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Consciousness

SAND 2016: On the Edge of the (Un)Known

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I feel so blessed to have been able to now attend four sessions of the Science and Nonduality conference in San Jose.

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Once again, Deepak Chopra spoke on opening night and made a powerful case for the fundamental reality of consciousness within any findings of science.

With respect to mathematics, he noted that there is a palpable omission in terms of noticing the obvious reality that mathematical precision is at the heart of nature, and that many in the field are content to simply “shut up and calculate.”

In fact, the scientific paradigm is hanging on by a thread since we have discovered that Dark Matter has no atoms and can’t comprehend how that is possible, and he noted that strange philosophical constructs like the “Cosmic Casino theory” have no empirical evidence and yet are still discussed as viable “truths.”

Deepak talked about “Math mythology” – the ability to somehow simply ignore consciousness – and brought up the famous conversation between Einstein and the philosopher Tagore in which it was asked, “is there a moon without observer?” – a conundrum that Einstein was unable to truly solve.

Deepak uses the acronym “SIFT” – referring to:

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Sensation

Images

Feelings and

Thought

He inquires how these can be accounted for or “explained” in materialistic terms. It seems that they cannot. Science has no explanation for “qualia” – or the quality of experiences, like the taste of wine or the emotions triggered by a beautiful sunset.

In fact, Deepak suggested there is actually “no such ‘thing’ as mind” in a material sense and really, “there is no explanation for anything.”

Everything is ultimately a concept. A dog does not know “dog” – perhaps the sound of his name but not the idea behind it.

Deepak and physicist Menas Kafatos also had sessions discussing their new book, which will be out in early 2017 – You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why It Matters by Deepak Chopra and Menas C. Kafatos Ph.D.

The following morning I attended a fascinating conversation with Donald HoffmanJulia MossbridgeEdward Frenkel, Anthony AguirreFederico Faggin, facilitated by Deepak Chopra, dealing with how or if there can be a science of consciousness.

Aguirre, who is a renowned physicist, said that “there were no galaxies before us. Galaxy is a human contract.” His view is that everything is information and information is the opposite of entropy.

Mathematician Edward Frenkel suggested that any science of consciousness must address what it is not and let go of any “why explanations.” He admitted that this raises fears and uncertainty of not knowing, but that the ultimate experience of life is the only “answer.”

Frenkel believes that “description” (of phenomena) is a better role for science than proffering an explanation.

Mathematician Hoffman said that it is vital that we “talk with precision” and understand that any viable scientific notion of consciousness must be “species specific.” For example, we cannot even imagine “being a bat” and experiencing the world as sound.

For Foggini, “consciousness is comprehension and gives context to the information field and gives meaning to existence.” The problem for physics is that we can assume “no privileged position of judgment.”

It would be nice to have an “organization or hierarchy of consciousness,” but we learn through reflection into symbols we create, which means that we need to understand the symbolic versus semantic context within experience has meaning.

For Deepak, even DNA is a construct and symbol; he asked whether math is also species specific.

Psychologist Julia Mossbridge suggested that science is “designed to build useful stories about reality,” but that there can only be direct knowing through experience and verification.”

In the spirit of “Neti Neti” – not this not that, she suggested that being a scientist of consciousness involves “being a good plumber” to “get clear of the gunk – cleaning is the way” by getting rid of false notions of what is the illusive “self.”

Rupert Spira gave another enlightening and clear presentation that even mentioned the Presdiential election, wondering at the lack of civility during the debates, where both candidates were totally trapped by thoughts. He said, “shaking hands is a moment between two thoughts when we stand as one,” and lamented the way communication is taking place.

He quoted Rumi:

“I searched for God and found myself

I searched for myself and found God.”

He also lamented the current “religion of scientific materialism where we suffer inside and have conflicts outside.”

Regarding consciousness, he pointed to the ineffable knowledge that we all have of Being – and asked “is anything other than knowing ever known?”

He said that awareness is the “stretching of attention” and that “the body is object not the subject of awareness.”  Using the analogy of consciousness being the screen on which all phenomena appear he said, “you cannot peel the image off the screen. The movie is modulation of the screen and no thought stands apart.”

In a dream, he added that reality is known only by the dreamed separate character who is fooled by division – and yet when the dreamer awakens he realizes that it was all within her.

As usual there was comic relief. J. P. Sears shared his highly enlightened perspective to end the evening activities. He announced his candidacy for president –

I was also very interested in the presentation by philosopher Ken Wilber, whom I have long admired and who appeared via video feed.

Wilber asserted that there are essentially two spiritualities possible – “scientific spirituality,” which he said is a very recent development, and “awakened spirituality” – or the realization of the oneness of consciousness, which has been known occasionally since ancient times.

With scientific spirituality or intelligence there are common patterns which have been studied since the early 20th century, and they parallel the stages of an individual growing up, and actually encompass up to 12 separate intelligences or lines of development.

Wilber said that the stages of scientific spirituality mirror the progression in grammar of letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages, and you “can’t go from atoms to cells and skip molecules” – each stage frames a different worldview and must be experienced and then transcended.

He also pointed out that there are gender differences to be taken into account.

For men the emphasis is on economy and rules.

Women tend to focus on care and responsibility.

Some of the stages of Scientific Spirituality are:

  1. Egocentric primary narcissism – the toddler stage
  2. Family and Tribal – where care and identification are only afforded by the family or nation. This stage arrests development of 60 percent of humans
  3. Universal – care extended to all groups world centric treats all fairly
  4. Integrated or Cosmic – masculine and feminine expanding care to all sentient being

Awakening, or a “Jesus moment,” can be interpreted at each level, but in the lower levels this religious experience or awakened spirituality is used to justify war, conquest and an attitude of “us versus them.”  Only when integrated into the higher levels of scientific spirituality does the direct experience of consciousness lead to true human evolution, which is necessary to save our species.

He said that it is worth noting that awakening to the advanced stages has been found within certain traditions like Sufism, Mystical Christianity, and Kabbalah and that the stages of direct experiences have been known esoterically for centuries and are remarkably similar among different religions and traditions.

He said that the stages of scientific spirituality are also apparent in human evolution:

“Archaic” primitive apes to human (infant)

“Magic” non-differentiated voodoo snake charmers (toddler)

“Mythic” deeply ethnocentric – fundamentalist and literal not metaphorical 10,000 yrs ago (age 5 to ten)

“Rational” means capable of third person perspective; “Buddha” was rational; said that he could not describe awakening rationally (adolescent)

“Pluralistic”- relativistic diversity (young adulthood)

“Integral Cosmo-centric” (adult)

This theory has been tested in forty cultures and the problem is that anyone can stop (stall out) at every level, stranding a spiritual awakening in a lower state of understanding from a rational perspective.

Wilber said that only about five percent of the current population has reached a state of integration of a spiritual awakening within a scientific context and of course that most political and social decisions are made by individuals in arrested, lower stages of development.

He emphasized that scientific spirituality is relatively recent but vital for the survival of mankind.

Finally, I am always interested in sponsors, especially at SAND, and I was intrigued by Apeiron, a company expanding nationally in the area of age regression and human potential whose “approach assists clients to achieve optimal health and limitless potential through optimizing all aspects of health: sleep, stress, nutrition, human movement, hormonal optimization, cognition and inner balance.”

I had a fascinating discussion with Daniel Stickler, Apeiron’s CEO about the “Singularity” – or the widely held belief that artificial intelligence will one day become “conscious” or sentient. When I expressed my belief in reaction to films like Ex Machina, that organic life is an intelligent energy that cannot be simulated or created artificially, Daniel asked me whether that might not be a deeply held “bias.”

I have to consider that once again more deeply because indeed it takes us to the “edge of the unknown.”

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Consciousness

The Hero’s Adventure: What Movies Can Teach Us About Facing Our Shadow

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Hero's Journey is a multi-staged adventure whereby the 'hero' grows to become a new version of themselves, one that is evolved and at a 'higher level' per se.

  • Reflect On:

    Movies can be viewed in many ways. Some see it as programming others as inspiration. How can we use what we see in movies in our own lives? To grow and evolve as people? To recognize our true callings vs those of Hollywood?

The hero’s adventure is a term popularised by Joseph Campbell based upon his 1949 work “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. The late Campbell was an American Professor of Literature and a philosopher who described the adventure one must embark upon to fully realise who he/she is.

A simple explanation from Campbell:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Campbell uses the word monomyth to describe this adventure which was taken from James Joyce’s book Finnegans Wake.

According to Campbell the monomyth contains 3 stages, with 17 subsections. Not all journeys contain all sections and no two adventures are the same, yet the hero’s adventure follows a surprisingly similar pattern. The 3 stages are 1. A call to seek out some kind of adventure. 2. A trial or initiatory period where the hero must face an obstacle or series of obstacles. 3. The return back home with that which you were seeking to find. This often repeats in a number of ways, with various steps being repeated, but this is the idea.

The 17 Steps Of The Heroes Adventure:

The Call:

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  1. The call to adventure
  2. Refusal of the call
  3. Supernatural aid
  4. Crossing the threshold
  5. Belly of the whale

The Initiation:

  1. The road of trials
  2. The meeting with the goddess
  3. Woman as temptress
  4. Atonement with the father
  5. Apotheosis
  6. The ultimate boon

The Return:

  1. Refusal of the return
  2. The magic flight
  3. Rescue from without
  4. The crossing of the return threshold
  5. Master of two worlds
  6. Freedom to live

When you look to Hollywood movies and best selling fiction books they all follow the same pattern. Star Wars writer, George Lucas, was a friend of Joseph Campbell and famously said that without Campbell there would have been no Star Wars.

Star Wars

If you take Star Wars, it is the perfect example of the Hero’s Journey:

The Call: Luke Skywalker is living a mundane existence, and then while cleaning R2D2 he is shown a holographic recording seeking help from Princess Leia.

The Initiation: Obi-Wan becomes a mentor to Luke, and teaches him to “use the force”. Along the way he meets Han Solo, Chewbacca and other unsuspecting helpers until he completes his apprentice (which he does not know is taking place). Finally after much fighting, Luke is able to rescue Princess Leia and destroy the death star.

The Return: Then he returns home a new man where Leia awards Luke with medals for his heroism.

The Matrix

The Matrix is another example.

The Call: Thomas Anderson is fed up with life at a dead end job and knows there is more to his existence. He has a dream in which his computer types “follow the white rabbit” when someone comes to buy illegal computer programmes from him they ask him to join them on a night out. He declines, but when one of the group turns, she has a tattoo of a white rabbit, so he decides to follow.

The Initiation: Thomas Anderson becomes his computer alias Neo. He meets Trinity, and later Morpheus and is offered to be shown the truth in the form of the red pill (truth) or blue pill (fantasy). He opts for the truth pill and is initiated into a mysterious world where reality as he knew it is actually a computer programme. He gets to download multiple skills, thinks he is The One, but then realises he is not The One. Morpheus gets taken by the agents and he decides to save him.

The Return: Upon trying to save Morpheus he realises he is The One, saves him and defeats the agents. This is him returning with the realisation he is The One, although the return and initiation cross over a little.

This is the same structure you see in Harry Potter, The Wizard Of Oz, Alice In Wonderland, The Alchemist and just about every story based movie there is.

But how is this helpful?

This is the same story we can use as a metaphorical representation of who and where we are in our lives.

If you think life is meaningless and mundane, this means you should be on the lookout for synchronicities and clues of how to break free.

If you have just had a strong urge to go and do something very far removed from your comfort zone that has the potential to change your circumstances, then you probably should.

If you are stuck in a painful situation that seems to have no end, this means you are in an initiation. Being in an initiation does not guarantee you will pass “the test” but at some point you will be given an opportunity to break a cycle or take an opportunity.

If you have just been through an ordeal and conquered your inner (and sometimes outer) demons, bask in the glory, but remember there was 9 Star Wars movies, 4 Matrix movies and 8 Harry Potter books. Your Heroes Adventure may have many chapters, so strap in and try to enjoy the journey.

Much love, Luke.


If you would like to download my free eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control YOU CAN DO SO HERE

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Consciousness

On Taking Life Too Seriously

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Much of the time in life, we allow ourselves to take situations VERY seriously. This will sometimes turn pain into suffering, or prolong the challenges we face for growth. It also stops us from truly finding peace in life.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you feel a constant sense of anxiety in your life? Underlying everything? Where do you notice you take life or situations too seriously? What do you do to begin connecting back to self, and taking life less seriously?

Do you go through life with constant angst? A feeling deep down that there is always a little bit of stress or a little bit of worry? I’ve been through this. And in some ways, I thought it would never go away. But I focused on self awareness and living in the heart enough to kiss those days goodbye.

We can sure take life too seriously at times can’t we? I mean it’s fair. We have stresses in life that we get caught up in, we go, go, go, go, and often forget to take a moment to breathe. In Western culture, it’s all about obsessing over goals and getting there and telling ourselves sotries about what life will be like when we do finally get there… but what often happens to us when we live this way? We step into unconsciousness. We stop taking time to FEEL.

I want to help us remember to be STILL with this.

Various experiences and events have taken place in my life that have challenged some of my deepest ideals, belief systems and concepts that I felt were a part of me. This has gone on and occurred in my entire 11 year journey of truly changing myself. Whether it had to do with the work I do, friends, the world, relationships or big decisions in life, many things were challenged. It has truly been an incredible ride.

We sometimes might think “when will all the change and ‘chaos’ end?” A good question indeed, but isn’t this what we are here for at this time? To truly look at ourselves, look at all that we hold onto and all that we define our reality with. Literally everything! If you are feeling like you are the only one out there going through this stuff and feel like everything is backwards -that things are constantly being challenged, know that what you are experiencing is perfect, and we must remember to have fun with it!

Not Just A Human Experience

We are not here at this time to simply have ‘a human experience,’ we are here to evolve the human experience. It’s different! Stop looking at the past to tell us what to do, how we should move forward, and what ‘the greats’ did in our past to figure things out. We are not in that time, and the zeitgeist of our time now is not to simply exist but to be present as we deeply evolve the way of life on this planet.

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We hear a lot “but we’re human, just embrace that!” That’s all fine, but what does that mean? What is a human? How should we be? Does being human mean accepting the world as it is? Are we capable of more? Can we redefine what it means to be human and what life should look like? Why do we give up so easily on dreaming big about these things?

I used to accept MANY limitations about myself and what I could do. But eventually, I was faced with the chance to let all that go, and reimagine what was possible. Even when everyone told me I was crazy and I couldn’t do what I was trying to do, I used my connection to self and consciousness to create it. Because I believed I was capable of more, and so is everyone else. This is how Collective Evolution, the site your on, came to be.

Embracing Change

After experiencing the many deep questions and challenges I have thus far, overcoming them and moving forward, I have one very special thing that I have reminded myself about over and over and truly understand to a deep level. We are here to play and evolve! None of what we are experiencing is as serious as we think!!

The mind and ego can make things very real, very dramatic, very frightening. I know! But the highest aspect of who we are is always clear, always neutral, and always sharing with us exactly what we need to hear because IT IS US! We are not the mind or the stories it creates that makes things so serious. They are there because that is our challenge. To go beyond the mind and the stories it creates -so we can experience this sensorial world and remember who we truly are (click to listen to my podcast on this topic.)

So let’s remember, whether it’s life choices, relationships, friends, work, family, sports, or everyday events, know that it’s just an experience! We can spend our whole lives always caught up in the drama and the intensity, saying “oh my gosh things are so tough, the world is so crazy, my life is upside down, and I’m so busy!” but where does this lead us? This is a question we must ask ourselves.

If we remain caught up in these perceptions, repetitive patterns of mind, we will continue to miss out on the entire journey we are on because we are lost and caught up in the mind. We perpetuate our so called “suffering” when we make things serious and make them a big deal. When we can see it for what it is, we allow the emotions to subside, allow back in our full potential and know how to take action forward. This is called finding true peace.

I’m not talking about simply accepting things and saying “well get over it” or “that’s how it is, so deal with it.” No. I’m talking about truly seeing things for what they are. Seeing why we color something in a particular way. Seeing the belief system behind why something is good or bad or right or wrong or even why it’s serious!

I promise you, behind every strong emotion, every serious situation, there is a belief system that makes it that way. One that is held in the mind and made real by the mind. But the mind is not YOU! See the story! Let it go and just play! You will find much peace and joy in flowing through your experience in this way.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Consciousness

Have You Realized The Profundity Of Our True Nature?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In life, we typically move about, seeing all material for what we define it as. This makes things convenient in a way, but there is a profoundness to not only seeing beyond these definitions, but also tapping back into full potential.

  • Reflect On:

    Have you ever tried practicing the awareness that you are not your mind nor your body? Why do we identify so strongly with just our physical body, and is it time to begin to remember we are much more than that?

Who we really are has been staring us in the face the whole time.

Take a look at your body, but look at it from a completely impersonal perspective; free of any thought about it at all. Without labels like arms and legs; without any sense of ownership, just as it is. Look in the mirror at your face, your eyes, but look without the thinking mind. This body that you get to use and throw around the joint, is a product of the universe. Conditions were apparently perfect here on Earth for Humans to exist. A magnificent sculpture, carved from stardust, gases, cells, minerals, heat – one of the most complex arrangements of cells and energy you have ever laid your eyes upon.

There is no boundary to the human body; there is no “in here” and “out there.” The body is a constant flow of energy, never a stationary or permanent thing we could pin down. There is a constant flow of air coming in and out, molecules by our skin, bacteria breaking down food in our stomach, there is no boundary between the body and the environment. It’s like a river, never the same body of water in any two moments.

Then, how about all the stuff the body perceives. All the sounds, tastes, smells, visual images and so on. The human body makes the whole world we’re privy to. The brain selects a very narrow band of frequencies and constructs reality according to the bandwidth of what our senses relay for us. The visual spectrum is only a very narrow band, while other sentient beings select out different bands for their viewing pleasure. So reality as we know it, never exists objectively, only subjectively through the being that is observing it. Without an observer what does it exist as? Just a soup of frequencies I suppose.

I find this phenomenal! There are little reality bubbles existing wherever a sentient being is alive. Energy has coalesced into the form of a human being, a giraffe, an ant, a butterfly, a chameleon, an amoeba, and through these configurations, the universe is observing itself. It is having experiences with itself.

1619136_420984308034739_245289130_nSo essentially, the whole world that you exist in – the reality bubble that you spend your entire life in – is entirely made by the human body. Your human body. Everything, all of it. Look at the image your eyes are creating. Look at how immaculate, perfect and impeccably high the resolution is! Check out how infinite the colour palette is. Take another look in the mirror at the wonder of your eyes. Those things stuck in that head, those things that we call eyes are absolutely wondrous biological organs, composed of trillions of living cells; living in harmony, being fed by the fuel you place in your mouth. Those things are taking frequencies of energy, sending it at light speed to your brain, where trillions more cells convert it into a picture. WOW!

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And while I’m on that subject: have you ever wondered how electrical signals in the brain – how realistically an infinite amount of neurons in our brain – can create the conscious experience of sound out of electrical impulses? How does something biological turn electricity into the conscious experience of smell? Into the emotion of love, of anger?

So look around you. Look what you’re part of. You’re on a planet zooming through space at hundreds of kilometres per second, circling around in a gigantic galaxy. You’re amongst animals, forests, bodies of water, lightning, rain, drought, plants and soil. You’re amongst life! You’re seeing it unfold right before your eyes, seeing life in all its animation. I don’t see why it should seem like there’s anything else to do, other than admire what we’re amongst, and create.

Just as the bus motors down the street, so too does the galaxy arms revolve around its core. A child eats breakfast, while an asteroid erupts as it passes through an atmosphere. We are as much an expression of this universe as the plants and galaxies. This universe has arranged itself in such complex ways, in such exquisite patterns, so that it may know itself through our eyes. We have become an aperture for energy to know what it inherently is.

When we look deeper into our own nature, we find that things are even more extraordinary than what exists in the physical realm of bodies, animals, plants and stars.

There is this notion of separation in our society, where we exist separately from the outside world of other stuff. We are separate from the table, our house, other people and the whole cosmos. We feel this too, because we feel that we are the human body, or the thinker somewhere in the head. But this notion is learnt, cultivated, but not all cultures prescribe to this way of being at all.

The whole world is consciousness; it all exists within, not out there somewhere. This is the worldview slowly being ushered in by quantum mechanics and eastern traditions. They’ve arrived now at the same point, but there is obvious resistance because the old system composed of survival-of-the-fittest, authority, institutions and competition rely on our illusory separateness for vitality.

Consciousness is the way in which biological functions of firing neurons in the brain are turned into a conscious experience. Consciousness is something transcendent of the physical world, and is therefore never affected by the  realm of form. It is so perfect and complete already, not needing fulfillment or healing in any way.

The thing is, most of us don’t feel this way though. We still feel separate, small, incomplete and not an integrated part of the whole. We still feel like we are locked up inside a head looking out at separate stuff. But there are ways in which consciousness can shift and identify with something much deeper. The first step is usually quieting the mind through meditation. Our thoughts have run rampant, and we’ve taken this incessant internal monologue to be who we are. But if you do one session of meditation, you’ll see that the mind comes in all by itself, starts up fantasies, conversations, judgments and memories all by itself, while you are trying to focus on your breath. While you’re trying to be silent, the mind has other ideas. Meditation shows us we aren’t the thinker at all; it shows us that we are the witnessing presence OF thought.

A thought is as much a sensation as the taste of ice cream is; we’ve just placed too much emphasis and belief in thought. So rather than identifying consciousness with something superimposed upon it (the mind, the “small self”, the ego) we can shine the light back in on itself via techniques like meditation, and identify as pure consciousness itself. We become not only the witnesser of all sensation, but we merge with it, just as we did with the mind. The feeling of self shifts from the mind with all its thoughts and ideas about the world, to sensation. And sensation is essentially the universe! You become the whole universe.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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