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To Lead a Happier Life

Jörg Starkmuth Explains how Consciousness Creates Reality

A portrait by Barbara Sawitza, translated by Hugh Featherstone Blyth

Jörg StarkmuthA friendly look, a firm handshake: an attention that one cannot help but notice. This sense of awareness applies to everything around him, the person he is talking to, his home and family, the daily business of living. The telephone interrupts us. With a quick, “Excuse me, may I answer that?” he jumps up. A short conversation follows, just family stuff, but it’s clear that this holds an important place in his life. He comes back to the sofa in the light and airy living room, a slim, almost ascetic figure in a comfy lumberjack shirt, with a friendly smile. There is a moment of that complicit kind of silence one shares with someone who simply “is” how he is.

And yet, this is also someone who has written a gripping first book. In The Making of Reality Jörg Starkmuth draws on the latest developments in physics to develop a fully operational version of our world, a world which is neither as we think we see it, nor as we are used to understanding it through the mechanistic dictates of classical empiricism.

Born in 1966, Jörg Starkmuth is a telecommunications engineer working both within and outside his professional field as a freelance translator, editor and author. But what motivated him to write such a book? A passion for writing, he insists, but also a delight in cross-fertilizing and cross-referencing different areas of understanding to gather them into a single, coherent vision. He likes to take a birds-eye perspective, much like an eagle. The eagle flies high, while maintaining a keen eye for detail; otherwise he wouldn’t catch any mice. “Though as you can see”, Starkmuth says mischievously, glancing down at his own skinny frame, “we’re running a bit short on mice just now.”

The world we experience is our own creation. From a wealth of material Jörg Starkmuth extracts this, the book’s central statement, scientifically and with conviction. And, he concludes, if we anyway unconsciously construct our own reality, then we can consciously alter it. Jörg Starkmuth is convinced of this. But just how important is reality creation to the life he leads? He smiles: “For me, this has lately become a less pressing issue than it was a few years ago.”

Today he finds it far more important to realise the degree to which outside circumstances are individually interpreted. Because, “it’s not so much particular things we want from life, but rather we want particular feelings, and these we manufacture entirely ourselves.” It is far easier to bend our own emotions further towards happiness and satisfaction than it is to reconstruct the reality that surrounds us. Starkmuth himself has found this re-ordering of priorities highly liberating. The art of human happiness cannot easily be reconciled with a struggle to bend reality into a desired shape, one which might not even turn out to be suitable. He clarifies this: “If I could conjure the world to give me everything I desired, what value would it have for me?”

What kind of person says something like that? Someone who is detached from material things? On the contrary, Jörg Starkmuth values the simple things of daily life. What does he most like doing? Working in the garden or at his computer, tinkering with electronics just to see what he can make with his own two hands. To live a normal life and yet each day feel that you have taken a step further, pushed the envelope a little.

This kind of limitation fascinates him: the challenge of getting the most out of a prescribed framework, comparable to a board game with fixed rules. “It’s the rules that make for playability and the fun factor”, he insists.

It is precisely the limiting aspect of normality which enables the harvesting of experiences that can only be gained in this particular way. This is also the way he understands reincarnation. He can even imagine encouraging a return to this life, simply because, “well, it’s alright here, isn’t it?”

This attitude is what defines Jörg Starkmuth’s position in contrast to the spiritual traditions of both East and West that strive to free us from a “vale of tears” or a “cycle of death and birth”. Overcoming ego, for many spiritual voyagers a central preoccupation, is also something he takes an easy-going attitude to. Ego for Starkmuth is a filter that sorts individual consciousness from collective consciousness, thus ensuring our physical survival in dangerous situations. But in a world in which danger to the individual is being replaced more and more by collective, even global dangers, the ego as such is becoming a “blunt instrument we can afford to do without”. Holistic solutions will then be rendered possible. The vital thing for humanity is to develop a sense of consciousness networking, where values like connectivity, reciprocity, love, compassion and happiness play an ever greater role.

All this functions best without obligation, without “must”, says Starkmuth, at which point he laughs and asks why we “have to” develop spiritually anyway? The logical conclusion of this chain of thought is, in his words, to avoid the stress and simply “drop off the spiritual career carousel”, which seems to be of no particular consequence to the soul either way. After all, in order not to develop, we’d have to stop doing anything, which is obviously quite impossible. “Thus, since the evolution of humankind and of the planet seems to be unavoidable, why try to force it?”

So how does he see the current crises and difficulties that humanity finds itself in? With calm composure, of course – it could not be otherwise – “Every development has its derailments. But those things which are of true value will remain, because these are rooted in genuine strength.” Nothing based only on the evaluations and interpretations of the ego can endure, however mighty it may appear, because such things incorporate no fundamental truth or power.

Living a “real life” means rising above the narrow viewpoint of the ego, beginning with the little things, because simplicity is indeed essential. This new focus for life effectively eliminates the division between spirituality and everyday living. What it means in concrete terms is that we are all voyagers towards a goal, each in his or her own way and each in his or her own space. Jörg Starkmuth thinks of himself as a fellow traveller.