A Man of Deception
“You have to go beyond what you can see.’
Forty-two years ago he was a college drop-out looking for work. Thirty-five years ago he had founded one of the most successful speaker companies in the country, selling three thousand speakers every week. Now he designs speakers in the basement of his Weston townhouse with the assiduous help of his wife, Dian, hoping to sell one speaker in a month. You may wonder what happened, and you may wonder what a toll this must have taken on the man. He would answer that he accomplished everything he wanted to, and that the money he lost did not matter at all. He does not-even consider his former multi-million dollar company his greatest accomplishment. Winslow Burhoe has accomplished phenomena so much deeper than any pecuniary consolation. They involve human nature and spirituality, rather than stock portfolios and Swiss bank accounts.
As his sturdy six foot frame walked towards the open front door, with his white beard gleaming in the moonlight, I knew that the soon to commence interview would interest me greatly. Not one to partake in the insignificant babble that comprises most conversation,
Winslow always provokes thought, and often controversy. His opinions of current events hardly display conformity, and he never fails to come up with a complex conspiracy theory. For these reasons did the day’s impending interview excite me. But as the interview got going, and after it finished, I realized that it did not fascinate me because of Winslow’s uncommon opinions, I was fascinated because the events of his life, and the way he carried them out, define the word interesting.
Winslow Burhoe grew up in the Lower Mills part of Dorchester, Massachusetts. The oldest of four, he lived with his family in an Irish Catholic neighborhood; yet, neither Irish heritage nor Catholic faith lived in the Burhoe household. “When I went to school it was like going through a gauntlet.” Because they did not practice religion, the Burhoes did not retain very high popularity in their neighborhood. While his father did not believe in religion, it did fascinate him. “One of his keys to understanding religion was to think of it in terms of evolution.” This mentality inspired Winslow to embark on a very unusual task: an evolutionary experiment.
In 1968, Winslow dropped out of the University of Massachusetts. As his reason for this he said, “1 thought it was stupid. I thought ‘if I walk away from here I could learn it from books more easily than from going to those classes. He turned out to be right. Seven years later, after working for speaker companies and learning the trade from experience, he took his new invention, an innovative speaker, and began a company, Epicure (EPI). “I was completely unqualified to do that, knowing only how speakers work and nothing about business, sales, or accounting. I had a couple of people from Harvard business school that worked with me in management, but I couldn’t see how they could manage.” Poor management appeared as the main problem at Epicure, but Winslow would argue that this was not a problem at all, but exactly how he planned it.
Despite all this success in the world of business, Winslow would consider his greatest accomplishment to be something else, something a little deeper. ”The thing that’s given me the most satisfaction is figuring out that there are more dimensions than there appear to be, and that that explains the integration of spiritual and secular living. I think that in order to understand life you have to make it a part of the spiritual world. Nowadays our culture is full of deconstructionists, post-modernists, whatever you want to call them, most of whom don’t believe in objective reality. So I think that’s completely wrong and very discouraging to people who live.
“If you don’t believe in a spiritual part of the universe, then you have no reason to live.” He believes that the universe consists of 27 dimensions, all of which occupy every place in the universe. Basically, everything occupies right here, spirits, people, time, energy, et cetera. “That’s how I explain the phrase ‘Heaven on Earth. ‘ The dimensions of Heaven are intertwined with the dimensions that we experience.” Winslow did not acquire this knowledge in a normal way, as in a religious book or by listening to a sermon; he discovered the divine in a truly amazing way.
“When I started EPI it was partly because I wanted to do an evolutionary experiment. I had noticed that evolution applied to businesses in addition to culture. I created the structure of EPI in a way that would allow it to evolve. And the key to that was not being a strong boss, to let the people do what they wanted to do.” The concept of creating a business without the goal of making a lot of money surprised me. I had always thought that the accumulation of wealth, not an experiment, existed as the primary purpose of any business. “EPI was very successful because I was not a strong boss. I had a lot of good people working with me, so the organization did organize itself into a very good management structure. And it grew very fast and was quite profitable for a few years.” During the early seventies, EPI sold three-thousand speakers per week, with over four hundred dealers around the country. In a 1974 article in the Boston
Phoenix, Winslow was described as saying to his employees, ‘”Get out there, fellas, and cancel those orders.” The company was getting so big that he had trouble controlling it. He even divided it into four divisions because of its incredible growth and success. So why does Winslow Burhoe build speakers in his basement now with the hope to sell one?
“I had a revelation that there were twenty-seven, a voice in my head. ” Through working with speakers, Winslow had discovered two more dimensions in addition to length, width, height, and time. He found that mechanical energy and magnetic energy both deserved the title of dimension. Through this, he realized that more could exist, and then this voice in his head spoke to him, telling him of the remaining twenty-one. Whose voice spoke to him, though, a spirit perhaps, maybe God? No one, not even Winslow, can know. “Spiritual guidance is common. Someone, a spirit, could look at your whole life and see what’s in it and see all the choices you’re going to make, and might even influence those choices.”
“It was because there was no management theory that it was easy for people who wanted to take over the company to get me ousted, so I’ve been bouncing around ever since. ” While Winslow may not have wanted the power himself, others certainly did. Because he let everyone do what they wanted to do, those who helped run the company easily removed Winslow from the helm of his own company. These people cared most about money and let greed shape their life goals. Winslow never really wanted too much money. ”My parents went through the Great Depression and when I was growing up it was as if we were still in poverty. So by the time I got to EPI and made a salary it was like I was rich already, and I was more concerned with the theory of evolution than I was with becoming personally rich.” The goal to carry out the experiment remained his priority, followed by his drive to make the best speaker he possibly could, no matter what the cost. In the end, the other Epicure executives did not want someone who would not conform to their profit-above-all mentality. Subsequently, as his wife, Dian, said, “Just seven miles from the world-renowned Bose speakers sits Winslow Burhoe m his basement, producing world class speakers.”
“Towards the end, a board meeting was called. I had known that factions inside the company were working against me, so I was somewhat prepared. Everyone attended the board meeting: me, my enemies, and the major stock holders. I made my case, and then the sales manager, whom the insurgent factions had chosen to run the company over me, made his case. In the end, he pitched his case better and he won. I found out later that he had an ally in that room.
The sales department had won, and I had lost. ”
Winslow believes that three dimensions of time occupy the universe. Because all dimensions permeate every inch of the universe, all events of time, past, present, and future, already exist, even though they may not have occurred already. He believes that people could theoretically look into the past or future, but our minds contain too little capacity to handle such revelations, which explains why we do not do that. He said that seeing multiple events at once would literally drive a person insane. “Some people that meditate can abolish their sense of the present and in that condition you can see other moments in time. I think it is possible to see events in the future or past; I don’t think I’ve ever done it.”
Ever since Winslow left Epicure, his speakers have enjoyed limited success. He continues to design new speakers to this day. He believes they beat any other speaker in tern-is of quality, and many others agree with him. Kevin Hunt of the Chicago Tribune called one of his designs, the ZVOX, “the one box wonder,” and said it “belongs on the A-list.” Corey Greenberg of the Today Show on NBC said, “For $199 this blows away the sound that’s built into your TV.” The speakers amazed Francesco Casanova, a well known opera singer of the New York Metropolitan Opera. A friend of Winslow, Svetlana Rockwell, said, “I had literally never heard such amazing sounds coming from speakers before.” Winslow’s speakers obviously reside on the top of the list in terms of quality and value, so then why does he struggle to sell them? Being experienced in the industry, he knows the problem.
“The problem here is that the market doesn’t exist. Nobody’s willing to pay a high amount of money for high quality sound and most are not willing to discriminate for high quality sound because it’s a matter of convenience. It’s more convenient to listen to headphones or to small speakers. Another problem is that the wealth of the middle class is declining, as the socialists take over the government and tax people more.” Most of his sales in the seventies came from the middle class. During the Great Depression, people could only buy food and housing, but after the war economy the middle class earned much more money that they could use to spend on luxuries. “So my company, EPI, benefited on that burst.” Also, according to Winslow, the invention and adoption of the CD ruined the high end speaker industry because the low amount of quality in the CD made high quality speakers obsolete because no one could tell the difference. When I asked Winslow if he would continue with his quest to make the best speaker he can, he responded, “It’s my niche. There’s pretty much nothing else I can do.” Winslow sits upon a throne like a King, trapped in his own dying castle.
“When I found Dian it was guidance, I wasn’t looking for anyone and I didn’t think it was a good idea. I had just discovered guardian angels. My experience is if you follow the guidance, then your life is much more pleasant. That’s why I’m writing the book, to explain these ideas.” The book is titled How God Would Manage, and it explains Winslow’s beliefs on spirituality and the universe. So far, he has not experienced much luck finding a publisher; at the moment his only publishing option requires him to pay to publish the book. “I would do it if I had money, but I don’t.” I have read parts of this book of uncommon prayer, and understanding it proves no easy task. His wife enjoys a reasonable understanding of his theories. She said, “I used to wonder about reincarnation, but after Winslow explained to me that when you die your spirit is freed up to be in all three dimensions of time I did not think about that anymore. I really think he is right. I think his views on guardian angels are really accurate.” Most people would not retain much of the book, but if he could write it in such a way that they could, the book could quite possibly appear on the bestseller list. As organized religion is declining, people’s interest in spirituality soars higher and higher. They look to other ways of finding God and spirits; a book like How God Would Manage could really thrive in this environment.
“After my mother died I used to have glimpses of her or messages from her, and my interpretation of that has been that when she dies her consciousness is liberated from the timeline of her body. So she could look back or forward. So when she died she could put messages in the future for me to find.” Through multiple encounters with spirits and angels, Winslow has found the true meaning of life. As he said, “If you don’t believe in a spiritual part of the universe then you have no reason to live.” For Winslow, life has developed into so much more than a constant struggle to get ahead. Winslow got ahead, but he gave it all up.
Now, rather than running a major company, Winslow Burhoe plays tennis daily, supported by his two artificial knees. “I play for an hour then I am too tired to do anything else, so I spend the rest of the day resting.” He spends plenty of time, despite what he said about resting, in his basement building speakers. He also plays the piano and passes the time watching Fox News or listening to Rush Limbaugh on one of his new designs. From looking at Winslow, no one would guess that he founded a multi-million dollar speaker company, and even if he knew that, he would not guess that the purpose of the company was an evolutionary experiment. And even if someone knew all of that, he would not possibly guess that Winslow has been contacted by the divine. Even after knowing everything else about him, one would not think that he plays tennis every day. Looks can truly be deceiving.
Winslow lives a good life, governed by interests and ideals, rather than money and desire. Deceiving all the people around him, the words that come out of Winslow’s mouth can never be predicted. Despite what would look on the outside like a devastating story of betrayal, what happened with Winslow and Epicure actually proved to be a success, an accomplished goal. The company evolved and ousted their boss, a result Winslow saw as a discovery in the field of business evolution. This incredibly scientific discovery does not amount to Winslow’s major achievement in life, however. He has mingled with the divine, with guardian angels and spirits. Moreover, he has connected science and spirituality, two sworn enemies. By discovering the twenty-seven dimensions, he has found a place in science for spirits and angels to live. While this belief still requires faith as the main component, as all spiritual beliefs do, this major step could show meaning in life to non-believers.
Most people walk around with their heads in the dirt, drifting, trying desperately to make money so they can build a big house, buy a fancy car, and fly on a whim to Hawaii. Not
Winslow, Winslow walks with his head held high, knowing how the world works and what one needs to do in order to enjoy life. He lives with his wife Dian in a small town-house in Weston, drives a Honda pickup truck, and does not go on many vacations. But Winslow is richer than all these men, these drifters. He lives his life with meaning, and therefore a much higher value is placed on his life than on many others’. From looking at Winslow, he would appear to be just an average guy, but by travelling inside his mind, so much is hidden and waiting to be found.
Winslow constitutes a true man of deception.