Will Rucker (00:01):
Welcome to compassionate Las Vegas, the podcast I'm your host will Brer and today we are taking part two of our so far has been amazing. Our, our conversation with Thomas Lara. I'm gonna mess that up every time, but I I'm doing my best French accent. Cause I just love the language, but we've talked about so much already. So if you didn't see episode one, you've gotta go back and watch that. But I wanna pick up and start where kind of where we left off on the last episode where we're talking about generations and kids and how we can really transform culture by investing in our children.
Thomas Legrand (00:41):
Yeah, definitely. So as I was saying you know, this is we need a cultural evolution and it's easier. A big part of it will just come through a new generation but we also need to be able to make space for the, their new values to express themselves. Right? So that means each of us as also to, you know, do the work to, and collectively also to understand what are the, the good aspects of, for personalities or for ways of, of being in our communities. And the more we could call it negative, or just say like, they are not that adapted to, and they are creating some problems. So we need to be able to look inside of us and, and, and be able to, to change in order to welcome new, positive values that new generations may bring.
Will Rucker (01:46):
Yeah. I love that. Welcome the new values, new generations bring, I consider myself a young man I'm not anymore, and I'm coming to accept it. You know, I'm dealing with it. And I, I see so much happening with people who truly young people, the, their use of technology, their creativity just the way that they view life and the world. It is so amazing to me, but I love to use the example of a bathtub and I take baths just about every day and soak just cause I need to, de-stress just release, you know, the, the challenges of the day and whatnot. But what I I see with a bathtub is you can have water in there and I, if it's dirty or, you know, you got soap in it or whatever that may be, you can add new water and it doesn't fundamentally change over time. If you keep that water running eventually, oh, you know, you, you get new new water in there, but that residue and that memory still kind of lingers. What are some of the things we can do to ensure that as the season generation, we are not stifling this evolution of young people in their values and their quest to be a being centered people, how do we ensure we're not tarnishing them?
Thomas Legrand (03:11):
So you say you feel, you're not seems you feel young inside. I
Will Rucker (03:14):
Feel young inside. Exactly.
Thomas Legrand (03:16):
That's the reality point, maybe. So you are truly young. It's not only about your age, it's about how you feel inside. So if you are able to be to change, to evolve, to refresh yourselves, et cetera, you keep being young now. And that's you make space inside of you for these kind of new ideas, new ways of being to to express themselves in you, right. So how do we make space for something new? I think it's through in introspection looking inside. And I think we need to recognize that there's a lot of healing to be done. What I'm saying is that traumas healing traumas is a gateway to being so BA the, the whole point of the book is being is just, or should just, is just natural, is natural aspiration. And when he, when LC people do naturally good.
Thomas Legrand (04:21):
So it's just very simple, right. But we are not able to get this so easy because we are just used to other ways to and, and we need to do that work of healing, looking at our past, looking at maybe, you know, I know that the, the us is facing more and more, you know, ease on pass in terms of slavery, for example, or other types of exploitation. And that is a very important work only, you know, making peace with the past understanding, you know, what has happened and what has been the consequences up to date, can we really be able to to change?
Will Rucker (05:11):
So healing trauma is really the gateway to this politics of being
Thomas Legrand (05:16):
To being exactly, oh, my goodness. Being is a natural way and our societies could be much more collaborative and much more effective if there would not be all these kind of traumas on the way
Will Rucker (05:34):
Do you say that everyone has trauma,
Thomas Legrand (05:36):
There are different types of traumas. Some are the ones that we have experience in these lives. Some of the ones that our ancestors have experienced. And I would say, you know, in our DNA, there are information that comes from thousands, you know, or tens of thousands of years. And they are from human beings, but even from the whole history of life on earth. So there's a lot of thing that can that we can experience, but that is not really our true essence.
Will Rucker (06:15):
So trauma, isn't our true essence, but we can heal it and we can learn from it.
Thomas Legrand (06:19):
Exactly, exactly. And even it can be when it is integrated, you know, I hope it can be, you know, all the difficulties can be experience as bringing something positive because it's an invitation to, to go deeper and to overcome these difficulties at the end can bring about a lot of good to, to everyone.
Will Rucker (06:46):
I think that's beautiful. And I think that's an important idea to highlight mm-hmm for sure. I wanna kind of take this a slightly different rope because we've got the trauma aspect and there's a book. What happened to you that Oprah Winfrey has been promoting and she's part of it. And she's saying changed the question from what's wrong with you mm-hmm to what's happened to you. Exactly. I also want to take this from a different angle and saying, what can we learn from you? Because I think our ancestors have such a wisdom and a grace that if we really accept it, it does transform us into a new and modern way, even with the ancient wisdom. What are your thoughts on that?
Thomas Legrand (07:32):
Well, first on, what, what you say, you know, moving from what's wrong with you to what happened to you. So that's exactly what I mean. We are nature is in general positive and is relational, but because it's not because we are wrong, it's because something happened. So if we're able to, to heal this, we can have we can tap on are good human nature to, to shape how we interact as societies, as communities. You were talking about the, the wisdom of our ancestors. I think this is very important. Cultural evolution science says is past dependent. So where you are going depends from where you are coming from and how much you have, I would say, integrated all the lessons of your history, right? And so that means also reconnecting to our traditional wisdom. Now the, the world, you know, is evolving so fast.
Thomas Legrand (08:39):
And I feel often we just a little bit lost track about our history, the history of our ancestors. And that's why sometimes, you know, people stick to very rigid identity because they feel threatened, right? So I think we need really to acknowledge that and, you know, pay attention to discuss, reflect what has happened to us, what has happened to sister and how it shapes where we are now. And and I would say for many societies, it's also reconnecting to the spiritual part and to the traditional wisdom. And I've been one of the discovery in the research I did for this book was to realize how much traditional wisdoms in different place is similar. And for example YouTu says, I am because you are, so that's a relational understanding of a human nature. And you find that very same thing in many different cultures.
Thomas Legrand (09:43):
And often they have one word to to, to say it in in the Philippines, for example, it's KWA. It's the same kind of understanding from where I, where I live with next to this meditation practice center of Zen master Chi naan is a very famous teacher that has first gone the world inter being. So that is Buddhist vision of relationality, right? So all these traditional wisdom tend to converge. And for a good reason is that communities can only sustain themselves if their members are responsible and they acknowledge their duties, their responsibility toward their communities which can be also the land can be also the ancestors, et cetera, but we really need to, to understand our interdependence and you know, how much relationships are important.
Will Rucker (10:44):
Yeah. I, I love all of those words that the entire concept for me is big. All of the inters, interconnected, interrelated, intersectional, all of those things I think are leading us to this path of being, and I even love the words used relationality. I think that's beautiful. And spirituality, I think all of it really is trying to direct us to the same way of being, which is recognizing, as you said, the wound to I am because you are, you are because I am and helping people to let go of those defense mechanisms where we build up this wall between us and we again, try and reinforce the solution and separation if we help people through that with grace and with compassion, I see as going just, there's no limit to where we can end up when we actually do this thing together. Again, you mentioned spirituality, could you just kind of help us understand your perspective on what that is?
Thomas Legrand (11:52):
I think person spirituality, I would say is science practice and arts of self transformation are towards expressing or true nature who we really are. And, you know, my mistakes from many different traditions of more or less all at the same ultimate experience, which is out of unity with all that ease on Buddhist. We could say inter being Buddhist terms oneness. And if you feel you are one with everything, that means you experience also the suffering of everything as your own suffering and then compassion is born. Yeah, so that I think is the basis of prosociality. So our willingness to, to serve, to support the common good and science tells that also a good part of what makes a human being happy. So we can really reconcile all own happiness and dealing with environmental and social crises we are facing.
Thomas Legrand (13:01):
So that's really the good news and a positive narrative for, for the way forward in this new paradigm of being, if you, if you're coming from the old paradigm of having, you will have at some point to recognize that you know, there are some limits to natural resources to the, in the environmental limits. So at some point, you know, you, you were just saying there is no limit to being right to how we can grow as human being. That's a real development. We are will be enabling more and more a world that is physically constrained environmentally constrained. So we'll have to redefine what progress is. And, and, and, and we, and the good news that we recognize that low we sought progress was economic development. It's a good thing, but it's only a mean towards an end. The real progress is about becoming who we are
Will Rucker (14:05):
Redefining progress. That's, that's so big. And I, I, the reason I, I ask about the spirituality piece and I love the way that you define it in the way that you include arts and it just fantastic I'm, so I'm just thrilled to be having this conversation. But I think that spirituality really is integral to having this politics of being, and being able to redefine what it is we define as progress. We've done great at building wealth. I don't know that we've done as well with building people. And so we see the character of individuals declining. I, I think that morality has even become kind of a taboo idea. And I think we really need to invest in bringing morality back to the front in, in the value sense, not in a legalistic harmful way, but in a way that says, do you care about others? Should, should you be generous? Should you have the value of compassion and integrity? Does it, does it make sense for us to have wealth hoarded in one area while there are folks without homes in another or without food? And I, I think all of that works together and it starts again with just letting these barriers go and the healing that you talk about, what do you see as the, the number one way to develop that character develop spirituality to enter into being,
Thomas Legrand (15:41):
I think we need, we need to recognize that morality should not be so much something imposed from the outside from society to individuals, but rather to recognize that healthy, happy, I would even say individuals are often the ones behaving more morally because of, for true nature, which is relational, which is inter being. So the, the more we cultivate, you know, this sense of of, of interpreting the, the more we are cluttered to what we, we truly are. And yeah, we need all all the politics of being is basically the idea. I mean, the methodology about it, how I did was I able to identify, you know, the, the solutions is coming from the study of the highest human values that have become subjects of science in the last decades, and that have entered the field of politics and social change.
Thomas Legrand (16:53):
So for example, you're part of compassionate Las Vegas, right? So there is now science of compassion, right? And that, that science can tell us how to cultivate compassion in societies while it's the same for happiness. It's the same for peace. It's we, we, we, we know also how to cultivate, you know, this sense of in interdependence people, you know, working on how we bring more system thinking complex thinking in thinking into many aspects of our social lives. We know how to cultivate life in us and life outside of us, you know, how nature works, how we are part of it, how we can feel connected to nature and how these can nourish of physical health, human mental health, wellness, et cetera. So all these are what I'm proposing basically is to redesign all societies based on spiritual values, or you could call them the highest human values.
Thomas Legrand (18:04):
And that is philosophically very sound, you know PLA as define the, the, the good societies as being funded upon truth, goodness and beauty. So I'm talking the same, I'm talking about happiness, love, peace mindfulness, et cetera. So it's really the same Evenger were saying, you know, the, the nature of the human mind is freedom and development for society is allowing human beings to express this freedom and not talking about, you know, the, sometime I feel in the us, there is a little bit of narrow vision of what freedom is like. I think there, it's important to go back, you know, to our spiritual roots. And for example, reflect on, on the words of Jesus, you know freedom truth will make you free. Okay. Is that, you know, what is the freedom we are talking about?
Will Rucker (19:04):
Your wisdom is just in this space, it's, it's almost tangible very, very beautiful. You mentioned happiness frequently, and happiness is one of my favorite things, right? I think we all want to be happy. And I know that in my experience, a lot of individuals equate financial stability with happiness. And in your work, you do talk about the correlation, but that there tends to be a plateau with that happiness factor. What would you say for an individual that, how, how would you help to reframe that idea for an individual where economic progress doesn't always lead to increased happiness? How do you help them understand that?
Thomas Legrand (19:54):
So the, the studies are clear and maybe people can just open the eyes and see around them, you know? I think that's what I, when I, when I've done also, when I was young, just looking around and if, do you believe like the, the weest people around you are the, are the hubs one, right. And it's just it's just not true. I see from the outside, you know, I see it's true that the us is is an economic, super power, right. But I, I feel like this is because everybody is running after money, so it's not so much about, you know en enjoying it. But it's really because people are forced to run after money that the economic systems is doing well. So people are not the, the goal, the goal is to keep they are rather it's, they're rather used by the system to keep growing.
Thomas Legrand (20:53):
And to me, you said, now people feel good when they are they are having money. I think part of it is probably what we were talking about when we're talking about traumas, because people in this society probably feel much more insecure. I mean, coming from Europe, Europe, we are much more social support, right. And there is much more equality. So people don't feel that their life depends so much about how much money they are making. They are more secured and then they will then see their lives differently, prioritize more their self-expression than you know, trying to, to feel safe. That is moving from survival to self-expression in a way
Will Rucker (21:42):
That's freedom. Yeah. That, that to me is true. Freedom.
Thomas Legrand (21:46):
Well, that's a good, that's a good example. When you say that's freedom, you know, we're talking at the beginning about how we change the value. So freedom is an important value for the American people. And I think that's great but there's a deeper meaning to freedom, right? So you can't keep you know, being yourself as American and honoring, you know, having a special interest for freedom, but you need a deeper understanding of what that means. And maybe it can lead you to completely different conclusions, you know? Oh
Will Rucker (22:15):
Yeah, yeah. This, this comes full circle with, again, the title of the book. And we'll, we'll talk about that in just a moment, but politics of being, that's why the policies are so important because what I'm hearing from you and what I'm even just kind of having my aha moment in this, this conversation is it's, it's the system, it's the structures. It's the way that we've designed our society that is actually impeding our happiness and is a barrier to our wellbeing because we've prioritized things other than people mm-hmm is that a first assessment? Would you
Thomas Legrand (22:50):
Say? Yeah, completely. So you have to understand that the, the adding mode as its own logic and the being mode as its own logic, and what we need is really a change of paradigm. When you face a problem, you can say, you know, for example, I don't know students don't behave at school from one paradigm, you say, okay, it's because there are not enough punishment. There is not enough discipline. There is not enough authority. That's one mindset. And from another mindset is just, okay, maybe they are coming to the school with emotional problem. Then they need to as we saw in, in that compassionate school in Las Vegas, they need some mindfulness practice in the morning to just relax and calm down or because their own needs are not recognized because the teachers may not be kind enough, you know? So there's, it's a completely different logic. One logic can function, but at some point it reached some limitations and we need to switch to another logic. Yeah.
Will Rucker (23:56):
And I, I wanna circle back to a couple of things. I mean, so many pieces I wanna pull out, but earlier you just mentioned, and I think it's an important distinction. There's no limit to human being. There is a limit to human having exactly. But on this, this piece, what I'm hearing is the difference between retributive justice and restorative justice. And, and I think that when people hear it framed in the way that you've just outlined, it makes it so much more accessible and less scary. I, I was doing a RideAlong with our outstanding Metro police department this week. And I just was impressed to be honest with you, I was very impressed with who I was riding with and I got to meet several of the officers and see them in action. But one thing that I didn't see was a moment for mindfulness.
Will Rucker (24:46):
One thing I didn't see in their briefing, cause they start their day together in a briefing and go over, you know, if there's an incident or something they have to address or a training, they do that, but they just kind of dive in. There's no pause. There's no, let's take a moment to breathe through this. And then even after they see this footage, that could be very traumatizing. Some of them were literally in the footage, there was no moment to let that go and to release it. So what happens is it becomes repressed instead of healed. And I love that that school starts with that day. We're gonna take a moment for mindfulness, even kids get this, we gotta take a moment to actually process. And I think that would change. That would help us in this change from having to being
Thomas Legrand (25:30):
Exactly. And mindfulness is one of the, the dimension that is being applied to many sectors. It's kind of, to me, it's like a medicine flowing in a sick social body to be able to regenerate a lot of professions and, and, and systems. So in the case, I, you mentioned about policemen. There have been great projects to teach mindfulness to police officer. And it's very important because they it's a very stressful profession and it's and the stress then to accumulate. And if you don't have a neuroscience is very clear about that. Also your cortisol, for example, the, or of, of stress is rising and is rising often as is the case of policeman during the day. It, if it does not the time to, to come back, then it becomes, you know, there kind of new level and that exhaust their body. It's also, mindfulness is also the capacity to stop, to be able to respond at freedom rather than to react. And that's one of the most important capacity for a police officer, right?
Will Rucker (26:45):
Mm-Hmm, , I, I love the theme that I, I hear emerging in this conversation, which is a higher level of freedom. Mm-Hmm because everything that we're talking about is really expanding our freedom. And you, you think about some of these tools, mindfulness in dealing with physical ailments, that's less expensive than some of those pharmacy stuff we've been doing. It's less expensive than surgery. And restorative justice is less expensive than retributive justice. And providing kids space to play is less expensive than dealing with all of the corrections that have to come. And you can get a lot more done with less economically mm-hmm if you transition into this paradigm that you're talking about. So, I mean, I could talk to you all day. I really, really could, but I wanna get into your book. So where can people find your book? How do they get in touch with you? Just give us the whole, the whole spirit.
Thomas Legrand (27:42):
Sure. So that's a book politics of being wisdom and science for new development paradigm. So there's a website WW politics of being.com where you have all the, the links to the different platforms, including Amazon, where you can find the book. And I'm on social media, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. So welcome. And just want to comment like I think, you know what you say that now we have the, the rational, the evidence that it has become so clear that where we want to, where we need to go. And this is because the time is now. And because we have been so much in the other direction that the benefits that we can get to switching to the other mode mode are huge.
Will Rucker (28:29):
Yeah. And I, I wanna comment on the book because this isn't something you just threw together overnight. It took you 10 years to write this book. Is that right?
Thomas Legrand (28:38):
Yes, exactly. I've spent 10 years to, to work on this book and I've, I was always asking my wife, you know, especially when I come to, you know, the inside that leads to simplicity, clarity, et cetera. And I was saying, I don't know why no one has yet written this book in 2000 the Earth's charter was published. It was some say it was one of the most discussed document in the history of humanity. And it says when, when basic needs have been met development is, is primarily about being more, rather than having more to me that's the most fundamental question of our time, how we can do this transition by doing this trend by investing, in being, instead of having, we'll be able to do the cultural evolution and the shift of consciousness that is so needed right now.
Will Rucker (29:27):
Yeah. Our planet is a finite finite limited place. We only have so much resource here and we have to learn to live within the bounds of this planetary home. And I think your book helps us to get there. So I wanna close with a few questions and I just want you to finish the statements here. And I'll give you, you know, a couple words and then you, whatever pops don't, don't overthink it, but just say whatever comes to mind, all right, happiness is
Thomas Legrand (29:57):
Will Rucker (29:59):
Love matters because
Thomas Legrand (30:02):
It is what we are.
Will Rucker (30:04):
I was not ready for that answer. oh, oh my gosh. The, the, yes, it is. It is what and who we are, the right thing right now is
Thomas Legrand (30:14):
Will Rucker (30:16):
Thomas Legrand (30:19):
Will Rucker (30:21):
Thomas Legrand (30:23):
Well, that's why I was saying, you know the fundamental, fundamental nature that some of the great, my mistakes for many different traditions are experience is that sense of unity. That sense of, of oneness that in the wood, this tradition, according to Zen Masterton, we call inter being and just the recognition that I'm Thomas I'm what Thomas is made of is made of my ancestors is made of my education is made of my friends is made of the book I'm reading is made of the place where I've been. So it's all about I'm inter being with all these different aspects, and I need to recognize that, and this is freedom,
Will Rucker (31:12):
Warm fuzzies. I'm just, I'm buzzing with that. I love that being is inter being couple more compassion is
Thomas Legrand (31:21):
Will Rucker (31:23):
Thomas Legrand (31:24):
Because you are
Will Rucker (31:26):
Love it. Well, Thomas, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I have enjoyed this so immensely, and again, I've, I've got the book. So I have, I feel like I can call you up via the book anytime and have this conversation, but I'm just grateful for you being, and for you choosing to come to Las Vegas and impart into our city for joining the podcast for our global audience. And just for having the courage to say what what you're saying,
Thomas Legrand (31:58):
Realize that maybe I'm a, I'm quite a, a free person even professionally. And that allows me also to say those things like very upfront, because I don't have a, a career agenda. So I think I'm, I'm quite free to, to say the things and even, I mean, I've had, I guess, a deep spiritual journey and I use spiritual language, but I also use a lot of science. So I, I don't shy away for, for both. And I think both, I have a lot to, to bring to, you know to help us think, you know, the, the new stage of our, for evolution as societies.
Will Rucker (32:35):
Beautiful. This has been compassionate, Las Vegas, the podcast I'm, your host will Rucker. And as I always remind you, you are not just a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop and what you do matters. So live compassionately, I'll see you next time.