Jamie Catto, founding member of FAITHLESS, co-creator of seminal music+philosophy movies, ONE GIANT LEAP and WHAT ABOUT ME talks with his close friend, Barefoot Doctor, worldwide spiritual guru-healer, founder of the conscious clubbing movement, prodigious producer of electronic healing music and author of 16 books, about evolution and what really matters in life.]
BD: Do you believe that everything that happens is destined, predetermined or can we change destiny as we go along? You once told me that everything is written and there is no point worrying about anything so just relax and enjoy it, and that resonated so well for me that i never thought of it differently since.
JC: When I said that I’d just met this philosopher in India called ‘Ramesh Balsekar‘. His philosophy is basically around the model that everything is predetermined. Any choice you make is only based on two factors: One is the genes you arrived with as a baby and secondly all the things that happened to you since, in the order that they happened. He says ‘if you take a baby with exactly those genes and you give him exactly that series of experiences in the same order, that human being will inevitably make all the choices and left and right turns it would have made – even saying “today i’m gonna start Tai Chi and sort my life out”.’ Even that would have happened on the same day, arguably. So in that sense my rational mind can’t escape the mathematical proof of that – it is quite an anti-argument. We certainly live in a reality which seems to refute just every fiber of our being feels like we are present with the yes’s and no’s and the lefts and rights of life. It definitely feels like there is choice, and more recently people come along with the idea like Bashar the Alien who is in a spaceship above Sedona channelled by somebody in the valley. He talks about infinite parallel realities, depending on your frequency you will go to the healthiest even or unhealthiest even or the luckiest or the unluckiest or the ‘freer’ or the ‘un-freeer’, depending on where you are – you skip sideways through the freer and freer Barefoots. In that sense it backs up both sides of the argument, it is all predetermined but there are infinite predetermined paths – [big laughter of both] – so you can skip between them like changing lanes on a freeway.
BD: That brings up the idea in me that it doesn’t matter anyway because if all of this is just an illusion, a trick of the light ultimately and that all that is really going on here is that undifferentiated absolute entity at the subatomic level – the Tao just playing with itself, does it really matter if we end up in prison, get ill or die in a horrible way?
JC: It doesn’t matter in a big sense but it fuckin’ matters to me, for my odd 70 + years while i have a fleshly human life as Jamie it bloody matters. And that is the whole point of coming on this ride, to really buy into how much it matters for so many years to really think you are a Stephen [Barefoot] or I am a Jamie, it is really fuckin’ convincing, the most amazing 3D simulation ever. I feels like it matters, it matters in a movie when the hero is gonna get killed, imagine somebody sitting next to you in the cinema saying “It doesn’t matter, he is not really a hero, he’s an actor getting lots of money for it”… I know that really but i also just spent £12 to enjoy this movie so fuck off!
BD: And do you not think that by buying into the illusion to that extent you are then opening yourself to all that terrible pain of humiliation and loss and so on, all those things we all dread?
JC: You could be totally enjoying the ride while knowing it is a ride, but that does not mean we abdicate or amputate ourselves from the ride just because there is maybe some reality where there is no self and we are all one. I mean it feels like it’s likely there is a place where that’s true but we are definitely not supposed to be having that experience. We come to earth to leave the earthly experience and experience what it’s like to be you and me, not the oneness but you with your unique flavour and me with my unique flavour – and we can jam with each other and make music and have a laugh and that’s the pretty thing about planet Earth, you can’t do that in the oneness, there is only one thing, no this and that, no fun and ridiculousness, just itself. So it is really important for us to have an individual sense and it does matter to me if it hurts and it does matter to me if I suddenly get cancer and die while I am supposed to have a brilliant time. It does matter to me if people I love are suffering or values that i feel close to my heart are not upheld. I want to live a life where i care, where it does matter, not to say I’m so invested in it but that is all I care about. I want to get the most out of this, including ups and downs and peaks and drops and the whole juice of what this human adventure is about, not come here and amusedly trying to escape it because there is no self and escape it because there is no death and escape it because… and i say give me a break, I came here to have the experience fully, not because i pretend i am not a human.
BD: But there are some that would say, and i would be one of them, that rather then escaping it you are transcending it, you are still in it, the part of you that is invested in being here and caring about everything is feeling the experience deeply. But the observer, the spirit if you like, is bearing witness knowing it’s all perfect. You know how Ram Dass always used to say: You experience it on two levels, the level of the spirit and the level of the human. The spirit sees everything, all the suffering and pain, the violence etc, is perfect as all is part of the big picture, the human aspect feels the pain and wants to change it, heal people and take the pain away from yourself and everyone else. And you hold these two levels simultaneously – what do you say to that then?
JC: I would say that is exactly how I try to live and I think that is the closest way to live a fulfilled life. That is the simplest, most practical non-spiritual explanation of how to live an awake and most enjoyable intimate life. Because there is that phrase running upstairs saying it is all perfect and when suddenly some shit happens you say ‘oh it’s all meant to be’ – that is an escape from feeling the visceral disappointment, that is just a preceiver, a band aid, something that is not really routed. I love it when children are so total, so overspoilt brats, so immediate to get the fullness of their experience, i love that.
BD: Your turn: ask me a question.
JC: What is your biggest non-women related challenge in your life right now?
BD: Getting this fucking book deal I’m negotiating sorted out. Seriously: my biggest challenge is facing death. It’s the awareness that there is death. I want so much to be at peace with the idea of it, as much as I can be. I don’t expect not to be afraid – and it’s fine to be afraid. I don’t usually believe people saying they’re not afraid of death. I’ve been very close to it – one time in a small plane that nearly went down in a tornado over Ibiza I wasn’t afraid, and another time when my lung collapsed and I couldn’t breathe I was terrified, so it’s hards to know but I’d like to feel good about dying because I don’t want to walk around being afraid of it really, I want to walk around loving everything, and death is at the root of all of it. So that’s one challenge and the other is my eternal ambivalence about everything. For instance right now, I want be in Ibiza – every single day I’m not there I miss Ibiza and I don’t even really like it there that much. I love it, sure – it’s my home, but when I get there I want to leave within two days because it does my head in. And it’s the same everywhere about everything – I have this ambivalence, I really love everywhere and want to be everywhere all at once, so wherever I am I want to be somewhere else as well. So yes, dealing with my ambivalence is another big challenge. What is your biggest challenge?
JC: My biggest challenge is realizing that the perpetual worry about money isn’t actually related to how much money there is. I feel the same chemicals of worry waking up in the morning about the mouths I have to feed, about my dependents and all my other responsibilities. When I was in Faithless and I routinely had cheques of £50.000 or £100.000 coming in without really knowing what this or that one was for, I still was worrying at that level saying OK, I made a few bucks this year but how am I going to carry it on for the next 20 years. So here we are perhaps worrying about how we’re going to carry on being artists’ but it doesn’t really matter whether we manage to or not: we have the same things for breakfast, we hang out with the same friends, we have the same things for lunch, we inspire ourselves with music, we are not staying in really shitty places, we may not be in the palatial MTV crib we might be dealing with if we had billions right now but it’s more about how much chest pressure I feel and anxiety I feel around whether it’s going to carry on, and are we going to be ok etc. I can carry on with that constant pressure on my chest but the abstraction of it has nothing to do with the daily practice of what my abundance is and what food I eat, where I stay or who I hang out with, the abstraction has very little practical use, so all that chest pressure, all that uncomfortableness is really for nothing. Mark Twain said ‘I’ve lived some terrible things in my life, some of which actually came to pass.‘
BD: I think this is pretty universal, this fear for the future, otherwise we wouldn’t live in a society ruled by insurance companies and adverts for pensions and safety nets the whole way through. Everyone is terrified of going without things. But let’s talk a bit about the future shall we?
JC: There is so many futures and all are going to happen, just depends on which one you want to be in.
BD: Ok so let’s say the creative presence, the force informing all this, this God, this Tao or whatever you want to call it is at the moment expressing itself through some kind of vast evolutionary pattern that is occurring amongst us as humans, specifically at this point in time. Where is this leading us, say five years from now? Are we going to carry on evolving exponentially as we seem to be? Is the human spirit going to keep evolving or are we going to remain held in sway by the lowest common denominator, the moronic bovine mass-market, X-Factor, I’m a celebrity get me out of here shit?
JC: The polarities are always evening themselves out. There’ll be no great shift where suddenly the light breaks through the sky and we are all suddenly lovely to each other. That is not what planet Earth is for. You get that as well as terrible abuses: this is the ‘both’ planet, the planet of limitation. There was a great misunderstanding in the spiritual traditions up to quite recently where it was thought we’d go from darkness into the light on 21/12/12. The spiritual path is not away from darkness towards light, is it? It is towards darkness and light.
BD: So do you believe that we are going to go on exponentially evolving as we are, that intelligence is going to keep increasing, the young ones will become increasingly more talented at dance and music, science and technology and all the other amazing things that are going on – will this continue or will we blast ourselves out of existence?
JC: I don’t know, I am not a predictive person, I’m more of a person who’s aiming to participate in whatever comes. In fact my rule is taking actions based on your excitement and inspiration with no attachment to the outcome, that’s the motto of my life. I may have a clear vision of my outcome but I am not attached to it, it might come from another clear vision, but I am doing the action today to get my rocks off. So I don’t think about ‘is it gonna be like this’, I think more about ‘how can I be a guy today that is the most likely to be free enough that when unexpected circumstances arrive I can be intimate with them and participate and say yes to them and get the gifts from them rather then turning into the usual overreacting diva throwing away my toys. That’s what I want to be, I don’t want to predict if the future’s going here or there. I want us all to be the kind of people that whatever came we would be the most empowered, the most juicy, the most supporting each other in facing it and in creating it.
BD: Yeah man. You got a last question for me?
JC: Yes i have. My last question for you is is chi definitely real?
JC: I don’t do a huge amount of chi work just some of the sexual work where you pull the chi up your spine and move it all around. I have just enough chi to move it around my fingers, you know, organ stuff, but it is not that I do it every day but the difference it makes participating with that grid or not is huge – how is it possible that it is so marginalized as a practice?
BD: I think it’s for the same reason that our existence is an unfathomable miracle, yet we’re hardly aware of it. The fact that we have this planet to live on, that we can talk to each other, that we have faces we recognize, that we’re the shape we are, that we recognize the shapes things are to the extent that we discuss things at the level of quantum physics or metaphysics or that a Beethoven symphony could have been composed or whatever, these amazing ingenious coalescences of ideas in formation are all around us, but people remain unaware of the miracle of their own existence. They walk around in the trance of the humdrum and rarely stop to think, ‘I’m alive, look at this, I’m here, look at this, this is a miracle’. And it’s exactly the same with the chi: when you develop the chi and you feel it in your hands it’s like ‘wow, this is life, this is the force of the universe between my hands‘. But unless you are really tuned into that miracle of being it is all like, ‘I’ve got money to earn or a car to drive or a girl to go out with‘ or whatever – that’s more interesting for most people: the superficial. You go to a motorway service station and there are five food franchises, three of them are quite interesting and mildly exotic even, but it’ll be the Burger King or McDonalds that will have all the customers – all the people will go there because the majority of people like shit so there’s no reason why the majority would go for the chi because maybe it’s just too refined as enterprises go.
I have a last question for you as well. I was listening to an interview with our friend Robbie Williams on the radio, and he is doing four nights at Wembley Stadium in June for 400.000 people. When you hear of him playing Wembley, do you think ‘I want to do that’?
JC: I am very much looking forward to things like that again. I absolutely love being on stage with 100 or 100.000 people, I just love it so much, I love arriving before the gig when there are all the people hanging stuff and banging stuff, it is just gorgeous. The whole culture is brilliant, and afterwards being exhausted and traveling on the tour bus into the night. Interesting you ask me that today: as just today they’ve agreed a deal for 1 Giant Leap and What About Me to come out this year as a proper release globally, after six years of wrangling today it got agreed.
BD: Congratulations! It’s about time man. That is a very good note to leave this on. So ‘1 Giant Leap‘ and ‘What About Me‘ will finally get the worldwide showing and acclaim they so totally deserve. Do you remember the premier of ‘What About Me’ in Ibiza at La Paloma in June about five years ago?
JC: That was a lovely night.
BD: And i was thinking, ‘what a symphony’,it builds up to this point where you think all it needs now is Carlos Santana doing a guitar solo – and before you can say Christopher Robbins there he is! The only thing missing in that film was me.
JC: You are right. Ok, two more question to end this. What would be your perfect death?
BD: My perfect death would be to die in my sleep while having really lovely dreams.
JC: You don’t wanna be there when it happens?
BD: I’d like to die in my dreams, or taking a heavy dose of MDMA, a massive dose and die gurning going ‘wow this is amaaaazing man’. And what would be yours?
JC: My perfect death would be the simulation just stopping and my true brothers and sisters coming down going ‘ok, that is enough, let’s go on to the next bit‘. Like the end of a video game. A few years ago, I looked up at the sky and said ‘you know what, I’m really into processing and moving this energy but I’d like to do the non-traumatic version from now on please‘. And unbelievably, though I’ve really still been moving a lot at the edges of that kind of place, it has not been the sort of core agonizing suffering it had been up to that point.
BD: That is a good place to stop – let’s have the non-traumatic version from now on.
JC: I wish you all the non-traumatic version of evolution.
BD: That is a lovely wish, i second that, sir.
JC: See you later.
BD: I love you man.
JC: Love you too, bye.
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