To Serve the Well-Being of All Life: Our Story Is Our Future – featuring Duane Elgin, Ph.D.

Duane Elgin, Ph.D, has dedicated much of his life to educating us on visions for a sane and sustainable planet that benefits all and everything. He is an internationally recognized speaker, educator, citizen-voice activist, and author of 5 books, most recently the powerful Choosing Earth: Humanity’s Journey of Initiation Through Breakdown and Collapse to Mature Planetary Community.

This chapter is unique in How Psychedelics Can Help Save the World in the sense that the psychedelic sacraments are not directly discussed. However, their intentional and skillful use is implied. That’s because the understanding of many now is that these powerful sacraments are arguably our most powerful allies for helping us loosen the constricting bonds of our habitual patterns and open gateways to our true nature as intelligent, loving participants in an exquisitely interwoven and interdependent cosmos.

In his chapter in the book, Duane wrote so clearly that in this episode I’m mostly handing the talking stick over to him. As a prime example, here is how he leads off his chapter.

WITHOUT A STORY or vision of a promising future, we are lost and will create a ruinous future for ourselves. For example, the “American Dream” that pulled the United States and a good portion of the world forward for generations has become the world’s nightmare as the excesses of consumerism produce climate disruption, species extinction, and enormous disparities of wealth. Instead of a different “dream,” people need wide-awake visions of a purposeful and sustainable future, told in ways that are believable and compelling. 

To be effective, we require a narrative that speaks to the entire human family and to do that it must be:

1. Simple: able to be told in just a few words;

2. Universal: understood by everyone on the planet;

3. Emotionally powerful: people feel and care about it, and;

4. Evocative of our higher human potentials: a story that calls forth

our gifts and explains how we are on a purposeful journey as a species.

Continuing in Duane’s words:

We are just beginning to discover this story and to recognize core elements in our personal lives. In this rare moment in human history we are beginning to develop, for the very first time, the “story of, by, and for all of us.” To illustrate, here are four widely recognized narratives we can use to portray the human adventure.


In shifting from our species adolescence to early maturity, we are building a new relationship with the Earth, one another, and the universe. This story is such an important one, offering deep insights for our time of Great Transition.


With stunning speed, we have developed tools of local to global communication that are transforming our collective communication and consciousness as a species. The “global brain” is a metaphor for the worldwide network formed by people coming together with communication technologies that connect us into an organic whole.

Because we are in the midst of an unprecedented revolution in the scope, depth, and richness of global communications, the impact of this revolution on our shared consciousness is equally unprecedented. No longer isolated and cut off from one another, we are collectively witnessing our world in profound transition. Awakenings and innovations happening on one side of the planet are being communicated instantly around the world, enabling us to wake up together. With astonishing speed, we are rousing from our slumber to know ourselves as a single species, united by an extraordinary network of planetary communication.


Storytellers from around the world have long used the birthing metaphor to give meaning to suffering and transformation: The pain is worth enduring for the sake of what is being born. We may cry out with similar exclamations regarding the birth of our species-civilization. “Why is it so hard for us to wake up together and enter this world as a whole species?” 

A precious miracle is hidden within the pain of our time of Great Transition—a whole new life is being born. When we know a new life is emerging on the other side of the pain and unstoppable push for the birth, we are able to move ahead with less fear and with loving anticipation.


A masculine, patriarchal mindset has grown and developed over thousands of years and has encouraged the growing individuation, differentiation, and empowerment of people. It has also supported humanity’s growing separation from and exploitation of nature that has led to our current time of crisis and need for transition. Perhaps the last vestiges of this mindset are being expressed in hypermasculine leaders who are seeking to retreat into isolationism, nationalism, and a renewed emphasis on materialism and authoritarianism. Nonetheless, a new mindset is now emerging with the reawakening of a feminine perspective that regards the Earth—and the universe—as a unified, supportive, and regenerative organism.

• • •

In his book Choosing Earth, Duane lays out three possible pathways for humanity over the decades ahead. The first two are pretty ugly. The only worthwhile reason for acknowledging them is to make it clear that to a great degree our destiny is in our hands, in our choices, and those choices will all but certainly lead to vastly different outcomes. Pathway 1 heads toward extinction. Pathway 2 toward authoritarianism, and Pathway 3 toward transformation. 

Duane devoted nearly sixty pages of Choosing Earth to detailing a possible trajectory of Pathway 3 he titled “Stages of Initiation and Transformation.” Here’s the bare bones outline from that section of the book.

2020s: The Great Unraveling – Breakdown

2030s: The Great Collapse – Free Fall

2040s: The Great Initiation – Sorrow

2050s: The Great Transition – Early Adulthood

2060s: The Great Freedom – Choosing Earth

2070s: The Great Journey – An Open Future

As challenging and fraught as the first decades of that map look, it should be clear from this outline that it’s a powerfully positive vision. If you’re at all familiar with Chris Bache’s LSD and the Mind of the Universe, or Episode 1 of this series based on How Psychedelics Can Help Save the World, you’ll recognize distinct similarities between Duane’s Pathway 3 roadmap and the information Chris received during his 20-year period of seventy-three “deep time” explorations with high-dose LSD (although Chris received no information on timelines and has suggested the transition might take hundreds of years or more). 

There’s a lot of pessimism about the future these days. It’s urgent and essential that people hear and embrace a story of our potential that, again, as Duane put it, is simple, universal, emotionally powerful, and evocative of our higher human potentials. Without such a story, “or vision of a promising future, we are lost and will create a ruinous future for ourselves.”

The “work” ahead is really about the great need for spiritual warriors. The use of psychedelics for this work may not be neceassary, but when understood in the overarching context of our situation and encountered safely with intention and skill, they are arguably our most powerful allies for unraveling the knots that restrict us and re-connecting us to our true nature so that we really can and will step into our role as “lightworkers” on behalf of all and everything.

~ ~ ~

Note: This is episode 3 in the series based on How Psychedelics Can Help Save the World.

Next Episode in this series:

The Turning of the Soil, based on chapter 5 in the book by Native American wisdom carrier Belinda Eriacho.

Belinda Eriacho is from the lineages of the Diné (Navajo) and A:shiwi (Pueblo of Zuni). Among her numerous involvements and accomplishments, she is the wisdom carrier, healer, and founder of Kaalogii LLC—which is focused on cultural and traditional teaching and inner healing—and an international speaker on various topics impacting Native American communities in the United States.

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