This is an almost unedited and unplugged version of Dr. Gafni’s conversation from the previous weeks of One Mountain, Many Paths broadcast. Thus, the style of the piece is the spoken word and not a formal essay. Dr. Marc Gafni articulates the second type of existential risk as "stepping out of the Tao" leading to the death of "Our Humanity".
There are two core existential risks. The first is the death “of humanity” and the second is the death of “our humanity.”
The death of our humanity begins when we think we’ve stepped out of the Tao. We live in the Tao. To step out of the Tao is actually impossible, but to think we have stepped out of the Tao is, in many ways, the greatest existential risk of all. To step out of the Tao is to step out of the intrinsic value in which we live and which lives in us. To step out of value in which we participate - literally participate - is to step out of our humanity.
All value is The Tao
Lao Tzu writes in the Tao Te Ching:
"30 spokes are joined at the hub. From their non-being arises the function of the wheel."
The Tao creates that which brings everything together. Then after it is brought together technically and functionally, then it actually becomes something and that thing that it becomes has value, it has intrinsic beingness.
That beingness comes not from the technical putting it together, it comes from non-being. What the Taoists mean by non-being is what I want to call the Infinity of Intimacy that is inherent in all of Kosmos. You can’t quite speak it. The Tao that can be spoken is not the Tao. The Tao that can be measured is not the Tao. The Tao that can be coded is not the Tao. The Tao is value itself. But words can and must stretch to the breaking point and point towards the Tao. And measurement must exceed its own measurement and point towards the Tao. And code must be infused with the Tao.
All value is the Tao. All existence is being breathed into form in every second not by technically putting parts together, but when these parts come together and they form a whole, that wholeness is the Tao. And that which draws them together is the Tao. And that which manifest union and not fusion is the Tao.
And as our dear and colleague friend Howard Bloom might say: “opposites joined at the hip” is the Tao [although Howard calls himself a materialism mystic and does not like words like the Tao, Howard is the Tao.]
The Tao is that which creates the alive value of experience. Your value is not your commodification on a market. It is not your measurement. It is the immeasurable, the priceless. It’s the incessant, ceaseless breath of Reality.
Stepping out of the Tao
The second you step out of the Tao, it is not that you become a bad human, you actually cease to be human. We simply stop being human. Or more accurately, we gradually cease to experience ourselves as human beings.
Now, of course the Tao infuses everything so you can’t actually ever step out of the Tao, but you can experience yourself as being outside the Tao.
You contract. Your self-understanding is alienated from your true nature. You become coiled and contracted. Your self understanding of your own self and reality self is alienated from the true nature of what is, and you experience yourself as being out of the Tao.
The immeasurable, irreducible value of the human being
When I’m in the Tao, I’m living in value. The Tao that can be measured is not the Tao. There is immeasurable value to each and every one of us. Human value can not be reduced to an algorithm.
Our unique gorgeousness is irreducible in its value and its quality and its dignity and its wonder. That’s the Tao. But that truly can only be known by you if you’re living in the Tao, - more accurately - if you know you are living in the Tao.
The Eternal Tao is the Evolving Tao
Much of what is happening in the world today is because we have stepped out of the Tao. Instead of actually experiencing the Evolution of Love, the emergence of human rights, and the irreducible worth of every human being, we refuse to claim universal human rights as the evolution of value itself.
We identify the Tao as the eternal and unchanging tao. But the Tao is eternal in the sense that is "beneath and beyond" time and not that is unchanging “in" time. Modernity says it’s all merely a social construction and steps out of the Tao.
So we have to actually step back into the Tao. Political will, a politics of evolutionary love, can only live within the Tao.
We need to articulate this language together. The eternal tao is the evolving tao. This is the New Story.
Our intention is to tell the New Story, to speak the new narrative and to speak it in a way that activates political will.
Political is always associated with value. Value arouses political will and violation of value arouses political will. So we are political revolutionaries and our politics is a Politics of Love!
[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]
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