We live in a world of illusion that is collapsing around our ears. Every day that passes, our planet makes it more and more clear: the way we are living now cannot last and we have to find something new. In this edition of Dreamland, Whitley takes us in an entirely unexpected direction: back to the ancient text called the Mahabahrata. We find out from expert Richard Sclove just how the story of the Mahabharata speaks to us right now and offers us a very real way out of the peril that we are in. Escaping Maya’s Palace shows how the modern world offers an illusion of happiness based on material wealth, which, if you look around you at all the storms, the fires and so many other climate disruptions, obviously cannot last. So, where to turn?

Listen and Whitley and Richard discuss some very ancient wisdom and how it relates to our modern world and the great danger we are in.

You can learn more about Richard at RichardSclove.com, and explore Escaping Maya’s Palace at EscapingMayasPalace.com.

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  1. I have put this book on my Audible wishlist after hearing this interview. The perspective of the last 400 years of capitalism, the advent of addictive substances mixed in with analogies from the Mahabharata is too intriguing to ignore.

  2. I am currently reading a book by social scientist Joseph Henrich: “The weirdest people in the world (how the West became psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous)”. I think Henrich would agree with the guest’s idea that capitalism shaped psychology. But for Henrich influences between psychology and social institutions go both ways (the guest would perhaps agree with this as well). Anyway, in the case of capitalism, Henrich explains that psychological changes came first. For the reasons behind these changes, he gives an intriguing explanation that I had never seen before. It would all be an accidental side effect of the Church’s policy on marriage and family. This policy effectively destroyed the intensive kinship-based relationships which were prevalent in Europe (and in other parts of the world)
    before the Church took over. By destroying the old allegiances to tribes, clans, and extended families,
    the Church inadvertently allowed western European from the Middle Ages to form new voluntary associations in various institutions, be they proto capitalistic (marketplaces in town squares), educational (the first universities) or proto-democratic (the first chartered cities). This is all backed up by extensive peer-reviewed evidence.

    1. Hmm thought it was to avoid genetic mutations by inter-familial marriages?

  3. Whitley and Richard Sclove, I just finished watching this excellent interview. I want to comment on something that happened during sleep last night THEN post a dream I had in 2018. During the night something happened in dreamtime that had me terrified. It was awful but I cannot remember what it was other than it had to do with people. I started screaming and this went on until a man dressed in tan clothing stepped out of seemingly thin air, inside my dream, and touched me on the shoulder. I could feel my fear winding down and then I drifted off to sleep. PERHAPS IT WAS SOMETHING ON A PERSONAL NOTE ONLY?

    This dream started sometime around 3 or 4am. I woke up at 5 and started typing it out…….


    DREAM: This dream starts out with me standing in the dining room and trying to decide if this is the room we will start with. I am hoping that my husband and I can renovate this old house that holds so much promise/possibility, but it will take money/dedication and work to accomplish it. The house is located on Princeton Avenue in …….. I am now standing next to the stove and cooking food when my husband enters the kitchen. He is holding a PENNEY in his right hand. He goes on to say that he was awakened by this PENNEY floating up through the floor and coming from where I am standing in the kitchen. I ask him if there was more than one Penney and if it could mean that we will be successful in renovating this old house. He tells me he feels it does NOT have anything to do with the physical labor of the house BUT other than that he does not know what it means. He also says, “IT IS ONE PENNEY, ONE GOD.” “NOT MULTIPLE GODS.”

    CHANGE: I am on the side of the house and walking towards the back yard. As I get close to the very back of the yard, I see 2 dark snakes and 1 white albino snake. Now in a panic, I run to the back porch and up the steps. I hear my husband on the side of the house and call out to him to stop, there are 3 snakes in the backyard. He does not listen to my warning, and I see he has a hatchet in hand and proceeds to hack the two dark snakes into pieces.

    Someone else is approaching on the side of the house, a stranger and it is a man. I call out a warning to him regarding the snakes. He turns to me and for some strange reason I feel the need to tell him my name. I say, “my name is Carol and I thank you for coming, I hope everything is going to be all right.” He looks at me and says, “MY NAME IS KRISHNA, AND YES, I HOPE SO.” (Even in this dream I am stupefied by his presence). This Krishna is dressed in linen cloth and his skin an ash color like a dusty blue. He looks toward my husband and seems to evaluate the situation then walks away the same way as he came. I see movement and realize the albino snake is on the move, it has not been hacked to pieces, it is whole and is taking refuge under the porch. I panic and go back inside the house.

    CHANGE: I am now in the kitchen and preparing food; I call out to my husband, but he does not respond. I go up to the second floor where the bedrooms are located and see him laying on a bed. He asks me to call his boss and inform him that he will be late for work BUT will be there. I go to a telephone, (land line) call his boss and describe the whole experience. In the background I can hear his secretary say, “ask her if she knows anything about KUNDALINI?” Since I can hear her, I respond by saying, “yes, I am aware and before you ask, I do meditate.”

    I go back into the bedroom after the phone call and my husband rolls up a pant leg to show me he has fang marks on his left leg where the two snakes have bitten him.

    I am thinking, I have no idea what kind of snakes these were/are. The white snake is in hiding but is alive and well.

    Notes. My husband, me and our children moved into this house in the mid 1970s. We never renovated it; we divorced a few years after purchasing the house. My former spouse never meditated and laughed at my interest in the world of metaphysics. At this time, I was taking an active interest in the work of EDGAR CAYCE. The boss’s secretary was called SAMANTHA, I do not know how I know this, I just do AND also at this time we had a cat named SAMANTHA, we called her SAM.


  4. Very interesting again Whitley, thanks again! I hope your problems with Audible.com have now been sorted via your legal counsel?

  5. Excellent! This was a great conversation, and one that we all should engaging in and pursuing in order to make the world a better place for people and every living being.

    About 30 years ago, I remember pointing out and asking in conversations, “When did shopping change from being a necessity in our modern culture, to being a form of recreation?”. Of course some people didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. There are so many interesting things to do in this world other than spending a whole day just looking at stuff, and buying stuff, including the simplicity of reading a great book, which can even be free via a public library. Besides the obsession with buying things, our culture seems to also be obsessed with fame, as well. There are young people now that do not seek to do anything in particular other than being famous—for anything, even if it’s nothing more than a presence on social media. (Thank you, Paris Hilton, for that, and your good fortune in having born into a big fortune from the benefits of capitalism via the Hilton Hotel chain. See how that works?)

    So, I’ve been criticizing capitalism for a while, but because I’m female and not well-known, fortunately no one has tried to shoot me. Capitalism has also taken away privacy in a very big way, and you are tracked just about anywhere you go on the internet, accompanied by targeted advertising/politicizing based on places and things you have viewed. Do we even want to address the phone calls from complete strangers who want to sell you a funeral and burial plot because they already know you are of a certain age? People complain about the intrusiveness of our government and lack of privacy from Uncle Sam, but they have no problem giving information away to a company offering a freebie or discount if you’ll just “Tell us a bit about yourself.”

    I have never read the entire Mahabharata, but I have a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which I have read many times. With each reading I gain a little more insight. Although it describes the paths to get to enlightenment, it also emphasizes the importance of each journey and—really living one’s life, and all that entails; the good, the bad, the mistakes, the joy and sorrows, as well as giving some understanding about the various aspects of God. When it comes to enlightenment (I’m not sure what that is) I think that this Zen koan says it the best:

    “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”

  6. Author

    Nature is going to make us find a new way. I hope it is not as intrusive as the ones we have found so far.

    The middle ages brought us a religious dictatorship, then European imperialism was essentially a giant police state, then communism came along with it completely intrusive “ trust, but check” and now we have capitalism with its massive intrusiveness, and the building threat that it will somehow find a way to connect the brain directly to the computer.

    There has always been a solution to this. It is a society that has reverence for individual space, and the flexibility to accommodate it.

    1. I agree with you. A part of humanity always manages to survive through the evolutionary process, but getting through this involves—adaptation. Those who can’t or won’t adapt will die on the tree, so to speak. Those addicted to the excesses of capitalism will not make it.
      Nature is the key. We either work with her, or we don’t.
      Those who form a true partnership with her will make it, adapt, and may become unrecognizable as ‘humans’ in the future.

      Many indigenous peoples survived for an incredibly long time. The people in Australia did that. They got there 50,000 years ago, and the rest of the world changed in many ways; wars, famines, and the rise and fall of MANY civilizations. They somehow worked with Nature all that time until Western man arrived and blew it for them. There are still small pockets of indigenous peoples in the world that will carry on, with or without us. I’m ok with that, because they are some of the best of humanity, even if they did not create the ‘Mona Lisa’, or the Space Program.


      1. I’m genuinely curious as to what those who advocate this sort of thing actually envision such a future as looking like. Clearly, most if not all of them are not themselves eschewing the conveniences and accoutrements of modern life. What are we to consider the excesses of capitalism with respect to the average person? Who determines that?
        Certainly, the aboriginal Australians survived over the course of that time but what is the reason their society never changed? Moreover, I wonder how many would choose to revert to that kind of life? I’d truly like to know but I suspect it wouldn’t be many.
        For humanity adaptation generally takes the form of using technology to overcome challenges whether it’s stone tools or nuclear reactors – those adaptations inevitably have an impact on the environment.
        I’m posing these questions as someone who frankly thinks that the hunter-gatherer period of humanity was probably when we were happiest as a species in many if not most ways. That said, I like that humanity has produced beautiful paintings, music and the space program – those things are similarly not ‘lesser’ simply because they are products of Western culture and it has become fashionable to devalue it.

        1. I am not devaluing paintings, art, or even the space program, but thinking in terms of what is needed to be a happy human being (For some that may include making art and music. We are a creative species.) When it comes to what is truly needed to thrive, it is simply getting what we need. We need clean air and water, we need nutritious food, we need shelter from the elements. We need one another, family and friends. We need to also be creative, and have things in our lives that make our spirits soar and give us a sense of awe. We all need love. We ALL need love. We must want these things for everyone.

    2. As mentioned elsewhere, I think a post-statist form of organizing human activity would be the best approach. Allow some minimal set of laws to prevent abuses and set up some sort of standards and let people form self-organizing groups as needs arise. Barring that we should at the very least move away from supporting a professional political class – it should be more akin to the part time activity it was at the nation’s founding.

  7. Author

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments on this thread by the way! To see a somewhat less articulate response to the show, take a look at the comments on the YouTube page…

  8. Was nice to hear a time lined trajectory spelled out as to how we wound up here in 2023. Capitalism seemed to work for a while, but its based on predatory practices’ and infinite resources.

    Communism seems like a good idea on paper, however they forgot mankind’s propensity for control & corruption.

    Maybe Social Democracy is the median for our future?

    Regarding climate tipping point:
    First it was centuries=wrong
    Then decades=wrong
    The glacial record shows after the great tipping point it will be less than a season.

    Run for your lives if the rising heat don’t kill you ,the ice age miles of ice will.

    1. I’m not so sure Communism was a good idea even on paper… I think Statism in general is the problem. We have the technological means to largely move beyond Statism in the governing of human affairs but I think it’s too scary for most people at present. Personally, my ‘Utopia’ is some form of Autarchism with a minimal core set of ruling principles/laws at work to reign in the inevitable abuses that creep into any governing system. Any collective activity or enterprise should be entirely voluntary and only as permanent as people’s willingness to participate – something akin to a crowd-funding model. Any form of Statism is an exercise in force – the fruits of your labor are forced from you to be spent in a way that provides little to no accountability or alignment with your personal values. I find that abhorrent, frankly.

      1. Author

        At the same time, we cannot thrive without community, and, as it becomes more and more difficult for the planet to provide for us, we are going to need community more than ever before.

        Certainly, communism isn’t the answer, and perhaps there is no answer that ends in an “ism.” I wonder what sort of social structures we may evolve that will actually help us. Looking at history, I don’t think I can point to a single one either now or in the past that is going to be able to do this.

        1. Agreed. I have a suspicion that whatever the next evolution of human organizational structure might be, it will have elements of both radical individualism and radical communitarianism as paradoxical as that might sound. With luck it won’t be something that is forcibly imposed or relies on technologically invasive means such as what the transhumanists seem keen to create.

        2. You should research the global international Baha’i community in my biased oppinion it is the perfect model for the future golden Age of Aquarius…

  9. An excellent show and indeed Richard Sclove has many valuable insights to share. Indeed freedom from Ego is not the successful stage of enlightenment and as Richard stated, often people have a glimpse and then capitalize on their (incomplete) wisdom.

    I loved Anne’s wisdom shared by Whitley, ‘People love a good lie’. Unknown Country might not be the most popular, but it is the among the most authentic, with a standard of integrity to seek the truth.

    I first read the Gita in high school in the 70s and it was revelatory for me. The first time I read it I knew I had read it before and therefore knew this was not my first lifetime. I have what scholars often call idealistic perspectives, but feel I should share them:

    The Mahabharata was written from oral traditions which preserved historical fact. Each clan had a piece and was required to memorize and pass down their piece. Sages could travel between clans and thus have the whole story. When humanity started losing power (dedication, devotion to the truth), the many wisdom keepers wrote their parts and sages put together the text. As they did, some parts were changed and embellished to get to our present version. This is not fiction and the underestimation of oral tradition by modern scholars is a global phenomenon.

    Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by the weapons used in the Mahabharata war. They were a fringe area that needed to be destroyed as the war completed purging the Earth.

    Krishna (Kristos, Christ), Arjuna’s Charioteer, was born of a virgin and is considered a divine avatar by the Hindus as much as Yeshua (Jesus) is considered an avatar by the Europeans. It is written that in every age there comes one or more Avatars to correct humanity.

    Arjuna and his four brothers were all fathered by ‘gods’(!) (Hybrids?).

    The ancient city of Dwarka, Krishna’s City, existed in ancient times (9000 years ago or perhaps was antediluvian).


    There are many ways to read ancient texts, but most describe Gods (NHI) changing human destiny. There appears to be a stage being set for the next purge. May the Lord have Mercy.

    1. SUNBOW, thank you for including, “The Ancient City Of Dwarka website.” As I was checking it out, the thought crossed my mind and wondering if the city could have experienced…Crustal Displacement aka Physical Pole Shift?

      1. I am just amazed that this is not one of the biggest archeological study sites, especially since the age is at least that of Gobekli Tepe?

    2. Indeed, Bahá’u’lláh is the Tenth Avatar, which is the Kalki Avatar as well as the Return of the Christ and the future/Maitreya Buddha.

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