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Living With the Contradictions: A Human Potential Visionary Talks About Our Infinite Potential and How We Also Block Progress

Joseph Chilton Pearce, one of the elders of the human potential movement, lives with the contradiction that everything is possible, yet nature's plan has gone awry.

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CE: I think its undeniable that we have some rough times ahead. My perception is that its precisely these rough times that will liberate our untapped capacities. I'm thinking of one of your books, maybe 2 or 3 books ago, where you wrote about your episode of unconflicted behavior when you were just back from the war. The precipitating event for that episode, during which you were capable of what, from our perspective now, looked like superhuman feats, was receiving a letter that made your world fall apart. Perhaps these rough times we are facing are going to be the equivalent of that letter to people on an individual level where life just stops working, life just falls apart, and all of our operating assumptions, beliefs, and ideologies are revealed as being useless. This can work on a collective level as well. It's almost like our culture, our civilization even, is receiving a letter like you received when you came back from the war. A letter from the cosmos, a letter from Gaia, a letter that's not saying "I'm not in love with you anymore," but is delivering some bad news. Could it be that kind of breakdown, that kind of dissolution, and nothing else, could be what enables us to turn the corner? Maybe not just remnants of us, but maybe this is the event that this millennia long course of separation has been leading up to? 

JCP: Well, of course, that makes for a perfectly good argument. 

CE: But you believe it? 

I don't know. I believe what I experience. I don't believe much of what I hear. I believe what I experience. I limit my beliefs to that which I have experienced personally. That's the only safeguard I can see. We had a gentleman here the other day, a neurosurgeon, who had came down with a rare form of spinal meningitis in his 40s. Very rare, especially as an adult, and very few people ever survive it. He was out completely; they kept him alive intravenously and all sorts of different ways. He had no reason for his body to keep going. It was a very strange affair. But after about a week of being out completely, he came to, and he had this incredible, magnificent story to tell of the experience. He had experienced pure, blissful eternity itself, just the most interesting thing you could imagine. The interesting thing was he wanted to tell that story and he loved to tell that story because, I could tell, every time he told that story, he relieved it. The first time I heard that story, I was very flattered because I could not help but think he was the most incredible human I've met yet. He's gone right on, he's gone right back to his medical job and so on and so forth. When he told me that story I was at a very, very low place, just one of my real rock-bottom times. I was only about half conscious when they brought him by my house. I was just flaked out in a chair and just trying to go along to be polite, but when he started telling his story, I began to see the most incredible play of color I've witnessed. And it wasn't one color coming in from anywhere, it was what was happening inside him. I picked this up from his story; I felt a wave of color flooding into my system from his story. It's one of the most beautiful things I've known. 

CE: I would love to hear that story. 

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