Just this past week our very own Richard Grossinger was the guest for Diet Soap’s podcast interview. For the uninitiated, Diet Soap is a Portland, OR based ‘zine that “seeks anti-capitalist fiction, gonzo and personal nonfiction, and a way out.” They have issued four paper versions in addition to their online copy and have recently begun the podcast series. Richard was the guest for their 27th episode, which can be streamed in its entirety here. The show is hosted by Doug Lain, who spoke with Richard about everything from his books Waiting for the Martian Express and The Bardo of Waking Life to President Obama, Adolph Hitler, commodity fetishism, and the hidden longings and capacities of the soul.
In the interview, Richard explains that Martian Express was originally entitled “A Critical Look at the New Age” – not an unsympathetic, but certainly a critical look – an attempt to pick through the mythologies of the movement and find what is truly transformational. Having been introduced to what is considered avant-garde literature (and specifically the Black Mountain Poets) and the New Age movement simultaneously, Richard sees the magical, alchemical, and personal transformational elements of the New Age as grounded in something like Charles Olson‘s Causal Mythology, which has a critical element to it, and the poetic intelligence to this is much more hard-edged and tough-minded than its psycho-spiritual context. This perspective is at odds with a New Age counter-culture whose material arose in its own context and is thus much more boundary-less. For Richard, these two movements were always indistinguishable, and some 20 years and a dozen or more books after Martian Express, his The Bardo of Waking Life is a much more refined and precise attempt to establish these differences and champion the truly transformational.
In his new and upcoming book, 2013: Raising the Earth to the Next Vibration, Richard asserts that “by individuals changing consciousness they can change their own universes and their relationships” to the social structure:
… to make structural changes in things through very mysterious and indirect ways. … [There] is an unknown kind of collective unconscious or global transformation or Gaia or whatever you want to call it – impulse – which is driving the whole thing and making use of this sort of extant society and people’s internal workings, and kind of changing perceptions, inner phenomenologies and meanings, and changing them in such a way that almost unintentionally people change society and our collective waves pass through. And so I think you need the individual work to be able to internalize that, deepen it and give it – you know, hook it up to the larger cultural changes. I don’t think you can support the larger social structures simply structurally and through social action.
Rather than being repelled by pop culture, for instance, Richard has always tried to find in it something esoteric and meaningful. Everything is part of the seed consciousness – the fundamental consciousness responsible for all derivative forms of awareness – of humanity, and it is better, to take an extreme, to see the likes of “Hitler as a profound initiate, a magician and a shaman who completely blew it.” This line of reasoning, which Richard invokes from a book entitled The Angel of Auschwitz, follows that Hitler’s “destructive fascist demonic behavior was a failed magic which was meant actually to serve humanity and to work toward the creation of something that was sacred and humanist and that he blew it.” To turn someone like Hitler or Bush “into only serving an evil function, you lose the possibility of growth and transformation there.”
The title of his forthcoming book is itself a suggestion of positivity; while everyone talks about the impending calamities of 2012, Richard is steering the conversation to a new age that can be altered by consciousness, rather than being merely accepted according to mysticism and mythology. 2013: Raising the Earth to a New Vibration will be available in April.
CLICK HERE to listen to the entire Diet Soap interview with Richard Grossinger.