Author and filmmaker Mansoor Khan’s new book ‘One: The Story of the Ultimate Myth’ is making waves as a visionary and powerfully original story that exposes the ultimate myth of modern civilisation and offers a new truth and reality. Khan opens up about why this story needed to be told, the challenges he encountered while writing it, his life away from the big city, and films.
By Nichola Marie
After studying several years of engineering at institutions like IIT, Cornell, and MIT, Mansoor Khan took leave from college and ended up in films. Son of renowned filmmaker Nasir Hussain, Khan went on to write and direct four critically appreciated and commercially successful films, namely ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ (1988), ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’ (1992), ‘Akele Hum Akele Tum’ (1995), and ‘Josh’ (2000). And all the while, he was plotting how to escape the city! It was his “obsession”, as he calls it, to live outside the city and preferably close to nature. Convincing his family, they moved to Coonoor in 2004, a hill station in Tamil Nadu. Here, he felt he was reborn and living for the first time. He and his family run a homestay called Acres Wild as well as a gourmet cheese production unit. In 2013, he released his book ‘Third Curve: The End of Growth As We Know It’ which revolved around the ‘madness of the belief in perpetual, exponential, economic growth’. This year, he released ‘One – The Story of the Ultimate Myth’, a book he calls the actual objective of his life. Presenting eight points Khan makes, during an interview with ‘Society Achievers’, about his latest book and life…
“This book is NOT an environmental book but explains a much deeper root of the emerging crisis”
I must clarify a few key ideas.
Who do you think is destroying the planet?
I would be very surprised if any of you said anything else but ‘humans are destroying the planet’. This is the Biggest Lie and the whole purpose of the book is to explain that this is not true. There are 5,000 other human cultures that we derisively call primitive like Native Americans, Yanomami, San, Baki, Sentinelese, Adivasi, Kota, Kurumba and so on. None of them are causing this collapse. Then why do we endlessly repeat the Biggest Lie that ‘humans are causing the collapse’?
This story needs to be told to enlighten the mainstream civilised person of the biggest lie and further explain how this lie causes Civilisation to be such a deluded and destructive culture.
All our greatest thinkers, writers, statesmen, environmentalists, human activists etc are propagating this lie. There is only a very small segment of people who understand what the difference between species and culture is. Human is a species. Civilisation is a culture of humans. There is a huge difference between species and culture. Species are genetic and biological. Culture is perspective! The perspective of Reality makes all the difference.
The segment of people aware of this distinction is known as primitivists. The primitivists (including me) are trying to enlighten the world that primitive is not a bad word. In fact, ‘civilised’ is the bad word. Primitive cultures are doing fine until they are killed, looted, raped, disenfranchised, and exterminated by this ruthless, deluded, dominant culture called Civilisation. And then we wonder what went wrong. The primitive world was in beautiful harmony and continues to be so.
More importantly, there is no such thing as ‘new’ reality. There is only one Reality from the beginning of time. And the nature of that Reality is that it is interconnected and One. All living beings and primitive, indigenous, tribal human cultures know it. Only a single deluded culture thinks that it can make new realities by making imaginary boundaries and then it can define reality on its own terms. I would like to emphasise that it is not modern civilisation (only 300 years old) but civilisation from 10,000 years back that first violated the rules of energy sharing and acquiring food by doing agriculture. Civilisation is the bane and curse, and not all humans as you are commonly led to believe.
This book is NOT an environmental book but explains a much deeper root of the emerging crisis. I would request the reader to kindly read my book and then read this interview again. Then it will mean something completely different from what they are imagining now. I do not imply that the reader is not intelligent or well-read enough. In fact, I am saying the more intelligent and more well-read you are, the less likely that you will understand this because of the cultural conditioning of 10,000 years of Civilisation. Everything you have been systematically taught in this culture called Civilisation is an outright lie.
“Civilisation has managed to destroy the living planet in just 10,000 years”
Authors like John Zerzan, Derrick Jensen, Charles Eisenstein, and Daniel Quinn are the foundations of my understanding of this topic of critique of Civilisation as a culture. The rest of the world believes that Civilisation is a superior and advanced culture. But the truth is staring us in the face that there is something fundamentally wrong with Civilisation’s perspective of Reality that is causing the collapse. Please go to a tribal or indigenous village anywhere in the world and you will find a totally different and harmonious world. How come?
So undoubtedly, I was on cloud nine when I got their approval and high praise. But the real test is whether everybody else who reads ’One’ understands that this book is not in the same old zone of environmental crisis, global warming, species extinction etc. All those crises are the outcome of a far more fundamental aberration of perceiving Reality and trying to control it – which only Civilisation does. And that is how Civilisation has managed to destroy the living planet in just 10,000 years. Humans survived brilliantly for two million years before that! How come?
“…‘One’ is a call to changing your perspective”
‘One’ is not a call to ‘action’.
‘One’ is a call to changing your perspective. How can you take any useful action if you still have the age-old perspective of environmental damage and all that?
In order to understand the new perspective of ‘One’ please…
• Read my book first. It explains in detail what is wrong with Civilisation’s perspective of Reality.
• Stop repeating the Biggest Lie that ‘humans are causing the collapse’. Start understanding that there is only one culture of humans, Civilisation is causing the collapse.
• Start questioning how and why our culture called Civilisation is responsible for this collapse.
Only then will you fall in step with Reality and only then there is a chance that things can improve. Reality does not negotiate!
It is not just an individual change of perspective that is required but a collective, cultural change of perspective. And that cannot happen overnight as we expect in our ludicrous, time-bound world.
“Our technology is destructive and control-based”
This is an immensely difficult subject to translate onto screen because in this I am questioning the very science and technology of Civilisation. Our science is non-holistic and faulty. So, naturally our technology is destructive and control-based. All living beings and other human cultures also have science and technology but that is very different and therefore symbiotic and has worked for billions of years. This is the real hard truth in my book but sadly most book reviewers and bloggers have completely missed this point and written as if it is a regular environmental book. What a pity!
“Have you ever seen a worm or a bee grow endlessly forever?”
My book ‘Third Curve: The End of Growth As We Know It’ (2013) was basically about the madness of the belief in perpetual, exponential, economic growth. Growth is the de facto religion only in Civilisation; no other human culture or living being. Have you ever seen a worm or a bee or a plant or a tree grow endlessly forever? Of course not. Because it is unnatural and impossible. But Civilisation’s economic laws believe that it is possible to grow endlessly on a planet with finite resources. You know, when exponential growth happens in our body and one cell keeps multiplying, we call it cancer. But when we chase exponential growth in our industrial and financial system, we call it progress! Wow! If that is not double-talk, I don’t know what is. Environmental collapse is not because some stupid people get up in the middle of the night and cut trees and waste water and whatnot. It is because Civilisation has made a system that has to grow forever and requires more and more from the body of the Earth to make it happen. Think about that.
Nothing has changed since I wrote the book. In fact, we believe and pursue this delusion even harder. Best of luck. And to top it all, this ridiculous culture fancies it can escape to Mars!
“I never had any interest in cinema”
I was lucky that those films were appreciated and successful, but I never had any interest in cinema. I watch very few films and very selectively. Indian cinema is expanding and diversifying, so the audience is getting much more choice of genres of film today. Definitely a welcome change.
I have not written the script and I am not the director for (Aamir Khan’s son) Junaid’s film. I am only helping in whatever way I can. And yes, my son Pablo assisted in Aamir’s ’Dangal’. He has gone to music school and now film school, but he is still trying to find his vocation in life. Just like I did.
“There were only gains for me and my family in my move to Coonoor”
Speaking of gains and downsides of this move, that depends on what kind of person you are. I happen to be a person that cannot deal with urban spaces, so there were only gains for me and my family in my move to Coonoor. On the other hand, if you love cities and large towns, then there would be only downsides for you. My choice is not a recommendation for everybody in general. However, as my writing and thoughts suggest, we were not supposed to be living in cities and that’s the foundation of civilisation. Cities were the bastion of civilisation when we looted the earth and formed our idea of symbolic thought and a false, non-holistic science and our destructive technology and the delusion of perpetual growth. So, you know where my loyalties lie. While I have said that, it does not mean that everybody living in the hinterland or small towns has this perspective because civilisation has brainwashed just about everyone to believe that finally we all have to believe in civilisation’s way of living and science and technology and growth and madness.
“Writing ‘One’ was the actual objective of my life”
Running a homestay called Acres Wild as well as a gourmet cheese production unit has been a very satisfying and a great experience to meet people who were naturally drawn to Acres Wild. But nowhere near as satisfying as the experience of writing ‘One – The Story of the Ultimate Myth’ which took 20 years and was the actual objective of my life.