ervin laszlo

Hungarian hospitality and hopeful monsters


The woman continues to walk next to me. Without even looking at me she keeps the same pace. I speed up, she speeds up. I slow down, she slows down. A few minutes ago I asked her for directions because I was lost – for the umpteenth time – in cold and misty Budapest. But this starts to get quite awkward.

‘Welcome to Budapest! That a typical example of Hungarian hospitality,’ the PR-manager of the Club of Budapest explains the next day, smiling. ‘Whenever you ask an Hungarian for directions, he or she will want to bring you as close as possible to your destination.’ We are waiting for Ervin Laszlo, my next role model in the Future Fuel quest. He is a quantum physicist, a systems thinker and the founder of the Club of Budapest. He knows everything about the influence we have on the planet. I have been chatting with his assistant Carmel for two hours because his appointments are all taking longer than expected. The role models I choose for my interviews have very busy schedules and Ervin Laszlo is no exception. A week ago I wasn’t even sure this interview would actually take place. Only yesterday they gave me a time and place, to reschedule the whole thing early this morning again. I hope I didn’t come to Budapest for nothing…

I’m glad when Carmel’s phone rings. The screen says ‘Ervin Laszlo’. My heart skips a beat: I am relieved, but I’m also feeling a rise of panic. Here we go: the ninth Future Fuel interview is about to begin! A couple of minutes later the 81-year-old Ervin Laszlo slowly shuffles my way. Black cap, long coat, calm, dark eyes and a serious yet cheerful charisma. He shakes my hand and quickly eats a few pieces of the chocolate I gave to Carmel earlier – creating some goodwill, you know. There is no time for lunch in his busy schedule.

The interview starts. In clear words Ervin explains the essence of the matter: ‘A systemic change of the world starts with ourselves. We have to shape an alternative world. The periphery, and not an elite of some kind, will bring change.’ According to him a battle with the establishment, or the old system, is not necessary. ‘Create the alternative. Be a hopeful monster. A monster because you are a threat to the survival of the current system, and hopeful because you bring the necessary change.’ Do we need to try and live in some sort of alternative world? I ask. ‘No, you have to be the new world, embody it. The new world already exists, although it’s hardly visible. But when the old system collapses – as it has done so many times in human evolution – you and many others with you have to be the alternative. That is how evolution works, in all systems.’

We also talk about the influence we have on a chaotic and therefore highly affectable system and his discovery of the Akasha field (a hologram of the world, as he calls it, a field in the line of the electromagnetic and gravitational field). He tells me that, after a life as piano prodigy, scientist and diplomat, he discovered he wanted to devote all his time to the development of a new kind of consciousness. ‘During my time at the United Nations my friends and me used to talk all night long about why there was so little change in the world, and about what needed to be done. Around two a.m. we would reach the conclusion that it’s all about consciousness. Consciousness had to change first. I then decided we instead should start the discussion from that point, and elaborate on a change of consciousness.’

Out of the corner of my eye I see Carmel striding over. I give her a sign I need five more minutes. Please? But no, time is up. Even Tony’s Chocolonely can’t do the trick. Ervin’s next appointment is due. I ask my last questions when he shuffles back to the lobby. After a warm hug – ‘great project, great questions’- the ninth interview of the Future Fuel quest is over. An interview to play back, to reflect upon and to absorb fully.* But first: a steaming hot gluhwein in the Hungarian cold to celebrate I did it again! Cheers!

gluhwein in boedapest

*Thanks to Anne Douqué of Marble Schrijven & Vertalen and Eva and Edwin of Pastamedia the reports and videos will be available on the website shortly. Stay tuned!

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