Third Place Winner

Justin Panneck

Justin Panneck is an assistant professor of psychology at Colorado Technical University and adjunct faculty for Blue Cliff College. He holds a MEd in Instructional Technology and a PhD in Health Psychology and is working on a counseling degree. He is also a Couple and Family counselor and works for Eco-therapy institution on 70 acres of sprawling countryside. He is a writer and author and published a fictional book entitled The Knight of Dark Wood: The Last Tree Whisperer, which includes themes related to mythology and consciousness. His current research includes consciousness, altered states, dreams, ethnopharmacology and plant medicines, shamanism, mythology and alchemy, spirituality, and behavioral health. His most recent research study involved the effects of ayahuasca on consciousness, spirituality, and stress coping, which was later published as a book entitled Ethnopharmacology and Stress Relief. He is currently working on another book entitled Belly of the Beast and is related to his own experience with altered states and true life adventures, as well as topics like spiritual evolution, spiritual entities, archetypes, mythology and alchemy, culture, and the future of global society.
In his spare time, Justin does everything in his power to flexibly bend social mores and societal rules, forging new paths, exposing some semblance of truth, conducting humorous and uncomfortable skits in public, and manifesting assorted riotous adventures.  He is also an avid mushroom hunter and spends a good deal of time in the woods connecting with nature and enjoying her mycelial fruits. As a cultural critic and researcher, he also spends time exploring important mysteries, such as the Bigfoot phenomenon and UFOs, mostly exploring the psychology of those who pursue this field and the cultural meaning behind its relevance. A self-proclaimed iconoclastic oneironautic psychonaut, he also spends time exploring his dreams and consciousness and all of its abilities by experimenting with altered states, remote viewing, bi-location, active imagination, lucid dreaming, and meditation.  He lives in Portland, OR by day, and somewhere near the fringes of Sloan’s Wall by night.

There are many efforts today that attempt, and successfully create sustainable and collaborative communities of like-minded people. It seems clear that positive global change is not only necessary, but eminent. The question remains: How is that when there seems to be such a rich counter-culture of positivity, can there be so much provincialism, violence, bigotry, rampant consumerism, and ecological devastation? The answer is in our cultural Story—an “Old Story” that persists today, complete with “scripts” and old recipes that maintain the status quo of shopping, celebrity worship, individualism, disconnection, pollution, genocide, war, etc.

Communities require true cohesion, collaboration, and a safe container to dissolve barriers. I do believe that the pervasiveness of networking and Internet technologies represent a “return of the Feminine”—a powerful force that is dissolving boundaries, while at the same time, in many ways, inhibiting face-to-face social interaction. It is a unique dilemma that defines the modern world—a simultaneous increase of connection and disconnection. The Internet and social media technologies, born from the development of the computer (the “Mother” board!), were unconsciously created as a “tool” for bridging the world of spirit and matter, and the results are that we have a boundary dissolving tool at our disposal. However, the “old” stories and scripts of our generation prevent us from prioritizing social interaction and community bonding. Social networking sites abound, I have yet to see a one that truly reaches the necessary depths of true community needs.

It is for this very reason that I envision a unique social media/networking site, which I have come to call “Bamboom.” My goal with Bamboom is to truly connect community members on a deeper level, leveraging the power of the community to meet a variety of social, spiritual, artistic, financial, and psychological needs. Certain community needs or functions could be better served with such sites as NextDoor.com, which primarily handles basic human needs like community news, politics, school district data, street maintenance, etc. Although this certainly serves a purpose and may be quite useful, it does not quite contribute toward a paradigm shift, or New Human Story—one of community, collaboration, freedom of expression, sharing of gifts and stories, bartering, etc. Additionally, the underlying theme of this project would be to promote a more environmental, eco-psychological, eco-spiritual, and human-centered vision, while truly connecting people toward a community of health and human vision. This is such a vision that seeks to serve ALL the needs of people, whether emotional support during crises, mental health concerns, forming community organizations, sharing art and poetry and human stories, etc. I envision a collaboration with many individuals and groups to engineer a truly unique and powerful platform that facilitates this initiative toward community cohesion and freedom from invisible and tangible boundaries. The tools are at our disposal, the Great Feminine beckons, our fellow humans are demanding connection, so it is now time to change the story from fear, scarcity, materialism, and individualism, to one of hope, abundance, spiritual equanimity, and unity!