COPYRIGHT CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
Tape 25 Marylin Ferguson 12.30.30-12.50.30 pp 178-184
YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW PEOPLE LIKE TO WRITE A CHEQUE AND NOT A VERY BIG ONE. AND I, IN THE WEEK I'VE BEEN HERE, I'VE SPOKEN WITH PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT THAT'S WHAT'S REALLY AT THE HEART OF WHAT'S GOING ON. IF YOU HAD TO CUT AWAY THE CHANNELLERS AND THE CRYSTALS AND SOME OF THAT STUFF, WHAT'S REALLY AT THE HEART IS THAT PEOPLE HAVE COME TO THE REALIZATION THAT THEY HAVE TO DO IT.
There is no free lunch. And I think I've lived in Los Angeles since 1968 and I remember how many times I have thought how many people in this city, if somebody said to them if you wrote out a cheque and you could make time payments for several thousand dollars over the next 5 or 10 years, this city would have clean air, how many people would do it. Because it's a very important part - it's a wonderful placse to live. And that's a really serious problem. I just came back from Brazil and in Brazil in San Paulo and Rio which used to have a terrible smog problem there is no smog problem because they went to alcohol fuel. And this is something they recommended in terms of part of the Clean Air Act but who knows how long it's going to take. I feel that ah living here on this particular hill that I live on in Los Angeles is a real education. Mount Washington which is this immediate neighbourhood was found in the 1960s with another Los Angeles community to be the most representative mix of ethnic groups, representing the entire country of any one community. And then later sociologists from Harvard came here in the sixties to study why there was no problem with integration. And so I think we have all the problems here. In a sense many of the problems of the world are represented right here in my neighbourhood. And we hae at the bottom of the hill we have graffitti and we have violence and we have in Los Angeles I think every - every problem of every ethnic group. When you see it and you deal with it and you read the newspapers day after day and do as I have done and read for international news as well and to begin to look for the patterns then you see that it's the same old stuff. So this gets to what I think is really the key which is understanding the human being. Since I started writing about the brain in the early 1970s and publishing .... my bulletin, I've been very very interested in learning how do we learn, how do we get emotionally sick, what do we have to do to get well? What goes on in the physical brain is reflected in the positive and negative experiences in the outer world. And what I saw was that for_example in the 1988 election in the Untied States there was a lot of critique during and after. And what all the critics wer e saying was - well there were two questions. Like where are the ideas or the vision and where are the values? And it didn't matter which party it was - the same thing applied, that the parties were not even really holding true to what they believed.
SO WHERE WERE THE VALUES? WHERE ARE THEY
The values - what seems to have happened is the values have gotten blurred. It's like one thing is as good as another thing. So I got curious. So I looked up values to find out where the word values came from. And the word values came from the - the same word, when you think about it, it makes sense - valour - courage and character and strength. Okay your values were the things that you had to have strength for, you had to have character about, you had to do something about. You didn't sit around and passively have values, you know, like they were your possessions.
SO HOW, I MEAN THAT HASN'T JUST HAPPENED TO POLITICIANS I SUSPECT.
No. No, no, it's everywhere, it's everywhere. It's family values, it's educatonal values. Well I think what happened is we got so confused, we started living for facade. North Americans are masters of facade. It's been taken to a high art I think in our advertising and entertainment industries. And we even have facades on our facades. And what happens is that if you are thinking about how you look or about how other people are thinking about you, you don't have your full mind here to be taking in information. And so what we are is like, you know, we're going as so many facades relating to facades. And I think that what the New Age movement is about is an effort to get to what's real. And I think it's important that people understand that the glamour part of it or the esoteric or the strange part of it is - can be very misleading. People can either become put off by that or they can become preoccupied with it. And really what the movement is about, what the concept of a New Age is about has always been a time, as it says in the line in the song The Age Of Aquarius p the time of the mind's true liberation. That when the founders of the United States were conceiving of themselves as a new form of government, the motto they took was novo, order, sequorum - which is - a new age now begins. They took it from Virgil. So there's been the hope and the dream. And that, but until we start living it, it's like we it's like we all have ideals but we keep them somewhere on the back shelf.
JUST LISTENING TO YOU THEN I SORT OF FLASHED BACK TO THE SIXTIES. AND I WONDER, DO YOU MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN SOME OF THE GOALS AND THE IDEALS AND THE IDEALISM AND THE_BELIEF, THE COLLECTIVE POWER THAT EXISTED THEN BETWEEN THAT AND WHAT'S GOING ON NOW OR IS IT ESSENTIALLY THE SAME KIND OF HUMAN RESPONSE TO DESIRE?
I think what happened in the sixties is very similar to what happened in China in the pro democracy movement, that ah young people with less investment in the status quo are more likely to put themselves completely into a movement and to put their courage and their energy there. I think that also something like that can become a fad. So what happened in the sixties is you had the young people who genuinel understood what they were doing and then you had a lot of young people who just did it because it was the latest fashion and they would dress that way.
IS THAT HAPPENING NOW WITH NEW AGE?
And I think - ah to a lesser extent I think. I think part of what happened is that many of the people who were idealists in the sixties grew into positions of serious responsibility and were able in some ways to put their ideals to work, that they haven't all sold out. I have to say I was not part of the movement in the sixties. I was a young housewife living in Houston with my two children and I was writing. But I wasn't really part of that movement. But I would say that periodically there are these cycle s that energize, and I think we're moving into one right now.
I'D REALLY LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE PERSPECTIVE AND TRY TO GET A SENSE OF WHERE THIS FITS INTO OUR HISTORY ON THIS PLANET. I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT ATTEMPTING TO PUT THIS, WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW INTO SOME KIND OF PERSPECTIVE. CAN YOU LOOK AHEAD AND WHEN A HISTORY OF THIS TIME IS WRITTEN, HOW IS IT GOING TO LOOK? WHAT HAPPENED?
Well I think there are alternate scenarios so let's pick the one I like./Actually I've written about this - kind of - I call it Remember The Future. And what I see as one scenario, the people of the future looking back and see that this was the time of the earth's near death experience, that first we went through - do you remember the film The Day After and the - everybody around the world was watching that movie. And we had to really face the nuclear nightmare. And then we accommodated to that and then th at became a little bit less of an issue because of the detente between the super powers. But we still have war. WE still have problems and now we have the problem of the fact that by our own hand without the help of somebody else's bombs or missiles or guns that we are_collectively poisoning ourselves and committing suicide on the planet. So we have to ask ourselves is this what we really want? We have to really know that this is true. So I see the people in the future looking back and saying this is the p oint at which ah humanity began to recognize its responsibility as the steward of the earth. And that what happened was that we changed by example. That we quite competing with each other and being jealous of each other and feeling that ah eac nation envying each other nation and people within professions and this discipline envying that discipline. Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola and so on on - and that we found ways to collaborate. And that cooperation between our game, and that the only competition was to see who could cooperate more brilliantly. I think we have some little examples of that in terms of the Live Aid concert, in terms of the rescue of the whales in the Bering Strait. And the response to the Armenian earthquake. The models are there. We have the tools, we have the resources, everything we need to make this a different world. What we've lacked is the will. And I think that the history is going to show us that curiously enough that entertertainers led the way that when people wouldn't trust the po liticians and they were somewhat skeptical about business - I do think business has a very important role to play. But I think that the first people - people out there at the front - have been the performers who have it all. You see a lot of it's fantasy - what would it be like to have it all? So these people have it all. They have the talent, they have the adulation, they have the money, and they say no - not enough. You know, if we can't save the dolphins, if we can't save the rain forests, if we can't f eed the hungry, if we can't house the homeless, forget it. Then they're a model to all the young people and they're a model to all of their audiences. And there's a kind of honesty that some of those people achieve at a certain point in their lives that I think commands a lot of respect. Peole like Mother Theresa and like Oscar Orias of Cost Rica and like Gorbachev and some of the athletes similarly. And I think there are some very interesting business leaders who are trying to figure out what they can do. And that we need to get the resources behind the visionaries and the people who are really committed souls in education, in health care and so on. And that we all need to share strategies. And that if we do that it will be the making of us. One of the things I have found in my study of visionaries is that ah they - there is scarcely a high achieving person you can find who didn't have a major handicap to overcome. Some trauma, some handicap, a loss of a parent, a physical problem, poverty - something. There is a line in the musical Evita about she had all of the obstacles essential to success. And I think that once we realize that the things that appear to be the challenges or the difficulties are the things that are the making of us. And that I know from the kinds of brain research we report on in Brainland Bulletin that arousal, stress, if you think you can do something in a stressful situation, if you can bring yourself to act and you don't feel helpless, it trains your nervous system, it trains your brain.
I'VE HAD A NUMBER OF PEOPLE SAY TO ME THAT - I DON'T KNOW IF YOU BELIEVE THIS - THAT WE ARE ALL IN FACT ONE, THAT GOD IS FROM WITHIN US AND I'LL GLADLY SAY YES, A PART OF ME IS WITH MOTHER THERESA, BUT THEN I MUST ALSO SAY THAT PART OF ME IS WITH THE VALDEZ.
WITH THE VALDEZ, THE TANKER.
Yes, yes, yes.
OBSTACLES TO ALASKA. HOW DO YOU SORT THAT OUT?
Well I think it's important to take responsibility for the whole thing which is what it sounds like you're saying. That the way I sort it out is that more and more psychologists are finding and students of the way the human mind functions, and even brain rsearchers,, that apparently we're capable of many configurations of personality. We are not a single person. We are this whole cast of characters. And one you realize that, you can try to get agreement among the cast of characters. Then you don't keep doing battle about do I think this or do I think that. So -
SO HOW DO YOU DO THAT? HOW DO YOU GET THOSE CHARACTERS TOGETHER INTO ONE?
You get a purpose - you get a purpose. If you get something that you're working on and how do you get a purpose? I remember one day I was speaking to about 400 people and in fact it was near Lake Louise and they were really neat people. It was a wonderful audience of people. And they'd come specifically because they wanted to help change the world. And I said how many of you feel that you have a purpose? And only about one-fifth of the people raised their hands. And I have found since that is about par fo r the course, somewhere betweem 20 and 25% of the people feel a real sense of purpose. They feel that they know what they want to do and where they're going. So I thought how do you get a purpose? So I looked at the people who had a purpose and worked my way back. Then I came up with a recipe and this is my recipe for getting a purpose. You look around you in the world. You listen, you look, you watch over a period of weeks, maybe months and you notice problems. And the problem that seems to you to capture you the most that you feel not enough is being done about becomes your problem. And once you've identified that, once you've seen that thing that really touches you then you're like the little boy who had to stick his finger in the_hole in the dyke. You have your cause. And once you've got it, it gives a reason for your intelligence to get organized, it gives a reason for you to pull your oenergy together and to get up in the morning.
AND THAT'S WHAT NEW AGE IS ABOUT FOR YOU, IS THE PULLING TOGETHER OF THAT ENERGY?
AND DECIDING ON A DIRECTION AND A FOCUS AND A PURPOSE.
WEll it's getting to be the best person that you can be all the time.
DOES IT MATTER HOW TO? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CHANNELLERS AND THE CRYSTALS AND -
I say whatever works and doesn't hurt anybody else. And I would have to say that channelling is an authentic phenomenon and it also has its fakes. And crystals definitely have some unusual properties and I have seen healing properties in crystals and they've used crystals that way, and it's not mysterious you know. Computers work like crystals, television sets work like crystals. Why should we think it so mysterious that there should be other related functions. But I think that it's whatever it takes for you, whatever kind of therapy, whatever kind of - if it's church going, if it's working hard at a particular project, if it's learning to love your family more, it's whatever it is that makes you a better person so that you can function.
I'M GLAD YOU MENTIONED CHURCH GOING BECAUSE I WANTED TO RAISE RELIGION WITH YOU AND HOW THIS FITS IN BECAUSE IT SEEMS TO BE DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED. THE PEOPLE I HAVE SPOKEN TO HAVE SAID IT'S WITHIN YOU. YOU HAVE THE POWER.
Well in my -
MY CHURCH SAYS YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH GOD.
Well I think it's both in a sense, that the grounded New Age people I know would never say it is exclusively within you. They would say it's within you to commune directly with God. You don't have to have somebody -/ - that these people would say it's within you to -/
MARILYN, I WANTED TO - I'M GLAD SORRY - MARILYN, SO FAR IN OUR INVESTIGATION I'VE MET PEOPLE WHO I THINK ARE SEEING NEW AGE AS SIMPLY A MARKETING STRATEGY. IT'S A WAY TO MAKE SOME MONEY. NOW AT THE OTHER END THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO I SINCERELY AND PROFOUNDLY BELIEVE THAT SOMETHING FUNDAMENTAL IS GOING ON AND I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHERE YOU STAND RIGHT NOW. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS HAPPENING? DOES MAINSTREAM RELIGION OR GOD OR FAITH, I MEAN HOW DOES THAT FIT TOGETHER WITH THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT BECAUSE I THINK SOME PEOPLE SEE IT AS A CONTRADICTION. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PEOPLE ON THE FRINGE - THE CHANNELLERS AND THE CRYSTAL PEOPLE - WHERE DO THEY FIT INTO THE OVERALL PICTURE OF THE MOVEMENT?/SO WHERE DO THE PEOPLE - I GUESS WE CAN CALL IT ON THE FRINGE - THE CHANNELLERS AND THE MYSTICS AND THE PEOPLE WHO USE CRYSTALS, DO YOU SEE THEM AS A LEGITIMATE PART OF THE MOVEMENT? WHERE DO THEY FIT IN? /
TAPE 26 Marylin Ferguson 13.00.30-13.14.31 pp 185-189
MARYLYN, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT I GUESS MAINSTREAM RELIGION AND GOD AND WHERE THAT ALL FITS IN WITH NEW AGE. DO YOU SEE A CONTRADICTION THERE?
I don't see a contradiction with mainstream religion and I know that there are people of every which religious persuasion who also are interested in consciousness and the accoutrements of what people call the New Age. The New Age , this New Age is not a religion. It's a way of thinking. It's not a specific ideology. And I have found myself comfortably presenting to audiences of nuns and Baptists and speaking in synagogues and all kinds of religious contexts because to me it's what - we're talking here about what my daughter calls the generic religion which is like the essence, the perennual philosophy, the wisdom that's always been there and that there hasn't been any disagree - any disagreement about. It's in a sense kind of an ecumenical life style.
BECAUSE I'VE HAD NEW AGERS SAY ALL YOU NEED IS WITHIN YOU.
(BACKGROUND TALK) BECAUSE I'VE HAD PEOPLE SAY TO ME THIS WEEK THAT EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS WITHIN YOU AND THAT DEFINITELY CLASHES WITH -
WEll it's a little bit sappy to say that because we need each other, se need all the spiritual resources we can get. And I think what happens, it's a kind of adolescent reaction that people have. If they've been very dependent and suddenly they see the possibility that they can help themselves, they sometimes tend to go a little overboard and just say everything you have is within you. I think that what the more serious philosophers of this way of looking at life would say is that you have it within you to have access to what you need. In other words as an instrument you can open up your own mind and your heart and you can in a sense partake of the wisdom of the universe in your own way. But that doesn't mean that there are no books to read, that there are no teachers to listen to, that there are no walks to be taken through the woods, that if we know anything now it's that we're inter-dependent . And one of the things that I have been very impressed by over the years is to watch different people on their paths, and what I've seen is that - that has impressed me_is that you cna't do it alone, that some people somehow have this fantasy that it's going to be like me and God and that's it, an exclusive relationship. And it doesn't work. Because it's through the other which in a way is the heart of the Christian message - it's doing unto the other that brings together everything you know and changes you. It's working in the world, it's doing service, it's picking up the litter.
I JUST THOUGHT MAYBE SOMEONE WATCHING AND LISTENING TO YOU IS INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU'RE SAYING. I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU FOR A PIECE OF ADVICE ABOUT HOW TO LOOK INSIDE YOURSELF AND FIND YOURSELF. THEN I REALIZED MAYBE I DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS. WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR?
Well when people think they're finding themselves, I think that what we need to do is to find our many selves. Then if we once begin to be aware of the fact that we have the sub- personalities, gradually you become aware of a saner person inside you. There's one voice that kind of comes up. It's like a little Greek chorus that comes in every once in a while that's the voice of sanity. And in the experiments that have been done - the studies of people with multiple personality disorder, there is always one personality that's come to be known as the inner self helper or the ish. And that the therapist can, in hypnotizing the person with this disorder they can access this personality. This personality seems to be very wise and kind and know what's good for the whole group and can even recommend to the therapist what to do. But I don't think you can get to that part of you until you acknowledge that you have, an unhappy child in you and you have your 14 year old self and you have your bookkeeper and you have your free spender. You know you have all these different aspects of yourself that can come and go.
ONCE YOU DO KNOW THAT AND YOU LEARN TO RECOGNIZE THEM -
And there are techniques. I think meditation and various contemplative kind of techniques and ah there are many many ways that people have. And I think every individual knows there are certain things that calm the spirit. It's like Lewis Thomas said that for him what brought all his personalities together was playing Bach. That you can create more of a unity.
I WAS SURPRISED WHEN YOU SAID BEFORE THAT THERE IS MORE CLINICAL DEPRESSION THEY CAN DIAGNOSE NOW IN ALL AGE GROUPS THAN EVER BEFORE. I SUPPOSE THERE'S LOTS OF REASONS FOR THAT BUT I MEAN ONE THING THAT I KEEP THINKING IS THAT IT'S LONELINESS, THAT SOMEHOW OR ANOTHER WE HAVE SHUT OURSELVES OFF. DO YOU SEE THAT?
It's ah loneliness is probably a partof it and part of the syndrome is helplessness. Some people call it learned helplessness. It's a sense that there's a one recent theroy that what happens is that - see the left hemisphere of the brain and the right hemisphere of the brain have different functions in connection with novelty. When something new comes up the left hemisphere doesn't really know how to deal with this. It's the right hemisphere's job. So if there is a difficult problem to solve, according to this one theory, the right hemisphere is re- stimulated and re-stimulated and aroused. If no solution comes up, eventually the timing mechanism of the body gets off and the person goes into a depression. They can recover from that but it isn't quick, it isn't easy. And so I think what we might say is that it's our lack of imagination in a way or inability to solve our problems is one of the major causes of depression. Well you think how we're educated, you know. We're taught that there are right answers and that they're in a book or the teacher has them or whatever. People are not empowered to think for themselves and they're not empowered to create and to generate new possibilitie s. So we're living in a world of incredible change - economic change, geographical changes, weather changes - everything you know. It's just the rapid technology changes. And yet we haven't been taught how to cope with change and how to deal with burnout, that kind of thing. So I think that we're seeing this now, the consequences of it and these academics of depression. They're even finding depression in pre-schoolers , signs of clinical depression in pre-schoolers.
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT CAN STOP THIS MOVEMENT?
Ah yeah, a great calamity I imagine or what could also stop it is a premature superficial success. One of the things that happened when people became extremely interested in New Age matters starting in about - it intensified around 1986 or'87 I would say - and the book publishing has been growing ever since and so on and so forth. I think that in any culture there's a danger of something being dismissed as obsolete before it was ever understood. So that New Age becomes old hat so quickly, which is one of the reasons it's not a good term. I think what we should look at it as - I'm calling it now common sense - a new common sense. I think we should look at this way of thinking as a series of solutions , potential solutions. Solutions that have to do with cooperations, they have to do with development of the individual, they hae to do with the individual having some kind of connection with their own inspiration from both a religious and a creative sense. And that if we think about it in a perfectly sensible perspective, this is what was always needed to make a good society. Democracies were founded on the idea that people had to be well educated, that people had to be changed and educated or democracy wouldn't work. So the only thing that could stop it is, I would say, a lack of will. And that what's needed right now is that we don't have time for a gradual evolution and a gradual spread into the society. The environmental issues are very crucial. Lester Brown of the World Watch Institute has said that if we did everything we_could do, everything for the next 20 years, it might be too late. So when you see people taking kind of a wait and see attitude about world problems, I think they need their heads examined.
I THINK WE'VE ALSO COME TO BELIEVE THAT SCIENCE OR TECHNOLOGY WILL SOMEHOW SAVE US. WE'VE PUT SO MUCH -
And look at our saviour. And I think ah - the failures of technology in the last 5 years - the - well really it was starting with the Challenger I suppose was really the maybe the dramatic point of the failure of technology. But that the Exxon - the Valdez, that should not have happened. Technologically that should not have happened. The major plane crashes that happened should not have happened - unthinkable that all three hydraulic systems should go out. Chernobyl should not have happened. And I think until we realize that for one thing we have to develop our intuition because planning and linear thinking is not going to be a ble to take into account the unexpected. That we're in a deadly situation. There is a story in one of Balzac's novels - I believe it is - and there's a train that is filled with people heading to the Revolution. Some are asleep and some are partying. This is in France during the period of the Revolution. And in the engine of the train the fireman and the engineer are angry with each other over a woman and they're fighting. And the fireman has been stoking the fire hotter and hotter. And the engineer is ve ry angry and suddenly the two men start wrestling with each other and trying to strangle each other and they both fall out of the train. And the train is just heading toward disaster and everybody on the train is completely unaware. And I think we have been - we've been like that. We've been passengers.
YEAH. I'VE GOT ONE LAST QUESTION THAT I SUSPECT YOU'RE GOING TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT BUT I WOULD SUGGEST TO YOU THAT WHEN THE HISTORY OF THIS PERIOD IS WRITTEN YOU ARE GOING TO BE ONE OF THE LEADING FIGURES, ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED THINKERS ON THIS. I WONDER WHAT YOU THINK YOUR ROLE HAS BEEN AND HOW COMFORTABLE YOU ARE WITH THAT?
The part of it that I'm not quite comfortable with is that I think it's really important that people try not to attach too much significance to personalities and to - I want people to hear what I'm trying to say and then to go and do whatever it is they should do with that information. And it's rewarding to have people come back to me and tell me that they've been inspired and they've been moved and so on. And it makes me feel as if I'm doing my job. But I think that the age that we're moving into - this nameless age that we're moving into - is a time when individuals will be the leaders. I have - I saw a remark one time that was made by Prince Charles in which he said that the thing he felt most committed to in his_life was to teach individuals or to be able to ocmmunicate to individuals their own worth. And I thought, well it would be wonderful if he could be the king who lets people know that they're all kings. And that it's that seeing your own role, seeing that you have a purpose, seeing your own potential on behalf of everyone. That's really what I want to see happen.
THANK YOU, MARYLYN. THANKS.