Friday, November 11, 2011

The Resentment Machine

The immiseration of the digital creative class

by Freddie deBoer

The popular adoption of the internet has brought with it great changes. One of the peculiar aspects of this particular revolution is that it has been historicized in real time—reported accurately, greatly exaggerated, or outright invented, often by those who have embraced the technology most fully. As impressive as the various changes wrought by the exponential growth of internet users were, they never seemed quite impressive enough for those who trumpeted them.

In a strange type of autoethnography, those most taken with the internet of the late 1990s and early 2000s spent a considerable amount of their time online talking about what it meant that they were online. In straightforwardly self-aggrandizing narratives, the most dedicated and involved internet users began crafting a pocket mythology of the new reality. Rather than regarding themselves as tech consumers, the most dedicated internet users spoke instead of revolution. Vast, life-altering consequences were predicted for these rising technologies. In much the same way as those speaking about the importance of New York City are often actually speaking about the importance of themselves, so those who crafted the oral history of the internet were often really talking about their own revolutionary potential. Not that this was without benefits; self-obsession became a vehicle for an intricate literature on emergent online technology.

Yet for all the endless consideration of the rise of the digitally connected human species, one of the most important aspects of internet culture has gone largely unnoticed. The internet has provided tremendous functionality, for facilitating commerce, communication, research, entertainment, and more. Yet for a comparatively small but influential group of its most dedicated users, its most important feature, the killer app, is its power as an all-purpose sorting mechanism, one that separates the worthy from the unworthy—and in doing so, gives some meager semblance of purpose to generations whose lives are largely defined by purposelessness. For the postcollegiate, culturally savvy tastemakers who exert such disproportionate influence over online experience, the internet is above and beyond all else a resentment machine.

The modern American “meritocracy,” the education/employment vehicle, prepares thousands of upwardly mobile young strivers for everything but the life they will actually encounter. The endlessly grinding wheel of American “success” indoctrinates young people with a competitive vision that most of them never escape. The numbing and frenetic socioacademic sorting mechanism compels most of the best and the brightest adolescents in our middle and upper class to compete for various laurels from puberty to adulthood. School elections, high school and college athletics, honors societies, finals clubs, dining clubs, the subtler (but no less real) social competitions—all make competition the natural habitus of American youth. Every aspect of young adult life is transformed into a status game, as academics, athletics, music and the arts, travel, hobbies, and philanthropy are all reduced to fodder for college applications.

This instrumentalizing of all of the best things in life teaches teenagers the unmistakable lesson that nothing is to be enjoyed, nothing experienced purely, but rather that each and every part of human life is ultimately subservient to what is less human. Competition exists as a vehicle to provide the goods, material or immaterial, that make life enjoyable. The context of endless competition makes that means into an end itself. The eventual eats the immediate. No achievement, no effort, no relationship can exist as an end in itself. Each must be ground into chum to attract those who confer status and success—elite colleges and their representatives, employers.

As has been documented endlessly, this process starts earlier and earlier in life, with elite preschools now requiring that students pass tests and get references, before they can read or write. Many have lamented the rise of competition and gatekeeping in young children. Little attention has been paid to what comes after the competitions end.

It is, of course, possible to keep running on the wheel indefinitely. There are those professions (think: finance) that extend the status contests of childhood and adolescence into the gray years, and to one degree or another, most people play some version of this game for most of their lives. But for a large chunk of the striving class, this kind of naked careerism and straightforward neediness won’t do. Though they have been raised to compete and endlessly conditioned to measure themselves against their peers, they have done so in an environment that denies this reality while it creates it. Many were raised by self-consciously creative parents who wished for children who were similarly creative, in ethos if not in practice. These parents operated in a context that told them to nurture unique and beautiful butterflies while simultaneously reminding them, in that incessant subconscious way that is the secret strength of capitalism, that their job as parents is to raise their children to win. The conversion of the hippies into the yuppies has been documented endlessly by pop sociologists like David Brooks. What made this transformation palatable to many of those being transformed was the way in which materialist striving was wedded to the hippie’s interest in culture, art, and a vague “nonconformist” attitude.

It is no surprise that the urge to rear winners trumps the urge to raise artists. But the nagging drive to preach the value of culture does not go unnoticed. The urge to create, to live with an aesthetic sense, is admirable, and if inculcated genuinely—which is to say, in defiant opposition to the competitive urge rather than as an uneasy partner to it—this romantic artistic vision of life remains the best hope for humanity against the deadening drift of late capitalism. Only to create for the sake of creation, to build something truly your own for no purpose and in reference to the work of no other person—perhaps there’s a chance for grace there.

But in context of the alternative, a cheery and false vision of the artistic life, self-conscious creativity becomes sublimated into the competitive project and becomes twisted. Those raised with such contradictory impulses are left unable to contemplate the stocks-and-suspenders lifestyle that is the purest manifestation of the competitive instinct, but they are equally unable to cast off the social-climbing aspirations that this lifestyle represents. Their parentage and their culture teach them to at once hunger for the material goods that are the spoils of a small set of professions, but at the same time they distrust the culture of those self-same professions. They are trapped between their rejection of the means and an unchosen but deep hunger for the ends.

Momentum can be a cruel thing. High school culminates in college acceptance. This temporary victory can often be hollow, but the fast pace of life quickly leaves no time to reckon with that emptiness. As dehumanizing and vulgar as the high-school glass-bead game is, it certainly provides adolescents with a kind of order. That the system is inherently biased and riotously unfair is ultimately besides the point. In the many explicit ways in which high-school students are ranked emerges a broad consensus: There is an order to life, that order indicates value, and there are winners and losers.

Competition is propulsive and thus results in inertia. College students enjoy a variety of tools to continue to manage the competitive urge. Some find in the exclusive activities, clubs, and societies of elite colleges an acceptable continuation of high-school competition. Others never abandon their zeal for academic excellence and the laurels of high grades and instructor approval. Some pursue medical school, law school, an MBA, or (for the truly damned) a PhD. But most dull the urge by persisting in a four-or-five-year fugue of alcohol, friendship, and rarefied living.

The end of college brings an end to that order, and for many, this is bewildering. Educated but broadly ignorant of suffering, scattershot in their passions, possessed of verbal dexterity but bereft of the experience that might give their words meaning, culturally sensitive 20-somethings wander into a world that is supposed to be made for them, and find it inhospitable. Without the rigid ordering that grades, class rank, leadership, and office provide, the incessant and unnamed urge to compete cannot be easily addressed. Their vague cultural liberalism—a dedication to tolerance and egalitarianism in generally vague and deracinated terms—makes the careers that promise similar sorting unpalatable. The economic resentment and petty greed that they have had bred into them by the sputtering machine of American capitalism makes lower-class life unthinkable.

Driven by the primacy of the competitive urge and convinced that they need far more material goods than they do to live a comfortable life, they seek well-paying jobs. Most of them will find some gainful employment without great difficulty. Perhaps this is changing: As the tires on the Trans Am that is America go bald, their horror at a poor job market reveals their entitlement more than anything. But the numbers indicate that most still find their way into jobs that become careers. Many will have periods of arty unemployed urbanism, but after awhile the gremlin begins whispering, “You are a loser,” and suddenly, they’re placing that call to Joel from Sociology 205 who’s got that connection at that office. Often, these office jobs will enjoy the cover of orbiting in some vaguely creative endeavor like advertising. One way or the other, these jobs become careers in the loaded sense. In these careers, they find themselves in precisely the position that they long insisted they would never contemplate.

The competitive urge still pulses. It has to; the culture in which students have been raised has denied them any other framework with which to draw meaning. The world has assimilated the rejection of religion, tradition, and other determinants of virtue that attended the 1960s and wedded it to a vicious contempt for the political commitments that replaced them in that context. Culture preempts the kind of conscious understanding that attends to conviction, that all traditional designations of meaning are uncool.

If straightforward discussion of virtue and righteousness is socially unpalatable, straightforward political engagement appears worse still. Pushed by an advertising industry that embraces tropes of meaning just long enough to render them meaningless (Budweiser Clydesdales saluting fallen towers) and buffeted by arbiters of hipness that declare any unapologetic embrace of political ideology horribly cliché, a fussy specificity envelops every definition of the self. Conventional accounts of the kids these days tend to revert to tired tropes about disaffection and irony. The reality is sadder: They are not passionless, but many have invested their passion in a shared cultural knowledge that denies the value of any other endeavor worthy of personal investment.

Contemporary strivers lack the tools with which people in the past have differentiated themselves from their peers: They live in a post-virtue, post-religion, post-aristocracy age. They lack the skills or inspiration to create something of genuine worth. They have been conditioned to find all but the most conventional and compromised politics worthy of contempt. They are denied even the cold comfort of identification with career, as they cope with the deadening tedium and meaninglessness of work by calling attention to it over and over again, as if acknowledging it somehow elevates them above it.

Into this vacuum comes a relief that is profoundly rational in context—the self as consumer and critic. Given the emptiness of the material conditions of their lives, the formerly manic competitors must come to invest the cultural goods they consume with great meaning. Meaning must be made somewhere; no one will countenance standing for nothing. So the poor proxy of media and cultural consumption comes to define the individual. In many ways, cultural products such as movies, music, clothes, and media are the perfect vehicle for the endless division of people into strata of knowingness, savvy, and cultural value.

These cultural products have no quantifiable value, yet their relative value is fiercely debated as if some such quantifiable understanding could be reached. They are easily mined for ancillary content, the TV recaps and record reviews and endless fulminating in comments and forums that spread like weeds. (Does anyone who watches Mad Men not blog about it?) They are bound up with celebrity, both real and petty. They can inspire and so trick us into believing that our reactions are similarly worthy of inspiration. And they are complex and varied enough that there is always more to know and more rarefied territory to reach, the better to climb the ladder one rung higher than the person the next desk over.

There is a problem, though. The value-through-what-is-consumed is entirely illusory. There is no there there. This is what you can really learn about a person by understanding his or her cultural consumption, the movies, music, fashion, media, and assorted other socially inflected ephemera: nothing. Absolutely nothing. The internet writ large is desperately invested in the idea that liking, say, The Wire, says something of depth and importance about the liker, and certainly that the preference for this show to CSI tells everything.

Likewise, the internet exists to perpetuate the idea that there is some meaningful difference between fans of this band or that, of Android or Apple, or that there is a Slate lifestyle and a This Recording lifestyle and one for Gawker or The Hairpin or wherever. Not a word of it is true. There are no Apple people. Buying an iPad does nothing to delineate you from anyone else. Nothing separates a Budweiser man from a microbrew guy. That our society insists that there are differences here is only our longest con.

This endless posturing, pregnant with anxiety and roiling with class resentment, ultimately pleases no one. Yet this emptiness doesn’t compel people to turn away from the sorting mechanism. Instead, it draws them further and further in. Faced with the failure of their cultural affinities to define an authentic and fulfilling self, postcollegiate middle-class upwardly-oriented-if-not-upwardly-mobile Americans double down on the importance of these affinities and confront the continued failure with a formless resentment. The bitterness that surrounds these distinctions is a product of their inability to actually make us distinct.

The savviest of the media and culture websites tap into this resentment as directly as they dare. They write endlessly about what is overrated. They assign specific and damning personality traits to the fan bases of unworthy cultural objects. They invite comments that tediously parse microscopic distinctions in cultural consumption. They engage in criticism as a kind of preemptive strike against those who actually create. They glamorize pettiness in aesthetic taste. The few artistic works they lionize are praised to the point of absurdity, as various acolytes try to outdo each other in hyperbole. They relentlessly push the central narrative that their readers crave, that consumption is achievement and that creators are to be distrusted and “put in their place.” They deny the frequently sad but inescapable reality that consumption is not creation and that only the genuinely creative act can reveal the self.

This, then, is the role of the resentment machine: to amplify meaningless differences and assign to them vast importance for the quality of individuals. For those who are writing the most prominent parts of the internet—the bloggers, the trendsetters, the über-Tweeters, the tastemakers, the linkers, the creators of memes and online norms—online life is taking the place of the creation of the self, and doing so poorly.

This all sounds quite critical, I’m sure, but ultimately, this is a critique I include myself in. For this to approach real criticism I would have to offer an alternative to those trapped in the idea of the consumer as self. I haven’t got one. Our system has relentlessly denied the role of any human practice that cannot be monetized. The capitalist apparatus has worked tirelessly to commercialize everything, to reduce every aspect of human life to currency exchange. In such a context, there is little hope for the survival of the fully realized self.


Freddie deBoer is a graduate student in rhetoric and composition. He blogs at L’Hôte.

Friday, October 7, 2011

When is The Last Time You Took A Risk?


Hi Friend,

Yesterday I was talking with one of my good friends about risk...

My dictionary tells me that to risk is "to expose oneself to the chance of loss." I suppose that is true. Another piece of literature I was once given (author unknown) suggests that:

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.

You may avoid suffering and sorrow if you don't risk, but you simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. The greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing and has nothing. Only a person who risks is free.

What causes individuals to shy away from taking a risk, even if it is a low risk and will give them something they really want? Well, certainly high on most people's list would be fear of loss, failure and perceived humiliation if the loss were to occur. Why would we automatically think that we would fail at something? Why wouldn't we first try and see, and then if we did fail, learn from that experience and move on? What causes us to have these thoughts of inferiority?

Well, I believe it dates back to our little life. And, since risk-taking, to my knowledge, is not a subject that is taught in school, it would lead me to believe that a person's fear of taking risks might stem back from before they can even remember. When you were a child taking your very first steps, it wasn't uncommon to hear one of your parents or guardians say, "Be careful, you might fall." Or, "Don't do that, you'll ...." Though some of this is rhetoric and you don't really pay much attention to it, for some, it begins the pattern of playing it safe.

Think of how much better equipped we would be to face life's challenges and succeed, if we had repetitively heard, "Take a chance and don't worry about falling, because you're going to fall...probably quite often. Falling is an important part of learning." Many of the greatest lessons you'll receive in life are going to come from falling ... from your failures.

Failing will never make you a failure unless you quit. Unfortunately, very few people heard that when they were small. The vast majority of our population have been mentally programmed to play it safe.

In my seminars I have often said that a little baby is a natural born risk taker. The baby never considers the consequences of falling when it is learning to walk. Falling is acknowledged as a natural consequence to learning to walk. I guess you could call it a calculated gamble; it's a prerequisite to mastering a myriad of motor skills required to get you on your feet and moving. It's a natural progression in movement. Why then, wouldn't we stop to consider that any movement into unchartered territory should be viewed with the same consideration? What happens to us?

Why is it that we do not see the process of reaching our goals as having steps similar to the ones the baby must take in order to learn to walk? There will be some stumbling and falling in the learning process, but success can only be reached when we are prepared to take those steps, all of them, even the ones where we may fall down. The real win is the confidence and experience we acquire which translates into new opportunities for growth, enjoyment and expansion in all areas of our life.

When I was a youngster in school, I participated in track and field. Pole-vaulting was my specialty; it was the one event I seemed to excel at. I clearly remember knocking that bar flying more often than I cleared it. I also remember I was not very enthusiastic when that happened. Knocking the bar off left me with a feeling that because I had failed, I was a failure. I had failed and as I remember, no one advised me of anything different. In retrospect, it would have been an excellent opportunity for one of my teachers to help me understand one of life's greatest lessons. But, it never happened and it would be many years before I learned the truth, the hard way.

While we're still on the topic of children, I'll throw up another caution flag. There's a four letter word that most parents use around their children so frequently, that the children pick it up and before too long it is buried in the treasury of their subconscious mind. That four letter word is CAN'T. This word has done more damage than a lot of other frowned-upon four letter words put together. I know of some forward-thinking parents who have literally banned that word from their children's vocabulary!

Can't is a word that paralyzes any constructive progress. It switches your mind into a negative frequency. It is a four letter word that will open your mind to a never ending flow of logical, practical reasons which will enable you to justify why you are not able to do something you sincerely want to accomplish.

The only alternative to that four-letter word is its polar opposite - I CAN. I can is far more important than IQ. You don't necessarily have to be very smart to win ... but you must be willing. Reaching the goal is not success; success is moving toward the goal. When I was knocking down the cross bar, I was attempting to reach the goal. I was stretching, giving it everything I had. That could hardly be considered failing. Every time I tried to clear the bar, I was risking being ridiculed by the other kids. I risked having them laugh at me when I missed ... and they did laugh.

However, every time I ran down the field and lowered the pole into the box, attempting to vault myself over the bar, I was challenging myself. Taking risks is essential when you want to reach a goal and the purpose of goals is growth. When you challenge yourself, you bring more of yourself to the surface. If you knock the bar flying today, at least you will know you are challenging yourself; you're a success!

If you dream of living your life in a really big way, you must accept risk-taking as a very real part of the apprenticeship you must serve. Make a decision right now to change. Decide this very moment there will be no more playing it safe ... no more "saving it for a rainy day" type thinking in your life. When people get caught up in the habit of saving for a rainy day, that is generally what they get ... a rainy day.

I clearly remember the first time I heard Earl Nightingale. Earl was telling a story about a farmer who was out walking in a field. He looked down and saw a tiny pumpkin growing on a vine. Nearby, he spotted a small glass jar. The farmer reached down and placed the tiny pumpkin inside the small jar. The pumpkin continued to grow until it filled the inside of the jar. Beyond which it could not grow.

There are a number of people like that tiny pumpkin. They limit themselves and refuse to take a risk. They never truly test the strength of their abilities. You will never get to second base if you keep one foot on first. Too many people go through their entire lives playing their cards close to their chest. They never step out and bet on the surest thing in the world ... themselves. If you hope to accumulate great wealth or achieve high goals, history records that the first few steps have a high degree of risk. You must turn your back on safety and security. To make it big, you must take big risks. You will very likely have to put yourself in a highly vulnerable position. It is also worth remembering you cannot almost take a risk.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face." Follow her advice and liberate yourself from the crippling emotional state of fear and enter into a world of freedom.


To your success,
Bob Proctor


"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."
- Vivian Greene

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Day on Earth

One Day on Earth - Motion Picture Trailer from One Day On Earth on Vimeo.


This trailer is the first glimpse of One Day on Earth, an ambitious motion picture shot by thousands of filmmakers in every country in the world on a single day: October 10, 2010. The trailer alone includes footage from 90 individuals and organizations. The producer/director Kyle Ruddick is currently editing down 3,000 hours of film and is asking for help via Kickstarter to complete the project.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why Do We Judge?

A dear friend wrote to me: "I think a topic that you should address is judgment. So many so called 'faithful' people live their lives judging others by their rule book."

Perhaps the topic that should be addressed first is recognizing and acknowledging our human point of reference (personal perception). Our individual perception of any event is unique to the individual. This perception becomes our basis for creating reality. The moment we start to acknowledge that we are able to equally hold two, three, four or more different points of reference on the same event, topic, or person; is when we can begin to realize that judgment is partly due to an inability to see events from another’s vantage point. We’ve all had the experience where you and another person experienced the same event yet their individual recollection and our individual recollection of the same events were completely different. This example demonstrates how our perceptions are inherently influenced by a host of conscious and subconscious factors. Judgment, in many ways, is born out of our need to defend our sense of self, our sense of individual thought, the superiority of our opinion and our illusion of separation from others.

Judgment is a curious phenomenon for the actions we allow and justify in ourselves are usually the same actions we cannot tolerate in others. We must always remember that judgment communicates energy, through our thoughts which become our words. And words become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become character. And Character becomes destiny.

As Eckart Tolle stated in an interview, ‘for many people there is a transitional stage from being identified with thought completely to rising above thought. The intermediate stage to rising above thought is acknowledging that all thought and any judgment or interpretation is simply a perspective—one can easily move to a different stand having another judgment about the same event or person. So one can no longer completely identify with thought, that is not to say not to have any opinion; we can have opinions, but recognizing them as mental positions and perspectives not the truth.’

One could say that an aspect of Godliness would be having the ability to accept all opinions, actions, people, religions, and life equally without judgment. One can have an opinion, even one with which they are passionate about, yet at the same time recognize it is merely a mental position or perspective, not an ‘objective truth.’

Being wrong is ok, and if we have learned anything from history it is that we as humans are wrong in our beliefs the vast majority of our human history. So who knows, maybe our beliefs that we hold so firm and condemn others for not having could be off... Just maybe, even likely, wrong.


"You can’t believe everything you think"

&

"Your judgement shows more about you than the person you have judged." 


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The China Study

If we are what we eat, what have we become?

Our food is genetically modified (to be pesticide resistant, not healthier), highly processed, laden with pesticides, hormones, steroids, chemicals, antibiotics, and far too meat and dairy oriented.

This has caused health problems, cancers, heart disease and also considerably effecting the amount of pollution we are pumping into mother earth.

Food for thought:
Meat production and consumption is the number 2 contributor to the world's climate change, number 3 is transportation... (if we all reduced our meat consumption by 50%-90%, it would be better than removing all the cars in the world off of our roads)

Some Solutions:
- Grow your own fruits, herbs and vegetables when possible or shop at your local farmer's market buying only organic fruits and veggies that are not genetically modified.
- Drink water, not pop or milk.
- Reduce the amount of animal protein and dairy in your diet... it will save your health and life. We only need 10% protein in our diet, and it should ideally be plant protein (Meat Free Mondays is a great way to start).


Celebrated Cornell University professor T. Colin Campbell Phd, presents the overwhelming evidence showing that animal protein is one of the most potent carcinogens people are exposed to.

This is the FULL 45 MINUTE talk by Dr. Campbell highlighting his China study

Sunday, June 19, 2011

'survival of the kindest'

By Yasmin Anwar, Media Relations | 08 December 2009 http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2009/12/08_survival_of_kindest.shtml

BERKELEY — Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.

In contrast to "every man for himself" interpretations of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychologist and author of "Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life," and his fellow social scientists are building the case that humans are successful as a species precisely because of our nurturing, altruistic and compassionate traits.

They call it "survival of the kindest."

"Because of our very vulnerable offspring, the fundamental task for human survival and gene replication is to take care of others," said Keltner, co-director of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. "Human beings have survived as a species because we have evolved the capacities to care for those in need and to cooperate. As Darwin long ago surmised, sympathy is our strongest instinct.”

Empathy in our genes

Keltner's team is looking into how the human capacity to care and cooperate is wired into particular regions of the brain and nervous system. One recent study found compelling evidence that many of us are genetically predisposed to be empathetic.

The study, led by UC Berkeley graduate student Laura Saslow and Sarina Rodrigues of Oregon State University, found that people with a particular variation of the oxytocin gene receptor are more adept at reading the emotional state of others, and get less stressed out under tense circumstances.

Informally known as the "cuddle hormone,” oxytocin is secreted into the bloodstream and the brain, where it promotes social interaction, nurturing and romantic love, among other functions.

"The tendency to be more empathetic may be influenced by a single gene,” Rodrigues said.

The more you give, the more respect you get

While studies show that bonding and making social connections can make for a healthier, more meaningful life, the larger question some UC Berkeley researchers are asking is, "How do these traits ensure our survival and raise our status among our peers?"

One answer, according to UC Berkeley social psychologist and sociologist Robb Willer is that the more generous we are, the more respect and influence we wield. In one recent study, Willer and his team gave participants each a modest amount of cash and directed them to play games of varying complexity that would benefit the "public good.” The results, published in the journal American Sociological Review, showed that participants who acted more generously received more gifts, respect and cooperation from their peers and wielded more influence over them.

"The findings suggest that anyone who acts only in his or her narrow self-interest will be shunned, disrespected, even hated,” Willer said. "But those who behave generously with others are held in high esteem by their peers and thus rise in status.”

"Given how much is to be gained through generosity, social scientists increasingly wonder less why people are ever generous and more why they are ever selfish,” he added.

Cultivating the greater good

Such results validate the findings of such "positive psychology” pioneers as Martin Seligman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania whose research in the early 1990s shifted away from mental illness and dysfunction, delving instead into the mysteries of human resilience and optimism.

While much of the positive psychology being studied around the nation is focused on personal fulfillment and happiness, UC Berkeley researchers have narrowed their investigation into how it contributes to the greater societal good.

One outcome is the campus's Greater Good Science Center, a West Coast magnet for research on gratitude, compassion, altruism, awe and positive parenting, whose benefactors include the Metanexus Institute, Tom and Ruth Ann Hornaday and the Quality of Life Foundation.

Christine Carter, executive director of the Greater Good Science Center, is creator of the "Science for Raising Happy Kids” Web site, whose goal, among other things, is to assist in and promote the rearing of "emotionally literate” children. Carter translates rigorous research into practical parenting advice. She says many parents are turning away from materialistic or competitive activities, and rethinking what will bring their families true happiness and well-being.

"I've found that parents who start consciously cultivating gratitude and generosity in their children quickly see how much happier and more resilient their children become,” said Carter, author of "Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents” which will be in bookstores in February 2010. "What is often surprising to parents is how much happier they themselves also become."

The sympathetic touch

As for college-goers, UC Berkeley psychologist Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton has found that cross-racial and cross-ethnic friendships can improve the social and academic experience on campuses. In one set of findings, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, he found that the cortisol levels of both white and Latino students dropped as they got to know each over a series of one-on-one get-togethers. Cortisol is a hormone triggered by stress and anxiety.

Meanwhile, in their investigation of the neurobiological roots of positive emotions, Keltner and his team are zeroing in on the aforementioned oxytocin as well as the vagus nerve, a uniquely mammalian system that connects to all the body's organs and regulates heart rate and breathing.

Both the vagus nerve and oxytocin play a role in communicating and calming. In one UC Berkeley study, for example, two people separated by a barrier took turns trying to communicate emotions to one another by touching one other through a hole in the barrier. For the most part, participants were able to successfully communicate sympathy, love and gratitude and even assuage major anxiety.

Researchers were able to see from activity in the threat response region of the brain that many of the female participants grew anxious as they waited to be touched. However, as soon as they felt a sympathetic touch, the vagus nerve was activated and oxytocin was released, calming them immediately.

"Sympathy is indeed wired into our brains and bodies; and it spreads from one person to another through touch,” Keltner said.

The same goes for smaller mammals. UC Berkeley psychologist Darlene Francis and Michael Meaney, a professor of biological psychiatry and neurology at McGill University, found that rat pups whose mothers licked, groomed and generally nurtured them showed reduced levels of stress hormones, including cortisol, and had generally more robust immune systems.

Overall, these and other findings at UC Berkeley challenge the assumption that nice guys finish last, and instead support the hypothesis that humans, if adequately nurtured and supported, tend to err on the side of compassion.

“This new science of altruism and the physiological underpinnings of compassion is finally catching up with Darwin's observations nearly 130 years ago, that sympathy is our strongest instinct,” Keltner said.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Imagination

Imagine the the limitless results within the adult mind if the ability of imagination were cultivated with little to no boundaries; a mind so adept to vivid visualization and creativity becoming capable of bending the fabric of reality itself.

It should be the responsibility of every accountable adult to continuously cultivate and facilitate the development of a complex and boundless imagination within every child, adolescent, and adult they meet.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Non-Altruistic Philanthropy

Is our new age culture of economic ethics truly about giving?

Or is it a form of PR that actually hurts the socially and economically marginalized humans and animals that share this small earth with us.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Ordinary Nature of Practicing Loving Kindness

This talk given by Gil Fronsdal is about The Ordinary Nature of Loving Kindness from a Buddhist perspective. The link above directs you to streaming audio, you can choose to download the talk free of cost through the link OR simply listen to streaming audio. 

I am not promoting Buddhism as the only path to truth, I believe all religions are valid and beautiful with lessons applicable to all. I feel Gil's talk is spiritually uplifting no matter what religion you are because it addresses how to practice "loving kindness."

If you enjoy this talk there are many more available for listen or download compliments of http://audiodharma.org


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Thousand Suns

A Thousand Suns tells the story of the Gamo Highlands of the African Rift Valley and the unique worldview held by the people of the region. This isolated area has remained remarkably intact both biologically and culturally. It is one of the most densely populated rural regions of Africa yet its people have been farming sustainably for 10,000 years. Shot in Ethiopia, New York and Kenya, the film explores the modern world's untenable sense of separation from and superiority over nature and how the interconnected worldview of the Gamo people is fundamental in achieving long-term sustainability, both in the region and beyond. -- Global Oneness Project



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No More Secrets

It would surely push the limits of our comfort zone if we should find ourselves exchanging genuine words and interactions with every person we come across in a day – also quite an eye opening experience no doubt. Now lets take that a step further – suppose for everyone of those people you talked to and even people you had not even come in contact with you could actually know what that person was thinking. Suppose you would have a full understanding of their intentions and the inner workings of their mind, without an opportunity for deception or secrets.

Could this actually happen? What would it mean for the future of human societies? What would it mean for the distinctions and borders we put up to separate ourselves from others? Michael Persigner, a cognitive neuroscience researcher and professor who has been studying electromagnetic theories of consciousness for over 40 years has some profound thoughts related to this idea of unified consciousness.

As an analogous concept, take for example the way a radio works. We are all well aware that a good radio system can pick up a signal from anywhere in the world. Old radio systems were often static bound and had a difficult time discriminating between frequencies; the brain is like a simple old radio system. The brain can indiscriminately access all other brains signals and with training and technology it may be possible that humans can fine tune the brain’s ability to focus on other specific brain signals without sensory overload.


Since the 1870’s there have been many documented cases about people who have had sudden and accurate experiences about major events or deaths of loved ones shortly before the event actually took place. It has been determined that these occur more often on days when geo magnetic activity is quiet and usually during dream states. Similar to having better reception on a radio or phone where there is less noise in the system; having less intense geomagnetic activity makes it easier for someone to pick up on brain signals from other individuals.

This phenomenon, called remote viewing, has been demonstrated in several experimental studies. One of the studies measured people’s brains while dreaming – a test subject (person A) is asked to continuously look at a detailed picture/image in a room. Next door, a second subject (person B) is observed while dreaming in an isolated sleep lab. The person in the sleep lab does not know that someone is in the next room. Experimenters found that on geo-magnetically quiet nights the dream content of the dreamer in the sleep lab is precisely the same as the image being observed by the test subject next door. The dream contents are so closely connected that even if you gave the description of the dream and a series of sample images to a “blind” participant, the dream content and image are paired exactly every time.

Humans are not the only beings capable of this phenomenon, it is well documented that other species detect and have developed means for utilizing electrical signals. Fish often communicate with electrical signals and electrical storms have been shown to interfere with their usual patterns and ability to communicate. Birds and turtles detect the Earth’s magnetic field and use the field as a compass to navigate during migration. Cows and wild deer tend to align their bodies north-south while relaxing, but not when the animals are under high voltage power lines.

So if electrical storms interfere with the fish’s ability to communicate and power lines interfere with the usual behavior of cattle, what could possibly interfere with the earth’s electromagnetic field thereby interfering with the human brains ability to communicate with other brains? Could magnetic storms be created artificially to block the human ability to remotely access other brain signals?

During a remote viewing experiment, experimenters wanted to see if there would be a way to block remote viewing capabilities. The Experimenters created electromagnetic interference across the target with function generators and ordinary DOS system but nothing happened no interference was detected. The only system able to completely blow away a person’s ability of remote viewing was a magnetic field generated by a Windows based system. Windows based systems saturate every frequency, thereby blowing away all other frequencies. Windows is a fantastic insulator—as the number of cell phones increase, the frequency of the remote viewing, paranormal activity, and psychic phenomenon actually decrease and this has been scientifically documented. Food for thought.


So we are all immersed in the earth’s magnetic field and the strength of the earth’s magnetic field is operationally identical in intensity to the magnetic field induced in every human brain. Such convergence produces the conditions that allow global resonance. A unification of the energies produced by each human brain immersed in the Earth’s magnetic field. 7 billion conductive brains all sharing the same field creating the conditions possible to generate a human hologram. 7 billions brains all connected as One.

Imagine what this would mean for humanity and life as we know it. With some openness and focus, suppose all of humanity were able to tune in to this wonderful skill of consciously connecting with all of humanity without having to use any words, devoid of deceptions, devoid of self-denial. Suppose you could experience the unbelievable torture of hunger from the perspective of a child who has not eaten in days? Suppose you could understand the pain of a young girl forced into sexual trafficking?

We would live in a world that could not help but experience pure empathy. We would live in an empathetic society where poverty, world hunger, government deception, administration deception, and dictatorship would be eliminated. All of this would be eradicated by the virtue of the fact that 1) everyone would have equal access to knowledge and truth 2) deceptions would be impossible to keep and 3) we as a society could not veil our eyes in ignorance from the pain of others.

The truth could truly set us free. No more secrets.



Special thanks to my beloved Austin for help with this entree :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oneness is Abundance



"L.A.-based community activist Orland Bishop explains how the American economic system that assigns value to competition and scarcity of resources undermines oneness, which is inherently relational and abundant. Although the capitalist system as a whole resists investing in human development, people can create new systems that reinforce each individual's value instead of encouraging struggle and competition by making alternative agreements based on collective inspiration." -- Global Oneness Project

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Seva Cafe

Seva, or service, is the selfless giving of oneself for the betterment of others and the world around. At Seva Cafe, the concept of service takes the form of a "pay it forward" restaurant, where every meal is cooked and served with love. -- Global Oneness Project

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are You Happy

"Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you." -- Hafiz of Persia

Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the popular belief that we will be miserable if we do not get what we want/plan for. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don't go as planned. This is a great TED lecture, I highly recommend watching or simply listening to it.



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Perception is Reality

My beloved Austin sent me the following email on May 7th 2011:

I just saw this interesting NASA video and it reminded me of a book that Carl Sagan wrote about the picture from Voyager that was taken back in 1990 (at the 2 minute mark in the video) of earth where it is this tiny speck. One pixel. Its interesting that it was so profound for Sagan that he decided to write a book from the picture called "The pale blue dot". This quote from wikipedia is very good at describing the concept.



"The pale blue dot"

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known. -- From Wikipedia

And here's Carl Sagan narrating a video where he says the quote himself:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Who Needs Words

Tall Painting



Directing, Cinematography, Editing - Dave Kaufman

Paintings - Holton Rower

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Now Is The Time


There is no such thing as 'good people' or 'bad people'. There are good deeds and bad deeds.

People who do good things can do bad things and people who do bad things can do good things. So 'bad' people will do good deeds, likewise 'good' people will do bad deeds.

The good news is, deeds are not cumulative they are reflective of the present moment.

There are no bad people... only deeds. What deeds will you do today?


Now is the Time from Roger Ingraham on Vimeo.

The Devil is in the Detail


If we spent less time guarding and fighting for our beliefs and more time practicing them the earth could be a better place.

Intellectualizing religion goes against the core purpose of religion and yet we live in a world that continues to intellectualize religion for personal gain. In fact this has happened to the point where we have created a convert economy for "god" business.

When I say convert economy for "god”, I mean the business of collecting converts and believers; in addition to the business of collecting monetary gain. This false "god" economy has focused the human attention towards collecting idle believers and money rather than focusing on deeply helping the world become a better place.

Rituals and superstitions built up around religion for the purpose of collecting believers and money have come to replace the actual core beliefs and goodness of the majority of religions. The "word" of God and the message of ultimate oneness seem to have become somewhat of a forgotten artifact in our individualistic, competitive, and monetized system of belief.

In a world littered with false priests, rabbis, mullahs, and clergymen spreading hate and intolerance, it is a true gift to see the work of someone like Archbishop Alberto Luna; he attracted controversy among the church establishment and ruling class for both his ideas and his work with the poor and underprivileged. A true man of God can in no way utter the slightest breath of hate or intolerance, as hate is the antithesis of God. 

God is in the Detail 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trust



It is a happy incident to trust.

It requires trust to tell someone the truth. To tell the secrets of our hearts and share our truths can require courage, because the truth can be powerful. Trust has the power to open up our emotions.

If we are one and life is about oneness, perhaps trusting the truth of others and truly believing in their reality, as strange and opposed those truths may be to our own, is a way to open our hearts to one another and allow true connections to be made.

"You may find the brave voices captured in this short film haunting, shocking and humorous. In some of their faces you'll see joy, anguish and grace as they trust you with their confession."

Trust is a wonderful gateway to a person’s heart. Imagine a world built on trust.


PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death and God from Frank Warren on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Joburg Jam by Pogo



This is Pogo's remix of sights and sounds filmed around the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. This marks the beginning of his World Remix project!

World Remix is an idea for an upcoming album expanding upon Pogo's live-action remixing concept. The goal of Pogo's project is to travel the world capturing sights, sounds, voices and chords, then using them to compose and shoot a track and video for each major culture of the world.

It is a peer funded project being funded solely by YOU the listener. The album will be released worldwide on CD, DVD, and on the website PogoMix.net. Pogo is deeply inspired by the films Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi, and hopes to produce the best cinematography and music throughout each project.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Perception - Chaos & Order

The following quote is from a lecture given by Professor Jordan Peterson about chaos, order and our perception. 
 
“A common misconception is that the world is made out of objects […] As a consequence of seeing the objects, you think about what to do, and after you think about what to do in the presence of the objects you ‘act’. This seems self evident, because when you look at the world there the objects are. It appears to you that you see them, and then you think about them, then you act. There is a real problem with that way of thought; the first problem is, you use half your brain to see – the visual cortex is a very large part of your brain. The reason the visual cortex is so large is because seeing, is actually impossible. [People who have been working on artificial intelligence discovered that seeing is actually impossible…] The presuppositions of people making intelligent machines was that the hard part of interacting with the world is figuring out what to do once you see the object, but it turned out that making machines that can ‘see’ objects was impossible. The reason for that is that boundaries between objects are not obvious. In fact it is very difficult to try and understand how it is that we separate things up at all.” -- Jordan Peterson 

I highly recommend watching or listening to this lecture, it is informative and academically sound.



Friday, April 29, 2011

Time

We perceive life through many lenses; one of those lenses is the lens of time. Time allows us to quantify the unique life experiences by removing the burden of experiencing ‘all’ at once. Time is an illusion and the most beautiful gift, as it allows us to uncover our reality frame by frame.

If we were able to view reality without the paradigm of time, we would potentially be cast into a reality of chaos unless trained or given the grace to view all simultaneous realities.

Time is the universe’s way of giving a level of order to our perception demonstrating the delicate balance of chaos and order.

The delicate balance of time and space… yin & yang



Hayaku: A Time Lapse Journey Through Japan from Brad Kremer on Vimeo.

The Mountain


The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

This was filmed between 4th and 11th April 2011 by Terje Sorgjerd On El Teide -- Spain´s highest mountain @(3718m).

facebook.com/​TSOPhotography
twitter.com/​TSOPhotography
Press/licensing/projects contact: terjes@gmail.com

Music by: Ludovico Einaudi - "Nuvole bianche" with permission.
Please support the artist here:
itunes.apple.com/​us/​album/​una-mattina/​id217799399

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Wolf in Loves Clothing: by Chris Jackson

A dear friend wrote this:

There are many forms of love and yet only one integral love at the same time. There is the first level of love in which we experience a love of what we are getting from others because it benefits us somehow and we say we love them, but it is really not them that we love. It is the things that they do for us. There is another level in which we feel our needs are being met and so we compromise with the other and look to meet some of their needs. This is also not a love of them. It is a love of a trade agreement. Both of these first levels are hungry wolves masking their truth behind the word of love. Then there is the One final integral form of love which is unconditional in which we give to the other, when they take from us or when they are not filling a need or doing anything for us. This is how we may know its truth by our removal of the self interest from the equation. If you ever find yourself taking love away, then it was never there to begin with for when true love is present it cannot be taken away.

The challenge for us is that we often don't see ourselves authentically when we are the wolf, because we only see through the filters of pleasure and our perceived needs. Others are only screens on which we project our expectations. To experience true love we must first center ourselves in the knowing that we are complete and that we need nothing. From here we may know ourselves to be full of love. It is only here that we are able to see things as they really are and appreciate them fully.

Do you find yourself judging and measuring others and the world around you? Do you feel you are lacking or missing anything?

When you are hungry for love it is easy to miss the universes true affection. The easiest way to tell if this is happening is if you find yourself in dissatisfaction over anything. The gift of the present is always in front of you leading you toward greater growth and love. When we are dissatisfied we close ourselves to it. Open yourself through appreciation and the world of abundance will open to you.

There is love all around you in every moment. The practice for living gloriously is in finding the gift and centering yourself in the constant flow that is being given to you in reflection of who you are choosing to be.



Meat Free Mondays

By giving up meat for one day each week you can save money, reduce your environmental impact, decrease world hunger, and live a healthier life.




In 2009, Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney launched the Meat Free Monday campaign as a simple and straightforward idea to show everyone the value of eating less meat. For more info about the Meat Free Monday campaign go to www.meatfreemondays.com

For a more comprehensive look at how our food habits effect other members of the human race you can view many great documentaries about our food, one of these great documentaries is BBC's "Future of Food India/Cuba/Kenya"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What is happening?


It is becoming increasingly apparent that we are living in a time where a new consciousness can be seen. The status quo is no longer. This awakening is one that must continue in order for the world to be made a considerably better place for all of its inhabitants. I am compelled to comment on the nature of mass media and how it has retarded our consciousness, the current political climate, and bring attention to and access to the “white light”.

Our current western civilization thrives on several principles and beliefs; these beliefs are ingrained in us from childhood, perpetuated by the media, the school system, our economy, and most importantly since it dictates all the others, our government.

We’re told:
You are an individual and separate from others. To survive, you must separate yourself and compete against the other individuals around you.

Happiness does not come from within, and the happiest of people have the most stuff.

You are limited and breakable.

The easiest way to indoctrinate and perpetuate this dogma into the minds of humanity is the media. A quarterly analysis from Nielsen’s Anywhere Anytime Media Measurement initiative (A2/M2) – show that the average American watches approximately 153 hours of TV every month at home, a 1.2% increase from last year. That is roughly just a little over 5 hours a day. Now the average person sleeps 8.7 hours a day and works about 8 hours… so it is fair to say that the average person has only 2.3 hours in a day that they are free to practice awareness and think. The remainder of day is monopolized by routine bombardment of the mind with mass media. This can be paralyzing to the mind and soul.

Then of course there is the Internet. The Internet is argued to be better for the mind than television, because you can actively choose what you watch…. However, as some of you may already be aware, the freedom of choice within the Internet has already begun to change. Advertisements are present in all forms on the Internet and have rapidly become even more intrusive in nature than their television counterparts. All of our actions are recorded and analyzed, used to commoditize our every online move.  The ever-present media influences whenever we search and seek information on the Internet.

Clearly, mass media shapes and molds our opinions and attitudes.  By defining what is normal and acceptable in society it creates the very society it is meant to reflect. This dual cause and effect nature of mass media also means that it will continue to be more complex and subliminal in our generation… and rarely are advertisements the bearers of truth and light. Buy this, Buy that!

If you are interested in reading more about advertisement, and the current subliminal messages we’re all subjected to, you can click on the following link, for the purposes of this article I will not be going into great detail on the well-researched and well accepted deceptive nature of advertisement.  

“There used to be a variety of viewpoints, ideas and opinions in popular culture. The consolidation of media corporations has, however, produced a standardization of the cultural industry. Ever wondered why all recent music sounds the same and all recent movies look the same? The following is part of the answer:” – Vigilant Citizens 


As depicted in the graph above, the number of corporations owning the majority of U.S. media outlets went from 50 to 5 in less than 20 years. Meaning we are being exposed to a more singular point of view, and consequently being subject to a more singular agenda. 

“A single piece of media often does not have a lasting effect on the human psyche. Mass media, however, by its omnipresent nature, creates a living environment we evolve in on a daily basis. It defines the norm and excludes the undesirable. The same way carriage horses wear blinders so they can only see what is right in front of them, the masses can only see where they are supposed to go.

Today’s propaganda almost never uses rational or logical arguments. It directly taps into a human’s most primal needs and instincts in order to generate an emotional and irrational response. If we always thought rationally, we probably wouldn’t buy 50% of what we own.”– Vigilant Citizens

It is no secret that the economy dictates media; and media is directly correlated to politics, and governments in power act in the favor of the economy. The saying “money makes the world goes round” is truer than we would like to admit. This is capitalism -- Money making the world go round. But the system is in trouble. Capitalism has become global, and its inequalities continue to grow and sharpen.

So, back to my original questions - what is happening? What does this mean? Countries are stock piling atomic weapons. Economies appear ready to crumble at any sign of a downturn, propped up and sustained by creating evermore complex rationalizing tools such as models, forecasts, and algorithms. Add to this that human freedoms continue to be more supervised and controlled, both through the government’s direct action and through the media that inundates us with stimuli, and I think it is clear to see that something is happening. Never before has capitalism had the global reach that it enjoys today. The lust for power is evident and is ingrained in our culture and beliefs.

I draw attention to the current state of society because it serves as a reflection to the current state of the individuals constituting that society. The awareness of these issues as a society should encourage us all to actively practice awareness, and no time has been better time to be become aware. Awareness of what is happening is not to be mistaken with paranoia or obsessions with conspiracy theories; paranoia is counter productive and oppressive in nature for the mind. Simply be aware of what you are observing on the news, TV the internet and world politics—ask yourself why and whom is this opinion benefiting.

Swami Kriyananda a world-renowned spiritual teacher and disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda stated this past week,

“We are going to enter a very major depression, much worst than the depression of the 30’s, this will lead to a world revolution because the governments have been lying to us and people won’t like it and it will lead to war-fare. We are in for a hard time now; a cataclysm is coming and its not going to be man made.

There is a change of ages happening, there is an old consciousness (fixed) and a new consciousness (fluid). A new consciousness of energy is coming in, after [this] change, the world will be very peaceful; my vision of it is a lot of greenery.

The old consciousness thought that matter was solid, and we know now that it is made of energy; we thought that ideas were solid so we had dogmas, fixed organizations, and fixed everything. Now we are in a more fluid consciousness, ideas change and dogmas are not fixed.

Energy is a reality. The word energy is being used all over the place, this is part of the new age, and it will last another 2000 years.

The depression, conflicts, and revolutions will be the result of the conflict between the old and the new consciousness. The old consciousness is going out, and it cannot hold anymore. After this shift, greed and indifference towards other people will be made more subtle, it will not go away, but will be made much more subtle and improved.

All of this will happen in the next decade. A hundred years from now, things are going to be beautiful. Harmony comes out of unrest.” -- Swami Kriyananda

So with all of this said, we shouldn’t be alarmed or feel oppressed by this old fixed consciousness, government control and mass media, rather, we should find comfort in the fact that we the people will elevate us to a higher state of being and harmony by being aware and being fluid. The deceptions and veils of capitalism are all part of our history, and necessary for the coming of the new age.

You are “One” and not separate from others. There is no real competition, only that which we create.

Happiness comes from inside of you, and the happiest of people have a happy mindset regardless of the stuff that surrounds them.

You are limitless and healable.

Regardless of what one believes in the future predications made by Swami Kriyananda, one must agree that the only image of the future is the failure of the present. Unless we change our unjust ways, the future is likely to be deeply unpleasant. Let’s realign our society with ideals that everyone can agree upon and that is balanced in fairness, equality, self-fulfillment. Powerful reform can be supported by people of all races, nations, religions, and civilizations. One that is centered on nature and our respect for life. There are human rights that everyone can agree to and they should be used as the foundation for creating a society that we want to pass to our children. We describe her as mother nature, but a more accurate way of viewing nature is as our child, one that must be cared for, nourished, and protected.

I would like to finish with some quotes:

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.” 
-- Thomas Jefferson

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay." -- Harold Wilson

"Be the change you want to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi


Monday, April 18, 2011

Living Service


"Be like a ladder, not like a leader. If you become a ladder, then everyone develops themselves. And try to love all, serve all." – Jayesh Patel


Jayesh Patel is the co-founder and director of Manav Sadhna, an NGO based in the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India. Formed in 1990 with the mission to serve the underprivileged, Manav Sadhna now provides health and hygiene, education, and employment services to over 4,500 women and children through over 38 projects.
During this short flim, entitled “Living Service” Jayesh Patel, shows us how the Gandhian principles inspiring the organization are put into practice in the vast slums of Ahmedabad.
There are enough good ideas, says Jayesh; what is needed to make real change is the commitment to one another through humble service. Ultimately, it is heartfelt compassion and sincere spirituality that motivates effective service to humanity.
The written material on this blog entree is directly taken from the Global Oneness Project website. The www.globalonenessproject.org is an inspirational website bringing light to some unifying projects, people, and films. 

Thank you Global Oneness Project