Psychedelic Science 2017: Adam Andros Talk on Cognitive Liberty, Neurodiversity, and Non-Pathologizing Approaches to Mental Health

4 05 2017

These are my notes and summarizations of a lecture at Psychedelic Science Conference in Oakland in April of 2017

 

For more writing like this go to my Wellness Blog at https://keatingbodyworks.wordpress.com

 

Hearing voices is normal for processing grief.  If we assumed that hearing voices was a sign of negative mental health issues then we miss the healing process people are going through.  People hear whatever their culture and upbringing tells them.  One will process grief through the signs and symbols of whatever one was exposed to.  If we were exposed to Jesus and Catholicism as a child we might experience processing overall, and metaphysical spirituality, through visions or “voices” of Jesus or the Catholic tradition.   Look at it like advertising.  America advertises competition and individualism, and Jesus as spirituality.  We hear voices pressuring us and socializing us towards these values.  Other cultures based in socialized approaches hear more voices related to well-being, openness, and acceptance.  In Amazon jungle societies, the world is alive and everything has souls and spirits, and the world is a community of humans, plants, clouds, rivers, animals, etc.  Hence these communities using plants as a source of healing, and as teachers.  This is an example of interspecies communication for such communities.  What matters overall, though, is if these experiences are meaningful despite whatever is advertised to us to believe in and process with.

 

Psychedelic harm reduction and support has a great base in supporting people’s process.  There is no such thing as a bad trip except if people pre-maturely exit a process before it is ready for them to move on.  Allowing the experience to manifest completely is the teacher and in this sense, an environment is created where nobody has authority over the other (other than in some areas of basic safety and whatnot).  A major emphasis is rather put on creating conditions and an environment for flourishing.  This idea of acceptance toward neurodiversity is gaining popularity in mental health circles.  Nothing is considered a “disease,” rather, people who want to process the voices going on in their head can be grouped together and encouraged to process and can be given, or share with each other, coping/harm reduction strategies.  This is a far cry away from the standard pathological approach that values getting rid of this or that.  Instead of seeing a pathology to be cured, how about just seeing difference?  We are moving away from such “pathological” thinking.

 

For example, being bipolar is a condition that allows one unbounded gifts.  Instead of being “cured”, the condition needs to be navigated for flourishing.  We are learning to celebrate people more for who they are and what they are going through.  How can these “mad” people become positive people who are rather celebrating being “mad” in an insane society?  It’s all in the perspective shift and then helping people navigate.  We can’t lose our ability to see and embrace diverse experiences.  Globalism and mono culture of mind and no diversity is very often the goal of most corporations, institutions, and enterprises.  Moving away from these values and towards embracing the infinite diversity of human experience will lead to more accepted, well-being, and health.

 

The point of this is not to say that all disease is a myth but that they can be experimented with and our approaches more involved with making space and giving people a positive environment to flourish in.  We all want this.  We place a value on reciprocity of how we treat others and how we want to be treated and allowed to live and think.  The term and value that the United States was founded on comes to mind; “the pursuit of happiness.”  Acceptance and reciprocity of intersectionality of thought is a means to an end to a true pursuit of happiness and healthy communities.

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Ecology and Conversation on Veganism, Thoughts About Life and Attachment and Remaining Open in Times of Posturing

14 03 2017

This is one large essay divided up into smaller sections as can be seen below.

 

Veganism, Feminism, Buddhism, Socialism, Capitalism, Environmentalism, etc.  The Trials and Tribulations That Can Easily Come From –isms.

 

People become obsessed with –ism’s.  Specifically, the religious and political and extremist mindset that comes from it.  It doesn’t matter what –ism it is or perhaps it is a religion or another word that doesn’t end in –ism.  This can apply to anything that one takes on as their whole identity.  People can see this negative connection easier when it is identified with religion.  –isms can be identical to religion in their manipulation and control-of-the-other characteristics.  Many people on the left political spectrum often fall victim to –isms while at the same time tearing down people for being attached to religion.  It is very easy to become ego identified with an -ism and then our whole identity is that.  For example, “I’m Emily, who are you?”, “I’m Ryan and I’m a Vegan.”  This is the awkward moment when Ryan has put someone on the defensive edge and set up a more likely scenario where the non-Vegan will offend the Vegan just through the sharing of casual information that will go against the essence of Vegan-ism and, hence, the identity of that person.

 

When people are ego identified with the –ism it makes communicating with an agenda the priority.  It seeks out and looks for division and opportunities to spread the agenda and to judge negatively if agreement doesn’t adhere to said –ism.  Most of the time, it directly leads to quick division and forces sides to be taken and more conveniently puts people in boxes.  If any disagreement occurs to the values of a person’s  –ism then they will defend it vehemently because they are ego identified with it.  It is extremist thinking and reacting as there is generally only one solution.  There is no connection and dialogue where perhaps the goal of that –ism can be reached through other means.  The person identified with the –ism is not going to change their mind.  It is usually either a ‘my way or the highway conversation’ and very common to think that what’s wrong with everybody is that they haven’t taken on my –ism yet.

 

People take on and become an –ism WAY more than an –ism becomes a piece of them.  It leaves bystanders feeling attacked when someone from that –ism starts to express themselves.  When people feel attacked, they feel defensive, and when people feel defensive they don’t want to look at those issues.  This is a lose lose situation.  For the –ism identifier they will grit their teeth and get more aggressive and tough because they know they are right and go further into their echo chamber –ism head.  For the non –ism-er they will just want this extremist person to stop talking because they aren’t really listening, the conversation is not reciprocal, and it is generally overwhelming and off putting to be exposed to authoritarian-ism.  In a very real sense, every –ism is a form of authoritarian-ism.  If we really want people to come around to our –ism it needs to come from a place of freedom, dialogue, reciprocal communication about values and experiences, etc.  And we also need to be honestly open to that our –ism may be wrong! We can’t be offended and grotesque feeling if people don’t agree with us.  We can’t just jump down people’s throats with information and write them off if they don’t agree.

 

When people are part of an –ism they usually share most, if not all of their space, with those who share their same beliefs.  Web-sites, forums, Facebooks, Twitters, Snapchats contacts, friends, etc.  It’s common to push people out of your life who are not a part of your –ism.  Your whole life feed at how you get information confirms your –ism and only your world view.  It’s easy to see information that confirms your world view.  It is very hard to see information that doesn’t.  A certain reality is only funneled to you and you can’t relate, or even want to relate, to any other reality.  This makes it easy to get in black/white, right/wrong thinking.  You’re either with me or against me.  Well that mentality will give you a lot more enemies than friends and it will only surround yourself with mirrors on what you want reflected back at you to confirm your beliefs.

 

One time someone I respected called me intellectually lazy.  At the time, I thought all my hard work was leading me to the right answers, hence, confirming my own –isms and didn’t understand where this lazy label was coming from.  I was anything but lazy in my pursuit of knowledge and I was offended.  I was offended they called me lazy and was equally offended they didn’t agree with me and were making me spend so much time trying to convince them of the obvious.  This was a smart person!  How come they weren’t getting it?  I wasn’t understanding the nature of my own –isms and how that was making me mentally lazy as a result.  In the modern era of being online A LOT and creating filters for what we see or don’t see, and search engines funneling information to us based on what we text, email, search, click on, etc., it is easier to dive into a deep void of our -ism vs any other time in history.  It will VERY likely get WAY more intense as technology and information flow will continue to get more advanced, fast, erratic, and decentralized.  It’s also, by a long shot, not the cultural value of the majority to recognize and remedy this for when we are participating in and creating such division.  If anything we are motivated to partake in –isms with a zealot fervor!

 

And think about this.  People forcefully shoving agendas or information down your throat and judging you if you don’t take it are usually NOT people you really admire.  It can definitely come with good intentions as people think they have struck gold with their correct ideology/-ism and that they’ve figured out, or found the golden skeleton key to life! They want to share this while convincing others to take on the whole identify of that –ism.  However, even if things are meant well, that has no result on if it actually plays out well and helps, and could very easily bring about the opposite.  We need to start seeing, communicating, and approaching the conversation for what it is, even if we fundamentally believe in an –ism.  Our success at how well we do this will be vital in the era of Trump where extremist and combative and bully thinking seem to be the norm.

 

Thoughts Regarding Veganism

 

I have been putting forth my best effort to take on being an environmentally conscious, healthy Vegan.  It’s been about two to three years since I took it on in my current life.  I tried it unsuccessfully for about a year 7 years ago as well.  Many things have come up for me in this time and I have been re-evaluating my position on if Veganism is actually as environmentally conscious as it’s made out to be and if it’s nutritionally good for you in the long run.  My stance at the current moment is that Veganism can be a superb diet for the short term (3 to 6 months or even up a year) but that it leads to nutritional depletion in most people who put forth a lot of effort at doing it correctly for longer periods of time.

 

Veganism also doesn’t seem to be a balanced ecological approach to the Earth.  In the name of speciesism, as it values animal life equally to that of humans, it promotes speciesism overall as it values plant based species more than animal.  For this reason, I do not feel it abides by the natural ecological plant/animal, life-cycle/relationship of the Earth.  The Vegan ethic is also that every life form is equal but Size-ism (if that is even a term) seems to be a common practice in the sense that larger animals are valued more than smaller ones.  A dead elk is worse than a dead turkey, a dead turkey is worse than a dead rabbit, a rabbit more than a fish, a fish more than a grasshopper, and of course, a grasshopper more than a plant, etc.  Our farming, cultivation, and treatment methods for plants and animals should be absolutely humane, non-toxic, non-factory farmed, and environmentally conscious, and work symbiotically with each other, thus promoting as much life as possible while also working for our ideal nutritionally needs.  The triad balance of plant, animal, and human needs, need to be in appropriate, realistic harmony for all to flourish (humans are animals obviously but given our own category because we do have an ego and a natural, inevitable instinct to take care of ourselves and survive at the expense of life and this is not going away anytime soon).  I can’t give exact percentages as to how much of one’s diet needs to be plants vs how much needs to be animal compared to how much resources the Earth can handle to accommodate us living, but I’d bet it would be somewhere around 85 to 95% plant consumption vs 5 to 15% animal consumption for average adults.

 

It is very common for Vegans to take on self-punishment.  Sort of like a self-flagellation that would be seen in our history with priests flogging themselves for committing or even thinking about sin.  This was absurd for priests to do back then and it is absurd for Vegans to do now.  The self-flagellation in the Vegan is being hungry and depleting your body due to feeling bad about animals and the nourishment they provide.  Reminds me very much of vampire movies where the vampire feels bad for eating the blood of people.  It is VERY hard to not be always hungry as a Vegan and I’ve witnessed this come up as a sort of joke within the community.  Why would we do that to ourselves all the time?  It is easy to eat a lot of good, healthy food as a Vegan and be full for moments, but having started to eat animal products again I have forgot how it feels to be satisfied and not in constant hungry mode.  My body feels like is has started operating optimally again and it was hard to realize this as I had just gotten used to being hungry and having ailments associated with nutritional depletion.  I was blaming everything else in my life for me feeling inadequate vs the obvious fuel that I was putting in my body.  Once I started to eat a little bit of animal products I felt instantly revived.  This is a common thing among those that have gone Vegan.  The rush/high of nutrition that comes back when giving access to animal products again.  Similar to the rush of starting out on a Vegan diet and flushing your body of animal product toxins and giving yourself so much wonderful, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer plant food.  This all leads to me thinking that there needs to be a balance between plant and animal sources and we need to get over attaching guilt and self-flagellation and extremism in thought for why we do or don’t do things.

 

Looking at the history of our species and our closest ancestors, Veganism does not seem to be a natural, healthy diet for any one of them.  We are in the same family as other great apes and related most closely to the chimpanzee and bonobo and next we are most closely related to the guerilla and then the orangutan.  It is important to know that we don’t come from those animals but we all came from a common ancestor.  We split from our most common ancestor of the chimp and bonobo about 6 million years ago.  Tracing back meat consumption in our ancestors and what they eat now shows that chimps hunt and eat meat in the form of monkeys, pigs, fawn, antelope and they’ll forage invertebrates like termites and insects.  Bonobos eat animals too but much less so but consume a lot of invertebrates.  Guerillas primarily eat leaves and fruit and don’t hunt but do eat invertebrates.  They have developed a massive, advanced intestinal belly system to process plant food.  Orangutans are also not vegetarian and eat similar things to the other great apes.  In our own species, if we look at indigenous and foraging people’s we find hunter and gatherer omnivores.  Cultures like India are largely vegetarian but still eat a lot of animal products.  If karma led them to not eating meat and domesticating animals in that way why wouldn’t they have just gone all the way and become Vegan?  If anyone believes that there was a golden age of Veganism for great ape consumption or that any human culture has ever thrived off of being Vegan then it is no different than believing the stories of Noah’s arc and the great flood and Adam and Eve or in the tooth fairy.  There is no evidence to support such things and leaves one thinking if Veganism is more of a religion for people to follow than an eating lifestyle that works for humans or their closest animal relatives.

 

It is fed to us that we can easily get all the nutrients we need from only plants.  If biology and the history of our species has anything to say about it, it’s that they all aren’t there.  If they were, we’d see other great apes doing it and we would have naturally gravitated to this source of energy long ago, or we’d see a lot of modern day Vegans living healthily from generation to generation.  Things like vitamin B12 deficiency is something that plays out over time.  You can feel great for months or even years but then the reserves get used up.  You feel amazing when you first start but then slowly it gets spent and one becomes depleted.  It is very much harder for plant proteins to be as efficient for our bodies as animal protein.  If hunter and gatherer societies could just gather why would they take the risk and do a dangerous act like hunting animals?  There has to be a cost-benefit analysis that heavily favors the benefit of energy and substance provided by meat that makes it possibly worth dying for.  Look at vegan body builders vs omnivore body builders.  Look at vegetarian cultures of the world vs meat eating cultures.  Vegetarian people are by far less robust.  Not that you need to be robust to live a healthy life but just that if some animal products were included in your diet it could go a long way.

 

And what about a Vegan diet for infants/children?  What happens to an infant who isn’t fed milk as a baby?  There is evidence for reduced cognitive ability in children who do not intake breast milk and other animal products as they age.  So, what does this say for adults who take this diet on as time goes by?  If it doesn’t work for our children how is it going to work for us?  Again, we have stores of animal nutrients and access to convenient animal protein in our bodies and when that goes so too does our ability to function at our highest or normal efficiency.  This is seen in adults in the high number of Vegans who don’t continue being Vegans (even though they are doing it correctly with a lot of positive effort) as the diet depletes and doesn’t work for them.  They have to adjust and changing what you eat is usually at the core of how one would go about feeling better.

 

Roots of Veganism

 

Taking a step back, looking at the possible reasons for why Veganism has emerged is valuable.  Over 100 years ago most people interacted with animals more, especially if you lived in a rural setting.  Even if you didn’t, people like my grandpa who lived in San Francisco always tell me stories of packing up the chickens to take them on a road trip for food.  People of this era witnessed the killing of animals from a very early age that normalized it into a natural life process of living and dying.  The emotional reality of the world through killing, bleeding, dying, and suffering was part of how animals and humans ate.  Whether you’re a Vegan, a vegetarian, an omnivore; animals eat living things.  Things have to die for animals to live.  Forming life and fueling growth requires life to be lost.  New creatures are made out of dead creatures.  This mentality used to be very normalized.

 

In modern times we haven’t formed that relationship with the life cycle and with animals.  Rather, we have stuffed animals that keep us cozy and snuggled at night.  We grow up on cartoons where animals make us laugh and entertained and are viewed very much as humans and given a human story in how they talk, act, and live.  Our emotional limbic brain developed observing this in our early childhood and hence was etched into our brains for how we carry on viewing animals.

 

As childhood advances we encounter domesticated animals which are animals that act like the juvenile version of their adult, wild selves.  Dogs act like pups and cats act like kittens.  Because most of us weren’t raised with real relationships with real animals in the wild we have a skewed view of animals and how they act and what their life is really like and what their purpose is.  Children are kept from the reality that people are animals themselves, and hunters at that, and that they kill animals for food.  It is also not made aware to them that non-domesticated animals usually get eaten or become injured and die from infection or disease.  Animals don’t come together for a grand Bambi conference.  They come together to hunt and to kill, eat, and run from each other.  There is no retirement home for non-domesticated animals where someone takes care of them.  To modern generations exposed to domesticated animals and cartoon animals, it feels cruel to kill and eat them.  We don’t see slaughterhouses now.  Killing is hidden and almost made into a secret cult.  We’ve lost out on the Native American spirituality of life cycle and ecology of the land.  Hunting and nature and the natural biology of life and death went from being a natural part of our existence to being cruel.  It went from being amoral to immoral.  Vegans are attempting to meditate these immoral acts of killing and slaughter out of our DNA.  Veganism is an attempt at this and an apology for our ecology and will starve themselves and self-flagellate as a result.

 

A mentality that a lot of Vegans prescribe to is the fear and judgement that they are accumulating a lot of dark karma for eating animal products?  For all the animals that are killed for us to live our lifestyle of driving cars, purchasing technology, wearing certain clothes, supporting certain industries, harvesting kale and other agriculture, ones we step on, etc., would the number of a conscious omnivore be that dramatically different from a Vegan?  It seems like the grand total of death accumulates mostly from our destruction of smaller living life forms.  Not that this gives us an excuse to then kill more animals but just that most of our destruction is through most of us just living out our normal lives that most reasonable people would not deem to be a problem.  And does reincarnation play any role in this?  Can we really kill something and the energy that goes into something else?  Have we convinced ourselves that death is larger and has more meaning than it should have?  Have we lost sight of the natural life cycle even more?

 

At some point Vegans come across factory farming which offends us.  It is a truly horrible practice that changes people and claws at our sensibilities.  The industrialization process of animals looks like the very worst of what we see human beings doing to each other.  A slave condition holocaust of animals.  As a result, Veganism can become the obvious choice.  Why wouldn’t I find another way?  Why would I participate in hurting animals when I don’t have to?  Unfortunately, people don’t just not support factory farming but instead go against even local farming.  It is not known that local farming is different than factory farming and that comes with having real relationships with your farmer which people don’t do.  We want easy solutions to difficult questions and tic toc between extremes in thinking.  You’re either with us or against us.  You either love and respect animals and don’t condemn them to death in factory farming or you participate in it.  This leads to a world rooted in witch hunting.

 

Vegans rage about factory farming then turns on the hunter and gathering ecology people who are more in touch with animals than most Vegans are.  Average Vegans love for animals is just for domesticated animals (dogs, cats, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys).  Most are not involved with wild animals.  A person who is a hunter and gatherer very often takes notice and appreciation of wild animals and their environments.  They tend to care far more than Vegans about rivers, creeks, nature, wild life management and conservation, ecology in general, etc.  Preserving wild animal numbers and nature conservation activist efforts come mostly from hunters and not Vegans.  Wouldn’t it be nice if hunters and conservationists could come together with Vegans on the other side?  They are often seen as enemies of each other.  Can the hippy who cares about nature, domesticating edible plants and crops, and not killing animals, team up with the hunter who cares about ecology with plants and animals, and conservation of natural wild environments?  Each group can offer each other very valuable information on nutrition and taking care of the Earth.  Waging a war of ideas against each other will never produce any practical solutions.

 

Eventually the aggression, guilt, and judgement a lot of Vegans have leads them to not eating with anyone.  They become overwhelmed by the idea that everyone is partaking in the holocaust.  They’ll isolate themselves in their own echo chambers and as we are social apes this is counter to whatever message we are trying to push.  Sharing food is an invitation and an opening for us and allows for bringing people into your social circle so we can influence and be influenced.  Not participating with other people in such basic bonding acts lead to pushing people away and then those pushed away start to push away as well but the Vegan doesn’t realize they are the ones pushing everyone away due to their judgement and unwillingness to participate and receive with others.  Vegans can feel as if they are at a dinner table with a bunch of racist skin heads but it’s very much different than that as our biology and history tell us differently that we are omnivorous creatures.  Food and energy acquisition comes from plants and animals and that is a very deep-rooted instinct for naturally absorbing nutrition.

 

Veganism and Farming as the Solution and What That Promotes

 

Veganism is made possible by farming.  And farming is a triumph and a control over nature.  Hunter and gatherers participate in ecology and are just another animal in the ecosystem.  Farmers have dominion over nature.  They tear apart nature and mostly grow things that naturally wouldn’t grow there all while nature is constantly attempting to take it back over.  Raised, domesticated species take over on farms.  It allows us to feed enough people on a vegetarian diet.  Farming is the original anti-nature approach and the foundation for Veganism.  If you care about animals then you certainly wouldn’t want to clear habitats that animals naturally use to grow vegetables or wheat or whatever.  Destroying a forest to grow kale for everybody?  What about the deer, the worms, the insects, the rabbits that would have normally used that land?  Are Vegans going so far down their “I’m right” extremist path that they can’t see anymore that they might actually be contributing to the problem of hurting animals and nature more with their supposed solution to that problem?

 

All of this is made possible by agriculture.  As the agricultural age advanced it gave rise to hierarchy for humans and this hierarchy gave rise to patriarchy.  Does this make it fair to claim that Veganism and patriarchy can be very much related?  Patriarchy didn’t even exist until there was hierarchical structured societies which came out of agriculture.  Agriculture directly coincides with husbandry, which means being a farmer and taking land and a wife as your own and rearing them and farming them to fruition.  To be a husband on an agricultural plot of land has a history of directly relating to patriarchy and controlling women and treating them as a domesticated product that you’re in control over.  You can farm your wife as you farm your cattle and your land, and have complete dominion over the household.  Being a Vegan and supporting agriculture while standing against patriarchy seem to be two opposing things that equal each other out.

 

To fully support and fall back in balance with nature means not taking on an anti-nature approach with something like Veganism.  Cows are not the problem.  It’s that cows are a part of agriculture and that is showing to be a major problem.  It is just as bad to have mono crops of corn.  Factory farming plants is no different than factory farming animals.  These agricultural practices all lead to the same problems and the same place whether they be animals or plants in an agricultural setting.

 

The answer lies in the realm of human beings being connected to ecology again.  Creating balance with nature pertaining to plants and animals synergistically giving and taking from each other and leading to a healthy, vibrant cycle of life.  To create this, we need to move away from this domesticated, patriarchal, agricultural approach.  Solutions lie in being in natural ecology to nature, not in trying to defeat it.  Omnivores with awareness is a phrase that comes to mind and, overall, being conscious and ethical and intentional in our approach to being in balance with nature, life, death, and our nutrition is a wonderful practice.  The Veganism approach sounds wonderful but in practice is very extreme.  It appeals to an easy fix to big things that can’t be fixed like hunting, killing, life, death, etc.  It’s rooted in martyrdom and has a very monastic fervor.  The thought of Jesus dying for our sins on the cross within the Christian tradition come to mind.  Many of us have grown up with going to church or at least being exposed to this cultural story of Jesus and the normalization of his actions give rise to the mentality that Vegans cling onto.  They will slowly torture themselves for the sins of their fellow man and nature’s natural life cycle pertaining to death.  The fervor of the story of Jesus dying for our sins and Vegans dying for the sins of nature related to animals dying is a never-ending saga that doesn’t have any realistic solution or ending in terms of what is real for how humans and nature conduct themselves.  Both mindsets are rooted in a mythical, religious extremism, and make for a sexy, convenient solution that can be summed up quickly.  Rarely is this the case in life.

 

It seems apparent we need plant food and animal food.  We need fungi in our diet too in the form of fruit bodies and we need fermented food/bacteria in our foods.  The approach of hunting, gathering, foraging, and fermenting allows us to participate in ecology and become a part of nature again.  We need to have a deeper integration to ecology vs a deeper integration with agriculture.  Food sources are good who aren’t doing factory farming, mass plantings, mono crops, and most importantly are local people who have relationships with their communities.

 

Where Veganism Seems to be Going

 

The Vegan approach puts forth the ideology that it is less cruel and our eventual evolutionary process to eating.  These things don’t really seem to be the case if we look at our history and what is currently taking place with farming methods, etc.  We have been eating animal foods for at least 4 million years.  We can’t in one generation, or even within a few hundred years, just stop doing that.  Biology and physiology dictate this kind of change happens very slowly.  If we want to do this, it would seem that the evolutionary process needs to play this out over a long period of time like at least 100,000 years.  How do we then make a 100,000 year plan?  The main problems of a Vegan diet are deficiencies in Vitamin B12 and Vitamin A and D and not being able to utilize efficient animal protein like plant protein.  The evolutionary process would have to include many generations of adapting to more efficiently absorbing plant protein and adapting to internally producing B12 and A and D or developing a new way altogether to get these sources from plants or by some other means.

 

Until we can be shown multiple generations of healthy living 100% Vegans giving birth to healthy living 100% Vegans and the ecology of the Earth being in balance as a result, we won’t know for sure that being Vegan is a healthy thing for us to do or right for the planet.  Going Vegan has very big limits for full application until we get at least somewhere near these results.  Currently, the tenets of Veganism don’t make sense and doesn’t consider the millions of years of evolution we’ve experienced and how the Earth has functioned in that time.  How does a 100-year-old diet (Veganism) with a 10,000 year old food (agriculture) trump 4 million years of omnivore benefits from eating animal foods?  Why would we wager our health on this type of diet with zero evidence of it working for humans and species related to us?  If you want to take on that experiment with your body be your own guest but don’t push it on others and especially not children.  Making children be vegetarian and vegan is a big no no.  How do we push onto our children our morals and our ideology for how we think the world ought to be?  Nutritionally we are depleting them due to an ideology; a mythical thought process about what is best for the Earth and our long-term nutrition.  Children need to be free individuals and given a diet that has been proved not to lead to cognitive depletion and body depletion.  With such evidence, forcing a Vegan or vegetarian diet onto a child is definitely a form of child abuse.  As children become older children, closer to adults perhaps, only then should they be allowed to make their own choices about if they choose to take on such a lifestyle diet.  That decision needs to be absolutely their free will choice.

 

Summation

 

I have not held back in describing honestly in what I have felt, seen, and overall observed within Vegan culture and practices.  I am not directing any animosity or forced view upon Vegans or anyone that doesn’t eat animals or anything like that.  For adults, we all have the right to decide for ourselves what is best for us.  There are wonderful things about being Vegan and believing in a less cruel world and getting your nutrition from plant sources.  I’m just trying to express here that it very much has its limits until it seems to turn counter to what it stands for.  Just how adults have the right to decide for themselves things and believe in whatever they want, they also have the duty to adjust their beliefs when new information presents itself.  My opinion has changed over the years and I’m sure it will change again as time goes by.  I become exposed to new information and then adjust to what I think is most healthy for us, animals, the earth, etc.  The problem is just that, though.  When we get ourselves into an –ism like Veganism we take on something that is believed to be never changing.  It is absolute and dogmatic in this way, and changing our view points based on new information is considered wrong or weak, somehow threatening the traditional tenets of the ideology and culture of people who have wrapped their identify in a bow around it.  I will be pushed away from certain communities and individuals for saying some of the things I’m saying here but I’ll take growing as a person any day vs blindly wanting to be accepted into a group of people who will judge me for having or not having a certain belief.  This is not the way to an ideal future for anything.

 

There are many healthy ways to eat and ethically take care of the Earth.  Native North Americans were some of the healthiest and ecological focused people that have ever lived on the planet and they ate animal products.  The Dalai Lama even went through his own period of being a Vegan and then decided against it for his own health and well-being.  There is also an idea that I prescribe to regarding ‘harm reduction’ when it comes to killing.  Harm reduction strategies in this case come in the form of acknowledging that killing is a human/animal instinct and it is going to happen.  Instead of condoning it outright and failing miserably because it is an instinct in us, how can we rather harness it in a way that allows for our instinct to come out but be less destructive overall?  If we celebrated the whole life cycle process again and celebrated hunting and channeled it into a practice that had an ecological outcome could this perhaps lead to less interspecies violence?  Humans will kill whether it be other animals or ourselves and that energy will be expressed.  Vegans often treat other humans bad or even threaten to kill them!  There is no greater irony than when Vegan aggression occurs on this level.  Is warfare overall perhaps an expression of this repressed energy?  How do we channel and make peace with our inner werewolf?  Having such strategies and this type of meaningful conversation could produce some real growth and positivity in the world.

 

As I have been exposed to new information over the years I realized that it was culminating into making me feel numbing anxiety and depression when I would walk into a store or look at a menu to buy food.  I wanted to support the best, most ethical practices whether it be animal or plant products, and I wanted to treat plant and animal species equally and take into account how much resources were used from the Earth.  I was stressing myself and people around me out and one day when I was looking at a menu I threw it down and pledged that I was going to do the best I could do and that was going to be good enough.  I wasn’t going to starve myself anymore either.  I am a good person and I don’t want fear, guilt, and shame to run my life.  I will make ethical decisions with the information I know as best I can and continue my journey to lead a good life in symbiotic and synergistic relation to the Earth and species that I interact with.  Some people won’t agree with my thought process or actions but that is okay.  Let’s talk about it and do some experiments shall we, and be okay with possible disagreement.

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Passive Activism in Choosing Banks, Credit, Purchases

28 02 2017

We are at a point in time where privileged people giving up slightly their full-on conveniences in banks they bank with or credit cards they acquire or products they spend their money on will be what will create massive amounts of positive change in the world.

 

Today I officially left Chase Bank.  It took me about a month to choose another bank, transfer money and direct deposits, shut down credit cards, change investments, and do many other little things that just take some focused time.  I feel an insane high knowing that my money isn’t going to institutions that directly fund and help things like DAPL (the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock).  We all do things in different ways to create positive change in the world and it is hard to take on everybody else’s plight for creating that positive difference.  I am not trying to instill guilt in any way (as guilt action is detrimental to one’s health and short lived vs feeling purpose and empowerment and compelled to bring about lasting change) but if you think that it’s wrong to put in unwanted, massive oil pipelines under indigenous lands that will poison those lands and those people and do harm to the environment than I urge you to speak your activism with your money, investments, credit, and purchases.  Taking a month to align your finances to represent the change you want to see in the world is a small price to pay for people not living with the negative effects of DAPL and similar projects brought on by your actions with money.

 

Banks and credit lines directly or indirectly funding DAPL and such projects: Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, Sun Trust, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, Citibank (Citigroup), TD Securities, Credit Agricole, Intense SanPaolo, ING Bank, Natixis, BayernLB, BBVA Securities, DNB Capital, ICBC London, SMBC Nikko Securities, Societe General, Royal Bank of Scotland, ABN Amro Capital, Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Citizens Bank, Comerica Bank, U.S. Bank, PNC Bank, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Compass Bank, Credit Suisse, DNB Capital/ASA, Sumitomo Mitsui Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Origin Bank (formerly Community Trust), HSBC Bank.

 

An article explaining more on the issue can be found at http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/how-to-contact-the-17-banks-funding-the-dakota-access-pipeline-20160929

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Resist: The U.S. Feminist Equality Movement of 2017

24 02 2017

Summarized piece is below of Annie Windholz’s writing which can be found at https://everydayembellishments.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/resist-the-us-womens-movement-of-2017/.  I highly recommend following her wonderful blog.

 

I want to exist with the challenges, and I want the ideal of living fearless to be my top priority, instead of trying to live quietly so that nothing changes dramatically.  I miss the girl that invited in chaos and change, convinced herself she loved it, and freed herself of her fears.  It is easy to cling to the life that you have found vs the one that you want which demands you to expand.

 

It’s here, everyone. This moment in US history that I have been dreaming about since I was a kid just learning about feminism. We are pulling together a national front of solidarity between the genders, and incorporating all the intersectional issues into the action. This is the third wave of intersectional feminism!

 

I don’t care about the words, we can ditch the words “feminism” and “intersectionality” and come up with new words to use if that suits everyone better. Regardless of word choice, I’m celebrating here the fact that papers are daily talking about the Women’s March on Washington, and attempts at unifying a gender together.  The papers are speaking about liberal women who have hope that now is the time for all the movements to come together in intersectional peace and love.

 

“The Women’s March, even in its striking success, offered more in the way of catharsis than clarity. Its full statement of principle runs more than 1,000 words and includes issues ranging from reproductive rights to gender justice, from the minimum wage to immigration reform, from clean water to criminal profiling to arming police with military-grade weaponry. It’s hard to distill a complicated platform into concrete change when your organizing principle- “intersectional feminism,” a jargony mouthful- opposes elevating any one person’s goals over another’s.”

 

How can you make it something if it’s trying to be everything?

 

The thing is, being an ally to certain groups isn’t assuming everyone in that group is the same, it’s about learning and listening to the people within the group. Thus, women’s issues don’t have to mean one thing, they need to mean listening to women in general, and recognizing that we need to raise their voices up, along with their concerns. Just the same, all Muslims don’t have to think the same. We learn that they are all different, but want to be respected for their identity as Muslim, as well as all their other identities within society. Intersectionality is not about doing everything for everyone, it’s about learning when to stand up and when to step back.

 

What does ally ship really mean? A Mosque visit; the willingness to learn.

 

Women are the only marginalized group that are never truly alone with themselves. They live and partner with their “oppressors.” And thoughtful “female” communities are hard to find when it’s not concerning beauty or shopping.

 

Kindness is an asset. Just like everything else, it can be abused and used. But the genuine ability to be kind and to feel other’s hearts and want to make them shine is an asset. And I want to raise up people who are trying to do that. And I want to shove away all the hate in the world, coming from the right and left. I want to exist with a working desire to change myself along with the world, but I do not want to degrade myself into an unhappy person for the sake of something I cannot change alone.

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The Movement at Hand. Book Review and Summation of Manning Marable’s ‘Malcolm X.’

16 02 2017

The Avid Fan

Book Review and Summation of Manning Marable’s ‘Malcom X.’

“The police in Harlem, their presence is like occupying forces, like an occupying army.”  Malcolm linked the African-American struggle to the Chinese and Cuban revolutions.  “The people of China grew tired of their oppressors and rose up.  They didn’t rise up nonviolently.  When Castro was up in the mountains in Cuba, they told him the odds were against him.  Today, he’s sitting in Havana and all the power this country has can’t remove him.”

“All the countries that are emerging today from under colonialism are turning toward socialism.  I don’t think it’s an accident.”  He made the connection between racial oppression and capitalism, saying, “It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism.”  Those committed to racial equality are mostly socialist.  During Malcom’s time, the Black Freedom Movement had focused on legal rights and legislative…

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Fighting Despair with Defiance, Embracing Radicalism, and Living in a Post Fact Age

8 02 2017

Are you pissed off at the amount of assholes we’re seeing in our everyday lives, in our government, running for president, becoming president!, etc.?  Do you want to do more than just vote, take an online petition, or march in peaceful protests?  Do you want to do more than just have Facebook discussions and be polite and be an armchair philosopher?  How about being more than a boring ass liberal or someone who believes in appeasing and compromising with hate mongers?  How about being a progressive, love warrior and not taking shit anymore and growing a pair of ovaries or balls?  Be radical!  Stand up for what you believe in!  Bring to the world your positive energy and what you are good at!  Make your lifestyle and what you do in your day to day into a radical activist cause bringing about more positivity in the world.  Influence those that are around you day in and day out.  Turn being pissed into applying your natural skills everyday to bring about the change you want to see in the world.

 

Don’t rely on public opinion to bring about social change.  Rational arguments and education are not going to bring about public change as we continue to get steam rolled by those that don’t spend time on such things.  Those two things are nice, steady, and wonderful, but they continually won’t bring about short term change, and if short term change keeps getting in the way of long term change we will never get to the long term!  Rather, the opposition, and anyone prescribing to a radical agenda for their cause and beliefs, rely on organized political resistance and direct action.  These things will continue to win the day and not allow for rational argument and education to ever take hold.

 

Don’t take the liberal stance of changing hearts and minds one person at a time.  People being educated or concerned or aware of an injustice doesn’t by itself do jack shit most of the time.  These things do nothing and will continue to give us people like Trump who do not prescribe to such things.  Awareness needs to be translated into political resistance movements that have very strategic actions.

 

Frederick Douglass was quoted as saying that “power concedes nothing without a demand.”  Public opinion being against Trump is not a demand and we can’t rely on such weak/toothless forms of demand.  Trump and Co. only react to demands from actions that make their plans unviable and unpractical.  Trumps team and corrupt authority will only reconsider when they are given no other option.  That’s how cut throat assholes work.  They need to be strong armed with some form of powerful demand that they can’t ignore.

 

Facts don’t mean anything anymore because anyone can find any alternative facts on the internet that speaks to their opinion of how they see the world.  Trump realizes that facts don’t matter and only your ability to manipulate does.  Now in power, Trump doesn’t have to convince anyone anymore of how what he wants to do is right; he simply just does it.  He acts, he appoints, he repeals, he lies, he signs.  He acts first and leaves the media and liberals and whoever else bickering in his shadow finding evidence and facts that what he did was wrong.  Meanwhile, he just moves onto the next thing and since we live in a post fact world he isn’t held accountable, and by the time it might add up to something everybody is trying to keep up with the next ten things he’s gone onto.  The cycle is never ending.

 

Proving Trump wrong or catching him in a lie isn’t what we need to get stuck on.  The proofs there it just doesn’t mean or do anything anymore.  To stop Trump and corruption we need to take a real, physical world approach to stop his plans from manifesting.  Trump won’t be able to build a wall or an oil pipeline with people locked in front of it or destroying it as it is being constructed.  There are hundreds of millions of people against him and there is no way anything can stand in the way of a real world, physical approach of obstruction with a group this large.  Liberals need to stop asking permission for protesting properly or getting permits.  We need to act and do what’s right regardless of the supposed process involved that we’ve been told to cater to.  Catering to that system will continue to give us Trumps and the massive left wing populous movement will be held at bay and powerless.  Actually acting without asking permission will make the Trumps of the world ask permission from “us” because not doing so will not be a reality to getting anything accomplished.

 

There are actions by the left wing populous movement doing such acts of powerful resistance.  Sanctuary cities are not allowing Trumps ideas to take hold, taxi unions are striking at airports, indigenous resistance is happening at Standing Rock, students at UC Berkeley are rising up in resistance, etc.  These are examples of people taking action to make Trumps plans unviable and impractical.  The cool part about all of this is that you don’t have to participate in the most confrontational protests to achieve these goals.  We all don’t need to be getting arrested or attaching ourselves to machinery or standing in front of walls or pipelines.  If you’re great at child care bring your resistance there and offer to take care of children of people who are doing other great things.  If you’re great at supporting people who are in and out of jail bring your resistance and positive energy and action there and help them develop into positive, contributing members of society.  If you’re great at listening to people be a counselor to them when they need someone to listen to and help build them back up.  If you’re great at making food make the best food for those that need it or who don’t have time to make it.  If you have a therapy degree then use that to help people process who are going through tough times and who could be contributing their own gifts more to making the world a better place.  If you love to garden teach kids and/or people how to garden and make that your radical resistance.  And whatever you decide to do realize that it’s your path and don’t hold people accountable or judge or be dismissive of people who don’t do exactly what you’re doing.  Recognize that we each have a role based on our gifts and talents and all the roles together will bring about something great.  We will not get anywhere not agreeing and being bitter towards other people’s form of radical activism that we don’t agree with or would prefer that they were helping us in.  You do you and let others do them and give support to each person’s purpose and cause. Give all those around you strength and positive purpose to be a radical resistor.  This is what creates a culture of resistance and solidarity and brings about the change we want to see in the world.

 

Your natural gifts and passions are your best gifts to any resistance movement.  Don’t prescribe to doing what is outside of your comfort zone as this will lead to burnout and bitterness and negativity.  We all need to prescribe to what makes us tic naturally and having authentic, sustainable energy to take on hard things makes us win.  Nobody needs to put the pressure on themselves to be Martin Luther King Jr or Gandhi or James Bond or whatever fantasy ideal that brings about unrealistic stress and pressure that we put on ourselves.  Thinking of such figures makes us do nothing because we’re trying to be perfect and anything less seems unworthy?  Get out of that thought process.  Everybody doing very little things will far outweigh some of us doing outrageous, amazing things.

 

Take on Trump, take on government and community corruption.  Be a radical resistor and resort to action based on what you are good at and already naturally doing in your life.

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Full video on the matter that I summarized can be seen here below

https://www.facebook.com/robby.fischer.75/videos/10154955792969420/?autoplay_reason=ugc_default_allowed&video_container_type=1&video_creator_product_type=0&app_id=2392950137&live_video_guests=0





The Utah Romance of Pollution, Mormons, Hunters, Hot Springs, Latinos, Nudists, Burners, Cannabis

18 01 2017

As the sun sets in Utah these days in the glorious cold, winter months the sun bounces off the fog and emits a natural pinkish, purplish skyline with the setting of the sun.  It’s what makes Utah unique in its nature.  Postcards are made.  People rejoice in how beautiful the landscape is.  Only China and Los Angeles present similar or more advanced sunsets.  Not because of the mountains or the snow but because China and Los Angeles are the only places in the world that have comparable amounts of smog and pollution to produce such pretty sunsets!  Forget asthma or environmental catastrophes or humans living in a bowl of car and industry exhaust.  The sunsets are so pretty and, ya know what, let’s go outside for a run!  After all, Utah is all about being active, even if being active kills you slowly while doing it in a pollution bowl.  The unawareness and uncaring of what is happening in Utah with the pollution is so far disengaged from people’s minds that it comes across as romantic.  I guess there’s a reason people call Salt Lake City “Little Paris.”  Oh wait, nobody calls it that.

 

Amidst the greens and purples of the sky in the cold, dreamy, pollution fog I thought it would be fun to venture out to possibly less smoggy areas in Utah and look for hot springs.  One such weekend day produced the most Utah day I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.  There are SO many hot springs in the Salt Lake City area and I wanted to see them all.  A partner and I ventured forth in search of these holy, medicinal mineral waters as we chose one that was a short hike from a road forty-five minutes outside of Salt Lake City near Saratoga Springs.  It was in the mid 30s as we hiked to our warm healing waters.  Upon arriving, the romance jumped up a few notches as the hot springs were basically a muddy, murky warm watered hot pit with little fish in it.  The spring was right next to Utah Lake which in the summer had signs that people should avoid swimming in it.  The woman I was with, a local Utahan I’ll have you know, jumped right in totally naked.  My standards of cleanliness and submitting myself to ill health were being challenged.  My CA elitist alarm was sounding, which is usually a sign that I’m being a snob so I quickly decided to do the opposite and took off all my clothes and hopped in.  The water felt so Utah.

 

There was about an hour where we were alone and it was so wonderful as the bubbles would come up and our feet would get sucked under by the incredibly hot water that was emitting upwards through the ground.  My partner decided that she was going to put the grainy mud from the bottom all over me.  This challenged all aspects of my thoughts about cleanliness and I quickly tried to avoid her, avoiding at all costs my head from going under or touching anything that was under the water.  The overall experience was nice.  We decided to light up a bowl of fine locally grown Utah cannabis and continued to enjoy the isolation and nature.  Our bowl, canteens, and clothes were right beside the bank on a wooden plank I had found in the bushes so that our things would be easily accessible and not get all muddy and cater to my sense of somewhat anal cleanliness.

 

A Latin couple joined us in our isolation which is always initially disappointing to lose your own mud pit but very quickly turned into the most romantic thing of all time.  They would sing to each other and the man was teaching his partner how to sing in Spanish.  It was the cutest thing of all time!  They were definitely allowed to stay in our space with us!

 

Then in the distance we heard nightmarish sounds.  The sounds of squeaky laughter, out of control bush trekking, and total disregard for all space and time.  Yes, it was children.  And not like a few but what sounded like loads of them.  There was no way out.  We were naked in a state you could get cited for it, our cannabis was sitting in plain sight on the shore in a state you could get arrested for it; we were totally defenseless against these little crazy monsters that would at any moment appear from the bushes.  Then, suddenly, they came and it was too late.  We would have to outlast them in the water without emerging forth (the water was murky so you couldn’t tell we were naked at least).  They were definitely a stereotypically white Mormon couple with seven kids!  The hot springs was only, at most, about 70 feet by 70 feet perhaps and very quickly we had screaming children all around us, looking for tadpoles, knocking into us, etc.  How come we don’t live in a state where you can get cited for this!  The parents did show a sense of remorse that they had totally ruined four people’s good time.  They did a good job trying to shush their kids and were very conscious that they were being annoying.  It was funny, actually, to watch parents try to control kids who were excited to be in water.  It was no use but the effort was noticed.  I hate you for being Mormon and having seven kids but thank you for trying to be nice about it and showing a sense of care.  Such is the Mormon way.

 

More people came and pretty soon we had people all around us.  As they were treating us nice and conversing with us it was funny to think about how they had no idea we were naked and if they knew they might dramatically think differently about us.  On the shore, hunter’s decked out in outrageous military regalia and giant guns would pass our mud pit.  They looked exactly how you would think trashy, hunter people would look.  Very hillbilly and large and not able to move very well and walking staunchly with their guns.  It is unnerving that these types of people are the ones that own guns but such is the way of America.  Not too long after seeing them we would see ducks above in the sky and suddenly hear gun shots being fired all around us.  Nothing was hit but about 15 seconds after hearing the guns all sorts of little bullets could be heard dropping fiercely into the water.  What the fuck!  These hunters walked right past us and even with 7 kids flopping around did not care about firing in our direction and having their fucking bullets land in the water we were in.  It was insanely scary.

 

The good news is that we outlasted the Mormon family!  They left and people started to thin out but then another family came.  Fuck!  My partner and I realized that we would have to approach this awkward situation at some point but the water is warm and feels good so let’s just keep going with hour number four.  It was quickly realized that this family was extremely different.  The mom jumped in and instantly dunked her head and starting very aggressively putting mud all over her face and hair.  Her kids were way more out of control as they were pelting each other in the face with mud balls, one in which came and hit my partner in the face which definitely produced a pissed off reaction.  However, we felt more familiar and comfortable with the mom because we soon engaged in a conversation with her about Burning Man, which usually instantly makes progressives and non-religious people feel comfortable.  Having this conversation, and being so amazed by the fervor that this woman was putting mud on her, I instantly felt comfortable to start putting mud on my face as well.  My partner and I gave each other mud facials.  It was a progressive connective Utah moment.

 

Another older couple came into the water and very quickly they were contributing positively to the Burning Man conversation.  Through the casualness of progressive, burner conversation they declared that they were nudists who had a nude wedding!  Wow!  This couldn’t have gone better for us being made to feel more comfortable about our being naked in the flesh.  The tides had suddenly turned.  Now we felt incredibly cool that we were naked and the nudists weren’t even naked.  Such assertively, progressive people we were; a rite of passage for any Utah Non-Mormon.  Burners and nudists make great company, especially for naked people.  We couldn’t have been more pleased with how our day turned out and the wonderful people we were around.

 

It was starting to turn dark so we ventured our naked bodies out of the water.  Another group of liberalized, younger people were surprised that we were naked and commented enthusiastically, “Wait, is everybody naked in here” and hence the other burners took up the “it’s wonderful to be naked” burner conversation.  Upon leaving we were thanked handily by the nudists for our display of activism.

 

What a great day!  The many faces of Utah.  I love it!

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