Learning from naturePosted by Tom algie Wed, March 29, 2017 14:09:27 The Plants are listening, perhaps they have feelings too!
With all this talk in the media about, plants, wire tapping, surveillance and police infiltration of environmental groups, I thought I should post something about who or what is really listening to us, all the time. Just over 50 years ago a CIA lie detector specialist called Baxter did some research on plants. He wired up the leaf of a plant to a lie detector and he simply thought about setting fire to one of its leaves. The plant instantly responded the moment he thought about setting fire to the leaf, and continued to register until he put the matches away. It's not that I believe that plants really have feelings but I think perhaps they respond to our moods.
Baxter continued to experiment with plants and later human cells, and produced some very interesting information.
One of his later experiments involved monitoring the moods of people over time in response to external stimulus. Baxter checked for a correlated response in real time with some of their previously removed white blood cells. It seemed the cells in the lab could detect any severe mood changes of the person over time, even at a considerable distance. I think we can only speculate what is going on here and I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this too. My plants may also be interested.
So, what do I think is happening? Perhaps the whole universe is listening. Everything is connected and always has been connected since the birth of our solar system or perhaps even before that. We are all made of the same stuff, stardust, atoms, etc. Once something is connected it remains connected or entangled at some fundamental level. The matter changes into a different form but somehow remains connected. I think, it is this connection or one-ness which we are sensitive to. All other things are sensitive to this connection too. Perhaps the degree of sensitivity depends on the level of consciousness of the thing or person. Well that's my thoughts, what about you, Hyacinth!
InspirationalPosted by Tom algie Sat, March 11, 2017 14:08:31 The Immigrant Robots are coming, what is our purpose then?
It's a few months since I did a blog post for the onecourse. A lot has happened, BREXIT has started, President Trump is in the Whitehouse and Marie Le Pen ascends in France. My initial hopes of people flooding(like immigrants) to our onecourse did not materialise, my interest drifted a little and my attention was diverted by other shiny more tangible things, Robots! Whilst we are all busy worrying about or discussing BREXIT, Trump and Le Pen, and Immigrants we should really be focussed on Robots, because that really is going to be the next big thing.
I trained as an engineer and I have always found the idea of machines and Robots fascinating. Imagine a future where humans live a life of leisure whilst the machines and Robots do the work! Robots can perform similar functions to humans and animals and once they have been created their limited needs can be met by providing them with one thing, energy. I can understand Luddites raging against the machine but I doubt the inevitable 'progress' of the machine will ever be halted whilst it is profitable. So here is my own prediction for the next 10 to 15 years of Robot and human interaction.
2017 Background. The earth, all humans and other species are undergoing tumultuous change. The economic and ecological systems are facing huge challenges and it is very unlikely that things will remain as they are. The current systems that we humans have developed are unsustainable and new systems are needed. Algorithms are now in charge of the worlds financial systems because it is too complex for humans to respond quickly enough to changes. Even the humble electric toaster is wifi enabled. The current economic system relies on perpetual growth on a finite planet using up valuable energy on transportation. Corporations, pension funds, and individuals chase better returns on financial capital, thus money is invested in activities which maximise profit. This speculation leads to high profits but at an enormous cost to the environment and significant human exploitation. Increasingly large volumes of technically complex consumer goods are manufactured with minimal wage related costs. Retail businesses employ fewer people as more shops move online. If wage costs of a company can be reduced close to zero, that company will become highly profitable and the home for an increasing amount of investment.
2022 The Immigrant Robots arrive. The costs of Robots is falling and once it reaches a point where acquisition and running costs are cheaper than human labour, Robots will replace humans. The first wave of Robots will be built by humans in low wage economies, but eventually, even these human workers will be replaced by Robots. Robots building Robots! These Robots will be comparatively low cost and sufficiently flexible to carry out the vast majority of the paid work currently done by humans. They will come in their hundreds of thousands or even millions to developed economies where wages are high and cheap human labour is in short supply. The location for the first wave of mega Robot factories are likely to be anywhere with abundant space, raw materials, energy, and political stability. An ideal place would have access to abundant solar energy and a means of energy storage. I am thinking of batteries but energy stored in any form would suffice.
2027 Robots breed like Rabbits. Low cost sites within developed urban population catchments will be ideal locations for the second wave of Immigrant Robots . They will come to build the factories and infrastructure, to farm, to build more robots, and to make the consumer goods. The day of the factory worker, driver, admin worker, salesperson and most other workers will be numbered. Imagine an economy trying to function within the existing system, with 60, 70 or 80% unemployment. Do we then want to increase the population simply to increase the number of consumers? The time is right to rethink our relationship with our planet earth and with each other. What do we really care about, what do we really love? Is it shiny, tangible consumer goods, Robots, or other people and our planet earth.
The above thoughts cause me to ask a question which you might have a go at answering in the comments below.
What is our purpose as a human species, and our purpose as individuals?
I believe this same question will be asked by many people in many countries over the next decade as the Immigrant Robots arrive. So perhaps the onecourse or something similar is needed after all.
InspirationalPosted by Tom algie Mon, April 04, 2016 11:59:08 Ann and myself had a wonderful experience this week. We visited a place called Embercombe in Devon. A 50 acre garden for growing people. The people we met who have planted themselves there seem to be growing very well. Embercombe has 8 staff and 10 or so associates and many volunteers some who live on site in a variety of cabins and yurts. They build shelters, grow most of their own food but more importantly welcome hundreds of volunteers and students to the site each year.
The business leaders, volunteers and students come to Embercombe to learn about our fragile world and how we can all play a powerful leadership role in transforming our own future. The most amazing thing is that 20 years ago this garden didn't exist. It was a small private Tarmac runway and a couple of aircraft hangers in the wilds of Devon.
Then along came, one man, Mac with an idea of a garden for growing people. Mac is amazing and we are very pleased to have met him. Mac has inspired a whole host of people to help with his vision. We also met other lovely Trustees, a great MD and some fantastic staff. They are all inspired by this same vision and have transformed this Tarmac strip and hangers into a beautiful place which has most of the elements needed as a model for a new sustainable society. It is not perfect and they still need help to take it to the next stage. If you have some time or money to spare or want to do a course we would highly recommend it.
Connecting with othersPosted by Tom algie Fri, March 25, 2016 12:24:07 Ann and myself have been thinking a lot about the recent Brussels incidents over the last few days. It is very sad for everyone, especially the families of those killed and injured. It is extremely sad that a very small number of disturbed human beings have caused such suffering to many other innocent humans. We have been thinking about the friends and families of the victims. How do you to come to terms with such an event. We have been thinking about how other people usually react to this type of event, especially politicians and the mainstream media. Perhaps we all need to think about what our individual human responses could be to an event like this. Anger? Fear? Something else?
The usual reaction from most people is a mixture of anger and fear. This is a normal reaction because we feel threatened. The level of threat we feel is magnified by the reaction of others. Many politicians in France and the U.K. have said we must increase our security and step up the intensity of the 'War on Terror'. We need to put more resources into fighting the people who are to blame. They are at the root of this. Drop more bombs on terrorists and potential terrorists in other countries. There will of course be some unfortunate 'collateral damage' of more innocent humans. This is an inevitable consequence of a war that we need to win at any cost. We need to put more resources into protecting our borders and we need more surveillance of everyone. We must be vigilant and spy on each other. Extreme events seem to be producing an extreme response. Is there another response which may reduce this threat? I feel that although I don't have an answer, a very wise monk living in France may have an idea.
One of the benefits of our wonderful life here in France is the time we have to spend thinking and reading. I have read a couple of very good books by Thich Nhat Hanh.
He is a Vietnamese monk who also lives in France not far from us. He influenced the work of Martin Luther King and campaigned in the USA against the Vietnam war. During the campaign the monk met an angry American who berated him for coming to the USA and told him he should "get back to Vietnam where the real problem was". After a very deep breath and thought the monk said something like "to help a plant to grow you need to water the roots, not the leaves."
I think we need to look for the "real roots" of these very big problems we have in the world. I think that some of the roots may be in the complex political and economic systems we have created and are desperately trying to protect. Within these complex systems, countries, governments, corporations and individuals compete for resources. There are sometimes unintended feedback loops in this competition for resources which can often make bad situations worse. So I think to start with we should try to feel LOVE for the friends and families of all the victims in all affected countries. If we can begin to feel that connection to them as individuals, just like us, rather than 'others' perhaps we can begin to change the systems which I believe are contributing to the problem.
You can find out more about this amazing monk here
The yellow brick road of fear - Victim or Hero - the choice is yours!
The Wizard of Oz is a very odd film, I watched every Christmas as a child, and it left an odd impression, in particular that yellow brick road. The world is changing, constantly changing, more quickly, each day. This road into the future can be a source of fear but these changes will continue to happen. Why not accept this reality and simply decide what you want your role to be, in this constantly changing world. If you are reading this it is likely that you have some choice in how your your life could be. The choices you make can create a new reality for yourself and others. Along with choice comes responsibility, which sometimes makes the choice difficult. What if I make the wrong choice? Even if it is difficult, the choice must be made. At some fundamental level we know which choice to make. The choice is yours, victim or hero.
I know that life is difficult for many people on this precious planet. People are struggling with basic needs such as food, health, shelter and companionship. Many of these people have no choice and really are victims of systems beyond their control. But if your basic needs are met, you can start to think about what else you want, and what you want to give. I am guessing that if you are reading this, your basic needs are met and you are able to choose what to do with your life, or as someone put it to me recently, what is it that you love? How to spend your precious life? We choose how to spend our money but our lives are much more valuable. Being in a place of choice is a luxurious place to be, a place of great privilege.
Let's not waste any more of our precious time on pretending we are victims and waiting for a hero to rescue us. Who is the hero we are waiting for, a spouse or parent, a child, a government, a corporation? Instead we can all become our own heroes. It is wonderful to sit and think, meditate or even simply do nothing at all, for a while. Eventually though, we have choices to make on how to move forward with our lives. Making these choices can be difficult but by making them we can stop being the victim, overcome fear and become the hero of our own life. Also, if we truly care about the real victims in this world, we can choose to do something for them too as we walk our own yellow brick road.
In The Wizard of Oz, for me, the yellow brick road is the frightening path of choice which needs to be walked by each of the 4 main characters. By walking it, we find ourselves, by facing our fears and making difficult choices. So look within, become your own hero, become powerful, take some action in your own life, and walk that road.
Positive ActionPosted by Tom algie Wed, March 02, 2016 15:57:11 The U.K. EU referendum is finally underway. When a chance to vote comes around, as it usually does in a democracy, there is always some interesting action. Unfortunately most of this action is negative scaremongering. There are usually two sides and both sides aim to scare the voters into not voting for the 'other side' by claiming the 'other side' will wreck the econonomy and cause suffering for all. The winner is usually the one who scares the most people to vote for them as they are obviously the safer option. I actually think it is good to vote, although I don't really believe it makes that much difference to me who wins.
In an established democracy with a large public sector and massive corporations, do elections actually change things significantly? Public and private sector systems are entities which inherently try to sustain themselves. This benefits the people working for those organisations. Both organisations aim to win more resources and influence, which creates a continuous feedback loop which can only be sustained through exponential economic growth. In a similar way to politicians, their arguments for more resources are based on fear that if certain policies are not pursued the corporation will relocate to another country or the public service will no longer function. This is not anyone's fault, we created these systems and we could create new systems which would behave differently. In a finite world we cannot have exponential growth. So, is it all hopeless? Are we all doomed?
The answer is a resounding negative, NO! I am positively confident we can change things, starting with things in our own lives which are close to us. We can create our own systems which are smaller and take positive action which will provide positive feedback in our own day to day lives. These systems can involve friends and family and business acquaintances which we enjoy interacting with every day. These things can be independent of the bigger systems which are out of control. We don't need to wait for the next referendum or election to express how we feel with our fears. We can start now, today and express our feelings of love and focus our precious attention on doing things we love, and being with people we love. That is how our own positive actions can change the world. Why not start today?
Connecting with othersPosted by Tom algie Wed, February 24, 2016 08:06:16 This is not a post about the latest electronic teddy bear or the revelations of a long dead President brought back to life. It's about "ideas worth spreading" which is a tag line of a very successful organisation which holds inspirational speaking events across the globe. Each talk is limited to about 25 minutes but some are less than 10 minutes. The talks are on YouTube and some have had over a million views.
What I like about these TED talks is the diversity of the subject matter and the competence of most of the speakers. You can view a talk by a specialist on virtually any subject which would normally cost a lot of money to watch, absolutely free. I have now watched over 200 of these talks and have learned something from all of them. It's an amazing free resource and even though a few talks have been "banned" you can even watch these with a bit more effort searching. Also, you can even apply to host your own event, which I would like to do one day.
When I think about all this information on new ways of doing things it gives me a sense of hope that the world is slowly changing for the better and that our existing systems of health, education, shelter and food production will change radically in my lifetime. There are some very different ideas out there which challenge the existing system. This can make us realise that we can connect with others in different ways and begin to follow our own path and discover and create our own alternative future which is different to what large governments and large corporations may have in mind. Its not my view that governments and corporations are evil it's just that they are caught up in unsustainable systems which value GDP over people and the planet. The people involved in them are trying their best to keep these systems going, but that's for another post.
So the TED talks have loads of information on all sorts of subjects which is really worth a look. In fact, it is a bit like a cuddly talking teddy bear or a good President brought back from the dead. Have a look.
InspirationalPosted by Tom algie Wed, February 17, 2016 12:03:27 In 2008 Ann and myself did a 12 day permaculture course on the Isle of Man, the weather was awful but we loved the course. The tutors and the participants were all Wonderful. Classes were held out doors when the sun shone briefly, and in a beautiful yurt the rest of the time. It was quite alternative and wasn't your usual holiday but we both learned a lot about a wide range of practical subjects.
The course was full of information about peak oil, climate change and financial collapse. There was also lots of information about alternative energy and different building techniques. There was access to a whole library of Permaculture books about how to live more simply. We toured the island, visiting some very interesting alternative projects and spoke with inspirational people about what they were doing.
We returned back to Yorkshire completely inspired. Although we tried to pass some of this information on, we think there is no substitute for spending some time on a course or using the information from Permaculture Magazine. There are lots of different courses listed in the magazine. We have loaned copies of the Permaculture magazine to people and they have all benefited from reading the articles. We were recently very pleased to be featured on their website.