302—Baseball Principles: A Home Run into the Heart of Homo amor
A Note to the Reader
This piece is a lightly edited transcript of a live talk given by Dr. Marc Gafni on the weekly broadcast One Mountain, Many Paths, founded by Gafni and his evolutionary partner Barbara Marx Hubbard. Thus, the style of the piece is spoken word and not a formal essay.
What do we do here every week? Why are we here, and why does it matter so much to be here, and why are we delighted to be together?
Just to share with you, I was coming back from Vermont yesterday, and got to the airport at about 4:30 in the afternoon. The flight was canceled, and the only flight out the next day would have had me miss One Mountain. So — of course we drove back 9 or 10 hours, just to be with us today. Because it’s so important to be together.
The meta-crisis is a risk to the existence of the future itself, yet we are filled with hope!
So who are we? What is One Mountain? What are we doing here together?
We’re articulating a New Story of value, in response to what we can only accurately call the meta-crisis.
The meta-crisis is a breakdown in the commons.
It’s a breakdown in the epistemic commons, meaning in a shared story of value, which has caused what we would call a Global Intimacy Disorder, which is, itself, a root cause for what Nick Bostrom at Oxford called in the early 2000s, existential risk, that is, risk to our very existence as a species; a risk to the existence of the future itself.
And so, we are in this moment when, on the horizon of humanity, there is a potential catastrophic risk and existential risk, coupled with an unimaginable degree of suffering, unnecessary suffering, for so many people.
- Some of it is physical; for example, billions of people without access to water.
- Some of it existential and emotional: a million suicides a year, 25 to 50 million attempted suicides minimally around the world, particularly in the most affluent of places, and depression as the fastest growing malaise in the world.
We live in a world of outrageous pain, and at the very same time, we live in a world of Outrageous Beauty and Outrageous Goodness, and there are billions of acts of goodness and kindness performed all the time.
Yet, there is a breakdown.
The breakdown is a breakdown in the very story of value in which we live; we are not living in a story of value anymore.
In fact, postmodernity has declared that all stories are false, are fabrication, are fictions in one quotation, are figments of our imagination in a second quotation, are but social constructions of Reality in a third quotation.
Yet, the premodern traditions and the great old traditions, each one, still argues that it has some version of the exclusive truth.
- We don’t have a universal grammar of value.
- We have deconstructed value.
- We have deconstructed the notion that we are actually actors in the same shared story, with a shared vision, with a mutuality of purpose that’s intrinsic to Kosmos itself.
- We are not aligned with value.
- We are not aligned with the story of value.
That breakdown is the root cause of existential risk.
Existential risk is ultimately rooted in our inability to live in a shared story of value, which is an expression of this Global Intimacy Disorder.
Intimacy comes from a shared story.
The threat of existential risk:
— from rogue Artificial Intelligence (AI),
— from hitting our planetary boundaries through an extraction model that’s extracting from the earth what it took billions of years to manifest,
— to this huge growing gap between haves and have-nots, which will make the caste system of India look like a liberal dance party at the most liberal summer camp.
In the caste system that the world’s developing, for the first time in human history, the wealthy will actually be better than everyone else — because they’ll be augmented, technologically and cognitively; and they will have access to longevity technologies, to health technologies, to aesthetic technologies. And none of this will be available to the rest of humanity (even if there’s a basic monthly income which will pacify the masses).
In other words, through new systems of augmentations and cognitive, medical, and aesthetic enhancements, and just through capacity to focus time and energy on ethical, intellectual and moral training — time and capacity not available to most people — the wealthy actually have the potential to become virtually a different species than the rest of the world.
All of this together creates, literally, two humanities.
We are going to have this massive caste system which will make The Hunger Games movie look like a Sunday afternoon picnic.
So dystopia actually lurks on the horizon.
If COVID told us anything, it told us that there’s a breakdown in information, that the information we are getting is not accurate on either side of the aisle, and it told us that the system is not too big to fail.
That’s what I have been calling, for the last 10 years, in various forms, the second shock of existence, what Bostrom calls existential risk.
Not only we’re not hopeless…
We’re filled with hope.
We’re filled with energy.
We’re filled with a sense of possibility.
Because hope is a memory of the future.
That’s what hope is, it’s a memory of the future.
This memory of the future is a vision, a new emerging vision, of a New Story of value.
The emergence of a new human and a new humanity: the transformation of Homo sapien into Homo amor.
That is the inexorable movement of Kosmos itself. Kosmos moves from matter (the physio-sphere, the First Big Bang), and all the levels of matter, into mind.
1.) The First Big Bang is the emergence of matter — the physiosphere.
2.) Then, matter triumphs in life, then all the levels of life — which is the biosphere — the Second Big Bang.
3.) And then life triumphs in mind, which is the noosphere, and all the levels of mind — the Third Big Bang.
4.) Then, the human being, the depth of the self-reflective mind, what we call Homo sapiens, then triumphs in Homo amor — the Fourth Big Bang — and it is actually a new human and a new humanity; a new possibility for humanity.
In our evolutionary meditation, which we did at Wisdom School for so many years, we would unpack this vision. We would actually meditate our way through the entire evolutionary process. Just like matter triumphs in life, and life triumphs in mind, but we don’t end with the human self-reflective mind which stalemates itself. We actually emerge; we emerge, and we become more.
We become a new possibility of what it means to be a human being, to be Homo amor.
Homo amor who feels the story of the whole.
Homo amor who becomes conscious that evolution lives in them, in us, in we.
- We become conscious together of the entire evolutionary process.
- We realize the evolutionary process lives in us.
- We realize that no, in this moment, we can actually shape the future.
- We’ve moved into the Anthropocene, the world in which humanity participates in the evolutionary story.
I become a conscious expression, in my body and my mind, of the evolutionary process. I realize that I am a unique expression of that process, and that process is driven and animated by Eros. That Reality is held together by Eros, or allurement.
All of Reality is allurement; the allurement of different parts to each other that create larger wholes. The dance between allurement and autonomy is a fundamental and foundational principle of Kosmos that lives in us.
I am a Unique Self, meaning I am a unique set of allurements.
Value lives in me: I am allured to value, and I am repelled by the violation of value.
- When I see George Floyd brutally murdered, that’s the repulsion I feel at the violation of value.
- When we see Ukraine, and we see Russia moving to crush Ukraine — even with all geopolitical complexities — we understand this is a violation of value, and we are allured to value and its fulfillment.
That’s what we are here together for. What One Mountain is about, is that we’ve made this declaration, which is:
— we are not willing to look away from the meta-crisis,
— and we are also not willing (as many groups of people who call themselves Doomers), we are not willing to say, it’s over and there’s nothing we can do.
We are not willing to look away.
We are not willing to look down.
We reject the voices that say Don’t Look Up.
We are actually doing what Robert K Lifton, the great writer called 30 years ago, when he began to think about existential risk, we’re facing in. He wrote a book called Facing Apocalypse.
We’re facing in.
Sometimes we step back,
sometimes we step closer,
but we refuse to ever look away.
We are facing in.
- We are identifying what are the root causes of existential risk.
- We are realizing that those root causes themselves are rooted in this Global Intimacy Disorder, which itself is caused by the failure to live in a shared story of value.
- We are therefore engaging, after all the deconstruction, in the great reconstructive project.
Step forward and play…
That’s why this matters so much.
- That’s why it matters that we meet every week.
- That we talk about this New Story of value, that we articulate different chapters in this story of value.
- That we take all of our conversations on One Mountain, we get them up on Medium, so we can begin to download it into the culture.
- And that we write this Great Library together (which we are deep in the middle of).
I really want to invite anyone who wants to step forward and play.
— If you’re willing to play a larger game,
— if you’re willing to participate in the evolution of culture and consciousness,
— if you’re willing to participate,
— if we’re willing to participate together in the evolution of culture and consciousness, which is the evolution of love…
…then step in.
We are going to have a meeting in the beginning of September, probably the second week. We have been working for several months to get a group together to work with Krista and Elena, Paul, Kristina Tahel, who’s here to generate this Great Library team, to put out all of the One Mountains in a kind of appropriate code. JoySee has done brilliant work on this. We have to put out all this material, so that it’s in the world, so it’s beginning to evolve the source code. All this oral material, together with all the material from our Yearly Intensive.
Welcome to the 10th Yearly Intensive: the Outrageous Love Festival
We are coming together for our 10th Yearly Intensive this summer (and we gave it a name, we call it the Outrageous Love Festival) that Claire has held so brilliantly, together with Chahat. Anyone who wants to come, it’s both online and in-person. Oh my God, to be there in-person is amazing. It’s a small intensive, there will be about 85 to 90 of us there in this very, very deep dive.
This is the last of this kind of festival, we are going to be moving to a different kind of intensive come next summer and next winter.
So if you can come this summer, for sure, be there. If you can’t come in-person, be there online (although it’s going to be in classical European time, so you can listen to it either in the middle of the night, or you can download it, which you absolutely should). It is going to be amazing.
We come together to participate in the evolution of the source code, and we come together as a band of committed revolutionaries and committed evolutionaries.
Imagine da Vinci in Florence with Marsilio Ficino, at that time between worlds, when the premodern world is breaking down and modernity hasn’t yet come into sharp focus, and there’s this allurement — allurement is the core structure of Kosmos — between this group of people that find each other together.
Who are we? Why are we here together?
We are here together
- because we’re allured to each other,
- because we’re allured to this great work.
Each one of us is a pioneering soul; each one of us is an evolutionary.
That’s why we’re here together — because we are allured, because we understand the desperate need, the overwhelmingly urgent, albeit ecstatically urgent, moral imperative of this time is to respond to the meta-crisis.
We respond to the meta-crisis, ultimately, only by addressing its root cause, and its root cause is a breakdown in intimacy.
- When we require global coordination to meet every global challenge, we are unable to create global coordination because there’s no global coherence.
- And there is no global coherence because there’s no global intimacy.
- And there is no global intimacy because there’s no shared story of value.
Wow, that’s what we’re here to do together.
That’s a big deal!
We are going into the summer now. The Summer Intensive starts on August 6th, which is two weeks from this Saturday. I’m going to fly at the end of the week to Europe.
We are going to be doing One Mountains straight for the next six weeks, and we’re going to have fantastic One Mountains. Part of the leadership team of One Mountain is going to be stepping up: Terry Nelson, who’s awesome, is going to be leading next week. Then every week, there’ll be a different host, all leaders from One Mountain.
I will rejoin you at the beginning of September, in either the first or the second week. But for the next five or six weeks, I’m going to be in Europe, and we are going to be deep in the mode of this deep intensive, and creating the structures to have our Center actually thrive so it can do its work.
We’re a league of superheroes together
I am going to say a strange sentence, which is going to make you feel crazy, and it makes me feel crazy. But I want to say it anyway.
There’s a moment in which we have to be superheroes, and we need to be a league of superheroes.
A superhero is someone who refuses to look away. When you refuse to look away, then you access your superpowers:
- you begin to wake up, and
- you begin to grow up, and
- you begin to show up.
By you, I mean we, because it’s always we.
We wake up, we grow up, we show up — because we refuse to look away, and so we are animated.
We are not interested here in commodifying Spirit and building some platform. That’s not our game. That’s a complete waste of time and energy at this moment in time.
We are interested in coming together as a Unique Self Symphony, in which everyone’s got an instrument to play.
That word first occurred to me 10 to 12 years ago, and Barbara and I used to talk together about Planetary Awakening in Love through Unique Self Symphonies.
That’s our vision.
We are a Unique Self Symphony together, and we are here to articulate this New Story of value together, and we articulate it, in different forms, literally every single week, here, together in One Mountain.
Then we get it up on Medium; we’re getting all the old episodes up on Medium.
— David is making incredible clips.
— Jacqueline and Jamie are holding the space in beautiful ways.
— Suzette, Benjamin, Claire, Chahat, Terry, Tom, Kristina, Zohar, all of us (I am sure I left five people out who are doing stuff every week, because I always do when I just do a quick list off the top of my head; put in the chat box anyone if I missed a name in our inner circle).
I think we got everyone.
All of us, we are a league of superheroes together.
That’s what we have to be, a band of superheroes that don’t turn away.
Not because we are grandiose, because we are grand.
Psychology is afraid of human grandiosity, but it forgets to recognize human grandeur.
We’re in the Anthropocene.
This is ours to do.
This is the time.
This is the moment, and we are the people. We are the people we’ve been waiting for.
So I am madly delighted and excited, and it was worth every minute of driving 10 hours yesterday not to miss this moment with you.
We have a huge day coming up. We’ve got a huge code for this week.
Away we go, oh my God!
Evolutionary Love Code:Reality is always asking you a question: are you ready to play a larger game? Are you willing to play baseball? Are you willing to play the largest game of baseball there is?
The era of Pax Americana is ending
Oh my God, so this is a big week, and we are going to play baseball. Let’s knock this out of the ballpark.
I got a text from Dr. Tom Ronen Goddard , who’s with us, just so you get how baseball finds its way. This is not planned; this is a text just from a couple of minutes ago. We are working on a book together, Tom and I, which is based on this Unique Self process that we did together for many years at our Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain. Tom is working on the last version of the draft. Tom writes to me, I’m in the homestretch.
What’s the homestretch?
The homestretch is from baseball.
So we’re going to talk about baseball.
Now, if you’re European (there are lots of Europeans here), when you think baseball, think soccer (we are going to talk more about baseball at the Intensive in Europe, but think soccer).
I am not going to share any baseball clips today, but I just want to share with everyone a few baseball movies that are going to be in the backdrop (and there’s also a bunch of soccer movies).
Now this doesn’t work for football, it doesn’t work for rugby. It works for baseball in the United States, and I’d say in Europe, it works best for soccer. So feel free to replace baseball with soccer as you’re listening, if you are listening in a European mode.
We live in a global world. It can’t be about just the United States anymore. The United States has actually played a leadership role in many, many ways, and continues to pour into Reality. And the United States is flawed like every place, and there are critiques that are valid and important about the World Bank (David Graeber has written important critiques about how the World Bank has created debt). There are shadows in the United States, that’s absolutely true. And the United States is, in many ways, a very great country.
America bashing is not in fashion in my heart and soul, I’d rather recognize the intrinsic and gorgeous greatness of every country.
The United States, since World War II and since Bretton Woods (which was the new world order that’s created peace for 70 years in much of the world), has been in large part facilitated by the United States. And the era of Pax Americana is ending; we need to move into a new world.
America electing Donald Trump, who is — whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat — obviously not the right choice for President, who violates basic human values on a daily basis in the most brazen way, signaled the end of Pax Americana.
Baseball is a place which is holding a mystery
So when I talk about baseball, I’m not talking about baseball in the sense of Pax Americana, I am talking about baseball in the sense of a place which is holding a mystery. I want to talk about baseball today, and we’ve promised to talk about this for a bunch of weeks.
I’m talking about baseball, of course, in context of the New Story of value.
I thought this would be a great last piece before we start with the incredible lineup, incredible batters in the batter’s box, who are going to be with us for the next five or six weeks in One Mountain — a baseball analogy.
Here we go. Do we have a drumroll here? I am actually so excited to do baseball with you. I’m crazy excited to do baseball.
Let me just tell you how I got to baseball.
I personally have never liked baseball. I’ve gone to a couple of games, and for me, when I was a kid, baseball has always looked or felt something like, you’re getting together to watch the paint dry. Let’s get together and watch the paint dry, it’s very slow.
So, when I was young — eight, nine, and ten, I wasn’t moved by baseball, never really paid much attention to it. Then my son, Zion (who is rockstar beautiful), I planned a father-son trip with him for June. We did this father-son trip, and it was a beautiful trip.
I did the trip for a lot of reasons. One is that his mom has actually been very sick, and I had the sense that he might need to come live with me. He’s been raised by his fantastic mother, who’s a great teacher and writer, Mariana Caplan. Mariana has gotten sick, and God willing, she’s going to get better. So I wanted to do a father-son trip with Zion to talk about the future.
We agreed to get together in San Francisco, I picked him up and we got a hotel room right in the heart of San Francisco, and we spent quite a few days, just the two of us, I think it was four full days.
The agreement was: lots of baseball, and we get to eat whenever we want. So we found this little cafe next to our hotel, which was like this diner, open 24 hours a day, so we would have lunch at like 1am. We did everything just father and son, no rules, just that we have to go deep. The rule was, we had to go as deep as we could in everything. So we had this wild time.
We went to see Harry Potter. There’s one Harry Potter play that JK Rowling wrote, it’s called Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. We got second row seats in the play, and we went to see two baseball games.
The two baseball games, one was Tuesday evening, and the next one was Wednesday morning. To each baseball game, we came two or three hours early. For the second game on Wednesday morning, we basically opened the stadium; we were like the third person in the stadium.
Because Zion explained to me that there’s batters practice, and at batters practice, you can actually get a ball. A couple of hundred people come early, and the players do batters practice, then you can catch a ball.
So I’m like, I love my son madly, I don’t like baseball honestly, but I promised to come to this baseball game. The agreement we made was: no phone, no internet, no reading other books, no working on anything, we just have to watch every play together. And so, within 24 hours, I went to two baseball games. I got a major sunburn, because we got the tickets for like the sixth or seventh throw, right behind the dugout. It was the Kansas City Royals against the San Francisco team, the Giants, at Oracle stadium.
So we are watching baseball, watching every single scene.
And I just started thinking about baseball with Zion, what is baseball?
- There’s a whole bunch of baseball movies. Field of Dreams is one baseball movie, that’s one big one, with Kevin Costner. It’s an incredible movie.
- There’s another movie called The Natural, which is another baseball movie.
- There’s a baseball movie called Bull Durham, fantastic movie Bull Durham. That’s movie three that I want to just mention.
- There’s another baseball movie called A League of Their Own, which is about how women’s baseball started in the United States during World War II, a really important movie.
- Then there’s another movie called Sandlot.
Here we go. So I’m not going to go through the movies, I’m going to just mention them as we go. This summer at our Intensive, I want to look at these movies more seriously, in relation to some soccer movies.
But what I want to try now to see with you, and understand with you is: why is baseball magic?
Baseball in response to the meta-crisis: why is baseball magic?
Who has heard of Walt Whitman? Who knows that Walt Whitman was a baseball reporter? He was a baseball reporter. So Walt Whitman, the great poet writes:
“I see great things in baseball. It’s our game, the American game.”
(Again, you could write the same thing about soccer in Europe). He says, “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game, the American game.” Now listen to this.
“It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.”
Isn’t that amazing?
By the way, we are in totally serious mode today.
We are going to be totally talking about the baseball vision of Homo amor, and baseball in response to the meta-crisis.
But we’re also playing, because we’ve got to play. We are in mid-summer, so let’s play.
In Bull Durham (which is by the way the all-time record-breaker of baseball movies, starring a young Kevin Costner, and Susan Sarandon), the opening line of the movie is where Susan Sarandon does this fantastic monologue. She says, and I’m ad-libbing her monologue:
“I’ve been to all the churches. I’ve tried Christianity and Judaism, and I’ve tried tarot and candles and meditation, and I’ve tried prayer. I’ve tried everything, none of the churches work for me.
There’s only one church that’s ever worked for me, which is the church of baseball.”
So what’s the church of baseball?
What’s Walt Whitman talking about?
New grounding of the Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value
I want to try and unpack baseball with you.
I want to try and unpack, if I can, what I want to call the fourteen principles of baseball, and how baseball actually represents something unbelievably important and wild in society, which has insane value, which is insanely important, and sacred, and all of that.
Here it is. I want to say it, and then I want to try and unpack it, but first, I want to say it.
Baseball represents value.
That’s what baseball is, baseball is about value.
- It’s not about premodern value.
- It’s not about the value the way the traditions thought about value: God gave my people value, our value is better than yours. It’s not a premodern traditional ethnocentric vision of value.
- Baseball represents intrinsic value in Kosmos, in the way that people intuitively understood that to be true before postmodernity came along and deconstructed value.
Now, I’ve called this notion of value, in serious writing (which has been published on the web, it’s going to get published more seriously this coming year) — I’ve called this Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value.
Modernity was defined by Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value.
Common Sense Sacred Axioms are things like:
- choice matters,
- effort is rewarded,
- fairness is super-critical (and you can’t do without it, you’ve got to be fair.)
So fairness, choice matters, effort… there are about 15 Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value.
When the premodern world fell apart and modernity came into form, these Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value became the shared grammar of value of much of modernity, which the postmodern world came to deconstruct.
Now, the Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value are very, very important.
We can’t go back to them. We can’t ignore postmodernity.
We have to respond to postmodernity’s critiques (although I’m not going to do that here today in One Mountain).
But we need to reclaim these Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value that are represented by baseball.
But this time, we have to ground them.
Meaning, they were just assumed in modernity.
- Everyone said, we’re going to borrow from the social capital of premodernity, which assumed value through Revelation and through meditation.
- Everyone assumed value; they thought about who had the best value, but everyone assumed value.
That broke down, but some of the social capital or the spiritual capital of premodernity entered modernity — even though, philosophically, people like David Hume, and ultimately, Immanuel Kant, and then Neo-Darwinism and logical positivism, and existentialism, they all deconstructed value.
Nonetheless, Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value remained.
Then postmodernity came and deconstructed them, and now we need a new reconstructive project that actually integrates the best of premodern, modern and postmodern understandings of value, and we need a new vision of value. That’s what we’re doing at the Center, this new vision of value which is core to Homo amor.
But in this new vision of value, we need to reclaim these Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value. But not unconsciously, like modernity did.
We need to actually root them and ground them in Kosmos.
We call that new grounding of those Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value, Evolving First Principles and First Values of Kosmos.
That was a big sentence.
I’m not going to work out how that has solved the postmodern critique of the Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value. We are not going to solve that right now. We’ve talked about that at length in a bunch of One Mountain talks we did on First Principles and First Values, so I’m not going to talk about that now.
Now I just want to focus on the fact that baseball is an expression of value, and it’s an expression of Common Sense Sacred Axioms of value.
Meaning, no one has grounded them in great philosophy, they’re just a given; we just know they’re true, we just live in them. That’s what took us through modernity, until postmodernity came along and deconstructed that.
Now we need to engage in a reconstructive project to take the best of premodern, modern, and postmodern into a new vision of value.
That’s what we’re calling Evolving First Principles and First Values,
— or what we call an Evolving Perennialism,
— and our name for that is the New Story of value,
— and our name for that New Story of value is CosmoErotic Humanism.
If you’re new to One Mountain, don’t worry about that. This is a big field; you don’t need to swallow it all whole now. We are trying to articulate here an evolution of the source code, and today, we’re just going to focus on baseball.
But first, I just want to take one movie. I’m going to go through 14 principles of baseball, and I’m going to do it pretty fast. But I want to just start, just to ground with you, this notion of baseball being about value. I’m not going to show you the clip now. I’m just going to tell you the story.
The story of Field of Dreams: “If you build it they will come”
In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner hears a voice.
The voice says: “If you build it, he will come.”
Then it says: “If you build it, they will come.”
He’s in this field, he has married this woman he doesn’t quite know, they fell in love. They fell in love, and he winds up in a farm somewhere in Iowa, and he’s in the field.
He’s not much of a farmer, but he’s in the field, and he hears this voice. The voice says, first: “If you build it, he will come.” Then he hears: “If you build it, they will come.”
He’s not sure what to build, and then the next morning, he sees a vision of a baseball diamond, and he knows that somehow, he’s meant to build this baseball diamond. So, he takes this big portion of his Iowa cornfield, which is a very bad economic idea, and he builds this baseball diamond.
Then this player shows up who was his dad’s idol, and he has this broken relationship with his father. The name of the player is Shoeless Joe Jackson, one of the greatest players that ever lived. But Shoeless Joe Jackson was on, I think, a Chicago team, the White Sox, with eight other players, and they’re thrown out of the league for cheating. But they actually didn’t cheat.
So, they’re thrown out of the league for a violation of value.
Common Sense Sacred Axiom: don’t cheat.
It’s not built on any big philosophical thing, just don’t cheat; that’s a Common Sense Sacred Axiom of modernity. They’re thrown out of the league for cheating, which is a violation of value. But it actually didn’t happen, they actually didn’t cheat, which is even a bigger violation of value: they’ve been falsely accused.
To be falsely accused is to have value violated in your soul, and I actually know something about that. So these guys die. Shoeless Joe Jackson was his name, and these seven other players, they die. They’re never able to play baseball again.
So he hears this voice: “If you build it, he will come”, and who shows up to this diamond?
Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Now, you understand: what’s happening here is: baseball is transcending death.
In other words, this is a very, very spiritual, transcendent, metaphysical movie. It’s a wild movie. The only place Shoeless Joe Jackson can exist out of the realm of eternity in this world is in the diamond.
They invite Shoeless Joe to come into the house, but he can’t; he can’t leave the baseball diamond, because the baseball diamond itself participates in the field of eternity. The Field of Dreams itself is part of the field of eternity.
It’s a crazy, beautiful movie. Come to One Mountain’s sister, the Outrageous Love Festival, to our Summer Intensive, and we’re going to look at a lot of clips here. It’s wildly beautiful.
So Shoeless Joe Jackson comes, and then all the other players that were thrown out of the league come, and they start playing baseball in this field. But the only people that can see them playing are Kevin Costner, his wife, and their daughter. But his brother-in-law Ray, who represents the ordinary world, he can’t see what’s happening here. All they see is this crazy baseball diamond.
They’re coming to foreclose on the property, because they’ve cut down too much of the crops so they can’t turn a profit. He’s about to lose the farm the next day.
Ray is saying: “You’ve got to sell the farm and I’m going to get you a good price. Sell it and get rid of this baseball diamond”.
Kevin Costner is saying: “No, we’re not going to sell”.
Then his daughter at a certain point says: “Daddy, we don’t have to sell the farm”.
She has this almost kind of prophetic voice.
Ray, her uncle and Kevin’s brother-in-law, says: “Karen, please”.
Then she says: “People will come”.
Then Kevin Costner turns to his daughter and says: “What people, sweetheart?”
She says: “From all over. They’ll just decide to take a vacation, and they’ll come to Iowa City. They’ll think it’s really boring, so they’ll want to pay us, like buying a ticket”.
Ray says to his brother-in-law: “Are you crazy, you’re seriously listening to your daughter?”
He says: “Yes”.
But wait a minute, why would anyone pay money to come here?
She says: “To watch the games. It will be just like when they were kids a long time ago, they’ll watch the game and remember what it was like”.
Ray says, the brother-in-law who wants to foreclose the property: “What the hell is she talking about?”
She says: “People will come!”
Ray says: “Alright, this is fascinating, but you don’t have the money to bring the mortgage up to date, so you’re still going to have to sell”.
Kevin Costner says: “I’m sorry, Ray, we got no choice. People will come, Ray, they’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up in your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door, as innocent as children longing for the past. Of course we won’t mind if you look around you’ll say, it’s only X dollars per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it, for it’s money they have and peace they like.”
Of course now the brother-in-law, who wants to foreclose, because Kevin Costner has got no money to pay his bills, because he’s built this baseball stadium, thanks to this niece as Craig says, “Ray just signed the papers”.
But the daughter keeps talking: “No, then they’ll walk off to the bleachers and sit in their shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes, and they’ll watch the game. It will be as if they dip themselves in magic waters, the memories will be so thick! They’ll have to brush them away, the memories from their faces”.
Then Ray, the brother-in-law, just can’t take this. He says when the bank opens in the morning, they’ll foreclose.
But the daughter keeps talking: “People will come, Ray!”
Then Ray says: “You’re broke, you sell now or you’ll lose everything”.
But she keeps talking.
She says, or Kevin Costner says: “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been a race like a blackbird rebuilt and erased again — and this is true about Europe — but baseball has marked the time. The field, this field, this game, it’s part of our past. It’s part of who we are. It reminds of all that once was good, and it could be good again. People will come! People will most definitely come!”
It’s an amazing scene. It’s easy to click out during that scene, but it’s an amazing, amazing scene.
At some point, she falls and she gets hurt. One of the players who’s actually a doctor, who had come from a different point in the Wheel of Time, actually steps out of the field to treat her and takes care of the daughter after she falls. They were sitting on the bleachers talking, she falls, and he takes care of her.
For the first time, Ray can actually see the players. So Ray completely does a 180-degree turn around, and he says to Kevin Costner, you can’t sell.
So what’s this scene about?
The scene is about the Good, it’s the key scene in the Field of Dreams.
Baseball reminds me of the good in everything.
Baseball incarnates value, and sport at its best, but baseball and soccer are the best incarnations of them.
Baseball incarnates value.
Fourteen Principles of Baseball
Let’s just take a look at fourteen principles of baseball.
1 Number one, there’s a cathedral, there’s a temple, and the temple is the baseball stadium. When I came with Zion to Oracle Stadium on Wednesday morning in June, it was early in the morning, and we were like the third or fourth ones in the stadium; we got up really early to get there early. You see this gorgeous baseball diamond in this beautiful stadium, and you realize this is a temple. It’s a temple, and people are coming to the temple like people have always come to temples. This is what Susan Sarandon calls at the beginning of Bull Durham, this is the church of baseball.
2 Number two, baseball incarnates ritual. Baseball has a set of rituals that hold us. But it’s more than that.
3 Number three, baseball has principles. There’s a set of principles, there’s a set of laws in baseball, which are about how the game is played. Everyone subscribes to the same principles, and those principles are about eliciting greatness and excellence from the players. So those principles are about what? They’re about eliciting excellence and greatness from the players, that’s three.
4 Four, the goal of baseball is to come home; a homerun. Tom wrote to me this morning, I’m in the homestretch, meaning I want to come home. The goal of baseball, like the goal of spirit and value, is to dream our way home, and to live those dreams, and to find our way home. That’s what baseball is about, it’s about getting home. But it’s not just about getting home myself. Sometimes I sacrifice a fly so someone else can get home. It’s about the whole team coming home. It’s about driving other people home. But the movement in baseball, number four, is a movement towards home.
5 Number five, baseball has saints, and it has heroes. (Of course baseball has holy men and holy women, when it’s played by women. We’ll talk about that movie, A League of Their Own, when baseball was played by women in the United States, beginning in World War II, from 1943 or 1944 till 1954. Incredible story.) But baseball has saints, and it has heroes. Just like any great system of spiritual transformation does, baseball has saints and heroes.
I want to say something about those saints and heroes. They’re not like movie stars; movie stars are about celebrities. It’s a superficial structure, or phenomenology of celebrity. Baseball heroes are different. Baseball heroes are about incarnating value.
That’s why in Field of Dreams, when Shoeless Joe Jackson was accused of cheating and thrown out of baseball, it was so devastating. Shoeless Joe Jackson says to Kevin Costner, it was like having my arm and my legs amputated. Not just because he couldn’t play baseball, but because baseball is value.
That’s why building the stadium — if you build it, he will come — and fixing that false accusation, and restoring value, was this great mystical moment in Field of Dreams. So the heroes of baseball, the saints of baseball, are not just celebrities in that kind of superficial, shallow sense. But they’re meant, in their ideal form, to incarnate value.
I remember, I grew up partly in Columbus, Ohio, which was near Cincinnati. It was a time when Sparky Anderson was the coach of the Cincinnati Reds, which was then called the Big Red Machine. Whoever remembers baseball this was the Big Red Machine, and it was Pete Rose, and Johnny Bench, and Dave Concepcion, and Tony Perez, this incredible team, and Sparky Anderson was the coach.
Then Pete Rose is accused of doing something unethical, which is this very small infraction. But it’s a violation of value, and Pete Rose is now out of baseball, and everyone’s devastated. Because the baseball hero, this is number five, is not a movie star. It’s a different quality of hero, at least in its ideal, if you will, platonic form. So that’s five.
Maybe I’ll just say one more thing. There’s this great scene, from the movie Sandlot, which is one of the five baseball movies. It’s this movie about this ball which is signed by Babe Ruth. It’s a growing up story of baseball, about two kids, actually a group of kids in this neighborhood. It’s a fantastic baseball movie.
But there’s this moment, twice in the movie, where they talk about Babe Ruth, and they say, he’s the Great Bambino; they go through all the nicknames of Babe Ruth. It’s a fantastic scene, and it appears twice in the movie, where you get the sense of who Babe Ruth was.
The second great scene from Sandlot is the opening of the movie, where the announcer says: “In 1932, the world changed. It was the World Series, it was the ninth inning, and Babe Ruth was up, and he nods to center field with his bat, saying, I’m going to have a homerun into the stands there. It had never been done before, and then he went and did it. Then a superhero was born, a super Titan! That’s baseball. I said I’m going to do it, so I’m going to do it. This Promethean human capacity to fulfill and to show up as value. So that’s number five.
6 Number six, in baseball, everything and everyone is accountable.
Just like in the great traditions, there’s this Book of Life, because we count, we’re accountable. In baseball, we count; we count homeruns, and we count stolen bases, and we count RBIs.
In other words, everything counts. There’s a public ledger in baseball, and all of the history of each player is public and available; there’s no advertising, and there’s no image, and there’s no branding that can change that.
That’s actually the original blockchain is baseball, when it’s immutable and it’s there and it’s for public witness.
So that’s number six.
7 Number seven, when you’re up in baseball, most of the time you fail.
So baseball is the ritualized experience of failure. Seven out of 10 times, you don’t get on base; you either fly out, you strike out. Basically, most of baseball, for the batter, is spent failing.
If you have a 300 average in baseball, you’re batting 300, that’s unbelievable. You have a lifetime average of batting on 300, that’s unbelievable; 350 is like insane. Because basically, most of the time, you’re failing.
So baseball is the ritualized human experience of failing again and again and again, and not losing heart. And holding, and being of brave heart, and getting up to the play again and again. And not falling into resignation, and working with it again and again. And then picking up that bat, and getting in the right form, and being willing to give it everything you have. To show up and to wake up, with all of your energy, and all of your passion, and all of your potency, and all of your power.
It all begins again every time you come up for bat.
So number seven is, baseball is about failure.
How do you live in failure without losing heart?
That’s number seven.
8 Then number eight is, it all begins again every time you come up to bat.
In other words, every time you come up to bat, you can change your record. Every time you come up to bat, you can be a hero. Every time you come up to bat, you can lift that stadium to its feet, with ecstatic exultantly that will blow your heart and mind open.
You can actually be cheered by all of Reality for showing up with everything you got.
In other words, in baseball, yesterday doesn’t determine today; every time you get to start again. That’s number eight, and it’s gorgeous.
9 Number nine: who you are in baseball is not just your record, but there are these greatest moments.
Remember that principle: The essence of who I am is revealed in my moment of greatness. So there’s moments of greatness that are wildly valued. Gorgeous!
10 Number ten is, the way you create greatness in baseball is both by how you hold failure and by connecting the dots of your moments of greatness.
When you connect the dots of your moments of greatness, then you get the story of your life.
One of the things we have in modern stadiums, is they will actually play you the game back in its moments of greatness at the end of the game, or they’ll play yesterday’s game. They don’t play for you all of the empty space, but that’s actually part of it; you can’t get rid of it.
All of the empty space — all of the staying in, all of the strikeouts, all of the staying in deep right field or deep left field, and not seeing a ball for five innings, but just staying there with steady presence — hold, hold, hold, you’re holding the field, that steady presence then creates those moments.
Then when you link those moments together and you connect the dots, you get the greatness of your life.
Life is about connecting the dots of your moments of greatness, which you only get to do if you hold the field in between those moments, and you don’t collapse in them.
It’s about moving beyond resignation, sitting in the emptiness, that’s what fills up at those moments of greatness, and connecting those dots together which become the story of your life.
That’s 10, that’s a big one.
11 Number 11, baseball is unique because it’s about autonomy and communion together.
Basketball is a team too; there’s a big team, the team moves together down the court, players stand out, so you’ve got some autonomy and communion as well.
But in baseball, you have it in a much more extreme form. Because each player, all nine of them, are in their own position — whether it’s the shortstop, or one of the base men, or deep in the outfield, or you’re batting, or you’re catching, or you’re pitching — you’re both in autonomy and in the communion of the team.
We all need each other, and yet, you’re also highly individuated in your place. It’s really about you, and it’s about you being in that lonely, singular, beautiful place in the context of a larger community. Because you realize, wow, there are people, people all over the world holding a piece. But you’re holding your own piece.
It’s different from basketball; you don’t get absorbed in the team. It’s different from soccer even. There’s a kind of singularity in baseball which is very unique. There’s the extreme communion of the team, and there’s this radical individuality happening at the same time. That’s number 11.
12 Number 12: the field of value, which is the Field of Dreams, lives beyond the individual expressions of it.
This is a very big deal.
In other words, every baseball player is a Unique Self and a unique expression of that field of value. But even when that baseball player is done playing, and they move on in their lives, or they may even move on from this world, the field of value remains; the Field of Dream remains.
For example, the Yankees are still the Yankees, and the Dodgers are still the Dodgers, and the Red Sox are still the Red Sox. There’s an unchangingness to the field of value. Fenway Park has been there for a long time in Boston, and Yankee Stadium.
In other words, there’s this sense of rootedness in an evolving but eternal field of value. So the Yankees remain, even if all the Yankees have changed. The separate self of individual Yankees have disappeared, the Unique Self have left their mark, and they’ve had their continuity, but the Yankees, and the game, and the stadium, which are all expressions of this magical field of value, the field of value remains.
That’s number 12, the eternity of the field of value; the stadium, the name of the team.
Often you hang up the uniform and the number of one player, because that number represents Unique Self. Number always represents Unique Self; we talk about that in the book Soul Prints in part four, where I talk about a number as Unique Self.
So, you might hang up someone’s number. But the uniforms, the fields, the diamond, the rules of the game, the ethos of the game, all of that remains.
Okay, that’s number 12.
13 Number 13 is about the fact that you need constant practice — constant, rigorous, deep, beautiful practice — to do really simple things with elegance and grace.
That’s a big sentence: you need constant practice to do really simple things with beauty, elegance, and grace.
You can’t always do them with beauty, elegance, and grace. You’re going to strike out a lot of times. But actually, your life is connecting the dots of those moments of greatness when you did those second simplicity things with beauty, elegance, and grace.And what do you do in baseball?
That’s it, that’s the whole game.
You hit. You throw. You catch. You run.
You wait. You deal with failure. You’re part of the team.
There’s enormous practice to be able to catch that ball, to pitch that ball, to run the way you need, and to throw. There’s this sense of enormous practice to get those moments of elegance and grace that are unlike anything else.
That’s number 13.
I would call 13: enormous constant practice to do simple things with elegance and grace.
14 Number 14 is, in baseball, we surface the idea of healthy competition.
When we talk about one of the root causes of existential risk, we talk about Reality being constructed as a success story, where the story is a rivalrous conflict governed by win-lose metrics. But that doesn’t mean that we get rid of competition.
No, competition is important.
But the competition can’t be zero-sum competition: If you didn’t make it, you die. In the marketplace we’ve created in the world today, if you can’t self-commodify, you actually, quite literally, die. You’re actually written out of society.
And so, competition is important but it can’t be a zero sum competition. It’s got to be a rivalrous conflict, which is beautiful; competition is healthy and beautiful, we shouldn’t get rid of merit.
Baseball represents merit. It’s not a kind of communist system which got rid of merit, and got rid of hierarchies of value, and got rid of appropriate competition.
Baseball is rivalrous conflict. But it’s not just governed by win-lose metrics, although it is in part. But it’s also governed by a Field of Dreams and by a field of value.
Baseball is a field of value, and sport, and delight, which is bigger than just the rivalrous conflict. The players are playing together in the shared field of value, and the shared field of value is much bigger, ultimately, than who wins the game.
It’s a competition. But it’s healthy competition on a team with this dialectic between autonomy and communion, where the team is larger than any individual player, and there’s a commitment to the larger field of value, the larger Field of Dreams, the field of baseball.
There’s an empire, and the empire makes calls, and those calls are binding.
So it’s not a kind of crony capitalism. It’s a healthy, conscious field of value and Field of Dreams.
Now, I think you get a sense here of what we mean by this game being this sacred play.
Baseball incarnates value
I’m going to end with this piece and we’re going to do a little baseball prayer.
Baseball incarnates value, and we have looked at 14 ways in which baseball incarnates value, and I want to just add two more pieces, we’ll finish with these.
The story of the movie The Natural
One of the ways you see how baseball incarnates values is, in this movie Field of Dreams, it says: “Baseball is good, and it can be good again.” Good is value; good is the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.
Second, when you look at the movie The Natural with Robert Redford, it’s a very subtle movie.
All five of these movies are worth watching, but The Natural is a very subtle movie about Robert Redford.
He has a childhood sweetheart. He’s a natural. In a very early scene in the movie, his father says to him: “You’ve got a gift, son, but you can’t rely on the gift. You’ve got to practice. If people just rely on the gift, they fail”.
His father, just a few minutes later, has a stroke and dies under an oak tree. The next day, or that night, there’s this stormy night, and lightning hits the oak tree, and Robert Redford, who’s a kid, goes down to the oak tree where his father just died, and he makes a bat out of that oak tree where his father passed and where he practiced with his father. That bat is called Wonderboy.
In the early scene, you see this girl watching him when he’s a little kid, practicing, and they grow up. Then right after his father dies, he gets drafted, and they’re in love, and they’re going to get married. He says, I’ll come back for you.
Then he goes, and he’s on his way to the big leagues, he’s on a train, and he meets this woman. She kind of enchants him; she seduces him. He walks into her room, because she says come meet me in my room. So he walks into her room, like, what’s this about? She puts a veil over her face, and she shoots him, and he disappears for 16 years.
The movie starts after those 16 years; we don’t know what happened in the intervening time. He’s now coming back 16 years later to reclaim that simple dream of baseball and value, and he explodes onto the scene at age 36, and then he loses it. Until there’s the scene where he sees a woman stand up. He’s been in a slump for a long time, and that woman is that original girl that he was in love with.
He can’t quite see her, but he sees that she stood up, and you see actually the Goddess rising. They somehow align, even though he can’t see or doesn’t know who it is, and he hits it out of the park. He goes to find her and can’t find her. But in the end, they find each other, and when she’s in the stadium, he can actually find himself.
What the whole movie is about is these forces that go to rig baseball, to have players sell out for the sake of commodifying baseball, and they actually offer $20,000 to throw a game; this great violation of value. They threaten to blackmail him, because they have pictures of when this woman shot him. She was apparently killed afterwards, which had nothing to do with him, there was some terrible tragedy that happened there.
But they threatened to frame him. So he takes $20,000 because he has no choice, and then he realizes that he just can’t do it. He says, I won’t do it, this is over, I’m going to go play baseball. I’m not throwing the game. I can’t violate value, essentially.
He goes to the game, and the game is hanging in the balance, and he can’t quite find it. The woman who was his old beloved sends him a note because she has a son. He doesn’t realize it’s his son, when they made love right before he went on that train ride to the Majors. So she says to him, your son is in the stadium, and it’s just like, huh?! He becomes the father, and he becomes the man.
There’s this incredible scene. He shouldn’t be playing the game, because that bullet that was lodged in him from that original shot has kind of wreaked havoc, and his whole system could collapse if he even plays one more game. But he has to play; he puts his life on the line for value. There’s this last scene where he’s up, and he just connects with the ball, and you just see value at play as that ball hits that bat and it soars out of the stadium. Then the last scene is him pitching back and forth with his son.
When I went on that baseball trip with Zion, there were four days together, and I had hurt my back quite badly. I was in some serious amount of pain. But at the end, Zion said: Dad, let’s throw the ball, kind of like that scene at the end of the Redford movie, The Natural.
At the very end of the movie, he gets together with the woman of his childhood, and with his son, and they’re throwing the ball back and forth. At the end of Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner with his father, they actually repair their relationship and they do a catch. It’s just unbelievable!
So here I am with Zion, and Zion says: Hey, let’s do a catch. But I don’t have a mitt, so we go to a shop and we get this mitt, and it’s not quite broken, so they oil it for us. Then Zion and I go out to this field, and my back is in wrenching pain, but the pain literally disappears, and we just spend half an hour just throwing the ball back and forth in that simple way.
We both said that maybe our favorite part of the whole trip was just that half hour, throwing that ball back and forth.
When we enter the Field of Dreams, the field of Father and Son, the field of the immeasurable, the field of the non-commodifiable, the field of value, the field of transmission, that’s baseball.
- Baseball is value.
- Baseball is the magic of value.
- Baseball is Common Sense Sacred Axioms that modernity knew.
Baseball and soccer, they both represent that same notion of value.
So, what we need to do is, after postmodernity deconstructed baseball and deconstructed value — we need to reclaim it.
We need to reclaim value at a higher level of consciousness.
It can’t be reclaimed as Common Sense Sacred Axioms; we can’t go backwards.
- We need to re-vision value.
- We need to begin to talk about First Principles and First Values.
- We need to explicate what value is based on.
- We need to respond to the academic critiques, which are true but partial, and to actually re-vision value.
That’s what we’ve been working on at the Center. Because to be able to re-vision value and articulate a universal grammar of value that’s real is THE source code move that changes Reality.
It’s bigger than Darwin.
It’s bigger than Freud.
It’s bigger than Einstein.
Because it’s not about the exterior, it’s about the interior sciences.
Imagine if we can articulate a shared grammar value; a baseball, a soccer, for humanity, in which we’re all playing in that stadium, and we’re all bound by a larger vision of value.
Yes, there’s rivalrous conflict, but within the baseball diamond.
The baseball diamond which participates in eternity, which transcends death.
That’s the invitation.
That’s the possibility.
Oh my God, that’s what it means.
Homo amor is a baseball player, man or woman.
A League of Their Own
In the movie, A League of Their Own, the last movie we mentioned, it’s about women in World War II.
Women in World War II, for the first time, were released from the home, because men were on the front, and they began to work in the factories, they began to work in offices. That actually seeded women’s liberation 20 or 30 years ago, because women didn’t want to go back to the old way.
There’s this moment where they start this league, and it’s supposed to be for entertainment. But the women take baseball seriously, and they play this league gorgeously and beautifully. It’s like women emerging in their power, finding the depth of their masculine and integrating it with their feminine, and this new feminine emerging, which is part of Homo amor.
Of course, the point is that women playing baseball in this new way foreshadows the emergence of the new feminine. That’s the same theme.
Homo amor is the best baseball player, the best soccer player, that there ever was.
That’s what it is.
We’re in the Field of Dreams together; we’re in the field of value together.
Praying in the field of value
It’s in that field that we find each other, and it’s in that field that we pray.
We’re not going to do Leonard Cohen this week, the Holy and Broken Hallelujah.
By the way, Leonard Cohen loved baseball.
But I just want to ask if we can for a second, just to do a direct prayer.
Let’s just do a direct prayer.
Let’s just pray for everyone.
Let’s pray for each other.
Let’s pray for anyone who’s sick.
Let’s pray for any part of us that’s split off.
Let’s pray for the new human and the new humanity.
Let’s pray for the emergence of Homo amor.
I’m going to, with permission — and maybe we just all do it together, just so we have a chant — I’m just going to offer a chant into the space as people write their prayers, and then we’ll read the prayers.
So here’s just a simple chant as people read their prayers, and it’s a chant for everything that’s possible.
Chant wherever you are in the world.
You don’t need a good voice to chant, I’m evidence of that.
You chant like we play baseball, with all our hearts and souls.
Thank you, everyone.
It’s so good to be together.
What a delight and an honor to be with you!
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