Today, I’m runnin’ off at the mouth with Paul Helfrich, who, as we shall see, is quite the multi-dimensional personality! I don’t remember when or how we “met,” but we’ve been in contact by e-mail and the Internet over the years (though have never physically met), and I like the guy. It’s always interesting finding out about peoples’ backgrounds, and I really enjoyed finding more out about Paul—and his truly noble efforts in helping to create a better world. I recently took in a couple of his Internet interviews, and find he likes to talk, so there’re no short answers, here! He’s always upbeat (you can tell in his voice and demeanor) and has good things to say! I thought about breaking up this interview, but decided against it. So, sit back, get your coffee or (in my case) iced tea on, and take a ride down a most (traditionally speaking…) unconventional road trip….
Can you give us a short bio on Paul Helfrich, Ph.D.?
I have spent the past three decades exploring multidisciplinary approaches as an educator, composer, scholar, author, speaker, and webmaster. I earned graduate degrees in music composition from Temple University (1985), where I composed classical music and taught music theory, history, and composition. My Mindscapes music CD (2003) is available (as well as through iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, and CDBaby).
My love of science and technology led me to Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute Science Museum, where I developed major hands-on state-of-the-art science exhibits, including What Makes Music?(1987), visited by over two million people in the U.S. and Canada. I spearheaded the formation of The Science Learning Network (1994), a national program promoting virtual community-building among leading science museums and K-8 schools worldwide.
My interest in Integral Psychology led me to earn a Level III Spiral Dynamics certification (2003)and Integral Certificate from Fielding Graduate University (2007). I’ve authored essays, presented workshops, and lectured nationally on the Seth Material, the channeling phenomenon, and Integral Psychology. I’m currently working on my Waldorf Teacher certification through the Waldorf Institute of Southern California.
Tell us about your latest efforts, Paul!
I have been working with Joanne, my partner in time, and Chris Johnson, who’s based in the U.K., to develop educational programs through NewWorldView. We rolled out Seth Revealed: Unlock the Secrets of Conscious Creation last Summer, and just began our Fall Semester. It’s an eight week online Course that provides a comprehensive overview to explore the Seth Material, by Jane Roberts and Seth. It’s designed to help you discover: Your True Self, Your Place in the World, and How We Can All Live in Harmony.
It’s not a quick-fix approach, that’s why anyone who registers is eligible to take the Course up to three times within a year so they can get the most out of their time with us. We are dedicated to help people find their life’s intent and purpose, and to use Seth’s “map of consciousness” and exercises as a foundation to tap into a wealth of natural resources that are your birthright—the ancient heritage of your soul—and learn to apply them to any challenge you face: health, relationships, money, creativity, and spiritual remembrance.
Tell us three surprising things about you!
1. Even though I wanted to be an astronaut growing up, I still haven’t made it to the moon, much less outer space.
2. I learned to ski at age 54 in Vail, CO, much to the chagrin of my mother who was worried sick that I’d break my neck. Ironically, a teenager died that week when she crashed into a tree, and a member of our party suffered a serious knee injury on the last day of our trip.
3. I value people and planet equally with profit, in any business venture, something that would make Wall Street as we know it, today, crumble.
When and how did you first become aware of the Seth Material?
My older brother, Nick, gave me a book called Seth Speaks when I came home for Summer break from college in May 1976. His friend had sent it from California, and Nick was all jazzed. But when I saw that horrible picture of Jane Roberts in trance on the cover, I thought I’d spend no more than a few minutes reading it.
However, the next day I went outside, laid in the sun, and opened the book. Seth began by saying, “I don’t have a physical body, and yet I am writing this book. How can that be?” I rolled my eyes, as it was obvious that someone quite physical had indeed written the book. I had heard of channeling, but only in the case of Edgar Cayce. So, we didn’t exactly get off to a great start.
But something changed as I continued to read, and within the first hour, I was spellbound. Something resonated deeply within, and just made so much sense. I had an epiphany. I remember going inside to get a glass of iced-tea, and looked up at the kitchen clock and said to myself, “This is one of the most important books you’ll ever read!” It was like awaking from a long sleep!
Needless to say, I finished Seth Speaks, and bought every Jane Roberts book I could get my hands on, and the rest, as they say, is history!
What drew you to it?
I grew up in a secular humanist household. My father was an electrical engineer, so there were oscilloscopes, tape recorders, and all kinds of electronic gizmos in our basement. So, I wasn’t exposed to a very strong religious framework, as we pretty much rejected the nonsense and outright lies propagated by organized religion.
I read some Carlos Castañeda and was drawn to the shamanic path, however. I read 3-4 of his books and marveled at how different the indigenous wisdom of Don Juan was. Some books on out-of-body experiences and Edgar Cayce also made their way on to my teenage bookshelf. So, I was primed and ready for a more accurate framework to present itself to me, and the Seth Material provided that.
Was there any waffling back and forth between your previous beliefs and the new ones, and what was the determining factor in finally going “full-bore Seth”?
As mentioned, I had a very grounded materialist family environment growing up, but as my teen years progressed I was drawn to explore the para-normal. Once I read Seth Speaks, at age twenty-one, it took just one hour to enter an altered state – an epiphany of remembrance – that shocked me. I was a hard core Seth reader from that moment forward.
You “broke away” from NewWorldView, so to speak, and created your “new” entity, at http://www.paulhelfrich.com/. What gives?
Like anyone focused on self-development, my thoughts have grown over the years and branched out into a variety of disciplines. NewWorldView originally focused on the Seth Material, and I quickly hit the wall of what I now call Sethism and Seth-in-a-vacuum approaches that were too limited for my growing interests.
Sethism is a form of fundamentalist thinking that uses “Seth said” as its validity claim. If Seth said it, then it must be true. If we’ve learned anything in 20th century philosophy, we know that words alone can never fully express metaphysical ideas. So, you have to learn to become quite discerning and actually do Seth’s exercises over a period of years to test the waters through direct experience to see what’s true and what’s not.
Seth-in-a vacuum is similar, it completely excludes all other knowledge sources. In short, it takes an approach that holds Seth to be “the best” and thus others are unwelcome and marginalized. It’s a kind of “human ostrich syndrome,” in that you end up snarking right up your own butt, all the while thinking you’ve become enlightened.
All of this is to say that as my own ideas developed, I needed a place to branch out beyond Seth alone. For example, I studied the channeling phenomenon intensely for 14 years. I needed to understand how Marshall McLuhan’s “The medium is the message” applied to channeling. I now believe channeling to be its own multiple intelligence, based on the work of Howard Gardner and Ken Wilber (developmental psychologists). This kind of work went well beyond the Seth Material, but it’s goal was to enhance my understanding of it. So, I finally decided to create my own website to document my own work and play, and separate from NewWorldView, which grew too diverse and unwieldy.
The beautiful thing is that once www.paulhelfrich.com was born, I came full circle, separated my more theoretical interests, and refocused NewWorldView with the indispensible help of Joanne, to create what is essentially a 21st Century Online Mystery School, which sounds like a cross between a King Crimson and Beatles song!
We use the best of the Seth Material, other channeled sources, along with what we’ve learned from developmental psychology, philosophy, psychotherapy, and the like, to brew a powerful new synthesis of Seth’s ideas that we now use as our foundation. You have to remember that while Jane passed on and Seth’s voice was silenced in 1984, it took Rob another twenty-plus years to posthumously publish everything. So we’ve just begun to unpack the depths of the Seth material. So it’s really exciting to finally have all the material published for use in our online Course and rovide the first comprehensive overview.
What else do you have your hands in?
I’m also in the middle of earning a Waldorf teaching certificate. I intend to become a Grades teacher, which means I’ll hopefully begin with a First Grade class and take them all the way through Eight Grade! Waldorf education was founded by Rudolf Steiner in 1919 in Germany in the ashes of WWI. It has slowly spread across the globe, and now there are close to 1,000 Waldorf Schools worldwide.
It has a strong spiritual scientific foundation, called Anthroposophy, and integrates a very strong arts curriculum. It is based on a solid developmental schema of children through age 21 that foresaw what are now called multiple intelligences. Its goal is to produce fully integrated free functioning human beings, as opposed to worker bees for the military industrial complex (as in the public education system’s limited focus on just math, science, and linguistics).
Steiner was a polymath – someone who operates cognitively at a PH.D. level or beyond in a multiple disciplines. He was a mystic and natural scientist who took an integral approach decades before the term was coined. I’ve always been interested in education in one form or another, so it’s something I’d like to do instead of retiring in the conventional sense. Waldorf Schools offer the perfect environment for me to use all my talents in weekly fashion, while educating the children who will inherit our future.
I see you have your doctorate in music; I find this interesting, given all the material Seth discussed regarding sound and music. Hmmm, “coincidence”?
I think not. <grin> I was in the middle of earning my undergraduate degree in music composition at Penn State University when I first read Seth Speaks (Joe Paterno was still the football coach!). It reinforced the primacy of the artistic impulse in me, particularly the way that Jane Roberts and Rob Butts lived their creative lives as writers, painters, and explorers of consciousness. I even set some of Jane’s Sumari poetry to music in 1978. Check out Thought-Bird Song at bit.ly/qbhFUp.
The Seth Material’s basic tenet is that we all create our own reality, and that it’s “easy” to change our life experiences by changing our beliefs. But from what I’ve found is that as “easy” as Seth feels it is to do so from his perspective “on theoutside,” from the “inside” it ain’t so much. Your thoughts on why this is and how to handle such an apparently alarming discrepancy?
If you only read 4-5 Seth books (which is a lot!) you still won’t ever fully understand who the “you” is who creates 100% of your reality. Keep in mind that there are now thirty books of Seth Material available! What I’ve discovered is that people tend to conflate the multidimensional self that Seth outlines in great detail with one small part of their true identity. I use an iceberg analogy to introduce the concept, and what happens is that when you conflate the tip of the iceberg as the ENTIRE iceberg you get inconsistent and poor results.
For example, it’s fairly common to conflate the notion that thoughts are 100% causal when they are anything but. They reflect deeply held belief systems that reach all the way down into the submerged portions of the “iceberg.” It takes courage, fortitude, and persistence to mine down that deep and reach with any consistency into your core belief systems and learn to permanently change or neutralize their energetic effect (that is also why introspection and dream work are core practices to develop over time).
Some people think that you just have to think you’re rich or healthy or married to a superstar and you’ll magically wake up one day to find that your life reflects those thoughts. Seth points out that there’s very much a doing component to reality creation, which means you need to take consistent action in the point of power – the present – day in and day out. As always, understanding the nature of beliefs and belief systems play a crucial role.
This is also why we don’t concentrate on “the secret” kinds of approaches at NewWorldView as they are usually way incomplete. It really takes an integral or holistic approach to make Seth’s Magical Approach bear any serious fruit over time. So we don’t take the quick-fix approach that is so rampant out there in today’s marketplace.
The Seth Material describes nine families of consciousness. As much as I’ve always fought “categorization,” over the course of my life, it dawned on my one year I appear part of the Sumari family, which are classified as impatient innovators, naturally playful, humorous, and relatively free spirited and unfettered. If I’m not mistaken, you feel you’re part of the “Sumafi” family? Care to elaborate? Can you elaborate?
This is one of the more esoteric parts of Seth’s “map of consciousness” and “iceberg selves.” It’s found in one of the least popular, least read, and least understood portions of the Seth Material. That may be due to the fact that Seth, Jane, and Rob all belonged to the Sumari family, and Seth said that people who hold Sumari intent naturally resist those kinds of categorizations. In spite of their reservations, Jane and Rob presented that material in The “Unknown” Reality, Vol 2.
Interestingly, if you could care less about Seth’s nine families, that’s a perfect fit with the profile of Sumari intent, LOL! With a little research, I eventually found the connection to other perennial wisdom traditions, too. It stood to reason that if Seth’s families were real, then there would have to be traces found elsewhere throughout history. Sure enough, they exist in the Abrahamic religions. For instance, they appear as the “nine hierarchies” in the work of Dionysius (5th century CE), St. Thomas Aquinas (13th century), and Rudolf Steiner, among others.
Seth’s version provides us with a different, more contemporary translation on the surface, but what they all point to is an understanding of how things function in the Soul Realm. They play an important part in Seth’s Creation Myth, even though they are mentioned only once in Dreams, “Evolution,” and Value Fulfillment, Vol. 1. Elias, channeled by Mary Ennis provided much greater detail using Seth’s exact terms beginning in 1995.
The key thing with this part of the material is that it helps to show that there is innate intention behind the creation of our multiverse. Our inner selves, our souls, all belong to one of those nine families and have been part of physical evolution since the beginning, and as Seth and Elias tell it, “before the beginning.”
I believe it’s also part of an emerging new worldview mythos, one that includes not only all the wonderful advances in terms of physical and natural sciences, but also the best of what modernity lost when it threw out the baby (Consciousness) with the bathwater (mythic religion) during the so-called Enlightenment. As a result, Modernity became Godless and Soulless, a living hell separated from its Divine Source. All you need do is look around at the state of the world to see the many symptoms of this separation: various addictions, chronic dysfunction and dis-ease, wars, poverty, unequal distribution of wealth and natural resources, and on and on. Changing this orientation, and healing this separation caused by the modern worldview’s belief systems are part and parcel of the evolutionary forces at work right now.
Regarding Sumafi intent, that’s the one that deals with transmitting original knowledge with low distortion, something critical to any civilization’s long term health. This intent also refutes the absurd notion that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” It means that there are those who are born to teach, that is, it’s their soul intent to teach. You can consider yourself lucky if you had one or two in your own journey through the educational system. Those are the teachers who really made a difference. It also explains why there are so many bad teachers, they’re simply not following their own natural family of consciousness intent.
How do we resolve all the different belief systems out there, in creating our en masse world experiences?
We don’t! We allow them to exist as they are, but here’s the caveat: we need to better understand how cultural and personal evolution works in terms of stages of development. Beliefs unfold in developmental stages in human beings. There’s a recent science of memetics initiated by the biologist Richard Dawkins as a counterpart to physical genes. He defined memes as a mental construct that gets passed down from generation to generation, much like genes are inherited through sexual reproduction. As such, memes are also causal elements in reality creation. Of course, Seth calls them belief systems.
Others took the idea of memetics and developed it further so that we now know that our memes or belief systems develop in seedling, sapling, tree stages of increased complexity, in physical terms.
So, one way to better understand what I call Worldview Dynamics is to realize that not only are there nine different innate intents from Seth’s nine families operating from the submerged parts of the “iceberg selves,” but there are also various stages of increased maturity in terms of infant, child, teen, and adult belief systems out there.
When seen in this light, the current human population is like a dynamic forest with endlessly overlapping seedlings, saplings, and trees in any given moment. However, not to worry, as this diversity also ensures a chronic state of “cognitive dissonance” that actually helps to propel the species forward along its evolutionary journey. It also means that there will always be some kinds of inherent conflict to some degree. Sorry, no illusions of utopia any time soon, though we certainly can make vast improvements in all areas of our civilization.
But we need to make an important distinction between constructive and destructive conflicts. Constructive conflicts actually propel growth in the long run, so there’s always a silver lining. Destructive conflicts actually destroy, and cause regression, the loss of wisdom and knowledge, all too often in the name of God, Jihad, and even scientific progress. So that’s something we want to avoid. It’s a slippery slope at times!
What is your world view of current world events?
I make a distinction of three main worldview systems. It’s derived from the work of Jean Gebser, Clare Graves, Don Beck, and Ken Wilber. In order to present it to the general public, I break it down into three main systems works really well as an orienting generalization. There’s the Traditional (Religious), Modern (Scientific), and Postmodern (emerging, in its infancy and began in earnest around 1900) worldview.
I don’t use the term postmodern in the academic sense of the French Schools of Philosophy. I use it as a placeholder to show that Modernity has a key influence and forms an evolutionary stepping stone that makes the postmodern worldview’s emergence possible. Further, the new worldview seeks to bridge the best practices of the Traditional (Consciousness with a Capital “C”), and Modern (Material Sciences) to take it to the next level. As Einstein famously said, “The problems we face today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.”
Strap yourselves in for the road, because we all have a front row seat to one of the most explosive, dynamic, and consciousness shifting times in human history! Worldview Dynamics play a central role in this unfolding.
What’s your life’s goal, and how’s that working out for you?
My goal has been to develop my abilities to their fullest; to, as Seth challenged, “Face up to the abilities of consciousness.” I really took to heart the notion that we’re accountable in the afterdeath transition state for those abilities we didn’t use during this life. So, that’s been a major motivation and so far, it seems to be working out really well! I have no regrets, and can’t even imagine what my life would be like without the Seth Material’s explanatory power.
What do you like to read, and what are you currently reading?
I love to read about metaphysics, philosophy, science, astronomy, music, art, technology, and developmental psychology; you know, light reading. <grin> On my reading table are books by Rudolf Steiner (Anthroposophy), Allan Combs (Consciousness Explained Better), Tenzin Wangyal (Tibetan Dream Yoga), and of course, Seth.
Any advice to offer even the most hard-headed skeptics, regarding the Seth Material?And does it even matter what they think?
Take our online Course and explore the comprehensive map of consciousness and the actual exercises recommended by Seth. Test out the waters for yourself, through your own direct experience to see what’s true and what’s crap. Don’t rely on “Seth said,” or anything I’ve said as final proof. That rests in the laboratory of your own experience.
Otherwise, you’re not qualified to offer an informed opinion about the utility and efficacy of the Seth Material. We take a “spiritual scientific approach,” and you need to dive in and explore it in depth for yourself.
Is there anything else burning inside you that has a need for expression?
Sure, if any of my ramblings make the least bit of sense, you might check out our online Course at NewWorldView called Seth Revealed: Unlock the Secrets of Conscious Creation.
If you were to have a gravestone, what would you have engraved on it?
“And another thing…!” I love to talk about the Seth Material and related concepts, and once I get going passionately on something, it’s hard to stop. Just ask my wife, Joanne. 😉
Thank you for your time, Paul, it’s been…enlightening!
Thanks for your interest and for having me, Frank. All the best!