A Modest Proposal to Achieve Peace in the Middle East

Roland Stahl
October, 2014

     I write this in October of 2014, and any prospect of peace in the Middle East appears to be way beyond unlikely.  The tensions between Sunni and Shia Moslems appear to be as great as the antipathy of all Moslems to the Western world or to Israel.

     As I speculate upon philosophical themes as well as the obstacles to the survival of life on earth, I have come to the conclusion, shared by a great many philosophers, scholars, and visionaries of every possible kind, that the only hope for the survival of life on earth is an immediate and unprecedented evolutionary leap in global consciousness – and this really has to happen virtually overnight.  The most immediate and pressing problems are ecological – the loss of the Trees, the burning off of millions of years’ worth of fossil fuels in a few generations, the destruction and growing necrosis of our Oceans, the erosion of our slender resource of topsoil and the attendant cycles of severe drought and destructive flooding (all of which are directly caused by the loss of the Trees, which I have called the greatest mistake the human race has made in its relatively brief rampage of destruction upon our dear planet), the increasingly evident problems of global warming and climate change, the toxic devastation of the planet’s farmland as well as our own human bodies by the incredibly stupid and myopic reliance upon pharmaceutical drugs and chemical interference with the organic patterns which have sustained the growth of human life for the many thousands of years prior to the modern era – I could go on and on, but I am not the only one beating this drum, and these issues have been raised repeatedly, although seemingly falling upon deaf ears (because it’s money that makes the world go round, not love – I hate to break the news).  

     It’s not that no one knows what to do about these problems – I have detailed a whole program of planetary restoration in a whole series of previous articles, and Lester Brown (Plan B: World on the Edge) has offered many excellent ideas of how the planetary slide into destruction and death can be slowed and possibly even reversed – but the problems confronting us are not primarily technological, but political and economic.  I have even addressed those issues, and have come up with radical solutions which may easily be found among my writings, and need not be repeated here.  I certainly do not and would not suggest that my solutions might be easily or quickly implemented, but the problems are so pressing that we must make some efforts, and do so immediately.  However, my proposals for new patterns and institutions for social and economic organization, which might be made to work among the peoples of relatively stable environments, run into serious problems when faced with the rampant chaos on the ground in the Middle East.  It really seems to be that an essential prerequisite to any new evolutionary growth is the radical elevation of consciousness worldwide.  There is a necessary and inevitable sequence about this program of social, political, and economic institutions worldwide, and then, finally, we might be in a position to address the urgent program of ecological regeneration which we must tackle immediately if there is to be any hope for the survival of life on earth.  Whew! Now what? I love the apocryphal image of Don Quixote “jumping on his horse and riding off rapidly in all directions,” but on my last careful reading of the text, I failed to locate that passage, and I don’t remember where I heard of it.  

     Well, not to worry – I have a solution, as usual.  First, let us consider the present “conventional” approach.  I think the U.S.  government has racked up expenses well in excess of a trillion dollars (or multiple trillions) in fighting the “war against terror” in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Syria.  And yet, by all estimates, the world is rapidly plunging ever more deeply into chaos, and everyone is considerably less safe than they were in the year 2000.  

     So here is my proposal – give me just 1% of that budget, a mere $10 billion, and I will undertake to resolve all of the problems and conflicts of the Middle East within, say, ten years’ time.  The lions will lie down with the lambs, and everyone will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Everyone will return happily to their farms, making love with their wives (and/or significant others), and a new Golden Age will supervene over that historically troubled land.  Actually, I expect my costs to be well within one billion dollars, or even considerably less than that, but I will be happy to retain the remaining $9 billion as my fee.  

     By now I am sure it is clear to almost everyone how I propose to accomplish this miracle, especially to all those who realize that I am an original hippie from the 60s – of course it is obvious and very simple – we simply manufacture a few billion trips of LSD and distribute them for free all over the world.  LSD, as everyone knows, has zero physical toxicity, zero addictive potential, and a high correlation with spiritual epiphany.  Sometimes I have heard of people having some bad times “with LSD,” but, upon further inquiry, it always turns out that the person experiencing bad effects was also using some combinations of very highly toxic drugs – methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, sugar, etc.  Those who only use LSD, with perhaps some preparation of cannabis, rarely experience any negative effects, and never are those effects physically expressed.  

     Of course, in order for this plan to work, it is essential that it be carried out in the West as well as the Middle East, as the need for spiritual renewal is just as pressing in the West as it is anywhere else in the world.  When you take a hefty dose of LSD (usually 300-500 mcg, depending upon body weight and other factors), “you see God and you love everyone.” And these two experiences describe exactly the same thing – being in the presence of God means the same thing as feeling an unlimited oceanic love for all of life – that is the spiritual epiphany.  

     Actually, I should clarify that the experience does not apply to the inexperienced or casual user (or someone with a low level of spiritual consciousness), and certainly not with any user who combines other drugs with the LSD experience (with the exception of moderate cannabis use, which is harmless, and anything else in very careful moderation).  With most drugs, the “high” is followed by a depression which falls well below the original baseline.  Each subsequent indulgence brings the experience to a less lofty high, leading ultimately to a place where the “high” is far lower than the original baseline, and the lows are the very depths of Hell.  In contrast to this familiar pattern, the high of LSD is followed by a very gentle decline, but ending with a mild euphoria somewhat above the starting baseline.  The physical aspects of subsequent LSD ingestion are dose dependent (somewhat modified by “set and setting”), but the spiritual high gets higher with every use, while the end state is increasingly higher, so that an occasional user might end up with an advanced spiritual consciousness as his ordinary, baseline experience.  This pattern of experience has been observed numerous times, especially when the tripper’s consciousness has not been negatively affected by other drugs (including excessive sugar or alcohol) or other unrelated negative experiences.  

     I might characterize the LSD experience as a hyper stimulation of the sensory stimuli along with an increased consciousness of the potential for novelty.  It is this last characteristic that makes LSD so frightening to the conservative masters of repressive regimes.  The last thing anyone in political power wants is for anyone to discover and explore the potential for novelty! Oh, no! It is no surprise that the CIA would want to control the opium crop in Afghanistan so that they could refine it into heroin and bring it to the young black men of the inner cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.  They want the addict to bow his head, shuffle along, and think only about getting another fix.  Can you imagine the chaos that might ensue if these oppressed minorities might open their eyes to the systematic oppression, leading (usually and deliberately) to incarceration, and instead began to consider ways of overturning the process? Such a conscious awareness could easily lead to a veritable revolution.  Oh, no – keep them sedated with opiates, and then pick them off one by one and pack them off to jail.  

     But novelty might rear its ugly or beautiful head in a great many other ways – after a few sessions of LSD, a man might quit his job, leave his family (or bring them with him), and go off to an ashram in India in search of enlightenment.  Or, he might simply quit his job selling life insurance so that he can play his alto saxophone in a jazz band.  There are no limits to the potential of novelty to the expanded consciousness.  

     But it is only through Change that anything can get better! Now we are faced with a world that is coming apart at the seams in every way – ecologically, politically, economically, and socially.  What this world needs (and, boy did it ever need it yesterday!) is a greatly augmented consciousness of the potential for change! Whether you like my own solutions to the problems of the world, or whether you prefer to follow another agenda, one thing is clear – a lot of things have got to change, and change very, very quickly if there is to be any hope for the survival of life on earth.  Bring on the LSD! May the sun shine forever, and may you stay forever young.

     The reason this program may take about ten years is that the rise in consciousness is neither instantaneous nor permanent – it takes a series of trips before the aspirant gradually perceives the interconnectedness and unity of all being, and begins to feel an oceanic love for all of life – plants and animals, rivers, oceans, trees, fragrant roses, and people – and, in a final epiphany, sees God in all Her Glory.  Some will reach this point sooner than others (and many, of course, never reach it at all), but once a critical mass has been reached, the elevation of consciousness will become general and universal.  At this point, many of the ecological changes will come about naturally as natural organic patterns of life will replace artificial and destructive ones, such as chemical fertilizers and pharmaceutical drugs.  Political and economic changes will easily and quickly follow, trees will be planted everywhere (restore Paradise: dig up a parking lot), and Gaia may once again grow green and fertile, providing abundant food for everyone, and life on earth may continue.


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