DESMOND: Hello I'm Desmond Berghofer from the Visioneers International Network welcoming you to Episode Two on our journey of extraordinary wisdom by global thought leaders in waging peace.

And to get us started, I'd like to ask my partner, Dr. Geraldine Schwartz, to introduce this episode. Here's Gerri.

GERRI: Hello Everyone. Today through the magic of digital space we are about to embark together from 62 countries on the second stop of the Visioneers’ journey seeking the wisdom we need to wage peace. Here in the cloud, so to speak, we have the privilege of spending about 20 minutes sitting in on a conversation between Dr. Ervin Laszlo who is in Italy, and David Lorimer, who is in France.

Dr. Laszlo, a Visioneers Hero of Humanity, is recognized as one of the 100 most influential spiritual thinkers living today. He is a planetary elder, philosopher, a scientist, a systems theorist, an author, an activist, and he is ninety years old.


David Lorimer is a Visioneers Visionary Leader, knowledgeable about Ervin's life and work and achievements. He's the consummate interviewer asking sensitive and important questions on your behalf, as if it were you.

Now, in Episode One you heard Visioneers Hero of Humanity Dr. Willis Harman make the case of global mind change and he told us about a community of people worldwide who in the 1980s were ready to make changes in thought and behavior, but this was set against the majority who did not want to change.

But 40 years later, times have changed and Ervin Laszlo's work benefits from the substantive cultural changes in accepting diversity, from new scientific knowledge challenging known assumptions successfully, and from the digital highways opening borders and barriers to make global citizenship a reality in our time.

And just think of the generations that follow, what will that mean to live in such a world.

Ervin, who was part of the community that Willis spoke about, picks up the mantle with the energy and urgency it deserves. We are ready now to listen to him call for the development of planetary consciousness, and for positive solutions as we choose the path of humanity's evolution towards goodness, in a global village in which we are all now citizens.

So, we are the participants, ready to play our part in the real story of our time. And we also have the fictional story of The Visioneers as lesson and example to set the vision as the prize we could achieve in reality in our time.

Now, Ervin Laszlo is an extraordinary, precious human being. His outstanding life's work would be reason enough for an award or recognition of the highest order, could be in the spiritual, scientific, or cultural areas, domains where he has made his most important contribution. But Ervin is much more than that.

He is a generous open spirit who has a willingness to step forward in friendship wherever he can. It is a special privilege to be Ervin's friend.

When you listen to him in the 20 minute conversation between him and David, you will emerge wiser and more ready to consider your own contribution to the real story, ready to become a peacebuilder of Humanity's Golden Peace.

What Ervin says is important. He speaks in English with a charming European accent, and we have carefully inserted his words as subtitles for clarity. You will not want to miss anything he says.

And now, to speak about all this from the perspective of a storyteller and to paint Ervin's work in the larger context, here again is Dr. Desmond Berghofer. Here's Des.

DESMOND: Hello again. As you know, I am the author of The Visioneers: A Courage Story about Belief in the Future, and Gerri has reminded me to put on my storyteller's hat to speak about these episodes as a story, not a fictional story like the one I wrote, but as a true story, acting out in the present and in the immediate future.

We have a cast of characters: the ten wisdom keepers whom you will be hearing from, and yourselves as the participants.

The theme of the story is that these characters are engaged in an epic struggle to save humanity from self-inflicted destruction.

The setting is a world spinning out of control and the Earth suffering from ecological disruption.

And the plot is how a window of opportunity has opened up for humanity to go through to safety, but the window is closing, and our heroes and heroines are struggling valiantly to guide the people of the world through the window to safety.

That's a pretty exciting story, don't you think, made all the more powerful by the fact that we are all living in it right now. We have been born into this time to play our parts, and we have to decide which part to play.

We've already heard Chapter One of the story with the voice of Willis Harman describing a burgeoning movement of people around the world changing their minds about what they're doing in order to find their way forward to safety.

The Visioneers Network has recognised Willis Harman as a Hero of Humanity, and you can find out more about him and his work on the Virtual Expo on the Visioneers website.

Willis described a current of thought emerging around the world in his time that provided a counterfoil to the dominant scientific and economic thinking that was driving the world out of balance and towards a precarious future reality for coming generations.

Willis called it a global mind change, and he was placing his bets on it eventually becoming the most prominent force in the world.

Today in Chapter Two, Episode Two, we will hear the wisdom of another profound thinker who from his early years was part of that global mind change described by Willis, and who is still with us as a global elder at the age of ninety.

Dr. Ervin Laszlo, like Willis and several others who you will meet on this journey, is a Visioneers Hero of Humanity. Gerri introduced him briefly in her remarks, and what I would like to do is put his contribution into the global context, larger context of a profound shift in human thought and understanding.

Willis said it's a shift as significant as what took place almost five hundred years ago when Nicolaus Copernicus introduced the idea that the Earth is a rotating sphere travelling around the sun.

Our current scientific story says that we live in an expanding universe, which is continuously evolving, and the human species is the latest emergence on planet Earth and our particular contribution to the evolutionary story is that we are a thinking and feeling species with the ability to tap into the field of consciousness that was the original source of everything, and thereby create a coherent and unified explanation of the meaning of everything.

Well, we still have a very long way to go on getting that story straight, and the upheavals and conflicts we experience locally and globally every day illustrate that only too well.

However, the Visioneers wisdom keepers, like Willis Harman and Ervin Laszlo and others that we will be meeting on the journey, are doing a marvelous job in helping humanity as a whole find its way forward.

So, let's look at the contribution of Ervin Laszlo.

Ervin had a very interesting life. As a child he was a musical prodigy, and at a very early age began a career as a concert pianist on the international stage. However, he was always a deep thinker and he kept a Journal in which he wrote about fundamental questions, like: Who are we? and What kind of a world is this?

A member of his audience at a concert performance in Holland expressed interest in reading Ervin's Journal. This man turned out to be the editor of a major publishing house, and he said that he would like to publish Ervin 's writing,

And this led the young concert pianist to think that maybe he could do something else in life than performing music.

So he decided to embark on an academic career and soon distinguished himself as a philosopher and scientist of systems theory. He had a prestigious academic career and was working on a major piece of work that he called a Manifesto for Planetary Consciousness when he met the Dalai Lama in India. The Dalai Lama as soon as he heard about it expressed interest in this Manifesto, and he worked for hours and hours with Ervin on improving it, making it better.

Later on, Ervin founded a prestigious think tank of influential and thoughtful people, which he called the Club of Budapest, named after the city in which it was founded. At its inaugural meeting in 1993, attended by the Dalai Lama, the Manifesto on the Spirit of Planetary Consciousness was proclaimed.

The concept of planetary consciousness is one of Ervin Laszlo's key contributions to the wisdom teachings we are presenting in this series, and you will hear him explain what he means by this in the following conversation with David Lorimer.

Another of Ervin's key concepts comes from his science as a systems theorist. He explains that the human system on the planet has come to a bifurcation point, a turning point, and again he will explain what this means in the video.

Ervin has also put his thinking into his latest book called The Upshift: Wiser Living on Planet Earth, which may well prove to be the most important of his many books in terms of moving humanity on to a safe path into the future.

As I reflect on what Ervin Laszlo and Willis Harman have said about global mind change, planetary consciousness, and bifurcation point, I am inclined to think that we've been living through this turning point for some time, without a clear resolution on how humanity is going to proceed into the future. However, the condition of the human system has now become critical, the windows of opportunity are closing, and the decade of the 2020s may well prove to be pivotal.

This is why the Visioneers Project has been brought forward at this time. The purpose of the Visioneers Project is to increase the momentum towards a positive future: to search out, honor, and celebrate the people and projects that are contributing to a Web of Good Work; to create educational programs for youth on how to be global citizens so that they can lead when it's their turn towards a peaceful sustainable future; and to be the voice that says: Yes we can! And Why Not?

So, with that background, I invite you to listen now to Ervin Laszlo, Visioneers Hero of Humanity, speaking in his own soft and precious voice in conversation with Visioneers Visionary Leader David Lorimer to guide us gently forward on the journey.

And when you have finished listening to Ervin, put on Episodes Three and Four of the Visioneers Audio Theatre, also released today, in which you will hear the same kinds of voices reaching out into the world, as the characters embrace the action and the danger of their mission.

Good listening and good visioneering to all of you.

DAVID: Can you tell our listeners a little bit more about planetary consciousness because it's something that people may not be familiar with, Ervin.

ERVIN: It's just one of those things that I'm quite happy about in terms of feeling that we can accomplish something. As you say, some people are not familiar with it, but most people by now are interested really in the future of humanity, in our relations with nature, and to each other. Most people will have some understanding of it.

First of all, planetary consciousness is not the consciousness of the planet, even though I would say that planets like all other heavenly bodies and all other physical bodies as well have a level of consciousness of their own.

But that would take us further in that direction.

I would want to say planetary consciousness is a consciousness that takes us beyond awareness, beyond attention to ourselves alone, or as a primary focus of attention. It expands our boundaries, and says we are part of something larger than we are, than our individual selves.

We belong to each other, we belong to the community of our communities on Earth and this community of our communities belongs to Gaia, the system of life on Earth. So, planetary consciousness is an expression of the consciousness of this larger system, which includes the physical presence as well as the consciousness of all people, young and old, east and west north and south, educated or not. This is all the joint consciousness that we have.

We want to express it, and that's how we try to develop this idea of a planetary consciousness, the consciousness we need to proceed to live and to evolve on this planet.

DAVID: Yes, it reminds me of the anima mundi of the medieval renaissance period, and obviously there is an implication to this, I think, which is that we need equally a planetary ethic as well as a planetary consciousness.

ERVIN: Yes, you're absolutely right, but to become ethical

we need to have the consciousness that is needed. That's what ethics is. It is not just something for the weekend, or on Sundays that we can talk about. Ethics is something that is a decision point as to what we are, and who we are, and how we relate to each other and to nature.

Ethics is not just saying the right thing. It's not just not lying, though that is important. It's not just being fair to others, which is also important, just as important, but ethics is to live the way we are meant to live, as a child of Gaia, as a member of a living species that evolves in conjunction with all other species. To be living and evolving together is the fulfillment of this planetary ethics.

Opposing it is contrary to it, is immoral, unethical, so that I think that evolution is the critical point. Are we going with it? No one is independent of it. Obviously, we are either with it or we are against it. I don't want to use this political motto in a political sense, but it is true that we are naturally part of the Gaia system, and our ethics whether we like it or not, the true ethical standard is to act as a positive part of the system.

DAVID: Yes, I think it reminds me in fact, Ervin, of reverence for life from Albert Schweitzer. I think there's a definite commonality or ancestry there in terms of planetary ethics, because it was reverence for all life, not just reverence for human life.

ERVIN: That is a very very important distinction that you're making, David. Yes, reverence for human life and having reverence for it, may confuse us about a more harmonious relationship on Earth. It may still be a species that is harming its environment, even if it's acting together, and it's maybe one that is an anti-force an antonym, actually, to the ethical progress forward in the direction of evolution.

We need to have the ethics of oneness, with each other, and also with all life on Earth, which is celebrating the universe, a universe that could bring forth life on a planet. Surely it is also bringing forth life on a myriad of other planets. It's up to us to discover. We know the beginnings of life are there, even in our solar system and elsewhere, too, but I think higher level life probably almost certainly must be elsewhere too.

It's the universe that creates evolution, that builds us into higher and higher level systems that have higher and higher levels of consciousness and self awareness.

It's a miracle and we need to celebrate that in our own actions.

DAVID: Indeed, and I think a lot of listeners would recognize that we've reached what you sometimes call a bifurcation point, and so could you say a little bit about how you understand bifurcation points, where it comes from in terms of physics, and what its relevance is to where we are as a species at the moment.

ERVIN: In the nineteenth century, up through that actually into the modern age, most scientists and scientific thinking says that the way development occurs is progressive. It takes place a step at a time, so it's linear.

That turned out not to be the case, not only not the case in human history in human development but in the evolution of life. Evolution is full of these critical points, points of no return, points in which we are to choose the path forward, because the possible paths bifurcate, that means splitting into two or more paths.

In a process of this kind many things are possible, many futures are possible, but remaining as we are is not possible, and going backwards is not possible.

That's the meaning of a bifurcation in the physical sciences, in physical chemistry, in biology, physiology. It is known very well that evolution is full of these kinds of critical points to bifurcate. Chemists and physicists have called this the process of bifurcation.

I like to use that term, not because we actually bifurcate, but the path the evolutionary process, that is in front of us, splits, and now we are at the point where we have to decide which side of the bifurcation point we move. Obviously if you don't do anything, that's also a decision, then we move down, probably, and the unsustainable world becomes even more unsustainable, if you don't change.

But if you can change, and if you do change, your path there is a path in front of us which is a truly evolutionary development, it's a path of oneness.

There are multiple levels, systems, could be species, could be societies, could be sets of cells, they all act together in such a way that they don't destroy each other, they maintain their diversity while they together achieve a higher level of relationships to other cells, to other species, to other societies, maybe to other galaxies.

So this is the point at which we find ourselves, bifurcation. It's a path to liberation, as well as a path to downfall, and it's up to us which way we go.

DAVID: Yes, and I think, you know, humanity collectively has created for ourselves a real evolutionary challenge, and it's pressuring us, almost like an evolutionary imperative, I think, towards making the kind of upshift that you talk about, because the downshift, if you put it in the other way, really is a path of destruction. So the upshift that you speak about in your latest book is really an evolutionary imperative.

ERVIN: You're entirely right, David. Yes we have created this, we are constantly challenging the status quo. We are constantly creating disruptions. The latest global disruption was the war in Ukraine, but just before it was the pandemic, which is still with us, and climate change of which we obviously became aware a little bit earlier. But all these things occurring simultaneously.

And some of them are purely human created, some of them are a consequence of human action on nature. Global warming is not something we do, it's something we catalyze, but war is something we do, and something that we need to do away with.

So, I think the catalyst is the human being, and in that sense there is an odd sense (which means it could be remarked on but shouldn't be overestimated) it's an odd sense that even these disruptions had a purpose. They serve something. They serve to move us out of the status quo, and move us back to our awareness of the bifurcation point at which we find ourselves.

So, every catalyst is a good catalyst, as long as we know how to keep it, how to use it, and not to be a victim of it.

DAVID: Yes, indeed, it seems to me that the presence of all these destructive actions and forces highlights the need for a change of system, a spiritual awakening, a move to the higher level of unity consciousness. So it seems to me the crucial point, the turning point, is when a sufficient number of people stand up and say, We're not going to put up with this anymore. We want a system not based on the will to power but the will to love.

ERVIN: That's actually a great challenge. The desolation is there, it's in front of us, that is what you have to recognize.

This is the coherence that I spoke about. It's something that's based on the love of one part to the other parts of a coherent system and the love of their system to all the other systems with which they are in relationship all around them.

So, I think this movement now towards the future is a tremendous opportunity, because now we can create a future. We cannot stay as we are and that is the insight that's coming, as you say, beginning to recognize that we cannot stay as we are. We must change.

I just think that what we're beginning to recognize is that we are not separate. It's not that there's some parts that can move forward and the other parts can just sit around, because they will go down. Everything is needed, every part of this system is vital to its evolution, vital to its integrity, to its coherence.

So, we are in one boat, and it's an organic boat, it must move forward, we cannot let anybody drown on the way.

A great great challenge but the chance is now, to face it. So we can be grateful to human history, to the human crisis to raise this level, and we must live up to it.

We are just at the beginning of the major consequences of bifurcation, now beginning to feel and to see how it would be to live in peace, to live in harmony, to live in coherence, at least envisaging it, now we're beginning to have that vision and that's why I think vision is so important, as you know, and in this meeting [of the Visioneers], as well as with the originators. Without vision the people perish, that's what the Old Testament said, and I think they are recognizing the truth of that. No separation. As Einstein said, vision and consciousness is one, humanity is one. These are not new ideas, old ideas are coming forward in a new form, in a new power, a new potency, that's our chance.

DAVID: Indeed, Ervin, tell us a little bit about the wisdom principles and your concept of an upshift because I think this really informs your vision of a possible future and these are the titles of two of your recent books. So maybe begin with the wisdom principles, and we can end with the upshift and what that actually means.

ERVIN: The wisdom principles are just a collection of little insights, maybe the beginning of principles, but they're insights. I didn't sit down to figure out these insights that appear to be present in my work over the past fifteen, twenty, thirty years maybe. I tried to collect them because people around me asked if I could just summarize what I have said in so many different books, and so I sat down and put out what I considered these insights are.

I can summarize them quite easily, of course. There are fifty or sixty of these insights like a couple of pages each. They follow each other but they can also be read separately. The gist of it is that we are indeed one; that we are connected; and consciousness is not something that we produce in our brain or even artificially. Consciousness is something that exists in the world and it is as much of a factor as energy, as information.

So these are the basis on which we create what I consider a new paradigm, a new mindset, a new way of looking, the Germans called it weltanschauung, a deep not only just physical idea of what the universe is like but how we relate to it, what this universe is really about. Can we ask this question? I tried to. I asked this question. I tried to answer it this way, so I could basically bring it forward, just take it down so that we can have a discussion on it, so that we can develop this further.

My institute, the Laszlo Institute for New Paradigm Research, is dedicated to creating seminars symposia and discussion forums for debating and developing and adding to these wisdom principles.

DAVID: I would just like to share with our listeners what you call the new imperatives, Ervin, from your book, Wisdom Principles: think globally; rely on your inner authority; live in harmony with the diversity of the world; and finally, as you say, last but not least, find meaning in what you do.

And this seems to me very good advice and it goes back to what we were talking about earlier of understanding the oneness of life, the oneness of consciousness, our interconnectedness of a planetary ethic, and doing what we can within our own circle of influence to improve ourselves and the state of the world.

ERVIN: Thank you for reminding me of this, for bringing this up. Yes, these are four principles that I'd like to continue to think about and to live by.

DAVID: And then, finally, Ervin, your most recent book, which I haven't seen a hard copy of yet, is The Upshift, and so I'd like to finish on this note of an upshift and how you understand the path to this upshift, the path to healing and evolution on planet Earth.

ERVIN: We touched on this a little bit and had discussion before just now on the necessity of positive change and a bifurcation point. The Upshift is a change in the direction of evolution. The most immediate way station of this tremendously new important direction is healing, healing so we don't have constantly conflict, trauma, war, aggression, and inequality. Somehow, we have to overcome these, and we have to heal.

How do we do this? I'll just say two words on this: recognizing that we are not separate, that means an expansion of our identity. We say this is us, and that is you. We are strangers, those are not us. That no longer can be upheld, this no longer can work.

We are all one on this planet. Our individual identity has to expand and embrace humanity, and as you said before, more than humanity, embrace all life on Earth, and embrace the very phenomenon of this in the solar system, complex systems, and everything is coherent, that they interact, and that they manifest sensitivity to each other, to the world around them, and at higher levels, manifest what we call consciousness.

I think all of these things are essential elements of the wisdom that we need to recognize. This is to expand, embrace this in all our thinking, in our consciousness: the phenomenon of life, reverence for life, yes As Albert Schweitzer said, reverence for the universe that created and is maintaining life.

DAVID: I'm absolutely in awe and I'd like to thank you very much, Ervin, for sharing your life and your wisdom with our listeners, and I’d like to emphasize the importance of the Visioneers movement and of becoming peacebuilders and in our own lives and on our own and in communities and making what contribution we can to the new world that we would all like to see come about based on the power of love and not love of power.

ERVIN: David, if I may, I would just add one element to this, because I received this distinction that was unexpected, and that I was obviously delighted to receive, of being called a Hero of Humanity [by the Visioneers]. I accepted it, but not in the sense of being a traditional hero. A traditional hero is one who vanquishes, who wins, who overcomes adversity. I don't like to think in those terms. I'd like to think that the new hero is one who has vanquished his own, and her own, embedded ideas, values, and preconceptions, and is willing to change. A real hero can change in the direction of evolution and then can become the change, as Gandhi said, that he or she wants to see in the world. That's the hero that I aspire to become, to be one day, and I pledge my willingness to do my best to move in the direction to be the hero for humanity, for oneness, and not a hero against overcoming anybody else.

DAVID: I think that's a wonderful note to end on, and I'm sure all of our listeners will want to aspire to become heroes in that sense and will be inspired by our conversation today.

ERVIN: Thank you, David, I enjoyed our conversation as well, as I always have, and I look forward to carrying this forward in all the ways that we can.

Thank you very much.

GERRI: Thank you, Ervin, thank you, David for this most important and profound experience, and for your thoughts.

Now, for our participants, the most important thing you can do is to share this journey with your networks, your friends, your family, your colleagues, and especially those of like mind and heart who will appreciate what you have just heard.

And now, we're going to be releasing Episode Three in about two weeks. Expect it. We are sure that you will recognize the next wisdom keeper, and that you very much value her work and contribution and what she has done.

So, to consolidate all this in your mind, in your heart and to ask you to consider how all this works, and what all this means with your own contribution, please listen to the beautiful, wonderful music composed exactly for this purpose, to consolidate your knowledge, the music of Lori-Ann Speed.

Thank you so much.