New Age royalty Ptolemy Tompkins is the acclaimed writer of Paradise Fever, and other books on Mesoamerican spirituality, the mysticism of nature, and the question of extra-physical survival. In this interview, I ask him about the reality of heaven and hell, how to verify life after death, and the spiritual practice of underlining things in books.
Seeking supernormal inspiration, I determined to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens and do some perceptual fieldwork there. This glorious plant sanctuary provides a wonderful opportunity to confront some of nature’s more exotic creations housed safely within Kew’s splendid Victorian greenhouses.
In the years ahead we are going to see great change sweeping through our diverse human societies. It will be change not only brought about by intentional minds and willing hearts; but also by necessity, by coercion, and from an evolutionary imperative. The 21st century will be equivalent to the dramatic ‘flat Earth to round Earth’ shift that was thrust upon humanity centuries before.
Americans who, under the rubric of conservatism, oppose nutrition assistance to children also tend to deny the looming devastation of global climate change, the human costs of an inept healthcare system, the negative consequences of a constricted view of consciousness, and the dangerous costs of denying biological evolution. This is very troubling.
To the extent that these experiences are convincing, detailed, explorable, real, they make fluid the line between the visionary and the everyday worlds. Perhaps they teach us to de-reify the world, to personify, to mythologize — to obliterate the boundaries, construct a visionary world from the detritus of the everyday, let us see through, turn the world into metaphor, into magic.