Do we care more about the truth relating to objects than we do about the truth relating to events?

Mag picA definition of “coherence” to be found at Merriam-Webster online is:  “1:  the quality or state of cohering: as  a :  systematic or logical connection or consistency…”  In every day terms that might be expressed as “making sense”.  If something is coherent it makes sense, if it isn’t it doesn’t.

One additional term I need to include here is “integrity”.  Merriam-Webster gives us:  “1:  firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values :  incorruptibility  2:  an unimpaired condition :  soundness  3:  the quality or state of being complete or undivided :  completeness”  That pretty much says it.

When we combine coherence with integrity within a concept, agency, person, we have something we can know and trust to be what it is and/or claims to be.  How nice is that?

When it comes to the objects in our world, in order to understand them and use them successfully, in a way that will benefit our lives, we need to have coherent and integral information about those objects.  If we do not have such information we are either uninformed or misinformed.  Either condition is a set-up for something to go wrong.  The truth of this is self-evident.  We need good information to make use of the objects:  machines, computers and even the basic tools in our lives.

If there were a movement going on to give Americans (or anybody) false, misleading information about the machines/technology/tools in our lives, in a way that would directly affect our ability to successfully use these devices we would recognize the wrong in doing so very quickly if not immediately.  When people start losing body parts to lawn mowers, chain saws, other power equipment, when people can’t get their coffee makers to work or their computers to function properly: we would recognize something is amiss, it would be apparent.  And we wouldn’t be happy about it.

But what about the events, the actions, that take place in our world?  Do they matter less in terms of affecting our lives than the things, the objects?  No they don’t.  In fact the events, the actions that take place in our world can do affect our lives greatly.  Not just actions but the reports of actions have started wars during my lifetime:  Vietnam and Iraq for example.  So actions and the reports of actions can and do affect our lives every bit as much, if not more, than the objects around us.

Yet while we would not tolerate being given false information about the objects in our lives.  The VW exhaust scandal being a recent example of how we react to such inaccurate information; we repeatedly tolerate inaccurate reports about the important events, the actions taking place.  And we don’t just tolerate them, we act upon them sacrificing lives and treasure.

Now President-elect Donald Trump has offended the U.S. intelligence community with his disparaging treatment of them.  I have to say, while I am not at all generally happy with Donald Trump’s practices, this particular action caught my attention as a potentially positive statement.  Again, during my lifetime, I have seen the “official sources”, citing intelligence data, with the mainstream media in the U.S. blindly following along, handing the American public blatant lie after blatant lie.  And far too many Americans have been duped into believing the lies and either acting upon them or supporting the ill-founded actions based on them.

Examples of such events include:  the Kennedy assassinations, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and the events of September 11, 2001 (9/11). While we may not know the full truth of what took place within these events, we can know by looking at the evidence that exists that the official stories are not the truth, not even close.  Sometimes it is just a matter of looking at the authentic mainstream news reports that went out before there was an official story that needed supporting.  And sometimes it takes a little more work accessing the authoritative independent research that has taken place.  There are a lot of theories that exist around the independent research that has taken place around these events.  However, for purposes of this article my goal is not to argue for any of these theories.  My goal is to make the point that the official stories are not accurate and that we, as a people, do not seem to care.  We don’t seem to place the value on coherence and integrity (the truth) regarding events that we do around the objects in our lives.  Why is that?

Is it that the objects are, in their totality, right in front of us where we can see them and directly experience the truth of whether they work properly or not?  On the other hand the events often occur far away and we are dependent upon the reports of others to know what happened?  Is it that, as a population, we haven’t learned how to critically think and analyze the news reports that come to us?  Or is it possibly that we have fallen too completely for the cults of personality that have become so prominent?  Do we accept information because of who (a person, an agency) says something rather than an open, honest, critical examination of what it is they are saying?

No matter what the reason, the result is the same when we accept untruthful information about events as it is when we accept untruthful information about objects:  a profound lack of things working as they should.  When we accept bad information we can’t understand why things are going the way they’re going.  It doesn’t make sense.  When we take information lacking in coherency and integrity into ourselves, make it a part of our internal system, we have subjected ourselves to those deficiencies.  Our thoughts and actions now lack coherence and integrity.  This works on us, eroding our ability to function in a manner which most benefits ourselves and our families.  We become dissonant rather than harmonious with the world around us.  And we experience greater friction, frustration, anxiety, anger wearing us down, robbing us of the life in our years and years of our lives.

 

One key to reclaiming the magic.

Oliver and the fishRemember how optimistic, how magical the world could look when we were having a good day as a child?  Bright with endless, wonderful possibilities.  Then little by little our cultures began working on that gestalt.  We began our journey in learning the structures, the customs which the adults in our world deemed necessary for us to learn.  Even language itself imposes a structure in how we view our world.  Religion, science, history, literature, religion, how to conduct relationships, all taught by authority figures with a gravity to their presentation.  Sometimes it’s like being handed stones to carry:  it can all weigh us down.   Our spirit, our soul can feel depressed by the weight of what we’re carrying.  Sometimes the world, what we perceive from both inside ourselves and in the world around us, can be such a disappointment, a crushing departure from what we envisioned on a good day as a child.  And in all this I haven’t even entered into what being exposed to the trauma of tragic suffering, violence and war can do to us.

How can we reclaim the magic?  Is it even possible?  Does this seem a trivial question when considering the obstacles that may arise in our path, in our lives?  However trivial recapturing the magic we may remember feeling as a child may seem, especially in the face of all the trials and tribulations challenging us every day… it isn’t a trivial thing at all!  The Book of Matthew 18:3, (ESV), puts it this way:  “(Jesus) …and said:  “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”   In this passage Jesus is not talking about becoming child-ish, he goes on to be more specific in verse 4:  “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  The operant word is “humbles”, having humility.

Humility is a tricky word.  Often it is associated with “lowliness”.  In that usage, in modern lingo, it might be characterized as putting oneself down.  Wikipedia gives the origin of the word humility as: “The term “humility” comes from the Latin word humilitas, a noun related to the adjective humilis, which may be translated as “humble”, but also as “grounded”, or “from the earth”, since it derives in turns from humus (earth)…”

It is when I first learned that humility doesn’t mean walking around with one’s head down constantly engaging in self flagellation that the word began to make a lot more sense.  “Grounded”, I can work with that, I think we can work with that!  When I was corrected in my thinking about humility it was presented that humility, essentially, means having a correct assessment of where one’s skills/abilities fit in a realistic relationship with the world at large.  Looking at the stars at night we can feel very small, very much in awe of what is.  That is grounded, healthy, realistic.  On the other hand if one is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and sees an accident victim bleeding and/or injured one may feel a sense of worth, of importance.  Those feelings can lead an EMT to act appropriately to help preserve or even save the life of the victim.  In that moment the EMT is not small but of great importance.  And that also is grounded, healthy, realistic.

Knowing when we are small, neophytes, ignorant (yes, ignorant, it’s not an insult it’s a descriptive term that applies to all of us in relationship to some area of knowledge at any given time) can be very important for us.  We need to have the humility to recognize that reality.  And when we are genuinely knowledgeable, maybe even authoritative, of something it can be very important for us to have the humility to know that also.  For most of us it is strange to think of having humility as knowing when we may possess valuable knowledge, maybe even know more than the others around us about something.  However, with humility, when we recognize our knowledge, or lack thereof, that recognition isn’t coupled with pride, lowliness or false humility, it is simply a grounded assessment of our standing relative to others in a given situation.  In this way humility is synonymous with a healthy ego.  A truly humble, grounded, assessment of ourselves requires neither defending nor surrendering.

What I really like is that if we have a grounded view of ourselves relative to the world around us, there is no way not to feel the wonder, the awe of a child in the face of such a miraculous home.  Awe when we’re appreciating the wonderful achievements of others.  And sometimes, when we’re appreciating our own achievements.  Because, after all, we too are a part of the miraculous world at large!

Energy, Frequency, Amplitude and Us

1 hzFor a few years I employed neurofeedback therapy (also called EEG biofeedback) in my private practice.  The only reason I stopped is that I closed my practice, for a while anyway.  Neurofeedback is an amazing therapeutic tool.  I can attest that it can be very effective in treating PTSD, ADD/ADHD, and many other maladies.  Essentially, it assists the person undergoing treatment to be able to change the pattern of vibrational frequencies their brain is employing, or may be stuck at.  Neurofeedback doesn’t change a person’s brainwave pattern itself, it just provides a tool for a person to be able to do it themselves.  It employs our innate knowledge of what we need for our own health!

Two basic terms needed in understanding our energy/vibrational functioning are frequency and amplitude.  

Frequency, according to Merriam-Webster, is:  “3:  the number of repetitions of a periodic process in a unit of time: as   a :  the number of complete alternations per second of an alternating current   b :  the number of complete oscillations per second of energy (as sound or electromagnetic radiation) in the form of waves”, in short, the number of complete (up and down) waves per second as shown in the graphic.  Frequency is measured in cycles per second or hertz (hz).

Amplitude, again according to Merriam-Webster, amplitude is:  3:  the extent or range of a quality, property, process, or phenomenon: as   a :  the extent of a vibratory movement (as of a pendulum) measured from the mean position to an extreme   b :  the maximum departure of the value of an alternating current or wave from the average value”  In neurofeedback practice one can think of the amplitude as representing the amount of energy the brain/being is putting into that particular frequency.  It shows up as the height of the wave on the graph.  Looking at the graphic above, if there were a red wave line with two complete up and down movements within the 1 second time frame but this wave were twice as high as the blue wave line;  the red (2 hz) wave line would be the dominant frequency.  The frequency of higher voltage.  (Conversely if the blue (1 hz) wave line were higher on the graph it would be dominant.)   The dominant frequency is the one with the most amplitude.

For me learning about and seeing the powerful reality of neurofeedback was my introduction to our reality of vibration/frequency/amplitude and how important these three aspects of our reality are to us.  Our health, our mental acuity, our mental/emotional stability, our ability to exist at all as human beings, are all part of and affected by the electromagnetic reality, the various frequencies and amplitudes which underlie our existence and that of everything else.  The electromagnetic waves in our environment matter because the frequencies in our environment affect/influence the frequency of vibration of our bodies, our organs including our brain, and can enhance or disrupt our ability to function as healthy, whole human beings.  

When I go to websites that purport to provide information on the frequencies of our bodies, of human beings what I routinely find are listings of frequencies in the hundreds of hertz.  But not all, this website contains frequencies all below 100 hz.  Both of these listings are very strange to me and what practitioners of neurofeedback deal with.  When we have a person connected to an EEG machine we see ongoing frequencies of vibration occurring between .5 and 45 hz.  The frequency of the highest amplitude is the dominant frequency and primarily defines the state of our conscious functioning.  For the most part, when awake, our brain puts most of it’s energy into activity between 9 and 18 hz.  Relative to the frequencies of commercial radio these are very low frequencies.  Relative to musical tones these are very low frequencies.  In fact, these frequencies are called Extremely Low Frequency (ELF).  If a practitioner were to try to train a person to raise their brainwave activity to, say, 25 hz., that person would become a nervous wreck with real problems sleeping.  That is, if their brain would even allow itself to be trained to such relatively high frequency.  A person may just “tune out” the training because it would probably be uncomfortable.  Our frequency reality is one in which higher is not always better. 

Where do the authors who give human vibrational frequencies in the high double digit or triple digit ranges get their data?  I have no idea.  I would be interested in knowing.  Does the human spirit body, ethereal body, subtly vibrate at higher frequencies but at too low an amplitude to be detected by EEG equipment?  If so, how do we know what those frequencies are?  And, because we are essentially energy beings, is the physical reality of our cellular make up vibrating at a much higher frequency than our brain wave activity occurs at and at too low an amplitude to affect EEG equipment?  Again, if so, how do we know what those frequencies are?

The frequencies we encounter in our environment do affect us.  Vibrations around us which are at a higher amplitude (not frequency, amplitude) will affect us more than those at a lower amplitude.  Some people report being affected by fluorescent tube lighting.  The music we listen to can definitely affect us.  The colors around us can affect us.  In essence:  vibration affects us!  Tone of voice, even the color of the text has an affect.  After all, we are energy beings.  This is I think one of the most important areas of study there is at this time:  learning more about our energy/vibrational make-up and how to care for ourselves on this foundational level of our existence.  I can tell you there are people within governments that are interested in it!  The power and control oriented among us have already designed and employed manipulative tools/weapons that operate by affecting human vibrational frequencies.  Some devices with weapon potential, such as HAARP, have the potential to affect weather as well as the mental state of human beings, even at a long distance.  Conspiracy theory?  No, just plain fact.  HAARP can affect the weather because, if for no other reason, by affecting vibrational frequency of the air, the air temperature can be affected.  Even a 1 or 2 degree shift can make a difference.  With people it’s essentially just as simple a process.  

In neurofeedback practice sometimes we encounter a client who is stuck within certain frequencies, unable to shift their functioning to work primarily on a different frequency.  In these cases a practitioner can employ a vibrating cushion or pillow.  Inside the cushion or pillow there is a device which will produce a vibration at the frequency which is the “target” frequency of the training.  Say, if you’re trying to help a client produce brainwaves at a frequency of 12 hz, the cushion/pillow will vibrate at 12 hz.  The vibration of the cushion/pillow will, in effect, “drive” the client’s brainwaves to the desired frequency.  Then, once they have experienced 12 hz and become familiar with what 12 hz feels like, the cushion is no longer needed and the client’s brain can go there on it’s own.  The client has added another frequency of mental activity to their thought/focus repertoire!  

Now think for a minute, what if you’re not an honest, ethical neurofeedback practitioner?  What if you’re a person with an agenda who doesn’t care about the health and well-being of others?  What is there to prevent such a person from directing electromagnetic waves at specific frequencies at high enough amplitude to make a difference at another person?  (This would work in the same way as the cushion/pillow to “drive” another’s brainwaves.)  If such a person or group possesses the relatively simple equipment it would take and has an ample power source, at this time there’s little to nothing to stop them from affecting other people or even communities.  What can be accomplished by doing such a thing?  At very low frequencies (approx. 9 hz and lower):  drowsiness, lethargy would affect most.  Paradoxically some might show symptoms of anxiety and paranoia.  At higher frequencies (19 hz and above):  anxiety, fearfulness, anger, paranoia could be induced.  I don’t think I need to go into a lot of explanation at why someone might want to induce these symptoms.  Use your imagination.  

Because the waves can be broadcast over as large an area as the person doing so has the equipment and power source to accomplish, there are implications for population manipulation involving whole cities.  This reality conjures up thoughts of the “disrupters” the crew of the Enterprise used in Star Trek episodes.  The commonly cited range for human hearing is between 20 hz to 20 khz.  So we may or may not be able to hear such electromagnetic wave activity.  Even if the “target” frequency wasn’t outside the realm of day to day functioning, having our mind induced via high amplitude wave bombardment to constant activity within the beta range, at 17 or 18 hz, would over time (a matter of hours or days depending upon personal stamina) become quite tiring and would wear us down. I suspect it would eventually drive us quite mad.  As with many things a slight difference in our brainwave frequencies over time can be just as devastating (or beneficial) as a large difference happening suddenly.

So for better or for worse humankind has woken up to the reality of the energetic foundation of our reality.  It is really no different than all the other discoveries humankind has made;  fire, tools, gunpowder, dynamite, electricity, jet and rocket engines, atomic/nuclear power, solar power, lasers.  They are all just things.  Things that can be used to our benefit or our detriment.  And that is how it is with our burgeoning knowledge of our energetic foundation.  What will make the difference is what is inside us:  our motives, dreams, desires, intentions.  Will we move into our work in this area with mutuality and harmony in our hearts and flourish?  Or…

In closing I want to reinforce that neurofeedback is about training a voluntary shift in brainwave activity, not compelling a person to conform.  Also that meditative practices can and do affect the frequencies of our brainwave production.  Having a meditative practice which either calms and relaxes us or one that teaches us improved concentration and focus can be very valuable.  Here are a couple links to related articles:

How Meditation Changes Your Brain Frequency

Brainwaves and Meditation

We are composed of energy, we are energy beings.  The frequency and amplitude of our being and the electromagnetic wave reality of our environment are inherently important aspects of our lives!  Facts and logic inform us that having a healthful environment in terms of the electromagnetic wave reality around us is as important as clean air and clean water!

Fake news, slander, libel and censorship; do they matter? They matter a lot.

fake-news-2

I think something’s coming.  The signs are beginning to appear.  We are being told we are facing a terrible monster.  We are being told this monster can take an ordinary person and turn them into a rifle toting madman.  We’re being told it currently threatens the fabric of our nation, of our communities.  Actually this monster has been around for a while, lurking on television and radio networks, within our newspapers.  But now it seems the monster has found new fertile ground.  It’s no longer staying within the confines it’s long time masters have kept it in.  Others are toying with it’s favors.  So does this monster have a name?  Yes it does.  It goes by the moniker of “fake news”.

As I wrote, it’s not a newcomer to our lives.  It was present when the Gulf of Tonkin incident took place.  It has led thousands, maybe millions, to their deaths.  Many report seeing it’s DNA in the information which came from the JFK assassination, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the events of 9/11.  Others have reported seeing it lurking in some of the “alternative” news sites on the internet.  It has been elusive, slithering around, striking sometimes to no avail, but sometimes it strikes when we are most vulnerable.  And as history has shown us, when it does strike it isn’t always seen for what it is.  Often it has defenders rallying around it, proclaiming it’s veracity.

There is no question fake news presents a real problem to us.  However, for some it has also been a tool to forge opportunity.  It’s good to keep in mind what is written in the Book of Matthew, 7:18;  “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”  What comes from lies, from “fake news”, most likely isn’t going to take us somewhere we really want to go.

Recently a young man picked up a rifle and invaded a pizza parlor reportedly because he had been affected by “fake news”.  Bear in mind we’ve fought at least one war in which hundreds of thousands died based on “fake news”.  Now someone has invaded a pizza parlor, no one was shot, but now it’s getting serious.  Why all the hullabaloo now instead of when we learned the report that began the Vietnam war, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, was fake news?

Considering all the fake news we’ve been exposed to in the past;  via television networks, radio, newspapers, one has to ask the question;  why now?  Why the battle at this point in time?  As time goes on and more comes to light, the probability is getting quite high that the invasion of Iraq was manipulated via fake news;  WMD’s and the official story around 9/11.

I think it is reasonable to ask:  is the reason fake news is a major issue right now because  with the internet the average person now has the ability to participate in the creation and dissemination of fake news?  Because it no longer can be as controlled by the elite as it has in the past?  You know, when fake news was for our own good…right?

What is the particular piece of allegedly fake news that reportedly sent this young man into a mental tailspin?  Well, it even has a name, appropriately enough; “pizzagate”

I did some searching on “pizzagate” and I have learned two things.  1.  It seems to have originated with a release of John and/or Tony Podesta emails by Wikileaks.   And 2.  A lot of sources, in what seems a knee-jerk fashion, label it false.  Why?  Is it entirely unthinkable that a public figure such as Hillary Clinton would be involved in such a thing?  What, if any, is the evidence supporting or refuting the allegation that there has been a pedophile ring and that Hillary Clinton has been/is involved?  Is that an unreasonable question?  I believe some would say it is, others would not.

I need to add here, I have not personally examined the material around “pizzagate” in depth.  I’ve looked at a few articles.  I am not writing this to try to establish any validity around “pizzagate”.  I am writing this because I am concerned with what I see brewing in terms of a possible attempt to censor Facebook and other internet social media/sources under the banner of protecting us from “fake news”.

If someone writes an article, a “tweet”, or a Facebook post about another person and makes allegations of a horrible nature about that person having committed a crime, having harmed other people, the person writing those allegations can be taken to court for libel (written false accusations).  There are existing means for addressing such false accusations.  The consequences of slander or libel can be very financially severe.  Think about it.  If someone wrote an article accusing Hillary Clinton of involvement with pedophiles and pedophilia and that person found themself in a courtroom losing everything they had worked for all their life because they had made a false accusation; I think that would go a long way toward dampening that “fake news”.  I think it would go a long way in dampening fake news in general.

However, and this is a wrinkle in our reality we need to understand; there is a risk to taking an accuser to court.  Once a case gets to a courtroom there are rules of evidence.  A defendant or plaintiff can issue subpoenas, call witnesses, request documents, things can come to light.  What if there are things, possibly criminal behavior, which one of the parties doesn’t want to come to light?   That is a motive to stay out of a courtroom.  This is not to say that every famous personality that does not take people making false statements about them to court is hiding guilt of something.  But it is another real consideration in the analysis of what is going on.  

People in positions of wealth and power, like Hillary Clinton, often (always?) have attorneys at their beck and call.  It wouldn’t be hard at all for her to take the person making false allegations, if they’re false allegations, around “pizzagate” to court.  How many successful prosecutions of people making false allegations would it take before such allegations dried up?  One?  Two?  Sure there would still be people talking in bars etc., speculating about things.   Being able to voice what may be our wild ideas with friends, colleagues, and receive their feedback, can be valuable.  It is probably necessary for our personal intellectual development.  But there is a difference between blowing off steam or speculating in an informal setting and publishing or saying specific allegations in a public venue for the world to see.

So if new laws were to be created to control “fake news” on the internet one thing we could very well see happen is censorship of reports which somebody in a position of power does not want to see the light of day.  Because someone, somewhere would be making the decision, actually would be getting paid to make the decision.  They would decide what gets labeled “fake news” and what doesn’t.  We cannot, must not assume a report is “fake news” simply because the subject matter is distasteful, because it seems unlikely, or because it makes an allegation involving a public figure.  We cannot even assume a news item is false because there is no evidence to support it.  “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”  If somebody is making false allegations of heinous behavior on the part of another person, as mentioned earlier, we already have legal recourse available, easily available to anyone with wealth, to deal with that.

Sometimes a public venue may be the only venue in which a victim of an alleged crime can begin the process of seeking assistance.  Sometimes a victim has no evidence.  The evidence is found in the investigation of the allegation, if there is an investigation. Sometimes there are false allegations.  And there again it is the role of an investigation to find that out.  It would be a great public disservice if victims who had no evidence were silenced because of censorship or worse under threat of penalty from laws around “fake news”.  However, it is only fair to say we may need some additional penalties for individuals who knowingly, recklessly and/or maliciously make false allegations.

Having real information about our world, authentic news, is foundational for healthy individuals and a healthy culture.  It is absolutely essential to a viable democracy. 

Even if we had the most diligent news organizations that humankind is capable of, some fake news may slip through the cracks.  It seems to me that we should be as or more concerned with developing effective critical thinking skills.  We all need to learn how to effectively analyze information.  It needs to be taught in elementary schools and on up.  We need to teach people to vet news before we act on it. Doing so may even have prevented wars.  Fake news has been used successfully to manipulate the public in the past and it will probably be tried again. In all likelihood we will never be able to ensure we are 100% immune from fake news.   However, it is certainly true that allowing someone else to make the decision for us as to what is real news and what is fake news, to determine what we are exposed to and what stays hidden, carries just as high a risk in terms of potential manipulation of our hearts and minds as any fake news that may come along.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big money for a few or health and progress for all? Right now we have a reliable indicator of what our leaders’ priorities truly are.

oil-derricks-with-dollar-sign
Photo:  csp_Neonskies               copyright Fotosearch.com

There are a lot of important issues at stake in the world today.  There are none that are more important than the questions around our use of fossil fuel.  Do we continue traveling down the same self-destructive road we’re on? Or do we move aggressively to alternative, cleaner energy sources?  And, although I probably should be, I am not including global warming in this argument.  Why?  Because the issue of global warming has become a distraction.  One side trots out “experts” to say it’s happening, the other side trots out “experts” to say it isn’t.  Or that, if it is, it is the result of a natural sun cycle or some reason other than humankind’s use of fossil fuels.  The arguments around global warming in the U.S. political arena have become something like a dog chasing it’s tail.  But that doesn’t matter.  For now, forget global warming!  it is distracting us from at least two very critical, absolutely undeniable, aspects of the reality around oil that are falling by the wayside while we spin and dance about global warming.  Quite possibly the distraction the controversy around global warming has become is one of the biggest friends those who want to keep using, or even expand our use of oil have going for them. It’s time to refocus and do so with clarity.

First, the methods that are being used today in the mad rush of big oil companies to locate and access oil deposits, and all the spills that happen daily for various reasons, are polluting, poisoning our waters and our planet at an unprecedented rate.  Offshore drilling, fracking in the U.S. (and elsewhere?), and countless oil spills are absolutely unsafe for human kind and other living things!  Our waters:  oceans, lakes, aquifers, rivers, streams, wells are being polluted, rendered unable to support life, on a vast scale.  A couple years ago I had the opportunity to take an overnight ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm.  It was summer so it there was daylight for most of the trip.  I was sitting by a window making a phone call when I noticed the water we were going through was covered by an oil slick.  As I continued to watch, over the course of some time, I couldn’t believe it.  Most of the time the sea we were sailing through was covered with an oil slick!  I felt ill seeing such widespread pollution.  And the problem with pollution from oil spills in the Baltic is relatively minor (though not inconsequential) compared to what is happening within the Gulf of Mexico Ongoing problems in Gulf of Mexico. and the groundwater pollution from fracking and spills in the U.S.  Four states confirm water pollution from drilling.

And when it comes to oil it isn’t just the pollution from spills and the chemicals used in fracking that are destroying our ecosystem, there is also the problem with plastic waste in our oceans.  Plastic Oceans  There is no good reason for us to continue to use petroleum to produce packaging for food and drink containers.  There are many other, bio-degradable, sources available and more becoming a reality on an ongoing basis.

I highly encourage everyone to watch the documentary “Mission Blue”.  This film provides a perspective on what we’ve lost over time along with some optimism about our chances for recovery if we take action now!  The film can be watched on Netflix and here is a link to some clips:  Mission Blue clips

I have included a few links on the subject of how both the extraction of and the use of oil are polluting are essential water systems.  I hope you’ll take the time to search and learn more!  Along with the pollution of our Earth’s waters there is the pollution of the air and and soil that also accompany the use of fossil fuels.

Finally, our continued use of oil in all the ways we use it are totally unnecessary.  We have the technology developed and waiting to be brought to use and provide cleaner sources of energy.  Solar, wind, wave energy sources, fuel cell technology, the many potential uses of hemp, bio-diesel and more are ready and waiting.  All we need to do is exercise our will, our voices and demand an end to sheer insanity of the use of fossil fuels when cleaner alternatives are readily available.  Again I encourage you to learn more.

 Which brings us to the second critical reason we need to move forward to cleaner alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels.  I’ll introduce it with a question:  

Why, if the pollution related to such widespread use of oil and other fossil fuels is so great, and there are readily available, cleaner alternatives, then why haven’t we already begun widespread implementation of cleaner alternatives wherever possible?  The answer can be summed up in one word:  greed.

The second critical issue around oil is that our dependence upon oil has allowed a relative few to leverage inordinate amounts of money.  The oil industry has played a major role in creating and maintaining the economic imbalance, the disparity and inequity within the economic reality of the U.S. and other countries.  And they seem to have no intention of letting it go.  Even if it is in their best interests as human beings.

Decreasing our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels would be taking a major step toward encouraging inventiveness, initiative, creativity in new industries.  It would be an economic breath of fresh air.  Discontinuing tax breaks and incentives to oil companies could provide revenue to train workers for the new alternative energy industries.

Here in the U.S. we are seeing a major sociological, ecological battle being played out in North Dakota.  One one side we have Native Americans and many others.  People who are tired of seeing water polluted, quality of life eroded.  On the other side we have big oil and all the resources their big money can buy.  Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump say they back the pipeline. Both personalities, each who have been asking the American people to believe that they have our best interests at heart, each who have claimed to represent such vastly different positions, are in agreement on this issue.  And the stand they both have expressed prioritizes big oil and big money.

The dichotomy could not be clearer.  Do our leaders want to continue the oligarchical practices that are slowly poisoning our communities, our lives?  Both economically and in terms of the pollution that is taking place.

Or do they want to see a new lease on life for the human race?  Greater economic balance, renewed hope in the future?

The time is now, what is the answer?

 

 

 

 

 

The Imperative of a Wisely Prioritized Budget

in-the-pinkWe, in the United States and elsewhere, are very much in need of a new economic model.  One that supports and maintains healthy individuals and healthy communities.  If the United States is/was a great experiment, in terms of establishing an economy which is both sustainable and supports  a healthy, thriving nation, it is failing.  I’m sure some statisticians and/or economists can produce numbers on GNP and/or corporate profits and say that calling the U.S. a failed experiment economically is false.  However, lets face it, statistics and corporate profit figures, numbers on paper, don’t give the millions of real people who make up our nation the financial well-being, the stability we need.

We should not be living to work, but working to live.  Our lives can and should be truly satisfying lives, ones that afford sufficient time with family, reasonable recreational possibilities, the time and ability to engage in personal development.  For this to be a reality we very much need freedom from the fear that bankruptcy is just one hospitalization, or a layoff away.

What has gone wrong?  That’s really not so hard to figure out, too many people have allowed narrowly defined personal interest to all but eradicate societal considerations. Social responsibility has become a concept as likely as not to evoke derision.  This is true not only in the financial realm but others as well.  For a society to stay healthy, freedom requires responsibility.  And not infrequently responsibility may require restraint. With far too many individuals both responsibility and restraint, especially when it comes to societal consideration around material acquisition, have been discarded.  These attributes, essential to healthy communities, have been replaced by a rabid pursuit of wealth regardless of the costs to our communities and the world at large.  This acceptance of a culturally suicidal value, greed, has gotten so pervasive within our culture and with our collective psyche that often those most successful at expressing it, at accumulating inordinate wealth, are seen as role models.

We throw millions upon millions of dollars, billions, at pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, tech. giants, even athletes whose only contribution to our culture is being able to throw, catch, hit or run with a ball on a small court or field.  Think about it.  And then there are the billions that go to arms merchants, drug dealers (other than big pharma), big pharma, the porn industry, big-name entertainers, and the gambling industry.  Judging from our cultural spending habits we more closely resemble drunken adolescents, impulsively craving toys and sensation, than anything remotely resembling responsible adults trying to genuinely manage a household.  And while most (all?) of these aforementioned industries have, to a greater or lesser degree, some genuine benefit for us;  we are spending vastly inordinate amounts of money on these industries to the detriment of far too many other essential life-sustaining industries and endeavors!

What we’re lacking are financial practices that reflect a culture, a people, who genuinely, soberly, recognize both our individual and collective needs and give due diligence to how we’re going to meet them.   If the parents in a family spend inordinately on entertainment, computers, sports, drugs, and guns, and the family loses their house because they didn’t pay their mortgage, no surprise, very understandable.  Yet, as a nation we seem to think that something similar can’t happen to a nation that spends inordinately on similar items.  A household is a household whether it is a household of 1 or of 1 billion.  Without viable prioritization on spending, a person or group which depend upon the resources involved are going to suffer for their lack of wisdom and/or due diligence.

So who gets to decide what we need and don’t need, how much we’re going to funnel to the various industries and endeavors that exist?  One thing is certain, for the “household” to remain whole and stable, decisions need to be made with the well-being of the entire household in mind.  Otherwise the household is going to be divided against itself and, ultimately, a house divided against itself cannot stand.  We need people with sobriety, with the knowledge and wisdom to take the long view and a broad, inclusive perspective on our needs and wants.  People who act impulsively or with too narrow interests are not going to budget wisely.  And the latter is what we’re suffering under in the U.S. at this time.

Just as an actual house, an economic system, in order to serve and protect those dependent upon it, needs both a floor and a ceiling.  The dangers of having no “floor” are pretty self-evident:  poverty and the problems that go with it.  However, the dangers of having no ceiling are often either ignored or distorted.  Without a “ceiling” it is too easy for people and/or organizations to begin accruing inordinate amounts of capital.  Then, and what we’re seeing around the world, is that they use that capital to create systems of laws and policies; financial mechanisms, with which to suck even greater amounts of the currency and material wealth into their control.  Along with this aspect of their endeavors, they also work and spend to see that laws are produced to protect their acquisitions from taxation.  So, too much capital enables individuals and groups to take more of the fruits from our collective efforts and simultaneously give back less.

We live in a finite world with finite resources.  If we pay attention, utilize birth control, and structure our societal systems in a way to create and maintain a much more equitable economic reality for everyone;  we can create an environment in which people not only survive but thrive:  intellectually, physically, and spiritually.  But if we continue to not only tolerate but extol greed and narrow self interest, we, as a species, are going to be continually plagued with the physical, psychological, cultural and spiritual maladies that accompany a fiercely competitive culture.  These include excessive fear, anxiety, wars, poverty, diseases, and a general stunting of human potential.

The hard part is that a genuinely functional, harmonious culture cannot be achieved by primarily utilizing force and compulsion.  We’ve seen that fail time and time again.  (It is also true that “free enterprise” cannot ultimately be sustained by those methods.)  It is going to take people waking up to our holistic reality.  We need more widespread understanding of what we truly are and what we need to live as whole, healthy human beings.  Then we need to work to achieve it.  Working together is the only way it’s going to happen.

 

 

Whether the current world political stage is organic or orchestrated, our response should be the same!

P1080179I have seen more than one post on Facebook lately presenting the thought that what is happening with the current U.S. Presidential election, at least with the two major party candidates, is all stage play. It is pre-arranged as is the outcome. There can be no doubt that with the amounts of money that are involved this is a real possibility. So many events within our culture and within cultures around the world, over the past few decades have contained inexplicable aspects if we try to view them as the thing our government/media syndicate try to present them as. The Oklahoma City bombing, the London subway bombing, 911, the Boston Marathon bombing, Charlie Hebdo, and more, all leave us with questions we don’t get answers for, questions which aren’t satisfactorily answered by the official stories.

The amounts of money at stake in world events can certainly afford the very best when it comes to those skilled at the art of illusion.

No matter if what is taking place is organic or orchestrated, and I tend to think it’s often the latter, a very clear fact is that tearing us apart as a people and a culture seems to be a goal. To hate each other because of our differences, fear each other because of our differences. These are messages we keep getting over and over and over. And the more afraid and angry we become, the more vulnerable and ready we are to believe that some socio/political potion being offered us by one of the candidates, which includes more hate and fear, is needed. 

The fact is any cure involves us changing what is inside us. If we like this life on Earth, we need to wake up to the reality of what and where we are. We are the inhabitants of a celestial “spaceship” hurtling through a cold, dark void.  Our planet/spaceship/home, the resources it offers us, and each other, are all we’ve got. We need to start working together; respecting, caring for and nurturing all of this and each other a lot better than we have been. And we need to do it really soon. Despite what the media is telling us, a lot of people around the world want to do just that and are already working at it in their own lives!

We need to turn off the negative, fear mongering media and see the positive around us and the mutuality of our plight. Focus on it, breathe it in. Enter into reciprocal interaction with it, using our best wisdom, nurturing and being nurtured.

Time to trust ourselves again. — Elke Macartney

You know you’ve heard from it: The Voice of Doubt. This is the voice in your head who rocks your faith in yourself by seeding doubt with questions and statements such as, “Who the heck do you think you are?” or “Are you sure?” or “We’ve been here before, and look what happened last time!”…

via Time to trust ourselves again. — Elke Macartney

A Summer of Connections

425I am very, very fortunate.  I’m not materially rich, at least by American or Western European standards.  Not by a long shot.  But I am ok.  I have shelter, food, a job, good medical insurance, and, most importantly, my job offers me a lot of time off.  I get around 13 or 14 weeks a year of vacation.  Maybe only a week of it is paid, but I would not want to trade the other weeks for a higher paycheck.  Time off is invaluable!  By the way, in case you’re wondering, I get that time off because I work for a school district that does not go year round.  In the U.S. that may be the only way an hourly worker can have that much time off and still keep a job.

It hasn’t always been that way in my life though.  I can remember the years when a week or maybe even two, of paid vacation was the norm.  But I can’t remember how I made do with that.  Probably I didn’t.  Most likely, like a lot of other people, I was being slowly, or not so slowly, overtaken by the ambient stress load in my life.  Too much stress sucks.  It debilitates us leaving us crippled in our ability to conduct a healthy relationship with ourselves or anyone else.  A 40 hour week, as luxurious as that may sound to many, is still too many hours for a human being to devote to work, year round, and still maintain being fully human.

So, some may ask, what does one do with a couple months off a year?  For many that is not a silly question at all!  We can get so hooked into, so identified with our jobs, that we forget how to exercise being human outside that context.  For me, and I highly recommend it, I travel and visit loved ones.  My family is flung to the far corners of the Earth.  And they move a lot.  That means that at any given time there are several potential destinations I can access and usually not have to worry about accommodations.  In that way I am also very fortunate, although, sometimes it would be nice to have them closer together also.

And, as I have learned, one can travel quite economically if one takes the time to learn how.  The internet is a great tool with which to find accommodations and inexpensive tickets!

When I travel and visit loved ones, I usually end up meeting new people also.  People I enjoy getting to know and hearing what they have to say.  As a result, I find myself developing as a human being.  Becoming more knowledgable about life on Earth and what it is all about.  A key, I have found, is to look at the behavior of others always asking the question:  “In what way does that behavior serve the goal of being a vital, health human being?”  In what way(s) does that behavior serve one’s physical, mental and/or spiritual health?  Hopefully not serving one at the expense of another.

There is so much for us to learn about ourselves.  We all have truths, real enduring truths, we carry that we have learned while living our lives.  The times when we can share them with one another are so precious.  All such times require are the ability to listen well and the ability to speak authentically, from one’s own center.  The connections that can occur during such times are absolutely magical.

The Predatory Genius Behind “Obamacare”

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copyright fotosearch.com

I would much rather write about more pleasant topics, but there are things happening within our culture in the U.S., and elsewhere, which are deeply disturbing.  And, if you haven’t already, we all need to wake up to what are assaults upon our well-being, the well-being of our families and loved ones.  As hard as it is to imagine, some may not agree that there is any particular assault going on.  But there is, and it is class warfare.  Contrary to what the mainstream media may portray, this war has not been started by the poor or middle class.  For the most part we’ve all been too busy just trying to manage our households, families and jobs.  No, this war was started by and is being continuously waged by the very, very rich.  They are the only people with the time and resources on their hands to undertake such a thing.

So, what does that have to do with the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare)?  Under the guise of a humanitarian act, Obamacare is, at it’s heart, just another mechanism for the very, very rich to prey upon the meager holdings of the middle class.  How?  It increases insurance and/or medical expenses for those with an income which, in this case, means more money flowing upward.  As for the poor, many come out ahead but they weren’t targets of the greedy anyway, because, painful as it is, they have nothing.  There is nothing to get.  But to the very greedy the poor can still have usefulness as a lever. So what was accomplished with the ACA is a new hand into the wallets of those who still have some degree of financial stability.  It does this via either higher premiums, higher deductibles, higher copays or a combination of those three.  And if the individual or family has an income, not enough to live comfortably on, but something, not enough to afford health insurance, but something, that is probably enough to disqualify them from government subsidy.  This means, because they can’t afford health insurance, they will be penalized for not buying health insurance every year when they file their federal income taxes.  Overall the ACA therefore significantly increases the chances of a middle class individual or family experiencing a bankruptcy.

Many individuals and families that were able to get along with the already exorbitant health care costs they faced before the ACA feel they can no longer afford doctor’s visits, medical care now due to higher deductibles.  Imagine that!  Being coerced to buy a health insurance plan that still leaves you so exposed financially you’re afraid to seek medical care!  So how was this packaged to get (or try to get) Americans to go along with it?  It goes like this:

We Americans (and I think people in general) tend to be charitable people.  We want to help those who need it when we can.  This tendency on our part is often exploited by charities during disasters to get us to send millions of dollars, or hundreds of millions of dollars,with the heartfelt intention that the money should reach the people who have been the hardest hit.  But does it?  Sometimes it does, often it doesn’t.  The bleak story of Haiti, the earthquake, and what happened with all the wealth that people from around the world sent to help the people whose lives were economically devastated, is a prime example of how good intentions can get horribly abused.  But that is another story and not for his article, I hope you’ll investigate it further on your own.  The point is, we want help people who need it and that can leave us vulnerable.

In explaining the abuse perpetrated by Obamacare it’s important to know that in the U.S. medical costs are the number 1 cause of bankruptcy (see links below).  Medical costs are extortionately high in the U.S. and that includes the cost of health insurance.  Insurance is supposed to help, supposed to protect us (in theory) and sometimes it does.  The problem, before Obamacare, was that the very poor could not afford health insurance.  So the emergency room became the last, desperate hope if a poor person needed care.  The costs of providing this care was passed on whenever possible to the rest of us through higher costs for us.  However, there was a clear and present need for more comprehensive medical care for the poor.  We all know poor people (and everyone else) should be able to seek medical attention before it reaches the level of being an emergency situation.  So there it was, the exposed heartstring of the American people waiting to be tugged on.

Now, before Obamacare the American people that were lucky enough to have health insurance  were already being charged extortionate prices.  For many health insurance was the highest single monthly expense in their budget.  More than rent or a mortgage, more than their car payment, or anything else.  We Americans have been getting taken to the cleaner on health insurance for some time.  And where does that money go?  It doesn’t just disappear or cease to exist. By and large it goes to two places (which sometimes may turn out to be one place).  A lot of it goes to the extortionate prices being charged for medical care.  That includes charges from administration, doctors, supplies, pharmaceuticals, and other medical related costs.  It seems these days that if the term “medical” or “health” can be applied to a product or service that is the cue to charge an extortionate amount for it.  That brings us to the second place our health care dollars are siphoned off to: the health insurance industry.  Within the health insurance industry we find the waiting hands of those profiteering from it.  And some of them are profiting mightily. See my blog article: “Can Socialized Healthcare Work in the U.S.?

So, again, under the guise of a humanitarian action another mechanism was created for the very, very rich to pick the pockets of the average American.

This is not what was intended when communities began pooling some of their money to help a community member who might fall or be thrown upon hard times.  This is how “insurance” got started.  It is a beautiful idea.  Then someone realized there was money sitting around they might be able to get their hands on and we all know the rest of the story.  And the rest of the story leads us back to the exploitative reality of Obamacare.

We, the common people of the world, have got to wise up.  And part of that process is to realize taking care of each other is wisdom.  Taking care of the Earth is wisdom.  Honesty is wisdom.  Working together, realizing the mutuality of our lives here on Earth, we can build cultures and communities within which we can flourish.

(And my apologies to sharks for using their likeness to help illustrate a message about human corruption.)

http://www.investopedia.com/slide-show/top-5-reasons-why-people-go-bankrupt/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100840148