FS: I must say I enjoyed reading your new book, Sapientia: The 40 Principles of Wisdom. I was actually pleasantly surprised how much I actually learned from the book. A lot of the wisdom you shared in Sapientia will stay with me as life-long lessons. What inspired you to write this book?
AC: I wanted to explore human potential. Not in a humanistic sense or in a scientific way or even as something remotely esoteric, but I wanted to challenge the traditional notions about the nature of reality and the self-imposed psychological restrictions we place on our minds from societal conditioning, which actually inhibits us from accomplishing truly great things.
FS: Sapientia shares tenets of wisdom that have some familiar roots in both Eastern and Western cultures. Do you think this book will be a bridge for cultures or even different religions that may find their followers gravitating towards its common themes and philosophical axioms?
AC: Well, truth is universal – like music. Anyone can comprehend music, but the understanding sometimes breaks down between cultures when we add elements of language to music to create songs. That’s why classical music is so beautiful and sacrosanct because it’s unadulterated by being wordless. Maybe another way of looking at it is, music is the soundtrack of life and we are the story or the words to the song. We don’t always have to talk to communicate – sometimes we can just “be.” I hope this book with be an intellectual and philosophical bridge across the oceans and something that resonates beyond the periphery of cultures.
FS: Your book challenges us in the most basic primal way to be more introspective, to reach for something higher, and to evolve into something more meaningful. Was this your intent?
AC: There is no evolution by revolution – going around in circles. The only evolution by revolution I know is by moving forward and tearing down the old order – a sort of demolition by innovation, so to speak. That’s how we make permanent changes in our lives. It’s like checkers. The objective of the game is to move across the board and become twice the person you were before you started by a series of well-coordinated moves. The goal and hope is to reach your crowning achievement on the far end of the game board. What everyone should want for themselves is progressive change; not retrospective wandering. The day we stop growing is the day we die.
FS: You also take exception with the traditional ways that we achieve greatness and think of success in society. Why is that?
AC: Because someone winning should not always be about someone else losing. It takes a thousand hairs to make one paint brush. In nature, success is inclusive not a competitive struggle for existence. There are symbiotic relationships which build networks of cooperation for the whole, not pyramids of competition that benefit only the privileged few at the top. Bees work together as a collective for a holistic purpose. Life is not about stealing opportunities. It should be about creating them. We can’t be truly successful until we’ve shared ourselves, our time, and resources. Love always goes searching for equilibrium. Selfishness, on the other hand, is always looking for leverage so it can be advantaged over someone else.
FS: You talk about personal growth a lot. Is that a part of the whole enlightenment process in your opinion?
AC: It’s certainly a part of it. Every journey doesn’t start the same, from the same starting point, and it won’t end at the same destination. Life will continue to challenge us from the cradle to the grave. When we were babies, there was always something we wanted that was just out of the reach of our cribs. Sometimes, it was for our own good and sometimes it was just because we were no good at reaching it. However, that’s what living is all about – meeting up at random connection points and sharing life experiences: its ups, downs, and all arounds. He came. She overcame. He saw. She conquered. He stepped in. She stepped up. She thought she was above it. He rose above it. She gave up. He never gave in. She pushed back. He pushed on. We go, so we can grow. We outgrow, so we can grow up. Life is a never-ending story because it’s one perpetual learning process. That’s what Sapientia is all about. Life begins now.
Fringe Science’s Mark Chaffin interviewing Sapientia author Alvin Conway
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