Lotus Guide: I’m often told by my spiritual friends that to look at the dark side of politics and religion is to give it energy, but when I see things happen like Ruby Ridge and Waco I can’t help but wonder what would happen if, at least, some of us don’t put light on these issues.
James Wasserman: Well, when I was younger I used to agree with some of your spiritual friends that if you look at the underside of things then you give them energy. When Ruby Ridge and Waco happened they were an enormous wake-up call to me because I realized that I had been living a great part of my life like an ostrich, with my head stuck in the sand. Now I see that I was just prancing around my magical circle while the walls of my prison were being erected by other people. I don’t think that way any more. I think that it’s the way an amateur or a young person thinks. In the case of the negative stuff that’s going on in this world I think that we have to pay very close attention to it so that we can be in a position to stop it. Then and only then can we raise our voices against it.
LG: I really think it’s getting down to the point where we need to be realistic about life. Something that comes to mind is the last big tsunami that killed tens of thousands of people. A scientific early warning system would have saved many more lives than all the prayers did. And I think we really need to consider that. Prayer has its place, but we need to bring a little reason and science into the equation.
Do you think that the days of monarchy and organized religions based on bloodline and divine sanctions to rule are numbered? For instance, in England, the monarchy there has been all but marginalized as far as ruling and has become more of a burden if anything to the English people.
JW: I agree and if you look at most of the modern world we’ve pretty well dispensed with that. Certainly the English monarchy is at best symbolic, whereas the Saudi monarchy is a bloodline, but it’s also showing itself as a very primitive culture. So, I think we’re moving further and further away from that kind of organization of humanity and the same I would say with religion. I think that organized religions, with the exception of Islam, are really falling by the wayside. People are starting to understand that the religious potential is within and that it’s an individual pursuit.
LG: It seems like the gap between those of faith and those of reason is getting larger every day. I see this as a dangerous situation in a world with high technology that is being led by very superstitious people. How do you see this situation playing out and do you think it’s time to put reason back into balance with faith in our decision making?
JW: Well, I think it was God that gave us reason. He gave us the ability to reason and also have faith and I think that reason and faith go together. I don’t think that they’re opposed. I think we’ve reached the point where we need to look at modern superstitions and hold them up to the light of reason and accountability. We’re beginning to live in a consensus reality where the only way you can have something be true is “if everyone believes it” or “all scientists agree.” That’s not the way science should work.
LG: Let’s face it; our country has been taken over by corporate interests and people who have a fanatic desire to impose their beliefs on others. Do you think that Washington, DC, still has embedded within it the magic and mysticism that the founding fathers had for this country and do you think that “we the people” can still tap into that magic and take back what is rightfully ours?
JW: You know I do, and I’m really glad you asked this question. I’m going to tell you a little story. About two years ago my family and I went to Washington, DC. We had a really limited amount of time. I could either turn left or right at the National Mall. I looked up at Congress, one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the world, and I just thought “that place is just evil.” It’s filled with the most corrupt, cynical, and constitutional liars in the history of our country. I don’t even want to go there. And we turned right and I showed my daughter the Lincoln Memorial. But when I went back to do the research on the Washington, DC, book, I thought, “You know, this place really is the Temple of Liberty.” All of these vipers and liars who have taken control but the Constitution is still the law of the land in America. The Declaration of Independence expresses sentiments that can never be overturned. We will outlast these people. The spirit of liberty is intrinsic to the human soul and the Declaration of Independence, the constitutional structure that was set up by the founders, and the rights that are acknowledged in the Bill of Rights, those are things that will never go away. Congress is only allowed to do what they’re told by the Constitution they can do. All the stuff they’ve done since is illegal. But we need to do our part and take responsibility for ourselves individually. When someone says to you, “I’ll give you this,” we have to be able to say to that person, “I don’t want it. You keep it. I’ll get what’s mine by my own efforts.” Anyone who promises you something that you have not earned is seeking to enslave you.
LG: Do you think the average American still has the desire and resolve to take this direction?
JW: Unfortunately, the answer to that is probably “No” at this exact moment in time. But I think that it can be rekindled in us. I think that the dominant American ideal is that and I think that we need to motivate people once again to tap back into that. Now I don’t know how you do that. I try to do it as much as I can within myself, with my friends, with my family. Talking to people like yourself who are motivated by freedom. I think that sometimes there’s something called a negative learning curve where you begin to watch what’s happened when the government takes more and more of your life and all of a sudden it’s not working so well. I think people may get the idea that they may have bought into some false idols.
LG: Yes, I think definitely we’ve learned from that quote, “Those who live in apathy are destined to be led by tyrants.”
JW: That’s really the truth. If we don’t take responsibility for ourselves, someone else will take it for you.
LG: I just published a book in which I addressed the issue of women in our society because I think that if women could come back into balance of power in our world it would be the undoing of patriarchal institutions that have dominated our world of politics and religion for centuries. What are your thoughts on this?
JW: Well, I’ll tell you the truth. I think that what we need is a balance between men and women. I don’t believe in the value of the matriarchy as a model for human organizations any more than I believe in the value of patriarchy as a successful model. I think that what we need is a balance of male and female, the yin and the yang, the tantric union of god and goddess, enlightenment of the individual.
LG: As our science is progressing exponentially, it’s undermining and tearing apart the foundation of beliefs in such a way that more and more people are seeing that a lot of our beliefs are dysfunctional in the 21st century. I like what Joseph Campbell said once in an interview. He said his greatest fear in this respect was that if we don’t come into balance with reason that we will have the tendency to go all the way into reason just to survive the religious and superstitious madness that we find ourselves in. You know better than I do that it’s our religions that hold a lot of the symbology and the mythology that is passed on and it’s the myth that is able to be passed from generation to generation and maintain its integrity and message, whereas linguistic knowledge is constantly reinterpreted and often misinterpreted.
JW: Absolutely. When we were talking earlier about whether we can reclaim America and whether there’s still power locked up in symbols in a place like Washington, DC, that transcends this manipulative self-interested corruption that we see every day, I think “Yes.” And the reason I do is because of the profusion of symbols in the city. You have a whole mythical teaching being conveyed to visitors to Washington, DC, through icons, images, and art. Those lessons that are being taught there transcend the shattering clashes and the foolishness that we’re accepting as reality today. You see images of toil, heroism, and valor. You see images of self-sacrifice, scientific inquiry, learning, family, and love and friendship and loyalty. It’s everywhere you look in Washington, DC. Until those beautiful statues and buildings and frescos are really torn down I think there’s hope for this country. There is a national religion in America and I think Freemasonry is about as close to it as we’re going to get.
LG: Well, this is why I wanted to interview you, because your book brings this out in a picturesque way, and it gives people a chance to get a taste of what you’re talking about. I’m looking at it now … pretty amazing … a lot of amazing photos.
JW: Well, that’s it. The images have a tendency to get beyond language. That’s where I think we really need to be. That’s where I think our hope is, that’s where I think this country really has something that can survive and it’s that spirit of freedom. We’re talking a lot about reason and religion today, but I really hope that this American experiment can continue, because liberty really is a condition of the human heart and I have a great love and hope for the future of people.
For more on James Wasserman visit www.jameswassermanbooks.com.