Interview with the vampires Even in Whistler people are seeking meaning, when not pursuing pleasure By David Branigan I vampire. Actually I'm squeamish at the sight of blood and love garlic — it cleans the toxins out of my bloodstream. I work nights in the local hospitality industry, seeing precious little sunlight. We prowl under moonlight sucking tips. A central concept in my personal existence, even before the vampire days, has always been the seeming contradiction between man's search for meaning and pleasure. These are the twin urges of sacred and profane that drag us between the twin polarities of god and animal. So I thought it would be interesting to drag the night out into the day and eavesdrop on a conversation with local hospitality vampires about spirituality. Today on Jerry Springer we're Talking to Vampires About God. To believe mainstream media is to believe the slacker/gen-Xer generations are apolitical, amoral and agnostic. They insinuate that because church membership is on the decline; young adults are too preoccupied with the internet and other post-modern toys to look inside. But as always the truth is more complex than modern media's attention-deficit disorder allows for. Yes we have serious misgivings about what has come before us. Yes we distrust authority, including government, big business, media and organized religion, because history has shown their greed and dishonesty. But that has led us to a jumping off point requiring conscious thought where anything goes as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. The fact is there is a spiritual ground swell out there that seems to be cresting with the new millennia and Whistler is one of the best examples of the contradictions inherent in living a lifestyle that includes the pursuit of pleasure contained within completely individualistic spiritual growth. The cookie cutter no longer works in a society where information is free. We be breaking the mold. Vampire Nuns on Ganga; Vegetarian Netpreneur Swingers; Extreme Buddhist Ravers; Psychedelic Eco-Triathletes. Talking to Vampires About God, all next week on Jerry Springer. This discussion really took place. The quotes aren't word for word but as close as I could remember. The names have been changed to protect those involved from having personal beliefs broadcast throughout the corridor. Instead we'll use vampire names taken from Anne Rice's wicked works. There are five vampires in this little coven with an average human age of 25. Vampire Claudine is a manly woman with a smile that radiates inner peace and serenity. She drinks scotch and Guinness, guides whitewater rafting in the summer and boards hard during ski season. Vampire Akasha is a warm, long-time local server and skier who hides a fair intellect behind a giddy countenance. She has a decadent streak but balances it out with volunteer work for the community. Vampire Louis is the youngest and most innocent of the lot. From Montreal he is in his second season in Whistler with alcohol being his sole poison, which he administers fairly sparingly. Vampire Armand is a happy, eager to please eastern snowboarder who seems to have unbridled enthusiasm for all forms of Viking excess while still managing to be completely effective in his line of work. Despite a generally high profile he remained in the shadows during this conversation, which appeared to be a little deep for his simple sense of continual well-being. The other three surprised me with their depth of knowledge on the subject of spirituality. I will go by the name of Lestat, although many will easily see through that thin disguise. I have been in the eye of the hurricane here for more than a decade, which is but a blink of the eternal eye. But the burden of sailing ship on seas of madness is turning my ungrowing hair grey. I was made a Whistler vampire at 24 years of age and have matured not a drop since that time. It is 3 a.m. on Good Friday, April 10, 1998. Lestat: Do you believe in God? Claudine: In what sense? Lestat: Do you believe that there is a central energy or intelligence that informs the universe? Akasha: That is a very different question than do you believe in God? Louis: Are we talking about the Christian sense of God? Claudine: Organized religion has no meaning for me. If you look back through history you see a trail of abuse of trust and abuse of power especially when it comes to women. Look at the witch-hunts and the crusades, they are two brutal examples of the so called enlightenment of the Christian church. It carries on today with the Catholic Church's position on birth control and abortion. The church is all about control, money, power and fear. It has nothing to do with spirituality. Lestat: Thank You Sinead. OK let's take organized religion out of the mix, because I agree that church and spirit have little to do with one another, which is not to say that they are mutually exclusive either but there is a lot of baggage there. Let's talk about Jesus Christ. General Pandemonium and blank stares follow. Akasha: Let's talk about human potential. Perhaps spirit has to do with using the dormant 93 per cent of your brain! I think that we are what we are and we have to live here on this planet in harmony with this planet otherwise there won't be any discussion of spirituality because there won't be a planet for the spirits in the bodies to live on. Louis: I have a hard time with discussion's about God because the term is so emotionally loaded and because the concept is vague enough to be almost meaningless. Lestat: So let's work our way back and deal with Christ and human potential. Was Christ the Son of God and designated sacrificial lamb for our future sins through eternity, or was Christ someone who fulfilled his human potential? Claudine: We're back into a discussion of Christian dogma. Lestat: Except Christ was a historical figure aside from the Church hype. My point is and my belief is that Christ was a normal guy born to a normal mother, hopefully through a thoroughly enjoyable romp in the hay. So how come this normal man has made such an impact? Because he maximized his human potential. Because he tapped into the conscious, subconscious and superconscious or collective unconscious mind and by doing that he tapped into the laws of quantum physics which allowed him to perform what we call miracles to those limited by the scientific definition of what is possible. Claudine: How do you feel about Buddha? Lestat: That's exactly my point. Buddha was simply another man who attained Christ Consciousness, or in Eastern terms enlightenment, which is something that all humanity has the potential to do. Christ Consciousness is in essence living as pure spirit at peace with all beings and the natural laws of the universe. Claudine: That's my belief that through reincarnation we all evolve as spiritual beings, hopefully to the point of nirvana or enlightenment whereby the cycle of incarnation ceases and we reunite with the creator. That belief gives us freedom of choice and the opportunity to learn as humans and to experience many things — both positive and negative. Reincarnation also allows for Karma where bad deeds and good deeds from previous lifetimes resurface, as do lessons that weren't mastered the last time around. With Buddhism you can't skip, fix or buy the test. Reincarnation and the Buddhist vantage point make life an eternal school with endless opportunity for growth. Louis: So what is the deal with reincarnation? Does the soul incarnate within 40 days of passing from its previous body and what is the connection between the previous and future incarnations? Claudine: I think there is different theories on the downtime between incarnations in different parts of the world, from India through Thailand and China. I personally don't attach much relevance to the time. Neither does the whole new age school of ego reincarnation appeal to me. How many times has Alexander the Great or Beethoven reincarnated as opposed to say Hitler? I think the point lies on the inside as opposed to in the interpretation or speculation on theory and personality. Lestat: I remember as a young kid asking my father about death and he first introduced me to the concept of reincarnation, with which he'd hoped to soothe my fears. But my key question to him at seven years old was, "Do you remember your previous life when your spirit passes into a new body?" He thought you did at the spirit level but not at the conscious mind level. I thought to myself then I'm still dying because the conscious mind is the only concept I have of myself. If my memory dies I die. So it was fascinating but not soothing in the least. Akasha: Here we come back to the conscious mind again. It seems to me that there are some very fine lines being drawn here between the existential viewpoint of living, dying and then rotting in the ground — or between living, dying and reincarnating at a purely spirit level with no conscious connection — or between the Christian ideology of living, dying and going to some spiritual retirement home, theoretically either heaven or hell. The fact is that we have no certainty of what happens after death so we may as well focus on the here and now. Living your life based on guesswork is the definition of stupidity. What's the difference between betting your spirit on a spiritual interpretation and going to blow your money in Vegas for Chrissakes? Louis: I agree this whole discussion is pretty esoteric. You keep talking about spirit. How would you define spirit anyway? What is it exactly and where does it reside? Lestat: Well to take this concept back full circle, I believe spirit is pure energy. The universe is a sea of energy. We are all made up of vibrating molecules. The idea that this table is solid matter is a myth. At the molecular level there is no such thing as solid matter. In reality our physical bodies are just vibrating molecules of atomic energy. I believe the same can be said of spiritual matter, which to me is totally interchangeable with the concept of God. God is not some omnipotent semi-human force sitting up in heaven passing judgement. We are God. God is everything. God is the universe — the universe has natural laws and we are part of those laws. I believe that by living in tune with natural laws we elevate our vibratory rate and thereby become closer to God. By living contrary to natural laws we lower our vibratory rate and move closer to animal which is the root source of our evolution on this planet. Reincarnation is a changing of the guard while nirvana is the point at which we dispense with the physical and fully reunite with the pure spirit and intelligence of the universe. I don't even think you have to believe in God. Your beliefs are irrelevant because whatever the truth is will eventually impose itself on us, regardless of viewpoint. I just know when I feel connected. Claudine: Fresh pow in the sunshine. Louis: Connecting to a low outside pitch. Akasha: Watching a little baby laugh in your arms. Lestat: Having simultaneous orgasm with your lover. Armand: Does anybody have any papers. Man it's dumpin’ outside. Who's skiing first tracks?