Archive for November, 2012

Your brains are working all the time, but we do not know how they do it, or what will happen.

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Neurological science is evolving. But there is mystery in there too as we also keep asking questions about why did she do that, why did he not do that. The reason is that we do not have deep knowledge of the machinery of the brain. Many things are hidden from us. We do not seem able to look into the souls of people. The presence of non-physical brain properties are not generally accepted.

The science of brains is full of wide open spaces.

Knowledge about our brain and mind involves many sciences – neuroscience, medicine, psychology, psychiatry, technology, mathematics and now the humanistic people are also claiming part in the development of  mind- and brainknowledge. A unified approach may be coming to better integrate the whole field into a science that may truly progress?

The truth about brain research is that we know very little that is a fact. Media are overflowing with statements about the brain and its functionality, but the scientists that will verify these “truths” are hard to find.

What we know is that our brains are buzzing all the time, the brain never sleeps, it is always there doing its work, and no part of it is ever at rest. Claims that we could use our brains better, that there are unused parts in there and that there are brain properties we have not found yet are everywhere, but the facts about such things are elusive.

Teaching, management, training all rely heavily on facts about the brain that are difficult to verify. Courts are often asked to judge the mental state of people, we visit psychologists en masse so they can help us be “normal”. Assessing the brain and its state  is constantly done by observation by experts. But measuring the brain objectively is still a far way off. The best we can hope is that the experts are sensible people making few mistakes.

The origin of thoughts, memories, decisions, love, fear, hatred, feelings, pain is not clear. The use of MR machines show reactions in the brain as response to input, but the true  and repeatable effect is not always certain. We can not “see” illnesses like schizofrenia.

We know that people react to propaganda, and when propaganda is well executed many people will follow the leads set out. This must be due to psychological mechanisms that is switched on in the brain, making the message received difficult to resist. The concept of the masses is often used, although we all consider us independent individuals.

Stimulation of the brain, improving the brain functions in positive ways are difficult as nobody seems to know the sure ways to do that. We know that many drugs will affect the brain function, make you more focused or more relaxed and even doze you off.

Learning processes are fairly well understood, repetition works when learning new stuff, practice works, and logic thinking works when you are  learning new matter. Putting in hooks to learn also helps, making small rules to lead you on.

We know that the brain has centers for important functions like speech, feelings, fear etc.. Language is placed in a given location, logic in one half of the brain, feelings and emotion in the other half.

Questions of consciousness, the possibility of higher levels of  consciousness, free will are all uncertain matters. Some people see ghosts, we seek help from shamans and healers. Mind reading and hypnosis are all popular and surprising.

What is quite sure is that humans are not mindless zombies controlled by some force, we are capable of showing a large measure of free will – if we put our minds and brains to it.

It is still early days, remember that you people of all levels of consciousness, understanding and degrees of free will, but sure knowledge is coming our way – just watch this space! In any case it is good to know that your brain is always there to help you, if you avoid …. well you know there are many things that can change your mind and affect your brain.

So do your best to understand yourself, try to see how you function, spend a little time doing that every day and you will have a good chance of living reasonably well.

Educating you and only you and broadly too

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Education is everywhere. They are all aiming for you – they all want you to become what they want. Nobody is asking you what do you want to learn, my child, what do you think would be of value to you, and so help you have a good life. They all want you to be a worker in their companies, a specialist with a narrow job, a slave, an ant that do what you are told. This is done by allowing you to be part of the consumer culture where shopping and consuming is the single most important activity, where more of the same is the only way forward, so that our economies can have growth.

The real life you can have is totally different. That is is a life where you may be free and independent, where you have many choices available to you, where your consciousness is at a high level, where happiness is a matter of course, where you understand yourself and know why you do think like you do and do the things you do. Interaction with others via social abilities is important too, as well as interaction with the greater cosmos, the ecological system that is all around us. Diversity abounds, the world becomes a magic place.

In education we must also remember that we know little, all things past have gone, new things keep coming up all the time, the scope of what we do not know is endless. A sound education practice should reflect this fact.

The social, economic, political and individual consequences of such a change would be wide.

Being educated in this new way, you feel at home in the world, in your own community where people know you, and in the world where you can visit or settle as you like. The world is understood by you – how it works, what you can do to it and what you should not do.

Your abilities and what you gradually take a liking to, even would love to do, should be in there as decisive factors in a learning system just for you. Surely there personal abilities that you were born with or that you want to develop, things you like to try because it seems fun and even useful to others, to the cosmos we live in.

So there is a huge challenge out there – how do you become the one you deeply want to be.

The essential issue is to leave people alone so they can have their own way, and let every one know at an early stageof their life that this is how we are going to do it – it is your choice and we will help you on the way.

So let everybody make a plan for themselves, and do what they deeply want to. Make a commitment to yourself, set goals and go for it.

There are no rules, but basics like working to understand yourself, growing food, singing, dancing, playing, handicrafts, arts, reading, writing, mathematics, programming, languages, work participation soon comes up. All introductions should be given by your parents, they are your helpers and mentors. The rest of your family and social group should also chip in so the start of your life is broadly based.

Schools are much more like workplaces, as all workplaces have an obligation to teach young people what they do. All teachers are part timers, as they are doing other activity as well.

There is no distinction between work hours or free hours as you have one life where what you do is mainly what you want to do. If there are chores they must be shared by all.

There must also be a change in all the company profiles, and a heavy shift back to small and local is needed.

The principle of education is to enter into your community’s life steadily, taking part in what they do, learning what you need to know, gradually develop your ideas and taking choices that lead you where you want to go.

As you grow up and greater depth is wanted by you there are the educational facilities where you can get the progress you want. These are mainly libraries, research institutions where you yourself must find what you want to know and the teachers that you need. Companies have an obligation to let you see what they do, so you can learn what you want when you want to.

Several foreign languages should be part of all people’s knowledge, and travelling abroad in a systematic way should be encouraged.

Education should be a life long process where you can get in when you feel like it, when you want some new knowledge, a new skill.

This is a rudimentary sketch of a future educational system, and the consequences of changes such as these would be significant. These thoughts will be developed further. There are many reasons to think of a new educational system with a much broader base for everyone. That way we can do more ourselves so that we need less money and the job requirement is reduced.

The politics of money is ripe for a deep change too, the distribution of wealth must be reshaped, the participation principles in democracies must be broadened.

It all hangs together, so we must all start to piece our thinking together.

Your learning is much of the basis of what you are  so consider that deeply. You were born a human with broad possibilities so we must all take that into consideration when we decide what we want to learn and what we will be. If you are a super specialist in a huge company, you may soon find yourself super useless.

Broad education, man, broad! And yes remember lifelong too. The aim is of course to help you be your own person, genuinely free, wholly  independent, happy.

The inability of democracies to be democratic

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

We all live in a world that is like an old adventure story : The ruling class or political class has taken over. Countries with millions of inhabitant are ruled by hundreds of people called politicians, and everything is now a political question. Very few matters are for you to decide as all matters are political. The politician’s rule is complete and unrestricted. Problems abound, but they can not be solved until politicians have had a say.

We live an illusion – the system does not work very well.

The democratic system as it is today works in intriguing ways. We have equipped it with a bottleneck where all things must pass. All things that shall enter the bottleneck must be carefully prepared, and they are. But further consideration is always needed. So there just is not enough room for what we want to do. And afterwards they can alway go back on what they said.

There are resources plentiful to achieve marvellous things, but we can not do it because the system has not said yes you can do it, it has not passed the bottleneck.

Further we have also allowed politics to expand beyound all reasonable limits. Now everything is politics, every little bit shall be decided by politicians, the political class are the rulers of their countries, and if this trend continues the political class will be the rulers of the world one day – in the not too distant future.

In spite of this power base there is also an enormous inability to fix things that have gone wrong: budgets, health care, foreign policy….The consequences of politics are nil, politicians are like vapour and goes up in thin air after the deed.

The bottleneck is not always full because many matters are under consideration and not ready for the bottleneck. But once it is ready for the bottleneck further consideration is always needed, we must consider it again, and again….

Many groups and participants are active in the process, they often work from hidden posistions, sometimes they seem to be able to stop things, in other cases they seem to make things pass the bottleneck very easily. This often comes as a surprise  to those not in the know. Special interest groups understand the system very well, and can play it to perfection. The financiers are also in there, helping decisions develop beautifully.

This is how the democratic system works, and it truly is an adventure. All that shall be done must pass through this bottleneck. At the same time and as a consequence of this you are not allowed to do things on your own. You must always wait for the political decisions. This holds even if the resources are available, there is will to do it among many people, they have the ability to do what they say, you have already cleared the obstacles and are ready to start. You can do it now or at least in the near future.

If you want to build a railway it can not be done

If you want to fix the health care system it can not be done

If you want a new school it can not be done. If you want o change the school system it can not be done.

If you want to do things otherwise it can not be done.

If you want a balanced budget you can not have it.

If you want equality you can not have it, you ca not get rid of poverty

If you want – whatever – you can not have it – others have the right of authority so you must wait

The politicians – that we have elected – always have the final word on all matters big and small. They also mysteriously create all the jobs in a country. They tax us heavily so we have little money left. The government have the money so they can do things. The financiers also have money.

And then there are the laws and regulations. They keep pouring out, engulfing us, making us sit quite still. Your ability to get things done is severely  and increasingly limited. You must have approvals for every little bit, or maybe you are taken and punished…. Often the laws are sloppy with indeterminate consequences.

But it has gone too far as we can no longer abide by all of the rules, but that does not matter,  enforcement is long beyond the power we have put in place. Increasingly the question of power to do comes up – are politicians really authorized to do all they do?

But often there are no rules and regulations so the  participants mysteriously can do whatever they want.

Politicians also meddle all the time, creating confusion, stopping people doing things. The word we get is that you have to wait, we are working on it.

The sum of all this is a modern democracy which is a society with a bottleneck where all things must pass. The bottleneck society, and that is where you live. The bottleneck is not getting smaller, no it stays the same, but what has to go through it steadily increases.

Remember that force is the essence of government, and why do we need somebody to use force? Why not consensus, voluntarism, freedom? The scale of government is too grand. It is time to think anew.

Frustration is everywhere – among us all. So where do we go from here?

We surely need changes. Not fewer politicians, but more: Everybody should become a politician, his own politician and decide by himself what to do. Get things you need doing done by yourself – it is easy really.

The consequences will be small. The politicians of today are so engulfed in their own devices that they will not notice.

The key principle is to let more people be able to do what they want. All we need for that is an unwritten be careful rule so you don’t harm anybody. Adam Smith called it moral sentiments, and he even wrote a book about that. Live by simple good morals and ethics and start doing what you want. And you know what – your country will become more democratic as you go along.

So let us do this awhile and we should think hard about what we are doing, then do more and more of the same, and gradually let it be the way things are done in our democracy. We would then have found the way forward! This is about dismantling restrictions, empowering individuals – and creating a new adventure story. Let freedom come.

So now is it – start doing what you want to do. It will be massive when people realize it is possible.

Are you in control of yourself? Do you want to be?

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Your mind is the key to everything. Your physical and mental activity is ruled by your mind. Your mind is not a stable mechanism, it leads you all over, while at the same time you can exercise various degrees of control – if you put your mind to it. You can choose to use your mind as a tool to create a good life for yourself, or you can just let everything be taken care of for you – be in an automatic mode  and just let yourself be dragged along, almost imperceptibly.

The way to achieve control of your own mind is to eliminate all external influences completely, and at the same time work on understanding yourself, what you do, how you react, what you identify with. This is not easily done, and you must work hard to get close to a situation where you can say you are in control. You must change your life in thoroughgoing ways. You must shed all and don a new mental state where consciousness is king.

When all external influences are controlled you are in a position to wholly decide what to think and do. This also has to do with timing, place, importance. Then nobody can tell you a thing, you are all on your own, you are beginning to see the rudiments of freedom.

We all live under the influence of tremendous forces. The external forces are societal in the form of peer pressure, authority messages, media influences, seasonal variations. Internally your own morals and ethics play a part, your reasoning or logic based on your knowledge and what you think is right. The sum of these forces have a huge impact on you, they make you what you are.

The information explosion is part of this picture as there is a constant stream of  messages aimed at you, wanting to influence you – companies, government agencies, politicians,  media all want you to perform in certain ways. In the old days much of this was called propaganda, now it is part of the ongoing process of crystallizing public opinion, making you behave in certain predetermined ways.

Reading and reacting to advertizing is one bit, incessant negative news is another. Participation in arrangements, activities of many kinds are time thiefs of great importance.

The biggest influence on you is without doubt your work that occupies you maybe 10 hours or more every day all of your life, and fills your head with huge preoccupations, influencing your life immensely, often tying your mind into a knot.

Your family takes a major part of what time you have, severely limiting the time you have available to choose independendently.

The things you own are there too. All your belongings – dwellings, cars, boats, bicycles, clothes, books, tools, ….  - the list is endless – steal your time in all manners  you can think of.

And sure – we must not forget entertainment in many forms – time flies. And drugs and alcohol drowsing you into near unconsciousness.

So all is set up for you and your life flies away, into empty space. It is certainly OK in many ways, but your mind is turned off when you live like this.

Awareness of what you do is clearly lacking, and the result is a stupendous lack of time that you can call your own and none of what you do is chosen by you, you just react to influences all the time. Everything on the agenda is controlled by others and is aided and abetted by your own confusion, your sleeping mind.

Surely the aim must be to have a life of your own, to be able to do what you yourself want to do. This life can be a full life, creative, spiritual, engaged, attentive, included in the big system that the world is, engaged with likeminded people.

The choice is yours: engage your mind, wake up, decide things, do things.

Go be like that – fix your own mind and your life will follow suit. Surely you want that?

GMO – their money or your life? Sustain.. what?

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

GMO or genetically modified organisms are getting a bad name. Development of GMOs is very expensive, only the big companies can do it so we risk monopolistic practices. The modifying being performed is also high tech, the companies are not very forthcoming with what they are doing as the important thing is to make money.

In some cases the big companies even try to hide what they are doing. Bad effects on animals, plants and food have been seen, there is patenting  and IP practices, there is lobbying in the US to prevent good information about the effects and use of GMO being used. There is good reason to ask for lots of information about GMOs.

GMO foods were commercialized in the US in 1995, but there is no information about it for consumers given on product labels. Some of the foods were approved based on the companies own research.

Some countries have now outlawed the use of GMO for human consumption, e.g. some European countries.

There are lots of safety concerns: Rats being given corn of the variety NK603 have developed tumors and liver ailments. People eating this corn for a long time may also suffer these conditions. Independent researchers should investigate these matters. Public systems to strengthen approvement, follow up, regulations shiould be put into place everywhere.

GMO varieties of plants have been spreading in nature knocking out local varieties, and putting the farmers into the hands of big companies. The bees can not see the difference as they are carrying pollen here and there as before.

The sustainability of GMO plants is also being questioned. Putting some genes into some plants seem to be a shortsighted practice as resistances of various kind develop all the time. Increasing resistance leads to use of more chemicals, with a risk of  introduction into the ecosystems of plants and humans, animals.

The GMO plants of today are fully pesticide based as they are pesticide tolerant by design or developing their own pesticides.

Diversity is another matter. What makes more money will be used, so we may end up with a few large crops, the local small varieties being forced out.

The moneymaking also involves pesticides, the big one being Roundup with glyphosate as the active ingredient. GMO plants tolerating certain chemicals like Roundup are thus planted, and tolerating the spraying will make them grow well while everything else is being destroyed.

Many insects are involved, as they first die, then develop resistance, then more spraying, then …..

The big companies must start to see sense. Only independent testing and follow up can possibly give us the required knowledge, fix the situation and provide acceptable practices. The situation today is not acceptable.

GMO clearly has theoretical promise of good things to come, but the industry is shooting itself  in the leg with present practices. We are being thoroughly put off, turning sceptical and in the end making a no acceptance stand.

Agricultural practices is what it really is about. Large scale, GMO, pesticide based agriculture must be stopped ASAP. It can not just be about making money, it must be about safety as well, and in the end about morals – what do you do to others.

Sustainability, no risk, reasonable practices is what counts in the end. The new catchwords of openness and moral sentiment will lead us in the right direction.

And what about local small scale production, permaculture, ecological systems, biodynamics? Just watch them grow! Good food is coming to an orchard near you, or from your own garden, maybe?