JS: To remember the Book-Day, that will be celebrated tomorrow, however, here in Almeria we celebrate it in autumn-winter; but let´s say the celebration of Spring, from the point of view of the book, most of all in Catalonia, where we find the Book and the Flower, St. George and so on. Here in Almeria several acts are programmed tomorrow, that we’ll intend to cover.
But I would like to present to you this novel of somebody who already was my guest some years ago to present an essay: he made the jump to the novel, where fiction has protagonism over reality. It contains 800 pages, a considerable volume, this book that we’re going to talk about. Remember that the previous one I mentioned, was titled: “We are God”, a profound reflection on the sense of life and the destiny of mankind.
This author has a very extensive curriculum, but I’ll tell you just this: professionally he is an architect, and, not professionally, but prolific as well, a writer with a novel that is about to be published. I also would like to comment, that he’s a professor of the Transcendental Meditation program, who practiced all over the world. He lived in eight different countries and is considered worldwide as a specialist in the science of the consciousness. His name is Jorge Bas Vall. Welcome, Jorge.
JBV: Thank you
JS: Tell me something about this, specially this man, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; I hope I pronounce it correctly. Who is this man?
JBV: At the end of the sixties, in the United States, and in the whole world, people started to become aware that maybe there was more. That the American society was very mediocre; there was the May revolution in 68 in Paris, and the Hippy movement, and the idea that there were more things to discover.
At that time, the oriental side was unknown, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian monk, came to California with the intention to teach the Transcendental Meditation, a technique, at the moment popular all over the world, even in Hollywood. And this simple technique, what it does, is wake up your true identity a little. At the time, we, who lived the hippy period, became interested in this matter, and, personally, I liked it. I became a professor and continued to experiment in this matter.
JS: So you were a Hippy? With short hair, you have good hair, white by now, but surely it must have been longer then…
JBV: I came to Almeria to have my military practice as a graduate, in the year 1972, as a Sergeant of the anti-aircraft Artillery. I remember that I returned from a trip at the end of the career through Scandinavia, with long hair, and first I went to have it cut to enter the military camp the next morning.
For us it was a very special time. Why? Because we were in our twenties. And, of course, a revolution like that when you are twenty wakes your curiosity. At that time, for me, coming to Almeria was very interesting, and this allowed me to reflect. And, yes, I consider myself a hippy, but, recycled.
JS: You are Catalan from birth, however you lived in Almeria for several years, but you lived the most positive part of that movement, that preached free love, sex, and drugs.
JBV: The most profound part of that movement was: “We lack something. Where is that something that we are missing?” And the same as in Paris they wrote on the walls: “Let’s be realistic, let’s ask for the impossible”, in America people were taking hallucinogens. And, of course, somebody who alters his consciousness in such a way, that makes him see everything different, says: “Well, something escapes us”. We are centered in a world where things escape us. At the time it was a movement that wanted to wake from a deprivation. Even when it is certain that it was unable to solve this deprivation, but it tried. And, some of us continued to investigate, and at the end we found the solution.
JS: What makes me think, Jorge, that today we could ask the same question as forty years ago: “We lack something, but is there something else?”
Well, The charm of the Impossible, this new novel of Jorge Bas Vall, makes a reflection on the sense of life, of death, on the existence of the humankind. Through different personages, but most of all a man called Alfred Andrea Wharton, who is dedicated to the research of Superconductors and Nanotechnology and is the protagonist of the story. Then appear three women, who represent, let’s say, different ways of life; but this man, what does he tell us in the story? Please summarize it a little for us because 800 pages…
JBV: The Charm of the Impossible has no pretentions because it is a novel. But it uses something that our great friend Mario Vargas Llosa put in evidence some years ago in a book called: The Truth in the Lies. It’s a novel, therefore it is infantile, it imagines things. It doesn’t presume, and it doesn’t teach either. But it tells things. What does it tell us? There are some protagonists who, almost all of them, dedicate themselves to Physics and advanced Theoretical Physics. And these protagonists want to find out if they can go further than what they are seeing in this world. Because Physics show them, they can, that there is another world of which this one that we see, and touch is merely an image. And, of course, the battle is very simple: the first to access this ethereal world of which we are the image, will have the power.
JS: I think so.
JBV: Which power will he have? The power to transform the material reality, sitting on a sofa smoking a cigar. Without apparently doing something he will be able to do anything. And, apart from this scientific interest, proper of the investigator, each of these protagonists has a personal interest. In what? Well, some in being more perfect, others in going beyond any ideology, but all have an advanced interest. That is the story of The Charm of the Impossible. How the personages manage to break any imaginable barrier and all the self-imposed limits? Because let’s not fool ourselves, we live in a world and a condition full of limits. And the question is very simple: Who imposed these limits, apart from oneself?
JS: A good question.
JBV: Yes, well this book is about breaking every limit in this world.
JS: Are we free or are we determinated? Is one of the questions you pose. One of those you put in this book.
JBV: Exactly, yes: are we free, or are we determinated? The concept of Freedom doesn’t consist in doing whatever you want. It is a much wider concept: Freedom is live without limits.
JS: We are not prepared for that…
JBV: It does not require much to be prepared for this, but it is evident that we are in a society in a moment of change, and this change of course, is towards the absence of limits. Why? Because we have been limited too long, and the limit produces the completely irrational attitudes that we are seeing every day. But the sense of these attitudes is it ideological, religious? What is it? The wish to leave the limitation. And everybody has that wish. What happens is that depending on some details in the environment, the phenomenon is more or less accentuated. Depending on the degree of limitation. For example, here we are in a civilized society, apparently with fewer limitations than in other social ambits.
JBV: Well: to what aspires the humankind in this moment of change? Definitively, leave the limitation and enter our true dignity as human beings: the one that corresponds to us, that belongs to us, and what we should vindicate. The time has come.
JS: We need to leave it, and, as you pointed out in The Charm of the Impossible, they are very good questions, they make you think. This, what we mentioned: Are we free or are we determinated? Do we live in the reality or in an illusion fabricated by the mind? Are we authentical or just illusory egos who deny the reality? Do we live a true life, or do we just think it? This too is a very good question…
JBV: Look, we are living moments where the false or illusory structures are falling. Why? Because it is about time. The Universe, the Cosmology, is a big machine that moves. We are immersed in that big machine, and we come to moments of change. For example, by now it became clear that the structures are on the verge of collapse. Which structures? All of them. And there is an astrological fact that makes this manifest: Pluto has been in Capricorn for the last eight years, and this means that no false structure will remain. All right? We have been changing for eight years. Whereto are we changing? Towards authenticity. What is the authenticity? The previous question: are we authentical or are we not? Look, the word authenticity is confusing and very broad. But, talking of persons, the word authentical is the feeling to say: I am, I participate in everything that is created. This is not a concept, it is evidence, and who has this evidence, has no more problems. Who has these experiences a feeling of existing, of being authentical, and that he doesn’t lack anything. You agree? Where does this hypothetical lack of authenticity come from? We, as a civilization, have been confounding two aspects: Culture and Knowledge. I mean, we always believed, and since we were kids, they told us so at home and in school, that we need culture to be somebody…
JS: …in life.
JBV: Exactly. Somebody in our life. And when you, the reporters, talk of somebody in the media, you always will say: no, Mr. So-and-so, comma, psychologist, psychiatrist, engineer, archbishop, or whatever. But you assign an individuality the proper subject assigned to himself as well. In this individuality Culture is confounded with Knowledge. What is Culture, after all? Well, Culture is very simple. Listen, open that hatch so I can enter three kilograms of information now and another three kilograms tomorrow. And the poor children leave school saying: I feel so tired, they drove me mad. Why? Well because they put loads of information in them. Has this anything to do with the true identity of the subject? No. This defines a characteristic of the subject, who instead of catching fish, knows, well, how to design, or knows how to…
JS: …design a building, as is your case.
JBV: Or operate somebody’s liver. What is Knowledge? Knowledge is the sense of the authentical I., So to say, what a person, sitting at home in the sun, says: this is me. But with independence whether I have money, whether I live in a certain place, have three careers, or who-knows-what. No, with independence of everything. That’s me. The one who’s participating in the Everything. And this identity is missing. And we have problems because of this lack of identity. Why? Because people, or they have this identity, or they’ll have to find it. If I do this here, I’ll be important, and on top of it, I’ll be anything. But this is not it…
JS: One phrase, something like a message, called my attention: The authentical comes and penetrates you in silence. Without being aware of it. This thing of the consciousness is something, it accompanies us during our whole life, and at times it impedes us to do things we would like to do, because it gives us remorse, Jorge. What is this?
JBV: Look, we have some problems in our structure. Let’s say, we are coal locomotives, after all. And what is more, unadjusted. Of those that make smoke and were so amusing when we were little and saw them entering the station. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are based on what we call feelings, emotions, and memories. And all this conditions us. And many times, it makes us ill: we are so occupied with suffering, and hatred, and so on, that at the end the body says: I’m getting ill because this is insufferable. And then appears a cancer or appears no matter what. Well, this structure of memories, feelings, and emotions, is this our real structure, or is it a structure that we fabricated to be somebody? No. All this is in addition to. And to live by this, so to say, to live by memories, feelings, and emotions, is being dependent on a situation that is anything but freedom. Then one would say: Listen, and how do you interpret that living without feelings? A feeling is not more than a thought, after all. And once you’ll be sitting being you, you’ll say: Feelings? But I love everybody. What are you saying? Hate somebody or suffer? In which world do you live? Why? There are other options, but of this locomotive we know no other option. And, what is more, many people are interested in saying: but this locomotive that oozes oil here and there, let’s mend it. Listen, what if we replace the locomotive with a high-speed train that floats at six hundred the hour and everybody shut up?
JS: but this is changing the human being. And how do we do that?
JBV: Good question. Change the human being. The only thing the human being has to do is reach its true dignity. Change it? No. We have an essence, a dignity, and all we need to do is reach for it. Change? Listen, our face will still be the same. We will behave more gently, and we will enjoy more, but little more changes.
JS: It calls the attention in this book that I have been going through about this companion on the journey called ego. Sometimes we don’t know which one of the two is our true identity, whether this real person who is talking right now, or the other, invisible, one, the one that truly exists, is holding the reins of life. Is this the one we should control because he is the one who leads you? No?
JBV: Look, we need to exist having some idea of who we are. All right? Why? Because when we are no longer little monkeys and say: Listen, this is you. And look, you take a stone and throw it over there. And this one from now on, who is this? We became aware of a reality a kitten can’t. And this awareness was: I exist, and I am me. Well, this feeling, this concept, is necessary, because a person can’t go through life without having an idea of who he is. At that point, without the real idea that we are beings who participate in the Infinitude, and therefore are infinite, without any limitation, we fabricate one. Which idea do we fabricate? Well, look, I am this that moves, and I can do this and that, and that man standing over there is something else with whom I certainly will become angry, because he wants something that I am going to want too. False. What have we done? We created a limited idea of ourselves. Apart, comparative, and competitive with all the others. Is this our true definition? No. Different is, how we are going to get out of this mess? Because, of course, it is a big mess.
JS: Which mess? What mess do you mean, Jorge?
JVB: Well, the mess it is to say: I am this one and here I am the Boss, and here, listen, if you get in my way you’ll be in trouble.
JS: Of course…
JBV: The mess, the fiction to have created us with a selfish personality. No, this is not what corresponds to us, it is limited. Well, we need to go progress. And progress means, become universal.
JS: The Charm of the Impossible… I would like to go on talking with you, but, just one more little thing, that, I don’t know, if in some future, well, it is part of a technology, I read something about it, there will be another volume sometime, that you have prepared some other essay on other aspects. But I know that there is a proper name in the world of the cinema, a great Director as David Lynch, who, I don’t know how you did it. But you did, you sent him, I don’t know if the book or a script. That there could be done a cinematographic adaptation of this story you wrote.
JBV: This book initially was conceived as a film. I conceived it when I lived in the United States, but Hollywood receives three thousand scripts every day, which makes it impossible to come through with a new script. Well, this novel is very descriptive and will make a great film as some people related to cinema already told me. Naturally, we are in a moment that Hollywood too has to adjust. No, I will have relations with David Lynch, a great Director in my opinion, in relation to a foundation he has for rehabilitation of people with post-traumatic stress syndrome. This is the David Lynch Foundation, which uses the Transcendental Meditation to restructure in post-traumatic stress. Given the fact that we have now a very important project in Africa, I want the David Lynch Foundation to participate in this project and provide finance for them because it is a non-profit organization, and we want to help them. Well, being related to David Lynch for this reason, I offer him the possibility to make a film on this book. We will see under which conditions, and whether it will be a TV-series or a film. I am sure, that as a Director, he probably is the right choice…
JS: Yes, a good Director, I think so.
JBV: And now this still has to fit in his plans. In the novel there are many themes, I know on beforehand, that will interest him very much. Therefore, we will have a good dialogue, and we’ll have another field of action we can work in, that will foster cooperation.
JS: Well, that is great, good news. Just a minute, I don’t have more… However, this has nothing to do with literature, or cinema, but with a business project you just mentioned and that may suppose on a long term, that’s true, maybe the future for the African continent. Yesterday in a few strokes, you made a comment on something very interesting. In this, Jorge, in a way, even the President of the United States showed interest. No? Remind me about what it is about. Just a few strokes…
JBV: Let me see, Yes, we are in front of a private enterprise of which I am the General Director and Managing Director, which, in collaboration with the Federal Reserve of the United States, adopts a capitalist concept which is the Ethical Capitalism. This is a new concept, of some years back, that consists in: we’ll make money, but we’ll help many people. And we’ll establish in Africa twenty new cities with thousands of acres destined to the culture of Yatropha plants, that is used in the fabrication of Biofuel, and there, we’ll build these cities from zero, designed with cosmic parameters, such, that when one is in one of these cities, he’ll say: Listen, this is like Heaven. We’ll use in these cities the tribal structures of the people from there, we’ll give a consciousness-based education, and not one based on Culture, a secular education without any vestige of religion, and we’ll provide work to thousands of people. And then? Well, very simple. This in twenty cities in twenty countries, will have an important repercussion on the social, educational, and economical level, and, of course, the Unites States as Government will be interested in this project, because, in the first place, it considers it to be good for the continent and, second, because the continent is in need for acquiring an identity and needs work.
JS: I think so…
JBV: And that is what we are going to do. It is a marvelous project, which touches the impossible…
JS: It will be a way to avoid people to perish in the Mediterranean like we are watching these days. When we watch the news bulletins it horrifies us. The Charm of the Impossible, like platonic love, which too is a “Charm of the Impossible”. It is always a pleasure to talk with you, Jorge. Please keep in touch, all right?
JBV: Thank you very much for inviting me, Joaquín.
JS: I’ll see you again.