When Big Brother went High Tech

In June 2018, Google – the portal through which we discover facts, make connections, interpret the world – decided to change its algorithms about which information gains preference on its pages. Its target was alternative and natural health. At a stroke, all information about alternative and natural health disappeared or was relegated to back pages.

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Evolving Capitalism

Is there such a thing as an evolved capitalism? This is a question I’ve been wrestling with ever since the financial crisis of 2008. Back then, after Lehman Brothers collapsed and Morgan Stanley threatened to follow suit, a Wall Street broker told reporters, “The world as we know it is going down,”. And when American auto giants General Motors filed for bankruptcy, Michael Moore declared: “It is the end of capitalism as we know it.”

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Unbreaking broken democracy

Democracy clearly is failing in the West. I live in the UK, where today was supposed to be the day that Britain left the EU, as voted on by a majority of the British people in 2016. Except we’re not leaving – not yet. Nothing has been agreed – even an agreement that we are, in fact, going to leave.

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Thank you! The Power of Eight hits No. 1 on Amazon

The Power of Eight came out in paperback this week, and I am thrilled to tell you that it’s already been a great success. We were in the top 50 bestsellers in Amazon all week, right up at the top of the charts for ‘Movers and Shakers. The book was also listed as No 4 as a Hot New Release generally, and the No 1 Hot New Release for both Science AND in Religion and Spirituality categories, as well as No 1 for New Thought.

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A Love Bomb Gets Dropped in the Middle East

It’s been eight days since our historic Middle Eastern Peace Intention Experiment, and shock waves are rippling across the Middle East, as well in the hearts of our participants.

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Experience your own healing Power of Eight group

Dear Friends,

Last week, I spoke at Mile Hi church and then led the audience of 450 in Power of Eight circles.

For the next 40 minutes, we all listened to dozens of people who had undergone instant, extraordinary healings:  a woman who’d had a stroke and could no longer focus her eyes was back to seeing normally; a woman massage therapist who could no longer work because she’d been in a car accident was in no more pain and could move her arm normally; another fellow with bursitis could raise his arm all the way, as normal.

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The miraculous rebound power of group intention

It started, by accident, with Don Berry. Don was a US Army veteran from Tullahoma, Tennessee, and he’d written into my Intention Experiment website forum in March 2007, offering to be our first human Intention Experiment.

In 1981, Don had been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and his spine was fused, making it impossible for him to move from side to side. Even his ribs seemed frozen in place, making it difficult even to move his chest. Over the course of the years, he had had both hips replaced, and he was in constant pain.

He had numerous x-rays and other medical test reports, he said, and so he could produce a full record of his medical history by which to measure any change.

Don’s blog prompted members of my online community to set twice-weekly periods during which they would send healing intention to Don, and he, in turn, began to keep a diary of his condition.

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Shooting the Messenger: the heroism of Andrew Wakefield

There he was on Valentine’s Day last week, Andrew Wakefield, appearing back in the UK for the first time in a decade, to present the European premiere of his movie VAXXED, which concerns all the statistical jiggery-pokery employed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government body invested with protecting the nation against infectious diseases, to conceal any link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.  (more…)

Changing the world, one person at a time

Last week I participated in a panel in London, chaired by Daniel Pinchbeck, author of  Breaking Open the Head and other bestselling books, to launch his new book How Soon is Now?
The panel focused on what failing systems in our society need to change (the economic model, globalization, energy, the media, you name it), and why we are in a unique moment in our modern history, with Donald Trump a kind of wrecking ball whose job essentially is to hurry the entire process along.

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Weak at the knees

At any moment, up to a third of us are struggling with pain in our knees. In a major US National Health Interview Survey in 2006, nearly a third of adults reported experiencing some type of joint pain, with more than a sixth reporting pain in the knee.

The situation is even worse in the UK, where major surveys in Bristol and Nottingham both estimated that up to a quarter of all adults suffer with chronic knee pain, while a Greater Manchester survey brought that figure up to nearly one-third of all men and women over the age of 45.

Even in China, knees are the most commonly reported parts that hurt and, indeed, with age the world over, the incidence of knee pain is only going in one direction.

Ask your doctor why and he’ll invariably point to age-related ‘wear and tear.’ Not much can be done for these worn-out joints, says medicine, other than to make you more comfortable with painkillers and other drugs until you’re an acceptable candidate for surgery.

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After the marches: on becoming a conscious objector

I’ve had my eye trained on the newly elected US President, but am watching with even more interest how the people who didn’t vote for Trump, are reacting to his first days in office.

As has been widely reported, there was Madonna’s speech at the Women’s March, in Washington, where she famously said ‘Yes, I’m angry, yes, I am outraged, yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House,’ and ‘to our detractors that insist that this march will never add up to anything, ‘fuck you.’ FUCK YOU!’

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The big wheeze

We are overwhelmed by wheezing these days. Some 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, and one of every 10 Americans will suffer from the condition at some point in their lives.

 

As to the cause of this soaring epidemic, conventional medicine is unequivocal, pointing the finger squarely at pollen and other airborne irritants like animal dander and dust mites.

 

But what most doctors don’t appreciate is that up to 50 per cent of asthma is caused by a food allergy.

 

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How to really say you’re sorry

Not long ago, I attended a talk featuring a man who’d accidentally killed several people in a car accident through negligent driving – a case not unlike that of Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic champion convicted of accidently murdering his girlfriend. (I’m changing some of the particulars but staying with the real meaning of what happened there.)

 

The man – we’ll call him John Smith – was tried, convicted of negligent homicide and served his prison term, during which time he lost everything: his business, his house and all his savings.

 

After he came on he began addressing his downfall as something that could have happened to any of us. Ten minutes into this speech, he was so booed and interrupted that he was forced to abandon his talk, pull up a chair and just take questions.

 

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Britain and America: How to connect when people don’t agree with you

In the recent British referendum and the ongoing American Presidential campaign, we’ve all had a front row seat to one of the biggest misunderstandings in the West, namely, that most relationships, good and bad, are forged from the erroneous idea that we have to be the same to get along.

In fact, conflict is considered so antithetical to the human experience that when others disagree with us, we conclude that they must be stupid or ill informed. To justify this position, we find it necessary to debate them, demonize them, and announce their ignorance to the world. In our minds, conflict can be resolved only with I win, you lose.

The key to a more holistic relationship with anyone is to conceive of the relationship as a “thing in itself” and to focus on the “space in between”—the glue that holds it together—especially when you do not agree with each other.

Better together
Once you view yourself as part of a bigger whole, you will begin to act differently toward others. By making this one simple change of perspective and offering yourself as a vehicle of service to the connection, you will easily find the Bond that is always present and embrace difference within that larger experience of connection.

The scientific evidence shows that people who fire together wire together; whenever a group works together for a common goal, the brains of all parties begin to get on the same wavelength, strengthening the Bond within the group. Coming together in small groups with a superordinate goal provides a social cohesion beyond money, job, or size of property. A common and larger purpose creates instant closeness in any social setting and offers an excellent tool for maintaining cooperation in your office or neighborhood.

Furthermore, as many experts in conflict resolution recognize, working on a shared problem helps to unite people who are in opposition on other issues. For instance, the Search for Common Ground project managed to connect two sworn enemies, the Macedonian Slavs and Albanians, by encouraging them to work together on a project to clean up their local environment.

Here’s now to have conversations, post-Brexit or during the US campaign, when you’re speaking to a member of the other party.

Using dialogue to overcome deep divides
Create a safe environment. Get the other party (or parties) to agree about what subjects are comfortable to discuss and what conditions make it comfortable. Then lay down ground rules enforcing these conditions.

If you are meeting with more than two people, form a circle with your chairs before you begin. It’s often helpful to elect one person to be the mediator, to remind participants, who are often schooled in the art of debate and competitive point scoring, about which conversational tools help maintain supportive dialogue.

The mediator should be alert to potential arguments, name-calling, stereotypical behavior, unfairness, or disintegration of the process. He or she should also keep time and ensure that the conversation stays on point.

 

  • Build trust by sharing goals and reasons for participating.
  • Frame the dialogue as a series of questions, not topics to be debated or discussed. Plan questions in advance.
  • Start out with a single question. Give everyone a chance to answer.
  • Go deep, but don’t debate. The purpose is not to reach a decision or have a debate, but to explore and share deeply.
  • Don’t monologue. Each person should have an upper limit of time in which to put forward his or her view.
  • Be alert to your own emotional reactions, particularly to those whose views differ from yours. What does that surge of emotion say about your own views or prejudices?
  • Engage in deep truth telling about what really matters to you in your community—or indeed your country.
  • Be fully present. Listen with heart and mind.
  • Don’t be judgmental, no matter how different someone’s worldview or actions are from yours. Just describe the actions or view and your response to it. (“When she does X, I feel Y.”) Talk only about what you think and feel, not your assumptions about how the other person thinks and feels.
  • Root out misperceptions and stereotypes in your views of others during the process.
  • Avoid generalities (“always,” “never”), and speak just to the facts: what happened in particular circumstances.
  • Make it personal. Tell stories from your own past, which helps to place your interests and point of view in context. Speak always in the first person rather than on behalf of a particular point of view. Telling our own stories puts a human face on issues and helps to forge connection. Describe certain key turning points in your life, your heroes, role models, parents, or parent figures. Reveal what you most dream about.
  • Ask open questions unrelated to the area of conflict in order to get to know the person whose views differ from yours. This helps to solidify trust.
  • Reflect back what you think the other person has said.
  • Frame questions about a contentious issue in neutral language, without implied judgments. Instead of asking “Doesn’t your health care plan care about the millions of American children not covered by health care insurance?” say something like “What do you believe should be done about children not covered by health insurance?”
  • Look for common interests, emotions, values, or experiences that emerge in the conversation. As time goes on, you will be amazed by the similarity between your core values and interests and those you have considered your opponents.

Making America Whole Again

As I contemplate the deep divide between the American people and how to re-unite the country – or Britain, for that matter, after the divisive Brexit vote – I think of the work of Don Beck. A former professor of social psychology at University of North Texas, Beck, a florid 75-year-old Texan, is most known for a system he has developed called Spiral Dynamics, which identifies the fine gradations of belief systems and their level of complexity of any given society.

 

As a political consultant on resolving societal conflict, Beck calls himself a human “heat-seeking missile,” drawn to the world’s hot spots: South Africa, Palestine, Afghanistan, Israel. His current work attempts to break up the thinking that fuels us-versus-them prejudice by showing people on one side that those on the other side are not all the same.

 

In Beck’s experience, what often polarizes people or pulls societies apart is a simple lack of appreciation of the spectrum of different beliefs that exist in cultures outside their own.

 

We don’t have the language of difference, so we tend to stereotype,” he says.

Lessons from South Africa

During his sixty-three trips to South Africa in the 1980s, Beck became known as a bridge builder between the country’s black and white populations; as a consequence, he played a behind-the-scenes role in helping to smooth the country’s transition from apartheid to democracy.

 

In his dealings with the business community, he began to realize that many of the pro-apartheid Afrikaners, the dominant white group, were unable to differentiate between various black tribes, while members of the African National Congress, the party led by Nelson Mandela, also had difficulty distinguishing between different types of Afrikaners.

 

Beck began delivering presentations all over South Africa to educate whites and blacks in the fine distinctions between the many different Zulu tribes and white groups.

 

I was able to break up,” he says, “the definitional systems that fueled prejudice.”

 

It was Beck who first came up with the idea of using South Africa’s entry into the World Cup rugby play-offs in 1995, depicted in the film Invictus, as a means of creating nation-building euphoria, in order to unify a country emerging from apartheid. Beck had a special fascination with the psychology of premier-league games, and through his experiences working with the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints, he had developed a belief in the power of sports as a peacemaker.

 

This was a bold idea, given that the Springboks, the South African rugby team, were the very symbol of apartheid. Rugby was considered a white man’s sport. Virtually all players were Afrikaners, the white pro-apartheid minority; rugby coaches even shouted out plays in Afrikaans. English-speaking or black players seldom made the team, and consequently, the black population in South Africa actively boycotted the sport.

The unifying power of games

In 1995, Beck presented Kitch Christie, the Springboks coach, with a paper entitled Six Games to Glory, which detailed a series of psychological strategies that would help transform the team from underdog to world-class contender in the games leading up to the World Cup. Besides the strategies for winning the game, Beck’s paper included ways that the Springboks could stand as a focal point of pride for the fledgling country and connect the township blacks with the Afrikaners.

 

Psychologists call this a superordinate goal – a goal only achieved by large cooperative teamwork of two or more people. Engaging in sharing and teamwork tends to transcend differences, because it emphasizes the very heart of humanity — we are all in this together. And if we are all in this together we are no longer competing for scarce resources.

 

Beck’s document offers many strategies that can be used to create superordinate goals in other areas. He suggested that the Springboks adopt a collaborative or common identity — the green and gold colors of the team shirts, and a sports crowd song, with a Zulu drum to lead the team and arouse the crowd.

 

Beck arranged for the team to visit Mandela’s tiny prison cell at Robben Island, in order to emphasize their larger role in their country’s destiny. Above all, his exercises were to help develop a sense that each member of the team faced a life-defining moment requiring that they pull together as one.

 

As the games progressed, Beck’s superordinate goal began to infect the country; young blacks from the township tore down anti-rugby signs and hung photos of their Springbok heroes. During the World Cup, which the Springboks went on to win, Mandela was persuaded to appear in a Springbok green and gold shirt — the colors that had always symbolized his oppressors — as a tangible sign of unity and forgiveness.

 

We’re all in this together

To Beck, creating a superordinate goal is one of the best ways to achieve peace in areas of political conflict. In his work, Beck often meets with both sides in an area of conflict and shows them a positive vision of future possibility, but one that requires that both sides work together and use their common geography and resources to create a solution for all who live there.

 

Recently, he presented the Arabs and Israelis with a plan to make occupied Palestine “the Hong Kong of the Middle East,” an affluent society with both sides sharing resources for services such as education and health care.

 

Once you begin to see the whole, you can see past your own assumptions and beyond differences to our Bond and the common humanity that binds us all together.

 

What we need is not to make America or Britain great again. We need to make each country whole again, and to do that we need a goal we all share that can only be achieved by all of us pulling together as one. 

Making America Whole Again

As I contemplate the deep divide between the American people and how to re-unite the country – or Britain, for that matter, after the divisive Brexit vote – I think of the work of Don Beck. A former professor of social psychology at University of North Texas, Beck, a florid 75-year-old Texan, is most known for a system he has developed called Spiral Dynamics, which identifies the fine gradations of belief systems and their level of complexity of any given society.

As a political consultant on resolving societal conflict, Beck calls himself a human “heat-seeking missile,” drawn to the world’s hot spots: South Africa, Palestine, Afghanistan, Israel. His current work attempts to break up the thinking that fuels us-versus-them prejudice by showing people on one side that those on the other side are not all the same.

In Beck’s experience, what often polarizes people or pulls societies apart is a simple lack of appreciation of the spectrum of different beliefs that exist in cultures outside their own.

We don’t have the language of difference, so we tend to stereotype,” he says.

Lessons from South Africa

During his sixty-three trips to South Africa in the 1980s, Beck became known as a bridge builder between the country’s black and white populations; as a consequence, he played a behind-the-scenes role in helping to smooth the country’s transition from apartheid to democracy.

In his dealings with the business community, he began to realize that many of the pro-apartheid Afrikaners, the dominant white group, were unable to differentiate between various black tribes, while members of the African National Congress, the party led by Nelson Mandela, also had difficulty distinguishing between different types of Afrikaners.

Beck began delivering presentations all over South Africa to educate whites and blacks in the fine distinctions between the many different Zulu tribes and white groups.

I was able to break up,” he says, “the definitional systems that fueled prejudice.”

It was Beck who first came up with the idea of using South Africa’s entry into the World Cup rugby play-offs in 1995, depicted in the film Invictus, as a means of creating nation-building euphoria, in order to unify a country emerging from apartheid. Beck had a special fascination with the psychology of premier-league games, and through his experiences working with the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints, he had developed a belief in the power of sports as a peacemaker.

This was a bold idea, given that the Springboks, the South African rugby team, were the very symbol of apartheid. Rugby was considered a white man’s sport. Virtually all players were Afrikaners, the white pro-apartheid minority; rugby coaches even shouted out plays in Afrikaans. English-speaking or black players seldom made the team, and consequently, the black population in South Africa actively boycotted the sport.

The unifying power of games

In 1995, Beck presented Kitch Christie, the Springboks coach, with a paper entitled Six Games to Glory, which detailed a series of psychological strategies that would help transform the team from underdog to world-class contender in the games leading up to the World Cup. Besides the strategies for winning the game, Beck’s paper included ways that the Springboks could stand as a focal point of pride for the fledgling country and connect the township blacks with the Afrikaners.

Psychologists call this a superordinate goal – a goal only achieved by large cooperative teamwork of two or more people. Engaging in sharing and teamwork tends to transcend differences, because it emphasizes the very heart of humanity — we are all in this together. And if we are all in this together we are no longer competing for scarce resources.

Beck’s document offers many strategies that can be used to create superordinate goals in other areas. He suggested that the Springboks adopt a collaborative or common identity — the green and gold colors of the team shirts, and a sports crowd song, with a Zulu drum to lead the team and arouse the crowd.

Beck arranged for the team to visit Mandela’s tiny prison cell at Robben Island, in order to emphasize their larger role in their country’s destiny. Above all, his exercises were to help develop a sense that each member of the team faced a life-defining moment requiring that they pull together as one.

As the games progressed, Beck’s superordinate goal began to infect the country; young blacks from the township tore down anti-rugby signs and hung photos of their Springbok heroes. During the World Cup, which the Springboks went on to win, Mandela was persuaded to appear in a Springbok green and gold shirt — the colors that had always symbolized his oppressors — as a tangible sign of unity and forgiveness.

 

We’re all in this together

To Beck, creating a superordinate goal is one of the best ways to achieve peace in areas of political conflict. In his work, Beck often meets with both sides in an area of conflict and shows them a positive vision of future possibility, but one that requires that both sides work together and use their common geography and resources to create a solution for all who live there.

Recently, he presented the Arabs and Israelis with a plan to make occupied Palestine “the Hong Kong of the Middle East,” an affluent society with both sides sharing resources for services such as education and health care.

Once you begin to see the whole, you can see past your own assumptions and beyond differences to our Bond and the common humanity that binds us all together.

What we need is not to make America or Britain great again. We need to make each country whole again, and to do that we need a goal we all share that can only be achieved by all of us pulling together as one. 

How a ban became a blessing: A diary of my workshop in Kuwait

This is a true story of how calamity turned into celebration.

 

Last Wednesday, I got to the airport for my 10:30 am flight to Kuwait only to be refused entry because I was traveling on a US passport that would expire in less than six months. (I’d checked and my travel agent thought it would be okay, but Kuwait is very strict, as I discovered.) 

 

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The Gulf Oil Spill Intention

Our intention should support all of BP’s efforts to cleanup the oil, with minimum impact on the ecosystem of the seas.

Check here for the time in your time zone: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

Don't forget to hold this intention every day at 1 pm Eastern Daylight Savings time for all involved parties to be successful in their efforts to clean up the sea, marine habitat and surrounding beaches.

Our intention should support everyone's efforts to clean up the ecosystem of the seas and land.

Every day that you can, please come onto our website at 1 pm Eastern DST to send the following intention.

‘My intention is for all clean-up efforts in the seas, among the wildlife and on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico to be successful, with no long-term damage to the environment.’

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Lynne McTaggart