Chapter 1 of “Homeostasis Live”, an audiovisual project of interviews and transcendental conversations by journalist Felipe Monsalve, produced by Tawantin Agencia. In this first chapter, we spoke with Pía Figueroa, a prominent siloist, journalist and writer.
In times of crisis, deep conversations are more necessary than ever. This is the spirit of “Homeostasis Live”, an audiovisual project by Felipe Monsalve. The author of the book ‘Homeostasis’ will talk to six women and two men about the environment, education, economics, food, biodynamics, paradigm shifts, among other topics.
This project commemorates 10 years of interviews conducted with younger people who give their profound vision of the world through questions.
Here is the full transcript of the interview below.
To view the video ( 39′ 16′′ ) with English subtitles on a computer: 1. Click on the Subtitles icon (white rectangle at the bottom right of the video player window). 2. Click on the Settings icon (cogwheel at the bottom right), then successively click on Subtitles, then on Automatically translate. 3. In the window that opens, scroll down the list of languages and click on English.
10 years ago after a trip around the Amazonia, I had the honour of exchanging opinions with a group of men and women who turned out to be very inspiring and kindhearted. These conversations are reflected on the book Homeostasis published early in 2013.
Nowadays, pain, loneliness and separation are very present in our daily lives and perhaps, in an attempt to avoid fear, we have followed an ancient model of thought based on individuality, duality, rigidity, ignorance and materialism.
Who are we? What are we here for? Where are we going? What are the real origins of the human race? These are some of the most common questions that many men and women have tried to answer over the years.
10 years after the beginning of Homeostasis’ talks, I wanted to celebrate the process and commemorate those who participated in this beautiful story by creating a bond once again with a group of women and men but this time younger people in order to make the most of their boundless energy and vitality.
Guarded and inspired by superior spiritual forces, we gathered in the innermost gardens of the Benedictine Monastery in Santiago de Chile.
I am Felipe Monsalve and I welcome you to Homeostasis Live.
Felipe Monsalve: “I think what we are currently experiencing is caused by mental tremors in the interior of the human psyche. I have the intuition that this is part of the indispensable shift of mindset that is taking place in order for us and the planet Earth to find out who we really are, where we are and where we go. I consider that we are stepping into a magnificent new era, a change of mental technology. Being this equal to an artist’s purpose, transcending and going beyond”.
Hugo Marín, Homeostasis, 2013.
Experiences of change
Pía Figueroa: Human beings possess the same on the inside and on the outside, it is a consciousness-world structure. The human race has been challenged for the first time by a virus that we cannot see, smell, distinguish or even imagine, and therefore, the pandemic has sort of destabilised every single one of us.
The rest of the pandemics that we have been through were located and controlled. Well, given our global connections and technology everything gets expanded easily and it involves every human being without any distinction. We all feel and think alike even though we are all so different and therefore, we are compelled to get confined equally.
That experience, because yes, it is an experience, presents itself and turns up, much to our dismay, and suddenly we are all in the same boat.
Our species had never faced a situation of such magnitude and I can assure you that the questions I have asked myself are the same ones that you, or you, or you have asked yourselves, because we all have wondered who we are and not only as individuals but also as a group. Where do we go individually and collectively as a species? What do we do in this world and what have we destroyed to this extent? How can we fix it? Can we recover species which have already died out or not? Is this unchangeable? Is there anything we can modify in our lifestyles that can immediately have a positive impact with regards to the environment and the life of the other of the species?
Those are basic, primary questions that I think every human being, even children, have ever asked themselves. Believe me, children have asked themselves those questions for sure! Then, psychism is internally looking for an answer, not only personal but a global answer because it is not enough for me to get infected… if you get infected then we all get infected and we are all under risk.
The same happens with wealth, it cannot keep being accumulated, and millions of human beings cannot be denied the possibility of surviving, right?
The same happens with knowledge and education… see how this pandemic has tested us regarding the topic of education. I mean, the role of teachers and professors has been highly valued since they are the ones who actually educate children when parents don’t. Well, it can be applied to any simple action… for example the role of a nurse, of a doctor… I don’t know if you have been vaccinated, I have… and they treated me wonderfully… I don´t know who I should thank for this but I really need to express my gratitude because not even my family has treated me so well… the sanitary public service of Chile is outstanding, it really is.
Well, we have learned to appreciate many things throughout quarantine and this has made us come up with questions like: What happens after death? How should I think about sickness and death? What happens with topics such as euthanasia? To consider one theme in particular, to which extent would human dignity go? How do I exercise it? How can we do it socially? What is this word (dignity) that emerged and got itself settled? Do we understand it? Do we know what we are talking about?
Well, there are many questions, but thanks to the destabilisation this text refers to, I think that many possibilities which propitiate changes have emerged. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have happened.
Therefore, going back to Silo… Silo said a brilliant sentence which fascinated me at the age of 15, he said: “my teachings are not for winners but for those who carry failure in their hearts”. Hence, if one feels that, indeed, everything they dream about is not going to happen, then, everything that one would selfishly want, won’t actually happen. Everything crashes into possibilities that I have not chosen… I can assume an existential failure and ask myself other questions, deeper questions and that is when awareness rises and there is an awakening, and even the mere possibility of transcendence appears.
Pía Figueroa: First of all, let’s say that the way in which countries have been governed has been really disappointing… Well, almost every country, of course there are always exceptions. The way of governance approaching the democratic limit, passing decrees without the approval of chambers and without any discussion at all… without raising any awareness with respect to what we are saying. Most of the world has been governed on the basis of impositions and authoritarianism which are inconceivable in a real democracy…
Felipe Monsalve: From all sectors, from all ideologies…
Pía Figueroa: Certainly, except for a few nations… which are curiously governed by women and which have followed different political ideas, and have been kind and have offered shelter as states. Well, there are very few exceptions, like 5 or 6, I don’t know
Felipe Monsalve: New Zealand…
Pía Figueroa: Exactly, for example Merkel herself, look at all the work she has done, even if it is not of my liking, but she has actually taken a proper political work forward based on empathy that the rest of the governments have been unable to develop.
In that sense, I really do believe that science and technology have put in a masterful work… because if you ponder about it, in only a year, the genome sequence of the virus has been detected, its transmission process has been identified, an explanation of how to take care of ourselves has been provided, a vaccine has been generated, well… several vaccines actually, and many people have already been vaccinated. Science had never been this prolific before, it took them ten years to generate a vaccine last time.
However, we have been really dissatisfied with politics because there is not a single state that can be congratulated on “having governed with dignity”. I think that it also precipitates this crisis… we are going through a crisis of models: social, political, economical, and cultural, and we are in need of new answers. Being in a crisis of this magnitude means that it cannot go further, thus, we have to give the very best of ourselves given the area of freedom… the best to come up with new solutions.
For instance, before the pandemic, the economic field was already discussed in circles. I even organised a seminar myself on universal basic income in Chile and only five people came, nobody was interested, just 2 or 3 people, a few academics… Well, the universal basic income is a subject that is being seriously argued about and many places such as Amterdam and several important cities are currently experimenting on it.
Felipe Monsalve: So what does the universal basic income consist of?
Pía Figueroa: What it consists of is that just because of the mere fact of being a human being, having been born a human being, the state gives you an income throughout all your life which allows you to survive and guarantees you life. Then it is your choice to decide what you want to do with your life… if you want to work… create…think…practise sport… globetrotting… do whatever you want, survival is ensured. That is the universal basic income for everyone…
Felipe Monsalve: Due to your human condition…
Pía Figueroa: Exactly, the human condition, for being dignified…
Felipe Monsalve: For having been born…
Pía Figueroa: Exactly, that’s it… for having been born human. It is being talked about and this is already an economic response to the problem because the bigger the economic power is, the more big majorities in the planet get marginalised. Consequently, either us or younger generations need to give a response because there is no more time left.
Regarding the environmental crisis, I report that many many solutions are being provided. In Pressenza, we are concerned about the small details which show that change is possible like for example communitary vegetable patches here in Santiago… you cannot imagine how many market squares are being turned into collective allotments organised by neighbours… and also in other regions.
As we were talking before the interview, powerful measures are being taken in our country in relation to plastic, reforestation, renewable energies, wind and solar power, green hydrogen… As it happens, China is reforesting everything that at some point was cut down. Thus, ever since the confinement took place, many ingenious answers are being given as compensation looking for freedom and for a proposal because this situation we are living is suffocating us… In my opinion, this is not a national crisis but a terminal crisis of civilisation, a crisis which affects the entire global society equally and new politics, economics, culture and spiritual measures are needed. And I think they should be based on empathy, treating each other humanly according to the golden rule: treat others as you would like them to treat you…
Felipe Monsalve: As a start…
Pía Figueroa: As a start…
Pía Figueroa: I believe that journalism and communication hold a heavy responsibility in general and we, the Pressenza International Press Agency, have adopted a position in this respect. We have taken the role of practising a violence-free journalism and through it we are screening the information that is shared because when news are being reported, not only what happened is being told but also the view of the person who is communicating it is sort of included.
My subjectivity is present every time I write something. For example, the women’s silent march last year was an astonishing experience, thousands of women being in complete silence… and well, I can interpret that silence in one way or another in relation to my personal experiences. We have decided to create a free-violence journalism and to contribute to reconciliation, non-discrimination, the overcoming of violence, and collaborate with human rights from our reporting. I totally see eye to eye with you regarding the conclusion that you have reached, and therefore, I find it really necessary to compose a different way of reporting news.
In order to open up a new world, it has to be shown first… everything that is new is small at first. However, for it to succeed it has to put in the effort even if it does not succeed at the first try. Official press is going to hold that it did not work out against you but if you become aware of the voices that are making themselves heard and ask them for instance “why?”, “what are you doing?”, “why did you jump over the turnstiles?”, “what did you do?”, then you will notice in that person or in that student that they really do have a clamour for a different world. And we have the power of spreading it through the media and many things can happen.
Throughout 2019, many people were on the street and nobody watched TV and yet they were all fully informed. They did not watch TV because it only showed the four vandals that were there at the moment and they omitted the happiness, creativity, strength and dreams that were appearing, it was incredible.
You had to be out there in flesh and bones and ask the right questions in order to be able to tell later what the truth was in those people’s hearts. Of course, the information shared through television news was absolutely manipulated. It responds to specific economic interests.
For that reason, in order to do a free-violence journalism, we are all volunteers. We don’t combine money with what we do so that there is no place for those certain interests to appear.
Another world is possible
Pía Figueroa: I think it is the end of that kind of relationship.
Felipe Monsalve: the end is near.
Pía Figueroa: Yes, I believe that we are approaching the end of a very long historical period in which we have made a lot of mistakes but also several good choices. It has simply reached its limits… like when you outgrow a piece of clothing and there is no more space for patches you have to get a new one. New beginnings and fresh starts are challenging but we have to do it.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, nothing was destroyed and not a single person was injured. The whole Soviet Union and its allies fell and in that case it was half of the world. So, taking that into account, this system could perfectly fall too without causing any damage, it is about imagining a new world and taking action.
Felipe Monsalve: There is no chance of an exterior change without an inner change…
Pía Figueroa: Of course, it is simultaneous… definitely…
Felipe Monsalve: And are we capable of undergoing an internal change? I think that is the most difficult one…
Pía Figueroa: There are no changes without failure, destabilisation or crisis. Hence, since we are going through a severe crisis, the conditions are favourable for a change. So what do I do when I stop believing in something? When I lose hope, something within me either suffers or gets happy: I am free! I am no longer a prisoner of those beliefs, they are nonsense now… I laugh and I am in a happy mood.
But there is always the possibility of imagining other situations, we are inspired by dreams and music. Suddenly, I get up and I know exactly what I want, and that feels right. Then, it is the inspiration that keeps us alive despite the initial feeling of hopelessness, and that is the mise-en-scène we need for a fresh start.
I have wondered many times: How come Colón decided to come here? What made him do that? Why do so many people do crazy things? For instance, I don’t know if you have ever been to the Parque de Bombarzo in Italy but there is a “Fantasilandia” (Fantasyland) in the 16th century. And it is a wonderful tour through sculpted rocks with monsters, Pegasus, elephants… it is an allegorical park… Who has the imagination to invent that? There are millions of daily things that you wonder: how did they come up with this idea?
Ingenuity… and inventiveness… they emerge from inspiration and hopelessness… from the situation of stopping believing in your dreams. I may think you are a good, intelligent and smart person… or maybe I consider you many other things, I can choose, there are always different possibilities. I trust that once we are done thinking that this is a never-ending negative situation, we will start seeing everything brand new and freshly made that emanates from this. It is incredible how many people are doing interesting things in order to contribute to the upcoming new world.
Is it possible to overcome patriarchal relations within one’s family? I think it is. We have made that change in my family, it is necessary to surpass violent relationships, even the harsh relationship that each of us have sometimes with ourselves, we have to reconcile and move towards a kinder way of treatment. It is a simple thing but it changes everything.
Pía Figueroa: For example, I do not believe in representative democracy and I don’t really think those people up there represent me in any way, they only act for their own interests. During the 15M (15th of March) in Spain, they talked about a real democracy… Silo also talked a lot about a real democracy… It is about the people here actually taking action and solving our problems together.
A real democracy implies that whoever is “supposedly represented” takes charge. It is not a passive nation who assumes control over its future but an active subject. Therefore, for me, formal democracy doesn’t go further here nor in the United States, nor anywhere else.
A real democracy controlled by active subjects is needed, nobody else gets to decide over our own issues. Let’s make decisions and take charge together. This state forces us to grow up, perhaps that pressures us to reorganise the states at the level of municipalities, to decentralise power, and share among all… Even here, there are municipalities that organise a plebiscite about their budget… Well, why don’t we organise referendums about everything? Moreover, with technology everything is easier. Let’s take action, let’s dare to make decisions. This is clearly an issue that needs to be changed.
As a matter of fact, the three branches of the government were established during the French Revolution and haven’t been either questioned or changed ever since. They could be improved.
Nevertheless, if I were told to get a surgery by a doctor who is following the same medical procedures that were followed in the French Revolution, I would hesitate a lot and I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t put myself in his hands. In that case, why do we confer the control of the State to such an old conception? We have to reformulate everything, we have reshaped science, education, culture… Why aren’t we able to recreate States?
If you ask me which is the proposal I would settle for, it is the one about a single human nation, just one to where we all belong. A nation which is not homogeneous and uniform but one inclusive of all the differences. That is a future project which is already on its way, thousands of people are thinking about it, growing out of the old ways which no longer represent us.
Although I am a very spiritual person, I do not feel satisfied by any form of religion. I do not agree with any established religion but I, and many more people, do feel a very special connection with something quite deep and sacred that lives within ourselves and all animate things.
Felipe Monsalve: It is good that many other principles have collapsed apart from democracy and religion…
Pía Figueroa: Many things… Economy, neoliberalism… It is not even worth it mentioning them.
Felipe Monsalve: What has to evolve regarding the economy?
Pía Figueroa: For example, a universal basic income, the dignification of human life, the redistribution of wealth. Wealthness originates from everybody’s progress and lands in certain hands only, it is not fair.
Felipe Monsalve: and how do we change it? What do we do with economic groups? What do we do with families?
Pía Figueroa: I think they are all reflecting about this, the pandemic has brought us and death onto the same level. So, since we are all going to die at some point, why can’t we do things right? Why don’t we contribute to having a good life? Open your hand, let everything go, come untied.
There were changes that I would have never had hope for and they are currently fulfilled. For example, I fighted for a long time and completed part of The World March for Peace and Non-violence that went all over the world trying to accomplish the nuclear disarmament as a priority. At that moment… it was 12 years ago… we would have never imagined that the world could actually get nuclearly disarmed and in January of this year, the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons came into effect at the United Nations. Nuclear weapons can no longer be used in any country because it is prohibited, the only thing left to do now is dismantling nuclear arsenals. That was accomplished 12 years ago, it is an extraordinary triumph if you consider what it would feel like to have a nuclear warhead pointing at you.
Felipe Monsalve: The generational work done from 70 years ago until now…
Pía Figueroa: Exactly, the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons was approved and ratified and it is an absolute triumph. The ICAN received the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago for that battle. Would you have thought when we were young that we would have lived to see this? and that there was going to be a dismantlement plan for the entire nuclear arsenal? I wasn’t very sure about it…
Felipe Monsalve: Regarding promptness, can we wait another 50 years for the economical change to happen?
Pía Figueroa: No, not at all. But we are not talking about 50 years, perhaps in 10?
Felipe Monsalve: Will it be able to happen in 10 years?
Pía Figueroa: Yes, I think it will. The conditions are ripe for it to happen, and moreover, the planet Earth and nature are establishing limits and warning us that the current way is not the right one, it is enough. Hence, it is the right time, we have been lucky to live in this period, a period of changes and innovations, nothing will ever be the same, that’s what I think.
Pía Figueroa: Everyone is doing it in their own way. I am determined to ignite the fire from the field of communications through an unusual journalism in order to lead the way for simple issues which will become of crucial importance in the future.
For instance, we recorded a series about women this past March, from the 8th of March until the 8th of April. It is entitled “Constructoras del futuro” (Future creators) and we are interviewing only women who have their minds set on the future…
Felipe Monsalve: I can’t wait to see it…
Pía Figueroa: For sure, I will send it to you. For example, there are women who back in time joined the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in Colombia and then quitted it, and now they are extraordinarily working on the peacemaking process. Also Vandana Shiva, who I am sure you have heard about. Or like Sabine Rubin, who is the French representative of the France insoumise and one youngest of the interviewed women. They are all extraordinary women, one interview per day. And well, many have been left out because there are thousands of women. We are going to choose 30 because it is a month but each of them will belong to a different field.
Pía Figueroa: It is not enough to pursue a violence-free world if we do not get rid of the existing violence within ourselves. In order to do that, we have to take an inner spiritual path and recognise the signs of something different, sacred, extraordinary so that we can identify those signs on the outside too.
As you and Silo affirm, without taking into account the physical pain, suffering as such is a mental option. It has its origins in our memory and imagination, so it can actually get better with a bit of meditation because the mind gets calmed and relaxed. Silo designed many patterns for this, from a physical state of calm to an inner meditation, and also to work on our own energy and learn how to distribute it. Like for example if this conversation was lifeless and dull, it would be very boring. We have to learn to see life through rose-tinted glasses.
In this way, little by little, we start channeling our energy and establishing a purpose in life, how do I apply in the world, what am I doing and what transcendent meaning these actions can have. What we are talking about goes beyond you and me and all the people watching us.
Words create realities and lead to changes. Silo’s books lay out a teaching which exceeds his or our existence, it is part of the mystical teachings of the turn of the century, from the 19th to the 20th century. So, his mysticism is very modern and up-to-date. It is a way of realising that there is a permanent interaction between the world and ourselves, and the suffering we were talking about can be overcome in the meantime of the construction we undergo from the inside to the outside.
As I was telling you, I work hard at trying to advance towards this new world which I am very curious about but also I try to do my best daily with regards to my interior where there is a dimension which transcends my existence and it doesn’t end with death. This is essential in order to find the meaning of life and consequently, put an end to suffering.
Summing up, yes, I have a very happy life despite the obvious circumstances. This pandemic has affected me in the same way that it has affected many other people. However, it allows me to put myself in the shoes of the rest and I have found out that we are all probably living in a rather similar situation and I think this is something extraordinary and magnificent. What is more, I get access to the whole of humanity through my own interiority.
I often feel like a bridge and Silo’s teachings have been an indispensable map for me in these times of confusion and dizziness. I think professors are the ones who light our paths in times of blurriness and darkness.
Translated By Claudia Bordalo