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Siddharta Ribeiro: Dreams are an antidote to human extinction – 03/05/2022 – Science

Biologist, capoerist, writer, neuroscientist, and visionary: Siddhartha Ribeiro has collected many hats during his 51 years of life and balances them all in his new book A Dream Manifesto, Ten Urgent Exercises for Dreadful Optimism. The subject is the same as the bestselling “The Night Oracle” (2019) and some of the over a hundred scholarly articles he has published: The Importance of Dreams for Survival.

Simply put, it is as if dreams are generators of scenarios and solutions based on past experience: “Dreaming of a better future is the essence of dreaming, both while asleep and awake,” says Siddhartha, as he is better known.

The neuroscientist explains that dreaming recruits regions of the brain related to empathy, that is, our better nature, capable of balancing violent tendencies equally inherited from human origin. Hence his optimism, albeit shocking.

“The astonishing explosion of planetary suffering […] It is a sign of the most extreme time we live in. Overcoming this explosion of suffering by expanding consciousness is the task of the generations that are still alive now – and for that we need to re-learn how to dream, both figuratively and literally. “

Dreaming is also about reconnecting with your mind and body, reactivating the introspection that fades between selfies, stories, and likes. To get there, it is worth taking advantage of everything that human ingenuity has already created, from the ancient practices of yoga and meditation to the teachings of indigenous peoples and cutting-edge modern science. Ideas don’t lack a lot of hats.

You are a dream student, the subject of your bestseller talks about the need to reconnect with this psychological activity. In the new book, he repeats that we need to re-learn how to dream, but in this case it feels more like political imagination, social innovation and a revitalization of solidarity. Is it just a metaphor, or is there a deeper connection between these two “dream” sensations? Yes, there is a deeper connection, dreaming of a better future is at the heart of dreaming both during sleep and wakefulness. A dream experience, such as traveling at night or waking up in a daydream, is a state of mind that recruits the same brain regions that are necessary for empathy. The astonishing explosion of planetary suffering, both among humans and among many other species, is a sign of the extreme time we live in. Overcoming this explosion of suffering by expanding consciousness is the task of the generations that are still alive now – and for that we need to re-learn how to dream, both figuratively and literally.

In the first chapter, you stated that “the ten richest people in the world can easily, after a few phone calls with a few words, contain the infection.” [da Covid] All over the world, preventing death and the emergence of more transmissible and lethal variants. “Doesn’t this statement mean attributing supernatural powers to those who possess most of the wealth of the world? There are no supernatural powers, on the contrary: the responsibility of the ancestral human being. Since the Paleolithic, humans have been staying away from other animals due to the gradual increase in their ability to cooperate. The ethics of care were as important or more important to the success of our breed as the ethics of competition.

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Today, the problem of the planet lies not in scarcity, but in the inequality of distribution not only of material goods, but also of immaterial ones. A lot of money is toxic and addictive, and it can be assumed that almost 3000 billionaires and billionaires on the planet, with a few honorable exceptions, are completely dependent on money.

If a person had billions of riyals and instead of using them to improve the planet, he would rather make an effort to earn more money – and suffer for it! – This person is sick. Recognizing this is essential. It’s great that Bill and Melinda Gates have donated a portion of their fortune to noble causes, but their peers sure can do more. chuck finney [fundador do Duty Free] He donated all his wealth in life. Mackenzie Scott [ex-mulher de Jeff Bezos, fundador da Amazon] It goes this way.

Even if a billionaire invested 99% of their fortune in improving the planet, their living conditions would not change at all. It is important to remember that the current capitalist system does not save anyone from psychological suffering, not even the materially wealthy. Money addiction causes anxiety, depression, loneliness, distrust, paranoia, and an intense fear of death.

The god of money who worships human civilization is sick and needs healing. Competition at all costs and unlimited accumulation are serious evolutionary shortcomings. If we are to survive on this planet, the strongest will need to nurture the weaker – not destroy them as they do today. We have much to spare, in wealth and knowledge. Now we need balance, wisdom, sharing and tolerance. The good news is that we have all of this in our planetary cultural baggage.

Without the intent to reduce the severity of the climate crisis or minimize the effects of a global nuclear war, the human race is unlikely to become extinct even in the worst case scenario. It originated from less than 3,000 individuals who came from Africa and have proven to be very adaptable. Does not waving the threat of extinction reinforce the panic that breeds pessimism and inertia, as many climate scientists warn? When the house is on fire, don’t wait. As I Ching says, “If there is something to be done, hurrying brings good luck.” On the other hand, in emergency situations, you need to keep your cool. How do we get out of the evolutionary snooker game we got ourselves into? It is not enough just to act, we need to know how to act.

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Less important than knowing whether the extinction of the human race will be a sudden six-sided death or a slow, graceful decline of our capabilities, we need to map and implement multiple modifications of behavior explicitly. Only then will we be able to escape from many of the bleak futures looming, like the panorama shown in the excellent film “Medida Provisoria”, directed by Lazaro Ramos.

We need these behavior modifications not only to overcome the hell that already exists on this planet for billions of humans and tens of billions of non-humans, but to undertake here, on Earth, a truly dignified and sublime path, the rightful heir to the best and wisest contributions of our ancestors – and our commitment to those who come after us.

You say that our ancestors have sick parts, such as aggressiveness and male territory that are the root of patriarchy, and benevolent parts, such as cooperation and solidarity. Is there not a certain myopia when glorifying the surviving wisdom of the traditional peoples and their shamans, as if we see only the healthy part of them? Glorifying any particular perspective is wrong. The necessary and urgent effort is towards a great cultural synthesis capable of curing and curing a range of inherited ills highly toxic to society, from oldest to newer, from oldest to newest.

At the same time, we need to save, nurture and clarify countless indigenous and traditional knowledge for the explosive accumulation of scientific knowledge at present. What we need at this moment is the good and the best of all areas of human knowledge, inside and outside traditional knowledge, inside and outside science, inside and outside of religions, including all viewpoints.

She points out that some of the chief evils of the contemporary world are the brutal separation of people from their bodies and minds, and the absence of introspection. He talks about ancient techniques like yoga, meditation and breathing, but how can this recipe be applicable to more than 7 billion people? You also mentioned marijuana and drugs: wouldn’t they be more convenient these days, since overcoming Prohibition? Self-knowledge practices and thermotherapy [etimologicamente, algo como “gerador do divino interno”] They are not mutually exclusive, on the contrary, they are synergistic. Accessing capoeira, qi kung, yoga, meditation, breathing, and many other riches of human culture can be easier than accessing the medicinal route, as long as there is access to good quality training.

It is important to remember that the use of greenhouse drugs is not limited to the chemical effect of these substances, but also requires integrative psychotherapy. More important than both methods is the quality of the teachings being practiced and the related human connections.

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On the other hand, there seems to be an excess of hope surrounding drugs in particular, as well as the danger of them being monopolized by the biomedical industry and layers of intellectual property. What is missing from the injection of realism in the so-called narcotic renaissance? Psychedelic drugs are powerful inducers of changes in neural connections, and therefore are powerful tools for mental transformation. However, without good human support and appropriate contexts of use, which allow the subjective experience to be directed in the direction of love, well-being, and an ethic of care, psychedelic drugs can be ineffective, like strong winds hitting a sail. The boat does not move and may capsize.

I am skeptical about the ability to capture cannabinoids by predatory capitalism, since their use involves very low and very intermittent doses of substances of natural origin, found in fungi, plants and animals. The most precious and valuable part of psychedelic therapy are the people responsible for constructing and protecting the context of use, whether it is shamans, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, or neuroscientists. We need to invest in the training and performance of these people.

She opens the book with the legend of Angulimala, the finger-collecting thief who regenerates by meeting the Buddha, and says it should inspire all oppressors: “It is possible and always desirable to stop committing irreversible evil.” Does your optimism include President Jair Bolsonaro (PL)? Closely, every person on the planet is trying their best. The distance between this individual perception and what each person generates around him, in other people, gives a measure of distortion of perceptions of evil and good.

I have no optimism in believing that all oppressive people on this planet will be able to enlighten themselves, let alone Bolsonaro. But I firmly believe that a sufficiently large number of people, of all races, genders and social classes, can and should wake up.

The knowledge gathered from the human species has the potential to profoundly restructure the way we exist in the world, in order to increase general well-being and rejuvenate biomes. Inequality of material and immaterial goods is growing explosively, the environment is in turmoil and we have little time to act before the process becomes irreversible.

The conditions are ripe for a big leap and time is ticking. It is the greatest mission of living generations. We need to build that dream for those who come after us.