The Cull of Personality (2019)
BG12: The Cull of Personality: Ayahuasca, Colonialism and the Death of a Healer - Kevin Tucker.
In April 2018, a Canadian man shot and killed the Shipibo-Conibo healer, Olivia Arevalo. He had been going to the Peruvian Amazon on and off for years, seeking one thing: ayahausaca. In his story, he wanted to become a healer. He saw that the Shipibo, and Arevalo in particular, held a cultural memory of a plant that he could learn and bring back to Canada with him. But in seeking to extract a cultural memory - one he may have always been unable to grasp the history of - he joined a long line of colonizers who sought out the Amazon as a point of extraction to feed a globalized civilization.
This story, the story of Arevalo's murder and a retaliatory lynching, touches on every aspect of the colonization of the Amazon and the processes of civilization. From Pizarro's conquest of the Amazon, the intrusion of missionaries, the slave trade, the rubber boom, guano, and energy extraction, the ayahuasca eco-tourism industry is just another face of the frontier reality of the Amazon. Only in this version, it is the shifting cultural memory - itself a response to the reality of colonization - that is being mined and mimicked in an act of cultural appropriation.
Cull of Personality is the story of civilization, showing how a conquering society, so depraved of meaning, will seek to destroy the world to find its purpose. And when it is fought and resisted, even the coping mechanism of those who have fought it is still up for sale.
208 pages, printed on recycled paper.
Release date: Jan 25, 2019
EBook was released on Dec 22, 2018.
Praise for Cull of Personality
"Finally – a brilliant work has arrived that will reconfigure the entire ayahuasca industry with its in-depth look at dire colonial realities! Kevin Tucker places Sebastian Woodroffe and the heinous murder of Maestra Olivia Arévalo squarely within an ongoing history of erasure and commodification, and throws the contemporary spiritual seeker experience into question. The Cull of Personality: Ayahuasca, Colonialism, and the Death of a Healer is a synthesis of many powerful truths, and offers an excellent understanding on the far-reaching consequences of our modern yearnings, and what our choices in self-empowerment really mean in terms of impact on Indigenous lands and peoples. For the best thinking in Decolonial Studies today, please read this book!"
-Pegi Eyers, author of Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Community
"It's easy, sitting in a place of relative “comfort” as a white American male, to forget that colonization is an ongoing process, a living history in which we are all active agents. In The Cull of Personality, Tucker brilliantly illustrates the consequences of such blindness in the recent rise of ayahuasca tourism in South America and how civilization is just one devastating blow after the next to indigenous people everywhere, and always comes under the guise of salvation from the colonizer. In the past it was saving souls by missionaries, in the present it's white people wanting their own souls saved-and perhaps conscience-through the use of traditional plant medicines. This book is a must read for anyone who has ever mentioned an interest or partaken in the taking of Ayahuasca."
- Peter Michael Bauer, executive director of Rewild Portland, author of Rewild or Die
"Kevin's book is a vital bridge between anti-colonial and anti-civilization orientations. Missionary phenomena - ongoing, by the way - bring this into focus, via top-flight scholarship and passionate commitment. Essential reading!"
-John Zerzan, author of People's History of Civilization and Why Hope?