Thursday, April 08, 2010

exile nation

Reality Sandwich | Exile Nation is a work of "spiritual journalism" that grapples with the themes of drugs, prisons, politics and spirituality through Shaw's personal story. It is a memoir of his life as a writer, addict, activist, prisoner, and spiritual seeker, a mosaic of his descent into shadow, his personal reckoning, and the long slow crawl back out to reclaim his life, heal the past, and start over. Exile Nation is an archetypal story of self-discovery, a "Hero's Journey" metaphor for the political and spiritual awakening process that so many are experiencing at this crucial point in human evolution. In between the themes, it is an insider's look at the forgotten or excluded segments of our society, the disenfranchised lifestyles and subcultures existing in what Shaw calls the "exile nation." They are those who have lost some or all of their ability to participate in the full opportunities offered by life in advanced industrial societies because of an arrest or conviction for a non-violent, drug-related, or "moral" offense, those who cannot participate in the credit economy, and those with lifestyle choices that involve radical politics and sexuality, cognitive liberty, and unorthodox spiritual and healing practices. Together they make up the new "evolutionary counterculture" of the most significant epoch in human history.

"The issues this book discusses are relevant now. The drug war is destabilizing major segments of the globe and threatening to collapse whole nations. The United States jails, imprisons, and “correctionally monitors” (supervision, probation, parole) more people than any other nation in the world, around 6 million, or 1 out of every 50 Americans. Most are for non-violent drug offenses. This “correctional economy” which comprises the police, courts, and prisons, account for millions of jobs and billions of dollars. At the same time, state budgets are so overwhelmed they can’t afford to hold all the prisoners they have jammed into their systems like animals on a factory farm. Marijuana, on the verge of legalization, is the #1 cash crop in America. FDA-approved clinical trials of psychedelic therapies for some of life’s most debilitating illnesses are again underway after a 40-year lockdown, and alongside that, a shamanic revolution in consciousness is unfolding, reconnecting us with our spiritual selves and the earth that has supported us for so long. Surrounding all of this and providing context is the knowledge that we are in a time of profound and systemic change, everywhere: to the Earth and its ecosystem, to technology, to populations and politics, to energy, to consciousness, and to our very beings. The time is now!”