UCWG 042: Who is a Better Messianic Figure: Jesus Christ or Superman? *Update* Obviating Religious and Spiritual Archetypes throughout the Bible and Modern Media.

The Superman “S” Shield is the 2nd most recognizable symbol in the world. In only 75 years, it is on the verge of dethroning the Christian cross, despite a 2,000-year head start. How much longer until we, as a species, look to Superman as our common savior and ideal to live up to?

Religious tales and devotional practices that stem from them go back the entire length of our species’ history. In attempting to reach a state of imminent communion with one’s conception of divinity, we follow archetypal narrative patterns that create deep emotional engagement to religious characters and their endeavors. Holding these story forms in our minds, we are better able to hold ourselves to higher standards of thought and action.

A spiritual person is one who has adopted a permanent state of mind where he knows that there is no fundamental division between himself and anything else, or any other seemingly separate parts of the universe. He has set for himself a series of value judgments and lifestyle goals to live beyond the delusional distinctions that create unnecessary personal suffering and social strife.

Religious texts and practices, stemming back thousands of years and run through countless cultural and linguistic filters, are not necessary. Useful though they can be under the right settings, they are better off discarded. The goal of the spiritually-minded individual can be attained through conclusions formed from observations made in the present moment.

If all religious texts, myths, and devotions were to be wiped out in a single generation, they would eventually reemerge in some facet of human culture because they represent archetypes of underlying human development. For that reason, religious myths could be said to be inefficient and redundant, as there are now modern and emerging forms of the same archetypes of development in our books, movies, and other popular media. The goal of the spiritually-minded, modern, exceptional individual should be to find the form of these narratives which best suit his particular sense of emotional engagement. His artistic tastes must be satisfied if he is to gain the benefits of these spiritual forms.


Update August 31, 2017:

The day this episode was posted, the guest Riley made the following statements in a Facebook discussion regarding the interview:

“The more I think about it the more I’ve come to regret two concessions. The first being that it doesn’t matter if Jesus Christ never existed – for the scriptures says that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, and everyone who says otherwise is of the anti-Christ. The esoteric significance here is great and profound, and so I recant having made the claim that it matters not whether Jesus Christ came in the flesh, so to speak, for in a very real sense it’s all that matters – let them with understanding hear.

Second, I regret saying, or implying, that Superman is just as valid a mythological character as Jesus Christ. Truth be told, “mythological character” can’t really be applied to Superman, for although he’s endowed with certain, limited, archetypal characteristics, he’s in no way purported to be anything like a religious figure, that is, he’s not a figure by virtue of which one is reconnected to the divine – a prerequisite for any truly mythological savior.”

In the show notes at the end of the episode, Gregory discusses the effect this rapid ideological turnabout has had the lesson he learned about relgious mentalities and the solution to division and strife among dogmatic thinkers the world over. New content comes in at 1:08:12.



Things Mentioned:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand:



The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis and directed by Martin Scorsese:





The Death and Return of Superman:






Carl Sagan’s invisible dragon in his garage:




Gospels that were left out of the Bible:




UCWG 034: Why Should Anyone Give a Damn About Spiritual Enlightenment? How Meditation, Meta-Cognition, and Linguistic Relativity Shape the Egoic Self:


UCWG 031: Do You Dare To Follow Your Hero’s Journey to Find Self-Actualization? Life Purpose As The Highest Priority With Leo Gura of Actualized.org

Leo Gura is the founder of www.actualized.org, and the host of a popular Youtube channel on finding your life’s purposes and deep spirituality beyond stories. Leo and Gregory discuss the mythological principles of the Hero’s Journey, and what on earth all of that has to do with the path to finding one’s true self in life.

Most people attempt to solve existential level problems with superficial ego-serving solutions that, at best, temporarily alleviate the symptoms of being non-actualized. They ignore the existential cause of deep suffering. Spirituality is reduced to emotionally jarring clickbait titles because real analysis challenges the ego instead of feeding it. Most marketing is design to appeal to the ego, therefore distracting from raw truth.

Self-help authors prey on the weaknesses and fears of their audience. They don’t promote true growth and self-actualization. People stay stuck at one level of development and are never able to go after what they really want in life. Without solving the surface level needs of ordinary human desires, they will not ascend to the profound truth of their existence.

People frequently get stuck in lifestyle loops resolving the same problems and addressing the same needs time and again. They chase the wrong things in the wrong ways. Even if they are aware enough to know they want more sex or more money, they don’t know how to get these things. If no one ever introduces the idea of higher level goals, we do not move on. Popular media, more often than not, keeps us chasing our tails for the duration of our lives.

A human mind can only contain a certain quantity of problems to solve. A problem is simply any time your mind desires something to be different than it is. If it does not succeed it its desired change or accept the way things are, it cannot move on to higher level problems to change. You are always being manipulated by your brain to achieve what it sees as its survival needs.

Without outside influences to guide you to higher truths, you must have a deeply inquiring nature that forces you to move beyond what you already know. No experiences is inherently good or bad. It matters what meaning your mind adds to it: what you get from it. It can distract or serve as progression, such as watching a powerful movie or having sex.

Existential personal development is about moving beyond the realm of physical needs and mental beliefs. It’s about identifying yourself as what you are before any stimulation or value judgment. It is present in every single moment, always unchanging. Most religions and forms of spirituality think of this as a Godly presence, but it is only the authentic you.

Underneath the world of our gross physical experiences lies the subtle realm of what happens within us. It is underneath our thoughts and emotions even. Most people consider their spirituality a series of thoughts and beliefs, and therefore it only serves to distract them from the subtle truth of what they really are. They are setting themselves up for an unending trap of distraction from the truth. They must learn to stay grounded in the subtle unchanging part of reality, regardless of what problems they encounter.

The Hero’s Journey is about facing your deepest fears, even your physical death, and emerging on the other side in a higher state of existence. The Dark Night of the Soul is the lowest point on the Hero’s Journey where one must face the parts of themselves they have been avoiding their entire lives. They experience painful separation from the experiences they are most psychologically attached to. It is the only way to move into the subtle realm of their identity. Emotional release only comes when the loss is complete.

The Hero must learn to break away from the stories of his culture to follow his own path. He cannot act in resistance to what other people choose. He must place his own development as his highest priority above all other forms of ego gratification. Our education system, our politicians, and our popular culture are misleading almost everyone to pursue fruitless ends instead of knowing the truth about themselves.

Parents pass along the emotional loop they get stuck in to their children, getting them to value the same thing they arbitrarily picked up during their own lives. Almost no one teaches their offspring the fundamental values of the pursuit of self-knowledge from an early age. They remain forever unfulfilled, even if they acquire what they thought they wanted.

Every experience you ever have is biased by constantly changing chemical imbalances in your brain. Psychedelics and other substances can instantly show a person a radically different manner of experiencing reality, but there is no neutral control group even when a person is totally sober. The perspective of vast new experiences shows us the filter through which we see things, and a gateway to the subtle ongoing experience underneath everything.

In most Hero’s Journey stories, a mentor who has already completed their own journey guides the hero with the lessons they have already learned by overcoming their trials. Young people today lack adequate mentors because education and parenting are generalized for the masses. It is difficult to find someone uniquely suited to guide you on your quest. You need someone to show you what is possible if you stay on the path before you. Knowing that something can be done is what makes it viable to the uninitiated.

Negative emotions by themselves can be the starting point for major changing actions, but they cannot exist alone. They must be complemented by inspiration and a positive desire for greatness. Everyone needs a vision for their life to become everything they are capable of being.


Leo Gura, Actualized.org - Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Leo Gura, Actualized.org – Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Websites mentioned:

Actualized.org by Leo Gura:


Highest Hero’s Journey video:


Leo Gura’s YouTube channel:


Leo Gura’s Life Purpose Course:


Shatter the flow of your unfulfilled life.

You cannot solve the problems of your existence with superficial pursuits that perpetuate the life you already know. The existential cause of deep suffering is a profound life spent without examination or challenge. The world thrives on keeping where you are, as that is where it knows how to reach you and act on your needs. The world has a proprietary interest in stunting your growth. Because of them, you are never able to go after what they want in life. You will never ascend to the profound truth of your identity.

It is impossible to know what you are capable of when the most important aspects of your life have been derived from people who came long before you or happen to hold greater influence. Under such tightly controlled conditions of self-expression such as the exceptional individual faces today, many who would otherwise find themselves on the path to leadership and original thought cannot develop the bravery needed for an expanded perspective. Only disruption can rock them now from the life to which they’ve grown attached. Only inspiration can show them what they did not know they were missing.

A single catalyst can create a domino effect of changes that will last with them for life. The strangeness of having all that one knows shaken from its ordinary structure creates a call to adventure outward, physically, into the world outside present perceptions. In journeying with the body, an exceptional mind is brought, necessarily, into higher levels of thinking about itself and everything else. All levels of progress originate in change. The prime mover may be forceful, or it may be painful. One way or another, it will be something powerful enough to make you move from where you have settled.

The path of your conventional life is likely so familiar now that you no longer even notice its presence. It blends into the walls, molding to the substructure of you operational mind. You know how, when, and why to go to school or work, but they are the reasons the conventional identities around you allowed. It never had to be this way. It can be any other way you can imagine. The 9-to-5 workweek is an illusion. Your studies are mostly arbitrary and irrelevant. They do not display the principles of productivity or learning. Exceptional actors push themselves out of these and many other stifling patterns for living.

To walk away from the path of the follower brings a personal and social sacrifice. The world will not automatically support you. They won’t even know how to categorize you. The previous way you built your life is no longer compatible with what you are quickly becoming. The longing for more will continue to carry you past familiarity, no matter what you lose along the way. A fundamental identity shift never changes just one aspect of your life. The entire structure by which you live can crash and burn. The older you get, the more you have invested in a lifestyle structure, and the stronger your disruption needs to be.

Anyone who rebels, not matter how crude the manner, is leading in their own way. They already know they don’t want what the rest of the world would choose for them. With proper mentorship though, they could hone their potent instincts and apply them to something important, something with impact and longevity. They must get over their loner mentality, always seeing themselves as alone against the world. There are experienced warriors and wanderers out there who could light the way if only the would-be hero would open his mind to the possibility of their leadership.

The world keeps turning on the axis it is on because people become stuck in lifestyle loops that require them to address the same needs time and again without improvement. If the idea of higher level goals never enters their minds, they do not move on from what they know. Do not continue chasing your tail another day of your life. Anytime your mind desires something to be different than it is, there is a window to greatness available.

Heroes learn to break away from the narratives of their cultures to follow what genuinely interests them. The hero must place his development as his highest priority above all other glory. The world will work against him in this regard. Parents do not teach their offspring the values of self-knowledge. Schools have their curriculum decided by machine-minded bureaucrats. Advertisers profit by appealing to gluttonous and lustful demands. We all remain unfulfilled, even when we get what we thought we wanted.

When you see that you are stuck on a track in your life that you never chose to ride on, look for the disrupting events that can enter your world at any time. They beautiful chaos of the universe ensures that there is always something unexpectable happening somewhere near you. The disruption may be positive or negative. It will be the starting point for a new narrative pathway.

Every exceptional person needs to break out of their ordinary life before they can even begin to become all of which they are capable. Look for the disruptions to the normal flow of your life and welcome them eagerly.

Learn from prior heroes.

Learn from prior heroes, fictitious or historical. Use their lessons to find your mythological path in life.

In The Lion King, a young hero falls his path due to shame and self-loathing. Simba pushes into carefree hedonism through the influence of Timon and Pumba, before his origins, in the form of Nala, remind him of his greatness. Simba’s courageous return inspires his hedonistic companions to take heroic action. He defeats Scar with confrontation of his new truth.

Characters without major action could never have been important to the story. The interplay of hero and villain shaped the landscape of Pride Rock. The narrative ends with Simba in his rightful place as king, though now through taking ownership of his identity, not the accident of his birth.

In George Lucas’ Star Wars trilogies, two hero arcs turn in opposite directions in their most pivotal moments. The arcs unite at their mutual completion. Anakin Skywalker’s journey is one of forsaken greatness. A hero is drawn into villainy by the temptations of the dark side: his uncontrollable fear, anger, and hatred. His potential for heroism is what makes his downfall so impactful.

A generation later, his son Luke, who has spent his whole life inactive, falls onto a similar path once his restrictions are removed. Though Luke is tempted, he has the perspective of what has become of his father, and that a similar failure awaits him if he does not alter his course.

Every villain is only a failed hero. Luke’s success, made possible by Vadar’s prior failure, is enough to remind Anakin who he is and how far he has strayed from the hero path. Father saves son. Son saves father. Father’s final sacrifice frees son of the darkness he carries within.

Superman, in all its iterations, is the story of a reluctant hero coming into his supremely powerful identity. His only weakness is not knowing how to act. His hesitation is perpetually at odds with his desire to help. Everything he ever does has the power to be important, and so require great scrutiny.

Alter ego Clark Kent must choose: remain hidden and in denial of his identity, or embrace who he is for all to see. Overcoming the internal crisis is what raises him out of the obscurity and onto his throne as Superman, champion of the world. It is the inner struggle to do good in a world that will always require more of him, to save those who cannot save themselves.

In every enduring mythological structure, the hero learns his path in response to his challenges. Black mirrors summon growth to new heights and a shift of identity. The impetus for action propels him to the next level of meaning. He feels most heroic when he can see the effects of his actions.

UCWG 019: Are You Accountable for Your Subjective Preferences? Identifying and Living Out Your Principles.

Today’s guest, Rolf from Germany, is a strategic consultant for expensive professional problems. Ironically, he does not trust his own subjective evaluation on some of life’s most important topics, such as the worth of specific human lives. He states that he would rather flip a coin on certain life and death situations that be the one to make important decisions and live with the consequences. Yet, in other more menial areas he has no qualm about choosing and standing by his decisions.

In the political domain people frequently use words like “human rights” to defer responsibility away from their opinions and acting as though their preference were a natural law. Thus, nearly everyone is constantly at odds with everyone else about their idea of the natural order of things, and conflicts go forever unresolved. If instead they could own their statements as merely their own preferences, a common solution would become more obvious and available to everyone seeking something different.

Accuracy is not always the same thing as utility. A high-functioning person must willingly adopt accuracy as his goal if truth is to become his useful ally. They must look beyond momentary and emotionally gratifying base level actions like lust and gluttony. Rolf uses the philosophy of the free masons as his principal philosophical toolkit for determining truth and his own values. The root of order lies in changing the map or toolkit that people use to conceptualize reality.

The fact that you think a thing important does not make it objectively so. It is often not practical to seek accuracy and truth in all things. You can always choose not to choose. Your preference can be to exert no preference.

Do you hold honesty and accuracy as their highest value?

Are you willing to stand by the consequences of your preferences and principles?

Follow the mythological path in life.

Our lives become a part of mythology when we pursue personal transformation through primordial patterns in the human psyche. We follow the hardwired path to arrive at superior versions of ourselves. The stories which have recurred with the greatest longevity in our cultures are those which appeal most profoundly to our underlying program for progression through life. They begin to form a map for how we can transform, a map which has been tested countless times over the years. They can be a light to show the way or a warning against failure.

With any great personal change, you follow the pattern of myth, as it reflects the underlying program of your mind. Different myths will have their own appeal at different stages of your journey. It will depend on the trials you have already passed and the knowledge you have acquired. Work past yesterday’s lessons to receive what comes next in the progression. Without mythological progress, people spend years stuck in a contained narrative loop, never learning the lessons of their trials. On the mythological path, you move as efficiently as you can from one escalating problem to the next. You take on what you are ready for as soon as you are ready. If your problems aren’t progressing, you aren’t ready for them to do so.

You’ll recognize where you are in the process by what mythological structures you find appealing. Stories of redemption remind us that we have something to redeem within ourselves. We revere parental relationships in fiction due to our primordial programming toward our own imperfect parents. When a mythological structure holds power in your life, pay it close attention. Look for the lesson that is waiting to seep into your mind. The most powerful hero myths persist across generations because they remind us of our potential to evolve and overcome. When you are ready, you will stop telling the myth and start living it.

You leave the comfort of your starting conditions. You enter the strange new world and discover something meaningful there. You take this discovery back home with you, altering your original conditions to match you. Every tale of character development, no matter the details, holds this at its core. From comfort, we go to discomfort, until it becomes a comfortable part of our new selves. The myth is cyclical, repeating on a larger scale with each return to normality.

Only a person operating authentically can follow the mythological path in life. They are the only ones who can learn the lessons each trial presents to them. Some people have so little self-worth that it destroys their ability to act at all. Others pursue external validation to fill the hole inside. They need to show themselves off, make themselves as big and important as they can in the narrative of the world. But their presence, however large, is not real. When this happens, they’ve trapped themselves in a prison of their own false self. Every action becomes about maintaining the illusion out of which they have built their armored cell.

Where they fail, you will succeed. Your great actions will not be demonstrating anything in the eyes of others. You will not work to conform your identity to the prevailing social narrative. You will only follow the logical thread of your authentic identity. The recurring themes in your life will be the mirrors that show you who you really are and where you currently are in the progression. Your repeated conflicts are the weaknesses you have yet to overcome. Your dragon is the great obstacle you cannot accept in the world. Your princess is your reward: the thing which is, ultimately, more important to you than any other achievement. You can learn from the many myths of heroes who came before you, fictitious or real. Use their lessons to find your own mythological path in life.