In this episode, David hosts another Vital Psychedelic Conversation, this time with Bennet Zelner, Ph.D.: Vital instructor who teaches economics at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business; and Giles Hayward: Vital student and Co-Founder of Woven Science (a company backing and building psychedelic and wellness tech companies) and El Puente, which focuses on Indigenous biocultural preservation.
Zelner believes that the traditional capitalist system we’ve grown accustomed to is an extractive and predatory one directly in opposition to a natural system we should be striving to emulate – one that circulates resources and exits largely in equilibrium with its different parts. His concept of the Pollination Approach (or regenerative economics) is about developing economic structures that are capable of balance: where communities are built to directly benefit each other and where businesses are structured to share resources and capital to all involved. In a hyper-individualistic system where loneliness and never feeling good enough are key drivers of depression, anxiety, and trauma, how could we not benefit from feeling more connected to each other, our communities, and the businesses that exist within them?
They talk about different ways the pollination approach could be applied; how psychedelics disrupt these broken systems; how we can make these treatments affordable; and why we should be focusing on the delivery and integration of substances rather than creating new ones. And since Hayward is about to graduate from Vital’s inaugural run, he shares his feelings on the program and how it fell into this concept of regenerative economics.
The application deadline for this year’s Vital has been extended to March 26, but this will be the last extension. So if you’re interested, now is the time to apply!
“Our connection to each other and to the natural world, I think, is undeniable. To argue that our individual well-being does not depend on the health of the natural systems that we depend on for food, for air, [and] for water is just folly. …I think that deep down, everybody actually knows that we’re connected, and we’ve just been taught to forget that by many cultural forces. I think psychedelics can help us remember this innate wisdom.” -Bennet
“If we go back thousands of years, our pagan ancestors believed in animism. We believed and saw that there was a spirit and an essence in everything. And yet today, through this reductionist mindset (ever since Descartes said, ‘I think, therefore I am’), we have gone on this odyssey which has fortified this belief that we live in a separate existence, a separate world where there’s no room to see the world around us as being alive [and] full of spirit. …If we’re able to see the world as alive, [and] we’re able to develop an intimate relationship with all things around us, one might think that these feelings of loneliness could dissipate somewhat.” -Giles
“The principles of nature are sacred. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world of natural systems, and if we’re unwilling to behave in a way according to the principles of natural systems, then the natural systems will survive. We’re the ones who will not.” -Bennet
Maps.org: The Pollination Approach to Delivering Psychedelic-Assisted Mental Healthcare
DoubleBlind Magazine: Regenerative Patterning Psychedelic Pharma Has Arrived. Will It Be Able To Break Out Of An Outdated And Extractive Medical Model?
Psychedelics Today: PT221 – Bennet Zelner – The Pollination Approach
NPR.org: Atomic Tune-Up: How the Body Rejuvenates Itself
Springer.com: The Watts Connectedness Scale: a new scale for measuring a sense of connectedness to self, others, and world
Allpoetry.com: “Everything is waiting for you,” by David Whyte
Vanityfair.com: How PTSD Became a Problem Far Beyond the Battlefield
Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, by Robert D. Putnam