Robert Bonomo’s new film spans the parapolitical to the spiritual
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Click here for Twilight of the Archons
Audio Clip: [00:00:00] We have become prisoners of our fears and desires. But to what end? Is the entire meaning of modern life to simply seek pleasure and avoid pain? Is this enough to live? In our past, there were hidden esoteric paths that guided the wise through the matrix of control. But these ancient learning’s have become obscured by pseudo transcendent materialism and false prophets.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:25] That’s from a movie by today’s guest, Robert Bonomo who has a lot to say not only about the situation we find ourselves in, but how to transcend it. Stick around, I think you’ll enjoy this conversation. Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and today I welcome back my Dharma brother, Robert Bonomo to Skeptiko. You know, we’re just chatting a minute ago, I feel like I’ve known Robert, I have known him for a long time, it seems even longer and it seems like I’ve had him on the show a bunch of times but I really haven’t, I’ve only had him on the show once. But I’ve listened to a ton of his interviews. He’s out there on a lot of the folks that I like to talk to and listen to and are part of this community. And he’s always cranking out some of these incredible new films of his. His latest I have up on the screen, Twilight of the Archons, a deep dive into the manipulation of money in consciousness, by the powers that control our daily lives. This is a good one really, really great film and you can watch it for free on YouTube, how you’re going to beat that deal. Robert can be found at CactusLand.com where if you go there and I’m scrolling through now you can see him, some of his previous films, some of his books, he’s a novelist, he’s also a university lecture and he’s a blogger, and is just really, really, really an interesting creative guy, but also has this very grounded background in kind of real world stuff. We’re just talking about a minute ago you know, MBA from Boston University, very successful in internet marketing in a former life. So he, I think that’s why I say he’s my Dharma brother cause I get him on so many levels. And it’s almost like this free flow of kind of exchange and hopefully we’ll have that today right Robert?
Robert Bonomo: [00:02:49] Yeah, I think it’s true because we have somewhat similar backgrounds and when we look at, for things like artificial intelligence, one side of me said yeah you know, the Archons but the other side’s like, wow, I could make so much money with this stuff.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:11] Exactly and you know, I mean if you want to, we’re gonna get there really soon. I don’t necessarily want to jump there right from the beginning because that’s what I thought we would do is, you don’t have a trailer per se on the movie and there’s no reason to have a trailer, you can go watch YouTube.
Robert Bonomo: [00:03:28] There is a trailer on the YouTube channel, I made a real short one but it’s about 40 seconds but it doesn’t really say much , it’s of music and images, just music and images. So it’s better, It’s not really a spoken trailer .
Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:42] Let me play a clip from this latest movie, Twilight of the Archons which you can watch on YouTube for free and you’ll immediately see why you might want to go take a look at this thing.
Audio Clip: [00:04:22] So Robert there, I’ve shared a short clip there. I hope everyone can get a sense for what the movies about. Tell us more, particularly before we launch off into a million inside baseball deep dives, which we’re bound to do. Tell folks a little bit about this particular film. How and why you put it together? When you put it together? It seems incredibly relevant. It seems very immediate but I’m sure you’ve had to work on it for a while, which makes it even kind of more interesting. Tell us about the film.
Robert Bonomo: [00:04:54] Yeah, I started this film in 2018 as soon as I finished 21 faces of God, but the initial idea came about in 2016. So I’ve been playing around with this idea a long time. So in 2018, and it takes me a couple years because I collect pieces of things. And so once I have enough stuff collected then I begin to lay it out. So I started laying it out pre Coronavirus and then the whole thing, when the world just kind of blew up, I had to start again. So I almost didn’t finish it. I would say the kernel, the real essence of this film, is you remember I use that quote from Joseph Campbell about time?
Alex Tsakiris: [00:05:41] There’s a lot of Joseph Campbell in here and we’re going to talk about that. So tell me that particular Joseph Campbell clip because I have some other ones I was going to pull up as well.
Robert Bonomo: [00:05:53] It was one I watched that as a kid, I was about 20 maybe 23 24 something like that and I remember watching that thing about time and how it’s, he talks about it’s a condescension of the infinite to the mind of man and that’s what we see as God and that drove me insane, I never understood what he was talking about.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:06:12] What do you think now today, that’s still very, very deep and you might have to say that again and break it down. What is your understanding of that now? A condensation condensing down the infinite…
Robert Bonomo: [00:06:26] Condescension, condescension.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:06:28] Did he mean it as a condescension? There’s kind of dual meaning there, right? It’s condescending but also a concentration right? Or am I wrong? Would that not be a fair dual meaning.
Robert Bonomo: [00:06:41] I think he really meant it as it’s condescending on the part of the infinite to the mind of man and that’s what we see is God. And it’s of course, we all know his famous bliss quote right?
Alex Tsakiris: [00:06:52] Yes, you have that in the film as well. So tell folks what the bliss quote is, I want to try and be as non inside baseball to start out here. But first go back to the God thing.
Robert Bonomo: [00:07:07] If any of the folks here watched the 21 faces of God don’t notice at the end, there’s a little bit of, it becomes a little, you can taste and smell it. Because I’m starting to smell this without the culture that’s really starting to interest me. And I start reading the Apana Shots and then I get into Ramakrishna a little bit and something happens. I’m reading the English translation of the gospel of Ramakrishna and it says, edited by Joseph Campbell and I say you son of a gun. Now I know what you meant, you don’t, now I’m not sure many people know this. You’re familiar with such cheap…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:07:49] Remind me…
Robert Bonomo: [00:07:50] The consciousness bliss.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:07:52] Yes, yes. Right.
Robert Bonomo: [00:07:54] It’s one of the fundamentals of Vedic culture really. He’s bliss quote, he did not, I’m not saying he stole it, but that’s what it is. In the eye. It’s being, when you know you’re being you have bliss. And if you look at the one I use of Campbell talking about bliss, he goes, when you’re really in it, that’s when you find your bliss. Campbell was all in the Vedic you see what I mean, he was a non dual advisor, that’s what he was, that was his thing. And I didn’t understand it when I was young and when I finally got it, I was like, Ah, you son of a gun I know what you’re up to. You see what I mean?
Alex Tsakiris: [00:08:42] Oh, it’s very much part of the film and it’s wonderful and you know, okay, I just kind of, I feel like I’m holding back. So now we’re going to kind of launch into this in, on the so many different levels that we’re kind of playing around with and talking about. So the first thing that I’d say about Joseph Campbell and the quote about bliss, from a business guy from an BU MBA guy, to me, that is the most misunderstood quote in the world because where I see it, a lot of people go with it is, do what you love and the money will follow and they think that’s what he’s saying, and do what you love and the money will follow is bullshit. Money doesn’t work like that, money doesn’t follow your bliss, bliss follows your bliss. If you seek bliss, your best hope is to find bliss but it isn’t to find more material shit that you want. But Campbell sometimes isn’t totally clear on that. It’s sometimes, he does seem to straddle into this place where we all want to go called back door materialism, where we want to say these ideas that work on a spiritual non dual level might also work in the real world too. And I don’t know that the evidence is there for that. And then I shoot out one more little Easter Bunny on Joseph Campbell. The question here, what propels Joseph Campbell into our culture? What is the work that really propels him into our culture?
Robert Bonomo: [00:10:32] The Bill Moyers interview.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:10:33] Exactly, Bill Moyers who is one of the co-conspirators deeply entwined in the coup that most people point to as being a major turning point in American history and that’s the assassination of JFK, so you buy these Fourth Reich Nazi you know, Allen Dulles, CIA project paperclip, well a lot of people forget. Do you remember who Bill Moyers was in that?
Robert Bonomo: [00:11:07] Right, he was Lyndon Johnson first secretary vice president right?
Alex Tsakiris: [00:11:12] Right.
Robert Bonomo: [00:11:13]
There’s a picture of Bill Moyers when the plane lands in DC and Johnson gets off the plane now president because remember Johnson took the oath on the plane. There’s a very, you see Moyers waiting for him, very young Bill Moyers, he goes up and shakes his hand.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:11:29] He was the guy who took the bubble top off the limo. He was the guy who and you know the JFK thing It’s like ancient history for most people because they’re just not of that age. But it’s just so many people will point to, like with this latest kind of round of you know recapturing the castle that happened and not to say that Trump wasn’t part of the same gang just a different faction anyway because we won’t get into all that. But in this latest round of just kind of absurdity, it directly traces back to the JFK coup. And not that JFK was perfect either but it’s just unraveling history in a way that most people don’t want to do and what I think is interesting about it is, so there’s two ways of looking at Bill Moyer Right. Bill Moyer’s fantastic, I love Bill Moyer on PBS. But what does he do? What does he do with this part of his life? What does it, because anyone who was involved at that level with Johnson, if they didn’t know it beforehand, before the shooting, they knew it soon after, right? Because their plot to cover this up is so transparently, idiotically, just stupid that he had to know. And then what did he do with that? Did he ever speak out about it? Did he you know, it’s like Dan Rather you know, it’s like, I’ve watched the Sebrooder film and the head goes down you know, it’s like, lie upon lie that was spread throughout the media and these guys perpetuated. I don’t want to get off on the JFK thing. I want to get off on the Joseph Campbell thing, in terms of how do you be in this world and not of this world? How do you be the mystic that Joseph Campbell is? And how do you at the same time be a bestselling author and PBS celebrity you know what I mean? I think that is the BU MBA hey, I can make a fuck-load of money in AI kind of thing that I think is also, and then I’m gonna shut up. But I think there is that tension in your movie, and your movie is beautifully done. But you don’t fall for the kind of sucker kind of one way or another.
Robert Bonomo: [00:14:03] The more your connection I think is, it’s interesting to look at it that way. Bill Moyer’s a complex guy, a very complex guy and so is Campbell, Campbell was not a simple guy. Very interesting though, remember once Campbell died, the wolves came after. They called him, first they tried to attack him as an anti Semite with no, just by hearsay. The guy had written and spoken, I mean unbelievable amount of video with him never said anything, but oh in private he said this and private he said that. And the second thing is they attacked his credentials because he never had a PhD so he never finished the PhD. So the Sanskrit scholars came after him. If you look academics needed him because he became a superstar and he didn’t, he never got the PhD, he was not a full professor. And I don’t think he wrote a lot of academic papers, he wrote books. So he was a little bit different, he followed his own thing and so yeah, Campbell was not somebody that a lot of people liked in academia.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:15:13] And that gets even deeper, right? I mean first to address the anti Semite thing straight on. I am so anti Semite, I mean it just unapologetically. I’m anti christian unapologetically. I’m anti Islam, unapologetically. Religion is a great mind control game that folds into this social engineering project in a way that it, if we don’t address it straight on, then we have no chance. So all these religions are just out in the open about promoting these cultish practices that seek disintermediation between you and God for lack of a better term. So I think it’s really easy to read into what Joseph Campbell is saying as being anti Semitic in the same way that you could read into what he’s saying is being anti christian because you can, he’s kind of calling for a larger Christianity that that, quote unquote, Christians would say you know, just kind of react against. I can’t, you’re kind of very open to the Gnostic vibe. You know, whenever I say Christ consciousness to someone who’s Christian they just tighten up like you’re gonna try and pass some kind of Gnostic stuff and I know that’s bad. They’re just programmed, kind of in this robotic way. And I just, I don’t know why we would want to give Judaism some kind of pass. I mean, it’s a wonderful social tradition, It’s Frick, their values I mean, if you’re gonna, it’s kind of like Mormonism too. Mormonism works incredibly well too, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have cultish origins. So I think that’s on one hand kind of that and then the academia thing is a complete joke. I mean, all of academia is built on this falsified idea that you and I, you cover beautifully in the film, that they tried to sell you that consciousness as an illusion. And they’re doing it because they want to sell you stuff they don’t want you to get this expanded view of who you are and that’s what the push back on Joseph Campbell is. So let’s push back on both sides, let’s push back on the religious side and at the same time we’ll push back on the scientific side disguised as this social sciences academia. I mean, they’re just all, everyone in the social sciences are just water boys for the hard science. I mean, they just follow like lap dogs, It’s a joke.
Robert Bonomo: [00:17:57] And I just wanted to remember that quote I used for Max Planck, that is brilliant. He said, you can’t get behind the consciousness. It’s so simple but when you really think about it he said you can’t get behind it from a scientific point of view, that’s very profound. You can’t, how can you look at it? I mean, he clearly states that. So if you can’t get behind it, how can you ever escape it? You know, you can’t do science without thinking about that and if you don’t think about it, what do you really do?
Alex Tsakiris: [00:18:38] Okay, so there’s a whole bunch of different points we could jump to and we could jump to the technology part of this, which you do a beautiful job of covering and our Google Netflix kind of…
Robert Bonomo: [00:18:54] The Gospel of Google and Netflix.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:18:59] Yes, the Gospel of Google and Netflix
Robert Bonomo: [00:19:02] It’s true, though.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:19:04] So talk about that, talk about the gospel of Google and Netflix and how they seem to be kind of overtly prepping us for what’s coming down the road.
Robert Bonomo: [00:19:17]
Yeah, I use a clip of X Maki and if you watch, I mean I, to name the series, but there’s so many in this series. But I have gotten a sensation in the last 10 years that there’s a lot of good television being made from a technical point of view. Excellent writing, good acting, TV has become almost like cinema. But the underlying message of all of this is pure materialism, absolutely pure materialism that’s all you have. There is no transcendent message in anything that they produce. So your values and goals as far as for example, social justice over ethics, this is the value of life but there is nothing more, absolutely nothing more. And that is something that I think is extremely important because it’s completely taken out of our culture. That really is the paradigm.
Alex Tsakiris: [00: 20:21] Well, I want to explore that a little bit further because I don’t know that they’re not offering a transcendence. And I think you say this in the film, they’re really suggesting that there’s a different kind of transcendence that we need to be kind of ready for. Do you want to kind of speak to that? Because I think that you do at some point say the fundamental question is, Is consciousness of the machine something that we need to fully consider and fully embrace and is that ultimately our transcendence?
Robert Bonomo: [00:21:01] Yeah and I think I danced around it a little bit when I mean, it’s not at all clear, It’s not at all clear that could be conscious. If I could explain that, why I danced around that a little bit, we…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:21:19] This is the balance, I actually appreciate it in the film because anyone who you know, we kind of get stuck in our little echo chamber too and we all start saying the same thing. People are like, woo.. AI bad, Neuro link Elan musk bad, you know? And it’s like you know, what if this is inevitable? Because one of the things of the Google Netflix gospel that rings true to all of us, is that unless you’re a Luddite, stick your head in the ground you know, ride your horse and buggy there’s a certain stability of this, that you want to say, I hope somebody is mining store and is getting us ready for this future. And you know, hats off to X Maki now for you know, kind of allowing us to explore these topics. So what do you think about that?
Robert Bonomo: [00:22:16] I am completely convinced that I don’t put any sort of moral judgment on AI and on technology, It’s absolutely inevitable. This is something that is happening, just like the printing press happened, like the internet happened, etc etc. What do they call it the fourth industrial revolution? This is happening in our view and I think and realize it’s not like it’s gonna happen, It has happened. We are in the middle.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:22:44] Explain that a little bit, how do you know we’re in the middle of that, give people concrete examples?
Robert Bonomo: [00:22:50 This is just a stupid example from 2017. I’m sure that you remember that article in The Guardian about how the AI can tell if you’re gay or straight with five pictures of your face right. Now remember 2017 in today’s terms is like 100 years ago. That’s five, the research and the data from five years ago, five pictures and they can tell if you’re gay or straight like I tell people, who cares? But what about five pictures you have depression? You have deviant behavior, right? They have that today, today give me, for example Alex Foxconn, a million employees right, now they have a million boys. How many employees have they ever had? What must be 10 million, they have 10 million pictures of people. They know this guy stole, here are all the thieves, here are the depressed ones, the ones that miss work, here are the ones that were sexual deviants. You don’t think they have this data now…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:23:51] Explain who Foxconn is.
Robert Bonomo: [00:23:55] Foxconn does all the manufacturing for Apple, I think they offer Dell, HP, the largest company in the world by employees. That’s not a military.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:24:05] Just so people kind of refresh their memories. When you see those pictures of these Orwellian factories in China with the nets on the side to kind of catch the bodies of people who throw themselves off it because they just can’t face an existence of this future, this dark dystopian future that is their life with their social credits and they just leap on the other side. That is Foxconn. That is who you’re talking about.
Robert Bonomo: [00:24:45] Exactly and remember I taught in China so I lived in China. I met people who worked at Foxconn. Chinese University, if you go to Chinese University all the kids must live in the dormitory and they live in dorms of about seven boys per room and like nine girls. So for them to go, even from a University to a Foxconn dormitory, remember in Foxconn you live in the dormitory, you sign like a, I think it’s a 12 month contract, you go year to year. And you know your contract is for five days if you don’t work six days, it’s not good. You got to work the six days and you’re not working eight you’re working 10 11 12 hour shifts. I used to talk to some industrial engineers, you know the guys who kind of man the machines. You could feel that just like six days 12 hours was rough. These were engineers, we’re not talking about the guy you know, the people you know, lower down.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:49:10] Tell us what other things you’re working in, how you’re getting the word out, what’s in the hand, looks like a peyote button or something in the hand of this Cactus Land logo that you have.
Robert Bonomo: [00:49:25] That’s the old Hunter Thompson logo, you know the Gonzo logo. That’s from Hunter Thompson in cactus land, of course comes from TS Eliot and so it’s kind of a you know, a mishmash of that. But I kind of created the brand and I just want to say, and this is shameless self promotion, the film is completely free and I don’t want money. You know, I have a day job, I pay the rent, I don’t need money. But please promote the film because I think it’s important. It’s not one of these things your gonna just get, no , but it’s a kind of message if you get it, I think it’s important. So folks, if you liked the film I’d really appreciate just a couple posts on Facebook, on Reddit you know, just a little bit. You feel like you like it just promoted a little bit because I think there’s something worthwhile about this film.
Alex Tsakiris: [00: 50:17] Absolutely, absolutely true. Our guest has been oh so excellent. Now you know why he’s my Dharma brother. Robert Bonomo thanks so much we’ll definitely have to do this again. I know you, you’ll be cranking out another one of these in a couple years.
Robert Bonomo: [00:50:34] Couple years , yeah well maybe.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:50:37] But terrific having you on Robert, congratulations on this great job.
Robert Bonomo: [00:50:41] Thank you very much, really appreciate it.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:50:43]
Thanks again to Robert Bonomo for joining me today on Skeptiko. One question I tee up from this interview, kind of an offbeat one but it’s the one we land up on. So let’s see how deep down this kind of wacky rabbit hole you want to go. How do you understand, process the differences between the Gnosticism stuff and the non dual stuff? Love to hear a conversation on that. Journey over on the Skeptiko forum If you want to chat about it. Please stick around for future shows. I got a bunch of them coming up. Until next time. Take care. Bye for now.
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