Climate Change for Skeptics or Believers | Sam Harris Interviews Climate Expert Joseph Romm

 

Two hours of attentive listening. Make the Time. It is so well worth it!

This two hour podcast is extremely informative. Sam Harris directs the questions in a very intelligible manner. His guest, Joseph Romm, an author, blogger, physicist and climate expert, is fantastically eloquent and articulate. Each word he uses, each sentence is jam-packed with information; displaying his knowledge about the subject of science, human behavior, economics and the politics of power and persuasion.

Sam Harris podcast, audio interview with Climate Expert, Joseph Romm

Sam Harris podcast audio interview with Climate Expert Joseph Romm

Sam Harris podcast, audio interview with Climate Expert, Joseph Romm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is especially for people who don’t believe that Climate Change is caused through the actions of human beings. Yet is even more persuasive and full of facts for those of you who are already convinced that man’s actions are inextricably linked to Climate Destruction. His guest who wrote the book “What you Need to Know about Climate Change”

LISTEN to inform yourself, regardless of what your opinion is.

 

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz, blogger, currently completing by first eBook, musician and composer, has no income, zero. I spend time communicating these things, reading, researching, writing, conversing, because I am passionately interested in the subjects of in particular, saving the environment and habitats of animals from human greed and destruction. I have the time to ponder and consider these things, because my world is not centralized around an immediate family; I am single, and ready to engage in any task employing my language and communication skills, anywhere presently.

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carol keiter squinting in the Montpellier, France sun

carol keiter blogger card

carol keiter blogger card

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Transformation | Presents of Presence | Asking the Right Questions

I suddenly have very limited time. Nothing like time constraints to force one into action! In fact, the underlying current of this blog is about constraints put on from the outside, which have actually been blessings because they have been lighting the flames to blaze my path. I’ve fortunately welcomed these, as I have wished to set into motion my path and cast a net of wider options. Aiming for excellence as opposed to perfection, I’m striving to accomplish projects as efficiently as possible and simply ‘get them out there’.

I’m presently living on a ranch on the dusty outskirts of Florence, Arizona in the Sonoran desert.

Entrance, Ranch, Florence, Arizona

Entrance and front porch to my living quarters on Ranch near Florence, Arizona

A town I had never heard of and a place I hadn’t fathomed living in several weeks ago. A month ago I shoveled two and a half feet of snow

2.5 feet, snow, Pennsylvania

2.5 feet of snow in Pennsylvania

in Pennsylvania, the largest snowfall in a decade, despite 2015 being the warmest year globally, on record. Here are some pics of my 1st WWOOF experience on Veteran’s Ranch off the town of Florence, Arizona in the Sonoran desert.

Here are some pics of my 1st WWOOF, Veteran’s Ranch, Florence, Arizona, Sonoran desert.

Here are some pics of my 1st WWOOF experience on Veteran’s Ranch off the town of Florence, Arizona in the Sonoran desert.

Back in midsummer I was suddenly pushed to move out of my ‘childhood’ home, where I had been residing once again after moving back from Berlin, Germany. I anticipated having to leave this residence, eventually, yet had – from my perspective – an enormous task ahead of me. I needed to ‘go through’ a large closet packed with my possessions that had been stored there while I lived on the East and West coasts of the US and several European countries. The beginning of tackling this was through the serendipitously timed message of an online coworking coach, regarding approaching large tasks much more easily, by setting oneself very small goals: ‘mini habits’. This invoked me to begin stretching, meditating and eventually to begin ‘going through’ one, then another box, in un-intimidating doses. The task felt enormous, because rather than dealing with large pieces of furniture, it was with minute pieces of paper – boxes upon boxes of journals, sketches, letters – which I would eventually sift through and decide what to recycle and what to photograph and digitize, along with creating folders and a methodology of cataloguing so that I could easily retrieve this mass of media.

When I was forced to leave the home with a very short notice, my first response was not to panic and scramble looking for where to immediately go, but to pour my heart and mind into the intent of where I would ultimately love to go. I put out this notice https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/posting-a-jobhomecommunity-relocation-info-ad-for-myself/

The timing of it triggered me to go through my stuff, while awaiting an opening at a workaway position in Brooklyn, New York on a Ferry Boat – another deadline. I fortunately was offered a temporary residence which gave me the space to accomplish this task. A friend of my housing host repeatedly asked me “Aren’t you excited about moving to Brooklyn?”, to which I responded that I wasn’t in the least bit thinking about it, as I was focused in the present; doing the best job that I could in sorting through and digitizing a huge glutton of my past.

I made it through this material, while continuing to eat healthy foods, stretching daily and practicing heart-rhthym meditations. Then another synchronisitic event occurred. Aware that the Paris Climate Talks were approaching, as someone who blogs consistently about corpocrisy, animal rights, environmental, political and economic topics, I now happened upon the concept from the textbook of the ‘iamheart School of Heart Rhythm meditations‘ about directing a question during the meditation exercise. Some of the letters which kept surfacing while sifting through my stuff, connected with a discovery that emerged during and within hours of this meditation. A week later I was on a flight on my way to Paris within days of the beginning of the COP21. I joined a crew of 600 others to participate in the learning and transformative activist and journalism movement of Place to B, a gathering of people involved in actively engaging and transforming our relationship to the world ecologically.

Within the first minute of getting into my seat of the WOW airlines flight from Baltimore Washington to Reykjavik Airport, connecting to a flight to Paris; Kadi and I introduced ourselves and discovered that we were each headed to the same destination, Paris, for the COP21. We high-fived! I was heading to PlacetoB whereas she had a pass to enter the floor of dignitaries of the COP.

Carol Keiter, USA, Kadi Kenk, Estonia, WOW airlines, Paris COP21, Climate Talks

Carol Keiter from the USA and Kadi Kenk from Estonia sitting next to one another on the WOW airlines flight from Baltimore Washington to Reykjavik Airport, connecting to a flight to Paris; Each going to the Paris COP21 Climate Talks

She mentioned an Estonian designer who recognized the enormity of waste in the design industry of unused fabric, who started a ‘trash to trend’ movement. The ‘Reet Aus’ label means ‘up made’.

Trash to Trend, Estonian, Upcycled, Clothing Design

‘Trash to Trend’ Estonian 100% Upcycled Clothing Design Line

It implies all of the leftover fabric that is used instead of being thrown away. The designer works not with recycled, but 100% upcycled clothing line. As we talked, Kadi mentioned that she’s a lawyer in tax law. She had started to volunteer at letsdoitworld a World Cleanup Day designated for 2018. Once she finished her position and realized she had no limitations, she began to open up to see things that were always there, but that she hadn’t noticed before: not just opportunities, but a completely different way of living one’s life.

She mentioned that things open up for people who are willing to open themselves to seeing things in a new way.

By going with the flow and trusting in one’s intuition, this allows one to be able to now see things, even though they were always there, but which one wasn’t able to see.

Let's do It, World Cleanup Day 2018

Let’s do It World Cleanup Day 2018

One of the first distinctions I realized upon sitting in my first day seminar at the PlacetoB, was a palatable spiritual essence within the presentations. Here were people who gathered because of their longing to make positive changes in the world. Changemakers, innovators, creatives and media professionals here in Paris to explore solutions to sustainable living, with the intent to share stories and seed their own media in ways to help create change. People with ideals they believe in, and the incentive and intent act on their creative instincts in whatever ways they conceptualized. I would say that one common denominator is that all think outside of the box; going with their hearts to manifest what they believe in. It was no accident that my heart meditations brought me there. On my first day there attending a seminar at PlacetoB, the host of the Transformational Media Summit, Jeremy Wickremer’s message reverberated with me. He spoke of the importance of asking the right questions. More important than driving towards answers, is asking questions, as this already is less limiting, and opening oneself up to a field of creativity. Wickremer prompted zealously emphasizing that “The quality of our questions affects the quality of our lives. It affects where we focus our efforts and what we achieve.”

I am daily asking questions within my meditations of how best I can serve, doing what I love to do and what I feel passionately about. Trusting in this, with the steady stream of various messages that have helped to guide and nudge me into a secure space, despite having subsequently moved to this workaway Ferry boat gig in Brooklyn, New York days following my return from Paris and told that it wasn’t going to work. And then moving back to the place which was my temporary refuge while I sifted through my stuff, and was told that this as well was not going to work, I felt that each was a gift, to push me to move on towards what will be the better way for me to manifest my dreams and use my skills best.

Once again rather than panicking about having shelter, my first instinct was to follow through with a blog I was putting together, that suddenly erupted into yet another synchronistic series of connections; the fact that in my research I happened upon the same organization that I later discovered was what had also been sent to me by one of my PlacetoB comrades. I delved first into contacting an organization with an introduction to myself and defining what I would love to do with them, using a set of skills from illustration to writing, conceptualizing to marketing their service abroad with my language skills. I then prompted myself to put out another pair of blogs as a christening of the job application. My approaching deadline of potential homelessness now serendipitously called me to consider paring down to what I could carry on my back, as in Paris, just two backpacks. Now my Facebook groups emerged with concepts of hitchhiking South (having just shoveled two and a half feet of snow in PA days earlier). Now I was looking at posts in the hitchhiking group about ways to travel and sleep for free, several of which I had already been acquainted with. In this process of investigation into now the possibility of simply beginning to travel South, with the idea of contacting and interviewing successful agroforestry farmers in Central and South America, I learned of a Frenchman born in 1937 who basically hitchhiked and traveled more extensively than anyone, André Antoine Brugiroux, who between 1955 and 2005, visited every country and territory in the world.

Having not heard back from the Center for Ecoliteracy organization in Berkeley, California where I created my own position which I presented to them, and having little savings and an ever increasing credit card debt, I now was inspired to begin hitching, however then the Zika virus scare erupted into the news. I then aimed towards the idea of searching for workaways in Europe, where ultimately I would love to reside, to ever expand my language skills. From Sicily to France, the idea of learning ecological practices from the pros, those with their own farms to then communicate in writing, this was now my pursuit. I went as far as investigating universities in France to combine studying French as a foreign language with ecological studies, yet the timing was not quite right, the semester was just starting and I had yet to acquire a student VISA. A sister of mine then reminded me of the WWOOFing concept which I new of vaguely. Within days of joining and creating yet another online profile about what I can offer and lots of investigation, I received an answer. Within minutes I remembered autodriveaway as possibility of transporting myself as I had use previously when driving back to the East coast from California with the car packed with my own stuff. This time there were only two autos on their entire list – in February – that needed to be transported. I opted for the one from the East to the West coast. The person who had been lined up to transport this car backed out at the last minute and now it was urgent. I had just enough money with more cc debt to manage the deposit, and now my plan was coalescing. I coordinated what I’d need to be a Ranch hand (hiking boots, sturdy clothes to get mucked up and gloves, sunscreen) and hitched to the location to pick up the car. My first ride within minutes of standing by the road in central PA with a sign to the next highway, was a guy who was listening while he drove to ‘The Secret‘ on his laptop in his van, and decided that there was ‘a reason for picking me up’. He drove me most of the way, having no specific jobs of urgency that morning. As he pulled into a gas station for us to find out where we were in relation to Washington D.C., he had just gotten a text about a job that sprung up, and I saw a well dressed man in his hat walking to his car. Something told me to launch out, leaving my luggage to approach this man and ask if he was driving towards D.C. He was my ride to one of the outer metro stops that would bring me from the northern tip of the Washington District of Columbia metropolitan subway transit system to where I needed to go on the southern end in Alexandria, Virginia to pick up the car. The woman working for the transit system was my third hitch, she gave me a pass to show upon arrival at my station stop.

I drove a Honda Civic (same automobile that I was driving of my mother) across the country. Leaving behind as a gift, the magnets a friend handcrafted in Taos, New Mexico – signifying to me the spiritual essence of life’s path.

Magical Magnets handcrafted by Betsy Pierce

Magical Magnets handcrafted by Betsy Pierce

and was off

the last sunset shot in Pennsylvania

the last sunset shot in Pennsylvania

And having taken a photo of the last sunset I saw in central Pennsylvania, I met my new host after climbing into her truck to take a lovely sunset photo here in my new environment, the Arizona desert.

Arizona sunset at the pickup point off Interstate 10.

Arizona sunset at the pickup point off Interstate 10.

Besides the changing landscapes that evolved from the thick moist air of the Washington D.C. area to then the hills of Tennessee and then the obvious encroaching desert of Oklahoma, were the accompanying radio stations which were now broadcasting more Christian radio shows and Christian rock, the further south and west I drove. By the time I was in the Pan Handle of Texas, there was a preacher-like radio caster who denounced Planned Parenthood as something to be handcuffed, and that the applauded birth-rate drop while it was still in existence, was to him, nothing to boast about. I guess he doesn’t notice the global problems due to overpopulation…

I managed to pull a 17 hour day drive so that I could arrive in Albuquerque NM the following day at a reasonable hour to meet up with my friend since the days when I lived in Taos. The timing was perfect, non-calculated yet having driven with the incentive to have some spare time.

The down sleeping bag that the former captain of my Berlin Ultimate Frisbee team gifted to me.

Glad I had the down sleeping bag that my former captain of my Berlin Ultimate Frisbee team “Yeehaw” gifted to me, as the windshield upon waking was sketched with crystals of ice.

I stopped at the Ranch to drop off my two backpacks and to become introduced to what I was about to commit to. I wasn’t yet sure how I’d return to Arizona from Los Angeles once I delivered the car. However after investigating Greyhound, then put some ads in the LA craigslist rideshare, and even scouted out local public and private Los Angeles airports with the idea of hitching a plan, I sent out a message to a friend who lives there. We had lived in San Francisco at the same time, then met up randomly at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah and then became housemates in Santa Fe, New Mexico and he tipped me to get a job working at the Santa Fe Ski Basin. We then were for a period both living in Berlin, Germany at the same time and now each back in the States. It turned out that though numerous people answered my craigslist ad looking for a ride, my friend Paul was just returning from a day’s ski trip and was leaving in another day and a half to drive to Tucson, Arizona to attend the Gem and Jam music festival which he had purchased tickets for in advance. It just so happened that he’d be driving on Interstate 10, which is the route I took to CA from AZ, and where I could be picked up by the Rancher. Yep, another rather scintillating example of synchronistic timing! Here are pics of the road trip

flickr pics of my East to West autodriveaway trip transporting a Honda Civic (I love these cars) and of some scenes in Los Angeles

flickr pics of my East to West autodriveaway trip transporting a Honda Civic (I love these cars) and of some scenes in Los Angeles

and also of some interesting Los Angeles scenes.

Now I’m working rather long hours and doing physically harder work than I’ve ever done in my life, yet with absolute love for the animals I’m helping to take care of for a rancher who is a tremendously hard worker. She is teaching me efficiency, as she juggles multiple tasks; a job, milking goats with a machine, raising chickens, turkeys, two pot-bellied pigs and making lotions and soap with the goat milk base. She is also part of a volunteer Search & Rescue team who must ride horses for their operation; the most efficacious way to search for a lost person in the desert is not with an automobile, but by horse. Her husband tends to the horses and cattle. They have 6 dogs, three of which are ‘working dogs’ yet completely lovable pets, and all of which are at least 80 pounds a piece. WWOOFing is excellent for the hosts, who as farmers and ranchers typically have endless chores and work to maintain their operations, and great for people like myself who can step into a completely new environment, and learn continuously about aspects of farming etc. that are new; offering one’s physical help in exchange for room and board. I specified in my search that I needed internet access. Voila! In this solitude, living in the middle of nowhere in the sonoran desert with no vehicle (except for my thumb), I opted to bring a folder of all of my Paris paraphernalia and my digital camera and laptop; to continue to spread all that I learned during the two weeks in Paris and to complete my book and start composing more music. It is a purposeful isolation, and really quite unique. As someone who has still not marketed myself nor find an artist residency, nor a publisher willing to gamble on an unpublished writer, nor any grants or funds from a foundation to assist, this seemed to be the best option – specifically since the whole theme of the Paris COP21 and PlacetoB is about transforming all of our habits towards ecologically healthy ones for humans and all inhabitants of the planet, for a better world.

For anyone who has read this far, I can say that this is giving me a taste of what it is like to be a prisoner. I am the only worker here, so all of the load is falling on me, and it is sort of endless and presently a bit overwhelming. I have no days off, must be up at 6am every day, and rarely are the hours contained to the typical WWOOF schedule of 5 hours/day, totaling 30 hours a week. I have felt at times like what it must be like to be an indentured servant; for example a Pakistani immigrant worker in Saudi Arabia, working for ‘masters’ who may not be very gracious or kind. I feel like I am consistently fighting to keep the hours per day to a reasonable workload so that I can have time to work on my own projects, and it has been a continued struggle. Now I am wondering what it is that I can do, where to go, as I am earning no money whatsoever. It sounded like a reasonable way to accomplish things and this place seemed ideal in my minds eye; to put myself into solitude where I would just work on my projects. Up front it was stated that no smoking, drinking or drugs would be tolerated. I typically have a glass of red wine with my dinner, a smoke once in a while and yet certainly I am demonstrating that I’m not addicted to any of these because I can carry on fine without. Yet I feel like I hardly have any time. I am now questioning why it is that I somehow can not manage to find work that employs my skills; illustrating, writing, conversational German, French and Spanish and administrative skills and plenty of creative and conceptual ideas. I’m also a very social person who presently is sort of marooned in an area so rural with no vehicle or bicycle, so that I can’t go out at all. In fact, I feel that I am not being treated with much dignity or respect, and wondering why I have come to this place? What was it in the stars that compelled me to idealize this one, and launch myself here? Perhaps the lesson is that I have not worked on completing my book or composing any new music. I am not sure what the ‘universe’ is telling me? Perhaps it is that the joke is on me for not having had the courage or belief in myself to really dive into crafting my own skills and putting this out there. Therefore, I am definitely on a transition, and I’m not sure to where? Hmmm, within an hour of writing this paragraph and perusing Facebook while eating my dinner, I came across this post which my sister shared. It seems to hold the key!

self-sabotage, limiting beliefs

Within an Hour of adding this previous paragraph, I discovered this post which my sister had shared on her Facebook Wall | Are you Blocking your own Success

In retrospect, though the message is essentially solid, once I checked out this woman’s video I got a little annoyed with the typical selling strategy: buy now or you’ll lose out, and with this offer, you’ll get such and such for free, only while it lasts!!!! I just don’t go for these gimmicks and sales techniques, they turn me off. Funny, when I first tuned in to get my free counseling video, suddenly my computer decided to ‘update my safari browser’ and then the whole ‘streaming’ was glitchy using another browser. I do appreciate the information; about the ways that a person can be self-sabotaging through subconscious thoughts and ‘limiting beliefs’ that were imprinted into the unconscious during childhood when a person is operating mostly on ‘Theta Brainwaves’. And her points about repetition of empowering and positive thoughts envisioned and surrounding oneself with positive and supportive people who take action and make creative changes in their lives….yet I think that one can tap into this through meditation, opening up a channel to the ‘intelligence of the universe’ or whatever you wish to call IT.

Here I am,

carol_keiter_blogger_wwoof_res_feb20

carol_keiter_blogger_wwoof_res_feb20

the blogger in my ‘moose lake lodge’ in the Sonoran desert where I’m participating in my first WWOOF experience on the Veteran’s Ranch, a means of avoiding homelessness while at the same time being very interested in learning about farming techniques from the pros – the people who run the farms and ranches – and I absolutely love and adore animals of every type.

 

When I’m not working with the animals or on my own projects, I’m taking pictures of the sunsets, which have been gorgeous lately.

the sunset from all angles on this Sonoran desert feb 19th evening

the sunset from all angles on this Sonoran desert feb 19th evening

As an avid blogger who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook to complete it and and beginning again to compose music, I ask you rather unambiguously to please donate, if you are able. !-))

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Love over Fear | Education over Insulation

Last evening, as it gets dark at 5:15 already, I was bicycling back from the neighboring town where I attended a heart-rhythm mediation group session. From this I have two blogs:

This one over my experience cycling by a family in a town I passed through, and the other having to do with a recognition about health.

Health is Circulation | Letting things Flow | Diarrhetic vs Constipative (made up that word !-)

I had just come from riding through darkness and fog, pretty cool. Then as automobiles are the most dangerous things to avoid, I chose to ride down an ally rather than along the main drag filled with traffic.

Turning into the ally I heard voices and saw some kids and several adults standing near a trailer. Out called a boy of 4 or so in his high-pitched voice. “What’s your name”. Delighted, I called back, “Carol, what’s yours?”. I paused instead of continuing on as if not really caring for the answer. I hadn’t heard his name correctly. I turned around. Then the boy came running to show me his miniature toy soldier in his hand. Pretty sure it was a figure with two rifles, automatic weapons, in its hands! Now the urgency in the tenor of his father’s voice was increasing.

I approached the boy deliberately getting closer to the father’s periphery so that he could see me in full view. “What’s wrong with talking?”, I asked. “I’m just trying to teach my kid a lesson.” he countered. He had cut off the contact that his child initiated and the interaction we could have had. Why?

Disappointed, I started riding away and then I decided to ride back to them. I said, “I just have to say this. I grew up as a child of his age in this town when my parent’s lived here. They taught me to be kind, loving and compassionate. I was always approaching people like your son when I was his age.” It’s a genuine curiosity and joy in interacting with strangers, with someone new. Gathering new information and exchanging information is how a child genuinely learns about the world around them.

education definition - process of imparting or acquiring information

Education is an exchange of information. It is what babies do as they are learning about the world around them. I expressed to the father, “I don’t know what kind of lesson you’re trying to give to your son, but I don’t think that it’s the right one. I bet you have guns too.” I rode away mildly disgusted and he called behind me, “ride safely”, which may or may not have been genuine.

I understand that kids do not have the same capacity to judge, because they haven’t had too much time on earth to learn through observing other peoples’ behavior to understand rationally or intuitively if there’s something amiss or not quite present in that person. But to block off all communication, especially when the parent is right there, seems inappropriate to me. So he’s protecting his family from the so-called enemy, a female bicycling by on her way home from a meditation group who responds to his child’s call.

People often have the same response when they pick me up hitchhiking. “Aren’t you afraid? It’s very dangerous!” Well, if you count yourself, do you find yourself dangerous? I’ve had rides with couples, straight and gay, coaches, teachers, farmers, students…Dangerous? Then wow, what are you thinking when you’re walking down a street populated with people? Are you scanning for danger? Or are you checking out this person’s shoes, noticing this person’s gait, that person’s dress style, the laughter coming from these kids over here, the snippet of conversation between a couple passing by.

My point, we, at least I, am not anticipating and expecting danger. Naturally, I’m not living under the circumstances of growing up in a war zone of 5 generations, or in an area where there’s a great deal of tension between the have’s and the have not’s, where extreme wealth borders shanty towns. I understand that there, one would learn not to trust and be wary of many more incidences of theft and kidnappings.

But generally, when you’re walking down the street, are you feeling that the world is full of dangerous people? Or are you happy to exchange a smile with someone you pass by or to make a passing comment to share in some kind of exchange? That is, if you’re looking up from your phone to notice someone passing by.

Reading some Einstein quotes the other day, this one impressed me.

Einstein Speak to everyone the same

Einstein Speak to everyone the same

This may seem completely off track, but behaviorally, it’s completely congruent. Earlier in the day on my way by bicycle, I went to visit a cat at a barn that I’m familiar with, ‘Goldie’. Goldie had always been quite friendly, launching towards me. Yesterday, for the first time I saw a new kitten there. The kitten appeared immediately. It approached me, full of curiosity and affection. Then Goldie appeared. Came towards me, but then sat down just out of reach. To my sadness, I realized that now Goldie, was ‘Grumpy’ or ‘Grouchy’. I had noticed before that he would hiss at ‘Gordo’, the fat friendly cat, but thought that this was out of competition. Now, when the kitten went up to Grumpy to nudge him, Grumpy hissed. Perhaps Grumpy was maintaining his dominance or leveraging his power, but really, he just was isolating himself. The kitten, I’ll call ’Giddy’ didn’t respond to Grumpy’s hiss. He just meandered away back over to me, where she affectionately jumped onto my legs and arms and purred and played.

I certainly think it’s much more fun to meet new people and explore new things, than sticking to the familiar and tried-out route. I’d rather learn and be exposed to new information than remaining insular and isolated.

Just sayin’.

I told the father that I don’t believe in weapons, nor in assuming that strangers are bad…I mean, get your priorities straight people. Is this anxiety or paranoia an American phenomenon, or is it a modern day one – driven by the news media? Does it reach across the western world, into Asia, Africa? I’m not sure.

I guess for sure there are differences between cities and rural areas. I’d love to hear comments about it. Do families in Russia, Denmark, Finland, England or Italy, freak out if their kids talk to strangers? Are strangers ‘bad’? Geez, it’s just sending a message of fear and distrust. Ouch!

I can remember when I lived in San Francisco and I’d walk to the Marina area – filled with yuppies and wannabes; a wealthier, upwardly mobile part of town. As a young woman I’d greet people walking by, male or female, with a friendly hello. A significant amount would either ignore me or look at me suspiciously. Whereas when I lived in the rural community of Taos, New Mexico, if you’d happen to be walking or bicycling on a dirt road outside of the town, the Spanish, Indian or Caucasian person driving by in their pickup truck (often the case) in the middle of nowhere, would wave. You, a stranger, would be greeted as a friend. I heard that the nomadic people, Ber Ber’s for example, would never ‘not let a stranger into their tent’ as they were passing by. This could be a life or death situation for that person or for oneself, if caught in the same circumstances – of being in a remote area without water or food. By the way, the guy who took the picture of us on Halloween in NYC is Algerian, of Ber Ber descent, he informed me. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berbers Interesting. I’ll have to ask him.

I really want to know if this is an American thing (guns, paranoia), European, Northern European, metropolitan or – in fact – more of a modern thing that is more economically and politically driven? The age of fear? Is it coming more from the media than people’s day to day experiences? Is everyone dangerous? When you’re walking down the street in your town, in a city, are you scanning around for danger? Or are you noticing interactions, laughter, someone’s clothing, what someone is doing, a smile or gentle eyes? I would hope that when you go out to a restaurant, to a game, a concert, an event… you are approaching the people not as ‘strangers’ – the enemy within – but as potential friends.

The image below links to an article about mindfulness 10 Easy Ways You Can Practice Mindfulness Every Day, presented by The Mind Unleashed

Practice Mindfulness

the Mind Unleashed – an article on Mindfulness

Brené Brown’s TED talk: The Power of Vulnerability | Die Macht der Verletzlichkeit | la Puissance de Vulnérabilité

If you believe this, read no further:
if_you_can_not_measure_it_it_does_not_exist

Regarding the theme of happiness, I was introduced by my sister to Brené Brown’s TED talk: The Power of Vulnerability. It’s worth listening to.

Brown mentions ‘leaning into’ the discomfort of (any task you’re about to work on); which sounds like an echo of Sheryl Sandberg’s (Google/Facebook) book and movement “Lean In”. I don’t know who inspired who.

Brené talks of her interest in expanding perception. She realizes that the common component in the human condition is the need to feel a sense of connection. That’s why we are here and what gives us purpose and meaning in our lives.

In her research, she discovered that many people point to all the places in their lives where they feel a lack of connection, often honing into the negative feedback more than the positive. The author recalls an interview in which her interviewer pointed out the one area (among numerous positive comments) where she was the weakest (euphemistically, calling it an opportunity for growth), which stood out much more than the positive points.

Brown mentions that the one unnamed thing that unravels this connection, is shame = the fear of disconnection.

“I’m not good enough, “I’m not blank enough”

In many cases, it is a person’s fear of “allowing themselves to be seen”. Shame boils down to not feeling worthy.

She found that those people who expressed happiness and joy, felt a sense of worthiness and strong sense of love and belonging. And that in order to have this, the individual must “believe” that they are worthy of love and belonging.

What keeps us out of connection, is our fear that we’re not worthy.

In her study, Brené first isolated those who feel worthiness and a sense of connection, labeling them the “whole heartedness” group.
courage is the latin word coeur = heart

They exhibit a sense of courage and bravery, demonstrating

1. the courage to be ‘imperfect’
2. compassion; first for themselves, then for others
3. feel connection as a result of authenticity; they can let go of who they should be, in order to be who they are
4. they are able to fully embrace vulnerability; to be real is to be vulnerable

They have the willingness to say “i love you” first, willingness to do something even if there are no guarantees, to invest in things even if there is no assuredness that there will be a positive result.

Brené went to a therapist as she realized that she always wanted and needed to be in control, and now was learning that the people who are the happiest, are those who are able to let go of their need to have control. She had a ‘breakdown’, which her therapist called a ‘spiritual awakening’.

Brown isolated the one ingredient that all of these people who are happy share, their willingness to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability, at its core (means shame, fear and struggle for worthiness) yet at the same time it is the birthplace of joy, creativity, love and belonging.

We live in a vulnerable world; the most in debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohorts in U.S. History.

Our response is to numb ourselves to avoid feeling vulnerable and uncertain, yet, as she points out, “You can’t ‘selectively’ numb emotions.” You can’t decide that you don’t want to feel the feelings of fear, uncertainty, unworthiness, shame … without precluding your ability to feel the pleasant ones i.e. joy, happiness, gratitude. So by attempting to numb ourselves of the negative emotions by ‘drinking alcohol, eating or ingesting something else to lighten our mood’ we also are numbing ourselves to the positive ones.

She points out where we all go wrong in striving to erase our vulnerability.

We attempt to make everything that is uncertain, certain.
The more vulnerable we are and try to suppress it, the more afraid we are.
The definition of blame is to discharge pain and discomfort.
Our job is not to make our kids ‘perfect’, but to give our kids the sense that they are worthy of love and belonging, no matter what they ‘achieve’.
We pretend that what we do doesn’t have an affect on other people or an impact, yet we need to be accountable for our actions (as an individual, a corporation…) and in being authentic and real, we have the opportunity to say we are sorry, and that we’ll fix it…

Her recipe towards being happy and allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable are:

to let ourselves be seen; to be authentic, to be deeply seen and vulnerable
to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee
to practice gratitude and joy, particularly in those moments of terror, instead of making it into more of a catastrophe
to believe that you are enough, because when we stop screaming, we will start listening; and subsequently kinder and gentler to ourselves and others

practice_gratitude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown also talks about the Power of Empathy, you can view the talk below.

Dr. Brené Brown on the Power of Empathy

Dr. Brené Brown on the Power of Empathy

the identity behind the mask | which differentiates my group from your group |

A Polish neurologist acquaintance of mine sent me this article, continuing with the theme of our previous discussion. It’s all about the personas that each of us human beings pull around ourselves like a veil. The word person, is derived from the Latin word referencing the masks that Greek actors wore on stage, to be seen from people far away. I touched on the subject of masks in an earlier blog, referring to these gangs in Los Angeles who use masquerade together with dance, as a stand-off against other gangs.
http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/the-role-of-the-clown-humor-in-imparting-information

The blog “You Are Not So Smart: A Celebration of Self Delusion, prominently states in the introduction to the concept.

The Misconception: You are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is; who celebrates diversity and respects others points of view.

The Truth: You are driven to create and form groups and then believe that others are wrong, just because they are others. ! you are as deluded as the rest of us !

“You Are Not So Smart” is a blog devoted to self delusion and irrational thinking. “There is a growing body of research suggesting you have no idea why you act or think the way you do. The origins of your emotional states, your motivations, your behaviors and beliefs are largely inaccessible to your conscious mind.”

The particular article my friend sent, entitled the illusion of asymmetric insight, talks about the various masks that we use and identify ourselves with, both individually and in groups. What is asymmetric, is the lopsided way that we tend to believe that we understand what lies behind another person or group’s mask, yet feel that the other could not begin to comprehend the degree of complexity that lies beyond our own.

“The idea is this: You put on a mask and uniform before leaving for work. You put on another set for school. You have costume for friends of different persuasions and one just for family. Who you are alone is not who you are with a lover or a friend….and if you don’t step back occasionally and feel a bit bizarre how you are wearing a socially constructed mask and uniform, you are probably a psychopath.”

“You know, as a citizen of the Internet, you obfuscate the truth of your character. You hide your fears and transgressions and vulnerable yearnings for meaning, for purpose, for connection. “… So, you don social masks just like every human going back to the first campfires….You seem rather confident in them, in their ability to communicate and conceal that which you want on display and that which you wish was not. Groups too don these masks. Political parties establish platforms, companies give employees handbooks, countries write out constitutions, tree houses post club rules. Every human gathering and institution from the Gay Pride Parade to the KKK works to remain connected by developing a set a norms and values which signals to members when they are dealing with members of the in-group and help identify others as part of the out-group. The peculiar thing though is that once you feel this, once you feel included in a human institution or ideology, you can’t help but see outsiders through a warped lens called the illusion of asymmetric insight.”

In a series of experiments and questionnaires put out by a cross study or researchers at Stanford together with the University of Illinois, the data gathered revealed that “Most people rated their insight into their best friend as keen, yet in the other direction, felt that the insight that their friend’s possessed of them was lacking”….and when it came to groups, “Both groups thought they knew more about their opponents than their opponents knew about themselves.”

“The illusion of asymmetric insight makes it seem as though you know everyone else far better than they know you, and not only that, but you know them better than they know themselves.”

“The researchers explained this is how one eventually arrives at the illusion of naive realism, or believing your thoughts and perceptions are true, accurate and correct, therefore if someone sees things differently than you or disagrees with you in some way it is the result of a bias or an influence or a shortcoming. You feel like the other person must have been tainted in some way, otherwise they would see the world the way you do – the right way.”

“All primates depend on groups to survive and thrive, and human groups thrive most of all. It is in your nature to form them….humans have an innate drive to develop and observe norms and rituals (which) will express itself even in a cultural vacuum, but there is a dark side to this behavior. As psychologist Jonathan Haidt says, our minds “unite us into teams, divide us against other teams, and blind us to the truth.”

“When you feel the warm comfort of belonging to a team, a tribe, a group – to a party, an ideology, a religion or a nation – you instinctively turn others into members of outgroups, into outsiders.”

If this peaks your interest, read the entire article for yourself! I just wanted to skip to the poignant parts and paraphrase it, for those who don’t have the time or inclination.

Today, scanning the headlines, I found an article which magnetically pulled my attention to it. Once I listened to but the first featured video of an interview with this professor of philosophy, it resonated with me. I write about it in my other blog.

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/a-c-grayling-the-freedom-of-creating-ones-own-meaning-is-a-terrifying-responsibility

The philosopher, A.C. Grayling talks about the fact that the meaning which lies behind things/events, effectively comes from whatever we personally designate – as that which has this or that value. And that our universe, the world that we each create around ourself, is all there is. There is no God, no other deities, just us, that render its meaning. A concept which in itself, is quite a frightening responsibility.