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Race, Religion & Culture: A Little Girl’s Tale

What, you might wonder, has the childhood of an ordinary little Australian girl in the 1960s got to do with global issues of race, religion, culture and immigration facing Australia today?

Travel with me for a while and find out….

People all colours

Growing up multicultural – before it was a word

I grew up in a poor housing commission suburb of predominantly working class and under-employed people including lots of new migrants who were known as “New Australians”.

When I was 4 years old, Nikki and Maria lived next door and I adored their vivacity and openness, and going around their garden with them smelling all their pretty Mediterranean flowers. I’d be invited to dinner at the huge wooden table, served by their big Italian mama as if I were one of her own children, eating things I’d never heard of (nor had my Aussie family) and enjoying listening to them talk, thought I did not understand a word of it.

My best friend when I was 7 years old was a tall, quiet Dutch boy with a delightful name of unfamiliar consonant pronunciations and ‘de’s and double ‘a’s. We wrote love poetry to each other and passed it under the school desk. Although extremely shy, I’d find myself invited to dinner and sitting at the table with eleven kids and two parents who could not speak English. I greatly enjoyed listening to the Dutch conversation and eating strange, interesting foods.

Similarly with my German friends and their families. Many of my own foremothers and forefathers were German pioneers in Australia 100 – 180 years ago, but I do not know the language (would love to though!). However on Friday nights when I was eleven years old my best friend’s family took me to German Club in their new Volkswagen Kombi van. Everyone spoke German and I did not understand it but I loved listening to them and watching the slap-dances – the guys leaping about in their lederhosen, and the women in their bright clothes laughing and talking. And the strange, yummy German foods.

Of my friends at school I can only remember two or three who were born in Australia (including just one Aboriginal). The rest were a wide spread of race, religion and culture from around the world: English, Scottish, German, Hawaiian, Irish, Latvian, Bulgarian, Czechoslovakian, Romanian, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Cypriot, Turkish, Dutch, New Zealander, Jewish, Japanese, Indian, Polish….. I just loved it! Rarely did we have people from Africa, Asia or the Middle East in those days; those waves of migrants came later after the Vietnam war. However there were Aussie kids who had Chinese and Afghani descent, going back to colonial days of mining and exploration. And all of us were mixtures, like probably everyone in the world, admit it or not!

Our Aboriginal connection

As I mentioned, Australian Aboriginal people were ‘in short supply’. Our school’s one Aboriginal girl was so popular it was hard to get any time with her for a chat or a game. One year our class was taken into town to see a Pitjantjatjara art exhibition, and it was one of the highlights of my education. Shyly exchanging smiles with equally shy kids from the deserts of the Great Australian Bight, who had not seen white people before, was quite a thrill, and outshone the art itself. However I and other kids in my class began to incorporate elements and styles from Aboriginal art into our own artworks. I went hunting for coloured clays, sifting them, and experimenting with natural paints. Like many other fifth generation Aussies, I have some Aboriginal in my ancestry and took to the art “like a duck to water”.

At school we had folk dancing classes of I-don’t-know-what-cultures and I was paired up with a towering lad from Bulgaria who was so strong that he’d have me airborne when we spun. We sang Scottish songs. We danced Greek dances. We watched Indian yoga teachers on TV. In art I drew portraits of beautiful black Africans and Japanese, wore Polynesian costumes for school plays and made Native American head-dresses and weapons for games at home.

There was quite a mix of religions in school too, with a preponderance of Christian types. Thursdays the whole school had “Religious Instruction” known as RI, when all the kids were sent off to classes with teachers of their own religion. No-one came out of those classes attacking anyone else or separating themselves with arrogance or superiority. I do remember there being some insulting chants about Catholicism going around, that originated with a few parents who’d been through religious persecution at some point. But we kids didn’t feel that for ourselves. Interestingly, practically all the kids hated RI and just wanted to be all the same and all friends playing together and not different or separated by anything.

Settling in together

All these people of diverse races, cultures and religions came to this ancient, worn land, joined the Australian community, contributed their languages, foods, festivals, art, music, styles, skills and ideas into the ever-evolving ancient-young nation, and adapted to the new blend. They built their own shops, churches, synagogues, shrines, clubs, restaurants, whatever, and enjoyed continuing their own ways as part of the mix, but did not expect Australia to be converted into a version of their lands of origin. Importantly, they did not try to force their cultural religious practices and beliefs onto the existing inhabitants of their new country or onto each other (at least, not in my little realm!). They did not demand changes to Australia’s government to force existing Australians into complying with religious laws from their old countries.

There was some racial and cultural tension of course as is usual when new individuals and groups arrive and mix, especially when locals felt their jobs might be threatened by people from other lands. But in general everyone settled into the Australian society. It reminded me a bit of adding new animals to a flock or herd: a bit of pecking, biting and scuffling, but everyone finds their niche and becomes an integral part of the group!

What’s different in Australia now? Why the recent intensification of racial, religious and cultural tension? Where’s the fear coming from?

Enter the media…..and the Moslems

I rarely watch or listen to the news (same, same, all biased!), but I do hear people talking and complaining about current events and trends as they are portrayed in the media. What’s becoming increasingly apparent is that Australian people are feeling more threatened by immigration than ever before. Of particular focus is the influx of Moslems with their Islamic faith. Why? Why, when we have people from everywhere on the planet living here already? Well, if the media is to be believed, a significant percentage of the Moslem immigrants are behaving differently from immigrants in the past. The media says that they are either being aggressively vocal about forcing the religion and laws of their Islamic countries of origin onto Australians, or being part of a ‘silent majority’ who on the surface seem to fit in but are surreptitiously supporting and empowering the terrorists and political agitators. We hear that there is a long-term plan to build up numbers and change our Australian way of life to a Moslem way of life, enforced both legally and religiously. We hear in the news about parts of England (the mother country of the Australian nation and many Australians) switching to Sharia law. About Christian women forced to succumb to the ruthlessly patriarchal rules of Islamic society. Verbal and physical assault and rape by men of both sides. All this is creating fear, anger and outrage. People are worried that we will lose the social freedoms and gender rights we have worked so long and hard to attain.

Ripples in the wake of the media

Australian citizens reading the newspapers and watching TV are asking: by what right do people from somewhere else come here (unhappy with conditions in their homelands and seeing Australia the way it is as a desirable place) and yet pushing to re-create here what they ran away from back there? Why are they using bombs, guns, rape, fear, terror, and media and political campaigns to force us to be like them though we have no interest in becoming like them and no intention of giving up the lifestyle we have created in this country? Why are they not doing what the millions of migrants of the last century did: being grateful to come to a new land with more freedom and opportunity than their old lands, and fitting in with the existing blend even if they continue their own traditions privately? That worked in the past. Now Australians are saying that the new politico-religious bullying by Moslems coming into Australia does not work. As one person shared with me today: “if the push to force Australia into adopting Sharia laws or creating an Islamic state, or any other such imposition from anywhere else, gains a foothold, it will lead to violence and major civil unrest or even civil war.” This is pretty heavy stuff!

Aren’t we all the same at heart?

I’ve always believed that separatists and troublemakers are a minority expressing some deep pain that’s driving their bad behaviour. That really what every human wants is to be loved, to be useful, to fit into their communities in harmony, to have meaningful work and raise their families in safety and peace in their own style. I still maintain that to be true. I’ve all my life welcomed new and different people with open arms, beginning with those joyful childhood days of blossoming multiculturalism at school and in my neighbourhood. And continuing throughout adult life, where my mix of beloved friends includes Buddhists, Catholics, Pentecostals, Protestants, Orthodoxes, Hindus, Shintos, Aetheists, Pagans, Jews, Sanyassins, Jains, Hare Krishnas, Indigenous people, people from every continent on the Earth, blacks, whites, reds, yellows, browns and every shade of race and belief in between. It brings me joy, as always, to invite diverse people into this land and my life. And I look forward to welcoming Moslem people into that circle of acceptance, equality, friendship and love too.

So here’s a big question:

Is all or any of this stuff in the media about Islam penetrating Australia to change our law and religion just another media ploy to whip up fear and separation, or is it partly or wholly true? We know we can’t trust the media as far as we can throw them, and that they are puppets of large interests that rely on fear and separation to control the population. Religion has been used historically to divide groups of people and keep them in conflict for the gain of corporate and political interests, as in Northern Ireland. However, what’s really going on now with this Moslem takeover story?

Is this just the latest wave of fear creation by the media?
And if it is, where’s the accountability?
Who will call the media to trial?
And how does an ordinary person find out the truth?

I’d really like to know!

Genetic Engineering

If you combine GM, a Monsanto-toxic environment full of mutagens, nanotechnology
and wild microbiology, we’re in for a Franken-future!

Genetic Engineering, 1976

I took a look at Genetic Engineering (GE) in 1976 while doing a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences. And wrote a review on the subject. Scientists of the day were urging caution and a 20-year moratorium on GE until its long-term safety could be assessed. But market forces did not want to be held back from the billion-dollar gleams in their eyes….So the real scientists’ caution of the day went out the window subsequently and GE (aka Genetic Modification, or GM) immediately went ahead without a proper society-wide review of the potential harm of this technology.

Today

As a cross-disciplinary biologist, it seems to me we are just asking for trouble on a scale that is horrific beyond imagining. I do not ring alarm bells for the sake of just being ‘anti’. There are very good biological reasons why GE running rampant, powered by profit, is a scenario to examine. And why I connect GM, toxins, nanotechnology and microbes.

A list of facts for you to research and ponder the interactions:

– We constantly release into the environment vast quantities of toxins that are known to mutate DNA (read “sickness”, “cancer” and “birth defects”). Monsanto’s Roundup is one of the most widespread of these mutagens in use globally today (and on vast areas of GM crops especially). Pesticides including Roundup have been found in every living tissue (including ours) and every environment over the whole planet, including Antarctica, the tops of remote mountains and in deep jungles – nowhere escapes. After all, we have just one dynamic atmosphere, and all water is connected. Roundup does NOT break down in a couple of days to safe products as per the lies Monsanto propagates. Monsanto are not the only ones culpable of course (the fossil fuel industry is behind much because chemicals are made out of oil), but they are perhaps the biggest publicly-known player, with fingers in every pie… and their funding is probably in every university and research institute by now.

– GM breaks down the natural genetic boundaries between different species, eg. when you put fluorescence-making jellyfish genes into a rabbit to make it glow green, human genes into pigs to grow organs…. it opens the way for unregulated mix ‘n’ match among the living things of Earth that spent millions of years intentionally keeping themselves intact by not mixing.

– Microbes are genetically very promiscuous. They can take in and release and swap bits of DNA. They can quickly mutate (especially in mutagenic environments), quickly adapt to new environments (including inside humans), and quickly reproduce. Viruses insert their own genetic material (DNA or RNA) into our DNA, then exit when they are ready to spread themselves to new hosts. But in exiting, they can not only leave behind in our DNA some of the genes they brought in, but also take bits of DNA that are not theirs. Thus they can leave behind a genetic booby trap in us, and spread same to the next living thing they infect. They are uncontrollable, wild carriers of genetically-modified DNA between species, into humans and the plants and animals we rely on for food.

– Laboratory workers are covered in and full of natural human symbiotic microbes, plus a variety of passing neutrals and pathogens (cold viruses, flu viruses, skin, gut and respiratory bacteria, microscopic fungi, protists, etc). These organisms can pick up genes being used in the lab and in GM animals being handled. I know from years in laboratory research that safety protocols are inconsistent at best.

– NANOPARTICLES are smaller than anything the human or animal body evolved with. Our immune systems don’t have a clue. Nanoparticles (and their A-I kin the nano-machines including the upcoming class of artificial biological nano-machines eg ‘molecular motors’) do things, in a mechanical parallel of the way molecules, microbes and cells do things. They make stuff, break stuff, change stuff at the molecular level including DNA, and our immune systems can do nothing about them. And there are no (or weak, inadequate) regulations requiring human safety testing or labeling of foods that contain nanoparticles…

– NOTHING STAYS CONTAINED. And I mean NOTHING!!!!! Modified organisms, bits of DNA, deadly toxins, etc will ALWAYS escape confinement from laboratories. This is simply Nature, and human safety protocols are very fallible due to: funding restrictions, aging equipment, building damage (fires, floods, earthquakes, renovations, bombings), design faults, politics, inconsistent policies, variable enforcement, slack attitudes, ignorance, erratic and inconsistent record-keeping, electronic corruption, sheer volume of information, cutting corners in stiff competitive environments, disagreements, procrastination, language barriers, hacking of DNA files electronically, intentional sabotage and terrorism, increasing ease of back-yard synthesis, and just plain fading memories with the passage of time.

Can you picture gene-splicing nano-machines getting loose from the lab, into a field full of genetically-modified plants plastered with mutagenic pesticides, eaten by virus- and bacteria-laden bugs and wild animals, spread in dust and sluiced by rain into the Earth’s water cycle, carrying microbes with GM genes that can jump ship at any time…. or be spliced by nano-machines into whatever living organisms they come in contact with…?

Bottom line:

If our babies are born fluoro green with bug eyes, rat tails, pig whiskers and corn spikes all over their skin, what worth are today’s multinational corporation profits and ‘jobs’ to us? However if you include karma, it might be poetic justice for today’s unscrupulous and dismissive corporation executives, researchers and decision-makers, and people who fail to call ‘enough is enough’, to be tomorrow’s children. And a huge wake-up call for a Humanity that has not been heeding all the gentler wake-up calls we’ve been given to date.


P.S. If I’m found dead in a ditch, die soon of ‘natural causes’ or ‘an accident’, disappear without a trace, get hacked, become the target of a disgusting smear campaign in the media, or fall silent, blackmailed with threats to other people, you’ll know where to point the finger!!

Cyberbullying: troll’s ‘truth’ but no-one else’s

Recently I attended a Cyberbullying community forum, where many people had the opportunity to speak about their own experiences. There was a considerable diversity of types and contexts of cyberbullying, and apparently different motives and methods by the perpetrators. However a couple of things jumped out and I felt to write about them.

Young targets

It seems that young people who report being cyber-bullied are not being listened to or taken seriously by older people such as parents, teachers and others in authority roles relevant to them. The older generations do not seem to realize the extent to which younger people live a more ‘virtual’ life. They live and feel things in the virtual world just as strongly as the older people feel the more solid counterparts in the material world. But anyone who has ever been insulted, had private details shouted out publicly, been threatened, had their reputation tarnished, been falsely represented, lied about, stalked, socially punished for past foolish actions that they have subsequently ‘grown out of’, whether in cyberspace or 3D material space, should be able to relate to the severity of the hurt that young people feel when being cyberbullied. Young people can become depressed, suicidal, angry, in retreat from family and social interaction and life in general, slide downwards in school work, etc. These should never be taken lightly and the causes must be addressed. Responsibility rests equally all around: with the youth, the parents, teachers, authorities, the whole society and last but not least the cyberbullies themselves.

Adult targets

A lot of the focus on helping the targets of cyberbullying is on youth, with classes, support programs and websites for them and the adults who care for them. But not enough. However what also stood out is that even mature adults who report being cyber-bullied are not being listened to or taken seriously by the authorities that they report incidents to, such as government agencies and the courts. There seems to be a sense of ‘you’re an adult, get over it; it’s not important’, but this is far from the truth. Adults have had lives threatened, reputations and careers destroyed, their children persecuted and endangered, and incurred massive sums of money fighting legal battles. They can suffer the ill-effects just as severely as the young people. This is not OK. NONE of it is OK.

Failure of communication, failure of listening

These two failures of communication – both of authorities listening to youth, and a different group of authorities listening to adults – are related and must be addressed and changed. By writing this blog I’m calling for change in the attitudes of all in my generation, and the one before me, and the ones after me.

We need to…

We as a society need to take action to increase the awareness of the reality and seriousness of cyber-bullying. Much of this increase in awareness can come from people in the community sharing and expressing and working together, as we have begun to do, eg. at the forum, but that we also need to find ways of increasing the awareness of authorities and legislators.

And each of us can?….

Yet there’s something that every single person can do, whether alone or with help, and that is to re-connect to that innermost truth and authority that is the legacy of all humans. From there, we can feel the truth, not be intimidated, and do what feels right to us.

Untruth hurts.

The fact of the lies often hurts far more than the content of the lies themselves. Humans have a natural pull to truth, and anything that goes in the opposite direction, that reveals just how far from love and truth we live as a humanity, will hurt anyone who comes in contact with it directly or indirectly, and in fact, it hurts us all.

True truth in science? The alchemy of joining dots

THE ALCHEMY OF JOINING DOTS

Remember the puzzles we had as kids where we join up the numbered dots in the right sequence and a cute animal emerges?
What if modern science is like that – a random-looking field of dots (scientific evidence all over the place) and we’ve joined the dots in a particular order? It gives us a sensible pattern and we say: “Yeah, that must be it!”

But what if there is another way to join the dots? Or many ways to join the dots? You see, scientific ‘dots’ don’t come with numbers attached to tell you how to join them. Let’s play with this idea and see what happens…..

Here we have a field of dots with no guide numbers (diverse scientific evidence scattered across subjects)…..

field of dots

Do we have an automatic ‘bias’ in our perception of the way these dots invite us to join them? Perhaps like…..

Archimedean spiral

An Archimedean spiral !

But what if this were only one way to join the dots?

What if we joined them like this:

flower from spiral

Yes, exactly the same dots arranged the same way, but a totally different object is described – a flower!

I’m sure it would be possible to arrange many different sorts of figures in this field of dots.

So perhaps it is time to do some creative dot-joining with all the scientific evidence we have to date and see if it’s possible for different pictures to emerge!

dots, Archimedean spiral, flower

‘Justing’: dismissing our truth

‘Justing’: How we dismiss the truth we feel within us

Once upon a time my partner and I came up with a word and concept: ‘justing’.
It started with how we related to something time-sensitive. For example, we’d be getting ready to go out. Person A was ready and Person B was not. So Person A would say: “I’ll just put away the dishes while I wait for them.” Then Person B would finally be ready, only to find that now Person A was engaged in just putting the dishes away! So person B then goes: “Oh well, I’ll just make a quick phone call while they finish the dishes.” Then Person A finishes the dishes and finds person B on the phone. “Ah, I’ll just quickly check my email while they’re on the phone”. Upshot… 2 hours later we make it to the front door….. you get the picture! Has this ever happened to you? So we used to laugh our heads off at this observation of human relationship with self and others, and we called it ‘justing’.

Funny it sure is. Frustrating it can sometimes be. Quite revealing however.

Since then, I’ve extended my enquiry into ‘justing’ and realized that we often use ‘just’ in another way that is harming through every aspect of our lives.

We use it to trivialize and dismiss things we feel are very important, and take our focus off what is truly going on.

(Note that the word ‘only’ is used in the same kind of way.)

How about these as examples:

“Your sickness is just in your head”
“It’s just the placebo effect”
“It’s just a matter of time”
“He’s just a friend”
“It’s just your imagination”
“They’re just a bunch of uneducated plebs”
“It’s just a thought”
“She’s just a kid”
“Sound being emitted by cells is just the vibration of atoms and molecules”
“You’re just a woman”
“It’s just human nature”
“It’s just the weather”
“It’s just a head cold”
“I’m just going to say to them…”

Wanna look deeper into what is being trivialized?

How about we start with the above examples:

“Your sickness is just in your head”
If you feel sick, something is wrong. Period. The ‘just’ makes you doubt yourself, doubt your true feelings and senses. It may be that you are truly, materially sick in your body. It may be that you are truly, materially out of order in your brain and/or mind. It may be that you are sensing that something is wrong on the inside of you or on the outside of you and it is making you feel sick. In all the above cases you are truly feeling energy out of harmony, out of balance, not truth, and there is a call to find out what’s wrong and address it. This is NOT trivial! This is NOT a ‘just’!

“It’s just the placebo effect”
The placebo effect is incredibly powerful. It means that you get a health benefit just by being part of a study or test, even when you have not received a ‘real’ treatment. The first level of its action is that something about the heightened awareness that comes with being part of a study or test, engages a focus on your health and triggers a greater awareness of your health, and a greater commitment to your health. The second level of placebo action is that it somehow triggers a natural healing process within your body – how awesome is that? The third level of placebo action is that in a study or test, the people involved are deeply connected. The experimenter is listening to you. They are seeing and feeling you. They are caring about you and what you say and the responses in your body. You are in each other’s presence in a rhythmic way – scheduled – so that each person, body and mind, is ‘primed and ready’ for the interaction and what they are going to do together, co-operatively. Group work.

These are POWERFUL effects! They tell us something absolutely AWESOME about our natural healing capabilities, the power of focus and intention, the power of feeling connected, cared about, seen, and working together to reveal truth.

Why aren’t we finding out how these levels of the placebo effect actually work?! What could be the potential for people taking responsibility for their health? What could be the potential for reducing the massive reliance on drugs, surgery, doctors, hospitals, comforts and distractions, etc? What could be the potential for understanding the true connection between people, and how our union transforms our wellbeing?

“It’s just a matter of time”
Something about saying this makes it seem as if time is some random thing that happens to us and that we have no active, intelligent involvement with. We somehow deny that nature has a rhythm that we are part of. And yet even in the saying of it, ‘just a matter of time’, we are somehow acknowledging that things have a natural course, a natural unfoldment. We are saying that many things must progress to a state where they are able to come together, ‘constellate’ into a particular pattern where the next step can occur. We are saying that there is a certain rhythmic cycle to things, people and events. What if we were to practice our awareness and catch ourselves every time we say ‘just’, in regard to time, and explore what we might be perceiving truly about the current situation, cause and effect, what is unfolding, how it relates to the present state of ourselves, our close ones, our situation, our humanity and our planet? This is not trivial! What is it that we really know about life and time more fundamentally and truly than all the factual knowledge and information out there?

“He’s just a friend or just my husband / my daughter / the plumber / a bunch of greenies / a politician / a criminal”, etc
OMG! How do you feel to be on the receiving end of this? Do you feel that you are somehow less important, less equal, less human, less deserving of respect, and of being felt and taken into account in every moment because you are identified in some way? When we are in the presence of a stranger, we are fully alert, aware, tuning into them, feeling them as a human, feeling how they are, feeling where they are coming from, their intentions, their needs, the whole shebang. How is it that we drop our complete equality and respect and awareness for the people we know and classify? Why don’t we fully feel and acknowledge every single human being equally no matter what relationship we have to them?

A friend ‘just’ (as in a moment ago while writing this) defended the ‘just’ by saying: if you were in the house at night alone and someone was coming through the gate, you could say ‘it’s just my son’ and then feel safe. BUT my immediately-felt response to this is…. isn’t this the same? You drop your awareness and dismiss someone because it’s ‘just’ your son. It means you don’t tune into him merely because there is no threat. But what if he were coming home upset or injured or feeling bad about himself, or feeling amazing about himself? Wouldn’t you want to feel it? Wouldn’t you want to be 100% ready and open to receive him and respond to him in all that he is right then? To be ready to reflect to him your full awareness and openness to him and love for him even if he is shut down and not wanting to express? Gosh how we deny ourselves and all others the fullness of our love and humanity!

(I hear some of you say: but what about the ‘politician’ and the ‘criminal’? Same! Not to reduce anyone’s responsibility for their actions of course. Those may not be acceptable. However, what if all humans were indeed fully felt and seen and able to receive a reflection of real love and humanity, without judgment, sympathy, or denial of them as equal human beings at the core? What effect do you feel this might have on society if applied regularly by everyone who wakes up to it? What if we stop ‘justing’ people?

“It’s just your imagination”
You know something’s going on. You felt something or saw something or thought something. It came from somewhere. We are part of the universe. There is nothing outside the universe. Therefore, all thoughts, imaginings, energies, substances and events are also part of the universe. There is nothing we can ‘imagine’ that’s outside the universe. It all exists already. So if we ‘imagine’ something, it’s true it may be ‘in our heads’ and not materially obvious anywhere, but it came in the form of an energy configuration that already exists. There’s a reason for it. By saying it’s ‘just’ whatever, we trivialize the going deeper into finding out the reason for it, the nature and quality of that energy. Is it truth? Is it something that warps truth to fool you? Is it a confusing mix that throws you into self-doubt? Is it something harmful or disharmonious going on in you or in general that needs to be brought attention to? Is it something that is there to be shared for the good of all?

“They’re just a bunch of uneducated plebs”
Here we go judging, identifying and classifying again. This statement and all those like it (she’s just a blonde for instance – how outrageous!) are even more of an indictment of the person saying it than they are of the person or group whose shortcomings are being pointed out and dismissed as inferior! How can the educated (who view themselves as elite or better in some way) truly know or appreciate the contribution being made by those whom they judge from such a self-appointed lofty perspective? Who cleans your toilet and your office? Who keeps your phones and computers running so you can fly high in your educated atmosphere? Who grows your food and brings it to the supermarket? Who of all those countless ‘uneducated plebs’ might be the one, full of heart for fellow humans, who calls an ambulance, administers first aid and saves your life when you are about to bleed to death in a car accident? Or advises their child to beware of the possible use of drugs at a party (that your child is attending), and to help protect other young people present? Infinite examples possible. ‘just’ let that imagination run wild! The truth is, no matter what opinions we hold of others, no matter how ‘not right’ their behavior or being might seem to us (and ours even though we don’t see it) we are one humanity, cells in one organism, and we all need each other for the whole to work.

“It’s just a thought”
This is like the ‘just your imagination’. A thought comes from somewhere in the universe, there can be no ‘new and original’ ones, because there is nothing outside the universe and the whole universe exists now. So if a thought came into your head – gee, isn’t that revealing, ‘came into’ your head – it says that it didn’t arise in your head but came in from somewhere else! What is that ‘somewhere else’? Where is that ‘somewhere else’? It’s as if we are like radios or TV sets, receiving energy waves from ‘out there’, and the state of our tuning determines what we pick up. How and why did that thought come into your head? Through what opening? For what purpose? What state were you in when that thought came in, and what state were you in leading up to that thought coming in? Is there a pattern, ie. does living in a particular way and being in a particular state lead to certain types of thoughts coming in? These are very deep, important questions! Humanity is being driven by its thoughts, and a lot of those thoughts are pretty awful. We need to find answers to this issue!

“She’s just a kid”
Are you a kid right now? Or do you remember being a kid? Do you know stuff that the grownups don’t know? It’s really obvious to you, so how come they don’t get it? What’s wrong with them? Kids feel and sense way more than adults, of the stuff that’s very important but somehow gets lost as we grow up. Kids have minds that are not yet cluttered up with facts and details and crushed by limitations of what can and can’t be done or thought. Kids are not yet taken ‘out of themselves’ by rushing and busy-ness and feeling overwhelmed by demands. So why aren’t we listening to kids? Why aren’t we listening to the kid within ourselves? Is it possible that we value intellectual/learned knowledge and experience too much, and because kids don’t have that yet, they and what they have to say are somehow lesser? Is it possible that, because we take an attitude of ownership over our kids we dull ourselves to the fact that they are fully sensible human beings in their own right? That expression: “out of the mouths of babes” is an important one in this context – it shows that we do appreciate that children have access to truth in a way that cuts to the core of an issue, that is so simple and obvious and fundamental that it blows all our mental dross away in a moment of revelation and inner knowing. Is it possible that if we put learned knowledge back into its proper place in balance with feeling and being, and we stop considering our children as possessions, we will all benefit from the awesome contribution they have to make as equal human beings? No more ‘justing’ of the kids!

“Sound being emitted by cells is just the vibration of atoms and molecules”
Here’s a scientific one. All is energy therefore all is because of energy. Scientists know this, and yet the whole of humanity including scientists seems hell-bent on living and thinking as if everything is material, and energy doesn’t matter. That material is ‘it’ and energy is just some consequence or thing kicking around in there for matter and the material Us to do our thing with. It is suggested that the sound vibrations emitted by living cells are actually meaningful communications of the state of the cell and what it’s doing, sensing and needing, so that all other cells know, so that the whole organ and body can know and work together to keep things in harmony. But many scientists say: ‘It’s just sound caused by the vibration of atoms and molecules. Doh! The vibrational- energy state of the atoms and molecules (particles) is the fundamental state of the cell at the deepest ‘quantum’ levels that connect them to everything else. Energy is ‘it’. It reveals whether the particles and the cell they make up are in harmony and synchrony with everything else or not. This is vital ‘goss’ from particle to particle and from cell to cell – how’s your body going to work without that communication? There’s no ‘just’ about it – the vibrations producing the sound IS the meaningful communication!

“You’re just a woman”
Owch! Hasn’t every woman felt the shattering untruth of the energy behind this statement? Hasn’t every child of either gender felt it when they hear a man say this to a woman, or even a woman say it to another woman? At what point did the full equal humanity of women degrade into a worldwide agreement that if you are a woman you are lesser, you deserve less respect, are of less account, your thoughts are lesser, your ability to understand is lesser, the scope of what you know is lesser? Is it possible that the world has been on a fast track of over-valuing technological and intellectual advances historically dominated by men, and thus we value only one way of thinking and knowing at the expense of the other, more human-sensitive, expansive and inclusive ways that are natural to women and children? Is it possible that we have forgotten that those ways are natural to men too? What would happen if men were to en-masse re-connect to their sensitive inner ways of knowing? Could that change our emphasis, change the balance, bring back the respect towards women and children and their ways of being and knowing?

“It’s just human nature”
Now that’s a dumping of responsibility if ever there was one! This is like dismissing all our bad behavior by validating it as something that everyone does because we can’t help it because it’s somehow hard-coded into us. How pathetic is that? It’s like saying: “I couldn’t help raping or murdering someone because I can’t control my human nature”. But what about the other ‘justs’ of human nature? How about the love, kindness, care for fellow humans and creatures, the deep sense of and longing for truth, meaning, connection and divinity? We know ourselves to be different from the animals in regard to this true humanness within us, yet we degrade ourselves by seeing ourselves as animals. We accept and excuse the opposites – greed, lust, anger, deceit, hate, violence, etc – as our ‘animal nature’. But the rub is that animals are not actually like that! We as humans are choosing to see the animals through the filter of our excuses, using the animals to validate our own bad behavior! It’s time we took a deep honest look into what is really our nature and the nature of animals, without the taint of irresponsibility. We have a body and a mind and a soul. How do these relate to each other? How can they be connected and brought into balance to express our humanness in full? Let’s stop ‘justing’ our nature, and find out what it really is!

“It’s just the weather”
The Earth is big. We individual humans feel small in comparison. But we are on the Earth, our bodies are intrinsic to it – little cells in the big body of the whole Earth. Perhaps in seeing ourselves small, we do not appreciate the contribution we make to how the Earth is. What state is our body in without all its cells healthy and working together in harmony? It is sick. What state is the Earth in without all its cells (humans and other living creatures) working together in harmony? It is sick. Weather is part of the physiology of the Earth, as our breath, body temperature and water are part of each human’s physiology. All these things go through rhythmic cycles while maintaining the balance known as homeostasis. When our cycles are disturbed by disharmonious influences, imbalance and sickness is the result. In the same way the Earth’s physiology has cycles that can be disrupted by disharmonious influences. Is it possible that the weather is a sign and symptom of the state of health of the whole body of Earth, determined by the state of health of its component parts, including us? Take a look at humanity now – it is a disharmonious influence? Yes! So it is possible that the very disharmony within ourselves is responsible for de-stabilizing the Earth’s weather? So rather than: “It’s just the weather”, shouldn’t we be asking: “What is it about us that is making the weather so extreme?”

“It’s just a head cold”
This is like saying that head colds just happen. Some hassle that comes from outside, the fault of someone or something else – the sick worker in the office, the cold weather, etc. Certainly these things contribute; you have to pick up the virus from somewhere and your body has to be compromised by a stress in order to come down with a head cold. But then how do you ‘just’ explain that the next guy working in the same office, exposed to the same cold weather, doesn’t get the cold when you do? Is it possible that your body is showing you something specific to you, about how you have been treating it? Something that has made your immune system go down and be unable to prevent attack by the virus? That your body is pulling out all stops to expel the virus, by running a fever to kill it, by pouring out mucous to wash it away, by making you feel shivery so you go and rug yourself up, by making you feel sick so you go to bed, stop rushing around, and nurture yourself? In short, is your body shouting at you that you have been refusing to listen to it and instead rushing around stressing yourself and not nurturing yourself? Did your body even co-opt the help of the virus to force you to stop and listen? Could it be that the ‘just a mole’, ‘just a bruise’, ‘just a tummy upset’, and all the other ‘justs’ should be elevated to the top of the priority list and really listened to for what they are telling us about our choices? Why wait for the gigantic scream of cancer or heart disease – listen to the small but very important messages all the time!

“I’m just going to say to them…”
Whoa! Did you trivialize and dismiss your own worth, and the worth of the message you have to express to someone? Do you feel that what you have to say is not important? Why are you saying it to a third party first, saying it loaded with self-doubt and emotion, instead of going straight to the actual person you want to say it to and sharing the heart-felt truth, without dumping or cringeing? What would happen if you did? What would you truly have to lose by honestly valuing yourself and what you sense as being true? And why would you trivialize it before you even express it to the person you will take it to? Is that a big ‘owch’ or what?!

Wanna add some of your own?
Be welcome to share on this blog, or have your private moments, or talk with a friend about it……

It’s a very, very good way to look deeper into life. Increase your awareness and catch every moment that you or others use the words ‘just’ and ‘only’, and read the situation truthfully. Be amazed at what is revealed! And even more, act upon it.

The Big Denial Party part 1: comfort and indulgence to the brink of disaster

The Big Denial Party part 1

The world is in a mess and getting worse very fast, and how are most people responding?

Just as we did in past eras when empires fell – by going into denial, seeking comfort to fill the emptiness that comes from the fear, burying the truth with indulgence in sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ rock’n’roll along with work, depression, inequality, sweets, falling in love, money, poverty, perversions, physical training, image, success, power, career, recognition, politics, sport, TV, mobile devices, entertainment, victimization, parties, religion, causes, issues, fashion, intellect, fads, games, music, art, parenting, all the isms – anything and everything as an excuse to not face reality and not take responsibility and not make real changes within ourselves to express in outer life.

Quitting

A decade ago I had a sudden impulse from my soul to quit all drugs, and I did. Not one glass of wine at an occasional birthday party, not one joint on the weekend, all gone. It was easy. And very rewarding watching how my mental clarity went from its normally excellent to awesomely good, how much less emotionally reactive and more calm I became, how much less driven by desires and cravings, etc, etc. Something to commit to, forever.

Gluten, Dairy, and Substitutes for the Substitutes

A few years ago I chose to eliminate gluten and dairy from my diet. I was not coeliac, not gluten-intolerant, not dairy-intolerant. I did it to support my health and wellbeing. It meant giving up my absolutely favourite foods: melted cheese on wholegrain bread, creamy milk, fried halumi, fruit yoghurt, fudge, caramel, cakes, biscuits, ice-cream, organic fair trade chocolate, home-made muesli, the list goes on. Once upon a time I didn’t think I could do it. But I realized those foods were full of comfort for me, like a frightened baby grabbing hold of mother’s breast. Gotta go. Once I made the heart-felt decision, I did give them up. Then I started trying the substitutes: all those things I’d given up but now substitutes made with soy, lentils, chick pea flower, etc (keep the comfort going!). But I am rather legume-intolerant and intolerant of quinoa etc, so all the gluten/dairy substitutes made me very sick. I observed then how I substituted for the substitutes: getting into watching videos, turning my salad and eggs into a comforting indulgence, obsessing about my work, inventing inner stories about who I am and what I’m doing. Corrected that, and watched the next level of indulgence…. it goes on and on, getting sneakier and more subtle.

Meanwhile in addition to observing myself, I was observing how the majority of truly gluten-intolerant, dairy-intolerant people behave. For them it’s all about feeling ‘normal’ and how to indulge and treat themselves with chocolate and sugar and cakes and lush comforts just like the non-sensitives so they can numb themselves to the fact that their bodies are screaming out desperately for them to hear its request for health, proper nourishment and genuinely loving care. I say “genuinely” to contrast it with the indulgence, comfort and pampering with treats, that we mistakenly refer to as “loving” ourselves.

The psychology elevator: going up or going down?

There’s a huge difference between giving yourself comforting treats, and being truly self-loving, and I’m beginning to understand it. My teacher has shared a psychological process:

Recognition -> Awareness -> Honesty -> Truth

For me just the food journey on its own is a huge workshop in recognition of how I really feel, leading to awareness of what state I’m really in, leading to honesty about my choices and why I’m making them, leading to truth about myself, who I am, my stage of evolution, what is real and what is not. Then there’s the work journey, the money journey, the health journey, the spiritual journey, the relationship journey, etc, etc…. And when I extrapolate from my own little self to the big picture for all of humanity…whoa! We are in trouble, and we’re not facing it at all.

The opposite of the path to honesty and truth is denial and burying, and that’s accelerating visibly in the world today. It seems like life is becoming one big dance party with a bit of resented work in between, ‘compensated for’ with alcohol, chocolate, coffee, spas, drugs, charities, campaigns, sweets and cakes, luxury holidays ….

Society’s death throes: partying

I came across a research study of the life cycles of societies and their economies. It showed that the last gasp before oblivion is tourism. Doh? Well when you think about it, it makes sense. When a society is at it’s wit’s end and on the brink of going down the gurgler, people get into partying (indulgence generally). The “party” mentality is that desperate last denial process to convince yourself that everything’s OK by sharing the convincing activity with as many other people as possible. The numbers confirm it, right? Wrong. Just because a lot of people do it, doesn’t make it right. Like rape and murder. So a big increase in partying, dancing, holidaying, all forms of indulgence that come under the (economic) umbralla of ‘tourism’ is a sign of things not being right, a society in trouble. Those very behaviours we do to keep denying and hiding the truth from ourselves are the very things which are taking us and our world to the brink of disaster.

Time to change. But no time to lose.

Discard denial and indulgence; let's fly

15 Sept 2010 (updated today 22 Feb 2014)

Blinded By The Double Blind

The double blind experiment has come about because of the awareness of the subtle levels of influence of consciousness on the outcomes of scientific experiments. In this sense, it’s a valid response. Unfortunately it has become so rigid and so focused on the assumption of objectivity in science that it’s (a) missing its own point, and (b) being used as a weapon against natural phenomena that are difficult to measure and are subject to very subtle influences that the need for the double blind itself acknowledges!

You can’t please all the people….

The vicious circle has become that researchers in the fields with the greatest chance of showing a subtle influence, eg. what often comes under the very wide umbrella of parapsychology (psycho-energetics, bio-electromagnetics, etc,) use the highest level of experimental control including the double blind (Sheldrake 2012) under the pressure to comply strictly with the scientific method so that the truth they want to bring to light can be so. But they constantly come up against the walls of belief in other fields of science, and the difficulty of finding technology and methodologies apt to their work. Their controls are never considered enough, even by scientists in fields who can be considered ‘slack’ in regard to the level of experimental controls they themselves routinely use. It shows that it’s not about the quality of the experimental controls, but about the beliefs in the so-called ‘hard’ sciences.

Do as I say, not as I do

Ironically, researchers in the very fields of science that are the poorest at using double blind methodology, are the ones who increasingly propose that consciousness is a property of the continuous, connected field of energy which underlies the universe and of all living things! Physicists are at the top of the list in assuming that they are working so objectively that they could not possibly influence the results, and yet their materials – atoms, sub-atomic particles and fields – are super-sensitive to the tiniest energies and field perturbations which respect few material boundaries. Biologists come next, and by their own admission their subjects – living organisms – are likewise immensely sensitive to energies and quantum processes, but oddly, biologists do not generally apply this knowledge in their own practice. As Sheldrake comments, the scientists who are the most secure in their belief of objectivity are the most vulnerable to self-deception, namely the physicists and biologists.

That double blind someone

Someone knows what every experiment is about, no matter whether double blind or triple blind or whatever level of control you care to use is applied. And even if that someone has no access to the technicians performing the hands-on, or the experimental apparatus, or the subjects, or the data gathering and coding, their consciousness will permeate the whole experiment because their mind is focused on the process from creation to inception to outcome.

Reality check

So I would say that double blindness is a property of the scientists themselves!
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not mocking scientists, as I am one! I love science when it is carried out in its ideal form. It is an art and a discipline and a joy of heights unimaginable to the non-scientist. To me, Reductionism as it is practiced today is not its ideal form, just to be clear on that issue. I find that beliefs and blind spots are rife in Reductionism, to the poverty of science.

As is now becoming increasingly apparent from the research of workers like David Bohm and his successors since quantum physics was born, consciousness is part of that universal field or energy that connects all and exists irrespective of individual material brains transducing it down into perceived thoughts and experiences. This reality must completely transform the landscape of all experimental and theoretical science.

We now need to do controlled double blind experiments on the experimenters! It is done to some extent in some areas, but there is still a focus on the outer, material aspects.

Starting with the familiar…..

Let’s look at a classic, objective, laboratory experiment in biology.
Let’s say we were testing the effect of a new drug on the central nervous system or behaviour of rats. Traditionally we would control for the following (gross physical) factors:
– species of rat, eg. Rattus norvegicus
– strain of that species, eg. Hooded Wistar
– gender, eg. male
– other physical attributes, eg. age, weight range
– naivety, eg. never been used for a drug experiment before

That would most likely be the limit of it for most experiments.

Then let’s say there seem to be some very unclear initial results, and our normal controls are not discriminating enough. We might extend our controls in the next trial to take into account:
– the rooms the rats were raised in
– the type of food they received
– the type of water they received

Exponential pedantry

Let’s say that was not enough either. Now we get down to finer details:
– the air supply
– the type of bedding they were given and how often it was refreshed
– the dark-light cycle length and pattern in the rat room
– the light and temperature micro-environments of the cages they were raised in
– whether they were raised in the same cage with other rats, or within sight, sound and scent of other caged rats or totally isolated
– what was the rat’s auditory environment? Steady and quiet, or steady with regular, predictable sounds, or with sudden unpredictable loud noises?
– the ages, materials and brands of the cages
– any variations in the batches of food
– variations in the water, eg. gradual algal growth, change of pH, etc.
– presence of electromagnetic fields, like an electronic balance, power conditioner, machinery operating on the other side of the rat house wall, etc
– vibrations, eg. the cage next to the main door which is constantly opening and closing, or near the air-conditioner, compared with deep in the house away from those vibrations?

You get the picture, and we could keep going:
– are some of the rats in the direct line between the technical officer’s mobile phone and the tower it runs from?
– were some of the rats raised by their mothers and others raised from birth by people?
– the personalities of the rats – were some introverts and some extroverts? (Yes, personality differences exist between individual animals, and they respond hormonally, neurally and behaviourally, therefore biochemically, very differently to stresses and environmental variations)
– were the rats exposed to different handlers?

Perhaps now we are getting to the crux of it:
– did some handlers drink alcohol and/or smoke cigarettes or marijuana? Smell! And neuroactive effects on rats.
– what were the different body care products they used? (with their inevitably different perfumes, massively perceivable by rats with their intense olfactory sensitivity)
– what did the handlers eat? Did some eat a lot of garlic, or red meat or were vegetarians or consumed a lot of dairy products? (all of which influence smell)
– were some handlers male and some female?
– were some rough and careless, some matter-of-fact and consistent, some especially kind or some especially cruel?
– did some handle the rats more and some less?
– did some of the handlers stay up late and come to work tired and depressed, while some were bright and energetic?
– what did the handlers think about, say and do while they were caring for the rats and their environment?

You can see where this is going.

Ah, numbers (and control trips)!

Now what if the experiment is using human subjects? Just how detailed do you go into the fully controlled descriptions of the subjects and the experimenters to be sure you are getting valid scientific results? It gets tricky, and usually the statistics of large numbers over long times is the fall-back position. Yet data that comes as the anecdotal experiences of very large numbers of humans over very long periods of time, particularly in the ‘uncomfortable’ fields, is regularly discounted in science as being ‘uncontrolled’, and ‘unscientific’!

Back to the lab, experiments in almost no field of research do thorough controls of variables in the designer of the experiment, the technicians conducting it, the statistician analyzing the data, etc.

And how many even very thorough researchers would go so far as to use electromagnetically shielded rooms for all experiments? And measure the bio-energy fields of all the participants over a baseline period, correlating it with a detailed log of their daily lifestyle, monitoring it throughout the experiment whether they were hands-on or not, and running the stats over it with reference to the results of the experiment?!

Would energy and consciousness please just go away?

It seems that a level of bio-communication can occur among all living cells, tissues and organisms instantaneously over any distance, independently even of electromagnetism. How do you control for this? What if the designer of an experiment were sitting, ‘hands tied’ so to speak, in an office in another city awaiting the results of his or her experiment, and all the while strongly hoping and wishing the results will come out a particular way for whatever personal or professional reason?

You could say: this is a hopeless argument. If we did double blind to the nth degree in every experiment it would virtually stop scientific research in its tracks. It makes a mockery of objectivity in science altogether, and so what’s the point? Yes it does make a mockery of objectivity in science, and that is the whole point!

Where to from here?

However the solution is not to throw the metaphorical hands up in the air and fall back to the default, reductionist position or slide the other way into indefinite woo-woo, but to embrace the reality and evolve radically new ways of envisioning scientific problems, doing scientific experiments and interpreting the results.

So how do we design experiments to take into account the full impact of the experimenter? And can we ever get to the point of having truly objective science, if every human undertaking is part of a field of consciousness which is shared by everything all the time whether aware of it or not, and is fundamentally subjective? First of all we need to embrace and factor in all those ‘uncomfortable’ aspects of reality that we have been avoiding. We must get honest about the enormous extent to which the way we live determines our energetic configuration that in turn influences not only our own perception but also everything we touch or even think about. We have to begin working in co-operation with this understanding to form the foundation of the new science. Oh what a magnificent future awaits!

References

David Bohm 1980 “Wholeness and The Implicate Order” Routledge, London
Rupert Sheldrake 2012 “Science Set Free”, Random House, NY

double blind rats

Critiquing the critique of ‘pseudoscience’

I refer to the 31 January 2014 article: “Where is the proof in pseudoscience?” by Peter Ellerton from University of Queensland, published on The Conversation.

The difficulty of proof in science

Taking issue with even the title, it is well known that it is very difficult to actually prove or disprove anything in science, except in a temporary way for current expediency.

This is not going to be an exhaustive critique, as I could write a volume on the subject. However I’ll make some points that stood out to me upon first reading the article.

The value of knowledge

The author uses homeopathy as an example of ‘pseudoscience’ and principally uses as his criticism the fact that it doesn’t “generate discernible growth in knowledge or practice” and “no corresponding increase in knowledge linked to effectiveness”. Talk about cherry-picking criteria! And talk about being influenced by modern (sick) economic-style thinking that says endless growth is a premium determinant of value.

This “no increase in knowledge” is NOT a valid criticism. If some process in nature is found to work and be useful, it does not have to grow to be valid. It does not have to be (economically) useful to be valid. It simply exists and goes on working.

Nature needs no justification

Take one of a vast number of examples taken for granted every day that any scientist could think of: buffering.

Buffering of acids and alkalis is a chemical phenomenon that occurs in nature. It is used constantly as a foundational process in virtually every experimental laboratory in the world that uses living subjects, tissues, and/or chemicals, from medicine and biology to physical chemistry, geology and engineering. It doesn’t advance in knowledge itself, but it is extremely useful and even necessary. From buffering arose a bevvy of techniques and equipment that are routinely used: ph sticks and meters, indicator solutions, titrations, etc. Just tools of the trade in carrying out the work you are doing.

I’m not making a direct comparison between buffering and homeopathy, the alternate field of medicine, but pointing out that natural processes are just that and do not need to fulfill any other criteria in order to be considered true, real or valid.

Nature vs culture

Homeopathy at its foundation is based on the experimentally-observed phenomenon of energetic signatures being left by substances in water. This natural process was actually discovered accidentally in a normal mainstream laboratory where chemicals were being tested at various concentrations. Like buffering, it’s a simple, consistent phenomenon that does not of itself grow in knowledge, but is very useful to those who want to use it. (In fact, modern science is seriously remiss for not exploring this phenomenon a great deal further).

Certainly a culture may grow up around a natural process, as in the case of homeopathy. That culture may have all kinds of mythologies that may or may not hold up scientifically, but it does not invalidate the foundational process upon which it is based. It does not mean that the foundational process is pseudoscience. Nor is it wisdom for scientists to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’ when considering all the so-called ‘pseudosciences’. I personally choose not to use homeopathy and never will. However I do understand the phenomenon of energetic imprinting scientifically and experientially, and include that awareness in my day-to-day life.

Anecdote as data

I also bring attention to the author’s statement that the plural of anecdote is not data. Actually, anecdote, when summed over a large number of humans and time, IS data, the kind of data of life experience that provides more than merely signposts for research, but becomes that knowledge “which is so settled that it is available as a resource for further enquiry”, which is apparently the author’s own stated yardstick for science.

Just one simple example: I can state confidently that over 1 million people materially benefit from a health supplement which I take myself because I benefit from it. The pharmaceutical corporations do not want that knowledge ‘getting out’, so they use legislative processes to block the transmission of even the medical knowledge about it. Basically, they want to own and control it for themselves, and don’t want anybody else to have ‘the gold’. So they cry ‘pseudoscience’ to destroy the ‘opposition’ until they are ready to sweep it up and profit from it themselves, at which time they will be crying ‘science’!

Who’s crying ‘pseudoscience’?

It’s very important to look deeply at whoever is crying ‘pseudoscience’. It may be, as in the case of Peter Ellerton, that they do not have any vested interest in a product or in the publication they are writing in (in contrast to my example above), but they (and he) may have a different kind of ‘vested’ interest: a vested interest in maintaining the safety and comfort of the current dogmas and thus limitations of science. For an excellent read of ‘myth-busting’ scientific dogma, get yourself a copy of Rupert Sheldrake’s 2012 book “Science Set Free”. His is only one of many highly-qualified voices taking issue with the dogma that is crippling science today.

freedom - 5 pelicans flying

Conclusion

Thus I must criticize the critique of pseudoscience in The Conversation, for coming from a highly biased, dogmatic position rather than an ‘objective’ scientific one. It’s also very obvious that the author has chosen as his subjects for criticism homeopathy and NLP, arguably two of the most ‘woo woo’ practices in the alternate. He has quietly ignored the massive realm in between those and modern science, for which there is a large and growing body of evidence both mainstream and ‘alternate’, such as remote sensing, consciousness as a universal field, the primacy of energy in physical manifestations, etc. Better read some of the old physicists, biologists and philosophers, who thought and wrote before the corporate and religious stranglehold of the last 50 years got a grip.

Dianne Trussell BSc Hons
16 years medical and biological research at Flinders U of SA and U of Queensland
ResearchGate profile

Ellerton’s article

Truth, cults and media

Truth and cults in the media today

Culture and cult

Growing up in the sixties and becoming a young adult in the seventies, I watched as we were bombarded by the media with the Vietnam war and with those ‘disruptive, radical university students’ who demonstrated against it; with the music of the Beatles and the conflict between what they represented and the mindset of my parent’s generation; with Baghwan’s ‘orange people’ cult and how evil they were; and with Charles Manson’s even more evil cult of seduction, brainwashing and murder. My inner dictionary was put under pressure to be re-written. ‘University student’ meant someone violent, promiscuous, drug-addled and unbalanced. ‘Modern music’ meant evil influence, breakdown of societal morals and ethics, and corruption of the mind, body and spirit. ‘Cult’ meant a group of dangerous people under the control of a charismatic madman who could steal you away from all you love into a bizarre life of robot-like compliance with evil deeds.

These words are no exaggeration. These are part of the world view that the media was aggressively creating in Australia in the seventies. People say: oh but they are only representing what the people think. Wrong! They were creating what the people think, using a carefully crafted blend of truth, lies, fear and misinformation. The stories of the real bad guys of the day, like Charles Manson, were used as examples of truth in reporting, as rallying flags to convince people that everything else the media was saying was also the truth and they were there to protect us by keeping us informed of what was going on in the world. And we bought it.

As a teenager I felt that something was wrong with all this, that war was fundamentally wrong, that people have a right to believe what they want as long as they don’t hurt anyone, that rock music was similarly a personal choice. And I went to university to study science and found most students to be sober, sensible people who cared about others and the world and whom I could comfortably befriend. My dictionary was not significantly re-written after all, except in the matter of cults.

The real meaning of ‘cult’

My definition of ‘cult’ remained stuck where it had been set in the seventies by the media. Then recently I had cause to look deeply into this issue again with much more discerning eyes and the benefit of another 40 or so years of experience in life. A surprise awaited me when doing the simple exercise of looking up ‘cult’ on Google. According to Wikipedia and other online sources of definition, a cult is actually not what it is portrayed as in the media today.

I had to concede that there’s actually nothing intrinsically bad about cults – in fact Christianity and all the major religions started off as cults! The whole negative connotation is based on media cultivating people’s fears, church playing on people’s fears, and government and public fear-based reactions to the very small percentage of cults that are destructive. And then there’s just fear of fear itself, and those who profit from it. Historically, cults are merely people worshipping the divine in their own ways that the mainstream dogmatic churches can’t control and don’t approve of, not wanting to be ousted by something that they once were themselves!

The Wikipedia page had some great information that balances out the negativity. Herewith my short list of conclusions about what a cult is:
– anyone outside orthodox Christianity
– Christians who disagree with orthodox Christianity
– anyone from any other religion in the world
– anyone in the New Age movement
– anyone that disagrees with the church in favour of some other knowledge
– any family member who does not behave like the rest of the family and chooses a different behavioural model.

Depending on who’s doing the naming, that includes about 5 billion people, or 70% of the world’s population!
Under this definition I have been a private, one-woman ‘cult’ all my life without anyone realizing it. At 14 years of age I rejected the religions when I saw the violence, hypocrisy, fanaticism, lies, coercion, contradictions and failure to live their own beliefs. I formed my own private, inner relationship with God and wisdom about the universe, which has continued to blossom in my heart to this day and will continue so for the rest of my life.

Harming by naming

Although today there are many groups which could be rightly called cults under the original and proper definition, to do so is to bring irreparable harm to those groups and the real people and families in them because of the way the media has re-defined ‘cult’ in the mind of society to be something fearful, dangerous and to be wiped out by any means.

Until the definition can be re-set in the mind of society back to a truly ‘fair and balanced’ definition, it would be wise for reporters and journalists to refrain from referring to any group as a cult. Not only that, when a journalist or a publication or broadcast does use the term ‘cult’ to refer to a group, it clearly indicates that they consciously intend to do harm by branding the group, intend to set up the minds of the audience against the group. Then it is clear that an agenda underlies the work of the media representative or organization. The term much beloved by the media – ‘fair and balanced reporting’ – is an endangered if not extinct species in today’s journalism (along with real original research) particularly when it comes to reporting on religious subjects. Every journalist works not only wearing the coloured glasses of their own religious backgrounds, but the insidious influence and methods of one underlying agenda.

The one agenda

When looking at the way alternate groups are negatively portrayed as cults by the media to do them and their members harm, there is a consistency across all the stories. This cannot be a journalist-by-journalist process on such a broad scale, with individual reporters colouring their stories with their own various religions and biases (although of course that occurs). It must be a plan. There is most definitely a concerted, global, conscious plan or agenda to take down any groups or leaders that could gain popularity and take people away from control by the world’s major established religions and the systems they are part of. Yet the motivation for the plan evidently goes beyond religion. That plan uses religion and religious conflict to generate division and fear as a tool for the control of humanity, like cattle herders using electric prods and biting dogs to cut cattle and move them wherever they wish.

But who is behind it? What is the real agenda behind the media castigation of alternate groups? There are ideas kicking around regarding who is orchestrating that plan and how their influence is disseminated throughout something as large as the global media. They are apparently growing uncomfortable with the state of their power, because they are playing hard-ball with ever-increasing ferocity. The hand that is losing its grip, tightens.

From direct personal experience and with behind-the-scenes knowledge, I can see in today’s media treatment of alternate groups including religious minorities, a parallel with the harassment and denigration by government and corporations of any other minority human activity that works to bring real, fundamental change and re-empower ordinary people with self-responsibility. These are notably: complementary and alternate medicine, alternate family and community structures and alternate agriculture and landcare. Note here that the word ‘alternate’, which has been thoroughly branded onto those human activities and tainted with suspicion by the media, is referring to what were once the normal, conventional ways of healing, worshipping, living, farming and educating in societies and cultures that were based on co-operation and equality, in harmony with each other and the Earth.

So, logically, one would have to conclude that the agenda behind the media is against a return of co-operation, equality and harmony between humans and care of the planet!

Further reinforcing this logical conclusion is that ‘alternate’ activities and products that only appear to bring real change, that only appear to give people an alternative choice, but are not in fact effective in doing so, are allowed to continue. Not only allowed to continue, but surreptitiously supported and promoted by the very organizations that they appear to oppose. The rationale is surely that if it looks alternate, and disgruntled people go for it and don’t get results, they will reject the alternate and come back to the mainstream. Or (and equally ideally from the standpoint of those controlling the process), it gives people the feeling that they have a real alternative, thus defusing their frustrations by engaging them in new activities so that they do not turn against the mainstream en masse. It’s just ‘good cop, bad cop’ by those who wield the same global agenda behind the control of religion, money, economics, politics, science, medicine, agriculture, military, industry, education, and so on. That agenda harms humanity and the planet, using each person as a ‘soldier holding the gun’. And the media is the major tool through which the agenda works, with its persistent influence in every home, public place, computer and mobile device on the planet.

Personal responsibility

All that said, a global agenda by a few does not remove personal responsibility from the many individual reporters or journalists and the publications or stations they work for. When they brand groups as cults, at best using subtly coloured, equivocal language and innuendo to raise doubts and reservations in the minds of the consuming public, and at worst fabricating horrible smear campaigns that damage lives and reputations, they are unwittingly (and sometimes quite willingly) being used as the puppets or hit men of those who stand behind the one big agenda.

I once had a conversation with a young Australian soldier who had voluntarily joined the military. He had not as yet fought in any conflict, however war was looming and it looked as if he might be sent away in the near future. I asked how he felt about killing people and received the usual, programmed replies: ‘following orders’, ‘serving my country’, ‘regrettable but necessary to save and protect innocent civilians, freedom and our way of life’, etc. I dug deeper. Eventually I pointed out that, when it comes right down to the moment, regardless of commanding officers, orders, who’s ‘right’ or who’s ‘wrong’, it is the young soldier himself who will be making a conscious choice and pulling the trigger that takes another human’s life. Ultimately, the responsibility for killing that human falls upon that young soldier. No-one has him bound and held, physically forcing his hand to squeeze the trigger; he does it himself. He is responsible. The young soldier’s expression changed markedly; I could see that something new was dawning in his awareness. He saw it, and having seen it, could no longer remain in the military.

To me this exactly parallels what is occurring in the media. Each journalist in day to day working life is an employee and/or beholden to someone of superior authority, and has been influenced, trained and rewarded to hold certain views and report in certain ways while believing (usually erroneously) that they have freedom of expression, and even believing (just as erroneously) that they are telling the truth. It is unlikely that many senior editors would openly say to their reporters “go out and destroy that group”, or “fabricate any awful story you want as long as you make them look bad” (although the “go get the dirt on them” is not unknown). However as even the senior people have been ‘programmed’ to bias their language and intention in the negative direction regarding minority religious groups, that bias will be transmitted to the journalist, who may not consciously pick up that his or her own fears have been played upon and that he or she has been set up to see and report things in a particular way. Puppets. Ra-ra’ed up like the young soldier. Fodder for a big agenda. And like the soldier, when it comes right down to the moment, the individual journalist is totally responsible for the harm their stories do to the real human people at the receiving end of their deadly weapon of words.

Truth the Elusive

The Meaning of the word “Truth”

Obvious question: what does the word “truth” actually mean?

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the dictionary truth we go….
In this case however, the dictionary led me on a remarkable journey….

When pursuing truth in word, I find it useful to abandon the modern meanings, which just tangle me up in so much of the convenient ambiguity of words today… and instead go to the Origins section. Here we find Old and Middle English, German, French, Dutch, Norse and Latin, and sometimes a treat: the Proto-Indo-European language that precedes them all.

I’ll keep my chronicle short, and instead of quoting all the references, just string together the essential meanings in order….

True means Faith or Faithful, or in Proto-Indo-European, means Tree, as in Steadfast

Truth means Faith or Faithfulness
(Under “truth” there was rather a long piece on its meaning according to the bible dictionary)

Faith means Trust
(The bible dictionary waxed lengthily lyrical with this one – talk about making something simple into an absolute labyrinth of opinion, obfuscation, and dogma!)

Trust means Comfort or Confidence

Confidence means to trust, which just loops back

Comfort means to Strengthen, which means to give Power to

Strengthen is from Streng, Strong and Strange (Middle English, Old German, Dutch) which came from the Latin meaning Foreign, from outside of.

Does this Middle English/Latin equation of strong and stranger come from the fact that foreigners – the strangers – were stronger and more powerful? It does sound like the history of Britain with its waves of conquerors throwing their weight around, and the Romans being the ones throwing their weight around everywhere… however we seem to have wandered a long way from our imagined or hypothesized definition of “truth”! We seem to have lost the inner feel for Truth and instead thinking of it as something outside of us….. but if we dig deeper into those old words….

Streng/String is  to bind, from Proto-Indo-European base *strenk = “tight, narrow; pull tight, twist”

Strang, streng, string, strong, strung….

I thought that finding the definition of the world “truth” would take a few moments, but I’ve been at it for over 3 hours! It just keeps going sideways or getting deeper…

Faith, trust, confidence, power, honesty are all in there, but rather derivative.

Bottom line

It seems to have all come down to “pulled tight under strain”, “steadfast like a tree”, from the “original” Proto-Indo-European language.

I reckon that’s getting close to the core….
Don’t you find that Truth can often be powerful, pretty hard to take when we get exposed or “put in a tight spot” and that puts us under strain? It binds us to stay true once it has come to light. However, “getting out of our own way”, “getting over our stuff”, “coming clean” being honest, in other words embracing Truth, does make us powerful and the uncomfortable feeling drops away.

Truth feels strong, steadfast, the bottom line – you can’t get any realer or more fundamental, no matter how much our minds entertain us with elusive ideas. Truth is the best gift to anyone, no matter how strong it may seem at the time.
Our inner hearts know.

Truth or convention?

How much truth is in the use of the word “conventional”?

This is the word implying tried-and-true, trusted and assumed to be truth because it’s been in use for a long time by a lot of people, the conservative position to take if you want to be safe and well and don’t want to be risky or experimental.

A bit of etymology…..

“CONVENTION” (origin):

1375–1425; late Middle English convencio ( u ) n  (< Middle French ) < Latin conventiōn - agreement, literally, a coming together.

“CONVENTIONAL” (modern meanings):

adjective of “convention”
1. following the accepted customs and proprieties, esp in a way
that lacks originality: conventional habits
2. established by accepted usage or general agreement
3. of or relating to a convention or assembly

To me we are using the word “conventional” in a mixed-up way that is not true to its intended meaning.

What we NOW call ‘conventional’ medicine, agriculture, religion, education, culture and behaviour contain much that is toxic, harmful, risky, overly-complex, separative and stressful, much that is experimental conducted and enforced by the few for power over the many. But they take for themselves the label “conventional” to con us into complying and choosing them over the so-called ‘alternatives’ – which are often our established healthy traditions that would complement the new ‘conventional’ if allowed to. More fools, us.

Modern medicine

A great example of the abuse of the term ‘conventional’ is in modern medicine, which should properly be called ‘allopathic medicine’ as it is only one branch of medicine. It is continually using new methods and can hardly be called lacking in originality. Also, there is a trend of proliferation of new drugs and technologies that ultimately prove to be harmful, and are certainly NOT tried-and-true or free of risk. However it has become the accepted usage in developed countries, partly by supplanting what was once the globally accepted usage and still is by much of humanity, ie the so-called ‘alternative and complementary medicines’ which are actually founded on traditional or once-conventional medicines.

I dispute that the way modern medicine rules today is by ‘general agreement’. My feeling is that this ‘agreement’ has been increasingly pushed and enforced by a small elite of vested interests, to the exclusion of traditions that most of us would have preferred to continue to use in conjunction with modern medical technology. We have become so used to feeling that there is only one choice that we give away our power and responsibility to the medical system, sometimes to our detriment. We no longer discern what is right for us, nor strive to make changes to our lifestyles that include traditional forms of health and healing plus the new knowledge available in diet, nutrition, exercise, energy and self-mastery in various forms. When we try to, we come up against great resistance from the modern medical system. I’m not denying we have progressed technologically and we have many amazing inventions and treatments to help us survive the mess we’ve created for ourselves. But our truly conventional wisdom is largely missing from modern medicine, which is guilty of denigrating everything that falls outside its increasingly exclusive scope.

I’ve always been a great supporter of combining ‘the best of the old with the best of the new’ and throwing out the worst of both!

Let’s look at some more examples of supposedly ‘conventional’ practices….

Modern agriculture

Modern agriculture is now ‘chemical agribusiness’ and is very dehumanizing, toxic and destructive, precipitating unexpected consequences at an alarming rate. Not only that, it’s no longer about looking after people’s food supply; it’s about corporations taking ownership of land, food and water in order to control the global population economically, psychologically and physically. This toxic modern agriculture has imbued itself thoroughly with the idea of it being ‘conventional’ but check out just one example of this trap in this video.

Modern education

Modern education is largely toxic and damaging. Children are forced, pushed to exhaustion, made to compete against each other and their parents, and programmed to be nice little robots who comply with the other systems herein mentioned, while thinking we have infinite choice. Yes we have accumulated great factual knowledge, but, as in the case of medicine, we have lost the love and connection out of it, lost the sense of proportion, and lost the wisdom needed for its right use.

Modern religion

Likewise modern religion (‘modern’ here meaning the last few thousand years – it’s been in a mess for arguably longer.) It has kept us tied up in unwieldy, separative dogma, empty rituals, unequal power distribution, and controlled by fear and comparison. It’s become a political machine that keeps us worrying, fighting, denying, rebelling and feeling inadequate, disconnected from our inner divine selves, humanity, God and our planet. Those who rule religion know precisely what they are doing, beginning with the total corruption of the meaning of the word ‘religion’ itself!

Modern culture and behaviour

Modern culture and behaviour include the widespread habits of consuming toxic drugs like alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, chocolate and their illegal buddies; of many other forms of self-harm; of competing and ‘beating’ others in sports and games; of disrespect and violence in relationships and against the female gender in particular; of excessive consumption, waste and disregard of the Earth; of greed and selfishness, and of uncontrolled emotion.

Yuk to all the above!

Coming back to truth

By the original sense of the word, and coming back with honesty to what we know deep within is true, the ‘conventionals’ would change, being the best of the old and the best of the new (without the worst of either).

Modern medicine

Medicine would be holistic mind, body and soul, using on a great scale the choices we make for our bodies as medicine, complementary to and extended by the least harmful of allopathic technological medicine. We would return to our original awareness of connectedness and oneness, and our way of living as an essential part of healing and the maintenance of wellbeing. We would simply incorporate whatever truly beneficial new things come along, after discerning their integrity, safety and effectiveness.

Modern agriculture

Agriculture would be truly ‘organic’ and earth-friendly, meaning without the use of toxic chemicals that damage life. It would incorporate a complex ecosystem of humans living on their land and deeply understanding it. We’d be once again rotating crops, resting fields, blending the care of livestock, water and soil with wildlife and native vegetation together in harmony. Modern technology, as in the case of medicine, would only be incorporated gradually once proven safe for the health of all living beings on the planet and the soil, air and water on which we depend.

Modern education

Education would be having our children with us while they are young; loved and cherished for who they are not what they do, participating naturally in the entire life and activities of home and community. Modern knowledge would be an addition to, not a replacement for, the natural loving learning of children in a supportive environment.

Modern religion

Religion would be simple connection to our inner Divine truth and the joy of living in harmony and love with others and the planet. We would have no need whatsoever for the churches and their massive properties, investments, riches, rituals and bureaucracies.

Modern culture and behaviour

Culture and behaviour would be living in the above self-loving, humanity-loving, earth-loving ways, so there would be no overall differences among people anywhere in the world. There would only be differences in regional details fitted to the local land and climate. No one would denigrate anyone else’s way, as it would be sensible and logical for each group to live in their local way. And freely relating to and visiting others anywhere on the globe, taking our same level of loving, respectful livingness with us.

Some say I’m a dreamer, idealist or romantic, and scoff at me to ‘get realistic’. Well so-called ‘reality’ hasn’t been working very well has it? Label me and those who agree by whatever name you will. I feel that we all know these loving, harmonious ways within, they ARE our true reality, and how we have been living is not. Can’t you feel the shift? We are returning slowly but surely to our true selves, even if it is not apparent overall at this time.