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We Are The New Lawmakers: Why We Should Support Companies Like Airbnb

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Airbnb offers people unique travel accommodations, replacing the traditional hotel with funky homes and other non-typical spaces

Airbnb offers people unique travel accommodations, replacing the traditional hotel with funky homes and other non-typical spaces

Laws and their inflicted rules used to be a candid reflection of our individual values at one point in time. They represented our virtues and morals. They distinguished right from wrong.

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Over the decades, our values have evolved (as one would expect from a species whose entire existence is based on evolution). Yet we failed to apply the most crucial rule that evolution has taught us to the judicial system: you adapt or you die. As a result, it is now plagued with laws that represent archaic monuments which painfully remind us of how narrow-minded and naive we once were.

It took 80 years and many lives to grant US African Americans the right to vote and almost 40 more years for women to gain the same right. For an entire century, we refused to recognize that everyone’s created equal.

Breaking rules is our way of forcing the judicial system to adapt or die. It is a necessary system health check which ensures that our individual values are still aligned with the rules that are supposed to govern us. Any individual can challenge the status quo, but it takes a collective to tear down archaic monuments. There needs to be a network effect. The more other people subscribe to your way of thinking, the more attention will be paid to the archaic nature of the law in question.

Unfortunately, we’ve been conditioned to believe that breaking the rules is wrong. We have witnessed what happens when authoritative figures flex their muscles, sending nonconformists to jail and placing activist groups on terrorist-watch lists. Most of us are a little scared to stand up for our values these days, aren’t we?

It’s time we take off our Elizabethan collars. They are narrowing our focus to only register fearful events that deter us from challenging the status quo. We’re starting to suffer from tunnel vision. If we were able to turn our heads, we’d be able to see that there is a global system that has been embracing troublemakers and rule breakers: the internet.

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On the internet, breaking the rules is called “disruption” and it is considered a highly sought after practice that cultivates innovation. It is the birth place of an underlying notion which suggests that there is always a way to do things better – it’s really just a matter of time until someone finds it. Here, the status quo has an incredibly short shelf life.

You adapt or you die. (R.I.P Blackberry)

Airbnb is one of those internet companies that has disrupted the accommodation market by allowing people to share their home with complete strangers in exchange for money. The hotel industry is of course troubled about this because they can’t compete with the authentic, live-like-a-local experience that Airbnb provides their customers. Frankly speaking, a hotel’s unique offer doesn’t extend much further than free morning newspapers, cheap coffee, and cleaning services. Besides that, the only one who profits from this experience are the hotels. Airbnb gives the majority of the profit to their customers, who are allowing others to enjoy their four walls. You see everyone sort of wins with Airbnb while the hotel industry only allows for one winner.

Airbnb didn’t just do things how they have always been done. They do things how they should be done.

Breaking rules, as we have learned, comes at a price though. In Airbnb’s case, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman came knocking to issue a subpoena demanding the submission of Airbnb’s confidential user data of 225,000 New Yorkers. Apparently, the state is “concerned about hotel occupancy taxes and possible evictions by greedy building owners.”

Here we have a group of individuals that rethought the accommodation industry and came up with an arguably better solution, just to find it squashed down by our lawmakers.

Sure, we can take a passive stand against it and say, “Leave it up to the lawmakers to get things right.” Or, we can prompt a system health check and asses whether or not Airbnb services align with our individual and collective values.

Is Airbnb providing people with an opportunity to earn some extra cash on the side? Yes. (And in a world where everything gets more expensive but no salaries are increased, this is a welcoming break.)

Do people enjoy vacationing in someone else’s unique home? Yes. (Have you seen how many users they have?)

Is the Airbnb service hurting anyone physically or psychologically? No. (On the contrary, users benefit from the service.)

Well then, if that’s the case, let’s make sure that the service sticks around. We are the lawmakers. The person at the top is a representation of us. And employees working for the judicial system chose law as their profession. That doesn’t mean that their voice is louder than yours. They are lawmakers by education or occupational lawmakers, and they too have an obligation to represent our values and best interest.

I repeat, we are the lawmakers.

When the laws and their inflicted rules no longer serve us as a collective, we must break them and rethink them. “We” is made up of two or more individuals, and if we as individuals seize to stand up for our values, there will be no collective – there will be no change. No occupational lawmaker will take notice.

Big name hotels are opposing Airbnb's concept

Big-name hotels are opposing Airbnb’s unique hospitality concept (for obvious reasons) ; sign the petition and help support Airbnb today.

I think we can all agree that Airbnb should not hand over any confidential user data, potentially putting thousands of New Yorkers on the hook for breaking an elusive rule that no longer serves us. If we don’t use our collective law making power to create the kind of society that fosters innovative disruption, then we are inviting others to take that power from us. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

I want Airbnb to stand as an example of an outdated law that we replaced – an archaic monument we tore down together.

Help me by signing this petition.

 

 

 

About the author:

Tina Schomburg is known to butcher English idioms from time to time. Granted, many of them wouldn’t make a lot of sense to someone who was born and raised in Germany. Aside from idioms, Tina grew to love the English language early on while listening to North American pop songs and ballads. In the pre-Google era, she would pull out a thick dictionary, flip through the pages in order to find and translate every single word so she could understand their context. This anecdote serves as a great illustration of Tina’s persistence and curiosity for the unknown. Nowadays, you can find Tina swooning over stunning industrial and web design or going down a rabbit hole in effort to learn and understand an intriguing subject. As of late, Tina has become a self-educated expert on health and the state of well being after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of twenty-two. Once Tina has successfully recovered from cancer, she plans on empowering others to become fearless agents of change.

Visit Tina’s website and blog here > Peaceful Combat

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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 1: The Hermit)

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Illustration by Adan Ye

The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. I hope it is a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, please send me an email at richard@collective-evolution.com and let me know.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire to have. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

 1. The Hermit

One day a hermit emerged from the forest on the island of Allandon, seeking to share his wisdom. As he had been in silence for forty years, his sudden appearance excited considerable curiosity among the villagers, and they all followed him to the top of the great mountain at the center of the island.

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When the villagers had settled comfortably beneath the hermit, he spoke.

“From my time in silence, I have divined one sublime truth,” he said, and after a dramatic pause, continued: “Life is fun.”

The crowd below started to buzz. People smiled at each other and some of them started to laugh. The hermit was puzzled by their response until a woman who had been laughing particularly heartily stood up and responded.

“Sorry, but—we already knew that.”

“You knew that?” the hermit replied.

“Indeed,” said another, “we’ve been talking about it for some years now.”

“We have to remind each other of it all the time!” said an elder man, causing more laughter amongst the villagers.

The woman walked up to the hermit and said, “We would like to invite you into the village, to show you all the games we have invented during your silence.”

Before he knew it, the hermit was walking down to the village and talking amongst the people, smiling like a child. 

I am a serious man. And I am on a serious mission. And that mission is to take life less seriously.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. I look around me and I see other people searching out from behind stern faces. We are looking for something to believe in. Without it, the gravity of life weighs on us. We are tired of our heavy walk through life but we are unsure of how to lighten our step. Rather than experiencing our life as a dance of ongoing discovery and creation, most of us march to the tune of rampant familiarity. We notice that we are basically living the same day over and over. Worse, we feel doomed to continue this way, focused only on improving our material comfort as our health and vitality slowly deteriorate and finally we die.

There are those saving moments of course, perhaps connecting with friends on the weekend over wine, or being part of the lives of our children. Certainly when we observe children closely we are reminded of the rapture we once felt about life. We see through them a faith in a greater future, and an optimism that all dreams will one day come true—at least until they themselves begin to follow in our rut-steps.

Are the words joy, wonder, and fun part of our daily conversation? Perhaps they could be, once we dispatch of the mountain of obligations needing our serious attention at the moment. It’s just that this mountain of obligations never seems to subside. We are commanded by many voices outside of us and they never stop. So we do what our society expects of us, our boss and co-workers, our friends, our spouse, our children. We do what we are supposed to do.

It’s not that we can’t think for ourselves. We very much can. And so we have to ask ourselves why we keep so perpetually busy. Maybe we want to stay a safe distance from that uncomfortable inquiry into what we really want from life. The temptation is compelling: it’s much easier to follow instructions than to figure things out on our own. Being told by others who we are and what we really should do removes the need to look into our dark insides and discover it for ourselves.

We have been living in a society where there is no shortage of advice on what to do and how to think. Simply keeping our hands and our minds occupied may have worked for most of us up to now. But things are changing. As we become more aware as individuals, as we become more conscious as a society, the voice inside of us is getting too loud to ignore. No amount of noise on the outside will be able to distract us from it much longer. It is compelling us to look at ourselves and figure out what we really came here to do. We are running out of places to hide and people to blame for our disenchantment. Let’s face it, most of us are living a life we have outgrown. In our collective restlessness, we feel the need to kick-start ourselves into a greater and more profound experience.

Can we honestly say with a straight face that we are living up to our full potential? There may be a few people in the world who think they are, but I have yet to meet one of them. No, we know very well that we are not. Not even close. We are underachieving by a longshot. We know that we are not living the life of our dreams, and yet we haven’t gotten around to getting that life going.

It’s almost as though we are waiting for some cataclysmic event to bring out our greatest selves. When a loved one dies of a tragic illness we step in and create foundations to support others going through the same difficulties. When the child of a neighbor has gone missing in the woods, we somehow find the superhuman strength to search for days on end, without our usual complaints and self-concerns. In the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center stories of compassion, courage, and humanity abounded. When we do these things we feel good about ourselves, we feel truly alive.

Naturally it begs the question: why should we wait for tragedies to occur in our lives before we decide to be authentic, to get excited about life and to love with passion? What is stopping us from doing it now? Nothing. It’s a choice that is available to us, 24/7. But who will lead, who will guide us into this authentic existence? Ah, but this is what is most exciting about this time in history: we are actually starting to find the wherewithal to guide one another.

There is a new kind of conversation that is emerging today, in our homes, coffee shops, offices, indeed wherever people meet. It is a conversation that has enchanted those who have taken to engaging in it. The price of admission? Careful listening and speaking from the heart. In other words, we are all invited. The new conversation in the air is around possibility—the possibility that we can find fulfillment in our lives, and that we may really be able to live out our dreams. The new conversation honors our uniqueness, allows us to make mistakes, and supports the exploration of what we most deeply desire. It makes us step back from a life of duty and obligation and step into one of freedom and fun. In the space of the new conversation we will inevitably be challenged to look at our greatest obstacle—that we generally take ourselves far too seriously.

Now I can assure you that I have done extensive research on the subject of futile seriousness. I have arrived at a place intellectually where I now fully concur with Deepak Chopra when he says that we live in a recreational universe. But knowing something is not the same as experiencing it. Any delusion I had that I had shed my own aura of seriousness was quashed in the early stages of writing this book, at a meeting at the home of my writing coach. I got the opportunity to talk with his daughter, who was very bright and quite interesting to talk to, and so we spoke about such matters as writing, drama, and politics. A week later her father told me that she likened me to a bottle of wine whose cork was on far too tight.

“Fine wine inside,” he said laughing. He was trying to take some of the sting out. And I did feel some, knowing that this was her honest impression. I thought that at least my visage of seriousness had been left behind in my university days. Alas, I was left to put this down as another in my long list of opportunities to laugh at myself. When I can do that and let go of a self-image that doesn’t really fit, then the sting is removed. But in truth it’s never really easy to do. There always seems to be something new to learn about letting go. So I don’t come to you as an expert on the subject. I come as a work-in-progress. I am hoping that you will accept the notion that we should teach what we most need to learn.

And the term teach is meant very loosely. What I am really intending with this work is to present ideas that will enrich our conversation about what is possible in our world. It could serve as a signpost to what you may have already noticed rising up around you. There is no need to accept anything proposed here as gospel, especially when it doesn’t seem or feel right to you.

In fact this is one of the hallmarks of the new conversation: the truth of one may not necessarily be the truth of the other. The great teachers throughout history knew this. On his deathbed Buddha urged his followers to “be a lamp unto yourselves.” It was his way of saying that one could only achieve enlightenment if they followed their own truth, and then shed the light of this truth onto the world. To copy someone else’s life or follow a formula that proscribed the ‘proper’ ways to think and behave would not be the way to true enlightenment.

Instinctively we know this. And yet we have to admit that there is a gap between what we know about life and how we live. Personally I want to work towards bridging this gap. This book marks my intention to wake up in the morning happy to be alive, explore my creativity every day and experience my life as fun.

For you it may be something different, something uniquely yours that nobody can uncover except for yourself. What is your intention from life? If you think you don’t know it this moment, then it might be time for you to engage in a conversation, one that is designed to help you in your search. This conversation might not only provide you with the opportunity to unravel and reflect upon the beliefs that are all rolled up inside of you, it also may give you the chance to hear about and try on other ideas that might stimulate your growth. There has never been a greater opportunity in our history to share the unique flavors that each one of us has been storing up. Will you join me in popping our corks in celebration? I am convinced that everyone has fine wine inside themselves to offer the world.

If you have up to now been on the outside looking in, and have been waiting for an invitation, then take this as your official invitation into the new conversation. I invite you to believe that your uniqueness is a gift to the world, and you are here to do nothing other than share that uniqueness, so that we all may benefit from the memories of where you have been and the vision of where you want to go.

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Awareness

Glyphosate & Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    This article was written by By Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, President of Children’s Health Defense.

  • Reflect On:

    How did our federal health regulatory agencies ever approve something so dangerous and damaging to human health?

In Part I, “The Disturbing Increase in Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults,” we called attention to the steep rise in colorectal cancer incidence in young people in their twenties and thirties and discussed the risks associated with viral vaccines. In Part II, we discuss glyphosate as another plausible culprit in the colorectal cancer epidemic.

Gut bacteria play a pivotal role in shoring up brain health and overall health. This fact has become a widely acknowledged talking point in scientific circles as well as in the popular press. The reverse is also true—when diet or environmental factors produce gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of the microbes that reside in the gastrointestinal tract), the imbalance can “impact the pathologies of many diseases.”

Colorectal cancer has increased by 51% in Americans under age 50 since the mid-1990s, and researchers suggest that “early life exposures…may be contributing to the rise” in that age group. A leading hypothesis is that gut dysbiosis is playing an active part—perhaps by disrupting young people’s immune response and triggering overactivation of cell signaling proteins in the colon. Some researchers have even posited a “bidirectional self-feeding relationship” between the gut microbiome and colorectal cancer, with gut dysbiosis contributing to colorectal cancer growth and progression, and tumor growth in turn disturbing the gut microbiome.

Autism investigators have been at the forefront of research on the gut microbiome. They point to environmental toxins and antibiotic use as two influences that can shift the gut’s microbial composition in an unfavorable direction. Scientists attribute up to 85% of colorectal cancers to environmental and microbial factors. Glyphosate (the leading ingredient of Roundup) is both an herbicide and a patented antimicrobial. Could the upward trend in glyphosate usage that began roughly three decades ago have something to do, therefore, with the skyrocketing incidence of colorectal cancer in young people? Although recent court cases linking Roundup to cancer have focused mostly on other types of cancer such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the evidence that glyphosate wreaks havoc with gut bacteria has led many researchers to suspect that the answer is yes.

Glyphosate in the air and everywhere

These days, glyphosate exposure affects everyone, not just farmworkers. Newsweek reported in 2016 that the world is “awash in glyphosate,” with a fifteen-fold increase in Roundup use since the mid-1990s. American agriculture sprays glyphosate on at least 70 food crops. As a result, glyphosate residues are now rampant in the U.S. food supply, including in the processed Cheerios, Doritos and Oreos so frequently gobbled up by children and adolescents.

Studies have documented concerning levels of glyphosate in Americans’ urine and breastmilk. One study of U.S. adults found that average glyphosate levels in urine increased by a factor of thirteen over the two-decade period between 1993–1996 and 2014–2016—and seven out of ten study participants had glyphosate levels above the limits of detection. Mean levels of a glyphosate metabolite called AMPA measured approximately 36 times higher in the second time period. Moms Across America has reported high levels of glyphosate in three out of ten breastmilk samples tested.

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Glyphosate and the gut

A variety of in-progress clinical trials are exploring the link between the intestinal microbiota and colorectal cancer. Completed studies have already shown that individuals with colorectal cancer “display instability in the composition of their gut bacterial communities when compared with healthy controls” and have elevated levels of unfavorable bacterial species. Several of these species exhibit “pro-inflammatory and pro-carcinogenic properties, which could consequently have an impact on colorectal carcinogenesis.” In fact, researchers suggest that measurement of these out-of-whack bacterial populations could have “potential value as a marker of colon cancer.”

The widespread and intensive use of glyphosate has exacerbated “distortions in microbial communities.” Researchers note that:

Shifts in microbial compositions due to selective pressure by glyphosate may have contributed to the proliferation of plant and animal pathogens. …[W]e hypothesize that the selection pressure for glyphosate-resistance in bacteria could lead to shifts in microbiome composition and increases in antibiotic resistance to clinically important antimicrobial agents.

Researchers Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff have written extensively about glyphosate in a series of papers elucidating “pathways to modern diseases.” They note that in animals, glyphosate “has been shown to disrupt gut bacteria…, preferentially killing beneficial forms and causing an overgrowth of pathogens.” Overgrowth of opportunistic pathogens can lead to a breakdown of the gut lining and the development of “leaky gut” syndrome. Researchers describe “the loss of gut barrier integrity” as “an early event which contributes to chronic inflammation,” and they have observed both gut dysbiosis and a dysfunctional intestinal barrier in colorectal cancer patients.

Turning a blind eye

Far from sticking up for American consumers, U.S. regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have largely turned a blind eye to concerns about glyphosate safety. The environmental website EcoWatch reported in 2016 that although the FDA routinely tests foods for pesticide residues, it had never tested for glyphosate residues until that year; EPA critics believe that the agency “has been unduly influenced by the agrichemical industry.” EcoWatch also observed that U.S. regulators allow a much higher “acceptable daily intake” of glyphosate than is permitted in other countries.

In July, 2019, Children’s Health Defense filed a lawsuit against Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, asserting that the company’s labeling and marketing practices “deceive parents who seek to be mindful of what is contained in the baby foods they provide to their infants.” Independent laboratory testing identified multiple synthetic pesticides, including glyphosate, in Beech-Nut’s “Naturals” line of baby food. Children’s Health Defense and Chairman and Chief Legal Counsel Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. take the health of our most precious resource—our children—very seriously and are at the forefront of legal efforts to challenge fraud and free children from exposure to toxic chemicals.

The rising toll of colorectal cancer deaths in young people who are in the prime of life points to the urgent need to reset regulatory priorities and put people before profits. Glyphosate’s deleterious effects on the gut microbiome—just one of many problems associated with the herbicide—are one more nail in the coffin for a toxic product that is well past its use-by date.

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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Consciousness

The Wake Up Call We All Need To Hear About Politics

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We exist in a time, especially with the US in the midst of another election cycle, where we must face the reality that personal transformation and identifying the REAL workings of our world is crucial to creating change.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are we always baited into left/right politics? Why is so much media focused on taking left or right angles? Are we getting to any real truth by not addressing the real, proven workings of our world? Are we living in a delusion?

Back in 2009 I created a documentary that kickstarted Collective Evolution’s popularity. It focused on taking a big picture, conscious, look at the state of our world and what needs to change. This film was made on a handy cam with a budget of about $800, haha. But it was the beginning of something powerful, and played its role.

One of the key insights I wrote into this film was the idea that we must begin looking at our world and our political system from the standpoint of consciousness – how our inner belief systems and programming create the world we see in our world.

The current challenge we face is that people are not seeing the truth of our world and thus are living in a delusion, or illusion. They are being baited into identifying as either a democrat or a republican. Baited into various heated issues that also don’t address the truth of what’s happening in our world. These societal manipulations are distracting people from something that can actually create change, and this is why the mainstream media and culture in the US is so developed to keep people lost.

Because of this, we must begin to take a new approach to understanding our world that looks not just at policies and people who create ideas that governments push through, but also, and most importantly, the elephant in the room that few political candidates ever discuss in any meaningful way – the deep state.

A combination of personal transformation and viewing the truth of our world couragiously, is the way forward. I’m not stating this in a way where I’m suggesting there is only one pathway forward, I’m stating this as 2 key ingredients that must be brought together to properly understand our world and what we must do to evolve it. This is precisely why for 10 years the formula I built for Collective Evolution’s media has been focused on combining personal transformation with truth.

Currently, many are too afraid to have these honest and grounded conversations as they don’t want the label of being airy-fairy or a conspiracy theorist. Both of these labels, of course, are convenient forms of ridicule that seek not to answer ideas brought forth, but to brush them aside as something people don’t wish to look at and face.

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In the video below, I address a detail that is so crucial to our understanding of our world. As the US moves yet again into another cycle of elections, this message is more important now than ever.

To watch full episodes of The Collective Evolution Show every day, sign up for a free 7-day trial to CETV here.

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