The Winds of Change - Physical Immortality and Society
An interview with James Strole, Bernadeane and Charles Paul Brown for "Forever Alive" magazine, 1993.
We have a new President. Are you encouraged by his different values?
What is the connection between a belief about death and the political system?
Many people who want to see a change in the world are turning to God. What is your view?
Is it realistic to just tell people, "Give your passion," when they are oppressed or persecuted?
What makes your togetherness different?
Is there no positive value in an ethnic identity?
Do you want to participate actively in the political arena?
Are you satisfied that our democratic system is as good as it should be?
You mentioned socialized medicine. What do you feel about the whole Soviet experiment?
Some say the poor create their own poverty. What do you say?
Isn't there a case for simple generosity?
To be specific, there is severe poverty in Russia today. How should we respond?
Charles Paul Brown, Bemadeane and James Russell Strole have spoken to millions throughout the world on television, in public events and through their book, Together Forever: An Invitation to Physical Immortality.
Their constant theme is the immeasurable value of each human individual; their intention is to stimulate an intensity of aliveness that will dissolve the genetic programs of aging, sickness and death. For them, physical immortality is neither a science nor a religion. It is rather a passionate connectedness between all human beings, so deep and so consistent that we support each other to live without limitation.
Making their vision a reality involves constant engagement with the real world. In this interview, they speak freely about some of the hottest issues of the day, such as racism, poverty, AIDS and the aftermath of Soviet communism. Living outside the context of death and separation, Charles, Bernadeane and James contribute here a unique perspective on the challenges of our time.
Q: We have a new President of the United States, with what seem to be very different values from his predecessor's. Are you encouraged by this turn of events?
Chuck: I sense that President Clinton has a feeling for all humankind, not just the people here in the States. I am excited at the prospect of change that he and Vice-President Gore will bring with this administration - they are in harmony with what we feel. I am very thankful for what Clinton feels about welfare systems, how they are the means to an end, to train that person, to give that person form and help them to become creative. I am thrilled with Al Gore and his passion about ecology. I am so excited to see this combination of individuals in office. They are going to complement each other tremendously - they are both very strong individuals and I see it as a partnership. There is a togetherness.
But it cannot all rest on Clinton's shoulders. He has to have people in the country and around the world responding to his ideas. He must have Congress responding, he must have a Cabinet that supports his desire for change.
Jim: We cannot sit back and say, "Now we have got this great administration in and it is just going to change everything like Camelot." This was a big mistake in the '60's.
Chuck: I desire for Clinton to remain open and pliable and that he doesn't become hardened by seeing the different power structures that exist, to the point where he loses heart and sells out.
If he can get a real cooperation going and there is an end of bigotry, an end of monopolies, an end of greed, the end of all these things in the power structures, then he can accomplish one hell of a lot during his time in office.
Jim: What excites me is that Clinton shows a sincere interest in getting all different kinds of people involved. He understands that it takes a grasp of the big picture to make things work. That is what Chuck and Bernie and I are about: we are not another way of life that lays down laws to abide by or another lifestyle for people to choose. When we are taiking about being deathless and creating an immortal living of one another, we are that which makes it possible for people to have all kinds of ways of life.
Any time you prejudice yourself against any walk of life, whether religiously or sexually, you immediately set yourself up for resistance and conflict and it poisons the system as a whole.
Bernie: The only thing that is going to bring the changes we want is a conscience among all people for the value of human life. This is connected directly to what Chuck and Jim and I are bringing forth with physical immortality. Without this conscience, the corporate structures are always going to rule the people, and the politicians are always going to have their hands tied, to some extent.
Clinton and Gore are a good team. As Chuck said, they are both strong-and this is going to have a greater effect. But I Still don't think they are enough, because of the corporate structures.
Jim: Not only because of that, but because of the deep programming, within our whole society, that death is inevitable. This programming feeds the whole system. Until the covenant with death is broken, there is never going to be a change of priorities within the corporations.
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Q: What is the connection between a belief about death and the political system?
Bernie: The people feed the structures because in reality they are working for the structures. Without the people the system as such cannot function.
Jim: A very clear example is the life insurance industry - which is enormous in this country and throughout the world. Insurance companies operate mostly on fear and the belief that inevitably you are going to die. I am not saying that insurance isn't necessary, or that the industry needs to collapse, but right now it is programmed from a death consciousness, and this trickles down through the corporate structures. Insurance needs to take on a new form - a living insurance.
Or look at the defense Systems. We put more money into defense so everybody can have their jobs in the weapons factories. if you walked in and said, "Hey, let's stop war," the people in that factory might well agree, because in their heart they would like that to happen. But then they will think twice, because they could lose their jobs. The majority may not want war, but they keep supplying the weapons because it puts money in their pocket and food on their table.
Chuck: What I have noticed is that we don't feel intimidated in speaking about the corporate structures, but we are still reticent to speak about the religious structures. They indoctrinate people with the belief in a life after death, and with the idea that we are merely strangers and pilgrims on this earth. As long as you have the hierarchies of the spiritual or invisible domains, you will have hierarchy and discrimination here on the planet - because you have the consciousness of lower and higher realms. I know that many people in the new administration belong to many different religions - and have done wonderful things. But they still propagate the afterlife, and so long as the afterlife is propagated, no matter how great the passion is, I fear there will be a loss of steam, a deenergizing of the initial aliveness.
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Q: Many people who want to see a change in the world are turning to God: for example, many black people. What is your view?
Bernie: People draw from God because that is the only source that they feel intimate with. They don't feel a closeness with each other. People can't yet come together globally and really bond together. The result is that they feel they cannot do anything about what's happening on the planet - and they are right. One person alone, one person as a lone identity cannot bring about anything, so most people just lose heart. It is going to take masses of people bonding together to bring about change in this world. And this is what we are after, this is why we are calling for a greater togetherness than has ever been before. I would say that a lot of people feel the way we do, but they do not know we are here.
Jim: When we express about religion, we need to make clear that we are not doubting people's relationship with God as such. We are rather touching a sleep that is there around this relationship with God. God's fulfillment is to love thy neighbor as thyself and to give that very love of God to one another - which is what human beings have not yet done.
The blacks were originally brought over here on slave ships, and some of them were already touched by missionaries before they arrived. For them, the only solace they had was Jesus. He was someone to turn to in the horror that they went through. The belief in Jesus kept them asleep, gave them an escape into the ethereal world. And they needed it, because there was nothing here for them in the physical. It's like a person who experiences a lot of trauma. There are natural mechanisms in the body that protect you, if you go through something really horrible: you either lose your memory of it or you transcend into a coma. In a sense, I am thankful that the blacks have had that solace, but on the other hand some have gone into a deep hypnotic state. The religious platform that many of them are using now is the very platform that actually helped to keep them in slavery.
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Q: Your focus is on people building a passion for one another regardless of the circumstances. But is it realistic to just tell people, "Give your passion," when they are oppressed or persecuted?
Jim: No, it is not realistic to say just love, or just give passion. It is necessary sometimes to fight. But there is a fight against the system that operates with the same prejudices as the system itself. For example, if you tum against people who are wealthy and you develop a hatred, then before you know it this hatred becomes a violence in your own body. Human beings have been fighting with weapons and killing each other for thousands of years and they have covered very little ground. Our fight, if you can call it that, is different. It is a biological, cellular fight that is much deeper and I feel is much more penetrating. This is the fight against our worst enemy, the most destructive prejudice on this planet - the prejudice against being totally alive. The greatest "fight" we can have right now is in stimulating and inspiring one another to be totally alive with each other.
When you become totally alive all prejudice leaves you. Prejudice is propagated from a place of not being alive. You don't feel good about yourself so you find someone else that you don't feel good about - it may be their color, their education, or they have too much money, or they don't have enough money - so you are always unhappy. This is what the three of us are out to change.
The bomb that we can drop, without having to destroy people, is the atomic explosion in the cells and atoms of our bodies, in one another and with one another. That is the togetherness that Bernie was speeking about.
Bernie: I know that we cannot fight the system, there is no way. And I do believe in a passion without fight. From that passion comes an intensity, there comes a caring, there comes a distinction that you don't have to fight as such. But I want to say something about people who have been treated in a very disrespectful way. The blacks especially have been hurt deeply in the past decades, but all human beings really have had some kind of effect in their lives that they could struggle with, or fight to get out of. If we can reach the people who are struggling, and give them a new way, if we can get to the blacks, if we can get to the people who have been raped, if we can get to the people who are poor, if we can get to the people who are struggling with illness, if we can really get through to them, then there is a relief that comes to them that ends the struggle because there is somebody here with them.
It isn't enough trying to placate them and say, "Oh just love and be passionate in your situations." They are so alone. That is why we, together with others, want to be heard in the world, saying that they are not alone, that they are felt and that they have someone, human beings right here on this planet, who feel their lives and are moving to make a difference with them. All people need this, no matter what color they are or what has happened to them in their lives.
Chuck: For the person who doesn't have bread on the table, we can express to them about a new life, but they will merely see us as a religion. Something in them rages, like in the Los Angeles riots. It was seething, ready to explode because of the brutality and the discrimination that has gone on. But what happens is that many people wind up destroying their own properties out of not knowing what else to do. Then the hardship is even worse.
What we need to do is to bring an awareness to those individuals of selfworth so that they experience who they are from a deep cellular level. I want when they look for a job and there is racial discrimination, or any kind of discrimination, that they are drawing from a whole different awareness, knowing who they are no matter who refuses them at the moment. Because when they are walking in integrity they will find that person who says, "Yes, you are who I want." I don't know how long it will take. These are areas where I could feel a despair - but we have to keep going. Like the blacks with Martin Luther King.
It is the same way with Bernie and Jim and me. People still keep dying and even people who are with us die, but we have to keep going because we are pushing that thing back no matter what. I am very much for a nonviolent movement, the way Martin Luther King expressed it, and yet never shrinking back but to make the sound, just as they did on the march from Selma to Montgomery. That's why it wouldn't surprise me if someday, as we become large enough, we may walk the streets and carry banners of who and what we are. Not because we want to impose anything on anyone, but out of the joy of being alive.
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Q: What makes your togetherness different from the togetherness of, for example, the Civil rights campaigners?
Chuck: Their togetherness comes about for a cause. It isn't true cellular integration yet to where we realize organically that we are our brother's keeper, not from a mental standpoint but rather because we are of the same biological likeness and we need and must have one another. Mostly when people assemble themselves they are there for the cause. There has never yet been a total assembling of people together simply in celebration of one another. We can be bonded for a cause and still be strangers. I want it to be that none of us are strangers on this planet, that no matter where we go we recognize that we are flesh of each other's flesh and bone of each other's bone. That is the only way to a lasting change on this planet.
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Q: Is there no positive value in an ethnic identity?
Chuck: I think the greatest feeling we should have is that we are all human beings, and that we are part of one race, the human race. That is where our pride should come from.
Jim: The President for example should represent every human being in this country whether a Republican or a Democrat. He has that responsibility. That is what Chuck and Bernie and I are about - without discrimination representing an aliveness for every human being on this planet. And we are already doing this. Here in Scottsdale, we have got all different cultures involved with us already: black, Spanish, Israelis, Germans. People have come together and are really holding each other sacred, and now it is for us to spread across the world this way. We have already done the so-called impossible. We have already created what Chuck has talked about, the cellular connection with one another, not just a connection in an idea or philosophy.
That is why we even say, it's not immortality that matters, it's you and me. But then the togetherness becomes so wonderful that we want to be together forever. Most people on this planet are not motivated to really live, are not motivated to stay here. I want them to feel such a togetherness, and have such an experience of what human beings can be to each other, that they want to be alive. Hallelujah!
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Q: Do you want to participate actively in the political arena?
Chuck: I see us supporting and moving with political leaders who are really humanitarian, who have the vision that we can create a quality of life here on this planet.
Bernie: We ourselves do not care to be political figures. But I would like to see us more involved in the political world: I think we have something great to offer them, and there could be a really wonderful interaction together. I see how many politicians nowadays age so fast from being in office - the pressures are terrible.
They need the nourishment that we can offer. Clinton needs such a nourishment and we are sending that to him, but it would be tremendous to have personal contact with him and give to him directly on a cellular level. I don't want to see Clinton die in office, either from an assassin or from the stress.
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Q: Are you satisfied that our democratic system is as good as it should be?
Jim: There ought to be more Systems for all the people. For example, the fact that only the wealthy can afford the best in medical care is absolutely terrible. I don't think we should be afraid to be more people oriented - even if this means so-called "socialized medicine." Take the AIDS epidemic. There should already have been a lot more energy poured into it. But because of the prejudice and because of the concept of inevitable death, we have not invested the resources that might, by this time, have produced a total solution.
Chuck: There was a sluggishness to do anything about AIDS because there was a feeling about "altering the lifestyle." And they were projecting this strictly on the gay community. The amazing thing was that AIDS was spreading even faster in the heterosexual community. Much valuable time was lost and I believe lives have been lost, because of a judgment of promiscuity that an administration put upon a particular group of people. So now we have in Colorado the passing of a law stating that there is to be no protection for the gays and lesbians in Colorado. The result is more violence against these people. I am so thankful that Oregon didn't do the same thing.
But I want to add this: until we come to grips with ending death we are going to see one disease after another. We can think we have solved it through the medical science but there is no end to it. We have got to come to grips with our nemesis, our age-old nemesis, which is death itself.
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Q: You mentioned socialized medicine. What do you feel about the whole Soviet experiment? was it just an "evil empire," or was there value in communism?
Chuck: There was nothing wrong with the feeling of socialism, but it was still dealing with humanity in a limited world, in other words in a world of death and dying. From that perspective, socialism could never work, because as long as there is discrimination against the human body, oneness is impossible. Oneness - the sense of feeling of one world, one humanity - has to come from a deep feeling from within, on the cellular level. That's what the Soviet communists did not have. Their idea of oneness came from an intellectual place and they tried to impose it by legislation. It was still an external thing rather than an internal movement of passion and caring for human life. But you cannot legislate oneness. That is why it was doomed to fail.
This doesn't mean there were no good principles in socialism. There are wonderful principles in capitalism, too, like each individual taking the initiative and not being bound. This is the American dream, which was so much a part of the Perot campaign during the election. The American dream is the individual being able to rise up in the midst of any circumstance. I never want to stifle this kind of creativity, but I think we have become too independent.
Self-made men are not really self-made. It's a myth. Anybody who has got any place in this country had people who were supportive all along the line. We all need one another, and we need to progress to a greater togetherness. When the individual begins to move from a social conscience, as well as creativity, then we really have something going. We have the best of socialism and the best of capitalism - and that is what I hope forms out of all the chaos that has happened recently.
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Q: Some say the poor create their own poverty, so we should leave them to sort it out for themselves. What do you say?
Bernie: I think we have to show the poverty-stricken how to come out from that way of life, which has been going on forever. It is a genetic strand. Poverty is an intelligence that lies within the flesh and it has been passed down from one generation to another. I feel there is a way out - but there is something that needs to be quickened within the bodies of the poor.
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Q: Isn't there a case for simple generosity?
Bernie: Yes, there is.
Jim: Right - there is an old saying that you can teach a man to fish and he will never be withouL Well, I say there is nothing wrong with giving him a few fish too!
I see that poverty is genetic in the way Bernie has spoken of. These people are in a groove, and they may need someone else to shake them out of it. But this is not the only element that keeps them there. There is also a whole system of greed, of people who think they can't get enough. This is connected with their death syndrome: they feel they are going to create their immortality in a monument of wealth that they can leave to their heirs. It's the dream of having your name going on after you die. This is how death propogates greed.
Poverty also relates to a strong religious element. In the scriptures it is said that, "The poor you will always have with you." That statement was for that time and place - I don't buy it anymore. Poverty does not have to be with us always. No matter how much money I have, it is my responsibility that every human being on this planet has the opportunity and the real chance to be prosperous.
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Q: To be specific, there is severe poverty in Russia today. How should we respond?
Chuck: I think it is terrible for us to leave them stranded and stripped. I think that the United States should have helped them balance their economic situation immediately. After the way we built up arms to resist them for years, why not use that money to help bring them into a strong economic position? Maybe underneath there is a desire to make them pay.
Jim: It was so beautiful a shift happening, especially the end of the nuclear threat. That's what I saw: it wasn't communism falling, it was the whole wall between us and Russia. And we should have rushed in there. The same thing has gone on in Germany. Look how happy the people were at first when the Berlin Wall came down. What a wonderful coming together. But now the refugees flooding in to look for a better life are being persecuted, and even killed. The fear is that there is not enough for everyone - and this panic is a very good opportunity for hate to develop.
When are we going to see that as long as there is any human being on this planet that is starving or unhappy, and we have the opportunity to shift that and we don't do it, then we are ourselves imposing the threat? It is not the countries that we need to build or the structures. It is human beings that we need to build and support. As long as we fail to do that, none of us are really safe.
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