Gary Lachman is an author with a lot to say about culture, the occult and the dissolution of the rational.
[00:00:00] Speaker 1: Well, you know, one of the reasons it’s coming back potentially we assume is because the name image likeness net might be the one thing in the offseason get everybody to agree on if it brings that game back.
[00:00:09] Alex Tsakiris: Okay, right off the bat, I got to tell you, this is gonna be a long way around the bone intro, but that clip is from ESPN college game day. And I feel like wokeness is taken away every sports entertainment thing I ever had. NBA is completely unwatchable. NFL close behind, but I hold on to college football, I hold on to college football, even though I have to kind of blind my eye. Here’s the point though. Name, image and likeness is the big news. And if you haven’t heard about this, it’s that now they’re going to pay players. So that’s enough of an intro here are the actual guys, the jocks, talking about the situation. And the payoff comes at the end, when the ESPN guy who’s never played is just kind of a mouthpiece there. When he butts in and then I’ll comeback.
[00:01:00] Speaker 2: I didn’t get a dime, did you?
[00:01:02] Speaker 1: I did not get it. I’ve never thought it was practical or fair for colleges to make billions of dollars off the backs and sacrifices of college athletes. Because athletes have been the workhorses for this whole system, like you building a whole economic system off the backs of these workhorses, and we couldn’t benefit I’m talking about, they wanted to bleed every red penny out of every [unclear 1:25] every student athlete without giving them any anything back outside of room and board and education, which a lot of people like to talk about, but it’s nothing in comparison to what they’re getting from the revenue generating sports, like football, and basketball pales in comparison. The one thing I would say that so and I’m staunchly in favor of all of this. I don’t know that there was any malicious intent.
[00:01:49] Alex Tsakiris: Okay, so a fair question might be what the hell does any of this have to do with my upcoming interview with a very excellent, Gary Lachman. And here is the connection, here’s what we keep bumping into. And it is a clip from this interview I have coming up in theory, here it is.
[00:02:07] Gary Lachman: Well, the thing is, isn’t this what everyone’s been saying is supposed to happen. The Age of Aquarius is supposed to be with us, right? When all this strange stuff that was on the fringe, UFOs and paranormal stuff and cult activity and the breakdown of the mental rational consciousness [unclear 2:25]. And this means all the kind of, we talked about postmodernism, it’s post everything. Everything that was set in place during the modern period when the rational mind had organized everything, everything was nice place and linear and progress was happening and all that. That’s all being taken apart. It’s eating itself up.
[00:02:46] Alex Tsakiris: To me, it’s like a jumping off point that goes in two completely different directions is like, I love what you said, it’s beyond post modernism, it’s post everything. It’s post, rational thought. But then you said, if I got this right, is being taken down. And then you said or is crumbling, kind of under its own weight. And to me, that is the debate. So the point, I think, is determining malicious intent. And I guess I’m still kind of processing the interview last time with Joe Atwill, because he’s all about citizenry and what we need to do and all that. And I hesitate to go there. But the part that does ring true is we do have to fucking figure out the malicious intent. I mean, the malicious intent in NIL and college football is just about as clear as it can be. I mean, they just stole billions of dollars every year from these athletes. Many of them if you want to go there are kind of socially underserved, if you will, but however you want to slice it and dice it, they just ripped them off over and over again year. And when they challenge it legally in court, which they did, they pulled every trick in the book. I mean, they moved the jurisdiction, got the judges, just follow it, Marie’s claret few years ago. I mean, it’s like so many other things that are unauthorized History of the United States. But I mean, this is just a clear example of Yes, they had malicious intent. But what was what you want to call malicious, but they’re out to squeeze, like, does said every penny they could. So back to Gary, that’s the really the only question here is jump this way, jump that way. Are they trying to bring down the system? Or is the system crumbling? That’s the question. And that’s our job to figure out and act accordingly. Anyways, that’s my idea. Here’s my interview, Gary Lachman. Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris. Today we welcome actually welcome back Gary Lachman to Skeptiko if you don’t know Gary, he’s a very, very accomplished author. I don’t usually read BIOS, but this will kind of catapult everybody into Gary’s world If you are unfamiliar with who he is. Gary Lachman, is the author of 21 books on topics ranging from the evolution of consciousness, popular culture, and the history of the occult. He has written biographies of Alister Crowley, Rudolf Steiner, young Blavastky, Swedenberg, and Colin Wilson, as well as histories of hermeticism. And the western inner tradition. So like I said, a lot of crossover with the stuff that we talk about here. And as I also kind of tipped my hand a little bit to Gary, I’m anxious to pull him in a couple of different directions than I normally hear him talk about. He’s, I think, he’s very adept at talking about a range of these topics. So we’ll have a good time. Gary, thanks for joining me. Glad you’re here.
[00:06:02] Gary Lachman: My pleasure, thank you very much for having me on again.
[00:06:06] Alex Tsakiris: So, I bumped into you every now and then because you do write so many fantastic books. And then I just kind of stumbled across this presentation you gave on consciousness to Theosophical Society in England. And I thought it was really, really interesting. And I came across, it kind of sent me back to an earlier book that you wrote, The Secret History of Consciousness. And I wanted to read a quote from this book. And as I read it, I want people to keep in mind that this is 20 years at this point, right?
[00:06:49] Gary Lachman: I’m just about to show it out. But I was writing it 20 years ago. So came out in 2003.
[00:06:57] Alex Tsakiris: I think people get where I’m going, when I read this quote, “One of my motives in writing this book is to argue that the current monopoly, unconsciousness by scientists and academic philosophers is unfounded. And that a whole history of thought about consciousness, and its possible evolution is left out of there, quote, unquote, official accounts. There is what I call a secret history of consciousness.” And I guess, I have to admit, with a little embarrassment. I was stunned. I mean, man, that is powerful. But it’s like double powerful to think you wrote that 20 years ago, I’ve been doing this show for the last 10 years. And that’s been the main theme of my show, is that the monopoly of consciousness. Where were you at then in your headspace? And this is so much part of this presentation that I saw, how has that shifted? Where are we? Where have we come since then?
[00:07:59] Gary Lachman: Well, where I was then most of the time was in the British Library. Back in the day, and reading and rereading and doing research for the book, but I mean, fundamentally, that book that allowed me to unload thoughts about everything I’ve been reading for the last, I don’t know, 25 years or something like that. And, and I just felt and I still feel it’s the case today, that 99.9%, 99% of the time, when you have something about consciousness, it’s either it’s science, it’s quantum, quantum something or other. And its science of mind, philosophy of mind, something like that. And that’s fine. But it does seem to me to sort of monopolize, or you can get away Is it? Because I think it mean, in the sense I mean, obviously, philosophy is talked about consciousness, but not necessarily in the same way as like philosophy of mind. John [unclear 8:59] Erickson, people like that. I mean, they’re kind of name check, but they’re what they sort of arrived at, or their conclusions are not necessarily, unless you are doing that kind of particular philosophy. It’s split those guys over there, the continental philosophy, but we’re doing the hard stuff over here. This is the real, that’s the nice, nice, soft, that’s fine. But this is the real kind of stuff here. And I still feel like that’s today. I mean, I find you can’t there’s two things I mean, well there’s the three sort of size, there’s the science talks about the three S’s, science talks about consciousness a lot, we still that that’s what we do, in the spiritual side of it, which is often in opposition to science, but it has a particular kind of way that it talks about it. And then there’s the psychedelic, which is sound, but it’s PS, and then that’s the consciousness too, but there’s a whole another kind of area, I would say, the existential, I mentioned [unclear 10:03] and that whole area. And mostly because I’ve been very much influenced by the work of Colin Wilson, the British writer who, almost 10 years ago, now 2013, passed away. But he wrote a great deal about consciousness from a sort of phenomenological event into a kind of, I know what you would call a cold or mystical, a paranormal kind of way. And throughout the 70s, and 80s, and all of that. But that’s all kind of I didn’t know, there’s a certain way to seem to me like that sort of got lost in the shuffle. And that’s the area that I come out of. And so for me, I’m just trying to have this conversation broadened. Because you can certainly find insights into consciousness and novelists and poets, and people of that sort, it doesn’t have to be, you know, doesn’t have to be sort of completely dominated by kind of the quantum world, I think.
[00:11:01] Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, and I guess that’s what I really hooked into, in reading that quote from the book is that it’s like, interesting, the first line that you gave me when you answered is like, I was buried in the library, which there’s like two parts of that one is, and it kind of relates to, like, everyone winds up talking about your background, it’s like, you’re giving a presentation to Theosophical Society of England, and then you’re doing another international presentation. And The Washington Times, you’re like, I didn’t want to say legitimate author, because that’s like [unclear 11:38]
[00:11:40] Gary Lachman: I finally made it. Thank you, thank you.
[00:11:43] Alex Tsakiris: But that’s the thing. That’s the thing. So, no one in the Theosophical Society, even though it was virtual, there, there weren’t a groupie in the background with old Blondie cultures coming forward, looking for autographs, I mean, …
[00:11:58] Gary Lachman: Theosophageal groupies, you really have to watch out for them.
[00:12:01] Alex Tsakiris: But let’s see, the thing, the thing that I guess is noteworthy, because you connect this stuff to culture, and very few people can make the kind of transition that you’ve made and fully make it you know what I mean fully make it. And what I think it reflects in your work is something that I want to get into because I’m not always in sync with everything you read about. But there’s a certain tenaciousness there, certain tenaciousness that, fuck it, I could do this. I know I can do it. So I’m gonna go fucking do it. And when you say, “I was in a library, I was in the library for 20 fucking years. Yeah, I was studying this shit. And I see a monopoly on consciousness. That doesn’t make any sense. Because that’s the leap, they had maintained this kind of really absurdity that because the notion” and you say this in the presentation, which I think you’d do it very well, and you’ve done at other places, is that at some level, at some philosophical level, it’s just kind of like the emperor has no clothes here. It’s like, really, consciousness is an illusion, hold on, you’re really going to try and put that out there. I mean, did you respond to any of that?
[00:13:18] Gary Lachman: I mean, of course, that was one of the things when you read about people like to get books that John Searle, Daniel Dennett, Nicholas Humphrey. I mean, it’s all this sort of explaining or explaining away, which has been going on forever. It’s nothing new. I mean, it’s been a way, it’s the sort of the kind of the fundamental drive of the scientific view, which, in itself isn’t necessarily bad, because it’s trying to understand and his certain paradigms to use an overused word, that it does that, but in doing so, it has to sort of chop it’s very procrustean, it has to chop things down to size to fit its method of inquiry. And that’s right. Like, well, there’s all these things when I was thinking, I know in brain studies, they have qualia, this is one of the problems, those neurons are doing this or that. We’re not saying, “Oh, that’s neuron number 2672. It’s lighting up next to let it up. No, it’s like, oh, that’s green. Or, Oh, I like that smell. Oh God, [unclear 14:28] that was at the seashore.” These are qualitative experience. I mean, we have the quantum we should have the column. But that would be giving way to this kind of quantitative way to try to understand these experiences [unclear 14:43]. Because these are experiences of a different nature. And this is the thing where I just feel like that gets kind of lost. I mean, I’m sure the quantum things are doing whatever they’re doing all the time. But whatever they’re doing, it doesn’t equate with the strange sort of experience of actually being conscious, and being so conscious, and even that, for starters, it’s completely kind of very weird. But then we have all the other stuff that comes in later on, the extended consciousness and abnormal or whatever you want to call it paranormal kind of thing. So there’s all these sorts of things that they’re part of our phenomenal experience, the world is like that for many people. But in order for whatever we want to call science, to graph that it has to chop it down to fit it in, and it gets rid of all this stuff that basically makes living worth living. And that’s where you step in. And it’s kind of like, “Yes, you’re right. That’s nice. All that qualitative stuff. We know that what’s making you mean, but it doesn’t really exist out in the objective world.”
[00:15:51] Alex Tsakiris: Cool. Okay. And I’m done with that as a possible explanation. Have you ever thought about the conspiratorial or the potential conspiratorial aspect of it? Because I’ll tell you where I started, I started straight up just with the science, so I was like, Rupert Sheldrake, Dean Raiden, they’re looking at SPY looking at the borders of consciousness. Let’s look there, because that’s going to kind of get to this question in kind of a boom data standpoint. But the more I got into it, and then particularly, I got into interested in near death experience science, and I was happy to add science in there, because now there’s hundreds of peer reviewed paper on near death experience in a hospital and all the rest that.
[00:16:37] Gary Lachman: Studies near death studies, right? That’s the thing you just slap out on. And then it’s like.
[00:16:43] Alex Tsakiris: Well, but really, if you look at the science, it’s like, Okay, what were the competing theories, it’s the last gasp of dying brain. Well, we can get in there. And we can measure that. And we can measure the release of endorphins, chemicals, we can release the DMT release, we can measure all that stuff. And they have and so, but I guess my point is breakout to the conspiratorial part, really, what put me over the edge was, I don’t know if you remember this, but probably 10 years ago, when the near death experience thing really hit and it hit with Harvard neurosurgeon, Eben Alexander comes out with a book, Proof of Heaven, it’s a phenomenal book in terms of phenomenally successful New York Times bestseller. Everyone’s talking about it. And man, I mean, the cultural takedown on this guy was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I mean, they were coming out of the woodwork and what was the Sam Harris is always my favorite one. Sam Harris comes out and says, “This book is alarmingly unscientific. And this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” And I remember talking to people, and they go, “But I thought you said he was a Harvard neurosurgeon.” “Yeah, he’s a neurosurgeon.” So what this is crackpot Sam Harris, who doesn’t even practice the neuroscience. But that’s the way it was in Esquire magazine, major takedown. And so the question there is, I have come to believe that there’s a certain I’m not saying it’s the whole thing that there’s certain conspiratorial aspects, social engineering aspect to it is that, you thinking you’re meaningless, that you’re a biological robot that consciousness is an illusion is kind of good for business, in some ways, you know what I mean? You’re not having an expanded sense of your fit in the universe beyond that, that might be useful for certain folks.
[00:18:41] Gary Lachman: Well, I mean, I just think there’s people that that sensibility, and there’s some people that are extremists or fundamentalists, I get to use the Dawkins and you know what, to tell you the truth, I have to plead ignorance. I have to be one of the few people on social media world to I know the name Sam Harris, but I’ve never read or listened to heard anything. I don’t know who’s all these other guy, Josh Brogan and people have done nothing. So I don’t know them. They don’t know me, I’m sure. I’m sure they don’t know me. But I just don’t, I haven’t … I’m too busy in my own things. I don’t know, what they were about, but I do know that. Yeah, I mean, Wikipedia seems to be slanted towards that realm. It tends to call anything, slightly para pseudo, pseudo-science or whatever. No, I mean, I know this and that kind of thing. And, I mean, it just seems like it’s a hard road to hoe and it’s always been like that. I mean, you mentioned Rupert Sheldrake, Dean Raiden. I mean, I don’t know [unclear 19:45] I did a seminar with Dean Raiden. And Alex Gray at the Omega studios in upstate New York. I mean, it’s there. The evidence is there, but the evidence has been there for a long time. I mean, in a way, it’s just more of it. It’s finer, it’s more finely tuned, it’s right there. They can’t really ignore it. And if you are ignoring you, purposely, you know, you’re not looking through the telescope kind of thing, because I mean, not any way to diminish the work that’s going on now. Because the reason I’m saying this is I did that. Last year during the toted sort of set down here, the first one, I would seem such a long time ago now, I wrote a short book about pre cognitive dreams that I’ve been recording for the last 40 years.
[00:20:32] Alex Tsakiris: Your personal precognitive dreams?
[00:20:35] Gary Lachman: Yeah, my own. Going back to that 1980 starting, and then also bringing in other people like Don Jacob, JB Priestley, and TC Lethbridge, young synchronicity, and lots of other things coming in there. So, it’s called Dreaming Ahead of Time. It’s a little bit out this summer, but Corona mania hit, and it was put back, so it’s supposed to be coming out next year. But the reason I mentioned that is I talked about talking to Dean Raiden, about [unclear 21:05] the thing, and this is certainly enough evidence there to show that whatever may be behind it, whether it’s retro causality as Eric Bargo, in his book, Time Loops, it’s remarkable book, where he talks about this, or whatever it might be behind it. It’s something that, it’s on the record, but people who don’t want to know those turned a blind eye to it. And they’re still in a position where they can see the woo woo effect is still around, used to not be able to talk about sex. Now we can talk about so but the weirdest sex doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not salacious, it’s not titillating. It’s just, yep, this is how it is. And its art, we liberated we can talk about it. We can talk about this sort of thing without The X Files, music coming on [unclear 21:56] and effect happening, which in one sense, we want to keep us it is strange and mysterious and weird. But it’s the sort of thing that allows the still entrenched authorities to say, “Ah, no, what did I tell you? It’s strange, kind of weird stuff.”
[00:22:15] Alex Tsakiris: So there’s certainly those two ways of looking at it. And fair enough. I think the pre cognitive stuff is really interesting. I have a friend and a guy who’s been on the show, Dr. Andy Paquette, who got a PhD at London, College London there, but is just like, yeah, I think he’s from New Jersey originally.
[00:22:33] Gary Lachman: Really? That’s [unclear 22:33]
[00:22:37] Alex Tsakiris: But the unique thing about Andy is he’s very meticulous about recording his pre cognitive duties as recorded. And database 8000 have met this point. And has the ability to through his database kind of go in and compare and end he’s done follow ups. I don’t know how he’s had the time and persistence to do it. But all that stuff, you know what I call extended consciousness, because it does seem like, I don’t want to just keep trying to drive home my thing, but I like how you say, the kind of ghettoization of consciousness. I think that’s happened, but now we’re beyond that. And I think that the real movement is to keep pushing, pushing beyond that say, okay, that discussion is really a silly discussion, consciousness is an illusion. I mean, I think it was a conspiratorial absurdity at the beginning, but at the very least, can we acknowledge that the action is where we’re at in terms of what is pre cognition? What is Eric Bargo? I don’t exactly. I don’t think that supports that. But near death experience, I think ET is incredibly important. And they just came out with the United States, the preliminary assessment of which is such a phony title, but of the UAP, UFO, this shift is one of the greatest shifts in terms of the content from the consciousness standpoint, greatest shifts in our lifetime, have now this disclosure that “Yeah, there is this ETs in the extended consciousness realm, which if anyone wants to just ignore everything else and kind of not read that headline into it, you’re kind of missing the point.” I mean, so that’s what they’re saying. And then it sends us in an entirely different direction as well. I mean, what does that mean? What is our place in the universe, again, is redefined? So I contrast that with this talk of traditional science and woebot bump, still one grave, one funeral at a time, it’s like, “No, we are way past that.”
[00:24:46] Gary Lachman: Well, thing is, isn’t this what everyone’s been saying is supposed to happen? The Age of Aquarius is supposed to be with us, right? More or less, we’re kind of [unclear 24:54] I don’t know. It’s all rather vague when actually we get into it. You know, when the meter ticks into it, but that’s all supposed to be happening. And we certainly live in a time, it seems when all the strange stuff that was on the fringe, the marginalized weird stuff UFOs and paranormal stuff and cult activity and weird politics and all that have become center stage, or at least they were in during the administration of the previous president.
[00:25:34] Alex Tsakiris: Do you think it’s any less so now?
[00:25:35] Gary Lachman: No, I’m just gonna say that’s the PPOT [unclear 25:37]. But well, I just mean, in the sense that that’s something we associate, I guess, which I’m not necessarily going down this route. I mean, the idea was like, “Okay, wow, that’s over. Now that we’re back.” And now things are crumbling around us, and it’s in its own very strange. So, no, I personally don’t think it’s over. I mean, nothing’s ever over, it’s like, you know, what part of it what part of the story were you involved in? And then, another story starts bubbling up. But, I mean, I, somebody I mentioned in the book I did about Trump darkstar, rising, magic and power the Trump just briefly in there was this German Swiss philosopher named Jean Gebser. Who can’t go into detail about his ideas about consciousness again, like, only people who know his work. And this is mostly in cultural studies or sociology. No, and, but he has something called [unclear 26:48] structures of consciousness. Long story short, he sees, he said he died in the early 70s. But he said, but we’re going through 20th century. So the beginning of and we were certainly, going through an intensified period of is the body called the breakdown of the mental rational consciousness, [unclear 27:08]. And this means all the kind of, we talked about postmodern, post everything. Everything that was set in place during the modern period when the rational mind had organized everything, everything was nice place and linear and progress was happening and all that. That’s all being taken apart. It’s eating itself up deconstructionism, post modernism, does it right, quantum did it with the physical Newtonian world ready, in the beginning of the century?
[00:27:38] Alex Tsakiris: Can I hold on one little thing you said there, because to me, it’s like a jumping off point that goes in two completely different directions, is, like I love what you said is that it’s beyond post modernism. It’s post everything. It’s post rational thought. But then you said, If I got this right, is being taken down? And then you said or is crumbling, kind of under its own weight. And to me that is the that is the debate that my tribe is having is, is that being taken down? Is that an intentional effort to take that down? Or is it somehow organically crumbling because it needed to crumble and make waves?
[00:28:17] Gary Lachman: I am to see [unclear 28:17]. That’s I guess that’s a philosophical critical sort of question, because in one sense, it is being taken down. But you don’t need a conspiracy theory for that being taken down by itself. That’s what I said, movements like deconstructionism and post modernism. They’re all about the end of the big narratives the world, just by definition, post modernism, it’s one ways it’s the most vacuous term. It’s like, whatever came after modernism. It’s like, that’s why it’s like what I’m pleased to say, I’m interested in pre next things. I’m before whatever the next thing is, you know, so there’s nothing so I’m after whatever that was, and it’s like, that’s fine. That gives you a linear temporal kind of placement, but what’s your content, and both of those movements are content less, postmodernism is content less, it takes bits and pieces of other things, some plays around with them. They’ll close them together, whether it’s architecture or whatever form. Deconstruction is, by definition, it doesn’t make anything it takes things apart. Well, in that case, you have to have something that’s made already that you can take apart. And what did they take apart? They took apart the Western tradition as they’ve been doing. And somebody like Trump, knows nothing about this, he just got the whiff, “Oh, reality is what we say it is.” Well that’s in the book, what I’m saying in that book is that, “There’s a few different trajectories of attacking the notion of a stable objective reality with a capital R a stable objective truth, the capital T that is available for objective inquiry to the rational mind, that is so 20th century man that’s like gone.” And he ran with it. He doesn’t know the first thing about postmodernism all this kind of stuff, but he knew, “Oh, reality is what you make of it.” And that’s the positive thinking side, Norman, Vincent Peale know all that. That all ties in with occult thought, with new thought and magical thinking and so. And then the other side of it is the reality TV, where, PP popped out of television. I mean, again, that’s sympathetic magic, whatever you want to call it. And then these guys, the whole Pepe the Frog kind of thing, which is supposed to help him get elected. You know what happened to him kind of one month to say naturally, legislators say kind of, on its own, where he popped out of television after being the guy in the apprentice, we got him fired, that he actually became the big guy who hired and fired that happen by itself. But the reason he got to be in that was these guys helped him using the internet. This is what they say happening. But it’s we live in this strange time where that reality has just been kind of the seams. It’s something that theyapouia, which is what you do you find the loose thread and you pull it. And in many ways, you don’t need any kind of conspiracy theory about that. This is what makes our time strange. I’m just trying to characterize why I’m particularly [unclear 31:29] strange. I’m not saying there aren’t conspiracies, I don’t know, they may be, I stay away from them. Because I see them as trap doors, you open a trap door, and you keep opening trap doors.
[00:29:03] Alex Tsakiris: But they’re all trapped doors. I mean, it’s the thread [unclear 31:41]
[00:31:43] Gary Lachman: Itself, in one sense, because reality itself has become like that now.
[00:31:48] Alex Tsakiris: Completely. I mean, that’s the starting.
[00:31:51] Gary Lachman: Maybe there’s a conspiracy behind making it so maybe that’s the case, maybe [unclear 31:57] making reality. I mean, one of the people I talked about dogstar rise in this [unclear 32:00]. He was a professional conspiracy theorist for a while. He was inventing conspiracy theories of the Russian press, and all of that this is part of the whole, the gigantic kind of, well, you could say, conspiracy theory that Putin had installed over, but then in a sense, it’s sort of like an invented reality, you invent reality.
[00:32:26] Alex Tsakiris: So here’s my thing, like, kind of, we could take this discussion in two ways, or it’s always gonna kind of loop back at the snake is gonna eat its tail and all that kind of stuff, because fundamentally, you’re understanding and you build this up with the data. And the evidence and the philosophical data, if you can call it that, is that there our reality is it. At the very least we can say it’s a lesser reality, it’s a lesser reality, we are looking through the long end of the telescope. And there’s other people, and this is what the extended consciousness literature comes back. So people have a near death experience, they come back, oh, I had a comparable download. I do everything, I’m back at this body. And I don’t you know what I mean? Or in your pre cognitive dreams, there’s this expanded beyond space time. I know more than I know now. And yet, we always want to shift gears and downshift and go, “Now wait a minute, I’m back in charge here. Let me tell you how it all works.” And so we can always shift to that mode and say, “We don’t know shit,” which is always going to be true. But here’s the part that I guess is kind of tough, though. So and then let me make one other point about Dark Star Rising, brilliant insight, brilliant insight that no one had and for you to connect the Trump, New Thought movement, which again, just kind of totally flies under the radar and even goes, “Oh, yeah, that’s great. That’s, yeah, I have a picture of a Range Rover on my refrigerator, because that’s what I want.” It’s like, okay, but explore that philosophically what that means in terms of how you see the world, how you see reality on the rest of this, but when you get to the conspiracy stuff, it’s like, if we are going to play that game, it’s like the Dark Star Rising. Where are we with Hillary and Mariana in spirit cooking, which connects directly to Alistair Crowley. I mean, don’t we at least have to go shit? Because first of all, you are talking about conspiracy. Again, this is one that flies under the radar. Is this a conspiracy? Fuck yes, it’s conspiracy. 400, you know, a 1000s of emails. The most incendiary emails are released four days before the election, and they sink Hillary’s boat. I mean, that’s not like, oh, that just happened by chance somebody released this
[00:34:45] Gary Lachman: It’s politics.
[00:34:47] Alex Tsakiris: Politics, but it’s also conspiratorial, and it’s also right into this world. I mean, you wrote a biography on Alister Crowley, and I know your biographies are kind of real biographies, but the connection to Mariana and Hillary and Spirit kicking …
[00:35:00] Gary Lachman: I have to say, I mean, people have criticized me, or at least brought to my attention that I have nothing to say. But which I have to say, I didn’t pay any attention to that. No, not because I’m a Hillary fan at all. Oh, no. I mean, not. So I have to say, I don’t know about that. I mean, I know what it is the pizza gate sort of thing. But I have to say, I’m one of these people because I kind of necessary ignorance, in order to do my work, I have to sort of feel things out. So I again, I’m just reading that I don’t know enough not to have anything intelligent to say.
[00:35:39] Alex Tsakiris: Fair enough. And I guess, hold on, because I want to say something that this relates back to the first part is that I could be totally off on this. But that’s the kind of tenaciousness that I think it takes to kind of make the transition that you did in your life to be kind of like here and say, “I know I can shut that off.” And you want to pull me into that world. I refuse. I’m staying here and this is my lane. I’m in that lane, but I want to pull you there a little bit. I do want to pull you in there a little bit.
[00:36:05] Gary Lachman: No, I mean, I’m glad you do. But I’m that’s why I’m saying I’m doing a public here alive. And [unclear 36:10] many people would do, they would perhaps try to say something that sounded like they knew what they were talking about, which you can say I do that most of the time anyway. That’s true. But at least on this occasion, I’m being Socratic and admitting my ignorance. So I mean, that’s the thing, a lot of people that I guess were pro Trump is sort of like, “Oh, man, you’re just doing this pro Trump stuff, but you’re not doing anything about that kind of there.” And I just have to say, I mean, the reason I wrote the book Dark Star is that my editor at Torture Penguin asked me to do it. And I was like, “Okay, go for it.” So I followed that trail. I mean, I know there’s a broader kind of studies about that side, too. I guess you can say, a co-politics on the left, or I don’t know, are they the left is telling me the left? I guess [unclear 37:03]. I did you a book earlier called Politics in Loophole, which the main argument of it is to say that there is a kind of progressive occult politics. You know, people like Madame Blavatsky, or [unclear 37:26] Basanti was the head of the Theosophical Society, they were both very much involved with Indian independence. Victoria Woodhall, who was the first woman to run for president in 1872. She was a mesmerist, and a healer and a psychic. She also translated the Communist Manifesto. And she had a Wall Street brokerage firms, remarkable women, in the 19th century, and she was a free love advocate. So I guess I’m just saying there is this kind of history of upon a progressive let us say, occult politics. And like one of them. I was gonna say, just because I’m giving a talk about this, actually, in Denmark, next month. So this is kind of on my mind, I just wanted to say, the recent explosion or eruption of the ID at the Capitol, the barbarians entered in all that, that, that was kind of like the kind of burst of this kind of whatever you want to call it, the occult spell happening at that time, but Trump retreated, whatever. But that reminded me more than anything else of the attempt in 1967 to exercise and levitate the Pentagon. But that was from the left is that was an antiwar March. So I’m not equating it, but it was a similar sort of irrational kind of attempt at occult politics in a way. I’m just saying that to say like, yes, this stuff happens on that side of the political spectrum as well.
[00:39:04] Alex Tsakiris: Interesting, great, great stuff. And I like how you’re holding the line. It’s important it keeps bringing us back to realizing where the line is when you keep holding it. You know, I’m not the political, I don’t believe that I think Trump is a brand. Just like I think Biden is a brand. I don’t think those are real. I don’t believe in anything, but we would call traditionally political it just seems like such a farce. But I do want to make sure we get to the underlying questions here that I don’t always see your kind of square off on directly like, a couple years ago, I wrote a book, Why Evil Matters and the premise of the book was that it’s science, it’s right up your alley, but it’s like science denies evil in one way. And then religion, boxes it in, and to this and then it might be our best lens to really kind of get a better understanding of what we’re talking about when we talk about consciousness, because when we move to talk about evil, and somebody, well, that’s just a social construct of this, and then you start really nailing it down because there’s plenty of evil in the world. And that was the whole purpose is kind of as a thought exercise to say, “Okay, now I got you to a point where you go.” The woman I interviewed who was sold into the Belgian sexual satanic cult, they’re at six years old, they have pictures of the dietro thing. And here’s the woman who is there and six years old, so by her mother raped 1000 times, and then people go, “Oh, yeah, that’s fucking evil.” Okay, now we get so you got to draw the stick in the ground. But I say all that because, like, to me, one of the fundamental questions and this whole thing is, is there a moral imperative? Is there good and bad? Are there good thoughts, bad thoughts? in any context, you want to say? Where do you come down on that? Is there a moral imperative? Is there good and bad?
[00:40:55] Gary Lachman: Well, I would say, well, fundamentally, yes. I mean, but sounds what you just described to me this poor woman, it’s horrific. What can you say? You can’t say anything about it. But [unclear 41:09] no, no, what no, well, I mean, you give this absolutely horrific, what person’s existential experience whatever I’m going to say, it’s going to sound absolutely platitude, you know, platitudinous, and a truism after that. But at the same time, we’re talking about this thing evil, which one has to second What do you mean, do you mean like, there’s the principles of a satanic a dark principle that actually is actively evil? Or is evil the absence of good just like darkness is the absence of light?
[00:41:48] Alex Tsakiris: What do you think?
[00:41:49] Gary Lachman: We don’t have a dark flashlight. Like some supervillain might have a thing where you can shoot a beam of darkness at you. We can’t do that; we can dispel darkness with light. So I mean, this is the Christian, this is [unclear 42:06] we know that. I’m like my Latin isn’t good enough. But it’s like, the privation of the good [unclear 42:15] but it’s the absence of good. Is there an act of evil force in the world? This is the Manichaean kind of thing. I don’t know. But when you see some things I mean, Colin Wilson, as I said, his work, he wrote about evil. He wrote about serial killers he wrote he was writing about, he’s writing existential studies of killers like Jack the Ripper, and the [unclear 42:37] who’s like people to most people know about him. He’s a Dusseldorf murderer. The film M that Peter Lorre’s name, Fritz Lang film M is about him, but that’s actually a toned down take on his life because this guy was absolutely, I mean, what he did, but in his everyday life, he was actually quite nice, people liked him. It was good to his wife and even arranged for her to get the reward money. So it’s people are strange. We are weird beings, and is evil, I mean, this is the thing that drove [unclear 43:16] nuts. That’s why it’s the van Cara motza in the Brothers Karamazov. There may be a great cosmic plan, in which in the end, everything works out fine, but I can’t accept it because I cannot accept what strikes me is the point the suffering of a child and he’s talking about some horrific conditions like the woman you’re telling me about what cosmic plan necessitates that. But then his brother Alyosha, who’s the religious mystic, he has a vision in which all is good. And that’s [unclear 43:51] punchline. In all of his books, as somebody who gets this all is good kind of thing is completely irrational. It’s beyond the rational mind. We cannot explain it. You have the experience and you feel like yes, even that is good. It somehow and it’s not this worked out a galleon plan where everything finally works out. No, no! It isn’t the suffering isn’t gone. It’s not suddenly evil turned into good. But somehow, somehow, this overwhelming sense of yea saying which told us and charted out is what the outside are people like [unclear 43:30] so many others have experience where it’s this vital energy, life affirming sense of, ‘Yes.’ But just Trump’s sorry to use that word. All of the pain and suffering.
[00:44:45] Alex Tsakiris: Well, that word is no longer viable. It’s Yeah. But hey, no, that’s great. Gary, and I appreciate it. And just so I’m not Christian. I’m not religious, and kind of part of my investigation. This was a guy who was a clinical psychologist and I was doing this, doing a bunch of shows, and he wrote me an email says, “Hey, I love the show, but you don’t have a fucking clue about evil.” And he went on to describe how he had come to understand it through kind of channeled information, and that the important thing, I think, was that there’s this extended realm in which it parallels our realm, and that there is malevolence there, so I don’t, I don’t know how to process it, and I love the way you’re dancing with it. That seems to me to be really, wonderfully important. And that’s why we come back to you because you’re not going to be pinned down with a cheap answer. So let me then add to …
[00:45:39] Gary Lachman: I mean, I’m saying I was gonna say, Swedenberg has written about, he said, there are spirits around us, all the time, and there are dark evil spirits, they’re kind of the low life …
[00:45:53] Alex Tsakiris: As below, so above, but we don’t have to look very far to see.
[00:45:57] Gary Lachman: I mean, we’ve got nothing better to do then typically, this is the thing is, there is some kind of call it some kind of its whatever it is the life force gone sour and gone in on itself, and it becomes this kind of thing that does actually, it enjoys the pain and suffering of others. So I would say, yes, that to me would be if you knowingly enjoy the pain and suffering of others, and not in some kind of consensual, weird sexual kind of thing, but I don’t mean that. I mean, some poor child that you’ve got trapped somewhere, and that child’s cries of absolute terror give you a free song, then that to me would be evil, I would say.
[00:46:46] Alex Tsakiris: [unclear 46:47] pulled in a couple other these extended consciousness things and see how your kind of working them into your thought patterns. Reincarnation, I think is super interesting. And again, I like it, because there’s science, you go to the guys at University of Virginia, and they will blow you away at the science and you just have to throw up your hands and like you were saying about pre cognition and Dean [unclear 47:09] you go, Okay, so that is happening in this small, our big our reality. But then so how do you process the reincarnation thing? What do you make of it?
[00:47:19] Gary Lachman: I have to say, I’ve never really, I’ve always had a perverse interest in this notion of eternal recurrence, rather than just I mean, simply say, perverse on purpose, because, well, it didn’t initially start, I mean, eternal recurrence is that the, we’ve had this conversation countless times before, and we will have the same conversation countless of times, again, and this is a notion that’s associated with the philosopher Nietzsche, the Russian PDU Spensky, who was most known as a student of gurdjieff, but he’s a brilliant philosopher in his own right, he talked about it, but in a different way. But I got interested in it, because I read Nisetzsche, when I was in my teens and all that, but also, in the late 80s, early 90s, I worked at the preeminent metaphysical bookshop, west of the Rockies, this place called the Bode Tree. It’s not there anymore. But it was very famous. It was made famous by Shirley MacLaine, in the 80s, whether he was out on a limb or something, or a bad experience, or she was experiencing out of the body stuff, and channeling variety of things like that, and I started working there actually, around the same time that I was working at this thing Harmonic Convergence started [unclear 48:35] any case, I’m getting off point, but the reason I became kind of, I say, perversely, kind of interested in eternal recurrence, because everybody was talking about their past life. And I said, “No, not this just said, Now you just you. Sorry!” That was more [unclear 48:55] giving them a hard time about it, but I don’t know. I mean, I was very, I mean, when I read a great deal of Rudolf Steiner, reincarnation is very, very central item in his system. And I don’t know, I mean, how should I say, I know, it’s in Sanderson. I mean those are the early kind of people working on it and I know today, this door, so there’s enough kind of evidence in some way points to it. So I don’t know. I mean, I guess there’s two different levels more than two, but there’s one is the kind of scientific wherever it might be, the young boy suddenly has memories of something and it’s proven all that. And then there’s the sort of philosophical, let’s say, you know, or the metaphysical kind of teaching about it so, but I’m so busy with this world here, and now that I don’t think that where I was before. I dread having to worry about where I’m going next. There’s enough for me to deal with. I’m very existential in that way.
[00:50:04] Alex Tsakiris: I think that’s a lot deeper than you’re kind of letting on. And I appreciate the judistician for the laugh. I’m glad you reminded us of Shirley MacLaine, in that whole era for people who weren’t there, don’t, haven’t read about it. That was the Zeitgeist. Who were you? I was ISIS. I was, everyone had these, it really got to be so, it was comical …
[00:50:30] Gary Lachman: That’s life regression that was happening all the time. I mean, it was a fantastic place to be. In fact, I’m thinking I have to write my memories of it before I don’t remember anymore. But it was a fantastic time.
[00:50:42] Alex Tsakiris: But the other thing that you mentioned, I think is particularly interesting. And it’s also fun because the way he broke it down, I think is quite spot on in that the scientific data. Like you go look at Jim Tucker at University of Virginia and Ian Stevenson, all that stuff. And you just got to go, “Okay, yeah, okay. Yeah, you got me, you turned my arm and I twisted my arm, and I got admitted.” But the other thing is like, to your point, you go talk to some of the Zen people and some of the other Buddhist people and they go, now you’ve missed the point. The point is, there is only now. So any thought that you might have of past live future life, you’ve already missed the point. So come back to and even if you’re not like super Zen about it, you do see essentially what you’re saying, which is my only job is to be completely engaged in, I couldn’t be.
[00:51:39] Gary Lachman: I mean, yeah, but I’m telling you, I mean, personally, so it’s, I’m not prescribing for others. I mean, I know I mean, other people, I mean, I write about this stuff, but I think in order to write about it, you have to be a bit sort of detached from it, if you too much, actually say, my left brain is interested in what my right brain is trying to like, talk about it. But no, I mean, no, you’d be interesting, as you say, Zen because when I was a teenager, this is one of the first things I got interested in back in the very early 70s. It was like, growing up in New Jersey, we got the tail end of 60s and I was doing my own thing whenever I was 71, or something like that. But they are reading DT Suzuki and obviously the Dharma bumps, Kerouac’s novel, [unclear 52:30], but I just strangely enough, recently went back and came across a book. This is a case where the [unclear 52:36] back in. I mean, having, I mean, I read this ages ago, and having done all this other stuff, a lot of it. So I understand in a way, what he’s talking, at least when they talk about the Zen experience, which any Zen person would say, “Well, you’ve lost it or read it since we are talking about it.” But it is this kind of right brain kind of way of seeing [unclear 52:57] now and the present and not being hurried and harangue by your obsessive left brain ego who always wants to do things. And I’m sadly one of these people who is like that, I find it really difficult to sit and do nothing. I mean, I’m constantly and but I have of late, unconsciously, it’s fine to do that more. And I even started listening to Shakuhachi you know, bamboo flute music on YouTube, which I have to say, you know, this is one of the wonderful things about the online world that I’ve access to that now.
[00:53:32] Alex Tsakiris: That’s awesome. What’s next? What do you want to do for the next act?
[00:53:39] Gary Lachman: Well, in many ways, I want to take the long deferred and much needed rest. I’ve been saying for the last 20 something years I need. But I have an idea for something like a memoir. I mentioned that I’m talking about writing down these memories of working out the Bode Tree and things like that. Some something along those lines, man, I’m actually at the moment I’m working on a book about a fella named Maurice Nicoll, who started out as a union he was the first Young’s representatives in Britain in England. But then he changed his allegiance to Bert Jeff and Uspensky 1920s he spent a year at Bert Jeff’s prairie his Institute for harmonious development of man in Fontainebleau for your listeners who don’t know Bert Jeff uses enigmatic reko sort of Turkish esoteric teacher and they’re tourists’ half of the 20th century. And he gathered around himself part of you intellectual and cultural people on the, well the Russian philosopher Peter Uspensky gateway mentioned earlier You’re the writer Katherine Mansfield, and people like that. And Nicole was Student Affairs for a while at this strange place that he had in Fontainebleau outside of Paris in the 20s, where there was a certainly a strange place where most of these people are sort of more or less, well off well-heeled intellectuals and writers and cultural people in England at the time we went there, and they were mostly given all this very hard physical work to do along with all these kind of psychological exercises and things of that sort. So any case, he sorts of got lost in the shuffle of different people that came out of this time. And I’ve been approached by someone to do a book about him and having written about Uspensky. And also young, and Nikolas also later in his life, by the reader of Swedenborg, where I mentioned briefly, and I’ve written a book about him as well. So it seems like you know, might be the person to do it.
[00:56:11] Alex Tsakiris: That’s fantastic. I kind of get the feeling when I hear about the origins of these books, you’re talking about your vacation, pal, forget about it. They’re gonna feel alive from the Godfather, they keep pulling me back, I mean, …
[00:56:29] Gary Lachman: Necessity is the mother of reproduction. That’s my paraphrase on that. So that’s how it is. So I’m still waiting for the big one to happen. But no, I mean, I enjoy doing it. And I enjoy giving talks. I teach an occasional course, with the California Institute of Integral Studies. I just did one recently, this summer on my book, Lost Knowledge of the Imagination. And so that’s gonna be fine, too.
[00:56:59] Alex Tsakiris: Again, our guest has been very excellent, Gary Lachman. It’s been terrific, terrific talking to him. And the websites very nicely done. Number one, but also it has a lot of stuff there. And it’s nicely laid out, which shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is.
[00:57:18] Gary Lachman: I’m actually thinking I need to revamp it. So I’m gonna just say that.
[00:57:22] Alex Tsakiris: Well, anyone that’s just kind of a personal thing, but what I liked is, you go over here, and it’s what you want interviews, articles, talks, and other things. And it’s all super accessible in theirs, you know, just a line or two about what you’re going to find there. And then the links work. And its just kind of nice. And some of the photography is very nice.
[00:57:46] Gary Lachman: Just the facts, man.
[00:57:50] Alex Tsakiris: Well, it’s been a great reconnecting with you, and I really appreciate it. So Gary, thanks again.
[00:57:56] Gary Lachman: Well, thank you very much. And yeah, good luck with the next one.
[00:58:00] Alex Tsakiris: Thanks again to Gary Lachman for joining me today on Skeptiko. Question IT is the obvious one malicious intent question mark. Are they trying to break down the system or is the system just breaking down? Let me know your thoughts Skeptiko Forum come on over join me Skeptiko Forum. If you are interested in getting an answer for me, or getting a response from me or dialoguing with me, just go to Skeptical Forum and I respond to everything there. Anyways, till next time, take care bye for now.
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