former buddhist monk, performer, writer
Alan Clements, a former monk, journalist, activist, author, and performing artist, was the first American to ordain as a Buddhist monk in Burma where he lived in a monastery for the better part of a decade during the 1970s and 1980s. During this time he trained in Buddhist psychology and Insight ( vipassana ) meditation with two of the most respected meditation masters of the modern era, the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, and his successor the Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita.
Clements was forced to leave monastic in 1984 by Burma's military dictatorship (no reason given). He subsequently returned to the West, becoming an evocative activist for global human rights and freedom, lecturing and leading seminars worldwide. His efforts on behalf of oppressed peoples led a former director of Amnesty International to call Alan "one of the most important and compelling voices of our times."
As a journalist, Alan has lived in some of the most highly volatile areas of the world. In the jungles of Burma, in 1990, he was the first Westerner to witness and document the genocide of the ethnic minorities by the military dictatorship, which he wrote about in his first book, Burma: The Next Killing Fields?, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama.
Invited to Croatia in 1993 by a senior officer for the United Nations, he lived in the former Yugoslavia during the final year of their war, where he consulted with staff members of NGO's and the United Nation's on the "vital role of consciousness in understanding human rights, freedom, and peace." At that time Clements also wrote "Burning"-- a screenplay about love, freedom, and nonviolence in the context of hatred, totalitarianism, and war."
In 1995, Clements made a risky journey back to Burma where he spent six months with Burma's opposition leaders, all of whom had just been released from prison. In April 1996 he smuggled their taped conversations from Burma that became The Voice of Hope, (Seven Stories Press, NY)--the internationally acclaimed book of conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi, 1991's Nobel Peace laureate and leader of her country' nonviolent struggle for freedom. The book also contained feature length interviews with the two co-chairmen of Aung San Suu Kyi's political party, U Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung.
Clements is also the co-author (with Leslie Kean) and a contributing photographer to Burma's Revolution of the Spirit (Aperture, NY)--a large format photographic tribute to Burma's nonviolent struggle for democracy--with a foreword by the Dalai Lama and essays by eight Nobel peace laureates. In addition, Clements was the script revisionist and advisor for Beyond Rangoon (Castle Rock Entertainment), a feature film depicting the crisis in Burma, directed by John Boorman.
Watch Alan Clements
on the "Fanny Keifer show"
Alan's most recent book, Instinct for Freedom (New World Library, CA) chronicles his life-long spiritual journey and his core philosophy on the nature of freedom, along with an in-depth analysis of both the theory and practice of meditation, as well as a rare look into the philosophical underpinnings of Burma's nonviolent struggle for freedom, known as "a revolution of the spirit."
As result of Alan's activism in Burma, in 1997 the dictatorship "permanently blacklisted" him from reentering the country, branding him "Public Enemy."
Aung San Suu Kyi was rearrested in 2001 and again in 2003, where she remains incommunicado, along with nearly 1,500 other prisoner's of conscience.
Alan performs his acclaimed one-man show, " Spiritually Incorrect," to audiences around the world as benefits for the Burma Project USA--a non-profit human rights organization--to raise awareness of Aung San Suu Kyi's incarceration, as well as her political party's urgent request for an international boycott of travel to Burma.
Alan's one-man show uniquely combines comedy, satire, drama, and activism into a stream of consciousness series of metapysical-political monologues that serve to obliterate contemporary sacred spiritual cows and geopolitical propaganda that proclaims religious beliefs and moral values as a justification for political and military aggression.
Clements has been interviewed on ABC's Nightline, CBS Evening News, Talk to America, CBC, VOA, BBC, and by the New York Times, London Times, Time and Newsweek magazines, Yoga Journal, Conscious Living, and scores of other media worldwide.
In addition, Alan has presented to such organizations as Mikhail Gorbachev's State of The World Forum, The Soros Foundation, United Nations Association of San Francisco, the universities of California, Toronto, Sydney, and many others, including a keynote address at the John Ford Theater for Amnesty International's 30th year anniversary.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Alan lectures, performs, and leads retreats in North America, Europe and Australia, to illuminate the fundamental importance of understanding human consciousness as the basis for true social, political and spiritual transformation.
Ground-breaking writer, Activist, Earth-based spirituality pioneer
Starhawk is one of the most respected voices in modern earth-based spirituality. She is also well-known as a global justice activist and organizer, whose work and writings have inspired many to action. She is the author or coauthor of ten books, including The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, long considered the essential text for the Neo-Pagan movement, and the now-classic ecotopian novel The Fifth Sacred Thing. Starhawk's newest book is The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature.
Her works have been translated into Spanish, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Greek, Japanese, and Burmese. Her essays are reprinted across the world, and have been included in numerous anthologies. Starhawk's writing is influential and has been quoted by hundreds of other authors, turning up in magazines, trade and academic press, and even inspirational calendars. Her books are often found in college curriculums. The Spiral Dance has been continuously in-print for over twenty-five years and revised twice; in 1999 HarperSanFrancisco published the Twentieth Anniversary Edition. Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery won the Media Alliance Meritorious Achievement Award for nonfiction in 1988. Starhawk's first novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing, won the Lambda award for best Gay and Lesbian Science Fiction in 1994. Many of Starhawk's best political essays--credited with helping the global justice movement find and define itself--were collected into her book Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising. At the Book Expo America, Webs of Power won a 2003 Nautilus Award from the trade association NAPRA.
Starhawk is perhaps best known as an articulate pioneer in the revival of earth-based spirituality and Goddess religion. She is a cofounder of Reclaiming, an activist branch of modern Pagan religion, and continues to work closely with the Reclaiming community (www.reclaiming.org). She consulted on and contributed to the popular trio of films known as the Women's Spirituality series, directed by Donna Read for the National Film Board of Canada: Goddess Remembered, The Burning Times, and Full Circle. Starhawk and Donna Read recently formed their own film company, Belili Productions (www.belili.org). Their first release is Signs Out of Time (2004), a documentary on the life of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, the scholar made major discoveries about the Goddess cultures of Old Europe. Starhawk and Donna are at work on their next film, an introduction to permaculture.
Starhawk is a veteran of progressive movements, from anti-war to anti-nukes, and is deeply committed to bringing the techniques and creative power of spirituality to political activism. Together with Penny Livingston-Stark and Erik Ohlsen, she coteaches EAT, Earth Activist Trainings, intensive seminars that combine permaculture design, political organizing, and earth-based spirituality (www.earthactivisttraining.org).
Starhawk has also recorded several tapes and CDs; most recently "Wicca for Beginners" (2002), "Wiccan Rituals and Blessings" (2003), and a four-CD set "Earth Magic" (2006), all produced by Sounds True. A songwriter on occasion, quite a few of her songs and chants turn up in rituals across the globe; they are included in songbooks and hymnals, covered by other artists, and recorded by the Reclaiming musical community.
Starhawk travels internationally teaching magic, the tools of ritual, and the skills of activism. She lives part-time San Francisco, in a collective house with her partner and friends, and part-time in a little hut in the woods in western Sonoma County, California, where she practices permaculture in her extensive gardens, and writes.
The original cyber-punk visionary and counter culture engineer
Ken Goffman, a.k.a. R. U. Sirius, is a well-known cultural commentator and co-founder of Mondo 2000, the iconoclastic magazine that defined the digital culture of the early nineties. He is author or editor of seven books, including Mondo 2000: A User's Guide to the New Edge and The Revolution, and co-wrote Timothy Leary's last book, Design for Dying. His new book, Counterculture Through the Ages, is the subject of a course here at the Academy. In 2000 he ran for U.S. President for the Revolution© Party. He was a columnist for Artforum International and the San Francisco Examiner. He lectures internationally on subjects ranging from the implications of new technology to alternative politics. He lives in Mill Valley, California.
Chaos Magic Pioneer, Alternative Scientist
My family name goes back to at least the 11 th century to the Irish clan of Cearbhall, later anglicised to Carroll. The name originally meant 'fierce in battle'. The clan's heraldic arms depict the magic sword of Ely supported by two lions rampant.
My clan stood at the right hand of the High King of Ireland at the battle of Clontarf, AD1014, where we defeated a combined Danish and Norwegian Viking army that had ravished our lands. To emphasise our displeasure at their incursion we wound the entrails of the Vikings we had slain about the trees of Clontarf.
Things then go rather quiet for nine centuries until my nativity on the south coast of England in AD1953. A great grandfather appears to have moved to England rather than to America.
I later discover that my nativity marks an exact conjunction of Sol and Uranus and that this apparently explains it all. However I decline to invest belief in astrology.
I spend much of my childhood with the Knights Templar to whom I feel oddly drawn. My father made the wooden castle and I collected hundreds of the little armoured figures in the white robes with the red crosses.
I spend my early adolescence making rockets and explosions without loosing any fingers or eyes, despite some close calls. I spend my late adolescence reading up everything on the occult in the library. Books cost a lot more money then and we had little to spare.
As I grow up I come to realise that I have a very intelligent but frustrated mother and an underachieving but amiable drunk for a father.
At school I tend to come out bottom in most subjects except chemistry where I come top. I open my own private laboratory at home and the explosions get more impressive. The lab technician at school has very poor inventory control. I disdain team sports but excel in individual sports such as javelin and swimming.
Somehow despite my humble origins and the distractions of late adolescence I win a place to study science at London University. In those days the government paid the whole bill for the tiny minority that qualified for college.
At college I find the wonders of science reduced to mind numbing dullness by academics whose talent for tedium surpasses even that of my schoolteachers.
I resolve to devote my time to sex and magic, because drugs and rock and roll tend to get boring after a few hours. I enjoy 'the sixties' immensely. In England this cultural period extends from about 1968 to 1978. The women wear flared jeans and long hair and take the pill. The publishing houses reprint Crowley and a tidal wave of esoterica follows.
Soon I start doing this stuff for real, I get my own black robes and together with the London Illuminati of the day, start conjuring in gothic graveyards and luridly decorated bedsits. I scrape through college with a precisely calculated minimum pass, 'a gentleman's degree' as we call it.
After college, having no real profession, I do a bit of schoolteaching to save some money and to enjoy the long holidays, and then set off for the mystic east with my girlfriend. The backpacker groove has yet to become well established, so we stand on the outskirts of London with our thumbs out holding a piece of cardboard saying India.
Several months later we arrive, having crossed Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and having lost a fair bit of weight to dysentery.
We spend the next four years wandering in India and the Himalayas, with occasional excursions to Australia and Britain to earn some money. Down in India we build a boat and survive inadvertently sailing it through a typhoon During all this time I write and meditate furiously and debate with the adepts and mountebanks from dozens of traditions. Wherever I go I tend to fall in with the local wizards for some practical metaphysics.
Upon returning finally to the land of my birth, I decide to have a go at fortune, family, and a discreet amount of fame.
Accordingly we hitch hike to an agreeable provincial English city (London having passed its best) to give it a go.
I marry my girlfriend and start a business in a rented shed. My booksales get me an invitation to a lecture tour in Europe, out of this I develop the IOT Pact. The business thrives. I write more and lecture in the USA where the order now has temples. Disagreeably messy and noisy babies arrive, but they grow into utterly delightful children.
I look back on it all with some satisfaction; the business now has its own fine premises and trades internationally. I had the privilege of leading a radical and innovative magical order for five years. I shall not forget those riotous, scandalous, and notorious annual general meetings held in fantasy castles in central Europe. The order continues to flourish but I retired as grandmaster to pursue many other commitments.
I particularly wanted to conduct a research project into an intuition that had developed from my magical quest, that time has several dimensions. This quest has taken me into some strange realms indeed. I practise magic mainly for my own needs now and rarely accept invitations to teach, research has become my main priority.
Current findings appear on my website: www.specularium.org
Virtual reality pioneer, author, teacher, researcher, futurist.
Mark Pesce is an inventor, writer, entrepreneur, educator and broadcaster. In 1994 Pesce co-invented VRML, a 3D interface to the World Wide Web. Pesce has written five books, including VRML: Browsing and Building Cyberspace and The Playful World: How Technology is Transforming Our Imagination, which used toys such as Furby and PlayStation to explore our interactive future.
As an educator, Pesce founded graduate programs in interactive media at both the University of Southern California’s world-famous Cinema School and the Australian Film, Radio and Television School. Pesce currently holds an appointment as Honorary Associate in the University of Sydney’s Digital Cultures Program.
For the last seven years, Pesce has been a panelist and judge on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s hit series The New Inventors, celebrating Australia’s newest inventions and inventors. A highly-regarded speaker, Pesce entertains and informs audiences on the future of technology, media, government, health care, and education, and is a regular guest on host James Valentine’s ABC 702 radio program. Pesce’s articles about technology and culture are regularly published in NETT magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC’s The Drum, and ABC’s Technology & Games.
In 2006, Pesce founded FutureSt, a Sydney consultancy dedicated to helping clients negotiate the challenges presented by our ‘hyperconnected’ future, and currently serves as an advisor both to the groundbreaking social influence analytics firm PeopleBrowsr, the game-changing mesh network for mobiles, Serval, and ClassMate, a web service that helps teachers to share and profit from their lesson plans. In addition to his commercial efforts, Pesce has been designing and coding Plexus, a Web2.0 address book and social networking tool.