The Kali Yuga & Deconstructing Capitalism with Alnoor Ladha

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What is the Kali Yuga?

How does cyclical time interact with capitalism and our current challenges on this planet?

Get ready for a deep dive into the brilliant mind of Alnoor Ladha, cofounder of Brave Earth, as he deconstructs neoliberalism and the paradox of capitalist modernity. Read the full transcript below from the conversation with John Early – Author and Momentom Cofounder – as he hosts this formidable discussion live from Alnoor’s home in Costa Rica.

 

***For the full podcast via Spotify or Youtube

Alnoor’s work focuses at the intersection of political strategy, community organizing and cultural narratives. He comes from a Sufi lineage and writes about the crossroads of spirituality and politics in troubled times.

 

~

 

The Full Podcast Transcript:
*As transcribed by Youtube. Some errors and spelling mistakes may be present

John Early:

Greetings everyone, hello from Brave Earth in the mountains of Costa Rica. 

My name is John Early and I’m excited for this conversation ahead. 

 

We’re with Alnoor, one of the founders of Brave Earth. You’ve got a background that started in working through being involved in a lot of different protests and frontline movements, now you’ve ended up with permaculture in a retreat center in Costa Rica. Tell us a little bit about your journey of how you got here.

 

Alnoor: 

So I’m from Vancouver originally, my parents are of East African descent. My mom’s family is from Zanzibar and my dad’s family’s from Uganda. My dad was exiled in ‘72 by Idi Amin, you know that whole story. I was in a refugee camp outside of Vienna for a couple of years and then got shipped to Vancouver one day on the UN program. We’re all products of gods of fate, globalization, displacement, and capitalist modernity in general. So I grew up with a sort of internationalist lens and background.

 

Having grown up with my grandparents, my dad, my uncles, and aunts my aunts who had all been exiled forced migrants essentially. I grew up in the climate movement and then the anti-globalization movement so I also started to understand that. 

 

This organizer named Feroz Manji, an East African activist said to me climate change is not man-made, it’s capital made. You can know all the climate science you want but if you don’t understand how the global economic system works, you’re of no use to us. So I went and I studied International business and economics and was like okay I’m gonna develop my understanding of how oxygen works essentially. 

 

So I worked in think tanks and I ran my political consultancy in London and then in New York. Then occupation happened in 2011 and that had a big effect on many of us who were living in New York doing activist organizing work. Then we set up an organization called The Rules which was an activist Collective. It was an anarchist organization so we only lived for eight years. We decided from the get-go that we’d only have this sort of eight-year experiment in learning how to make work and play. 

In trouble together and we had an economic justice think tank that was focused on economic alternatives. We had a movement support organization working directly with social movements largely in global South Brazil, Kenya, Dakota, South Africa India, Nigeria, and Colombia we spent a lot of time in. In many ways, there was formative work, understanding how it didn’t matter if somebody was working on a tax justice struggle in Kenya or a land rights struggle in India, or a pipeline in North Dakota. Or you know trying to live a food sovereign life in Colombia amidst narco-trafficking guerrilla warfare. These were all symptoms of the broader economic system of late-stage capitalism.

 

In 2016 we set up Brave Earth and two or three of the rules collective. Other people that we were on other paths, spiritual paths, medicine paths, mystical paths, and also political work decided to set this place up. We were planning it and thinking about it from probably 2011-12. 

 

When we’re setting up the rules one of the things we used to say is that we need both resistance work and renewal work you know we have to stop we have to remove the noose of capitalism from to neck of you know the majority of the planet and the living world and we 

also have to build the lived alternatives and the embodied cultures of post-capitalism and that we weren’t planning on being in Costa Rica or setting up here. 

 

I was saying to you last night at dinner, either the two places I never wanted to end up were Costa Rica and Bali. too many new age people, too many alternative communities, too many ayahuasca healing centers, and the universe was like oh you have a preference*slaps you across the face*  and says “yeah enjoy paradise and so yeah we ended up getting here in 2016 and setting up this space, setting up this community.

 

John Early:

Beautiful. I admire that you’re able to see the issues of business and capitalism and then kind of bring your enemies closer and go on to study some of that work, study business to understand a bit more of how it works, and like you said, The ramifications of that across the board. 

 

We originally met at the visionary’s immersion which was a great gathering of minds and you led a workshop there called contextualizing the Kali Yuga, you also brought in these aspects of neo lib neoliberalism capitalism and the effects coming about. So how do you give a short context of what we’ll tap into, a lot of information there for getting out of this capitalist mindset. 

 

What are the ways that you feel are the most appropriate? You’ve already bought in a co-op here for Brave Earth, to try and bring some equality. release the hierarchy of a lot of structures made. What are the things that you feel are the prime ways to try and combat this ideology that we’ve all kind of bought into for capitalism?

 

Alnoor:

That’s a great question. I think the starting place is that we first have to understand the ideology. We have to understand how it works and how it manifests in our body. So unless we do that, we’re grasping at straws and it’s worth saying a bit about how this system is working. Even the word neoliberalism, I think probably most people hearing this podcast will be unfamiliar with or it will trigger a sense of why are we talking about politics or using obscure language etc. One of the things I often say is, imagine being in a bread ration line in Soviet Russia

in 1986, spending the entire day waiting for your piece of bread and not knowing the word communism. Not knowing the name of the system that put you in that, it’s just all you know. That’s what you are and we’re like that illiterate with capitalism so every aspect of our lives is currently mediated by money. We used to have many ways to acquire goods and services, such as fishing, bartering, hunting, gifting, etc. Now there’s one way, which is debt-based. 

 

Growth-dependent currency largely US dollars printed by federal reserves. From where you live to what you do for a living, what your family does for a living, how you spend your free time, if you have free time, who’s in your socioeconomic bubble and circle around you. This is all determined by the vicissitudes of capital, so in some ways you neoliberalism is the oxygen that we breathe and it’s really important to understand how that works. 

 

How that affects our day-to-day lives and creates the superstructure. It’s the invisible architecture that exists all around us. one simple way to think about this and talk about this is that it is helpful to people who are a bit new to the political economy. This idea of one two three five so are in a debt-based system which is what we have, you print money at debt so by the very creation of money itself we are creating debt. Which are future demands on natural resources and human labor rights. we’re inventing that so federal reserves print money at one percent and they give that to commercial banks who are essentially willing it. 

 

They’re asking for the printing of that money and then that goes to them then they lend that money. On average, let’s say two percent, that’s what we call prime right. So what that does is then it goes into the economy at the sort of multiplier and all sorts of interests are born out of that interest. Then what happens is you have to grow the global economy at three percent so it’s very simple. the one-two three-part of it. 

 

Why? because your growth has to exceed the interest for that money to be valuable. You want to grow the pie in a certain way that everyone can get some of that pie to pay back the debt. The whole Ponzi scheme can keep on going, world bank economists, the IMF, the UN and others will say “look if you don’t have three percent growth, you essentially get stagflation or contractions in the economic recessions. Three percent doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s a compound function.

 

It’s exponential and so what three percent growth means is a doubling of the global economy every 20 years. So can you imagine a doubling of the global economy, double the number of big macs, Toyota Priuses, apple computers, single-use plastics, and double the number of fossil fuels. It’s inconceivable, ecologists and economists are unanimous that there will not be another doubling and this is why we call this late-stage capitalism. Because we’re sort of approaching the end and this particular brand of capitalism that we call neoliberalism, it’s not like this is the logical outcome of 5000 years of extraction and separation from the natural world, hierarchy, patriarchy, white supremacy etc. 

 

It’s the most current extreme manifestation of it and so in that system, you’re forced to double the economy every 20 years. we’ve already crossed the nine planetary bounds, we’re already amid 200 species a day going extinct and the possibility of that continuing is impossible and not happening. Yet we can’t get outside of the path dependency on economic growth and that’s the paradox of capitalist modernity. We’re essentially forcing our destruction for the benefit of very few people but everybody is complicit in it and then the five of the one-two-three five is that if you are a holder of capital. On average you’re getting about a five percent return. 

 

Thomas Piketty wrote this very important book called Capital in the 21st Century. the upshot of the book is the studies 250 years of economic data and says if you are holding capital you are getting roughly a return of 5 on a global economy that’s growing at three percent which means the pie is growing at a certain rate but if you’re a capital hold your share of the pie is growing at sixty percent faster rate right so inequality is not an externality of capitalism like economists tell us an undesired byproduct or side effect built-in. 

 

It’s built into the system itself so if you are a debt holder you will have exponential debt because we’ve made up this thing called “compound interest” and if you’re a capital holder you will have exponential capital potentially. So you get over a certain amount of money in your bank account, whatever that is ten million, hundred million dollars, you’re literally getting millions of dollars a month in interest which then also puts you in this sort of elite group. 

 

Socio economically you have certain hedge fund advisors, certain people you go to dinner with, and country clubs with who are putting you in certain investment portfolios et cetera et cetera. The whole thing balloons right so on average, now we’re in a state where 93 cents of every dollar ends up in the hands of the top 1% so by definition wealth creation creates inequality, creates poverty, creates climate change and it’s all dependent on a racialized hierarchy where western Europeans essentially had a 500-year head start on capital through colonization imperialism genocide slavery etc. Then we’ve removed every other way to acquire goods and services so you’re in this state of what I call “distributed fascism.”

 

It’s not a centralized system, it’s everyone who behaves like a fascist through the ideology of neoliberal capitalism. which tells you to take care of yourself first, that if rich people do well that wealth will trickle down to the majority of the world, and all of the propaganda that’s come with this theocracy and deep ideology of modern capitalism that’s the backdrop for everything we’re doing. If we don’t understand that context then we come up with really bad ideas like conscious capitalism. 

 

Let’s start with Toms shoes and maybe one pair of shoes will be given and everything we’re doing is extractive fossil fuel-dependent perpetrating these acts of violence and there’s no way out except through it. you can’t get through it until you understand the gravity of the context and the weight of what we are up against, which is a five thousand year momentum Of greed, short-termism, psychosis patriarchy, racism, hierarchy, and separation from the more than human world. That was part of what you’d phrase it with, the bringing to the Kali Yuga. That for me was a big mind shifter of getting out of the present moment.

 

John Early:

How do you take this into the context of the Kali Yuga? I’ll let you explain that this thing that’s much bigger than just the short term but it’s this huge process that humanity is going through the lens of the Hindu culture. If you maybe want to touch a bit on the Kali Yuga, what the Kali Yuga frame is because as you say it sort of brings us into more of a deep time understanding?

 

Alnoor:

It also brings us into a more cyclical understanding of time. In the Vedic tradition, their understanding of time was these sort of deep long cycles of time and so the math on it is different but there’s aversion which is a 26 000 year calendar. 

 

There are four Yugas, so there are four phases of that cycle and it starts with the golden age the Satya Yuga, it degrades into the silver, the bronze, and then the dark ages which the consensus is now. What’s interesting about thinking of it in that way is you could use the scientific term and you could say we’re in the Anthropocene age where human activity on the planet is destroying every ecosystem, every biome, every aspect of the natural world, and our future ability to exist. 

 

There’s a scientific lens on what this moment is but what I like about the colleague was what we’re saying is that it makes us realize that there are these deep cyclical historical timelines and part of the culture of neoliberalism. Sort of the occidental mind, western dominance, and enlightenment rationalist-materialist reductionist logic is that there’s this belief that progress is an arrow, that time is linear, and that we are at the peak of that linearity. 

 

This is the Bill Gates Stephen Pinker argument we are looking at. We have a microwave in every house and they’ll doctor the numbers to make it seem like poverty is decreasing and we have this amazing medical technology and the internet. It’s like yes at what cost we have a microwave in every house but there may not be human beings left in a generation and that’s not an over-exaggeration. 

 

That’s the context we’re in, we may be the last human beings or our children may be the last human beings on this planet as a result of our way of living. And yes, there have been amazing benefits to some people from that way of living. We have huge privileges, especially those people who have enmeshed themselves and have been rewarded by the capitalist operating system. We’ve impoverished and brought in billions of souls that are living physically very difficult lives, barely keeping body and soul together. 

 

Essentially creating an entire slave army in the global south that we use to prop up our way of living. By understanding that this is an aspect of the Kali Yuga, sort of removes us from that sort of western homogeneous thinking about our role in time. It also gives us a sense of agency because also part of the Vedic spiritual tradition is this idea that we choose which Yuga we’re going to incarnate. There are pros and cons to incarnating in every Yuga. For example, what they say about the Kali Yuga is that it’s one of the deep tests of old souls to come at a time with a sort of ultimate destruction. 

 

We’re at a place of Hubris peak violence, peak patriarchy, peak racism but also peak possibility. A part of the kind of esoteric lore of the Kali Yuga is also the time where the outermost planet helps interdimensional beings, angels, spirit guides, etc. It’s the time where the most light is shone onto the earth because we require that assistance. Whether you believe that or not, I think something is interesting about understanding that on a certain level. We have chosen to incarnate on the planet at this moment and so we can see our current plight as an affliction or we can see it as an assignment.

John Early:

So how do we call in that help? How do we know what gives you hope when there are these numbers and these things that are showcasing that things are getting worse? What personally inspires you and hope to shift and work through this challenging time?  

 

Alnoor: 

I’m not a huge fan or supporter of the idea of hope. On one level I think Stephen Jenkinson who’s a teacher on death and dying. An interesting thing he says is “that hope is inherently hostile to the present moment and there there’s something about being in the deep messiness of now and staying with the trouble” 

 

That goes against our instinct for comfort for knowing for certainty and it’s deeply uncomfortable but deeply necessary because it’s our desire for comfort and our selfishness or taking care of the people around us. our desire for certainty and knowing and reducing the entire world into the atom and then the atom into the proton and the neutron and the electron and now we know everything. It’s that human arrogance that has gotten us into this position and so in some ways what drives me to do anything in this given context is the understanding that we are doing the redemption work of our ancestors by risking to behave differently in a culture that is hell-bent on destruction. 

 

If we think about those who came before us you know we probably had a thousand generations of human beings each that lived largely miserable lives for us to be here at this moment now and in that sense, we are the living prayers of our ancestors. They are living through us in a very real way and understanding that the mistakes they made and the choices they made for their self-preservation were critical in getting us here and there. 

 

Let’s say choice architecture and incentive landscape and rationale for why they did what they did no longer serves us as well. They were not inheriting a planet that human beings have destroyed to this state and also had the self-awareness and self-reflectivity to understand that. we’re in a very different context and in that sense, it’s a privilege to be at the edge of consciousness, the edge of the expansion, of what it is to know who we are, what we are, and what our plight is. 

 

The odds don’t look very good for us and yet karmically there’s nothing else to do except build the post-capitalist realities we want to see. Build embodied cultures that are in direct opposition to the dominant culture and are informed by a very strong critique of what industrialized globalized culture has done to not only the human world and the living world but also us right. There’s deep healing in that right to be able to find those parts of the settler colonizer imperialist violent war machine in us and to actively deprogram that. 

 

Maybe in some instances being the first in our lineages, the first in our respective cultures to actively dismantle those aspects of ourselves, to potentially become something else is a profound privilege. You feel that part of the relieving of the karmic ancestral work that needs to be done is to try and live that different life. 

 

John Early:

How do you approach that differently or how else do you release this embodiment of multi-generations multi ancestral workers?

 

Alnoor:

Well all of our ancestors and even the tribe of the living now, are products of the cultural consciousness, the cultural constructs, and the context in which we live. Those constructs have very powerful holds over us, they’ve not physically colonized us just memetically cognitively intellectually spiritually. So finding those aspects of ourselves, seeing the fractal nature of reality, and seeing capitalism as one substrate of that fractal reality that has created certain patterns and behaviors and ways of understanding within us. 

 

Within our ancestral lines to actively acknowledge that and dismantle  and rewire those are deep ancestral work. It requires us epigenetic rewiring, it also requires a deep physical rewiring of our neural pathways, etc. When we look at all this achievement culture stuff and the silicon valley douchebaggery of neurohacking and all of this stuff. To what end are they doing that to be better capitalists. To be more successful in their businesses that are destroying the planet and yet there’s an appeal in it because there is something to be said for doing this work of rewiring, reprogramming, and decolonizing our consciousness. 

 

Not just for ourselves, not in order just to achieve some kind of peak state but to achieve some epigenetic transformation, restoration, and harmony that to me is a much more interesting and motivating reason to do this spiritual political practices. It’s also why when we talk about the fractal nature of reality, that capitalism is not something outside of us it’s also living within us. The deeper we understand the culture, its influence on cognition, and the discursive relation between these things. The more mastery we get into our ability to shape and interact with a living planet, in a living cosmos. 

 

John Early:

I remember asking something similar when we were at visionaries and there was something along the lines of the realization that 97% of all species that’s ever been on this planet has passed and maybe I’ll let you rephrase it if I’m saying it incorrectly but you know maybe it’s in our field or in our highest interest to step into the next state to transcend to reincarnate into the next life is how do we die gracefully as a species. 

 

That landed me off again taking that macro step out. It’s not just about me at this moment, it’s not just about our species. Right here in this multi-generational thing but taking this out in the context of infinite realities and millennia of like shifting into that. so I don’t know if you wanted to touch on anything there but again these ways to shift the ego of the human mind into these things that go so much further beyond this reality here.

 

Alnoor:

I think I remember that threat I was just thinking out loud but you know it came from this idea that 99% of all species that have ever existed on this planet are currently extinct. So this massive biodiversity of life we have on this planet, 24 million-plus species is only one percent of all the life that’s ever been here. So you could argue that the purpose of existence is not just self-perpetuation as people think, it is that it might be the individual impulse or a species-level impulse potentially but the broader current and trend and trajectory of life is extinction. 

 

Just like the purpose of living is dying as well and the moment we are born, the script of our death is also included in that genetic coding and sequencing. So if that’s the case yeah maybe part of the test of this moment of being a species on the brink, is to learn how to live and die well at a species level and definitely on an individual level if we look at the mystical traditions. The spiritual traditions and indigenous traditions are their sole aim in many ways or a core practice.

 

I’m thinking ancient Egyptian cosmologies Islamic tradition for example you know the prophet used to say prophet Muhammad used to say one of his uh famous line dies before you die. The sort of practice of the deathless death is central in Sufismor example and part of that is the reason for that is how you die is more important than how you live because it’s the culmination of all your lessons at the moment you think you’re losing everything right and so death becomes the gateway and the portal To the unknown to the great mystery to something beyond and you know that may be the moment where we can reincarnate into the rings of Saturn or whatever if we know if we can cultivate our ability to surrender in the face of what seems like imminent destruction. 

 

Well we are living here today and we are in the 3D world and a big part of things that have been shifting especially during these post-Covid times living in the community coming back to you know no shortage of eco-communities popping up especially in Central America and Costa Rica.

 

John Early: 

How do you define community? What does community mean to you?

 

Alnoor:

It’s a difficult question in some ways because you know like everything that happens in globalized industrialized culture. It’s a word that’s become meaningless, generic, and commodified. I know people selling plots of land for extortionate profit would say they’re setting up communities and in some ways. There are multiple ways into the answer of this, one way is that community is not necessarily the people that you start an intended project with but it’s the people who you’re left with. It’s the people who you’ll be at their deathbed and they’ll be at your deathbed and that’s an interesting sense of community. It’s also people who are the physical embodiment of culture and so it’s people who share the culture that are worthy of the title of community. 

 

Another way into this is community, how we define who our communities are. The people who I reincarnated for you know that the pull of the love was so strong that I came back to be entangled with them in that way and there’s been a large group of people coming together in this way. 

 

John Early:

Plant medicine’s been more popular than ever, do you feel that it’s been a good way to awaken people into this potential? getting out of this paradigm of capitalism or do you feel that’s become another question? Another aspect of capitalism? Is it just another way to profit off of these services? These ceremonies?

 

Alnoor:

It’s a good question, it’s a difficult question, I don’t think it’s binary. I believe that ayahuasca is the most important plant on the planet. The shifts that have happened in my life through working with my grandmother, with this vine, are not even explicable. I am who I am because the consciousness of that plant has entrusted me with lessons, insights, and the emerging of a consciousness that has been profound. I’ve seen its effects, its positive effects on hundreds of people around me, and at the same time, I see a lot of abuse of ayahuasca and plant medicines in general. 

 

I think the immature Spiritual egoic limited mind of the western occidentally trained socialized mind heart soul complex is a very seductive thing and can convince anybody of anything. It can amplify certain neuroses and pathologies so I’ve seen people become narcissistic through the use of psychedelics I’ve seen them become delusional, I’ve seen people use ayahuasca to be better capitalists. Do I think it’s the fault of ayahuasca? no, I think it’s the fault of an immature culture that doesn’t understand reverence for sacraments and doesn’t have a sense of initiation. 

 

Young western people who have not been initiated into a culture worthy of the name culture are going to find any excuse they can for more escapism, more extraction, more consumption. They do it with yoga, they do it with the DAO. They’ll do it with ayahuasca and there is no understanding of what is sacred in the dominant culture and so as products of their culture, they’re going to replicate that misuse, that abuse, and that disrespect. 

 

You see that everywhere and I see it just stays the same with the community. I look all over Costa Rica, there are not many communities I respect. I don’t see them living in body practices, I see them as extractive gringos who are telling themselves they’re doing regenerative community building and it’s the same thing in the ayahuasca community. There needs to be a deeper discourse and a deeper dialogue among people who are claiming that they’re in these practices. 

 

Find ways to protect Amazon. If you’re working with ayahuasca and you don’t have some kind of embodied vested support of the amazon and the indigenous peoples of the amazon then you’re living in conflict because you’re getting this huge benefit from the matrimony and patrimony of these cultures that have risked life and limb to preserve these ancient traditions during colonialism imperialism slavery genocide of probably the ancestors of most of these people who are now getting the benefits of these plants and have no reciprocal understanding or even an understanding of reciprocity at all.

 

I think all of these things need to be addressed and discussed. Internally reflected. I also think there’s a conversation about how much medicine do we need and why and who’s deserving of medicine? Why do we feel entitled to medicine? How are these medicines being harvested? and a whole set of complex things. What are the cultural containers? Which are medicines being held? Who’s serving that medicine? What’s their tradition, what’s their lineage? how are they in reciprocity with their community? their land? their lineage? their culture etc. 

 

These questions are not mostly asked and people will pay $200 to sit in on the ceremony and then you feel like well I paid $200 for this so I’m entitled to this download and third cup. It’s just commodification culture everywhere because you have people who don’t understand the broader context of what’s happening. They’re not situated in anything except their preference and their entitlement.

 

 That’s what this culture rewards. Social Media is essentially preference porn, here’s what I like, here’s my cappuccino, here’s my favorite color, and it’s all a reification of identity. Identity is the problem if we look at mystical traditions and indigenous traditions. their practices are aimed at dissolving the subject-object duality of transcending Identity to prepare for the ultimate dissolution of identity which is death. 

 

Our culture is not only death phobic, as Stephen Jenkinson said but is solely focused on strengthening personal identity because that’s what’s good for consumption. That’s what’s good for growth and it’s good for capital as an adaptive complex evolutionary artificial intelligence.

The whole thing is feeding on every other substrate of the psychosis that is distributed amongst us everywhere and no one’s outside of it anymore.

 

John Early:

What were some of your priorities with things to implement that you’re implementing out Brave Earth? To try and reverse some of these ideologies and patterns?

 

Alnoor:

There are three levels to look at this and maybe let’s say three vectors for the praxis of systems change. At the highest level, it’s the superstructure itself of late-stage capitalism. Then there’s the community and the individual. At the individual level, I come from a mystical tradition. I come from a Sufi lineage and I come from an anarchist political tradition. 

 

So I don’t feel like I’m in the business of telling people what to do or how to do it right but I do think that the individual work of decolonizing and deprogramming our heart soul mind is somatically complex. From the tyranny of colonialist imperialist white supremacist thought and patriarchal thought is and all the complex of ideas that are attached to That Separation hierarchy commodification Transactionalization Entitlement privilege victimhood control. All of those need to be addressed at the somatic level, at the psychological level, at the epigenetic level, as individuals. 

 

That is our task, that is our work to do right. There’s an o line from psychoanalysis. Which is what we don’t heal in ourselves, we transmit to others and so there is yes on a mystical level there’s only one of us here. Yet you’re incarnated in your body, with your karma and the individual set of consequences that come from your beingness in the world. 

 

That is work everybody needs to do and there are infinite ways into that work from psychedelics to tantra to yoga meditation whatever your practice Is in activism and political work but that practice needs to be cultivated, developed, and refined. Constantly lived and embodied at an individual level, then at a community level sharing, those practices with each other are critical. 

At Brave Earth, for example, we talk about our three areas of inquiry, our eros, polis, and hypnosis.

 

Eros is rethinking relationships with ourselves with the more than the human world our erotic relationship with the natural world and other species but also the relational lines and even the traditional pair-bonded relational line. 

 

Polis is rethinking the political economy, rethinking how money works and so when we bought this land we put it into a trust because we don’t believe in traditional ideas of ownership. We believe in stewardship. we run out of any economic aspect of this community whether it’s the retreat center or the regenerative farm or what. selling if we decide to engage in commerce that is, selling tinctures or products or whatever that is run cooperatively the profits go into a profit pool it’s distributed with no distinction between labor and capital. 

 

Whether you put in money as a partner or you work here, there’s governance and decision making as well as profit sharing that’s shared equally. Trying to just live these lived embodied experiences to know what it’s like and it is deeply uncomfortable to be in direct democracy processes and assembly processes. Get 1/20th of what you would have got if you did it by yourself but who wants to live in a hierarchical system who wants to be somebody’s boss?

 

Unless we do that individual de-programming work and remove those needs for us from us that comes from a sick culture, the need to dominate others. the need for status. the need for reward. the need to be seen as innovative or an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is a disease of the mind right and so if we’re going to engage in economic activity is to engage in cooperative distributed economic activity that enriches others and creates a bioregional effect. 

 

A large part of our profits and shares go into setting up this local mutual aid network called President Moore that’s aim is to create a strong Resilient Local ecosystem economy community bioregion. We can create all the sovereign self-sustaining alternative communities we want but if they’re not embedded in deeper bioregions that are land sovereign and food sovereign and energy sovereign medicine sovereign and culturally sovereign then we’re just going to be embedded in an unresilient globalized industrial system that is going to collapse in the next five to twenty years anyway. 

 

That’s part of the polis work and then for the gnosis work is gnosis if you know the direct relationship to wisdom or the defi the divine or however you see it. It’s this diver, this experimental and direct sort of mystical tradition. 

 

Sufism is part of a gnostic impulse. The Christian mystic impulse kabbalah Taoism many indigenous cultures these are all nasty cultures because they prefer the subjective experience that you have. We share that and we do counsel, we sit in ceremonies together, we invite different indigenous elders and spiritual elders here so we can be in an ongoing active dialogue and discourse about our practices. 

 

At the community level, all of these practices are important because you’re doing it with other people who are also rewiring and learning what it’s like to be in a space of, for example, direct democracy. When we’re told the democratic process is voting every four years between irrelevant parties in a corporate government nexus it’s hard to spend two hours a day or an hour a day or whatever in these democratic processes. 

 

There’s sort of that aspect and then at the superstructural level we talked to the individual community and superstructure. It’s this idea that we take care of ourselves and build our community and that’s our responsibility. All we can do is sort out our backyard, this is the logic of privilege and entitlement. A lack of understanding of the fractal quantum interconnected entangled reality. 

 

We spend time. I try to spend 50% of my time on local Work and regional work and 50% of my time doing international solidarity work helping to connect dots between social movements and other work happening in the world. Being in solidarity in other ways trying to shift whatever it is policy systems.

 

Cultures at a global level and there’s no right way to do that. Can be done through music, it could be done through documentary filmmaking, could be done through content whatever. This understanding that the global field affects the local field and vice versa. 

 

These are discursive phenomena and our job in this lifetime is to take down the neoliberal system that is our brief as a generation. At the same time, we have to live the embodied alternatives at a local level but if those alternatives are not rooted in an understanding in a critique of the dominant system we will replicate the hierarchy, the patriarchy, the racism, the entitlement privilege culture, and the private ownership culture that created this mess in the first place. Multiple layers of reality need to be accessed in order to avail ourselves of adjacent possible futures.

 

John Early: 

I appreciate that, we’re limited on time. I know you’ve got to get running.

I’ve got one final question, under the ideology that we are coming from this collective source, we are all reflections of this collective field, the planet. Why would the planet bring humans into life,  into this manifestation of itself? What benefit is the planet itself reaping from humans on its existence?

 

Alnoor:

It’s a good, deeply philosophical question and an important question. In some ways I think the answer is simple, we don’t know right then if I was going to engage in conjecture. What I would say is the human beings that live a billion years from now are going to be as different to us as we are from single-cell Amoebas. Even with the collapse of our civilization, in our species, and the massive dieback that we are instigating. Through a growth-obsessed consumption culture there will be human beings left right there may not be a lot and we may see a massive tragedy. 

 

We may see the death of seven or eight billion human beings due to the essentially a desire for certain people in the west to live a certain way and a globalized elite now. There will be massive dieback and a massive set of consequences that will have deep emotional, spiritual, cognitive, genetic, epigenetic, cultural implications that may be part of the process to inform those humans that live many generations from now on what they can learn from. 

 

This may be our genetic epigenetic civilizational initiation and the idea that human beings are somehow serving a purpose because we’re still alive. I think there was a time we were hunter-gatherers for 99% of human history. We were living in symbiosis with the natural world and we served an important role as a companion species in the ecosystem. We have not been doing that for the last 5000 years, especially not for the last 300 years, and I think Pachamama or Gaia, or however you want to see it, is questioning whether or not she’s going to withdraw her support from us as a species.

 

I feel that when I go into a psychedelic state that she is in turmoil on whether or not she wants our continued existence because if we’re killing 200 species a day because we can’t stop flying planes, ordering amazon.com, and shopping at Walmart it’s a pretty stupid decision that we’re making. I’ve heard many indigenous elders also say that Pachamama is deciding if she wants us to continue or not and part of me also feels that if we even zoom out a bit and we say the average Sun in our sun’s category lasts 10 billion years and we’re probably around halfway, there that at some point guy in life is going to have to find a vehicle to live outside of potentially the solar system, this galaxy, maybe even this universe if there are parallel simultaneous universes, strings of reality or quantum gravitational fields, however, you want to see it. 

 

Maybe human beings will play a role in that, like when humans went to the moon for the first time and looked back at the earth like Gaia was seeing herself reflected for the first time in that way. We serve this very unique interesting position in the intellect and yet we are also not serving our function well right now. We are at a crossroads and I don’t think anyone knows which way this road is going to fork.

 

John Early:

Thank you for your time and all of your insight. I think there’s a lot of deep reflection, questions, and things for us all to soak up after this so thank you Alnoor for your time here and this beautiful space here at brave earth.

 

Alnoor: 

John thank you so much everyone for tuning in and hopefully, everyone can take that reflection time with them home and into their hearts moving forward.

 

 

For more info or content for Momentom Collective or to apply for one of our international artist residencies, visit momentomcollective.com 

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