1 — Seducing Homo Sapiens into Homo Amor: The Moral Obligation of a New World Religion

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 and prepared for publication by Elena Maslova-Lenin and Krista Josepha.

It is the first part of [our] Meditations on Seduction. Read part 2 and part 3 here.

The Only Response to Existential Risk is a New World Religion

A world religion is a set of shared principles, and a shared conversation

A world religion doesn’t mean we lose all the other religions — it means we have a basic shared score, basic core ideas which are First Principles and First Values. A world religion is a set of shared principles, so there can be a shared conversation. Each religion weaves them together in a particular way, but underneath, there is a universal grammar of value.

That is the only response we have today to existential risk — which means no future.

When we have a shared score — as though a shared Beethoven symphony — each conductor plays it uniquely, and adds their own jazz moments, moments of dazzling improvisation. That’s how your uniqueness comes through — in how you play the score, and in the particular expressions of those jazz moments.

That’s what actually happens when we have a shared language.

The Root Cause of Existential Risk is a Global Intimacy Disorder

What is the root cause of existential risk

  • underlying the win-lose metrics,
    — which is the failed story that everybody lives in,
    — which causes an extraction model,
    — which causes multipolar traps, and the race to the bottom, and the tragedy of the commons,
    — — which causes people to develop exponential weaponized technologies that are owned and directed by rogue players and non-state actors,
    — — which causes the inability to monitor in any way — nor to control — the gap between the haves and the have-nots, the inability to actually direct AI where it needs to go, etcetera, etcetera,
  • which then generates fragile systems?

Before we talk about the root cause, let’s restate the two generator functions of existential risk:

  • rivalrous conflict based on win-lose metrics, and
  • fragile systems that are dissociated from each other, and are falling apart.

But underneath those two generator functions, there is something deeper. The root cause of existential risk is a Global Intimacy Disorder.

Now, why is that the root cause?

Because Global Intimacy Disorder means we cannot come together and act with global coherence. We cannot act with global coordination. All our challenges are global, but we have no global coordination.

Why do we have no global coordination?
— Because there is no global coherence.

Why is there no global coherence?
— Because there is no global resonance: we don’t resonate with each other, we are not resonating to the same music.

And why is there no global resonance?
Because we don’t have a shared story.

A Shared Story Generates Intimacy

A shared story in a couple, and a shared story globally, and a shared story in an organization, and a shared story in a company…

A shared story generates resonance, which then generates coherence, which then generates the possibility for coordination.

To co-ordinate, we need shared ordinating values. We need a shared grammar of value and a shared grammar of practice.

That is the desperate need.

It’s not cute. It’s not casual. It’s actually our only response to existential risk: to articulate a new shared story of value, which generates a new human being.

A new human being is a new way of being human.

Elena Maslova-Levin. Sarah (after Amadeo Modigliani), 2011

Existential Risk is Armageddon. A New Human and a New Humanity is Messiah.

We are at this moment in history that all the great traditions saw, but they didn’t have language for it. This moment is called Armageddon. Armageddon means the end of day, it means it all falls apart.

But the great traditions all interpreted Armageddon in terms of their own ethnocentric religions. They said:

If you don’t keep my law

— if you’re not doing Ramadan well

— if you’re not doing Jewish well,

— if you’re not doing Christian well —

Armageddon comes, and the Christians win, or the Jews win, or the Muslims win.

And so, the idea of Armageddon was hijacked by ethnocentric religions.

But they had this intuition, they understood that it is not going to go on forever. They understood that we are going to come to a place in which two paths diverge in the woods, and the question is,

Will we be able to take the one less traveled by?

The modern word for Armageddon is existential risk. Existential risk is Armageddon.

Now, what is the response to existential risk? In the traditions, what did they call it?

They called it Messiah.

In the traditions, they called the response to existential risk Messiah, or the Messianic days. But what does that mean?

  • Messiah means a new vision, a new human and a new humanity.

What do we call Messiah here, in our weekly broadcast of One Mountain, Many Paths, in CosmoErotic Humanism?

We call it Homo amor.

Homo amor is the new human and the new humanity.

A New Way of Being Human — as a Unique Self Symphony

This is a really important thing.

At the center of this community is not Barbara Marx Hubbard.
At the center of this community is not Dr. Marc Gafni.
At the center of the community is First Principles and First Values.

At the center of the community is the Dharma: Evolving First Principles and First Values, the New Story of value.

Barbara passed, but she is totally with us. If I pass — and I very much hope to be here for another few decades, because we are just getting started — it doesn’t matter, we stay in.

This community is not based on a charismatic leader, neither Barbara or Marc or Dr. Zak Stein, or anybody. It is based on the Dharma. We are a Unique Self Symphony. We are in this together.

This is a new way of being human.

We need decades to do this, so let’s do this together.

Oh my God, what a crazy mad delight! Every book is going to get out with the help of She. We are creating a Great Library, and the Great Library is not just books. It’s going to be books, it has to be movies, it has to be videos — even TikTok videos!

Yes, it’s great to have teachers (otherwise I wouldn’t have a job)! It’s great to have a powerful community. We need teachers — and we need a powerful community. Of course, we all have different places and different roles. Each one of us who is doing a book is going to be the master of that book, and anyone who is doing a project is going to be the master of that project. Anyone who comes to One Mountain and participates, it’s your One Mountain, it’s our One Mountain. We are doing this together, we are holding this together.

At the center of everything is the Dharma. It is, if you will, the Torah. It is the First Principles and First Values — and each of us plays this Unique Self Jazz Symphony, the Dharma as an expression of uniqueness.

Are we ready to participate in the Evolution of Love?

Evolutionary Love Code:
There’s no love without seduction. Seduction is a first principle and first value of kosmos. Wisdom is to distinguish between holy seduction and unholy seduction. Holy seduction seduces upwards; unholy seduction seduces downwards. Unholy seduction: I seduce you to violate your appropriate boundary for the sake of my greed. Holy seduction: I seduce you to transcend the boundary of your limitation — of your contraction — for the sake of your and reality’s deepest need. Everyone is seduced; the question is, to trust the right person to seduce you. Or people, or art, or music, or dharma…

Seduction is a First Principle and First Value of Kosmos.

Wisdom is to distinguish between holy seduction and unholy seduction. Holy seduction seduces upwards; unholy seduction seduces downwards.

  • Unholy seduction: I seduce you to violate your appropriate boundary for the sake of my greed.
  • Holy seduction: I seduce you to transcend the boundary of your limitation — of your contraction — for the sake of yours and reality’s deepest need.

Everyone is seduced; the question is, to trust the right person to seduce you. Or people, or art, or music, or Dharma.

Are we ready to participate in the evolution of love?

Let’s set our intention.

Are we ready to play a larger game?

Are we ready to participate in the evolution of love? Here we go, let us dive in.

This is wildly exciting. Seduction is a very big deal. This code is provocative code, and unbelievably important.

We need to engage in self-seduction; we have to actually seduce ourselves.

Here we go, let’s step into seduction.

What does seduction mean?

My Deepest Heart’s Desire is my deepest will, and my deepest will is the will of evolution

Clarification of desire

Let us start with a practice. We need practices; practices are wildly important. I can’t become Homo amor without evoking the new human and the new humanity, and I can’t evoke the new human and the new humanity in me unless I practice and train.

Here’s the practice: Envision and clarify your Deepest Heart’s Desire.

This week, write your Deepest Heart’s Desire for the next 10 years, and then go backwards from 10 to seven, five, three, two, one years. Envision your Deepest Heart’s Desire.

Desire is very connected to will. Desire and will are deeply connected. My Deepest Heart’s Desire is my deepest will, and my deepest will is the will of evolution.

Desire is very important, we place desire at the absolute center. Desire is not something to avoid, we have to embrace desire, but we have to clarify desire. In the interior sciences of the 16th century in the Renaissance, it is called berur, the clarification of desire.

I want to clarify my desire to identify my Deepest Heart’s Desire.

My Deepest Heart’s Desire is the yearning of evolution, because evolution desires

Alfred North Whitehead, the mathematician who wrote Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russell at Cambridge, says evolution, or Reality, has appetite. Whitehead was a Cambridge Englishman in the 1920s, so he couldn’t say more than that. But by appetite, he means desire. Evolution is hungry, it has desire, and desire is the call of the future.

Desire means I have a will in me that wants to manifest a future that’s different from the present. This is important. The eternal Now, the power of the Now is important, but it’s insufficient.

I need to identify what is the future that calls me, what is the memory of the future that calls me? I’m called by a memory of the future, both a personal memory of the future and a collective memory of the future.

Hope is a memory of the future.

I want to eavesdrop on the evolutionary conversation, on the Divine conversation

What I need to do, as a practice, is to activate my will, and my desire, and envision the future.

But when I envision the future, I want to access, to eavesdrop, as it were, on the evolutionary conversation, on the divine conversation. I want my will to be identical with the will of Kosmos, or what’s often called Ratzon HaShem in the interior sciences, which means the will of God.

Now, how do I do that?

I need to identify my own deepest will, I need to embrace my desire, but my Deepest Heart’s Desire, which is my will, and there’s a real, ontic identity of wills between my will and God’s will.

It’s not that I’ve got to submit to God’s will. No, my deepest will is the Divine Will.

That’s a shocking idea.

These are core tenets of what needs to emerge as a shared grammar of value.

The name of Goddess and the name of the Beloved are one

I want to try and find that idea with you: that my own Deepest Heart’s Desire, which is my own deepest will, is ontologically identified with the Divine Will.

Let us take a look at a word in the original Hebrew (because as Wittgenstein reminded us — this is one of the great contributions of logical positivism: language tells us about the nature of Reality).

The Hebrew word for will is ratzon. Ratzon HaShem means “the will of God”, but also “the will of the name”. HaShem means “God”, but it also means “the name”.

Now, whose name are we talking about?

For example, at a moment of sexual explosion, we know that, cross-culturally, people cry out:

Oh God!, and the name of the beloved.

Why?

Because at that moment, which is a Holy of Holies moment, it’s pure of pure — in the context of beautiful commitment, and respect, and honor, and mutuality, and Eros, and joy — in that moment, you realize the truth that the name of the beloved and the name of God are one. There is no distinction between those names.

You recognize the truth that the name of Goddess and the name of the Beloved are one.

That’s what we call the ontic identity of wills: my will is God’s will.

My deepest will, my Deepest Heart’s Desire, is the divine desire.

That’s a shocking idea!

Eros is the experience of separate parts becoming greater wholes, seeking ever deeper contact

Seduce me, and I will run towards you!

Let’s go deeper. We are moving towards seduction.

Let us seduce ourselves towards our conversation on seduction, let’s go the next step.

The word ratzon is a Hebrew word that’s the same as another word, and the second word is ratz, which means “to run”, but particularly it means “to run towards in Eros”.

There is a verse in the most important document in western civilization on Eros, which is a document written by the ancient King Solomon (think wisdom of Solomon). It is sometimes referred to as canticles, or the Song of Solomon, or the Song of Songs.

In the Song of Songs, at the very beginning of Chapter 1, there is a text which reads:

mashkheni aharaka be-na rutzah: draw me after you, seduce me, and I will run after you

So the Lover says to the Beloved:

— Draw me after you!

The word mashkheni is a three-letter root in Hebrew, which means “seduce me”.

  • Mashkheni: draw me after you, seduce me
  • Aharaka: draw me after you.
    — You seduce me, and then when you seduce me, then
  • na-rutzah: I will run after you.

The context here is Eros: personal Eros, emotional Eros, but also sexual Eros.

But it’s not about sex at all.

The Sexual Models the Erotic

In our Phenomenology of Eros, which is a 12-volume work that we have completed and now working on the last stages of edits, one of the major principles is that the sexual models the erotic.

Eros is the experience of separate parts becoming greater wholes, seeking deeper contact.

Our Eros equation:

Eros = the experience of radical aliveness, seeking, desiring ever-deeper contact and ever-larger wholes.

There’s 12 billion years of Eros before sex. The emergence of sexuality is the next stage of Eros. Eros seeks more newness, more novelty, more wholeness. There’s 12 billion years of Eros before sex, and once there’s sex, sex doesn’t exhaust Eros.

Sex is just an expression, it’s a model of Eros. We live erotically in every facet of our lives. The sexual models the erotic.

How do I need to be seduced in all dimensions of life?

The Song of Songs is the master document in Western civilization.

It’s a love song, it’s a song of Eros.

In every text of the Song of Songs, we say, the sexual models Eros: there’s a poetic, often explicit description, using agricultural metaphors of ancient Israel, describing sexuality, the lover and the beloved, and their play. But the book is about not sex, it’s about Eros.

Because we have to live erotically in every dimension of life.

This text is about a sexual seduction story — but it’s not about sex, it’s about Eros. It’s about how I need to be seduced in all dimensions of life.

Let us look at that text again:

  • Mashkheni aharaka be-na rutzah: draw me after you, seduce me, and I will run towards you.

Now, is that consent? Is this a story of consent? No, this is so much more than consent!

Literally, the only distinction we have around sexuality today is consent, which is tragic. We have lost all distinctions around sexuality. The most powerful force in Reality, and we have no distinctions around it, other than: was there consent?

Of course we need consent, it’s insane to think you wouldn’t need consent. We quibble about what consent is, but that’s not the issue.

We need a sexual narrative. But this story is not a consent story.

  • It’s not: “I consent to have you seduce me.”
  • No, this is: “I invite you to seduce me, I demand that you seduce me.”

You get how much bigger, how much wider, and how much deeper that is than consent? No, it’s not like I’m consenting. No, please seduce me!

— Mashkheni aharaka be-na rutzah, the Lover says to the Beloved. Seduce me, please! Draw me after you. Be-na rutzah: and I will run towards you.

We need to articulate a world religion which can seduce Reality towards the highest version of itself

Unholy seduction is a violation of essential humanity

Why are we so afraid of seduction in the Western world?

We are — and we should be — because there are so many degraded forms of seduction. Let us see if we can now go in really deeply, and really understand this set of distinctions.

We react in two ways in our bodies to the word seduction: we are allured, and we are repulsed: No, that’s terrible.

They’re both right. Because there are two forms of seduction, and we need to distinguish between these two forms of seduction.

In the Western world, the reason seduction is considered so dangerous and so violating, is because in the Western world (by the way, virtually the entire world is some version of the West today, whether it’s China or the United States) the understanding of who an individual is, is that the individual is a separate self, and the separate self has boundaries, and the dignity of the individual is based on the boundaries of the separate self.

And so, if someone comes along to violate the boundaries of my separate self, they are violating my humanity.

Because who am I?
— I am a separate self.

So, if you violate my separate self boundaries, if you seduce me, and get me to violate the boundaries of my separate self without invitation, or at least consent, well then, that’s a disaster, that’s a violation of my essential humanity.

If that is what seduction means — if seduction means to seduce a person without consent and without invitation, to violate the boundaries of their separate self — then our understanding of seduction is going to be massively negative and massively pejorative.

Seduction will be understood as a downward causation, as moving a person downward:

  • If I seduce you, I am appealing to your animal, I am taking from your human, and seducing you into your animal.
  • It is downward on the phylogenetic chain, it’s a regressive move, hence massively negative.

Sacred seduction, from Separate Self upwards to True Self

But what if we have a deeper understanding of the human being?

What if I am actually not just a separate self?

  • But, number one, I am a True Self — meaning I am a part of the seamless code of the universe.
    — What if my true identity is that I am not separate from the field of consciousness and desire? Not just awareness — that’s a Ramana Maharshi mistake, with all due respect to Ramana Maharshi. No, I am one with the field of consciousness and desire.
  • Then — what if I am not only True Self, one with the field of consciousness and desire?
    — But I am actually a unique individuation of that field, which is Unique Self. Unique Self is higher individuation beyond separation. Unique Self is individuation beyond separate self, meaning I have now realized that I am part of the one field of True Self. Then I am a unique expression of that field — that’s Unique Self.
  • Then — I locate myself in an evolutionary context. I am part of the field of evolution. I realize the evolutionary impulse is awake and alive in me, I realize that my Deepest Heart’s Desire is the desire of evolution. All of a sudden, I am Evolutionary Unique Self.
  • Then Evolutionary Unique Selves come together, and each one begins to play their own instrument and their own jazz movement in the Unique Self Symphony.

Wow, that’s a whole world.

Now, how do I get from Separate Self, to True Self, to Unique Self, to Evolutionary Unique Self, to Unique Self Symphony?

That is to be seduced upwards.

To be seduced upwards means I am not seduced as downward causation. Seduction is not a regressive move. Rather,

  • I am seduced to be my highest self,
  • I am seduced to be my most wondrous,
  • I am seduced to be my most beautiful.

I am seduced from Separate Self, upwards to True Self:

  • I am seduced into greater depth.
  • I am seduced into my uniqueness and into my Unique Self.
  • I am seduced into my Evolutionary Unique Self.
  • I am seduced into picking up my instrument, and playing my instrument in the Unique Self Symphony.

When you seduce yourself, you seduce God

When we say the practice is to articulate a vision of your Deepest Heart’s Desire, to articulate a vision of your will, what we are saying is:

  • Seduce yourself into your Deepest Heart’s Desire!

Your will is the will of the Divine, so when you seduce yourself, you seduce God.

You seduce God, who experiences Her own shocking self-recognition in you to the highest version of Reality being you.

But that requires seduction. That’s not simple. That’s not easy, it requires training, but that training is not just hard, rigorous training. It is not just hard, it’s gorgeous.

It’s seduction.

And so, there are two kinds of seduction:

  • There is an unholy seduction, where I’m seducing you downwards. Unholy seduction means that I seduce you to violate your appropriate boundary for the sake of my greed.
  • But in sacred seduction, I move to seduce you and you move to seduce me. I move to seduce you to transcend the boundary of your limitation, to transcend the boundary of your contraction.
    — To transcend the boundary that says I’m just a separate self,
    to transcend the boundary that says I am an isolated monad in the world,
    — — to transcend the boundary that says I am ultimately alone,
    — — to transcend the boundary that says I can never transcend loneliness because I’m separate from everything,
    — — to transcend the boundary of my coiled contraction, in order to emerge and
    — — to transcend (trance-end: to end the trance) of being merely a separate self.
  • Sacred seduction is: I seduce you, and you seduce me, to transcend the boundary of your contraction, not for the sake of my greed, but for the sake of your own deepest need.

We need to articulate a world religion which can seduce Reality towards the highest version of itself.

In this moment in which we are poised between utopia and dystopia, in this time between worlds and this time between stories, as a Unique Self Symphony, we need to articulate a New Story of value.

It has to be a seductive story — but seductive is beautiful.

Seductive means the allurement, the Eros of Kosmos, calls me

  • to break the boundary of contraction,
  • to break the boundary of yesterday’s patterns,
  • to trance-end (= to end the trance) of the contraction,
  • to end the loops of fixation,
  • to end the loops of trauma, and
  • to step into and be called forth by the memory of my future.

The great master, Nachman of Breslov, one of the favorites of Franz Kafka, writes gorgeously in Aramaic in the early 19th century. He says:

When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you have to do is Zichron Alma De’Ati: Remember your future world. Seduce yourself!

In prayer, we turn to the Infinity of Intimacy that knows our name

In prayer, we turn to the Infinity of Intimacy that knows our name, the personal force of Kosmos. We say, seduce me! Mashkheni aharaka: draw me after you, na-rutzah: so that I run towards you.

That is what prayer is: turning towards the Divine, and our plea to the Divine:

Seduce me please, I beg you. I am on my knees, seduce me. Mashkheni aharaka be-na rutzah: draw me after you so that I may run towards you.

It is one field of Eros: the divine human field, and, within the manifest world, all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain (matter, life, and mind), and before the evolutionary chain, the world of pure divinity — it is all one field of Eros.

Just like in human Eros,
we know that when we step over that line,
and when we have stepped inside,
there is that moment in sexing where you’ve stepped over the line.
You’re not: will I, won’t I, am I in, am I not in?
You are in!
You are over the line.
You’ve stepped over the line.
Often, you are so far in, you’re near the explosion of sexuality,
and you enter into a kind of erotic consciousness.
An orgasm consciousness, if you will.
You look at each other,
and you are madly in love,
and you say, I love you.
You can ask each other for anything
because you want to say:
Yes.
It’s all Yes.

That’s what prayer actually is: we are making love with the All, with the Infinity of Intimacy.

We are on a journey to God.
We are on a journey in God.

We say:

Infinity of Intimacy that knows my name

God is the infinite personhood of Kosmos that knows my name,

that holds me in every second

— and we are making love, we’ve crossed that line.

I begin by saying:

— God, seduce me, take me.

Then I step inside, I’m in prayer.

I am in dance.
I am in psychedelic journey.
I am in meditation.
I am in ecstatic chant.

Then I ask for everything.

How deep is your love of the Infinite?

By the Infinite, we don’t mean something abstract.
The God you don’t believe in doesn’t exist.

When you think God,
think of the most precious moment of tenderness
and fierce Eros
you’ve ever experienced in your entire life,
— and then times it by a billion.
The deepest desire you have ever felt,
the most tenderness you’ve ever felt —
— times it by a billion.

The personhood that lives between you and me,
that sense of personal,
doesn’t exhaust itself in you and me.
We are part of the field of personhood.

God is not only the Infinity of Power.
God is the Infinity of Intimacy.

If you can hear me talk, what in you hears me talk? Your intelligence hears me talk. Not just your ears, but your intelligence. If you can hear me talk because your quality of intelligence hears me talk, are you separate from the field of intelligence?

Of course not, you are not separate from the field of intelligence.

That infinite field of intelligence — that’s God, that’s the Infinity of Intimacy.

So if you can hear me talk, is it possible that the divine field of Infinite Intelligence cannot hear me talk?

Prayer is this radical Eros.
Prayer is making love with the Divine — quite literally.

And so, we start with:

God, seduce me, draw me after you, and I will run towards you.

Then when we’re all the way on the inside, and we ask for everything.

Here is a simple prayer:

I just turn and I say:

Goddess, Reality, seduce me!
Seduce me to my Unique Self.
Seduce me to my highest.
Oh Goddess, seduce me to myself that you need so desperately
.

That’s my prayer.
Because I cannot do it myself.
I need the force,
the current of Eros of Reality itself that knows me personally.

Seduce me! Take me!
Mashkheni aharaka be-na rutzah
: draw me after you so that I may run towards you.

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