Bearie the Bear is the visionary mentor behind Lunacy Now. With 20 years of experience in the field “cuddling and caring,” as an emotional support teddy, Bearie decided to apply the lessons he had learned and take a healing message out to the world. That’s why he helped found Lunacy Now, a lifestyle community for restless dreamers, where he aims to help people make sense of a fast-changing world.
Bearie, as Lunacy Now’s Visionary Guru, how do you see your vision for the company?
I find the term “guru” too hierarchical, so I prefer “comrade-in-spirituality.” But one of the things I want to do is give people a sort of way of coping in these crazy times. We see a lot of the traditional structures unravelling, a lot of things happening at once. You’ve got the incipient robo-revolution, in which a huge number jobs are going to be wiped out in the coming years and we’re not sure what will replace them. What will replace them? We’ve got smartphones, the internet, the unfathomable communications revolution that’s taken place over the last decade. After two world wars, feminism, the gay rights movement, the civil rights movement, total technological transformation and mass immigration the Western world is unrecognizable from what it was even 50 years ago. We’ve never seen this rate of change in human history. I think people are struggling to adapt.
The way we do this is framed around our concept of “The Byzantine Transition.”
This is the idea that Western Civilization – what used to be called “Christendom” is over. It’s dead, the philosophical underpinnings have been kicked out and what’s left is a kind of a husk or the shell. Nietzsche predicted this of course, and Oswald Spengler, among others. But we date the end point at the adoption of gay marriage on June 26, 2015. I see that date as important because it marks the ideological shift away from viewing what’s termed Judeo-Christian morality as the underlying metanarrative that provides the basis for societal consensus, and towards a different framework based on rights. Introducing gay marriage marked that transition at the level of the law. This isn’t a moral objection to the shift taking place, it’s noting a transfer of power from set of values to another.
But we don’t really know what we want to do next. We still have all this hangover stuff from the Western tradition. And a lot of it is good. We want to ask three questions: What do we want to keep? What do we want to throw away? What do we want to do next?
The name “Byzantine Transition” is inspired by the shift made by the Eastern half of the Roman Empire after the collapse of the West. They were able to institute some sweeping reforms and inject enough life to keep going in a revised form for another 500 or so years. We want to talk about how the West can navigate a similar transition period.
I don’t think we’re having honest conversations with young people about the reality of the situation at all. So I want to build a place to have that discussion – rooted at the level of how the individual can take genuine steps to better their own lives.
I think people just need a hug, to be honest with you. And as an emotional support teddy, hugs are what I do best. “Cuddles and caring,” as they say at the Emotional Support Teddy Academy.
So you focus on individuals rather than these broad based policy or cultural issues?
Yes. We want to build an online lifestyle community for restless dreamers, to explore how they can respond, on an individual and familial level, to the rapid pace of change in the wider world. Just like sea-otters hold each others hands while they sleep so they don’t drift apart in the stream. Think of us as your sea-otter-safety-buddy.
The thing is many media outlets are not actually oriented towards their audience. Normally they are one of two things. Either they are in the “news business,” which is interested in sharing the sort of political information that historians and policy wonks traditionally consider important. Stuff like who’s running for president, the progress of wars, sex and corruption scandals involving the rich and powerful. But the average person doesn’t actually need to know most of this information. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be politically engaged so you can make an informed choice at voting time. But you can get a good idea of what party is the right one for you with just a couple of weeks worth of research right before the election.
The rest of the time – does it benefit you to be constantly plugged into the goings-on?
The second kind are propagandists. By this I mean a vast array of organizations, both for profit and non-profit which exist to pump out the messages of their donors. Some of these serve powerful interest groups like the gun lobby or certain religious organizations. They exist on all sides of the political spectrum as well as PR companies and corporate blogs working for private corporations. This is partly a result of digital media. Since newspapers can’t make money from selling papers anymore, and ad revenues are dwindling, newspapers have got to make up the revenue from somewhere. One of those places can be from billionaires, who don’t mind making a loss if it means they can get their message out there.
That doesn’t mean that all media is fake news. Lots of sites with an agenda are also full of really great information. It’s just a problem for how to build sites that share information people actually want to access and which helps them rather than being oriented towards some funder-led goal.
We want to be a think tank that provides policy solutions for citizens rather than governments.
Does this mean you are doing this altruistically?
Although they are wrong about a lot of things, capitalists are right that you get money when you create something people actually want. For example, drug dealers make so much money because people love taking drugs. How to orient one’s life to succeed the face of an unprecedented economic and technological changes is something people definitely want to know. I’m trying to build something that does good in the world, but it also has to pay the bills.
And then obviously we’re going to recommend cool products and experiences for sale we think might help people do that.
Why should anyone listen to you?
I mean they don’t have to. I’m just a bear who loves to care.
Do you promise never to sell out your readers?
Everyone always says they’ll never sell out until the briefcase is actually on the table. Then most people usually take the money.
Why should people trust a teddy bear? You’re not even real!
First of all I think that’s really unprofessional of you to break the fourth wall like that, in the middle of an interview. Especially since you’re not even real yourself.
Look, Trump is the president. All bets are off, at this point. We’re going to Mars. Whether sex robots should be given by the state to people condemned by ugliness and uselessness as a kind of pity-bribe to stop them taking out their frustrations murderously is an actual public debate that’s going on. And you’re having a go at me for what’s real and what isn’t?
It’s precisely because I’m not real that I can tell the truth. I don’t have an ethnicity or a religion or a gender. I don’t have cultural baggage of oppression or post-colonial guilt. I don’t have an economic class. I’m just an androgynously named teddy bear with a big heart and soft cuddly arms.
So I can say whatever I want.
Do you have some kind of spiritual message? Is this a cult?
I’m a spiritual bear, obviously, but I don’t want to confine myself to any specific tradition or paradigm. That kind of sectarianism is precisely what the world needs less of right now. I want to help people explore spirituality in their own way and how it can benefit them but only , so it actually helps. I also think it’s better if people look for that message within their own tradition. It’s more more comforting and comfortable and much less socially divisive and problematic (converting can be an absolute bitch). Most of the major world religions have a pretty life affirming and healthy path in there somewhere, if you have the energy to go looking for it. That’s probably why they’ve lasted so long.
But I also completely understand why some people want to just say “religion isn’t real! It’s all just made up!” That’s an absolutely reasonable response. I just still think
One spiritual message I’m inclined towards is this idea of “Generation Redemption.” It’s an idea taken from Religious Zionism, which is that we’re not going to wait for the redeemer to come and save us – we’re going to be our own redemption. The salvation of man can be ours if we just reach out and take it. So I’ve been playing around with bolting that idea onto the hippie notion of the Age of Aquarius and this kind of post-60s notion that the utopia really can be built and we really can tear down the patriarchy or whatever and build a new world based on love, fellowship and goodwill to all men.
Romeo Y Julieta #2.
All this is very vague and lofty. What are you actually going to write about?
Helping people explore the complex upcoming problems the world is going to face and helping them prep for that. Unlike a lot of tech blogs, who assume a massive amount of knowledge of gadgets and gizmos, we’ll be talking about robots and blockchain and so on in a way that an ordinary person can understand it, which we think will be able to reach a much wider audience.
We also hit sustainability, climate change and how you can adapt your life to promote those things more effectively, without running away to live in the woods. A lot of people want to do something about the melting ice caps, choking pollution plastic in the oceans but don’t necessarily know what to do.
We also want to talk about how to get yourself an education, right now for free, with only a smartphone and wi-fi. Why spend 100k on college when you can study online for free? Set up study sessions with your friends and educate yourselves together, you don’t have to be alone.
The other thing is lifestyle, and this is really where we’re going to just kick back and have some fun. We’re basically discussing stuff we think is incredible and interesting and hoping that our readers get a kick out of it too.
If you could get across just one message to your readers what would it be?
Come out as your authentic self. That doesn’t mean you have carte-blanche to be a douchebag. It just means be authentically you and don’t live someone else’s life based on fear or cultural conditioning or just laziness or whatever. Obviously you still have to work on yourself and become the best version of you you can be. Identify your bad habits and work to eliminate them. Be strict with yourself and set goals for improvement.
But make sure it’s you that you’re working on and you that you can hold you head up to that and be on your own path. Maybe there is an afterlife. Maybe there isn’t.
Favorite 90s Boy Band?
East-17. There’s just something about those guys that just hits me right in the feels, you know?
Rank the Religions from Best to Worst
I can’t really do that because each one has a bunch of different sects some of which are good and some of which are bad.
I’ve found that religions tend to input the same basic archetypal approaches into their own belief structure, so you get corresponding movements across different faiths. In terms of that I do have favorites for sure. I hate literalist-austere-puritans, of any faith. You know the sort, who won’t have sex with the lights on and won’t eat chocolate cake on Sundays because it’s “too sinful” and ban rock music and hems shorter than the ankle. Every religion has them.
They are just the worst.
I like deeply mystical, esoteric, spiritual, allegorical and ornate sects the best. Give me some rich lyrical poetry where each line has like 6 different meanings, together with some sublime spiritual music, some chanting, maybe some incense, and some ancient rituals to perform (at least a thousand years old please) and I am sold.
I also like it to be beautiful, both in terms of the buildings, the robes for the priests. I want my doctrine to be framed around the ancient timeless wisdom and to be theoretically quite strict and built around good old fashioned family values, because that’s what I feel like we should aim for. But in practice it should be quite laissez-faire because life is hard and religion is meant to help you, not get in the way.
Favourite Architectural Style?
Rococco, obviously. It’s just so delightfully lavish.