This interview was done several years now. I have from time to time edited it down, or changed the wording a little to represent better my stance. The interviewers asked me some fairly extreme questions, and I have thought of just taking the interview down, which I may do at some point. He was only about 19 at the time, so I'm sure both of us have changed since then. I used to believe in "casting a big net" -- that is, retaining my Christian faith but trying to converse with people at a broader level. In 2010, I decided this was a wrong idea, that people really needed to be presented the Christian message and not merely hints at it.
Gabriel Morales quoting Meister Eckhart:
“We shall find God in everything alike, and find God always alike in everything.”
"Whoever possesses God in their being, has him in a divine manner, and he shines out to them in all things; for them all things taste of God and in all things it is God's image that they see."
"It is a fair trade and an equal exchange: to the extent that you depart from things, thus far, no more and no less, God enters into you with all that is his, as far as you have stripped yourself of yourself in all things. It is here that you should begin, whatever the cost, for it is here that you will find true peace, and nowhere else." -- Meister Eckhart
G: Explain what it is to "know God" (which does not necessarily mean just the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God) and how this can be a holistic spirituality/philosophy as opposed to single-note “comfort” ideologies such as liberalism, communism, biological racism, social Darwinism, conservatism, environmentalism, anarchism, so on.
R: I believe that when one "knows God" one is eventually beginning to understand there is no dichotomy between one's best intention for oneself and God's intention for oneself. I believe when one knows God, one knows that all people are of equal value to God, because all people are created in the image of God. Being created in the image of God means, all people are thinking, feeling, and though it might not seem like it, but they can be or were at one point and may be again, caring and loving individuals. God programmed a certain loving nature into our souls, into our bodies. When a cat relaxes, and feels secure, it naturally purrs and seems happy. We are created in the same way. Our emotions are naturally positive, a type of instinctual purring, that some people can tune into very easily, when they slow their thinking and focus on their physical body, and/or their breathing. The emotion is always there, and if it is not stressed or attached, it is positive. So, knowing God means knowing all these positive things about reality, that we are essentially a part of God. Even though we have no knowledge of creating the world, or of anything before our birth, when we come to know God, we eventually do not feel any more dichotomy between ourselves and God. There is no separateness.
The Bible said that God is love. That is hard for a lot of people to understand, because the Bible also gave the Mosaic and Pauline law regarding how people are to be treated when they are "missing perfection," or that is, when they sin, or "miss the mark." But negative actions in life produce negative results in life. If you become addicted to drugs or pornography, you are going to have a pretty screwed-up life. It's just the way it is. So, it's helpful for people to see a kind of map about what to watch out for. This is also a part of knowing God. Knowing one's limitations. You have to limit your definition of God. That is why I am drawn to Christianity, because it both says God is so far outside of our comprehension but that God is also like a loving Father, or a being that would die for us. The symbol of the death and suffering of the creator for the creation is pretty advanced. So, all that bad stuff that supposedly the religion's God say for us to do or don't do are not to be taken so seriously, as they themselves state, but if we remove the dichotomy, it is like we ourselves would tell ourselves, about how to live life and have a good time doing it.
So, the Bible basically seems to say God is love and that we should love each other and then it also seems to tell us how to judge each other and get stressed out about going to hell. But these warnings are for the sociological aspect of keeping bad people in line. Most of us have or can get that bad side. You have to really be smart to figure it all out. Many obviously haven't yet.
As far as "how this can be a holistic spirituality/philosophy as opposed to single-note “comfort” ideologies," I believe that knowing God is an expansive existential benefit whereas having a dogma or a set system of beliefs can tend to muck things up, as history pretty well shows. If everyone just knew God then they would know that God wants us to love each other outside of our differences, and I believe this includes caring for animals as well. Any time you love someone or even an animal, you are rewarded for this. When people are defending an ideology based on psychological or sociological reasons, they do not often get the spiritual benefit from it. And obviously, neither does anyone else.
G: Would you suggest that those who wish to know what it is to search for God turn to the works of Meister Echkart or Arthur Schopenhauer before reading the Bible (as one must be psychologically healthy when reading this, lest they misconstrue it to bolster their self-image)?
R: I have read Schopenhauer more that Echkart. Schopenhauer wrote some very good philosophy as far as the technicality of it. You can learn a lot about how to think from reading him. But, of course, he made a lot of statements that classified him as an atheistic philosopher, and a pessimist. He doesn't believe in the immortality of the soul. He's still worth reading, if only to find out how you can disagree with him.
As far as Echkart, he wasn't one of the mystics that I've read much of, so I can't comment on that part of your questions. However, since I don't think he's that much different than what I was reading, I will tell you what I was familiar with when I started reading the Bible. Although I knew Jesus as a child, and went to a Catholic school the first six years, when I really started seeking I also started with reading the Bhagavad Gita, The Dharmapada,, the Tao te Ching, the Ouspensky/Gurdjieff books, Patanjali, Castanada, an Alan Watts book on Zen as well as Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and other popular "hippie books" by the time I was 17, as well as skimming Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled, which I no longer care much for. I had read Yogananda's Autobiography, and got his weekly lessons, starting when I was 15. I had dropped out of school temporarily at 16 and spent about six months just reading these philosophy books with the Bible. (This really screwed me up and I had a born again experience at 18)
At that time, from age 15 to 18, I was also trying to find the most experimental art and literature, so I had already had a copy of Burroughs and Gysin's "The Third Mind" which is pretty much Burrough's big book on the cut-up technique and his ideas about the philosophy of language. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, was an alter boy, and really enjoyed the ritual of the mass when I was helping it along. So, when I started reading the Bible for myself also at that time with reading all the other books, I was reading it from a very altered perspective that didn't have a lot of groundedness in normal culture. I used my creativity and applied it to religious thinking. I was still pretty much a child in many ways. If anything, the Bible I thought was telling me to be a radical with life and that life was not set up the way it could be. My way of thinking at the time was that the Bible could have all these esoteric codes written in them, because Yogananda and Ouspensky would mystify the world so that such things existed. I lived in a kind of fairy tale world, which is the exact opposite of a lot of people who seem to be disadvantaged by racism, or some other kind of psychologically unhealthy thing.
What I did was a perfectly normal thing, but of course my parents were not at all happy with this. But the whole idea of self-image is interesting in religion because often religion can keep you punishing yourself because you don't measure up. It's almost like you have to totally lose religion to be free and in God. That is something you hear Christians say, but I'm not sure that it's really that easy to do. So, to answer your question fully, it seems like there could be a lot of really good things one should bring to the Bible to understand it better. One of those things is ecology. The Bible says that we should be the stewards of the earth.
G: There are these two extremes on a scale: hyperreligiosity on one end, atheism on the other. You’ve debunked zealotry on your website, but what do you think of cynics, fatalists, agnostics, and the proponents of secularity?
R: Well, each side seems to blame the other side. I think neither side has it totally correct. I'm attracted to religion because I see that it does a lot of good things for people who have been very hurt. Alcoholics Anonymous for instance is a religious program. The missions that house homeless people in downtown urban areas are religion-based. Secularists sometimes like to think that we came from a glorious past. Secularists are either thinking that some secularist would come in and do the job the religious people are doing, or that these unfortunate people should just essentially disappear somehow. I am very upfront about the mammalian nature of humankind. The whole physical world has this basic animalistic nature to it and humankind does as well. Religion tempers that, and when it works, then it graduates to spirituality. Secularists don't look at the problem about how will people get the good results that religion gives to people if religious influences dry up. I don't know why they avoid talking about the good things the religions do.
The secularists are often correct about things, however. I believe that we need both of the positive qualities from both types of people. This goes back to your question about God, because ultimately, we really can't say that we know what God's ultimate plan is for us, except that it's something good. We evolved to the state we are in because some people were able to put down simplistic worldviews that religion helped create. The problem is, that people are very often way too simplistic on both sides. Even people who consider themselves brilliant, as many cynics, fatalists, and aetheists do, are often very simple minded about most everything. Anyone who takes a polarity issue is simple minded. Secularists and fundamentalist religionists take either-or and black-and-white thinking. Perhaps everyone except maybe about five percent of people take some kind of extreme polarity position, but statistics tells you that the mean or the average is what you are after. There is a lot of truth in moderatism. Why more people aren't adamant moderates is a good question because I think that is where the truth lies. But of course a moderate has to take into account the extremes to really be a moderate. He can't ignore what environmentalists or nutritional activists are saying and still really be a moderate.
Religion sometimes can make a bad person good but it can also make a good person bad. There are many people in the world today who are living below their education level because they got into some trouble and found a simplistic answer to their problem. I think this is like a natural psychological cycle that happens often to people. The problem with cynics and other effects of secularity is that they totally ignore the healing affect of religion, or spirituality in general. If you read the books of the lives of the so called saints in the Catholic church, you'll see that those people did incredible things for their communities, like set up hospitals and schools. I've seen many secularists who are as bad as any kind of zealot.
G: What does it take to maintain a state of temperance as in a steady Virtuism?
Well, when you say Virtuism, the meaning I would give that word is in the same subject grouping as the words Surrealism, or Existentialism. I find by searching through Google that a few people have used it in as more of a common noun. But Virtuism to me is both a philosophy and art form that looks at acts of virtue as giving the aesthetic experience. So, it is a prolonged look at the art form of creating virtue around you. Philosophically, it says that commonly understood notions of virtue are important in society, to the self, to aesthetics and to science. We will always be rewarded if we think in that way, and we should look at why acts of virtue give us the aesthetic experience. Why were we created in such a way to feel blissful when we are not stressing out and when people have gratitude towards us? Why do certain aspect of virtue sometimes have a physiologically regenerating quality?
Temperance doesn't come naturally to some people, and it's culturally indicated. That is, Europeans can drink alcohol every day, but if you drink alcohol every day as an American, some people are going to call you an alcoholic. But, there is a kind of psychological maturity in ideas of temperance. For instance, Erik Erikson said that promiscuity was one of the signs that one hasn't achieved a state of adult maturity. It is a bit like peeling an onion. There are so many ways people can become dysfunctional. You know there are actual scientific psychological reasons why people clutter, and scientific psychological methods on how one can declutter one's life?
To maintain a state of temperance is a great goal for an artist because our backgrounds are often those of someone who likes to party, the kind of artist who smokes and drinks. I realized that I'm hurting my body if I do that, and I've had to do a lot of work on myself to not smoke. Obviously, many artists don't live long healthy lives. Often their art becomes this document of the downward physical spiral. So, when I see such art, I see what forces in the person created it, and what that kind of thinking may lead to in myself. I've overcome some of those negative things in myself, so I'm not pointing a finger. I am prone to falling into that lifestyle, whereas a lot of people are not prone, and they come from an outsider perspective.
G: Studies have shown that listening to classical music can develop one's neuro-pathways, mnemonic skills, mathematical computing, visualization (artistic abilities). According to the Gnostic Samael Aun Weor, primarily rhythmic music such as rock stimulates animalistic regions of the brain (especially when accompanied by aggressive/vulgar lyrics). You've come to decide that it is futile to "gold mine" rock by developing experimental rock genres which includes progressive rock, field recording, art punk, minimalism, metal, etc, since they each have - as you put it - a limiting "power structure" that is irrelevant to the real values of music (not to mention that popular rock culture is often destructive and egotistical).
R: I wouldn't put field recording and minimalism in that experimental rock genre. I think they are outside it. I don't think it's futile to develop more progressive sub-genres as long as one can maintain one's objectivity about it. As far as the experimental rock genre thing, the cult of personality aspect I was referring to but didn't spell out so well also dealt with the fact that the verbiage surrounding rock or its sub-genres isn't anything like the verbiage surrounding classical music. That verbal history is one thing that can help us mature when we get into classical more. Also, time has elapsed with so-called classical music. You can't get stuck in the trend aspect of it like you can with some rock-based music. Some people are going to think that one kind of offshoot rock is really more than what it really is. There is a legion of people all over the world that consider themselves serious composers because they do musique concrete type music, or field recording, or "lowercase" sound. These circles are sometimes not based on anything more than how politically powerful these people are in a sociological way, how artistically they can package their music, how often they can afford to tour and promote their music, and so on. The music press on that level isn't anything different. Classical music is our salvation because it is outside of that. When one listens to enough great classical music one can tell when some modern so-called serious music is useless to one, and one won't feel trapped by the sociological underpinnings of having to impress one's peers. It can lift one out of not having the kind of interpersonal political muscle or economic prowess one needs to get ahead in such genres like that.
Regarding your quote from Samael Aun Weor, my question is: How would someone who listens to primarily rock music ever come to know that they were not stimulating their brain in that way? If rock listeners were stimulated only in an animalistic region of their brain by rock music, they by nature they would never develop the intelligence or insight to understand this. So, informing someone of this fact who listens to primarily or even solely rock music is probably going to be useless. I see my music as kind of a gateway to classical music.
It's interesting that you raised this question to me, because I was thinking of writing some kind of essay called something like "My Escape from Rock." To be in the rock and roll mentality is at the same time an amazingly attractive and also amazingly limited and pretentious way to live. I was in the inner circle of the first 200 or so people who were dedicated to what became the Grunge rock thing in Seattle. An early experimental band I was in developed into the band Feast, which had the drummer from Mudhoney in it. So, I hung out with all those guys back in 83-88 before I left the rock and roll mentality completely. To give myself an out, I was also hanging out with painters who only listened to classical music, and other people who were very much outside of the rock and roll thing. But, back then I liked to party and these people were my friends so I spent a lot of time with them. I guess you could say I experienced a golden age of rock because the Grunge sound and bands doing it were all totally developed by 1986. Of course, back then, it was all the creators of such an "aesthetic," it wasn't commercialized and there weren't crass people around. I was composing experimental music at that time, but I seemed to better socialize with artists who had more of a rock and roll backdrop. I mention this just so you know that I do not come from an outsider perspective when I talk about rock. However, around 1984, I went through a period where I personally only listened to classical music. It was a liberating experience. I was able to be more scientific in my thinking. My music and writing took off by leaps and bounds.
It only lasted about six months or so, because I was so conditioned by rock that I emotionally craved it. And when I say rock, I was a bit of a connoisseur. I was listening to prog rock and European synthesizer music such as Synergy and Tangerine Dream as a young teenager, and then getting into the punk thing from 15-20, in 1978-82, as well as Industrial bands by age 20, in 1983. After I got out of the rock lifestyle, by which I mean, when I stopped going to clubs and being a type of combination groupie/adoring magi to these bands, I was able to develop professionally. This of course also meant not partying as much, which was a tremendous help. So, again, I say these things by what I've experienced personally. I unfortunately still listen to rock, but it's very varied, and definitely not a part of what the youth subculture press is telling me is hip. I think a lot of bands I mentioned evolve their musical structures in a way that at times is similar to some classical music, or at least have innovation that shows some artistry. But if I was listening to that popular music I mentioned soley, I do believe I would be stuck in the archetype of the power structure of it. As much or more as I listen to that music as I go about my daily work, I'm working on and listening to my own music. I went through another period in the last year where I only listened to classical music outside my music. I had a relapse back into rock music because I'm so emotionally tied to it. It has a healing effect on me. But that doesn't mean that I am developing intellectually from these times of playing this music.
Another question is, how much do you want to grow and stimulate your brain? How smart do you want to be? How valuable is it to you that you become more intelligent? What does being more intelligent mean to you, and are you willing to listen to mostly classical music to develop this intelligence?
I look at my music as a type of gateway music into the world of classical music. If I had enough money, I could afford to put all my music on paper and hire classical musicians to play it. Some of it is classical music and was meant to be heard that way. Some of it is a type of post-rock music that it seems a lot of people are making. Minimalism in classical music seems to be a post-rock classical music. Rock obviously has a wonderful appeal. I'm going to make a list of the rock music that has affected me most and put it on my web page, because I've covered a lot of ground and there is no way that people could "goldmine" rock that easily without such a reference. Not that I think it would be the best rock or most progressive rock music, but if people like what I do they might find this interesting as well. If classical composers say they like folk music, then it's not wrong to say you like rock music. I don't think listening to folk music all day would stimulate your brain any more than rock music, but I could be wrong.
G: Do you think ambient is the only modern music genre still capable of truly artistic structure, enhancing the mind, and being a think-tank for transcendent ideals as classical was?
R: I really do not have any preference for ambient music personally. I will tell you how some of my music took more of an ambient and sometimes minimalist turn at times recently.
Five years ago I joined a local collective of experimental composers here in Seattle called The Sonicabal. Some of the people I grew close to performed a type of "ambient" music. I rely on composing based on setting up musical environments, like figuring out patches and modes, creating chord sequences, and thinking through other structures that for me present an interesting idea. Then I "pray for my music" like Coltrane said he did. I really try to ask God to work through me through my music. I then record my music and it looks so far like I have about a 40% release rate. That is, about 40% of what I do, I can then say, "this is my music." So, the idea of performing live was a bit scary for me for a lot of time since I didn't have that selective methodology I could use in a live setting. I developed a style of playing live where I could guarantee that I would have a good concert. All the stuff I mentioned, including a lot of praying, was involved, but I couldn't be as adventurous and try for as difficult a thing as I would do recording at home. So, I fell into playing a little bit more ambiently. I am going to release a few of my concerts on CD next year, so people can hear how I developed my composing into a live format.
That's the connection I have with ambient music. A lot of the music I heard around me in the Seattle composers collective I was in called the Sonicabal tried to do those things you've mentioned. They weren't into this redundant noise aesthetic of being harsh or silly, which most of us older people have seen around now for over 20 years
G: What is special to you about electronic music?
R: What I personally take from electronic music that is special is the ability to control large numbers of notes and get them to do what I want them to do without having to actually play each note by hand. The generative aspect of my sequencer techniques is the most special thing about my modern electronic music because it allows me the freedom to say complex things in my music, and to create such in a relatively short period of time.
I also of course love to create interesting patches, but that is somewhat displaced by the documenting of notes and progressions. My electronic music often resembles the orchestral quality of the full experience of music, I don't mean that in texture, I mean as far as the busyness of actual notes and their resolutions. I am not often attracted to electronic music, even academic electronic music, that sounds like abrasive noise. I think that's some of the most pretentious music around. I like, a little bit more what's known as lowercase sound but I do not like it that much. It often has a thin quality to it. It is electronic music often composed on the computer and it has a heavy trend-based aspect to it. That is, it is very much, "you are going to write music within these parameters. In fact, you won't dare to write anything outside them." Sometimes, one of these composers will create something interesting and kind of quirky but not that much of it has the rich organic, or maybe I should say, human, feel that I like in music. The "lowercase sound" music is kind of the aural equivalent of modern visual art that isn't always saying much but has an interesting texture. My electronic music has a more robust feel that is more similar to classical music, or good rock music. There is a lot of potential in the lowercase sound field, but those people have to kind of grow up and become a part of the larger picture of humanity for their music to gel. They have to realize that you do not need to recreate why people listen to music. If people try to do that, maybe they are doing it to look sophisticated and cultured, which I guess is fine, because the opposite isn't that good either. So, although I love modern visual art for all it's freedom, I often crave more intense compositional layouts. Hieronymous Bosch is one of my favorite painters because his compositional schemas are so intense. There isn't that much electronic music presently existing that using the complexity of the great classical symphonists and also has any kind of harmonic richness to it.
I like the field recording collagists like Michael Northan or Francisco Lopez more because there is a great richness to some of their music. You might put that in the electronic music category, but it's really not electronically generated sound, however it absolutely requires electronic instruments such as the digital recorder and mixer to create.
So, personally, outside my music, I do not hear all that much of interest in electronic music that I am that much interested in. I would like to find more. Often, I see there are academic composers that are brilliant technicians of electronic music but they have nothing good to say to the physiological whole of a person. They seem to think that music should feel bad to listen to, to be good. Such misguided people have always roamed the halls of academia and the academic life seems necessary to create such misguided people. These are people that have to impress people of their technicality and route knowledge to keep their jobs.
I am not against academia at all. In fact, I highly respect it. I often regret that I didn't follow the post-graduate academic path, but then I have gained some good things by not doing it. Hopefully my work will eventually register more with academia without me actually having to be employed by a university. So far, I haven't shopped my music around as much as my writing, but it occupies as much space in my life. I am like many other people: a polyartist -- an artist that has more than one art. I will probably eventually edit a book on polyartistry because so many people are and we have to go through some stigmas associated with it.
G: Like Christopher Alexander, creator of “Pattern Language”, you yourself have created a computer tool - "ParaMind Brainstorming Software" - that helps the common folk expand their ideas thus provides greater possibility for creation. Theodore Kaczynski made the analysis of post-industrial society in his FC Manifesto as being essentially dysgenic. Had we a spiritually healthy outlook for living, do you suppose humankind would be fine continuing the development of technology which would then only include mechanisms such as yours that are useful instead of machines that promote sloth (chat rooms, television, video games, etc.), or should technology in general be extremely limited as is wished by eco-fascists?
R: Yes, I do think that having a spiritual outlook changes everything. One doesn't have to even use that term "spiritual," one can say virtuous. In reality, being virtuous is pragmatic. One can take or leave the negative aspects of our societies as one sees fit. One can always mute the commercials, which I always try to do. I can't stand hearing commercials. They are often extremely insidious to me. Or, one can just not have a TV at all. Of course, academically, one can say there is much wrong with how many people live their lives. Look at how many people are obese in America. I think that comes solely from the fact that they can't control themselves because they are programmed by television to think that eating anything is a right. Eating is more like a carefully monitored responsibility than a sensual indulgence. People need to follow good eating habits to have a healthy life but that isn't so easy for a lot of people. What can be done in a situation like that? People like Kaczynski thought that monitoring society would make people free from evil. But next door to the obese person is someone who is trim and fit. One has to understand that people tend to react to the laws of entropy. We are meant to evolve by our own consciousness and effort. You can't legislate evolution in this way, although I believe legislation is one of the most important things we have and the integrity of our court system must be protected at all costs.
It's interesting to see that so many of our science fiction scenarios are dystopias. We rarely can create futuristic dreams about more positive outcomes of this existence of ours. It's hard for people to have the insight that the alpha males and females are often wrong. The alpha males and females in our society allow which writers to create what scenarios in what media. Since the alpha males and females got there by mostly a type of brute strength, the only kind of science fiction they allow to pass through is coming from this fear-based or brutality-based imagination.
5.) Being influenced by Tristan Tzara, are you also familiar with Julius Evola and therefore Rene Guenon?
As far as Julius Evola, I look at him as a little bit immature and scary because of his political leanings, but I will say he is the only author I've ever heard of the idea about an "occult warfare." That's an interesting topic that when you think about it, though you can see that the idea is in a lot of mythologies and spiritual texts including the Bible. It seems like something out of the Old Testament. If change can come about first on an inner psychological level, such as prayer, and there aren't enough people praying for the right things, then there is something wrong which can be fixed.
The Surrealist movement said that their aim was not to create poetry or painting but to recreate life. The Situationalists tried to further get art out of the art gallery, and instead created situations in life. At least this is my primary understanding of Situationalism. I was never into Marxism or doing overt political activism and the Situationalists were both, so I haven't gotten into them that much. A type of fusion of the internal "magical ritual"/prayer of the magi/religious with the idea of a type of performance art is an interesting idea.
Since I have some of the background of Evola and Guenon in understanding where they are coming from, I can see into much of what they're saying. They tend to idolize everything except that which they are naturally born to. The East is better because they are the West. I did this myself when I was younger but ideas progress as time goes on. The ideas that men fifty years ago thought were the most innovative and groundbreaking are understood today by teenagers, and bypassed by those teenagers when they become adults. This happened with me with the idea of Deconstructionism. I didn't realize I was being taught basic principles of Derrida's Deconstructionism in college without anyone ever really mentioning him by name. But when I started to read about his work much seemed so obvious to me.
I don't really want to get into politics, but for an example of this, Evola says, in American "Civilisation":
"In a superior civilization (to America), as, for example, that of the Indo-Aryans, the being who is without a characteristic form or caste (in the original meaning of the word), not even that of servant or shudra, would emerge as a pariah. "
Evola is completely anti-American, and if we look at the fascist old caste system of India, or Soviet Communism, or one-thousand other regimes that have come up in the last hundred years, we should see by now that no government is perfect.
The idea of people considering the Indo-Aryan, or Hindu, caste system as superior to America is a little strange. I don't see him basing it on anything logical, but of course it sounds exotic. The fact that Evola's name is tarnished with fascism, and fascism never meaning anything good, hasn't led me to study his work. Often when people try to make things better than existing forms, they make it much worse. This was the history of much of the 20th Century. I think Post-modernism has understood that, and I'm glad for it. When things are stable and there aren't bullets being heard in the background, and you're not walking through fresh rubble, and you can pretty much read what you want to, I think people should be grateful. Agitators, and I'm not talking about activists, are often guided by political motives that are less than virtuous.
Regarding Rene Guenon, I feel like I have some similarity to him. I just published two books called "The Experience of Hallucinations in Religious Practice, " and "Hyperreligiosity: Identifying and Overcoming Religious Dysfunction." As one writer put it, Guenon was against the psuedo-intellectualism of modern esotericisms and favored instead the traditional approaches to spiritual growth. I am the same way, except I tend to look also at modern brain science and psychology when understanding esotericism, brain science which Guenon didn't have. Theosophy always said it was "Science, Philosophy, and Religion" but if they knew what modern neurologists understood about hallucination they would understand their canon, that is the writers such as Leadbeater and Bailey, a lot better.
I am writing a book that is critical of some of the ideas of the philosopher Gurdjieff, which maintaining an appreciation for similar good ideas that were close to his which have helped me and I've practiced since a teenager. These good ideas I mentioned are basically just healthy brain science ideas and have nothing to do with his spiritual ideas, which I do not think are spiritual. No one else has ever had some of these oddball ideas that Gurdjieff came up with, and some of them I think are just wrong. But his very educated followers seem to take them fully as the Word of God. It gets extremely nefarious in the case of Gurdjieff, because he had ideas that stated mankind's purpose is to be a type of food for the moon unless man can escape! You can see what has happened to the pristine idea that man was created in the image of God. About five years ago there were two major human philosophical dystopic movies: The Matrix and The X-files movie, and the very idea that human life was created for something not so beautiful comes right out of Gurdjieff. His followers might not want to admit that, but it's in the books, black and white.
I think esotericism can be a mask a person hides behind, to just play with words. In this way, Gurdjieff had something to say, because people are meant to balance themselves out, to do things they couldn't do, and do things that they don't even want to do. But the goal of spirituality isn't supposed to be some kind of boot camp either, nor provide obsessive people the means to display their mental disease.
God doesn't requires us to be that sophisticated when it comes to spirituality. Esotercism is made for man, not for God. I never met Guenon so I can't tell you what kind of person he was but he may not have really made a difference to the uneducated or "common" man when he met that uneducated or "common" man in the course of his life. Esotercists that are just part of an educated class and bandy about difficult ideas do not impress most people. They will impress each other, however. The end point in this is that the universe is obviously much greater than what we commonly perceive, and if esotericism can help you see into that, I think that's great. However, there are many pitfalls, and if people don't realize this, it may because they are in one.
G: Do you think Radical Traditionalism is a good solution for men and women today who need a way to expand their intellectual understanding of cosmic truth, to really see what is inherent in reality?
R: I don't think that Radical Traditionalism is really a good solution to understand cosmic truth. Cosmic truth seems to operate on two levels: on the level of science, and on the level of love. I see Radical Traditionalism being more aligned with politics, and as far as politics, we've seen how horrific change in that area quickly becomes.
When you say cosmic truth that means to me like not only understanding the need and importance of love, but the need and importance of epistemological truth and empowerment. I'm someone who wants a full life, and, when I'm not doing periods of mostly writing or composing, lives a full life. It's easy to get into mysticism and just say, well, I've found God, I don't need sex or much money. Mysticism will fulfill you totally. But often, most of us want companionship and even things like travel which usually take money. Companionship as an artist or thinker often means moving in the educated classes, which has an element of competitiveness in it, as does mating in those realms. Some people don't experience this but some people do. So, I think cosmic truth also means understanding what it takes to get what you want in this world. I think more unique people are disempowered by normal ideas of religion against this capacity.
I think what's most important is that people can have a secure base. These dreams of utopias and major changes in society seem to me delusional. There are always people who aren't going to understand your intentions. The world is a fabric of billions of wills all intertwined. In any country, the idea of national movement can be very scary. The very nature of living as a mammal is to experience pain and discomfort. When you collectivize this pain and discomfort, in comes out in bigger waves. Bloodshed often occurs. Many people are not wise enough to understand this, even people who may be very intellectual.
I am not fully Post-modernist. I think instead that progress is a real thing, and more inline with the Judeo-Christian tradition that many would like to believe. This is my understanding after even a 27 year exposure to esotericism. What these people who dismiss or even hate the Judeo-Christian lineage don't realize is that they can not really see in the mirror. They are often coming from a Judeo-Christian culture and judging thing based on achievements and advances made by Judeo-Christian thinkers.
I don't like Traditionalism so much because it tends to downplay the achievements of the West. If a white person starts to talk about how the West is superior, of course they are branded a racist, but if a white person talks about how the East or Middle East is superior, or even some kind of mythological golden pagan age of the past, then it's OK. What is at issue here is that the white person in this case is making a power move to establish that he is on the side with more power. It doesn't matter that now he is on the so-called other side. I've heard a white male Gurdjieffian with a Sufi bent tell me that Muslims were the most spiritual people on earth. It's interesting to think about the Traditionalist movement now with the rise of Islamic terrorism. It wouldn't surprise me if there was some causal relationship involved, but I'm not implying that. That all these things are tarnished is pretty much in keeping with the ideas and progress made in Post-modernism philosophy. Maybe in ways we progress beyond what anyone has any comprehension of right now, and people are just insecure about that so they try to throw back their thinking to something old, and probably even imaginary and safe. I'm just trying to be present now and observe.
G: Is it possible or necessary to have flawless logic?
R: No. Someone wise once said, "it is a very advanced stage to understand that one does not know." One can know however things like God is love. There is a force that wants our good in this world. We were created to be loved. Prayer works. Prayer like black magic won't work. There is a limitation to the physical world, and this might even apply to things like knowledge. If you pray for getting things in any easy way, that often means other people are going to have to do things to serve you. God doesn't favor people that way and the things that the television preachers teach are partially blasphemy. Being virtuous makes the universe act more virtuous to you because you become someone stronger. When the storms hit, you have learned how to remember yourself, to remember your inner core experience, the Tao in you, the part of you that was created in the image of God and is not corruptible. Your essence can be purely you, the you that you really love and want.
It is possible to live in a state of grace. Knowing that is a type of flawless logic. Do I believe in the mystics and masters who supposedly have "flawless logic"? It's interesting. I can give you a link that has about 200 international headlines of recent crimes that cults have created. There is murder, child molestation, and every other kind of crime you can think of. All of these were committed by people who believed that one leader had flawless logic, or by the leader. We all have to have a certain degree of humility to keep progressing.
G: If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so
R: Well, stay tuned to my website, www.rspearson.com. A lot of new things will be coming in over the next year. I have more books appearing as well as ten new CDs that were recorded over the last 20 years. Thank you for the great questions.