Someone sent me a video on January 19th in which the host, claiming a secret source among the White Hat power faction, said that final plans are in motion to overthrow the criminal Deep State once and for all. The inauguration of Joe Biden will not take place. The lies and crimes of the human trafficking Satanic elite will be revealed. Justice will prevail. The Republic will be restored. Perhaps, he said, the Deep State will make a last desperate attempt to hold onto power by staging a phony inauguration, with deep-fake video effects to make it look like Chief Justice John Roberts has really sworn in Joe Biden. Don’t be fooled, he said. Trust the plan. Donald Trump will continue as the real President, even if the entire mainstream media says otherwise.
This video has a million views.
It is hardly worth the time to critique the video on its own terms, as it is an unremarkable example of its genre. I do not suggest you watch it. What needs to be taken seriously and with alarm is this: the fracturing of the knowledge commons into disjoint realities is now so far advanced that large numbers of people continue believing Donald Trump is secretly President to this day, while Joe Biden occupies a Hollywood studio faked out as the White House. This is a dilute version of the far more widespread belief (tens of millions of people) that the election was stolen.
In a functioning democracy, the two sides could argue the question of whether the election was stolen by drawing evidence from mutually acceptable sources of fact. Today no such source exists. Most of the media has constellated into separate and mutually exclusive ecosystems, each the domain of a political faction, making it impossible to have a debate. All that’s left, as you may have experienced, is a shouting match. Without debate, one must resort to other means to achieve victory in politics: force rather than persuasion.
This is one reason why I think democracy is over. (Whether we ever had it, or how much of it, is another question.)
Suppose I wanted to persuade a far right Trump-supporting reader that claims of election fraud are baseless. I could cite reports and fact-checks on CNN or the New York Times or Wikipedia, but none of those are credible to that person, who assumes, with quite some justification, that these publications are biased against Trump. The same is true if you are a Biden supporter and I try to persuade you of massive election fraud. Evidence for that is only to be found in right-wing publications that you will dismiss out of hand as unreliable.
Let me save the indignant reader some time and write your scathing critique of the above for you. “Charles, you are establishing a false equivalency here that is shockingly ignorant of certain indisputable facts. Fact one! Fact two! Fact three! Here are the links. You are doing a disservice to the public by even broaching the possibility that the other side is worth listening to.”
When even one side believes that, we are no longer in a democracy. My point here isn’t to hold both sides equal. My point is that no conversation is happening, or can happen. We are past democracy now. Democracy depends on a certain level of civic trust, a willingness to decide the disposition of power through peaceful, fair elections informed by an objective press. It requires a willingness to engage in conversation or at least debate. It requires that a substantial majority hold something – democracy itself – to be more important than victory. Otherwise we are in a state either of civil war or, if one side is dominant, a state of authoritarianism and rebellion.
At this point it is clear which side has the upper hand. There is a kind of poetic justice in that the right wing – who perfected the information technology of hate-mongering and narrative warfare in the first place – is now its victim. Conservative pundits and platforms are rapidly being purged from social media, from app stores, even from the Internet entirely. In today’s environment, for me to even say this arouses suspicions that I myself am a conservative. I am quite the opposite. But like a minority of Left journalists like Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald, I am appalled at the canceling, deplatforming, censoring, and demonizing of the right (including 75 million Trump voters) in what can only be called Total Information Warfare. In Total Information Warfare (as in military conflict) a key tactic is to make your opponents look as bad as possible. How can we have a democracy if we are being incited to hate each other by the very media we depend on to tell us what is real, what is “news,” and what the world is?
It looks today like the Left is beating the Right at its own game: the game of censorship, authoritarianism, and the suppression of dissent. But before you celebrate the expulsion of the Right from social media and public discourse, please understand the inevitable result: the Left will become the Right. This is already long underway, as the overwhelming presence of neocons, Wall Street insiders, and corporate champions in the Biden administration demonstrates. The partisan information warfare that began as a left-right conflict, with Fox on one side and CNN and MSNBC on the other, is rapidly reforming into a struggle between the Establishment and its challengers.
When Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Wall Street are on the same side as the military brass, the intelligence services, and the majority of government officials, it will not be long before those censored are those who disturb their agenda.
Glenn Greenwald makes the point well:
There are times when powers of repression and censorship are aimed more at the left and times when they are aimed more at the right, but it is neither inherently a left-wing nor a right-wing tactic. It is a ruling class tactic, and it will be deployed against anyone perceived to be a dissident to ruling class interests and orthodoxies no matter where on the ideological spectrum they reside.
For the record, I don’t think Donald Trump is still President, nor do I think there was massive election fraud. However, I also think that if there were, we’d have no guarantee of finding out about it, because the very mechanisms of suppressing election fraud misinformation could also be used to suppress that information were it true. When corporate-government powers have captured the press and our means of communication (the internet), what is to stop them from quashing dissent?
* * *
As a writer who has for the last twenty years upheld countercultural views on many issues, I face a dilemma. The evidence I can cite to buttress my views is fading from the knowledge commons. The sources I might use to undermine dominant narratives are illegitimate precisely because they undermine dominant narratives. The guardians of the internet enforce this illegitimacy through a million means: algorithmic suppression, tendentious search term autofill, demonetizing dissident channels, flagging dissenting views as “false,” canceling accounts, censoring citizen journalists, and so on.
The resulting epistemic bubble leaves the average citizen just as much in unreality as someone who believes Trump is still President. The cult-like character of QAnon and the far right is plain to see. What is less obvious (especially to those within it) is the increasingly cult-like character of the mainstream. What else can we call it but a cult, when it controls information, punishes dissent, spies on its members and controls their physical movements, lacks transparency and accountability in leadership, prescribes what its members should say, think, and feel, encourages them to denounce and spy on each other, and upholds a polarized us-versus-them mentality? I am certainly not saying that everything the mainstream media, science, and academia say is wrong. However, when powerful interests control information they can lock reality out of the picture and bring the public to believe absurdities.
Perhaps that is what culture does generally. “Culture” comes from the same linguistic root as “cult.” It generates a shared reality, by conditioning perception, patterning belief, and directing creation. What is different today is that entrenched forces are desperately trying to maintain a reality that no longer fits the consciousness of the public, which is rapidly moving out of the Age of Separation. The proliferation of cults and conspiracy theories mirrors the increasingly unhinged absurdity of official reality and the lies and propaganda that maintain it.
Put another way, the lunacy that was the Trump Presidency was not a deviation from a trajectory toward greater and greater sanity. It was not a stumble on the road from Medieval superstition and barbarism toward a rational, scientific society. It drew its power from a gathering cultural turbulence, just as a river generates increasingly violent countereddies as it approaches its plunge over the waterfall.
Recently as a writer I have had the feeling of trying to reason a madman out of his madness. If you’ve ever tried to reason with a QAnon, you know what I’m talking about as I try to reason with the public mind. I don’t mean to uphold myself as the one sane individual in a world gone mad (thereby demonstrating my own insanity), but rather to speak to a sense I’m sure many readers share: that the world has gone crazy. That our society has spun off into unreality, lost itself in an illusion. Hope as we might to assign the madness to a small and deplorable subset of society, it is in fact a general condition.
As a society, we are asked to accept the unacceptable: the wars, the prisons, the deliberate famine in Yemen, the evictions, the land grabs, the domestic abuse, the racial violence, the child abuse, the ripoffs, the confinement meat factories, the soil destruction, the ecocide, the beheadings, the torture, the rape, the extreme inequality, the persecution of whistleblowers…. On some level, we are all aware that it is crazy to proceed with life as if all this were not happening. To live as if reality were not real – that is the essence of insanity.
Also pushed to the margins of official reality is much of the wonderful healing and creative power of human beings and other-than-human beings. Ironically, if I bring up some examples of these extraordinary technologies, for example in the areas of medicine, agriculture, or energy, I invite accusations of being “unrealistic.” I wonder if the reader, like I do, has direct experience of phenomena that are not officially real?
I am much tempted to try to make the case the modern society is confined to a narrow unreality, but this is precisely the problem. Any examples I invoke from beyond acceptable political, medical, scientific, or psychological (un)reality automatically discredit my argument and make me a suspect character to anyone who does not already agree with me.
Here, let’s do a little experiment. Hey everyone, free energy devices are real, I’ve seen one! There, do you trust me more now or less? Anyone questioning official reality has this problem. Look what happens to journalists who point out that America does all the things it accuses Russia and China of doing (meddling in elections, sabotaging power grids, building back doors into electronics). You won’t often find them on MSNBC or the New York Times. The manufacture of consent described by Herman and Chomsky goes far beyond consent for war. By controlling information, dominant institutions engineer passive public consent to the perception-reality matrix that sustains their dominance. The more successful they are in controlling reality, the more unreal it becomes, until we reach the extreme where everyone pretends to believe but no one really does. We are not there yet, but we are fast approaching it. We are not yet at the state of late Soviet Russia, when virtually no one took Pravda and Izvestia at face value. The unreality of official reality is not yet so complete, nor is the censorship of unofficial realities. We are still at the stage of repressed alienation, where many harbor a vague sense of living in a VR matrix, a show, a pantomime. What is repressed tends to come out in extreme and distorted form; for example, conspiracy theories that the earth is flat, that the earth is hollow, that Chinese troops are massing on the US border, that the world is run by baby-eating Satanists, and so on. Such beliefs are symptoms of locking people in a matrix of lies and telling them it is real. The more tightly the authorities control information in an attempt to preserve official reality, the more virulent and widespread the conspiracy theories will become. Already, the canon of “authoritative sources” is shrinking to the point where US foreign policy critics, Israeli/Palestinian peace activists, vaccine skeptics, holistic health researchers, and ordinary dissidents like myself risk exile to the same internet ghettos as full-bore conspiracy theorists. Indeed, to a large extent we dine at the same table. What choice is there, when mainstream journalism is derelict in its duty to vigorously challenge power, than to draw from citizen journalists, independent researchers, and anecdotal sources to make sense of the world?
* * *
I realize I am overstating my difficulty, exaggerating the case in order to tease out the reason for my recent feelings of futility. The reality offered for our consumption is by no means self-consistent nor complete; its gaps and contradictions may be exploited to invite people to question its sanity. My point is not to bewail my helplessness, but to explore whether there is a more powerful way for me to use my words in the face of the derangement I have described.
I have been writing for nearly 20 years about the defining mythology of civilization that I call the Story of Separation and its consequences: the Program of Control, the mindset of reductionism, the war on the Other, the polarization of society. Obviously, my essays and books have not redeemed my naive ambition to prevent the very circumstances we face today. I must confess to weariness. I am tired of explaining phenomena like Brexit, the Trump election, QAnon, and the Capitol riot as symptoms of a much deeper malady than mere racism or cultism or stupidity or insanity. I know how to write that essay. I would expose hidden assumptions various sides share and the questions few are asking. I would propose how the tools of peace and compassion might reveal the underlying causes of the affair. I would preempt accusations of false equivalency, both-sidesism, and spiritual bypassing by describing how compassion enables us to transcend the endless war on the symptom to address root causes. I would describe how the War on Evil has led to the current situation, how the Program of Control creates more and more virulent forms of that which it tries to stamp out, because it cannot see the full set of conditions that produce its enemies. These conditions, I would explain, include at their core a profound dispossession stemming from the breakdown of defining myths and systems. Finally I would describe how a different mythology of wholeness, ecology, and interbeing would motivate a new politics.
Over five years I’ve made my case for peace and compassion – not as moral imperatives but as practical necessities. I have little new to say about the current internecine strife in my country. I could take the basic conceptual tools of my previous work and apply it to the present situation, but instead I am taking a pause, listening to what might be underneath the exhaustion and feeling of futility. Readers who want from me a more detailed take on current politics can extrapolate from recent essays on peace, war mentality, polarization, compassion, and dehumanization. It’s all there in Building a Peace Narrative, The Election: Hate, Grief, and a New Story, QAnon: A Dark Mirror, Making the Universe Great Again, The Polarization Trap, and others.
So, I am taking a break from writing expository prose, or at least slowing down. This doesn’t mean that I am giving up and going into retirement. To the contrary. Listening to my body and its feelings, after deep meditation, counsel, and medicine work, I am preparing to do something I’ve not tried before.
In The Conspiracy Myth I explored the idea that the Controllers of the “New World Order” are not a conscious group of human evildoers, but are ideologies, myths, and systems that have taken on a life of their own. It is these beings who pull the puppet strings of those we normally believe to hold power. Behind the hatred and divisiveness, behind the corporate totalitarianism and information warfare, the censorship, and the permanent bio-security state, powerful mythic and archetypal beings are at play. They cannot be confronted literally, but in their own realm.
I intend to do that through a story, probably to take the form of a screenplay but possibly another medium of fiction. Some of the scenes that have come to me are breathtaking. My aspiration is a work so beautiful that people cry when it is over because they don’t want it to end. Not an escape from reality, but a turn more deeply into it. Because what is real and possible is far bigger than the cult of normal would have us believe.
I cheerfully admit I have little reason to believe I am capable of writing such a thing. I have never displayed much talent for fiction. (Neither, however, do the screenwriters for a certain popular show which I’ve been watching with my son. It wouldn’t be kind to say which one.) I will do my best, and trust that I would not have been shown such a piercingly beautiful vision if there were no way to get there.
For years I’ve written of the power of story. It is time for me to deploy this technology fully, in service of a new mythology. Expository prose generates resistance, but stories touch a deeper place in the soul. They flow like water around intellectual defenses, and soften the soil so that dormant visions and ideals can take root. I was about to say that my goal is to encode the ideas I’ve worked with into fictional form, but that’s not quite it. It is that what I want to express is bigger than expository prose can accommodate. Fiction is larger and truer than nonfiction, and any explanation of a story is less than the story itself.
The mode of story that may release me from my personal impasse may also bear relevance for the larger cultural impasse. At a time when lack of agreement on a valid source of facts makes debate impossible, what can bridge the divide? Maybe here too it is stories: both fictional stories that carry truths that are otherwise inaccessible through barriers of fact control, and personal stories that rehumanize each other to each other.
The former includes the kind of counter-dystopian fiction I intend to create (not necessarily painting a picture of Utopia, but striking a note of healing that the heart recognizes as authentic). If dystopian fiction serves as “predictive programming” preparing the public for an ugly, brutal, or ruined world, we can also program the opposite, invoking and normalizing healing, redemption, change of heart, and forgiveness. We desperately need stories in which the resolution is not that the good guys beat the bad guys at their own game (violence). History tells us what inevitably comes thereafter: the good guys become the new bad guys, just as in the information warfare I discussed earlier.
With the latter type of story, that of personal experience, we can reach each other on a core human level that cannot be rebutted or denied. You can argue with the interpretation of a story, but you can’t argue with the story itself. With the willingness to seek stories of those outside one’s familiar corner of reality, we may fulfill the potential of the internet to restore the knowledge commons. Then we will have the ingredients of a democratic renaissance. Democracy depends on a shared sense of We the People. There is no We if we see each other through partisan caricatures and don’t engage directly. When we hear each others’ stories, we know that in real life, good versus evil is rarely the truth, and domination is rarely the answer.
My intention for 2021 is to produce a story of the first kind, an emanation from a future I like to call “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.” You may see fewer essays from me in 2021. I will continue to give the occasional interview for podcasts and online events, but not at the frenetic schedule of last year. Those who support me through my website or Patreon should know this, in case you would like to modify your support in either direction.
This is the most excited I’ve felt about a creative endeavor since I wrote The Ascent of Humanity in 2003-2006. I feel life stirring, life and hope. I think dark times are upon us in America and probably many other places. In the past year I’ve gone through periods of profound despair, as things came to pass that I’d spent twenty years trying to prevent. All my efforts seemed in vain. Yet now, as I take up a new direction, hope blossoms in me that others will do the same, and the human collective as well. For haven’t our furious efforts to make a better world proved futile too, judging by the current state of ecology, economy, and politics? Aren’t we as a collective also becoming exhausted by the fight?
A key theme of my work has been to invoke causal principles other than force: morphogenesis, synchronicity, the ceremony, the prayer, the story, the seed. Ironically, many of my essays are themselves of a forceful type: they marshal evidence, exert logic, and make a case. It is not that technologies of force are inherently bad; they are just limited, and insufficient to the challenges we face. Domination and control have gotten civilization to where it is today, for good and for ill. Cling to them as we might, they will not resolve autoimmune disease, poverty, ecological collapse, racial hatred, or the trend toward extremism. These will not be stamped out. In the same vein, the restoration of democracy will not come because someone wins an argument. And so, I am happy to declare my readiness to turn toward engaging the world non-forcefully. May that choice be part of a morphic field by which humanity collectively does the same.
Lots of love to you, Charles. This has been a source of profound reassurance, for me personally as well.
Catherine Quill says
Thank God someone called the lies and deceit we all can choose to rescript narratives by practices🙏 into thoughts that will feed the Spiritul World
Extremely well expressed. I concur. I’ve been working on a play to express same sentiments. Thank you.
Beautiful, I am looking forward to seeing your vision!
Here is one of mine that I will share.
I met a feathered serpent recently, from within, who assured me that we are loved by the sun, the earth, the soil, the plants, the animals, all of life.
It went on to explain, “How the world is structured- how things grow- is a guide, a map for you. It shows how everything works. There is nothing you need outside of this. Watch the roots, the vines, the leaves, the soil- these are your teachers. When you can learn from the plants how to grow- how to operate independently and interdependently- you will no longer be afraid. You will be part of life. Your nourishment comes from all that is around you. There is no need to kill to survive. Spread love wherever you go. Be the peace that so many are longing for.”
I was left feeling deeply rooted, connected and in possession of a heightened discriminatory faculty.
When we sit quietly, and ask, the answers come.
Reading this has ignited something inside of me. Thank you so much Charles, I have a lot of respect for your work and I cannot wait to see what you create!
Ps, CTRL F to find “the the” (trying to be subtle)
The The; an excellent band from the 1980s…….
and another excellent piece from Charles…… thank you
Janessa Wildee says
Thank you, as always, for putting words together that draw out the latent thoughts in my head and point out the larger, underlying story going on. SO inspired by your seeking to go even deeper with story and listen for what emerges…thank you for all you are and do!!
Marie, I love your vision and will join you in learning what the plants have demonstrated to us. As humans, we have only to feel our connection and commonality for love and peace to preside.
Beautiful Karen, yes!
This is beautiful, Marie – thank you so much for sharing it.
💙Thank you Rachel
sharon douglas says
What sane and beautiful advise from the feathered serpent within..
I found it to be so as well! I would love to live in a world where it was considered normal and reasonable to share our revelations, our visions, our deep knowings that reveal themselves. I am so curious to hear the intuitive wisdom others hold back from sharing🌿
Marie, many thanks for sharing your vision and for the invitation to share! I’ll share a dream I had about a week and a half ago. I was driving with my partner through busy streets filled with construction, speeding cars, much horn-honking etc. and we had no idea which way to go. We were going to turn but almost got hit by a van speeding through the intersection, so decided to keep going straight ahead. In the next scene, we were hiking on a trail with some others, and came to a high point in the trail. From this vantage point we saw a beautiful green valley flanked by a misty mountain. The scene was gorgeous in itself but then one of the trees (they looked like huge flowers) in the valley began bursting into bloom. A second later, another one bloomed, then another and another, each blooming more quickly than the last, until they were all gloriously blooming in unison. It was awe-inspiring. I had the feeling of hearts opening – after the chaos comes opening. As some others in the comments have noted, there are many dreaming such things. This dream has made me so curious about the phenomena of social dreaming. Is it possible to dream a more beautiful world our hearts know is possible into being? Maybe we are already doing it?
This is inspiring! I love to think of the cascade of heart openings like blossoms opening to the sun through the valley – like Indra’s net- gorgeous! Thank you for the vision✨
Hey Elizabeth your words touched me too, I sure hope so!
May the dream world inspire us all in our task of bending the arc towards justice and healing in this world! One of a few dream visions I recall well, from when I was about ten years old, had me flying above the hills and valleys of land where people lived in harmony, with everyone’s needs for energy were supplied locally, through natural sources.
A beautiful and inspired teaching. Thank you for sharing your vision.
Moving and esquisite Marie. Thank you so much for sharing. What a gift to receive an insight of that depth and beauty. May I share those words elsewhere? We are working within Philanthropy to activate Love as a core driver, and I’d love to share this with some of the people within the growing community we are building around the world.
I would love for you to share – the message was for all of us💙
Jan HB says
That’s gorgeous Marie! 🙂
Congratulations Charles! I think you work way too hard. And could probably use a break. Get some rest and take it easy for a change. Let others pick up the slack. I think you’ve already secured your place in heaven.
It is the opening into the vastness of Consciousness that will keep us, as a race of humans, being, listening, going deeper into our own soul to bring back the truth of ourselves more and more clearly, and the truth of how to bring that to others as well, with compassion, kindness, and the ability to change minds and hearts without force, but through the power of the language that goes beyond all languages—love. Not as an idea or concept, but as an underlying truth from which all life arises and will return.
Shayna Metzner says
Sounds like a good tactic. It reminds me of shifting, as described in NVC, from strategies to feelings and needs, in a way that elicits empathy. FYI, an inspiring book with some true stories is From What Is to What If by Rob Hopkins. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y8JNKQR/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
Christa R Suggs says
You echo in better words than I have my not yet coming to terms with he futility of people’s opinions. I try to warn people about the COVID vaccines because I see harm and want to protect them from it, but they see a different reality. I think they see through a lens of fear of what will happen if they don’t comply with the dominant narrative. They see me as extreme and “fringe.” Our worlds are divided. They in theirs and I and those like me in mine. Family and friends are in that other world and the chasm is getting bigger.
Thank you for describing all of this so well and thank you for coming up with a way to possibly bridge this.
That’s my story too, Christa. I feel like I’m out on the fringes, waving my hands to no avail. The people who ought to know won’t listen. In their world, any dissenting health information has been successfully discredited. And if the vaccines harm them, they’re likely to attribute it to something else. How many will be warned by experience who can then warn others? Wouldn’t it be amazing if whatever was toxic to us would make us glow in the dark or would glow different colors depending on how harmful? Like PFAS, glyphosate, nuclear radiation, etc…would we ban them or bask in the glow?
Christa, you said it all for me. Thank you….
Dear Christa. I like that you are so real that you take a position in the debate. And I melt by your willingness to distance to the division that is created. It gives me hope for the world! And I wanted to say: Especially if and when the same willingness is found in those of us, who take a pro-vaccine stand
rick meyer says
Go, Charles! 🙂
Susan Poloway says
Thank you so much, Charles. I look forward to what you end up creating and sharing. And I too will move forward ‘being the peace that we long for.’ I will continue to do the inner work this requires.
Ellie Firns says
Brilliant! I was thinking earlier this week about how movies influence our culture. They are our cultural myth sharing device, therefore we need to be starting stories that support the more beautiful world.
I watched the movie High Ground the other day. It’s a retelling of events in Australia 100 years ago. It tells a tale that has long been held secret, the shame filled unspoken that is now being uncovered. It’s not perfect, but it is starting to unwind the horrors of our history. https://www.google.com/amp/s/theconversation.com/amp/how-historically-accurate-is-the-film-high-ground-the-violence-it-depicts-is-uncomfortably-close-to-the-truth-154475
Thank you Charles. My heart sings to read of your plan. ♡Ellie
L MARCEAU says
Thank you Charles
Mark Ross says
As I read this essay Charles, much of what I’ve been feeling and thinking was mirrored.
So much so that if I had written down my own fleeting thought on the cult-like quality of the ruling (Covid et al, which you seemed to deliberately steer clear of, … so that I didn’t have to?) narrative, as recent as this afternoon, I might not have been able to tell them apart.
And by seeing this expression of futility so reflected … your writing has served as an encouraging reminder of the power of the creative word in giving that power away. A give-away that I myself over the past year had turned my back on, after feeling burnt repeatedly in my attempts to communicate, reduced to a cartoon. Your words here Charles have served to remind me of my essential voice.
The question of what manner of voice to speak in, you raise in me as well, echoing something a favourite poet, David Whyte, said a few months ago in a live webinar (here approximated) regarding poetry. That is, as a language of the heart, poetry is often poor when it sets out to speak politically, even as good poetry will oft be put to good inspirational purpose amidst genuine justice (/political) issues.
I can hear your storied poetry now Charles … towards that fictional reality of a more beautiful world!
Thank you, Mark!!
ps if you wanted copy editing feedback on this essay (if I’m reading it aright?) : “… the (‘that’?) the earth is hollow …”
Thank you Charles. I look forward to reading your story about what’s possible when we believe in our better selves personally and collectively. I too have grown weary of all the fault finding, fact arguing, and general polarizing. I trust the love, light, and wisdom within you, will happily dance onto the pages of this literary endeavor.
Jill Garsden says
Thank you, Charles, for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I’m glad you’re excited by your vision of a new direction, or, rather, avenue for your work. Here in Australia I am also very saddened by the polarity and absolutism of public views and the suppression of information that doesn’t match the endorsed mainstream views and agendas (mainly with regard to Covid) and I feel concern for the results of the force of ignorance that in some instances seems to be imposed and in others all too willful. But I don’t think that adding to the volume of voices raised in opposition to the mainstream is going to help, as it just exacerbates the polarity and separatism that seems evident. I am tending to take a ‘higher view’ that humanity is collectively going through a time of transition that will, in time, result in the release of a lot of outmoded energies that have been embodied in now-dysfunctional approaches to life, and the dawn of a new era, and anything that stimulates or contributes to that, as I’m sure your efforts do, is gold….gentleness, understanding, compassion go a long way toward healing as we stand in our truth.
søren kruse says
Two personal view points as a response:
I have discovered that we are not divided as people on which religion or political belief system we are following but instead there appear to be a basic human divide on being/having “authoritarian” or “non-authoritarian” mentality/thinking. Whereever we go (country) there seem to be an app 50% divide. It seems to me that this is a core point to pursue. Where does it come from and why this divide.
The other point… I think if we read the story of Moses with an approach of someone with an awakening to his conscience there is something different to learn. No individual can or should carry the responsibility of saving the world on his/her own but assume a humbleness to receive the divine guidance for his or her individual task.
Oh, one more point. There is no way we will ever understand the ultimate reality as it is. It has been designed to be a driving force for our development as human beings but to always be out of reach. Otherwise our ego would be tempted to try to control it.
Good luck and all the best!
I think that authoritarian mindsets are the result of trauma. Trauma produces a fearful mindset, and those who are fearful are disconnected from their own truth, and thus they experience the essential problem of separation. Fearful people look to leaders who appear strong and protective. We see this throughout society and on both sides of all issues, but, to me, it seems stronger in Trump supporters as they are attracted to (or at the very least not revolted by) his supposed strength which actually is a complete illusion born of his narcissistic personality traits.
I wanted to cry reading this
This sounds exciting and an obvious (now you’ve said it) progression – walking the talk as it were. It did make me wonder though – do such stories not already exist in ancient cultures as fiction or poetry perhaps? It also made me wonder whether what you needed was to take action in another way than writing – engaging with and creating the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible in a practical, physical way. You’re probably doing that already anyway though… I look forward as ever to reading more of your work if/when it comes. Thanks for all the inspiration that has come to date.
“It did make me wonder though – do such stories not already exist in ancient cultures as fiction or poetry perhaps?”
The tower of babel is coming to mind…
Although there are certain observable patterns in the rise and fall of civilizations/paradigms I personally think it is a mistake to assume the current metaphysical make-up of the universe is the same as in previous epochs… ergo our current time is, at least in a certain sense, unique. Add to this the idea that in some sense stories “shape” our reality – obviously not in actually changing the fundamental physics/metaphysics — but by forming a “revelatory lens” on reality which potentially changes… well, *”everything”* … as you know Charles, you’ve already been doing this (forming lenses that re-frame reality), but especially since covid hit your essays have run up against the limits of your perspective — the turn to fiction does indeed seem a good way to (potentially) break out of this impasse… I look forward to your offerings (always gratefully received)…
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12
“A key theme of my work has been to invoke causal principles other than force… Ironically, many of my essays are themselves of a forceful type.”
“It is time for me to deploy this technology fully, in service of a new mythology.”
Notice how the use of the word “deploy” here could be seen as symptomatic of an intellect conditioned by “war mentality”…
Two cliches for you:
1) The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
2) The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn’t exist…
In short, we need to become better versed in the nature of the beast m, within and without…
Christine Grace says
Beautifully expressed. Thank you, Andy and Charles.
Adam Griffiths says
Thanks Charles. Love a good paradigm shift! Your idea made me think maybe there was some additional wisdom in what at face value seem like quite simple Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. They did after all keep the worlds oldest continuous culture living in harmony with the earth for 60000+ years. I might read a few and think about why they were so successful. Thanks
Kathryn Pegiel says
An interesting eassay. But isn’t the control of narrative and perception always been the case. It’s just more of us aware of it. Maybe to use a astrological term, processtion of the equinoxes (age of aquarius) And as Paul Kingnorth or John Zerzan might argue the nature of cilversation. Earlier in the early in the eassay you say it is only the right that is being persecuted. May I point out it is also true that the far left is also facing that persecution. As many anarchists organisation have had the Facebook and Twitter profiles have also been removed at the same time. Using the same excuses.
Dare I say that it’s not so much that anything’s changed, but the digital age introduces new layers: exposure on an unprecedented scale, which serves as an amplification of what Jung might have called the collective unconscious. The novelty itself then feels amplified. It is the amplification that we all feel and respond to while at the same time frustrates are efforts at participating in a meaningful way. Anyone with a public voice is scrambling to stay relevant at the realization that no one or nothing is safe. Whatever we once had, or shared collectively is in collapse. And yet, in the background, what little of it is left that can possibly remain unseen, continues on.
No one can be said to be THE villain, we all play our parts.
It feels like to pay attention, or participate at all is akin to attending a concert in which all we can hear is the feedback from a broken sound system.
Charles Mattoon says
Yes, thank you Debra, well said.
They say truth can be stranger than fiction … and surely, our present world is beyond ‘strange’. I look forward to what you write in the future, for surely yes, this world is at a time of ending and rebirth – a painful, labouring birth, but one that perhaps may bring a new and more beautiful world that our hearts do indeed desire, beyond all human imagining. Dr Jacqueline Hobbs speaks of these things in amazing ways as well.
Sending love … we all need this!
Hanna Hündorf says
wonderful! I can feel the joy and excitement in my own being and look forward to reading (or watching) the resulting play, as well as feeling inspired to writing and publishing my own stories of this genre. Let’s create and share new stories, reforming our culture into one of connection and curiosity. Let’s resurrect a sense of wonder and mystery and happy endings ever after.
Oh Boy a new direction, Fiction, Literature! Best to you. I think I got here originally because Ursula LeGuin took my hand in high school and led me along. then met Doris Lessing later on, when she turned to “science fiction” (Canopus in Argus Archives-Shikasta oh my word) she was so sharp and challenging, provoking, changed my view of everything too. May be a hard road for your very analytical mind. I bow to you accepting the challenging
Maybe story is not a mode, a device, a bridge between fact and fiction… maybe there is only story. There is only how we tell it, hide it. How we embody or disembody it. How we listen, wrestle, share it. All of life: Story.
I’ve arrived at a similar understanding, Ellen. The heart of reality wherein the seeds of both freedom and responsibility germinate.
“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” –Muriel Rukeyser
Oh yes. Every movement we make, every sound we utter, every choice taken. In Service to the Story. That is why listening is so important – in order to make sure we are hearing with clarity – knowing which story claims our devotion.
This is a very good observation!
Thank you, very appropo essay. Been thru the despair and exhaustion that you mention. Sense a huge need to be outdoors, away from all the chatter, but hard to find space in the city. Realizing I need to go inwards.
Godspeed to you and all of us as we move forward in these uncharted waters.
Godspeed to you as you write this epic piece beyond culture; beyond evil being defeated by good which becomes evil. We are all so on the brink of opportunity to step off the gerbil wheel that goes round and round.
I love your wisdom to slow down or stop explaining or defending the madness of the moment where one side is the only one that is right because the other side is so obviously wrong.
I love freeing myself from finding the “truth” in someone else’s words that I can find in a book or on the internet;
Blessings to you and to us all as we allow the real to be.
Katherine Thorndike says
My mantra, “Live the New Story into Existance” to help me work towards a more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
So this is what I do and will continue to do. Of course I do other things like work towards reversing climate change, etc but the mantra above is the most important thing I do.
Thank you Charles for your guidance and encouragement.
Yes, live and live the new story into the world through who we be and our actions!
Dear Charles, it might be interesting for you when I tell you that we in Germany also have a problem with totalitarism, with left and right and media and irrelevance. I am worried that I am not doing enough, but am also currently thinking of new ways. But I read this from you today and dreamed of THE SAME IDEA tonight !! This shows that we xan trust in our creative concious being. Then there must be a lot more of us working and dreaming in this direction!! Yipeee*
I’ll be there 👍 Also from Germany greetings and Deep gratitude in these dark and frightening times.
Charles T says
A wonderful, wonderful idea Charles. I look forward to it.
It is rather hard sometimes to find things to watch that are not violent, dystopian, etc etc, yet also not sickly sweet either.
Many thanks for all that you do.
Kaela Gallagher says
Charles after reading this I was jostled by the image of you as a dark farmer planting dark seeds, “ripening until they are real” 🙂 Bring the rain! Let’s get this forest growing! Woot!
Newton E. Finn says
If you haven’t already done so, Charles, and you can stomach one more person suggesting you read something, you might want to check out or re-check out a work of fiction from the First Gilded Age, a novel nearly as popular as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” It engendered almost instantaneously, albeit only briefly, the profound effect upon hearts and minds you hope to help engender in our Second Gilded Age. The novel is “Looking Backward,” and the author is Edward Bellamy. If the book grabs you or re-grabs you, “Equality,” the less-read sequel which expands and improves the original vision, is
also freely available on the net. As one reader/reviewer confessed, the books were so powerful that she found herself crying almost from beginning to end. For me, a liberal clergyman who came across Bellamy late in life, these novels provided my first concrete conception of what I believe Jesus was praying for when he asked that the Kingdom of God/Heaven come on earth. Bellamy not only makes you see and feel what it would be like to live in a better, more beautiful world, but he also lays out in vivid detail much of the socioeconomic foundation upon which such a world must be built. I and many others will be looking forward to the wisdom and inspiration no doubt to emanate from your new “fictional” focus.
I’m looking forward to Charles’s efforts. He seems to be in the right frame of mind… In the meantime I’ll gladly have a read of ‘Looking Backward”. I have found it here http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/624 . Thanks.
Brooke Stabler says
Writing imaginative fiction is really fun, especially that of the more beautiful world. I’d love to see what’s to come. I could be a real bitch and point out the (copy) edit in the above piece, but I’ll let you find it if you want to. Doing one’s best feels good.
Jason Sinclair Astorquia says
Best wishes with your endeavor, Charles.
Thank you Charles. It feels like a synchronicity that I recently reached the same conclusion, and am excited and nervous as I begin. Perhaps there are more people who have come to the same point, and there will be a new renaissance of story, even a new genre… looking forward to all that emerges!
Hey Nina and Charles! I came to the same conclusion a couple of years ago. I’m not a novelist by any means, but I felt and feel divinely guided to bring forward the novel that I’m working on. Charles’ writing always resonates with me deeply, so it also felt like a synchronicity to read that he (and you and others!) are also embarking on this journey of being of service in this new way. I also think there will be this new renaissance of story and of art in general that brings healing and loving truths forward. It will be interesting and exciting to see 🙂
Ana Salote says
Story is so natural. I think they sit in some Platonic field waiting to be midwifed in. Very much look forward to meeting this one.
Cherie DeHaven says
Thank you Charles for continuing to share the gift of your words, feelings, thoughts and spirit with us. I could really feel energy behind your new project. Reading about it produced physical and emotional reactions in me. I felt chills, my heart quickened and a warm smile radiated out from the same place it does when I see my grandchildren (or anyone really, but especially them) being their beautiful selves. I am including the fruition of your project in my manifestation visioning work. You are loved and supported by many. Your new project is much needed and will emerge in exactly the right way at the right time. Gratitude and Love to you and your family.
Very exciting Charles. Write on! It IS vision we need at this point… to see a way forward that is more beautiful, nourishing and just.
This is exciting, and I look forward to reading your story.
I wonder if you are familiar with Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing and the sequel City of Refuge? They are a blend of dystopian and utopian, but I found them inspiring.
I was thinking of those two books myself while I read this essay, as excellent examples of what Eisenstein is trying to create. Highly recommended.
I was just going to suggest The Gift Sacred Thing!
Yes, as waves of fear and sadness, grief and uncertainty pulse over the planet, lets make our own waves of joy and faith and sing the future vision into life. I know we can make it happen, I know darn well….
Cynthia Bates says
May it be so. Let’s create!
Seems like the times we’re in, the circumstances we’re experiencing, the search for deeper truths is causing a lot of us to shift our focus right now. To be in coherence with our spirits requires we do what we have to do to love ourselves. Something beautiful will grow out of this deep fatigue.
Yes! Thank you, yet again dear Charles. May the Unfolding be Beautiful.
Doug Wicks says
Hi Charles. I wish to thank you for all the amazing work you have done to date. Perhaps the world hasn’t changed much, or maybe it’s even gotten worse with its various non-democratic tactics and the incredible amount of deception that continues to rule a great many of its people. I dunno. What I would like to say is there are a large number of people who have heard your message and see you clearly through your books, podcasts, essays, speaking engagements and so on. I know for myself and a few people others – the narrative of Charles Eisenstein has been a godsend bringing a heavy sigh of relief and an inner voice that says “finally – I can actually see a little light into the way I truly feel surrounded by all this craziness”! All of your work to date has been more than amazing and beneficial.
I wish you well on your continued journey and I know those of us who are searching and wondering and questioning look forward to whatever you bring in our direction in the way of a breath of fresh air, a point of understanding, a message through whatever medium you are comfortable with. If we can experience and understand “A More Beautiful World That Our Hearts Know is Possible”, in part or in whole, it’s a much experience than the reality we are currently subjected to. Even for a minute to two.
Thank you Charles.
I wanted to say same things. I’m living in Turkey and I can’t think what would be today if i couldn’t read The More Beatiful World That Our Hearts Know is Possible. I was in lack of trust what i feel. I couldn’t think it just not happening to me, it’s also happening to our world, our reality. Everyday, literally everyday people i speak try to convince me my ideas are not usefull, valuable, beneficial, practial and too much spritual, naive etc. I felt more centered and more grounded after read the book. I want to throw the book faces of every people i speak. You did very well and it still mesmerize me over couple years.
Maria Vittoria says
Dear Charles, I have been following your work for many years and your words always resonate deeply within me. May your vision of the heart bring peace and compassion to many. Good luck with your new work!!!
Thanks so much, Charles (and Marie) for your deep deep work. And I imagine this next phase will be one that includes a certain amount of more complex and beautiful collaboration than essays lend themselves to. Not an accurate quote from Vaclav Havel but relevant. “We are operating in an Auto Totalitarian System. No one is in charge, and the elites are as much in the grips of the system as the obvious slaves.” Something like that. Much like the conversation you had with Danial Schmaktenberger about “Paperclip Maximization” I loved that interview!
The planet we live with has so much to offer, as Marie’s dream revealed. Lately, when I have been talking with people about listening to the life of soil about the possibility of using our collective consciousness (because we are all painfully coming to understand that we are quite hopeless doing much if we think we can do it alone) in service to life – the more beautiful world.. So taking glyphosate as a ‘what if’, those atoms that make up that molecule have been combined under duress, placing them in the domination system as slaves as any, and held in that prison at great economic, physical emotional and spiritual expense. And when I think and talk about this, i get a resounding agreement from that molecule and so many others that have been manipulated in service to scarcity and separation. They want us to succeed in this collaborative act of liberation starting with our own collaborative freedom from extractive domination system. They want us to succeed and will assist us as we request it. And they are eager for us to free the bonds of servitude to that system so they can actively engage with us in in a system of service to a life and love’s evolution.
I imagine this may be some of what emerges from you, Charles as you go deeper into your service! Thank you.
These are the words that touched me so delicately:
“stories touch a deeper place in the soul.They flow like water around the intellectual defences,and soften the soil so that dormant visions and ideals can take root”.
In a dualistic world of perception,Oxford Dictionary: western education has addressed itself almost entirely to the “left brain”
Nubia Thayer says
I must start by saying Gracias!!!
Thanks for your essays that until now have not only kept me sane in this transition in which I never imagined myself capable, but also give me hope in a better word and so much strength.
I can’t wait for your next creation! I’m so excited! It was funny to read about us crying when we’re about to finish reading your book, because often I find myself crying with your work.
I moved to your country 5 years ago and between reading your books, watching your chanel and reading essays gives me answers to my many questions, also sometimes makes me so worried due the increased amount of stupidity in this world, people just don’t care anymore! That’s why I recommend your work to people every time I can!
Take your time! I’m sure thousands of us are sending you the best of the energies in this our beautiful home!
Loves to you and your family!
Thank you for putting words to my exhaustion too. I have felt great waves of grief at the madness and discouraged at the directions we are collectively moving. Your last lines spark me, though. I’ll join you in this intention to engage with the world non-forcefully. May we choose differently.
Christine Duffy says
I too reached some kind of burn out with all of this and have ended up doing some deep dive on my own stuff. Its like we’ve all been put on fast forward with our spiritual evolution. Like many of you I thought I was helping by pointing out the inconsistencies/science (what ever that is now). I have worked in Holistic health for over 30 years and for most of that time was tortured by the ’emperors clothes’ of medical system but the fracturing of reality is now complete it seems and I have realised the only thing I can do is operate my own reality and respect others. Charles, your phrase ‘a more beautiful world….’ has been my screen and life saver for most of the last year and I am so grateful to you for all that you have given so far. What ever you do, we know it will be what is needed and it will be real. I know that I am not alone in saying thanks and wishing Blessings to abound for you and yours.
Yes! stories and rituals that allow people’s bodies to experience a new way of existing in the world… that might allow an opening for their hearts and minds to follow.
Only last week I was hatching the idea for an immersive experience hopefully for the local regional art gallery (east coast Australia). The intention is that it be an experience of eye-filling and heart-filling joy… an experience that will perhaps indeed leave the viewer in tears and wanting to come back over and over… Yes story and ritual, which to me are intertwined, are a way to get past entrained ideologies and beliefs… Our bodies need to feel what it feels like to be in joy in order to be brave enough to try a new thing.
To read about your intentions has provided me with a growing sense that there is a gathering of waters from many small trickles that will spread life-giving joy across our planet… While I do not like to be delusional I do have to hold a sense that the life that wants life will provide the means… and I think that is in the us(es) that think it is worth it.
I have one of your quote in the footer of me email stationery, which in a sense says the same as the above paragraph:
“Every act of service to life aligns with a world that is more alive. No effort is wasted, even if we cannot see how it is going to make a difference.”
…there is nothing else we can do…
I look forward to reading or seeing your story…
Katie Holliwell says
Thank you Charles. I’m feeling better after reading this… more reassured. Can’t wait to experience your vision at some point in the future. All the very best. With love, Katie
Good luck Charles on your journey into story! Be brave and allow the darkest, most uncomfortable images to surface so that we can also benefit from your brightest light.
Martin Frischknecht says
May it be so – for the benefit of us all!
The other day I sat down to write an article for the spiritual magazin I am doing, some reflections on the situation we are in. Under the working-title «Caught in the Trap» I started by telling a story.
Peter Webb says
Thanks Charles, as I take a deep breath into me of all that you have said.
I am thankful for all that I have read from you in the past (I am a relatively new admirer) as I have been deeply touched by your heartfelt words and the atmosphere you weave between them. I share your vision for a different way and have been experimenting for some time in my own way with different groups of people; how to touch them with and without words, as I too feel that we need a deeper level of touching in. We all have our own degrees of trauma and our own inherited archetypes which we are living out. We are a little like wild animals in a way, wary inside while hungry for a morsel of truth.
Lies have come to dominate our world and this is a grave ‘problem’, as with the trauma, direct words or actions can serve to incite or aggravate that which we seek to survey. ( an interesting series of talks by Dennis Klocek is exploring the physiological effects of lies on our bodies. (dennisklocek.com. Truth lies and illness)
I have been experimenting with language which is more qualitative than quantitive as a means of getting around the analytic side of our trained mind. This type of language is malleable and tends to explore the wide range of space within polarity; the world in which we find ourselves, yet in which we can feel entrapped. The essence of feelings in qualities, enables them to be shared more easily as they are “felt sense” and not intellectual concepts which become categorised (separated) in our mind.
I would like to share more with you as not only do I admire your writing but I also feel privileged to have shared a fertile space invoked by you and Orland, which I feel is a key to our communication in these times of planting seeds; In preparing for another face of humanity which draws again from a shared invisible. I actually believe that the internet etc have been ways we have been preparing ourselves for a level of communication that we are to reclaim and share together. Regards Pete
I empathise deeply with this e-mail post, despite my vast qualifications and experience, I still struggle with the concept of fighting for peace or being intolerant to intolerance. We know politics is a dirty game, and that has to be because human psychology is post trauma on top of trauma (Gabor Mate). The populace vote for the most traumatic leader that is charismatic, a reaction against the grey suits.
Trumps presidency is a ‘stumble’ of ordinary people to be free from the endemic unfairness. Better the devil you know than be subject to those that give you the illusion of fairness. Trump voters know, if it’s going to be unfair, at least it’s on my terms. They’d prefer to die free than live as a slave. That’s the choice they are facing. Vote for the overtly insane or the illusory sanity. Both are the same Pill, and its illusion of choice is Red or Blue. Live in illusory bliss as no more than a battery or live destitute underground running from Sentinels (or should that be Senators?).
As you rightly say, this is about keeping power where it is now; divide and rule AND unite under conspiracy; is always the ‘go to.’ And it’s as simple as uncontrolled greed.
MAGA; problem is America was never great, unless might is right. I assume you’ve read Touching the Jaguar?
I blame the liars, not the lied to cults. Those delusional cults are just in touch with what is all too human; ‘man’s inhumanity to man’
We are already in a mental civil war, a “functioning hypocrisy” as Robert Kurzban would say.
As with EO Wilson’s quote “We have Palaeolithic emotions, with medieval culture, with God-like technology”.
We want our individual freedom to be led by a benevolent dictator. For me this the source of the problem, and the historical roots of that are clear. The eternal child as Clive Bromhall said. Within the human, Denial is a river in Egypt.
If Wilson and Bromhall and many others are right, then it is not about going towards sanity and away from insanity. What is real is, those two states are on either end of the reality of a see-saw, the human condition. Unless we accept what Anya Kubrick said, “the only evil is the belief we couldn’t do evil” for me is the acceptance that ultimate power would corrupt even me, even the best of us. We all have a little Trump inside us, “there but for the grace of god go I”.
Doc Hall says
Ah yes, whether a mass of humanity will ever progress to where they grasp the contradictions in their own thinking is dubious. We are too limited in perception to ever be a “tribe of the whole.” Just living in varied local ecologies assures that. One size cannot fit all. One culture cannot fit all.
But whatever is the trajectory of our current strife, respect for Gaia is the way out. Pay much more attention to Gaia; much less to the destructive glories of our own technical and economic achievements. Despite our own inevitable differences, a coming universal doctrine has to be “live with Gaia,” not revel in destruction of Gaia. Otherwise we exterminate ourselves.
Lots of truth here, especially:
“…human psychology is post trauma on top of trauma (Gabor Mate). The populace vote for the most traumatic leader that is charismatic, a reaction against the grey suits.”
Trauma begets fear begets separation. The solution is a mass healing movement and collective cooperation, which I believe is possible through a new type of social network. It’s merely a matter of putting together the right technology and the right marketing effort. Love could very well go viral. We just need to build it.
Very excited to hear you moving into fiction, makes so much sense, good luck.
Love you, Charles. You’ve given expression to what I’ve been sensing for awhile. Thank you for that gift. It opened up a way through this morass of culture where Im frustrated with both sides of the debate. My friends think I’m a bit nutty too as I’m not dancing in the streets with the Biden/Harris win. I look forward to your new story of what’s possible for humanity.
Hi Charles. I feel the same. We are offered the choice between Gilead or the Matrix by those in power, while outside, all is fading away. I wish I knew what to do. Walk away, perhaps, like the Aborigine guy at the end of the film, who just takes off the clothes of modernity and walks off into the wild. But he was in his culture, whereas I’d be dead in three days. Maybe we can just do what we can, where we are, and that is good enough.
Hey Charles, I appreciate your decision to change your direction and am cheering you on! Your published work, podcasts, and courses have been a source of life and reconnection for me, and I feel deeply grateful for your willingness to share. Agree that story is more powerful than any argument, and anything I can do to help you articulate that story, I will! I’ve mostly just watched and listened, and felt stretched and beckoned on to embrace my own insights through experiencing you embrace yours. I feel like you are my smarter older brother, we have so much in common in terms of our world outlook and approach. My humble monthly patronage of you has nothing to do with “how much you produce,” either. You go, man!
Thank you for this, Charles. Have you seen the talks by Elif Shafak i.e. The Politics of Fiction, in conversation with Wole Soyinka etc.? I believe her take on the power of stories aligns with your new undertaking of writing fiction.
Also her talk with the New York State Writers Institute on ‘How to stay sane in the age of division’.
What a beautiful evolution in your work, Charles: you have been calling for a new story and now you will create one. Thank you for sharing your process so candidly and I wish you the best on this new journey.
I am living in Rwanda right now and I’ve been reflecting a lot on the role of stories in influencing people’s behaviour. While the widely-held cultural stories were an important part of what led to unimaginable violence here, there is also a recognition that in order to achieve sustainable peace, the much deeper roots of collective madness must be addressed: injustice, poverty and a history of trauma/violence. (This is a simplification – the genocide was complicated – but these cannot be ignored).
I think in America we are biased to look to stories as not only the cause of our collective madness but also as its principal medicine. It can be helpful to remember that in those moments when we feel despair about the seeming impasse of finding a common collective narrative and therefore the impossibility of healing a broken society, we can remind ourselves that healing will also come from fixing injustice, lifting people out of poverty, building supportive communities etc. Fortunately there are a lot of Americans doing this work, coming from all sides of the political spectrum, and we must hope that their ethos will prevail until devisive stories will no longer be useful.
I remain hopeful … Truth may be falling apart, but even without it we can continue working to treat the other beings we encounter with kindness and compassion and to answer the calls to improve our collective lives and in particular the lives of those who suffer from injustice, poverty and trauma. I even suspect that this work will lay the foundation necessary to eventually create a unified collective narrative.
Perhaps this is not the best audience with which to share these reflections, since many of us are here because we find some kind of salvation in the idea of a New (and ancient) Story … I guess I’m also in the process of changing my focus. I still love a good story and I still think they can be immensely healing, but these days I’m starting to place more importance of just moving forward in society-building in the absence of a satisfying, shared story, rather than putting so much of my energy into trying to piece one together or to defend it to others. I seem like the Rwandans have inspired me in this regard.
Robin, thank you, especially for this insight: “to look to stories as not only the cause of our collective madness but also as its principal medicine.” It helps me understand my own rejection of fiction after a childhood of loving stories. Stories can be a beautiful way of spending time immersed in someone else’s vision, a way to experience possibilities and other viewpoints. But for every story that describes a world I want to live in there is another that describes a world I do not want. And every story ends, leaving me in reality. By that I mean the reality of being a living being on planet earth, subject to gravity, breathing the air, dependent on clean water and food to continue the life I am living. And the reality of living that life embedded in a specific place and time of human culture (for me that is New Mexico in the US) and embedded in the cluster of human stories that informs it. What is real? If all else fails (the internet, the electrical grid, TV reception, phone service, access to gasoline, my human community and our stories) what is left? The earth story is left – the earth and all her systems (rain, wind, sunshine, sunrise and sunset, the full moon and the new moon, summer and winter, the mountains and rivers, the cycling of nutrients and elements). And each other – by that I mean all us living beings who evolved here together. I find my sanity there. By touching the earth. By planting a garden. By growing food.
By saving seeds. By sharing those seeds. By supporting and learning from others who are growing food. This is my very small way of addressing injustice and poverty.
Charles was talking about the two sides of our current political story. I am looking for a third way, something to drive us past the impasse, something beyond them both. Maybe service to each other, addressing injustice and poverty as you say, is the work that can propel us there.
I think our human stories are vast and powerful and beneficial and harmful and limitless. But maybe the next step is to reach beyond human stories. To live embedded in our earth story, with everyone sharing the abundance of the earth, for that is a true place of common ground for all humanity and life. I intuit that Charles is way ahead of my thinking on this and that his new direction in fiction will take a step beyond what we have seen before. I can hardly wait!
Your essay has inspired a story in me, that has been asking to be written for a long time now, to come to life again and in a new form. Your voice matters, Charles. The idea of living our purpose as being our responsibility to life, has recently come my way. This is an important change in direction for me: we are not asking the world for permission to exist as we do. We exist as we do because we have been given gifts that are ours alone to share. Without us, they will be missing from the world: a note unsung; a beauty unspoken; a world not yet realized.
This is a beautiful essay, Charles, as always. Yes, myth and story reach places that ‘mere logic’ the the power of argument cannot. You have given me new insights into the problematic of using the force of logic to ‘win’ an argument. Thank you.
Anna Rosa Krau says
Ahead of your times as always!
May I add a comment which can easily be mistaken as critic, but is rather meant to show admiration and highlight a tradition?
There are many examples in history where poetry and fiction have been the last resort to progressive criticism. Especially in systems of dictatorship, sometimes even the only vehicle for thoughts to break through prison walls.
It is in the light of your article that I now see a new meaning for the interpretation of the inaugural poem. I couldn‘t really understand why people said it was the beginning of a new area and times for the rebirth of poetry. Now I do!
In times of post-democracy beauty is one of the last arguments where we can find common-ground. Shocking. But a starting point. Thanks Charles Eisenstein … nothing else expected, you have lifted another veil on reality.
We at The Lissome are very much looking forward to your book. Best of luck and endless train of thoughts…
Thank you so much and good luck!
And don’t forget to have fun. 🙂
Susan Allbert says
You have put into words so much of what I’ve been feeling but didn’t know how to express. Thank you Charles.
Charles your timing is impeccable, or cosmic- or something else- completely heartening to my mind, body and soul. Godspeed.
Charles, your voice is a voice of reality in a world gone psycho. Not because you’re the only person with the “answers”. No, it’s because you give language to the silent voice inside myself, that is, and has been saying the same things all along. Ego? Echo chamber? To prefer the voice of one who speaks what you already think?
Maybe? But it’s not so much that you say what I’m thinking, but that you say what I can’t quite think, because the understanding, the stream of awareness is below the threshold of language, for me. It lives at the level of dreaming, of symbols and imagery and feeling. I’m grateful that you’re able to put it into language, for me. So that I can think about it. And talk about it with others. And know it better through both of these activities.
The way that your work is able to language the forms within that deep realm of non-thought, for me, tells me that you may well be able to write a story with some power in it. I wish you very good dreaming on it.
As ever I bow to your willingness to dig deep. To not have easy answers and not shy away from the impossibly big questions. This essay speaks to my soul. To my own life path asking me to rise as my own archetype of Divine Feminine energy of the Empress working with Leaders and bring that powerful willingness to embrace ALL in a world that rejects the other so easily. There is no other!
It’s the fight itself that is the problem – how can we stop othering and start being what we are – the Human Collective and listen deeply through the version everyone’s stories to our shared humanity.
I so love you Charles for being willing to keep going in the not knowing and lack of clarity – being with what is, without answers and yet humbly and sometimes stumbling, staying to ask and inquire versus shutting it down to be right about something – always looking in the direction of truth, hope and our interbeing.
I truly believe you are literally one of the GREATEST thinkers of our time. Keep doing you, being you and doing whatever makes sense. It’s working.
As Gandhi said: ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ In this case ‘the win’ is for us all. So much love and respect to you x
Jill Allison says
Charles, your words strike deep chords within me. I have been finding myself living more in a ‘mythology’ as this lockdown continues and I cannot do my work as an acupuncturist-laying my hands on people to try and relieve some of their pain. My shaman, who I have never met, came to me in the form of a photo of a crow shaman that I used to draw a picture from. Crows have been with me as teachers and guides for most of my life, but I did not recognize them as such until lately. Reality has many faces and I am hopeful that your story will help others understand that history is not (pre) written in hate and violence. The other beings are powerful and belief in this (again) may help humans continue on this planet.
Thank you, Charles, for your life’s work. I have gained much insight from it and I wish you joy and success with your newfound inspiration!
Shannon Fletcher says
As I read your essay I felt myself becoming emotionally moved to tears. I can’t really say why. But I can tell you the idea of some type of screen play sounds wonderful! I feel we need more art, poetry, story, theater, music to bridge the gap & to touch the human heart. I applaud this vision and effort. I have experienced these modalities to be bridging for me personally. It did not have that element of “force” as you speak of. No, they felt more like invitations. Invitations for curiosity and openness. Not the force of trying to convince and be right or maintain a upper hand. I so support you!
Awesome! I’m reminded of another of my favorite authors, J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote, in part, with a purpose to evangelize through the imagination, which is much less guarded than our reason. He says that the Lord of the Rings began implicitly Catholic and ended explicitly so. Story can touch us in ways that our reason cannot, as it impacts our imagination and helps us to get glimpses of that more beautiful world.
Anni Kelsey says
Living in the UK and watching events unfold in the US last month was horrifying and terrifying. I have almost no understanding of your political system so it is very helpful to read your words. I can only imagine the levels of dismay and helplessness people feel at this time. As I watch events unfold from an apparently safe distance, I am minded that every culture displays its own sickness in its own characteristic ways. We all need to find a way towards health, both personally and collectively. May your path be lit before you as you follow your heart.
Charles- Robert McKee is considered the most knowledgeable coach in writing “story” that has all the elements that truly engage and move people. His book STORY is considered the Bible of really good fiction writers and his seminars have been filled with some of the most successful screenwriters and novelists. Becoming familiar with his work may save you lots of time and deleted work. Good Luck!
Bill Bulloch says
Thank you, Charles … as alway, at least in my experience of your across several of your essays, you get to the essence and essentials of it. So, perhaps “invitation” seeded out there in the “Matrix” is what will lure more of us to a shift in the flavor of our energy whenever it comes time where enough of us let our closely held believes and opinions die.
If you have not already read it, on of Star Wolf’s books, The Fifth Sacred Thing, has one variant: “There is room for you at our table.” It feels like radical compassion in a beautifully crafted polarized “future” that seems now right around the corner.
Bon courage Charles! We were born two months apart, back in ’67. It’s possible we came in on the same cosmic wave. And we are now riding the morphic kind you allude to at essay’s end. In my experience there’s magic in that space of allowing and flowing. One day I’ll get good at it! Meanwhile, let the party wave grow. PY x
Lani Wildon says
Thank you Charles for this. It brought a bit of sanity into what is fast becoming a world out of control. Could it be that it is not a choice between left or right but that there is a third option that has been here from the beginning and has been predominantly overlooked?? IF the dominion of this world was given to another and we have been deceived and duped into fighting each other, well then the enemy has truly won the battle here on earth… BUT GOD said(and here is the secret).
2 Corinthians 6:16,17,18
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
Do Not Be Unequally Yoked
…16What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.” 17“Thereforecome out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you.”18And: “I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”…
God has rescue plan for His children. Would make a powerful conclusion to the movie. Just sayin!!!
The direction you are beginning to look reminds me of the words of poet & philosopher David Whyte – “poetry is language against which we have no defense”. The problems we face, I believe, will always remain in the logical, rational, analytical part of ourselves. To find true home, true north, true self, that part of us must either be turned against itself so it can be seen for what it is, not what it creates. Or, circumvented. Poetry, art, and it sounds like in your case, this promising idea of fiction, are that circumvention. They often can do more for truth than facts, stats, and reasoning. My thoughts anyway. I look forward to your creation. Much love.
I just don’t know Charles. Though I appreciate your willingness to courageously speak from such shifting and unstable ground, your tolerance of psychopathy, to the point of nearly embracing it with malignant compassion, I don’t find healing for the world. I could be wrong, heaven knows that is a well trodden personal path.
Disavowing the appropriateness of saying “No” to the manifestation of harmful “demands”, even if and while judge and jury still continues the search for understanding the “interest” level causation for that individual, or group, might be a bridge too far for me to cross. Those natural and rightful impulses, or interests, which chronically face societal obstruction, truncation, diversion and manipulation for so many, must be liberated and satisfied, but accommodation of an unconscious malevolent drive for such rectification seems wistful, echoing “can’t we all just get along”. Simultaneously, you minimize the warranted polarization between truth (yes, I know the relativity of that beast) and dystopian unreality – really, Fox vs CNN/MSNBC is the spectrum you want to critique and challenge? Onward, we’ll see where we end up… .. .
This is wise, I’m glad you realized you can’t talk sense to nonsense, although I applaud you for trying. After the unceasing, increasing chaos and insanity of the last couple of decades, after these recent several years of my own efforts – writing thoughtful essays, literally pleading and begging and pulling my hair out trying to talk sense and to awaken loved ones and friends to their own suffering, and in general pointing out the false narratives – patriarchy, capitalism, racism – that have created suffering and oppression (to no avail), I have let go, too. Not only is it exhausting, it is just another way of trying to control, I realize. And, control is not the answer: controlling others is what got us stuck here in the first place in these hierarchies of domination and oppression.
I surrender control. The only person I have any sway with is myself, so I work on myself – knowing I have the privilege to do so – for the betterment of all, to clear away the debris of generations of conditioning. And, I surrender the bigger work of the world to a higher power, knowing the higher power is wiser and more powerful than me, but that my small work supports the higher.
Though I do believe every little thing will be all right in the end, I also know there will be grief and sadness and suffering, too. Dark times are here and darker ones are coming – but there is always hope. Meanwhile, we continue to live and really feel this grief, to bear witness with remorse and regret for the part we humans played in the destruction that is birthing a new reality. May our collective witnessing of grief bring us greater wisdom to create a brighter future.
I know this: a brighter future is possible only in a world built on caring and sharing. My work for the remainder of my time in this plane is to live with caring and sharing as my tenets, and to dismantle within myself all the limiting stories that taught me caring and sharing was impossible, stupid or naive. Only from that clear place am I able to choose again and again to bring my best self forward in every moment. Only from that clear place can I personally embody and express loving, caring and sharing – vs. control, anger, despair, or violence – regardless of the ideologies of the people or the beings I encounter. Only from that clear place can I believe and hope that life will continue, even in the midst of times of great sorrow. Only from that clear place can I help build a new world.
This resonates deeply with me. Love is the answer, and I think it has to begin with self-love and understanding what that is. Healing is a key part of this because trauma is an essential problem. Healing allows us to grow into mature, loving, responsible humans, and that alone is sufficient to complete us, but it is also necessary if we are to have a deep, lasting, positive impact on the world. I am hopeful because I sense a large collective shift occurring. I also believe that light inherently illuminates the darkness. We merely need to seek truth. That’s the beauty of reality. The truth is that love exists, and it is magical and powerful, and maybe Nature even intended that we should have to go through a difficult process in order to realize this.
Yes, Michael, all of this! I am glad my words resonated with you. Thank you!
Pamela Gibbs says
I see that you have discovered my strategy. Exhaustion brought me to the same place – and I made a similar choice.
Thank you…your work helped me to make this choice.
Hi Charles, I agree with many others here who are gleeful at the prospect of a new creative genre from you in days to come! Often when I read your thoughtful prose, I have the sense that in far future days when humans read the important works that lead the way out of the maelstrom of the early 21st century, your works will be on the top shelf.
I, like you and many others, am also at burnt out and exhausted level now. Also feel beyond despair when gazing at the mess we call our world. And realizing, finally, that your and our vision of A More Beautiful World ruled by the Heart of Compassion, will take much, much longer to manifest than most of us realized twenty years ago when we still felt hopeful.
Somehow today, here on this page with many like-minded dreamers, stating this simple fact gives me peace. Humanity clearly is going through a purging of old energies like never before, at it’s core level. There will be much more shouting, fighting, ugliness and violence.
Yet, I, like you, still hold the vision that your new venture will prove out– one fine day in the future, We will arrive on the shores of that New World that our current, weary hearts know is possible.
Thanks and blessings to you, Charles!!
I found this essay very interesting. I have read several of your books and essays, starting with The Ascent of Humanity. The ideas you conveyed helped guide me in my fiction writing. My most recent novel is Bountiful Calling and if I can figure out how to send you a copy I will. It is about people’s resistance to fracking in Pennsylvania but also much more, chief among them is the transference of mythic power from 1960s style activism to the types of behavior young people are expressing today. If you’d like to learn more you can look here: https://www.fredfburton.com/blog/
The thing I try to do when writing fiction is fill myself with the content, build the scaffolding until it is sufficiently supported and then work along, waiting for those times when the language just bursts free from me. I think those are the times when you could accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself.
I want to thank you for all you have given me and hope this new direction provides you the opportunity to make the statement and create the beauty that you seek after.
I’m not sure why, but this essay reminded me of a thing I wrote a while back. I too have been discovering that place of connection, of ‘interbeing,’ which renders all prescriptive ideologies somehow irrelevant. So for what it’s worth, I’m sharing this here, because of that sense I had while reading your essay, that there is a deep understanding of what is real and true, in all our hearts.
Jesus Loved the Wind
What is it about the wind, anyway?
It comes and goes like the things you missed out of the corner of your eye—
The things you wish you hadn’t forgotten:
Things that weren’t there when you woke up in the night, but you so wished they had been;
Things that once turned your heart upside down, making you stop in your tracks for just one second.
Things that you laid to rest and walked away, when it didn’t matter whether you looked back or not.
What is it about the wind anyway?
It cuts through the buttons on your coat, leaving the smell of wind in your clothes—
So that when you pass by, people pause for a moment without knowing why.
It bends things that have no choice but to bend, or else they’ll break.
It breathes over the hill and down, bringing a faint, thrilling breeze to where you sit, waiting.
It goes where you’ve never been, and where you’ll never go again, blowing past all your regrets.
What is it about the wind anyway?
It brings the most momentous messages, reminding you of all you know and all you never knew—
but always in a language you don’t understand.
What is it about the empty wind?
Why does it remember all the things that never came to be?
Why does it take all the truth you ever knew and sweep it away into the unfilled air?
Why does it chill the tears on your face, as if cold comfort is all it knows?
Why does it walk where it walks—
Down the turning years, and down the days of your life, always going past, never stopping?
It’s as if all the things we always knew were still things that we needed to be told—
As if Love, riding hidden in the wind, doesn’t care what we know and what we don’t.
Sue Baker says
Thank you, I feel and share your weariness. I feel that the simple maxim ‘what we restist persists’ is apt for now and that to go within and accept with an openess is an invitation to a space for healing. This is the way of deep healing, as oppositional medicine rarely yields longlasting effects, whereas to meet with compassion amd space is what is needed now.
Diane Charles says
Beautiful and inspiring Charles. Much love in your and Our endeavor.
Tina Tau says
Thank you, Charles, for your honesty, your essay, your tuning in to your own deep fatigue and looking in for a new direction to tell our story. I honor your incredible storytelling and I don’t know what I’d have done in this time of insanity without your voice.
Maitri Nancy Peden says
Thank you Charles. I support the shift you seek and feel a synchronicity that arose just yesterday.
At one time I did a lot of research into the teaching of history even tho I don’t remember my motivation. I do know or remember find some famous college profs suggesting that history be taught/shared as fiction. And s a search one finds this seems to be a trend and I tried to explain this to a friend who I feel to be very smart. Turns out he actually did history as a college major and as I felt unable to make my case I apologized yet when I was advising him on his own amazing family history I almost got thru to him that I longed to hear him in the story. And that it really seems a fabulous story.
2 of my deepest influences in life have been fiction. Island by Huxley and The Kin of Atta by Dorothy Bryant. They are both quite utopian.
Switching gears this showed up today, a very touching interview by a former qanon follower. I find her lucid and normal sounding even as you and I feel the left will become the right. https://youtu.be/QHOK_9hWU5U
Life to me us dynamic and always becoming. I send you all the best for your new direction.
Garrett Menghini says
I am grateful for the thoughts you have put to paper, for the expository essays, books, online courses, and interviews you have put into the world with your messages. May these ripples continue to emanate throughout our world, and invite change in a way that none of us may individually understand.
Thank you, Charles. Your efforts are deeply appreciated.
Susan Livingston says
I’ve had a rough year, too, characterized by a far lower level of engagement as both my outer and my inner worlds fell apart, bit by bit, leaving me, like many here have already described, exhausted and depleted. This essay has been like a Welcome Home. Thank you for writing it, Charles.
I almost made it through a two-week intensive training to be ordained as a shamanic minister. Aside from a couple of essays I have yet to write, there is the matter of my vision board which was impossible to create while transient for logistical reasons. But it’s been brewing in my heartmind for the past month, and I like to think it exists in the same morphic field as the creative output described here.
What it is is a miniature microcosm of The More Beautiful World in which I would live here in the mountains of western North Carolina. I’ve been collecting materials to bring this vision of a quasi-autonomous hamlet into 3-D reality. The central focus is Water, and that’s simple enough to render with a colored marker. The next most important feature, which speaks to the new direction described in this essay, is an outdoor performance and demonstration space with an amphitheater-like bowl on and near the bank of a curve in the course of the creek that’s steep enough for seating to potentially watch a play or hear a concert or see kinesthetic art forms or share a fire circle but gentle enough for stationary installations or sharing circles. Yes, even more important than dwellings, right up there with gardens, there is a primary intention to provide a venue where stories can be shared in a wide range of formats or media.
The other feature of this essay on which I want to comment is the allusion, sometimes subtle, sometimes explicit, to the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Very apropos! Another classic I’ve been using in my pleas to knock it off with the othering is the 150-year-old story of The Blind Men and the Elephant, a poem by John Godfrey Saxe.
There were six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant (though all of them were blind),
That each by observation might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant and, happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant is nothing but a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk, cried: “Ho!—what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp? To me ’tis mighty clear:
This wonder of an Elephant is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal and, happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands then boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out his eager hand and felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like is mighty plain,” quoth he.
“‘Tis clear enough: the Elephant is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, said, “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most! Deny the fact, who can?
This marvel of an Elephant is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun about the beast to grope
Than, seizing on the swinging tail that fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right and all were in the wrong!
So oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant not one of them has seen!
Less hubris, more humility; less logic, more intuition; less intelligence, more wisdom; less work, more play – we’ll be OK!
I feel there is a small minority of people who see the challenges as you do Charles. The membranes of the bubbles of illusion feel like they are getting both thicker and the bubbles themselves bigger. Thank you for writing this particular essay – it has inspired me also to go to source, rather than head – and from there, listen to “what next”.
John MM says
I send you love and wishes for inspiration in this important endeavor!
This is a brilliant essay. I feel much the same way. I’m writing a piece about reality now for http://www.conscient.ca/ that explores some similar themes, and includes quotes from some of your work.
I thought you would enjoy this meditation by Richard Wagamese from Embers : One Ojibway’s Meditations (Embers : One Ojibway’s Meditations – Douglas & McIntyre)
To tell. To use the act of breathing to shape air into sounds that take on the context of language that lifts and transports those who hear it, takes them beyond what they think and know and feel and empowers them to think and feel and know even more. We’re storytellers, really. That’s what we do. That is our power as human beings. Not to tell people how to think and feel and therefore know – but through our stories allow them to discover questions within themselves. Turn off your TV and your devise and talk to each other. Share stories. Be joined, transported and transformed.
All the best with your creative work.
I’ll read anything you write…
Robert Gerzon says
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and inner process, Charles. The world needs new stories! As a nonfiction writer who once hoped his writing would help heal the world, I can identify with your calling to storytelling.
In 2010 I received a vision of a mythic story and with my wife as co-creator I began transforming it into a book. We finally finished it just a few months ago. I hope your story-writing journey brings you the soul-restoring joy that we experienced.
“Human Earth Awakening: A New Story for a New World” is now available at http://www.humanearthawakening.com.
Just a thought, while you feel your efforts have been futile, people like me who have never resonated fully with one side or the other have been “shook” awake this year. It has allowed me to find you and your extensive wealth of prose. The divide and the utter hopeless that is America today has accelerated the connections of all of the tireless fringe “US foreign policy critics, Israeli/Palestinian peace activists, vaccine skeptics, holistic health researchers etc” that have been screaming from the top of your respective lungs for ages. We are finally ready to hear and to seek you out. Hopefully we can work together, stronger united for something better. So thank you for all you’re already done and I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
Sharon Quigley says
Your work has been a candle in the wind for me for years. I’m excited to hear you feel compelled to write dystopian fiction with the seeds for healing, etc. I highly recommend four such novels that have deeply inspired me: Ursula LeGuin’s The Word for World is Forest and The Dispossessed; and Star Hawk’s Fifth Sacred Thing and City of Refuge.
Patricia Mackenzie says
Oh, yes, wow, thank you, Charles! As you and so many others here, I have felt the weariness that comes from long holding a vision that seems to ever recede. I have long held that fiction is as true, in its own way, as what we call reality, and that it is our humanness, our stories, that can bring us together in ways that our ideologies never could. Bless you, and might your new endeavours begin to open for all a way to that more beautiful world that our hearts *know* is possible.
Joui Turandot says
Charles, I whole heartedly agree that we need many more images of the world we want to see. This is why I strongly believe artists may be some of the best prepared to help us into this next reality.
You’ve laid a solid groundwork of books and essays that have inspired countless people, and me to take action in actually creating that “more beautiful world…” and so I am eternally grateful. And if you are tired of beating down the same path, I am sure you will find by creating a fiction/art piece you will be filled with a new level of energy you have yet to experience.
I am very excited to see what you create!
Charles, thank you for your honesty as always. Always a great reminder for me about stepping outside the polarization. Your essays and podcasts have been inspirational for me and my family. They have made a great impact on me, however sadly not enough for our society as a whole. Looking forward to your future works. I want to believe that you are making a bigger impact than you may believe. Lot of love, compassion and care
Deniz Postaci says
Hey Charles, when can we watch your fictional story on Netflix?
Adam Barley says
I love your writing Charles. It always feels like a blessed relief, a voice of sanity in the cacophony. Thank you SO much.
One correction for you regarding water getting increasingly turbulent just before a waterfall. It doesn’t. It goes smooth and glassy. (1950s??) Where it DOES get increasingly turbulent and fractured is once it starts falling. I reckon the metaphor holds, and that’s where we are. Well over the edge. A whole new paradigm already. New ways of ‘together’ required.
How thrilling then, this new growth that’s coming through you! May the Force be with you!!
Synthia Fagen says
Charles, you are so tuned in and brilliantly perceptive. You are so, so right. Thank you. 💗 Maybe I will write with you. Maybe many of us will.
Charles, Super inspiring essay! Godspeed
Helen Wharton says
A profound examination of the 3 myths that prevent realization of Reality, which IS prior unity, an essay titled, Right Life Is Transcendence of The Three Great Myths of Human ego-Culture, from Not-Two IS Peace, by The World Friend Adi Da. (Pages 213-218, 4th Edition)
The 3 great myths: myth of separate self, myth of separate world, and myth of separate God.
Creating a new myth is no substitute for realizing Truth.
Russell Menyhart says
I second the suggestion to read Looking Backward by Bellamy. More recently, The Overstory by Richard Powers. Read those, then go write your own thing.
So excited for what’s next! Thank you for all you do!
Maurice Vellas says
I’m so happy to hear you are turning your energies to a new and unexplored realm. As a filmmaker and screenwriter myself, and someone who has bounced around a ton in my short life, I can tell you that pursuing a long-form story of fiction is an incredible teacher. Before I finished my first screenplay and film, I wanted to and seriously considered giving up so many times. The most important thing, which you already have, is to hold strong to the core of your vision and trust it to the greatest depth. It’s easy to dismiss what motivates us for diving into new work, but I know you Charles! And I know you will trust that. I think your creative mind is unique for fertilizing this new ground of storytelling. I believe you will grow something beautiful and real.
I’m looking to start on a similar project soon, and I can’t wait to see where ours both take us. I look forward to yours.
Nik Schulz says
Thank you for this essay, Charles. To what we observe: democracy under threat, fracturing reality, a culture of control/dominance/separation producing more subversion, may I offer an idea?
I offer to see everything that happens in the world as an act of love. I understand that it may seem nonsensical at first to view the cultural maladies listed above as love but what happens if we do?
As an act of love, reality cleaving in two (or perhaps being broken along multiple fault lines) could be seen as an invitation, or catalyst, for us all to choose our own path, our own affiliation. Does the ground on which we stand fall toward service to self, service to fiction, service to control/separation or does it fall toward service to others, service to truth, service to love/free will/unity. And how comfortable are we on the ground on which we stand?
I agree with you that stories and mythology are better a better means for the job than logic. By offering inspiration I hope that more people will recognize that we are all one, and choose the ground of love and service to others, for as one, what’s the point of separation?
I look forward to hearing more about your new work and wish you ease and joy in bringing it into being.
your thoughts and feelings expressed in your latest essay are deeply familiar in my own heart and I understand and know first hand of your spurs of despair. Let me tell you though that your work has deeply touched me and a lot of people all over the world and never think for a moment that it was all in vain. You plant seeds of hope, awareness and compassion in everything you write and speak and we are immensly grateful for who you are and what you do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and I wish you all the best for your new endeavours.
Hi Charles, about half way through the essay something in me started getting hooked up on ‘the thing’ you overlooked – and then you circled right around to it in your conclusion, which was beautiful. “The thing” I was referring to in my mind is how all this mess we’re currently experiencing in ‘the media’ – the polarization, the distortion, the biases – are not much else than the ‘making visible’ of the deletions, distortions and biases of our own individual minds. The internet, and with it, the opportunity for EVERYONE to make visible what’s going on inside their mind (sometimes with great visual skill, creating fake videos of events they BELIEVE could have happened) is also an opportunity to take a look at our human condition in all it’s insanity – and, if we are open – start healing it. We’re all driven by habit, by fear – by over 179 brain biases that pretty much make it impossible for us to perceive ‘objective’ reality (whatever that may be). All we’re seeing now is that becoming visible. And if we look at it at a macro scale, as you like to do, it will drive us crazy – because it IS crazy. There is no reconciling it, there is not making sense of it, there is no solution. But I think what we can do is appreciate the fact that we can now SEE it – when previously we couldn’t. Which brings me to your conclusion. No ‘mind’ was ever changed by facts the same way no one was ever ‘healed’ by therapy. What changes us are powerful stories – experiences. Connection. Getting out of our heads and into our hearts. I believe what is needed now is to leave the debating, the arguing, the analysis, the intellectualization – all those expressions of the ‘Freudian’ defense mechanisms – and do the one thing that we feel least inclined to do: connect with our heart, with each other – and start dreaming. And while that is a trigger in itself – it feels unsafe and – to the competition minded among us – feels like we’re ‘losing’ – but we’re at a point where there’s almost nowhere else to go. And that is an absolute blessing in a way – because it’s an opportunity to understand that there’s nowhere to get to either – there’s only what we can dream up. And while it seems like it’s the macro scale that is falling apart at lighting speed, posing an existential threat to us all – I believe our only way out of this is to turn to the micro scale – and deal with all our individual healing, one story at a time. I’m excited to see yours.
Byron B. Carrier of earthlyreligion.com says
Right on, Charles, write on! Tweek your ease with writing into a new form.
I have a gripe about Science Fiction. It uses unusable mechanisms to solve or further plots, unrealistic magical thinking.
Rather, how about utopias/dystopias built of Science Possibility? It can be visionary but built on what we already know is true and what works. Given what we know, how could it be?
“the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.” I’m all in and ready.
Jim-el Moore says
Thank you, Charles, for staying true to our conscious evolution.
Knowing is not a story itself, and is rarely imparted directly by story.
Creativity is behind every story, but isn’t its product.
Love inspires story and encompasses all story, but story can only remind us of love.
Human awareness is due, now, to evolve beyond story.
Yes, invoking causal principles (and virtual experience) will be the keys ….
But to take a break from all this work, I’d suggest that you find a sunny beach, and learn to surf. Consult Jiro Taylor, from Byron’s Bay, Australia, for tips. I’m sure you’ll enjoy sharing ideas with him.
Candida van Rood says
As I read your essay I could feel something stirring in me, a recognition and resonance.
You’ve affirmed a sense I’ve had too, that there are no reference points from our history on this planet which we can draw on now to be able to move into the fray of this new emerging world; glimpses of which shimmer through the cracks and decay of the world we are leaving.
Thank you as always for coming from the coal face of this massive shift in consciousness.
All Love to you and yours
Kate B says
Incredible. I have also been meditating on creating a work of fiction in which the protoganist’s character arc is not represented by the hero’s journey, per se, but rather a discovery of the universal truths that bind us (all forms of life) together in beingness.
I’m very excited that others are thinking along these lines of creativity as well. I agree that fiction has ways of permeating the collective unconcious that other forms of writing may not.
Best of luck to you and look forward to hearing about your endeavors.
My favourite “feel good” movie and story is La Belle Verte. Anyone know it? It was so inspiring that it was banned in 1996.
Ailean Vergean says
Hello Charles and appertaining Tifosis ,
What came to my mind as a cellular biology scientist fan of cytokines & Arthur Rimbaud and moreover inhabitant of the Waffle capital of the Universe (within) …
“What extraordinary and improbable verbiage !!?”
Waiting in great anticipation for the follow through!
Heavens to Murgatroyd.
Exit stage left! Or is it right?
Nobody really knows anymore.
Even fakers are fakes … But a Pascal is not a Newton…
It was easier to figure thinks out in Galileo’s time.
There were Torquemada style Cardinals, the Pope and basta …
You knew what you were up against! Obey or burn with your books!
Today it’s back to the Doldrum’s and the Alchemist’s The Abyss
(French: L’Œuvre au noir) a 1968 novel by the Belgian-French writer Marguerite Yourcenar. The dark ages. How much will they last?
The invisible viruses and their puppeteers are running and ruining matters and abusing people’s gullibility in view of the new new reckoning…
I am sure you can do as well. Be looking for your revival.
To the loo…
Jason Howell says
Your words ring with truth. I honor you. Thank you….
You and yours have a place by our fire…
Dan Getman says
Look at the amazing community of people who care for you, as well as for your ideas and your inspiration! Your writings and podcasts have been extremely influential for me in a desired period of isolation and revisioning of my life – wanting to be in alignment with what the earth and consciousness want now. The Buddhists would find the source of your suffering in the illusion of ego. Perhaps underneath it all, you hoped to see the the full fruits of the transformation you are indeed helping to usher, or that is ushering forth through you and through all these commenters and the planet. Give yourself time to feel your way next, perhaps. I think the river will carry you where it will. You don’t need to make the banks as you go. Or more prosaicly, you don’t need to produce earth-changing shifts in consciousness to be worthy of enjoying this life. Unless you can’t stop it!
R Douglas says
I am an outlier here as I tend to view stories –narrative in general– as analogous to sugar, something modern homo sapiens has developed an addiction to, leading to its ill-health. Our attraction to each was necessary to survival when our environment imposed hardship and danger upon us and our need for each was critical. But once we were able to obtain access to sugar at will, and make it into an essential ingredient of nearly all we consume, sugar became toxic. Likewise, I think, stories. We get addicted to the sensations they give us –of reassurance, of delight, of belief, belonging, and hope. The sensation becomes sufficiency, relegating curiosity, exploration, and effort moot.
For me, the need isn’t for a new or better narrative; it’s for a recognition that our real challenge is to move beyond the need for it.
kamir bouchareb st says
very good thanks
Charles M. says
Excellent, thank you Charles E. you said so much of what I’ve felt and thought. I am attempting the same sort of thing. Why the way, loved your book The More Beautiful World . . . I just kept thinking YES, this is the book I would have written if I’d gotten off my ass and written it (and been capable of doing so). Thank you.
Beautiful essay, Charles. I’m encouraged to see you reference Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi here, as I hold them as rare examples of courageous truth-tellers in the miasma of corporate-captured media and journalism. Another important voice to add to this short list is Chris Hedges. His piece here on the dangers of censorship and deplatforming is worthy of our attention:
Elyse Pomeranz says
Time to enter the NON-rational and bring these two streams together. Wonderful!!! There is a book called The Way of the Screenwriter by Amnon Buchbinder. Story as a living thing. We work with story not on it. Also ( Amnon Buchbinder again) The Biology of Story ( there is a course from this work of interviewing over 200 people on how story is at the centre of their work!!). There is a course that goes with this. These may be inspiring and of interest as you work with this artistic path. From the friend who sent the email inviting you to distinguish between irrational and non-rational. ie Elyse Pomeranz ( http://www.thetreeconversations.com)
Erin Geesaman Rabke says
Thanks for this essay, Charles. It lands for me like a crack where the light is coming through. I remember talking in our podcast conversation a year or two ago about this need for these kinds of stories and wondering where to find more of them. I’m thrilled you’re heeding the call to let them come through you. All blessings on that endeavor! Looking forward with joyful anticipation.
Thank you so much for this Charles. I’ve been a huge fan of your work, words and honest and authentic ongoing enquiry for many many years but this is the first time I’ve felt moved to comment. YES!!!!!!! Your words and process resonate so much for me too. This feels like a clearing in the smog. A breath of fresh air. The smell of the new. . . . A campfire of clarity calling us away from the fog of despair. I honour and salute you Charles in ALL that you do. Thank you so much for your process. So many of us are with you in this. . . . . . . The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible IS here and is beating within us. Thank you for the beacon and reminder that you are for it – over and over and over. A-ho to your words and your process and the siren song within it for all of us. YES!!!!!!
Henning Jon Grini says
This is strange! I have just released my new fiction book a month ago that describes a positive future just like Charles encourage us to do! In the future that the book describes, life is brighter, nature cleaner, and our problems mostly solved.
And in Charles spirit it’s free. Here goes:
Message from the future: WE MADE IT!
Renee Benoit says
First time commenting – You are like the waves crashing on the rocks turning the boulders into grains of sand. The ocean never wearies. Even though you say you are weary I don’t see you as quitting. I see you changing the direction of your flow. Overall I feel history supports the human race as improving. So, I am hopeful. Yet, the ocean endures catastrophe and maybe we will, too. We keep reaching for better and crashing on those rocks.
Eric Huysmans says
I feel your pain Charles, your sense of futility and your dispair, as they are mine as well. And I am looking forward to your stories. They will be filled with wisdom and love and truth. As all your essays were/are.
Keep up the spirit and keep showing us a way out of this mess!
Light, Love and Power from the Netherlands.
Felipe M says
Wow, i had to scroll down for miles so i could say Thank You Charles
I appreciate your words, heart, and efforts. I feel I am just now getting into your work – and am off to read all the essays you mentioned here.. but am more excited for the work to come. 🙂 Love to you all!
Rosalind Prosser says
This is your elderly ‘great auntie’ Rosalind making contact with you.
Thanks to the seeds you sowed in me many years ago ,when I first ‘met’ you as I read an interview with you in a free newspaper, in a cafe in Petersfield in the south of the U.K., this is what is growing from beneath the ‘compost heap’ of my earlier life’s scraps: ” In Transition.”
“I find myself opening up to ‘the Space Between’, which is the ‘Unknown where all Possibility lies’. It is the “BEYOND”, which I feel drawn to Trust, as I know I am in the ‘Field of Inter-being’, – the ‘Communal Soul of Life’, – created at Source, and the source of Creativity.”
This comes with my thanks to, and love for you, Charles.
Timo Ollech says
Yes, go ahead and do it! I’m sizzling with excitement while reading about your intention for this year.
Black Eagle says
You are obviously a Qanon anti-vaxxer Russian agent racist for doubting the neoliberal reality projection. But I’m sure you’ve been informed of that already. The comparison to late USSR is the most apt, imo, and most predictive of the fate of this USSA regime. 😉
Thank you Charles for this essay and the wonderful essays that you’ve written over the years. They’ve been a wealth of insight, and I can’t wait to read your fiction!
I just wanted to say, as an aspiring writer, after reading this heartfelt essay, I’ve never felt more confident in my decision to write primarily fiction. I’ve been struggling with this exact thing. It’s tempting to write expository essays because I feel the need to articulate the inconsistencies in everything happening right now, but the crippling resistance it invites among readers is almost too much to bear emotionally, and arguably not even useful. Story and fiction cut straight to the heart and bypass the filter of reason. They’re better at breaking the language barrier than essays because they’re viewed as art rather than an invitation to an argument.
Paul Bazely says
Beautifully put and exciting to read Charles. As an actor who works in the commercial sphere, I have grappled for years with the feeling that maybe I should quit and do something “useful” like join a permaculture collective. In recent years I’ve tried to envision telling stories that resonate with the New Story, and I have to say that more and more of those stories have come to me. I’m putting myself at the service of the New Story as an actor, (but will also carry on with my tiny Permaculture garden!)
Mark Whitman says
When all paths forward were filled with confusion and shouting, he turned to the stillness within; the keeping still that is the teaching of the mountain. Slowly, once again, through the seasons the words of the Green Mother reached him again; a voice so quiet, it cannot be heard in the shouting of the world.
Beyond a time of words, arguments and politics, we are entering the Elemental Time, when the Elemental angels of Earth, Air, Fire and Water will shake every life and seize all attention. We will have no choice but to listen…in the coming year, the Angel of Water already has the most penetrating voice…how little we have treasured this precious gift of our Mother.
Please find your story Charles…I am glad you have heard the whisper at the center of your spiral.
Like the the Blue sky, like the green, flowing hair of Our Mother Earth may you find the mountain stream
of Living water that will fill our hearts with growing balance that heals all things. Let others say words…you Charles…you write the song, the story. If it flows from Her, it will be perfect beyond measure. Breathe deep…forward.
All song…all love…all. Light. With Gratitude, Mark Whitman
Rosalind Prosser says
‘Amen’ Mark Whitman. Dadirri (Official Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Video,) on YouTube , gives another powerful offering for you Charles, and others who are receptive. Blessings to all on this transformational journey towards ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible’. Rosalind.
David Hickie, from Ireland says
Charles, you are on to something with your ideas for story-telling. I am exhausted from my efforts to bring about change through conventional, scientific and political channels. I know how you feel. Story-telling, if done well, as I’m certain you will do, is a deeper way to connect with people. Our salvation, and that of the earth, will happen when good science merges with our innate spirituality. Poetry, painting, story-telling, music, dance, and all the creative arts, are every bit as important as scientific and technical fields in bringing this about. These connect with our emotional bodies and stir our souls with feelings of love and our sense of beauty. We need reverence for people and nature to save ourselves and the world. I am excited for you, and I wish you every good fortune in tapping into that bountiful cosmic flow to produce works that will continue to inspire us! David
Nate Bochsler says
Inspired by your inspiration Charles! Have fun with your journey and continued blessings 🙏🏼❤️
I have to say that I do not agree with his implication (if I understood him) that banning Trump from Twitter is/involved or is somehow equivalent to demonizing 75 million Trump voters. I personally would only generate demonization images about a small fraction of them… Many of the rest I see as “mistaken” … The vast majority of those 75 million have not been banned from any social media nor prevented from writing letters to the editor, calling in talk shows, nor threatened with economic or social sanctions, shunned in public, etc.
RE: “When corporate-government powers have captured the press and our means of communication (the internet), what is to stop them from quashing dissent?”
IMO this is an exaggeration: The traditional media continues to hold, as best it can, corporations and government accountable. Read the Atlantic, New York Times, New Yorker. MSNBC , sixty Minutes, and even Fox (sometimes) will do serious investigative journalism that does lift up the curtains as to what’s going on in government and corporations.
And despite the fact that Twitter and Facebook are muting some voices on their platforms, I think it’s an exaggeration to suggest that corporate and government have “captured the Internet.”
millions of informational emails (both delusional and dangerous left and right wing, and useful and life supporting) continue to flow pretty freely (except in places like China and North Korea.)
In one respect I somewhat agree with him that there’s a downside/risk to pushing right-wing extremist crazies* off mainstream platforms. See this from a BBC site:
The move away from mainstream platforms poses a risk, according to Mina al-Lami, jihadism specialist at BBC Monitoring, who sees parallels with Islamist militant groups who have been subject to similar crackdowns.
“Members of the fringe far-right may now slip under the radar into closed spaces which use end-to-end encryption,” a very secure method of exchanging messages, she says. “Their radicalisation goes unchecked and unmonitored.”
The social media giants acted to remove QAnon groups after the violence in Washington, but they have quickly rebuilt themselves elsewhere.
I personally believe that Twitter was more than justified in closing Trump’s account.
IMO he should’ve been throttled on social media long ago…. not wait until the proverbial mushroom cloud (incitement to overturn the US government by violence) appeared.
Here’s my take: Mainstream media and social media gave him billions of dollars in free publicity during his candidacy. As a VP at CBS said (this is close to an exact quote) “Trump is bad for the country but is good for CBS [ratings].” I’m not suggesting I would have wanted him censored or actively suppressed in the press (he certainly was and should have been free to buy advertising and write letters or even an occasional opinion piece) but they gave ever nutty comment he made front page and sound-bite coverage. Without that I have some doubt he’d have even gotten the nomination.
PAUL Zwaga says
Thanks! Keep your attention high!
Ode to Joy
Joy, beautiful spark of Divinity [or: of gods],
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire,
Heavenly one, thy sanctuary!
Thy magic binds again
What custom strictly divided;*
All people become brothers,*
Where thy gentle wing abides.
Whoever has succeeded in the great attempt,
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won a lovely woman,
Add his to the jubilation!
Yes, and also whoever has just one soul
To call his own in this world!
And he who never managed it should slink
Weeping from this union!
All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breasts.
All the Just, all the Evil
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us and grapevines,
A friend, proven in death.
Salaciousness was given to the worm
And the cherub stands before God.
Gladly, as His suns fly
through the heavens’ grand plan
Go on, brothers, your way,
Joyful, like a hero to victory.
Be embraced, Millions!
This kiss to all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Are you collapsing, millions?
Do you sense the creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy!
Above stars must He dwell.
I have been following your essays for a few years, and have yet to be disappointed in what you present. Nothing you have done has been in vain! You come from a place of love and compassion which you freely share from your heart and mind. Although it may appear that the gifts you have shared have not been received. That is the illusion. I suggest to you that love and compassion are infinite and will patiently wait until one is willing to receive. So please continue to share your beautiful gifts in whatever way strikes you as appropriate, for they are never lost.
Ryan Yoder says
Thanks for that! here is the song that crawled out of my soul a couple months ago. Might resonate. The tune is some sort of throat singing, heavy metal, shamanic something or other, ala the viking band Heilung!!! can’t wait to read your story when its done! Ryan
Awake Arise my sleepy friends
Remain not trapped within the fen
Of lies that come from CNN
And Fox News grinning in its den
Beware the twisted hand they lend
Like digits on a card for you to spend
Good cop bad cop racketeering
Always talking never hearing
Into darkness dimly peering
Unaware of dangers nearing
Patriotic fogs are clearing
Showing us the Beast that’s at the steering
Descendants of Hippocrates
Have lost the forest in the trees
As empires hypocrisy
Has driven reason to its knees
And now all passion seeks to flee
In freedom that’s a fading memory
A wave is crashing Gaia’s shore
With crushing technocratic roar
And life is shaken to the core
Her dance upon the verge of war
Soon crushed to ash forever more
By gears who’s logic we call order
On Armageddon’s withered plain
Apocalypse has come again
Her tears torrential burning rain
Diesel fumes and human pain
Prometheus will stand again
Objecting to the Cancers creeping stain
Awake Arise to glory ride
Resolve to strengthen weary stride
And weep the tears he never cried
Prometheus was never tried
For charges of this matricide
Implying that the beast to us has lied
Awake arise my lonely friends
Our stories not yet at its end
Hold hand in commune once again
And breath our air together when
Our mother leads us round the bend
To battle with the beast of separation
Her weapons are the earth and sun
The web of life so finely spun
Singing dancing music fun
And knowing that we all are one
Transcending all the roads that run
Before us on the journey just begun
Robin B-W says
Omg! Thank you for this!! Seeing in print what I’ve been thinking myself (no where near as eloquently!) is both difficult and freeing. There is so much bubbling almost to the surface—and yet not seen. Hope is so fragile now and anything that contributes to that is huge!!
Thought provoking and inspiring. Thank you Charles.
Stephen James says
Love your book, The Ascent of Humanity is off these times but I think you are completely amiss here, unfortunately. Time will tell (probably before the end of April)… nothing can stop what is coming next. Best wishes, have a great 2021.
Dear Charles, though I am not a “follower” each time I meet you somewhere on the screen in person or by your texts I am deeply touched and feel this connectedness of love among all beings which is beyond all the appearances. Nothing you think, do, write or say is in vain. I deeply believe that it shapes the world of tomorrow and our wish to become “good ancestors” for life on this beautiful earth.
Please go for your wonderful intention ” to produce a story of the first kind, an emanation from a future I like to call “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.” We n e e d s shared vision to persevere the hard times waiting for all of us. With an inspiring vision of “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.” we will be able “to move mountains” and rebecome human BEINGs.
Thank you for this and all of your deep thinking and questioning…
A suggestion (should you be open to it): seek some collaborators in your story dreaming… Valerie Kaur is an amazing story teller and catalyst for Revolutionary Love. Also Robin Wall Kimmerer.
I look forward to your creation! For years I have been telling fellow workshop/retreat goers when they bemoan ‘now we have to go back to the real world’ -NOOOO. This retreat is a deep dive in to the real world… now we go back to delusion, deception, de-humanizing cutting ourselves off from our hearts and our soul!
I am a fellow compassionista – facilator of Compassionate Listening for decades.
PS. I’ve been rewatching Star Trek The Next Generation – Captain Picard and gang: gives me heart for the world we seek! Watch with your son!
paul brown says
Your analysis of our dilemma is compelling, but I’d like to contribute my viewpoint as a scientist who is committed to the scientific method, an approach to approximating truth that serves us well in all our endeavors, not just “science,” however defined. Most importantly, the scientific method is being applied to many disciplines previously considered off limits: e.g., psychology, the nature of objective reality, even spirituality. The elements of this approach are accessible to all of us: repeatable observation, hypothesis formation guided by reason and the principle of parsimony, disproof of universal statements, and so forth. Although peer review has its unavoidable faults, it is a form of judgement by trusted experts.
All of us have the option to consult evidence-based expert opinion, if we take the trouble to do so. It provides a basis for debate and discussion. We also have the option of rejecting crap that is served up to us by non-experts without evidence.
We all need to exercise those options. Democracy is not possible otherwise.
Melanie Black Loyd says
I could feel the energy of your decision to write the fiction. It will be most FUNderfully amazing. Sending you my responding energy.
Dear Charles – not wanting to cheer your despair, but YAY! Perhaps you are in transition, the time in the birthing process when we feel utterly doomed, which signals the nearness of emergence. In my experience, it is also a developmental stage characterized by extreme discomfort, before a new evolutionary layer unfolds, be it at the level of the individual, the societal, global, or even cosmic (maybe? I can’t say i know anything about that; only that the pattern seems to hold for layers and layers of micromacro). I am delighted to hear the sound of your heart shifting in this way, and look forward to experiencing what wants to come through you.
Avery Mickalide says
Charles, I wish you the absolute best for your creative process! I love you, I support you, and your transition now into fully tapping into the power of story , the very fact that you are making this subtle shift of focus, sets a positive psychic blueprint for our society. Godspeed brother.
Meg Donnelly says
Hi Charles I have only just read this and am so excited for you! As a screenwriter myself this is fantastic news. I have always seen your writings as putting into prose what I could only say in fiction or poetry. How lovely that you are now going to put your own prose into story! You have been a big inspiration for me in coming up with ideas since I first started reading your books and participating in the inaugural Space between Stories course. So it doesn’t surprise me you are starting with a new type of dystopian fiction- this is what I am currently dabbling in as well. Something that shows what a new story can look like. I was only just thinking the other day of the idea of starting film festivals- online and in local communities around the theme of a more beautiful world. I have been applying for film festivals for my short film and have realised there is a bit of a gap there! I think it’s time for a new genre- MBW films- what do you think?
All the best, Meg
Took another look at this essay and I was reminded of your intention to do a screenplay. I sent you a separate email telling you about a young person I know who does music soundtracks. She is capable of providing music that fits the feel or theme a person is aiming to express in their film. Worth checking out I think.
I hear you Charles. Thank you and bless you.
I swing wildly from a kind of denial and just wishing to wake up from an insane dream of being an alien stranded on a weird planet, scratching my head and wondering “why do they do it like that here” to questioning myself “am I doing enough? What more can I do?” to acceptance that at some level all is very well and trying to live my truth.. No wonder I feel exhausted much of the time! I guess living the new story is the only possibility. Thank Heavens for oases like your website and the comments of your readers!
Seán David Middleton says
I want to hear or read that story.
Invisible John says
“Finally I would describe how a different mythology of wholeness, ecology, and interbeing would motivate a new politics.”
To reason with a madman– first you must not be one yourself. That is the hard part. Really hard.
Most folks here, I’m guessing, will not like hearing this. Oh well…..
One cannot lead others to a place one has never been. This magical story of fiction Charles aspires to write– of course he dare not write it! To do so would be tantamount to self-immolation. If he dared travel to where he needs to go in order to write it, he would have to give up everything he holds dear in his life. Once there, he would never return because the knowledge acquired there would guarantee his summary execution at the hands of his peers if he did.
Like Andy says, “but hasn’t that story already been written?” Of course it has. It has already been written a thousand times and people are still writing it. It’s not that we don’t have the story/myth/whatever to save us, it’s that we don’t really understand it on a deep enough level. We abhor and loathe this level as standard cultural practice which leaves us entirely unable to give a shit about it.
Charles, this strikes me as the saddest thing I’ve ever read from you. Our hero, at the hour of our gravest need, stumbles and falls to his knees, head in hands, disillusioned by the reality of his own impotence. He can only watch aghast while we thrash about preparing to kill and devour each other. We are deeply moved to comfort him.
(There, there…..your expository writings shine a brilliant, heartening light! Never mind reasoning with madmen. You are loved and appreciated by many of the not-quite-so-mad. As you were, soldier!)
There is this notion out there that all that is needed for us to move beyond this violence-based, sickly kaleidoscopic, dizzyingly endless merry-go-round we love so much is simple recognition/realization of some kind, a bright & shining one-size-fits-all cosmic truth, a magical story that touches our hearts and changes us permanently inside forever, a silver bullet of sorts, “If we could only find it and get it out there to everyone!”
Wouldn’t that be nice? One grand hero, or even lots of lesser ones, living fearlessly devoted to breaking down illusions, slaying all manner of dragons and beasts within themselves and therefore able to bring back the gold within and distribute it outward to save us all?
Nobody wants to do the work! Everybody wants to be saved by a hero. “Bring me the silver bullet! Bring me my gold on a shiny platter!” This is the reality of our condition, is it not?
I would agree that a sufficient number of Charles-esque heroes running around the planet would likely trigger some kind of groundswell toward, at the very least, a less-violent way of living amongst each other. But folks like this are of minuscule quantity and they are generally ignored, rejected and even shunned for the light they bring because, well, sorry about this but, cockroaches flee into the corners when this light goes on.
And if the dummy doesn’t turn it off quick, they will come out of the corners and swarm over you until you do turn it off. This is because the message of the hero is one we don’t want to hear. There is no Great Truth on a golden platter. The hero slays the beast then brings us a mirror and a blade and demands that each of us disconnect from the tyranny of social norms, stand in front of the mirror and deconstruct ourselves, piece by piece, until nothing remains but that which cannot be cut away.
Yuck! This is frightening, painful, socially alienating, seemingly endless work that, for me anyway, takes up most of a lifetime. Who the hell wants to do it? Pretty much nobody and I don’t blame them. If I had known what I was getting into way back in my 27th year, I would never have started.
I would have laid on the couch in front of a TV waiting for a hero to tell me a magic story too.
Thank you Charles sharing your enlightening views and your own struggle as well. I’m sure it will lead to valuable output simply because your source has proven to improve you year by year. Keeping the balance AND bringing razor-sharp pictures of todays situation is what we all need! I will push you on my blog’s wherever I can! Wishing you many enlightened moments!
Susan Stedman says
I am late to the party here, Charles, but I did want to address one thing that was brought up here. I am excited to see your vision/version of a more beautiful Earth, and I also want to point you to another one that is out there that feels quite real to me for reasons which I will explain. This world is in middle earth and the hollow earth as written about by Aurelia Louise Jones and Dianne Robbins. You mentioned this concept as one that is an obviously wrong-headed idea, yet I wonder if you have ever read these books. I actually had the same reaction as you expressed here when I first heard about it. But the reason I can’t deny them is that I have personally experienced these worlds in the dream-state, and even wrote clearly about them in a dream journal I kept for almost two years, long before I read the books. The beauty of these worlds and the wisdom conveyed in these books are even greater than the Narnia books that kept me going in my childhood and gave me hope. If you haven’t read them yet, I would encourage you to do so, and then please give me your honest opinion of what you find there, as I really do respect your perspective!