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Letter from Ergoat

Here's a letter I received today from C-Realm listener Ergoat.

(This is a long one, so I won't be using the blockquote feature. Everything after this parenthetical is Ergoat.)

Hello KMO!

I stumbled onto your site full of wonderful podcasts about a month ago through, quite randomly (or not), a link through Daniel Quinn's website when looking for a quote from My Ishmael.

I'm surprised that I didn't cross paths with you in cyberspace before now, as I have been following many of the very topics that you illuminate on your shows. Specifically ayahuasca, the McKenna brothers, Gnostic Media, and the biofuels, with the many others I have listened to filling in gaps of context and information.

I came to my greater consciousness seven years ago at the age of 18, and began my search and research into these matters. My guiding principle was my awareness of Hemp for Fuel, and the idea of cheap, sustainable clean energy that could break people free from the grid of 9-5 mill/factory/office mentalities and open society at large to ideals of a more creativity filled lives with ideals of artistry and artisanship placed in high value, as well as direct personal experiences with self and community instead of TV mass-media consumer materialist culture.

Finding Maine an all too limiting place to further my studies, I began my travels throughout parts of the world in search of a psychedelic community where my views and believes were considered an asset instead of a detriment to society. It has taken me from Vancouver Island down the west coast to Mexico, the Big Island of Hawaii to New Zealand to Burning Man criss-crossing the continent several times. Please check out my site for further details in the form of a multi-media conceptual travel-log @ http://ergoat.com which highlights my adventures in my first (of 3 so far) years of continuous travel.

And while all of these are great talking points I'd like to get into, I would like to share what I have witnessed recently during my brief stay in Berkeley CA, while trying to finish up some writing projects.
I don't know if you know of the UC Berkeley tree sit, but it was the longest urban tree sit ever at about 640 continuous days of people in the branches of oak and redwood trees that made up a grove that was scheduled to be cut down in order to make a new training facility for athletes, especially football players as it was adjacent to the stadium.
Why protestors went into these trees was because that it was known to be a native burial ground, and also was originally planted as a WWI memorial to the veterans. Memories of the past aside, valid as they are, it was also just aesthetically pleasing to have a cluster of trees instead of more sprawl and development; open spaces could be preserved and there were/are many other sites that could have be more favorable to build at (which includes not being directly on a fault line).
I only visited the site for the first time in March when I was living in San Francisco, after following the case on the web, and reading about efforts by the police and university to starve out the tree-sitters, and many violent reactions to peaceful protesters, and grandmothers who defiantly gave food to those perched.

So while I cannot comment with first hand experience on what happened before, I did get more involved in the last month, with the ground crew that supported the tree-sitters, and other organizations. You see, after years of hearing people talk and write endless about how they want to save the world against evil corporations, war machines, and destructive policies, it was so refreshing to my heart to see those brave souls who acted with action; who put their lives on a front line of this ever shifting battle, and make their claims to freedom and a better world.

Well, to shorten this long story, that is better honored by various sites and written word surrounding it from the beginning, (such as saveoaks.com) just a few days ago, the university came in, cut down all the surrounding oaks, and cut down the last redwood that the tree sitters were in (after they peacefully came down). While the destruction and desolation seems to be a loss for the fight for freedom, (as well as illegal raids into an anarchist collective that was supporting them, seizing many computers) I write now as part of an effort to see that this information is spread, and the pebbles that were cast into this pond may send their ripples of awareness to far shores.

I lent my voice and opinions to many during these times, trying to represent a psychedelic and entheogenic viewpoint. Berkeley is a city rich with a progressive and liberal history, with many radical events happening during the 60s there that shaped an entire generation, and UC Berkeley is thought to be at the cutting edge of progressive schools today in America. But I see a far different picture. Far more upsetting to me was not the brutish, thug tactics of the police, or the uncompromising, uncooperative University regents, but the general apathy and malaise of the student population. When I asked some of the protesters how many students out of ten would offer even the most basic vocal affirmation of support to the struggle, at the many booths and tables set up with flyers by the ground crew, I was told that maybe one out of one hundred would. And this is a heavily trafficked area... it was sad, and I asked many why they thought this was, while for the moment, withholding my own opinion.

Many thought it was the general disconnectedness caused by overpriviledge, and a TV brainwashed generation. Most of the others I asked offered a variation of this theme. I presented them with a similar story that took place in the late 60s, that of People's Park in Berkeley, which was fenced off, and in similar circumstances, threatened to be plowed over for new development. In a radical act, the students rose up together, and tore the fences down, and ultimately prevented any development where People's Park still stands today as a green open space.

Where then, I ask, is the same kind of student support today? What prevents them from rising up to oppression like they did in the past, instead of blankly walking by?
To this, I have been given no real answer, only a shrug of the shoulders.

Well, I have an answer, and quite simply, it is the lack of psychedelics being used by the students. Without entheogenic awareness, the students have no connection to the world they are connected to, they don't understand how they too, can make a difference for the earth, and stand up for the trees, which are the frontline symbol of a great cause. Because under the influence of plant teachers, these causes are no longer an abstract matter, all three eyes are open to the ruination of the earth, the toxification of the air, the poisoning of the sea, and the dominator culture and their policies which do such harmful things.

The kids in the sixties had this door of awareness opened to them by the key of LSD. we now have many more tools and information of these plants, and how to use them, the most promising being ayahuasca, in my opinion. THIS is the moment to bring back these ideas, concepts and psychedelic culture back to the foreground of this global drama. We cannot let a symbol like Berkeley regress forever back into oblivion. The student yearn for this experience, and it CAN be made available to them. We need to begin with people such as yourself who have self-selected to go to the jungles of South America to learn the more authentic ways of plant medicine, and bring back a vestige that can be swallowed by a population eager for the experience. There are many forerunners in this game, it need not be limited to a few talking heads like Leary in the 60s.

I am but a poor freelance writer and traveller who is struggling to pay rent. There is only so much I can do at this stage of the game. My influence is limited, my connections are few. I have not the resources to travel to South America (at least not until my book is published), and I don't have the energy to do many things right now that I aspire to, not without help anyhow. I am weakened by months of internal work, for my own healing and to work on my writing, which was more strenuous and draining of a project that I had considered it would be at the onset.

I write now of this because I fear that the positive energy that has coalesced here is dissipating with the recent destruction of the grove. I myself am feeling disenchanted with Berkeley, but I know there HAS to be some people near by, or across the bridge in Marin, who has a certain brew stirring, but has not yet deemed it time to share that with a populace. But if not now, when? How many more trees must fall, and more people's efforts sacrificed in vain? My psychedelic faith reminds me of a healing medicine, but if the medicine is not distributed through clever means of art and dance soon, the consciousness and opportunity will fade entirely.

Do you know of anyone around the Bay Area I should speak to? I find myself wearied with people with all theory and no action, or all action and no theory. I have many good ideas that can be implemented, but I can not do this alone.

Thank you for reading, and for your excellent podcasts.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
maybe he should try to find some of the CIIS folks. dunno if they might fall on the "all theory no action" spectrum or not, but there are a lot of interesting thinkers there, and i'd imagine that folks of like mind to him in that area would gravitate to such. if they stayed there at all. and if they aren't doing something else.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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