top of page

Great Diagnosis is the Beginning of Great Hope: Diagnosing Existential Risk

A Note to the Reader

This blog post is taken from a spontaneous live talk given by Dr. Marc Gafni on the weekly broadcast One Mountain: Many Paths, founded by Gafni and his evolutionary partner Barbara Marx Hubbard. This is an almost unedited and unplugged version of Dr. Gafni’s talk. Thus, the style of the piece is the spoken word and not a formal essay.

Healing the Global Intimacy Disorder

Welcome. Let’s love each other and love Reality open with our commitment to evolve the very source code of consciousness and culture which at its core is the source code of love. And for those of you who have been in this study with us for a while you understand that we have footnoted every word of that sentence — with footnotes from every field of human gnosis and from the depth of our internal anthro-ontological knowing. The mysteries are within us.

So without further ado. Let’s get right into it friend.

There are two core generator functions for existential risk. It is a very hopeful realization that underneath all of the explanations there are two core generator functions for existential and catastrophic risk. And that underneath these generator functions is a root cause, of what we call a Global Intimacy Disorder. That is a radically hopeful realization because it means that addressing this root cause will allow us to address both catastrophic and existential risk. That is beyond a big deal, right? That’s everything.

1. The First Generator Function for Existential Risk: the Failed Story of Win/lose Metrics

One of the primary generator functions of existential and catastrophic risk, which Barbara Marx Hubbard and myself have talked about for many years, is that we’re living in a bad story. This pseudo-erotic story is what we call Success 1.0 and Success 2.0. Success 1.0 is premodern; Success 2.0 is modern.

The premodern Success 1.0 story is about rivalrous conflict between nations and religions and then, within the nations and religions between competing groups. Modernity is rivalrous conflict between individuals and groups at every level of culture. It’s a competition all out, everywhere, and for everyone. In Modernity, Reality is one big never ending rivalrous conflict governed by a win/lose metric.

We’ve traced in other conversations, in great depth, how that operates across corporations; the techplex; industry; family; governments; nations; and religions. The win/lose metric also creates an unlimited growth curve. This growth curve is rooted in an extraction model which seeks to consume, compete, profit, and ultimately — like all exponential growth curves — it must fall off. All of which leads to the system self-terminating.

Of course, the core of this rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics in Modernity, is rooted in the new vision of self in which we are no longer part of anything in an ontological way. We all view ourselves as separate selves. So this win/lose metric is the first core generator function for existential risk.

2. The Second Generator Function for Existential Risk: Vast Complicated Systems and Exponential Technologies

The failed story of win/lose metrics generates complicated, fragile systems. These complicated systems are the second generator function for existential risk. A complicated system is not a complex system. A complicated system means a vast, “hyperobject” world in which we can’t even see the pieces of the whole.

The various parts of the whole do not just appear disconnected but are actually disassociated from each other. The parts seem to have very little to do with each other. Every local node in the larger network is in its own rivalrous conflict and win/lose metrics. We don’t take account of the whole and so we have this complicated — therefore, radically fragile — system. As opposed to a complex system, in which all of the parts are Omni-considerate for the sake of the whole. In a complex system, everything every part does is Omni-considerate. We consider the whole; the whole lives in us. That’s a complex system.

A central feature of complicated systems is out-of-control exponential technologies. Exponential technologies might be for example automated drones that carry nuclear payloads. These are exponential technologies that can deliver mass destruction in ways that the original nuclear technologies themselves couldn’t even dream of with rogue, non‑state actors. Another example of exponential technologies is new forms of social media that keep getting upgraded to attract more engagement. This engagement is effectively a euphemism for addiction.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week “Facebook knows that Instagram is toxic for teenage girls”. Facebook is intentionally making teenage girls addicted in ways that break them. Facebook is captive to its own runaway exponential technologies. Exponential technologies across disciplines and platforms are out of control, unprecedented, unregulated, and creating extreme fragility in the very heart of Reality.

STEP 1: Diagnosing the Global Intimacy Disorder as the Root Cause of Existential Risk: Hope is Born Anew

Underneath the generator functions, there’s a root cause, which we call: the “Global Intimacy Disorder.” That is a very big realization. Because it means that if we heal the Global Intimacy Disorder we can heal existential risk.

But to understand how to heal the Global Intimacy Disorder, we must first define intimacy.

Intimacy means shared identity with a larger sense of the whole. Intimacy implies a mutuality of recognition, where we can see each other. Intimacy implies a mutuality of pathos, where we can feel each other. Intimacy implies a mutuality of value, a shared field of value, where we can resonate with each other. Intimacy implies a mutuality of purpose, a shared purpose where we can coordinate with each other.

Shared identity generates those four mutualies. In our emergent understanding of Reality — which we call CosmoErotic Humanism [think romanticism or existentialism …as a cultural movement and meta-theory together] we have expressed this formally in a core equation of the interior sciences, which we call the Intimacy formula.

The Intimacy Formula:
Intimacy = shared identity in the context of (relative) otherness x mutuality of recognition x mutuality of pathos (feeling) x mutuality of purpose x mutuality of value.

When those four mutualities don’t exist, we have a Global Intimacy Disorder. In a Global Intimacy Disorder there is a failure of Eros. Eros is the quality of all of Reality. Intimacy is an expression of the face of Eros. Eros, like intimacy, is expressed in CosmoErotic Humanism in a core interior science equation. What we call the Eros formula.

The Eros Formula:
Eros= the experience of radical aliveness, seeking, desiring, moving towards, ever deeper contact and every greater wholeness.

When there is a failure of Eros the field generates pseudo-Eros to cover up the emptiness. Eros is expressed in the movement towards deeper and wider intimacies. Intimacy is an expression of the field of Eros. When we don’t have Eros, we have an empty field. The empty field is then filled with Pseudo‑Eros. Pseudo-Eros appears in many distressing disguises. It includes myriad forms of acting out, addiction, compulsion, and agression. But it also includes, in a different form the failed Success story of world culture, rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics. Eros generates a complex system where there is allurement between the parts. Pseudo-Eros always generates a complicated system in which there’s no allurement and therefore no intimacy between the parts.

Similarly, exponential technology is a form of pseudo-Eros.

Another distinction between Eros and pseudo-Eros is that the former is Omni-considerate and the latter is not. Pseudo-Eros is on a vector by itself. It keeps exponentially self‑replicating and increasing its efficacy, and its potential destructiveness without taking the larger system into account. It’s a cancer exponentially metastasizing cells in the body politic and the heart of the Kosmos.

Both of these generator functions however share an underlying root cause: the Global Intimacy Disorder. This realization is — as we pointed towards at the outset — unbelievably hopeful.

Now we begin to know what we need to do. We cannot just heal the Global Intimacy Disorder by restoring intimacy. The intimacy that we need today is of an order that the world has never known.

We need to evolve a new structure of intimacy that Reality’s never known. It is really not simply to restore intimacy, because we never had that level of intimacy. We need to evolve intimacy. We need to generate a new configuration of intimacy.

STEP 2: Healing the Global Intimacy Disorder by Generating a New Configuration of Intimacy

The response to a crisis of intimacy is to generate a new configuration of intimacy. Crisis is an evolutionary driver. Every crisis is a crisis of intimacy. This is true all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain.

Just one example is the evolution of single cellular life to multicellular life. At the dawn of civilization, single cellular life was being destroyed, poisoned by oxygen. Single cellular life responds by generating multicellular life, which is a new configuration of intimacy. This was the profound internal response of the ceaseless creativity of Kosmos, to solve the crisis of intimacy. The destruction of all single-celled life by generating quite literally a new structure of intimacy — multicellular life. This new configuration of intimacy, called multicellular life is what has lead precisely to you and me, to all of us being here together. The entire evolutionary chain leads from multicellular life to plant life animal life and human life. The response to a crisis of intimacy is to generate a new configuration of intimacy This has been true since the dawn of civilization. It is one of the core movements of Kosmos.

Today we are once again faced with a crisis of intimacy, but this time a global crisis of intimacy. Deeper still, a Global Intimacy Disorder.

We are faced with a global crisis of intimacy. It is a global crisis of intimacy because it’s at the very root of global civilization in so many forms. And because for the first time in history, our civilization is global. It’s all-encompassing. It is not that one civilization will fail and then all sorts of other civilizations will go on. We are a global civilization, which means if our global civilization falls it all falls.

To address this potential civilizational collapse we must identify its root cause — which we have now done — the Global Intimacy Disorder.

YES there is a crisis of intimacy.

But now that we’ve diagnosed it, we know how to heal it.

We need to generate this new structure of intimacy, a new configuration of intimacy.

We always do this in evolution.

Evolution is always a crisis of intimacy.

We always move to the next stage of evolution, by actually generating a new configuration of intimacy.

[This blogpost is almost all direct quotes from Dr. Marc Gafni collected from the raw transcript of the featured clip below, which is created from the free weekly broadcast of One Mountain, Many Paths, happening live every Sunday at 10 am PT]

Join our Global Communion of Evolutionary Souls and sign up for FREE for our weekly Live Global One Mountain Service here:


Great Diagnosis is the Beginning of Great Hope: Diagnosing Existential Risk


bottom of page