THE NEW AGE
- A transcript from The Hour of Judgment radio series -
Copyright (c) 1995 Kevin Solway & David Quinn
Guest: Zachary Ziamus
Hosts: Kevin Solway & David Quinn
Kevin: I'm Kevin Solway, with me is David Quinn, and this is the only Hour of Judgment. Our listeners will know by now that both David and I claim to have a perfect understanding of Ultimate Reality. And aside from the two of us, we live in an age of deep darkness where there's barely even a glimmer of light to be found anywhere. Certainly, very few people today believe there is such a thing as Truth, let alone venture to understand it or, even further, to teach it. So you can imagine our surprise when we came upon a sign right in the centre of Brisbane city, which said in large bold letters "ULTIMATE WISDOM: A Course of Enlightenment - based upon not religion, not dogma, not fallacy, but TRUTH." Reading a little further revealed that if you want to know what it is, where it is, when it is, how it is, and why it is, then behold, "Zachary Ziamus presents TRUTH". Apparently, he'll be giving teachings here in Brisbane shortly in which he aims to reveal all the answers to the nature of the Universe, the reason for existence, the meaning of life, and the source of love and freedom. And as if that wasn't enough he'll also be giving a course of teachings on the psychic arts, the magical methods of mysticism, the secrets of the tarot, and how to see auras. Well, David and I thought we'll have to try and get this fellow on the program for our listeners, and I'm glad to say that Zachary Ziamus is sitting right here in the studio with us tonight. Now Zachary, the claim to understand Ultimate Truth is a very big claim. I'm sure you're aware of that. So the first question I'm going to ask you is: How do you justify making this claim, and what is your conception of Ultimate Truth?
Zachary: Okay. Why I justify making the claim that I know the Absolute Truth . . . it's difficult to justify how you come to a point of knowing that things are this way without a doubt. It's largely intuitive, a gradual process, and you can't really see the very beginning of where it all comes out of. But it's more of an intuitive, inexplicable certainty that has arisen out of many experiences which has given me a deep understanding and insight through watching and observing the world as it is. Now, my conception of Truth . . .
Zachary: I have four major aspects, or principles, when I look at Truth. The first is that "all is energy", and that's part of the physical plane. Now I go onto the mental plane and I say that "thought is reality". Third point is the emotional plane where I say that "like attracts alike". And fourth with the spiritual plane where I say that "understanding is evolution". And of course it goes deeper than this with my explanations of why I have come to those four truths.
Kevin: "Understanding is evolution" - can you expand on that one a little bit?
Zachary: Well, I see that knowledge is not the be all and end all. Knowledge will only lead you into delusion, as I suppose the Buddha would agree, and a lot of Eastern schools of thought would support. But it is the understanding which stems from experience that gives you the real unfolding.
Kevin: So you're saying that knowledge is like a stepping- stone to somewhere further, to somewhere deeper.
Zachary: Yes. If you want to simplify it, I see knowledge in a negative sense and understanding in a positive sense. Understanding is deep-rooted and has nothing to do with the mind, but is something which dwells within. And it builds to the foundation that you exist on as you go through each and every day. Knowledge, on the other hand, is just fleeting - the more you know the more you're deluded, usually. So I don't claim to know the Truth, I claim to understand the Truth.
Kevin: Right, and this is what you think qualifies you to make these claims of being a teacher of Ultimate Truth?
Kevin: Do you see yourself as being on the same plane as the Buddha and the other great religious teachers? Do you think your wisdom is the same as their wisdom?
Zachary: It has striking similarities. Throughout all my work I see elements of all religions and institutions of thought coming from all different parts of the world. But I don't see myself as comparable to the Buddha. I've not met the Buddha, so I wouldn't know the reality of whether he was truly an amazing person, or whether it's just been exaggerated.
David: Well, what about your conception of the perfect person? We can give this person the name "Buddha" - I assume you think that such a person is possible?
David: So I'd like to get down to this difference between knowing and understanding, as you put it. I'm not quite sure what you mean. What's the difference?
Zachary: Okay, I'll go further. I see that knowledge is a transitory thing. Often you come to know things, and you may believe them, you may be absolutely certain, but then further down the track you may see them to be incorrect. So knowledge is not solid.
David: Yes, but what about the enlightenment of the Buddha? Is that a form of knowledge? The Buddha claimed to have understood timeless principles, like cause and effect.
Zachary: But in his expression he must have converted it to a knowledge for it to be transported to other people. To try to transfer understanding is like trying to rip out an energy inside your stomach and giving it to another person inside their stomach, or their holistic being - not their mind, not their intellectual processes, not their justifications. But the Buddhist system, or philosophy, is his knowledge, his way of compacting his understanding into a workable form. Of course, this is just my opinion.
David: Is the Buddha's understanding conceptual? This "beyond knowledge" type of understanding - is it still in the conceptual realm? Or does he have an infinite consciousness, something of that nature?
Zachary: I think that enlightenment doesn't really come in a visual or conceptual form or anything to do with a two-dimensional or three-dimensional thing. I think it comes more from a spiritual sensation, an opening up, beyond words explanation and expression.
Kevin: Well, let's have a look at how such a spiritual person would actually live. Through the way they live we can come to some understanding of what their knowledge is and what their mind is like. Now, in the Buddhist ideal, the Buddha is entirely without attachment - emotional attachment.
Kevin: So Buddhas don't have the desires which ordinary people have - the desire to be loved, for example, the desire for warmth and caring and all these things. Does this fit-in with your particular goal? Do you wish to become free of all emotional attachments?
Zachary: Absolutely not. I see attachment, evil, desire, suffering, as all necessary and inclusive parts of existence. It is the dichotomies of living, the contradictions, the good, the bad, the ups and downs, the in and outs--
David: So a perfect person would have attachments in your view?
Zachary: Well, if they suppressed and denied and fled from all attachment, are they not living unnaturally? Because to say that such a person is living naturally and we are living unnaturally--
David: Compared to the ordinary egotist the perfect person would be living unnaturally, because he would be living without ego, the source of all attachment. The source of all attachment is the ego - preserving the self.
David: So it seems perfectly clear to me that a perfect person, a Buddha, because he has no self he has no attachments. He can never, ever experience emotion.
Kevin: A wise person would never suppress or deny emotions. A wise person simply wouldn't experience them because they have no ignorance - they've escaped the basis for those emotions to arise. And the basis is, of course, the ego, or the concept of the self. So do you agree with this idea that if you go beyond the self then there's no basis upon which these emotions can grow?
Zachary: True. But looking at the fact that we live in a material existence, then material desires, material interaction and material life is what the Buddha must have lived. He must have had innate needs, whether he desired those need or not. But let's say that attachments to certain things seem not really--
Kevin: Let's make a distinction here between, say, the desire for food - you know, when a person becomes hungry they get a certain sensation in their stomach and they feel hungry. So this is not what I mean by an emotion. Food is a biological need. Similarly with pain: if you touch some fire you feel some sensation, and that sensation is telling you to pull your hand away pretty quick smart otherwise it gets burnt - this is necessary for our survival as a species. But emotional desire is something more; it's something that is created by the mind. And I would say that they are not innately born into us; it's something which can be escaped.
Zachary: Okay, one way I may be able to express what I think about attachment and rising above such things . . . I believe they're necessary and important parts of life because I think it is wrong to insulate yourself from any element of what exists and what has come about. It is wrong to insulate yourself from facts, realities, the Truth within you. If a person wants to become enlightened, it's a little bit difficult to contrive the whole process and become free of all this desire. So take desire out to its end. If you get to that point of the Buddha, then so be it. But up until that stage--
Kevin: Right, but what we're talking about here is our conception of the perfect person, the perfect spiritual person. Are you saying that this perfect person, who has got rid of his self, the false concept of the self, are you saying that this person would also have anger and violence in him, which comes from emotional desires and attachment? Or is he beyond all of those things?
Zachary: Beyond all those things.
Kevin: Ah, so he doesn't feel emotion.
Zachary: No. But the process, the means to that end, to that point . . . you certainly have to go through the nasties.
Kevin: Yes, until a person becomes absolutely perfect they do experience emotions and ordinary human love.
Zachary: True, and that's the experience that grants you the understanding to synthesize the polarities and the contradictories into a state where you become resolved. And instead of being amongst the flux that exists around us, you exist outside of it.
Kevin: Yes, it's interesting, though, when I scan through the reams of New Age books which are on the shelves these days, you don't find much discussion on this idea of going beyond the emotions. You know, everybody wants to be loved, so it's very rare that you'll find a New Age book which tells you that this is the place to go, a place which is beyond love, a place where you will never experience love for another human being - love in the ordinary human sense - and other people will find it very difficult to love you, and even if they could, you would have no appreciation for it anyway.
David: It wouldn't sell very many books, would it, Kevin!
Kevin: It certainly wouldn't sell very many books, and it wouldn't sell many courses.
Kevin: So is this why people don't do it? Why do you think?
Zachary: I think that when people are writing a book they're doing it within the scope of this world. And this world has a lot of problems to do with relationships, love, and attachment. So to talk about the ideal state may be going too far for the average person. A little bit too idealistic.
Kevin: You were saying before how we can learn through living an emotional life. Okay, we're emotional to begin with, we're egotistical and selfish and so on, we don't have any knowledge of Ultimate Reality, so we're stuck with these emotions - for now, anyway. So you're saying that through ploughing into these things which we're attached to, and experiencing the pain that comes through them, we learn--
Zachary: Yes, it'll give you the leverage.
Kevin: It's the ripening of our karma.
Zachary: You can hardly expect a realization to come without the potency of a lived rapport with these things. You cannot realize the source of evil, or pain, or anything negative, if you've never experienced it, and experienced it profoundly. I mean, you've got to go through the tunnel of darkness to get to the light. To expect to go straight to the light without going through the darkness would be, I think, naive.
David: Fair enough. But I'd like to couch what we've just been saying in slightly different terms, because you're assuming that this perfect state is some sort of otherworldly, lofty state that has nothing to do with our present reality-
Zachary: I believe you can reach the Ultimate Reality in a transcended state within this life.
David: Yes, but I'd like to get it back down to earth and just call it truth. The goal is to have a perfectly truthful mind - it's what I call being sane--
David: Being truthful simply means trying to eliminate all the false concepts of things. So if to be truthful is to encourage people to give-up attachments, to go beyond love, then that's what we should be doing, shouldn't it? I mean, otherwise, you're just feeding people lies.
Zachary: I don't particularly want to intrude on people's lives, or push anything, as this would interfere with their natural progression of learning. It doesn't matter how many times you pass on some wisdom to a person, it doesn't mean they are going to absorb this wisdom and really understand it until they've gone through it, and then you may be able to link with it.
David: Even so, we can't escape influencing people. We're doing it all the time. Whoever we meet - we're influencing people.
Kevin: We can certainly act as a catalyst to make them reach that hell, and to make them confront that evil more quickly than they otherwise would.
Zachary: Definitely - as long as they come to you. But if you go to them and start bashing them over the head with your guidance . . .
David: That's right. It just comes down to "skill in means", as they say in Buddhism. But as Kevin said in the introduction, we're living in a very dark age - a completely ignorant one. And the major reason for this is that nobody is articulating and making visible the actual goal of perfection. The goal of perfection is just laughed at nowadays.
Zachary: I don't truly support the theory that we're living in a dark age at all. I think everything's perfect as it is. And to set up even the concept of perfection and a goal for people may mislead the whole process. Because if they go and run away from civilization into the seclusion of a cave, how are they ever going to go through the dynamics of experience that will lead to their realizations of understanding that would evolve them into becoming more enlightened and more in touch with the Truth?
Kevin: I think we'd have to say that it's a special kind of person who can learn something constructive from their experiences. Right at this minute there's a lot of people out there in the world having all kinds of intense experiences of life. You only have to turn on the TV for an intense experience of life. With all the violence and sex, it's like all the evil of the world is crystallized into what you see on your television screen, and what you hear in modern pop music, and even what you read in popular books. So there's certainly a lot of experience out there, but nobody, or virtually nobody, is learning anything from it. So something is lacking. Some element is lacking.
Zachary: I think people may be learning from it, but they don't necessarily display it or show it or express it to other people.
David: Why not?
Zachary: Why not?
David: Yes, why wouldn't they?
Zachary: Social lubrication. To fit-in with their identity, as given by their society and their times. If you get on a one-on-one situation with a person, often the philosophical understandings will come out. When you're in a situation of ten people, it would rarely come out.
David: And it's a bad thing to be compromised in this way. It would be better if there were more people who were more uncompromising and stood up for their ideals, wouldn't it?
Zachary: Not necessarily, because the social masks which people wear assist the whole process of us observing ourselves and the way that we change. It shows us the cracks in our personas, in our nature that we're not displaying. If we never had that false part of our life, we would never know and want the truth.
Kevin: I find it interesting, though, that we're supposed to be living in this Age of Aquarius, which is supposed to be an age of awakening and an age of spirituality and forward thinking and so on, but when you look at people's interests, despite all the experience that they've had . . . and even when you look at young people today, a person of the age of fourteen or fifteen - they've had sexual experiences, they've had experiences with drugs, their parents have split up - twice - they've experienced the totality of life. They're probably working and paying tax! So there's no shortage of these learning experiences. But when you look at what people are interested in . . . If they had learned something through all those experiences, they would be interested in a) discovering Truth - what is actually true and what is false - and b) they'd want to make their lives mirror that Truth. They'd want permanence. They'd want the permanence of Truth, because Truth is the only truly permanent thing there is. Everything else is going to disappear. But in my experience I've only met probably a handful of people who have even thought about the idea of the existence of Truth, or the value of Truth. Certainly, people don't go out studying Ultimate Reality and planning their lives so that by the time they're thirty they will be completely beyond the need for any emotional attachments. This is what people should be doing and would be doing if they were learning something. But if, as is the case today, people aren't learning anything then, of course, nobody plans their life around this. There's no University courses in how to become enlightened. There's no school courses in how to plan your life to become an enlightened being.
Zachary: Yes, it seems most people don't go after the Absolute Truth because many believe that it is not possible, that it can't be done, that the paradoxical futilities which the Universe displays are unresolvable by the human mind and the limited comprehension of our understanding. I think that this is the main reason why there's no great facilities, institutions, massive movements within the people to get right to the bottom of these things.
David: And that's because everybody's compromising, isn't it?
Kevin: What do you think, Zachary, about this modern idea, which is so common these days, that there is no Truth, that we can't know any truth for certain, and so therefore everything is of equal value?
David: This is a very popular one! About ninety percent of our guests on the program think this!
Kevin: Yes, they think that everything is of equal validity, that if someone believes something then that's equally as true as what anybody else believes in, that all lifestyles are equally valid. So if I say, for example, that desiring Truth is a good thing, and somebody else says that desiring ignorance is a good thing, then these are equally valid lifestyles. What do you say to that? This is a common New Age idea, actually.
Zachary: I believe that they're both valid lifestyles.
Kevin: Do they have equal value to you, though?
Zachary: Absolutely. I've come to a point in my understanding of Truth where the fool is just as truthful as the wise man. The wise man will die a fool; the enlightened one will laugh, giggle, act like a child, be ignorant of things, choose not to involve themselves in serious pursuits.
Kevin: Yes, but I'm talking about real ignorance now, ignorance of anything truthful - ignorance in the form of extreme violence and anger and close-mindedness - that kind of ignorance.
Zachary: Well, they're of no worse state than an enlightened person.
David: What about a child molester?
Zachary: Is their experience going to be any worse?
David: Is a child molester less valid? Is a child molester more ignorant than a Buddha?
Kevin: Nobody's blaming these people. If a person is ignorant, obviously there are reasons why a person is ignorant - they've been brought-up that way. Given the world we live in, we can't blame people for being ignorant and foolish. So no one is saying that they're "bad" in an emotional way; but values are necessary in life if we are ever going to achieve anything.
David: Well, you can definitely say that child molesting is different to being a Buddha. They're different. That's the first point to actually understand - they're actually different activities.
Kevin: They are different, yes, and this is something a lot of people would not accept.
Zachary: But I'm not really interested in saying which one is more valid. I think the real question is: what is the Truth? Is it better or good to be molesting people, or is it better to be enlightening others and being enlightened yourself.
Kevin: So you're making a value judgment here.
Zachary: Yes, and I say that they're equal. There is a certain homogeny of existence. To say that the Buddha would put himself above the most ignorant man who exists . . . I don't think that he would.
Kevin: Well, certainly not on an emotional level. But for purposes of language, and for purposes of achieving his goal - which is to spread wisdom everywhere - just for purposes of language, you say that wisdom is better than ignorance.
David: More than that, it comes down to being an existing individual, as Kierkegaard might put it, rather than leading a nonsense life. I mean, if you're going to have contradictions in your life . . . if you're going to be an anti-pornographic campaigner, and you want to get rid of all pornography in the world, and in your private life you've got pornographic videos and pictures of naked girls all over your room, then you're leading a nonsense life, aren't you? So if you want to be a Buddha, if you want to help wisdom in the world, then you must make distinctions and judgments about what is good behaviour and what is bad behaviour in relation to this goal.
Zachary: Yes, I see your point, but I believe it's difficult to eradicate all contradictions. We're all contradictory to some degree. Do we practice what we preach?
David: Even a Buddha? Even a perfect person . . . ?
Zachary: The perfect person . . . I mean, it's all hearsay. If we had an enlightened person of our own times, how are we going to know for certain that they are enlightened? And if so, will their actions necessarily coexist with their perfection.
David: Well, because he has no self he can't have any contradictions - as he doesn't really exist.
Kevin: Well, we're going to have a short piece of music now - very short - it lasts for about one minute and fifty seconds. And when we come back we'll talk about life and death. That's a pretty good subject.
[ MUSIC BREAK ]
Kevin: Zachary, what do you think about "life"? Do we have some kind of a soul in us? Do you equate the soul with our consciousness, or what? What happens at death?
Zachary: At death, I believe it would be largely like sleep. Life is full of death and rebirth, a whole process of death and rebirth, and at the point at which our physical body comes to the end, I believe there'll be some nut within the shell which will be preserved and will go on. So I do believe in reincarnation. I believe there is something, whether you call it a soul, or some sort of consciousness.
Kevin: Let's look at the world purely from the point of view of cause and effect. Everything that I am has been caused by the Universe - do you agree with that?
Kevin: And I'm having effects on the world around me all the time. In a sense, energy is flowing through me out into the world. So I, what I am, whatever that is, is actually going out into the world - right at this minute it's going out on the airwaves, for example, and so I'm having effects.
Zachary: So we think.
Kevin: Well, we are, definitely. This is the way cause and effect operates. Whenever there's a cause, there's an effect.
Zachary: I'd rather say this is what you believe, this is what your perception is, and so it is true to you. But whether we know whether it's objectively true is another issue. How could we ever place ourselves out of our subjectivity and say with certainty that this is occurring right now and we are going to air?
David: True, we can doubt that, but what about the very principle of cause and effect?
Zachary: Well, if this world is real or whether it's a delusion - whether we support the idealist theory or not - yes, it shows cause and effect in its nature. But whether we are just dreaming this--
David: Yes, but the dream would still have a cause.
Kevin: Yes, we're talking about the principle of cause and effect now. We're not talking about physical causes here, but the logical principle of cause and effect. So if there is a thing, it is caused and has effects.
Kevin: This is in a dual world. It doesn't matter what things we're talking about here. What I was trying to get to was that in a sense we're reincarnating all the time. So forget this kernel inside the body; everything about us, purely through cause and effect, is reincarnating. For example, we are reincarnating through the airwaves, out through people's radios, into people's minds. And the same thing happens the other way around.
Zachary: Absolutely, cause and effect.
Kevin: Yes, and this is reincarnation, because what I am and what you are is really going out into the world. And, of course, we're changing every moment as well, and other people in turn are becoming us. So all the people who have gone into making us - our parents, our teachers, authors of books which have influenced us - have made our consciousness what it is, and therefore they are our past lives. Do you agree with this?
Zachary: I agree wholeheartedly with what you're saying.
Kevin: Right, so this is different from having a kernel inside the body, as something separate from the body.
Zachary: I think the nut and the shell, the soul and the physical vehicle, is a neat way of thinking about it, but the truth of it would probably be a lot more interweaving and interconnected.
Kevin: So, ultimately, there is no nut and kernel of the nut.
Zachary: No, it's just a nice analogy.
Kevin: So, in a sense, the body, if we can call it the body, reincarnates just as the consciousness does.
David: Yes, but this whole issue of reincarnation, Kevin, is an empirical, scientific type question that is in the realm of probabilities. It's conceivable that the consciousness may survive death in some way, because we don't know everything about the body, and particularly about the mind. But whether this consciousness constitutes the self, this is the important question. Whether we are logically the consciousness, or whether we are infinite, is a separate question; it's a logical question, a logical issue.
Zachary: This raises an interesting crossroads that could display my differentiation between understanding and knowledge. That is, at the point of death, I believe that our knowledge will be left behind and our understanding will carry forward.
David: Well, I still don't know what you mean by this "understanding".
Zachary: The collective realizations - the satoris, if you would.
David: But they're still finite in some way, aren't they? These realizations are still finite existences.
Zachary: What they're related to, the events which brought them about, which were the catalyst to them - yes, these fall by the wayside. But it is the essence--
David: Yes, but even this essence . . . just the very fact that you can recognize their existence and you can say they're not trees, they're not cars--
Zachary: You can't readily recognize their existence in your life. You take them for granted. They're like a subconscious foundation.
David: But what I'm saying is that they're not everything, these satoris, these altered states of consciousness. They're not microphones and things, they're specific phenomena which occur in our minds at some point, and so in this sense they're like anything else. They are like clouds: they come into being under certain causes and they dissipate again when the causes dissipate. They are of no more substance than anything else in the world because they are just finite objects.
Zachary: I could take an argument here that may support the theory that they are carried over, these essences, these understandings - not by analyzing them but by detecting them in your life, you'll find that they're timeless. You can't really measure them. They do not take a form. They're more like a wavelength, a frequency, not anything to do with a physical body.
Kevin: You're speaking of a kind of consciousness that many people experience occasionally during their lives?
David: A meditative type of experience, or an experience people have on drugs?
Kevin: An altered state type of experience, a "religious experience"?
Zachary: To articulate it in simplistic terms: realizing "something" in the morning and going through the day and being backed-up through different things, through your sensory experience, that you feel a building inclination that you understand, not only empathise, but that you can truly get into the deeper significance of a certain insight.
David: I'd characterize these experiences as illusions. I've experienced these states myself. I used to cultivate them when I was younger. And when I was younger, when I was about twenty, I used to think they had something to do with Nirvana, or God, or the Ultimate Wisdom, because they seem very profound and joyful and timeless. But I only had to think about it for a little while to see that they don't have anything to do with the Ultimate, because they are just finite happenings. They're illusions, at bottom, like everything else is an illusion.
Zachary: But finite . . .
David: Finite in the sense that they're experiences that one has - they need a consciousness to exist, for example.
Zachary: But surely the effect it has on you lasts for the rest of your life.
David: Sure, but all sorts of experiences can have a lasting effect. For example, if you're abused by your parents when you're young, it can have an effect for the rest of your life, but you wouldn't call this a mystical experience. Having LSD changes some people forever, and I wouldn't call that a genuine mystical experience.
Zachary: You could argue that all experience is having an influence over the rest of your life.
Zachary: But I would say that these understandings, if you like, are peaks. They are really potent, they are not just mildly influential.
David: Sure, I'm not arguing against that. What I'm interested in is whether they have anything to do with reality.
Kevin: Yes, so do these certain peak realizations have anything to do with a true understanding of the nature of reality? Because if someone realizes, for example, that life and death are illusory . . . let's say they ask, "Where did I come from?" and they look back at their life, at their body and their mind, and as hard as they try they can't find exactly where they darn well came into existence! They look at the point of conception but it doesn't satisfy them; they say, "No, this is part of a process". They trace it back further and they say, "No, I can't find any point where I came into existence." This can shock the mind to such a degree that a person can have quite a marked realization which can change the rest of their life. And this realization spreads throughout their consciousness - they don't have any choice about it, but they start applying the same reasoning and the same realization to everything else in their life. They ask, "What about the people that I know and love - do they have a beginning as well?" And, all of a sudden, this is getting to be some real kind of knowledge of Ultimate Reality. But this is very, very rare, isn't it? A true realization is something which is a bit like a disease. It's like a virus: it starts off and then it breeds, rapidly, and before long the whole mind is consumed by this disease which is actually a realization of Truth. But the more common realizations people have in meditation don't have this same effect. They don't sweep over the whole mind with truth in a very short period of time, changing it forever, and totally transforming the person's life.
David: Yes, a total transformation would engender in someone's mind the wish to become absolutely, perfectly truthful.
Kevin: Beyond all attachment.
David: It's a big one. Yes, these altered states used to interest me a great deal and I see that they do have a large effect on people's lives. I've met Buddhists who became Buddhists precisely because they had experienced some sort of altered state. You know, they just happened to be reading a book on Buddhism at the time, and suddenly they're Buddhists and believe in reincarnation! And you meet people who become born-again Christians via the altered state. And I once met a fellow who became a born-again atheist. He had an altered state of consciousness in a car crash - a near death experience - and he had this instant realization that Christianity was a load of rubbish and so became a born-again atheist. So you see, these sort of facts makes one question what these experiences are telling people. They're telling people all these different sorts of things.
Zachary: A variety.
David: That's right, but nevertheless these experiences still have a common core. They all have a common flavour to them, I've noticed. To my mind, they relate to infant consciousness. You know, when a child is two, three, four years old perhaps - before he's really been deluged by adult concepts and his mind is still relatively flexible, colourful and vivid, and when he's still learning about concepts of time and so forth - he inevitably experiences "timelessness" and that sort of thing. But as he grows older and has to conform to the adult world, he forgets. And then when he's twenty or thirty he has an experience - he experiences great grief, or has some drugs, or listens to music or something - and it reawakens this infant consciousness. It is this "reawakening" which gives it the feeling of profoundness. It conjures up the emotions of childhood, those deeper childhood emotions.
Kevin: They feel like they've arrived home, they've gone home.
David: That's right, it seems familiar.
Zachary: A remembering.
David: That's right.
Kevin: But there's no actual conscious recognition and conscious understanding. It's more of an unconscious experience which most people just accept without any desire to understand what the feeling actually is. Because it's only when there is a conscious desire to understand it that connections are made within the mind; the person starts to relate that timeless sort of feeling to everything within their life, and then it becomes a real realization. But when I look at the new age movement, it doesn't encourage this.
David: Well, they do encourage the association of "wisdom" with these altered states.
David: And you'd agree with that?
Kevin: That's interesting. I don't know whether you've looked very deeply into Buddhism, but there is something they call "bodhicitta". Now modern Buddhists think bodhicitta has something to do with compassion, but it's supposed to mean "the enlightenment mind". "Bodhi" means enlightenment and "citta" means mind, so "bodhicitta" is the desire to achieve the perfectly enlightened mind. And the Mahayana Buddhists, as opposed to all other kinds, say this is the only path to true enlightenment. Because if there is no desire to become absolutely perfect, then almost nothing is achieved at all. No matter what kind of wisdom a person achieves, it's not real wisdom.
Zachary: I would dispute that to become enlightened you need the desire to become enlightened. I would say that it is through having no path, seeking no God, that allows you the space, the gaps, for you to tune-in and become one with an Ultimate Force. So this is what I call the ironic system of the Universe. Everything I've found to be true seems to fall into a format of irony.
Kevin: Yes, it's kind of true in a sense. But if a person has false thoughts inside their mind, and they know that they have, and they look at their own mind and they say, "I don't want to have these false thoughts in my mind", you see--
Zachary: If they let go of those thoughts . . . instead of arguing with them, let go.
Kevin: Yes, that's right. So these false thoughts just dissipate. You just stop having them. But the desire to do that - and it's not an emotional desire, obviously; it is wanting to achieve the goal of having a perfect mind, and wanting to get rid of every last false thought, every attachment, every emotion - this is what needs to be stressed in modern times. But you don't see it anywhere.
Zachary: But by saying that you have a goal, are you not presupposing that you are a distance from it? Because you'll be instilling a gap between you and what you want or what you are.
Kevin: Yes, well, you have to do it wisely, don't you. You still have to speak and you still have to have concepts - even when you're perfect. So it's a matter of using these concepts skillfully, without being attached to them. If you're attached to this idea of a goal which is a long way away, then it's going to be a hindrance to your achieving it. But if you're not attached to these goals, then you arrive at them quickly.
David: Obviously, if you want to arrive at any goal you have to have some sort of consciousness of that goal. But I'd like to move on to the subject of women, actually. I was interested in your posters, Zachary, which were advertising your course. You've got two of them. On one of them, you've got the big "ULTIMATE WISDOM" in a black and white bold type of writing; and this other one is a nice pink one with flowery type of writing, and it's advertising the psychic arts. There's no "WISDOM" or "TRUTH" on this second one - it's all about clairvoyance and how to see auras and so on. I was just wondering if it is your belief that women aren't capable of achieving the Ultimate Wisdom.
Zachary: Absolutely not! I am in no way a misogynist or against women in their potential. The colour of my advertising is arbitrary. Each of those posters has a multitude of different colours which I advertise in. The Ultimate Wisdom course I do in green, red, white, or black, depending on where it is, or on what paper is available. And the psychic arts I have done in all sorts of colours - so it's just the luck of the draw, really.
Kevin: What do you think about the two different kinds of consciousness? Men and women certainly have very different psychologies and therefore different types of consciousness. From your angle, do you think that either sex has an advantage when it comes to spiritual advancement?
Zachary: I believe that they're different. They are opposites. Yes, they'll cross over like anything else but the whole sexual binary is not immune from the polarities and the spectrum of binaries that go through the Universe. So I believe that women have a certain type of energy and men have a complimenting type of energy.
David: So you do say that men and women are different?
Zachary: Yes, but to say that any one is better--
David: Well, it relates to your goal. If we have a goal of perfection, then obviously some traits are going to be better suited to achieving this goal than others. So would you say that the feminine or the masculine is better suited to achieving this wisdom?
Zachary: You'd have to go into specifics there. For example, women generally seem to expose a deeper receptivity, sensitivity, empathy. Men seem to have a lot more perseverance, stability, concentration. And so I would say that in a psychic art, for example, if a man was going to become a feeler of these invisible waves then I would say that the average woman - to just take a stereotypical view of a woman - would have more of an easy route, or more of a tendency to do that naturally than the average man would.
David: What about the goal that Kevin and I were talking about before - which you seemed to agree with, if I remember correctly - the goal of being a Buddha, or a perfect person, which is beyond emotions, beyond attachments. Do you think women are closer to this?
Zachary: I think we're all in the same boat. And I don't agree with the goal of becoming a Buddha, or relieving myself of all attachments. I find a lot of good life to live in the most hedonistic of things. And I think it's all part of the process. To say that I want to become segregated from attachment and emotions, at this stage, would be unnatural.
Kevin: In other words, you're enjoying life too much at the moment to actually want to give it up.
Zachary: Absolutely. And to say that it's an amazing state to be free of emotions . . . I would not see that there's any fantastic--
Kevin: But can you see, though, that wherever there is emotional pleasure, pain is necessarily associated with it?
Kevin: Always. Now some people can avoid these things for most of their lives. If they are very skillful, very intelligent, and if they live their lives in a clever way, they can be wealthy, have lots of pleasure, and never experience the bad fruits of their actions. This is left for their children and their ex-lovers and so on to experience all the bad fruits of emotional attachment. So if you can see that suffering is associated with all emotional pleasure, surely it can't be very satisfying for you to want to live that sort of life?
Zachary: This comes down to the fact that we often relate evil, negativity, suffering and pain as awful. Now, if a person gets a headache, often they will say "This is a bad experience". But I believe you can have a headache and quite enjoy it. And that you can get the worst of migraines and you can see the good in it, and harness it.
Kevin: Right, but this is a skillful type of egotism - the ability to experience pleasure and then offset the pain.
David: It's a type of madness too. It's like someone in a madhouse banging himself on the head with a hammer and giggling!
Kevin: . . . And saying, "It doesn't hurt too bad". But this is the thing: an individual may, through various subtle means, like meditation, be able to avoid the very painful pain of attachment, but other people are not so skilled. So, let's say you get into a relationship--
Zachary: I don't particularly want to be skilled with that because I believe that you need the lows to enjoy the highs. If you exist in a state of perfection continuously then it would start to become very bland and very lifeless.
Kevin: Well, this wouldn't be perfection then.
David: Are you saying, Zachary, that Reality is bland and lifeless? I mean, if you define perfection as consciousness of Reality--
Zachary: I'm saying that the perfect individual would become lifeless. I would not say that Reality is lacking in its sparkle.
David: So someone who is living directly in it, who is tapping fully into this sparkle . . . ?
Zachary: If they're in the sparkle, well great. But if they're in the state where they have transcended emotional flux, then I don't believe that it's necessarily going to make them any closer to Ultimate Reality. It may do. But you may just be walking down the street and Ultimate Reality may hit you for a split second . . . You don't need to do all this meditation and discipline.
David: But if you want to have consciousness of Reality for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, forever! . . .
Zachary: But we're setting up some boundaries here that if you detach yourself from emotions then you're going to be enlightened.
David: I wouldn't call it "detachment".
Kevin: Call it transcending them. It's impossible for emotions to arise in the perfect state.
Zachary: Okay, then complete detachment.
David: No, no - they wouldn't even exist.
Kevin: It's not a possibility.
David: So it's not even detachment.
Zachary: So the person would not even conceive of emotion?
David: He wouldn't experience them.
Kevin: He'd be able to name them and he'd be able to talk about them. But in such a mind, in which the concept of a self does not arise, emotions simply do not arise. It's an infinite consciousness. This is the goal of a truly spiritual person - to become one, literally one, with Nature. This is sounding very New Age . . .
Zachary: Why are emotions seen as an evil thing away from Nature? I see emotions as very much a part of the whole natural process.
Kevin: Yes, they're certainly part of our lives in that this is the way we've evolved. Emotions are an important part of our bonding and so on. Man and woman fall in love, and through that emotional life they have children, and thanks to that we've now got almost six billion people overpopulating the planet. So it's definitely an important part of our world. But the goal of the spiritual person is to go beyond, or to transcend, or to leave behind all things that are false, and emotion is something which is false. When you trace where emotions come from, and what emotions actually are, you discover that they're based on a false view of the world.
David: If a perfect person has no self, then he can't experience fear, or grief, or loss, or gain, or happiness - any of those things at all.
Kevin: There's no consciousness of "I want this, I need this to make me happy."
Zachary: But I believe that a person walking down the street, even if they are not enlightened, who relishes emotions, can be just as much as perfect as someone who is disciplined on the spiritual path and done all these things that you're putting forth.
David: What about the child molester, again? Is the child molester perfect?
Kevin: Is he just as perfect as the most wise of all wise men?
Zachary: To sum up what I think, I believe the world is perfect, totally, as it stands right now. So if there are crimes being committed right at this second, if there are atrocities going down, if there are wars happening, then so be it. It is perfect.
David: It's a part of Nature, and all that.
Zachary: Yes, it's a part of Nature. And to say that the Buddha is any more enlightened than an ignorant person--
David: Yes, but if one is to value this consciousness of enlightenment, then obviously one would not want to have ignorance in the world. If you want to become truthful then you want to get rid of falseness.
Kevin: So even though wars and child molesting and so on are definitely very natural, and they're a part of our world, it's still the responsibility of the wise man, to the best of his ability, as far as is natural for him to do so, to get rid of all of these things. And if he does so, then this too is natural. So anything a person desires to do is actually natural, because it's part of the natural world, and the wise man, by definition, desires to get rid of all ignorance in the world. Now, Zachary, you're putting on a course of teachings in a week or so, so you obviously desire to get rid of something.
Zachary: Well, what I'm basically saying is that Ultimate Wisdom does come down to ignorance. If you are going to live powerfully, transcending a lot of things, often ignorance can allow you to be immune from a lot of the rubbish that exists around you. So I see ignorance as just as much a valid path to wisdom as knowledge or understanding or the other way.
David: So there's no path at all!
Zachary: There's no path if you expect--
David: And the Buddha was wrong?
Zachary: He's got a very valid path, probably. It would work.
David: But because he's actually preaching a path, he's going against your idea that there's no path at all. So he must be wrong in your view.
Zachary: You see, I say there's no path, but, because of my philosophy, that also means I believe that there is a path. So you can do it both ways. But I'm saying that often the way of "The Path" can be very cumbersome; you set yourself up with a lot of crutches. It's really something that is more contrived.
Kevin: It comes down to attachment again. If you're attached to all these ideas of "The Path" and right and wrong and so on--
David: So you're speaking against a false path, but not against a true path - is that right? Or are you against all paths altogether?
Zachary: I'm with no path. If you take no path to God then I believe you'll get there just the same as if you took a path.
David: [ironically] Well, that's pretty deep!
Kevin: What do you see yourself doing in, say, ten years? Do you see yourself still being single, perhaps still putting on courses? Do you see yourself getting into a relationship? What do you see for yourself?
Zachary: I have many relationships in my life now. I see myself in ten years as a person who will be writing upon the Truth, philosophy, religious things, the deeper sense of life, and I'll be speaking on such matters. Basically continuing my quest into the mysteries that fill all our lives.
Kevin: Okay, I think we are going to have to leave it there. We'll be coming back next week, and our old friend Dan Rowden will be with us. And the week after that we'll be having a live performance of The Banquet. That's Kierkegaard's Banquet, so don't miss that one - it'll be a really exciting night. And that'll be our last program from the series of twenty. Okay, that's goodnight from us.