Author’s Note – This is difficult to deliver with any kind of credibility as to my qualifications for backing up my title. Honest, I don’t have a giant head about this. Please consider this as a writing exercise in which I attempt to propose a writer’s model of character and transformation, and how we, as writers, might work together to create a Peace Story.
Table of Contents
- Danger at the Beginning – Refusal of the Call
- The Game of Alchemy – Outward through Story Space
- The Adventure of Awakening – The Escape from Story Space
- The Character Wars – Thresholds of the Heart and Mind
- The Peace Story – Hero Propagation
Danger in the Beginning…
The Hero’s Journey begins with The Call to Adventure. We are all born into a game in which Reality is continuously poking us with the question — “What should you do?”, and we are continuously responding. Those responses have consequences, and you would think that it wouldn’t take long for the epiphany that we are guessing to be triggered by the painful experience of guessing wrong. But there is a hidden trap here I am calling Danger at the Beginning.
Uncertainty can be frightening, especially for young children. Will the hero answer the call and move forward into uncertainty to begin their rising spiral of evolution toward reality and awakening? Or will they refuse the call, retreat from uncertainty to seek refuge in the illusion of some true story that promises to protect them from their fears in exchange for their obedience? If they refuse the call, they must blind their perceptions to the evidence of reality lest it contradict their true story, and they must suffocate their cognitive solution process to prevent it from producing answers that challenge their right answer. Rather than a rising spiral of evolution upward toward reality, they begin to spiral downward into delusion, separating further and further from reality.
The standard solutions to dealing with uncertainty appear to be –
- Pretend that you are not guessing.
- Follow the advice of someone you trust.
- Try a more creative approach…
The Game of Alchemy
When I was six years old my brother told me that there was no Santa Claus, and in one moment I moved from inside of a story where Santa Claus was absolutely true, out into a story where it was all a vast conspiracy of lies designed to control how I answered the question. In the flash of epiphany I caught the pattern –
- Where I was standing was controlling what I was seeing.
- What I was seeing was controlling how I was answering.
- How I was answering was controlling my consequences.
In that same flash of epiphany I caught the geometry of motion, from inside of smaller false story, out into larger truer story. Because I had noticed once, I continued to notice, and it was if I had split in two. Part of me was answering the question, and part of me was watching how my answers were changing as I moved outward through story space. This was the birth of my first game, Largest Place. Asked what I should do, I responded – move out to a larger place with a better view from which to answer the question.
Zoom out fifty years. Zoom past my secret hero mission, undertaken at the age of fourteen to answer my mother’s prayers for peace, because I thought that someday I might find myself standing in a place large enough that I could understand why we all can’t just get along. Zoom past the epiphany of motion amplification my freshman year at the University of Notre Dame, when I realized that if I changed my direction from the search for largest place to mastering the process of motion, the further I moved, the more easily I should be able to move. Zoom through the playing of my new game, Jump Point, the heaving of my life again and again into uncertainty attempting to induce the phenomena of epiphany in my research into the laws of motion.
Zoom past landing at a tent site in the woods with a stack of ancient Taoist alchemical texts, the experience of awakening and the epiphany it triggered where I finally found myself in a place large enough that I could see the mechanism that makes world peace possible. Zoom past my vision in The Lord’s Bedchamber seven years later that revealed the forces preventing world peace, and the solution to the problem of man’s inhumanity to man. Zoom past the next thirteen years as I tried again and again to return from my hero mission with my solution, to share what I had learned for the benefit of all mankind.
The Adventure of Awakening
The story in which we are standing is controlling what we are seeing, which is controlling how we are answering, which is controlling our consequences. The benefit of experience is that it allows the realization that there is a larger story outside our current story, and if we were standing there, we would have a very different opinion about what it is worth doing with our time and energy, and it might really matter. The difficulty, in practice, is finding that larger place. There may be an infinite number of paths we can take outward through story space, but in the escape from story space, all paths lead through awakening.
Rather than spiraling downward into fantasy, separating further and further from the evidence of reality to hide from our fears of uncertainty, awakening is a rising spiral of evolution into uncertainty, an escape from the false stories that control our perceptions, our actions, and our consequences. Is your story stressing you out, enraging you, depressing you? Do you want to know what really matters? Take a deep breath and hold it. The answer will come to you.
Awakening is difficult. It requires the kind of time, commitment, and effort that it takes to get back into physical shape, or to learn how to play a musical instrument. You need to strengthen the spiritual force that drives you up that mountain when your body is screaming STOP! You need to apply that spiritual force to breaking your addiction to the holodeck by grabbing onto the present with your sense of touch. Stop thought, drop in, and surf the NOW.
I was living in the woods and trying not to step on a snake. The Taoist had an algorithm for becoming more present that began with “stop thought.” The attempt revealed everything that was preventing me from being present. This turns out to be very much like learning to surf. At first, all of your attention is focused on maintaining your balance. But eventually, you acquire the skill of balancing in the present. You are the child that has finally struggled to your feet. You are standing. You look around. Where do you want to go? (What should you do?)
Wooosh… Out into an infinite sea. “This changes EVERYTHING!” I’ve ridden some great expansion rushes, but the epiphany triggered by awakening rips your head off. Awakening is not the end of the story. It is the beginning of an extraordinary new adventure. The Taoists have a saying – “You build a trap to catch a rabbit. When the rabbit is caught, you no longer need the trap.”
“The Master has taken charge of the servant.”
The Character Wars
I set out on my alchemical journey because I was seeking the truth, and did not trust anyone to provide it to me. I set out on my secret hero mission because I was grateful to my mother and wanted to pay her back for the life she had almost died giving me, but I could never be the priest she prayed I would become. What I realized in my “vision” in The Lord’s Bedchamber was that these are the thresholds of the heart and the mind, and that not everybody has made the choice to cross them. Many people refused to answer The Call to Adventure into uncertainty, and instead, retreated fearfully into some “true” fantasy. Many people refused to be grateful for what they have been given and give something back, but remain wrapped in the delusion of the “all about me” show in the selfish heart.
My epiphany in The Lord’s Bedchamber revealed how the people’s story had fractured into the four natural Characters –
- Grateful Heart, Seeking Mind – The Hero Problem Solver
- Grateful Heart, Knowing Mind – The Saintly Preacher
- Selfish Heart, Seeking Mind – The Pirate Predator
- Selfish Heart, Knowing Mind – The Monster Punisher
People are not characters, and I have stood in ALL of these locations, and no matter where I was standing, was highly confident my view was clearest. (LOL) You can end up in any of these places naturally, as a response to your environment. Uncertainty is frightening, and hiding from it inside the selfish heart and certain mind are natural responses to our fears. The rush of the arrogant mind becomes too sweet to surrender, and ultimately, feeling like God feels better than being scared shitless. Likewise, the rage of the selfish heart empowers you in the face of a terrifying uncertainty that might otherwise leave you whimpering in a corner.
My hero character is what I call the People’s Hero, because they try to help the people solve their problems. It is the grateful heart that motivates the hero to try to help the people, and it is the seeking mind that enables them to work the solution process. A selfish heart will never undertake the hero’s journey, and a knowing mind is trapped inside their right answer and cannot work the solution process.
There is a character war in progress for control over the people. In my third letter to Pope Francis, The Hero Jesus Story and the Crucifixion Climax, I try to explain —
“I believe Jesus was a grateful seeker. I believe he was a hero, who fed the hungry, and healed the sick, and who went searching in the wilderness for an answer to God’s Question, and who returned, to set the people free. And the pirates, and the monsters, and the saints murdered him for it, because setting people free is not what pirates and monsters and saints do.”
Every day hero players are slaughtered by pirate predators and monster punishers for trying to set their people free. The characters of the selfish heart and certain mind will not allow their people to awaken. They want to imprison them in a sleepwalking fantasy that the pirates, monsters, and saints control. They will not surrender the power to manipulate people by trapping them inside their certain minds with the True words of God so they can trap them inside their selfish hearts with empty promises of heaven and threats of burning hell. Even to speak about this can get you crucified, and in many countries in the world today writing this paragraph could get me a death sentence. As long as this remains true, we can never end war and poverty.
The Peace Story
In my video New Atlantis (2009), I attempt to define the problem and offer my solution to man’s inhumanity to man. My general solution was “Hero Propagation”, through a restructuring of public educational philosophy to cultivate and nurture grateful hearts and seeking minds (see diagram below). I called it Hero Educational Philosophy — the training of the people’s students how to work together solving the people’s problems, and that if the students try to lift the people’s weight, they will gain the hero’s strength.. The implementation I suggested in New Atlantis to Governor Schwarzenegger was a California Hero Engine, which I also pitched in a petition to Governor Brown in 2012 – Bring on the Hero Show! In 2014, I pitched a Catholic Hero Engine in my Letters to Pope Francis.
The following projects are attempts to implement Hero Propagation through the nurturing of the grateful heart and the seeking mind.
The Hero Science Project: A university based team problem solving game on a hero rescue mission (and a reality series). Based on the scientific method where every solution is an experiment, this will be a scalable solution engine lifting the people from the very bottom by rescuing those most desperate among us as a team problem solving exercise. It will also be able to quickly refocus on disasters in progress. This project could graduate generation after generation of hero team problem solvers that will be like bolting a turbocharger to the intake of the democratic solution engine, and accelerate the people into a future of peace and unimaginable prosperity.
Samaka Permaculture: A permaculture design platform for sustainable gardens to feed families, communities, and refugee camps. Also a permaculture master gardener program integrated into science education for grades K-12. This project could graduate generation after generation of permaculture master gardeners that will transform our planet into a sustainable garden paradise and eliminate hunger.