Late last year we reported Chicago television personality and spiritual author Jennifer Weigel would have a conversation with Billy Corgan as a part of her series on conversation with significant cultural figures and spirituality. The interview took place December 15th and as Weigel personally responded to me with, the interview would be up this week and finally has surfaced. A two hour event, the first hour mainly consisting of Corgan and Weigel covering a number of different but inter-related topics, including but not limited to Donald Trump, social media, Corgan’s creative process, American and international politics, Corgan’s spiritual influences and much more. The second hour consisted of a dialogue with audience members. Below, we include selected portions of the conversation divided into multiple parts by topic, transcribed exclusively here at Alternative Nation. (All citations are my own)
What Guru Do You Relate With?
JW: “Speaking of gurus and spiritual masters, is there a particular person you’ve read recently that you really resonated with? Whether it be someone decades or thousands of years ago or current?”
BC: “Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Hare Krishna related literature and in the magicaly things that happen when you cast [the question], ‘Is there something here for me to read or understand?’ I wrote my ex-girlfriend a letter, a man who actually grew up in Highland Park just up the road where I live, Radhanath Swami I think is his spiritual name, unbeknown to me he was actually giving a lecture in Highland Park and I had no idea. Anyway I bought a book by him [The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami] about how he became a wandering sadhu in India at the age of 19. Which as you can imagine at the time is pretty unusual. 19 year old kid runs around through the forest with loincloth and a beggar’s bowl. Anyway, so he became a Hare Krishna devotee and I wrote her this letter of things I wanted to address that reading this book made me think we needed to clear the air, more for mine than hers. She wrote back saying, ‘It’s so funny I’m reading the exact same book.’ [audience laughs] It’s pretty good, and she lives in Australia so, it’s pretty good…Again, truth [according to] the Hare Krishna doctrine, or the Vedic idea, is pantheistic to the sense they believe there is only one god and all the other deities, whether it’s Ganesh or Rama, whoever are expressions of God. So there is nothing that I read as someone who was raised Catholic…in the Vedic religion that is at odds with whether or not I believe in Jesus Christ. Because under that thinking there’s many masters and they’re all leading you to the same Valhalla [word unclear].
Who in the World Has it Right?
JW: “As you were raised Cathoic, you’re a fan of Jesus Christ but also Buddha and a lot of leaders…”
BC: “And the Beatles!” [audience laughs]
JW: “And the Beatles and David Bowie! With that in mind and seeing how so many people mess up and kill over religion, does it make you scared or do you just want to move to Canada? I mean right now, who do you think is doing it right? Where, if anywhere, on the globe, if you could choose anywhere? Because I mean I remember we had a conversation and you were like, ‘I’m moving to France!’ and that was before the Paris Attacks. Where do you think they got it right?”
BC: “Nowhere. I think we’ve entered an age where this is a global issue. If you believe in the conspiracy end of it which is there is a conscious move of the ‘robber barons’ of the world, the gross capitalists, to turn our world into one big shopping mall…so if you believe in the conspiracy we are being moved some would say quite deliberately into a global system, especially with recent treaties like the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnersihp or [The Paris Agreement] …if you believe in these ideas than this is the manifestation of the global conversation. Which is obviously at odds with the American hegemony that we sort of dictate how it all rolls. So going back to a spiritual tangent, this is not about trigger words and safe spaces. This is about who calls the shots and whether the tribal nature of humanity [sic].
For example: ‘I’m a proto-lesbian feminist dadada…’ or ‘I’m a French nationalist’ or ‘I am from Chicago’…if you believe in tribalism which is very much beyond race and is more a culture of choice, though some would argue with that. Then what you’re saying is that people are willingly going to set aside their tribal loyalty to get out of the way for someone they don’t know, who has a different belief system or system of justice or whatever. Now it’s easier to put if you’re a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles and you can undestand why someone fronts up on somebody for wearing their jersey and their team is ‘better than yours,’ well is it going to be any different when the guy from Kurdistan thinks his way of life is better than yours? So from the spiritual quotient it’s going to be: ‘how do we align in a way that is progressive and not destructive?’ Because generally when humanity comes across these criss-cross points of ‘my way or your way’, it gets violent. One only needs Gibbons’ ‘History of the Roman Empire’ to see what I’m talking about, which maps out a thousand years of ‘Hey, Visigoths, get off my land.’ In fact, there was a thing on the BBC website the other day about they recently found a Roman battlefield. They knew of the battle because it had been written about in Julius Caesar’s time…
JW: “Where did they find the battlefield?”
BC: “I think in the Netherlands. So now because of satellite mapping they can see things they have never found before. So they know where this is where the battle took place…essentially what happened was, the Romans tended to operate on temperate climates. So basically their empire was spread through the Mediterrean up through England, because the weather was dealable and they let all the ‘crazy’ people live up north where it was cold. Occassionally when they would get out of control or they [the Roman Empire] didn’t like what they were doing, they said ‘Get in line!’ and it would go back and forth. Well there was a situation when somebody up there got a little too out of hand and they went up, the Romans sent a bunch of stuff up there and they [the Tencteri and Usipetes tribestribes] said, ‘Okay, we’re going to surrender, we give up. You’re right.’ Julius Caesar ordered them all killed. They wiped out between 150,000 and 200,000 people. Imagine what that was like 2,000 years ago. My point is that history dictates he or she who has the leverage is going to use it. A PC (politically correct) argument is not going to get someone to stop when its in their self interest, their tribal self interest, to wipe you out. It’s a human condition, which you could argue is hardwired in the human animal brain. I’m not here to argue for or against but if you take as a precept and history seems to dictate that, well, we have never not done that.