Seeking to Empower Humanity with the Perspective to Manifest Evolutionary Change Everywhere

In the last few decades, it has become increasingly clear that humanity is facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. The problems that stand in the way are not of economical or technological nature. The deepest sources of the global crisis lie inside the human personality and reflect the level of consciousness evolution of our species.

- Dr. Stanislav Grof

Monday, December 5, 2011

Going Forward from Here, Now

I have to confess, I've been holding out on all of you a little.

The postings are coming fast and thick... but just not on this little segment of the internet. I am weighing what this platform will offer going forward, but in the meantime, I've created a new one in line with one of the branches of my own Manifestation of Change and Evolution of our collective consciousness. That can be found here:

Different fare from what you've generally found here, but writing that I can say without reservation is prescient, genuine, and meaningful. Its a platform focused on ins and outs of our collective manifestation of the world yet to come, the one emerging from the great cosmic dream we all partake in.

(Yeah, really, I just wrote that. In case you weren't following along at home, this writer is a tad bit outside the mainstream. ;-) )

I've been musing about the implications and ACTUAL impact of the Occupy movement frequently, from a perspective you DEFINITELY won't get from many other sources. So if you're looking at a Shamanic take on the upcoming socioeconomic apocalypse that this nation seems hellbent on rushing into, then dive RIGHT in.

"It's only after disaster that we can be resurrected. Its only after we've lost Everything that we're free to do Anything."

Much Love,


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Your AAA Touring Guide to Burning Man... or, Burning through Bull

Ah, the days finally came when the mainstream media caught on to the existence of Burning Man.

How typical the reaction.

Countercultural experiment. Hedonistic "festival". Art and Music "festival". Disneyland for adults. An event run by an exploitative for-profit. "Burning Man goes mainstream!" A hippie extravaganza.

From the mainstream press propaganda, you'd think that a bunch of loser hippie wannabees gather suicidally in the desert to act weird, stupid and everything in between.

But wait! Could it be possible that the public that isn't already familiar with what Burning is might be being misled? Gasp!

Then what oh what could this satanist gathering* on a salt flat be?


The Man that Burns. Literally, a tall wooden effigy of a hominid male that is lit on fire by humans, who gather and share the experience of standing around something they created so that they could destroy it together.

THAT is Burning Man. Shockingly simple, I know - and surprisingly devoid of lights, music, costumes, drugs, nudity, sex, police, alcohol, etc. etc. etc. In other words, devoid of all the things that the mainstream media, having decided to finally care about Burning Man this year, has used to sensationalize (and therefore stereotype) the event.

And those things you read and see about ARE happening, have no doubt. But the point of the event, from its humble beginnings on a beach in San Francisco twenty-five some odd years, is nothing more than just that simple first paragraph.

Yet what is truly remarkable is how powerful such a simple act can be. For in that space, where we share an immediate moment like watching something burn, we create an instant human community that unlocks the most primal aspects in all of us: that of sitting around a fire and simply being human together.

And that is the kernel from which the most remarkable human experimental community in recorded history has come about; a celebration of the immediacy, honesty, compassion and expression that comes standard with every model of homo sapiens sapiens. Features that our modern hyper-rational, alienated society has seemed to forgotten or strives to actively repress.

So how do you go from a handful of people standing on a beach in San Fran watching a jumble of logs burn to a 50,000 person experiential event in the exact middle of nowhere? What the hell could attract so many people to an admittedly barren wasteland to spend time with other people of equal or greater questionable mental health?**

Perhaps the simplicity of creating and participating in a community that Tolerates, Accepts, Explores, Respects and Creates?

Because that is the simplicity of the attraction - as powerful and potentially life-changing as it can be for the many that attend it and that have attended it in the past. When we as humans gather together voluntarily - when we allow ourselves to be challenged by nature in the raw - when we create and share for the purpose of destruction - we engage with our own fundamental humanity. Something that our sheltered, individuated, consumption-driven, cut-throat, repressed culture has strayed too far away from.

People come for thousands and tens of thousands of miles to ultimately stand on the dried bed of a salt lake to watch a tall wooden effigy burn after a week of trying to reconnect with what it means to be human BECAUSE Being Human has become a challenge, if not an impossibility, in our "normal lives".

That's why they Burn. That's why I Burn. So remember that when you read the spin, the slant and the stereotypes in your paper, online and watch it on TV.

And whenever you want to come and engage with Being Human again, you're always welcome.


*Its actually not satanist. That's a joke. The nearby residents, before they decided that the loved Burning Man, were afraid that it was a satanist gathering... approximately twenty years ago.

**Actually, the vast majority of people that are there are quite responsible - mainly because they have to be as a requirement to survive in the desert. In fact, quite a few attendees are people of significant responsibility out "in the real world" - people that keep you safe, run your businesses and schools and keep society functioning. It is possible to attend Burning Man and be a pillar of the community; shocking as that may seem to certain Puritanical sensibilities.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Medicine as medicine - Psychadelics and Healing

In case you had not seen: Michael and Annie Mithoefer, a psychiatric couple in South Carolina, are using MDMA (i.e. E, Ecstasy or Molly) to treat veterans who are the victims of PTSD.

I for one, applaud the courage of these and other therapists in trying to offer their patients an effective remedy and therapy approach to cure, and not just treat, their illness (which seems to be the current vogue in the medical industry). And while I am not without certain reservations, it must be said that its extremely encouraging to see the practicioners of Western psychological medicine finally using the right tools for the job, as opposed to simply doping up and keeping down their clients.

Yes, that's right - I did just say the RIGHT tool for the job. MDMA, Ibogaine, and even LSD, had been used successfully to treat depression, addiction and psychological trauma between their discovery and their criminalization, with a handful of extremely brave therapists such as the Mithoefers continuing to use it despite the bureaucratic and legal hurdles that exist to keep some of the most potent tools in their arsenal out of the hands of health care professionals.

And this is truly no surprise because ethneogens such as these, in addition to others such as psilocybin, salvia divinorum, amanita muscaria and many others have been the tools of treating and curing psychological maladies by another mental health professional - one that preceded the doctor of the industrial era. I refer, of course, to the shaman.

Shamanism has been around for a long while. Tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of years. There are many ways to describe it (not all of which that would promote understanding to those not already familiar with it), but from my own shamanic experiences I find that its best understood as a toolkit. A toolkit that allows for engaging with the Universe spiritually as much as a means of digging into the labyrinthine passageways of the human consciousness. Traditionally, shamans were viewed as healers and intermediaries with the Spirit world whose responsibility it was to find cures for the sick and to guide people out of the dark and awful places they might find themselves in life.

One of the important elements of the toolkit that shamans almost universally had at their disposal to successfully help others was some form of psychedelic or psychoactive plant or substance (Medicine, if you will), which either the shaman would take to garner insights into treatment, or that would be applied to the patient in order to facilitate the action necessary to address the underlying causes of the affliction. This isn't very surprising in many ways, because psychedelic substances activate portions of the brain that are often relegated to unconscious or subconscious processes - allowing the participant in such experiences to review memories, feelings and perspectives that might have been blocked or disassociated due to psycho-emotional trauma.

What's truly fascinating and encouraging about the Mithoefer's approach to the administration of the medicine is just how similar it truly is to the approach of the shaman. The patient is given the Medicine, and the practicioner keeps them under observation; only interacting when it would seem fruitful and giving the patient the space needed to engage in therapeutic introspection. The patient is ultimately the prime mover of their own engagement with their trauma, and empowers them (with the support of the practicioner) to confront and move past the demons that haunt them. In shamanic parlance, such an approach is called "holding space". In Western psychiatric terms, the Mithoefers refer to what they do as a "treatment session".

Different terms, similar results. BUT.

But there are still areas of concern here, particularly in the length engagement with the patient, which in comparison shamanic practice exhibits a far greater maturity of approach to the healing process. No medicine, even powerful ones such as psychedelics, is a cure-all. Such treatment is most effective only in combination with a full gamut of therapies and engagement that can last years.

And this ties directly into my most significant concern about the "rediscovery" of psychedelics as tools of psychological healing. Namely, that Western medicine is far FAR too quick to rely on pharmalogical/chemical quick fixes rather than the deeper (and proven) psycho-spiritual transformation that systems like shamanism have focused on. I fear that the overarching immaturity and irresponsibility of modern Western psychology will trend towards handing out powerful pychoactive substances like candy, leaving as many broken and incompletely healed people in its wake as it does now - but instead of numbing them with antidepressants or antipsychotics, destabilizing and disabling them.

As if to drive this point of intense concern home is this terrifying statement from the article: "Therapeutic psychedelia is a great, beautiful orchard filled with ripe fruit for picking.” As long as Western science and medicine cling to views such as this about such powerful substances, there will always be the high probability of their abuse and misuse - not just by the common citizenry, but by the so-called experts who claim to act with the best of intention.

At the end of the day, treating and healing psychological pain are two different but interrelated efforts. The crisis we confront today in mainstream Western medicine is that it only seems to care about the former and has forgotten the relevancy of the latter. As a result, its no surprise that so many people are turning away from the "norm" to alternatives that offer hope (some genuine, some deceitful) of the latter. Its for this reason that even mainstream research is looking into the impact that these powerful Medicines have. The tools of the mainstream are failing to deliver - something new must be tried. But different tools don't matter if the overall approach of the system stays the same.

But then again, as the old saying goes - you can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people ALL the time. Any system that ceases to deliver on the most basic of its expectations can not seriously expect to persist indefinitely. And in an era such as ours, when so many people suffer so much, do we have the luxury of subsidizing such an approach?

I do not believe we can.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Charting the collapse of the American Imperium

Suppose it were assumed true that the United States of America was reaching the end of its effective life as as a functional, coherent and organized political unit. What would the implications be? Globally? And for us as individuals?

If such a statement seems alien to you, I would HIGHLY recommend you spend time re-evaluating your world view. Because at the moment of history in which we are currently co-occupying, such a scenario is straying out of the realms of fiction and into the realms of probability. As the US of A confronts a crippling level of debt, mandated cuts in military spending, increasing restrictions of civil liberties in the name of national security, a withdrawal from the hot zones of conflict across the Middle East under the auspices of "mission accomplished" and an increasing amount of sectarian unrest at home (driven by insurmountable social and fiscal differences) - it becomes necessary to objectively review the implications of a world where America is not only no longer a superpower, but is actually non-existent IN TOTO.

Why? One need only look at the sister nations throughout history that share the model that America has so remarkably capitalized upon - and the two most enduring lessons stem from the Roman Empire and from the USA's erstwhile enemy: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Rome is actually an amazingly pertinent comparison, although the troubles that confront the US today confronted Rome in two parts - first the death of the Roman Republic and its replacement by "benevolent" despotism under a series of emperors, and finally the violent, brutal and ultimately cataclysmic destruction of the Roman Empire (at least the original Western half of it) some four hundred years later.

Stop me if you've heard this before: a young and aggressively expansionistic nation founded originally as a colony by an older and more "civilized" culture creates a myth of its own destiny and through good morals, hard-work, business acumen and military innovation manages to create a large, multi-ethnic power that prides itself on its adherence to justice, the exercise of popular power and its ability to bring the light of progress and civilization to the dark corners of the world. And then after centuries becomes corrupt, lazy, elitist - dominated by special interest groups, crippled by legislative inertia and in-fighting and a massive split between two mutually exclusive social groups whose ideological conflict is unresolvable through democratic processes.

(p.s. I'm talking about Rome here - and certainly NOT the U.S.A... *wink*)

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi - Thus Passes the Glory of the World. In this case, the Roman Republic. Now fast forward. Now we have a tired, over-extended military power facing massive deficits, unemployment, an over-bloated bureaucracy, an overwhelming amount of illegal and semi-legal foreigners who "put hard-working citizens out of work" by working for less, and undermine the cultural norms and language of the nation. Wars rage everywhere, mainly against under-privileged outsiders jealous of the empire's success, who launch assault after assault against the crumbling nation. Loyalties are divided, the people are apathetic and uninvolved as responsible citizens, civil conflict rages, the economy crumbles, inflation spirals out control - and inevitably central power collapses entirely and regional and local authority asserts itself.

Do I speak of Rome at the destruction of the Western Empire during the 5th century, or do I speak of the years to come for the US?

Or, if I have not driven the comparison home enough - let us review the last years of the Soviet Empire. The USSR was for decades a stalwart bulwark of Communist ideology, and the philosophical and political antipode to the US. America feared and hated the threat the USSR posed: its ideology, its national agenda, its brutal economic efficacy ("we shall bury you!" was not an idle threat in 1956), its weaponry and its geopolitical machinations. It was an enemy that, it was assumed, was going to last for generations (as Arthur C. Clarke's "2010" taught us).

And yet how quickly the dragon was dispatched. In 1979, at the start of the Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan, the USSR could potentially lay claim to having an upper-hand on the US geo-politically, and perhaps even militarily. A decade year later, as the Soviet Army limped out of Afghanistan, the USSR was economically broken, politically divided, militarily outmaneuvered, increasingly isolated internationally and confronting internal dissent unseen in decades. Three short years later (as of Dec. 31, 1991), the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ceased to exist as an entity.

While historical correlations are no definite precursor to predicting the future, it must be emphasized that when large, complex, pluralistic states such as Rome and the USSR face the sort of challenges that the US faces, the centrifugal social forces constantly at play in such societies have a strong tendency to cause them to fly to pieces in times of intense crisis. Why? Well - consider what holds the US together - is it religion, ethnic identity, clan loyalties or a shared popular myth?


Ultimately, it is a matter of a nebulous sense of "Americanness" derived from very definite expectations of economic and political privilege. We implicitly assume that as Americans we will have a fundamentally better chance economically than people who live elsewhere, and enjoy a higher level of social and political freedoms. An America failing to deliver on those expectations due to a fiscal down-spiral, economic disparity, bureaucratic strangling, political dis-empowerment, lagging innovation, the revocation of civil liberties, and collapsing military hegemony abroad is an America increasingly in danger of its citizenry weighing the pros and cons of on-going participation in the Great Experiment that this nation really is.

Much like the citizens of Rome and the Soviet Union who confronted the same hard realities as their states withered from an incompetent and ineffectual leadership that no longer understood the intangibility of "Roman-ness", or "Soviet-ness" that motivated the citizenry to maintain and protect the state: likewise, the citizens of this country must also confront what "American-ness" actually means to them in their lives, and consider the consequences of maintaining that identity, or choosing to redefine themselves. Ultimately, that choice is driven by a sense of expectation of the capacity of the individual and the group to create a better situation for themselves. If it is in our benefit to maintain "America" or is it better to seek a new path?

And if America and its leadership does not awaken to that blunt truth and strive to create new possibilities for individual and social improvement, they can only realistically expect the same fate that befell the echelons of power that held sway in our two test studies.

Transform, or be swept away by the tides of history.