" . . . since everyone is carrying on
as though the vital truths about man
did not exist . . ."
- Ernest Becker
. . . so, what is "LiveReal"?
Well, if we had to use just two words,
they would be “Know Yourself.”
And if we had to use four words,
they’d be “It’s hard to explain.”
And if we could use even more, we'd say
that life doesn't come with an instruction manual.
Yet at the same time…a mysterious idea that there exists, somewhere,
a knowledge that enables us to overcome the difficulties of life
rings true with some of us.
No, wait. Back up. Let me start earlier...
We're searchin' for the TRUTH.
( - umm, and that contact lens we just dropped...)
Once upon a time, in a land not too far from here, it was generally accepted that spiritual truth – aka “The Truth,” “The Big Answers,” “The Secret of Life and Death,” “the Big Enchilada,” etc – was far, far away, the most treasured possession of a small number of elite-and-powerful-authorities.
These elite-and-powerful-authorities claimed to have The Answers to The Big Questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What’s it all about? Where did we come from, and where are we going? Why is there anything at all? What’s a person supposed to do with their life? What happens after we die? …and so on.
Are you playing around with The Big Questions?
So these lucky elite-and-powerful-authorities who claimed to have the inside scoop on the Big Picture would graciously interpret The Truth for other, less fortunate folks, in all kinds of ways. For example, one such group would read Scriptures from the Bible (in Latin) and give Masses (in Latin) for their audiences (who were generally illiterate). For the average person, things were fairly simple: trust (what they told you) and obey.
But then a few interesting things happened: a guy named Luther translated the Bible into German. Another chap named Calvin translated it into French. Then, in one of the first major appearances of something called “technology,” another fellow named Gutenberg invented a machine (the printing press)…and all of a sudden, thousands of ordinary men and women are reading Scriptures for themselves.
Next thing you know, the world was suddenly in the middle of a Reformation, and an Old World was making way for a New one. It wasn’t too long until Bibles were showing up in just about every Best Western bureau drawer in America – and for the average guy or gal, The Truth suddenly seemed to get a little bit closer.
But old habits die hard. While the average guy or gal might have gotten a step or two closer to The Big Answers…they still seemed to be a long way away.
But technology would soon shake things up again – this time, by shrinking the world.
Not too long ago, if you wanted to travel a few hundred miles, you had to pack enough clothes to last days. Now, we can go a few hundred miles in minutes. If you wanted to talk to somebody on the other side of the world – something almost nobody actually did – you had to pack for a few years. Now, you can literally press a button, and talk until your cell battery goes dead. It used to be that the average guy or girl would be born, grow up, live and die safely within the confines of one single culture. Now, the average person is exposed to hundreds – even thousands – of other cultures that probably think, believe, and act in ways that are probably pretty different than whatever they were born into.
Instead of a few Scriptures being hastily scribbled down, interpreted and translated over thousands of years, suddenly there’s the ability to capture actual images, and spoken words, and even entire scenes – slices of experience – that can be re-experienced over and over and over again. (And speaking of film, audio and video – and how cool would it have been, say, for a modern cameraman with a modern camera to have been present at, say, the Sermon On the Mount?) And suddenly, instead of just one religion to choose from, there are several – and counting all the denominations and sub-denominations, thousands. And they are all, more or less, within reach. For the first time in the known history of the world, almost all of the world’s religions and cultures were all within reach.
And that’s when things started getting really interesting.
Suddenly, a more quiet, more widespread (and thankfully, a little less violent) Reformation started taking place: for better or worse, people began taking spirituality into their own hands.
With a whole wide world of new and strange cultures, religions, beliefs, arguments, scriptures, experiments, practices, books and all kinds of things at their fingertips, people started to ask The Big Questions all over again in a whole new way. There was a new democratization of spirituality: if the religion you grew up with wasn’t working for you, now you could throw it overboard and shop around for a new one. If the new one stopped working for you, you could do it all over again. If you wanted something really far-out, you could probably find something in the spiritual marketplace to suit your tastes. And if you were tired of shopping, there was a place for you too. Are you asking The Big Questions? Well, there are plenty of Big Answers around – the thing to do is to just start trying them on for size – and this time, there’s no one else to get in your way.
So in a lot of ways, this new way of doing things – taking spirituality directly into your own hands – seemed pretty great. Extraordinarily, toe-curlingly, roaring-belly-laugh-out-loud wonderful, in fact – the difference between spiritual dictatorship and spiritual democracy. The newfound freedom invigorated and inspired new generations of individuals to ask The Big Questions and seek The Big Answers for themselves, and not rely on messengers or second-hand knowledge to let them know what was really going on in the Big Picture. Things seemed great, and the party just promised to keep on going.
But then…as many soon realized…these new freedoms and powers would come at a price.
"It then occurred to me
that this was not the first time
I had been given a map
which failed to show many things I could see right in front of my eyes.
All through school and university
I had been given maps of life and knowledge
on which there was hardly a trace
of many of the things that I most cared about
and that seemed to me to be of the greatest possible importance
to the conduct of my life."
- E. F. Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed
Back in the Old System – for better or worse – there were rules. There was structure. If you wanted to know what the answers were, big or small, you knew who you could talk to about them – and when you got those answers, you could believe them. There was a small, manageable number of answers, and the people around you, more or less, accepted the same answers you did, so you could always count on having at least some things in common.
In the New System, with every individual custom-designing their own religion – there were no “rules” (at least in the way there used to be). There really wasn’t any “structure.” If you wanted to know what The Answers were, big or small, you didn’t necessarily know who you could talk to about them – and when you get those answers, you didn’t necessarily believe them. There wasn’t a small, manageable number of Answers – there were torrential floods of them, overwhelming numbers of them, and all seeming to contradict each other – and the people around you didn’t necessarily accept the same answers (or even questions) that you do…so sometimes it could be pretty tough to find that common ground where we could all see eye-to-eye.
So in other words, this newfound freedom came at a price, and sometimes it could be a pretty difficult and treacherous journey for the individual seeker who was asking The Big Questions in the modern world.
LiveReal is the story of a small number of individuals who have embarked on a journey to ask The Big Questions and seek The Big Answers in the modern world.
We're working to explore and investigate practical ways for folks to navigate this crazy modern world in a way that is, basically, as intelligent as possible: in a way that minds, hearts, bodies, and even souls (assuming you believe in them…a topic for another time and web page) get stronger, wiser, more alive, more cool - so that, in the final analysis, you end up with a life well-lived.
Or in other words, our mission is to help individuals navigate the modern world of relationships, psychology, self-help and spirituality.
In essence, LiveReal is simply a headquarters for the stories, adventures, and observations of a handful of individuals who are on a quest to answer a few simple questions – for example...
What’s it all about? Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What’s worth doing with the short amount of time that we’re here on the planet? And why?
After all, there are actually a few rare and precious individuals out there (ahem) who actually, radically, believe that . . . well, that important issues are actually worth spending time and energy on, and unimportant stuff, well, isn’t. And that it’s generally a good idea to try to wise up before you’re too old to enjoy it. And if you’re wanting to wise up, it’s not going to just drop in your lap while you’re sitting on the couch waxing your dog, but it has to be found, uncovered, discovered after an active and rigorous mettle-testing, soul-searching, bare-knuckles bloody quest to find it, chew it, swallow it, and live it..
"Would it have been worth it, after all,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
to have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelmingquestion . . ."
- T. S. Eliot
Our approach can be described in handful of phrases: “no-nonsense” “see-for-yourself” “skeptical yet open-minded” “deep and profound yet fun and lighthearted” exploration into the mysteries, adventures, and frontiers of modern psychology, spirituality, and relationships.
- and of course, the problem today is actually less about finding "answers" to questions - even "The Big Questions" - because nowadays "answers" are everywhere, thousands of them, overflowing from billboards, radios, televisions, books, infommercials, pop-gurus . . . and much of the time, it can be hard to just walk a few steps down the street without someone trying to show tell you about the answer they've found, which they think is the same answer you need, too. And a few more steps down the road is somebody else, with a different answer, also sure that it's the same one you need, too. And so on.
- which means that nowadays, in a way, a lot of the work is less in actually searching for answers, and more in working to decide - out of all the "answers" that are being offered nowadays . . . which one is the real one? Or rather, which one - or ones - will work for me?
After all, almost everybody – and especially thoughtful and intelligent internet users like the ones who are reading this website right now – are flooded with massive amounts of information, misinformation, and off-the-wall opinions in these areas, not to mention a daily barrage of commercials, hype, reality-shows-that-aren’t-real and minute-by-minute updates on moronic celebritards.
Yet amid all this confusion, there is no single, independent, trusted, objective, unaffiliated “Consumer’s Reports” “sherpa of the soul”-type of perspective that is at least a little bit “above the fray” in important matters and can help individuals navigate through these mind-fields safely.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are trying to get through life with at least some semblance of class, and happiness, and sanity, and meaning.
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil
to one who is striking at the root."
- Henry David Thoreau
So if this looks interesting,
quit just sitting there with your finger on your mouse and join up,
get involved in the Discussion,
and let's start having some real fun!
Seriously, we hope you enjoy the site and get some benefit from it.
If you have any questions, comments, adoration, glowing praise, etc, email us at info@LiveReal.com.
Your dutiful and cuddly
"I have written this book fundamentally
as a study in harmonization of the Babel of views on man
and on the human condition,
in the belief that the time is ripe
for a synthesis that covers the best thought in many fields,
from the human sciences to religion . . ."
- Ernest Becker
" . . . you don't know anything
- Richard Rose