Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nassim Haramein's INFINITE REALMS: The Unified Field

I think they raised the money to make this documentary, and I believe this is a promotional video for the longer effort, which was funded through Kickstarter.

As you can read below, Nassim Haramein is the physicist who is developing/has developed a Unified Field Theory. You can read more at his site, The Resonance Project.

About this project

INFINITE REALMS: The Unified Field is a short documentary film that aims to visually and aesthetically describe how all people are connected through key concepts from recent scientific research in physics. Specifically, the research undertaken by physicist Nassim Haramein to create a "Unified Field Theory". This information can change our lives on earth dramatically, because it unlocks deep levels of understanding about our existence and explores direct correlation between the structure of the universe and human consciousness. It is crucial for us to adapt our way of living now and eliminate the out of date practices that are no longer relevant to our future on this planet.

Understanding the science behind Unified Field Theory can be complex to the layman, and in his presentations Nassim Haramein spends up to two weeks explaining everything required to cognitively grasp the theory. Jamie Janover is a lead emissary for Nassim Haramein's Resonance Project and travels the world giving talks on Nassim's theory, which although condensed, still last up to four or five hours. So how do we condense this into a film?

Some of the basic concepts can be shown by incorporating visual examples in the right contexts. For instance: a visual of water spinning down a drain, a hurricane whirling and images of our galaxy swirling. In fact, when you understand the theory, you can see it everywhere you go! It exists in everything, because it is a "theory of everything". This is our attempt as artists to translate some basic concepts of this theory and other related themes into a visual and artistic form, so that it can be interpreted easily, by anyone, without the need for a PhD level comprehension of mathematics or physics.

We realize that it would be a challenge to incorporate everything into one film so if we are funded, this film will serve as the first seed in the aims of growing a network of similar projects. We want to show people how tangible and relevant this information is to everyone!
The unified field is the space we all live in. All matter we observe is made of atoms and all atoms are made of 99.999999% space, yet we measure the "emptiness" of space to actually be infinitely full with energy!

Unified field theory is a theory of everything that describes the nature of all things, no matter how big or how small. Physicists describe the universe and the nature of reality using a specific language called math to write equations that reflect what we observe in the universe.

Contemporary science we have different equations to describe the big and the small, but if we want to truly understand the fundamentals of our universe then we need to understand the very structure of the fabric of space-time. The study of structure in space is called geometry so to understand space we need to understand the geometry of the fabric of the vacuum and the dynamics of space-time within that structure.

This film will compile the research and theories of many people but focuses on the work of Nassim Haramein of The Resonance Project Foundation. His ground-breaking theories describe the universe in a new and more complete way than other models and his research is starting to unlock deeper levels of understanding about our reality.

Science is progressing exponentially and at an accelerated rate. Our technology is developing just as rapidly. This is a critical period in our evolution to assimilate all that we know about the universe in hopes of coming into coherency and harmony with nature instead of destroying our environment as we interact with it.

IONS - "Psychology of the Future" with Stanislav Grof

This is an interesting conversation with Stanislav Grof on his work in developing consciousness and psychology studies over the last 50 years. The podcast come from the Institute of Noetic Sciences library.

"Psychology of the Future" with Stanislav Grof

"Psychology of the Future" with Stanislav Grof

Visionary: Stanislav Grof, MD, PhD

In the last five decades, psychedelic therapy and other avenues of modern consciousness research have revealed a rich array of “anomalous” phenomena that have undermined some of the most basic assumptions of modern psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy concerning consciousness and the human psyche in health and disease. Many of these observations are so radical that they question the basic philosophical assumptions of materialistic science.

In this interview, we review these remarkable data and explore the most important major revisions that would have to be made in our understanding of consciousness, of the human psyche, and of the nature of reality to respond to these conceptual challenges. These radical changes in our thinking would fall into the following categories:
  • Cartography of the Human Psyche
  • Architecture of Emotional and Psychosomatic Disorders.
  • Effective Therapeutic Mechanisms
  • Strategy of Psychotherapy and Self-Exploration
  • Role of Spirituality in Human Life
  • The Nature of Reality: Psyche, Cosmos, and Consciousness
Related Sets: "Mysteries of Consciousness" Teleseminar Series

Download as mp3
Publication Date: 2011-06-15

Mind and Life XXIII - Session 9: The Skillful Means of Activism

Here is session 9 - The Skillful Means of Activism - of "Ecology, Ethics and Interdependence", the Mind and Life XXIII conference with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in dialogue with contemplative scholars, activists and ecological scientists who discuss the interconnection between individual choices and environmental consequences. The conference was held at His Holiness's office in Dharamsala, India, from October 17-21, 2011.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dharma Quote - Chonyi Taylor on Right Speech

A Buddhist Approach to Finding Release from Addictive Patterns

by Chönyi Taylor

Dharma Quote of the Week

Speech that is not harmful is the meaning of "right speech." It is wise speech. Wise people can still be quite firm and decisive when that is what is needed. It means finding generous and productive ways of saying things. There are times when we need to be strict, but we do not have to denigrate or harm the person or child who is out of line. Firm speech can also be wise speech.

Wise speech is another tool that can be practiced. We can begin by practicing wise speech to ourselves--replacing the inner voice of guilt that is putting us down and opening a space to listen to our deeper needs.

What can I say which will be helpful to someone? What tone of voice will I use? And when is it wise to say nothing? Imagine yourself actually saying something helpful and supportive. Imagine the difference it would make in your life if you could say just one helpful thing to one person. Imagine your life if your speech always came from wisdom.(p.136)

--from Enough! A Buddhist Approach to Finding Release from Addictive Patterns by Chonyi Taylor, published by Snow Lion Publications

Enough! • Now at 5O% off!
(Good until December 30th).

All in the Mind - Many Selves, One Body: Dissociation and early trauma

All in the Mind, hosted by Natasha Mitchell, is one of the best psychology podcasts on the web, and now the show is going off the air. I'm sad about this - but she is moving on to bigger and better things.

In honor of the show's ten years on the radio (ABC Radio National in Australia), they have been posting some of their best shows, including the one below.

Many Selves, One Body: Dissociation and early trauma

Broadcast: Saturday 22 August 2009
We all dissociate to a degree—compartmentalising major traumatic experiences in our psyche to protect ourselves. But Dissociation Identity Disorder is the extreme end, where a person might present multiple selves or 'alters' to the world without fully knowing it—swapping clothes, life histories and personalities each time they 'switch'. Don't miss this firsthand account.




Professor Warwick Middleton
Brisbane based psychiatrist in private practice Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health, La Trobe University Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Queensland Chair, Cannan Institute Director, Trauma and Dissociation Unit, Belmont Hospital
Zoe Farris
Queensland Association of Mental Health


Title: When Me Means Me: Multiple Personality - A View from the Inside
Author: Zoe Long (now Farris) & Co
Publisher: Queensland Association of Mental Health Inc, 1996 (booklet)
Title: Dissociative Identity Disorder: An Australian series
Author: Warwick Middleton and Jeremy Butler
Publisher: Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1998 Dec;32(6):794-804
Title: Dissociative Identity Disorder: Multiple Personalities, Multiple Controversies
Author: Scott Lilienfield and Steven Jay Lynn
Publisher: in Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology (edited by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, Jeffrey M. Lohr), 2004
Title: A Clinician's Understanding of Dissociation: Fragments of an Acquaintance
Author: Richard P Kluft
Publisher: in Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders: DSM-V and Beyond (edited by Paul F Dell, and John A O'Neill), Routledge, 2009
Title: Historical conceptions of dissociation and psychosis: Nineteenth and earlt twentieth century perspectives on severe psychopathology
Author: Warwick Middleton, Martin Dorahy, Andrew Moskowitz
Publisher: in Psychosis, Trauma and Dissociation (edited by Andrew Moskowitz, Ingo Scahfer and Martin Dorahy), John Wiley and Sons, 2008
Title: A New Model of Dissociative Identity Disorder
Author: Paul F Dell
Publisher: Psychiatric Clinics of North America (Psychaitr Clin N Am), 2006, 1-26
Title: Owning the past, claiming the present - perspectives on the treatment of dissociative patients
Author: Warwick Middleton
Publisher: Australiasian Psychiatry, Vol 13, No 1, March 2005
Title: Remembering the past, anticipating the future
Author: Warwick Middleton, Lisa De Marni Cromer, Jennifer Freyd
Publisher: Australasian Psychiatry, Vol 13, No 3, September 2005
Title: The Persistence of Folly: A Critical Examination of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Part I. The Excesses of an Improbable Concept
Author: August Piper, Harold Merskey
Publisher: Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol 49, No 9, September 2004

Mind and Life XXIII - Session 8 - A Buddhist Perspective on the Psychology of Action and Behavior Change

Here is session 8 - A Buddhist Perspective on the Psychology of Action and Behavior Change - of "Ecology, Ethics and Interdependence", the Mind and Life XXIII conference with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in dialogue with contemplative scholars, activists and ecological scientists who discuss the interconnection between individual choices and environmental consequences. The conference was held at His Holiness's office in Dharamsala, India, from October 17-21, 2011.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sounds True - Pema Chödrön: Unconditional Confidence

Very cool podcast from Tami Simon at Sounds True - Pema Chödrön is one of my favorite teachers on any subject. This is a nice dharma teaching.
Unconditional Confidence

In addition to being the founder of Sounds True, Tami Simon also produces a number of our audio programs. One of the programs that stood out to Tami was Pema Chödrön’s Unconditional Confidence: Instructions for Meeting Any Experience with Trust and Courage. As Tami says, “When it comes to delivering heart instructions on how to work with what feels unworkable, perhaps no one hits the bulls-eye with as much warmth and accessibility as Pema Chödrön.” This week’s excerpt comes from Tami’s interview with Pema included on Unconditional Confidence, in which Pema talks about how we can puncture and aerate any difficult experience with spaciousness.

Changesurfer Radio - The Bodhisattva’s Brain with Owen Flanagan

Owen Flangan has a new book, The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized. Dr. J at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies interviewed Flanagan for Changesurfer Radio's podcast series.

Flanagan is a well-known philosopher, a couple of books include The Problem Of The Soul: Two Visions Of Mind And How To Reconcile Them and The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World (Bradford Books).

There are some similarities between Flanagan and Thomas Metzinger, but they are coming from much different disciplines. Both incorporate Buddhist concepts of no-self into human consciousness - Flanagan works from the inside out (philosophy) and Metzinger works from the outside in (neuroscience). Their approaches are different in a lot of ways, and their conclusions are framed differently, but they both seem to adopt an interpretation of emptiness in looking at consciousness (see also B Alan Wallace).

The Bodhisattva’s Brain pt1

Owen Flanagan
Changesurfer Radio

Posted: Dec 20, 2011

Dr. J. chats with Owen Flanagan, professor of philosophy at Duke University and author of The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized. They discuss the relationship of the Aristotleian and Buddhist ideas of happiness and virtue, and the relevance of neuropsychological research on what it means to have a flourishing life. (Part 1 of 2)

* * * * * * *

The Bodhisattva’s Brain pt2

Owen Flanagan
Changesurfer Radio

Posted: Dec 20, 2011

Dr. J. chats with Owen Flanagan, professor of philosophy at Duke University and author of The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized. They discuss the relationship of the Aristotleian and Buddhist ideas of happiness and virtue, and the relevance of neuropsychological research on what it means to have a flourishing life. (Part 2 of 2)

Mind and Life XXIII - Session 7: The Psychology of Action and Behavior Change

Here is session 7 - The Psychology of Action and Behavior Change - of "Ecology, Ethics and Interdependence", the Mind and Life XXIII conference with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in dialogue with contemplative scholars, activists and ecological scientists who discuss the interconnection between individual choices and environmental consequences. The conference was held at His Holiness's office in Dharamsala, India, from October 17-21, 2011.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Peter Gordon Reviews "An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age" by Jürgen Habermas

Jürgen Habermas has been getting a lot of press lately, most of it revolving around his most recent books, An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age (2010, Polity Press, 87 pp., $14.95) and The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere by Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West, edited by Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen (2011, Columbia University Press, 137 pp., $19.50).

In this article from The New Republic, Peter Gordon offers a lengthy review of those two books. I think Gordon gets that a lot of people have misunderstood Habermas's recent interest in religion as some form of conversion - rather, I believe, we are seeing a movement from thesis (religion as social norm) to antithesis (secularism) to thesis (translation). Habermas seems to hold hope that secularism and religion can some to understand each other through the reason of translation. He is interpreted by Gordon as saying, "for the sake of democracy itself one should not exclude from the public sphere any religious culture whose normative insights might admit of translation."

In essence, even religion has something to offer the modern/postmodern society if we can translate its insights into democratic language.

This is a great, though long, article - but I find it very useful.

What Hope Remains?

An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age
By Jürgen Habermas
(Polity Press, 87 pp., $14.95)

The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere
By Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West
Edited by Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen
(Columbia University Press, 137 pp., $19.50)

On October 14, 2001, the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas stepped up to the lectern at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt to deliver a short address called “Faith and Knowledge.” The occasion was his acceptance speech of the Peace Prize, a yearly honor that the German Book Trade organization has bestowed for more than fifty years upon intellectuals, writers, and artists from across the globe. The prize was well-deserved: more than any other philosopher in living memory, Habermas has gained international prestige not only for his philosophical labors but also for his spirited role as a public critic who has not wavered in his commitment to the ideal of a just and rational society.
Granted, these days Europe is going through a period of diminished expectations: as the European Union falls into economic disarray, older dreams of tolerance and social inclusion have lost ground. Ruling conservative parties in Germany, England, and France have rushed to embrace shortsighted policies of privatization even while they compete against the far right in a cynical game of vote-mongering xenophobia. There is little cause for hope.

This is what makes Habermas’s speech ten years ago so remarkable. Before that date, the German philosopher rarely addressed themes of religion. Since that date, he rarely speaks about anything else. In 2004 he met at the Catholic Academy in Bavaria with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) for a philosophical discussion concerning the role of religion in public life, now available in English as The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion. His most expansive volume of essays on religious matters appeared in 2008 as Between Naturalism and Religion. In 2010 his Munich conversation with a group of Jesuit theologians was published in English as An Awareness of What Is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age. And more recently he met in New York with three philosophers (Charles Taylor, Judith Butler, and Cornel West) for a public colloquy, the transcript of which has appeared as The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere. All of this is rumored to be the preparatory labor for a new and major work on religion that, so far, has appeared only in fragments.

The sheer intensity of this turn in Habermas’s concerns is striking, especially in a thinker who has never betrayed any sign of personal faith. Habermas was and apparently remains “religiously unmusical” (to cite Weber’s famous phrase). But at least one critic has announced this as a “turn” in Habermas’s thinking, prompting the thought that we may be witnessing an intellectual conversio, after the Latin vertere, to turn or to change. When he delivered his acceptance speech at the Paulskirche, Habermas was well past his seventy-first birthday: one could imagine he had entered upon a phase of thinking where the former confidence in systematic reason is giving way before the existential questions that confront us all. One could even characterize this phase as a Spätstil, or late style—a term that his teacher Adorno used to describe the more fragmentary and experimental compositions of the aging Beethoven.

But such talk of a secular conversion in Habermas’s recent work risks serious misunderstanding. Readers sympathetic to religion may rush to conclude that the paradigmatic philosopher of modern reason has at last seen the light, while stolid advocates of secularism may despair that a cherished ally has fled the camp. The worst (and clumsiest) mistake appeared in a 2010 New York Times column by Stanley Fish, who announced that Habermas had come to recognize the “inability” of secular society “to go it alone.” The problem is not merely that “going it alone” is too casual a phrase to capture Habermas’s intentions. Fish sought to prove this idea by quoting a line by Habermas that appears in the editor’s introduction to An Awareness of What Is Missing. “Among the modern societies,” Habermas wrote, “only those that are able to introduce into the secular domain the essential contents of their religious traditions which point beyond the merely human realm will also be able to rescue the substance of the human.” It is a striking turn of phrase, but its significance is uncertain. Did Habermas mean to say that religion contains insights indispensable for humanity, insights that secular reason cannot surpass? Fish thought so. The problem is that the German editor was quoting from a speech Habermas gave for the eightieth birthday of Gershom Scholem, the great historian of Jewish mysticism, more than thirty years ago, and Habermas was explaining Scholem’s perspective, not his own.

To understand what Habermas is really up to in his most recent work requires the kind of patience and precision that has been in terrifically short supply in much of the popular controversies concerning the place of religion in modern politics. It is our good fortune that much of what Habermas has written now appears in English collections—Religion and Rationality: Essays on Reason, God, and Modernity (2002) and The Frankfurt School on Religion (2004)—both edited by Eduardo Mendieta, who brings to this task a rare combination of theological sensitivity and theoretical rigor. When viewed in this wider perspective, Habermas’s turn to religion no longer comes as a great surprise. On the contrary, it should strike us as a natural amplification of philosophical and political themes that have preoccupied him for many years.

Read the whole review.

Mary Grace Orr - The Wise and Fearless Heart

This is a very useful dharma teaching from Mary Grace Orr that she gave at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

Mary Grace Orr

Lately, my own practice is moving more and more into the monastic world. As I teach out of that nourishment, I find people hungry for the traditional, solid forms of the Dharma. I see people's lives changing when they engage in these forms. Certainly, as I deepen my own Sutta study, I find the traditional ideas so helpful it encourages me to delve further. 

2011-12-16 The Wise & Fearless Heart  62:26 

Download Stream Order iTunes

Developing the Brahma Viharas (good will, compassion, gladness and equanimity), to strengthen the heart and meet fear.
Insight Meditation Retreat

TEDxUCR - Eric Schwitzgebel - The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind

Interesting stuff - Eric Schwitzgebel is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside. He tends to argue against the reliability of subjective reporting of conscious experience. He is correct in many of his arguments on that topic, however, subjective experience - whether objectively accurate or not - is as real as it gets for the individual. Our "felt sense" of our experience is the only reality available to us until we are able to take our own subjective experience as an object of awareness - which is where Buddhist meditation becomes an invaluable tool.

Eric Schwitzgebel - The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind
Eric Schwitzgebel is a Professor of Philosophy at U.C. Riverside and author of Perplexities of Consciousness (MIT Press, 2011), and, with Russell T. Hurlburt, Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic (MIT Press, 2007). He has written extensively on belief, self-knowledge, consciousness, and the moral behavior of ethics professors. His research has been featured on the Discovery Channel, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other national and international media outlets. His blog, "The Splintered Mind" (established 2006), is among the leading solo-authored philosophy blogs.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NPR - Trent Reznor: The Fresh Air Interview

Trent Reznor has always been one of my favorite musicians, ever since Pretty Hate Machine came out in 1989. It's been nice to see him grow up and get sober - and find success in doing so.
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
Enlarge Frank Micelotta/Getty Images Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

Hear The Music

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo cover
Sony Pictures

"Hidden In Snow"

[5 min 19 sec]

"What If We Could"

[3 min 59 sec]
December 19, 2011
When filmmaker David Fincher asked Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and his songwriting partner Atticus Ross to compose the music for his U.S. film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher had one request: for the music to sound 'textural.'

So Reznor and Ross, who won an Oscar for their score of Fincher's 2010 film The Social Network, experimented with sounds created by stretched-out bell tones, piano beds filled with nails and clothespins, and mixes of distorted instruments played imperfectly.

"We wanted to create the sound of coldness — emotionally and also physically," Reznor tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We wanted to take lots of acoustic instruments ... and transplant them into a very inorganic setting, and dress the set around them with electronics."

Reznor and Ross' hauntingly beautiful soundtrack features three hours of new instrumental music and two cover songs — Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," with lead vocals by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, and a cover of Bryan Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong Enough," with lead locals by Reznor's wife, Mariqueen Maandig. Those two covers complement the instrumental score, on which tracks are layered with simple melodies, machinelike noises and unsettling synthesizers to create a dark, moody atmosphere and complement the foreboding images on screen.

"[The instrumental sounds are] processed and stretched and manipulated into a setting where it may sound harmonically familiar, but if you tune into it, it's not behaving in a way that you're accustomed to that type of sound behaving," Reznor says. "I find experimenting around in that is an interesting place to work."

Creating A 'Downward Spiral'
Reznor's experimentation with "found sound" and discordant harmonies started early in his career, when he says he was inspired by bands like Throbbing Gristle and the films of David Lynch.

"As early as [Nine Inch Nails'] album Downward Spiral, there was a lot of effort and experiments going on — layering in sounds that might bother you under music to create a sense of anxiety," he says. "I've always found that it's an interesting instrument to bring into the mix — creating melody or purpose out of noise in the various shapes noise can take, whether it could be the hum of a radiator to a room tone, [to create] something that evokes an emotional response."

Downward Spiral, Nine Inch Nails' second album, was written in 1993, after the band had started to make a name for itself in the Cleveland underground industrial-music scene.

"I decided to write a conceptual record that told the story of somebody that was futilely trying to fill up a hole in their being with whatever it might be — sex or drugs, or to try to escape from a sense of emptiness," Reznor says. "And I felt that that created a framework where I could write these songs that all kind of made sense."

The album sold more than 5 million copies worldwide, with "Hurt" and "Closer" cracking the Billboard Top 10. Reznor says the album, about a man whose life spirals out of control, was not autobiographical at the time he wrote it.

"But the terrible irony of the story is that the story [in Downward Spiral] came to life over the next few years," he says. "My own life spiraled out of control, and I look back now and think, 'I was writing about me.' ... I think that I was somebody who was pretty immature emotionally. And when thrust into a situation that was very abnormal — of fame and adulation — I wasn't really equipped to deal with it very well."

In the late '90s, Reznor says he started relying on alcohol to get him through the day. He also began drinking heavily on tours.

"Things progressed from there and caught up with me," he says. "And realizing I am an addict, it took me a while to realize that. And then it took me a while to take the necessary steps to deal with that. ... I wound up in a pretty bad place that I hope to never return to."

Trent Reznor performs with Nine Inch Nails at Woodstock '94.
Enlarge John Gaps/AP Photo Trent Reznor performs with Nine Inch Nails at Woodstock '94.

Heading Down A Slippery Slope
Reznor took five years off between Downward Spiral and Nine Inch Nails' next album, 1999's The Fragile, which he says he wrote in his darkest moments.

"[It] was written in a very slippery, thin-ice slope, knowing there's something wrong here — and trying to address it but not embracing the treatment," Reznor says. "Once that record came out, we went back on tour in the worst condition I could have possibly started a yearlong tour. When that tour finished, shortly thereafter, I was finished. It reached a point where I threw my hands up and said, 'It's going to go one way or the other: I'm going to be dead, or I'm going to fix myself. Because I cannot stay feeling like this.' "

Reznor entered a treatment facility, after years of avoiding any kind of help.

"Somewhere," he says, "there was still somewhat of a logical person in there that said, 'OK, this just doesn't work. You've tried every rule-bending thing you can do here. Accept the fact, and let's do this thing."

Nine Inch Nails went on hiatus for six years during Reznor's treatment. In 2005, the band released With Teeth and then in 2007, Year Zero, a concept album that presented a dystopian view of the future of the U.S. A few years later, Reznor formed the band How to Destroy Angels with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, and Atticus Ross, with whom he later collaborated for The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Reznor says he always tries to include a personal component somewhere in his compositions. Even his earliest song lyrics, from 1989's Pretty Hate Machine, were all based on private journal entries, he says.

"When I finally had the courage to marry some of those up with music, then I thought, 'Well, this is very powerful, but I can never play it for anybody,' because I didn't create a character consciously," he says. "That character was just me unfiltered. And I realized when I did have the courage to play it for some people, that it had a strength to it, a resonance to it. That became the template to what Nine Inch Nails was about."

Interview Highlights

On Nine Inch Nails In The Mid-1990s

There's a lot of 'I's' in Nine Inch Nails lyrics, particularly that era. Part of that was a lack of skill of writing, and part of it was I learned early on [that] the only thing I could say that had any integrity was truthful things."

On His Depression In The Late 1990s
"You're standing onstage in a sold-out arena with people singing your music, and you feel like the loneliest person in the world. Because here's a party that, essentially, it's for you. And you still somehow feel like you don't belong there. Those people all have their lives and go back home. And you get back on a tour bus and — you can't say that sort of thing without sounding pathetic, and I fully realize that. But what was wrong with me was there was just an imbalance. Regardless of what was put in front of me, I could find a way to feel bad about it. I was just wired that way. I could write the best song in the world and never feel like it was that great. Or look in the mirror and see somebody I don't like. It just took me into a bad place."

On His Musical Inspirations

"I did not grow up in a cosmopolitan environment. I grew up in a little town in the middle of nowhere, pre-Internet, pre-college radio. My input for the first 16, 17 years of my life was AM radio, FM radio — pretty mainstream stuff. Rolling Stone was probably as edgy as it got. I think growing up on a solid diet of listening to melodic-based pop music instilled in me that format of hooks and something to grab on to. As I started writing music, and considering how to write music, it would come back to something that was memorable. I tried to think in terms of choruses and hooks and melodies — even if that was set in a very noisy, atonal environment. And I realized a lot of music I liked at the time was hinting at the same sort of thing."

On His Music

"I think it's easy to make impenetrable music that nobody can get, and you can hide behind that sometimes. I kind of like the idea of subversively working your way into people's heads, and then you can say whatever you want."

TEDxKoeln - Adriana Lukas: Balanced Asymmetry of Networks or How to Avoid Hierarchies

In her talk at TEDxKoeln Adriana Lukas outlines the five laws of heterarchy - "Those might one day help write recipes for building a society of peer to peer interactions." P2P does rely more on heterarchical structures, but there are inherent hierarchies in most (if not all) systems.

The P2P Foundation Wiki offers this definition of heterarchy by Timothy Wilken:
"Heterarchy is a very different breed of organizational strategy than hierarchy. It is a horizontal system with only one level of organization. All are equal within the heterarchy. Individuals within the system see each other as being on the same level. “We are a team.” “Its like a family rather than a job.” “We all respect each other.”

Heterarchy is ideal for communication and discussion, because it allows for the sharing of responsibility and authority within an informal environment. Task assignments following open discussions, produce more cooperative working relationships. In a setting where associates feel valued, openness and integrity emerge. Individuals often take much greater roles in the tasks of their departments. In this setting, there is less conflict, and this usually results in improvement in efficiency, productivity, and quality of work-life. Heterarchy creates a feeling of oneness — a feeling of community. Members of a heterarchy strongly identify with the whole system. Morale and espirit de corps are optimized. Because heterarchy is highly inclusive, all feel that they are a part of the system. This is in strong counter distinction to hierarchy's exclusiveness. Individuals within heterarchy tend to protect the system. Individuals within hierarchy often ignore the system, and sometimes even attack it. The wholistic focus of heterarchy is on the needs of the whole organization. This wholistic focus leads to collective decision making and collective responsibility.

Decision making in heterarchy is slower. It takes time to gain the consensus of all the individuals within the heterarchy. However, implementation is much more rapid because the attitudes of those responsible for implementation have been considered in the decision making process. This not only eliminates conflict, but also encourages all members to feel responsible for the successful implementation of the decision. Anyone who has ever built a house knows it is much less expensive to erase lines on a paper, than to demolish mortar, brick, and stone." (
 TEDxKoeln - Adriana Lukas: Balanced Asymmetry of Networks or How to Avoid Hierarchies

TEDxKoeln - "Stories of(f) Balance" brought together passionate listeners and speakers, well able to not only be multiplicators of ideas but also to act on them, in an exchange of moving stories and bold ideas and thus TEDxKoeln joins the global discourse of concerned citizens.
I'm not sure why people are so phobic about hierarchies -  some systems function better with hierarchies and some function better with heterarchies. I'm not convinced that heterarchies are better than compassionate hierarchies - as is true in many things, both are probably useful in certain situations, even within the same system.

The quest to understand consciousness: Antonio Damasio on

One of my favorite neuroscientists on TED - Antonio Damasio from earlier this year talks about how our brains create and maintain a coherent sense of self. As an added bonus, an older lecture is included at the bottom: "Brain and mind: from medicine to society," delivered in Spain in 2005.

The quest to understand consciousness: Antonio Damasio on

Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness — that is a marvelous fact — but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self. (Recorded at TED2011, March 2011, in Long Beach, California. Duration: 18:43)

Watch Antonio Damasio’s talk on, where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 1,000+ TEDTalks.

Antonio Damasio. Brain and mind: from medicine to society. 1/2

Antonio Damasio. Brain and mind: from medicine to society. 2/2

Monday, December 19, 2011

Esoteric Voices 2: Consciousness Transformation w/ Dr. Marilyn Mandala Schlitz of the Institute of Noetic Sciences

Reality Sandwich posted this interview with Dr. Marilyn Mandala Schlitz of the Institute of Noetic Sciences on the topic of consciousness transformation. Kent Bye conducted the interview - he is an integrally-informed film maker and podcaster.

Dr. Schlitz and her colleagues have been studying the foundations for transforming consciousness for more than ten years, and their research is available at Living Deeply. At the 2010 Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference here in Tucson, they gave an excellent summary of their work.

Esoteric Voices 2: Consciousness Transformation


Dr. Marilyn Mandala Schlitz is the President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which does research into extended human capacities, consciousness & healing as well as consciousness transformation.

Consciousness transformation is a shift in the way that you see the world, and IONS wanted to see what the common ingredients of transformation were were across many different religious practices and spiritual paths. Dr. Schlitz was involved conducting a 10-year study in order to discover what facilitates and sustains consciousness transformation, what the benefits of it are, and how it happens. They interviewed spiritual teachers and conducted a survey of over 2000 people who have experienced some type of transformative event in their lives. This helped them to create a set of hypotheses of the common elements across all of the different transformative practices that they then tested over time.

The four elements that they found to be common to all transformative spiritual practices were:
  1. Intention to change
  2. Attention to a broader set of possibilities
  3. Repetition to build new muscle groups
  4. Guidance from a teacher, book or internal guidance
Schlitz says that these four elements wrapped in the arms of surrender framework can give us an understanding of what a transformative practice looks like. She talks about how the primary catalyst for transformation is typically some type of crisis, but it's also possible for people can transform through insight. Finally, she talks about the process of cultural paradigm shift and the importance of expanding your identity from an egocentric perspective to a more global and cosmic perspective.

For more information into this 10-year study in consciousness transformation, then be sure to check out their Living Deeply website and book of the same name.

Download File
Music by scottaltham, courtesy of Creative Commons license.

Brain Posts - Brain and Gut in Processing Emotion

This is a cool research review from Brain Posts on the inter-connection between bodily sensations and emotional processing. This fMRI imaging study was able to identify some of the areas involved in how the brain integrates interoceptive signals.

Brain and Gut in Processing Emotion

Ventrolateral Prefrontal Cortex in Blue
Intense emotional experiences frequently occur with bodily sensations such as a rapid heart rate or gastrointestinal distress.

It appears that bodily sensation (interoception) can be an important source of information when judging one's emotional.  How the brain processes interoception is becoming better understood.

However, how the brain integrates interoceptive signals with other brain emotional processing circuits is less well understood.

Terasawa and colleagues from Japan recently presented results of their research on this interaction of interoception and emotion.

Eighteen graduate and undergraduate students were scanned using a 3T fMRI scanner.

Stimulus cues were separated into those in the interoceptive domain using the Body Perception Questionnaire and the emotional domain using the Positive and Negative Affect scale.

Interoceptive cues included cues such as "I have a fast pulse" while a typical emotional cue was "I am happy".  Each cue was compared to a control possession cue such as "I have money".

The authors then contrasted brain regions activated by interoceptive, emotional or both interoceptive and emotional cues.

Brain regions identified as being activated during interoceptive cues included:
Interoception only: supplementary motor area (Brodmann area 6), inferior parietal gyrus
Interoception and emotional cues: right insular cortex (Brodmann area 13), ventromedial prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 11) and the bilateral lingual cortex (Brodmann area 17).

The authors propose these finding support the role of the insula and ventromedial prefrontal cortex in the integration of interoception and central brain emotional signaling.  They conclude "Our findings indicate that activation in these areas (ventromedial prefrontal cortex and right insula) and precuneus are functionally associated for subjective awareness of the emotional state".

Some may argue that in making important decisions you should "Go with your gut feeling".

The findings from this study suggest a more informed approach might be "Use your gut and other bodily signals (interoception) integrated with central brain signals in accurately judging your emotional state for making decisions"

This study suggests the brain has allocated specific regions to aid in the integration of body and brain signals to accurately judge and assess one's own emotional state.

Figure of ventrolateral prefrontal cortex from a screen shot of the iPad app Brain Tutor HD.

Terasawa, Y., Fukushima, H., & Umeda, S. (2011). How does interoceptive awareness interact with the subjective experience of emotion? An fMRI Study Human Brain Mapping DOI: 10.1002/hbm.21458

Mind and Life XXIII - Session 6 - A Buddhist Perspective and Open Discussion

Session 6, A Buddhist Perspective and Open Discussion, of "Ecology, Ethics and Interdependence", the Mind and Life XXIII conference with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in dialogue with contemplative scholars, activists and ecological scientists who discuss the interconnection between individual choices and environmental consequences. The conference was held at His Holiness's office in Dharamsala, India, from October 17-21, 2011.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Open Culture - The Inner Object: Seeing Kandinsky

Open Culture posted this the other day on the occasion of Kandinsky's 145th birthday (December 16). Kandisnky has long been one of my favorite artists, so this was fun to watch.

The Inner Object: Seeing Kandinsky

Today is the birthday of the Russian abstract painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky. He was born in Moscow on December 16, 1866 (December 4 on the Julian calendar), and raised in Odessa, where he took an early interest in music. As a young man he studied economics and law, but in 1895 his life was forever changed when he attended a Moscow exhibition of paintings by the French Impressionists. Kandinsky was deeply struck by one of Monet’s paintings from the series Haystacks at Giverny. He later recalled his epiphany:

That it was a haystack the catalogue informed me. I could not recognize it. This non-recognition was painful to me. I considered that the painter had no right to paint indistinctly. I dully felt that the object of the painting was missing. And I noticed with surprise and confusion that the picture not only gripped me, but impressed itself ineradicably on my memory. Painting took on a fairy-tale power and splendor.

Kandinsky quit his job as a law professor and dedicated himself to painting. He emigrated, first to France and then to Germany, where he moved further and further away from figurative painting. He was among the first to create works that were completely abstract, or non-objective. In his 1910 treatise, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky declares that the elements within a painting should not correspond to any outer object, but only to the artist’s “inner need.”

In observance of the artist’s 145th birthday, we present two videos with different perspectives on his work. Above, actress Helen Mirren talks with the Museum of Modern Art about what Kandinsky, and art, mean to her. Below, a trio of scholars–Beth Harris, Juliana Kreinik and Steven Zucker–discuss Kandinsky’s 1913 masterpiece, “Composition VII,” for the Khan Academy’s Smarthistory series. “Composition VII” was painted by Kandinsky in Munich over a period of four days–but only after he had made more than 30 preparatory sketches, watercolors and oil studies.

Kandinsky, Composition VII, 1913 from Smarthistory Videos on Vimeo.

Related Content
MoMA Puts Pollock, Rothko & de Kooning on Your iPad
Jackson Pollock: Lights, Camera, Paint! (1951)
John Berger’s Ways of Seeing: The TV Series

Buddha in Suburbia - Lelung Rinpoche's Journey to Tibet

Very enlightening, so to speak - this originally aired on BBC2 in England. It's sad to think of how many of the Tibetan masters' teachings have been lost with the Chinese destruction of the monasteries.

Buddha in Suburbia

Buddha in SuburbiaBuddha in Suburbia tracks the extraordinary journey of 40 year old Lelung Rinpoche, one of Tibetan Buddhism’s three principal reincarnations, as he sets out to gather the lost teachings of his faith and to attempt a return to his homeland.

For the past seven years, Lelung Rinpoche has been living in Ruislip North London, in the garden shed of one of his students. He runs a dharma or teaching center locally, attended by British followers. Now a British passport holder, he embarks on a mission to find previous Lelungs’ teachings, and the teachers who hold the key to unlocking their secrets.

His odyssey takes him to India, Mongolia and China as he tries to find a way of getting back home to Tibet. He meets some of Tibetan Buddhism’s most senior teachers, including the Tibetan Prime Minister in exile.

Lelung is a young, modern lama, with relationships with many across the globe from teenagers in Rusilip to the Dalai Lama. The film includes an interview with Tibetan Buddhist expert Professor Robert Thurman, father of Uma Thurman. Lelung Rinpoche has a daunting task to complete on his quest to recover lost teachings before they disappear, and to try to take the right steps on his own path towards enlightenment.
 Watch the full documentary now

Mind and Life XXIII - Session 5 - A Role for Theology: Models of God, the World, and the Self

Segment 5 of the Mind and Life Conference XXIII ("Ecology, Ethics and Interdependence") - A Role for Theology: Models of God, the World, and the Self - hosted by the Dalai Lama at his office in Dharamsala, India, from October 17-21, 2011.