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Issue #1485 - Monday, July 7, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
Letter to the Highlights Editors:
Day after day I received these amazing collections of things
to read and feel and think about. And it's all free.
Thank you, writers, collectors and forwarders of wisdom. Your work means a lot to me.
from the audio lecture, I Say You Are Gods
We have completely forgotten who we are, and I am here to tell you that you are the Lord Jesus Christ. He is buried in you, and until the story of Christ repeats itself in you, he remains buried in you. That's the story. Now how do I know? I know from my own personal experience, that's how I know. I'm not theorizing. I am not speculating. When it happens in you, you can pick up a circle that will experience your unfolding.
Leopold spent his working life in government service and
academia. But his influence is based mostly on a series of
articles he wrote for magazines such as American Forests,
Journal of Forestry, and Journal of Wildlife Management.
These, published after his death as parts of A Sand County
Almanac, are Leopold's enduring legacy. With the precision of
a scientist and the sensitivity of a poet, he catalogues the
emotional strands that join us to the natural world.
Killing the Wolf
We saw what we thought was a doe fording the torrent, her breast awash in white water. When she climbed the bank toward us and shook out her tail, we realized our error: it was a wolf. A half-dozen others, evidently grown pups, sprang from the willows and all joined in a welcoming melee of wagging tails and playful maulings. What was literally a pile of wolves writhed and tumbled in the center of an open flat at the foot of our rimrock.
In those days we had never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf. In a second we were pumping lead into the pack, but with more excitement than accuracy; how to aim a steep downhill shot is always confusing. When our rifles were empty, the old wolf was down, and a pup was dragging a leg into impassable side-rocks.
We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire
dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since,
that there was something known only to her and to the mountain. I
was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because
fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters'
paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that
neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.
"Thinking Like a Mountain" in A Sand County Almanac
Lacrosse playing among the Sioux Indians. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3535761072&category=20128
Modern life demands our divided attention
By Carey Goldberg, Globe Staff, 7/8/2003
It goes, in essence: Research increasingly suggests that our brains were never designed for this rush-rush, multitasking, socially disconnected 21st-century American life.
And that incompatibility arguably leads to anxiety, depression, and all kinds of other ills, even attention deficit disorder, or ADD, and physical health problems.
Consider the discussion of ADD and multitasking in ''The New Brain,'' a soon-to-be-released book by neurologist Richard Restak. He argues that the demands of modern technology change the way our brains function and organize themselves, and ''this technologically driven change in the brain is the biggest modification in the last 200,000 years.''
Modern life so demands divided attention that it effectively induces ADD, he writes. Yet psychological research shows that multitasking isn't really so multiple: It involves constant shifting of attention from one task to another, and each shift takes time and energy.
Sensory overload, he said in an interview, ''explains a lot of things, such as the chronic fatigue people feel -- they feel enervated a lot. And sexual desire problems are part of this.''
Another example -- sleep. Experiments suggest that for millennia, humans slept about eight hours a night but also took naps and spent about four hours a day in quiet rest. Not exactly a typical schedule in 2003. ''Those kinds of things are not only wired into the brain but necessary for health, and we're deprived of them today,'' said Gregg D. Jacobs, an assistant professor at Harvard.
Jacobs, who has worked in mind-body medicine for 25 years, argues in his new book, ''The Ancestral Mind,'' that much of modern malaise stems from the disconnect between our Thinking Mind, the rational, language-based, more recently evolved part of the brain that dominates in modern life, and the Ancestral Mind, the older, more unconscious, preverbal mind.
In physical terms, that translates very roughly into the older areas located deeper within the brain and most associated with basic emotions like fear versus the newer areas closer to the skull, in the rind-like cortex.
Research on emotions over the last 10 years or so has suggested that the brain is designed to defer to its older, ancestral mind on matters of importance, Jacobs said.
For example, certain sights -- like a snake-like stick -- go directly to ancient fear centers and sound an alarm instead of slowing down for a rational examination of whether the stick is likely to be a snake.
Experiments also have shown that people can be emotionally affected by images flashed at them too quickly for conscious awareness, suggesting that we may often be ruled by unconscious emotions.
Jacobs does not devalue the accomplishments of our rational minds, but argues there may be good reason for old-mind emotion to rule: ''The Ancestral Mind and the wisdom it holds contain repeated patterns of human experience laid down in our genetic memories over millions of years.''
So, OK, but what are we supposed to do about it? Is there some mental equivalent to the caveman diet of mainly meat?
Jacobs proposes a series of remedies; among them, we should make sure we get at least some of the exposure to solitude, natural settings and physical activity that our ancestors did. We should learn relaxation techniques to counter the stress of modern living, and learn to quiet destructive thoughts and emotions.
Also, he said, as a society, ''we need to step back and say, `Gee, are we going down the right path, in emphasizing one kind of consciousness and intelligence, or is it possible we need to achieve a better balance of these two minds, emotional and rational intelligence?' ''
Restak suggested recognizing the limits of attention, by, for example, refraining from using a cellphone while driving.
''The other thing is, we've got to rediscover silence,'' he said, and not ''get taken up so much we become resonant with whatever rhythm happens to be around us.''
And then there's always William Wordsworth's way: He concluded that he'd rather be ''a Pagan suckled in a creed outworn.'' At least he'd have more fun.
Carey Goldberg is reachable at [email protected]
This story ran on page C3 of the Boston Globe
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
Q: Why _____ ?
A: Because nothing prevents it. Nothing stands in the way of it
-- Credits to Dan Berkow
contributed by Tim G. to NDS
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