Show Notes

Stephen Dinan is an author, speaker, and the founder and CEO of The Shift Network, an organization that delivers virtual summits, courses, and trainings on spirituality, peace, holistic health, psychology, parenting, enlightened business, shamanism, indigenous wisdom, and sustainability.

Stephen helped create and directed the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory & Research, and is a member of the Transformational Leadership Council and Evolutionary Leaders. He is the author of Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All and Radical Spirit.

He addresses the question of “What Could Possibly Go Right?” with thoughts including:

  • Harnessing the spirit of possibility and embracing audacious timelines
  • How small efforts and initiatives inspire others and create larger scale for change
  • The growing mainstream traction of psychedelics will help shift consciousness and generate innovation
  • Recognizing dysfunctional polarization and seeking synthesis that “respects some of the wisdom that might be held on both sides”

 

Connect with Stephen Dinan

Website: https://www.stephendinan.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StephenDinan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephendinan

Transcript

Vicki Robin

Hi, Vicki Robin here, host of What Could Possibly Go Right?, a project of the Post Carbon Institute, in which we interview cultural scouts, people who see far and serve the common good. Today’s guest definitely does that.

Today’s guest is Stephen Dinan. He’s the Founder and CEO of The Shift Network and a member of the Transformational Leadership Council and Evolutionary Leaders. The Shift Network was founded in 2010, and has served over 700,000 people worldwide, featuring over 50 core faculty and 1,000 thought leaders in domains as diverse as spirituality, peace, holistic health, psychology, parenting, enlightened business, shamanism, indigenous wisdom and sustainability.

Stephen is a graduate of Stanford University in Human Biology, and of the California Institute of Integral Studies (East-West Psychology). He helped create and directed the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory & Research, a think tank of leading scholars, researchers and teachers to explore human potential frontiers. He is also the author of Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All and Radical Spirit. And now, here’s Stephen.

Welcome, Stephen Dinan, to What Could Possibly Go Right? The very question of this podcast can seem like a search for hope in dark times. But it’s really more of a search for a systems perspective as we lurch from one crisis or scandal to the next.

Our podcast started when the pandemic started. Now, you and I are talking as the restrictions are being lifted, considering that the virus is endemic and our tools more robust for preventing and curing the illness. But two years ago, when I started, I really did have hopes that the cracks in the worldview of consumerism, and exploitation of the Earth might provide an opening for better outcomes or course correction, at even this late date.

I think you and I are both possibility thinkers, people who believe in the higher consciousness and, let’s say, practical miracles, a capacity to pop out of outmoded worldviews and live in a world of love. Instead, the pandemic has sobered me about the forces that will not yield power and privilege and allow me my happy stories about a happier landing come to pass.

What could possibly go right still seems like the right question to actually clear my mind and reveal my own preferences. My guests have certainly been my certainty disturbers. They have removed my blinders, they’ve inspired me, they’ve wised me up. I know this pandemic has also challenged your thinking as well and I am really interested in your answers, as we seem to be blinking into the light, to our core question which is: What could possibly go right?

Stephen Dinan

I love that overall setup. I think that being an optimist with sobriety is a good stance to have in today’s world. I remain a long term optimist. I actually feel kind of a more visceral level of confidence that we are going to make this planetary transition to a truly global species that is peaceful and sustainable on this planet. But I think we’re going to push it right up to the edge of precariousness because humans like drama, and we tend to respond best in under duress and under crisis conditions in many ways.

I think that if we focus more of our attention on what’s emergent and how system shifts can happen more rapidly, I think it liberates more of our creative energy. I want to give a couple of examples of things that we’ve been thinking about at Shift and that we’re inspired by.

One is the Cool City Challenge which David Gershon had the impulse to create. It started with Cool Blocks. It’s a system for enabling people on a block over block level, to reduce their carbon impact and also get more resilient, get more connected as a community. They templated it in Palo Alto and Los Angeles, and I seeded the idea with him to really focus on California because we’re so influential to the rest of the world. So he kept putting one foot in front of the other and it got up to the state level. They had a contest for the first three cities, a million dollars to each city. They got $2 billion of funding backing them, and now the Governor’s office is fully on board with this.

The first three cities are aiming to demonstrate carbon neutrality by 2030, which is a super audacious timeline. Sometimes audacious timelines can be pie in the sky and they can be like “dismiss it”; or they can be great engines for innovation, because they take us out of the box of the possible and they say, what if? What if we could flip the grid on the electrical grid? What if we could accelerate adoption of electric cars? What about if we solarize all the roofs? What are the incentive systems that we need to get in place and the grassroots technology to reduce carbon, make those system level shifts?

So by harnessing the spirit of possibility – 2030, and then having the state as a whole start to move towards 2035 from 2045, to accelerate the timelines, recognizing that is more or less the planetary timing that we have to be on; we’ve got to decarbonize really rapidly – to start with that spirit of possibility, and bring in intelligence about how to help humans make changes more quickly and have those changes be really something that enhances their lives as well.

I think what David has done is tremendously valuable as a demonstration, and they’re doing the first three cities, they’re piloting the programs, and then they’re aiming to have 25 next year, and then 100 the next year. It basically starts to snowball. And some of the many billionaires on the planet who have a spare billion or two to put into things, can put some of that to avert the worst of climate change.

I think that’s a little bit on the system side. And I think that if we look over on the regeneration side, there’s the increasing recognition of tree planting as an example of reforestation, as a real solution that can give us a lot more time. We were just in Mexico for five weeks, and the place we were staying, her father is kind of leading reforestation efforts; and literally has a million seedlings, or over a million seedlings of plants, that they’re nurturing at this huge estate, and that they’re planting.

That effort then inspires other efforts. We made a commitment to plant a million trees via Shift. We’ve gotten to about 260,000 of those so far. We did a big online event around that, working with Tree Sisters, which I think is a really great group that pairs women’s empowerment work and a sense of reconnecting to nature through planting trees.

So if you just look at a system level, you get some of these systemic shifts happening more and more rapidly. You’ve got the greening of cities, you’ve got the adoption of new technologies for acceleration of solar and electric cars. And those adoption curves are happening pretty fast. The number of electric cars sold, I think, doubled last year in China. China’s like way ahead of where the US is; something 15% of the new cars. They’re probably only three or four years maybe, away from having more than 50% of new cars be electric.

All of these things start to cascade into each other. If we can create more of a spirit of possibility – like, this decade is showtime for the planet, it really is. We can’t delay until maybe we’ll get around to it in 2060. We’ve got to make some system shifts quickly. If we can make it more fun, we make it more engaging.

Let’s build tree planting into every act of commerce that we do. As an example of innovation, we said, what if we create a tree positive benefit plan, so you not only get your health benefits and your retirement benefits and all that, but we also plant as a company, 10 trees for every employee every month. It’s not a huge investment, but it starts to be something that other companies can adopt. The change strategy is not just to plant the 10 trees per employee per month for Shift, but to inspire other companies to follow suit, so tree positive becomes a benefit plan that other companies recognize.

So that’s how you start to cascade up; if we can plant a trillion trees effectively, sustainably, working with local leadership in a way that helps to restore ecosystems. There once were, I think, 6 trillion trees on the planet. We’re down to about 3 trillion and we could bump it back up to 4 trillion; that can give us another decade on climate change efforts and it also makes it much more beautiful.

The work that’s happening with, I don’t remember his name, Jose Luis, I think is his name in Michoacan. Those kinds of efforts are getting supported, amplified all over the world, and so that we see examples of the regreening of our planet in a way that’s really holistic and whole.

One other area that I think is is game changing that is moving incredibly quickly now is working with psychedelics. This has kind of been a long underground part of what helped to fuel a lot of the consciousness shifting of the hippie era. It was a little bit marginalized for a while, went underground, but now it’s really gaining mainstream traction in psychological circles, health insurance companies, the VA hospital looking at all these things.

These incredibly ancient and powerful technologies for shifting consciousness and doing widescale change of worldview are going to be increasingly legalized. Oregon’s already leading the way on that. There’s multiple countries. So that can also be a tipping point phenomenon, three to four years out from now, when you’re getting really effective systems for initiating people into a deep sense of reverence and care for the planet. And just one or two people getting turned on can lead to new organizations, lead to a shift of a whole larger company.

That’s another game changing thing, that is going to become professionalized, with more psychological certification, board certification. It’s happening remarkably fast. There’s a lot of venture money pouring into that space. There’s a lot of innovation. I’ve talked to one of our investors in Shift who has been working on lobbying behind the scenes of the Republicans, getting things into the Veterans Administration budget.

I think as we see that come online, and the science get more and more solid, and more countries start to legalize; that starts to really open the possibility for a more accelerated kind of shifting of consciousness and worldview than we’ve ever seen historically. That can help to catalyze these other shifts. Okay, so those are just three areas that I think are really game changing and innovative and inspiring for me.

Vicki Robin

Well, I’m uplifted. I really am. What David is doing there; I’ve known him for many, many years, his neighborhood organizing, all the way from the Earth Run that he did with a torch going around the Earth. He’s a great systems creator and global thinker. We’re actually, I think, doing that where I live on the local level. We have a climate crisis action committee now in our little town, and we are recommending actions for our city. It’s like the resistance to climate work, and just even the narrative that there’s a problem; to me, that’s a sign that the walls are coming down. Denial used to be thick as concrete, even five years ago. Now it’s coming down.

Stephen Dinan

The best thing with the pandemic too, in terms of your thing, is the one thing I think is gonna be the most lasting change is that we’re going to disrupt having to work from an office. Location independence, people being able to create really beautiful green sustainable environments and then work remotely, and have a prosperous life with that; that’s a game changing thing. People aren’t stuck in big cities and traffic jams and burning a lot of carbon to get there; it’s really going to open up.

For us, we’re planning to spend a chunk of our year in Mexico now and in the United States. We don’t have an office. So people have moved to wherever they feel most fed. That also creates a different level. We live in 30 acres of woods now, versus where we were before. So it creates a different level of connection and immersion in more natural settings. That wasn’t really as possible, just two years ago.

Vicki Robin

Yeah, I hear you. I’ve been living that life for 50 years. So I wonder… There’s two things I’m hearing. One is that if you’ve built a platform – being a mailing list, a point of view, a narrative, hard work to become a reliable source – that you really do have power. You’re now using the Shift platform, not just for producing programs, but producing benefit and producing well-being. You’re being able to actually be much more influential, via people who follow you, people who pay attention to you.

I think that’s inspiring and I presume that there are many people who’ve built platforms like this, who are using their power, their platform to make a difference. I know I’ve been quite involved, I’m sort of like the grand old lady of this FIRE community, the Financial Independence, Retire Early community. There are literally millions of people who are on that path; it’s very technical as it’s practised. But I’m recognizing that I too… How do all of us – and I’m saying this not just as Vicki, but that everybody listening to this has, in some way, a platform, a place to speak from, and the buy-in from a set of people, be it a million people, or 20 people. There’s a little bit of an opportunity to have the courage to use your platform to promote things and lift things up. So that’s one thing I’m noticing.

But the other thing, and I’m agreeing with everything you said, is that I’m so aware of the justice component of this. There are billions of people on the planet who cannot relocate, who cannot go online, who don’t have cars, you know? Electric cars isn’t that exciting. Do you think about that at all, about there’s an aspect to the breakthroughs that we’re capable of making at this time, that are still participating in leaving a lot of people behind?

Stephen Dinan

Yeah, I think of it a little bit more like the internet as example. 1997-98, there was maybe 1% of the world’s population on the internet. Now it’s maybe 70 or 80%. So yes, there are people behind, but as the adoption curve keeps accelerating, it becomes more and more ubiquitous. And hopefully, as the technologies are greener and greener, that it’s better to have. People, right now, it’s not necessarily a great thing to have everybody in the world have a car. So there is a justice component to that.

But I kind of see that part of where we can also bring that innovative spirit is by empowering more entrepreneurship, more globally. So I’ll give an example. One organization I really love is Kiva.org. I have maybe three grand, not even that much money, that I have parked there. I’ve just recirculated it probably to 100 different developing world entrepreneurs who, I put in 25, 50, 100 bucks to this one or that one, and it just kind of suddenly connects me to different people around the world, and what they’re up to. Just creating little engines of innovation, little businesses, that can then bring more prosperity to their family and their lives.

I think that we can do that on a bigger scale too. We don’t have to just do micro entrepreneurship, but there’s a sort of macro entrepreneurship that really is focused more on sustainable development for folks, so that they can create their more innovative version of their future, too. We’ve done some stuff with wells, where sometimes having a really good well and water system helps to revolutionize life in a village somewhere.

There’s also all kinds of things that you can do to, that don’t necessarily take huge investment, that start to weave us together. Can we give a give back percentage? We’re investing in a place in Mexico, and looking at a give back percentage to the community for helping them take their school to the next level.

So it’s just like, if we bring a little bit of attention… Like at Shift, we decided to allocate 3% of our gross revenues to impact areas, just to positively move the needle. There’s always demand to grow a business and salaries and all the expenses that go into producing programs, and then we’ve got our 3% for the larger impact on the planet. And Salesforce did 1%. There’s other companies that have started that 1% for the Planet philosophy. We decided we’d be a bit more robust than that. And it’s also something that companies can replicate.

If we really think, there’s a lot of ripple effects from these smaller interventions, when we scale them up. That’s where it comes back to what you were saying, is that every person is now a broadcaster, an influencer, that you have your circle of people you can influence. And it can be as small as like, I’m going to create a two minute video about something that I did it that was like really cool in my community and just share a little bit about that, and then post it on one of your social media accounts and encourage people to share that, because that might touch and inspire somebody else.

The more we’re getting touched and inspired by other people’s innovations, and then replicating and spreading that on; that’s how most of the big systemic challenges we have, have little solutions that can just simply ripple up to a big enough scale.

Vicki Robin

Yeah, I really love that vision. So another thing, I’m just gonna throw all my concerns at you and see how they get transformed in the spirit of Stephen. I’ve just been so flummoxed by the level of polarization, and not just misinformation or disinformation. The fact that everybody has a platform means that it’s not all sweetest people that have platforms. There’s a lot of people with platforms.

I mean, to be humble, we all have partial truths. It’s just some people’s truths look a lot more partial. So what are you seeing in that space of breakthroughs – not even breakthroughs; I’m not even wanting to ask of breakthroughs – but what are you noticing about that? It would almost be like the narrative resistance to what you’re saying. What are you seeing in that?

Stephen Dinan

Well, I think that the things that I’ve tried to align myself when I did a book in 2016 before Trump was elected, and actually went to both the Democratic and Republican National Convention, so I was in the arena when he was nominated – and I’m definitely a more progressive Democrat. I think there’s some legitimate things to be worried about in that whole development and the move towards authoritarianism and misinformation.

I also see from the kind of widest angle lens, my sense has been that Trump is partially here to collapse a certain worldview and pattern. It’s like, while he’s influential and powerful, it’s scary and it’s ultimately going to sort of collapse a certain pattern that was really anti-evolutionary, by becoming an embodiment on a simplistic level, an embodiment of dysfunctional patriarchy. All aggression, all the time, just dominate; all of that. Then it sort of ultimately invalidates that point of view, and it compromises it. I think that there’s a maturation of the Republican party that’s going to have to happen in the aftermath of the collapse, now that the collapse has been a lot more slow motion than I ever would have imagined and certain aspects of the pattern have been more tenacious.

I think that the way that I try to look at that is, what are the underpinning people and the worldview that need to be honored and validated? So when I wrote my book, I sought out Republicans who I thought were thoughtful, to provide critiques so that I could write about the values of America in a more holistic way than just a kind of progressive way. I did get some endorsements and partnerships with people on the right. I actually created some events. We created a national day of healing and reconciliation. I partnered with Rich Tafel as a founder of Log Cabin Republicans.

So there’s a way in which there’s a feeling of dishonoring and disrespect, that is part of what has created the eruption or the reaction, that manifested as Trumpism. It’s like people feel left behind, they feel dishonored, they feel like progressives and liberals are not respecting them as beings, and they’re getting left behind. Then there’s an eruption of anger in the form of a kind of culture warrior who’s going to show them who’s boss. On a simplistic level, we can go more into the nuances of it.

But I think part of the healing is, there’s a kind of revalidation of the intrinsic divinity and honoring of individuals who might be more rural, who might be more conservative, who might have values that actually in some ways are part of the bedrock of American values. If we try to focus our attention less on the warfare on the surface and more of the healing underneath of the rupture – like, the warfare on the surface has created a rupture into camps that are basically seeing the other as evil, rather than there’s actually a complementarity of value systems left and right.

Sometimes if we can be part of resolving that… Like John Blades started working with, I’m forgetting his name but he was on the right; to create various organizations that are really about bridging divides all sides. So he was recognizing kind of having co-founded Moveon.org, that dysfunctional polarization is just not really helping. So part of this kind of one-to-one, connection to connection, heart to heart; what are the deeper concerns and values underneath political positions? And that starts to re-weave things together.

I see there’s this broad arc of an exaggeration of a dysfunctional pattern, in this case, that kind of hyper-masculine authoritarianism, just trying to dominate for the sake of dominance that I think has really siezed the Republican Party. And that’s going to collapse in some fashion and that out of the seedbed of that, a more of a complementary version of political differences can emerge.

So it’s a tricky landscape to navigate, but I do think that if we can get beyond the political polarization in our own hearts and minds, and understand people in a deeper way, it starts to create a different kind of foundation for related growth. I would say in my 30s, I saw more of the Conservatives as the problem in a way that we needed, like if we could just get rid of them and we could make the country we knew is possible.

Now it’s a little bit more like, Well, how do we fully come to a place of integrating the best of both left and right, and in a way that creates a synthesis and respects some of the wisdom that might be held on both sides? It doesn’t mean that I’m non-progressive. I mean, I still skew towards being a progressive Democrat, but it’s a little bit different spirit of engagement that I personally now am standing for. I try to watch myself so that I’m not intrinsically just dehumanizing or denigrating other people just because of their value systems, which is part of what fuels some of the outrage and polarization as well.

Vicki Robin

Absolutely. As I was saying in the beginning, there’s been a lot of revelations and sobriety coming out of the pandemic. One of the things for me has been, opening my eyes to how in subtle ways, I have been promoting my messages and my vision in such a way that it just really does come across that I think I know better, to whatever degree. I’m not sure out there what people think of me, but I could feel it in myself. I could feel like I’ve got to drop that, I’ve got to drop the, “I know, I have this cool thing over here.” Sort of like the vacuum cleaner saleswoman. I’ve had to question that in myself, and it’s actually been so beneficial to my capacity to see more clearly, really.

So I gotta throw another one at you, because everything and the kitchen sink. If I squint in one way, I look at what’s happening. There’s the whole meta singularity crowd. There is a way in which, I think, some people are optimistic, because it’s a view that human intelligence is going to get uploaded into the virtual world. As that happens and as more technological advances happen, the need for complex, confused human beings, the need for humans at a scale that we have, is going to be less and that there are going to be more people who really don’t have a place in the world that’s coming into being; in that particular sort of singularity version of hope that I think is out there, whether it’s embodied in Elon Musk, or the guys who are putting on cowboy hats and going into space.

So, what do you see about the technological breakthroughs that are actually leaving living breathing human beings behind? Do you see anything about that?

Stephen Dinan

Yeah, I think that there’s definitely things to be aware of, and sometimes concerned about. I think that the counter impulse, the way I looked at, I wrote an article back in 2000 – quite a while ago – just about how we tend to build the next economic age on the foundation of the last. So it’s like as we move up the self-actualization hierarchy, we move information, which is essentially the mental age, right? It’s like the people who are the smartest geeks have ended up with the biggest chunk of the pie. There’s some concern about that, but I think that what we’re moving into is actually a different economic age, which I call the transformation age, where more and more people are in the business of helping growth; growth of companies, growth of individuals, growth of the creator economy.

A lot of these things are more about the higher expression of our humanity and divinity. It’s really about actualizing higher levels of consciousness, being creativity and potential. So I don’t think that that economy has limits to it, because there’s always different facets of how we can grow and expand and adventure in different ways.

20 years ago, coaching wasn’t a profession; there’s millions of coaching coaches right now, 30 years ago, yoga teachers; we didn’t really study to become a yoga teacher, now you can be a perfectly viable yoga teacher. Whether you look at massage therapy, or you look at creative skills and trainings like we do online, and there’s a lot of people who just will invest in things that help them grow and expand their horizons. That is not going to go away. It’s just more and more of our economic value is going to get moved to that.

Instead of thinking of like, Oh, all these people are getting left behind, which they would if you didn’t have another economic sphere to grow into, if all we’re doing is systematizing the products of the mind and therefore, a smaller and smaller percentage of humanity was able to create those and benefit from those and everybody else is left behind. Now, that might be true. But those are the folks who aren’t seeing this whole new sphere of economic exchange, that’s emergent. Maybe it was 1% of the economy 100 years ago, and maybe it’s 5% of the economy now. It might be 30% or 40% by the end of the century, that more and more people are doing that.

The people who win in that economy are those who are more advanced in their ability to catalyze growth and others. So it’s the teachers, the catalysts, the guides, that coaches; all of those folks. It’s an emerging economic sphere, and people are doing very well in that arena. I think that’s a great thing, because it creates a career pathway for folks who have been automated out, if you will, to I’m no longer needed to produce the software to run this machine, but I am still needed for my softer skills about how to help people have greater empathy for each other, and how to have better relationships in their family and how to live in a way that feels harmonious and whole.

So I think of that, just because the Industrial Age automated a lot of agriculture, we still have people working in agriculture. It’s just a smaller percentage, as a couple percentage, and the percentage of people working in the information industry will hit some point where it starts to shrink. Then the number of people in the transformation industry will keep expanding, I think, well into the future.

That’s a little bit my angle on why I’m not overly concerned about it, but sometimes the perspective of people who are like the drivers of the commodification of the infosphere see that, Oh, we’re just gonna leave all these people behind, so we just have to kind of pay them a monthly stipend so that they can just not cause trouble. I think the human spirit is more creative than that, and people will want to contribute in another level through their arts, through their creativity, through their personal development.

Vicki Robin

The Great Reset. Yeah, I think I was probably speaking from the point of view of the Great Reset. So there’s one other system that I want to throw in here. This podcast is sponsored by the Post Carbon Institute, that is assisting people in developing both an understanding of and tools for a more resilient future, but facing into the collapses that we’re in. They talk about navigating the great unraveling.

So as you say, there’s a worldview that’s unraveling, and if you focus on the unraveling, you can be pretty darn upset. But there’s a whole stream of people who are probably in your networks, in mine, who think about Deep Adaptation, that think that collapse is inevitable. It’s already happening in places in the world that we can’t see, but that systems are collapsing and people are very much in a sort of a preparation mode. Not in a prepper mode, but in a psychological preparation for an unraveling. And that is sort of not really in your narrative. You really are seeing all of the sprouting opportunities here. You’re not seeing what’s closing; you’re seeing what’s opening. I’m sure you’ve encountered this deep adaptation stream of thought.

Stephen Dinan

Yeah, I find that I don’t resonate with it as much as a focus, because I find that it doesn’t liberate as much of my creativity. I find that sort of hunkering down in a way, feels a little bit more like, I’m more interested in, Let’s go for the positive vision of what’s emerging, put as much of our attention on that. And then if we have to adapt in different ways, that’s just what we have to do. It’s like, go for the moon, because I still deeply believe that we can make a whole system turnaround that doesn’t require some of the more extreme Deep Adaptation views of what we’re going to have to do, like move into kind of remote areas because seas are going to go up 100 feet and all of that.

I don’t believe that those are predestined pathways. I think sometimes the zeitgeist of the Deep Adaptation crowd can start to treat these things, reify them as if these are future facts, rather than likely probabilities. They could even be very likely probabilities, but whether it’s 20%, or 50%, or 2%, there’s always a pathway for a much, much different alternative. So that’s where I want to put my creative attention and focus and prop people into.

I think there’s other people who are more psychologically oriented that it feels fun and interesting and exciting to focus on deep adaptation. It’s just not me, so I’m not going to make the people wrong who want to focus on that. But I think there’s a certain level of preparation that everybody’s going to have to do. We’re going to have to prepare for larger heat waves, we’re going to have to prepare for changes in ecosystems. There are certain things that are baked in, that are going to be happening, but I think the worst case scenarios are not baked in.

I think that we can turn things around and it’s not so much about wagering, it’s about where we put our attention, and what’s our best contribution. For me, it’s clear, that it’s like the breakthrough scenario, the shift to a new possibility for the planet. That’s where my creativity was, where I light up, that’s where I get excited. So that’s where I’m going to follow my energy and focus.

Vicki Robin

Perfect, we need you. No joke. One other real lesson of the pandemic is that there are really multiple perspectives out there, many of which are not in the center of our sites. And all perspectives are really necessary because we’re in a time of flux. So who knows which way the waves in the water and the wind will go? So we really need to keep that sort of spiritual entrepreneurial view of things, that there’s always possibilities opening.

Stephen Dinan

It’s just like, it’s game changing though. If you got all the Fortune 500 CEOs to do a regimen of deep psychedelic healing work with Ayahuasca; how fast could you change the whole Fortune 500 focus that way? And that’s like 5-6 years out, where that’s totally fully legal and aboveboard. What about if we can get the bishops from the Catholic Church to engage in plant medicine, and they’re like, Oh, we’re gonna put the healing of Gaia as the center of our worship now.

There’s always these possibilities. There’s all kinds of things that can happen. So we just have to stay open to it and stay tuned about what’s our highest contribution in that. It might be that somebody gets sparked to be like, Oh! And they end up doing something that’s really game changing.

Vicki Robin

Totally. Any one of us, at any time. I love that image. It reminds me of the old days when we used to think about putting acid in the drinking water, but

Stephen Dinan

But more voluntarily, and hopefully a little bit more well-thought through.

Vicki Robin

That’s exactly true. The things that were really marginal – I think this is what I’m hearing from you and what I’ve experienced – things that were on the margins, ideas, practices, that you and I and many people we know carried for many years, that were sort of slotted into “alternative” and so they were sort of managed as “alternative-something”. These are now filtering into the mainstream. Who knows what will happen from that? Do not lose faith.

Stephen Dinan

Don’t lose faith. For whatever reason, the deepest places I’ve gone in myself, I feel the deepest trust that we are going to evolve to the next levels of the planet. Maybe it’ll be messy, it’s going to be challenging, and there’s going to be some breakdowns, I think, but I actually trust that we’re going to make it through.

Vicki Robin

Wonderful. That’s a wrap.

Stephen Dinan

It’s always a delight to be with you, Vicki, and thank you. I think there’s a role for the torchbearers who are three or four steps ahead of the curve. You’ve always been three or four steps ahead of the curve, and so you inspire the people who are two or three steps ahead of the curve, and that’s gonna keep moving the world forward.