Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beasts and Deities

"To live alone one must be an animal or a god--says Aristotle.  There is yet a third case: one must be both--a philosopher."

- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friday, April 29, 2011


John Trudell is a fiercely compassionate American Indian activist and poet.  He speaks from the heart, courageously and beautifully.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ramona Lapidas, "Spider Woman Speaks"

"Hear me well...

You have all that you need within you to add a greater light to the web.
Dream me a new dream,
Weave me a new web,
Spin me a new song,
Make me a new world.

Let the Peace of the Light and the Storm be within you.
Blessed be us all."

- Ramona Lapidas

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


"The question is not what you look at, but what you see."

- Henry David Thoreau

Don Matesz on Science, Spirits, and Theoretical Entities

"Unfortunately, many people, including many scientists are not aware of the fact that modern science is full of theoretical entities, like gravity, quarks, positive charges, negative charges, electromagnetic waves, energy, and so on. These people assume that quarks exist the same way that rocks exist, and will summarily dismiss as absurd any theoretical entity proposed by alternative conceptual frameworks.

As an example, shamans the world over use the concept of nature spirits to explain certain phenomena. People unaware of the difference between perceptual entities and theoretical entities will often dismiss the idea of spirits on the basis that 'Western science has searched far and wide and never discovered any nature spirits.'

The problem here is that nature spirits are theoretical entities. You don't confirm or disconfirm their existence by rummaging around the forest, just as you can't confirm or disconfirm the existence of gravity by looking for it in the English countryside.

Suppose I said: 'Well, at long last I have proven that gravity doesn't exist since I have searched far and wide, near and deep, and I haven't seen any gravity anywhere.' [Substitute energy for gravity with the same result.] Do you think the physicist would accept my refutation? Or course not. Yet he turns and believes that he can refute theoretical entities proposed in other knowledge systems by the same device.

You don't discover theoretical entities, you invent the concepts as part of an attempt to explain the perceived activities of phenomena. You don't confirm the existence of theoretical entities by direct perception, you confirm their existence by observing and interpreting the activities of phenomena generated by experiments conducted in the context of the conceptual framework to which the theoretical entities belong.

That last sentence means: The concept of gravity is meaningless outside the context of the conceptual framework (Western science) to which it belongs; and the concept of nature spirits is meaningless outside the context of the conceptual framework (shamanism) to which it belongs."

Entire Blog Post:

Friday, April 8, 2011


“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.”

- Rainer Maria Rilke -

Artwork from

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living Longer, Suffering Longer

"While people might be expected to live more years with disease simply as a function of living longer in general, the researchers [Gerontologists at USC] show that the average number of healthy years has decreased since 1998. We spend fewer years of our lives without disease, even though we live longer.

A male 20-year-old in 1998 could expect to live another 45 years without at least one of the leading causes of death: cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes. That number fell to 43.8 years in 2006, the loss of more than a year. For young women, expected years of life without serious disease fell from 49.2 years to 48 years over the last decade.

At the same time, the number of people who report lack of mobility has grown, starting with young adults. Functional mobility was defined as the ability to walk up 10 steps, walk a quarter mile, stand or sit for two hours and stand, bend or kneel without using special equipment.

A male 20-year-old today can expect to spend 5.8 years over the rest of his life without basic mobility, compared to 3.8 years a decade ago — an additional two years unable to walk up 10 steps or sit for two hours. A female 20-year-old can expect 9.8 years without mobility, compared to 7.3 years a decade ago.

'There is substantial evidence that we have done little to date to eliminate or delay disease while we have prevented death from diseases,' Crimmins explained. 'At the same time, there have been substantial increases in the incidences of certain chronic diseases, specifically, diabetes.'"

Entire Report:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fear Tactics: FBI Harassment And The Overuse Of "Terrorist"

"After the FBI agents followed me out of the apartment building and into the alley, bad cop started needling. He asked if I knew the type of people involved in the campaign to close Huntingdon. He said they were 'extremists.'

'I can tell you’re a good guy,' he said. 'You have a lot going for you.' he said he could tell by the way I dressed, where I lived. 'You don’t want this to mess up your life, kid. We need your help.'

He told me I could help them by providing more information about the other defendants and other animal rights groups. I had two days to decide. He gave me a scrap of paper with his phone number, written on it underneath his name, Chris.

'If we don’t hear from you by the first trial date,' he said, 'I’ll put you on the domestic terrorist list.'

Wait, what? I felt as if I was staring blankly ahead, but my eyes must have shown fear.

'Now I have your attention, huh?' he said.

Put me on a terrorist list for leafleting?

'Look,' Chris said, 'after 9/11, we have a lot more authority now to get things done and get down to business. We can make your life very difficult for you. You work at a newspaper? I can make it so you never work at a newspaper again.'"

- Will Potter, The Next Eco Warriors:  22 Young Women and Men Who Are Saving The Planet

Book Excerpt in its entirety:

Sunday, April 3, 2011


"He who cannot howl, will not find his pack."

- Charles Simic -

Raising A Baby, Hunter-Gatherer Style

Fake hunter-gatherer cuddling with infant.

"Three new studies led by Notre Dame Psychology Professor Darcia Narvaez show a relationship between child rearing practices common in foraging hunter-gatherer societies (how we humans have spent about 99 percent of our history) and better mental health, greater empathy and conscience development, and higher intelligence in children."

"Narvaez identifies six characteristics of child rearing that were common to our distant ancestors:

  • Lots of positive touch - as in no spanking - but nearly constant carrying, cuddling and holding;
  • Prompt response to baby's fusses and cries. You can't 'spoil' a baby. This means meeting a child's needs before they get upset and the brain is flooded with toxic chemicals. 
  • 'Warm, responsive caregiving like this keeps the infant's brain calm in the years it is forming its personality and response to the world,' Narvaez says.
  • Breastfeeding, ideally 2 to 5 years. A child's immune system isn't fully formed until age 6 and breast milk provides its building blocks.
  • Multiple adult caregivers - people beyond mom and dad who also love the child.Free play with multi-age playmates. Studies show that kids who don't play enough are more likely to have ADHD and other mental health issues.
  • Natural childbirth, which provides mothers with the hormone boosts that give the energy to care for a newborn.

The U.S. has been on a downward trajectory on all of these care characteristics, according to Narvaez. Instead of being held, infants spend much more time in carriers, car seats and strollers than they did in the past. Only about 15 percent of mothers are breastfeeding at all by 12 months, extended families are broken up, and free play allowed by parents has decreased dramatically since 1970.

'Ill advised practices and beliefs have become commonplace, such as the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms, or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will spoil it,' Narvaez says.

Whether the corollary to these modern practices or the result of other forces, research shows the health and well being of American children is worse than it was 50 years ago: there's an epidemic of anxiety and depression among the young; aggressive behavior and delinquency rates in young children are rising; and empathy, the backbone of compassionate, moral behavior, has been shown to be decreasing among college students.

'All of these issues are of concern to me as a researcher of moral development,' Narvaez says. 'Kids who don't get the emotional nurturing they need in early life tend to be more self-centered. They don't have available the compassion-related emotions to the same degree as kids who were raised by warm, responsive families.'"

Article in its entirety:

A Typical Visit To The Doctor's Office

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Disproving Hypotheses

"It is better to know nothing than to keep in mind fixed ideas based on theories whose confirmation we constantly seek, neglecting meanwhile everything that fails to agree with them."

- Claude Bernard

Allan Savory, Reversing Desertification With Livestock

Rarely do I come across a lecture that profoundly influences my views.  This video is one of those lectures.  Basically, desertification is not caused by climate change or overgrazing. In fact, many lands need to be intensely grazed for a short period of time in order to induce biological decay and prevent oxidation and weathering of life.  Watch this video to find out more!

Allan Savory - Keeping Cattle: cause or cure for climate crisis? from Feasta on Vimeo.

The Outcast's Journey

"If you have attempted to fit whatever mold and failed to do so, you are probably lucky.  You may be an exile of some sort, but you have sheltered your soul.  There is an odd phenomenon that happens when one keeps trying to fit and fails.  Even though the outcast is driven away, she is at the same time driven right into the arms of her psychic and true kin, whether these be a course of study, an art form, or a group of people.  It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires.  It is never a mistake to search for what one requires.  Never.

There is something useful in all this torque and tension.  Something in the [ugly] duckling is being tempered, being made strong by this exile.  While this situation is not one we would wish on anyone for any reason, its effect is similar to pure natural carbon under pressure producing diamonds--it leads eventually to a profound magnitude and clarity of psyche.

There is an aspect of alchemy, wherin the base substance of lead is pounded about and beaten down.  While exile is not a thing to desire for the fun of it, there is an unexpected gain from it; the gifts of exile are many.  It takes out weakness by the pounding.  It removes whininess, enables acute insight, heightens intuition, grants the power of keen observation and perspective that the 'insider' can never achieve."

- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With The Wolves

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gary Jules, "Mad World"

For all those downing days when the the big picture is a little too big to hug...

U.S. Government and Monsanto Caught Emailing, Facebook Friendship Next?

"The recent approval of Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa is one of most divisive controversies in American agriculture, but in 2003, it was simply the topic at hand in a string of emails between the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Monsanto. In the emails, federal regulators and Monsanto officials shared edits to a list of the USDA's questions about Monsanto's original petition to fully legalize the alfalfa. Later emails show a USDA regulator accepted Monsanto's help with drafting the initial environmental assessment (EA) of the alfalfa and planned to "cut and paste" parts of Monsanto's revised petition right into the government's assessment.

The emails were uncovered during a lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and concerned farmers that challenged the USDA's decision to approve Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2005. The CFS views the emails as prime evidence of 'collusion' between the biotech industry and public officials charged with regulating genetically engineered (GE) crops. It's unclear if such internal cooperation continues under the current administration, but regulators still openly rely on data and research provided by the biotech industry when approving GE technology."

Entire Article:

Happy April!

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."

- Percy Bysshe Shelley,  The Sensitive Plant