Walking Within Wisdom #15

Rebecca Saltman
7 min readSep 5, 2019


September 3, 2019

“Fear and debt drive this system. We are hammered with messages that terrify us into believing that we must pay any price, assume any debt, to stop the enemies who, we are told, lurk at our doorsteps.”
― John Perkins, The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

So I have REALLY enjoyed the work Anahita Joon and Aaron Glassman, it has certainly provided me with some wonderful new wisdom.

A couple of weeks ago I was able to listen to Anahita and Aaron interviewing John Perkins, a man I have met several times through the Pachamama Alliance https://www.pachamama.org/ and my social entrepreneurship work. What seems to be happening for me is that much of the wisdom I am listening to has really powerful messages talking about the same things.

Yesterday’s wisdom of Ubuntu Contributionism followed by today with John Perkins is such a clear example. So many of us want to head to the same destination, this destination as John Perkins describes, an “environmentally sustainable, just and fulfilling world for all species” (by the way that is part of the Pachamama Alliances mission :-)) What if we all could agree that this is actually the destination we are headed? What if we could all put this destination in our collective GPS’s? Well, I will let that stir for a while and tell you all about this fabulous interview with Mr. Perkins ;-) Despite cutting pages of notes, this is another long segment, so go grab a drink and a snack (hopefully something sustainable!) and get ready for some wisdom!

If you would enjoy watching the interview itself you have a couple of more days to enjoy the replay here: http://iconicleadersrise.com.pages.ontraport.net/day-2

If you don’t know who John Perkins is here is a short bio: As Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm, John Perkins advised the World Bank, United Nations, IMF, U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and leaders of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. He is a founder and board member of Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance- non-profit organizations devoted to establishing a world that future generations will want to inherit and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

Anahita and Aaron started by asking John who is an Iconic Leader to him … John described iconic leaders as people who are really stepping out and facing the truth, the truth that we are at a time in history where we have seen thousands of years of exploiting people and the resources of the world. We are clearly still living in an exploitative time.

We are destroying ourselves, destroying the essence of being human creating what John calls the death economy, an economic system that is consuming itself into extinction. This has happened in small ways in history like in ancient Mayan society, but never on a global level. We are in an incredible time in history, where Iconic Leaders are here to face these things, not gloss over them, and come up with real solutions.

It is time to move toward “life economies” instead of hierarchy. We need to have an economic system that regenerates itself that doesn’t hurt the earth and look toward indiginous communities for guidance.

Anahita asked about being in a state where “I care and I am in overwhelm feel like I could collapse”

John then described… We need to recognize there are two realities, objective reality and perceived reality… Perception is what creates our reality. Once people accept this perception, it creates a paradigm shift… John calls this “touching the jaguar”
You can not run from that which you fear, you have to run to it and touch it, touch the jaguar.

The Jaguar represents fear of change… Most of the world doesn’t have the luxury of thinking about these things — because they have to put food on the table. We HAVE to change and do it in a way that will impact every species on the planet…

John told his personal “touching a jaguar” story… He explained that on 9/11 he was in the rainforest… He got back to NYC and decided he must write a book about his experiences as an economic hitman, and was inspired to write it “as a confession” If you are going to be a whistle-blower, you don’t tell anyone you are doing it, the CIA wouldn’t want him to be a martyr after all!

John then went on to explain, how do we touch the Jaguar? By writing, speaking, working with organizations like the Pachamama Alliance or Dream Change, raising a child, influencing school system… that IS touching the jaguar… He described a friend of his who is a carpenter, he is only willing to work for you if you are willing to use sustainable products… That is touching the Jaguar

Anahita described how she was consciously spending her money in her 20’s and would spend $100 on a sweatshirt that was sustainably sourced and created… Her friend would go to target and buy 3 sweatshirts for $65… Her friend would say, look I saved so much money and she would say I am not trying to “save” money, I am ethically spending my money. It was really hard for her to be surrounded by that level of “consciousness”

John then went on to explain that this level of consciousness is not meant to be easy, buying that $100 sweatshirt was touching the jaguar… You were investing in the child you didn’t have yet… We need to tell the good companies why you bought from them AND tell the companies why you didn’t buy from them. Most CEO’s want to do the right thing, they just don’t know how to do it without losing their job!

John continued by describing how we have certainly moved far away from cooperation, this movement towards nationalism is a difficult and scary one… Moving toward the right wing is a response to desperation… People around the world are disappointed, discouraged and frightened. When “we” are in this state we run toward authoritarian rulers who will tell us what to do and how to be. DESPERATION AND FEAR forces us to look for answers, they can come from either side of the aisle. It is just looking for answers in different directions.

What we are seeing is an underlying discontent which opens the door for real consciousness change.

Milton Freidman won the nobel prize for economics in 1976. His Nobel prize theory, to maximize short term profits no matter what the social or environmental cost. Freidman described, if you maximize short term value, social and environmental issues will take care of themselves. He touched the jaguar and it changed perception/reality. This is what has triggered everything that we are dealing with today. He put the nail in all of our coffins. Political leaders, business schools, corporate leaders 100% bought into his theory. It is time we reversed it, that is why it is so important to encourage iconic leaders today!

John is a history buff he explained during the American revolution in 1774, we thought the British were invincible. George Washington — remembered an ambush that killed many men… Their strategy hide behind trees… George Washington then adopted the same “hide behind trees” strategy and won — the British are not invincible… Hiding behind trees was a total perceptual change and it shifted everything basically overnight… We can do this too… We need to be creative! We need to utilize the Shamic idea of “we have all the answers to all the things we need, we just need to open our minds and hearts to accept it…”

How does John believe we need to address all of these crisis’s? He explained, revolutions always try to get stopped by those who think the status quo is exactly where they need it to be. That is what is happening right now… People in power today can see what is happening, it is a revolution and they are trying to put the breaks on to stop it. Like in martial arts, we need to take strength from the opposition… When someone comes at you with an attack, rather than fighting it, use their energy. We should take energy from them and use it to fuel us to do the work we were put here to do. Let’s take energy from it instead of getting discouraged by it.

John concluded by saying, “Pachamama is speaking to us so clearly, rising waters, melting ice caps — mother is twitching but she hasn’t shaken us off yet. If we listen we can work with her, be partners so she will not shake us.

Look to your passions and skills — we are all headed to the same destination

Creating an environmentally sustainable, just and fulfilling world for all species we can all take different routes to get there… go with your love and bliss and do it together.



Rebecca Saltman

I am a #visionary of change and rabble-rouser for good. #socent, lover of #JOY, expert #connector & #convener. Find out more at https://www.disruptforgood.life/