An Interview with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

Ted Wheeler is an American Democratic Party politician who has been the Mayor of Portland, Oregon, since 2017. He was Oregon State Treasurer from 2010 to 2016.

Michael Richardson-Borne: Recently, Trump sent unmarked federal agents into Portland to disrupt the Black Lives Matter protest. What was your initial reaction to hearing this news?

Ted Wheeler: It was a stark reminder that the federal government is a collection of people who believe the Separate Self is real and thus unwittingly perpetuate The Culture of Separation. Even the government officials who cried foul were merely speaking up about the sending of troops being unconstitutional rather than calling it a psychologically immature act against perceived “others,” obstructing the alignment with our true being, the movement of Non-separation.

At some point we must collectively realize the Constitution is a document based on separation, a document formed by the assumption of a Separate Self – it is not designed to be a pointer to the non-separative nature of who we truly are as a people. The Constitution claims we are all equal and free as personal actors in the world – but this declaration of equality and freedom stems from a belief in a Separate Self that can never arrive at the “real thing.” Real freedom and equality can not exist when the separative core of who you are is unable to experience it, to actually be it.

To be lived as the equal and the free, you must dis-identity with the Separate Self, you must find that the Separate Self is a collection of stories that collaborate as the fundamental elements of a divided mind. You must discover that living with the assumption of separation as your starting point distracts you from coming to terms with the impersonal freedom and equality of existence itself. Not knowing this is how troops arrive in Portland like flares in a night sky signaling us to locate the lost aspects of ourselves living as an unnoticed pavement under a cityscape of stories that continue to build separate identities.

In The Culture of Separation, there is only one way to move on the chessboard – there is always a one hundred percent chance in relationship, communication, signaling, and shaping that the Separate Self will take action as a pawn of separation. Engaging in a world composed of Separate Selves, there are never any surprises. So my initial reaction to federal troops entering downtown was pretty bland – the separative faucet is on and water is coming out.

In our current national circumstance, there is always the original assumption of separation followed by “this response” or “that response.” Either route that is taken is an expression of a Separate Self.

MR-B: What do you mean by “this response” or “that response”?

TW: If one is embedded in a Separate Self, there are two ways that a response can manifest – both of which maintain separation. “This response” is one that agrees on a common story to define the Separate Selves involved. “That response” is a refusal to agree on a common story to define the Separate Selves involved. 

If you understand the pattern created by these two limited responses, you immediately notice that no protester or anyone in our government can get outside the confounds of their own stories – which means they can’t offer even a speck of relationship and thus a total solution to any conflict they encounter can never occur. All conflict is like an ill-fitting suit on the hanger of a Separate Self – so division is either in the closet of a common story or on a separative body in full view. Either way, the Separate Self and the separation it manifests are always present in one form or another.

Only an identity that has experienced what is beyond the Separate Self can speak to a latent depth inherent in The Culture of Separation and invite all parties involved to match their depth of response to the call of the invitation.

MR-B: So back to your initial reaction…

TW: When troops entered Portland, I knew they were sent as an expression of a constricted identity experience – and since the action was performed unilaterally before an attempt at finding a common story was approached, I knew I was dealing with a contraction of a contraction when it came to Trump’s identity. What do I mean by this?

I mean in order to reach Trump, I have two layers of identity to work through before he can truly see what the protesters are calling for. He must move beyond the contraction of his refusal of a common story and then move beyond the illusion that a “one to one” agreement between autonomous Separate Selves is the nature of negotiation. Refusing his refusal gets me nowhere.

MR-B: Say more.

TW: First, I have to invite him to see through his refusal to find a common story by offering a story that can be used to his political advantage without sacrificing the authenticity of the protests. Basically, transition him from a state of tense hostility to one of relaxed tension. Relaxed tension is the best one can do when it comes to agreements with the Separate Self.

Once the common story is established and stabilized, I can then set in motion a series of invitations that transcend the separation inherent in all agreements.

MR-B: How will you do this?

TW: Any worldview attached to a Separate Self greatly limits experience, so all actions stemming from separation are completely predictable. There is no creativity, no spontaneity. The movements are always dead responses to a dead world, personal reactions to impersonal happenings.

So the invitations extended must transcend the common story agreement by turning the stories that make up the Separate Self from an isolated subject into observed objects.

MRB: Yes, but what would the invitations look like on the ground as a “real world” strategy?

TW: All protests manifest because of a division between two identity stories – a division between “the way things should be” and “the way things are.” The ultimate goal of protesters is to get these two identity stories to overlap as much as possible.

Based on this understanding, I would speak with the protesters and attempt to amplify the common story agreement with the government by inviting protesters to locate, and then act from, the story where there is no division between “the way things should be” and “the way things are.” Rather than putting effort into changing the external circumstance, I would focus on an invitation to change the internal circumstance – and then watch the response that arises from this new internality.

How do you do this? One of the first steps to arrive at the realization of Non-separation is to commit to the story of “the way things should be” as “not separate” and “the way things are” as “not separate.” This commitment immediately unifies the polarity in a complete overlap, eliminating the gap between the two which is where conflict exists. Now the invitation of the protesters is undivided, it’s “not separate.” So no matter the response of the government, the story dynamic that creates separation is no longer functioning for the protesters – which means the only story that truly exists is “not separate.” By reducing the plethora of split identity stories down to a single story, by unifying the polarity of separative identity, there is now an emergent singular response – one that has flipped from “separate” to “not separate,” from “total separation” to “totally not separate.”

This is not mere civil disobedience as civil disobedience has always been enacted from the belief in a Separate Self, from a fixed position held by a collection of Separate Selves that were taking a stand against something. A “non-separative protest” transcends the need to refuse agreeing on a common story and transcends the need to actively seek a common story based on the unspoken mutual assumption of separation. In the story “not separate” is where power lives – not in the separative force of subversion, a tactic that has been repeated throughout history, a tactic that we must realize will never reach the final healing of The Culture of Separation. Looking at the world through the lens “not separate” is the initial advance into transforming the city of Portland’s relationship with local and national Government.

Our response to the protesters should be less about the immediate behavior of both sides and more about a commitment to understanding the psychological causes of our behavior. Rather than focus on the current external outcomes in our city’s streets, it would be more beneficial to report on and teach the public how and why separation happens. Rather than feel the need to combat division, we need to see through the illusion of separation and respond accordingly equipped with a new psychology in which to handle the problem. This is how to start to take further steps into our experiment with democracy – by empowering the multitude with the psychological wherewithal to enact a democracy from within, from the inside out. We cannot want democracy for all without developing identities that can recognize the source of democracy which is the natural movement of Non-separation.

MR-B: You’ve spent a lot of time speaking with the protesters. From this experience what are the majority of protesters calling for? What are their demands?

TW: To put it simply, policies that enact police reform and a democracy that includes all people.

MR-B: Right. But what you’re saying is accomplishing this requires something beyond policy changes in our current system. Transformation requires an emergent system established on the foundation of a new identity norm.

TW: Yes. My inquiry, right now, is how do we use Portland’s resources as a means to share a new vision based on relationship practices that encourages a depth of communication which no longer speaks solely to the Separate Self as a Separate Self. How do we speak to the impersonal existence of people in government and in the streets so that Non-separation is received and revealed in “real world” action?

How do we use the resources of Portland to invite people around the country to see this moment in US history for what it is – a piercing cry to recognize we are looking in the mirror at our own reflection when we see violence on our televisions, computers, and mobile devices?

This moment is a direct call to ask how the political climate of America is a personal reflection of our own heart. It’s a call to turn within and seek the source of our experience that is no longer identified with a Separate Self attached to partisan outcomes. Turning federal troops on our citizens is a riddle to be solved, not an occurrence to which we react.

What we are involved in is not an expression of physical war – seeing the events transpiring in Portland as a traditional war is to be seduced by an old way of thinking. It’s an illusion, a distraction. The current war in America is a war of narrative, a war of story, a war controlled by the impulses of the Separate Self, and a battle over how the Separate Selves in this country should define themselves.

The federal agents weren’t sent to Portland to enforce a brutal crackdown on the protests. They were sent to create a counter-narrative to the protesters’ story – a counter-narrative meant to muddle the call for change by absorbing the protesters’ narrative into its own.

Narrative is a product of the Separate Self, or is the Separate Self. The Separate Self is an extracted entity composed of the original story of separation that happened to you and a unique set of subsequent stories that arise and appear to belong to the original story of personal awareness.

If you understand what I’m saying, you understand why I focus on the Separate Self as the crux to moving beyond the separative game we’re playing out. When facing a war of narrative, the only response that is an actual response must come from an identity structure that has moved beyond being embedded in narrative. All expressions of narrative must become an object to a perceiving subject where the subject isn’t “touched” by the object – the subject is “outside of narrative,” no longer impacted by the story of being separate.

Narrative must be understood as an impersonal arising, an impersonal arising that includes what is perceived as personal experience. It must be known as a non-autonomous construction whose side-effect is trapping us within the confines of a story that leaves no action of life, only reaction to life outside of itself.

To live your life from this new depth is to absorb the totality of all narratives presented to a storyless presence that is beyond narrative and able to flow with all stories spontaneously lived as the impersonal existence of Non-separation. Realizing Non-separation is check-mate for any maneuver sourced from a Separate Self.

Rather than try to wiggle free from the counter-narrative, it’s time for us to expand and “absorb the absorption” – to swell so wide that absorption is no longer a law of resolving conflict and using strategical narratives of the Separate Self is no longer efficient nor effective. The world situation is ready to become an active practice based on “deep information” that symbolizes graduation from commentary on shiny surfaces and predictable behaviors that are dead upon arrival.

If the goal is to silence the protesters, for the first time in history we need to offer a total response, not a replacement for the stories that make up the Separate Self. To bring the protesters to total silence, one must model total silence, must be lived as an invitation to Non-separation.

Adding more noise to an already loud room only amplifies the decibel level. Conflict in The Culture of Separation is a shouting match, even when agreements are in place. The original silence of who we are is drowned out by an ever-growing piercing din that must expand indefinitely to maintain the illusion of progress. This is what we must recognize to remove our attention from the noise long enough to settle into an identity space where the noise is a faint melodious echo.

MR-B: What is your take on the Black Lives Matter movement?

TW: As with all movements, it’s a pointer to wake up to the depths of who we are.

So, in this case, the call for change is cart before the horse so to speak. It’s a call to change external conditions without first changing the internal condition that is the driver for real change to occur.

Trying to fit a call for unity inside of a system that is built on that which spends its every waking moment fighting against unification just won’t work. It’s the proverbial square peg in a round hole scenario. Realizing the futility of our Separate Self actions is the first step in garnering the transformation we seek.

Achieving the reforms needed to make black lives matter does nothing when it comes to addressing the epidemic of separation. As hard as it is to accept this, you simply can’t live as a “black person” or someone that supports black people, you must surrender and be lived as black or be lived as support as an expression of the totality that negates race and support. It’s a subtle distinction where black lives matter as an expression of the total movement of Non-separation.

The mission here is beyond accepting a sub-grouping of established identities – the goal is to transform all identities so that the multitude is in relationship with one another in a way that catalyzes a new systemic based on what lives as the foundation of all established identities.

MR-B: Do you have any ideas about police reform? Are you currently discussing anything with your cabinet about potential first steps?

TW: Obviously, one idea is updating police officer training to include practices and processes that support their move beyond the Separate Self.

I’d also like to begin training a cadre of what I call “de-escalation agents” for our local police force as a prototype that can be applied to all police forces in the US. Think of these people as “non-separative therapists” that participate on the front lines of all police responses to guide the interactions from the lived existence of Non-separation. This kind of constant presence of non-separative experience is a sustained “in the field” form of relationship training for police officers.

I’ll also take a look at creating a large task force that participates in our social media platforms, sort of like what are called “troll farms” in today’s parlance. Rather than sowing discord, these men and women would sow invitations to Non-separation far and wide across our online forums.

MR-B: What you propose focuses on healing police officers rather than any sort of “defunding” that leaves the underlying relational dynamics in place.

TW: Right. We want to help heal the mind’s biases by questioning the stories that compose the mind.

It is possible to reveal to all police officers that crime is the energy of self-inquiry being blocked by the belief in a Separate Self. From this perspective, the entire prison industrial complex becomes a psychological practice about freeing this energy. This kind of shift is the gift of Non-separation – what I call Applied Awakening.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.

An Interview with Senator Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell is an American politician serving as Kentucky’s senior United States senator and also as Senate Majority Leader.

Michael Richardson-Borne: There’s a fierce culture war taking place in the United States as we speak. Just like in the 1860s, there is a battle between two different Americas. It’s a civil war as one would appear in the age of information. How would you describe this divide between Democrats and Republicans?

Mitch McConnell: First, it’s important to understand Republicans and Democrats aren’t fighting one another – they’re railing against their own shadows and don’t know it. They’re screaming into distorted mirrors and placing the onus on the other party for the distortions. They’re busy dropping bombs on an opponent while their personal cockpits are filled with poisonous snakes. To stop the snakebites felt by their Separate Selves, all they need to do is land and exit the aircraft. But they prefer to imagine they’re being forced to remain in the driver’s seat and blame the people they’re bombing for the pain of the separative snakebites they experience. They haven’t realized the war is inside the planes being flown labeled as Republican or Democrat – not against targets they perceive in the outside world.

So the war between the parties is misplaced. All wars are misplaced. Conflict occurs when two warring belief systems fail to recognize the mechanism by which individuals define themselves. It isn’t known there is a singular identity structure, under the stories of Republican and Democrat, being defined. Due to this, both parties fail to understand how all of their resulting behaviors begin “after the fact” – they don’t see how all of the turmoil is over a fairy tale of their own construction.

MR-B: Say more about what you mean by “behaviors begin after the fact.”

MM: “Fact” means the first point of psychological time, the original story of separation. “After” means any story added to the time-bound definition of the first point. Both political parties have forgotten the first point of psychological time and therefore imagine living solely in “the after” – they live embedded in their imaginations, in surface stories that blur the foundational “fact” and annihilate the experience of “before the fact.”

Imagine starting a 40 yard dash an inch after the finish line. Does this even make sense? Of course not – you can’t run a race that is already over. Yet this is the silliness in which Republicans and Democrats are engaged – in which the entire Culture of Separation is engaged. By being absent from life as it presents itself before story arises, the race is over before any of us even begin – and then we all pretend to run a fake race like chickens with our heads cut off, meaninglessly scrambling around in circles within a small diameter of the total track. Mass confusion doesn’t even begin to describe this behavior.

So, again, the divide isn’t between Republicans and Democrats, it’s the divide of each individual who makes up these parties with him or her self. The political parties are mere symptoms, not the virus itself – which leaves the question as this: Will some of our congressional runners travel in the opposite direction of our collection of chickens and locate the starting blocks? Will they rest and mark the point of return for everyone on the track? And when all are back at the starting blocks, will they collectively ask what was before the idea of running a race? To this point, the answer is no. So the divide continues.

MR-B: From a Senator’s perspective, how do we begin to heal this divide?

MM: From my colleagues’ perspective, there is a sub-mental need to maintain the divide, as the cracks of separation are the lifeblood of their electability. There is no true interest in healing the divide because a total healing would mean the end of the system they use to govern. The intent is not to do away with division as that would bring their separative system to a grinding halt. The goal is to differentiate within certain bounds, to stress the exact points of division where they stand out – because this is what makes them recognizable as an “other” and creates the needed delineation for choices to be made in the Culture of Separation.

This kind of relationship between politicians and voters is a direct reflection of how the Separate Self recognizes its own beingness – how it maintains its differentiation from its true being in order to substantiate its existence. First, an Original Story of separation happened to you. Second, the Original Story was defined by “personality particulars” to make up your Story Identity. At the very instant your Story Identity was established, your Original Story was forgotten. Next, you used your Story Identity to construct a narrative based on two projections of your imagination: “the way things are supposed to be” and “the way things actually are.” Between these two projections is a “gap” that creates personal dissonance. The story of this dissonance is called your Personal Myth. When linked together, the Story Identity plus the Personal Myth plus the Original Story make up personal experience, which is called your Separate Self. A world that assumes itself to be a collection of Separate Selves is called the Culture of Separation.

After contemplating the Separate Self’s “identity gradient,” one can easily observe how the relationship between politicians and voters is one composed of Story Identities and Personal Myths. Story Identity is a sequestered belief in who one is as an expression of separation – an element of the Separate Self that adds definition to the “empty” experience of personal being. In our example, the Story Identity is one defining personal being as Democrat or Republican.

When the separative identities of Democrat and Republican become firmly ensconced as individuals, political issues between the two groups arise from the illusion caused by the split of Story Identity into Personal Myth. There is a way that America should be and a way that America currently is. The gap between these two stories creates the Personal Myth – a myth that manifests a never-ending feeling that something needs to be “fixed” or something “needs to be done.” This need to fix makes the political fight into what it’s all about – alleviating one’s Personal Myth dissonance by getting the dominant narrative of the country as close to one’s Story Identity as possible.

In a nutshell, that’s the whole of the political game in the Culture of Separation. It’s a game not interested in true healing because, again, healing would require seeing beyond the stories of the Separate Self – and this seeing would eradicate the need for the separative action that drives a political system built on the assumption that the Separate Self is the totality of identity.

So, as things stand right now, the dynamic of separative relationship I just described is unknown by the leaders of both political parties as well as the voters. This blindness means the healing you ask about is literally impossible. The entirety of American political activity is led by Personal Myths who think they are fighting for either the conservation or progression of their Story Identities. Notice how everyone’s Original Story, the gateway to Non-separation, is left completely in the dark.

I dream of an electoral process that is more about “wide presence” than “tight minds.” And where there is an understanding that the remembrance of Non-separation is the only way beyond the division that exists in our country today. To heal, we must simply bring our deeper identity back into the light – and then open the gate to take the inevitable journey that will follow.

MR-B: Talk a little about the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Explain to the people why you led a movement to acquit when a majority of the country found him guilty of the accusations?

MM: Guilt assumes autonomous action. And autonomous action is a perception caused by the total acceptance of the narrative your Story Identity feeds to you. When the Original Story of separation happened to you, you forgot what this happening actually happened to – and it was then the potential for guilt entered a personal identity you assumed held the fullness of reality. When separation is accepted as “the way things are,” “others” are automatically placed in an environment outside of the Separate Self. And when others show up in the environment as your compadres of separation, they can then acquire a characteristic called guilt because an unquestioned assumption of separation spawns personal experience – a mental experience that feels like self-authorship.

I’ve taken a lot of heat because I approved of a trial that didn’t allow witnesses. But my question for Congress was this: When guilt cannot be personalized, where is the need for witnesses who are just looking to play the separative chess that reinforces the Culture of Separation? B.F. Skinner ran those psychological experiments long ago – it is not my job to positively reinforce the primary assumption of humanity, the belief in a Separate Self. I’m not required to participate in the illusion. My only job as a member of the Senate is to be lived an an invitation to Non-separation.

Why should I entertain putting my stamp of approval on what would be my complicity in the Culture of Separation when the president in the hot-seat combined with the ludicrous way the trial played out are perfect pointers to invite everyone to get in on the joke? It seems to me when things rise to such a ridiculous level of absurdity, one may want to ask what the hell is going on that makes such a charade even possible. But, so far, separation is winning out – the blaming, the in-fighting, and the never-ending calls for change (which are just translations of separation) continue.

I didn’t allow witnesses because there is only one witness. What do I mean by witness? Well, I’m not talking about a viewer that solely judges external circumstances. I’m talking about a witness that also observes objects that are internal, the stories that are internal. When one locates this witness, both the external and internal happenings become external experiences – and then you’re one step away from seeing that that which is resting “under” the Separate Self is incapable of guilt as it’s not separate from a “total impersonal movement” that’s living everything experienced as personal activity.

Based on this impersonal realization, impeachment isn’t about throwing somebody overboard – impeachment is a call for everyone to remember the Path of Non-separation, not just the suspected offender. Let the entirety of Congress impeach the Separate Self and watch what happens to the desire for impeachment.

What I constructed was an invitation for Congress to rally around President Trump as a collective body of invitations to Non-separation. I invited us to rally around him, to create a container where any sort of vindictiveness or power grab would immediately be revealed for what it was without the need of saying a word. Again, “wide presence” always exposes “tight mind.” Being lived as Non-separation uncovers a truth that effortlessly presents the Culture of Separation for what it is – the attachment to dream-minutiae.

So the entirety of Congress needs to level up, to remember Non-separation. Then, the President’s instincts can be impersonally embraced, and the natural movement of being lived into existence can change the “rules of separation” in such a way that functioning as a separative agent no longer generates power. When the foundational assumption of humanity, the belief in a Separate Self, is thwarted, when the foundational agreement of human society is disrupted, the old tricks of the trade of separative life no longer apply. One discovers that the gig of the Separate Self is up – and the only way forward is to figure out why. As Congress grows into this remembrance, so grows the country.

But this growth will require an earnest inquiry. How are legal trials in the Culture of Separation to be handled after self-authorship is seen through? What happens when the curtain comes up on cut and dry individuality and everyone’s experience flips from “the one doing the living” to “the one being lived?” Where does one place guilt when all points of reference no longer grasp the ornamental definitions one believes need our autonomous hands to guarantee proper placement? What happens when “bipartisanship” is seen through as the childishness it is – as congratulating ourselves on the equivalent of being able to share our toys? What happens when stewardship as the lived existence of Non-separation becomes the norm?

MR-B: Many journalists are calling the United States an oligarchy rather than a democracy. It’s undeniable that our elections and policies are influenced in the extreme by lobbyists, big donors, and multi-national corporations. How do you explain this to your constituents?

MM: It’s all a misunderstanding of the deep structure of expectation. If you understand the tendencies of the Separate Self, you fully expect different forms of separation to present themselves. Since both democracy and oligarchy have the same primary assumption of separation at their bases, it shouldn’t be a secret that both can morph into various forms that enact this separation.

If you locate the separative source of the institutions that make up the Culture of Separation, you will relieve yourself of much shock and anger. Many people get bent out of shape because the problem seems to be the behavior of the wealthy intertwined with greedy politicians – they don’t understand separative behavior should be expected since the wealthy share the same foundational assumption with politicians, not to mention the working class.

Simply stated, this is the way things should be in the Culture of Separation. A collection of separate selves will always manifest imbalanced personal expressions misaligned with their true being. It’s perfectly logical in a world that has forgotten Non-separation. I always say, “Money doesn’t trickle down, but the remembrance of Non-separation can trickle up.” This saying reminds me that Non-separation is the only revolution left.

MR-B: There is a move towards authoritarianism across the world, even in the United States. What is causing this?

MM: The speed of change – which is the flood of information, the pace of new stories entering the collective psyche, the potential displacement of old stories, the pressure caused by having your identity stories constantly challenged. It’s all overwhelming for the Separate Self.

So, many people are looking for a “strong-man” who they believe can stop this overwhelming advancement of story – the harsh assault on the personal tenor of their Separate Selves. They are looking for someone, anyone, to wrestle down the new narratives emerging that put pressure on the stories of the Separate Self to shift. They want someone to do this for them – to relieve the stress caused by having their identities uprooted. They want someone to tell them their stories are okay, that they’re safe, that the stories that make up their identities don’t have to change. In fact, the Separate Self wants to hear that its stories are superior to any alternative – and that any emergent identity story is an absolute enemy. The threat of an enemy of this magnitude tills the soil for an authoritarian protector to emerge.

MR-B: What is your response to the authoritarian tendencies you see in American government?

MM: As executive power continues to grow in America, there are two forms of dictatorships waiting in the wings. Democrats think one set of ideas is “the way.” Republicans think another. And both are eager to enforce these stories on the nation while neither are interested in understanding there is no wrestling down separation when one’s root assumption is the source of separation.

Both Democrats and Republicans must be completely freed of their identity stories for the Culture of Separation within government to cease. And freedom only occurs when one remembers what lives the impersonal story that includes all personal stories – which is Non-separation.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.

An Interview with Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas is the President of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority. He is a member of the Fatah party and was elected Chairman of Fatah in 2009.

Michael Richardson-Borne: In 1948, Israel became a recognized state. This triggered around 700,000 Palestinians to flee, many of them traveling to refugee camps in Gaza. What was formerly the land of Palestine became partitioned in a way that favored the new Israeli state, now backed by Western military and economic might. How would you describe what happened back then?

Mahmoud Abbas: We live in the Culture of Separation – what transpired in 1948 (and what continues to this day) is just an expression of the divisive way in which we interpret ourselves individually and collectively. Notice that I said “way,” not “ways” in which we interpret ourselves – singular. There is only one divisive way of interpretation that we need to know about to get to the bottom of what drives the war between Palestinians and Israelis. This divisive way is an embracing of life that’s lived under the assumption of being a Separate Self, a false sense of self-authorship. I always say the primary assumption of humanity is the belief in separation – so the false existence of a Separate Self is ignored by the culture at large and leaves us with firestorms like the Arab-Isreali war of ’48, the Six-Day War of ’67, and the seemingly never-ending conflict in which we remain involved.

To continue the thread, interpreting ourselves in “ways” (plural) just adds particulars to the baseline division of the Separate Self. “Ways” are a distraction from the root of separation – a root which can be located and questioned if we’d all take a look under the veil and discover the Original Story of our separateness, the first instance of individuality that happened to all of us.

So I’d describe what happened in ’48 as a sad product created by two groups of people who fail to remember the first moment of their separation and therefore fail to understand how their relationship is skewed by not being aware of who this first instance of separation happened to.

Who we are comes before who we think we are. So in 1948, there was no Israeli state; there was only a conspiracy of the imagination. ’48 was a by-product of thinking in the context of separation; it was the maintenance of a stagnant imaginary world imposed upon spontaneous possibility – it was separative dominoes logically falling with a gravity that was the pull of the Separate Self away from its true being. It wasn’t hatred. It was misalignment with Non-separation, blindness to all that is the self-rightening.

I mean, taking it back to the basics, just look at the structure of the question you had to assemble in order to create an inquiry into our past – look at all the separation that had to be implied to re-create the story. That should tell us all we need to know. Division of years, partitioning of land, labeling of people, refugees crossing borders, the pompousness of isolated states determining who will get to experience their form of separation and who won’t.

But my job, the expectation of the Culture of Separation, is to agree with the divisive mode of relationship being offered and to answer all questions as if separation really exists. To question the separative structure of a question is to violate the violent cultural agreement that assumes a Separate Self is the foundation of human interaction.

So how do we change this? Well, it’s the same answer I give when asked about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a whole. We must first understand where the territory of the crisis lies. Our internal experience and external world arise together as a story – but the mechanism for how this happens is ignored by political rivals. They are too focused on one another – there is no time to be wasted on self-reflection because the obvious problem exists in the form of “an other.” So they attempt to manipulate external separations while keeping the Separate Self firmly intact. This is the misunderstanding of the territory to be explored – which guarantees a form of separation will survive.

MR-B: One of the problems you currently experience is forced disconnection. Israeli soldiers make it difficult for your holdings in the West Bank and Gaza to work together in a systemic way that would function as a unified state. This leaves West Bank territory landlocked with no access to the outside world. On top of this, Gaza is stuck between Egypt and Israel, with the only outlet being the Mediterranean Sea – to which your usage is also obstructed. How is the “two-state solution” supposed to heal the rift with Israelis in this scenario?

MA: There are vultures circling our future, out for their own gain or continued power – their goal is to keep the situation in turmoil, to keep the region destabilized and weak. Being proxy players to the most powerful militaries in the world, we are disempowered from standing on our own two feet and looking one another eye to eye in an earnest attempt to straighten things out. So we are left with a game of self-deception, allowing the separative instincts of outside influence to drive our own separative instincts – which is just a silly game of the Separate Self.

It’s dumbfounding to watch adults travel all over the world, dressed in their big boy and big girl clothes on serious business, unknowingly play pin the tail on the donkey or take blind-folded swings at a piñata in the name of “finding peace.” If only we could figure out that even if somebody hits the bulls-eye or makes the perfect swing to drop the candy on the ground, the results only bring fictional solutions because living from the assumption of a Separate Self only brings outcomes of separation.

Our leaders do not know how to get down to serious business and take care of the problem once and for all – which is to get their butts in gear and begin excavating the stories that keep them locked in the illusion of a Separate Self. But to know this, they must make the journey from separation to the mental understanding of “not separate.” They must locate the lived experience of Non-separation and learn to be lived as the existence of Non-separation. Can you imagine the level of egoic resistance to this solution if the representatives of our global states were asked to take the time to investigate this?

That said, there are also people sincerely interested in getting to a peaceful solution. The problem with this is that they have the same starting point as the disingenuous – they live with the same assumption at the foundation of their mental experience. This means their pathways to “peaceful outcomes” are just separate but equal expressions of the Separate Self – which, you guessed it, only perpetuates the Culture of Separation despite the good intentions.

So the level of disconnect you mention between Gaza and the West Bank is only the surface of our problems – and this goes for both Palestinians and Israelis. Below this surface, there is a felt disconnect with our native land. Below this, there is a disconnect from the Story Identities that drive the imagination of a native land. Below this, there is a disconnect from our Original Story, the felt experience of “I am,” the common story of humanity. Below this, there is a disconnect from the Impersonal experience that renders the story of humanity useless. And below this, there is a disconnect from our true nature, which is being lived as an impersonal invitation to Non-separation.

From this, it is easy to see the work that has to be done to come to the real solution to the conflict in which we’re involved. Layers of disconnection take us further and further from the truth of our being – so the first step of the solution is to make sure that the gap of these layers of disconnection is fully closed.

The two-state solution must change the foundation on which it is built. Instead of building our house on a bed of quicksand called the Separate Self, we must locate the rock of Non-separation and build accordingly.

MR-B: It seems that Israel and Palestine are stuck in a Hobbesian trap where both parties have an unavoidable incentive to strike preemptively, fearful of the opponent attacking first. This trap leaves a few options – as I mentioned a pre-emptive strike, a defensive posture (being able to absorb the first strike before responding,) and revenge (not necessarily an immediate response, but certainly a keeping of score and an intention to respond violently.) How do you break this cycle of violence?

MA: For a cycle of violence to begin, an original act of violence must happen to two people. What is this original act of violence? It’s the experience of individual separation that happened to who they truly are – the arrival of a mental construct that sets up shop inside of impersonal experience and separates him or her from the world.

After the original appearance of separation, these two people must then completely forget this burgeoning act of violence and live lives with the assumption or contrast of “others” dominating the field of their experience – which is the catalytic story that brings the manifestation of fear and, therefore, the need for violence.

With that, the Separate Self is firmly in place, panic is set to trigger vehemence, and a cycle of violence has all it needs to carry on indefinitely – which it has and will.

Ending the cycle of violence that is the Culture of Separation takes nothing less than the remembrance of Non-separation – seeing through to the source of violence. Arranging summits, engineering peace treaties, calling for ceasefires – we must realize these interventions are advancing separation no matter how hard we pretend that something peaceful is happening. They’re flat out symptoms of separation. And adding more symptoms of a Separate Self to a living conflict just creates different diseases, it doesn’t reverse the disease’s course of action – which can only be done when solutions are sourced as the lived existence of Non-separation.

MR-B: Many strategists apply game theory to the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. You are frequently asked if you’d be content with a zero-sum game at this point as a solution to the conflict.

MA: Neither zero-sum nor non-zero sum solutions are what we’re calling for. Both of these are just stories that pacify the mind for brief periods – eventually, the pacification must call for new stories that stoke the embers of a fading tolerance for the dying narrative. Game theory reveals potential outcomes in the Culture of Separation. It doesn’t account for the game that has Non-separation as its baseline.

Non-separation is a game that plays out “prior to zero” – so what we are calling for is a self-rightening that occurs before the zero-sum and non-zero sum games arise in experience. Resting in what is before zero, it becomes evident how the Separate Self began – which exposes the layers of separation needed to get to the solutions offered by game theory. It exposes the shallowness and cheap materials used in its construction. The houses offered by game theory will never be homes for Palestinians or Israelis. Houses are built to create walled settlements, they’re built to claim the land on which they’re raised. Homes, on the other hand, build themselves as invitations to become the building process.

A “pre-zero” game begins at the remembrance of Non-separation and spontaneously unfolds as its own existence. There is no individual experience of separation to choke and then carry the corpse-solutions by the neck to a pre-planned destination. As Non-separation, outcomes are celebrated as alive in the moment, all participants watching the revelation of what wants to happen absent of separative guidance.

MR-B: In March 2007, a Palestinian unity government was formed between your Fatah party and Hamas. By June of the same year, the government had fallen apart. How did this happen?

MA: What we failed to grasp is that a prior-unity government was needed rather than a unified one.

Collections of Separate Selves concoct unity governments – and as we’ve learned, anything with separation at its core rots from the inside no matter how pure an alliance seems to be. We look for unity downstream as something that can be created when prior-unity, or Non-separation, is upstream as something to be remembered.

MR-B: What are your thoughts about the United States’ support of Israel?

MA: Let me just say this. You cannot force Non-separation, it’s not an ideology. It’s not a means to control minds or manipulate behaviors. Non-separation is an invitation like rain falling on soil and seeds – it exists as the life-giving source and invites the environment to grow based on its deepest intuition and experience.

That metaphor is the basis for a new realpolitik. Coming to know this, our leaders will realize Non-separation is the most practical solution any state can bring to its people.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.

An Interview with Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu is an Israeli politician serving as the ninth and current Prime Minister of Israel. He is also a member of the Knesset and the Chairman of the Likud party.

Michael Richardson-Borne: It is frequently said that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” This indicates there is a readiness to accept the terrorists’ viewpoint. In the West, it is customary to believe that there is always another “point of view” worthy of consideration. For many Americans, terrorists are just another type of political activist with a grievance to be considered. How do you respond to this?

Benjamin Netanyahu: We live in a world of obscurants – points of view are just an obscurant’s unnoticed device of separation. The belief in a separate self is a cataract on the true condition of public opinion as it looks outside of itself at a fictional other and decides “what he is” – as if there is anything outside of a storyless self to be. This blurriness creates an absurd “this way or that” argument over which view of separation is “more correct.” When two worldviews can be correct or incorrect, you know you’re in a dream-world where the only option is to pick your poison – to decide which way you will advance the Culture of Separation’s current iteration of forgetting impersonal beingness.

In our world, it is not understood that thinking about the position of terrorists is not a matter of perspective. Holding a separative perspective is just an indicator that it’s time to wake up and move beyond perspective – that it’s time to locate the unconditioned view beyond the need for making an isolated viewpoint the sole basis of your knowledge.

In your example, the West thinks by carving out a more accepting space for a terrorist’s point of view, they are being part of the solution, not the problem. They believe if everyone could just understand the hearts and minds of the terrorists, they would be able to make sense of their anti-social actions and therefore, be able to better meet their individual needs. Being lived as Non-separation, this belief is a glaring example of the confusion of personal perspective.

The reason is not that the sentiment is wrongheaded – it’s that the sentiment is being offered from a condition of misunderstanding their own hearts and minds. It isn’t gleaned that their consideration is just separation offering space to separation. It isn’t known that the only real consideration isn’t being considered – that the supposed bright space they are offering to a fellow human is actually a reflection of a pre-existing brightness, not a light being provided by an individual or collective sun. It isn’t understood that the separate self can only offer separation, no matter how nice its actions are determined to be by the existing culture. A separate self living as a personal experience ambushes everything in its path, whether it’s with a weapon of mass destruction or with the gentlest communication.

Chogyam Trungpa had a term he used for this called “idiot compassion.” What he meant by this is by taking a point of view that exonerates two acts of separation at once, both yours and the terrorists’, you are engaging in idiocy, not compassion. What he meant is that the separate self can only offer idiot compassion because mature compassion does not arise from a separative experience of life projected onto life itself.

Mature compassion is simply being lived as an invitation to Non-separation. It’s an understanding that life can only live itself in the exact way it transpires and that the solution we seek is boldly remembering we’re being lived into the moment as an impersonal action rather than personal reactions.

This level of remembering is the only way to battle terrorism at its core. It’s the only form of compassion that can perpetuate the lived experience of compassion. Until Non-separation is remembered, we are merely playing a game of surfaces that is the equivalent of cymbals crashing together – two metal surfaces banging into one another and reverberating without remembering the hands that are behind them. Missing the foundational emptiness of consciousness and instead believing in stories that define words which then accumulate to create more complex stories that congeal to manifest an identity attached to the Original Story of separation leaves us operating in a vacant world without the loving touch of impersonal compassion.

Non-separation does not necessarily weakly excuse acts of terrorism or give unconditional space for brutal behavior. Those willing to do violence must be confronted and, if need be, detained. The change I am pointing to is the courageous reconsideration of negotiation, rehabilitation, and diplomacy as aligned with the movement of Non-separation. To do this, there must be a realization that events can only happen exactly as they do based on the dominoes that fall when the impersonal lives a culture of separation that has forgotten itself.

So, the terrorist’s act is evil. And the foundational belief that drives the act is also evil. As Non-separation, you remain at peace with all expressions of evil while fighting like hell as an invitation to remember that a belief in a separate self doesn’t have to be the floor on which we place our feet before walking forward.

MR-B: Does this make you a freedom fighter?

BN: Well, first, let’s ask what a freedom fighter is.

The Culture of Separation has the story of both of these words, freedom and fighter, backward. Freedom is thought of as achieving greater personal autonomy when it is altogether impersonal. Fighting is thought to be something done outside of the self – which misses that an unseen internal battle rages that manifests the confused motivation to fight the outside world.

So, a freedom fighter is thought to be a self-authored individual fighting against an obstructive object outside of itself. If this is the definition of a freedom fighter, then no I would say that “freedom fighter” does not apply to my actions.

A true freedom fighter is a lived invitation to Non-separation. It’s an understanding that the separate self is lived rather than doing the living – it’s knowing that freedom is always present even while a separate self believes it is fighting for freedom. Fighting is a product of a single movement blurred by the conditioning of story. Knowing this “infects” the separate self so to speak with a balance that transfers the separate self into an impersonal arising of Non-separation where there is nothing to fight and nothing to fight for – there is only the invitation to see through freedom and conflict as defined by the Culture of Separation.

MR-B: What about the final part of the question? Is a terrorist just another type of political activist with a grievance?

BN: Yes, I suppose you could say that. When lived as Non-separation the terrorists, the activists, and the victims are all complicit in the culture that manifests the need for terrorism. They are all the same expression of separation.

I’m not trying to sound hard-hearted here, but when you’re on the checkerboard of the separate self, you can expect separative moves to lurk in the shadows that can end your run as a participant in the game of separation. You are always one move away from the personal discovering its end as the personal.

Now mind you, this doesn’t completely put you out of the game – it just leaves you held by the personal hand that was guiding you in the first place. Personal death always leaves one in the separative context of the killer. The terrorist remains on the board while you are mourned in a stale obituary that remembers you for who you weren’t. This is more grievous than the death itself as the victim’s birthright failed to be unearthed, and therefore honored, before the violence of a personal culture laid waste to an expression of the impersonal.

MR-B: In your book from 1986 “Terrorism: How the West Can Win,” you defined terrorism as “the deliberate and systematic murder, maiming and menacing of the innocent to inspire fear for political ends – a declaration of a total war on the society he attacks.” How would you define terrorism today?

BN: Terrorism is any act that triggers the suffering of external objects due to the absence of understanding of internal objects. It’s the act of forgetting that personal experience is being impersonally lived as existence itself. It’s a pointer to Non-separation, an invitation to holistically take stock of and question the stories that guide our world. Without this taking of stock, humanity continually re-ups the declaration of total war against itself by inventing new stories to combat the old ones – which means we are left with stories fighting stories as the fairy tale solution to terrorism that leads to anywhere but the truth.

In essence, terrorists are screaming at us to wake up. But rather than hearing what they are saying as a question that is inviting us to live life as a question, we view terrorists as a statement to which we must respond with a statement of our own.

If there is anything that should keep us in a state of the deepest questioning, it’s acts of extreme violence perpetrated against society. Terrorist attacks bring the big questions about life to the forefront for everyone. They bring a momentary depth of feeling that doesn’t exist in the separate self’s shallow day to day life. But, predictably, we always miss the opportunity to hold steady in these depths. With each occurrence of terrorism, we fail to take advantage of the psychological opening. People come together for a short time when these tragedies happen – but notice how that togetherness quickly fades as questioning the separate self’s place in the world dissolves once again into the background. We come out of the gates strong-willed and determined to heal our society, but quickly lose momentum as we’re sucked back into the distractions of separative life in the Culture of Separation.

This may be hard to swallow, but if we pause to take a closer look, we’ll notice that being pulled back to separative numbness after a terrorist act reveals how innocent survivors are co-conspirators in the unfolding of a culture that caters to the numb. Even in great throes of passion and tremendous emotion, without the realization of Non-separation, feelings hover in front of a brick wall built by the separate self – which is always an isolated individual extracted from the whole, numb and disconnected from life lived in the moment. By going about our days identified with social classes, religions, nationalities, ideologies, and the like, the software for terrorism is firmly held in place by who we call “the innocent.”

Before we go any further, I want to say that Non-separation, or the understanding of how the personal and impersonal co-exist, is not the same as liberalism’s or the left’s mission to rid us of our particular identities in favor of a whitewashed global identity. Globalism and nationalism are equally expressions of the Culture of Separation – homogeneity of separation is not different from diversity of separation as both value systems live with the same fundamental mistake at their core.

As Non-separation, you can keep your history and tradition if you want – but odds are, you won’t much care as the clarity of exactly who is identified with history and tradition will be held ever so gently within the framework of an impersonal culture that includes the personal. As Non-separation, stories like “I am Israeli” or “I am Palestinian” move to the background and soften while accumulating the energy of an all-encompassing question rather than the forward energy of statements that are “just so.” When one’s identity depends on things being just so, violence is inevitable. When one’s identity depends on nothing other than the movement of existence, experience becomes a question where all answers are revealed as the next question. Two people living as questions open a space for right solutions to arise – authentic relationship lives here. Two people living as statements contract a space and limit solutions to what has always been attempted from the experience of separation. Here, relationship exists in the imagination.

So, in the end, the politics of terrorism are just a matter of relationship. We must learn that if we personally pressure the world, it will respond by pressing back as a call for us to observe the mechanism of personal experience. We must learn that if we take our hands off the wheel, the world will flow as a single movement – space will open and effortlessly fill in without the separative contraction that creates never-ending situations of square pegs in round holes. We must learn that the politics of terrorism are an opportunity for its players to discover how to relate from impersonal existence in a world that operates under the illusion of personal experience. And, finally, we must discover Non-separation – and realize the application of this discovery spontaneously flips us into being a direct invitation to realization rather than an indirect one.

Again, what I’m saying is really hard for the separate self to embrace – and easy to dismiss as lofty, unrealistic, or even religious. Regardless of whether it is or isn’t, if you’re truly looking to solve the issue of terrorism, there are no shortcuts that exist in the separative world that will get you to where you claim you want to go.

The counterintuitive key is to allow the separate self to take its hands off of the world – to take a completely hands-off, impersonal approach to global affairs. This is hard to imagine for the separate self. It will immediately jump to interpreting suggestions like this as a naive utopian dream, uninformed peacenik blather, or just plain stupidity. The separate self has no time to waste on such sentiments because consideration of these sentiments results in its own demotion. Instead, it will immediately ask, “If I’m not running things, who will?” And the answer of “nobody” is so frightening and unfathomable that the preference is to keep things as they are – a global competition of separate selves that are smart enough to autonomously “figure things out.”

But terrorism and the overall global situation is not something to be figured out. A belief in “relational calculus” is the naive utopian dream, the uninformed blather, and just plain stupid.

MR-B: What is the difference between a terrorist and a soldier?

BN: A terrorist is one who perpetuates the Culture of Separation, knowingly or unknowingly, as a lived invitation to separation.

A soldier is one who is questioning the separate self and/or being lived as an invitation to Non-separation.

The difference between the two is razor thin. A terrorist becomes a soldier by seeing through the thin membrane of stories that cover true being.

MR-B: What do you believe the root causes of terrorism are? Many say it’s poverty, political oppression, or denial of nation-building aspirations. Do you believe it’s this or something else?

BN: Most foreign policies in the West press the global community to recognize that international terrorism is not a sporadic phenomenon born of social misery and frustration. It is rooted in the political ambitions and designs of expansionist states and the groups that serve them.

Of course, both of these explanations are severely short-sighted. Notice how either way you go to understand the catalysts of terrorism, all of the causes are categorized as a desire for external outcomes – there is no accounting for the roots of internal experience that are not separate from these external outcomes.

What if terrorism needed no definition and no externally driven root cause? What would that feel like? Where does that leave your mind and how you approach the problem?

MR-B: I agree.

BN: But we’d rather be distracted by surface causes and be locked in an eternal back and forth where solutions do not exist. For instance, the terrorists would just point out the hypocrisy of states like the US and Israel – as the beginnings of each included terrorist acts on natives due to political ambitions and the designs of expansionist states and the groups that served them. In this kind of relationship that’s balanced on the belief in a separate self, it’s hard for both sides to see they are reflections of one another and lashing out is just shooting into a mirror, not at an opponent.

So pointing out hypocrisy is beside the point. All of this concern with definition is beside the point. Any way you approach terrorism from the perspective of a separate self is like trying to heal the flu with swipes of a machete. While being caught up in swinging the weapon of the separate self, it’s virtually impossible to see that the symptoms of individuals are the symptoms of the total culture – which are the symptoms of the original act of separation that lives underneath the stories of both.

All of this leads to something very simple that is extremely difficult to accept. The root cause of terrorism is the belief in a personal experience undergone by a construction that’s composed of a foundational separative structure of beingness and the corresponding identity stories that define it.

Once this structure is defined, the outline for conflict is complete. It’s like a simple graphic design composition or a coloring book. All that can be done has to take place within boundaries that are completely made up. The life of terrorists and the forces that fight them is an exercise of coloring within the lines to fill in a self-imposed limitation with what they deem is the correct color.

Realizing Non-separation is a way of coloring outside of the lines to reveal that the space outside of the lines actually exists.

MR-B: What is the job of government before and after a terrorist attack?

BN: The only job of the government is to live as an invitation to Non-separation that allows the governing to happen on its own.

To project my own proclivities for a second, part of this type of governing may be an invitation to the general populace to understand that national security includes understanding who the terrorists are by understanding who they are not. Discovering the terrorists are not who they claim to be will reveal to the general populace who or what they are. With this knowledge, dare I say wisdom, the targets of terrorism will see an underlying connection with terrorists that transcends two nodes with a string between them. They will be free from the confusion of “the why” when it comes to the drivers of terrorist behavior. From here, you can watch the populace respond to terrorism as life lives the new understanding into being. Alignment with Non-separation will find its way.

It is the responsibility of government to live the strength of this culture into being. Without it, we are headed toward our own extinction.

MR-B: There are military attacks aimed at terrorists (with possible accidental civilian casualties) and terrorist attacks that intentionally prey on civilians. Do you believe these two circumstances are on the same moral plane?

BN: Of course, they’re on the same moral plane. The Culture of Separation, which is war lived into being, doesn’t consist of a moral gradient. Killing in the name of separation doesn’t have levels. It exists as an infinite single plane that re-creates itself as the same iteration.

MR-B: Why do many of your advisors believe the collaboration between Marxist and Muslim radicals is not accidental?

BN: Well, as you know, nothing is accidental. What is lived into being could never be an accident. Consciousness does not create accidents. The mind does. But let’s go into the weeds a little bit.

The far right views the Muslim world as a double bind. On the one hand, they are hellbent on protecting the identity and domination of European whites and are deeply opposed to Muslim immigration into Europe. On the other hand, they see Islam as one of the only forces that may be able to stand up to and topple the global liberal order. So, because of this latter potential, in addition to being in agreement that they have a common enemy in globalism, Marxist countries supply aide to terrorists willing to take action against the West. This is an aspect of the Culture of Separation.

So as I see it, the far right, populist, and globalist liberal causes are all visions built upon the assumption of separation. There is literally no difference between the trio. The three ideologies mentioned here don’t realize they are in the same bucket and making the exact same noises in the exact same sequence. They think they are playing different tunes, but if you have ears to hear, what is heard are sound waves in perfect sync with one another. People who believe they are separate selves are just playing the song of separation. So it follows that the only result that comes from ideological changes from one cultural vision to the next is just a translation of separation. It’s like changing lanes on a trafficless highway where all lanes lead to the same destination.

MR-B: How do you catalyze a coherent international response to terrorism? How do you see the international community winning the war on terrorism?

BN: To win the war on terrorism, you must first win the battle with the separative self. There is no free lunch on this issue – our leaders either see through the Culture of Separation or the arc of separation will continue. The separative frenzy has to be brought into focus – the charade must be paused so that humanity can get down to business and let the real work begin.

Terrorism is not an issue to be solved or figured out – it’s a problem to “be with.” The solution will not be a thought out plan forced upon the world, it will not be something executed by individuals. The solution will come from knowing that you can either fight to change a world of separation that is changeless or you can locate that which is changeless and manifest the change that puts the standoff of story identities in its broadest context until context disappears.

Even though Applied Awakening seems to preach an almost hyperbolic level of peace, what I am speaking of is not meek and to be relegated to the dustbin of stereotypical new age psychobabble. Applied Awakening provides the real answer humanity claims to want. The Path of Non-separation may still be a very long road – and it can bring feelings of overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. But it’s the only path that has a real destination – one that appears in every moment, never on an approaching horizon that we can never quite reach.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.

An Interview with the US Ambassador to China

Terry Branstad is an American politician, university administrator and diplomat serving as the United States Ambassador to China. The “Social Credit System” is a national reputation scoring system being developed by the Chinese government. By 2020, it is intended to standardize the assessment of citizens’ and businesses’ economic and social reputation.

Michael Richardson-Borne: Good afternoon. Today I want to talk about China’s implementation of an emergent form of social control. In certain regions of China, governments have started ranking citizens with what’s called a “social credit score.” Like private credit scores, a person’s social score can move up or down depending on their personal behavior. The exact methodology is a secret — but examples of infractions include bad driving, smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online. Penalties include getting banned from flights or train travel, throttling internet speeds, being banned from the best jobs and schools, and even taking your dog away.

Based on your experience of the Chinese social credit system, how would you describe it?

Terry Branstad: I’d describe it as something that people are making a big deal of when it should be expected. The nature of believing in a separate self is one that is always starving for new forms of power, new ways to manipulate the others it perceives as outside of itself, new ways to distract itself that reinforce its sense of control and its comforting conclusion that separation is the basis of reality. When people are starving and food comes around, they’re going to eat.

When the separate self is presented with a new toy, it will use this toy to either create emergent divisions or to seamlessly integrate it into the already divisive systemic. Either way, the religion of separation is sustained. As the social credit system continues to be developed, the separate self’s never-ending appetite will be momentarily appeased in fits and starts – one moment there will be satisfaction, the next moment starvation will erupt again. As long as a social credit system is useful to the personal survival of the separate self, it will continue to be pushed to its logical conclusion, to its furthest limits.

That’s how I’d describe the social credit system. For me, it’s like noticing a grain of salt in the ocean – nothing even remotely shocking. We all know the ocean isn’t fresh water – so why are we surprised when this truth is upheld? Likewise, deep down, we all know the people of our world are deeply divided – so why are we surprised when people create new forms of division that utilize the emergent technologies becoming available to us?

So, I guess what I’m saying is a social credit system is just a continuation of more of the same. It’s a translation of what all people experience to varying degrees in their relationships with their governments. Governments, the world over, are controlled by men and women who think of themselves as separate autonomous entities. So the only kind of relationship they can offer is one based on separation, a relationship that treats the people they are governing just as they treat themselves. All of our leaders and representatives (as well as software engineers) are still lost in the personal surveillance of themselves – so they are just replicating the only thing they know.

Their worlds are restricted to a life that peers through the pinhole of a separate self. This pinhole has a strict boundary with a thin film of stories stretched across its circumference. Peering through this porthole, covered with a layer of restrictive stories they identify with, the only possibility is a limited worldview that creates structures that mimic its own limitations.

Again, the true being of these leaders, which is Non-separation, can be thought of as under the surveillance of the separate self. Any time the separate self begins to veer off into potential expansion, fear is activated and the pull to move back into conformity with their established identity and the separative culture in which this identity belongs is seemingly the closest, most immediate way to diffuse the shock of possibility. What is not understood is that this retreat just moves them from personal fear back to a dulled personal suffering that keeps them on the culture of separation’s chess board. Learning that this fear is just a story that keeps who you truly are under a false sort of surveillance is to find freedom, which is Non-separation.

Another way to put it is expressions like a social credit system promoted by the Chinese government are macrocosms of the microcosm – it’s a way for the personal stories that compose the separate self to keep the experience of the impersonal under surveillance. Even if our personal stories don’t know the impersonal is present in the background, just like the leaders in our governments, they do know that what they don’t know is a blind spot – and that what they don’t know is a direct threat to the stories of who they think they are. For the separate self to survive, its stories must be protected at all costs.

So again, we’re merely replicating the illusion that lives within us – the illusion of separation. Just as the narrative of the social credit system keeps the individuals in society in check, the narrative the separate self believes in keeps the wisdom of the impersonal in check. One is a cultural expression of separation. The other is an “individual” expression of separation. Belief in the truth of the latter is the batter to bake the collective cake of the former.

Governments have yet to arrive at a place where they govern beyond the assumption of a separate self – from the remembrance of Non-separation. Due to this, they must govern from personal experience and the illusion of the need for control rather than from the softer touch of observing what wants to happen as an expression of Non-separation. Governing from the belief in personal, independent existence dictates the context in which people operate their daily lives. This lack of awareness of the separative conduits through which our systems are currently arising locks their creative possibilities and outcomes into expressions of separation. The potentials of a Non-separative government have not been realized. They don’t yet exist in the porthole through which these men and women are interpreting the world.

The only way to move beyond this porthole is to take a journey that will lead them to the ship’s deck where they get a view of the entire ocean-scape. And then once their feet are solidly on the deck, they will notice this flooring is not needed for them to stand strong. They are just as much the ocean as the ship – which are both unified expressions of Non-separation.

Excavating through the stories clouding their portholes to arrive on deck is to reach the impersonal, a deeper space that redirects the personal-ness of stories into a single movement that has nothing to do with what they formerly thought of as the entirety of their existence. A government from this deeper “context” would effortlessly give rise to a system that is truly alive and manifests as an invitation to Non-separation.

So all of the uproar about the social credit system is just an uproar by voices of separation about an expression of separation, even if those voices imagine themselves to be the protectors of human rights. Whether we have a social credit system or not, the belief in separation remains exactly as it is – the shade of color of the lens they are looking through hasn’t made the slightest change. The blue that was before the social credit system is the exact same blue that exists after the social credit system. The wall didn’t change and neither did the paint.

MR-B: The most comprehensive of these local social credit efforts is Shanghai’s “Honest Shanghai” app, which pulls data from nearly 100 government entities. These technologies can live at the intersection of Big Data and surveillance. How do the Chinese people feel about these applications?

TB: Funny thing is, it’s popular. For the moment at least, surveys show the social credit system is approved of within China, as citizens perceive it as a way to access elite benefits for themselves associated with high scores.

But, again, this should be expected. The separate self is concerned with instant gratification and focused on accomplishing its individual desires. That is its only focus. If having a high social score guarantees it access to five star hotels, better jobs, priority seating while traveling etc., then the separate self is elated because it can live today in a projected future of assured gratification – it knows it will get to experience little ticks of happiness, brief respite from the contraction it lives as the pleasure of these fleeting moments quickly fades.

The separate selves of those who approve of social credit also feel an added sense of security and superiority. As one company in China, Zhima Credit, claims, “We will ensure that the bad people in society don’t have a place to go, while good people can move freely and without obstruction.” And it doesn’t stop there. Once a person’s score gets below a certain level, their life tends to spiral out of control because they not only lose access to travel, but also jobs, banking, schools for their children and, in some cases, they’re even abandoned by their social systems as their friends’ social credit scores are negatively impacted by the low scores of family members and connections on social media.

So the implementation of this kind of “social credit” is already becoming a way to punish specific “others” for the fact they’re being lived into existence the exact, and only, way that is possible for them. It’s another example of the confused condition of the separate self. A belief in separation assumes autonomous behavior is real and punishes ones who break the rules within this assumption. The arrival of social credit is just like all laws ever conceived. It is established on the foundation of a separative projection on the nature of human behavior – the false sense of autonomous action.

Separation does not understand that a single existence, one that lives prior to and as the movement perceived as autonomous, is the unnoticed empty presence behind the mock seriousness of a social credit system. This misunderstanding is the misunderstanding of what social life truly is, a misunderstanding of how the movement of life is the actual stillness of Non-separation. The core of the social credit system assumes individual autonomy where there is none.

Social credit is a system born from minds who believed their minds to be the totality of their existences. It is a separative expression of Non-separation by a systemic of individuals who are blurring the reality of Non-separation with a belief in the separate self. And what we’re seeing is a new divide between the rich and poor, a new way to divvy up the haves and the have nots, a new way for a government to create an underclass of people punished by the more fortunate’s ignorance of Non-separation.

MR-B: The social credit system aims to reinforce the idea that “keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful.” It is billed as an attempt to raise standards and restore trust as well as a means to uphold basic laws that are often flouted.

TB: Yes, it’s using the lowest common denominator to incite a subtle fear in enough of the country’s citizens to make it acceptable and seen as “for their own good.” Government leaders either do not see, or do not care, that the way to heal a culture that is flouting the law is not to address the external symptoms by clamping down harder, but rather, to support the people to get to the true source of the problem, the assumption of a separate self.

It reminds me of the immigration stories you hear in the United States right now. They’re utilized to incite fears of living in a dangerous society and speak of the need for extreme measures to combat a hostile world. The culture wars in America are a battle over which “brand” of separation is going to be the predominant version. But again, they’re fighting over if a wall will be pink or pink. They think it’s a fight over red or blue – but it’s a fight over pink or pink because the choice is between separation or separation. Only remembering Non-separation can provide an option to step off the arc of divisiveness into that which can see the separate self for what it is – a collection of stories.

MR-B: As an ambassador, how does your relationship with Chinese leadership play out when you ask questions about the social credit system from a Panopticon or an Orwellian perspective?

TB: Just as any relationship would when one of the participants feels threatened. It places a story of suspicion and judgment around the interaction. There is nothing the separate self hates worse than to have its stories challenged.

That said, for me, the relationships I have with Chinese leaders are not about trust. Trust can never happen between two separate selves. The rapport I’m offering can only be present when the need for trust is no longer bothered with – when both parties are consciously being lived into the moment where no act of betrayal can ever occur.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.

An Interview with the US Department of Justice

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a federal executive department of the U.S. government, responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice in the United States.

Michael Richardson-Borne: What is justice?

Department of Justice: Let’s start off with what a department is in the culture of separation. A department is an autonomously created compartmentalization of autonomous individuals who abide by autonomously created rules in the name of autonomously performing specific tasks that maintain a continuity in time that is collectively reinforced, self-reinforcing and self-directed towards the autonomous completion of defined goals. This is the world you live in – the way you work and the way the justice department works inside of a culture that believes in separation. But if you remember Non-separation, you immediately see through the push and pull ambition of autonomy and self-direction embedded in the culture that surrounds you. From Non-separation, a department transitions from separate but unified objects to separate but unified objects on the flip side of witnessing to a single existence without separate objects – which includes your experience as a personal body with an individual awareness. Right now, it is important to note that what you truly are is not concerned with autonomy. There is no basis or need for a self-inflicted concern with anything. If concern arises, observe and float with it as a disturbance being lived into the moment while knowing there is nothing to grasp, and certainly no way to personally outmaneuver the emotions of life by completing tasks and accepting accomplishments as your own doing. The impersonalness of your true nature is not fighting for its separative life as its life does not depend on time or an object within time. There is simply nothing to autonomously divvy up no matter how much the culture of separation seduces you with the already divvied.

From separation, departments are thought to encompass a form of autopoiesis – autonomous self-organization, self-maintenance, and self-reproduction by a collection of separate selves. These separative, self-organizing, departments happen through the minds of individuals that haven’t realized the mind does what it does on its own accord as a reflection of the movement of the whole. It has been forgotten that any kind of arranged organization viewed by an individual is the organization of the mind. It has been forgotten that the mind is lived as the totality – it has been forgotten that the mind doesn’t drag around a body to and fro as it figures out life’s challenges and makes personal decisions. It’s been forgotten that consciousness itself is maintaining all views of self-organization by illuminating the mind. Just let the concepts and associated physicality of self-organization continue on while also feeling the “push” of the source of this organization – and notice that this “push” is not controlled by your (or anything’s) separate self.

From the conceptual nature of “a department”, we can easily decipher how justice is built upon the same foundational assumption – the belief in a separate self. We can easily decipher how both words, “department” and “justice,” mean exactly the same thing – separation.

MR-B: Will you explain how?

DOJ: When there is a department for justice, this exposes a conceptual division for a conceptual division. When departments for justice can exist in a society, it follows that people become individually existing departments in their own right, a microcosm of the macrocosm. Just as the department of justice is 100% responsible for its output, people are thought of as individual departments 100% responsible for their actions in the public sphere. These departments aren’t being lived, they’re doing the living using a personal life-force that can be held accountable for its individual actions. It’s this confusion that creates a confused system of justice defined by the blind assumption of separation at its core. From Non-separation, the department of justice becomes a mere arbiter of the lexicon of injustice.

Ask yourself if justice can be divided. Can justice be truthfully isolated in a field of mental objects? Can these objects be separated from the whole and independently operate in a way that isn’t moved by the whole? If your answer is no, then you have landed upon the beginning of your self-inquiry process. If objects cannot independently operate in a way that isn’t moved by the whole, this includes what you think of as your self. If you are the whole, what is this wholeness? How does the separate self exist as a movement of this wholeness?

In the culture of separation, justice takes at least two, and most times three, in order for it to come into existence. In Non-separation, justice takes only one, and when remembered, less than one. True justice is “before one” – once an object enters the picture, separation and comparison begin negating justice. Once two objects enter the picture, there is a need for rules, a need for safety. Once three objects enter the field, there can be a judge for who’s breaking the rules, who’s betraying the protection and safety of the rules – and making the offensive object pay for their betrayal in what is considered equal measure. From Non-separation, this battle for justice is obsolete – it’s just a vague imagining of justice symbolized by a battle of separation that fuzzily intuits Non-separation, being too distracted to reverse the direction of its gaze. From Non-separation, there is a knowing that justice is never served in our society by a “department of justice.”

Take a second and feel the gust of wind that you and everything perceived as outside of yourself lives in and as. Notice that this gust of wind encapsulates all departments, nullifying all departments. Notice that this gust encapsulates all concepts of justice, nullifying all justice. Notice that there is no fraction of wind within the wind that is real – let your mind wrap around what a fraction of this wind is down to the microscopic. Is it still wind, even with these particulars? Or is it something else due to the fragmentation? Can this fragment exist without the wind and vice versa? Is this fragment autonomous? If the totality of the gust is justice, how can the fragment of wind decide what is injustice? Contemplate how I define Non-separation – the impersonal existence of being that includes the personal. Focus on how the impersonal lives the personal – how a neutral gust of wind lives that which is incapable of neutrality. Notice how separative justice is incapable of neutrality – as it always favors the assumption of separation.

MR-B: It is often asked that, without rules, how do we keep society intact and not become totally unruly? How do we not devolve into chaos because people would know that anything goes? It is thought that, without justice, anybody would be able to get away with anything.

DOJ: Separative laws are put in place by separate selves who project separation creating the need to control the behaviors and activities of the separated. They know the separate self can’t be trusted to be lived as an aligned expression of Non-separation – and, thus, are lived into a response that reveals this belief. Because the self that is believed in is limited, it can only be further limited unless the violent assumption of separation is addressed. Even what appears to be a lessening of limitation on a separate self is the furthering of this same limitation. It is not remembered that the only natural law available in the culture of separation is the law of self-inquiry that locates the illusion of separative justice. This does not mean merely reversing a world of many laws to one absent of law – this is not what I’m pointing to. What I’m pointing to is remembering your true nature so that laws of separation and justice are completely forgotten or seem juvenile when viewed as a reflection of the impersonal.

Devolving into chaos would either force society to inquire into the source of chaos or it would do as it has always done – manifest a suffering society that re-populates around a revised story of separation layered over the original story of a separate self. For instance, look at the two world wars. Separative chaos ensued as a byproduct of the belief in separation, and then upon the final surrender, there was merely a re-ordering of stories between “winners” and “losers.” The reason for the pain that led to these atrocities was never asked at the depth it needed to be to remember Non-separation and the suffering of the separate self. So this reorganization just translated the chaos of a conceptual-murderous combination of war into a re-defined conceptual war. The established new world order after World War II was just a new accepted story of separation – the acceptance of new departments of protection for separate selves that divided the haves and the have nots.

Departments. Laws. Justice. Can you see how the divisions spawn one another and then try to compensate for the conceptual separation found in one another? It’s just like the life of a perpetual liar who must continue to make up new stories in order to cover for the lies already told. It’s all one big facade that has forgotten the source of the facade. Can you see how we’ve swallowed these layers of division to justify our personal behavior and experience? As we’ve moved further and further into a story-world that hides the assumption of a separate self, our belief in justice has become a tighter and tighter dream – one that drives the nail of separation further into our minds and the dead wood that is our culture.

So what is justice? Justice is the invitation to remember Non-separation by all parties involved in the search for, and accepted repercussions of, separative justice. It’s an invitation to both embrace and negate fairness and reciprocity. It’s the revealing that separative living will never bring justice. It’s understanding that the division that leads to justice leaves traces of disgust between an imagined plaintiff, defendant and judge – which is just an unknown disgust for your true self, a personal disgust that leaves justice in the culture of separation inoculated with a residual contempt.

True justice is being lived as the invitation to Non-separation, seeing through the justice of redemption and disgust espoused by the culture of separation. Being lived as this invitation is what I call Applied Awakening.

MR-B: The Vera Institute of Justice reported in 2015 that jails throughout the United States have become warehouses for the poor, the mentally ill and those suffering from addiction as such individuals lack the financial means or mental capacity to post bail. Can you say a little about this claim and what the DOJ is doing to confront the problem?

DOJ: First I would say separation if left unquestioned, moves toward greater separation – and the further you get from your true being, the more blatant or extreme the pointers to Non-separation become. Connect that last statement to your example of American incarceration. The further a culture moves away from its true nature, the further it moves into the violence that is the belief in a separate self. As with the individual, the deeper a group goes down the tunnel of separation, the further the culture moves into harsher forms of accepted violence. This accepted violence is how we are able to lock people in cages and see it as an act of justice. We further separate those who have been separated the most – and see this as a service to humanity. But the question nobody asks is “is this a service to the incarcerated’s birthright of Non-separation?” Nobody asks if it is a service to humanity to keep people who have been broken the most by separation locked up both inside and outside the separate self by a culture whose assumption of separation is its modus operandi.

The wealthy, privileged and powerful don’t see (and don’t care to see) the problem that begins at the foundation of their beingness. As long as there are safety and protection for their personal carnival of separative delusion to continue, they feel entitled to ignore living in denial of their still all too painful dream, a dream with fits and starts of appetite awash in the personal fantasy of separation.

With this kind of confusion surrounding who we are as reflections of consciousness, it inevitably leads to a confusion around rehabilitation of those who are seen to violate the laws of the culture of separation. This goes back to the misunderstanding of the non-autonomous nature of behavior, the false sense of self-authorship. Rehabilitation programs are known to be more cost effective than incarceration. Yet the DOJ, in collaboration with other relevant departments in the United States government, continues to rely heavily on incarceration. As long as the majority view is embedded in, and therefore intent on punishing, separate selves and their autonomous actions in a pre-given external world, incarceration will continue to be the gold standard of correctional philosophy.

To confront this problem, all we can do is make an invitation to Non-separation – the rest is not up to us. Nothing is individually up to us. Trying to change the system within the culture of separation just leads to another expression of separation. The best we can do in today’s world is more humane conditions inside of our prisons. And, possibly, better “re-education” programs to get so-called criminals on the acceptable conveyor belt of the culture of separation and its definition of a quality life. How do we find our way out of this mess? Well, from the assumption of a separate self, we don’t. When those not incarcerated need the exact same rehabilitation as those already in our prison system, there is only one solution – an invitation to remember the pre-existing unity of who and what we truly are.

MR-B: If all prisoners are counted (including juvenile, territorial, ICE, Indian country, and military), then the US has around 24.7% of the world’s 9.8 million prisoners (while having only 4.4% of the global population.)  In The New Yorker article titled The Caging of America, it is claimed that: “Overall, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.”  In total, 6,899,000 adults are under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail, or prison) – about 2.8% of adults (1 in 35) in the U.S. resident population.  These are a few statistics about what many people call “the prison industrial complex.”  How does the United States have so many people who are considered criminal?

DOJ: It has been lost on humanity that the separate self can never be criminal. It is lived as it will be lived through the lens of its mental programming aligned or misaligned with its true being. If humanity could remember what lives life as we know it, the story of criminality would be seen for what it is – an absurdity. On the other hand, the separate self in a separate world is always criminal, always enacting the only sin of humanity – separation. As you’ve pointed out in your question, calling America “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” when we have the highest percentage of unfreedom in the world, is just another example of the truth of Non-separation screaming at us with absurdities. Our entire culture and the resulting system is all based on an absurdity – we’re just a collection of criminals chained to a violent mentor who encourages us to readily live the fiction of autonomous behavior. And by doing so, we create criminals rather than taking the time to discover these criminals are aspects of the self that can be further invited into alignment with Non-separation. This invitation is the foundation for becoming the home of the brave. Being brave is questioning the self, being strong enough to dismantle the illusion we are living under – something America, to this point, is not brave enough to do.

Understanding what I am telling you fundamentally changes the feelings behind imprisonment. Imprisonment for autonomous action, again, is an absurdity. Notice how the punishment never matches the crime because the real crime is unseen. The belief behind what the action is (and the reaction to this action) are both steeped in ignorance. The American version of the Gulag Archipelago has happened for the exact same reason as the Russian version – an ignorance of the separate self. We struggle with these kinds of perfect tragedies – one’s that can only be healed by seeing the perfection that is living the tragedy.

MR-B: How would enforcing the law change if all correction officers were being lived as invitations to Non-separation?

DOJ: This is where we get into Applied Awakening. Once the impersonal is remembered, one is lived as a natural invitation to Non-separation. So the nature of law enforcement would move from one that protects separation to one that invites every life that it touches into a realization of one’s true being. Enforcement officers would become our teachers – they would teach the court of public opinion to accept the self as part of a more fundamental movement. They would practice a form of total acceptance that would put communities at greater ease – giving them a broader space to play out their journeys. They would teach us how we are all prisoners and how the key to our cells is lost without self-inquiry. It’s the kind of justice we are all waiting for.

MR-B: One of the responsibilities of the DOJ is to review the conduct of local law enforcement officers. Why do you think there are so many civilian shootings by police officers, especially in predominantly black communities?

DOJ: I’ll keep beating the same drum – it’s separation. On both sides of the coin. It is the lack of realization that nothing is ever happening outside of you. When a black child is shot, we are all shot as a single movement. We have all taken aim and shot a child as a single pre-existing unity. This is not me just trying to sound politically correct. It’s not just a poetic expression, a cliche. It’s common sense. A common sense that is asking us: “How long will we go about attempting to solve separation with separation? How long will be lived in this world without true justice?”

No department of justice can ever decide this. It is up to us, and a lot of grace, as an entire culture to profoundly open to new questions, to prepare the landscape for a new solution to arrive – which, we will find, is a solution that has been with us all along.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.

An Interview with the Kremlin’s Internet Research Agency

The Internet Research Agency (IRA) also known as Glavset and in Russian Internet slang as the “Trolls from Olgino” or “kremlebots,” is a Russian company, based in Saint Petersburg, engaged in online influence operations on behalf of Russian business and political interests.

Michael Richardson-Borne: In the United States, your organization, the Internet Research Agency, is called a “Russian Troll Farm.” Could you take a second to describe trolling and how you go about performing it?

Internet Research Agency: We wouldn’t call what we’re doing trolling – so I’d rather not further connect us with the concept by describing how it works. Trolling has a pejorative sense and insinuates that we’re stalking a target or targets to incite trouble for trouble’s sake with malevolent intent. The reason the US media describes us this way is because its reporters and anchors don’t know who they are beyond the separate self and that what they’re doing, due to this lack of knowledge, is spreading lies of separation in the name of “accurate reporting” or as an act lived as thinly veiled corruption and political brinksmanship. If anything, your media is the troll – trolling the American people daily with biased stories of separation, a type of psychological bait that keeps your population divided and distracted enough to continue the vehement fight for what the separate self thinks defines it. Your nightly news represents civil war between the original story and the outgrowth of stories of the separate self – which is obvious propaganda to the initiated. It’s a propaganda created and delivered by separate selves who unknowingly spread the illusion of separation – separate selves that have the blind audacity to diagnose partisan politics as an unavoidable low-grade fever when, due to a misalignment with truth, it’s an indication of a mass cancer infecting the entire nation.

Rather than trolling, what we’d prefer to describe is how our commitment to what we call Non-separation lives inside our organization – and to use the United States as a living example of how our understanding is applied. We define Non-separation as “the impersonal existence of being that includes the personal.” What this means is that the story of the separate self, what we refer to as “the personal,” is actually an impersonal experience that is personalized by an attachment to a concept in the mind. Our work is an invitation to question the violence of this separative attachment and to recognize the nature of the impersonal – which is Non-separation.

So, in essence, what we are doing is simple – we are merely mirroring what is already the condition of your country back to your people, mirroring the violence of your separative culture, your culture of separation. We take the wounded heart of your nation, the shadow aspects of your collective psyche, and hold them up right in front of your face. We show this to you by pouring your own gasoline on a fire that is already slashing and burning from sea to shining sea. By amping up division to the point of absurdity, we provide the opportunity to recognize your own reflection, to recognize how participation makes you an accomplice in this recipe for absurdity, to recognize that it’s possible to question the source of this absurdity and to wonder “how things have come to this.” We invite you to discover how basing your existence on an untrue assumption of separation leaves you spinning (and confused) in the corresponding post-truth world. Asking questions about the confused state of your nation is what we consider the initial turn within.

Because your country is not collectively questioning the separate self, America is rotting from the inside. All sawdust and maggots. The outside is shiny in some places but the internal rot is exposed in others. I take that back. The outside is all visibly rotting too – but whereas the inside is infested with maggots, the outside is a kind of rot that appears to be in robust health, stinking of scents like Chanel No. 5 or Tom Ford that mask the rotting filth of a separate self lost in itself. Of course, this is just how things should be – but it’s still reflective of a nationwide misalignment with your true being.

MR-B: Let’s talk about social media. Your efforts to influence American politics did not end at Facebook and Twitter. A CNN investigation of a Russian-linked account shows your tentacles extended to YouTube, Tumblr, and even Pokémon Go. The US news cycles claim your social media pages and groups are designed to sow discord in US audiences using fake personas and the stolen identities of US persons. Over time, these social media pages become a means to reach millions of people. Can you take me through the process of creating one of your social media posts?

IRA: We’re not sowing discord. The primary assumption of humanity, the belief in a separate self, was sown long ago. So the discord is already there – and this belief in separation means the particulars of your identity, things like taking yourself to be “American,” are offshoots of this discord. What the people of your country do not understand is the roots of Non-separation are always present but not known to exist. It is thought that the whole of life is above ground, just the stalk, leaves, and, maybe, some kind of tropism bending what is thought of as an autonomous body and mind towards the sunlight. But, again, the seed and roots are completely forgotten. The original story of beingness and its impersonal nature are completely forgotten. This gap in memory creates the behavior, culture, and system of discord where the strings of a “discordian” were present from the beginning. Our agency simply plucks the strings to see if anyone can recognize the out of tune music that causes the people of your nation to dance off beat.

Since social media was founded with the discord of the separate self filtering its inception, there is no way for it to manifest anything other than discord. A tulip bulb does not manifest a rose. And, in this case, a tulip bulb doesn’t even manifest a tulip. Why? First, because social media isn’t social in the way the culture of separation believes. Just like in the physical world, the stories of two separate autonomous individuals can never meet. Two stories cannot separatively interact as they are both activities of Non-separation. Only as reflections of Non-separation do they ever touch – but without a space between the touching. Social is singular, less than singular, not a phenomenon that, to function, requires an arrangement of two or more.

Second, media isn’t media in the way the culture of separation believes – it’s layers of media disconnected from its source. The story of a separate self is the first layer, the stories that are thought to define the story of the separate self are the second layer, and what is perceived as outside of the stories of the separate self is the third layer. Only one of these layers is known in the world of the separate self as the culture of separation thinks of media as once removed from a separate body, an object divorced from an object. But this is a product of a false assumption at the core of your being. From Non-separation, it is known that media is at least twice removed when the belief in a separate self is still intact – at minimum, media is the media of the media.

This leaves social media as a translation of everything that has come before it in the culture of separation, which is how we came to our working definition – “an online collection of separate selves that express the culture of separation in a technologically pixellated or emergent virtual medium.” The only way to change this medium is to shift the separative assumption that supplies the context of its apparent unfolding to one that has brought Non-separation to the fore.

As far as the creation of our content goes, it’s simple. We know the stories the separate self is attached to in your country – so triggering people is child’s play. The “blue states” are attached to one set of false stories. The “red states” are attached to a different set of false stories that oppose the blue ones. Then, the news media is set up to support the maintenance and deepening of this manufactured conflict just short of absurdity – Fox News and Breitbart on one side, CNN and MSNBC on the other.

So all we do is take a hot button issue of separation from one of your media outlets (race, gender, gun control, immigration, etc.) and frame statements leaning one direction or the other. The separate self can’t help but defend its attachments and react with a cheer, a jeer, an argument or an insult – which results in thousands upon thousands of people seeing our posts. This is the way we bring the people of your country face to face. Social media provides people the cover for a cowardly confidence they don’t express in the more PC intersubjective and objective world – and therefore it’s a chance to truthfully engage with who you perceive as an other, a chance to see through an illusion by tiring of the name calling and back and forth that obviously has no terminus if you continue traveling the arc of separation.

MR-B: I’ve heard that now that the US is post-election, you’re concentrating on new American storylines and the underlying political debate. You probably can’t answer this, but I’ll ask anyway. What are you working on right now?

IRA: I can talk about one initiative. Translated from the Russian, it’s called Operation Shallow Heart. Here’s the context in which we’re working –

One – men and women dehumanize one another based on the sexual physiology they arrived with. Two – Pushing out a layer, men and woman dehumanize one another based on how this physiology receives physical contact, or by whom it receives physical contact. Three – men and women dehumanize one another based on their identifications on the spectrum of being man and woman.

Supporting people in realizing what these identifications are, who or what they define, and how these stories are inseparable from what is called physiology is the crux of our action plan. We’re encouraging people on social media to go beyond the definitions of human, sex, and gender to discover what is aware and living each of these concepts as expressions of Non-separation.

MR-B: The US media calls your work “political and electoral interference operations” and “information warfare.” Do you consider what you are doing to be “information warfare?”

IRA: Yes. But not against a country or a political party – it’s against the story of a separate self. Wait, that’s not worded correctly. It’s not “against” the separate self, it’s warfare for the separate self to learn its proper role within consciousness. And that is still not completely clear as there is nothing to fight for or against. War is simply a movement of consciousness that reveals exactly what it is to exactly what it is.

MR-B: Why do you focus your efforts in the realm of politics?

IRA: Politics is the “selling of story” to separate selves that attach to these stories. The power of politics is not in policy but in narrative – politics is a form of marketing and the people of your country are an unwitting focus group, unpaid volunteers who pay money to your politicians to either supply them with or protect their identity stories.

“Underneath” this political action, the separate self is the “selling of story” to itself so that it can remain the owner of its original assumption of separation and the stories this assumption has bought. The power of the separate self is not in real autonomous action or in “individual policy,” what some call “morality,” but in the illusion of a continuous narrative – the separate self is a form of marketing and each person in your country is an unwitting focus group, unpaid volunteers for their own minds.

Our efforts may seem focused on politics, but we are focused on pointing to that which the realm of politics is a reflection of – consciousness itself.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.

An Interview with Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science. He is professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center. He has written three New York Times bestsellers: Physics of the Impossible (2008), Physics of the Future (2011), and The Future of the Mind (2014).

Michael Richardson-Borne: I’ve heard you talk about humanity’s transition from a Type 0 civilization to a Type 1 civilization on the Kardashev Scale – which is a method of measuring the level of technological advancement on our planet. Type 1 is referred to as a “planetary civilization” and is defined as having the capability of using and storing all of the energy that reaches the planet from its parent star.

As we move in the direction of this Kardashev transition, you’re on the record as saying “the danger period is now because we still have the savagery. We still have all the passions. We have all the sectarian fundamentalist ideas circulating around. But we also have nuclear weapons. We have chemical, biological weapons capable of wiping out life on Earth.”

I talk a lot about humanity’s primary assumption of a separate self as the underlying cause of the savagery you mention. Can you speak into this a little bit?

Michio Kaku: Sure. First, let’s use the Kardashev Scale as a backdrop. Measuring the technological advancement of a civilization by the ability to harness energy while ignoring the internal development of its people is an interesting but short-sighted proposition. The separate self refuses to see that technology and weapons are productions of the mind – and that the mind is a reflection of the totality experienced by most people as a curtain that shrouds the full span of consciousness. This is the mental seduction that our civilization has been lived into believing en masse – the false belief that the mind has a body and is an autonomous actor independent of the whole. A dominant worldview of this nature makes getting the mind situated properly of primary importance. But what do I mean by this?

What I mean is the mind is seemingly personal while what is aware of the mind is not. When the mind is not situated properly, mentation is seen as the personal story of an individual rather than an action of the impersonal – which means the personal is masking the impersonal and seen as absolutely real. To observe this is to recognize that savagery, passion, and fundamentalist ideation are aspects of the mind that are pointed to by the existence of chemical and biological weapons in the first place – it’s the misunderstanding of the mind that makes these weapons dangerous or even perceived as necessary. Being open to the possibility I’m speaking of is a first step to the beginning of an inquiry – an inquiry that is able to question the dismissal of the internal as if it has no connection to or impact on technology itself. As if these two domains, the inner and the outer, are separated from one another by a hardened boundary that is easily decipherable and unquestionably true.

Left to its own devices in a vacuum, the mind may achieve the technological advancement of harnessing the full energy of the sun. But the mind is not in a vacuum – there is a perceived relational aspect that requires understanding of the self as part of a built-in survival challenge that will ultimately push humanity off a ledge by using the exact tension we are discussing here at the intersection of technological and spiritual advancement. This is why understanding the nature of relationships, whether it’s with your mind or with what we call “others,” is so drastically urgent. We actually have the opportunity today to locate and enact the understanding of our pre-existing unity in what I see as the calm before the storm. In this calm, it is fairly easy to see that understanding relationship fosters the conditions necessary to grasp that a Type 1 civilization from separation and a Type 1 civilization from realized non-separation are two very different places – even as they are lived into existence by the same source.

But maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s reiterate the question. The question is how do we survive this danger period that has equipped the separate self with weapons of mass destruction? The simple answer is that we must collectively wake up to what you call non-separation and realize that our collective identity is the impersonal existence of being that includes the personal. Surviving the transition to a Type 1 civilization is not solely dependent on energy needs – there is a corresponding internal transition that must happen if we are to make it to what Kardashev called the planetary. What is this transition? Let’s go about pointing to it this way. In the quote you just cited, notice that I used the word “we” a lot. This obviously refers to humanity as a whole, a distinction which is still engaging in the purview of separation. Getting to a place where “we” means something deeper than “humanity” is where the savagery and separative passions have a real chance of being properly understood and extinguished. “We” must amend our assumption of separation and find that the collective heart of humanity is pulsed as One prior to the experiences of the many individual pulses we imagine ourselves to be.

MR-B: That sounds very much like an article I read by Phil Torres on Motherboard where he wrote, “archaic beliefs about how the world ‘ought to be’ are on a collision course with neoteric technologies that could turn the entire planet into one huge graveyard.”

MK: Exactly. And now please allow a physicist to sound like a business-person for a brief second!

Objects of the thinking mind that arrive to awareness in terms of how the world “ought to be” are a marketing ploy of the separate self. Letting the unreal convince us of its advertising is the most successful sales job on the planet. Think about it for a second. How many people do you know that aren’t under the spell of separation? Next to zero is my guess. This leaves global culture as a form of market research that unknowingly studies and reveals the functioning of the separate self – with the chief marketer, your mind, constantly coming up with new stories that keep the illusion of separation firm so that bodies remain in conflict with themselves and others as they imagine themselves to be autonomous entities.

How the world “ought to be” and how the world is are two different occurrences that can actually be experienced simultaneously if you open to the impersonal. There is an experience where the story of the personal is noticed as it’s arising but not validated as “what ought to be” because it is recognized as a manifestation of the impersonal. This is precisely why you say non-separation is the impersonal existence of being that includes the personal. In separation, we spend most of our time tensely trying to drive our lives according to how the world “ought” to look in our eyes – but this is to the detriment of allowing the world to simply be as it is while relaxing as the unfolding.

Here’s what I recommend. I recommend we all learn to ask the question, “How am I being lived as consciousness?” – rather than feigning confidence and pretending control, assuming that we, as separate individuals, are living our neatly divided consciousnesses. From separation, “I ought” has to bow to the master of a pre-defined answer – a split in power that reveals a misunderstanding of what is living you. Seeing what you call non-separation, “I ought and therefore you ought” turns into simply “I ought” – but with the understanding that all is driven by the same pre-existing “ought” that is absent of any sense of rightness or wrongness.

This may sound overly high-browed or even childishly stupid – but if we don’t wake up sooner rather than later, the future looks bleak in a situation taken hostage by the assumption of separation. In a world where “others” exist at every turn, we are always one over-personalized reaction away from mass catastrophe.

MR-B: Switching gears a bit, I was speaking with a colleague earlier today and the conversation turned to anti-aging research. According to the Harvard geneticist George Church, scientists could effectively reverse aging within the next decade or so. This means actually making older people young again, not just stabilizing the healthy physiological state of people in their mid-20s. As Church puts it, the ultimate goal isn’t “about stalling or curing, it’s about reversing.” One possible way of achieving this end involves the new breakthrough gene-editing technology called CRISPR/Cas9. Why do you think all of the focus of anti-aging research is purely on the physical?

MK: I would say identification with the body and misconception of death.

Identification with the body is epidemic – a ubiquitous part of the tribal worldview of separation. This kind of bodily identification is a false assumption of the religious and the secular, the scientific community, as well as the worshippers of diversity and even the spiritual. We must move beyond these tribal tendencies of labeling what we perceive as separate bodies based on family, religion, nation, race, gender, species, etcetera. But the way beyond the tribal isn’t the creation of new categories in a separative attempt at greater inclusiveness. It’s to recognize the more advanced linguistic weaponry that these new categories represent, how violent they are, even in the name of peace. Making egos comfortable by identifying more nuanced versions of them is an act of iterating the culture of separation, not the acceptance of diversity we are pretending it is.

MR-B: Were you going to say something about death?

MK: Who cares about death? It isn’t real. The possibility we’re pointing to is being released into life while the separate self is still present. We are taught to confuse birth as a beginning and death as an ending – when beginning and end are just concepts of the mind. Who were you before you were born that carries over into birth and will live on after what is called death? This is a question infinitely more valuable than giving attention to the collapse of a body.

What difference will anti-aging make if we remain in our mid-twenties physically but plod on attached to separation? The fountain of youth is merely a proper understanding of youth. Eternal youth is knowing that consciousness is all there is.

MR-B: Here’s another quote from the Motherboard article in which you were mentioned. What’s your take on what it says in regards to intelligence and fate?

Homo sapiens are considered the most intelligent species on the planet, where “intelligence” is defined as the mental capacity to attain suitable ends to achieve one’s means. But this could change if scientists successfully create a machine-based general intelligence that exceeds human-level intelligence. As scholars for decades have observed, this would be the most significant event in human history, since it would entail that our collective fate would then depend more on the superintelligence than our own, just as the fate of the mountain gorilla now depends more on human actions than its own. Intelligence confers power, so a greater-than-human-level intelligence would have greater-than-human-level power over the future of our species, and the biosphere more generally.”

MK: Notice the weight put on intelligence when humanity is not even intelligent enough to know itself.

As you would point out, what are all fates dependent upon? Knowing this is the only thing that can possibly change the human world. Anything else, no matter how “futuristic” it seems, is just a translation of separation.

MR-B: By day you are a physicist, a researcher and proponent of string theory. By night you are a philosopher interested in the brain and consciousness studies.

One of the concepts you frequently talk about is “CEO of the brain,” the part of the brain that lights up when a person is asked to think of “the self.” Why is this such an important concept in your study of the mind and consciousness?

MK: I think we would both agree that if one is not paying close attention to their experience as one appears to move through the world, there is a self that very much feels like it is making the decisions that constitute life. The self that seems to be making these decisions is what I call the CEO of the brain.

Basically, the mind convinces itself there is a CEO, and, of course, hires itself for the position! And we actually act shocked or offended when we witness Donald Trump-like behavior and wonder where it comes from!

But this leads back to your first question where I spoke about the mind as seemingly personal while what is aware of the mind is not. Ask yourself who or what is aware of the CEO – any importance this concept has is as a pointer to get the CEO of the brain situated properly so that it will meet the true CEO. Mind you, the CEO of the brain will kick and scream a bit. But, ultimately, you will find it to be like a kitten backed into a corner hissing and showing its claws. The fear is real and the threatening is cute – but the charade of controlling anything is over.

MR-B: Your old definition of consciousness was “the number of feedback loops required to create a model of your position in space in relation to other organisms and in relation to time.” What’s your opinion of this definition today?

MK: It’s a pretty damn good definition for separation and the experience of the separate self!

MR-B: I couldn’t agree more. So, here’s my final question – it comes from another quote I found of yours in an article published by Popular Mechanics.

“One day, if we have Brain 2.0, the ultimate goal of President Obama’s Brain Initiative, a map of all the neuro-networks of the brain will be a map that contains your memory. It will contain your dreams and desires, everything, on a disk. You can put that disk on a laser beam and shoot that laser beam into outer space. That would be the cheapest way to explore the universe, at the speed of light. No booster rockets, no oxygen to worry about, no weightlessness. You are sending pure consciousness into outer space.”

After taking a closer look, how would you now assess this comment?

MK: Pure consciousness can’t be “sent” anywhere. Saying that you are going to send pure consciousness into outer space is the same as saying you are going to send outer space into outer space. From non-separation, it just doesn’t compute.

Besides, sending consciousness to look at itself is unnecessary. Sending the downloaded mind to explore the universe may be interesting – but it will tell us nothing about “pure consciousness.” For that, you must locate who you truly are – which also has the advantage of not requiring booster rockets, laser beams, extra oxygen, or the challenges of weightlessness. All you have to do is sit right where you are and look within.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.

An Interview with Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos is an American businesswoman, philanthropist, politician, and activist who is the 11th and current United States Secretary of Education.

Michael Richardson-Borne: In today’s system, there is an obvious blurring of the lines when it comes to “school choice,” charter schools, and vouchers. At least two decades have been spent pushing taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools to the center of the Republican Party’s education agenda. These vouchers are siphoning money from traditional public schools towards a diverse array of unregulated for-profit and private providers.

As this is done, school quality takes a back seat to marketing, because the only measure of success has become a school’s ability to attract students who bring public dollars with them. Schools now rely on ridiculous marketing ploys, advertising “themes” and practices designed to draw students. This analysis comes as Congress continues to promote the expansion of school choice at the national level. The administration has proposed a $1.4 billion investment toward school choice programs for the coming fiscal year, including $168 million in spending for charter schools and $250 million in school vouchers for families.

How do you describe the current state of education in America?

Betsy DeVos: The same as I’d describe all American institutions – lost in the separate self.

If I take a step forward and look at experience from the assumption of separation, I’d say that the current state of education in America is one that prepares students for a world that either no longer exists, or that will cease to exist by the time they reach high school or college graduation.

Understand that as I say this, I am talking about how the rate of perceived change in the ego-driven world impacts students who are trained to think of themselves as separate autonomous entities in a culture that makes the separate self its most relied upon national treasure. Belief in the separate self is the Unseen American Dogma, a religion for both conservatives and liberals, republicans and democrats, the religious and the secular. This invisible dogma has the shape-shifting ability to take on an infinite number of contextual faces – and, in our day and age, as the time between these shifting faces shortens and accelerates, change in basic education ultimately can’t keep up with the pace of movement of content or context. This leaves the United States needing a new kind of education that is prepared for this rapid rate of perceived change (even though it’s really changeless change, which I’ll get to momentarily). But as the speed of separation continues to rush ahead, what few are seeing is that the answer to these separative needs does not live in the experience of a separative world. The crucial shift needed in education is one that creates sacred spaces where recognition of a pre-existing unity with what is living this newfound speed is encouraged to occur. When this unity with speed is discovered, life slows down to a virtual halt, even as the world of content and context continues to rush by as surface aspects of consciousness.

By completely ignoring our real being and buying in to the illusion of the Unseen American Dogma, the experience of separation I am pointing to links education almost exclusively with the external decoration of a separate self – facts, skills, careers, and spending power coupled with a small amount of lip service to the value of socialization win the day. The world the separate self is sprinting towards is a future where AI automation, universal basic income, new iterations or disruption of the internet, faster travel, and even the singularity is quickly redefining the meaning of life for the self-authoring individual. Whether the average American realizes what is going on or not, they definitely feel the inherent stress of it – and are straining to keep up as the system of separation is being stretched like a bridge about to buckle. And while all of this stretching goes on, we collectively continue to ignore what is aware of and living the separate self – we continue to look out at what we think of as forward progress without seeing our common anchor, the true face of non-separation. The result of this ignorance is a waning national education system, clueless of our pre-existing unity, that is basically a place where adult children train our children on how to remain children for the rest of their lives.

From the perspective of non-separation, the current state of our education system is even more backward, especially if the intention is to offer a context that will right the separative cultural and systemic design of America. From separation, as you are still playing the dark world-game of the separate self, education can be seen as a train that is on the rails, just driving in the wrong direction. From non-separation, it’s a completely different story. Education is a train that is totally off the rails, and not only that, it’s attempting to fly without wings. So today’s education system, again, is preparing students for a world that does not exist – and is going about this by preparing “educated” individuals that do not exist. Until we put the realization of Non-separation at the forefront of education or at least begin to place a priority on internal development, a backwater vision of separation will rule America’s schools, and hence our future, indefinitely.

So what we have educationally is a state-sponsored, year by year, indoctrination into the dogma of the separate self – which remains consistent from kindergarten all the way up to the highest levels of graduate education. Americans are poster children for the propaganda of separation – blinded by an education and culture that teaches us how to create and maintain separative lives of suffering as consumer-egos.

The charades you mention that our government acts out in regards to “school selection,” charter schools, and vouchers, as they siphon tax dollars out of public schools and into private, for-profit, ventures, have absolutely nothing to do with solving any problem, much less the root problem of the American education system – the assumption of a separate self. Until we make the realization of non-separation an earnest, nationwide priority, our country will continue on exactly as it has since its inception – as a tribal ideology that seduces people away from looking into their true nature.

MR-B: Your husband, Dick DeVos, has been quoted as saying: “As we look at many communities in our country, the church has been displaced by the public school as the center for activity…[I]t is certainly our hope that more and more churches will get more and more active and engaged in education.”

In your view, what role does religion, specifically Christianity, need to play in American education today?

BD: Both secular and sacred institutions falsify themselves by assuming a separate self – so, Christianity’s role is the same as every other concept the mind attaches to and uses to limit the truth of consciousness. It’s not the religious or the secular that is the problem – all objects, mental or physical, are pointers to the same realization. The real challenge is locating the separate self and how it is situated within the space that shows up as consciousness of a world. When the separate self is the reference point for all locations, falsification is an inevitable condition of life. When the separate self is an arising without location, then the conditions for truth have arisen and one is ripe to remember the life of non-separation. Another way of saying this is that falsification is the view that has forgotten it is an aspect of the infinite, instead having confidence that the separate self is a totality within the throes of the finite. Non-separation, on the other hand, recognizes how the finite is a mere reflection being lived by the infinite. Our education system would do well to begin from this simple recognition.

But when it comes specifically to Christianity, if I was to give an answer, I would say that it somewhat depends on what you mean by the term. If you are talking about a fixed set of commandments that has the world figured out for you, or Jesus as a God, or even Jesus as an iconic human, then I would say those interpretations have very little role to play in an emerging education system. If, however, you are talking about the search for the “Christ within,” then I think there is much more room for this kind of exploration in regards to its usefulness to a new kind of education – as this is a path that can lead beyond the separate self to the realization of non-separation, which I consider the goal of contemporary education.

Like Krishnamurti pointed out, being well-adjusted to a sick society that assumes the truth of a separate self is no measure of health. And, unfortunately, the way Christian education exists in today’s world has more to do with dogma and the fortification of separation than with taking to heart the importance of Christ’s realization of non-separation and how we can become a nation with the same realization as Christ as our root assumption. Placing and maintaining non-separation as the crown jewel of our education system is the only outcome I see as worthy of our time and attention. I don’t believe a traditional Christian education can be an environment for the development of a healthy ego, much less the transcendence of it.

MR-B: Can you see that there is a difference between a culture focused on developing a healthy ego in order to transcend it versus a culture whose very fabric is the realization of non-separation?

BD: Sure. It’s really the crux of my work right now. It’s something that I ponder a lot because it seems that the two cultures would require very different versions of what I call non-separation education (NSE). The first version is a “pointing to” method that is still working itself free from the separate self, the latter version is a “pointing from” method that models true non-separation.

The “pointing to” method is one where the separate self is believed to be on an arc of development – where contextual weigh stations can be delineated that mark one’s progress towards the conversation of non-separation. In this kind of step-wise model, there is a specific kind of telos of the separate self that unfolds in stages as it grows towards the impersonal. The teachers in this system are all trained to arrive at a pre-determined minimal level of development on the arc of separation – but are still very much engaged in their own personal journeys towards the realization of Non-separation. The best they can do as teachers is to point to a possibility and to teach a philosophical approach that could, one day, lead to a living culture of non-separation.

Non-separation education at this level focuses on personal growth – it’s a preparation of the separate self for a healthy future re-situating, a preparatory school before one reaches the advanced stages and teachers of non-separation. But this “pointing to” method still describes an egoic culture based on the assumption of a separate self, a culture that doesn’t get us very far down the road from our current tribal existence. In this kind of culture, non-separation is just a goal, a potential gradual occurrence – not the lived experience of the culture at large and the soil from which all institutions arise.

The “pointing from” method is one where the separate self has already been re-situated into its proper place, and the arc of its development is viewed as an intellectual phenomenon that was always part of its own illusion. In an educational system founded on this knowledge, the assumption of a separate self has been outgrown and non-separation is a demonstrated experience for all graduates and especially by those graduates who go on to become teachers. From non-separation, early education is about getting to the root of human existence. Since educators are able to teach from the lived experience of non-separation, there is no need for a philosophical approach. That said, as students advance in age, content can be easily added as the natural outgrowth of interests unfold. Even though non-separation education is not about the accumulation of facts or even about learning how to “do” in human society – it is understood that human beings will be lived into the world as a revelation of their root identity.

But, I’ll stop here. To get into too many details would be a mistake of my imagination as non-separation education is an alive process that will be lived in the moment when the moment presents itself. The main thing to remember here is that rudimentary NSE has non-separation as a goal – whereas true NSE is non-separation as a lived experience.

MR-B: Can you go into just a little more detail about what you mean by non-separation education (NSE)?

BD: Non-separation education is a form of mentorship by which students align with the process of pure receptivity.

After a student is aligned with pure receptivity, education happens as a natural movement of life itself. Student success is defined as having an understanding of the thrust of human existence (which I call non-separation) before allowing a “career” to become a tributary that flows from this realization.

MR-B: Thanks for the time.

BD: You’re welcome.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.

An Interview with Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon is an American political aide, and former media executive and film producer, who is currently Assistant to the President and White House Chief Strategist in the Trump administration.

Michael Richardson-Borne: You have worked closely with computer scientist and hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer for a long time and have been associated with such organizations as Media Research Center, SCL Group, and Cambridge Analytica. These organizations specialize in “election management strategies” and “messaging and information operations”– in no uncertain terms, it’s data collection and mass propaganda that works on people’s emotions. For you, what is the end game of your participation in Big Data and psychological operations?

Steve Bannon: In specific regards to Big Data, it’s a case of using the tools available to “know thy enemy.” In today’s world, this doesn’t mean the populace at large as a collection of monitored individuals, or any sort of national opposition or evil figurehead. The enemy we are learning is the behavior and actions of the separate self as they are lived as consumer egos.

This is a different kind of enemy than humanity has ever had to comprehend. We are such a visual and story-based people– but this enemy isn’t one that can be seen or media-demonized in the separative world to fuel a simple “us versus them” scenario. Winning this battle isn’t one where the majority can sit back and enjoy a reality television script of “getting the bad guys.” Everybody must, I repeat, must show up and fully participate as the enemy is the real-time filter through which the world is living us– which means the enemy has to be perceived as living on the inside of every individual. The obsessive focus on the external world and the mind’s stories has to be postponed. It’s this lengthened pause that can give space for questions to arise and for truth to be recognized so that inner and outer can finally fall away.

It’s difficult to find the point of view that is inherently rather than strategically non-violent. Where there are no opponents outside of ourselves to better. Where the entire existence is within consciousness rather than outside of our bodies. Where separation is seen as a product of a false assumption that is living in the basement of our psychological makeup. But this is where my end game exists– championing a civilization based on the principles of non-separation to bring humanity, as a collective, back in alignment with our natural state.

If there’s anything we’ve proven over the past couple of centuries, it’s the fact that you can’t nuke people into the realization of non-separation. Not even that level of destruction could bring the separate self into submission. You can’t push, argue, or, most times, even love people to see beyond the self. The ego would rather die than to see itself for what it is– as seeing itself clearly would be the death of its archaic dominance.

So, what we’re initiating is an online environment where the conditions are created around the separate self for a process to begin. We are learning more about the tendencies of the separate self than we’ve ever known at any other time in history. We think of it as collecting information on who we falsely think we are– but with the intention of using it to break the illusion of separation. We believe there is a way to personalize the break from the personal.

MR-B: How?

SB: In essence, we are collecting information about who you are not, right? My goal is to wake people up to this truth by utilizing the already existing infrastructure– media production, big data, tracking technologies, social media etc. to create a “filter bubble” around people that initiates and guides the process of realizing non-separation. I don’t know how I can say it any more clearly.

MR-B: As stated before, one of your interests is modeling mass populations and then changing their beliefs and behaviors. We’ve seen you do this with Breitbart as the central node of a successful propaganda operation. It seems like your next move is to spread Breitbart across Europe and eventually the world. Do you have any other projects you are currently working on?

SB: Breitbart started out as an experiment in how media plays on emotions and other aspects of the separate self. We became directly involved in the cultural and political wars playing out within the United States and made our target the neutralization of left-wing media bias. To enact this, we learned how to do things like dominate Google’s search algorithm and how to personalize ads on multiple social media sites. And there’s also the data collection we just briefly discussed. We now have detailed profiles on over 220 million Americans. So, we feel Breitbart has been a successful experiment in terms of coaching the separate self to embrace a particular ideology.

But, frankly, this seems like child’s play compared to the ultimate goal which is using the same technologies to support people in their realization of non-separation. Shifting the views of the separate self is quite different than transcending it. The latest project I am working on has to do with this more sophisticated goal. How do we move our work from molding a separate self to annihilating it? How do we move from believing in stories to understanding the essence of story? How do we move from manufacturing truth for the mind to revealing the truth of identity in a way that people will be able to recognize immediately when it’s laid bare right in front of them?

The biggest obstacle to getting this project off the ground was training a group of computer scientists with the needed skill-sets to actually see the enemy. To see an enemy that wasn’t there. So, we spent a long time at the beginning taking a team of programmers through a rigorous self-inquiry process until they could collectively see non-separation. Out of 50 coders, 3 made it through the program.

MR-B: Sorry to interrupt. But this is an important point. Can you talk about why you took the time to do this?

SB: The reason we did this was due to our awareness of what is called “lock-in.” If you don’t know what this is, it’s a term used to describe when software engineer’s design decisions that fundamentally shape user’s behavior become frozen into place. Just as decisions about the dimensions of railroad tracks determined the size and velocity of trains for decades to come, so choices made about software design now may yield defining, unchangeable rules for generations to come. It’s exactly what has happened to humanity with our attachment to our assumption of a separate self. We are, basically, “locked in” to this design rule, and all of our cultures and institutions reflect this with their separative nature.

So what we concluded was that a software whose goal was to guide the realization of non-separation actually needed to be written, from the start, with this realization. If the opening “rules” were tainted with the belief in the separate self, then we saw this as just another way to continue the arc of separation.

What we’re after is an AI that can write its own code from the foundational realization of non-separation. Think Siri or Viv, but written from a different opening “assumptionless assumption.” Can we win the race to become the go-to platform for the glut of mass consumer personal assistant products hitting the market? Can these be used to wake people up in a way that doesn’t feel like brain-washing or state-sponsored dogma? Only time will tell.

MR-B: Controlling the national and global narrative requires organization and money. But, as you know, if you use enough AI bots and people, cleverly linking them together, any narrative can become legitimate. You can create what people think of as “the truth.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that the new war is the information war and has begun full-scale information warfare on the United States. How do you see average people protecting themselves from this kind of warfare? It’s one thing when the battlefield is a geographical location. It’s another thing completely when the battlefields are social media sites.

SB: There are the obvious answers of cyber security companies and people just being informed about what is going on every time they log in to one of their social media accounts or surf the net. But this sort of security is just a band-aid for the separate self in the world of the separate. These solutions are still linked to the assumption of separation and continue the rumblings of our tribal drama.

The real answer that we’re proposing is to get people completely off the arc of egoic development. When this happens, one’s relationship with the mind and emotions transforms. The arc of egoic development becomes a small blip on your radar and your susceptibility to influence via emotionally charged, what Putin calls “weaponized,” media falls to nearly zero. But non-separation is the only way to get off the arc. It’s the only way to exit and integrate the drama of the separative world. It’s the only way to win the war of information that will implement a new context from which media must be delivered.

By reframing the experience of identity, the notion of personal information and concern with saving face drops to the wayside. It literally becomes a non-issue in the sense of worrying about personal reputation and protecting what was formerly thought of as your self authored habits. Non-separation will reveal to us that the self-authoring individual was a hoax we lived under for centuries. With this, the tone around what is personal will change immediately– from paranoia and fear to a peaceful knowingness.

MR-B: As Trump’s top advisor, why do you focus so much on framing the mainstream media as an enemy of the people?

SB: The slant of media is meant to inform people, not free them, to convince people, not invite them, to manipulate people, not empower them. All our contemporary media outlets exist as vehicles of separation.

So when Mr. Trump says the news is fake, he’s correct, just not in the way he’s thinking. It’s all lies because the foundational assumption of the media is the belief in the separate self. This creates an environment where scandalous stories about “individuals” are coveted and facts, which are merely extractions from the whole, are the highest form of truth. So the media, as it currently exists, is very much an enemy of the people. They are front and center in the continuation of our tribal world– thinking they are doing us a favor while playing their part in the grand facade that is our existence. Just another fragment reinforcing our separative world.

I’ll leave your audience with a question. What happens to the media after humanity understands that things can be no other way than the way they are right now? How does the context, delivery, and feeling-tone of media change when the self-authoring individual is a thing of the past?

MR-B: One of your favorite books is the French novel, The Camp of Saints, a story about how massive immigration from the third world leads to the destruction of Western Civilization. This seems to coincide with the administration’s attempt at new immigration policies. Why are you such a proponent for stricter border control?

SB: Look, we see that the real problem is the fact that there are human beings thought of as “American people” and “Russian people” and “Mexican people” etc. We see the problem is that the psychic infrastructure is present where humans can be thought of as “immigrants” and “refugees.”

I know you see this as well. To be an immigrant, a national concept must be attached to a person (another concept) and attached to an assumption of separation (another concept)– and none of these concepts are real. It’s this kind of separative thinking that must be overcome. But how do we do this? Do we stretch people until the separate self breaks off inside a greater awareness, or do we put separation so close to the separate self that it integrates? Do we use fission or fusion? Or both? We really don’t know. That’s what we’re working with right now while understanding that it’s not us making the decisions. We’re just trying to till the soil and have it as fertile as possible if this process of non-separation wants to take root.

MR-B: Another one of your favorite books that seems to guide your thinking is The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. A core concept of The Fourth Turning is that social history proceeds through four recurring cycles, of which the most relevant and important to our current circumstances is the “Winter” or “Crisis” cycle where the total set of changes (economic, cultural, social, political, military, technological, etc.) produced during the preceding three cycles “come to a head” and must be resolved. The old system can no longer be maintained. It’s probably what Yeats meant in his poem The Second Coming when he said: “the center cannot hold.” How do you see us getting from here to there?

SB: Another systemic translation of separation won’t get us anywhere new. And we may not even have time for this techno-eco-paradise that still believes in the separate self to take shape and play itself out into its own winter of the obsolete. When it comes to non-separation, we could be playing a game of now or never. There just isn’t another stepping stone I can surmise that has a solid footing of separation under it. People are going to have to level up and realize truths about identity that have never been the meshwork of society before.

MR-B: Or what?

SB: Or else.

So, from here to there? People first have to understand what “here” is not. This will lead to the realization of “here.” Which will lead to an alive process rooted in non-separation.

Making predictions on what this will look like is separative thinking. It’s believing in a concept and driving it towards an end goal that is the very definition of attachment. What I’m suggesting is that people can realize their true natures and join a “world process” that is effortlessly lived into existence. It sounds utopian in a sense. But once the truth of non-separation is realized, it’s all pretty simple from there. The answers to our challenges will come because the field of separation has been cleared for them to arise. The key is to make the pre-existing unity of all people and concepts the basis of society. With this, there is no opponent. And all knots that exist in our current world will actually untie themselves.

*This is a fictional interview written by Michael Richardson-Borne as a teaching of Non-separation.