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One of the wisest people I know said to me this morning, “You know all that New Age lore about how the world would come to an end in 2012? That’s what has happened. It just arrived a few years early.”

But being truly wise, she didn’t spend time outlining all the conspiratorial considerations evoked by that mystical date. (A recent Googling of the term “2012” produced 251 million references.) Instead she focused on the post-2012 prognostications, most specifically those that predict that the earth’s inhabitants will finally understand about interdependency and interconnectedness.

“Using the ‘butterfly effect’ on weather patterns is just a little too abstract for most people to understand,” she pointed out. “But money—that’s something everyone uses and everyone needs. The worldwide economic breakdown has demonstrated that interconnectedness in stark terms. That is a concept that most people can understand.”

“For example, when a healing center has to close down because of Bernard Madoff, the interconnectivity starts to hit home.”

This theme has continued to appear in unexpected ways throughout my day. Working in isolation in a studio would not usually lend itself to contemplation of the Great Chain of Being. But maybe it is time I changed that to this: Working in isolation in a studio is the perfect place to contemplate the Great Chain of Being.

Metaphysical, economic, aesthetic, materialistic, scientific, creative, political. It is hard to tease any of them out as stand alones.

In keeping with these thoughts, here is an excerpt from my insightful friend A. This passge is from his “regular as rain” Sunday morning email sent to friends and family:

I am a self-isolated person, I know. Matthew Arnold in the 1850s expressed exquisitely my own life-long isolation, “in the sea of life enisled.” At the time that he was writing his beautiful disconsolate poems, the educated class of a certain aesthetic temperament had abjectly succumbed to the century’s gloomy mechanistic science, each soul marooned on his own island, separated from community by the “unplumb’d, salt, estranging sea.” All through my teen years, I re-fought the late nineteenth century dispute between science and religion. The battle goes on, with no prospect of ending, and is the backdrop for my reactions to Peru.

Prior to ingesting the vegetation of the Amazon, I hadn’t recognized any kinship with the plant kingdom. I did not suspect that all trees are the family tree. Or that the intricate feints and subterfuges with which plants chemically self-protect from disease and insects could activate my bio-chemistry too. The same force that drives the green fuse of the ayahuasca vine also drives my human synapses, setting off manic visions that accelerate down corridors of thought like a hollywood car chase. Indeed, why shouldn’t carbon-based life in all forms share common chemical configurations. In fact, if all creation is of common origin, there must be some sort of connection with the earth too, its oceans pulled by the moon, the continents shifting on tectonic plates. Astrological correspondence between constellations and individual fate could reflect common origins too playing out at a cosmic level, something akin to the inexplicable synchronicities between separated particles, derided (but never disproved) by Einstein as “spooky action at a distance.” The fabulist in me imagines us as software bits in a master program, co-existing in a single mind, a cosmology akin to the supercomputer or Great Western Beast of conspiracy theory. While I don’t believe in a secret protocol or cabal of elders, neither do I believe man is the bare forked creature of mechanics. For me, this battle goes on.

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