Dec. 26, 2022

154 Christopher Krywulak: Creating Playalchemist and Businesses By Making People First

My next guest is Christopher Krywulak.

He is the founder of Playalchemist, a Burning Man theme camp. Christopher is no stranger to pushing boundaries and thinking outside the box. He started his first company in Saskatchewan at the young age of 18, with a mission to conduct business more humanely and create a self-managing environment that fosters creativity and personal growth. Since then, he has built several successful software businesses, including iQmetrix, Cova, Ready, and Shiftlab. Christopher is a true trailblazer and we can't wait to hear his unique perspective on entrepreneurship and personal growth.


We talked about:

(2:16) The meaning of synchronicity

(3:43) The prevalence of synchronicity at Burning Man

(7:23) Strategies for avoiding a life of quiet desperation

(23:08) The appeal of learning how to lucid dream

(28:01) Christopher's personal experiment with synchronicity

(33:31) Balancing surrender and intention-setting

(40:50) The interplay of order and chaos

(43:00) Christopher's purpose in life

(53:46) The importance of following inspiration from the higher realm

(57:28) Disentangling the mind and spirit

(57:28) The journey of bringing the concept of Camp Playalchemist to fruition

(95:04) The transformative power of parties

(98:24) Letting go of attachment to outcomes

(108:47) Striking a balance between challenge and comfort in a camp setting

(112:18) Handling camp members who don't adhere to guidelines

(116:06) Christopher's perspective on transformation

(120:56) Techniques for accelerating the transformation process

(126:01) Ways to get into flow

(139:44) Different frameworks for human development

(144:15) The underlying issue in our society

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[00:00:00] CK: Welcome to noble warrior. My name is CK, Len noble warriors. While interview thought leaders about their journey from being a burner overachiever to reclaiming the deep joy and purpose so we can learn from them and do the same. And this is a special series I'm doing with burning man theme, camp organizers.

I'm really excited to have the founder of play Alchemist with me today. He's a serial entrepreneur, his holding company. Chrysalis has four portfolio people. First software businesses, IQ metrics, Cova ready and shift lap. He was the captain of the Canadian TaeKwonDo national team. He also produced the movie.

Milton's secret. Please. Welcome Christopher Lac also known as CK.

[00:00:49] Christopher: how you doing CK?

[00:00:51] CK: I'm doing really good. It's so good to have another CK here on the podcast with me.

[00:00:56] Christopher: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks for inviting me. [00:01:00]

[00:01:00] CK: Of course. So lemon one, I want to acknowledge you for introducing me and sky Nelson. Isaac's doing a virtual burn.

You were the reason how we got connected. You don't know that, but I'm a little, I didn't know that.

[00:01:13] Christopher: No. Yeah. Wow. We, we actually did a talk together, uh, at the camp this year. Oh, what was the talk about? You could probably guess if you know, sky we did, uh, it was called playadipity the science of synchronic.

[00:01:29] CK: So if you don't mind just going there a little bit more, cause yeah, yeah.

Apply is a place where synchronicities happen quite often. So since you talk to a physicist and you yourself are a Alchemist, you know, tell us a little bit about what you learn. Why is that the case? Yeah,

[00:01:49] Christopher: actually a friend of mine recently started to label, uh, the burning man, a synchronous Sitt [00:02:00] um, yeah, well maybe I'll I'll back up, uh, sky and I met sort of, I think it, you know, a little over 10, 10 years ago, mm-hmm and I had read Carl Young's book, synchronicity mm-hmm and um, young was working with this physicist Wolfgang poly on understanding, like what are the causes of synchronicity?

And, um, I think, you know, most of your viewers have heard of the, the term, but it's, um, young described it as an, a causal connecting principles. So when you have a, an experience that has meaning that, um, Has no causality, so it just kind of emerges and it seems really, and, and it, and it comes with meaning, you know, that's a synchronicity.

So I started to go to different science conferences. And then this is where I ran into sky and sky. Uh, he was studying visits at the time, but his full interest with synchronicity. So we, we really hit it off and we've been friends ever since. And we, [00:03:00] we talked, uh, pretty regularly and, uh, yeah. And so the, you know, sky had reached out to me and he wanted to come back to burning man.

And, uh, and we started to discuss, you know, the possibility of, of, of doing talk and, uh, um, it was actually kind of an emergent thing. You know, we just, we were just discussing it and, and discussing about all the synchronicities and it was kind of obvious that we should do this talk together. So that's how

[00:03:29] CK: it came.

Mm-hmm so that was the origin, how sky got to be there? What I'm so curious, what's the content, right? What is the, what is the reason, uh, that you have deduced together? Why playa such a place where synchronicities serendipities happen so frequently there?

[00:03:50] Christopher: Yeah, like, like many, we. You know that go to burning, man.

The synchronicity is off the charts. We, um, and, [00:04:00] and so we were exposing that, that, I guess we explored the question, you know, why, why is that, you know, what are the causes of, of synchronicity? Is it the, you know, the playa dust, obviously, you know, there's no way we, we could tell that it's conducive, but, um, uh, so we explored it from both a scientific perspective.

You know, um, sky has written, uh, a book, um, about synchronicity he's explored potential principles rooted in quantum mechanics that show how synchronicities might happen. And, um, I've been exploring my own experiments. I've done a lot of different experiments on trying to create synchronicity in my life, looking at the patterns, you know, what happens at burning man at burning man, there's almost this like torrential flow.

You can sort of feel this energy flowing around and you can step into it. And then when you step into it, it takes you away and all these synchronicities happen. And, uh, it's, it's very magical. And then at the same [00:05:00] time you can step out of it. And so I was like experimenting with this and, and, and observing this.

And, uh, uh, and yeah, we, we, um, you know, we, we explored it from again, a few angles, you know, one, one angle that, um, you know, I, uh, was sharing is how important. Mind heart coherence is mm-hmm, in a really healthy way. So that, that idea of really being whole and, you know, stepping into your, your kind of your deeper self and not having any expectations, you know, not having any, any, um, judgements, uh, uh, and just sort of being present, which is a really subtle state to get to mm-hmm and, um, and, uh, yeah, we, we talked for about an hour and a half on it, so we explor explored quite a few different angles, but, um, uh, yeah, I mean, we could, we could, we could go deeper into [00:06:00] that today, if you like.

[00:06:01] CK: Uh, I will love that, uh, maybe not the whole hour and a half content. Yeah, sure. Maybe, maybe just a high level, like, Hey, here are the three points that you can get, because part of the mythology of burning man is, oh, burning man is a very special place and it is, uh, where synchronicities happen. Uh, and if I want to manifest certain things, I must go back to that location or that time of the year, you know, with all the burners out there by, by my.

Point of view is burning. Man is amazing and you get a glimpse of what's possible take that, what you learn, the insights, the lessons. So then bring it back to the default worlds. We call it right. The grand playa. And to me, that's where the work is. But I'm curious to know what's lessons and insight that you have, you know, deduced.


[00:06:58] Christopher: Yeah. Well, you clearly have had [00:07:00] synchronicities on the plan. Mm-hmm I have. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Have you learned anything, uh, um, that has cultivated more synchrony in your life that you brought back from burning man? I'm curious to hear.

[00:07:12] CK: Let's see if I think about it on the spot. I would say, ah, a couple of things. One key lesson that I learned this year that is, you know, how Henry thorough said most people live life of quiet desperation. Yeah. Have you heard that before? I've heard that quote. Yeah, I didn't. Okay, great. Now he didn't really get into the mechanics of what is it and, and how do, how do you live life?

A quiet desperation. And the lesson that I learned this year is. If you're not clear about your intention, that leads to life of quiet desperation. If you are clear about it, but if you don't express your desire, that leads to a life out quiet desperation. If you're clear about it, you express it, but you don't do anything about it.

You don't make an [00:08:00] effort, or if you do all that in your attached to the outcome, that leads to a life of quiet aspiration. So, you know, to do the opposite in my mind, right? You you're, you have a clear intention, you express it to yourself and to another human being and in a skillful way, and you make an effort to actualize to manifest that intention.

And also not being attached as you alluded to earlier. Yeah. To me, these are, you know, not predictable, not deterministic, right? And then if you do these things, then you'll create serendipities synchronicity in the world. But I think the probabilistic outcome is a whole lot more and more magical. Your life is a lot more magical.

If you can, you know, hold onto those, uh, principles.

[00:08:56] Christopher: Yeah. Yeah, no, that, that, that's great. It's really like [00:09:00] knowing who you are and what you want, and that's almost makes up your, your paradigm, right. And how you show up in the world. And when, um, and I would agree with that once you're clear on that, that increases your resonance, especially.

And so when I was talking about coherence, it's bringing those together and unifying those, those three dimensions. And in alchemy, uh, they have this, the, the triangle is represented by salt, sulfur and mercury. They all have, they rep that's, um, kind of the metaphorical, you know, the, the salt is the body.

You've got the spirit and, and the soul at the highest levels. And you go through the process of purifying

[00:09:48] CK: actually. Quick question. Yeah. What's the diff what's the difference between spirit and soul in this case? Cause in my mind, there's synonymous. So what's the distinction between to do.

[00:09:57] Christopher: Yeah. Yeah. A spirit is an [00:10:00] energy that you bring in the below round and soul is in the above round and, and spirit is a finite energy and soul is an infinite energy.

And um, and so the, the process of alchemy and it's in our. Tell Usman the, the symbols, the seven operations that you see in, in the oral BOS, that is a process in which you purify each of these essences, if you wanna call that. And so the three you, you talked about are actually beautifully, would make up a Trinity or a triad of wholeness.

And so you go through this process of purification through each of these, and then that increases the, the purity, which will increase, you know, metaphorically, the resonance, if you want to use that term and by purifying and bringing it to each of those parts of you to its highest form, and then integrating that into a whole that's where you would increase your highest [00:11:00] resonance.

And, um, and this is like a lifelong process, um, in, in alchemy too. They, they, one of the axioms is that every, you know, that the universe is striving for perfection. And so are we, and, um, and that everything has its highest form. And so a lot of people are familiar with lead. To gold as kind of what alchemists would do.

Um, but lead is what they saw as the lowest metal. So if you think of lead, it's heavy, it's toxic, you know, you don't want to eat it and, um, doesn't have the best qualities, but inside of it is what you need to make goals. So it's like the, if you're familiar with the Tero, the, the full he's carrying that backpack with the SAC, he doesn't know it.

Uh, but everything he needs to become the magician or the Alchemist is actually inside of him. So he already has it. [00:12:00] And then the highest metal is gold. And so gold has these incredible properties, you know, it's, uh, we need it. Like we wouldn't be doing this conversation without gold. It's, it's an essential cuz of if it's, um, ability to move energy, it's an essential, um, element to all of our computing as example.

So, so gold was the highest and lead was the lowest. So when you look at the, the symbols in our Teleman, the, the first symbol is actually the symbol for lead. Um, also the symbol, there's always a, a, um, correspondence in alchemy. So that's also the symbol for Saturn, which is there was this, the slowest planet out there.

So these are more archetypal, uh, energies that these, these represe. And then the process of course, takes you to, you know, the highest. So it's a continual process of evolving and moving to a more nobler metal, if you want to call it that. [00:13:00] Mm.

[00:13:01] CK: Uh, I'm taking notes. Uh, yeah.

[00:13:04] Christopher: Well, there's, there's a lot of layers and, and alchemy, so we'll, we'll Wade into the pool.

We won't go. I,

[00:13:12] CK: I love that within what is in 10 minutes, we're going right into the depth of the esoteric that is alchemy. I love it. Um, so zoom out a little bit, cuz you are a, the entrepreneur, you're a very practical guy. Right. And then, and then you're also a serious student of alchemy, you know, on the surface itself.

It seems counterintuitive cuz you're a very practical person, but yet you're also very interested in the esoteric science or the esoteric studies of alchemy. So tell us a little bit about the origin story. How, how did you arrive here? Yeah.

[00:13:53] Christopher: Yeah. Well, it's true. I'm, I'm, I'm very, um, you know, very, very logical, but when I was young, uh, [00:14:00] I was, you know, I was um, always dreaming I guess, and, and I was elusive dreamer.

So El lucid is when you are dreaming, but you're awake. So you, so I would almost blend. You know, what was, um, kind of my dream world with my real world. They, they, where the, the boundary was, it was not so clear for me, but in my

[00:14:24] CK: normal world, was it cultivated? Was it a talent that you just had?

[00:14:29] Christopher: It just was there.

It was, um, you know, and I, I think we're born with a lot of capabilities that, um, that maybe we, we drift away from, you know, from, from being quite young. I, I, um, I think it's part of us, our journeys to rediscover, you know, these, these deeper capabilities. And then I was also having synchronicities all the time.

And, and to me, synchronicities was just the, [00:15:00] this is just a, an artifact of the universe. I, I, I thought it was normal and it wasn't until I got older, then I, that I realized that no, no, no, these, these aren't normal. You do not speak about these. And around that time, my synchronously started to go down. So my sort of observing of that is not being natural.

And, and maybe the, the other part was the, the order that came into my life from, you know, not being a child anymore and, you know, needing to go to school and pay attention, do what you're told this took me away from that state of being, and, um, And then I've always wanted to go back there. You know, it's like, as I got older and, um, I, I came across, as I mentioned earlier, Young's synchronicity and, and I didn't even, you know, I hadn't even heard of that term, like, wow, this is a thing there's [00:16:00] actual thing.

Of course, it's, um, you know, a bit of an esoteric, you know, part of study, he did bring it into the scientific realm and, um, you know, and that led me on that journey. Then I got deep into young. Uh, I read everything young. I even, uh, I even traveled to, um, he has his home Bullington on, on lake Zurich. I, I got deep into his work.

And, uh, and with that, he had this series of books on, on alchemy and I had not, um, called a psychology to alchemy. They're quite thick. And I, um, did not, um, go into that work. You know, part of it was the thickness of the books, but it just seemed too, too esoteric for me. And one day I, and I, I picked up the series of books.

I'm part of the union Institute here. And I ended up buying the books at third library fair. And, uh, but I never opened them up. I just put 'em in my [00:17:00] library. And then one day I picked them up and started to go through it and. I started to really connect with the symbols and it reminded me of this dream.

I had this very unique dream, uh, many years earlier. And in this dream I was like staring in this deep blue and I was in a really beautiful state and there's these fibers kind of floating everywhere. And, and then wherever I would stare these fibers would come together and form these symbols. Did you say a fire

[00:17:30] CK: burst fi fibers would

[00:17:32] Christopher: come fibers?

Uhhuh? Yeah. They're like almost like a white, uh it's really like they seen like something, um, yeah, I mean, perhaps a computer could generate something like it, but it, it was, it was, um, you know, fractal like in, in parts of it as well. Mm. And they would form these symbols and then I would just like, look away and just go into a gaze and then I'd look somewhere else.

And they would [00:18:00] form a new symbol. And I connected what I saw in the imagery, in the book to this dream. So that was my synchronicity, if you want to call it to get deep into alchemy. And so that's, that's what led me on that, that journey. But I did, I did resist it for, for, for a while. And I can't say I, I mean, there's, um, I can't say that, you know, it has any clear teachings.

It's more of a framework. Mm-hmm, , it's more of, um, You know, like there's certain deep principles, like we were talking about correspondence, you know, this idea of the correspondence between, um, Saturn, you know, the planet Saturn and lead as an example, the correspondence between the below realm and the above realm.

Another correspondence of Saturn with the mind is ego where gold, which is the same symbol for sun [00:19:00] is the correspondence or the relationship is that of enlightenments. Um, or if you actually go into quantum mechanics, you know, correspondence, um, the best example would probably be Neils Bo's concept of complementary wave particle duality.

This is a correspondence where, um, you know, the wave and the particle, um, they correspond to each other, uh, at the same time they're opposite and together they R one. So it seems to be a deep, a deep design, um, foundation that it's a deep Axiom of how the universe works. And it's very interesting that alchemy sort of understood this so long ago.

And now, you know, that we understand quantum mechanic, we can sort of see there's a, there's a deep congruence with. How we are, you know, [00:20:00] how quantum mechanics works to the, uh, axioms of, um, of alchemy. And like, you probably have heard like, there's this writing called the Emerald cha, but you probably would've heard this first idea.

No, not

[00:20:13] CK: no. What's

[00:20:13] Christopher: that you would've heard this as above, so below, so below is above that's essentially that principle of correspondence. Mm-hmm . Yeah.

[00:20:22] CK: Um, okay, so let me actually drill on this a little bit. I think this is interesting. Cause some people, I actually, you don't know this, but I, myself, I'm a lucid dreamer too.

Oh wow.

[00:20:33] Christopher: Too. Wow. Yeah.

[00:20:35] CK: So, and I thought it was normal. Yeah. That you could control your dreams. And I didn't know that until decades later, that's, that's a unique thing that lots of people strive to do that was gifted with that, you know, ability. Quick,

[00:20:51] Christopher: quick question. Just a qualified, are you still lucid dreaming?

Has it increased or decreased? Give me a sense of the what's to it.

[00:20:59] CK: I would [00:21:00] say these. So when I was younger, it was Def definitively deterministic. Okay. I could, I could, you know, on demand, you could, I could do whatever it is I want to do. And I was, you lost those powers though. I have. Yes. And so these days is not as obvious.

Yeah. Sometimes I could do it, but not as much. Right. Right. And, and, and yeah, I'm aware that people are actively studying how to do this consciously, so, but I'm also not. So in tune with why you want to do that consciously and, and if you cultivated a skill what's possible. So maybe you can help me answer those questions.

[00:21:41] Christopher: Uh, yeah, no, I was just, just curious. It it's, um, it's a general pattern that I've seen though is, uh, you know, this with, with other capabilities, we, we lose them. And so, you know, you can regain them. Um, but, and what are the mechanisms? Is it that coherence getting to it's? [00:22:00] And so, so I, I, I think we are born in that more pure state.

And, um, it seems to be that, um, there's a, yeah, there's a connection to, to these, these elements now, uh, there are still hacks to, to get there, but they're not necessarily the, the best thing to do. perhaps in, uh, in getting there in the same way, you know, some people will use, you know, psychedelics to, to get to the state that, um, you know, meditators spend do a lot of work, you know, sometimes you need to do the work in order to.

Especially if you wanna sustain these states as more, more default mode, right. Rather than just getting windows or glimpses back into these places.

[00:22:46] CK: Well, let me ask you this. So for someone like me or someone who aspire to be a lucid dreamer why, why, how is that, you know, practically speaking valuable [00:23:00] in one's life other than, oh, it's a more entertaining experience at night.

Right? Other than that, why, why even exert the effort to, you know, cultivate practice the skills of lucid dreaming?

[00:23:14] Christopher: Yeah. Well, it's an incredible realm to do the work to do. You can go into your subconscious, like your, your, um, you know, kind of in a way that burning man allows you to dance with your subconscious in a way that's better than the normal world in your dreams is, um, the characters that will emerge that you can actually interact with, you know, not just observe, but interact with that is, um, um, you know, that, that is the beauty of Luci dreaming is to, is to, is to do that work.

[00:23:48] CK: Mm. Can you say more about that? Actually, I'm like very clear. What do you mean by that? Sorry,

[00:23:54] Christopher: which part?

[00:23:56] CK: The, the work what's

[00:23:58] Christopher: the work. Oh yeah. Like the [00:24:00] alchemical work of, yeah. You know, and if you want to, um, you know, part of it, of what, uh, is unconscious making it conscious if you're familiar with Young's shadow work.

And so, you know, the, the, the alchemical work of, of, of, um, you know, finding that true self, you know, what you describe, you know, those three dimensions you described earlier for yourself, like, what is your intention? Like what, you know, and, and your intention can evolve that, you know, depending on, you know, that, you know, some people know what their intention for their lifetime is gonna be, and others it's a constant becoming mm-hmm

Um, and so you're able to abso yeah, do that work. You can certainly go and play just as some people maybe go to play at burning man. But meanwhile, even when you're playing, you know, the work emerges often while you're, you're doing that.

There there's a, an author. Um, I remember his name gateway to the self and, and [00:25:00] basically he. Makes the, um, he, he writes about, I actually ran into him at another science conference, uh, many years ago as well. Um, but yeah, I believe it's called lucid dreaming gateway to the self and he writes about this work.


[00:25:20] CK: okay. In, well, let's uh, well, the quote that I was trying to quote is until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life and you, you will call it fate. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I think the work that you're referring to is how do you make the unconscious more conscious during the dreaming state?

Is that correct?

[00:25:41] Christopher: Yeah. Yeah. And, um, part of that is like the light that you use to shine on the shadow. And, um, we can actually bring this back to burning man. Mm-hmm this is one of the things I love about burning man, is that light, um, through peak experience, you know, when you show up, you can actually [00:26:00] light up parts of, you know, like your bliss or what Joseph, you know, can what Joseph Campbell calls your bliss, those things that make you alive, that creates light.

And at that time, it can shine on some of your shadow. And this is what I think leads to so much growth at burning man, because these peak experiences, they, they trigger. That awareness of, of growth. And we're able to see thi parts of ourself. We, we didn't see before, and then we can do that work. And, uh, this is why, like when, you know, burning man is so synonymous with personal growth within transformation.

[00:26:41] CK: Yeah. I was listening to the burning men podcast yesterday, just so they can get familiar with what exactly, uh, are their philosophies clearly articulated. And part of, um, one guest said the reason why burning [00:27:00] men so transformative isn't because they, uh, our intention intentional to create a container of transformation per se.

They do have some rules and boundaries, but ultimately it's a place where all of the, uh, subtle intentions are taken away. It's not about accumulation of money or status or power. So if so, then your subconscious is then freed up to say, okay, I don't have to do any of those things now. What, so every little decisions that you choose and burning man is, is, is, is more from the space of.

Okay. I'm free to do whatever I want. What do I want to do? Do I want to, to go to, uh, play Alchemist, to listen to a talk or the orgy dome or get a coffee or hang out with my friends, go, you know, go visit some arts or whatever the thing

[00:27:54] Christopher: I would say that's part of it, but that's not all of it. Mm-hmm . And, um, I'll [00:28:00] share with you, uh, one of the synchronicity experiments I did.

I, what I tried to do was, uh, look at when did I have synchronicities? What were the conditions and recreate those conditions. So I called it my perfect day and I ran this experiment as you do an alchemy, uh, that you have to run, 'em like three times as sort of the minimum mm-hmm . And, uh, so three days I ran this perfect day.

And so I, I did all these wonderful things. I had a bit of a structure, but no timeline. And, um, so I would move from one activity. And when I felt ready to go to the next one and then go to the next one, and then my day would unfold. So I did this experiment and part of it was emptying the mind out than this loose architecture.

Hmm. And after three days, nothing, I was like, not even, not even one possible synchronicity mm-hmm . And, uh, so I was [00:29:00] like, um, you know, obviously this is a burning man. No, no, this wasn't a burning man. This was outside, you know, and, uh, And so I was just looking in the, in the kind of, what are the things, you know, had some influence in burning man.

Um, but I was trying to recreate those conditions. Then the next day I, I liked those. I was, uh, I liked the things I was doing. I just ended up doing roughly the same thing and the synchronicities were off the chart. Mm. So yes, part of it is we impose too much order and structure that take up our mind.

That is absolutely part of it, but much more important is the subtleness of how we show up, you know, how do we, how we be in the world, what we look [00:30:00] for, you know, if you think of the observer effect, we can't look directly for things. And so there's a real, subtle art and I, in the first days of this experiment, even subconsciously I think I was looking for these, um, outcomes, you know, mm-hmm I was like, okay.

And in the same way, you know, the, your, um, you know, the way the observer effect affects quantum experiments, right. It disrupts that wave that mm-hmm comes. And, um, and so that next day I just forgot about it all. And then it started to happen. So this there's this cultivating of this subtle way of being that's really, really, um, it's really fragile too, you know, mm-hmm, , it doesn't take much to, um, you know, to kind of hijack your mind, you know?

And so this [00:31:00] is, um, and, and, and this state, you can get shocked into this state at burning man. Part of it is it's a series of conditions like the, the difficulties, right? Mm-hmm, , mm-hmm, , you know, like the storm, you're like you have a plan and that practice gets blown up. And so a lot of things that will help you gift the state of surrender.

And, and the other part of course, is certainly, you know, just your heart opening up your heart is a great, um, way to, to, um, calm your mind and let get you outta your mind. So that heart, mind coherence, and that happens with all the love at burning men. So there's, you know, so there, yes, there's a lot more of these conditions that, um, you know, lead to synchronous is at burning men.

And, you know, one of the things in our society is the, um, [00:32:00] You know, the, the order, you know, the, that we impose, you know, we're not supposed to live in this much order and this much structure, you know, even for me, the scheduling of this was quite difficult. I would've, uh, and I think we discussed the possibility of this being more emergent mm-hmm, , uh, the, um, we put too much order in our, in our society and we, um, we're not able to follow the natural flows or the natural wave of things in, you know, and as you know, if you're a surfer, if you miss the wave, you miss the wave mm-hmm so it's um, yeah.

So this is one of the things that, that I, um, I'm kind of going back to your previous question, still sort of answering your current question, but, um, uh, but yeah, that, that's something that I, I, um, I would say that is also really important is how you show up and then connected to that [00:33:00] at a real fundamental level is, um, is, is development.

Our human development is that that led to gold, you know, ego does not play well in synchronicity. You can create things in the, in what alchemy calls, the lower realm, and that's where like black magic sits, but, um, ego and synchronicity do not go well together. And those, um, uh, especially go ahead, before we go

[00:33:27] CK: into.

That, uh, I think that's a juicy topic in itself. I wanted to double click on this tension between surrender full surrender to the waves right. Of the ocean, uh, versus intention, because I think that's something juicy here. If I'm so attached to my intention, I'm grasping for things then, uh, from my experience, right.

Uh, that's where suffering comes yeah. Cause I'm attached to the outcome, but at the same [00:34:00] time, if I don't have any intention at all, I'm just kind of going with the flow of the ocean of the universe. Then also I'm just gonna go with flow. Right. So I think there's a subtlety there, um, that you are discussing.

Cause you, you mentioned other things like, um, the difficult environment forces you to surrender.

[00:34:21] Christopher: So that, that's a great question. Uh, let's go back to you. So the, you described these, this triad of, of, you know, parts of you and intention being one of them, correct?

[00:34:32] CK: Yes. Being clear about what is it that you desire or what I desire, correct.

[00:34:36] Christopher: Yeah. And so the, the, you can look at this, like at the higher levels. Those three and it can be more are like the bearings of your compass mm-hmm . And if your compass is like, not calibrated, or you don't know where north is, the compass is sort of, you [00:35:00] know, not gonna help guide you in the correct mm-hmm um, it's also not a foundation, you know, of, um, resonance when, when you're unsure about those now in, um, it it's okay when you're younger to have goals and that would be associated with, um, work in the material realm.

And, um, so if your intention has a goal associated with it, it's, um, you know, it can be okay when you're young, but this is because you're learning when you get, um, when you transcend that and you're starting to do the, uh, and, and I'm using alchemical terms of, there's like, um, there's like the lower work, which is mastering of the material realm.

And then there's a higher work, which is ma uh, the mastering of the above realm. [00:36:00] And in the above realm is the realm of infinite energy. And the blow realm is finite energy. And when you get to the above realm, if you're doing the work there, goals are problematic and milestones and, you know, targets, KPIs, whatever.

Uh, you can, you can look at things they're, they're, they're always helpful. But, um, I, uh, very explicitly in our business, you know, we allow, we, people will create aims, but it's more like a scaffolding, so it's okay to have, Hey, this is where I think we're going, but it's, it can change. And it's not like it's not what matters.

What matters is those bearings that we spoke about? It's like, you know, your intention should come from who you are like these, this is what, like, what's your personal myth? What matters to you? What do [00:37:00] you what's inside of you that wants to come out? And that could be a process. So the goals that you set along the way that will help you learn about yourself, and then when you know that self, then you will let go of all goals because goals will get in the way.

Um, and it's a subtle, it's a subtle art, right? It's very, um, it's not very clear and, um, And, and it's because too, like we don't know. Right. Like to have a goal means that, oh, you know, I know this is me, how can we know? Right. How can we know the really important things? And so we have to, and this is what creates synchronicity.

It's like being clear on that compass and allowing for emergence. So if I, to rewinds, you know, my life, um, like five ish, years, um, I have a burning man camp. I never, you know, that was [00:38:00] an emergent thing. I was leaving burning, man. I guess it is a little more than five years where the idea came. But, but the, the camp is yeah, five years old now.

Hmm. And, um, I have a new baby mm-hmm and this is gift child. I didn't, you know, that's emergent also Chrysalis that, um, this entity that we, where we, um, this is what you called, I guess, a holding company. We, we don't, um, we don't know exactly what to call it yet, but we were calling ourselves a meta company cuz we help support these other companies.

But the term meta is, is maybe not, uh, since Facebook branded themselves, meta is, is not maybe the best. Um, but I didn't know that was gonna exist. And then we created these new, some of these new companies and I didn't know that was gonna exist. These were not planned. These. Just emergent and, and what I love about that too, if I were to look five years into the future, of course, I don't know what's gonna happen.

[00:39:00] Mm-hmm I, um, and to, you know, it it's it's um,

[00:39:07] CK: so okay. To your point, a hundred percent aligned with you. It's to me, uh, the metaphor I give my listener a lot is, you know, have an intention by hold it loosely. Like how you hold a fish. If you hold a fish too tight, it goes away. If you don't hold it up, goes away.

Right. So hold it loosely. But I wanna double click on, on yeah. What the, the, what you said earlier about your perfect day experiment. Yeah. Cause you said that you had an intention, however, subtle it might be, and it didn't create any kind of synchronicity at all, but the day after you threw the intention way so to speak, and then yet the synchronicities were off the chart.

So double clicking on this point. Exactly. Is do you set any [00:40:00] intention and then throw it away or you revisit look at loosely how playa alchemist is, is gonna come about, you know, once in a while, every 90 minutes or every day or whatever, every quarter, every week, you know? So the tactics, the tactical moments is what I'm curious about.

You know what I.

[00:40:20] Christopher: Yeah. So did you ask a question specifically about P alchemists there or you're just using that as an example, I'm

[00:40:25] CK: using that as an example.

[00:40:27] Christopher: Yeah. Yeah. Well, as I mentioned, um, the, when, when you, when you're young, it's, it's okay to, you know, be really clear because that's part of that, um, your, your learning journey.

Mm-hmm, the, the, yeah, it's a subtle arts kinda, kinda like thinking of order and chaos, you know, what's that place like, I, I don't for anyone that's done extreme sports. Um, like one of the sports I do now is mountain biking. I, I live here in [00:41:00] Vancouver, so climbing up and like, where's the center between, you know, leaning in and, you know, to describe that almost impossible because it's, um, mm-hmm, surrender in the state and you have to have confidence, but you can't be overconfidence.

You can't over yourself. You can't underestimate yourself because mm-hmm, both of these, both of these, um, will lead to, um, a crash yep. Both just like in life, you know, you can under, you know, we see ego often can overestimate or underestimate self, depending on what side of the duality they're in, but it's really the unification of those forces and that's the correspondence or the complementary that has to come into play.

And that's where that subtly. That's subtle art of, of essentially integration. Mm-hmm that allows you to find that, that, that center. And, um, like I [00:42:00] said, when at some point you will surrender intention just to more of like a bearing of a compass where the intention is not gonna have any destination or any outcome.

Like it won't look like anything that has a destination. It's more of something that's infinite, always gonna be. It will manifest its way in different ways, but it's, um, you know, it will never be achieved cuz it's, it's more fundamental to your being, cuz you're getting deeper into your being and, and that's sort of, um, when you get deeper, you, you leave the material realm or the finite realm and get to like more fundamental.

What's more infinite after that,

[00:42:44] CK: before we go into camp, cuz we're, you know, I do want to get into specifically play Alchemist, the camp. How would you articulate? I, I call it the horizon. Cause you know, you never arrived at a horizon, but it's the direction that you head towards, [00:43:00] right? Yeah. How, how would you articulate that direction?

That north star, that horizon for CK, for Christopher?

[00:43:10] Christopher: Well, I, I, um, I, I read Plato when I was 18. And, uh, a quote from Socrates, I always loved is the unexamined life is not worth living. And I, um, you know, I, I never had like a mission and, um, but after doing things for a while, I was able to reflect and go like, what's the pattern?

That is me. And so I, I basically quit school in, in grade five. And I, and I hated, um, you know, I had had an experience, which is another story that triggered, you know, this, this quit. So I quit in my mind and I would daydream. And, and then when I was 18, I got a job where my dad worked, which was a, a factory mm-hmm and I'm [00:44:00] excited.

Okay, I'm in the real world, I'm gonna make money. And, you know, I'm finished with this, you know, waste of time that they called school. And I very quickly realized that this is just like school mm-hmm could behave. You know, it's a socialized mind, you know, do what you're told, stay, stay in your box and everything is gonna be okay, and this is not humane.

This is not for people. So this is the reason I started a business was purely emergent. I wanted to create a better environment. I didn't think. Um, you know, this was for humans, we're not supposed to be this way. So I started my, my first business, which still exists, um, when I was 18 and I was just looking, you know, to create a place for me to survive and first and foremost, but to create a more humane place.

And then, um, years ago, I, um, [00:45:00] I, um, picked up, um, you know, a lot of people are familiar with Simon Sinek, you know, his, um, start with why start with why book and, and, uh, and he's a, he's a pretty good orator and storyteller. I really, I really like his, um, you know, the frames in which he views things from. And, and he has this workbook that kind of, you know, find your, your purpose.

Right. Uh, so I, I went through that and, uh, and in my reflection, I came to realize that I like to create conditions or community where people transform. And, and then, so I just looked at the different things, including creating the cap at Bernie man, you know, which was, uh, you know, in me taking people to Bernie man and seeing their transformations and seeing how it helped me.

I want to create a more intentional container around transformation. [00:46:00] And, uh, but going back. To my experience in grade five, it was, um, a somewhat of a traumatic experience, but I had also sort of stepped into my own being and I took agency or I, or sort of claimed my sovereignty and my identity, and that was a transformation.

And, um, and I, I, I also like looked at what happened to me as like, well, we all are on this journey and we all have to claim our sovereignty. And, uh, so I've been much of what I do, whether it be in writing or, uh, which is, which is newer to me, but, um, certainly in the business entities. And, uh, we, um, in, in our, um, organization, we use self organizing or self-managing principles.

So we have a operating system that supports emergence, you know, rather than, uh, traditional power hierarchy [00:47:00] that tries to, you know, control and predict, use incentives to, you know, control behaviors. Um, it's really the, would say the opposite of that, but it's, it's the next level of that. So if there's like a lower levels competition at higher levels cooperation, and it doesn't mean that there's no competition in there, but it's for the higher purpose of cooperation for the betterment of everybody, I love.

[00:47:31] CK: So if I'm hearing you say your north star, your direction, the horizon, and mixing analogies by, you know yeah, yeah, yeah. You're right. Uh, is to create containers where people transform. Yeah. In a nutshell, ultimately everything that you do that guides you, the writing, the video series, the yeah. Yeah. The companies that you formed, the burning man camps that you run, that's, that's, that's guiding you, that's the north

[00:47:58] Christopher: star.

And when [00:48:00] you transform to these, you know, if you want to call it, you know, like in that journey of alchemy getting closer to your gold or your inner gold, as an example, synchronicities will increase. And, you know, just as your synchronicities increase, guess what happens? You become more spiritual mm-hmm because you get introduced to something that has meaning, you know, and especially when, you know, they bring, you know, light into your life.

And so, you know, I feel like this is, this is potentially one reason why we're here is to, you know, go through this evolution. Yep. And what alchemy was for is that. They believe that, you know, there is this natural cycle and by understanding the operations and the practices and the principles, they could accelerate that.

So how do [00:49:00] we accelerate the process to that highest being or that highest self? And that's the whole purpose of it. You can't skip steps, you know, you can't go through the work, the work has to happen, but can it happen a lot faster? Uh, yes, it can. Um, not everything, but often people will get stuck. So like the, you know, the first operations of fire operation, something happens to you calcination and, um, then you need to dissolve it away, you know, before, um, you know, you, you, you need to, you know, get rid of that calcination and, um, you know, often people can get stuck there, you know, be dissolving.

They could have finished their dissolving, but they don't take the next step. And the next step after you dissolve things away is to separate and at this step decide, and this requires, you know, confidence and, um, but what do I wanna keep and what do I wanna throw [00:50:00] away? And maybe you wanna even bring something new.

So you bring a set of new ingredients together to what's called, um, conjunction, actually getting to that, that separation phase. If you wanna look at it from, um, a global perspective, we're almost, um, much of what we see in the world today is about separation mm-hmm . And, um, even in our psyches, in ourselves, in society, we're seeing the polarities, uh, play out the culture wars, um, globally, where, where we're, um, you know, moving to a more multipolar world.

And, um, but, um, so we'll, we'll, you know, we go to conjunction, we bring these new ingredients together. Um, but again, a lot of people think that when you bring these ingredients together, it's like, oh, you know, and I'll use example of goals. Oh, I, you know, I wanna get this new car. I wanna get, you know, all these things, [00:51:00] that's a conjunction, bring those things together and you think, oh, I'm gonna be happy now or whatever, the story that they told themselves was about that.

But, but when you actually bring ingredients together, there's another death and rebirth. So if you think of wine, you know, you bring grapes and yeast and all these ingredients together, um, in the process of making wine, you don't yet have wine. You know, those ingredients then need to ferment. And in that process, There's another death and another rebirth.

And so this is where the spirit can be. You know, the essence of that, the graces can, can come out. Um, so by understanding the process, you, um, you can accelerate your own human, you know, evolution. Yeah. And this is, this is, this is what so alchemists would study the material realm. So what worked with metals can also work for the human spirit and that's that correspondence.

So in the material realm, the, [00:52:00] there were insights in just working with, um, you know, with matter. And that's where the principles and the laws were derived from.

[00:52:09] CK: Would you say the purpose, um, adding what you're saying to play alchemists together, would you say that the purpose of play alchemists is such that you introduce these mechanics of alchemies to the burners that stay with the camp or visited the camp?


[00:52:30] Christopher: well, I was, um, I was leaving Bernie man in 2015 and after, you know, coming year after year, inviting a few more people. I, um, and seeing, I think that year I particular saw a lot of transformations and people and, um, so I was leaving and this is where the idea, it just came to me all at once. And I didn't know why I just, it was like do this camp and, um, you know, [00:53:00] theme it, you know, tie it to alchemy and, uh, build a pyramid.

And it had to be the, the dimensions of Giza. And I'm not a, I'm not into pyramids. I, I don't, I don't, I've never been to Egypt before, but I mean, the pyramid symbol is a symbol for fire and, um, and the pyramid itself represents, you know, is an chemical, uh, symbol five represents the four elements with the fifth.

Um, and, um, but I didn't actually know. why I was just like, you have to do this. And, and I, I drew out the camp right away. Like it was, it, it was, um, it was pretty, um, like it was just, it was like more of like a download, which doesn't happen to me often. And in alchemy, when you have things that come to you from the above realm.

So when something comes from the outside, truly like a, a message, there's actually like a, it's a law, you must follow those. Uh, so [00:54:00] this is, um, this was sort of when I got this, it wasn't like, should I do this? It was like, no. Oh shit, I have to do this.

[00:54:10] CK: okay. So double clicking on that real quick. That's an important distinction.

When something comes from my body, it must follow it quickly. Yeah. Say more about that because. At burning man or other places, meditation retreat at Waka ceremonies, whatever the case may be. People receive things. And some of 'em just follow quickly, whatever the thing says. And some of 'em, uh, take some time to discern, to think about to really, you know, meditate and let it contemplate, you know, what is the message within so different schools have thought there, say more about what you

[00:54:44] Christopher: just said.

Wow. Yeah, no. Great, great question again. Um, so this is the, the Alchemist, which, um, has done the work and the work allows you to discern between [00:55:00] where something comes from. So if you think about it, our minds are constantly processing and we'll have a lot of intuitions that will come to us. That'll be from the mind, some of it's really useful.

Some of it's not. And, um, and so knowing, you know, but knowing it's like a scenario, like, you know, you could be going through an issue and your, your mind could present a scenario to you. The ability to discern that it's coming from your mind is a skill that, um, requires, you know, The work to be done. And, and in fact, um, a lot of people will function only from the plane of mine.

So they actually are not accessing, you know, the, um, you know, the higher messages. Now, when you have access to, you know, if you're, if you're more in resonance with, with, um, the ability to [00:56:00] get these, you know, if you're having synchronicities as an example, and you're having these, you will start to get messages from the outside, but often they're blended with your mind.

And so at times, you know, like if you think of a spectrum, here's like the mind and here's the outer world, and here's the inner world of the mind and the other world of the collective, um, unconscious or whatever you want to call it. Um, sometimes in the center, these ones are difficult to unfold, but cuz you have.

Then go and like, okay, well what's, what's from the outside. What did I, what noise did I put into this? And is that noise useful or not? So you have to do the work, but there are times when, you know, something is clearly from the outside. It's not from your shadow. It's not, you know, from your, um, you know, it's clearly something, some sort of guide from the outside.

And so, um, I am not, um, like I am not a master in this [00:57:00] myself. I, I know when it's from the mind. I know when it's from here, when it's really pure mind or I, I get, I get uncertain when it's blended and, um, and I'm still developing, you know, this, this skill, but, um, but I can, I can certainly discern, you know, those two and, um, yeah, we could go more into that, but that's a high level response to your question.

I appreciate it.

[00:57:28] CK: One of the practice that I learn, it may be really simple, but it helps me discerning ideas from the mind versus idea from the spirit. Yeah. That is, uh, simply just put your hand on your heart and then feel like what does the heart desire? Because the heart is essentially to me is the spokesperson of the spirit.

So then I can discern what is. The busyness of the mind, the [00:58:00] content that the mind produces versus what is coming from the depth of my spirit. Of my soul. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:58:08] Christopher: Yeah. When it comes to the outside, it's really like, like, you don't know where it comes from. Like, it's just like all of a sudden it's like, it's truly like, um, you know, and it appears, and it's, it's very wise, you know, like, there's you, you know, like, I, I got this when like about the camp, um, like all it was there all at once.

and I had to use my mind to like put the pieces together, but yeah. And, um, so there's, um, for me, there's certain characteristics of each that I've come to to understand. Um,

[00:58:44] CK: so, so you received this message tied to alchemy, built it at the dimension of the Giza. Yeah. Uh, and then, then what?

[00:58:55] Christopher: Yeah. So then I went home and I drew up a one page concept.

[00:59:00] Wow. Was fresh. I put everything on one page and, um, and almost like a vision board, you could say it's like, okay. Um, and I'm, you know, I , I'm still ask me, like, why am I needing to do this? I'm still trying to understand the answers cuz like, where do you, where do you get a pyramid from? Right. Like go to like.

So I, um, and then I went to Bernie man in 2016. I said, okay, I have to decide, you know, when, so it's not a matter if it's a matter of when. And so I went to Bernie man in 2016 and with the, um, looking for the answer and the answer came. And so I decided to, to, um, bring the camp to life in 2017, which is our first year.

Um, that's also when I met, uh, I think you, you you've met Anna. My, my partner, I met her in 16 as well. We had a series of synchronicities. We, I [01:00:00] first met her, I saw her at a camp and then she came and introduced herself and says, oh, hi, I'm I'm from Ukraine. And, um, but there was a, a deep soul connection. Mm.

And, uh, then five more times I ran into her in random places in like 24 hours. And so the very, very last time I got her, her email address.

[01:00:26] CK: I love that. Yeah. And the rest is history. Now you have a, yeah.

[01:00:31] Christopher: Now we have a lot. Exactly. Yeah.

[01:00:34] CK: Well, okay. So as someone who lived the philosophy or practice the philosophy of alchemy, who loves to think about synchronicities, any indicators, you know, for the play romance, you know, people who experience play romance.

[01:00:55] Christopher: I well, I mean, [01:01:00] the, yeah, the synchronicities are there's something there, you know? And, and, um, you know, in my case it took, it took five times before I got the courage to ask her for even some contact info mm-hmm , but it was, it was the universe that was bringing us together. And, and we even met like in obscure camps in the back, you know, I would end up drawing there for some reason, and then she would appear and she's like, wow, what what's, you know, it was like, it was the same place as random places all over the, the, the plan.

And then I also, um, I was working on the, the, the Milton secret, um, project, um, which is based on, um, a book by echo Toley who lives here in Vancouver as well. And I I'd messaged her, uh, and said, Hey, do you know this author? And she sends me a picture of, uh, her at that moment, she was traveling and, [01:02:00] and one of the only books she came was my favorite book of his, and she was reading his book at the time.

Mm. So it, the synchronicities, you know, didn't even stop there, but, but that's a sign, but it's, um, it's, you have to. Again, careful, there's this. Um, you can look for signs, you know, based on your desire. So that subtleness of steam it's, um, cultivating that way of being is really what's important. I have, um, come across many individuals who, you know, they'll describe to me, you know, um, what they think is a synchronicity.

And when I, when I kind of feel into it and question it, it's more of a patternicity mm-hmm, where they're, they're wanting something. And that can be okay for the, the time, but it's not, um, in, in just trying to get meaning out of things. Mm-hmm so again, it's, um, we have to be very, very careful that we're not [01:03:00] trying to create something like you truly want it, how you really really know is when you know, the, the chances of it, um, are really well outside the realms of randomness, like, well, well, outside the realms of randomness and, and randomness is like a classical long in Newtonian mechanics.

Like if you flip a coin a hundred times, it's gonna be like, you know, 49 mm-hmm 51, like, like there's like a, there's like a realm of, of a percentage of error, but it's very, um, you know, it's very predictable. Whereas in quantum mechanics, you know, randomness will take on a whole different, you know, set of.

Principles, but, um, so it has to be well outside of that. So that's one, one way, but also you would want to ask yourself, am I wanting this right? Mm-hmm so that subtle way of being is a really important, um, you know, thing to cultivate.

[01:03:54] CK: Thank you for that. So let's come back to camp. So 2016, [01:04:00] you, you decided you chose, yes.

I'm gonna do this next year. Uh, most people would say, let me start off small. And, you know, instead of a, you know, whatever the dimension is, let's do a MVP, minimum viable product to test what what's like. But no, not, not Christopher. You just went boom, full scale right away. Was there any, I mean, doubt or hesitation rather, uh, or any kind of like tell us a journey going from, I'm gonna do this to boom, manifestation reality.

I don't know the dimensions of the pyramid, but full scale. Yeah. Yeah.

[01:04:45] Christopher: Um, well it was, um, no, it was full of difficulties and the, um, but there was never any like, oh, make it smaller. I did run into, um, a different, um, Founder lead [01:05:00] was doing a camp for a long time. I ran into this, this gentleman, um, in, uh, yeah, the beginning of 2017 and I told him about the camp and he's like, you have to sit me down.

like, uh, like a father, son, and he's been doing for a long time. And, and his advice I think is normally like, I, I, I don't, I don't disagree with this advice, but it says like, you need to really listen to my advice. Uhhuh, you cannot go from here to here Uhhuh. Uh, it takes a lot of time and, uh, like say I, I don't disagree with, um, that advice being, being good advice, but, um, again, how

[01:05:40] CK: big is camp today, by the way, 250, uh, just under 300.

It was 2 86, 2 86. Yeah. Got it. Uhhuh. All

[01:05:47] Christopher: right. Yeah. And so, um, but again, the message was like, it was a certain scale just to, um, just what we needed to do. And, um, you know, couldn't have been a small camp, [01:06:00] but there is, um, there were so many things that just like magically worked that probably shouldn't have.

And, you know, I, um, like what, like what, well, so Anna and I, we're driving to arrive on Playa to build and it's like Monday and. We get a call that, um, so we had design, you know, all the parts got manufactured. We weren't even as sure if it was gonna go together. Um, but the parts and we, and they weren't even all done like the panels.

We were still building, um, at the first year onsite. So we had the parts for the panels. And, um, so we're driving in and we get a call that, uh, the, um, shipment got pulled into secondary inspection in LA where it arrived. [01:07:00] And, uh, that generally takes about two weeks mm-hmm . So there were all these challenges that, um, and, and, uh, and that, fortunately we, we have this, um, the, the, um, girl that is kind of the core operator of the camp, crystal, she somehow figured out how to get that out of there really fast.

She was pretty magic with, with things, but, but it was very, um, but the, we ended up getting the shipment on, on Wednesday and wow. But you know, like that should. You know, like we, at that point, I didn't even know if like we were gonna have any pyramid, you know, our camp would've just completely empty. We would've been there with nothing mm-hmm so, um, but there was just a series of, of events like

[01:07:50] CK: that.

And by the way, quick, quick, quick, double clicking. Um, how many people that first year it

[01:07:57] Christopher: was over a hundred. Uh, but [01:08:00] I, I don't recall the, the actual number, like maybe 140, perhaps hundred 40. Yeah. But it was only like 10, we had, we had, we didn't have that many early passes, but we only like kind of settled on around 10 people that were builders, you know?

Oh my gosh.

[01:08:18] CK: Yeah.

[01:08:19] Christopher: Yeah. So it was, um, it was the hardest I've ever worked in my life to, to build that, but it was, uh, but there's all the, there's all of these, um, lessons along the way when you're, you know, pushing those edges.

[01:08:33] CK: Uh, number one, I just, uh, I can only imagine when you get that call that Monday telling you that the shipment is being set aside contained and my reaction would've just, you know, KA boom

uh, I love that you just, you know, grab your balls and you keep

[01:08:55] Christopher: going anyway. That's amazing.

[01:08:57] CK: Yeah.

[01:08:58] Christopher: That's part of that subtleness, [01:09:00] right. Of you just have to accept, you know, like, and if. If, you know, and you, you, you can't, you know, be too, um, negative about, and you can't be positive that just like, again, there's that subtleness of how you see it.

And, um, you know, if it's meant to be, it's meant to be

[01:09:21] CK: so double click on this, I need to stop saying double clicking, but I will because it serves a purpose. So I was speaking to a couple of, so far, 1, 2, 3, this you are the fourth or fifth camp organizers I've spoken to. And they've ex you know, described to me the arduous task of pulling, volunteering, uh, people together in a, in a very short timeframe and in a way that's, that's about transformation, right?

So what they've told me, uh, is that when push comes to [01:10:00] shove, human beings, leaders tend to resort to force, and they don't typically behave nicely. Right. They just want to get the outcome. So they'll say just, you know, they, they will squeeze their builders to make sure that they deliver on time. Right.

Even though the intention is to create a container of transformation about love and positive vibes and everything. So how do you ensure when. When it matters, right. That Monday, that Tuesday, that Wednesday, when, you know, it's, the tension is high, you still maintain that good energy and that positive vibe, such that the artifacts that you built has that resonance.

Yeah. Well, you don't, you

[01:10:48] Christopher: don't, you know, forces associated with, you know, like, like lead and you, you don't, um, you, yeah. So [01:11:00] how, um, you know, maybe I can articulate this with the story. So, so in the camp and, and even the first year, there's different people that, and you have to give some space for emergence, but in, you know, you find people that through a process that kind of show up and take on different roles.

So as an example, our, our build lead, um, he didn't, wasn't leading the pyramid, but he was leading the rest of the camp, Ian. He, um, he came up through, I, I talked to my first friend who I went to burning man with originally, I told him about wanted, I'm gonna do this camp. And he said, you know what, this guy, this couple just visited us.

They're going across Canada. And his dream is to build a large burning man camp so, wow. Again, synchronicities along the way. Um, and then we had another build lead, um, who ran the, the pyramid lead and, um, So I'll just share with you a [01:12:00] story about kind of setting the container. So he was responsible for building the pyramid.

So it's really clear you get into, you know, you know, that right. Agree, understanding that, and that person, you know, they, they're not told that they want that. Right. So that's the art form of, you know, taking that, um, for, for people to really energetically own something. Mm. So the pyramid build was, um, you know, we, it was way, it was insane.

We had not enough people. Um, and we had our, um, some of our team, the last of our team came Thursday. We had started to build on, you know, uh, like Tuesday, it arrived Tuesday, late at night, I guess, certain Wednesday. And so we had started to build in this group that they had this group, we had our last, um, couple workers and they had worked on a lot of sets for music festivals and they'd built a lot of things.

And they were just following how fast this got [01:13:00] made. And they did some calculations. They said, we need 30 guys. And, uh, three weeks to build this mm-hmm was their map. And so they were recommending, we cap it at a couple levels, so no pyramid and, uh, and just, you know, that was gonna be our year mm-hmm . And, uh, so.

The build lead, uh, for the pyramid, uh, Eric, he, he comes to me and okay. You know, uh, he's looking for my decision actually, mm-hmm and say like, what should we do? You know? And, uh, should, you know, and he's, he was very, um, um, but see, as a, as a steward, you know, I can't make these decisions. They're not mine to make at all.

In fact, I make a decision, I Rob people, their agency or their sovereignty, you know, in doing that. And, um, it [01:14:00] affects their, their ability to really, you know, own something and hold something. So I just, um, but, but I can, I can help. And so I just said, well, you know, it was like Wednesday, I think it was Thursday.

I said, well, we don't have to make that decision today. So we, uh, we went on and then there was one builder and, you know, I, you, you wait to see like where the leadership is gonna emerge, cuz you need someone to hold that energy. And it has to be like, again, we're talking about pure energy, right? Force is not pure energy.

Um, like it's, it's a lower energy. Um, and it has to come from the inside that people doing the work has to be part of the, the whole group mm-hmm . So I have one guy sky was his name, my dear friend. He, I remember like he came, we he's. We gotta complete this thing. Like we have to finish it. So we found the person that, and so he, without being the [01:15:00] one in charge or, um, you know, driving it, he was like the emergent sort of energy that catalyzed the group to really drive, to get it completed, which we shouldn't have been able to complete it.

It was like really, it was an insane amount of work. And we, we, we still, we didn't even actually have all the parts where all the panels, we couldn't actually do the paneling. Um, we didn't even get all those parts in, but we did finish the structure and we did put panels on the lower part. Um, but it was that process of, of, um, you know, of letting, you know, letting the whole team really get a coherence around and a commitment that is somewhat organic and held from with them.

And so that's, that's how we also run in our organizations. It's a, you know, it's um, and this is kind of the, the how self management works. You need people to really, you need it functions some intrinsic [01:16:00] motivation rather than extrinsic. So, um, you know, extrinsic uses like incentives and all kinds of ways to, you know, get your behavior.

Your expectations is a, is a forceful thing. What I expect and, um, You know, that's, um, that's a way of function that really needs to die and we need a new, we need better ways of working together and cooperating that comes from a place of, you know, wholeness and interdependency and interconnection.

[01:16:28] CK: I, I know that I keep wanting to have you finished the story of the camps evolution, but I, I can't help it.

There's, you know, some something that I wanna double click on again, uh, so I used to be the chief culture, uh, officer of a company of 250 people. And our intention was similar to you that we wanted to create a container, a place, an environment where people can self actualize. Yeah. And, and so [01:17:00] I would focus on the intrinsic motivators, right.

Their purpose and how this is a platform to help 'em, uh, make progress, uh, you know, uh, be better, right. Emerge a way of being towards their purpose mm-hmm and the company would, um, offer that environment. However, one big lesson that I learned from going through that experience was that, and this is actually counter to what you just said is, is that the, the comp structure didn't support the intrinsic motivators.

So they were pull cuz they wanna make. Better for their family make better paycheck, make a better promotion. So they would pull into the traditional way of, you know, let me just do a job versus, um, right. Doing things that's for my purpose. Right. So that's one big lesson that I learned. Yeah. So I'd love to, uh, not debate, but I want to [01:18:00] understand the nuances.

The way you're saying here is how do you align, if not the I incentive structure, the com structures, then how do you organize a company such that it, it, it, people are pull to bring their whole self, uh, focus on the intrinsic motivator and then, and then, and own their leadership and step up to, to, to lead.

Does that make sense? What I'm trying to articulate or,

[01:18:30] Christopher: yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, what you're describing is like, um, there's a expressed way, a desire to function a certain way, but there's a inconsistency in how, you know, an incongruence and how the incentives work and, and for this to work it's, um, you would want in the same way, when someone says something, their words should also, um, be aligned and [01:19:00] coherent with one's actions, right.

When someone, and we, we have too much disco here in society, like it's unfortunate that, uh, for so many. You know, it's unfortunate. That words don't matter as much. And, um, in, in alchemy too, like alchemists were very secretive in, in some ways, but they were very careful with what they said, you know, their, their words mattered.

And, and, um, uh, and it's a, a law to have congruence with your actions now, um, in your example of, you know, the external incentives that, yeah, this would disrupt because you've got inconsistencies. And so in our business, we have employee ownership and we don't have, uh, you know, like bonuses and incentives that drive performance.

You know, these are used to basically get certain behaviors, which takes, which are that's external, right. You know, somebody has a [01:20:00] way that they want you to behave and they wanna incent those conditions. And so that is counter to intrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation though, is a journey. That's part of that, all chemical journey, that journey of discovering, like, what is it, you know, that I want to express in the world, what are my gifts?

And, um, that is a, a process. And so it's not a, um, there's no formula there. But it's more. And so like our, our, our approach is we have scaffolding that gives people, you know, actionable next steps to meet them where they're at, cuz everybody's at a different, you know, uh, state in their journey and a different, you know, state in their revolution, obviously, uh, you know, like a, I have a toddler now, you know, a toddler is different than an adolescent, right.

I'm not going to impose the same. An adolescent should be different than, you know, an adult. And um, and so we, we support that, that journey and, and there's um, if I were to [01:21:00] maybe just give one, uh, example, that's something I've observed. One of the things I've for, I love world watching patterns. And I, I started hiring people 30.

Um, one years ago I hired my first two employees, 31 years ago. I, I was, uh, 18 and they asked me, I remember like, okay, you know, what are we supposed to do? And I said, well, I don't know. I'm just a kid. You guys figure it out. and, um, and I've hired, I, I, I don't know the, the number, but you know, over a thousand people in my time.

And I've been able to see these patterns, you know, long and short, um, play out. But the, um, one common pattern is that people that, that are. And there's a lot of people that sit in what Robert Keegan calls a socialized mind. Mm-hmm, where we are conditioned by our outer world. And, [01:22:00] and so much of our conditioning is, you know, led by an authority or teacher, your boss.

They tell you what to do, and you, you, you mostly do it, right. Meanwhile, as kids, you know, we're kind of free generally. And, um, one thing I've noticed that people, they desire to be autonomous, but when given the opportunity they will resist it. So again, there's a cultural transformation necessary that, you know, hasn't crossed that chasm to actually claim, you know, to take their sovereignty, to actually do that.

And, and so in our, um, practices, we, we have practices that help kind of people along that journey to allow them to take the smaller steps before they take the bigger steps, you know, or if they want to take the big step, they can do it. Um, but you know, in the same way that, um, You, you know, uh, [01:23:00] well, yeah, the example that came to my mind, maybe it's not the best example, but you know, dogs that are kind of beaten, you know, they could be in the cage, they won't leave the cage, even if the door is open.

Right. And, and we've seen other psychological experiments, you know, like this and, uh, but yeah, there's a cultural transformation that, um, because what happens and as our principal agency and ownership, there's a duplicity there, the agency's ability to make a choice ownership is to own it, cuz by taking res by making that choice, you also have to take the responsibility of it.

And that's something that is sort of, you know, we, we sort of separate that in our society, you know, it's like, you know, you do the work, you take the responsibility and it's that's gets way, uh, gets out of the, kind of like, uh, the wholeness of, of things. And so, um, and so you can't just, um, you know, create a system and everybody's gonna behave.

No, it's, it's an evolutionary system where, you know, people will, you know, evolve and they have to go through these cultural [01:24:00] transformations along the. We could do a whole podcast on this question. Yeah.

[01:24:05] CK: I actually, I want come back to that. I wanna a whole, a whole system on it. I, I want, I definitely want to come back to that please.

Um, remind me, cuz I know that you were writing a book about it, qu entrepreneur, right? So we'll definitely come back to that, but I want you to finish your telling the story of the camp. So the first year was 140 people, 10 builders. And if you don't mind just quickly, the, the second year, third year, fourth year, the, the number of people, and then we can go into what lessons you got after five years of doing this.

[01:24:36] Christopher: Yeah. Yeah. So it's, we, we, um, we did it three years and um, and by the way, when I first got the message, like the first message was do it three years. And, uh, so we, we went, um, and then this was our fourth year that we, we just had, um, wow. It grew a bit each year, like the second year, um, you know, a [01:25:00] bit better building it a bit further and it wasn't until 2019 that we actually, um, we actually felt that we completed the original vision.

So I go back to that original sheet. So maybe that's why the three years are there. It's like, it's gonna take you three years just to get the essence of it. But it was still pretty chaotic. I mean, but the, but each year, you know, the, the, the core grew like we did our own alchemy of like, how do we attract like the right people?

And, you know, and some people go and some people come. And so we try to, you know, essentially like, like the chemical process purifying and the third year was, um, was great. And again, there's a lot of synchronicities along the way. Um, we added, uh, the external part of the original design had, um, digital art on the outside.

And I remember I was talking to a friend of mine in Bing. Um, and I was, uh, this is, uh, in 2018. It's like, Hey, um, yeah, you know, I really wanna do [01:26:00] projection on the, and I don't even know why I even brought it up. I was, I said, I wanna do projection on the outside. And, uh, he said, oh, you should beat my friend who was standing right beside him, Ryan, who was Leski, who does our, our, um, who kind of does all the projection are.

And he runs that team and he helps bring the art, uh, and like, again, that synchronicity, like, there's, there's other people that have the capabilities of doing this, but Ryan, like, he loves this. He wants to create this gift. He wants to pull the artist. Like he was like, like. Like that's, that was him. That was him.

He was the one who wanted to do this. So, you know, again, allowing these synchronicities to happen, it takes time to go through that process. And so, um, so I think we kind of got the core, the core, um, team together by 2019, which, um, you know, um, there's some core people that really make P [01:27:00] alchemists, you know, come together.

And it was like a, you know, its own little alchemical journey. And then, so this is our, our fourth year, uh, you know, coming outta COVID and, and yeah, there was like a, a sense of wholeness. Like we were not, you know, running all the time. We got the pyramid done earlier and, um, or were, um, yeah, and actually Satya who mm-hmm, our daytime programming, you know, he said, this is the first year I'm leaving Bernie man, and I'm not exhausted.

And, uh, yeah. And, and I felt the same, you know, I, I was, um, um, so I think we ventured a new new face and, um, You know, one way I could look at that in, in you see a lot of pictures in a, me that are split between this like horizontal, vertical plane, which there's a whole sign on that. But in the, the above plane is the realm of infinite energy.

I think the first part we were in the finite energy where [01:28:00] we're depleting it, but, you know, we're, I think we're tapping into that, that, that next level. Um, but yeah, each year we got better and, um, and I think this last year really, really felt a whole, like, it was, it was, it was, um, um, yeah, everybody really showed up this year and, and, uh, um, it was, uh, it was, yeah, it was a great year.

And I, and I want to continue that, like this process, we can't do the same thing. We always need to evolve. Right. So ply alchemists will always need to, you know, just like alchemy, you're striving for perfection. You'll of course never get to perfection. Um, but you will go on that journey.

[01:28:43] CK: I, you know what, as you're recounting the timeline, uh, I started going to Bernie man in 2017.

Oh, good. I was there for 18. So, uh, Alchemist has made a impression on me. You are right that 2017. [01:29:00] I was questioning like, are they gonna be able to build the pyramid? yeah. cause, cause by Wednesday, if I recall correctly, that's the pyramid wasn't done. If I remember correctly or Wednesday or Thursday, that was like, we finished it, we

[01:29:17] Christopher: finished it Wednesday and we opened Wednesday and we had, um, B Wesson and unders and set Swartz, play a set.

Yeah. I remember they launched and it was really, really like the party was great. And then I went to bed or we went to bed. We all went to bed cuz we

[01:29:35] CK: were exhausted. You were exhausted. So quick question. As a camp lead, what I have observed is typically the responsibility weighs so heavily on camp leads that they don't get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

They don't get to enjoy the overall burning man so much because they wanna make sure that whatever they execute, uh, gets [01:30:00] done at what year were you able to really enjoy Bernie man and relax?

[01:30:06] Christopher: Well, yeah, when you run a camp. So Bernie man, isn't, isn't going to be, um, so much for, um, it's a different burn, right?

So you're holding like this year was the, um, The most relaxed I've been in the sense that I, I, I was, um, you know, as lead, I, when there's something that goes wrong, you know, I have to support and hold space, plus I'm, I'm Al there's always work to get done. So even when I had, um, you know, time, I'm, I'm helping somewhere.

So I would, um, you know, play that role. And it, it was the same for our team. You know, when I look at, um, the, the other members, they're all pinned to, to that. And, um, but yeah, so each year it's gotten better, but I still, like, I don't, [01:31:00] I don't, um, I get little small windows for myself, but it's really more to, to hold that, but there's like a, a different joy that comes from, from that.

Like, I, I remember going out, I sleep mostly at night, but, um, of course the camp was loud. I remember going out at, uh, I heard, um, uh, we had a, a piano in our lounge area and I heard, uh, the, yeah, Tiersen was a composer. I heard some music from him that, um, now he wasn't playing, but, um, a pianist was playing. It was like, and I love Yon Teon so I'm like, well, that sounds great.

And. And so I went out and just walked around and I just like, it was, so I got so much satisfaction from seeing just like the, the, the energy that was in the lounge. And then I went to the pyramid again, beautiful energy people. And this is like the middle of the night, like three in the morning. Normally things can get a little dark, but it was high vibration.

Everybody's like having a lot of fun. Then it went outside and it was [01:32:00] the same thing. So like, for me, that was like, I felt very, um, um, I felt very good that, you know, we, this container we, we had, you know, uh, attempted to create was, you know, at least at that moment was really coherent where we had these different zones, but everybody was having fun.

And then, and then I was able to go, you know, went back to sleep and felt good about it.

[01:32:27] CK: So I want you to say more about that a bit more because ultimately in my mind, you put in so much energy, so much of your life, so much money, right? Uh, as a way to curate this beautiful environment, beautiful container.

Um, I don't know how many people I've gone through. Uh, dly a Alchemist camp probably in realm of tens of thousands. I'm assuming, I don't know if you count, but tens of thousands of people. Can you say more about [01:33:00] how you cuz your intention is to create a container of transf. And then, can you say more about what transformations have you witnessed, whether it's people staying with camp or visitors from out, outside who you have witnessed, or you have heard anything like that that you can highlight?

[01:33:20] Christopher: Uh, yeah, I think, you know, I, there's a lot of personal sort of stories and I would, um, you know, my early years I would, I would, um, even help facilitate, you know, like I'd be a Sherpa for people is one of the ways I described it. And, um, you know, and what with the camp, um, you know, the, uh, part of it starts with just the, the, like what we cultivate as a camp and, and even the energy that the builders and everybody put into creating the space.

You know, we, we really, um, you know, [01:34:00] you know, our, our motto is transform yourself, transform the world. So it starts with us, you know, what are we holding as a group? And what, you know, what intentionality, if you want to use that term, you know, that are we putting into the work that, that we're doing and like a magnet that can help attract, you know, or repel certain energies and, and, you know, the ideas that, um, you know, at a, at a sort of a macro level that we create a container that is, is more, um, Purposeful about, you know, creating connection, um, creating, um, you know, transformation and, and, you know, one of the, um, one of the, you know, and this happens in all kinds of ways.

So a party often, you know, we do all kinds of talks and different experiences, live music. And a lot, we, we have room for emergent kind of things to happen, but a lot of people on the surface will think, oh, you know, Ken [01:35:00] is a party transformative, you know, um, of course, ones that have been through transformative parties, you know, we know, we know they are like when you have soulful music and, um, and everybody feels connected and you start moving together, this coherence, right.

There's like a power that, you know, and you can see it in the smiles of people. You can see it in the energy. And, um, and that invites us into like a higher plane of being, you know, collectively where, um, you know, insights and, and just like connects with us. Like when, you know, there's this energy that this like, factory that we can charge up.

Like, we, we leave burning man, and we're still like high on this energy from events like this. So transformation happens in, in, you know, all, all kinds of ways. And, um, and there's, um, [01:36:00] Um, you know, there's so many different stories of even like many stories of people meeting their partner at PS that I've heard.

Mm. Like their soulmates and okay. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh,

[01:36:13] CK: maybe a future programming for dating service soulmate. What do you think? What do you think about that?

[01:36:19] Christopher: It could be, it could be, uh, I, Isaiah who stays at our camp, he's a, he's a DJ. He met his partner. Uh, there that's the most recent one I, I heard about and, uh, uh, yeah, yeah.

It it's, um, it's yeah. You know, it's not something that, again, we aim to the outcomes, right. We just trying to create these conditions and this sort of comes with what you show up, what, you know, what, um, you know, the, the space that we're trying to hold there.

[01:36:55] CK: I mean, so I'm gonna push back a little bit, um, [01:37:00] Uh, let's say you have a particular intention of transformation.

If I were you, I would pay attention to the transformational stories and transformational moments and then capture it somehow with videos or testimonials. If I, if I were you, but obviously I'm not you. So, so hence, hence the question of like, oh, what kind of transformational stories have you heard or recorded or, you know, been passed around from year to year that you have heard people say like, oh my God, Playa Alchemist was the jam.

So anyway,

[01:37:34] Christopher: yeah, I guess was the question. I think, I think that's a good thing to maybe explore. I, I wouldn't be against it, but, um, yeah, I, I, I don't seek it, seek it out. Right. It's um, the, yeah, I think there's a, there, there are a group of campers that are actually trying to capture some more about the camp.

I know. And, [01:38:00] and I, you know, I didn't plan this, but there's a group that wants to do a bit of a documentary on maybe I think that includes some of this, uh, this work, but yeah, I, um, yeah, my, my,

I guess that's, um, you know, we try to look for outcomes. I'm, I'm somewhat disconnected to, you know, you, those are those happen, but it's not something you try to really. Chase and I'm, I, uh, I'm very much that way where I don't get too attached on, um, you know, trying to measure the outcomes. You, you can measure the process of things you can measure kind of foundations, but, um, but yeah, that, that's not something that I, um, actively pursue.


[01:38:48] CK: got you. Yeah. So, so I was speaking to the architect of the 20, 22, uh, temple architect, [01:39:00] right. And, and then he shared some things with me, which, you know, in, in our pre podcast interview, he said, it takes about $600,000 to, you know, manifest the design of the, the temple and which wa, which wasn't surprising because, but, but it's just something that I don't really think about.

Yeah. You know, what kind of resources does it take to build something that's large and beautiful? So, uh, so I wanted to ask you this question cuz, uh, I'm sure you have heard some of the criticisms, you know, outside of playa alchemists who don't really understand like, oh, why is there such a high, uh, camp dos or, you know, I heard this is a camp of oil oligarchs

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. These of like, I heard that too, these type of criticisms and rumors. So if you can address them here, what would you say to them as a, as a point of [01:40:00] clarification, like, well, you know, whatever the, the camp dos or, or the oil oligarchs or whatever, the things, anything that you, you wanted to.


[01:40:09] Christopher: Yeah. I, I, I don't feel like I need to, you know, respond to anything that's, that's their own alchemy that they're doing, you know? Um, when you, when look, what, what I think I love about burning man though, is you, it's an incredible sandbox. I mean, or dust box we can call it's , you can do whatever you want.

Right. And, uh, I mean, you obviously have to work within the principles and you have to, um, but you can create what you want and there's incredible diversity there, you know, whatever you, um, and, and it's a great learning opportunity. It's a great, uh, growth opportunity. Um, but yeah, yeah, like my, my, um, you know, the, the, um, You, you don't create a camp?

Um, it, I mean, yes, it was a big financial, like, I, I have continued to lose [01:41:00] money on the, on the venture, uh, like as far as, and I wasn't expecting, you know, obviously, um, you know, I, I, you know, from a, from an operations perspective, you try to do it as a cost share, but it is pretty costly as people could imagine to, um, you know, to run a camp, you know, like this, if you start to do the math and all the compounding costs of just everything on Playa, like the, you know, what we pay to rent those projectors and the dust boxes we need to build and the cleaning of everything, just as one very small example.

And so we want a call share, um, on, on, you know, from a perspective and, you know, it often doesn't actually, um, you know, amount out to what we had hoped because of all the surprise costs that come in. Uh, but yeah, the, uh, the, um, you know, the stories that, that people will, will tell well, I'm, um, [01:42:00] yeah, I am not Russian I'm Ukrainian, Canada.

So, and, uh, my dad has his great five and, um, I came from so, um, came from a, not an oligarch family, but, uh, lower middle class family in Saskatchewan. And, um, You know, I have also, um, you know, grew my business organically. So I had to, I used, you know, I used my own money. The money is actually something that needs to be valued.

It has like money is energy. And so I view money as energy. So in this regard, like I, I, um, very careful on what I spend my money on. So for me to make this investment in the camp, it was like it because of where it came from. That's why I did it, but I, um, you know, I, I, I view money as a sacred thing, so it shouldn't be wasted in, um, and used for something, um, you know, [01:43:00] useful.

So that's, um, that's another thing I can add, you know, I, I, I, um, I put it, um, you know, and I, and I think we, in, in today's society, if, you know, more people thought that way, that would be, that would be really, I think, valuable. And, and if we take a look at COVID too, there's been a, an extreme, like wealth transfer, even again.

And for what, like what value did people create to get that wealth? And, you know, we shouldn't get money for free, you know, and this is, this is against how chemical principles actually. So, so, um, yeah, I don't, I didn't really answer the question, but I, I shared some perspectives. If you, if you wanna maybe ask anything more specific, I may.


[01:43:45] CK: well, I do know plenty of people who visited the camp for the first time and they're impressed about like, wow, this is amazing. I want to be a part of it. So, and I told them, well, there's an application process and I, you know, may be able to make [01:44:00] some referrals since I note CK and, and, and, and Anna, and they were just, you know, curious about like, okay, great.

What is the, does the camp dos pretty high, right. Relative to other camps. So they wanna know like, okay, great. This is, this is like a car. And how do I, what, what, what, what kind of accommodations do they receive as a part of the being in, uh,

[01:44:26] Christopher: camp Alchemist? Yeah. Yeah. Well, we have, like, we have a whole range, you know, so we, um, you know, so we have like, it's, it is a spectrum that we, we offer, uh, in, you know, obviously, um, we, we help subsidize certain.

We love to have that diversity, you know, inside the camp and, you know, having artists and, um, you know, all, you know, philosophers and just different creators shamans, we wanna have, you know, a lot of diversity in the camp. So in that we have arranged, now, we, [01:45:00] we run in, you know, with three stages and all the, the talks and all like the, the sound and the there's a lot of work.

Um, so we are a, a busier camp and just. You know, the amount of work that has to happen to Civ even to the size, like you think of all, all the people involved. So there's a lot of effort that people do with that. We do have, um, you know, we do have very good food and we have like showers and bathrooms and, um, very like, you know, you need your nutrition and especially when you're working so much and you need, um,

[01:45:38] CK: so when you actually on that note real quick.

Yeah. So this is not a plug and play camp, right? This is a working camp, is that correct?

[01:45:47] Christopher: Yeah. People described it as working man, um, before, but that's part of the joy though, as you know, when you get, um, there's a lot of, um, uh, satisfaction you get from [01:46:00] working with mm-hmm I mean, first off there's the build mm-hmm , but then like working, you know, running all of that infrastructure, um, and like maintaining all that infrastructure for those luxuries, that's all a lot of work.

So mm-hmm um, I, uh, um, yeah, and so that's, um, but that's, um, a lot of people, when I hear people's reflections, like they really enjoy, you know, being in the kitchen or even mm-hmm, like greeting people, you know, we have like pyramid greeters, and then, you know, like people, really, some of the highlights actually come, even I've heard people have highlights from moop duty mm-hmm , uh, too.

So there's a lot of joy that comes from that. Yep. It may not seem, you know, so obvious on the surface for people, but a

[01:46:48] CK: actually built in my opinion is where the magic is at. Yeah. Because share hardship in my opinion, builds that [01:47:00] bond. Yeah. You don't. I, I think for the people that just show up and, you know, oh, burning man's awesome.

And then they leave without the built to me, they're actually robbing themselves of a deeper, lesson, deeper experience and also opportunity to connect with another human that's that's my personal opinion. So, so I, you know, I'm glad that you clarify that,

[01:47:23] Christopher: you know, we have this, we have this goal of creating this, um, you know, this, this gift for the playa when we build there.

And it's, it's an insane amount of work. Like you wake up and you're like exhausted. And you're like, you know, the dust storms, they heat, but that's why it's so important for everybody to come together, you know, intrinsically like, and, and want to do this. Cause it's an it's, um, you know, the pyramid doesn't go together very easily.

It's it's um, it was designed a little too precisely, so it's very finicky and we're a little bit off. Um, so it's not like designed to [01:48:00] go together. You know, it's really something should only have been built once and not taken apart. Cuz each year we have to buy new parts and like the, uh, and so it. It's an insane amount of work and, uh, but you're right.

It does build connection. And you know, that sense of accomplishment as a, as a group. And that's part of the experience of burning men is that difficulty our, our building Ian calls it voluntary hardship. Mm. I

[01:48:28] CK: like it. Yeah. Uh, in our camp would call ITA ecstatic volunteerism. yeah. Similar, similar. Yeah. Uh, how do you balance though?

Because again, I bringing back to you as a lead, but I think that's a symbolism of everyone else too. How do you, as a lead balance, that sense of camaraderie by the sheer hardship and also the, the catering part, because people come here not [01:49:00] to just work. They also hear to enjoy the burn, the VA, um, say vacation, but away from the default world.

And then I think from the camp leads perspective, striking that balance is an important one, because if you just make them work and they're like, ah, I don't wanna do this anymore. If you just give them the vacation, then they don't have that deeper lesson and deeper experience. How do you find that balance between the two or you don't even think about that?

[01:49:27] Christopher: Well, it it's something that they have to, you know, we do have like a framework and obviously when people lead by example, you know, there's, um, um, you know, that helps set the tone. Uh, but it's really something, every individual will go through. I, I would, I would assume that there's a lot of people that, you know, they don't like the volunteering at the beginning.

They hear about it. Oh, I gotta do all this volunteering. But then by doing it and going, oh, you know, um, [01:50:00] this is actually a really good experience. Right. Uh, and this is like, and then they feel like, like they're part of, part of it. They're not, you know, cuz burning mad isn't about being a consumer. It's all right.

Like this camp comes together because of all the people, you know, like I'm one of the many that, you know, are creating this, but it's like, it wouldn't be there if everybody didn't show up and do all the work for, for that's free. Right. And it, I should say for free, you're actually paying to work so do you wanna pay to volunteer?

So it's like it's, it's like another, another edge on top of it. Right? Uhhuh mm-hmm

[01:50:44] CK: so, so on that note, quick question there. Oh, I'm I'm just playing a part. All I paid X dollars and now you asking me to work like too much work. How do you address a common complaint? I wanna assumes someone who is, [01:51:00] uh, used to the comfortable lifestyle.

[01:51:03] Christopher: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, when you get certain Virgin. Burners that come and, and they, they maybe have some sort of expectation. It's what, you know, I am there to hold space for that discussion. If somebody gets to that situation where they may be, um, are trying to understand it. So, but I, I, I don't have any answers for them.

I can just, you know, question, question them, but I I've had people that, you know, have go, well, you know, I spent this money, therefore I should X mm-hmm, have some kind of expectation that that has happened. Mm-hmm, , it's just a process of them, um, understanding it. And so I'll just question them along the way and, and it works out, it, it seemed to have worked out to, to do it that way, so,

[01:51:57] CK: Hmm.

Got it. And then if they don't comply, is [01:52:00] there consequences? So in other camps, what they do is, Hey, they don't, they not a good citizen of the camp and yes,

[01:52:09] Christopher: there are people that don't get invited. Yeah. But that get, yeah. That do not come back. Uh, often though what's interesting is when we hold to our principles, mm-hmm, , they, they don't even want, it's like a magnet.

Like they, they just go somewhere else or so we, you often don't have to have a conversation about that because it just sort of takes care of itself. Mm, they, they typically would, would know. And, um, yeah. And then getting back to, like, I would question about like, what were they, you know, when people have an expectation, you know, there's always a learning there for themselves or what were you expecting?

Well, what did you think this was? Right. So questioning is always great way and that's all part, you know, where they can [01:53:00] discover. And in there there's an alchemical little gym for their own frame, cuz often that's a frame in which people see the world, right. They see the world as transactional often.

It's like, I'm paying for this. I expect this. That actually takes you away from your higher frame. You know, that like that frame would be a synchronicity disruptor as an example because you already have this expectation formed. And um, so, so the questions can go, you know, I can, I can usually get up, um, you know, what, what might be, um, you know, a, an opportunity for them to, you know, identify something to work on.


[01:53:43] CK: What, what do you see as the dream for a play Alchemist? Because it's been going on, this is the board year. Yeah. Right. And it's, it's now seemingly to find its flow. You can get things done by Tuesday instead of Wednesday or [01:54:00] Thursday. Yeah. And you know, what's the dream, what's

[01:54:03] Christopher: the, well, we're gonna, we're gonna bring kind of, whoever wants to join to have a discussion, but like this is now kind of taking on a life of it's own and you know, we'll see what, what I, I, I really, um, I think, uh, uh, I don't have a, a particular dream at all for it.

I, I was, um, I still don't even know exactly why I was supposed to create it. So I, it is like, so it, it will make itself known, you know, and maybe, maybe it just runs its course and it Withers away like, like so much of like we do, uh, or maybe it takes on a life of its own where maybe there's something that just continues to go.

I don't know. I don't really, um, I don't really, uh, much of, but each year, like it's great to sort of, you know, it evolves and I think there's an essence that's forming. And, um, so I'm assuming it's gonna continue on at least for a while. [01:55:00]

[01:55:01] CK: I mean, just based on my friends who visited, um, Alchemist for the first time as first time burners, it's one of the monuments at burning man that really left an impression for.

Because one of my typical questions for integration after burning man is what are your top, you know, lessons that you got? You know, what made the, what are your highlights and lowlights of burning man? And they often re refer to play Alchemist. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah. And they, they had a moment there and then they will say something about that.

It doesn't matter what walks of life they are just, it made an impression for them. Yeah. So, so, so if that's any measure of success, I would say you have successfully imprinted a transformational moment for yeah. My friends. And then from then to you. Thank you, sir, for doing

[01:55:56] Christopher: that. Well, yeah. Thanks. Thanks for sharing it.

And, um, [01:56:00] around transformation to what, what came up for me while you were speaking is, um, often when people think of transformation, think of trauma and you know, something, you know, like that's the catalyst, if you wanna transform, you need something traumatic. And, um, everything sits in this like, uh, duality.

Um, and the other aspect of that is a peak experience. And this is what we have at burning man is these peak experiences and they are coupled with, with trauma. So there's, um, a complementary there, but, uh, peak experiences I think is. Something we need to make, we need to create more in the world because these will help us, you know, um, move to our higher selves.

And that's, I think one of the things that burning man that happens a lot is we have the possibility or the opportunity for more peak experiences, which always shed light on [01:57:00] yourself and helps you, you know, gives you more faith in life, but also helps you be a better human. Mm.

[01:57:08] CK: So I actually just had a question from a friend texting me.

She wants me to ask you what you believes, what you believe is the philosopher stone. I don't know if you have comments there, but she wants to. Okay.

[01:57:24] Christopher: Well, the, the philosopher stone, um, is the elixir of life in, in alchemy. And so it, um, it's designed to give you immortal life. And so it's, um, it, it, it had a physical representation.

It was typically red and, and Alchemist would carry it in this, this little pouch. And it was an agent that could transform, you know, metals into the gold. But again, that was more of like a metaphor, uh, in it now, a stone. Um, I can go back to your story. Uh, you talked about those three aspects of yourself that you work on [01:58:00] that's or four.

Okay. So those four together, um, in. In alchemy, these, um, um, if you were to purify those four and you unify those together. And, um, so actually, um, four is, um, the, the four elements. Um, also some symbolize the four elements that you go together. So air earth, you know, water, fire, you purify these to their, um, highest essences.

Those come together. The fifth element is also known as the philosopher stone, and it's the unification of those pure substances that come together. And this is what will give you infinite life, you know, according to, to alchemy. And so that inner work, um, will lead you to that path. And the, [01:59:00] um, there is like what's called a lesser stone along the way.

Um, that's in the material realm. And so, like, it's not a, you know, um, it's a, it's a, it's a whole evolutionary journey. And so there is like a, a time when you will master the material realm. And, um, and this is where goals and objectives can sometimes, you know, be part of that path. Um, but the, um, like the, if, if you look at the.

The, um, well, I talked about the magician taro card, which is also the, the Alchemist. The, the journey is, is that you, you go in life and you master the material realm, the lower realm, and then you come in and you master the above realm of spirit. Then you come back into the center and the magician in the tarot card is, has one foot in the above realm, one foot in the blow round.

He's standing kind of like this one hand up, and this shows that he is mass. Uh, he has mastered both the above and the blow rounds, and he's able to bring those two [02:00:00] realms together another way. Uh, if you want to get quantum perspective on this E equals MC squared matter and energy, you're actually the same thing they're interchangeable, right?

You can create out of pure energy, you can create matter and vice versa, right? Mm-hmm so this is a very deep principle, even from a quantum perspective, which is just like, say fascinating to, to, to know that, uh, so the phosphor stone is tapping to that infinite itself, you know, fine. And that part of you, that's not finite, it's infinite that energy being.

So I would say that, you know, I, um, perhaps, you know, the ones that, you know, we read about, like the Budd is of the world that have, um, have got the state of enlightenment, they're probably, um, that philosopher telling.

[02:00:46] CK: Mm, so you are a series experimenter. Yeah. Or seeker or scholar, uh, practitioner. What methods have you come across [02:01:00] that will to get people out of that stuckness, right?

That accelerate the process of, uh, alchemy that you've come across,

[02:01:13] Christopher: you know, um, if I were to maybe share one thing, I think understanding the operations. So there's, um, there's seven operations, again, they're in our Teleman, um, I'll go through 'em briefly, but understanding the basic operations and there's lots of different books that are, are available. Actually, one of them I could probably recommend it's a bit of, um, uh, it's it's an easier re well, actually, um, so I was gonna say Dennis William Hawk, he has this book called the Emerald tablet who goes bit into the history of alchemy.

It goes into the operations and its purpose, but another book that wait,

[02:01:49] CK: Emerald what? The Emerald tablet. Tablet.

[02:01:52] Christopher: Yeah. Mm-hmm yeah, it's a good, um, it's almost, it's not Alchemist for dummies are alchemy for dummies, but [02:02:00] it it's very digestible. Like reading young is very dense and, um, it, it's not what I, it there's a lot of depth there, but it's not, um, it's not very digestible.

Uh, um, but the, the other thing is the book from Paul Qualo. Is, uh, the Alchemist, which a lot of people have read. It's a book you can reread. It's a very short book, but the formula of the alchemical transformation is actually in story. It's in allegory, it's in metaphor, it's in, it's in that storyline, the whole journey, even back to self, right.

You know, at, you know, at the beginning, if you recall the book, you know, go to the pyramid and you'll find your treasure, right. And then of course that's not the treasure. He goes back home and discovers that it's inside of him, but he needs to go on the journey mm-hmm in order to discover it. And so it's actually, what's, it's, it's, it's a [02:03:00] great story because it reminds you remember, I was talking about that subtleness.

It reminds you how to sort of be in the world and, and it does it in a, in a beautiful story form. Um, but yeah, the, the seven operations, I think, is a really useful tool. I'll often reflect and go, oh, where, where am I? You know, I, cuz if you're, you know, dissolving something away, you can be intentional around that.

And just like doing that work, you know, the solitude that you need, the reflection that you need there's tools in each of the operations, you know, like what, what, what happened and, and, um, you know, and instead of just jumping to the next thing and then being in, you know, knowing when you are. You know, bringing in new self together, you know, you're reassembling yourself knowing that, um, that, that too is a process and that, you know, and then being very, uh, aware of allowing that emergence to happen, not having any expectations.

So, so knowledge of each of the operations and, and how to show [02:04:00] up is, is very, very helpful. And that's what elk miss again, thought they thought by, by studying nature and understanding these patterns, you know, they could accelerate that, um, their own evolution.

[02:04:13] CK: Is it? Um, so, so that's understanding of the framework, which I got, I got the, you know, by for slash alchemy right there in front of me.

Yeah. Right. Yeah. So, so, but that's, that's content, but what about the practices? Is it contemplative? Is it specific kind of meditation? Is it iowaska journeys? Cause the different tools will allow you different experiences and then it's about choosing the tools. Yeah. So I'm curious to know if you say like, oh, this particular modalities, this particular meditation, this particular yeah.


[02:04:49] Christopher: there's, there, there, all of these different tools are, are applicable, um, you know, at different, uh, and, and certain ones for certain times or more applicable. So, [02:05:00] so, um, that's a yes. To, to all of them, I think. Um, it's also a very personal thing for each, you know, I think you can allow. To see what kind of calls you too, from what, you know, what meditation practice you might have and, um, or, you know, iowaska, I, I haven't done iowaska.

Um, but from, I do think, and from people that I've talked to, it's something that calls you, you know, it's like, Hey, it's like, there's maybe a time. And, and so following those, you know, that intuition I think is really, really importance. I, um, you know, like there's all the basics that I I'm sure, you know, everybody knows, but the, you know, you, we have to, like the self care part is really important.

And, you know, knowing, um, like just that in, in, uh, was mentioned that try out of like salt sulfur, mercury salt is the body. So purifying the [02:06:00] body, like that's, you know, a good place to start if you're outta balance, if you, you know, is, is all of the, the foundations of, of that, which include your, you know, mental hygiene where meditation comes in and your physical practices for me, if I to share something that is important for me, and it may not be for everybody it's, um, um, you know, I competed in martial arts and I would find that when I was fighting, I was going to this really special place.

And, um, you know, again, it's, and, and you, you don't have time to think so it's, it's like an ultimate. Kinda flow hammer, just like get into flow now or get your, you know, or get your head kicked in. Right. So consequences are high. Like if you look at Mihi at Mihi is kind of design of flow. Like it kind of checks a lot of the boxes, but I would need something that forces me in there.

So like, like rock climbers probably get [02:07:00] to flow because like they got no choice. Right? It's like consequences are free climbing. So fighting was the same thing. And then I, I retired and I, all of a sudden felt I lost something. I lost some kind of energy inside of me. And, and I just wasn't like my higher self.

I was losing some, some energetic capabilities. And, um, then I went, uh, a friend took me mountain biking and he took me up. It would be the equivalent, like a black diamond, you know, I climbed up, maybe he thought it was like, I, I, I don't, I think he was actually having some fun with me. Uh, so I, I go down this technical thing and I'm flying somehow.

I didn't fall, but I, I just barely survived it. But I had that feeling back. I'm that feeling? That I, it, it, it like, wow, I'm back there and it felt good. I mean, it took me there. And [02:08:00] so this is an example and young actually has us in his red book. He says, sometimes we need like an outer. Adventure that triggers and inner adventures.

Um, and uh, sometimes you need an event that catalyzes you tosses you into that space. Like, like golf would never do that. I need something that has consequences. So mom biking is great because like, again, overconfident under confident, it will all teach you and you can get seriously heard. So, so it would take me to this place, which is an embodiment, right?

This is a teacher of how you need to be in the world and you need to practice it. Um, so your, your body practices just at the group and then there's practices for the spirit and practices for the soul. Um, that would be different. Um, but again, it's, they're all interrelated. And,

[02:08:52] CK: um, so I wanna, I wanna say, uh, a little bit more, uh, I'm a, I'm a male body person.

I'm a guy. And to [02:09:00] me is really important for men to take that level of risk that you talked about. Yeah. And then, and when we do that with the edge of risk, not jumping over the cliff, but at the edge, it will feel truly alive. Yeah. So do you think that's a requirement as necessary to, uh, to really get to the, the essence of being a man soon as we're both man.

So I don't know. What's like to be a woman so I can expect. Yeah. Yeah. You feel that that's an important component.

[02:09:35] Christopher: I I do. I do. Um, you know, again, just only looking at my own personal, like masculinity, I think, um, you know, I, I, I do know, like in talking to women, like for example, dance can be a really, and then that's a very embodiment type of experience, too dance.

I, um, I have [02:10:00] in, in talking to, to women that have also taken them to places that sound the same, of course, men and women do the same kind of sports, but there is like, um, um, men are more assertive, right? Like we, we historically where we're, um, you know, the hunters and, um, the fighters and, um, there's something, something there that taps into something that, um, um, but maybe we will transcend that at some point.

I'm not sure, but yeah, for me, I, I feel, I do feel more whole when I do these things, like, and definitely like, yeah, the archetype of being a man, um, you know, like when you're doing these physical things seems to elevate

[02:10:47] CK: you don't practice martial arts anymore.

[02:10:49] Christopher: Yeah, no, I retired. Um, it was, um, I, I will mess around a little bit, but I retired.

I, I did it for super long time [02:11:00] and, uh, it was really wonderful, but it was like I was in the, um, I, my last fight, I was fighting this guy a lot bigger than me. And, uh, I remember I just, I would, you know, the previous competition, I, I was, I was able to push me myself full to the edge, but I'm like, I wasn't, um, you know, I just didn't have that same source to like go and win.

Cuz I was fighting, you know, this, you know, generally younger, younger guys that really, you know, have , you know, they wanna, they wanna win. And um, yeah. And I felt like, okay, I thought it was time to, to move on. And um, I loved that. That was incredible teacher for me. And um, but not something that's sustainable.

I don't, you know, getting kicked isn't that healthy. And especially as you older that's

[02:11:56] CK: for their brain. Yeah,

[02:11:57] Christopher: exactly. And I, I, I really worked, you know, [02:12:00] like I was very motivated not to get kicked or punched in the head, so that was highly motivating for me. But mm-hmm it was, um, yeah, it was the right time for me to go.

[02:12:11] CK: What about like other. Replacements, like, say, say jujitsu or maybe even, I don't know, shadow boxing or some kind of a thing. Yes.

[02:12:20] Christopher: You know? Yeah. Like I, um, I found it in mountain biking, you know, like I still, I will still, um, you know, mess around a bit and, uh, I've even sparred a bit, you know, like with people that are more advanced, I know how to control themselves.

Yeah. But, um, uh, the, um, yeah, I found it in mountain biking was, was my, I, I think there's a lot of, and the reason that works for me, cuz living in Vancouver, I can just take my biking and go. So it's very accessible and it's right here and it's here. Um, every day of the year I will go out in the rain. It, it doesn't matter.

[02:12:56] CK: The I'm a, I'm asking specifically about the martial arts [02:13:00] practices is, is, is this cuz you were at a really advanced level, you were the captain of the national team. Right. So it's yeah. That thing that speaks something about your skill level. Yeah. And, um, I wasn't at that level, but I practiced martial arts, but I don't maintain my flexibility.

Ah. Yeah. And, and then, so I, it's one of those things, you know, I, you don't usually you lose it. So hence why the question, like, do you even just practicing a little bit, even if you don't spar yeah. You just keep the skills that you have, or like, no, I'm retire from this. I have now graduated mountain biking is the thing right now.

[02:13:43] Christopher: Yeah. I mean, I stay active in, in a lot of ways and, um, I, um, but we, you know, especially, you know, over 50, it's like a deterioration, so it's just a constant, so we just try to [02:14:00] maintain, but we, you know, as we age as men, we, we lose it. So there's no way we can, we can keep it. Um, I also, uh, had a series of injuries.

My, my favorite kick. What, what martial art did you do?

[02:14:13] CK: I did a number of different things. So specifically hop keto. Okay. Yeah. And then I dabbling like jujitsu boxing, all kinds of little things.

[02:14:23] Christopher: Yeah. Yeah. Well hop keto. Would've had the ax kick as part of the repertoire. If you remember that, um, that's a, what kick ax kick.

You bring your leg up and you drop it down Uhhuh. Yep. Yep. Mm-hmm, very ballistic movement, but I, I love that kick because I could, um, I could essentially, it's a, it's a very powerful kick. And if you can. It'll cause people to keep distance from you, if you, you know, so I would loft and I would frame my fights with that, you know, like I, cause I could pull it up quickly, drop it down really fast and people are like, whoa.

Um, but with that kick, I [02:15:00] was really fast when I was younger, but then I, I eventually it's a ballistic movement and I would really like whip it and uh, ended up getting micro tears and ended up tearing my, both my hamstrings. Oh. And so those tears then, um, they, they didn't repair and I, I still have the flex flex decent flexibility, but it shortened and, um, and the strength, you know, weakened and, um, so injuries too were, were, were piling up and I was losing some of my really powerful tools and, and that would've just continued down and um, you know, that that's, and, and I, my muscle memory still wanted to do what my, you know, even into itself, wanted to do.

And meanwhile, in like 38 at that time, it didn't, um, it, it wasn't now, now you still see a lot of older, like mixed martial arts, but you don't see them doing these advanced techniques. Yeah. Physically, you know, they're, um, they're more risky and they [02:16:00] require more athleticism that are associated with, you know, younger.

Younger, um, ages like even Jo, George say Pierre, you know, he did more technical techniques when he was younger and he went down, you know, kept it at the basics as he got older and it's also conserving energy. There's more reasons than that. Exactly. But, um, but yeah, so I was okay to, to, to go because it'ss just a constant, you know, recalibration and, and I like the fighting and I, I, I, um, but again, um, I didn't like getting punched or kicked in the head at the same time.

[02:16:35] CK: Yep. Everyone has a plan face.

[02:16:39] Christopher: Yeah. That is a great Mike Tyson quote. But you know, there's some, one thing that's great about fighting. There's no bullshit like in life, if you make a mistake and you get, you get punched in the face, you got real time feedback. One thing I've observed about life, often people will make mistakes and they don't get, they don't [02:17:00] pay the consequences.

Like this is what I loved about fighting. Like, you know, it's real. And the feedback is now. And often in life, like people could do something where they should get punched in the face, but they don't. And maybe it happens years later. Um, doesn't mean that it doesn't happen, but I love the real time feedback of that.

And, um, I try to actually get feedback as much as I can like that, you know, in the moment

[02:17:25] CK: I wanna talk to you about your book entre. Um, you had talked about different stages of ego development and circling back to what you talked about hiring over a thousand people. Um, one my big lesson from being the chief cultural officer of a company of 250 people, is this in the very beginning, we wanted to be, um, a uniform, a small team of Navy CEOs effectively.

So we're treating everyone the same, but then I mature as we grew the size of the company from 50 to [02:18:00] a hundred, 150 to a hundred, 250, then I realized, okay, that single approach, doesn't, it breaks down after very quickly then it's about, and then, then, and then the new metaphor that I thought of is now we're creating ecosystem of humans.

How do we have the entire ecosystem thrive at people at people at different stages effectively? So if you don't mind speaking to about the different stages of ego development, that would be really great for other entrepreneurs, camp organizers, you know, people who are curating the ecosystem of people.

[02:18:40] Christopher: Uh, yeah, well, um, you know, we describe our, our, uh, like Chrysalis as an ecosystem of companies, but then each, um, um, Each company will have people at all different kinds of levels and as well, teams like there's levels of maturity of teams that as it takes a while for teams to become coherent, [02:19:00] right? You talk about the Navy seals team.

Like that's probably an advanced team that has incredible trust, but they also know each other well, and they're able to move like one unit rather than, you know, fragmented. So there's real value in keeping teams. And so within any company, you'll have different teams that are different levels of maturity, you can say.

And of, and, and with that maturity comes capability and you can have also, you know, teams that are been around for a long time that are also maybe at a lower function because they haven't done the work of building that trust and that coherence and, you know, and, and even the natural process of that complimentary skill sets that, that you need, um, ego development.

Um, there's not really, like, I don't really view it as, um, a stage, uh, aspect like there's, um, there's different human development frameworks that, that, um, you know, kind of started with PJ's work. Um, you know, there's, um, you know, in some ways, um, Maslow is a bit of, um, a human develop. Framework, um, [02:20:00] the, the ones that are quite prevalent right now that are deeply researched.

Uh, I like Robert Keegan's five levels of, of human development and that's cognitive development. And then another one that is, uh, even more robust is spiral dynamics, which, um, uh, was originally created by Claire graves, but there's been a lot of people contributing to it and Ken Wilber did some philosophical work on it.

Um, and are you, are, you're probably familiar with spiral dynamics. I would. I'm a, I'm a big

[02:20:30] CK: fan. Yeah. Oh,

[02:20:31] Christopher: okay. Okay. Well, I'll give, um, um, and are you familiar with Keegan's model of like, like the socialized mind, self authoring, mind, the self transforming mind? I read

[02:20:42] CK: it in your blog business needs to grow up.

Yeah, yeah, yeah,

[02:20:48] Christopher: yeah. So, um, Kegan's second tier deals with ego development, ego development spiral dynamics is really, um, supposed to happen at the lower levels, you know, [02:21:00] accumulating in red. So like really we're, we're really should deal with our ego development. Um, In the sense that we we've, we've got a strong foundation, the ego's still present of course, but we've, we've transcended the, you know, the, the, you know, the hungry ghost that really needs to achieve, you know, at an adolescent level, but this is not what what's happening, you know, in society so much we have.

Um, and part of it is that we, we, we sometimes don't let the ego go out and play when we're young. And so we suppress it and then it has to come out later, um, or the ego with our systems, like think of external incentives. This is not helpful for ego and development when they're very direct and they don't consider the whole, they don't consider extrinsic, um, um, you know, effects of, of things.

So external incentives can also very much [02:22:00] drive ego. So our systems socialize, um, an unhealthy ego development. And if, you know, looking at the lens of spiral dynamics, I feel that, um, we, we have unhealthy ego development and it's being expressed. If you recall like that, the traditional like orange, and then you've got green, which kind of associated with postmodern or modernism.

Um, we have unhealthy egos, so like red that's manifesting in both orange and greens. We have red orange, red, green, um, because of the unhealthy ego development that our systems have perpetuated our parenting styles. And, um, and, um, and so this to me is a bit of a, a root problem that, that, that, you know, I've observed, if you, um, recall Amber and spiral dynamics that really doesn't exist so much [02:23:00] anymore.

It, it exists in the other systems because Amber was the, um, um, like the metaphors, the army it's like this was when we had very rigid hierarchical systems, both in work that were very conform, like conform of like, um, like for example, um, in world war II, you know, the Germans were, um, very much a hierarchal society.

So they were the most educated, but yet, um, you know, they still needed to follow the authority because, you know, we didn't have the internet back then. And so the teachers, you know, they were the smartest, like they had the, the best educational system, but they were also, they would look for that authority, which, you know, is, um, a socialized behavior cuz of hierarchy.

We're now in our educational system, socializing for green, you know? Um, and so kids are right of way in most, you know, going, uh, you know, right to green depending on their, their background. And, um, And so this is [02:24:00] why, you know, we, the ego that sees things as absolute is that always wants to be satisfied, always wants more, never, you know, this is, to me, why it's a, it's a real root problem in our society

[02:24:13] CK: today.

Wait, what is, what is the root problem?


[02:24:17] Christopher: the unhealthy ego development. So, and, and then allowing these, um, ego people that, um, you know, be because the ego wants to be seen, wants to achieve, um, they're also seeking power in our society mm-hmm and so that combination is a very unhealthy combination for our future.

[02:24:39] CK: Okay. So inside of that, knowing the, the macro structural that we are in green, and also knowing that, uh, unhealthy eco development is the root of the problems that we see in society. Yeah.

[02:24:54] Christopher: We're in a, we're in polarities of like traditional and postmodern. So we're actually in [02:25:00] culture wars. Um, but the common thing is the unhealthy ego development where we see the extreme, um, extremism on each side where, you know, it's kind of being seen as absolute.

And so like in spiral dynamics, we should really be like, there's, um, there's the second tier, which, um, you know, is like yellow tur, um, teal and turquoise. And, but, uh, this is when you start to understand the paradox, you start to understand, you know, more of a systems' view and you see that, um, there's partial truths in each of these and you, and like teal for example's ability to actually integrate them.

You know, yellow sees them, understands them. Teal actually integrates them into a hole, which is like complementary I, which is like even rooted in alchemy bringing these opposites together into a unified hole. And, um, so,

[02:25:53] CK: so, so instead, so instead of that, This podcast. I'm very much doist [02:26:00] right. I don't believe.

Oh, nice. Yeah. I'm, I'm, I'm very much in, I don't believe in one polar positive polarity or negative polarity. I believe that's the answer is contextual and lies in somewhere in the middle. Yeah. So it's, it's, it is hard for me to give an absolute answer to something and it really annoys some of the people and audience people, if they don't embrace this integrated approach to life.

So inside of that, how do you, sir, uh, someone who creates containers, whether it be business or camps to create an environment that works for everyone of your participants,

[02:26:43] Christopher: I've got a visitor here. um, yeah. Uh, well, you're, you're going into another, another question, but I, as you can see, my, my family and my son are home, but okay.

You know, this whole subject of, [02:27:00] um, E like this, this is a, this is a, this is a rabbit hole, um, in, in itself. But, um, at the root of it, though, it's really opening and inviting people in to their own journey. Um, their own authenticity, their own in Keegan's model, self authoring. And so a Sy. So I believe our systems play a really big role in supporting that.

And then when people like when ego as it, well go, Asray we as a society, co-regulate that? And so we wanted, oh wait,

[02:27:36] CK: wait one more time. Last sentence. One more time. We, we

[02:27:39] Christopher: co-regulate. So we need to offer that reflection back and together, allow for that learning and then integration and, you know, allow the ego to be seen.

And, and sometimes it's not ready to be seen, um, in, so it's, it's, um, it's a subject that I'm been fascinating, uh, fascinated with and I've seen, you [02:28:00] know, how people that are, you know, I've seen unhealthy egos continue to be perpetuated.

I started writing a series of articles around, tying it to sprout in Amerson, trying to really identify the problem. And, um, and see if, you know, just to really start a dialogue about what are the solutions, you know, for this. And I've certainly got, you know, some ideas, but, um, I I'm really trying to understand.

A lot better.

[02:28:27] CK: Beautiful. Well, let's do a part two on this, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for sharing your truth. I know we went longer. Um, but, but I think that's a sign of a good conversation, Christopher. I really appreciate you enjoy the rest of your family time.

Christopher KrywulakProfile Photo

Christopher Krywulak

Founder of Playalchemist

Christopher started his first company in Saskatchewan at age 18 with a vision that all business could (and can) be conducted more humanely, creating a non-traditional self-managing environment where thought leaders engage creatively, bringing their best selves to the benefit of both the business and the community as a whole.

From that founding vision, a number of people-first software businesses emerged and presently live within the Chrysalis ecosystem of companies:
- iQmetrix, North America’s leading provider of ^^telecom retail management software^^;
- Cova, North America’s #1 ^^point of sale and inventory management software^^ for cannabis retail;
- Ready, the ^^contactless Connected Dining Room platform for the restaurant industry^^; and
- Shiftlab, an^^ AI-driven scalable workforce optimization platform for retail sales organizations^^.