L: Jason, it is my great pleasure to be your guest today. I enjoyed tremendously our last interview during the GOLD TRAIN Blog Tour. That interview was so profound and revealing – all thanks to your rare ability to ask poignant questions and make your guest feel comfortable answering them – that it became the centerpiece of the last year’s tour. This one promises no less.
1.) You have lived in America for many years now and you have a very good grasp of American culture. Please compare and contrast this with growing up in Russia. What are some things you miss about Russia? What are some aspects of American life that you like? I know you have also traveled extensively. How do you see your international experiences as contributing to your perspective that we are all citizens of one planet?
L: There are lots of things that warm my heart when I think about Russia. Two of them are: how incredibly safe it was to grow up there. I mean safe to the point that kids could play in the cozy courtyard of our apartment complex until 9 or 10 p.m, without having parents worry about them –and I lived in Odessa, a city of over 1 million people! The neighborhood babushkas would sit on a bench and chat, while watching everyone’s kids, and the neighborhood grandpas would play chess at a nearby picnic table and do the same. I know, in my books, I depict certain violent events happening in today’s Russia. However, remember, I write thrillers where things are always seriously dramatized, although my books are generally based on real events.
This violence emerged as a troubling new phenomenon after the breakup of the USSR in 1991. Such escalation of violence is typical of any society experiencing violent, revolutionary change. Breakups of empires would normally usher in this type of scenario. Look what’s happening in Europe now, and this is just the beginning for the Western world. Meanwhile, Russian life is presently normalizing, as prosperity and confidence in tomorrow returns.
I only caught the very beginning of the USSR collapse, when robberies intensified as I was about to leave the country in 1991. Before leaving, I oftentimes had to carry a lot of cash with me due to many last minute expenses and purchases that needed to be made (there were no credit cards at the time). So, in the course of several months I was robbed twice, and so quietly that I didn’t even notice. In my whole life before that, I was never robbed in Odessa. Now, in retrospect I understand (a thriller writer here ) that it was done by someone who knew that I was leaving the country and had to carry all that cash with me, or it was a tip from such a person. Apparently, someone followed me around, waiting for the right moment to cut my purse neatly and take the money. Of course, a lot of people knew, so it would be hard to pinpoint who it may have been. With my present knowledge of things and people, I would’ve probably figured out the identity of the thief, but at the time, I was young and trusting, since I grew up in a very safe environment.
Typically, there were just a few petty crimes per year in the whole city of Odessa. I remember, at one time, the crime of the year was someone snatching fur hats off people’s heads. The audacious hat thieves were finally apprehended and the wave of hat-snatching stopped.
In my case, they never found the thieves. The country was already quietly collapsing, and the police didn’t really bother working hard. The second time around, along with cash, they stole my house keys and passport (which was the biggest loss). I was very distraught about the passport as I needed it to leave the country, and getting a new one would have taken a while. But… lo and behold, these considerate thieves quietly left both the passport and house keys at the nearby militsia (police) station…along with empty wallet. After that, I became much more cautious and no more thieves were able to get near me.
Another thing that is a complete contrast, is how much Russians help each other. Watch my Real Russia Eyewitness Video Journey for a glimpse of that. When we had to move from place to place, all friends would come and help us move the furniture. A whole group of friends came to help us carry our suitcases and to say goodbye when we were leaving the country. This sense of a friend’s shoulder, this sense of true community, is what I miss most.
USA is a very different country. What I like about it is the go-getter, business-like attitude, and that things for the most part get done quickly, compared to a lot of other places in the world. I fit in here in many ways, but what has never worked for me is the lack of any sense of community and the fact that you could never find anyone to have an intelligent conversation with, beyond someone’s kids and mortgage, or an upcoming vacation. The most “advanced” would be talking about stock market moves and ask me for stock tips. Really???
However, the situation has changed after I became active at my blog and Twitter. I’m happy to say that I found many intelligent, like-minded and evolved people in cyberspace, some of whom reside in the USA (like you, Jason), while others live all around the globe.
We are living through a paradigm shift of staggering proportions. These days, in order to find your “tribe,” your community of like-minded souls, one doesn’t have to be confined to a specific town, or even to a specific region. We truly are becoming global citizens! I’d traveled extensively, as you correctly pointed out. Currently, I’m so busy with my writing and other projects that I hardly have time for physical travel any more – no time to waste! I find this new way of traveling in spirit – through my writing, and via the internet – to be even more rewarding than physical travel.
Capitalism (Germans call the American system “Capitalism on steroids”) emphasizes individual over society. This often happens at a detriment to the needs of a community – case in point: all the bailouts of banksters (new term =bankers + gangsters) in the USA, Cyprus and Greece at the expense of ordinary citizens. Meanwhile, Socialism is notorious for putting society before individual. However, we are witnessing the collapse of the old system. Socialism has already collapsed as the 20th Century’s ideological structure. Now, it’s Capitalism’s turn.
We are evolving into a new species: Homo Luminous. Our society is evolving into a new type of society, never heard of before. It’s post-capitalist and post-socialist society, where the rights of individual and society have equal weight and are equally respected. The yin and the yang of societal structures will eventually merge to create a whole. This in part is the topic of The Earth Shifter.
It’s also the global village type of society. I am working on a book about that, and perhaps I’ll also do some videos soon, which you’ll be able to watch at my new Futurist Trendcast blog or at Lada Ray Channel on Youtube.
2.) Your interview with Fidel Castro has captured many people’s imaginations. Oftentimes meeting a famous person, or being in his presence, is different than one might expect. Is there anything about your translating for Fidel Castro that particularly stays in your mind? What was the setting like? Were you nervous? Please tell us a bit more about this experience.
L: Yes, I was nervous, but I was always able to set aside my nervousness and sort of observe it from a distance, while focusing on speaking. I think this is a necessary quality for anyone who speaks (or translates) publically. Fidel Castro had a magnificent aura – the notion I knew nothing about at the time. I just felt his formidable presence in the room. I don’t think he ever smiled, and even if he did, you wouldn’t see his smile beyond that beard.
It was a long time ago, but let’s see: the room where he received delegations I translated for was very, very large and sunny, with light curtains, huge, polished table, Cuban flag and a portrait of Che. He smoked Cuban cigars (of course), which I could do without since I could never tolerate smoke too well. Although, I must say, the smell and smoke of real Cuban cigars is something very different. If I ever had to tolerate cigar smoke in the room, I’d agree only to Cuban cigars. Fidel Castro, who is old and sick now, was an amazing powerhouse in his day. He was only a leader of a tiny island lost in the Caribbean, strangled by the blockade and American sanctions, but his presence was so formidable that meeting him was truly unforgettable.
3.) I must mention the recent Chelyabinsk meteor explosion in the skies above Russia. What an event! And coming so soon after you published The Earth Shifter. This is surely an indication that the cosmos likes your work! Such an event of epic proportions and amazingly there were not too many serious injuries. I had just finished a short story, a flash fiction, and was up late (it was around midnight in my time zone) getting ready to post my story on the #amwriting website. I checked the internet one last time before calling it a night and I saw the first videos popup! Spectacular! Tells us your reaction and experience of this event. Have you heard from friends in Russia about it? What did they say? And, most of all, tell us your thoughts on the meaning and timing of this event. It could have been devastating if the trajectory had been altered just a little. Was this a warning shot? A wakeup call?
L: Oh, I like this: “Cosmos likes my work!” I sure hope so.
I don’t really know anyone who was touched by this event, but I’ve heard that people, even as far as Moscow, were rather shaken. It was so fortunate that there were few serious injuries. It did look like a Cosmic warning of sorts. We are living through times of major transition on all fronts of our collective existence. And (hate being the bearer of such news) cataclysms and disasters of all sorts will continue happening during this decade, and possibly beyond. However, everyone needs to take a deep breath and see all this in perspective. As I said earlier, we are transitioning to a completely new society, and birthing pains are never pleasant.
I know many felt it was an eerie coincidence between The Earth Shifter and the Chelyabinsk meteor. But as we all know, there are no coincidences in life… After all, The Earth Shifter was born as a beautiful dream of a better world, but also as a stark warning for mankind.
4.) The Earth Shifter is such a wonderful book. It explores many of the profound changes the world is currently experiencing. You have a very well thought out geopolitical perspective. Not merely do you have a clear grasp of how the governments of the major world powers work, especially Russia and how it transitioned from the former Soviet Union, but you also provide insight into the business sector and the rise of globalism. Please tell us how this interest developed. Did you have any formal training or life events that were significant in opening up this perspective for you? The book contains information that is fresh and convincing. How would you say your perspective differs from the typical mass media one on geopolitics and the challenges the world is facing?
L: Although I majored in foreign languages and literature, my classical Russian and European education included deep immersion in world history, political science and philosophy as part of the curriculum. And I never met history, philosophy or political science I didn’t like. American system of education is very different and oftentimes people here don’t understand how education could be so all-around. But that’s classical curriculum, which educates people and citizens, as opposed to training them in a narrow field, without giving them an unshakably strong foundation in related disciplines. This kind of all-around educational foundation is what has allowed me, and my former compatriots, to arrive to this country and quickly grasp new to us fields without any additional formal training, and for some, even without sufficient language skills.
I was always interested in history and geopolitics, and even if I wasn’t into politics per se, I oftentimes found myself in the epicenter of various global events, be it in Cuba, USA, Russia, or elsewhere. I’ve accumulated so many observations and so much knowledge of various counties’ inner workings throughout my life that I felt a need to share all that with the world. I’ve always been extremely intuitive, but at some point, I found that I could accurately predict events. I’ve been too busy to concentrate on that fully, but I hope to do more predictions in the future.
As to mass media: a long time ago I had disconnected cable and stopped watching all these CNBC, CNN, etc.; I unsubscribed from all magazines and papers back in 2001, when I realized that their reporting was all based on fear and greed, as well as sensationalism at any cost. I would strongly recommend that everyone do the same. Mainstream media will have to change, or die. I have to watch some news (oftentimes I just skim headlines) because of my work, but I only do alternative media, and primarily through Youtube (I recommend RT and RTAmerica).
As to my perspective: you’ll find that my point of view on world events and economy/finance most likely will be similar (not always) to that of Marc Faber, Gerald Celente, Max Keiser/Stacy Herbert, and Jim Rogers. These are the people to listen to in order to gain real perspective. On the mystical side, I find that my view is rather original, although I agree to a degree with other mystics of today.
5.) Concerning ascension and/or the rapid transformations taking place on planet Earth, many people have had personal experiences, perhaps even phenomenological moments, when they witness these changes. Is there anything, a vision, a realization, or something else that has dramatically called your attention to these changes? I know you have said you are not a doomsayer, and yet there is so much negativity put forth by the media and others, how do you stay positive? What can you say to reassure those who are worried? Might you suggest some proactive attitudes and/or endeavors?
L: I mentioned earlier our transition to a new society on planet Earth. I cover this in The Earth Shifter quite extensively, and there will be much more in future Earth Shifter books. I also will do some videos and posts, which everyone will be able to find at Lada Ray Youtube channel and Futurist Trendcast blog.
We are going through birthing pains, and this is always scary. There are also plenty of forces out there that don’t want this to happen, or want to exploit the new paradigm for their own gains.
First of, staying positive is a must. The important thing is to keep all this in perspective. The events that are happening now are predestined and the benefits humanity will reap from the new paradigm will be enormous.
Yes, there will be a need to adjust to all this: for some – more, for others – less. It all depends on what kind of life you’ve lived, how far along you are in your development and what kind of karma you are bringing with you. It is very important to keep growing spiritually. As Buddha said: “question everything.”
The new spirituality is very different from the old, stern and unbending spirituality, or the spirituality as a hide-out from the cruel world. It is open and joyful.
Osho, one of the foremost spiritual teachers of the 20th century, called it being “Zorba the Buddha.” I see this very clearly. This is what we, the humans, are evolving into, this is the new being. However, not everyone will be able to get there. I talk about this new type of being extensively in The Earth Shifter. I am also starting to work on my new non-fiction book about this phenomenon and its practical applications for ordinary people.
If we are talking about physical preparation: become self-sufficient, so you don’t have to depend on crumbling Western infrastructure, and grow your own organic garden. We’ve recently had an interesting discussion on 1EarthUnite.wordpress.com blog. Someone mentioned that Cubans have always grown their own organic gardens. I confirmed that this was true – I’ve seen them with my own eyes. Also, after Gorbachev came to power in 1985 and before the collapse of the USSR, very smartly the Russian government had distributed gardening plots to all citizens; all you had to do was claim yours. This is why the society continued functioning and there was no famine during the 1990s collapse, despite the fact that supply routes were disrupted, ruble collapsed, and salaries were often late. I’ll talk more about that in my future posts.
Investment wise, I suggest getting rid of dollars. Don’t keep too much money in the bank, and don’t keep all your savings in dollars, as dollar will eventually collapse.
This is all very individual, and as independent financial consultant, I can only give personal financial advice during a private consultation. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to explore investments outside of the normal scope, if you want to preserve your capital. Get out of bonds and be very careful with stocks – generally, a bad investment for this decade.
The so called “preppers” stock up on food, water and munitions. A supply of food and water is always a good idea, but I wouldn’t overdo it as it does spoil in time, and you may never be able to really use it. I would never advise anyone to stock up on guns, which I personally despise, however, I understand the American point of view on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Just remember, where I come from people avoid guns at all cost, since Russia and Europe have gone through two devastating world wars in the 20th Century. As a result, the aversion to guns in Europe is universal. That’s why Europeans will never understand the American “obsession” with guns.
It really would be much, much better if people in the USA began developing a real sense of community instead, if they learned to cooperate and perhaps barter, rather than insist on their separation from each other by way of barricading themselves and pointing guns at each other. I see the sense of community starting to develop in some, more progressive parts of the country. For example, I see the shoots of that in NYC and certain areas of Upstate NY, say in progressive towns like Oneonta, Woodstock, New Paltz. I hear that similar things are happening in some communities in California, Santa Fe, etc. In the Berkshires, MA, where I lived for a time and where the action of my mystery/thriller STEPFORD USA takes place, a new, community-based currency has emerged, called Berkshares.
6.) To take this a little further, in addition to your profound insight into the “macro” geopoloical world, your books contain touching interpersonal relationships. The warmth within these relationships contains a dynamic that lifts the spirit and makes the impossible seem possible. Could you speak a bit about the interpersonal nature of humanity and how you see this transforming, perhaps even evolving, during these amazing times?
L: Thank you for the compliment about my books. I try my best to express through my writing the visions of humanity’s higher expression. I think I’ve already spoken about that above, but to reiterate, developing a community of like-minded people will be paramount. I was privileged to experience such community/friendships as a teen and college student back in Russia. Now, I’m building this type of community again through my wordpress blog and interactions on Twitter. One day, I’m hoping to build a community of new human beings in real life. Where? I have an idea, but I won’t reveal my secret just yet. However, I’m working on a non-fiction book about that. Stay tuned!
7.) I love the manner in which you describe the Russian steppes and Lake Baikal. I am currently living on the Great Plains and I feel there are certain similarities between these two majestic natural expanses. What can you tell us about the Lake Baikal area of Russia, the feelings it evokes, the magic it contains? What kind of people live there? What is the history of the area? And, most importantly, how is the spirit contained there, in the land and water, important to all of us as citizens of the world?
L: Sacred Lake Baikal is very special place, and one of the amazing natural wonders of our planet. Every view here is picture perfect.
In the words of The Earth Shifter:
“Sasha let the smell of the taiga and the breeze from Baikal wash over her. The sacred lake of Siberia, Baikal, contained more than one fifth of the planet’s fresh water reserves. An average lake on Earth had rarely survived past the age of ten thousand years. There was nothing average about Baikal. Over a million years old, rather than contracting with age, it kept expanding. Scientists believed that Baikal was an ocean in the making, while the locals swore that its pristine blue depths possessed incredible healing and spiritual powers. At the moment, the sacred lake was a gleaming, rippled sheet of silver in the light of the full moon. The dark taiga—Siberia’s giant untouched forest—loomed silent just behind them.”
Lake Baikal is so huge and its energy is so powerful that it is generally regarded in Russia as Sacred Sea. It is home to over 500 endemic species, including a huge population of one-of-a-kind seal, called Nerpa – one of the many enigmas of this place. Baikal is very deep and its blue depths are uniquely fed by the live water from pristine underground sources, which continuously replenish it and because of which locals swear that the lake possesses healing powers. Baikal is a very important UNESCO World Heritage site, whose clean water reserves are invaluable in the face of any potential water shortage.
The word shaman is a local word, introduced to the world by the Russian researchers, and Siberia is the birthplace of shamanism on our planet. Like in many parts of Russia, the population around Baikal is mixed: part Russian and part Buryat. Buryats are an Asian nationality, close relatives to the Mongols. By the way, for those who wonder what tribe Shaman Tengis belongs to: he is a Buryat.
Siberia and Lake Baikal are described very poetically in The Earth Shifter. Essentially, both become beloved characters in the book.
8.) Please also talk some about your concept of money, monetary systems, derivatives, and especially, alternative currencies such as Bitcoin.
L: This is a very involved subject and we have discussed some of the alternative investments above. In a few words, Bitcoin is a new type of global electronic currency, which is an alternative to the dollar. This is peer-to-peer currency without any third party risk (meaning, it bypasses the bank). Several years ago, Bitcoin has started trading at 1 to 1 with dollar, but it has been going up against the dollar like mad for the past several weeks. Currently, it is trading around $90. It’s a new currency and as such, it’s VERY volatile, but this is one of the future currencies of the new world. Note, Bitcoin investment can be very rewarding, but it’s also very tricky, and I recommend educating yourself well before opening an account. Investing at the right price is also paramount. Also, more and more people open Bitcoin merchant accounts.
This is not an investment advice – just a general discussion – although I am a licensed financial advisor. You can seek additional advice from a trusted qualified advisor if you don’t feel you know enough on your own. I provide financial advice to private clients as an independent financial consultant.
Also, stay tuned for my future videos and analysis of pros and cons of Bitcoin, gold, silver, as well as the future of money and society. All links can be found below.
9.) I love the scene in The Earth Shifter when Sasha empties out her wallet to give all of her money to the wife and mother of the men who murdered her father. This is so powerful! Tell us about writing that scene. It was very moving to read.
L: Sasha, the protagonist of The Earth Shifter, is a dream of Homo Luminous, the being of the future I talked about above. Without revealing too much of the plot (because the scene involves certain twists and surprises), imagine this. This is her father’s funeral. Sasha has just undergone an absolutely devastating experience of losing her only parent, the situation to which many others would react with anger, resentment, or even destructive force. The thing is, everyone would understand if she has, as the crowd is already working itself up to such outcome. But then I imagined Sasha coming in touch with another human being who has also lost everyone and everything (even if it has happened because of their own horrible actions), and I knew that her compassion would overwhelm her ego and personal sense of loss, and that she would give comfort and whatever money she had to the unfortunate woman. When I wrote, the events unfolded naturally as I could not imagine any other way in which this scene could have developed.
10.) Finally, you mention heading up to Tibet when your writing is done and I think this is a wonderful idea. Since I was a child, the Potala Palace has fascinated me. How about if all of us “spiritual” writers have a meet up many years from now when the work is done? I know there is much left to write, but it might be nice to look forward to a collegiate gathering, a celebration of sorts. What do you think?
L: It’s a date, Jason! I would absolutely love to meet with you and other like-minded people and authors in Tibet! But why wait that long? We can always organize such meetings in New York, or say, in Machu Picchu, Peru. I’m planning on heading down there in a year or two. And we should definitely celebrate every chance we get, because remember, we are Zorba the Buddhas after all!
Thank you, Lada, for sharing so much wisdom and knowledge with us, as well as some of your personal life experiences. It was a very moving interview. I know I learned a lot. Best of luck with your writing and we look forward to reading many more of your wonderful books in the future!
L: Jason, I had a blast answering your questions! Thank you for this treat!
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