Not long ago I found a paper I wrote with a friend while we were at the University of Manitoba. I was taking every undergraduate class in anthropology in order that I could enter graduate school the following term. I already had a BA in economics and had only taken one general anthro course. My friend, Nelson Jones, was finishing his undergraduate degree in architecture and this was a project for one his classes. In any case, it presaged many of the changes I later experienced.
Sharing the common ecstasy must go further than sharing emotional time with fellow men, for ecstasy requires the deep appreciation of man and his relation to the planet upon which he lives. This is awareness of a fuller extent: Once man is able to share, once each individual is fully able to relate to another human being, it will become absolutely apparent that man is also in a symbiotic relationship with his environment – that man is and can only be a part of all he is able to perceive. Godness is extended to all that is, to all which man is a part. This is absolutely a defiant understanding of man, for through the traditions of Western, North American society, man understands himself as dominant, as being able to take from the earth as he wishes, the more the better. Breed as much as he wishes, the more the better. Consume whatever he wishes, the more the better. The living planet is in agony and its agony is felt by man in terms of starvation, over population, destroyed natural resources, pollution, and the other harsh cruelties which man bestows on this planet, on himself.
I share this because it is so collegiate – wordy, excited, and meaningful. There’s a joyousness in the premise that human relationship can be inspirational leading to the experience of a greater relationship to the entire planet. This human expansionism is an essential theme of Thaddeus Golas’ The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment (1983).
(Check out this slim volume – it’s a great introduction the expansion of consciousness that many sought and still seek with drugs.)
How many students have walked through that door connecting with another? How many have experienced the ecstasy of knowing another – of discovering a friend – a twin, and not just focusing on each other, like staring into a mirror, have expanded into an awareness of the connection of all things. How many have gone deeply into appreciating the essence of experience and realized this joyous connection with the planet? And how many, then, walked back into ordinary life without acting on the knowledge gained from such an intense experience? Well, I am one. I don’t know about Nels: I lost contact with him years ago. But the connection to life on the planet re-awoke a few years later and I became vegetarian.
I am now vegan – that is, I eat no animal products at all. Consuming animal products extends the suffering Nels and I wrote about. The planet suffers, too, from improperly growing and handling plants – in particular the “processing” of plant foods. Here, we prefer whole foods. Prepared foods (such as soy protein isolates or cakes like Twinkies) are usually are not whole foods. Lentils, almonds, avocados, sunflower and flax seeds are. Processed foods require substantial energy inputs and the output is never as nutritious.
It took me years to live this part of this philosophy.
So this entry is about remembering! Remember those intense discussions, what we called “BS-ing” or “BS” sessions. Remember the discovery that you were connected to another person – that there was a resonance and a joy in that recognition. (Often this happens with friends, not girl friends or boy friends, because that gets complicated.) Remember that exploration of ideas and feelings and remember those occasions that you were more inclusive – expanded beyond just your fellow explorer and the room – and in touch with the planet, and beyond, to the cosmos.
These remembrances might be life changing!
This article was written by stanford