Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Human brain appears 'hard-wired' for hierarchy (4/26/2008)

Human brain appears ‘hard-wired’ for hierarchy (4/26/2008)

Brain activity was much higher in key brain centers when participants viewed a superior player in an unstable social hierarchy -- when participants had the possibility of upward mobility. - Credit: Caroline Zink, Ph.D., NIMH Genes Cognition and Psychosis Program Human imaging studies have for the first time identified brain circuitry associated with social status, according to researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health. They found that different brain areas are activated when a person moves up or down in a pecking order – or simply views perceived social superiors or inferiors. Circuitry activated by important events responded to a potential change in hierarchical status as much as it did to winning money.

“Our position in social hierarchies strongly influences motivation as well as physical and mental health,” said NIMH Director Thomas R Insel, M.D. “This first glimpse into how the brain processes that information advances our understanding of an important factor that can impact public health.”

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Monday, May 26, 2008

7 habits of really happy people

7 habits of really happy people » Lyved

So here are seven habits that can be found in people who are
always really happy. If you can practice these and turn them into
habits you’ll be just as happy as them.

1. Don’t care what others think

They don’t care what others think or have to say. If
they did, they wouldn’t let themselves free and be happy because
of the possibility of scrutiny.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

#36 The 8 Circuit Brain Model, part 2 - conversations with Antero Alli

Antero Alli

We are continuing our conversations with Antero Alli.

This series of conversations is on the topic called the 8 Circuit Brain model. It is something that Timothy Leary first brought into the western consciousness. Later, Robert Anton Wilson in his book Prometheus Rising gave it a more wide spread appeal, and Antero in his book AngelTech provided a more hands-on approach to the same model.

This conversation covers the following topics:

  • Circuit 3: symbolic-conceptual intelligence
    • Signs of getting stuck in circuit 3: “parroting”, quoting other sources, but not having it come from you. Stuck at absorbtion, without proper integration.
    • The aim of 3rd circuit is communication – real communication, making you think.
    • Being logical is not the same as thinking
  • Circuit 4: ability to get along with people
    • People are unpredictable, for the most part. Ability to live with this unpredictability
    • Confidence of C-4 is whether you are likable
    • The vehicle for C-4: the ego personality
    • Annoyance as an indicator of unfulfilled needs / points of growth
  • Circuit 5: somatic intelligence; somatic opening to present time, living in the present, opening to all 5 senses.
    • Like circuit 1, only with awareness. Getting high.
    • Various practices can do it (meditation, etc.). If you live long enough, it tends to open up eventually, like any other circuit.
    • Charisma: transmission of integrated circuit 5. Certain amount of performance on stage produces charisma.
  • Circuit 6:
    • The central nervous system becomes self-aware.
    • The energy body / double / aura
    • Chakras
  • Circuit 7: Mytho-poetic, genetic intelligence
    • This is where things become genuinely weird
    • Existing conditions that are shared among the immediate family members
  • Circuit 8: non-local
    • Out of body experiences, near-death experiences
    • Finding non-locality in your experience, beyond the confines of time and space
    • What Antero calls “Void”
    • Connections between circuits 1-5, 2-6, 3-7, 4-8

[techtags: 8 circuit brain, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Antero Alli, consciousness, imprint, response potential]

Friday, May 23, 2008

Modeling how we see natural scenes (5/22/2008)

Modeling how we see natural scenes (5/22/2008)

Sophisticated mathematical modeling methods and a “CatCam” that captures feline-centric video of a forest are two elements of a new effort to explain how the brain’s visual circuitry processes real scenes. The new model of the neural responses of a major visual-processing brain region promises to significantly advance understanding of vision.

Valerio Mante and colleagues published a description of their model and its properties in an article in the May 22, 2008, issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Announcement - Beta-Testers Needed for MasterMind Community

Some time ago we have announced our intent to build an open-source collaboration platform, where people who are passionate about education, personal transformation and social change would gather together to collaborate around ideas and content.

Today, we are making our first big step towards that goal – building a MasterMind community of people who will begin such collaboration around ideas, and in particular, around the idea of how to build such an open-source platform.

At this point, we would like to invite 25 highly motivated individuals as beta-testers for the emerging MasterMind forum, to help us shape this community from its very roots, have a defining influence on what this group will become, and prepare it for the Grand Opening over the next few weeks. This is your chance for making your first significant contribution to the Radical Change Group community, to leave your legacy, earn the gratitude of many people to follow you into this community, and to work closely with us, the founders, on this wonderful and ambitious project.

If you feel the desire to join the beta-version of the group and help us shape its future, please contact us by filling out the form below.

Thank you, and we are looking forward to start working together with you!
The Radical Change Group.

Contact Us »

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Thinking Can Change the Brain

How Thinking Can Change the Brain

20 Jan 2007 (Sharon Begley, Wall Street Journal) Dalai Lama helps scientists show the power of the mind to sculpt our gray matter.

Although science and religion are often in conflict, the Dalai Lama takes a different approach. Every year or so the head of Tibetan Buddhism invites a group of scientists to his home in Dharamsala, in Northern India, to discuss their work and how Buddhism might contribute to it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

#35 The 8 Circuit Brain Model, Part 1 - Conversations with Antero Alli

Antero AlliToday we are starting an exciting new series of conversations with an author, a ritualist, a film maker, a dramatist, and astrologer, and a theater director Antero Alli. These series of conversations are near and dear both to our hearts, and to the work that Antero does.

Antero Alli was born in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland. He is an author of such books as AngelTech, Towards an Archeology of the Soul, Astrologic, the Vertical Oracle, and the Akashic Record Player. His deep background in theatre and paratheatre has resulted in numerous original performance works since 1977, and he’s currently the artistic director of ParaTheatrical ReSearch – a Berkeley based group of trained physical performers exploring asocial ritual dynamics. Since 1991 Antero has been writing, directing and producing his own films which include 6 feature functions, 3 paratheatre video documents, and about 20 short works.

This series of conversations is on the topic called the 8 Circuit Brain model. It is something that Timothy Leary first brought into the western consciousness, and later Robert Anton Wilson in his book Prometheus Rising gave it a more wide spread appeal. It was further developed by Antero in his book “Angel Tech”

This conversation covers the following topics:

  • History and introduction to the 8-circuit brain model
  • Absorb, Integrate, Transmit: Intelligence Increase
  • Embracing humility, flaws & paradox on the human journey
  • Circuit 1: Bio-Survival intelligence
  • Circuit 2: Emotional-Territorial intelligence
  • Direct experience
  • Meeting the needs of the second circuit

[techtags: 8 circuit brain, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Antero Alli, consciousness, imprint, response potential]


Friday, May 16, 2008

Businesspeople who are too sure of their abilities are less savvy entrepreneurs (5/16/2008)

No surprise at all , but perhaps a wakeup for some

Businesspeople who are too sure of their abilities are less savvy entrepreneurs (5/16/2008)

Apprentice-style ‘overconfidence’ is cause of too many business start-ups and why many ventures fail in first few years

Apprentice-style entrepreneurs who have an inflated sense of their own abilities may jump into new business ventures with insufficient regard for the competition and the size of the market, new research has found.

Psychologists say that people who are so ‘full of themselves’ and cocksure of their own abilities are the ones most likely to venture into markets that may be too small to accommodate another profitable business.

Research led by the University of Leicester, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, has shown that overconfidence among businesspeople is a reason why many ventures fail in the first few years.

And the ones most culpable were people with absolute confidence in their own abilities.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Primacy Of Consciousness - Peter Russell Video lecture

Presentation given at “Physics of Consciousness” conference, Virginia, 2004, in which Peter Russell explores the mystery of consciousness from both scientific and mystical perspectives, showing how light is intrinsic to both, and giving a coherent argument as to why consciousness is fundamental essence of the cosmos.

About Peter *from his webpage*

Peter Russell is a fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, of The World Business Academy and of The Findhorn Foundation, and an Honorary Member of The Club of Budapest.

At Cambridge University (UK), he studied mathematics and theoretical physics. Then, as he became increasingly fascinated by the mysteries of the human mind he changed to experimental psychology. Pursuing this interest, he traveled to India to study meditation and eastern philosophy, and on his return took up the first research post ever offered in Britain on the psychology of meditation.

He also has a post-graduate degree in computer science, and conducted there some of the early work on 3-dimensional displays, presaging by some twenty years the advent of virtual reality.

In the mid-seventies Peter Russell joined forces with Tony Buzan and helped teach “Mind Maps” and learning methods to a variety of international organizations and educational institutions.

Since then his corporate programs have focused increasingly on self-development, creativity, stress management, and sustainable environmental practices. Clients have included IBM, Apple, Digital, American Express, Barclays Bank, Swedish Telecom, ICI, Shell Oil and British Petroleum.

His principal interest is the deeper, spiritual significance of the times we are passing through. He has written several books in this area — The TM Technique, The Upanishads, The Brain Book, The Global Brain Awakens, The Creative Manager, The Consciousness Revolution, Waking Up in Time, and From Science to God.

As one of the more revolutionary futurists Peter Russell has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences, in Europe, Japan and the USA. His multi-image shows and videos, The Global Brain and The White Hole in Time have won praise and prizes from around the world. In 1993 the environmental magazine Buzzworm voted Peter Russell “Eco-Philosopher Extraordinaire” of the year.

Monday, May 12, 2008

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

An amazing insight into an insanely successful entrepreneur and business genius of our times

Text of Steve Jobs’ Commencement address (2005)

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of
the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college.
Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college
graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s
it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then
stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really
quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young,
unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for
adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college
graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a
lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the
last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on
a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have
an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My
biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated
from college and that my father had never graduated from high school.
She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few
months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a
college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my
working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition.
After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I
wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me
figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had
saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it
would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking
back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped
out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me,
and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the
floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢
deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town
every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna
temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my
curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me
give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy
instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every
label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had
dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to
take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif
and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between
different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great.
It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science
can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my
life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh
computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac.
It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never
dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never
had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since
Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would
have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on
this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the
wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to
connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was
very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only
connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will
somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something —
your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let
me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz
and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard,
and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage
into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just
released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year
earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you
get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired
someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and
for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the
future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we
did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And
very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was
gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had
let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped
the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and
Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very
public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley.
But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I
did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had
been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from
Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The
heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a
beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of
the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another
company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would
become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer
animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most
successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of
events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we
developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And
Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been
fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the
patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.
Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going
was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that
is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going
to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly
satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to
do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep
looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know
when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better
and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it.
Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live
each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be
right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33
years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If
today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about
to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days
in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve
ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because
almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all
fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the
face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that
you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of
thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no
reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30
in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t
even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost
certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect
to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go
home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to
die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d
have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to
make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as
possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a
biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my
stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a
few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there,
told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors
started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of
pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and
I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the
closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can
now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a
useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want
to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No
one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is
very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change
agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new
is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become
the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of
other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown
out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to
follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you
truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog,
which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a
fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he
brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s,
before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made
with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like
Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was
idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog,
and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was
the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final
issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you
might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath
it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell
message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have
always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew,
I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

#34 Embodied Mythology Series 03: The Healing Theatre-2 with PaulRebillot

We are continuing our conversations with Paul Rebillot on the topic of the Healing Theatre – the combination of acting and drama, mythology, gestalt therapy, and rituals. For more information about Paul and his work, please visit his website – Direct Impact Creativity.

In this segment, Paul touches upon some of the most important, most immediate, yet perhaps the deepest and most impactufl aspects of mythological and ritual transformations.

  • Knowing your true call, and the many places it can come from
    • Inside, outside, from God, and even from… behind
  • Levels of resistance (to the true call)
    • World around you
    • Yourself – the “demon of resistance”
    • The Supreme Ordeal
  • A Question of Life and Death (what happens if you refuse your call?)
    • “All of life is the rehearsal for the next moment”
    • Integration of the daemon (the fear) and the hero (the call)
  • Peeling off the Masks
    • Playing a role and forgetting myself, and how to return to my true self
    • Healing – learn to do nothing, and just be present.
  • Coming to closure
    • Your call – and other people
    • Owning the sense of self-responsibility.
    • Saving the World – one person at a time
  • The “Mini-Schizophrenic episode”
    • Original thought that shatters the old forms
  • The Loss of the Ritual
    • Transformation without structure is madness

[techtags: Myth, Mythology, Hero’s Journey, Paul Rebillot]

Sunday, May 4, 2008

#33 Embodied Mythology Series 02 - The Healing Theatre with PaulRebillot

We are delighted and honored to introduce you to one of our teacher’s Paul Rebillot, who has spent over 30 years of his life developing transformation through mythology, theatre, and ritual enactment. To his present work in personal growth he brings an actor’s confidence in the capacity of bodily gesture to reveal and to transform the point of view of the mind and the attitude of the heart.

From his work as actor, director, and teacher in classical and contemporary drama, Paul brought to his practice of Gestalt therapy a deep appreciation of the power of myth to enrich and to heal personal biography and to awaken individuals to the transpersonal dimensions and goals of their lives.

We are deeply grateful to our teacher on this path Paul Rebillot for spending many many hours with us describing his work, and generously agreeing to sharing it with our listeners around the world.

In this conversation, Paul tells a story of his own life and the path that led him to creating his processes – which are really the modern day rites of passages, the rituals of transformation:

  • How it all started
  • Into the Depth of Theatre
  • The Moment of Catharsis
  • The Healing Theatre
  • The First Trilogy:
    • The Hero’s Journey
    • Death and Resurrection
    • The Family Circles
  • More Structures/Process’ He Has Developed
    • The Lover’s Journey
    • Owning the Shadow
    • Adding Native Amerian tradition elements
    • Exorcising the Demon “Should”
    • Rituals of Transformation
    • Dancing with the Gods
    • The Reincarnation Game
  • The Story Continues

[techtags: Mythology, Hero’s Journey, Paul Rebillot]