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A Return to Eros
This work written by Drs. Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid is one of the core source texts for the new meta-theory of the Center which we call Cosmo-Erotic Humanism. It has been widely recognized as a seminal work. Click here for our book projects in progress and a list of our available publications.
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Barbara Marx Hubbard
Barbara Marx Hubbard has been called “the voice for conscious evolution of our time” by Deepak Chopra and is the subject of Neale Donald Walsch’s book, The Mother of Invention. A prolific author, visionary, social innovator, evolutionary thinker and educator, she is co-founder and president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution and Co-Board Chair of CIW.
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Watch This Featured Clip by Dr. Marc Gafni
Welcome, everyone. It’s a hard time. It’s a painful time. We live in a world of outrageous pain, and the only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. One of the things that we’re trying to do here at the Center for Integral Wisdom and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution and we’re also trying to do it in a broadcast program that’s its own world that spun off originally from the center and the foundation and is now an independent and beautiful movement which is called One Church: Many Paths, One Mountain—we broadcast every week and we’re together every week; it’s an incredible community of some 10,000 people around the world—what we’re trying to do is what I would call sensemaking. We live in a moment of decentralized sensemaking. We don’t rely at this point on the government or the church. Our information ecologies are broken. Our sense of larger patterns and larger worldviews has been fractured and fragmented.
So as we find ourselves in the middle of this outrageous pain, the pain of the coronavirus, which is now a collective pain across the world, I just read an amazing set of stories about five Italian doctors, heroes, heroes of outrageous love who died this week, and the stories abound across the world. And we don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re doing everything we can to flatten the curve, but we’re not doing enough. Will we be able to flatten the curve? What are the timeframes? There’s an enormous amount that needs to happen now.
But what I want to talk to you about in this moment is the sensemaking that we need to do. Now, sensemaking takes place in the context of action, so clearly the very first thing that needs to be done now is to heal the sick, to have enough ventilators, to have enough beds in hospitals, to not collapse the medical system, to not collapse the economy, because the economy is about people being able to buy basic necessities. It’s about survival in the most essential of ways. Let’s take the United States just as an example. Seventy percent of the families in the United States live from paycheck to paycheck.
So the amount of pain and dislocation and disruption and suffering is intense and real and we need to respond to it, and the only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love, and outrageous love means that there are outrageous acts of love to perform, and it’s not just the Italian doctors who are being the most incredible—this is a moment where Italy truly is filled with outrageous lovers, unbelievable beyond imagination—but it’s not just those Italian doctors. It’s all of us who need to be, in this moment, heroes. We need to protect our elderly who are more precious than precious. We need to provide every resource we can. We need to share our homes when it’s appropriate within the context of physical distancing. We need to share our resources, which means our money and our time. We need to share our hearts. We need to join hands. We need to respond to outrageous pain with outrageous love.
Various aspects of Eros – Video with Dr. Marc Gafni
Stay tuned for the new Online Course with Dr. Marc Gafni to be launched soon: Our First Steps as “Homo Amor”. The course was recorded during the last Festival of Love in Holland and is being produced right now. It will be launched on our CIW Programs Platform. Snippets of that course were used for the video above.
What is Eros?
So in A Return to Eros, we tried to define what eros means. And we got almost there. It was one of the more depressing moments. We got like, just about there, then we published it, and then I realized it was one tad off. Right? And I just like, killing myself, calling the publisher, “Stop, stop, stop!” And he said, “Fuck you, don’t talk to me. No one cares.”
But here’s the best definition of eros. This is what eros … right, we got almost there in Return to Eros. And I apologize, we’ll correct it in the next edition.
Eros is … and listen. Try and look like, wildly excited about this, because this took me 20 years, this very simple sentence. So just look … just, even if you don’t get it, just like look, like, “Wow, that got so amazing. Like, that’s so fantastic.”
Okay, ready? So Eros is … eros is … Eros is the experience of radical aliveness moving towards ever-deeper contact and ever-larger wholes. W-H-O-L-E-S. And those of us who are hanging out with Joost someplace in France, we did that sentence over there, right?
Eros is the experience of radical aliveness which desires. It’s filled with dripping desire to make ever-deeper contact and create ever-larger wholes. That is the quality of eros. Eros is all the way up and all the way down.
Eros and Desire
Every single person in this room, and every single person in the world has some experience of our basic needs, the dignity of our desire, being fundamentally degraded. Desire is the quality of finitude. It’s not just the shame of aliveness, it’s the shame of finitude. It’s the shame when my basic needs are shamed. My fundamental desire for the first scene, food, and the second scene, touch. Your Need is My Allurement restores the dignity of personal need, which is not a psychological category. It’s not an existential category. It’s not even a spiritual category. The word’s too narrow. It’s not even just a scientific category, but it’s the essential structure of reality. The structure of reality is eros, desire, is the intimate Universe, and the entire intimate Universe lives in me.
What Whitehead called the Lure of Feeling for the primordial One, which drives every quark and atom, which is how we describe prehension, which moves atoms to come together, is alive in me all the way up and all the way down. When you have a structure of reality in which there’s no sexual narrative, and there’s no narrative of touch, and there’s no narrative of desire, and there’s not an understanding that I am a unique expression, a unique set of allurements, that allurement guides my life. Allurement is clarified allurement. I wrote 1000 pages on that. How do you clarify your desire, the clarification of desire? The distinction we’ve made between eros and pseudo-eros. Of course, that’s all in place. But, remember that all desire is the source of ethics.
From Pre-Modernity, through Modernity, to Post-Modernity – Video with Dr. Marc Gafni
In this video excerpt from the Summer Festival of Love 2018, Dr. Marc Gafni paints a historical overview of how humanity landed in this critical moment, where we have all the power in the world but lack a story to give it meaning in a way that evolves us all.
Stay tuned for the new Online Course with Dr. Marc Gafni to be launched soon: Our First Steps as “Homo Amor”. The course was recorded during the last Festival of Love in Holland and is being produced right now. It will be launched on our CIW Programs Platform.
Dr. Marc Gafni:
We’re ready? We’re ready? Yeah? We have a little drum roll in the house. Drum roll in the house. Yes, drum roll in the … oh my God. Here we go, and…
You think by the way, what we’re about, the conversation we’re about to have all week, you think this conversation is happening everywhere, it should be. It should be happening at the best conservative think tanks, and the best liberal think tanks of Europe, and Asia, and America. It should be happening at the leading university departments all over the world. But it’s not.
This is the conversation that everyone knows needs to happen, but it hasn’t happened in a real way since the Renaissance. That’s a very big deal. When I make an assertion like that … So, I’m trust able on some things. I don’t make casual assertions. I’ve spent my life hanging out way too many wild central nights with books. Till 5:00 in the morning I’ve plowed through thousands and thousands of volumes in my life. This conversation is not happening. It’s the single most important conversation we can have, which is after all of the deconstruction, Postmodernity. How many people have heard the term Postmodernity? Anyone?
Postmodern, postmodern means really simply. This postmodern moment which says that all the earlier stories of the past were wrong. Postmodernity says that pre modernity meaning up to the Renaissance. The great traditions, the great religions, up to the Renaissance these guys got it wrong in a really bad way. Voltaire leads modernity with the cry: remember the cruelties. The great evil of pre modernity that was unleashed through the power of sanctioned official religion. So, Postmodernity critiques the hell out of pre modernity, but forgets to make a distinction.