Richard Wolff on the Greek and European Economic Crisis

Here’s the best analysis I’ve seen of the current economic catastrophe happening in Greece and the rest of Europe. It’s from Richard Wolff, an American economics professor and an avowed Marxist – one of the very few in the US. He does weekly radio commentaries on current economic events on KPFA, which are very insightful, and has two websites of his own: http://www.rdwolff.com  and  http://www.democracyatwork.info.

Appropriately and necessarily, Wolff provides a Marxist historical perspective, situating the current Greek crisis in the history other economic crises in Europe over the 20th century, including how Germany was bailed out of total collapse after WWII, when the Western powers simply cancelled all its accumulated wartime debt – allowing it a fresh start, which was then lauded an “economic miracle”.
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32380-deja-vu-germany-tightens-its-economic-power-over-europ

Alongside the Greeks, many other Europeans now grasp what awaits them too in the “unified Europe” that German leaders are constructing and using. Yet the Portuguese, Irish, Spanish, Italian and other poorer (relative to Germany and France) people want a differently unified Europe. With troubling historical echoes, German leaders once again seek to force a particular kind of capitalist unity onto Europe. The weapons this time are economic and political instead of military, but they too provoke
resistance. Europe risks severe divisions and disunity with serious ramifications for the world.

German capitalism in its way replicates the fundamental mistake of capitalists elsewhere. It does not know how or when to stop overstepping the limits of what the rest of society will endure and allow. No matter whether opposition comes from Greeks suffering absurd privations, from Germany’s only real opposition party, Die Linke, from Pope Francis or from rising questions and challenges of capitalism per se around the world, German capitalism pushes ahead oblivious. It ignores especially its own past lessons about recasting internal economic problems as the fault of other, lesser people who deserve harsh punishment. Europeans everywhere recoil, again, from German foreign economic policies and their modes of articulation. Their worries about the sort of European unity Germany’s economic dominance will yield are changing into opposition and resistance. Something ominous is underway, and the unfolding Greek tragedy-cum-resistance expresses it profoundly.

MindSpace and TimeStream – Understanding and Navigating Your States of Consciousness – Talk at IONS in Tuscon, October 2

Ralph_300I will be giving a presentation at IONS in Tuscon, on October 2, 2015.

Title: Understanding and Navigating Your States of Consciousness
Date: Friday, October 2, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Open to the Public
Suggested Donation: $5

Location:
Unity of Tucson, 3617 N. Camino Blanco off River between Swan & Craycroft

MindSpace and TimeStream – Understanding and Navigating Your States of Consciousness

Each state of consciousness that we experience, ranging from the familiar states of waking, sleeping, dreaming and meditating, to the expansive spiritual states of psychedelic explorers, meditators, mystics and mediums, has its own distinctly different mind-space and time-stream. We need to learn how to use expansive, positive states and intentionally focused states of concentration for spiritual growth, self-healing and creative expression.  And we need to learn how to navigate, with therapeutic and meditative help,  out of the contractive, unhealthy states of fear and rage, addictions and compulsions, into healthier, life-affirming states.

Bio statement:
Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. is a recognized pioneer in psychological, philosophical and cross-cultural studies of consciousness and its transformations. He collaborated with Leary and Alpert in classic studies of psychedelics at Harvard University in the 1960s, co-authored The Psychedelic Experience and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. He is a psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus at the California Institute
of Integral Studies, where he was also the Academic Dean for ten years in the 1980s. His books include The Unfolding Self, The Well of Remembrance, Green Psychology, The Expansion of Consciousness, Alchemical Divination and Mind Space and Time Stream. He co-authored, with Ram Dass, a memoir of the 1960s,  Birth of a Psychedelic Culture. He is the editor of two collections of essays on the pharmacology, anthropology and phenomenology of ayahuasca and of psilocybin mushrooms. He is also the president and co-founder of the Green Earth Foundation, dedicated to healing and harmonizing the relations between humanity and the Earth.

Website: Green Earth Foundation Website.

New Edition of “Zig Zag Zen” Just Published

zigzagzenI have a Chapter in the lavishly illustrated new edition of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, which has just been published by Synergetic Press.

Zig Zag Zen contains an expanded display of stunning visionary artwork including new pieces from Alex Grey, Android Jones, Sukhi Barber, Ang Tsherin Sherpa, and Amanda Sage, as well as the work renowned modernists Robert Venosa, Mark Rothko, Robert Beer, Francesco Clemente, and others.

The book includes new essays on ayahuasca’s unique influence on Zen Buddhism, a recent interview with Rick Doblin, founder of MAPS, my essay  “New Look at the ‘Psychedelic Tibetan Book of the Dead,'” and a public dialogue on mixing dharma and psychedelics, with James Fadiman and Zen monk, Kokyo Henkel.

“Entheogens have entered Buddhism to stay; there can be no turning back from the point that has been reached. Nor can the issue any longer be swept under the rug. The facts that bear on the matter are contained in these pages, as are the leading theories that try to make sense of the facts. Compelling visionary art and vivid accounts of personal encounters lace the facts and theories together in ways that make for a gripping experience. This book will be a landmark for years to come.” – From the Preface by Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions.

Foreword by Stephen Batchelor  |  Preface by Huston Smith
Allan Badiner, Editor  |  Alex Grey, Art Editor

From a Review of Zig Zag Zen by “Harvard Psychedelic Club” Author Don Lattin:

The psychotherapist Ralph Metzner pens another one of this edition’s original essays: “A New Look at the Psychedelic Tibetan Book of the Dead.” He is the author (along with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert) of the influential 1964 book The Psychedelic Experience, a manual on how to take an LSD trip. Metzner, Leary, and Alpert based their tripping manual on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, a self-styled English translation of texts popularized by the American Theosophist W.Y. Evans-Wentz, first published in 1927. Whether or not The Tibetan Book of the Dead reflects ideas that are authentically Tibetan or Buddhist, Metzner and his coauthors helped establish the idea that a psychedelic drug trip was another route to the mystical insights one could achieve—with much more work—through the discipline of Buddhist meditation.

 

 

Workshop on September 16th at California Institute of Integral Studies

Photo of Ralph Metzner with hand on chin

I’ll be putting on a workshop at the California Institute of Integral Studies in September.

When: September 16, Wednesday, 2015   

Time: 7pm

Where: Namaste Hall – 3rd Floor

California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 575-6100

Tickets: http://www.ciis.edu/Public_Programs/Public_Programs_Events/Metzner_FA15.html

“Ralph Metzner: A Celebration of His Recent Writings”

Join us as Dr. Ralph Metzner discusses his three new books published this year.

The first is Allies for Awakening – Guidelines for Productive and Safe Experiences with Entheogens, a distillation of his 50 years of experience in the international underground sub-culture of consciousness-expanding substances. It is also, he says, “my last book on drugs.” The second work is The Expansion of Consciousness, in a new edition with a revised essay on “Transformations of Collective Consciousness: An Octave of World History from 1945 to 2001.”  The third is Diving for Treasures, his first collection of poetry. Come celebrate the prolific and influential writings and work of one of the most prominent thinkers in consciousness studies.

Allies for Awakening_coverAllies for Awakening: Guidelines for Productive and Safe Experiences with Entheogens

ExpCon_CoverRev2015The Expansion of Consciousness – Revised Edition

diving for treasure_cover

Diving for Treasures

Thich Nhat Hanh On the Liberating Effect of Accepting the Possible Destruction of Civilization

In this Youtube interview, Canadian environmentalists David Suzuki and Jim Hoggan lay out the dire situation with public apathy, in both Canada and the United States, over the state of the environment and apparent ignorance of the seriousness of our situation.

The Vietnamese Buddhist meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh listens carefully to their analysis of the situation and then says calmly and forcefully – “You have to accept that this civilization can be destroyed. Not by something outside, but by ourselves. Many civilizations have been destroyed in the past, and it may take a million years to re-create another one on this planet.”

Thich Nhat Hanh then goes on to explain that if you allow despair to take over, you have no strength to do anything at all. But if you practice meditation so that you have peace in yourselves, becoming free of despair and anger, recognizing that even if civilization is destroyed, you can accomplish something.

The Salt of the Earth – An Astonishing New Film About the Tragedy and Beauty of Our Planet – and A Mysterious Saying of Jesus


This amazing film, playing in theaters now, is a documentary about the life and work of the great Brazilian photographer and photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado, who is now in his 70s.

The film was made by German avant-garde filmmaker Wim Wenders together with Salgado’s son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. The trio visit many of the places in the world Sebastiao had photographed (all in black and white only) and accompany him on his photo shoots, asking him questions, eliciting his reflections.

Salgado had originally studied to be an economist – he earned a Ph.D. in economics – and has a deep understanding of the conditions that result in the environmental disasters and accompanying social disruptions of war, violence, starvation, exploitation and genocide. In the film, the authors intercut Salgado’s images, many of which are emotionally devastating to see, with his reflections on what he sees and documents. These reveal him to be a deeply compassionate witness of the “heart of darkness” in the human presence on this Earth. Not only disasters of war and destruction attract his attention but as an inveterate traveler the inhabitants of the remotest regions of the Earth – the Sahel, the Arctic, the deep rain-forest – where he would often spend many months, documenting not only the place but the people of the place, especially the children.

In the middle of his life Salgado seemed to have reached a turning point, where he could no longer tolerate witnessing and documenting the awesome and brutal destructiveness of human beings towards life. He stopped being a disaster photographer and became a nature photographer – accompanied by his son, one of the two film-makers of this documentary.  Here he revels in the magnificent color and beauty of plants and animals of all kinds, and the ordinary people in their mode of being living close to nature, as the “Salt of the Earth”.

He and his wife had inherited a piece of land in his native Brazil that had been completely denuded of plant life and deteriorated soil in his absence of many years as a global traveler (also because he was fleeing political repression in Brazil). They decided to restore the land with irrigation and ecological restoration practices, thereby in a dozen years or so generating a luxurious farm with greenhouses, producing food and produce in abundance and beauty.

The Sermon on the MountCarl Bloch, 1890

Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch

“Salt of the Earth” is a mysterious phrase that scholars have puzzled over. It occurs in one of the sayings of Jesus – in the Sermon of the Mount, (Matthew 5, 13) where Jesus is addressing his disciples, calling them “salt of the Earth”, but warning them, in the next line, “if the salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of man.”

In the immediately following verse, Jesus gives a second metaphor to describe his disciples: “Ye are the light of the Earth. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hid.”

In ancient times, before the advent of refrigeration, salt was of course the main means of preserving food like meat and fish, and bringing out the flavor of food.  Salt was also a necessity in lands far from the sea, where the salt essential to human health and diet needed to be carried from afar. Salt or saltiness is that quality that preserves and brings out the life-force and zest in a situation or event.  “Salt” is also symbolically a  quality of skeptical realism, as in the expression to take an idea or information “with a grain of salt.”  Perhaps the Master Jesus is saying to his disciples that unless you can convey the new teaching of salvation with  excitement  and zest, but also with down to earth realism, you might as well forget it – you won’t convey its real value.

New Book of Poetry: Diving For Treasures

diving for treasure_cover

Diving For Treasures

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D.

Paperback book $15 signed by the author Add to Cart

These poems were written over a period of about 30 years, in the course of my travels in America and Europe, teaching courses and workshops in consciousness expansion, meditation, psychedelics, shamanism, alchemy and emerging new worldviews.

Some of these poems were recorded on a spoken voice CD called Spirit Soundings with sonic and musical accompaniment by Kit Walker and friends. The Song of the Pearl is my adaptation of a 5th century Gnostic hymn describing the soul’s journey from incarnation, through birth and growth, and ultimate return to the origin.

Epilog I: Gnostic Themes in The Song of the Pearl
Epilog II: The Road to Language
Epilog III: A Riddle with Six Answers

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