Richard Tarnas guest (Part 2) – 6 of 7 On the Road of “2012 NOW – Empowering the Transformation”
Living Dialogues
Duncan Campbell

Episode 97 - Richard Tarnas guest (Part 2) – 6 of 7 On the Road of “2012 NOW – Empowering the Transformation”

Episode Description:

“For human evolution to continue, the conversation must deepen.” – Margaret Mead

This is the sixth in a seven-part series of “Pilgrimage Dialogues” forming part of and leading up to a Conference Gathering in Fort Collins, Colorado on May 29-30, 2009, entitled “2012 NOW – Empowering the Transformation”, for which I am serving as the Master of Ceremonies and opening presenter. Past Living Dialogues in this series have included dialogues with myself and Robert Sitler, John Major Jenkins, Stanislav Grof, Richard Tarnas, and with Sobonfu Some’. The final Living Dialogue in the series will be with Christine Page.

Details and registration information available at

Duncan Campbell: 2012 Now: Empowering The Transformation, a uniquely innovative, interactive and affordable gathering in this time of global uncertainty, will take place Friday night and all day Saturday May 29 and 30 at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in Fort Collins, Colorado. Beyond just information, to practical tools for change and direct experience of participating in the ongoing transformation of our times. Now is the time and the opportunity to synchronize consciousness with the evolutionary pulse of the cosmos. Join participants bringing stories from around the planet as we explore, co-create, and experience together the tranformative dynamics necessary for a successful transit from now through the year 2012 and beyond. More information available on the Conference website, See you there.

The meaning of the Greek word “Apocalypse” is “lifting the veil” or “revelation”. These seven “pilgrimage dialogues” in advance of the Gathering – contemporary 21st century versions of the medieval Canterbury Tales – are examples of such revelatory “shared stories” on this Road of 2012 NOW.

Here is a summary dialogue excerpt describing the Conference between myself and Sobonfu Some’, who will conduct the concluding ritual of celebration:

Sobonfu Some’: Well I really believe that initiation is a necessity, you know, much like, you know, 2012 is saying “here is a big initiation”. It, initiation, is a necessity because we have to initiate in order to be able to move forward, to be able to tap into our essence, into our gift and so on. And, you know, in my African tradition the first initiation that we all go through is that of being born, because we are coming from being full of spirit to taking on this human tool that we call the body. And, you know, also, we’ll go through many, many initiations. And I think what we’re talking about in the Conference is that we’re going to get to the place where we are basically going to celebrate being able to give birth to our self and to whatever new vision is going to come out of this Conference Gathering -- so that we can together welcome each other and celebrate together. And I think that is the icing on the cake, you know, that is awaiting us.

Duncan Campbell: I think absolutely that’s the case, and myself as Master of Ceremonies and yourself as the person who will be leading us in the concluding celebratory ritual are both involved in helping the entire gathering to activate, all of us together, a kind of transformational space -- including not only the presenters who will be articulating on the stage, but all of the participants with their deep listening who are evoking the insights that are articulated coming out of the group energy field. And this opportunity for expression will also be something we can all look forward to at the extended lunch time on Saturday, when there’s going to be a large and deliberate space for people in very small groups to share stories, deep stories, with each other and evoke and integrate their experience. This is very essential to a true initiation -- that is not just a one way transmission of information, but is actually a transformative initiation -- where together we can evoke an experience that is both intimate and personal in our sense of shift, as well as a kind of collective amplification that allows all of us to celebrate, as Barack Obama suggested in his Inaugural Address, “our common humanity”. And that experience has a great carry over effect into our everyday lives and relationships.

Sobonfu Some’: Now how amazing is that, because, you know, a lot of people go into conferences and never really get to put in their voice; and, you know, in my Dagara people’s African tradition, when you go anywhere we are always trying to get our voice in, you know, to express yourself with and to others, because it’s like we are all making this huge cauldron and the stories that we bring, everything we share of our self, is part of what is going to make whatever we’re cooking really delicious. And for people to be able to have this opportunity as a gift, not only to themselves but a gift to the community, I really believe is amazing.

Duncan Campbell: That’s beautifully put. I love the image that you give here of together we’re collectively creating a crucible or a great cauldron, not only a crucible for the water of life, but a great cauldron in which to cook and use the fire of life to transform our experience, because these are transformative elements, all of the elements are: Eaarth is nurturing, Wind is empowering, a Fire literally is transforming, and Water is liquid and fluid and moves between the solid state of ice to the evaporated state of the clouds. And so every one of the elements will be involved here. We will be having time outdoors; we will be celebrating the natural world in a beautiful natural environment in Fort Collins, Colorado. And I think that these “pilgrimage dialogues” are pointing to that transformation as they are evolving here. In my first dialogue, with Robert Sitler, he emphasized the joy and the wisdom that is accessible in everyday life that he himself has experienced in the Mayan culture and which he shares so beautifully. Next has been John Major Jenkins, whose great research into the galactic alignment and embedding it and situating it in connection to the primordial tradition, sometimes called the perennial philosophy, has shown how we can bring all of this that 2012 is pointing to into the Now; that this “2012 phenomenon” is not an event that we’re waiting for, that we’re going to have to be acted upon at some time in the future, but it is an atmosphere of opportunity that is present right here, right now…And that energy field is present right now in helping germinate and evoke from you and I what we’re saying and inviting people to; so that in a sense you and I are acting here as inviters and embodiments of the kind of dialogue and transformation that we can anticipate will be happening among us all and amplified at that particular moment on May 29 and May 30 of the Gathering. But that’s only a moment in a continuum of many moments before and after, that we’re all already uncovering and witnessing being unveiled in people all over the world.

Sobonfu Some’: Yes, and, you know, as you speak and you share that it makes me think about today being this energy that renews itself time and again, which gets stronger every time, as the energy is being shared every time. So as people today listen to this dialogue, and share it with other people, it is renewed and it gets stronger and so on. That’s the image that came to me.

Duncan Campbell: Well, I have to say, Sobonfu, it’s been just a wonderful opportunity here for myself and our other deep listeners, and yourself for that matter, for us to have this chance and opportunity to engage in this dialogue together, and I have always so appreciated the great joy and cheerfulness that you embody and bring to any time that I’ve ever had the pleasure and privilege to encounter you. And so I’m very much looking forward to this conference, even as I’m deeply appreciating the present moment here, because the gift I think of this very dialogue is not only to inspire that more such moments can happen between us, but in one’s own life everyday, today for instance, and the moments that follow.

Sobonfu Some’: Yes, and I’m very grateful for you, for the gift of yourself to the world really and for having such a strong and powerful vision that you can not only share with the world, but that you can get other people be a part of the dance of that vision as well. And I think that is, that is a gift that not everybody has, and I thank you for holding that for all of us.

Duncan Campbell: Well thank you very much Sobonfu, and I want to thank our co-producers Larraine Tennison and John Major Jenkins and everyone involved with this project, all the presenters that are part of this pilgrimage series that is now leading us, as it were, like milestones toward the Conference Gathering on May 29 and 30. If people are wanting further information, they can go to And we really extend an extraordinarily warm and intimate invitation for your continued participation. If you cannot physically put yourself in that Fort Collins environment, you’re very much invited to participate through your deep listening to not only these dialogues, but to the continuation of Living Dialogues after that, and also to honor the fact that really it is true -- and we’re experiencing it with great gratitude for our listenership and their Website Contact emails from around the world -- that as the world becomes smaller, “yes, we can” and do experience in greater depth and greater joy our own common humanity.

We invite you and look forward to seeing you at the conference on May 29 and 30, 2009 in the natural beauty of Fort Collins, Colorado, entitled “2012 NOW - Empowering the Transformation”. For further information and registration you can go to

“We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth…. and we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself....For the world has changed, and we must change with it…why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration…" -- Barack Obama Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009

And as we say on Living Dialogues:

“Dialogue is the Language of Evolutionary Transformation”™.

Contact me if you like at Visit my blog at ”. (For more, including information on the Engaged Elder Wisdom Dialogue Series on my website, click on Episode Detail to the left above and go to Transcript section.)

Among other heartful visionary conversations you will find of particular interest on these themes are my Dialogues on this site with Robert Sitler, John Major Jenkins, Sobonfu Some, Stanislav Grof, John O’Donohue, Michael Meade, Eckhart Tolle, Ted Sorensen, Frances Moore Lappe, Angeles Arrien, Matthew Fox, David Mendell, Deborah Tannen, Gangaji, Michael Dowd, Duane Elgin, and Joseph Ellis, among others [click on their name(s) in green on right hand column of the Living Dialogues Home Page on this site].

After you listen to this Dialogue, I invite you to both explore and make possible further interesting material on Living Dialogues by taking less than 5 minutes to click on and fill out the Listener Survey. My thanks and appreciation for your participation.



“Duncan Campbell, I heard about your podcast a few months ago, and have been deeply listening to all the dialogues with your fantastic friends/guests. Your words, ideas, and wisdom are truly inspirational. You have evoked a new appetite for knowledge in me that I hope to share with a starving younger generation. Thank you for doing what you do, and creating a unique space, void of boundaries and classification. A breath of fresh air! Much love and respect.” – Amit Kapadiya

In furtherance of creating and maintaining the planetary dialogues now required in the 21st century, we featured a special series of dialogues with myself and other elders in the weeks leading up to and including the 2008 Olympics hosted by China and the U.S. 2008 elections. Those dialogues can be listened to separately on this site or as gathered as a series on my website under the collective title “Engaged Elder Wisdom Dialogues”. They address various specific political aspects of our planetary crisis, with its dangers and opportunities for creating and sustaining a visionary and evolutionary shift. (We remember that the Chinese character for “crisis” is often described as meaning both “danger” when visioned from a fear perspective, and “opportunity” when visioned from a wisdom perspective.)

In all my Living Dialogues from their inception I talk in various ways about the call to generate dialogues across generational, ethnic, gender, religious, wealth, and national boundaries -- building bridges of understanding and wisdom in the cooperative spirit and reaching out -- required by our 21st century realities, and the essential roles that we all are called to play in our evolution for it to take place.

This is the time for renewed dialogue, for visionary and inspiring discourse producing practical and innovative ways of living and sharing together, to engage the deep spirit and spirituality of our own elder wisdom and youthful inspiration, and in so doing to experience and exemplify that “Dialogue is the Language of Evolutionary Transformation”™.

And that is what we all do, in our mutual roles as host, deep listeners, and guests, when we gather together here from all parts of the globe in Living Dialogues.


The best way to reach me is through my website: Many thanks again for your attentive deep listening in helping co-create this program.

All the best, Duncan.

P.S. As a way of further acknowledging and appreciating your part in these dialogues, and since I cannot personally answer all of them, I have begun to publish from time to time in these pages some of the appreciations received from you.

Duncan Campbell: From time immemorial, beginning with indigenous counsels and ancient wisdom traditions, through the work of Western visionaries such as Plato, Galileo, and quantum physicist David Bohm, mutually participatory dialogue has been seen as the key to evolving and transforming consciousness, evoking a flow of meaning, a dia - flow of logos - meaning, beyond what any one individual can bring through alone, so join us now as together with you, the active deep listener, we evoke and engage in Living Dialogues.

Duncan Campbell: Welcome to Living Dialogues. I’m your host Duncan Campbell, and this is Part two of my dialogue with Richard Tarnas, author of The Passion of the Western Mind and Cosmos and Psyche, in our dialogue entitled On The Road of 2012 Now. We begin by repeating the last six minutes of Part One to flow into this continuity of Part Two. Welcome once again.

Richard Tarnas: And I think Obama represents a collective shift in which we’re perhaps a little more ready than we were before to see the more complex reality, rather than to see there, any particular problem as having a simple black versus white or yes or no solution, and it’s, involves much more of a intricate deep thoughtful patient response to the complexity of life and synthesizing the opposite.

So if I could then link that up with your subsequent point about where we are today and how a different view of the cosmos could be helpful to us right now, it, in both cases the challenge seems to be for this powerful human spirit that has taken the form in modernity of a kind of Promethean solar hero rebel that is breaking forth into new horizons of freedom and knowledge and self-realization, but has done so at a cost of both cutting off history, tradition, the past, the wisdom of other cultures of the indigenous ancestors, and has also done so at the cost of cutting off the recognition of the intelligence and soul of the whole, that is of nature and the earth and the cosmos, and instead presumed these qualities as being only human, as if only human beings, exclusively human beings had the properties of intelligent purposeful awareness and capacity for emotion and meaning and spirit.  And by arrogating these things to the human self and saying that the universe is nothing but disenchanted atoms and genes and black holes that are accidentally, has somehow brought forth this oddity of human consciousness. We’ve created both a spiritual and psychological crisis for the modern self, isolated in its prison of estrangement, but we’ve also brought forth a very real biological ecological global crisis because the tyranny of the separated self, empowered by this incredibly powerful technology, has been wreaking havoc to its own self-destructive consequence.

So I think there’s a real common, there’s really a common thread here that connects up the, the generational historical cultural challenges that we went through 40 years ago and are again now engaging perhaps with greater wisdom and experience, and the larger challenge of modernity and post-modernity, which is to come into a more participatory reciprocal engagement, with the larger whole of life, rather than to presume our separate superiority, which is a kind of recipe for hubris and disaster.

Duncan Campbell: And that’s really a theme that I want to touch on as we continue with our dialogue, is the notion that you put forth of participatory epistemology, a fancy and yet very elegant term for how we know, if epistemology is the study of how we know, the great discovery of re-enchanting the universe and reopening to awakening our indigenous knowledge -- which is that the entire cosmos is infused with a soulfulness, an Anima Mundi, we might say, of the cosmos, that everything is infused with consciousness, with spirit, and being able to actually experience that and not to experience the world only reductively through the rational mind, we open up a whole huge vista here in our experience that means we’re in dialogue with a living universe at all times and we can be receptive to the revelations of that universe -- rather than trying to impose the grid or super-impose the grid of an ideology, of a religion, of a particular worldview that becomes either/or and exclusive, instead of paradoxical and holding the space for a multitude of different perspectives with the confidence that out of that holding of that space, a logos or a coherence, a higher resolution, appreciating the integrity of all the differences will emerge.

And here Barack Obama, unique among all the candidates, in a sense brought back to life the motto of the United States, which is E pluribus unum: “Out of the many, we are one” -- which had not been paid attention to for generations in our political discourse. He also was the only candidate to say, “Yes we can, together we can”, and that “I am here as an expression of you”, rather than the adolescent hero model – “I will fight for you” --adopted by both Hillary Clinton and John McCain based on polling that they thought was going to work. They didn’t realize that the adolescent mind was ready to make a leap forward, and their polling showed them that if they were quote, “a fighter” and they said, “I will fight for you”, to the populace already accustomed to being disempowered and not having access to shaping their own lives, well in that case I’d better have a champion go to bat for me.

But actually it went way beyond that. The great paradigm shift was that when Barack Obama said, “Together we can, you know, white people, brown people, yellow people, red people, black people, all of us together, able, disabled, gay, straight, we together can shape our world and shape our planet in a kind of harmonious vision that is our highest aspiration”, and people responded to that.  So he became in a sense the deep elder within the political dialogue, far wiser and full of a great equanimity and hope at the same time, very different than the other candidates who were older and quote, “more experienced” than he.

And so it’s in that spirit that we’re approaching this 2012 conference, that if we engage the world, not only with our mind, not only trying to dominate or control it or protect ourselves from unexpected contingencies, but if we engage with our heart and our soul as well, we become open to its revelations, and so we know more as a result and we can actually dance with this energy of transformation, rather than being frozen in fear at the fact that things are changing with the rapidity that they’re changing.

And so one of the great images of the Fall election was John McCain quote, “interrupting” his campaign to sort of have photo opportunities of rushing around the Capitol in Washington, D.C., hither and yon, but with nothing to say about our economic crisis when he sat in the meeting in which President Bush had called all the candidates together and other people in the Cabinet to talk about the economy, so he gave the impression of charging about without directionality or wisdom.  And that’s very much the kind of response that one can expect from the mind or the consciousness when it is fearful and uncertain of how to approach transformation.

And so since that’s really the topic at the heart of our conference is transformation rather than information, we’re basically coming together with a certain intentionality and understanding that at this point in history each and every participant in a gathering is an essential part of the energy field of consciousness that is going to be awakened there. No longer are we coming to these conferences to hear the charismatic CEO or the professor or the teacher or the great orator tell us what to do. We’re coming together to evoke that authentic person in ourselves, like a Barack Obama, from obscurity, into the present, and to evoke from him an articulation of our highest aspirations, rather than to be there like goslings being fed from the Moses on the mountain traditional paradigm.

Richard Tarnas: But to pool the wisdom of the whole there.

Duncan Campbell: Exactly. And this is going to be one of the real breakthroughs I think in this conference because right from the beginning we will instruct all of ourselves that we are all there together to create and participate in a field of energy that will be revelatory, and this is the deep meaning of the word ‘apocalypse’. It’s not destruction, it’s not the end times in the sense of termination. ‘Apocalypse’ literally means ‘lifting the veil’ or ‘revelation’.  So even as the imperfections and the non-sustainable actions of our financial system managers and of our energy system managers and of our health care system managers are being revealed to us, this is step one of the revelation, the revelation of what is not sustainable; but step two is the revelation together that we can evoke of how to go forward.

And so that will be the focus of our intentionality and the understanding and trust that if we come together like that, we will together, just as Obama said, create a way forward, it will be revealed to us in our Gathering, and that really fits, I think, perfectly that we engage the world, not as one dimensional political activists, and then there are other people that meditate in another reality, but really like Drew Dellinger and yourself and myself and the participants in this conference where we’re going to take on big issues like 2012 and what it might mean as a gift from the Mayan culture to our present situation. But we’re going to take it on in a multidimensional way, with its political implications, its cultural implications, its implications for our energy system, for our personal spiritual infrastructure, as well as our outer infrastructure, how we get our food, how we get our energy and so on. So as we come to the end of this dialogue, perhaps Rick you would like to just say what you’re anticipating here and why you might be looking forward to participating in this gathering.

Richard Tarnas: You mentioned the word ‘revelation’, revelatory, epiphanic, epiphany kinds of experiences; all these need to be part of the larger whole of human knowledge, and we lose a crucial part of the, we lose the possibility of engaging the larger mystery of life if we do not permit this larger participation by all the human faculties in the active knowledge, and then that active knowledge becomes more of a, an existential engagement with life that is more capable of relationally evoking and understanding of the whole, rather than an objectifying imposition of our demands, our needs to exploit and take the resources of the whole just for our self-enhancement. In a way, what I’ve suggested is in a parable I gave in Cosmos and Psyche…

Duncan Campbell: Yes, exactly.

Richard Tarnas: thought experiment, is this, you might be thinking of it too, this parable of the two suitors…

Duncan Campbell: I was just about to invite you to tell that because I think it expresses perfectly in parable form just what you’re saying."

For full transcript, please contact Duncan Campbell