Bopping along through history, with different players but a through line, we go from the emergence of primitive human who took hundreds of thousands of years to even start to use tools, to the more modern eras where we have moved though thinking we could own human beings to recognizing that ALL people, whatever their religion, sexual orientation, or skin color, have an equal place at the humanity table.
These blog posts form a collection. They are a treasure trove of food for thought to spark conversation. So, grab a cup of consciousness, tour around, chew on some tasty transformation, and let’s talk!
Brian Swimme is Director of the Center for the Story of the Universe and a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he teaches evolutionary cosmology and philosophy to graduate students. He lectures widely and has presented at many conferences. He co-wrote and hosted the 60 minute film, Journey of the Universe, broadcast on PBS television stations nationwide.
Brian has been my main philosophical squeeze since the late 80s when I read his book, The Universe is a Green Dragon. It’s a “cosmic creation story” of our billions of years of evolution with humanity at the leading edge of the known universe. As good as Brian’s book is, I’m equally enamored with its wonderful author who inspires everyone in his presence with the majesty of the universe and the privilege of being part of it. We did a memorable evening with him at my house a lot of years ago, and when he came to L.A. a few weeks ago to be on a panel and to give a keynote address at a local event I had the pleasure of having him at my house again.
We turned the camera on at a brunch with a few good friends who each read Brian a favorite passage from Green Dragon to spark our conversation:
I vote to put world peace into the hands of America’s Got Talent’s winner, Shin Lim, who does the impossible!
When Wild Wild Country came out as a documentary series on Netflix and made a huge splash, I made a little YouTube video about being flown to Rajneeshpuram when they were recruiting me to be a follower:
Hello Hollywood! This got me discovered by Ideapod’s CEO, Justin Brown, who invited me to do the webinar with him that’s below.
(I am a big supporter of Ideapod, a rare site that, like mine, invites participation to come up with what can help this crazed world, and I urge you to become an Ideapod member.)
Here’s what Ideapod sent out to invite people to watch our webinar:
July 30, 2018
By Justin Brown, CEO of Ideapod
By now you’ve probably heard of the Wild Wild Country documentary series that premiered on Netflix on March 16th.
It tells the incredible story of the Indian spiritual master, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, aka Osho, who founded a commune, Rajneeshpuram, in rural Oregon in the early 1980s. Remarkably, the commune attracted thousands of people from around the world inspired by the promise of a new kind of society.
The movement also drew controversy and fell apart when significant figures from the commune ending up being charged with terrorism and jailed for immigration fraud and attempted murder.
The documentary series is entertaining to watch. However, there is very little exploration of Osho’s teaching that caused so many people to come together to create a new way of living. It was a revolutionary project and the residents seemed to sincerely hope their ways of thinking would spread around the world. We therefore decided to talk with two people who knew a lot about that era.The full video is below, along with a transcript (Click here for the transcript that’s in what Ideapod sent…ST.) Our hope is that others will be able to take the discussion further by building upon the ideas discussed here.Wild Wild Country is truly stunning. Yet, while watching the documentary series I couldn’t help but think that it didn’t do justice to the many thousands of people who moved to Oregon to create a new way of living.
I then came across a beautiful short video by Suzanne Taylor from Sue Speaks. She had visited the commune and expressed an opinion about the lack of focus on Osho’s teachings in the documentary series. I reached out to Suzanne to discuss this issue, and she invited Pennell Rock into the discussion. Pennell was a disciple of Osho’s. He visited Oregon often but lived there for only three months. Prior to Osho’s sojourn in the States, Pennell lived intermittently at his Ashram in India and brought his girlfriend there. She became Hasya, who plays a major part in the documentary as she became Osho’s right hand when Sheela, who was running the place, fled from Oregon. Pennell is a scholar in Comparative Religions and Philosophy, so he was the perfect person to join us for this discussion.
Justin Brown interviews Suzanne Taylor and Pennell Rock:
My story was featured in OSHO News. Check it out!
I find it helpful to think about the meaning of life and what I am doing here. The deeper I understand the point of life, the smarter I can be about how to live. One of the things I keep asking myself is what it would take for me to feel content, let alone happy. But, content will do — to create equilibrium to think and to choose my actions intelligently.
I’m with Socrates saying the unexamined life is not worth living. Ever since the human potential movement pushed me beyond where being a wife and mom was the main frame for my life, I’ve thought about what the basics are that I need for my well-being.
I think that’s a good topic to talk about. We get food for thought from one another. And, since engagement is what this site is here to serve, how about telling me what you need to keep you going? Would you do a little introspection and see what you come up with? Maybe we can inspire one another to more profound insights that lead us to more satisfying choices!
A while ago, I settled into being creative and being appreciated as my bottom lines. Lately, I’ve been thinking that has morphed to having a good game to play, which covers both those bases.
There are two quotes that, together, frame that game perspective in a way that gives me guidance:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It
We’re not here forever. We enter at birth with an allotment of so many years to play out our drama. We get what we get and we have to figure out what to do with it.
I am informed about that by this quote that’s at the start of a book by a lesser-known sage:
Seek, above all, for a game worth playing. Such is the advice of the oracle to modern man. Having found the game, play it with intensity – play as if your life and sanity depended on it. (They do depend on it.) Follow the example of the French existentialists and flourish a banner bearing the word “engagement.” Though nothing means anything and all roads are marked “NO EXIT,” yet move as if your movements had some purpose. If life does not seem to offer a game worth playing, then invent one. For it must be clear, even to the most clouded intelligence, that any game is better than no game.
― Robert S. de Ropp, The Master Game: Pathways to Higher Consciousness
Here’s a bonus from that wonderful de Ropp book:
To emerge from this narrow shell, to regain union with the universal consciousness, to pass from the darkness of the ego-centered illusion into the light of the non-ego, this was the real aim of the Religion Game as defined by the great teachers, Jesus, Gautama, Krishna, Mahavira, Lao-tze and the Platonic Socrates.
And I happened to come across this comment on de Ropp’s book that I agree with:
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT BOOK TO READ WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG. ACTUALLY, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT BOOK TO READ ANYTIME YOUNG OR OLD. AND IT IS CERTAINLY WORTH A RE-READING. ALTHOUGH WRITTEN IN THE 60s IT IS JUST AS RELEVANT NOW AS THEN.
What are your essentials for staying positive? What keeps you moving forward everyday?
Can we pass an amendment to the Constitution so Richard Branson can be President? What he says at the end of remarks about how businesses should treat employees, when he’s asked, What do you think those in positions of power should do to address social problems like income inequality?, is THE succinct pinpointing of where we are stuck. A world run by profit is not a world that works for the good of people. What he just mentions in passing to conclude the interview should have flashing neon lights all around it to draw the public’s attention to the bottleneck that is preventing our next evolutionary step. How to get over this HUGE hump? I was heartened to see how cogently he talks about a Basic Income Guarantee, a track I’ve been on since before we were even talking about this in the States, and was even more heartened when he went beyond that specific idea to urge businesses to become responsible change agents rather than narrow-minded profit seekers.
The conclusion of the piece in The New York Times:
David: What do you think those in positions of power should do to address social problems like income inequality?
Richard: A basic income should be introduced in Europe and in America. It’s great to see countries like Finland experimenting with it in certain cities. It’s a disgrace to see people sleeping on the streets with this material wealth all around them. And I think with artificial intelligence coming along, there needs to be a basic income.
David: Because of job displacement?
Richard: I think A.I. will result in there being less hours in the day that people are going to need to work. You know, three-day workweeks and four-day weekends. Then we’re going to need companies trying to entertain people during those four days, and help people make sure that they’re paid a decent amount of money for much shorter work time.
David: That’s a pretty rosy vision of what business can do. Is it really so simple?
Holly: If all businesses start doing the right thing for their communities and the world as a whole, all of the world’s problems could be solved.
Richard: If we can get every business in the world to adopt a global problem, get slightly smaller businesses to adopt a national problem, get smaller businesses still to adopt local problems, then we can get on top of pretty well every problem in the world.
My father was a first generation American, born to Russian immigrants, and, although he became a bigtime lawyer (he was President of his Bar Association and they closed all the courthouses in Nassau County, Long Island, for half a day in his honor when he died), he and my mother were more intent on making a success of his practice than on paying attention to the arts. I learned about being chic from a couple of years I spent working for Horst P. Horst, a Vogue photographer, booking the models and scouring New York antique stores for Faberge boxes and the like to put in his ravishing pictures. He’s one of the photographers featured in a show that’s at Los Angeles’s Getty Museum now, that’s written up on the front page of yesterday’s Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times, with this picture of Horst’s included in the article. They say that “the bastard stepchild of the fine art world is finally getting its birthright,” in Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011.
This particular picture has a special story about it, where Madonna recreated this Mainbocher Corset of 1939 in her video for Vogue, an iconic song from her, I’m Breathless album. For more about the wonder that Horst was, click here.
“Iconic is one of those words much overused in fashion. Like luxury, or genius. But they’re all applicable – honestly – to the work of Horst P Horst.
“Sculptural is an appellation applied to his photography, his use of light and shade to transform fabric and the human form alike into monoliths reminiscent of classical sculpture.”
“In the 1960s and ’70s, photographer Horst and writer Valentine Lawford were the world’s preeminent aesthetic power couple, celebrating the chic lives of society’s most glorious swans and turning lifestyle journalism into a modern art form.” Click here for more.
Horst P. Horst’s “The Mainbocher Corset,” from 1939
Credit: Horst P. Horst/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles