My Run-In With The Law (of Attraction)

The law of attraction is the name given to the belief that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy. (Source: Wikipedia) 

Man those roots were deep! The bushes had probably been there since the house was built, and they weren’t interested in leaving. Besides being deep, they were a tangled mess, winding around each other like snakes in a pit. But the bushes were looking tired now, and were out of date as landscape elements. So my wife and I decided to remove them. It would open up the front of the house, and we could put in a little terraced flower garden for a nice contemporary touch.

So one pleasant spring Saturday morning, I embarked, shovel in hand, on what I hoped would be an easy job of extracting some old, weak, decomposing plants. Need I say it didn’t turn out that way? Of course not! After easily cutting the branches down to ground level, the attack on the roots moved forward. Before long, the shovel was joined by a pick. A short time later, the pick was joined by a sledge hammer – and basically anything else I could find that might break up the steely cables. It was now apparent that this could go on all weekend – and maybe longer.

As I mentally scanned the tools available in the garage, I realized that one thing which would be really helpful was also the one thing I didn’t have – a pry bar. Yeah, a pry bar would be just the thing to get some leverage on those suckers. Leverage – the engineers favorite tool, and just the weapon to drive out the snakes. I briefly considered making a run to the hardware store, but feared that once having stopped, I might not be inclined to continue.

And I was filthy dirty too. And it wasn’t like headway wasn’t being made, however minimal. So I toiled on, battling the fiends as best I could with what I had, all the while thinking about how great it would be to have a pry bar. I formed a mental picture of one and imagined myself effortlessly dispatching roots with the magic stick. I ruminated on how much easier it would be to slip the pointed end of the bar under a root cable while pushing on the opposite end to either pull it out completely, or at least snap it in two.

The afternoon wore on as the task proceeded incrementally, tangled root by tangled root. I tried to put the image of a pry bar out of my mind, but it persisted, returning with each resistant pull. The thought that the job could be done so much easier and faster was as hard to remove as the roots. My kingdom for a pry bar!

Taking a much needed break, I walked around to the side of the house, and went in to grab a diet coke. Now here is where the story takes a strange and most perplexing turn. After taking a couple sips, the can of Coke and I went straight back to the front of the house. The length of time consumed by the process could not have been more than two or three minutes – in other words, just a little more than the amount of time needed to blink blink the proverbial eye.

As I walked across the yard, something in the peripheral vision attracted my attention. It was some sort of object lying in the middle of the sidewalk, right at the end of the front walk way. I stood transfixed. What it appeared to be defied logic. Moving closer confirmed the impossible. The object lying on the sidewalk in front of my house was indeed, a pry bar! Yes!

I quickly looked up and down the street. No one! Not a soul. But even if someone had been there, what could possibly account for the placing of a pry bar smack-dab in front of the house? And no one, not even my wife, knew about the object of my longing.

So here I was, standing over an object like the one obsessed about all day. Yes, it was indeed a pry bar. But while similar to the imagined object in kind, there was an obvious difference. The bar I had in mind was of the long handled variety, while the bar I now cradled in my hands measured far smaller, maybe 18 inches, if that. It was a perfectly good tool, to be sure – but utterly useless for my purposes.

Some might consider what happened to be a legitimate, though imperfect, example of the Law of Attraction in action. And I’ll admit to being at a loss for an alternative explanation. Did it fall off a passing vehicle? Was it thrown from a car? Dropped from a plane? All strain credulity a bit too far.

My own relationship with the Law of Attraction concept remains a work in progress. As I learn more about the energetic nature of the universe, there’s a greater openness to the possibility, despite some reservations. My own experience has been ambiguous. Yes, there has been the occasional synchronistic connection to a person or event. But I also spend the better part of the day worrying about one thing or another, yet find very little ever comes to pass.

So what do I take away from this encounter with the numinous? Let’s recap: 1) The object on which I’d focused my thoughts and intention was manifested. 2) There was no evidence of human intervention. 3) The bar wasn’t suited to the task.

From this I’m inclined to conclude that if energy does in fact respond to thoughts, desires and mental pictures, one would be well advised to practice caution and be very specific about what is asked for. It may be that the universe really is ready and willing to deliver whatever we order. But we’d better make sure we fill in all the blanks. If wishing for a Honda, be sure to state the year and model. Heaven forbid you get a used lawn mower instead.

We have to stop and be humble enough to understand that there is something called mystery.      – Paulo Coelho

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A Warning From Easter Island

Easter Island (Rapa Nui), is the Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, most famous for its 887 giant carved stone statues (Maoi). What many don’t know is that the now desolate island was once a verdant paradise with a thriving culture.

Understanding what happened there, and why, should sound a loud alarm to all the other cultures now on a similar cataclysmic path.

The rise and fall of Easter Island can be seen as a microcosm, demonstrating the potential disastrous result that overpopulation, deforestation, and depletion of natural resources could have on a global scale. Cultural and environmental exploitation led to the demise of a vibrant society, which was technically sophisticated enough to carve, move, and erect the giant stone monuments, using a method that remains a mystery to this day.

In his best-selling book, Collapse, Jared Diamond cites Easter Island as the “clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by over-exploiting its own resources.” Diamond called this self-destructive behavior ecocide, a fate that could befall the entire planet if changes are not made.

For the sake of full disclosure, it should be mentioned that an alternative explanation for the island’s demise has been offered – one that blames the deforestation on rats. It purports that rats were introduced as stowaways on canoes, and proceeded to devour all the trees. Once the island was depleted of its vegetation and the birds that lived off the plants, the population adapted and survived with a new food source – the rats.

Believe it or not, those who support this theory actually hold it up as an exemplary demonstration of “successful” human adaptability.

How Long Does It Take to Make A $Trillion?

If you’re mathematically challenged like me, you need help relating to numbers followed by lots of zero’s. I understand the hundreds and thousands well enough, and can even comprehend millions – at least in the abstract. But for anything beyond that, you might as well be speaking Abyssinian.

So in order to get some sort of intelligible context for the incomprehensible, I devised a thought experiment (just like Einstein!) in which I have a printing press that produces dollar bills (legally of course) at the rate of one per second. Furthermore, the machine can run non-stop, 24/7 – forever. The results of the experiment are as follows:

  • It took 12 days to print $1,000,000 (one million). Actually it was slightly less, but I rounded up (I love math talk).
  • At this rate we can print nearly $32 million in 1 year. Cool. I could live on that.

Getting from $1,000,000 (one million) to $1,000,000,000 (one billion) takes a bit longer than expected. Hint – We’re no longer talking about days. In fact –

  • Printing $1,000,000,000 (one billion) would take 32 years!

Okay, the press is running hard now, but nothing compared to what it will take to reach the next plateau. Here goes –

  • Printing $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) would require 32,000 years! Huh? It’s true! Check it out for yourself.

So based on our thought experiment method, at the production rate of one unit per second, the difference between 1 million and 1 billion is approximately 31 years, and the difference between 1 billion and 1 trillion is approximately 31,968 years! I don’t know about you, but I find that stunning. Had no idea just adding three zero’s could make that much difference.

No wonder Billionaires have such little regard for mere Millionaires – chump change! And if anyone ever manages to become a Trillionaire, watch out!

But aside from trivializing the very real social stigma attached to varying levels of wealth, I found this to be a surprising and sobering exercise. What were once meaningless numbers have acquired a whole new significance and appreciation.

While our experiment used printing money as the device to visualize quantitative differences in amounts represented by zero’s and commas, it’s also helpful for understanding other things involving large numbers – like space travel for instance.

Consider this: The average distance from Earth to Mars is 140 million miles. The distance from Earth to Pluto is 4.7 billion miles. Given what we’ve just learned, that makes going to Mars like a trip to the Mall by comparison. And yet Pluto is considered part of our “local” solar system!

At least now, whether confronted by federal budgets, income differences or galactic distances, there’s a better grasp on their relativity. Oops – did I say relativity?

Next up: Infinity (and beyond)!

Donald Trump And The Forbidden Planet

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Source: Google Images

Watching the Donald Trump reality tour lead up to the election has brought to mind one of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies. It’s not difficult to see the drama being played out between Trump, the Republican Party, and the American public having a curious similarity to the movie plot.

Here’s a quick synopsis of Forbidden Planet, the classic from 1956: (Opening graphics look familiar?)

In the 23rd century an expedition from earth travels to a distant planet to learn what became of a previous expedition. They find a survivor, a scientist and who tells them about a highly evolved race (the Krell) which once inhabited the planet, but had mysteriously disappeared. They learn of an enormous atomic powered machine built by the Krell and capable of materializing anything imagined. Thus, it is possible to form and project matter with the power of thought.

But there’s a problem (no doubt). While projections could result from thoughts in the conscious mind, the same could be spawned by the unconscious mind. While the Krell built a culture which on the outside appeared orderly and beneficial, inwardly there was a massive amount of pent-up destructive desire which coalesced in the society’s collective unconscious to create an “Id Monster”, an indestructible energy force which inevitably turned on them and ultimately wiped them out.

Using the film as an analogy, the GOP then represents the Krell and Donald Trump is the Id Monster, the manifestation of the Party’s repressed dark side which cannot be contained or controlled. The harder the party has tried to hold it back, the bigger and more powerful it has become, until finally bursting forth with full defiant, unapologetic, narcissism. It first appeared diffusely as the Tea Party, and now in concentrated perfection as a supremely destructive force.

Just as the Id Monster was created from the Krell’s own repressed but powerful desires, Trump is a monster of the Republican Party’s own making, created from the energies of its entrenched destructive impulses, buried beneath the veneer of respectability. Publicly, the party uses words designed to convince Americans it really is about inclusiveness and concern for the wellbeing of all. But a leopard can’t change its spots, and the repressed side of the Republican psyche remains.

Behind closed doors, in the belly of the base, the same old GOP lurks, stubbornly unrepentant, hostile toward those who are different, afraid of change and anything that departs from the “way God intended”. It’s here, where the party’s collective unconscious has coalesced to bring forth its own version of the Id Monster. The Donald has become a force unto himself. He cannot be controlled and all attempts to eliminate him have failed. He has become a poison for which there is no known antidote.

This is reminiscent of another sci-fi classic – Alien. There’s a scene where it’s revealed that Ash, the ship’s science officer, is actually a machine which has been instrumental in bringing a murderous creature on board. Before being terminated by the crew, he informs them that the monster they’re dealing with is hostile in the extreme and also indestructible. His last bone-chilling words are, “You have my sympathy”.

Same goes for America.

Long as You Buy, Big Food Doesn’t Care If You Live or Die

 

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You know those ads and commercials that show how much the food industry cares about your well being? The ones where happy and healthy families are laughing and having a good time while consuming generous quantities of the company’s latest junk? Pure propaganda. We know it, and yet we still devour. Why? Because they’ve got us hooked! They know that like any junkie, we can’t resist getting our preferred fix.

The agriculture, dairy, food processing and grocery industries spend millions advertising how much they care about the public welfare. In truth, profit is the number one concern – at the expense of the public’s physical and mental health. Manipulating the facts and hiding the truth is just part of doing business. Our health and happiness are the least of their concern, despite all those feel-good images of vibrant consumers.

The public makes two incorrect assumptions regarding Big Food. The first has to do with contamination. We see warnings in the press about mercury in tuna, wood pulp in Parmesan cheese, ground beef treated with ammonia to retard E. coli. These are examples of how some of the dangerous and deceptive practices of Big Food are exposed. The public assumes that corrective measures will be taken once an issue is uncovered – and that’s just fine with Big Food. Truth is, too often nothing changes. That means an uninformed customer is their best customer.

Another incorrect assumption is that the US Department of Agriculture exists to protect the consumer. But in fact, the original role of the USDA was to promote the products of the animal agriculture industry. For example: over fifty years ago, the USDA began promoting the so-called four basic food groups, with meat and dairy products in the number one and two spots on the list. Financed by the meat and dairy industry and backed by nutritional scientists on the payroll of the meat and dairy industry, this promotion ignored real science.

Then there’s the issue with food manufacturers who make extravagant claims about supporting healthy eating, while in truth, they conspire against it. Here’s where the treachery becomes criminal. Like the tobacco cartel, food makers have found ways to fill their products with ingredients (sugar, sugar substitutes, synthetic fats) that increase the desire to consume. There is now scientific proof that sugar has a greater addictive effect on brain chemistry than cocaine.

Some producers even go so far as to package many concoctions in the guise of health food. They may less harmful, but in most cases are far from healthy. It may not be as blatant as when I was growing up and Wonder Bread claimed to “Build strong bodies 12 ways”, but it is an effective marketing strategy.

The bad news: the food industry has incrementally taken over our brains, both figuratively and literally. The good news: the damage can be reversed. We can reclaim the brain and learn to make nutritional decisions based on what is truly best for our health, rather than the influence of propaganda or brain chemistry.