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November 10, 2013

Rob Kall's Vision: A Transcript of His Interview With Envision This!

By Burl Hall

This article is a transcript of Rob Kall's interview with Envision This! The interview focused on bottom up rule and the hero's journey. Can this be a way of the future? I think it can.


Rob Kall
(Image by Rob Kall)
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Many thanks to Rob for this interview.  It was indeed enlightening.  Rob's work is imperative to the future of this planet.  In my opinion, the consequences will be horrific if we don't truly get his bottom up philosophy.  His view of bottom up power is more in line with the science that includes James Lovelock, who proposed the Gaia Hypothesis.  This hypothesis states that all of life interacts (from the bottom up, not from a top-down orchestrator) in creating a habitable planet.  Thus, if we destroy all the microorganisms of this Earth, we will die for lack of oxygen.  I like to think of the difference of top-down and bottom-up as being that of an orchestra being conducted by a man standing on a pedestal and a rock and roll band jamming. With the latter, they naturally come up with a great work of music.  The latter is more like how the world works, though the former does have his place...just that that place is not primary. 

Enjoy this transcript and the bottom-up wisdom of Rob Kall.  

H1: Welcome to "Envision This;" connecting you to visionaries of a more resilient, earth friendly, and just future. With us this evening is Rob Kall: editor, publisher, radio host, speaker, and campaign consultant who works tirelessly on behalf of all those who have been dis-empowered in our current system. Rob envisions this: politically, socially, and spiritually empowering people from the bottom up. Welcome, Rob

R: Thank you. Great to be here.

H2: Yeah and it's great to-

H1: [ss] Great to have you

H2: Great to have you-have you, especially with your busy schedule which I guess is one of the first things I'm going to ask you about. You seem to have a lot going on with OpEd News, the Bottom Up Radio Show, StoryCon and futurehealth. Could you briefly describe your working goals within each of these arenas?

R: Sure. I spend most of my time between Opednews and the Bottom Up Radio, it's Opednews .com and I, I also have a business, FutureHealth that I've had for over 30 years that is cnnected to biofeedback. I got into biofeedback because I was excited with the idea of using technology to help people to wake up, raise their consciousness, and empower themselves.  I got into Opednews because I was getting impatient. I basically started Opednews  three weeks before the Iraq War started. Colin Powell gave his talk to the UN telling us all that there were weapons of mass destruction.

H2: Ah ha I remember that

R: And I was sitting, I was running one of my conferences, he StoryCon conference and the Brain Conference and the Positive psychology conferences that I did. And I, so I was sitting in a bar at the hotel to watch the talk, and you know  my jaw dropped and I said, "He's lying!"

H1: mmm

R: He's full of it!

H2: mhhmm yeah

R: And three weeks later I had my blog Opednews up and running and this I, I, I was getting impatient with how long it was taking waking people up one person at a time with biofeedback.  I mean it helped, but I really just needed to get more political. So I gradually turned this in to that.  It's most of what I do.  StoryCon and all the conferences I run I stopped doing them and - and my last one was in February of two thousand seven.

H2: Ahhhh and good [laughs] I was gonna ask you how you would keep up with doing all of that

R: Well I've maintained eh - eh - the conferences in the form of websites that are - are a bit neglected but I have a website, futurehealth.org and storycon.org, where I have lot of content and articles and interviews and things like that that are related to them -

L: What keeps you motivated with the Opednews and the Bottom Up Radio Show?

R: Well every day it's something new. Everyday, I mean we publish about, oh a thousand articles a month and we do that with the help of a wonderful, brilliant team of volunteer editors and every day has new stuff happening, new connections, I'm meeting new people, I'm working in new fields, learning new things, fighting new fights and that's all really exciting. So I wake up every morning looking forward to the day. And that's a wonderful thing. On the radio show I get a chance to interview some of the smartest people in the world and have great conversations with them. So that's wonderful, too.

H2: Isn't that exciting? That's one of the things we really love about doing this show: is that we get to talk to people who have brilliant minds and, not only minds, but really, the passion to do something about it.

R: well I think that's the important combination-- Mind and Passion.

R: Yeah I like that, yeah. True

H1: Yeah mind, passion, and action. What do you mean when you speak speak of Bottoms Up Empowerment?

R: It's bottom up, bottom up, not bottoms up. Bottoms up is when you have a drink

H1: Oh!

H2: [laughs]

H2: We're not trying to encourage people to become alcoholics!

R: [laughs] So Bottom Up is an approach that takes all the pieces and the basics and builds up towards a whole, as opposed to top-down, which starts with one big idea. So Bottom Up tends to be grass roots and de-centralized without hierarchy, and interdependent, and interconnected, and cooperative. Top down tends to be hierarchical, centralized, and control-oriented. What I've concluded is that for most of the history of the human race, for literally millions of years if you include our predecessors, we - lived in a very bottom up culture. If it way of living-- in tribes or bands and it was only with the onset of the ownership and control of land which came with agriculture and domestication of animals which led to civilization that we shifted to a top down culture that's only been in existence for anywhere between ten and twelve thousand years. So we've got a couple million years of being bottom up people and ten or twelve thousand years, at the most, for some humans, of being top down. And really, most humans, even 500 years ago were still living in bottom up indigenous, tribal cultures. If you think about it ,that's when Columbus came and opened up the New World. All those people in North and South America were indigenous tribal people and there are still thousands of tribes in existence on this planet.

But it's really only in the last couple of hundred years that the top down culture has predominated as strongly as it has. I think it that, that has been a big experiment and maybe a detour. Now, there's no question that civilization has produced the ability for people to create and do big things like moon-landings and road systems but I also think that in some ways it's gone too far and that's why I am very interested - and I'm always talking when I have my guests on about indigenous tribal culture and indigenous ways of seeing and being because I think we have so much to learn from those people

H2: We have a guest coming up next week who is a shaman from Peru and he's going to be sharing with us some of what he feels the ancient wisdom of his ancestors has to say to modern American people.

R: Sounds like a good show

H2: Yeah I think - I think it will be. It occurs to me sometimes that the word "civilized," which we take as being such a positive term, actually means enslaved to the status quo and slave to the hierarchy. Civilizing people is to force them to change, to be like us.

R: Well it's not always a forced process, sometimes it's a process that's produced by addicting people. What some invaders and civilizers in quotes have done is they have gone to indigenous people and they say, "hey do you like these metal pots and these metals knives? Well all you have to do is work and then you can have them" Now, the interesting thing is, indigenous cultures, they, they're really the people who are the most successful in some ways in this world. Indigenous cultures, it used to be one hundred fifty to two hundred years ago that indigenous people were considered savages and they lived in brutal ways; brutal savage lives that was hard and difficult but then researchers like people like Laurens van der Post and anthropologists actually studied indigenous people like the San Bushman of the Kalahari and what they found is, it's not a hard, brutal life. They worked two or three hours a day and they're done.

H2: mmm

R: Their life is easy. They have less work to do so when these explorers come and bring the benefits of civilization, what they're bringing is long work days, compared to slavery compared to what they had. They used the technology, the y offer drugs and medicine, It's scary. I remember I was on vacation in Jamaica once and there were some people there offering dental care to locals. The only thing was, in order to get the dental care, they had to sit through a sermon and get religion.

H2: mhm

H1: Yeah

H2: We do that, we do that so often and as, who was the dentist that traveled?

H1: Weston? Weston Price? I was just wondering him -

H2: [ss] Weston Price when he traveled discovered that in fact, the indigenous people had far better teeth than we do in a civilized western culture and that when their cultures were civilized that dental health went downhill fast.

R: well my guess is that along with civilization came the kind of food that most people eat in America -

H2: Exactly.

R: which is barely food, you know?

H1: Exactly

R: I'm gradually becoming more and more vegan/vegetarian and I wrote an article recently about a low word count, low aisle count diet.

H2: mm

R: Basically now I'm looking for the ingredients (on food packages) and the more words that they have on them, it's usually more additives.

H1: mmhmm

R: the less I want to eat them. So, as I eat less prepared foods there are less aisles that I'm going to go to in the supermarket - if I even go to the supermarket at all.

H2: Exactly. And less packaging too.

R: [laughs]

H2: The least packaging, of course, is when you take your canvas bag to the farmers market and pick out exactly the products that you want and you bring them home and cook it fresh.

R: Yep, and used to be, I would be resistant to spend a little bit extra money on organic food but I'm really believing now that it's really going to increase my health, my longevity, and I'm going to feel better so it's worth the small extra cost, spending an extra dollar a pound here or there for things.

H1; I think you're right, Rob. I think in the long run, and I'm speaking from my own experience, I think ultimately you're paying more up front but ultimately you're going to reduce your medical bills and that sort of thing.

R: And it's another way to fight. The system, is about big, it's about power, it's about centralization, it's about globalization, and when you buy packaged products that are very processed, that are made by giant multi-billion dollar corporations, you're supporting a system that is maintaining a horrible, corrupt, political system we have. If you get local food grown on local farms and you buy products that are not heavily processed, you're not contributing money into that system and that's really important. The way we're going to change the world is to go local.

H2: That's - that's sort of the drum that we beat as often as, as possible.

H1: Rob, your Bottom Up philosophy signifies to me that you're concerned with empowering regular people. Could you share a story that illustrates a person's or group of people's empowerment?

R: A story that -

H2: illustrates Somebody becoming empowered from the bottom up

R: Well, Bottom Up Empowerment means getting people to become aware that they have their own power-- That they can do things on their own. Finding their power so, my work biofeedback was about that and has been about that, helping people to learn that they have more control over their bodies and their lives than they thought they had. Biofeedback teaches somebody they can learn how to control their heart rate or their brain waves or their muscle tension. Another example, there's a group here - I'm in Chicago right now, there's a group here in Chicago called ArtVanGoGo and their goal is to take art to people who don't have access to a lot of art. You know a lot of schools are being closed. Art and sports departments are being shut down or de-funded, so ArtVanGoGo goes out to different community groups and brings art. Now "why bring art?" They believe art is good for people and there are so many ways that art changes the way people see the world and it gives them different ways to think about things, it gives them ways to feel their own power, their own creativity. So I went along and I took some photographs with one group served by ArtVanGoGo; they were a group of women seventeen to twenty-one years old who were homeless in southside Chicago. And they had just recently gone from being homeless to having an apartment in a HUD facility. The project was to bring some art to them and so the Home Depot donated some flowers and some clay flower pots and potting soil.

R: and ArtVanGoGo brought brushes and paints and some music and the mothers, these women, and most of them are mothers, they started working, some of them with their kids, painting flower pots.

H2: mm

R: And it - it was amazing--first, these are street tough kids. They lived under bridges and one of them, the story goes, when she was given her apartment, said "can I close my eyes when I sleep now?" Oh, why wouldn't you close your eyes? "Because when I'm sleeping under a bridge and I close my eyes I get raped." These are tough kids and they have hard exteriors, but once they started working with the art, it started freeing up a different part of them and they were smiling and, it was just wonderful to see that and the creativity they brought to it was amazing. One of the woman got on her phone and accessed a page of Chinese characters and painted the Chinese characters for love and passion..

H2: awww

R: on her pot. And then another one asks, "what do I do with this plant?" Because they got flowers too, and they didn't know how to take care of a plant. They'd never had a plant, they never had a home to live in. That's the story. That's a story that really moved me. Just seeing -

H2: Yeah!

R: how - realizing how something, seeing such a little thing meant so much to these women.

H1: mmm

H2: Exactly. Yes.

R: Now of course you know there's Occupy and the Arab Spring. I spent a lot of time at five different Occupy locations particularly New York, Zuccotti Park, and in Philadelphia, but also in Washington and Trenton and in Rhode Island. Yeah for me those were very exciting times and Occupy is still very exciting for me and I believe that it's in-germination. It's not done.

H2: [ss] Yeah

R: There's a lot more to come of it and people are getting really pissed and there's more of this gonna happen. This is not over yet.

H2: Well I believe, I believe it. I think the major media have tried to make it look like it's dead and buried but you know, that the underlying passion and need and rebellion against the top down authority that we've been held under for so long is, it's got to still be brewing. It's got to be, I like your word germinating, because, you know, it's going to pop through the soil again and it's one of those things that it's gonna pop through in so many-different places and in so many different forms that the powers that be aren't going to be able to stomp it out everywhere.

R: You know Woody Guthrie, Woody Guthrie and Howard Zinn have both said that it's gonna take millions of little efforts and actions and changes that are gonna make the big changes happen.  And we never know which one it's going to be. I started a - called smallacts.org, small a c t s .org because I really believe that it's very often, and I just had somebody write an article about it the other day about avalanches, I think you commented on that article too, Burl,   that, sometimes an avalanche takes, the sound of the snap of a twig to move hundreds of thousands or millions of tons of snow and ice.

H2: mmm

R: And I think that could be the case and it probably will be the case when it comes to the changes that are going to happen here in the United States. It was very exciting for me to learn about Horizontalism. The HorizontalidadMovement of Argentina that Marina Sitrin has written about. In Argentina, the people took down the government then they did it again and again.

H2: mmhmm

R: They did it in Egypt. Now they have problems there, they got a military that is, is, is bad news but and, and that's part of the p-challenge. It's not like you can dismantle all of the top down systems. It's going to be difficult, it's going to be hard to - to do this but people can do it and we're seeing it happen and there's a meme. Bottom Up is a meme that is spreading to our culture that is literally changing the way young people's brains work.

H1: mhmm

R: I just did an interview with Howard Gardner, the developer of the concept of Multiple Intelligences and he has a new book out called, App Generation, because he believes that young people are starting to think in terms of apps.

H2: mmhmm

R: And that could be scary and it could be a problem but we're seeing the biggest businesses in the world now being built upon Bottom Up technologies. iPhones would not be as big as they were without text messaging and email and Google and Facebook and Twitter-- those are all Bottom Up technologies -

H1: mhhmm

R: that are fueling this huge new realm of business and all of that is changing the world in some very powerful ways. And, to me, what I hope to see is massive changes-- Massive changes in economics and the way we live.I'm not a Democrat or a Republican, I'm an Independent.

H2: mhmm

H1: mhmm

R: my favorite member of Congress is Bernie Sanders, he's a socialist.

H2: [laughs]

R: Socialism is kind of a, a word that that gets beat up pretty bad but the idea of everybody taking care of each other is something that's been around for millions of years for humans and their predecessors.

H2: [laughs]

R: and I think that's something to be proud to be into. This idea that everybody is for themselves and it's a jungle out there and a dog-eat-dog world, I think that that is a new concept that developed more recently. This Ayn Rand idea of Libertarian approaches is to me somewhere between narcissistic, and sociopath, and

H2: [laughs]

R: psych-psychopath.

H1: Well, eh - eh

R: in the world of mammals, they, they're kind, they're fair, they have morals and even the animals that kill, they kill to eat. They don't kill for the sake of killing, like humans do. We have so much to learn from the part of nature that we've ignored. I loved the ideas that Daniel Quinn talked about--I know you interviewed him a while back. So did I-- and his book, Ishmael, I think we have a lot to learn and a lot to remember that we've forgotten and I think that what's exciting about it is that this whole Bottom Up revolution is making people billions of dollars and making them very successful but it, at the same time, I - I've always liked the, the idea of morphogenic fields that Rupert Sheldrake has put out there, that if you put out an idea, it gets replicated. The more you put it out the more it's replicated. So I'm very hopeful that this is gonna lead to big, big changes. that will make the world a better kinder, fairer, more just place for everyone, not just for the handful of billionaires and the one hundred fifty thousand people in America who are multimillionaires. I have a big problem with that. I've written a number of articles, I'm not the only one, Tom Hartmann has written about it, too. I really believe we have to get rid of billionaires. We have to make it so it's no longer legal to be a billionaire. It's an abnormality, it's an abomination in my mind. There are a couple of decent people who are billionaires but there are way too many who are, the - in that other class: the narcissists and the psychopaths and the sociopaths.

H2: I was reading somebody who was saying that it's the billionaires that do have a conscience that are going to save us and I really, totally disagree with that. You know, if, if we're going to be saved as a species it's because we're going to save ourselves.

R: Right.

H2: It's not because somebody's going to finance or engineer some sort of big checking

H1: And you know I was also thinking, in backing up Rob on what he was saying is that the movement is also extremely, extremely diverse. I mean, in addition to some of the things that Rob, illustrated/ You have the various forms of of exchange for example, time banking, of course Ellen Brown and the public banking but even beyond that, there's other economies that are coming in, in to play and also with with foods there's the Permaculture Movement. There are the transition towns and so on that are very localized, ways of changing how people interact with each other and interact with nature and, and so on.  And so I, I think and you know I think that diversity is a wonderful thing because if there's, if you have a diverse movement, you know they're not going to be able to  zero in on one particular sect and knock them out and then, you know make them go away or whatever, but with all these diverse youth movements I think, you know that's exactly what going to create an evolution in our culture, in my humble opinion.

R: Well I really believe that the needed - we need literally to decide that we're going to fight against big, B I G.

H1: mhhmm

R: And it needs to be a battle.. We have to decide that big is dangerous. Big is destructive, big leads to corruption, and injustice, and we have to start developing a science of small.

H1: mhmm

R: I think that what we need to have is the government literally investing in people who are working on ways to keep businesses from getting big, where it's still possible to develop economies of scale like mass production without business getting too big and

H2: mhmm

R: that involves a lot of cooperation and interdependence and trust because what we have now is a business, if it likes a concept, it buys the smaller company and then it owns it and it controls it. We need to go away from more control of, of copyrights and patents. An artist and a writer should have some protection. Inventors should have some protection, but what we're seeing now is these troll companies that are buying up thousands of companies and instead of developing products they're just making it hard for companies. We need to figure out how to develop new technologies while staying small and we have to figure out some technologies we just don't need anymore, too because we've got to be more sustainable.

H2: And yet the new media and you know, something as big as the internet and some new technologies are facilitating this Bottom Up change. This -

R: Yeah it, it, it, it's a hard thing, you know? It, it, it could very well be that the ultimate result of the Bottom Up Revolution is that the technology fades away or it really radically changes. That's a possibility. but you know it, it, it's partly a value system. I really believe that it's worth looking at, thinking about Bottom Up as a value and part of the value system would include localization and sustainability, and getting rid of production for the sake of production and production aimed at driving consumption

H2: mmhmm

R: I - because if you can get rid of the consumer generated cultures, so and go back to things like shoes that are made to last ten or twenty years instead of made to wear out after one season, you have a different relationship to technology and manufacturing and work, too.

H1: Right so you're getting more into that quality and also you're getting more into relationships, because if people would know more about where their stuff is coming from. Rob if you can imagine seeing us a hundred years from now pretending people had listened to you and cultivated a bottom up world, what would that world look like?

R: Wow that's a great question. Ywalk outside and you see somebody who you know. It's your neighbor and you know their name and you know about them and they care about you and you care about them. And you're wearing clothes that maybe are identical to your neighbor's or maybe you painted on the clothes so you're painting is different from your neighbors, but there's no high fashion, there are no brands, it's all been made locally. How's that for a start?

H2: [laughs] That's a great start! I picture these clothes to being, as things that we're wearing currently wear out, just taking scraps that are still good of the various fabrics and eventually the clothing being like a a grab bag of all these different fabrics that are being reused and how colorful that would be.

R: I can imagine - no I like that and I imagine having clothing and shoe repair people coming back.

H2: mhmm

R: Because if you buy something that is not sustainable, because it's pretty and fashionable, it costs a lot more, not because the money goes to the designer, because the cost to the planet, the footprint of something like that, it's, if you calculate that in to the picture, makes it much more expensive.

H2: mhmm

R: So what becomes much more reasonably priced are handmade locally produced clothing that is made to last a long time and that's worth getting fixed.

H2: mmm

H1: mmm

H2: Yeah we have an interview coming up soon with a collaborative in New York city that fixes things. In fact I think they're called The Fixers or something like that but -

R: Is it a collaborative or a cooperative?

H2: I'm not sure.

R: Because the word cooperative--Gar Alperovitz talks about that a lot in his vision of the future beyond capitalism

H2: mhmm

R: And I really think that that's an exciting concept where workers own their businesses

H2: Yes, yes.

H1: Yeah I agree with that, we have a couple of cooperatives here in Maine,

H2: We're grown co-ops like Fed-Co, yeah

H1: Fed-Co Seeds - probably the bigger one, [SS with H2] and that's who we buy our seeds from when we plant for food.  Rob, why do you feel there is great power in stories?

R: You know I, I ran a conference on stories for 6 years called Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art, Science, and Application of Story, and I've come to believe that human's brains evolved to support story telling.

H1: mhmm

H2: mmm

R: People sat around the fire and they told stories and people who could tell good stories could get other people to listen to them and work with them and trust them and care about them. I really believe that if you can tell a story instead of give facts, it is profoundly more powerful and persuasive. I've done consulting with members at Congress and local candidates and I really believe that if you're running a campaign and you're giving a stump speech, if you just tell, well these are the issues I care about and I want sustainable energy I want to have voting where everybody gets to give equal donations, what have you, I think it's not nearly as powerful as if you say a story that you lived in your life that gave you an experience that taught you to care about those issues. And if you can do that and if you can weave stories into whatever it is you're trying to persuade people to do or to buy or to embrace, it's much more powerful.  If you go to church you hear stories.

H1: mhmm

R: And one thing that got me interested and motivated to run the conference was I realized that the after energy and transportation, I think the story business is one of the biggest business in the world. It's, it's not just books and newspapers and magazines and blogs and websites, and movies and television, it's marketing, it's the law, it's religion, it's politics. It's hard to be a person in this world without dealing with and - without encountering stories everywhere you go. And if you're going to be a part of the community, that community has a collection of stories that defines what it is and who it is and what it stands for, and if you're an individual, you're a person made up of stories and it's the stories that define who you are.

H2: hmm

H1: That just leads us right in to the next question which is: what kinds of stories can help people at the bottom claim their power, reclaim their power?

R: Well that's a good question. I really like the writing of Paulo Freire who wrote the book, the Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

H2: mmhmm

R: If you're an activist and you're not familiar with that book, you gotta read it. It's an amazing, ah book that just celebrated its forty-fifth anniversary. I - the first copy I bought was a twenty-fifth anniversary edition from 1993 and at that time a half a million copies had been sold. Basically the message there is that people who are oppressed and their oppressors are both victims.

H1: mhmm

H2: mhmm

R: But only the oppressed can free themselves and the oppressors from the situation. And outsiders can't do it for them, so like you said, you know, a billionaire is gonna save us? No! We have to save ourselves. If somebody doesn't have healthcare and a bunch of doctors have a single payer healthcare organization, those doctors aren't going to save those millions of people. If those millions of people wake up and they realize that they have the power then they can, they can save themselves. So stories need to be about waking up and you know, my favorite story is the hero's journey. Joseph Campbell wrote a book called Hero With a Thousand Faces. Chris Vogler wrote a book for writers called The Writer's Journey, and the idea of the hero's journey is that somebody gets an invitation or a call--a call to adventure. Eh, eh, to, to and it's really an invitation to become a  new person,  for their old self to die and for a new person to be born. And the hero's journey is probably the ultimate story for, for bottom up energization, activation, awakening. A good example of  the hero's journey I like to use is the Star Wars story.

H1: mhmm

R: with Luke Skywalker. It ends up George Lucas actually was fascinated with Joseph Campbell's writing, got to know him, and he integrated the hero's journey in to Star Wars. So you have Luke Skywalker starting off living on this backwards planet, harvesting the,  these little devices, and little robot, R2D2 comes along and Princess Leia says, "please help me! Obi wan Kenobe says hey you wanna join me and we'll rescue the princess and you can learn some stuff?" And as often happens when the hero's journey arrives, arrives, and you get the call to adventure, you reject it at first. Luke says, "Nah, I don't think so. I have to do my regular stuff with my aunt and uncle." But what often happens with the hero's journey is, if you get the call once and you resist it, sometimes it comes back harder. In the case with Luke, his aunt and uncle are killed by Darth Vadar

H2: mhmm

R: And it changes his life and it literally changes the galaxy, and usually, when you accept the call, you cross the threshold ,and it's a scary threshold that has threshold guardians and there's usually a mentor, somebody to help you to do that. I've given talks on the hero's journey to people who are healers and therapists, and I talk to them about how people who get headaches or cancer-- that's a call to adventure, that's a call to become a new person. You know some people, their response is "I'll go to the doctor, I'll get drugs, I'll get X-ray'd and I'll get chemotherapy and I'll die." And for some people it's, "I'm gonna change my life.  I'm gonna go on a diet, I'm gonna become a vegan, I'm gonna start exercising, I'm gonna start doing meditation and yoga," and it, and they really become a different person. So once you cross the threshold in the hero's journey, you start on a road of change and trials and challenges and those are basically, that's a big part of it, I mean, I don't want to get in the whole thing, it's a wonderful concept and it's really worth learning because it's hard to imagine. And anybody who is living a full engaged life, constantly encounters calls to adventure and opportunities to heroically wake up and be reborn again as a new person.

H2: You're reminding me very much of the "Neverending Story" and the the threshold that the character in the Land of Imagination have to cross but also the threshold that the reader of the book has to cross when the, eh when the reader realizes that he's being called upon to name the next character to name the princess.

R: I'm not familiar-- I saw the movie but it didn't have that, I never saw the book, and certainly in that you've got to suspend your disbelief and open yourself to new ideas.

H2: uhumm. How does the hero's journey relate to Bottom Up Empowerment?  In other words, I guess I'm saying how do you get somebody who's down and out to recognize the challenges, the invitations that are being given to them to become their own hero?

R: Well, this is where I get in to this whole concept of Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, people need to wake up. They need to become aware that they are oppressed and that they can do something about it. And once that happens, they can start learning what it takes to become free. What it takes to change things. So many of the people in the U.S. are asleep. They're so engaged in everyday jobs, creating debt to buy things they don't need, watching entertainment that distracts them from what's important, that they are literally asleep, and they don't know that they are slaves in a system, that they are stuck in a system, that they have so much more power to control than they think they do, and that's part of it, is waking up. There's a book called Callings and I can't think of the name of the author right now, but it's a wonderful book and it, the first step of the hero's journey is to get the call.

H2: mmm

R: But to get the call you have to hear the call, or see the call, or experience the call. And, the book talks about how it can come to you in dreams and meditations and fantasies. you can trip upon it, but not everybody sees it. Some people are just stuck in their own, field of poppies, like in The Wizard of Oz.

H2: chuckles, mm right

R: Like Dorothy and the- her crew fall asleep. And you have to wake up. And waking up is, is something that-- other people can help you wake up. New experiences can help you wake up. But, when you wake up, understanding that there's a process, this hero's journey that you go through--that it's hard, that you're old self died, that your new self is facing challenges. And you've got to find new resources and skills, new allies-- those are all pieces of becoming the new person that you're being reborn as. The hero who can stand up to your old self and the, and cure the world, because that's what the hero's journey is all about. Getting a call, because your world needs healing. It needs change and it takes a heroic person to be brave enough to let go of the old ways, to be reborn, to develop all these new skills and then to go back to the old world and to be both the heroic person in the new world and the person who can help to bring about the change in the old world. And this is what so many myths are about. What Campbell discovered and wrote about is, in The Hero With 1000 Faces, is there are a thousand myths, a thousand stories from a thousand cultures that all tell the same story

H2: right

H1: And Campbell had a big impact on the, I, I read several of his books along with some of the Jung. He was also very much influenced by Young.

H2: You're also taking me back in time because I did my master's thesis in the education on Paulo Freire. Interestingly, the way I presented is ah, I wrote this script where I was in-interviewing a friend of mine who I had stand in for Paulo Freire, and of course I had to teach this friend how Freire thought but I was asking questions and then I opened it up to the audience to ask questions and some of my professors said that they forgot that they weren't actually talking to Freire, that they got so drawn in to the dialogue and the question and the, the urgency of his ideas, that they felt that they were. And I said to them well you know of course you are talking to, to him, he's talking to all of us and as we answer and ask questions that I'll have to go back to reading Freire again.

R: It's, it's, it's a simple concept really but it's one that i think so many activists forget that they can't do the change for the people that are advocating for, they have to awaken those people and teach them how to help themselves. And that ,they can do.

H2: hmm. Mhmm. I think it's Freire that said that " the word is the world. " And when  when you open the word up to people when they begin to realize that they have something to say, they almost automatically become literate and become  in-communication with all thought everywhere.

R: It's a way to give people power

H2: mhmm

H1: mhmm

R: It's a way to let people discover their power and that's huge.

H1: Well yeah and I think that's, that's the foundation I, I mean I see it in your work and also hopefully it comes through in mine, is that the power is going to have to come from each, each one of us within our communities and that sort of thing.

R: Yeah I, I have to tell ya, Burl, I really love the writing that you do and the work that you do.

H1: Thank you

R: It's, it's really good stuff.  You know, can I talk a little about OpEdNews?

H1: Yes

H2: Certainly! Please do.

R: I started Opednews as my personal blog and I started inviting people to write for it and then , after about two year,s I got - started getting a lot of people to write for it and it got to the point where I couldn't upload by FTP, and create the files and the articles for everybody each day so I, I worked with a programmer and designed a content management system to do it so that people could submit their content directly. And I didn't know about Word Press, or Blogger, so I built my own and I've been working on that and continuing to build my own content management system since two thousand five and then now it has over one hundred sixty five thousand articles on it and - what I learned as I was going along -- was this bottom up idea.  Opednews - what I found was, the more I got the writers and the editors involved, I, I started recruiting editors, we have,at any one time we have between thirty five and fifty volunteer editors usually, the more I got them involved, the more I gave them the voice and the control with decision making the better it got the more successful it got. And I really believe Opednews is kind of unique, the -- it - we give people the place where they can have a voice. If you can write coherently and intelligently, you're going to get published in Opednews unless you're talking about hate or just right wing stuff. I mean, we're a left wing progressive site, so we're not going to publish you if you're advocating that anybody can have a gun at any time for example or that- creationism is, should be treated with equal footing with scientific ideas about evolution. But ye- we've published people from all over the world. Last month we reached people in two hundred and eleven countries (and territories)

H1: Wow

H2: Wow

R: Last month we had over two hundred thousand unique visitors and my belief is that there is a real need for a place where people can find - get a voice. And that's what Opednews attempts to do, in a way, with integrity, so that it can be trusted, too. We had to struggle with our policies related to conspiracy theories for example.

H2: mhhm

R: We've made the decisions that we're not going to cover certain topics because we want to be treated, seen as credible, while also being open minded and flexible too. So, we've evaluated some issues and we cover some and some we don't. But, our goal is to keep it really wide open and give people voices and I think we're pretty successful with that. If your listeners have something to say and want to write about it, we'd like to see your writing. Sign up as a member and you submit to our queue and one of our volunteer editors will evaluate your content. It gets processed faster if it's under a thousand words but we get long stuff, too. We've had articles as long as twenty seven thousand words and we're working with a couple of authors now who are literally putting their whole books on the website.

H2: How would somebody that wanted to contact you or submit something to you, do it? What--

R: Go to Opednews .com and sign up as a member in the upper right hand corner there's a place to sign up. It's just in the banner area, I think, I forget whether it's the very top or just below the banners and become a member and then log in and go to YOUR ARTICLES tab and submit an article and it'll go into the queue and somebody will get a look at it, usually within one to three days, sometimes in as little as a couple hours, sometimes as long as a week if it's over one thousand words.

H2: I wanna give a shout out, too to Blogtalk radio which is the platform that we're working on right now because in a way, they're doing the same thing with voice communication that you're doing with , with print communication. And these avenues that are setting up a platform and then you know obviously using some discretion as to whose voice they allow but still allowing such a wide Panoply of voices to emerge and have the chance to be heard and to clarify their ideas.

H1: And I also think in terms of your stuff with the hero's journey I really think with, the radio show and hopefully it comes through in, in my writings is that there is kind of a web being woven from the inside out from different peoples really focusing on different arenas, whether it be agriculture, education, diet, eh, religion, spirituality, whatever, is that there is, there's this web being woven that all these things mirror one another in their own way but it's all about empowering the self which is exactly what you're doing with the hero's journey. And you know I'm kind of batting my head against a wall right now trying to figure out, "okay how am I going to put this into an article.

H2: [laughs]

H1: Because I think it's extremely important that folks start to see the patterns.

R: I, I agree. I think that you know, how do I put it? First of all I just want to mention if people want to listen to my radio show they can go to iTunes and look for my name --Rob Kall, k a l l but in terms of what you're describing you know, what I've said before is that you know when the giant dinosaurs ruled the earth, the little mammals didn't attack the dinosaurs.  The ecology changed, and the dinosaurs died, the mammals survived. [

H1: So true.

H2: [laughs] Definitely. As we're - as we're winding down, what message or advice would you give, our listeners regarding what they can be doing to bring about a more resilient equitable and just future?

R: Try to stay local. Try to source locally. Don't do business with big chains, don't buy products that are made by international giant companies,. You want to fight big and stay small, You want to wake up, discover your power, discover how your power can be maximized by inter-cooperation interdependence, trust people--you;ve  got to be careful with how you do that, but trust is an essential part in the Bottom Up Revolution.

R: And if you pull those ingredients together you will find that you will be on a hero's journey that could change your life and change the world.

H2: Go Rob!  Yes, thank you that's a wonderful note to end on and thank you for taking this time to share with us and our listeners. We have two episodes coming in the upcoming week. Monday evening we will host Robert Scott Bell who was a radio show host at Natural News Radio and G.P.N. and he addresses self-healing.  Robert envisions this: people re-claiming their health sovereignty from the destructive clutches of the medical and pharmaceutical industry. And then on Wednesday evening we'll be hosting don [var] Oscar Miro-Quesada, a Peruvian Shaman and author of Lessons in Courage. Through years of apprenticeship and study, don [var] Oscar has learned how to walk between the worlds to gain a deep understanding of the nature of our universe. He envisions this: bringing the wisdom, healing, and power of an ancient tradition to a world that is in desperate need of it. So please tune in to these two great visionaries who can help us to create a more resilient healthy, and equitable future. And thank you for joining us tonight.

R: Yeah it's been a pleasure being with you.

H1: Yeah it's been great, Rob. It's been nice to actually, you know hear the voice behind the - the main [inaudible] where I write, so -

H2: [laughs]

H1: it's been great.

[exit music]

Submitters Bio:

Burl is an avid writer and publishes to OpEd News. He is author of "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature." As of this writing, Burl is planning to self-publish the book. Alongside his wife, Burl co-hosts an on line radio show that seeks to give voice to visionaries of a just, sustainable and equitable future. The show is called "Envision This!". Burl's primary passion is in the unity of world religions to science and the holographic nature of the universe in which the part mirrors the whole. Burl has a master's degree in counseling psychology. He is currently retired from work that involved helping families with problem behaviors in their adolescents. From a larger systems issue perspective, this work helped to save the state money by keeping kids in the home. The work Burl did with these kids helped him to consolidate a long felt intuition that the sociopathic behaviors of criminals, both adults and children, mirror the criminality of the primary system. This helped to reinforce Burl's interest in the holographic theory of physicist David Bohm as well as the neurologist Karl Pribram. Both of these men came up with the holographic theory independent of each other (yes, the did meet). IN essence, the theory states the part mirrors the whole. As such, Burl will often say that how a fetus builds itself in the womb via the interactions of the parts, then so does the Earth. Indeed, as far as the Earth is concerned, this is the primary thesis of James Lovelock.

Burl's job in writing is to try and flesh out this holographic pattern. In addition to writing Sophia's Web, Burl has written fiction. He has a fictional book titled "Mermaiden's Tale" which is about a love affair between a man and a woman who wind up being on a different planet because the the Earth was being destroyed by the actions of the corporations and the government. Burl also writes poetry. He is torn about publishing because poetry to him is highly organic and evolves constantly. Thus, Burl's best works are those written several years ago which have been changed over the years. This brings us to Burl's basic message: Consistency is change. Everything in the universe is evolving in relationship to everything else. More than that, each one of us sparks an evolution on this planet in our being. Perhaps the best way to put this is that everything is in relationship to everything. To use a simple example, as I type, I breathe out carbon dioxide, which the trees breathe in. The trees then breathe out oxygen which we breathe in. The planet specifically and the universe in general is one system that is maintained in diversity. Could this be why the universe is comprised of "uni" or oneness and "verse" signifying versatile? Or, as the saying goes, "all for one and one for all."