Does God Hear Prayers?

Does God exist? Of course he does. Does he sometimes go on vacation, disconnects his cellphone and neglects to check his email? That too. Jokes aside, the ruling principle in prayer is “that you normally get what you focus your energies on”. To answer the question, God answers prayer thru people like you and me. We are God's light, God's hands and feet. We are also God's purse and warehouse.

God is not limited to this but rarely uses other means to effect change in the universe. When you pray for something and nothing seems to happen, that is because there is a shortage of willing “instruments of God's mercy”. Instead of passively blaming the universe for your misfortune, be an active predicator and evangelist of self-giving, real communion and real faith. When you do this, you become a true “instrument of God's mercy”. You have passed from being just a seeker of help to being the “help” itself. This is the main reason why we shouldn't blame God when things go wrong and we should never confuse nature/universe with God.

God is absolutely good and by definition cannot be evil, while nature/universe transcends morality and does some nasty things from time to time. Now, why does God allow children to die in earthquakes and floods if he is absolutely good? The answer can only be obtained when you stop believing everything you read and stop listening to all those fancy and loud preachers that litter our churches, mosques and synagogues. Try this: Sit down in a quite room, shut off all the noises of the outside world. close your eyes in complete silence for 10 days in a row, for 10 hours or more a day. You will be shaken to the core and you will never ask those kind of questions again because the answer will be clear to you.

What about curses? Curses work only when:

1. The cursee believes somehow that the curser has supernatural authority and power. It is widely documented that some people have an uncanny ability to attract and draw on themselves everything they fear or believe in, particularly if the cultural environment is inducing and strong feelings and emotions are involved. Some keywords here are belief, fear, culture, emotions, authority, power, storytelling, paranoia

2. The curser uses hypnosis, drugs, poisons and other mood altering techniques and substances. In every culture we find individuals who specialize in these matters: in primitive cultures we call them witchdoctors or sorcerers, in modern cultures we call them chemists or pharmacists. Keywords here are hypnosis, drug, poisons, potions, mushrooms, herbs.


Do Dreams Have Meaning?

See Also Section One for "Why Do We Dream?". The concept of meaning is closely linked to the concept of thinking, but the main purpose of dreams is not to appeal to our thinking self, but to override it and transcend it. Dreams are symbolic and they use pictures, meaning is also symbolic but it uses language. Can you see the conundrum here: we are trying to explain symbols with symbols and that is the main reason why I believe that dreams were never meant to be interpreted nor explained. Dreams do speak but not to your conscious self. The interpreting is done alright, but the recipient is a patient couched in the deep recesses of the psyche.

Having said this, this is how I think the process of dreaming goes about unfolding. During sleep the loop of life closes itself and we are transported to the realm of infinity. For our bodies, the final frontier is not found out there in space but it is found within the recesses of the dream. Sleep is the only time our body (both our individual body and our collective one) gets rid of thought and can happily and freely use our memories, experiences and ideas to create non-rational and surreal scenarios. In other words, during sleep, the cat (rational thinking) is out, and the mouse (our bodies) can roam around the place freely, uninhibited and without limitations. The most fascinating aspect about dreams is that our bodies not only use reality to create dreams, but also uses dreams to create reality: how many times dreams have come to the rescue of our minds to accomplish a specific task or to provide solutions that are beyond our minds competencies. For example quite a few inventions were made after the inventor had a dream or a vision during sleep or trance. This is probably due to the fact that we continually detect and pick up clues that are not normally remembered but nevertheless that information does register and is assessed against the framework of existing and past knowledge. The eventual resolution of this process is played out in the dream. the fact of the matter is that, often, a conventional thinking process can get on the way of a key discovery and during sleep we are able to break thru the veil of infinity and sort things out in ways that our rational selves can't, enabling the inventor to make that quantum leap which is absolutely necessary for all great human breakthroughs. 

Also, dreams, both natural and induced, are crucial in providing hints about physical ailments and problems with internal organs. Some people are particularly gifted in this particular aspect, not only to discover their own ailments by recognizing hints in their dreams, but also the ailments of others.



Why Are All Great Artist Crackpots?

The source of his vision and power unknown
He is barely skin and bone
He roams the earth alone
On his back clothes not his own
He is fed time by a maiden and time by a crone
But his words we heard no mortal before intone
He came to heal the sick and the sins of man atone
Empower those that calamities disown
And selfishness from our heart dethrone
From a mountain of despair he hewed a gemstone
By some he was called a madman and a drone
You can praise or you can moan
But thru the crack in his soul, light shone

If the universe was a wall, we normal –and shabby- human beings would be bricks in that wall, the artists instead are the windows on that wall that open the rest of us to a world of transcendence and beauty. What are windows? Windows are holes in the wall. Most great artists are “peculiar” and are the way they are because the universe has carved such a hole in their soul so they can contain the depth of its mystery. Thru the cracks in their souls the light of human ingenuity shined. Holes in the soul that serve to hold the gifts of the spirit are “by grace”and cannot generally be explained by tracing back to a specific event or events in a person's life history. 


What Drives The World?

Why pundits with knowledge arcane
Can’t fathom and can’t explain
Why the world is so insane
With its superachievers on the fast lane
Its hustlers after fortune and material gain
The incessant highs that we strive to attain
The gadgets that we made for our happiness in vain
And the environments that we created but can’t sustain
Should I tell you of a very old refrain
of our soul and its millennial stain
That to avoid the real source of our misery and bane
We created artifacts for the management of our pain

Three things: Biology (pleasure, pain, sex, temperament, health...), society (culture, law, family, religion...) and intellect (ideas, idealisms, information, literature, creativity, inventions, freedom, rebelliousness...). Human experience has always been an interplay and competition between these three elements. Society hates Biology and you can't just go fudging around. Biology hates intellect and girls like hunky football players and despise nerds. Intellect hates society and you have Woodstock . Society hates intellect and you have the status quo.


What Are The Newest Creatures In Social Evolution?

The corporation and the media. For now on, when you try to make sense of the world, you have to factor these in. The corporation is not just a business entity made and run by people. It is greater that the sum of its parts, a real organic creature. If you believe in Evolution, here you have it; the corporation is the culmination of that process. It was created by man, but run away and took its own life and identity. The corporation has its own needs, rituals, survival instincts and if kept unchecked, will do anything to thrive and survive including cannibalize on the one that created it, man. Expect that from now on plagues that will disrupt civilizations will not be diseases of the body but glitches and malfunctions of the corporation caused by viruses called greed, dishonesty, selfishness among others.

The same applies to the Media which has passed from being a mere social instrument of information to being an unbridled and wild ‘beast” and as it grows more powerful and more complex it will eventually forget its main purpose and strive primarily to gain ratings and beat the competition - can you imagine, we are relying on an institution that has a vested interested in bad news… God help us – This can be at the same time good and bad: the positive side will be that this may allow the emergence of a truly global information network that is objective and transparent. The negative side is that the media as an instrument to build local social consensus will suffer and information will be divulged that may actually be contra-productive and against the general local and national interests.

An interesting personal observation: every great breakthroughs in human civilization in the form of media of communication, such the written word and the alphabet, the printing press, the radio, the television and today the internet have caused madness and outright paranoia particularly in the initial stages of their adoption. It is a lengthy subject so I would recommend that you read Leonard Shlain's work on the matter.


What Are My Three Wishes?

1. Make enough money to be able to say one day "I am not doing it for the money".
2. See art exalted above commerce.
3. See people face conflict the hard way, with creativity instead of taking the easy way of violence.


What Is My Definition Of Love?

you say you love me, right?
now beauty and virtue is all you see
but when you meet my demons, what would you do?
would you stay or would you flee

True love happens when you realize the underlying, subtle unity of all things. Sexual love between a man and a woman is just a hard-reality metaphor of what should be happening at a deeper, larger and universal scale. Only true Saints experience true love. The rest of us, well, just make love, and do it for all the selfish reasons.

The deep root of hatred, suffering and pain is the illusion of separateness. Men have hated, fought, beaten, killed, stolen and did all kinds of atrocities because they perceived the other or the outsider as separate from themselves, thus a competitor for the perceived limited natural resources. There has always been the 'us' and the 'other' and the other is "the enemy".... I have seen the enemy, and it is us.


Some Important Things To Know

The Power of Form: We all need to understand what individual and social realities are and how they are generated, and for that we need to understand the concept of morphic resonance. Morphic is Greek for "form". You can read more about it in Rupert Sheldrake's works. This guy's research on the nature of living systems was so misunderstood by the established academia that it took many years before he started to make inroads in popular culture. By the way, you will see me often recommend authors and books but that doesn't mean I agree with everything that is said. Even in the occasion when you are confronted with a pile of conceptual manure and if you ignore the stench, you may be rewarded with small kernels of truth.

Anyways. In the same manner that biological entities combine and "symbiose" and grow to become more and more COMPLEX, they adopt new specific forms or identities, with corresponding (predictable) patterns and habits. What I call “forms” are not just shapes or bundles of organic matter, but rather a combination of interdependent networked structures and functions from which “intelligence” emerges. Animals for example are forms, but so are ideas when they are held by a critical mass of individuals and reach a certain level of complexity. Also corporations, highway traffic and even the stock market are forms as they are characterized by specific habits and follow -more or less- predictable patterns of behavior.

How do Ideas become "form"? People who belong to the same physical group and who are held by the same physical, mental and cultural structures tend to bond together, empower each other thru positive feedback, and mutually validate each others beliefs, creating a magnetic field of power (or reality) around them. No matter what the nature of the belief, the commitment, the confidence and the intensity of the believers is capable of creating reality out of ideas, as outlandish and unreasonable that they may appear to the outsider. If you believe in miracles and you get a hundred more people believing with you, I bet you miracles will happen... for real. By miracles I mean extreme manifestations of already existing potentialities: you can for example heal cancer thru prayer but not make a lost human limb regrow on its own… at least not according to what I currently know.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of form in how we connect to the universe around us. In the cosmic dictionary, your biological and mental "form" mean something... like a musical note in a symphony... and when you reach a certain happy "form", thru practice, hard work and education, not only you reach a higher "form" but you tap into sources of collective power, where you have access not only to your own resources but to the resources of hundreds, even thousands of other similar "souls" that came before you. This is pure magic babeh. From leaders and managers, to craftsman, to physicists, to golf players, people who excel in their field are generally people who have perfected a "form" of expression, either with their bodies, their minds, or both.

Why do we need practice to learn new skills? Practicing is repeating a certain process until a perfect form or function is attained. Now, how does repeating a process help us learn? Simple. By repeating a process over and over again you basically put your brain to sleep, you induce a mild hypnosis so to speak, you switch to a different level of consciousness and eventually let your full-body-intelligence take over. In other words your brain is useful to a certain point after which a different type of intelligence is needed, the type that knows how to do jumps of the quantum kind and without these kinds of “jumps” you can't have people like Tiger Woods in Golf, Michael Jordan in Basketball, Pele in soccer, Fred Astaire in dance, Martin Luther King Jr. in social activism, Franklyn Roosevelt in politics, Jack Welsh in Management, Van Gogh in art, Einstein in Physics and so on…

The Power of Metaphor: And I don't just mean literary metaphors. As it is in heaven so it is on earth. The outer workings of the galaxies seem to find a parallel in the inner workings of the microscopic cell. Larger social phenomena seem to mirror natural biological processes. Extreme natural phenomena, radical ideologies and spiritual and religious revivals tend to shape/precede cultural and economic revolutions. We can theoretically predict the potential future if we understand the intricate codings behind the interaction of parallel “worlds” and how seemingly different realities do in fact influence, shape and precede each other.

The Power of Pragmatism:You have to learn how to integrate money and technology into your life seamlessly, as if they were body and mind extensions, completely organic entities, because in fact they are. Doing otherwise or thinking of them as separate things, superimposed to the human condition, will cause alienation and consequently headaches and poverty.

The Power of Myth: For millennia, humanity was able to sustain itself with culturally significant stories, fantastic accounts, and mythologies. They were like a matrix upon which we built our lives and cultures ... They allowed us to grow or just simply survive and keep grounded and functioning. Today, these core stories (that without any doubt worked well during humanity's infancy) seem not to be enough to encompass and explain the very complex and intricate reality we live in today. Some people have advocated that we need a new, modern mythology, a new world religion so to speak, more fit for the global economy and the computer age. It is true that we need a live and relevant mythology, initiated from within the soul of today's man and the modern world, instead of the cultural corpses that we have been carrying around for millennia. We will always need rituals that initiate our young males into the society of man and introduce them to the realms of responsibility and civility. Doing otherwise will give us barbarians and street gangs. But what we mostly need is more courage to face reality head-on. I understand our deep need to legitimize and idealize our past and our ancestors, and bygone glories are sometimes the only things we have left to sustain our dignity and sense of worth. But my call is for everyone to quit being the product of the past and start becoming a doer of the future. We do not need a reminiscence of our past heroes to live anymore; we need to be our own heroes now. No more leaders and followers. We should all be the leaders of our own destinies now. We have entered into a new dispensation where humanity has come of age and it should (and will) act accordingly. If you realize this, you will take responsibility and your place in the scheme of things, if you don't you will lag behind and hold to outdated, schizophrenic ways of living, until something comes along and jolts you out our your infinite loops. I hope it is very soon.


What Is The Key To A Person's Happiness?

I believe it was Voltaire who said that happiness is an illusion and that only suffering is real. He may be right. The universe doesn't seem to like for man to be at ease and happy for long bouts and with plagues and wars she makes sure he doesn't. Suffering and pain seem to be the real engine of evolution. Have you noticed that the most dynamic and wealthy cities are always rainy, cold, dark and have tremendous social problems: London , Rio De Janeiro, Seattle , New York … There are barely any really industrious cities where the weather is nice and people are by nature laid back and “happier”. Oops… hold on just a second… I am getting another message here… well, the universe is telling me that it gives a damn about our happiness or suffering but what it really wants and needs is … “oscillation”, “fluctuation”, “change”… When I think about it what is happiness but a kind of resolution, conciliation of conflicts and of opposite warring tensions and what is manifest life but the tension created by a resistance to resolution. I other words we may be nothing else but the ghostly glow on the thin wire filaments of a cosmic light bulb. Now ask yourself this, if life is nothing else but a resistance to resolution, and happiness is the resolution of that same resistance, can there really be lasting happiness without obliterating life as we know it? Should we deduct that real happiness may actually be… non-life, non-existence. Scaaaaary!

Having said this, you can attain 'some happiness' by decreasing the opportunities for stress and for that you need at least four things: presence, preparedness, permanence and ...well yes, money. 

Presence: A man is Present when he lives in the now. Living in the now means very simple that the person's energies are not hijacked by emotions and traumas of the past. That he has dealt with them and resolved them and has now access to all his powers. Being present means also that his being and identity are acknowledged and valued by others. Presence is sometimes synonymous with Charisma: A charismatic person is simply a person whose body is in the same place and time as his soul. Have you ever heard the expression "the lights are on but nobody's home", well that is the opposite of presence. Presence also means living one's own life instead of someone else's live... such as a father, mother, culture or group... this is a very common problem and what I call "soul robbery" is the reason why even some very rich and very famous people are just not right in their bodies (and minds) and do all kinds of stupid things... self is a terrible thing to waste.

Preparedness: A man needs to be prepared and plan methodically and systematically for his life. Don't expect the universe to reward you for just being a good girl, nor for being an honest, civil and decent human being. We thank goodness for people like you but if you want to be happy -or may be just happy enough-, you have to understand how the game is played down here on earth. Be like Jesus but pour on yourself a healthy dose of Machiavellian salt. Be cognizant of the importance of physical appearance, the power of language and perception, and the absolute necessity of maintaining mystery and not revealing everything about yourself and what you know...

No le tires perlas al paleto y provinciano
O confiar secretos a oido vano y liviano
Sino Dios te va a dar un gran dolor craniano

Anyways, most unhappiness is a result of stress caused by a sense of lack of control, particularly when the pressures and challenges of the personal, social and financial environment (marrying the wrong person, being stuck in the wrong job and not being able to pay your rent or mortgage, are some examples), are just too great for our present abilities to meet them. One way to increase your odds of not getting to this desperate point is to be prepared thru education, setting specific personal and career goal, and learning professional skills –at least one- that you will need to work hard at perfecting. 

Permanence: Permanence is what I call “the necessary Illusion”. A man needs to convince himself that his existence will somehow go on after his natural death, through a symbolic or spiritual resurrection; that we are in fact an integral part of a larger continuum, a larger social body that goes on well after our own individual physical demise.

Money: A healthy relationship to money and a good ability to acquire it and spend it is key to our thriving in this world.

Why is my countenance always shining?
When I am not rhyming
and my spirit with poetry refining
I am either wining and dining
Or for gold and silver mining
A multitude of business combining
And I never give myself to divining
Because I want wads of dollars my pockets lining

Money is a form of energy that makes things go around in this economy of ours. Money in itself will not make you happy, but a lack of it will surely stress you out. You can't be too romantic about it. 


What Is A Person's Greatest Sorrow?

First, a life devoid of self: As I mentioned above: not being able to live one's own live and living vicarious or surrogate lives. Some parents enforce their own views and dreams on their children... A parent's role is one of a guide not a dictator: you force your own dreams on your child and you may get a very talented child but a very miserable, disconnected and lost one. Help your child find what he is best at and support him or her in that path. You should read John Bradshaw's books on Family Systems and Howard Gardner's books on Multiple Intelligences. Inspire them and tell them repeatedly that they are destined for greatness. Doing otherwise is what I believe is at the root of much of the dysfunction and drug abuse in our society. There is something about the human soul that yearns for uniqueness and renewal, you try to stop that and you create very grouchy individuals.

Second, a life devoid of dream: Life is shallow and dull without a desire to do or think things that no one else has done or thought before... Life finds its fullest expression in those people that stretch it to the limit and believe in and do the impossible. 

Third, a life devoid of magic: Art, music, theatre, dance, spirituality are all necessary for us to live a full life. a life without art is like a body without a soul. Artists are normally the first ones that 'go up to the mountain top and see the promised land for all of us. Families, communities and nations should vigorously promote them among their members. We should all be good at one form, at least, of artistic expression.


What Is Creativity?

The universe's main –if not sole- purpose is to grow and creativity in man and in nature is what allows it to do that...

Beyond my goodness or outright badness
You joined me in my play and gladness
But you can’t create if you don’t know sadness
And surely, you won’t know me if you don’t know madness
And know yourself, if you don’t know loneness

Creativity is called upon when a system's status-quo is challenged by an invader, a virus, a new idea or the criminal mind and is forced to change and adapt to the new demands. If it is successful it will survive and eventually even prosper and if not, it will be replaced by systems that are better fit to the new environment.

Human creativity seems to happen when a certain number of factors come together and form a relationship that is able to bring forth new objects and processes out of ideas. In other words, culture produces ideas that marry resources provided by that same culture and the environment to produce new stuff. This "new stuff "is the foundation of economic wealth creation and technological progress. That is why countries who invent stuff are richer that countries who never invent anything but just buy the stuff.

Where do those ideas come from and why some cultures are creative and some aren't? The key words here are survival, ideological congruence, continuity and momentum. 

Survival- and the effects of overcompensation: Creativity is as much a collective attribute as it is an individual one: Individuals as well as whole human groups will dig deep into their creative resources when they feel their survival is challenged or threatened by other individuals- By the way that is why nature has always made sure there is a predator for every specie, to keep them in their toes and ready for change and evolution into forms that improve chances of survival- other human groups or/and the natural environment around them. To illustrate this idea I will have you look at how people in northern, colder latitudes fair much better economically that their counterparts in southern latitudes. This is mainly, in my opinion, because peoples in southern, warmer latitudes are generally less concerned with clothing and shelter than their northern counterparts, as nature easily provides both of these: it is warm enough to sleep under a tree or go catch fish in the ocean. Peoples in northern, colder latitudes have to worry about clothing and shelter as they can't afford to be without them and they do have to work hard to provide these to themselves, their families and communities. This worry puts everyone in high gear to produce enough provisions. This creates a surplus, more stuff, and consequently more wealth that it was initially necessary. This applies also to individuals, and generally speaking, the best performers and most productive workers are the ones who are always on "survival" mode, those whose guards are continually on and whose brains are continually humming with new schemes to outrun the competition.

Ideological Congruence: A people's ability for survival in challenging environment can be hampered by cultural and social taboos or religious convictions. Entire nations lagged behind or were flatly wiped off the face of the earth as basic survival strategies couldn't be adopted because they went against the grain of widely and deeply held believes.

Continuity and Momentum: Modern technology (including language, particularly the symbolic modern alphabets) wasn't attained overnight: thousands of people, all over the world, since time immemorial, contributed to increase our knowledge base and new findings were passed on, thru written language and mathematics, to following generation who carried the torch and built on that knowledge to reach yet higher levels of civilization. It works almost exactly as the compounding effects of interest rates on a bank account. This “bank account” is what we normally call Western Civilization, who by the way was one that was fundamentally carved by the letter and filled with the pen. Human groups of all corners of the earth contributed to it one way or the other, among them Muslims, who kept the flame of the Greek and Roman cultural legacies ablaze during the dark ages brought about by a paranoid Christian priesthood. Muslims today have been alienated but that same civilization that they helped create.

Nonetheless, creativity is by no means a dry, mechanistic process of acquiring more and more knowledge but it implies a delving into the most hidden and mysterious quarters of the human spirit. Human language and mathematics are just tools that allow us to squeeze the universe out of its mysteries. Creativity is, in its essence, a spiritual phenomenon: no wonder Descartes (Cartesian mathematics) and Einstein (theory of relativity) dreamed their theories instead of just getting to them thru reasoning.(*)

This is of course a very simplistic view as there are more factors at work than I can afford to mention in a few pages. The fact of the matter is that things happen not because of one solitary factor, but because of a relationship between different elements and forces and only when the time is ripe and the environment is conducive. As a matter of fact, some groups just happen to live in an environment that is conducive to wealth building such as the availability of agricultural products (wheat, grains, etc...) and domesticated livestock. Don't forget that the word "capital" comes from the Latin "capo" which means head, head of cattle. Nature seems to have favored settled, agricultural communities to hunter-gathering ones.

All human beings, regardless of race or geographic location, have the potential of being creative (and I mean technological creativity), I have no doubt about it. However, not all cultures have the belief system, or inherited the spiritual, cultural or economic history to allow their members to rise above the apparent limitations of daily life and reach beyond the veil of possibility. Given the same opportunities, within the same city or town, different human groups will perform differently and the difference is always drawn along ethnic/cultural lines. This is not because some ethnic groups are smarter or dumber that others, rather, the problem is found in a cultural conditioning that makes some groups' attitudes and responses more congruent to their immediate socioeconomic environment than other groups who may have gotten stuck in social patterns that, simply put, do not work in the current economic context.

(* ) In Descartes' case we are talking about a outright apparition -an angel appeared to him- but that is another story. I also find it quite intriguing that the French thinker dreamed his mathematics in the same place were Einstein was born, Ulm , in Bavaria , Germany. May be just a coincidence, may be not. Behind every great breakthrough in human ingenuity there is always a spooky side that you never hear about because, very simply, coming out with how it really happened may compromise a filament scientific or academic career. Notice how some illustrious scientists and even nobel prize winners start openly relating about their unconventional encounters and consequent inspiration by beings of other worlds, but not before they have consolidated their positions, retired or won their prestigious awards.


Why Bad People Make More Money Than Nice People?

Bad people are generally bad because of abandonment and physical or sexual abuse in their early childhood. These traumas create a psychic and emotional vacuum –and the corresponding hormonal imbalances that will etch deep and lasting mood blueprints- that in turn generate a drive (Don't forget that vacuums generate energy, no matter if it is in nature or within the human soul). This drive is what makes some "very screwed up" people, "very successful"... A very interesting phenomenon that very few people see is that sometimes the same emotional and psychological mechanisms that make a certain person a billionaire, can make another person a street bum. How is that possible? The billionaire has externalized his feelings of aggression and turned them out on his surroundings. The bum on the other hand has internalized his emotional baggage and turned that energy against himself, committing emotional and social suicide so to speak. Another fascinating observation is what I believe is one of the greatest dilemmas of human existence: we demand and exalt moral "goodness", politeness, artistic integrity and sensitivity, but we materially reward mean, rude, unscrupulous and not-that-sensitive people.

What is the proof of success?

You are successful if at the end of it all you can honestly turn and say to yourself: I had done it all I had it all and by gosh I haven't screwed or hurt anyone in the process. That my friend, is success.


Why Is Evil So Fascinating? 

As black is not a color but the absence of color, evil is not a thing... it is the absence of a thing...and that thing is called 'goodness', which is not the opposite of 'evil' but a condition of being that transcends and reconciles both evil and good. Jesus of Nazareth called his disciples to be the light of the world... he knew what he was talking about... Unless each one of us becomes that light, there will be a vacuum, and the universe hates vacuums: something will come and take its place. That something will be what we call 'evil'. I learned in Physics that when a vacuum is created in the atmosphere, by the sun's heat, the warmer air moves on northward, a vacuum is created then cold air comes and takes its place. This creates energy, what we normally call winds. Evil is like this wind which is generated when goodness moves on and no other 'goodness' is there to take its place. Evil is fascinating, because as some winds, it is powerful. The fact that humans are fascinated with power is a mere physical phenomenon: An entity with a higher level of energy tends to attract and absorb another one with a lower level. Does this mean that the Universe is biased toward 'evil'? No. The universe is neither good nor evil, neither fair nor unfair. In addition, real power is found in neither 'evil' nor 'good", it is found in transcending both of these and tapping into the real source of power... This transcendent power is what makes real 'sainthood' and what is known in oriental tradition as the 'Chi' or 'life force'. 

How do you tap into this vital force? There are spiritual paths and techniques that teach you how to tap into some aspects of it, but you never get complete control. Anyhow, you are not supposed to.


Why Is There So Much Violence In The world?

A reasonable amount of friction, conflict, tension and violence is apparently integral part of this game called "life". You take the friction away, and the world as we know it, may probably disappear. In addition and contrary to popular belief, the antidote for violence is not peace (wanting peace at any cost will just gets you screwed) but justice, fairness and creativity which are normally embodied in our rituals and ceremonies.

As the main known purpose of violence is survival and change, any attempt we make to accomplish either is in essence a violent act. We do need to survive and we also do need to change. Consequently we do need a certain mental violence to live life to its fullest. Now for this violence not to manifest itself in ugly physical confrontations we do need creativity and a lot of it, and find alternative ways of conflict resolution. And this is where ritual and ceremony come in. If you ever asked yourself why we have rituals, the answer is that because we do have violence. Eating food, having sex, economic and intellectual progress, in some subtle manner, are all violent acts. Before we can eat, we need to kill. To have sex we need to seduce and subdue. To progress we need to kill old ideas and prey on other countries' resources. With the ritual, we consciously give thanks or just apologize to the universe for the crappy things we have to do to get thing moving in this world and this is absolutely necessary to "appease the spirits" and even-out the score in the karmic scoreboard.

Without this awareness, things go out of whack and we get senseless and purposeless violence. And to make things worst, we have the dominance of the culture of money and the breakdown of societal mechanisms that were intended to keep everyone in line. In primitive cultures, individuals (particularly the aggressive gender... the males) were initiated into the community thru ceremonies and rituals that were intended to instill a sense of inclusion, courage and responsibility. After the ritual was over, the young man knew very clearly that he was a child no more and has entered into the world of man, with its duties and also privileges. These rituals and ceremonies were crucial for the human group to establish a sense of community, peace and belonging among its members. The aggressiveness was reserved for the tribe on the other side of the mountain.

Woman of antiquity and lore
She was goddess then was called whore
Her likeness from temples we tore
And raised Apollo, Zeus and Thor
And to them our allegiance swore
After that history was nothing but madness and war
Stained with blood and filled with gore
Until her divinity restore
And the power of the cruel letter abhor
We will live lost, we will live poor
And that is for sure

Our societies today are so complex, melting pots of so many cultures, and their members so disconnected from each other. All these make a fertile ground for friction and violence. To make things worst you have economic factors such as poverty and extreme income imbalances, and then you have the tremendous proliferation of guns (particularly in America), and then you have drugs, that do nothing but compound and exacerbate the problem. 

The fact of the matter is that we all, as individuals, create the sore wound, and them wonder why it stinks: if you are a young high school student and you make fun, bully and harass those who are weaker or different than you, you contribute to violence. If you are a wealthy individual and you are selfish and fear sharing your wealth with others, you contribute to violence. If you are a citizen and you are indifferent and refuse to participate in the social dialogue, you contribute to violence. If you belong to a certain dominant group and you treat those outside your movement in an unfair manner and you abuse them and marginalize them, you contribute to violence. I may sound harsh, but the reality is that most of us live like zombies, completely unaware of the mess we create with apparently innocuous behaviors and attitudes.

Is there a solution? We may no be able to completely heal all the societal ills but we surely can manage them in a way to make our existence on this earth bearable. This will demand a complete change of heart ...of a lot of people... First, we need to reassess our attitude toward the poor and poverty, particularly here in the United States . Americans have an uncanny ability to deny the existence of things they don't like , We do it by demeaning (like the way we treat our elderly members) or by rationalizing (like the way we look at the poor in our ghettos). Second, we must reconsider our position toward crime and its origins and nature. We must adopt and a more holistic approach and quit focusing on the individuals that commit crimes and their personal histories (if we do we will never get a clue about the real problem and we will always be asking why, why, why), and start revisiting our overall social priorities: what are the factors and forces involved? If we are experiencing economic growth, who are we leaving out? What can we do to integrate the marginalized and disenfranchised? And so on. We have to firmly stand for the idea that extreme poverty and random violence are not OK and normal... and that we have to commit all of our resources, all of our creativity to eradicate them... We need a firm commitment to stand up and face those special interest groups that have no other interest but to further their own agendas, against the interests of society as a whole. Am I deluded? Absolutely not. Human beings can accomplish anything they set their minds to... Haven't we put a man on the moon? If we haven't been able to make our communities more livable is because our priorities were somewhere else and not because the problems are intrinsically unsolvable.


Are Humans Incapable Of Peace?

No. The opposite of war is not peace, it is justice. Humans are incapable of justice and because callousness and unfairness is so much a part of our makeup that we are condemned to continual war and violence.



Why Do We Die?

There are three principles at work: The Circular Nature of Time, the Universes' Interplay of Opposites and Entropy:

The Circular Nature of Time: Very simply what comes from nothingness will have to return to nothingness… that is how you close the circle.

The Interplay of Opposites: The Universe main purpose is to grow and expand and to do that it uses the bipolar interplay of forces. Life and death are just two of many other opposite poles used to create the necessary energy. They are the crest and trough respectively of the waves that make up the visible world.

Dans la beaute de tes yeux
J’ai apercu la laideur de mon ame
Dans la tranquilite de ta voix
J’ai vecu mes tempetes et mes drames
Tu es mystere, tu es sacree, tu es triomphe
Au combat que ma vie et ma mort entament
Tends moi la main et ecoutes
Le desir que mon coeur exclame

Entropy: Like most complex organisms, the human body will tend to deteriorate after reaching a pick in its growth. The fact of the matter is that after a certain period of time, the atomic particles involved in a certain process (like the ones making up a human body for example) get tired or bored and tend to want to seek other more exciting adventures. What really dies is the relationship or combination of all the elements that make our individual selves and how they interact with each other. At the atomic level there is no such a thing as death. There is change and reshuffling but not death. As a matter of fact some of the atoms that make up your body right now may end up in the trump of an elephant or worst still, the red stinky ass of a baboon.

Life may be sacred to most man, but for nature life is quite disposable and she makes no quarrels about it. Death fulfills a key evolutionary role as nature is then able to renew itself and move on to better stuff and higher levels of complexity and intelligence. But apparently man didn't like nature's plan, so he invented the “institution”, which unfortunately hardly or never dies and continues to exist well after its original purpose has been fulfilled. As a matter of fact the disease called cancer happens when some cells in our body forget or refuse to die, growing to a point of jeopardizing the harmonious functioning of the whole organism.



Why Do We Age?

Probably because of macrocosmic forces - Ecosystem, environment, societal dynamics - and microcosmic forces - cells, genes, chromosomes. At the macrocosmic level, there are mechanisms that regulate biological entities to match the environment balancing needs. How do these mechanisms affect our biology? Probably thru "magnetic" fields that affect the way our genes and chromosomes are engineered and encoded. In other words human and other cells are equipped with "clocks" that determine their life span... for example scientists have noticed that after a certain number of divisions, cells seem to stop dividing and that is what appears to determine the beginning of the bodies decline or what we call aging.

Will we ever attain immortality?

May be not immortality, because would defeat the purpose, but surely longer life spans. But what will be the limit to how long we can live and live healthy? I frankly do not know. Remember one key principle: The way we overcome Entropy is thru energy and information- or positive feedback. In other words, if we want to overcome the normal process of aging we need resources and money to initiate research and get information on how our cells, chromosomes and genes work, their composition, how they interact internally (with the rest of the body and with the foods we ingest) and externally (with the environment). This is a truly daunting task because of the challenges involved. Unless we can prolong life and improve health at the same time we should expect problems that social security and our healthcare systems may not be able to sustain. So it is going to be very messy at the beginning.



How Can I Be More Creative And Make Fantastic Things come True?

"To accomplish great things, you must not
only act but also dream,
not only dream but also believe"
-- Anatole France

Frankly I am still not sure where genius and extraordinary skills come from, but I have a slight suspicion that they emanate from depths that go beyond the nature and history of the individuals that manifest them. They may in fact originate from a core of wisdom and experience that is vaster and more ancient… As a matter of fact. no one would be a genius on his or her own. You need to be a part of a continuum of culture, philosophy, work ethics, spiritual values, technology research, finances etc. that goes back sometimes for millennia. Einstein wouldn't have been who he was if he hadn't built on the work of hundreds of people before him, and whose research was supported by the financial wealth generated by the industrial revolution, which we can very comfortably trace back to the city of Lydia, in Greece where the first coin (money) was invented. 

In other words, it is not enough to have a boat. You need a river that is already flowing to take you where you want to go.

Having said this I still have some observations and suggestions on how you can make your life richer and be more creative… if that is possible at all:

First you need to meet "the grace of god" and this is something you have absolutely no control over. There is a time in your life, normally in early childhood, when basically something is stirred in your soul and you become entranced and impassioned about a subject, a sport, an art, a field of science. Howard Bloom calls these moments Passion Points. What causes these passion points is a subject of one of my current researches. If you have suggestions email me. Can you imaging if we could figure out what are the deep psychological codings behind these passion points we could in theory initiate them at will in our children and in turn create a more productive generation of people. Science Fiction? This is not that far fetched, believe me.

Second, you need to have a childlike sense of wonder and fascination about things, phenomena and processes.

Third, you need to be a dissenter and not a conformer. Conformity allows for the smooth running of societies but if these same societies didn't allow for some of their members to dissent they would become stagnant: Even if religion and law constitute a true backbone for any society to build on, dissent from religion and law is the real engine behind cultural and economic progress. If you don't believe me just look at societies that are run by political or religious dogmatic groups who hardly tolerate dissent. You don't see much progress in there isn't it. Now you know why

unless you suffer rebellious souls with gladness
your city will languish under the claws of poverty and madness

Fourth, believe that you are made of the same stuff that gods are made of ... You need to take God at his word. that he really created you in His image and likeness. What I really mean is that an individual-or a group- who believes she can undertake the action required to achieve a specific goal, no matter how complex and unbelievable it may be, has a greater probability of achieving that goal than someone who lacks such a belief. So your belief system can very much determine how you fare in terms of creativity, innovativeness and social and economic welfare.

Fifth, you need specific, extensive knowledge on a certain area or field...

Sixth, you need a good dose of paranoia and obsession about your particular projects. Paranoia and obsession create a mental tension in the individual without which it is very difficult to catapult any project beyond the normal human, economic and political obstacles.

Seventh, you need to convince a deep-pocketed banker or venture capitalist to foot the bill until you finish building your dream and you start making some money. 


Why Do Children Like To Play With Toys?

Because toys are the only things around them that are smaller than they are. A great relief considering that they live in a world of giants. Children enjoy playing with toys because they feel empowered and in control.


Why Do Children Like Magic And Fantasy?

When People feel they have no control over their lives and environment, when they are confronted to a world that is overwhelming, cruel and unforgiving, when they are disenfranchised and oppressed by lords and despots of all kinds, magic and fantasy becomes a natural refuge. The same for children who are small and live practically at the mercy and discretion of these giants called adults. Did you ever ask yourself why is it that magic and miracles seem to only happen in the past, the answer is that most religious and fantastic accounts came out of the soul of a humanity that was in its infancy, when we lived in a world of “giants” and “monsters” and when we were pretty much at the mercy of the environment –and cruel despots- and had much less control over our lives than we have today.


Is There Life After Death?

When we talk about one God, our true human anguish is the unity of our bodies and our souls. Are they separate, will the soul leave the body at death or will it die with it. In any case, there won't be an afterlife with me: my body and my soul will go down together into the belly of the earth like a ship and its captain, just like two inseparable lovers: They will die together locked in a mutual embrace.

On the other side, life after death may feel the same as life before birth: absolute bliss. But seriously, Life and Death are part of the same continuum. The problem we have with this concept is due to Western and the Judeo-Christian culture which sees the unseen (supernatural) as separate or superimposed upon the seen (the natural) and not as two apparently separate processes that are in essence one thing.

I was wondering, why is it that we all want to live forever and if we have to die we absolutely insist in being resurrected? Wouldn't that defeat the whole purpose of dying? Don't we understand that nature is determined to get rid of us once we have reached a certain age? Knowing how stubborn, hard headed and change-avert humans can be, nature has devised a system, called “death”, to get “fresh salad on the table”, new stuff, new blood, new ideas. Do me a favor, when you die, stay dead, for the new generations' sake: having you around forever would just be too stressful for the poor things.



About Religion

"Everything the universe does is for the final purpose of growth.
Everything humans do is to defeat death."


Dieu n'est pas que dans les mots et la doctrine,
Ceux la ne sont que des ombres, messieurs et mesdames

Il est dans le coeur, il est dans les yeux
Il est dans les mains des hommes et des femmes

Il est dans leurs prieres et leurs ivresses
Il est dans leurs joies et leurs drames

Il est dans la terre et les arbres
Les animaux et les plantes to toutes games

Il est dans les collines et dans les vallees
Et les montagnes sa majaste proclament

Il est meme dans la rage des vents et le silence des pierres
Il est partout, meme dans ceux qu'on croit sans ames


When a man calls himself religious
If a brute will he become less vicious
if a scrooge less avaricious
and if a rebel less seditious
When he calls himself righteous
If a curmudgeon will he become more obsequious
If witless more judicious
And if uncouth more propitious
Give me a break and be serious
Blind faith has always been deleterious
Not what makes a man to God precious

Religious people are happier people. Ironically, non religious people have more fun. Most people are religious because of fear, fear of the unknown. True religion is out of love. Love of God, love of life and love of people.. all people.. not only your people. 

How did religion start?

Probably this way: Just think about this: You are alone, lost and stranded in a deserted island in the middle of a vast ocean and with no one to talk to. Humans do not handle loneliness very well. Human desire and need for affirmation and mirroring is so intense that believe me, you will carve human looking faces on any stupid piece of wood or stone and talk to it as if it was a real human being. You do this for a certain time and that lifeless piece of wood will acquire such an emotional value that in your eyes there will be no difference between “it” and a real flesh and blood person. Now think about what you would do if you were “humanity” itself, found yourself on this earth, a small tiny planet in the middle of an infinitely vast, dark, unfathomable universe. You know deep inside that you are a stranded traveler who just happened to land on this planet and you yearn for the faces you left behind, the faces of God….And God created man in his image and likeness.

How Did Institutionalized Religion Start?

This is the greatest existential irony: The universe wants change and that why it brings forth prophets and revolutionaries; humans have a predilection for maintaining the status quo and that is why they make religions and institutions to exalt and maintain the legacy of the same prophets and revolutionaries… Do you see the dilemma?

Most probably the founders of major religions like Jesus, Moses, Mohamed and Buddha never intended for their legacy to be made into established religious movements, creeds, doctrines, priesthoods and such, they just wanted to install a new order, a new way of doing things . That is also the reason why none of these wonderful beings even bothered jotting down their teachings. Some actually insisted in not committing their teachings to ink and there is a great wisdom behind this.

It is not the fault of the teacher, it is the fault of overly zealous and devoted followers who loved their teachers and wanted to immortalize their words and acts thru writings and speeches that evolved into what we have today. It is not the fault of the ‘guru' that we have cults and sects but it is always the fault of the followers that idolatrize the man and with their extreme attention and adulation.  The exaltation of the individual that carries the message above the message –which is mainly “love your neighbor as thyself because your neighbor is thyself”- is the reason what we have such a schism in the three major monotheistic religions as these identified themselves only with their respective founders and rejected all others as apostates and idolaters..


About Religion And Sex

Sexuality is the antithesis of Spirituality. The purpose of sexuality is [genetic] diversity while the purpose of spirituality is unity and integration of the soul into the primordial soup of all that exists. This is why men who aspired to a completely devoted spiritual live felt they had to forgo sex to attain that state of being. As a matter of fact, religion is a form of sublimation of sexual instincts.

The control of the sexual drive and the redirection of its energies for the purpose of spiritual attainment is a common motif in all religious paths. Now, how many men were in fact able to afford a completely chaste life in the service of God? I can bet you, very few. Why? Because sainthood is by grace, you just bump into it, you do not intend it, you can't force it and you can't institutionalize it.

The Catholic Church's imposition of celibacy on their priest is as futile and the Muslims trying to prevent their men from being tempted by veiling and practically locking out their women from the world… this just breeds hypocritical, two-faced, schizophrenic and consequently, some very disillusioned societies. As a matter of fact the degree of schizophrenia and hypocrisy in a society or group is directly proportional to the degree woman (and open sensuality) are oppressed. it is true, the more prosperous and open a society is, the shorter the skirts and the wilder the orgies.



What Religious People Need To Understand?

I acknowledge the fact that secularism and "scientism" are sometimes blunt, bullish and insensitive to those of us who are scared to death and are utterly terrorized of all the new stuff that is brought upon us. However, we need to accept the fact that modern technological life is the new game being played and fanaticism, reactivism, radicalism, self-alienation and separation is the wrong path to take as this unnecessary dichotomy deprives society of the spiritual backbone that it needs to stand and build viable social institutions. On the other hand, non-religious people are not necessarily bad people and for the most part, they do not intend to debunk religion and God's role in society. Their stand originates from their commitment to the scientific method: they just cannot believe in something they cannot reduce to formulas and equations. But don't forget that these kinds of people are quite necessary, you know.. the rebellious and inquisitive minds that invent things like computers, televisions, refrigerators, cellular ph ones... things that you can't imagine living without.

What Non Religious People Need To Understand ?

Normal human beings need to wrap their lives around a culturally significant story -what is normally called religion, mythology or core story. That gives us a matrix upon which to build a meaningful and structured existence. Anything outside of the “story” is indefinable, bare, dark, empty, depressing and meaningless. 

It is unarguably true that fanaticism is out of place, but if you pressure a certain group of people and put them in situations that they cannot humanly cope with, they will react and do extreme things that otherwise they would not do. if you check history you would find out that modern orthodoxies and fundamentalisms in all religions is a direct consequence of political and social pressures that these groups have been subject to: Jewish Orthodoxy because of world war II and Nazism; Muslim Brotherhood because of Colonialism and Nasser's concentration camps; Christian Fundamentalism because of the Industrial Revolution and the fast pace of technological progress.

Religious people have a world view that non-religious people do not understand and most of the time they even ridicule. Religious people are not dumb, they just have fears and concerns about where we are going as humans, which are very legitimate and need to be addressed by society.


About The Death Penalty

In an ideal context I would be favorable to the death penalty only for career and hardened criminals who commit murder and enjoy doing it. Some jerks just need to go, nothing anybody can do about it. Society has the right to defend itself and make a strong statement. However I don't believe for a bit that this is a solution we should be proud of and we absolutely have to continue looking for the real reason behind unsocial behavior and more humane and creative ways of curbing crime.

The most powerful argument against the death penalty is may be that there is not such a thing as an ideal society or for that matter, an ideal justice: The fact that there are dubious political agendas, intentional and premeditated economic injustices committed by dominant social groups against blacks and minorities-which make up the vast majority of death-row inmates. The fact that judges, prosecutors and juries are human beings and do commit errors and are vulnerable to social and political pressures thus making it possible for truly innocent people to be erroneously found guilty, sentenced and executed. Also the fact that most people on death row are either poor or minorities is a strong argument against capital punishment: Competent lawyers can make a hell of a difference and these can only be afforded by wealthy individuals.


About Paranormal Phenomena

Some people do have unusual and special gifts that may defy a widely held consensus of reality and normality. We sometimes call them freaks of nature. This basically means that in a specific individual, a particular trait or gift like for example clairvoyance, empathy, healing etc…, manifest itself in its most extreme phase. Freaks do have a purpose in the overall scheme of things. The Shamans, the faith healers and the prophets are a human group's own way of providing for its own physical and psychic survival in challenging environments. Top performing salespeople, athletes and students are also freaks of nature so are genius scientists and extremely successful businesspeople. That is why we call them wizards, they push the limits of what we can humanly accomplish and up the ante of our possibilities.

A word about so called psychics and modern faith healers: As times have changed and our needs and capabilities have changed, our approach should always be skeptical as human nature (and good marketing) tends to inflate claims of a supernatural happening and more often than less, unscrupulous con artists with no other means of earning their living, use these to take advantage of less sophisticated minds and needy and emotionally troubled individuals. 

How do you detect a fraudulent claim for supernatural power? Individuals who are really and genuinely gifted with a supernatural gift, such as vision or telepathy, empathy, prophecy, healing, shamanism are extremely introvert individuals and do not normally seek attention or profit. As a matter of fact, they die poor and alone. If you encounter someone who says is a psychic or a guru and at the same time is a good salesman or marketer, or has managed to build a good marketing machine around himself, you should immediately raise a red flag. Unfortunately and more often than not, and no matter how obvious the signs of fraud are, some people, out of need and despair, will still want to try it out and that is OK to me as long as you don't give away the whole farm in the process. Because let's face it, an overly skeptical or cynical society is not good for the economy: suckers do make the economy go around.


What About Reincarnation?

"My sources are unreliable, but their information is fascinating"
-- Ashleigh Brillian

Serious scientists have undertaken research on this matter and did find strong evidence of some kind of transference or resonance of thoughts and feelings between people who had no previous contact or connection, neither in place nor time. The scientists used regressive hypnosis and trance induction to get to their findings. Apparently the universe seems to be recording staff, ideas, feelings, actions and even skills, well after the actual people who thought, felt, did or had them, died. In other words, your ideas, feelings, actions and skills are not only recorded in your brain or in your genes, but the universe seems to be keeping a backup tape, so to speak, and are out there in the 'ether' for someone to pick up. Some particular people, in special environments and conditions appear to be capable of decoding those ideas and thoughts...for example children knowing detailed information about names of people, their lives and places they lived in and the language they spoke even if they had never been exposed to any of these.

My own personal theory is that people who have the same physical appearance or mental characteristics tend to resonate; like twins, or a mother and her baby, only in this case the resonance happens across time and among people that are not directly related. A person in this century, for example, may be able to pick up on the mental legacy of another deceased person from another previous century. It is not exactly reincarnation, but a transmission and reception of mental frequencies and patterns that apparently and for whatever reason, remained etched in the eather well, this is just one way of viewing it. As a matter of fact, there may not even be any "transmission" involved at all and that this phenomenon actually happens in a dimension where time may not be relevant, what I call timeless flow.

I also firmly believe that the known cases of "reincarnation" or cross-time experience and vision are just extreme manifestations of a phenomenon that in reality is quite normal and has allowed humanity to grow and progress throughout the centuries. It is called Morphic Resonance. I talk about it in detail in another topic. All the new age and hocus pocus that you so much hear about today is mostly just commercial hype.


About Alternative Medicine

Our physical bodies are endowed with incredible intelligence and are prepared to fight and overcome most viral and bacterial attacks. When the body lacked the 'medicine', nature with its herbs and fruits was there to help. Disease overcomes the body only when:

1. The immune system is weak because of lack of nutrients or mental stress and trauma. When the body is busy in defensive tasks it has less energy left for growing and thriving.

2. Exposure to new, mutant or strengthened viruses and bacteria such as the ones carried by foreign invaders, sailors or animals, these ones having somewhat built an immunity against the disease.

3. Bad medicine and bad doctors who stuff patients bodies with harmful drugs and use extremely invasive procedures that end up choking the body and making it vulnerable and weak. Did you notice that many people happen to die shortly after a doctor's visit particularly when the diagnosis is grim? Not to mention the thousands that die because of neglect, malpractice and incompetence. I am absolutely not against conventional medicine but I feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with the current health system when there are as many chances for doctors to save you as there are for them to kill you. Did you watch the movie “Patch Adams”? They had a point there.

Alternative Medicine (also known as Medicine-in-Context and Holistic Medicine) seems to be very effective in cases of psychosomatic ailments where you have to take in consideration the whole being and where just checking the individual ailing parts of the patient will not give you clues about the real problem. Modern Medicine seems to be more effective in resolving 'mechanical' types of dysfunction such as mending a broken rib, removing an appendix or reattaching a severed limb. Both Alternative and modern medicine are complementary and are absolutely necessary. They should be both taught in medical schools.

About Ayurveda And Herbal Medicine

Not all oriental herbal remedies are hocus pocus. The Chinese, particularly, seem to have invented everything well before the Europeans and during a certain historical period some Chinese seem to have had incredible insight not only in fields that affect industry (printing, cast iron), war (Martial Arts, gun powder, rockets) and economy (paper money) but also medicine and botany. I can't vouch for every Chinese product claiming to do miracles for your health but I can tell that there must be some kernel of truth in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, which even if not fully understood, seem to be a very highly developed medical technologies.


Evolutionism Or Creationism? 

"Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion; rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science"... Gary Zukav

Evolutionists are wrong. Humans do no come from 'm'onkeys, they come from 'd'onkeys. There was a typo in Darwin 's book. Jokes aside, I believe that the core reason behind this debate is political and ideological and not factual or scientific. We just don't have enough data right now to afford to be dogmatic about this issue or any other issue for that matter. Creationists say that evolutionists are wrong because they leave God out, and evolutionists say creationists are wrong because they take the Bible too literally. I surely darn wish that this debate continue for ever, life is just too boring when everybody agrees. On the other hand, I personally believe that some times we fail to understand that intelligence is not confined to the human brain. Intelligence is also impersonal and unbound. It's found everywhere, in nature, in the universe, in animals and plants, even in winds, fires and even cities and their traffic patterns.

It just happens that humans have been assigned the task of telling this marvelous story of life. There is not a doubt that there is an "intelligent" and purposeful design that permeates all existence, but we won't have much of an idea about how we come to be where we are unless we understand the processes and the dynamics that make things go from practically 'empty space' to reaching that proverbial critical mass that makes them individualized entities, and from there to being more complex individualized entities. Only then we will finally be able to answer the question "who was first, the chicken or the egg?" My answer? In the beginning it was aaaall a messy omelet.


About Racism

"To Generalize is to be an idiot"
--William Blake

Some say that God created humans in different shapes and colors because he likes diversity and made racially contrasting humans to complement each other and live in multicolor love and harmony. Hogwash. The reality is that nature likes a good fight and that is why it created diversity. The main purpose of diversity in nature is competition and collaboration is only observed under rare and extreme instances of environmental pressure.

Racial diversity within species fulfills two main purposes:

First, real or imaginary differences will create energy and energy is all what the universe is after. No point asking if there is a difference between whites and blacks (beside the physical features and the skin color) because it doesn't matter, as long as there is an ‘idea of difference' there will be a sense of separateness and the consequent conflicts and hostilities and the universe just loves it. As a matter of fact, we perceive the world around us thru "discrimination" and "differentiation". Distinguishing between one things and its opposite is how we build experience and is the foundation of language and human culture. In this sense, racism is the fouling of a basic and very necessary instinct.

Second, Racial diversity has the purpose of adaptation for different ecologic environments. Before the advent of trade and inter-continental sea travel there was not such a thing as racism because of the geographic separation between the different human groups namely blacks, whites and Asians. They were of course clan tensions and skirmishes for the purpose of predominance and control over resources within the different racial groups but not racism the way we experience it today. Racial tensions, as we understand them today, are the result of migrations and transplantation (voluntary or not) of disparate human groups into a new economic, social or State system.

There are four primary reasons for racism: systemic, biologic, social and political.

Systemic: Racism is an exaggerated manifestation of what already exists in all of us individually, that is, the illusion of separateness and believing that the other (race, ethnic group, social class...) are different and separate from us. In other words, racism is there to get our attention to the fact that we all harbor the seed of racism in our heart when we are selfish, uncaring, indifferent and uncompassionate to other people's plight. If you think about it, it is not really of our choosing: nature made us this way: Remember that there is a pecking order even among animals. Yes, social classes and hierarchies have always existed and will continue to exist as long as nature has its way. In the same manner that in the jungle the strongest gorilla gets all the females, in our societies a few will always be at the top (eating the best foods and enjoying the good life) while the vast majority will be languishing at the bottom, supporting the lifestyle of those at the top. This is why it is so hard to attain economic equality: those at the bottom, who complain and call for justice, are just crying to be a the top. It is inevitable like a coin can't have just one face. If there are some at the top, there has to be some at the bottom and we have no way out except maybe finding ways to make life at the bottom more bearable.

Biologic: Nature wired us with certain defense mechanisms that allowed us to survive and compete efficiently when we were hunters and gatherers, in an environment where natural resources were limited. The problem with these mechanisms is that they don't automatically disappear when that environment changes or when our needs and circumstances are different. They tend to remain and take a hidden, repressed form and they resurge when certain memories, actions, events and people subliminally and subconsciously remind us of other more hostile circumstances (I am talking about the collective consciousness here). So we react and do things out of instinct and automatic reflex with no regards to the actual necessity of such reactions. In other words, many of our ideas, actions, reactions and behaviors are completely anachronistic and out of place. Today, things have changed: we are supposed to be what we call 'civilized', and by civilized I mean that we have overcome our animal nature and have entered a more intelligent, disciplined and thoughtful condition. Unless we are aware and have disciplined our minds to think rationally and in the present, we won't know the difference between a real threat and a merely instinctive feeling.

Social: People tend to stereotype (downwards) others of different extraction or belief, and act upon it, particularly in times of great economic hardship. Strangely, everyone seems to get along pretty well when the economy is going well and everyone is working and making money. No matter what country you go to, you always find a group that looks down on another group: white Americans down on black Americans, Spaniards down on Gypsies, northern Italians down on southern Italians, French down on Belgians, Serbians down on Albanians, and the list goes on. The story generally is that the looked-down-at group is either lazy, dumb, slobs, or who knows what, which is outright baloney, because there is no hard facts about what a specific ethnic group is or is not. Even if that was the case, help them for goodness sake, be compassionate, teach them skills, lend them money, help them start businesses, not look down at them ... and enjoy it. People left to their natures will go out of their way to find someone to look down at. It is like if we absolutely needed a 'dark' contrast to accentuate our 'light'. The fact is that we feel less miserable when we make someone else more miserable that we are.

Political: Lies and false storytelling by politicians and greedy individuals from dominant groups to discredit and scapegoat a defenseless minority is also a factor in racism. People in authority who have a vested economic or strategic interest in segregation will make up stories and promote them so they can hide their own implication and responsibility in current social problems by putting the entire burden on a particular, unpopular minority. Political sanction and premeditated instigation is key in taking racism to the levels of Nazi Germany in the 30's and 40's, or the American South before the activist movement.


About Black In America

There is no doubt in anybody's mind that in America and for a long time, there was a shameless and premeditated political intent to keep blacks down socially and economically. Why? Let's face it, when given the same resources as whites, blacks tend to do as well or even better than whites. They already sing better, dance better, they are better athletes, they dress better and are more spiritual. If given the same opportunities for economic and intellectual growth they would leave whites in the dust… well I say this half jokingly because frankly, I don't believe for a moment that any race is better than any other or that a particular race is inherently good at something and another race is hopelessly bad at another thing. That is a myth. Anything that involves humans is subject to change and if someone, I don't care what the color of her skin, wants something badly enough, let it be in sport, or business or science or literature, and invest resources accordingly - I am speaking about both individuals and groups - they can accomplish almost anything they set their mind to do.

Why aren't blacks in America doing better after all these years of reforms, increased opportunities and legal improvements? That is a soul issue… you remember what I said previously about “original sins” and how pointing to these and dealing with them can solve many problems. Blacks didn't come to America as willing immigrants seeking for better opportunities. They were forced to come here against their will. They were kidnapped, chained and hoarded in ships like cattle. This is the original sin that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with. How? They don't need reparations nor an apology from whites (one would be warranted but other blacks were as much involved in the slave trade as were the Europeans and the Arabs). What I envision is a mythical reenactment where many black Americans will travel to Africa, kiss the land of their ancestors and board a ship toward the “promised land beyond the western seas”… but this time do it on their own accord. What a cathartic experience that would be. This will free that much tormented black soul to seek that so much desired place of equal partnership with whites and other ethnic groups in America .


Why Do People Gossip And Enjoy Putting Others Down?

The answer is found in the Psychic Economy: By the time you are seven years old, all the vital energy that God has put in your soul to sustain you during your earthly journey has been sucked up by either your screwed-up and incompetent parents or /and by a clueless society. This extreme deficit of psychic (soul, mental, spiritual) energy is experienced by almost all of us. This energy allowed us to feel good and at home inside our bodies and out there in the world. A lack of it makes us feel week, alienated and powerless. One way of getting back this energy, if we don't know how to get it from within, is to "steal" it from someone else. One way to do that is to prey on other people's faults, inadequacies and weaknesses, and somehow put them down, physically through violence (school bully), or with words (office gossip).


About Sex Before Marriage

First: We should ask what sex is. In its essence sex, even if it is consensual, is a ‘violent' act, and it implies a kind of "wounding". Think about it: You take your penis and you insert it in the body of another person. No wonder when man talk about the sexual act they generally use terms as fuck, screw, nail, ride, hump ... all terms that imply that the one that is "penetrating" is in a position of power, and the one that is "penetrated" is the one that is "screwed", "fucked", "nailed"... the disenfranchised one. Neither men nor women are consciously aware of this fact because nature has made it so pleasurable for both that no one is really complaining. Nature has tricked us.

Nevertheless, deep inside, subconsciously, we are somehow aware of the "wounding" involved in the sexual act and that is why we need to approach it "ceremoniously", with respect, with a clear awareness of the implicit boundaries. You know why incest is so terrible and why children who are abused sexually end up so bad as adults, messed up and cocaine addicts? That is because children are somehow aware of this fact and when an adult approaches a child sexually, it automatically registers as violence in the child's mind and generates feelings of worthlessness, dirtiness, of being violated, intruded upon, that the temple of the body was invaded and the precious content of the soul was taken as spoil. These feelings stay a long time. One way for victims of sexual abuse to find healing is first to realize that the one or ones who did the wounding were themselves wounded and that it is their -the victims- responsibility to close the cycle of sin and find healing. Then they can embark in a journey to recover the holy grail of innocence. They can do this by using visualization to redeem the past and reclaim a better future. Try visualizing a bright red and bloody opening in your skin and see it close and gradually dry up to leave not even a scar. Other imagery can be used too. The results are amazing and people's lives are changed for ever.

Second: Remember what we talked about earlier: Biology does not get along well with Society. Sex is a biological need. Marriage is an economic and social need. Humans left to their own devices will be jumping each others bones like the Bonobo monkeys of Zaire . The marriage institution is an economic tool to aggregate resources between different families. It is also a social tool to limit and control procreation and keep it within the boundaries of what the group can reasonably sustain.

Today the situation is a little more complicated, particularly with the change in the roles of sexes and the women's ability to earn income and with all the new advances in birth control.

To summarize, sex should only be between adults and a good rule of thumb, in my opinion, is to make love to only that one we truly care for and with whom we have entered into some kind of understanding, covenant or/and commitment: that is what sexual intercourse symbolizes: union, fusion and caring. Casual and physical sex without this caring and commitment unleashes universal karmic wrath against the participants. No kidding.


Why Do We Like Music And Movies? 

Words put to music may have been a mnemonic tool for humans before the advent of writing. It is much easier to recall something when it is composed using structured patterns of words and sounds. Stories were much easier to remember when attached to tunes and melodies than if they were in bare, unstructured prose. Theatre on the other hand may have been a means to reenact intense and unresolved social feelings for the purpose of self-affirmation and/or catharsis.

Why Do We Like Music?

If you have read so far I guess you are already familiar with the principle of necessary presence of opposite poles. Just look around you. Can you count how many ugly prose and dissonant sounds you encounter every day of your life. Not to mention conflicts and violence. Well if these exist and according to the above mentioned principle, the presence of the opposite, I mean harmony, love, empathy which find their most sublime embodiment in our music and arts, is also implied. In other words if you see one side of the coin, you know there is an opposite side of it. This applies to basically everything in nature. The answer to the question ‘what is this so?' is most of the time “because there is the opposite'.

Music and People:

Music, dance and storytelling in all its forms fulfill either of two purposes: Affirm or Escape. Affirming life and escaping from it fulfill one purpose: surviving life by feeling good in one's own body.

There are two levels to this: conscious and subliminal:

Conscious: very simply we just like to be entertained. Hear or see something not directly related to our lives, that will make us forget about our grim daily existence. Songs and movies are stories and we like stories that make us feel good, that help affirm who we are and reassure us that we are not alone in our weaknesses and shortcomings.

Subliminal: It is true that the nature of music, movies and art in general, are deep, subliminal and pan-dimensional, and their purpose is to trigger responses in our bodies that make us feel good and consequently accept our lot in life. This is done thru life affirming and transforming stories that use beautiful, harmonic and symbolic representations. We should not forget that most of human communication happens on a subliminal -not conscious- level and It is true that man does make art, but at the same time, art makes him: good music for example, aligns the hearer to the harmonies and rhythms of the universe; It speaks to us with a language that our inner-self understands; It connects us to a continuum of actions, memories and times, of our own and those of our ancestors; It elevates us to the creative higher planes where only gods abide.


About Speech Impediments And Stuttering?

Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Winston Churchill were known stutterers. There is very little known about the cause of stuttering and how to fix it. What do I think causes stuttering? My unproven theory is that the cause may be found in the family system and immediate social environment (we have been talking all along about systems dynamics and how they influence our behavior). Why do I think that? I have noticed that once the stutterer leaves his familiar settings, or starts speaking another language, or practices activities at which he or she is very good at and feels confident, the stuttering significantly diminishes or disappears all together. Stuttering also disappears during singing and also when the individual speaks out of an already memorized script. Another interesting observation is that I have never met a stutterer that is a jerk or a nasty person. Stutterers are for the most part boys (very few girls stutter) and these boys are good natured, kind, sensitive people. This means that they internalize family and personal conflict and tension and do not externalize them through rage, violence or bullying others-what all other boys do by nature and testosterone. And this is the fact that all stutterers should be aware of: the internalization of conflict which may be the cause of their predicament. An individual that stutters experiences tremendous tensions and forces in the areas of the mouth, tongue, jaw muscles and lips. This tension and energy is generated by feelings of inadequacy and emotional displacement. If this kind of people doesn't get enough support, encouragement and affirmation from their parents and social environment, they will not go out and beat the heck out of someone to release and drown these emotion s, they will stutter. Again, it is amazing how we are able to do these things, but here they are.

Now the real question is what is the fix? How to heal Stuttering?

I have no official medical training but, like with everything else, King Mikas always has a theory. Stutterers who are made aware of the forces and dynamics involved in their predicament, who are determined to get rid of the problem, apply techniques and follow good therapies, do experience incredible improvement to the point that sometimes the stuttering becomes unnoticeable or altogether disappears.

So, if you stutter you need:

1. Move to a different country where they speak a different language.
2. Know that you can overcome stuttering and be determined to get rid of the problem.
3. Meet supportive individuals. Stutterers get ridiculed a lot. This is expected and shouldn't be taken too personally. The world is just full of idiots. What can you do?
4. Awareness of the forces and tensions involved.
5. Awareness of your body, feel your breathing, your mouth, your tongue, your jaws, your lips (have a real relationship with your body).
6. Learn proven systems and techniques by reading books about stuttering.
7. Look for and adopt good therapies such as the McGuire Program.
8. Last but not least, confidence, confidence, confidence. Practice personality affirming activities such as martial arts, singing, acting and theater (stutterers, like by magic, stop stuttering when they are singing or acting on a theatrical role), starting an ambitious project, creating something new and incredible. Find things that will prove your excellence and do them.


Why Teenagers Are So Peculiar?

There is a direct relationship between immaturity and absolutism. Teenagers are not mature yet and tend to look at things in very absolute terms: either I am in or I am out; either I am cool or I am a dork; either I am beautiful or I am ugly, either you love me or you hate me and so on and so forth. The sense of belonging, of being a part of a group, of fitting in, of being accepted is vital in the still limbic-brained teenager. If I was a parent I would have them read Einstein's theory of relativity and explain to them that the universe is not that clear-cut, pre-determined place it seems to be. After that the problem will be finding a good argument for building a good moral foundation and imposing boundaries and guidelines when everything is relative and nothing you do seems to really matter within the whole scheme of things. Good luck to you daddy and mammy. But remember, chaos and confusion -to a certain degree-are OK so please stay cool and don't blow things out of proportion.

I have also touched previously on the importance of finding ways to introduce our young people to adulthood thru culturally significant rituals, by responsible and caring adults.

Passing from childhood to adulthood is a horrible ordeal for most young people. Hormonal changes, physical changes (the brain can't catch up with the body), complex relationships with friends and parents, new social expectations, are very hard to face unless you are taken by the hand by someone who has already been there and sees you through it, preferably someone who is not your parent: other relatives may be, or other wise and caring individuals who are sanctioned by the community. Parents are just too emotionally involved with their kids and are too sucked in the internal, dysfunctional family systems dynamics to effect real change. This is what initiation is all about. Hazing is a very, very, very poor substitute for serious social initiation. It is a distorted reaction to the lack of real social and cultural initiation. Hazing, in most instances even if I do recognize that there may be a few exceptions, is performed by immature, brutal and dysfunctional individuals who just found a legal and accepted way of bullying and harassing others. Hazing is very much like the blind leading the blind, and leaves nothing of value in the lives of those who go thru it.


Why Japanese Make Better Cars Than Americans?

Americans are a very creative bunch, but the Japanese attribute a moral value to the quality of their work. In other words, their work is their religion. Americans were too proud and failed to learn from the Japanese, but the Japanese skillfully integrated American manufacturing and management techniques and added their own work values. You put together American technology and creativity and Japanese work ethics and you get a.. Lexus.


What Happened In Yugoslavia, Iraq, Sudan? 

Albanians, and before them the Tutsis, Armenians, Jews and the list goes on. It all starts the same way. A Machiavellian politician finds it politically or economically advantageous to target a certain minority within the country, makes up a story (you have to make up one because facts are hard to come by) to legitimize the disenfranchisement of that particular minority-they crucified Christ so they deserve to die, or they are wearing the wrong hat so they deserve to be dispatched from the land of living and so on- . The populace buys it and all hell brakes loose. Of course when that minority is gotten rid of by deportation or genocide, the politician and his cronies get to keep their land, gold, money...They darn need money to finance their "campaigns". It is not hard to figure out, just follow the money trail. Today it is mostly the oil trail.

Now the question is why the west ( Europe and the US ) is so interested in this particular conflict? Follow the oil trail and you will find out. Well it is a simple geo-economico-political matter. Look at the map of the Caspian Sea and you may understand. Yugoslavia and the Danube River is a crucial route to Western Europe for Oil produced in South Eastern Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan . Never forget that the big powers do not generally get involved just because countries are experiencing religious or ethnic strife, but there has to be a tangible, economic stake for a war to reach the level of Kosovo, Iraq or Lebanon. Remember that wars need weapons, weapons need money, a lot of it, and to get a lot of money you need to convince a banker, bankers need collateral. You see?

To prove this, look at what happened in Rwanda . Why didn't the superpowers intervene and stop the carnage when it was well known that a genocide was being orchestrated by the Hutus and was about to be carried on. Very simply because Rwanda had no oil, it is too poor, too remote and too black for the superpowers to dirty their hands for.

This kind of political cynicism is proving to be more and more a liability and I expect the superpowers to be more discerning in future conflicts. As a matter of fact, the increase in transnational terrorism and the unique leadership style of American president George Bush may actually bring a ‘happy' and much expected paradigm shift in world politics. It is going to be really messy at the beginning but the world is clamoring for change and change will inevitably happen.


About Abortion

The battle around Abortion is a battle of arguments, nothing else. Both parties are right; Life is surely sacred and a woman has right to the fruits of her own body. The question is, if life is sacred, is it always sacred or just sometimes and for a certain category of humans. Is the life of a soldier, for example, sacred? Apparently not, because society is quite unanimous in that respect: the life of a soldier is expandable. The issue comes down to this: the ones with the most energy and enthusiasm, the better [legal] argument, and of course, the most money to pay for Public Relations and lobbying will win.

Personally, I believe that anything we do to elevate and respect life, in all its forms, is good. However I am quite aware of the economic and emotional effects of having an unwanted child. So I can't be but very compassionate to those who have to go thru such a decision.

The fact of the matter is that we do not know the long term ramification of most of our human ideas and undertakings and what pisses me off more that anything else is the lack of humility in both sides. If Hitler's mom would have aborted him, 50 million human beings may have been spared. If some unknown mother would have given a chance to her baby to live he may have become a great leader and solved the world's hunger problem. We do not know. There is no rationale behind the current extreme polarization of the two camps except may be that it is a very effective tool for “rallying the troops” and for fundraising by Christian fundamentalist ministers on one side and feminist and leftist movements on the other.


About Homosexuality

Men's Homosexuality: There is a great debate today about homosexuality and if it is genetic or acquired. In my opinion it is completely irrelevant. You know, the human body and human interactions are so complex that any attempt to explain why things happen is quite futile. The fact of the matter is that some things “just happen” and when they happen and take a certain critical mass you have to deal with them… intelligently.

The main problem we have with homosexuality today is that most people have made up their minds about what is normal and what is not. There may no be an essential, clear cut truth, but the currently widely held and acted upon social attitudes towards homosexuality is a hard reality that we have to deal with, and unless people's perceptions change, homosexuals will continue to experience rejection and hardships.

We also fail to understand homosexuality in the same manner we fail to understand other social phenomena such as hate, racism, poverty, wealth, physical and mental disease, genius, abuse, crime and so on. We fail to see society as a whole entity with its own dynamics, separate from the dynamics of its individual components. Homosexuality, particularly in its modern exaggerated manifestations (discrete homosexual feelings in men and women may not be that uncommon) is a systemic actualization of deep rooted dysfunctions and incongruence, namely, patriarchy and militaro-chauvinistic-macho-male-dominated societies that have repressed children and woman-and the feminine component of men- for millennia, viewing them and treating them like sub-human entities. Remember this principle: The more society represses a force, attitude or feeling, the more that feeling will manifest itself in ways that will claim for attention -the feminine characteristics are most striking when they are expressed by males- those repressed emotions get subtly acted out by select members of the group, and generally, manifesting the repressed feeling in exaggerated and caricaturesque manner. It is amazing how we are able to do these things but that is how it happens.

Women's Homosexuality: If men's homosexuality may be fundamentally a systemic and biologic thing, women's homosexuality is a completely different animal: it is just common sense, or even better, the culmination of thousands of years of intelligent human evolution. In the past, women partnered with men because they didn't have any other choice. We men are selfish, insensitive, uncaring, we don't listen, we don't clean, most of us don't cook and we are slobs, beer-drinking-sport-tv-watching-coutch-pototo-sons-of-bitches and our supreme purpose is to secure a womb and perpetuate our genes … in one word we are unlovable. Cultural taboos protected us for a while but no more. So now you know, women are falling in love with other women very simply because they are more lovable.

Now what should be society's attitude toward gays? They may be different and we may not agree with their sexual practices, but the gay movement has reached such a critical mass that it has earned the same status as a culture, a nationality or an ethnic group and it's expected that it will demand recognition and a "space under the sun".

An enlightened society will not demonize or marginalize them because that will only push them closer to despair and self-alienation. A society that overreacts or acts irrationally will just create an explosive situation: if the emotions and feelings are already there, it will be stupid to repress them. The role of society is to help them express themselves in a responsible, healthy and constructive manner. Society should consider their special needs and require from gays the same respect, responsibilities and adherence to the laws of the land as from the rest of its members.


The Future Of The Internet

It is impossible to predict with accuracy, but by just looking at the current trends we can comfortably say that the Internet will play an important role in business because of its three main characteristics: Its global reach, its interactivity and the way it converges all kinds of media into one. The World Wide Web will usher a new paradigm in human communications and business. We haven't seen anything yet in terms of applications and tangible impact on the way we live and do business. By the way, don't fool yourself, the recent bust in the internet industry was normal and predictable and by no stretch of the imagination we should think that the Internet is dead: Young dotcomers and others who have benefited from the Internet boom will come back once they are done aestivating in the tropics. They will come back and bring their millions to bear.


The Future Of Education

The Internet will allow us to access all kinds of information easily and cheaply. The ever increasing miniaturization of computers and the remote Internet will allow us to access that information anywhere, anytime. This will sign the demise of education as we know it. In addition and as I pointed earlier to the Media as being one of the newest creatures in social evolution, will become pervasive and the sheer competitiveness of the information industry will make it an unparalleled means for propagating information in a scale never seen before.

Some knowledge that has been the domain of hermetic societies and fraternities and that was kept jealously away from the common people will be made widely available by peer-to-peer software like Emu le and Bittorrent, and audio and video website like Google Video and Youtube . So governments be warned, knowledge that has been secret before will become public domain. Those who have relied on secrecy and hidden knowledge to gain power and ascendance in society will have a lot of problems coping with the new environment and will eventually be extinct, giving room for the rise to a more dynamic, challenge-loving and creative elite, or at least that is what we all hope


The Future Of Management And Leadership

Look to the Western United States ( California , Washington and Oregon ) and the gulf cities of Dubai and Doha for new trends: the damnable necktie will finally disappear and we will all live happier ever after… You wished, we all wished. 

For a long time, businesses and even countries were run by people who somehow were loners, charismatic, eloquent, had strong personalities and got people to work and produce through instilling the fear of losing job, punishment, sometimes physical ill-treatment and even elimination. The new leaders are different, instead of loners they work in teams, instead of charismatic they are knowledgeable in their specific fields -i.e. not idiots; instead of eloquence they have substance; instead of strong personalities they have good -management-systems; instead of using fear and intimidation, they use good incentive programs.


The Next Dominant Paradigm

Paradigms are driving patterns, living metaphors, matrixes made of ideas and experiences, frameworks that hold and sustain our cultural and social infrastructures and institutions at a specific point in history. Einstein, for example, introduced us to the concept of relativity. The theory of relativity was not only a scientific discovery but a new paradigm, a new way of thinking and interpreting the world and reality that went well beyond the scope of physics and infiltrated philosophy, life sciences and even politics, administration, business and religion. The theory of relativity, put simply, states that physical phenomena (and all other phenomena for that matter) can only be construed in relative and not absolute terms. This was in complete contrast to the previous mechanistic, deterministic Newtonian paradigm, which basically predicated a more absolute, inflexible universe.

The next great idea after relativity, I believe, will be connectivity. Some of the essence behind this cobweb of horizontal time and vertical space that make our manifest existence will finally be understood. The Internet is a great anticipatory metaphor for this new coming paradigm. Einstein's theory of relativity told us that physical phenomena can only be explained in terms of probabilities and not absolutes. It opened us up to the idea that reality may not be that "clear-cut” and allowed us to build institutions that allowed room for more flexibility and acceptance of diverse points of view. We finally realized that our own little ethnocentric groups and cultures were not the center of the world and that the universe's center is everywhere and its circumference is nowhere. On the same token, the concept of connectivity will teach us that everything is connected to everything else and that life is in reality a wholesome unity and that individuality, boundaries, cultures, religions, nations, are just evolutionary stepping stones. Once we are jolted out of our own constrained, local, idiosyncratic infinite loops, we will move into a more enlightened view of life and the world, then we will finally see that "Our neighbor is really ourselves". Is this ever going to happen? Yes and sooner than we think and we are going to experience the positive and negative aspects of it, particularly if we, as a race, are not aware of the dynamics involved. On the positive side we are going to enjoy the benefits of global communications, trade, and culture and so on. On the negative side, evils that inflict other parts of the world such as poverty, violence, humiliations, terrorisms will pretty much affect and will be felt by everyone else, more than ever before, even in places that were thought to be invulnerable, such as western Europe and the United States.

As a matter or fact and after the collapse of Communism, many a historian predicated the end of history as we know it and the consequent dawn of a new era of peace and cosmic reconciliation, where the lion would finally lie down with the lamb. We humans are very impressionable creatures, and we generally choose to ignore the fact that life is run by immutable principles: the dialectic conflict between the forces of 'good' and those of 'evil" is an intricate component of the fabric of life. We had in fact enjoyed an unprecedented prosperity in the West in the last twenty years and were practically oblivious of the increasing poverty and deprivations of most of the world's population. We have gotten away with this for now but for how long? We are a planet and humanity is in essence one. You neglect and forsake one part of it and that part will come back one day and bite you in the ass, or wherever is most painful. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. So my conclusion is that if we see so little done in this area is because our leaders and politicians are just dim-witted and have absolutely no global consciousness whatsoever.


Are There Other Things More Important Than Money?

Yes. First, it is optimism and confidence. Second, it is a caring community.

Optimism and Confidence: you can be without a dime, but if you have confidence and trust in yourself, that is enough capital to build on. Confidence is not just an attitude, it is an aphrodisiac to our ability to excel and bit the odds. It is like steroids to the will. Confidence changes our body's chemical composition and our mindset. A word of confidence from a boss, a spouse or a friend is invaluable and can change a man's destiny from mediocrity to excellence.

Caring Community: A healthy relationship to money is key to ones survival in this world. Money is a form of energy. You need it to move around in the system. However, a tightly knit community, that is aware and cares for the individuals that compose it. A community where those that have more wealth become the help and the mentors to those who have less so that all may have enough. Generally, people are much happier when they are surrounded by an excess of communal interaction, friendship, beauty, art, music and dance...than they are when surrounded by an excess of money and material wealth.



People I admire The Most

I do admire the so called "successful people" -which are normally people who have learned how to climb the political or corporate hierarchical ladders and consequently have made tons of money- and I do it because I have to, in the same manner as society needs to appreciate these bastards and reward them accordingly if it wants a growing and dynamic economy. Societies that do not appreciate those who make a lot of money will not be blessed with a vibrant entrepreneurial class. But deep inside, the people I really like are the ones that transcend their own limited individuality and take upon themselves the burden of whole nations. Dr Martin Luther King Jr., the black American activist, for example, died defending garbage workers in Memphis , Tennessee . People like that still appear on the face of the earth, but we rarely hear about them because they are killed as soon as they arise, or if still alive, they are socially reclusive or just too poor to afford good marketing.

On the other hand, it is impossible to know enough about anyone else besides oneself and judge for integrity. I can assure you that if everything was known about anyone, no one will be found blameless. We should never confuse image with reality: some people are just too skillful in building an attractive image that has nothing to do with who they really are.

The following are what I think are qualities of people with integrity:

  • They are not self-centered: they are community oriented.
  •  They are disciplined and committed.
  •  They love life and people, all people.
  • They are good providers, for their families and communities.
  • They are never extremely wealthy in money, and if they are, it is purely accidental.
  • They are extremely wealthy in fri ends and enemies, and that is not accidental.
  •  They are good stewards and have a keen sense of responsibility
  • Their work is full-hearted.
  •  They always return what they borrow.
  •  They are never dishonest for profit.
  • They do not antagonize: They tend to reconciliation.
  • They never say "let me finish" when you cut them off.
  •  They make everyone around them feel special
  •  They brush their teeth regularly and use deodorant..

well I am running out of virtues, I can't think of anything else.



What Is A Good Human Quality?

The best human quality has to do with essence and not with something that you say or do. Great quality people are “felt” before they are seen or heard.

Having said this, one very important quality I believe is thinking and the least used faculty for that matter. Humans just seem to be happy bumbling around in automatic mode, regurgitating what others have said and done...The world will be a different place if we, from time to time, just sat and thought on our own a little bit. Do you know what in my opinion is the best desired outcome of thought? it is absolute silence. If you can express your thoughts better in the sound of silences rather than those of words, then you have arrived my friend.

What Is Another Good Human Quality

Discipline. A man left to his own nature will degenerate and tend to laziness and sloth, both physically and mentally. The "original" of who we are has already happened in some dimension out there, and our mortal coil is nothing more than a poor and badly distorted version of that, but the irony and ineffable paradox of all this is that we have to work very hard to meet our destiny. Destiny is not a nanny that cradles you in your infantile oblivion, but a skilled weaver on a loom with his eyes on a blueprint, interlacing the threads of your time and your space, the yarn of your true past and that of your best potential future, thus creating the tapestry of who you are. In you is the weaver, in you is the thread, in you is the blueprint.

Human progress is acquired through sweat and premeditated and systematic determination to acquire a better future condition. Nothing that is life changing and beautiful happens spontaneously, without someone initiating the process through intellectual creativity or simply hard work, courage and guts. Germans, for example, have made considerable contributions to human knowledge in all areas. Einstein, Freud, Goethe, Mozart, Beethoven, and the list goes on for ever. I believe this is because of a social structure that encourages discipline, frugality and adherence to very strict rules and work values. Ironically, that is also what opened the doors to Hitler and Nazism, but that is a different story.



What Are The Main Requirements For Success?

"All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income"
--- Samuel Butler


Why pundits with knowledge arcane
Can’t fathom and can’t explain
Why the world is so insane
With its superachievers on the fast lane
Its hustlers after fortune and material gain
The incessant highs that we strive to attain
The gadgets that we made for our happiness in vain
And the environments that we created but can’t sustain
Should I tell you of a very old refrain
of our soul and its millennial stain
That to avoid the real source of our misery and bane
We created artifacts for the management of our pain

The key factor behind most people's material success is their consuming desire to win. We win because others give in. we intimidate them with our aggressive, almost paranoid desire to have the upper hand. If this is what you want, let me help you mess up your life. I have some tips for you:

First and absolutely first, you need to focus: focus and concentration in one and only one area of knowledge or work is necessary to reach a high level or skill and accomplishment. Focus more than your IQ, emotional intelligence, social intelligence or physical strength will determine how you fair in life. I personally know quite a few individuals that would qualify as bonified idiots but still were successful at "Forest-Gumping" their way into the highest echelons of corporate life. These guys knew what they wanted and charged toward the goal like mad bulls. Please, spare humanity some pain and don't be like them.

Second, You have to understand the basic, underlying principles for your field or industry. Nature has already provided us with incredible forces to help us take off in our endeavors. We just need to tap into them. For example, we wouldn't be able to fly huge planes if there wasn't a principle called lift; we wouldn't be riding ships if there wasn't a principle called buoyancy, and we would be still using candles if there wasn't a principle called electromagnetic polarity. The same applies to other less scientific fields, such as sales, managements, public speaking, banking, manufacturing, starting a business, hiring people, corporate cultures, and promotions and so on. The point I want to make is that you have to learn the techniques and you have to look for a wave to ride. Either a wave provided by nature, or government, or wealthy sponsors and protectors. I have never known a person who has made any inroads in business or politics that hasn't had a brake somewhere in his/her career, either thru luck (great market opportunity), government subsidies, or the backing of wealthier entities.

After you have grasped the basic principles and fundamentals of your specific field or industry you need:

  • Learn from the experts
  • Build upon that
  • Come up with stuff on your own
  • And then you will need a big dose of confidence, drive and an unrelenting desire to win at any cost.

"Success" For Countries: Third world countries remain "poor" for six main reasons (I put success and poor between quotes because they do not reflect my definition neither of success nor poverty, I am just relating what is occurring today in the world):

1. They have failed to follow these principles:

-Orientation: The nation has to be “west” oriented. Despite its ruthlessness and many shortcomings, the game being played today is the Western Civilization's game. Explorations and breakthroughs happen when we head for the western frontier. Japanese and Chinese are ahead of everybody because even if they hate westerners they love western culture. Not the case for Middle Easterners for example, who are “East” oriented.

-Coherence: The absence of strife between the economic aspirations and the cultural, religious and traditional constitution of the nation is key in allowing the individuals to embark boldly and without reserve into the path to progress and prosperity.

-Order: Unless a country has strong government and administrative institutions, including the military and police forces, and are capable of controlling and reining in the most extreme factions of society, it is going to be really hard to institute change and build a strong base for cultural and economic advancement. You can't build a nation on a foundation of chaos and mayhem. A balance is always hard to achieve and that is when we get police and totalitarian States.

-Thrust: A strong leadership that is courageous, has clear goals, able to plan and execute without compromise can turn a whole country around within just a few years.

2. A key factor in the predicament that Third World countries find themselves in lies in the nature and quality of their leadership. Most Third World countries have rulers but not leaders. Rulers govern, control and their main concern is to maintain power, stability and the status quo. Leaders on the other hand guide, manage growth, strategize and their main concern is to direct their peoples thru optimal paths of change and improvement. The reason why this is palpably lacking in poor countries should be a matter of extensive and serious study. My theory is that for any civilization to be able to progress it needs to create a good number of good quality people, people with great intellect, deep vision, rooted in solid spiritual and moral values, people with balls of steel. Nine out of ten of these exceptional individuals will inevitably be murdered or made ineffective by powerful agents who have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are. As long as one of those exceptional people survives and gets the word out and is heard, we will be OK. Now what happens in the Southern Hemisphere is that we see very few of these kind of people and when one appears he is immediately dispatched. So now you know, NO GOOD QUALITY PEOPLE WITH COJONES OF STEEL, NO PROGRESS.

3. Third world countries do not generally tolerate political or religious dissent among their members and they impose conformity using the most brutal means. As I mentioned in a previous topic, the ability and willingness of a few to dissent and “stray from the beaten path' and the tolerance of their societies for them to do it, is key to cultural and economic progress. You can require conformity but as long as you cut some slack to a few and give them license to snick out and tread on the unknown territories of the mind, you will be OK.

4. Rich countries just don't give a damn (even if they appear to be concerned). The fact of the matter is that The West is content as long as third world countries keep the price of labor and natural resources low and flowing. It is a known fact that American and European governments have helped establish brutal and oppressive rulers in some countries with complete disregard to the welfare of their peoples. Now they are realizing it wasn't that smart of a strategy. These politicians should wake up because we live in a completely different dispensation: Wealth is created through inventiveness and exchange, mixed with a healthy dose of respect for nature and the environment -and that includes respecting human beings-. Globalization (cultural more so than commercial) is inevitable, but it is going to be very messy as it unfolds, and will create a lot of alienation and pain before we can reap its benefits as a human race.

5. Poor countries lack viable legislative and political infrastructures for sustainable economic growth. As in every other game there are tips and tricks to the economic progress game. Rich countries know these techniques but there is no political will to share them.

6. Poor countries just missed the boat. To participate in the wealth of the industrial and information revolutions you have to adopt the ways and principles that created and sustained them. Otherwise you will be just playing your own game while others are enjoying the party. Social and economic development are not difficult because information is not available, but they are difficult because societies in poor countries are schizophrenic: one side says "wear the tie and suit", the other side says "donkey is safer than car", they have to make the hard choice between preserving their own traditional identities and cultures (which obviously are not working in the current global economic context) and adopting the Western way  of thinking and doing business (which is what seems to work as far as building solid cultural and technological infrastructures is concerned). A house divided against itself will not stand. No amount of financing will help until poor countries makeup their minds and start heading in one direction, the direction of growth and progress. If you want a middle class, you darn have to give something up. You need men (and women) with balls to make things change. If your culture doesn't work, don't be stupid, quit the crap and adopt one that works. Do it intelligently and gradually, but do start now. This of course, is easier to say than do, as the factors of change will have to push very hard against an old and anachronistic system, and against certain people and groups who have a vested interest in keeping the status quo

7. It is true that "need (or necessity) is the mother of all invention", but also true is the fact that "lack of invention is the mother of all need". Poor countries need more creativity and finances. In other words they need to harness the two fundamental ways of storing Information and value, namely education and money:

a. Storing information and knowledge in forms that will allow you to communicate effectively in the present and be able to pass it to future generations so they can build on past knowledge. This is accomplished thru written language, education and training. One example and what is in my opinion a crucial hurdle in the Arab countries for economic and social progress and one of the many reasons why we are lagging behind is that the Arabic [language] we write is not the same as the Arabic we speak. Someone should come up with a new, modern Arabic language that would be the same spoken as it is written. Now that I think about it, the gap between our spoken and written language is –and strangely so- a metaphor of the Arab's deep spiritual and social dissonances. Well, enough said about that. 

b. Storing value in forms that will allow you to represent wealth, exchange it, increase it, and pass it to following generations so they can build upon it. This is accomplished thru the usage of hard currency, money and other portable and non-perishable financial and exchange instruments.

A country with a big pool of educated and creative talent (such as India ) will normally draw finances from other, richer countries. But any finances thrown at a country without a solid creative pool, will be like throwing money in a deep black hole, the pockets of greedy bureaucrats.



What Is The Problem With Relationships?

Someone said once that a happy man is a man who is not in a relationship. That goes for woman too.

Well, humans are generally unhappy not because they are in a relationship but because they are … human. I acknowledge the fact that after a short time a relationship becomes a thing on its own, its own entity so to speak, completely separate from the people involved. It has its own needs, idiosyncrasies and rituals. It is very hard to see this from within as the participants are too involved and sucked in by the ' powerful systems dynamics' of a relationship.

That is why couples need to apply a lot of effort and creativity into keeping the relationship alive. It just doesn't happen naturally: both parties have to have a firm intent to nurture and keep the relationship growing. Sometimes you may even need to get outside help (family members or professional therapist) when things go crazy and the relationship becomes Frankenstein. This applies to individuals as well as corporations and even whole nations.

You bet. That is why Arafat and Netanyahu needed Clinton to help them sort things out. Israeli and Palestinians are in a relation ship, a relationship of hate and antagonism may be, but a relationship nonetheless. However, in some instance and for whatever reason, the relationship just dies and even starts to stink. For those who believe in the sanctity of marriage, you can go ahead and live holy and miserable, that is fine with me. Otherwise I suggest that you quit giving it CPR because most probably it won't come back to life again so I suggest that you both move on with your lives and start looking for "greener pastures and better lovers".



What Is Addiction?

The best definition I have ever found for addiction is John Bradshaw's in his book Homecoming: An addiction is a pathological relationship to any form of mood alteration that has life-damaging consequences. An addict is an individual who engages in obsessive, habitual and unexamined behavior that eventually leads to loss of control in almost all aspects of his or her life. Did you noticed the word 'relationship'? It is very hard for us to see smoking as a relationship with cigarettes, and drinking as a relationship with alcohol, but that is exactly what they are, relationships, and we should see addiction to these as relationships that have gone bad.

We get addicted to substances such as smoking, alcohol, synthetic drugs and food; behaviors such as rage, laziness, gambling, sex, work, shopping, religion; we also become addicted to people, loud sounds, get-rich-quick schemes, to 'thinking in a certain way' and any other thing that may give a sense of ecstasy even so fleeting.

Most of us have patterns of relationships: for example women who fall in love with the same kind of jerks, all the time; domineering men who fall in love with the same kind of emotionally weak, submissive women, and so on. The problem is complex but the root of addictive relationships (to people and substances) may be found generally in emotional forces generated in early childhood: Parents are expected to provide for all of their children's needs, because children are not self-sufficient and are born needy. An extreme shortcoming by the parents in providing for the child's needs will cause the child to have feelings of abandonment and 'soul hanger' that will be subconsciously acted out in a later time through obsessive and dysfunctional behavior (sex happens to be the most powerful outlet for these quirks, incarnating in our innumerable fetishes, sadomasochism, pederasty and other kinky libidinal expressions that involve mixing pain with pleasure).

The fact of the matter is that all of us, without exception, do suffer from some kind, of some degree of emotional deficiency and consequently have some manner of addictive behavior. If the addictive forces are there, they will inevitably be an object for that addiction. The only difference is, is your particular addiction legal or illegal, is it accepted or frowned upon by society: you can take away cigarettes and alcohol and some people will turn to food, which is more socially accepted type of addiction (and by the way that is why lots and lots of religious and morally-straight Americans are overweight). I will even go a little farther and say that if a father for example, has a known and unresolved addiction to alcohol and he represses it for whatever reason, his children will pick it up and act it out for him. Within a family, emotional forces do move around.

One more thing I need to say about early childhood and why it is that what happens during this stage of our life determines practically the rest of our existence:

1. Strong emotions impact our hormonal and chemical make up. If strong negative emotions are experienced in early childhood and for extended periods of time they tend to impact the whole personality of the child even thru adulthood. For example if you had an abusive father you most likely experienced a lot of fear as a child. Fear triggers chemicals in your body and if those same chemicals/hormones are triggered too often, something is impressed in your character that eventually becomes a permanent trait. You know, our bodies are chemical factories and who we are and how we are perceived is basically determined by the “emanations” of whatever hormones and chemicals are churning in our guts. Emotions and feeling acquired in early childhood are like time bombs that are triggered when we relive familiar events or detect the same 'frequencies' as those of the people that first created those feelings and emotions in us. We fall into a trance like state and live like zombies; we loose control of our lives and are unable to break out of the vicious cycle.

2. A small child is a diminutive thing surrounded by giants and huge objects to which he is completely vulnerable and defenseless. Small children also experience color and sound differently: their interpretation of their surroundings is not rational or objective, but magical and ideal. There is one thing a small child yearns for more than any thing else (besides food and clean pampers) and that is 'connecting' and getting approval (blessing) from these giants called parents. A small child has an idealistic view of his or her parents, for the small child parents are gods. Anything they do (or not do) to him, good or bad, love or abuse, caring or abandonment, will register in the child's still reptilian brain as acceptable and legitimate. For example, a girl that suffered extreme physical abuse by her parents during early childhood will, in her adulthood, subconsciously seek and find men (people of a certain temperament emit the same kind of frequency that is easily -and subconsciously- detected by anyone who is tuned in) that will abuse her and perpetuate the pattern that she is most used to, the only one she has ever known, abuse.

If you are in this situation here is my Incantation for you: drink less, smoke less, quit your get-rich-quick schemes, dump the jerk, because you are precious and your body is precious and you deserve better. Don't let anything or any idiot convince you otherwise.

Is There Hope For Addiction?

As I mentioned previously, addictions are internal emotional forces that take an outward expression, such as alcohol, food, types of people, work, you name it. The source of addiction is hard to identify and consequently hard to overcome. It is a fact that we are not currently able to overcome addictive forces in se, and it may even be contra productive to do so: addictions may be an integral part of life itself and the engine behind most of our social and economic dynamics. What we can do is shift those emotional forces from destructive social patterns to more constructive, less damaging ones. There are two things that can help people overcome destructive addictions:

1. Epiphany, meaning a deep personal and spiritual experience that allows you to see things more clearly and tap into aspects of yourself that are more powerful, thus braking from the vicious grip of addiction. People experience epiphanies through dramatic and intense spiritual 'encounters', usually teachers or teachings that touch a hidden chord in the soul. A very serious warning to you: do not fall in love with your teachers and gurus because if you do you will be doing a disservice to the “vessel of your blessings”. Adulation of the “channel” gives him/her an over-exaggerated sense of self which is the antithesis of everything spiritual: “I have become nothing so you can be everything”. Many great spiritual leaders are practically worshiped like gods because let's face it, they are quite lovable and enchanting dudes and when the leader encourages instead of dissuades against this attitude the consequences are predictable and in fact the followers end up coming to grips with their teachers humanity and weaknesses and end up disillusioned and hurt. So be careful.

2. Therapy or a system that will gradually empower you or just put your addiction to sleep. For this you need to first acknowledge that you are in deep guacamole, and that you truly need help, and go out and get professional help or join a group that deals with your specific problem: there is no human way (besides an epiphany) a person can pretend to overcome addiction (and experience any other type of change for that matter) on his or her own. There is no shame in seeking outside help. A good therapy system and support from other sympathetic souls have proven to be very efficient.

3. Substances like Ibogain (from the bark of Iboga, a natural plant used widely in Gabon and other African countries), DMT (or Demithyltryptamine, found in the human body and hundreds of natural plants and fungi) and LSD (derived from rye mold or ergot) have been proven scientifically to help people overcome addictions in a very short period of time, usually right after the first experience. Unfortunately all 3 mind altering substances, which by the way are not addictive, are illegal in most countries (though some Ibogain disintoxication centers are found in Mexico).



Why Every Village Has Its Fool And Its Saint?

"Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool"
---Ralph Waldo Emerson

A village is a system, an individual, intelligent entity. This system is greater that the sum of it parts. In villages, as well as whole nations, secrets, dysfunctions, dreams and aspirations are acted out by one or more of the members. The Fool of the village is the one 'assigned' to mirror and act out all the taboos, hidden thoughts, frustrations, inhibitions and inconsistencies that all other members have, but accentuated and caricaturized so to emphasize an ill or a societal malady. Unfortunately, no one understands and the fool is an outcast.

The Saint, the Hero or the Charismatic leader on the other hand, is assigned to act out the dreams, the aspirations, the hopes, the ambitions, the need for affirmation and transcendence and speak all the deep murmurings of everybody's soul. Unfortunately, no one understands neither, and the Saint is worshipped and put on a pedestal.



My Favorite Stuff

My Favorite Car: My kingdom for a MASERATI 3200GT.

My Favorite Quote:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
--- T.S. Elliot

My Favorite Fruit: Durian, a poky, cantaloupe size fruit that grows in South Eastern Asia. You won't like it initially because it smells like crap and tastes like rotten mushy onions. But once you acquire the taste, you are hooked.

My Favorite Foods: Singaporean Chili Crab, You haven't lived until you have tried Singaporean chili crab. I also enjoy Moroccan bean soup, steamed lamb meat ...

My Favorite Drinks: Moroccan mint tea. My recipe: Fresh mint, peppermint, green tea (gunpowder), Jasmine tea, Earl Gray tea, little ginger, little ginseng, little rosemary. Another good drink is my own espresso coffee: Use Arabica beans, dark roasted to perfection, very little cardamom, lots of cinnamon, lots of freshly grated nutmeg, and some Frangelico or Grappa to spike it up a little.

My Favorite Cigar: Avo, or any other cigar made by Davidoff. You cannot go wrong with Davidoff. By the way it you live in the United States and plan to travel overseas, bring your own cigars: most countries sell lousy cigars made of cheap Cuban tobacco which they peddle as genuine expensive brands. This happens frequently in the Bahamas , other Caribbean countries and even Europe .

My Favorite Wines and Beers: I like anything made in the California Sonoma (Alexander and Russian) Valley. For reds I like smooth and rich flavored wines: Leonetti, a wine from Washington State is quite good but almost impossible to get. Seghesio Zinfandel Old Vine is excellent; Murphy Goode Merlot and Clos Du Bois Merlot are very good value wines. Some Malbecs from Argentina are excellent. For Whites I like Rodney Strong Chalk Hill. Some white wines from Australia and New Zealand are quite good.

My favorite beer is Chimay White. Leffe Radieuse and Duvel are also quite good. Belgian beers are by far the most tasting beers around.

My favorite animal is the dolphin. I swam with dolphins lately, in Key West, Florida and I have to tell you, I felt more affinity with those squeaky creatures that I have with my closest human friends and relatives. A mystifying thing indeed.

Most Beautiful Spot on Earth: By far the most beautiful and most charming place I have ever been is Maklavena Beach in the Big Island of Hawaii. Also Kapalua Bay in Maui is astounding, Hawaii .

My Favorite Sports: Krav Maga (a martial art), target shooting (arch and gun), golf, also tennis, and weight lifting and lately, rabbit chasing...the bastard is eating the lettuce I planted on my backyard.

What I want to Do When I Grow Up: Play drums like Mamady Keita.

The Most Fascinating Individuals: People in recent history that I believe have beautiful minds and do reflect a clear and penetrating view on reality and the world are: Joseph Campbell, Terence Mckenna, Howard Bloom, Bruce Lipton, David R. Hawkins, UG Krishnamurti, Leonard Shlain, Stanislav Grof, David Bohm and the list goes on.

The Most Fascinating Country: The world is full of wonderful peoples and countries but one in particular sticks out like a sore thumb. Italy is it. Its land, its culture, it food, its wine and most of all, its people. My plan is to one day buy a vineyard around Florence and spend my days pressing wine with my bare feet and swatting flies under the Tuscan sun. .

My Favorite Vacation Spot : My favorite vacation activity is to snack on steamed blue crab by the beach in Myrtle Beach , South Carolina . Also the Hawaiian islands which probably have some of the most beautiful scenery and some of the best fun anywhere.

My Favorite Books: Robert Pirsig's books, Leila and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; Khalil Gibran's poetry and prose writings are inspiring and even life changing; Howard Bloom's The global Brain and The Lucifer Principle. Michael Schneider's "The Beginner's Guide To Creating the Universe". I would normally read anything contemporary and non-fiction that I can get my hands on. My current readings are in stock market trading and financial markets, water purification technologies, astrotheology, astrophysics, sacred geometry, world mythology, Western philosophy, modern art, Mayan culture and cosmology, Vedic and Egyptian mathematics, accupressure, alternative medicine, sustainable architecture, Vastu and Feng shue, Tantric living...

My Favorite Movies: This is my top 10 list:
1- At Play in the Fields of the Lord
2- The Big Blue
3 -La Dolce Vita
4- A River Runs Through It
5- Forest Gump
6- C'eravamo Tanto Amati
7- Il Buono, Il Brutto i Il Cattivo
8- Network (1976)
9- The Godfather 1 & 2
10- America America (Elia Kazan)

My Favorite Singers: For French music Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Becaud, George Bressens. For Latin music, Jose Luis Perales, Joan Manuel Serrat, Antonio Machin, Los Panchos. For Brazilian music Caetano Veloso. For Italian Paolo Conti. For American music Bob Dylan, the Kingston Trio, Don Mclean, James Taylor, Tracy Chapman, John Denver, Joan Baez and so on. Others are Bob Marley, Jai Uttal, Israel Kamakewowi'ole...

My Favorite Writers and Poets: Jalaluddine Rumi, Ezra Pound, William Blake, Khalil Gibran, Ameen Rihani, William James, James joyce, Tennessee Williams, Wallace Stevens , T.S. Elliot, Marcel Proust, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Federico Garcia Lorca, Antonio Gala and Antonio Machado:

Caminante, ...Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino,
sino estelas en la mar.

Walker , there is no road.
The road is made as you walk
As you walk the road is made
and when you look behind you
you see the trail
you will never step on again.
Walker , there is no road,
but water tracks on the see.

My Favorite Cities: Florence and Naples in Italy, Amsterdam in Holland, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Granada and Barcelona in Spain, Paris and Nice in France, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York in the US.



Bernard Pivot Questionnaire 

• What is your favorite word? Fantastic

• What is your least favorite word? Absolutely

• What turns you on? Gambling. Just the sight of a deck of card gives me a hard on (this is not true but thought the answer would earn a crack or two)

• What turns you off? Foul smelling odors, and I don't care where they come from.

• What sound do you love? The sound of a Ferrari engine cranking up and I am the one driving.

• What sound do you hate? The sound of a Ferrari engine cranking up and I am just watching.

• What is your favorite curse word? Mannaggia ... which is basically the equivalent of fuck in italian but without the sexual connotation.

• What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? International travel reporter for the Food Channel.

• What profession would you not like to participate in? Animal poop scooper at the Zoo. I am just no a big fun of big animals.

• If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Cigar and Cognac party starts at 7 pm , just down the hall at the Paradise Cafe. You wont miss it, just look for the neon sign that says “Nude Girls”.


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© Mike Soussan. Copy With Permission.