Today my interview is with Mark Gober, author of An End to Upside Down Thinking: Dispelling the Myth that the Brain Produces Consciousness and the Implications for Everyday Life. Mark explores many different areas of life that we don’t often talk about even though we have some personal experience with them. Things like psychedelics, remote viewing, telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, communications with the deceased, and children who remember previous lives. It’s not, in my opinion, woo woo or out there. Instead, Mark takes a very level look at this, looking at the science and the research. Decades, 70 years or more in some cases, things that have been taking place in respectable laboratories, places like Princeton or Stanford by well respected scientists and researchers. Things that show there’s something strange going on in the universe more than we often realize.
00:02:19 What’s life about?
00:06:11 Marks’ background.
00:16:16 Spiritual traditions.
00:24:02 The most surprising thing learned from writing the book.
00:59:15 Lightening round.
01:06:21 Titling the book.
01:22:37 Favorite part of the creative process.
Bryan: 00:00:54 Hello my friends. Today my interview is with Mark Gober, author of An End to Upside Down Thinking, dispelling the myth that the brain produces consciousness and the implications for everyday life. Mark’s book was recommended to me by a friend. I read the whole thing and I loved it. I thought it was fascinating. Mark explores many different areas of life that we don’t often talk about even though we have some personal experience with them. Things like psychedelics, some of us have experienced with them. Remote viewing, telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, near death experiences, even communications with the deceased and children who remember previous lives. It’s not, in my opinion, woo woo or out there. Instead, Mark takes a very level look at this, looking at the science and the research. Decades, 70 years or more in some cases, things that have been taking place in respectable laboratories, places like Princeton or Stanford by well respected scientists and researchers. Things that show there’s something strange going on in the universe more than we often realize. So with that, I hope you enjoy this, what I think is a very fascinating, conversation with my new good friend and soul brother, Mark Gober. Mark, welcome to The School For Good Living Podcast.
Mark: 00:02:17 Thanks Bryan. Looking forward to it.
Bryan: 00:02:19 I’m going to start with a question. That’s my favorite question for Uber drivers. What’s life about?
Mark: 00:02:30 Well, this is kind of getting to the very end of where my research and my book has led me. But to me what I think life is about as the evolution of consciousness.
Bryan: 00:02:43 Okay and clearly we’ll talk more about that. Having written a book called An End to Upside Down Thinking, dispelling the myth that the brain produces consciousness and the implications for everyday life and that’s what I’m really, really interested to explore with you today is the implications for everyday life. Before we get to that, let me ask you this. When you meet someone and I realized this will change situation to situation or person to person, whatever the context is, will change the answer to this some. But when people, when you meet somebody or maybe you speak to a group, if you introduce yourself, what do you say? Who are you and what do you do?
Mark: 00:03:19 Well, it has shifted now that I’ve written a book, uh, but I say, I’ll say two things now. I will say that I’m an author and I’m a, a partner at a silicon valley business and technology strategy firm.
Bryan: 00:03:33 Okay, awesome. So a friend connected us, uh, Evan, right. And I understand he met you at a summit event. Tell me a little bit about, was this the New World’s Fair? What, what, what was this and how did you guys meet and what was your interaction like?
Mark: 00:03:48 Sure. So we met at Summit Series, which is a group that’s based out of Utah, in Eden. And they have kind of built a community around all kinds of cool principles. The guys bought a mountain in Utah and they built this community and they throw events. There’s an annual event which used to be on a boat that left from Miami and it was a few thousand people on a boat for a few days with speakers, sort of like TED, really cool speakers, but also more social events. They have since moved that event to LA. So it was the boat, it’s not a boat anymore, it’s just downtown Los Angeles. And so it’s a lot of interesting people and speakers and I’ve been going for a number of years. And through a mutual friend I met Evan and the mutual friend I met through my, my literary agent who knows him and said, hey, you guys need to meet. And we ran into each other randomly at summit, didn’t know we would be there. And we had met a few weeks before that and Evan was with my friend.
Bryan: 00:04:44 That is, that’s amazing. It’s amazing, but it’s not amazing to me knowing Evan because um, these kinds of synchronicities seem to surround or follow or precede certain people. And he’s one of them for me. In fact, just the other day, one of my very best friends in a writing partner on a project I completed last year. He sent me, my friend Seth, sent me this message in the morning. All it said was, “soul brothers.” That was it. And you know, I was really grateful to get this little message. And then that night, this was just two days ago, January second was Evan’s birthday. So I messaged Evan is the very last thing I’m doing before bed and I say, hey, happy birthday, I’m grateful for our friendship. And Even texted me back and in his response were the words, “soul brothers.” And I was like that, what are the freaking odds? Like it’s just, it’s just amazing. But you, you talk about things like this in your book, just fantastic things that in a way, you know, they’re part of every one of our experience. We live with them, we’re aware of them to some degree, you know, either individually or as a society. But we don’t necessarily understand them or even admit them. And I know right now I’m speaking pretty abstractly, I’m a little bit ahead probably of where listeners would be in understanding what the heck I’m even talking about. But let me start by asking you to tell us a little bit about this book. Who did you write it for? Like what is it? Who did you write it for? What did you want it to do for them?
Mark: 00:06:11 To me, there are two big buckets of audiences that I was thinking of. One is people in my shoes. So I have a very traditional background. I used to work in investment banking. I went to Princeton Undergrad. I was captain of the tennis team there, so a big part of my life was sports. A big part of my life was academics, social stuff, mainstream background, mainstream education. And the topics that I’m discussing in my book are not currently mainstream. But I think if someone with a mainstream education looks at the logic and the evidence, it can lead to some pretty big transformations in the same way that it did for me. So I wanted to make the information available to other people like Mark out there and that’s, that’s one big audience. Another big audience is a group of people that have had experiences that you might call mystical or synchronistic or things that they don’t feel comfortable talking about in the current society. And don’t have any way to explain to someone else who’s never experienced it personally. This book, I hope gives those people scientific backing to feel less uncomfortable speaking about these topics. They can say, well, it’s not me, it’s this guy Mark Gober and you can read the evidence in his book. And I think it helps people and that’s actually some of the feedback I’m getting is people will say, I’m so glad you wrote this because it’s validating so much of what I’ve personally experienced.
Bryan: 00:07:33 Absolutely. One of the things that you talk about in your book is this idea of pre cognition or presentiment, right? That somehow we know what’s going to happen before it happens in some ways at least. And we’ve confirmed this in laboratories. I learned about this when I studied heartmath. Um, if you know this, this, I guess they’ve been in near your, your area now in the redwoods for more than 20 years. Looking at the scientific basis of the, the intelligence of the heart and the scientific aspects of the heart and how, um. So rather than me relate this, I’m, I’m wondering if you, will you just share a little bit about what you learned in your research about these tests of how we seem to have some physiological response to events before they even occur to us. And how we’ve kind of proved that in a laboratory?
Mark: 00:08:23 Yeah. Yeah. And I think the kind of predecessor, predecessor idea that enables something like that in the first place is the idea that our, our consciousness. The thing that you and I both have right now, we’re both aware. Anyone listening to this conversation has an awareness or consciousness. That consciousness is not a product of chemicals in our skull, but rather the brain is acting more like a filtering mechanism for our consciousness that is not localized to the body. So if we flip perspective of no, it’s not the brain that produces consciousness but consciousness is this kind of primary aspect of reality. Consciousness actually exists beyond all space and time. And this gets to your question about precognition of presentiment. If consciousness is actually beyond time, then it, would it conceptually be conceivable for consciousness to almost reach forward in the way that we perceive time. And that’s what some of the emerging studies show where researchers have reversed in time, a traditional psychological study. And I remember these studies because I studied psychology in college. Where you would show a person a stimulus, like a picture of a, a violent image, and you measure their skin or their heart or their pupils. And after the image their body will respond unconsciously. I remember this. We would measure the skin response. It’s called a galvanic skin response and someone would sit. Would you see this image? And you’d see a spike on the screen of the something that’s measuring your skin. And you’re like, wait a second that nothing happened. I, I didn’t, I didn’t consciously react, but the body has a something going on where it’s reacting beyond our conscious awareness. These studies on on precognition or presentiment. Look at what happens before the picture is even shown. And before anyone knows what picture is going to be shown. Because it’s randomly generated by a computer. Who would ever think to do that because how could the body ever respond? What the studies seem to show is that a few seconds before a picture is shown by a computer, randomly, we see skin responses, pupil responses, the brain responds, the heart responds, and this is heartmath, so there is some, some kind of knowing that the body has about the future before the future is ostensibly known by anybody.
Bryan: 00:10:41 I just think that’s so amazing. Yet in my own experience, that kind of thing happens all the time. I mean, not consciously, like I’m not picking lottery numbers and and stocks and things. But when I play games, you know when I, and it’s easy to write, it’s easy for me to dismiss because it’s like, oh, well that’s a commonly that number gets rolled, you know? Of course that cards going to come up or whatever, but it’s, um, it definitely seems to me to be a validation of intuition. Right? Which is one of the things I wanted to ask you about is you know, what’s, what’s your understanding of what, what intuition is and how can we more fully cultivate our intuitive abilities.
Mark: 00:11:22 Oh, I think, I think pre sentiment creek cognition, these are, these are just different terms that describe the same phenomenon. Intuitions and other one. The way I like to think about consciousness is that it’s sort of like the sun and you can imagine the sky. There are lots of clouds that block the sun. That’s sort of like our brain and our thoughts and our emotions that our brains actually restricting our picture of reality rather than producing it. So by quieting the brain, and we see this in many examples of psychic phenomena where people go into trance or hypnosis or a meditative state, where even people in meditation to get insights and creativity. It seems like the intuition is tapping into the sun that is always there. And knowing that kind of goes beyond or transcends logic. Like if I had to explain to you why to invest in a certain stock, I can write a whole chain of events explaining that the exact reasons. But intuition is, is more of a knowing that is beyond logic. It’s like, wait, I know I know that person is going to do X, Y, and Z and I can’t really explain to you why. But I had this feeling that’s what intuition seems like. And maybe these sentiments studies are small examples of it.
Bryan: 00:12:31 Yeah, I think that so, and I feel like I might bounce around here for just a minute, but somehow I know these are connected or they wouldn’t be coming up. You know, these thoughts wouldn’t be coming up. But this idea of an I I don’t know if you use these words, although at some point you do talk about some of the stranger aspects of physics in the book. But with this idea of quantum entanglement, that there are pieces of matter at that are apart from each other, if one is acted upon, the other is simultaneously impacted. Right? And as a thought experiment to me, although it appears we live in a cause and effect universe. As a thought experiment, it’s not that difficult to imagine that there’s another particle on the other side of our universe that if this one moves, that one moves at the same time and it doesn’t require the speed of light or faster. It’s just, it’s literally simultaneous and talking about the reality of everything from some way really is one. I mean when we talk about the Big Bang and everything came out of, you know, something smaller than the size of an atom. Tell me why, why do you think that such a hard thing for people to really, like, except that these, that really there is a unified ground of being for everything. Why is that such a challenging concept for, for our modern scientific society?
Mark: 00:13:53 I think there are two big forces, probably many more beyond that, but one is it’s easy to go along with what one has been taught and what the majority is saying is true. I think it’s just part of human nature is to say, well, the majority says that. So it’s just easier to follow. There must be some reason that they’re all saying it, so it’s easy just to go with that.
Bryan: 00:14:13 Sure.
Mark: 00:14:14 There’s another reason which I think is really important and it’s that we’re biased by our five senses and in particular our eyes. We forget how much of the electromagnetic spectrum our eyes do not show us. Even from a conventional mainstream perspective. What we can see in terms of light is a tiny, tiny sliver of everything that’s out there and that’s excluding anything that’s not quote unquote light. So we have to remember that our eyes are a really limited perceptual system and if we want to be open about reality, we have to remember that there’s much beyond what our eyes show us. And entanglement is something that our eyes and our mind cannot conceive of.
Bryan: 00:14:54 Right? Yeah. It’s not evident in our everyday experience. So I can see why we wouldn’t necessarily accept that. Plus it doesn’t seem to have any immediate impact on. Right. It’s not, what am I going to eat for dinner tonight? What am I going to pay off my mortgage? You know, is my wife going to be a good mood when I get home tonight, like this kind of thing. And, and so I can see how a lot of these ideas might seem like they’re outside of our day to day existence. So let me ask you this. How did writing this book change your life? Like how is your life different now as a result? Both of having published a book but also having gone through, you know, the research and the synthesis of all of these ideas?
Mark: 00:15:36 Well, short answer is that it’s massively changed everything for me.
Bryan: 00:15:39 What’s the biggest thing?
Mark: 00:15:41 The way I view life. I used to have a completely nihilistic view of life and I wasn’t looking for anything different than that.
Bryan: 00:15:50 So I heard you mentioned this on one of the podcasts that you are on and I’m curious because I, I wouldn’t have used that term. But I feel like I have a similar background, similar journey that. So I’m curious if you’d be willing to share and if you’re not that’s fine. I’m still finding the boundaries of this as an interviewer, but what was your spiritual tradition growing up and how did that contribute to this nihilistic worldview? And then how did this new body of work impact all that?
Mark: 00:16:16 Yeah, great questions. I would say that I didn’t buy into any spiritual traditions growing up. Technically I came from a Jewish family, but we were not religious and I just didn’t buy into to what I heard from any of the traditions. Because from my perspective in my education system, I was taught to read things and critique and try to figure out who wrote it and what the incentives were. And for someone to say, please read the scripture and this is truth. And without being able to confirm who wrote it or what the incentives were, or not really knowing much I had a hard time reconciling Well, in school you’re going to question, but here you’re not. So to me it just didn’t line up and what science teaches us on top of my own kind of skepticism, what science promotes implicitly and sometimes explicitly is that the universe is just totally random and life is meaningless. We’re kind of random specs that emerged after the Big Bang, you know, we had this big universe filled with matter that randomly combined and lots of chemical reactions to form DNA. And DNA led to the evolution of a human being that developed a brain. And then from the brain comes out our consciousness. And if you take that through, then when the brain turns off, when the body dies, then consciousness is gone, memories are gone. So that implies what, what does imply about meaning in life? I mean, to me it’s, it’s a pretty bleak view and you can try to come up with a meaning. But to me it’s, it’s really rationalization under that perspective.
Bryan: 00:17:41 Yeah, I totally agree. And if and, and if that’s the prevailing worldview, which in some ways I think it is. With our current, you know, understanding of existence and our place in it. No wonder life isn’t working for so many people, like no wonder there’s so many people who are unhappy or lonely or depressed or addicted or whatever.
Mark: 00:18:02 Sometimes people will acknowledge it and the way that I just laid it out and other times it might just kind of be in the background. Of having this known second to look at the world and realize that my life did not have mean unless I want to rationalize. So yeah, it’s tough and I always had that in the back of my mind. Something great would happen and I’d say, wait, why do I really care? Because once you’re dead, it’s over. Right? Same thing. If something bad happened, does it really matter? That was my old worldview.
Bryan: 00:18:29 So. Okay. So I interrupted you as you were unfolding an answer to this question of how is your life different as a result of having written this book? Um, how else does it different?
Mark: 00:18:39 Well, it’s, it’s kind of pushed me in the direction of passions that I knew were there, but didn’t know the form that they would take. So I had always asked big questions. And even back in my college years, I thought about majoring in astrophysics because I wanted to understand the universe, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t manage that. And tennis at the same time, it was division one program and I just said there’s no way I’m going to be able to switch majors to astrophysics and still do tennis and maintain the grades that I want. So I didn’t do it, but I think it demonstrated that at a young age I had big questions that I brushed aside, went into investment banking, has been doing other things. This, this research into consciousness and quantum physics and things like that have sparked that interest that’s always been there and it’s given me an avenue to explore potential answers to things that I just thought we’re not answerable.
Bryan: 00:19:28 Seek and ye shall find, right? Especially with the mind being a meaning making device. If we ask a question, we’ll find, we can find a creative answer for sure. How much tennis are you playing these days?
Mark: 00:19:41 For Awhile I wasn’t playing any tennis. Now I live in San Francisco and I have a few friends that played in college and they get me out there. So right now I’m playing a few times a month.
Bryan: 00:19:50 Awesome. That’s great. You’re that guy that goes to the court and just crushes all these unsuspecting fools, aren’t you? I don’t play much tennis, but I do, I do love the times that I do. Let me ask you this question. What was the moment you knew you were going to write this book?
Mark: 00:20:09 It was certainly not something on my mind when I began my research. When I started researching these topics, it was kind of a serendipitous. I heard a podcast on a health show of someone who talked about psychic abilities and intuition and working with energy and things that sounded pretty outlandish to me. And then that led me to look into more, which led me to really start exploring and then and then things kind of snowballed. Where I researched for a full year basically from August 2016 through July 2017. When I wasn’t in the office in my day job. I was spending time researching and thinking about these topics. So I was, I just wanted to know without any intention of writing initially.
Bryan: 00:20:49 And then, so you, you following this interest, this curiosity, maybe even a passion at the time and at some point the book emerges. How did it come about that? I mean, I’ve got a lot of things I’m curious about, but I don’t write a book about them, you know? Um, how did it come about that you, that you decided to like put your button to chair and put these words in a file and get ’em out to the world? Like not everybody does that. In fact, hardly anybody does that.
Mark: 00:21:19 Well, I guess what, there are a few things that prompted it. Number one is the fact that I had this passion and I had accumulated a lot of knowledge over the course of that year, but I think it was the fact that I had gotten a lot of positive feedback from people that I started speaking openly about this too. At first I didn’t talk to anyone about these ideas because I didn’t know. To me it was like I didn’t even know people knew about them. Especially in my world. I didn’t know people thought about them. They probably hadn’t been exposed to the science. I thought I was going crazy for a period of time, but as I became more familiar with the research and became like confident speaking about it, then I would open up to friends and say, Hey, like I’m looking at this research and did you know about the study? And people will just give me these looks like with their mouth open. Not even knowing what to say. Because they’re, they’re like, wait, that sounds nuts, but I’m not aware of those studies and if I want to be honest and I wait a second, I have to think about this. And the feedback I got from people was that their lives started to shift as they pondered the ideas. So I was getting that feedback of like, mark, this is really big stuff and it was having a real effect on people and I was super passionate about it and I think there was also some frustration. In that I would read about the research and then read about the, the opposition to it and say, wow, there’s really kind of this force that is is squashing this important research. And I live in this society, so does everyone. I think we’ll all benefit from having more open science. So when you combine all those factors together in June of 2017, I had the idea to put it on paper. And then I said, wait, I don’t know if I want to do that. And then I remember having a dinner with your buddies in San Francisco. One of them was visiting from out of town and I was talking about in late June 2017. They’re like, Mark you should really do it. And I said, okay, I’m going to just take the fourth of July weekend, which was a long weekend that year and see what happens. Basically not do anything else other than write. I canceled my plans just stayed in my apartment. I had books everywhere because I in my head I knew where the information was, but I had to cite everything. Because I wanted it to be something that people could actually reference. So that weekend was when I really started writing, I’d maybe jotted down some ideas a little bit, like a week before it. But I, I built an outline for the way I wanted to structure the book. Which unknowingly I had kind of been building for myself without calling it a book. I had kind of laid out the logic for myself, but then I put that into a book format with chapters. And this is something that I do a lot in my day job. So I was able to apply the narrative skills that we use in our, in our work at Sherpa to the book. So after I laid out the outline for how I wanted the book to flow, it was a matter of filling in the chapters. So I had this outline, I’m like, all right, fill’m in and I just pulled in your channels the way I used to do investment banking. And didn’t stop for four days and I wrote more than half of the draft that long weekend.
Bryan: 00:24:02 That’s amazing. And it sounds so easy. I just had an outline. I just took everything I’ve been learning. I just put it in place and I think in some ways it is. But um, what was the most surprising thing to you that arose either from what you learned or from the process of making the book reality?
Mark: 00:24:20 Well, I think there were surprising things on both ends. I’ve been continually shocked by the things I’m learning about the nature of reality. And mostly surprised at how, how little I knew before I did the research. And then on a broader scale, given that I think my perspective is, is, is one that many others hold the world. That implies that much of the world is completely kind of behind the veil in terms of a lot of aspects of reality that seem to be true. So that just shocked me. It’s like, oh my goodness, I spent this entire part of my life not knowing any of these things, and yet they’ve always persisted and it existed around me and that’s the reality I’m in. So that’s been an interesting adjustment. That’s just kind of on the conceptual piece in terms of what, what has surprised me in the writing process. I went in blind. I said I’m going to write a book and I don’t know anything beyond that. So then I had a draft out of coming out of July 2017, so after July fourth weekend I finished the book. Over the next few weekends. I had the outline, so it was just again, a matter of filling in it. It sounds easy, but I had to, you know, put all my energy into it. I came out of July 2017 with a full draft, manuscript. What surprised me was the process. I just didn’t know how it worked. I was able to get in touch with two scientists who looked at it and they both said, hey, you should get this to a mainstream audience. Which was good because that’s what I, the way I wrote the book initially and I was glad to get that feedback. And then I said, well wait, how do I do that? And then people said, well, you need to, if you want to do that, you can self publish, or you can try to get literary agent to get it to a publisher. Which will help you reach more people potentially. So then I said, oh wow, you have to get a literary agent. I don’t know what that is. And apparently the way it works is you send out query letters to people and send proposals and sample chapters. And what I’ve learned is that typically people do that without having written the book. They write a book proposal and maybe some sample chapters and what they think it will be like. But I guess my, I did it in the reverse order. I wrote the book first and then tried to solicit it. So just like that whole process, I didn’t even know it existed. The whole publishing world was just a new thing for me.
Bryan: 00:26:23 That’s so awesome to me that it worked out that way. Because I think in a lot of ways that’s the dream for everybody who has an idea they want to share. You know, and a couple things come up for me in your, in you sharing the way that all came about. One is I love what you said about channeling, you know that investment maker, the former version of yourself to just grind it out and get it done. Not, not because of the investment banker powering through something. But because there was something you learned or a version of yourself that showed up in a different context to produce an extraordinary result. So that sounds a little, maybe a little a theoretical there, but for anybody listening, what I hope they see in that is, you know, no effort is ever wasted. Anything you learn, any project, any opportunity you pursue, even if you don’t know in the next iteration of yourself, the next evolution of your life, how that could possibly benefit you. You know, it often can come back and what you’re describing now is a beautiful example of that. I think that’s really, really cool.
Mark: 00:27:30 That’s a great point. That’s the way I felt when I was writing it, all of the skills that I had accumulated in different parts of my life that it just didn’t seem meaningful at the time I was using. Whether it’s researching and being able to skim and do citations and like I had to write a thesis in college. Like why did I write a thesis? That there were a lot of different parts of my life that I had to bring together to produce that product.
Bryan: 00:27:50 Yeah, that’s awesome. And it makes me think about that famous saying by W.H. Murray about until one is committed, right? Until one is committed, there’s hesitancy and, and you just, you were like, I’m going to do it. And then all these other kind of, this sounds maybe Californian. Spiritual, this sounds, but these other forces came to your aid, right? Like, I mean, when you, you’re humble. When you say a couple of scientists looked at it, these are some pretty prominent. Is this Dossey and Raiden?
Mark: 00:28:19 Well, Raiden was one of the ones that looked at it initially, but eventually people like Larry Dossey, he endorsed it.
Bryan: 00:28:26 That’s awesome. That’s amazing. And you’re just taking these steps and again, that’s something I hope you know, people listening take some inspiration from is your willingness to pursue an idea to move forward with it. To ask for help, receive the help when it came. And recognizing as much as we think writing is a solitary endeavor and in some ways it is. It’s, it can be very lonely process that it’s very collaborative endeavor as well. Right. Will you talk a little bit about how, how you experienced that?
Mark: 00:28:57 Yeah, that’s a great point. My book I think is a good example of that because I’m compiling research and connecting the dots for people. At least that’s what I was trying to do and then maybe drawing a few logical inferences based on the pieces of data. So it truly was collaborative. There’s over 700 citations in the book. I didn’t run those studies, so I was taking the work that a lot of other people have spent lifetimes on and bringing it together and in that sense it is extremely collaborative.
Bryan: 00:29:21 Yeah, and that’s part of what I love about your book to be honest, is that it’s. I would use the term, I don’t know if you’d call yourself this, but a layman’s description of some pretty extraordinary facts. And I find my, I found it very relatable. I actually had the privilege of finishing your book while I was in Hawaii. So I was able to just read and take some time. And you know, I often say like, although it’s a big question for many people, why do we exist? And that is one of course, one of life’s big questions. I often think about how do we exist? Like it’s how do people not just walk around looking at their hand in ahh all the time, you know. And reading your book was kind of that. It just brought that up again and again with so many of these things that were like, yeah, that’s been researched for decades now and these results are. I would almost use the word I want to use the word impeccable. I mean because this is something that’s so controversial. People who research this go over the top in finding ways to make sure certain controls are in place and things like this. Yet results, and I again, I know I’m speaking abstractly, I want to get a little bit more specific on specifically some of the random number generator results. If you’ll talk about how thinking how thoughts seem to impact random number generator results. Tell us if you will a little bit about that.
Mark: 00:30:43 Sure. So the general phenomenon is known as Psychokinesis. Which is the ability for the mind to have an effect on the physical world around us. Which conventional common sense perspective doesn’t make any sense. Because it’s like, well, I need to touch my table to be able to push it. You mean that the mind can have an effect on things? And in most cases the effects are very, very subtle. And we, we need statistics to see them, like our eyes are not showing us the effects very well. The studies that you’re referring to are other examples of very small but highly statistically significant effects. And at Princeton there was a dean of engineering named Dr Robert John who recently passed away. Um, and he, he had a lab for nearly 30 years where they looked at these phenomena. And because of his stature, they were able to have a lab like this at Princeton. But most places you wouldn’t be able to study these things. But even with the, at Princeton it was controversial. The studies use random number generator machines. So these are just computers that will randomly spit out a zero or one over and over and over again. So when you look at the string of zeros and ones that the machine generates, you end up with 50 percent ones, 50 percent zeroes over a long period of time because it’s totally random. What the experimenters at Princeton have asked people to do is they say, okay, Bryan, you’re somewhere far away from the machine. I want you to put your mental attention to the machine and try to like mentally will it to produce more ones and zeros. And then we’re going to measure the zeros and ones that come out and look at the statistics to see if there’s a deviation beyond what chance would predict. And sure enough what the experimenters have found over and over is that there is a tiny, tiny effect that we have to use statistics to see. But it’s there where there’s slightly more ones and zeros. Which suggests that the mind is having an effect on the physical world even though it’s a small one.
Bryan: 00:32:32 See, like I hear you say that and I’m like, I’m blown away. I mean, it seems like a relatively small thing. And um, by the way, do you read the reviews on your book, on Amazon? Have you done that?
Mark: 00:32:46 I try not to read everything that I have. I have looked at them every now and then.
Bryan: 00:32:50 Yeah, I left one yesterday. I don’t know if Amazon’s cleared, cleared it yet. But I ask because you, if you do, you might’ve seen the one on there. That was like, I don’t know if it was zero stars or one star even though overall it’s five star review, very well reviewed for good reason, but this one review that just dismisses it out of hand. This is, this is pseudoscience cobbled together, Blah Blah Blah. Research that’s already been debunked including the Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, and yet we know that there’s tons of this that’s as valid as any research that’s occurring. Right. But honestly all the way to things like, okay, we don’t know how it works. We see that it’s happening, but we don’t know how the hell it works. So it’s easy to. Because I don’t know if this is in your book or something else I recently read, but it talked about somebody gave, and I believe it was Dr. Radin, the advice to, and again, I could have my story wrong, but maybe you can correct me. That the research ought to be directed to how does it work? Not that it’s occurring. Right? And, and I mean can. Because I think that’s part of why this is dismissed because even though we see it is occurring, we don’t know why it works and they’re like, eh, it’s not real. Is that your experience?
Mark: 00:34:04 Yeah. I think that’s part of it is that people in science don’t have a way to blame the result and therefore they dismiss them. That’s at least one of the reasons people will dismiss them, but that’s not in the book. I have a quote from a scientific journal paper and say, look, look at all these other areas of science. The number of drugs, we don’t understand how they work but they treat illnesses. There’re phenomenon of the human body that we don’t fully understand. Like yawning and other things like that. There are a million examples where we have accepted the phenomenon of being existence, but we can’t explain how they work and yet in some cases that’s a rationale that’s used to put something down. I’m like, well, there’s no mechanism that can explain this, so we have to sweep it under the rug.
Bryan: 00:34:42 Right? Yeah. Which on the one hand, it seems totally normal to me. Like, Oh yeah, human beings would do that. Of course, you know, of course they would dismiss things that they can’t explain, but I think the other part of it, and I’d love to get your view on this, is that we don’t know what to do with it. I was like, okay, great. I see that you know, this professor has been working 30 years in a laboratory and he showed that people can seemingly influence a string of ones and zeros, barely. So it’s like, so what? What does that mean for everyday life? What does that mean for how I could or maybe should live? What’s your view on both maybe why people dismiss these things because they don’t know what to do with it or how we can use it in our own lives?
Mark: 00:35:26 Well, results like that have to be explained by some framework of reality and part of the issue is that the current framework that the universe is made of matter and then everything emerges from matter including consciousness through a human body. Though that idea, that framework not account for these effects. So what these effects, even if they’re small, they imply the need for a reframing of reality. And that’s hard for people to say. We kind of have to scratch the most fundamental beliefs and we’re going to have to rejigger it and I think that’s part of the resistance. But from the everyday life perspective, the implication, and again I think we have to understand these things much better before we can fully drawn out. This is an inference, but the idea is that the mind consciousness is the basis of reality. It means the physical world is a manifestation within consciousness and therefore these effects that we see where consciousness shifts and the physical world shifts and a corresponding way that lines up. What does that mean for everyday life? Well we’re having thoughts all day long. When we have mindset that can be positive or negative or we have an intention for something or another thing, those intentions and thoughts and states of consciousness might be much more powerful than we can actually see with our eyes in the same way that entanglement is occurring. We’re not seeing it because it’s sometimes it’s tiny or things are so far away from each other. We’re not observing it, but the effects are happening. So what’s happening based on the way that our mindset is, is moving. That’s a powerful, powerful idea because it puts the responsibility on every individual.
Bryan: 00:36:52 Yeah, it does. And I think a lot of people aren’t ready for that level or they’re not willing to take that level of responsibility. It’s pretty remarkable. And again, like you’re saying, there’s a lot of things that we see like yawning or the effects of these medications that yeah, we acknowledged they’re there but we don’t know how they work and yet we still use them. And then there’s other phenomena in science right now, you know, like whether a particle is a beam or a wave, you know. These kinds of things that it’s like, it’s totally bizarre to our current level of understanding and yet if we look at the history of human progress, especially scientific progress, it, it’s always been this march from ignorance to awareness. And we keep pushing the boundary a little further and pieces fit together and we hold a theory until it’s disproven and on and on and on. And that’s why what so remarkable to me is that, I mean, and I guess there’s a spectrum because there’s total naivete and gullibility and believe everything. And then on the other end is like utter skepticism, like nothing that couldn’t possibly be true. How do you navigate that spectrum and how do you encourage, like what would you say to others if you could like help them shift that dial a little bit from where they might be aware of society’s kind of set point is? If that makes sense?
Mark: 00:38:09 No, it’s a really important question. Something I think about all the time and I think as the book is out there more and more, I’m probably going to get more feedback from people. But I think the underlying assumption of reality is one that we have to look at. And there’s this assumption that there is an objective world out there and that me and you and each of us individually emerged from it including our consciousness. So to anyone who is skeptical, including my old self about things, and I’m still skeptical of things in general, often ignores the, the premise that is very shaky. Which is that everything that we call objective and out there is always experienced within the mind. It’s always experienced from a subjective point of view. You see a tree over there. It’s experienced in your consciousness. It’s subjectively experienced, so from our own experiential point of life, consciousness is primary. Our eyes show us an external world and that’s how we interpret it, but if we want it to be truly, truly skeptical about things and we wiped out all consciousness in the universe, could we prove that the university exists? If there was nothing there to observe it, we could not technically prove it. So the true skeptic, if one wanted to be a true, true skeptic and be consistent with it, one should be skeptical that there was a material world before consciousness. Which is the baseline assumption of most skeptics, so that one I think is, I don’t know how someone would get around that if they actually looked into the underlying belief system. The truth would say, I can’t prove anything objective outside of my consciousness and therefore if I’m going to be skeptical, consciousness is primary.
Bryan: 00:39:57 It’s interesting to take an argument and basically lay it out in a way and there’s always a response to every argument. It doesn’t matter what it is, how sound it is, who’s expounding it. Although sometimes those things seem to make a difference, but I think again, at the end of this, many people just, they don’t know what it means for their life and so while they might encounter, they might like bump up against these ideas from time to time. They just kind of go back to however they were living before. My experiences until something bad happens, you know, they get a diagnosis, someone near them dies, you know, maybe they lose a job or something like that. And what you’re saying about consciousness being the base being primary I think is, is a truly transformational, uh, insight. If people not only get it but then choose because it’s one thing to understand it and like, yeah, I hear what you’re saying. And in fact, I’m glad you brought that up because I wanted to share this with you. I actually, um, I have, um, I have a mindfulness group that I host here in Salt Lake every once a month. And I actually read your words where you shared that, that, uh, exercise inspired by Rupert Spirit’s work and I invited this group to go through that. And that idea of your experience of the tree, whether you see it, whether you hear the branch break, whether you touch it. Is always, it occurs at first like, oh yeah, that’s over there. But then when you really look at the mechanics of what’s occurring, when you slow it down and you’re like, oh yeah, it’s all inside this consciousness, right? It’s like that is a different. But then again like how do you live? Because I’ve got work to get to. I’ve got groceries to buy, you know, I’ve got kids to take care of this kind of thing. What, how can we more fully live associated with that awareness and why would we want to.
Mark: 00:41:54 Well, I like to go to the near death experience and I have a whole chapter on this in the books and there’s a phenomenon that’s often described called the life review. This gets two questions of meaning I think. And so the near death experience for your listeners who are not as familiar with it. If you had asked me about this awhile ago, I would’ve said, well yeah, I hear that people hallucinate right before they’re about to die and they have this very pleasurable experience. And it’s an evolutionary mechanism that the body has created to comfort someone before they’re about to die. But it’s just a hallucination. And if people see deceased loved ones or they see mystical beings and they have a life review, it’s all just a hallucination caused by the brain And in my chapter I go through those theories about that, the that this is all hallucination and I think it’s a pretty shaky one. The most compelling area is looking at cardiac arrest cases. I think where people are clinically dead. And people like Dr Ben Lamonico cardiologists has studied this and it’s been published in a prominent medical journal. A lancet where a percentage of people in cardiac arrest come back reporting this incredibly lucid experience. When the conventional models of the brain would not predict that, that you would need a functional brain, a very functional brain to have these experiences. And here we’ve got people that are clinically dead with no blood flow into the brain. So if we, if we accept the idea that a near death experience is not a hallucination, but rather it is some lens into the broader reality. Other dimensions or who knows what it’s like, the clouds are removed, the sun is shining through more brightly in that case. Then we’ve got to think pretty seriously about what what happens in this near death experience and what people often report, as I said, as a life review. Where they’re experiencing their whole life in a flash and they’re judging themselves for how they acted towards people. In some cases they experienced that event through the eyes of those that they affected. So it’s like the same consciousness switching lenses and that’s a really powerful idea. If you’re in a life review and you were really mean to somebody and you re-experienced that event through that person’s eyes and you’re like, wow.
Bryan: 00:43:52 It’s going to suck.
Mark: 00:43:52 You’re like, wow, why did I treat that person that way? These people come back into their bodies and what’s really compelling here is that the psychiatrist look at it. They have major behavioral changes after the near death experience. They often get divorced. They changed their professions, their priorities shift, and this gets to your question of like, how do you live? When people achieve these states and then come back into the world. They look at things very differently. It’s not about how big their houses or what kind of car they drive. It is about how they’re treating other people and if it’s truly, if it’s really the case that consciousness is primary and as Erwin Schrodinger has said, the famous Nobel prize winning physicist. He says, in truth, there is only one mind. It’s like we’re one consciousness, one stream of water, which is an analogy that’s used in the book and we’re all kind of whirlpools within that stream. Meaning we’re made of consciousness that we have these, this, the appearance of separation. Then the treatment of others becomes paramount because we’re all the same. Just having different experiences and I think that is like a, that’s a huge thing in terms of how we live.
Bryan: 00:44:52 That’s such a, that’s such a profound shift. That idea of not, again, not only believing but experiencing our oneness. And, and for me, I mean this is something I talk a lot about with, with the clients I coach and you know, the groups I work with. And I myself as I do the thing where I try to anticipate or understand how what I’m saying is landing with my listener. I often judge my own speaking as, oh, that’s pretty out there or that sounds pretty zen. Or yeah, but so what, you know are these, I’m kind of dismissive of, of my own speaking in some way for concern of how it’s heard. And yet in my experience I find when I remain associated to that understanding, I can, I can be present with another person where I can really look at my motives for an interaction with someone. And is this because I want to look good, I want to please them, avoid displeasing them. This kind of thing. If I can just be in the moment doing whatever there is to be done. I mean, it sounds then like the dou, you know. Or, or it is kind of kind of zen. Idea of non doing. And, and when I first, one of the first times that this shift started to open up for me and uh. I have two theories. One, Utah is secretly the center of the universe. Sundance and Summit and Silicon Slopes and all these things. The other is that Tony Robbins is, is actually an enlightened master, right? Because we’re this awareness started to open up for me, was it Tony Robbins Date with Destiny a few years ago. And he brought somebody on stage h.e was working with. And not to ruin it for you, but when he, you know, he brought this guy on stage because at one point in the thing he does is very powerful intervention. I won’t, I won’t say because I hope people just experience it. But this guy is trapped in his thinking like life, decades of, of limited thinking. And at one point Tony says, those aren’t even your thoughts. Those are thoughts in the mind and not your mind, but the mind and that. And Tony didn’t go into it. He didn’t get into the universality of a, like a collective consciousness and all this kind of thing. But as I reflected on that after and some of the things I’ve learned, including some of the things from your book, this idea that we are all separate. That we’re our own little bubble of consciousness I think is absolutely one of the most intense ways that we create and perpetuate suffering in the world. Right? And this idea that all of the thoughts that are occurring are in the mind and perhaps we’re just selecting or tuning in to certain within that and the experience that that can create for empathy, for connection, for understanding, for trust. You know, I mean again, how do you like what, what do you think about that and, and what, what do you say to others that are maybe kind of looking to more fully understand and experience that for themselves?
Mark: 00:47:48 Well, I agree with what you just said. I think a lot of the suffering that we see in the world than many of the problems we see in the world at the core core level stem from this belief that we are separate. And that’s what our eyes seem to show us and what our science, which I think is limited at the moment, is pointing towards. Um, when we look at the emerging science that suggests there’s an interconnectivity that we don’t see with our eyes and that there’s a lot more. So this is a, this is a critical idea. And not just for science and for individuals living on a day to day basis, but it might be, it might be the solution for how we coexist on a planet. Because if you, if you really believe that we’re separate than in the end, people will ultimately look out for their own personal interests. And that leads to, I think we’ve been a society at war basically forever. We can see the results of this and, and I think on a smaller scale we can see it with anxiety and depression and lots of lots of ways that people are not living to their fullest. And to me it from this belief in separation. Which upon examination does not appear to be accurate. So I think this isn’t, this isn’t just a scientific endeavor, an intellectual exercise. This is a very practical thing in terms of how do we exist, who and what are we and what means things, what means something in life and why.
Bryan: 00:48:59 And yet property rights still exist and I’ve got the title to my car, but you don’t, you know, and this is my ipad but not yours. You know. So I, I, it seems like we’re at this point in life where were these kind of spiritual plate tectonics are bumping up against each other, you know. And what, how do we navigate it or what’s going to be the result? I guess that’s part of the mystery
Mark: 00:49:23 That’s part of the mystery and you kind of laid out the paradox. It’s like, yeah, there’s interconnectivity at the most fundamental level that we don’t see, but what we experienced and see is separation. So how do those two things align and how do we exist in a world where we’re kind of forced to be separate in a way and yet experienced the interconnectivity. Yeah. I don’t know the answer.
Bryan: 00:49:44 I like to think we’re figuring it out together. I like to think that. Okay. So I have just a couple more questions of my own personal curiosity before, before I switch gears here. One thing I was a little surprised in, to be honest, disappointed you didn’t talk about in your book was, if you did not much, is dreams. Right? Because dreams are along these lines. And I know it wasn’t like an omnibus of all the world’s most fantastic phenomenon or anything. But it seems right in line with so much of what you’re saying. Right? And, and for me personally, I’ve had the experience where I’ve dreamed something and the next day it happened. Exactly as I dreamed it. And, and I’m wondering, I’m, I imagine you had to have come across a lot of that in your research. What, why didn’t you include it as like a major portion of what you did? And then I asked and then I want to ask you what your thoughts about dreams are and the potential value they have.
Mark: 00:50:44 So dreams come up and in two areas. One is in telepathy studies, which shows that people in a, in a dream state are able to receive information apparently based on some studies that were done a few decades ago. Um, so there’s something that seems to be something about the dream state or a meditative trance state that allows people to receive information telepathically. And another area is what you just described, precognitive dreams where people are are knowing something that happens in vivid detail before it happens. And Larry Dossey tells a story that I recall in the book where he, he had like vivid details the night before if something that happened the next day when he was in the hospital as a conventional doctor and it really rocked him. And there’ve been a few studies that have looked at precognitive dreams, but it’s just, there haven’t been that many studies. So I think the reason, the things that I included in the book were the ones where I had the most evidence or really interesting anecdotal cases. But if there wasn’t anything beyond it, I wasn’t going to go there at least in this book because I wanted to keep it super tight. I think the area of dreams, it’s just not that well understood. I think my answer is I don’t. I don’t know. It seems like it’s an altered state of consciousness in the same way that meditation and altered state or a psychedelic state is altered. A near death experience is. Altered. And what does that mean? Are we tapping into like a different frequency almost if our brains and antenna or tuning into a different station? The answer is I don’t know, but the dream state is a state of awareness, like the consciousness that is here right now that is aware and sort of untouched by the world that is just experiencing it. It’s the same one that is experiencing and witnessing the dream. It’s just different contents that are coming up in the dream state.
Bryan: 00:52:19 Yeah, you’re right. Like we don’t as a society, we don’t understand it. We don’t talk about it all that much. And yet I tend to think that’s just our own paradigm from whatever Judeo Christian, capitalistic, democratic, you know, worldview and certainly not all the world is that way. But our culture and especially here in America is that way. I had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador a few times over the last few years and participate with the Achuar tribe in some of their dream ceremonies. And to see that they believe that the dream world is as real as this world. I mean, like you’re saying maybe a different, you know, it’s the same awareness experiencing it, but it’s just interesting to me to see how they see it and use it and experience it in ways that we just kind of, we wake up and it’s like, yeah, that was weird.
Mark: 00:53:09 And it happens every night.
Bryan: 00:53:10 Yeah. And it happens every night. It’s totally, it’s totally bizarre and amazing. Okay. So that was, that was one. And then a couple of weeks ago when I started researching for this interview, I looked on your Sherpa bio and I know the book new. But it, I didn’t see that it mentioned you had written it yet and I wanted to ask you what’s this been like for your partners? That you’re exploring and talking about things that are probably not the standard conversation in Silicon Valley firm like that.
Mark: 00:53:40 Well, number one, I would say they’re separate worlds that the business world, this is what I, it’s like my day job and then this is for fun. Um, but they’ve been very supportive and I think part of the reason they’re supportive is that what I’m doing here is not that dissimilar from the work that we do. We advise companies on intellectual property matters and patents in particular. So we do business work like an investment banker will help companies transact things, buy and sell patents or give strategic advice. And the nature of a new invention is one where someone has challenged an old paradigm. And this was the way things were done and I’m seeing, this is my invention over what’s known as the prior art. So what I’m doing is exactly what everything. It’s like it’s just a replica of what we see all the time and we are very supportive of new innovations because we see the pattern. So from their perspective it’s kind of like, oh, well mark just applied everything that we do to this other area that he’s interested in. And the way the book is structured, the way the research is done, that’s how we do things for clients. Um, so I, I think they have been supportive and there is some overlap there. And it’s still early, like the book’s only been out for a few months. It’ll be interesting to see what new clients. Oh wait, you’re the guy that wrote that book on consciousness and see how it plays in.
Bryan: 00:54:58 What’s your view on tarot cards?
Mark: 00:55:02 My inclination is that it’s a way of, um, intuition potentially manifesting itself in ways that we don’t understand. I don’t know if it works all the time. I’ve just heard of so many cases where it seems to be telling of something beyond chance. That it might be this just a version of presentiment manifesting itself in another way. Um, so I think it’s something that probably should be explored in the context of intuition. But I’m not sure if there’ve been any studies on it.
Bryan: 00:55:33 Yeah. Just on this for a moment. I sometimes think about the idea that if you get a brand new box of playing cards and you unwrap it and you start to shuffle it even without looking at the cards, that the subconscious mind knows the position of every one of those cards. You know, we know how the manufacturer organize them. We know at some level, even when they’ve been shuffled exactly how they’ve been ran, randomized and maybe that’s a part of have this intuitive aspect where like we were saying earlier in the conversation, intuition is just knowing. It’s like knowing without any kind of a logical process to arrive, but you still know. Right. And so to hear you talk about tarot maybe being this kind of a similar idea that it can be a tool for, you know, a presentiment or something. Not that there’s any inherent, you know, like magic to the cards or anything like that.
Mark: 00:56:31 Yeah, I mean I think we just have to look at all these things that might have been totally dismissed in a new light and say here’s a hypothesis for how it could make sense that people have been doing these things for so long. But it’s like no one’s, no one’s looking at it scientifically. Of the, of the, the out there stuff, I think tarot is probably close to the bottom. It’s already out there enough to talk about telepathy, but I mean I think it should be explored at some point. I don’t, I don’t really know.
Bryan: 00:56:56 Yeah, I mean I like to say it’s not a ouija board. At least it’s not, you know. Although there’s some interesting stories about that too, but. Okay. So what I want to do now, and I know I’m going to have a couple more questions that pop back up because we didn’t talk about. We didn’t talk much about psychedelics and, and that, and maybe I’ll ask you a couple of things about that, but I do want to. I do want to shift gears a little bit. It’s about extraterrestrial life and I’m not, I’m not. I guess maybe I am trying to get a little bit out there and I’ll just preface this by saying I remember when I read Carl Sagan, Cosmos and in his book he does this mathematical probability about the likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe. And after reading that I was like, you’d have to be an idiot to think. It’s not like it’s at least not possible. Right. And, and I don’t know how, if at all, that would factor into any of what you’re talking about, about the fundamental unity of, you know, everything and consciousness being all pervasive. But again, what’s your thought about extraterrestrial life and how that might factor into anything that you’re talking about?
Mark: 00:58:02 Well, it’s not something I’ve studied quite as much, although it does come up with people that do remote viewing, which is seeing something at a distance. They often talk about it in states of DMT, which is this type of psychedelic. People talk about seeing other beings. So there are reports of this all over the place and it’s another area of study. But the way I think about it, number one is kind of along the same lines as Carl Sagan. If you just look at the numbers and how big this universe is, it’s almost egocentric to think that we are the only form of life that exists in this entire universe. It’s like when we used to think the earth was the center of everything. So to me, just like probabilistically, I would guess that there is other life beyond life on earth. What that looks like or how advanced it is, I don’t know.
Bryan: 00:58:39 Sure. Yeah. Especially because consciousness is not limited to earth.
Mark: 00:58:45 Yes, exactly. And that gets to your, the other part of your question of how would that fit in, is life beyond this planet or even beyond and things like that. To me, everything is just a, uh. Everything in the physical, an expression of consciousness, consciousness expressing itself through different vehicles and that would apply to any form of life. Whether it’s life on this planet or life elsewhere or life and other dimensions, it’s just consciousness having an infinite diversity of experiences.
Bryan: 00:59:15 Fascinating. Okay. Thank you for entertaining my personal curiosities here. Alright, so now what I want to do is I want to ask you a few short answer questions. You can answer them as long as you want. I’ve designed them for myself to just read them and let you answer. So are you ready for the lightning round? Okay. Number one, please complete the following sentence with something other than a box of chocolates. Life is like a blank.
Mark: 00:59:47 A stream of water.
Bryan: 00:59:50 Okay. Number two, what something at which you wish you were better?
Mark: 00:59:57 Concentrating when I read without losing focus.
Bryan: 01:00:00 Number three, if you were required everyday for the rest of your life to wear a t-shirt with a slogan on it or a phrase or a saying or a quote or a quip, what would the shirt say?
Mark: 01:00:10 I love that Erwin Schrodinger quote. In truth, there is only one mind.
Bryan: 01:00:15 Me too. Number four, what book other than your own, have you gifted or recommended most often?
Mark: 01:00:25 Letting Go, by Dr David Hawkins, the pathway of surrender.
Bryan: 01:00:30 Why
Mark: 01:00:31 He was an amazing individual and that he was arguably, he arguably reached dates and enlightenment, enlightenment, consciousness, and he was a prominent psychiatrist before that.
Bryan: 01:00:44 Okay. Number five, you travel a ton. What’s one travel hack, something you do or something you take with you when you travel that makes your travel less painful and or more enjoyable?
Mark: 01:00:56 So I have a roller carry on that I take with me and a backpack that usually has my laptop. The back back has a strap on it that goes around the, the roller so that I can roll them together. When you lift up the handle on the roller, that leads an area where on the backpack you can just drop it on there so I don’t have to carry the backpack on my back and roll it separately. I can just roll everything on one.
Bryan: 01:01:21 Smart. Awesome. Okay. What’s one thing you’ve started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
Mark: 01:01:32 I have a pretty strict diet now so I, I avoid things like grains and dairy. Um so very paleo ish kind of diet and I didn’t before and I feel much better.
Bryan: 01:01:43 How long have you been doing that?
Mark: 01:01:45 About two years.
Bryan: 01:01:48 I’ll bet. I’ll bet.
Mark: 01:01:50 Well, when I was exploring all of these topics, I, I worked with acupuncturists and I did the full gamut of personal exploration. And it was one of those things that was coming up over and over again and one of the, the eastern medicine individuals I was working with was suggesting a dietary shift. So at that point I was willing to try anything as long as it didn’t seem like totally toxic and I think I was having too much sugar and gluten anyway. Um, so at first it was pretty tough. I was getting headaches because I think I was addicted to sugar probably. And over time it became easier and easier and I think it’s a pretty healthy way of eating.
Bryan: 01:02:24 I agree. What’s your meat consumption like these days?
Mark: 01:02:27 Pretty high. Pretty high, which I know goes against kind of like the raw vegan mentality, but I don’t know the answer. I’ve heard of people who, who are kind of high in meat and it works for them. So I think it probably depends on the person and they’re probably cons that go along with anything and it’s just a matter of degree of how bad is it? Toxic. Is it to the individual’s body?
Bryan: 01:02:47 Yeah, for sure. Um number seven. What’s one thing you wish every American knew?
Mark: 01:02:55 That the number two question according to Science magazine is, as they phrase it, what is the biological basis of consciousness? And in Layman’s terms, the question is how is it that our physical brain like I can touch my head, I can touch my arm, I can’t touch my consciousness. How does the physical brain producing non physical consciousness? The open secret is that science has no idea how that could happen. And as you now know, what I argue is I don’t think it happens. Consciousness doesn’t come from the brain, but I think it’s important from a mainstream perspective to acknowledge. We have no idea where consciousness comes from.
Bryan: 01:03:30 Yeah. Okay. Number nine. I’m sorry. Number eight. What piece of advice did your parents give you that has impacted you or stayed with you?
Mark: 01:03:45 I’m not sure if it’s a discreet piece of advice. It’s more kind of a way of being. And it’s a way of. It’s about treating people well no matter who they are.
Bryan: 01:03:53 Yeah. I wish everyone had parents like that. Number nine. I know, I know the best time to ask a woman if she wants another child is not right after she’s given birth, but I’m going to ask anyway. What’s your next big project?
Mark: 01:04:11 I’m currently working on a podcast and I’ve conducted interviews already that had been recorded with nearly 50 people and many of them are the ones that I discussed in my book. Scientists, people that have had near death experiences and what I’ll be doing is making the information available just in a different format. So this is a big project and I’m actually recording this interview from Southern California where I’m meeting with my producers of the podcast and I hope it will come out in the first half of 2019.
Bryan: 01:04:37 Awesome. So what do you intend to call the podcast or what you at least, what your working title?
Mark: 01:04:43 We’re not sure yet. Still working that through maybe later today.
Bryan: 01:04:47 Okay, awesome. And you expect it will release sometime in the next 90 days? A hundred 80 days? Sometime in the first half of 2019?
Mark: 01:04:54 Yeah.
Bryan: 01:04:55 Awesome. Okay, great. And that leads to this next question. Um, if people want to learn more from you or connect with you or they want to stay tuned for this podcast, what should they do?
Mark: 01:05:07 My website is a good place to start and it’s just my name Mark Gober, M A R K G O B E R .com and it has information on my book which is called An End to Upside Down Thinking. And that’s accessible on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, many bookstores. But also it will have information on my podcast. Currently it’s kind of a blank page that says to come. And my mailing list, we’ll be announcing it on that. Uh, so you can sign up on my website, but also social media. We’ll be announcing it everywhere.
Bryan: 01:05:33 Awesome. Okay. And then I’m going to, I do have a few more questions about, about writing and, and that the creative process. Before I get to that, I do want to say this here to make sure I say it. As a way of saying thank you for sharing your time and your experience and expertise. Um, one of the things I’ve done is I’ve gone on Kiva.org and I’ve made a micro loan to an entrepreneur in India named Ellea who will use this $100 to purchase more patty rice from the fields to expand her patty business. So I just wanted to let you know that in just a few more little details of interest. She’s 30 years old, she has a household of four members and her annual monthly income is about $125.
Mark: 01:06:18 Thank you Bryan. That’s so nice.
Bryan: 01:06:21 Oh, it’s my pleasure. I’m glad to be able to do it. Okay. So I want to shift now and go to, as I said, um, some of the questions related to the actual act of getting this book written and published and read and the creative process itself. Um, I do want to start with that question. I asked about the podcast, about the, the working title. I know you wrote it in a relatively short amount of time, but did you have a title in mind as you were writing and in whether or not you did, did. What was the discussion of the title like how did that come about and why did you end up with what you did?
Mark: 01:06:57 Title was, was after the book was already written in and basically finalized. So I was writing it to me. What I was finding in the research is that the big question was consciousness in the brain does the brain consciousness. We know consciousness exists, we know the brain’s related to it. Is the brain producing it or is it receiving it and filtering it. So everything I did was kind of focused towards that point and that’s why I wrote the book because there are a lot of reasons that that’s an important idea. I didn’t have a title in mind as I was doing it. Um, I, I, I wrote the first draft. I ended up signing with an agent and then spending some time revising it on my own. And then my, my agent who’s also now my publisher then read the full thing of the. Previously he just read a few chapters and I was pumped because he said, this is, let’s publish it as it is. And I was hoping he wouldn’t want to change it too much, so that was really good and it was a matter of coming up with a title that would really work well. Um, so a lot of, a lot of the inspiration for the title, I mean this, this is my agent who’s been in the industry for a long time. And what he, he looked at the triangles in the beginning of the book and the preface where I lay out what materialism is the conventional view. The Universe is made of matter. We start with matter, and we work our way to consciousness. We had chemistry than biology than a human with a brain. And then consciousness at the top. The contrast that I draw in the book is, well, let’s keep the triangle intact, but let’s move consciousness to the bottom rather than at the very top. So consciousness isn’t the byproduct of matter, not the byproduct of the brain, but it is fundamental. That is ending upside down thinking. When you look at those triangles next to each other, materialism matter creates consciousness is upside down. It’s consciousness is primary to matter. So that was, I think it’s a really creative way of looking at taking that idea and what I like about it is that it doesn’t get into the crazy stuff. It’s upside down thinking it’s kind of a general term without necessarily scaring someone away.
Bryan: 01:08:56 Some titles right themselves. It’s rare, but a lot of things about the way your project unfolded I think are are rare, which is cool. How, so I heard you say at the beginning when I asked you who you wrote this for, that in a way you kind of wrote it for yourself. I mean people like you, right? Who were where you were in life. How aware were you as you were drafting of the reader who would be reading?
Mark: 01:09:21 Very aware. It was written for the readers. I mean I, I wrote every sentence thinking about how a reader, what would interpret it and would the sentence work for a person that doesn’t know much about science and at the same time will it work for heads of academia. Because I want to, I want to hit all those, the audiences. So I really was trying to simplify things as much as possible. Use simple language and analogies where possible in some cases things are naturally abstract and there’s only so much you can do. But it was top of mind as I was writing it was, okay, I have this information, how am I synthesizing it through this body brain to get it on the, on the computer screen in a way that anyone can understand it.
Bryan: 01:10:03 And I think you succeeded admirably, as I talked about before, is very relatable. It’s very, it’s very real. Um, talk, talk me through your process to go from, I’m not sure how early to start research, organizing, outlining, drafting, editing, you know, take me through the creative process. How did you conceive of it? How did you map it out and then how did you work through that as a process?
Mark: 01:10:31 As I mentioned earlier, the first step was an outline of like, how do I want this book to look? And the way it’s structured is there’s a preface which actually came later. It started with just an introduction and I wanted to have the preface, which basically now lays out the fundamental premise of the book in the beginning, which I think helps them contextualize everything that comes after. So the preface came at that. I wrote it at the end, but it is the first thing that someone reads. There’s an introduction which I think lays out the ideas and then before getting into all the evidence, there are two chapters that are called laying the foundation. Which prime the reader with some of the big questions about consciousness and then at the same time looking at things in reality like quantum physics and general relativity. Which we know are real and are totally mind blowing. So after we’ve laid that foundation of we have these questions, there are other ways of looking at the brain and consciousness and our reality isn’t what we think. Now let’s look at number of phenomena. Phenomena are divided into two sections. One of the types is psych, so there’s a chapter on remote viewing which is seeing something with your mind that’s far away, telepathy, mind to mind, communication, precognition note in the future before it happens, animals that exhibit these abilities and psychokinesis which is mind affecting matter. So that’s a section of evidence all under label of kind of like psychic or wizard like abilities. Then there’s another section of evidence that is on the idea that consciousness survives when the body dies. Which conceptually make sense because of consciousness isn’t dependent on the physical. Then we would predict that consciousness wouldn’t die when the body dies. The evidence in those chapters is in near death experiences, is in after death communication. So things like medium ship, people who can communicate with the deceased. And then a chapter on research from the University of Virginia, the division of perceptual studies, young children who have memories of a life that is not theirs. And sometimes they have birthmarks and physical deformities that match how they describe dying. It’s totally crazy area, but it’s the, these are areas of consciousness surviving bodily death. So they’re the two sections on evidence. And then the last section is kind of bringing it all together. The second to last chapter is like, wait, how could this stuff be real? Is it real? How do we evaluate all this evidence and look at it, how do we look at the dynamics and science and like if this is real, how could it be that somebody smart people have missed it? So kind of the dynamics. Then the very last chapter is more of the implications for everyday life. Okay, let’s accept that this is real. If we’ve gotten to that point where we say this is the most probable view of reality, that consciousness is primary, then what are some of the rippling implications for who and what we are and how we think about space and time and identity. And it kind of leads the reader at the very end we’re thinking about implications for world peace and this interconnectivity piece. So the way I structured the book was to start off with the premise of like what’s the premise of the book? And then work the evidence base all the way to the end. Which then allowed me to talk about implications. If I talked about those implications early on, I know my old self would have just put the book down because it wouldn’t have made sense. So the way I thought about this was to build the evidence base to then make those pieces of implications, kind of just logical steps based off of what the evidence shows.
Bryan: 01:13:45 So there’s a great logic to it. And as you describe it again, it sounds so easy. Um, what was your process like of actually getting that down? Did you have any kind of thought partners that you would bounce ideas off of? Did you organize your ideas in something like Evernote or Trello? Did you do it on a yellow pad? Like how did you actually start to capture an organized to the point that you felt ready to fill in this outline?
Mark: 01:14:15 Well, the outline itself I think has probably been working itself out in my head for about a year. And, this goes back to my point about my day job is that this is what I do for a living. We take a bunch of complicated data and have to very quickly come up with a narrative. So my training for this was in all of my client work and this is our firm was spun out of the Boston consulting group, which is one of the largest consulting firms in the world. So what we do is very much like ECG where we, we, we frame issues and create narratives. So I was trained for this to say like, all right, here’s this data ark, you got to make a presentation for board of directors. So for me, that’s where the training really came in. It’s just, it was just another version of that problem. Um, and the way I did it was I wrote it down on a piece of white paper. I had like a piece of printer paper and drew it out. I think I have it somewhere and I, I kind of had the sections drawn out in squares and like divided things up and I drew lines in between the chapters. So I tried to like make it visual for myself of what the flow would look like and had words like psychokinesis. And the ultimate structure of the book was pretty close to the outline that I started with.
Bryan: 01:15:23 Wow. That’s so awesome. How did you navigate the same creative quandary? We all, everyone who’s committed to producing the finish work inevitably runs up against, which is, this is, this is never gonna work. It’s nobody’s going to read it. It’s, you know, like all the other negative self talk that inevitably comes up. How did you manage to keep your psychology in a way that allows you to finish?
Mark: 01:15:52 I didn’t have negative self talk with this.
Bryan: 01:15:55 What!
Mark: 01:15:55 Because I really didn’t. I, I, you know, thinking about it, I want it to get the book done. I had read so much and done so much research that I saw there was a big gap in the literature. That there are books written by PhDs and their books were written by people that are psychic that like a scientist would never read and there wasn’t anything in the middle for the mainstream population. So I felt really good about its position and had no idea how the book was going to get out there, but I felt I just felt good about it the whole time. This was going to get out and I, I even if I had to self publish or however was going to go, I wasn’t worried about it.
Bryan: 01:16:30 That is awesome that you’re honestly, you’re the first one. You’re the first author I’ve talked to when I’ve asked that question. That’s a response because it seems to be such a natural part of the creative process. Like this is. Yeah, maybe it’ll work, but I don’t know and maybe it will be worth it, but I don’t know. You know,
Mark: 01:16:48 I think maybe for me, Bryan, part of it is that it’s not my day job. Is that I never intended on being an author and I don’t even consider myself an author now even though the book’s out. It’s like not my primary thing. So it was kind of like this is a passion project. I think it’s really important beyond mark, it’s not really about how well the book does for me because this is like society shifting stuff and that’s how I was looking at it the whole time. So maybe part of it is that it was less about me, like my name’s on it, but it’s really compiling research and just connecting dots for people. So for me it’s probably a lot of the pressure off me because it’s not really me in that sense.
Bryan: 01:17:20 Yeah, I can see that. And again, tomorrow, another Tonyism, you know. What Tony Robbins will say, “life supports whatever supports more life.” And this idea that you’re working. I mean not to try to sound like old magnanimous and everything, but in some ways I think it’s really true that this is a message that really does elevate all life. And so it doesn’t particularly surprise me that you’re saying, you know, I didn’t really run into that kind of resistance in a way I just, I saw an opening, you know, I saw the potential benefit. Just organize it and did it.
Mark: 01:17:52 Right. I think the biggest um, obstacle that I faced or I think worry, was that the book would be changed. And before I even had a publisher or a literary agent that was kind of one of my guiding principles is that I wasn’t going to do anything that would compromise the book because I’m not an author. I don’t need to be doing this and I’m going to write the book that I want to write. Unfortunately, my agent and now publisher read it and said, don’t change it. So it was interesting in the editing process because there is an editor at the publishing house, Waterside, who’s really talented and we had to. We gave him a difficult assignment which is read this manuscript from an author who’s never written a book before and wrote this book on a whim. We don’t want you to change the content but still do your editing job. And he did a really careful job of not changing the book but pointing things out of like, did you explain this well enough or check this or typos here and there without actually changing it too much. And I remember being super nervous before I got the book back from the editor. Yeah. In the Spring of like, I don’t know what this is going to look like. I’ve got to edit who knows how many pages in word and go through every one of these comments and make sure I’m cool with it before we send the book to the media. So that was actually the most stressful part.
Bryan: 01:19:02 So hearing the way that you produce the book, this might sound like a silly question, but did you have anything that you used as a gauge to help ensure a minimum productivity procession? Like a page count or word count or anything like that during your working sessions? Or did you really just power through like you sat down and just gave everything every time and then you knew when you were done. Like that’s very rare, but did you have anything like that?
Mark: 01:19:32 No, it was more of like there was an end goal of completing book where this outline is fault. It’s fully filled in and until I’m there I’m not satisfied because I was like, my body was shutting down. It would be like midnight or something and I would have to go to bed and I was upset about it because I knew there was a chapter that I could finish, but I didn’t have the physical energy to do it. So I forced myself to sleep a little bit. It was, it was literally like this has got to get done and I couldn’t relax until it was done.
Bryan: 01:19:58 Wow. It sounds like both a blessing and a curse, you know, that I think a lot of people wish they had that. I mean, I know I do sometimes on my projects. I wish I had such a sustained and driving passion that it was like, I forget to eat, I’m going to sleep, you know, and, and. It brings up this thing for me too, um, just like a personal question about other people who are listening to this that have a spouse that have kids that have responsibilities that might be going, oh well Mark could do that, you know. Like, I mean, are you married? Do you have kids? You have pets? Do you have anything?
Mark: 01:20:34 No, so that’s a unique part of the situation. I’m not married, no kids, so I was able to really, to focus all my energy.
Bryan: 01:20:44 See, I think. I think that’s beautiful and I think whatever situation people find themselves in is beautiful and I hope that people don’t even see. Even as I’m saying this, I’m hearing how it’s likely to land, but I hope that people don’t use their situation as a like as an excuse. Whatever their situation is and is. Like, oh yeah, Mark could do that. He’s not married, doesn’t have kids, you know, he could, he could take the fourth of July weekend and sequestered himself and get something done. But I think just having talked to a lot of people both who’ve written books and want to write books, that we find all kinds of things to hide behind. And yet you, you didn’t use anything else that could have been an excuse to not get it done. What advice do you have for others who might not be in your situation but still want to get something meaningful, produced?
Mark: 01:21:32 Having long periods of uninterrupted time if possible? It’s really helpful to have the momentum. It’s hard when you stop and start. And I’ve always found this for myself when I, when I’ve studied or done any work, so even if you’re in a situation where you have tons of familial obligations or whatever, uh, I think blocking off a large chunk of time is super helpful for it. And then beyond that I think one has to really think about why am I doing this? For me it was very clear why I was writing the book. As someone who doesn’t consider himself an author, I, there was something that I wanted to accomplish with the book. I want it to make this information available. I wanted for me it was a difficult process of learning this stuff for a year and I had to really look at lots of different sources. I want it to bring that together for people. So in one book they could do it rather than spend a year and you know, kind of wiping out social life and things like that. I wanted to make that accessible. So I had very clear goals in mind when I was doing it. And I think that would help any potential author of like, wait, why am I doing this? And then once you have those goals, then you, you, everything you do is in that direction. So being clear on your kind of compass.
Bryan: 01:22:37 Yeah. That’s like, what’s that saying? I’ve heard attributed to Roy Disney. It’s similar for me when he says, when you know what your values are, it’s easy to make decisions, right? When you know what your priorities are, your outcomes or your goals or your commitments, then everything else just kind of orders itself. If you’re really clear and you’re really committed. Amazing. Okay. Again, it sounds so easy, but life is often messy. What was your favorite part of the creative process?
Mark: 01:23:02 Well, so when I wrote the book and I had a draft coming out in July 2017, I wanted the book to be out there. I wanted it out. I was like, I’ll just make it available for free. I want this book to be out. And then I was advised for a lot of reasons that’s not a good idea to do it. So I had to wait and that was not fun. The waiting process from July 2017 to the October 2018 publication, I wanted that book out. There was a long time to wait when you really want it out. So that was, that was tough for me. That was really tough and in some ways like anticlimactic in the sense that it didn’t come out when I wanted it to, but for reasons that make sense, like it could not have come out in the summer of 2017, but in that process. So from July 2017 through the publications, one of the coolest parts for me was when people started to endorse the book. Because I’m a business person and then people like Dean Radin and Larry Dossey and Ervin Laszlo is a Nobel peace prize nominee. People who have been in the field, they read the book and I wrote it kind of in isolation. They acknowledged it and they, they basically were saying yes to this. So that was really helpful validation for me of like, okay, I thought I was. I was hitting the right points and they’re helping validate it and that makes me think that when the book comes out, people, people with an open mind will appreciate it.
Bryan: 01:24:18 What would you have done if they hadn’t endorsed it?
Mark: 01:24:22 You mean if they read it and said, no, I would have questioned things a lot more because these are people I respect and have spent many more years in the field than I have, so that would have caused me to really question the book and I would have had to look at things carefully.
Bryan: 01:24:35 Tell me about the tools, the technological tools that you used. Did you draft this in Word? Did you do something else? Like how did you do that and how did you organize within it? Because I think for many people, organization is actually the excuse they used to not move things forward.
Mark: 01:24:53 I wrote it in Word and there might be a better way to do it. I just, I don’t know any differently. That’s how I do things in my day job and I did it in school, so I just opened up a Word document. I would save it all the time and I would email it to myself with each new thing that I wrote to make sure I had the right versions because I’ve had disasters before where something gets lost. I think saving the document over and over again, saving it as a new document so you know what’s been changed. So I have so many versions because I saved it a million times and emailed it to myself. So many times there’s a page divided function in Word, I forget exactly how it works, but it’s a way to separate sections. Um, um, so that when you’re continuing to write it, it maintains the integrity of the section as like an individual piece. So that was one of the ways I organized it, but really it was a table of contents in the beginning and then section dividers where the font was really large. So that personally I could see it in the typesetter later is the one that made it formatted for an actual book. But when I was scrolling through, I could then see, okay, this is section one. Because when you’re dealing with a huge document and your scrolling back and forth, that can be kind of interesting. Um also having subsections within chapters was helpful for me and that’s just the way I like to think and I think for the reader can be helpful to have a break of like this is what these few paragraphs are about and have that in bold above the section. So it’s like having a section and then chapters within the section and then within each of the chapters there are subsections and then at the end of each chapter I had a chapter summary which is in bullet point format. Because there’s a lot of information and it’s kind of dense and I want people to be able to say, okay. First of all it’s a refresher, but for someone who doesn’t necessarily want to read the whole chapter, you can read the chapter summary and basically see what it’s about.
Bryan: 01:26:39 My experience is once you have that structure, things get a lot easier. Right? But sometimes getting the structure kind of flushed out and feeling confident that that’s not going to change.
Mark: 01:26:52 But also being open to the fact that it could change and that it didn’t happen with as much with this book, but it’s happened so many times professionally with narratives. We start off with one way we look at it and we’re like, none of the board’s not going to understand it while that way. So we switch it around. So I think being open to switching things is an important thing for an author.
Bryan: 01:27:08 Yeah, I think you’re right. What’s your opinion about what makes for great sentence and how we can write more of them?
Mark: 01:27:17 I think a good, a great sentence is one where every word is there for a reason and that’s something that I tried to do. I would say, well why is that word there? Is it needed? And is it, is it saying, is it saying things in the order in which someone can understand it? It’s kind of a vague way of saying things, but like you can, you can have an idea and to me it’s best to create a sentence where the content flows with the way a person’s mind flows. Where the information and the facts are are aligning with how people think. So the sequencing of words is what I’m getting at. Making sure that each word is is, is carefully selected and has a reason for the way it’s for using that word rather than another one. And then the order to align with personal psychology.
Bryan: 01:28:09 And how do you know?
Mark: 01:28:10 Maybe that’s an instinct thing. Yeah, I think it’s instincts.
Bryan: 01:28:14 I think. I think you’re right and what I think about is we talk about that question. The answer to that question also is the advice I hear from a lot of authors about. Read a lot. If you want to write, if you want to be great writer, read great writing, right? Tell me who’s influenced you as a writer beyond the content and the material that you’ve included, but actual people that you look to you admire. Maybe you’ve learned something specific from. Who would you include on that list?
Mark: 01:28:42 I mentioned David Hawkins book Letting Go, The Pathway of Surrender. I really like his writing a lot and his books are written often in a question answer format. The last two chapters in my book were written as question answers and that I got that idea from David Hawkins. Where it’s like, what’s the question that the reader would be asking? And that’s the section header and then the answer comes bellow it. I think it makes it an interactive format. So I liked the way he does that in his writing. Other writers don’t know if I have anything. It was more of a general vibe of having read so many books in this area and some are just hard to digest. I knew what they’re getting at, but it just took a lot of effort for me to read it. Whereas others I could read it almost seamlessly and know what was being said. So I kind of used that as a, uh, just a, a way to measure my writing. When I would reread things like, is that flowing in the way that. I’m trying to think of examples. I think Dean Radin does a pretty good job and again, I’m kind of biased towards the scientists that I’ve read about. Um, but for some scientists, Dean Radin writing is really comprehensible relative to some of the others.
Bryan: 01:29:50 I haven’t read any of his books yet, but I like that, you know, you’ve turned me on to all these other thinkers that I now get to go explore.
Mark: 01:29:58 I’m really glad to hear that. That’s what I wanted to do. Is that I was hoping people would read my book and say, Oh wow, Larry Dossey’s book One Mind, that sounds interesting. Larry Dossey’s another one who’s, who’s a good writer, but I didn’t. I didn’t model my writing off of any one person. It was not like I’m going to write the book like these people. I’m, I said I’m going to write the book so that random person X who’s never heard of these things before and doesn’t know much about science or physics can understand the sentence. That was my set of guidelines for myself.
Bryan: 01:30:26 I can see that reading it because again, it is a very readable book. I wasn’t going. What did he mean by that or what’s that about? You know. What’s an early experience where you learned that language has power.
Mark: 01:30:41 You’re making me recall my ninth grade English teacher. I remember he was just speaking, talking to the class and I was like, wow, that guy speaks so well. He uses the English language like I’ve never heard before. And it was super impressive to me and I think that stuck with me. I’m like, if I could speak or write like that guy, that would be amazing.
Bryan: 01:30:59 I’ll bet you probably have learned to do that. What do you think?
Mark: 01:31:04 Maybe? I haven’t thought about it until now. Maybe, maybe on a subconscious level. That’s Kinda been my, my, the bar that I’ve held myself to.
Bryan: 01:31:11 What’s the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Mark: 01:31:14 I bought a lot of books and the way I approached the process, and again, I’m in a position where I have a job, so it’s. This is kind of a leisurely activity for me. That any book that was in the realm of interest, order on Amazon. Click, send and I like books. I don’t like electronic books. For me personally, I like to be able to hold it and then fold pages and underlying things. So I have so many physical books and I spent. I spent money on it. It was an investment to buy all those books, but it was very much worth.
Bryan: 01:31:43 It makes me think of Jefferson’s statement, “I cannot live without books.” I love that.
Mark: 01:31:50 My mom came to my apartment and saw the books because she hadn’t seen me in that period. Like, wait, you never liked reading that much and it was. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t found something that I was so passionate about. This topic really got me passionate. I wanted to read because I wanted to know. It wasn’t that I wanted to read. It’s that I wanted to know and reading was medium.
Bryan: 01:32:07 I think that’s the really the basis of all is my personal opinion. Just kind of my theory that all the great creations in life are an end in themselves. It’s because you were curious. You wanted to know you just enjoyed it or whatever, not because you wanted to be famous or you know you wanted to earn a bunch of money or anything. And I think that’s come through here again as well. Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Mark: 01:32:32 How do you define spiritual practice?
Bryan: 01:32:34 I would say in this moment, and if you ask me tomorrow give you a different answer. But I would say something that allows you to look inside yourself to find something that you were previously unaware of and or to connect with something greater than yourself and bring it through in your writing.
Mark: 01:32:55 I think the short answer is yes, that it is an expression of something within oneself. Even though I’m summarizing research in my book, there was a lot of my personal writing and connecting the dots for people. So that was some kind of inner expression that is not necessarily something that I can explain using logic. I’m like, were, how did you come up with that sentence or why do you floor it it that way? I don’t know, but I did and that’s what came out.
Bryan: 01:33:23 Yeah, it really is kind of mysterious sometimes, isn’t it? One of the last guys I interviewed, Paul Hawken, he talked about, I had never, I don’t think I’ve had this experience this way, but he would talk about, he would draft entire pages and go back and read him and he’s like, I don’t remember reading that. Like, whoa, sounds like channeling.
Mark: 01:33:43 You’re right channeling. It’s called automatic writing, something that’s reported very often. So for me, I remember writing all of it. I was definitely a lucid, but it was, it was a weird process where like the books were coming in at the right time. Where I’m writing a chapter on near death experiences and I’m like looking for the citations on a certain thing and they’re like, the book arrives in the mail. I’m like, oh, that’s exactly what I needed. So, it was an interesting process to see it all happen, but I was definitely conscious and I remember writing all of it.
Bryan: 01:34:10 That’s beautiful. What, what is nobody really asking you? I know you’ve done a ton of interviews and I’m so glad to see when I look on your social media and search the web. That I’m so glad to see that this conversation is occurring in a bigger way. What’s one thing that nobody’s asking you that you wish they would?
Mark: 01:34:27 It’s funny you asked that because I have an interview coming up next week and the interviewer asked me that question. I’ve been having a hard time thinking of it. I feel like I’ve done so many conversations at this point that we’ve really covered the topics and this interview it was great to talk about the writing process because I haven’t been asked about that as an explicitly. But I think we really touched on on the core ideas in some way or another.
Bryan: 01:34:51 Awesome. Well that is the only other questions I have for you. I’m sure I’ll 20 minutes after we disconnect, so I really do appreciate you making time to talk through, you know, this idea and your creative journey and going through the lightning round with me. And as I said at the beginning, like I’m super glad we’ve connected. Um, I just, I really love that you have this. I don’t mean this isn’t, this isn’t intended to be derogatory, but I love that you have this corporate persona. And you have this true like a seeker’s heart, you know, and you’re willing to ask and not only inquire for yourself but then to share what you’re finding with others. To me that’s absolutely the mark of a leader and I love that and I’m super grateful that we’ve connected and um, I know this is our first conversation, but I hope it’s only the first of many.
Mark: 01:35:45 Me too. Thanks so much, Bryan.
Bryan: 01:35:47 Yeah. All right. Well everybody, thanks for listening. I hope you’ve taken away something that you found inspiring, enjoyable. If you haven’t already got a copy of this book, An End to Upside Down Thinking, dispelling the myth that the brain produces consciousness and the implications for everyday life. I hope you do. I hope you too read this book in Hawaii, but if you don’t read it in Hawaii, at least read it. If you’re a part of a book club, suggest it. If you’re not, maybe you want to start one and use this book as your first book and that’s it. So all right, until next time everybody. Thanks for listening. Take care.