Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PLACES: The New Nomads

Every Friday afternoon at 4:30, a tall, greying Wall Street executive Bruce Robe stuffs a mass of papers into his black leather briefcase, takes his coat off the rack out-side his office, and departs. The routine has been the same for more than three years. First, he rides the elevator twenty-nine floors down to street level. Next he strides for ten minutes through crowded streets to the Wall Street Heliport. There he boards a Helicopter which deposits him, eight minutes later, at John F. Kennedy Airport. Transferring to a Trans-World Airlines jet, he settles down for supper, as the giant aircraft swings over the Atlantic, then banks and heads west. One hour and ten minutes later, barring delay, he steps briskly out of the terminal building at the airport in Columbus, Ohio, and enters a waiting automobile. In thirty more minutes he reaches destination: he is home. Four nights a week Robe lives in a hotel in Manhattan. The other three he spends with his wife and children in Columbus 500 miles away. Claiming the best of two worlds, a job in the frenetic financial centre of America and a family life in the comparatively tranquil Midwest countryside, he shuttles back and forth some 50,000 miles a year. The Robe case is unusual - but not that unusual. In California, ranch owners fly as much as 120 miles every morning from their homes on the Pacific Coast or in the San Bernardino Valley to visit their ranches in the Imperial Valley, and then fly back home again at night. One Pennsylvania teenager, son of a peripatetic engineer, jets regularly to an orthodonotist in Frankfurt, Germany. A University of Chicago philosopher, Dr Richard McKeon, commuted 1,000 miles each way once for the entire semister in order to teach a series of classes at the New School for Social Research in New York. A young San Fransciscoan and his girlfried in Honolulu see each other every weekend, taking turns at crossing 2,000 miles of Pacific Ocean. And at least one New England matron reqularaly swoops down on New York to visit her hairdresser. Never in history has distance meant less. Never have man's relationships with place been more numerous, fragile and temporary. Throughout the advanced technological societies, and particularly among those I have characterized as 'the people of the future', commuting, travelling, and regularly relocating one's family and become second nature. Figuratively, we 'use up' places and dispose them in much the same way that we dispose of Kleenex or beer cans. We are witnessing a historic decline in the significance of place to human life. We are breeding a new race of nomads, and few suspect quite how massive, widespread and significiant their migrations are.


Avoiding to a fixed form and functions, we build for short-term use or, alternatively, attempt the product to make itself adaptable. We 'play it cool' technology. There are other responses besides disposability that also leads to the same psychological effect. For example, we are now witnessing the wholesale creation of objects designed to serve a series of short-term purposes instead of one single one. These are not throw-away items. They are usually too big and expensive to discard. But they are so constructed that they may be dismantled, if necessary, relocated after each use. Thus the board of education of Los Angeles has decided that fully 25 per cent of that city's classrooms will, in the future, be temporary structures that can be moved around as needed. Every major United States school district today uses some temporary classrooms. More are on the way. Indeed, temproary classrooms are to the school construction industry what paper dresses are to the clothing industry - a foretaste of the future. The purpose of temporary classrooms is to help school systems cope rapidly with shifting population densities. But temproary classrooms, like disposable clothes, imply man-thing relationships of shorter duration than in the past. Thus the temporary classroom teaches something even in the absence of the teacher. Like the Barbie doll, it provides the child with a vivid lesson in the impermanence of her surroundings. No sooner does the child internalize a thorough knowledge of the classroom - the way it fits into the surrounding architechture, the way the desks feel on a hot day, the way sound reverberates in it, all the sbutle smells and textures that individualize any structure and lend it reality - than the structure itself may be physically removed from her environment to serve other children in another place. Nor are mobile classrooms a purely American phenemenon. In England, architect Cedric Price has designed what he calls a 'thinkbelt' - an entirely mobile university intnded to serve 20,000 students in North Staffordshire. 'It will,' he says, 'rely on temperory buildings rather than permanent ones.' It will make 'great use of mobile and variable physical enclosures' - classrooms, for example, built inside railway carriages so that they may be shunted anywhere along the four-mile campus. Geodesic domes to house expositions, air-inflated plastic bubbles for use as command posts or construction head-quarters, a whole array of pick-up-and-move temporary structures are flowing from drawing boards of engineers and architechts. In New York City, the Department of Parks has decided to build twelve 'portable playgrounds' - small, temporary playgrounds to be installed on vacant city lots until other uses are found for that land, at which time the playgrounds can be dismounted and moved elsewhere. There was a time when a playground was a reasonable permenant fixture in a neighbourhood, when one's children and even, perhaps, one's children's children might, each in their turn, experience it in roughly the same way. Super-industrial playgrounds however, refuse to stay put. They are temporary by design.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

TRANSIENCE THINGS: The Throw-Away Society

We can, by analogy, think of transience as the rate of the turnover of the different kinds of relationships in an individual's life. Moreover, each of us can be characterized in an individual's life. Moreover, each of us can be characterized in terms of this rate. For some, life is marked by a much slower rate of turnover than for others. The people of past and present lead lives of relatively 'low transience' - their relationships tend to be long-lasting. But the people of the future live in a condition of 'high transience' - a condition in which the duration of relationships is cut short, the through-put of relationships extremely rapid. In their lives, things, places, people, ideas and organizational structures all get 'used up' more quickly. This affects immensely the way they experience reality, their sense of commitment, and their stability - or inability - to cope. It is this fast through-put, combined with increasing newness and complexity in the environment, that strains the capacity to adapt and creates the danger. If we can show that our relationships with the outer world are, in fact, growing more and more transient, we have powerful evidence for the assumption that the flow of situations is speeding up. And we have an incisive new way of looking at ourselves and others. ' BARBIE ', a twelve-inch plastic teenager, is the best-known and best-selling doll in history. Since its introduction in 1959, the Barbie doll population of the world has grown to 12,000,000 - more than the human population of Los Angeles or London or Paris. Little girls adore Barbie because she is highly realistic and eminently dress-upable. Mattle, Inc, makers of Barbie, also sells a complete wardrobe for her, including clothes for ordinary daytime wear, clothes for formal party wear, clothes for swimming and skiing. Recently Mattle announced a new improved Barbie doll. The new version has similar figure, 'real' eyelashes, and a twist-and-turn waist that makes her more humanoid than ever. Moreover, Mattel announced that, for the first time, any young lady wishing to purchase a new Barbie would receive a trade-in allowance for her old one. What Mattel did not announce was that by trading in her old doll for a technologically improved model, the little girl of today, citizen of tomorrow's super-industrial world, would learn a fundamental lesson about the new society: that man's relationships with things are increasingly temporary. The ocean of man-made physical pbjects that surrounds us is set within a larger ocean of natural objects. But increasingly, it is the technologically produced environment that matterts for the individual. The texture of plastic or concrete the iridescent glisten of an automobile undera streetllight, the staggering vision of cityscape seen from the window of a jet - these are the intimate realities of his existence. Man-made things enter into and colour his consciousness. Their number is expanding with explosive force, both absolutely and relative to the natural environment. This will be even more true in super-industrial society than it is today. Anti-materialists tend to deride the importance of 'things'. Yet thigs are highly significant, not merely because of their functional utility, but also because of their psychological impact. We develop relationships with things. They pay a role in the structure of situations and the foreshortening of our relationsips with things accelerates the pace of life. Moreover, our attitudes towards things reflect basic value judgements. Nothing could be more dramatic than the difference between the new breed of little girls who cheerfully turn their Barbies for the new improved model and those who, like their mothers and grandmothers before them, clutch lingeringly and lovingly to the same old doll until it disintegrates from sheer age. In this fifference lies the contrast between past and future, between societies based on permanence, and the new, fast-forming society based on transience.


His Picture Was, until recently, everywhere: on television, on posters that stared out at one in airport and railway stations, of leaflets, matchbooks, and magazines. He was an inspired creation of Madison Avenue - a fictional character with whom millions could subconsciously identify. Young and clean-cut, he carried an attache-case, glanced at his wrist watch, and looked like an ordinary business man scurrying to his next appointment. He had, however, an protuberance on his back. For sticking out from between his shoulder blades was a great, butterfly-shaped key of the type used to wind up mechanical toys. The text that accompanied his picture urged keyed-up executives to 'unwind' - to slow down - at the Sheraton Hotels. This wound-up man-on-the-go was, and still is, a potent symbol of the people of the future, millions of whom feel just as driven and hurried as if they, too, has a huge key in the back. The average individual knows little and cares less about the cycle of technological innovation or the relationship between knowledge-acquisition and the rate of change. He is, on the other hand, keenly aware of the pace of his own life - whatever that pace may be. The pace of life is frequently commented on by ordinary people. Yet, oddly enough, it has received no attention from either psychologists or sociologists. This is agaping adequacy in the behavioural sciences, for the pace of life fondly influences behaviour, evoking strong and contrasting reactions from different people. It is, in fact, not too much to say that the pace of life draws a line through humanity, dividing us into camps, triggering bitter understanding between parent and child, between Madison Avenue and Main Street, between men and women, between American and European, between East and West. America, as the spearhead of super-industrialism, represents a new, quicker, and very much unwanted tempo. While anti-Americans orators single out computers or Coca-Cola for their barbs, their real objection may well be to the invasion of Europe by an alien time sense. This explains the pathological antagonism towards what many regard as the 'Americanization' of Europe. Precisely this issue is symbolized by the angry outcry that has greeted the recent introduction of American-style drug-stores in Paris. To many Frenchmen, their existence is infuriating evidence of a sinister 'cultural imperialism' on the part of the United States. It is hard for Americans to understand so passionate a response to a perfectly innocent soda fountain. What explains it is the fact that at Le Drugstore the thirsty Frenchmen gulps a hasty milkshake instead of lingering for an hour or two over an aperitif at an outdoor bistro. It is worth noticing that, as the new technology has spread in recent years, some 30,000 bistros have padlocked their doors for good, victims, in the words of Time magazine, of a 'short-order culture'. (Indeed, it well be that the widespread European dislike for Time, itself, is not entirely political, but stems unconsciously from the connotation of its title. Time, with its brevity and breathless cycle, exports more than American Way of Life. It embodies and exports the American Pace of Life.)


How do we 'know' that change is accelerating?
There is after all, no absolute way to measure change. In the awesome complexity of the universe, even within every given society, a virtually infinite number of streams of changes occur simultaneously. All 'things' - from the tiniest virus to the greatest galaxy - are, in reality, not things at all, but processes. There is no static point, no nirvana-like un-change, against which to measure change. Change, is therefore, necessarily relative. It is also uneven. If all processes occurred at the same speed, or even if they accelerated or decelerated in unison, it would be impossible to observe change. The future, however, invades the present at differing speeds. Thus it becomes impossible to compare the speed of different processes as they unfold. We know, for example, that compared with the bio-logical evolution of the species, cultural and social and evolution is extremely rapid. We know that some societies transform themselves technologically or economically more rapidly than others. We also know that different sectors within the same society exhibit different rates of change. It is precisely the unevenness of change that makes it possible to measure. We need, however, a yardstick that makes it possible to compare highly diverse processes, and this yardstick is time. Without time, change has no meaning. And without change, time would stop. Time can be conceived as the intervals during which events occur. Just as money permits us to place a value on both apples and oranges, time permits us to compare unlike processes. When we say that it takes years to build a dam, we are really saying it takes three times as long as it takes the earth to circle the sun or 31,000,000 times as long as it takes to sharpen a pencil. Time is the currency of exchange that makes it possible to compare the rates at which very different processes play themselves. Given the unevenness of change and this yardstick, we still face exhausting difficulties in measuring change. When we speak of the rate of change, we refer to the number of events crowded into an arbitrarily fixed interval of time. Thus we need to define the 'events'. We need to select our intervals with precision. We need to be careful about the conclusions we draw from the differences we observe. Moreover, in the measurement of change, we are today far more advanced with the respect to physical processes than social processes. We know far better, for example, how to measure the rate at which blood flows through the body than the rate at which a rumour flows through society. Even with all these qualifications, however, there is a widespread agreement, reaching from historians and archaeologists all across the spectrum to scientists, sociologists, economists and psychologists, that, many social processes are speeding up - strikingly, even spectacularly.


Early in March 1967, in eastern Canada, an eleven-year-old child died of old age.

Ricky Gallant was only eleven years olf chronologically, but he suffered from an odd disease called progeria - advanced ageing - and he exhibited many characteristics of a ninety-year-old person. The symptoms of progeria are senility, hardend arteries, baldness, slack and wrinkled. In effect, Ricky was an old man when he died, a long lifetime of biological change having been packed into his eleven short years.

Cases of progeria are extremely rare. Yet in a metaphorical sense the high technology societies all suffer from this ailment. They are not growing old or senile. But the are expieriencing super-normal rates of change.

Many of us have a vague 'feeling' that things are moving faster. Doctors and executives alike complain that they cannot keep up with the latest developments in their feilds. Hardly a meeting or a conference takes place today without some ritualistic oratory about 'the challenge of change'. Among many there is an uneasy mood - a suspicion that change is out of control.

Not everyone, however, shares this anxiety. Millions of people walk their way through their lives as if nothing has changed since the 1930s, and as if nothing will ever will. Living in what is one of the most exciting times of human history, they attempt to withdraw fro it, to block it out, as if it were possible to make it go away by ignoring it. They seek a 'separate peace', a diplomatic humanity from change.

One sees everywhere: old people, resigned to living out their years, attempting to avoid, at any cost, the intrusions of the new. Already - old people of thirty-five and forty-five, nervous about student riots, sex, LSD, or miniskirts, feverishly attempting to persuade themselves that, after all, youth was always rebellious, and what is happening today is no different from the past. Even among the young we find an incomprehension of change: students so ignorat of the past that they see nothing unusual about the present.

The disturbing fact is that the vast majority of people, including educated and otherwise sophisticated people, find the idea of change so thereatening that they deny its existence. Even many people understand intellectually that change is accelerating, have not internalized that knowledge, do not thake this critical social fact into account in planning their own personal lives.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


A conscientious effort has been made during writing, some of the facts presented are no doubt obsolete. (This, of course, is truly in many books, although authors don't like to talk about it.) The obsolescence, of data has significance here, however, serving as it does to verify the book's own thesis about the rapidity of change. Writers have a hard time to keep up with reality. We have yet not learned to conceive, research, write and publish in 'real time'. Readers, therefore, must concern themselves more and more with general theme, rather than detail. Another reservation has to do with the verb "Will". No serious futurists deals in 'predictions'. These are left for television oracles and newspaper astrologers. No one even faintly familiar with the complexities of forecasting lays claim to absolute knowledge of tomorrow. In those deliciously ironic words purported to be a Chinese proverb: 'To prophesy is extremely difficult - especially with the respect to future'. This means every statement about the future ought, by rights, be accompanied by a "String" of qualifiers - ifs, ands, buts, and on the other hands. Yet to enter every appropriate qualification in an book would be to bury the reader under the avalanche of maybes. Rather than to do this, I have taken the liberty of speaking firmly, without hesitation, trusting the intelligent reader will understand the stylistic problem. The word "Will" should always be read as though it were preceded by 'probably' or 'in my opinion'. Similarly, all dates applied to future events need to be taken with a "Grain" of judgement. The inability to speak with precision and certainity about the future, however, is no excuse for silence. Where 'hard data' are available, of course, they ought to be taken into account. But where they are lacking, the responsible writer - even the "Scientist" - has both a right and an obligation to rely on other kinds of evidence, including impressionistic or ancedotal data and the opinion of well-informed people. "I have done so throughtout and offer no apology for it." In dealing with the future, at least for the purposes at hand, it is more important to be imaginative than to be 100 per cent 'right'. Even error has its uses. The maps drawn of the world drawn by the medieval cartographers were so hopelessly inaccurate, so filled with factual error, that "they slicit condescending smiles today" when almost the entire surface of the earth has been charted. Yet the great explorers could have never have discovered the New World without them. Nor could the better, more accurate maps of today have been drawn until men, working with the limited evidence available to them, set down on paper "their bold conceptions of worlds they had never seen." We who explore the future are like those map-makers, and it is in this spirit that this concept and the "world theory" of the adaptive range are presented here - not as a final word, but as a first approximation of the new realities, filled with danger and promise, created by the accelerative thrust.

Monday, March 23, 2009


"The Unprepared Visitor" has already began to creep into popular vocabulary. Culture shock is the effect that immersion in a strange culture has on the unprepared visitor. Peace Corps volunteers suffer from it in Borneo or Brazil. Culture shock is what happens when a traveller suddenly finds himself in a place where yes may mean no, where a 'fixed price' is negotiable, where to be kept waiting in an outer office is no cause for insult, where laughter may signify anger. It is what happens when the familiar psychological cues that help an individual to function in society are suddenly withdrawn and replaced by new ones that are strange or incomprehensible.

This phenomenon accounts for much of the bewilderment, frustration, and disorientation that plagues Americans in their dealings with other societies. It causes a breakdown in communication, a misreading of reality, an inability to cope. Yet, this is relatively mild in comparison with the much more serious "malady." It is a time phenomenon, a product of greatly accelerated rate of change in society. It arises from the superimposition of a new culture on a old one. It is culture shock in one's society. But its impact is far worse. For most of the Peace Crops men, in fact most travellers, have the comforting knowledge that the culture they left behind will be there to return to. THE VICTIM OF FUTURE SHOCK DOES NOT.

Take an individual out of his own culture and set him down suddenly in an environment sharply different from his own, with a different set of cues to react to - different conceptions of time, space, work, love, religion, sex, and everything else - then cut him off from any hope to retrest to a more famaliar social landscape, and the dislocation he suffers is doubly severe. Moreover, if this new culture is itself in constant turmoil, and if - worse yet - its values are incessantly changing, the sense of disorientation will be still further intensified. Given few clues as to what kind of behaviour is rational under the radically new circumstances, the victim may well become a hazard to himself and others.

Now imagine not merely an individual but an entire society, an entire generation - including its weakest, least intelligent, and most irrational members - suddenly transported into this new world. The result is mass disorientation. This is the prospect that man now faces. Change is avalanching upon our heads and most people are grotesquely unprepared to cope with it.

This will not be found in "Index Medicus" or in any listing of psychological abnormalities. Yet, unless intelligent steps are taken to combat it, millions of human beings will find themselves increasingly disoriented, progressively incompetent to deal rationally with their environments. The malaise, mass neurosis, irrationality, and free-floating violence aparent in contemporary life are merely a foretaste of what may lie ahead unless we come to understand and treat this disease.


Our Psychologists and Politicians alike are puzzled by the seemingly irrational resistance to change exhibited to certain individuals and groups. The corporation head who wants to re-organize a department, the educator who wants to introduce a new teaching method, the mayor who wants to achieve peaceful integration of the races in the city - all, at one time or another, face this blind resistance. Yet we little know about its sources. By the same token, why do some men hunger, even rage for change, doing all in their power to create it, while others flee from it?

I not only found no ready answers to such questions, but discovered that we lack an adequate theory of adaptation, without which it is extremely unlikely that we will ever find the answers.

It also calls attention to an important, though often over-looked, distinction. Almost invariably, research into the effects of change concentrate on the destinations towards which the journey carries us, rather than the speed of the journey. To try to show that the rate of change has implications quite apart from, and sometimes more important than, the directions of change. No attempt to understand adaptivity can succeed until this fact is grasped. Any attempt to define the 'content' of change must include the consequences of pace itself as part of that content.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trip on Diversity,

This is the point that most of our social critics - most of whom are technologically naive - fail to understand: it is only primitive technology that imposes standardization. Automation, in contrast, frees the path to endless, blinding, mind-numbing diversity.

'The rigid uniformity and long runs of identical products which characterize our traditional mass-production plants are becoming less important, Numerically controlled machines can readily shift from one product model or size to another by a simple change of programmes ... Short product runs becomes economically feasible.' Automated equipment ... permits the production of a wide variety of products in short runs at almost "mass-production" costs. Many "engineers and business experts" foresee the day when diversity will cost no more than uniformity.

Customers wanted custom - like cars that would give them an illusion of having 'one-of-a-kind.' To provide that illusion would have been impossible with the old technology; and new computerized assembly systems, however, make possible not merely the illusion, but even - before long - the reality.

Thus the beautiful and spectacularly successful "Mustang" is promoted by "Ford" as 'the one you design yourself", because there isn't a dung - regular "Mustang" anymore, just a stockpile of options. This does not even take into account the possible variations in color, upholstery and additional equipment.

And, anyone who has attempted to buy a car lately, as I have, soon finds out that the task of learning about various brands, lines, models and options (even within a fixed price range) requires daze of shopping !!!! The material goods of the future will be may things; but they will not be standardized. We are, in fact, racing towards 'over-choice' - the point at which the advantages of diversity and individualization are cancelled by the complexity of the "buyer's decision-making process."

Free Will of Love .................

Free will is the ego part of ourselves. No one will ever take that away from us, for this is part of Creation. So use your Ego positively to create a love-filled world. Start truly manifesting this world with so much love that nothing else can live in it, we will not allow anything that isn't Love. Think of your life, think of the love you have right now. Even in the situations you may not see loving, remember that love is all there is. Think of the place where you live. See the love in all of creation. Now expand the vision completely outward to all areas of universe and see Love in "everything". We were born with this power. Love is the creator, and will create anything we desire. The answer lives within us, for we are Love.

Often we experience emotions we think are Love. We "WILL" see that it's not truly love, it's a fragment of Love that has been "Watered Down". Allow the truth of who we are, "The God" that has been individualized in each of us, and allow it to bring forth that true self to the world, that Unconditional Love and live the life you were meant to have.

At Last: If there is anyone in your life that you have fought with, judged, said or done that wasn't in Love, then take a moment and send forgiveness (you can send it even without ever saying it, just say it to yourself) out to them. Forgive to be free of the "pain and fear" that was part of this relationship with ourselves.

Hugs of Love.

If you're angry a loved one, hug that person and mean it. You may not want to hug - which is all the more reason to do so. It's hard to stay angry when someone shows you they love you, and that's what precisely happens when we hug each other.

When you awaken to the creative principle, you discover that the whole point of being here is to participate fully, radically, consciously in the evolutionary process. So in what I call evolutionary enlightenment, the goal is not merely to transcend the world so that you can be free of it, but to embrace the world completely, to embrace the entire process as yourself, knowing that you are the creative principle incarnate, and you have a lot of work to do.
That is why, when you relinquish the ego and say yes to the powerful impulse to evolve, you find that you are in touch with a source of strength and conviction that is boundless. As a individual, you are instantaneously liberated, simply through taking that step, but that liberation is merely a byproduct of finally embracing the awe-inspiring burden of the evolutionary process itself.

Infinite Consciousness

The universe is teeming with life. Even what people think as 'barren' planets are manifestations of consciousness, and therefore are not really 'dead'. Consciousness is at the heart of every atom, ever seeking to express itself outwardly. All life gradually evolves towards outward expression. Spiritual 'science' discovered long ago that, at the heart of everything, dwells infinite consciousness.

I saw Eternity the other night,/ Like a ring of pure and endless light,/ All calm, as it was bright;/ And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years./ Driven by the spheres,/ Like a vast shadow moved; in which world/ And all her train were hurled.

The silent witness of waking state, dreaming state, deep-sleep state, thy innermost Self. Immortal Atman or the Inner Ruler. Identify yourself with that "thy innermost Self", transcend all the states and be ever happy and blissful.

' A man of consciousness responds, and his responses are spontaneous. He is mirror-like: he reflects whatsoever confronts him. And out of this spontaneity, out of this consciousness, a new kind of action is born. That action never creates any bondage, any karma. That action frees you '

Speak In One Tongue

Language rarely heard have always got the better of me. I always had this burning desire to speak them, particularly when my travel stints exposed me to the strangest of tongues. Language CD's didn't help me a lot. The thing about languages is that though you may be gifted with the art of penmanship, spoken word skills are mostly inherited or acquired after birth. I have always packed my dog-eared phrasebook :-) along with my tooth-brush and shaving cream for my travels. These haven't helped me much either, often eliciting that controlled giggle or even outright laughter at my stuttered attempts.

Printed words won't tell you that Thai is a tonal language with grammatical mine-fields or Mandarin and Cantonese have a lilt to them flowing like Indian ink applied with a Chinese brush.

These city councils argue that they needed to create a language devoid of such linguistic minefields. However, there could be far-reaching consequences in the professional community. Just like abstruse scientific papers and brain-twisting mathematical theorems, legal documents are made to sound so pompous with Latin words sprinkled generously all over those reams of printed matter. With Latin slowly oozing out of our English dictionary out lawyers will be hard-pressed to retain their mystifying "Status Quo"

Or should we now say 'current situation"?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde

By Natalie Angier with Janet Witzleben

Laura gave herself a haircut, and it looks terrible - choppy and uneven, with frizzy tufts sticking out. She does that every now and then, takes a pair of scissors and slashes at her hair. "When I feel ugly, I get angry, she says. "So I cut my hair, thinking, "There, you see? Now you look as ugly as you feel.' "

She shifts in her chair and massages her legs, which throb with pain, as does her back,. "I am going to ovulate today; I know it. And then there is two weeks of hell to live through until my period comes. I feel like I could kill somebody." She slams her fist on the table, then looks ashamed. Such outbursts are all too common in her life. A couple of months ago her husband left her, angered by her rages; shortly before that, she slapped her youngest child for no reason. Remembering the incident, she begins to weep. "I try so hard to be a good mother. But when I feel this way, it is as if there's a monster inside me that I cannot control."

Laura, a 34-year -old air hostess, has been battling her demons - her pains, her madness, her wild swings of mood - for more than 15 years. Because the problems seemed to ebb and flow with the tide of her menstrual cycle, she had long suspected a biological link, but doctors insisted it was "all in her head." In frantic attempts to get it our of her head, she drank too much and went into psychotherapy. Then Laura discovered she had been right all along - her pains were not in her symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, a disorder related to menstrual cycle.

Who suffers? Severe cases of PMS (like Laura's) are confined to less than 10 percent of women, and few of those will ever be driven to criminal violence. But mild PMS is quite common: researchers estimate it affects as many as 40 to 60 per cent of all woman to some degree.

The intensity of the symptoms varies from woman to woman, and sometimes from month to month. Someone with mild PMS may feel irritable and fat a few days before her period; "Laura Teeters" on the brink of hysteria for 14 out of 28 days. All PMS sufferers spend last seven days without any symptoms - the glorious time that one victim describes as her Dr Jekyll Phase.

Most experts think PMS is caused by a hormonal or hormonally related imbalance, a mis-step in the complex nimute of progester-one, estrogen and other chemicals that regulate menstruation. At the beginning of each cycle, the pituitary gland sends a signal to the ovary, and an unripe egg begins to develop in a tiny protective cluster of cells. At the next pituitary prod, those cells manufacture es-trogen, which among other things helps build up the lining of the womb. When the egg is large enough, the cell cluster bursts and the egg slips down one of the Fallopain tube,
where fertilisation can take place, and then on to the uterus.

Meanwhile, the ovarian cells have been producing progesterone, the hormone that turns the lining of the womb into a spongy bed ready to accept a fertilised egg. If fertilisation does not occur within a day or two after ovulation, the egg dies and passes from the womb. Two weeks later the unused uterine lining is shed as men-sturation.

Weighing the Risks: Progesterone therapy does have its draw-backs, however. Because natural progesterone - advocated by most researchers - is metabolized in the liver, it cannot be administered by mouth, and must be either injected or used in suppository form. And it must be taken frequently, throughout the PMS period.

Although the drug has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in treating PMS, a few clinics have been given permission to use small doses (200 milligrams a day) for research purposes. This may not be enough for some women. But doctors prescribe larger doses as long as they tell their patients that the drug has not been approved.

Although Dr Dalton sometimes prescribes very high doses - up to, 1,600 milligrams a day - she has never observed any side effects. But Dr Golub, president of the Society for Mentrual Cycle Research, warns, "Progesterone has risks - you are fooling around with the body's hormones, and women have to weigh the dangers."
Dr Harrison agrees: "I warn women that some animal studies of progesterone have shown mammary tumors." Harrison emphasizes that PMS symptoms can be mitigated by diet changes - cutting out sugar and caffeine, cutting down salt and fats - and by reducing stress. Adds Dr Golub "We don't have scientific evidence yet that progesterone is the answer." US Lawyer Laura Dulski, agrees that PMS pleas will be rare. But, Benson maintains, "you cannot deny that some women suffer from the disorder because you are afraid all women will suffer discrimination."

Though PMS is as old as the human race, "until very re-cently it was ignored or trivialised as a silly female problem," says Dr Harrison, ans American gynaecologist, who specialises in the disorder. But two unusual legal decisions have forced the medical profession to look anew at PMS!!!!

Thus levels of estrogen, progesterone and other hormones rise and fall dramatically through the month, but the precise disrup-tion that leads to PMS still eludes The Scientists. Among the theories: too little progesterone; too much estrogen in relation to progester-one; too much Prolactin, an important pituitary hormone.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Cosmos Is a Dance of Opposites

There is such an abundance of bliss in the heart of existence that it is flowing, overflowing.

Man alone cannot flow; he needs the presence of a woman. Without the woman man is inhibited and closed. In the same way, without man the woman is inhibited and closed. Their togetherness causes their energies to spring into the form of love. What we know as love between man and woman is nothing but the flowing yin and yang together. And this love, if it is not personalized, can have a great spiritual significance.

The attraction of man and woman for each other is what brings them together so that their latent energies flow into the stream of love and life. That is why a man feels relaxed with a woman and a woman feels at ease with a man. Separated and alone they feel tense and anxious; coming together they feel as light as feathers, weightless. Why? Because something in them, some sbutle energy has become alive and moving, and as a result they feel at home and happy. While dancing, they forget their family relationships and mix with each other as A Man and A Woman, and dance madly, as if all of life is meant for dancing and celebrating. They go to sleep only when they are utterly tired, and so they enter into a sleep so deep..........

Try to be An Animal.

Dependence, rejection, the possibility of rejection... and still deeper. In sex, we become just like animals. That hurts the human ego very much, because then there is no difference between a dog making love and we making love. What is the difference? Suddenly we become like animals, and all the preachers, moralists, they go on saying to man: Don't be an animal! Don't be like animals! This is the greatest condemnation possible. In no other thing we are so animal-like as in sex, because in no other thing we are natural - in everything else we can be unnnatural. We are eating food.

" We have created so much sophistication about eating that we are not like animals. The basic thing is like the animal, but our tables, our table manners, the whole culture, the etiquette we have created around food is just to make it distinct from animals. Animals like to eat alone. So, every society creates in the mind of every individual that to eat alone is not good. Share, eat with the family, eat with friends, invite guests. No animal is interested in guests, in friends, in family.

Whenever an animal is eating he wants nobody to come near; he goes into loneliness.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Is Zen against politics?

Zen is so much against politics that it never talks about it. It is so much against politics that it cannot even be against it. If you are against it, it will effect you. Then in someway you will remain related to it. To be against it is to be related. When you are very much against, you are very, very related. It is a way of relationship - you are related to your enemy too, sometimes even more than you are related to your friend. Zen is so much against politics that he does not say anything about it, but it is against it. Any religion, any religion worth calling a religion, is bound to be against politics because the very phenomenon of religion is non-political.

What is politics? Politics is ambition, politics is ego, politics is aggression, politics is violence, politics is an ego-trip. How can a religious person be political? He can pretend that he is religious but he cannot be religious. And how can a political person be religious? He can pretend that he is religious but he cannot be religious. These two things cannot go together because to be religious one has to drop ambition. And if you drop ambition politics disappears. To be religious one has to drop ego, and when you drop the ego, politics is dropped. A religious person has to be without any ego what-so-ever.

Let me explain of to you. There are five hundred people here. You cannot be changed as a collective unit, there is no way. You cannot be made divine as a collective unit, there is no way. Your souls are individual, your consciousnesses are individual.

But if out of these five hundred people, three hundred people become transformed, then the whole collective will have a new quality. But these three hundred people will go through individual changes, through individual mutations. Then the collective will have a higher consciousness because these three hundred people are pouring their consciousness into the collective, they are there. When one man becomes a Buddha, the whole existence becomes a little more awakened - just by his presence. Even if he is a drop in the ocean then too the ocean, at least as far as one drop is concerned, is more alert, more aware. When that drop disappears into the ocean it raises the quality of the ocean. Each individual being transformed changes the society. When many, many individuals are changed, the society changes. That is the only way to change it, not the other way round. You cannot change the society. If you want to change the society directly your effort is political. Ichazo must be getting politics. It happens. When you start becoming powerful religiously, when you start leading many people, when you become a leader, then great ideas start happening in the mind. Then the mind says that now the whole humanity can be changed, now we should plan for a great change of the whole humanity. The greed grows, ambition grows, ego expects. This has always happened and will always happen. Beware of it.

Never become a victim of the idea of collective, the collective is lower than you. You have to become universal. The universal is not social, the universal is existential. You have to fall in tune with the whole existance, you have to get hooked with the dance of the universe - not with the social, not with small communities or sects, not with the East, not with the West, not with this century. You have to get hooked to the whole of it, the whole existance.

Trust needs no fear, love needs no fear. But it is not love, it is not trust, it is just fear - a fear is being created. If you go somewhere else you will be expelled. And people are very afraid of things like expulsion. Is this a communist party or what? Expulsion? People are very much afraid of expulsion because they want to belong to some group because they don't have any soul of their own. In the group they feel good, they belong to a certain community - the chosen few, the elite, the heralds of a new world which is going to come, the leaders of the new world, the superman, the first race of the super-men. They feel very good.

So when you go to a Master you again want somebody to depend on. But a real master will not help you to depend on him, a real Master will try to make you independent. His whole effort will be that you should become your own being. That's what Zen people do.

A real master wants a disciple to become a Master in his own right. But ordinarily you don't want that independence yourself, you want somebody to cling to. You are a clinger. You want somebody to be very authoritative, somebody to sit on a high throne and say to you, "You don't worry, I will take care. You simply come and follow me." But is somebody is like that this is a sure sign - this authoritativeness, this taking other people's responsibility - this is a sure sign that the man himself wants people to depend on him. He is dependent on his dependents. He enjoys it. He loves the idea that so many people are dependent on him. Hi himself is dependent, remember; he is not different from you. It is the same trip from the other end. He gains all his self-confidence when he looks into your eyes and sees that you are looking towards him and you feel that he is right, he is true, he is the Master. When he sees the look in your eyes, when he sees that reflection in your eyes he feels confident. Yes. It is so. This is a mutual deception. My approach (the approach) is absolutely non-political, hence it is absolutely individual. And this is the religious approach as such. Religion will remain individual, it will never become a collective phenomenon, it cannot. Politics will always become collective, it will never become individual.

Politics is collective, religion is individual, spirituality is universal. Remember it.

Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1

The World Around Him.

The world around him is very happy

Atleast it seems that way

Yet why is he unhappy?

Is there a reason for him to be unhappy when the world around him is happy

To me it seems foolish for him or others to think so

How can one be sad when things around him are happy.

To him it seems that people want to make him happy like themselves

So 'his idea of happiness' is not digested by people around him

Because they think that he is not happy?

No it more seems because they want him to make 'them' happy.

So are they sad or unhappy?

They are not, because I already said that people around are all happy.