correction/clarification to tape segment 3
As noted in the Summa text
c. 300 BCE – 150 BCE
red: current video part playing
blue: the next video part (on-deck)
Shira Dicker: So, I want to ask a few more questions just about pros pose that you [cross talk] let’s use that and why not jump into this the guardian angel gratitude this also merges the mention of Modeh Ani may I just read from this —
David Birnbaum: For sure, for sure.
Shira Dicker: Okay, forgive my [cross talk] guardian angel of gratitude. I am the guardian angel of Modeh Ani the gentlest of prayers, the prayer children are taught first, the prayer adults do not take all that seriously, they should. I am the prayer of gratitude, I am the angel of Thanksgiving, thanksgiving every moment and gratitude of course suffuses the soul with cosmic energy, and gratitude of course wraps us in a metaphysical shield. Gratitude that each and every one of us is at the epicenter of the cosmos, gratitude that life force flows through each of us, tracking forward to the ends of time, and tracking back to the genesis point and perhaps these points converge gratitude that we are the recipients of love and gratitude that we can give love, gratitude for each and every person who loves us even the bits, and gratitude for each and every person who we love even a bit, gratitude that we are cosmic guardians of love and creativity, gratitude that we have arisen for another day representing a microcosm of lifetime of life. Gratitude for the richness and variety of creation’s potentials, gratitude with its implicit theme of wonderment is a magic vitamin, it infuses our being with cosmic energy and rightfully so gratitude given with love opens a doorway to greater potential.
David Birnbaum: Not bad.
Shira Dicker: Not bad, not bad. So talk to me about —
David Birnbaum: I messed it up by saying anything [inaudible 2:15]
Shira Dicker: That’s I want to know — I want to know it’s somewhere it’s a prose poem it’s a prayer itself, it’s the kind of supplemental reading you’re likely to see pardon me but outside of orthodox synagogues, right, you’re likely to see this or increasingly maybe as a supplemental reading.
David Birnbaum: Let’s talk in that point right there.
Shira Dicker: Yeah.
David Birnbaum: You see orthodox could use a more of a dose of proactive humanism.
Shira Dicker: Yes.
David Birnbaum: And maybe that’s what they are touching on and there’s nothing anti-orthodox, non orthodox about being humanistic.
David Birnbaum: So there’s nothing non orthodox about being humanistic but it — the orthodox could use a heavier dose of humanism and they should have to get with the program and [inaudible 3:20] very strong case that humanism is central to orthodoxy, but they have to do it in practice, they have to walk in and practice and also embrace more threats in theology. There’s no negatives there are only positives to them, only positives.
Shira Dicker: Okay, and tell me just your thinking behind writing this like a prose poem.
David Birnbaum: You know, I must tell you I can’t even explain that whole section, you know, I — and in fact I think I wrote this basically once through this meaning there’s little editing with these pieces. I wrote them like — there are 120 total, maybe I wrote them 5 or 10 at a time. I would frankly go into Montour [ph] for few days just to write these pieces. I can’t fully explain I want to develop the theme that we’re surrounded by the different potentials and I try to take a 120 at the great Sanhedrin that had 120 members. I try to take the — show potential some that with great gravitas a truth and some with less gravitas like snowflakes forming —
Shira Dicker: Bubbles.
David Birnbaum: Bubbles right, with all this potentials came from — [inaudible 4:44] and are limitless potentials and we are potential and this is my way of getting my arms around it. You see enter a book one which came out in 1988 I knew I had to develop more to write book two and I didn’t know how to get my arms around book two. At book two I wanted to track more into the — into the meaning of potential I create it for myself getting arms around it, great difficulty and — and then I — I try alluded prior in this discussion to my [inaudible 5:22] from 95th Street and you must show up and when I talked about a 100 angels not a 120 and — and what the theme that emerge from that okay the angel of life, you know, sort of emerges from that magic, and this one extrapolated that to 120 angels and I talked in their name as if I was an angel maybe by playing out 120 angels almost extemporaneously, I would somehow hopefully get my message across what we’re talking — free flowing not thinking about it too much, I don’t take it as I came. Okay, angel snowflakes, angel of truth, angel of mercy, angel of victory boom, boom and let me — let me just go for it and that’s the genesis one of three sections in book two, because infinite potential as you’ve said it’s so hard to get your arms around it, it’s so vast it’s everything. So it’s my modality, my instrument to give us one wedge into it. I have different wedges included in book two as you know, one is highly intellectual, and this is more prose poem whatever you want to call it, you know, and then I wrote third section which is the lost manual a day to day applications. I’m wedging into the theme from different directions and trying to get a — get a feel from what I’m talking about.
Shira Dicker: Yeah and there’s a playfulness here also —
David Birnbaum: Okay.
Shira Dicker: So I forgot about this the snowstorms about the Guardian Angel of snowstorms on school days that begins six inches yeah, great they’re going to cancel now, cool, they’re off. So that leads me to something we discussed right at the beginning when we started this talking about you as a little boy having this awareness and it seems to wrap if you’re able to access this to get into the magic of bubbles.
David Birnbaum: Right.
Shira Dicker: Rainbows, horseback riding on the beach, snowstorms on school days, what that does also is something it’s almost as sacrilegious as denying randomness in the universe which is that your synced the divine in the tried the trivial the mundane, right?
David Birnbaum: Right, right well remember just remember clearly that I’m saying divine could be lower case D or upper case D. Divine can be spirituality prevailing cosmic order or divine can be upper case D the God of Israel or related — or related other — other global religious Gods. Now so one can take this as one wants, one can see divinity with lower case D infinite potential course for everything where one can see the God of creations coursing through everything that’s really a — an interesting decision and frankly one can switch the focuses and when wishes. One year you can view infinite potential as spiritual non religious and you might more from light I’m going to try looking for everything through religious lens. There’s nothing that says that you can’t evolve or morph overtime in any which way, it’s all part of the wonderment of the cosmic order. If I’m saying the universe wants potentials, it wants potential to play at different directions also.
Shira Dicker: All right so let’s break it down to here now, how — how do you — you live your life according to this philosophy. You didn’t just write books and then put them on the shelf, tell me how this infuses your daily life as a person interpersonally, as a — in your professional realms in other realms.
David Birnbaum: Well at first I said I write books which mean it’s a big deal for me to write a book — big effort for me to write books it’s a big production, and it has to fit a few criteria and one criteria is that the book is missing from my kids library, another criteria that impacts — might impact the world if I’m successful. So now — and I’m also saying that each of us is a potential, pure potential, so I have to remind myself sometimes the same theme not to be a — not to get too difficult not in this moment difficult yadi-yada, you know. So of course you have to be on track to your objectives but I know I’m heading into a big mission or a big –a big sale situation. I see myself play at your full emotional potential don’t constrain it, you know, be your — be who you to be emotionally, internally and if you’re not articulating it go into the meeting fully sort of rocking and rolling in your mind fully energized, but I fought in many of this life if you have a guided principle it provides pretty much what you do. What I’m observing in life is also that, you see there are two extremes, two force in a row one is do what’s best for you always and one — the other extreme is be thoroughly humanistic and on this extreme is a good guy finish last. My perception good guys do not finish last, good guys often finish first but you have to be prudent but good guys finish first. Ultimately, people want to deal with humanistic people, if two vendors both have the same type of product they will buy from the more humanistic vendors. Two great restaurants you will go to the more humanistic proprietor etc, etc. I believe it’s underestimated in the — in the business world that potential component and of course the more humanistic you are, you will track humanistic people and that’s really what you want in the circle frankly speaking, you know. So it partially answer your question right?
Shira Dicker: Yeah, well it — it actually — yes and I’ll just say that I — I — not only do I agree but I have observe the same thing as well and ever since the idea of corporate accountability became an idea we admire companies that are run like Ben & Jerry’s or companies if Target as a corporation under rights cultural programs. We as a society give value to that.
David Birnbaum: Right, right, right, right.
Shira Dicker: So I — but I want to press you a little bit more –I share — I share your belief but I want you to the point where you’re comfortable to talk about your Summa Metaphysica on the ground in terms of your day through lens of — through potential I love the idea of going into a meeting rocking and rolling and I think — I think and look there is the — we spoke about this off-camera a little bit it’s a little different from the self-empowerment.
David Birnbaum: Right it’s little different although we — we [inaudible 13:12] that group
Shira Dicker: Yes.
David Birnbaum: It’s isn’t too whole on the level, you know, but I mean let’s be clear that — that whole self-empowerment, self-actualization is very genuine and helpful and this is looking at different sides in context from more metaphysical spiritual it’s a holistic, pray for holistic it’s fully integrated. Self-actualization is not just — it’s not just self-actualization it’s tapping going into Summa into cosmic currents just like going to Summa [inaudible 13:45] prepare for in the world it’s not just spiritual it’s tapping into grand cosmic currents, you know, that’s what recent article on Summa talked about [inaudible 14:00] you know how Summa is on the same page as [inaudible 14:05]
Shira Dicker: What’s your next step in terms of developing the Summa Metaphysica theory or — it’s like a sweet in a way isn’t it, yeah.
David Birnbaum: Right, right, well the nice part about Summa theory is it’s one hand it’s one sense potential drives universe and the other hand it’s a non ending universe of discussions which is nice, which is nice it wedge into one sense. So like many things I take it step by step, you know, and I’m learning as I go, you know, the word that academics use is tractions, you know, and I think that I know that the theories is known globally in academic theory that’s for sure. We know because we have about 1.5 million academics on our email mailing list. So we know that they know as well. Okay, and like there were many things in life if you want to do — measured in measured manner, you know, and so steady as she goes. I joke around that writing a book is sort of like a brining up a child, you know, your jobs to bring up a child till age — it used to be till age 18 now it’s till age 22 whatever and launch — and launch, and launch, and launch, you know, you launch so it was a job as to write the book, give it a little push and a little, make a little push further and see, you know, the time permits and the [inaudible 16:01] now the history of ideas realm how do you sell an idea, in my — in my day job I’m selling 250,000 gems in my night job I selling idea, I’m selling a rarefied concept to me it’s so fascinating, you know, having selling idea and the answer is sort of step by step, step by step.
Shira Dicker: So do you have a — do you — do thing surprise you daily about the world, do you feel like yeah you’ve got this firm grip on what’s happening, are you shocked, surprised, pushed off course does Summa deal with every possible thing, does everything that happened get —
David Birnbaum: Yes.
Shira Dicker: Yes?
David Birnbaum: Yes.
Shira Dicker: Okay.
David Birnbaum: If I am careful to see it does handle everything and a new signs document has come out, I’m the first one online for the — IMAX, natural history because I want to see does this documentary also fully comport to Summa. I’m terrible I’m only observing people and animals and you name it to see if it all comports to the Summa theory or to the build out a little bit on the Summa theory. I’ve been at this for a long time since age 32 as I mentioned since Barbados age 32 I’ve been carefully watch to see there’s no contradicting evidence or logic contradicting it, contradictory, contradicting it and it holds together, it holds together in fact it gets better, it actually gets better. You know, part of — when you propose a theory or metaphysics you can’t prove it classically like a laboratory but you can support it what’s called inductive proving, laboratory prove is deductive proving I saw the experiment therefore I have this conclusion. Inductive proving is somewhat circumstantial evidence we have billons of pieces of circumstantial evidence assume it’s correct and there’s no contradictory of this that’s inductive prove. In court room that would be convicting by circumstantial evidence which is not so simple, to convict by circumstantial evidence you want to allow circumstantial evidence [inaudible 18:36] contradictory evidence roughly similar to inductive proof in metaphysics. Once you say I have this theory the Zyklon Theory but where is the — where is the circumstantial evidence. I have circumstantial evidence for Summa, how I see the cosmos evolving heading towards more extraordinary over the last 150 years we’ve seen how we went from big bang to stars to galaxies to life on earth to humans to ever [inaudible 19:11] consciousness and we see that trajectory. On the life sciences level we see the evolution of species from a simple to the complex. Mr. Darwin who made his name on Galapagos and roughly put survival of the fittest have a really small piece of equation right. Survival is necessary but it’s not sufficient for you and our re-survival to have food and pay the rent is necessary but it’s not sufficient. You want much more than survival and so does universe, and so does evolution species it is necessary but it’s far from sufficient. The universe shoot to extraordinary and so do you [inaudible 20:02] you both in a level shoot the extraordinary step by step you may not take out a knee and sign I am shooting extraordinary but at least that’s what’s you’re doing you try to built out your talent with your talents and your networks and what you can deliver to universe and keep building it out and you iterate. A year from now you’re going to say okay a year from now your objectives will be slightly different than your objectives today because even now you have more evolved, you have more hours and equivalent and the universe is exactly the same thing. I was on Galapagos also and I looked at the same species as Mr. Darwin and I saw extraordinary [inaudible 20:44] not the survival looking at the same set of evidence on the same island as Mr. Darwin, interesting, right?
Shira Dicker: Yeah it’s — that’s — now this I love the whole extraordinary I have trouble saying it but [cross talk]
David Birnbaum: E plus for sure.
Shira Dicker: E plus.
David Birnbaum: E plus yeah.
Shira Dicker: So let me ask you and I may have to conclude with this as my cold is —
David Birnbaum: Okay, all right.
Shira Dicker: Do you feel with all this — this belief though that in the internet era do — I mean let me put it this way I fear that humankind is devolving in certain ways having to do with empathy, having to do with the intrusion of screens into our daily life so that we’re no longer looking into each other’s eyes, reading each other’s emotions. There is this intermediary of technology, you know, we’re distracted a lot. I think there’s an objectification going on with millennials right now in terms of relationship forming as oppose to what can I give this person it’s more what can I get from this person in some of what I’ve personally observed. Do you really — do you share any of those concerns about or do you feel that we’re in fact it’s quite the opposite that we’re — we’re becoming more and more evolve and extraordinary.
David Birnbaum: I think — so many — so many — so many components of life, food, money, power, sexuality and onward they can be used — internet we use for good or for negative we can either advance through them or we can devolve. You know, it depends how you play it and many new innovations over the centuries the initial use deployment was not to write but the eventual deployments profound. So there’s so many facets of emotions to our existence depends how you play it and I think that would be my answer to question. You have to defend yourself, defend against the negative but you want to [inaudible 23:04] you want to roll with the positive stuff. Like internet you can use it to — it can make you vulnerable to attack to defamation but you can also use to probably get an ideas.
Shira Dicker: Right, right I think I — maybe I didn’t phrase it correctly because I’m — listen, I’m a fully cyber person I love the internet and I, you know, I don’t buy in to the panic narrative in terms of oh it’s doing this at — but what I do see what I’ve observed is that there are some — I’ve observe certain trends.
David Birnbaum: Right.
Shira Dicker: And the trends mostly have to do with the generation board entirely into the internet age, right, it has to do with a very simple thing, I’ll give you some observations walking down the street watching a mother pushed her child in a stroller the kid is talking to the mother, the mother is like da-da-da talking while texting. It’s ubiquitous it is — or going to a restaurant everybody’s speaking.
David Birnbaum: Right, stop my favorite is to walk in Central Park around the reservoir and the boy and the girlfriend aren’t holding hands, each on their own cell phone talking that’s my favorite.
Shira Dicker: That’s definitely that — that’s the theory [cross talk] there is four people sitting around the table, everyone’s on [inaudible 24:15] so we know what’s happening we’re observing, so there is a — there’s a — there is a — a lessening of an immediate and unfettered engagement with the other, right, and so —
David Birnbaum: Which brings us to Shabbos [ph].
Shira Dicker: It does [inaudible 24:34]
David Birnbaum: And I’m a friend with [inaudible 24:37] and he would say look at the genius of Judaism with words of Shabbos where you are eating a beautiful meal together in a spiritual environment interacting, you know, talking, engaging, spiritually, intellectually where literally your — your internet is barge, barge from usage. So that’s going to wraps everything together, no?
Shira Dicker: It does I would admit not to quote myself but I wrote a few years ago it’s as if God, God’s infinite wisdom foresaw the advent of the [inaudible 25:13]
David Birnbaum: I didn’t want to say it but [inaudible 25:16] would say it.
Shira Dicker: Yes, but it’s — it’s no I feel this very profoundly I once wrote about actually the Sabbath the Kaddish and the [inaudible 25:24] as being the only social environment available if you’re in a somewhat observant synagogue where your conversations with people are not interrupted by, you know, big [inaudible 25:38] or whatever and I am — I am guilty as charged, my phone lit off in the middle of this. So I guess we take what those of us who have to consciousness, I think take measures to prevent ourselves from being cyber era bats.
David Birnbaum: We drown right, right, right, right.
Shira Dicker: Exactly and that’s for another — another discussion.
David Birnbaum: Right for sure.
Shira Dicker: But I want to thank you this is first of all the fact that we had this conversation on [inaudible 26:04] the Shabbat.
David Birnbaum: TGIF, TGIF.
Shira Dicker: Thank God it’s Friday and I see this as really just one in many, many conversations.
David Birnbaum: I’m honored I want to thank you for being so — so incisive, so learning, so smart and it was a great interview. I will say I don’t have these 20 questions about people they tell me about themselves from their questions.
Shira Dicker: Yes, yes, yes that was true you learn from it that’s exactly, so you learn about the other person.
David Birnbaum: Right, this is a great experience and thank you.
Shira Dicker: Okay.
David Birnbaum: Thank you.
Shira Dicker: All right thank you.
David Birnbaum: Thanks everybody, God bless.