DESMOND: Hello, I'm Desmond Berghofer from the Visioneers Network welcoming you to episode five on our journey of extraordinary wisdom. My partner, Dr. Geraldine Schwartz, will introduce our fifth wisdom keeper, Dr. Jean Houston. Here's Gerri.
GERRI: Hello, Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening. Good Evening to those of you in all those different time zones around the world.
As I speak to you today, I am conscious of two parallel phenomena happening at the same time. It is the worst of times, ask the Ukrainians. But also it is the best of times, ask the millions of newly created refugees who are living in safety and with the opportunity of a new life in countries like Canada, the United States and many other countries around the world.
We are seeing the worst of atrocities, ask a woman in Afghanistan incarcerated in her own home and in fear of her life. And yet we are seeing a time of the highest aspirations and examples of goodness humanity has ever produced.
In considering the legacy and contributions of heroes and heroines on the side of light, champions of the possible, who do we find? We find our wisdom keepers, calling on us to wage peace, to work together on this project, and most of all to lead the way, as they do, by example.
In meeting Dr. Jean Houston as a Visioneers Heroine of Humanity, we discover an extraordinary lifetime journey into a hundred countries. She is willing to work with Presidents, leaders of every kind, and even with the most humble of us. In her book The Possible Human, which so impressed me all those decades ago, she puts you into the body and mind of your own ancient ancestors, when life was a brutish existence in the Dark Ages, and then she presents image after image of the next thousand years in the slow and painful situations that lives were over that time period.
So, consider the contrast with lives of those of us living in the 21st century, where Jean describes the thrilling possibilities of our time, not everywhere, but available for the first time in human history to billions of people. Therefore, we have a special responsibility to address the multiple concerns of our global village, where the danger of power in the hands of those with limited consciousness can produce catastrophic results and blow away the extraordinary possibilities we can now see and taste and touch.
Jean says we need to gather our strength for a second Genesis. We must re-educate ourselves for sacred stewardship, acquiring the inner capacities to match our outer power. We must find those spiritual, mental, and physical resources to enable us to partner the planet.
And that is exactly the purpose of the Visioneers Project.
Jean tells us that breakdown is always the signal for breakthrough. She calls on a new breed of heroes and heroines, on us. She calls us the "people of the breakthrough," and she finds them everywhere, and so do we.
We call them Visioneers, and we dedicate ourselves to telling their extraordinary stories.
Jean tells us the future is wide open with possibilities for personal and social transformation. The people of the breakthrough network, freely exchange ideas information and resources, they spend time in discovering, they have healthy spirited appreciation, and they see complexity.
Our news is good news.
And so people of the breakthrough have a higher order emotional intelligence, a concept developed by Daniel Goleman and others in the early 21st century. Jean focuses on leaders with skills of emotional intelligence whose passion for decency, integrity, and justice, whose skills in building relationships and listening deeply and seeing the big picture and holding visions of new possibilities, underly her optimism that we can actually do this.
Current neuroscience reports that this kind of passionate leadership response activates both rational and emotional brain centers to provide the powerful upshifts and thriving future that Jean so urgently calls on us to create by working together. Because the people Jean talks about are open to new awakenings, they are pulsing through a deeper more coherent order of reality. They are citizens of a larger universe, and although they don't often show up in the media, they are the most important people in the world today They are the people of the breakthrough. They are Jean's people to whom she has dedicated a lifetime of work, and most important for us, they are our people, they are Visioneers.
So, Jean Houston, writer, psychologist, coach, mentor to leaders, and a model and example herself of an evolved mind and heart and spirit and soul of the possible human. She is our current wisdom keeper, and we are about to listen to her speak directly to us. She says our time to do the real work for humanity is now, that we need to nurture the re-creation of ourselves so that we may partner the preservation of the planet and the biosphere, and create the re-genesis of society, that we may build a new culture of kindness.
Wow! Imagine the possibilities, there's that word again.
Jean writes and speaks in a flamboyant vibrant manner, she lays out a splendid feast of images and ideas to consider, and she speaks with the urgency for all of us to act, to act now, and to act together.
In what follows, you will hear her in two parts. First, she responds to being given a justly deserved Visioneers award as Heroine of Humanity, and then we get to listen in on a conversation between two friends, friends of long standing, as she engages with David Lorimer. I suggest that you listen to both of them with an open heart and mind, because if you are listening to this, she and they are talking to you, remember, people of the breakthrough.
To set her work in the context of the other wisdom keepers in our series, Dr. Desmond Berghofer will now come back to do the integration, so you see the meaning of all this together. Here's Des.
DESMOND: Hello again.
With Jean Houston we encounter on our journey a wisdom keeper who uses images and language in a fiery inferno to grab our attention and focus our minds on the role we need to play in what she calls "the greatest transition drama the world has ever known."
Our previous wisdom keepers have alerted us to the need for global mind change; to the need to develop a planetary consciousness and an upshift to a higher presence of the human system on the planet; to the ways we can act to bring necessary change; and to the need to restore the influence of the divine feminine to world affairs.
Jean grabs hold of all of that and says that what we are about is becoming a new possible human.
She uses the metaphor of the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly to tell us we have been munching our way through life, like the caterpillar, eating and consuming everything we can, and leaving behind us a path of destruction. This is still going on, but some of us, at least, are now in the cocoon, in the last stages of the cocoon, and we are struggling to transform into the butterfly, who will live more lightly on the Earth. It's a hard and difficult process. The imaginal cells of the dead caterpillar inside the cocoon are resisting the transformation, but for those of us who understand what is going on, we are, and I will quote Jean again, "We are in the state of re-making," "the re-mythologizing of the self," embracing a whole new narrative, because we do contain the future human inside ourselves, just like the caterpillar contains the butterfly.
What a powerful image!
To achieve the transformation Jean tells us we need to activate our powerful imaginations and our creativity to become the new possible humans and invent the way we will live on Earth as we become stewards of the planet and partner each other to "the greatest social transformation we have ever known."
Jean has devoted her life to teaching people in a hundred different countries about what is at stake, and what they must do to achieve the transformation. "We are in a state of interdependent co-arising with the cosmos," she says. "We are a fractal of the whole." She teaches people how to enter states of consciousness where they can access the greater domain of knowing and being, where they can come to an understanding and follow through to make things happen.
"We are not encapsulated bags of skin dragging around a dreary little ego," she says. We are the future humans, who are struggling to wake up to our potential, and our responsibilities.
In her closing remarks, she quotes the words of Christopher Fry from his poem "A Sleep of Prisoners:" "It takes so many thousand years to wake, but shall we wake, for pity's sake?"
Go now to listen to Jean Houston accepting her Visioneers award as a Heroine of Humanity and speaking in conversation with David Lorimer, and when you have finished listening, put on Episodes 9 and 10 of the Visioneers Audio Theatre, also released today, and hear the same drama that Jean is talking about played out in the story as world leaders are brought into the action and confronted with the dismal record of human conflict in the past and present, and challenged to create a new narrative for the future in the world of the Visioneers.
Good listening and good visioneering to all of you.
JEAN: Hello everybody. It is such a pleasure to be with you all, and I'm so honored to have this extraordinary award, which I can think of who deserve it: Heroine of Humanity, but the very fact that you would think of humanity and heroine, ah, that is a new juxtaposition of a true thing that had been forgotten, and has now become alive, is rebirthing, is recreating, in this, in many ways, the holiest time in human history, because it is the time of renaissance. I love the Italian word Rinascimento, rebirth.
Often these renaissance times come, follow a time of pandemic, think of the bubonic plague, which was followed by the Italian Renaissance, and i could give you many other examples, but we are, at least I like to believe, in times of new heroines and heroes, the times of those who dare to be the change that makes the change.
Heroine of Humanity, Hero of Humanity, Child of Humanity, in the time of the new emergence of the future human. In this time of lost and found, and you, my friends, are the new founders.
I'm so honored to be with you, thank you.
DAVID: My name's David Lorimer, and I'm here with Dr. Jean Houston to talk about her life work and vision. And I'd like to begin with some quotations from her website, which I think are very good for setting the context of our conversation, and she writes, "In our time we have come to the stage where the real work of humanity begins. It is the time where we partner creation in the creation of ourselves, in the restoration of the biosphere the re-genesis of society, and in the assuming of a new type of culture, the culture of kindness. Herein we live daily life reconnected and recharged by the Source, so as to become liberated and engaged in the world and in our tasks."
Jean, what wonderful and encouraging words, so maybe you could use those as a point of departure to talk about your work and your vision.
JEAN: Well, David, I believe that we are in these extraordinary times, in which the world has been rearranged. The reset button of history has been hit!
And whereas before, we knew ourselves as a participant in gradual growth, and even more gradual change, now the options have multiplied, and the time factor has increased from middling rapid to rampant expeditious. I mean, one 's lifetime is now ten lifetimes long, and we no longer have the luxury of sloth, dare I say.
Alan Watts once said to me, "You are the vast thing that you see far off with great telescopes." And my answer to him is, but what to do, where to go, how to take initiative.
And what is key here, especially I think for this program, how to understand one 's unique role to this time and place in the most compelling moment of history, because I think we have the most profound task in history. I mean the task of deciding, do we die, or do we grow.
In my work, having worked in a hundred countries, this involves helping people, helping communities, helping cultures and organizations to move from dominance by one economic culture or group to circular investedness, and sharing, partnership, and I believe it means putting economics back as a satellite to the soul of culture, rather than having the soul of culture as a satellite to economics.
I mean, it's in my work, and I've worked in a hundred countries, I find that it involved deep deep listening, deep listening past the arias and the habits of cruelty, of crushed and humiliated people. It involves a stride of soul that challenges the very canons of the human condition. What does it mean to be human? I think it requires that we become the unique gift that we were meant to be, and therefore act as evolutionary partners with each other.
DAVID: Yes, i mean, I'm struck by your deep listening, because my friend Scilla Elworthy who works in the whole peace area, then she talks very specifically about the need to listen and respect and not try and allocate blame to people that you're talking to and perhaps in a corporate sense, and then also this shift from the dominator to the partnership very much parallels the work of Riane Eisler who I’m sure you know well, and this also represents a sort of shift from predominantly masculine to predominantly feminine modes while balancing the two.
JEAN: Well, I really believe that we have an opportunity to play a role in the greatest transition drama that the world has ever seen. It is the great either or of history, and key to it, as you implied, is the rise of women to full partnership with men, in the whole domain of human affairs. Without that almost nothing will happen.
DAVID: And it is happening, but it could happen too at a deeper level, I think, because Anne Baring, you know, talks about the sacred feminine, the divine feminine, and, for instance, the sort of resetting. I was looking at this this morning, of the foundational myth of Christianity which excludes Mary Magdalene, and if you have a partnership there between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, this would be a major reset for Christianity, which would be a hard thing for them to do, but I think an extraordinarily bold move.
JEAN: So, I mean, that is key. I think, to your question as, how do we prepare ourselves for these times, I mean, how do we prepare ourselves for the personal, as well as the planetary, process, and without, as you say, the Jesus and Mary Magdalene connection, you really do not have the implications of the way that we can co-create the way we can become stewards of the planet, and, as you say, co-creators.
DAVID: I was reading something just before we came online, saying there was a crisis of imagination. and I think that struck me quite forcibly.
JEAN: Ohh, whoa, I mean, now you're really cooking with gas, as we used to say.
You know imagination is that which is borne out of the imaginal, and what is the imaginal? the source codes, the buttons, if you will, the potencies that activate the evolutionary process, and without the imagination that activates the imaginal we have no place to go, we have no place to go, we are not filled with enough passion for the possible, to partner each other through the greatest social transformation you've ever known.
So, when you get back to the Jesus and Mary Magdalene partnership, that already is the deep story, isn't it, the deep story of the emergence of perhaps what I feel is the only kind of partnership interaction that can change the story.
We're in, i used to call it jump time, whole system transition, phase transition. I believe that there is always within us and around us a kind of multi level transformation of our entire nature and function of society, the democratization of our human potential, that has been my big thing for many many years, wide scale experience of the aspects of ourselves that we never thought to have, the radical need for a new natural philosophy based on our new knowledge of the cosmos. I mean, I keep staring at the, you know, the James Webb telescope images that are just phenomenal, it's like the cosmos is coming closer to your face, the cross cultural mix of knowledge and understanding. I mean, potential evolutionary directions.
That's why my-cowriter in my two new books, The Quest of Rose and The Rise of the Avatar are really about. What does the future human really feel like, look like, want to be, because I believe that just like the caterpillar is coded with the butterfly, we in our present situation, body mind system way of being, you know, wandering around like a caterpillar, and yum yum yum yum yum eating everything we can find, what happened, even having a hard cocoon around us that we dare not get out of, but what emerges is the butterfly who lives lightly on the Earth, you know, who pollinates, who brings a new reality into time.
We are the cocoons, we are in the cocoon, and I think the final stages of the cocoon, as we are in the state of re-making. In my new books i refer to it as the, it's really the re-mythologizing of the self. It is a whole new narrative because we do contain, as we know, the future human, just like the caterpillar contains the future butterfly within us, but we have not given it attention, belief, co-creativity to necessarily make it happen.
That's why again, I mean, Anne Baring's emphasis on the Jesus and Mary Magdalene story is really also the story of the emergent human.
DAVID: Yes, and I was struck by Bill Plotkin's observation in his book Soul Initiation, where he talks about this metaphor that the imaginal cells of the caterpillar resist the transformation into the butterfly, and I thought that's sort of where we are.
And maybe you could just share your experience, you know, concerning butterfly with Teilhard de Chardin, because I think, this is an extraordinary moment in your life.
JEAN: You see, well, I was 14 years old, and I was running. I lived on 86th Street just off of Park Avenue and he evidently lived on 84th Street, just off Park Avenue. And I had just learned that my parents were getting divorced, and I was deeply deeply disturbed by this. I was full grief because it just seemed wrong, and a friend said, Well if you run, you can run away from your grief. I said, Well, 14 years old, I'll do that, and I ran like mad down Park Avenue and I ran into an elderly man, and I knocked the wind out of him.
And he laughed and laughed, and I helped him stand up, and he said in his French accent: "Are you planning to run like that for the rest of your life?" I said, "Yes sir, it looks that way." "Well, bon voyage." I said, "Bon voyage."
And I started to meet him while I would go to Central Park and he would go to Central Park and we would look at things, and he would see a caterpillar, and he'd fall to his knees, and I'd fall to my knees, and we would look at this funny little creepy thing. "Ohh, so sweet, little funny feet, little funny feet. Jean, feel yourself to be a caterpillar, can you do that?"
“Very easily Mr. Teilhard,” 14 years old, nearly six feet tall, red dots on my face, I felt like the caterpillar.
"What are you when you finally become a butterfly? What is the butterfly of Jean?"
"I don't know, Mr. Teilhard." That's what I called him, because I couldn't pronounce his whole name.
"No, you do know, you do know."
And he pulled it out of me, what is the butterfly of Jean, and that's what really started me I think on my being filled with the lure of becoming, of the movement from the dying self into the emerging self, and how this is the true potential story, the potential mythos for the whole Earth and all our people at this time in history, and that's what got me involved in human development research and explorations of how do we extend our embodiment, our body work, working closely with people like Moshé Feldenkrais, you know, my husband and I. And then, of course, the physical body, extending the sensory system so one has the capacity to receive the cosmos within which we are in a state of interdependent co-arising. I move and the cosmos moves, you know, and then to extend the psychological structures.
We are not encapsulated bags of skin dragging around a dreary little ego. We are organism, environment, symbiosis, symbiots of the cosmos itself. And so that we have many many more persona in us. Now, I grew up in the theater, so part of my work is to increase the amplitude of selves.
I just thought of something about that. Maybe the selfing game is what God or the universe does for fun.
DAVID: Yes, and well we're all experiments in that respect, and it strikes me, Jean, that Teilhard was playing almost the role of the daimen, he was calling your soul to its work, and you recognized that, and then you've been running with it ever since.
JEAN: Thank you for saying that. I have never really thought of him as my daimen, but you are absolutely right, at least for me, at that time, for that matter for all my life since then, you know I did not know…
DAVID: His work was really not published was it at that time?
JEAN: It was published some years later, it would have been about six or seven or eight years later.
DAVID: You then were able to read some?
JEAN: Oh, yes, and I read and I said this is my past, I turn on and there's the noosphere, I mean, all these words were my past, because he used those words with me.
DAVID: Extraordinary. And tell us a little bit about, i think you also had an encounter with Eleanor Roosevelt as a young woman and, you know, she's an extraordinary individual.
JEAN: It was probably about a year past the time that I no longer saw Teilhard because he had died, you see, and I didn't know that.
I was President of Julia Richmond High School on 67th Street. Mrs. Roosevelt lived very near there, and I was the head of the general assembly of the school, and Mrs. Roosevelt took to gathering young high school leaders to get us interested in the United Nations, which was then being built. And she was extraordinary, and her depth, her kindness, her ability to listen to all of our crazy ideas was extraordinary, and we got to know each other, because I was the President, I suppose, but one day she looked at me and she said, "My dear, I rather suspect you're going to have a most interesting career, but remember, my dear, that a professional woman can expect to be trashed." She didn't use the word trash, it was something like that. "But remember too, my dear," and that was one of her great lines, "a woman is just like a tea bag. You put her in hot water, and she just gets stronger."
DAVID: Wonderful. I've never read or heard that quote, but it's just spot on, isn't it.
JEAN: She was there, and plus a lot of other things that she said, so I was deeply deeply influenced by her, you know.
DAVID: And she's behind you.
JEAN: Well, she's, she is behind me, yes.
Well, Margaret Mead said I need another daughter, so that's probably you, because her daughter Kathy Bateson was then working in another country and couldn't come home. So I became her adopted daughter.
You know, it was strange. She was really very short, and I am considered quite tall, I mean, I'm under six feet but barely, you know, and she would look up at me, and she would say, “You're just like me.” And I'd look down and say, "No Margaret, I'm not at all like you. You are much smarter than I am, and I am much nicer than you are." That's true.
For the last few years of her life she would often live with us, and she and my husband would have wonderful fights, intellectual fights, and she said, "Oh, that's wonderful. He's the only person I know who's not afraid of me."
Oh, well, but she got me into studying, of course, anthropology, and then she arranged, this is how i got all over the world, she arranged for me to go to various countries and look up and even finish some of the suggested work that she had in Bali in Indonesia and so forth, and from that through the United Nations and other nations, and other not nations, with other international agencies, I was able to go to many many countries, and the only time that I've stopped these kinds of traveling is since the pandemic.
DAVID: And so here we are, you know, speaking on Zoom.
JEAN: Which, by the way, is the new world religion, Zoomism.
DAVID: What are the fundamental principles that your work is built on? I think some of these, you know, derived from parallels of quantum physics, but can you just elaborate that a little bit.
JEAN: Well, if you start with the parallels of quantum physics, we are the universe in miniature. We are a fractal of the great whole. And that we have in certain states of consciousness the capacities to access this larger domain of knowing, feeling, being, creating, so part of my work has been able to spend studies in states of consciousness, to bring people to these places of deep deep knowing, and from that to engage the internal gift of personal momentum, an initiative to follow through on these gifts and to make them happen.
This kind of working of the inner world is not safe. It's very savory, but it is not safe because you are, you're turning the page on what is to what can be, and there's something deeply wonderfully dangerous and exotic about that, isn't there.
DAVID: And that's the stretch that we need to make and I'm wondering how these fundamental insights can best be conveyed to young people, because the education system, you know, it doesn't really do this at all, or certainly not in the education systems that i know, and yet we need to give the understanding to young people that they're far greater beings than they realize, as you've been suggesting. I'm sure you've spoken to a lot of young people about these matters.
JEAN: Hundreds of thousands, and, you know, I am the Chancellor of a university nearby, and I teach, I still continuously teach. I have never stopped teaching, and being available to young people wherever I can be, and so, you know, at any time in my week there's always a group of young people around.
DAVID: And how do you, how do they react to what you say. I mean, do you think they are ready to be activated and attack the new future?
JEAN: I think they're way ahead of me, that's what I think. These young people are part of a time that is on fire, and they catch the fire in one way or the other. Sometimes it's in clothes, sometimes it's in dances, sometimes it's even in love, maybe it's always in love. But they're far more sophisticated than certainly from my generations. I mean, I was born in 1937, and still going on. They are born at a very very very different time. But the value of my being born in 1937 is it still was the inheritor of the older forms of education, ancient Greek, ancient cultures.
DAVID: So, Jean, maybe, what would be your parting message to all of those people who are watching this recording?
JEAN: “Thank God our time is now, when wrong comes up to meet us everywhere, never to leave us, till we take the longest stride of soul folk ever took.
Affairs are now soul sized, the enterprise is exploration into God.
What are we waiting for? It takes so many thousand years to wake, but shall we wake for pity 's sake?”
DAVID: Well, Jean, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and vision and life work with us, and we'll allow listeners to marinate in what we've been talking about over the last forty minutes or so.
JEAN: That is wonderful, thank you sir, thank you for giving me the beautiful opportunity to commune with you and all those who are listening. Thank you, I'm honoured.
GERRI: Wow! Jean, i am now awake. Thank you so much for the passion of your message and for the wondrous words and images that you leave with us, and for your stories that will be in our hearts for a long time. And thank you, David, for your insightful questions and for your own thoughtful conversation, contribution to this conversation and to all those who have gone before.
And now, to consolidate your thinking, I'd like to present the music of Tatiana Speed in her song, Caravan, as she shows you in the poetic words of the song, and especially in her imagery, the possible human and the progress we have made.
So, listen with an open heart and an open mind. Here's Tatiana.
SONG: Peace is coming I'm just letting you know. Hearts are blooming all around the world. Brotherhood is coming, I'm just letting you know. Peace like a flag unfurled.
As we join the caravan to the Promised Land, the home we share deep in our hearts. We join the caravan to the Promised Land, singing an ancient song not forgotten.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Come walk with my brother as we travel the distance into the light of a calm new day. We are so beautiful, so many different colors, listen, our hearts know the way.
As we join the caravan heading to the Promised Land to the home we share deep in our hearts. We join the caravan heading to the Promised Land singing an ancient song not forgotten.
Peace is coming, I’m just letting you know. Hearts are blooming all around the world.