Welcome to this series of dialogues, hosted by Parallax in partnership with the Unique Self Institute:
Love or Die
“Homo Amor”, "Unique Self” and “Unique Self Symphony”:
The Holy Trinity of CosmoErotic Humanism
Every first Sunday of the month:
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM CET
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM PT
Next dates in this series:
3 dec. 2023 - 7 Jan 2023 - 4 Feb
Love or Die
We are super excited to announce an interview series with Dr. Marc Gafni at Parallax, hosted by Andrew Sweeny, from Parallax — a wonderful center of culture and creative debate, aligned with our vision at the Center for Integral Wisdom and Unique Self Institute.
As many of you know, Dr. Gafni is one of the critical meta theorists, cultural evolutionaries, philosopher activists, living, writing, and teaching in the world today. His intent together with our entire faculty and team at the center, is what he refers to as a “Planetary Awakening in Love through Unique Self-Symphonies”.
He understands the overriding moral imperative of this moment in time is to articulate “a new story of value embedded in First Principles and First Values” in response to the meta crisis.
We call that new story of evolving value, “CosmoErotic Humanism”.
It is a highly sophisticated meta theory that aggregates meta theories into a new second simplicity that can be taught, shared, experienced, at any level of consciousness in any population, anywhere in the world.
It integrates the validated insights of leading-edge wisdom streams across disciplines of traditional, pre-modern, modern, post-modern thinking into a new story of value — what Dr. Marc Gafni refers to as “a universal grammar of evolving value as a context for our diversity”.
Dr. Marc is focusing on the three great questions of CosmoErotic Humanism, which are directly related to the fundamental narrative of human identity.
“Who Am I" and "Who are we”?
Where are we? Or “What universe story do we live in”?
And finally the third question, the personal addressing of Kosmos to every human being and to every group of human beings: What do I truly desire? What do we desire? What is our deepest heart’s desire that needs to be activated, responded to, and fulfilled? Or said differently: what do I want and need to do? What is there to be done.
The answer to these three questions are in the language of complexity theory the “simple rules” that generate Reality. In the language of CosmoErotic Humanism we call them the simple First Principles and First Values that enact Reality in the field of value.
To answer these questions accurately, we are weaving together the best of the interior sciences and exterior sciences, and doing so by accessing the Eros of a blown open heart and a blown open mind.
Fully grounded in all the academic disciplines.
Fully ground in the interior sciences.
Fully grounded in the esoteric disciplines.
Synergizing all of them into a new whole, greater than the sum of the parts, into a new second simplicity that can become the ground of our transmission of value to the next generation.
Indeed it is only such a transmission of value that will ensure that there will be another generation.
We are however not only poised before potential dystopia, we are also poised before a potential utopia.
The forces of despair are met in equal and greater measure by the forces of hope.
We can — deploying this new story of value, rooted in First Principles and First Values, enact the most true, good and beautiful world that we have always known is possible.
This is a historic dialogue series where Andrew Sweeny, a truly wonderful philosopher, seeker, activist, and songwriter will be interviewing and dialoguing with Dr. Marc Gafni.
They will focus on the magical and methodological realizations of irreducible Unique Self, Eros and intimacy, Unique Self Symphonies, allurement and intimacy, that lie at the very center of CosmoErotic Humanism, with an intention to articulate a practical politics of Eros, a pragmatic economics of Eros, a new vision of relationship, of governance, of organization, of desire, of power, and ultimately a new barometer for what it means to live a good life, a successful life, a life that will allow us to stand at the moment of our death filled with delight and joy and courage.
We can’t wait to be with you.
Dr. Marc Gafni
LOVE OR DIE
and the crack in everything
By Andrew Sweeny
Beginning Sunday, April 2nd, I started a monthly Zoom conversation series Marc Gafni, entitled Love or Die. You are all warmly invited.
Marc suggested the title Love or Die for the series and asked me to include my song of the same name in the invitation. I thought I would tell the song's story and how it resonates with Gafni's work here.
In 2019, I took a trip to Kyiv, Ukraine, for a festival called Emerge. Here is something I wrote for the emerge website about Kyiv:
“There is something dreamlike and cinematic about Kyiv… a resonant decay, a war between vegetation and concrete, multiple worlds and histories co-existing—an atmosphere that is both mournful and electric. Kyiv is caught in a dialectic between its rotting past and the shiny future it leans into.
The beauty of Kyiv is in the haphazard rather than the intentional—anachronisms abound. In Kyiv, you can walk through every epoch imaginatively: the pastoral, the imperial, the industrial, the nuclear, the utopian, the nihilistic, and the futuristic ….”
Fast forward to Covid and the war in Ukraine. As unbearable images from the suburbs of Kyiv came pouring in, I started to do what I have been doing since I was 18 to process my feelings—I wrote a song.
The song went through several iterations before I got it right. Songwriting is like digging a well—you dig until you find water. A good song is not a record of facts and opinions but a poetic gestalt. Bob Dylan transcended the protest song by making it biblical and symbolic rather than journalistic. That’s always been my approach to songwriting—to be intimate and mythical at the same time. In any case, I kept digging, but it took me about a year to write something I was happy with. Marc’s statement Love or Die finally gave me the key to the song.
Love or Die is a good frame because it demands a heroic attitude, no matter what. In some sense, Love or die is our choice in every moment: the choice between Eros and Thanatos, between the red and the blue pill, between the fog of war and the blessings of peace, Et Cetera. This song is—I dare to say—about what Gafni calls an expression of “outrageous love”, which is not a sentimental but a radical injunction. We need outrageous love and outrageous activism—which means being tuned to the life force, or eros. ToLove or to Die is the same thing as saying: ‘To be or not to be’. Gafni tells us we must choose to be, which means to love-to-be, which is fundamentally an act of Eros.
Love or Die is not really a protest song but a song of erotic affirmation. It is not “Pro-Ukraine” any more than “pro-Russian”—it raises a glass to both the Russian bear and the Ukrainian lion. At the end of the song, I put forward an image of Ukraine as the new Jerusalem—but not as a geographical but an existential location. I allude to the flag of Ukraine and talk about ‘the blue and the violet’—violet contains the blue but is more like a bruise.
Some people have told me that they hear the echo of Leonard Cohen in this song, which is not surprising, as he is my biggest influence as a songwriter. Cohen was actually my slum landlord for a short time when I practised Zen in his old house in Montreal. The strength of his greatest song Hallelujah—a song about Outrageous Love—is that it is both a religious hymn and an erotic movie; it combines the high and the low, the sublime and the pornographic—it is fundamentally a great affirmation of unity. We all know the “broken Hallelujah.” We all know that the choice between Eros and the death drive.
Love or Die is sung with a broken voice, poor production, and limited sound quality, but it was the best I could do at the time. And I hope it can be properly recorded one day—hopefully with an orchestra and a choir of back singers. But in case that never happens, I’m sharing this scratch track with all of you. Thank you in advance for your charitable listing.
I hope the song—and our upcoming conversation—gives us some of the outrageous humour, Outrageous Love, and real hutzpah (radical audacity)—that are needed in this world of outrageous pain. (Outrageous is one of Marc’s favourite words, and it is an excellent tantric word as well.)
In the series, I will ask Marc about his theory of “Cosmoerotic humanism” and “Unique Self” and “Hebrew Tantra” among other things. Marc’s work reminds me of my own tantric tradition, combining the high and the low, the mystical and the human passions. Tantra is an intensely erotic and earthly form of mysticism.
And like Leonard Cohen, Marc is trying to bring the erotic back into the mystical—to reinstate the cherubins in the Temple of Solomon—another of Marc’s images I used in the song. He is doing something he calls Hebrew tantra, and in my view, Tantric religion is precisely what we need in the present existential moment.
In any case, don’t forget to join Marc Gafni and me on Sunday, September 3rd, for a series of conversations that aspires to be a lot more than a podcast and might be something like a prayer to bring light into the crack in everything. And now. Love or die.
— Andrew Sweeny, Parallax