Book Review: Survival into the 21st Century: Planetary Healers Manual by Viktoras Kulvinskas


Survival into the 21st Century

Survival into the 21st Century (1975)

“Progress is what it’s all about” is the trip May lays on your head, brothers and sisters.

More oil, more money, more cars, more chicken in more pots.

But when one progresses into a pool of quicksand, one better start thinkin’ quick whether or not one can afford that sort of progress…

Be Cantered Brothers and Sisters.

Be cantered!

Be. BEer. BEest”

Dick Gregory

May 1975


1975. Ten years into the Aquarian Age – the ‘age of light’,  and post-war America has succumbed to the pleasures of instant gratification. Technologies of war and strategies of industrialization have replaced responsive and localised systems of farming, schooling, medicating and healing around the nation with fast food, mass production and Wall Street capitalism…. the world has become chemicalized, modernized, sterilized.

The solution? Purification. Cosmic consciousness. Unconditional love. Astral projection. Moonlight bathing. A plant-based diet. As Kulvinskas states:

YOU CAN SURVIVE. The spirit is timeless.

Survival is a manual for surviving in a changing world, circa 1975. It’s about survival of the body, survival of the soul, and most importantly, survival of mankind as an interactive, loving, cooperative and peaceful species. It is a manual peppered with future predictions, which although often wild in content (‘in a few generations… the majority of earthlings will be breatharians’) are hopeful, fact-based and largely, achievable.

Survival in the 21st Century came to me from the hands of a dear and beloved friend during a week of fasting mid last year. A holistic review of the possible journeys one may take towards a better and more whole life, Kulvinskas writes creatively, passionately and without ego of meridians, sprouting, a live & raw vegan diet, yoga and meditation. Fasting is about purification of the mind as well as the body, and there really could have been no better text for the process.

Survival is about our innate ability to heal ourselves using the resources within and around us. And that in itself is a challenging concept, because there are no quick-fix white pills for self-healing, or successful lab rat trials concerning the potentials of meditation as medication. The evidence or proof can only be found by diving in yourself – through trying a plant-based diet, experimenting with meditation and yoga, and trialling a philosophy of unconditional love.

Survival is the kind of book that makes some people glow, and others scoff. It is a book that speaks to the inner child within all of us, because it projects the assumption that the collective we want to change our ways. That we too, want to peacefully turn our backs on supermarket aisles, urban infrastructure and the ongoing biography of ourselves in favour of a simpler, more attuned lifestyle.

I like to think that these kinds of books illuminate our own fears and struggles with the ego. There is something risky, naff even about diving into the ideology of hope, especially in this era of hyper cynicism. It is an indication that we are living in a strange time – stranger even than Kulvinskas’ 1975 – when it is more socially acceptable to be apathetic and self-centred than socially invested and loving.

Beyond the dialogue of hope, the style in which Survival is composed would certainly have challenged a mainstream 1975 readership, and invites modern readers to interpret the content as fictional or unscientific. Interestingly, before establishing the alternative health care centre  Hippocrates Health Institute, Kulvinskas was a mathematics professor, a computer consultant for Harvard University and a member of the Physics honour society Sigma Pi Sigma. This man definitely knew his way around technology, and so the choice to handwrite and illustrate components of the manual is all the more interesting. 

As hopeful and generous as the projections of Survival are, turning the yellowed pages and touching lightly the etched drawings of winged men and women, diagrams of sprouting and outlines of reflexology pathways, is to touch the hopes of dreamers past. It is to tap into a dream of freedom from control, authority and the dominant ideology of a status quo – a dream where life is simplified and yet, enlightened.

This ‘dream’ though, is perhaps no longer relevant or responsive to modern desires and needs. Do you, the modern reader, feel a desire to purge yourself of all the clutter – literal, metaphysical and digital – that defines your life? Probably not. What would that even look like and feel like? We are so used to living within the illusory social conditions of our world that to imagine a life without them may plunge the mind into darkness and confusion.

Dick Gregory in his forward for Survival states: ‘Be cantered Brothers and Sisters… just Be’. Despite being composed in the 70s, Kulvinskas recommends the same processes for achieving awareness as enlightened thinkers and philosophers of our own time: conscious thinking and ideally, meditation.

Learning how to be centred doesn’t necessarily mean purging all material possessions and worldly goods. Rather it is a process that involves coming to know yourself as whole person, undefined by the clutter of the world around you. It is a process that involves asking:

Who would you Be without your carefully constructed social identity?

Who would you Be if you were no longer defined by the clothes that you wear, the university studies that you did or didn’t do, the technology that you use, the music that you listen to?

Who would your friends and lovers Be if you did not connect over appearances, material values and socially constructed dreams?

Essentially – what are your base values beneath all of the ‘stuff’ in your life?

And then, it is a process of meeting your answers with unconditional love – the ‘good’ parts and the ‘bad’ parts, rather than trying to develop one side of your personality and suffocate another. It is about going deep within, rather than logging on/ logging off, checking in/ checking out.

Survival in the 21st Century is at its core a manual for understanding your own self and your potential to be cantered, despite the madness of modern life. If reading about the health dangers of excessive haircutting or the biological superiority of women makes you feel uncomfortable or aggressive, then good. Because now you have an opportunity to address those feelings and their root cause. This book is a humble reminder that revolutions happen within before they manifest externally, and ultimately that life in its purest form is magical.

If you are considering pursuing a more natural, plant-based, yogic lifestyle, your choices may unintentionally challenge the egos and perspectives of family and friends. In those instances, these words of wisdom from Kulvinskas may be inspiring:

‘Be not dismayed when you seem to be alone in the pursuit. Remember, “Few are chosen”. Your close friends and members of your family may ridicule you. Let them not offend or provoke you. Love them just the same – do not fight back. Teach others by your example, not with empty words. “You shall know them by their deeds”.

 If this all sounds a bit radical and far fetched, peace to you and maybe just try to add some sprouts into your daily diet.

Much love and gratitude for Trent for gifting me with this book 🙂


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