Bruce Damer is an astrobiologist but more importantly for our purposes here, one of our truly great visionaries. Topics discussed include: Plant medicines are doorways into the numinous field; Intention is generating a “meta-organism”—a “global body” is being born; A global shift as people recognize their trauma as “parts” that can be owned and healed, especially with the medicines; life’s origins and our future as communities in collaboration, not an individual project; And, the need for confidence and optimism in the stupendous brilliance of the collective consciousness field and shared intention.
Birthing the New Global Vision:
Interview with Bruce Damer on the StephenGray Vision YouTube channel
Welcome, Stephen Gray here again. This is my series of interviews that I’ve been doing for the YouTube channel, StephenGray Vision, and the accompanying audio podcast, anchor.fm. The mission of these is to share information and inspiration that will hopefully help humanity come to terms with who we are, what we’re going through now, and where we are going. Because of my background and my interest in my connection to things like the Spirit Plant Medicine Conference (www.spiritplantmedicine.com), there is a particular focus on psychedelics, otherwise known as entheogens, but not solely those, and as you can see if you’re watching this, the video version of this on YouTube, my guest is with me already and I will now introduce him by reading his bio and then I will welcome him in.
So this is Dr. Bruce Damer, and he’s an astrobiologist collaborating with Professor David Deamer in the department of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz on the question of the origin of life. He has contributed 20 years of mission simulation and design for NASA and other space agencies on the related question of how life might begin on other worlds and how to extend life and human civilization into our solar system.
His training is in computer science, and he has built an extensive archive of computing artifacts and history, chronicling the rise of the digital world in the last 60 years. He was also a follower of the evolutionary edge of culture, as a wanderer on the plant medicine path, and curates archives of figures such as Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna, who I will add, Bruce knew. More can be found on Bruce Damer’s work and life in his levity zone podcast, levity salons on Patreon and scientific writings, all available at his website, damer.com. And I will add a slight bit of colloquial information to that bio by saying that I know Bruce personally, he has spoken at our spirit plant medicine conference twice in the past, and although his bio doesn’t say it because of course you wouldn’t say that about yourself, Bruce is truly brilliant. Some people might rightfully call him a genius. I hope I’m not embarrassing you by saying so, Bruce, and I would definitely call Bruce a visionary, one of the more sensitive people to energies that other people are not necessarily are not particularly aware of or tuned into often times, as Bruce quite openly speaks about himself in some of his stories about his early upbringing and so on, that led in a certain direction. So welcome Bruce.
Bruce: Thank you, Stephen. It’s good to be here.
Stephen: I have a lot of respect for your work Bruce. We’ve had a number of conversations, I’ve occasionally had to say, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, Bruce, I gotta pull out my iPhone here and put voice record on… I wanna be able to remember what you’re saying here.”
So I have a number of questions for you, of course, but as I mentioned in our discussion prior to hitting the record button for this, the main mission and also I guess I said it to the public as well, is to take a look at the state and fate of humanity, but also offer a hopeful and positive kind of a vision, so maybe one question that could allow me to sit back and just listen for a while would be, what’s going on with this pandemic?
B: Humanity evolved by pandemics. Our species was toughened and winnowed down, redistributed. People just have… In a sense, we all have a short memory because we’ve had the miracle of antibiotics and vaccines and things like that, but as recently as the 1930s and into the 1940s, Washington DC was an unsafe place to be in the summer time, and if people recall, President Adams decanting from the capital because of the yellow fever. So the founding fathers of the US had to leave because yellow fever was coming up from the south, and it would take thousands of people, and it was a dangerous place to be, so only the poor people who had to stay in these areas where these pandemics were moving through…
You had malaria, scarlet fever. In the 1918-19 period, you had a much more virulent and dangerous viral pandemic, which by all accounts killed between 100 million and several hundred million individuals while traveling by steamship. The Spanish flu at that time of a century ago targeted healthy adults between ages 20 and 40, so the 1920s opened with all these orphans, and in those years they didn’t know what a virus was, the human genome, the idea of DNA hadn’t been decoded, an RNA virus was something far beyond the ability of science to decode what was going on, so it was a lot of guess work, but we’ve grown up with viral pandemics, and in fact, viruses possibly emerged as life emerged on the earth four billion years ago.
There were some sort of protovirus in those early microbial colonies that forced evolution, because some viruses are beneficial to the colony in that they can carry information around, some are challenging and stressing to even single-celled organisms, and I believe what’s happening now is exactly what happens in a deer population, when you get rid of the wolves… So where I grew up in Central British Columbia and the Kamloops area, I remember just north of us in the 70s where the wolf population had died from disease actually, and lumber companies had cut the forest, so they created all this new foraging area for deer. There was an explosion of the deer population, and then a virus came in and the virus cut the deer population back. BC forestry realized they had to do something, so they introduced the wolves back because the deer population was never gonna be healthy without a governing mechanism, so the natural governing of that population was a viral pandemic in the deer population.
And that’s what’s happening now for us. We are out of equilibrium, just as when systems get out of equilibrium in nature, it opens opportunities. So if you look at the profile of coronavirus, the new coronavirus, it’s attacking people with compromised immune systems, the healthy adults that it’s attacking are often in highly polluted areas, so in the outbreak zones of China, in Northern Italy, areas with challenged air quality, which take healthy people to the edge of exposing a weakness in their system because the coronavirus seems to exhibit as a high altitude disease as people turn blue, literally.
So what it’s doing is nature will always find a way to get into a reservoir, a vulnerable population, which may have autoimmune issues or maybe a large number of older people who are barely at the edge of surviving any way, and basically do a culling through the population, and that is how healthy populations are maintained, they rely upon a healthy population of deer in British Columbia, it doesn’t call in the virus, but the virus makes it healthy so that the deer can go forward into the future, not as sick herds, but as a healthy smaller populations. Animal populations and plant populations alike have relied upon the appearance of a pathogen to take them back toward equilibrium, and we have been so skilled as a species of blocking the natural course of things that our population has gone way out of proportion to the carrying capacity, and we’ve also polluted our environment, we put people under stress, we’ve introduced food stuffs and lifestyles that have caused their immune systems to be challenged, and so of course, if you’re trying to hold back a rising tide or a rising river, and you’re stacking bags of cement on the top to keep that dike away from you, you reach a point where the pressure, the water pressure on that, those sacks of sand or cement is so high that inevitably it breaks through because you can only hold back the tide of the regulatory function of the biosphere for so long, and then you get this pressure and it’s gonna push through, and so, for example, natural selection, good old fashion Darwinian natural selection is now at work on the human population in a very gentle way.
So the initial contagion or the virus is not that, it’s not as serious as the Spanish flu, so it’s not going to chop a huge section of the population, it’s not gonna kill a billion healthy adults on this round, which if Spanish flu was here today traveling by air, it would… It would have taken a billion healthy adults, so we’ve been given kind of a shot across the viol, a warning that this is coming, this regulatory function is now at work in the biosphere, and it’s an interesting thing to watch to see this.
Now of course that’s sort of a cold or a dissociated analytical approach to this. But what it is, is it’s a natural selection at work, so for example, the country’s like Brazil or the United States, which have kind of madmen as leaders, people that have no common sense people, in a sense, operating from not the best interest of the people, operating through self-interest, operating through just reaction, people that should not be in leadership positions at all, it should not be… They are going to select the populations out, so the people who supported them, unfortunately, and the people who did not support them are going to take the brunt of some of the fatalities.
So these countries which are offered, which are led by effectively incompetent people, are going to get selected out pandemic after pandemic. A country like New Zealand, which was led by sane people, just yesterday relaxed all their controls internally because they can, because there’s virtually no cases, they have biosecurity, they’re on their own, which helps, but they have a population that is sort of safe and sane. We were just there in February, just before the pandemic doing our field work. And you feel very safe, you feel where the country has taken care of its people, it’s a conscious country, and so it will emerge as a model that succeeds in the world economy or the world’s culture or whatever.
But other nations unfortunately, like Brazil or the United States, are gonna go down a notch, and the United States is gonna undergo an additional transformation, which we’ve been talking about here in Silicon Valley, which is, as the United States central government falls apart, which it’s doing. It’s not an effective tool. States and bioregions take over, and so Northern California or the Bay Area or the West Coast becomes almost like an autonomous enclave over time, where they block crazy federal intrusions and rules, and this has been happening for about 25 years now with California. As Governor Jerry Brown, our former governor said, we’ve been withdrawing from the federal system for a quarter century. When they put restrictions on stem cell research, we authorized it, when they fought us on medical marijuana, we passed it.
Again and again and again, California has acted in the interests that made sense to it and for its citizens, basically telling the federal grommet to stay out, so it’s been in some sense withdrawing from the union or from the requirements of a federal government, that’s less functional and becoming more of an autonomous region, and that’s going to be accelerated by this, so you’ll see if Florida has half a million fatalities or coronavirus in a broken healthcare system, Florida goes out of the league.
What businesses are going to locate in Florida, who’s going to want to go on vacation in Florida, it’s gonna take itself out of… Through natural selection, it’s taking itself out of participation, other regions will rise and become stronger, and similarly with populations, we have a good percentage of young people in their teenage years now have autoimmune disorders, probably from glyphosate in the environment and other chemicals. Young people weren’t sick when they were 15 in our era, they weren’t sick at this level. Well, these viral pandemics are going to take them out of the gene pool, and they’re gonna take their parents out of the gene pool. So gradually, you get this calming process where just like the deer, you remove the sick ones, you remove the older ones, you remove the ones that have made poor life choices, and you leave the healthy populations in pockets, and then those pockets expand outward, and
S: So can I interrupt for a moment? That’s more on the somewhat materialistic mechanistic level of natural forces doing their thing as it were, but you’ve also taken this… the implications of this pandemic to a much more esoteric, deeper level about the possibility of a more dramatic consciousness transformation, you might say, and tied it into that. Can you elaborate on that? Let me read people the subtitle on your website, it says, quote, as we re-make ourselves the world will follow us into the great project of being. So I’m hoping to lead you more into that direction now, if I may, can you elaborate on what that all means?
B: Yeah, I suppose our previous conversation was a bit depressing and it’s so materialistic, it’s so reductionistic or based on a more pragmatic approach, but I think that all of this, in some ways, if you look at the patterns of things, if you look at the 21st century and you look at the struggle that people have had for their own health and healing for awakening, coming into a broader awareness of the miracle of the world that we’re all in, there’s been one major obstruction to this awakening, and that is simply a busyness, it’s simply that there’s no quiet time, there’s no calm, there’s no ability to slow down. 2019 was not only the best year, materially for humans on the earth, if you look at all the measures of health literacy, access to information, travel, it was like the best year we’ve ever had in terms of what the enlightenment provided, from the Amazon to the tip of Kamchatka it was the best year for humans. But also, it was the most frenetic in history – more people traveling, more people doing more interaction on devices, faster and faster and faster, more consumption of material goods, all this sort of stuff, and I felt myself reaching a point in February where as much as I would have liked to go on a two-week meditation retreat or a plant medicine path, fitting it in was getting difficult, and so my own ability to slow my system down and come into a greater spacious awareness and work on healing the parts that I need to heal was really hampered by just this crazy schedule, and then suddenly the gift was given to us of the slowing down, the great slowing down, which is really what this is, because it’s not ripping society apart, it’s slowing the pace down.
So that 50% drop in insect population that was announced last year, along with Greta Thunberg’s warnings and along with all those sort of things, got answered in a single stroke that the answer to the crazy pace of life, the crashing insect populations, climate change, all of these things, was this pandemic that forced people to stay in place, to stop traveling. Traveling was down 75% to 95%. Consumable goods down, everything down, the skies clearing, birds building on lampposts in New York City. Just boom, we were shown how we can take the pressure off of the Earth and give ourselves back that precious resource of personal time for contemplation, if you could be able to use it. Now, of course, there are people who can’t take that time, but this forced deceleration has caused a pattern interrupt, the term pattern interrupt in this entire program is shaking it apart because that original program of 2019 was absolutely unsustainable, it was getting ready to smash people’s consciousnesses on brick walls. It was just too much too fast. Too much stuff for the human animal, even though we have a hunger, our minds have a hunger for more and more stimulation more…We all wanna go to festivals and there’s more conferences, and the conferences are growing larger as yours has been growing larger, this hunger for information, hungry for interaction. But I think it had gone across a threshold where we were becoming almost robotic in responding to the next project and mission and meeting, and such and such, and the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin,” that great poetic tone poem of a song in 1970s said, with leisure, you must first come to leisure and with leisure comes love. So without leisure you can’t find love, you’re closed off from whole layer of conscious exploration and experience from busyness. So perhaps that’s the great teaching of this pandemic.
S: Absolutely, yeah, one of my favorite little Buddhist, Zen Buddhist I think, aphorisms. I don’t remember the last part of it that kind of goes into more detail on fourth line, but it says “To study Buddhism is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self. And to forget the self is to enter into the myriad of things.” I think that really ties into what you’re saying, we’re just moving too fast to be able to meet the world at multiple levels of what’s going on around us. I completely agree with that. So that’s obviously key, this slowing down, to the re-making of ourselves that’s stated in your subtitle on your website there. Could you elaborate more on what’s involved in re-making ourselves, and before I turn that over to you, hoping at some point we could get in a little reference to how the psychedelics may play a role in that, since a subtitle of my YouTube channel is spirituality, psychedelics and the new human… Or the new humanity.
B: I believe that there’s something going on. Terence used to say, ask the question, What is going on? You remember how he used to say, what is going on? And the thing that’s going on, and this is a bit of a diversion, and it’ll come back to addressing your very cogent question, there’s a new force in the world, there’s a new force at play, and it comes down to the sense that if you wish and desire something, if you have a clear vision for it, the little stepping stones are presented to you that if you take, you end up in improbable outcomes, like growing the Spirit Plant Medicine Conference to 600 people, doing it at UBC, medical and the recreational marijuana comes in, the country opens up. We have MAPS and MAPS Canada, we clinical trials, and then we have Phase 3 clinical trials, and we have this incredible opening that started with, say, the desire of Rick Doblin and many of us that these medicines should be available and by golly they are, and no matter what is happening in the political sphere, the crack opened and the possibility became reality. We’re discovering that it is our intention, our clear intention on this is a vision we’d love to see and holding to that and our attention on the little marbles of, of possibility that are sent our way, from what I’m calling and others are calling the field,
it’s not God, it’s not a mycelial layer or something physical, it’s some kind of interconnected numinous rolling system that wraps itself around the hillocks and valleys of probability itself, and it can shape those hillocks and valleys, and our intention goes in there and just like Einstein’s relativity, shaping space and time of 100 years ago, it changes the shape, not of space and time, but of probability. Our human conscious attention can shape probability, and I think we’re on the verge of discovering this. Joe Dispenza does these fantastic experiments where he has people connect their heart here, the heart of clarity and presence with the mind’s fantastic ability to visualize and have them focus on one thing, groups focus on one thing, and watch how it actualizes with the head and the heart.
There are serious researchers now stepping in and saying, maybe it’s our intention alone that can shape reality. I have a funny term for this, I call it God for geeks. We’re so used to operating systems and apps and services and making search engine calls and people enqueries and everything. What if this intensely dense numinous network that we’re in, that we actually can surf when we’re in the medicine state. We’re floating on it. We’re really present in it. What if that is like an OS? What if it’s an environment that serves us with our consciousness as a tool, as the home button to push and then the apps to talk to that thing, and… So for the last couple of years, I’ve been doing experiments in this, I’ve been putting things out into the field and watching… I’ve been having a A/B comparisons on this thing. And watching it accelerate.
So in my own life, the rate of which improbable events are coming back is faster and faster and faster, and I asked the question, Is it because I’m more attuned, or is it that the field is more attuned? And I believe it’s a little of both, but I think that if you densely interconnect anything, microbial layer with chemical signaling, which is how life possibly started, then you introduce birdsong, for example, densely interconnecting the interaction in a forest, for example, humans with symbolic communication. Then with smartphones, dense interconnection, dense, real-time speed of light, flashes from human to human all over the planet, two or three billion people now able to do this, searching, finding a YouTube video, playing it, sharing it. It’s an amazing thing that that in itself is creating this field, stronger and stronger and stronger. And the field itself is waking up, the field itself has more to play with, it’s getting more coherent, and like an organism, it’s starting to operate as a coherent thing, as a thing that is moving toward survival.
I had a vision about three months ago, where I saw the pseudopod creature made out of shadow, and it was moving, it was kind of like when you see a salamander but a salamander in shadow form moving forward. And the words came to me at the time was, this is new. This is a new organism that’s just learning to push forward towards survival, as all organisms do, but it is an organism made of you, it is made of human beings for the first time, a body like Gaia, but it is a thing of humans themselves and their intentions and their explorations and their desires and wishes, and their actions and their communication. It’s growing up as a meta-organism, a little bit like the old idea of the global brain, but more like a global body, and when things come into a coherence, no matter what they’re made out of, whether the mean out of cells or conscious intention, they become like an organism, they’re a super organism, and the super organism of humans pushing forward, humans being in a panic state, humans desiring, humans innovating, humans being under stress. It’s a single organism on its own, and it crawls forward and it’s booting up the field itself.
And so it’s not just us, it’s not just the action of one person, it’s a thing that we all comprise, and that thing is 4 billion years old, it has huge lineage in its genes, it has everything we’ve got, it has a waking realization that we’re extremely rare, this kind of a planet, we now know through exoplanet studies and the origin of life, that complex life like ours is extraordinarily rare. And we also know we’re time-limited, that the earth has maybe a few hundred million years where you can have plants, for example, because we’re gonna cross the Venus Terminator. We’re going into a heat event from the heating of the sun, there’s a pressure, we’re going to turn into Venus in a shorter period of time than we knew…
James Lovelock in his book Rough Ride to the Future, he’s the scientist who predicted the ozone hole, actually discovered the ozone hole, taking a trip down to the South Atlantic with his gas measuring instruments, discovered there was a hole in the ozone that we had to do something about… So he did a calculation that predicted that within 100 to 200 million years we’re crossing over this point where we go from 1.35 watts per square meter of incident solar radiation to 1.5, and when we go across that, the atmosphere can have no CO2 in it, or we go to run away greenhouse. So we’re crossing over that boundary where Venus across millions of years ago probably, and the oceans evaporate into the atmosphere because any CO2 would lead to a runaway condition. So whether it’s a 100 million years or 2, 300 million years, it’s short. A percentile or two of the history of life on earth remains for plants, for complex organisms. So we are the last, we’re the last complex organisms, there’s not any room if this prediction is true for a future for complex life here. So the pressure, when an organism is under threat for its survival collectively, it starts to get better and better and better at the survival game.
And so I think that is what’s happening. It’s hard for me or any one person to see this whole picture, but I can feel the pressure from the collective field of the bolus of all of life pushing forward trying to find solutions because we have to reproduce the biosphere in some way, we have to go forward, we have to carry complex life into the universe, or it’s just going to auto-extinguish. There’s a limited dwell time, and like a good Hollywood thriller, it’s a car chase at the end, of course, it’s going to happen at the last minute. But all of this is piled up and piled up, and I think that everything that comes our way, whether it be crazy, insane leadership, is a teaching for us, pandemics, the great slowing down, cell phones, and especially plant medicines. Plant medicines are a doorway into a world which is beyond… It is the numinous field, and it’s a thousand million variations on the numinous field, but just like when you have a huge opening on meditation, when your little parts fall away and you open to the big… I think that the plant medicines are pulling us faster and faster towards seeing this overview, seeing this hugeness of what this thing is.
And the thing is us, the thing is the thing. It’s not a creature coming from planet Zenubi, it is the collective of all of life, internet working faster and faster against the pressure of faster and faster evolutionary forces that are now cultural and pushing towards survival. I think it’s all about finding that doorway, finding that way to survive and thrive for the next billion years in some way, because probabilistically, we’re on a spiral, that’s four billion years tall. We’re way up here, this is where life started four billion years ago, and some kind of hot spring setting, and it was jacked up by the rising of the sun every day to push energy into the system to allow metabolism to happen, then selection to happen, then multi-cellular to happen, and that sun just keeps rising and pushing us away from equilibrium. we’re at a point where we’re in a potential gradient four billion years tall, and that potential gradient as a ball rolling down a ramp is potential, as electrons piling up in a battery is a potential gradient, this is a probabilistic potential grant, and it’s powerful, and we can use that, and I think that it’s not going to just go away. It has a mind of its own, in a sense a body of its own, and if we contact that mind, if we become that body, we’ll find that way through.
We are the vector, we are the seers. We are the ones that the hands, we’re the ones that can push through that wormhole and allow the miracle of the life on this earth and probability of it to go forward, and that is our responsibility. And it’s happening. Everything seem to be lining up for this to happen, but like any birth, it’s going to be full of blood, sweat and tears, and pain and confusion, and crying and screaming and uncertainty whether the birth can happen. But from the long view of four million years, I don’t think this is going away… I think it is going to find a way to survive and to thrive. It’s going to make a new world.
S: It reminds me of the kind of things that Terence used to talk about. Your old friend, Terence McKenna. He might have had the timeline a little bit wrong with this 2012 thing. But ass you were saying that, I was thinking that he might have been intuiting what you’re talking about when he used “the transcendental object at the end of time.” You’re implying that it’s us in a sense… right. I could have a whole pile of questions about all that stuff, but I don’t want to get in the way too much of what you have to share. But there was one thing that I wanted to ask you to go into a little bit more on the short-term. So let me ask you this first. Do you see this happening? You say, it’s speeding up a lot, and Terence talked a lot about that too in his Time Wave theories and such. Do you see the likelihood of massive consciousness change happening soon, like within decades, for example?
B: I see it all around me. It’s rolling everywhere, because consciousness, we can define in toto as the awake awareness of the individual to those things which drive us on a daily basis. So for example, 5, 10 years ago, you never would have heard, most people in business, nerds, ordinary people out there, talking about trauma, and the role of trauma and what drives us. And now you hear it all the time, you hear, wow, I’m feeling a part of me that is starting to get activated. So 10 years ago, people were saying you’re being critical of me, and I feel like you don’t understand me, etcetera, etcetera., But now… and this is all over the world that I’ve been… people are getting a language that stuff that comes up for them that is triggering them isn’t necessarily them. It’s the language of parts, it’s called Internal Family Systems. All of these practices like a, Hey, I’m an internal society of beings. And of course, people can misinterpret all that and kind of go off the wall on that, but there’s a real wisdom that is happening in the change of language that says, Yeah, part of me got hurt by what you said, but it’s just this part and I’ll explain where that came from.
There was a friend of ours who used to get triggered all the time and would start screaming. And it used to bother us, it was hard to go over to their house and everything. And then one moment we were all over at the house, and I think we were watching one of the Mars landings, and she said, I need to explain to you why I can do that and start screaming at people, because that’s what it was like in our family… Everything in our family was done by people getting upset and screaming to get their needs, and I can’t control in myself, it just takes me over. And we came to her and we said, thank you for explaining this. It isn’t you that’s screaming, it’s a little part that didn’t get its needs met and to survive it had to screen within the family. We came around her and gave her a huge hug that relaxed her whole system. Now, for the last 10 years, when we go to see her, it’s like, How’s the little part? And if the part comes up and she’s stressed in the kitchen and she starts to scream, it’s not her, that scream is not her. We separated our understanding of her from her part, and so there’s a softening and a wisdom that is coming into this.
She says, look, I’m just a regular housewife. She’s a Christian woman, she’s not on the medicine path, but she’s come to the self-awareness because the culture is bringing it… You are an operating system, you’re complex parts, and you can feel yourself moving in and out of them, and it’s a way of knowing thy self. And of course in Buddhism and in meditation, of course, the whole point is to separate and watch the system dissociate or separate and watch the system and all the parts roll through and name them. Jack Cornfield talks about naming these things that come and roll through a system. Others say to love those parts, love those things. And on the plant medicine path, you just become a complete open book and then the medicine is coming in and the parts are coming in, they’re embodied as beings, they’re little kids or they’re Jaguars or they are embodied and they come out for a resource. And the medicine gives them the resource, and we as loving beings, say, re-parenting ourselves, watch how that happens, and when we’re skillful, we’ll go into the part and become the rage, but then pull out and let the range be the rage and let the medicine have the rage and calm the rage and resource that rage. And we come out healed.
This is the fundamental work of the 21st century. So when we look at someone like Donald Trump, we see a deeply wounded human being whose father abused him and all these sorts of things. 20 years ago, I don’t think there would have been language to describe why Donald Trump behaved the way he did. It would just be like, well, they’re just that way. Or we have to suffer through it. You can now take apart somebody like Donald Trump, you can have empathy and compassion for him, and you can also be discerning and wise about why people like that should never be in positions of authority because you can predict what they’re going to do because the stresses of the job or ego or whatever. Very predictable models have emerged.
S: It’s so interesting that just today, this is July 15th today, 2020, his niece’s book has just been approved for publication, and that’s exactly what she’s been saying about him, that he was deeply wounded as a child. This was obvious to many of us already anyway, but now as you say, it’s creeping out in the culture. So basically, if I may sort of summarize what you’ve been saying for the last five minutes or so, you see us, maybe two streams to it, one is the larger view that we are cohering together as a species, and that changes in the way that we think, the way that our minds function in this world, are dispersing through the species quite rapidly and quite widely. And then if I understood you correctly, you’re also specifying it a little bit more by saying that a lot of what that is about is self-examination and in a sense taking back our projections as the Buddhist might say.
B: Yeah, there’s wisdom at all levels and it’s coming so quickly through the culture. Let’s face it, when you and I were growing up, we had three or maybe four cable TV channels, and there were a few interesting shows and some dumb and junky shows, and we took some books out and everything. Now you can watch 50 meaningful YouTube videos in a day and little snippets and get information so fast. If we need to find out about internal family systems healing or parts work or whatever, boom. There’s the actual founder of the system demonstrating it, there’s an animation that brings it so quickly. And the mind’s like, wow, that’s what that is. Let me share that with so and so, because they were looking for why it is they get triggered all the time. They get the video and like, wow, that’s a part and I can work on that. Then they find a practitioner and they start working on Zoom, and within an hour, a person has identified something in themselves, gotten new information, and is now on a practice to work on themselves. And that’s how fast this is compared to the 80s or 70s, when it was like grind along for years before we find solutions to things.
S: Morphic resonance on speed. You know Rupert Sheldrake. He talked about how a scientist in, say, the U.S. might have the same idea at the same time more or less as a scientist working on the same problem in Japan or wherever, right? It seems like an extension of that through technology now as well.
B: Rupert and I met last summer at the Ions conference over here in Silicon Valley, and we had an interesting conversation because what he said, this is quite fascinating, how the connection was. We had never met, and we were at the reception for Ions. He had seen me do the opening keynote for the Ions conference. Rupert wanted to meet me. We’d never met. I knew Ralph Abrams and Terence, but I’d never met the third member of the Trialogues. [Trialogues at the Edge of the West, by Abraham, McKenna, and Sheldrake.] I saw him across the room but I didn’t know how to go and introduce myself, but a friend brought him over. So suddenly there he was at my elbow, and we had the most delightful connection, and it was a very much a morphic resonance connection because Rupert said something and I said, you know, I know of your work because I’ve heard your voice a million times because Lorenzo Hagerty and I decided to digitize all of the Trialogues tapes and put them into the Psychedelic Salon. That’s how I got to know who you were. Lorenzo flew up and we started three boom boxes and put the cassette tapes in and over a weekend, digitized 90 cassettes. Rupert beamed and he said, I always wondered who put those things online, because those Trialogues, more than any other thing on the internet or any of my books, they built the morphic field for me. Those voice recordings built my audience, they established me in the field and brought all these new people and opportunities. And he said, you know, I know who to thank for that, it’s Lorenzo Hagerty and you digitizing those little crusty audio cassette tapes.
And then it went from there and we found a resonance between us, which was that if we have the formulation and the science and the chemistry to form protocells and to form aggregates of protocells that have functioned through polymers, we’re doing this wet dry cycling in the hot spring environment, we can actually test his morphogenetic field ideas. He came up with this, he said, we could have a dish of them where a big clump is next to another dish, and then we have an isolated dish of the cylinders, and if the ones that there are more members and they are more close, evolve faster, then we’ve shown that there’s a non-physical morphic effect between those two adjacent dishes, where the isolated dish is chugging along at a slower rate. And we could then actually study, well, what would the effect be of all this complex activity nearby in two fields. It would be the birth of the morphic field. It would be a way to test it in the laboratory. So we just got back in touch last month. I’m going to send him a neat proposal for this because I’m getting ready to do a new book on all this stuff, maybe an academic book and a popular book at the same time. So there we are, now connected through the Trialogues, accelerating into something that he can intake into his work. His son also has this fantastic new book. [Entangled Life, by Merlin Sheldrake.]
S: I just bought it about a week ago? Merlin’s book reminded me of this that one thing you haven’t mentioned in this conversation, and is a theme that’s being put forth as an important part of the consciousness transformation, is our learning to understand our proper relationship with nature and the communication of nature, to begin to realize more about that plants often communicate, not just the ones that we call the psychedelic plants, but like Stephen Harrod Buhner’s work, for example, where he talks about how he sat down and meditated for hours at a time with various plants and then they started to feed him information about what they do. We’re talking about the human sphere mostly tonight, and where we’re going with that. I find it absolutely fascinating and central for human humanity – where does the embeddedness and communication factor with nature come into all this?
B: Yeah, I think that what happens like for instance now we’ve had a beautiful spring and it’s the summer. When we simply walk outside anywhere from a building, which is more of a human space, and we’re hit by sunlight on our skin and the fragrances in the breeze, all those spores and pollens and pheromones, the sounds of birds, the sounds of wind in the trees – we’re taken from the encased, human world, which is very mental, to… our animal wakes up, our natural being wakes up as soon as we walk into any natural setting. And physiologically—you could measure this and perhaps people have—that boom, we’re connected at a different level than we were when we got out of the car for example. Everyone can feel this happening, and so it’s the turning on of a huge amount of deep architecture, deep sub-structure that was installed a long time ago, that no matter how humans have been raised in what environments they’ve been raised, it’s baked in. And so, part of that, of course, is plants that we put in our bodies, and the food that we put in our bodies, and the medicines that we take, that the very presence in nature, like the difference between doing an aya ceremony in an apartment in Brooklyn, which can be powerful, but doing it in the rainforest in the Amazon where it’s just an extraordinarily dense information grid. So much happens in that environment compared to the relatively dead environment of an apartment in Brooklyn where you might be doing more internal work.
So I think that the plants speak to us in ways that Dennis McKenna described so beautifully, that we are the plants and the plants are us, we are part of the cycle of the plants, we’re in communication continuously. Whether we can mentally work it out or not, we really are. That’s part of this idea of this field, that the field does extend beyond human mental construct, it is of the body, it’s of the gut, it’s the gut biome. So when we take a shit and run a huge amount of our gut biome into the environment, which is then returning into us, and people who spend a lot of time, a month or so in nature, they are totally changed by that mentally and physically, not even doing a plant medicine, just being in the presence of the environment in which we evolved. So it’s really an AB comparison. Perhaps you can sit in the room in Brooklyn and take the plant medicine and it’s so powerful that it will transport you to that jungle. It brings the plant and the jungle and all of that complexity and that feel into you, even though you’re in an apartment in Brooklyn.
So it is all connected. We live in a progenote planet which is this new conception that life started as a communal complex, not an individual and competition, but as a community and collaboration. The huge philosophical implications of our work is there was no common ancestor, it was only a common community, a communal complex of protocells that collectively could start to grow and evolve until individuals arose that could divide themselves, and until microbial mat communities arose, till there was an individual mycelial thread that could go through it or a plant that could come out of it, or then a worm that could start eating it, and then you got individual plants, animals, fungi, or fungal mats were always connected. And then here we are, a global, massive community, interdependent, sharing community of humans with culture, and we’re birthing another thing out of that. And I think that that thing is this collective conscious field that Jung and many others have talked about.
So this stacking—and plants of course are part of that stack layer—they’re all dependent upon that bottom layer of microbial mat, what’s known as a consortium model. And then that came from the substrate of the cycling of the progenote. So having that point of view of where we sit and where all of evolution sits in that stack for a billion-year point of view gives us almost a samadhi kind of experience of opening, of My God, that’s what this is. Then you lose the boundaries of the individual self through science in a sense, not on a pillow, but just being awestruck by what is, all around us, and how it came to be so improbably over these four billion years. In a sense it’s my science, samadhi awakening through super geeking out on how we’re finally seeing how things arise… It’s an amazing time.
And one thing to sort of close with, if we’re closing, it was during the 30 years war in Europe, there were all kinds of terrible things happening in Europe when the calculus was discovered, there were terrible things happening when Copernicus predicted that the Earth was not the center of all, and there were other worlds, the Copernican revolution, there were terrible things happening when electromagnetism was characterized. All of these things that when we look back to the 1860s or the 1720s, we don’t even remember all of the misdeeds of our forbearers. We remember the beauty of the scientific discoveries of the structure of the cosmos, or the great music, or the arts. We remember that and that’s what survives. So to have faith, to have confidence and optimism, there is plenty going on right now in the 2020s that is extraordinary. Plenty is going on that’s extraordinary. If we take our eyes just away a little bit from the crazy news and the echo chambers, the anxiety-inducing things, and we plant our gaze and our hearts on the stupendously brilliant things that human beings are doing, the wise things, the insightful things that humans have never done before, the frontiers that we’re in. That is what’s going to count in 2050 or 2100, that’s what’s going to count, and the response to the pandemic is part of that brilliance. There are brilliant people who are looking at this, how can we use location information on our phones to block the spread of viruses in the future, because we can outsmart the viruses, we have technology. This is a war game, and it’s making us better, it’s making us smarter… And the smart people in the smart countries are going to succeed and they’re going to come out with societies that are smarter and healthier. So it’s a tremendous time. All hope is not lost. In fact, there’s more reasons for hope now than the crazy accelerated 2019 when we were so busy, we couldn’t even contact our own selves.
S: So the message is slow down, pay attention, have faith, have some tentative hope and faith in the great innovative imaginative possibilities of the human species. Also, if you think of it in Buddhist terms, the word “Buddha” just translates as awake, and Buddhists keep reminding us that that is our nature, and one would like to think that we gradually fall into recognizing the divine eternal nature of everything . . . at some point.
B: Yeah, and in modern healing arts and in psychology it comes down to the parts make us up. I call it the little inner kindergarten. These days, I’ll go holy shoot, Catherine’s just said something that threw me into a pout and I’m now pouty and quiet. But that’s not the response that Catherine could use or that the relationship could use. So I talk to the part, and instead of sulking and closing down, I’ll say, hey, part, and I’ll report that to her. So she knows that the part got triggered and she can see the part get triggered. I’ll say, I’m going to go and sit with this part and give it some resource. Then I can come back and I’m an adult again, and the relationship moves forward in evolution because we didn’t get stuck in the habitual patterns that relationship can get stuck in, all the relationships. We acknowledged and owned the little parts of us that maybe are wounded or didn’t get resourced or seen. We resourced them, we reported them, we up-leveled, and then the relationship up-leveled. I think that is a practice for all of humanity dealing with politicians, dealing with technology, dealing with everything. It’s all about checking in with those and owning those internal inner parts and then reporting and connecting and taking responsibility like our friend who used to be screaming all the time. She up-leveled and maintained her family and her friendships, and eventually the screaming part got quieter and she could lead a better life,
It really for the 21st century comes down to our individual work on those parts, reaching out for group, for help, the medicines, everything. If we get peaceful inside, we have peace in the world and we have a beautiful world by being peaceful and beautiful in our own systems.
S: Yeah, I think there’s a Zen saying that says when you sit in meditation, when you sit, the whole world sits with you. I think this probably is a kind a time to bring it to a close, in terms of people who are going to be watching this and listening to this having their brain stretched. What was is Tom Robbins said in the endorsement to The Archaic Revival, that you’re never going to be going back to Kansas after reading that book. It’s kind of similar with these very far-thinking far-envisioned ideas. So I want to thank you very much for that. But before I let you go, as I mentioned, I can put little titles and things under this when I run it through Final Cut Pro before publishing it on the StephenGray, Vision YouTube channel. And so are there any sites or links? I mentioned damer.com. We can mention that one again and I’ll put that up again, but is there anything else you would like to point people toward?
B: Yeah, we’re holding regular salons, called the Levity Salon. I call everything levity. Terence used to talk about novelty, the listeners probably remember this. One night I said to him, Terrance, we have enough novelty, we need more levity. We all laughed at that, and Sasha Shulgin, for me, looking into this man’s blue eyes toward the end of his life, as you have done undoubtedly at the Shulgin ranch there. I saw the greatest levity in those eyes, even though they were not seeing the world, but there was levity in them. And so we seek to carry forward the traditions of these two great storytellers and alchemists in our levity salons and this kind of thing, usually 30 to 50 people show up. In the Patreon, if you go to patreon.com/brucedamer, you can join and not only get notification of these salons, but all kinds of stuff. So I’m going to be writing two books, one is for the scientific community, one is for everyone else, a human-readable book on all of this stuff. It looks like I have a publisher for the science book, and on the back of all that, certainly the popular book, it may be illustrated, maybe a graphic novel. I’ve got a wonderful friend who’s connected with the comic industry, and they started transcribing some of the levity zone podcasts to try to create a graphic novel out of it all. With the Patreon, if you can support $5 or $25 a month, that’ll help these projects get done, and you’ll get all the early looks at the fantastic treatments of all this and videos and everything else. So the patron community is now… I think it’s always almost 100 people and it’s growing and it’s helping me to have some independence and some time to create these products for everyone.
S: Wonderful, I’ll make sure, as I said, that I put that up as a title and as a closing from my end, I’d like to say thanks very much again, I really do appreciate you a lot in what you’re doing, Bruce, and I think you… might be too humble to acknowledge it on some level, but you just referred to great minds like Alexander Shulgin and Terence McKenna, and the lineage of people that kind of keep us moving toward an upward curve as it were, and I believe that you are a strong member of that lineage. So thank you for the work that you have been doing, are doing and almost… Well, I would say certainly are going to be doing for hopefully another 20 or 30 years or more. So thank you.
B: I look forward to returning to Vancouver and the Spirit Plant Medicine Conference. Sometime soon bringing Catherine and seeing my relatives, all my hometown relates.
S: Unfortunately, it looks like it’s still some way off before they open that border for this year, but I’m hoping that you will give an online address for the conference. This was supposed to be our big 10th anniversary. We’re not going to call it that this year. We’re going to call it our first online Spirit Plant Medicine Conference instead, but we’re going to have two or three days at the same time we were going to in October, so hopefully you’ll contribute to that
B: Absolutely happy to do that.
S: Okay let’s end it here. Thanks very much.