Q&A with Duncan Trussell
Duncan Trussell is one hell of an incarnation, and truthfully any introduction I try to make for him wouldn't do justice to even the very surface layer of his magical being. Stand-up comedian, king of the synthesizer, and host of the infamous podcast The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, this man is a cosmic wordsmith that explores the psychedelic nature of life, and is constantly sharing the findings of his own quest for spiritual growth. Duncan's humour is so infectious that I find myself willingly listening to his 20 minute rambling podcast ads for mattresses, t-shirt printing services, and website building platforms. I actually used Duncan's promo code to build this website, and so in doing this interview, he has inceptioned his way into the very website he himself propelled into existence... !
In the words of the man himself... please open up your 3rd eyes, pull out your astral water guns, fill them up with distilled love energy and blast them directly into the heart of today's guest: Mr. Duncan Trussell.
THIS Q&A IS A TRANSCRIPTION OF OUR SKYPE CONVERSATION.
Q&A with Duncan Trussell
1. what time is your alarm set for?
It changes from day to day.
2. what did you have for breakfast?
Oh my god, it’s really kind of embarrassing. I had a bite of a vegan blueberry doughnut… and an iced latte, and a La Croix.
3. what are you currently working on to better your Self?
I’m back in the gym! I stopped exercising for a little bit, I think subconsciously I stop exercising because when you finally go back to the gym and start exercising, you feel so good. And it’s amazing, you get this ridiculous sense of heroism; that you’ve overcome the entropy that was keeping you from being healthy.
And I lived in New York recently… just so many bagels.
4. what book do you think everyone should read?
Grist for the Mill, by Ram Dass.
5. who is one of your biggest inspirations?
Neem Karoli Baba.
6. what is the last thing you purchased?
Well I mean, an iced latte and a vegan blueberry doughnut... unfortunately.
7. what is the best advice you've ever received?
Love everyone, and tell the Truth.
8. what is something you can’t live without?
Well outside of the obvious ones.. food, shelter… I mean we’re talking about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs here.. so outside of those things I would have to hopefully say that there is not much I could live without. But there’s certainly things that if they weren’t in my proximity, I would feel the suffering that comes to being attached to things… not having them nearby.
9. what is on your night stand?
A lamp that I found many years ago, it’s got a wooden base and it’s got this golden scarab on it, and when you touch the scarab, the light turns on. It’s very pretty.
10. if you could only have one (for the rest of your life): chocolate or avocado?
Avocado. Avocado no questions. That’s like asking someone if you would like diabetes or something maybe you could survive on. Who picks chocolate? That’s death! Avocado is God’s chocolate.
A Deeper Dive
1. What role has religion played throughout your life?
Duncan: I was raised Episcopalian, in that form of Christianity. I think religion gets a bad rap, because people don’t understand the tension, and suspicion, and confusion - that they feel when they think about the whatever particular religion it is that they were born into or are exploring- is actually the way they should feel and is a part of the teaching of that religion. They interpret that as somehow invalidating whatever particular scripture they’re exploring. For me, Christianity in particular has been like a home, that I leave sometimes… for long periods of time; and forget about, but not really. Then whenever I come back, I always think “wow, it is so nice to be back Home”.
One fun thing to do is to think back to, well… what did you have for breakfast this morning?
Camille: I had a smoothie.
Duncan: A smoothie. So when you go back and think about that memory of making a smoothie, you know what it is now? It’s just a story. It’s just a foggy memory. It wasn’t that long ago but you probably don’t remember all the steps, all the details. The moment to moment, all the frames of the experience are probably a little blurry by now. So that thing where people are like “oh you know [religion is] just a story…. oh it’s a myth”. It’s true on one level that that’s what it is. But its not just a story. Quite often the diving-in happens as a result of the “well let’s take a look at this bullshit to see just how full of shit it actually is.” And you have your backpack, you’ve got your microscopes, you have science and all your logic, and all the things in your mind that you've learnt in the few decades you’ve existed in an infinite universe. And you take all of that into this symbolic system that I would consider to be a flower…growing into time…that’s connected to an infinite tree. But we go into that in the beginning thinking “this is a bunch of bullshit” and then through that process, that part of our selves begins to dissolve by smelling that flower. So, it is a story…
Camille: …but that’s only scratching the surface.
Duncan: Yeah, yeah.
2. Hit us up with your current favourite theory on existence. Why are we here? What’s going on? I need answers Duncan.
I’ve heard people would say to Buddha, they would say, “what happens after you die?” And he would say, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?” Because that’s not what’s happening right now. I’ve heard a term in hinduism for the universe is “Maya” which means illusion, and another way I’ve heard it described is the universe that we’re in right now is like the reflection of trees in a lake, that’s what we’re in, an illusion, Maya. So… what? Here we are in the moment, it’s all there is.
I would love to know everything. If a portal opened up in my podcast studio, and a man, or woman, or some hermaphrodidic mystical being stepped out of the portal and said, “hi, hello. I’m the programer of this simulation. Just wanted you to know it’s a simulator,” and then went back out. After a few days of being in a stammering, drooling state of confusion as I began to return to myself again, I would probably just get back into the same melodramatic ego games that are a part of my karma, and soon I would forget. I would say to my friend, “yeah! Remember time the programmer came into my studio and said it’s all a simulation… [*looses interest*] do you want another beer, Jason?”. You know? I’d get back into doing the human game thing.
So I don’t know that really if that kind of data is useful. In a recreational way, for sure- and recreation is re-creation. And to recreate you must destroy something and then re-create it, so I suppose to understand that we exist in a simulator is a form of apocalypse that would destroy your conception of reality, and you would get to enjoy the re-creation of that thing.
3. What has been a profound psychedelic experience you’ve had?
I’m so very in love right now, and my girlfriend and I, we went over to my friend’s house who has a baby. And she was holding the baby, and looking at the baby- and I was looking at her hold the baby, and the baby was looking at me. We were talking to the baby. She’s a nanny, so she’s like a baby whisperer. But to be around the baby, and one of my dearest friends’ child… to be in this temple where this soul is growing into a human. To be with this thing that is pre-language and yet so full of brilliance, consciousness. And then to watch someone I’m in love with connect with this human being in such a compassionate way.. it was a profoundly psychedelic experience and really rippled my pond.
4. What is the most recent dream you can remember?
I’m afraid it’s a little too personal for this interview...
5. How can we cultivate more love in our life?
More love… Love is here, right now. So when we say, “cultivating love,” it can be a bit of a confusing thing to think about, “how do I cultivate love?” I think, personally, and it must just be a subjective experience, I’m more of a love-miner, than a love cultivator. In this moment, underneath all this stuff. If you get very still, and go into yourself, and listen… there it is: love. But I’m lucky because I have a guru, Neem Karoli Baba; so over time, as I’ve worked with this type of practice, I can think of him, and then I feel him, and I feel love. But that’s not even the right way to put it, because feeling love, cultivating love, mining for love- all of these things can be confusing because it’s as if there’s this thing that can be done. It’s not that we have to cultivate love, we just have to stop ignoring love. Some people turn their backs on love, because it's so heartbreaking, and terrifying, and so difficult to understand that we are love. It’s really hard for people to deal with that. It’s easier to think you’re in hell.
6. Ok and to close off, as you probably know, the bulk of my listenership happen to be employees of Monsanto. So is there anything you would like to say to all those Monsanto employees tuning in right now?
Thank you. I mean, the main thing is thank you. These vegetables, I can tell now- when you eat a classic carrot, a non-genetically modified carrot that hasn’t been lucky enough to have human beings meddle it. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the chance to eat genetically modified food, but regular food, it’s boring. I think back to the ancients, and I feel sad for them. That the ones who built the pyramids, my god, they’re just eating basic fucking broccoli… basic lettuce. How boring. No wonder they were building the pyramid, they were so bored because their food was so flavourless and so absolutely non-futuristic that they were just like, “let’s just build a pyramid, ‘cause these vegetables suck”. And now that we have these delicious genetically modified foods thanks to our friends at Monsanto, there’s no need to build pyramids anymore, all we need to do now is eat, and eat, and eat.
Do you know what though, one of the things I really love about Neem Karoli Baba and the experiences I’ve had with him is that inevitably, everything you are judging… anything that you think is black and white.. anything you’ve decided is the other- he will put you in a situation of having to deal with it. He will re-humanize you.
When I was at one of these Ram Dass retreats in Maui, my Uber driver worked at Monsanto. She was wonderful, she was explaining it to me, and going into detail about it, she’s a scientist. As she is talking to me about it, with my limited understanding of science or of genetics or of the history of humanity’s relationship with plants, I realized that to paint anything as evil, unnatural.. however you want to say it; you’re probably wrong. There’s probably pieces of it that aren’t like that at all. I sarcastically make fun of Monsanto and they terrify me still to this day, and yet… it’s people.
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