Part 1 — Celebrating the Courage to Evolve: Beyond Dark Shadows of Transhumanism and Evolutionary Spirituality

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 the spoken word and not a formal essay.

Edited by Elena Maslova-Lenin and the Barbara piece is edited by Kristina Tahel. Prepared for publication by Krista Josepha

Read part two here.

Celebrating Barbara Marx Hubbard: a deep shared search for the deepest realization

Last week, we did a wonderful 300th week celebration of One Mountain Many Paths. As many of you may know, I was greatly privileged to found One Mountain, together with my evolutionary partner, Barbara Marx Hubbard. In this 300th week, we were celebrating celebration itself, and what does it mean to celebrate in the midst of Outrageous Pain and even existential risk, and why it is essential.

We were celebrating Barbara, and her enormous contribution to evolutionary spirituality.

At the same time, I had read, literally right before that One Mountain, a critique (or a number of critiques) of Barbara that very, very seriously criticized particular dimensions of her early expressions of evolutionary spirituality. The critiques that I read were, on the one hand, filled with misinformation, distortion, and alike. However, at the kernel of the critique, there was something that was true and accurate. I was unaware of the specific early quotes — but just in the fragrance of my many conversations with Barbara, when we first met, and first came to create together, there was a sense of transhumanist moral neutrality in relationship to the evolutionary process, which I found beyond troubling — and I shared that with Barbara.

We had a number of fierce contestations and conversations, which were important and wonderful. I was talking about Eros, and ethos, and The Universe: A Love Story, or what we also call in CosmoErotic Humanism — which is the name of the New Story of value we are trying to articulate today in response to existential risk — we also call it Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe, or the Intimate Universe, or the CosmoErotic Universe, or the Amorous Kosmos. The core of this New Story is that,

  • this Amorous Kosmos, this Intimate Universe, lives in us,
  • we are expressions of it — and irreducibly unique expressions of it,
  • and therefore, every human being has got to be held and honored,
  • and the full dignity of the personal can never be bypassed in any evolutionary or transhumanist vision.

Barbara understood that deeply in the context of our conversations, and she did something that people almost never do. She actually evolved her position; she changed her position.

She shared with me that, in her earlier transhumanist days, she had had a very different conception. She used to talk about evolution not being nice. Again, although I wasn’t familiar with those early writings or citations, Barbara shared with me this earlier sense she had had in transhumanism, which didn’t see the centrality of Eros, or what I’ve called Unique Self, or what we refer to, in CosmoErotic Humanism, as Unique Self Symphony. Barbara fully embraced those evolutionary developments as what she called the next step in conscious evolution. That’s how she understood our work together. [Editors note: watch for example these conversations between Barbara and Marc on Evolutionary Unique Self.]

I have to say that I was blown away by her capacity, in her early and then mid and then late 80s, to actually evolve, to transform, and to be fierce in the pursuit of a deeper truth

  • to give up being right,
  • to not hold on, and
  • to have deep regret over earlier positions, that, in the end, turned out to be woefully incomplete.

In a word, I have rarely met anyone who had that ability to be constantly evolving herself.

Barbara and I did what we called Holy of Holies, which is a word that comes from the Jerusalem temple tradition. Holy of Holies is the place where the Ark resided (think Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones movies). So the Ark of the Covenant resided in the Holy of Holies, and the Holy of Holies is a place that is, if you will, safe enough

  • to go all the way in,
  • to think about everything,
  • and to talk about everything.

Literally, in the last years of her life, we would do Holy of Holies together, and she would look at every part of her life and see: what did I get wrong, what did I get right, how can I be better, how can I transform? It’s kind of shocking, and beautiful, and worthy of so much admiration. I am filled with love, and admiration, and honor for Barbara. I am 100% sure that she’d be thrilled with this episode of One Mountain Many Paths.

Now, as we were doing this recording, this live meeting that we recorded last week (Editor’s note: you can read the transcript of this live meeting below), I also spoke about my colleague, Andrew Cohen. Andrew, like Barbara, has been very fierce in these past years in evolving and transmuting, and particularly in terms of his thought. In the One Mountain broadcast, I shared that I had written a book called Self, fiercely critiquing Andrew’s evolutionary spirituality position in one particular regard:

  • its rejection of the personal,
  • its talk about the movement beyond yourself as a creative movement that was impersonal; what Andrew called the authentic self, which he described as an awakened impersonal function.

This sense of the impersonal as being the penultimate — I found it both structurally invalid, and not in alignment with the realization that the Kosmos is ultimately intimate and personal.

If I can say it this way,

  • you first have the personal at the level of personality, which is a fragrance of the personal,
  • and then you clarify, and you step into the impersonal; the realization that you’re one with the larger field.
  • But really, that larger field is not impersonal.

That’s one of the ways that I think classical enlightenment teachings misunderstood… that they saw the impersonal as being impersonal in a kind of way that it’s not. It is beyond personality. It is beyond Separate Self. But that impersonal is actually the ground of a higher personal. So, if you will, it is —

  • personal,
  • impersonal,
  • then a higher personal beyond the impersonal.

I wrote a book on this called Self, which articulated both the vision of Unique Self that appears in the Unique Self book, a separate volume, and fiercely critiqued Andrew’s position.

Now, I’ve got to tell you something about Andrew. He received that book with great grace, and great love, and great honor. I spoke about him in that book with honor and love, as a very, very esteemed colleague, who made an enormous contribution to the contemporary articulation of evolutionary spirituality. Andrew and I viewed this exchange as a kind of Dharma combat, if you will — but in the most fierce and tender sense of the word. In this particular area, Andrew was very audacious, and came very close to my notion of Unique Self. Indeed, he has shared with me, privately and publicly, that he has actually evolved his position, and really incorporated the irreducible uniqueness of the higher individuation beyond ego.

I shared a little bit about that Self book again as well in this One Mountain, which I was glad to do, and I did it, I hope, with great honor for Andrew — and for Barbara, but Andrew in particular. I am delighted to be engaged with him now in a series of dialogues on evolutionary spirituality, which has been so dear to both Andrew and I, for many, many, many years. We have been privileged to articulate together many of the core tenets in that field that have become almost defaults, in a wonderful way. We continue to engage from a shared context and a shared space, to try and clarify, and to learn from each other.

That’s actually what we need in conversation.

It is exactly this kind of conversation where we don’t polarize, where our positions are not about a personal branded identity, but about a deep shared search for the deepest realization. I think it is a model of where we need to be. The ability to hold paradox together — the paradox of fierce love and occasionally fierce contestation — is that which moves us beyond the polarization.

That polarization, the way we are unable to have conversations today, is at the core of existential risk.

And so, I am really glad and happy to be offering this One Mountain, and I thought it might be helpful to have this context before you dive in. Super super appreciation, and love, and thank you for taking the time to listen. Thank you!

Elena Maslova-Lenin Formula Of Future (after Cezanne)

Celebrating three hundred weeks of One Mountain Many Paths: articulating values that live in us

Oh, my God!

It’s a gorgeous moment, celebration.

We talked last week about —

  • How do we celebrate when the world is so imperfect?
  • How do we celebrate when we are poised at this moment, in this time between worlds, in this time between stories?
  • When existential risk, and catastrophic risk — which are real — lurk.
  • When we realize the system is not too big to fail,
  • When unimaginable suffering takes place on the planet, and is poised to take place if we don’t shift the vector of the human story.

At the same time, utopia lurks — the possibility of creating a world which is unimaginably beautiful, rooted in human dignity, the dignity of every individual.

The irreducible dignity of every Unique Self, coming together as Unique Self Symphonies, to participate in the true nature of Reality, which is Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe.

Not a pollyannish love story — but a story filled with agony and ecstasy, part of a larger field of consciousness, a multi-dimensional field of consciousness, and Reality, and meaning.

Reality is incepted with meaning; it is suffused with meaning.

  • Look beside you, and I’m there.
  • Look behind you, and I am there.
  • Look above you, and I am there.
  • Look below you, and I am there.
  • Look inside you, and I am there.
  • It is meaning everywhere.
  • It is value, everywhere.

One of the principles we established last week is that you can’t change the world unless you’re already willing to live in the world that’s already changed.

Do we understand it?

What it means is: no matter what’s happening, we have to recognize it is not just true that we live in a world of Outrageous Pain. We also live in a world of Outrageous Beauty.

We live in a world of Outrageous Pain. That’s true.

There is no answer.

There is no simple theology, whether it’s a techno-feudalist theology, whether it’s a Great Reset theology which argues that human beings are almost implicitly downgraded nanobots, and an upgraded algorithmic web… that kind of theology is absurd, and horrific, and ultimately can lead to very, very great evil. In the same way, certain religious ideologies, which portrayed God in ways that violated the essence of the Divine, also explained away human suffering.

We can never explain away human suffering.

We have to respond to human suffering.

There is no answer to the great question of why Reality is constructed in a way that allows for suffering.

We live in a world of Outrageous Pain. But we cannot answer that question; that question is unanswerable.

But we can respond; we can respond powerfully and beautifully.

  • We live in a world of Outrageous Pain, and the only response to Outrageous Pain is Outrageous Love.
  • At the same time, we live in a world of Outrageous Beauty, everywhere: from colors, to sounds, to the billions of human beings performing random acts of kindness every day, the billions of human beings reaching towards each other, filled with value, and meaning, and kindness, and goodness, and integrity.

The news track that which violates the human covenant of goodness. Because that violation is an aberration, so it attracts attention, and is reported on the news.

But the true news, the good news, is that actually, the reason that it attracts attention is because it is a violation of the nature of who and what human beings are. Human beings are wildly good, and wildly true, and wildly beautiful, and all of that. We need to be able to find that goodness and articulate the value that lives in us, as us, and through us. We have to know our goodness, and create world systems that support and activate that goodness.

Wow! So here we are in Week 300, and we are celebrating.

All that was an explanation of why we’re celebrating.

We are celebrating because in order to change the world, you’ve got to not get bitter, you’ve got to not get cynical or jaded. In order to change the world, you have to already be willing to live in the world that’s already changed, and the world that’s already changed means a world of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.

  • It is a world of celebration, where we celebrate each other, we celebrate life, we celebrate our creativity, we celebrate each other’s creativity.
  • It is a world in which we’re able to apologize and say I am sorry.
  • It is a world in which in we are able to find, beneath the egoic and angry self, our true nature. Our true nature which is omni-considerate of the whole. Our true nature which desperately wants to embrace and be embraced, which desperately is searching for kindness in all the right places.

So we are here to celebrate. This is a mad week for massive, and wild, and beautiful celebration.

Love each other deeply

Sometimes it is hard.

I just had a phone call with my son, who is a beautiful, beautiful young man, and he is having a hard moment. He kind of clicked off the phone, he said bye, and clicked off the phone at the end of the conversation. So I called him back, and got mad at him. I said, Yo, you can’t click off the phone that way! You’ve got to be loving and respectful, and I got upset. Then I felt terrible for getting upset, and Kristina said I shouldn’t have gotten upset, and she was probably right. You feel like, wow, it’s hard. We are trying to create the most beautiful lovingness in each other.

Then I realized more deeply, in that particular conversation, what my son was trying to say — which I hadn’t really heard.

He was trying to say something else, and I got it, and some tears went down his cheeks. I said, oh, that’s what you’re saying. I got your back, you’re totally right. Got your back, man! Like, wow, we have to apologize. So, he very sweetly said, wow, got it, sorry. We’ve got to hang up and say, love you. Now I have got to call him back right after Church and say, you are totally right, but I shouldn’t have gotten upset about it.

Then we love each other deeply.

There’s a thousand interactions like that, in which we’ve got to…

  • love each other,
  • and love each other madly,
  • apologize to each other,
  • go deeper with each other,
  • protect each other,
  • and love it open.

I just want to ask everyone to set the intention of this Week 300, this wild celebration:

If there is anything you are holding, where you feel like you could let go of an egoic attachment, where there’s someone you should reach out and say, wow, I’ve been holding on to this, I apologize.

I want to go the next step: just literally, right now, take your phone and call

— anyone you’ve refused to reach out to,
— anyone you’ve refused to apologize,
— anyone you’ve refused to forgive because you are holding on to being right.

Let’s give up being right, all of us, and let’s actually be Homo amor right now.

I want to ask everyone: if you could reach out, there’s a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

  • Let’s do this together, and let’s set our intent with an actual action.
  • Let’s blow open our intention right now.
  • Let’s reach out right now.

You know what I’m going to do? Hold on one second, let’s actually do this.

[Marc calls Zion]

  • [Marc] Hey, Z man! Hey, I’m in the middle of Church right now. I just shared with everyone that you, and I just had a little argument, and I got upset with you. Then I actually thought about it and I realized, although we got to say love each other before we get off the phone, that I shouldn’t have gotten that upset about it. So I am just calling to apologize. Good? Give me your eyes, man. I love you madly, baby!
  • [Zion] But just when you’re done, can you call me because I really don’t feel comfortable?
  • [Marc] I got you, sweetie pie! I’ll call you right afterwards. Because I know you want to stay there, and I’ll call you right afterwards. Okay, baby? Love you madly.
  • [Zion] Yeah, love you!
  • [Marc] Madly or just regular? No, it might be just regular :-)

Okay, there we go. Ready, everybody? We are jumping in now. He just wrote: love you madly. Awesome, I’m just writing back, Love you madly, madly!

That’s our intention, our intention is about kindness.

It is about setting the intention for kindness, in a gorgeous and beautiful way, and celebrating. We are going to celebrate this revolution that we are making here.

This revolution we are making here cannot bypass individuals.

The totalitarianism of evolutionary spirituality

We are going to hear from Barbara in one second.

Barbara Marx Hubbard is my dear evolutionary partner, and the founder, with me, of what we used to call Evolutionary Church, we now call One Mountain Many Paths. We are going to listen really deeply to Barbara, and I want to talk about what she says, and how she unpacks it. We are going to listen to Barbara’s talk from the very first week of One Mountain, of Evolutionary Church.

So here is our order:

  1. We are first going to look at a fantastic clip that Jamie prepared, which is just an energetic sense of what these last 300 weeks have been about, number one.
  2. Number two, we are going to go back to the first week of Evolutionary Church, and we are going to listen to Barbara, which is gorgeous and fantastic. Barbara, in the continuity of consciousness, has never left us and is with us, she is with us more strongly and more beautifully than ever.
  3. Three, we are going to have a very, very serious, sensitive, gorgeous conversation about the shadows of evolutionary spirituality. In other words, what is the potential shadow of the evolutionary spirituality, that I’ve talked about for years and that Barbara has talked about for years?

I am going to share with you something very intimate and personal if I can, which is a very fierce argument that Barbara and I had at the very beginning. In this particular case, Barbara thought about it very, very deeply, and she did what I just did with Zion, and she apologized. Not to me, but she actually said, I got that wrong.

There is a particular line of thinking that Barbara got wrong in a very big way.

Not just Barbara got it wrong, Teilhard de Chardin got it wrong, Buckminster Fuller, in certain talks he gave, got it wrong.

In general, there is a movement called transhumanism which got something very, very wrong. I’ve been a major critic of certain dimensions of transhumanism, or evolutionary thought, for many years — because of this thing that I think they got wrong, which I think is fundamentally dangerous, and worse than dangerous.

It can justify, really, the most tragic parts of humanity. As we build this revolution, as we look to actually become the new human, and to become the new humanity, it always has to be rooted in person-to-person kindness.

It’s got to be rooted in the immeasurable dignity of every individual — and there’s a danger that totalizing systems have…. (That was Zion just texting again, love madly!) There is a danger that totalizing systems have, that can turn into a kind of eugenics. Everyone know what eugenics means? Eugenics means:

  • you engineer society,
  • you engineer populations,
  • you engineer population control

— in order to produce the best humanity through a kind of social engineering.

Early transhumanism actually believed in eugenics, many people in the scientific community spoke the language of eugenics, and didn’t understand the danger. They also spoke the language of racial inequality, and even people like Teilhard de Chardin spoke that language. Teilhard de Chardin said any number of things that were very clearly eugenics, that were very clearly a kind of social engineering.

Now, that kind of social engineering has been picked up by techno-utopians, people like Mark Zuckerberg. Mark Zuckerberg is a techno-utopian who believes in social engineering. There is an excellent doctorate — it’s not a doctorate actually, a major work — in 2018, out of Cambridge. It was published before a book that we’ve talked about often here, which we have both endorsed, it’s a beautiful book, and critiqued its weaker dimensions. It’s a book called Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff. So this 2018 book came out before Surveillance Capitalism, and is really a very thorough book looking at the dangers of techno-utopia. It’s called Re-Engineering Humanity.

This notion early in transhumanism, in Julian Huxley and Teilhard de Chardin, was picked up in part by Bucky Fuller, and by Barbara. Barbara picked this up. There were certain pieces of it that were apparent in Abraham Maslow, and Barbara and I have spent hours talking about this. Abraham Maslow was a key influence on Barbara, as was Bucky Fuller. In many ways, Abraham Maslow and Bucky Fuller did great things, and de Chardin is a very, very important thinker — and, they got this wrong, dead wrong!

I articulated the entire vision of Unique Self in response to a number of tragedies in the world system that needed to be corrected, and one of them was the mystical notion of leaving your separate ego self and becoming True Self. Becoming one with the field, which by itself can also lead to totalitarianism.

  • You don’t just become one with the field.
  • You don’t just move beyond your separate self and realize that you’re part of a larger field. That is true — that’s True Self.
  • But then you need to individuate beyond True Self as an irreducibly unique expression of the field, which is Unique Self.

There are two different forms of totalitarianism that emerge from a failure to recognize Unique Self.

  • One is a kind of mystical totalitarianism, which emerges (and can easily emerge) from certain forms of Eastern mystical thinking, in Buddhism and in other systems.
  • The second form of totalitarianism is the totalitarianism of evolutionary spirituality, in which evolutionary spirituality itself can become this totalizing system that views progress as happening across a kind of linear vector, and then views Reality as ultimately being materialist. Therefore, the human being has to reengineer, or use God as a pantheistic force, but without the sense of the irreducible value of life, and the irreducible value of every individual: every Unique Self.

That vector, that kind of evolutionary spirituality, can be used to reengineer Reality, and can actually view social media, for example, as a way to do it.

No one understood the danger of social media when it first began. Everyone was like, social media was Godsend, everyone was a techno-utopian:

  • Everyone was going to have a voice.
  • Everyone was going to have a platform.
  • Social media was going to be the collective eyes of what de Chardin called the noosphere.

But no one understood the danger of social media:

  • that social media was driven by profit vectors based on the aggregation of personal data,
  • which then micro-targets you to actually undermine your free will — not only to get you to make purchases, but to get you to vote in a particular way, and to think and feel in a particular way.

So there was a kind of techno-totalitarian agenda which emerged from the Tech Plex, which hijacked transhumanism, and particular vectors in transhumanism. That’s very, very dangerous.

Barbara and I had a huge fierce argument about this, where Barbara was taking a kind of techno-optimist, but more than optimist, a techno-utopian vision of the human being merging with technology: this new human emerges, and the noosphere is completely merged with technology.

Much of the technological world is going in that direction:

  • Augmented Reality,
  • Virtual Reality,
  • avatars,
  • the metaverse…

— these are all movements in that direction, which have become divorced from what we call here in One Mountain, and in this New Story we’re telling, First Values and First Principles.

In other words, the Tech Plex has alienated itself from a sense of First Values and First Principles, and much of transhumanism has alienated itself from a sense of First Values and First Principles. This is why transhumanism often merges with certain readings of Buddhism; they actually go well together. But they can become a ground of a worldwide totalitarianism. So you have to be very, very careful to actually repudiate that in no uncertain terms.

At the end of her life, the last five to six years when we were in contact five to six times a day, we had a fierce set of arguments about this which were very beautiful, and Barbara stepped into the part of the New Story that I’ve spent my life on, which is love. But love not just as a cosmic force —

Love as a cosmic force, but not just as a neutral force.
Love that honors the personal.
Love that perceives the personal.
Love that’s a perception of the irreducible and infinite dignity of every individual human being.
Love that demands kindness.
Love that demands Outrageous Acts of Love.
Love that’s never willing to bypass the dignity of every individual.
Love that rejects social engineering solutions that are willing to displace and alienate huge sectors of humanity — but not just huge sectors of the humanity, even one human being.

The evolution of love says no to eugenics

This a very beautiful moment in our celebration week, in this 300th week.

We are celebrating the new vision of Homo amor.

We are celebrating the potential emergence of a New Human and a New Humanity.

We have to do that by being Homo amor.

  • Being Homo amor is to be kind.
  • Being Homo amor is to be fierce, but to be filled with quivering tenderness.
  • Being Homo amor is to apologize if you got it wrong.
  • Being Homo amor is being willing to give up being right, and to fiercely stand for value, to move beyond polarization, and know that we are together in a field of value.

That field of value is nurturing, and it is nourishing, and it is loving.

  • It’s a field of value in which no one is left out of the circle.
  • It’s a field the value that rejects in toto, as a moral abhorrence, the kind of positions like eugenics that de Chardin and many other extremely respectable figures endorsed. It was actually considered a genuine possibility in the most respectable of circles.

The evolution of love says no to eugenics.

The evolution of love says no to transhumanist possibilities that become dystopian, because they become the ground of totalitarianism.

This is a very important thing to do, in Week 300.

To be very, very careful that there are certain trends out there that you hear a lot about, which bring together a kind of Buddhist no-self, in which enlightenment is moving beyond the self, and being in the field of no-self where the personal is lost, which rejects the personal. They then merge it together with evolutionary spirituality, the sense of evolution, and the transhumanist materialist trends which fail to honor the irreducible dignity of every individual, which talk about things like culling the herd, and become a kind of Thanos.

Remember Thanos?

Right before COVID, in 2017–19, the Marvel Studios put out two movies called The Avengers, in which the world is faced with existential risk and the villain is Thanos.

  • Thanos is essentially a transhumanist.
  • Thanos is an evolutionary spirituality person, and a Buddhist. But when I say “a Buddhist”, I mean he is that surface vision of Buddhism. It is not the depth of Buddhism, but it’s the surface vision of distorted Buddhism, which says that no-self is the end of the story.
  • Thanos decides that the only way to save humanity is to cull the herd, and to kill half of humanity. The Avengers don’t even know how to tell him that he’s wrong; they don’t know how to explain that he got it wrong, they don’t know how to do that. Thanos is much more elegant and eloquent.
  • In the second movie, we see Thanos, as the sun rises, meditating, contemplating, eating out of a rice bowl, a good crunchy. A good crunchy, meaning: a good techno-optimist, techno-utopian hippie, eating crunchy and meditating after he killed half of the world.

Does everyone get this? This is a very big deal!

That’s exactly what we reject here.

We need to integrate the best of premodern, modern, and postmodern. How often have we said that, a thousand times! This means:

  • the best interior science of the great traditions, which speak of the potential for human dignity, which is in the innate value of every human being.
  • The best of modernity, which moves beyond the ethnocentric limitation on that human dignity that the traditions placed, when the traditions said, it’s only my people who have value, only my people have dignity. Modernity moved into a universal set of human rights, a sense of universal dignity of men,
  • and into postmodernity, which was not just men but women, and not just landowners, but every human being, and all those who are marginalized: all of the LGBT communities, and all of the trans communities, and all of the marginalized communities that have been actually alienated because they don’t fit into the way we think that people should think, or live, or play, or sex. Everyone has a seat at the table; there’s no one who’s left out of the circle. That’s postmodernity’s advance into value, which is actually wildly important. It’s an evolution of love.

So as we articulate Homo amor, we have to articulate

  • the best of premodern traditional value,
  • the best of modern value,
  • the best of postmodern insight and value —

— and synergize that into what we call a new evolving perennialism.

Integrating the perennial truths from all of the different moments in history, across space and time, into a New Story that we can tell in five minutes anywhere and everywhere…

In which every human being understands

  • that I am part of The Universe: A Love Story;
  • that evolution is the love story of the universe,
  • and that evolution is evolving; evolving is the evolution of love;
  • that we move from egocentric love to ethnocentric love, in the premodern period, to worldcentric love: every human being, to kosmocentric: and every animal.

No one is left outside the circle, we care about every human being.

Our experience of intimacy, care, and concern is for every living being, every human being, and for the planet itself — that’s what we’re going for.

The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino

The techno-utopian vision needs to be grounded in Unique Self

In this moment, I want to just bring to the table, specifically in this moment of celebration, the shadows of evolutionary spirituality, and really honor Barbara Marx Hubbard. Because Barbara was willing always to evolve, she never freeze-framed.

When we started studying together, we did Holy of Holies, which is our context; it’s a term from the temple in Jerusalem, Sanctum Sanctorum, which is part of my lineage tradition. In the temple tradition of Jerusalem, the inner sanctum was called Holy of Holies. So when I do study sessions, we call them Holy of Holies. So Barbara and I did these study sessions for five years, almost once a week, and we studied these issues very, very deeply.

Of course, I madly enjoyed the depth of our study, and Barbara came to the conclusion, and I think she was correct,

  • that transhumanism made huge mistakes,
  • and that some of her expressions were transhumanist expressions. Some of them had been taken out of context, but there were core transhumanist expressions that Barbara articulated here and there that were in the tradition of Bucky Fuller and de Chardin that were wrong, and that were dead wrong.

She realized that the techno-utopian vision

  • needed to be grounded in Unique Self,
  • needed to be grounded in intrinsic value,
  • needed to be grounded in Evolutionary Love that honors the dignity of every individual.

She spent the last five to six years of her life — after recounting and rejecting the weaknesses of those early transhumanist views — trying to articulate this new vision of Homo amor. Every once in a while, she’d slip into a techno-utopian moment, which talked about the good of social media without seeing its weakness. Social media has a lot of good, but it has enormous addictive and dehumanizing weakness, and it’s also the ground for information warfare, which is warping our body politic, and warping our ability to actually create The Universe: A Love Story. So she would sometimes slip back into a kind of idealization of social media as the eyes of the noosphere, and sometimes that would even happen here in One Mountain. Then I would either object on the spot, or we’d talk about it afterwards and we’d reformulate it the next week.

I want to really hold something very deeply, and I want to also model something else.

It would be very easy to take certain quotes of Barbara’s, string them together, and then to demonize her. But of course, that would be the same expression of un-love.

Barbara is not here to articulate her evolved position, she articulated it to me, many, many, many, many times, over hundreds of hours of conversation. It was very clear to me. It’s easy to attack Barbara, to identify her with the de Chardin and Bucky Fuller lineage, which was a beautiful lineage, but which had certain articulations which came close to, or were, certain forms of eugenics that were acceptable in the time, but actually were wrong, dead wrong.

Now, again, we have to actually allow a person

  • to make a tragic mistake when the times move in that direction, no matter how wrong the mistake is —
  • to actually embrace the fullness of who they are,
  • to reject their position if they had a position that was wrong,
  • and embrace the full goodness of who they were.

Barbara Marx Hubbard was an unbelievably good person, an unbelievably kind person, who had a deep vision of the goodness of humanity. She dedicated her life, day and night, to addressing the profound suffering on the planet, and to articulating a new vision. I am proud to stand with her as her evolutionary partner, proud that she is the co-founder of One Mountain Many Paths, and proud of her for doing that very, very difficult thing that people rarely do, which is to say: Oh, my God, I made a horrible mistake in one dimension of my thought, and I’m going to correct it the best I can.

The way that she did that was to embrace the notion of the irreducible Unique Self of the individual, of the irreducible rights of every individual, and to reject that early transhumanist division. So this is a very big deal, my friends!

Now with that, I am madly delighted.

Barbara, it’s a great pleasure, a great honor, to be your friend and your evolutionary partner. I admire you not only for your brilliance, and depth, and creativity, but for your courage to actually recognize the things you got wrong, like we all get things wrong. The more significant the thinker, the more you can get something wrong. I’m sure that de Chardin and Bucky Fuller, if they would have seen the ways that some of their articulations could have been distorted, they would have recanted them also, as we should. That’s a big deal.

So knowing and recognizing the potential shadows of evolutionary spirituality is unbelievably important, and it’s why evolutionary spirituality, while being enormously important, is not our banner. I think everyone here knows, our banner, what we call the New Story, is CosmoErotic Humanism. CosmoErotic meaning, Eros is the quality of Kosmos that lives and suffuses all of Reality. As in the Song of Solomon, its insides are lined with love.

But hear the next sentence:

CosmoErotic Humanism, the irreducible dignity of every individual. Standing for kindness, for goodness, for truth, in every individuated human form, and for Beauty.

From the place of that humanism, we move from egocentric love, to ethnocentric love, to worldcentric love, to kosmocentric love, where I realize

  • I am Evolutionary Love,
  • I am an irreducibly unique expression of the evolutionary Eros,
  • I am omni-considerate for the sake of the whole.

We come together in Unique Self Symphony in which every human being plays their unique instrument, and the hills become alive with the sound of love and the sound of music.

We are all imperfect vessels for the light


That which unites us is far greater than that which divides us.We are united in a shared story of value.That does not make us perfect expressions of that value. We are all imperfect vessels for the light; the imperfect vessels for the holy and broken Hallelujahs.We must move beyond demonization, to daemon-isation.It is only the loss of daemon that turns us into demon.When we are not inside the circle together, we place others outside the circle as a way of pretending that we are on the inside.Only a shared story based on First Principles and First Values serves as the ground for a global ethos for a global civilization.

That’s One Mountain.

That is who we are.

That’s our credo. Let’s take a look.

Jamie, just give us like a little sense of the celebration of these weeks, these 300 radically wild and amazing weeks, which are the ground of this revolution and the ground of this commitment, at this moment of existential risk, to tell the New Story of value. Jamie, take us inside, take us inside.

Thank you, Jamie. Thank you. It is a huge pleasure and huge honor at this moment to introduce, in our 300th week, Barbara Marx Hubbard. Take us inside. It’s a beautiful, beautiful talk, and it really celebrates wildly this moment. Then we’re going to talk just for a couple of minutes afterwards, as we move into prayer. We’ll talk about what Barbara said, and I will also respond to a couple of pieces of it. Here we go, take us inside, big moment!

Incarnating the impulse of evolution: Barbara’s first sermon in Evolutionary Church

[Barbara]: The intention for Evolutionary Church, as I hear you speak Marc, I suggest this for everyone: that the inner impulse in you, Marc, that is activating you to experience this prayer, to experience this evolution, is a frequency. It comes from the source of creation that’s been evolving for billions and billions of years — in each one of us.

  • We are each uniquely coded with the frequency of the entire evolutionary journey that is wanting to come forward now as our own expressions of love, of creativity, of vocation.

Each of us is literally coded with the evolutionary impulse of creation.

So the intention of the Evolutionary Church is to create

  • a field for the evolution of humanity.
  • a space in consciousness,
  • a space in being with one another where this profound evolutionary impulse in each one of us comes to consciousness,
  • a space where it gives us guidance, through that impulse, as to our own unique gift to the world; as to our own unique voice that Marc calls Unique Self Symphony.

Just imagine for a moment, every voice on this planet impelled by the impulse of creation, uniquely in each person;

  • sounding the note of inspiration, of creativity, of desire to give your gift to the whole,
  • sounding as Unique Self Symphony.

How does that symphony express itself?

The vision is for the Evolutionary Church expressing itself in a Planetary Awakening in Love.

It expresses itself in a birth of humanity capable of co-evolving with nature, co-creating with Spirit.

It awakens in a humanity capable of using our spiritual, social, scientific, technological genius.

We restore the earth to free the people, to explore the vast regions of inner space and the cosmos beyond this planet.

The intention of the Evolutionary Church is to be a birthing place for the co-evolution of humanity.

How is this going to happen?

One of the key ways and one of the key practices, as Marc mentioned, is prayer.

Another practice is the incarnation of the impulse of evolution, holding yourself in conscious awareness.

I’d like to carry you through this for one moment. I think of it as an evolutionary chakra meditation.

  • First, put your mind in the mind of God at the origin of creation.
  • Imagine that eternal process becoming coded through that Big Bang, and going through the billions of years of evolution. Genius creating life, human life, and now your own life as an impulse of those billions of years. We’re sitting right at the edge of the billions of years.
  • Now bring it right in your base chakra and feel there the security of the entire impulse of creation, indwelling as you, as your security, the invisible force within us.
  • Now bring that billions of years from the mind of God right up through your base chakra into your generative organs.
  • Feel yourself shifting from devolution towards evolution, from degeneration toward regeneration.
  • Feel yourselves being activated, “Oh, there’s more for us to do, there’s more for us to be.” We are now expressing this process of creation, uphold that impulse once again, breathe it out all the way through the base chakra to the generative organs, and take it into the power center.
  • As we enter the Evolutionary Church, the power of the process of creation is in every one of us, uniquely expressing as our own impulse to give, to be, to reach out. Feel the enormity of that power in you. You recognize it’s coming from the source of creation, uniquely, as you.
  • Take in one more deep breath up through all the chakras through the base chakra to the generative organs. You are regenerating the Evolutionary Church, you are expressing your full power.
  • Bring it right up into the place where the emotions dwell, the pain, the sorrow, the separation, the feeling of inadequacy. [That place where you say] “I’m not good enough, I’ll never make it. It won’t be me. Where am I going? I don’t know what to do.”
  • Let that impulse, which has direction, which has purpose, which has the knowledge of creation within it, let it go through those emotions. Let it organize and calibrate those emotions into a field in which they go directly into the heart.
  • All of our emotions, whatever feelings of separation we may have had, let it go into the heart. And in that heart of unconditional love, we find the basic impulse of evolution. The Evolutionary Church sets the intention to bring forth the impulse of Eros in evolution into the heart of all our members, of all of humanity. Just feel that in your heart, feel the almost infinite expression of Love.
  • Let it out the whole way, don’t hold any of it back. In the Evolutionary Church, we do not need to hold our love of one another back. Let that evolution in your heart go right up into your upper heart, which is your vocation. Your gift of love to the world, your unique expression, your vocation of destiny, what the impulse of evolution is born in you to do.
  • In the Evolutionary Church it is our intention to bring forth that intention of creation in each of us. Let it be not just a personal, separate intention or project. Let it be within us a unique expression of the genius of evolution as our own calling, our own vocation. Let us incarnate the genius of evolution in our expressions in [the] world. As we share our vocations with each other in this Church, and learn to connect our vocations with one another as expressions of the divine impulse of creation, let us feel the glory of the empowerment of all of humanity wherever we congregate in the community. [Let us feel it] in the communion of the evolutionary potential, which is nurtured in this Church.
  • Take in one more deep breath everybody together, all the 1,300 people from all over the world. One deep breath from the source of creation all the way up through the genius of evolution, through the lower chakras, through the heart, through the vocation of destiny.
  • Now, bring it into your voice. When you have a chance to speak later on in this Church, let your voice be the frequency of the impulse of evolution within you. That voice is different from the purely mental mind. It is the voice that holds the quality, the resonance, the frequency of that impulse as you. When you speak it through the planetary symphony, the Unique Self Symphony, when you speak it into the noosphere or the thinking layer of earth or social media or [the] internet, you are expressing the voice of creation, as you, into the field, through a Unique Self Symphony.
  • Then let it go all the way on up into your third eye now, to the spiritual awakening of almost infinite intelligence pulsing through each one of us. Let us bring it up, bring it down, bring it in and bring it out.
  • Recognize that this is the intention of Evolutionary Church: to nurture the incarnation of the evolutionary impulse in each one of us as conscious evolutionaries. As beings born at the precise moment when evolution becomes conscious of itself in others,when evolution becomes aware of itself as evolution by choice, by prayer, by intention, by inspiration, by creation, by joining together in Love. It is the intention of the Evolutionary Church to offer a new sacred space in the world for people to gather together, to evolve in love and give their unique gift to our Unique Self Symphony for a planetary awakening.

Let me just finish with the thought of the birth of a co-creative humanity as a planetary awakening in Love. It is like the birth of a newborn child, when its nervous system just barely links up. It opens its eyes and, if it’s very fortunate, it is held in the arms of its mother. The baby is placed in the mother’s arms against the mother’s heart. He feels the heartbeat from that mother awakening its nervous system to the realization that it is loved. So the intention of the Evolutionary Church is to generate the awareness that we are loved. That we are created by a universal process of creation that has direction, has purpose, has intention. Its intention is higher consciousness, greater freedom, more complex and loving order.

Every impulse in every one of us toward consciousness, freedom and love is being impelled in the Evolutionary Church, in the Unique Self Symphony, toward a planetary awakening.

To literally help the world shift from a phase of devolution and crisis to a phase of evolution and co-creation.

Everyone is precious.
Every voice is needed.
Every one of us is orchestrated by the invisible process of creation coming to a new climax in the evolutionary planetary awakening in Love, in our lifetime.

So here we are gathered for the very first time in this new space expressing a global communion of pioneering souls, worldwide. (Marc, I turn this to you.)

Any system that leaves the personal behind will at some point become totalitarian

[Marc:] What an insane delight, and pleasure, and honor — to be here with you, Barbara, and to be with everyone.

Now, I want to just share with you, and this is a very intimate moment between us at One Mountain. Notice that at this point, Barbara and I spoke at length. Of course, in the first week, when Barbara finished, I then did part two.

But Barbara, already in this talk, was doing something well beyond the early shadows of transhumanism and evolutionary spirituality. At this point, she had integrated all of our conversations about Unique Self, and our terms:

  • Unique Self Symphony, and a term that Barbara and I coined together:
  • a planetary awakening in love through Unique Self Symphonies.

That phrase is a precise critique of the earlier transhumanist vision, and an expression of this shared vision of this new emergent evolutionary spirituality, which is of an entirely different quality and order. We hadn’t even coined the term CosmoErotic Humanism yet.

But what’s critical is to understand is that Unique Self is at the core. Unique Self is the unique expression of the evolutionary impulse awake and alive in me.

What Barbara was doing in that meditation in the first week of One Mountain, the evolutionary chakra meditation, was a direct experience of all of the evolutionary spiral, all of the evolutionary impulse from matter to life to mind, literally, awake and alive in me.

That’s critical.

I don’t actually know who I am without that.

The embrace of my evolutionary self is essential to my identity.

Yet, that evolutionary self is not just an authentic self.

I wrote a book which I was very privileged to write, it’s a book called Self, critiquing my colleague, Andrew Cohen, who was expressing, in his vision of authentic self, that transhumanist vision merged with Eastern mysticism, which — as I was quite convinced, and remain convinced — could actually create totalitarianism. Because in Andrew’s vision of the authentic self, he describes the authentic self as an awakened impersonal function. Meaning:

  • the personal is left behind at separate self,
  • and, in Andrew’s vision at the time, you then move beyond from separate self to True Self, to the realization of Eastern mysticism and Western mysticism that I am one with the field.
  • Then, Andrew talked about then moving beyond True Self to authentic self, which is this impersonal, evolutionary impulse creatively moving in me.

I said to Andrew, like I said to Barbara, Andrew, that will yield totalitarianism.

Because you never leave the personal behind, ever. Any system that argues that we leave the personal behind will at some point become totalitarian, and that’s critical to understand.

Again, I want to really honor Andrew, because Andrew has completely shifted his position, and in any number of private conversations with me and in public dialogues that we’ve done, he has transmuted his position, and realized that you cannot talk about authentic self without understanding the irreducible uniqueness and irreducible dignity of every individual, that is, without embracing what I call the personal beyond the impersonal.

But I want to catch this, because it’s such a big deal.

Any position that doesn’t recognize the irreducible dignity of the personal has no place.

Essentially, the early evolutionary spirituality positions, as articulated by Barbara (which came out of de Chardin and Bucky Fuller’s transhumanism), and as articulated by Andrew and evolutionary spirituality, had enormous good in them, but also had this enormous shadow which needed to be recognized.

There is a way that we can hold each other in our beauty, and call each other to our best, to our deepest. Not to demonize, but to find what’s beautiful, and then to transmute, to transform, and to allow people to transform. So if someone has a position which is actually flawed, and it can lead to terrible consequences, we need to critique that position, whether that’s the position of the Jesuits in the Catholic Church, whether it’s positions within Islam, whether it’s positions within Christianity or within Judaism, or whether it’s positions within worlds of evolutionary spirituality.

We need to create a New Story which is going to generate the most good for the most people, and for most of life, and then for all of life, and for all people.

In other words, we’ve got to

  • go from a very, very small sector of the people who are included in our love, which is ethnocentric love,
  • explode that boundary into worldcentric love: every human being,
  • and then all of the Living Universe,
  • and then, ultimately, the Universe itself.

We need to be engaged in the evolution of love, and we need to not freeze-frame people on their mistakes. If a leader makes a mistake, whether that’s personally or in terms of their position and their worldview, they get to sincerely transform their position, and everyone needs to do that.

In terms of the transhumanist position, not only Barbara, but I would say most of the leaders of what is identified today as the evolutionary community, made some version of this mistake, and that mistake congealed their confluence with the techno-utopian position that was emerging out of Silicon Valley, which itself had emerged from hijacking the materialist and pantheistic versions of transhumanism, which devalue the personal.

All of those were fiercely fundamental mistakes, which in this week of celebration — it’s why I chose this week — need to be corrected. We have rejected all of those positions in the very core of CosmoErotic Humanism, and articulated this vision of Unique Self and Unique Self Symphony.

Again, I want to say this one more time, because there’s no greater praise I could give to a person. Barbara fiercely examined her own positions, evolved them, regretted, and actually had deep remorse, and changed her position in the most fundamental of ways.

I am beyond impressed. I have rarely, almost never, seen a thinker with that kind of courage, with that kind of fierce intellectual integrity.

Story as prayer: authentic mystical ecstasy never ignores hunger of even one individual

In the first week where Barbara gave her first evolutionary sermon, in my evolutionary sermon that week — we now call them evolutionary sensemakings — I talked about prayer.

Prayer not to the God you don’t believe in — the God you don’t believe in doesn’t exist.
Prayer to the Infinity of Intimacy, the personal force of Kosmos, that not only lives in us, but holds us.

I want to finish today, instead of prayer, with a story. In many of the great traditions, particularly in the Hebrew lineage, sometimes, when prayer wasn’t enough, they would tell a story, and telling the story is considered prayer. So, I want to express our prayer in this story, which I think captures everything.

Of course, if I can say, it is not by accident that today began with a little bit of a broken heartedness. I got on the phone a little bit brokenhearted, because I felt I didn’t find my son in the right way. And so all of us went to find people, and apologize, just for a little moment, just a little nothing moment.

But those nothing moments are everything.
There is no moment that’s a nothing moment.
These moments matter!

So I want to tell you a story that captures this, and we will end with this story. This story is a story as prayer.

It’s a story about Levi Isaac of Berditchev.

Levi Isaac of Berditchev is this great non-dual Hasidic master, and I would say, of all stories, this is my favorite story. He is this great Hasidic master (who is a great evolutionary thinker when you read him carefully). My academic mentor at Oxford University, Moshe Idel, has written in a book called Absorbing Perfections, a very, very important work on Levi Isaac.

Levi Isaac is a great non-dual realizer, meaning he has an enormous sense of True Self, of being one with the field of consciousness, and also has an enormous sense of the unique individual.

He had a beautiful voice.

Once a year in the Hebrew lineage tradition, there is a day called the Yom Kippur (and some of you may be familiar with that day).

  • It is an amazing day of practice, in which, in the inner lineage, all the gates are opened.
  • It is a day when we can not only change the vector of a personal life, but actually change the vector of history.

Levi Isaac used to lead the prayer services on Yom Kippur, with the power of his voice, and the power of his prayer, and the power of what they call Yichudim: mystical unifications which try and reweave history, and try and evolve history, and end suffering.

And on this particular year, he was leading the prayer services,
and his voice was strong,
and his intention was pure,
and his heart was wide open,
and his capacity to concentrate and weave together these Yichudim: these mystical unions or unifications of world, was at the highest capacity of his life.
He was ascending, they say, to all of the highest spheres, the highest heavens.

I’ve got to tell you one other thing: Yom Kippur is a fast day, and the fast goes for about 25 hours.

By the very end of the fast day, it was like the end of the 24 hours, Levi Isaac was so high, and the power of his voice, and the power of the purity of his intention, and the power of his mystical capacity, and the power of his Yichudim was so potent and so intense, that he literally was storming heaven. He was literally about to accomplish the great evolutionary mission to climax history in a great utopia, which would then suffuse historical Reality.

He was the most powerful evolutionary spiritual thinker, who was now in this ultimate moment of evolutionary mystical activism, about to change all of history. The ultimate transhumanist, about to heal all human suffering.

Then, as he was just about to break through — and we are now in the 25th hour of the fast, so people are hungry — somehow, as he is in this mystical ecstasy, he becomes aware of this old man sitting near him in the study hall, who’s hungry. He is hungry, and he’s about to pass out.

An authentic mystical ecstasy never ignores hunger; it never ignores the hunger of even one individual. So, as Levi Isaac is about to break through in this great evolutionary transhumanist moment, to invoke the end of history, and the New Human and the New Humanity, when he feels — intruding on his mystical ecstasy — the hunger of but one old man, he immediately stops his evolutionary spiritual activism.

He descends from the highest heavens immediately, he ends the fast, and he goes himself to pour a glass of water, and to bring a glass of water to this old man.

That’s Homo amor.
That’s who we are.
That’s who we have to be.

Wow, mad celebration of Barbara Marx Hubbard!

Mad celebration of 300 weeks of this great place of revolution, where we are committed to telling the New Story of value, and to invoking the New Human and New Humanity.

The story, we’ve got to get it right.

This is the place that we refine the story, so that it can be told from every rooftop, so the trumpets can blow, and we can actually respond to outrageous pain with the greatest act of Outrageous Love of this generation, which is to tell the New Story of value.

To articulate a universal grammar of value that invokes the triumph of the egocentric or ethnocentric Homo sapiens into Homo amor; the Beauty, the kindness, the integrity, the wonder, the beauty of the New Human and the New Humanity.

Celebrate every Sunday in One Mountain:

Join Dr. Marc Gafni and the entire community in an evolutionary celebration this and every Sunday in One Mountain, Many Paths. Click here to register for free.



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Dr. Marc Gafni

Dr. Marc Gafni

Author, Visionary Philosopher, Evolutionary Mystic, Social Innovator, and the President of the Center for Integral Wisdom.