Harm Reduction

Transcript: Fantastic Fungi, the Mycelial Network, and Symbiosis – Louie Schwartzberg

The Third Wave · August 15th, 2020

Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Louie Schwartzberg.

This podcast features an intellectually orgasmic conversation between Paul F. Austin, founder of Third Wave, and Louie Schwartzberg, the award-winning producer, director, and cinematographer responsible for the breakaway film, Fantastic Fungi.

Tune in to hear what they have to say about the creation and grassroots promotion of Fantastic Fungi, the power of a personal mycelial network to bring people together, the role of the back to the land movement, finding wonder and awe, and growing your own tomatoes.

In this episode we talk about:

  • More than mushrooms: How Fantastic Fungi tells the story of the underground network and shared economy needed for ecosystems to flourish.
  • Creating a personal mycelial network to bring people together, create connections and bonds, and invigorate local communities.
  • The power of maintaining creative control.
  • Why everyone got Darwin wrong: From survival of the fittest to symbiosis.
  • Broadening horizons and changing perspectives by making the invisible visible.
  • The back to the land movement: Living in harmony with nature, forest bathing, organic farming, and regenerative agriculture.
  • Curiosity, unveiling the mystery, and finding wonder and awe.
  • Brought down by a microbe: What coronavirus can teach us.
  • How repression and divisiveness can lead to unity and systemic change.
  • Beauty as nature’s tool for survival.

0:00:00 Paul Austin: This week’s podcast is with the man, Louie Schwartzberg, director of Fantastic Fungi. Got 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, is the most visually stunning documentary that I’ve ever seen, and one of the best about mushrooms and psychedelics. We had such a good talk this week, you will enjoy it.

0:00:18 PA: Welcome to the Third Wave podcast, I’m your host, Paul Austin, here to bring you cutting edge interviews with leading scientists, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. We’re exploring how we can integrate psychedelics in an intentional and responsible way for both healing and transformation. It is my honor and privilege to bring you these episodes, as you get deeper and deeper into why these medicines are so critical to the future of humanity. So, let’s go, and let’s see what we can explore and learn together in this incredibly important time.

0:00:55 PA: Listeners, welcome back to the Third Wave podcast. I’m your host, Paul Austin, just finished off with another phenomenal podcast interview, this one with Louie Schwartzberg, director of Fantastic Fungi, who is just a total gangster. Louie comes from two Jewish parents who survived the Holocaust, talked about in the very beginning of this podcast how he believes in resilience, about overcoming the story of victimization and showing resilience to build and create something beautiful. And then we went on to have just a beautiful conversation about mushrooms and the mycelial network and the back to land movement that he was involved with in the late ’60s and early ’70s. We talked about Wonder and Awe, which is actually the focus of a new podcast that Louie is launching, in the next… I think it just launched at the time that you’ll hear this. And then most importantly, we talked about Fantastic Fungi, this phenomenal documentary that Louie produced and launched last year. It took him 10 years to produce this documentary and the time lapse photography is incredible. Louie is basically known as the time lapse videographer cinematography guy.

0:02:16 PA: He is phenomenally talented, has made a number of other short videos that are on Netflix, about nature, did something with Disney about bees and from my perspective, Fantastic Fungi is more or less a magnum opus of his. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, it is now on Apple TV, you can watch it in your own home. And regardless, I really think you’ll love this podcast, Louie and I just drop in to a beautiful space. As he said, once we were off the air, this was like the college days again, when you’d go back in like a corner and hide out from everyone and fucking light up a joint and then just dive right into these intellectually orgasmic conversations. And that was the type of conversation that we had; it was intellectually orgasmic. So, I’m feeling like you all will enjoy this one, as always. Without further ado, I bring you Louie Schwartzberg.

0:03:09 PA: What responsibility did you feel with creating Fantastic Fungi?

0:03:14 Louie Schwartzberg: Basically, as a storyteller and a film maker, when someone shares their story with you, it’s a blessing and a curse. [chuckle] Because now you have a responsibility to share that story, and so whether it’s been stories like I did with America’s Heart and Soul back in 2000. I filmed like 300 hours, 30 stories of remarkable, but ordinary people across America that have passion for their life, that have overcome adversity, yet are still filled with gratitude. And those are stories that I think I gravitate to because my parents were Holocaust survivors. And I saw how they were able to have hope and gratitude in their lives, so I love those stories of people that are resilient, they don’t let anything bring them down, become a victim of it.

0:04:06 LS: So, when you hear these stories, you have a responsibility to share them. With Fantastic Fungi, what a great, great story of, basically in a nutshell, the core story is you have this underground network, a shared economy, not based on greed, for ecosystems to flourish. What a genius, not only idea, but the actual path that nature has laid under our feet for how we need to live our lives, our culture, our social lives, our politics, all of it. And it’s all kind of blowing up right now with this period of things breaking down and we need a breakthrough, but that pattern, that blueprint is right there in front of us. And so when you learned about that story, then you want to share it, and it goes to what we were talking about working and being an entrepreneur and responsibility, it’s like you build the network and you find ways to get that message out there and to share the truth, live your life with purpose. And then that’s one of the ways you become happy.

0:05:22 PA: When I first heard about Fantastic Fungi, this was probably the end of 2019. I was speaking with two really close friends of mine, and they were telling me about the film, and they had microdosed and gone to see it, they were like, “Paul, you have to see this film.” And these people are phenomenal people, anything they would recommend I would immediately go and do it. And they’re like, “we went and saw this, the cinematography is incredible, it’s absolutely stunning, took him 10 years to make it.” I was like, “Ten years, that’s so long,” and then at the end of that, they threw in what I thought was the most interesting part of it all, which is your promotional strategy. And what they said was like you essentially… You could have sold it to Netflix or you could have done it that way, but you wanted to do it through the sort of mycelial network. I’d love to hear about that part from you, did you feel pressure? Tell us that story around promotion and getting the word out, like why did you choose and why have you continued to choose promoting Fantastic Fungi in this way?

0:06:26 LS: When I started this film, it was almost 13 years ago, I did sort of make a vow to myself that I wanted to be able to control it. But because I’m a control freak, but in the past, when you make films that other people own, whether it’s the studios or Nat Geo or whatever, it’s like you lose the ability to have a voice in how it’s distributed and how it’s marketed. And then typically what happens is by the time the film is finished, which takes years, a year or two, then maybe the guy that liked your project has gone, and then there’s politics and all that other stuff. So I kind of always wanted to be in that position.

0:07:03 LS: Luckily, I was able to finish the film and maintain control, but then when offers come in like a streaming channel, then they want it to be only used for streaming. And the idea of creating events, being able to hold a space for conversation, being able to do charity events, all kinds of stuff that… Opportunities, well, then that becomes restricted when somebody else owns it. And so I didn’t wanna have my heart broken again. I did a film, Wings of Life, for Disney Nature, which was all about saving the bees, the most critical environmental thing that’s happening on our planet, and all a sudden, it gets blocked, and you go, “WTF. Why is the universe doing that?” and…

0:07:48 PA: Wait, it got blocked?

0:07:50 LS: Well, they didn’t distribute it because there was a change in executive command. And for two years, they blocked releasing a Disney Nature film. The guy didn’t want to promote that label when they have Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar. So it’s not like there was anything that is nefarious, it’s sort of like you just fall off the radar and you’re going, “Wait a minute, man. This is the most important thing for our planet,” and you lose the ability to take your baby and voice that story. So with this particular film, I didn’t wanna do that, but I was at a crossroads, because in order to distribute anything yourself it takes money, and it meant having to raise that money. And I was at Esalen, at the 50th anniversary of the first psychedelic conference that occurred. It was the anniversary and it was amazing to be there ’cause it there’s… Part of that is in my movie. We have some old archival footage of all these guys coming together, like Charlie Grob and Brother David, and to have this conversation about psychedelics. These were the elders. They were around 1970.

0:09:04 LS: And so, they had a session on media. They asked me to show the trailer. I showed the trailer. And people immediately go, “When is it gonna be on Netflix? When are we gonna be able to see it?” And I go, “I don’t know if I want to do that,” because I wanna be able to bring this to the community. I want to hold the space, have people have conversation, grow that mycelial network, bring all these people together. Or if I do the other thing, I get a small chunk of change which doesn’t even cover my budget really, and I lose control. And so right then and there, people started to volunteer. They raised their hands and said, “I’ll give you five grand.” “I’ll give you 10 grand.” I said I needed like 150 to really launch your own movie. That’s the minimum to be serious, to compete with the $100 million, $200 million movies that are in the marketplace, right?

0:09:54 LS: So right then and there, $60,000 or $70,000 was committed. And then bingo, I went, “The mushrooms are speaking to me. This is the way I gotta go.” Because it wasn’t like a lot of money, but it was significant in that it was the DNA of where the psychedelic movement occurred. And then right after that, I was invited to show the film in Portland where they have an initiative to decriminalize Psilocybin for medical use. And again, it was like one of these things where, “Oh, I don’t know. It’s another fundraiser. I mean, I want to support that. I didn’t know if I wanted fly up to Portland.” It’s like this and that, and you figure you’re gonna just fly in and fly out. I fly in. I look at the marquee. It says “Fantastic Fungi.” I fly in early, Sunday morning from LA, and it’s sold out.

[laughter]

0:10:48 LS: And all they did was put it up on Facebook. So through the mycelial network, boom, the thing just sold out. And for a filmmaker, that’s really a rare experience. And I saw the energy in the audience. So you had people showing up that are foragers, psychonauts, scientists, teachers, healers, environmentalists. All connecting, actually even before the movie, in the lobby. They all know each other, or they kinda know each other, right? The mycelial network, it’s like making these connections and bonds. And I see people hugging, which I wish we could do now.

[laughter]

0:11:27 LS: And feeling the love, right? Young people, older people, all kinds of people, diverse people, and then we do the movie and then I do a Q&A. And then during the Q&A, we invite local leaders that are either involved in the movement to decriminalize psychedelics or foragers, talking about the mycology, or chefs, or local environmental leaders to talk about how to save the bees, which is all part of it. And that invigorates the local community to keep doing the good work that needs to get done, and that really warmed my heart. It told me that I was on the right path, and it’s turned out to be, knock on wood, good. Because through the mycelial network, we sold out well over 500 screenings. Before COVID, we grossed $2.2 million. We got a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

0:12:23 LS: I had shown the film to distributors, even the quote-unquote “arthouse distributors,” none of them wanted it, you know. So I knew there was a audience out there, just as you know, there’s a audience out there. And it was important to launch it and to really, I think, catalyze a movement, a movement, an underground movement that is… We both know is growing. And how fast and how big, not sure. But we know it exists, and we know we wanted to be a part of it, and we know we wanted it to grow.

0:13:00 PA: Because it is so healing and these mushroom have this innate intelligence. There’s a beautiful symbiosis with mushrooms and the earth, and that to me it’s sort of like… With Fantastic Fungi and I’m just gonna assume that anyone who’s listening to this has at least seen it or at least heard about it. If you haven’t seen it yet, obviously go see it immediately. I think by the time this podcast will be published…

0:13:25 LS: Yeah.

0:13:25 PA: It’s now on Apple TV, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can see it on Apple TV. But I think that was something that was so beautiful. On our podcast, we often talk about psychedelics in particular, but within Fantastic Fungi, it was sort of broken up into three sections. It was… You went into the psychedelic research that’s going on at places like Johns Hopkins and how Psilocybin is being used to treat end-of-life anxiety. But I think there were a ton of fascinating little tidbits with, particularly with the segments that you had Paul Stamets on about mushrooms that were used to treat his mother’s cancer. I think he talked about Turkey Tail.

0:14:05 LS: Right.

0:14:05 PA: How that was so useful, about mushrooms that could be used to soak up toxins, like oil in the Amazon, to help with that. So, I think to me it’s like we’re seeing this growth of interest in mushrooms, both non-psychoactive and obviously, psychoactive mushrooms, and they seem to… Because mushrooms are really our oldest ancestors, we go back billions of years when we first split off as one, and there’s so, so much that we still have to learn from mushrooms. And if humanity happens to go extinct, the mushrooms will still be around. And maybe another billion years down the road, intelligence will flourish in some other way or form, or whatever.

0:14:50 LS: Yeah. What’s really fascinating me, the mushrooms are like the fruit of the organism, the organism being this mycelium network and a lot of people don’t know that. I didn’t probably know that when I started the movie either. But what’s interesting about that, and I think how it relates to the work that you guys are doing, it’s a different way of looking at what is the definition of life. The mycelium network is a conscious network of all these cells without a central brain, it’s sentient, right? It is aware. It engages with its environment by always having to evolve and create new enzymes in order to devour the thing that’s like on the outside. But their genius at really connecting trees to one another and plants to one another, to share nutrients, to be an electrical grid, a warning system. And it’s more powerful than this idea of the internet. People describe it as an underground internet under the ground.

0:15:55 LS: That’s a major cool idea. It’s beyond that, because the internet is like this highway, super highway, where we use it to transfer information. But they’re basically living agents that are navigating this underground network and figuring out who to connect with whom. And that is even more amazing. And so if you kinda zoom out and look at that, then you go, “Well, wow. Perhaps that’s the way we ought to be living our lives,” this idea of the connections you make, your relationships you make, the idea that cooperation is maybe the most important thing, relationships, symbiosis, regeneration, rebirth.

0:16:42 LS: This is what life is, as opposed to the capitalistic kind of predator versus prey story which we’ve been fed for the past 30, 40, 50 years, the macho story of kill or be killed, survival of the fittest. We gotta let go of that story ’cause that’s the story that’s driving us off a cliff. But the mycelial network, when you look at that story, that is the other side of the story that Darwin was trying to say. As a matter of fact, it was the majority of what Darwin was saying. They lifted out that phrase “survival of the fittest,” Teddy Roosevelt and people in the ’30s, to justify imperialism of us invading third world countries. So most of what Darwin wrote about was botany, it was about plants, and plants are all about symbiosis.

0:17:37 LS: So, I just love the idea that this is maybe… The mushrooms are telling us a grand story. And even beyond the wisdom you would get on a psychedelic journey, if you just look at it from a very biological, ecological point of view, how they function, how they foster and make life flourish, which is the key to survival, which is why we’re here, that to me, is the major breakthrough that I learned in making that movie.

0:18:11 PA: Well, it’s like the story of separation versus the story of interconnectedness.

0:18:18 LS: Yeah, yeah.

0:18:19 PA: There’s a great philosopher who we had on the show before, Charles Eisenstein, who has written quite a bit about this, and he even brought this up in terms of the context of what’s going on with the virus right now, right? There’s obviously a big hope of the psychedelic renaissance, if you will, has been, oh, medicalising or legalizing or decriminalizing these substances, more people who use psychedelics will then recognize how interconnected we are to everything around us. And a lot of people said, “Well, maybe it just took a virus for us to wake up to that and for us to recognize that.” And I think that’s the true power of the mushroom, it’s they live in that interconnectedness, they live in that symbiosis.

0:19:03 PA: And you were saying, we know a lot about the fruiting spores, if you will, the fruiting bodies, ’cause those are the mushrooms that we see in the woods and in the forest. But what I think I learned so much in Fantastic Fungi was all about the mycelial network. And that phrase has almost become synonymous now with the psychedelic renaissance. Where this isn’t necessarily about, okay, how can pharmaceutical corporations sort of co-opt all these medicines, but instead, what I love about the movements around decriminalization is, let’s keep this in the community. Let’s keep the healing in the community. Let’s keep the energy within the community. Let’s really honor our ancestors and our lineage, where this medicine comes from, so that we ensure that it remains grounded and it remains from the earth and not from a laboratory or anything like that. Because we’ve been living in symbiosis, like we talked about earlier with mushrooms, forever, and it feels like there’s a true soul calling to stay in touch with that and to eat more mushrooms, both non-psychoactive and psychoactive.

0:20:11 PA: I mean, it’s like every week now, Louis, that I get a pitch deck in my inbox about a new mushroom company that’s sprouting up. And I think that’s such a powerful way to go, okay, maybe slowly but surely more and more people are figuring it out. And it’s not necessarily gonna be one of those things where it’s the usual sort of capitalistic growth, like the hockey stick of growth. That’s what we’re trying to avoid, in fact. What we really wanna do is see a day over day, month over month, year over year, just the mycelial network spreading more and more and more and more until these sort of fundamental truths of well-being and living just become part of human culture. And I think it’s that that we wanna see. We don’t necessarily need a major revolution and overthrowing all the systems that we already have in place. We just need the mycelial network to permeate all the systems and turn it into that sense of symbiosis and interconnectedness.

0:21:13 LS: Oh, absolutely. I think it’s so true. The patterns in a mycelial network, and they mirror the pattern that’s in your brain and your circulatory system, the nervous system, in outer space, it’s everywhere. And I… That idea of networking… When people say, “Well, the film is so beautiful.” Well, that was part of the secret sauce message of the movie. What is beauty? I’m showing you rhythms and patterns of nature that live inside of every cell of your body. You’re looking at a mirror and you’re going, “Oh, my God. I recognize this because it makes me feel good. It’s truth.” You don’t teach anybody how to recognize beauty. It’s an emotion you feel, and I feel I triggered that emotion by making the invisible visible with the shots of time-lapse and slow-mo, and micro and macro, and showing you those… There is a universe out there.

0:22:10 LS: Just because we don’t see it with the limitation of our human vision, which is a narrow spectrum of light. There is so much energy out there that surrounds us and so much life that surrounds us. And it’s great that we can dive into that world. To dive into the world of the mushroom. To dive into the world of a flower, a humming bird, a redwood tree. They all have different metabolic rates, and I think that one of the gifts, obviously, of taking a journey with Psilocybin, is you understand the idea that it’s all alive, that it’s all interconnected, and you can see it and feel it. And once you see it and feel it, I think your life is forever changed.

0:22:54 LS: And I tried to do that, again with the movie, for those that have never experienced anything like that before, to be able to broaden your horizon, change your perspective, look at life differently, look at the interconnection, without even taking a psychedelic journey, right? And that’s why I’m really thrilled that it’s gonna be on Apple TV next week because I want to hit a wider audience. You were saying, “Let’s slowly grow this mycelial network,” I completely agree. But I also think it’s gonna be easy as a bridge to get others to come on board, to get the farmers on board and say, “Boy, if you nurture the mycelium and the fungal network on your farm, you’re gonna get a 20%, 30% yield in crop.” They’re gonna get it a heartbeat, they just have never, I think, been exposed to it.

0:23:53 LS: They’ve been sold on using petro fertilizers and that’s been the way of life. That’s the way it’s been since the ’50s or ’60s, and when you learn the whole organic approach to farming… Again, that’s a spiritual path, right? Living in harmony with nature is always gonna be a spiritual path.

0:24:14 PA: It’s like biodynamic farming, I think, is the technical term that they use for that now. Not only… There’s organic and there’s beyond organic. And it’s that sense of… It’s honoring the rhythm of nature, and honoring our intuition and just almost being, not egoless, I don’t, ’cause I don’t like… I know a lot of people go, “No ego whatsoever.” I think ego just is, ego is part of our identity, but allowing that to drop away. To step into like, “Oh, how do I just honor the rhythm of the place and the situation that I’m in?”

0:24:49 LS: Yeah, and that’s why I’m launching this podcast called Wonder and Awe, because I think the scientists ask, “How does it work? How do these plants do their thing?” Photosynthesis and all this analysis. Then the artists go, “Why?” [chuckle] And I think the people that are doing what you’re describing and just trying to be in flow with nature, trying to facilitate it, trying to really enhance it, not trying to change it, and that’s beautiful, ’cause that puts you in flow with life’s energy. Wow. And now we have these things called forest bathing, and scientists discovered that when you’re in a garden, you get these molecules that trigger endorphins. And it’s great that we can have this efficacy of scientific analysis that proves what we feel, that indigenous people have known forever.

0:25:40 LS: The point, I guess, between that art and science approach, is that what you wanna get to is to be in the moment, to experience the divine, to see it all as one. How you get there, there’s a lot of ways to get there, scientific mind or the more artistic mind, or surfing a big wave, music, making love, there’s a lot of ways to get there, I think that’s one of the goals of life.

0:26:07 PA: Like art is the creativity, and we need the art and we need the science, and science is the reason, and when those two come together, it’s sort of like… Something that I’ve been really obsessed with or interested in lately is the concept of paradox, and how life exists between paradox, and oftentimes, when we feel most in tune, in with our own chi, the middle way, if you will, is when we integrate art and science, reason and creativity, being able to accept everything that is and understanding that there really, for each one of us, there’s only one path, and I think that energy of balance allows an opening of wonder and awe, which is what I love so much about this new podcast that you’re launching is when I first got into studying psychedelics, I read a few research papers by a guy named Kenneth Tupper, and Kenneth is up in Vancouver, he was a faculty at UBC and has worked for the British Columbia government.

0:27:14 PA: And he published a research paper that showed how Ayahuasca was linked to wonder and awe, and basically explaining why it’s so necessary as part of our educational process, because in the industrial era, we stripped out all the wonder and awe. We stripped out all the mystery and the reverence for the unknown, because what is inherent to our industrial system is knowing everything, it’s knowing the time that something will be delivered on, it’s knowing how many products will be delivered, it’s knowing how much money we’ll get for it, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, whereas the place that wonder and awe exist is in the unknown, it’s in the ability to sit with the mystery as it unfolds beyond us, and I think, Louie, more than anything, if I had to put sort of like an arc to your creative career, if you will, it’s inspiring that.

0:28:11 LS: Oh, thank you.

0:28:13 PA: Through nature, and a love for nature and a love for beauty.

0:28:18 LS: I love unveiling the mystery. They asked Einstein his definition of God, and he said it was a sense of wonder, and he also said, I think, that those who can’t feel wonder and awe, their eyes are closed, they might as well be dead. [chuckle] But I love peeling back the onion, ’cause the thing about nature is, it has layers and layers and layers, it’s not like you ever get there, just like the cliche about your life is a journey, it’s not about scoring the touch down, it’s the journey. And when you get there, that’s not like the goal, because there’s always gonna be another layer, another door, another awakening that is around the corner. I just love the fact that the deeper I dive into it, the more I don’t know, and the more that generates curiosity, the more it fires up the imagination, and then you figure that out or you do a story about that part, and then you go like, “What’s below that?” [chuckle] And what’s below that? And what’s below that?”

0:29:22 LS: So I look at even my film career, I start shooting time-lapse flowers ’cause I can’t afford to shoot movie film back in 1970, $100 a minute in 35 millimeter, I invent cameras that can shoot time-lapse in 35 millimeter, I fall in love with flowers, the flowers seduced me with their color, taste, touch, aroma and then you hear about the fact that the bees are disappearing and you can’t tell that story without telling the story of how bees co-evolved with flowers over 50 million years ago and without flowers, there would be no mammals because before then, it was just green leafy plants on the planet, flowers turn into seeds, fruits, nuts, vegetables, high energy protein, high energy food for mammals to evolve, and then the mammals evolved, so we evolved.

0:30:16 LS: The reason why we’re here is because of a flower, the invention of the flower, otherwise there would be no people. And then that brings you to a giant revelation that well, what do flowers need? Well, they need soil, and where does soil come from, and then bingo, now I’m in to the fungal kingdom and doing the deep dive into fungi, and then you go, “Well, wow, well, fungi makes soil.” That seems to be the most basic element of life, that in a scoop of soil, there can be millions of micro-organisms. I think one of the things about this pandemic that’s interesting for me is that, or maybe the film illuminates in this pandemic, there’s 40 trillion bacteria, microbes and viruses on your body or in your body, you are a giant mega ecosystem.

0:31:08 LS: And when you realize that there’s this microscopic world, of which you are just one mega ecosystem, then this idea of this coronavirus I don’t think scares you as much, it’s not this red ball with spikes that came out of nowhere, we are the top of the food chain in terms of size on the planet, we’re in the 80 percentile in terms of size, everything else is smaller than us. If you do a deep dive into an atom, that journey is as far as going to the moon. So I love the fact that we can become more aware of microbiology, right? It’s all around us. We gotta learn, microbiology is by far the most, I think, exciting field right now in terms of healthcare, in terms of scientific exploration, and I think in terms of consciousness.

0:31:57 LS: Well, let’s forget this arrogant idea, us at the top of the food chain, we’re the fucking masters of the universe, not quite it. And this little tiny pandemic is showing us, man, this is one of a zillion viruses out there that could potentially, I suppose, do us harm. There’s a bunch of them that are good, there’s bacteria that’s good, there’s bacteria that’s bad, we gotta learn how to navigate in that world and be successful in that world and to be in flow with it, and not to break the immune system of the planet or weaken the immune system of the planet, which I believe has unleashed this pandemic.

0:32:38 PA: And in weakening the immune system, it’s sort of like… Our inner world is reflected in our outer world and what’s happening in our outer world is reflected in our inner world. And I think specifically when we talk about soil, the way that our soil has been neutered over the past 50 to 60 years, and all of the microorganisms and all of the nutrients and everything taken out of it, really since the 1930s and the Great Dust Bowl when all of that sort of blew away as a result of massive deforestation efforts across the United States and…

0:33:13 LS: Yeah, but again, it was… How ignorant. Even, I think, the scientists are ignorant of the multitude of micro-organisms that were living in the soil, sequestering carbon, breaking down organic matter so it can be recycled as food intake for plants. When you eat plant food, you’re eating the soil. That’s where all the nutrients are. And the plants just use photosynthesis to take light energy and to create a product that is basically food derived from soil, which has been broken down by fungi, thank God.

0:33:50 PA: Thank God for fungi.

0:33:52 LS: Yeah, yeah. It’s beautiful. It’s really a beautiful thing to look at it from that lens of it, just giant, beautiful cycle. I mean, with all the technology we’ve done, we have yet to figure out how to take what is the ultimate source that we know of in the universe is energy. And the only energy we get is light energy. It’s light energy that makes the whole thing go round on this planet, right? Plants are the only ones that know how to convert light energy into chemical bonds, called food. And we and the fungi are the only ones that depend on eating that food. Plants can live off the sun. Fungi and animals, we need to eat plant material in order to survive. It’s pretty remarkable.

0:34:44 PA: The ecosystem of life. Well, one thing we haven’t talked about in the interview yet, and I wanna make sure we spend a little bit of time on that, is just your own story with psychedelics. As anyone who watched Fantastic Fungi can imagine, there’s probably a bit of a back story there. I know you sort of… The ’60s and ’70s were the time of coming of age for you. If you could entertain our listeners with your own story about psychedelics, and growing up in the ’60s and the ’70s, and obviously, I think it’s pretty clear how that inspired all of the work that you’ve done. But any other sort of tidbits that you’d love to share with us, we would absolutely love to hear.

0:35:23 LS: Yeah. Well, definitely around 1970, it’s ’69. The bubble was bursting. I was a freshman at UCLA. And everything we had learned, you find out isn’t true, whether it’s democracy, or drugs, or sex, or race relations. All of it was exploding at the same time. And the bubble was bursting everywhere. And so taking a psychedelic journey, which I think I did in my freshman year, was definitely, I think, one of the most important events in my life because, as reflected in my film career, I’m kind of bored of showing you stuff that’s normal, that’s shot at normal speed. That’s why I got into time-lapse, slow-mo, micro, macro, trying aerials, just changing up this normal point of view vision.

0:36:15 LS: And I wanted to share I guess what I’d seen in these incredible journeys that you take. Will Richards has a great quote in his book, it’s like, “When you take a psychedelic, it’s like taking a helicopter ride up to the top of Mount Everest. And then you get a glimpse of what it looks like. Then you come back to base camp, and then the next day you have to do the trek. You gotta do the hike.” And I think it inspired me in so many ways to have a vision, to have that kind of ah-ha moment, and then to figure out how to make it real and how to share that truth with as many people as possible.

0:36:54 LS: So, it’s kind of interesting now that I think we’re going through the same period that we had about 50 years ago. Donald Trump is like a replica of Richard Nixon. The idea of repression and divisiveness, it backfired on Richard Nixon. It really created the movement for women, people of color, the environmental movement, Earth Day in 1970. All of that is a reaction to repressive government policies. And so I’ve got a lot of hope, especially in our younger generation, that they will recharge that idealistic idea that we can make this planet heaven on Earth.

0:37:41 LS: If we can’t change the world, change your community. That was the whole back to the land movement that I was a part of as well. When I graduated, I went to Mendocino, and all these young PhD hippies from Berkeley, and NYU, etcetera, we all migrated back to the land, and guess what? We were clueless, totally clueless on how to live off the land. We didn’t know how to have an organic garden, we didn’t know how to dig a well, we didn’t know how to build a house. We had PhDs and MFAs, and we didn’t know anything. But we learned. And that’s where like the Whole Earth catalog came from, but what a benefit today that young people can take out their phone and Google “composting” or “chicken ranch,” or “how to grow an onion,” and instantly get that information. That, I think, is super cool.

0:38:36 LS: And I think this back to the land movement is happening again. I’m proud to say that I was called a hippie back then, but in after 50 years of looking back, we were right. We were totally right on. Doing everything organically, having compassion, building your own community, living a life you wanna live. I think about that all the time. Every time hippies have been shown in movies, it’s so terrible. Like Forrest Gump, and they’re these deranged, like Mick Jagger stereotypes. But reality is, the folks during that revolution effected a tremendous amount of change. You look at Steve Jobs, you look at the guys who invented the DNA molecule. I mean, all of these were done on acid trips. So…

0:39:32 PA: Buckminster Fuller, I think, was also well-known for talking about LSD and Spaceship Earth and all those sorts of things.

0:39:40 LS: Exactly. So, it’s created a tremendous amount of change. I think we’re ready for that again. I love what’s happening right now with the protests, the reawakening, having a conversation about systemic racism. It’s all… Maybe what’s really good about this pandemic, and it kind of put everything on pause. Because coming out of this, we need a major reboot. And there was no other force in the world or on the planet that could make everybody stop doing what they were doing. Which, for the most part, was definitely environmental degradation, was a big part of the mechanism that we were all involved with. So, the fact that we could stop for a while, and as we get through this, my heart goes out for the suffering, for the people that are marginalized that have taken the worst of it. But coming out of it, we don’t wanna go back to normal. 50 million young children died last year from starvation. That’s not a normal I wanna go back to. It doesn’t get any publicity.

0:40:49 LS: We lost 150,000 people to COVID in this country. 50 million children died from starvation last year and nobody made a big deal about that. The systems not working, it could be working a lot better. What’s beautiful is that the path is right underneath our feet. It’s there. We just gotta wake up and do it. And there is a solution. And I think one of the cool things about the film that I noticed, especially from young people, is that afterwards then they come up to me and they go, “God, finally, a ‘environmental film that is solution-oriented.'” Otherwise, I can imagine the tremendous amount of anxiety and depression if I was young now, and all I heard was the science about climate change, about environmental degradation, about loss of species by 2050, over half the species will be gone. Oh, my God, what a bleak future. We definitely need hope. And it’s really easy to turn it around.

0:41:58 LS: Look at what just occurred in the last three or four months. It wasn’t great for my movie, although we did pivot, now it’s available on digital, which is great, but I was rocking it in the theaters. We were about to go to Europe.

[laughter]

0:42:13 LS: We had a plan. So, this is really cool. As I said earlier, we did it yourself, self-distributed the movie, up until Christmas, then we took a pause here, because you have all the big Academy Award contenders to, you know, movies that fill up all the theaters. And then, we had all these requests from little towns and people all over the world saying, “When is Fantastic Fungi gonna come to our town or our city or our country?” And there was no way we could fulfill all that need. Because a lot of them could have been, like even churches and schools, and send me a Blu-ray and the craziness about piracy and how do you manage all that? You can’t, you know.

0:42:51 LS: So we decided, let’s do a one-day event, March 26th, right before Earth Day, we wanted to do a… Everybody to go to a theater, and Paul Stamets and I were gonna do a live Q and A out of UCLA. And we were gonna do the, connect to mycelial network around the globe. We sold out theaters in London, Paris, Prague, Stockholm, Cape Town, Santiago, we were all gonna come together, three time zones and have a conversation. And we did it. We had 500 theaters booked in North America alone.

0:43:24 LS: And just as we’re about two weeks out, we were ready to launch, guess what? We hear about this thing from China, this virus. And we had to slowly pivot and we don’t control the theaters, but eventually we just blasted everybody and said, “Hey, instead of doing the theater thing, we’re gonna do it online.” And we brought the local art house theaters with us and said, “If you blast it out to your audience, we will split the revenue with you guys.” So that revenue went back to the local theaters, which in a lot of situations is an art house theater, which used that money for food banks to feed the community. I feel good about… In the sense of what happened with COVID, it would have been interesting to have seen how we continue to grow it. We’re still gonna launch it in Europe and in Japan. It’ll be very interesting, fascinating to see what happens in Japan.

0:44:20 PA: Well, Japan loves mushrooms, don’t they?

0:44:22 LS: Yes, but the psychedelic thing is gonna be a whole other story. But who knows, right? I mean, well, I’ll speak with somebody about the beauty of the mushrooms and how much they love mushrooms, but I don’t know if you know how they feel about psychedelics.

0:44:39 PA: Well, it’s interesting, you know, I was with… This was a few years ago in New York, I was at a… It was like a little bit of a house party, there were maybe 10 or 12 of us, and I was talking with someone there who’s a writer for Bloomberg, and he was showing me all this anime from Japan back in the ’90s and early 2000s, because apparently psychedelic mushrooms used to be legal in Japan before 2004 or something like that. So if you look at all the anime before that, it’s clear that all of these sort of animation studios, those artists were definitely using mushrooms and the quality of the anime was much, much higher. And then as soon as they became illegal, it sort of dropped off. So I think like Japan, like other spots, it has probably a pretty strong underground, sort of like the artist community is probably really interested in this, it’s just that also like the States, the sort of dominant culture is very conformist.

0:45:41 PA: And essentially around… The Japanese are known for the salarymen, the people who literally work so hard that they die from working too hard. That is a thing in Japan that just dovetails so well into our whole entire story, which is, the whole point of going back to the land and the whole point of the movement in the ’60s and ’70s, and the same movement that’s coming around now, and what COVID is exposing to us is, “Shit, we don’t need to work this hard, people.” You don’t need to totally burn yourself out, but that through experiences on psychedelic mushrooms and understanding concepts like, not even understanding, but living, wonder and awe, we become creatively inspired to pursue things that are really close to our soul, and then it’s not like we’re wringing our life force out to work soulless jobs that we hate, but we find some sense of realignment with ourselves, with our spiritual practice, with the Earth around us so that we can really pursue work that’s mission-driven and that’s beautiful.

0:46:45 PA: Amen. Brother. I totally agree. Is there a reason why anybody can’t grow a bunch of tomatoes on their back porch, if you have an tiny backyard? And then besides getting the food, it puts you into this cycle. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do, I walk outside and I check out what flowers have bloomed. How have things grown? It orients me in a beautiful way and I, “Oh, I gotta take care of that, it just needs little water maybe, and trim this back, and the flowers are speaking to me.” That’s being in touch with the Earth, with life. We got divorced from that. It’s not going… Instead of that, you go to the supermarket and you get something that’s shrink wrapped in plastic that has a giant carbon footprint attached to it ’cause it came from some other place around the world. That tomato could have been from Mexico with pesticides, went on a truck, shipped in, and then wrapped in plastic in a refrigerator. Now I’m gonna buy it, I’m gonna eat it, and it’s not even good for me.

0:47:51 LS: Like, wake up. [chuckle] Look at all the… And then I had to go to work eight hours, 10 hours to get a paycheck, where a fraction that goes to who knows to who, in the military or whatever. And then I get that little paycheck, then I’m gonna go to the store and buy the food so that I can go home and have a life, quote-unquote. You can have more quality time growing your own food, and I think we could all do it, reduce the carbon footprint. Get some love, teach your kids how to… Where their food comes from. What a gift that is. It doesn’t have to be radical overnight, you can grow some food. You can grow your own pot, [chuckle] grow your own mushrooms, you know?

0:48:30 PA: Exactly. Start with the drugs. That’s always the most exciting part, right?

0:48:34 LS: Hey, I learned so much from growing pot in Mendocino. We were the first, you know. And everything I learned from that obviously goes into how I grow food. All my buddies, who were the first people to do it, have all become the highest paid vintures at all the wineries now in Sonoma and Mendocino County. There were no wineries up there when I lived there, and now it’s big business. But the people who know how to navigate the weather, the water, the rain, the temperature, to nurture that plant, to get the greatest flavor out of it; wine-making is a beautiful art, same thing with growing pot. The fact that it’s a super hot day, is that good or bad? You don’t know, right? It’s how you navigate it. It’s how you nurture it.

0:49:24 LS: It kills me, people with wine, they go like, “Oh, 2010 was a really good year.” You know? “2014 was bad year,” you know? What do you mean? They’re like… Well, the rain happened a little earlier, a little later. The guy in the field had to navigate. When does he harvest? Now? Should he wait? These are all creative decisions, it’s so beautiful, right? And they put you in flow with the weather, and the weather is determined by the moon and the sun. You’re like the indigenous cultures that are totally in tune with the universe.

0:49:58 PA: We’re such hippies. We sound like such hippies talking about… Talking about this, and it’s so true.

0:50:02 LS: I know.

0:50:02 PA: In fact, that recognition, exactly what you’re talking about, Louie, it’s sort of like when I first dropped acid 10-plus years ago. That was the truth that came through, was that sensitivity to our interconnectedness, and I remember immediately after I started doing psychedelics, I started reading Michael Pollan. And I read Omnivore’s Dilemma and I started to understand how… Where does our food come from? What is that cycle like? How has industrial farming sort of infiltrated our way of being? Then I watched Food Inc and started to get into Joel Salatin and some of the stuff that he does in terms of really taking care of the land and regenerative agriculture.

0:50:42 PA: And I feel like that, at least from my perspective, where I’m sitting with Third Wave and some of the work that I’ve specifically done in the psychedelic space, I’m like, that pioneering in a way, the psychedelic space feels like it’s happening. We’re having hundreds of millions of dollars come in investment, there’s a bunch of FDA clinical trials happening, decrim is happening, drug policy, especially with all the Black Lives Matter stuff, it’s becoming more and more aware that we should just decriminalize all drugs. And so what we’re kind of pinging back and forth on this conversation and probably what we’ll both be interested in, in the next 10 years is, like you said, going back to the land. There are so many people who are buying islands off the coast of Canada or land in Costa Rica or old chateaux in the south of France.

0:51:26 PA: And we’re really asking the question, “A, what does it look like to live in community? B, when we live in community, what does it look like to localize and re-localize that energy?” So the food that we grow within that community, the way that we nurture those relationships within that community. It’s almost like a mini religion of sorts. What are the values, what are the principles of that community? And then, how do we embody through that community this new way of living, this post-industrial way of living that was kicked off in the ’60s and ’70s at places like the farm in Tennessee, or where you were at up in Mendocino County, and now it’s sort of like, “No, that is the new way of living.”

0:52:08 PA: We had a taste of it through the ’60s and ’70s, and now it’s finally coming full circle, and that to me is the exciting part of integrating psychedelics. Psychedelics themselves are great medicines, and it’s not just about getting high, as we all know, it’s once we have that opening of wonder and awe, where do we direct that creative inspiration towards and how do we help not only heal ourselves, but heal our communities and heal our land and all these other sorts of things.

0:52:35 LS: Yeah, I think it’s super exciting. What the pot farmers figured out, in all their little ingenious ways, was how to create the most incredible sensimilla, sativa, whatever, that’s the same thing you apply to everything that you grow. Nobody got into it on that level before. The crazy passion of being able to do that, and then the books like that Michael Pollan has done and some of the films I’ve done, you ask this big question, “Who’s controlling whom?” Are the plants getting us to help them reproduce and grow and manifest like crazy, by either giving us healthy food to eat or by helping us have more insight and interconnection, again, with their chemical ability to open up our consciousness? And through a molecule, if it’s a receptor in the brain that can give you a spiritual experience. Is that chance? I don’t think so. And how do you make it even better?

0:53:35 LS: That energy, I think it’s kind of exciting, ’cause you can apply that to everywhere, if you were to get that island in British Columbia, well, that’s gonna be a whole unique ecosystem, and now, I think, we have more knowledge to learn how do you grow food in that kind of a climate. Look what the Israelis did, they grow food in the desert. It’s incredible what we can do today and there could be abundance. In theory, if we all went to a plant-based diet, there’d be no starvation. We waste half of all resources trying to grow livestock to create a fraction of energy food to feed people. We’re definitely doing it the most inefficient way possible.

0:54:16 LS: So without being even judgemental, it’s inefficient, and nature is all about efficiency. Nature is all about don’t waste a single molecule. That’s what works. And the most efficient way to get light energy from the sun into your body is to eat a fruit, a vegetable, a nut, a seed, not have feed it to an animal where you got a fraction of a fraction, and then that gets dissected into something that’s decaying and then you eat that thing, and that’s supposed to be the American way of life. It’s a joke, but anyways, I don’t wanna go negative on it.

0:54:52 LS: You got the film, Food, Inc., whatever, I’m just saying the fun part would be, “Ah, I got this little piece of land.” Could be my backyard. “What can I do here? How much fun could I have?” Figuring out, it’s a challenge, what kind of feast of goodies could I grow in my backyard? How much fun would that be? It’s a meditation. It takes your mind off of the trivia in life. It takes you off your to-do list. It gets you out of psychodrama. It is therapy for the brain, for the mind, for the soul. And the physical part of it is good for your body. Why go to the gym? Why not haul some fucking soil around?

[laughter]

0:55:33 PA: I like that.

[overlapping conversation]

0:55:39 LS: Dig a hole, you know?

0:55:40 PA: It’s like the movement in World War II, wasn’t that a big thing? Everyone started to grow their own food and have a little garden and…

0:55:45 LS: Yeah.

0:55:47 PA: It’s that. It’s like we all have a little self-reliance in us. We all have a little bit of personal responsibility in where does our food come from, and I think, like you mentioned, now we have the technology to make it easier and more accessible for everyone to do that, you know? I’m just as guilty as probably a lot of people who are listening to the podcast. There’s no reason we should be ordering all our foods from Amazon, or through Whole Foods, but from Amazon. How do we take back that power? How do we take back that energy? Like so many people are… It is totally absurd how much money Jeff Bezos is now worth. I think it’s $190 billion, and at the end of the day, yeah, we can probably pass more laws around taxation and we can do that, or blah, blah, blah, blah. But at the end of the day, a lot of it is like, how do we just get that money back by growing our own shit, growing our own food and all that stuff, it’s super important.

0:56:37 LS: And like I said, it doesn’t have to be a 180-degree flip. Tomatoes are the easiest thing in the world to grow, so grow whatever you can. And one of the interesting things, I did a film, God, it’s called The City Farmstead, back in 1975, one of the earliest short films I made. It was in Berkeley. And what they did was they were figuring out how to go in to the low income neighborhoods and make them energy-efficient homes. Putting in passive solar, growing food on the garden, growing food on the sidewalk, recycling all the waste, including your pee and your poop. And what was really remarkable was that the land in Berkeley, in the flats, in the part of the low-income neighborhood, is the best soil. That was the Delta. All the cities are sitting on the best soil, because that’s where people first, right, they moved in. That’s where they lived, because it was the place that was the most verdant community to grow food and have water, and we’ve covered it with concrete.

0:57:39 LS: So city gardens, by far, underneath all that is soil that’s been rich for thousands of years. It’s the best farmland around. So that’s just another example again of how being a built community, in the inner city, in these food deserts, and literally, they have the best soil in the area.

0:58:00 PA: Hidden little diamond gems, right? Right below our feet.

0:58:04 LS: Totally.

0:58:04 PA: That we don’t even know of.

0:58:05 LS: If you bring the clock back 100-200 years, if you’re living in LA or whatever, it’s where would you have settled as a settler? Along the river, would have been a nice little meadow, where things grow really beautifully. [laughter] That became the center of the city. So, it was the best farmland and then we… Yeah, eventually it grew. So anyways, I think the whole goal is just to live in harmony with nature. One little tiny story I do wanna share with your crowd regarding how we released the film and the decrim movement. We opened the film in Denver, for obvious reasons. Denver was the first city to pass the initiative on decriminalizing Psilocybin mushrooms. And so, we go there and obviously we sell out the crowd. We broke records, by the way, in the theater in Denver. But one of the beautiful things I learned was, when we were doing the Q&A, we had the leaders from SPORE, which is the political movement that got it on the ballot, they got it passed, they got more votes than the mayor did in the election.

0:59:16 LS: And then after the election, the mayor and chief of police and all these bureaucrats who were against it were freaking out, going, “Now what do we do? What if somebody’s on a bad trip? What do we do? How do you deal with that?” So they had a meeting with all the heads of all the different departments of city government ’cause they all were freaking out. I think there was only one arrest in six years of, anyway, somebody having a “bad trip.” And when they got together with all the leaders, what happened was, they turned the conversation to, what do we do to help the people that are marginalized in our community? What about the people that are homeless? What about the people with mental disorders? What about all the people that are sleeping on the streets? What about the people that are hungry? What about the people that have addiction to alcohol? Tobacco? How do we treat all these people? And the reality was, none of these people had ever gotten together to have the conversation. So the decriminalize movement spurred… It created a mycelial network for all these different social services, police, mayor, to get together and have a conversation about it. Pretty remarkable, huh?

1:00:28 PA: And that… Absolutely. And that, I think, was the beautiful part about what you did with the Fantastic Fungi, getting back to the beginning of the conversation. It was that community focus of, let’s host this in local theaters, let’s do local promotion. And like you were even saying with the example of what happened with COVID, let’s keep that energy in that container. Because that energy recycling, that is what keeps communities vibrant. So, that’s such a great specific example of how that can then be applied to shift things on a much larger scale for Psilocybin decriminalization and drug policy and all of these things that are so critical at this point in time.

1:01:07 LS: Yep. And I would tell the audience right before the film, I’d be, “Hey, thank you guys for all showing up. Thank you to the mycelial network for making it happen.” And everybody cheers. I don’t have to explain what mycelial network means.

1:01:19 PA: Exactly.

1:01:22 LS: We spent no money on advertising and marketing, and they all showed up. Wow. Trust me, after all the years I’ve been in film, the difficulty of getting, they call it butts in seats, is really hard. When we got… The mycelial network put butts in seats, and I would just kind of cruise in. It was again a lot of work to make the elements, trailers, the movie, get it out there, get the theaters guys to book it, a lot of work. But we didn’t have to do the game of Hollywood with advertising, marketing of adrenalin-pushing, fear-inducing, anxiety-driven ads and trailers and marketing to get people to show up. None of that. We just put the word out through the network.

1:02:15 PA: And you speak to the soul. When the soul hears it, it will come, you know?

1:02:19 LS: Yeah.

1:02:19 PA: I think that’s the power of these mushrooms.

1:02:23 LS: Yeah. And then, who knows how big the underground movement is? ‘Cause I didn’t know about it at all, to be honest. From my early… You know, ’70s to maybe 10 years ago, I was raising kids and running a company and doing all kinds of things and had not participated at all. I didn’t know there was an underground movement of therapists who were still treating people with Psilocybin or LSD. I didn’t know about these sacred circles that are going on. We may never know because people still don’t talk about it as of this moment, right? It’s still secret.

1:03:00 PA: It’s a bit mysterious, which is sort of the point, you know?

1:03:05 LS: I know. It’s pretty amazing. And we still… With friends, it’s kinda weird. We still talk in code a little bit.

1:03:10 PA: Yeah.

1:03:11 LS: On the telephone. What’s up with that? Yet… But I go down Ventura Boulevard, and every street corner there’s a mega billboard for a Cannabis store and yet every time a cop pulls up behind me, I’m always looking around to make sure there’s nothing on me. And I’m going, wait a minute, what happened?

1:03:32 PA: Louie is traumatized, from 50 years.

1:03:38 LS: It’s like… It… Yeah, so things are changing quickly, which is great. Things are really changing quickly, but it’s pretty remarkable.

1:03:47 PA: It is. And mushrooms can help us adapt. And that’s not even something we got into in this conversation, but we had started initially talking about resilience.

1:03:54 LS: Yeah.

1:03:54 PA: And I think that’s another beautiful part about mushrooms, helping with adaptability, helping with resilience, helping us to understand… I think there are a lot of people right now who feel hopeless, Louie. Who feel like we’re at this existential crisis and things are going south very, very fast. And I think one of the things that mushrooms, wonder, awe, all these things, is they inspire hope. And more than anything right now, people, I think, need hope. That’s why I’m such an optimist when it comes to psychedelic medicine, to your work, which is mushrooms in general, is I think they are something that provide tremendous hope for adapting and evolving into whatever it is that we’re becoming.

1:04:34 LS: Yeah. Because it’s nature’s way, it’s nature’s operating instructions. I don’t care if it’s a little piece of grass growing in a crack in the sidewalk, that gives me hope, as well as a field of flowers, as well as a field of tomatoes. I look at that and go, “Man, you’re fucking unstoppable.” And it’s like, we’re gonna… Whatever happens, happens but you’ve got an agenda that’s righteous. You’re taking light energy, turning it into chemical energy, into food. Amen, I love you. Dude, keep doing what you’re doing. And how can I help you? And that’s the hope, because there’s already an engine, an energy that is happening. We’ve kind of jumped off this carousel, we gotta jump back on because of its perpetual energy. It’s really perpetual energy, ’cause life created reproduction as a way to overcome entropy, everything in the world will break down. You think about the beauty of reproduction, that you can just make another version of it that’s better potentially, and it just keeps going on and on and on into infinity. For all we know, life’s a force of energy and we just wanna be a part of that, honor it and learn from it, and then get on that bandwagon. It’s so easy.

1:05:53 PA: It is. Wow, Louie, thank you for joining us on the podcast. Before we put a full wrap on it, if listeners just kinda… If we… Just a little more details on Fantastic Fungi, where they can find it, the next project that you have including the podcast and anything else that you think would be relevant for our audience, as we wrap up.

1:06:15 LS: Definitely go to fantasticfungi.com, ’cause that will have updates of everything we’re doing in terms of the release of it on Apple TV and on our website, etcetera. So fantasticfungi.com. Also movingart.com, it will be information about Wonder and Awe, this series we’re gonna do. As well as on Netflix, I do have a series called Moving Art that’s just music and visuals that take you on a journey without spoken words so that you can hear your own inner voice. I highly recommend that. And those would be the two great resources to check into. And to love, appreciate life. Soak up the beauty because beauty’s nature’s tool for survival, we protect what we fall in love with.

1:07:07 PA: Wow. That’s a great way to end. Well, thank you, Louie Schwartzberg, director of Fantastic Fungi and many other incredible short films. It was an honor to sit with you and dive deep into the mycelial network.

1:07:19 LS: Honored to be with you. Keep up the great work at the Third Wave, it’s so important. You’re a beacon of light and we all really are grateful and appreciate the work you do, Paul.

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