Paul Stamets is known by many for his life long dedication to the study, understanding and research of all things fungi. He is a thought leader in the field of mycology, who has consistently been a major contributor to the exploration of the benefits of applying mushrooms to a biodiverse range of applications. His considerations extend from fungi being utilized in medical cures such as cancer, potential resolution to famine, through to exploring fungi that can mop up oil spills or even clear the aftermath of nuclear meltdowns.
If you read the Wikipedia page on Paul Stamets you will see that his interest in mushrooms has been credited to his late brother. Paul states, “He inspired me on my path into the field of mycology, after his travels to Mexico and Colombia in pursuit of magic mushrooms” in the 1970s. To me, reading this comment was a nice reminder that we sometimes stumble upon our purpose. In essence, the draw of psychedelics may have been the initial stimulus (pardon the pun) that lured Paul into paying heed to his beloved fungi, but this one interconnected thread became a life long love affair that holds his passion steadfast to this very day. I imagine the importance of his work has evolved through his ability to be an extension of their voice, on the secrets they have chosen to reveal.
The earth speaks a language that we are yet to appreciate or understand.
There are some things that I have intrinsically felt were right and had always ‘sensed or known.’ I rarely speak to others about my concepts but often witnessed enough to validate my theories, if only to myself. I’m a firm believer that every living element has the ability to communicate in some form or fashion and that we are simply not perceptive enough to be privy to the conversations taking place. If you have watched the video above, you would have heard through Paul’s narration that he is also a believer in the voice of nature. The energy of this one thought gives me an insurmountable feeling of hope. Perhaps, if two people from varying walks of life such as Paul and I have come to this realization, then maybe there are more of us out there.
Observation is the key step toward greater awareness.
I only have to look at the studies that are being more widely accepted now with regard to animal behavior and communication to see how precisely archaic we are in our thinking. I feel that the papers that are being published on animal communication, shows the rudimentary application of what I believe is an example of a largely narrowest view. Humans are so hung up on the ideals of being ‘superior’ that we don’t see past our ego’s to the truth of the matter. What concerns me is that if we are only now beginning to slowly accept some ‘fauna’ as sentient, then we are a long way from extending this same consideration to other forms of biota. In fact the sheer thought of it for most people would be somewhat inconceivable.
Scientists mocked Karl von Frisch when he proposed that bee’s have a language and are able to communicate to one another through dance. These days the theory is widely accepted. Mathematicians aggressively reacted to Georg Cantor’s theories around the concept of infinity. Yet, today his obsession with the exploration of this has him hailed as one of the ‘father’s of mathematics. My point here is that it doesn’t seem to matter what the subject is, each time some-one has leapt beyond current thinking to introduce a new possibility, there appears to have been strong resistance. A distinct pattern has begun to emerge, whereby the human psych often traverses a mundane cognitive process, almost like a right of passage. It is (dare I suggest) a complimentary alignment to the seven stages of grieving. Such is the quandary of acceptance of change that it appears to be somewhat mandatory to pass through phases.
Stage 1: Mock, ridicule, devalue the theorist Stage 2: Attempt to debunk the theory
Stage 3: Develop a contra theory Stage 4: Bully, coerce theorist to retract the theory
Stage 5: Growth of advocate in support of the theory Stage 6: Prove the theory
Stage 7: Acceptance of the facts
“What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” ‘Albert Einstein’
Anyone who hasn’t heard of mycelia and are curious, should consider investing a little bit of time in learning more about the organism that lives in the soil. The high value proposition that mycelia provides to the ecosystem is an eye opener. Acquiring this knowledge was the precipice for me wanting to understand more about fungus.
Our world as a whole feels complex and yet in direct contrast to this I can appreciate the simplistic genius in its design. I find it both compelling and beautiful. Paul has devoted his life to mycology and with this has developed a fundamental belief that mushrooms can heal the planet. In short for my own reasons, I too have concluded the same. Mushrooms may not be the complete answer but they are certainly an integral contributor to the health of this planet.
I don’t want a century to pass by before there is a retrospective ‘awakening’ that finally embraces Paul’s body of work. Nobody wins if we delay accepting the inevitable truth. Our world is rapidly becoming heavily imbalanced by no conscience commercial farming, irresponsible introduction of GMO crops and unruly deforestation. There is a cost that at some point will reach a threshold that will make it difficult to reverse or worse cannot be undone. It is threatening our food security and the viability of maintaining ecologically balanced terra firma.
Make a difference by getting more involved. It can all start with you becoming informed.
If what you learn resonates with your beliefs, then I encourage you to reach out and support Paul. Spread the word to help increase the awareness of his incredible findings. We need to contribute in any way we can in order to beneficially leverage from mother nature’s champions.
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