DIVINE LIGHT The opening of a sound-sculpture installation by Scott Peterson celebrating the human spirit features a discussion with Peterson, author and psychedelic experimenter Daniel Pinchbeck, NOW CEO and filmmaker Alice Klein (whose Call Of The Hummingbird screens) and artist Morgan Maher, to benefit FoodShare. Saturday (June 16), doors 5 pm. DeLeon White Gallery, 1139 College. 416-597-9466. Rating: NNNNN
YOU ARE KNOWN AS A LEADER IN THE PSYCHEDELIC REVIVAL. ARE YOU HIGH RIGHT NOW?
If you look at what indigenous cultures thought of these substances, it wasn't about getting high, it was about trying to connect with the sacred and receiving visions. We've created a cultural context that reduces altered-state experiences to ridicule. I'm not interested in drugs or getting high that much.
YOUR DRUG OF CHOICE IS THE AMAZONIAN JUNGLE BREW AYAHUASCA, WHICH IN PART INSPIRED THE DIVINE LIGHT INSTALLATION.
It's a kind of visionary medicine, a psychedelic potion used by tribal cultures in the Amazon. When you drink it you become highly sensitized to sound and light. You also often enter a waking dream state in which you see archetypal images and have encounters with deities, people who have died or past life scenarios. It's a very beautiful and important substance.
YOU HAVE SAID THAT DURING ONE OF YOUR ALTERED-STATE EXPERIENCES YOU RECEIVED A TRANSMISSION FROM THE MYTHICAL MAYAN BIRD SERPENT QUETZALCOATL ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD IN 2012. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
The world will not end. Our form of consciousness is going to end, and we're going to shift into a different mindset and different relationships to each other - new institutions, new media. You don't need a prophecy to see that that needs to take place. Climate change and the human effect on the planet is about to end our species' tenure unless we make a radical shift in direction, and we only have a few years to recognize that and make that change. It's going to require a massive scaling back and a new way of applying our intellectual resources.
PEOPLE MUST THINK YOU'RE NUTS
Some of the reviews make me look sort of crazy. But if you read my work I think you'll see I'm rather lucid and sort of rational.
BUT YOU DO FIND YOURSELF HAVING TO DEFEND YOUR SANITY
We're destroying the environment, engaging in war. Who's to say what's sane and what isn't?
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
I don't like to be prescriptive. Everyone has his or her own situation. But you should think about your own background and skill set and how to best use that to improve things.
You're a journalist. Use those skills. Don't write about Britney Spears. Write about new alternative energy technologies.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE COME AWAY WITH FROM YOUR DISCUSSION?
Ultimately, optimism, positivity. It's important to recognize and not shy away from the fact that we're in a critical time as a species and as a planet, and there's an opportunity to enter into a new level of being, a higher level of existence.
Additional Interview Audio Clips
On aliens, crop circles and higher intelligence