The Founder / Interviews

TV Interview

In the TV program with F. Paulsen- This is a transcription of an interview given by Dario Salas Sommer on a Chilean T.V. Channel called Chilevision, the program is "Ultima Mirada" (Last Glance), the interviewer is Fernando Paulsen
- Also, on the left hand buttom you can watch the video.

Chilean T.V. Channel: Chilevision –  with Fernando Paulsen

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Almost nothing is known about Hermetic Philosophy in Chile, as far as public opinion is concerned.  However, one of the most important practitioners of this philosophy was born in Chile, Dario Salas Sommer, the grandson of the distinguished educator of the same name.

He is very well known in Russia, The United States, Europe, and even in some Middle Eastern countries.  His texts are required study in certain places. He also writes using a pseudonym, and we will be talking with him to find out how he decided on that specific name. In fact, he is probably more well known by his pseudonym than by his real name in this country, and that is: John Baines.  He has been recognized with a whole series of awards, but especially, not very long ago, he received investiture as Scientific Consul of Russia for all of Latin America. It is very unusual that in a country such as Russia he was appointed as Scientific Consul for a whole continent -not as a diplomat - especially since this honor was given to only one individual and to someone who was not Russian.  I am referring to Dario Salas Sommer, who is here with us today.

F. Paulsen: “Welcome Dario! I want to invite you to see a video about what we have been able to find out about you and Hermetic Philosophy, so that you will later tell us what it is really all about.”

D. Salas: “Thank you.”

Can you imagine the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, calmly sitting down and paging through a book by a Chilean author?  And I am not referring to Isabel Allende, but to a book by a philosopher.  This scene might seem unbelievable but it isn’t so; the name Dario Salas Sommer might not say much in Chile, but he has sold thousands of books in Russia, causing a great impact there.  So much so, that this follower of Hermetic Philosophy and founder of the Chilean Institute that researches this discipline, is linked to   an organization that bears his name in Russia and that has been around for many years, his works  are used in universities, and currently he is receiving acknowledgement from the Russian government and from prestigious academies.

On Friday the 26th of September, at the University of Chile, Dario Salas Sommer was nominated Scientific Consul of Russia for Latin America, Knight of Science and Art, Doctor in Philosophy.  He received these awards from the president of the Duma -the parliament in Moscow - Vladimir Platanov, who also represents the prestigious Russian Academy of Safety, Defense and Order.

This 68 year-old philosopher, grandson of the distinguished educator Dario Salas Diaz, is better known by his pseudonym John Baines.  His organization also has branches in Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and the USA.  Nevertheless, it is in Russia where his book is most widely read, where it was translated over twenty years ago  without him ever having visited the country.

The origin of Hermetic philosophy is ancient, and the name dates back to the Egyptian philosopher, Hermes Trismegistus. The word “hermetic” has nothing to do with Hermeticism’s complexity, but rather, it refers to the fact that for centuries this knowledge was given only to initiates, meaning from master to disciple.

It is an oriental philosophy about life and has had an enormous influence in Asia Minor and also appears in the thoughts of Christ.

This philosophy, based on seven principles, studies the human mind and its relationship with the surrounding world .  It points towards self-knowledge, so that the individual may find physical equilibrium and a relative moral and spiritual perfection.

In our country, we have a great follower of Hermetic Philosophy - Coach Juvenal Olmos.  Inspired by this way of thinking, Coach Olmos now cultivates a new spirit in the national leagues, and the team is now reaping success and the fans are ever more enthusiastic…Curiously, these fans know little or nothing about Hermetic Philosophy.


F. Paulsen:     “Welcome Dario!”

D. Salas:       “Thank you very much!”

F. Paulsen: “How did a Chilean attain such a degree of prestige in the world and receiving the honor of representing a super power and yet, within his own country he doesn’t have the recognition he should have as the exporter of such a non-traditional product such as this?”

D. Salas: “Well, I think it is like the old saying: “No one is a prophet in his own land.”  On the one hand, I find it extraordinary, and on the other quite normal to a certain extent.

F. Paulsen: “Did you start here?”

D. Salas: Yes, in Chile.

F. Paulsen: “How were you able to cross the borders beyond Chile so quickly? Countries as diverse   as the Middle East, Russia, or the United States?”

D. Salas:  “To tell you the truth, I ask myself the same question.  These things are a mystery because they have to do with people’s behavior which is quite mysterious.  In fact, take Bulgaria for example, I am much more famous in that country than in Russia.

F. Paulsen: “Bulgaria?”

D. Salas: “Bulgaria, so much so, that in a few days they are going to interview me live, via satellite, for about an hour.

F. Paulsen:  “And what do you think they perceive about you?  What do they get from you? Why do they get what you say? You are not an entrepreneur that is going to invest millions of dollars in their country, which would make anyone quickly famous abroad, nor are you someone who has committed a crime, which would make anyone immediately infamous.  Instead you are just going to give people ideas to think about, to offer ideas.  What do you think it is that you give them that makes them much more sensitive than even the Chileans?”

D. Salas: “I believe that it is a bit different in each country.  For example, I think that in Bulgaria, they really like spiritual things.  They are people who need introspection, who have a need for something different due to… well, today our world, unfortunately, is a bit materialistic or rather too materialistic and there is a crisis with spiritual values.  This is something that is felt very strongly in Bulgaria;people there have a yearning for something spiritual. And in Russia the situation is different not because they don’t have a spiritual yearning, but rather because they really like the theme of morality, in the sense that they have realized that to act morally can in fact be very profitable for any country.

F. Paulsen: Pardon? What do you mean that acting morally can be profitable for a country?”

D. Salas: Because only when the citizens of a country act morally, when they behave correctly in all areas of their life, can they become more successful in life.  And if we have a country where everyone behaves morally… well, that country will always be united to such an extent that its citizens will succeed in every aspect, not only in material matters, but also in economic, and spiritual ones.  It would also permit the population to be happier.

F. Paulsen: “Hermetic Philosophy, how is success guaranteed by having certain spiritual elements?”

D. Salas: “Well, in the case of morality, for example,     we live in a universe where everything is related.  So Hermetic philosophy teaches us to transcend the selfish “I” and place ourselves in another’s shoes, for example to empathize with others and to know that one is not alone, one is not isolated.  We are all together, we are all united.  When someone realizes that if they insult another person, they are also insulting themselves, or that if they harm another, they also harm themselves at the same time too,then communication and the way people live changes a great deal among people.

F. Paulsen: “But, Dario how different is this  from: ‘Love others as you love yourself” which is the Christian maxim par excellence. How is what you say different from Christian spirituality?”

D. Salas: “In that sense Christian spirituality, is very good.  In that sense, I also think we can relate it to what Confucius said when he preached: ‘Do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you.’  What happens is that these values are eternal and transcendental.  Here Hermetic Philosophy goes beyond this concept, because it advocates the necessity for each individual to carry out spiritual work within themselves. This spiritual work is something technical.  That is to say, the person needs to practice introspection, study oneself, overcome one’s own defects, make an effort to comprehend other people, and get along well with everyone.  It is a complete process  which is beautiful,  and in the end, each person has to discover their own “I,”—‘know thyself.’”

F. Paulsen: “So, let me see if I understood properly, the spiritual component of Hermetic philosophy is not something that comes from the outside, it is something that is worked on individually?”

D. Salas: “Technically.  Each person who is interested in this must do their own spiritual work to know themselves.   And when this happens, they are able to attain higher states of consciousness than is usual.

F. Paulsen: “I was reading an interview that you had with the magazine Capital, to prepare for this interview and there is a reference there that surprised me quite a bit, because you make a direct comparison of a brain to a machine and stated that we [human beings] do not have any comparative advantage.  And that we all live in a world somehow like The Matrix.  A world where we are given a whole lot of things and the challenge consists of freeing ourselves from this imposition of reality.  That’s more or less the way it goes, right?”

D. Salas: “It is exactly that; in fact, this is not something that belongs to Hermeticism alone Neuroscience speaks of it as well.  There are two authorities on this, Steven Pincker and Rodney Brooks - both  are from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  They maintain that we are machines that think… machines that can think, meaning that our brain has 62 miles of electrical wires and that in this way, we are no different from a machine.  Other scientific authorities are of the exact same opinion.  In fact, they built a robot head, called Kismet.  His head has eyes, blue eyes, that are quite expressive,  it can open its mouth, move its ears, it makes several movements.  So if you stand in front of the robot it looks back at you, it has expression in its eyes.  If you speak to it, it pays more attention, for example. It can open its mouth and try to smile.  If you turn around, it gets sad  because it feels abandoned, unappreciated.  Well, and that is just a robot head, and they have yet to program it with learning arithmetic.  So, when it is programmed to learn arithmetic, we don’t know what it might do.

F. Paulsen: “From that point of view, what is the basic difference between machines and mankind?  Judeo-Christian philosophy states that God created man in his image and that we are the only one of our kind, nothing similar exists.”

D. Salas: “Exactly, but I prefer to speak at a scientific level, because from a scientific level, your question is very good… because scientifically speaking, we do not know what the difference is.  In fact, there are those who maintain quite seriously that Nature will favor machines in the next 50 years, and that robots will advance with such speed that they will end up being much more superior to people in many areas.  So, in that case, things are not as clear, there is no answer…

F. Paulsen: “How does Hermetic Philosophy face a projection of that nature.”

D. Salsas: “This is precisely what it is about.  We have three brains: the reptilian brain, the limbic system and the cerebral cortex.  It is a fact that all our customs, our instinctive life, is dominated by the reptilian brain, and this brain dates back 250 million years.  What does this mean? It means that our habits, our instinctive impulses, a very great part of everything that we do, stems from the program within the reptilian brain.  In fact, a while back in El Mercurio, there was an article by an American scientist who said, or explained, that at this moment in time, all the armaments of the world are in the hands of men who are controlled by their reptilian brains.  This is a terrible thing.

F. Paulsen: What does this reptilian brain consist of?

D. Salas: It is a part of the brain.  We date back to the times of the reptiles. Since then this brain has remained the same; it is within our head.  We have three brains, and that brain is there acting with the program from those times.  That is what makes us become aggressive all of a sudden and defend ourselves in an exaggerated manner, it is our instinctive side.  What does Hermetic Philosophy say?  Precisely, the most important thing in life is to become free from the control of the reptilian brain and develop what we could call a fifth element, which is consciousness.  Intelligence will no longer be sufficient. Intelligence is not enough these days because the world is full of intelligent people. Don’t you think? And we can all see the amount of problems in the world, in our country and in other countries as well … the world is full of problems, serious problems that people like you inform the public about.   So, how is it possible that in a world of intelligent people these things happen? Because every day people are more intelligent. You see this at school that the children today are more advanced.  How can this be? It is because of the reptilian brain!”

F. Paulsen: “The reptilian brain is taking control, the control that the person should have through their consciousness?”

D. Salas: Exactly and also because our brain is like a hard disk, this is irrefutable.  Now, do we write on our own hard disk?  No, its society that writes on our hard disk, our parents, our teachers, our professors, the mass media, that is why they are so important.  We do not write on our own hard disks.  What does Hermetic Philosophy say?  That this situation must be changed for us to become the owners of our brains, so that we write on our own hard disk.  All of this can be done through the development of our superior consciousness.

F. Paulsen: “For this you have developed techniques.”

D. Salas: “Exactly.”

F. Paulsen: “Are these   techniques     equivalent to those developed in Zen Buddhism, such as meditation or exercises that also seek to generate self-reflection.”

D. Salas: “Equivalent, but different. The philosophy that I teach is called Operative Philosophy, because it is eminently practical.  Usually philosophy is seen as something that you debate or deliberate on, and nothing else. Yet, it is something you can put into practice every day, in everything you do, and which will really permit you to be more conscious, more successful, more human in life.  It is absolutely practical.  I believe that this is what our world is missing to raise the level of humanness in people.

F. Paulsen: “How good a student has Juvenal Olmos been?”

D. Salas: “Fine, but I think that we all have to be quite humble and modest in this sense, and think that every day we need to be better.  The fact that someone spends 10 or 20 years improving, does not mean that we are perfect at all.  But rather that we need to learn every day.

F. Paulsen:  “Dario, does it affect you somehow that in your country you have less followers than in Bulgaria or in Russia, than those that you have in the United States?

D. Salas: “To tell you the truth, no.  Not really.  Because I am not particularly interested in being famous.  Because I think that important ideas always end up imposed on the world.  It takes time  for this to happen when the concepts are outside of that which is known.

F. Paulsen: “Why did you decide to write using an English name, John Baines, and not Danilo Torres, for example?”

D. Salas: “Because I always liked remaining anonymous.  I am quite a withdrawn person, quite retiring. In fact, perhaps I am even a bit antisocial.  I didn’t want to go out into the world too much.  That is why I remained anonymous for so long.  In fact I never used to give any interviews although I have been practicing Hermeticism for over forty years.  As in all these things, this whole process has taken place by itself.  My books in Russia became well known.  This is how they got to know about me in the Russian Academies of Science.  I think you have to come out to be able to give what you have, if you have something valuable to share, you should do so, don’t you think?”

F. Paulsen: “I want to tell you whether under the name of Dario Salas Sommer or John Baines, there are few Chileans who have been able to sell the amount of books that you have, and especially on a subject that no one would say makes for a best-seller, compared to the typical mass market novel.”

D. Salas: “Well, I don’t consider my books to be best-sellers.  I think they are books that sell well  for a rather select public.  Select, not in the sense of class or anything like that, but in that they are for people who are looking for something spiritual. Perhaps nowadays there are not many of these people.  In the end, I think that all people are looking for spirituality but they don’t know it.They are looking for the meaning of life.

F. Paulsen: “Finally Mr. Salas, I want to ask you  what does Russian Scientific Consul for Latin America consist of?”

D. Salas: It means that I am going to help arrange agreements between the various cultural and scientific institutions in Russia and scientific institutions in Chile and other Latin American countries.  For example, to connect CONYCYT  in Chile in order to carry out joint research together with Russian scientists for all kinds of scientific projects, and so that Latin America will get to know Russian technology and vice versa

F. Paulsen: “I think that someone might get the wrong impression,  with all of the emphasis on science, and then the talk about conductors that make us do things, and words like hard drive, that Hermetic Philosophy denies God.  But in your book, ‘Morals for the 21st Century’ which I fell asleep reading last night  to prepare for our interview today a bit- you constantly refer to God.”

D. Salas: “Yes, what happens is that I believe that God is the same.  God is all that there is in the universe.  For example, quantum physics  states that a totality does exist, a unique energy in the entire universe.  For me, that unique energy is God and  is part of all of this.  This energy sort of divides into multiple circumstances and into  multiple levels.

F. Paulsen: “You don’t personify God  the way Judeo-Christian traditions personify him or even the Arabic and Muslim traditions that personify God as a superior person.

D. Salas: “Well, actually the Muslims have this same concept, which is the concept of the universe being holographic similar to what quantum physics states, in that each part contains the all. There is an all and each part is a reflection of the all; like what happens in the body where every cell of the body has the complete information of the rest of the entire body.  This also explains  why if we slap someone, we are also slapping ourselves.  Because if we hurt someone, we are hurting ourselves in that sense.  In fact this is the way it happens.

F. Paulsen: Thank You.

D. Salas: Thank you very much, Fernando.

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