‘Tastings’ from the Fall Edition of Kosmos Journal Quarterly

Excerpts | All Consuming! What We Consume, and What Consumes Us

In ‘un-pick-apart-able | An Ecology of Food

…Kosmos Keynote, by Nora Bateson

Breakfast in Romania

In the everyday gesture of a parent providing breakfast for a child, the entire future of humanity, and of thousands of other organisms, pivots. Like other animals, the human species is tasked with feeding the next generations. Life is dependent upon this seemingly simple mandate of continuance. Feed the babies. Don’t fail.

Bringing a morsel of food to your lips or to the lips of another is an act of intimacy. It is a personal contact point with the seasons and the generations. The tiny act of sharing a meal connects our intestines to the rainfall, and the strength in our muscles to the recipes of grandparents. The weaving of baskets to carry the harvest is sewn into the engineering of farm tools as well as the patience for and knowing of the land. Food is not made of nutritional measurement, it is made of intimate relationships. My sister once said:

“Human beings do not eat nutrients, they eat food.” – Mary Catherine Bateson

It is in this intimacy, I suggest, that lies a possibility for system change. The big picture—world saving, global activism and so on—all of that is important too. But the ability to perceive the vital complexity of each interaction in a day is the conceptual shift that makes substantive cultural change possible. That shift is accessed through the most personal unions with the world around us.

Read the entire Keynote on September 22.

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In ‘Tending The Wild’

…an interview with Charles Eisenstein

Kosmos | What does our depletion of the planet’s gifts have to say about our modern addictions and habits of consumption? What are some historic ‘seeds’ of consumption that are contributing to our converging crises?

Charles Eisenstein

Charles | I believe that addiction results from trying to meet a need with something that can only assuage the discomfort of the unmet need, but cannot satisfy it. The current industrial system is good at satisfying — to repletion and beyond — our quantifiable needs (equitable distribution is another matter). Meanwhile, essential qualitative needs go unmet. No amount of possessions, or BTUs per capita, or floor space per capita, or gigabytes of internet connectivity, can satisfy our needs for intimacy, connection, authenticity, aesthetic pleasure, community, meaning, or belonging. It is the lack of these things that drives society to acquire more and more of their substitutes.

An isolated, alienated individual disconnected from meaningful participation in a larger purpose is bound to be a good consumer, seeking to fill the void left by the disintegration of community and meaning.

What is the cause of this disintegration? In part, it is the economic system, which depends for its functioning on endless growth. Growth means growth in goods and services in the money economy. That is the fundamental basis of credit and money creation. So we have an endless expansion of the money realm, and consequently a reduction of more and more of life to money. It is almost the reverse of what is commonly assumed: rather than greed or addiction driving economic growth; it is mostly that economic growth drives greed and addiction. Economic growth requires the strip mining of community and nature; the conversion of relationships into services and nature into commodities.

Read the interview and a chapter from Climate, A New Story on September 22.

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In ‘Healing Sound, with Jesse Paris Smith

…an exploration of activism and art by Kari Auerbach

Kari | Do you think it’s the vibrations, the melodies, a combination of both, or is it tapping into something else that promotes the healing?

Jesse | It is everything. It is the influence that exists innately within the vibration of the sound waves themselves. It is the psychoacoustic effects of the qualities of the music. It is the intention of both the practitioner and the listener. Intention is highly important with therapeutic sound and music.

Sound and music are very powerful, and we as emotional beings are sensitive to what we hear. We do not only hear with our ears but with our whole bodies. Sound is vibrational and can be felt through the skin and passed through the bones. Sound travels fastest and most powerfully through solid matter, then water, then air. We as humans are made up mostly of water, but also with a skeleton through our whole bodies, and so sound profoundly affects us. We are also emotional and meaning-making beings; a specific sound or piece of music can trigger memories, feelings, and associations, affecting each person differently.

Creating music and sound intentionally, you can be quite selective based on the effects that different qualities may have on the listener. Faster tempos, complex rhythms, and high pitches can increase heart rate, intensify alertness, shorten our breath, and energize us, whereas slower tempos, simple rhythms, and low frequencies can relax our bodies, slow us down, encourage us to breathe deeper. But every person’s body is different, everyone’s needs and desires are different, everyone’s memories and minds are unique, so all of this comes into play. And every person’s state of being varies on different days and throughout a single day, so their needs constantly change. There is a great deal of scientific research on the psychoacoustic effects of sound and many incredible books, articles, films, and experts to learn from. There are endless reasons why healing is promoted by sound and music.

Learn more about Jesse Paris Smith and Pathway to Paris on September 22.

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In ‘Making Politics Sacred Again’

…an article on governance by Glenn Aparicio Parry

Many Americans are currently suffering from an all-consuming addiction to politics. The media, happy to feed this obsession, announces breaking news at every opportunity, often pushing it directly to our electronic devices (to which people are also addicted). Information overload is a legitimate public health concern—and that is only half the story. We are also addicted to conflict and division, fueled by a two-party system and the bifurcation of information into liberal or conservative news outlets. The last time the country was this divided was during the 1850s when Democrats read one newspaper and Republicans another—and we know how that turned out. A similar schism again threatens our nation.

Detail from “Washington As Master Mason” by James Fuller Queen (1870)

The founding fathers warned us of times like these. Intent on presenting a unified front to the world, they discouraged factions and political parties. I, therefore, characterize the birth of the nation as a form of Unitive Consciousness, even if it was neither the most evolved nor long-lasting form.

It is true that divisions quickly arose, such as the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, but it would be a mistake to consider these the equivalent of modern political parties. The modern two-party system took nearly a century to evolve.

Read the full Article on September 22.

In ‘The Deschooling Dialogues | Plant Medicine and the Coming Transition

…a conversation with  Alnoor Ladha, Daniel Pinchbeck, and Rhonda Fabian

Daniel | To me, it’s clearly real that we’re in this kind of prophetic unfolding, and from the various esoteric traditions I’ve explored, and in my own deepest intuitions, I think it leads to something else, some evolutionary leap in consciousness. Whether that means that humans keep existing in these types of physical bodies or whether it’s some other type of spiritualized existence, I don’t know.

Alnoor | Can you say more about this potential leap? I’m not asking for a scientific proposition, rather your instinctual feeling of what could be.

Ayahuasca Artwork by Juan Carlos Taminchi

Daniel | Since I started this whole journey and explored substances like dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in particular, Ayahuasca and LSD, it’s felt to me that there is the potential that we, in this lifetime, can somehow make a kind of quantum, mutational leap into another dimensional realization. Many thinkers and visionaries have tried to explain this in different language formulations. For example, within William Blake’s ideas about activating the imagination to awaken within the dream, we recognize that what we’re experiencing is not some ‘objective reality’, but rather some kind of lucid dream that consciousness is co-creating through our vessels.

I think part of the fun, in a strange way, if you’re someone who thinks along these lines, is that there’s a kind of ineffable mystery underpinning these ideas and it would not be as good of a game if we could predict or understand what the outcome is going to be.

Alnoor | Yes, the prophetic imagination gets activated in this line of thought. I would love to hear Rhonda’s take on this idea of a ‘quantum leap’. And of course, none of us are soothsayers, but there is a sort of arrow to this directionality and there is the felt experience of what is happening. On one side of the continuum, those who are willing to feel the living planet are becoming aware of the deep grief and despair of what’s happening and the effects of the Anthropocene. On the other side, there’s this sense of liberation because we cannot continue with the Dark Age, the Kali Yuga. Rhonda, what is your perspective on what is happening and what could be?

Rhonda | I believe a quantum mutation or shift can happen very quickly, in the blink of an eye as the esotericists say – Steiner, the Theosophists, Bailey and so on – and as many indigenous cultures express as well. There are those who think we need some sort of paranormal or mystical experience in order to prove that ‘something greater’ is out there. For myself, it is enough to walk in a forest in the darkness and directly experience the sentient nature of trees, the shapeless Life force all around me. This is an experience of awakening for me to what is real, what is liberating.