Thursday, April 24, 2008

Education of the whole person

Michael Murphy Helped Launch Human Potential Movement More Than 40 Years Ago
By Adam Phillips 23 April 2008

Michael Murphy is an author, intellectual and citizen-diplomat. He's also co-founder of California's Esalen Institute, which is widely regarded as the birthplace of the Human Potential Movement. VOA's Adam Phillips has a profile.

Michael Murphy had a passing acquaintance with Big Sur, California, the rugged area of Pacific coastline where, during his childhood, his family had owned some land with hot-spring mineral baths. But it was not until 1962, in his early 30s, that Murphy returned to Big Sur. He had completed nearly two years in India at the ashram of the Hindu philosopher, Sri Aurobindo. On fire with the idea of marrying Eastern and Western thought, Murphy drew up plans to open a holistic, mind-body center that he called Esalen.

"One of our basic ideas was the education of the whole person," Murphy says. "I had a particular interest in the body's role in personal development alongside spiritual development, emotional development, and intellectual development. The sky is the limit." ...

Today, with terrorism a global concern, the teachers at the Esalen Institute promote workshops in the psychology of enmity and reconciliation between Muslims, Christians and Jews. Esalen founder Michael Murphy says that world peace and understanding are front-and-center goals for him now – logical extensions, it seems, of his lifelong fascination with the greatness of human potential.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Begin at the bottom of the environmental pyramid – by farming trees

Outside My Window... Is A Tree from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik

The house in which we live in Goa has a tall TEAK tree growing straight and proud in the middle of the garden. Yet, our doors and windows are made out of the wood of the jackfruit tree – they call it 'jackwood' here – because teak is unaffordable. Jackwood invariably warps. Our doors and windows do not shut properly. There is only one reason why teak costs so much here, where it grows wild: government restrictions. I cannot cut down the teak tree growing on my own property: I need permission from the State.

I have seen this phenomenon in other parts of the Western Ghats too: for example, in Coorg, where a coffee estate owner complained to me that he could not cut rosewood and ebony trees growing on his estate. Even mahogany grows naturally here. So, while I am in full sympathy with Barun Mitra's crusade to save the tiger by farming it, I do believe these arguments will ring true only if we begin at the bottom of the environmental pyramid – by farming trees.

As far as wildlife is concerned, instead of beginning with tigers, we could begin with deer and wild boar. Deer can be easily bred in ranches. So can wild boar. When these efforts at commercializing timber as well as wildlife succeed, the arguments for farming tigers will be better received. In the meantime, do reflect on the fact that the most valuable tree in the world – sandalwood – can also be easily farmed in this region.

When Veerappan was murdered in cold blood by the Karnataka police, I was the only one to call for free-market sandalwood farming. These are the best ways of preserving nature and taking the profit out of poaching. Think about it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Alcohol is not discussed in "politically correct" discourse

Feni's In the Air from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik
It is the cashew season in Goa. As the fruit ripens on the trees, the air in my little village smells of feni. Feni is an alcoholic drink distilled from the fermented fruit of the cashew... The ban on the trade of feni within India is an example of "real knowledge" going waste, thanks to the senseless restrictions imposed by a government that is desperate to "educate" the apparently stupid people. The funny thing is that not a single Goan politician talks about this. That, I presume, is because alcohol is not discussed in their "politically correct" discourse. Once again, the only solution lies in Liberty. In the meantime, I am enjoying the smell of feni that is wafting through the air of my little Goan village, morning, noon and night. Eat your hearts out, cityfolk. And when you drink that horrid IMFL this evening, dream of feni and urak.
Yet, dreaming is not enough: you must fight for freedom.

Three years of The Middle Stage from The Middle Stage by Chandrahas
I am 28 now — I dream of being rich and drinking champagne everyday now.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why humanity has so profoundly forsaken the obvious benefits of mutualism

1. April 8th,2008 10:23 pm
Dear Olivia,
As is your habit in these lovely essays, you stick scrupulously to the fine points of your scientific analysis and leave it to your readers to apply your lessons to the deep dilemmas of modern mankind.
Let us begin by acknowledging that homo sapiens is fully capable of entering into long term mutualistic arrangements with other species. Man and dog is the most conspicuous of these alliances, a form of mutualism with roots that may be as ancient as two hundred thousand years.
The deeper question your essay implicitly raises is why humanity has so profoundly forsaken the obvious benefits of mutualism in favor of an extreme form of dominance over all other species. The short term benefits of this dominance are clearly at odds with the evolutionary catastrophe we are in the process of precipitating.
Let us hope that one day you will focus your theoretical prowess on that tragic paradox, and maybe even point the way toward a solution to it.
— Posted by David Moody

4. April 9th,2008 1:11 am
Symbiosis, or mutualism, is one of my favorite scientific subjects. Recently I have become aware of the extent to which humans depend on the beneficial gut bacteria for both digestion and immune function–and these same bacteria may explain why some people like chocolate and others do not. Intestinal worms, previously thought to be parasitic only, seem to have a modulatory effect on the immune system, staving off allergies, asthma, and some autoimmune disorders. Makes one wonder what other “disorders” have hidden medical benefits.
As you mentioned, you could go on forever talking about mutualisms, but you did omit one of my favorites. It’s another one involving ants and fungi, but parasitic rather than symbiotic. In this case, the fungus infects the ant’s brain, causing it to climb to the highest treetop where it is essentially petrified and dies. Then the fungus consumes the ant’s body, and the spores are dispersed from an optimal location, high above the ground.
I don’t have complete citations, but in the spirit of your detailed references I feel obliged to provide some supporting info. The parasitic fungus is cordyceps. The paper about the correlation between liking/disliking chocolate and metabolism is “Human Metabolic Phenotypes Link Directly to Specific Dietary Preferences in Healthy Individuals” by Rezzi et al. Dr. Joel Weinstock, at the University of Iowa, has done research on using pig whipworm eggs as treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease.
— Posted by Aurelio Ramirez

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Integral Healing by Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

Books › "Sri Aurobindo"
133. The Ideal Of The Karmayogin by Sri Aurobindo Ghose (Hardcover - Jul 25, 2007)
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134. Essays on the Gita First Series by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1950)
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135. The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity, War and Self-Determination by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1971)
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136. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on Meditation by Sri and the Mother; Compiled By Vijay Aurobindo (Pamphlet - 1972)
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137. More Lights on Yoga by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1948)
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138. The Renaissance in India and Other Essays on Indian Culture by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - 2002)
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139. Integral Healing by Sri Aurobindo & The Mother (Paperback - Oct 28, 2005)
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140. Stufen Der Vollendung by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1975)
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141. The Riddle of This World by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - 1951)
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142. La Vida Divina Libro II la Conciencia Infinita y la Ignoranca by Aurobindo Sri (Paperback - Sep 2004)
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143. ON YOGA II Two Volumes by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1958)
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144. Talks with Sri Aurobindo Part II by Sri Aurobindo; Nirodbaran (Hardcover - 1971)
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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

There is no evidence that climate change has caused an increase in disease

The Civil Society Report on Climate Change, produced by a coalition of over 40 civil society organisations from around the world (CSCCC), concludes:

  • Cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the coming two decades is not a cost-effective way to address climate change.
  • Deaths from climate related natural disasters have fallen dramatically since the 1920s, as a result of economic growth and technological development. With continued economic growth, the death rate is likely to continue to fall regardless of climate change. (The number of reported natural disasters has increased continuously since 1900 for various reasons, including population growth and improvements in communication; climate change is most likely not one of them.)
  • There is no evidence that climate change has caused an increase in disease. If the main causes of diseases such as diarrhoea and malaria are properly addressed, climate change will not increase their incidence.
  • Agricultural production has outpaced population growth in the past 50 years. With continued technological improvements, this trend will continue to 2100, even if the global mean temperature rises by 3°C.
  • Water scarcity is a problem in many countries, but with better management and modern technologies, more water can made be available to all.
  • Millions of people in poor countries currently die unnecessarily due to a lack of wealth and technology. These problems have generally been exacerbated – not alleviated – by foreign aid, which has supported unaccountable governments that have oppressed their citizens, denying them the ability to improve their lot.
  • Global restrictions on greenhouse gases would undermine the capacity of people in poor countries to address the problems they face today as well as in the future by retarding economic growth and general economic development.
  • Instead of pushing emissions restrictions and failed ‘aid’ policies, governments should focus on reducing barriers to economic growth and adaptation – e.g. removing trade barriers and decentralising management of water and land.

For more information, please see the details on the Liberty Institute web site And the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change (CSCCC) Author: Liberty Institute is an independent think tank based in New Delhi. © In Defence of Liberty