That was really sweet. I was born in 1966 in Canada and so was brought up reading ALL the books in grade 9: Fail Safe, On the Beach, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, Brave New World, 1984, Z is for Zacharia, The Chrysalids...I mean, the list goes on. They really drummed this idea that we all needed to be fearful of a Nuclear Holocaust and Nuclear Winter, with force! I remember hearing a very loud airplane noise and making a ducking movement because my first thought was: Nuclear Bomb! That's so sad. We were all so manipulated! Pisses me off.

And the other thing your conversation with your bright, investigative son reminded me of was how each generation (of aware, intelligent people) seems to build on the last one....like what our generation discovered, the next generation are already born knowing and then they spiral up and discover something ELSE...and so on... I mean, I did mushrooms when I was 18 and had a very big experience where I realized for the first time that I was actually a soul 'trapped' in this physical body and world until my time here was done....so I had that awareness but I was still surprised when I was 28 and my favourite 18 year old dishwasher told me, "You chose to be yourself, you know" - I don't know why - but it had never occurred to me that I actually chose to be ME!!? Ha! I thought: How does he know this already!? Ahhhh hah! Each generation creates a path, an atmosphere...sends out Knowings, Intuitions, Creations, Awarenesses, Expanded Consciousness into the Environment and the environment is changed forever and then the next generation comes into being and is already infused with that new Expanded Consciousness before it sets out on it's Path to change ITS environment for the next energy-beings that blossom next.....

Thanks for the inspiration you two!

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you're like me. you talk too much. you don't ask a lot of questions of others. you ask yourself questions and then you get all hellbent on answering them. especially if you have a captive younger person as audience. my mentor was not like this. he was blind, and he asked lots of questions. he made younger people feel welcome. they didn't come to him for his answers. they came to find their answers. i haven't mastered this yet. when i write poems for people on demand, i come close. i ask more questions. i listen better. but it's probably still performative listening. i really want to write the poem, i am poised to express myself even as i appear to inquire with curiosity. there's a definite sharing that occurs. that's what our organism does best, through no fault of our own. in these interactions, i assimilate what i hear very well. but i make it part of me. this becomes my archive, my library, my dictionary of received ideas. it serves me. so that i can think that i can serve others.

you face a similar challenge, charles eisenstein. good luck with that.

thanks. peace

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Dec 16, 2023·edited Dec 16, 2023

Thank you for sharing that fascinating and rewarding discussion. However, I’m surprised that you and Philip have figured out the big pharma scam (and presumably other forms of corporate corruption) but you haven’t cottoned on to the climate hoax which is the biggest scam of all. Could I suggest you read an excellent Substack by Professor Matthew Wielicki, an earth scientist who was troubled by the anxiety and despair about climate change he saw in the young people he taught. He’s also on FB. Yes the climate is changing, but it is not caused by or controlled by humans and it is mostly in good ways anyway. https://open.substack.com/pub/irrationalfear/p/climate-change-and-disaster-trends?r=18ihn4&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post

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I’m not sure if you’ll remember me, Charles. You spoke at two of my conferences early in the history of Sustainable Brands, and made a very notable mark on my community. I sure continue to appreciate you and am happy to be able to keep up just a bit through your writing on occasion. No surprise you have a thoughtful and well adjusted young man as a son. I’m lucky to have two of them myself. I wanted to make sure you’d spotted “Notes on Complexity” by Neil Theise. You’ll love his thoughtful connection between Quantum Physics and some of the core concepts of the Mystics from the Kabbalah, Buddhism and Sufism. He and I have become friends (he’s a very interesting and good human in addition to being one of the top liver pathologists in the world doing fascinating work on a discovery hes made of a new organ in the human body called the Interstitium. He’s also connected up with Jennifer Blendel, another polymath interested in Polymaths. They’re pulling together a conference from what I understand next fall and you would be a great participant. Email me at koann@sustainablebrands.com if you’d like to learn more. In the meantime, I hope you are well in the midst of these remarkable times.

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Dec 16, 2023·edited Dec 16, 2023

I appreciate this conversation so much. The thoughts and ideas are so rich.

As I was taking in the ideas you both were discussing about being deserving, I couldn’t help but see the wisdom in what you were expressing. But, I also had the thoughts creep in about the impracticality of it. Not holding dessert until after dinner does seem kind of contrary to healthy human views on food. But children haven’t had time to develop those healthy views on food and nutrition. Actually, most people don’t have healthy views of nutrition so while holding dessert until after dinner may not be the best way to deal with nutrition, wouldn’t it be an improvement from where we are?

But maybe this habit of using treats as a reward for eating nutritious food is what landed us where we are, where most people eat dessert (or unhealthy foods) all day long as a sort of way to boost their mood because they lack feelings of contentment in general. Many people are treating themselves to disease and early death.

My daughter was just telling me that in the preschool she just brought her children too (it’s like two or three hours twice a week for dancing and social interaction), they use a sticker reward chart for good behavior. She said it was very effective for her youngest child (my grandchild). My visceral reaction was dread because they are already starting down a path of performing tasks to please others. This is clearly damaging when it’s taken too far.

As I thought about it, I was also weighing the idea of never feeling pressured to please others, which could be catastrophic as well. As I pondered these two conflicting opposite ends of the spectrum, I felt like the most probable way to the best outcome is to strike a balance between external and internal motivations, which most likely is going to be very different for each individual. Community vs self probably shouldn’t be one to the exclusion of the other. Caring what other people think is important and caring what one’s self thinks is also important.

Maybe we just keep moving towards caring what the teachers think or grading the students out of practicality because it is cheaper to have all students doing the same thing so that more students can be placed in a classroom setting. Or maybe it’s because we want a tangible way to evaluate schools and teachers and we want graphs and charts and tests to show us what’s going on (which is clearly not panning out to be effective). It’s our version of using “science” to measure things that probably aren’t easy to measure using one or two standards.

Most of our life seems to be spent wading through the merky middle and the least balanced place to be, seems at least to me, on one extreme side or the other.

One of the major challenges we face today seems to be the hijacking of the human pleasure centers. Since science and technology have advanced to the point that they can tap into the human pleasure centers with ease and at very low cost, the internal motivation and sense of self fulfillment is much harder to achieve. This looks to be limiting people’s natural developmental stages that they once moved through at younger ages. We have been far removed from nature, which is where our bodies either were created to live, or evolved to live (or both?). If we want to do things that are fulfilling and meaningful to our own selves, we have to navigate through a minefield of pleasure traps that did not exist just a few hundred years ago. Dessert did not used to be a thing.

Actually though, some of the most pleasure entangling technology has emerged just in my lifetime, i.e. social media. And I feel like it is throwing development off in completely new ways.

Recognizing these challenges, it seems hasty to discount some of the cultural avenues that lead people to being productive. What if being productive is only meaningful in the sense that one doesn’t then rely on someone else to not only provide for their own needs but has to provide for the needs of someone else who doesn’t find value in participating in the current economy? That food isn’t growing itself and those houses aren’t constructing themselves for use by someone who finds meaning in other, deeper pursuits than participating in the current economy.

I’m not defending the current culture and pattern of living as the end all of existence. But throwing it away for different patterns that haven’t been proven is pretty risky.

I’m looking at this from a place where I’m currently moving on from my past religious affiliation. I couldn’t stay in the religion because my beliefs changed. But I definitely have not found something better, with as many benefits (even amongst the many drawbacks). And I certainly haven’t found anything that is sustainable, that can be easily or effectively handed down to children. I’m not necessarily looking for easy, but meaningful and practical are pretty valuable and hard to come by.

I’m not trying to argue anything that was said during this conversation. I actually have been moving towards these ideas but with great caution. I guess I’m more wondering what happens when you let go of societal norms and customs and beliefs.

One of the things that seems to happen when we give up past norms, is that people who do not have a feeling that they have the answers seem vulnerable to people who come along and entice them with new ideologies. Those people who try to tell them they have the answers can be altruistic and innocently wrong, or they can be using the inherent desire for people to lead them to meaning for nefarious purposes. The Covid pandemic response (“we can save the elderly by masking, locking inside your house, shutting down the economy, taking a gene therapy”) seemed like it was a response that was gladly accepted by people who had moved on from more traditional forms of meaning (Christianity). The book Psychology of Totalitarianism explained this phenomena better than I can but it was very interesting to witness as an observer.

Just some rambling thoughts I tried to put together coherently. There are more. Having adult children who are going through these struggles as well makes me question everything, long for a new reality, and at the same time be very cautious about embracing a complete throw away of cultural norms. (To my son) “Like, that’s great that you don’t want to work in the same field as your dad, or other menial field, because it’s not meaningful to you but how will you eat?

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Dec 16, 2023·edited Dec 16, 2023

Thanks for the transcript Charles. I also watched the podcast, but found the transcript added depth for me. So wonderful that Philip is asking these questions and you are listening to him. I was clueless at his age. I know that I completely disassociated during grade school and high school. It was just too painful and the only way I survived it. I remember being a bright and creative little girl and that was all snuffed out temporarily in school. I remember feeling that my life was over as I was forced into this small, judgmental, confining space, at this young age. Actually sometime towards the end of third grade. I remember the joy of learning to read and write. I must have had a few good teachers at first, but then everything changed. So very sad. I know now that all of this was by design and I forgive my parents for now knowing any better. Luckily I figured out the deception and I was able to free my spirit once more via alcohol as a stepping stone.. I think too that I never really bought the system I was being forced into and found ways to be myself, to find my own way and not follow the well beaten path. I say many prayers for the young people now. It's such a different world than the one I was born into in 1952. I agree with a previous writer, that I hope Philip and Charles will look deeper into what I call the "climate hoax", which will lead deeper into many other issues as well. A lot of letting go of preconceived ideas is required and not for the faint of heart!! Charles, I know that both you and Philip are deep thinkers, and expect that this might be the next step for both of you. I heard Philip also using the mainstream propaganda word "equity". These are the constructs that require deeper inquiry.

It's so refreshing to hear a father and son talking in such an honest and open way. Thank you!

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“Your secret suspicion that you are here for something magnificent is true.” Thank you for the transcript and for this quote, which I will share with my 20-year old progeny. And my students. And what the heck, also with myself. :-)

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Great conversation. You are good people who care and you are a great Dad, even if you are long winded 😉

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It occurred to me that the time of the ashes happens twice in life- in the transition between childhood and adulthood and between adulthood and elderhood.

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"And what do you end up with? You cannot break through their confines on their own terms, when you're immersed in a scientific worldview that says that reality is nothing but atoms and void bouncing around according to mathematical forces, you cannot find meaning. In the end, if that's what your metaphysics fundamentally is, which is what we've inherited from science, then it sure seems like any meaning or purpose is a projection onto nothing. "

I wrote this piece, with love, in response to the void you discuss:

Creation Content


Merry Christmas both.


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Thank you for the transcript. Not a podcast type

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Thank you Charles for sharing this conversation with us. Generationally, I can relate to it very deeply - I am 34 and fall almost bang in the middle of yourself and Philip, and now have an 8 year old daughter, so I feel I can identify strongly with both father and son in this transcript.

I came of age as a student in a little art school called Dartington College of Arts (now closed) and had a lot of contact with the folks at Schumacher College (now... let's see where they go) and was immersed in this mix of idealism, hope, longing for beauty, and uncertainty. I think about those times a lot when I read this.

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Inspiration to all. Off you go Charles, make a collection of this format - do the same now with your better half, then a parent, walk down the street to a coffee house and ask a complete stranger, a reader of your blog and a collection is formed. The Book - The Hidden Pleasures of Llfe by Theodore Zeldin screams to mind. We all birth in a new version of "Just Buy Bud This Christmas". No more Buy, no more Bud but make......make conversation. Happy Christmas to you Charles -Phoeagdor.

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Thank you for bringing this perspective, I find it very, very helpful: "So eventually what I learned is that I do have to step in maybe 90% in order to maybe pull the world 10% in the direction I want it to go." Your writing so often hits the nail on the head for me. Thank you Charles (and Philip)

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This piece made me feel so seen, felt and hopeful. So much of this felt like reading the thoughts that swim around my own mind put into a beautiful and nuanced conversation. Thank you for your wisdom. ❤️

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What a wonderful father-son conversation, thank you both for your insights and wisdom.

The pursuit of meaning through status, consermerism and materialism impacted upon me 51 years ago as a wet-behind-the ears 26 years of age, when a wise teacher tendered his definition of success:

“The warmth of a person’s heart.”

This has been my yardstick for my own life and measuring others in a non-judgemental way.

If we could teach this by example in our homes, schools and workplaces, what a different, more beautiful world we would inhabit.

Big respect from Bali

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