Interview: Devin Brahja Waldman

Saxophonist and composer Devin Brahja Waldman has been working in New York for about a decade and has led bands, contributed to projects such as Heroes Are Gang Leaders, and had numerous collaborations including Radical Reversal, with poet Randall Horton. In July, I interviewed Waldman about the release of the record, Kadef.

CB: How did the band Kadef come together? Did it come out of a common spiritual commitment to the ideas that you outline in your notes? How did you meet these musicians and what led up to the recording? Could you tell me a bit about each of them and what they brought to this music? How did you work out your sound together?

I’ll answer the first four questions together and then I’ll answer the last two afterwards. Our group Kadef came about from a chance encounter that I had with Ziad Qoulaii. I was walking up a street in Montreal and heard a voice coming from a venue. The voice amazed me. I went inside and saw Ziad singing on stage with a few other musicians. Listening to him blew me away. After he finished, he got off the stage and I walked up to him. I told him what I thought about the music and he thanked me for saying so. I also told him that I thought we should play together sometime. He said he was down. Two or three days later we were playing a house show together. The band was Martin Heslop and Thierry Amar on bass, Sam Shalabi on synth, Liam O’Neill on drums, Ziad and myself. Tamara Filyavich was also supposed to play on synth but she ended up not being able to do it. It was an improvised set. A couple months after this, it just so happened that both Ziad and I were in Morocco at the same time. I was in Marrakesh to play at a poetry festival organized by El Habib Louai and afterwards took the train to Rabat to stay with Ziad and his family. We played an improvised show together with some friends of his. I was in Montreal again a few months after that and we decided to record. I knew I wanted to try something with the keyboard wizard Mathieu Pelletier-Gagnon and Ziad together. Mathieu and I used to be in a band with our mutual friend Daniel Gélinas. Mathieu and I had become close friends. He was renting a studio space at Latraque in Montreal and had access to recording equipment. Ziad asked to invite his friend Anas Jellouf to the studio. Anas plays guembri and is also from Morocco. He has such a brilliant spirit. The man’s smile lights up the room. The four of us recorded that night, and met up again two days later, if memory serves. The next day Ziad brought his friend Hamza Lahmadi (aka Kenny) into the studio to play oud. We recorded the song which we later named after Ziad’s favorite painter Abbès Saladi. Hamza is a great oud player: beautiful tone and sense of melody. He puts care into each note.

A few months later I was in Montreal again. I was going to Montreal 3, 4 or 5 times a year at that time, taking the bus up from New York. This time, Ziad invited his friend Anas Hejam to play guitar with us at the studio; and the next day he brought in his friend Rachid Salamate, who also sings and plays guembri on the album. Anas is a fantastic guitarist. His playing is raw and from the guts. Rachid is the same way. Rachid is a Gnawa master. There was never any discussion about the music we were going to play at any time. I don’t think anyone ever said a single thing. Someone would start playing something and then the rest of us would join in. Some of the songs started with a bass line that Anas Jellouf played on guembri. He would sit down and start playing something and then we’d all hop on our instruments and go. Take the track Sahel, for example. It started with Anas playing the bass line while we were still sound checking and settling in. It’s a four and a half bar repeating pattern, if I’m not mistaken. It’s one of the most melodic bass lines I can imagine. That was one of the first songs we recorded together. Playing drums during the session, I pounced on that bass line with the quickness. Sarab probably started with the guitar. Others may have started with the keyboard. Generally speaking though, it’s as if everything started at the same time. It’s a blur how any of it got started. Looking back, we just sat down and did it. The music is completely improvised. The last three songs on the record (with Rachid) are Gnawa classics. The rest of the album is improvised though. The album doesn’t necessarily sound improvised, but it is. I would assume that it was composed if I heard it for the first time. Sarab was the only tune that I remember trying to do a second take of. It’s because Mathieu found a keyboard line towards the end of the song that really worked. We tried another take where he brought in the bass line right away. Listening back to it later on though, when mixing the album, it was clear to me that the first take was where the magic really was. All that to say that there is not a second take on the album.

Mathieu’s keyboard playing in Kadef is something special. His playing on “Mamadou,” for example, or “Sahel part II,” is phenomenal; though you could say that about every song he plays on. The way he develops and builds a melody off the top of his head is remarkable. The only reason he doesn’t play on Wairhamhomwaya Allah is because the rest of us were sound-checking and Mathieu was running around seeing if the mics were turned on at a proper level. He gets so many sounds out of his keyboards: a particular combination of sounds that I’ve only ever heard him make. Hearing the combination of Mathieu, Anas and Ziad inspires me a lot. Anas has an earthy sound and Mathieu a stellar one and Ziad is running up and down the stairway from Heaven to Earth. Ziad’s voice is unlike any voice I know. His ability to improvise melodies astounds me. A couple months later I asked Vicky Mettler and Sam Shalabi to record on the record. They came in at separate times and overdubbed. They improvised on top of what we had already laid down. Both of them contributed substantial magic to the music. I met Vicky through Sam. Vicky Mettler plays guitar in Sam Shalabi’s band Land of Kush, which I also play in. Sam heard Vicky at a show and was blown away and asked her to play in Land of Kush, which is Sam’s orchestra. Going purely by what Sam told me—because I trust his ears that much—I knew I needed to invite Vicky to play on Kadef, and soon afterwards Vicky and I were bandmates and collaborators in Land of Kush. Vicky’s contributions to the songs Rahma and Mamadou are highly significant. In Rahma, for instance, the guitar provides a boost when it comes in. It uplifts everything. Her playing on that song is very ferocious, and very precise. Her tone is really special. It cuts into the fabric of the song, but in a way that never overwhelms the fabric. On Mamadou she makes electrical bubbles. She throws electrical darts. As for Sam Shalabi, he and I go back quite a while. I probably started playing with him in 2012. I’ve met many musicians through him including Nadah El Shazly, Alan Bishop, Maurice Louca, and Adham Zidan, who all are close collaborators of his from Cairo. In any case, Sam and I have worked a lot together over the years. He’s on the 2019 Brahja record. He’s also on the next record I have coming out on RR GEMS called EEG Coherence (which features Liam O’Neill, Morgan Moore, Janice Lowe, Ala Dehghan, and artwork by RYOCK). Sam contributes a lot to the sound on Kadef as well. His solos on the album are wild and free and beautiful. His energy is very melodic and unhinged at the same time. He always surprises you. To my ears, he plays some of the most phenomenal guitar solos in the whole of the Solar System.

Mathieu and I both went home with the audio sessions on our hard-drives; and in the months and years to come I listened back to everything we had recorded, edited it, stitched some things together, mixed it, worked on it, and added some more saxophone. Most of the saxophone had already been recorded live or overdubbed at the studio, but I added some more as needed. On an aside, Mathieu let me borrow a soprano saxophone for the recording sessions, which he was also borrowing. I love playing the soprano. The one he let me borrow was a very peculiar one, and I still don’t totally understand it. It’s as if the notes were not always in the same place when you went back to the same key. I never experienced anything like it. It’s as if it had a will of its own. In any case, when I played it, I had to remain very open and spontaneous and free because the notes would sometimes trade places with other notes. You might think I was imagining this, and sometimes I wondered that myself, but I have played saxophone my whole life and something was different with this one. I purposely chose to not figure it out in the moment, but to go with it. It came out great. I worked with it, and it worked with me. Later, when mixing the record, I brought everything into the best balance that I could. I was also mixing other records at the time and was learning how to mix from doing it. I would mix a draft of the tunes and send them to everyone. Going back to my mixes though, I could always hear something to improve. This went on for a while until a zeroed in on the final version. In the end, two record labels—both Akuphone in Paris and RR Gems in Estonia—released the album: Akuphone on CD and RR Gems on vinyl. Both Fabrice of Akuphone and Dmitri of RR GEMS love the record, and have done a great job getting the album out there and heard. In 2020, I asked the artist Ala Dehghan if she would want to make the album artwork for Kadef. She
was down. I met Ala in the summer of 2020 at Abolition Park in New York. She hand-wrote all the titles and the credits as well for the album. Her artistry and calligraphy is out of this world. She put a lot of care into making the artwork and lettering. The amount of detail and inspiration in her work is something different. Plus the spirit of her work matches the spirit of the music. That is the story of how the album came together.

Kadef still hasn’t played a live show together, though I suspect that we will one day. We never referred to ourselves or thought of ourselves as a band. For a while I had no idea what we should call ourselves on the album and neither did anyone else. The best I could come up with Ziad didn’t like. I thought we could call ourselves Ziad Qoulaii Allstars, but I’m glad he talked me out of it. For one thing, as Ziad pointed out, it singles him out, whereas the music was co-created from a collective consciousness in real-time. Then we called the album Diva of Deva Loka by Kadef Abgi. But then we dropped everything else and called both the album and band-name Kadef. Kadef sums it up the best. I came to this name by playing with the letters of the alphabet in combination with the Kabbalah one night. I was putting different letters into the nodes of the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, and mixing them around. I was trying to summon a name for the album. I was actually at my wit’s end with the question of what to name it because the deadline for finishing the album was upon us. Kadef jumped out at me late one night. I wrote to Ziad and he liked it a lot. A couple months later I realized what it actually stands for. It corresponds perfectly to the philosophical principles that I, in the last year or two, have begun to write about: Karma (aka Natural Law), Agape (aka Cosmic Love), Discernment (aka Truth), Enactment (aka Action), Freedom (aka Liberation). Seeing the title come into the slipstream of the Natural Law research and writing I had been doing, and for it to happen in such an auspicious manner, let me know that my work wasn’t done yet for the vinyl. I knew I ought to express in the liner notes what KADEF stood for. I did this out of a sense of responsibility to spread a message of Freedom and Natural Law. This brings me to your last two questions.

CB: How do you envision the awakening that you outline becoming a mass movement? The fact that humans are, in their natural state, equal, but in reality, made terribly unequal by the power structures and systems that you identify in the notes, is perhaps the primary narrative of human existence. The manifested inequality of the material world is the source of every calamity that faces humanity (and all other sentient beings).

DBW: The shift in consciousness that I’m describing in the liner notes isn’t a mass movement, per se. It isn’t a movement that some leader has to organize or initiate; but a movement, rather, within people’s hearts and minds. How, though, can this happen? We would have to make it happen. You and me and everyone else who says they want change. Waiting for politicians, aliens, God, or the UN to fix this mess isn’t going to work. The burden of responsibility falls on the ordinary individual. It would have to be you and me and massive numbers of people just like us: regular people. The solution to our mess is deceptively simple, but does require a sacrifice. A critical mass of people would have to find out what is wrong in their way of thinking, and then stop thinking that way; and if enough of us did that at once, and acted upon it, it would indeed be possible to evolve out of our current condition. If a critical mass of people around the world healed themselves from the belief in authority, first and foremost, and then took action accordingly, then our aggregate efforts would add up into an entirely different world. But currently, a critical mass of people are still believers in authority, and so we’ll inevitably get human bondage on the other end of that equation. Input authority, output bondage. Many would argue with this, but one ought to sit down and do the math. As many disparate problems as the human species has, all of them come from one place: inside us. There is something wrong with the way we, in the aggregate, are thinking about things. Why else would we be in the mess that we are in as a species? All of our combined thoughts, words and actions are adding up into this crazy world. Things wouldn’t be this messed up if the average person wasn’t also messed up. But what are we messing up? Is it just the right-wingers who are messing up? Is it just the left-wingers who are messing up? Or is it way more broad than that? Is it possible that everyone who believes in the legitimacy of government is messing up? I think very strongly that this is the case. Many would want to tune this out. It’s too inconvenient and daunting. It may sound like too much of a long shot to ever undo the government. The good news is that we would only, to begin with, have to undo it within our minds. Then once a critical mass of people freed their minds, our aggregate actions would add up into something way better than this. A shift in consciousness could ripple throughout the world, but only if one is willing tor re-examine one’s beliefs and one’s convictions and principles; which, admittedly, many are unwilling to do. How to even attempt to address this? It involves speaking out to put a message of true freedom out there as far and wide as possible in order to reach as many minds as possible; and for those who resonate in the same frequency to do the same. Whether people reconsider their belief system or not is on them; but at least you would have done your part. It’s not about joining some cult with a leader or guru, mind you. None of us is the arbiter or inventor of Natural Law in the same way that none of us is the arbiter or inventor of the Laws of Physics. Spreading a message of freedom is merely taking responsibility for doing what one can do; and to do it in the most effective way that you can. If we acknowledge that the human mind is not free, then the first order of business obviously, you might agree, would be to rectify that. Everybody knows, though, that no one can do this work for another. But at the same time, everybody probably also knows that no one can do this work all alone. It just so happens that we need help healing. When we think about it, the whole human species has been colonized by Empire for hundreds of years, in some areas of the world, and for thousands of years in other parts with characters like Alexander the Great conquering and enslaving; and later, with the Roman Empire swallowing entire continents starting, of course, with Europe itself. There’s no wonder that the human mind has been colonized. It’s amazing in fact how resilient the human mind can be. How else to accomplish physical subjugation but through the mind? Belief in government is a prime example of one’s mind being colonized. One day, we can hope, that people will look back at the belief in government in the way that many look back on Kingship now. Before the Roman Empire, Europe, as it is now known, was still mostly tribal just like anywhere else. The European mind has long been colonized. This explains a lot. There is more momentum behind the belief in authority than there is commitment to consent; and this is unfortunately true for people all around the world. You can’t have it both ways though. Authority is the usurpation of consent. If more people had this revealed to them at a younger age we could spare ourselves generations of brainwashed people. You don’t have to convince the child of any ideology or religion, mind you, but merely remind the child of the fact that no human being is the property of another. Natural Law, at the base of it, is nothing more than this. Any reasonable human being will acknowledge that this is the truth.

However, there is an inconvenient aspect to acknowledging this. If this one single principle was understood and coherently heeded, this alone precludes the possibility of government. Under the rule of government, the people of Earth are involuntarily ushered into a legal contract based on coercion; not consent. When we start with this, we understand our moral responsibility to speak out. Government commands; you obey. It turns out that all legal systems on Earth are predicated on the wrong answer (which is coercion) as opposed to the right answer (which is consent). It ought to be common sense that people have the right to consent for who they labor for, and how their labor is used. In other words, it should be common sense that everyone has the right to quit their job; or to refuse working for a company or institution if one wants to. Of course, under economic coercion (which stems from the banking Ponzi scheme that all of human society is also based on) people often cannot afford to quit their jobs even if they want to. But the point being made here is that it ought to be common sense that no one has the right to enslave another. Yet, there is no “legal” way to opt-out of government. You must labor for it—through sale’s tax, income tax, property tax, as the case may be—or else be harmed. It’s a one- sided contract that people didn’t sign and yet cannot rupture without violence being threatened onto them. Under government, consent is usurped by government’s authority. Government claims the right to coercively take an arbitrary portion of everyone’s earnings. If we refuse we are punished. One is fined if one is caught not paying one’s taxes. These fines, too, are a claim on your labor, mind you, and therefore, on your body. If you still refuse to pay, your belongings and domicile may be seized from you, your body may be abducted and caged. In order to abduct you, people with guns are sent to your home: those who follow orders and obey protocol. If you resist they claim the right to beat you. If you defend yourself, they claim the right to murder you. How can this ever be moral? Government monopolizes substantial portions of a population’s daily energy and life-force and proceeds to use it for the expansion of their control system. Taxation funds wars, prisons, surveillance, intelligence agencies, politicians’ salaries, judges, courts, banks, corporations and bureaucracies. Taxation funds schools as well, of course, but instead of funding our own schools directly we let our abuser, which is the State, indoctrinate us all. Leaving good teachers aside, government gives us the kind of education that only an abuser would give us. In other words, we come out in a daze after 15,000 hours of memorization and regurgitation. In short, our species funds its own subjugation. This means that the human species itself is not free. This is a big problem. If one is to truly be a conscientious being, one must be willing to purge the belief in authority from one’s mind. There is a natural polarity between freedom and slavery. It’s not a mental construct or arbitrary binary. If enough of us were to free our minds while living on Earth at once we could, together, cause a chain reaction in consciousness. We already do this all the time. Certain beliefs come in and out of fashion. Certain fashions come in and out of belief. But our species has never done this, en masse, in order to reverse the belief in authority. Authority is the belief that some human beings have the right to dominate others. It takes on many forms—such as racism, sexism, fanaticism, and statism —but it is always stems from the mind, and it is always a sickness. We were taught to believe in authority from a young age. We were born into a world where authority was already normalized and institutionalized by the time we arrived on the scene. The entire premise of government is based on the belief in authority, which is, when you stop and think about, the bully dynamic. This makes government a perverse and dogmatic religion in which one worships one’s own bully. Authority is the alleged right for one being to rule over another, which is the key ingredient of slavery. Government is based on the notion that people who dress up in customs and suits and ties have more rights than everyone else. Government is based on double standards, in other words. How can this ever work out well for the people of Earth? One can always come back to the question of whether one has the right to do something oneself. I know, for example, that I don’t have the right to coerce someone (that is to say, threaten to harm them) in order to force them to comply with my claim over their labor. By claiming to own a portion of the fruits of someone’s labor, I am, by extension claiming to own their body. I can certainly ask someone for a donation or for a loan, but I have no right to threaten harm to them if they refuse. Yet, I might imagine, as the average person, that I have the right to vote for a system that claims this right over us all. When one ponders the matter, it becomes obvious that this is sheer lunacy. There is a central contradiction within people’s belief in government. People imagine voting can override consent. But voting cannot change the fact that the system is based on coercion. It just makes us accomplices in our own subjugation. The State forces us to labor for it at the threat of harm. How can this even be a morally legitimate dynamic? If I believe in the legitimacy of this dynamic I am feeding into a condition of bondage for both myself and others. I am imagining that some human beings have the right to do things that other human beings don’t have the right to do. This, by definition, is backwards thinking. Authority is not certain people performing tasks better than others. Authority is the claim of supernatural rights that some beings are granted while others are not. It’s just an insane claim being made and believed in. Plenty of basically good-hearted people have been fooled to believe in something that is utterly immoral at the base of it. Authority is threatening harm to people in order to enforce obedience. It ought to be self-evident that basing entire societies upon this dynamic is lunacy. Authority is not knowledge, expertise, responsibility or protection, though it gets confused with all of these things. Authority is not needed for people to do anything at all. Authority, when it comes down to it, is the threat and/or initiation of violence. And that is distinct from using self-defensive force in order to defend one’s live and that of others. Authority is violence. Protection is defense. Telling someone what substance they can or cannot put in their body and threatening to abduct and cage them if they disobey is, by definition, to claim ownership over other people’s bodies. If you tell someone what they must put in their body (such as a vaccine) and harm and exclude them from society and work if they refuse, then, once again, you are indirectly claiming ownership of their bodies. If you tell someone what they cannot put in their body (such as conscious-altering substances) and harm them if they disobey, then you are indirectly claiming to own their bodies. If you claim the right to tell someone that they must wear a hijab or else be harmed, or that they cannot wear a hijab or else be harmed, again, you are also claiming to own their bodies. We are interconnected, yes, but there is a sacred boundary between us. We have no right to control other people’s bodily choices. We have no right to threaten poverty, isolation, abduction, confinement, or assault to people who choose to do something with their bodies that others do not approve of. It’s their body; not yours. There is a control-freak energy within people that really needs to be examined. Another example of this is people who try to outlaw consensual sex between two consenting adults of the same gender. Again, this is a claim of ownership upon other people’s bodies. All of this is stemming from the mental illness called authority. People really ought to stop enslaving each other within their own minds. We do not get to make up the law on what happens to other people’s bodies. The Law is an eternal principle. One has the right to do with one’s body what one chooses so long as one is not initiating harm to others. People, of course, make the argument that vaccines are different than hijabs, drugs and same-sex intercourse because it’s a public health issue. But, again, we have to remember: we simply do not own each other’s bodies full stop. Nothing usurps this fundamental principle. We don’t have the right to enforce health decisions on one another. Consent is always necessary; not only during sex. Consent, mind you, is distinct from agreement. One human being does not have the right to threaten harm if another human being doesn’t put something inside their own body. I don’t have the right to threaten violence onto you to force you to install a water filter system in your home; even if it’s good for you. I don’t have the right to threaten violence onto you to force you to place an umbrella inside your car; even if it’s raining. Why is this common sense, and yet so many people imagine they have the right to control what happens with other people’s bodies? If one wants to make the public health argument, that would go for for diet as well. Someone else’s bad eating habits may spill over into my problem, or dip into my savings, but should I have the right to threaten harm to them in order to force them to eat and drink how I want them to? I certainly have the right to try to persuade someone, or get away from them if they’re bringing me down. But one does not have the right to inflict harm to someone else, even if they are harming themselves. Imagining that one has the right to harm someone who’s in the process of harming themselves—such as an addict of a heavy drug—is sadistic and authoritarian. If one wants to make the contagion argument for vaccines, again, we have to come back to the basics. Vaccines don’t stop transmission. This is well-documented, and widely known particularly for the Covid shots. Second of all, vaccines can cause serious side effects, so prevention of hospitalization is also out the window. To imagine we have the right to force any such products down each other’s throats is coming from a place of fear and ignorance. This is uncomfortable territory for many, but the conversation is much needed. If some people have authority over other people’s bodies within our own minds, then there can be no liberation. This is because we are violating the principle of bodily autonomy from jump street. What is freedom, what is consent, what is justice, without bodily autonomy?

Telling someone that they must labor for the State or else be harmed is another covert claim upon the body, which we euphemistically call taxation. You don’t need coercion to pool resources. We just need to evolve ourselves to voluntarily pool resources in order to fund our mutual endeavors. We already do this all the time anyway. Crowd-sourcing is ubiquitous. You don’t need coercion to build roads, build bridges, grow food, teach school, access medicine, make an album, put on a festival, or anything else that human beings do. There could still be grants for the arts and healthcare, if that’s what people wanted. But we could do so voluntarily: in other words, as adults. In this manner, human energy would be channelled into diverse outcomes instead of monopolized and channelled into an outcome controlled by alleged authorities. To claim authority is to bully others. There’s no way to eliminate the possibility of bully behavior from the entire plane of coexistence, but we certainly do not need to base all of human society upon this dynamic. If massive numbers of people around the world continue to believe in authority, they will, without even necessarily realizing it, co-manifest a condition of bondage for themselves and their fellow human beings. The belief in authority is the human mind’s most vicious cancer. When one really stops and thinks about it, you realize the solution to basically every problem is to get out of this mindset. You mentioned in your question that inequality is the main narrative of human history. Why is this though? Isn’t it because of people’s thinking? People do not even have equal rights within our own minds. Some will even declare that rights don’t exist; or else, are licenses granted from the government. Yet, rights are real and eternal. A right is an action that doesn’t initiate harm to another. That means we have the right do everything else but harm each other. If one doesn’t insist within one’s own minds that people have equal rights, then we inevitably will continue to manifest a world based on unequal rights. Shifting this would involve spreading the word that no one is the property of anyone else. If we are to coherently heed this one principle, we simply have no choice but to abandon the belief in government altogether since government, by definition, claims authority over people’s bodies. Vast numbers of people throughout the world can make the common sense observation that Kingship is illegitimate. Most people alive today don’t believe that royal families have the divine right to rule over humanity. Yet, there was a time period in which more people believed that they did. Isn’t it obvious that our task now is to evolve our minds out of the belief in all ruling class systems full stop? This includes Marxism, socialism and communism, which are also statist ideologies. Shifting the mind from statism to freedom would necessitate massive numbers of people becoming teachers. These teachers could remind others that their birthright is to be free; that is to say, that they are not made to be the slaves of other human beings; that they are endowed by Nature with the freewill to choose their own behavior. So long as they are not initiating harm to others, they are committing no crime. An evolution in consciousness would not happen because we all joined the same movement, per se. It would be because a critical mass of people around the world had come to the same common sense conclusion and because enough of them took it upon themselves to inform their fellow human beings. It would be because enough people around the world realized that eliminating authority from our mindset is actually the solution to all forms of injustice. It’s remarkably simple as a matter of fact. All injustice is based on a dynamic of one being dominating over another. This is authority. Therefore, believing in authority is to advocate for the perpetuation of injustice. It is to advocate for the destruction of consent. If we want to stop reproducing injustice, people would have to commit to the principle of consent. Instead of forcing people to labor for a State, which then, so often, uses people’s money to commit atrocities, we could honor the common sense reality that we do not own each other. It’s a very grave choice that each of us has to make. Believing in authority is not free of culpability. Many people, throughout the ages, have come to this same conclusion and have written about it and spoken about it. Many alive today are speaking about it as well. It’s common sense that anyone of us could arrive at. And yet, up until now, never enough people on Earth have come to this realization while living on Earth at the same time. And so—so far as I can tell—this is the work that is to be done: to popularize a message of Natural Law as opposed to the arbitrary dictates of government “law.” One doesn’t necessarily have to call it Natural Law. One can call it the principle of non-aggression and the principle of self-defense. One can call it consent. One can call it conscience. One can call it the Law of Attraction. Natural Law is not a religion. It’s not an ideology. It’s not a cult. The only reason it seems radical is because government is based on a lie. Since we don’t own each other, we have no right to violate each other’s consent. Pure and simple. So instead of basing the entire social contract on coercion, which is what statism does, why not evolve consciousness to base societies on the truth of the matter? People would make this shift happen in the same way that the belief in authority has become so widespread: by teaching it. Natural Law would have to be taught far and wide. It’s not about teaching some new ideology, but rather reminding people of the common sense reality that all forms of slavery are wrong. Those who want justice and freedom for themselves and their fellow human beings would have to out-teach those who teach authority. By basing our worldview on consent within our own minds, among a critical mass, we would then manifest a voluntary society as opposed to an involuntary one. The worldview would have to shift first; then external reality would shift.

People would have to become more principled in their thinking. Vast numbers of people will say that they think all human beings have equal natural rights, but then turn around and support the government. This reveals a high degree of confusion within our minds. The “authorities”—the police, military, politicians, tax collectors, intelligence agents, etc—all claim to have rights that common people do not have. Common people understand that they do not have the right to tax, assault, invade, abduct, murder and spy on each other. Vast numbers of people understand that they don’t have the right to do these things to their neighbors, and yet, many of the same people will turn around and imagine that they have the right to vote for a system that does these exact things to their neighbors. In other words, vast numbers of people believe they can delegate rights to authority figures that they themselves don’t even have. This is like thinking you can let your friend borrow your car when you yourself don’t even own a car. How can you give police the authority over your neighbors bodies when you yourself don’t have authority over their bodies? Instead of the divine right to rule of Kings and Queens, people now believe they have the right to delegate authority to the government to rule over us all. But how can we delegate rights we don’t possess. Voting, etymologically, means to vow. It does not mean consent. It only gives the illusion of consent. The belief in authority tricks the mind to believe in unequal rights without even knowing it; and this is why the external world is riddled with inequality: because, by and large, regular people have not yet committed themselves to the reality of equal rights within their own minds. This is not to suggest we are equal in characteristics and attributes, but that we are all equal in what we have no right to do.

CB: What is required to shake people out of their “repetitions” as you call them so that they may realize a better reality?

DBW: Some want to say a calamity might do it. But first of all, this suggests that there’s nothing to do but wait until something horrible happens. That sounds like a terrible plan. Secondly, why would anyone assume that the human psyche will benefit from a calamity rather than fall deeper into spiritual hell? There’s been many a calamity throughout human history—genocide, war, economic depressions, etc—and yet history’s lessons are still not truly learned. Granted, world events can make people question things if they feel something is not right. A lot of people can sense that the news is lying to them. Many understand that the system is stealing from them. Many have grown more suspicious of the system; to one degree or another. More people are realizing that this system is not designed for their actual benefit. Realizing that one’s government and media have been lying to you for decades in a row can provide the kind of spark that you’re talking about. So, to answer your question, I think acquiring knowledge is the most direct way to propel one into taking action. When one digs into history, one learns that one has been lied to. Finding this out can be a huge catalyst in one’s life. I think that this dynamic offers us the best possibility for a chain reaction in consciousness. The impetus, ultimately, has to come from within oneself though. One can come across worldview-shattering information, but not even care enough to take the time to verify it. It’s more convenient to not know what the truth is and keep one’s sense of plausible deniability by not knowing. Taking the time to verify information ushers in the responsibility to now take action with this knowledge. Because knowledge of the world around us is painful, it is, of course, convenient to tune it out. One would have to care enough to dig deeper. One would have to shake oneself out of one’s own repetitions. One would have to care enough to take in information from a wide variety of sources. How, though, can people feel that level of care if it’s not already within them? This is perhaps the real question. Do enough people even care what happens to the human species as a whole? Perhaps vast numbers of people have given up on humanity. We can try to inspire each other through our words and actions. We can try to inspire each other to care more about others, and care more about ourselves. One can put one’s voice out there and hope it reaches people. But it always gets back to an individual choice whether or not to actually follow through and acquire knowledge, verify knowledge, and act upon this knowledge. Liberation would take a massive
commitment on the part of massive numbers of people. With strength in numbers, anything is possible. All human beings have equal rights under Natural Law. We have unequal rights under government “law.” The choice is yours.

Cisco BradleyInterview: Devin Brahja Waldman