drokhole's Journal - Archives
Here is a news story that could determine whether you live or die. Many of the world's scientists are warning that one of the mightiest weapons doctors have against sickness is being rendered useless -- so a few people can get richer, for a while. If they aren't stopped soon, the World Health Organization warns we are facing "a doomsday scenario of a world without antibiotics". It will be a world where transplant surgery is impossible. It will be a world where a simple appendix operation will be as routinely lethal as it was in 1927, before the discovery of penicillin. It will be a world where pneumonia and TB and gonorrhea are far harder to deal with, and claim many more of us. But it's a world that you and I don't have to see - if we act on this warning now.
In the United States, Latin America, and Asia, animals being farmed for meat and milk are being automatically given antibiotics in their food all day -- irrespective of whether they are healthy or sick. It's like slathering your child's Cornflakes with antibiotics, all year round. Some 80 per cent of all antibiotics in the US go straight into farm animals. This speeds up the race massively. It's like taking bacteria to the gym and giving them a constant work-out -- and then unleashing them on the rest of us.
This process partially explains the evolution and spread of many superbugs. Only a fortnight ago, a new strain of MRSA was found in British milk that could be transmitted to human beings. To some degree this arms race is an inevitable part of nature - but our factory farms are massively artificially accelerating it. They are bringing the day when antibiotics won't work much closer.
Why? Why would factory farms automatically feed antibiotics to healthy animals, given the obvious risk? If you cram animals together, give them little room to move, and make them grow and produce far beyond the level they would in natural circumstances, they will routinely get ill -- and they do. It is cheaper for their owners to simply automatically and preemptively drug them all, than to try to treat their illness individually, or to create an environment where sickness is not standard...
more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/...
This is the kind of stuff that affects us all, and is routinely ignored. Whether we like it or not, our food supply is slowly poisoning us, regardless of whether or not we're careful to avoid processed foods laden with refined carbohydrates and high fructose corn syrup. Our bodies are food processing machines, and what's on our plates is our raw material. Beyond its effects on our physical health (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc...), poor nutrition plays a huge role on our mental health as well. Here's a fantastic documentary on the matter that has recently been playing on the Documentary Channel:
Feed Your Head
Yet, with all this is mind, we get more and more news stories like this:
House GOP Puts Food Aid, Food Safety on Chopping Block
I honestly don't know, anymore. Between this, and the "keep your hands off our french fries" nutbags, it seems more and more hopeless like things will change any time soon. I guess as long as people can take a pill to mask the effects of unhealthy eating (a "bail out," as one interviewee put it in Feed Your Head), people will be even more slow to change (while Big Pharma profits enormously in the process). And, on that sunny note of pessimism, here's one more fantastic (and disheartening) account detailing one of the worst culprits in the Western Diet:
Sugar: The Bitter Truth
Someone posted this in an unrelated thread the other day (think it had to do with the CIA), but I thought it spoke volumes about what's going on in Libya:
The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis, by Bill Moyers
The parallels are even clearer when you consider this recently posted thread:
Please, if you have the time, give it a watch - you won't be disappointed. Spread it around if you can. Wish we had more like Bill Moyers around, reminds you just how much of a sham the MSM is in this day and age.
(also reminds you about how much of an asshole Ollie North was/is)
(and note Senator's Inouye's response to North's "just following orders defense" starting around 1:08:43...and the subsequent interruption/disrespect by North's sleazebag lawyer)
A few of my favorite quotes from a man who was light years ahead of his time:
On problems with "Specialization":
"We are in an age that assumes the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable. Consequently, society expects all earnestly responsible communication to be crisply brief. . . . In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding. Specialization has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual's leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others. Specialization breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which, in turn, leads to war."
"The youth of humanity all around our planet are intuitively revolting from all sovereignties and political ideologies. The youth of Earth are moving intuitively toward an utterly classless, raceless, omnicooperative, omniworld humanity. Children freed of the ignorantly founded educational traditions and exposed only to their spontaneously summoned, computer-stored and -distributed outflow of reliable-opinion-purged, experimentally verified data, shall indeed lead society to its happy egress from all misinformedly conceived, fearfully and legally imposed, and physically enforced customs of yesterday. They can lead all humanity into omnisuccessful survival as well as entrance into an utterly new era of human experience in an as-yet and ever-will-be fundamentally mysterious Universe."
"Corporations are neither physical nor metaphysical phenomena. They are socioeconomic ploys — legally enacted game-playing — agreed upon only between overwhelmingly powerful socioeconomic individuals and by them imposed upon human society and its all unwitting members."
"We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living."
"Every child has an enormous drive to demonstrate competence. If humans are not required to earn a living to be provided survival needs, many are going to want very much to be productive, but not at those tasks they did not choose to do but were forced to accept in order to earn money. Instead, humans will spontaneously take upon themselves those tasks that world society really needs to have done.
On where we're going:
"Man is going to be displaced altogether as a specialist by the computer. Man himself is being forced to reestablish, employ, and enjoy his innate "comprehensivity." Coping with the totality of Spaceship Earth and universe is ahead for all of us." - from 1963
"All of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly — right now."
"Dear reader, traditional human power structures and their reign of darkness are about to be rendered obsolete."
"Conspiracy theory" tends to be a pejorative and derogatory term used haphazardly in an attempt to generalize, discredit, and shame anybody who challenges or questions what they're being told. And, like you so astutely pointed out, it's only after the fact, when it becomes almost impossible to deny, that certain "conspiracy theories" magically morph into "facts," and it becomes acceptable for the peanut gallery to label them as such. Obviously, not all "conspiracy theories" are created equal, the majority of those folks don't claim that they are - yet don't tell that to some of these thick-headed fucks.
I've seen a few posters on here accuse of projection, yet claiming that even most "conspiracy theories" are based on "pure speculation" rather than "bits and pieces of evidence" is, in fact, projection and pure speculation. It really does more harm then good, since it only serves to prevent clarity even further. Of course there are cases when all known legitimate facts are revealed, yet some people still have a hard time accepting it - but that doesn't mean it applies to all cases. Maybe there wouldn't be a need for "conspiracy theories" if we actually had some legitimate transparency, but we've been indoctrinated with the idea that our society runs on a "need-to-know basis," and with instances of clandestine and shady dealings in the past. In my opinion, everyone needs-to-know, and almost any attempt to claim otherwise is disingenuous and absurd.
(It's odd, at the opposite end of the "skeptic" spectrum (where "conspiracy theories" are borne) lies gullibility. Yet, "rational" people don't like to be called gullible. No, that's an affront to their pride, see. They're the "rational" ones! Conversely, they have no problem being gargantuan fucks who ridicule and criticize anyone who proposes an alternate perspective on an issue whose facts might be muddled, or concealed, to begin with. Especially when there are "bits and pieces of evidence" that do suggest otherwise, yet are conveniently glossed over or dismissed.)
"Mob mentality" is generally considered to be a dangerous thing (Ad populum; look it up, people - fuck it, I'll do it for you - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad... ). So, too, is orthodoxy. Some of these dismissals can also rest on the "it can't be true, therefore it isn't" logic. Now, again, that's not to say that if everyone believes it it must not be true, or that labeling something a "conspiracy theory" makes it true, or that there aren't some "conspiracy theories" out there that are wildly fantastical (although I'm sure what I'm saying will be interpreted that way), just that the people throwing around the ad hominum accusations can be just as irrational as the most ardent "conspiracy theorist."
Finally, realize (and I know this is going to really upset the apple cart), that the "truth" is insofar as you (the "you" in the general sense) accept it - "conspiracy theorist" or not. What the thinker thinks, the prover proves. Meaning - if you're predisposed to think a certain way (whether you realize it or not), you're gonna seek out "facts" to support your view (this cuts both ways). We all have our own "reality-tunnels." That's not to say we don't share the same opinions, or observe the same facts, or reach the same conclusions, as other people - but the way you experience the world, the people/politicians/preachers who you decide to give authority to (in other words, your perspective), is unique to you and you alone.
But we don't like to think of things that way. We want things to "make sense." Things to fit in neat little boxes. We want "objective truth," if nothing more than for some sense of permanence and security. Yes, this can be a slippery slope and a scary thing to realize, but that's the ultimate truth there is. It doesn't need to be a crippling realization, just something to be mindful of. Who knows, might open up your mind a little bit - widen that "reality-tunnel" a little further.
Also, it shouldn't come as a surprise that people conspire all the time. Hell, our country was founded thanks to a conspiracy. It seems that some of the so-called "skeptics" out there are only skeptical up to a point - until it challenges their world view.
Skepticism has many definitions, but generally refers to any questioning attitude of knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.
(thanks for the thread, info and the insight, Bonobo!)
Wish I would've added this to the original post. A well-produced doc that goes into further detail: www.hulu.com/the-pyramid-code
I've heard about some of the amazing proportions/symmetries of the pyramids themselves, for example...
- In the Great Pyramid, the King's Chamber, angled at 45 degrees 14 minutes, would have targeted the star Zeta Orionis, the lowest of the three stars of Orion's Belt (which corresponded with the Egyptian god Osiris). The Queen's Chamber, angled at 39 degrees 30 minutes, would have aligned with Sirius ("Alpha Canis Major") at it's highest point in the night sky during it's highest peak of the year (which corresponded with the Egyptian goddess Isis).
- The base length of the Great Pyramid - 921.453 meters - is exactly equal to half a minute of latitude at the equator, so the perimeter is equal to 1/43,200 of the circumference of the earth. 4,320 is also a precessional number - the rate of precession is measured by observing the gradually changing zodiacal backdrop against which the sun rises on the spring equinox. The positions of the stars "shifts" 1 degree every 72 years. Each of the 12 ages of the zodiac occupies 30 degrees of this astronomical circle. It takes 2160 years to complete one cycle (we are currently in the "age of Pisces"). 2160 x 2 = 4320. Also, if you want to take that further, Hindus believe that the Brahman age goes in 4,320,000 year cycles of four stages, but that's neither here nor there.
- Pi and the Great Pyramid - it's height (481.3949 feet) stands in relation to its based perimeter (3023.16 feet) as the radius of a circle stands in relation to its circumference. Multiply the height by 2pi, and you get the value for the base perimeter: 481.3949 x 3.14 x 2 = 3023.16 feet.
- Phi (the Golden Ratio) and the Great Pyramid - The relationship between half the base length and the length of its apothem/slope is the ratio 1:1.618. This geometrical proportion was considered by the Pythagoreans to have a particularly distinctive aesthetic quality. Beyond that, it's found throughout nature (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVODhFLe0mw - there are more technical ones on YouTube, but this is my favorite...just search "Golden Ratio").
- All sides of the Giza pyramids are perfectly squared with north/south and east/west.
- Plus more that I am forgetting, or ill equipped to explain. (check out this book for a great rundown on that, and more: http://www.amazon.com/Hermetic-Code-DNA-Pr... )
...and I knew about the Pyramids of Giza modeling the stars of Orion's belt, but I wasn't aware of just how vast the star correlation was. Check it out:
(map source: http://www.thehiddenrecords.com/egypt.htm )
...and this is where Chinese communists are in extreme danger. They are the most earnest of people, the most dedicated to survival. The style of life in China is drab because they think that the point of life is to go on living, and so long as you get by, no matter how horrible the food is, how drab your dress, you are getting by. And this is completely missing the point.
The mistake is on page 224 of Mao Tse-Tung's red book where he says, 'It is essential to have a furrowed brow to think,' as if straining the muscles of the forehead has anything to do with clear thinking. This is against Lao-tzu, who is the greatest of all Chinese philosophers, the Father of Wisdom.
You cannot make your mind or your nervous system efficient by straining; this is basic to psycho-physical functioning. Mao Tse-Tung makes this mistake and this indicates an excessive seriousness. This is the point I am getting at: life is not worth living if it is compulsive."
- Alan Watts, Play and Survival
It's unfortunate that a culture as rich as Chinese - one that has given the world the peaceful, thought-expanding teachings of Lao-tzu, the I Ching/Tao, Buddhism, Confucius, etc... - has devolved into such a clusterfuck of narrow-minded, rigid, militaristic pricks for leaders. That's not to say we're any better in this day and age, but they could learn a thing or two from their ancient ancestors.
So, I came across this article titled Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush that was in the New York Times Magazine back in 2004 (a great read written by Ron Suskind - http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine... ). I know this may be old news to some, but I hadn't read it before - and, though it was all a horrible reminder of the Bush years, I found one excerpt particularly shocking:
"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued.''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
It's not so much that I'm shocked that this is how those evil assholes operate, just that this person delineated it so clearly and without a hint of remorse or hesitation. The reason I point it out is that absolutely nothing has changed, yet they're still, by and large, allowed to get away with their own manufactured reality.
I came across the following quote the other day, and it opened my mind to a broader perspective on the Church/State dichotomy in our country (that also touches on the apparent antithetical principles of the Religious Right/Tea Party). I also think it reflects enormously on the kind of unilateral/dictatorial shit these Republican Governors have been trying to pull these past few months, and why their authoritarian actions play well with so many on the Right.
As I've said in a previous thread, I do a great disservice to Alan Watts with this out-of-context quote (this one being an excerpt from his seminar "Jesus - His Religion, or the Religion About Him?," included in a collection of his talks in the book Myth and Religion), and encourage anyone who finds it interesting to check some of his stuff out for themselves (his topics are wide-ranging). Anyway, here's this particular insight:
"All Western religions have adopted the form of celestial monarchies and therefore have discouraged democracy in the kingdom of heaven. As a consequence of the teaching of the German and Flemish mystics in the fifteenth century, there began to be such movements as the Anabaptists, the Brothers of the Free Spirit, the Levelers, and the Quakers. These spiritual movements came to this country and helped to found a republic and not a monarchy.
How could you say that a republic is the best form of government if you think that the universe is a monarchy? Obviously if God is on top in a monarchy, monarchy is the best form of government. Ever so many citizens of this republic think that they ought to believe that the universe is a monarchy, and therefore they are always at odds with the republic. It is principally from white, racist Christians that we have the threat of fascism in this country, because they have a religion that is militant, which is not the religion of Jesus. His religion was the realization of divine sonship, but the religion about Jesus pedestalizes him, and says that only this man, of all the sons of woman, was divine. It speaks of itself as the church militant. Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war."
And, to end with one more timely and out-of-context quote from Watts:
"Western civilization is in a state of chaos. It has lost effective knowledge of man's true nature and destiny. Neither philosophy nor religion as they are known today do much to give man the consciousness that the deepest center, or "ground," of his being is to be found in that eternal reality which is in the West called God."
This probably applies more to the recent "Great Recession" (which hasn't really ended for most), but I think it correlates to the promised fallout presented by shutdown all the same (and, really, to life in general). I understand this presents no physical solution to the current problem, and that "philosophizing" on it will do little to alleviate any of the monetary fears, concerns and consequences of an actual shutdown.
I also do a great disservice to Alan Watts with this out-of-context quote (which is an excerpt from his seminar "From Time to Eternity," included in a collection of his talks in the book Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life), and encourage anyone who finds it interesting to check some of his stuff out for themselves (his topics are wide-ranging). Anyway, I just thought this was a particularly acute insight to share:
"Civilization is a very complex system in which we use symbols - words, numbers, figures, and concepts - to represent the real world of nature. We use money to represent wealth. We use the clock to represent time. We use yards and inches to represent space. These are very useful measures. But you can always have too much of a good thing. You can easily confuse the measurement with what you are measuring, such as confusing money with wealth. It is like confusing the menu with dinner. You can become so enchanted with the symbols that you entirely confuse them with reality. This is the disease from which almost all civilized people are suffering. We are, therefore, in the position of eating the menu instead of the dinner, of living in a world of words and symbols. This causes us to relate badly to our material surroundings.
Think about the Great Depression. One day everything was going along fine - everybody was pretty wealthy and had plenty to eat - and the next day, suddenly, everybody was in poverty. What happened? Had the farms disappeared? Had the cows vanished into thin air? Had the fish of the sea ceased to exist? Had human beings lost their energy, their skills, and their brains? No. This is what happened: On the morning after the beginning of the Depression, a carpenter came to work, and the foreman said to him, 'Sorry, chum, you can't work today. There ain't no inches.'
The carpenter said, 'What do you mean, there ain't no inches?'
'Yeah,' the foreman said. 'We got lumber, we got metal, but we ain't got no inches.'
'You're crazy,' the carpenter said.
And the foreman replied, 'The trouble with you is you don't understand business.'
What happened in the Great Depression was that human beings confused money with wealth. And they didn't realize that money is a measure of wealth, in exactly the same way that inches are a measure of length. They think it is something that is valuable in and of itself. And as a result of that they get into unbelievable trouble."
...the faster it vibrates, the higher the frequency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frequency ). Now, you're partially right, there is no such thing as "sound," there are only frequencies. We "hear" some of them because our ears have the ability to resonate to the range of the frequency (by the way, I was off with my sound range approximate...it is more like 20 Hz - 20,000 Hz...bats, on the other hand, can "hear" up to 100,000 Hz).
Matter is referred to in terms of "sound" because the whole universe is an essentially musical structure, which is typically associated with sound. Whereas we "hear" in approximately 10 octaves, we "see" barely 1 octave of color (think of Mr. Roy G. Biv of rainbow fame - Red; Orange; Yellow; Green; Blue; Indigo; Violet - there are various hues/frequencies lying between the two extremes, but no "octave" of Red that we can see). I'm not speaking specifically about 2012 here, just current scientific knowledge.
Also, if you watched the video, you'll remember the part where that sound-table "shaped" the "matter" (the sand) into various "patterns" (a phenomenon called "cymatics"). The shapes changed accordingly as sound pitch was increased. This should give you an idea about sound's underlying role in the structure of matter (just think of it on the sub-atomic scale...i.e. compare the shapes of the sand to the structure of molecules and atoms). For example, one interesting fact is that the "color" orange-red has a direct influence on the process of cell division. Here was the experiment:
Professor Max Luscher hypothesized that the growth of testes in drakes can be controlled by the use of color. Two groups of drakes were kept under different colored lights in otherwise identical conditions. The testes of drakes reared beneath an orange-red light grew twice as fast as those of drakes kept below pale blue light.
Of course, this doesn't really mean the orange-red "color" had an effect at all, but the frequency at which the color vibrates. If nothing else, I guess, now we know how to create male ducks with gigantic balls.
You seemed to appreciate Pharaoh's explanation more, so I'll put in those terms. There are three parts to the equation - electrons (the particles that give all infinitesimally small atomic nuclei a hard, voluminous shell), photons (light quanta...sub-atomic components classified as "virtual" particles, which means they have no measurable mass), and us (the observer...or, more specifically, our nervous system). These interact in an interconnected dance of energy. The photons interact with the electrons, then send signals to our nervous system, which "creates" the measurable world we perceive. The observer and observed are integral functions of the same phenomenon. Without the participation of an observer, it seems, "particles" as such don't exist (like in "Married with Children...", you can't have one without the other).
Color is not "in" objects, but "in" the inter-action of our senses with objects. What we call "temperature" is actually the role of movement of molecules and our "feeling" of that movement. We manufacture all "material things" out of an ever-changing deluge of photons and electrons out there in the void. The human nervous system (including the brain) encounters and endures literally hundreds of millions of electrons and photons every minute (conservatively). The models which compose our experienced "reality" always exclude more than they include.
"Reality" may better be considered as flowing and meandering. Like a river. Or interacting, like a dance. Or evolving, like life itself. And as we evolve, we reach higher "notes" on the "scale" (or, climbing the "ladder" of evolution). Light, it would seem, is the most vibrant of all phenomena, the one that acts as the catalyst of our evolution. I think that's the same idea as some of this 2012 stuff, it understands the following sentiments:
"If it vibrates it can be tuned. Everything is energy - violins, people, potato chips, thoughts, feelings, and events. They all vibrate."
"With transcendental evolution, a harmonious individual is like a fully evolved octave and is capable, through the final "note" Do, of striking a single new note, into a greater scale above."
...our brain constructs these "fluid" systems as "solid" due the limitations of our nervous system. There is a need to filter out this mass of information otherwise our brains would be overwhelmed (realize that our brain filters out over 90% of what's out there...notice we don't "detect" radio waves, infrared, or ultra-violet light, for example).
Electrons are always spinning like mad at the molecular level, whether we can "see" it or not. If they stopped moving, everything would fall apart. A way to visualize this is - image a giant floor fan turned off. You can see the individual blades, even throw a ball through if you'd like. Now turn that fan on high. The blades spin so fast, they almost appear as a "solid" surface, and if you throw a ball at it, it will deflect right back at you. Now, a fan may have somewhere in the 100 rotations per second range. Electrons are north of 30,000.
So, what we see/hear/sense is, in reality, a vast, interconnected web of interference patterns (or "overlapping waves"). Patterns in the fabric, if you will. Think of it this way - you "hear" in a very low frequency range (approximately 10-1200 Hertz), and you "see" at in a higher range of frequencies (375 trillion - 700 trillion Hertz). Both sets of wavelengths, just at differing frequencies - with a different set of organs dedicated to perceive each one (it's why you don't "see" sound). These things are all "woven" together to create the perceptual world we experience in our everyday lives.
All matter/vibrates/oscillates at the atomic level. This isn't "New Age quackery," this is quantum physics. Read any book regarding the matter. A good place to start is any by the world-renowned physicist Brian Greene, or the book "The Holographic Universe" by Michael Talbot. String theory, light quantum as both particle and wave, it's all there, we may just not "see" it.
So, yes, all matter "is" sound waves...some just at higher frequencies, or octaves, than others. Every "solid" object has a frequency that it resonates at, which is why wine glasses shatter when presented with its correlating pitch. That's why, in a sense, "solid" matter can be viewed as frozen sound.
I wrote this in a post in the Political Videos board, but wanted to share it here as well. It had to do with Bernie Sanders questioning of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Duncan's somewhat cavalier manner during it all. Here's my response in full:
"I've read up on Duncan's educational background and credentials, and, by god, they're certainly impressive. Here's the thing, though - I don't care if this asshole went to Harvard, or cut his teeth in the Chicago school system, he's going at this problem all wrong. Obama's entire administration is going at this all wrong.
What needs to happen is to abandon this factory-like, rote-memorization, Tiger Mom bullshit system we've created (and so desperately cling to) that measures intelligence according to some arcane standardized testing format filled with trivial knowledge and unreal time-frames (and limits). Instead, we need to look at the incredible advances in neuroscience and realize the brain's most effective ways of learning, and develop our public education system around that information. For a fantastic, comprehensive view on the matter, I highly recommend this book:
Brain Rules by: John Medina
We need to look to evolutionary biology, and the fact that our ancestor's brains developed on the move and according to a certain diet - therefore healthy food (including healthy food education) and physical activity (including 'play') are absolutely essential, and should almost take center stage.
We need to realize that all brains are wired differently, and, what's more, develop at different paces at young, formative ages (this fact is reflected in children's physical developments) - therefore, rather than throw all kids into one, mechanized "grade" system based on age, group them based on level. And make sure they UNDERSTAND things before arbitrarily shoeing them off into higher grades, and pushing them out the door at 18. If they don't "graduate" by 18, so what? There's no rush, especially when we know how mentally unprepared some of these kids are. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Who the fuck ever decided that "18" was the magic graduation age, anyway?
We need to get them out of cold, lifeless classrooms, whose settings reflect the factories that they were modeled after - instead, develop learning areas with a much more natural setting, with much more natural, "free-flowing" (for lack of a better term) seating. Until they have buildings that can serve this function, maybe go outside more often. Also, more circular, intimate seating arrangements are a good start that allow for a better flow of dialogue.
We need to allow for proper rest, to ensure better retention. Yes, this may even include a nap at mid-point through the day. Countless studies have shown that the brain does its lions share of memorization during sleep hours, and that thirty-minute naps have increased all kinds of performance (including in pilots) four-fold.
New information should be taught at "10-minute chunks," with classes culminating in 50 minutes - as studies have shown that after 10-minutes, the brain starts to wander. Here, children have adequate time to digest new bits of information, while at the same time being introduced to new information as to not "lose their attention." Days should then be structured where that same information, possibly presented in a different way, is reintroduced again later on in the day - as repetition helps retention. The plan should then, again, be repeated a few days later. Because, again - repetition helps retention (see what I did there?).
We need to engage more of the senses (sight/vision/hearing/sound/taste...the more simultaneously the better) with more dynamic presentations (YouTube, and other video services can be a big plus in this area), and focus on more "hands-on" activities, or "participation-based" group presentations, that are much more effective than dryly reading something out of a book (I'm not calling for outright elimination of plain reading - in fact, most of the best poetry and prose are best when they're simply read - just to engage more senses when possible).
We need to allow time for unfettered exploration (with mild supervision) for at least one day a week. Human beings are natural explorers, just watch a toddler for 15 minutes - they're amazed at all they encounter! And so are we, we just end up admonishing such behavior because it seems so "childish." And what I mean here (for when they're more "grown-up") is similar to Google's 20% free time (called "Innovation Time Off"), where they allow employees to explore projects of their choice one day a week - of which some of their best ideas have developed (Gmail, Google Reader, and a few others I can't think of at the moment...). Also, this falls in line with the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle...where 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes).
Also, during the 20% time, lead calming, meditative practices. Meditation has proven to not only lower stress, but affect positive physiological changes to the brain, in that it leads to better concentration and focus. But the lowering stress part of it can't be stressed enough. Our brains don't work well on stress. As John Medina puts it "Stressed brains don't learn the same way." And stress usually leads to anxiety, and anxiety leads to depression. Plus, I'm sure it would help children eliminate almost all of the myriad of medication we pump them full of these days. It might also lower violent activities, and bring children together in a more communal way.
And, with that in mind, we need to end this "competitive," "winning-the-future" bullshit, and instead focus on cooperation. That's not to say there shouldn't be athletic, or academic, competitions at schools - only that it should not be the sole, driving factor behind their actions/performance. "Getting ahead in life" seems like a great idea and all, but it can lead to a lot of undue stress and pressure - and when a kid "falls behind," and are constantly reminded of it, it usually leads to further distress, further psychological removal, and further troubling behavior. Also, as the world becomes more globally connected, we shouldn't focus on the mentality of "us vs. them," but, instead, "us all together."
I know this seems like a complete overhaul of the education system - and, to some, a bit pie-in-the-sky - but, in my opinion, that's exactly what's needed. Now, some of these proposals might not work, and I'm sure that many of them could be refined or that plenty more could be added. But, it's a start, and I'm tired, so I'm gonna go ahead and end this crudely. If you made it this far, thanks."
...and being aware of "awareness itself," which I agree is an important concept/practice ("Consciousness creates reality" - Buddha).
However, you seem to neglect the fact that certain "drugs" (a false label in my opinion, given that encompasses a wide range of substances, and the fact that I largely view these specific substances as "food" due to their abundance in natural form in Nature, and the fact that they aid in man's connection with Nature - but I'll stick with "drugs" to keep things simple) have been used throughout the history of our species, with thoroughly vetted theories that posit they were catalysts for developing some of our higher functions, but I'll get to that later.
Now, "reality" remains a funny thing. The average Joe on the street might tell you that everything they see, taste, touch, smell, and hear "is" reality - here, we have the sensory-sensual version of it (e.g. "seeing" the computer screen in front of you). Meanwhile, a modern-day physicist will argue something entirely different. Everything is a hallucination, according to physics (or, "quantum physics" - to be more specific). What is actually "out there" consists of clusters of colorless atoms and photons, and all the "colors" are my brain's way of reacting to various wave-lengths of light carried by the photons bouncing off the atoms. What's more, atoms have no more temperature than they have color. Only molecules "have" "temperature," and only in relation to their movements. However, this colorless, temperatureless, and abstract "reality" is only expressible in terms of surrealist mathematics - yet, I certainly "feel" temperature. So which "reality" is more "true"?
Every "reality" remains relative to the instrument used in detecting or measuring it. For most humans, the instrument remains our nervous system, in general, and our brain, in particular. Even the "redness" of roses belongs to the realm of our sensory experience. While the no-color of atoms belongs to the realm of our most abstract brain software. To attribute "reality" to any one level of abstract, from the most sensory to the most theoretical, implicitly relegates other levels to "non-reality," even though they, too, represent certain human experiences.
Our nervous system normally organize the dance of energy into block-like "things," probably as instant survival cues. Such "things" dissolve back into energy dances - processes, rather than nouns - when the nervous system is synergized with certain "drugs," or transmuted by yogic or shamanic exercises. The world we perceive by our sense is not "the real world," but a construct we create. Color is not "in" objects, but "in" the inter-action of our sense with objects. But it is through the use of certain "drugs" that gives us an entirely new, and, arguably, an equally legitimate perspective of the world. One author put it particularly well:
"The cannabis experience obliterates one hallucination (our usual way of seeing colors that aren't there) to open us to multiple hallucinations (countless new ways of seeing colors that aren't there). Cannabis definitely enriches the sensory-sensual manifold. I not only saw more colors, and more beauty, generally, but I also found that I heard music better."
Our brains block out far more information than they truly "project" (something to the tune of 95%...just take a look at the narrow band of the electro-magnetic spectrum to see the limited "reality" we perceive). Everywhere we look, we imagine solid objects, but science finds only a web of dancing energy. All of our perceptions have gone through myriads of neural processes in the brain before they appear to our consciousness. At the point of conscious recognition, the identified image is organized into a 3D hologram which we project outside ourselves and call "reality." (see "the Holographic Universe" by Michael Talbot, which argues that what we perceive, in and of itself, is a form of "hallucination"). Use of these certain "drugs" has been equated to "opening the valve that limits consciousness" (Terence McKenna - "Food of the Gods").
You do a disservice by grossly overgeneralizing the people who practice the use of psychedelics. Remember, Native American "spirit quests" weren't all about just wandering in the woods - they were largely under the "influence" of mescaline (from the peyote cactus plant) during these journeys. And, as we are well aware, Native Americans were one of the most commonly known cultures deeply connected with, and deeply respectful of, Nature - and it was largely due to their relationship with peyote, and other "drugs" like it. Now, is that connection solely because peyote - I honestly couldn't say. But, it would seem to me, peyote gives them a much deeper, and more intimate, connection with Nature/"reality". These people even frequently speak in terms of the plants "talking" to them, as if they are communicating with Nature. Can you simply chalk that up as a mere a "hallucination." Maybe - until the same experience is recounted over and over, across countless disparate cultures, through countless generations. Point being, there seems to be something more going on beyond simple "hallucinations." The Native Americans are just one among countless cultures that practice such traditions - to understand this requires a stepping outside of one's own cultural perspective from a given moment in time.
Psychedelics, in my opinion, can act as a form of consciousness jumper cable - or, to put it more precisely, serve to "jolt the nervous system into 'higher' functioning" - and there's nothing wrong with that. It's not an easy, or lazy route, by any means. Some argue that, while the nervous system is key to all human knowledge, as a biochemical structure, these "drugs" are the fuel/tool to make it operate - "microscopes" used to "change focus in various ways" and to "learn the full potential of the human nervous system." As Terence McKenna put it:
"Psychedelic plants, and the shamanic institutions that their use implies, are profound tools for the exploration of the inner depths of the human psyche."
Moreover, there is cumulative evidence that our very own symbolizing and semantic faculty are linked with shamans dosing nervous systems with metaprogramming drugs dating back to (at least) 30,000 BC (see: Dr. Andrija Puharich's "The Sacred Mushroom," R. Gordon Wasson's "Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality," John Allegro's "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross," Robert Graves' "The White Goddess," Professor Peter Furst's "Flesh of the Gods," Terence McKenna's "Food of the Gods," Dr. Weston LaBarre's "The Peyote Cult," etc...) Psychedelics can help people see/realize that "there is no true separation anywhere." To dismiss such use/experience as "swallowing something while hoping for the best, praying to avoid the worst, and most often getting a few hours of distorted thinking" seems a gross over-generalization, and a bit close-minded, in my opinion - especially when you consider even observing the computer screen in front you could very well be a form of "distorted thinking."
Your assertion that these compounds are no different than Metamucil would appear false - unless neurotransmitters in your brain are structurally related to the active ingredients in Metamucil, as they are with plant hallucinogens (again, either refer to the documentary regarding DMT, or read up on 'cannabinoid receptors'). Yes, life is a chemical process, and that chemistry can be altered by what you ingest - but just because you can swallow it and your body reacts to it, doesn't mean your body is hard-wired for it. Rather, in the case of hallucinogens, the argument (backed by actual observation) has been made that it's more analogous to a "key fitting a lock."
In short, it seems the use of these "drugs" produces a "spiritual" experience, and a "reality" experience - which, I believe, makes them even more useful. And, with that entirely too long diatribe out of the way, I'll leave on this quote from Robert Anton Wilson:
"What's real is not what we see, and what we see isn't real at all."
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