Making Sense of the World Through Ukraine: The Clash Between Two Love Stories

Sense-making as sacred activism

This is an unplugged, lightly edited, oral talk, by Dr. Marc Gafni. There was no attempt to turn this into a formal written essay. It should be read as a kind of oral essay. It covers a lot of ground and creates a broad and deep context of value allowing us to do sense-making, guide our hearts and mind, and create policy relative to Russian and Ukraine. The oral essay is about 16 thousand words covering a lot of ground and nuance. The talk gradually builds, and it is valuable to read through the end to really get the full sweep, depth, sense-making. and the invitation. This is the third talk in a series of five doing sense-making on Ukraine and our larger world context, inviting us to a way forward, to a memory of the future.

Who Are We At One Mountain, Many Paths?

[One Mountain, Many Paths is a weekly broadcast with Dr. Marc Gafni. Click here to register for free.]

We are the very hub and heart of a fierce commitment to the evolution of the source code of consciousness and culture, which is the evolution of love. We are going to be filled with joy today, even as we are filled with pain. We are going to laugh the laughter of possibility out of one side of our mouth, even as we cry the tears of pain, the immediate pain of what is happening in the places of outrageous pain in the world.

Standing for Ukraine at this moment is the overriding moral imperative. That is absolutely clear. We stand for and with Ukraine in every possible way. Many people are engaged in activism in multiple forms, but essential in our activism is not only action—that is utterly necessary—but understanding.

We need sense-making. The collapse of sense-making is the collapse of intimacy. It is the collapse of sensuality—the sensuality of discerning something of the patterns that connect in the great mystery. The mystery remains, and the pattern of value written on the wall of emptiness lights our way. So we need to do sense-making in order to heal the global intimacy disorder, to generate a shared universal grammar of value from which no one is excluded, Russia, Ukraine, Aleppo, Afghanistan, Yemen, China, or NATO—no one is outside the circle. This shared grammar of value is a not a contrived hegemonic imposition, rather, it wells up from our shared interior knowing that is always and already present, even as it is always evolving. And this shared grammar of value—our shared music—is context for our diversity in which every nation and every religion and every group and ultimately every person also has an irreducibly unique instrument.

With that in mind we turn to our conversation.

At this moment between utopia and dystopia, at this moment of existential risk, and catastrophic potential risk, how do we actually find our way?

How Does Ukraine Call Us Forward?

What needs to be done now, immediately, in this very second and these very days? Yet no less important, how do we do the sense-making that allows us to create a world where this war is not even a possibility? More than that, how do we create a world in which the impending dominoes of catastrophic and existential risk that could emerge from it are not a possibility?

We reject moral equivalencies. This is what we said last week. But just as we need to be fierce in rejecting moral equivalencies, we need to be fierce in critiquing and understanding the deep flaws in the positions of Ukraine itself, of the United States, of NATO.

Pre Tragic, Tragic and Post Tragic

We are not at level one pre-tragic, where there’s just good guys and bad guys, just black and white. We have to move from pre-tragic to tragic, and tragic means we understand the flaws, and the potential mistakes, and sometimes tragic mistakes, of the United States and NATO. We also understand some of the dignity in what is moving Russia. We have moved beyond first simplicity, the easy us-them pre-tragic, and we are seeing complexity. This is where we see the flaws and cracks and even hidden corruptions in every position. But we cannot stay at the level of the tragic. To stay there would be to get mired in a moral equivalence. We have to go to post-tragic and reassert a hierarchy of value. See The Moral Bankruptcy of Moral Equivalency-The Russian-Invasion-of-Ukraine for a more careful unpacking of the three levels, pre-tragic, tragic, and post tragic, from part two of this series.

There is no moral equivalence between the West and Putin’s Russia or Xi’s China, which is an extension of Mao’s China. In a deep sense, Putin is a reinvention of an autocratic Stalinist tradition. I have spent many years carefully reading the scholarship on communism, and it’s horrific. The history of communism in Russia is one of the most degraded histories on the planet. In Ukraine, for example, millions of Ukrainians were killed in the Holodomor Famine, artificially created by the Communist Party. The way Communism has been enacted in the world—both in China and in Russia—has been the worst blight on humanity, because it had exponentially more power than the premodern religions. It was operating in a modern world, with modern technologies, and therefore could kill exponentially more people. We cannot fall into moral equivalence and equate the worldview of the West and the enacted worldview of communism.

We have to begin to understand all this much better today. We are going to do sense-making as activism; sense-making as mad love; sense-making as enacting the new world here; sense-making as the evolution of love that will find its way to the halls of the Kremlin, the heart of the White House, the capitals of Europe, Beijing, China and all of Latin America and Asia.

We are going to do this not only for the few thousand people in our community around the world, who are gorgeous, and we are gorgeous together. We are a Unique Self Symphony. We take responsibility to be part of the heartthrob of the revolution of love, which is the evolution of love, which is the enactment of a New World Story. It is only a New World Story of value, rooted in First Principles and First Values, that can respond to Ukraine, to change the trajectory of catastrophic and existential risk. It is only a source code change that can actually take us home and evolve love.

We are going to participate directly and clearly in the evolution of love—as sense-making activists, as the Eros of the Kosmos. We are going to find our way through and create a beacon of possibility to move beyond the thicket of contradictions and find our way.

So, are you ready to play a larger game, are you ready to participate in the evolution of love?

There is nothing more important than this.

This is what my evolutionary partner, whole-mate, co-founder of One Mountain, and dear beloved friend Barbara Marx Hubbard and I called the peace room: we are at war in the peace room, and we are at war for peace. Peace means wholeness in Hebrew, which means we have to include as many perspectives as possible, but not in a way that reduces us to a-perspectival madness, as my friend and co-founder of our Center for Integral Wisdom, Ken Wilber, likes to call it—meaning a kind of relativism where both sides are equally flawed. We need a hierarchy of value.

But we also need to understand deeply what is moving Putin, and we need to understand what is moving the West. We need to understand the visions of value, and we need to understand where we can go, and how we can get there. So, we need to articulate this New Story, this new vision of value together, and we need to evolve the source code.

To Love Means to See: to Include Everything and Not Split Anything Off

Every week we write a new code, or what Charles Sanders Peirce might even call an Evolutionary Love Code.

The code for this week:

Reality can only be healed by the evolution of love, which is the evolution of intimacy. The evolution of love, which is the evolution of intimacy, requires powerful, sacred, and value-driven intimacy at the egocentric level, the ethnocentric level, the Worldcentric level, and the Kosmocentric level. This means that the evolution of love must reject—based on a shared story of value—the shadow versions of egocentric, ethnocentric, Worldcentric, and Kosmocentric intimacy. That is what we mean by Homo amor.

We are articulating a New World Story which we call in the Dharma CosmoErotic Humanism.

As many of you know CosmoErotic humanism (which I am working on with Zak Stein, Howard Bloom, and Ken Wilber) is rooted deeply in the sciences, the hard science, the soft science and also what we call the interior sciences. This is what William James called correctly a genuine radical empiricism.

One of the principles of CosmoErotic Humanism that we discuss in our Return to Eros book is: is: love is not only an emotion; love is a perception. The emotion wells up from the perception. I love you means I can see you. (See the book Return to Eros and also Zak Stein’s review of the book Zak Stein's Review )

To be a lover today you have to be able to see. You have to be able to perceive.

But what is happening to so many people now is, 99% of the world cannot see. Either we are lost in an enormous amount of Western propaganda, or we are lost in Russian propaganda. And be clear, as we have already said, there’s no trite moral equivalence between them. Notice that the old-world propaganda meant we dropped leaflets on the enemy. Today, each side is propagandizing its own people.

By propagandizing, I mean the telling of a story that leaves out an enormous amount of information, with the intention of forming in the heart of the listener a particular set of beliefs that will turn them into docile supporters of the decisions made, without them actually seeing the larger picture or thread of causes or intended outcomes at play in the particular action, policy or dynamic that is being propagandized.

There is no moral equivalence between Russian propaganda and American propaganda, but America is not telling the whole story. The instant demonization of Putin may be justified (in a recent podcast, Garry Kasparov, the chess master, amplified the justification of the demonization of Putin from a Russian perspective), but we also need to understand something about where he lives and what drives him. If we split off any sense of who Putin is through this demonization, or what he represents, or what is happening in Russia today, we won’t be able to bring our understanding to a higher level. We won’t be able to participate in the evolution of love. We won’t be able to see. Meaning, we won’t be able to love and to heal either ourselves or reality. To heal etymologically and morally means to move towards wholeness. That is the movement of Eros—the movement towards larger wholeness. Eros itself is the movement of healing intrinsic to Cosmos. Remember the Eros equation:

Eros = the experience of radical aliveness moving towards, desiring, seeking, ever deeper contact and ever greater wholes and wholeness.

If to love is to see then if I propagandize in a way where I can no longer see a larger whole, then there is a failure of love—a failure of Eros; a failure of the CosmoErotic universe; a failure of the plotline of reality which is the Universe: A Love Story and the evolution of love.

Because love is a perception; love means to see. At the same time, when I see through a lens of moral equivalence, and I cannot create a hierarchy of values, then I also am not loving. To be love, to participate in the evolution of love, to be an Outrageous Lover—to love outrageously is to include everything and not split anything off. But then, at the same time, to be able to discern and to achieve a level of moral clarity, which is not black and white, but which is real, which is powerful, which arouses the will. Will is aroused by the recognition of value—we are aroused to fulfill value and we are aroused to challenge the violation of value.

Even within the context of our uncertainties, even as we hold the mystery, we can achieve genuine certainties which are real, post tragic certainties that allow us to act as love; to be politically and economically power in our love; to move forward; to confront evil and to generate value, goodness truth and beauty; They allow us to move forward in the evolution of culture and consciousness and to stand with Ukraine in this particular moment in time, and to feel the massive grief and tragedy of every Ukrainian killed, and of every 18 year old Russian soldier blown to smithereens in a tank hit by a stinger missile.

Love is a perception. We are going to be engaged in the activist act of perception, but not only for ourselves. We are doing it as Evolutionary Lovers. We are doing it as a Unique Self Symphony acting for the sake of the whole, to literally be at that leading edge, where we can evolve love.

In the Time That Is Given to Us, the Fate of the World Will Be Decided

In the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo says to Gandalf: “I wish none of this had happened.” But in the book, in the original version that Tolkien wrote, he says:

I wish it needed not to have happened in my time.

Because things need to happen, but why does this have to happen in my time?

And Gandalf responds:

So do I, and so do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

We are at a very specific time. This is the time when the fate of the world will be decided. But for the first time in human history, the fate of the world is not just the fate of the world today, it is whether there will be a future world.

The world is interlocking. Everything is connected to everything else. We live in a world with exponential technologies available to state actors and to desperate to non-state actors. The unbearable intimacy of a globally interconnected world which has multiple vectors of capacity to self-destruct—that’s the time we live in. Can you hear Frodo saying to Gandalf, I wish I didn’t have to live at this time?

But we do live at this time.

Time, in the original Hebrew, is zaman, which means invitation. Time is an invitation. There is an invitation at play here, the invitation to participate in the evolution of love. This is ours to do, we cannot wait for someone else to do it. To be a lover at this moment is to say:

I am willing to take responsibility for the whole. I am willing to understand that this time is not my parents’ time. This is not 40 years ago.

How many of us ever thought we would be in a conversation like this? where what we do today, and our sense-making, is part of the fabric of a process that can actually evolve love?

The evolution of love is to be able to see, and tell a New Story that can become a shared story of value rooted in First Principles and First Values. That is the only move we have, to speak for the future, and as the future, and to do everything we can to ensure that there will be a future. That is the time we live in. It is a time that no generation in history has ever lived in. But as Gandalf says to Frodo: we don’t get to choose the time we live in; the time chooses us.

I want to just ask everyone to say this sentence, if you can feel it personally. This time chose me. And then, if you can take it up to the next level: This time chose us. Because here we are together, and this time chose us. This is our time.

Saying Putin is Hitler Misses Who Putin Is

There are two video clips that capture the essence of this moment.

One is the video Zelensky showed to Congress: thousands of pictures that speak for themselves, thousand moments of suffering (https://youtu.be/q-kuGHPs4TU: only available on YouTube). There are children dying, women dying, men dying. Civilians, soldiers: human beings dying all over. We have to breathe that in , and we cannot look away. Clearly without question, standing for Ukraine at this moment is the overriding moral imperative. That is absolutely clear. We stand for and with Ukraine in every possible way. That’s the given of the moment. We have to turn towards the suffering, and we need to act in every way possible. We need to be love in action.

The second clip is Putin speaking to a rally in Moscow (https://youtu.be/0NZxNAZdHQo). The context here is the celebration of the annexation of Crimea, a peninsula in Ukraine annexed eight years ago (notice: to love, we’ve got to know where Crimea is). A Crimean Admiral defected, joined the Russian side. Most of the Crimean people did not challenge in any substantive way the Russian annexation (quite a few of them supported it). There was huge joy in Russia, a kind of national jubilation, celebrating the annexation of Crimea, which Russia felt was part of its essential identity. So, Putin hoped that Ukraine would go the way of Crimea. Just a couple of days ago was the eighth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea, which Putin used as an opportunity to speak his public piece, to state his vision. Here is what he says, in the clip shown on CNN:

[Vladimir Putin] When they went to the referendum in Crimea on March 17th, 2014, they had been living on their own land, and they wanted to be reunited with their historical motherland, Russia. They had every right to do so, and they achieved their goals. Let us congratulate them on this great occasion. Congratulations!

Over this time, Russia has done a lot to raise Crimea and Sevastopol. We had to do things that are not immediately obvious but have fundamental nature: gas supply, power supply, utilities, restoration of the road network, building new roads, new highways, and bridges <…> we know what to do next, how to do it, and at what expense, and we will implement all our plans.

But it isn’t merely a matter of these decisions. Crimeans and the people of Sevastopol did right when they put a barrier in the way of Nazism and extreme nationalism. Because what was going on in those territories is still going on. People who live in Donbas also disagreed with the coup, and immediately, punitive operations were carried out against them, and more than one. They were sunk into a blockade and constantly shelled, they were subjected to air strikes, and this is what we call genocide. To rid these people of suffering and this genocide was the main reason and the main motivation and the main objective of the operation that we began in Donbas and Ukraine. This was the objective.

When I think of the Bible, there is no greater love than if somebody gave their soul for their friends. We can see the heroic deeds of our guys in the course of this operation <…> But everything is down to the fact that this universal value for people, and all the confessions of Russia, and above all for our own people, the best confirmation of that is how our guys are fighting in the course of this military operation shoulder to shoulder, helping and supporting each other. If the need comes, they will shield each other in the battlefield from bullets, as brothers.

We have not had such unity for a long time!

Does Putin look and sound evil here? Perhaps in the subtle feeling of it he does. But it is not readily apparently in his words at all. He is quoting the Christian Bible and he is talking about fundamentals of civil-society like roadworks in Crimea. But even more dramatically here, Putin is talking about love, and he literally invokes the term universal value. He is saying, there is nothing more noble than giving one’s soul for another. He is saying we have never had more unity, which is an expression of love. He is talking about love, and he is talking also about brothers (he calls them our guys) being an incarnation of love—an incarnation of Christ, an incarnation of the Christian scripture—and that they are willing to take a bullet for each other on the field of battle.

He does not sound like Hitler. Saying Putin is Hitler actually misses who Putin is. Putin may be evil, but he is not Hitler. It is an entirely different quality. I spent quite a bit of time this weekend watching clips of the Russian crowd and watching clips of Hitler’s crowd, and they don’t look like each other. They don’t look the same at all.

The fact that everything that Putin is saying may be a fig leaf for raw power grabs rooted in rank disregard for love and universal value is of course true. But it still does not dismiss the importance of what Putin is saying. It means that there is ground with Russia for a shared vision of value—because the crowd is taking him seriously. They are, at least in part, believing him. Which means that they also share this ground of value.

Putin is telling a story, and it is a love story. But-and this is criticalNot all love stories are good; not all love stories are true or beautiful; not all love stories are sacred. Love itself can be disfigured and distorted. Eros can devolve to pseudo—Eros, as Christian love so often did during its long and sordid history of inquisition, crusades, and worse.

In order to not regress into the tragic or shadow of the tragic, which is moral equivalence, and for us to actually tell a love story which is good true and beautiful-to evolve the source code of consciousness and culture-we need to profoundly deepen our understanding—our sense-making. Something is happening here, and we need a deeper prism.

I want you to notice one other thing that Putin said: these people are being shelled at night, they’re subject to airstrikes. He is referring to Russians who he claimed were shelled in Donbas in the past. But now, you notice that there is no irony in Putin here, even though he is killing civilians all over Ukraine and subjecting them to shelling and horrific airstrikes. This is where you immediately feel the distortion of love—that he is telling a disfigured love story.

And of course, Putin has not even said to the Russian people that there is a war going on. Instead he talks about his special operation, which is his name for the war, and is part of the propaganda. (You get 15 years in prison in Russia for calling it a war).

Yet, here he is, standing for the human dignity of those people within his circle of ethnocentric intimacy—fellow Russians in Donbas. ethnocentric intimacy in its shadow form only has the capacity to feel its own pain, and splits off the pain it causes to others. That’s a very big deal to really grasp, but only then do we actually begin to understand what is happening here. And we will talk more about this in a few minutes.

We Need to Embody All Four Levels of Intimacy

Let’s read the Evolutionary Love Code again:

Reality can only be healed by the evolution of love, which is the evolution of intimacy. The evolution of love, which is the evolution of intimacy, requires powerful, sacred, and value-driven intimacy at the egocentric level, the ethnocentric level, the Worldcentric level, and the Kosmocentric level. This means that the evolution of love must reject—based on a shared story of value—the shadow versions of egocentric, ethnocentric, Worldcentric, and Kosmocentric intimacy. That is what we mean by Homo amor.

Ken Wilber, along with some of our colleagues and I have been talking for the last 15—20 years about these four levels. Ken refers to them as levels of consciousness. I intentionally refer to these four levels as four levels of intimacy: egocentric intimacy, ethnocentric intimacy, Worldcentric intimacy, and Kosmocentric intimacy. Not consciousness, but intimacy.

The Intimacy Equation

To get what that means, let us turn for a moment to one of the core equations in what Zak Stein and I are calling CosmoErotic humanism. The Intimacy equation.

Intimacy = shared identity in the context of otherness x mutuality of recognition x mutuality of pathos x mutuality of value x mutuality of purpose.

For today we don’t have space to enter into this equation fully, so we will focus on the first part.

Intimacy as shared identity with mutuality of pathos [feeling].

Egocentric intimacy means I have shared identity in my egocentric world and mutuality of pathos with immediate family, a few friends, perhaps.

■ In Ethnocentric intimacy, I have a larger sense of shared identity and mutuality of pathos for me and my nation, my people.

■ In Worldcentric intimacy, I have a sense of shared identity and mutuality of pathos-with every human being on the planet. It is not just consciousness—it is intimacy.

■ In Kosmocentric intimacy, I have shared identity and mutuality of pathos not just with every human being, not just with the planet, but with evolution itself, with every animal, and with all living beings.

Those are the four levels of intimacy. The evolution of intimacy means the capacity to evolve from one level of intimacy to the next level.

We are going to read an incredible text together, which is a key original source in the interior sciences for these four levels of intimacy.

It is by my teacher, Abraham Kook. One of the things he points out is that you need all four levels. You cannot exclude any level—egocentric intimacy, ethnocentric intimacy, Worldcentric intimacy, or Kosmocentric intimacy. To be the new human and the new humanity, which is what we are going to get to today, you need to embody all four.

If you leave out even one, you cannot do realpolitik, and you cannot do ethos. Ethos is rooted in Eros, and Eros is the largest wholeness possible. The largest wholeness possible, which is the largest aliveness possible, cannot split off any dimension of aliveness, any dimension of wholeness. Otherwise, there is no shalom: there is no peace. You cannot have shalom, which is the Hebrew word for peace, unless you can be whole. Because in Hebrew, the very notion of peace is to be whole. The Buddhists are not wrong when they say: you don’t make peace, you have to be peace. To be peace means to contain, within the depth of your being, all of these levels. If I split off any level, then I cannot have peace, and that is exactly what we are seeing today.

And each of these levels needs to be whole. It needs to be the light expression, the values expression—not the. the evolved expression of that level of intimacy, whether it is egocentric intimacy, ethnocentric intimacy, Worldcentric intimacy, or Kosmocentric intimacy.

We will go through these four levels, and apply them directly to this moment of realpolitik, and then we are going to talk about why these four levels are insufficient, and we need to add a new frame, which is going to take us home. This is a big deal.

Putin Sees the West as Neing Populated by Egocentric Intimacy

Let us begin with egocentric intimacy. This is the first level.

I want to get something really clear: each of these levels has a shadow version and a light version. But the healthy version is often being split off, and we are identifying each other—sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly—with the shadow version.

Putin has identified the West as being fundamentally populated by egocentric intimacy and particularly by the shadow of egocentric intimacy.

Egocentric intimacy means my shared identity and shared pathos is not with my nation. It is with me, myself, my body, my thoughts. But even that is truncated, limited. For example, I may have split off a lot of my thoughts that I find to be not kosher, which means I am not intimate with them. So, my shared identity is an intimacy with a small slice of my own thoughts, and with a few other folks, like my family or some close friends. I might have intimacy and some sense of shared identity with them and I am willing to sacrifice for them. Often people do not even have that.

Family and Intimacy

But to be clear, egocentric intimacy—which when successful and healthy is important and beautiful—means I have to become intimate with my family system, and perhaps in that intimacy I can heal the trauma within my family. There might be a lineage of women in my family… I’m going to heal that trauma; or a lineage of men… We’re going to actually create a stronger version of family that has deep relationship. There is great joy, great healing work, and great depth to be found in the whole and healthy version of egocentric intimacy.

The beauty of egocentric intimacy is doing the work with oneself, and being intimate with oneself.

I am going to do the therapeutic work to include the split-off parts of myself. I am going to work with my trauma.

And again, it also means becoming intimate with my family system:

I am going to do the family work to heal, and I am going to heal the trauma within my family, and we are going to create a stronger version of family, which has deep relationships.

Fathers and sons are going to heal… and mothers and daughters.

Working with the family, and doing the hero’s journey of my life—to become whole, to become intimate with those people in my circle of intimacy, and with those parts of myself that are split off—that’s a big journey. It is a beautiful journey. This is the light version of egocentric intimacy, which is held strongly by the West, and it is one of the beauties of the West. You can see, hear, and feel the beauty of claiming this level of egocentric intimacy in this beautiful video clip by Andrea and Matteo Bocelli

But Putin sees only the shadow version of egocentric intimacy, and he dismisses the light version as being a kind of therapeutic culture, which is a partially correct dismissal. Christina Hoff Sommers wrote a book called The Therapeutic Culture, about the shadows of therapeutic culture. It is true that there is an over-obsession and a narcissistic indulgence in therapeutic culture. But underneath that, at the core, there is something sacred about egocentric intimacy, which is stunning and is well beyond the pathologies of therapeutic culture.

But when egocentric intimacy becomes the only field of intimacy, when it is all there is, when you stop there, then you have split off a huge part of the Intimate Universe. For 15 years, I have been quoting Zen Master Dogan: Enlightenment is intimacy with all things. The way I like to rephrase Master Dogan is:

Enlightenment means there are no externalities, there is nothing split off, because that is what intimacy really means—the widest possible field of shared identity with no or few externalities.

When I end my intimacy in the family system, or in doing my own therapeutic work, and that becomes the sum total of my intimacy and my identity, then my identity collapses under the weight of the hidden split-off structures. The therapeutic move is a beautiful move. It is an evolution of consciousness; it is an evolution of love—psychology at its best is an evolution of love. But when that interior introspection becomes the entire story, and the interior introspection is limited to my own psychology, to the therapeutic dimensions, then it becomes narcissistic and obsessional.

Then we begin to locate our egocentric intimacy, not with its deepest Eros, but with its pseudo-eros, which is: where have I been wounded? where have I been traumatized? where have I been hurt? That’s where I can get a quick hit of pseudo-eros.

Then we often devolve to a culture of victims (as described in Charlie Sykes’s book, A Nation of Victims). We create a culture of victimization, which is the shadow of egocentric intimacy. We lose the capacity to have a larger vision, to have a willingness to sacrifice, to have a wider identity.

If my egocentric intimacy and my egocentric identity becomes the only value, it becomes idolatry. In other words, a value becomes idolatry when I decontextualize it from the larger field and I make it an absolute, that becomes the sum total of my identity. When egocentric intimacy is the sum total of my identity, we get the narcissistic shadows of therapeutic culture, we get its degraded form, a culture of victimization (it is not about genuine victimization, we always stand for victims, but it is about NOT creating my own victimhood, or creating my identity from my victimization). I become a victim, and I cease to be a player on the larger stage. I don’t have a sense of a larger, wider field of identity and value.

Just notice, in the Putin clip the implicit message is: you Westerners are not willing to sacrifice—you do not have a felt sense of care and concern beyond your immediate circle. And that sense, your limited felt sense of care and concern, is corrupt. And Russia with its commitment to Mother Russia and to all of our Russian brothers and sisters will triumph. We recognize that Putin is using this in part only as a fig leaf—a key notion to which we will return in a few moments.

The West Dismisses Ethnocentric Intimacy

The second level is, as we noted, ethnocentric intimacy

NATO’s push all the way eastward (from 1949 through essentially the beginning of the movement to include Ukraine in NATO) might have made sense strategically, but it didn't take into account ethnocentric intimacy, the sense of pride in Mother Russia.

Part of the reason the West did not take ethnocentric intimacy into account is because the West—in its own body, heart, mind—doesn’t understand it. At least within the ruling liberal class, ethnocentric pride and ethnocentric intimacy are considered anathema, even odious. Take a look, for example, at how the mainstream liberal media look at patriotism in the United States. When Trump says, “Make America Great Again,” it is derided and mocked because the West views patriotism in terms of its shadow. Patriotism has many shadows, but at its core it is the love of one's country. If that love actually stands for something- if I love my country because country incarnates a quality of value—of goodness truth or beauty—well that is important and real, that is a very big deal. It is of great value. It may even be sacred.

The liberal order and the ruling elite interpret Russia's ethnocentric intimacy in terms of its shadow and assume that it is a sham. Now, as we noted above, there are good reasons to assume that it is a sham. It is perhaps largely a sham. Putin has been running Russia together with his oligarchs, and they are, in some very deep sense, raping mother. Russia and her children. They have demonstrated it in terms of where their investments are in education, where their investments are and ARE NOT in so many other dimensions of society, and how they are siphoning off the wealth of Russia into their own private world. Putin is probably, according to many reports and intelligence reports, the wealthiest person on the planet. Mother Russia is compromised at best.

But even if Putin is completely an incarnation of darkness, the darkness only can sustain itself because it is animated by what the interior sciences, call the sparks of light that animate the shards of the broken vessels. Even if Putin is rank evil, and his ethnocentrism and his ethnocentric intimacy is a sham—he still might have a deep love of Mother Russia. The two are not contradictory. How did the poet Walt Whitman say it? I contain multitudes. That love might be distorted, and it might be perverse, but it actually is alive in him in some real and deep way, as a spark of light animating the darkness. And when you make policy towards Russia, you have to take that into account.

When CNN aired Putin’s speech at the rally, the commentator said that the people at the rally all had to be bused in, and the leaders were all forced to attend. But then they said, we have no independent confirmation for it. That is, it may or may not be true, CNN couldn’t confirm it. But it didn’t occur to the CNN commentator that there might have been a genuine love of Mother Russia, a form of ethnocentric intimacy, that brought people to this rally. That there was a genuine joy in Russia at the annexation of Crimea, because they felt that Crimea really was part of Mother Russia. The CNN commentator could not grasp the notion of ethnocentric intimacy, therefore she had to explain that all these people were bused in, and they were forced to come.

That might be partially true, but if you look at their faces, you can also see a genuine sense of ethnocentric intimacy. You can see a very different storyline that was internalized by many of the people in that stadium, and we need to understand that storyline in order to be intimate with Russia. We have to be intimate with Russia, because if we cannot be intimate with Russia, we are splitting Russia off. If we split Russia off, we are going to generate catastrophic and existential risk. And we are failing to see, which means failing to love.

We cannot split Russia and China off—it would be a terrible potential result from this war. This war united the Western bloc, which was a huge move. In a certain sense, it may have been part of the intention of the West to force Putin, by goading his broken ethnocentric value structure, to a place where he had no other option, he would have to invade Ukraine - which would then rally the West to stand together—not so much against Russia, but ultimately against China. And that is absolutely necessary. But of course, there are unintended possible consequences: we might end up creating an Eastern Bloc, which would be Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates together with China and Russia, united against the West. This might emerge, and it would be beyond dangerous. We need to pay close attention and prevent that emergence.

Pseudo Eros = A Pseudo Sense of Ethnocentric Identity

When we have egocentric intimacy and no genuine Eros, we create this pseudo sense of a larger identity. We create a pseudo sense of ethnocentric identity—not by being identified at the ethnocentric level with my larger people for real—meaning we feel and care for our people for real, and not because the larger people stand for a larger sense of value, but rather we are pseudo-ethnocentric because we are using national identity as a means, not to create an inside with genuine shared interiors of unique value (a genuine circle of value which generates true and sacred ethnocentric intimacy) but instead to place everyone else on the outside! We want to create a line in order to create an enemy. When we place the enemy on the outside, we have the illusion of being on the inside.

This is a violation of reality’s core nature—Eros.

To be in the field of value, to be in the field of Eros, is to be on the inside. But if I am not really inside the circle, I will create the illusion of being inside the circle by placing an enemy outside the circle.

That does not necessarily mean the enemy is not a real enemy. The enemy may well be a real enemy. For example, the Soviet Union, until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, was a real enemy. The Cold War was necessary and real, and there is not a moral equivalence between communism in the way it was enacted and the West. Of course there was huge complexity on both sides (John le Carré in his spy novels talks about the thicket of darkness and the complexities at the tragic level of consciousness in that Cold War). But nonetheless, there were two distinct sides, and two different worldviews, and they were not morally equivalent. That’s true.

But at the same time, we used the Soviet Union to create a sense of ethnocentric identity in the Western world, because we had an enemy: NATO against the Soviet Union. Even if the enemy was legitimate, it does not mean we didn’t use it to create our sense of who we were. We needed the enemy because we had begun to lose a genuine sense of what we stood for and our own identity. This was the beginning of the post-modern modernity on Steroids as the philosopher Habermas pointed out—the undermining of positive personal and collective identities,

Then the Soviet Union dissolves, and now there is no obvious enemy. That is the beginning of polarization in the United States and in the Western world. Polarization happens because we also don’t have a shared narrative of value. There is a collapse of value. Postmodernity introduces a collapse of value in the Western world, which we have talked extensively about. When we don’t have an enemy, on the outside we lose the illusion of being on the inside together. No one can live outside the circle of Eros. So if the soviet union is no longer a viable enemy we create a new one. And that is the beginning of the intense new level of polarization in the West and particularly in the United States after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Now, what else happens at the same time?

Remember, friends, that we are being lovers now; we are actually seeing; to love is to see.

As the Soviet Union falls, in the late 80s and early 90s, the internet emerges. The internet atomizes the world. The internet is the exterior expression of postmodernity; no narrative; hyperlinks all over the place—exactly the opposite of the experience of reading a book; or following a thread; or following a storyline. An atomized internet is the exterior expression of the postmodern mind and heart—which is also atomized—which says there are no narratives, and the only grand narrative is that there are no narratives! and there is no storyline. There is no storyline of value; there is no story of value.

So those things happened together:

■ One: the fall of the Soviet Union, so the exterior enemy is gone.

■ Two: the postmodern mind, the collapse of value and the collapse of storyline.

■ Three: The exteriorization of postmodern mind via the internet; the atomization, and narrowcasting of reality; the collapse of the thread; the story line that is core to classical reading.

All this happens in the West, and generates polarization. We don’t know how to create our identity through a shared story of value and shared Eros, so we need an us-them. But the Soviet Union is no longer offering that, and for our identity all that remains because we have stepped out of the field of value is the shadow of egocentric intimacy and ethnocentric intimacy. That is the place, the only place, from which we can create a shared story of value.

But you can’t actually ever really step out of the field of value.

We thought we had stepped out of the field of value, but you cannot really do that. Even if we say there is no normative value, we actually take a crypto-normative position (it is a beautiful term, originally sourced in Jürgen Habermas). Crypto-normative means we claim a value even though we have stepped out of the field of value. When we claim a value, but feel we are not in the field of value, the value that we do choose to champion becomes idolatrous. We always choose to champion value because we cannot live without value. Even postmodern reductionist materialists, who dominate the mainstream media as well as the arts and literature, must take a crypto-normative position of some form.

Stepping Out of the Field of Value Creates Polarization

For example, take abortion: pro-life versus pro-choice. Life and choice are both values. But since those values are not part of the field of value, they become idolatrous. All the pro-life people cannot see choice. They have split off choice. They have made their value an absolute, and there is no dialectical dance between the values. All the pro-choice people cannot see the value of life, meaning choice becomes the extreme position, and life is shunted aside. Because the pro-life/pro-choice position are taken out of the larger field of value, and become an identity. Since that is my whole identity, my identity has got to exclude you. I am the life person, I only get my identity by excluding you, the choice person. Pseudo-eros. This is very subtle, but it is very beautiful and it is critical to understand.

When we are in the field of value then we can hold value together, and we do not polarize. This is why democracies have never, almost never, gone to war with each other. Democracies do not go to war with each other because there is still an implicit field of value, even though it is long forgotten.

Let me put it in terms of our five-part model of self.

There is something we call True Self. The field of value is True Self. True Self is the field of the One. In in the field of True Self everything is connected. Every action is connected to an antecedent cause or to the larger field. From that perspective, individual unique choice does not make sense.

But there is choice, because really there is no True Self anyplace in the manifest world. This is because every true self is unique self; every true self sees and self-experiences through a unique set of eyes and unique interiors. Unique Self is then the individuated expression True Self.

In this same way, the field of value is True Self, and the individuated expression of the field of value is Unique Self.

For example, making unique choices is an expression of Unique Self—expressions of True Self; expressions of the larger field of value. In this same way, unique value is an expression of the larger field of value. An individual value or individual self is part of the larger field.

· They do not need to polarize, because deeper in the expression of the larger field there is distinction and there is identity—and they are both value and, they can compromise with each other; they can talk to each other; they can synergize to reach a higher level.

Choice and Life Can Work together to Create a Higher Vision of Ethos and Eros

But if choice and life are not experienced as unique expressions of True Self, if they are not experienced as unique expression of the field of value, then in this model of five selves, unique values become separate self, not unique self, and each value is an isolated separate-self identity, clashing with each other. Separate selves are in a natural state of war, as Hobbes said. This is the source of polarization.

We have now unpacked the deep hidden superstructure of the polarization that is ripping us apart and is the ultimate cause of this war and moreover, of all existential risk.

Putin Is the Shadow Version of Ethnocentric Intimacy

This is from Abraham Isaac Kook, who we noted earlier is one of the greatest evolutionary thinkers and mystics of our time, and I have tried to bring his thinking to bear. This comes from his book, Lights of Holiness which is pretty much unknown in the world but is a key source of these four levels of intimacy.

Look what he says, it is gorgeous:

There is a one

who sings the song of his soul—which is egocentric intimacy—

and in his soul, he finds it all:

full, complete spiritual satisfaction.

This is describing egocentric intimacy in its positive or light form.

But then there is a one

who sings the song of the nation.

He leaves the zone of his personal soul,

which he doesn’t find wide enough,

and not settled in ideal serenity,

He needs a wider field of identity,

and he attaches himself with tender love

to the totality of the congregation of Israel,

By the congregation of Israel Kook means ethnocentric intimacy. You can replace it with the congregation of Russia, America, Ireland, etc.

And together with her

he sings her songs,

and he suffers her pains,

and he takes delight in her hopes;

he ponders high and pure ideas about her past and future.

This is the healthy version of ethnocentric intimacy.

Putin identifies the West with the shadow of egocentric identity, or egocentric intimacy. He thinks:

They are not willing to sacrifice for anything, they’ve got no value that supports egocentric intimacy, it is narcissistic, and I (Putin and Russia) am actually representing something bigger, which is ethnocentric intimacy, which means I am singing the song of the nation.

The first thing Putin did on his very first day in office was to restore the National anthem.

Putin is the shadow version of ethnocentric intimacy. But you cannot understand Putin unless you understand the light version. That is where he is drawing energy from, because even that which falls, and becomes rank and evil, is always complex. Not just realpolitik, not just power—he is drawing energy from the light. Even darkness draws energy from the light, and we cannot transform darkness unless we identify the sparks of light that are infusing the darkness with its energy. And the ethnocentric intimacy with the totality of Mother Russia is the spark of light that is infusing Putin.

Citing Kook:

He takes delight in her hopes, he ponders high and pure ideas about her past and her future, and he investigates with love and the wisdom of the heart, the inner content of her soul.

This is ethnocentric intimacy, and Putin holds the shadow version of it.

Without understanding ethnocentric intimacy, its beauty and its importance, we cannot even begin to feel who we are, what we have split off, what is missing, and what is necessary.

Patriot Game by Liam Clancy (Patriot Game) expresses both the beauty and tragedy of ethnocentric intimacy:

Come all you young rebels, and list while I sing

For the love of one's country is a terrible thing

It banishes fear with the speed of a flame

And it makes us all part of the patriot game

My name is O'Hanlon, and I'm just gone sixteen

My home is in Monaghan, where I was weaned

I've learned all my life, cruel England to blame

And so I'm a part of the patriot game

But by a terrible thing he means he is feeling the shadow and the light of ethnocentric intimacy.

This is written about an O’Hanlon in Irish Republican Army (IRA), terrorists who did horrific things, and aligned with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was the worst of terrorism in the Middle East. He is 16 years old; he is an IRA soldier; he is dying; he has been shot. He is full of holes, and his last thoughts are about the Patriot Game. The Clancy Brothers are capturing the intense beauty, and the allurement, and the importance, and the utter tragedy which occurs when from the shadow versions of the Patriot Game.

This island of ours has far long been half free

Six counties are under John Bull's tyranny

So, I gave up my boyhood to drill and to train

To play my own part in the patriot game

And now as I lie here, my body all holes

I think of those traitors who bargained and sold

I wish that my rifle had given the same

To those Quislings who sold out in the patriot game

But for the sake of our conversation, we need to get that the selling out of Mother Russia by allowing missiles in the Ukraine, a three minutes flight from Moscow is experienced as a violation—we have got to feel that.

But when Putin talks about soldiers in the trenches being willing to give up their lives for each other, and take a bullet for each other, he is misreading it. Not only is he propagandizing it, but he is also misreading it.

Many of the brothers who are taking a bullet for each other are not taking the bullet for Mother Russia. They understand that Russia is not standing for a set of values; they understand that Russia is corrupt. They are taking a bullet not for Mother Russia but for each other; for their brother standing next to them. Because in the trenches we remember that we are brothers, born of the One Love and One Heart.

Not all of Russia is aligned with Putin, and we need to celebrate that, as well! That is why there’s been 50,000 protesters across Russia, which seems like a small number, but it is actually a huge number, considering you can go to jail for 15 years, and destroy your life. To take that level of risk is beyond imagination, so glory to the heroes in Russia!

But the reason those men in the trenches are dying for their brother is because it is their brother right next to them.

My dear friend Sally Kempton told me that her father, Murray Kempton, who was a great writer, used to say that he longed for World War II, because in World War II, when he was in the Far East in battle, people would die for each other in the trenches. It happened to be that World War II was a noble cause. It was fighting fascism. In the same way, the Russian soldiers, boys—and we forget that they are boys; sons of mothers—when we call them soldiers (even if they are completely dissociated from a genuine sense of Mother Russia) they will still die for their brother. They will die for their brother because that’s the beauty of the One Intimacy: my brother is next to me, and I’ll die for my brother.

So, Putin both hijacks ethnocentric intimacy, and uses it as a fig leaf, and then he also confuses brothers taking a blood for each other and that love that exists between them. That is the love that’s The Universe: A Love Story that lives between brothers and sisters, which actually has nothing to do with ethnocentric intimacy.

And, Russians will also stand for Mother Russia. There is a sense of Mother Russia in Russia.

But there is also this huge sense that Mother Russia doesn’t stand for anything anymore and that Putin (and the next regime, whoever they will be) must be called to actually stand for a set of values that are real -that are uniquely expressed by Russia. It’s a unique quality of value in the large field of value. Gary Kasparov, the Chess grandmaster who I mentioned earlier, is a beautiful example of someone standing for this potential emergence in Russia.

Every Nation is a Unique Self and Has a Unique Gift

Now, we have to go so much deeper here.

In order for ethnocentric intimacy to be sacred, it has to represent not only racial or geographic boundaries. We alluded to this above, but we really need to state it clearly now. It cannot be just Israel, or Russia, or the United States, or Ireland. Sacred ethnocentric intimacy cannot be only:

Wow, you have missiles close to my border. That is a violation of my territorial integrity, and therefore, I am going to launch a war.

Rather the meaning of ethnocentric intimacy must be: unique value in a larger field of value,

We have to move to a world where we know for sure that our values will prevent us from invading each other. Again, that is why democracies with all their real power conflicts do not go to war with each other!

I have reason to believe that your values are going to cause you to invade me.

If Russia was in a shared field of value with NATO then there is no question that NATO would invade Russia—it just not going to happen, because the intrinsic value structure of NATO would not be about taking Russia down. It would be about engaging Russia in trade, partnership, and in a larger vision of value.

This only works however when we recognize that values are not mere social constructions of reality. Values are not fictions; and they are not figments of our imagination. Values are immutable and unchanging.

Rather, value is real. Value is intrinsic to Kosmos. Value is evolving. This is the core of CosmoErotic humanism, and it is the core of a new theory of value, and without it there will never be peace in the world.

We have talked about this key many times before, and we will continue to return to this topic in ever more deeply as our conversations continue. But for now, let’s deepen our understanding of the importance of ethnocentric intimacy, it’s wonderous, positive expressions, and how we get there.

My ethnocentric identity can begin as a nationalism, but it has to evolve to, and be sourced in, some sense that I have a unique gift to give to the world.

That’s critical. At the center is never the teacher, it’s the teaching. It is never just the racial or geographic nation, it is the Dharma of the nation. What is the message, the unique expression of value, that the nation is holding? What is the unique quality of intimacy that this country, this ethnocentric sociocentric group of human beings, brings into the Unique Self Symphony of the world?

We have lost connection with the notion that every nation, as a Unique Self, has a unique gift of value. Putin has distorted the ethnocentric idea into the realm of evil, but he is connected to the spark of the sacred in that idea, and that is what fuels him. He said last February:

I believe in Passionarnost. In nature, as in society, there’s development and climax and decline. Russia has not yet attained its highest point; we are on the way. We possess an infinite genetic code.

Passionarnost is one of many concepts developed by Lev Gumilyov, a Russian historian and philosopher of history. In and of itself it is a true and beautiful idea—picked up and distorted by Alexander Dugin, who was an advisor to Putin for many years. It captures the notion of inner energy or passionate substance of a nation.

When ethnocentric intimacy expresses itself in its shadow version, it becomes racism. But its light version is: what is the unique value contribution of Russia?

My colleague Umair Haque, commenting on Putin and on this notion of Passionarnost says This is weird, we don’t really have a cosmology. That’s a tragedy, however, dear Umair. But, it is correct that we have lost the notion of the Unique Self of value that is the essence of a nation. We have lost the notion of ethnocentric intimacy because we have identified it with its shadow; we have lost connection to its truth beauty. And in this we are much like Putin identifies egocentric intimacy with its shadow.

What we need the future Putin’s of the world to do, what we need Xi and China to do, what we need Viktor Orbán and Hungary to do—which none of them are doing—is to rise up and say: the world needs Mother Russia; the world needs China; the world needs Hungary. We need to be in reverence of Russia; and in reverence of China; and in reverence of Hungary because we each of us, all of us, have a contribution to make to the field of value that is shared world-over and ultimately will be share galactically.

We want Tchaikovsky, and we want Dostoevsky, and we want Tolstoy, and we want the Russian cosmists (the word noosphere that we talk about in Evolutionary Spirituality comes from one of the great Russian cosmists, Vladimir Vernadsky). The Russian cosmists are incredibly important. We need Mother Russia, and we need the depth and wonder found only in China. We need to hold with full dignity, and with full honor, the beauty of Mother Russia.

Nonetheless, even if Putin has hijacked Mother Russia and turned it into a fig leaf for an oligarchy, (which is in the great tragic tradition of Russian autocracy—Stalin was one example, and Putin is becoming another) we need to speak directly to that sacred spark in the heart of Putin, and more importantly, in the heart of the Russian people—it is the beauty of ethnocentric intimacy. We actually have to talk to Putin (because I have to talk to my enemy even when my enemy is evil) because we have to create a new world together. Regime change is not going to work when it is imposed externally. I need to understand what the spark of the sacred is within him, and more importantly, what it is within mother Russia.

So let’s just think about this for a second.

There is a Unique Self Symphony in a family when everyone in their family plays their unique role. The hero in the family is the one who is their Unique Self. When I do personal transformation in the family, when I transform myself, and I transform the family in the best of therapeutic culture, that is what it means to be a hero.

At the level of nation, the hero is the one who stands and embodies the value of the nation. When an American patriot says I regret that I have but one life to give for my country, he’s talking about the best of ethnocentric intimacy. He is standing for the value, for a Declaration of Independence that my country represents.

If we listen to the French National anthem, La Marseillaise, we can feel, deeply, how ethnocentric intimacy gets stuck in a historical moment (sometimes a morally necessary historical moment) covered with blood:

Arise children of the Fatherland!

Our day of glory has arrived.

Against us, the bloody flag of Tyranny is raised.

Do you hear in the countryside,

the roar of those ferocious soldiers

coming right into your arms,

to cut the throats of your sons and comrades?

To arms, citizens!

We need to evolve it to the next level. We need France to tell us what France represents. We need nations and we need ethnocentric intimacy. We need nations to go on, and we need each nation to identify their set of values in the field of values—their contribution to the Unique Self Symphony of Reality. This has to be modeled by China, by Russia; by France; by the United States…

We need to begin to reclaim ethnocentric intimacy. I took my son to a soccer game, the San Jose Rockets. They did the national anthem, and I cried. Because the entire place stood, and you felt a sense of value.

Ukraine is Representing Freedom

Paradoxically, Zelensky is the representative of that in Ukraine. It is not because he is a racial Ukrainian or because he and Ukraine have captured the heart of so much of humanity, but because Zelensky and Ukraine are embodying value in two major ways. Zelensky and Ukraine are standing gorgeously for the beauty of nationalism—the healthy ethnocentric love of country, land, and people. Zelensky and Ukraine are embodying this value and dying for many of the greatest values of the modernity—the great dignities of modernity like democracy, fair information gathering, the rejection of authoritarianism, voting, self-determination and more.

Ukraine has reminded the West that it stands for value and represents the struggle of open societies against closed societies, and the outcome of this great struggle will determine the entire future of the planet.

Value, the powerful and healthy ethnocentric intimacy, Kook describes is a great value found in the Second Song (in the Four-fold Song)

But then there is a one

who sings the song of the nation.

He leaves the zone of his personal soul,

which he doesn’t find wide enough,

and not settled in ideal serenity,

and he attaches himself with tender love

to the totality of the congregation of Israel,

And together with her

he sings her songs,

and he suffers her pains,

and he takes delight in her hopes;

he ponders high and pure ideas about her past and future.

Nationalism and Liberalism Do Not Oppose Each Other, That Idea Is a Mistake

I want to say it again, because it really matters, and I want to land it for us again. This is not a naïve position, and it does not whitewash Ukraine. There are fascist expressions of nationalism in Ukraine, and Nazi expressions of nationalism. Putin is not wrong about that. BUT and this is key, Zelensky is trying to integrate those into a larger, healthier vision of nationalism, which is beautiful. Much of what Putin says is sadly laughable, like calling Zelensky the Jewish Nazi.

Zelensky is obviously not a Nazi, and he has actually evolved Ukrainian nationalism. Ukrainian nationalism was devastating, but again, it is true that some Ukrainians were among the worst collaborators with the Nazis in World War Two in killing Jews in Babi Yar. But we do not hold people to their past, we allow for transformation. Just like Germany is transforming itself, Ukraine is transforming itself.

Moreover, the reason that Ukraine has been welcomed into the family of nations is not simply as a strategic move against Russia. Yes, there is realpolitik and strategy in that—but a large part is because of what Russia represents, which is a regressive value structure and the idolatry of ethnocentrism and not the great ethnocentric intimacy of the Unique Self of a nation.

The reason we are supporting Ukraine is because Ukraine and the Ukrainian people are claiming the values of open society against closed societies. They are actually evolving into a healthy nationalism, and they are creating a Unique Self Symphony of Ukraine, and they are rallying to Ukraine as representing value. Not Ukraine as Ukraine qua “These are the boundaries of Ukraine. We fight and die for Ukraine because it’s Ukraine.” There are elements like that in Ukraine, but that is not the core of what Zelensky is representing. What Zelensky is representing is a gorgeous evolution of love, in which Ukraine is representing freedom. The best of freedom and the best of democracy.

Zelensky has fought against corruptions that Putin seeded in Ukraine that Trump tragically allied with in a very major way; Hunter Biden got caught up in them; but Joe Biden as Vice President actually stood against them. Let’s be able to make these distinctions.

We are backing Ukraine because Zelensky is holding the sacred expression in this moment, of what it means to be a nation—a nation which represents value—and so [we] must cry out and materially support in every way the great cry of this moment: Glory to the heroes and Glory to Ukraine!

Ukraine is Like a Beehive: The Unique Self Symphony of a Nation

There is a man named Mychailo Wynnyckyj, a professor who writes a Daily Chronicle from Ukraine. Writing from Kyiv, on March 16th he wrote that Ukraine is like a beehive.

A beehive is one of the core images that we deploy in CosmoErotic humanism writings because it explains Unique Self Symphony, like the bees having a common purpose and a common value. Every bee implicitly understands what it needs to do, and the beehive has this intense and profound intelligence. There is an entire collection of literature now in biology on the innate intelligence of bees that are holding this larger vision of value.

Mychailo Wynnyckyj writes:

Apparently, the analogy of ‘Ukraine - the beehive’ is catching on. I’ve been asked by several Western journalists to provide an explanation of how/why Ukrainians have mounted such a successful defense against the Russian invader: a defense that has stopped the ground assault of what was once thought to be the most powerful army in the world? The explanation that seems to resonate that makes sense is that Ukrainians are bees.

He is literally describing Unique Self Symphony:

Bees won’t sting unless you threaten them. I know, I have three hives (beekeeping is a common pass time for Ukrainian men aged 50+, cultural fact). If you approach the hives confidently, with appropriate respect, bees will even share their honey. It takes practice, but well-intentioned beekeepers can even draw honey without a mask. Even amateurs like me do it without gloves. Bees work. They collect pollen and nectar, carrying their own weight in their sacs up to 3km from flower gardens to the hive. On arrival, they unload their freight to the “indoor” (hive) bees who through mechanical-chemical processes dry the pollen/nectar substance converting it into honey. They seem to understand the process without having to be taught.

There is a shared field of value. And bees defend their hive.

If you’re a bear, sticking your claws into a beehive is a bad idea. You may think that you are large and powerful, and that you are the dominant beast in your area, but don’t touch the bees! Attacking their hive is just a bad idea.

Now in the end, the bear might crush some bees, but the beehive will survive. However, the beehive is going to sting the bear enormously. In the end, Russia's superior military might take Ukraine, but it won’t be able to hold Ukraine without draining Russia of its essential life energy.

Finally, he ends, this beautiful chronicler, this professor from Kyiv says:

Finally, as a beekeeper, I will tell you: bees mourn their dead. Today, President Zelensky signed an Executive Order mandating a nationwide moment of silence every morning at 9am to honor the Ukrainians who have given their lives for our “hive”: our children, our fallen soldiers. This nation is invincible!

Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!

Modernity is a New Set of Intrinsic Humanistic Values

Returning to Kook’s Four-fold song text, we are going from ethnocentric intimacy to Worldcentric intimacy now—from the ethnocentric song to the Worldcentric song.

And there is a one

who widens her soul even further

until it expands and spreads beyond the boundary of Israel

to sing the song of humanity;

her soul is continuously enlarged

by the genius of the human being

and the glory of the divine image,

She aspires towards the human being’s universal purpose

and anticipates her higher wholification,

and from this living source

does she draw the entirety of her thoughts and explorations,

the aspirations and her visions.

That’s Worldcentric intimacy. It means intimacy in its whole, healthy, light version that I stand for a Worldcentric set of values. This is a very big deal.

America, and the West in general has forgotten its values. Included in those value is a very specific hidden value, which is that values evolve. Values are eternal and they are also evolving. Values have to go through the evolution of value. That itself is a first principle and first value of Kosmos: value evolves. We don’t go for premodern values; we don’t go for premodern Imperium or imperialism—that would be regressive.

However, this does not mean that values evolve in a straight line. Evolution meanders and zig zags. David Graeber’s last book points out in a compelling anecdotal manner that the linear narrative of evolutionary development is more complex. His point is reprised from other evolutionary thinkers like Abraham Kook, and Kook’s classical essays on historical stages. But, there is an arc in certain key vectors of the evolution of values that lives together with the hidden collapse of those values where society’s center of gravity evolves. Think human rights.

But there is an overall evolutionary movement of value.

Sometimes a value appears early in history, shows its beauty, and then recedes only to appear at a later point. That is true about nearly all the values we will mention below.

Values evolve and that means there are universal human rights; there is the rise of the feminine; there is a broader possibility for gender; there is a broader possibility for sexuality. It means child labor laws; it means a new center of gravity that disallows slavery. It means that every nation has a contribution, but that no nation has the right to dominate all the others by virtue of physical force. It means that we don’t go to war and invade a country as a way of buttressing our national identity, or gaining advantage in raw power games for their own sake.

Values evolve means that every human being has a story to tell, and that story needs to be heard, lived, and celebrated. It means that education is a huge value. that needs to extend to everyone. It means that Barack Obama and Bill Clinton can arise from nowhere and become President of the United States, even though they don’t come from a money class or others forms of aristocracy. It means that in one way or the other there is a democratization of governance—at least as the dream and the goal

Yes, democracy is massively flawed. Yes, there are real dimensions of Democracy that are failing, and we need to reclaim democracy. In fact, as Shoshana Zuboff has pointed out in the last chapter of her book, Surveillance Capitalism, the value of democracy among the young has plummeted statistically, particularly among the millennial generation.

Why? Because we have forgotten that Worldcentric the values of democracy and of open borders are rooted in a larger set of intrinsic humanistic values: we have forgotten that goodness and its evolution beyond ethnocentric boundaries is not a given. We have forgotten what the irreducible dignity of individuality means; what uniqueness means; what personhood means; what freewill; what choice means. We have forgotten why this matters so much that we have become almost cavalier in our delight in dismissing its existence. We have forgotten what the intrinsic value of transformation means. All of those values have either been forgotten in the West or we have taken them so for granted that they became flaccid and limp.

Putin was certain that we couldn’t remember them—he was pretty sure, well read in post modernity -that the West had forgotten the values it stood for, and that the West would not be willing to sacrifice for value. Putin thought that way because we ourselves had not only forgotten but we also forgot that we had forgotten.

It is not just that we did not remember the values. And it is not just that we forgot them, it is that we forgot that we had forgotten. But even when we have forgot that we have forgotten, we can be re-minded, we can re-member, and we can re-constitute ourselves. That is what happened in the first weeks of the Ukraine war when the West organized to challenge the invasion of Ukraine.

And so we reconstituted ourselves in a beautiful and gorgeous way, and we created a Unique Self Symphony of value to respond to Putin. That is absolutely true, and gorgeous, and holy. The reason why we were able to self-organize so fast is because we self-organized around value. Even though the emergence of modernity did have dimensions of imperialism and dimensions of power drives. Of course that is true. Yet, at its core modernity is a new set of values:

■ individual personhood

■ pluralism

■ diversity

■ new visions of goodness

■ reintegrating the marginalized

■ standing for genuine victims

■ human dignity

■ standing against sexual harassment

■ a broader vision of sexuality and a broader vision of gender

■ the emergence of a person’s irreducible uniqueness

■ larger capacities for choice, education, and feminism.

That is why in a period of 100 years of the emergence of modernity, the dignities of modernity—universal human rights, the new middle class, upward mobility, possibility for transformation, education, feminism, the abolishment of slavery—all of that self-organized across the Western world in response to value. That’s absolutely true.

Worldcentric Intimacy Has Its Own Idolatrous Shadow

A dear friend of mine wrote to me the other day:

I certainly buy that for scapegoating reasons, we’re doing some crazy media zeitgeist. A media zeitgeist that actually shames even the COVID zeitgeist, in terms of its speed and ubiquity, about Putin as the guy to scapegoat.

Given that the economy was completely destroyed from COVID, and specifically, the US’s response in a way that’s about to become visible in the world, the idea that we have to sanction Putin, and that’s going to destroy the world economy—and we can blame him and not to have to blame the US leadership and the international leadership in the ways they complete failed during COVID—there’s a lot of reasons why this demonization of COVID was useful.

In my assessment, NATO pushed Putin to have to aggress on Ukraine, in a way that I don’t know another move Putin could have had within his own value structure. Other than saying: “I’m abandoning Mother Russia—which is the value that he’s holding as his public value—and I’m going to let you guys put rivalrous military bases that have missiles that will be within striking range of Moscow there.” Actually, NATO could have done something else. NATO could have said: “Let’s allow Ukraine to become both part of Russia, without giving up its independence but being economically independent with Russia, to be protected by NATO without becoming part of NATO.

That’s what Putin was asking for, and the West refused it. Why did the West refuse it? Well, because it actually helped the West to organize the coalition against China, and in that sense, it was extremely helpful, etc. I totally see how NATO could have done this better. I don’t see how Putin could have done this better, given his value structure, which the West was aware of.

That is a very big deal, and we have to bring that voice into the table. That voice was held by Henry Kissinger, by George Keenan (one of Bush’s advisors), by John Mearsheimer in a video that has gone all over the web, and by many intelligent people. So, this is very important.

But let’s put aside the reapolitik dimension for a moment and speak to a deeper issue which lays at the core of things: articulating the shadow of Worldcentric intimacy. Worldcentric intimacy also has a shadow—that’s when Worldcentric intimacy becomes a globalism that ignores the individual dignity of nations. This is when Worldcentric intimacy excludes ethnocentric intimacy and stands against the individual.

When the World Economic Forum, headed by Klaus Schwab, talks about modifying people’s behavior, in which everyone becomes part of a technocracy creating a great reset there is a shadow of globalism at play. When we talk about a world in which all of your interactions on the web, become part of what Shoshann Zuboff has wisely called instrumentarian totalitarianism—a totalitarianism in which the web undermines your freewill and your personhood. Then shadows of Worldcentric intimacy—globalism are at play and you become nothing more than a product, an object to be mined for data, fed into machine intelligence, and to be marketed to, which is the debasing of the individual. When Facebook decides to rebrand itself as Meta to create a metaverse, and to market that into the West, and to literally desiccate the basic experience of being an embodied human, without any government having given them the authority to do that, the shadow of globalism driven by finance centric ethics is at play. No government voted for Meta, no government voted for a metaverse, there was no people’s uprising demanding a Metaverse.

It is not wrong that there is very tiny group of global elites who are generally reductionist materialists in their hidden orientation. They are driven by both a sincere utopian Worldcentric vision and by a Worldcentric globalist vision, in shadow form. They have the vision of a global technocracy, for the good of the masses, in which free will, human choice, and the profound education and transformation are gradually taken off the table. It is a vision of upgraded algorithms and downgraded human beings that debases the fundamental, embodied, human experience and is driven by private/public partnerships in which the state is locked into the markets and financial rules.

The shadow of the Worldcentric vision may ultimately be said to be market-centric or finance-centric, whichever term you prefer. The global system that is emerging, driven by these forces, is not an ethical system or a values system but a financial system. This is why the ethnocentric states fight with arms, and the Worldcentric states fight with sanctions. Those sanctions are legitimate, but it is also not by accident that the financial instruments are being used. We have a financial-centric global elite which is taking the steps to enact a technocracy that debases the basic human experience, for example, a technocracy where a few individuals have the power to decide and foist the Metaverse on Reality-to desiccate the essential experience of embodied intimacy of a human being, without anyone authorizing them to do that.

But this happens because, right beneath the surface, this global elite has actually deconstructed value. Under the cover of a Worldcentric intimacy, you find we have what might called a financial-centric view, where markets bind governments; where techno-feudalists and global multinational corporations view the world as a marketplace; where individuality is devalued, intimacy is devalued, human transformation is devalued, and ethnocentric intimacy is devalued. Then value itself is devalued, because this global elite, (what Zak Stein and I have called techno-feudalists) are postmodernists, pretty much across the board. For them value is a fiction, a figment of imagination, a social construction of reality. And so, they don’t have a problem with taking your data without permission, feeding it into machine intelligence, because they don’t have any genuine respect for personhood.

We are moving towards a world of radical techno-feudalism (technocracy), where a person becomes nothing more than a number; a number completely controlled; and behavior modification becomes an international system. The entire global world becomes a rat in the maze, a Skinner’s box, controlled by the levers of the controllers. That’s the shadow of Worldcentric intimacy.

I want everyone to track this, this is so critical. Just like ethnocentric intimacy has a shadow, so does Worldcentric intimacy. The shadow of Worldcentric intimacy is:

■ a complete atomization of the individual

■ a complete destruction of community

■ a complete reduction of the human being to their lowest common denominator

■ a loss of checks and balances

■ the markets bind the state

■ techno-feudalism reigns, and

■ globalism for its own sake.

Just like the shadow of ethnocentric intimacy serves as a fig leaf to the tiny group of dominating oligarchs in Russia, the shadow of Worldcentric intimacy also serves a tiny group of techno-feudalist oligarchs. Both group of oligarchs are rooted, directly and indirectly, in postmodernity.

For the techno-feudalists Worldcentric intimacy globalism becomes its own value and risks becoming idolatrous. It is self-evident, of course, that we need global coordination and coherence to address both the catastrophic and existential risk that lurk at the gate, but this Worldcentric global vision must be rooted in a shared story of value, not in postmodern deconstruction. Otherwise, the result is something like this:

We’re going to create a global world which effaces boundaries.

We’re not going to have nation states.

We’re going to have a global technocracy,

as envisioned by the World Economic Forum,

in which everyone is a number,

and everyone is a commodity.

We upgrade global algorithms,

and downgrade human beings

and all the values that human beings are supposed to stand for.

The point is that Worldcentric intimacy-just like ethnocentric intimacy-is used as a fig leaf and has its own idolatrous shadow, which covers up a reductive materialism that makes power the only true coin of value.

Diversity and Unique Self disappear

Just like Putin said in his speech, “We have never been so unified; we have never had such a large and beautiful union,” Klaus Schwab, at the World Economic Forum said, “We’re going to create this unified homogeneous world, in which diversity disappears and the Unique Self of nations disappear.”

But we need something else.

We need a new vision of intimacy, in which ethnocentric and Worldcentric intimacy work together, and each of them stand for value. In which each Unique Self nation stands for a vision of value, and the Worldcentric vision needs to be a Worldcentric incarnation of value.

The Evolution of Value is the Plotline of Kosmos

Putin reminded the West that they stood for value. The West had forgotten about it, the West reclaimed it for a short period of time, and it is still reclaiming the vision of value that modernity introduced.

But the postmodern vision is going to quickly take over. Using Klaus Schwab as an archetype of the forces pushing what he calls the great reset, technocracy. There’s no question that this is actually on the move and it is deeply rooted within the mainstream of the global elite. That is why there is real opposition to this play that is emerging around the world. Putin senses and implacably opposes the potential omnipresence of the techno feudalists as does China. In Putin and China’s case, the opposition is taking a horrific shadow form, actually incarnating that which we could rightly call evil.

But the spark of the sacred in Putin understands that this Worldcentric vision debases core values and a core vision of what could be. That is the spark of the sacred in Putin that has gotten lost in darkness, but that’s animating the darkness and keeps it going.

But here is the thing: It is not just Putin who threatens human value. If technocracy downgrades the human being, and we produce a downgraded human being who doesn’t have a sense of choice, and we generate the kind of world that technocracy is seeking to create, we will have fundamentally destroyed everything that we have held valuable about a human being. The capacity to transform, the capacity to be irreducibly unique, the capacity to participate in democracy — all that is becoming a sham!

Of course, this does not suggest in any way, shape, or form that there is a moral equivalence between Vladimir Putin and for example Sergei Brin, Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg.

Our Last Steps…

Yes, we need to reclaim wholeness, consciousness, and healthy ethnocentric and Worldcentric intimacy. But there is another level beyond even that. As Kook writes, there is what we might call a Fourth song — a Kosmocentric vision of value, that generates Kosmocentric intimacy!

Kosmocentric Intimacy Is Threefold

■ One: the entire animal world is included, not just humans. Meaning: I don’t eat lamb chops. All life is included, and Buddy the dog is included. I re-embrace life, and I do not split off the entire biosphere from my Kosmocentric intimacy,

■ Two: beyond just the biosphere, I am identified with evolution itself, with the evolutionary process itself. I actually know that the evolutionary process is a love story. Evolution is the love story of the universe, and I am an individuated expression of the love story of the universe. That’s two.

■ Three: love is an intrinsic value. It is not a value that Putin hijacks and deploys as a fig leaf. Love is an intrinsic value that means something. Love is a value of Kosmos, just like personhood is a value of Kosmos. Because value itself is understood to be real.

■ Kosmocentric intimacy means value is a function of the intrinsic nature of Kosmos, and value evolves from matter to life to mind. Although there is discontinuity between matter and life and mind, there is also a continuity.

■ There is a thread of value. The evolution of value is in fact the plotline of Kosmos. Kosmos is a love story — it is an Amorous Kosmos — and the evolution of Eros is the movement of Kosmos.

■ Human beings incarnate individuated expressions of evolving Eros, as individuals and as nations. We live in a CosmoErotic Universe, and that generates this New Story which we are calling CosmoErotic Humanism, which demonstrates at is core that we are the CosmoErotic Universe in person.

That’s Kosmocentric intimacy, which transcends and includes both ethnocentric and Worldcentric intimacy.

At the center of this fourth and highest song is the realization that value is real.

China, and the United States, and Russia all need to come together in their ethnocentric expressions. Each nation is called to represent a unique frame of value in the Unique Self Symphony of the world. We need a shared vision, a common-centric vision. Not state-centric, not shadow Worldcentric, financial-centric. But a common vision, a New Global Story of value. CosmoErotic Humanism, or whatever we want to call it. The emergence of a new human and a new humanity, rooted in intrinsic value. Homo amor, that’s the new human and the new humanity.

That’s the evolutionary movement. That’s Kosmocentric. It is the movement of Kosmos that births a new emerging, a New Story of value rooted in First Principles and First Values. This is Kosmocentric intimacy, which includes egocentric intimacy, and ethnocentric intimacy, and Worldcentric intimacy. That’s what is possible.

The Song of Songs is the Love Song of Kosmos

We can see it now. Now, everything is included. This is what it means to be a lover: everything has a seat at the table, yet there is a hierarchy of value, and we can actually find our way through.

We needed to do this today, because people are being killed every day. They are sitting in bomb shelters in Kyiv. I know this was long, but we needed to do this!

Let us read together the end of this passage from Kook, going beyond Worldcentric intimacy:

There is the one

who engages daily in a chapter of Song,

who is promised that he lives in the emergent world.

Then, there is the one

who integrates all of these songs,

who rises with all of these songs

together in one unity,

and all of them send forth their voices.

All together, they play their melodies,

and each pours their vitality and life into the other.

That yields the sound of jubilance,

and the sound of joy,

and the sound of celebration,

and the sound of exultance,

and the sound of rejoicing,

and the sound of the sacred.

The song of the soul,

the song of the nation,

the song of humanity,

the song of the universe —

they all flow together within her all the time,

at every moment.

In this completeness,

in the fullness,

the song rises to become

the song of the sacred,

the song of God,

the song of Israel,

in her mighty glory and beauty,

in her mighty truth and magnificence.

It’s a simple song.

It’s a double song.

It’s a threefold song.

It’s a fourfold song.

It’s the Song of Solomon,

to the king to whom wholeness belongs.

Apotheosis: Kosmocentric Intimacy

The Song of Solomon is the Song of Songs, and the Song of Songs of Solomon is the love song of Kosmos. That phrase at the end, “the king to whom wholeness belongs,” is the statement in the interior sciences that the Song of Songs stands for apotheosis — the capacity of the human being to become the Divine — which is precisely Homo amor. That is the new human and the new humanity, where I become an irreducibly unique expression of LoveIntelligence and LoveBeauty that is the divine field of Eros.

This is what Kook is writing subtly and beautifully. The Song of Solomon is only realized when I engage the light gorgeousness of egocentric intimacy, and then the light gorgeousness of ethnocentric intimacy, and then the light gorgeousness of Worldcentric intimacy, and then I step into Kosmocentric intimacy, the intrinsic nature of value itself, where I embrace all the previous levels of intimacy. Then I become Homo amor. I become Solomon. I become the love song of Kosmos itself.

That is who we are. We are all individuated expressions of the love song of Kosmos, and when we all live our Unique Self, we come together in a Unique Self Symphony of nations, in a Unique Self Symphony of peoples, in which the animals sing with us and the earth sings with us. The hills are alive with the sound of music, the sound of jubilation, and the sound of joy. That is the great prophecy, and that is the great possibility of possibility, which this day opens, for us to make real.

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A Co-Creative Initiative of the Center for Integral Wisdom and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution Activating the Memory of the Future

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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. http://www.marcgafni.com

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