In the first half, Stephen F. Cohen, Professor of Russian Studies and History Emeritus at NYU, addressed the latest military and political developments in Russia, the threat of nuclear alerts, and the role of Putin in the ongoing geopolitical chess game. In response to the situation in Ukraine, "we are in a new Cold War...the conflicts and tensions between the United States and NATO on the one side, and Russia on the other are every bit as great as they were...in the Khruschev era," he declared. Russia has announced a large series of war games, in response to NATO doing similar things on their borders. US Congress has voted to arm Kiev, and this could further escalate tensions with Russia, Cohen noted.
If Obama gives in, and starts sending weapons to Ukraine-- $1 billion's worth a year, for three years-- what will be Putin or the Kremlin's reaction?, Cohen pondered. In response, the Russians may take more territory along the Ukraine coast, or "if the rebel army with Russian backing were to take all this eastern/southeastern territory of Ukraine, I think NATO would enter western Ukraine and then we would be at the [level of the] Cuban missile crisis," he warned. While Russia has pivoted to the East for trading since the sanctions began, Cohen continued, the best chance to avert a larger war is the Minsk Agreement reached a few weeks ago by Merkel, Holland, Putin and Poroshenko, which calls for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and a series of political steps to end the Ukrainian civil war.
In the latter half, mythologist and futurist William Henry discussed how four "mystical" technologies are converging to create a new layer of skin that will be enmeshed in a synthetic global brain, and how this new skin mimics the ascension cloaks of the ancient gods. These four technologies-- genetic, computer science, nanotech, and brain science are merging into a seamless technology that by 2020 will be offered to humans as a new kind of skin that has tremendous capabilities such as super strength, longevity, and even shape-shifting, he believes. The "digerati" and transhumanist technology companies are on the verge of duplicating the light body that religions and prophets spoke of, which in the time "before the fall" once belonged to humanity, Henry explained.
He outlined the choice that will soon be before us-- are we going to acquire these super attributes through technology or are we going to decide to stay totally organic and develop psycho-spiritual advancements from within? Henry expressed concerns about the transhumanist agenda and wondered whether spiritual development and love could go hand-in-hand with such technological transformations. He cited as possible downsides of technology merging with our bodies, the loss of free will, susceptibility to being hacked or implanted with memories by governments and corporations, complete surveillance, and the creation of a prison planet.