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“We Are Not Alone” The Shamans Of The World Tell Us

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To disregard the problems facing the Earth and to proceed with business as usual in education would be a betrayal of trust. Our students want to know how to make a difference. They need hope. And it won’t come if all we can offer is another scientific theory or technological fix. We must expand our vision to seek non-scientific alternatives. To make a difference, we must search for different understandings. Let us look to the wisdom of our ancestors. They believed that intelligence is not restricted to humans but is possessed by all creatures – plants as well as animals — and by the Earth itself.

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They also believed in spirits. Human welfare was understood to depend on tapping into these wellsprings of wisdom, and all ancient societies (just like indigenous peoples today) had specialists skilled in communication with the natural world and with spirits. These people we now call shamans, and this article argues for the inclusion of shamanic practice in the educational curriculum. Shamanism gives working access to an alternative technique of acquiring knowledge. Although a pragmatic, time-tested system, it makes no claim to be science. Its strengths and limitations are different from those of the sciences and thus complement them. Being affective and subjective, shamanism offers another way of knowing.

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Reason sets the boundaries far too narrowly for us, and would have us accept only the known – and that too with limitations – and live in a known framework, just as if we were sure how far life actually extends. . . . The more the critical reason dominates, the more impoverished life becomes. . . . Overvalued reason has this in common with political absolutism: under its dominion the individual is pauperised. – Carl Jung

Of course science will offer some valuable new directions, but at the same time we must expand our vision to seek non-scientific alternatives. To make a difference, we must search for different understandings. I am fortunate to live in a country, New Zealand, where many of my compatriots have an understanding of past and future that is fundamentally different from the prevailing ‘Western’ view. Most in our civilisation consider it self-evident that we stand facing the future with the past behind us, but traditionally for New Zealand Maori it is the future that is behind them.

They stand facing the past and their ancestors, who are a living presence in spirit. It is the vision of the ancestors that guides the present generation into the unseen future, with one clear and overriding purpose: to prosper the generations yet to be born.

Nga wa o mua “The days of the past to which we are coming.” — Maori proverb

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Let us take our cue from Maori and consider the vision of our own ancestors. No matter what our ethnic background, we will discover that our ancestors (except some of the most recent) believed, like Maori, in the existence of spirits. They also stood in awe of the rich diversity of life forms, and they believed there is mutual interdependency between these forms, humans included, given that everything that exists is alive and conscious. They were of the opinion that intelligence is not restricted to humans but is possessed by all creatures – plants as well as animals — and, for that matter, by the Earth itself. Rock, soil, stream, ocean, wind, air, sky, the stars – all are imbued with consciousness.

Recognising that the Earth and many of its creatures vastly predate humanity and are therefore possessed of much older wisdom, our forebears honoured selected landforms, trees, plants, and animals as their ancestors. They understood that there is deep wisdom in the rhythms of the Earth and an infinite variety of life experience stored by our fellow creatures and by spirits. Human health and welfare were understood to depend on tapping into this wellspring of wisdom. On a planet that is everywhere alive, conscious and inspirited, humans were believed to have many wise allies for counsel and aid.

What is the relevance of this to our current concern about the fate of the Earth? If the ‘star billing’ given by us moderns to our species is unwarranted – if sapiens (wisdom) is not exclusive to homo (humanity) – then could it be that the fate of the Earth is not exclusively or even primarily in our hands? By our ancestors’ measure, we have grossly exaggerated our self-importance in the intricate web of life. Is it not conceivable that among our intelligent companions on this whirling voyage through space are some who may be capable of restoring the balance we humans have disturbed, of undoing the damage we have wrought? Possibly there are many more shoulders sharing this burden than we think.

Some of the strongest of those shoulders may be the smallest, as was demonstrated dramatically in the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil well explosion. As millions of barrels of oil poured unchecked into the ocean from the uncapped well, there was a scramble to devise human technologies that would mitigate an environmental disaster of colossal scope. It took months before the flow was stopped, but in the meantime it was discovered that petroleum-eating bacteria had flourished in the oil plume and contained a vast amount of it. The micro-organisms had not only multiplied at an astounding rate, they also had ramped up their own internal metabolism to digest the oil efficiently. They formed a natural clean-up crew capable of reducing the amount of oil in the undersea plume by half every three days.

We may take hope from the fact that this kind of help is available, but we must also start paying attention, as did our ancestors, to what our travelling companions have to say to us. Every ancient society developed communication with the natural world and with spirits, and they had specialists skilled in the techniques of that communication. These women and men were held in high regard, but they were approached with trepidation, because they were perceived to be communing with mysterious and awesome forces. In Old French they were called “sorcier,” those in touch with the “Source.” The Anglo-Saxons spoke of the “Ways of Wyrd” known to “wizards” and “witches.”

Shamanism is the term now applied to what has come to be recognised as a worldwide phenomenon, whose practice can be found as far back as we can go in human history. Given the association in the popular imagination of the term shamanism with ‘native, tribal’ cultures, it will come as a surprise to many to learn that their own ancestors practiced shamanism. We are all descendants of shamanic peoples.

Research over the past 150 years by scholars of comparative religion, pre-history and anthropology has revealed strikingly close similarities in the shamanic techniques employed in ancient cultures and in modern indigenous societies worldwide.(4) The word shaman is borrowed from one of those contemporary indigenous societies, the Tungus of Siberia. We are fortunate there are native shamans still at work, despite the sustained, and in many cases brutal, efforts of colonial governments, Christian churches, and medical authorities to suppress them. In the past forty years there has also been a Western revival of shamanic practice inspired by indigenous teachers and reinforced by the recognition that these ancient spiritual traditions are our shared inheritance.

The Role of Shamans

What do shamans do? They work to maintain or restore harmonious balance between humans and the rest of nature through powerful connections with spirit helpers. This requires a mastery of the techniques of journeying.

A shamanic journey is a trance state purposefully induced by a mind-altering activity such as rhythmic movement or repetitive sound, most often steady and sustained drumming. Less commonly, a psychotropic substance is ingested. In their altered state of consciousness, using disciplined techniques, individuals can experience visions of flying or entering into the Earth. On their journeys, participants ask animal or guardian spirits to appear and help in finding the answer to a question about their life or about someone else who has requested aid. Healing is the primary shamanic work. This includes healing of the Earth and its plants and animals. It also includes human healing, both the healing of dissension in groups and of physical and emotional illness in individuals. In the shamanic worldview, dis-ease is understood to result from loss of connection to the spirits of nature and consequent loss of soul – individual or collective.(6) Shamanic journeys take us to places where we can recover fragments of lost soul.

Journeying is useful for a wide range of practical purposes, and the experience can be powerful, often surprising the beginner with the cogency and helpfulness of what is revealed. Here is a personal example. Buying property is tricky at the best of times, but when you have been living in America for 30 years and would like to find a place in your home country, New Zealand, it’s a major challenge. That’s how it was for me in 1991, and I needed help. I received it from a guardian spirit, an eagle. In a shamanic journey, the eagle took me flying over the Marlborough Sounds and showed me a remote property in such detail that I was able to draw a sketch map: the position of the house in relation to two garden plots; the boat shed; the jetty; the shape of the bay. My wife Jo and I brought the map with us when we came to New Zealand three years later. We found a place listed at the first real estate office we visited, and when we were taken to the land, we knew within ten minutes it was the place to which my eagle had flown me. We had no need to look at other properties.

I have another story of shamanic success in real estate. I once participated with 30 others in a shamanic journey to look for a new campus for the California Institute of Integral Studies, the small San Francisco post-graduate school of which I was then president. Many participants found themselves led by their spirit guardians to one particular city neighbourhood. Three people in the journeying group described ornamentation on the outside of a building. One went down a chimney and saw a room with a polished wooden floor and an oriental rug. Another person reported a delicious aroma of baking. Most amusingly, some in the journeying group remarked on a pervasive smell of marijuana in the area. Little wonder. Three weeks later, we found an excellent property half a block from the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets! As we were to discover, the nearest shop, just two hundred metres from our new campus, was a deli, whose baked goods would become favourites of students and faculty, and the journey details of the ornamentation on the building, the chimney, and the room with the polished wooden floor and oriental rug all proved equally accurate.

As this suggests, shamanism can be fun! Shamans are theatrical. In order to rivet the attention of participants, shamans typically wear dramatic costumes and display colourful talismans as they burn herbs and rhythmically whirl, stamp, clap and drum loudly. Almost all of the physical senses of the participants are engaged. As teachers, we should acknowledge shamans as exemplars of excellent educational practice. People learn most forcefully from forms that engage more than their intellects. They remember best what they do, rather than what they read or are told. Effective education must have a large experiential component, and shamanic practice can be a totally engaging experience.

Shamans may be playful, but they are not playing games. Their work has a serious purpose: the evocation of powerful spiritual forces. Shamanic practitioners, as a consequence, must assume responsibility for the welfare of the individuals and groups they guide. As with psychotherapy and similar practices that may bring to awareness deep subconscious memories arousing strong emotions, shamanism must be practiced with disciplined restraint and ethical integrity. Also, with humility. “In shamanism (as well as with other forms of healing) it is not the shaman who does the work,” shamanic counselor Sandra Ingerman observes. “Shamans are just the instruments through which the power of the universe works. Therefore, asking the spirits for help and trusting that they will be there is the basis of the shaman’s responsibilities. Remember, an instrument cannot play itself.”

Reconnecting With Nature

Effective education must have a large experiential component, I said. Given the current critical imbalance between humans and other species, nature should be a primary area of experiential education. We should balance the abstractions of our classrooms with experiences of the wholeness of living, growing wild things. Following the centuries-old practice of shamans, students and their teachers should spend time in wilderness to restore direct awareness of the intricate interconnections that sustain life. Quiet time spent away from the elaborate constructions of our cities can help us gain the stillness in which we may hear nature’s voices.

Shamanic journeying also can lead to an intimate acquaintance with Nature. In his book The Adventure of Self-Discovery, psychotherapist Stan Grof reports that in the journeys he and wife Christina direct,(8) many participants experience “complete and realistic identification” with animals and plants and are given extraordinary knowledge of organic processes. In this mode of consciousness, “it is possible to gain experiential insight into what it feels like when a cat is curious, an eagle frightened, a cobra hungry, a turtle sexually aroused, or when a shark is breathing through the gills.” This can lead to profound new understandings. “Subjects have reported that they witnessed botanical processes on the sub-cellular or molecular level” and had “experiences of plant consciousness.”

Grof commented that to speak of plant consciousness might seem “fantastic and absurd … to a traditional scientist.”(10) He was writing in the late 1980s when biology was dominated by molecular geneticists, who, at the time, were supremely confident that all biological function was programmed by DNA sequencing. In the subsequent 20 years, however, there has been a conceptual revolution in genetics and cell biology, with the recognition that cellular networks in organisms are dynamic systems responding intelligently to changing external conditions, even modifying the structure of DNA where necessary. In his 2005 book, The Biology of Belief, cell biologist Bruce Lipton writes:

… each cell is an intelligent being that can survive on its own. . . . These smart cells are imbued with intent and purpose; they actively seek environments that support their survival while simultaneously avoiding toxic or hostile ones. Like humans, single cells analyse thousands of stimuli from the microenvironment they inhabit. Through the analysis of this data, cells select appropriate behavioral responses to ensure their survival. Single cells are also capable of learning through these environmental experiences and are able to create cellular memories, which they pass on to their offspring.

On the basis of such path-breaking research, Fritjof Capra concludes: “The organising activity of living systems … is mental activity. . . . Mind … is immanent in matter at all levels of life.”

Shared Consciousness

We have already observed that this perception of universal consciousness is the crux of the shamanic worldview. By entering the eagle’s keen eye, the bear’s great strength, the herb’s healing power, or the flame’s searing heat, the shaman shows us passageways to the spirit wisdom of natural forms. Shamans are shape-shifters, teaching that the boundaries between forms are not as impermeable as they may seem. Dramatically, this ancient knowledge that “there is no wall between species,” rejected for three centuries by reductionist Cartesian science, has been rediscovered in this decade by molecular biologists. Lipton again:

Recent advances in genome science have revealed [that] living organisms … actually integrate their cellular communities by sharing their genes. It had been thought that genes are passed on only to progeny of an individual organism through reproduction. Now scientists realise that genes are shared not only among the individual members of a species, but also among members of different species. The sharing of genetic information via gene transfer speeds up evolution since organisms can acquire ‘learned’ experiences from other organisms. Given this sharing of genes, organisms can no longer be seen as disconnected entities; there is no wall between species.

“It seems that every process in the universe that one can observe objectively in the ordinary state of consciousness also has a subjective experiential counterpart” in altered states.(14) This observation by Stan Grof suggests an important reason for the inclusion of shamanic practice in the educational curriculum. Shamanism gives working access to an alternative technique of acquiring knowledge. Although a pragmatic, time-tested system, it makes no claim to be science. Its strengths and limitations are different from those of the sciences and thus complement them. Being affective and subjective, shamanism offers another way of knowing.

Science As A Construct

In this it serves as shock therapy for students who have grown up with the unexamined belief that modern science is the only true path to knowledge. They have been taught that the scientific method is of a different order from all other human systems of understanding. The claim is that science, and only science, provides a clear window on reality and has the ultimate capacity to answer every question about nature. These assertions are untenable. Modern Western civilisation’s representation of reality is limited like that of every other civilisation. The sciences are cultural constructions to help us get by in the world. “A scientific theory is just a mathematical model we make to describe our observations,” cautions Stephen Hawking. “It exists only in our minds.”(15) Science is a simplification of the universe, which in its unfathomable vastness is always threatening to overwhelm the limited capacity of the human organism to comprehend. “I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive,” observes Martin Rees, British Astronomer Royal. “It could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”

Nonetheless, science reigns supreme and blinds most of our students, like the vast majority of us, to the diverse and richly varied paths to knowledge offered by other civilisations, contemporary and historic. “Today, the doors of the faerie hills remain sealed against us, for we keep the eyes of our mythic consciousness shut equally tight, refusing to allow cracks to appear in the walls of our present, desacralised world-view.” The writer is Mara Freeman, whose field is Celtic and British folklore. “Few of us dare to open what W.B. Yeats called the ‘flaming door’ and explore the power that crackles on the thresholds of our reality structures. But to do so might send a revitalising current through the wasteland of our culture.” Traditionally, Freeman says, it was shamans who had the courage and skill to throw open the “flaming door.” “Those skilled in walking between the worlds knew how to harness the power of the threshold where the normal rules of time and space hang suspended.”

Shamans are edge-walkers and shape-shifters, who dispel the illusion that all is fixed and orderly and controllable.

A stone’s throw out on either hand From the well-ordered road we tread, And all the world is wild and strange; Churl and ghoul and Djinn and sprite Shall bear us company to-night, For we have reached the Oldest Land Wherein the powers of Darkness range. – Rudyard Kipling

Shamanism is an acknowledgment of the awesome spiritual powers that shape the universe. It is an acknowledgement that mystery will remain despite all our science and scholarship.

Let us encourage our students to delight in the permanence of the unknowable and to sit in reverence and awe before the majesty of the mysterious. Let us encourage them also to hear the message of the shamans that the moving force in the universe is spirit, which makes life possible and gives it meaning. The exhilarating news the shamans bring is that we are not alone. On a planet that is everywhere alive, conscious and inspirited, humans have many wise allies for counsel and aid. We should lay to rest our exaggerated fears that we do not have the resources to keep this show going. Equally, we must learn humility. The hubris of homo sapiens in claiming superiority over all other species has been the source of severe damage. Humanity is merely one spirit form among countless billions.

The smallest indivisible reality is, to my mind, intelligent and is waiting there to be used by human spirits if we reach out and call them in. We rush too much with nervous hands and worried minds. We are impatient for results. What we need … is reinforcement of the soul by the invisible power waiting to be used. . . . I know there are reservoirs of spiritual strength from which we human beings thoughtlessly cut ourselves off. — Henry Ford, Detroit News, 7 February 1926

————————–

Written by John Broomfield. John is a teacher, writer, educational consultant and leader of cross-cultural study tours and shamanic workshops. Former Professor of History at the University of Michigan and President of the California Institute of Integral Studies, he is the author of Other Ways of Knowing: Recharting Our Future with Ageless Wisdom published by Inner Traditions. A student of sacred ecology and interspecies communication, he lives on remote land in the Marlborough Sounds, NZ, to learn directly from animals, plants and earth.  His website is www.eagle-tours.co.nz and he is available at eagle@ts.co.nz.

SOURCES

This article is reprinted with permission from Social Ecology: Applying Ecological Understanding to our Lives and our Planet (eds. David Wright, Catherine Camden-Pratt & Stuart Hill, Stroud, Hawthorn Press, 2011).

C.G. Jung: Memories, Dreams, Reflections (ed. Aniela Jaffé, New York, Pantheon, 1961) p. 302

Terry Hazen et al.: ‘Deep-sea Oil Plume Enriches Indigenous Oil-degrading Bacteria,’ Science (26 August 2010,  online)

Piers Vitebsky: Shamanism (Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 2001); Jeremy Narby & Francis Huxley eds.: Shamans Through Time: 500 Years on the Path to Knowledge (New York, Tarcher/Putnam, 2001); Ralph Metzner: The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe (Boston & London, Shambhala, 1994); Tom Cowan: Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit (San Francisco, Harper, 1993); Joseph Campbell: The Way of the Animal Powers: Historical Atlas of  World Mythology, vol. 1 (San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1983); Mircea Eliade: Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (translated by Willard R. Trask, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1972).

Narby & Huxley, op. cit., pp. 243-305; Vitebsky, op. cit., pp. 150-153 & 168-170; Roger N. Walsh: The Spirit of Shamanism (Los Angeles, Tarcher, 1990); Michael Harner: The Way of the Shaman (San Francisco, Harper, 1980); Sandra Ingerman: Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self (San Francisco, Harper, 1991); Jeanne Achterberg: Imagery in Healing: Shamanism and Modern Medicine (Boston & London, Shambhala, 1987): Journal of Shamanic Practice (Olivenhain, California, twice yearly).

Stanislav Grof: The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration (Albany, SUNY, 1988) pp. 52-53 & 58-59

Grof, op. cit., p. 59

Bruce H. Lipton: The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles (Carlsbad CA, Hay, 2005), pp. 37-38

Fritjof Capra: The Hidden Connections (London, Harper Collins, 2002) p. 30. See also Evelyn Fox Keller: The Century of the Gene (Cambridge, Mass.; Harvard, 2000).

Lipton, op. cit., pp. 44-45

Grof, op. cit., p. 62

Stephen W. Hawking: A Brief History of Time from the Big Bang to Black Holes (NY, Bantam, 1988) p. 139

Telegraph.co.uk, 22 February 2010

Mara Freeman: ‘The Flaming Door,’ Parabola, vol. 25, no. 1, February 2000, pp. 45-51

Rudyard Kipling’s Verse: Inclusive Edition, 1885-1918 (London, Hodder & Stoughton,), pp. 575-576

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Leading Academic Quits After Showing No Children Died From First Wave of Pandemic In Sweden

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute is quitting his work on covid-19 because of harassment from people who dislike what he discovered.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are scientists, journalists and doctors who present information that opposes what we hear in the mainstream censored, ridiculed, harassed and never given any air time?

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What Happened: letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden” has found that “Despite Sweden’s having kept schools and preschools open, we found a low incidence of severe Covid-19 among schoolchildren and children of preschool age during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic…No child with Covid-19 died…Among the 1,951,905 million children who were 1 to 16 years of age, 15 children had Covid-19, MIS-C, or both conditions and were admitted to an ICU, which is equal to 1 child in 130,000.”

It was published by  Jonas F Ludvigsson a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute.

The study also showed that  “fewer than 10 preschool teachers and 20 schoolteachers in Sweden received intensive care for Covid-19 up until June 30, 2020 (20 per 103,596 school teachers, which is equal to 19 per 100,000). As compared with other occupations (excluding health care workers), this corresponded to sex- and age-adjusted relative risks of 1.10 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.49 to 2.49) among preschool teachers and 0.43 (95% CI, 0.28 to 0.68) among schoolteachers.

In a Karolinska Institute press release,  Ludvigsson indicated he was hopeful about the results. “It is very gratifying that serious COVID-19, defined here as needing treatment in an intensive care unit, is so rare among children despite schools being open during the pandemic,” he said. “The next step will be to follow up the children who were treated in an intensive care unit for COVID-19 to see if they have recovered fully. My gut feeling is that children who have been seriously ill because of MIS-C seem to recover fully eventually.”

After he published this piece, an article published in the British Medical Journal on the 18th of February by Ingrid Torjesen states the following,

The Swedish government has said that it will strengthen laws on academic freedom after a leading Swedish academic announced that he was quitting his work on covid-19 because of an onslaught of intimidating comments from people who disagreed or disliked his research findings….After the letter’s publication he was bombarded with angry messages through social media and email criticising the study and inferring that it and Ludvigsson were representative of the country’s covid-19 containment strategy.

The experience has taken its toll on Ludvigsson. He told the journal of the Swedish Medical Association (Lakartidningen) that for a week he woke up at 3 am every night and could not get back to sleep and that he had now lost his appetite for covid-19—both when it comes to speaking out and researching. He has decided to quit researching and debating covid-19.

He is trying to put the experience behind him and has said that he will not talk to the media about what happened. However, he told The BMJ that, although the findings were published in a research letter, this was “an actual study” that underwent formal external peer review, including statistical peer review, and the manuscript was revised four times before it was published.

Intimidation and threats against academics have risen with the growth of social media, and uncertainties and diverse opinions about covid-19 have added to the situation. In response, Sweden is planning to provide increased support for academic freedom through an amendment to its Higher Education Act.

Matilda Ernkrans, Sweden’s minister for higher education and research, told The BMJ, “It is deeply concerning when academics are threatened to the extent that they don’t have the courage to keep on doing their job. This is not a new phenomenon, but we have seen an increase of threats against academics related to research on the coronavirus. When people are silenced, it’s a threat against the freedom of speech and our democracy.  “To strengthen academic freedom, the Swedish government has proposed a new amendment that points out that education and research must be protected to enable people to freely discover, research, and share knowledge.”

Ole Petter Ottersen, president of the Karolinska Institute, told The BMJ that he found the increase in threats and harassment towards researchers very worrying.

“A tough debate and a diversity of opinions based on facts and evidence are necessary elements of science and public discourse, but hateful and scornful accusations and personal attacks cannot be tolerated. We already see that researchers retreat from the public debate after being threatened or harassed, and in my own institution a leading researcher just decided to give up his covid-19 research for the same reason,” he added, referring to Ludvigsson.

Given that the Karolinska Institute seems to be the focus here as well, I thought I’d mention that professor Anna-Mia Elkström, an epidemiologist from the Institute and professor Stefan Swartling Peterson, have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and come to the conclusion that least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID directly. You can read more about that story here.

Why This Is Important: Censorship of opinions, evidence, data, science and information is a big problem today, this is no secret. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden once said that “The Problem with fake news isn’t solved by hoping for a referee. But rather because we, as participants, as citizens, as users of these services, (need to) help each other…We point out what is fake, we point out what is true – the answer to bad speech is not censorship, the answer is more speech. We have to exercise and spread the idea that critical thinking matters, now more than ever, given the fact that lies seem to be getting more popular.”

Snowden, like many others, especially those of us in the field of alternative media are quite aware of the fact that censorship and the close relationship big tech companies have with governments is due to their goal “to dominate the conversation and information…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour.” (source) We’ve talked about this here at CE since our inception in 2009, that the job of mainstream media, and “fact-checkers” these days, in our opinion, seems to be perception control. This is especially true when it comes to major global events, ones that seem to benefit the rich and powerful. The world’s ten richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the covid pandemic began, for example.

As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world. Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? -Edward Snowden (source)

The Polish Government recently announced that it will be taking steps to make censorship by big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter completely illegal, comparing it to their experience during the communist era. The Prime Minister said that “Censorship of free speech, which is the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now returning in the form of a new, commercial mechanism to combat those who think differently.”

The point is, it’s perfectly fine to disagree with one another, that’s healthy, and open debate is healthy especially during the times we are living in. What seems to be so off-putting to many is that debate is being discouraged. People are being urged not to do their own research, and any evidence or opinion that goes against what we hear from mainstream media is being completely ignored, censored or ridiculed to the point where people whose only source of information is mainstream news seem to be completely in the dark regarding important information and research.

The Takeaway: Why does mainstream media fail to have proper and appropriate conversations about “controversial” information that threatens the accepted framework of what we know, or at least what we are told is known? Why can’t we understand the viewpoints, opinions and perception of those who disagree with us, and try to empathize with and understand why somebody feels the way that they do? It seems today that information and perception control are at an all time high due to the fact that information that threatens certain government and corporate agendas is a threat to powerful people, but again, if you share this opinion and information/evidence as to why you feel this way you may be labelled as a “conspiracy theorist.”

All this being said, like 9/11, covid has served as a catalyst for even more people to question the official narrative, and whether or not our governments and the corporations above them actually have our best interests at hand, or if they’re simply serving other interests and rolling out measures under the guise of good will when they are not in humanity’s best interests.

Anyone who disagrees with the way COVID is being handled is not allowed to have a platform to speak. What does that tell us? You decide.

Last but not least, do we really want to go back to “normal”? A bird kept in a cage who is given a bigger cage will think it’s free and has attained a new level of freedom. Something to think about. You can read more about that discussion here.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading

Alternative News

World’s Ten Richest People See Wealth Increase By Half A Trillion Dollars Since Beginning of COVID

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CE Staff Writer 9 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recent report by Oxfam is one of many to explain how the world's wealthiest people have seen their wealth grow substantially since the beginning of the pandemic, while most others have suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is money always presented as a problem or a solution? Does humanity have the potential to move beyond such a system and thrive? Do we have solutions to our issues? Is the problem that many solutions threaten government/corporate greed/control?

Before you begin...

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A recent report by Oxfam shows that “the world’s ten richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the pandemic began.” On the other hand, the majority of people have been ushered into “the worst jobs crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or out of work.” The report was titled “The Inequality Virus” and was published on the opening day of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) ‘Davos Agenda.’

The WEF has been both praised and criticized by many academics, politicians and journalists for their “Great Reset” initiative. An initiative that intends to rollout,and currently is rolling out, a number of large changes here on planet Earth as a response to various, according to them, crisis’ we face such as climate change, terrorism, and of course the covid pandemic. The criticism comes from the idea that ‘the powers that be’ are using, and have used global crises’ to put more money, power and control over the human race into hands of the very few, all under the guise of good will and necessity. Measures being proposed include many things like the implementation of 5G, digital ID’s, digital currency, universal income, the abolishment of privately owned property, mandatory vaccination, increased surveillance  measures like tracking,  facial recognition and much more. This comes along with a ‘ministry of truth’ that seems to be “fact-checking” information that pertains to these topics. The censorship of alternative media and scientists who share information that counters what we hear in the mainstream during this pandemic has been unprecedented.

The idea that these are some sort of ‘nefarious’ measures being taken is usually presented as a “conspiracy theory” within the mainstream media. Unfortunately, big media continues to fail at having appropriate conversations around controversial topics. Furthermore, these implementations continue to rollout against the will of many people. That in itself has many people quite disturbed and asking the question, do we really live in a democracy, or is an authoritarian oligarchy type of government operating under the guise of a democracy?

According to Oxfam,

The report shows that COVID-19 has the potential to increase economic inequality in almost every country at once, the first time this has happened since records began over a century ago. Rising inequality means it could take at least 14 times longer for the number of people living in poverty to return to pre-pandemic levels than it took for the fortunes of the top 1,000, mostly White male, billionaires to bounce back. 

A new global survey of 295 economists from 79 countries, commissioned by Oxfam, reveals that 87 percent of respondents, including Jeffrey Sachs, Jayati Ghosh and Gabriel Zucman, expect an ‘increase’ or a ‘major increase’ in income inequality in their country as a result of the pandemic.

Oxfam’s report shows how the rigged economic system is enabling a super-rich elite to amass wealth in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression while billions of people are struggling to make ends meet. It reveals how the pandemic is deepening long-standing economic, racial and gender divides.

A lot of these issues come as a result of the measures taken to combat covid, which have come under fire by many scientists, academics, doctors and journalists. Again,  information, evidence, data and opinions of these people has been completely silenced. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson, for example, have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight covid as have died of covid. A group of doctors and scientists published an essay for the American Institute for Economic Research explaining and presenting the data as to why they believe lockdowns are not only harmful, but useless to combat COVID. These are two of many examples.

Lack of access to health care,  economic implications and more have experts suggesting that lockdown measures will kill well over one hundred million people and push even more to the brink of starvation. According to Oxfam, the pandemic has ushered in the worst job crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or unemployed.

Billionaires fortunes rebounded as stock markets recovered despite continued recession in the real economy. Their total wealth hit $11.95 trillion in December 2020, equivalent to G20 governments’ total COVID-19 recovery spending. The road to recovery will be much longer for people who were already struggling pre-COVID-19. When the virus struck over half of workers in poor countries were living in poverty, and three-quarters of workers globally had no access to social protections like sick pay or unemployment benefits.

The report does mention the benefits of vaccines, and that the covid vaccines are not being fairly distributed. It speaks of the vaccine as a life saving intervention, but does not mention that fact that this is a virus with a 99.95 percent survival rate in people under the age of 70, and that other interventions like vitamin C, Zinc, Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin have shown great success and efficacy. Vaccine hesitancy, especially with regards to the covid vaccines, is on a sharp rise among people, doctors and scientists. Again, the mainstream doesn’t seem to do an adequate job of covering information like this. Big Tech fact checkers censor any type of information that doesn’t paint vaccines in a positive light, and all those who raise concerns, no matter how legitimate, seem to be labelled as “anti-vax conspiracy theorists” and are constantly ridiculed. It would be great if the mainstream actually brought these concerns to light and addressed them in a civil manner.

Early on in the pandemic a report from the Institute for Policy Studies found that, while tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, America’s ultra-wealthy elite have seen their net worth surge by $282 billion in just 23 days. This is despite the fact that the economy is expected to contract by 40 percent this quarter. In turns they were correct.

The Institute for Policy Studies’ report shows something nothing short of a modern day oligarchy, where the super-rich have captured so much power and control, including controlling what laws are passed. These are the “decision-makers” of our world while we all are glued to to the T.V. see what they “command” next, not realizing that we the people have the most “power.” “Their” power comes from our compliance, and our compliance comes from their ability to shape our perception of this issue. The report discusses what it labels a new “wealth defense industry” – where “billionaires are paying millions to dodge billions in taxes,” with teams of accountants, lawyers, lobbyists and asset managers helping them conceal their vast fortunes in tax havens and so-called charitable trusts. The result has been crippled social programs and a decrease in living standards and even sustained drop in life expectancy – something rarely seen in history outside of major wars or famines.

The Takeaway: It can be frustrating observing the human experience knowing that we are nothing but infinite potentiality. The human race has huge potential and we have more than enough solutions and technological developments to start co-existing with mother Earth in a more harmonious way, one that provides abundance to all people. Many of these technologies and solutions “never see the light of day” (Dr. Brian O’Leary, NASA astronaut ex-Princeton physics professor). Why was electric car technology invented decades ago but not put into mass production? My point is, again, that solutions exist, that’s not the problem, the issue seems to be the prevention of solutions from making their way into the public due to corporate and government interests being threatened. Is this really the kind of world we want to live in? Despite all this, we continue to operate under the assumption that “this is the way it is” and the idea of a “utopian” society is unachievable.

This goes to shows that it’s not really the “solutions” that will change our world, it’s the consciousness that humanity operates from. It’s the consciousness behind these “solutions” that determine what direction humanity takes.

When it comes to mandating certain health measures, and other things, do we really want to live in a world where we give so much power to governments to the point where they can dictate our actions, and control our thoughts and perceptions regarding certain global events? Do we want to allow them to restrict access to certain rights and freedoms simply for non-compliance of certain measures, like getting vaccinated, for example? Should freedom of choice not always remain? Should governments and private institutions simply be making recommendations?

What about the “new normal”?

This is an important question at the moment, and we are seeing it in everything from alternative media to mainstream media. As we saw with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, even politicians are warning their citizens that what you see happening now will be the ‘new normal’ to some extent. What do they mean by this? Should we want things to go back to how they were prior to this pandemic? Do we have a future of even more restrictions in sight?

From my perspective, I don’t want things to go back to ‘normal’. Why do I say this? Because I ask myself the question: was life prior to, and even during this pandemic, truly allowing humanity to thrive? Was it anywhere even close to what humanity is capable of? Or is it a society and world designed out of programming that has convinced us to accept basic survival as being how we should live… as normal?

This can be a question for everyone no matter where you live on this planet. Whether the weekly rat race is reality or whether having to worry about whether you will get your next meal is your reality, is this truly how we want to live and what humanity is capable of?

If not, then how can we shift the conversation to begin exploring how we might change the way we live in our society?

Read more here.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Alternative News

New Lancet Article Suggests 50-75% of “Positive” PCR Tests Are Not Infectious People

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CE Staff Writer 12 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recent article published in The Lancet medical journal explains that PCR tests can be "positive" for up to five times longer than the time an infected person is actually infectious.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are certain viewpoints, opinions, studies, scientists and doctors being censored and/or ignored for presenting data that completely contradicts what we are receiving from government health authorities.

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

PCR testing (polymerase chain reaction testing) has come under fire from numerous doctors, scientists, politicians and journalists since the beginning of this pandemic. Not everyone would know this if their only source of information was mainstream media however, as they’ve chosen not to cover the controversy surrounding it. This is not to say that PCR testing hasn’t been praised as a useful tool to determine a covid infection, but again, there are great causes for concern that aren’t really being addressed.

As far back as 2007, Gina Kolata published an article in the New York Times about how declaring pandemics based on PCR testing can end in a disaster. The article was titled Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t.  In July, professor Carl Heneghan, director for the centre of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, an outspoken critic of the current UK response to the pandemic, wrote a piece titled “How many Covid diagnoses are false positives?” He has argued that the proportion of positive tests that are false in the UK could also be as high as 50%.

The Deputy Medical Officer of Ontario, Canada, Dr. Barbara Yaffe recently stated that COVID-19 testing may yield at least 50 percent false positives. This means that people who test positive for COVID may not actually have it. Former scientific advisor at Pfizer, Dr. Mike Yeadon,  argued that the proportion of positive tests that are false may actually be as high as 90%.

Furthermore, 22 researchers have put out a paper explaining why, according to them, it’s clear that the PCR test is not effective in identifying COVID-19 cases, and that as a result we may be seeing a significant amount of false positives. You can read more about that here.

These are simply a few of many examples from the recent past, and it’s concerning because lockdown measures and more are based on supposed positive “cases.”

Another concern recently raised comes from an article  published in The Lancet medical journal titled “Clarifying the evidence of SARS-CoC-2 antigen rapid tests in public health responses to COVID-19.”

In it, the authors explain that most people infected with COVID are contagious for approximately one week, and that “specimens are generally not found to contain culture-positive (potentially contagious) virus beyond day 9 after the onset of symptoms, with most transmission occurring before day 5.” They go on to explain:

This timing fits with the observed patterns of virus transmission (usually 2 days before to 5 days after symptom onset), which led public health agencies to recommend a 10-day isolation period. The sort window of transmissibility contrasts with a median 22-33 days of PCR positivity (longer with severe infections and someone shorter among asymptomatic individuals). This suggests that 50-75% of the time an individual is PCR positive, they are likely to be post-infectious.

Once SARS-CoV-2 replication has been controlled by the immune system, RNA levels detectable by PCR on respiratory secretions fall to very low levels when individuals are much less likely to infect others. The remaining RNA copies can take weeks, or occasionally months, to clear, during which time PCR remains positive.

They explain:

However, for public health measures, another approach is needed. Testing to help slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 asks not whether someone has RNA in their nose from earlier infection, but whether they are infectious today. It is a net loss to the health, social, and economic wellbeing of communities if post-infectious individuals test positive and isolate for 10 days. In our view, current PCR testing is therefore not the appropriate gold standard for evaluating a SARS-CoV-2 public health test.

An article published in the British Medical Journal explains:

It’s also unclear to what extent people with no symptoms transmit SARS-CoV-2. The only test for live virus is viral culture. PCR and lateral flow tests do not distinguish live virus. No test of infection or infectiousness is currently available for routine use. As things stand, a person who tests positive with any kind of test may or may not have an active infection with live virus, and may or may not be infectious.

The relations between viral load, viral shedding, infection, infectiousness, and duration of infectiousness are not well understood. In a recent systematic review, no study was able to culture live virus from symptomatic participants after the ninth day of illness, despite persistently high viral loads in quantitative PCR diagnostic tests. However, cycle threshold (Ct) values from PCR tests are not direct measures of viral load and are subject to error.

Searching for people who are asymptomatic yet infectious is like searching for needles that appear and reappear transiently in haystacks, particularly when rates are falling. Mass testing risks the harmful diversion of scarce resources. A further concern is the use of inadequately evaluated tests as screening tools in healthy populations.

The UK’s testing strategy needs to be reset in line with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ recommendation that “Prioritizing rapid testing of symptomatic people is likely to have a greater impact on identifying positive cases and reducing transmission than frequent testing of asymptomatic people in an outbreak area.”

The academics who published this paper are one of many explaining how another approach is needed, given the fact that PCR tests are the basis of lockdowns that might have already, and will kill more people than COVID itself, all for a virus with a 99.95% recovery rate for people under the age of 70. Many are in fact calling for the end of testing for asymptomatic people.

Michael Levitt, a medical professor at Stanford University and a Nobel Laureate for chemistry is one of many who has been emphasizing this:

“Getting tested right to avoid making more mistakes going forward [is crucial].” He writes, “very disturbing that PCR test can be positive for up to FIVE times longer than the time an infected person is actually infectious. Many implications.”

Rosamond A K Jones, a retired consultant paediatrician, and part of the Health Advisory & Recovery Team (HART) in Slough, UK, writes with regards to testing in UK schools:

If testing 5 million secondary school pupils twice a week, those 10 million tests would be expected to generate 30,000 false positives. These children would presumably all be sent home from school, with their 30 classmates, leading to almost a million children incorrectly out of school each week.

According to an article written by Robert Hagen MD, who recently retired from Lafayette Orthopaedic Clinic in Indiana:

By base rate fallacy/false positive paradox, if the specificity of a test is 95%, when used in a population with a 2% incidence of disease — such as healthy college students and staff — there will be 5 false positives for every 2 true positives. (The actual incidence of active COVID-19 in college age students is not known but estimated to be less than 0.6% by Indiana University/Fairbanks data. Even using a test with 99% specificity with a 1% population incidence generates 10 false positives for every 9 true positives.

Using the same test on patients with COVID-19 symptoms, because their incidence of disease is 50% or greater, the test does not have to be perfect. Even using a test with only 90% specificity, the number of false positives will be much less significant.

Another issue is with PCR testing is the cycle threshold. PCR seeks the genetic code of the virus from nose or throat swabs and amplifies it over 30–40 cycles, doubling each cycle, enabling even minuscule, potentially single, copies to be detected. I first learned about this when Elon Musk revealed he had completed four rounds of COVID-19 testing, tweeting that something “bogus” is going on because two of the tests came back false, and the other two came back positive.

He also mentioned he was “doing tests from several different labs, same time of day, administered by RN & am requesting N1 gene PCR cycle threshold. There is no official standard for PCR testing. Not sure people realize this.”

And therein lies the problem, something that the World Health Organization finally addressed recently. On January 13th the WHO published a memo regarding the problem of asymptomatic cases being discovered by PCR tests, and suggesting any asymptomatic positive tests be repeated. This followed up their previous memo, instructing labs around the world to use lower cycle thresholds (CT values) for PCR tests. The higher the cycle threshold the greater the chance for false positive rates.

Is this why case rates around the world have started to decline? It seems plausible since the same time cases dropped the WHO told labs to monitor the cycle thresholds which means false positives would reduce.

A Portuguese court has determined that the PCR tests used to detect COVID-19 are not able to prove an infection beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus determined that the detainment of four individuals was unlawful and illegal. In the Portuguese appeal hearing, Jaafar et al. (2020) was cited, explaining how a high CT is correlated with low viral loads.

“If someone is testing by PCR as positive when a threshold of 35 cycles or higher is used (as is the rule in most laboratories in Europe and the US), the probability that said person is infected is  <3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97%.” (source)

The court further noted that the cycle threshold used for the PCR tests currently being made in Portugal is unknown. You can read more about that story here.

“Cases” Are The Basis of Lockdowns 

The information above is indeed telling, because PCR tests are being used to justify lockdown measures and yet there is a huge amount of controversy and inaccuracy with them.

Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight covid as have died of covid.

study published by four medical professors from Stanford University has failed to find evidence supporting the use of what they call “Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions” (NPIs) like lockdowns, social-distancing, business closures and stay at home orders. According to the study, these measures have not been sufficient and are not sufficient to stop the spread of COVID and therefore are not necessary to combat the spread of the virus.

A group of doctors and scientists published an essay for the American Institute for Economic Research explaining and presenting the data as to why they believe lockdowns are not only harmful, but useless to combat COVID. In the essay they present a multitude of studies supporting the same conclusions found in the Stanford study cited above. You can read that here.

Lockdown harms were pondered early on in the pandemic, a report published in the British Medical Journal titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May .

Bhattacharya, MD, PhD wrote an article  for The Hill titled “Facts, not fear, will stop the pandemic.” In it he points out a number of facts regarding the implications of lockdown measures, which also include that fact that:

Internationally, the lockdowns have placed 130 million people on the brink of starvation, 80 million children at risk for diphtheria, measles and polio, and 1.8 million patients at risk of death from tuberculosis. The lockdowns in developed countries have devastated the poor in poor countries. The World Economic Forum estimates that the lockdowns will cause an additional 150 million people to fall into extreme poverty, 125 times as many people as have died from COVID.

Is a Great Reset Really required? Or should we just go back to normal?  Even if we weren’t in a lockdown, should we still be questioning how we feel about our “normal.” You can dive into a deeper discussion about that here.

The Takeaway 

The one thing that has many more people questioning their government with regards to COVID seems to be the fact that countless amounts of scientists, doctors, journalists and more are being heavily censored for sharing their information, data, research and opinions about COVID when they don’t fit within the accepted framework of mainstream culture.

For example, the Swedish government has said that it will strengthen laws on academic freedom after a leading Swedish academic announced that he was quitting his work on COVID-19 because of an onslaught of intimidating comments from people who disagreed or disliked his research findings. (source)  This is one of many examples, you can see more here.

 Dr. Kamran Abbasi, former (recent) executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and a consultant editor for PLOS Medicine. He is editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and JRSM Open recently published a piece in the BMJ, titled “Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science.” I reference this quite a bit in many of my articles so I apologize if you’ve come across it already.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –

I say it in almost every article I write about COVID, should we not have the right to examine information openly and transparently and determine for ourselves what is and what isn’t? Why is it that someone like Dr. Anthony Fauci gets to make an appearance on television with instant virality anytime he desires, while other experts presenting opposing viewpoints are completely ignored? Can the mainstream media make the “consensus” or the majority seem like the minority and the minority seem like the majority?

How are we going to make sense of what is going on and make effective decisions about it all if we are not allowed to talk about certain ideas?

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading
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