Introduction to Fairy Tales are True

Fairy Tales are True coverby Carol Sill

Welcome to the world in which fairy tales are true, where the prominent scientists of the day join together to seek wisdom from a great sage of the Himalayas at the fabled Kumbha Mela. Guided by a trusted myth-spinning storyteller, their journey and its preparation are peppered with tales of metaphysical adventures. From the bohemian Shangri-La of the Oceano Dunes to the ancient Ganges flowing from Himalayan heights, the group travels and discovers the realm of “silent reach”.

In the tradition of metaphysical fiction that was popular in the 1920’s and 30s, Fairy Tales are Truesweeps the reader into a vortex of yogis, scientists, spies and fools. Unlike most of those forgotten novels of secret universal Buddhist brotherhoods and mystical Tibetan quests, this book is more than partly true. Bryn Beorse, who was known to the Sufis as Shamcher, was the real deal: an actual world-travelling yogi-sufi who also was an esteemed economist and engineer. Here he has created a fantastical autobiographical allegory in a book that defies categorization.

As one long teaching story comprised of nested teaching stories, Beorse’s book may take liberties with facts to illustrate truths, but not as often as you might think. It is not only autobiographical, it is also a novelized or storified account of concepts that cannot be easily grasped by the literal mind.

Many-faceted, the book can be seen as a comic or as an allegory, as a novel or as a collection of stories like 1001 Nights, as an autobiography or as a metaphysical encryption, all depending on your viewpoint.

Some of the astonishing tales are completely true, other more prosaic events may be literary fabrication. Some facts are condensed and seen as averages. Other events resonate a mythic dimension or parallel in which they become more than true.

Shamcher often said that we need to create new myths and he shows the way here by generating myths from real-life experiences. The myth of the union of the sciences, the myth of the free-living dunites, the myth of mystic Indian sages beaming integrating love-wisdom. These new myths become outlines for humanity to decode.

This book is a cycle of words and letters set to run as a sort of intuition-machine – generating insights in the reader who can approach it from the right angle, at the right time.

Our story begins in a shattering of the separation between disciplines and points of view. With a gunshot, the “burglars” break the barriers and enter one another’s realms of exploration. Breaking the sound barrier naturally causes a sonic boom. In one big Bang! the action begins, and characters, events and social/political situations all combine to seek the whereabouts of a secret being who draws them together.

As science writer Brian Clegg states, “Every point in the universe, including where you are right now, is where the big bang happened.”

The book’s characters and situations could be seen as cliché, but just as McLuhan observed, cliché expands into archetype.

Shamcher sketches a series of event patterns that demonstrate the action and effect of what he calls “silent reach.” In these narrative examples of communication without words, silent reach shows in the mental concentration shared by three yogis to save the life of a foolhardy swimmer in the Ganges. It is seen in a last-minute intervention in a drama of international relationships played out as a personal conflict in the Tale of Fu Kieng. Silent reach, throughout the book, leads up to an inspired integration of the disciplines in the presence of a mysterious sage.

Ranging from the highest physics to the social sciences, Beorse has created exemplars, characters partly based on actual scientists. They are the noble knights of France, America and England setting forth upon their quest, with the guidance of the troubadour, our storytelling narrator. Dr. Jacques and his Institute – all true, except his last name was not Miel but Ménétrier. He figures in several of Shamcher’s other books, including Planet Earth Demands and Every Willing Hand. Edmund Fitzgerald seems to be a composite character based on prominent innovative social scientists and economists of the day (with a dash of Beorse himself.)Sir James Oss is patterned on Sir James Jeans the eminent physicist, astronomer and mathematician. By creating a confluence of these great minds of the early and mid-20th century, Beorse is working a little bit of magic.

Shamcher gives to the boy who could see without eyes the name of one of India’s greatest poets, a man who learned the inner secret of the shared mind of all. When Rabindranath (the blind and simple seer) tells of future wonders, our engineer/narrator asks for hard facts on how to achieve the wonders on earth. The response shows delicate awareness of the process of humanity’s evolution on earth and the fulfillment of such prophesy that comes slowly, over time.

As an engineer, Shamcher had an intimate understanding of technology, its inspiration and application for the good of all. For decades he worked to develop and promote OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) as a benign source of power from the sea, a system he outlined in his book, Planet Earth Demands. He refers to it again in his book on full employment, Every Willing Hand.

Interweaving teaching stories with personal accounts, Beorse brings life to ephemeral concepts. He allegorically illustrates world events, such as the influence of Chinese expansion into India in the Tale of Fu Kieng. Putting himself directly into the center of the most dramatic action in the book, he once again weaves in his own life experience with that of the field he wishes to illustrate. Is it factual or is it true?

After gathering together, the sciences are led to the greatest of the sages in a journey that catalyzes them to greater realization in their fields through interdisciplinary dialogue in a very high place, guided by an unknowable presence. This is all stimulated along the way with true tales of adventures or mystery, pointing always to the silent communication of the wise.

This book is also an allegory of the life of the seeker, who gathers all forces together, with the help of a guide, to seek the truth, much like Attar’s classic Sufi tale, The Conference of the Birds. It could be said that the whole tale occurs within each of us – the sciences, the events, the guide (our narrator) and the great one whose appearance inspires and unifies, while daily we are engaged with the surging crowds of humanity within – our own personal Kumbha Mela.

Over and over again Shamcher emphasizes the power of communicating without words. His ability to do just that was one of his remarkable qualities. His being was a locus of energies and forces which urged, emerged and converged within him. Not only did he have access to the minds of others, and areas of interest created through merged minds of scientists, and engineers, and economists, he had access to the great mind of the entire being of humanity, the earth and our whole human experiment. Through Sufi yoga he attained awareness and flexibility to play in this vast God-mind, and through his loving heart he connected with other souls who could, perhaps, understand.

As a servant of this great mind Shamcher did its bidding without hesitation and he remained in contact at all times toward the end of his life. This inner urge and direct guidance was for him a force of great loving action. He said that the further you go in this way, the greater the minds you swing with. He was not only referring to remarkable people with fine gifts and abilities, but he also meant fields of awareness – physics, cosmologies, religions, beings of all life – animals and plants and unseen life. All “minds,” all aware and communicating silently.

This deceptively simple and slim volume could be seen as a blueprint for experience, for the book invokes a natural participation from the universe. It can amplify our awareness of quantum entanglement, what Einstein referred to as “spooky action at a distance.”

There are mythic tropes that Beorse expands upon, such as the effects of yogic concentration or the sacred unification of the sciences. Intuition stimulated through the lens of this book may awaken a recognition of such event templates as quantum patterns, living symbols that could seem to leap off the page and into everyday reality. The Tale of Trailanga is echoed in Dreamwood’s arrest, but it is not confined to this novel. It is also echoed in the story of Big Bear, an aboriginal shaman arrested in Winnipeg during the Metis rebellion in Canada. He too could not be confined; his story is one of several that mirror Trailanga’s, despite separation in both time and place.

When Shamcher wrote this book in the late 1960s-70s, he placed some of the action in decades past. The original book description read:

From California pre-hippy communes of forty years ago, to the mysterious convening of the sages in modern-day India, this story sweeps the reader along following the secret thread whose strands have held mankind together for the last few thousand years. Visits to simple villagers with amazing powers alternate with the adventures of an expedition of the world’s most important scientists, as Bryn Beorse takes us into the “inner sanctums” of our own everyday world. 

The inner journey is reflected here as outer. The signs along the path all point to the silent way. We sense and discover it through stories that map the way and help encourage faith in the unseen.

As Shamcher said in the book, “If the great one wished to see us, he would somehow arrange it.”

Reading this book intuitively can reveal a deeper symbolic truth – something ultimately even more direct than a tale of scientists and sages working together to understand the truth of our existence and the meaning of the cosmos. As this compendium of nested teaching tales was intuitively written, it can speak to the heart of each reader in the silent reach of communication beyond words.

See also: Oceano Dunes and Magi, Lions and Lambs on the book website.

Introduction to Planet Earth Demands

Planet Earth Demands front coverby Carol Sill

Economist, engineer, generalist and mystic, Shamcher Bryn Beorse, reveals his comprehensive overview of the forces and influences shaping humanity in the latter half of the 20th century. Concerned with the fate of the earth environmentally, socially and politically, he offered both advice and warning, peppered with personal anecdotes. The cry of mother earth, the complexity of social issues, and the needs and desires of human beings living in this world today all combine in Beorse’s bird’s eye view.

This expanded and all-inclusive vision of the cry of the earth is as important today as when it was written over 40 years ago. What seemed radical at that time is commonplace today – an awareness of the totality of the environment including ourselves as well as the development of the inner life. In Beorse’s world-view there is no separation between the areas of energy, economics, employment, the individual’s pursuit of happiness and his own personal life-experiences. He subtly includes the spiritual life, touching on yoga and Sufi thought and practice as necessary and meaningful tools to address our current problems – not only at a personal level, but in the areas of city life, the environment, education and the media.

He puts his message into simple everyday language of the time, and makes sense of daily life in the broader environmental context. But this book is not merely an overview or a philosophical explanation. It is an urgent call for help from Earth Herself. As a serious meditator, Beorse had heard this cry throughout his life and dedicated his expertise and abilities to answering it. He travelled the world as an engineer and economist, finally settling in the US in the 1950s to work on OTEC, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, a system that produces benign solar power from the sea. At the time of writing this book, OTEC had yet to be adopted as an energy system of choice; instead coal, oil, and nuclear interests held the center stage despite OTEC’s proof, promise and possibility. Beorse emphasizes this technology as one of the answers to the demand of the planet.

Inside the book, each chapter connects with a specific aspect of the totality of our environment. At first poetic, the first chapter, Who is Mother Earth?, is seen from a planetary view, but zooms in to an individual at the corner of Wall St. and Broadway. Soon after it shifts to introducing OTEC, which is immediately followed by the economic chapter, Money, Money, Money, and includes many excerpts from the writings of others in the field. The Subtle Game of Choice again picks up on OTEC as an energy system, also discussing politics. The chapter on education, Are You Educated?, examines experience from birth to school to the world at large, finishing with a spiritual teaching tale.

Also ending with a Sufi story, the chapter on our dense social environment, What is America All About?, looks at our work environment and touches on the tragedy of involuntary unemployment. Making Cities Liveable discusses people and urban planning, while Lover and Beloved asks the question: “How can we hope to manage our common environment if we cannot even stand each other’s idiosyncrasies?” Beorse touches on the rich variety of human experience and the love of these individual qualities, ending with a tale of his encounter with the King of Afghanistan. In The Swallowed Environment, discussion of diet soon gives way to yogis, mystics and non-eating saints.

Our overwhelming information and entertainment environment is the main topic of The Printed, the Videoed and Audioed, while accounts of personal experiences in Australia and Borneo in Neighborreveal personal economics, sharing and understanding. A Closer Neighbor: Your Body, goes into acupuncture, yoga and Sufi approaches to knowledge and awareness of the body. The Gold Mine Between Our Ears is the mind, here seen as the source and substance of our non-physical environment. Yoga and Sufism are discussed alongside mind training and brainstorming. The next chapter, Beyond Mind?, examines out of body experience and transfer of consciousness, through his true story of an adventure in Dayakland.

Inter-environment shows how one phase of the environment influences and merges with other phases, and through true wartime stories reveals non-hierarchical working as an effective way of channelling this interpenetration of environmental phases. Are You Emotional? discusses emotions, IQ, intuition and telepathy, and mentions an encounter with the Sufi teacher, Inayat Khan as a vibrant example of thought-transfer. Questioning “loyalty” and tackling the folly of top-down organization, This Delightful Disobedience shows the shift from theory to insight. Celebrating generalists and their influence, Comprehensive Designer examines the work of Buckminster Fuller, the benefits of small ventures and the power of the individual computer.

The final chapter, Bird’s Eye View, is the overview that shows through study and story the need for comprehensive ecological awareness and action. It ends the book with a sad tale of the effect of involuntary unemployment, revealing how one man’s experience has left an impression in nature and the environment.

As an elder and Sufi, Beorse taught and guided many younger people of the day to find the inner guidance that would help them develop their life’s purpose. He was insistent that the time for one-sided passive meditation was no more, and that the inner spirit of guidance, our intuition, was to be awakened and developed to serve humanity. Just as technology is the application of science, so is serving humanity the natural application of the meditative life. All we have to do is learn to listen, and put intuition into action.

Beorse points us to the yogis he describes in the book who do not identify themselves with their bodies but see the whole environment, the whole planet, as themselves.

The personal anecdotes that he shares here can be seen in the same light. Not only illustrations of wider principles, the autobiographical accounts are the book’s backbone, revealing an approach that radically defies all topic categorization and specialization.

It has been nearly 40 years since Shamcher wrote this book which he revised and kept current until his passing in 1980. Are we ready now to respond?

It was his love of this life and of this precarious human experiment that urged him to write and add his voice to the increasingly urgent call of our planet. At the center of this book is a message of a love that dissolves all the seeming separations between the various disciplines he addresses here. With love as the integrating force and intuition as our inner guidance, humankind will be able to answer the demands of Planet Earth, and survive.

See also: How to Read this Book and Chapter by Chapter at the book’s website.

Introduction to Every Willing Hand

every willing hand front coverby Carol Sill

Through Every Willing Hand we can receive a glimpse of an extraordinary worldview, a simultaneous multiverse of intimate interconnection, fueled by love, aligned by wisdom, creatively expressing God’s love for this delicate and persistent human experiment. This is the world of Shamcher Bryn Beorse.

With this book Beorse views this vast scene through a lens of economics and full employment.  He reveals artfully interwoven themes that all work together to show a complex picture of the forces and influences at play, both at the time of writing in the mid-1970’s and today.  Shamcher had great compassion for those who are “half awake in the body of humanity,” and he worked tirelessly to expand the horizons of all individuals and communities.

In one glance the book reflects innumerable facets of our social communities and individual aspirations, all in the context of the need for social reform. Where does he suggest this reform comes from? Not from a revolution in the streets to restore or establish fair and equal opportunity, but from an implemented program ensuring full employment for all who want it. A program that had already been outlined back in 1946 by noted economist, John H. G. Pierson.

An economist himself, Beorse adds his voice to Pierson’s concept in his own inimitable way: by providing this swirling overview of the issues at hand, ranging from the personal to the cosmic.

A key to discovering the meaning of this book is to approach it visually. I invite you to see the whole book as a Diego Rivera-style mural. As in a mural, at one view all the major public figures and social influences can be seen interacting together symbolically on a wall in a public place. Time past, present and future are all represented. Such a mural can be understood by anyone. It is always a call to action, a statement of deep participation in life in our community, an acknowledgement of roots in the past, the reality of present problems and hope for the future.

Like any great muralist, Beorse includes specific significant details: some informational for future reference, some symbolic for contemplation. While reading this book, visualizing is key to comprehensive understanding. Taking the time to think and contemplate may open catalysts to insight and give inspiration for action. Let’s take a look at the vast mural that is Every Willing Hand.

The first chapter, Every Single Willing Hand, introduces the book’s purpose, touching on economics, full employment, and OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion). Beorse introduces the influential figures whose ideas form a basis for this discussion, including thinkers and economists who by now may have faded from the world stage.  We can’t ignore the fact that this book began with a memory: the suicide of a talented man, whose enthusiasm and gifts were suppressed by his involuntary unemployment.

Children’s Hour uses the future generation as an inspiration for action, asking “what do the children of unemployed workers feel and think?” then leading directly into correspondence that reveals the efforts to create new initiatives. Moving from child to youth, in The Unsettled, he first asks the question, “How can youth build a viable society when unsettled?” His response includes the work of the esteemed Dr. Ménétrier in his Paris clinic, and touches on inner guidance and the “unseen friend”.

Generation Bridge, written at the time of the “generation gap” offers new approaches to gaps in understanding between any groups whose concepts and theories differ. While touching on teachings of the sufis, including yoga and meditation, a great deal of this chapter is devoted to Dr. Simonton’s work using visualization with cancer patients. If visualization is proven to help in individuals, can it not also be a clue to helping our communities, and our future?

The next chapter, Vendettas and Morality, takes another look at our society, from marriage to long term social planning, and the negative influence of unemployment. Here Beorse posits employment based on enthusiasm and skills, not merely abilities in reading and writing.  The Good Samaritan and Computers outlines a very interesting juxtaposition. He states, “Computers, lie detectors and good Samaritans sway people, their communities, economics.” Here he shows us how the help of a caring human being restores the humanity in others, for in many ways we are being “beaten up” by the media and our dependence on the external. Incidentally, Beorse saw lie detectors as machines that measured feeling, and as such creating a whole new category of social influence that will emerge in the future.

Like his teacher, the Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan, Shamcher had an intuitive awareness of the power and meaning of symbols. In A Symbol is an Ocean in a Drop, he examines the Cross, the Trinity, the Waters of the Sea, Bread, and Wine. This chapter is an entrance to the world of the spirit. It looks at concentration, prayer, and most important: developing an understanding of the physical aspects of thoughts and feelings. Stepping further into the mystic world, Communicators introduces examples of those who could operate beyond the limitations of body and mind. The figures of Inayat Khan, Samuel Lewis, Rabindranath Tagore, Dag Hammarskjold,  and Al Ghazali appear to our view.

And then, War. Seeing from the economic viewpoint, Beorse gives a global overview, mentioning how economic despair opened the door to Hitler. He offers the choice of full employment and its related economic stability as a potential deterrent to future wars. In Riots: A Challenge? Shamcher  significantly asks if riots come from ourselves, from “a mysteriously expanded multimind.” Invoking history, he describes riots and demonstrations as warnings to communities to take stock of assets and potentialities.

From war and riots, to we turn to love, and in Love, How Real? love is shown as a realization, as the basis for a society and its economics. From the human cycle of love to the love of God, this chapter reveals the stream of love in its many forms. Then from such a Bhakti yoga approach, the next chapter flows to a more Jnana approach. “I Am Just An Accident” takes a scientific view, contrasting “a” and “b” in a conversational dialogue between two characters, Ralph and Fred, a biologist and an astrophysicist.

Is there a way out? Freedom’s Gate begins with a well-known Sufi story, then goes right into the main teaching this story reveals: die before death. Shamcher shows the path of forgetting the self,  losing the self in the wonder of Creation. All clashes and differences can be united in prayer. The chapter Clashing Minds decodes prayers with concentrations for each line of the Lord’s Prayer, and two Sufi prayers, including this healing prayer:

Beloved Lord, Almighty God
Through the Rays of the Sun
Through the Waves of the Air
Through the All-Pervading Life in Space
Purify and revivify us, and we pray,
Heal our bodies, hearts and souls.

Looking at states and stages of realization, this chapter shows prayer, meditation and contemplation as essential tools of education.

In Silent Reach Shamcher goes much further, into breath, yoga, Sufism, inner training and practice. He defines the seeker as an astronaut, stepping outside narrow mind, feelings and body into wide open space. This approach gives access to the solutions to all our social, economic, international and personal problems and ambitions.

Those solutions remain unfulfilled until they are applied, and that is where the work needs to be done. So from meditation and inner life it is back to That Unfinished Business where the book first began. Back to economics, and to the ideas of inventory, surveys and analysis to lay the groundwork for full employment. Here Beorse mentions the comprehensive 1963 meeting that had been planned to hammer out such basics for the US, a meeting that was tragically cancelled due to the assassination of President Kennedy.  However, further correspondence included here indicates that the ideas behind this meeting were still in play.

This business is still unfinished, which is why Beorse wrote this book.  For those who want further details, the Appendix contains the full statement Completing the Employment Act by John H.G. Pierson, as presented to the US House of Representatives in 1972.

This book is not only historical but completely in the present. Perhaps now could be the time to look back at the 1946 proposal for full employment. It is certainly not too late to examine the work of the economists Beorse so emphatically recommends. Nor is it too late to advocate the implementation of OTEC technology for the good of our planet, climate and our economy.  And it is always the right time to develop the inner life. As outlined in Silent Reach, we can all expand ourselves to become explorers who step outside narrow mind and concepts, and enter wide open space.

See also: Reading  on the book’s website.


Introduction to Man and this Mysterious Universe

man and mysterious universeby Carol Sill

The book Man and this Mysterious Universe was originally described as a synthesis of the many aspects of modern civilization, bringing within its scope the contribution of the East as well as of the West, showing how it has grown from the civilization of the past and how it will probably develop into the civilization of the future. Or as the author put it more simply: a survey of Western and Eastern Sciences.

“Nobody,” says Brynjolf Bjorset, “can claim thorough knowledge in all the fields touched upon in my book. But an overall picture of life is the greatest need of our time. My incurable curiosity forced me to try.”

The evolution of humanity and the responsibilities of each of us in this process are described by Beorse in this book which rapidly shifts from one topic to another. However, seen all at once it conveys an image of the totality of the human endeavour: something both outside of time and occurring in time, on schedule, as a great play.

“This comprehensive and refreshing picture is sorely needed at this time of narrow outlook and overspecialization,” writes the distinguished psychologist, educator and author, Dr. Philip B. Ballard.

This book was completed before the author had moved to the US and changed his name from Bjorset to Beorse. Inspired to write by the great sage, Inayat Khan,  Beorse combined three former works into one for Man and This Mysterious Universe.  Written during WWII, then added to with new information, the book was first published in 1949. His previous work, Distribute or Destroy, had been in the field of economics. Beorse considerably widened his scope in this next publication, whose title refers to the popular physics book by James Jeans, This Mysterious Universe. Here Beorse includes humanity in this assessment of a universe of vibrations and events, creating Man and This Mysterious Universe.

In the book, he uses the phrase “the enemy within”, which he defines as “anything which prevents man from becoming master of his own destiny”.

To readers familiar with Shamcher’s work, this contents of this book may be easy to see and understand, but for those who have not yet seen his fully inclusive non-linear approach in action, these few words of introduction may help a new reader to break into the realm in which these ideas find expression. Each chapter takes on a specific topic of human endeavour: Science, Art, Education. But don’t be fooled by the seemingly linear approach. Inside each chapter is a shifting mass of variety, much of which may not at first seem to exactly fit that content title. Using examples, personal biographical anecdotes, and stories from others, he moves from the micro to the overview while still keeping the micro-view in place. Also inserted are many references to the work of others, names and articles listed for further review, along with philosophical generalizations. No chapter is complete without a mention of the Creator – not dogmatically but as an embodiment of the unifying energetic field in which all this activity and detailed account has its life and being. For it is ultimately a mystic vision, whatever the topic at hand. In this way a ship and its crew are seen as an embodiment of the finest human prayers.

The Trail outlines the scope of the book, and emphasizes the work on vibration and its measurement by Dr. Brunler as an example of the Western view, while he includes the connection to the great mystic, Inayat Khan as the example of the same wisdom in the East. Giving an overview of the science of vibration, from Paracelsus to James Jeans in Western terms, he connects with the poets of the East such as Rumi and Hafiz, as well as giving his account of his first meeting with Inayat Khan.

Here Beorse introduces two main themes of the book: the Human Team, and the Only Being.

Science approaches the one world of interwoven vibrations from a variety of angles and disciplines, both Eastern and Western. Again the human community, and love have a place here in the measurement and analysis of conditions and life experience. Looking at rays and vibrations from the point of view of physics, botany, psychology, economics and other scientific fields, in this chapter Beorse brings these forces into focus as a unity, seeing all as efforts “toward the One.” Yet he does not deny individual purpose or particular views, and includes in this chapter short anecdotes and examples that illustrate his broad vision of the world of scientific thought, as seen in the 20th century.

The chapter Art explores the role of artists as humanity’s co-creators, with the purpose of bringing humankind forward through a further expression of the impulse of the Creator. Form, sound, vision and the science of vibration are touched upon in this chapter. Beorse envisions a time when artists will contribute to all areas of human life, enriching education, psychology, politics, finance and international relationships.

Education is dedicated to the development of the child, the future of humanity. Through varied anecdotes and accounts, Beorse draws the reader into an ideal of education, one that can prepare the 20th century child for the complexity of the future. One significant component of this is fostering in the child a complete confidence in the inner guidance that comes from awareness of the One Being.

It is in the chapter on Everyday Life that all fields of human activity are shown by Beorse as genuine places of worship. He offers an integrated vision of human life, community endeavours, and society that is nothing less than the manifestation of the divine, in all details and seeming insignificance. Work, war, marriage, divorce, psychology, crime and many other efforts and fields of action are ultimately seen as simply interwoven vibrations. Here is revealed the Oneness of all in the manifestation of any and all. However, these events are also acknowledged as unique and actively evolving circumstances requiring clear involvement. There is no hint of a “spiritual bypass” in this work, but rather a clear assessment and inspired action.

In The Family of Nations, Beorse allows his mind to fly shaman-like over the countries of the world, examining preconceived ideas of the various nations and their directions for growth. Once again, details, anecdotes and research findings combine together in synthesis and overview. Beorse exercises great broadness of mind and open awareness in weaving together tremendously diverse forces that were at that time acting upon the world stage, synthesizing them into a cohesive whole that could be viewed in a single glance.

As a great deal of this book was written during wartime while he was active in capacities of spycraft and other aspects of service, the tone Beorse takes in this chapter may seem to no longer apply to the world that we live in today. Some of the details may be of historical interest. However there is a prescience to his approach to assessment of global interaction between nations that is completely applicable to the current conditions. This chapter offers a glimpse into the thoughts of the day, and it is possible that insights accounted here may be applied to today’s global complexity as well. Following WWII, Beorse saw the Atlantic Pact and the Soviet Bloc as harbingers of an emerging world federation. His broad overview here includes this ideal of federation as a natural phenomenon reflecting the true state of affairs, in which “whatever we do to any nation, to any single man, woman or child, we do it to the Creator or Being who lives and breathes and has his hopes in all.”

It is interesting to note that a poem on America by the mystic Irish folklorist Ella Young is quoted here in this chapter. Along with Gavin Arthur (grandson of former US President Chester Arthur) Ella Young was instrumental in the community of Dunites, who lived in the Oceano sand dunes on the California coast. Beorse’s later book, Fairy Tales are True, features his account of life in the dunes among the free-thinking free-living dunites, in this Bohemian Shangri-La. Ella Young gave this community’s main cabin its name, Moy Mell, referring to the “pastures of honey” in the afterlife of the Celtic poets and bards.

At the pinnacle of this international overview, great nations interact almost symbolically as if in a vast drama above the globe. In the following chapter, Beorse goes behind the scenes into an examination of some esoteric symbols and mystic understandings. Behind Symbols and Dogmasoffers explanations and examples of some of the more meaningful symbols used the world over down through the ages to refer to the inner path. In this section, Beorse also subtly tackles the tricky subjects of Karma and Reincarnation, basing his analysis on the wisdom approach of the great sage and mystic Inayat Khan, who had been his teacher in the 1920s, and who inspired the writing of this book.  Beorse emphasized that life in this world was made for human spiritual awakening and evolution, and “is not to be shunned by him who wants to know and grow.” He makes it clear that inspiration and progress are possible even with the responsibilities, wars, worries and jarring influences of this world. He directs modern man to uncover this precious art, offering the resonance of the ancient traditions for contemplation and realization.

Beorse goes further still in A Road and A Path to describe in allegory the various ways humanity approaches the ultimate goal. Some go on the main road, others take a steep path. This chapter poetically describes how some seekers may dare to become masterful servants who can bridge Heaven and Earth. Whether on the broad road with all the others, or on the difficult path that is only for one, all humanity takes this journey. As Beorse expresses the life of the mystic and his approach, he gives clues to understanding this book as a whole: “His urge is to discover the vital elements of Life and make them work, in as many different spheres and activities as he can cover. Based on the knowledge of such vital elements, he gains an insight into all activities at once..”

In the final chapter, The Caravan Goes On the book ends with a Sufi teaching story of a masterful servant,  before going into a description of the caravan of Love, that ancient metaphor for the ongoing journey of the soul in the long line of wise companions. Here he even affords the reader a glimpse of the leader of the great caravan, referred to by Sufis as “The Spirit of Guidance”.

So what is this book ultimately about? It exposes the mind and thoughts of a contemporary mystic in the middle of World War II and during the immediate post-war recovery. Through creating an ideal to be achieved in each of the topic chapters, Beorse invokes a healing vibration for a shattered world. In the guise of showing an integrated overview of the world situation, it is a revelation of the presence of God in all Life that points the way for seekers to discover this revelation in their own lives.

Introduction to Distribute or Destroy

Distribute or Destroy front coverby Carol Sill

Combining the work of various “heretical” economists into one accessible volume, this book by Brynjolf Björset (aka Bryn Beorse) leads up to a tested Scandinavian economic experiment. Nordic Clearing was established as a bridge to a new applied economy. Behind it was a radical overview dedicated to rethinking the nature of money, particularly in the climate after WWI.

Björset was asked to outline the basic work of the best known new economists of the day, offering an assessment of the situation of poverty in the midst of plenty. He produced  Efter Oss Kommer Overfloden (After Us the Glut),  his world economic survey published by Aschehoug in Oslo, Norway in 1934. It was immediately translated into English, and released in Britain and the US as Distribute or Destroy.

This book brought the young civil engineer, Brynjolf Björset, on to the world stage as a firebrand economic thinker who applied radical theories for the greater good.

His engagement with Nordic Clearing was reprised after WWII when he was selected to participate in the group that rebuilt the economy of Norway. Even today, Norway is an example of the kind of cautious innovative economic policy that serves the community and nation over excessive private profits.

Pushed by the dire global depression, the need for a new approach to distribution of goods and services sparked a variety of innovative thoughts on the economy. Redefining wealth, re-examining the gold standard, placing the new theories into historical contexts, this book gives a great deal of information for further discussion and exploration. It is a start in building a bridge from the old world-view to the new.

Each chapter is dedicated to one economic approach that had received reasonable traction in the thinking of the times. Some had been applied, others remained theoretical, so far untested in the world.

Now almost a hundred years since some of these theories were first drafted we can look with fresh eyes at the ideas that were emerging in those tumultuous times after WWI.

Rapidly increasing production power, expanding industrial output and the revolution in electric power met both left- and right-wing political ideologies in an arena of war debt and post-war shock.

The Great Depression caused economists the world over to re-examine the economic cycles of the century past. New fermenting ideas were everywhere, but were often dismissed by the status quo as merely the wacky fringe activities of marginal cranks and quacks. Each of the systems in this book has been so vilified, yet each has a merit that brings to the fore a new approach for the future.

Beorse foregrounds many of the new economists of the day, offering digests of their main tenets, with an invitation for interested parties to examine their work further.  He personally met with many of these distinguished economic thinkers, and worked closely with them, not only in creating Nordic Clearing but after WWII in rebuilding the economy of Norway. Applying these concepts, the Nordic Clearing Company’s regulations are listed in the appendix, for those who may wish to also create new non-gold based exchanges.

In today’s age of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, awareness of the 99%, various small applied barter systems, and much more, we can look back to some earlier efforts.

It is useful to compare our current thinking to the radical work of experimental economists who didn’t have the advantage of our advanced computer systems, but whose goal was reorganization for the common good.

The re-thinking of money as a means of exchange, of wealth as use and distribution of goods, of the health of a community based not simply on stores of gold but on useful enterprise is a noble ideal to strive toward.

The earlier English edition included this introductory quote: “The upper limit to human numbers is not set by any facts of nature, but by human ignorance and inadaptability.” (Professor Haldane in Possible Worlds)

It is easy to dismiss new economic theories as the nutty ideas of disenfranchised and uninformed on the margins of the mainstream. Far from the case, new concepts in the new field of economics were being tried and experimented with, either in thought or in test applications by noted accomplished theorists, and Björset reported on these forward thinkers in this book.

Dr. Robert Eisler’s book Stable Money is one of the main foundations of this new economic thinking, questioning the gold standard and its relation to currency. Eisler was a well-known Jewish historian of art and culture in Austria and a follower of Carl Jung. This great thinker was a guest professor at the Sorbonne while he was Assistant Director of the League of Nations Universities Interrelation Office in Paris, and he lectured at Oxford before the war. He survived internment in both Dachau and Buchenwald.

The book’s translator, Eric de Mare, who later became a prominent architecture photographer, was a utopian thinker.  A frequent visitor to Sweden, he perhaps connected with Björset at that time of intellectual ferment. Just graduated in 1933, de Mare supported New Architecture, and he looked to economic reorganization as a means to foster better architecture to provide better lives in community. He joined the Social Credit Party in 1933 and with his brother, Ian, prepared the English translation of Distribute or Destroy. Before WWII he was General Treasurer of the Social Credit Party in England, and over the years he wrote many inspired futuristic utopian articles about willing cooperation and a new civilization based on full employment. Many of de Mare’s ideas are consistent with Beorse’s vision, however, due to his strong bias, the tone of the English version of the book perhaps veers more closely to Social Credit. The original Norwegian book offered balanced assessment of various approaches, with Social Credit being only one.

The ideas of Social Credit have been discredited partly due to its mysterious morphing into a strange amalgamation of right-wing politics and evangelical Christianity – leaving behind its basis as a radical new economic system. In addition, there is a troubling shadow of anti-Semitism that still persists, based on some of the founder’s statements. However, these views do not necessarily impact the idea of the system itself.

The first Social Credit articles were published in Orage’s New Age magazine, one of the first early modern magazines of the 20th century. More interested in metaphysics than politics, Orage was a pupil of Ouspensky who went on to establish Gurdjieff centres in the USA.

Social Credit was applied in the 1930s (with some modifications) in the province of Alberta through a newly-elected Social Credit Party, led by the popular radio evangelist, William Aberhart. Its system of “currency” was short-lived, soon shut down by Canada’s federal government. It should be noted that well before WWII, Aberhart expelled anti-Semites from his legislature.

In correspondence with Samuel Lewis in 1966, Beorse openly offers his evaluation of the founder of Social Credit, Major Douglas:

“…Mr. Taylor recently of Alberta who confirmed my impression that Aberhart and Manning, Alberta Social Crediters, good, honest and astute men who had carried to great success, against tremendous odds, the weak but basically true ideas of social credit. Douglas, its “inventor” and champion was not very clear or wise, and his “equations” were never accepted in Alberta, luckily, nor was he ever willing to go to Alberta and see the only practical application of his theories, though he was invited while I was in London with him.”

In another letter he bluntly wrote:

“Social Credit– not a good name now. John F Kennedy was rising from ignorance to a good grasp of the main principles, until he uttered “The myth of the Federal Budget”. So true, but I asked Seymour Harris, his tutor and senior advisor to the Treasury if it wasn’t too blunt. “No no, just right! It had to be said.” US economists now are social crediters in the right sense as those Canadians (simple) in Alberta were years ago, but you do not now have to go to Canada to learn about what is now more developed here at home. Douglas, the creator of Social Credit was much of a Babbitt, too, fond of simple mathematical formulae which did not at all fit the complex economic structure (more advanced math may be used discernedly) and refused to go to Canada to see what was really then better than him, afraid he would be embarrassed. I still have a better overall view of economics of any country but less knowledge of details, than most. But if I am appointed anywhere I can collect, digest and use the details toward a solution. It is a complicated instrument, not to be played with.”

Beorse met and worked with many varied distinguished economic thinkers, and was more concerned with uplifting humanity than with the distinctions and differences that divide our communities.

Luther Whiteman and Samuel L. Lewis had quoted Distribute or Destroy in their book, Glory roads: the psychological state of California published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company in1936. Written during the Great Depression, it was prefaced as “an attempt to record only some of the better known crusades of the depression years, and to picture only some of the more important of recent messiahs.” In the book they reported on the new economic groups based on the ideas sweeping through the consciousness of Californians. From Distribute or Destroy they included the example of the ruined coal mining village, Schwanenkirchen in Bavaria, and the adoption of Wäras system that brought it back into activity.

They may have read this book as part of the background to their endeavour. It is more likely that they added the example as an afterthought, after meeting the Norwegian Björset in California when Distribute or Destroy had been released in English in the US. Beorse and Samuel L. Lewis shared another connection: both had been pupils of the great mystic, Inayat Khan. They had studied with him in the mid-1920s, attending the Sufi Summer School in Sursesnes, just outside of Paris. Retaining their close relationship in the decades to follow, they continued discussing and implementing socioeconomic theories and ideals for the betterment of humanity.

It was Whiteman who first told Beorse about the Dunes in Oceano, and the naturally curious Beorse was drawn to discover more. The Dunites had not been given a very positive assessment in their book, yet Whiteman and Lewis had both spent time in that open community. Frequently visited by California intelligensia, it was fostered in part by Gavin Arthur (grandson of Chester Arthur, former President of the United States) and the Irish Folklorist Ella Young. Beorse’s book, Fairy Tales are True, dedicates a long section to this Bohemian Shangri-la, which was home to eccentric characters ranging from hoboes to yogis, writers and artists. In Arthur’s magazine, The Dune Forum, each issue featured an article on some aspect or approach to new economics, along with the other ideas of the times that were looking toward a New Age. At Moy Mell,  Gavin’s cabin in the Dunes, differing viewpoints on economic directives were hotly argued. The Dune Forum reflects how paramount economic theories were in the Dunites’ passionate discussions.

Such varied views were similarly brought together in Distribute or Destroy. The book introduced an everyday reader to the principles behind some of the more prominent new economic approaches being discussed in the early 1930s.  From purely theoretical Technocracy to the partially implemented Social Credit system, all seen in the context of Stable Money and new approaches to the “idea” of money, the book’s range showed the reader of the time how many people in Europe and the UK were thinking beyond the status quo. They were not always in agreement, but all realized the need to create something new.

Visible in the writing are the attitudes of the time, and reading this book we realize that it was in current memory of many living in the 1930s that the “horsepower” of a vehicle related to the power of a number of actual horses. The statistics quoted here reveal the rapid accelleration of production and the need for society to catch up  with an effective mechanism of distribution.

At the time this book was written, the First World War is  the only war mentioned, and war debt refers to its aftermath. There was no inkling of the Second War to come. Perhaps if some of these theories had been implemented, that tragedy could have been avoided.

Seen from today’s vantage point, the decades between the World Wars of the 20th century were a time of upheaval and re-evaluation on every front. We are now in a similar crisis of poverty in the midst of plenty, with added looming environmental threats on the horizon. Perhaps revisiting some of the earlier radical economists can spark further innovative thinking and implementation toward active and lasting support for our global community.

As Beorse said in 1934, “A great many of our economists have not yet noticed that this world of unavoidable scarcity is by now as dead and gone as the stone age.”

Introduction to Letters

Sufi Letters CoverAn excerpt from the book’s Introduction, by Carol Sill.

Much of sufi teaching is deeply and universally based in a particular beautiful relationship between teacher and pupil. For the pupil, the presence of a friend or teacher catalyzes an experience which is at the heart of the sufi path, the awakening of the sleeping soul to realization. These letters form an intimate document of one such relationship.

Murshid Shamcher Beorse was just a name on a list when I began corresponding with him in 1974. I was immediately thrown into the mystical realms through our contact. He was insistent that he was not or never would be a “teacher”, very non-hierachial in approach. I exploded in his presence: the journey had begun! As this happened mainly through the mail and in the air, it is all documented here – in real time. Soon I was swept into the world of the sufis, meeting interesting people who were developed in extraordinary ways, all the while coming closer to understanding my self.

These letters speak of the extraordinary love between sufis – that love of God through one another. I trust that you can understand their mysticism – the winding paths of love, the realm of exquisite sentiment pushed past all limits. Rather than letting love narrow the universe to the points of two individuals, two individuals expand through love. Shamcher taught me to grow love wider than all creation, and to feed all in fierce expansive compassionate understanding.

Sharing these letters is both intensely personal and immensely impersonal. On the surface, they seem to chronicle a common enough love-story but they actually reveal an extraordinary tale: the seed of humanity’s development is hidden here. As the tree is contained in the seed, so the full flower of this understanding and its fruit are contained in these letters. The seeds are advice intended for my particular personality. For those who can see behind the personal individual advice, this is a universal story, another revelation of the unfolding of the soul to begin life’s work.

We corresponded weekly, sometimes daily, through years until Shamcher’s passing in 1980. Naturally, I kept and treasured all his letters to me, but what I didn’t know was that he kept all mine to him, and copies of every letter he sent out.

At one point in this correspondence relationship he mailed all my letters back to me, with copies of his own, asking me to put them into a book. I was overwhelmed, but as I put them together, the form of his teaching, my growth, our relationship and the universal love of the sufis took shape before my eyes.

This book is part of Shamcher’s legacy. He knew it at the time he told me to publish these letters. It exists not so much as my own story but more as a way of contact with him. His approach may be more relevant now than ever.