I am for you

Archive for April, 2011

thinking more complexly

consciousness is complex!

Here’s a small update on some of my work…

One theory of human consciousness suggests that the complexity of thought grows in a binary pattern. The first level of awareness is of the internal states of the self (first person) with a focus on assessing the input (0) and output (1) of resources needed for healthy growth. We tend to call this the most basic level of consciousness — true self awareness — which all plants and animals have (and possibly everything else as well). As we grow older, the human brain gains the ability to imagine what another individual is feeling about their own internal state, related to their own personal input needs and output needs for health, and so we have the ability to think in second person perspective, as well as first. This is what we tend to call emotional consciousness, and at least most mammals and birds share this ability. Then we gain the third person perspective ability to imagine what a second person is thinking about a third person’s experience, which we tend to call social and intellectual consciousness. Finally, some people grow to a stage of life where they gain the ability to think in fourth person, with the ability to imagine what a second person is thinking about what a third person is thinking about a fourth person! This is what can be thought of as spiritual or highly moral consciousness, where a very broad spectrum of individuals’ personal experiences are included in one’s awareness at the same time.

For a visual explanation of this process, please click on the small image above, so you can see the full-sized version.

The ages listed are based on popular human development stages, as well as on the Fibonacci sequence, using conception to birth (9 months) to define a single unit (1) of time for the sequence of 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.

Educational programs, as well as psychology, sociology, and other mental health programs can use this information to design better infrastructure and resources to support and work with the brain’s natural levels of consciousness awareness so that individuals are able to function at their peak brain ability.

I’m sure you have questions! This is a unique theory, as far as I know, but one which stands up well in developmental science, so I’d love to hear any comments on what it might not seem to apply to, or what it does, surprisingly, apply to.


top ten most wanted

New Brunswick, 2004

In honor of today, I offer you a very personal gift of knowledge and thoughtfulness

The top ten things I want:

1. I want to have consistent, and legal, access (every day) to a diverse range of high quality, nutritious, delicious, organic, local and lovingly grown/harvested in other parts of the world, food.

2. I want to have consistent, and legal, access to a warm (dry) place to live (eat, sleep, play, store my stuff, etc.) that is in a reasonably healthy environment (generally supportive of or at least neutral to my physical health).

3. I want my honey, DPM, to have all of his own physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs consistently met!

4. I want to have the freedom (legal and practical) to move (and to not move) when it seems most appropriate to me to do so. (This includes transportation, sleep, work, yelling, crying, climbing trees, and giving hugs to my family!)

5. I want to have the option to have a supportive and emotionally neutral trained mediator help find win-win solutions to any conflicts that might arise when my wants/needs are in opposition to other individuals’ wants and needs.

6. I want my close friends and family (of all species!) to get their physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs consistently met.

7. I want to be able to understand the laws of nature, especially as they relate to the big human questions of who we are, why we are here, and how we are supposed to do this life thing.

8. I want to be able to help my honey, DPM, understand the laws of nature, especially as they relate to the big human questions of who we are, why we are here, and how we are supposed to do this life thing.

9. I want to be able to help my other friends and family understand the laws of nature, especially as they relate to the big human questions of who we are, why we are here, and how we are supposed to do this life thing.

10. I want to be able to help every living thing in the universe understand the laws of nature, especially as they relate to the big human questions of who we are, why we are here, and how we are supposed to do this life thing.

The lower the number, the more crucial it is to me, personally. The higher the number, the higher it is as an overall goal in life. Higher stuff can’t be done, by me anyway, without the lower stuff, but the higher stuff is what I want MOST (literally my “highest goals”).

How about you?


who on Earth is free and happy?

May your Earth Day be extra green!

Did you realize that a large percentage of the US human population (and in most other places too) lives on little to no money? The percentage is about 20% of us living on less than $500 a year.

You might immediately classify these people as being poor, given that limited description of them.

But you will probably change your opinion of them once I mention that these people are generally happier, healthier, and have more fun and free time than most of the humans you know.

This group of humans I’m talking about get all, or nearly all, of their needs met without having to pay anyone anything. They don’t generally have to bribe anyone to help them get food, water, air, warmth, light, and the freedom to express themselves. They might not have everything they need, but they tend to have far more of their needs met than most of the humans with very high paying jobs, or moderate paying jobs. And that’s because most people believe that it’s important to take care of these particular individuals so that they can be healthy. They are often given the option to do work for others, but they rarely feel forced to do so just to meet their basic physical needs.

These happy and healthy and materially comfortable individuals are taken care of simply because they are alive, rather than because they have filled out paperwork, lifted heavy objects, or entertained the public.

Now, imagine if everyone were taken care of in this way.

Yes, imagine a world where we all choose to take care of each other, simply because we are alive, in the same way that we choose to take care of children…


inner conflict

Inner conflict is what happens when one part of your brain has one opinion of something and another part of your brain has a very different opinion of something. Both perspectives are valid, yet they are conflicting when it comes time to decide what to do.

For example, when you love someone because they have done something amazing for you, but they have also done something to hurt you, you will have mixed feelings about them. Your opinions of them will be in opposition, wanting to both be close to them and avoid them at the same time.

The outcome of having inner conflict for too long, without resolving it, is that you will, often not consciously, probably create outer conflict with others. Which, of course, is likely to be harmful to you.

So, clearly, it’s valuable to you to resolve your own inner conflicts in a timely manner before you step out in the big wide world. :-)

The basic process that works well to resolve your inner conflict is to clarify what you are most worried about losing, and what you most want. Then share that information with everyone who seems interested in having any sort of relationship with you (physical, emotional, intellectual, and/or spiritual).

Once you’ve done this successfully, you will find that instead of causing conflict with others in your life, you create more meaningful and rewarding connections.

For more information on doing this inner mediation, check out Binikou’s How to Express Anger and Sadness Energy.

Because if your own worst enemy is yourself, and the best way to eliminate your enemies is by making them your friends, isn’t it time to make friends with yourself?


the war against children

nurturing kids is the way to help them grow

I’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s (the Naked Chef guy) “Dream School” television program about him trying to create a high school that better serves kids who’ve had to really struggle with life. Oliver himself was a high school dropout before becoming famous and winning the TED talk award last year for asking for a TED wish. He really cares about kids, both in the context of food and cooking, his field of expertise, but also in general.

Alas, his “dream school” is mostly just more of the same old same old kind of authoritarian lecturing, and continues to give these young people the message that there is something wrong with them, rather than the problem being with society and the lack of good things in their lives. At one point he says to the headmaster of the school, after hearing about kids “not behaving” (in some adult approved manner), “It’s like waging war everyday!”

And that is indeed the attitude of so many school teachers and administrators, of fighting against the students. Which is just insane, of course. Fighting against people is a sure way to get them to fight back, forcing their nervous system to drop into fight-or-flight mode where the logical area of the prefrontal cortex, as well as digestion and other crucial processes of the human body are shut down, which is quite literally the opposite of helping them grow.

Lawrence Lessig, in his new book Remix, closes his discussion on making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid technology by saying:

We wage war against our children, and our children will become the enemy. They will become the criminals we name them to be. And because there is no good evidence to suggest that we will win this war, that’s all the reason in the world to stop these hostilities…

That message is true no matter what issue we’re talking about. Stop fighting, start asking questions, start listening, and start treating all individuals as being valuable and in need of the best, and they will finally be free to be their best, reflecting the care, compassion, and respect that we give them, rather than returning the aggression, negativity, and disrespect.

It’s up to us adults to change, to take care of the kids, so that they grow up to be healthy, instead of our enemies.

And we can do that immediately by having a zero tolerance policy with our schools and teachers. If the students aren’t loving school, and don’t feel respected, then you can support the students in leaving, and help them create their own educational program that honestly serves their needs for healthy growth, as judged by their feeling of self worth, their motivation to create, and their level of joy.

We could try to fight the schools themselves, but that would be just as useless as fighting the students.

Instead, for real success, we can simply offer our resources to the students directly, and work with them to understand what they are most excited about becoming so that we can help them get the resource they need to get there most effectively.


reclaim the commons!

park your hooping here today!

About a month ago I was in Boston’s most active community of Jamaica Plain, where I attended a gathering and collaborative presentation featuring UTNE magazine’s illustrious former editor Jay Walljasper. He’s on a mission to build a more sustainable, resilient, and fun world, one neighborhood at a time. And he’s doing it by promoting the idea of claiming, and reclaiming the public commons — everything from public land, buildings, air, water, education, and communications and transportation networks. His new book, All That We Share talks about the kinds of things the world is better off learning to share, rather than to claim private ownership over.

Certainly some things make sense to claim as one’s own. Starting with one’s own body, of course. One individual also can sensibly claim the love they have for others, their relationships with their friends and family, and the work they do as being uniquely their own. It is indeed valuable to the world for people to claim ownership and responsibility of their personal actions and intentions.

Outside of the self, though, the universe is shared space and time. And so it’s sensible to do everything we can to learn how to share this universe with each other, in a way that allows us all to grow, survive, and thrive.

We can start by looking for spaces and places that are being underutilized right now, and get a group of neighbors together to create some new shared resource space that serves a far more diverse range of life in far more rewarding ways. You could pick your own yard, a school yard, an empty barn, a traffic island, sidewalk, abandoned urban lot, car parking space, or even just a fence along an industrial area. Then add whatever resources you can find that you think will improve the area. Reclaim the space for the community for an hour, a day, a season, or event a lifetime!

For inspiration, check out the following amazing projects and groups:

Creative Communities – David Engwicht

City Repair – in Portland, Oregon

Guerilla Gardening – images from around the planet

PARK(ing) Day – turning a car parking space into a human park space!

Baltimore’s Free Store – materialism resource sharing at it’s best!

Enjoy your world, and claim it for us all!


What is cancer?

the cure for cancer is extremely high quality nutrition, air, water, warmth, sun, and freedom

Cancer, it turns out, is the body’s survival mechanism for dealing with extreme deficiencies in nutrition and oxygen. It’s what happens when a body has been subjected to an environment that is consistently toxic and/or otherwise preventing the individual from getting the basic necessities of biological function. At some point, the cells in the body are just so starving for the oxygen they need from the blood that they go into emergency function mode where they turn off most of their normal healthy processes, and focus only on rapid growth. It’s the microscopic equivalent of the fight-or-flight response, with the cells fighting for their lives in an environment that has been regularly hostile to them.

In other words, cancer is what happens when you treat your body badly. It’s the body fighting back against the crap that it’s been subjected to.

So if you want your body to NOT fight against you, and instead to work with you, so you can be cancer free and healthy, you need to stop fighting against your body, and instead nurture your body. You can focus on what your body needs to grow healthfully: truly nutritious, whole, fresh foods, naturally clean water and fresh air that’s full of oxygen, comfortable warmth — including the loving hugs from friends and family) — plenty of energizing sunlight, and the time and space to offer your body’s overabundances of poop, pee, sweat, heat, words and other sounds, and all it’s other physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual expressions, both positive and negative, to the world at large, so that the matter and energy can be successfully absorbed, recycled, and otherwise put into use for all kinds of creative efforts.

Of course, most people don’t know this little secret about cancer being the body’s response to an individual attacking it. And so most people miss out on the most effective and joyful solution to healing, of indulging in everything most beautiful and rewarding that one is naturally motivated to enjoy in life.

Now that you know the secret, you know what to do…


local control, global networking

first person information is the best, but get a second and third opinion too

The time is coming for society to become more lifelike! And by that I mean more like real living things with their biological structure of independent collaborative networking.

Each part of the cell in your body has an independent function that simultaneously works together with the other parts of the cell to help the larger whole grow and procreate. Each element does what it wants to do, and no other element tells it what to do, and yet the whole cell works efficiently and powerfully. The way this works is honest and direct interactive feedback systems that work both ways from the parts to the whole and from the whole to the parts. If the more general information from only the large cell is allowed to be acted upon, the cell will miss out on the more detailed information that only one small part of the cell might be aware of, and valuable resources and threats might go unnoticed until it’s too late to act on them.

Complexity of behavior — the hallmark of intelligence — requires both bottom-up feedback from the individuals within the system as well as top-down feedback from outside the system about the system as a whole. Otherwise it’s just a simple, “dumb” mechanical system.

Humans have obviously tried the top-down authoritarian mechanistic approach of a government/corporate director trying to delegate jobs to individuals, with widely varying results that are clearly not very efficient, except in a few, limited examples, mostly in emergency situations. We have at least understood the general concept of information flow, with it’s feedback systems, but we’ve missed the need for the information flow to be multidirectional, for a well functioning system to be created. In any kind of system, in the long term, authoritarian regulation (one-way information flow) destroys the ability of the system to be flexible and creative enough to grow healthfully and adapt to small, but significant changes to the environment.

Think of the meme “two heads are better than one” and consider that this only works when each head is allowed to think for itself, rather than the second one just copying the thoughts of the first, which would clearly just be a waste of a head! And while the two heads won’t always agree, as long as both heads are sharing the unique data they have with the other head, and as long as there is a shared overall goal, then conflict will be at a minimum and progress will be at a maximum.

So, what I see slowly, but surely, and quite peacefully, developing is small independent groups of individuals organizing in communities with a focus on the specific needs of those communities. These groups will be separate from any government agency, be not-for-profit, and will collaborate with other independent groups, and sometimes with old-style governments, to more directly and effectively provide the highest quality resources that the communities need to keep their members healthy and able to do whatever it is that they are most excited about doing with their lives (rather than relying on large corporations and governments to maybe, hopefully, possibly provide with much bureaucracy, cost, inefficiency, and far too much mediocre one-size-fits-all-ness).

In other words, rather than top down government-ization or middle-man corporate privatization of public services, we will have community localization with global collaboration. The local community groups will become the brains of the regional organism — serving as the overall collection and organization of all the diverse bottom-up information gathered from the various parts of the community regarding what they each need to function well — while the communication technology of social networking websites, regional and topic-centric conferences and workshops, and educational and other solution-oriented wikis will be the sensory organs that bring in the information that the brain needs to understand about how well the larger whole — which is the community organism itself — is functioning within the external world.

Some people think that governments and/or corporations can and/or should do this, but I see that their structures and belief systems have become too rigid and so most of them simply won’t be able to change in time. So more ad hoc organizations will emerge, especially during emergencies and other time-sensitive situations where communities need to respond quickly and efficiently to provide the things their people need right now. Then these independent organizations will become stronger, through the bonds that form during the more intense times, and they will mature into more recognized and respected public service agents for their communities.

This is already happening in most communities, where small groups pop up to do random things like help out neighbors who get sick, or to share overabundences of garden veggies, or to fight against a big box store moving into town, and then some of these groups grow into more permanent, yet still very casual and flexible, long-term service providers. Places like libraries, day care centers, community centers, crafting clubs, and the more open minded churches are now regularly opening their doors up to far more diverse kinds of offerings when their members are in need of them. This is happening in small ways everywhere you look, and this localized approach to problem solving and redirecting/recycling/creating necessary resources will continue to happen more and more as governments and large, for-profit corporations become tragically unstable and more actively anti-social in their approach. People will simply give up relying on these large top-down systems and instead look to the people they already know, trust, and care about to work with on problem solving and getting their resource needs met.

So, for example, you might look forward to going to biking over to your local community coop farm to pick up a large portion of your groceries, for free, while your neighbors come to your house to get a ride in your bio-diesel van that once a week becomes the “community public transit” bus that takes everyone into the city to visit the public library, where they offer free documentary film showings and workshops on solar energy harvesting, permaculture, web-design, and robot building. And then you might go home to discover that some other neighbors from the craft guild have dropped off a gift of a hand-made quilt for your family to keep warm during the cold winter, and before you go to bed, inspired and grateful, you post a free offer on the local community’s resource exchange list for your kid’s outgrown clothes, using your custom made computer that you got for free from the local high-school program that teaches students how to combine recycled coop-factory-made computer parts from the other side of the planet with skillfully handcrafted locally-made parts to turn them into high quality things of beauty that function excellently for several decades, and can be easily be updated with new parts whenever technology advances or your computing needs change. And then when you’re finally ready to climb into bed, you turn off the bedroom light that is powered by the small windmill that was made by the local scouts when they were earning their electronics project badges. The windmill sits on top of your small garage that is used as a tool lending library for your community, which, you remember, will be receiving an old, sturdy sawmill from your grandfather, tomorrow, and as you fall asleep you have dreams of turning some downed trees behind your house into a park bench to put up at the community center, where there’s going to be a public picnic celebrating you and your partner’s anniversary next week…

Sounds good doesn’t it?