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What Is Wrong With The 1%?

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“There is something fundamentally wrong in treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation.”

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Herman E. Daly

According to the latest 2015 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report the top 1% of wealth holders now own half of all global household wealth, much of this wealth has been concentrated in the United States and Europe. A 2014 report by Oxfam warned that the richest 85 people across the globe share a combined wealth of £1tn, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world’s population. (1a)

While most of us are aware of the inequality in modern western society it is much less known what impacts such wealth creation have throughout society and the environment. While there are many wealthy individuals whom contribute to various causes, charities and philanthropic pursuits there is no denying the growth and continued exploitation of the planet in an effort to increase wealth is having devastating consequences. Today much of this  wealth is now concentrated at the very elite and top percentage profile.

Don’t Understand the Concept of Uneconomic Growth

We are now experiencing what many call, uneconomic growth. Uneconomic growth is where there is a decline in the quality of life on Earth. With ever expanding focus on ever increasing profits, companies, executives, shareholders and owners continue to exploit resources and people in an attempt to maximize profits. This profit driven motive dominating the mainstream and the economic model is creating inequality not just in society, but throughout the natural world. For continued profits, which keep shareholders and owners happy there must be a corresponding increase in profits. These profits can only come about due to the use of more resources. It doesn’t matter which way you spin it, the concept and very premise economic growth is founded on  turning natural resources into goods and services.

Increased Wealth Doesn’t Equal Greater Levels of Happiness

We have all heard the saying, “Money can’t buy happiness.” Recent psychological research has not only shown the truth of this maxim, but has begun to demonstrate that when people organize their lives around the pursuit of wealth, their happiness can actually decrease.

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Research on how happiness relates to material wealth by psychologists Edward Diener, Ph.D., and David Myers, Ph.D., clearly documents that people are happier if they live in wealthy, rather than poor nations. However, once individuals have enough money to pay for their basic needs of food, shelter, etc., money does relatively little to improve happiness. Further, increases in neither national economic growth nor personal income have much effect on changes in the personal happiness of citizens.

Psychological research goes further than this, however, by showing that people who “buy into” the messages of consumer culture report lower personal well-being. According to research by psychologist Tim Kasser, Ph.D., individuals who say that goals for money, image, and popularity are relatively important to them also report less satisfaction in life, fewer experiences of pleasant emotions, and more depression and anxiety. Similar results have been demonstrated for a variety of age groups and people around the world.  In addition to these problems with personal happiness, research suggests that strivings for affluence also hurt social relationships and promote ecologically-destructive behaviour. (1)

Generally Wealthy People Are Less Altruistic Than Most

To the uninformed, one might assume that poorer people are more likely to lie, cheat, steal and act unfairly toward others. The opposite is true. Studies by Berkeley psychologists Paul Piff and Dacher Keltner conducted several studies to determine which socio-economic groups act in their self-interest and disregard the impact they have upon others. They found that the more wealth one has, the greater the propensity to participate in and behave in a uncompassionate manner. They found that as people climb the social ladder their feelings towards others decline. Piff and his colleagues suspect the answer may have something to do with how wealth and abundance give us a sense of freedom and independence from others.

The less we have to rely on others, the less we may care about their feelings. This leads us towards being more self-focused. Another reason has to do with our attitudes towards greed. Like Gordon Gekko, upper-class people may be more likely to endorse the idea that “greed is good.” Piff and his colleagues found that wealthier people are more likely to agree with statements that greed is justified, beneficial, and morally defensible. These attitudes ended up predicting participants’ likelihood of engaging in unethical behaviour. (2)

Wilfully Ignorance in Being Able to See the Greater Connection

The ecological principle formulated back in the 1860’s by Justus Von Liebig, ‘Liebig’s Law’, (also known as the Law of the minimum) originally applied to plant and crop growth illustrates this point. The law states that, ‘growth is controlled not by the total resources available, but by the scarcest resources, the limiting factor’. An example can be seen in the growth of plants. If one of the variables that goes into growing a plant, for example, sun, water, nutrients, soil Ph is out of balance or missing (the scarcest resource), then the plant will subsequently die. In essence, we only have to get one thing significantly wrong for us to face almost certain environmental and societal collapse. It seems many (not just wealthy) individuals, corporations and governments are hell bent on pursuing the status quo in spite of coming to the realisation that everything is connected. This failure to see the connection by continually exploiting resources and undermining the systems which support us is rooted in ignorance, arrogance and the inability to understand how everything is connected…

Article by Andrew Martin, author of  Rethink…Your world, Your future. and One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future… 

RethinkcoverCE2excerpts from Rethink…Your world, Your future.

(1) http://www.apa.org/research/action/rich.aspx

(1a) http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/20/oxfam-85-richest-people-half-of-the-world

(2) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-wealth-reduces-compassion/

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Consciousness

Dark Jewels: Mining The Gifts Of 8 Difficult Emotions

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Our difficult emotions are not just unpleasant experiences. They have hidden gifts, including the capacity to transform our lives into more joy and wholeness. They impart wisdom and compassion we can't find living on, or fearfully clinging to, the su

  • Reflect On:

    Which emotions do you have trouble feeling or accepting in yourself and others? These might be the frontiers you need to embrace and enter to more fully embody your life.

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It is a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.

—Pema Chodron

Unless we look into and skillfully navigate our dark sides, we can’t become our fullest selves. Consequently, we can’t truly love ourselves and the world as much as we are capable. Following Pema Chodron’s reasoning: if we cannot bear our own pain, how can we bear the pain of others? If we are afraid of our own suffering, how can we genuinely stand with another in theirs and thereby be the friend possible?

Below I list eight natural, universal emotions that at first blush we might feel like avoiding. This list is a kind of treasure hunt, revealing what we get to discover when we welcome and allow these at first uncomfortable feelings to be, and eventually change us from our depths on up through our heart and mind. For this growth to happen, we first have to be honest with ourselves—to be aware of what we are feeling and able to name it. Then we can embrace the feelings and go from there.

Notice how each “negative” emotion mentioned below informs us of our care. To welcome and work with our shadow emotions enables us to care more. Caring also requires sensitivity. So, if we have a sensitive heart, we will likely feel all these difficult emotions in good measure. And, when we learn how to intimately, courageously and patiently dance with them, they give us more heart and more inner power. Each emotion is therefore a portal to fulfill our capacity for greater love—love for ourselves, for those we love, and the Earth itself.

Difficult Emotion #1: Guilt

Guilt is usually a signal that we have acted, or might act, inappropriately. Guilt brings us back to our values, morality, and care for one another. Guilt shows us where we have acted poorly and can do better. Guilt keeps us accountable to one another. Guilt (that we have done wrong) need not become shame (that we are wrong or bad). We can harvest the lesson in our guilt (oftentimes along with our remorse), make amends, and forgive ourselves. For example, if I feel guilty that I wasn’t fully honest with you and this cost you, I might make an amend and confess my shortcoming.

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Sitting with guilt allows the sting of wrongdoing to impress a lesson upon us, or to change our hearts for the long term. Guilt need not be self-hatred, self-condemnation, or endless regret. It can be a mature reckoning and opportunity for more integrity. Note, guilt can also be a symptom of depression and OCD, in which case it’s best to notice it and not ruminate on it or try to mine it for wisdom.

Difficult Emotion #2: Anger or Rage

Almost every instance of anger arises because something we treasure has been threatened or taken away. It shows us what we care about and how we feel violated. Anger is the smoke alerting us to the fire of where we have been hurt. Anger shows us where our boundaries are, and welcoming the energy of anger helps us set boundaries. Anger protects what we love and shows us how much we care and value what is rightfully ours, or what is another’s. In the face of abuse, for example, anger or even rage, is an appropriate response. It protects our vulnerability.

Sitting with anger, without acting it out violently (unless appropriate in the moment to set a strong boundary) empowers our functional ego, or sense of self. It’s good, however, to make sure we get the facts straight before we let our anger take over, so we are not acting out on false assumption. With all this said, I find anger one of the less remunerative emotions to perpetuate. I try to get the lesson, hear the message from anger, then try to skillfully express, discharge, or let it go (not suppress or perpetuate it in thought and heart) as soon as possible. In excess, anger ages, wears us down, and burns bridges of support. At the same time, not embracing and discharging anger in healthy ways can sabotage and age us even more quickly.

Difficult Emotion #3: Fear

There is helpful and unhelpful fear. Helpful fear shows us our limits and where our limits for self-protection are, and therefore, what we care about. Fear of heights, or walking at the edge of a cliff, help us be careful so we don’t hurt ourselves. This is helpful fear. We all have limits, and healthy fear tells us when to stop and what to avoid, or to be careful in proceeding. Sitting with helpful fear shows us how to take care of ourselves and others, how to avoid harm. Unhelpful fear should be confronted, skillfully, and in good timing, so it doesn’t prevent us from achieving our goals. Asking that someone special out on a date or taking the steps to follow through on a dream, despite the fear, is confronting unhelpful fear and not letting it hold us back. We can’t help feeling unhelpful fear, and sometimes rather than try not to feel fear, the way to conquer it is simply to “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Difficult Emotion #4: Remorse

Remorse is related to guilt. It signals us that we have made a mistake, caused harm, or could have done better. Remorse arises because we care; otherwise we wouldn’t care how our actions affect others. Sitting with remorse allows it to teach us a heartfelt lesson. The remorse we feel because we didn’t take the time to review the pesticide-impact report accurately, or because we didn’t make the call that would have prevented a disaster, can all be good medicine. It’s important to allow remorse and not excessively beat ourselves up about it, which also gives us the opportunity to practice forgiveness. Remorse is tinged with sadness, which arises from caring, which is why it’s a good sign to feel remorse; it means we have a heart, care about life, and have a moral compass.

Difficult Emotion #5: Despair

Despair is tough and humbling. Sometimes we can’t help but despair. Despair has an element of giving up, and this total or partial surrender can bolster our capacity for letting go of unnecessary control. When we do, we can find inner strength we didn’t know we had, as well as outside support in those who come to our aid. Inside despair is the kernel of faith. Despair can be a path to what we might call God or Spirit, which is often our own resiliency and trust that things will somehow work out when we have given up, or feel like we have nothing left.

It’s important to have support and to self-motivate when appropriate so that despair does not unnecessarily turn to depression and self-harm. Falling apart in the arms of despair can be a powerful way to contact our depths and find that invisible inner fortitude. This is best done with people who can stand by us, hold us, and keep our heads above water, if indeed we are afraid of figuratively drowning. When we have support and can weather its storm, despair also reveals what we care about and who unconditionally cares for us.

Difficult Emotion #6: Worry or Anxiety

Worry can be unrealistic or realistic, and shades of both, just like fear. Noticing what we worry about can show us what we care about; otherwise, why would we bother to worry? Some are worrywarts, in which case it’s helpful to try not to worry as much, while preserving the kernel of care in worry. Sometimes it’s appropriate to act in order to reduce worry. If I’m worrying about having left the gate open, getting up and closing it abets my worry. Other times, when our worry is more unrealistic, we don’t need to act as much as we need to bring our minds back into balance. Sitting with realistic worry shows us what we need to do to protect ourselves and others, even if it’s as simple as closing the gate or moving a glass from the edge of the table. Worry brings out the care in our hearts or our fear of harm. Controlling negative and anxious thinking, getting the facts straight, and breathing deeply all help keep worry from becoming exaggerated, unrealistic, and getting the best of us. Worry is our hearts thinking out loud about what we care for.

Difficult Emotion #7: Grief

Grief is the price we pay for the privilege of love. Yet, it’s only a temporary cost, for I consider grief the most soul-making of the emotions. Grief takes us down into ourselves;  it is the polisher of our souls. Grief dissolves our pain, which making it invaluable for living as a sustainable person. For if we don’t clear our hearts of pain, the tendency is to poison the world and others with the hurt we didn’t allow it to dissolve. Within grief is the blossom of rebirth from suffering and loss. The more we grieve, the more we can love; and the more we love, the more we feel the sting of loss. To deny grief is to deny love. While most of us don’t want to feel the drag, dullness, and despair of grief, it is a natural and healthy reaction to loss. Grief is a symbol of our love and when we can welcome it, we give our hearts the opportunity to break and grow as wide as the world. Grief work is an aspect of grief that I describe as  intentionally entering our past pain, especially that from childhood, that has not been resolved. This work frees our lives from the inside out as nothing else can. Grief is merely the other side of feel-good love and is always in fluid communication with it.

Difficult Emotion #8: Envy or Jealousy

Envy, as the desire for what someone else has, points to our fulfillment. It brings out our longing and desire and shows us what we want and what we can work for to make our lives better or more enjoyable. Of course, it’s important to make sure that what we are envious of is something we truly want and value, and not just an excuse to hate on someone. Sometimes we feel a heavy dose of envy because we don’t want to work for the success another has. Yet, once we admit our admiration for someone else’s success or freedom, we can use that inspiration to work to acquire what we envy, and admire our own progress and achievements.

Jealousy, which is feeling threatened that what we cherish will be taken away or injured, is often accompanied by anger. In wanting to possess, jealousy shows us what we value, what we want to protect, what we would feel pain in losing. The element of anger, or even worry, in jealousy helps us set boundaries and limits to protect what we want and care about. Marriage, or committing to monogamy, are examples.

The Takeaway

I hope this deeper glimpse into difficult emotions allows you to lean into and appreciate them for their uncommon gifts and not throw out their wisdom with the bathwater of knee-jerk reaction of temporary discomfort. Yes, they can be difficult and bring us down, but when we wisely work with them, and for long enough, they release their nectar, transform us into better and kinder people, and initiate us to our shared humanity. Their benevolent darkness gifts us depth and beauty we can’t otherwise find in the sunny side of life alone.

****

Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac., M.A., is Chinese medicine physician, having graduated valedictorian of his class in 2000. He has authored hundreds of articles, thousands of poems, and several books. Weber is an activist for embodied spirituality and writes extensively on the subjects of holistic medicine, emotional depth work, and mind-body integration, all the while challenging his readers to think and act outside the box. His latest creation is the Nourish Practice, a deeply restorative, embodied meditation practice as well as an educational guide for healing the wounds of childhood. His work can be found at jackadamweber.com, on Facebook, or Twitter, where he can also be contacted for medical consultations and life-coaching.

 

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Consciousness

If You Do One Thing At Christmas Make It This: Acts Of Kindness

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Gentleness and kindness will make our homes a paradise upon earth. C. A. Bartol

As we enter into the ‘silly season’ I felt inspired to write about what I wish Christmas could mean for everyone.

In a world where we have so much focus on material goods, (and never is this more obvious than at Christmas time)  I think its time to touch on something that is far more important.

And that is, have you ever thought about what exactly the true meaning of Christmas might be? What do you think it is?  Being with family and friends? Eating a lot of good food or going away somewhere nice?  Yes it can be all of that, but for me, it is more about giving.

Not the giving of expensive presents to family members and friends, but instead, giving to those that need it most.

Yes, I know that is a cliche, but its a valid one, and it is so very important right now.

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Only We Will Make The Changes Needed

Looking at the state of the world, with all of it’s chaos, more and more people are suffering.  Homelessness is reaching unprecedented levels in many ‘first world’ countries, there are more than 114,000 people living on the streets alone in California (with likely even more since those terrifying fires a few weeks ago), and in the UK, it has recently been reported that 1 in 200 people are homeless.   Hungary have recently declared that homelessness is a crime.

We are countries with access to enormous wealth, yet our governments are cutting funding for important programs to look after our most vulnerable people.

A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men. Thomas Carlyle

Seeing that this has become a global problem, and one that is not improving,  it has become clearer to me, that only WE can really make the differences needed now.  It truly sits on our shoulders as individuals to make more of a conscious effort to help those around us.

We have to stop waiting for others to sweep in and make these changes, we have to help do it ourselves.

I know, many may say ‘I am struggling myself to survive’ or ‘ I don’t have any spare money’, but kindness to others can be totally free.

For inspiration, please watch this beautiful and touching clip below that really lets you feel the power of kindness.  I am sure that even by watching this clip, many of you will be inspired now to go and do something for someone in need.  I was inspired to write this article after viewing this clip and I know it will create a domino effect!

You know, it’s not actually that hard to be kind.  You just have to have your mind ready to see an opportunity for being helpful to someone else.

Being kind to others, is actually a gift to yourself, the joy you feel in your heart when you do something nice and thoughtful for others, is a truly amazing feeling. It literally gives your heart a big happy bursting feeling. It feels like real love.

Science Shows Kindness Is Good For You

There actually is scientific evidence that being kind is very good for your own health, and for the other people who experience your kindness.  Kindness can also create a domino effect, and your act alone could end up helping many people, perhaps hundreds of event thousands.

Giving beats any short lived feeling you get from buying something material when you know that you have made a difference to someone else, especially when it helps them when they are at their lowest point.

If I have spare change in my bag, I do try and give to homeless people, (or instead buy them a meal) and despite that some will say ‘we shouldn’t encourage it’ I feel this is very unfair, as we never know their back story and how they ended up on the streets.

I think many of us turn our backs on them (like I used to) because if we really thought about it, we are probably petrified that we could end up like that.  For this reason alone, if you can, give, because would you not hope that people would help you if you were in the same position?

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money. John Ruskin

Kindness unites people like nothing else can and it is what we desperately need to bring our fractured societies back together.   With so much division between us now, what can heal this is our acts of kindness.

Everyone Matters

Every single person wants to feel that they matter, it’s embedded into our consciousness.  When a stranger does something kind for someone they don’t know it is even more special, because it was their way of saying ‘I see you, I don’t know you, but I care and you matter to me’

I have had many people be kind to me, in times of severe depression, where I nearly ended my life, I always had people show me that I mattered to them and not to give up.

I know this is what got me through those very dark times.  Their acts of kindness, made me realise I wasn’t worthless or truly alone, which brought me to be here today.

I am very lucky now to have this opportunity here at Collective Evolution to now be able to share important things with millions of readers around the world.

Who Will Benefit From Your Own Ripple Effects?

What if no one had of been kind to me when I was so low and in a desperate place? Would I not be here today? I really believe no, that I wouldn’t be.  We all are capable of creating positive ripple effects that can literally go around the world.

This is the power we all have, that you have, to impact someone else’s life positively, and maybe even many other peoples lives.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

Kindness comes in so many forms, and we are all capable of doing many of them.  You just have to open your heart and want to make the effort to do it.

I hope this Christmas you experience kindness in action, and could maybe even consider making a pact to continue this long after the festive season is over.

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. Og Mandino

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Consciousness

The Top Reasons Why We Resist Change & How To Stop

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We resist change for many reasons, but ultimately, this comes down to our core. We want to hold onto belief systems, being right, stories that protect our egos. Alternatively, we may fear the unknown, but what is that fear?

  • Reflect On:

    Why do you feel the way you do about certain changes in your life? Must you feel this way? Why do some people embrace change better than others? Is it perhaps they give less power to the stories of their mind?

Our world is full of change right now, and for good reason! Deep down we know and feel that something is a bit ‘stale,’ and we’re following that feeling with outward projections of emotions about our system, politics, what others do, our jobs – quite frankly, many of us are feeling frustrated with how things are.

But do you ever notice yourself resisting events happening in your life? We all go through many different experiences, this article is not to say we cannot make changes and choose to avoid un-favorable experiences entirely, it is simply to say, sometimes we can find ourselves being very resistant to changes that are going on in our lives, and this causes a lot of suffering and ‘stuckness.’

From positive to negative, pain to happiness, laughter to suffering, we must always remember that these are all just experiences. They are part of what allows us to grow and move towards a greater awareness within our soul and life experience.

As tough experiences happen, whether it be a breakup, a lost job, having to move to a new place, not having enough finances, finishing something that can be challenging etc, we generally have two choices. We can choose the route of remaining upset and resisting the whole process, making it very difficult to learn from as we inevitably get stuck in judging what is happening. Or we can choose to accept it for the time being as something that is in our path, a certain temporary barrier if you will, and see what we can gain from it in terms of growth. As we react to the situations, observe the thoughts and emotions that present themselves. ‘Why am I so upset about a lost job?” “Why am I so worried about change?” “What do these changes represent to me that make me feel upset?” “Why am I trying to control the experience so heavily?”

Why We Resist Change – The Core Truth

Now it might be easy to say that these are all natural feelings anyone would feel when going through these experiences because they are ‘human nature,’ but this would not be true, simply because these reactions are learned behaviours we get from how we have been taught to react to certain experiences. It is not an innate knowing from our soul for us to be upset and freak out when we lose a job for example. Some of us react and some of us don’t. These reactions are typically fueled by our own patterns, triggers, belief systems, fears, and can be further fueled by collective consciousness. This is why we resist change, plain and simple. We are protecting or running from the various aspects of ourselves listed above that keep us confined in our minds, re-playing the same reactions and experiences over and over.

Some people will suggest that some of us embrace change better than others, the simple answer to why that is is that some of us don’t give as much power to our minds stories. That’s truly all it is at its core. Not resisting change comes down to letting go of the mind’s stories about everything you do or are about to do.

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We are very much in control of how we feel during inevitable changes and challenges as we can choose to disempower the suffering that we often dive into. The truth is, we can feel peace in many of these circumstances, we simply need to remain conscious, aware and reflective as the events play out, and pay attention to what might be pulling us out of peace. We can, of course, FEEL what is first expressed, sit with it and truly understand it, but how long we sit with this is up to us, and is not the fault of the experience.

Resisting change is sometimes like trying to swim against the current. Sometimes we do not always see the perfection in what might be playing out so we try hard to keep it all in place i.e. we resist! Think about letting go of the need to control and instead let things go and flow as they need to. In most cases, we find that things are never as bad as we often assume they will be, and in the end, we feel great for having experienced it all.

How We Can Stop Resisting Change

So next time we find ourselves resisting, remember to try out these steps:

1. Pause for a moment in the situation
2. Observe your current emotions, sit with them if you must. Taking the time to slow down and understand what is going on within you will give you clarity so you aren’t simply saying “I’m mad” but instead are able to say “I’m mad because I’m feeling insecure or disempowered or disrespected etc”
3. Reflect on why these things truly bother you. As you understand what the emotions or triggers are that are coming up you will see what power you give to them and why.
4. Let go of what you are trying to control or avoid (keeping yourself out of danger of course)
5. Choose to take the situation moment by moment without judging it
6. Write down how you feel if it helps, likewise, you can talk to someone.

Helpful questions:

Why am I afraid of what’s to come? What are all the possible reasons that come up in my mind?

What do I feel is going to happen that I’m so worried about? Will it affect how people perceive me? My financial stability? Where do these stories even come from? Society? My friends? Parents?

The Takeaway

The bottom line is, when you notice yourself going back to the same frustrations, judgements, anger, blame, fear, worry, or anxiety about something, you know there is something there that’s triggering you, and it’s within you. The only way to peace and moving beyond that suffering is through processing the emotions and letting go of the belief systems, patterns of ideas in your mind that are causing such reactions.

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