Here’s to the crazy ones

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

-From Apple’s Think Different advertising campaign

 

Apple_logo_Think_Different

 

Why in the world would a website like Sattvic Planet glorify the lyrics from a television commercial of a powerful corporation? Over the past year on multiple occasions I have written about the destructive role that corporations play on the health of people and planet. I often write negatively of the pharmaceutical industry, genetic engineering companies such as Monsanto, junk food companies such as McDonalds, and extractive companies such as Exxon. Yet, this is the third time a quote related to Steve Jobs has appeared on Sattvic Planet in the past year. Jobs led Apple to become the most valuable corporation on the planet, and today everybody and their mother has an Apple product in their pocket. Apple has very much become a mainstream product, perhaps not to the extent of Microsoft or Coke, but they are in no way a part of the counter culture. The irony here is that the Think Different campaign of the late 90’s appears to be born of the counter culture. In a society of mass conformists afraid of being different, the Think Different campaign is at least partly responsible for launching Apple to new levels of wealth and popularity.

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LSD made Steve Jobs “Think Different”

Artwork by Symbolika

Artwork by Symbolika

 

This weekend marks the anniversary of Steve Jobs death, and for me it marks my day of birth. Three years ago, on what I can only describe as a serendipitous day, I celebrated my birthday with the purchase of the first Apple computer I have ever owned, and on the exact same day learned that the man responsible for creating my new computer had just died. Prior to that day I had never once taken the time to think about Jobs, yet since then I have discovered much about the man who is arguably one of the greatest inventors of modern times, culminating last month in me listening to his autobiography audiobook.

Think Different

Apple ran an advertising campaign in 1997 called Think Different, and based on some of the following quotes Jobs really did think different following his consumption of LSD. In the Steve Jobs autobiography written by Walter Isaacson, Jobs is quoted as saying:

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could”

In John Markoff’s book, What the Dormouse Said, Jobs describes his experiences with LSD as:

“One of the two or three most important things I have done in my life”

Jobs is also on record with the US Department of Defense as having admitted to using LSD 10-15 times and describing the experiences as:

“A positive life changing experience”

 

Artwork by Symbolika

Artwork by Symbolika

 

World’s most valuable company

What exactly can we learn about these honest confessions describing some extremely personal moments from his life? Many people suspect that psychedelic substances have the potential to enhance creativity in people, and Jobs said that taking LSD was a positive, profound, life changing experience that altered how he saw the world, so naturally there is some speculation that LSD played a role in the enormous success of Jobs and his company Apple. Just how successful has Apple become? It is considered to be the most valuable company on the planet with a valuation of approximately $600+ billion dollars during 2014. A few years ago Apple took that title from the reigning champion Exxon. It is important to note that Exxon is a company that exists simply to extract resources, a process that leads to the destruction of the planet in forms such as ocean oil spills, climate change and air pollution. Unregulated resource extraction for the past few centuries has been one of the most common ways to generate wealth in America; coal, lumber, and seafood are only a few examples. Perhaps we are seeing a glimmer of hope that the most valuable company is now one that exists to create and not to destroy.

 

steve jobs locus

Meditating on a Mac in the lotus pose.

 

The war on drugs

If you think about it the connection between LSD and Apple’s success is really quite fascinating. Apple is an American company, and America’s political system is dominated by capitalism. The leaders of this country would like to see nothing more than the birth of a hugely popular, market dominating investment opportunity like Apple. At the same time the leaders of this country have decided that nearly all psychedelics are illegal and have no medicinal purposes despite a massive amount of traditional knowledge supporting the opposite. Medicines like ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, san pedro / huachuma have been used by indigenous people for thousands of years. Steve Jobs took LSD even though it was illegal, and it is very possible that his psychedelic experiences played such a major role in altering his consciousness that he was able to create products that were innovative enough for his company to be the most valuable on the planet. Jobs had a vision for his products that left most of his competitors scrambling to keep pace with him. Where did this vision come from and why were his competitors unable to see what he saw? The US criminalizes people for simply trying to alter their consciousness and is a fiercely capitalistic country, yet it is entirely possible that psychedelics helped Jobs build the world’s most valuable company, so I wonder what the investors on Wall Street would have to say if the war on drugs had actually succeeded in deterring Jobs from LSD.

India, Buddhism, Meditation, and Diet

It is important to note the many other factors that made an impact on Jobs and likely played a role in his success, including his trips to India in search of his greater purpose in life. Jobs was also a Buddhist, known to practice meditation, and nearly obsessive about eating healthy food which to him often meant being vegan. Psychedelics may not be for everyone, but they seemed to have changed Jobs life, and to imagine him not taking them because of their legal status, and perhaps not having the vision to create Apple would be a great loss to our culture. I know some people are critics of Apple and they will argue that the world would be no different whether or not Apple ever existed, but if you stop and look at his long list of pioneering efforts even the greatest critic has to admit that his accomplishments were impressive. It is impossible to know how much of a role psychedelics played in Jobs life, and it is impossible to know what the world would be like without Apple, but judging by his quotes on LSD I’m willing to say these substances hold much potential for technological innovations and spiritual advances in our lives.

 

Related Articles:

The Temple of Chavin and the Huachuma Sacrament

Psychedelic Science Conference 2017

Integrating entheogens, from mystical highs to cynical lows

Life after Ayahuasca, integration and employment

Leaving my job for Ayahuasca

Just say NO, to the war on psychedelics

Coming out of the psychedelic closet

MDMA and the Power of NOW

MDMA, Mercury and my great release

LSD, Lilly and me, floating in a tank

Spirit Plant Medicine

 

 

Learning to fly: tips for air travel

 

Learning to Fly with Pink Floyd

“There’s no sensation to compare to this, suspended animation, a state of bliss”-From the lyrics for Learning to fly, written by David Gilmore, and performed by Pink Floyd

 

Not just a Pink Floyd song

Traveling in good health is not easy. In fact, I regard it as one of the biggest challenges I face in my quest to be happy, healthy and productive. You may be staying in a hotel with no kitchen, experiencing insomnia in a different time zone, or struggling to find some green space in a dense urban area. Like anything in life, traveling in good health requires effort. It is already difficult enough just to stay healthy in the comforts of your home, so when you are traveling it is important to take the extra steps necessary to feel good. I know this isn’t what Pink Floyd had in mind when they made the song Learning to Fly, but I can’t resist a good play on words that combines one of my favorite songs with the topic of my article. Continue reading for some thoughts I gathered on my recent trip home.

Food, or lack of it

In the cutthroat business of air travel it seems less common to find a meal offered on a flight these days. That’s probably a good thing, for your health. In place of the inflight meal is the preflight meal as the modern American airport has come to resemble a shopping mall food court more than a hub for transportation. I recently heard accomplished fitness trainer Steve Maxwell say that he always fasts while he travels. While I doubt the benefits of fasting while flying have been scientifically proven, it seems like wise advice coming from an experienced traveler. Eating in combination with stress often results in poor digestion, so it makes sense to avoid food while flying since airports can be such stressful places. Some people do eat to reduce their stress, and this is fine, but for good digestion you really should only eat when you actually feel hunger, typically at least 3 hours after the previous meal. For those who can’t fathom the thought of a mini fast, bringing along a few snacks is not very difficult, and a much better option than the airport fast food. On my recent flight I brought some dried figs, pistachios, extra dark chocolate, and a banana in case the fast was uncomfortable.

Water

“Sir, would you like some water, a soda, or an alcoholic beverage?” No thanks, I said as I motioned to my liter sized stainless steel reusable water bottle. In comparison, it seems the little 4 ounce cup of water they offer is nearly worthless, and I find it works best to have access to a large bottle of water throughout the entire flight. As with the snacks mentioned above, it is not very difficult to bring a reusable bottle and then fill it at the fountain after passing through security. As for the alcohol, I wouldn’t recommend it, though I’m sure some people claim it counters the stress they experience. Obviously alcohol isn’t the only strategy available for dealing with stress. During my layover at the Denver airport I discovered these great private areas away from all the commotion where I was able to do some stretching and even some meditation.

Air

I normally advocate deep slow breathing, but in the confined environment of an airplane I winced at the thought of taking this recycled air deep into my lungs. People often comment on the dryness of airplane air, plus there are all the perfumes that people wear, and certainly an abundance of bacteria and viruses floating around. So what to do? Stopping short of recommending an air filtration mask, all I can say is to get out into nature and doing some deep breathing exercises as soon as possible after arriving at your destination. I’m always an opponent of synthetic perfumes, but I’m rarely an opponent of bacteria. I think we have greatly overreacted to the threat they pose, especially with our excessive use of antibacterial soaps. However, if you begin or end your travel with a weakened immune system then there is probably an increased chance of illness due to the inflight exposure. As I often say, the focus should be on building immunity rather than killing pathogens.

 

Time to get grounded!

Time to get grounded!

 

In Ayurveda

The energy of motion is called vata in Ayurveda, and it is represented by the elements of air and space. Using the concept of “similar increases and opposite decreases”, Ayurveda has a simple approach to ensuring that our mind, body and spirit stays in balance. What modern technology is more similar to the energy of vata than flying in an airplane? As you fly through the air hundreds of kilometers per hour, thousands of meters from the earth you are without a doubt experiencing an increase of vata. Since “similar increases and opposite decreases”, the best remedies for dealing with modern air travel are vata pacifying foods and activities. Examples include warm, heavy and oily meals, or perhaps some slow and grounding yoga postures. We all understand that putting hot water on the stove makes the water hotter, so by extension we can understand that adding air travel to an already fast moving lifestyle can cause further imbalance.

Summary

  • Mini fast
  • Bring snacks or light meal to avoid fast food
  • Bring reusable bottle for plenty of water
  • Pass on the alcohol
  • Go to a park or green space after landing
  • Maintain strong immunity to avoid illness
  • Try grounding activities like yoga during the layover, or after the flight if you’re too timid for airport yoga 🙂
  • End your mini fast with a warm, heavy, oily meal rich in healthy fats

 

 

What color is a Sattvic Planet?

Seriously???

Seriously???

 

Red?

Sherwin Williams seems to think the answer is red. At first glance this logo appears to be a vintage sign from the 1940s. This is one of those logos that make you think how ridiculous people were to believe what they believed back then. It reminds me of the old advertisements touting the health benefits of smoking cigarettes, spraying DDT, or any other product that has not survived the tests of science and time. However, this logo is the same one that they use today, in fact just a couple miles from my home they have a store with multiple large signs in front displaying this exact logo. Perhaps I’m overreacting, but I am amazed that in the year 2014 there is a major corporation with a logo advocating that we cover the planet with synthetic chemicals. All you can really do is laugh at the absurdity of their goal, but I probably shouldn’t be too surprised given the state of the world today. The Japanese atomic energy agency initiated the covering of the Pacific Ocean with nuclear radiation 3 years ago at Fukushima. British Petroleum was busy 4 years ago covering the Gulf of Mexico with oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. For the past 20 years Monsanto has been on a mission to cover your dinner plate with genetically modified organisms; see The difference between Apple 2.0 (the fruit) and iPhone 6 for my view on GMOs. When we see those vintage signs, logos and advertisements from an earlier era and wonder how our ancestors could have been so foolish, we should probably pause for a moment and ask ourselves if anything has really changed. The truth is that it has not. One chemical gets banned, while 100 new chemicals get invented and enter the market. You might feel good about your newly purchased BPA free product, but has anybody stopped to wonder what are the health effects of the new chemical they used to replace BPA? Enough of all that; let us move on to a lighter subject.

Earth Day

The title of this post asks what color a Sattvic Planet would be? The answer of course is GREEN! Earth Day was last Tuesday, so I’m a few days late, but on a Sattvic Planet every day would be Earth Day. I know that may sound cliché, but think about it, every action you take and every purchase you make has an environmental health consequence, and a personal health consequence. Don’t just ride your bike to work one day per year, ride as often as possible because it not only improves the air quality, but it also improves your quality of life.

In Ayurveda…

Sattva is a Sanskrit word derived from Sat which means Truth, and Tva which means Your, so sattva refers to Your Truth. The word sattva is used in Ayurveda to describe a state of mind that has many desirable qualities including: clarity, intelligence, balance, purity, and truthfulness. In Ayurveda attaining a sattvic mind is accomplished through a meditative process that simply involves looking within and discovering your truth, or your purpose. A Sattvic Planet is a concept of a world that we could all create together if as individuals we all began to attain a sattvic mind. In other words, global change starts at the individual level, and we can’t expect to solve society’s greatest problems until we achieve true personal health. On my About page I stated that you can’t have personal health without environmental health, and you can’t have environmental health without personal health. Since Earth Day was this past week I thought now would be a good time to revisit that statement, and remind people to stop and think about the current condition of the environment and what impact it is having on us. Also, think about the current condition of you and what impact you are having on the environment. Stay tuned for a future post where I discuss charismatic farmer Joel Salatin and his vision of creating a greener planet. Until then,

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

 

Make your mark upon life – Steve Jobs quote

steve jobs2

“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life, life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use, and the minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it, that’s maybe the most important thing, is to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it, I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up in a lot of ways. Once you learn that you’ll never be the same again.”

Watch a video of this from the Silicone Valley Historical Association.

Ever since the death of Steve Jobs there has been a great examination of the life of the man who changed the world perhaps more than any other person in recent times. Many people have focused on his tendency to have an overly aggressive and sometimes rude personality. While I do not endorse this behavior I prefer to focus on his many admirable qualities instead. He accomplished such enormous feats that it is difficult to imagine our current lives without his influence. Above you saw an excerpt from an interview with him in 1994 that was recently featured in the film Jobs. I was really attracted to this quote because it clearly displays the potential we all have in our lives. While Steve may have been born in the right place at the right time, he still demonstrates that anybody has the potential to change the world if they are determined to do so.

In Ayurveda the function of transformation or digestion is called pitta, and pitta is best described as being hot, or composed of fire. People who primarily have pitta attributes can be ambitious, aggressive, argumentative, passionate, irritable, focused, and logical. From a distance I think it is safe to say that Steve Jobs exhibited many of the signature pitta attributes. Even someone unfamiliar with Ayurveda could easily see the fire burning within that man. Unfortunately Steve Jobs died at a relatively young age and I can’t resist wondering if the intensity of his personality negatively impacted his health in some way. Did his fire burn too hot? This is purely speculative of course, but at the very least it must have been difficult to simultaneously maintain good health while leading one of the most powerful corporations on the planet. Regardless, I find his work and his words to be inspirational, and I hope you can appreciate the quote as much as I did.

Steve Jobs was born February 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California.

GMO Apple and iPhones

Most people know that Apple releases a new and improved version of their iPhone every year into the electronics marketplace, but how many people are aware that a small Canadian company is in the process of releasing a new GMO (genetically modified organism) apple into the environment? As iPhone fans eagerly await the release of version 6 later this year, what kind of expectations do they have? Perhaps the new phone will have a larger screen comparable to Samsung, a battery that will retain a charge for longer, or a processor that results in faster performance. As for the GMO apple, I call it Apple 2.0 in the title of this post because like the iPhone, it is a human creation meant to be an improvement over version 1.0. In this case Apple 1.0 is the fruit we have been eating and cultivating for thousands of years. If you haven’t already heard, the improvement this company hopes to make is to genetically engineer the fruit to resist turning brown after slicing. At this point you may be wondering what the problem is. We can make new and improved phones using electronics technology, so why can’t we make new and improved apples using biotechnology?

The debate over GMOs can be very confusing, but without going into great detail the GMO debate can be reduced to a simple question; do you seek natural products, methods and systems as much as practically possible, or do you believe the ingenuity of humans will be able to create products, methods and systems that are superior to those we find in nature? I know there are some out there who may be wondering what exactly natural means since at this point in history nearly every square meter of the planet seems to have been modified or degraded in some way by humans. We could spend years debating about the environmental, economic and health risks and benefits of growing and eating GMO foods. I believe this conversation is worth having, and it is starting to happen across the nation, but for the purpose of keeping this post concise we need to zoom out here and focus on the big picture. I think it will take years and even decades before we reach a scientific and societal consensus about the use of GMOs. Until that consensus is reached we need to make decisions about whether or not we will buy and eat GMO food.

So why do I question our ability to create new versions of food in the same way that we improve upon old versions of electronics? First, let’s start with the obvious; we eat food while we do not eat our phones. Your body needs to digest food and convert it into energy and tissues, but will your body be able to recognize and therefore properly digest these foreign man made materials? The answer is that I don’t know. What I do know is that in Ayurveda there is a term called ama, and ama basically refers to improperly digested food that over time is responsible for a wide array of health problems. This is one of the reasons that digestion is considered so important in Ayurveda, and this is why we should be skeptical about this biotechnology. Second, will there be any side effects or allergies associated with eating GMOs? I don’t know that answer either, but I do know that modern medicine in the form of pharmaceuticals is infamous for having side effects. I use the example of pharmaceuticals, but I could have easily mentioned any other synthetic food additive we have invented that produces undesirable side effects including aspartame, olestra, hydrogenated oils, or anti-biotics. It seems that every time we try to create a new health or dietary product in the name of convenience and progress we are left with the same result, the corporations win and the people and planet lose. The bottom line here is that we don’t know what the long-term health effects of eating these foods are, and so unless you want to be part of an experiment with unknown consequences you would be wise to simply avoid GMO foods. These are only a couple of health factors to consider about eating GMOs, but I just as easily could have mentioned the unintended consequences that growing GMOs can have on the environment that we all depend upon.

It is challenging to write this article because with every sentence I can’t stop thinking about all the counter arguments and the hundreds of small details involved. This is a very complicated and interconnected world we live in and we seem to be creating problematic situations faster than we know how to manage them. That is where the application of Ayurvedic principles enters the picture. Ayurveda existed thousands of years before the existence of modern technology and it serves as a guide that helps us make decisions about how to live and attain optimal health. The ancient Ayurvedic practitioners learned how to thrive without the use of modern technology, which brings the question of why we can’t do the same. If you want to take the risk of eating Apple 2.0 then that is your decision to make, but why take that risk when we already know that optimal health is easily attainable by simply eating version 1.0. As for the iPhone 6, let’s hope that they come out with a bigger screen next fall!

Again, I was trying to be concise, but if you do wish to expand on this topic, or any of my posts, please submit a reply.