Watch this trailer for the super inspirational, award-winning documentary on the life of Avatar Adi Da Samraj, called Conscious Light, which you can now watch online.
Drawing on an extensive archival collection of film, photography, and audio recordings, as well as interviews with students who lived with Adi Da and practice his teachings, Conscious Light takes the viewer on a journey from Adi Da’s birth through his thirty-six years of teaching to the legacy and relationship that remains after his passing. Conscious Light offers a penetrating glimpse into Adi Da’s work to establish a way of ultimate spiritual realization for everyone.
The film also captures candid, often humorous, and spiritually profound exchanges between Avatar Adi Da and his students over the course of more than three decades, including transcendent moments of sublime silence and spiritual transmission. Viewers are drawn into a deeply intimate experience of Avatar Adi Da’s living spiritual presence.
I’m taking time off writing a long and frustrating essay to review a film I saw last night, Netflix’s popular Don’t Look Up. Spoiler alert! Maybe best to watch it first.
In the film, a planet-killing comet is headed toward earth. The world responds mostly with disbelief. Humanity lowers its eyes onto its cellphone screens, memes, celebrity news, and political spectacles, avoiding the truth of what science is plainly telling them. There is a chance to deflect the comet—but will humanity be able to unite in the seriousness of that task enough to actually accomplish it?
The film is one on level a hilarious portrait of our society at its most superficial. Its supporting characters are comically and deliberately overdrawn—but not so much that we cannot recognize their type among our public figures. Its portrayals of media and social media silliness likewise elicit uncomfortable laughter, uncomfortable because they need to exaggerate so little.
Beyond the comedic level are two layers of allegory, one social, one spiritual. What is the real-life equivalent of a planet-killing comet certain to hit the earth? What is the threat that scientists keep warning us about? That a large minority of the public disbelieves? The obvious candidate is climate change. As in the film, powerful financial interests, especially in extractive industries, seek to turn the threat to their own advantage, even at the cost of worsening the threat.1 As in the film, politicians twist the warnings of scientists into politically advantageous narratives. As in the film, the public continues blithely to live life as normal, as if nothing bad were happening. They continue to do so until the crisis literally stares them in the face.
Here the analogy wavers. For one thing, climate change is not a discrete event that a simple Newtonian calculation can locate in time. Nor does it admit to a one-shot solution such as deflecting a comet with nukes, which would allow the rest of life to proceed as normal. There is no single cause of the climate crisis—notwithstanding the obsession with reducing it to a matter of greenhouse gases.2 On this level, the film tries to fit a complex problem into a simplifying single-cause, single-response template. If only the future hung on just one threat. If only that threat came from outside ourselves. If only it could be met with force.
Today in particular the film’s background theme of “we should’ve listened to the scientists” rings hollow. In early 2020, government leaders took the dire warnings of vocal scientists very seriously and implemented authoritarian lockdown and quarantine policies. The scientists warned of tens of millions of deaths and the complete collapse of the healthcare system. These predictions turned out to be off by an order of magnitude. Then, the voice of the scientific establishment heralded mass vaccination as the solution to the crisis, assuring us that it would deflect the comet from Earth. Many of us did not believe them. Are we ignorant boobs like the public in Don’t Look Up? Or is it that we intuit what the public eventually wakes up to: “They’ve been lying to us.”
Recent developments indicate the latter.3 It is as if in the film the comet misses Earth and instead enters into orbit. Only a few fragments hit the ground, causing moderate damage. The government sustains the fear by warning the whole comet might plunge to earth at any time. It sends one array after another of nuclear devices to prevent that from happening (with great profit to their manufacturers). The first didn’t do the job—a booster is needed. And meanwhile, the radioactive fallout is causing more damage than the comet did.
Luckily, there is much more to this layered, inventive film than moralizing “we should have listened to the scientists.” That is more a trope than its main message. Its main message is timeless and timely, foreshadowed throughout the film before emerging powerfully in the last ten minutes.
You see, there is another level of allegory in the film, more intimate than climate change and more indubitable. What is this comet, come unerringly to obliterate the world? The comet is our own death, each and every one of us. While we cannot normally predict its precise timing, it is both inevitable and closes at hand. In the end, we realize: there never was that much time. Each person and each moment was precious. Like the silly people in the film, we obscure that preciousness with a parade of inanities, pretending until death stares us in the face that life isn’t finite. We, like they, are absorbed by a fake reality from which we rarely look up. Only when they actually saw the comet near at hand did they finally believe it for real, just as the reality of our own mortality truly sinks in when we have a brush with death or are present at the death of a loved one.
And what did the main characters do, when the reality of certain death sank in? They had a family dinner. They did mundane, human things—what else is there to do? Yet every moment was infused with intimacy and illuminated by grace. So it is for any of us when death makes its presence known. We don’t stop doing human things. We attend to the details of material life as before—again, what else is there to do?—but what was always mundane becomes now sacred too.
The knowledge of death restores the intimacy and grace that modern life so sorely lacks. That lack takes cinematic form in the vapid, cartoonish supporting characters of Don’t Look Up so that the remedy stands out all the more sharply.
The illness seeks medicine. We have long been hungry for an existential crisis (Y2K, Peak Oil, climate change, etc.), not only to bring us together in unity of purpose but to wake us up to what’s real.
Every alarmist prediction and every disaster film carries this truth: “We are all going to die.” Disaster movies appeal to us precisely because we so desperately need to see that. The technological recklessness that repeatedly courts calamity, poisoning earth, water, body, and genome, destroying global ecosystems, flirting with nuclear holocaust, happens in obliviousness to the preciousness of what it threatens. What medicine can deliver us from the madness swirling around civilization’s central void? (The void of sense and meaning that colors our grandest ambitions with a tinge of superficiality.) It isn’t just a news story that we need. That is secondary. We long to reconnect to the truth beyond the veil of death-denial.
The comet, therefore, represents not just doom, but for deliverance. The ego’s attempts to avoid death, whether through its own delusions or vain pursuits of actual longevity or immortality, are as hopeless as the scheme in the film to deflect the comet. Facing death in truth, we know there is something more important than avoiding it. It is to live well, in intimacy and grace. That is why Professor Mindy refused a seat on the escape ship.
Don’t Look Up brings to mind another film that explores a similar theme. It is Lars von Trier’s sublime masterpiece Melancholia, also about a huge asteroid on a collision course with Earth. It depicts the severe depression of a young woman who would rather withdraw from life entirely rather than live the pretend life that others expect of her. As the people around her crack under the pressure of impending doom, she remains calm. Having withdrawn from the drama, she is already in a sense dead. Having let go of all illusions and pretenses, the collapse of the world means little to her. But then in one of the most beautiful, quietly overwhelming cinematic closing scenes I’ve ever watched, she dispels her depression in an act of hopeless, senseless kindness, at once transcendent and mundane.
In the face of death, isn’t any act senseless? Every plan and ambition scatters as dust in the gale. Nothing is to any selfish purpose. From the ruin of the self, a new sense and purpose arise. “Nothing matters” gives birth to “everything matters.” A great light is born within the void.
I am referring here to (1) the biofuels industry, which wreaks enormous ecological damage by converting whole landscapes into industrial monocrops of jatropha, palm oil, sugar cane, and trees to be made into “climate-friendly” fuels; (2) mining for silver, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth minerals to make batteries, wind turbines, etc.; (3) mega hydropower projects that destroy crucial ecosystems, flooding some and desiccating others.
The core of the ecological crisis, in my view, is the destruction of ecosystems by mining, lumber, agriculture, urban sprawl, over-fishing, pollution, and various forms of “development.” These destroy the organs and tissues of the living being we call Earth. Thus we may easily see intensifying derangement of climate even in the absence of significant warming.
Today Covid cases are as high if not higher in the vaxxed as in the unvaxxed; the vaccinated still spread the disease, and in many places, hospitalizations and deaths among the vaccinated are overtaking those among the unvaccinated. See here, here, here, and here.
7 Things I Learned by Collaborating with Indigenous Wisdom Keepers
Production still from the film “One Word Sawalmem”
I first met Indigenous wisdom keepers as a child. After days of off-road driving to the Gran Sabana in Venezuela, we had arrived at the ancestral lands of the Pemón people, where they still lived. “Go fill up your thermoses with water from the river,” my father said. As I got out of the car with my round, red canteen strapped over my shoulder, I knew that I wanted to be a part of whatever was going on at that river.
This is my first memory of meeting those who treated the river as a respected being. At that time, I didn’t know the mental, emotional, and physical depth of this connection with the river. I didn’t know of their spiritual relationship with Tuwenkaron, the name the Pemón gave to the feminine sort of energy they experienced from the river. I just knew that I felt her too as I drank her exquisite water and that engaging with her in this way made simple sense to me as a child.
Perhaps it was because in my beautiful home city of Caracas, 700 miles to the northwest, the river was regarded (and tragically still is) as a full-on dump, making me feel like we were living in a house with a sick relative that the adults seemed to be ignoring. And so, since that time, I have wanted to stay close to those who remembered ancestral ways of being in a meaningful relationship with the rivers, the mountains, and the forests—people we know as Indigenous wisdom keepers.
Time passed, and I welcomed my daughter into this world and raised her in the ancestral lands of the Ohlone and Coastal Miwok people, now known as the San Francisco Bay Area. Naturally, I wanted to offer her what my parents had given me—an opportunity to be guided first-hand by Native knowledge holders. As a filmmaker, I started to envision a project where I would ask a young Native person if they might share one word from their ancestral language—a word that changed their lives and a word they could offer to the next generation as medicine to heal our relationship with the Earth.
The resulting short film, One Word Sawalmem, has won a number of awards and was selected for 40+ festivals in 15 countries. It was screened at the Smithsonian, at UNESCO conferences, at dozens of community and educational events, and is scheduled to be broadcast on PBS. These are seven lessons that I learned and was reminded of through the experience of co-directing the film with Michael “Pom” Preston of the Winnemem Wintu tribe of Mount Shasta, California.
1. WISDOM. Indigenous wisdom is human wisdom, which has been miraculously preserved by Native people.
For thousands of years, as people indigenous to the Earth, we all prioritized a relationship with nature, grounded in kinship, centered around reciprocity, and infused with reverence. However, when faced with the forces that, to this day, threaten to destroy this way of life, Indigenous wisdom keepers have been the ones who continue to preserve this treasure of humanity against unthinkable odds. The people most capable of guiding us through the transition from exploitation to regeneration are the experts who have preserved the lineage of living respectfully with the Earth. By deeply appreciating and enthusiastically supporting the leadership of Indigenous wisdom keepers, we can all get back to remembering a way of life that any child knows is right, a way of life that can take us all into a future beyond our wildest dreams.
2. LAND. Environmental resilience requires Indigenous land to be returned in a significant way.
The treasured Traditional Ecological Knowledge of how to live in a good relationship with the Earth is not learned through books. It’s transmitted through first-hand, place-based experiential learning, as Pom’s tribe has done across generations. Just like you wouldn’t be able to swim in the ocean after reading books on how to swim, we cannot give ourselves our best chance for environmental resilience without preserving Indigenous science. This is why U.N. climate scientists have affirmed that giving back the land is one of the most important things we can be doing right now to overcome the climate crisis. Even though Indigenous people now comprise less than 5% of the world’s population, they are protecting 80% of global biodiversity. The more land Native knowledge holders steward, the better off everyone will be.
3. LANGUAGE. Preserving native languages will give us the direction we need for renewal and restoration.
Our film revolves around one word: Sawalmem, roughly meaning “sacred water.” This word is common to many Indigenous languages but is untranslatable to the dominant colonial ones. As the word for “sacred water” has been lost, so has our regard for our relationship with and the overall health of the water. Preserving Indigenous languages is not about preserving thousands of ways of saying “banana.” Preserving the 7,000 Indigenous languages which are now endangered is about rescuing our place-based instructions and understanding how to survive our current crisis and how to thrive. UNESCO recently declared the entire next decade to be dedicated to Indigenous languages, in acknowledgment of the depth of wisdom held in the untranslatable words of these languages. In these ancient words, we have the opportunity to offer our children the vocabulary of our future.
4. SPIRITUALITY. Remembering life-centered ways calls for spiritual commitment.
Our current environmental crisis is the result of misguided policy, economics, education, and commerce, but at its core, it is a spiritual crisis. As such, it requires us to recognize ourselves in nature and nature in ourselves. It means being in a relationship with nature, which requires the acknowledgment of the natural world consisting of beings rather than things to be consumed. It means that in all our decisions, we consider the well-being of all humans and the more-than-human world for generations to come. It means rematriation, which Indigenous people around the world are urgently calling for: rendering the Earth sacred again. Spiritual awareness is the often unsung and dismissed form of intelligence, which is meant to complement our rational minds. Spiritual commitment requires humility to learn not only about our animal and plant and mineral neighbors on this Earth but to learn from them as our elder teachers.
5. FRIENDSHIP. Developing authentic, supportive relationships can’t be rushed.
Any friendship takes time to develop, especially when the pain from countless cumulative injustices is real and raw. Well-meaning people might try to discourage you, as they tried with me, but if you are clear on your intentions, you can go into it prepared to be extra patient, quiet, humble, curious, and open. Expect to make mistakes and be ready to do the work to recover. One day as I unsuccessfully tried to keep a production day “on schedule,” I finally realized that my best bet was simply to turn the cameras off and go see whether anyone needed help in the camp kitchen. Those hours of carrot-peeling and potato-chopping with the community helped me get into a much more fruitful rhythm of friendship-building and did more for “allyship” than any filmmaking skill I could have offered that day.
6. ALIGNMENT. The deeper our relationship with nature, the more fulfilled we are with less.
Nature is our home. More than that, nature is part of us. So by enclosing ourselves indoors (90% of the time, on average, in the U.S.) we experience the painful effects of biological homelessness. We then try to fill that numbing void by overworking, overconsuming, and overmedicating. This, in turn, fuels the vicious cycle that results in society’s biggest problems, from the environmental crisis to poverty, to our health emergency, to violence, and beyond. As we restore a nature-centered life, we reverse the negative feedback loop. We experience the more regular wonder and awe. We naturally become happier, more deeply satisfied with less, and our actions become more aligned to our well-being and to the Earth’s.
7. HUMANIZATION. Uplifting storytelling is at the core of overcoming invisibility.
In the U.S., Native people are now so underrepresented in education, media, business, and policy that the extreme stereotype they are facing is known as invisibility. Storytelling is at the core of unraveling this dehumanization. But if the stories focus primarily on Indigenous victimhood, they do little to dissipate the stereotypes. We have an opportunity and urgency to tell more stories of Indigenous contributions, especially within a modern-day context. In the film, Pom shares his story of injustice, while at the same time emphasizing his perspective of the spiritual path towards healing—within ourselves, with each other, and with the Earth.
When I first met Pom, I informally shared my film idea with him. His response was simple and calm: “I know my word.” Later he would explain that it was as if he had been expecting me. He had a sense that we were meant to work together. This set the tone for how we would co-direct. Pom had complete authorship and creative control of the film. I offered my filmmaking skills in service of him being able to express himself directly. This model of cooperation is something that can be applied to any other skill area—from architecture to agriculture, to medicine-making, to river restoration, and fire literacy—to amplify Indigenous voices, so that we can support each other more effectively in building a future that works for all of us, for generations to come.
Ultimately, this friendship with Pom, our collaboration on One Word Sawalmen, and the enthusiastic reception of the film has given me a lived sense of what Chief Caleen Sisk, Pom’s mother, and the current Winnemem Wintu tribal chief, likes to say: “We need to get ready for good things coming.”
NATASHA DEGANELLO GIRAUDIEis a filmmaker and nature practice teacher specializing in covering stories that deepen our relationship with the Earth. Her most recent film, One Word Sawalmem, which she directed with Michael “Pom” Preston of the Winnemem Wintu tribe of Mt. Shasta, won a number of awards and was selected for 40+ festivals around the world. Natasha’s work draws on her studies with the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh; learning from some of the great naturalists of our time and spending time with indigenous wisdom keepers from Venezuela, where she’s from, and California, where she currently lives. Her story has been featured on mindbodygreen, News from Native California, Threads of the Sun, and the Unstuck podcast. Natasha is based in Coast Miwok land, now known as SF Bay Area, and speaks Spanish, English, French and gets by with Italian and Portunhol. She can be reached at www.rosaguayaba.earth
Documentary Exposes The Alarming Truth – TV Puts Us In Hypnotic State and Suppresses Critical Thinking
A documentary titled Pseudology: The Art of Lying tells what many of us already presumed. Watching television does put the viewer in a suggestible, almost hypnotic, state of mind and suppresses our ability to think critically.
“If you’ve ever experienced a mind fog after watching television, you’re not alone.
The brain has four modes that it operates in, and four brain wave patterns. Delta is when you’re deep asleep, Theta is when you’re in light sleep, Alpha is awake but relaxed, it’s the mode of thinking that you are in when you’re in the most heightened state of suggestibility, and then there’s Beta, the highest functioning mode like when you’re reading a book or you’re having a very stimulating conversation.”
According to research dating back to the 1960s, scientists have consistently found that in less than a minute of television viewing time the brain switches from Beta to Alpha state, where the mind is incredibly suggestible and loses its capacity to clearly determine between right and wrong.
“In about 90 seconds of viewing it, the frontal lobe circulation begins to go down and it actually has an adverse effect.” ~ Dr. Neal Nedley
The frontal lobe is the part of our brain which deals with morality, spirituality, judgment, and decision making. Without it, our personalities are virtually nonexistent and we have essentially no agency or mental connection to a higher spiritual power.
As a result, our lives have become increasingly unfulfilling. The more time we spend staring at screens, the less time we spend accomplishing something meaningful, and the less we are able to articulate just what makes our lives meaningful, to begin with.
“There’s more fun things to do than ever before in human history but yet we have more depression than ever before in human history, more anxiety, mental health problems are skyrocketing throughout the world and the entertainment medium is one of the primary reasons why this is occurring.”
Even more interesting are studies investigating the effect of nighttime television viewing on how a person feels the following day. As it turns out, the more television you watch at night, the more likely you are to have a bad next day.
“Studies will clearly demonstrate that when you go to entertainment as a way to either get fun and it becomes a habitual process, the risk of depression and anxiety will more than double.”
In a way, television not only influences our state of mind but in extension, the way we perceive the world around us. Dr. Michael Rich is an expert in the area of the effect TV has on the mind and describes the experience of watching a 3D movie like this:
“So what does your brain do when you’re sitting there in a theater, looking at a giant screen, wearing 3D glasses, swimming in surround sound, and processing the 24 images that flip by per second? Your brain dutifully processes those stimuli–and does little else. In fact, your pre-frontal cortex, which is involved in impulse control, future thinking, and moral choices, is basically inactivated in this process. That’s part of why you ‘get lost’ in the movie.”
It’s not easy to cut out screen time entirely. However, we can all take steps to get outside, appreciate nature and community, and take back our capacity to think for ourselves.
You can watch a section of the documentary on YouTube or purchase the full movie on their website.
CLN Editor Note:I absolutely love this highly inspirational film! You can watch it for free on April 24-25. Otherwise it only costs $5 for lifetime viewing.
On April 24 and 25, to help celebrate this year’s World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, Kim Shelton’s latest award winning documentary ALREADY FREE will be available to view at no cost in 13 different languages. You can register for a reminder at https://www.alreadyfreefilm.org/.
ALREADY FREE is an inspiring story of two ordinary people living thousands of miles apart: Dorrie from New Zealand and Norberto from Portugal. They independently discover an innovative form of life cultivation and qigong called Ren Xue. Dorrie and Norberto’s individual transformations are dramatic and profound, affecting everyone in their lives, generating new hope for humanity, the earth and our entwined destiny. From their stories to the cinematography and the music, this film is anchored in love and awareness as internal obstacles are removed and awakening takes place.
Streamed by several festivals in 2020, the film received the Merit Award of Awareness at Awareness Film Festival 2020, Best Documentary Short at Dreamers of Dreams Film Festival 2020 and as Semi-Finalist at Capital Filmmakers Festival Lisbon 2020.
Some Among Us Are Already Free
By Violetta Petrova
The documentary Already Free (2019, dir. Kim Shelton) features two ordinary people, Norberto Rodrigues and Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels who have reached enlightenment under the guidance of their teacher Yuan Tze, the creator of Ren Xue, an innovative life cultivation system.
Read what Norberto, Dorrie and Yuan Tze have to say about their extraordinary experience of life cultivation.
Norberto Rodrigues: ‘I Received Much More Than Health’
Norberto Rodrigues is a Ren Xue teacher, Yuan Gong instructor and skillful Qi therapist based in Lisbon, Portugal. Student of Chinese life cultivation teacher Yuan Tze since 2011 to the present. In 2018 Norberto started regular online seminars on enlightenment from the perspective of heart transformation and personal experience.
Q. In the documentary Already Free you said that you knew Yuan Tze was the right teacher for you as soon as you saw the Ren Xue website. Could you go back to this moment and explain what made you think that you had found the right teaching?
Norberto Rodrigues: “In those times I was feeling a lot of physical and emotional pain almost twenty-four hours a day, although I took painkillers, and muscle relaxation and anti-inflammatory drugs. It was very hard. My body was losing its strength. It was hard to move, sometimes my legs could not move at all. I used all the available resources, and I was supposed to get better. But obviously what I did was not enough. It was getting worse. I spent all my spare time to search for a solution. I did a lot of search on the internet, really a lot. From time to time I came across promising offers. However, there was a gut feeling telling me that this was not the right thing or person.
“One day I found Yuan Tze and as soon I saw him, I entered a very deep state, almost like a trance. I started to experience an overflowing joy and happiness, sometimes even tears were coming to my eyes and I am not someone that cries easily. At this moment I felt I was stronger and higher than myself and my problem. For about three days I was in this special state, all the pain in my body disappeared, my body felt free, I could move normally again. I was not really aware of the meaning of what happened. But I was absolutely sure that I must meet Yuan Tze and learn from him. I felt this with my heart and there was no trace of doubt in me.”
Q. When did you realise that you have natural healing abilities and what was your thinking at that moment?
Norberto Rodrigues: “It happened when I was a child, in my early childhood. I don’t remember how old I was. But I clearly remember the exact occasion when I first realised I can help people.
“I visited with my parents an elder family member, one of my uncles who had had a stroke. He was in bed unable to talk or move. He felt a lot of pain, screaming and sweating, and we could hear his groans as we approached the house. My parents and his family tried to help but nothing seemed to work.
“I also wanted to help. I closed my eyes and made a prayer. I said: ‘Dear God, my uncle is old and defenseless. I am young, I can carry pain and suffering in my body. Please, let me carry this burden and alleviate him’. I started imagining that all the pain and suffering he was experiencing, has been transferred to me. Within a few minutes my uncle got calmer, smiled softly to us and fell asleep. I remember feeling heaviness on my body, nausea and dizziness. After I went out to the street they quickly dispersed without me doing anything.
“At that moment I realised that I could help people even without letting them know. I have done this many times since then not only to humans but also to animals and plants. I have never told anyone. This is the first time I talk about this.
“Ren Xue helped me to understand what I was doing. Over time I refined the techniques. Now, when I do healing, I always ask people to unify with my heart and I take their pain as mine and then surrender it to the Universe.”
Q. You healed your back injury a long time ago without needing surgery; yet, you are now – a more avid Yuan Qigong and Ren Xue practitioner than ever before. What keeps you continuing with the learning and the practice?
Norberto Rodrigues: “Healing my body is like a drop in the ocean compared to what Ren Xue has done to my life. Ren Xue is about healing the totality of life and about gaining deep understanding of the laws of life and the universe. It is about gaining realisation and wisdom and transcending the suffering and illusions. And, most important, it is about manifesting the true self.
“What Ren Xue gave me is priceless. I want to share it. I feel this is my responsibility to give people the tools that, I know this very well, will help them to realise the true self, to heal deeply their lives, and to reach more realisations, true wisdom, happiness and love. This responsibility I feel deep in my heart and I need to share it. I wish to see humanity becoming wiser and everyone manifesting their true self. I feel the need to become the best version of myself. All these make me practise harder and study more than ever before.
“I have a dream for humanity. I imagine everyone’s life growing, their true selves manifesting, and wisdom and love becoming the normal state of existence of all humans. We can be a genuine family and live in peace, harmony, love, respect, co-operation, mutual understanding, wisdom, realisation, freedom, joy, and happiness. How wonderful it would be for this planet to become a heaven for everyone.”
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels: ‘Now I Know How To Create Peace in My Everyday Life’
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels is a holistic lifestyle coach and animal communicator/healer based in Waiheke Island, New Zealand. She has a background in sport, beauty therapy, therapeutic massage, reconnective healing, astrology, NLP, EFT, Reiki, Zen, Tai Chi, Kempo and Qigong. She is certified Ren Xue and Yuan Qigong instructor and a gifted Qi therapist.
Q. You were familiar with many different life cultivation practices but, eventually, you chose and stayed with Yuan Qigong and Ren Xue. What prompted you to make the decision?
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels: “During the last twenty-five years of self development I have been on a search through many holistic disciplines. I had never found one that truly addressed all my questions, until I discovered Ren Xue. This system is practical and built on creating peace in your everyday life. Grounded in reality Ren Xue offered me a whole holistic view. It allowed for a deepening on a metaphysical level that I had never experienced in another discipline. I have a deep passion to share with others my love for staying within the present moment and building a natural and calm state of life. Becoming a Ren Xue teacher enabled this. The system allowed for a deep breath of life cultivation no matter what the personal history and life experiences of my students are.”
Q. In the documentary Already Free we see your whole family being influenced by the big change that you have experienced. What attracts them most to the ‘new version’ of Dorrie?
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels: “I asked my family the question and here are the responses: ‘Dorrie is at her core a wholesome compassionate being. Everyone in the family understands and feels that her love is unconditional. With this our family gained a new and stronger foundation of trust. We can see how she can handle any situation, or conflict that may arise, calmly and with complete peace. She is very creative with the solutions. All these combined gives us a great sense of trust. As a result, everyone in the family is changing. We are a cohesive unit and understand how to open our hearts to one another. Now family life is far more harmonious. Dorrie has become a supporting and loving base for us all.”
Q. In your book It’s Time to View Life With New Lens (2019) you often ask people to talk to their hearts when looking for a solution to a problem. Speaking technically, how do you do the inner conversation?
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels: “Learning to trust your own heart is something that many people have lost touch with throughout their lives. For me having an open heart that can guide you with its wisdom is invaluable. In my book I explain and give some teaching how to feel and communicate with your heart. There is a method in Ren Xue In which you ask your heart questions. In the beginning, I was very literal when doing the internal dialogue. It was a matter of really speaking to my heart by using the mind as If I spoke to a close friend whom I trusted. Now, after I have gone through this new stage of life development and gained more realisation, I no longer need to be so literal about it. My heart and its wisdom permeates through all of my thoughts and actions. It is now intertwined with my true self. I am grateful for that and I am certain that it is possible for everyone’s heart to reach this state.”
Yuan Tze: ‘Realisation and Wisdom Is the Only Solution For Survival’
Yuan Tze is a life cultivation teacher and qigong master originally from China. In 2002 he arrived in Wellington, New Zealand with a few clothes in a bag and soon established the first ever Ren Xue centre. Today Ren Xue has an international network of certified teachers and thousands of students.
Q. You founded Ren Xue and created an innovative Qigong system, Yuan Qigong. Within a relatively short period of time, at least two of your students have reached the milestone of enlightenment in their life cultivation. It seems that Ren Xue is an incubator of enlightened people. What is the secret of this success?
Yuan Tze: “Thank you for your compliment. I created REN XUE because I saw the urgent need for a tool that could help humanity deal with problems, individually and collectively. This need was urgent because the problems humanity is facing are causing a lot of damage to not only all human and animal life but also the environment we live in.
“I have spent a lifetime studying the wide and varied disciplines in traditional Chinese culture (Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Martial Arts, etc.) as well as Western developments in philosophy, science, and medicine. However, none of these approaches or ideologies addressed the root causes of humanity’s problems. I realised that for a tool to be effective, it needed to work at the fundamental level.
“My search for the root causes led me to the human consciousness. To be more precise, the unhealthy patterns of the human consciousness. Patterns determine how we think and what we do. Unhealthy patterns lead to problems of all sorts and are obstacles in our attempt to achieve better health, happiness, a greater sense of wellbeing, and growth.
“For the tool to be effective for transforming life, it needed to provide information to help people understand their problems and how to solve them. It also required practical methods that people could use to create real, lasting change. From this foundation came the development of REN XUE. The information and methods REN XUE offers are a distillation of my understanding of traditional wisdom and my work applying it to deal with my own problems in order to change my life. The REN XUE methods are like stepping stones. When following them one by one, a person can expect benefits such as better health, happiness, an improved sense of wellbeing, and growth. Ultimately, my goal was to provide others with a practical and comprehensive approach for improving health and living a wisdom-guided life.
“I should mention that ‘growth’ means ‘making progress in the development of realization and wisdom,’ which is the ultimate goal of REN XUE life cultivation on a personal level. This personal growth serves as the foundation for helping other people achieve these benefits and growth. Enlightenment, where the “True Self” is revealed, is a milestone in the progress of developing realisation and wisdom. I know more and more diligent REN XUE practitioners will progress via these stepping-stones and reach the milestone of enlightenment. I should also say that enlightenment is only one of the milestones. From there on, one can continue to make progress and keep uplifting life. REN XUE provides a pathway to make this seemingly unreachable milestone reachable.”
Q. Both your students, Norberto and Dorrie, say in the documentary Already Free (2019, dir. Kim Shelton) that they have experienced great opening of their hearts at one of the retreats that you held annually. What exactly did you do with people’s hearts for such a dramatic transformation to take place?
Yuan Tze: “A few important factors are at play when I run a retreat. Firstly, there is always a strong Qifield built for the retreat. I would build the Qifield in advance, so it is there waiting for the participants before they arrive. The Qifield not only contains a large amount of Qi but also carries potent information. Throughout the retreat, I would also invite all the participants to build the Qifield together. As we do this, the Qifield gets stronger and stronger as the retreat proceeds. It supports all the participants and hugely enhances the effect of everything we try to achieve during the retreat. When a participant is open and one with the Qifield, anything is possible.
“Secondly, the teachings are shared in a special way via heart-to-heart transmission. This is a two-way communication and connection of the hearts—between mine and the participants’. Heart-to-heart transmission allows the information I’m sharing to go into a very deep level of the consciousness. The information can work immediately, as it is intended and initiate dramatic change to life.
“Thirdly, Norberto and Dorrie experienced the great opening of their hearts at a two-week REN XUE teacher training retreat. This retreat had a very special focus—the heart. During that retreat, trainees engaged in very intense learning about the heart, and applied these learnings to their own heart in a profound way, specifically cultivating the Five Xin, or five essential qualities of the heart – trust, openness, love, gratitude, and Gongjing (true respect).
“With these three components working together—the Qifield, heart-to-heart transmission, and the Five Xin—many people experienced remarkable changes to their hearts, including the great opening. The great opening of the heart not only brings dramatic change to life but also serves as a solid foundation for attaining enlightenment.
“Such results are not limited to just those who attend REN XUE Teacher Training. Anyone who applies REN XUE properly can make such progress in life, including those who attend the retreats for the general public and those who learn REN XUE from our qualified teachers. We have teachers all around the world sharing the REN XUE teachings and methods to anyone who wishes to make dramatic changes to their lives.”
Q. On many occasions, you spoke about the situation the world is in and pointed out that we humans are standing at a crossroads, and a complete change of direction is urgently needed if we were to bring a better future for all. What kind of change were you referring to?
Yuan Tze: “The direction humanity has been taking since the beginning of the human species is mostly an ‘external approach’. This refers to using external means to achieve the goals of better health, happiness, a sense of wellbeing, and growth. These means include the pursuit of money, fame, status, power and control. We mistakenly believe that the more of these we gain, the happier and more fulfilling life will be. If we honestly examine how effective this approach has been, we can see that it has been unsuccessful and also extremely damaging to the health and wellbeing of us humans as well as the planet. This approach has also led to all the problems and crises humanity is now facing. These problems and crises are so severe that even the survival of humanity is threatened.
“Since this way is not working, it only makes sense to change our approach and follow a different direction. The different direction REN XUE is promoting is the ‘internal approach.’ It teaches the practitioner to turn their focus to themselves when seeking to achieve better health, happiness, a sense of wellbeing, and growth. What we can discover is that all the wonderful treasures we try to achieve are already all within us, and the obstacles that are in the way of reaching them are also within ourselves. We just need to remove those obstacles and these treasures will naturally be revealed.
“What are the obstacles? They are mainly the unhealthy patterns of the consciousness mentioned above. They drive us to grab all these external means in order to gain a little sense of control and security. In REN XUE, we identify those unhealthy patterns and transform them. When unhealthy patterns are successfully transformed, our hearts will be restored to a natural, healthy state, and the five essential qualities will fully manifest. Most importantly, the realisation and wisdom of the ‘True Self’ will also manifest. The way we live will be guided by wisdom, and we will not be doing things that are damaging to our own lives, the lives of other people or nature. When more and more people are working on their patterns and growing in realisation and wisdom, the world will have more peace and harmony, and the health of the planet will be restored. I firmly believe that if humanity wishes to survive, following a path to realisation and wisdom is the only solution.
* Violetta Petrova, PhD, taught film and media studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Author of The Shadow of Laius (2003). Previously worked as columnist, film reviewer, editor and writer. Since 2005 studies Ren Xue.
The Seeds of Vandana Shiva
The filmmakers of “The Seeds of Vandana Shiva” are allowing for a FREE special stream through April 8, 2021. CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT getting the film out into the world to build awareness around industrial agriculture versus regenerative farming and food.
Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., is a physicist and activist who works tirelessly to defend the environment and protect biodiversity from industrial agriculture, GMOs, and patented seeds
Shiva’s involvement in the contemporary ecology movement began with the Chipko movement in 1973, in which Himalayan villagers, primarily women, fought back against loggers in the best way they could, by physically embracing the trees
Shiva went on to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, which she called the Institute for “Counter Expertise” because its goal was to counter the “expertise” of the destroyers and “bring to the front the knowledge of those who were defending the Earth”
She also exposed the dark side of the Green Revolution and founded Navdanya, a nonprofit organization promoting biodiversity, organic farming, and seed saving
There are now at least 127 seed banks in India, which will keep growing, along with a network of farmers and seed savers who have been trained in organic farming
Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., is a physicist and activist who works tirelessly to defend the environment and protect biodiversity from multinational corporations. Her life’s work has culminated in the creation of seed banks that may one day save future generations’ food sovereignty, but how she got there is a fascinating story, chronicled in the documentary “The Seeds of Vandana Shiva.”
Shiva, “a brilliant scientist” who became “Monsanto’s worst nightmare and a rock star of the international organic food movement, “1 grew up in a Himalayan forest, where her father, a forest conservator, carried out inspections. She would travel up to 45 miles a day with her father as a young girl, and as they traversed the forest he taught her everything about the trees, plants, and herbs therein.
“We had a classroom out in the forest,” Shiva said, but her formal studies were done in a convent which, at that time, didn’t regard science as a subject fit for girls. Shiva wanted to study physics, though, and she was especially intrigued by Einstein and his connections of intuition with science. “Everyone has their favorite person that they want to be,” she said. “Einstein was the shaper of the dream of my life.”
A Search for Knowledge as a Whole
Shiva got a scholarship to attend Chandigarh University in Punjab, India, and from there she went on to the Bhabha National Atomic Research Center in Mumbai, India, for training in atomic energy. Later, her sister, a medical doctor, asked her about the health and environmental effects of nuclear technology and radiation.
As Shiva grasped the devastation nuclear energy had caused, she said, “I realized that a science that only teaches you how to modify nature without the understanding of what that modification does to the larger world is not a complete science.”
She gave up her idea of being a nuclear physicist and instead went looking for knowledge as a whole. She studied on her own, finding quantum theory, and while pursuing a Ph.D. in Canada, went to visit some of her favorite spots, including an oak forest she held close to her heart.
When she arrived, the forest had been cut down to make room for apple orchards, changing the entire microclimate in the area. The loss of something that she felt was a part of her impacted her deeply and set the stage for her environmental activism.
The Tree Hugging Movement Is Born
Shiva states that her involvement in the contemporary ecology movement began with the Chipko movement in 1973.2 The timber mafia were cutting down trees throughout the Indian Himalayas, taking away this precious resource from the rural villagers who depended on the forest for subsistence.
The government denied villagers access to the land and the lumber, while the logging companies cleared out forests, leading to problems with erosion, depleted water resources, and flooding.
The villagers, primarily women, fought back in the best way they could, by physically embracing the trees to stop the loggers. Chipko is a Hindi word that means “to hug” or “to cling to, “3, and the movement spread, creating what became widely known as the tree-hugging movement.
The women of Chipko taught Shiva how much women who hadn’t been to school knew about the interconnectedness of nature, but it took a major flood to make the government realize that what the women were saying was right. The revenue that came in from the forest logging was little compared to what they had to pay for flood relief.
In 1981, the government listened to the women and ordered a ban on logging in the high-altitude Himalayas, while tree-hugging became a worldwide practice of ecological activism.
1982: The Water Wars
The Ministry of Environment invited Shiva to conduct a study on the impact of limestone mining in the Mussoorie hills. There were “scars all along the mountains,” and she went straight to the women in the community and asked what the key issue was. It was water. The rainfall in limestone creates giant caves and cavities, which act as nature’s aquifers.
Up in those mountains, Shiva said, the mining was robbing the valley of its water source — billions of dollars worth of water resources — while the miners’ wastes were destroying stream flows, villages were being washed away and workers were being exploited.
When word of Shiva’s study got out, both her father and infant son were threatened, but she continued on with her research, following her father’s advice that “as long as you follow your conscience you have nothing to fear.” Ultimately, Shiva’s calculations showed that the limestone left in the mountain contributed more to the economy than the extraction of limestone from the mountain.
Just as in the case of the forest in the Himalayas, in which the government was forced to recognize that the forest left standing contributed more than their conversion into the timber. Shiva’s study was the basis of a Supreme Court ruling that led to the mining being discontinued.4
The Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology
Shiva went on to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology, which she called the Institute for “Counter Expertise.” The goal was to counter the “expertise” of the destroyers and “bring to the front the knowledge of those who were defending the Earth and their lives.”
Shiva was able to carry out independent research because she didn’t rely on funding from outside sources. “You can have a billion-dollar grant and hire researchers to do the work, who don’t know about the issue,” she said, or you can have just a few thousand dollars and work with communities, where the people become the researchers. This is important, Shiva noted, as “When money is your master, then your conscience is no more your guide.”
During this time, she also challenged the standing law in India, which stated that the father would automatically become the natural guardian of the children in cases of divorce. She went directly to the Supreme Court and became the first case in which the court decided the mother should get custody of the child, setting precedent for all of India.
In 1985, she was invited to Nairobi for a U.N. conference on women, where she spoke about women and the environment, including the Chipko movement, stating that it was the first time the link was made between environmental degradation and its impact on women. In 1988, her book “Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development” was published, marking the beginning of eco-feminism. Shiva went on to write more than 20 books.
The Violence of the Green Revolution
In 1984, Shiva was working for United Nations University on conflicts over resources when an eruption of extremist violence broke out in Punjab. Religion was blamed for the unrest, but it was more likely a battle over resources. That same year, a gas leak from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, had devastating consequences, killing 3,000 people immediately and 30,000 more in the aftermath, with many still suffering health effects to this day.
“My head is in a spin,” Shiva said of her mindset at the time. “That’s when I realized Punjab is the home of the Green Revolution.” The Green Revolution is the name given to the introduction of chemical agriculture to the developing world, which was promised to bring more food, more prosperity, and more peace.
The movement even earned a Nobel Peace Prize but, Shiva said, “death ensued.” It didn’t add up. “You’re supposed to give a Nobel Peace Prize for peace, but this is war,” she said. When she turned her research efforts toward the Green Revolution, she found that, as a result of this new chemical-based agriculture, soils and rivers were drying and desertification was taking place, while 25% of small farmers were dispossessed.
“This was an agrarian crisis,” Shiva said, “not a religious conflict.” She uncovered that many of the people being killed were those in positions of bureaucratic power, “controlling the architecture that allowed the Green Revolution to happen.”
This led Shiva to write another book, “The Violence of the Green Revolution.” Once she understood that the promises of the Green Revolution were a lie, she moved her focus to truly sustainable agriculture.
Putting Patents on Life
In 1987, Shiva was invited to a biotechnology meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, which was attended by some independent scientists along with U.N. officials and the agrochemical lobby, which would soon turn into the biotech lobby.
The focus was on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that would allow them to patent seeds, securing the GMO seeds’ future growth and the ability to collect royalties from farmers.5 An international treaty was discussed to move GMOs and patented seeds globally. Shiva told IDR:6
“This is why the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), World Trade Organisation (WTO), General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and others came into the picture. What was most horrifying was their ambition to limit this to a total of just five companies that would control food and health globally. Today, we have four — I call them the poison cartel.”
While the spin was to position GMOs as essential to feeding the world, Shiva said, “the reality was that they were the door to owning life on Earth.” The patented seeds also necessitated monocultures, so the same seeds could be sold everywhere, and people could be replaced with herbicides and machines. It ushered in industrialized farming while eliminating small farms.
On the flight home from Switzerland, she said, she began thinking about how to deal with this, and by the time she got off the flight, “A seed was speaking to me … Farmers with their own seed, fighting for their seed freedom, are the biggest force in the world against seed monopoly.”
Navdanya: The Right to Save Seeds
In 1994, Shiva founded Navdanya, a nonprofit organization promoting biodiversity, organic farming, and seed saving. She traveled to villages where women would give her seeds, and she started saving them and encouraging farmers to do the same. A training and research farm was created in order to have a seed bank where all the seeds were collected and to have research on how biodiversity and native seeds can feed the world.
But saving seeds and creating seed banks was only one aspect. The other was to create awareness, including translating the information into different languages to tell the world about the importance of saving seeds and protecting crops. There are now at least 127 seed banks in India, which will keep growing, along with a network of farmers and seed savers who have been trained in organic farming.
Shiva has also traveled the globe to warn other countries, including those in Africa, about plans to displace rural farmers so investors can turn the land into industrial farms to export the commodities. She said:
“A handful of multinational corporations … is driving species extinction. The poisons they have deployed are pushing the disappearance of bees, the disappearance of pollinators, the disappearance of insects, the disappearance of biodiversity.
Industrial agriculture is not only destroying biodiversity, it is destroying the soil and releasing large amounts of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere … This is not a food system. It is not an ecological system. It is a recipe for destruction of the planet’s health and the destruction of our health.”
Regenerative agriculture and animal husbandry are the next and higher stage of organic food and farming. They’re not only free from toxic pesticides, GMOs, chemical fertilizers, and concentrated animal feeding operations, but are also regenerative in terms of the health of the soil, the environment, the animals, and rural farmers. As Shiva put it, “Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis, and the crisis of democracy.”7
In short, regenerative agriculture practices aim to rebuild soil health, restore ecosystems and promote human health through the growing of nutrient-dense food, while providing farmers with economic and financial stability. Shiva is confident this can be done, as long as humans embrace their interconnectedness while acting on an individual level to be agents of change:
“Food can be grown in abundant, ecologically sustainable and just ways. But to do this we need a shift in our perception. We need a change in paradigm. We are part of nature. We must participate in her processes. We have to understand our interconnectedness, our oneness on this Earth. But this is not how Big Food and Big Agriculture works.”
About the Directors
I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the Directors, Camilla Becket and Jim Becket, from “The Seeds of Vandana Shiva.”
Here is a little more about them and what went into making this film. Thank you Camilla and Jim for sharing with us.
Camilla grew up in apartheid South Africa and was an activist in the anti-apartheid movement. She managed outreach for independent publishers who originated works by anti-apartheid thinkers and artists, including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. She launched Becket Films with Jim in 2005 with a mission to focus on international environmental issues, social justice, and health.
Camilla has co-produced several Becket Films projects, including films for the Religion, Science, and Environment series about besieged water bodies around the world and what can be done to restore them.
Jim brings a varied career to his filmmaking: Human rights lawyer, journalist, and author. As Director of Public Information for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Jim made several films about refugee problems around the world. Moving to Los Angeles, he worked as a screenwriter, producer, and director of TV and narrative movies.
Since then he has co-produced several documentaries on contemporary environmental issues, including The Green Patriarch, The Amazon: The End of Infinity, The Arctic: The Consequences of Human Folly, and El Misterio del Capital de Los Indigenas Amazonicos. Jim’s awards include festival Best Film awards, two Humanities awards, and a George Foster Peabody award.
What was your inspiration for making this film?
We were first introduced to Vandana Shiva at a series of environmental conferences almost twenty years ago. And like most people on their first meeting with her, realized immediately that we were in the presence of an eco-activist rock star.
The more time we spent with her, and learned about her life experiences, the more we, as filmmakers, were inspired to tell her story.
Her life has embodied the notion that “one person can make a difference”, and so finally we asked if we could try to capture her journey on film. She agreed. The Seeds of Vandana Shiva is the result.
Why seeds? After learning that the real goal of developing GMOs was for patents to monopolize the world’s seed supply, Vandana began speaking out about the ecological and social costs of industrial agriculture and building the movement to save native seeds.
And through her evolution as an activist against the global Goliaths of food and farming, we also wanted to shine a light on where we are today — industrial food production accounts for up to 40% of carbon emissions, while pesticides destroy soils, water systems, and biodiversity, and harm human health. Contrary to the spin that industrial food is essential to feeding the world, today more than two billion people face food insecurity across the globe.
The good news is that The Seeds of Vandana Shiva also shows how we can tip the scales, each in our own way: Vandana speaks for an ecologically regenerative vision for food and farming which we can all engage in — millions already do. But we need millions more for real change to occur.
In the end, our hope is that Vandana’s extraordinary story will act as a catalyst for more people to understand the issues at stake, and to deeply inspire them to be part of the change.
What was your favorite part of making the film?
There were many rewards to making The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, but the best part was making the trips to Dr. Shiva’s organic farm, Navdanya, in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Not only is Navdanya the center of Dr. Shiva’s research and seed saving work, but it is also an education center where people travel from all over India and elsewhere in the world to learn about seed saving and ecological food systems.
It is where we found Dr. Shiva at her most relaxed and willing to share her experiences with us. We also loved how many volunteers stepped up to offer time and expertise during production. It was so gratifying to realize how many people really wanted this film to be made!
Now we are enjoying the process of sharing The Seeds of Vandana Shiva with the world, in the hope that it will inspire more people to advocate for regenerative, organic, and fair-traded food.
Where do the proceeds to your film go?
We financed filming and production with foundation grants, crowd-funders, and a lot of sweat equity. Now we’re fundraising for an outreach and impact campaign, for more people to be able to see this film.
There is no time to lose. Our climate, our environment, our health, and our democracies are in crisis.
Sharing Dr. Shiva’s experience and wisdom more widely with the world could not be more timely or urgent. Why? Because the ecological and social crises intersect in agriculture and the way we grow food.
The good news is that no one explains the issues more clearly or what we can do about them other than Vandana Shiva.
Also, documentaries — that both inform and entertain — are proven to be a powerful means to introduce audiences to issues in a way that can move them to advocate for much-needed change.
It’s happened before and it can happen again, but we can’t do it alone. We need everyone who cares about the climate, the environment, and the wellbeing of human communities to support our outreach, in whichever way that they can.
All income raised will be for translations, communications, education, and strategy materials, and to facilitate community screenings around the world. Please support The Seeds of Vandana Shiva impact campaign here!
Rare Video of ‘Brave New World’ Author From 63 Years Ago
The video above features a 1958 interview of Aldous Huxley with Mike Wallace. It really is a great glimpse from the past. Wallace was smoking on the set, but that was natural back then, and Rod Serling, who produced the “Twilight Zone,” did the same. Interestingly, they both developed lung cancer.
You might recall that Huxley wrote the classic novel “Brave New World,” in which he presents a dystopian vision of a future society known as the “World State,” a society ruled by science and efficiency, where emotions and individuality have been eradicated and personal relationships are few.
Children are cloned and bred in “hatcheries,” where they are conditioned for their role in society from an early age. There are no mothers and fathers as natural procreation is outlawed. There are no family units.
Embryos are sorted and given hormonal treatments based on their destined societal classification, which from highest to lowest are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. The Alphas are bred and conditioned to be leaders while the Epsilons are designed for menial labor, free of higher intellectual capacities.
At the time Huxley wrote the book in 1931 (it was published the year after), optimism about technological advancements was high and there was a widespread belief that technology would solve many of the world’s problems. “Brave New World” demonstrates the naiveté of such hopes by showing what can happen when technocracy is taken to its extreme.
Huxley believed his world of horror was right around the corner and, today, just shy of 60 years later, we’re starting to see Huxley’s “World State” closing in around us in the form of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s transhumanist agenda and the Great Reset, designed to trap us inside a net of constant surveillance and external control.
Enemies of Freedom
Huxley also penned a series of essays called “Enemies of Freedom,” which he discusses in the featured interview. The series outlines “impersonal forces” that are “pushing in the direction of progressively less freedom,” and “technological devices” that can be used to accelerate the process by imposing ever-greater control of the population.
Huxley points out that as technology becomes more complex and complicated, it becomes increasingly necessary to form more elaborate hierarchal organizations to manage it all. Technology also allows for more effective propaganda machines that can be managed through those same control hierarchies.
Huxley cites the success of Hitler, noting that aside from Hitler’s effective use of terror and brute force, “he also used a very efficient form of propaganda. He had the radio, which he used to the fullest extent, and was able to impose his will on an immense mass of people.”
With the advent of television, Huxley foresaw how an authoritarian leadership could become a source of “a one-pointed drumming” of a single idea, effectively brainwashing the public.
Beyond that, Huxley predicted the technological capability to “bypass the rational side of man” and manipulate behavior by influencing people on a subconscious level. This is precisely what we’re faced with today.
Google, but also to a large extent Facebook, has been collecting data on you for nearly two decades. They have created massive server farms that are capable of analyzing this data with deep learning and artificial intelligence software to mine information and generate incredibly precise details on just what type of propaganda and narrative is required to surreptitiously manipulate you into the behavior they are seeking.
Huxley also points out the dangers inherent in advertising, especially as it pertains to the marketing of political ideas and ideologies:
“Democracy depends on the individual voter making an intelligent and rational choice for what he regards as his enlightened self-interest in any given circumstance but …
There are particular purposes for selling goods, and [what] the dictatorial propagandists are doing is to try to bypass the rational side of men and to appeal directly to these unconscious forces below the surface so that you are in a way making nonsense of the whole democratic procedure, which is based on conscious choice or on rational ground …
Children are quite clearly much more suggestible than the average grownup and, again, suppose that for one reason or another all the propaganda was in the hands of one or very few agencies, you would have an extraordinarily powerful force playing on these children who are going to grow up and be adults …
You can read in the trade journal the most critical accounts of how necessary it is to get hold of the children, because then they will be loyal brand buyers later on. Translate this into political terms, the dictator says they will be loyal ideology buyers when they’re grown up.”
Decentralization Protects Freedom; Centralization Robs It
Huxley argues that in order to create the dystopian future presented in his book, you have to centralize wealth, power, and control. Hence, the way to protect against it is to insist on decentralization. It’s surprising that even 60 years ago Huxley was wise enough to understand this profoundly important principle.
I believe that it is the decentralization of the internet that is required to prevent censorship and manipulation in the future. This means that websites and platforms are not stored in one central place that can easily be controlled and manipulated but, rather, widely distributed to thousands, if not millions, of computers all over the world. It would work because if there is no central storage it can’t be removed.
Decentralized platforms allow the majority of power to reside with the individual. Technologies that can be easily misused to control the public narrative must also remain largely decentralized so that no one person or agency ends up with too much power to manipulate and influence the public. Our modern-day social media monopolies are a perfect example of what Huxley warned us about.
The same goes for economic institutions too. Today, we can see how the role of the central bank (in the U.S. known as the Federal Reserve) — a privately-owned entity with the power to break entire countries apart for profit — is forcing us toward a new global economic system that will impoverish and quite literally enslave everyone, with the exception of the technocratic social bankers themselves and their globalist allies.
Our Orwellian Present
A contemporary and student of Huxley was George Orwell (real name Eric Blair1), who wrote another dystopian classic — “1984” — published in 1949. The two books — “1984” and “Brave New World” — share the commonality that they both depict a future devoid of the very things that we associate with having a healthy, free, creative, purposeful, and enjoyable life.
In “1984,” the context is a society where an all-knowing, all-seeing “Big Brother” rules with an iron fist. Citizens are under constant watch. Privacy is nonexistent, and language is twisted to justify and glorify oppression.
Some of the spectacles of 2020 could have easily been ripped straight out of the pages of “1984,” as riots were described by cheery news anchors as “mostly peaceful protests,” even as city blocks were engulfed in flames behind them and people were bleeding to death in the streets. For those familiar with the book, such scenes were difficult to watch without being reminded of 1984s “double-think.”
Orwell Versus Huxley
There are differences between the two works, however. While Orwell foresees people being forcefully enslaved by an external agency and kept in that state by the same, Huxley’s vision is one in which people have been so thoroughly conditioned that they come to love their servitude. At that point, no external authoritarian ruler is actually required.
If you think about it, I’m sure you will agree that this is clearly the most efficient strategy to take control of the population. Moore’s law and the exponential improvement in computer processing capacity have exponentially accelerated the global elites’ ability to precisely identify how to implement peaceful control that will have the majority virtually begging for tyranny.
In Huxley’s “Brave New World,” people have fallen in love with the very technologies that prevent them from thinking and acting of their free will, so the enslaved maintain their own control structure.
As noted by Neil Postman in his book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business,” in which he compares and contrasts the futures presented by Huxley and Orwell:
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.
Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.
As Huxley remarked in ‘Brave New World Revisited,’ the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny ‘failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.’
In ‘1984,’ Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In ‘Brave New World,’ they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
The Promise of the Great Reset
One can argue about who predicted the future best, Orwell or Huxley, but in the final analysis, I think we’re looking at a mixture of both, although it seems obvious to me that Huxley was more prescient and he was actually Orwell’s mentor. Huxley’s concerns are far more serious as the programming is essentially silent, and it is patently evident that the technocrats have been highly successful in implementing this strategy in the past year.2
That said, we’re facing both the threat of externally imposed authoritarianism and control predicted by Orwell, and the subversive, subliminal programming through mindless entertainment and the lure of convenience proposed by Huxley.
Undoubtedly, the combination is a powerful one, and likely far more effective than either control strategy by itself. I’ve already touched on how Orwell’s work is playing out in the real world through the “double-think” mental gymnastics we get from the controlled, tightly centralized mainstream media these days.
For an example of how Huxley’s ideas have influenced the technocracy’s planning, look no further than the globalists’ call to “build back better” (video above) and the World Economic Forum’s 2030 agenda (below), which includes the strangely ominous dictum that you will own nothing and be happy.
The unstated implication is that the world’s resources will be owned and controlled by the technocratic elite, and you’ll have to pay for the temporary use of absolutely everything. Nothing will actually belong to you. All items and resources are to be used by the collective, while actual ownership is restricted to an upper stratum of social class.
Just how will this imposed serfdom make you happy? Again, the unstated implication is that lack of ownership is a marvelous convenience. Rent a pot and then return it. You don’t need storage space! Imagine the freedom! They even promise the convenience of automatic drone delivery straight to your door.
Artificial intelligence — which is siphoning your data about every aspect of your existence through nearly every piece of technology and appliance you own — will run your life, predicting your every mood and desire, catering to your every whim. Ah, the luxury of not having to make any decisions!
This is the mindset they’re trying to program into you, and for most, it appears to be working. For others who can see the propaganda for what it is, these promises look and feel like proverbial mouse traps. Once you bite the cheese, you’ll be stuck, robbed of your freedom forevermore. And, as Huxley told Wallace, individual freedom is really a prerequisite for a genuinely productive society:
“Life of man is ultimately impossible without a considerable measure of individual freedom. Initiative and creativity — all these things that we value, and I think value properly, are impossible without a large measure of freedom.”
When Wallace challenges Huxley on this by pointing out that the Soviet Union was successfully developing both militarily and artistically, despite being a tightly controlled regime, Huxley counters by saying that those doing that creative work, especially scientists, were also granted far greater personal freedom and prosperity than everyone else.
As long as they kept their noses out of politics, they were brought into the upper echelon and given a great deal of freedom, and without this freedom, they would not have been able to be as creative and inventive, Huxley says.
The Threat of the New Normal
This anti-human “new normal” that world leaders are now urging us to accept and embrace is the trap of all traps. Unless your most cherished dream is to lie in bed for the rest of your life, your body atrophying away, with a pair of VR goggles permanently strapped to your face, you must resist and oppose the “new normal” every day going forward.
As noted by Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill in his February 5, 2021, article,3 while the first lockdown was marked by a sense of camaraderie and the promise of it being a temporary measure that we can get through if we just address the problem together, by the third round, all forms of social connection have vanished, as has the anticipation of a return to normality.
“In the first lockdown, the dream of normality was what kept people going; it was actively encouraged by some politicians and even some in the doom-laden media. This time, dreams of normality are treated as ‘dysfunction’, as a species of ‘denial,’” O’Neill writes.
Make no mistake. The media’s rebuke of a return to normalcy as a nonsensical pipedream is dangerous propaganda territory. The reality is we could easily open everything back up and go back to business as usual, and nothing out of the ordinary, in terms of sickness and death, would occur.
People die every year. It’s an inevitable reality of life and, up until the last two weeks of 2020, there actually were a no greater number of deaths recorded than the year prior, and the year prior to that, and the one before that.4
While new numbers released by the CDC indicate that 2020’s final two weeks may have pushed the total deaths beyond 2019’s (final data won’t be available for months),5 COVID-19 simply isn’t as lethal as initially suspected. It primarily kills the elderly and the chronically ill — what’s most interesting is that suicide deaths among teens went up dramatically as lockdowns and school closings dragged on.6,7
What’s more, we now have effective prophylactics and treatments that ensure the loss of life due to COVID-19 can be radically minimized. Yet, our leaders don’t want you to think in those terms. They want you to remain fearful because they have a deep appreciation of the value of fear in catalyzing the precise type of capitulation and surrender they need in order to implement the Great Reset.
Tragically, many citizens have so embraced the fear culture, they don’t even need an authoritarian figure to tell them to comply with rules that have no medical benefit anymore. They’ll happily act as the designated COVID police, making sure everyone around them complies.
Hell hath no fury like one caught in the unsound belief that they will die if you don’t wear a mask. This is no way to live. It’s not sane and it’s not healthy, and the prophetic works of Huxley and Orwell illustrate where it will all end if we don’t push back.
Never Surrender to the New Normal
In closing, I’d like you to ponder some portions from O’Neill’s article, in which he warns us about the threat posed by the culture of fear itself, which is just as dangerous and damaging as any virus:8
“[Spiked] argued that Covid-19 … would be refracted through the culture of fear, potentially harming our ability to understand and deal with this novel danger. This has come to pass. The shift from paying lip service to social solidarity to encouraging the populace to think of itself as diseased represents a victory for the degraded view of humanity gifted to us by the culture of fear.
The government’s early move from encouraging people to take responsibility for limiting their social interactions to using older methods of terror to ensure compliance with lockdown measures confirmed the culture of fear’s reduction of people from citizens to be engaged with to problems to be managed.
The failure to sustain the education of the next generation spoke to the exhaustion of bourgeois confidence, of the state itself, that underpins the culture of fear.
And the current threat of a New Normal — of a forever post-pandemic dystopia of distanced, masked pseudo-interaction — demonstrates that our future will be shaped at least in part by the ideologies and forces of the culture of fear …
Yes, the New Normal being talked up by the political and cultural elites will partially be informed by the experience of Covid-19 and the necessity of being prepared for a future virus. But it will also be shaped by … the culture of fear and its attendant anti-human, anti-progress ideologies …
Soon the practical task of minimizing and managing the impact of Covid-19 will have been largely completed, leaving us with the far larger humanist task of combating this culture and making the case for a freer, more dynamic, dazzling future of growth, knowledge and engagement.
Those who underestimate the culture of fear will be ill-prepared for these future battles. They will have a tendency to surrender to the New Normal. The rest of us should stand firm, even in the face of smears and willful misrepresentations, and continue to recognize and confront the real and debilitating consequences that fear has on everyday life and on humanity’s future.”
“The New Normal” documentary by Happen.network investigates speculation that the COVID-19 pandemic was planned — or at least is being exploited — by a group of tech elite who are dictating policy to governments globally in order to push a totalitarian agenda
At the root of the agenda is a significant economic and power shift that only a minority of people are aware of, being driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The World Economic Forum stated that 50% of all employees will require reskilling by 2025, “as the ‘double-disruption’ of the economic impacts of the pandemic and increasing automation transforming jobs takes hold”
AI is predicted to merge with humans and take over jobs and cities; AI will be so much better at driving than people, the documentary explains, that eventually, most people will be afraid to drive; soon after that, humans won’t be allowed to drive at all
Data colonialism and digital dictatorship are very real possibilities in the “new normal,” as is the division of the world into wealthy elites and a “useless class,” which ends up as an exploited data colony
“The New Normal” documentary by Happen.network investigates speculation that the COVID-19 pandemic was planned — or at least is being exploited — by a group of tech elite who are dictating policy to governments globally in order to push a totalitarian agenda.
There are many moving parts involved, from bad data that are inflating COVID-19 mortality rates to problems with PCR tests that are leading to very high false-positive rates. A falsely inflated death rate drives more fear among the population, while a misleadingly high number of cases can be used as justification for more business closures and lockdowns.
All of this serves to further the ultimate agenda to “build back better” and “reset” the world to a “new normal.” At the root of the agenda, however, is a significant economic and power shift that only a minority of people are aware of, being driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Fourth Industrial Revolution Will Integrate AI With Humans
The First Industrial Revolution, which took place in the early to mid-1800s, brought in the use of steam power throughout the world. The Second Industrial Revolution took place from the late 19th to early 20th centuries, and involved progress in steel, electric, and automobile industries. 1
The Third Industrial Revolution, according to Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), “used electronics and information technology to automate production,” whereas the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he says, has already begun and “is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.”2
It’s the further emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and integration with humans. In August 2020, for one example, Elon Musk revealed a company he founded called Neuralink, which involves a surgically implanted microchip that’s connected to your brain and synced with AI, with the goal of one day allowing humans to control artificial limbs or even engage in telepathy. Musk described it as “a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.”3
While some have heralded the innovation, others described it as a cyborg — the merging of a human and a machine. The video features Kai-Fu Lee, who wrote the book “AI Super-Powers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order.”
A former executive at Google China, he believes there will be a rapid displacement of jobs as robots replace workers, and in the next 10 years, so many jobs will be replaced that people will need to find happiness without working. Amazon has also stated that fully automated shipping warehouses, in which robots will replace humans fulfilling orders, maybe just 10 years away.4
Half of Employees Will Need ‘Reskilling’ by 2025
As part of their Jobs Reset Summit, WEF also stated that 50% of all employees will require reskilling by 2025, “as the ‘double-disruption’ of the economic impacts of the pandemic and increasing automation transforming jobs takes hold.”5 WEF claims that 85 million jobs may be eliminated by 2025, while 97 million more may be created to address “the new division of labor between humans, machines, and algorithms.”
But the reality is that only a fraction of people would likely find work in this AI-driven world, which would necessitate the introduction of a universal basic income.
This may initially sound like a good thing, but when your ability to earn an independent income is destroyed, you become dependent on, and at the mercy of, the elite that is in control of that income and the resources surrounding it. Universal debt forgiveness may also emerge — in return for the forfeiture of all rights to private ownership going forward. As for its effects on people, Schwab wrote:6
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution, finally, will change not only what we do but also who we are. It will affect our identity and all the issues associated with it: our sense of privacy, our notions of ownership, our consumption patterns, the time we devote to work and leisure, and how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet people, and nurture relationships.
It is already changing our health and leading to a ‘quantified’ self, and sooner than we think it may lead to human augmentation. The list is endless because it is bound only by our imagination.”
In June 2019, the U.K. released a white paper announcing it had established a partnership with WEF “to shape the global governance of technological innovation.” In their policy paper, “Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” it’s stated:7
“Technological breakthroughs in areas from artificial intelligence to biotechnologies are now heralding a Fourth Industrial Revolution, with the power to reshape almost every sector in every country. Our Industrial Strategy positions the UK to make the most of this global transformation.”
The Great Reset
Politicians, business leaders, and even the royal family are among those who have recently begun calling for society to “build back better.” This slogan is part of the larger “Great Reset” campaign, as Time magazine published on their cover in November 2020.8 Time’s owner and co-chair,9 Marc Benioff, is a member of WEF’s board of trustees as well as an inaugural chair of their Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The very purpose of “building back better” is to do away with what was once “normal” and replace it with something different. According to WEF, this entails “reinventing capitalism”10 and replacing it with a “stakeholder economy.”
Also known as stakeholder capitalism, Forbes described stakeholder economy as “the notion that a firm focuses on meeting the needs of all its stakeholders: customers, employees, partners, the community and society as a whole.”11
The idea of stakeholder capitalism has been around since at least 1932 and was also endorsed by nearly 200 CEOs of large corporations in August 2019.12 However, it is now being accelerated as part of The Great Reset. As the documentary noted, WEF made predictions about the world in 2030 via a social media post. Among them:
You’ll own nothing — and you’ll be happy about it.
Whatever you want, you’ll rent, and it’ll be delivered by drone.
Western values will have been tested to the breaking point.
U.K.’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new policies also fall in line with WEF objectives. This includes a ban on petrol and diesel cars by 2030, blocking vehicle access to side roads, and new pay-per-mile taxes that could make driving very expensive. It’s almost as if the U.K. is attempting to remove ownership of cars.
Autonomous driving may be the next scenario, which again sounds like a good thing on the surface, but ultimately serves to take away autonomy. AI will be so much better at driving than people, the documentary explains, that eventually, most people will be afraid to drive. Soon after that, humans won’t be allowed to drive at all.
The Creation of a ‘Useless Class’
Yuval Noah Harari, a professor in the department of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, warned of the dangers of AI, such that technology might disrupt human society and the very meaning of human life in numerous ways.13 Data colonialism and digital dictatorship are very real possibilities, as is the division of the world into wealthy elites and others, who end up as “exploited data colonies.”
Unprecedented inequality will emerge, as a “useless class is created”— “useless not from the viewpoint of their friends and family,” Harari says, “but useless from the viewpoint of the economic and political system. And this useless class will be separated by an ever-growing gap from the ever more powerful elite.”
An AI arms race is already underway between the U.S. and China, and most other countries will be left behind, disrupting the global balance. According to Harari:14
“Just think what will happen to developing economies once it is cheaper to produce textiles or cars in California than in Mexico?
And what will happen to politics in your country in twenty years, when somebody in San Francisco or Beijing knows the entire medical and personal history of every politician, every judge and every journalist in your country, including all their sexual escapades, all their mental weaknesses and all their corrupt dealings?
Will it still be an independent country or will it become a data-colony? When you have enough data you don’t need to send soldiers in order to control a country.”
Rockefeller Foundation Laid Out Pandemic Scenario in 2010
The Rockefeller Foundation and Bill Gates are also supporters of The Great Reset.15 In 2010, The Rockefeller Foundation released a report titled “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development,” which uses scenario planning to explore ways that technology and growth/development and government might play out over the coming decades. One of the scenarios they detailed was a pandemic with some eerie similarities to COVID-19:16
“In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s H1N1, this new influenza strain — originating from wild geese — was extremely virulent and deadly.
Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quickly overwhelmed when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months, the majority of them healthy young adults.
The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains. Even locally, normally bustling shops and of office buildings sat empty for months, devoid of both employees and customers.”
As the pandemic continues, “national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets.”
The increased authoritarian control and oversight of citizens continued even after the pandemic ended, and was welcomed at first in exchange for “greater safety and stability.”
In December 2020, the Rockefeller Foundation released “Taking Back Control: A Resetting of America’s Response to COVID-19.”17 Among its advice is ramping up COVID-19 testing, including in schoolchildren — a problematic scenario not only due to its exorbitant cost ($42.5 billion in the U.S. from February to June 2021) but also because of false positives that will arise from the flawed COVID-19 tests.
Could this be a way to intentionally boost infection rates in order to justify more lockdowns — and further economic destruction of the poor and middle class?
Why Now Might Be the ‘Perfect Time’ for a Reset
If there were a covert plan for a global takeover, the COVID-19 pandemic presents the perfect scenario for its success. First, a problem is created — coronavirus is released and a global pandemic is declared. Next, a reaction is created — namely, fear. This is ramped up and lockdowns ensue, forcing businesses to close and economies to be destroyed.
The final stage is when the “solution” is created — in this case, the masses of unemployed people could receive a universal basic income that’s credited onto digital IDs backed by Gates’ Microsoft and the Rockefellers, which are implanted into your hand. Smart cities ensue, along with 24/7 surveillance. This is made possible by the rollout of 5G networks, an essential “upgrade” in performance for digitizing society, surveillance, and data harvesting.
There are signs of resistance throughout the world, however, including the Police for Freedom March, which took place in November 2020 in Spain to protest the violation of citizens’ freedoms and protect civil liberties.18 The World Freedom Alliance, formed in Stockholm, Sweden, in November 2020, also aims to promote worldwide freedom.19
A Glitch In The Matrix: Are We Living In A Simulation?
A trailer has been released for a new documentary film called A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX. The premise of the film is to tackle the mind-bending idea: are we living in a simulation? Is the world as we know it real? Are we living in the matrix? Or is everything that we are and know only a simulation?
The film features a speech from renowned science fiction author Philip K. Dick. He authored 44 published novels and 121 short stories during his life.
The speech drives the film to dive deep into the rabbit holes of science and philosophy. The film also references The Matrix one of my favorite films of all time. The film interviews several people including the following experts: Nick Bostrom & Chris Ware on the topic.
A glitch in the matrix attempts to find out if simulation theory is not science fiction but a fact. What would the consequences be if we are only a video game that is being played by some unknown entity?
I fondly remember Morpheus saying the following in the matrix: “If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
I am still left thinking how do we know real is real?
What is reality?
Please watch the trailer below:
After watching the trailer, I was still left pondering about life in general. Who are we? Where do we come from and What are we doing here?
Let’s finish with some wise fords from Councillor Hamann from the matrix: ” That’s how it is with people. Nobody cares how it works as long as it works.”
New Documentary ‘DMT Quest’ Brings Science of ‘The Spirit Molecule’ to Mainstream Audience
Filmmaker Ben Stewart, who created the iconic documentaries Kymatica and Esoteric Agenda, shares his new film that looks into the science behind the visionary compound known as DMT.
The film features some of the biggest names in the psychedelic scene, including Dr. Jon Dean, Wim Hof, Dr. Mauro Zappaterra, Dr. Rick Strassman, Dr. Dennis Mckenna, Miles Lukas, and Nicolas Glynos.
The popularity of DMT has been growing in recent years. Still, there is very little scientific research on the matter. I think this is one of the best documentaries examining this mysterious substance.
Free to watch below:
Ben Stewart was also our guest on Truth Theory Podcast last year. You can watch the episode here.
Mike Sygula is a blogger, entrepreneur, and activist promoting alternative ideas to raise public consciousness of the important issues facing humankind. He is the founder of Truth Theory. Read More stories by Mike Sygula
10 Great Conscious Films Of 2020 – If You’re Looking For A Good Film To Watch
The Facts:Finding a film that is both conscious and entertaining isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Here is a great list to keep you entertained in a healthy way in 2020.
Reflect On:How do I feel after watching each of these films? Who else might benefit from watching them?
What makes a film conscious and what makes a film entertaining are not always the same thing.
As the Founding Director of the Tribeca Film Festival, former Head of Content for GAIAMTV (Gaia), and now Founder and CEO of CGood TV and Conscious Good, I’ve always been on the pulse of consciousness elevating entertainment.
Placing a high value on both consciousness and entertainment in film, my team and I have chosen 10 films from 2020 that we would like to share with the Collective-Evolution community to act as your guide this holiday season and beyond.
Sing Me a Song, the new feature from acclaimed documentary filmmaker Thomas Balmès (Babies, Happiness), follows Peyangki, a young monk living in a rural monastery in Bhutan. When TV and the Internet come to the remote country, Peyangki is lured by the power of smartphones, which now compete with the rituals of monastery life. Unexpected and profound, Peyangki’s journey challenges us to reassess our own perceptions of relatedness and self-worth in an age of unparalleled connectivity. As highlighted by Courtney Howard from her Variety review, “Thomas Balmès’ profound documentary explores the ripple-effect ramifications of a seemingly positive invention perverting an unspoiled community.” We are compelled to wonder if technology has really made us more evolved or perhaps it’s the other way around?
WHERE TO WATCH IT: On CGOOD TV from January 14th-30th 2021
2. The ReUnited States
The Reunited States is a hopeful and deftly crafted documentary that follows several individuals who are committed to finding ways to heal the deep divide within our country. The filmmaker, Ben Rekhi, respectfully shares the hearts, souls, and stories of these individuals, true American heroes. A few of the people profiled include Susan Bro, who lost her daughter when a car drove through a crowd in Charlottesville; Steven Olikara, the founder of the Millenial Action Project, a bipartisan coalition of 1,500 young lawmakers; Greg Orman, an independent politician who ran for Governor of Kansas in 2018;
and David and Erin Leaverton, a Republican couple who travel to all fifty states in an RV to find out what divides us. As we usher in a new year and a new President, this is an ideal film to enjoy and share with family and friends who may have differing world views.
WHERE TO WATCH IT: iTunes and Amazon on February 9th, 2021 – Watch Q&A with the filmmakers HERE
3. My Octopus Teacher
South African naturalist, Craig Foster closely follows a female octopus for a year and the result is nothing short of astonishing. We witness Foster’s obsession with his shape-shifting muse through a personal narrative that evokes a love-letter. Through his eyes, we don’t just witness the life of this other-worldly creature but become emotionally involved with her in a way that elevates the film from scientific exploration to a completely immersive experience. Co-director James Reed ponders this emerging kind of nature documentary: “Hopefully the lesson is that, actually, everywhere you turn there are complex personalities in nature that just haven’t been documented yet.” What March of the Penguins did for the penguin – igniting a worldwide love fest – this film does for the octopus. Fall in love with your new favorite.
WHERE TO WATCH IT: Netflix
4. The Secret: Dare To Dream
Starring Katie Holmes (Miranda Wells) and Josh Lucas (Bray Johnson), “The Secret: Dare to Dream” is inspired by the phenomenally successful 2006 book, “The Secret”, by Rhonda Byrne. Like the book, the film is infused with the principles of the Laws of Attraction. Without spoilers, the two main characters literally crash into each other in a minor fender bender, setting up a chain of events that involve a storm, a missing message, personal transformation, romance, and humor. Throughout the film, the enigmatic Bray’s musings on life echo the philosophy of Byrne’s book. The lesson is that in learning how to turn off automatic patterns of thought our minds become open to new and more empowering ways of thinking. As Bray says, “we have to be careful because we get what we expect”, and therein lies the ‘secret’ to happiness. Ultimately, this family film is a feel-good love story that draws you in and will warm even the coldest of hearts.
WHERE TO WATCH IT: Amazon Prime
5. Kiss The Ground
Kiss the Ground is a full-length documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson that sheds light on a “new, old approach” to farming called “regenerative agriculture” that has the potential to balance our climate, replenish our vast water supplies, and feed the world. This film comes to us at a time when the health of our ecological systems is fragile. Understanding the root origin of how we thrive as humans are essential in empowering everyday citizens to make small but meaningful changes to their daily lives for the better.
WHERE TO WATCH IT: Netflix – Watch Panel with the filmmakers HERE
6. Infinite Potential: The Life & Ideas of David Bohm
A transformational journey through the mystery of consciousness, Paul Howard’s film is surprisingly accessible for those of us who have never taken a physics course. David Bohm, one of the 20th Century’s most brilliant physicists, was Albert Einstein’s spiritual son and the Dalai Lama’s “science guru.” Not only does Bohm discover through science Quantum Potential, but he also unites these discoveries with Eastern wisdom, firmly establishing the interconnectedness of all things. Infinite Potential includes interviews with luminaries such as H.H. the Dalai Lama, esteemed artist Antony Gormley, Oxford philosopher and physicist Sir Roger Penrose, and many more who were influenced by Bohm’s revolutionary work. Today Bohm’s work is finally being recognized for its potential to revolutionize human thought and our relationship to the planet. If watching this film doesn’t spark your neurotransmitters, it’s time to up your consciousness-raising practice.
WHERE TO WATCH IT: GAIA – Watch a Q&A with the Filmmakers HERE
7. The Social Dilemma
The documentary examines the effect that a handful of leading digital social media platforms, including but not limited to Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have over the public; it is emphasized that a relatively small number of engineers make decisions that impact billions of people. The alarm bells have been sounded for years, but have been layered in tech jargon and a lot of consumer confusion. The Social Dilemma strips away the tech talk and speaks to the human impacts of these connected platforms that seem to be fragmenting society more than they are connecting them.
WHERE TO WATCH IT: Netflix
8. The High Note
Starring the always inspiring and entertaining Dakota Johnson as Maggie and Tracey Ellis Ross as Grace, The High Note is set in the dazzling world of the LA music scene and tells the story of Grace Davis, a superstar whose talent, and ego, have reached unbelievable heights. Maggie is Grace’s overworked personal assistant who’s stuck running errands but still aspires to her childhood dream of becoming a music producer. When Grace’s manager presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career, Maggie and Grace come up with a plan that could change their lives forever. A lovely film that reminds us that our stations in life are really just in our heads!
WHERE TO WATCH IT: Apple TV
9. A Life On Our Planet
Growing up in the UK, David Attenborough inspired my passion for world travel and nature. Now 93, this icon who practically invented the nature documentary genre, lays bare his ‘witness statement’ for the environment. In his lifetime, Attenborough has watched with horror as the planet’s biodiversity has degenerated before his eyes. His utter sadness is revealed in Close-up shots of a face that has seen the advent of global air travel, the first images of the earth from the moon, and the astonishing beauty of the natural world. Yes, we grieve with him, but all is not lost. This beloved man lifts our spirits and raises consciousness with solutions that will save the planet if we act quickly.
WHERE TO WATCH IT: Netflix
10. Happiest Season
Bringing an all-star cast together, including Kristen Stewart as Abby and Mackenzie Davis as Harper, The Happiest Season is a contemporary love story that will warm hearts and bring families together. Abby Holland and Harper Caldwell are a lesbian couple who have been dating for nearly a year. Abby dislikes Christmas since her parents passed away, so Harper spontaneously invites Abby to celebrate the holidays with her family in her hometown. Things are looking bright and starlit until Harper reveals to Abby she actually hadn’t come out to her family, so back in the closet they go. Watch as The Happiest Season reveals how the key to our own personal freedom can’t be controlled by anyone, but ourselves.
Trina has been a leader in entertainment and in raising consciousness, and now she is leading where they intersect: at the forefront of conscious media. Besides being a member of the Evolutionary Leaders Circle, Trina is proud to have conceived of and launched the Tribeca Film Festival as its Founding Director. Trina has also held leadership positions at GAIA (Head of Content), Prana Studios, Intrepid Pictures, and Film Independent and Withoutabox (helping sell it to IMDb). Trina received her MBA from NYU Stern and is an avid yoga practitioner, having completed her 200-hour Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles.
Where is Deal or No Deal Now?
There are deals discussed all around the world all of the time. From outlets citing Donald Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal’ book, to the UK government scratching away to try and get new trade deals in the wake of Brexit, major deals continue to take hit the news worldwide. However, the real question is: what happened to the peoples’ deals?
Deal or No Deal was the show of the people, with its simple guessing game captivating audiences and potentially rewarding its lucky players with millions in prize money. So, where is Deal or No Deal now, and what happened to its regular TV slots across the globe?
Deal or No Deal still going strong, but without the TV cameras
Its TV spot may have vanished into thin air, but the Deal or No Deal game is still very much alive and well online. Playing through the same format of picking a lucky box, opening others, and dealing with the banker, the real-money game offers the same thrills as the TV show. Of course, with a game that’s playable via a smartphone or computer, you’re always the one picking the boxes instead of having to wait your turn.
In an almost ironic turn, the Deal or No Deal game is a gambling game. You place your bet – the size of which determines the box rewards available – and then play through your choices to find your prize. One of the reasons why the game show came under the spotlight in the UK – where it won awards and broke records for viewership – was because some perceived the luck-based game as being gambling. Now, the game is happy to come under that banner to appeal to online players.
Where did the Deal or No Deal show go?
In the United States, CNBC’s rendition of Deal or No Deal with Howie Mandel was must-watch TV for a time. Using cases of cash opened by dazzling models, the game show premiered in 2005 on NBC, running for five seasons, which included a revival season in 2018. Since the end of its first run, which ended in 2009, the game garnered more attention from one of its models, Megan Markle, marrying into the British royal family.
In 2019, the game show met the same fate as it has done in many regions of the world: it was canceled by CNBC in 2020. Since 2016, Deal or No Deal shows have been axed en masse, despite their historic high ratings. Four years ago, the UK’s show that started in 2005 came to an end, which was followed in 2017 by the end of Italy’s 14-year-old program and Vietnam’s version, which premiered in 2005. In 2018, 13 years on Bulgarian television also came to an end.
That said, some nations have stuck with their version of the money-finding game show, including its native land, the Netherlands. The original version of Deal or No Deal, Miljoenenjacht, has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, with its top prize standing at €5 million. Brazil’s 2006-born show Topa ou Não Topa continues to air.
The game show may have faded from several of its longest-running jurisdictions, but those who always wanted to play Deal or No Deal can do so at any time with the online game.
The Downsides to Life in the Spotlight as a Movie Star
Big screen fame is a lifelong dream for many people. Film stars and celebrities seem to have it all: fame, money, cars, and the glamorous lives many of us can only imagine. Aside from fame, the film industry’s profitability is a significant reason people want to become screen players. According to Statista data, worldwide box office revenue reached over $42 billion in 2019. So while you’re watching your favourite stars on TV or in the movie theatre, take a minute to consider that whilst their lives look highly desirable on the surface, the reality is not always the same. And here’s why.
1. They can’t enjoy simple pleasures
Speaking to Esquire, George Clooney revealed that his celebrity status prevents him from enjoying some of life’s simple pleasures like taking a walk in the park. According to him, he hasn’t walked in Central Park for over 15 years! Johnny Depp, speaking to Today, also likens his routine to that of a fugitive, as he needs a strategy for mundane activities like checking in and out of hotels to avoid the paparazzi and fans. Indeed, it is common knowledge that famous people struggle to live everyday lives like the rest of us do. The round-the-clock scrutiny you will likely be under may affect your ability to enjoy the things that many people take for granted.
Engaging in routine activities like bringing your kids to school, reading on a park bench, enjoying a nice cup of coffee, or going shopping could quickly become front-page news. You can expect constant paparazzi attention wherever you go, seeking to capture all your private moments to share with the rest of the world. You may likely also have to forget about being called by your real name. Vic Reeves, a famous comedian and actor, shared in a Guardian article about how often people presume Vic Reeves is his real name, despite only developing the character for a stage project at some point in his career.
2. There’s a lot of pressure
Being in the film industry brings a lot of pressure to be “perfect” both on the big screen and in your private life. Scarlet Johannson, speaking to Candis Magazine, spoke about the pressures of maintaining a required fitness level to continue playing her role as “Black Widow” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) franchise. Many other actors like Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and possibly all other film stars who play superheroes or villains often have to shed or gain some bulk to qualify for the roles. Aside from the on-screen pressure to have perfect bodies, the off-screen pressure to be thin and fit is also a disturbing reality for film stars and other celebrities. Social media’s influence often leaves celebrities at the mercy of fans and other users regarding body shaming and other undesirable pressures.
3. Fame can make you paranoid
Several film stars confess to developing paranoia after becoming a big-screen hit. In an interview with Loaded in 2014, Idris Elba, known for notable roles in movies like ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ and ‘Thor,’ laments how difficult it is to trust people, especially potential love interests. Elba says he commonly feels unsure about whether relationships he has developed with people after becoming famous are real or not. Indeed, this is a significant concern and a source of anxiety for notable people that transcends theatre into other areas like music and business. Many end up having to hire celebrity security guards in order to feel safe.
4. Substance abuse is always a threat
The tabloid press, television, and other media platforms are continually reporting stories about celebrities battling an addiction to drugs, alcohol, and other substances that are detrimental to their health. Some experts theorize that stars continuously face the threat of substance abuse due to inherent personality threats. Studies have found traits of obsession, risk-taking, strong drives, etc., (common celebrity traits) in individuals with substance abuse disorders. According to these studies, these celebrity traits use the same brain pathways that affect the brain’s reward center in addicts and successful people alike, putting them at risk of substance abuse.
Some other experts think the likelihood of substance abuse is high among celebrities because they have easy access to them. Hollywood’s elite have plenty of social influence and cash to spare, making it easier and cheaper to acquire substances than non-celebrities. Also, public scrutiny can be a factor that drives celebrities to indulge in substance abuse. Stars are under constant observation by fans, the media, and colleagues. People react to situations differently, and as such public opinion and bad press may affect one person more personally than others. Drugs and alcohol, therefore, become easy coping mechanisms that many celebrities resort to.
Peer influence is another driving factor behind stars always facing the threat of substance abuse, as is the case of actors like Macaulay Culkin and Selena Gomez. While it isn’t a guarantee that you will also abuse substances, it is undoubtedly a threat you are very likely to face as a film star.
5. Dating is almost impossible
With a rigorous work schedule leaving little room for romantic entanglements, you can expect a life where dating is difficult. Whether you are dating a fellow film star or an “ordinary” person, the demands of show business will likely leave you little time to prioritize personal relationships. This reality is even evident among celebrity relationships and marriages, whose high failure rates are often a topic of concern and gossip for many interested in show business.
Why is this so? Psychologist and fame expert Donna Rockwell spoke to Cosmopolitan about the world of fame and relationships. She cited fame as the primary reason why many celebrity relationships fail. According to her, the ego tends to get in the way of focusing on your partner due to your familiarity with always being on the receiving end of attention.
Media attention coupled with thousands of fans doting on you when you walk on the streets, on social media, and at shows, makes it harder to maintain romantic relationships that need compromise to flourish. Also, before her engagement to Cooke Maroney, Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence spoke to Vogue concerning her struggles with finding and connecting with eligible bachelors because few people asked her out. As such, you can also expect your celebrity status to intimidate a few potential partners.
6. You may have to overcome a lot of bad press
As a film star and a celebrity in general, it is common to wake up to many unflattering things concerning your life popping up in the media. It is no secret that the media loves to cover the good, bad, and ugly of celebrity lives at length. Mel Gibson, a renowned actor and movie director, was all over the news in 2006 when he was caught on camera using anti-Semitic slurs against a Jewish police officer who had pulled him over for drunk driving. However, he made a surprising comeback with Hacksaw Ridge, an Oscar-nominated war film classic.
Christian Bale received a lot of bad press for his profanity-laden outburst on “Terminator Salvation” back in 2008. Despite going viral online, he apologized and went on to reprise his role as Batman in ‘The Dark Knight in 2010″, even winning an Oscar for best supporting actor in his 2010 film “The Fighter.” You may remember Arnold Schwarzenegger being in the news in 2011 for admitting to fathering a child with one of his household staffers despite being married, but he has since starred in hits like “Escape Plan” and “Terminator Genisys.” Bad press is simply a showbiz reality, so be prepared to face it and most importantly, overcome it.
Terence McKenna Explains Why Television is the Most Dangerous Addictive Drug in Society
People have become totally obsessed with their own beliefs, opinions, and biases that their behavior is going completely unexamined. Their reactions to the latest news item are automatic and predictable. The late iconoclast Terence McKenna pointed out that obsessive and unexamined behavior in pursuit of the familiar stimulus (such as what we see with each moment of media outrage) is what drug addiction is about.
McKenna went a step further to say that television was the greatest drug ever introduced into society. What else could persuade people to spend an average of 5-7 hours a day sitting in front of the TV? All the while consuming, in hypnotic states of mind, the scientifically crafted messages of corporate and government propagandists?
Here, McKenna expounds on the idea that television is a drug that is having negative consequences on individuals and on society at large:
“Unexamined behavior is what is alarming about drug addiction, that people behave like they are obsessed. Well on that scale, then, the most powerful drug of the late 20th century is television and propaganda. And the way in which we consume propaganda is amazing. I mean the most intelligent of us, the ones who hold ourselves most aloof, are probably junkies through and through when it comes to the media.” ~Terence McKenna
He goes on to talk about how being able to see violence on tv has changed the nature of warfare, and that if we are to watch violence, we need to see real footage of it, rather than theatrical violence so that we can understand that we have a responsibility in creating a world in which war and violence are so prevalent.
Here he explains how similar watching television is to consuming a drug:
“In fact it is shaping our value systems in ways that are very hard for us to suspect or even detect. I mean television, for example, it’s a drug. It has a series of measurable physiological parameters that are as intrinsically its signature as are teh parameters of heroin or its signature. You sit someone down in front of a TV set and turn it on. Twenty minutes later come back, sample their blood pressure, their eye movement rate, blood is pooling in their rear end, their breathing takes on a certain quality, the stare reflex sets in. They are thoroughly zoned on a drug.” ~Terence McKenna
Here he talks a bit more about the nature of addiction, tv, and our true purpose on this planet as human beings.
What do you think? Is television and mass media making people crazy?
About the Author
Dylan Charles is the editor of Waking Times and host of The Battered Souls Podcast, both dedicated to ideas of personal transformation, societal awakening, and planetary renewal. His personal journey is deeply inspired by shamanic plant medicines and the arts of Kung Fu, Qi Gong, and Yoga. After seven years of living in Costa Rica, he now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and enjoys spending time with family. He has written hundreds of articles, reaching and inspiring millions of people around the world.
Erich Fromm, the renowned German-Jewish social psychologist who was forced to flee his homeland in the early 1930s as the Nazis came to power, offered a disturbing insight later in life on the relationship between society and the individual.
Society itself could become so pathological, so detached from a normative way of life, that it induced a deep-seated alienation and a form of collective insanity among its members.
In the mid-1950s, his book The Sane Society suggested that insanity referred not simply to the failure by specific individuals to adapt to the society they lived in. Rather, society itself could become so pathological, so detached from a normative way of life, that it induced a deep-seated alienation and a form of collective insanity among its members. In modern western societies, where automation and mass consumption betray basic human needs, insanity might not be an aberration but the norm.
“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.”
This is still a very challenging idea to anyone raised on the view that sanity is defined by consensus, that it embraces whatever the mainstream prefers, and that insanity applies only to those living outside those norms. It is a definition that diagnoses the vast majority of us today as insane.
When Fromm wrote his book, Europe was emerging from the ruins of the Second World War. It was a time of reconstruction, not only physically and financially, but legally and emotionally. International institutions like the United Nations had recently been formed to uphold international law, curb national greed and aggression, and embody a new commitment to universal human rights.
It was a time of hope and expectation. Greater industrialization spurred by the war effort and intensified extraction of fossil fuels meant economies were beginning to boom, a vision of the welfare state was being born, and a technocratic class promoting a more generous social democracy were replacing the old patrician class.
It was at this historic juncture that Fromm chose to write a book telling the western world that most of us were insane.
Degrees of insanity
If that was clear to Fromm in 1955, it ought to be much clearer to us today, as buffoon autocrats stride the world stage like characters from a Marx Brothers movie; as international law is being intentionally unraveled to restore the right of western nations to invade and plunder; and as the physical world demonstrates through extreme weather events that the long-ignored science of climate change – and much other human-inspired destruction of the natural world – can no longer be denied.
And yet our commitment to our insanity seems as strong as ever – possibly stronger. Sounding like the captain of the Titanic, the unreconstructed British liberal writer Sunny Hundal memorably gave voice to this madness a few years back when he wrote in defense of the catastrophic status quo:
If you want to replace the current system of capitalism with something else, who is going to make your jeans, iPhones and run Twitter?
As the clock ticks away, the urgent goal for each of us is to gain a deep, permanent insight into our own insanity. It doesn’t matter that our neighbors, family, and friends think as we do. The ideological system we were born into, that fed us our values and beliefs as surely as our mothers fed us milk, is insane. And because we cannot step outside of that ideological bubble – because our lives depend on submitting to this infrastructure of insanity – our madness persists, even as we think of ourselves as sane.
Our world is not one of the sane versus the insane, but of the less insane versus the more insane.
This is why I recommend the new documentary I Am Greta, a very intimate portrait of the Swedish child environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
Before everyone gets started, let me point out that I Am Greta is not about the climate emergency. That is simply the background noise as the film charts the personal journey begun by this 15-year-old girl with Asperger’s syndrome in staging a weekly lone protest outside the Swedish parliament. Withdrawn and depressed by the implications of the compulsive research she has done on the environment, she rapidly finds herself thrust into the center of global attention by her simple, heartfelt statements of the obvious.
The schoolgirl shunned as insane by classmates suddenly finds the world is drawn to the very qualities that previously singled her out as weird: her stillness, her focus, her refusal to equivocate or to be impressed.
Footage of her father desperately trying to get her to take a break and eat something, if only a banana, as she joins yet another climate march, or of her curling up in a ball on her bed, needing to be silent, after an argument with her father over the time she has spent crafting another speech to world leaders may quieten those certain she is simply a dupe of the fossil fuel industries – or, more likely, it will not.
But the fruitless debates about whether Thunberg is being used are irrelevant to this film. That is not where its point or its power lies.
Through Thunberg’s eyes
For 90 minutes we live in Thunberg’s shoes, we see the world through her strange eyes. For 90 minutes we are allowed to live inside the head of someone so sane that we can briefly grasp – if we are open to her world – quite how insane each of us truly is. We see ourselves from the outside, through the vision of someone whose Asperger’s has allowed her to “see through the static”, as she too generously terms our delusions. She is the small, still center of simple awareness buffeted in a sea of insanity.
Watching Thunberg wander alone – unimpressed, often appalled – through the castles and palaces of world leaders, through the economic forums of the global technocratic elite, through the streets where she is acclaimed, the varied nature of our collective insanity comes ever more sharply into focus.
Four forms of insanity the adult world adopts in response to Thunberg, the child soothsayer, are on show. In its varied guises, this insanity derives from unexamined fear.
The first – and most predictable – is exemplified by the right, who angrily revile her for putting in jeopardy the ideological system of capitalism they revere as their new religion in a godless world. She is an apostate, provoking their curses and insults.
The second groups are liberal world leaders and the technocratic class who run our global institutions. Their job, for which they are so richly rewarded, is to pay lip service, entirely in bad faith, to the causes, Thunberg espouses for real. They are supposed to be managing the planet for future generations, and therefore have the biggest investment in recruiting her to their side, not least to dissipate the energy she mobilizes that they worry could rapidly turn against them.
One of the film’s early scenes is Thunberg’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, shortly after she has started making headlines.
Beforehand, Macron’s adviser tries to pump Thunberg for information on other world leaders she has met. His unease at her reply that this her first such invitation is tangible. As Thunberg, herself seems only too aware when they finally meet, Macron is there simply for the photoshoot. Trying to make inane small talk with someone incapable of such irrelevancies, Macron can’t help but raise an eyebrow in discomfort, and a possibly mild reproof, as Thunberg, concedes that the media reports of her traveling everywhere by train are right.
The third group is the adults who line the streets for a selfie with Thunberg, or shout out their adulation, loading it on to her shoulders like a heavy burden – and one she signally refuses to accept. Every time someone at a march tells her she is special, brave, or a hero, she immediately tells them they too are brave. It is not her responsibility to fix the climate for the rest of us, and to think otherwise is a form of infantilism.
The fourth group is entirely absent from the film, but not from the responses to it and to her. These are the “cynically insane”, those who want to load on to Thunberg a burden of a different kind. Aware of the way we have been manipulated by our politicians and media, and the corporations that now own both, they are committed to a different kind of religion – one that can see no good anywhere. Everything is polluted and dirty. Because they have lost their own innocence, all innocence must be murdered.
My latest: The more Greta Thunberg articulates the terrifying emotions of awakening to our impending extinction as a species – as she did at the UN this week – the more many of us dig in our heels to resist her role as an agent of change https://t.co/zEZYMuotZv
This is a form of insanity no different from the other groups. It denies that anything can be good. It refuses to listen to anything and anyone. It denies that sanity is possible at all. It is its own form of autism – locked away in a personal world from which there can be no escape – that, paradoxically, Thunberg herself has managed to overcome through her deep connection to the natural world.
As long as we can medicalize Thunberg as someone suffering from Asperger’s, we do not need to think about whether we are really the insane ones.
Long ago economists made us aware of financial bubbles, the expression of insanity from investors as they pursue profit without regard to real-world forces. Such investors are finally forced to confront reality – and the pain it brings – when the bubble bursts. As it always does.
We are in an ideological bubble – and one that will burst as surely as the financial kind. Thunberg is that still, small voice of sanity outside the bubble. We can listen to her, without fear, without reproach, without adulation, without cynicism. Or we can carry on with our insane games until the bubble explodes.