A Better World

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It is wholly delusional to believe that we can damage the core functions of the biosphere and not simultaneously sow the seeds of economic malfunction and breakdown. Like an undiagnosed cancer, the truth will bring us to our knees eventually.


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Nature always bats last. This is the essential truth that identifies the logic of capitalism as the primary driver of climate and ecological breakdown. Blindness to this truth is nowhere more apparent than in our language. Until this error is corrected, we can only be on the path to eventual ruin.

Geologists recently declared our current epoch the Anthropocene, as humans are now the single most powerful force affecting the planet. In accepting premise one, we are agreeing to accept the deeply ideological background conditions of our time—to recognize the nature of the oxygen we are breathing.

In accepting premise two, we begin to understand the mechanics of how the Capitalocene works. If we are not addressing the root functions of this system, we are merely bystanders as the world burns around us.

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These two worlds must come together. Hard realities are hard to face, and we humans have a multitude of mental tools available to us to avoid hard realities.

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This has always been true, but it is especially true in the early 21st century. Today, our identities are manufactured by the products and services we consume—we even make consumer brands of ourselves, pruning our social media profiles and even our relationships to create an identity we can successfully trade in the marketplace of clicks and likes.

We thus create our own stories and alibis that allow us to feel as comfortable as we can with our role in the system. Which is a way of saying the fundamentals of capitalism are fine, it just needs some relatively mild recalibration. As seductive as this sort of optimism may feel, and as much as it may soothe fears triggered by ideas of whole-system change, the facts speak of a very different and more far-reaching imperative: the need to evolve the fundamental rules of the operating system such that it ceases to be what it is now and becomes something altogether new.

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Capitalism itself, in other words, must be replaced with something contextually relevant for the times we live in. The pattern is entrenched to the point of self-replication: the vast bulk of wealth generated since the inception of neoliberalism in the s has flowed efficiently, and deliberately, into the hands of the already rich. In other words, every dollar of wealth created actively creates more inequality.

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This rate of extinction portends true global catastrophe if left unchecked. If that all goes, practically no ocean life can exist.

A Better World

Without insects, there is no terrestrial life. Three degrees will make parts of the globe uninhabitable to humans and the very effort of globally organized human civilization impossible to sustain. Five degrees is close to game over for humanity. In this disastrous context, people like Mr. Gates, with the backing of institutions like the World Bank and the IMF, tell us that global GDP has to grow at about three percent a year to avoid deflation and system breakdown.

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Twice as many cars, twice as many hamburgers, twice as many trans-continental flights, twice as many iPads, etc. The effects on the planet are barely conceivable. Some believe that denying this reality will save us. Politics is the art of handling power. And power will affect you whether you like it or not. The fear of dualism creates more dualism. Some believe that plant medicines such as ayahuasca will play an important role in overthrowing the existing paradigm. This may be true. The first task for psychedelic communities, then, is to recognize the whole-system reality.

If our spiritual or psychedelic practices detach us from this; if they are not addressing root causes; if they are not defending Life in the face of neoliberal slaughter, they are serving nothing but our own atomized, egoic selves. And what could be less honoring of the truths of unity and oneness that are often revealed through deep psychedelic practice? Currently, we are relegating the power of psychedelics and the communities around them to the margins of social change.

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