I delivered a 20 min talk last Saturday night at the Thomas Paine Hotel in his birthplace, Thetford, to a party of Paine fans who celebrate his birth each year. It wasn’t recorded so I am posting the laptop rehearsal.
NOTE to the video
Thomas Paine, it you didn’t know, was one of the most important characters of the last three centuries, initiating the concept of the nation state, a body of people who governed themselves instead of being ruled by a king or other ruler. As we know, it didn’t quite work out as he pictured it in Common Sense, the book which turned a tax-motivated protest into the American War of Independence, selling half a million copies in the first six months of 1776. He turned the tide of the war from defeat to victory later that year, with a pamphlet that began“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
His next momentous book was conceived while building a revolutionary iron bridge in England, from whence he fled the hangman’s noose to Paris, writing his next major work while immersed in the French Revolution.
In my talk I refer to those two other books. The Rights of Man “Man is not the enemy of man, but through the medium of a false system of Government.” – – – “The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security.”
“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church”
He connects these themes: “It has been the scheme of the Christian church, and of all the other invented systems of religion, to hold man in ignorance of the Creator, as it is of Government to hold man in ignorance of his rights.”
Samplers from the interview by Michael Patterson –
…In all of this interrupted personal transformation I came across Gregory Sams’ book, Sun of gOd. I rushed through the first part of the book, impatient to get to Greg’s description of the sun’s scientifically determined attributes. It would be easy to think that, even with no shred of mystical sentiment, a purely rational and scientific assessment of the Sun would fill us with awe and reverence. Here should be the God for atheists. Beyond the Sun, Greg takes the reader on a deeply rational micro and macro adventure to propose that consciousness underpins reality…
I emailed Greg eager to engage him in a conversation. What follows are my questions and comments, and his responses…
Michael Patterson: You seem to be saying that while people don’t want the religious myths as literal renditions of what happened neither do they want to accept the narrative of chance creation with no purpose, no soul, so to speak. What’s in between? Where do they go to get what they need?
Gregory Sams: Today we’ve got just the “all planned in detail by someone like us but a WHOLE lot smarter” option or the “completely accidental” scenario. What about it being self-constructed from the bottom up, with intelligence built into the system? It’s not that preposterous an idea when we recognise that the electromagnetic force pervades all. Since dedicating a chapter to it in the book I have gained a greater appreciation for the quality of the force that manifests in our world as light, in all the vibrations of the electromagnetic spectrum.
from your book “Acceptance (of the idea that consciousness underpins all) opens the door to a veritable Pandora’s box of quackery and hocus-pocus, things that science has “religiously” sought to exclude from its arena. But I am afraid that it is too late. The box is open. Scientists have already discovered spirit and the evidence shouts at them from their own research.”
Michael Patterson: Can you elaborate on the claim that scientists have already discovered spirit? Do they know this, and are denying what they know? Or do they know it, but, because they have ruled out this prospect, are calling it something else?
Gregory Sams: The scientific mind is tightly constrained by a set of religious taboos that have long been in place. During many centuries that the Church maintained a total monopoly on anything to do with “spirit,” any scientist who ventured into that territory risked getting more than their fingers burned. Now they think it is scientifically sound to reject anything not measurable by our existing toolkit.
Now, with our tools becoming ever more sensitive, they are peering into the world of cells and seeing more than five million individual components going about their daily work of eating and excreting and building and repairing and communicating with each other and with other cells. Ever more powerful telescopes and tools allow them to see communities of galaxies and detect the electromagnetic conduits connecting Sun to Earth, exchanging high-energy particles every eight minutes. They study the invisible corona of our Sun and believe it manages many puzzling solar features…(response continues).
Michael Patterson: How did you come to formulate this essentially animistic cosmology? I converted to ‘animism’ after thinking animistic thoughts for many years. Even after decades of involvement the Western Mystery Tradition and Wicca, and with a strong interest in Eastern and ancient Western traditions I stumbled across the word by accident. I think I had come across the idea of universal consciousness before, but when I encountered the idea of animism a penny dropped for me. How did this belief evolve for you?
Gregory Sams: I’ve had that feeling that everything has some smidgen of consciousness for a long as I can remember but think it probably developed in my late teens when I began eating natural and organic foods, having been on a meat-free diet from the age of ten. Being thus better tuned to the world around me made me more connected somehow to organic objects like trees and sesame seeds. As life progressed I noticed connections between our consciousness and so-called inanimate objects, whether lost things, furniture, kitchen implements, office equipment, whatever. We’ve all experienced curious and amusing, frustrating and infuriating encounters with inanimate stuff. I venture to say that our consciousness is some form of electromagnetic field, however that field arises. All stuff, all matter, has some form of electromagnetic field, and is infused with the electromagnetic force that permeates our Universe. Our fields overlap and interact with those of our surroundings and sometimes all the energy needed is enough to aim our eye at a particular moment to reveals something of great value. Being in tune makes a huge difference.
I suppose my Sixties began in 1964 when I heard Bob Dylan singing The Times They Are A-Changin’. At the age of fifteen I had no idea how, but it felt like something was simmering. Within a year I had smoked my first pot, hitched to Morocco and let my hair grow. A vegetarian from ten, I embraced macrobiotics in 1965 after my brother Craig brought news of it back during his last summer break from university. My diet became what I DID eat, instead of what I did NOT.
The hotbed radical campus in America was University of California Berkeley, which is where I went in Oct 1966, as the Summer of Love gestated across the San Francisco Bay. Turned onto acid, tuned into the Universe, and at the end of the year dropped out of a tree (not high, either way), injuring my spine. Don’t think that’s what Tim had in mind.
Return to England on a stretcher in early 1967 and my ‘Summer of Love’ begins at the end of April with London’s legendary 14-Hour Technicolour Dream at Alexandra Palace. The hospital (Stoke Mandeville) sent me home on trial that weekend to see how I managed life in my new wheelchair. Had a cosmic time, immersing myself in the UK’s new-born psychedelic culture with Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Pretty Things, Arthur Brown and many more.
Later that summer I was dispensing brown rice and vegetables to hippies on the Portobello Rd once a week, inspired by the Diggers in California who had been inspired by the Diggers in England a few centuries earlier. But I still planned to get back to University after a year adjusting to the wheelchair thing.
My brother Craig, finished with University, was in the process of setting up a macrobiotic restaurant in a basement near Paddington, after his short-lived illegal venue in Notting Hill Gate had been closed down. But late in 1967 he has to abruptly leave the UK for several years and it falls to me to pick up the reins, completing and opening the restaurant in early 1968.
1968 and I’m sitting in the yard behind a bustling Seed Restaurant kitchen listening to Mary Hopkins singing Those Were the Days(my friend, we thought they’d never end. We’d sing and dance forever and a day). Tears welled in my 19-year old eyes as I experienced in advance the nostalgic sadness of the day when I had gone ‘straight’ and was looking back from another world. How could you beat having the hippest restaurant in hippie London, serving organic wholefood dinners to the likes of John and Yoko and supplying free meals to those with no money. We played the latest music of the era, put together on reel-to-reel tapes by the one and only DJ Jeff Dexter. I produced a magazine called Harmony that John supported with a great cartoon. It was cool.
I was a fervent crusader for macrobiotics, intent upon changing the eating habits of the world, and thereby the world itself. At the time I felt certain that the whole world would be eating brown rice and vegetables in a decade. After all, ten years ago I had been nine, and the world seemed to have changed a lot since then! Everything seems so possible, but you don’t know what is until you try.
Halfway into the 60’s, few people had ever heard of brown rice, and the only sesame seed they were likely to encounter was on top of a hamburger bun. Sunflower seeds were strictly for the birds and the only beans in British came in a tin with tomato sauce. If you were lucky enough to find pure fruit juice on sale, it would have come from Germany in a glass bottle and probably cost as much as a bottle of decent wine. Western bread was white, except in a few places like Germany, Poland and Scandinavia. Disease was seen as a random event – the fickle finger of fate, disconnected from personal lifestyle or environmental pollution. Your doctor was wholly responsible for your health.
We named our company Yin-Yang Limited, since macrobiotics was all about balancing the yin and the yang, and taking responsibility for your own health. Our company logo was the yin-yang symbol and in 1968 our restaurant sign was probably the only place in London you would see that, now common, symbol. I remember getting excited when I first saw the yin-yang sign somewhere else – on the Korean ambassador’s car (it’s their flag).
Though against the war in Vietnam, short hair and pin-stripe suits, the main enemy I perceived in those days was the sugar industry, poisoning our youth with their evil and addictive drug. As I passed those big sugar tankers on the roads, I had visions of placing plastic explosives on them, in a subversive terrorist action for the good of society. I knew our dishwasher at Seed restaurant shot up heroin in the toilet, but when I caught her drinking Coca Cola in the kitchen she was sacked immediately.
1969 onwards… Seed restaurant took care of the Sixties for me. Customers wanted to cook at home, so Ceres natural food store was added. Next a wholesale company, Harmony Foods, so other shops could stock the food. Hippies from different cities in the UK and Europe came for supplies with which to spread the dietary revolution. Many of our early customers grew to became regional or national wholesalers.
Magazines (Harmony and Seed), cafes (Sprout and Green Genes), wholemeal bakeries (Ceres retail and wholesale), a bookstore and pop festival catering, including Glastonbury ’71, were all part of our agenda in those early years. It was full on and full of fun. 1973 arrived and I was still waiting for Mary Hopkins’ nostalgic vision to arrive.
There were plenty of others making new music, promoting free love, living in communes, selling incense and dispensing the wisdom of the East. The primary dream of the Sixties, for my brother and I, was to turn people on to natural and organic foods and the idea that diet affected health and happiness. It was so clear that this was the way forward – the right sort of food for healthy human beings. And when you know you are right you assume that eventually everybody else will come around to your way of thinking (precisely the sort of attitude that makes fundamentalist religious freaks so dangerous). It seemed like it was only a matter of time until the message got across, and it soon did.
Today, over forty years later, I admit to being surprised, delighted and proud of the strides that have been made. The whole world may not be eating natural organic foods, but for every one person who did so in the Sixties there are thousands doing so today. Whole grains and pulses and seeds are back in the human food chain along with a huge growth in sustainable agriculture. Organic natural foods are now a multi-billion dollar industry and millions are aware that the food they eat has an effect upon the health and happiness they experience in their lives. We have come a very long way.
And yet, looking at the world today, it seems like the utopia we imagined remains on the distant horizon. I am surprised, depressed, and appalled at the progress of the industrial juggernaut that tries to divorce our existence from the natural world. Trucks full of liquid sugar are the least of our problems. Though we ‘blew the whistle’ on them in the 60’s, food industry chemists have spent the years between developing countless new means to cheapen, adulterate and preserve our food. The enemies of harmony push relentlessly upon Europe’s door in their efforts to introduce genetically modified experiments into the food chain.
Though most of today’s green movements evolved from the Sixties, we have witnessed increasing pollution of our food and our environment ever since. New varieties of disease and illness have visited mankind, with the pharmaceutical companies growing fat on the back of them. Their lobbyists are well-funded.
The war on drugs continues and any substance that makes us feel good without needing a prescription from the doctor is illegal, alcohol excepted. We used to think that cannabis would be legalized within a few years and that society would soon recognize the value of LSD to our cultural evolution. Few realized how determined the status quo would be to prevent us from tasting forbidden fruit that offers knowledge and bliss. Today (2015) the war seems to be faltering, the madness of it openly acknowledged, in some nations.
And yet, as scary as the world appears to be to me, in many ways these still are “the days, my friend,” just as much as “those were the days.” Year on year I have watched the seeds that were planted in the Sixties grow into a new global consciousness. Before the Sixties you very rarely heard people talking about harmony, environment, vision, meditation, visualization, massage, yoga, aromatherapy, organic food, natural healing, conservation or personal computers (another child of the times). There were many who believed that we would all be living on convenient pills by now. They were wrong.
It turns me on to see more and more of humanity connecting to this wonder-filled world – to know how many are looking within, as well as outside of their selves. It turns me on to see how much more joy and inspiration there is in the world – gods know, we’ll need it in the times ahead. And it turns me on to continue delighting in so many of life’s features that stem from the Sixties.
Mary Hopkins, I’m still lovin’ it.
– originally written March 2007, for German publisher Werner Pieper’s book on different peoples’ Sixties experience, with a few minor updates –
And after the Sixties …
The business grew into the distribution and manufacture of natural foods (Harmony Foods and Whole Earth) until 1982, when I left to launch the first VegeBurger onto the market, creating and christening the product. It did well, added a word to the language, and I sold it in 1988, leaving the food industry behind me. Two year advance on retirement, until I discover chaos theory. 1990 open Strange Attractions, world’s only chaos shop, designing and publishing lots of fractal imagery and computer graphics, later licensing these to others and through agencies. Millions of fractals reprinted throughout the world. 1998 publish my book Uncommon Sense, the State is Out of Date, outlining the messages and lessons that chaos theory has for our lives and societies – sell 3200 copies. 2000 to 2007, writing and researching next book, published 2008 and titled Sun of gOd – Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness That Underlies Everything. Spend my time promoting this book then in 2013 I upgrade my first book, retitled The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better. I give talks and interviews on both topics.
One might better ask what dark matter is not than ask what it is. At least some intelligible answers will be forthcoming. So far detected only in the minds of cosmologists, “dark matter” began life as little more than a name given to the answer of a problem that hadn’t been solved. Today it has grown into a cult-like religion within supposedly ‘rational’ science, supported by faith alone and having less evidence than that ascribed to many Biblical miracles. CERN, the most expensive boy’s toy in the world, has been refitted at the cost of several billions in hope of detecting this elusive stuff, which is physical and supposedly makes up 85% of our galaxy’s mass. One is reminded of the centuries long search for the elusive “luminiferous aether” thought to carry light to our world, whose “existence is a fact that cannot be questioned,” as Lord Kelvin put it in the course of his failed 55 year quest.
What is going on here? Why are otherwise conservative evidence-based scientists declaring the existence of something when they haven’t got the foggiest clue what it is? Perhaps there is another way of looking at the problem that dark matter would solve. That problem lays in the movement of stars within their galaxy. If they are all just balls of matter being moved around by the gravitational force of a big black hole in their middle then the stars at the edge of the galaxy should be moving much slower than the ones near the middle. They are not. That’s the problem.
Let us alter our perspective for a moment, recognizing that eminent scientists of antiquity, including Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras and Ptolemy, were not bound to a Christian taboo prohibiting scientists, or anybody else, from infringing on their religion’s monopoly of all matters spiritual. It was the Church, not science, that assured humans we were the only receptacles of consciousness in the Universe, apart from God, angels and the devil. Science has dismissed those last three, which leaves just humans as capable of consciousness, though now some higher mammals are joining the club.
Letting go of all pre-programmed assumptions, which of these would you find easier to consider?
1) That for every kilo of matter we can detect in our galaxy there are five and a half kilos of matter, of physical gravitational stuff, that is completely transparent to our most sophisticated detection techniques.
2) That our multi-leveled dynamic source of the light of life knows life itself; that the Sun is not some accidental light bulb in the sky; that stars are conscious celestial beings.
I suspect most people would opt for No1, if only because No.2 has never been presented to them before, suffering from zero percent exposure. However an unbiased viewing of the scientific evidence weighs more towards conscious stellar beings than to random balls of plasma. This idea and its logical implications are further explored in my book, Sun of gOd, Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness that Underlies Everything.
Taking this new (or ancient) perspective enables us to view our knowledge of cosmological behavior in a completely new light. A star, fashioned by the electromagnetic force from a cloud of cosmic dust, ‘feeds’ upon matter, converting it to light in a perfectly contained steady fusion reaction, something our finest scientific minds still strive to achieve armed with massive funding and our highest technology. Stars convert simple hydrogen into other elements, from carbon to silicon, from calcium to iron – a feat of ‘simple’ transmutation that we have not yet achieved, intelligent though we are. Our Sun connects to earth every eight minutes through what NASA calls a “magnetic portal,” when they think that tons of high-energy particles are exchanged. Giant electromagnetic fields link galaxies together across the vastness of space. It becomes increasingly difficult to explain the joined-up nature of this ordered Universe as random accidental action, with no shred of consciousness apparent until apes lost their hair on planet Earth and began using tools.
Consciousness is thought to be the greatest mystery of our existence yet we apparently know enough to know nothing else knows it. How can we assume that this energetic mystery does not accompany our local star? Perhaps consciousness permeates the entire Universe, manifested through the electromagnetic force that permeates everything from the inner atom to each point in the expanse between galaxies. I look forward to the day when science overcomes the religious taboo and brings the concept of spirit, or extra-human consciousness, into the field of serious study.
Right up there with dark matter on my scale of preposterousness is the multiverse, conceived as a means to explain away this Universe as a random event that just happened to bring everything together in exactly the right proportions and sequences for matter to exist, for stars to burn and so on and so forth. Some have even put a number to it, calculating that we would need many more randomverses (as I put it) than there are atoms in this Universe, to have one of them to turn out as uniquely as ours. Of course nobody has or ever will detect any of these randomverses, though many good minds indulge in the dalliance of theorizing over them. Once again, just add consciousness as an inbuilt feature and we do not need other unique verses, though they might well exist.
The problem is not with the motion of stars but with the irrational straightjacket into which Christianity has encased the scientific mindset. When scientists reject all things spiritual out of habit and not scientific principle they reject with it the idea that other realms of consciousness could exist; that “the greatest mystery” of consciousness could be more widespread than we think. If stars are conscious energetic entities then there is no need to explain their speeds and trajectories by purely random mechanical means. Though we might one day understand how stars manage movement through space we my never comprehend their reasons for travel.
We do not need dark matter. We need only recognize that stars, our Universe’s most populous residents, are not dead dumb balls of plasma randomly reacting to the laws of physics.
The real drug problems rarely make headlines – those caused by pharmaceuticals designed to be addictive. We recently discovered that opioid painkillers claim the lives of 312 Americans every week, compared to 285 lost to murder. Since 2000 these drugs have killed three times as many Americans as were killed in Vietnam. A further 160 die each week from overdosing on heroin, most having become addicted via prescribed opioids. Yet nobody is fighting a war against them, while Big Pharma pockets big profits and markets them freely. Competition to Big Pharma is suppressed by law enforcement agencies spending vast sums of taxpayers’ money in the War on Drugs. Sometimes major drug enforcement agencies work with drug cartels, enforcing monopolies and suppressing free enterprise in the unlicensed drugs trade. For more on opioid painkiller killers, here’s the Forbes coverage.
Society does have a problem with drug use. It is a serious problem that is getting worse. For some reason, though, the perception of this problem is focused entirely on the very small range of drugs that are being used illegally. We cannot ignore the very real problems faced by those who are using drugs prescribed by doctors. Their lives can be damaged and sometimes destroyed as a result of diagnostic error, their own abuse of the prescribed stocks (few recreational drug users have a month’s supply in a bottle), or just years of being dependent on pharmaceuticals with known side effects. These legal drugs must be obtained through controlled channels, but these channels translate into a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world—the real drugs trade. While we condemn it when drug barons bribe and seduce judges, police, and politicians, we think nothing of the lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry in Washington DC, who number more than three for every single Congressman or Senator.
The most successful, and profitable, pharmaceutical drugs are those which do not cure, but instead create a lifelong habit for the user…”
Sunlight – a dangerous drug for humans or a life-prolonging blessing? Different scientists claim both.
Sun’s rays make us feel so good that they are addictive, which is a serious health problem, according to doctors in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, scientists in Sweden have found that women who avoid sunbathing during the summer are twice as likely to die as those who sunbathe every day.
The epidemiological study in Sweden followed 30,000 women for over 20 years and “showed that mortality was about double in women who avoided sun exposure compared to the highest exposure group.” Full story click here…
Watched a fascinating programme recently on the Oracle at Delphi – Ancient Worlds presented by Dr Michael Scott. The Oracle pulled in visitors from across the Mediterranean world for over a thousand years, finally falling silent with the spread of the new Roman Church during the fourth century.
Considering the lack of trains, planes and automobiles in the ancient world, we must be impressed by the pull of Delphi for ten centuries. Go that far back in British history and William the Conqueror was still known as William the Bastard. Can you think of any facility in Britain that has enjoyed uninterrupted public support for such a period? I can’t.I have one underlying complaint to make about Michael Scott’s presentation, however. Though he has clearly studied the amazing history of the Oracle in great depth, never at any point during this programme does he even consider that perhaps, just perhaps, there was something genuinely oracular about the place. Could a thousand years of patronage by the good and the great indicate that valid advice and prediction was dispensed at Delhpi?
Today we just dismiss all this as stuff and nonsense and superstition…we know so much better now. Or so the Church and science tell us. Are we being arrogant in our dismissal? The ancients, after all, were not a bunch of stupid dunces living in caves. They had great civilizations, even twin water conduits, with one for drinking and one for washing (no bottled water for the Romans or Aztecs). They built pyramids and temples; developed mathematics and astronomy; fostered agriculture and commerce. Perhaps, just perhaps, they knew some things that we do not.
In the course of writing my last book, Sun of gOd, it became apparent to me that the so-called “ancients” were in many areas advanced to us today. Whilst they lacked our level of technology, they understood more of the vibrational world of spirit, understanding the nature of metals and other fields of knowledge that have simply disappeared from our cultural heritage.
The pyramid-builders did not only have the ability to build monumental precision devices and align them to the heavens, they also recognized that the stones, the stars, and themselves were all part of the same interconnected system. It was a different way of looking at things and a different way of connecting with them.