All posts by Mike Zonta

Book: “On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love”

On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love – October 24, 2014

This early work by Sigmund Freud was originally published in 1912 and we are now republishing it with a brand new introductory biography. ‘On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love’ is an essay on the causes of psychological impotence. Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born on 6th May 1856, in the Moravian town of Příbor, now part of the Czech Republic. He studied a variety of subjects, including philosophy, physiology, and zoology, graduating with an MD in 1881. Freud made a huge and lasting contribution to the field of psychology with many of his methods still being used in modern psychoanalysis. He inspired much discussion on the wealth of theories he produced and the reactions to his works began a century of great psychological investigation.


Book: “Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality”

Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality

Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality

by Paul Levy

The Quantum Revelation is mind-blowing.” –Sting To say that quantum physics is the greatest scientific discovery of all time is not an exaggeration. In their discovery of the quantum realm, the physics community stumbled upon a genuine multifaceted revelation which can be likened to a profound spiritual treasure–a heretofore undreamed of creative power–hidden within our own mind. Quantum physics unequivocally points out that the study of the universe and the study of consciousness are inseparably linked, which is to say that ultimate progress in the one will be impossible without progress in the other. Einstein declared that what it reveals is so immensely important that “it should be everyone’s concern.” Yet few of us in the general public truly understand how the game-changing discoveries of the past century not only relate to our day-to-day lives, but also give us insights into the nature of reality and our place within it. Written for readers with no physics background, Paul Levy’s latest book, The Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality is for those who have heard that quantum physics is a fascinating subject but don’t quite understand how or why. Levy contemplates the deeper philosophical underpinnings of quantum physics, exploring the fundamental questions it provokes: What does it mean that quantum theory has discovered that there is no such thing as “objective reality?” How are we participating–via our consciousness–in creating our experience of a reality that quantum theory itself describes as “dreamlike?” What are the implications for us in our day-to-day lives that–as quantum theory reveals–what we call reality is more like a dream that we had previously imagined? The Quantum Revelation is unique in how it synthesizes science and spirituality so as to reveal and explore the dreamlike nature of reality. It is a book not just for people interested in quantum theory, but for anyone who is interested in waking up and dreaming lucidly, be it in our night dreams or our waking life.


Why America Confuses Fantasy for Reality: Celebrity, Hollywood, & Disneyland | Kurt Andersen

Big Think
Published on Sep 13, 2017

The start of the 20th century was the birth of a strange new reality in the United States. The advent of the moving image, of Hollywood and sudden celebrity, caused a quantum shift in how Americans thought about the experience of life. Actors were elevated to the status of superheroes and demigods, and those left in the obscurity of the masses began to desire that elusive privilege: fame. But where America really went haywire, author Kurt Andersen explains, is when the cult of celebrity and the cult of capitalism merged: it was the opening of Disneyland in 1955. A bizarre reality where advertising met animation. You could buy real wares, from fake characters, in real stores, with make-believe themes. “What happened in Disneyland… did not stay there,” says Andersen. From Mickey Mouse all the way to the White House, Anderson doesn’t find it at all surprising that Americans might have a hard time telling what’s true from what’s false. He calls it the fantasy-industrial complex, and it might just be America’s beautifully branded nightmare. Kurt Andersen’s new book is Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History.

Read more at…

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Transcript: All kinds of modern, amazing things were happening at the beginning of the 20th century, especially in the United States of America, and the movies and Hollywood were one of those things that we kind of, I think, we have lost track of what a quantum shift watching movies represented for the experience of life. Sure there had been actors and plays before, but first of all the glut of entertainment that suddenly existed and the almost phantasmagorical quality of watching real people moving around that weren’t in front of you but in some netherworld in film, and they were really in London or India or the Yukon or wherever, and time was suddenly changed, it went from childhood to adulthood—everything about the cinema, we have to understand what a huge change that was and how mutable it seemed to make reality. So you take that—the fact of cinema, TV, video, everything we now for five generations have taken as the way things are—it gave us, and especially Americans, obviously French people and English people as well, this idea that reality was mutable. Then on top of that and with that you have this celebrity culture where there are, by orders of magnitude, suddenly more celebrities. In the 19th century and earlier there were famous people, but just a few of them, and now there were hundreds and then eventually thousands of famous people who were now famous for pretending to be somebody else: actors. That was a strange new condition.

And so for a long time, for much of the 20th century, people looked up to movie stars because they seem to have real potency in this world where individuals seem more and more part of a mass. Here were the people, because they were famous and because we watched them and stared at them and dreamed about them, they were like superheroes or demigods. So by the end of the 20th century or before the end of the 20th century, who wouldn’t—if you’re an American steeped in this movie and television culture—want to be famous? Maybe there’s no reason for you to be famous but, my god, only famous people have real agency in the world. So we got to that point, where fame is its own end. You also—again, there’s advertising everywhere, but advertising and the advertising industry were really an American invention, starting way back in the 1800s when, for instance, the presidential candidate William Henry Harrison was the first marketed, advertised presidential candidate. He was this rich guy who they wanted to rebrand as a humble guy who had grown up in a log cabin, so log cabins became his icon, his branding symbol, and they made real big ones and little ones and liquor and facial creams in log cabin containers, and they made chants and songs, and he won by a landslide over a guy who was actually of humble origins.

So advertising as part of this fantasy-industrial complex that is so American and so defining of America has been a big part of what we’re talking about as well. Disneyland: I love Disneyland, but when it was created in the 1950s, not just as a little amusement park to promote Walt Disney’s animated films but as this other version of reality that was real—it was there, you could go there and buy things at these old-fashioned shops on Main Street USA with actors, but they were selling you stuff.

“Transformation” by Wade Hudson

The overwhelming majority of people
In most nations
Grounded in compassion,
Loving and respecting themselves 

As they love and respect others,
Avoiding self-sacrifice and selfishness,
Treating others as they want to be treated,
Setting aside destructive instincts,
Liberating their higher angels,
Realizing their nation’s highest ideals,

Creating conditions that nurture the quality of life,
Good, moral, happy, honorable, productive, meaningful lives,
Rooted in dignity, worthy of respect, 

Transforming their nation
Into a compassionate community
Dedicated to the common good of
All humanity,
Their own people,
The environment,
And life itself —
The people of each nation
Working toward that same goal,
Cooperating with each other,
Helping each nation stand strong against
Powerful global corporate and financial forces
That maximize profit regardless of consequences —
Individuals supporting the empowerment
Of individuals and communities,
Making their nation more democratic
And caring,
Inspiring each other,
Helping each other,
Listening to each other,
Learning from each other,

Spreading contagious happiness,
Each individual on their own path
Headed in the same direction,
Appreciating differences,
Each person,
As a member of the human family,
Affirming multiple identities,
Accepting others’ identities,
Supporting self-determination
Within community,

Setting aside ideology, dogma, doctrine, the worship of words,
Focused on what works to improve lives,
Letting go of zero-sum thinking,
Embracing positive-sum thinking,
The more others flourish,
The more I flourish,
The more they flourish,
The more we flourish,
Going beyond the old form of leadership
That defines a leader as one who mobilizes others
To do what the leader wants
And embracing a new form of leadership
That defines a leader as one who helps a team solve problems
With any one person able to exercise leadership
By suggesting a step forward that makes sense,
Creating workplaces that empower workers,
Schools that empower students, teachers, and parents,
Social service agencies that empower clients,
Doctors who empower patients,
Families that empower children,
Organizations that empower their members,
Friends, wives, husbands, and parents who empower each other,
Creating democracies without racist police who use
Excessive force,
Democracies that declare Election Day a national holiday
And remove barriers to voting,
Democracies that set a limit on how much money any one person
Can contribute to a political campaign,
Democracies that make it illegal for an election official
To lobby the government until ten years after they no longer serve,
Democracies that require that any business that gets a public licence
To use public airwaves
Will devote a substantial portion of their time
To present alternate points of view
And public service announcements,
Democracies that require elected officials to meet face-to-face
At least once a month
To hear voters’ opinions and answer their questions
On any subject,
In a forum that’s carefully structured
To assure that it’s not dominated by the official
And is fair and orderly,

With democracies that include grassroots organizations
That mobilize at least 1% of their eligible voters
Once a month
To urge their national representatives
To back a specific law,
Supported by a majority of the people,
To relieve suffering or protect the environment —
Resorting to nonviolent civil disobedience and boycotts if necessary,
Pushing their representatives
Until they respect the will of the people.

In these and other ways, achieving
Changing the structure and outward appearance of our society,
Changing our character as individuals,
Changing whole persons and the whole world,
Changing our global social system from one that
Integrates our institutions,
Our culture,
Our ecology,
And ourselves as individuals
To enable people to climb one social ladder or another
So they can dominate
And look down on those below —
Into a global social system that
Integrates our institutions,
Our culture,
Our ecology,
And ourselves as individuals
To enable everyone to thrive,
Enjoy life,
Live in harmony with Nature,
And form productive, creative partnerships,
While respecting legitimate authority,
Noble traditions,
And family ties,
Until the world looks and feels like a new world,
Until people feel and act like new people,
Until Mother Earth no longer screams in agony.

Holistic, systemic, global transformation.
Personal, social, cultural, political.

One step at a time,
One day at a time,
Minute by minute,
Person by person,
Family by family,
Community by community,
Workplace by workplace,
Neighborhood by neighborhood,
City by city,
State by state,
Nation by nation.
With individuals who embrace this vision
And commit to steadily improve themselves
And the world
Meeting once a month
In a support team
Of three or more who embrace this vision
To share a meal and,
Before engaging in whatever other activity
They want to engage in,
Concerning a matter of each person’s choosing,
Reporting on how they’ve been trying
To become a better person
And improve their nation’s public policies,
And then, on occasion,
Meeting with members from other nearby support teams
Who share this commitment
To learn from and inspire each other,
Until eventually growing into an enormous
Global gathering,
In multiple locations,
Streamed live globally,
Kindred spirits aiming toward
Holistic, systemic, global transformation,
A global network of support teams
Founded on the same mission,
In solidarity,
Engaged in evolutionary revolution.

–Wade Hudson


Translators:  Mike Zonta, Melissa Goodnight, Richard Branam

SENSE TESTIMONY:  Tyranny oppresses the individual in favor of the ruling elite.

5th Step Conclusions:

  1. Truth is King/Queen, the only Ruler, a Tyrant without oppression, one Individual without choice, without chosen, without elite; always ruling in favor of Itself.

  2. Consciousness Beingness That I AM, is the inviolable  inseparable singular wholeness that is always empowering each individuation to express and consciously recognize the infinitely liberating privilege of being and knowing the Truth

  3. Truth is One Infinite Mind Essence: Being Self Mastery, King Loving Queen, Prince Loving Princess, Absolute Omnipotencey: Indivisibly I am I, individuated collective elegance, Complementarily replete: resonating syllogistical Logos, fruitfully its’ own Autismical Consciousness  Awareness.

Aldous Huxley interviewed by Mike Wallace : 1958

Warnings of dictatorship are nothing new in America. We have them now, and we’ve had them before, and we’ve even had them come from the intelligentsia at times. Above, Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World (get free text here), talks with Mike Wallace in 1958 — smack in the middle of the Cold War — about the major threats to American freedom. Who were the villains? Not elected representatives who passed laws with a majority in Congress. No, it was a different set of characters: overpopulation, bureaucracy, propaganda, drugs, advertising, and, yes, television. Part 1 of the interview appears above, and you can continue with Part 2, and Part 3. For more interviews from The Mike Wallace Interview (1957-1960), please revisit our earlier piece. You’ll find some more thought provoking interviews there (and lots of cigarette peddling).

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Translators: Alex Gambeau, Hanz Bolen, Heather Williams

SENSE TESTIMONY:  Successful spiritual process is lacking in communities

5th Step Conclusions:

  1. Communities are the ontology; changeless harmony in Thou in me and I in Thee.
  2. Community is One Spiritual process successfully expressing Truth as All there is.
  3. All community is one self evident Universal integrity of ability and well being.

Tennessee Williams on Love and How the Very Thing Worth Saving Is the Thing That Will Save Us

By Maria Popova (

“Love is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills,”Tolstoy wrote at the end of his life in his forgotten correspondence with Gandhi about human nature and why we hurt each other, as the global tensions that would soon erupt into World War I were building. How love can save us and what exactly it saves us from — each other, ourselves, the maelstrom of our intersubjective suffering — are questions each person and each generation must answer for themselves.

Tennessee Williams (March 26, 1911–February 25, 1983), born several months after Tolstoy’s death, addressed this abiding question with uncommonly poetic precision several months before his own death in a 1982 conversation with James Grissom, who would spend three decades synthesizing his interviews with, research on, and insight into the beloved playwright in Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog (public library).

Tennessee Williams (Photograph: John Springer)

A quarter century after Martin Luther King, Jr. made his impassioned case for reviving the ancient Greek concept of agape, Williams reflects:

The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.

Complement with Jeanette Winterson on how art saves us and Elizabeth Alexander on the ethic of love, then revisit Williams’s conversation with William S. Burroughs about writing and death and his stirring reading of two poems by Hart Crane.

James Baldwin on Resisting the Mindless Majority, Not Running from Uncomfortable Realities, and What It Really Means to Grow Up

By Maria Popova (

“I can conceive of no better service,” Walt Whitman wrote“than boldly exposing the weakness, liabilities and infinite corruptions of democracy.” Nearly a century later, James Baldwin (August 2, 1924–December 1, 1987) — another poet laureate of the human spirit — embodied this ethos in one of his shortest, most searing, and timeliest essays.

In 1963, the children’s book author Charlotte Pomerantz edited an anthology of prominent writers’ and artists’ critiques of the House Committee on Un-American Activities — the Orwellian investigative committee largely responsible for the internment of Japanese-Americans and the Hollywood blacklist. Titled A Quarter-Century of Un-Americana, 1938– 1963: A Tragico-Comical Memorabilia of HUAC, it featured writing and art by such titans of creative culture as Marianne Moore, Robert Lowell, and Ben Shahn. Baldwin’s contribution was later included in The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings (public library), which also gave us his abiding insight into the redemptive power of language and the artist’s role in society.

James Baldwin

Reflecting on how such metastases of power imperil the moral climate of a society and corrupt the very foundation of democracy, Baldwin writes:

We are living through the most crucial moment of our history, the moment which will result in a new life for us, or a new death… a new vision of America, a vision which will allow us to face, and begin to change, the facts of American life… This seems a grim view to take of our situation, but it is scarcely grimmer than the facts. Our honesty and our courage in facing these facts is all that can save us from disaster. And one of these facts is that there has always been a segment of American life, and a powerful segment, too, which equated virtue with mindlessness… It always reminds me of a vast and totally untrustworthy bomb shelter in which groups of frightened people endlessly convince one another of its impregnability, while the real world outside — by which, again, I mean the facts of our private and public lives — calmly and inexorably prepares their destruction.

Baldwin notes that this is the reality he himself inhabits as a black man, but it is a reality from which the vast majority of Americans spend their lives taking flight. In a sentiment of excruciating timeliness today, he writes:

People in flight never can grow up, which means they can never, really, become citizens — and we simply must not surrender this great country to those people. We must not allow their fear to control us, and, indeed, we must not allow it to control them. Rather, we should attempt to release them from their panic and their unadmitted sorrow. We ought to try, by the example of our own lives, to prove that life is love and wonder and that that nation is doomed which penalizes those of its citizens who recognize and rejoice in this fact.

Art by Ben Shahn from On Nonconformity

A century after Kierkegaard insisted that “truth always rests with the minority… while the strength of a majority is illusory,” Baldwin adds:

We must dare to take another view of majority rule… taking it upon ourselves to become the majority by changing the moral climate. For it is upon this majority that the life of any nation really depends.

Half a century before Toni Morrison counseled young graduates that “true adulthood… is a difficult beauty, an intensely hard won glory, which commercial forces and cultural vapidity should not be permitted to deprive you of,” Baldwin examines this intensely hard won glory not on the individual level but on the collective, and considers what true adulthood really means for a society:

The time has come for us to grow up. A man grows up when he looks back, realizes what has happened to him, accepts it all, and begins to change himself. He cannot grow up until he reaches this moment and passes it. We are now at the end of our extraordinarily prolonged adolescence. A very great poet, an American, Miss Marianne Moore, wrote, many years ago, the following description of our terrors: “The weak overcomes its menace. The strong overcomes itself.”

Two generations after some of the world’s most prominent thought leaders co-signed the Declaration of the Independence of the Mind with the commitment “never to serve anything but the free Truth that has no frontiers and no limits and is without prejudice against races or castes,” Baldwin concludes:

That self-knowledge which matures a nation as well as a man presupposes free men and free minds.

Complement The Cross of Redemption — a trove of cultural and spiritual insight that has only fermented with time — with Baldwin on our capacity for transformation as individuals and nationswhat it means to be an artistfreedom and how we imprison ourselvesthe writer’s responsibility in a divided society, and his fantastic forgotten conversations with Chinua Achebe about the political power of art, with Margaret Mead about identity, race, and the experience of otherness, and with Nikki Giovanni about what it means to be truly empowered, then revisit Albert Camus on the artist as a voice of resistance and Iris Murdoch on why art is essential for democracy.