Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Parkour; 1000 MILES OF PARKOUR

Young Sticky here is enduring on a beast of a challenge - 1000 miles of Parkour - from the UK to Paris. Beast!

Check his site here.

Enjoy -

Ilabaca wisdom - (notice the little input about Avatar in there!)

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

True Self-Expression; Travel; Money isn't the issue

Some more wisdom from Christopher Ross, with regards to travel and money.

People ALWAYS ask me how I afford to travel. The verb 'to afford' is the misleading part of it all. Money isn't the issue. So now, when someone asks me that question, this is what I tell them -

"My friend Graham told me about his adventures in Baja, California. He wrote a book about the time he spent walking, exploring and living in the desert, and after months alone there, returned to his job as a teacher at an inner-city school.

He told me how he had tried to inspire a class of 16 year-olds into imagining the possibilities of adventure and escape.
'But, sir,' they'd all chorused, 'we've got no money. You need money to travel.'

He told them he hadn't needed money. That when he arrived in Baja, he had just 200 pounds and did odd jobs and lived off the land to keep going.

They refused to believe or accept this and the plaint about the insurmountable money barrier was raised again and again.

'They needed more imagination, not money,' said Graham."

- Christopher Ross

And under the Travel section, that's exactly what Hazardous Pioneers is all about - how to increase your imagination and manage to travel, not your finances.

Remember, finances are fictional, they are created by man and asserted value. Imagination is yours, and no one can take it from you. It is pure and natural, and it's important to cultivate it further.

Granted, it's fucking difficult, as I'm finding in my current situation on the road here in New Zealand.

We are all conditioned, by force pretty much, to have as little imagination for such actions as Travel, which means by the time we actually try to accomplish such feats using more imaginary forces than financial, it proves to be a struggle. A struggle which many never begin to endure due to fear, or ignorance, or both.

I'm taking that struggle right now, and rest assured, what I learn and figure out will be shared with you here, on this blog.

Word to mother,

Parkour; Philosophical Wisdom

Taken from the book 'Tunnel Visions - journey of an Underground Philosopher' by Christopher Ross.

This quote wasn't about Parkour when it was written, but it certainly applies:

'Mental balance is impossible in the absence of physical balance. Rumi said every thought has a physical manifestation. But the opposite is also true, the body can and does create mental states.
Just try limping or walked stooped for a while - or remember what it is like to have a back injury and see what this does to your overall self-image.
Feelings of vitality are reinforced by strong physical associations. How you sit, stand and move are of the utmost significance'
- Christopher Ross

Knowledge; How television affects your brain chemistry

I give you permission to kill your TV.

Monday, 22 February 2010

True Self-Expression; Death Swing Video

White men might not be able to jump for shit, but they can definitely fall.

True Self-Expression; Travel; Into the Wild

Slap this on your toast. And don't choke.

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.” - Chris McCandless, printed in Krakauer’s Into the Wild

True Self-Expression ; Travel; Taoist Travel

Knowledge; Vancouver Winter Olympic Disruption Vids


Urban Survival; Rioting - An Olympic Sport

The fellow comrades over at Crimethinc have compiled a diary of the riots that have been going on in Vancouver during Winter Olympic openings,

Check the carnage, here.

True Self-Expression ; Travel; Fast Packing - The banal qualities of living fast

Oh dear, looks like the ADHD-pace of modern society has leaked it's way to the extreme within the travelling lifestyle...


I might invent 'Slight-packing' or Slow and Light packing. Oh wait, that's what we did for 250,000 years before mass civilisation.

True Self-Expression ; Travel; Confessions of an Introverted Traveler

I think the key to travels, if not life in general, is knowing when you need to pull the extrovert character out of the bag.
I think in today's world for everyone to have a good idea (whether natural or self-taught) of social dynamics. I am self-taught in that area for the most part, and even now I am learning whilst on the road, when is a good time to bring those skills out in to the open.

As the link below shows, if you don't have social dynamics knowledge and skills available, loneliness sets in, and that's not cool.
Trust me.

This is a deeper look into Introverted Travelling

True Self-Expression ; Travel; 'In Defense Of The Introverted Traveler'

Originally here.

It's funny, this is just the thing that has been going through my mind today, with regards to hyping up my extrovert side when looking for a job...

In Defense Of The Introverted Traveler

Why does the enjoyment of travel mean a person should enjoy meeting new people?
I would classify myself as landing almost directly in the middle between introvert and extrovert. At least, that’s what most of those fun personality tests have told me.

Sometimes I get energy from being around people, while other times I need to refresh with some serious alone time. So I can easily appreciate view points that fall on either side of the equation.

But being an introverted traveler is not something we often discuss. It almost seems like the antithesis of going out to explore the world to say “I’m not much interested in meeting the people that are a part of it.” Which is why I so appreciated a recent article by Sophia Dembling over at World Hum entitled, Confessions of an Introverted Traveler.

I love how Dembling sheepishly admits “I’m always happy enough when interesting people stumble into my path,” she says. “And when the chemistry is right, I enjoy it.” Hear, hear. But going out of your way to meet people? Striking up a conversation with a random person? Not really her thing, and I can relate (unless I’ve had a particularly large amount of caffeine that day).

What’s so wrong with being an introvert, anyway? Well, as Dembling notes:

I have long been shamed out of owning my introversion by the extroverts who dominate American culture. Extroversion has long been considered healthier than introversion, and introverts often try to push against our natural tendencies in order to fit in, to seem “normal” so people will stop scolding us.

Yeah, what’s up with that? Can’t us innies get just as much from hiking the hills of a new city, reading about the history of a Cathedral or slum, or watching locals pass by as we sit on a bench Unter der Linden as those who like to chat up every person that walks by?

Extroversion Benefits

I was at a concert last night where I noticed a completely obvious “benefit” of being an extrovert. There was a guy who chatted people up left and right, who had obtained a backstage access badge due to his personality “tendencies.”

That’s not the part that got me, though. When we stepped outside for him to smoke a cigarette, he confessed he wanted to smoke “something else”… except security was hovering. Suddenly, another guy came up and lit a joint.

Bam! Undercover security rolls up and grabs both of them to kick them out. The guy with the backstage pass just says, “Hey, man, I’m with the band,” and the security guy lets him go. The other guy, who didn’t say anything – well, you know what happened to him.

In other words, in travel, as in life, it pays to know how to be that “healthier” talkative person. No doubt those extroverts get bigger discounts at hostels, are better equipped to haggle at a market, and may get in with the locals – and more authentic local culture – than introverts.

But maybe, if we let those extroverts get the extras they thrive on (like getting out of sticky situations), and allow those introverts to enjoy their time watching others without making them feel less for “not getting out there,” it could work out for all of us.

As for me, guess it depends on the day. I’ll take a few extras now and again.

Parkour; T.RU STORY

Ill vid from the Ruski sector - ignore the Reebok plugs if you can;

Friday, 19 February 2010

Update; February 2010

Raw shit, coming your way, very soon.

I've have started a new life over in New Zealand, and needless to say, my first week has seen some hilarities, some fuck-ups and a few successes.

All shall be revealed shortly...

To look forward to -

'OBSERVATIONS IN COMMERCE' - Hazardous Davis' hands-on, first-view records at the world around him, and how polar it can be. A must read, and could well be turned into a book come early 2011.

'DIARIES OF PREPARING FOR DEATH' - Hazardous Davis' diary records from a 1 week experiment, where he lives each day as if it was literally his last. And only one week was possible because of how intense it became.. can you frickin' imagine!?

'TRAVIVAL COMPILATION' - Tips of survival whilst travelling, also known as 'Travival' - first-hand knowledge from Hazardous Davis on how to keep it real whilst on the road. Note- Not for flashpackers, because you suck.

Stay tuned, because the above selection really will be blasting your heads off,

Word to the mothership.

Monday, 8 February 2010

True Self-Expression; Talaam Acey - Market for Niggas

One of the sickest spoken word artists I have come across in a long, long time.

The ability to make sense via the rap medium, to actually teach your audience something, seems to be a skill long lost amoungst the rap and hip-hop communities in today's world.
Thankfully, Master Acey here seems to be on point.

Pay attention to the lyrics, because he smoked crack.


Thursday, 4 February 2010

True Self-Expression; The Waiting Room

Parkour; BLANE Vids

Dope soundtrack - Check out Non Phixion if you never have. They ruined my life.

1.37 - SORRRYYYY??????????????

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Knowledge; Health; TROPHOLOGY

I don't quite know how to put this, but this might be one of the most important things I have ever posted with regards to Diet, Nutrition and Health.

Pay attention. This will blow your head off.

Trophology = the science of food combining

Trophology introduction

"Compared to Taoist concepts of balance, the Western notion of a 'balanced diet' is simplistic and superficial.

Western physicians advise everyone to take 'a little of everything at every meal', jumbling together such disparate ingredients as meat, milk, starch, fat and sugar.

Such indiscriminate consumption of food is no different than pouring a combination of gas, oil, alcohol and sugar into the gas tank of your car. These blends will not burn efficiently, will provide little power and will quickly clog up the engine so badly that the entire system grinds to a halt.

The following advice given to the founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty on the occasion of the authors 100th birthday, clearly reflects the fact that the ancient Chinese were well aware of the importance of the science of food combining.

'Food and drink are relied upon to nurture life. But if one does not know that the nature of substances may be opposed to each other, and one consumes them altogether indiscriminately, the vital organs will be thrown out of harmony and disastrous consequences will soon arise. Therefore, those who wish to nurture their lives must carefully avoid doing such damage to themselves.'

[Chia Ming, Essential Knowledge for Eating and Drinking, 1368 AD].

In plain English, the Yin and Yang of diet boils down to 'Trophology',
a term which you and no doubt your doctor, have probably never heard before.

Modern medical training in the West, especially in America, is notoriously deficient in nutritional science, although there are a few enlightened nutritional scientists in America and Europe today who, despite sneers from their peers in the medical establishment, are making great medical strides through the science of Trophology.

The Western scientific equivalent of Yin/Yang balance in food combinations is something we all learned in elementary high school chemistry: acid/alkaline balance, or 'pH'. We all know that if we did add a measure of alkaline to an equal measure of acid, the resulting chemical solution is as neutral as plain water. That's the principle behind reaching for bicarbonate (a strong alkaline) to relieve 'acid indigestion'.

It is an established scientific fact in Western medicine that, in order to initiate efficient digestion of any concentrated animal protein, the stomach must secrete pepsin. But it is also a well-known fact that pepsin can function only in a highly acidic medium, which must be maintained for several hours for complete digestion of proteins.

It is equally a well established fact of science that when we chew a piece of bread or potato or any other carbohydrate/starch, ptyalin and other alkaline juices are immediately secreted into the food by saliva in the mouth. When swallowed, the alkalized starches require an alkaline medium in the stomach in order to complete their digestion.

Anyone should be able to figure out what therefore happens when you ingest protein and starch together. Acid and alkaline juices are secreted simultaneously in response to the incoming protein and starch, promptly neutralizing one another and leaving a weak, watery solution in the stomach that digests neither protein nor starch properly. Instead, the proteins putrefy and the starches ferment owning to the constant presence of bacteria in the digestive tract.

This putrefaction and fermentation are the primary cause of all sorts of digestive distress, including gas, heartburn, cramps, bloating, constipation, foul stools, bleeding, piles, colitis, and so forth.

Many so-called 'allergies' are also the direct result of improper food combinations: the bloodstream picks up the toxins from the putrefied, fermented mess as it passes slowly through the intestines, and these toxins in turn cause rashes, hives, headaches, nausea, and other symptoms commonly branded as 'allergies'.

The same foods that cause allergic reactions when improperly combined often have no ill-side effects whatsoever when consumed according to the rules of Trophology.

The final fact of the matter is this: when you immobilize your stomach and impair digestive functions by consuming foods in indiscriminate combinations, the bacteria in your alimentary canal have a field day. They get all the nutrients and thrive, while you get all the wastes and suffer."

Protein and Starch

"This is the worst possible combination of foods to mix together at a single meal, and yet it is the mainstay of modern Western diets: meat and potatoes, hamburgers and fries, eggs and toast, etc.

When one consumes protein and starch together, the alkaline enzyme ptyalin pours into the food as it's chewed in the mouth.

When the masticated food reaches the stomach, digestion of starch by alkaline enzymes continues unabated, thereby preventing the digestion of protein by pepsin and other acid secretions.

The ever-present bacteria in the stomach are thus permitted to attach the protein and putrefaction commences, rendering nutrients in the protein food largely useless to you and producing toxic wastes and foul gases, including such poisons as indol, skatol, phenol, hydrogen sulphide, phenylpropionic acid, and others.

If that is the case, you may well wonder, then why does the stomach have no trouble handling foods that naturally contain both protein and starch, such as whole grains?

As Dr. Shelton points out, "There is a great difference between the digestion of a food, however complex its composition, and the digestion of a mixture of different foods."

To a single article of food that is a starch-protein combination, the body can easily adjust its juices, both as to strength and timing, to the digestive requirements of the food. But when two foods are eaten with different, even opposite, digestive needs, this precise adjustment of juices to requirements becomes impossible."

THE RULE: Eat concentrated proteins such as meat, fish, eggs and cheese separately from concentrated starches such as bread, potatoes and rice.

For example, eat toast or eggs for breakfast, the hamburger patty or the bun for lunch, meat or potatoes for dinner.

Protein and Protein

"Different proteins have different digestive requirements. For example the strongest enzymatic action on milk occurs during the last hour of digestion, whereas on meat it occurs during the first hour and on eggs somewhere in between.

It is instructive to recall the ancient dietary law which Moses imposed on his people [the Jewish people], forbidding the simultaneous consumption of milk and flesh.

Two similar meats such as beef and lamb, or two types of fish such as salmon and shrimp, are not sufficiently different in nature to cause digestive conflict in the stomach and may be consumed together."

THE RULE: Eat only one major type of protein at a single meal.

Avoid combinations such as meat and eggs, meat and milk, fish and cheese.

Insure the assimilation of the full range of vital amino acids by varying the types of concentrated proteins taken at different meals.

Acid and starch

"Any acid taken together with starch suspends secretion of ptyalin, a biochemical fact of life upon which all physicians agree.

Therefore, if you consume oranges, lemons and other acid fruits, or acids such as vinegar's, along with starch, no ptyalin is secreted in the mouth to initiate the first stage of digestion. Consequently, the starch hits the stomach without the vital alkaline juices it needs to digest properly, permitting bacteria to ferment it instead.

A single teaspoon of vinegar, or its equivalent in other acids, is all it takes entirely to suspend salivary digestion of starch in the mouth."

THE RULE: Eat acids and starches at separate meals.

For example, if you eat toast or cereal for breakfast (starches), skip the orange juice (acid) as well as the eggs (concentrated protein).

If you're eating a starch-based meal of noodles or rice, avoid vinegar as well as concentrated protein (meat, chicken).

Acid and protein

"Since protein requires an acid medium for proper digestion, you'd think that acid foods would facilitate protein digestion, but that's not the case.

When acid foods enter the stomach they inhibit the secretion of hydrochloric acid, and the protein-digesting enzyme pepsin can work only in the presence of hydrochloric acid, not just any acid.

Therefore orange juice inhibits the proper digestion of eggs, and a strong vinegar dressing on salads inhibits the digestion of steak."

THE RULE: Avoid combining concentrated proteins and acids at the same meal

Starch and sugar

"It has been established that, when sugar enters the mouth along with starch, the saliva secreted during mastication contains no ptyalin, thereby sabotaging starch digestion before it reaches the stomach.

Furthermore, such a combination blocks passage of sugar through the stomach until the starch is digested, causing it to ferment.

The by-products of sugar fermentation are acidic, which in turn further inhibits digestion of starches, which require alkaline mediums for digestion.

Bread (starch) and butter (fat) is a perfectly compatible combination, but when you spread a spoonful of honey or jam over it, you introduce sugars to the blend, which interferes with the digestion of the starch in bread.

The same principle applies to breakfast cereal sprinkled with sugar, heavily frosted cakes, sweet pies, and so forth."

THE RULE: Eat starches and sugars separately


"Melons are such a perfect food for humans that they require no digestion whatsoever in the stomach. Instead, they pass quickly through the stomach and move into the small intestine for digestion and assimilation.

But this can happen only when the stomach is empty and melons are eaten alone, or in combination only with other fresh raw fruits.

When consumed with or after other foods that require complex digestion in the stomach, melons cannot pass into the small intestine until the digestion of other foods in the stomach is complete.

So they sit and stagnate instead, quickly fermenting and causing all sorts of gastric distress."

THE RULE: Eat melons alone or leave them alone.


"One should avoid any sort of sweet dessert after a big meal, for this type of food combines poorly with everything.

Even fresh fruit should be avoided right after a big meal because it will back up in the stomach and ferment instead of digest.

If you really have a 'sweet tooth' and crave cakes, pies and pastries, indulge your habit occasionally by making a whole meal of them.

They are still not good for you but at least taken alone they will not cause as much gastric distress and toxic by-products as when taken after meals."

THE RULE: Avoid sweet starchy desserts, as well as fruits, after large meals of protein or carbohydrates.

Milk and dairy

"Now we come to one of the most controversial and misunderstood items in the Western diet.

Orientals and Africans have traditionally avoided milk- except as a purgative. But in the Western world, people are told to drink milk everyday throughout their lives.

If we look at nature, we see that the young feed exclusively on milk until weaned away from it with other foods. The natural disappearance of the milk-digesting enzyme lactase from the human system upon reaching maturity proves that adult humans have no more nutritional need for milk than adult tigers or chimpanzees.

Though milk is a complete protein food when consumed raw, it also contains fat, which means that it combines poorly with any other food except itself. Yet adults today routinely 'wash down' other foods with cold milk. Milk curdles immediately upon entering the stomach, so if there is other food present the curds coagulate around other food particles and insulate them from exposure to gastric juices, delaying digestion long enough to permit the onset of putrefaction. Therefore, the first and foremost rule of milk consumption is, 'Drink it alone, or leave it alone.'

Today, milk is made even more indigestible by the universal practice of pasteurization, which destroys its natural enzymes and alters its delicate proteins.

Raw milk contains the active enzymes lactase and lipase, which permit raw milk to digest itself. Pasteurized milk, which is devitalized of lactase and other active enzymes, simply can not be properly digested by adult stomachs, and even infants have trouble with it, as evidenced by colic, rashes, respiratory ailments, gas and other common ailments of bottle-fed babies. The lack of enzymes and alteration of vital proteins also renders the calcium and other mineral elements in milk largely unassailable.

During the 1930's, Dr. Francis M. Pottenger conducted a 10-year study on the relative effects of pasteurized and raw milk diets on 900 cats. One group received nothing but raw whole milk, while the other was fed nothing but pasteurized whole milk from the same source.

The raw milk group thrived, remaining healthy, active and alert throughout their lives, but the group fed on pasteurized milk soon became listless, confused and highly vulnerable to a host of chronic degenerative ailments normally associated with humans, including heart disease, kidney failure, thyroid dysfunction, respiratory ailments, loss of teeth, brittle bones, liver inflammation, etc.

But what caught Dr. Pottenger's attention most was what happened to the second and third generations.

The first offspring of the pasteurized milk group were all born with poor teeth and small, weak bones- a clear cut sign of calcium deficiency, which indicated lack of calcium absorption from pasteurized milk.

The offspring of the raw milk group remained as healthy as their parents.

Many of the kittens in third generation of the pasteurized group were stillborn, while those that survived were all sterile and unable to reproduce.

The experiment had to end there because there was no fourth generation of cats fed on pasteurized milk, although the raw milk group continued to breed and thrive indefinitely.

If that is insufficient proof of the ill effects of pasteurized milk, take note of the fact even that newborn calves fed on pasteurized milk taken from their own mother cows usually die within six months, a fact which the commercial dairy industry is loathe to admit.

Despite such scientific evidence in favor of raw milk and against pasteurized milk, and despite the fact that until the early twentieth century the human species thrived on raw milk, it is actually illegal to sell raw milk to consumers in all but a few states in America today.

It is far more profitable to the dairy industry to pasteurize milk to extend its shelf-life, though such denatured milk does nothing whatsoever to extend human life.

Furthermore, pasteurization renders milk from sick cows in unsanitary dairies relatively 'harmless' by killing some, but not all, dangerous germs, and this too cuts costs for the dairy industry.

It required only three generations for Dr. Pottenger's pasteurized milk fed cats to become sterile and enfeebled. That's about how many generations of Americans and Europeans have fed on pasteurized milk. Today, infertility has become a major problem for your American couples, while calcium deficiency has become so rampant that over 90 percent of all American children suffer chronic tooth decay.

To make things worse, milk is now routinely 'homogenized' to prevent the cream from separating from the milk. This involves the fragmentation and pulverization of the fat molecules to the point that they will not separate from the rest of the milk. But it also permits there tiny fragments of milk fat to easily pass through the villa of the small intestine, greatly increasing the amount of denatured fat and cholesterol absorbed by the body. In fact, you absorb more milk-fat from homogenized milk than you do from pure cream!

Women worried about osteoporosis should take note of these facts about pasteurized milk products. That such denatured milk does not deliver sufficient calcium to prevent this condition is abundantly evident from the fact that American women, who consume great quantities of pasteurized milk products, suffer the world's highest incidence of osteoporosis.

Raw cabbage, for example, supplies far more available calcium than any quantity of pasteurized milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, or any other denatured dairy product.

Recent studies at the Human Research Centre in Grand Folks, North Dakota, indicates that the element boron is also an essential factor in absorbing calcium from food and utilizing it to build bones.

Even more noteworthy, the level of estrogen in the blood of women given sufficient quantities of boron more than doubled, eliminating the need for estrogen replacement therapy, which is a common stopgap measure against osteoporosis in the West. And where do we find boron? In fresh fruits and vegetables, especially apples, pears, grapes, nuts, cabbage, and other leafy vegetables, where we also find calcium. Nature has already provided abundant sources of all the vital nutrients we need in synergetic form, but man insists on cooking and processing them to death, and then wonders why his diet doesn't 'work'.

Adults should seriously reconsider milk as a constitute of their daily diets, unless they are able to obtain raw certified milk, which is an excellent food.

To stuff children with pasteurized milk in order to make them grow 'strong and healthy' is sheer folly, because they simply cannot assimilate the nutrients.

Indeed men, women, and children alike should eliminate all pasteurized dairy products from their diets, for these denatured dairy products only gum up the intestines with layer upon layer of slimy sludge that interferes with the absorption of organic nutrients."

Learn more about milk and dairy at the food profiles section.

THE RULE: Eliminate pasteurized and homogenized milk entirely from your diet.

If raw certified milk is available consume it as a whole food in itself, not in combination with other foods.

Trophology summary

"Correctly combining foods makes all the difference in the world to proper digestion and metabolism.

Without complete digestion, the nutrients in even the most wholesome food cannot be fully extracted and assimilated by the body.

Moreover, incomplete digestion and inefficient metabolism are the prime causes of fat and cholesterol accumulation in the body. A low calorie diet of overcooked, processed and improperly combined foods will still make you fat and leave sticky deposits in your arteries, just as the wrong mix of fuels will leave carbon deposits on the spark plugs of an engine, clog the pistons, and create foul gaseous exhaust.

On the other hand, if foods are properly combined for consumption, then regardless of how many calories or how much cholesterol they contain they will not make you fat or clog up your veins and organs, especially if at least half your daily food intake is taken raw.

If one follows the rules of Trophology, there is no need to be a fanatic about controlling one's diet, no need to count calories, and no need to worry about cholesterol.

Note also that there is no such thing as a food that is 100 percent protein or 100 percent carbohydrate. What counts is whether protein or carbohydrate is the major nutritional element in any particular food.

Generally speaking, if a food item contains 15 percent of more protein, than its categorized as 'protein food', while 20 percent or more carbohydrate makes it a 'carbohydrate food'. When combining different types of food in a single meal, it doesn't matter much if a little bit of protein is added to a basically carbohydrate meal or vice versa, especially if plenty of raw vegetables are included to provide active enzymes and fibrous bulk.

Ideally, one should consume only over variety of food at a single sitting.

A glance at nature proves this point.

Carnivorous animals never consume starchy items with their meat, but they do supplement digestion and occasionally purge their bowels by chewing on wild weeds that have medicinal properties. It has also been observed by bird watchers for centuries that birds eat bugs and worms at one time of day, seeds and berries, at another, but never both together. What makes modern man think that his digestive tract is so different from all other species in nature?

Even though traditional Chinese diet relies heavily on rice, a closer look at Chinese eating habits shows that, up until the mid-twentieth century, the rice was consumed according to the rules of Trophology.

For example, when Chinese families eat at home, their meals are usually heavy in fresh vegetables and bean curd products and very light in meats. When Chinese go out for a big banquet in a restaurant, rice is generally not served at all, specifically so that it does not interfere with the enjoyment and digestion of the meat, fish and fowl that always appear on banquet menus. Today, however, modern lifestyles have eroded these healthy eating habits among urban Chinese, much to the detriment of their health and longevity.

Back in the 1920's, before modern world had much impact on Chinese lifestyles, an extensive study was conducted in China by Western nutritional experts to compare the typical eating habits of Chinese and Americans. The regions surveyed were located in central and coastal China, and rural areas where traditional lifestyles and eating habits had not changed much for many centuries, but where relative peace and prosperity gave local households the full range of choice of foods.

The study revealed that the average Chinese derived over 90 percent of their food energy from grains and grain products, with only 1 percent coming from animal products and all the rest from fresh vegetable sources. A blend of 90 percent carbohydrate and 1 percent protein, supplemented with the enzymes and roughage of fresh fruits and vegetables is about as close to a perfectly combined diet as is practically possible.

The same study then turned towards the eating habits of typical Americans, with most revealing results: 39 percent of the average Americans food energy came from grains, 38 percent from animal products and most of the remaining 23 percent came from refined sugars. Vegetables and fruits accounted for a minuscule portion of the American diet. One could hardly concoct a more poorly balanced diet from the point of view of Trophology!

According to the results of Dr. Pottenger's experiments with cats, the damage from such denatured diets can be transmitted to the next generation.

Let's take a close trophological look at the 'Great American Meal', which is rapidly spreading digestive and metabolic malaise throughout the world via huge corporate fast food chains.

That all-American meal consists of a cheeseburger with French fries, washed down with a milk shake or sweet cola. A cheeseburger contains two different varieties of concentrated protein- meat and cheese. On top of that goes a big, fluffy bun of highly refined white flour- pure starch. Next comes a big bag of deep fried potatoes, thereby adding more concentrated starch, further fattened by deep-frying in stale oil, to the meal. Finally this mess is washed down with a big frozen milk shake, adding pasteurized milk to the meat and starch and the fat, plus several spoons of refined white sugar to thoroughly gum up the works.

Breaking one or two rules of Trophology at any given meal is bad enough, but the 'Great American Meal' breaks at least six! Small wonder that in a recent nationwide health survey in America, reported by an Associated Press bulletin in July 1996, 49 percent of the population reported chronic, daily stomach pain, gastro-intestinal distress, constipation, and other ailments of the digestive tract. This website can bring long term relief to these people, and help the other 51% avoid these sort of problems.

The dietary situation in the Western world is far more serious than any government health authorities care to admit. This is largely because the food industry has become one of the largest, most powerful businesses in the Western world, especially in America, where the processed food industry is represented by one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which decides what foods may be sold in the market, is staffed primarily by professional bureaucrats, not nutritional scientists, and it conducts no scientific tests whatsoever. Instead, it relies on tests and reports submitted by the very corporations which want to get a new food product onto the market!

Raw certified milk has become illegal in most states, and gone are the days when people could go down to a local open-air market to purchase fresh produce, as is still common in Asia and much of Europe.

And so Americans continue to suffer among the world's highest incidence of heart disease, cancer, digestive disorders and other deadly ailments.

Facts are facts, so have a look at the following startling facts about diet and malnutrition in America, compiled by American medical scientists and published in March/April 1958 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

A careful comparative examination of the diets and health of beggars in India and apparently healthy young American teenagers revealed that in India the average daily calorie intake of the typical beggar amounted to less that half that of the typical American.

Yet only 6.25 percent of the beggars showed any sign of nutritional deficiency, while a staggering 75 percent of the American teenagers showed signs of severe malnutrition. Only 1.25 percent of the Indian beggars suffered dental cavities, compared with over 90 percent of the young Americans. Conclusion: the typical beggar in India derives greater health from his meager diet than the average American teenager does from his 'rich' diet.

A similar study in Mexico found similar results. The September 1951 issue of Harper's Magazine reports the results of a long-term study of the dietary habits of Mexican peasants, conducted by MIT's Dr. Robert Harris. States the report,

To the surprise of the investigators, these poverty stricken Mexicans showed less evidence of malnutrition than did Michigan school children....

Analysis of all their foods by Dr. Harris' group showed that the Otomis (Indians dwelling in the arid Mesquital Valley north of Mexico City), like the slum dwellers of Mexico City, were obtaining, nearly adequate quantities of all nutrients except riboflavin. In fact, their nutrition was definitely superior to that of the average person living in the Boston and New York areas of the United States!"

Now that's food for thought, isn't it?

Some charts to help you -

Taken from Daniel Reid's book - The Tao of Sex, Health and Longevity

This isn't complicated shit. But it is important. I'm trying this already, and it has had profound digestion improvements. I reckon combining this method with the Paleo-styled diet is the way to go.

Feedback welcomed too,


Parkour; Mental Training for Parkour

Mental Training for Parkour.

This is an idea I've had for a while. I think mental training comes with practicing Parkour after while. But what about dedicating time to train the brain, and just that?

Visualization seems to be the technique that tons of athletes use for increased performance, and so I sought out to find a visualization pattern that I could adapt for Parkour.

Here's my first effort - give it a try and let me know if it works or not. I reckon regular application of doing the pattern before every training session for one week, or 7 times.


Stage I: Pre-Training Imagery Rehearsal

Simply stated, you will mentally visualize (like seeing a series of pictures on a movie screen), by bringing images into the mind, all the simple and complex elements associated with the forthcoming workout.

About 15 to 30 minutes prior to your training session, go to a place of solitude (void of ringing telephones, ticking clocks, people talking, and bright lights). Sit in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes and begin slowly and deeply to breathe in and out through your nose and begin to relax (called relaxed breathing).

Now, begin mentally to empty your mind of all thoughts that do not pertain to the session. Don't let intruding thoughts attract your attention. This could be any thought such as what you did yesterday, what you are going to be doing after the session. Sometimes even a remark that someone made that you didn't particularly like will pop back into your head, but don't let it.

Drive away the nagging negative voice from the dungeon of your subconscious mind that might be telling you to skip your training for one reason or another. Mentally see yourself well rested, recovered, and stronger from your last training session a couple of days ago.

As you continue to progress into a relaxed state, visualize the collective atmosphere of the training energy in the given location where you will train, that is being generated by the other, tough traceurs. Feel this sensation and how it gives you a special power to control your body an its movement.
If you are training solo, picture the negative energy from all the drones around the city. Feel this negative energy and appreciate that it makes you feel sick, that it makes you want to train even harder to break out of that psychological prison.

Become a master of training by mentally reproducing the specific movements you are going to carry out in your training session. Repeat this process several times in your mind.

Finally, see yourself at the conclusion of the training session with a bone-deep sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, as you have trained hard, both mentally and physically, and you chose to live in the moment every second of your session.

When the mental pictures and related sensations that you expect to see are clear and vivid in the mirror of your mind, -open your eyes. Your should now have an unyielding commitment, intense desire, determined persistence, and powerful will to succeed moving, flowing, pulsing, and surging through your entire being.

It's time then to get up off of the floor and step into the hardcore trenches of the training location.

Stage II: One-Set Mental Imagery-Rehearsal

This stage of mental imagery-rehearsal is conducted approximately 10-15 seconds prior to each movement that is harder than previous movements (you have already tried), or that induces fear. While standing or sitting, however you feel most comfortable, close your eyes and take in and exhale short breaths of air as you mentally prepare (with selective focus) for the moment at hand.

You must go to that place in your consciousness where there is no pain, no negative influences, no fear, a state of mind where only positive forces dwell.

Your mind must be time-locked (cohesive) with the muscles in your body in order to do battle with the proceeding movement. Begin by picturing in your mind's eye the jump, the ledge, the rail or whatever the obstacle is. Imagine this so intensely that you can smell the surrounding air, feel the sensation of being in the moment, hear the deafening silence as you carry out your successful and graceful movement, and so forth.

If you are going to be performing the speed vault, for example, recreate all of the movement mastery techniques that are necessary for the successful completion of the vault.

The more organized and detailed you can make this ritual of mentally focusing on the movement at hand, the better chance you will have for training to the outer limits of the art of movement. Here's another way to explain it. Think of how organized and detailed the ritual of mental imagery-rehearsal would be if it related to making love to a beautiful woman. The details are never slippery or vague. They're always clear and vivid.

As the magnitude of mental imagery-rehearsal for the upcoming movement becomes more and more vivid, you will begin to feel torrents of unleashed fury and your heart will beat in a manner that reflects your ability to dominate and prevail in the moment. Open your eyes. You are now 100% mentally focused and psyched. Gun it! It's time to flow across your location.

Tip: During your solo training sessions, play your own favorite high-energy music to trigger strong energy responses.

Knowledge; 'Is Google making us Stupid?'

Taken from here.

Don't know about you, but I've been getting this symptom recently - ADHD when I'm trying to read posts on the internet. My frickin' eyes just keep leaping all over the place, or if I do actually manage to read a sentence, it seems to be done at abotu Mach10. Mental. And yes. I do blame the 'net.

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

"Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?” So the supercomputer HAL pleads with the implacable astronaut Dave Bowman in a famous and weirdly poignant scene toward the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bowman, having nearly been sent to a deep-space death by the malfunctioning machine, is calmly, coldly disconnecting the memory circuits that control its artificial “ brain. “Dave, my mind is going,” HAL says, forlornly. “I can feel it. I can feel it.”

I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

I think I know what’s going on. For more than a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet. The Web has been a godsend to me as a writer. Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after. Even when I’m not working, I’m as likely as not to be foraging in the Web’s info-thickets’reading and writing e-mails, scanning headlines and blog posts, watching videos and listening to podcasts, or just tripping from link to link to link. (Unlike footnotes, to which they’re sometimes likened, hyperlinks don’t merely point to related works; they propel you toward them.)

For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded. “The perfect recall of silicon memory,” Wired’s Clive Thompson has written, “can be an enormous boon to thinking.” But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

I’m not the only one. When I mention my troubles with reading to friends and acquaintances—literary types, most of them—many say they’re having similar experiences. The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing. Some of the bloggers I follow have also begun mentioning the phenomenon. Scott Karp, who writes a blog about online media, recently confessed that he has stopped reading books altogether. “I was a lit major in college, and used to be [a] voracious book reader,” he wrote. “What happened?” He speculates on the answer: “What if I do all my reading on the web not so much because the way I read has changed, i.e. I’m just seeking convenience, but because the way I THINK has changed?”

Bruce Friedman, who blogs regularly about the use of computers in medicine, also has described how the Internet has altered his mental habits. “I now have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print,” he wrote earlier this year. A pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School, Friedman elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me. His thinking, he said, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he quickly scans short passages of text from many sources online. “I can’t read War and Peace anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.”

Anecdotes alone don’t prove much. And we still await the long-term neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive picture of how Internet use affects cognition. But a recently published study of online research habits , conducted by scholars from University College London, suggests that we may well be in the midst of a sea change in the way we read and think. As part of the five-year research program, the scholars examined computer logs documenting the behavior of visitors to two popular research sites, one operated by the British Library and one by a U.K. educational consortium, that provide access to journal articles, e-books, and other sources of written information. They found that people using the sites exhibited “a form of skimming activity,” hopping from one source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited. They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would “bounce” out to another site. Sometimes they’d save a long article, but there’s no evidence that they ever went back and actually read it. The authors of the study report:

It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.

Thanks to the ubiquity of text on the Internet, not to mention the popularity of text-messaging on cell phones, we may well be reading more today than we did in the 1970s or 1980s, when television was our medium of choice. But it’s a different kind of reading, and behind it lies a different kind of thinking—perhaps even a new sense of the self. “We are not only what we read,” says Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. “We are how we read.” Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace. When we read online, she says, we tend to become “mere decoders of information.” Our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged.

Reading, explains Wolf, is not an instinctive skill for human beings. It’s not etched into our genes the way speech is. We have to teach our minds how to translate the symbolic characters we see into the language we understand. And the media or other technologies we use in learning and practicing the craft of reading play an important part in shaping the neural circuits inside our brains. Experiments demonstrate that readers of ideograms, such as the Chinese, develop a mental circuitry for reading that is very different from the circuitry found in those of us whose written language employs an alphabet. The variations extend across many regions of the brain, including those that govern such essential cognitive functions as memory and the interpretation of visual and auditory stimuli. We can expect as well that the circuits woven by our use of the Net will be different from those woven by our reading of books and other printed works.

Sometime in 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter—a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball, to be precise. His vision was failing, and keeping his eyes focused on a page had become exhausting and painful, often bringing on crushing headaches. He had been forced to curtail his writing, and he feared that he would soon have to give it up. The typewriter rescued him, at least for a time. Once he had mastered touch-typing, he was able to write with his eyes closed, using only the tips of his fingers. Words could once again flow from his mind to the page.

But the machine had a subtler effect on his work. One of Nietzsche’s friends, a composer, noticed a change in the style of his writing. His already terse prose had become even tighter, more telegraphic. “Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” the friend wrote in a letter, noting that, in his own work, his “‘thoughts’ in music and language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.”

Also see:

Living With a Computer
(July 1982)
"The process works this way. When I sit down to write a letter or start the first draft of an article, I simply type on the keyboard and the words appear on the screen..." By James Fallows

“You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” Under the sway of the machine, writes the German media scholar Friedrich A. Kittler , Nietzsche’s prose “changed from arguments to aphorisms, from thoughts to puns, from rhetoric to telegram style.”

The human brain is almost infinitely malleable. People used to think that our mental meshwork, the dense connections formed among the 100 billion or so neurons inside our skulls, was largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. But brain researchers have discovered that that’s not the case. James Olds, a professor of neuroscience who directs the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University, says that even the adult mind “is very plastic.” Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. “The brain,” according to Olds, “has the ability to reprogram itself on the fly, altering the way it functions.”

As we use what the sociologist Daniel Bell has called our “intellectual technologies”—the tools that extend our mental rather than our physical capacities—we inevitably begin to take on the qualities of those technologies. The mechanical clock, which came into common use in the 14th century, provides a compelling example. In Technics and Civilization, the historian and cultural critic Lewis Mumford described how the clock “disassociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences.” The “abstract framework of divided time” became “the point of reference for both action and thought.”

The clock’s methodical ticking helped bring into being the scientific mind and the scientific man. But it also took something away. As the late MIT computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum observed in his 1976 book, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation, the conception of the world that emerged from the widespread use of timekeeping instruments “remains an impoverished version of the older one, for it rests on a rejection of those direct experiences that formed the basis for, and indeed constituted, the old reality.” In deciding when to eat, to work, to sleep, to rise, we stopped listening to our senses and started obeying the clock.

The process of adapting to new intellectual technologies is reflected in the changing metaphors we use to explain ourselves to ourselves. When the mechanical clock arrived, people began thinking of their brains as operating “like clockwork.” Today, in the age of software, we have come to think of them as operating “like computers.” But the changes, neuroscience tells us, go much deeper than metaphor. Thanks to our brain’s plasticity, the adaptation occurs also at a biological level.

The Internet promises to have particularly far-reaching effects on cognition. In a paper published in 1936, the British mathematician Alan Turing proved that a digital computer, which at the time existed only as a theoretical machine, could be programmed to perform the function of any other information-processing device. And that’s what we’re seeing today. The Internet, an immeasurably powerful computing system, is subsuming most of our other intellectual technologies. It’s becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV.

When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net’s image. It injects the medium’s content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other digital gewgaws, and it surrounds the content with the content of all the other media it has absorbed. A new e-mail message, for instance, may announce its arrival as we’re glancing over the latest headlines at a newspaper’s site. The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our concentration.

The Net’s influence doesn’t end at the edges of a computer screen, either. As people’s minds become attuned to the crazy quilt of Internet media, traditional media have to adapt to the audience’s new expectations. Television programs add text crawls and pop-up ads, and magazines and newspapers shorten their articles, introduce capsule summaries, and crowd their pages with easy-to-browse info-snippets. When, in March of this year, TheNew York Times decided to devote the second and third pages of every edition to article abstracts , its design director, Tom Bodkin, explained that the “shortcuts” would give harried readers a quick “taste” of the day’s news, sparing them the “less efficient” method of actually turning the pages and reading the articles. Old media have little choice but to play by the new-media rules.

Never has a communications system played so many roles in our lives—or exerted such broad influence over our thoughts—as the Internet does today. Yet, for all that’s been written about the Net, there’s been little consideration of how, exactly, it’s reprogramming us. The Net’s intellectual ethic remains obscure.

About the same time that Nietzsche started using his typewriter, an earnest young man named Frederick Winslow Taylor carried a stopwatch into the Midvale Steel plant in Philadelphia and began a historic series of experiments aimed at improving the efficiency of the plant’s machinists. With the approval of Midvale’s owners, he recruited a group of factory hands, set them to work on various metalworking machines, and recorded and timed their every movement as well as the operations of the machines. By breaking down every job into a sequence of small, discrete steps and then testing different ways of performing each one, Taylor created a set of precise instructions—an “algorithm,” we might say today—for how each worker should work. Midvale’s employees grumbled about the strict new regime, claiming that it turned them into little more than automatons, but the factory’s productivity soared.

More than a hundred years after the invention of the steam engine, the Industrial Revolution had at last found its philosophy and its philosopher. Taylor’s tight industrial choreography—his “system,” as he liked to call it—was embraced by manufacturers throughout the country and, in time, around the world. Seeking maximum speed, maximum efficiency, and maximum output, factory owners used time-and-motion studies to organize their work and configure the jobs of their workers. The goal, as Taylor defined it in his celebrated 1911 treatise, The Principles of Scientific Management, was to identify and adopt, for every job, the “one best method” of work and thereby to effect “the gradual substitution of science for rule of thumb throughout the mechanic arts.” Once his system was applied to all acts of manual labor, Taylor assured his followers, it would bring about a restructuring not only of industry but of society, creating a utopia of perfect efficiency. “In the past the man has been first,” he declared; “in the future the system must be first.”

Taylor’s system is still very much with us; it remains the ethic of industrial manufacturing. And now, thanks to the growing power that computer engineers and software coders wield over our intellectual lives, Taylor’s ethic is beginning to govern the realm of the mind as well. The Internet is a machine designed for the efficient and automated collection, transmission, and manipulation of information, and its legions of programmers are intent on finding the “one best method”—the perfect algorithm—to carry out every mental movement of what we’ve come to describe as “knowledge work.”

Google’s headquarters, in Mountain View, California—the Googleplex—is the Internet’s high church, and the religion practiced inside its walls is Taylorism. Google, says its chief executive, Eric Schmidt, is “a company that’s founded around the science of measurement,” and it is striving to “systematize everything” it does. Drawing on the terabytes of behavioral data it collects through its search engine and other sites, it carries out thousands of experiments a day, according to the Harvard Business Review, and it uses the results to refine the algorithms that increasingly control how people find information and extract meaning from it. What Taylor did for the work of the hand, Google is doing for the work of the mind.

The company has declared that its mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It seeks to develop “the perfect search engine,” which it defines as something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.” In Google’s view, information is a kind of commodity, a utilitarian resource that can be mined and processed with industrial efficiency. The more pieces of information we can “access” and the faster we can extract their gist, the more productive we become as thinkers.

Where does it end? Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the gifted young men who founded Google while pursuing doctoral degrees in computer science at Stanford, speak frequently of their desire to turn their search engine into an artificial intelligence, a HAL-like machine that might be connected directly to our brains. “The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people—or smarter,” Page said in a speech a few years back. “For us, working on search is a way to work on artificial intelligence.” In a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Last year, Page told a convention of scientists that Google is “really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale.”

Such an ambition is a natural one, even an admirable one, for a pair of math whizzes with vast quantities of cash at their disposal and a small army of computer scientists in their employ. A fundamentally scientific enterprise, Google is motivated by a desire to use technology, in Eric Schmidt’s words, “to solve problems that have never been solved before,” and artificial intelligence is the hardest problem out there. Why wouldn’t Brin and Page want to be the ones to crack it?

Still, their easy assumption that we’d all “be better off” if our brains were supplemented, or even replaced, by an artificial intelligence is unsettling. It suggests a belief that intelligence is the output of a mechanical process, a series of discrete steps that can be isolated, measured, and optimized. In Google’s world, the world we enter when we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation. Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed. The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive.

The idea that our minds should operate as high-speed data-processing machines is not only built into the workings of the Internet, it is the network’s reigning business model as well. The faster we surf across the Web—the more links we click and pages we view—the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link—the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.

Maybe I’m just a worrywart. Just as there’s a tendency to glorify technological progress, there’s a countertendency to expect the worst of every new tool or machine. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads, they would, in the words of one of the dialogue’s characters, “cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful.” And because they would be able to “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction,” they would “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant.” They would be “filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.” Socrates wasn’t wrong—the new technology did often have the effects he feared—but he was shortsighted. He couldn’t foresee the many ways that writing and reading would serve to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge (if not wisdom).

The arrival of Gutenberg’s printing press, in the 15th century, set off another round of teeth gnashing. The Italian humanist Hieronimo Squarciafico worried that the easy availability of books would lead to intellectual laziness, making men “less studious” and weakening their minds. Others argued that cheaply printed books and broadsheets would undermine religious authority, demean the work of scholars and scribes, and spread sedition and debauchery. As New York University professor Clay Shirky notes, “Most of the arguments made against the printing press were correct, even prescient.” But, again, the doomsayers were unable to imagine the myriad blessings that the printed word would deliver.

So, yes, you should be skeptical of my skepticism. Perhaps those who dismiss critics of the Internet as Luddites or nostalgists will be proved correct, and from our hyperactive, data-stoked minds will spring a golden age of intellectual discovery and universal wisdom. Then again, the Net isn’t the alphabet, and although it may replace the printing press, it produces something altogether different. The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. Deep reading, as Maryanne Wolf argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking.

If we lose those quiet spaces, or fill them up with “content,” we will sacrifice something important not only in our selves but in our culture. In a recent essay, the playwright Richard Foreman eloquently described what’s at stake:

I come from a tradition of Western culture, in which the ideal (my ideal) was the complex, dense and “cathedral-like” structure of the highly educated and articulate personality—a man or woman who carried inside themselves a personally constructed and unique version of the entire heritage of the West. [But now] I see within us all (myself included) the replacement of complex inner density with a new kind of self—evolving under the pressure of information overload and the technology of the “instantly available.”

As we are drained of our “inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance,” Foreman concluded, we risk turning into “‘pancake people’—spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button.”

I’m haunted by that scene in 2001. What makes it so poignant, and so weird, is the computer’s emotional response to the disassembly of its mind: its despair as one circuit after another goes dark, its childlike pleading with the astronaut—“I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m afraid”—and its final reversion to what can only be called a state of innocence. HAL’s outpouring of feeling contrasts with the emotionlessness that characterizes the human figures in the film, who go about their business with an almost robotic efficiency. Their thoughts and actions feel scripted, as if they’re following the steps of an algorithm. In the world of 2001, people have become so machinelike that the most human character turns out to be a machine. That’s the essence of Kubrick’s dark prophecy: as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.

Nicholas Carr’s most recent book, The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, From Edison to Google, was published earlier this year.

Thought of the Day

'Coming of Age - a neo-interpretation'

Up in QLD in Australia, staying with friends right now.

Got into a discussion the other day, which led to a thought.

Every tribe that I can think of seems to have a process of 'Coming of Age' - that is when the child is recognised as an adult.

There is a distinct time where the tribe is notified of the adulthood initiation - i.e. the child becomes an adult and is now responsible for his/her own actions.

Well, I tried to think what marks the Coming of Age in today's Western society. And after much deliberation, I couldn't think of anything that marks coming of age at all. Granted, we have 18th and 21st Birthdays, but if you look at our law structure in the West, there are 'adult-activities' you can partake in at ages 16,17,18 and 21.

Adolescent years are described in the West as the period of time when the child can't figure out where he/she belongs and if he/she is an adult or a child. Their sense of standing and status is highly confused, and it doesn't surprise me.
There's a range of laws that say you're an adult in one walk of life, but still a child in another.

And then it dawned on me.

Perhaps, in the West, the way of life of the 'drone' - the asleep 'person' - could be compared to that of a child in a tribal setting.
The child screams for attention, is helpless without a leader figure such as Mummy, seeks only to please the ego with foods that taste sweet and 'I want' takes the forefront of mental processes.
Not that different from roughly 85% of the world's 'adult' population really.

So, what if to 'wake-up', to take control of YOUR life, to realise that YOU are the only one that can change things now - not Mummy and certainly not a leader figure - to encompass a 'BALLS OUT!' take on life, become a Hazardous Pioneers of sorts ...

What if this is what the West's version is of 'Coming of Age'...?

The Tribe will teach 'nursery rhyme'-styled songs to the kids as they grow up. At first hearing, the lyrics will seem pointless, childish, empty even.
But upon that special day, the elders and the parents will tell that child that every single lyric that they have learnt over the past few years had a meaning. Every set of lyrics, every verse, was a guideline on how to take control of your life, of how to become, essentially, a 'responsible adult'.

A stage of somewhat enlightenment is achieved in the child, now adult, as they see that everything they have been taught up until that second, has all been understood. Their knowledge has manifested into realisation. Into understanding.
Before it had just been nursery rhymes, now in almost an instant, grave wisdom has been achieved, at what the West would regard a 'young age'.

But on our side of the planet, our nursery rhymes are merely songs. Their practical application to life is minute, if existent at all. Arguably, that's either some one's plan, or we were just too stupid to see how indigenous cultures managed such a feat of wisdom. Either way, it doesn't exist in our culture, and in many respects, that 'Coming of Age' is almost more difficult to achieve.

I feel I've reached it - my foot has been set on a path that will most probably take me on to the end of my days.
December 2008 saw an experience happen in my life that was a definite wake-up, and since that day, my life as I knew it, has taken a radical turn for the better, both for myself and the rest of mankind.

'The journey has begun' you could say.

And to come of age is possible in the West. More and more, I'm coming across people who question the way things are currently, and the more I meet these people, the more I realise that it's not just me. There are people out there.

'Saving people is a dangerous game. Find the others.'

Just a thought.