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.

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


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.

Bill Moyers Explains How “Public Trust Litigation” Could Force the EPA and State and Federal Governments To Do Their Jobs

The non-profit organization “Our Children’s Trust”  has been spreading the word about a new version of an old idea that goes all the way back to the Civilization of Rome, the “Doctrine of Public Trust” (or “Public Trust Doctrine“) that states that the government is a trustee to protect these natural resources (air, water, land) to protect them, for this generation and many generations down the line.

Mary Christina Wood is a University of Oregon Law Professor that has modernized this theory, and published a book on it, “Nature’s Trust.” In it, she explains that it’s because the very government agencies that are supposed to protect our natural resources have been captured by corporate raiders and lobbyists that these agencies treat as clients rather than the polluters they are charged with regulating in the interests of the public.

According to Moyers, this concept, called “Public Trust Litigation” is catching on. As Wood explains in the video (at 2 min 19 sec):

“Every suit and every administrative petition filed in every state in the country and against the Federal Government asks for the same relief, and that is for the government, whether it’s the State of Tennessee, or the State of Oregon, or the Federal Government, to bring down Carbon Emissions in compliance with what scientists say is necessary to avert catastrophic climate change. And so, the remedy in the suits pending is for the courts to order a plan. Simply order the legislators and the agencies to do their job in figuring out how to lower carbon emissions. So the courts would not actually figure out how to do that, that’s the *other* (legislative) branch’s job. It’s just that they’re not doing it, and they probably won’t without pressure, before we pass crucial tipping points.”

Vandana Shiva comments on 2015 as the Year of the Soil

In Seeds and Soil vs. the Tyranny of Corporate Power: A 2015 Message of Hope, Dr. Vandana Shiva explains how “Seeds and Soil in 2015” is both a metaphorical mantra and a practical and very literal instruction. (See full transcript below.)

The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (UNFAO) has officially declared 2015 as the “International Year of the Soil,” and its instructions are both simple and imperative: We need to focus all of our energy on improving the soil quality of our planet, so that we may sustain life on this planet.

Dr. Shiva predicts that we will begin to witness key developments in the global fight to overthrow corporate power with true democracy. These reality-based developments have the potential to be shaped by the needs of ordinary citizens, rather than by corporate public relations campaigns and fabrications.

How can you help? (PDF) For one thing, you can spread the word that “Saving the Soil in 2015” is not a merely a holistic metaphor; Our soil is dying, and we will soon go with it, if we don’t act.

As Dr. Shiva explains on her website, we now find ourselves often fighting for the right to save and share seeds.

Other relevant books by Dr. Shiva include: Making Peace with the Earth, Soil Not Oil, and Earth Democracy.

From the article:

Though many recognize the FAO declaration as a largely symbolic gesture, many advocates of organic food and sustainable agricultural are planning to seize the designation as a way to push forth their message that the health of the planet’s soil should not be relegated as a metaphorical issue, but rather one that should be at the very heart of serious conversations and policy changes humanity must begin in order to transform its economic systems, its democracies, the way it generates power, and the way it feeds itself.

Full transcript of video:

Dear Friends,

I want to thank you for everything each of you has done throughout this year that has gone by. A year where we rolled back seed laws that would have made it illegal for gardeners and farmers to have access to their own variety of seeds, in Europe, in Colombia. A year where we celebrated in Indonesia the overruling of the arrest of famers for saving of seeds. It’s been a year where, the GMO industry got so desperate that they had to start putting out ads using our language, which shows that what we are saying about the joy of growing food, the joy of eating food, that’s what the future is all about. And we know that the corporations that have produced chemicals and GMOs cannot deliver their promise, even if they might create their ads. Most importantly, this is the year where, everywhere in the world, a phrase rang in resonance: that we are all seeds. That, for a while, we might lie underground, but at the right moment, we germinate and bust out with all of our potential. I want to greet you for the a year that is coming. A year that has been declared “The Year of Soil.”

A year where, the seeds we sew of hope and love, the seeds we sew of abundance and creativity, are the seeds that will multiply and show the way forward, not just to each of us, but to the reluctant world that continues to be blind. And, in the Year of Soil, let us celebrate the connections between Mother Earth and ourselves. We are, after all, made of the earth. We’re made of soil. Let us celebrate the 22nd of April which is now Mother’s Earth Day, as a commitment to protect her. As the famous writer, Alice Walker, said, “we now need to adopt the philosophy of “motherism,” where all of us become mothers to our Mother Earth, protecting her with love. And the seed is where that love begins. The seeds that she gives us, and we give back to her. The soil fertility that she creates, and we return to her. In the seed and the soil, we find answers to every one of the crises we face. The crisis of violence and war. The crisis of hunger and disease. The crisis of the destruction of democracy.

We will not allow corporations to allow everyone to believe that they are persons. Corporations are legal constructions. That’s where their place is. People, through democratic process, give permission to what activity is sustainable, what business activity is equitable. What big business activity respects with dignity the life of this planet, the life of all beings, and the life of all human beings.

When corporations start to sue states like Vermont or the County of Maui, because Maui said “we will be GMO-free” and Vermont said “we will know what we eat,” and they use the argument of Corporate Personhood, that is illusions reaching the highest pinnacle.

We are going to create a reality where reality rules. The reality of the ecological living processes of the planet. The reality of our own lives. The reality of democracy that we shape. This challenge of democracy is going to be the single biggest challenge throughout 2015. Let us stay united. Let us stay strong. Let us stay joyful.

Most importantly, since it’s the year of soil, let us recognize that in organic farming and ecological agriculture is the answer to the havoc that’s been created by fossil fuels. As I’ve written in “Soil not Oil,” in the soil are the answers to the problem that oil has created. The joint crises of climate change and biodiversity erosion can both be addressed by creating gardens everywhere full of biodiversity. Full of the celebration of life in well-being and abundance. Gardens of hope everywhere. Farms that give real food. We will continue to create the other world that we are sowing. Seed by seed. Inch by inch of soil. Person by person. Community by community. Till all of this planet is embraced in once circle of a resurgent life and resurgent love. We will not give up.

Kill the Messenger and CitizenFour: Two Powerful Historical-Political Films

Both of these films relate to historically important journalistic actions that pose radical challenges to the corruption of the existing political order. Both films came out this year, are currently in movie theaters and have been positively reviewed and received. The difference is that the events depicted in Kill the Messenger occurred in the 1990s and the film is a historical documentary of a story that is finished – whereas CitizenFour depicts actions that have occurred within this past year and a plot line that is currently continuing to unfold in real time, with as yet unknown, open-ended outcomes. Thus, I like to think that the production and release in theaters of these two films now represents a kind of concentration and sharpening of focus on political-historical realities – that portends positive developments. I recommend everyone sees them both.

killthemessengerKill the Messenger is an American drama thriller directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Peter Landesman. It is based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Schou and the book Dark Alliance by Gary Webb, who is the courageous and ultimately doomed hero of the film. (Nicholas Schou also wrote Orange Sunshine, a history of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.) Webb was the reporter for the San Jose-Mercury News who wrote a series of articles in 1996 about CIA involvement in cocaine trafficking in the US. Webb uncovered that Nicaraguans linked to the CIA-backed Contras were smuggling cocaine into the US to raise money for the Contras. Their smuggled cocaine fueled the crack epidemic sweeping through many US cities in the late 1990s.

According to Webb’s research and articles, the CIA and Reagan administration knew of the shipments of drugs into the US and shielded drug dealers from prosecution in order to help fund the contras. Webb convinced his editors to run his story, which was explosive. Initially hailed as a hero, Webb soon met with overwhelming skepticism. The New York Times and The Washington Post start picking at aspects of the story, and then attacking Webb himself. The movie depicts a media culture so embedded in the establishment that it doesn’t even have to be coerced into serving the interests of the powerful. Webb was reduced to write dog stories and the newspaper retracted major aspects of the story. Though his family remained supportive, two years later he committed suicide. Ten years later the CIA publically admitted Gary Webb’s revelations had essential been correct – but by then few people remembered what it was all about.

citizenfour_posterCitizenFour is a documentary in real time about Edward Snowden and his explosive revelations of the mass surveillance by the NSA and other intelligence agencies on millions of US and other citizens. The film is directed by Laura Poitras, one of the two journalists first selected by Snowden to publish his findings and features Snowden himself, filmed at first in Hong Kong and then after his flight into exile in Moscow.

It also features Glenn Greenwald, the other journalist, working for The Guardian, who lives in Brazil and who continues to publish stories based on the vast trove of documents Snowden extracted from the NSA. Greenwald wrote his own account of events in a book, No Place to Hide. The film also features short appearances from other whistle-blowers, including Julian Assange, and other journalists, such as The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill, who are publishing parts of the stories from the Snowden files.

Knowing that it was filmed in real time as the real events unfolded with uncertain outcomes makes watching the film an incredibly tense yet absorbing experience.  Nevertheless, listening to and watching Snowden calmly and sincerely expound to his journalistic allies on his reasons for doing what he did at enormous personal risk to his person – is an inspiring experience, giving one hope for the survival of the basic human instincts for respecting the liberties of one another.


Richard Heinberg On The Implications of Russian Sanctions

Here's a link to a great short post from Richard Heinberg from the
Post-Carbon Institute – shedding a little common sense into the 
sound and fury against the evil Putin. Ha!

New Russia Sanctions: Washington, Delusional About US Energy Capacity, Lashes Out
by Richard Heinberg for the Post Carbon Institute (Posted Jul 30, 2014)

From the article:

The New York Times reports that “The United States and Europe kicked off a joint effort on Tuesday intended to curb Russia’s long-term ability to develop new oil resources.” The new sanctions would deny Russia access to western technology needed to access polar oil and deepwater oil, as well as tight oil produced by hydrofracturing and horizontal drilling.

It’s good to know that a lot of Russian oil is likely to stay in the ground rather than being burned in Russian, Chinese, and European car and truck engines, adding to global climate change. But that’s not really the intent of the sanctions; evidently the purpose is merely to punish Vladimir Putin for resisting Western attempts to surround his nation with NATO bases and missiles. For some reason intelligible only to neoconservatives, nuclear-armed Washington seems intent on provoking a major confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. As justification, we Americans are told in no uncertain terms that Russia was behind the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17—despite a remarkable lack of actual evidence to that effect (as veteran journalist Robert Parry points out here).

Selected Clips From Russian Video Interview

These are selections from an interview for Russian Television recorded in Sonoma, California, in Fall 2013.

russian blog pic

Ways to incorporate what you learn during your “trip” into everyday life:

How it’s time to reconsider reincarnation, and the likelihood of there being some form of being that exists after the death of our physical bodies:

The 1960’s – birth of the ecology movement (“Silent Spring”), Women’s Equality movement and anti-war movements, civil rights movements and the hidden role of psychedelics:

New research on the potential benefits of psychedelics in the treatment of PTSD, accepting a terminal illness, alcoholism, and others:

Changes of world view in the 1960s and how war is basically the breakdown of civilization:

Learning to navigate states of consciousness for learning, healing and resolving conflict and interpersonal conflict:

Expanded States of Consciousness – with or without drugs:

Fight or Flight and Toxic Responses and the importance of Set and Setting:

Ayahuasca, Spirits and Multidimensionality:

Politics, Society and Community:

“Omens For Our Planetary Future” – from “Spirit Soundings” CD: