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What’s true and how do I come to know it?
This is a question many of us are asking ourselves, especially in the past 15 or so months. At least, some of us are asking. Many of us are telling–and yelling–and doubling down on certainly in a time where certainty is the least reliable position to take. Myself, at times, included.
What is true, likely, is that the media we are confronted with–be it mainstream or not–is manipulating our worldview. Through the selective curation of what is reported on and how it is reported about, a narrative is built for the content of the reporting (whatever they happen to be reporting about) and the world that content fits within. Over time this influences what our worldview is and how we understand ourselves within it.
Some of this narrative manipulation might be benign, some positive; some self-aware and intentional, some unmitigated utterances of automatons marching to the reactive beat of their own ideology amid the dark circus of the collapse of our globalized civilization and the ecology that subsidized its expansion. (or something like that)
But, some of it is a blatant expression of what Daniel Schmachtenberger refers to as multilevel narrative warfare, where the manipulation is an effort to ensure our embodied emotional energy is allegianced to the powers behind that narrative–or anti-narrative–and that, in the process, our ability to adequately sensemake what is or is not true or real is significantly hindered.
Of course, adding in the divisive and polarizing power of social media, and its algorithms turning us into stupid, reactive, children–and social media being the primary place most of us have encountered dissenting opinions or even human contact since the pandemic began—our ability to have a conversation with people whom we disagree about a particular issue, without launching into fallacy-driven adversarialism with them, is low… if not entirely absent. (ideological automatons on reactive parade)
In all of this manipulation and multilevel narrative warfare comes the consequence of institutions that were once-vanguards of truth losing their authority.
In many instances, the loss of that authority is for good reason. Sometimes, perhaps not so much. Nonetheless, though, it puts us in a bit of an epistemological crisis–as individuals and as a society. How do we know what’s true and real when the places once holding authority on it are no more, and we are left, as a consequence, drowning in information and competing narratives?
The pandemic has introduced such a crisis (among and a part of many others) as one of the once-vanguards of truth institutions losing their authority, for good or for ill, is science. Medical science, in particular.
This puts us at a strange impasse; especially during a pandemic era where everyone is–all of a sudden–an epidemiologist. This is a time where we, as a species, need to be able to trust the scientific institutions from which (supposedly) our public health and thus political actions are coming. But can we?
Can we trust the institution of science?
Is science still a vanguard of truth?
Was it ever?
These are the questions we are going to explore with the guest for this episode, Danny Nemu.
Danny Nemu is a hypnotherapist, activist, and author with an academic background in the history of medicine and 20 years experience with the Daime ayahuasca community including an 8-month cure in the Amazon battling a flesh-eating parasite
His fundamental interest is how humans break free of their “mind-forged manacles”, and his research focuses on Drugs in the Bible, Revelation and realpolitik in Science, and the connection between Linguistics, Neurobiology, and Cognition. He writes for Psypress UK, the Journal of Psychedelic Studies and Lucid News, has given talks at Breaking Convention on Biblical entheogens and neocolonialism in ayahuasca studies and is a regular guest on podcasts including Rune Soup and Aeon Byte. He’s also been on the show previously, discussing the shamanic origins on Christianity
His books, Science Revealed and Neuro-Apocalypse, are out on Psypress UK, articles, talks, and podcasts are collected on his website, and his inconsistent opinions are to be taken with a pinch of salt on Twitter.
Danny is on the show to talk about Science Revealed, the failures of our scientific institutions, and their unreliability as proxies for sensemaking reality.
And this is a weird interview because there are several moments where my—I personally consider valid—inclination to push back against certain statements revealed myself as being somewhat wrapped in ideological assumptions and juvenile reactivity. (An interesting learning experience for myself.)
That being said, Danny and I continued to have a thoughtful and respectful conversation and one that I hope you will appreciate.
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- “It’s been a very interesting pandemic”
- Does peer-review science actually create change? (focus on cannabis legalization)
- Censorship in peer-review science (especially medicine)
- Close-mindedness and rationalism in scientific institutions
- Is science (actually) self-correcting?
- Science as a force of colonialism
- Is science (actually) self-correcting? pt.2
- Grasping for theories and anti-science
- Conspiracy theories, mythic truths, and propaganda
- Debating covid narratives
- Viruses are information
- What is Covid revealing to us about ourselves?
- The damage caused by the prevailing human superiority complex
- The world is sick and we are in crisis
- Science and learning to know less
- Danny’s reforestation project (RAIN)