Middle Aged Mother Earth and the Fate of Her Errant Offspring!

There have been various attempts to try to help readers of ‘big history’ — the story of this planet we live on from its earliest swirling, molten moments through to this day and beyond — to articulate and elucidate the amount of time that has passed that has allowed Nature to weave its warp and weft of evolution to arrive at the point where its self-proclaimed ‘most intelligent species’ was able to emerge and arguably begin (in its arrogant and egotistical stupidity) to screw things up. Few of these efforts have been as poetic as Arundhati Roy’s noted passage in her award-winning, debut novel ‘The God of Small Things’:

It seems to be a consensus of many philosophies that everything follows the passage of the seasons, each in its own time. All things in this space-time continuum are part of the cosmic fabric that shows wear and tear over time. Mother Earth, herself, is no different and appositely just as when she came into her adolescence she also began to exhibit her fecundity, so in her middle-age with her ‘late conception’ of this advanced species that has named itself Homo sapiens, the natural forces that had previously caused all of her progeny to come into being, brought forth the first and (hopefully) only offspring with the potential to commit matricide…. and hence also destroy itself!

The planet is predicted to survive for another four billion years or so, which would appropriately seem to make the Earth Mother about 80 to 90 years by the time she is to pass back to cosmic dust. She may well, before that time, suffer that fate that no ‘parent’ should and in due course bear witness to the passing of all her children… unless at least one manages to demonstrate enough care for The Mother to allow itself to reach the point that it might fly the nest and, perhaps, ultimately, find far flung climes whereupon it might yet thrive and come into its full potential of being a species that not only acquires much knowledge but also learns how to exercise that knowledge with sufficient wisdom!

“The whole of human civilization as we know it…began only 2 hours ago” …one wonders if it can last another two hours and then, perhaps, continue to survive beyond its infancy?

Gnosis: Why Things Are As They Are…

The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of thirteen ancient books containing over fifty texts, almost used a tinder and fuel for a cooking fire by the wife of the shepherd who unwittingly stumbled upon them in 1945 in upper Egypt and thought them worth nothing, these are all that remains of a fascinating literary treasure.

An incredible discovery after nearly 2000 years of remaining hidden includes a number of “Gnostic Gospels” – during the early Christian struggle to define and establish “orthodoxy” which ultimately resulted in the Bible we commonly know today it was thought that these alternative texts had all been destroyed. The insights they provide to ‘other interpretations’ of stories and parables that are the the standard fodder for Christian teachings is eyeopening…

Given the alternative slant the Gnostic texts give to the story of The Garden to Eden (including the following quote) perhaps these help to explain just why, in many respects, things ‘are as they are today’ for the human race…

I Missed This Sumptuous Visual Feast When It Came Out. Did You? Samsara

“Samsara” — the wheel of life — a sumptuously filmed ‘wordless’ voyage observing many stunning, and some shocking, scenes around the good Earth… A glimpse of things that all go to make me realize how little I have seen or know about this planet we call ‘home’.

Some beautiful, emotionally evocative musical accompaniment also goes to make this a tour-de-force of visual and aural delights… Take a long coffee break and give it a look, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

What’s wrong with Humanism?

Someone I respect a lot makes it clear that they are a ‘humanist’

What is humanism? Well, I looked it up to be certain I was ‘right’:

At least Wikipedia sates that: “Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition.”

So this leads to my question, which is… what about intuition and ancestral/inherited/in-born memory — otherwise arguably referred to (in the animal world) as instincts? (i.e. feelings/reactions that appear to be ‘built-in’ to a living being from the moment of birth, or in other words before any ‘learning’ has had time to take place.)

Whilst I, myself, have been educated to understand, to value and to require in most cases critical thinking and empirical evidence… I have remained from an early age influenced by intuition and instinct.

When a dog or a horse (for common example — but in fact any non-human ‘being’ could be cited) reacts to their instinctive feeling that something is ‘wrong’ (with a situation/a person, etc.) this is put-down to being an ‘instinctive’ reaction. This is in reference to the frequently noted times that horses are inexplicably ‘spooked’ and the threat later reveals itself, or the dog that seems to know when its master leaves work though they have no set pattern, hours or itinerary… among many other possible examples (including the oft-witnessed, sad cases of ‘supposedly dumb’ animals reacting to being in the line at slaughterhouses!).

When a human expresses the fact that they ‘feel’ that something is ‘wrong’, or ‘odd’ or indeed ‘right’ — this presumably also is down to instinct or intuition… yet it may often be written-off as ‘just being silly’, or perhaps allowing things (like superstition) to influence them, or just explained as them being ‘impressionable’… Whilst this may be true in some cases, it seems that in this current world we are constantly exhorted NOT to trust these inexplicable feelings, not to react to our ‘instinctive concerns’ and moreover to ‘rely on experts’ in almost all walks of life…

Proof (if some form of empiricism is required) that ‘experts are often wrong’, I am certain, abounds. Proof that ‘intuition’ has been right in many cases is also available (although frequently derided or disregarded on the grounds of being ‘anecdotal’ by those of a scientific bent — although my question has always been, just how many anecdotes does it take before it becomes accepted as empirical data? 5, 10 50, 100… frequently empirical, scientific studies seem initially only to involve an experimental cohort of perhaps 10 or 20 ‘subjects’).

It seems that ‘expertism’ has been an inherent plank of the apparent strategy that has resulted in the progressive dumbing-down of huge tranches of humanity (particularly in the so-called developed world). In all societies it seems that there has been a respected font of wisdom, sometimes called the elder, the wise-man, the shaman, or even witch-doctor (which I presume would be classed as disparaging and racially negative term these days)… we (in the West) have made a whole strata of society into ‘experts’ in various fields that we should ‘rely on’ rather than practicing our own ‘common sense’ or instinctive wisdom, and even simply developing our own skills and abilities (after all, where did those experts themselves ‘start’!?).. The result.. broadly speaking.. a sever decline in common sense (presumably a result of the ‘use it or lose it’ rule!).

So whilst I can wholeheartedly support the idea that people should avoid being influenced by ‘superstition’ or ‘dogma’… things that, after all, have been created as tools and mechanisms for control (along with all frameworks of politics and/or religion… it is an equally inappropriate ‘polar opposite’ to suggest that ‘all the answers’ must be supported by the humanist principle of requiring rational explanation and empirical evidence.

It would seems that any hard line requirement for everything to adhere to rational and empirical guidelines will mitigate against the very real, and very important but admittedly less ‘explicable’ aspects of human nature… intuition and instinct… I would tend to argue that should we ever do away completely with intuition and instinct… we will also, shortly thereafter, be doing away with our species.. But that of course is just my intuitive and instinctive response! And perhaps if one is to consider a future race of humans totally reliant on empiricism, rationality and critical thinking we will then forgo many (if not ALL) future ‘moments of insight’, ‘crazy ideas’ that lead to major innovations, and in general over time, any substantial steps forward for humanity… So perhaps we are really talking about ‘De-Humanism’ if our species is somehow meant to thrive without those critical faculties of intuition and instinct that have so often led to inspiration!

What do you reckon, dear humanists?

What is it to be Human?

Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent three years filming interviews with 2000 people in 60 countries to try to address some of the most basic questions about our ‘humanity’.

In the course of these exceptional films the many individuals express their personal view about what have been important aspects of their lives, their views about life, love and many other things. Many stories relate to the challenges that trying to be a human requires each person to deal with, some are terribly sad, others are beacons of hope, all might touch something deep inside the viewer.

By turns sad, beautiful, heartwarming, harrowing, spirit-enhancing this wonderful collection of ordinary humans expressing their thoughts and feelings is something that — given the right attitude and approach — we should all watch and can all benefit from.

Arthus-Bertrand’s incredibly beautifully filmed compositions alternate between the interviews and simply stunning footage of aerial observations of many parts of the world, from bustling cities to barren snowscapes, accompanied by a perfectly chosen soundtrack representing the music of many cultures with fine additional music from Armand Amar.

If you manage to restrain the tears within the first ten minutes of watching ‘volume 1’ alone, in this web edition, you are made of sterner stuff than me!

This marvellous project is certainly an emotional roller-coaster ride but one that is not to be missed. Many thanks due to Yann Arthus-Bertrand for taking on this worthwhile and immense task:

Volume 1 (1 hour 23 min):

Volume 2 (1 hour 26 min):

Volume 3 (1 hour 33 min):


Avoiding (or even Curing) Cancer? Simply A ‘Side-Effect’ Of Choosing Healthful Habits!

Herewith, what I hope is a worthwhile re-post of an article I penned last year and originally published on another site, it features a few of my favorite ‘hobby-horses’:

Any Tips Arising From The Following Discussion Might Seriously Improve Your Chances Of Staying Well!

In response to a recent ‘video post’ I happened to see passed around on facebook and concerning the issue of cancer, specifically, I made the following observations (edited below into a more coherent form) that I hope may be of interest:

This (the short video about the real causes of and potential cure for cancer) reiterates my own research over the last few years and I have published some material along similar lines in various places. But here is a summary of just some of the things I have found most fascinating and noteworthy:

From Programmed Death To Re-Incarnation…
Human cells have a marvellous built-in system – apoptosis, or ‘programmed cell death’ – which, when working correctly, literally tells a cell when it is ‘too damaged’ to continue to survive and ‘instructs it’ to self-destruct… But in this case there is an ‘afterlife’ (an interesting observation for those who believe the adage
‘as above, so below’, perhaps?) for although the dead cells are indeed broken down, and the ‘rubbish is dumped’ (removed and or excreted via the action of organs such as the liver, kidneys and mayhap the lungs?) they do not go totally to waste, for the remaining ‘useful parts’ are recycled to build new cellular material… a kind of ‘reincarnation’.

However, when certain processes ‘injure’ the cell’s ‘apoptotic response mechanism’ they cannot then ‘die’ when this in-built safety-system would have told them they should! This can lead to a proliferation of such mutated cells, a cluster of which might be typically diagnosed as a ‘tumor’. Such damage to the cells ‘auto-self-destruct’ response can be caused by things like ‘free radicals’. We are told that a free radicals is: “…any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron in an outer shell” – which doesn’t help much to explain the danger they pose to the human biological system, except to imply they need to balance their electron pairs, which essentially leads these free-radicals ‘scavenge’ oxygen, when they get into our bodies, and hence depleting availability of this essential resource that is the key to our cellular-level health, and our indeed our continued existence!

…And Breathe
This is just one aspect that highlights (beyond ensuring we eat a healthful diet, that includes those things that ‘mop up’ free radicals and hence defuses their harmful effects) why you should understand that proper oxygenation (of the body) is so important… How often do you stop to think how ‘efficiently and effectively’ you are breathing? If you are like me you may well have periods of sedentary occupation (stuck in front of a PC screen for hours developing, editing and repairing websites in my case; along with writing an occasional article or two!) and it is common at these times not only to adopt a poor posture, but also to breathe in a shallow and ineffective way. If you live and/or work in a city there is also air quality to consider, whether indoors effects of mechanical sir circulation and cooling/heating) or outside in the plumes of combustion gases… even if you do deep-breathing exercises, you may well wonder: what are you actually breathing-in? (But that’s another issue).

That Dreaded Notion…
Let’s assume, for now, that your typical air is ‘still clean enough’: how frequently do you pause even for 5 minutes to take deliberately deep, slow, even breaths, then hold a few seconds to allow full absorption of oxygen, before exhaling equally slowly, deeply and evenly? Naturally, doing things that stimulate fuller and more healthy breathing can be valuable in increasing your oxygen intake… such as
that dreaded notion (for some) of actually doing more ‘physical exercise’ (as they say, this can be as simple as taking the stairs not the ‘handy’ lift, or walking down to the shops and returning with a few kilos of purchases… rather than lazily ‘hopping in the car’!). But as practitioners know, choosing to adopt yoga as a regular part of your ‘health boosting’ daily regime involves the process of ‘re-learning how to breathe’ properly, and thereby increasing that essential oxygen intake.

Are You What You Eat?
So whilst we breathe to live it is also acknowledged that… we
‘are what we eat’ – a adage we all seem to know, yet so often fail to heed — for, many people just keep on eating processed ‘pseudo foods’ full of the very things that lead to greater acidification of the system and potential cellular damage. This includes the negative impact, for example, of ingredients such as sugars (not to mention the insidious proliferation of non-natural sweeteners!), and many other common additives and ingredients used in processing foods (so-called ‘added value’ which really translates into ‘added profits!), as well as the tendency to consume too much of certain ‘acidifying’ food groups, primarily for example: ‘meat and meat products’! (and that is without getting into the issues of what chemicals and substances may have been pumped into the poor animals, thanks to modern agricultural practices during its sad and often rapidly-enhanced ‘lifetime’, and that still linger within, after slaughter, for us to consume and our bodies to try to deal with).

Killer Foods… And The Survival Instinct At Cellular Level…
Today’s food manufacturers bear a great responsibility for developing
‘killer foods’ that contain not only questionable sugar levels, but ‘high fructose corn syrup’ (even cheaper than sugar) — bulking food out, maintaining our taste for ‘sweet things’ all of which leads to more acidification… In relation to this and the previously discussed concept of depleted oxygen, one fascinating aspect of the ‘built in survival instinct’ of human body cells is that, if they are ‘forced’ to live in an oxygen deprived environment for long enough (a state that often occurs due to us failing to ‘breathe fully and deeply’, not exercising enough to stimulate oxygen intake and good circulation)… then they can ‘save themselves’ by going into are ‘retrogressive’ or ‘devolved’ state… When this happens, rather than continue to operate ‘healthily and normally’ using oxygen (which should be being delivered constantly by a healthy bloodstream) they revert to an ‘anaerobic’ state where the cell manages to ‘limp along’ by using CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). Naturally, this waste-product should be being exported from the body via the blood, to the lungs, and expelled through our breath. But ‘in extremis’ cells can revert to this ‘lower state of evolution’ and a growth of carbon dioxide consuming anaerobic cells can occur… Such cells are generally recognized as a cancerous growth… Ultimately the survival instinct at the cellular level can sow the seeds of death for the larger organism… the human body itself!

Common Sense Strategies For Remaining Healthy
So, essentially – and in simple ‘common-sense’ terms — we need to oxygenate our bodies effectively, keep our blood clean and uncluttered, free flowing and healthy, many (informed folk) would say erring towards the alkaline side for even better healthfulness, which can be achieved all through good eating habits, perhaps combined with regular cleansing, if we know we have allowed ourselves to become too polluted…Exercising daily (it sounds a cliché, I know), stimulating blood flow, and reducing the chances of ‘low oxygen areas’ occurring in the body. Reducing acidity via alkalizing food, you may not want to hear it but this means consuming plenty of leafy green vegetables (glowing with the ‘inner light’ of synthesized sun-energy), along with the intake of sufficient clean pure water to assist with efficient flushing-out of toxins (this, then, does NOT generally mean chemically laced tap water – unless you REALLY have no other choice)… whilst reducing our consumption of acidifying foods and the health-impugning/corporate-pocket lining/supposedly-time-saving ‘processed nibbles’ and ‘ready-made foods’ that many have become so dependent on (not to say ‘addicted’ to!).

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind…
But equally important is good ‘mental health’ in the broadest sense, because even though all the physical factors may be ‘right’, yet your ‘mind is wrong’, the internal environment can never reach its optimal potential! Which implies that actively taking time out to de-stress, possibly by choosing to set time aside to learn and practice meditation regularly, maybe combining this with yoga for its multiple benefits both physical and mental, or whatever else helps YOU to reduce the ‘acidifying effects’ of a poor psychological state… all these can contribute to an
‘holistic approach’ that can both strengthen immunity AND keep cells working healthily and happily. (Evidently there is material here to be discussed in a further article, and I accept I have paid this important aspect short shrift – though I ‘tip my hat’ to the ‘epigenetic’ theories and intelligent presentations to be found online by luminaries such as Professor Bruce Lipton, if you like ‘Googling’ – or ‘Duck-Duck-a-Go-Go-ing’!! and haven’t yet read/listened to his extremely important work. I urge you to do it!)

On a side point that has certainly fascinatedme:
Almost all our many trillions of body cells contain the amazing component – the mitochondrion (or in most cells the plural mitochondria, applies) — some cells such as muscle cells have a good many, the ‘incredibly busy’ liver cells have around two thousand each, others than require little energy may have as little as one of these incredible almost deceptively simple structural elements, or ‘organelles’ – and indeed to be fair, flowing continuously along the liquid ‘nutrition delivery’ highway we refer to as ‘blood’, the red cells have no mitochondria!

Miniscule but Mighty Mitochondria…
Mitochondria are often likened to little ‘batteries’ (though this underplays their mighty significance to our health and functioning) as they are the centers found in the majority of human cells where fuel is turned into energy, and they play a major role in signalling about, and maintaining cell-health (including the aforementioned ‘programmed death’ mechanism). Yet amazingly, whereas most of our human body cell’s DNA is contained in its nucleus, the ‘mighty’ mitochondrion has its own genetic material: “…the mitochondrion has its own independent genome… its DNA shows substantial similarity to bacterial genomes” (source:
wikipedia amongst others). An implication that an essential element/mechanism within the majority of cells within the human body ‘is not of human origin’ …and in a way provides us with a kind of exemplar of the ultimate cooperative, mutually-beneficial ‘symbiotic society’… If only we could learn to ’emulate’ this on the ‘greater scale’?!

For the mitochondria to work effectively and remain undamaged, it requires that the cell walls are kept undamaged, semi-permeable, and in good order being constantly provided with the ‘right fuel’; further confirming the need to keep the inner-environment clean through the consumption of REAL unadulterated fresh foods – especially vegetable sources as noted… Supplying fuel efficiently and effectively, of the optimal quality to these miniature ‘energy managers’ is simply essential to our long-term good health… and survival!

And another amazing side note:
Indeed with the aphorism mentioned early (“as above, so below”) it is phenomenal to consider that: besides relying on what may have originally been a ‘non-human’ (bacterial) symbiont for our cellular health and survival, we are also (each individual human, in and of ourselves) a whole world – or possibly a universe (or even ‘multiverse’!) – of microscopic/sub-microscopic lifeforms. For, as you may already know, whilst we consider we are simply wholly ‘human beings’, we actually play host to a FAR greater number of non-human cells than we have actual human cells (and that’s anywhere from about 30 to 70 trillion) in our body.

The Universe Within Us…
Indeed we are host to an amazing array of lifeforms of non-human origin – yet we fail to recognize our own role as ‘walking talking universes’ that show little to no recognition, or respect, for the organisms we provide a home, a world, a universe for!… In fact we pay very little respect to our own bodies, full stop! We expect it to constantly deal with all the rubbish we throw at it day in day out – both in terms of eating poor quality processed ‘so-called’ foods, breathing and re-breathing increasingly polluted air, consuming an array of ‘known-to-be-toxic’ fluids (from acidifying, sugary or worse still ’artificially sweetened’ drinks, often laced with carbon dioxide; to all forms of alcoholic beverage – the stronger the more seriously toxic; and even to tap water that may be ‘laced with’ chlorine and possibly that totally unnecessary ‘industrial waste product’ –
that by the way has no proven positive impact on dental health – the neuro-toxic chemical, fluoride, spuriously foisted on the consumer for ‘our benefit’!). We, most of us, constantly consume these debilitating forms of ‘crude fuel’ for our bodies, along with absorbing the ‘negative energy’ we are exposed to through putting ourselves into stressful positions: sticking at jobs we hate, existing in stress-ridden environments in cities and towns… And then we wonder why our health deteriorates and ask: why have our bodies ‘let us down’?

An Exemplar Of Cooperatives Peaceful Co-Existence: Our Human Body
In all the body itself provides a great example of how a ‘united world’ should work — a set of diverse, complex organs and systems – working harmoniously and constantly around the clock, supporting one another and in optimal conditions, working efficiently for more than 100 years! (Some suggest it could be 150 or more with proper support, care, nutrition, maintenance and exercise! Maybe longer?)

Yet we persist in our typical diurnal self-destructive behaviors — from drinking soda-pop, to eating too much chemically laced food, resorting at the ‘drop of a hat’ to questionable pharmaceutical products to ameliorate symptoms, getting regularly stressed-out at our spouse, our kids, our co-workers, strangers in the street, the dumb politicians, and so on… and so on… until R.I.P.

…Take Care – All the Time!
I can appreciate entirely (without the need for the billions that flow through the coffers of spurious ‘research charities’ into Big Pharma’s so-called-research centers, whilst largely funding who-knows-what hierarchy of management and ‘fundraising’ teams… yes, these supposed non-profits are simply corporate businesses!) that today’s tide, or epidemic, of Cancer (as well as many, if not all, other diseases) — can be halted, avoided, stopped, cured, overcome – BUT NOT by the ‘slash, burn, poison’ tactics of so-called ‘modern medicine’ (all methods which, by the way, have been shown to cause myriad problems themselves, and that can actually prove over time be ‘carcinogenic’!) …But by treating ourselves, our bodies, our minds with care and respect ‘all the time’: by considering every morsel we eat, and every drop we drink, every breath we take, every angry word we find formulating on our tongue-tips, every lost opportunity to walk, jog, run or use our bodies in countless useful energetic ways…

…And simply accepting that it seems to have been ordained that in the ‘pattern of things’ – in the cosmic kaleidoscope, from the smallest to the greatest of thing we can conceive – we are each of us, a universe of creatures, in effect we are the ‘God’ of which they can ‘never know’, yet on which they depend to make the right decisions to ensure both their, and our own, prolonged healthy existence!.. Might they also be ‘thinking’: “As Above, So Below”?

(NOTE: Despite their limitations, and their frequent reliance on largely non-medically-qualified pharmaceutical salesmen for their latest information about ‘medicinal products and treatments’: You are still advised to seek medical advice from a qualified and trusted medical practitioner, at your earliest opportunity, if you think you may have a health problem. Proviso: BUT always remember – Doctors are not ‘gods’ and you retain your own free will when it comes to accepting their analysis, information and advice… if you have any qualms or concerns about any diagnosis, or treatment you are offered, seek second or further opinions! This is your human right, and your health is YOUR responsibility, no-one else’s, so don’t abdicate it!)

Author bio: Al G Smith has published health-related and other articles widely, online, over the last decade or so. He is not a medical practitioner (that’s the good news!) he is an ‘independent researcher’ but lays no claim to providing anything in any article that can be construed as diagnostic advice. Al G Smith publishes his own ‘eclectic’ blog at http://algsmith.com, and an organic lifestyle ‘online resource’ at www.goNandO.com (Go Natural and Organic). He is also currently involved with the life-changing, ‘nascent’ eco-project at www.ValleyofPleasures.com, set in central Portugal, which is being largely funded through his website development work undertaken through http://eiWebDesign.com where he specializes in helping people with their WordPress websites and social media management. Al also writes and illustrates children’s books and has created the online book club for children: http://Kindling.Club …amongst other things!
If this article makes you want to ask me a question feel free to contact me through the blog site contact page. Thanks for your interest and taking your time to read this article.