Jan 7th update

Been a busy few days, with some interesting topics coming up in discussion.

Cut a few more trees down, two more this morning, and one yesterday

Brene Brown – live to the point of tears an exploration of vulnerability – TED talk Houston Texas Jun 2010.

China Study comment

8 months ago I was diagnosed with stage IV metastasized melanoma, told there was nothing medical science could do, and I had a 50% chance of living 5 months. I had already had the primary removed from my temple 2 years earlier, and then some secondaries from my neck and cheek, before they found more in my liver.

That got my attention, and got me doing a lot of homework.

I changed my diet to one that is strict vegan (from high meat and dairy), and the liver tumours went within 4 months.

From my understanding, your last paragraph is not strictly correct. The protein doesn’t cause the cancer, the cancer is caused by other factors. What the protein does seem to do is inhibit your body’s immune system from detecting and removing the cancer – hence it gets to grow big enough to be noticed as tumours.

From being told I had little chance of seeing Christmas, and I could expect what time I did get to be full of pain what I have experienced is 8 months of feeling a little better each day.

The only pain I have now is from the surgery, and some old injuries that I’ve had for decades, and even that has eased.

I am much lighter than I was, and much healthier.

Any interested in my full history can see my blog https://tedhowardnz.wordpress.com/about
The diet I used is http://www.ravediet.com – by a guy called Mike Anderson. He has done a lot of homework.

I am a biochemist by training, and what I have discovered in the last few months has shocked me.

Question of the Day for January 5th 🙂

When do you feel exposed?

I feel exposed all the time now, and it doesn’t bother me.
For many years it worried me – then I decided to let it all out, and I didn’t die.

I kinda like the last song from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”

The Trial

Good morning, the worm, your honour,
The crown will plainly show,
The prisoner who now stands before you,
Was caught red-handed showing feelings.
Showing feelings of an almost human nature.
This will not do.

Call the schoolmaster!

I always said hed come to no good,
In the end, your honour.
If theyd let me have my way,
I could have flayed him into shape.
But my hands were tied.
The bleeding hearts and artists,
Let him get away with murder.
Let me hammer him today.

Toys in the attic, I am crazy.
Truly gone fishing.
They must have taken my marbles away.
(crazy. toys in the attic, he is crazy.)

{The wife}
You little shit, youre in it now.
I hope they throw away the key.
You shouldve talked to me more often than you did.
But no! you had to go your own way.
Have you broken any homes up lately?
Just five minutes, worm, your honour,
Him and me alone.

{The mother}
Come to mother, baby.
Let me hold you in my arms.
Mlord, I never meant for him to get in any trouble.
Whyd he ever have to leave me?
Worm, your honour, let me take him home.

Over the rainbow, I am crazy.
Bars in the window.
There must have been a door there in the wall.
For when I came in. . .
(crazy. over the rainbow, he is crazy.)

{The Judge}
The evidence before the court is incontravertible.
Theres no need for the jury to retire.
In all my years of judging I have never heard before,
Of someone more deserving of the full penalty of the law.
The way you made them suffer,
Your exquisite wife and mother,
Fills me with the urge to deficate!

{someone in audience}
— no, judge, the jury!

Since, my friend, you have revealed your deepest fear,
I sentence you to be exposed before your peers.
Tear down the wall!

Tear down the wall!!!…….

Get rid of that wall – Embrace your vulnerability.

Here’s an interesting link to Brene Brown – live to the point of tears an exploration of vulnerability – TED talk Houston Texas Jun 2010.

[followed by]

Hi Thomas


The more we know, the more we know we don’t know.

Even a cursory examination of some of the smaller infinities leaves one confident that the above will continue indefinitely.

While more knowledge does give the ability to respond to the more obvious threats more effectively, it also exposes an infinite depth and range of new threats. For those of paranoid tendencies it can be a bit overwhelming. One is definitely on a one way trip to vulnerability – any which way we look at it.

‘Tis a very interesting journey.

Thomas said:
Greater intelligence is greater vulnerability. Think that one through.

[followed by]

Just one further point.
I don’t think evolution has a direction. It seems to me that it simply randomly explores all possible spaces. As, in any infinity, there are always far more spaces away from any start point than there are going back toward it, there is this trivial sense of a general trend of directionality, but mostly evolution just bumps along randomly trying out the possibility spaces available (within the various probability functions), in the niches available.

Our brains are capable of something else. We are capable of leaping “conceptual canyons” in a single bound, something that evolution by natural selection could not previously do. We are no longer restricted to “climbing Mt Improbable” – we can now create conceptual aircraft and soar over the entire range of mountains, and even to new continents.

Those of us without any sort of armor are forced to use our intelligence to avoid conflict as our mechanism of survival. Some would have us use our intelligence to build better armor, but it is always self defeating – as you say.

So yes – interesting direction into “possibility space” that our particular evolutionary trend has taken us – and be under no illusion that it is any sort of “general trend in evolution”. Evolution is still producing better armor, and stronger venom, better fighters and better disguises, and …… Stay real!

Thomas said:
direction of evolution is toward

[then a further reply to Akira Dawn’s post]

Hi Dawn

Great summary.
I’ve watched that video a couple of times, in the last few months, connections from a couple of different sources.

Kinda like the greeting in Avatar “I see You!”

I like the perspective she brings to the aspect of “blame”, and there are many other aspects to that idea that help to build a deeper understanding of both its necessity in our development, and the need to transcend it to a level of “acceptance without blame” if we are to live an existence free of armed confrontation.

I find that the really profound thing about vulnerability is that any attempt to lessen it only deepens it (like the old Chinese finger trap – the only way out is to go into it).
It seems to me that the most powerful way to treat vulnerability is with acceptance – simply let it be, what it is and what it isn’t.
It is not the feeling of vulnerability that leads us to do anything, it is our attempts to cover it up, to compensate, to mitigate; that lead us to all manner of pretence.

To be able to say “I see You” one must first know and love “I”.

Believe in self first – then in others (trust); in the full knowledge that none of us are perfect, and sometimes trust will be broken.
The alternative, (a life without trust) is far more dangerous in the long term than any betrayal of trust in the short term.

Thanks again for that great summary.

[by private email]

Hi Thomas

I don’t have specific information about many of those “mass die off” events, and I do know about some of them.

I have seen many mass deaths of animals myself.

Snapper in the Hauraki Gulf I have some experience with. I know of two sources of mass death in them that I have first hand knowledge of.

One is a burst bag from a seiner – Which happens when they get a huge catch, and in bringing it to the surface the pressure exerted from the expanding air in the swim bladders of the fish is sufficient both to break the net apart, and to kill the fish. This can result in single events that release tens, and sometimes close to 100 tons of fish. If they have large numbers of juveniles in the school, it may include millions of individual fish.

The other event I have seen is toxic algal blooms. Fish swimming into these die. I have seen them as small as a few yards across, and also several acres across.

I have also seen a mass death in anchovies about 25 years ago, which turned out to be due to a virus, very similar in type to the herpes virus (that cause thousands of tons of dead fish, tens of tons of which washed ashore along hundreds of miles of coastline).

The dead birds in Texas I read about recently, and they seem to be the result of fireworks being set off over a roosting area, scaring thousands of birds, many of which blundered into roofs and power-lines causing injury and death.

The bats seem to have succumbed to heat stroke, on a very hot day.

Such events while rare in any one district, are actually very common in the wider scheme of ecological events. What is new is world wide instantaneous media, and multiple people reporting. Thus it is now possible to become aware of such things in near real time.

I don’t see it as anything particularly unusual. Perhaps some slight increase in frequency due to slight increase in the frequency and magnitude of extreme temperature events due to a combination of solar cycles and global warming.



Question of the Day for January 6th 🙂

When was a time you felt you “belonged” to something larger than yourself, like in a couple/partnership, or a group/organization? What do you think contributed to that sense of “belonging?” How did you experience that “belongingness?”

I have an almost constant sense of belonging.

I feel I belong to many things.

My marriage with Ailsa is number 1. We have had our share of fights, and even separated for a couple of hours once; and I have experienced love and relatedness with Ailsa beyond anything I had previously imagined possible.

It seems that the sense of belongingness is proportional to the contribution I make to the group, and is also related to the response I receive from others. If my contribution is not acknowledged, it can take a lot of discipline on my part to continue.

It seems that belongingness goes when ego rises over contribution.

I tend to get involved in quite a few things. At one stage I was a member of 32 different committees and chairman secretary or treasurer of 9 of them. Currently I am on less than a dozen, and president of one, treasurer of another, and vice president of a third. Only 3 of them have regular meetings, so the workload is relatively light.

It is great living in a small town like Kaikoura, where there are almost as many roles as there are in a big city, but far fewer people willing to fill them, so there is much opportunity for contribution. It is also possible to know almost half the folks, at least to the point of recognition, where you can give them a smile and a way and they give one back.

Then there is my business network of contribution to clients and their businesses.

Then there are the wider groups, like this one, where asynchronous communication is possible, and I can take the time to engage when it is available, and schedule it around other aspects of life that have greater urgency.

Then there is the wider still contribution to life itself, in my efforts to build awareness and understanding of the many levels of relatedness and dependence of all living and non-living systems; and to create systems that support all life, and individual freedom.

So yes – for me – the deep sense of belonging comes from giving, even if not of my best – irrespective of acknowledgement, and the acknowledgement is nice if it comes, if not, I still have the satisfaction of knowing that I gave it a go.

[Followed by]

Hi Dawn

Your observations and comments seem accurate, but our interpretations are very different.

From the systems perspective, the defensiveness is part of the context that created the system that is the awareness of self in language (that thinking part we call “I”) as distinct from the subconscious part that actually does most of what we do, and actually comes up with most of the thoughts we think.

I agree with you, that we need to transcend the “defensive” bit, which actually requires giving up most of our notions of “right and wrong” and bringing an acceptance to all that is, at every level of awareness.

Contribution does not consist only of giving. Often, in order to contribute to another, one must be willing to receive what they have to give.

There is certainly infinite room for overhaul, and always will be, such is the nature of infinity.

Question of the Day for January 7th 🙂

What is the Self?

This is such an interesting question.

In my understanding, the self is a very complex entity, with many different levels, and many different components – all related.

At one level the self consists of a body, that we wake up in each morning.
That body seems to be part of an unbroken chain of life that goes back some 4 billion years; which means that we probably share common ancestors with all other living forms at some point in the remote past.

For all humans, that is about sixty thousand years ago. For humans and chimpanzees about 6 million years ago, for humans and insects about 600 million years ago, and for humans and trees a little over a billion years ago.

The bodies are made of atoms that seem to have had their beginning in a quantum instability in nothing, that some 14 billion years ago expanded into a super hot ball of really weird stuff. Over a few thousand years the weird stuff cooled and condensed into ever less weird stuff eventually leading to mostly hydrogen atoms, with a bit of helium, and a tiny amount of lithium.

Over time that stuff cooled still further, and some of it gathered together into super massive suns, many times larger than our sun. Many of those early super massive stars burned brilliantly for a billion years or so creating elements up to iron as they went, before creating most of the heavier elements we know in a massive explosion at their death.

So we are made of star dust, by a process of evolution by natural selection operating over vast reaches of space and time.

These bodies of ours have brains that are amazingly complex, and have many different capabilities. They can copy things, and teach them to others. We also have the ability to store and retrieve information in “holographic” fashion, which allows us to make instantaneous deductions and associations, without having any conscious idea of how we do it (for most of us).

Our brains can take in information via our senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste; and other senses involving electric and magnetic fields), and via our holographic association, make different sort of sense of it all, depending on the context of our minds at the time (this whole holographic things is very sensitive to context).

As part of our development, each of us starts from nothing and each goes through a series of stages of development.

Initially we are programmed to imitate and accept without question, and thus we learn from those around us our language and culture.

For most of human history, it seems likely that few people had true awareness of their creative power. It seems that for most of human history, we just copied those around us, and if change occurred, it occurred very slowly.

It seems likely that over millions of years, language slowly developed, and developed greater complexity of concepts.

At some point, probably in the last 10,000 years, language developed ideas like right/wrong or good/bad, and a set of rules for distinguishing one from the other.

It seems that each of us as children is forced by the ideas of right/wrong that our culture gives us to declare ourselves wrong in some specific incident in our childhood. To get out of that trap, we make a declaration in language something like “being x wasn’t good enough so I am going to be y“. The specifics of x and y differ between individuals and cultures, but the general form is the same. This declaration seems to be what starts our highest self awareness into being, in language, in our brain, in a culture, in a world.

The shadows of that initial declaration leave us with a sense of “original sin”, and yet really it is all just a story, a child’s simplification of something vastly beyond the ability of any child to comprehend.

As we grow, and gain knowledge and experience, some of us get to see that our judgements of how things “ought to be” get in the way of being present and enjoying what actually is. Bringing acceptance to what is, and stepping beyond right/wrong, beyond good and evil, is the next major transition in awareness, in the growth of self.

It seems we can take this self awareness beyond its egoic beginnings to something much deeper.

It seems to me that there may be an infinite array of stages of development possible, if we are fortunate to live long enough, and have sufficient “interesting” experiences to jolt us out of our habitual patterns.

It seems that self is a very complex thing with a rather slow conscious self awareness based upon a subconscious self that has the power of “holographic association” that provides it with responses and actions (including speech and writing) that is appropriate to the specific situation in which it finds itself.

The subconscious self is extremely fast, extremely powerful and reliable in situations with which it is familiar.

To my understanding, the subconscious self is not the “true self” though it is in a sense the “first self”. To be truely effective, it seems that one needs to be aware of all the selves within, and to find out which is most appropriate to have as the “lead agent” in which situations. It seems like it can get quite a crowd.

It seems to me, that we can train successive levels of “self” to be effective in certain situations, and those levels of self are most effective if the higher level gets out of the way and leaves the lower one to get on with what it already knows how to do.

It seems to me that the job of the higher levels is to set ever more abstract levels of context, with which to guide the lower levels in their choice of action.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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