Charles Eisenstein is an American author and public speaker who examines the unspoken narratives that direct our society and our lives. His work covers a wide range of topics, including the history of human civilization, economics, spirituality, and the ecology movement. Key themes explored include anti-consumerism, interdependence, and how myth and narrative influence culture.
Eisenstein graduated from Yale University with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy. He lived in Taiwan for nine years, where he became fluent in Mandarin Chinese and worked as a translator. He married there, had children, and later returned to the United States. The Ascent of Humanity, which was published in 2007, became his first commercially successful book, launching his writing career. Eisenstein has since written many books, including The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible and Sacred Economics.
His newest book, The Coronation, In The Coronation, social philosopher Charles Eisenstein presents key building blocks of post-Covid sense-making. These unforgettable essays narrate the disintegration of an old normal, and old reality, even, Eisenstein says, an old mythology. Controversial when they first appeared, these essays—with new introductions to each by the author—ring with relevancy as the charge dissipates from previously hot-button issues. Now, as we survey the post-Covid landscape, we have the opportunity to build something more sound, more whole, and more sane.
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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 262
Charles Eisenstein 0:00
Be present to the joy to the miracles to the power to choose.
Alex Ferrari 0:18
I like to welcome to the show, Charles Eisenstein. How you doing, Charles?
Charles Eisenstein 0:21
Hey, Alex, happy to be here.
Alex Ferrari 0:22
Thank you so much for being on the show my friend, I truly appreciate it. I'm a fan of your work, man, you are, you're doing doing good god, you're doing God's work. I've been in many ways helping helping society out. But my very first question to you, sir, is what? How did spirituality influence your work? And how did you like? How did? How did you even? What spirituality in your world in the first place? And how did it influence your work?
Charles Eisenstein 0:46
The word spirituality is really loaded. And it can, a lot of people take it to mean something that's outside of the physical realm, outside of the scientific realm, but I see it more as that which the scientific and physical modes of sensing have not yet acknowledged. So it's not like some separate reality from scientific reality. But it's the things that we do not yet know how to measure, or maybe that cannot be measured. In fact, I think that's ultimately where I would define spirituality. It's everything that's qualitative, and everything that escapes reduction. And so as far as like how my work and my life has been influenced by that, I guess it goes back, you know, I at university, I studied mathematics and philosophy, I was pretty much at least superficially, a firm believer in science and in the scientific project to encompass all knowledge within its domain. But I had a secret doubt, a dissatisfaction with that, which probably opened me to take seriously the experiences that I had following or that, that showed me directly that there is a lot to reality that I had not learned in university, and that had been banished into unreality, by the paradigms and belief systems that I had been indoctrinated into. So, you know, so for me, like spirituality is, I guess, it's to first it's to acknowledge and investigate and explore those things that are beyond what our society holds as real. And, secondly, the realization that these excluded areas of knowledge, and being go all the way to the root of what it is to be human, what it is to exist in the world. You know, they're not just like some curiosity out there. But they're, they're core to who we are and therefore to living a meaningful and happy life.
Alex Ferrari 3:18
Well, let me ask you then why are people so afraid? In today's especially the western society, are so afraid to even talk have open conversations about spirituality or these deeper mysteries that they many times you right, look at oddities, or phenomenon or things like that, that like, oh, well, that's just that or, you know, oh, my grandmother saw grandpa die, you know, it matter at the these kinds of things are kind of phenomenons. Why are they afraid to talk about it publicly? More and more, and you're right, the word spirituality and you can even say the word God, mean, God is super loaded. Unfortunately, you know, now we have to call it a universal source, which I don't care it whatever you want to call it. But I remember I mean, even when I was growing up, the word God was used very frequent. Now, it's a loaded word. So I agree with you on the spirituality. But what is what's your opinion on that?
Charles Eisenstein 4:11
Yes, some people are afraid to talk about it. Other people maybe talk about it too much. Agreed. I think the reasons are pretty obvious. Like some of the reasons are obvious. Like, you know, no one want you don't want people to think that you're weird. You don't want people think you're impractical and unrealistic, and maybe a little crazy. Because in many societies, not just our own, excuse me. The very definition of insanity is to see and believe things that are not shared by everybody else. Which could actually in a more objective sense mean that you're eminently sane for not participating in a collective delusion. But From the perspective of that society you are, you're mad. And no one wants to be seen as mad and be ostracized. And, you know, historically that could even be that you end up getting sacrificed by the mob
Alex Ferrari 5:19
Burned at the stake.
Charles Eisenstein 5:21
Yeah. So we have a very deep instinct, not to violate the surrounding norms, about about what opinions it's okay to express what, what you can believe what what experiences you can share. And so there's still some of that stigma around spiritual beliefs or spiritual experiences. And, yeah, I think, also, there's an aspect of like this, it's not just, people don't only keep quiet about it, and keep quiet about their anomalous experiences, because they're afraid of what other people will think it's also they're afraid of what they themselves will think. Right? It's, it's, it's uncomfortable to acknowledge a bigger reality than the one that that is familiar. And the one that is validated by the people around you. Because if you really take in, and I don't know what, you know, experiences you've had, that you would qualify as spiritual or mystical. I've had a few and many people have here, actually, more than as you, as you're saying, like, a lot more have had them than are acknowledging it. But they're uncomfortable. Because if you really take that experience in and say, yes, that happened, then you are, you have to admit that reality is a lot bigger than the one you've been operating in. And then your life doesn't make sense anymore. You know, if I, if we're all connected, if I am more than just this, this body and this being, if I'm connected to everything and every person, then my life, my doesn't make sense anymore, to compete and to control and to withhold from others. And it turns life inside out and upside down. Anytime that you take in a data point, an experience that doesn't fit the existing story
Alex Ferrari 7:31
To go back to what we're saying in regards to the fear of the mob. I mean, the greatest fear we have from from rankings that I've seen is like death is number two, public speaking is number one. And that concept of public speaking is to be out, you know, ostracized by the audience, by the crowd, by the tribe, if you will. So there's a deep, deep seated, you know, feeling to belong, because we needed to, in order to survive, we needed to be part of that tribe. But then this the spirituality stuff. And this the phenomena we're talking about, you were saying that, if you have any new data points, it, it just crushes. The foundation. I've said this so many times on the show is like, if I was raised Catholic all my life, and the concept of reincarnation gets introduced. If I take that data point, and believe it, it destroys the foundation of what I've built my life upon. That's scary and as to be in it shakes the whole world up. So either one, I accept that too, I ignored or three I fight against it, which is what are what so many of the main problems of life is today in our society. Correct?
Charles Eisenstein 8:38
You said one thing that I wanted to maybe expand on a little bit, please, compulsion to conform in our beliefs and perceptions, is so powerful that that people will literally deny what they actually saw with their own eyes, because it is this instinct that you're speaking of, to conform to get along. It's a survival and you need it as a survival instinct. But that's not necessarily because it helps the tribe or the band survive, right? It is, because this is something I've written about extensively, but this ancient pattern of sacrificial violence that affected pretty much all human societies, and still does today, where you have social conflict, you have cycles of vengeance, you have blood feuds, societies coming apart. And the way that peace is found is that everybody turns on a victim, somebody we're a subclass of victims, who are dehumanized, ostracized, ritually murdered, and once that is accomplished, then peace and harmony reign again, because all of that blood loss and that desire for vengeance and that desire to do something about this insult that has happened to me in this blood feud, that has been expiated that has been resolved, Harmony rings. So in times of stress of social stress, social tension, it is imperative not to be identified as subhuman, as someone outside society as a witch as a Jew as a heretic as an anti Vaxxer
Alex Ferrari 10:31
As a Christian in the Roman times, yeah.
Charles Eisenstein 10:34
Yeah. Yeah, whatever it is, like this, this mob impulse is terrifying. Like we like it's such a deep instinct that, like you see it in school on the schoolyard? You know? Yeah, nobody wants to be the kid with cooties. And if we touch the kid with cooties, then you have curious to know, and what will associate with him.
Alex Ferrari 10:57
Why is this? Why is this so ingrained in our psyche as a species?
Charles Eisenstein 11:03
Because it's such an ancient pattern. I mean, this is the it's the pattern of the sacrificial victim. Something has to be done. Let's go find somebody to blame it on. Let's go find somebody to kill. I mean, this was actually there's actually a lot of theology built around this because the Christ story was if it had fit the normal mythological template, then, you know, here we have an unruly mob. We have social stress, hunches, pilight, he knows what to do, you direct the mobs anger, not at the authorities, not at other established factions of society directed at a criminal at a victim at some, you know, a heretic at somebody. And so, you know, against Jesus as a heretic, puts him on the cross, you know, and is hoping thereby that the mob will be satisfied that something has been done, somebody has been killed, the problem has been solved. And normally, that victim would be memorialized in myth, as a villain as an arch villain, right? This is the this is the storyline that we still find today, in superhero movies and James Bond movies and stuff like that. You find the bad guy, you kill the bad guy, and all the problems are solved. But what the crisis story does is it turns that narrative on its head by establishing the innocence of the victim. The unimpeachable innocence of the victim, which then suggests that, in fact, anybody who has ever been sacrificed to the mob, or subjected to even capital punishment, I mean, that's another example of, of ritual sacrifice. When capital punishment is highly ritualized, you know, the blindfold the last video, the last walk, like, like all these kinds of things, right? So it suggests that anyone who has been subjected to ritual sacrifice is also innocent. And we've all had that experience where, or most of us have had, maybe when by the class bully points to you, and everybody joins in, and it's like, but I'm innocent. You know, even if you have done something wrong, you're innocent of what is imputed to you, which is that you are the cause of social tension. You are the so anyway, I wrote extensively about this, and I'm not sure if we want to go, and I've already gone kind of deep into it, but it's okay. There's, yeah, so So, I guess what I'm saying is that this, this, the, the overthrow of this pattern, which is suggested by the Christ story, and not only by the Christ story, it's also like deeply in Buddhism as well as Hinduism. But the idea that, that the origin of this pattern is our tendency to dehumanize each other, to stand in judgment of each other. Right. And once that is in place, once we have that tendency, we are easily manipulated by governments, by corporations by demagogues by the elites, all they have to do is to say, that's the problem. They're the problem. That's the subclass. Those are the ones you should focus on. But we're primed for that manipulation.
Alex Ferrari 14:48
So then that is why the concept of oneness is so difficult for people to grab onto though you and I are one we are all connected to have higher of higher being of source. And we're all at the end of the day connected in a way that nature's connected nature is a perfect example of oneness. They all work together to have create an ecosystem that is balanced. There is no tree, there is competition with trees for water resources and things like that. But there is cooperation as well. But this concept of oneness is what great philosophies and great spiritual. Spiritual stories and spiritual traditions have been teaching. Even Jesus taught the concept of oneness, that everything I could do, you can do and all these kinds of things. But at the time, everyone was like pitchfork, pitchfork, pitchfork. So why is it? I mean, I think now more than ever, that where the idea of oneness is starting to come up with these kinds of conversations, and people are looking for these and listening for it, but what is it that? Why do we need separation? What is it in our psyche? Or in our programming? That is so easily to agree like, you and I are obviously different. But to believe that we're one so much more difficult.
Charles Eisenstein 16:16
Yeah, we could unpack that. Like, what do we really mean by oneness? Right! Because we are, as you said, we are different expressions, different expressions. Yeah. So so right, we're so we're different expressions of the same thing. Right. And you mentioned, you know, another saying of Jesus, everything I can do, you can do, and more and more, but you can take that in two ways. Another way to take that, as is everything that you do, I could do too. And that is the core of non judgement, to say, whatever, I judge you for whatever horrible thing that you've done, if I were in your shoes, and I'd be sure that I would not have done the same. Like, like, look at whatever public figure you, you despise the most. And you just, it's just shameful. How could he have done that? You know, like, I would never do that. If I were him? Oh, yeah. Well, if you were subjected to his entire childhood and his entire surroundings, and you really be so sure, where are you just better just have made of better stuff.
Alex Ferrari 17:33
The Eagles thinks so.
Charles Eisenstein 17:35
So. So, oneness says, We're all made of the same stuff. We're all ultimately, the same spirit made flesh, we are all emanations of the Creator. We are all. And in Buddhism, it's the concept of interbeing. That I am a holographic mirror of all that is I in the totality of my relationships. I am life. What who are you? What are you You are life you're doing what life does, from this vantage point? That tree out there is doing what life does in its circumstances. But we're all life. And that, for me that that's where I take the idea of oneness. It's not so much that our differences aren't real. We're not obliterating difference here, and the whole human drama. But we're understanding that we're coming from the same source and maybe destined to return to the same source. And that kind of leads to the to one answer, at least to the to the philosophical question you raised like, Why? Why are we in the separation? Why have we descended into this illusion of our separateness and generated all of these dramas, and horrors? And it seems like we're lost in separation, as a society, like the human condition is incredibly degraded right now. And that degradation is mirrored by the degradation of nature. And it's a moral degradation. It's an economic degradation. I mean, the way it's a bodily degradation. Horrible, horrifying, why? Why do we do this? And I think that ultimately, the answer has to do with the word I used drama. That we're entering into these multitudinous dramas, every possible story you can imagine, has happened on this earth and to experience that, in order for We're consciousness to know itself through his diverse situations and stories, so that eventually as we come back together, we are enriched by the journey. And, and like God knows God through the fracturing of God's self, into these trillions and trillions of pieces, and what's going to happen, and part of the story is that, at a certain phase of it, it seems like we'll never get back to oneness will never return to God. That dark night of the soul is a key part of the experience. And so yeah, I'm getting really like, theological here, but I couldn't make it practical. But maybe I'll pass it back to you for the moment.
Alex Ferrari 20:50
Well, let's I mean, the one thing you said before was about the conditioning, like you look at the the most vile person that you despise, publicly, and what they're doing, and you're like, I would never do anything like that. But you are so right, based on that person's life conditions, how they came in, because we all I still believe we do all come in, in a pure state. Yet there is and if you want to get a little bit more spiritual last, but there are probably karmic things and other things that come in, I always I always, because I have kids, I go, Oh, she was programmed like that at the factory. Like, I have no idea how that we didn't teach her that we didn't teach him that like if there is a programming that comes in, but that one of those programs is in hate and isn't separation that is taught. And that programming, as like Bruce Lipton says, the first seven years is so crucial, because you pick up everything and you're pretty much programmed for life. You spend the first seven years programming yourself, and then the rest of your life trying to deprogram to go back to where you came from at the beginning. So I look at when I see people who are doing things in this is on a deeper spiritual level, things that I wouldn't agree upon. You know, someone cuts me off in traffic, because I'm like, what is happening to them? Or if they're yelling and screaming, or they're doing something like, what, what is happening? What has happened to them to get to that point, you read the news, you read the news, you see the news, and you see something violent? Why did it take for that human being, to get to that point to they convince themselves that that's what they needed to do at that moment in time. So I look at it a little bit differently in regards to the programming and I think, if most of us started to look at things a little bit more, wider, and awareness, I think things might start changing a little bit. Would you agree?
Charles Eisenstein 22:45
Yeah. I mean, we're another way to put it is that the way that our parents raised us, like they're good or bad parenting is only a very tiny part of the programming. Great, agreed, you know, like, in utero and in childhood, we're absorbing the zeitgeist, we're absorbing the attitudes of the whole culture, we're absorbing the stories and mythologies that that culture holds about, about what is real and what it is to be human. We are epigenetically like processing the trauma of past generations, we are repositories for all kinds of trauma and atrocities atrocities that happened all over the world that influence our incarnation. You could look at that through a past life lens, or simply like the these, these events are in the field. And you could even say that, on a soul level, we choose to be born into this difficulty into this trauma into this pain in order that we may heal it. So, so, which is kind of contrary to the normal idea of karma that people who have really shitty circumstances are being punished for past life. malfeasance, but it's actually could be kind of the opposite, that people who are really bad circumstances volunteered for a big mission to, to, to walk that journey and come back, or at least come partway back to source. someone's like, someone's like, oh, like someone has to volunteer to be that abused kid to you know, get cancer when you're three years old. Yeah. When the more I realized this on a deeper than intellectual level, or less of an effort it takes to stand in non judgment. I have a friend who his brother is just a real asshole. By violent, you know, abusive, narcissistic, just like a real jerk, you know? And my friend is very angry at his brother but You know, when we explored, like, what is going on? I mean, he's just like all this anger but but we explored, you know, some of his early childhood memories when they were abused by their babysitter, you know, and his little brother, you know, three years old, like getting like taken into a room and board knows what was done to him, you know? And then it's like, well, you really can't blame the poor guy or what he became when I mean a three year old, you know, and then being told if you tell your parents, I'll kill your parents. A few three year olds gonna
Alex Ferrari 25:44
The trauma sure Yeah.
Charles Eisenstein 25:47
And then you want to shift the anger to that babysitter who abused him. But what's that guy's story? Turns out that like, two of his brothers committed suicide. I mean, you know, who knows? Like his father was an alcoholic? I mean, who knows? So do we tend to blame the Father, and just keeps going and keeps going. And eventually, you run out of people to blame, or blame no longer becomes the best strategy to try to change this? Because really, that's what we want. It might feel gratifying to punish the wicked. But I like to ask if you could, if what it takes for for this never to happen again. Is that the wicked get off scot free? The perpetrators, the Illuminati, the power elite, the human trafficking, Satanists, et cetera, et cetera, whatever you hold in your worldview, if they get away with it, but it never happens again. Are you willing to pay that price? Are you willing to pay the price of you're never vindicated? Have you never celebrated as having been right all along? Are you willing to pay that price? What are you willing to lay on the altar of healing? Because it's going to take a lot, because as I said, we are deep, deep in it. We're deep in the pit of hell.
Alex Ferrari 27:12
But that's, but that's ego, though. Yeah, that's absolutely ego when you I mean, you just said it very so clearly. Like, if they can get away with it, and you are guaranteed it will never happen again. Can you let it go? Ego won't let it go because you've been wronged. But if you're able to transcend ego a bit, and forgive, that's where, you know, Jesus, and all the spirits forgiveness is so powerful, you know, empathy, forgiveness, these much more powerful than vengeance, because it's a lot harder to forgive than it is to get revenge and vengeance on someone. Because it feels good for the moment. And that's the thing for it's an instant moment, but afterwards, then you probably feel guilty about that. Or you have to deal with that, that wait, we're in forgiveness. It's harder, but then you're good. It's kind of like a cleansing almost. Do you agree?
Charles Eisenstein 28:11
Yeah. And when you get vengeance, I mean, this is what we talked about, at the beginning, the origin of this social pattern, like somebody gets vengeance, and they feel good. And everyone, actually, with them thinks that, that was great, you know, but then the guy that he killed in vengeance, what his brothers think, and his children, and his wife, and her and her brother in law, and, you know, like, they want to get vengeance back, and they do, and then they feel good. And then it goes back and forth,
Alex Ferrari 28:42
Right! Or you could forgive and stop and steps.
Charles Eisenstein 28:45
And what does it take to forgive? And this is the link back to non judgment, which comes from understanding what it's like to be somebody else. And when you hear that story, oh, like this guy was abused to. He was once upon a time a cute little Sweden's, you know, innocent baby. He wasn't born bad. Right? And then he went through this, that and the other thing, and he became like, once, you know, the full story, it's not actually hard to forgive. It's actually almost unstoppable. You know, if you have to make an effort to forgive, usually, that means that you're missing some information.
Alex Ferrari 29:30
It's very true, because you're right. Every monster that's ever walked the planet came in as an innocent baby, throughout history, any atrocities that would have done throughout it,
Charles Eisenstein 29:41
And then at this point, people talk about psychopaths and so forth. And there's exceptions to that. But I think, you know, to account for that we can take it to the other the level of karma and epigenetics and but yeah, as a general rule.
Alex Ferrari 29:55
They're babies. Yeah, there's just, I mean, when they first come I'm out. They generally aren't psychopaths, at one month old, generally speaking, something might occur in their, in their systems and their brains in the programming. But generally speaking, if you could understand that, it starts to clarify things a little bit. But sometimes the anger is so strong. And the wanting for vengeance is so strong it clouds completely the
Charles Eisenstein 30:24
And anger is okay. Like, I'm not like, you know, be angry, obviously. Yeah. But what happens, like anger is a powerful energy for transformation. It says, No, not anymore. No. But when it is channeled onto hate onto blaming someone or something that isn't the real cause of the problem, the anger is neutralized, the transformative power of the anger is neutralized, as it's not actually going towards the source of the problem anymore. Right? It's like, you know, it's like, like, in the Middle Ages, when, when the Black Plague game, and murderous mobs went around killing the Jews, blaming them for poisoning the wells and making everybody sick. Right? And they were like, yes, we've done something about this. Revenge, you know, but did it help solve the plague? Not in the slightest. So this is a classic example of, of anger diverted onto hate, than fear diverted onto hate.
Alex Ferrari 31:29
Let me ask you this, because I mean, obviously, you have an intellectual mind. And you think a lot about things. But yet you also have a spiritual side? How do you balance these two energies? Because the intellectual is a different energy than the spiritual? And how do you kind of balance? How do you balance that?
Charles Eisenstein 31:53
It's not a matter of balance. It's about understanding the the role and utility of the intellect. It's as the intellect is, is a way to gather certain kinds of information that then feed into the body into the heart, and inform the hearts choices. The intellect is also a way to play. It can accomplish certain tasks, it's useful for certain things. So it's, for me, it's about recognizing what it is it is not useful for. Like, for example, I'm trying to make a choice about love, right, and who to spend my time with. It's not going to do much good to add up the costs and benefits. It's not a good way, like you could try to choose that way. But it won't. You for one thing, you will always regret your choices. Because you can never add it all up. And you will also be indecisive, you'll never be certain you never be confident in your choices. So that's like a classic misapplication of what we're calling intellect.
Alex Ferrari 33:20
Because love is unquantifiable. So it's completely unquantifiable. So if you try to add intellect into a power, like love, or a feeling like love, I mean, there have been people like plus sign plus side negative sides. Should I love this guy? Should I marry this person? That kind of thing? And you can't quantify it no matter how intellectual you might be. Right? But has there ever been a point though, that your intellect has gotten in in has become a hindrance in your spiritual understanding? Because some of the concepts in spirituality do not jive with intellectual reasoning, you know, materialism versus quantum physics, if you will. Those kinds of things like they're two very separate things. But you seem to balance them and you seem to where I said they weren't balanced, but you seem to play with them.
Charles Eisenstein 34:12
It's that. So maybe we'll talk about reason, rather than intellect. Okay. The places that reason will take you depend on your starting point. Depends on what you take for granted what you assume. So a lot of what we know through our spiritual faculties does seem to contradict what reason tells us but that's because reason is based on the idea of a separate self in an objective universe. In which change happens when a force is exerted on a mass. So it seems irrational to a expect synchronicities to happen when you let go of control. That seems irrational, it seems irrational to expect that a change will happen in a different part of the world because of your person that your personal choices have any effect on what happens globally. But that's because of the foundation, the foundational assumptions of our reason, which are separation. So suppose you say, You suppose you you have different assumptions. For example, you have the assumption of interbeing, that I'm intimately connected to. All that is, therefore, anything that happens within will be mirrored by something that happens without, therefore, the intelligence of myself is mirrored by the intelligence of the world and of all things. So, of course, there's going to be synchronicities when I'm not imposing my own order, on the external world. So this is like a different foundation of reasoning. It can be as simple as, as, I'm not separate, we're not separate from nature, therefore, the well being of the soil will be our own well being. Right? And I don't know how maybe, maybe I don't know the chemistry, or the biology, but as a basic principle, of interbeing. When I do unto thee, I do unto myself. And that's actually the esoteric interpretation of the golden rule. It's right, it's not a Rule, do unto others, as they, as you would have them do unto you. It is as you do unto others, so you are doing to yourself. So, so if we take those as foundational assumptions, then reason will be aligned with spiritual understanding. It will not be in conflict with it.
Alex Ferrari 37:06
But it all depends on the foundation that you're talking about. So like indigenous people, like you were saying, have a much more connected to nature. And they and they look at, at at Western society with oddity, like, I was, I forgot who I was, I was interviewing someone, I read it somewhere, I saw it somewhere where there was a story of somebody who came in to a tribe in Africa, and said, Oh, my God, you're doing such amazing work here, you should come back to America with me, we can start something together. And he's like, America, you mean, where they where people jump off of buildings? Because they can't deal with life? No, thank you. Like they just it was so far beyond their concept of their foundational understanding of life. They're like, No, no, no, no, I don't need more, I don't need more separation, I'm happy where we are. So it's, it's, it's a such a deep well of, of a conversation, we can go in so many different directions. You were saying something earlier, when I wanted, I wanted to touch upon that God or source, we are expressions of it. Everything's expressions of source, whether it's the trees, the ants, the soil, all of it. I came up with this hypothesis that we are God's algorithm, each one of us in a sense that there is a predictable path. But at any moment, it has free will. And it can jump left to right. And it's exploring, and learning and growing. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.
Charles Eisenstein 38:49
Yeah, I think there's some there's an important insight in there. Because on the one hand, we can we can say, if I were in those circumstances, I probably would have done the same. That kind of gets deterministic, like what about choice. So I go back, I go actually, to the example of quantum mechanics and the single slit experiment, sure, where you're shooting a beam of whatever electrons or photons through aperture, and you can predict probabilistically what the distribution will be, where they where the diffraction will, will show up on the detector screen. So there'll be, you know, the highest density in the center, and then it'll be like this bullseye pattern, right. So in a way, it's predictable. However, from the perspective of each individual photon, it's totally unpredictable. I mean, you can predict it probabilistically it's more likely to be in this era area. And the chance of it being out here is you know, a 1,000th of a percent and the chance of it being way over there is one and a quadrillion. Like, you can say that, but each one behaves well, quantum mechanics, they call it random or a causal. But another way to say it is that each one chooses where it will go. So we could look at ourselves as the same way, we are these souls that are propelled through the aperture of our circumstances, which makes it very likely that you know, you are an abused child, you grew up to be an abuser, yourself, that goes are the that's the, that's the likely place where you will land Yeah. But you are not determined by that. You have choice. And what then are the conditions by which you will choose something else. And this gets into experiments with Psy phenomenon where, where human beings can actually influence the so called randomness of quantum random events. So there's an aspect of consciousness that when awakened, and applied, and alter the probability of, and I'm just kind of drawing a metaphor here and alter the probability of where you as a soul will end up, even subject to all of the, the constraints of your aperture, subject to all of the influences of of your conditions that you're born into. You're not You're not compelled by those, you're not determined by those. So looking at it, like, if you want to take like a political or social buttons, I think that this understanding provides a way to unify the, like left wing idea that, that the, the fate of people who are born into poverty and oppression is solely due to the system. And it kind of takes away their agency and disempowers them and makes them like these objects of charity. And then the right wing view is like, no, they can choose something else, you know, don't take away their agency don't take away their choice, you know, don't make it easy for them just to, to receive handouts, right? And both of them are missing the other piece of the picture, like, yeah, like, we should definitely change the system, because the likelihood and the majority that go through this horrific aperture of poverty and addiction, and so forth, you're gonna end up in a very bad place. So yeah, we do have to look at the system, we can't just say, Oh, it's their own choice. But we also have to embrace and acknowledge and recognize that, that, that each one of these people is capable of choice is an agent of divine volition. And to not reduce them to their circumstances.
Alex Ferrari 43:27
Well, I mean, and you are so right, because if there are people who are born into abusive families, and one, one path is, well, if I was abused, I'm going to probably abuse when I get older, or the other path is like I was abused, I will never allow anyone else to get abused. Two very different paths that happen all the time, by choice. Now, what skews them in which direction could be that programming in the factory, could be a kind word, could be a book, could be a movie could be a story could be another friend, there's so many things that could skew one way or the other. But there is choice, there is choice. But like you said, you know walk in someone else's shoes before you judge them. Because if you walked in the same path, who's to say that you wouldn't have made the same choices that that person did? But there is these anomalies of like, the algorithm it kind of just kind of goes where it's gonna go. And you know, I don't know how far you've gone down the rabbit hole in regards to souls karma soul blueprint, the idea that we create the circumstances that we come into this life to learn and grow. Well, if we understand I've asked this to great spiritual masters, I go, Well, if we wrote everything, what Where's freewill and the concepts that have been thrown that's been told to me is that there's these giant markers of things that you want to accomplish, you will get to those now how you accomplish them is up to you. And you can choose not to accomplish them. That's completely your choice. But these are the things you set out to try to accomplish in this lifetime. So probability of you and me becoming astronauts or NBA players, probably not going to happen. As much as we might have wanted to early on in our lives.
Charles Eisenstein 45:31
When I'm not gonna become an NBA player,
Alex Ferrari 45:34
I mean, I'm gonna I'm trying now for the Lakers next week. I don't know about you.
Charles Eisenstein 45:38
Yeah. So I think it's, you know, if you want to look at it from a perspective of soul blueprints and stuff, it's that the soul creates the, the conditions and the dilemmas and the choice points in which you exercise free will write and learn from those choices. But it does not dictate your choice in advance. Some of the situations that it creates, it's almost, you know, it's almost a foregone conclusion that you will choose something rather than something else. But what the soul creates is really what you might call the garden of forking paths. Beautiful soul creates the menu, but you make the choices. The soul creates the maze, but you choose the path.
Alex Ferrari 46:26
Right! Yeah, and but it does lean. Like you said, there are certain sets of circumstances that is a foregone conclusion that you like, it's 99%, that he's, he or she is going to walk this way. But there's still that 1% that they might go the other way. And it happens,
Charles Eisenstein 46:42
But and also like, so the way that we're looking at it is a bit simplifying, but it's also that, like, what are the conditions of the choice, and you refer to some of them earlier, like maybe that abused child did have a kindly grandmother, to give them just enough love, you know, that he was able to take a different path? Well, we also create our own conditions, by the choices that we make day to day and moment to moment of where to put our attention, that create ourselves as somebody who will pretty much automatically do something, in a certain situation, that looks like you're making a choice, but you're not, you're on autopilot, you've already created yourself to be the person who will pretty much automatically react in that way. One of the ways to do that is through the stories that we feed ourselves. So for example, if you're, if you're walking around, we're constantly running a story about how rude people are, and self centered they are. And then you're out driving, and someone pulls out in front of you. It's not like you're making a choice, when you like, lean on the Hoard and flip the guy, the bird, you know, and drive past and it's like, it's like you were possessed by something? Do you really feel like you're making a choice in those moments, where you just lose your shit? No, you're not making a choice, then you've already created yourself as the automatic being that will do that, by the stories that you fed yourself over time, by the small choices that seems small in that moment that program you,
Alex Ferrari 48:27
It's really interesting that you bring stories, as I'm not sure if you know, I come from Hollywood and filmmaking in that world. So I'm very have a real deep understanding of storytelling, and arcs and all that stuff. And the power of story. And the stories that we tell ourselves is the story is basically the programming of our life, is the way we look at life. So that's why the dangers of walk going down a rabbit hole on social media that's constantly feeding you and reaffirming the stories that if you went down the wrong path, or not the wrong path, a path that was destructive, let's say, or a story that you believe that this group is bad. And they just keep feeding you that that, that that and that and that it just reinforces and we've never had a machine like that in the history of man, that content, you're completely in a complete bubble. And your entire life view is if you watch the same media, you watch this everyone's to keep saying yes, you're right. Yes, you're right. Everything's horrible. The world's ending bla bla bla bla, I accidentally, just to play around. When I was when I was on Facebook. I would start to watch and click on only positive spiritual like Yogananda and Yogi's and stuff. And I wanted to see what it would do. And it kept feeding me the good stuff, it kept feeding me more videos, more content, more things like that. I was like, Oh my God, how powerful is this thing? And it's so it's just all depends on the beginning. The story that you tell ourselves. So my question to you is, how can we reprogram ourselves, which is the goal of art, honestly, the entire life? Like I said earlier, for seven years, your program, the rest of our life, we're trying to deprogram ourselves. What advice do you have for people who are trying to change the stories? And it could be stories about love, it could be about weight, it could be about politics, it could be about money. It could be about health, it could be about everything. How do we reprogram ourselves?
Charles Eisenstein 50:29
Yeah. Okay. So you may have noticed, when you go down one of these rabbit holes on Facebook, if it could be the positive one, where you're just giving yourself positive information, it could be, you know, whatever political ideology that you keep getting confirmation bias that affirms it, you may notice that each of these stories, each of these belief systems that you can choose isn't just an intellectual construct. But it has a feeling quality, it corresponds to a state of consciousness, you experience yourself, you experience existence in a different way, in co resonance with each of these stories. Like I noticed when I go down one of these Doomer rabbit holes. Like I feel a certain way. And I noticed that I even though I'm supposedly more informed about all of the horrors and problems and crises in the world, I actually end up doing much less about it. Because I'm missing key information. And, in a way, like something similar happens if I'm only surrounding myself with light and love, and pretending that certain things are not happening on this in this world.
So I guess I tune into one, what is healthy food for my spirit? And, you know, sometimes, you know, it's ice cream. It's cookie, it's sweet, you know, but too much of that. And I'm gonna get soft and flabby. Like Sonos, I need the bitters. There's a saying by Chaga trunk by that I really appreciate it in this regard. He says, If you can hold the pain of all the world in your heart, while never lifting your gaze from the Great Eastern sun, then you can make a proper cup of tea. Yeah. So you have to, you have to be able to be present to all of the horrors, all of the atrocities, all of the degradation, all of the despair. Got it. Yeah, yeah. But also be present to the joy to the miracles to the power to choose has to be present to that, too. If you have just the one and not the other, you're not playing with a full deck, you're not going to be able to act appropriately, which is what it means to make a proper cup of tea. We have to be able to take it all in.
Alex Ferrari 53:39
Well, that's the that's the journey of Siddhartha. I mean, that's literally the journey of Siddhartha who lived in a castle. And he didn't see age. And then then he was not he had missing pieces of information, right? And once the reality of the world, click, then he's like, whoa, whoa, whoa, after go on this path and figure this all out. But you're right. If you hide away in a cave and meditate for 50 years, and don't understand what's going on in the world. I think that we all come down here to be part of this world, and have our place in it.
Charles Eisenstein 54:11
Some people come down here to meditate in a cave for 50 years. Exactly. Yeah, they're doing important work to it's just like, we shouldn't take them as role models.
Alex Ferrari 54:20
If all of us have that be difficult.
Charles Eisenstein 54:24
Yeah. Yeah, it's not what I'm here to do. It's probably not what you're here to do. Most people listening, it's probably not what they're here to do. But what is yours to do? That nobody can tell you. If somebody tries to give you advice. That's not like blanket advice, general advice. Here's what you're here to do. It's not going to be accurate. Only somebody who knows you so deeply and so intimately and loves you might be able to help you understand what is yours to do. But That is the question that invites the answer. To even because it's it comes from a place of there is something that is mine to do. There is a beckoning a call to which I can respond. And holding that question will attune you to opportunities to discover the answer.
Alex Ferrari 55:27
Well, I mean, that's the basis of the call and the hero's journey, you know, the hero's sitting around and then all of a sudden there's a call to action, a call to adventure. And that's the call for what we're supposed to do. And then all the trials and tribulations and, and that's probably why that why you know, for everyone listening to hero's journey by Joseph Campbell, was able to do all understand myth and in really brought myth into the Western world in a way that no one had ever had before. It isn't a complete analogy to our lives. You know, the hero's journey is a microcosm of what we're going through. That's why it is the most powerful, popular storytelling technique to this day. It is the basis of every big blockbuster, every big story, it's always that.
Charles Eisenstein 56:18
So although actually, I think that there are other many storylines that are maybe becoming even more important today.
Alex Ferrari 56:26
More important, yes, popular is and there's a reason why they're popular because they've been going around since Amblin. They've been going around since you know the Epic of Gilgamesh, I mean this concept. But yes, I agree with you. There are other storylines, that should be more important than just the hero's journey. What is one of those storylines? If you don't mind me ask, I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.
Charles Eisenstein 56:47
I guess it'd be the stories that define other archetypes. They're kind of hard to access. But I guess there's the story of the hero's return. Like, what does the hero do after after Princess Leia pins the metal on his chest? Like now what? Right? But, you know, the hero is a boy archetype. It's the culminating boy archetype. And we need man archetypes. So, the, I think that that ultimately, you will discover plot lines that are built around man archetypes and woman archetypes that are mature even be a journey. You know, why is it always a journey?
Alex Ferrari 57:40
Well, you know, what's interesting is I actually had the opportunity to speak to a story, a story analyst who just developed the feminine hero's journey. And I blew my mind because I'd always it's always the male, you know, and male Merrill's hero's journey has this has a lot of guys stuff that we have to work out. But I never thought about the feminine hero's journey. And she is going through so many different ways. I mean, similar in the heroes, but the things that are happening to the to the heroine is so much different. And it's mind blowing, it was just like, Oh, my God, and and then she started showing movies of those of the of the, it's really fascinating.
Charles Eisenstein 58:26
Yeah, just be you know, can't just be a, you know, a female switched in for the male and having that same thing. You know, that's not, that's not what it is.
Alex Ferrari 58:38
Now, there's things that women's the women, again, speaking as a male, but women have a much different journey than males do in society in general. And all of the things that they went through in her, I mean, I wish I could remember them off the top of my head, but there were so many key points that were again, lining up with the male hero's journey, but how the feminine, translated that is, into their own internal journey, and evolution was fascinating, really fascinating.
Charles Eisenstein 59:11
Yeah, I kind of you kind of make me want to, like, go back and look at some of you know, Grimms fairy tales and some of the mythological literature of the West and see like, because there are some, you know, female main characters in those. And a lot of times there's like an overlay of patriarchal values, but there's still underneath that you can sometimes perceive a much older story. So that's, that's a, that'd be an interesting inquiry. Although I'm kind of like, I don't know about him, like, right now, like, in this type of intensifying crisis. I'm kind of getting caught up in being engaged in you know, current affairs.
Alex Ferrari 59:59
Well, Let me ask you this, then what is your opinion? On what effect will spirituality have and should have on the evolution of society in this new world? Hopefully that is that we're evolving to towards, you know, what is your hopes for the transformations 50 years, 100 years from now, and what part of spirituality have that ended up?
Charles Eisenstein 1:00:22
Well, spirituality can only have a positive effect, if it's integrated into materiality. If we take seriously the things that have been exiled into the spiritual realm, there have to be let back in. Otherwise, there's no chance for this planet, to even make it. We the, if we limit ourselves, in our practicality, to those things, that the old story of separation validates as real, we will never change anything, we will be overcome by the powers reads, arrayed against change, we have to access the possibilities that have been relegated to the spiritual realm. technologies, like the art of being at exactly the right place at the right time, and meeting just the right person. You can't force to happen.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:17
How many times has that happened to you in your life, that all of a sudden the right person at the right time opened up the right door, and your entire life changed? That you couldn't restaurant?
Charles Eisenstein 1:01:25
Right! Yeah, imagine if, if we're able to wield that power in our efforts to, you know, reverse ecological degeneration or social degeneration or nuclear war, you know, we need those kinds of abilities, and the things that, that, like, we see all the time in the, you know, alternative health field, you know, my wife is a healer, she like, cures medically incurable conditions, pretty much every day, you know, like, and people go back to the hospital, and they're like, the doctors are like, well, I guess we don't need to do the surgery, after all, you know, like, are we just gonna shut those off into some airy fairy realm called spirituality? No, we got to take those in. And when we take those in, for real, the whole medical system changes. And that's, that's a, just one example of what's possible for the human body is possible for the social body, the body politic, the ecological body, like there are vast creative powers available to us. When we no longer hold ourselves as alone. And the only intelligence in the world, we were able to ally with the intelligence of the body with the intelligence of the soil with the intelligence of nature, the intelligence of the oversoul of the animals, the intelligence of the whales, the intelligence of, of the cosmos, of the stars of the sun, like we are not alone here, the of the ancestors, there are our we can call them spirits if you want, but they're real. And when we shift into the worldview, that holds them as real, they become real. And have you read the amalgam of soulmates book of water and spirit?
Alex Ferrari 1:03:20
You mean? Not I'm not sure if that's the is that the one where they put energy towards water and the water crystals? Not that one, right?
Charles Eisenstein 1:03:27
No, no, I'm melanoma, so many. He's a, he just passed away, actually, he's a dagger, man, from Burkina Faso. And this book of water and Spirit chronicles his initiation into manhood, just and you know, the things that are part of that initiation, even the ones where he's permitted to talk about them, they're like, very far outside the balance of scientific reality, yet, I mean, unless he's making it all up, which would be a story that you could occupy to protect your worldview. And you will never be able to prove or disprove it. But unless he's making it up, like he's pointing us toward vastly expanded creative powers, vastly expanded power to change the world. We are not like these helpless, miniscule individuals facing vast forces and what can I what Nothing I do will ever be enough. We are powerful.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:28
But the narrative that you just said prior to saying the word powerful is the narrative that we were programmed with. And that's the that mean, you know that the we are we're just one of billions and we have no real power and blah, blah, blah, whereas you go into the deeper spiritual traditions? And they're saying, No, that's the opposite. You have all the power. You have the strength to change your world, to change your own personal world, and to change the world around you literally manipulating reality. Manipulating The Matrix, if you will,
Charles Eisenstein 1:05:01
And the modern mind has trouble grappling with that, because they're like, oh, but But what if you do that, and everyone else does it, then, you know, they're changing the world back from where you change it, it doesn't work, right? You're still only one person.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:14
But it takes the one person and the one person's energy to inspire others. And it just keeps kind of growing and growing.
Charles Eisenstein 1:05:21
But what if they don't get inspired? What if they don't do it? See, this is the this solution to that is is so mind blowing, that it's very hard for me to really hold it in my mind for very long. But it is basically that, that you shift into a reality in which other people are doing the necessary things as well. Reality is not a given. It's not static, it's not objective. So it is very important what other people are doing, and you're moving into reality which they are doing it.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:58
Well, I mean, and that's why physicists are having problems with quantum physics so much because it is starting to disprove materialism, and disprove this concept that everyone's been holding, so dear, for so many years that now something like quantum entanglement, just makes no sense. In the materialistic world, it makes no completely no sense. The split the split tests that you were talking about, makes no sense in the materialistic viewpoint. And it's starting to change perception, from my point of view from where I'm sitting. And, you know, as a host of this show, and talking to amazing people like yourself, I see the numbers, I see the people looking, I see the people searching for this information, more so than they did five years ago, 10 years ago, I have a hopeful outlook on life, I do and on the world. And I do think that we are going to be changing, but look, just just one person, myself and your, as a one person. You've written books, you've influenced millions of people with your writings around the world. I'm influencing millions of people every month with this show, and getting these ideas out there, which would didn't exist before. So there is a potential for one person to make great changes in the world, and hopefully, change those frameworks change that foundational story that people have been telling themselves to hopefully, be positive.
Charles Eisenstein 1:07:26
But I want to say that one's power to change the world does not depend on having a big audience.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:37
Agreed. Agreed, agreed.
Charles Eisenstein 1:07:39
And the heart validates that, because if you're like spending time with maybe a dying mother, or dying grandmother, or like really being there for a friend, and maybe it takes days and weeks and months of intimate care, and you're not out there changing the world, you're just taking care of a child. You know, the mindset of separation says, Well, you're not doing very much you're not doing as much as Alex Ferrari, who's reaching millions, you know, Charles Eisenstein, you know, so, so put that kid in daycare and get on with changing the world.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:19
You're right, you're absolutely right.
Charles Eisenstein 1:08:21
That's the minds logic, on the assumptions of separation, correct. But the heart knows that actually, this is the most important thing I can be doing right now. Because I can feel it. Absolutely. Heart is not lying to you. Absolutely. And we really to, for this world to really heal. We have to accept, we have to trust that knowledge of the heart about what to do. It tells us what to do. We know it unerringly directs us what to do.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:55
And when you will. And you said this earlier when you let go of control, and trying to figure out the system and hack the system, if you feel it. So something like the grandmother, the kindly grandmother who was nice to the boy, or the child who was abused, that changed that child's life and in turn changed how many other lives purely by that one moment of love and kindness and attention that she literally could have changed millions of people's lives, because one person could have touched another person, which then could have touched another person. And it could have gone on someone like that the story you just said about, you know, taking care of a sick leave child. Who knows who's that who that inspires. It could just be the two of you. But someone else hears that story and goes, you know, I gotta grandma. I gotta go visit her. And it just it spawns so, but I love what you said. Feel it. That is your guy. That's your inner GPS telling you What to do, and it doesn't have to be grandiose. Some of us are here to sit in a cave. Some of us here just are to stand at the top of the mountain and yell for everyone to listen to everyone has their place. But if as long as you're following that feeling, that is the the energy Ps that you need to be listening to. I love that very, very well.
Charles Eisenstein 1:10:19
Yeah, and those moments of choice, were like, maybe it was really hard for that grandmother to give kindness and patience to that kid at that moment. It was a hard struggle. And she made that choice, even though nobody was watching. Wasn't going on YouTube. Right, she had no idea that it was going to change the world. But she did it anyway. That's very powerful. It shifts the whole of humanity onto another timeline. That's the power that we have. Because any choice that you make, even and especially when no one's watching, and your mind has no, no, like, conceivable pathway that it's going to benefit you. When you make those choices, you are making a declaration about what a human being is, and what a human being does, in this kind of situation. You are declaring a reality into existence. And that it's like a prayer, you know it, it literally shifts the world into a different future. One that is based on this declaration of what a human being is,
Alex Ferrari 1:11:35
Charles, I could talk to you for at least another four or five hours. But I appreciate your time, I'm going to ask you a few questions. Ask all my guests. What is your definition definition of living a fulfilled life?
Charles Eisenstein 1:11:46
I don't have a definition of that.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:50
At all, okay,
Charles Eisenstein 1:11:51
I'm not sitting around here with definitions, you know?
Alex Ferrari 1:11:53
Well, then how do you how do you define God?
Charles Eisenstein 1:11:55
Same answer. And I would'nt, yeah, I don't define God. But it's, it's, you know, to reduce it to definitions would be to like to, like, own it to control that, you know, it's beyond any definition.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:11
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?
Charles Eisenstein 1:12:14
That one I could say something twofold. One is to participate and contribute to the continued unfolding of life and beauty in the world, and in the cosmos. Second, is to appreciate with awestruck wonder and gratitude, the magnificence of creation.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:44
My friend, where can people find out more about you and your book, the coordination, your new book, The coordination and other work, other work that you've been doing?
Charles Eisenstein 1:12:52
I just say my website charleseisenstein.org.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:57
And Amazon pretty much has all your books. pretty easily. Yeah. And do you have any parting messages for the audience?
Charles Eisenstein 1:13:10
I guess if you're, you have this feeling okay. But what do I do? I would just say, whatever, that I've said, that has landed on you as true. Trust the power of that. Truth and of that landing to work on you. Just nothing to be done.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:35
Charles, I appreciate you so much, brother. And thank you for coming on the show. And thank you for the amazing work you're doing, trying to help help help the world and awaken the world at the same time, my friend, thank you so much.
Charles Eisenstein 1:13:46
Links and Resources
- Charles Eisenstein – Official Site
- Charles Eisenstein – Substack
- Read books by Charles Eisenstein
- Earthing.com: End Inflammation Today – Discover the Science-Based Healing Powers of Earthing/Grounding
- FREE Mindvalley Spiritual Masterclasses
- MUSE 2: The Brain Sensing Headband – Meditation Tracker Headset Device
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