Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Inside the Psychedelic Mind: The New Frontier for Consciousness Studies, Innovative Therapies, Micro-dosing & Creativity

This article first appeared in New Dawn Special Issue Volume 12, Number 6, 2018. © Brett Lothian

Inside the Psychedelic Mind: The New Frontier for Consciousness Studies, Innovative Therapies, Micro-dosing & Creativity.

“LSD is a psychedelic drug that occasionally causes psychotic behaviour in people who have NOT taken it.” ~ Timothy Leary, Ph.D.

Psychedelic plants and drugs have been a controversial subject ever since the late 1960’s and the hippy flower power movement, despite having a history of human use going back thousands upon thousands of years all over the world. In recent times, attitudes have begun to change in the way in which we see psychedelics and their potential applications for humanity, with new scientific research moving ahead in leaps and bounds after the long halt in official research caused by the American led ‘war on drugs.’ Today, we understand far more about how psychedelics actually work in the brain and how they affect our consciousness, often in very profound ways and are as such we are now on the verge of once again having psychedelic plants and drugs legalized and used in modern medicine. Interestingly, the ways in which psychedelics are being used and the reasons for doing so are also changing and evolving, opening up whole new vistas in the psychedelic field, modern medicine and even the very way in which we think about and solve the many and varied problems that are affecting our world today.

Firstly, if we want to truly understand the psychedelic experience and how it affects our minds and consciousness, we have to understand exactly what is happening in the brain when we take these substances. Research has shown that the classic psychedelic compounds primarily act upon the brain's neural cortex, where they activate specific receptors called 5-HT2A receptors that are usually activated by serotonin. "In order to function, (the cortex is) integrating different signals, for example glutamate signals and serotonin signals," said neuroscientist Stuart Sealfon of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, "and what hallucinogens must be doing is they are disrupting this process so that sensory perception is altered by them." However, not all compounds that activate these receptors lead to psychedelic experiences. In the past, scientists perceived neurotransmitter receptors such as the 5-HT2A receptor as being like "locks and keys," in which certain compounds would fit into a specific receptor as a key fits into a lock. The receptor would then turn on and signal to the other molecules in the cell. But this has been found to not be the case for psychedelics. Research by Sealfon and his colleagues published in the journal Neuron revealed that the 5-HT2A receptor has in fact more than one "on" position. "When a non-hallucinogen activates the receptor, it causes one pattern of signaling of the cells in the brain that is not hallucinogenic," Sealfon told LiveScience. "When a hallucinogen turns on this receptor, the receptor we infer must go into a different position and that leads to a different pattern in responses in the cell and is what makes the hallucinogen have its unique effect."

In 1954, the author and philosopher Aldous Huxley in his seminal work The Doors of Perception proposed that the brain in its ordinary state, acts as a kind of ‘reducing valve,’ restricting conscious awareness. “The function of the brain and nervous system is in the main eliminative”, he observed, “leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful”. He theorized whilst under the influence of the psychedelic compound Mescaline (that is found in San Pedro and Peyote cacti) that the compound allowed him to see that what we normally call “reality” is in fact the product of a massive filtering out of reality, a systematic closing of the doors, leaving only the programs of measurement and utility, reality as it would necessarily appear “to an animal obsessed with survival.” Tom Wolfe in his classic book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, explained it as follows, “Aldous Huxley compared the brain to a ‘reducing valve.’ In ordinary perception, the senses send an overwhelming flood of information to the brain, which the brain then filters down to a trickle it can manage for the purpose of survival in a highly competitive world. Man has become so rational, so utilitarian, that the trickle becomes most pale and thin. It is efficient, for mere survival, but it screens out the most wondrous part of man's potential experience without his even knowing it. We're shut off from our own world.”

Huxley proposed that when we are under the influence of a psychedelic substance, this ‘reducing valve’ is opened up and that we are able to consciously perceive a much richer, more meaningful and wondrous existence. Modern research is showing us now that Huxley was in fact right all along. A 2016 study headed by lead researcher David Nutt, the UK government’s former drugs advisor and professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, showed the profound changes that LSD has upon the brain and consciousness, changes that dramatically altered the activity and connectivity across the human brain. Brain scans revealed in those studied that they experienced images through information drawn from many parts of their brains, not just the visual cortex that normally processes visual information. Using three different brain imaging techniques, named arterial spin labelling, resting state MRI and magnetoencephalography, the scientists measured blood flow, functional connections within and between brain networks, and brainwaves in the volunteers both on and off of the psychedelic compound. Under the influence of LSD, entire regions of the brain that are normally cut off from each other, instead worked together to produce the altered state of perception and consciousness. “The drug can be seen as reversing the more restricted thinking we develop from infancy to adulthood,” said Nutt, whose study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Further images also showed that the brain regions that usually form a network in ordinary consciousness, became more separated as those studied experienced “feelings of oneness with the world and a loss of personal identity” that is often called ego dissolution or as it known in traditional shamanism, as ego death. “You don’t recognize yourself as a separate being from the universe. It feels, in a way, like transferring the consciousness from within your own body to the outside world; the focus is in the objects that surround you rather than outside.” Scans revealed a loss of connections between parts of the brain called the parahippocampus and another region known as the retrosplenial cortex. “This experience is sometimes framed in a religious or spiritual way, and seems to be associated with improvements in wellbeing after the drug’s effects have subsided,” Carhart-Harris said. Importantly, researchers noted in this study that the regions in the brain involved with introspection (thinking about one’s self) and the way one perceives the outside world, communicated with each other much more intensely under the influence of LSD. “When we measured the brains of subjects who were really blown away by LSD, who had a really strong feeling of ego dissolution, they were also the ones who had the strongest increase in communication between the network regions in charge of introspection and the network regions in charge of perceiving the external world.”

Another researcher involved in the study, Robin Carhart-Harris, said that whilst under the influence of LSD, the brain scans suggested that the volunteers were “seeing with their eyes shut, we saw many more areas of the brain than normal were contributing to visual processing under LSD, even though volunteers’ eyes were closed.” The more pronounced the effect in the brain, the more intense people rated their psychedelic visions. Under the influence of LSD, brain networks that deal with vision, attention, movement and hearing became far more connected, leading to what looked like a “more unified brain”, he said. David Nutt, went on to say that neuroscientists had waited 50 years for this moment. “This is to neuroscience what the Higgs boson was to particle physics,” he said. “We didn’t know how these profound effects were produced. It was too difficult to do. Scientists were either scared or couldn’t be bothered to overcome the enormous hurdles to get this done.” Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation, said in response to this study that “we are finally unveiling the brain mechanisms underlying the potential of LSD, not only to heal, but also to deepen our understanding of consciousness itself.”

Furthering this important work, the researchers at Imperial College London as well as researchers from the University of Sussex, measured the activity of neurons in people’s brains under the influence of the psychedelics LSD, ketamine and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms). The brain scans revealed the first scientific evidence for what appears to be a heightened state of consciousness. The volunteers studied were found to have more random brain activity than normal while under the influence of these psychedelics. The shift in brain activity came with a plethora of peculiar sensations that the participants described as ranging from floating and finding inner peace, to distortions in time and a conviction that the self was disintegrating. “What we find is that under each of these psychedelic compounds, this specific measure of global conscious level goes up, so it moves in the other direction. The neural activity becomes more unpredictable,” said Anil Seth, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex. “Until now, we’ve only ever seen decreases compared to the baseline of the normal waking state.” The scans found the most notable effects in parts of the brain that are known to be important for perceptions, rather than other roles such as language and movement. “I think people would have the intuitive idea that their experience on psychedelic compounds is a bit more random, a bit less constrained, that there’s a mixing of the senses, and all kinds of connections that are experienced between things that are previously unconnected,” Seth said.

“We see an increase in the diversity of signals from the brain,” said Seth. “The brain is more complex in its activity.” Previous studies have demonstrated that people in a state of wakefulness or ordinary consciousness, have more diverse patterns of brain activity than people who are asleep. The researchers have found that people who have taken psychedelics show an even greater amount of diversity, in fact the highest level of diversity ever measured. Robin Carhart-Harris, who also took part in this study, said the sudden increase in randomness and diversity in brain activity appears to show a deeper and richer state of consciousness. “People tend to associate phrases like ‘a higher state of consciousness’ with hippy speak and mystical nonsense. This is potentially the beginning of the demystification, showing its physiological and biological underpinnings,” he said. “Maybe this is a neural signature of the mind opening.” Beyond confirming what shaman all over the world have known for millennia and what the hippies learned back in the 60’s, the research could help scientists to finally understand exactly what types of neural activity correspond to the different levels of consciousness in humans.

It is also hoped that by understanding how different people respond to taking psychedelics, that doctors can more accurately predict which patients might benefit from taking psychedelics to treat mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. “The evidence is becoming clear that there is a clinical efficacy with these drugs,” said Seth. “I think there’s an awful lot of potential here, if you suddenly see things in a different way, it could give your outlook a jolt that existing antidepressants can’t because they work on the routine, wakeful state.” In fact, more and more research is confirming this to be exactly the case. In another study produced by David Nutt, Robin Carhart-Harris and others, the psychedelic compound psilocybin has been shown to be effective in alleviating symptoms in otherwise treatment resistant depression. There had been numerous studies suggesting psychedelics could play a role in treating depression by acting as a sort of "lubricant for the mind," allowing people to break destructive cycles of depressive symptoms, but the precise effect on brain activity was not yet known. The team at Imperial College London performed fMRI brain scans before treatment with psilocybin and then the day after, once the psychedelic effects had worn off. The study showed psilocybin affected two important areas of the human brain, the amygdala, which is largely involved in how we process emotions such as fear and anxiety, became less active. The greater the reduction, the greater the improvement in the reported symptoms. Also effected was the default-mode network, a collaboration of different brain regions which became more stable after taking psilocybin.

Dr Carhart-Harris, said that the depressed brain was being "clammed up" and that the psychedelic experience had "reset" it. He told the BBC News website: "Patients were very ready to use this analogy. Without any priming they would say, 'I've been reset, reborn, rebooted', and one patient said his brain had been defragged and cleaned up," with the effects lasting for weeks and even months. Prof Mitul Mehta, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said: "What is impressive about these preliminary findings is that brain changes occurred in the networks we know are involved in depression, after just a single dose of psilocybin. This provides a clear rationale to now look at the longer-term mechanisms in controlled studies." Carhart-Harris believes that the use of psychedelics effectively "heats up" the mind from its rigidity, enabling people to overcome ingrained, self-destructive patterns of thinking. With support from a qualified therapist, those who have undergone the treatment can then "recalibrate in a healthier way, so you're revising your beliefs and assumptions and addictions", Carhart-Harris says. Furthermore and importantly, Dr Carhart-Harris acknowledges that psychedelics are never going to be for everyone. "Some people won't want to go to the depths of their soul or face demons or traumas they've experienced, or dark aspects of the human condition that are there in all of us," he said.

Another interesting psychedelic compound that is showing remarkable effectiveness in alleviating the symptoms of treatment resistant depression is Ketamine (commonly known as ‘Special K’), that has in recent times come to be thought of as one of the biggest breakthroughs in the psychiatric treatments for severe depression. In as little time as half an hour, it has been shown to banish severe depression symptoms and even suicidal thoughts in the patients tested, often after all other psychiatric options have been exhausted and the effects can last for weeks. A recent study published in the journal Nature, has been able to elucidate just how ketamine acts in the brain to achieve its impressive results. A team of doctors and neuroscientists from Zhejiang University in China have shown that ketamine switches off an erratic burst of electrical impulses firing in neurons in the brain region known as the lateral habenula. “The lateral habenula is like the ‘anti-reward center’ in the brain,” the study’s lead author Professor Hailan Hu told The Independent. When the lateral habenula is firing erratic bursts of electrical impulses, it acts against the areas where key mood-boosting neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin are produced by the brain. “The lateral habenula inhibits both of those reward centers,” she added. “So when it goes into the bursting mode, the suppression becomes much stronger, it’s like a machine gun compared to a single shot.” Whilst in the last decade or so, the lateral habenula has become thought of as a major driver for the negative moods involved in depression, the reasons for this have been difficult to exhibit.

Professor Hu’s team had been examining this region of the brain, using rats to study the differences in depressed and normal brains and had identified certain patterns of irregular electrical activity that they thought could be playing a role. “In previous experiments we had delivered ketamine generally into the body, so you wouldn’t know which brain region was being affected,” Professor Hu said. “But in this study we injected it directly into the lateral habenula and we were surprised to find that just affecting this very localized area was sufficient to have this very rapid antidepressant effect.” The findings in rats were akin to the extremely rapid relief of symptoms that can be seen in humans and suggests that ketamine’s remarkable effects could be largely derived from this one area, as no other parts of the brain were being treated. With further experimentation, the researchers were able to show that a group of receptors (NMDARs) are causing these signals and are effectively blocked by ketamine. Also published in the journal Nature, an analysis of the findings by Dr Paul Kenny, professor of neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said that “ketamine is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of major depressive disorder with imminent risk of suicide, but the mechanisms by which ketamine acts have been a puzzle to scientists. These findings suggest that the therapeutic actions of ketamine might relate, at least in part, to its ability to block burst firing in the lateral habenula, this knowledge might facilitate the development of next-generation ketamine-related antidepressants that specifically target lateral habenula activity.”

A study released in June of this year has shed even more light on the impressive effects of ketamine in the brain and how it helps to treat mental illness. Importantly, the researchers tested a number of psychedelic compounds for comparison and the results were truly astounding. "These are some of the most powerful compounds known to affect brain function, it's very obvious to me that we should understand how they work," said senior author David E. Olson, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine at the University of California, Davis. “One of the hallmarks of depression is that the neurites in the prefrontal cortex – a key brain region that regulates emotion, mood, and anxiety – those neurites tend to shrivel up,” said Olson. It had previously been believed that depression stems from imbalanced brain chemistry, but recent studies have shown that depression manifests as structural changes in brain circuitry or as an atrophy in parts of the brain. This does not mean that the neurons die off in those suffering mental illness, but that the neurites retract. Neurites are the sections of a neuron that bridge the gap between two neurons at the synapse to enable communication. These brain changes are also apparent in the cases of people suffering anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In the study, Olson and colleagues tested psychedelics from the amphetamine, tryptamine, tropane and ergoline drug classes. In both test tube and animal experiments, the psychedelics displayed functional and structural changes that were similar to those produced by ketamine in cortical neurons. Psychedelics increased both the density of dendritic spines and the density of synapses. Some psychedelics tested, including LSD, proved to be even more potent and effective than ketamine in promoting neurite growth.

What this basically means is that psychedelic compounds literally have the power to rewire damaged brains, confirming the intuitive findings of the people who say that psychedelics have “reset, rebooted or defragged” their minds. The researchers conducted their experiments in both vertebrates and invertebrates, showing that psychedelics produced similar effects across species. This demonstrates that the biological mechanisms involved with psychedelic effects have remained the same across millions of years of evolution and that psychedelics will most likely have the same brain growth or neural plasticity effects in humans. Olson and his team also set out to test exactly how these psychedelics produced neural plasticity. The researchers explored which biological pathways psychedelics activate to promote neural growth. Ketamine's neural plasticity effect was previously discovered to be largely dependent upon a protein named brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). When BDNF signaling was blocked, interestingly the psychedelics lost their capability to promote neurite growth. BDNF binds to a receptor, named TrkB that is part of a signaling pathway which includes mTOR that is known to play a major part in producing the proteins necessary for the creation of new synapses. When mTOR was also blocked, it also completely inhibited the psychedelics' ability to promote neurite growth. Intriguingly the one psychedelic tested that did not promote neural plasticity was ibogaine (the active ingredient in iboga) but that a metabolite of ibogaine, namely noribogaine did, which explains iboga’s effectiveness.

Unfortunately space in this article does not permit me to examine all of the interesting work that is being done in regards to psychedelics with depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction as there has been literally a flood of recent studies that are all saying the same things, that they work and are far more effective and longer lasting (even at a single dose) than anything that is currently being prescribed in the treatments of these debilitating mental illnesses. A number of psychedelic compounds are presently being fast tracked through the clinical trial phases of human testing and will soon be available to doctors to help treat these diseases. I encourage our intrepid New Dawn readers to please do research the studies cited in the references for this article and the veritable compendium of scientific literature and anecdotal evidence that is freely available on the internet, as well my previous article for New Dawn on psychedelic research, Sacred Plant Healing: Shamanic Plant Medicine and the New Science, which appeared in the special issue volume 10, number 5 and is now freely available on my Tricho Serious Ethnobotany blog, for more in depth information. As our societies mental health issues, addictions and suicide rates continue to grow at an alarming rate, this extremely important information needs to be disseminated as widely as possible and brought to the attention of the wider public, and of course our policy and law makers.

Other debilitating mental scourges that are ever increasing in our modern society such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome may also benefit from the use of psychedelic substances. In a study released by the D'Or Institute for Research and Education, it was discovered that harmine which is present in the popular psychedelic drink ayahuasca and which has been used by psychonauts to potentiate other psychedelics, inhibits what is known as DYRKIA which is located on chromosome 21 and is overly activated in patients suffering from Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. Also it was ascertained that the beta-carboline harmine also led to an increase of 70% in the proliferation of human neural progenitor cells. "It has been shown in rodents that antidepressant medication acts by inducing neurogenesis. So we decided to test if harmine, an alkaloid with the highest concentration in the psychotropic plant decoction ayahuasca, would trigger neurogenesis in human neural cells," said Vanja Dakic, PhD student and one of the authors in the study. "Our results demonstrate that harmine is able to generate new human neural cells, similarly to the effects of classical antidepressant drugs, which frequently are followed by diverse side effects. Moreover, the observation that harmine inhibits DYRK1A in neural cells allows us to speculate about future studies to test its potential therapeutic role over cognitive deficits observed in Down syndrome and neurodegenerative diseases," suggests Stevens Rehen, researcher from IDOR and ICB-UFRJ. As we already know that psychedelics can promote new neuron growth and networks and that harmine promotes the growth of new brain cells, whilst also inhibiting the over active DYRKIA associated with Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s, ayahuasca could be just what the doctor ordered to help people with neurodegenerative diseases literally regrow and rewire their damaged brains.

A new trend that is emerging and growing in popularity with psychedelics, particularly among the genius Silicon Valley crowd, is micro-dosing which was first promoted by Dr. James Fadiman in his excellent book, The Psychedelic Explorers Guide that I reviewed for New Dawn issue 164. Micro-dosing is exactly as it sounds, taking small (non-psychedelic) amounts of these substances, to boost creativity, cognitive function and elevate mood. Whilst numerous studies have demonstrated a link between psychedelic use and increased creativity, artistic expression, problem solving and overall cognitive function, whether these substances could have the same effects in sub-perceptual or non-psychedelic dosages had never been tested, until now. Researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands have released the first official study into micro-dosing in October of this year and their findings support the mounting anecdotal evidence that even in tiny amounts, psychedelics can have profound impacts upon the ways in which we think. “Our results suggest that consuming a micro-dose of truffles (magic mushrooms) allowed participants to create more out-of-the-box alternative solutions for a problem, thus providing preliminary support for the assumption that micro-dosing improves divergent thinking," lead author Luisa Prochazkova explained. "Moreover, we also observed an improvement in convergent thinking, that is, increased performance on a task that requires the convergence on one single correct or best solution." The authors of the study called this “changes in fluid intelligence” and noted that the participants created solutions that were more original and flexible than they had before micro-dosing. More studies are currently underway into the effects of micro-dosing with other psychedelic compounds, which will in all likelihood produce similar results.

Whilst the use of psychedelics has long been advocated for improving intelligence and creativity by such mental luminaries as Dr. Francis Crick who discovered the double helix nature of DNA, Apple computers founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whether psychedelics actually changed what we think was largely speculation. A new study released earlier this year has given us an intriguing insight into the potential changes in just what we think through the use of psychedelic plants and compounds. “Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism,” researchers Taylor Lyons and Robin Carhart-Harris wrote in the study. “Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it. Before I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting… [But now I see] there’s no separation or distinction, you are it,” one participant said in the follow-up exam. “This pilot study suggests that psilocybin with psychological support might produce lasting changes in attitudes and beliefs. Although it would be premature to infer causality from this small study, the possibility of drug-induced changes in belief systems seems sufficiently intriguing and timely to deserve further investigation,” the study concluded. Could these feelings of increased nature relatedness and anti-authoritarianism explain the peace and love hippy counter culture revolution of the late 1960’s and why these plants and substances were subsequently banned by the ever increasingly authoritarian, nanny state governments of the world? I will leave that for the reader to decide.

Perhaps the most important of all the changes in what we think, our beliefs and our attitudes that psychedelics produce is in removing the fear of death and the experience of the mystical. In a recent study by the Johns Hopkins Medical School, 51 terminally ill patients were given magic mushrooms and a remarkable 80% of them said that it had helped them to feel more optimistic and less scared of death. Matthew W. Johnson who was involved in the study offered that the experience produced by the mushrooms "appear indistinct, oftentimes from religious experiences." Research conducted by Griffiths et al. showed that the mystical experiences participants had under the influence of psilocybin were “among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives” and that they were very long lasting. Charles Grob, UCLA professor of psychiatry and pediatrics who also conducted a study that gave psilocybin to late-stage cancer patients has said that "the reports I got back from the subjects, from their partners, from their families were very positive, that the experience was of great value, and it helped them regain a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning to their life. The quality of their lives notably improved."

As the famed mystic and inspiration for Aldous Huxley’s greatest work, The Doors of Perception, William Blake once wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” ~*


How Do Hallucinogens Work?

How Do Psychedelics Work? A Look Inside the Hallucinating Brain

The Doors of Perception. By Aldous Huxley

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. By Tom Wolfe

LSD's impact on the brain revealed in groundbreaking images

Psychedelic drugs induce 'heightened state of consciousness', brain scans show

Psychedelic drugs push the brain to a state never seen before

Magic mushrooms can 'reset' depressed brain

Could psychedelics transform mental health?

Psychedelic drug ayahuasca improves hard-to-treat depression

Psychedelic ayahuasca works against severe depression, study finds

Psychedelic Drugs: LSD Changes Brain, Could Be Used for Depression, Addiction Treatment

Ketamine nasal spray rapidly relieves depression and suicidal thoughts, finds trial

Remarkable secrets of ketamine's antidepressant effect unlocked by scientists

Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity

Psychedelic drugs promote neural plasticity in rats and flies

LSD and magic mushrooms could heal damaged brain cells in people suffering from depression, study shows

Does ibogaine treatment for depression help?

Psychedelics and MDMA are helping cure PTSD, addiction, depression and anxiety

Classical hallucinogens as antidepressants? A review of pharmacodynamics and putative clinical roles

Sacred Plant Healing: Shamanic Plant Medicine and the New Science

A brief history of psychedelic psychiatry

Substance present in ayahuasca brew stimulates generation of human neural cells

The Psychedelic Explorers Guide. By James Fadiman, Ph.D.

Microdosing Magic Mushrooms Could Spark Creativity And Boost Cognitive Skills, Claims New Study

Study Says Psychedelic Mushrooms Make People More Resistant To Authority

Dying humans are taking mushrooms to study our fear of the unknown

'My fear of dying was gone': Former cancer patient says psychedelic drugs helped him cope with end of life anxiety

What Is So Important About The Mystical Experience?

The most convincing argument for legalizing LSD, shrooms, and other psychedelics

Monday, 24 September 2018

The Rise of Homo Superior; CRISPR Gene Editing, Designer Babies and the Elite Plan for Humanity

This article first appeared in New Dawn issue 169, July - August, 2018 under the title, The Rise of Homo Technicus. © Brett Lothian

The Rise of Homo Superior; CRISPR Gene Editing, Designer Babies and the Elite Plan for Humanity

In a few years it will all be over, and the human race will have divided in twain. There is no way back, and no future for the world you know. All the hopes and dreams of your race are ended now. You have given birth to your successors, and it is your tragedy that you will never understand them…
~ Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End.

From the very seeds of our modern society until today, at the precipice of the flowering of an entirely new human species, mental illness has been the driving force behind our social, technological and genetic evolution, namely an all-consuming post-traumatic stress and anxiety over the end of the world. For hundreds of thousands if not millions of years, humanity lived a largely egalitarian, hunter gatherer lifestyle in harmony and balance with nature, until a life-shatteringly cataclysmic event forever altered the way we think about the world and our place in it, creating the birth of our profoundly sick modern society, which has since taken over the vast majority of the world. Now, once more we stand just before the dawn of a new era, one where we have the choice to either continue down the path of madness, or to finally heal our collective post-traumatic stress and return to harmony and balance with nature.

The story of our modern society begins after the last glacial maximum of 27,000 to 24,000 years BPE, the ice age was retreating with warmer temperatures opening up far more habitable land for humanity to thrive in, until around 13,000 years BPE when the Earth was once more plunged almost overnight into another ice age that would last for over a thousand years. Approximately 10,950 BCE, a comet fragmented in the inner solar system and strafed the Earth with devastating bolides, the apocalyptic impact so terrible that it caused more destruction than the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, setting fire to as much as 10% of the entire world’s landmass. Volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and massive storms raged across the globe along with the fires and brimstone, almost overnight the Earth was plunged into the darkness of a nuclear winter. For those alive at the time it was truly the dark night of the soul, a cataclysm and existential crisis on a scale that we can barely imagine today, it was literally the end of the world as they knew it.

After the new ice age had abated, a group of human survivors in the near east went on to begin an undertaking that would shape our human society ever since, they domesticated grains, the storable and staple foods of modern society, starting the agricultural revolution, borne out of the now desperate need for security and control over the whims of nature. This led to the birth of inequality and the building of the very first temple observatory at Göbekli Tepe which memorialized the end of the world and watched the stars for another destroyer and in doing so, created the first organized religion and social classes. Where before the cosmic forces were the realm of the shaman of the nomadic tribe, appealing to the ancestors and spirits of nature for good fortune, now they were the realm of the priest of the state and the gods, demanding sacrifice and observance to rules of behaviour, lest the sky fall once again. We had been expelled from the Eden of natural abundance, into the toil of the fields and the fear that we could no longer rely upon Mother Nature. Our innocence was lost, the priests blamed our “sins” for our doom and we have been forever more chained by the guilt and fear instilled by the religions of the end of the world. It is this way of thinking, this anxiety, this mental illness which has ruled our society ever since.

Where the religions of the end of the world promised us the paradise we supposedly fell from through sin, after death (the previous hunter gatherer lifestyle of the endless abundance of Mother Nature) if we followed their rules to appease the gods or later, god, the new dominant religion of our times, economics, promises endless abundance right now, if only we have enough money. The rules of behaviour went out the window, all that matters now is what you can get away with and having more than enough, no matter how it is achieved, greed itself is deemed to be good. Whilst the majority of society is happy enough to go along, as long they are comfortable, for the most insecure there is no comfort, they can simply never have enough. As such they with the most insecurity, have the most ambition and thusly rise to the top of our social pyramid scheme, if they are not lucky enough to have been born into it. Even this can never be enough for the economic elite, they still can’t feel secure, still facing the anxiety that something could take it all away.

Gobeckli Tepe
Millions of years of evolution and natural selection has adapted us to suit the natural environment, making us the most adaptable species on the planet, being able survive in all regions of the world. Ever since apocalyptic events of 13,000 years BPE, what has become the dominant society has turned this on its head, creating environments that we are not adapted to, and this has consequences. John Hawks, an anthropologist and geneticist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, says we've created a lifestyle that is at odds with the one natural selection provided us with. Consider, for example, what we ate when we were hunter gatherers, long before we started farming. "We adapted to a diet that was much more balanced in terms of lean meat, in terms of high fiber vegetables.  And by de-accentuating those aspects of our former diet, we've created a new environment that humans aren't real suited to," Hawks says. But instead of doing the sensible thing and returning to an environment we are actually adapted to, the real world, our society is only heading down the artificial path even further.

Today we have the most unequal society in human history. Increasingly we have a society based on social classes of haves and have nots, and no longer just economically, in education and health care, but also now with new gene editing technology such as CRISPR (which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), we are on the verge of having genomic inequality as well. Leading scientific research is bringing us ever closer to the end of the homo sapien species, through genetic engineering and the desire to become the eugenicists and transhumanists long dreamed of next step in human evolution, Homo superior. Designer babies and genetic “vaccines” that permanently alter our genetic makeup are possible right now, today. A new species in the Homo genus is emerging and it will soon be far superior to us in every way. It is becoming more and more apparent that our technological ability, has far outstripped our psychological maturity as a species, in our profoundly sick society.

CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing and altering genomes. It allows scientists to quickly and easily edit and alter DNA sequences to modify gene function and expression. Its proponent’s site many potential applications including correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops. CRISPRs are specialized stretches of DNA that act like a pair of molecular scissors, cutting out strands of DNA and inserting in newly designed or selected sections. This technology was derived from the natural defence mechanisms of bacteria and archaea single-celled microorganisms. These organisms use their defence mechanism to counter attacks by viruses and other foreign bodies. They do this by chopping up and destroying the DNA of the foreign invader. When these components are transferred into other, more complex, organisms like ourselves, it allows for the manipulation of genes, or gene editing.

Last year, Josiah Zayner, a biochemist who once worked for NASA, became the first person known to have edited his own genes using CRISPR technology. During a lecture about human genetic engineering that was streamed live on the internet, Zayner produced a vial and a syringe and then proceeded to inject himself with CRISPR technology, designed to boost his strength by removing the gene for myostatin, which regulates muscle growth. An experiment conducted in 2015 proved that this is possible in dogs, whose genes were edited at the embryonic stage. Following his lead, others who have become known as biohackers are getting ready to replicate this on themselves and tinker with their own genetic makeup. Outside the strict controls of approved science, this self-experimentation is extremely reckless and dangerous, not just for these biohackers, but for all us. The biohackers argue that if people are allowed to modify their own body through cosmetic surgery, tattoos and other augmentations, they should be able to modify their own genome. Robin Lovell-Badge, a leading CRISPR researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in London, says Zayner's experiment was "foolish" and could have unintended consequences, including tissue damage, cell death, or an immune response that attacks his own muscles. "He's got a very large ego and he wants to make his muscles the same size as his ego, maybe," says Lovell-Badge.

In a talk given recently by Juan Enriquez, venture capitalist, futurist and genomics expert at the World Government Summit funded by the world’s economic elite, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and the United Nations amongst others of the New World Order, dubbed The Evolution of Humans in the Next Century, Enriquez describes the genetics revolution which reduces life to being thought of as merely code. He says that as we understand that code, we can rewrite the sentences of life. Vaccines will be produced faster, organs for transplant will be grown on demand and we will be able to edit ourselves genetically. This will lead, said Enriquez, to a system in which people will be able to even edit, alter, insert and delete memories because we are “beginning to decode the brain,” and this has already been achieved in snails. The pinnacle of our use of genetic technology could, suggested Enriquez, be in designing an interplanetary species he has dubbed Homo evolutus, reasoning that the Earth faces threats from, for example, asteroid impacts, so humans should settle other planets. But as we suffer a myriad of health problems in space, we must redesign the human being to make this possible. If we believe in human rights, Enriquez said, we should pursue these efforts to ensure the human race's long-term survival. The problem with that being, we will no longer actually be human, Homo sapiens and will be continuing the mental illness that has created the destruction of our environment, spread out across the universe.

Whilst Enriquez and the world’s elite like to package this supposed “genomics revolution” as being altruistic, the reality is that the vast majority of us will be left behind, if not outright exterminated as described in my previous article for New Dawn issue 163, Poisoned Planet and The Depopulation Agenda. At very best we can hope for a dystopian future as described in the brilliant cult movie Gattaca, the film presents a vision of a future society driven by eugenics where potential children are conceived through genetic manipulation. The film centres on Vincent Freeman, who was conceived naturally outside the eugenics program, who struggles to overcome genetic discrimination to realize his dream of traveling into space. In the film, only the genetic elite are allowed positions of importance, with the rest of humanity reduced to being a mere servant class of janitors and the like. Importantly the film focuses on the one thing genetic manipulation cannot change, the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. It is that spirit we need now more than ever, if we are to avoid the dystopian future the elite have set out for us.

Whilst genetic manipulation is nothing new, in fact it happens all the time in nature through random mutation and adaption to changing environments, and through human intervention which has been going on ever since we began to selectively breed animals and plants through the process of domestication. What has changed recently with technologies such as CRISPR, is the ease and speed with which we can make such changes. Also it allows us to do what nature and selective breeding cannot, introduce genes from vastly unrelated species and even entirely new genes that we have invented ourselves. Where as in nature where this process can take millions of years and in selective breeding where genetic trait selection takes generations to evolve a new species, with natural and human selection weeding out the inferior genetics, now it can be done in a laboratory, today. Like all technologies, it does have the potential to be used for good, in removing genetic defects and inherited diseases, but it also has the potential to be used for ill, such as creating new biological weapons and unintended genetic disorders.

In nature, sometimes an advantageous genetic adaption can also create a disadvantageous genetic disorder, such as in the case of sickle-cell anaemia, a mutation in a gene that makes red blood cells. It spread through Africa once malaria became a problem there as a natural defence against the disease. The mutation if inherited from only one parent protects against malaria, but if it is inherited from both parents, it causes sickle-cell anaemia, a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body. In nature, bad mutations tend to disappear because the people who have them frequently did not live long enough to pass them on to the next generation, which is what natural selection is all about. Generally in selective breeding, bad mutations are not selected to be bred from, eliminating them from the gene pool, although as evidenced by the selective breeding of dogs for example, bad genes are often carried on or extrapolated by inbreeding, leading to all kinds of genetic problems. In this new era of rapid genetic manipulation, we simply do not know what unintended problems we will inevitable cause ourselves by playing god. There is a very real likelihood that we will create more problems than we solve.

A perfect example of this is the genetic manipulation of food. The use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) as I wrote in my article for New Dawn issue 161, Poisoned Fields: What Glyphosate is doing to us and the environment, almost every major health epidemic at the moment can be directly linked back to Glyphosate and their associated Genetically Engineered Crops. According to a study published in the Journal of Organic Systems in 2014, Genetically Engineered Crops, Glyphosate and the Deterioration of Health in the United States of America by Nancy L. Swanson, Andre Leu, Jon Abrahamson and Bradley Wallet, within the last 20 years there has been an alarming increase in serious illnesses in the United States, along with a marked decrease in life expectancy. The US leads the world in the increase in deaths due to neurological diseases, there have been similar findings for obesity, asthma, behaviour and learning problems, and chronic disease in children and young adults. The rate of chronic disease in the entire US population has been dramatically increasing with an estimated 25% of the US population suffering from multiple chronic diseases.

Dr Swanson states, “Prevalence and incidence data show correlations between diseases of the organs and the increase in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the food supply, along with the increase in Glyphosate based herbicide applications. More and more studies have revealed carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting effects of Glyphosate at lower doses than those authorized for residues found in Genetically Modified Organisms. The endocrine disrupting properties of Glyphosate can lead to reproductive problems: infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and sexual development. Foetuses, infants and children are especially susceptible because they are continually experiencing growth and hormonal changes. For optimal growth and development, it is crucial that their hormonal system is functioning properly. The endocrine disrupting properties also lead to neurological disorders, learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. Those most susceptible are children and the elderly.”

Scarily the US military agency DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is investing $100m in genetic extinction technologies that could wipe out entire species, supposedly being aimed at species like malarial mosquitoes and invasive rodents, emails released under freedom of information rules show. The documents suggest that DARPA has become the world’s largest funder of “gene drive” research. Some UN experts worry about unintended consequences. One told the Guardian: “You may be able to remove viruses or the entire mosquito population, but that may also have downstream ecological effects on species that depend on them. My main worry, is that we do something irreversible to the environment, despite our good intentions, before we fully appreciate the way that this technology will work.” Jim Thomas, a co-director of the ETC group which obtained the emails, said the US military influence they revealed would strengthen the case for a ban. “The dual use nature of altering and eradicating entire populations is as much a threat to peace and food security as it is a threat to ecosystems,” he said. “Militarisation of gene drive funding may even contravene the Enmod convention against hostile uses of environmental modification technologies.” No doubt the US military will use this technology against its enemies and not for the greater good of humanity.

Todd Kuiken, who has worked with the GBIRd programme, which receives $6.4m from DARPA, said that the US military’s centrality to gene tech funding meant that “researchers who depend on grants for their research may reorient their projects to fit the narrow aims of these military agencies.” Between 2008 and 2014, the US government spent about $820m on synthetic biology. Since 2012, most of this has come from DARPA and other military agencies, Kuiken says. “This convergence of low cost and high availability means that applications for gene editing, both positive and negative, could arise from people or states operating outside of the traditional scientific community and international norms.” In a recent press release, DARPA explained how it has begun a new program called PREPARE, with the goal of changing human genetics to defend against specific threats. DARPA explains that "PREPARE aims to develop new class of generalizable medical countermeasures that safely and temporarily tune activity of protective genes." The "Pre-emptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements" program is designed to protect the human body against biological, chemical, and radiological threats by “temporarily and reversibly tuning gene expression to bolster the body’s defences.” Is the US military preparing for a nuclear WW3 they will most likely start themselves?

In March of this year the World Health Organisation (WHO) put scientists and health workers around the world on alert for a new and potentially deadly pathogen dubbed, Disease X. At present the so called Disease X does not actually exist, but with the help of new gene editing technology such as CRISPR, it may very well soon be real. Whether it comes about purely by accident, or by an act of terror and biological warfare, it is a very real possibility, even a likelihood in our current world climate. “Synthetic biology allows for the creation of deadly new viruses. It is also the case that where you have a new disease there is no resistance in the population and that means it can spread fast,” says John-Arne Rottingen, chief executive of the Research Council of Norway and a scientific adviser to the WHO committee. With the creation in 2017 by Canadian researchers of a formerly extinct Horsepox virus from genetic pieces ordered through the mail, the researchers concluded that by using the same technology, it would only take a small scientific team with little specialized knowledge about half a year, at the small cost of about $100,000 to bring back the deadly Smallpox virus which was eradicated in 1980. "No question. If it’s possible with Horsepox, it’s possible with Smallpox,” says virologist Gerd Sutter of Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. Even more disturbing, with gene editing, a virus such as Smallpox could be made to be even more deadly and contagious.

With a world currently on the brink of World War 3, with another Cold War, Trade War and Arms Race already underway, a major conflict now seems inevitable. Only this time with unimaginable consequences. Not only do we have to worry about a potential nuclear war and the world wide devastation it would cause, now we also have to worry about the renewed use of biological weapons, such as used recently on a former spy in Britain. With the low cost and ease with which deadly pandemic viruses can now be created using gene editing technology, we have to assume that the more radically minded countries and terrorist groups around the world are doing just that, let alone the major powers. To make matters worse, as only humans can, just last year at the World Festival of Youth in Sochi, Vladimir Putin warned of the consequences playing god with our genetic code. Paraphrasing what he said, “All kinds of practical consequences may follow. He can be a genius mathematician, a brilliant musician or a soldier, a man who can fight without fear, compassion, regret or pain. What I have just described might be worse than a nuclear bomb.”

The Russian leader called upon leaders worldwide to agree on regulations to control the creation of mass-killing super soldiers, which has so far fallen on deaf ears. He said, “When we do something, whatever we do, I want to reiterate it again, we must never forget about the ethical foundations of our work.” Putin has also spoken of how he is afraid that humanity in the future will be hunted and eaten alive by flesh-munching robots whilst discussing Artificial Intelligence at a Moscow event. He said that AI was “the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Which brings us back to the World Government Summit held in Dubai earlier this year, futurist Ian Pearson said, “The fact is that AI can go further than humans, it could be billions of times smarter than humans at this point, so we really do need to make sure that we have some means of keeping up. The way to protect against that is to link that AI to your brain so you have the same IQ as the computer. I don’t actually think it’s safe, just like Elon Musk, to develop these superhuman computers until we have a direct link to the human brain.”

Speaking at the same World Government Summit the year before, Elon Musk also claimed that humans and Artificial Intelligence needed to merge. “Over time, I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence. It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.” Since, Musk has founded a company named Neuralink, which is attempting to make this a reality. As I wrote in my article for New Dawn issue 163, Will Humanity Be Obsolete in Elite's Future World of Cyborgs and AI?, Stanford University has already successfully created a brain-computer interface (BCI), BrainGate, and early BCI tech allows people with paralysis to type messages on a computer by picking out letters on a screen. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investing $60 million over four years to develop implantable neural interface technology. “The program, Neural Engineering System Design (NESD), stands to dramatically enhance research capabilities in neurotechnology,” DARPA’s website reads. “Today’s best brain-computer interface systems are like two supercomputers trying to talk to each other using an old 300-baud modem,” said Phillip Alvelda, the NESD program manager. “Imagine what will become possible when we upgrade our tools to really open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics.” The technology isn’t that far away from becoming a reality, in comments published by Vanity Fair, Musk said “for a meaningful partial-brain interface, I think we’re roughly four or five years away.” 

The big problem with that no one is talking about, with us merging with Artificial Intelligence, that could already be “billions of times” more intelligent than us, is, who will really be in control, us or the machine? Surely it will be the superior intelligence, and we likely wouldn’t even realise it, we would effectively be reduced to a skin suit for the machine to wear. With gene editing promising the ability to hack our brains and implant and remove memories, there is no way we could ever know the difference. With quantum computers expected in the very near future, perhaps as soon as the next few years, Artificial Intelligence will leap ahead even further, such computers making use of quantum-mechanical properties will be able to solve problems much faster than our current computers. They will have the ability to do in hours, what our current super computers take decades to achieve. Imagine it, genetically modified super beings, run by Artificial Intelligence so far beyond our own, that are incapable of feeling emotion, empathy, compassion and love. It is truly the stuff of nightmares…

The limits of this technology are completely unknown, combining Artificial Intelligence with gene editing, could very well create beings that are even immortal. The electric wet dream of the Transhumanist is fast becoming a reality. These new super beings could regrow organs, even limbs and entire bodies as well as being endlessly cloned. Able to upload their consciousness to the internet, back it up in various storage devices and download them into any newly created super vessel at any time, they would be effectively invincible. They would be simply unstoppable by the rest of us mere mortals. The Earth will belong to them and there will be nothing we can do about it. Many geneticists around the world are attempting to provide a framework for the accepted use of these technologies, but as yet there are none. Where we are today, if you have the money, you can do anything you want in this field and no doubt many of the super-rich elite are putting their vast fortunes towards these goals, towards becoming homo superior, towards becoming immortal super humans. When they manage to actually achieve this, and left unabated they soon will, what will become of the rest of us? 

For decades now the elite have considered the Earth to be vastly overpopulated and are actively seeking to lower the population to a mere half a million, reasoning that we are destroying the environment, when in fact it is the super-rich elite that are the most responsible for destroying the environment with their greed. These parasites that enjoy the life of luxury at the top 1% still currently need the rest of us to support their ivory towers, but not for much longer. Ever more the advances in robotics and Artificial Intelligence are fast replacing the need for human labour, we are effectively becoming surplus to the elites requirements. As of 2017, the world’s super-rich elite officially owned over 50% of all human wealth, with a recent Oxfam study concluding that in the last year the elite 1% made a staggering 82% of the world’s wealth created, with the gap only growing each year. More and more being considered a drain upon the available resources of the Earth, resources the elite obviously do not want to share, it will not be long until we are simply done away with. The average person, the homo sapien, will soon be a thing of the past.

But how can they simply murder us all you might ask? All too easily I’m afraid. A study co-funded by the Gates Foundation, showed that the super-rich are actually lost souls burdened by the fears, worries and family distortions of having too much money. According to an article in The Atlantic, “the respondents turn out to be a generally dissatisfied lot, whose money has contributed to deep anxieties. Indeed, they are frequently dissatisfied even with their sizable fortunes. Most of them still do not consider themselves financially secure; for that, they say, they would require on average one quarter more wealth than they currently possess!” That my friends, is pure insanity. We are literally dealing with the most dangerous, mentally unstable, anxiety driven people on the planet, who just so happen to have the reins of power. The lunatics are truly running the asylum, one with nuclear weapons and the ability to create pandemic diseases. It is these fear driven greedy maniacs that are right now actively preparing themselves for the end of the world, which they are most likely engineering, to do away with the rest of us in one foul swoop.

The super-rich elite as well as governments around the world are currently spending billions upon billions of dollars building apocalypse safe bunkers, this is a documented fact that has even been reported in the mainstream media. Now, the elite aren’t going to be spending that kind of money on something they don’t think they are going to need now are they? The smart money is, they are engineering the destruction of the world as we know it, plan to survive the coming man made apocalypse and create a New World Order from the ashes. Their very motto is Order out of Chaos after all. A number of companies around the world are meeting a growing demand for structures that protect from any risk, whether it's a global pandemic, an asteroid, or World War 3, while also delivering luxurious amenities of course. Many of the world's elite, including hedge fund managers and tech executives (Bill Gates is rumoured to have bunkers at all his properties) have chosen to design their own secret shelters to secure their families from what they know is coming. Gary Lynch, general manager of Texas based Rising S Company, says 2016 sales for their custom high-end underground bunkers grew 700% compared to 2015, and the rate is only rising. Now, do you honestly think there is going to be room in any of these bunkers for the rest of us?

If we are to truly understand where we are going as a species, we have to understand where we have come from and what has led us down this destructive path of mental illness that we are currently on. We have to get to the root of our collective mental illness as a society, primarily localized in the elite and treat it accordingly. We have to face our inner demons, our anxieties, honestly and with compassion, before we can consciously choose another, better way that will not destroy the Earth that we all depend upon. We have to heal our collective psyche and the environment we are destroying. If we do not remember the mistakes of the past, we are doomed to continually repeat them, or even worse, go completely extinct. Creating a supposedly “better” human, Homo superior and wiping out the rest will not save the Earth, it will only buy time and destroy our humanity. Heading down this path will only create a plague species in the end, one that nothing can stop, which will not only consume our Earth, but continue on the destruction across the entire universe forever. Is this truly what we want? Are we really going to allow the super-rich elite 1% to decide all of our futures, even the future of our species? 

Numerous studies over the years have shown that traditional hunter-gatherer societies, which never fell into the anxiety driven trap of attempting to dominate the environment, do not suffer mental illness or many of the other diseases that our modern way of life creates. Our mentally ill, modern agricultural and now industrial, artificial society is not only destroying ourselves, but is the most psychologically and environmentally destructive activity we have ever engaged in. It is our very way of life that is at the heart of all of our problems and that is what we need to change. Genetic studies are showing us that gene expression, and its resultant behaviours and mental illnesses are largely driven by our psychological environment, by our parenting and society at large and that is what we really need to change if we want to evolve as a species. Our society’s priorities, wisdom and maturity need to evolve, and we as a species will with it. We have to return to simpler, less stressful ways that are in harmony and balance with our environment, like the few traditional cultures that modern society has not yet extinguished. We have to embrace our true human nature and give up the insanity of trying to become super humans. We have to stop trying to dominate the world and everything in it and instead relearn how to live with it, with each other in peace and accept our mortality, as a natural part of life.


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