Perspectives On The Current Global Crisis – A conversation with Ralph Metzner

Ralph latestIn this conversation with journalist Will Shonbrun, we first discuss at some length the current global crisis, in light of my writing in the revised edition of The Expansion of Consciousness.

We then discuss the most promising current research and application projects involving psychedelic drugs. The interview has been published on the website of Project Censored, founded by Peter Phillips.

Heart Medicine: A True Love Story – One Couple’s Quest for the Sacred Iboga Medicine & the Cure for Addiction

heartmedicine

By Elizabeth Bast.

Drug addiction is notoriously difficult to cure or even treat. Relapse rates are discouragingly high, as are mortality rates. Since all the addictive drugs are also illegal and possession can result in incarceration – the cards are stacked against addiction therapy. Into this toxic psychosocial mix comes the legendary central African plant root Tabernanthe iboga or its semi-synthetic derivative ibogaine, a powerful entheogen used in healing and initiation ceremonies in the Bwiti  cult. Uniquely among other psychedelic plants or substances, ibogaine has the capacity to actually block addictive cravings for long enough to permit an addict to re-establish a healthy connection with the core of their being – given appropriate guidance and support.  In the past twenty years or so, a number of healing centers offering ibogaine therapy for addiction have been established in  countries outside the US. What a karmic paradox: a potential cure for the addictions plaguing the urban West comes out of former slave colony states in central Africa!

Elizabeth Bast is a yoga teacher, temple dancer ritual performance artist and hierodule. Her partner Chor Boogie is a spray-paint artist whose brilliantly colored murals adorn public spaces in several continents. During their relationship he relapsed into a drug addiction he had left ten years before, coming close to death.  The couple went on a healing quest and found themselves in an iboga addiction treatment center in Costa Rica with a 10th generation Bwiti shaman from Gabon.  Both went through intense cleansing and truth-telling rituals, releasing deep pockets of shame, guilt and self-deception. This book tells their unique and inspiring story – a healing story for our troubled time – a story of courage, vision, truth and deep love. Available on Amazon.

Talk by Eben Alexander, MD On His Six-day Return Journey Beyond Death

This is a link to a one and a half hour lecture by Eben Alexander, MD, called “A Neurosurgeon’s Journey through the Afterlife.”  Dr. Alexander’s book, Proof of Heaven, on which his talk is based, has become an international best-seller.

He describes with great lucidity an out-of-body trip that lasted six days in real time, in which he was essentially brain-dead, having contracted a deadly virus that put him in a coma. However, contrary to medical and familial expectations, he returned to full consciousness, and has been describing, with great lucidity and passion, his journeys into the spiritual realms beyond death.

This book represents a major paradigm breakthrough toward the re-unification of the scientific worldview with ancient recognized truths of life beyond the veils of death.

Q and A with Ralph Metzner at CIIS – On Cannabis Prohibition

Transcription:

Question from Audience: Isn’t the present movement toward the legalization of Marijuana, an expansion of consciousness, evidence of the Octave continuing in a positive direction?

Ralph: Well, the octave thing is just a model, you know, and there’s lots of different factors at work. The situation is extremely complex. The legalization, or the partial legalization of a substance. Cannabis is an amazing substance. An ancient ancient healing plant. Not only healing but with many other virtues of consciousness expansion. There’s appetite stimulation. Medical applications. Very very ancient. Very potentially beneficial plant — That’s been illegal for 50 years. Why? It’s potentially also fantastically a money producing crop, you know. All kinds of applications in clothing and manufacturing, quite apart from it’s mind expanding properties. And yet why is it still illegal and treated like a drug with all these dangerous consequences, that have been demonstrated to be false many times over. You see.

So that’s an interesting sociological historical question. Obviously, there are interests at work that want to keep it that way. Probably, I can just guess, and your guess is as good as mine, it has to do with MONEY. There’s enormous amounts of money to be made, both illegally, in the production of this crop, by all kinds of international groups, and by the military-industrial police enforcement complex, in the enforcement of the prohibition. Just like (the same as) with alcohol prohibition, which was small potatoes compared to marijuana.

So…and in amongst all of that: professional, positive, therapeutic, beneficial, physically and emotional, psychologically beneficial healing plants. Not to mention recreational. I mean, after all, what’s wrong with recreation? And as a recreational drug, way way more safe, more valuable, more interesting and safer than the most popular recreational drug, alcohol, which is a “blah.” Except in moderate doses.

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.

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.

 

 

The Next System Project – Comprehensive Thinking About the State of the World

thenextsystemThis multi-year initiative brings together leading activists, scholars and policy systems thinkers to review long-term threats and concerns around economic inequality, ecological threats and political dysfunction.

More than 350 key institutional, academic and community leaders have joined Gar Alperovitz and Gus Speeth to launch this project and endorse its aims.

See thenextsystem.org to watch the launch video and add your name.

“Signaling the need for a serious national conversation about the deep long-term challenges facing the United States, including urgent needs to address compounding wealth inequality, avert looming environmental disaster, rebuild democratic governance and undo persistent racism and discrimination…”

In a paper on New Economic Possibilities for the 21st Century that can be found on this website the authors describe a number of the most innovative and creative alternative systemic approaches that they have identified. These include: worker-ownership and self-management, localism in food production, social democratic governance systems, participatory economic planning, “beyond growth” ecological economics, socialist-style reclaimed public ownership of public lands and assets, bioregionalism (my own favorite life-supporting systems approach to food and farming) and several others, with many variations.

Overall, this is a worthy set of initiatives into which to invest our creative and productive energy – a set of antidotes to the loss of hope and initiative that afflicts so many of our fellow citizens in all countries in view of the escalating planetary disasters looming before us.