Recently I was in Vermont, speaking at the annual American Society of Dowsers annual conference — a delightful experience – where I learned of the burgeoning Transition Town of Montpelier, one of 90 official Transition Town initiatives in the US.
As you may know, the Transition Town movement, which has now captured the imagination of citizens in 34 countries and half of the US’s fifty states, started life in an unlikely spot — the tiny town of Totnes in southwest corner of the UK. It is the brainchild of Rob Hopkins, a builder and teacher of permaculture — sustainable land use design, based on natural patterns in nature.
The brain stubbornly refuses to operate according to our current notions of reality. Not only does it have difficulty working out the difference between a thought and an action, it also appears to be an organ without an understanding of time as a forward progression.
Extraordinary new evidence shows that the brain cannot distinguish between the recall of our own past (called ‘episodic memory’) and imagination of our future events. Indeed, the same areas of the brain are activated for both activities.
Recently, a team of British scientists at the University of Liverpool discovered that eye movement patterns of the Chinese, born and raised in China, are completely different to that of white people living in Britain.
The study aimed to investigate eye movements between the two cultures to examine brain mechanisms controlling the eyes and the way they compare between different populations.
Last week New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a column called ‘Nice Guys Finish First’, in which he took issue with current evidence for our accepted theory of ‘eat or be eaten’ evolution.
‘In this telling,’ he writes, ‘we humans are like all other animals – deeply and thoroughly selfish. We spend our time trying to maximize our outcomes – competing for status, wealth and mating opportunities. Behavior that seems altruistic is really self-interest in disguise. Charity and fellowship are the cultural drapery atop the iron logic of nature.’
Or so that theory goes. However, new theories crossing his desk everyday everyday to attempt to rationalize the massive evidence to the contrary.
What a lot of sentiment last week’s blog caused – perhaps an indication of how unfair all we believe life is at the moment - so I thought it worthy of more comment from me.
First off, I need to clear up a few misconceptions. I’ve not been body snatched (at least last time I looked) and if I look glassy-eyed in one video, as one correspondent complained, it probably has to do with 1) chronic sleep deprivation after writing The Bond, my most ambitious book to date, and whizzing back and forth across America spreading this message 2) being filmed by handheld video equipment without benefit of all the things – lighting, special makeup, acting ability, youth – that make people look good on camera.
Let’s start with what I’m NOT saying. My message is not a call to arms.
The biggest headache for any drug-company executive is the placebo. A placebo, or sugar pill, is used in controlled drug trials precisely to show that the drug in question works.
One of two groups of patients is given the active drug, while the other group is given the placebo, but neither knows who got what. The assumption is that far more patients will show improvements on the drug than on the placebo. Upon this assumption is built the entire edifice of modern medicine.
Nevertheless, in practice, so many patients receive the same relief and even the same side effects with a placebo as with the drug itself that a placebo often is not a true control.
I’ve just returned from a Transformational Leadership Council conference in New Orleans. Although I had a wonderful time and celebrated my birthday surrounded by friends and the Big Easy’s Dixieland music, I have to say that I was shocked by what I saw and read while I was there.
During our visit, we drove around some of the areas that had been hit by Hurricane Katrina. Naturally, I was disturbed by the devastation still apparent in some quarters, which the richest country in the world had not rebuilt more than five years after the disaster. Nevertheless, that was not the main source of my alarm. What shocked me most was the nature of my country’s statistics these days.
All of us were left traumatized by the rampage shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford last Saturday, which left 13 others in the line of fire injured and six dead, including a 9 year old born on September 11, 2001. Although President Barack Obama was credited with a moving bi-partisan speech at the Arizona memorial last week, the political repercussions of the event continue, with Democrats blaming Republicans for inflammatory language and Republicans blaming Democrats for exploiting the situation to leverage their own sagging political fortunes. Nevertheless, to lay the cause of the tragedy at the door of any single partisan cause — whether Sarah Palin, lax gun laws or too liberal democratic legislation — is entirely to miss the point. This latest crisis is symptomatic of a deeper problem in America, with more potential repercussions than those of any single cataclysmic event. The problem has to do with the very nature of how we have defined ourselves and our persistent need to categorize the elements of our world as some version of ‘us’ vs ‘them.’ Increasing divides It has particularly broken my heart because although I have lived in Britain for 25 years, I am – and always will be – an American. Over all this time and from this transatlantic perspective, I have observed my country increasingly polarize — black against white, Christian against Muslim and now Democrat against Republican. And this largely stems from the same source — a tendency to insist on sameness — ‘people like me’ — in our lives.
For those of you who have just come on board, Korotkov, a professor at St. Petersburg Technical University, invented the Elecrophotonic Imaging (EPI)/Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) technique, which makes use of state-of-the-art optics, digitized television matrices and a powerful computer. Korotkov’s equipment blends several techniques: photography, measurements of light intensity and computerized pattern recognition.
This equipment aims to measure the subtle light emissions that emanate from all living things. Korotkov’s equipment stirs up individual photons by ‘evoking’, or stimulating them into an excited state so that they shine millions of times more intensely than normal.
These light emissions offer valuable information about the state of health of the organism in question; the subtlest of changes show up as a change in light.
The GDV is now widely used in Russia as a diagnostic tool for many illnesses and also for materials testing – particularly of liquids —because it can detect the subtlest of changes in freshness or stability.
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