‘Overpopulation’: A Cover Story for the Money Cancer System | Prof John McMurtry

It is not “the rising tide of human numbers” simpliciter that loots, pollutes and destroys the life carrying capacities of the planet. It is what all over-populationists conveniently ignore:

(1) the much still exponentially self-multiplying tides of private money demand on the earth’s resources that drives every degenerate trend in the planet’s life carrying capacities, and

(2) its ultimate driver of limitlessly self-maximizing private profit to the top which now puts more demand on the earth’s resources by a few plutocrats than by 90% of the population .

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HAS THE CYCLE BEEN BROKEN? | COMMENTARY BY CHARLES WILKIN QC (Aug 8, 2019)

In late 2015 I published a book called “Breaking the Cycle” in which I drew attention to the political tribalism from which our country has suffered since 1967. I also focused on the need for constitutional, governance and electoral reform. I documented the excesses of the Douglas Government up to and including the 2015 general election. I suggested that the result of that election won by Team Unity, a coalition of three political parties, raised hope that the never ending cycle of political tribalism would be broken. I warned however that change was not guaranteed. I wrote the following at the end of the first chapter: “Previous governments quickly fell into the entrenched partisan ways with the leaders consolidating power around themselves and their close associates. Will the new Prime Minister, Timothy Harris and his Team Unity government do the same? The jury is out and the clock is ticking.”

The purpose of this commentary is to reflect on where the country is four and a half years later.

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David Deutsch on the infinite reach of knowledge | The TED Interview

It can be easy to believe that humans are insignificant. We’re specks of dust on a random planet in a vast universe. Less powerful than elephants. Fewer than ants. But David Deutsch believes that’s all beside the point, because humans possess one unique skill: attaining knowledge. David Deutsch — Oxford professor, father of quantum computing, recluse — convinced Chris Anderson years ago to take over leadership of TED with his ideas about knowledge. In this mind-bending conversation, the two dive into his theory that the potential reach of knowledge is infinite. They explore how knowledge first developed, why it sets us apart and what all of these heady concepts really mean for our present and future.

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Emancipation From Programmed Dependency | Dr Patrick Martin MD

In November 1937, Marcus Garvey spoke at the MIS Hall, Lower Market Street. He said, “Your island is your garden of Eden”.  “You must work and get things for yourself”. 

Bob Marley sang similarly: “Not one of my seeds / Shall sit in the sidewalk and beg bread” (So Jah Seh, 1974). 

Seeking after government handouts is like sitting in the sidewalk and begging bread. This is exactly what programmed dependency encourages. A mentality of getting things without effort.

Programmed dependency exists when otherwise able adults are officially categorized as poor without scientific assessment including means-testing. Such persons may be given money from the Treasury without performance conditions. If not money, a contract, house or land may be part of the giving and receiving.

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The lies our culture tells us about what matters — and a better way to live | David Brooks |TED Talks 2019

TED
Published on Jul 3, 2019

Our society is in the midst of a social crisis, says op-ed columnist and author David Brooks: we’re trapped in a valley of isolation and fragmentation. How do we find our way out? Based on his travels across the United States — and his meetings with a range of exceptional people known as “weavers” — Brooks lays out his vision for a cultural revolution that empowers us all to lead lives of greater meaning, purpose and joy.

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Three critical articles that spotlight the breakdowns and breakthroughs to our current medical paradigm

Adjaye-Gbewonyo, K., & Vaughan, M. (2019). Reframing NCDs? An analysis of current debates. Global health action, 12(1), 1641043. doi:10.1080/16549716.2019.1641043

ABSTRACT

There have been many debates in recent years as to whether the communicable disease versus non-communicable disease (NCD) division is a meaningful one in disease classification. Several critiques have been raised about the framing of NCDs, regarding not only the prominent role that infections play in the aetiology of NCDs, but also the communicability of many social determinants of NCDs and the individualistic, ‘lifestyle’ framing of NCDs that tends to focus on health behaviours to the neglect of socio-political, environmental, and structural determinants of health. In this paper, we give a historical overview of the usage of the NCD terminology and analyse some of the recent debates regarding the naming and framing of NCDs. We argue that a lack of reflection on the assumptions underlying the naming and framing of NCDs may lead to the collection of insufficient epidemiological data, the development of inappropriate interventions and the provision of inadequate care. Work in social epidemiology, health promotion, medical anthropology, demography, and other fields may provide insights into the ways in which efforts targeting NCDs may be reframed to improve impact and efficacy. In addition, concepts such as multimorbidity and syndemics, frameworks such as ecosocial theory and approaches based in the social sciences may provide a way forward in the conceptualization of disease.


Atzil, S., Gao, W., Fradkin, I., & Barrett, L. F. (2018). Growing a social brain. Nature Human Behaviour, 2(9), 624-636. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0384-6

ABSTRACT

It has long been assumed that social animals, such as humans, are born with a brain system that has evolved to support social affiliation. However, the evidence does not necessarily support this assumption. Alternatively, social animals can be defined as those who cannot survive alone and rely on members from their group to regulate their ongoing physiology (or allostasis). The rather simple evolutionary constraint of social dependency for survival can be sufficient to make the social environment vitally salient, and to provide the ultimate driving force for socially crafted brain development and learning. In this Perspective, we propose a framework for sociality and specify a set of hypotheses on the mechanisms of social development and underlying neural systems. The theoretical shift proposed here implies that profound human characteristics, including but not limited to sociality, are acquired at an early age, while social interactions provide key wiring instructions that determine brain development.


Kirmayer, L. J., & Gomez-Carrillo, A. (2019). Agency, embodiment and enactment in psychosomatic theory and practice. Med Humanit, 45(2), 169-182. doi:10.1136/medhum-2018-011618

https://mh.bmj.com/content/45/2/169

ABSTRACT

In this paper, we examine some of the conceptual, pragmatic and moral dilemmas intrinsic to psychosomatic explanation in medicine, psychiatry and psychology. Psychosomatic explanation invokes a social grey zone in which ambiguities and conflicts about agency, causality and moral responsibility abound. This conflict reflects the deep-seated dualism in Western ontology and concepts of personhood that plays out in psychosomatic research, theory and practice. Illnesses that are seen as psychologically mediated tend also to be viewed as less real or legitimate. New forms of this dualism are evident in philosophical attacks on Engel’s biopsychosocial approach, which was a mainstay of earlier psychosomatic theory, and in the recent Research Domain Criteria research programme of the US National institute of Mental Health which opts for exclusively biological modes of explanation of illness. We use the example of resignation syndrome among refugee children in Sweden to show how efforts to account for such medically unexplained symptoms raise problems of the ascription of agency. We argue for an integrative multilevel approach that builds on recent work in embodied and enactive cognitive science. On this view, agency can have many fine gradations that emerge through looping effects that link neurophenomenology, narrative practices and cultural affordances in particular social contexts. This multilevel ecosocial view points the way towards a renewed biopsychosocial approach in training and clinical practice that can advance person-centred medicine and psychiatry.

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Samadhi – “be still and know” | AwakenTheWorldFilm

https://www.britannica.com/topic/samadhi-Indian-philosophy

Samadhi, (Sanskrit: “total self-collectedness”) in Indian religion, and particularly in Hinduismand Buddhism, the highest state of mental concentration that a person can achieve while still bound to the body and which unites him with the highest reality. Samadhi is a state of profound and utterly absorptive contemplation of the Absolute that is undisturbed by desire, anger, or any other ego-generated thought or emotion. It is a state of joyful calm, or even of rapture and beatitude, in which one maintains one’s full mental alertness and acuity. Samadhiis regarded in Hinduism and Buddhism as the climax of all spiritual and intellectual activity. The power to attain samadhi is a precondition of attaining release from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara). Hence, the death of a person having this power is also considered a samadhi. By a further extension, the site where a person believed to be so empowered was cremated is in modern times also referred to as a samadhi; thus, the site of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s cremation in Delhi is officially named Gandhi’s Samadhi.

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Nobody left behind: maximising the health benefits of an inclusive local economy

This report makes explicit the links between health and the local economy, their interdependence, and the action that local authorities and their partners can take to ensure that health and wellbeing are key considerations in local and regional economic development strategies.

Public health
06 Feb 2019

Ensuring that the local economy benefits everyone – sometimes known as ‘inclusive growth’ – is a priority for local government.

The concept of inclusive growth was originally developed by economists working in developing countries, when organisations such as the World Bank realised that economic growth was not always resulting in the reductions in inequality and increases in living standards that had been expected.

There is increasing evidence that the benefits of wealth and a flourishing economy will not simply ‘trickle down’ to the poorest sections  of society.

Much of the work that Government can do to improve the economic prosperity of a country takes place at the national level. But the way local authorities tackle issues of local economic development can also make a positive difference to the wellbeing of the communities they serve.

Across the country, local authorities, supported by their public health teams, are making valiant efforts, in the face of significant financial constraints, to make this aspiration come true.

The issues discussed here and the many examples of good practice will help ensure that, when it comes to our work of economic development, nobody is left behind.

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The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission report

Obesity is still increasing in prevalence in almost all countries and is an important risk factor for poor health and mortality. The current approach to obesity prevention is failing despite many piecemeal efforts, recommendations, and calls to action. This Commission following on from two Lancet Series on obesity looks at obesity in a much wider context of common underlying societal and political drivers for malnutrition in all its forms­ and climate change. The Commission urges a radical rethink of business models, food systems, civil society involvement, and national and international governance to address The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change. A holistic effort to reorient human systems to achieve better human and planetary health is our most important and urgent challenge.

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A Processual Perspective on Cancer | Marta Bertolaso and John Dupré (2018)

This chapter attempts to illuminate the dynamic stability of the organism and the robustness of its developmental pathway by considering the biology of cancer. Healthy development and stable functioning of a multicellular organism require an exquisitely regulated balance between processes of cell division, differentiation, and death (apoptosis). Cancer involves a disruption of this balance, which results in unregulated cell proliferation. The thesis defended in this chapter is that the coupling between proliferation and differentiation, whether normal or pathological (as in cancer), is best understood within a process-ontological framework. This framework emphasizes the interactions and mutual stabilizations between processes at different levels and this, in turn, explains the difficulty in allocating the neoplastic process to any particular level (genetic, epigenetic, cellular, or histological). Understanding these interactions is likely to be a precondition of a proper understanding of how these mutual regulations are disrupted in the processes we call cancerous.

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