For the first time in history, all of humanity is interconnected. Imagine the impact of that.
This is a podcast for social geeks in the prime of life who watch the news with a gnawing feeling of emptiness. It is one mind’s attempt to find answers to the most ridiculously big questions: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?
Pretentious? You bet.
Summer message (important)
The podcast is taking a summer break on the audio platforms, but it will keep on humming on Youtube in the form of a series of look-back episodes.
Have a wonderful summer, all of you!
65. The lifelong growth of personality – Lisa Marchiano
A few centuries ago, science got cut off from spirituality. When the search for the depths of a human being was resumed in the west In the early 20th century, it was in the form of psychology.
Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung are considered to be the founders of modern psychoanalysis. Bit by bit, Jung distanced himself from Freud’s more materialistic viewpoints, and eventually his ideas came to inspire the spiritual community.
”Depth psychology really needed to come into fruition when it did because of the ’death of God’ phenomenon. Ordinary religion was not working as a container for people's numinous experiences”, says Lisa Marchiano, a Jungian analyst, author and podcaster.
”In one sense you can see Jung’s life work as an attempt to reconcile science and mysticism. He saw himself as standing at that intersection.”
Although Freud dominated psychology academia for most of the last century, there was an interest in Jung's thoughts all along. In the 50s Joseph Campbell's book ”The Hero with a Thousand Faces” was very influential. In the 80s there was another Jung explosion. In the 90s there was yet another wave, and in the 2000s, Jung's previously unpublished ”The Red Book” became a surprise best seller.
Lisa Marchiano stood at a crossroads in life when she at age 28 suddenly realized that she had to shed the idea of becoming a lawyer and instead train to become a jungian analyst. It all began with her coming across a particular book time and time again, a book that made her cry each time she opened it and read a few lines.
”Freud thought that one’s personality is established in early childhood. But the development of a personality happens over a lifetime. We continue to grow and develop. In fact, some of the most important changes happen in midlife”, Marchiano says.
Jung called this the individuation process. It is one of his most central concepts. Another concept is the shadow, which is the part of our personality that is disallowed – some of it by culture. Anima and animus are the masculine and feminine elements that we all contain.
”We should all develop them both. Some elements are more associated with women and some are more associated with men. But it is a thorny subject.”
Inspired by Iain McGilchrists book ”The master and his emissary”, Lisa Marchiano speculates that the concept of masculine and feminine in the psychological sense might be something like the different kinds of awareness that are generated by the brain’s left and right hemispheres.
Marchiano’s recent book ”Motherhood” is a jungian attempt to understand how a person evolves by becoming a mother.
”I wasn’t interested in how to become a better mother. I was interested in the psychological change ı was going through. How does this entail growing? How is this individuation?”
”If you really want to learn more about yourself, relationships are the best way to do that, and the relationship that is most likely to catalyze self knowledge is parenthood. It's so hard, it doesn't go away, and the stakes are really high.”
Carl Jung wrote that we don't solve our problems so much as we grow larger than them.
A lot in the book is most probably relevant to fathers too, Marchiano thinks.
Lisa Marchiano’s website: https://lisamarchiano.com/
The podcast she co-hosts: https://thisjungianlife.com/podcast/
64. The extraterrestrial allure – Clas Svahn
Are we alone in the universe?
The journalist and author Clas Svahn has spent a large part of his life trying to answer that question by listening to, watching and reading thousands of reports and thoroughly dissecting them. He was for 22 years the director of the organization UFO Sweden, he has written dozens of books about mysterious phenomena, not only UFOs, and he is now an internationally renowned expert on UFOs.
Or UAPs, as the US military now prefers to call these unidentified aerial phenomena. The name change is meant to separate ”proper” sky observations from the reports the military is swamped with about cattle mutilations, crop circles, abductions and other things associated with the UFO phenomenon.
We recorded this episode the day before the much hyped UAP report from the US government was released. In the interview, Clas anticipates most of what it contains and does not contain.
The report is about over 140 observations and recordings of strange objects.
”Pilots have witnessed that they have seen these objects every day for several years”, Clas Svahn says.
Clas has been gathering and analyzing UFO reports since the 1970s. He is very used to the concept being ridiculed. With this report, the issue is suddenly taken seriously.
”I am very glad that this is happening. So many reporters have been ridiculed. They are just telling what they have seen. You have to treat them properly. So this is exciting.”
UFO/UAP observations come in many shapes. There is the probable asteroid Oumuamua in 2017, which the renowned astronomer Avi Loeb suggests could be something from an extraterrestrial civilization. There is the sharp picture of an apparent flying saucer over lake Cote in Costa Rica in 1971. And then there are tons of blurry mobile films, like those allegedly showing a rotating pyramid over the Kremlin in 2008.
To Clas Svahn, the latter category is ”noise”. But there are plenty of other good pictures. Unfortunately, the sightings are often not backed by photos and vice versa.
Clas has interviewed hundreds of people who have seen strange things. He tells about a Swedish fighter pilot who tried to reach a strange object over the Baltic. The object was too fast and eventually vanished into space.
The most well known close encounter in Sweden occured in May 1946. The person who had the encounter, Gösta Carlsson, became a famous businessman, and he made his fortune from ideas he said he got from the ET’s that he met. Clas wrote a book about Carlsson.
The most intriguing stories are actually those about encounters and abductions, says Clas.
”I mean, things you see in the sky could be anything.”
He refers to a fascinating story by a married couple in southern Sweden, in which both experienced an attempt by a group of alien entities to abduct the woman.
Even if no close ET encounter is ever proven, people will never stop reporting strange things in the sky, Clas thinks.
At the same time it is very possible that what UFO reporters experience today will not be understood until tomorrow.
”We must be very open to looking in new directions. There will be revelations in science that are so new to us that we will find them nearly magic.”
UFO Sweden’s website, including Clas Svahn’s blog: www.ufo.se
Archives for the Unexplained (the world’s largest depository of its kind): http://www.afu.se/afu2/
63. Leaving a spiritual wasteland – Betty Kovacs
In the Nag Hammadi texts, Jesus says: ”If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you, but if you do not bring it forth, it will destroy you.”
We have been conditioned to dismiss all signs of an inner reality and a connection with the universe. We have for millennia rejected the feminine principle and energies.
The shaman-mystic knowledge about our true essence was with us when homo sapiens first appeared on this earth. The San people in southern Africa, direct descendants of the first modern humans, are living proof of that.
Despite attempts by religious and secular rulers to quash this wisdom, it has survived throughout time, thanks to courageous groups of humans who have carried it with them under the radar, often at great risk: the gnostics, the sufis, the cathars, the rosicrucians and even the romantics in the early 19th century.
This is the wonderful and often eye-opening story that Betty Kovacs tells us in her book ”Merchants of Light”.
Kovacs has herself had personal experience of an inner reality, or higher dimensions if you will. In connection with the death of her mother, her son and her husband within a period of three years, she experienced altered states of consciousness.
Judaism's first temple tradition was shaman-mystic. The feminine was seen as equal with the masculine. But around 600 BCE this tradition was destroyed. Texts were burned. Some were rescued, however, and lived on in kabbalah.
Christianity’s counterpart to this was the clampdown of the Roman church from the fourth century CE, when the shaman-mystic tradition that Jesus himself represented was suppressed, and the early gnostic Christians were bloodily persecuted.
What the church fathers resented was ”the tradition of going inward and experiencing the divinity of who we are and becoming the Christ”, says Betty Kovacs.
The repression was terrible.
”The church fathers prepared us for totalitarian regimes.”
After seven hundred years of spiritual darkness in Europe, a window opened up during the High Middle Ages.
Cathedrals were built in France to revere personal connection with the higher realms and the feminine principle.
”They taught the hidden tradition.”
The cathedral builders and teachers were influenced by the more open and tolerant islamic culture in Spain.
But it did not last.
Ironically, it was the Roman church that determined the development of materialistic science.
But maybe we are leaving the spiritual wasteland. Our time could be one of rediscovering ancient spiritual knowledge and letting it merge with science.
In the 20th century we began to understand the all-encompassing quantum field and that the heart is in many ways superior to the brain. We began to collect thousands of accounts of near-death experiences and found that they seem to be real. And we rediscovered the ancient shaman-mystic texts from early Judaism and Christianity.
”All these things are synchronistically happening. When I feel depressed over all the violence in the world I think about that”, says Betty Kovacs.
”We are beginning to bring together our past and realize our potential, at the same time that we've got to do business with what was not brought forth, the darkness we've allowed to be in the world.”
62. Our state of consciousness alters every day – Etzel Cardeña
”We do not experience electro-chemical impulses. What we experience are colors, movements and shapes”, says Etzel Cardeña, one of the leading researchers on parapsychology in the world.
What he is referring to is qualia, individual instances of subjective, conscious experience, whose origins have not been possible to directly connect to the brain.
”We don’t have anything even close to a satisfactory account, from a reductionist or materialist position, for how we are conscious of anything”, says the professor of psychology at Lund university in southern Sweden.
There is evidence that we receive information that is not coming from the senses, information that is temporally and spatially distant.
There is also a lot of nonsense being said in the context of parapsychology. Therefore, Cardeña points out, the scientific method is crucial. Researchers must be able to independently confirm what people say they are experiencing and discount alternative plausible explanations.
Properly made studies point to an array of psychic abilities that seem to be real. Cardeña lists four main categories: telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis or telekinesis.
It is actually common to have experiences that resemble at least the first three kinds of phenomenon. Many dismiss them because of fear. They hear these kinds of experiences are ”paranormal”, i.e. not normal.
But we all have these abilities. Some are better at them than others.
”It’s no different than the ability to hit a tennis serve”, Etzel Cardeña says.
How can they be explained? A tenable theory is that time and space are not as we experience them in everyday life. There might be more dimensions.
”On some level where distance doesn't make any difference we might be interconnected in a way. Past, present and future might be adjacent.”
And what about altered states of consciousness?
The truth is that we all go through different states of consciousness every day: we sleep, we dream, we have deep sleep, we are in between waking state and sleep.
”This is not paranormal. We have them for a number of reasons”, Cardeña says.
”Our waking state is good for some things but not for others. It is good for reacting to the senses. But it is inflexible. You ruminate about things. In other states you may have another flexibility. In a dream you may come up with a creative, novel idea that you would never have come up with in the waking state. It’s the same with psychedelic drugs.”
Etzel Cardeña is somewhat skeptical of the idea that altered states of consciousness of the kind that for example near death experiencers report represent something ”higher” in ourselves.
And when asked if he thinks the shaman-mystic traditions have insights about consciousness that were lost when western science came along, he answers by rejecting the notion, held by some, that everything was ”hunky-dory” until science came along and then it went down the drain.
”People have done ghastly things in shamanic and non-shamanic traditions alike. Humans have been in many ways terrible all along, with or without science.”
Cardeña is also skeptical of the idea that humankind is becoming more enlightened.
”But fortunately there have always been people who have been caring and compassionate, and thanks to those people we haven't destroyed humanity or other sentient beings on the planet.”
61. Two sexuality disparities – ... and the elephant in the #metoo room
One of the most contentious issues of our culture is about differences between the sexes. From a higher perspective this isn’t even an issue, but at the level of the physical world, I think there is a point in giving the matter a thought or two.
My take on this focuses on sexuality, where there seems to be at least some variation that is corroborated by science. Sex drive per se is not stronger in any of the sexes, but my conclusion is that there are two overarching differences in the way sexuality expresses itself. If these are not understood, we may never overcome some unnecessary misunderstandings between men and women.
A fascinating look into one of the few remaining matriarchies, the Mosuo in southwestern China, also gives us some clues as to what we probably ought to understand better.
For links to referenced scientific studies and reports about the Mosuo go to my corresponding story on Medium.
Listen also to episodes 59 (Kajsa Ekis Ekman) and 53 (Bettina Arndt).
The swedish smorgasbord of facts and views
Looking to confirm what you already “know”? Maybe this is not your podcast. If you however wish to expand your beliefs and questions, this is the right place to be. Very interesting guests and I also appreciate the professionalism of Anders. Journalism at its best, far from click baits and always choosing the same perspective. The future looks bright!