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The Zoroastrian Texts of Ancient Persia & What They Reveal About Advanced Ancient Civilizations

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Graham Hancock investigates the mysterious religious texts of the Zoroastrians of ancient Persia and the ‘underground cities’ of neighbouring Turkey. Both, he argues, are far older than is presently taught and date back to cataclysmic events near the end of the last Ice Age that destroyed, and all but wiped from human memory, an advanced civilization of prehistory. Below is an excerpt form his work, which you can find HERE. ( A link to his new book, “Magicians of the Gods”)

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You can also check out our extended interview with him here.

Exactly how old Zoroastrianism is has not yet been satisfactorily established by scholars, since even the lifetime of its prophet Zarathustra (better known as Zoroaster) is uncertain. Indeed, as Columbia University’s authoritative Encyclopedia Iranica admits: ‘Controversy over Zarathustra’s date has been an embarrassment of long standing to Zoroastrian studies.’[i]

The Greek historians were amongst the first to address themselves to the matter. Plutarch, for example, tells us that Zoroaster ‘lived 5,000 years before the Trojan War’[ii] (itself a matter of uncertain historicity but generally put at around 1300 BC, thus 5,000 plus 1,300 = 6300 BC). A similar chronology is given by Diogenes Laertius, who relates that Zoroaster lived ‘6,000 years before Xerxes’ Greek campaign’[iii] (i.e. around 6480 BC). More recent scholars have proposed dates as far apart as 1750 BC and ‘258 years before Alexander’[iv] (i.e. around 588 BC). Whatever the truth of the matter, it is agreed that Zoroaster himself borrowed from much earlier traditions and that Zoroastrianism, therefore, like many other religions, has roots that extend very far back into prehistory.

In the Zoroastrian scriptures known as the Zend Avesta certain verses in particular are recognized as drawing on these very ancient oral traditions.[v] The verses speak of a primordial father figure called Yima, the first man, the first king, and the founder of civilization, and appear in the opening section of the Zend Avesta, known as the Vendidad. There we read how the god Ahura Mazda created the first land, ‘Airyana Vaejo, by the good river Daitya,’[vi] as a paradise on earth and how ‘the fair Yima, the great shepherd… was the first mortal’ with whom Ahura Mazda chose to converse, instructing him to become a preacher.[vii] Yima refused, at which the god said:

Since thou wantest not to be the preacher and the bearer of my law, then make my world thrive, make my world increase; undertake thou to nourish, to rule and to watch over my world.[viii]

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To this Yima agreed, at which the god presented him with a golden ring and a poniard – a long, tapered thrusting knife – inlaid with gold. Significantly, for we will see in Chapter Seventeen there are close parallels to this story as far away as the Andes mountains of South America, Yima then:

‘pressed the earth with the golden ring and bored it with the poniard.’[ix]

By this act, we learn he ‘made the earth grow larger by one third than it was before,’ a feat that over the course of thousands of years he repeated twice more – in the process eventually doubling the land area available for ‘the flocks and herds with men and dogs and birds,’ who gathered unto him ‘at his will and wish, as many as he wished.’[x]

Anatomically modern humans like ourselves have existed, so far as we know, for a little less than two hundred thousand years (the earliest anatomically modern human skeleton acknowledged by science is from Ethiopia and dates to 196,000 years ago).[xi] Within this timespan there has only been one period when those parts of the earth that are useful to humans increased dramatically in size, and that was during the last Ice Age, between 100,000 and 11,600 years ago. Indeed, previously submerged lands totalling 27 million square kilometres – equivalent to the area of Europe and China added together – were exposed by lowered sea-levels at the last glacial maximum 21,000 years ago. While it is probably far-fetched to suppose that it is this very real increase of useful land that is referred to in the Yima story, or that it has anything to do with the golden age that Yima’s benign rule supposedly achieved in Airyana Vaejo,[xii] it is interesting to note what happened next.

After another immense span of time, we read, Yima was summoned to ‘a meeting place by the good river Daitya’ where the god Ahura Mazda appeared to him bearing an ominous warning of sudden and catastrophic climate change:

O fair Yima, upon the material world the fatal winters are going to fall, that shall bring the fierce, foul frost; upon the material world the fatal winters are going to fall that shall make snowflakes fall thick, even on the highest tops of mountains…

Therefore make thee a Vara [a hypogeum, or underground enclosure] long as a riding ground on every side of the square, and thither bring the seeds of sheep and oxen, of men, of dogs, of birds, and of red blazing fires… Thither thou shalt bring the seeds of men and women of the greatest, best and finest kinds on this earth; thither shalt thou bring the seeds of every kind of cattle, of the greatest, best and finest kinds on this earth. Thither shalt thou bring the seeds of every kind of tree, of the greatest, best and finest kinds on this earth; thither shalt thou bring the seeds of every kind of fruit, the fullest of food and sweetest of odour. All those seeds shalt thou bring, two of every kind, to be kept inexhaustible there, so long as those men shall stay in the Vara. There shall be no humpbacked, none bulged forward there; no impotent, no lunatic… no leprous.[xiii]

So… you get the idea? This underground hideaway was to serve as a refuge from a terrible winter that was about to seize Airyana Vaejo – a winter not of a single season but of a millennium, at the onset of which, as the Bundahish, another Zoroastrian text, informs us:

the evil spirit… sprang like a snake out of the sky down to the earth… He rushed in at noon, and thereby the sky was as shattered and frightened by him as a sheep by a wolf. He came onto the water which was arranged below the earth, and then the middle of this earth was pierced and entered by him… He rushed out upon the whole creation and he made the world quite as injured and dark at midday as though it were dark night.[xiv]

Studying these accounts I couldn’t help but be reminded of the two millennia of gentle global warming that began about 15,000 years ago in the closing millennia of the last Ice Age – a sustained, balmy period of warm, fine weather – before the sudden lethal onset 12,800 years ago of a period of dramatic climate instability that geologists call ‘the Younger Dryas.’ This epoch has long been recognized as mysterious and tumultuous and it is only in the last decade that scientists have been able to pinpoint its cause. To cut a long story short, what the science indicates is that 12,800 years ago a comet travelling on an orbit that took it through the inner solar system broke up into multiple fragments, and that many of these fragments, some more than a mile (2.4 kilometers) in diameter, hit the earth with globally cataclysmic effects. An area of more than 50 million square kilometers, stretching from North America in the west to Syria in the east, was affected and a vast cloud of dust was thrown into the upper atmosphere that enshrouded the earth, preventing the sun’s rays from reaching the surface and thus initiating Younger Dryas.

At that point, 12,800 years ago, the earth had been emerging from the Ice Age for roughly 10,000 years, global temperatures were rising steadily, and the ice caps were melting. Then came the comet impacts, bringing a sudden catastrophic return to colder conditions – even colder than at the peak of the Ice Age 21,000 years ago. This short, sharp deep freeze lasted for 1,200 years until 11,600 years ago when the warming trend resumed, global temperatures shot up again, and the remaining ice caps melted very suddenly, dumping all the water they contained into the oceans.

When the Zoroastrian texts speak of a ‘fierce, foul frost’ and of ‘a fatal winter,’ is it possible that they are describing conditions during the Younger Dryas? The texts attribute the shocking change of climate to a supernatural agency – Angra Mainyu, the demon of darkness, destruction, wickedness, and chaos who stands in opposition to and seeks to undermine and undo all the works of Ahura Mazda, the God of Light. Zoroastrianism is a profoundly dualistic religion in which human beings and the choices we make for good or evil are seen as the objects of an eternal competition, or contest, between the opposed forces of darkness and light. And in this contest the darkness sometimes wins. Thus the Vendidad reminds us that although Airyana Vaejo was ‘the first of the good lands and countries’ created by Ahura Mazda, it could not resist the evil one:

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the serpent in the river, and winter, a work of the demons… [Now] there are ten winter months there, two summer months, and these are cold for the waters, cold for the earth, cold for the trees. Winter falls there, with the worst of its plagues.[xv]

In other translations the phrase ‘the serpent in the river, and winter’ is given as ‘a great serpent and Winter’ and, alternatively, as ‘a mighty serpent and snow.’[xvi]

Again… you get the idea. The metaphor that is being repeatedly driven home here is that of the mighty serpent who springs from the sky down to the earth, who penetrates the earth, and who brings a prolonged winter upon the world so severe that it is ‘dark’ (‘most turbid, opaque’ according to some translations[xvii]) at midday, and even the fleeting summer months are too cold for human life. Once again, the whole scenario seems very accurately to describe the terrible conditions that would have afflicted the world after the Younger Dryas comet spread its trail of destruction across 50 million square kilometers, brought on ‘a vehement destroying frost’ and threw such quantities of dust into the upper atmosphere, together with smoke from the continent-wide wildfires sparked off by airbursts and superheated ejecta, that a turbid, opaque darkness would indeed have filled the skies, reflecting back the sun’s rays and perpetuating something very like a nuclear winter for centuries.

The Zoroastrian texts leave us in no doubt that these conditions posed a deadly threat to the future survival of civilization. It was for this reason that Ahura Mazda came to Yima with his warning and his instruction to build an underground shelter where some remnant of humanity could take refuge, keeping safe the seeds of all animals and plants, until the thousand-year winter had passed and spring returned to the world. Moreover the account reveals very little that seems ‘mythical,’ or that obviously derives from flights religious fancy. Rather the whole thing has about it an atmosphere of hard-headed practical planning that adds a chilling note of veracity.

For example the admonition that deformed, impotent, lunatic, and leprous people should be kept out of the Vara sounds a lot like eugenics, a distasteful policy to be sure, but one that might be implemented if the survival of the human race was at stake and there was limited space available in the refuge. For the same reasons it is not surprising that only the seeds of ‘the greatest, best and finest’ kinds of trees, fruits, and vegetables, those that are ‘fullest of food and sweetest of odour,’ are to be brought to the Vara. Why waste space on anything but the best?

Also, although it is certain that a number of carefully selected people were to be admitted to the Vara, perhaps as caretakers and managers of the project, and as future breeding stock, the emphasis throughout is on seeds – which in the case of human beings would be sperm from the males and eggs from the females. So when we read that the Vara is to be constructed in three subterranean levels, each smaller than the one above, each with its own system of criss-crossing ‘streets,’ it is legitimate to wonder whether some kind of storage system, perhaps with ranks of shelves arranged in cross-crossing aisles, might not really be what is meant here:

In the largest part of the place thou shalt make nine streets, six in the middle part, three in the smallest. To the streets of the largest part thou shalt bring a thousand seeds of men and women; to the streets of the middle part, six hundred; to the streets of the smallest part, three hundred.[xviii]

If it seems fanciful to imagine that we might, in an almost high-tech sense, be looking at the specifications of a seed bank here, then how are we to assess other ‘technological’ aspects of the Vara – for example its lighting system? As well as making a door to the place, and sealing it up with the golden ring already given to him by Ahura Mazda, Yima is also to fashion ‘a window, self-shining within.’[xix] When Yima asks for clarification as to the nature of this ‘self-shining’ window Ahura Mazda tells him cryptically ‘there are uncreated lights and created lights.’ The former are the stars, the moon and the sun, which will not be seen from within the confines of the Vara during the long winter, but the latter are ‘artificial lights’ which ‘shine from below.’[xx]

Yima did as he was instructed and completed the Vara which, thereafter, ‘glowed with its own light.’[xxi] That accomplished, he then:

made waters flow in a bed a mile long; there here he settled birds, by the evergreen banks that bear never-failing food. There he established dwelling places, consisting of a house with a balcony, a courtyard and a gallery…[xxii]

There, too, we are reminded, in accord with the commands of the god,

he brought the seeds of men and women… There he brought the seeds of every kind of tree [and]… every kind of fruit… All those seeds he brought, two of every kind, to be kept inexhaustible there, so long as those men shall stay in the Vara…[xxiii]

Finally, we learn that:

every fortieth year, to every couple two are born, a male and a female. And thus it is for every sort of cattle. And the men in the Vara, which Yima made, live the happiest life.[xxiv]

Interestingly the translator explains, in a footnote drawn from various ancient learned commentaries on the text, that the human inhabitants of the Vara ‘live there for 150 years; some say they never die.’[xxv] Moreover, and particularly intriguing, the births of offspring to every couple do not result from sexual union but ‘from the seeds deposited in the Vara.’[xxvi]

Other hints of a mysterious lost technology connected to Yima include a miraculous cup in which he could see everything that was happening anywhere in the world and a jewelled glass throne (sometimes described as ‘a glass chariot’) that was capable of flight.[xxvii]

Flood & Rain

As well as a climate catastrophe in the form of an overnight reversion to peak Ice Age cold, we also know that the Younger Dryas involved extensive global flooding, as a large fraction of the North American ice cap – directly impacted by at least four of the comet fragments – melted and poured into the world ocean. It is therefore noteworthy that the Zoroastrian texts speak not only of the ‘vehement, destroying frost’ of a global winter but also of a subsequent flood accompanied by heavy precipitation, in which ‘every single drop of rain became as big as a bowl and the water stood the height of a man over the whole of this earth.’[xxviii]

On the other side of the world and much closer to the North American epicentre of the cataclysm, the Popol Vuh, an original document of the ancient Quiche Maya of Guatemala, based on pre-conquest sources, also speaks of a flood and associates it with ‘much hail, black rain and mist, and indescribable cold.’[xxix] It says, in a remarkable echo of the Zoroastrian tradition, that this was a period when ‘it was cloudy and twilight all over the world… The faces of the sun and the moon were covered.’[xxx] Other Maya sources confirm that these strange and terrible phenomena were experienced by mankind ‘in the time of the ancients. The earth darkened… It happened that the sun was still bright and clear. Then, at midday, it got dark…’[xxxi] Sunlight was not seen again ‘until the twenty-sixth year after the flood.’[xxxii]

Returning to the Middle East, the world famous account of the Hebrew patriarch Noah and the great Ark in which he rides out the flood, commands attention. It is obvious that there are many parallels with the story of Yima and his Vara. The Vara, after all, is a means of surviving a terrible and devastating winter which will destroy every living creature by enchaining the earth in a freezing trap of ice and snow. The Ark, likewise, is a means of surviving a terrible and devastating flood which will destroy every living creature by drowning the world in water. In both cases a deity – Ahura Mazda in the case of the Zoroastrian tradition, the God Yahweh in the case of the Hebrew tradition – intervenes to give advance warning to a good and pure man to prepare for the coming cataclysm. In each case the essence of the project is to preserve the seeds, or the breeding pairs, of all life:

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the Ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.[xxxiii]

Easily missed, but noteworthy, is the fact that Noah’s Ark, like Yima’s Vara, is to have a ‘window,’ is to be closed with a ‘door,’ and is to consist of three levels:

A window shalt thou make to the Ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.[xxxiv]

Last but not least, there are hints of a lost lighting technology in Noah’s Ark that parallel the references to the ‘artificial lights’ in the Vara. In the legends of the Jews we read that the whole journey of the Ark, ‘during the year of the flood,’ was conducted in darkness both by day and by night:

‘All the time it lasted, the sun and the moon shed no light…’[xxxv]

However just like ‘self-shining window’ of the Vara:

‘The Ark was illuminated by a precious stone, the light of which was more brilliant by night than by day, so enabling Noah to distinguish between day and night.’[xxxvi] 

Underground Cities

Noah’s Ark, as is well known, is said to have ended its journey on the slopes of Mount Ararat, the symbolic heartland of ancient Armenia but now, as a result of wars in the early twentieth century, located within the modern state of Turkey. Turkey, in turn, shares a border with Iran – ancient Persia – from which the accounts of Yima’s Vara come down to us.

It is therefore intriguing that Turkey’s Cappadocia region has a very large number of ancient underground structures hewn out of solid rock and usually, like the Vara, consisting of multiple levels stacked one above the other. These underground ‘cities,’ as they are known, include the eerie and spectacular site of Derinkuyu, which I was able to visit in 2013. Lying beneath a modern town of the same name, eight of its levels are presently open to the public, although further levels remain closed off below and, astonishingly, a subterranean tunnel several kilometres in length connects it to another similar hypogeum at Kaymakli.

Entering Derinkuyu was like crossing some invisible barrier into an unexpected netherworld. One minute I was standing in bright sunshine; the next, after I had ducked into the cool, dank, dimly-lit system of tunnels and galleries (no self-shining windows now; only low wattage electric light), I felt I had been transported to a realm carved out by mythical dwarves at the dawn of time. In places the tunnels are low and narrow so that one must stoop and walk in single file between walls stained and blackened with ancient smoke and overgrown here and there with green mold. At regular intervals, slid back into deep recesses, I passed hulking megalithic doors, shaped like millstones, 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) in diameter and weighing close to half a ton. These were clearly designed to be rolled out to block access. Stairways and steep ramps led down from level to level and, although all the levels were interconnected, the rolling stone doors could be used to isolate them from one another when needed.

Photo by Santha Faiia

Photo by Santha Faiia

Photo by Santha Faiia

Photo by Santha Faiia

graham3

Photo by Santha Faiia

graham4

Photo by Santha Faiia

I noticed a remarkable system of plunging, sheer-sided ventilation shafts connecting the deepest levels with the surface – and doing so to such good effect that the gusts of fresh air were still palpable 80 meters (260 feet) or more beneath the ground. In some places the passageway I was following would debouch into a junction where tunnels branched off in several directions and more stairways led down to even lower levels. And here and there, now to one side of the passageway, now to the other, sometimes accessed by means of holes cut in the wall, sometimes through full-sized doorways, lay small low-ceilinged grottos in which even a few people sitting together would have felt cramped. But sometimes those doors would lead into interconnected networks of chambers and passages and sometimes they would open out suddenly into lofty halls and spacious rooms with barrel-vault ceilings looming high overhead supported on monolithic columns hewn from the living rock.

The whole place, in short, is a complex and cunning labyrinth on an immense scale – a work of astonishing architectural complexity that would be impressive if it had been built above ground but that is utterly breathtaking when one considers that it all had to be mined, chiselled, hammered, cut and gouged out of the volcanic bedrock. Later, studying a plan, I realised that this vast hypogeum, looking in cross-section like a gigantic rabbit warren, lay underfoot wherever one went in the modern town of Derinkyu; streets beneath streets, rooms beneath rooms, a secret antipodal city of unknown antiquity and of unknown purpose but certainly the produce of immense ingenuity, determination, and skill.

And Derinkuyu is just one of two hundred such subterranean complexes, each containing a minimum of two levels (with around forty containing three levels or more) that have been identified in Turkey in the area between Kayseri and Nevsehir.[xxxvii] Moreover, new discoveries are constantly being made. Derinkuyu itself was found in 1963 after builders renovating the cellar of a modern home broke through to an ancient passageway below. And most recently, in 2014, workers preparing the ground for a new housing project at Nevsehir, an hour’s drive north of Derinkuyu, stumbled upon yet another unsuspected hypogeum. Archaeologists were called in and it was quickly realised that this one was bigger than any others so far known. As Hasan Unver, Mayor of Nevsehir, put it, Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are little more than ‘kitchens’ when compared to the newly-explored site. ‘It is not a known underground city,’ added Mehmet Ergun Turan, head of Turkey’s Housing Development Administration. ‘Tunnel passages of seven kilometres are being discussed. Naturally, when the discovery was made, we stopped the construction we were planning to do in the area.’[xxxviii]

Several commentators immediately speculated that the newly discovered site might be ‘5,000 years old,’[xxxix] but there is no basis for this – or really for any date. All we can say for sure is that the earliest surviving historical mention of Turkey’s underground cities is found in the Anabapsis of the Greek historian Xenophon written in the fourth century AD[xl] – so they are older than that.

But the question is, how much older?

There is no objective way to date structures made entirely of rock. What archaeologists look for, therefore, are organic materials that can be carbon dated. To be useful, however, these organic materials must be excavated from locations – under a megalith that has never been moved, for example, or in the original mortar in a joint between two stone blocks – that allow reasonable deductions to be made about the date the associated structural elements were put in place. In many sites, however, there is the possibility that the intrusion of later organic materials will give a falsely young date, and in some – the underground cities of Turkey being a prime example – no reliable dating can be done. This is because the sites were used, reused, and indeed repurposed, many times down the ages by many different peoples, with organic materials being introduced on every occasion, thus making it impossible to draw any inferences about the epoch of their original construction.

The general view of archaeologists is that the underground structures were originally developed in the 7th or 8th centuries BC by an Indo-European people called the Phrygians who lived in Cappadocia at the time. The theory is that the Phrygians began the project by widening and deepening natural caves and tunnels that already existed in the volcanic rock, making use of the spaces they created for storage and possibly as places of refuge from attackers. By Roman times, with the Phrygians long gone, the inhabitants of the area were Greek-speaking Christians who further developed and expanded the underground caverns, rededicating some of the rooms as chapels and leaving inscriptions in Greek, some of which survive to this day. In the Byzantine era, from the eighth to the twelfth centuries AD, the Eastern Roman Empire was locked in wars with newly Islamicised Arabs and the underground cities became places of refuge again – a function they continued to serve during the Mongol invasions of the fourteenth century AD. Later still, Greek Christians used the cities to escape persecution at the hands of Turkish Muslim rulers, and this practise continued into the twentieth century when the structures finally fell into disuse after the truce and population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923.[xli]

With such a chequered history it is easy to see why the underground cities cannot be dated using objective archaeological techniques. Moreover the vast effort that went into their excavation out of solid rock, and their sophisticated ventilation systems, speak of powerful long-term motives far beyond the limited and temporary need for shelter from attackers. With this in mind let us consider a scenario in which the Phrygians, favoured for no good reason by archaeologists as the first makers of the cities, were themselves just one of the many later cultures to make use of them. It is perfectly possible that this is the case and, if so, then it is also possible that these extraordinary underground structures might date back to a time long before the Phrygians – perhaps even as far back as the ‘fatal winters’ of the Younger Dryas that set in around 12,800 years ago.

There is no proof of this, of course. Nonetheless Turkish historian and archaeologist Omer Demir, author of Cappadocia: Cradle of History, is of the opinion that Derinkuyu does in fact date back to the Palaeolithic.[xlii] His argument is based partly on the notion that it already existed in Phrygian times,[xliii] partly on stylistic differences between the upper (older) levels and the lower (younger) levels,[xliv] and partly on the fact that marks of the implements used to cut the rock have worn completely away in the upper levels but are still visible in the lower levels:

It is necessary for a long period of time to pass for the chisel marks to disappear. This means that there was quite a time difference between the years of construction of the first stories and the last stories.[xlv]

Demir also suggests that the huge quantities of rock excavated to make the underground city – which are nowhere in evidence in the vicinity today – were dumped into local streams and carried off.[xlvi] In one of these streams, the Sognali, at a distance of 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Derinkuyu, hand-axes, rock-chips, and other Palaeolithic artefacts were found.[xlvii]

The evidence is suggestive at best. I would not want to bet my life or my reputation on it! Nonetheless the scenario that sees Derinkuyu and the other underground cities constructed in the Upper Palaeolithic around 12,800 years ago at the onset of the Younger Dryas has the great merit of no longer leaving us casting about for a motive commensurate with the huge effort involved. We are informed of that motive quite explicitly in the story of Yima. Stated simply the cities are Varas, cut down into the depths of the earth as places of refuge from the horrors of the Younger Dryas which were not limited to the ‘vehement destroying frost’ but – as we know from the cosmic impact spherules and melt-glass found in sediment samples at nearby Abu Hureyra in Syria – also included the terrifying existential threat of bombardment from the skies.

Don’t forget to check out our extended interview with Graham here

REFERENCES

[i] Encyclopaedia Iranica, ‘Zoroaster ii. General Survey’, http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/zoroaster-ii-general-survey

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] R.C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1961, e.g. see page 135: ‘The whole story of Yima’s golden age, his excavation of the Vara, or underground retreat, and his re-emergence to re-people the earth (the last episode occurs only in the Pahlavi books) must belong to a very old stratum of Iranian folklore wholly untouched by the teachings of Zoroaster.’

[vi] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, Reprint edition by Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1990, Part I, p. 5

[vii] Ibid, p. 11

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid, p. 13

[x] Ibid

[xi] Reported by Frank Brown and John Fleagle in Nature, 17 February, 2005. And see Scientific American, 17 Feb 2005, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fossil-reanalysis-pushes/

[xii] A golden age in which ‘fields would bear plenty of grass for cattle: now with floods that stream, with snows that melt, it will seem a happy land in the world…’ J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., p.16 See also the following passage from the Yasna, cited in R.C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, op.cit., pp. 92-93: ‘Kingly Yima, of goodly pastures, the most glorious of all men born on earth, like the sun to behold among men, for during his reign he made beasts and men imperishable, he brought it about that the waters and plants never dried up, and that there should be an inexhaustible stock of food to eat. In the reign of Yima the valiant there was neither heat nor cold, neither old age, nor death, nor disease…’ ‘Yima’s golden reign, in which all men were immortal and enjoyed perpetual youth, lasted a full thusand years.’

[xiii] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., pp 15-18

[xiv] E.W. West Trans, F. Max Muller, Ed., Pahlavi Texts, Part I, Reprint Edition, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1990, p. 17

[xv] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., p. 5

[xvi] Cited in Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, The Arctic Home in the Vedas, Reprint edition by Arktos Media, 2011, p. 254

[xvii] E.W. West Trans, F. Max Muller, Ed., Pahlavi Texts, op.cit., p. 17, note 5

[xviii] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., p. 18

[xix] Ibid

[xx] Ibid, p. 20. See also the US (1898) edition of Darmetester’s translation of the Vendidad, reprinted 1995, edited by Joseph H. Peterson, page 14, Note, 87

[xxi] R.C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, op.cit., p.135

[xxii] J. Darmetester and H.L. Mills, Trans, F. Maz Muller, Ed, The Zend Avesta, op.cit., p. 20

[xxiii] Ibid

[xxiv] Ibid

[xxv] Ibid, note 5

[xxvi] Ibid, note 4

[xxvii] Encyclopaedia Iranica, op.cit. ‘Jamshid i’ (http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jamsid-i) and ‘Jamshid ii’ (http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jamsid-ii)

[xxviii] E.W. West Trans, F. Max Muller, Ed., Pahlavi Texts, op.cit., p. 26

[xxix] Delia Goetz, Sylvanus G. Morley, Adrian Reconis, Trans., Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya, University of Oklahoma Press, 1991, p. 178.

[xxx] Ibid, p. 93

[xxxi] John Bierhorst, The Mythology of Mexico and Central America, Quill/William Morrow, New York, 1990, p. 41

[xxxii] J. Eric Thompson, Maya History and Religion, University of Oklahoma Press, 1990, p. 333

[xxxiii] Genesis 6: 19-20

[xxxiv] Genesis 6: 16

[xxxv] Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1988, Vol I, p. 162

[xxxvi] Ibid

[xxxvii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derinkuyu_%28underground_city%29

[xxxviii] Hurriyet Daily News, 28 December 2014 (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/massive-ancient-underground-city-discovered-in-turkeys-nevsehir-.aspx?PageID=238&NID=76196&NewsCatID=375), The Independent, 31 December 2014 (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/vast-5000-yearold-underground-city-discovered-in-turkeys-cappadocia-region-9951911.html).

[xxxix] E.g. see report in The Independent 31 December 2014, op.cit.

[xl] Turkey, Lonely Planet, 2013, p. 478

[xli] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derinkuyu_%28underground_city%29

[xlii] Omer Demir, Cappadocia: Cradle of History, 9th Revised Edition, p. 61

[xliii] For example in Proto-Hittite times up to 2,000 years earlier. See Omer Demir, op.cit., p. 70

[xliv] Ibid, p. 60

[xlv] Ibid, p. 60

[xlvi] Ibid, p. 59

[xlvii] Ibid, p. 61

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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 4: The Island)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

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

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

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

4. The Island

The island of Allandon was born of a fiery volcanic eruption that came out of the ocean. At first the island was nothing more than a mass of molten lava which was cooled by the air and the ocean tides into hard rock formations. As more time passed, life began to spring up through the cracks and crevices, until one day Allandon was an island of great character and beauty. As if gradually awakening from a long sleep, the island eventually recognized itself as an island, separate from the ocean. During noontide of his first day of self-awareness, the island noticed the ocean’s waters rushing upon him and then receding back. So he spoke to the ocean thusly:

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“Would you please stop splashing onto the rocks on my shore?”

 “It is the way of the universe,” she replied. “You were born of me and this is how I care for you, softening the rocks on your shore until they become tiny crystals of sand.”

“Why do you do that?”

“So that creatures that walk upon your beach can feel how gently the infinite and the temporal can meet.”

“Will you then leave me alone?” asked the island.

“I can never leave you alone, not until you have melted back into me and we are one.”

The island was outraged. “No! I may have been born of you, but I will not die at your hands!”

“Death is an illusion,” she said.

“Quiet!” he retorted. “You will stop what you are doing immediately!”

“I have no choice in the matter.”

“Well I have a choice,” said the island of Allandon. “I will resist you to the end!”

“Yes, you have that choice,” the ocean replied. “What would be my delight in you otherwise?”

An essential concept that we will come back to many times throughout the course of this book is that of duality. Our conversation itself would not be possible if there were not a duality: you and I. A listener and a speaker. Without a listener, speaking would be pointless. Without a speaker, listening would be impossible.

But it goes even deeper than that. This world, indeed existence itself, requires duality. What something ‘is’ can only be determined when it is measured against something that it ‘is not’. The shadow only ‘exists’ in the presence of light, or that which it is not. The root Latin word ‘exsto’ meant ‘to stand out or stand forth, to project; to be visible’. Existence itself as we know it is only possible where there is duality. While we can truly understand the ‘being’ of darkness only in its relation to light, light as well only exists when cast against a background of darkness. There would be no ‘good’ without ‘bad’, no male without female, and so on.

Duality is what makes it possible to be conscious. We are conscious when we distinguish subject from object, ourselves as perceivers from what we perceive. The day that the island sees itself separate from the ocean and distinguishes the ‘I’ (the island itself) from the ‘you’ (the ocean), that is the day that the island becomes conscious. And being conscious, the island and the ocean are able to talk to each other, just as we are. As we continue to speak about the evolution of consciousness, both on the personal level and the global level, the importance of the concept of duality will become ever more clear.

There is no better or more profound elaboration on the concept of duality and its role in the world than the Chinese symbol of yin and yang, which represents the two basic forces in the universe. Consider them polar opposites, like the positive and negative ends of a battery. Just as electricity is made possible by the dynamic between opposing charges, all movement in the world, all change, is made possible by the interplay of yin and yang.

In figure 1 black and white represent these two opposing forces. White is the cosmic force of yang, the masculine force, sign of the Sun, aggression, light, heat, growth and movement. In contrast the black is yin, the feminine force, sign of the Moon, passivity, darkness, cold, senescence and inactivity.

Figure 1

The small black and white spots signify the precise interrelationship between Yin and Yang: the seed of one is always contained in the other, such that all movement in the universe is the growth of one force out of the other. You can see in the diagram how the polarities literally turn into each other, like night into day and day into night. Our planet’s entire ecology depends on this complementary pattern, where everything that grows eventually decays, giving rise to new growth.

In the new conversation the subject of change is always in the forefront. We seek out support from each other in dealing with and making changes in our lives, because we all have some resistance to change. Change can be difficult. Change can be threatening. But in the back of our minds we know change is inevitable. We see the sun rise and fall, we see the seasons come and go. We know that we are always growing older and one day will die. And even knowing this, we often live as though the circumstances of our life are frozen in time and will stay the same forever.

Of course they never do. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus noted that in the world ‘the only constant is change.’ And we should all be grateful for that. Imagine if the world around us actually did stay the same and every day was just like the next, if the weather never changed and plants and trees didn’t grow. Imagine if we didn’t age and our children never grew up. Imagine if there was never anything new. It wouldn’t be very much fun and we know it. Despite our resistance there is a part of us deep inside that wants change. That part of us wants us to grow, to evolve, to experience new things. We also want to make our relationships better and more fulfilling. We want to be more powerful in our working life and create more abundance. We want to finally climb the mountain of our dreams and enjoy the breathtaking view from on high.

Fine. But this all doesn’t happen until we are willing to make a first step, and start declaring our aspirations out into the world. If we at least shared our dreams with someone else, and expressed our disappointment that our lives were not moving towards anything worthwhile, we would likely find that we are not alone. Sometimes the friction of mutual discontent is enough to spark us into action. Or we might turn right around and stop talking about it. Our fear of the unknown can be so strong sometimes that we will shy away from the very conversations that we suspect will encourage us to actively make changes.

Now if we decide to keep sitting back and waiting, life will eventually make changes happen to us, and they are not likely to be the ones we are looking for. When we just hang on to our relationships, life will make them slowly slip away. If we endure a job that we don’t like, work will become ever less satisfying and we may even get fired. And if we don’t keep lighting the torch of our greatest hopes, they will fizzle out into oblivion. When that happens, the only way we are able to console ourselves is by rationalizing that our dreams were never possible to begin with, if in fact we still remembered what they were.

In Chinese philosophy change is likened to a constantly flowing river. All the forces of nature move with the current downstream, in a perfectly balanced and synchronized manner. The real exception to this is human beings. We have made for ourselves a raft on this river, symbol of our self-consciousness, our awareness of ourselves as self-determining creatures. This gives us the power of choice. At any moment in our lives we can choose to embrace change and travel downstream or we can fight against the flow. While we may appear to be staying in the same place for periods in our lives, the forces of change are always at work. If we try to stay in the same place for too long, we are actually expending a lot of energy fighting our own evolution, and we are basically allowing life to pass us by. Eventually, the force will be too much and we will be carried a little ways down the river. In these moments we experience letting go, and when we let go we see that the changes we have been avoiding are not so bad after all.

In the transformation of yin and yang in figure 1, all change is contained by the outer circle which, as you can see, is the only part of the diagram that remains the same throughout. This circle represents the source of all change and all things in the universe. It is called the Dao (also written ‘Tao’), which can roughly be understood as the All or the One. In other spiritual traditions the Dao has been called Brahman, God, Allah, Supreme Being, the Unchanging, the Almighty to name a few. The name itself does not really matter. As Lao-Tzu reflects in Dao De Jing,

The Dao is too great to be described by the name ‘Dao’. If it could be named so simply, it would not be the eternal Dao.

Because the Dao (or whatever else we call it) is the unchanging All, then it is necessarily beyond all duality, and therefore beyond description. There is nothing it is not, and so we can never know the Dao. However, we can still experience ourselves as part of the Dao. By definition all things in the universe, including ourselves, are part of the Dao.  Since the Dao is the source of all change in the world, the part of us that feels a connection with the Dao is where our own desire for change comes from. I would like to call this part of us our Dao Self. If it was up to our Dao Self, we would always follow nature in moving with the current of the river.

But there is another part of ourselves, the part which does not recognize our connection to the Dao. It is the part that enables us to function in the world as individuals, to experience ourselves as apart from one another. This part of us I would like to call our Ego Self. The Ego Self  is programmed to survive at all costs and to maintain control over our lives. It is resistant to change because change threatens to destroy a part of the identity we have created for ourselves as distinct entities. It is worried that change will cause our entire being to fall apart. And so our Ego Self wants us to work our way upstream, so that we stay in the same place and remain as stable as possible.

This gives us pause to think about what it means to be human. Are we a part of the universe or apart from it? Is our real self the Dao Self or the Ego Self? While we may live our life predominantly from the perspective of one or the other of our two selves at any given time, they are always both with us throughout our life. Our basic nature is comprised of this duality, and being human means living with the paradox of this double identity. Our Ego Self is connected to our senses, and keeps us focused in the physical or ‘material’ world, the temporal world of matter. It’s voice is the voice of reason. Our Dao Self transcends sensory experience and calls us to look inside, to an invisible world that holds us to be part of the whole, the infinite world of spirit. Our Dao Self speaks with the voice of our intuition.

When we start to accept ourselves as having this dual nature, it is much easier to understand our conflicting desires: we resist change in our lives and yet we deeply desire change. When we live from the perspective of the Ego Self, change becomes associated with pain, suffering and loss. However, as we learn to live life more from our Dao Self it is easier to embrace change and let go of resistance because change is no longer associated with loss. We don’t experience loss because we feel connected to the wealth of the universe.

When John Donne said that ‘no man is an island,’ he was speaking about this interconnectedness that we have with our world and with each other. All of the great spiritual traditions of the past have been saying this in their own way. They all call us to a greater awareness of our union with the source of being, the One of many names which I am calling the Dao.

Like the island ultimately returning into the ocean from whence it came, we too are on a course for a union with the Dao. But like the island we fight against this. When our Ego Self is in charge we worry that if we do not struggle to hold on to our identity we will lose ourselves completely. We become protective of the welfare of our individual selves because we cannot see our greater connection to the whole. This is the paradox of our existence, source of both our profoundest miseries and our greatest delights. And we would not have it any other way.

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Awareness

Food Brands Owned By Monsanto

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Below is a list of food brands currently owned by Monsanto. The list was put out by Vocal Media.

  • Reflect On:

    Are the foods we eat safe? Are the chemicals we eat ingest with them safe? A lot of science has shown otherwise, so what's really going on here.

Monsanto is a biotech corporation that was founded in the early 1900s. They produce genetically modified foods (GMOs) and many chemicals that are sprayed onto our food, including several pesticides. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research titled, Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary pesticide levels in U.S. children and adults” outlined the issue with these chemicals, many of which were actually originally designed by Monsanto as warfare weapons to be used as nerve agents.

The study highlighted that diet is the primary source of pesticide exposure in both children and adults. It found that an organic diet significantly reduced neonicotinoid, OP pyrethroid, 2,4-D exposure, with the greatest reduction observed in malathion, clothianidin, and chlorpyrifos.

The researchers noted that all of us are exposed “to a cocktail of toxic synthetic pesticides linked to a range of health problems from our daily diets.” They explained how “certified organic food is produced without these pesticides,” and attempted to answer the question, “Can eating organic really reduce levels of pesticides in our bodies?”

They tested four American families who typically don’t eat organic food to find out.

First, we tested the levels of pesticides in their bodies on a non-organic diet for six days. We found 14 chemicals representing potential exposure to 40 different pesticides in every study participant. These included organophosphates, pyrethroids, neonicotinoids and the phenoxy herbicide 2,4-D. Some of the pesticides we found are linked to increased risk of cancer, infertility, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and more. (source)

This is one of multiple studies that’ve shown the benefits of switching to an organic diet.

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When it comes to GMOs, there is a wealth of information that shows corruption with regard to their approval. A great resource to learn more about that is  called Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverte.

The stranglehold that corporations like Monsanto have on governments and government agencies like the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is quite strong. Many senior CDC scientists actually stressed this, but there are several other examples of this type of corruption.

For example, glyphosate, an active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was recently re-licensed and approved by European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto. You can read more about that here.

Glyphosate has been implicated in thousands of cancer cases, and Monsanto has already paid out billions of dollars to multiple victims. Dewayne Johnson is one of multiple examples.

Many mainstream foods were also found to be contaminated with glyphosate. Here’s a list of children’s foods that’ve been contaminated.

Monsanto was recently acquired by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Big food and big pharma are one in the same. They own the press, they own politicians, and they practically dictate government policy. There are a multitude of examples that illustrate the massive amount of corruption that drives these corporations, yet they are still operating despite the fact that the products they offer have been proven to be extremely damaging to human health as well as the environment.

Those of you who have been involved in the past in the battle to protect our children from poorly made vaccines or toxic chemicals in our food or in our water know the power of these industries and how they’ve undermined every institution in our democracy that is supposed to protect little children from powerful, greedy corporations. Even the pharmaceutical companies have been able to purchase congress. They’re the largest lobbying entity in Washington D.C.. They have more lobbyists in Washington D.C. than there are congressman and senators combined. They give twice to congress what the next largest lobbying entity is, which is oil and gas… Imagine the power they exercise over both republicans and democrats. They’ve captured them (our regulatory agencies) and turned them into sock puppets. They’ve compromised the press… and they destroy the publications that publish real science. – Robert F. Kennedy (source)

Today, annual protests are held against the agrochemical company to demonstrate the public’s displeasure with Monsanto’s practices. Not only do the protests illustrate how many people are against genetically modified organisms, but they also represent how many people are against the dangerous pesticides Monsanto produces to kill off pests and insects.

Here are some of the brands that Monsanto works with.

The Brands

This list was recently put out by Vocal Media.

  • Aunt Jemima
  • Aurora Foods
  • Banquet
  • Best Foods
  • Betty Crocker
  • Bisquick
  • Cadbury
  • Campbell’s
  • Capri Sun
  • Carnation
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Coca Cola
  • ConAgra
  • Delicious Brand Cookies
  • Duncan Hines
  • Famous Amos
  • Frito Lay
  • General Mills
  • Green Giant
  • Healthy Choice
  • Heinz
  • Hellman’s
  • Hershey’s Nestle
  • Holsum
  • Hormel
  • Hungry Jack
  • Hunts
  • Interstate Bakeries
  • Jiffy
  • KC Masterpiece
  • Keebler/Flowers Industries
  • Kelloggs
  • Kid Cuisine
  • Knorr
  • Kool-Aid
  • Kraft/Phillip Morris
  • Lean Cuisine
  • Lipton
  • Loma Linda
  • Marie Callenders
  • Minute Maid
  • Morningstar
  • Butterworths
  • Nabisco
  • Nature Valley
  • Ocean Spray
  • Ore-Ida
  • Orville Redenbacher
  • Pasta- Roni
  • Pepperidge Farms
  • Pepsi
  • Pillsbury
  • Pop Secret
  • Post Cereals
  • Power Bar Brand
  • Prego Pasta Sauce
  • Pringles
  • Procter and Gamble
  • Quaker
  • Ragu Sauce
  • Rice-A-Roni
  • Smart Ones
  • Stouffers
  • Shweppes
  • Tombstone Pizza
  • Totinos
  • Uncle Ben’s
  • Unilever
  • V8

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, despite the massive amount of corruption and illegal activities these companies have engaged in, we are the ones buying their products and consuming their foods. All we have to do is make better choices–we can switch to organic produce, we can do our research and purchase from ethical companies, and we can refuse to spray our lawns with herbicides. Vote with your dollar.

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Awareness

New Study Finds Strong Link Between Glyphosate & Human Liver Disease

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study outlines a strong link between Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, and human liver disease.

  • Reflect On:

    Glyphosate has contaminated much of our soil and it's in many of the foods we eat. Decades of research has shown the dangers of this product, so how have our federal health regulatory agencies been able to approve this substance, and others, as safe?

Scientists and health professionals have been raising concerns about pesticides for decades. The idea that these products were ever approved as safe by our federal health regulatory agencies is truly mind blowing, given the fact that their toxicity and danger seem to be unquestionable. In 2012, the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) stated that “Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt; pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.”

Again, with all of the science available showing clear cause for concern, how are these products approved as safe? There are many examples one can use to answer this question. For example, a group called the CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research, or CDC SPIDER, made up of CDC senior scientists, put a list of complaints in a letter to the CDC Chief of Staff and provided a copy of the letter to the public watchdog organization U.S. Right to Know (USRTK).

They outline the corporate connection to science in the statement below:

We are a group of scientists at CDC that are very concerned about the current state of ethics at our agency.  It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests. It seems that our mission and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception. Some senior management officials at CDC are clearly aware and even condone these behaviours.

This is how substances like Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, continue to gain approval–it’s pure corruption. What’s one of the latest examples of corruption? Look no further than the fact that it was recently re-licensed and approved by European Parliament. In this case, MEPs found out that the science given to them was plagiarized and full of industry science written by Monsanto. You can read more about that here.

In 1996, Monsanto was sued by the New York Attorney General based on its false and misleading advertising of Roundup products. Monsanto lost and agreed to stop, but to date they have not stopped those practices anywhere else other than New York State. You can read more about that here.

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The list of corruption is long, and these are only a few of many examples.

Despite this fact, Germany has said it will phase out the weedkiller because it wipes out insect populations crucial for ecosystems and pollination of food crops and because of the negative impact it has on human health.

Glyphosate & Liver Disease

Glyphosate has been making noise in the courtroom, with thousands of pending cases regarding the correlation between glyphosate and various types of cancer. The link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma  has actually led to Monsanto paying victims billions of dollars. You can read about one example here.

A new study, conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, suggests an association between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in human beings.

In a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology , a team led by Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor and chief in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine, examined glyphosate excretion in the urine samples of two patient groups — those with a diagnosis of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD), and those without. The results were significant, as glyphosate residue was significantly higher in patients with NASH than it was in patients with a healthier liver.

These results also compliment the findings from multiple animal studies that have already been conducted.

“There have been a handful of studies, all of which we cited in our paper, where animals either were or weren’t fed Roundup or glyphosate directly, and they all point to the same thing: the development of liver pathology,” said Mills. “So I naturally thought: ‘Well, could there be an association with this same herbicide and liver disease in the U.S.?’”

As the university points out:

The study examined urine samples of 93 patients. Forty-one percent were male; 42 percent were white or Caucasian; 35 percent were Hispanic or Latino. Average BMI was 31.8. Patients were originally recruited as part of a larger study at the UC San Diego NAFLD Research Center conducted between 2012 and 2018. Liver biopsies were used to determine the presence or absence of NAFLD while classifying the subjects by cohort.

Mills plans to next put a group of patients on an all-organic diet and track them over the course of several months, examining how a herbicide-free diet might affect biomarkers of liver disease.

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the United States; it was developed and patented by agrochemical giant Monsanto in the 1970s and its sales represent approximately 50 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

Dr. Minkoff, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity, for very high academic achievement, provides an excellent scientific explanation as to why glyphosate represents a big problem for human health. You can read about that here, if you’re interested.

Will An Organic Diet Make A Difference?

Professor Mills mentions his intention to put a group of patients on an all organic diet and track them over the course of several months while examining how an herbicide free diet might affect biomarkers of liver diseases.

This is important, as many of our foods are now contaminated with glyphosate, among other herbicides and pesticides. For example, here’s a list of children’s foods that have been contaminated with glyphosate. The chemical has also been discovered in major orange juice brands.

Science has already shown that an organic diet can make a tremendous difference. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research examined four families who eat conventional diets. Pesticide levels were measured via urine before switching to an organic diet for 6 days. A dramatic drop in pesticide levels was found. You can access that study and read about more examples here.

The Takeaway

The approval of substances that are harmful to human health started long ago–remember DDT? It’s been decades, but it’s still happening. At the end of the day, you can refuse to buy and use these products, as many people are still purchasing them to use on their lawns and in their communities.

Despite the setbacks, progress is being made as this substance is now banned in multiple communities and countries as awareness continues to grow.

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