November 2013

* Ethics of Telepathy

Asimov on Chemistry "The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."
(Isaac Asimov)


Two days after I heard Cohen speak in New York, he agreed to meet me at a compound in western Massachusetts that serves as his headquarters. The interview took place in a spacious, high-ceilinged room containing a long wooden table on which someone had placed a pitcher of water and two glasses. The room's only decorations were a vase stuffed with flowers and a photograph of Cohen. After we sat at the table, Cohen asked me to remind him why I wanted to speak to him.

As I responded, I was acutely aware of Cohen watching me, and suddenly I thought he was reading my mind. My heart raced, and my breathing became labored. Fortunately, this moment of bizarre panic passed, and I managed to tell Cohen that I was writing a book about mysticism. I wanted to explore whether mystical experience-and especially the state known as enlightenment - can give us a knowledge that we cannot get through science or any other means; Cohen's magazine gave me the impression that he is interested in issues like this.

Cohen nodded. His primary interest is the relationship "between mystical experience and human life and how to live," he said. "Because quite often spiritual seekers tend to get vague about the relationship between mystical experience and - he paused - what that means about life and how to live."

As he continued speaking, Cohen seemed to drift in and out of focus. His eyes never rolled completely back into his head, as they had in his talk at the St. Moritz Hotel. But they glazed over at times, as if he was distracted by some inner vision, then locked onto mine with an unsettling directness. He kept his hands busy, chopping the air, pounding the table, even touching my hand now and then.

Some of his riffs had an incantatory effect. He spoke rapidly in a low, soft voice, often reiterating a single idea with slight variations. Occasionally he labored to find the right word. I found this trait disarming; rather than serving up pre-packaged riffs, Cohen seemed to be thinking aloud, putting effort into his responses. I also caught myself wondering: Would a truly enlightened person ever be at a loss for words?

John Horgan,
The Myth of
the Totally

Andrew Cohen


"Almost all the ideas we have about being a man or being a woman are so burdened with pain, anxiety, fear and self-doubt. For many of us, the confusion around this question is excruciating."

"Most men are very attached to the idea of being male, and usually experience a lot of fear and insecurity around the idea of being a man. Most women are very identified with their gender, and also experience a tremendous amount of fear and insecurity."

"It is not enough to be well-intentioned; one must strive to put those intentions into action in a capable way. One must consider the effect his actions will have on others. Looked at like this, to persist in ignorance is itself dishonorable."

"It is true that women tend to be more identified with their bodies because in this crazy world, both men and women measure women's value as human beings in relationship to their physical appearance."

"I'm suspicious of any man or woman who approaches their own liberation with any kind of gender bias."

"Men are recognizing that they have been forced to conform to a very narrow and rather two-dimensional picture of maleness and manhood that they have never had the freedom to question."

Ken Wilber

"We've got this extraordinary, massive connection. And we really are entering into the information age. And in the information age, there are a couple rules. One is that information is free. People don't make money charging for information. Now, human contact, they still pay for. But what people really pay for, with information, is for somebody to edit it. We are being flooded with every single piece of information that has remained recorded. You have access to most books, all the worlds cultures, you have access to virtually every esoteric secret. Every answer to every Zen Koan has been published. These are the highest of the highest, the most secret of the secret - and they are all out there. People tend to think we don't need publishing houses, and those nasty publishing houses in song recordings...and so we think we can get rid of those things. But now what you have is an information overload. And so what do you do? You pay people to tell you what information is good. In other words, you pay for editors of information. It's almost no longer a physical plant where you print books. All Shambala is a name recognition that people trust. The entire substance of what Shambala is just eight letters. It's just a word, Shamballa. And so if a Shamballa book comes out, then people tend to trust it, and they'll buy it. And that's one of the reasons people trust names that have made their living distributing information. The editor of the new york times said: "people pay us for what we don't print." And that is essentially what is starting to go on."

"All of my books are lies. They are simply maps of a territory, shadows of a reality, gray symbols dragging their bellies across the dead page, suffocated signs full of muffled sound and faded glory, signifying absolutely nothing. And it is the nothing, the Mystery, the Emptiness alone that needs to be realized: not known but felt, not thought but breathed, not an object but an atmosphere, not a lesson but a life."