacy includes mutuality of value, what we mean is that intimacy demands a shared story. But not only any shared story but a shared Story of Value. A shared Story of Value means a shared grammar of value which informs—or is—the in-formational matrix of the shared space between lover and beloved. This is a shared space of meaning and meaning making.

Naturally—and we make this point again—there is both continuity and discontinuity between value as it appears at every level of matter, life, and the depth of the human self-reflective mind.

Mutuality of Purpose and Vision

The fourth element of intimacy reveals itself as shared purpose and therefore vision.

This is the intimacy that emerges

not from shared identity,

not from the intimacy that emerges from looking deeply into someone’s eyes (mutuality of recognition),

not from the mutuality of pathos that emerges from the intimacy loops of feeling each other,

this intimacy comes from looking at a shared horizon and engaging in a great shared purpose.[ix]

Your Need Is My Allurement: On Need, Desire, and Allurement

As we have already noted, the evolution of love is the evolution of intimacy. The evolution of intimacy relates precisely to the expansion of meaning that we ascribe to the pronoun your in the sentence Your need is my allurement. More than in any other sentence, the depth of Homo amor is expressed in these five words. When those words are lived at their highest level of consciousness, then you are being lived as Love.

The five words appear in two forms.

The first is:

Your need is my allurement.

The second is:

My need is your allurement.

To access the depth of these two sets of five words, we need to take a second look at both the nature of need and the nature of allurement. And as we have already alluded to, another word for allurement is desire. While the words are not isomorphic, they each have a different quality of presence. They are overlapping and often inter-included. As we pointed out above, there are certain keywords that are not easily reducible to other words. These are First-Principle and First-Value words.

Desire and allurement are clearly inter-included, inter-textured words. Yet, they do not evoke the same quality. Desire feels like it lives in us. Desire’s quality often feels raw and pulsating. Allurement feels more like it lives in that which we are allured towards. It is a quality of Cosmos that resides in a person or object that is alluring. Allurement’s quality feels more refined, enchanted, and magical, while desire’s quality feels more primal and raw.[x]

In this sense, which language mystics, logical positivists, and linguistic postmodernists all intuited at the core of their systems, the core of language was the core of Reality. Edmond Jabès points to this truth of Reality when he writes, “the soul has words as petals.”[xi] Replace the word soul for the Essence of Reality and the interior science of language begins to disclose itself. Language is one of the primary methods of Anthro-Ontology—a term and method we will turn to more deeply in the section below. Words that are irreducible to other words locate us in the First Values and First Principles of Reality.

Desire, Need, and Allurement as First Principles and First Values of Cosmos and Fundamental Plotlines in Reality’s Great Story of Evolving Value

At this juncture, we will now turn first to desire and need, and then, from those phenomenological contexts, back to allurement and its evolving nature, which itself—as we shall see—is the motivational architecture of Cosmos.

However, before we do that, it is worth pausing for a moment to clarify the word Anthro-Ontology, which we have just deployed. We discuss this key phenomenological term and method—Anthro-Ontology—in some depth in Volume Five[xii] of this series, as well as in other key volumes of CosmoErotic Humanism.[xiii] In this context, a few general words about what we mean by this key term are in order and will suffice.

Value and Anthro-Ontology: First Principles and First Values—The Example of Desire

We first know First Principles and First Values, not because we see them out there but because they live inside us as a shared human Text of Value. To read this Cosmic Text of Value that lives within us in evolved form, we need access to multiple forms of perception. We approach the mysteries through different gates. We already briefly referred to these gates—forms—or epistemologies—as the Eyes of Reality, the Eyes of Knowing, or the Eyes of Perception in the previous volumes, and we will deepen their exploration in Volume Five of this series.[xiv] They include:

  1. the Eye[xv] of the Senses, which perceives classical physical reality,
  2. the Eye of the Mind, which focuses on rational reality from mathematics to moral reasoning,
  3. and the Eye of Consciousness, which focuses on interiors.

This Eye of Consciousness, as we unpack in more depth in Volume Five of our series, expresses itself in four distinct forms:

  1. the Eye of Contemplation (which awakens through forms of contemplative practice),
  2. the Eye of the Heart (which awakens through the practices of love and Eros and perceives the feeling qualities of Cosmos),
  3. the Eye of the Spirit (which awakens through ritual, ceremony, and religious practice),
  4. and the Eye of Value (which offers, when opened, the knowing of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful).

These Eyes are both distinct and intercluded with each other. For example, moral reasoning requires all forms of the Eye of Consciousness as well as the Eye of the Senses to gather empirical information and the Eye of the Mind to engage moral philosophy. Similarly, a true grasp of the staggering social, political, economic, moral, existential, psychological, and spiritual implications of systems theory requires mathematics—the Eye of the Mind—the systems mapping of the Eye of the Senses, as well as the realization of Reality’s interior yearning for deeper and wider intimate coherences through the various forms of the Eye of Consciousness.

We noted above that one of the expressions of the Eye of Consciousness is the Eye of Value. Value is a gnosis that we access through the Eye of Value amplified and abetted by its sister Eyes, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of Contemplation, as well as the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind. But the Eye of Value points specifically to our direct access to Value itself. The Eye of Value is constituted by heart, body, and mind, which all disclose—each in their own distinct way—First Values and First Principles.

Value, as disclosed through the Eyes of Perception, appears in us

in our first-person experience,

in our second-person experience,

and in our third-person view of the third-person forces—interior and exterior—acting on Reality.

For example, Eros—and its expressions, both as the desire for and allurement toward communion and as the desire for autonomy—is a first-, second-, and third-person Force of Cosmos.

In third person, we might describe Eros as the Force that animates the physically measurable four fundamental forces of nature: the gravitational, the electromagnetic, and the strong and the weak nuclear forces.

In second person, we might describe Eros as the felt sense of the Force of desire and allurement between persons—the felt sense of you and of we—and between persons and their own desire for freedom and independence.

But Eros is also self-evidently a first-person experience that lives in us, as us, and through us: I am a personal expression of the Force of Eros.

Anthro-Ontology locates itself primarily in this first-person experience of Eros and in our first-person experience of desire and of the allurement toward second-person intimacy and relationship. In effect, Anthro-Ontology is our first- and second-person experience of the third-person Forces of Reality, awake, alive, and moving in us, as us, and through us. In other words, the portal to First Values and First Principles is through our clarified interiority—our first- and second-person experience—which participates in the interior Face of Cosmos itself.

Our clarified interiority allows us not only to approach the mystery from the outside but rather gives us direct access to the Real. Through our clarified interiority we participate in and taste the Real. We can approach the mystery because we participate in the mystery. To sum up the writing of one great interior scientist in this regard, Abraham Kook:

The mysteries are within us.

At the heart of the mystery is the Real, and at the heart of the Real is Value. In this sense, we might say that the Eye of Value is at the very heart of the Anthro-Ontological Method. Value lives in us. We experience its Reality coursing through us, not as a mere social construct but as the Heart of Eros—of Reality itself.

In this moment of meta-crisis, the Anthro-Ontological Method and the Eye of Value are crucial, as the meta-crisis is born in the gap between interior and exterior technologies.

Our exterior technologies are

exponential in their speed of development and ever-increasing power,

diffuse in their distribution to rogue non-state actors as well as reckless, unstable state and corporate actors,

always weaponized by opposing parties in the rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics, which is the current reality story.

And our interior technologies of Value and Eros are desperately needed to

infuse and guide the development and deployment of exterior technologies,

animate the heart and minds of the developers and distributors of these technologies,

and form the basis of a shared global (and ultimately galactic) Story of Value that runs deeper than our surface rivalries governed by win/lose metrics.

It is in the gap between interior and exterior technologies that the meta-crisis festers and explodes. It is only in closing the gap between exterior and interior technologies that we can evolve to ever-greater freedom, consciousness, and elegant order. This is a promise of human flourishing currently beyond our imagination. However, we can make it true. But first, we must imagine it in our hearts, in our speech, and in our writing. We must first imagine and then incarnate the New Human and the New Humanity. We must access in our interior realization that which is already true—that which we incarnate in our first and second person within ourselves.

Let’s capture again in several sentences, at the level of what we refer to as second simplicity,[xvi] the broad contour of the new Story of Value, which we call CosmoErotic Humanism rooted in the Anthro-Ontological Method.

Reality is Relationship.[xvii]

The structure of Reality is interconnected.

The interior of interconnectivity is intimacy.

Thus, the structure of Reality is intimate.

Included in the intimate is the inherent desire, the allurement toward ever-more intimate coherence, ever-wider shared identities, and ever-greater wholeness.

We ARE, quite literally, the desire of the Universe in person.

Again, in the language of second simplicity:

We live in an Intimate Universe, which desires ever-deeper and ever-wider depths of Value.

The Intimate Universe and its desire live in us.

The same interior gnosis or realization stated slightly differently:

Reality is Eros.[xviii]

Eros is Value.

Eros is evolution.


Reality is evolution.

Evolution is the desire for ever-deeper and ever-wider Value.

Reality is the evolution of Eros, which is the evolution of Value.

These simple sentences articulate key First Principles and First Values of Cosmos. For Eros as Value and its evolution is a First Principle and First Value of Cosmos.

We have begun our discussion of desire as a First Principle and First Value of Reality with the epistemological question:

How do we know that desire and allurement are First Principles and First Values of Cosmos?

The answer is:

We know—anthro-ontologically—in first, second, and third person by deploying all the Eyes of Perception.

Anthro-Ontology and the Anthro-Ontological Method

The Eros of Cosmos generates Value. We distinguish the First Principles and First Values of Desire and Allurement and their evolution, which are not apart from the larger Field of Value. Rather, both are inter-included expressions of the larger Field of Cosmic Value. These values, however, are not merely part of the Cosmos in which we live. Rather, they also live in us. We are quite literally embodiments of Value. Indeed, the intrinsic value of the immeasurable depth of our very own interior selves is itself an expression of the First Principle and First Value of Interiority itself. The Cosmos generates not only material structures but—quite obviously alsovalue structures.

This is the core of what we have called Anthro-Ontology. Anthro means human and Ontology means for Real—the true nature of the essential dimension of existence. Anthro-Ontology is therefore the realization that we can access ontologythe Realinside of anthroourselves as human beings. The answer to the great question of What is Realthe nature of Realitylives in us. We can access the Real in the depths of our own clarified interiors. The mysteries are within us.

We have a direct unmediated experience of Cosmic Value.
We are expressions of Cosmic Value.
We participate in Cosmic Value.
Even as the essential mystery always remains.

Kook, who we quoted above, articulates some of the felt sense of Anthro-Ontology. A primary text of Kook’s offers a felt sense of the anthro-ontological principle.

It is necessary to explain the exaltedness of studying the secrets of wisdom
together with the requirement to honor the inner knowings of the human being,
who is the foundation of the world.

And the entire decline in the decreasing valuation of inwardness in our world, 
which increasingly values the culture of externality,
comes from this formula:

the more that a culture’s valuing of externality increases,
the more the human eye fixes on discerning the external,
and the more it disregards inner knowing;

and as a result of this, the true value of the human being dwindles and declines.

And the liberation of the world depends on elevating the value of inner knowings,
which emerge and shed light by means of immense, profound processing

with holiness and purity,
with humility and spiritual courage.[xix]

Turning Inward Toward First Principles and First Values: The Anthro-Ontological Method

In this volume and more extensively in other writings,[xx] we have briefly unpacked some of the depth of what we refer to as the intimacy equation of the interior sciences: The formula, which naturally we cannot unpack fully in this writing, reads as follows:

Intimacy = Shared identity in the context of (relative) otherness x mutuality of recognition x mutuality of pathos x mutuality of values x mutuality of purpose

The formula is followed by a phenomenological value statement. Simply stated, this is a description of the inherent Value that Reality innately desires and constantly seeks.

Reality = the progressive deepening of intimacies

Or, said slightly differently,

Reality = the evolution of intimacy

In terms of desire and allurement, we can say it clearly in the formulations of second simplicity:

Reality desires, Reality is allured, toward ever-more intimacy.

These core First-Value sentences animated by the Eros and intimacy equations, which we have already briefly deployed in this series, are an expression of First Principles and First Values, which apply across all dimensions of Cosmos from matter to life to the human self-reflective mind—and beyond. Their reality is known to us through the Eyes of Perception, which are all expressions of the Anthro-Ontological Method.

We know mathematics through the Eye of the Mind because mathematics lives in us. We access Reality through the Eye of the Senses—the five senses. However, we don’t do that directly, as a mere mirror of Reality. Instead, as Kant[xxi] already implied and leading edges of contemporary neuroscience validate, the Reality that we are accessing already resides in our consciousness in some real sense. We know Value through the Eye of Value because Value already lives in us.[xxii]

With all of this in mind we turn to the next section, which is a series of meditations on who we are and who we are becoming.

Cross-Platform Applications of the Intimacy Equation

Let’s briefly recapitulate the intimacy equation as follows:

Intimacy = Shared Identity in the Context of (Relative) Otherness x Mutuality of Recognition x Mutuality of Pathos x Mutuality of Value x Mutuality of Purpose

Implicit in the equation is the understanding that the enactment of intimacy generates ever-deeper unions but not fusions. We do not merge. There is always the paradox of I and We. There is always the dialectical dance between allurement and autonomy. Mutuality is always in the context of otherness. The goal is intimate communion and never fusion. And otherness itself is never more than relative, in the context of a deeper shared identity. For the shared identity between parts is always present—even as it is also the ground for our individuated selves with their irreducible uniqueness across all fields of Reality.

Thus, the intimacy equation applies across all platforms of the Real, be it

subatomic, molecular, cellular, organismic, organizational, or orgiastic—

inter- and intra-personal—

between all parts yearning to participate in a larger whole,

at the levels of matter, life, or self-reflective mind,

from atom to amoeba to Adam.

It is the knowing that we live in an Intimate Universe, and the fact that the entire Intimate Universe lives in us, that gives us the core experience of being welcome in the Universe.

Let’s look very briefly at some applications of the intimacy equation drawn from different domains to gain direct access to at least the fragrance of the True Nature of Reality as the Intimate Universe. We will elaborate more in some of these instances, while others are more self-evident and will be mentioned only in passing here. The search for ever wider and deeper intimate coherences animates this endeavor—operating across all the spaces of manifest reality and serving as the unifying ground of all being and becoming.

Reality is intimacy itself, as well as the drive for the progressive deepening of intimacies—the evolution of intimacy—in all of its expressions, and all of its Reality spaces. Thus, the structure of human intimacy and the yearning for it is, at its root, animated by the same core dialectical quality of allurement—yearning for intimate communion and union in a dialectical dance with the desire for autonomy.

Intimacy, and the desire for intimacy, is continuous all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain, even as the precise nature of its quality and the consciousness that accompanies the desire for intimacy is self-evidently discontinuous—that is, unique at every distinct level of Reality. For example, the actual human experience of intimacy between human beings differs based on each individual’s psychological maturity and level of consciousness. And even as it participates in the larger shared Field of Intimacy, governed by the same core Tenets of Intimacy, human intimacy is also self-evidently different from the intimacy between atoms, molecules, cells, organs in a body, or the bodies of plants, fish, animals, or even mammals.

Application One of the Intimacy Equation: Subatomic Particles

It is 380,000 years after the Big Bang, or what has been more accurately referred to as the great flaring forth. There are no whole atoms in existence. Only quarks, leptons, and muons exist, plus their combinations as protons, neutrons, and the first atomic nuclei consisting of protons and neutrons—in other words what we now refer to as subatomic particles.[xxiii] There is nothing like the structure of an atom in the Universe and no reason even to ever expect an atom might exist.

But, contrary to the ostensible second law of thermodynamics, where the Universe is only winding down over trillions of years, the Universe is also constantly winding up. This is emergence—the emergence of radically new wholes with entirely new properties and potencies magnificently and exponentially greater than the sum of their parts.

So as subatomic particles are drawn together into an atom, they continue to exist. There is no fusion; the subatomic particles do not disappear. But there is a higher union. The mechanism of emergence is no less than radical yearning or longing—or what we refer to in the interior sciences of CosmoErotic Humanism as allurement. The proton yearns to bond with the neutron. The neutron yearns to be ravished by the proton. The result of that yearning—the atomic nucleus—in turn allures the electron into its orbit—and voilà, a whole atom emerges for the first time in history.

An atom is a new value, a new character, and a new potency in the Universe Story. The protons, neutrons, and electrons create a shared identity (in the context of relative otherness, as always) called an atom.

Seen from the inside, the subatomic particles recognize each other.[xxiv] At the core of the mutuality of recognition is the placing of attention.

The subatomic particles also feel each other—mutuality of pathos. This is what Whitehead called prehension, similar to what we refer to as allurement. But it is not a static allurement—it is a creative allurement. Even at the subatomic level, there is a proto desire to touch and form larger unions, a desire inherent in the structure of the Intimate Universe as a Whole. This proto desire is the interior feeling of the subatomic particles.

There is also mutuality of value, a shared Field of Value between the subatomic particles. They all participate in the core values of Cosmos, whether they be the mathematical values of physics, or the implicit interior values that will, in the fullness of evolutionary time, ultimately birth all of molecular biology and all of human beauty, goodness, and truth.

Finally, there is mutuality of purpose. Atoms have an entirely new set of capacities, functions, and implicit potentiality and telos—none of which existed in the prior parts, the subatomic particles that constitute an atom. In other words, the coherently bonded particles, the atoms, generate a new mutuality of purpose—meaning they function together as an atom.

It is, moreover, the intensification of intimacy between the parts that generates the synergistic emergent, the new whole, whether that be at the level of an atom, a molecule, or the emergence of a cell from macromolecules. From the perspective of interiors, the new whole, or the new synergistic emergent is both motivated by, and an incarnation of, both a new quality and a new structure of intimacy.

New wholes are—in the language of second simplicity—but new intimate coherences. All of Reality is animated and driven by the passionate allurement to form new intimacies:

shared identities in the context of (relative) otherness, in the context of varying degrees of mutualities of recognition, pathos (feeling), value, and purpose.

This is the very Heart of Existence itself.

We live in an Intimate Universe, and the Intimate Universe lives in us. We are quite literally constituted by the atoms that live in us, even as recognition, pathos, value, and purpose awaken in us at a completely different level of consciousness—the self-reflective mind.

Application Two of the Intimacy Equation at the Level of Matter (across the physiosphere): Chemistry

The classical definition of a chemical is any substance that has a defined composition. But that hides the allurement to greater intimacy that defines a chemical. A chemical is in fact multiple configurations of intimacy, which are allured to each other to create a new whole.

One simple example of a chemical that commonly occurs in the nature world is water. We are all taught in our early schooling that a water molecule is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The term molecule is at once scientifically accurate, and at the same time, it is obfuscating the real quality of a water molecule. H2O is more accurately—not poetically, but literally, structurally, qualitatively—a unique configuration of intimacy, of intimate coherence. Its unique configuration of intimate coherence is drawn together by the unique allurement of its constituent atoms to each other. A water molecule is a set of allured atoms that come together in a particular configuration of intimacy which we refer to by the designated name of water..

A chemical reaction formally refers to what is called a change in a chemical. More generally, a chemical reaction can be understood as the process by which one or more substances transform to produce one or more different substances. This does not necessarily refer to a physical change—such as water freezing into ice—but rather to a change in the configuration of intimacy that is the pattern of the molecules that make up the water. In other words, a chemical reaction changes the structure and quality of intimacy. After a chemical reaction, the molecule never returns to its former stage, without a new chemical reaction.

The intimacy equation elegantly describes the world of chemistry—chemical elements and reactions. A chemical is a configuration of intimacy, in which all the parts (atoms or molecules) are part of a shared identity in the context of (relative) otherness. The distinct atoms and molecules continue to exist, even as they combine to form a larger shared identity. Moreover, there exist clear mutualities of recognition (they recognize each other and choose with whom to merge), feeling (the quality of allurement between the distinct parts), value (shared elemental desires and needs of distinct atomic or molecular parts), and purpose (the unique potencies and potentialities of each chemical).

Application Three of the Intimacy Equation at the Level of Life (across the Biosphere): Biology

Applications of the intimacy equation self-evidently abound in the biological world. Cells themselves emerge from the intensification of intimacy between the macro-molecules that preceded the first cells. And cells of course are themselves configurations of intimacy between distinct parts, including, for example in animal cells, vacuoles, cytoplasm, vesicles, centrioles, ribosomes, nuclear membrane, cell membrane, cytoskeleton, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, nucleolus, Golgi apparatus, and nucleus.

These parts share a core identity in the context of (relative) otherness, as well as a mutuality of recognition between the cellular parts, a mutuality of feeling, shared values, which are the clarified desires and needs of each of the parts, and finally a shared purpose, which includes all of the unique capacities—current potencies and future potentialities—implicit in what we refer to as a cell.

In other words, the cell itself—prokaryote or eukaryote—expresses all of the dimensions of the intimacy equation. A eukaryotic cell originally emerged from many different forms of bacteria (prokaryotic cells) coming together to form a single new organism—the eukaryotic cell. At its core, the eukaryotic cell is an evolution of intimacy—what we might call a new configuration of intimacy greater than the sum of its parts, while not giving up on each part’s integrity.

The same is true of any multicellular organism, in which many cells come together to form a new configuration of intimacy. It is also true for the organs in a more complex organism. The different organs share identity with the larger organism in the context of relative otherness. A heart, for example, consists of different kinds of cells than a liver. It also has a different function or purpose inside of the organism. And yet, both liver and heart have a shared purpose as parts of the same whole body. In addition, liver and heart are connected through nerves and blood vessels, and all the organs communicate through hormones and other messenger molecules—meaning they recognize and feel each other and share a Field of Value together. Without all that, the body as a whole couldn’t survive for long.

Application Four of the Intimacy Equation: Systems and Fields of all Kinds Across the Domains of Matter, Life and Mind

Contemporary systems theory and field theory are two ever repeating instances of the intimacy equation. For the sake of brevity, in this writing we will turn to a simple example of this, what is commonly referred to as an ecosystem.

An ecosystem is defined by Britannica[xxv] as the complex of living organisms, their physical environment, and all their interrelationships in a particular unit of space. It can be categorized into its abiotic (= nonliving) and its biotic (= living) constituents. Abiotic constituents are, for example, minerals, climate, soil, water, and sunlight. Two major forces link them all together: the flow of energy through the ecosystem, mostly from the Sun, and the cycling of nutrients within it. Nutrients are chemical elements and compounds that must be obtained by the organisms from their surroundings, in order for them to grow and sustain life.

In other words, the ecosystem is a configuration of intimacy, in which the parts share identity as the whole of the ecosystem, while not losing their own relative otherness as distinct parts. The parts recognize and feel each other, and they share values and purpose with each other. For example, the minerals and microorganisms in the soil together with the water and the sunlight come together to feed the plant, which in turn feeds the soil, when it decays.

Another example of that would be the influence wolves have on their environment. That could be witnessed in the Yellowstone National Park in the United States, when wolves were reintroduced to their once natural habitat. Not only did the presence of the wolves change the behavior of the large grazers, like the Wapiti deer, which stopped grazing in places where they would be readily hunted by the wolves. Through that, the vegetation started to regrow, which resulted in increased biodiversity, which in turn gave food and shelter to a wider range of plants and animals. But most surprisingly, the rivers themselves began to change due to the presence of the wolves.

Riverbank erosion slowed, causing rivers to meander less, channels to deepen, and small pools to emerge. The regenerating vegetation stabilized the riverbanks, altering the park’s geography and environment.[xxvi]

Similarly, the later expressions of systems theory, which bring machine-intelligence-driven computerized math to the table—in the form of complexity and chaos theory—are accurately described in CosmoErotic Humanism as the mathematics of intimacy.

Application Five of the Intimacy Equation: The Not Good of Loneliness at the Human Level of Relationship

The First Principle and First Value of Intimacy that drives Cosmos—whose trajectory is the progressive deepening of intimacy—is directly accessible in our own first-person experience.

Indeed, we begin with our own experience and then move to check its universal application among humans. Then we investigate its application even more deeply to trace its origins through matter, life, and the human self-reflective mind, as well as the exterior and interior sciences that respectively govern each of them. This is a brief summary of the eight steps in the anthro-ontological process that we have briefly described elsewhere.

Let’s now turn to an example of how the Cosmic Force of Intimacy drives human experience, using cultural allusion instead of exhaustive unpacking. We will simply point towards the virtually self-evident centrality of the drive towards intimacy in our anthro-ontological experience—as we have expressed it in the intimacy equation—via a cultural story. Indeed, the place we most often locate First Values and First Principles is in Story. Whether it is stories shared around the campfire, through music, or through movies, it is Story, at its best, that articulates and disseminates First Values and First Principles into culture.

In the epic movie Cast Away, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is a FedEx employee who survives a cargo plane crash, only to be stranded on an isolated island. He somehow learns to survive but is eventually overcome with loneliness. The lack of intimacy with the interiority of another person is devastating. One of the packages that has washed up from the wreck contains a Wilson volleyball. Using his blood, Chuck paints a face on it and names it Wilson. Wilson becomes his intimate companion, and he talks to the ball as if it were a person. After several years, however, although his survival seems assured, he cannot stay alone on the island. He risks his life to leave. There is something far more elemental than survival that pulls him to set out on the ocean and risk his life in a handmade raft.

When we cannot make contact with the interior of another person, life becomes not worth living. The need for intimacy with another—a wider identity with mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose—is, in our interior truth, fundamental to the quality of life itself.

Chuck Noland desperately needs contact with another human interior—not just with the animals on the Island, or even with the majestic beauty of nature. And although it saves his life, a volleyball with a face on it will not do. He needs a person who shares not only a parallel exterior but an interior similar to his own.

The desire and drive for Eros as intimacy, which expresses itself as ever-deeper contact and ever-greater wholeness, is the essential nature of existence. We know in our own interiority that intimate devotion is ultimately meaningful, even as the violation of intimacy violates something essential in Cosmos. We do not experience intimacy to be a meaningless evolutionary adaptation, reducible only to the particular social construction in which intimacy appears at particular moments and places in time. Intimacy is rather quite literally a survival need, fundamental to the evolutionary impulse that beats in us and as us—so fundamental that it overrides everything else.

Chuck Noland makes the precarious raft and casts himself into the open sea, moved by his yearning for intimacy, with only a small chance of physically surviving, rather than remain isolated—non-intimate—on the island without interior contact with another similar being.

Intimacy as the animating architecture of Cosmos is what the ancient interior scientists were evoking when they wrote in the Book of Genesis,[xxvii]

It is not good for the human to be alone.

The word good is the key refrain in all of Genesis, Chapter One. After every stage of the world’s evolutionary emergence,[xxviii] the text reads:

God saw that it was good.

Then, in Chapter Two, the text suddenly exclaims,

Lo tov hayot ha’adam levado—It is not good for the human to be alone—or to be lonely.

All of the Good of Reality is not good if we are lonely.

To be lonely is not merely a human neurotic condition—it is in violation of the essential nature of life, which is intimate interconnectivity and wholeness.

To be lonely is to be non-intimate, cut off from the interior of another, isolated in surface existence.

To be lonely is to be unable to share the depth of your interiors with another being.

To be lonely is to be misrecognized. Living on the outside, by yourself, is non-erotic, non-intimate, no matter how conventionally successful you are.

To be lonely is to be apart and not a part of.

The truth is that everything is part of the great Whole. Contrary to the famous view of seventeenth-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who helped shape the interior culture of modern western culture, human beings are not in a natural state of war but in a natural state of intimate Eros.

Application Six of the Intimacy Equation: Intimacy and Couplehood

From the broader realm of liberation from loneliness, through the intimate communion of friendship, we turn to a primary yearning of most human beings, the intimate communion of couplehood.

Jack and Lily yearn for couplehood. They long to be more than separate selves in the social contract of what we have called the social construction of what is often called ordinary or merely human love. In ordinary love, despite its romantic pretensions, relationships often devolve into comfort or security strategies for the egoic mind. In our separate selves’ marriages, we suffer from a crisis of intimacy. We are hard-pressed to experience genuine mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose. Failed intimacy is the primary ground for divorce in modern marriage.

But it is intimacy that we long for. We yearn for authentic mutuality of recognition, feeling, value, and purpose. We want to be more. We want our relationships to be more. Using the language we have deployed in this writing, we want our couplehood to be a unique expression of the Field of Eros. We want our couplehood not to be a mere contract between our separate selves but the covenant of our Unique We.

This means we long for authentic shared identity. We want to be some form of Mrs. and Mr. Smith without losing the integrity of our autonomy. We want to experience shared identity in the context of relative otherness.

In this kind of couplehood, there is mutuality of recognition—we place attention on each other, which blooms in each of us, even as it blossoms as our Unique We.

There is a mutuality of pathos—we feel each other. Intimacy in this sense means that I can feel myself feel you. And I feel you feeling me. Intimacy deepens as we add a loop of mutuality in our capacity to feel. For example: Feel me feel you feeling Me. Or feel me feeling you feeling me. But recognition and feeling are still insufficient for full intimacy.

We yearn for a third dimension, mutuality of value, which then yields in its wake a fourth dimension—mutuality of purpose.

The Intimacy Equation: All the Way Up and All the Way Down

At this point, we need to point not only to the obvious discontinuity but also to the continuity between the molecular, biological, and systems-theory world and the human persons of Jack and Lily, whom we just met above.

Lily, as we self-evidently realize, is not merely a configuration of mechanical exteriors that fit together. Lily is a living, breathing configuration of interiors and exteriors. Lily is constituted by a fundamental allurement between all of her exterior and interiors. Like all previous configurations of intimacy before her, which live in her, Lily is made up of interior desires, values, purposes, and feelings, even as those interiors are wired through sets upon sets of exterior material correlates. For any serious empiricist in the sciences, it is self-evident today that Reality is both exteriors and interiors all the way up and all the way down.[xxix]

As we have already pointed out, the application of the intimacy equation evolves through all the different stages of development, from matter to life to mind, and through all the stages of human development. But the core equation, based on the First Principle and First Value of Intimacy, applies across Cosmos in all of its expressions, in every age.

Lily and Jack yearn for intimacy, just as electrons and protons yearn for intimacy. And let’s be clear: We are speaking not in mythopoetic terms but of the interior experience—the phenomenology—of Cosmos itself. Some 380,000 years after the Big Bang, the particles in the plasma slow down. This deceleration is referred to in science as cooling. The electrons discover a new quality of interiority. In Howard Bloom’s phrase, the electrons discover that they are not satisfied on their own.[xxx] They long for union. They are allured to protons. It is, as Bloom notes, an unlikely match. Protons are some 1,837 times larger than electrons. But in the Amorous Cosmos, Eros triumphs over size and shape. The Amorous Field of Allurement awakens. We call it electromagnetism. Electromagnetic mutuality—a profound hunger and longing—from protons to electrons and electrons to protons now animate the Cosmos. A new structure of yearning for intimacy, generating ever-deeper contact and ever-greater wholes, emerges in Reality. The proton and electron generate a new whole, a new shared identity in the context of relative otherness—an atom—that Reality had never seen before.[xxxi]

That same yearning for ever deeper and wider intimacy lives in Jack and Lily. Lily and Jack yearn to experience genuine shared identity in the context of relative otherness. Just like protons and electrons. And of course, in an exponentially more evolved fashion, as the yearning for intimacy deepens through the worlds of matter, life, and mind, and becomes conscious of itself in the subtle depths of the awake, self-reflective human mind. Lily and Jack experience profound mutuality of recognition times mutuality of pathos times mutuality of value times mutuality of purpose, just like protons and electrons.

It is in this sense that we can be at home in the Universe.

Our yearning for intimacy is not a human aberration. Our yearning for intimacy is not a meaningless evolutionary adaptation designed to serve survival for its own sake. Rather, the drive for survival is actually the drive for life, an expression of intimacy with the self. And since intimacy is the essential nature of life, it naturally supports the drive for life. The yearning for intimacy may be experienced by Lily at a fundamentally different level of consciousness than that of the subatomic particles. But the same equation holds true, whether we are talking about Lily and Jack, or a proton and electron. Intimacy is a First Principle and First Value of Cosmos. And like everything else in Cosmos, intimacy evolves.

One Instance of the Evolution of Intimacy at the Personal Human Level

In other writings on CosmoErotic Humanism, we distinguish between three levels of relationship and specifically three levels of couplehood: role mate, soul mate, and whole mate relationships.[xxxii]

In role mate relationships, which dominated society until the mid-1960s, marriage was between men and women, and they were each in their respective roles. The man was the protector and breadwinner, and the woman was the child-bearer and homemaker. They recognized each other, felt each other, and shared value and purpose, primarily through their respective roles. In role mate relationships, the latter two mutualities, value and purpose, are the prism through which the first two, recognition and feeling, are mediated. Shared identity emerges from the mutual dependency of their respective roles.

But as intimacy evolved, people longed to be not only role mates but soul mates. Couples declared, we are not just role mates (with the primary attention on our respective roles), we want to be soul mates. Here, the attention moved to mutuality of recognition and pathos as the primary prism, eclipsing even—at least in part—the mutualities of value and purpose. Soul mates share depths of pathos, vulnerability, and raw feeling tones. The shared identity of soul mates is based, as the term implies, on the depth of soulful feeling between the beloveds.

But intimacy continued to evolve, and the mutuality of feeling that comes from gazing deeply into the eyes of the beloved no longer sufficed. Couples yearned not only to look deeply at each other, but also, and centrally, to look at a shared horizon, to be drawn by a common vision. Whole mates means:

We are not just functioning effectively together—that is role mates.

We are not just looking deeply in each other’s eyes—that is the mutual pathos of soul mates.

We are in an evolutionary relationship—that is whole mates.

We are looking at a shared vision together—mutuality of value and mutuality of purpose. But at the whole mate level, the mutuality of value and vision, or purpose, is not only personal. It is rather shared value and purpose for the sake of the Whole, which creates the intimacy of shared identity. Hence the term whole mates.

The movement of Reality in the late twentieth century from role mate to soul mate, and the beginning of the move in the early twenty-first century to whole mates is not an isolated instance. It is rather but one example of a distinct evolution of intimacy.

What is enlivening, shocking, and welcoming all at the same time is the potent realization that the same intimacy equation elegantly describes interpersonal human relationship and the relationship of subatomic particles. In both instances, there is clearly shared identity, which generates a new whole, whether that is Mr. and Mrs. Smith or an atom. In both instances, there are very different interior qualities that, however, share a common root. Shared identity in the context of otherness exists, even if demarcated by different levels of mutual recognition, feeling, value and purpose.

Application Seven of the Intimacy Equation: The Song of Myself

As Walt Whitman famously wrote,

I contain multitudes.[xxxiii]

Thus, to be intimate with myself means that I have a shared identity with all of my selves and with all of the parts of myself. Here, we refer to the different parts of my separate self. When I split off parts of myself in a way that blocks my access to them, then I become non-intimate with myself. When I am non-intimate with myself, with my own individuated identity, I become non-intimate with both Self (the wider Field of Existence, Value, and Essence) and others. Because it is through the full unique quality of myself that I connect both to individual others and to the larger Field.

So, my whole must be intimate with my parts. I need some level of shared identity with all of my exiled parts. In what is called parts theory or parts work, which in multiple forms began to significantly emerge over the last few decades, these parts, voices, or sub-personalities might include the protector, the controller, the exiled, the wounded child, the innocent child, the shadow self, the unlived life, the split-off envy and rage, and all other aspects of my whole self. They must experience their shared identity as part of my larger wholeness.

Whenever I split off parts of myself—whenever I don’t actually contain my multitudes—I start to break down. To survive and thrive in any dimension of life, I require shared identity in the context of (relative) otherness with all my parts. Meaning, I become identified with and include all of my distinct voices, parts, and subpersonalities. They are not split off. I contain multitudes, but they are all part of my shared coherent and conscious identity.

Intimacy requires not only that we have shared identity and mutualities of recognition, feeling, value, and purpose with all of our parts, but also that all the parts have the same between each other. The voices, parts, and subpersonalities cannot be split off from each other. Rather, a knowing must be cultivated across all voices and parts, that they all participate in the same larger identity. Between all of the voices, all of the parts, there is a mutuality of recognition and a mutuality of purpose. None of the voices or parts may be allowed to hijack my attention or identity. The voices recognize each other and feel each other and experience themselves as contributing to a shared Field of Value and Purpose.

This allows for two crucial conversations. First, a conversation between the voices. Second, it allows for a conversation between the underlying I and any part of the multitudes the I contains. It is only out of this sense of underlying self-intimacy that all the voices and parts put aside their differences and act together in shared purpose for the sake of the I.

Application Eight of the Intimacy Equation: Beyond the Split-Off Parts of Self to the Unrealized Selves

Remember the principle which we will formulate more fully below: The Cosmos is human, and the human is Cosmic.[xxxiv] The means very simply that the Cosmos is coded for humanity, and the human being contains the Cosmos. The human being is Cosmos in person, Cosmos in human form. Indeed, the human being is an emergent incarnation of Cosmos. This is the very definition of the human being that accords with evolutionary and emergence science. Therefore, it follows that another key expression of cosmocentric intimacy involves not only including all of exterior reality in one’s circle of intimate care and concern, but also all of the parts of our interior world. All of our parts are part of Cosmos.

As developmental theory has pointed toward, including the split-off parts of yourself is a leading edge of human emergence.[xxxv] Thus, cosmocentric consciousness demands the integration of all of the split-off parts of yourself. This includes the body. This includes the split-off shadow parts that have been relegated to the dark corners of our psyche.[xxxvi]

As such, intimacy demands a shared identity in the context of otherness not only with my split-off parts of voices, or even with my dis-owned shadow, but also with all of my unrealized selves. In this application we are referring to two primary groups of selves.

The Four Selves and Unique Self Symphony

First, we refer to what we call in CosmoErotic Humanism the four selves: my separate self, my True Self, my Unique Self, and my Evolutionary Unique Self. We have unpacked these selves in great depth in earlier volumes, in what we refer to in CosmoErotic Humanism as Unique Self Theory.[xxxvii] The four selves are not my split-off parts but point instead to the larger Field of my True Nature.

The four selves can be readily summarized as follows:

My separate self is the classical identity of the western self, the skin-encapsulated ego, which experiences the boundary of identity as being the physical body and its personality. In this sense, my separate self is like a lone puzzle piece without any realized awareness of the large puzzle of which it is an indivisible part.

At some point in our personal evolution a deeper self begins to disclose itself, which we refer to as True Self. True Self emerges, in the words of Albert Einstein, from the realization that separateness is an optical delusion of consciousness.[xxxviii] True Self is the realization that the separate self, the skin-encapsulated ego-personality, is not the boundary of human identity but that we rather participate in the seamless Coat of the Universe. In other words, my identity is indivisible not only from the exterior field of reality, from the plankton in the ocean to the topsoil to the biosphere, but we are also inseparable from the Fields of Consciousness and Desire. We all participate in the same Field, thus, the total number of True Selves in the world is One—in the language of quantum physics pioneer Erwin Schrodinger—the “singular of which the plural is unknown.”[xxxix]. True Self is not a puzzle piece but rather the indivisible wholeness of the puzzle.

Unique Self is the realization that the seamless Coat of the Universe is seamless but not featureless. Unique Self is the higher individuation of Self—the irreducibly unique perspective and quality of intimacy of True Self seeing through my unique eyes and experiencing Reality through my unique story. Unique Self is the irreducibly unique LoveIntelligence, LoveBeauty, and LoveDesire of Reality that lives in me, as me, and through me, that has unique gifts to give and a unique life to live, and that is, in some real sense, needed and honored by All-That-Is. Unique Self is a puzzle piece that completes the puzzle.

But that is not the end of the evolution of identity. Rather, the realization of Unique Self deepens one more stage, and I awaken to the realization that my Unique Self lives and breathes within a larger evolutionary context. Evolutionary Unique Self is the realization that I am personally implicated in the evolutionary process. I am the personal face of the evolutionary impulse. The pulse of becoming that beats my heart is irreducibly unique. The evolutionary impulse is the Field of Desire, which is evolution itself reaching for new futures, drawn forward by its own inherent entelechy—a memory of future value, future wholeness, and future possibility yearning to be realized. Evolutionary Unique Self is the puzzle piece that not only completes the eternal puzzle but rather evolves the entire puzzle itself. Evolutionary Unique Self is the unique expression of the inherent Desire in Cosmos that always generates new possibilities and new wholeness—emergences that are greater than the sum of all the previous parts.

Finally, Evolutionary Unique Self experiences its nature as part of a larger whole, what we refer to in CosmoErotic Humanism as the Unique Self Symphony, in which every Unique Self plays its unique part in the larger symphony. It is, however, not a classical but rather a jazz symphony, in which every player plays not only a unique rendition of previously composed music, but also composes new notes and new movements in the symphony itself.

In other words, our unrealized Self includes our wider identity with the One Field of Consciousness [True Self]. And it includes our full range of unique gifts and capacities. It also includes our unique qualities of personal being and consciousness. And it includes their evolutionary context, my Self as an irreducibly unique incarnation of evolution itself.

Each of these aforementioned dimensions (and often all of them) are generally split off from our consciousness. They are not part of our self-perception. In effect, we have dis-identified from these crucial parts of Self. One of the crucial advances in human consciousness, which generally shows up in conjunction with other dimensions of worldcentric and cosmocentric consciousness, is the inner impulse to become intimate with all of the split-off parts. In becoming intimate with the split-off parts, we do not allow the split-off parts to hijack our identity; rather, they become integrated into our wider identity.

When we achieve intimacy with any of these dimensions of both exterior and interior self, nature and culture, we incorporate that dimension into our wider identity. We experience a mutuality of recognition with the split-off part, and a mutuality of pathos, such that the split-off part is incorporated into our larger purpose.

Three Selves: Past, Present, and Future

A second group of selves, which overlap with the first but deserve their own distinctions, is what we refer to in CosmoErotic Humanism as the three selves: namely, the psychological self, the mystical self, and the evolutionary or future self.

The psychological self is a version of the separate self that is deeply connected to the past. The psychological self mines the past in order to heal its capacity to show up in the present freely and effectively.

The mystical self bypasses the past and instead enters the depths of the present—the now—to realize its own nature.

The evolutionary self hears the call of the future.

Each of these selves is attuned and uniquely identified with either past, present, or future. But each of these selves is often dis-identified with or even largely alienated and disassociated from the other two realms of time.

When the larger Field of Self-Identity is not realized, then the self pathologizes. The self cannot bear the contraction of its truncated identity. This is experienced by the self as a failure of Eros, a loss of aliveness and joy, that causes in its wake a breakdown in ethos. For, as we have pointed towards in other writings on CosmoErotic Humanism, all breakdowns of ethics are proceeded by a failure of Eros. The emptiness caused by the failure of Eros is covered up by what we have called pseudo-eros, which expresses itself in all manner of addiction, acting out, or numbing behaviors. These behaviors themselves, or the cycles they cause, become a breakdown of ethos. To be intimate with self, therefore, requires shared identity with all of these unrealized parts of self, as well as deep intimacy between all of these selves. Just as there can be multiple versions of false self that are split off—a collapse of intimacy—there are also crucial expressions of one’s deeper nature that can be split off—another collapse of intimacy—with similarly devastating results.

With each new application we begin to discern more profoundly the structural truth of the bold yet almost self-evident assertion with which we began: We live in an Intimate Universe. And the Intimate Universe lives in us. From mud to Mozart, from bacteria to Bach, from dendrites to democracy, the structure of Reality is governed by the First Principles and First Values of ever-evolving configurations of Intimacy.

All of these previous stages of evolution,

from quarks to culture—

and through all the evolving levels of culture,

from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to cosmocentric—

and all of the future potentials.

All of it, in some deep ontological sense, lives in us. We are emergent from, and we are, on some fundamental level, intimate with—we literally share identity with—all of our unrealized selves.

The great Zen master Dōgen pointed to this quality of the interior experience when he said, Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.[xl] [xli]

But, as we have already pointed toward, interior and exterior realities are inter-included and inter-intimated—quite literally inextricably embedded in each other. To see interiors and exteriors all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain is the only reasonable view of any self-respecting empiricism that is willing to free itself from the dogmas of reductive materialism.

The same definition of intimacy may be fruitfully applied to understanding organizational development, economic theory and practice, environmental policy, political governance, social policy, and pretty much everything else.

Application Nine of the Intimacy Equation: Companies and Organizations

A company has multiple divisions. Those divisions require shared identity if the company is to succeed. Every organizational consultant knows that organizations, agencies, companies, and departments break down because various sub-factions develop separate identities that not only distinguish themselves but also alienate themselves from each other and from the larger shared identity of the group. Each division develops a kind of hyper-agency that dissociates from the larger shared identity of the whole. A win/lose metric suffuses the subtext of their discourse. The sense of a larger shared identity breaks down.

Consultant Peter Drucker was not wrong when he allegedly said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” But Drucker didn’t have the distinctions required to foster a culture beyond the win/lose metrics. In a word, for a company to succeed, profound intimacy is required between all of its parts. Whether it’s a team or division or committee, each part needs to have an intimate culture of shared identity in the context of relative otherness. There needs to be a shared identity between the parts coupled with mutuality of recognition, the capacity to feel each other, a shared ground of value, and a shared purpose. Each division is ostensibly independent, and yet, from the context of shared identity, there is a mutuality of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose.

Peter Senge from M.I.T. tells a great story at the beginning of his book Presence[xlii] about how a company developing a new product—in this case a car—almost failed because huge overruns in time destroyed the budget. Although he does not use our language, MIT doctoral student Daniel Kim[xliii] was able to reverse this process by fostering a sense of shared identity plus mutuality of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose between the divisions. Before his intervention, each division of engineers of the company[xliv] all viewed their identity as independent, with their mission solely being the completion of their particular part of the car. All sorts of structural and motivational interventions were attempted, but they all failed. Kim’s novel intervention of having them create and look together at a “causal loop diagram” or “systems map”[xlv] succeeded beyond all expectations. At the core of his intervention was the generation of a sense of shared identity in the context of otherness, coupled with mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose between the divisions and teams of engineers. In the words of Daniel Kim, who speaks of it in the language of exterior systems theory:

At one point, there was a palpable shift in the room…All the details were very familiar to them…Now they were actually seeing the systemic pattern that caused this, and they could see that no one individual was to blame. They had created this pattern together…As the implications of the system began to sink in, one of the group members said, ‘My God, look what we’re doing to ourselves.’[xlvi]

The book Presence then continues:

The key word in this statement was “we.” Up to this point, there had been someone to blame for every problem… When the ‘theys’ go away and the ‘we’ shows up, people’s awareness and capabilities change. Through many similar moments of awakening, a new attitude gradually developed…that caused significant changes in how people worked together.

This new intimacy engendered new and more creative conversations, which allowed for the project to be completed weeks in advance of the deadline.

Our good friend and former board chair of the Center John Mackey shared with us a parallel story from the first year of the company he founded, Whole Foods.

There was a flood at the store some six months after the first store opened, which destroyed the stock and much of the store. John had leveraged all of his assets and had no way of repairing and resupplying the store. He thought that the company was finished. To his great surprise, when he arrived at the flooded store the next morning, there were loads of people—customers, suppliers, and local community folks—repairing and re-supplying the store. Whole Foods survived and ultimately thrived because there was a sense of intimacy between Whole Foods and all of its stakeholders, including the customers, employees, as well as the suppliers and the community itself. This sense of intimacy generated a shared identity. The stakeholders all participated in this shared identity, recognizing and feeling each other, participating in a shared Field of Value and Purpose. Without this intimacy, as John relates it, Whole Foods would have closed after six months of operations.

Application Ten of the Intimacy Equation: Nations and Religions of the World and the New Politics of Intimacy

All the nations and religions in the world are made up of human beings. At the level of worldcentric intimacy, there is a shared identity and mutuality of recognition, pathos, and purpose between all human beings. We are part of one human family. But there is context of otherness both at the personal and the collective level.

At the collective level, we don’t want to obliterate individual religions or nations. Healthy individuated nation states and religions realize their larger shared identity with every other nation state or religion in the context of otherness. All nations and religions are Unique Selves, who can join together to play their unique instruments in the Unique Self Symphony. In the symphony, each person, and each collective, plays a different instrument—the context of otherness—but every person, and collective, is also playing shared music—the context of shared identity.

As we move to reconfigure politics through these new narratives, we do not seek a homogenized globalism. That would paradoxically open the door to totalitarianism. Rather, we need global federations constituted by strong individuated nation states and religions.

Worldcentric intimacy must not efface healthy ethnocentric intimacy. Between nations we need shared identity in the context of relative otherness, where we not only have mutuality of recognition but also mutuality of pathos, where we can actually feel each other and participate in a shared Field of Value. This then generates a new coherence, out of which arises mutuality of purpose.

Application Eleven of the Intimacy Equation: Complicated Versus Complex Systems

In our other writings, we deployed Snowden and Taleb’s distinction between a complicated and a complex system.[xlvii]

A complex system is one that is antifragile and resilient. It regenerates, takes care of its waste, and is mostly a circular closed loop.[xlviii] The Brazilian rainforest is an example of a complex system.

A complicated system is fragile: It does not regenerate or take care of its own waste. It is generally a linear, open-loop system. An expensive car is an example of this.

We added to that distinction a key element. We understand a complex system to be one where there is inherent allurement between the parts, while in a complicated system there is no allurement. A more precise way, however, to distinguish them is in terms of intimacy: A complicated system is non-intimate. There is no genuine shared identity between the parts. Hence, there is no genuine mutuality of recognition, pathos, value, or purpose.

The failure of intimacy in a complicated system generates incoherence, which devolves on a global scale into global action confusion and global action paralysis. A complex system is one in which there is shared identity in the context of otherness between the parts coupled with mutuality of recognition, pathos, value, and therefore purpose.

All of the breakdowns in modern society, which are sourced in

fractional reserve banking,

the linear materials economy,

extraction-model-driven exponential growth,

rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics,

World Bank and International Monetary Fund policy failures,

and more,

are both explicable and correctable through this definition.

Application Twelve of the Intimacy Equation: Intimate Relations as Sexing

Let’s now turn to sexing, which models Eros but, as we have elaborated at length in other writings,[xlix] in no way exhausts Eros. Indeed, the first eleven applications of the intimacy equation, which we have just discussed, are also all expressions of Eros. The core movement of sexing is from separate self to shared identity. For a short moment in sexing, we become part of a throbbing, ecstatic, larger, and wider identity. We become a larger One. We see each other with new eyes. We participate in the same pulsation. Loneliness abates for a moment as we merge together in the Oh God of the larger One.

But there is still a context of relative otherness. We are part of the same Field, but we don’t lose our distinct uniqueness. Thus, we actually cry out in the moment of orgiastic exultation, not only Yes and Oh God but also the name of our beloved. We scream the Name of God in each other’s name, as we realize in our bodies that both our own name and the name of the beloved participate in the Name of God. This is the ultimate mutuality of recognition.

We feel each other in the most quivering, exquisite sense. In those moments, we participate in the same Field of Value. The goodness and aliveness of Reality expressed in the mutual gifting of radical depth and pleasure are the values that animate the Field of Eros, which is the context for all sexing that sates beyond the ephemeral moment. Giving is receiving, and receiving is giving. In all the other arenas of existence, you are either giving, or you are receiving. In sexing, that binary split breaks down in the intimate gnosis of shared identity.

The separation has broken down into union but not into fusion. From this mutuality of value, which becomes our shared carnal gnosis, the beloved cultivates the capacity to find their mutuality of purpose.

Application Thirteen of the Intimacy Equation: Attachment Theory

As noted above, exhaustively demonstrating how intimacy, a First Value and First Principle of Reality, shows up as the implicit premise of myriad diverse disciplines and dimensions of Reality across space and time is the crucial focus of a separate volume. But for now, let’s allude briefly to just one example of the foundational nature of intimacy as an implicit premise of a major field of study. All of the modern theorizing around attachment theory is premised on the centrality of our early intimacies, their shape and character, in shaping the entire trajectory of our lives. But, like Chuck Noland in Cast Away, our sacred text of culture, a baby can have all of their survival needs met and yet be crushed with devastating implications for the rest of their life. Those implications include but are not limited to substantially increased incidences of depression, addiction, and suicide—if the quality and depth of earlier intimacies was deficient.[l]

This centrality of intimacy in the motivational architecture of Cosmos, which appears in modern attachment theory, expresses itself in the deepest realization of the interior sciences in myriad ancient traditions. Reality is a Love Story. We live in an Intimate Universe. And a plethora of attachment studies tells us that the baby, upon being born into this Universe, needs to feel that intimacy in order to feel welcome in the Universe and live a good life.

As we have already seen, intimacy means a sense of shared identity in the context of relative otherness between mother and child, coupled with mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose. The shared value and purpose, of course, is the exchange of aliveness and contact between baby and mother that assures the full life of both.

Attachment dynamics are, as the literature indicates, not limited to human beings. For example, ducks are not mammals but possess a lizard-like brain. And yet, they have highly developed attachment dynamics.

The core to attachment theory across domains is indeed intimacy and its essential definition as shared identity in the context of otherness. This begins in embryology, shows up strongly in developmental psychology, in the intimacy behind the right and left hemispheres of the brain, and much more. There is first, differentiation, or the context of otherness: the establishment of uniqueness, which then leads to superordinate integration, to higher embraces and unions between distinct parts or stages. This includes the assertion of more autonomy, which then leads to a higher-order intimacy of shared identity.

Application Fourteen of the Intimacy Equation: Personal Identity with the Wider Field in the Intimate Universe

In some of the earlier applications, we looked at the First Principle and First Value of Intimacy from the human perspective, particularly from the perspective of human interiority. Specifically, we looked at interpersonal and intra-personal intimacy. Below, we will look briefly at intercommunal and intra-communal human intimacies. But neither the intimacy equation nor the Intimate Universe itself is limited to the human experience of personal and communal shared identity. Zen Master Dōgen was not wrong when he described enlightenment as intimacy with all things.

From a surface perspective, thinking superficially, I might say, I’m not that tree or that bush. But actually, I would literally not exist without those trees and bushes. I could not breathe. Without them, there would be no atmosphere that facilitates photosynthesis. Without the trees and plants, I simply do not exist in any meaningful way. But my shared identity is not only with plants. I cannot meaningfully exist without the coral reefs, without the microbiome of the soil, without key forms of insects and birds, without the key elements like hydrogen and intimately cohered molecules that create new emergents that together constitute my fundamental biological identity. When I formulate me statements—statements of identity—that do not include the nature of my breath, and the trees with whom I inter-breathe, and all of the elements of Reality with whom I inter-exist—inter-be and inter-become—then I am simply not thinking clearly about the facts of my identity.

Reach back for a moment into the time of the formative years of our planet, in which your whole identity was created. The Earth was filled with carbon dioxide and very little oxygen. Only single-celled life could be sustained. There was no multicellular life at all, and certainly no possibility of human life. There was, however, one organism with a unique configuration of intimate coherence between subatomic particles—molecules called cyanobacteria. This unique configuration of intimacy was able to draw energy from the Sun and uniquely transform carbon dioxide into oxygen. This is the beginning of photosynthesis. The process was gradual but steady, breath after breath, until these bacteria suffused the Earth, giving rise to what we call the ozone layer; and the new atmosphere of Earth came into being.

From this new atmosphere, step by step, multicellular life was born. And after that, the Cambrian explosion generated a gorgeous new expression of life in the seas, and the first plants took root on land. We are in intimate relationship—with genuine levels of shared identity and ever-growing mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose—with cyanobacteria and their descendants, without whom we cannot breathe.

Intimacy with all things means shared identity with all things. The statement I am no longer makes any factual sense in the standard way. I am because we are. Everything is the context for anything existing at all.

However, the individual does not disappear. Shared identity always occurs in the context of otherness. The First Value and First Principle of Intimacy lives as part of a larger constellation of First Values and First Principles, including that of uniqueness. So, Reality is seamless but not featureless. There is always distinction—uniqueness—in the context of the larger Field of Union. There is never intimate fusion; rather, there is intimate communion. And there can be no communion without plurality. The notion of what we are calling non-intimate existence was correctly described by Einstein as an optical delusion of consciousness.

We cannot think of anything or anyone that does not exist in the context of everything and everyone. But there are always boundaries. And boundaries are Real. Uniqueness is Real and cannot be collapsed into union without remainder. But all boundaries are soft boundaries. That is precisely the definition of intimacy that we have expressed in the intimacy equation—shared identity in the context of otherness. Relative otherness. All persons and all things are irreducibly distinct and unique—in the context of larger communion.

The sense of living in the Intimate Universe and the Intimate Universe living in us runs deeper than inter- and intra-human shared interior identities.

The First Principle and First Value of Intimacy, as expressed in the intimacy equation, also shows up powerfully in our relationship to the non-human world. Not only do I yearn for shared identity with other human beings, and not only is the fact of that shared identity the fact of my personal identity. I also share an identity—I share intimacy—with a much wider swath of Reality. I share some level of intimacy with the entire biosphere. This is the exterior sense of shared identity with a larger Field, the sense of being part of an interconnected system with the Whole of Reality—that is, the exterior expression of the True Self Realization that we noted above.

Intimacy: Shared Identity With All Things

All things are constantly exchanging information at every level of Reality—interiors and exteriors all the way up and all the way down. This level of intimacy that informs Reality is coded in language. Significantly, in the original Hebrew, the new information of the sciences is already implicitly encoded. According to the interior sciences of Hebrew wisdom, language is what we might term the interior DNA of Reality. The word thing in Hebrew captures this sense. In its superficial, unthinking expression, it implies a discreet, self-enclosed unit. But in reality, there are no things. The Hebrew word for thing is davar, which also means word. The thing is a word, a building block in the larger intimate conversation of communion. Davar might be translated as things that speak.

Try and think of anything that has an independent identity. We cannot. A word that refers to the quality of intimacy, as we have defined it, in the world of davar—the world of things that speak—might be synergy. Synergy points to the structural quality of intimacy that is creative. Synergies create more than the sum of the parts.

Therefore, when Dōgen says, Enlightenment is intimacy with all things, and Hebrew wisdom speaks of davar, they point to a core truth of the interior sciences, without being able to validate it with the tools of modern exterior science. They both point towards the fact of our larger shared identity—directly emergent from the knowing that everything is fundamentally, intimately, interconnected.

Indeed, the interior of interconnectivity is intimacy. No part is apart from the larger Intimate Wholeness. We share with all of Reality a web of value—mathematical value, physical value, and interior value—the Eros of existence that yearns for ever-deeper contact, and ever-greater wholeness, generating in its wake ever-more diversity and depth of life. That is the structure of the Intimate Universe. All parts are inextricable with the Whole, even as the Whole lives in the parts—in multiple forms.

Application Fifteen of the Intimacy Equation: The Intimate Universe Lives in Us

Earlier, we expressed the First Principle and First Value of Intimacy in four short sentences:

We live in an Intimate Universe.

The Intimate Universe lives in us.

Reality is evolution.

Reality is the evolution of intimacy.

These four simple sentences articulate intimacy and its evolution as First Principles and First Values of Cosmos. In this application, we come to the heart of the matter, and the heart of all matter. We first recognize the structural truth of the Intimate Universe. We then realize—quite literally—that which lies in the expression of the second sentence: The Intimate Universe lives in us.

The Structure of the Intimate Universe

On the subatomic level, three quarks come together to form a proton, and in a different configuration of intimacy, three quarks form a neutron. The quarks do not lose their identity, and yet they manifest a new shared identity as a proton or neutron. The quarks recognize each other uniquely: mutuality of recognition. The quarks feel each other; they are allured to each other: mutuality of pathos. The quarks share a Field of Value, even as they have a new shared function and purpose as proton or neutron: mutuality of purpose. The proton, or neutron, is a new configuration of quarked intimacy: three quarks expressing a new shared identity in the context of relative otherness. The quarks do not lose their own identity, or otherness—they can still be identified—but their otherness exists is in the context of their larger sameness, as waves of energy.

This process repeats itself across all domains. A unique proton, neutron, and electron are allured together to form an atom. They create a new shared identity as an atom. They recognize each other (mutuality of recognition, they feel each other and are allured to each other (mutuality of pathos), and they share a new function as an atom (mutuality of purpose). And yet, they do not lose their original identity as proton, neutron, or electron, which is the context of otherness in the equation.

As we evolve to the world of life, we experience a progressive deepening of intimacies. For example, a protein molecule is, at its core, a particular sequence of amino acids in particular configurations of intimate coherence. In effect, a protein molecule is a unique configuration of intimacy. Amino acids themselves are configurations of intimacy. Formally, we say that amino acids are organic compounds that contain different functional groups. But what this means is that amino acids are quite literally a shared identity of different elements (usually carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen) arranged in intimate coherence, which we are calling unique configurations of intimacy. These configurations generate a shared identity as that particular amino acid within the context of otherness (it is within the context of otherness because, for example, the amino or carboxyl groups and their elements still retain their own identity). The parts of the new intimate configuration, which is the structure of the amino acid, recognize each other (mutuality of recognition), feel each other (mutuality of pathos), share information codes or what could be described as meaning or value codes that desire ever-more life (mutuality of value), and have a new shared function (mutuality of purpose).

This does not mean that they are conscious in a human sense. We know that one of the plotlines of Reality is the evolution of complexity (i.e., exteriors), which is also the evolution of consciousness, creativity, uniqueness, and love. So of course, there is an evolution in consciousness from atoms to amoeba to astrophysicists or avatars. But, as Reality is interiors and exteriors all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain—what we have called pan-interiority—we can thus claim, along with physicist Freeman Dyson and many others, that the elementary particles of Reality possess some modicum of proto-consciousness. Even as that consciousness and complexity evolves through every distinct stage of matter, life, and the depths of the human self-reflective mind.

This First Principle of Intimacy continues from quarks to cells, through ever-more evolved configurations of intimacy, from multicellular life all the way up the evolutionary chain to plants, amphibians, the neural net and neural cord, early animals, mammals, later mammals, hominids, and ultimately to profoundly self-reflective humans walking upright on the Savannah.[li]

The Intimate Universe Lives in Us

This same definition of intimacy applies at the human level of being. But the human being is also constituted by the unimaginably vast and complex set of subatomic, atomic, molecular, cellular, and organic configurations of intimate coherence, all constituted by shared identity, and mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose. All of those are constituted by configurations of intimacy, and all of those configurations of intimacy come together to form a wider and larger configuration of intimate coherence that we call Jack or Lily.

All of these aforementioned configurations of intimate coherence come together in a new shared identity—Lily. The Intimate Universe lives in Lily.

The sentences with which we began now become virtually self-evident: We live in an Intimate Universe. The Intimate Universe lives in us.

Lily lives in a world whose structure is intimacy and whose trajectory is the progressive deepening of intimacies. All of the previous configurations of intimacy, from quarks to subatomic particles, to atoms, molecules, etc., all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain, live in Lily. More intimate knowing of the atoms themselves however expands our intimacy with the larger Cosmos.

Science expands and deepens our felt intimacy with Cosmos. Science tells us an astonishing new truth. The atoms that are the building blocks for all life on Earth, including our own human bodies, are sourced in the stars. It is the stars that cook the lighter elements into the heavier elements that now make up all of life. The intimate resonances of stars live in atoms, whose intimate configurations live in us. And in that we realize that not only do we live in an Intimate Universe, but the Intimate Universe lives in us. In that, we become aware that we are stardust, as Joni Mitchell sang, we become evolution conscious of itself—an entirely new quality of intimacy. We realized a literal shared identity with all of our evolutionary history, with all Cosmos and all Cosmic Value.

We realized that the Intimate Universe, and its pulsing Eros and allurements, lives in the quarks, subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, and cells that constitute our embodied existence.

Application Sixteen of the Intimacy Equation: Holons

Arthur Koestler captured this intimate structural dimension of Reality when he wrote that the structural reality of Cosmos, its most essential monad, is not atoms or ideas but holons. Both atoms and ideas, along with everything else, are holons, by which Koestler meant part/wholes, and whole/parts. Reality is made up of part/wholes and whole/parts, all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain. Every part (say a quark) can be part of a larger whole (three quarks together which, depending on how they are configured, form either a neutron or proton). A proton can be part of a larger whole, an atom. An atom can be part of a larger whole, a molecule. And so it goes on. And even subatomic particles that are not part of an atom, or atoms that are not part of a molecule, and so forth, are not separate entities. They are expressions of the whole quantum field. And, as the effect of quantum entanglement tells us, two subatomic particles that were ever connected remain entangled forever, no matter how far apart they have moved. Nothing exists apart and alone. Everything and everyone is both a whole unto themselves and an essential part of a larger whole.

Waves and particles, molecules and cells, letters and words, microbiota, plants, animals, and humans—indeed, everything and everyone—is both a whole and part of a wider, deeper whole.

Letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs.

Quarks, protons, atoms, molecules, macromolecules, single cells, and multicellular organisms.

All of Reality is constituted by these threads of whole/parts and part/wholes. And the entire meshwork of Reality is a vast intimate Field of part/wholes and whole/parts. The proton is a whole that consists of quarks and that can be part of an atom. The atom is a whole consisting of subatomic particles (protons, neutrons, and electrons) that can be part of a molecule. The molecule is a whole consisting of atoms that can be part of a complex molecule. And so it goes on.

And as we briefly alluded to above and will see more deeply in the next application, the entire Field is connected as well. Nothing, and no one, exists independently of anything, or anyone, else. Everything is interconnected—intimate—with everything else. From the perspective of both the interior and exterior sciences, we quite literally have no reality independent from everything and everyone else. The illusion of being only a self-sustaining whole, but not part of a larger Whole, is the definition of alienation and disassociation. It is a failure to realize the nature of the Intimate Universe, and the nature of Self as a part of the Intimate Universe and an expression of the Intimate Universe. We live in the Intimate Universe, and the Intimate Universe lives in us.

On the human level, the deeper our self-sense goes, the lonelier we become. Loneliness is transcended only when we realize the felt sense and depth of our interconnection—whose interior is intimacy—with each other and with the larger Field. To be lonely—non-intimate—is therefore a violation of the core good that is our own—that is Reality’s—True Nature.

Application Seventeen of the Intimacy Equation: The Intimate Universe Lives in Us: A Deeper Cut—The Nonlocal Universe

The depth of truth in our core two sentences expressing the First Principles and First Value of Intimacy, which we have been pointing towards in the paragraphs above—We live in an Intimate Universe, and the Intimate Universe lives in us—took yet another leap inward with advent of quantum physics. In quantum reality, a reality that quite literally lives in us, the consciousness of the depth of intimacy with all of Cosmos immeasurably deepens. This is the discovery of the nonlocal Universe—or said simply, the realization that all of the Universe is intimate with all of the rest of the Universe, and that this very intimacy resides in us as we reside in it.

Henry Stapp, one of the great figures of quantum mechanics, who worked closely with Wolfgang Pauli, later Werner Heisenberg, and then with John Archibald Wheeler, understood that quantum theory and its notions of what we are calling the Intimate Universe collapses the sharp distinction between exteriors and interiors. Stapp understood that interior and exteriors were fully enmeshed in the Universe.[lii] He wrote particularly about the disclosure of quantum entanglement—the nonlocal Universe—at the very Heart of Reality, as about the “most profound discovery in all of science.”[liii]

In effect, the discovery of the nonlocal Universe, what mathematical physicist Menas Kafatos called “a new fact of nature,”[liv] is quite literally a quantum deepening of our core sentences: We live in an Intimate Universe, and the Intimate Universe lives in us. Let’s very briefly get a sense of the potential implications of quantum entanglement.

There is a famous debate, at least to those who study quantum physics, between Albert Einstein and Niel Bohr. Bohr was the innovator of what has become the standard Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. To somewhat simplify matters, we might say that Einstein was arguing for the capacity of physics to ultimately access complete knowledge about the workings of the invisible structure of the material world. Bohr took strong exception to this, based on what he thought to be the new information yielded by the new physics. This included the famous recognition of quantum mechanics: that an electron can be treated as a wave before measurement and a particle after measurement. And of course, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle that disallows the absolute knowledge of an electron’s position and momentum at the same time, coupled with the famous collapse of the quantum wave at the moment of observation, depicts a world in which the absolute certainty that Einstein thought possible is, in fact, impossible. Bohr’s point was that uncertainty was part of the value structure of Cosmos, and not a function of missing information in physics.[lv]

For Einstein, a definitive proof that Bohr was wrong came from the fact that if he was right—according to his mathematics and physics—it would mean that two particles, once they have interacted, would continue to feel each other intimately and evince demonstrable internal correlations, irrespective of their distance in space and time. This kind of spooky action at a distance (as Einstein put it) was a priori rejected by him. It flew in the face of his intuition about Cosmos and against his mathematics of relativity—which stated that particles cannot move faster than the speed of light.

This issue remained in question until it was definitively resolved by mathematician physicist John Bell in 1964. Physics understood Bell’s Theorem to demonstrate exactly what Einstein thought was impossible: spooky action at a distance.[lvi] This new fact of Cosmos came to be called by physicists, quantum entanglement or the nonlocal Universe. Nonlocal, as we introduced it above, simply means that everything is intimate with everything else. But more deeply, it means that everything is part of a larger shared interior identity.

This is much more dramatic than the classical astrophysical recognition that we are composed of stardust, as Carl Sagan spoke of. The intimacy implicit in quantum mechanics speaks deeply to our definition of intimacy:

Intimacy = shared identity x mutuality of recognition x mutuality of pathos x mutuality of value x mutuality of purpose.

Quantum physicist Menas Kafatos and historian of science Robert Nadeau write:

The recent experiments by Nicolus Gisin and his team at the University of Geneva provided … dramatic evidence that nonlocality is a fact of nature. …

All particles in the history of the cosmos have interacted with other particles in the manner revealed by … experiments … from the big bang to the present. Even the atoms in our bodies are made up of particles that were once in close proximity to the cosmic fireball, and other particles that interacted at that time in a single quantum state can be found in the most distant star. Also consider, as the physicist N. David Mermin has shown, that quantum entanglement grows exponentially with the number of particles involved in the original quantum state and that there is no theoretical limit on the number of these entangled particles. If this is the case, the universe on a very basic level could be a vast web of particles, which remain in contact with one another over any distance in “no time” in the absence of the transfer of energy or information.

This suggests, however strange or bizarre it might seem, that all of physical reality is a single quantum system that responds together to further interactions.… Thus nonlocality, or non-separability, in these experiments could translate into the much grander notion of nonlocality, or non-separability, as the factual condition in the entire universe.[lvii]

Unabashed in their writing, Kafatos and Nadeau assert the philosophical implications of quantum reality enacting what we are calling the New Story, particularly in healing the divide between exteriors (which are considered real) and interiors (which are not). In our words, we might say that the interior of interconnectivity is intimacy. In this view, the nonlocal Universe in quantum theory simply discloses that everything is intimate with everything else, and that this intimacy is both the structure of the world we live in, even as it—the intimacy of Cosmos itself—lives inside of us.

Indeed, as several key NASA scientists have pointed out, relational quantum mechanics coupled with many readings of relativity, suggest that there is no existence in Reality whatsoever outside of the context of relationship.[lviii] This gives an entirely new meaning to our assertion that Lily lives in an Intimate Universe, and that the Intimate Universe lives in Lily.

And by intimacy we mean, some level of shared identity x mutuality of recognition x plus mutuality of pathos x mutuality of value x mutuality of purpose or function, all of which are in abundance in the nonlocal Universe. We begin to realize that, on some level, we quite literally share identity with all of Reality, and Reality resides in us. But this is more than the shared physical identity with the carbon that quite literally lives in us. Quantum reality is far more wondrous.

Quantum theory discloses our participation in what might be accurately called the One Field or One Heart of Reality, connected not through signal transmission in Newtonian spacetime, but rather the ontology of a Cosmos, where everything is already part of a shared intimate identity, where mutualities of recognition, pathos, and ultimate purpose are the interior givens of Reality itself. The implications of this new realization of the Intimate Universe are not the subject of non-sensical spiritualist speculation, but rather the natural state of Cosmos.[lix]

Application Eighteen of the Intimacy Equation: The Field of Value—The Next Step in Conscious Evolution:

Intimacy is a Value of Cosmos. Or in our language, it is a First Principle and First Value of Cosmos. Configurations of intimacy take place within and between human beings in much the same way as they occur between subatomic particles. The very same allurement that lives between protons and electrons lives, in conscious form, between Jack and Lily. This realization is the next stage in Conscious Evolution. In Conscious Evolution, we awaken to the truth that evolution lives in us, as us, and through us.[lx]

This understanding of Conscious Evolution does not mean that evolution awakens to itself through human beings—at least not if that implies that evolution was never conscious before. It is beyond weird—indeed it is unconscionable—to speak of a Cosmos that generates photosynthesis, mitosis, and meiosis before there is ever a human cortex as unconscious. It is the very nature of Cosmos—this is an undeniable fact—to generate elements and laws of mathematics and physics that incessantly create, guiding Reality to generate the conscious configuration of intimacy that we call human beings. The consciousness that is us, that breathes us, is mysteriously coded in Cosmos itself. That is what we mean when we say that we not only live in Cosmos, but that Cosmos lives in us. We are a human expression of the Cosmos in person.

It is simply not the case that the Cosmos is out there, and we live in it trying to make meaning of it. That is a scientific lie. Rather, we are Cosmos. The Cosmos garbs itself in human form, and therefore the human is Cosmic. It is this realization of the Cosmic human and the human Cosmos that lies at the core of Conscious Evolution. It is this realization of the Cosmic human and the human Cosmos in person as humanity that lies at the core of Anthro-Ontology.

It is this realization of the Cosmic human and the human Cosmos that must underlie any conversation around Value, which is generated by the Cosmos. Value lives in us. Value is Cosmos, and Cosmos is Value. Value is a quality of Cosmos, just as humanity is a quality of Cosmos. And therefore, our articulation of Value is not a mere social construction of Reality, but Cosmos disclosing its inner nature.

And yet, as postmodernism correctly points out, Value evolves through context after context. Conscious Evolution demands that we realize the evolution of Value and take responsibility as conscious agents of evolution for the clarification of context. We have already pointed to this above and will discuss this further below as the evolutionary movement from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to cosmocentric perspectives in the progressive deepening and clarification of Value.[lxi]

What we mean when we speak of Conscious Evolution is that we can become conscious of the truth of the identity statement, I am evolution. Or more precisely, I am a unique expression of the evolutionary impulse. To say that I am evolution is to say that I am value and the evolution of value.

The inner quality that animates all of evolution, including the evolution of value, is allurement. To be a Unique Self is to be a unique incarnation of Value and a unique set of allurements. Allurement is a quality of ErosValue that lives in Cosmos. And that same quality lives in every human being. But of course. The human is coded with the Cosmic, just as the Cosmic is coded with the human. And the human being is not generic. Human beings are the same as one another and irreducibly unique, distinct from one another. Thus, the allurement of ErosValue lives uniquely in every human being.

We awaken uniquely to the quality of allurement and ErosValue that animates all of Reality. That quality becomes uniquely conscious in the self-reflective human. That allurement, which expresses itself as the yearning for intimacy, for shared identity with the largest possible wholes, the largest possible Field of Value is the animating Eros of Reality. Love is another simple way to formulate the identity of the New Human.

But the intimacy equation speaks not only of identity with, or participation in, the Field of Value, but also of intimacy between values. If a particular value seeks to take center stage and alienates or even disassociates from the larger Field of Value and its wider range of values, then intimacy fails, and the value itself in some sense polarizes and collapses.

Application Nineteen of the Intimacy Equation: Intimacy with the Real Patterns of Reality as the Premise of the Classical Sciences

The entire enterprise of exterior science makes no sense without the implicit substrate of our two epigrammatic sentences: We live in an Intimate Universe. The Intimate Universe lives in us.[lxii]

The human scientist is able to deploy mathematical physics to hold the Whole of Cosmos in his mind’s eye. That only makes sense if we understand that the human mind intimately participates in this very Cosmos, which he maps. Something of the elegant order of Cosmos is the elegant order of the human mind, body, and heart. In the interior sciences, this idea has traditionally been explicit. But it is also implicit in mathematics and physics. It is self-evident that the process of mathematics, for example, is not akin to taking a photograph of the Universe and then having it developed according to some preexistent instructions. Rather, we are able to access the mysteries of Cosmos because we participate intimately in those same mysteries. Without that premise it would simply be absurd to discuss how abstract mathematics has the capacity to reflect back to us intimately accurate models of primordial history from the first nanoseconds of the Big Bang.

The history of matter is made available through mathematics. Mathematic formulations live in us, even as they live in the Universe—because matter and mathematics, and all of their history, live in the Universe, even as they live in us. Albert Einstein spoke to this in this mystery when he wrote:

The very fact that the totality of our sense experiences is such that by means of thinking … it can be put in order, this fact is one which leaves us in awe, but which we shall never understand. One may say “the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.”[lxiii]

He goes on to invoke a word which did not fall easily from his lips:

The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.[lxiv]

The key point for our purpose is that science itself, and the process of the scientist, is an expression of the Intimate Universe, in which we live, and which lives in us. The scientist derives information—which is a form of knowledge—or wisdom—directly based on that intimacy. There is a fundamental coherence between the human being and Cosmos. Science is possible because human nature is coherent with Cosmic Nature. If the human scientist were not also a Cosmic human, there would be no science. Human science works because we are Cosmic humans.

Science is in effect a form of what we call Anthro-Ontology. The human being mirrors Reality. The very reflection, in the sense of reflectivity, points to the mirror quality of human nature. The self-reflexive human, who emerges from the lifeworld of the animal, reflects not only on the Cosmos in which we live, but the Cosmos that lives within. Said more clearly, human beings participate in Reality. The mathematics that can describe the physical structure of the Universe is part of the structure of the human being. But not only the values in a mathematical equation share identity with human beings, we also participate in a shared intimate identity with the entire Field of Value.

Intimacy with the Real Values of Reality as the Premise of Interior Sciences and the Anthro-Ontological Method

In the very same sense, the existence of universal human Value is only possible because human nature is Cosmic. It is only a Cosmos built on First Principles and First Values that generates the interior experience of the human being that our values ultimately matter—and that they affect our exterior as well as our interior experience. Indeed, we stake our lives on our clarified values because we sense our true nature as Cosmic humans whose interiors participate in the value structures of Cosmos. That is the core of Anthro-Ontology.

Infinite human subjectivity, the Cosmos in person in human form, articulates mathematics, which generates the First Principles of science. These First Principles grasp the Whole of Cosmos because the Whole of Cosmos is already resonant with, attuned towards, and in some sense interior to the person of the scientist. That is precisely the nature of the interior sciences—but also of the exterior sciences. In that sense, both the exterior and interior sciences rely on the fact (whether we know it or not) that we live in a coherent Intimate Universe, which also lives in us, and in which we therefore directly participate.

True interior science is not a collection of dogmatic declarations or socially constructed assertions. Instead, they result from two primary sources:

First, they are based on the common-sense innate knowing that lives universally in most humans across space and time. We refer to these as common-sense sacred axioms.

Second, they emerge from deep processes of experimentation and clarification, based on some form of spiritual practice that transfigures the human person. The human being receives a clarity liberated from petty contraction that sees Reality clearly as it is reflected in the deepest clarified interiors of the interior scientists themselves. These processes of experimentation, involving contemplation, transfiguration, and clarification through various methods of intense practice, have been repeated around the world and throughout history.

It is worth pausing for a moment to briefly elaborate on primary forms of the Anthro-Ontological Method and unpacking them not in two but as three distinct forms.

Three Forms of Meaning Making or Anthro-Ontological Sensemaking

We access Value in three distinct ways. Each is a particular expression of the Anthro-Ontological Method that we have referred to in the previous volumes.[lxv] All forms of Anthro-Ontology require what we have called accessing one’s clarified interiors. Interior scientists William Blake referred to this as the cleansing of the doors of perception:

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.[lxvi]

Mordechai Lainer referred to this process of interior clarification to yield gnosis as Berur, literally the process of clarification, or what he often also called the clarification of desire.[lxvii] At each of the three forms of the Anthro-Ontological Method enumerated below, there is a successively more intensive process of interior clarification.

Common-Sense Awareness

The first Anthro-Ontological Method is what we will refer to as common-sense awareness. At this first level, the clarification happens through the intentional act of turning inwards and becoming aware of what one already knows. When we turn inwards, we can have direct and immediate access to Value. We act in myriad ways every day out of this foundational knowing of Value. Whatever we might say about it meta-theoretically, our daily lives are premised on the lived gnosis of Value. We have direct and immediate access to self-evident meaning. That is what we referred to in the paragraphs above as our common-sense sacred axioms. One example: It matters to act in the world in ways that are fair.


The second method of anthro-ontological awareness involves what we will refer to as transfiguration. The first form of knowing, common-sense awareness, involves dropping into what is immediately available to us in our ordinary consciousness. By contrast, the second Anthro-Ontological Method gives us access to knowing Value through transfiguration. Transfiguration, which emerges from various forms of the intensification of experience, is the most advanced form of interior clarification. The disclosure of meaning may last for but a moment, or moments, for the inner secret is immediately re-concealed in this eternal dance of concealing and revealing. The moment might be a literal moment or an hour, but eventually the state of transfigured or non-ordinary consciousness recedes, and we return to ordinary consciousness. The interior sciences across the world and across time, independently of each other, usually referred to this form of knowing as awakening.

The more awake we are, the more we love, the more we have access to the Value that permeates all Cosmos in every second. The more we are awake and the more we love, the more we know that we do not need to search for Value, for indeed Value is always already searching for us, and we are always already found.

Transfiguration happens in multiple ways. The shared substrate of all of the forms of this expression of the Anthro-Ontological Method is the intensification of experience occasioned by intentional human practice. The practice might be substantial daily meditation, devotional chanting for several days, the practice of retreat, or the intense study of sacred text, referred to alternatively as Talmud, Torah, Bhagavad Gita, or Lectio Divinia, where the radical immersion in the text creates an erotic merger between the reader and the meaning written in text itself. It might include practices involving ritual, movement, or ingesting psychotropic substances—all for the sake of intensifying inwardness.

The whirling dervishes of Sufism, the shamanic rituals of every tradition, the sweat lodges of the Native Americans, and the Eleusinian mysteries of ancient Greece, all participate in direct practice, which discloses what Plato called the visible, sensible God, by which he meant the structures of meaning that are the forms of Cosmos itself.

The four citations below, from a host of writers, speak of Value disclosed when we are transfigured. The value overflows from the fullness of our Eros, made manifest in our awakened minds, hearts, and bodies. Each writer refers to what we are calling Value by a different name. But they are all pointing in the same direction. These experiences of Value are available to every human being through transfiguration. One example: The direct human experience of the ecstatic goodness of Infinite Consciousness that inheres in Reality itself.

Blake: To See a World in a Grain of Sand

Blake writes of meaning in his Auguries of Innocence. He uses terms like Infinity and Eternity as synonyms for the inherent Value present in every juncture of Reality:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour[lxviii]

Rumi: Divine Love

Rumi, emergent from his Sufi culture, uses the term Divine Love as a synonym for intrinsic Value:

Nothing I say can explain to you Divine Love
Yet all of creation cannot seem to stop talking about it.

E. E. Cummings: i thank You God for most this amazing

E. E. Cummings, much closer to our time and parlance, uses the term most this amazing as a synonym for what we are calling Value. He plays with words and syntax to take us out of the regular, evoke the inherent radical amazement, as we are confronted and even embraced by the ecstasies of Value that live beneath, beyond, and within all of Reality:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)[lxix]

Hafiz: All You Do Is Sacred

Hafiz, formed in a similar tradition to that which generated Rumi, uses the word sacred to evoke what we are referring to as Value. Hafiz points directly to the transfigured realization that you do not have to seek for meaning. We do not have to grasp for Value. Value has always already been here. Value is not hard to find. Value is impossible to avoid:

Now is the time to know
That all that you do is sacred.

Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you finally live
With veracity
And love.

Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.

This is the time
For you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.

Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is sacred.[lxx]


The third form of the Anthro-Ontological Method is what we will refer to as contemplation. Contemplation lies midway on the continuum between common-sense awareness and transfiguration. It is the median method of interior clarification. Contemplation requires that we drop in one step deeper than common-sense awareness but does not demand the radical intensification of experience that catalyzes transfiguration.

We need to stop and pay attention. We need to notice Value. We have to be inducted into Value again and again and again. We access Value by being inducted into the world of Value that lives inside us and all around us.

In transfiguration, we are awakened to the Value that lives in us. We become the knowing. The split between the knower, the knowing, and the known, at least for a short time, falls away. Through this second mode of anthro-ontological knowing, we have immediate and complete access to the knowing that everything is Value-laden. The citations above from Blake, E.E. Cummings, Rumi, and Hafiz are all speaking the truth that, when seen from a transfigured state, everything is suffused with Value. That same truth has been shared, cross-culturally and in every period of history, by sages and seers and mystics, none of whom knew each other, most of them were unaware of each other’s writings, yet all of whom arrived at more or less the same conclusion from their transfigured states.

From the third method of anthro-ontological knowing—contemplation—we absolutely cultivate access to the truth that everything is overflowing with Value. In contemplation, we turn toward, we pay attention, we notice. One example: We live in an Intimate Universe. The Intimate Universe Lives in us. This knowing might also be accessible through transfiguration, but for it to be sustained, and most importantly for it to become the ground for a global ethos for a global civilization, requires contemplation.

Anthro-Ontology Yields First Principles and First Values

To the extent that there is a universal set of value axioms that emerge from these three forms of anthro-ontological knowing of Value, these can be said to express First Principles and First Values of Cosmos itself. Clarified human experience is not the exhaust of the impersonal Cosmos but its very core. In this, Anthro-Ontology restores human dignity from its degradation and sows the seeds for a new CosmoErotic Humanism. Human Eros is an expression of Divine Eros. Clarified human desire participates in Divine Desire. Clarified human experience tells us something of ontology. The old split between phenomenology and ontology falls away.

To give but one example of this Anthro-Ontological Method, we return to Einstein for a moment. It is worth noting that Einstein himself was uneven in his evaluation of matters outside of physics. Particularly, he fell prey to the rejection of any form of personal religion or ontological ethos based on their caricaturing and dismissal by the European intelligentsia within which he was formed and moved for much of his life.

For these circles, which dominated the discourse of Einstein’s time, all such notions were understood as premodern dogma, which needed to be thoroughly jettisoned for the sake of human progress.

They failed to distinguish—as is often true of the age of rebellion—

between the life-denying dogma,

which needed to be revolted against in traditional religion,

because it was now realized to be indeed revolting,

and that in traditional religion,

which was infinitely precious,


and validated by the deepest methods of the interior sciences.

Moreover, Einstein’s cultural and intellectual milieu seemed blissfully unaware that the progress, which they yearned for, was itself an expression of intrinsic Cosmic Value, what the East sometimes called the Taothe Way. They sought to uproot Value from any form of religious orthodoxy and yet to preserve its intrinsic authority based on what they believed to be its self-evident nature. Goodness, truth, and beauty, awe and wonder, ethics and Eros rooted in the dignity of human personhood were simply assumed. They did not realize that those assumptions needed deeper grounding in order to flower, than the self-evident assumption of their truth. And for these very reasons, postmodernity came and swept away all the remaining roots of Value that affirmed the infinite and intrinsic dignity of human personhood and ethos, dismissing it in historian Yuval Harari’s term, as mere fiction.

Echoing his milieu, Einstein explicitly parroted Freud in describing any notion of Value, or of the Personhood of Spirit, as an infantile projection of the child’s love and devotion to his parent,

a sublimation of a feeling similar to that of a child for its father.[lxxi]

The iconic sociologist Peter Berger has already responded incisively in this regard to Freud and by implication Einstein.[lxxii]

Every parent (or, at any rate, every parent who loves his child) takes upon himself the representation of a universe that is ultimately in order and ultimately trustworthy. This representation can be justified only within a religious [spiritual]…frame of reference. In this frame of reference the natural world within which we are born, love, and die is not the only world, but only the foreground of another world in which love is not annihilated in death, and in which, the trust in the power of love to banish chaos is justified. Thus man’s ordering propensity implies a transcendent order, and each ordering gesture is a signal of this transcendence. The parental role is not based on a loving lie. On the contrary, it is witness to the ultimate truth of man’s situation in reality. In that case, it is perfectly possible (even, if one is so inclined, in Freudian terms) to analyze religion as a cosmic projection of the child’s experience of the protective order of parental love. What is projected is, however, itself a reflection, an imitation [an intimation] of ultimate reality. Religion then, is not only (from the point of view of empirical reason) a projection of human order, but (from the point of view of what might be called inductive faith) the ultimately true vindication of human order.[lxxiii]

As we shall see from the conclusion of this quote, Berger’s inductive faith anticipates our Anthro-Ontology. However, before we conclude the quote with Berger’s explanation of inductive faith, a word of clarification is in order. Berger writes in the 1960s in a heroic attempt to salvage the goods of Spirit from its many savage critics. And yet, he comes from a time when the word faith could still be used in academic circles without seeming preposterous. That is no longer the case. But by faith here Berger speaks of something closer to its original Hebrew root Aleph Mem Nun—source of the English word Amen, which means trust.

Faith in the sense that Beger uses it reflects its original source. It is not blind faith or belief in dogma. Rather, it is the interior knowing that we can trust the Cosmos. In the midst of the unspeakable mystery, the Cosmos is also trustworthy. The Cosmos will speak to us the truth about science and the interior sciences (Value) if we but listen deeply enough to intuit and articulate our own deepest interiors. Trust means that we have a right to feel at home in the Cosmos because human experience, in key expressions of both its common as well as refined and clarified form, is trustable. With that in mind we return to our citation from Berger.

I use induction [as in inductive faith which Berger affirms] to mean any process of thought that begins with experience. Deduction [as in deductive or dogmatic faith] is the reverse process; it begins with ideas that precede experience. By “inductive faith,” then I mean a religious [spiritual] process of thought that begins with facts of human experience; conversely, deductive faith begins with certain assumptions (notably assumptions about divine revelation) that cannot be tested by experience. Put simply, inductive faith moves from human experience to statements about God [or First Values and First Principles]…[lxxiv]

By contrast, deductive faith, which Berger rejects, means moving from a dogmatic stance that may well ignore counterevidence, be that stance fundamentalist religion or fundamentalist science, which then demands the re-interpretation of empirical human experience to make it align with the dogma.[lxxv] Berger’s inductive faith is the affirmation of the ontological dignity of the depth of human universal experience, what we refer to as Anthro-Ontology.

When the human being realizes that he or she incarnates the Eros of Cosmos in personal form, and also is able to act through a cosmocentric ethos, they are emerging as a New Human. When a significant number of humans realize this, it signals the developmental emergence of a New Humanity. This is what we will refer to below and in other writings as Homo amor, the fulfillment of Homo sapiens.

We conclude this section by recapitulating the Anthro-Ontological Method, intuited by Peter Berger, and formulated succinctly once again by interior scientist Abraham Kook:

The goal of studying the Wisdom of the Mysteries, at every moment on the journey

Is developing the power of a soul until she stands on her own inner power.

Able to drink [directly] from her source

With no need for third-party instruction

And this phenomenon [of self-knowing leading to God-knowing]

Causes all of existence to know itself

And it is via inner self-knowing that abundant life enrichment

is drawn down from on high

in a unity of mind and will

that is undivided by boundaries or particulars

The Intimate Universe: Holons and Cosmic Loneliness

Earlier we shared Koestler’s insightful formulation—which, like all that is self-evident, is often only seen as such after it has been so plainly stated—that the very fabric of Reality is parts and wholes, and that every part is both a whole unto itself and part of a larger Reality. This is the nature of existence all the way up and all the way down the chain of being.

And by now we begin to really see the truth that nothing stands apart. All is intimately interconnected as part of the great Whole of the Universe. The epidemic of loneliness that plagues the world is an expression of the global intimacy disorder. It is a case of mistaken identity. If I believe that I am a fundamentally non-intimate, disconnected separate self—aka, a skin-encapsulated ego—how could I be anything other than lonely most of the time?

Let’s return for a moment to the subatomic particles we discussed above. A neutron on its own disintegrates after about fifteen minutes. But when it creates a relationship with a proton, it can last billions of years. The intimate impulse of a neutron towards feeling a proton in the space—and creating a new Reality, in which both are inter-included in a larger whole—that is the essential structure of Reality. That is intimate union. Reality generates intimacy. But even more fundamental, Reality is intimacy.

The basic Reality Process is a part reaching out to another part yearning to create a new intimacy. Each part feels the presence of the other, and both parts create a new whole. The new whole is larger than each of them, but neither loses their individual integrity in the larger whole. This process of generating deeper, wider, and more coherent intimacies—wholes—is the essence of Reality itself.

The new whole that is formed from this process, following Arthur Koestler, is what we refer to as a holon. A holon is a part/whole with two characteristics:

  1. The whole is greater than its parts, and
  2. the parts do not lose their integrity in the larger whole.

Whitehead called the process of one part reaching to feel the other part prehension. One subject prehends a second subject. Prehension is a form of proto-intimacy, a proto-feeling, or proto-touching, which is core to existence itself. As Whitehead demonstrates, this relational process is the wondrous essence of Reality, which keeps repeating itself at more and more evolved levels all the way up the chain of life.

That essential structure of Reality can be witnessed everywhere. It is precisely this quality of Reality—its evolution of intimacy—that caused life to spread across the planet at every stage of emergence. The expanded network and depth of relationship—the progressive deepening of intimacies—is the essential methodology of evolution. The evolution of life is literally the evolution of relationships. As Fritjof Capra, a philosopher of science and systems theory, puts it, “Life did not take over the planet by combat, but by [relationship,] co-operation, partnership, and networking.”[lxxvi]

Application Twenty of the Intimacy Equation: Intimacy Between Human and Divine

One of the classical splits that rends the attempt to create a shared language of Value is the split between two readings of Reality: the naturalistic and the supernaturalistic.

In the naturalistic view of Reality, all is inherent in the core structure of the manifest Universe itself without any supervening forces or energies.

In the supernaturalistic reading, there are indeed supernatural forces, which supervene, that participate in, the manifestation, animation, and direction of the manifest Universe.

A deeper reading, however, suggests a third position that includes and transcends the important insights of both naturalism and supernaturalism. In this reading of Reality, a reductive materialism is rejected, and instead a metaphysical or Divine Current is said to course through animate (and intimate) Reality. That Divine Current however is inherent in, and shares identity with, the manifest world. Divine Eros, and Creativity, is the very Creative Force that animates and drives our realities, both personally and collectively. This is the position of the leading edge of many of the interior sciences, which form the esoteric core of many of the great traditions.

In effect, these interior sciences are applying the intimacy equation yet again. They view the Divine and human poles of Reality as possessing a shared identity in the context of (relative) otherness. Moreover, there are mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose between the human and the Divine.

This profound and potent intimacy between the human and the Divine is marked in the Wisdom-of-Solomon lineage. It for this reason that the major sacred text of the lineage, said to be authored by Solomon, is the Song of Songs, which is series of highly intimate, outrageous, erotic love notes between lover and beloved.

At the core of this lineage is a series of challenges to the Divine Ethos—a gauntlet thrown down against the Divine Enactment of Value in flesh-and-blood human beings. To cite but one example: In the Genesis text of the Hebrew cannon, God says to Abraham that he intends to destroy the ethically depraved cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham, however, challenges the Divine Value Decision with the hurled lines:

Will the judge of the entire Earth not do justice?

Abraham here challenges the ethics of the Divine Value Decision, arguing that there must be righteous people who would suffer if the Divine Edict were carried out. But, ask the pious, is not God the Source of all Value? How can a mere mortal like Abraham challenge the Divine Value Decision?

The implication of the text is that Abraham and the Divine participate in the same Field of Value. If they did not participate in the same Field of Value, there would be no way for Abraham’s evaluation to challenge the Divine Evaluation. The text therefore assumes a fundamental intimacy, in the sense of shared identity, between the Divine and Abraham. The interior sense of Value that lives anthro-ontologically in Abraham has direct access to the Divine Field of Value. Again, there is intimate, shared identity in the context of (relative) otherness between finitude, the human being, and the Infinite Divine. There is no fundamental split, but instead mutuality of value, between the natural and the supernatural.

Recapitulation & Deepening: The Evolution of Allurement—Evolving Intimacies

Let’s briefly recapitulate. Through the intimacy equation, we notice that the same allurement to intimacy that animated the relationships of subatomic particles also animates our own human allurements. Allurement evolves all the way through matter, life, and the human self-reflective mind. We awaken as the allurement of evolution aware of itself in us: I am evolution. Therefore, my clarified allurement is evolution’s allurement. And human beings have developed language, which immeasurably deepens our capacity to articulate and share Eros and intimacy, to self-reflect, and ultimately to evolve our love.

So, the same intimacy equation that shows up in subatomic particles appears again in Jack and Lily in a more evolved form. For example, Lily and Jack might decide to become a couple, or even get married. They are now husband and wife. Through this, Jack and Lily have created a new configuration of intimacy. In that new intimacy, they generate a shared identity as a couple. As a couple, they have generated shared identity in the context of relative otherness. But Jack and Lily don’t disappear as unique identities. This is the context of otherness in the equation.

At the same time, it is only relative because, if Jack and Lily have some measure of realization, they know that they share a True Self behind their distinct separate selves. Their True Self is, as quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger expressed it, the “singular of which the plural is unknown.”[lxxvii]. So, Jack and Lily see themselves as part of the same, singular, vast Field of Consciousness and Desire. They are also part of the same larger field of material emergence. Even as they are other to each other, they are each irreducibly unique expressions of that same Field.

So, Jack and Lily are now intimate. They share identity in the context of otherness, which is demarcated by mutuality of recognition (they deeply recognize each other), mutuality of pathos (they deeply feel each other), and mutuality of purpose (they share profound purpose).

But not only does this deep structure of Cosmos, what we might call the Intimate Universe, apply from subatomic particles all the way to two humans, it also moves beyond two human beings to larger groups of humans organizing into cultures.

The First Principle and First Value of Intimacy, evolution’s seeking of ever-wider and ever-deeper intimacies that govern Reality, is itself Reality’s generator function that operates from quarks all the way up to culture. It is the desire of Eros for greater intimacy—ever-deeper contact and ever-greater wholeness, expressed as ever-deeper shared identity in the context of (relative) otherness, with ever-deepening and more conscious mutualities of recognition, feeling, value, and purpose—that animates and drives Reality itself.

The Intimacy Equation at the Human Level Is Always Mediated Through Levels of Consciousness and Structures of Psychological Maturity

We yearn for wider identities with each other—within the context of otherness. We yearn for mutuality of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose. At the human level, the intimacy equation can be applied with equal facility in individual, interpersonal relationships—our relationships with other people—and intra-personal relationships—our relationships between different parts of ourselves. Similarly, the intimacy equation applies with equal facility and grace to both inter-communal and intra-communal relationships. This includes within and between organizations, departments, states, nations, regions, and religions.[lxxviii]

Of course, it needs to be stated clearly that the intimacy equation is always mediated through the prism of one’s psychological maturity and of the structure stage of developmental consciousness.

That means that,

if a person is at an ethnocentric stage of developmental consciousness—

and therefore believes that, for example, only adherents of a particular brand of Islam are saved and go to heaven and therefore deserve full human rights—

then one’s seeking of shared identity with other x mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose will be limited to his or her circle of intimacy.

All others outside that circle will be treated non-intimately. As we have written in other contexts, the source of evil is the failure of intimacy.

From Egocentric to Ethnocentric to Worldcentric to Cosmocentric Intimacy: The Evolution of Intimacy and the Evolution of Value

Let’s look, for example, at the progressive deepening of intimacies on the human cultural level, which we already pointed towards above. Dozens of developmental theorists, each using their own terminology, have used empirical research methods to disclose four distinct levels of consciousness that span the trajectory of evolution across human history and, at the same time, show up as the developmental arc within individual human beings.[lxxix] Both the leading edges of culture as a whole and the most developed individual human beings living in culture inherit the leading-edge values of all the previous levels of development. A seven-year-old growing up in Denmark knows something—even if it is still inarticulate—about the value of democracy that was not quite available to Buddha himself. Democracy is an evolution of certain key First Values and First Principles of Cosmos, including the First Value and First Principle of Uniqueness. Moreover, all of the First Principles and First Values evolve. Indeed, as we have seen, the evolution of value is itself a First Value and First Principle.

This has been called the evolutionary developmental arc—the movement from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to cosmocentric intimacy.[lxxx]

Egocentric intimacy manifests as a felt sense of love, care, and the willingness to bracket one’s own narrow self-interest for the sake of the beloved others in one’s immediate circle. This is the first level of intimacy, in which human beings realize a level of shared identity with their egocentric circle. This is an egocentric circle of intimacy, which in effect means a circle of shared egocentric identity and intimacy. Hence intimacy = shared identity, which is the beginning of our equation. Generally, this level of shared identity extends to the circle of family and very close friends. Often, it is much smaller, and for the narcissist it does not extend beyond the individual self.

That shared identity generates the second part of the equation, mutuality of recognition, mutuality of pathos, mutuality of value, and mutuality of purpose. Hence, within their egocentric circle of intimacy, the egocentric lovers recognize each other’s full humanity, feel each other’s pain, and share value and purpose with one another. Purpose includes not only surviving and thriving physically and economically, but also often shared purpose in terms of the fulfillment of shared values. For example, the values of what they understand as goodness, truth, and beauty are shared exclusively with the others in the egocentric circle. Mutual sacrifice and kindness (the Good), sharing information and truth-telling (the True), and sharing of pleasure (the Beautiful) take place and are primarily sanctioned within the egocentric circle of intimacy.

Ethnocentric intimacy widens the circle of shared identity and its mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose. Thus, ethnocentric intimacy manifests as a felt sense of love, care, and the willingness to bracket one’s own narrow self-interest for the sake of one’s entire tribe (beyond the people of my bloodline, or the people I can personally know), nation, religion, or larger community, all of whom are beloved others in one’s wider circle of ethnocentric identity and intimacy. All of the goods that we elaborated above in the egocentric circle of intimacy are now shared in the ethnocentric circle of intimacy.

Worldcentric intimacy widens the circle of shared identity and its mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose. Thus, worldcentric intimacy manifests as a felt sense of love, care, and the willingness to bracket one’s own narrow self-interest for the sake of all human beings, all of whom are beloved others in one’s wider circle of worldcentric identity and intimacy. All of the goods that we elaborated above in the egocentric circle of intimacy are now shared in the worldcentric circle of intimacy.

Cosmocentric intimacy widens the circle of shared identity and its mutualities of recognition, pathos, value, and purpose. Thus, cosmocentric intimacy manifests as a felt sense of love, care, and the willingness to bracket one’s own narrow self-interest for the sake of all sentient beings, including animals and plants, and for the sake of the Earth itself, all of whom are the beloved others in one’s wider circle of cosmocentric identity and intimacy. All of the goods that we elaborated above in the egocentric circle of intimacy are now shared in the cosmocentric circle of intimacy.

Once the principle of cosmocentric justice is established as part of cosmocentric intimacy, it becomes a foundational demand in the social, economic, and political realms. At this moment in history, the developmental emergence of cosmocentric justice at the leading edges of human culture demands the enacting of powerful global co-ordination that has the capacity to activate global systems for delivering global public goods, the basic rights that every reader of these words takes for granted every day. It is only that level of fairness on the global scale that will prevent pathological versions of tribalization and enact global harmony and coherence.

Intimacy Is Eros and Ethos as One

Earlier we talked about intimacy as the essence of Eros. It is important to keep in mind, however, that Eros also includes ethics. As we shown in Volume One of this series, in their essence, ethos and Eros are inseparable. Eros is the movement of separate parts towards more coherent intimate wholes. Ethos insures the goodness of that movement and the integrity of each part as well as the integrity of the whole. However, this is true only when the First Principle and First Value of Intimacy is mediated through a sense of cosmocentric consciousness (along with a cluster of other First Principles and First Values as described above). Then, intimacy generates true ethos.

As long as I think that I, as an individual, am essentially separate from you, separate from all other humans, and separate from the biosphere and the physiosphere—then I will naturally move to optimize for my own success. This move will be independent of and maybe even at the expense of your success, or even at the expense of success of all other humans, all of the biosphere, and all of the physiosphere. It is only when I realize that I am ultimately intimate with everything and everyone, that I am not even a meaningful concept without all of the quarks, atoms, molecules, cells, soil bacteria, microbiota, all the way up the evolutionary chain that I begin to realize my wider identity and mutuality with the larger Whole. That is when ethics are born.

The First Principles and First Values of Eros and Intimacy mediated through higher levels of cosmocentric consciousness imply all of ethos. My considerations move from local to global. I become omni-considerate. I realize I would not exist without the Wholeness of which I am an emergent part. I only exist in the context of the All. I am not just an independent agent of the Whole. I was made by it and for it. I am intimate with the Whole, and the Whole is intimate with me. It is only intimacy that generates genuine obligation. Indeed, in the original Hebrew, there is an entire set of words that mean various versions of both intimacy and obligation.[lxxxi]

The realization that I live in an Intimate Universe and the Intimate Universe lives in me becomes the basis for all ethics. And because I am not merely a generic emergent of the Whole but a unique emergent of the Whole, I have a unique gift to offer the Whole. I am an organ of the whole thing and therefore I am organically in service to the larger Whole, which is, at its core, an act of self-love.

All genuine Eros, all True Love, is self-love. It is in the expanded identity of Self, born of the realization of the Intimate Universe, that ethos is born. Herein lies the seed of obligation. Not an obligation imposed from without, but the inherent joy and responsibility rooted in the core Eros of my identity. It is in this sense that the original Hebrew root word for obligation is the same as the word for love.

The realization of the Intimate Universe transforms the very notion of sovereignty. Sovereignty lies not with the disconnected I but with the I in the context of the larger We. The irreducible Unique Self and its freedom is unimpeachable. But the sovereign freedom of the Unique Self lives embedded in a larger sovereignty, which does not absorb it but co-arises with it. This is the larger context of the Intimate Universe, which forms part of our most personal identity, the Evolutionary We-Space, in which everything arises, including ourselves. As long as we are competing in rivalrous conflict for scarce resources of material goods and the success story governed by win/lose metrics, then, reality is a zero-sum game, a bloody battlefield, where the wounded are left behind. When our world is a battlefield covered by a thin, fragile veneer of post-truth civility, our global civilization—animated by exponential tech—will most assuredly collapse. But because of the new quality of exponential tech, which seeks not to honor but to condition civilization, the collapse will very possibly destroy the future as we know it.[lxxxii]

Only our realization of the absolutely intimate nature of this Universe can undermine the alienated vision that is the fundamental basis for war. And because our technology is exponentially increasing in its power, our warfare becomes more consequential. The result, if we stay in this trajectory, is that humanity will self-terminate.

To have real hope of transcending our current trajectory we must—with very great joy and courage—articulate the First Values and First Principles that form the basis for what we call the tenets of intimacy that govern the Intimate Universe.[lxxxiii] Our recognition and articulation of the fundamental intimacy of the Universe serves as the ontological basis for anti-rivalry. Intimacy is not the opposite of competition, but it is the opposite of rivalry. Shared identity allows for competition but not for rivalry, not for measuring our success by a win/lose metric, in which there is only one winner, and the rest are losers.

We can sum up the literature on existential risk in three sentences:

Rivalrous dynamics multiplied by exponential tech is self-terminating.

Exponential tech is inexorable.

So, we either figure out anti-rivalry—which can only be authentically done by realizing the Intimate Universe—or the human experiment is finished.


[i] See the essay on “The Narrative Thread of Cosmos: The Evolution of Intimacy Through the Four Big Bangs” in Volume 2 of this series. That essay can also be read here:

[ii] See, for example, the section on “Intimacy as the Currency of Cosmos” in this volume. See also our whole volume on the Intimate Universe in David J. Temple, The Intimate Universe, in preparation.

[iii] We talk about the intimacy equation in more depth in the forthcoming book, The Intimate Universe, so please have a look there as well.

[iv] Fromm, Erich, The Art of Loving, first published in 1956, Open Road Media, Kindle-Version, p.19.

[v] See Jürgen Habermas, Communication and the Evolution of Society, Boston Mass, Beacon Press, 1979, pp.98-99.

[vi] Abraham Kook, Orot Hakodesh, The Lights of Holiness, Volume 2, p. 517, Jerusalem, 1984.

[vii] See Chapter 21: “The Seventh Face,” on Love as a Perception, in A Return to Eros, by M. Gafni and K. Kincaid, in 2017, BenBella Books. Here, we unpack, in depth, the quality of love as perception. See also Chapter 5 on Perception, The Mystery of Love, by M. Gafni, 2003, Atria Books, and primary source footnotes there from the interior sciences of Hebrew mysticism.

[viii] In a scholarly work, written originally as a doctoral dissertation at Oxford University, I (Marc) introduced the idea of erotic word clusters. I  tried to show that often a thinker—especially one trying to communicate different dimensions of Eros—would use a series of inter-included overlapping words, which were not synonyms but different faces of the same core quality. These are clusters of words, each of which is a unique expression of the same underlying qualia of Eros. See our discussion of the elements of this equation in Volume 2 of The Universe: A Love Story series, e.g., the sections “Meaning and Value: Evolving Structures of Cosmos” and “The First Principle and First Value of Information, Meaning, and Consciousness (or Value).”

[ix] For an extensive discussion of this dimension of intimacy, see Chapter 21: “Evolutionary Intimacy, The Seven Laws of Unique Self Encounters,” in Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, (p. 309), by M. Gafni, 2012, Integral Publishers; The Future of Relationships, by M. Gafni and B. M. Hubbard. On the expression of this dimension of intimacy in sexuality, The Phenomenology of Eros (Vols 12-13), by M. Gafni and K. Kincaid on Unique Self Sexing and Bodhisattva Sexing, respectively.

[x] Naturally we can also say that a person or object is desirable and that we are allured. The split is not a formal definition one. And yet, we are allured is a passive form, while we desire is active.

[xi] Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions: Book of Yukel, and Return to the Book (The Book of Questions Volume 1), translated from French by Rosmarie Waldrop, Wesleyan University Press, 1991 (first published in 1972), p. 61.

[xii] See the section “The Interior Sciences: Anthro-Ontology and the Anthro-Ontological Method” in that volume.

[xiii] See, for example, David J. Temple, First Principles & First Values: Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, the Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come (2024) and see also the fuller conversation in David J. Temple, First Principles and First Values: Towards an Evolving Perennialism: Introducing the Anthro-Ontological Method (forthcoming).

[xiv] See, for example, the section “First Practices Are Forms of the Three Modes of Knowing” and the sections “The Empiricism of Love: The Three Eyes of Knowing—The Three Eyes of Eros—The Three Forms of Gnosis—The Three Eyes That Are One” and “The Three Eyes: A Deeper Cut” as well as the Appendix on “Anthro-Ontology and the Three Eyes” in Volume Five of this series.

[xv] Obviously, these Eyes include not only vision but all the exterior and interior senses.

[xvi] First simplicity is that which comes before complexity. It is usually fundamentalist (whether of the religious or scientistic kind) and simplistic. Second simplicity comes after complexity—it incorporates all the complexity into First Principles and First Values greater than the sum of all the diversity that came before. The diversity is not lost. It is, however, integrated into a larger shared Story, greater than all of the differences.

[xvii] Or perhaps we might say that Reality is relationships. Reality is a Field of Relationship, like it is a Field of Value. And every relationship participates in that Field of Relationship, like every value participates in the Field of Value.

[xviii] Eros is not only evolution or what mathematician Alfred North Whitehead referred to as becoming. Eros is both being and becoming. Being is the Ground of Consciousness. Becoming is evolution, which itself is infused with being—the Ground of Consciousness.

[xix] Kook, Lights of Holiness I:85.

[xx] See especially Volume Five of this series. See also, forthcoming, Gafni, M., Hubbard, B. M., & Stein, Z., CosmoErotic Humanism—Toward the New Human and the New Humanity: Homo Amor—The Tenets of Intimacy and the Social Miracles.

[xxi] On Kant’s distinction between Noumena and Phaenomena in this regard, see his Critique of Pure Reason, translated by J.M.D. Meiklejohn, London: Gorge Bell and Sons, York Street, Covent Garden, 1890, “Transcendental Analytic—Book II: Transcendental Doctrine of the Faculty of Judgment, or Analytic of Principles, Chapter III—Of the Ground of the division of all objects in Phaenomena and Noumena,” pp. 184-188, (German: Kritik der reinen Vernunft, German Original: Critik der reinen Vernunft, „Der Transzendent. Doktrin der Urteilskraft (Analytik der Grundsätze) drittes Hauptstück: Von dem Grunde der Unterscheidung aller Gegenstände überhaupt in Phaenomena und Noumena”):

At the same time, when we designate certain objects as phaenomena or sensuous existences, thus distinguishing our mode of intuiting them from their own nature as things in themselves, it is evident that by this very distinction we as it were place the latter, considered in this their own nature, although we do not so intuit them, in opposition to the former, or, on the other hand, we do so place other possible things, which are not objects of our senses, but are cogitated by the understanding alone, and call them intelligible existences (noumena). Now the question arises, whether the pure conceptions of our understanding do possess significance in respect of these latter, and may possibly be a mode of cognizing them. … The division of objects into phaenomena and noumena, and of the world into a mundus sensibilis and intelligibilis is therefore quite inadmissible in a positive sense, although conceptions do certainly admit of such a division; for the class of noumena have no determinate object corresponding to them, and cannot therefore possess objective validity. If we abandon the senses, how can it be made conceivable that the categories (which are the only conceptions that could serve as conceptions for noumena) have any sense of meaning at all, inasmuch as something more than the mere unity of thought, namely, a possible intuition, is requisite for their application to an object. The conception of a noumenon, considered as merely problematical, is, however, not only admissible, but, as a limitative conception of sensibility, absolutely necessary. But, in this case, a noumenon is not a particular intelligible object for our understanding; on the contrary, the kind of understanding to which it could belong is itself a problem, for we cannot form the most distant conception of the possibility of an understanding which should cognize an object, not discursively by means of categories, but intuitively in a non-sensuous intuition. Our understanding attains in this way a sort of negative extension. That is to say, it is not limited by, but rather limits, sensibility, by giving the name of noumena to things, not considered as phaenomena, but as things in themselves. But it at the same time prescribes limits to itself, for it confesses itself unable to cognize these by means of the categories, and hence is compelled to cogitate them merely as an unknown something.

Other German words for Noumena that Kant used were Ding an sich (= thing-in-itself), reines Gedankending (= pure thought thing), and Verstandeswesen (= mind being). Other scholars, like Stephen Palmquist hold noumenon and thing-in-itself as only loosely synonymous, as they view the same concept from different perspectives.

E.g., Stephen Palmquist’s Glossary of Kant’s Technical Terms ( defines Noumenon as

the name given to a thing when it is viewed as a transcendent object. The term ‘negative noumenon’ refers only to the recognition of something which is not an object of sensible intuition, while ‘positive noumenon’ refers to the (quite mistaken) attempt to know such a thing as an empirical object. These two terms are sometimes used loosely as synonyms for ‘transcendental object’ and ‘thing-in-itself’, respectively. (Cf. phenomenon.)

The same glossary defines Thing-in-itself as

an object considered transcendentally apart from all the conditions under which a subject can gain knowledge of it via the physical senses. Hence the thing-in-itself is, by definition, unknowable via the physical senses. Sometimes used loosely as a synonym of noumenon. (Cf. appearance.)

Palmquist defends his definitions of these terms in his article, “Six Perspectives on the Object in Kant’s Theory of Knowledge,” Dialectica 40:2 (1986), pp.121–151; revised and reprinted as Chapter VI in Palmquist’s book, Kant’s System of Perspectives (Lanham: University Press of America, 1993)—

In Kant’s own words:

The estimate of our rational cognition a priori at which we arrive is that it has only to do with phenomena, and that things in themselves, while possessing a real existence, lie beyond its sphere. Here we are enabled to put the justice of this estimate to the test. For that which of necessity impels us to transcend the limits of experience and of all phaenomena is the unconditioned, which reason absolutely requires in things as they are in themselves, in order to complete the series of conditions. Now, if it appears that when, on the one hand, we assume that our cognition conforms to its objects as things in themselves, the unconditioned cannot be thought without contradiction, and that when, on the other hand, we assume that our representation of things as they are given to us, does not conform to these things as they are in themselves, but that these objects, as phaenomena, conform to our mode of representation, the contradiction disappears: we shall then be convinced of the truth of that which we began by assuming for the sake of experiment; we may look upon it as established that the unconditioned does not lie in things as we know them, or as they are given to us, but in things as they are in themselves, beyond the range of our cognition.—Critique of Pure Reason, translated by J.M.D. Meiklejohn, London: Gorge Bell and Sons, York Street, Covent Garden, 1890, pp. xxx-xxxi.

[xxii] See for example the work of visual neuroscientist Donald Hoffman, Visual Intelligence: How We Create What We See, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1998. From the Preface of the book: “For the reader of popular science, Visual Intelligence explains why your brain devotes billions of its valuable neurons and trillions of its valuable synapses to vision, why each of your eyes contains within it more computing power than the fastest supercomputers made today, why you can buy a chess machine that beats a Master but can’t yet buy a vision machine that beats a toddler’s vision, why computer vision is not only possible but is destined soon to be a multi-billion dollar industry that alters our day-to-day lives no less than the computer or the telephone. Visual Intelligence will leave you astonished at what happens when you simply open your eyes. … For philosophers interested in the epistemological and ontological issues raised by perception, Visual Intelligence provides an accessible entrance into the latest empirical and theoretical literature on vision, and suggests that an idealist reading of this literature can be at least as compelling as the best physicalist readings.”—quoted from—retrieved February 2024. See also the broader implications of Hoffman’s work and the anthro-ontological ground of Reality in his groundbreaking The Case Against Reality, by D. Hoffman, 2019, Norton Books.

[xxiii] About 10-12 seconds after that original moment, separate subatomic units, which physicists call quarks, had been formed from the original soup. Within a few millionths of a second later, these quarks had come together in groups of threes to form subatomic units like protons and neutrons.
Quarks are governed by the strong nuclear force—with its extremely attractive power—alluring the quarks together. The force is so strong that quarks are virtually never found in isolation.
Protons and neutrons, on the other hand, are governed by what is known as the residual strong force—a force that is still very strongly attractive. Neutrons (made of one up quark and two down quarks) are so dependent on that relationship with the protons (made of two up quarks and one down quark) that, without that relationship, they transform themselves within fifteen minutes into protons by emitting an electron (shedding a negative charge to become positively charged) and an antineutrino. (Technically that transformation is called decay.)
Subatomic particles, like protons, electrons, positrons, photons, and neutrinos, as well as the first atomic nuclei consisting of protons and neutrons, are now the only forms in existence, for the next 380,000 years or so.

[xxiv] The emergence of a whole atom from subatomic particles involves different exterior forces, which are all expressions of the interior forces of allurement and autonomy:
Step 1 (a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang): Quarks are allured together into protons and neutrons by means of the strong nuclear force.
Step 2 (a few minutes after the Big Bang): Neutrons and protons are allured together by means of the residual strong force.
Step 3 (about 380,000 years after the Big Bang): Atomic nuclei and electrons are allured together by means of the electromagnetic force.

[xxv] See

[xxvi] Quoted from the article “How Wolves Change Rivers” on Rewilding Academy—

[xxvii] Genesis, 2:18.

[xxviii]The days of Genesis according to any serious reading of the text, do not refer to 24-hour periods of time. This trope appears extensively in midrashic and mystical literature. This is self-evident as the Sun and the Moon are only emergent on the fourth day, and all the precious days are still referred to as days. Days refers—quite obviously—to blocs of evolutionary time. For a deeper view of evolution and Genesis it is useful to begin with God & the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science & Spirituality, by D. C. Matt, 1996, Jewish Lights Publishing.

[xxix] A good place to start might be Mind and Cosmos, Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, by T. Nagel, 2012, New York: Oxford University Press. See also, The case against reality: Why evolution hid the truth from our eyes, by D. Hoffman, 2019, WW Norton & Company. See also Parapsychology, philosophy, and spirituality: A postmodern exploration, by D. R. Griffin, 1997, SUNY Press and Unsnarling the world-knot: Consciousness, freedom, and the mind-body problem, by D. R. Griffin, 2008, Wipf and Stock Publishers.

[xxx] See The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates, p. 46, by H. Bloom, 2016, Prometheus Books.

[xxxi] Ibid Bloom, pp. 44-48.

[xxxii] See Dr. Marc Gafni and Barbara Marx Hubbard with Dr. Zachary Stein, The Future of Relationships.

[xxxiii] Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, Part 51, from his collection Leaves of Grass, 1855.

[xxxiv] This is an expansion of what we have said earlier: We live in an Intimate Universe, and the Intimate Universe lives in us. We are the Intimate Universe in person.

[xxxv] For a popular but insightful view of this dimension of developmental thought see Meeting the Shadow: The hidden power of the dark side of human nature, by C. Zweig & J Abrams (Eds.), 1991, TarcherPerigee, and see Romancing the shadow: A guide to soul work for a vital, authentic life, by C. Zweig & S. Wolf, 2009, Wellspring/Ballantine. For an implicit appreciation and critique of Zweig’s work, which advanced the shadow conversation, see Your Unique Self, The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, by M. Gafni, Integral Publishers, where there is a sixty-page section (pp. 227-286) devoted to “Shadow Integration and Unique Self,” Chapter Seventeen, “The Ten Principles of Unique Self Shadow Work,” Chapter Eighteen, and “Shadow and Unique Self Reloaded: The Alchemy of Love,” Chapter Nineteen, contained in Part Four.

[xxxvi] Ibid.

[xxxvii] On the five selves, which also include what we have called the false self, see Your Unique Self, The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, by M. Gafni, 2012, with Introduction and Afterword by Ken Wilber, Integral Publishers. On the false self, see also the online course “Awakening Your Unique Self,” by M. Gafni,, and the paper, “Identifying & Transforming Your False Self,” by M. Gafni,

[xxxviii] Einstein in a letter in 1950 to Robert S. Marcus. See (retrieved January 2024). In Einstein’s own translation: “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.”

[xxxix] See Ervin Schrödinger, What Is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell, Cambridge University Press (1944).

[xl] See Dōgen and Kazuaki Tanahashi (editor). 2000. Enlightenment Unfolds the Essential Teachings of Zen Master Dogen. 1. ed. Boston: Shambhala, see especially the section entitled “Intimate Language.”
The great thirteenth-century Japanese Zen master Dōgen Zenji refers to this state of mind succinctly and beautifully: “One who studies Buddha’s Way studies self. One who studies self forgets self. One who forgets self is enlightened by all phenomena. One who is enlightened by all phenomena lets body and mind be cast away (身心脱落), in self and others.” See the accompanying endnote for an exchange between our friend and colleague Zen Buddhist teacher Soryu and one of his students, Meng, who is an excellent translator. They are discussing precisely the passage, which we have cited above from Dōgen as Enlightenment—self-realization—is intimacy with all things.

[xli] Below is an exchange between our friend and colleague Zen Buddhist teacher Soryu and one of his students, Meng, who is an excellent translator. They are discussing precisely the passage, which we have cited above from Dōgen as Enlightenment—self-realization—is intimacy with all things.

[Soryu:] Shōbōgenzō (正法眼藏). My translation. Quoting Dōgen partly because it’s so beautiful and appropriate, and partly because I don’t know of anything better in the Nikayas.

[Meng:] I tried putting the Dōgen quote somewhere else, but I got stuck trying to properly re-translate 为万法所证也. The most literal translation is “[he] is certified [and/or witnessed] by ten thousand dharmas,” but I didn’t feel I could capture the true meaning of it.

[Soryu:] Good work. I think the best translation is “to forget the self is to directly know all things.”

[Meng:] It’s a valid interpretation based on practice, but it’s also open to attack, because the original Chinese is 为万法所证 (“being certified/witnessed BY 10,000 dharmas”), not 所证万法 (“witnessing/certifying 10,000 dharmas”). That’s why I originally translated it to “enlightened by all phenomena,” but I’m not happy with it as well, partly because it almost required me to interpret 证 (witness/certify) as short for 见证罗汉果 (“witnessing the fruits of arahanti,” or enlightenment). Feels a bit of a stretch.

Emergent from this conversation, Soryu suggested to me (Marc) and Zachary Stein the following translation of the Dōgen passage:

To study the Buddha’s path is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be confirmed by all things.
To be confirmed by all things is to drop the body and mind of self and others.

We are translating confirmed by all things as intimacy with all things and identifying the forgetting the self as being a term for enlightenment, hence our statement in CosmoErotic Humanism that we attribute to Dōgen: “Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.”

[xlii] Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers, Presence, 2004, New York: Doubleday/Currency.

[xliii] According to the book Presence, Chapter 3, pp.43-45, footnote 3: “This project is described in detail in a ‘learning history.’ See G. Roth and A. Kleiner, Car Launch, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.”

[xliv] These engineers worked in different teams, for example, the team that worked on the body of the car, teams that worked on different parts of the cars’ body, teams that worked on the engine, and teams working on different parts of the engine.

[xlv] See Peter Senge, et al., The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, New York; Doubleday/Currency, 1994, pp. 84-190.

[xlvi] Quoted from Presence, Chapter 3, pp.44-45.

[xlvii] See, for example, Nassim Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Vol. 2. Random house, 2007. See also Nassim Taleb, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, Penguin, 2013. See also, “A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making” by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone in Harvard Business Review, November 2007. See also Kurtz, Cynthia F., Snowden, David J. (2003), “The new dynamics of strategy: Sense-making in a complex and complicated world” (PDF). IBM Systems Journal.

[xlviii] This is, however, not to say that we demonize the linear dimension. There is a linear dimension in complex systems as well, a dimension of moving towards not growth in a win/lose metrics but towards the next level of transformation and emergence. We might say that the circle evolves into a spiral by integrating that linear dimension.

[xlix] See A Return to Eros: The Radical Experience of Being Fully Alive, by M. Gafni and K. Kincaid, 2017, BenBella Books.

[l] For an excellent and comprehensive discussion of attachment theory, see Attachment disturbances in adults: Treatment for comprehensive repair, by D. P. Brown and D. S. Elliott, 2016, WW Norton & Company.

[li] This sentence requires an extensively footnoted book, and indeed, such a book is in preparation.

[lii] See Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer, by H. P. Stapp, 2011, Springer Science & Business Media. See also Quantum Theory and Free Will: How Mental Intentions Translate into Bodily Actions, by H. P. Stapp, 2017, Springer.

[liii] See “Quantum physics and the physicist’s view of nature: philosophical implications of Bell’s Theorem,” by H. P. Stapp, 1988, The world view of contemporary physics (p. 40), SUNY Press Albany, NY. Ad loc. Kripal, 2019, p. 101, fn. 17. The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge, (p. 101), by J.J. Kripal, 2019, Bellevue Literary Press.

We are, of course, aware that Stapp’s work has drawn criticism from scientists such as David Bourget and Danko Georgiev. Recent papers and a book by Georgiev criticize Stapp’s model. See Bourget, D. (2004). “Quantum Leaps in Philosophy of Mind: A Critique of Stapp’s Theory.” Journal of Consciousness Studies. 11 (12): 17–42. See also Georgiev, D. (2012). “Mind efforts, quantum Zeno effect and environmental decoherence.” NeuroQuantology. 10 (3): 374–388. See also, Georgiev, D. (2015). “Monte Carlo simulation of quantum Zeno effect in the brain.” International Journal of Modern Physics B. 29 (7). See also, Georgiev, Danko D. (2017). Quantum Information and Consciousness: A Gentle Introduction. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Stapp has responded to Bourget and Georgiev claiming that the allegations of errors are incorrect. See Stapp, H. (2004). “Quantum Leaps in Philosophy of Mind: Reply to Bourget’s Critique.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (12): 43-49. See also, Stapp, H. (2012). “Reply to a Critic: Mind Efforts, Quantum Zeno Effect and Environmental Decoherence.” NeuroQuantology 10 (4): 601-605.

[liv] Kafatos, M., Nadeau, R. (2000). Confronting a New Fact of Nature: Bell’s Theorem and the Aspect and Gisin Experiments. In: The Conscious Universe. Springer, New York, NY.

[lv] On this view of Uncertainty as a Cosmic Value in quantum mechanics and in mysticism, I (Marc) wrote a book some thirty years ago. See Uncertainty, (p. 199-204), by M. Gafni, 2000, Tel Aviv: Modan Publishing House.

[lvi] “A common misconception about entanglement is that the particles are communicating with each other faster than the speed of light, which would go against Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Experiments have shown that this is not true, nor can quantum physics be used to send faster-than-light communications. … ‘It may be tempting to think that the particles are somehow communicating with each other across these great distances, but that is not the case,’ says Thomas Vidick, a professor of computing and mathematical sciences at Caltech. ‘There can be correlation without communication,’ and the particles ‘can be thought of as one object.’” Quoted from “What Is Entanglement and Why Is It Important?” Caltech Science Exchange,

[lvii] See The Non-Local Universe: The New Physics and Matters of the Mind, (p. 81), by R. Nadeau and M. Kafatos, 2001, Oxford University Press.

[lviii] Relational quantum mechanics, developed by theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, is, in essence, quite similar to the Copenhagen interpretation. The difference is, however, that, in the Copenhagen interpretation, the wave function collapses only when a quantum system interacts with a macroscopic apparatus. In relational quantum mechanics, however, any interaction, be it micro- or macroscopic, causes the wave function to break collapse. See, for example, Rovelli, C. (1996), “Relational quantum mechanics,” International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 35: 1637–1678.

[lix] Indeed, the likes of Kafatos and Nadeau, in their excellent Non-Local Universe, or the likes of Alexander Wendt (2015) in his excellent work Quantum Mind and Social Science directly apply the implication of the nonlocal Universe to the series of existential and catastrophic risk that we face at this juncture. We will refer again to Wendt’s work below. We are indebted to Sean Esbjörn-Hargens for pointing us towards his work and sharing his view of Wendt’s significance and to Sally Kempton for pointing us towards Menas Kafatos’s work. See The Conscious Universe: Part and Whole in Modern Physical Theory, by M. Kafatos, & R. Nadeau, 2012, Springer Science & Business Media.

[lx] See the Homo Amor and CosmoErotic Humanism: First Thoughts, Gafni and Stein, on this new understanding of Conscious Evolution, which we developed together with the Grand Dame of Conscious Evolution, Barbara Marx Hubbard, in many conversations between 2015–2019. See also the essay “Three Universe Stories: Beyond Creationism And Scientism: CosmoErotic Humanism” by Dr. Marc Gafni & Dr. Zachary Stein with Barbara Marx Hubbard,

[lxi] See the section entitled “Human Evolution from Egocentric to Cosmocentric Consciousness and Identity” in Volume Two of this series. And see the section below in Application Twenty entitled “From Egocentric to Ethnocentric to Worldcentric to Cosmocentric Intimacy: The Evolution of Intimacy and the Evolution of Value.”

[lxii] See A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural (p. 49), by P. L. Berger, P. L., 1969, New York: Doubleday. Especially Part 3: Theological Possibilities, Starting With Man, and his distinction between inductive faith, which starts with statements about man and moves to God, which he favors as the accurate source of Rumors of Angels, as opposed to deductive faith, which begins with statements about God, which then are imposed on man. I (Marc) am indebted to Dr. Norman Lamm in an early exchange in my twenties for his reference to Berger’s work and for much else.

[lxiii] See “Physics and Reality”, by A. Einstein, 1936, Journal of the Franklin Institute, 221(3), p. 349-382. Elsevier Ltd. and later reprinted in, Out of My Later Years, by A, Einstein, 1956, Citadel Press. Einstein continues in the sentence after the one adduced in the text to root his observation in Immanuel Kant’s epic distinction between noumena and phenomena. “It is one of the great realizations of Immanuel Kant that the setting up of a real external world would be senseless without this comprehensibility. In speaking here concerning ‘comprehensibility,’ the expression is used in its most modest sense. It implies: the production of some sort of order among sense impressions, this order being produced by the creation of general concepts, relations between these concepts, and by relations between concepts and sense experience, these relations being determined in any possible manner. It is in this sense that the world of our sense experiences is comprehensible. The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.” In general, it is worth noting that we are invoking Einstein very specifically on this notion of the very shocking nature of comprehensibility and not on other matters pertaining to Spirit, where he was notoriously uneven in his insight. Like virtually all of the scientists of his day, he internalized the Freudian and earlier Feuerbachian caricatures of Spirit, which did not reflect the deeper impulse of the interior sciences in virtually all of the great traditions. Einstein naturally thus identified Spirit with its most impersonal dimensions, which was how he correctly understood certain strains of the mystical impulse of religion. Naturally of course, his mysticism included what he understood to be the impersonal quality of reason. See, for example, Einstein’s identification with Spinoza and his impersonal notion of Spirit as nature. He similarly regarded human ethos as not being part of the Cosmic Order. Einstein swallowed, hook, line, and sinker, the alienation between human personhood and Cosmic Wonder. Transpersonal humanistic psychology, for example, would have made little sense to Einstein or to the dominant intellectual memes of the early to mid-twentieth century, which shaped him. See Cosmic Religion: With Other Opinions and Aphorisms, (p. 43, 49, 119, 123), by A. Einstein (1931), Covici-Friede.

[lxiv] Ibid.

[lxv] We unpack the crucial term Anthro-Ontology in more depth in the section “Anthro-Ontology and the Anthro-Ontological Method” in Volume Five of this series. See also David J. Temple, First Principles & First Values: Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, the Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come (2024) and see the fuller conversation in David J. Temple, First Principles and First Values: Towards an Evolving Perennialism: Introducing the Anthro-Ontological Method.

[lxvi] William Blake. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (p. 13). Kindle Edition.

[lxvii] Borrowing a term from the sixteenth-century Lurianic interior sciences. See “Ch. 10 (pp. 215-218): The Nature of Berur” in Radical Kabbalah Vol. 1, by M. Gafni, 2012, Tucson Az: Integral Publishers. See also Aviezer Cohen, Self-Consciousness in Mei Ha-Shiloah as the Nexus Between God and Man (PhD dissertation, Hebrew) Ch. III, “Avodat Haberur—Self-Awareness as a Path for Change.”

[lxviii] Blake, William (1988). Erdman, David V. (ed.). The Complete Poetry and Prose (Newly revised ed.). Anchor Books. p. 490.

[lxix] This poem was originally published in Xaipe (New York: Oxford University Press, 1950), reissued in 2004 by Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company. See also here: Retrieved February 2024.

[lxx] From Poetry of Presence, Phyllis Cole-Dai & Ruby R. Wilson Editors, Grayson Books, 2017. See also here:

[lxxi] See A. Einstein, The World as I See It (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 2001), pp. 5, 7, 19-22, 31, 36-37.

[lxxii] Ibid, A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural, by P. L. Berger, 1969, New York: Doubleday.

[lxxiii] Ibid, Berger, 1969. pp. 56-57, Kindle Version.

[lxxiv] Ibid, Berger, p. 57, Kindle Version.

[lxxv] Einstein consistently misread the personal and identifies it with man’s selfish desires, which are contracted, and stand against the awe and wonder, which is core to the truth religious experience. Because of this, Einstein consistently gets lost in a false opposition between personhood and Spirit. Influenced by his zeitgeist, he cannot yet locate the dignity of human personhood and desire as participating in the larger Field of Desire and Personhood, which is the nature of Cosmos. Distinctions between what we call in this series the first, second, and third person of the Divine do not occur to him. He grasps impersonal third-person Divinity and the first-person feeling of Cosmic Wonder but entirely misses the humanistic dignity of ethos and desire that lives in first person and its participation in the Personhood of Reality, even as he dogmatically—caught in the mood of his contemporaries, appropriately and even necessarily rebelling against caricatures of religion which dominated Europe—wrongly relegated second-person realizations of Divinity to the realm of primitive superstition. He writes, “a person who is religiously enlightened appears to me to be one who has, to the best of his ability, liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts, feelings and aspirations to which he clings because of their superpersonal value.” See “Religion and Science” in Ideas and Opinions, by A. Einstein, 1954, New York: Crown Publishers Inc. Einstein here sides with what have been called, by religious scholar Joseph Weiss, the mystics of annihilation in every religion, who demanded the annihilation of human personhood and who denied the humanistic value and dignity of human experience. See Gafni, Radical Kabbalah, which unpacked a counter strain in mystical thought termed Nondual Humanism, or Acosmic Humanism, which is a forerunner of what we are now calling Anthro-Ontology, which speaks of the Divine Dignity of human experience as a source of the Real both in the realm of exterior and interior science, that is to say the realm of Value. In the same essay, “Religion and Science”, Einstein goes on to write, “By way of the understanding he achieves a far-reaching emancipation from the shackles of personal hopes and desires, and thereby attains that humble attitude of mind toward the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence, and which, in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible to man. This attitude, however, appears to be religious in the highest sense of the word. And so it seems to me, that science not only purifies the religious impulse of the dross of its anthropomorphism but also contributes to a spiritualization of our understanding of life.” Einstein speaks in other places of Spinoza’s God, God as the impersonal reason, the laws of nature. He rejects all that is personal as having nothing to do with that which is Ultimate, including human ethics, which for Einstein were contrived human creations, as well as free will, which was overrun by the universal causation that he insisted must determine past and future. In this, Einstein is similar to a school of mysticism, strong in all of the world religions, which was almost entirely theocentric, God-centered, and rejected human desire and human dignity as a contrivance to be given up on the altar of utter human absorption in the Divine Grandeur. Einstein is close to the position but paradoxically inserts the enlightenment ideal of impersonal reason into the center of his impersonal Cosmos and with that, asserts the Divine and the, for him, impersonal nature of reason and Cosmos. For him, religion in its highest sense represents the impersonal. Clearly, the mysticism and science represented by Einstein were valuable in that they demanded that man move beyond what is so often the contracted pettiness of human motivation and desire. But they failed to locate the core of human dignity. They failed to realize that human experience is not alien from but participates in the inner experience of the Divine Cosmos. The articulation of CosmoErotic Humanism is precisely a rejection of the caricatures of religion and science articulated by Einstein.

[lxxvi] See Capra, Fritjof, “Sustainable Living, Ecological Literacy, and the Breath of Life,” Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12, 2007. Retrieved February 2024.

[lxxvii] See Ervin Schrödinger, What Is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell, Cambridge University Press (1944).

[lxxviii] But for now, in the examples we cited in the section above, for example on loneliness and the cultural story in the Cast Away movie, we were simply pointing towards the intimacy equation applied at the interpersonal human level. Each sentence of this last paragraph, particularly in regard to inter- and intra-personal and inter- and intra-communal intimacies, requires elucidation, which is beyond the purpose of this shorter text—but we will speak to it in works to come.

[lxxix] This very general sense of the development of the human and the evolution of humanity as proceeding along roughly similar lines has been established as the correct conclusion of the evidence by no less than the likes of Jürgen Habermas and many others. While the analogy has been critiqued as overarching, when expressed too literally, its general contours are well established. On the validated methods of the interior sciences, see for example the works of James Mark Baldwin, Charles Sanders Peirce, or the great German philosopher Jürgen Habermas. On Baldwin, see Thought and Things, New York, Arno Press, 1906. On Peirce, see The Essential Peirce, Two Volumes, Indiana University Press (1992/1998). Or, Book One: Ontology and Cosmology, in Hartshorne, C. & Weiss, P. (Eds.), The Collected Papers of Charles S. Peirce (Vol. 6) (pp. 11–283), Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1934. On Habermas, see The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Polity Press (1987). Or, Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought), MIT Press (1996).

[lxxx] Integral Theory abstracts this general trend in developmental theory as egocentric to cosmocentric consciousness. We deliberately deploy the term intimacy. Intimacy, unlike consciousness, means something very specific, shared identity in the context of otherness plus mutualities of recognition, pathos, and purpose.

[lxxxi] For example. the three-letter root Kuf Reish Beit denotes both intimacy and the willingness to sacrifice some dimension of self for the sake of other. Similarly, the two-letter root Chet Beit denotes both a particular form of intimacy and obligation.

[lxxxii] As we shared in Volume One of this series, Toby Ord crunched the numbers. He gives the odds of human extinction, in this next chunk of history, at 1/6 within the next hundred years, and at 1/2 in the next several hundred years, which is, from a historical perspective, an only slightly longer time frame. See his mathematical analysis in The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity (pp. 166, 295, 358, 365), by T. Ord, 2020, Hachette Book Group.

[lxxxiii] See forthcoming book, CosmoErotic Humanism, Toward the New Human and the New Humanity: Homo Amor, The Tenets of Intimacy, and the Social Miracles.

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