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Tape 23 Jeremy Tarcher 11.30.30-11.51.03pp 168-174
I WAS INTERESTED TO READ SOME ARTICLE, I GUESS YOU WROTE ABOUT A YEAR AGO. WHERE YOU SAID THAT IT'S EASY TO FALL INTO THE TRAP, AND IT'S MISLEADING TO THINK OF THE NEW AGE AS BEING A DEFINABLE PERIOD LIKE THE RENAISSANCE. HOW SHOULD I THINK OF IT?
Well that's, of course, a question that has always been very difficult to answer. I think of it sometimes as the information age of the spirit. We are all in an information age now. But we are not in the new age. Although many people who are involved in new age activities would like to convince themselves and others that that is the case. In point of fact, we are more in the age of the computer than we are in the age of the spirit. We're in the age of starvation, to a greater degree than we are in the new age. There are many more people starving every day than there are reading spiritual literature. We're in the age of ecological peril, to a greater degree than we are in the new age. The new age is a vision of the future. Of a time when people will balance their life in the daily world with a life at a higher level of spiritual understanding, and of mutual co-operation and love. The new age is about being more loving, being more spiritually grounded and connected to other human beings, connected to the world, connected to the entire Gaya concept. So I try to think of the new age as a golden age, a mythological period to which we are all moving, if we are fortunate, but which has no historical necessity behind it. We are in an age equally of fundamentalism more than we are in an age of great spiritual enlightenment. And so the new age is - is a vision for me.
WHAT IS THE GAYA CONCEPT?
The Gaya concept is an idea put forward by a man named James Lovelock, primarily. An English independent physicist, and a woman in this country named Lynn Margolis. And the Gaya concept essentially says - and I've never been asked to define it, so that I'm really embarassed to speak for Jim Lovelock. But the Gaya concept looks at the entire world as a living organism which feeds itself through a variety of feedback loops and keeps itself alive, and keeps itself growing. It's, as it were, as if the entire earth were conscious of itself in some way, and knew how to balance the salts in the ocean, the evaporation, the coming in of gases that has allowed life to proliferate.
IS THERE ANYTHING NEW ABOUT THE NEW AGE? THE PRINCIPLES THAT YOU'VE JUST DISCUSSED SEEM TO ME TO BE ANCIENT ONES.
I think there is nothing new. There have been a succession of new ages. In America the American transcendentalists, Thoreau and Emerson and all of the people who were of that era, they were new ages. Walt Whitman was a new age poet. Blake, in England, was a new age figure. The nostics in the ancient world were new agers. That's why I say it's really an - a mythological concept more than it is a description of a specific historical period. What's new at this time is the incredible proliferation of spiritual information to larger and larger bodies of people. But even that is miniscule, there are 5 billion plus people in the world. There are not 500 million, there are not 50 million new agers in America. I - I have no idea what the number is. But there is a growing understanding, I believe, amongst a leading edge community of our relationship to the planet, of our relationship to one another, of the need to develop spiritual values for all of us. But if you were to travel to many other places in the world, their need is food and spirit will come. But somebody once wrote that you had to have 2700 calories a day in order to become spiritual. I don't know whether that is a accurate statement. Certainly - certain of the Indian holy men would belie that comment. But there is a need to first fill the belly, put a roof over somebody's head, have them grow up healthy, just from having food when they are children. Before the issues of .... I'm sorry --
I'm sorry. People have to grow up into healthy, functioning, adult human beings before they can possibly attend to issues of the spirit.
I'VE BEEN LISTENING VERY CAREFULLY TO SEE IF YOU WOULD USE THE WORD MOVEMENT, AND I'M NOT SURPRISED THAT YOU HAVEN'T, BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU HEAR PEOPLE TALK OF THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT?
Is that ---
DO WE KNOW?
I think it's a very slow movement. No, there is no movement. A movement implies, I think, certain leadership and there is no voted new age leader. There are many people, they disagree with one another, sometimes relatively fundamental things. There has been a commercial marketing of the new age, and in the marketing world in which we live, there is a tendency to think of things in terms of movements and trends and other phrases which give a false dynamic to something which is not really accurately described in that way. Surely more people now are_interested in spiritual issues, if I may characterize the new age as primarily interested in spiritual issues, than existed a decade ago. And if you want to call that change a movement, you certainly can. But I do not see a movement. I see changes within certain professions. Medicine in this country, at any rate, is opening up to alternative healing procedures and to a greater recognition of the mind body connection and the necessity of people healing the total human being and not just treating the wound with an application of some medicine. Education has been very slow to adopt the holistic concepts of the new age movement, if we want to call it that. Business has accepted, on some level, a lot of the ideas in regard to the changes in training procedures for employees, communications within companies, more open, more synergistic. All of these are things that, I think, are promoted by new age thinking. But we're a long way from having accomplished any recognizable goal in changing the general tenor of American or North American politics and thinking.
WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE CHANNELERS AND THE CRYSTALS? AND SOME OF THE - IF I CAN - I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S WEIRDER, BUT I THINK YOU SAID ONCE THAT THE PRESS LIKES TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIDE SHOW AND IGNORE THE BIG TENT. THERE'S NO DOUBT THAT THE PEOPLE ON THE FRINGE ARE GETTING AN AWFUL LOT OF ATTENTION.
I've think they've had most of the attention that they're going to get. The press tends to cast their interest for relatively brief time, squeeze what's available like the juice out of an orange, and then go on to the next piece of fruit that they are interested in. And you do not see much coming forward now, on articles about channeling and crystals. They are trendy and they have been passed. And I think it's a very good thing that they have because although they represent a certain openness to other possibilities, they also represent a terrible overbelief in a non-scientific perspective that is then applied to the material world as if it were scientifically founded.
I THINK, I MEAN, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU WOULD AGREE, BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THEY PROBABLY HAVE DONE - THE ATTENTION PAID TO THOSE PEOPLE, HAS PROBABLY DONE SOME DAMAGE TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED BUT SEE IT ONLY AS A FAD, OR SEE IT ONLY AS HAPPENING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.
Well it's made a lot of more serious work laughable and as such it has done damage. There is questioning in the new age, in new age circles, as to whether Shirley MacLaine is good news or bad news. She's certainly brought a lot of people to bookstores and introduced them to ideas that they might not have come to otherwise, and perhaps started them on a path of their own. At the same time I regard much_of what Shirley has written as foolish and naive, but that's just the way I regard it, and my judgement is only one of many.
THE HEART OF NEW AGES START WITHIN YOURSELF.
IS IT TRY TO IMPROVE ANY WAY THAT YOU CAN?
The heart of new age I would say is the recognition that there is so much more to the self and to the exterior world than we had ever thought there was. That we are in great ignorance. And when you - that's the beginning of philosophy and it's the beginning of any serious thinking and certainly the beginning of a recognition by somebody that they must expand their view of what is, or what might be, to fit a much larger picture than they had been carrying with them before.
WHEN YOU TRY TO LOOK AHEAD, WHAT IS - I MEAN IS THERE A LOGICAL RESULT FROM PERSONAL GROWTH IN A COLLECTIVE BEING? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING?
THE ONE PART - HOW DOES THAT AFFECT THE PLANET, THE
I don't think that there is any thing that's preordained. We could as easily slip into a dark age as an age of enlightenment. But I do think that each person who comes to some kind of deeper understanding becomes another soldier in the army that is trying to push human evolution forward on a conscious basis. I don't know enough about the depths of human nature to know whether there are going to be vast changes in large parts of our population. But one by one, people are coming to some larger understanding of themselves and the community of mankind. And if that continues, if there's a process over, not just decades and generations, but centuries of this, we may find that as mankind moves towards the 30th century, rather than at the end of the 20th century, that there is a different man, a different human upon the earth than there is now. And that that will be, in fact, the beginning of the new age. But that beginning is a long way acoming.
JUST PAUSE --
I'D LIKE TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE JOURNEY, FROM BEING A MAN WHO USED TO PUBLISH RESTAURANT GUIDES AND ....... TO NOW BEING PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE ....
I still enjoy a good restaurant, let me tell you.
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? I MEAN YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR, NOW I'VE SEEN FIGURES UP TO 80% OF WHAT IS CALLED NEW AGE WRITING.
That's a vast exaggeration. And happily one of the effects of the success of some of the books that I've published in the last decade has been to bring the major publishing companies into the market place with their excellent capacity to sell books. And it is now a diverse rather than a focused publishing field, as it used to be.
DID IT JUST SORT OF HAPPEN FOR YOU? THAT YOU ENDED UP PUBLISHING THIS MUCH NEW AGE MATERIAL?
No. I had a series of personal experiences which entirely changed my life a decade ago. And I happened to be at a right place when all of that took place. I was in California where the human potentials movement, which is the ground from which the new age movement has sprung, had its major leaders and major organizations. So I was able to come into contact with those people and to have associations that brought material to this company. I have many good friends who were many years more advanced than I in this kind of thinking. And they were generous enough to share their experience with me and to concentrate enough on my growth so that I was able to benefit from what had happened to them.
CAN I ASK YOU ABOUT THE THE EXPERIENCES, WHAT HAPPENED?
Well let's turn the camera off for a moment. Okay?
... first, a week from yesterday well is my tenth anniversary and I regard it as a rebirth. It was that.
I GUESS I WANT TO SPEND SOME TIME FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED TEN YEARS AGO, WHAT THE EXPERIENCE WAS FOR YOU
All right. Before I tell you about the experience, I want to start with a a disclaimer. And I do that because every experience is individual, and I do not wish to be in any way a salesman of my particular experience. I regard myself as being very fortunate, that it was as positive as it was. Clearly many people have had some experiences that were not productive for them. My experience was at 47, and I think it's important that I was 47 and had been through a number of years of pschotherapy and had read a variety of literature. But the transformative experience for me happened through taking LSD. I took it in controlled circumstances with people who I felt were very knowledgeable about how to help people in that experience. But it was a - an experience that started out that way and that entirely transformed my perceptions of who I was, what my purpose in life was, how I might participate in serving the community of readers and of thinkers. All of which had been part of my work but never had been focused as they began after that experience.
WHAT DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE WAS?
You know, when you attempt to answer a question like that, inevitably you sound grandiose. And I'm a bit uncomfortable trying to respond to that because when you even begin to say I have a purpose, somebody might respond yes, says who? We're all here like little bugs on the universe or on the - on the planet, and you don't have any more purpose than a fly.
'CAUSE YOU'RE ENTITLED TO A PURPOSE.
Well you are - you are, okay. You are entitled to a purpose. And I - my purpose is to communicate the discoveries that I have made myself and that I share with tens of thousands of other people, to those who have not had those experiences yet, but who can be I believe as significantly and positively affected by them as I have been and as I believe many others are. In many ways this is a religious publishing house, or it's a spiritual publishing house. I'm not, I think, a religious person in the traditional sense. But I have become a spiritually directed person through a variety of experiences, not just through LSD experiences, that give me a sense that there is a goal to my personal life, that I can contribute to the happiness and joy and growth in the life of other people, and that humankind has a mission of some kind, even if it is a self designated mission, which has to do with growth._That the human intelligence over thousands of years has grown and expanded and that the expanded intelligence is better than the primitive intelligence. That our ability to relate to one another, to love, to create, to live and enjoy, grows as we grow.
Tape 24 Jeremy Tarcher 12.00.35-12.09.23 pp 175-177
JUST TALK A BIT MORE IF YOU WOULD ABOUT THE PURPOSE OF THE COMPANY AND WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU.
There are, I think, [12:00:53] relatively few people who are fortunate enough to be able to have their work and their purpose as one, [12:1:3] particularly in business. Artists probably do to a very great degree. Whether or not they ever formally articulate their [12:1:13] purpose in words, they are doing it in more subtle means of communication. My experiences of growth [12:1:23] have convinced me that there is yet more growth to come within myself and [12:1:33] certainly for other people. What I am so grateful for the changes that have happened [12:1:43] in my life, that have expanded my sense of potential and creativity that [12:1:53] I want to share that. One might share it as a writer or as a facilitator of writers which is what I do. [12:2:3] And I get to work with a great many people who have had these experiences in a variety of disciplines, creativity and art and writing [12:2:13] and medicine and psychology and business development. But all founded upon a larger view of human capacity.[12:2:23] So we are communictors of the larger human, and of what Jean Huston calls the possible human. [12:2:33] And that is the motive force behind this company.
HAS ITS SUCCESS SURPRISED YOU IN ANY WAY? [12:2:43]
No. I'm dealing with the most basic hunger that people have. We choose to find purpose and meaning in their life. [12:2:53] So I'm not surprised that there are a lot of people who want to find the kind of information that we try to put out in books. [12:3:3]
BUT ARE PEOPLE HUNGRIER NOW THAN THEY WERE 20 YEARS AGO?
I don't know.
I MEAN I WONDER IF THIS WOULD HAVE SUCCEEDED IN THE FIFTIES, PUBLISHING THESE KINDS OF BOOKS. [12:3:13]
No, I would say it would not have in the fifties. It needed the sixties in this country in order for their to be that [12:3:23] stirring. It needed many years of the human potential movement, getting people, therapists particularly, interested in the [12:3:33] further reaches of human nature. It needed Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers and others who moved_from [12:3:43] traditional psychology to humanistic psychology and eventually to trans- personal psychology. It needed an environment [12:3:53], a cultural environment in which there was a critical mass of ideas and of people ready to accept and expand upon [12:4:3] the original seedings of this vision.
I MEAN IT'S HAPPENING IN ORDINARY WAYS ISN'T IT? [12:4:13] I SOMETIMES THINK THAT WE TAKE THIS NEW AGE MOVEMENT AND WE SAY - AND WE HOLD IT UP AND LOOK AT IT BUT IN FACT IT'S GOING ON ALL OVER THE WORLD. [12:4:23] IT'S NOT - IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE FLASHY OR WEIRD OR GET MUCH ATTENTION FOR IT TO HAPPEN.
No, when the New Age movement is [12:4:33] complete it will be like water poured upon the desert. You will see the flower, you won't see the water. You'll see the blossom - the blossoming of the human spirit, [12:4:43] the blossoming of the mind and most importantly, the blossoming of the heart. And people will say, this is what [12:4:53] mankind, what humankind has been aiming for. This is the creative spark of life fully realized. [12:5:3] And there won't be any New Age movement, there will just be people living with one another in a more loving and higher manner than [12:5:13] we do now but not that we know can be done.
DO YOU SEE YOUR BOOKS IN SOME WAY AS CONTRIBUTING THAT WATER?
Oh, I hope so. [12:5:23] Absolutely. If I didn't, I'd be doing something else that did that. There are movies I would like to produce. [12:5:33] I often feel very stuck in the rut of wood pulp technology. Not too long ago a [12:5:43] very well known ah ah - let me see, what is his name? Excuse me. [12:5:53] Ah yes. Not too long ago, Larry Gatlin who is a very well known country singer did a song called Chop Wood Carry Water [12:6:3] which he said was inspired by a book that we published of the same title. And I just felt so [12:6:13] thrilled. I put the tape on - he sent me a demo tape and I put the tape on and I was driving home. And I got such an excitement out of listening to these [12:6:23] ideas transformed by Gatlin into another form. I had to pull over to the side of the road because I really couldn't contain my sense of [12:6:33] excitement at that. And I hope that the other books that we do will inspire creators as [12:6:43] they inspire me in this feedback loop of growth and transforation.
WOULD YOU PUBLISH THE WRITING OF JEREMY TEICHER [12:6:53] OF 12 YEARS AGO?
No, no, I don't think so. I wouldn't publish it now.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
I ENJOYED TALKING TO YOU, THANKS. [12:7:3] Not at all.