This week's podcast delves into matters of the inner self.
Here at Peak Prosperity, we follow a lot of the problems and challenges of the world around us and explore what can be done in response to them. And in seeking solutions, we have to remind ourselves that if we want the world to be different in some way, the only way to begin changing it with 100% certainty is by changing ourselves. In the end, we are responsible for how we perceive and relate to what's happening around us, and true change begins with taking ownership of what our reality is, and what we want it to be.
For such a heady topic, we've responded to previous requests from the PP.com community and invited our own philosopher-in-residence Andrew Graves — better known as Treebeard on the site — to expound on the topic:
In the West, we've done a great job of exploring the external world, but have done absolutely nothing about exploring the internal world. And if the internal self is disordered, even if you have the right facts and ideas and are doing the right things, you'll still just create more disorder around you. If you aren't in the right place and don't have the right awareness, then your actions will simply create more disorder. I'm sure we've all met people like that, where they are saying all the right things, but you just sort of feel like something is off.
So it's really about changing the way we perceive the world, and the way simple ideas are missed because they are so obvious, not because they are complex. It's about going back to base one, looking internally and seeing the world as it is, which — as simple as that statement sounds — is an amazing challenge.
I think the first step in being able to come in contact with reality is owning the ugliness within human beings. This can sound negative, but I think you have to go through the darkness to get to the light. Think of the atrocities throughout history, the things that human beings are capable of and what we have done over time. And, it's our avoidance, our desire to be good, to be nice, to reject that dark part of ourselves is what keeps us from being able to see reality directly. It's taking ownership of what we are and we are capable of, and owning that darkness, that allows us to come in direct contact with reality. And, when you, there is an overwhelming feeling of intense love: it's a state of being where you realize where the foundation of the world is. But, as long as we are trying to apologize and reject that dark part of ourselves, we are holding ourselves back from experiencing life as it is.
So the first step coming in contact with the dark side, which allows you to see it for what it is. Then the separation from the self and the observed disappears, and contact begins, and love just flows organically as a part of that experiential process. So, in fact, the thing we avoid, the thing we say "No, not that", is the very thing that we need the most. If we can have the courage just to own all of it, the darkness of being a human being and all that entails, once we own that, then all kinds of possibilities come into play.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Andrew Graves (59m:26s):
Chris: Welcome to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host, Chris Martenson, and I am really looking forward today. Today is going to be just a great podcast, because we are going to spend some time in an area that has really been consuming a lot of my off-screen time as I think through things. And, it starts like this: I am 52 years old, and with every passing year, I learn more and more. And, once, once I thought that the answers were all out there somewhere, and it was my job to get and find them, you know, to gather experiences and data and facts, and that this was the path to knowledge. And, it was for the life stage I was in. It was a very important part of my life. But, now, I know that all of the most important discoveries I have yet to make about life are inside of myself. And, whether you call this being on a spiritual path or simply maturing in a healthy way, the results are the same.
I now look at life completely differently and have learned some important truths. Chief among these is that I am the only one responsible for how I experience the world and my relationships. The only person I can with 100% certainty change in a relationship is myself. And, I know that whatever torments or blockages a person has in their life can be addressed and healed by that same person looking inside themselves, that in fact, that is where all of our answers truly lie. Now, taking one step further, if we want the world to be different in some way, the only way we can begin to change it, again, with 100% certainty, is by changing ourselves.
So, today, we are going to back up and we are going to become philosophical about the world and our place in, and maybe burrow into that inner space where all the answers lie, and we are going to do this with our very own Peak Prosperity member, Andrew Graves, who most of you know as Treebeard. Yes, our resident philosopher is coming to the podcast format. Welcome, Treebeard, or I am going to call you Andrew from now on. Welcome, Andrew.
Andrew: Wow, thank you very much, Chris. Glad to be here.
Chris: I am really excited. Okay. So, there is only going to be so much time to talk about this. I am sure we could go on for hours and we probably will, just not all today. So, let’s run through this from the outside in. At a lunch meeting today, I was talking with a gentleman about the angst that I witness in people everywhere I go as being rooted in some existential dread. By which, I mean a deep-seated feeling that something is just not right; by which, I mean our national narrative just does not line up very well anymore with either the facts as we can read them if we choose to, or even our daily experiences. And, so of course, if you think you are on a ship that is headed for a whirlpool, it is hard to feel really good about things, no matter how comfy your life is. So, let’s leave the convincing aside. Let’s begin with a shared belief that Western culture specifically, but maybe humanity generally, is on an unsustainable trajectory. From your perspective, how does that impact us as individuals?
Andrew: Well, it is an interesting statement that the consciousness that creates the problems is not the kind of consciousness that can solve them. And, like I said a little bit earlier, that so much of what we have done in the West, as you said initially was we have done a great job of exploring the external world, but we have done absolutely nothing about exploring the internal world. And, if the internal self is disordered, even if you have the right facts and ideas and are doing the right things, you will still just create more disorder without you. If you are not in the right place and do not have the right awareness, then the actions become—they create more disorder. I am sure we have all met people like that, where they are saying all the right things, but you just sort of feel like something is off.
So, it is really, like you said, it is about changing the way we perceive the world. In a way, these simple ideas are sort of missed because they are so obvious, not because they are complex. So, it is sort of going back to base one, looking internally and seeing the world as it is, which is really, as simple as that statement sounds, seeing the world as it is, it is an amazing, amazing challenge. Because, we are always perceiving the world through our own sort of, maybe not "craziness" is maybe not the right word, but through our own perceptions, our own way of identifying ourselves as a particular person or group and not the common, the context directly with reality.
In my mind, Western culture went off the rails back with the Greeks and the whole idea of the _____ [00:04:33] and of Plato where you cannot actually get in direct contact with reality. But, there is a whole part of our consciousness which is able to perceive reality directly that we have neglected and actually sort of—in Western culture the saying does not even exist anymore.
Chris: Well, and this is something I call "trust yourself," which is really an invocation to ask people to begin to really use all of their sensory apparatus to sort of divine where we are going. Because, our heads can tell us one thing, right, we have a narrative in our heads that defines our reality for us. And, we all have them. I am not saying I have transcended this by any stretch. I replaced one narrative with a different one and then I have a different sort of a view. So, at Peak Prosperity, we have looked at a bunch of facts and we have come to this new narrative that says, “Wow, this direction that we are being asked to fully engage with seems to be heading in a direction that looks like it might end badly, or it has risks. Or, wait a minute, once we start to examine it, is it even taking us there in the style we have been told? Like, are we really happy, are we really fulfilled, are we really living to our fullest selves?”
And, I want to talk, though, about this narrative and the importance of narrative. So, you wrote recently, I have got a quote here from a comment you had put, and here it is. It says, “As the veneer of American exceptionalism crumbles away, the raw drive for power and control has become more and more apparent. The flimsy propaganda dressing of making the world safe for democracy is disappearing as the years and mountains of evidence built of our brutal foreign policy, of assassinations and covert wars, and support of brutal dictators, and relentless support of extractive economic policy dressed up as 'free enterprise.' The poorly constructed propaganda has always been this shoddy and ridiculous, but it seems we never had the courage to look ourselves in the eye so that we can say what is truly great and beautiful about our country.”
What you are saying there to me is that we have a narrative that we have been told, and as we—let me talk to you about my American dream narrative, right? You grow up, you learn that we are the greatest country, we have freedom, we have democracy, we have free enterprise, we have got equal justice, she is blind, money has real meaning and value, because you have to work hard for it. All these things you can easily now with the Internet scratch away at and go "whoops," maybe not all entirely true. But, a national narrative, the way in which we identify ourselves, I have learned is really, really important. And, if you are being asked to engage in a narrative that is frankly not good for you personally, but not good for your children if you happen to have them, or not good for anybody, it gets... it is hard to look that square in the eye without it being a very uncomfortable sort of experience.
Andrew: Right. I think the first step in being able to come to what I would call in contact with reality is owning the ugliness that human beings can be. And, again, this can sound sort of negative, but I think you have to go through the darkness to get to the light. But, humans as a species are—can do some really, not just Americans, but as, think of the atrocities throughout history, the things that human beings are capable of and what we have done over time. And, it is sort of the avoidance and the desire to be good, to be nice, to reject that dark part of ourselves is what keeps us from being able to see reality directly. It is taking ownership of what we are and what we are capable of, and owning that darkness that allows us to come in direct contact with reality. And, when you do come in direct contact with reality, there is an overwhelming feeling of intense love, and it is not something that you can describe or something that can be discussed in an article or be intellectualized. It is a state of being where you realize where the foundation of the world is. But, as long as we are trying to apologize and reject that dark part of ourselves, we are holding ourselves back from experiencing life as it is. And, we have all these mechanisms, we have all these ways of describing that and making that different.
So, in a way, I sort of pick on America, because—not pick on America, but that is what I know, that is the place that I am. And, by not owning up to... and this is, I guess, there is a lot of pieces here and it is hard to know where to start. But, the key problem really is identification. Any time you want to try and build the ego, the individual self through identification, we are—I am an American. America is a great country. Therefore, by virtue of being part of this group, I am therefore a good person. Or, pick your, whether it is a church group or an intellectual group, you went to a certain university, whatever it may be, that identification separates us from that which we love. Because, you are now dependent upon and using that entity to build the ego within yourself. And, when you do that, when you are dependent on something, you cannot truly love it, because you need something back from it.
So, in order to love America as it is, the first step is admitting and being—coming in contact with that dark side, which allows you to see it for what it is. Then the separation from the self and the beloved or the observed disappears, and contact begins and love just flows organically as a part of that experiential process. So, in fact, the thing we avoid and the thing we say, "no, not that," is the thing that we need the most. If we can have the courage just to own all of it, not only the darkness of being an American, but the darkness of being a human being and all that entails. Once we own that, then all kinds of possibilities come into play.
Chris: Let me—I totally agree, and let me put a personal flavor on that. One of my formerly favorite pastimes, and I got to be honest, one that still occupies me from time to time is blaming others. For instance, I see bankers and what is happening in the whole banking industry, and I look at that and I will say, “Wow, that’s really evil and it’s greedy and this really upsets me.” Ask my wife, it still does. And, I will carry that until I realize that the very fact that I am responding that way emotionally means I have identified with them. Which means, to go one layer deeper, it means that I would be doing, if I am honest, I would be doing exactly the same things as those evil, greedy bankers if I was inserted into their circumstances. Which means that whatever it is that I find that really upsets me about the human condition is something that exists inside of me. It is part of me.
Andrew: Right, exactly.
Christopher: And, once I can get to that point, I get to this—I can start to begin to get that separation and that compassion of saying, “Oh, look, they’re not evil, greedy, they’re just, they’re like everybody, they’re doing the best they can.” And, I can maybe cast, I will still cast judgment and I will say, “And, this is maybe not the ideal operating circumstances we should be in right now. How do we shift that?” But, you are saying the first step is to just have that awareness that there is nothing happening out there that is any different than what is happening inside.
Andrew: I mean, think about it. There is this whole issue with the one percent. You have got one percent of the population which is getting enormously wealthy, and 99% of the population is getting much poorer. Well, that condition cannot exist unless the 99% are enabling that one percent to do what they are doing. And, the minute you blame somebody else is the minute you give away all your power. Because, now the people you are blaming are the people who have the responsibility and the power to act, so then you become a victim. The minute you take ownership of a problem, then you also take your power. Power, responsibility and ownership all come together. You cannot just selectively say, “Okay, all the bad stuff in the world is the responsibility of person A, B, C, and D. And, all the good stuff in the world is the responsibility of me.” And, it really is having the courage and the strength to take on that weight, and then act in a way that makes a lot of sense.
Chris: And, Andrew, this is—I want to, before we move past that point—because, this is really central to the core tenet of Peak Prosperity in my mind. I always set this up as this is a "trust yourself" environment. We are going to start laying out the tools, we are going to start gathering our personal capability to begin to wrestle with the implications, the facts as they exist, looking inside, looking outside, starting to really put these pieces together. But, I never wanted to or set myself up to be a guru of any kind, because I do not believe in them. I believe that it is... each of us has the responsibility to act in ways that are in accordance with what we know to be true. And, that can shift over time. But, as of today, I think the people at Peak Prosperity feel that responsibility. They know they have got some important information. They are starting to see the world in ways that other people around them are not. And the struggle then—the struggle is how do I really take on the weight of that responsibility? Like, at a deep level, that is really the request being made when you come in contact with this world-changing sort of information, is what am I going to with it? Right? And, it becomes your responsibility, doesn’t it?
Andrew: Oh, absolutely, and that is so important, that point about—and I do not know where this idea got into my head—but, for so long, it is really about you have to take responsibility for all your own actions. And, absolutely, we do have to go out to experts as it were, but if that expert cannot explain the issue to you in a way that you can understand and internalize and then act upon it, that person is not really an expert at all. Because, we have to be able to trust our own ability to perceive reality, and if you cannot get to the point where you can internalize it, well then, do not play in that field. If you cannot have someone explain how the stock market works to you, then do not go in the stock market. Because, now you are giving away your power and allowing somebody else to make a series of decisions for you that you do understand. So, that is deflating in the strongest sense of your own self-worth and being, and does not allow you to act and grow and take responsibility for your own actions.
There is so much misinformation and bad information from people who are posing as experts who are really giving you very bad and poor information, who are now sort of putting people in a position where they have no information upon which to act. And, that is one of the great crimes that is going on right now in this world, especially it seems in the United States. The quality of information that is available—and kudos to you, Chris, for what you doing, of course. The quality and the amount of information we get from the website from you is just astounding. And, what is out there, I mean, you talk to other people—I am sure many people have had the same kind of experience. You talk to other people and they just do not have a clue. They just do not have the information to make sort of rational decisions. It is just, it is really astounding.
Chris: It is astounding. And, the desire to continue to keep those waters muddy is strong. I was one of the only commentators I am aware of—there were a few, but not that many—who picked up on this whole idea that Janet Yellen, basically, was blaming the 99% for getting poorer. And, I took exception to that, because the facts are easy to ascertain. When the Fed prints money, it flows to people who the Fed hands it to. That is not a really difficult concept. But, still, you had Janet Yellen out there saying, “Well, you people, you’re not entrepreneurial enough. You’re failing to invest in your children sufficiently, and next time remember to have wealthy parents.” I just thought that was so disconnected from what is easily and obviously verifiable information. The fact that it went unremarked on just shows you how vast that gap is between context and information and how little of that really gets connected in our society, almost by design, I guess. I am not clear on that, but it is too big of a gap for me to just say, “Wow, I guess we just—another major thing that fell through the cracks there, huh?”
Andrew: Right. And, I guess I just would like to sort of transcend the whole political thing. I guess, on the outset, it is true that by sort of owning the darkness, admitting—again, the whole idea of identification, that you identify and sort of use the group you are within to build your own structure, the individual "I" or ego. That once that occurs, then it becomes very difficult to see anything objectively. We have to sort of cut that cord. And, if you sort of, okay, of course, the evil that comes with power is sort of a given, that the United States has had this idea of Manifest Destiny. You can go through the horror stories of what we did to the Native Americans, and it is kind of like the assassinations and all that stuff. But, some are like, well, let’s own that, let’s admit how real evil is and begin to understand what evil actually is rather than getting into this whole blame game and then sort of move on.
Because, sort of getting into these political arguments, to me can be sort of almost self-destructive and unproductive, because already you sort of tend to what I would call "match energies." And, you polarize and then you are sort of shouting at each other, and it really does not go anywhere. It is almost like you have to admit, okay, this is, the evil is there, but what is evil? How can people of good intentions, well-educated, with moderate temperaments, how can they go ahead and do these crazy things? That is sort of a question that seems to come up over and over again, either you see this in the dialogue on the website all the time. Are these people crazy or are they evil, or are they stupid?
And, I think what it is about is that there is a way of thinking and perceiving the world that does not allow them—it goes back to what I said earlier about the consciousness that creates the problem cannot solve the problem. And, as long as we keep coming back at them on their terms, in their context, then nothing ever shifts. It just polarizes about a center point which we cannot get to, and that center point is what I call connecting through reality through what I would call sort of the authentic self. And, so, yes, let’s admit that the evil is in the world. Let’s not get hung up on the fact that Janet Yellen can be doing enormous evil, even though she may not be aware of that fact, because of the instruments, her cognitive instruments she is using to try and solve a problem. But, let’s not get hung up there. Let’s examine what evil is, how we get past this mindset that is destructive to one that can connect to reality and connect to the foundation of the world, which really is love.
So, that, to me, is the important part of the dialogue, and to get caught in the sort of political stuff, and the blame game, it becomes unproductive and does not really go anywhere.
Chris: Oh, it never does. It is why we avoid such belief-based material as much as possible at Peak Prosperity. The thing about Janet Yellen for me is not to say that, “Wow, she must be really manipulative and evil to have said what she said.” I honestly, I will tell you, I flat out think that she believes what she said. I think that it is amazing that she has a context that is so fundamentally different from what I think is a easily verifiable context, and those are two separate worldviews. So, here we are with lots and lots of powerful people entrenched in spots. And, here is something I run into all the time, Andrew, these same people who will be out there trading the bond markets, vigorously, daily, in the stock market doing their thing, running hedge funds, being the captains of industry—it does not matter their station, but especially the people who are very high up—they will play the game because that is the game that they have in front of them.
But, privately, they will tell you they are really uncomfortable with where things are going. And, how could you not be when the World Wildlife Fund says, “Hey, we lost half the wildlife in the last 40 years,” and somebody else goes, “Hey, where’s all the water going?” You know, you see these signs that say, “Huh, maybe there’s something here we should look at,” but nobody publicly really knows how to address that yet. And, so it really gets to be like individual consciousness is a difficult thing to wrestle down. But, boy, is that just a far cry easier than trying to wrestle down the collective consciousness or unconsciousness as the case may be. Meaning, you take the Janet Yellens, you take the CEOs, you take the hedge fund operator and they will continue to do what they do, even though deep down, they know they are doing the wrong thing.
And, that is picking on captains of industry, but I think there are a lot of people out there living those two lives with a deep sense of, “Hey, maybe this isn’t the right direction for me, personally, or even for us collectively. And, I got to keep doing this.” And, that tension, that is the angst I talked about at the beginning of all this. That is what I feel more and more palpably. Maybe I am looking for it, but I am pretty sure it is building.
Andrew: Oh, absolutely. And, I think what it is is that—and I have sort of picked on this a lot in my commentaries—is that there is two sort of, maybe in the popular culture it is called left brain and right brain. I am not quite sure that is the right way to say it, but there is two different ways at which we get information from reality. And, the mechanism that we use is one that is very powerful, but at the same time, the way it functions is to divide and fracture the world into pieces. And, that is what we sort of call the rational mind, and what it does, it takes things and splits them apart and compares them, and that is a very powerful and useful tool. But, we have come to the point where we are saying that that tool is the only method of connecting with reality. And, by its nature what it does is it fragments things. It takes things, it takes A, B, it splits them apart and then compares them, which one is bigger, which one is smaller, which one is lighter, which one is brighter, and that is a great thing. If I want to size a beam in your house and you want to know whether it is Douglas fir large or an LVL or it is PSF or whatever the material may be. Someone has taken that board, it is run through a machine, it has got data on its compression strength and its bending strength and all kinds of wonderful things. And, I can make a rational decision and put the right size beam in your house.
But, if that—and again, another sort of a broader way of thinking about this is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. So, you take a society where the only method that we will accept as a way of getting access to reality is one that splits things into pieces, it disconnects things. So, in a sense, sort of a foundation of the issue, and this angst that you mentioned, that we have all sort of felt is that this disconnection from reality is because of the way we perceive reality by breaking those bonds and splitting things into pieces. And, we think if we break that piece small enough, we are going to get down to some sort of ultimate reality that is now going to give us the answer to everything, sort of the idea of the root cause of the universe, when in fact, perception of reality comes from putting everything back together. So, in a sense, what we have done now, we have broken the world into a million pieces and now we have to try and put it back together, which I would call sort of ecological thinking or direct perception. And, that is a faculty and an ability that we all have that we sort of are denying it exists, and we are using a part of our consciousness that does the opposite, that disconnects us. And, so if there is anything I can say about the 21st century, it is really about disconnecting from reality. And, the more disconnected from reality you become, the more fearful you become.
And, the Eastern—which has been a great model for me—has a very nice and concise way of describing us. If you have time, we can get into that a little bit. But, until we shift out of that mechanism where we accept only the rational mind as our only bridge to reality, we are going to continue to create the same kind of havoc and problems that we have been seeing on and on. We see this thing where yogurt is bad for you; no yogurt is a cure to all things. Spinach is good for you; no it causes cancer. This diet, this is the diet of the moment. No, that does not work, we will go to the other diet. This is the product of that kind of thinking that fractures everything into a million pieces and it continues.
We probably do not have time to get into this in all the detail we would need to, but that thinking is what creates that kind of flip-flopping from one silver bullet to the next. And, until we can get out of that mode and accept the other part of our consciousness, and accept a bridge and connect us back to reality again, it is going to be the same kind of chaos. And, again, if we use that same kind of consciousness, even with the right information, we are going to continue to create this outward chaos that we are seeing around us forever, until we make that change.
Chris: So, let me chase that down a little further, because it is a very important set of points in there. So, you said, “Well, maybe about the time of the Greeks,” so we went down this reductionist, left-brain path. And, we have chased that pretty far. And, so as we have gone down that reductionist path, you know, we went through all of Newtonian physics and we discovered that, in fact, there was not just Earth, Air, Fire and Water. There were these things called molecules, hey, wait, there is these things called atoms, hey, wait, they have these nuclei, protons and neutrons with electrons around. So, we defined reality, but then as we burrowed further a strange thing happened. We got into the idea that once you go down a little bit further into the subatomic space, nothing is Newtonian anymore. There are no such things as particles, everything is an energetic form with a wave function and a set of probabilities around it. And, that is all we can say, right? We went quantum on the whole thing.
And, so science maybe should be leading us. Once we went down the science whole, it is a torus, it brought us right back to the surface again and says, “Hey, guess what, you can’t possibly know everything by breaking this all apart, because once you’ve broken it apart far enough, it literally becomes unknowable.” And, it is just probabilities at this point. But, the hubris of the left brain is that you can know it all. And, I run into this all the time where people say, “If we create those sorts of problems, we’ll fix them.” I have this vision that nature is so complex that we still cannot begin to understand what is happening in a teaspoonful of fertile soil, let alone what is happening across our gut biome, let alone what happens across an entire integrated ecosystem that is beyond—it is beyond our rational brain. It is beyond any super computer to understand. But, there is a knowing that we can interact with that, those ecosystems in very positive and enhancing, abundance-enhancing ways, but it is not through the reductionist path.
So, what do you say to this idea that this rational side of our mind actually is a rationalizing thing and it has rationalized our approach by saying, “You know what, all we have to do is get a little better at this and we got it nailed. Just, we’re just going to, with just a little more technology and we’re there. Then we’ll have it.”
Andrew: Right, exactly.
Chris: Does that exhaust itself or are people going to cling to that right to the point where it becomes completely obvious that that was a broken model?
Andrew: Well, I think, I mean, the beauty of it all is—and I have said this and I know people think I'm crazy—but, the world is perfect in that every off-course action has a corresponding reaction that brings you back to the center again. So, the thing has to self-correct, because the world is perfect in itself. And, all these sort of, I like to think of these sort of perceptions as like if you think of reality as a loaf of bread, all these perceptions, whether you are an agnostic or you are religious or you are a scientist, or whatever it is, to me, is a slice through this loaf. And, you look at that face and what you are describing is completely accurate. It is like the old tale about the wise man and the elephant. Each one of their perceptions is exactly accurate, and they are all true. But, they do not get the point because they are not seeing the whole. And, the greatest sort of sin, which is actually an archery term for being off-target, is when the part tries to become the whole.
And, the mind is not the seat of consciousness, and again, this can get very abstract and difficult to deal with, but the mind in a sense is a processor of consciousness, but not consciousness itself. And, when you try and take the mind, when the part tries to become the whole, that is when things get distorted and out of shape. So, what we have done is, we are saying this, as you put so well, I mean, the unknowing, the incapability of the rational mind to perceive reality directly, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the particle/wave theory of light, all kinds of amazing things that _____ [00:28:44] brought us back full circle to realize the limitations of the rational mind. The rational mind only processes consciousness, and I think the Hindus have done a great job of describing how that actually exists, and are actually—they describe seven centers, or chakras—but, what the mind does, it processes where your consciousness is in your body, in your being. So, if you are in the fear center, then everything you see and perceive is perceived through that center. So, everything becomes a life and death experience. Someone in a gas line gets cut off and has to wait an extra half hour, you hear these stories of somebody getting out a gun and shooting somebody. Well, that person is processing their reality through their fear center, where everything becomes a life and death situation.
So, there is a possibility of trans—so, again, if you are thinking of the computer of a mind as the seat of consciousness, then you are denying the ability to perceive reality directly, because it only is a mechanism that processes consciousness, not the seat of it itself. Is that too abstract, or…
Chris: Well, not for me. I have been wrestling with these things for a while, and the first piece—and I got this from Eckhart Tolle after listening many, many times to A New Earth, a book on tape. It was very good for me. And, what he is talking about there is that the mind identification, this thing called ego, which is my tool, which is just on all the time, it is just talking to me all the time. It is parsing things, it is organizing, weighing, sorting. There is an attractive person, that is not. I like this person, I do not like that person. This is a good experience, that is a bad one. It is doing all that stuff for me and I have been trained in that, because that is all of my Western culture is like that is the thing. That is the thing you want. We are going to put you to school for it and you are going to work that tool.
So, it became an awesome tool and it was only much later I realized that I have a consciousness that is separate from that tool, from that chattering box, and that that consciousness is—it actually exists throughout me in a way. And, so, yes, if I have a certain body of, an orientation that I am coming through, that experience is my reality. So, you mentioned the fear center. An example I have talked about before on the site is imagine you are walking down the street and you are having a perfectly lovely day, and somebody walks by you and they are just laughing. And, you have a framework that says, it is paranoid, “Oh, my God, they were laughing at me. Oh, my God, this person just laughed at me. My day is ruined. How did they see through this veil of mine. Oh, my God.” And, your day is crushed and you will process that, maybe chew on it for the next 48 hours until it begins to dim. And, it was a really transformative, bad experience. And, somebody has that same experience, walking by that laughing person, but their view is that this person was sharing happiness and that they just got a dose of happiness and they walk off and they have five minutes of bliss from that. And, that is the end of the experience for them.
Same experience, two entirely different experiences with it, and that is just showing that that mind tool that connected through our framing, that does define our experience 100%, completely. We will call it reality. That was truth for both those people, those were true experiences. It was true.
Andrew: Absolutely. Yeah, and so if we continue to identify with the chattering mind as it were, then the saddest thing about that all is is it denies you a direct connection with reality, which can occur through the intuitive mind. Because, the chattering mind, which is, again, it divides and as its very method separates things into pieces and separates us, disconnects us from each other. Once that portion of mind finds its rightful place in our general consciousness, then the intuitive mind which can connect directly can separate between the small I of ourselves, the individual ego, and the big I of the universe, then direct connection becomes possible. And, so all the sort of the craziness that, like you said, the people that you talked to who have just, you can talk yourself blue in the face and they are so connected to a belief system, because they are holding onto all these individual separate pieces of their individual egos, then no connection becomes possible. But, once the mind can stop and take its rightful place and we can come in direct contact with reality, then everything shifts.
To me, then all these other problems that we are trying to solve can be solved so quickly. It is like, how shall I say it... the problem is enormous, but it is very small at the same time. Because, it takes such a small shift within each one of us to transform ourselves in a way that we can begin to solve these problems in a rational way, rather than applying the same old consciousness which serves us—continues to multiply the whole problem of unintended consequences; sort of the story of the century, huh?
Chris: Yeah, and I am going to hearken back to this idea where you said the world is perfect, which I hold. And, to get there, though, a little circuitous as always. What I am thinking about in relation to what you just said, I believe it was in Macbeth, Shakespeare wrote, “There is nothing ever good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Which is this idea that the thinking is what attaches either good or bad to it, right? And, so this was a big part of my identification for a long time, so I get it, right? So, like you make a winning stock trade and that is great and you are elated, and then you make a bad one and that is crushing and it is awful. And, what I now know is that it is just my frame of reference, whether I decide to call something good or bad. And, I have started to really lose that architecture in my daily life.
So, people often say, “Oh, you know, wouldn’t you just want joy and happiness and all that?” And, I say, “No, because one of my beliefs about my culture is that it’s asking us to live in a very narrow band of existence." "Hey, are you too happy? We got a pill for that." "Oooh, are you too sad? Got a pill for that." "Here are the three things you can talk about at a social gathering." It’s this little, thin little band, like "don’t get too high, don’t get too low, stay on the reservation and it’s a tiny one.” And, that is my experience with it. And, now, what I want is I understand that life is all about these paradoxes. Sun Tzu said, “if you really want to live, you have to embrace death.” Meaning, the paradox, that you cannot really live until you are comfortable with death, right? And, I now know that my, like people say, “Oh, I really, I want to love more deeply.” I now know that the paradox that comes with is, my capacity to love is directly connected to the amount of grief that I am capable of holding.
Andrew: Right, that is exactly where I wanted to go next, which is amazing. Our ticket in is our ability to suffer. And, it is funny that Buddhists say that life is suffering. And, it is not, I think we sort of understand that backwards, because the suffering comes between the perfection of the world that is out there and the state in which we are in and able to live with the difference between where we are and what our capabilities and possibilities are. So often what we do is, there is some negative part within ourselves, we are not capable of loving the way we are, maybe feel a little too greedy, or maybe feel like whatever the typical issue may be that we then, rather than accept that state and allow ourselves to stay there in that conflict, in that place where we are uncomfortable and experience that suffering and pain and allow ourselves to transform it, we tend to justify it. "Well, you know, if I did not do it, someone else would do it." Or, "I am better than the guy next door, so it is really okay."
So, if we can find that place, and again, it all starts with, again, the foundation of beginning to love ourselves, we are able to accept that pain. But, that pain is our ticket in. That is our ticket into reality. That is our ticket into a true experience, real spiritual growth, allowing ourselves to, like you said, in so many ways allowing ourselves to accept all those dichotomies. Because, in a sense, once we name something, once we say, “Okay, I’ve got a solution to that problem,” then the learning stops, because we are no longer dynamically alive. But we sort of, we put it in a box, defined it, and based on the limitations of our current consciousness, it really is impossible to resolve those things at that level. Because, that understanding, I find, always comes with an annihilation of opposites, where things that apparently seem to be in conflict suddenly disappear, and that is sort of that, where the peace resides, where you come in direct contact with reality.
It is allowing ourselves, as you said... it is the pain that is the ticket in, it is the ability to suffer that is our ability to love. And, once the two sort of travel together, they are both sides of the same coin, and once you get to that place, then you are able to see reality directly. And, when you are in contact with reality, it is, the power of the love and the power of reality is simply overwhelming. And, it sort of makes the struggle worth it. There is a sort of a sweetness to suffering that I cannot, it is hard to describe. I am sure we have all experienced that at some level or another. But, it is that, where real love comes from, love that has no "I" attached to it, where there is no, nothing in it for me, there is no ulterior motive. You are there, just at a pure essence of being and the self is gone. And, when the self is gone, that allows you to connect to the other, allows you to connect to the people you love, allows you to connect to, you can say, “I love my country.” You can say, “I love this person.” Because, it is no longer attached to the self. And, when the self is gone, then you can connect to reality and then, like I said in an earlier podcast, sort of the inane chatter of the ego mind sort of becomes absurd. And, you realize the lack of reality to it, in a way.
Chris: I agree with all of that, and let me see if I can put one spin on this. And, it hearkens back to this idea that nothing is ever good or bad, but thinking makes it so. And, it is around... this was a really important part of my own development, what you are describing here. Let me talk around the word "suffering," because, to me, I have a judgment around suffering and I would say, “Oh, that’s bad.” In fact, somebody really... I got one of those great transmissions. I love these, where somebody says one thing to you and it like shifts you. I love those moments. And, they said, “Pain is real, suffering is optional.” And, what I took from that is that sometimes you have real pain, real physical pain, a toothache or there is real physical pain. There can be heartbreak, which has a physical component. That is real. The suffering is the optional part. And, so those moments of intensity you are talking about like where it is grief, when I feel those now, I no longer say to myself, “This is a bad experience,” or “I’m going to experience this so that…I can grow more.” Or, I am not even saying that I want to really experience this so it will move through quickly. I do not have any attachment to that anymore. I just simply notice it, and I actually like the intensity now of whatever I am experiencing, whether it is joy or if there is an opposite to that. I actually revel in that, because now it feels more like I am actually engaging in life as I was designed to, that I am here to... like my capacity to experience more and more intensity is now, it is, there is a little goal, I got some ego wrapped in it. I like it. It feels right to me in a sort of a DNA blueprint—I cannot even explain it. It is like, I can just say, “This feels human and normal, and why was I not... nobody talked to me about this when I was growing up, nobody.”
Andrew: Yeah, it is amazing how much, how little, how little our inner development and inner self is sort of been neglected. And, I think in some ways, this sort of the gnostic traditions behind all the major religious traditions in the West have sort of been lost. And, so we have sort of been left with sort of these outward shells where the sort of the vital life force behind this sort of deeper, inner spiritual training is sort of almost, has sort of been neglected in a way. And, how little of that gets transmitted, and I think in some ways, it was transmitted through families, generation to generation. Our culture has been so destroyed by a whole variety of forces, that all those sort of normal transmitted forces that sort of allow that kind of information to be transmitted has sort of been lost. And, our cultural pieces that were sort of the residual vessels of that kind of stuff has sort of been lost as well. So, now we are sort of left to sort of rebuild and rediscover this on its own, which is an amazing—it is amazing to watch it all happen.
Because, my sense is it is almost like this energy is like hitting the planet right now and it is all—and maybe it is, it is sort of what, maybe what the Hindus call "creative destruction." Where all the old systems and structures, cultural structures that were sort of decaying and then become ossified, were now sort of being swept all away and allowing this new thing to come into place. Where in order for birth to occur, you have to have the death and decay of the old systems first, which creates the space for the new to come into existence. So, even in the sort of negativity there always is the creation of possibilities that is allowing us to transform ourselves.
Chris: Yeah. You and I are of an age and, let me tell you that, not everybody, but more and more when I encounter young people, so to me this is now anybody under the age of 30, but sort of in that 30 zone and under. I am encountering more and more people who, including my own children, who have really much more elegantly advanced inner tracking mechanisms and they have done personal work. And, these are not new concepts to them, and they have looked into this future that you and I talk about, that we talk about on Peak Prosperity. And, they flat out, largely said, “No, thanks.” They can see that this is a destructive direction to go. They are not engaged with it. And, what is interesting to me is that we really need to start to figure out how to get the "we" in this story again, because, there is this generational gap that has started to appear. Not everywhere, but it is starting to appear. It only makes sense, right? Because if you are asking young people to live into narrative that they frankly are going to call, excuse my French, bull**** on, well, guess what, do not be too surprised when they do not show up all excited for that party when you ask them to step into it.
And, so it feels to me like this, this layer of this consciousness and this conversation that you and I are having, we really, really, really have to have this open dialogue about what is really important, what it really means to be alive, the kind of world that we are creating for ourselves. Because, and I will be honest with you, I have a design, I have some attachment to outcome. I would really rather not enter that world where there is ten billion people on the face of the planet and we are all eating seaweed. And, there is no other animals left alive, I do not want to go there, personally. I have a different future that I could imagine, where we all get to live in abundance. But, where do we start, like you and I are having this conversation, but like how do we, how do you think we really begin to, what more can we do to make this an okay and safe conversation to have more widely?
Andrew: Yeah, that is a good question, and it is something I think we all struggle with. And, part of what you have done by creating your website and allowing people to connect, to me, there is sort of a, there is, it was not everything and we have to be aware that there is always a sort of a dark side and a light side to all kinds of technology. In a sense, what I really feel good about on the technological side is the ability, what is happening with the communication possibilities. The automation side is a little scary in some ways, because in a sense, what we need to do is connect consciousness through reality. And, when you automate things, you are pulling consciousness out and away from the productive activities that human beings are engaged in on a regular basis. So, think about the flash crashes on Wall Street. Here is something that you are now sort of creating these dark pools where machines are running reality and the human consciousness is sort of pulled from sort of important parts of our whole financial system.
On the other hand, the ability of us to connect on through the Internet, even in my profession, it is like, if you have not got a better answer than someone can Google on the Internet in five minutes, then you had better start looking for another job. And, I think that goes across the board. I mean, the level of information that is available to us is really astounding. You would have to live in the Library of Congress 30 years ago in order to have this kind of access to information, and access to other cultures and to other peoples and ideas and thoughts. It is just, it is amazing, and that to me is where sort of the most hope for me comes from. And, I think, again, the idea of the world being perfect and it is self-correcting, that each of these actions—I do not think we are going get through it, a population level where—I do not know, but I think that each one of our actions and this off-ness that our generation observe. The other thing I can think about is if things could happened any other way, they would have. That each one of these steps, as difficult and painful as they are, are part of a necessary evolution of us, both individually and as a culture, and as a race, to get to the place where we need to be.
And, I sort of think of evolution not as a straight line, but sort of follows a form of our DNA, a helix. So, from one point of view, it looks like we are going in circles, but from the right perspective, actually, we are moving in a direction, so we may be returning back to a point where we perceive that we were before. But, at one level, it has been transformed by processing through all those portions of reality. It is like each and every... like when Jesus said, “No law of the letter will be overturned.” We have to process through each piece, and there is no shortcuts. We have to go through it all. But, that whole process and everything that is occurring in the world today is part of that process of our hearing the darkness, owning the darkness and then allowing ourselves to transform the darkness into light.
And, to me, it is just about really the best thing we can do is live close to our authentic selves and communicate to everyone around us what are we going through honestly and authentically. And, that is really an amazing and transformative process. I think the other part of it is believing and loving ourselves. And, when we act authentically and not by following and not becoming a second-hand person looking for the expert to then walk in their shoes. But, internalizing all the things that are coming at us, opening up and addressing them authentically and telling and talking to our friends and loved ones about it, how we feel authentically, our ability to act authentically is transformative, and not only of ourselves but to everyone we come in contact with.
And, I think it is going to just explode. I think we are at a point where all of a sudden, all this stuff is going to be—people are going to realize this is just completely insane. What the hell were we thinking? I mean, thinking of a guy who is going to own a 10,000 square foot house. I mean, how much room does the physical body need? How many beds do you need? What is that really all about? Why is that needed? What is that? I think once we see that like all of us that are coming to those realizations, what is that really about? Why do we need this stuff? And, we are going to find the answers are really about cultural expectations and nothing to do with our internal happiness and what we really need.
So, again, we can be very happy with a lot less than we are using right now. It is like Rob Hopkins, it is the other reality is so much better. He was an environmental campaigner who talked about, “Oh, the world’s going to end, you got to change, the world’s going to end.” And, then he realized that just did not work. This alternative reality is so much better, it is so much healthier, saner, happier way of being, that when people realize there is another alternative out there, I think the old system is going to flatten itself in a very short period of time.
Chris: And, that is where I attach what I am seeing shifting in young people is that they have lost their connection to the old narrative, because it, frankly, is a bum deal for them. And, so the old narrative just, it is going to lose its energy at some point anyway as we go towards that. And, so when I, yeah, this whole idea that—here is my new understanding, is that the baseline for humans, you take our DNA and you give us our basic needs. Our baseline is happiness, joy, and health. Those are our baselines, but we have got that all upside down. People now have this view that oh, health is something that you have to work for. You got to go to the gym, maybe get a trainer, get a special diet, because we have created a system of unhealth for ourselves, so that our new baseline is unhealthy. So, people have to seek what I consider to be baseline. Our bodies heal themselves, it is magnificent, right? And, happiness should be our baseline, but we have sold ourselves this idea that happiness comes from having that 10,000 square foot house or getting this next thing. Ask anybody on their deathbed how much happiness that bought, and they will say "practically none, it might actually have made me unhappy." And, George Carlin said, “Trying to achieve happiness by buying stuff is like trying hunger by taping sandwiches to your body.” So, he got it in a single line, right?
So, really, this is like the stuff that you and I are talking about as we say, “Okay, the world around us, if we begin to let it in and really understand it as we see it, it’s starting to say things to us.” And, those things might include the idea that we are not actually, we do not have the number one lifestyle in the world. And, that it is not perfect, and that there could be more balance and that this thing we are all trying to achieve through the outside by buying houses and cars and all of that, that was actually something that you cannot achieve from the outside, you can only achieve inside. And, that once—I agree with this transmission mechanism, because I have had this personal experience of people saying that because of my presence, I have shifted them. And, I have not done anything. I have not tried to shift them, I did not have any plan, I was not trying to be a spiritual nothing or other. But, that I am carrying a frequency inside myself which says that I am very happy and very content with where I have ended up. And, I got here, I got to admit, Andrew, because I started down a path of fear and said, “Whoa, look at this stuff I got to avoid.” But, now that I got here, I would run towards it willingly. If you took it all away again, I would get back here much more rapidly, because I would go, “That’s a better place to be. That’s a better place to be.”
Andrew: Oh, absolutely.
Chris: And, I guess, we are coming up on our time here, but in closing, for me, that process started with a moment of personal pain, emotional pain. And, I experienced that at the time and said, “This is awful. Poor, suffering me.” And, now I know that was actually my call to... that was my invitation to go on a journey. And, so now I would not pass that up. At the time, I was like "what can I do to avoid this?" And I tried everything. But, now I would look back and go, “Oh, no, that was the moment it all started. That was awesome. That was good stuff.” So, this path has some intensity on it. But, I no longer say it is good or bad, I just say, “If you really want to step into a truer, authentic self, which, where I find greater contentment and happiness and other people seem to as well, that involves a path that has some intensity on it for a lot of people.” But, that intensity is not bad. It just is. It is just part of life.
Andrew: I think, what you said is so important, and that is such a key point, and that you certainly have to do something. You realize just by the place that you are shifts people around you. That is such an important point. You do not have to go out and solve anybody else’s problems. You do not have to tell them what to do or how to be, that by being in the place yourself, brings that part of other people forward and allows them to become, experience what you are experiencing. So, by each of us are part of this greater consciousness, and by each of us fulfilling ourselves, and being present for other people is really transformative. You do not have to go out and fix somebody else. You do not have to solve their problems, but by just being present and listening to another person, the power of that, to really listen, not with your own craziness and your own agenda, your own ideas, but to listen authentically and openly to another person is where the transformation can occur. And, then all this idea like well, they have a different religion, they have a different way of thinking and seeing the world, all that stuff sort of falls by the wayside organically and naturally as we begin to connect with each other really in an authentic and real way.
Chris: Absolutely. I think of that as like—that is the ultimate gift economy, because the truth was, I got that transmission from somebody else before me, and I will pass that on to other people and that is the way it spreads. It is just, and it is not anything special. Everybody has got the capability, it is just a thing, it is just, it is what humans do. It is actually part of our blueprint and it is, other cultures have recognized that for a long time. I am very hopeful and excited to see that my own culture is starting to wake up to this. We are seeing little signs, you know, mindfulness and the CEO room is starting, you know, we are, yoga here and better eating there. And, so people are starting to get to this idea that, yeah, there is more to life than we can just get to through our left brain. That is the easiest way to put it.
Andrew: It is sort of interesting and in a way, it is sort of like, you look at when different cultures sort of become in contact with another, like when Eastern culture became in contact with the West. Well, now, sort of yoga has turned into an exercise craze. They sort of take it and distorted it, but the same time, that is sort of the negative side of it, but the same time, the positive side, there was the shift when people began to realize that the material or the outside world is not where happiness resides. But, there is something internal, there is an inner journey that can sort of transform ourselves, that takes us away from thinking that the answers are all outside of ourselves. That buying the next thing or owning the next piece of property or whatever it may be that we quickly become attached to, is sort of not the way to happiness. But, as each one of these waves washes through the culture again, they do get diluted in way that we can think of as being negative, but at the same time, I think each little increment sort of transforms our culture in a way that takes it in a more positive direction.
Chris: Yeah, and I will, you know, let me go one step higher than that. For me, it is this idea that I am very happy with the personal progression I get out of this line of inquiry and wrestling with these things, thinking about them. And, in that spiral way slowly getting, even as I re-experience things, slowly seeming to make some progress. Is this idea that this thing we are talking about, to me actually feels like a worthy pursuit, to really do as much as I can in this pass through life, to really advance myself and open myself up. That feels worthy as a human. And, it was a recent interview, somebody asked me a classic question, like "if you could have three people for dinner, who?" And, I said, “Oh, it’s Carl Jung, it’s Albert Einstein and Herbie Hancock.” You know, why an astrophysicist, a psychoanalyst and a jazz musician? And, the answer was because in their memoirs, each one of them expressed some idea which went like this, “People think I had these great ideas, but it was not me. I just opened myself up and creativity flowed through me. I was a vessel.” They all said that, so people who I really admire, who are really deeply creative, who really changed the course of things for humans because of what they produce in life, many of them come to this idea that, “Oh, yeah, I was in touch with this extraordinary, amazing source of creation. And, I’m just the conduit for that.”
I wanted to ask them "what are your practices? How did that come to be?" And this is the most important thing I have learned now. The first part of my life was about acquiring information and skills. This part of my life is about removing those things that prevent me from accessing that source of creativity. It is about losing stuff, not gaining. I do not need any new skills, I just need to lose those masks, those barriers that even within myself prevent me from accessing what I think I am capable of. And, that feels like a worthy, that is really, that is a challenge that I am really intrigued by.
Andrew: Yes, and that is very well said, and that is a great next sort of step. And, that, it is really, and that sort of goes to the whole idea that even our own thoughts, we sort of perceive ourselves as a source of many things. And, even our thoughts, I sort of like to think of them, there is only one creator in a sense, and that even our thoughts is like finding shells on a beach. And, then we find the shell and say, “Oh, I found the shell, this is my thought, this my idea,” and we become attached. In reality, this is all just us experiencing reality. And, once we begin to identify, it is, you begin to lock down and close your ability to perceive reality directly, to come in contact, as you say, with that creative, loving, powerful force that animates all of life.
So, it is the idea of sort of the greedy, small self that wants to hold onto things. It does not trust, it lives in fear, that is unable to let go and sort of allow the energy to flow through us as a conduit for the greater sort of reality that we are all in contact with. And, again, that stuff goes back to the same idea of becoming attached to the rational mind and rejecting the intuitive mind and not allowing ourselves to experience things directly. And, for me, I mean, I came through, again, a challenging life in a lot of ways, and that, part of what allowed me to grow as a person was the idea of non-attachment. That idea that this behavior, this activity, whatever it may be that we are currently experiencing is not who we are in the depths of ourselves, but allowing ourselves to experience the difference between what we can be, what our potential is, and where we are currently without judgment. And, allowing to sort of love and accept ourselves, which is, to me, what allows us to transform ourselves and allow us to come directly into contact with that creative force that you just talked about so eloquently.
So, it is really about non-identification, not defending the self, but allowing ourselves to, having, and again, it comes to sort of loving ourselves and allowing ourselves to experience reality without judgment. Because, oftentimes, the pain of "oh, I should have done that right," and this sort of brings up an interesting story about someone who had a very difficult life. And, then to show the judgments we have about people, and she got into a place where she was addicted to drugs for a while. And, in our sort of negative cultural narrative, "oh, you are a bad person, you were taking drugs and what not," and she said that, thank God those drugs were there for me at that point in time, because that is what I needed. I was in so pain I needed to self-medicate myself at that point in time. So, let go of the negative judgments about the self, because when you are becoming in a very negative place where you are judging yourself, you do not get the ability to learn from the experience.
Because, there is so much, you are, like you said, pain, the suffering is optional, but pain is not. If you are able to let go of the judgment about what you are experiencing and love yourself as you are going through this process, that allows you to transform yourself, because you are not identifying with those pieces and accepting yourself as the process that you need to go through to get to where you need to be. And, it is not too bad, it is not, this is not unfortunate, this is, what is happening is not bad, this is a necessary part of a transformation that we need to go through to get to this other place where we can really be authenticate and loving and true to each other. And, it is just part of the process, and once we accept the fact that this is not, "oh, why did this have to happen? Why are we going through this? Why is the banks doing it?" whatever, whatever our particular bug-a-boo may be at the moment. And, it is not to condone it or to say it is okay, and that is the, I think that is the difficulty most people have, but they are saying by accepting and forgiving it you are condoning it. But, that is a totally different kind of place. If you are able to accept and love through the process of this pain and realize it is not condoning it, it allows us to learn and move forward and heal all those things that need healing in our world right now.
Chris: It is all so very well said, and if it all boils down, it begins by fully accepting and loving ourselves, and then from that, everything else flows. So, we have been talking with our philosopher-in-residence, Andrew, also known as Treebeard. So, Treebeard, thank you so much for your time today, and I know we are going to have to continue this conversation, because, obviously, we just scratched the surface.
Andrew: Oh, absolutely, it was great fun.
Chris: It is great fun for me, too, and by the way, this was my own personal moment of vulnerability, because I have been holding and thinking these things for a long time. So, I have gotten to the point now where I am just like, "you know what, it is time to just let this stuff out and see what happens," and some will resonate with it, some will not. So, to anybody listening, hope you are taking what you can from this, and if it works for you, great, and if it does not, that is fine, too. Not trying to convince anybody of anything, just letting some stories out about what has been true for me. So, Andrew, thanks again.
Andrew: Well, congratulations. Great. Thanks, Chris.