Reflecting on this next turn around the Sun and this auspicious moment in human and planetary history, brings to mind some of the key ideas that drive me and our work here at Synergetic Press:
- We live in the ANTHROPOCENE: The Age when humans are recognized as the dominant geological force of the planet;
- BIOSPHERICS is the interdisciplinary science essential to understanding planetary and cultural dynamics;
- The NOOSPHERE, a sphere of intelligence around the planet that is emerging to determine our evolutionary future.
The concept of the noosphere was developed in the 1920s by Vladimir Vernadsky, Édouard Le Roy and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Nearly 100 years ago, in scientific, philosophical, and artistic circles people were discussing the idea of the noosphere, a world in which all of humanity become responsible stewards of the biosphere. I heard about the noosphere in 1984 when I was working at the Biosphere 2 project and published the first English translation of Vernadsky’s theory of the biosphere. Thirty years later, the noosphere has become an essential concept for understanding today’s ecological and culturological crises.
Humanity is undergoing a process of “planetization” becoming a truly global culture and entering a new era of the human journey.
-Teilhard de Chardin
In the Guardian recently, David Suzuki applauded the landmark Paris agreement on climate change as an indication that “the Age of the Humans won’t necessarily lead to an age of destruction.” But, to change course, we humans must act swiftly and on a grand scale.
However, I’ve been exposed to countless BIG IDEAS about sustainability, consciousness … what practical changes have I made as a result? Christian Schwägerl’s book The Anthropocene
, made me really question everything I think I need to live, what I throw away, and how. I began to examine each purchase and found ways to recycle as much as possible. Tony Juniper tells us in What Has Nature Ever Done for Us?
that we produce enough food on the planet to feed everyone, but upwards to 50% of the food now produced is wasted. Staggered by this statistic, I have since paid close attention to what’s in the fridge, saving money and produce. Working on Zig Zag Zen
with Allan Badiner and Alex Grey inspired me to reenergize my body and brain through meditation and seek to be more conscious of my actions and daily choices in life.
Every book Synergetic Press publishes contains ideas to help us understand how to be better to the planet, better to ourselves. The time is now to think, innovate, regenerate … make the planetary situation personal.
We have an exciting year ahead.
Deborah Parrish Snyder, Publisher
News & Events
Biosphere 2: World’s Largest Laboratory for Global Ecology Documentary Short on YouTube
Pioneer in biospherics and Synergetic Press author, John Allen, with Mark Nelson and other project co-founders and directors, talk about why they built the world’s largest laboratory for global ecology, Biosphere 2, and how eight people lived and worked inside it for two years (1991-1993) growing their food, recycling their air, water and wastes. This experiment, built to put Vernadsky’s theory of the biosphere into practice, defined many aspects of the metabolic connection between humans and the environment that sustains them, while greatly advancing the field of space habitat design. The project has been noted as the first experiment to examine the value of natural ecosystems services in this man-made world.
Photo of Christian Schwägerl and Tony Juniper by Jonathan Greet
The Anthropocene at the Royal Society of Arts and Royal Institution in London
And for a brilliant overview on the Anthropocene, see this talk at the Royal Institution in London with Leicester University professor, Jan Zalasiewicz and Christian, moderated by Robin McKie, scientific editor of the Observer
. CLICK HERE TO VIEW
Read the Introduction by Alexander Yanshin, VP Emeritus, Russian Academy of Sciences for FREE.
In April we celebrated publication of the new edition of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics
, edited by Allan Badiner and Alex Grey, with events in Santa Fe where editors Alex and Allan were joined by Rick Strassman and Allyson Grey for an engaging discusion of the topics.
In July, Zig Zag Zen released in London with events at Breaking Convention conference and legendary Watkins Bookstore. Zig Zag Zen is a unique collection of wisdom from scholars, teachers, and artists on the best practices for spiritual exploration and the interface with psychedelics.
Our dear friend Ornette Coleman passed away on June 11. Our condolences go out to his son, Denardo, and extended family in this time of loss. We will always remember the delight and inspiration that he and his music brought us over the years.
The video below is a clip from the award-winning documentary Ornette… Made in America, featuring the opening celebration for the Caravan of Dreams Performing Arts Center in the city of Coleman’s birth, Fort Worth, Texas. The city of Fort Worth welcomed back their native son with a mayoral proclamation of September 29, 1983 as “Ornette Coleman Day,” and Coleman was presented with a key to the city. On that night, Caravan of Dreams opened with Ornette and Prime Time on stage, while dancers twirled around the cameras in this film directed by Shirley Clarke. (Courtesy of Global Ecotechnics)
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And we leave you with a poem by his friend, Johnny Dolphin.
Ornette Coleman’s Manhattan
Ship searching out cross-currents,
Myself stalking this big city
Ornette and me circling higher in simple talk
Until words turn prayer flags
Whipped into tatters on passes between peaks
While music shatters into microtones
Leading captured melodies into ancient slavery.
My poems are your saxophone
Your sax reads my reading;
Words and music make mad lucinations
Navigating existence into pulse.
You threw away keys,
I threw away logics,
We honed our intuition
Rapping in an old warehouse pad.
Our Apollonian attractors dive,
Nitroxed in gaudy Dionysian reefs.
Trip of trips
Cold sober in every drunken gene,
While sweet potato pie
Concentrates our eye.
From: Off the Road: Poetry 1989-2000
Launch of The Anthropocene at The Royal Institute of Arts in London, The Book Most Likely To Save the Planet (Hint: we published it!) and a Sneak Peek at our upcoming titles.
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May 6th, 2015 marks John ‘Dolphin’ Allen’s 86th solar orbit as a crew member aboard Spaceship Earth. On his birthday, we reflect on the exceptional life of our inspiring friend.
A poet, playwright, savant, and inventor and co-founder of Biosphere II, Allen emerged from modest beginnings in Oklahoma during the dust bowl to become one of the most productive and eccentric personalities of the 20th century. An expert in mining and metallurgy, as well as high finance, this restless graduate of Colorado School of Mines and Harvard Business School simply could not accept the state of civilization ‘as is’ and took to a life of adventure, exploring the cultures and biomes of our planet and returning to spearhead work groups that would develop the foundations for what he calls, “synergetic civilization.”
Building on the experiences and esoteric transmissions acquired through his world travels, Allen and his cohorts began in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco in 1967 with the ‘Theater of All Possibilities’ acting group and would go on to develop ‘eco-technic’ enterprises, referred to as ‘synergias’ all around the world. The short list includes:
Synergia Ranch (organic farm, orchard, adobe construction company and more) in Santa Fe, NM, the Research Vessel Heraclitus (a ferro-cement ship, based on the design of a Chinese Junk, that has seen 18 expeditions), the October Gallery in London, UK (home of the ‘transvangarde’ art movement), the Vajra Hotel in Katmandu, Birdwood Downs ranch in Australia, Las Casas de la Selva sustainable forestry project in Puerto Rico, the Institute of Ecotechnics (which has held annual conferences on pressing ecological concerns at the highest level since the early 1970s), and more; all culminating in the massive Biosphere II closed systems experiment in Oracle, AZ that took place in the early 90’s.
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John is currently based at Synergia Ranch in Santa Fe, NM. And though he spends the majority of his time writing, he still travels Spaceship Earth yearly to visit and inspire the synergias that he worked so hard to seed. Happy Birthday Johnny- we will always be grateful for your tireless work and living inspiration!