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A Major Life Change
I would like to tell you why I haven’t posted much over the last month, and what it means for the future.
It all started a couple months ago with a “coincidence.” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. knew my work vaguely before then, as a fellow Covid dissident and environmentalist. But that had little to do with this coincidence. One of my readers won a fundraising raffle for “a day of falconry with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.” She was allowed to take a guest, so she invited me.
I have no interest in falconry, but since I’d always admired Kennedy, I accepted the offer. There were a lot of people there, at least 15 including me and my son, Cary. At lunch, one of them was declaiming at length on some topic. I was just listening. But then Mr. Kennedy turned to me and said, “Charles, what do you think?”
That is what began the relationship. Soon we were in frequent communication. I attended a pre-launch meeting with him and other close advisors, where I presented my ideas on strategy and message. I was deeply moved by their receptivity. I’d never expected my thinking to strike a chord with a major political campaign, at least not in my lifetime.
One of the main areas of resonance was around the theme of reconciliation, unity, and healing the divide. As I’ve said many times in these pages, polarization and division is at the core of our current crisis. With coherence, we can rise to meet any challenge. Without it, even marginal changes are impossible to accomplish. The meta-narrative shared by both sides that the problem is those horrible people on the other side, is itself the real problem. The kind of leader we need today is not one who settles into one camp to wage war on the other, but one who can see the potential for unity behind the divisions. It is someone who can tap into shared moral values and universal human aspirations.
I don’t necessarily agree with Mr. Kennedy on every issue. One thing I admire about him is that he doesn’t surround himself with sycophants and yes men. He takes criticism well. He is forthright about what he does and does not know. He is willing to admit it when he is wrong and to change his mind, while nonetheless holding strong convictions. Anyone who speaks to him knows that he or she will be heard.
For the last 20 years I’ve worked mostly in the counterculture, contributing as best I could to the transformation of our civilization’s defining myths: the story of separation, the paradigm of progress-through-control, nature as other, and so forth. I would often say, change starts from the inside. The ideological core hollows out, leaving the superficial structures intact, like a termite-infested house that collapses, when the moment comes, at a mere touch. So many of us have worked deep in the interior, changing basic patterns of perception and relationship, doing the work of deep healing. Now, maybe, the superstructure is ready to change too. Not to collapse though, but in its moment of crisis, to transform.
Starting in about 2016, I became weary of this work. I hit a kind of glass ceiling. I lost my zest for writing and speaking. It began to feel dutiful. I became averse to public attention and fame. I had all kinds of reasons why I had to keep on, and indeed I produced some of my best work in those times. Yet something within me was hollowing out as well. During Covid I mustered one last effort to play my part in stemming what I saw as a tide of totalitarianism and madness. By its end, I felt kind of done. Done with that phase of my life. As I kept saying to my friends, I felt the desire to walk a completely different path. Maybe fiction? Maybe a screenplay? Nothing ignited internal motivation. Maybe I’ll quit the whole thing and become a hermit. But no, I knew in my bones that another chapter was before me. As the years dragged on, that feeling began drying out into a withered, forlorn hope. Maybe what I was expecting would never come. Or maybe the problem was myself, some kind of inner blockage, some kind of self-sabotage. My prayer in those years was, “Put me to good use.” I would say that to people of means. I would say it to medicine plants. I would say it to God. Please, please, please put me to good use.
It was not martyrdom speaking. I believe we are here for two basic purposes. The first is to behold with awestruck wonder the magnificence of creation, and to fully revel in its joys and delights. The second is to give forward from that nourishment, to transmute the gratitude into service to life and beauty on earth. These two purposes are equal: giving and receiving. That is the foundation of my worldview, embodied most directly in my 2011 book Sacred Economics. It is also the foundation of health and happiness. Being on purpose opens the channel of life force through the whole body-mind.
You can imagine my joy then, at finding an unexpected playground to enact my philosophy in a new, practical way. I am grateful every day that it has found a landing place. I’m grateful that the impulse of “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible” has a new avenue of expression.
So, what does that mean for my column on Substack? I considered putting it on pause, but I have decided to keep writing. Why? Because winning the campaign is not the end goal. Ultimately the campaign is serving the same thing I have striven to serve through my writing. I call it, sometimes, the Age of Reunion. Could it be that the turning point is nigh?
I will keep writing, though perhaps less frequently than before. The worlds I’ve entered are a source of a lot of new insights into politics, policy, and political philosophy. Obviously, I won’t be telling of the inner workings of the campaign. Nor will my writings represent the positions of Mr. Kennedy. However, whatever I write, you will know that such ideas and sentiments are in his field. This blog will comprise the thoughts of a philosopher who has entered the realm of politics (though not, thankfully, as a politician himself).
One more thing. Although I said that winning the campaign is not the ultimate goal, I am confident RFK Jr. will win. Yes, I know about all the obstacles, the media smears, the censorship, the machinations of the deep state. But I just have an uncanny premonition of victory. When people actually listen to Mr. Kennedy and sense his palpable intelligence, humor, kindness, and authenticity, the slanders about his character just don’t stick. The response so far from across the political spectrum has been incredible. America is ready for an historic uprising of people power. And it’s not “RFK against the Establishment.” Many in the bureaucracy, in the C-suites, in the halls of power are, like I was, wishing for liberation from the frozen structures of institution, habit, and psychology that have entrapped them. They too have been hollowing out from the inside.
Most encouraging of all to my optimism is my experience of the core team and the candidate himself. Never before have I encountered a group of people who are so talented and intelligent while at the same time being so selfless. I haven’t seen any infighting or office politics. Everyone is ready to put aside their ego in service to the common cause. That lets in a kind of light that illuminates my own shadow parts, such as subtle twinges of territoriality, and desire for approval and recognition. For me this is a spiritual process. I may share more about that as well in coming installments.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, please stay subscribed to this blog. If you feel some of the excitement and hope that I do, please donate to the campaign. Also go to the campaign website and watch some of the videos. In the next couple of days I will share a conversation Bobby and I recorded last week.
Thanks so much to all of my readers. I hope most of you stay with me on the next part of this journey.
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