Jesus, King of Edessa
by Ralph Ellis
This is it. This is the book that will end Christianity as we know it. Sorry about that, but every deceit eventually unravels and comes to an inglorious end, and the deceit known as Christianity is no exception to this rule. And it is merely fortuitous that this is all happening in the run-up to the 2,000th anniversary of Jesus’ true birth-date in AD 14.
In fact, this book not only proves that the Catholic Church deliberately set out to deceive its followers, it also proves that they were simultaneously mocking and laughing at their own gullible followers, for not realising that they were being duped. In short, this gargantuan cover-up just has to be the work of Saul-Josephus, the quicksilver-quilled historian who wrote most of the secular and the spiritual accounts of 1st century Judaea. Therefore this will be a very challenging book to many readers, not simply because of the sometimes complex evidence that will be explored, but also because this book really does overturn all our preconceived ideas about the New Testament and the history it was trying to tell (or indeed, sell).
Readers of Ralph’s previous works will understand that Saul (St Paul) was actually Josephus Flavius, the 1st century Jewish historian. This was proposed some 15 years ago in Jesus, Last of the Pharaohs, but since there was so much opposition to this amalgamation of characters this claim was eventually re-explored and proven many years later in the book King Jesus. But this radical conflation of characters is not merely an interesting aside, it is central to understanding who Jesus really was; for perhaps the most important result of this new identification was the troubling fact that all of the gospel accounts actually occurred in the AD 50s and 60s – some 20 or 30 years later than the orthodox chronology would suggest. This dramatic reevaluation of biblical chronology has been vigorously challenged, by a diverse array of both orthodox and freethinking critics, but time after time the ancient texts have backed up this claim – including the Vulgate Cycle of Arthurian legend. When writing the history of Joseph of Arimathaea, the author(s) of this vast Arthurian tome came across an insurmountable chronological problem, for Joseph also needed to be active during the siege of Jerusalem, and so the laughable literary solution to this conundrum was to make Joseph go to sleep for three days and yet wake up forty years later. Such are the many problems that the orthodox biblical chronology imposes on the true history of this region.
Then we had the illumination provided by the book Cleopatra to Christ, which proposed that Jesus was a descendent of Cleopatra of Egypt. More radically, it would appear that he was a direct descendent of Queen Thea Muse Ourania, who had been given to King Phraates IV of Parthia (Persia) as a diplomatic bride by Emperor Octavian. But Queen Ourania was exiled from Parthia in AD 4 and made her way with 200 courtiers and 600 cavalry to Syria. And they did so just as the Star Prophesy gained popularity in Rome – the prophesy that claimed a new king would be born under an eastern star, an eastern monarch who would rule the whole Empire. So in AD 4 we do indeed have a royal family who were on a journey and living in a state of poverty, perhaps in a stable, whose new infant son was born under the Eastern Star and would have been visited by the Magi. Remember that the Magi were the Parthian priesthood and king-makers, and so they would only be interested in an infant who had an element of Parthian royal blood. And when tracking the history of that same infant within the many chronicles of Saul-Josephus, it was apparent that he grew up to become Jesus of Gamala, who is also called King Izas of the Adiabene. And so we at last knew who Jesus was – he was Jesus-Izas, a minor prince of a land called Adiabene.
However, although these identifications were hugely radical and thoughtprovoking, eliciting a great deal of debate in conferences and within the blogsphere, there was nothing tangible to really challenge the traditionalist believer here, because you could not put a historical finger on any of these characters. Jesus of Gamala and King Izas had no city, no palace, no mosaic images, no records, and not even a contemporary coin to their name. And where was this mythical land called Adiabene? It certainly did not sound like the location in Iraq, to which it was ascribed. Thus Jesus of Gamala and King Izas were merely phantoms of literature from the not entirely reliable quicksilver-quill of Saul-Josephus, and as such they could be dismissed by the Christian faithful as literary apparitions created by Saul-Josephus for his own nefarious purposes.
However, Jesus, King of Edessa, Ralph’s new book out in October, is a radically different prospect for both the theist and the secular rationalist alike, and so readers will have to brace themselves for the secrets that lie within the many pages of this new book. Just imagine being able to visit the city that Jesus governed; to stand on his citadel; to look at contemporary images of Jesus himself and of his direct descendants. Impossible? Not at all. One just needs to have the key to unlock this historical vista, and that key was provided for us many centuries ago by an unknown author who wrote the haunting hymn ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’. This hymn calls Jesus ‘Emmanuel’, a little-used name for Jesus that is only mentioned once within the gospel accounts, in Matthew 1:23.
The Emmanuel key
But why did Jesus have a name that he never used? A name that was shoehorned into the gospel accounts in a most unsatisfactory manner? Was this simply a scribal error or oversight, or was this a deliberate ploy – a secret code or key that would conceal the true identity of Jesus from all but the truly enlightened and initiated? That, is the central mystery that we need to explore and explain. But that key would not have been of any great use without the lubricant provided by the mournful melodies of Enya, who brought this key to life. Thus in the introduction to this book, it is Enya who provides us with the beauty and wonder that this enigmatic key deserves.
But if the hymn ‘Emmanuel’ was the key to unlock the secrets of the gospels, then the new chronology that the previous books in this series provided was the locking mechanism itself – for there is absolutely no point in having a key if one is trying to unbolt the wrong lock. Readers could use the ‘Emmanuel key’ for an entire lifetime on the classical AD 30s date for the gospels, and find absolutely nothing. It is only when we try to rotate this key in the AD 60s lock that the mechanism will slide open, and the new golden-rayed vista of the historical Jesus-Emmanuel will become apparent. And so the identification of Jesus in the historical record that will take place in this new book is utterly dependent on this late AD 60s date for the gospel events, that has been painstakingly explored and explained in the previous books in this great series.
King Abgar of Edessa
So who was Jesus? Well, without giving too much away, and so detracting from the exciting historical treasure-hunt in the new book, perhaps we can explore and explain who this Jesus character really was. In short, the previous books in this series were perfectly correct, and so this new book represents a rather satisfying confirmation that all of the previous research was based upon solid foundations. So yes, Jesus was indeed descended from Queen Thea Muse Ourania; and this Egypto-Parthian queen did indeed get exiled from Parthia in AD 4; and her husband-son was indeed the semi-mythical monarch called King Monobazus-Izas of Adiabene. The crucial difference, however, is the new evidence that the lands of Adiabene were not in Iraq, where Saul-Josephus appeared to be pointing. In fact, Saul-Josephus was being ingeniously duplicitous here, as he was in all his other works, in concealing the true location for his semi-mythical land called Adiabene. In reality Saul-Josephus’ character called King Monobazus-Izas of Adiabene was a delightful but incredibly deceitful hypocorism or nickname for King Abgarus of Edessa.
Abgar who? – readers might exclaim. Precisely. Readers are probably unaware, but King Abgarus of Edessa was a central character within 1st century Syrio-Judaean history and within the biblical accounts, and so they must ask themselves why they have never heard of this king or this city. Why is this so? Because both Saul-Josephus and the Catholic Church did not want anyone to know anything about King Abgar, and so he has been deleted from history. Saul-Josephus, for instance, writes an entire history of 1st century Judaeo-Syria, but never once mentions King Abgar or the powerful and influential city of Edessa – a city that became the first and the greatest center of early Nazarene Christianity. But how can this be? It is inconceivable that Saul-Josephus did not know of Abgar and the exploits of his famous wife and sons, and their many connections to the biblical story, so how it is possible that he does not mention them? Well he does mention them, on numerous occasions, but he calls this Edessan monarch King Monobazus-Izas of Adiabene. Why? Because the true history of King Abgar was deeply troubling for the new fairy-story that Saul-Josephus was peddling to the gullible faithful: the disingenuous and mendacious fable that we now call the New Testament.
Crown of Thorns
And how do we know that these Edessan monarchs were connected with the biblical family and with Jesus himself? In fact, readers of this new book will find that the evidence is both comprehensive and overwhelming, for once we start making this comparison a veritable Niagara of information pours forth from that region to confirm this connection. Ralph had no idea, before starting this investigation, how prolific and authoritative the Armenian and Syriac Christian chroniclers were. Forget the PC claims that Islam maintained the enlightenment through the Dark Ages, in reality the science, astronomy and philosophy of Greece was maintained by the Syriac intellectuals who lived as dhimmi serfs under their Muslim overlords. And so this identification for Jesus is not merely an interesting possibility, this will be an incontrovertible proof that Jesus was a son of King Abgar – a prince of Edessa.
But this radical new identification gives us so much more information about the biblical Jesus, including contemporary coins and even a contemporary statue that show exactly what he looked like. And one of the interesting aspects of this new pictorial evidence, is the astonishing fact that the Edessan monarchs always wore a ceremonial Crown of Thorns.
Thus the famous crucifixion scene for Jesus was not a simple mockery of a carpenter who claimed to be a king, it was actually a mockery of an Edessan monarch who had lost a battle with Rome. And to emphasize who was right and who was wrong in this dispute, the Romans dressed Jesus up as a defeated Edessan monarch, complete with his rather peculiar-looking Crown of Thorns – a crown that is central to the true theology and beliefs of this Edesso-biblical family, and is intimately linked to the Scottish Stone of Scone. This is why this crown was being denigrated in this fashion, it was not simply because it looked strange, it was because it was symbolic of an ancient belief system that had emerged from Egypt thousands of years ago and had matured in Greece for hundreds more years. This was a creed that was envied and feared in equal measure, and has left its mark on lands as remote as Ireland and Scotland.
As we can see, the gospels were not wrong in what they recorded. In fact, the revised history of this region demonstrates that they are almost entirely correct – it is simply our perception of these events that is wrong. In reality, all of the gospel events happened in the turbulent AD 60s, and not during the comparative tranquil of the AD 30s. More importantly, Jesus was not a pauper-carpenter he was a king, for that is what the titles ‘christ’ and ‘messiah’ mean: they refer to an anointed king of Israel, which is why this great leader was called the King of the Jews. In reality, Jesus was an Edessan prince who was taking advantage of turmoil within the Roman Empire, to advance his claim to rule the world.
The Star Prophesy
In AD 65 Nero had kicked his wife Poppaea to death, and so from that time on he was a dead man walking and everyone knew it; and so many influential and powerful Romans began jostling for power and for the Throne of Rome. One of those contenders for the imperial throne was Jesus-Izas, the prince of Edessa. How do we know this? Because the great oracle that was being spread in the corridors of power in Rome at that time was the Star Prophesy, which foretold that a star from the east would become the Emperor of Rome. The Roman chroniclers report this oracle rather more soberly, and the following is a conflation of the reports by Suetonius and Tacitus.
In most (Jews) there was a firm persuasion, that in the ancient records of their priests was contained a prediction of how at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers coming from Judaea were to acquire a universal empire. This prediction referred to a Roman Emperor, as events showed, but the Jews applying it to themselves broke out into rebellion. (Tacitus, The Histories, 5:13) (Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Vespasian IV)
The rebellion mentioned here is the great Jewish Revolt of the late AD 60s, the revolt that was led by both Jesus of Gamala and by King Izas of Adiabene-Edessa (who were, in reality, the same person). And the ‘universal empire’ that this quote refers to, is the vast pan-national empire that Jesus wanted to establish. Remember that this princely Jesus-Izas was directly related to the royal lines of Egypt, Rome and Parthia, and could potentially have united the entire known world into one vast empire. And who would be the leader of this great empire? Well, in Judaic traditions this same prophesy was known as the Star Prophesy of the East; but who was born under the Eastern Star at this very time? The gospels say of these same events:
There came Magi from Parthia to Jerusalem, saying: “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Math 2:1-2
The unmistakable conclusion to this ground-breaking book will be that Jesus was a king of Edessa in the AD 60s, who very nearly became the emperor of Rome.
But this historical truth undermines everything the Church has been trying to peddle over the last 2,000 years, about their pauper prince of peace. In reality, Jesus-Izas was was warrior prince of great wealth and even greater ambitions. And so the New Testament’s distorted version of Judaean history was not simply a parody of the true history of this region, devised for literary amusement, it was also Roman propaganda. Rome was exasperated with Judaeo-Nazarene agitation in its eastern provinces, and having comprehensively wiped Judaea off the map it decided to give the surviving populations in that region a political double-punch – courtesy of Emperor Vespasian’s quicksilver-quilled wordsmith, Saul-Josephus (the biblical Saul, or St Paul).
In a triumph of mendacity over honesty, Saul-Josephus produced the Jewish War; a secular history of Judaea which basically said that Rome was grievously provoked and was therefore just in destroying Judaea. But there were also the divisive creeds of Orthodox and Nazarene Judaism to tame and quell. Thus Saul-Josephus also wrote and edited a religio-spiritual history of 1st century Judaea, which eventually became Judaism Lite or Simple Judaism – a new Rome-friendly version of Judaism that any Roman Gentile could join, which is now known as Christianity. And who could Saul-Josephus employ as the hero figure of Judaism Lite? Well, this just had to be the infamous hero-villain of the Jewish Revolt, who we know from the historical record was called King Jesus-Izas and who we now know was an ambitious king of Edessa.
But to counter any further thoughts of revolution, Saul-Josephus ensured that this spiritual hero-villain had been deliberately detached from his homeland and emasculated from his imperious role. The true history of a warrior king had become a fallacious cult of a prince of peace, and Emperor Vespasian must have laughed heartily at the many gullible adherents who believed the propaganda that Saul-Josephus had so expertly crafted.
The cover image for Jesus, King of Edessa. This is an image of the biblical Jesus, taken from contemporary coins and a contemporary statue. Jesus, King of Edessa, by Ralph Ellis Available on iPad and Kindle Publishing date 1st October © Ralph Ellis
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans
by Sophie Rose
This famous saying from John Lennon reflects a paradox in our lives. Many of us would like to have a peaceful ride, enjoy the present moment, yet we can’t help but make future plans so we feel secure, or we spend time digging on past hurts. Lennon doesn’t say we shouldn’t make plans, but that the true experience of being alive is beyond those plans, and “happens” to us.
At first view, this seems to negate any personal will, since the right answer to life would be to embrace it instead of trying to direct it, but it might just be that free will should be redirected from the content of our lives to its approach: Instead of using our free will to decide what should come next, we’d use it to choose between ego or letting go, between a life ruled by our mind or a life in tune with a higher intelligence. For most people, this higher intelligence only seems to manifest when their life flows: important meetings happen, synchronicities lead to a new path and something mysterious seems to be pulling the strings. The willingness to not resist whatever life is putting on the road determines how long the ride will last. Then, one day, the ego-mind takes back its throne, doubt arises and the magical path vanishes. Guidance seems no longer there.
To stay on the path we must trust, live in the present, and let go of fear. In other words, behaviors we have not been taught growing up, so deconditioning is necessary. Learned behaviors are often a source of false security and self-limitation. Unfortunately, any mind work on deconditioning will only take us so far: “you cannot remove a thorn with a thorn” as the Buddhists say. The ego-mind will always fight its way to the director seat, reverting to its lower patterns as soon as it is threaten by change. To get rid of the ego is impossible, to put it as a servant of this higher intelligence is the answer.
Trust is the first step: Faith is beyond the ego-mind. By trusting something unknown, limitless and wise, you jump over the illusory self-limitations of the mind, hence opening the door to higher guidance and purpose. The place you create from is no longer the result of years of self-definition but the unlimited potential this higher intelligence has in reserve for you. So co-creation happens at a different level: not the level where your thoughts create your reality but the level where your alignment with the higher intelligence of your life allows you to receive its energy. What you manifest then is no longer the fruit of an illusion, the product of something as fleeting as the mind. You manifest from the higher intent behind your life. True purpose lies outside of the ego-mind’s grasp.
Living in the present is a necessary condition for this higher intelligence to manifest. Calling on past experiences to evaluate something only brings more mind in and ego tries to direct the game again. Wondering about the future makes us want to control it. To live in the present means to not resist life’s experiences, even the painful ones. The wisdom behind most spiritual practices is to see pain as a teacher of letting go. Whether it is the pain of sitting in meditation, of constant thinking or of emotional upheaval, the realization that these pains disappear in an awakened state of consciousness is a perfect training ground for daily life.
As we develop this simple awareness of the present moment and the willingness to experience life without the veil of mind, our fears evaporate. We go from the realm of ego to the realm of being, we surrender to the music and we become the dance. Life happens.
Sophie Rose is a spiritual counselor and the author of The Way of The Heart, Teachings of Jeshua and Mary Magdalene, 2012 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist. She is a contributing author of The Sacred Shift, Co-Creating your Future. Sophie is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition and has always favored a direct experience of spirituality. She can be contacted through www.thewayoftheheartcourse.com
THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION: On Work, Money, and Miracles
by Marianne Williamson
No matter what is happening in our lives, we choose how we wish to think about it. And the greatest gift we give ourselves is often our willingness to change our minds. Despite what might seem to be the saddest and most intractable situation, we have the power to believe that something else is possible, that things can change, that a miracle can happen.
This simple shift in how we think can make all the difference in what happens next. How we think releases an infinite number of possibilities that could not have occurred had we not believed that they were possible. Such is the power of our thoughts to attract as well as deflect miraculous breakthroughs.
Free will means you can think whatever you want to think. You cannot, however, make untrue what is true or true what is untrue. The universe does care about you. The universe is set up to work on your behalf. And the universe is capable of bringing miraculous transformation to any situation of brokenness or lack. Regardless of what has happened in your life, the universe is able and prepared to bring you comfort and repair. You are loved, and your purpose is to love. From a mind filled with infinite love comes the power to create infinite possibilities. We have the power to think in ways that reflect and attract all the love in the world.
Such thinking is called enlightenment. Enlightenment is not a process we work toward, but a choice available to us in any instant.
Enlightenment is the answer to every problem. In any situation where you seem to be at the effect of forces over which you have no control, remember that God dwells within your mind, and there are no forces over which He has no control. Therefore, through His power within you, there are no mortal conditions over which you are powerless. Whenever your good is obscured by the appearances of a nonloving world, the universe is programmed to lift you out of that condition and return you to an abundant state.
As an expression of divine perfection, the universe is both self-organizing and self-correcting. To whatever extent your mind is aligned with love, you will receive divine compensation for any lack in your material existence. From spiritual substance will come material manifestation. This is not just a theory; it is a fact. It is a law by which the universe operates. I call it the Law of Divine Compensation.
Just as there are objective, discernible laws of external phenomena, so there are objective, discernible laws of internal phenomena. The law of gravity, for instance, is not just a “belief.” It is true whether or not you believe it. Spiritual laws are not just beliefs, either; they are descriptions of how consciousness operates.
Once we know this law—that there is a natural tendency of the universe to improve all things—then we lean naturally into the arms of God and allow Him to lift us up. We surrender our thoughts, then He uplifts our thoughts, then our experiences change. The practical issue is whether we choose thoughts that activate or deactivate the Law of Divine Compensation. We activate it with every loving thought. We deactivate it when we give more credence to the reality and power of the material world than to the reality and power of love.
If our circumstances tempt us to think thoughts such as, “I must not be good enough,” “I will never have another chance,” “It will take forever for this to right itself,” or “I hate whoever is to blame for this,” then miracles, though they are programmed into the nature of the universe, cannot make their way into our awareness. With every thought we think, we either summon or block a miracle. It is not our circumstances, then, but rather our thoughts about our circumstances, that determine our power to transform them.
The Law of Divine Compensation applies equally to all situations, but in this book we will focus on its application to money and the lack thereof. In a time of economic uncertainty—when circumstances make it particularly tempting to believe in the scarcity of the material plane over the abundance of the spiritual—our capacity to think differently is the miracle-worker’s edge. Bills stare you in the face. Foreclosure looms.
Credit is wrecked. Jobs aren’t available. And with all that comes chaos on many fronts. Who doesn’t need a mmiracle then?
If you identify only with your body and its reality, rather than with your spirit and its reality, then you’re
tempted to think that diminished material assets somehow diminish who you are. But you are not merely a being of the material world; you are a being of unlimited spirit. And in spirit there is no lack. You are not lacking just because your circumstances are.
If your core belief is “I lack” and you carry that belief with you, then you will subconsciously perpetuate or
create the circumstances that reflect the belief. But your circumstances are completely malleable: they simply
reflect the dictates of your mind. Regardless of what limits exist in your material world, your immutable truth is that you are an unlimited spiritual being. By remembering this, you summon the Law of Divine Compensation. You are a loving idea in the Mind of God. Circumstances should not and need not tempt you to believe otherwise. The universe showers you with love not because of what you have done or not done, but because of who you are. Think of the universe itself as a personal love note from God to you. God is love, and in sharing His love you share His power. By aligning yourself with thoughts of infinite love for yourself and others, you gain dominion over the lower thought forms of the world.
In a material sense, your situation might indeed be bleak. You might have been given a raw deal, even been betrayed by others. You yourself might have made a huge mistake. Still, what matters is what you think now: Are you lingering in the past, or are you allowing for a miracle in the present? Are you blaming yourself and others, or blessing yourself and others? Are you clinging to your faith in the reality of the disaster, or opening your mind to the possibility of a miracle? Realign your thoughts with the thoughts of God, and in any given instant the universe is ready to begin again. The laws of time and space are more malleable than we think.
Mistakes and wrong turns need not throw us off. The capacity for correction is built into the universe, just as it is into the workings of a GPS. If you’ve programmed an address into your GPS but then take a different turn than it recommends, the GPS automatically creates a new route. And so does the universe. Perhaps you thought you’d get to where you wanted to be financially through achieving a certain credential, doing a particular job, or making a particular investment. But then something happened: the economy worsened, you made a mistake, or someone else did. The Law of Divine Compensation gives us the assurance that the universe will simply create a new route. What is lacking shall become abundant, and what is wounded shall be healed. From “out of the blue”—or miracle-mindedness—miracles will flow forth naturally. Why? Because perfection is your eternal home, to which the universe is programmed to return you whenever you have deviated, for whatever reason, from the thoughts that get and keep you there. That is how loved you are.
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Excerpted from THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION: On Work, Money, and Miracles by Marianne Williamson. Copyright 2012. Reprinted with permission by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Excerpt from Seed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras
Chapter 12 – Toning Practices for the Chakras
A human being can be likened to a fine musical instrument that must be kept in good condition. In order for a piano to project its beautiful sounds, it has to be tuned regularly and as well as possible. As all of creation is in a state of vibration, with myriad frequencies, it follows that the principle of resonance is a fundamental modality for healing, using sympathetic vibrations that mirror what is to be healed. The object is to get the receiver, in this case the chakras, to recognize their sonic nature by sending out specific frequencies to which they will attune. This process is a kind of vocal homeopathy based on the principle that “like cures like.”
The most effective and immediate resonator we have is the voice. However, the chief obstacle in using the voice as the resonator is the very thing we want to alter—our psychology. There are many who are not comfortable with their voices or their breathing and are reluctant to make sounds other than ordinary speech. In such cases it is necessary to overcome the limiting idea that they cannot be self-empowering, and thus self-healing. While it is helpful to work with an alternative health practitioner at times, it is more effective to take control of the healing process on a daily basis through toning. The way through the obstacle lies in the heart’s desire for change, and with that the suspension of judgment about one’s voice. When the intent is sincere, the real self responds. For it is not the quality or power of the voice that matters, but a great desire for change. When that is present, the chakra will respond no matter how inadequate the voice might seem to be.
Toning the Consonants
The consonants L, V, R, Y, H, S, K, and M are drawn largely from the seed syllables of tantric yoga. The L through H consonants are extracted from the first five tantric syllables for the chakras, as explained in chapter 3. The S and K have been intuitively assigned to the brow and crown chakras, respectively. The M has great power as the concluding sound of all the seeds. The aim of using these consonants as sound entities in their own right is to gain more of their healing juices. It is comparable to extracting the vitamins and minerals from foods to obtain a concentrated form.
The practices with the consonants are described as sound rituals because the word ritual is derived from the Sanskrit word rita, meaning “universal order and harmony.” These rituals can be done for their own sake and benefit but will also help to intensify the consonant when used as part of the complete tantric yoga seed. The consonants, like consorts, are the complementary aspect to the vowels for toning the chakras. They are not refined like the vowels with their overtones, but they are effective in their power to cut through deep rooted impediments.
The following ways of toning the consonants are twofold, one that includes movements and sometimes a concluding sound, and one quite similar to that of toning the vowels. The movements created for this toning are to inspire, encourage, and direct the intention of the ritual.
Ritual for Toning the L Consonant (Root Chakra)
The meridians within the human body as given in Chinese medicine have two major channels. The yin channel starts at the perineum, travels up the front of the body, and ends at the tip of the tongue. The yang channel begins at the same place, goes up through the spine into the brain, and ends at the roof of the mouth. These two circuits can be linked by placing the tip of the tongue to the mouth’s roof. The whole circuit is sometimes called the “microcosmic orbit.” This is exactly what happens when the L, pronounced as AL, EL, or UL, is sounded. The tongue’s tip rises up to meet the mouth’s roof. Thus it is possible to circulate the energy around the microcosmic orbit while engaged in this ritual. The pulsations will be done on the sound of UL as in “ultimate.” Do it slowly so each UL takes about four seconds. Imagine the tongue to be a shovel digging into the earth as it moves to the roof of the mouth. L represents the earth element. As follows:
ULLL ULLL ULLL ULLL and so on (LAH)
Take a standing position with one foot slightly forward and the other off to the side, so that the two feet almost create a 90-degree angle. While pulsating the L sound, bend over the front leg as though you want to scoop up some earth. Bend forward only as far as your body will allow. Take the earth in your hands and lift it up. As your hands reach the level of the face, turn them over so that the earth falls out. Carry the hands on up above the head, palms facing the heavens on either side of the body. At this point the pulsation phase ends and a LAH is produced on a descending sliding sound to the bottom of your voice. During this slide, let the hands come down in a circular motion and stop in front of the genitals. Here hold a small ball of energy with your hands. This is the active part of a cycle.
While in this passive position holding the ball, very quietly and slowly pulsate the L to yourself. It is under the breath like a kind of muttering. At this point the microcosmic orbit can be put into practice. That is, hold the tongue in place at the roof of the mouth and experience a flow of energy beginning with the eyes, moving down the front of the body to the tailbone and then up the spine and into the head. One circuit equals one sounding of UL.
Bio: James D’Angelo, Ph.D. is an American musician, composer, educator, and workshop leader based in the United Kingdom. Since 1992 he has developed and led therapeutic sound and movement workshops in Great Britain, Europe, and the United States, and he is considered an authority on sound healing therapies.
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Seed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras by James D’Angelo, Ph.D. © 2012 Destiny Books. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.
Health Practitioner Heather Schmidt of Canyon Ranch’s DVD: Strong & Sculpted sat down with us to answer some questions below regarding healthy living and the desert.
Sedona Conscious Magazine: Tucson holds a special place in our heart because we once lived there before moving up to Sedona. The landscape is really unique and inspiring. How do you feel the desert contributes to a healthy mind & body connection?
Heather: The first time I came to Arizona I was nine years old. I remember the unfamiliar smell of cresote. As I stood in the middle of the desert, tilting my head towards the sun, inhaling the intoxicating smell I told my family, “I will live here someday.” Seventeen years later I finally made Tucson my home. This is a place where the sun is always shining. Maybe it’s the blue sky, the majestic mountains, the unusual animals or perhaps the unwavering sunlight that motivates me to set my alarm for 4:30 every day. I can’t be certain. However; I know I am not alone in this quest to cherish each moment of daylight. This is apparent as the first ray of sunlight illuminates Sabino Canyon and the ritual of exchanging good mornings with my fellow enthusiasts begins. There are no bad days here. It is magnificent.
SCM: How does working at such a renowned retreat center affect your practice as a health practitioner?
H: My mentors are amazing fitness instructors, exercise physiologist, physicians, nutritionist, therapist, healing practitioners, co-workers and of course the guests. I am fortunate to learn something new every day. This in itself shapes me as a health practitioner.
SCM: What kind of healthy living regime do you follow? – What is a typical day like for you and your work?
H: I love to run, but limit it to three days a week. On the days I don’t run, I strength train. There is also the early morning ritual of dog walking. Most importantly I never exercise inside.
A typical work day usually includes a strength class, boot camp type class, pool class and a yoga class.
SCM: Do you have a spiritual practice?
H: I feel very connected to nature. I suppose if I had to label my need for outdoor activities, I would say it is spiritual. I typically spend 6-7 hours a day outside either exercising, gardening or building something.
SCM: Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the 3 segments on this DVD: Core, Strength and Yoga.
H: We decided to focus on the areas where participants would benefit the most. The combination of strength and stretching allows the participant to build agility and power while providing a sense of calm and balance. Additionally, the workouts are designed to work together to firm, tone and invigorate the entire body, offering a total-body transformation.
SCM: Can you offer 3 tips that our readers can incorporate into their healthy living routines that will offer the most benefits?
H: Choose walking over driving whenever possible.
Drink plenty of water.
Stay well rested.
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Book Excerpt for Delta Medicine by Yann Rougier, M.D.
Calming and Reconciliation
You now wear the label of “sick person.” The medical team has put this somewhat brutal diagnosis on you, and it makes you uneasy, generating fears and anxieties. A mass of cells has been built inside your body. You don’t have control over it and the doctors call it “a tumor.” No matter what the case, if you consciously accept the fact that this illness belongs to you, you will have a much easier time helping your body deconstruct it.
From the moment the diagnosis is made, the first work must then be one of calming and realization in the form of Delta Respiration exercises (Tool #1) combined with specific thoughts, as explained in the following pages. This stage of positive combative acceptance (and not capitulation) is very important. This specific disease has developed in this specific body (yours, with its unique strengths and weaknesses). It is your disease! If you reject it and hate it, you reject and hate yourself at the same time. The more you try to deny it, the more you will drain your forces to fight it.
Don’t forget that the imbalances that have accumulated over the years express themselves through your most fragile organ, the one whose weakness is inscribed in your genetic “life book.” Imagine a dozen people storming a mountain’s summit. Those first exhausted will always be the least in shape, the least solid physically and psychologically. As the ascent continues, exhaustion comes to the others little by little. In the end, only the strongest remain.
It’s the same with our tissues, organs, and cells. The weakest are the first affected by illness. By any logic, we should want to help them, support them, save them. Not only because they are the most fragile but also because they have made themselves the brave and generous messengers of our imbalances. They tell us, translate for us, some of our erroneous behaviors. Sometimes they even cry out to us that our lifestyle is not adapted to maintaining the good health we had when we came into the world. But most often we radically reject the afflicted area along with the illness that we want to get rid of.
Are the liver, prostate, ovaries, or lungs affected by disease? We sometimes turn our attention away from these organs, as if they are responsible for the disaster. We somehow feel betrayed by the sick organ. We might even hate it. We want to tell it, “Why are you doing this to me? We’re a part of the same body!” These reactions are tainted with negative emotions (a sense of injustice, anger) that are capable of further disturbing our nervous, metabolic, and immune equilibrium.
Instead of repeating these reproaches, we should send the organ messages of support.
Making Peace with a Sick Organ
– Lie down in a quiet place, or if this isn’t possible, sit down in a comfortable position. Relax, release the muscles of your body, and close your eyes.
– Breathe deeply three times (always through the nose), then adopt a regular breathing rhythm without forcing the breath. Breathe in counting to three (one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand), then breathe out slowly, counting to six (one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, four one thousand . . .). Repeat three times.
– Now imagine (visualize) your sick organ. You can choose how you’ll form this representation: look at an image or a photograph of the organ in a dictionary or an anatomy book to inspire you, or let your imagination create a more or less schematic or fanciful representation. What’s most important is that the image “speaks” to you.
– Next, send a wave of serenity to this sick organ. The most commonly used image is a beautiful white or gold light, calming and beneficial, that bathes the sick organ.
– Anchor this image with an accompanying statement. Repeat it silently to the organ: “I’m aware that you are suffering for me and I thank you.” And: “Now, I send you the strength of this light to help you and to heal you.” When you pronounce these words, it’s as if you have sent both gratitude and new healing forces to your body (the two mix in the positive effects of psychosomatics).
– Repeat each step of this visualization seven times. Then concentrate again on your breathing rhythm as you slowly return to normal consciousness, and open your eyes.
Note: I will say this over and over, but if you aren’t accustomed to therapeutic training, don’t let your mind judge you and criticize you: “What I’m doing is stupid,” “This is a waste of time,” “These are just childish words,” “Words don’t heal,” etc. Keep in mind that anything big that is done in the world always occurs by way of bravery and words. Calmly persevere for at least ten days: this is how long it takes to tame your critical thoughts coming from your fearful unconscious.
Health vs. Illness: Some Definitions
Health. Imagine a balance; the pan on the left holds the memory of good health (with which most of us entered the world) while the pan on the right is weighed down by our weak points, imbalances, and daily aggressions. Our organism can support a significant amount of imbalance (nutritional overloads, nervous exhaustions, emotional shocks); as long as the healthy side of the balance remains heavier, we can withstand it.
The Delta Point. By weighing down “the sick side,” all of these imbalances accumulate and create a more violent movement of the scale. At first, the two sides are equally weighted. The body enters into a pre-disease zone, and the symptoms, up to this point acute, become recurrent.
Chronic or Degenerative Illness. Once having surpassed the point of equilibrium, disease is declared. It is visible, clearly identifiable, and classifiable by way of the symptoms it provokes.
Bio: Yann Rougier, M.D., has devoted his more-than-30-year career in medicine to studying the intersection of mind, body, nutrition, and the immune system, particularly as it applies to cancer and other degenerative diseases. He is a founding member of the Institute for Applied Neuronutrition and Neurosciences. He lives in France.
Delta Medicine by Yann Rougier, M.D. © 2012 Healing Arts Press. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.
The following excerpt is taken from the book The Hunter / Farmer Diet Solution by Mark Liponis, M.D. It is published by Hay House (Available Apr. 1, 2012) and available at all bookstores or online at: www.hayhouse.com.
The Hunter / Farmer Story
We’ve talked about the history of food, and the two types of people: Hunters and Farmers. But why are there two types of metabolisms that need two different diets? What accounts for these two types?
First, the idea of being a Hunter or a Farmer shouldn’t be taken literally; I’m not talking about whether you actually hunt things or grow things in a garden. The terms apply to a new paradigm—a new way of thinking about eating and controlling weight. The terms are useful because they also explain in part the eating strategy that’s best for you.
Hunters and Farmers are very different, and in some ways, opposite in their eating behaviors and food choices. As mentioned, Hunters are dependent on hunting animals or finding edible plants, fruits, and nuts. Farmers grow crops that can be stored to create a surplus that provides a dependable and readily available source of calories.
The Hunter’s diet is more sporadic and depends on where and when food resources become available. Hunters are naturally more resistant to the effects of food shortages, as they’re better able to maintain a steady blood-sugar level, or to use belly fat for immediate energy. Farmers are more sensitive to food shortages, as they become hypoglycemic—that is, they get low blood sugar—when they’ve gone just a few hours without food.
The most significant difference between Hunters and Farmers is that they have varying sensitivity to the hormone insulin. Hunters are insulin resistant, and Farmers are insulin sensitive.
Hunter / Farmer Diseases
Anyone can get any disease, and for any one individual, it’s impossible to precisely predict what a future disease might be. That said, knowing a person’s Hunter/Farmer type can help make predictions about the likelihood of certain diseases. It’s certainly helpful for me, as a doctor, because I know what to be concerned about, what to be looking for, and how to help prevent problems in the future.
For example, we know that Hunters are more likely to suffer heart disease than Farmers—as well as other diseases of the circulatory system like stroke and peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Cardiovascular diseases all share a common thread of
atherosclerosis, or hardening of the vessels. Atherosclerosis develops as a lifelong progressive accumulation of plaque in the arteries. The rate of accumulation is roughly proportional to the amount of blood flow over time, so direct arteries to the heart and brain along with the aorta and kidneys are especially affected, because they receive the most blood flow. Atherosclerosis shortens life by cutting off circulation to vital organs, and this can be catastrophic as in the case of heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm.
Atherosclerosis has been linked with all of the Hunter characteristics including belly fat, narrow hips, low HDL, elevated triglycerides, and high blood sugar and insulin in both men and women. In addition, atherosclerosis accelerates faster as Hunter traits are accentuated. If a Hunter’s belly grows, or triglycerides or blood-sugar levels increase, the pace of atherosclerosis hastens.
Developing high blood pressure can add fuel to the fire, with higher pressures putting more strain on the heart and blood vessels, increasing the plaque accumulation and contributing to a seemingly vicious cycle.
The only solution is for Hunters is to eat a diet that prevents belly fat from accumulating, blood sugar going up, triglycerides rising, and HDL dropping. That’s part of the reason why newer drugs like statins and blood-pressure medications have been so successful, because they’ve helped to slow the progress of atherosclerosis. Thus, medications can help, but they can’t help lose belly fat or improve fitness. Without the right diet and exercise, medications are only a stopgap measure.
Unfortunately, the perfect storm of stress, high blood pressure, bad eating, and lack of exercise is the environment where catastrophic things often happen.
Farmers are less likely to get cardiovascular disease than Hunters. The predominant features of Farmers are usually protective factors against atherosclerosis—high levels of HDL and low levels of triglycerides, glucose, and CRP. The protection these afford is probably a few extra years of life, relative to today’s Hunters, because of less cardiovascular disease.
Current life expectancy in the United States averages 77.7 years, with women averaging 80.2 years, and men 75.1. Farmers may do a little better than average, but their issues are that they contract more of the diseases of aging, like arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. (It’s not that Farmers are necessarily more prone to those disorders, but because cancer is the second-biggest killer and Alzheimer’s sixth, they’re statistically getting relatively more non-cardiovascular diseases.)
The chance of a Farmer getting a Farmer disease, or a Hunter getting a Hunter disease, increases as Farmers or Hunters age, or as they gain weight. That happens when they’re eating the wrong diet: a Farmer eating like a Hunter or vice versa.
Just as the shape and physical characteristics of both Hunters and Farmers become accentuated when they gain weight, a slim Hunter and a slim Farmer are harder to tell apart. Even their blood results start looking more similar when they start losing weight. And their chances of getting Hunter or Farmer diseases go down, too. That’s the biggest reason for both Hunters and Farmers to maintain a healthy weight—to reduce their chances of getting sick!
Book Excerpt – Science and Psychic Phenomena – by Chris Carter
The Roots of Disbelief
Say this about assertions that aliens have been, are or will soon be landing on Earth: at least a scenario like that of “Independence Day” would not violate any laws of nature. In contrast, claims in other fringe realms, such as telepathy and psychokinesis, are credible only if you ignore a couple or three centuries of established science.
–Sharon Begely, “Science on the Fringe,” Newsweek, July 1996
Remarks such as the one from Sharon Begely’s article are common in the skeptical literature. Such remarks are based on the assumption that the existence of psi phenomena is somehow incompatible with fundamental, well-established scientific principles. So, no matter what evidence the parapsychologists produce, the skeptics stoically maintain their denial and doggedly search for any possible counterexplanation. As we have seen, Ray Hyman has simply run out of plausible counterexplanations, yet he refuses to accept the latest results from a long line of experiments as conclusive. He seemed to consider himself the spokesperson for mainstream scientists when he wrote recently in the Skeptical Inquirer: “What seems clear is that the scientific community is not going to abandon its fundamental ideas about causality, time and other principles on the basis of a handful of experiments whose findings have yet to be shown to be replicable and lawful.” (At the time Hyman wrote this article  the “handful of experiments” included 61 independent Ganzfeld experiments, 2,094 PK experiments using random event generators, and hundreds of other experiments involving tossing dice, dream research, and remote viewing.) Although surveys consistently show that most people either accept the reality of ESP or have had psychic experiences themselves, remarks such as this in the skeptical literature can give one the impression that all such phenomena are “scientifically impossible.”
But many mainstream scientists do not hold this opinion. Two surveys of more than 500 scientists in one case and more than 1,000 in another were made in the 1970s. Both surveys found that the majority of respondents considered ESP “an established fact” or “a likely possibility”: 56 percent in one and 67 percent in the other. Yet if most scientists are open to the possibility of psi, how can we account for the following story?
Robert Jahn was dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University and a noted authority on aerospace engineering with a long record of work for NASA and the Department of Defense when he decided that certain parapsychological problems were worth investigating. Did his colleagues applaud his pioneering spirit? Not exactly. They as much as said he was crazy and a disgrace to science and the university. The university even convened an ad hoc committee to oversee his research–something unheard of for a scientist of his stature.
And yet not all scientists reacted this way, as Jahn pointed out in a 1983 address to the Parapsychology Association. Referring to his Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program, he said, “We have had commentary on our program from no less than six Nobel laureates, two of whom categorically reject the topic, two of whom encouraged us to push on, and two of whom were categorically evasive. So much for unanimity of high scientific opinion.”
However, despite the willingness of many scientists to express favorable opinions toward psi research, parapsychology courses are not routinely taught at universities; there are only two labs conducting full-time psi research in the United States, and only a handful of such labs in the entire world. One explanation for this (and for Robert Jahn’s experience) is that skeptical opinions of psi seem more common among the administrative elite than among ordinary working scientists. Sociologist Dr. James McClenon surveyed the council and selected section committees of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 1981. He found that these scientists were more skeptical of ESP than scientists in general, with just under 30 percent believing that ESP was “an established fact” or “a likely possibility.” Surveyed members in the social sciences (where parapsychology courses would normally be categorized) were even more skeptical (20 percent believers) than those in the natural sciences (30 percent believers). Worried about the reputation of their schools and labs, administrators seem far more reluctant to express favorable opinions of psi research than ordinary working scientists.
The skepticism of those who run the scientific establishment is surely one reason why, throughout its history, the resources devoted to psi research have been extremely meager. Psychologist Sybo Schouten compared the funding directed toward parapsychology over the one hundred years spanning 1882 to 1982 and found that it was approximately equal to the expenditures of two months of conventional psychological research in the United States in 1983. The other reason funding is difficult to come by is that many private and public funding agencies have no wish to be associated with what the skeptics call “pseudoscience.” Is it any wonder they feel this way? Not when scientific journals continue to publish hostile attacks on the scientific validity of parapsychology. For instance, the prominent journal Nature published the following in a commentary by skeptical psychologist David Marks:
Parascience has all the qualities of a magical system while wearing the mantle of science. Until any significant discoveries are made, science can justifiably ignore it, but it is important to say why: parascience is a pseudo-scientific system of untested beliefs steeped in illusion, error, and fraud.
Clearly then, many scientists find the claims of parapsychology disturbing. The existence of psi implies that the minds of people can sometimes communicate, perceive events, and influence objects without the use of the five ordinary senses or their limbs. Science in its present state cannot explain these phenomena. This in itself should not be a problem: there are plenty of other phenomena that science cannot currently explain, such as consciousness, the placebo effect, and the fact that the expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating. But is the existence of psi in conflict with well-established scientific principles?
The Velikovsky Herasies
by Laird Scranton
EARLY PREDICTIVE TESTS OF THE THEORY
Discussion of the possible importance of electromagnetic effects in the solar system dominated a longtime correspondence between Immanuel Velikovsky and Albert Einstein, which began in 1946 and continued until Einstein’s untimely death in 1955. The question of what role electromagnetism might play in the interaction of astronomic bodies had potential bearing on Einstein’s search for a unified field theory. Nonetheless, Einstein resisted Velikovsky’s ideas, even when directly approached by Velikovsky in June of 1954 to use Einstein’s influence to have Jupiter surveyed for radio emissions–a request that Einstein effectively deflected.
However, as good fortune would have it for Velikovsky, soon after–on April 5, 1955–two astronomers from the Carnegie Institute (B. F. Burke and K. L. Franklin) who had no apparent knowledge of Velikovsky’s suppositions regarding Jupiter, announced the chance detection of radio signals from Jupiter. With this news, a somewhat embarrassed Einstein reversed his opinion, dropped his resistance to Velikovsky’s proposal, and instructed his secretary to authorize–in Einstein’s name–any test that Velikovsky might wish to have conducted. Thirteen days later, on April 18, 1955, Einstein was found dead–the victim of a ruptured aortic aneurysm. At the time of his death, it was reported that the one book found open on his desk was Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision.
Also in 1952, Donald Menzel of Harvard University spoke up to dispute Velikovsky’s claims regarding electromagnetism and the sun, purporting that the sun was incapable of holding a charge sufficient to satisfy Velikovsky’s model. Eight years later in 1960, Professor V. A. Bailey of the University of Sydney, Australia, demonstrated that the sun carries a net charge precisely sufficient to meet Velikovsky’s unorthodox claims.
Closely related to Velikovsky’s suggestion that electromagnetism must play a significant role in dynamics within the solar system was the suggestion that Earth must exert a magnetic influence that extends out into space as far as the moon. Velikovsky further outlined this idea in a 1956 memorandum to the American Committee for the International Geophysical Year. A few years later in 1958 James Van Allen announced and was ultimately credited with the discovery of the magnetosphere.
Another of Velikovsky’s early predictions in regard to Venus was that, if Venus were a relatively new astronomic body–one that had “blazed brightly” and “rivaled the sun in brightness in the daytime sky,” according to some ancient sources–then it must be found to be quite hot still–nearly molten, according to Velikovsky. At the time of Velikovsky’s statement, the clouded surface of Venus was known to be -25 degrees centigrade on both the day and night sides, so Velikovsky’s view could hardly have been called a “safe bet” based on then conventional wisdom.
In 1954 N. A. Kozyrev observed an emission spectrum from the night side of Venus but ascribed it to discharges in the upper layers of its atmosphere. He calculated that the temperature of the surface of Venus must be +30 degrees C; somewhat higher values were found earlier by Adel and Herzberg. As late as 1959, V. A. Firsoff arrived at a figure of +17.5 degrees C for the mean surface temperature of Venus, only a little above the mean annual temperature of Earth (+14.2 degrees C). Nonetheless, in support of Velikovsky and in contradiction to the prevailing astronomic view, late in 1962 and early in 1963, the Mariner 2 probe showed the actual surface temperature of Venus to be 800 degrees–hot enough to melt lead.
As a consequence of these early points of seeming vindication for Velikovsky, at around this same time, one of the few public acts of professional recognition for Velikovsky’s correct predictions occurred. Two leading academics (Valentine Bargmann of the Princeton University Department of Physics and Lloyd Motz of the Columbia University Department of Astronomy) wrote a letter to Science Magazine to acknowledge Velikovsky’s priority on these points and to urge that his other conclusions be objectively reconsidered–this in spite of their own stated misgivings about Velikovsky’s broader theories.
Other of Velikovsky’s advance claims seem to have been beyond the ability of twentieth-century science to either confirm or deny and so could not be subject to immediate resolution. Some of these involved questions whose answers turned on evidence that would not be gathered until future probes were sent into space during the first decade of the new century. Both Velikovsky’s defenders and detractors would have to satisfy themselves to be patient until future evidence could be brought to bear.
Despite these seeming successes, most scientists remained wary of offering public support to Velikovsky. Even one of Velikovsky’s most steadfast friends, Harry Hess–then chairman of the Space Board of the National Academy of Science–wrote to Velikovsky in 1963:
We are philosophically miles apart because basically we do not accept each other’s form of reasoning–logic. I am of course quite convinced of your sincerity and I also admire the vast fund of information which you have painstakingly acquired over the years.
I am not about to be converted to your form of reasoning though it certainly has had successes. You have after all predicted that Jupiter would be a source of radio noise, that Venus would have a high surface temperature, that the sun and bodies of the solar system would have large electrical charges and several other such predictions. Some of these predictions were said to be impossible when you made them. All of them were predicted long before proof that they were correct came to hand. Conversely I do not know of any specific prediction you made that has since been proven to be false. I suspect the merit lies in that you have a good basic background in the natural sciences and you are quite uninhibited by the prejudices and probability taboos which confine the thinking of most of us.
Whether you are right or wrong I believe you deserve a fair hearing.
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Never Mind the Gonads,
Here’s the Real Agenda
It is time to look even more closely and critically at the orthodox evolutionary paradigm we are attempting to overwrite. To recapitulate, it is not that this paradigm is wrong, only that it is not right enough. It is not the whole truth. It is not the whole story. Obsessed with details like individual genes, it fails to capture the exuberant panache, confluential orchestration, and sheer organismic acumen of life, serving instead to reduce organisms and the sophisticated feats of biological engineering that they embody to merely this or merely that genetic mechanism. This is reductionism gone awry, the zealous urge to reduce autopoietic artistry into bits and pieces seemingly explicable in their own terms without reference to any bigger context. While we would never dream of reducing an acclaimed painting or a musical symphony in the same reductionistic way, Nature’s tree of life is treated differently.
The creed of merelyism tells us a lot about human psychology. It is clear that the majority of scientists and philosophers like to consider themselves and other humans as the sole possessors of “high” intelligence whereas the process, which built them (i.e., evolution, or Nature), is considered pointless and mindless. Therefore, any paradigm that bolsters this kind of merelyistic egoism is destined for a warm reception. The more that the complexity of life is reduced, the more smugly confident some may feel about themselves. The more we can remove signs of intelligence operating within the evolving tree of life, the more unique and esteemed human intelligence becomes. Merelyism attracts research grants and academic acclaim. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for alternative and more holistic approaches to understanding life. As we shall see in this chapter, a more holistic approach means an approach in which context (i.e., the sensible environment and the sensible laws of Nature operating therein) is the key factor with which to understand both the origin and subsequent direction of evolution.
In order to allow the new paradigm of natural intelligence to acquire momentum, let us begin by taking a basic example of a living organism and see how the old paradigm is applied so as to explain that organism’s existence. According to the thought experiment of the last chapter, we have already established that organisms represent significantly arranged systems/patterns of atoms, molecules, and cells. Now we need to see in even more detail how merelyism explains such evolutionary feats of organic organization. As alluded, genes are the key focus. A tiger will serve as our study example. Consider one in your mind’s eye.
Now, any sane, sober, and right-minded person gazing upon a tiger will doubtless be impressed by the apparent design, for a tiger is an exceptionally beautiful creature capable of running, hunting, calculating, digesting food, excreting waste and toxins, breathing, maintaining its internal temperature, healing itself, cleaning itself, reproducing, and so on. Flaunting beautiful autopoiesis, a tiger has what it takes to survive. Well, apart from the relentless threat of man, that is. Notwithstanding the threat of our species, tigers are patently highly efficient living organisms.
As we have ascertained, organisms like tigers are constructed from trillions of cells; skin cells, liver cells, brain cells, muscle cells, and so forth. These cells are themselves made up of trillions of molecules, and those molecules further made from atoms. A tiger is thus a singularly significant arrangement of physical material, untold trillions of basic parts orchestrated into a seamless and enduring pattern able to stave off entropy. In short, a tiger has striking natural design written in it and all over it. No wonder, then, that people in the past were tempted to see organisms as the work of a divine hand. But we live in more educated times. From our vantage point atop centuries of science, we are able to build upon Darwin’s revolutionary insights and see that multicellular organisms like tigers are not wrought ex nihilo by the hand of God almighty but are the manifest result of evolution through natural selection (i.e., the hand of “almighty” Nature). We have at least to buy into this idea before proceeding with our analysis.
Genes and DNA
Biological science tells us that the physical form of a tiger and its behavioral repertoire (its phenotype) are determined by its genes, those long sequences of DNA residing in each of its cells. We won’t take issue with this either. All the evidence points to the fact that DNA is a digital code (quaternary and not binary like computer code) bearing instructions on how to link amino acids so as to make proteins, which make cells, tissues, and organs. Genes, being discrete segments of DNA, which get replicated during reproduction, are thus sets of instructions for eliciting biological autopoiesis—they code for the components that, when organized, elicit the sort of nifty biological processes previously considered. In the tiger there may be gene complexes that control musculature or the immune system or fur coloration and so on.
The plethora of genes that exist within the tiger gene pool are precisely those genes that work, which confer upon tigers morphological and behavioral characteristics that serve to enhance the reproductive success of tigers. Genes for building strong leg muscles will obviously be passed on to future generations, because tigers with strong leg muscles will be able to run faster and thus hunt better. More food equals better fitness equals better reproductive viability. A gene, which made a tiger lopsided or extremely timid in the presence of herbivores, would not survive long, because such genes would obviously be selected against. So it is that the hand of Nature continually selects among various genes. Those genes bearing instructions, which aid the gene’s own success in replication, are favored by Nature, whereas less survival-favoring genes are selected against. Indeed, one can reason in this way about natural selection without actually having seen a tiger.
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