Way back before capitalism, it used to be that self-welfare was the key part of our lives. We would face formidable physical and situational challenges and have to endure them, alone and with our tribe. It was likely those trials were the most meaningful experiences for our prior relatives— the very thing they could depend on and take comfort in. Today we’ve lost that ability. Comfort is handed to industries that insulate us for a fee. We spend money and depend on hermetically sealed homes, cars, drugs, food and clothing. If things get rough we rely on doctors, pills, and booze. But recently, there’s a rising voice that we’ve come to the end of the Western Medical Model. An awareness that those things don’t make life better anymore. That there are other roads. Some, like this week’s guest Wim Hof, believe it’s time to tap back into our natural abilities. That they’ve been forgotten. If there’s anyone that knows about getting out of their comfort zone, it’s him. His journey started when--with four children at home--his wife took her life by jumping out an eight story window. To deal with his grief, he went out into the extreme cold. Since then, he’s shown through examples of enduring extreme cold like being submerged in ice for nearly two hours or using his mind to ward off disease, that anyone has amazing power to face anything and literally self-regulate. He’s now using the best scientists in the world to back up what he’s learned and therefore challenge science, culture and the very industries we’ve come to assume are the answer.
Today, our culture puts all its value on science. Those are the classes and jobs that pay. But it’s our poetry that for hundreds of years, has upset the establishment’s apple cart, that has brought us close together and created a sense of community and experience of being alive that nothing else can in the same way. It’s Poets that have challenged us to think differently. Recently, our National attention gets inspired by the poetry shared at revolutions in Washington whether it’s MLK’s “I have a dream,” during the Human Rights March of 1963, Maya Angelou’s, “On the Pulse of Morning,” who followed Robert Frost as the second poet ever to read at a president’s inauguration or this week’s guest, Elizabeth Alexander, the only other poet to read following Bill Clinton’s presidency when she read “Praise Song for the Day” at our country’s first black President, Barak Obama’s inauguration.
Believe it or not, MDMA is about to be legal thanks to the efforts of this week’s guest, Rick Doblin. Soon MDMA will be able to help the tens of millions of people suffering from serious trauma like PTSD in drug-assisted therapy sessions. While that might seem amazing, it’s far from Rick Doblin’s sole focus. He believes it’s a basic human right to have the freedom to decide to change your own consciousness through drugs— that politics are not only blocking science but personal experiences that could help us live more fulfilled and connected lives. In fact, there’s an argument that for our cultural survival we need to reintroduce the same use of psychedelics that was a part of human culture for tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of years.
You may not know it, but loneliness is hard-wired to kill us. Long ago, sticking with our tribe meant staying happy and safe so it’s no wonder that loneliness and rejection developed into hard-wiring to try to force us back into the group in the event we left, got lost or were ejected. Today, there’s a loneliness epidemic thanks to enormous separation in our cubes, cars, and culture— horrifically accelerated by the last decade of “social” technology. Look on any playground, streetscape or living room and we’re all staring down at our hands. In this episode Dr. Winch doesn’t just point at the problem, he offers valuable solutions so hopefully, if you’re one of the nearly 50% of Americans suffering deep loneliness, his advice will help you escape its horrible and life-threatening grip.
At least once a week for almost 20 years, Sgt. Kevin Briggs would stand just a few feet away from a severely depressed person who had climbed over the rail in the middle of the Golden Gate bridge and was a step away from falling to their death. While they both stood there with noisy traffic and cold, strong wind creating insane vibrations, Kevin had to find a way to do whatever he could to break through and get people to decide to climb back. We all have moments of despair so I hope that, in this brief conversation with the man who’s become known as the “Guardian of the Golden Gate,” you can borrow from the powerful technique and messages that he used too help hundreds of people save themselves.
Edwin Anderson has spent over 30 years as a firefighter, a cop, and a paramedic. He grew up around murder, gang violence and sex crimes. Even though he's been perpetually surrounded by tragedy, Edwin continues to escape with his head held high. In fact, there are few people I know with a more positive attitude than him.