światosław / tales from the world

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June, 2020

real business is coming

June 10th, 2020

There is this recurring voice of armchair experts about ayahuasca tourism being cultural appropriation. We listen to it mostly when we make mistake of distracting ourselves from 7 days a week hard work, in a place where we live as the locals, off grid, drawing water from the well, consuming basic necessities available in local market, and that is year after year, serving all kind of intense energies people bring with them for treatment. We learn from the indigenous elders, provide them with constant job paid way above local standards. You can say we can simply stop making that stupid mistake and engaging with those voices, regardless if they come from anthropologist pushing his agenda or just “I know it all” internauts. And yes, that is the best answer. However polemic devil inside just needs to add his pinch of salt : when authors of these voices succeed with their negativity, and combined forces of decline of global tourism, legalization globally, need for easier life ( and actually, contrary to the myth about fortunes in ayahuasca tourism, need for stable economic situation ) will drive this adventure in Amazon to the end, then you will see true appropriation. Instead of artisanal heart driven enterprises, you will see proper business, psychedelic franchise clinics, retreats twice as expensive popping up in Europe or USA, done without any need for indigenous guides, you will see ayahuasca turned into another commodity – raw resource just like cacao or coffee, bought from lowest bidder, or even worse – just like in the story of collapse of rubber – planted where labour costs and effectiveness of exploitation of global capitalism is at its best, probably in South East Asia. And so your precious Amazon will be free from evil exploitation of ayahuasca business, free for cattle ranchers and oil extractors, to provide fuel for your comfortable, daily lifestyle in the global centre, away from this annoying poverty, as some would be yoga student deciding against learning in India put it.




The photo above is ironic illustration for this story. It is my own image, which in times while I was still hoping to be able to continue making honest living from photography I uploaded to Alamy, and now, that I sacrificed to the Amazon not only my time but also some hard drives devoured by humidity, this corporate vendor, that pays pennies and charges giant percentage of commission on the sales is the only place I can access the image, but if I want it watermark free, I would have to buy it myself.

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