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Mass Shootings: The New Manifestation of an Ancient Phenomenon & Their Link to Psychiatric Drugs

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Individuals perpetrating unspeakable acts of violence is not a new phenomenon. What’s new, rather, are the altered states of consciousness induced by antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs well-documented to promote homicidal and suicidal behavior in susceptible individuals.

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Although semi-automatic weapons have enabled the infliction of mass casualties at an unprecedented scale, massacres perpetrated by lone individuals are not new phenomena. Rather, these tragic and inexplicable events may represent an incarnation of a more ancient phenomena called “running amok,” formerly believed to be a culture-bound syndrome isolated to certain societies.

The Resemblance of Mass Shootings to Running Amok

Used in colloquial verbiage to indicate an irrational individual wreaking havoc, the linguistic origins of “running amok” stem from the description of a mentally perturbed individual that engages in unprovoked, homicidal and subsequently suicidal behavior, oftentimes involving an average of ten victims (1).

Although it was not classified as a psychological condition until 1849, amok was first described anthropologically two hundred years ago in isolated, tribal island populations such as Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Laos, where geographic seclusion and indigenous spirituality were hypothesized to be cultural factors implicated in this culture-bound syndrome. In his eighteenth century voyages, for example, Captain Cook recorded Malay tribesman randomly maiming or executing animals and villagers in a seemingly unprovoked, frenzied attack (1).

Culturally-encapsulated explanations localized blame to spirit possession by the “hantu belian” or evil tiger spirit of Malay mythology, which was believed to have been the source of the involuntary, indiscriminate violence that characterizes amok. In native cultures, sacred healers of the folk sector operated under cultural ideologies where illness was believed to be of supernatural origin, so amok was tolerated as an inevitable element of the cultural experience and offenders were brought to trial (1).

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As Western expansion encroached on remote cultures, incidence of amok decreased, reinforcing the biased view that so-called primitive cultural ideas were responsible for its pathogenesis. Meanwhile, episodes of violence in Western civilizations began to escalate, culminating in the unparalleled modern statistics where shootings have become so frequent that those unaffected become numb and desensitized to their devastating effects, and all live with the threat of an impending shooting as an everyday reality. Formerly considered a rare psychiatric culture-bound syndrome, researcher Dr. Manuel Saint Martin (1999) argues that amok is also prevalent in contemporary industrialized societies (1).

Resurgence of this Ancient Construct in Modern Shootings

Saint Martin postulates that the escalating frequency of mass homicides in industrial cultures in the past quarter century represents amok, citing that attackers often have a history of mental disturbance and that modern-day episodes involve similar numbers of victims (1).

He likewise disputes classification of amok as a culture-bound syndrome, since it seems to appear cross-culturally, and argues instead that culture is the mediating mechanism that determines how the violence manifests (1). For example, Jin-Inn Teoh (1972) claimed that amok appears universally but that its mode of expression in terms of weapons and methods used are culture-specific (2). Furthermore, John Cooper (1934) postulated that its affiliation with suicide, a practice transcending arbitrary cultural boundaries, disproves the classification of amok as a culture-bound syndrome (3). Cooper further highlights that amok may be an indirect expression of suicide, induced by the same psychosocial stressors that produced suicide in contemporary cultures (3) In essence, the author contends that amok is a product of mental illness, which has similar etiology and psychosocial precipitants worldwide (3).

In his comparison of amok to modern-day shootings, Saint Martin advocates prevention by identification of individuals with risk factors and treatment of underlying psychological conditions (1). In addition to coworker, neighbor, friend, and family observations of susceptible individuals, Saint Martin states that physicians are uniquely positioned to collect data regarding those vulnerable to amok, since, “Many of these patients preferentially consult general and family practitioners instead of psychiatrists owing to the perceived stigma attached to consulting a psychiatrist, denial of their mental illness, or fear of validating their suspicion that they have a mental disorder” (1). However, the arsenal of tools wielded by the conventional allopathic doctor, with their magic bullet remedies and treatment algorithms, often falls short.

Addressing the Root Cause: Psychiatric Drugs Engender Violence

Although amok explains the deep-seated human tendency to engage in acts of violence, it does nothing to explain the recent increase in frequency. While many argue that access to semiautomatic weapons explains the explosion in mass shootings, one long-neglected element of the conversation is that the recent rise in mass homicides coincides with the greatest use of cognition-altering psychiatric drugs ever observed in human history.

Oftentimes, shooters are branded as bad apples, a narrative that allows for the rationalization of such heinous crimes and marginalizes assailants as social deviants and mentally deranged anomalies. However convenient this rhetoric is for imparting meaning to the unfathomable, it does nothing to prevent future incidents or to understand the trajectory of events or the biological and psychological variables that enabled individuals to perpetrate these tragic acts of terrorism. It enables the system and society to wash their hands of any culpability and critical analysis of how people can commit unspeakable violence.

Due to media distortion, the story line disseminated in public spheres diverges dramatically from the conversations played out in the academic sector and these questions remain largely absent from the mainstream dialogue. A perusal of the academic research, however, reveals that psychotropic drugs may be contributing to the epidemic of mass shootings. In 2011, 26.8 million adults in the United States used pharmaceutical drugs for mental illness (4). Two years later, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) found that nearly 17 percent of American adults filled at least one prescription for a psychiatric drug.

Psychiatric drugs, many of which are based upon the flawed serotonin theory of depression, send almost 90,000 people to the emergency room yearly as a result of medication side effects ranging from delirium to head injuries to movement disorders, and one in five of these visits culminates in hospitalization (4). This figure is an underestimate, as it excludes visits to the emergency department secondary to drug abuse, self-injurious behavior, or suicide attempts (4).

Preliminary reports from the Las Vegas shooting that left at least 58 people dead indicate that the alleged killer was prescribed Valium, a sedative-hypnotic drug classified as a benzodiazepine (5). Relevant to this insight is a meta-analysis of 46 studies published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, which illuminated that, “An association between benzodiazepine use and subsequent aggressive behaviour was found in the majority of the more rigorous studies,” especially in those individuals with an underlying propensity toward anxiety and hostility (6). In addition, a prospective cohort study of nearly one thousand Finnish subjects published in the journal World Psychiatry demonstrated that current use of benzodiazepines elevated risk of homicide by 45% compared to controls (7).

Data compiled from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adverse event reporting system similarly highlights that use of some antidepressant medications is disproportionately related to an increased number of violent events (8). The authors report that, “Varenicline, which increases the availability of dopamine, and antidepressants with serotonergic effects were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs” in case reports of “homicide, homicidal ideation, physical assault, physical abuse or violence related symptoms” (8).

Psychotropic Drugs and The Absence of Informed Consent

At the epitome of this discussion is that deleterious side effects of psychotropic drugs are ill-publicized and patient do not receive sufficient information about the devastating sequelae that can result from their use. Little of the public knows that in 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a black-box warning for antidepressants, advertising that they are associated with suicidal ideation and behavior in two to three children out of every hundred who are administered these drugs (9, 10). In fact, a meta-analysis of 372 randomized clinical trials entailing nearly 100,000 subjects elucidated that the rate of suicidal thoughts and action was double in those patients assigned to receive an antidepressant compared to placebo (11).

Notwithstanding the tendency of psychotropic drugs to predispose individuals to homicidal and suicidal ideation is the evidence that antidepressants elevate risk of death and cardiovascular disease, which is often not shared when a physician dispenses a slip from their prescription pad. A meta-analysis of 17 studies published in the journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that in the general population, antidepressant medications increase all-cause mortality (death from any cause) by 33% and the risk of cardiovascular incidents (heart attacks and strokes, for example) by 13% (12). According to researchers, “The results support the hypothesis that ADs [antidepressants] are harmful in the general population” (12).

Also rarely discussed with patients is the potential of psychotropic drugs to distort emotional affect. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have mind-numbing effects, as demonstrated by their ability to blunt emotions and produce apathy, disinhibition, and amotivation similar to a frontal lobe lobotomy, all of which would be consistent with a mindset that might predispose an individual to homicidal behavior (13). As a corollary, SSRIs are known to induce serious movement disorders, including akathisia, dyskinesia, tardive dyskinesia, dystonia, and parkinsonism (14). Pertinent to this discussion is akathisia, a form of severe agitation also induced by antipsychotic drugs, which can cause suicide and violence (15). Further, almost one in ten admissions to hospital psychiatric units have been attributed to antidepressant-induced mania or psychosis (16).

Moreover, it is often not disclosed that antidepressant therapy can exacerbate the severity and chronic nature of depression and lead to poorer outcomes. For instance, one retrospective study of nearly 12,000 patients in the Netherlands revealed that 72 to 79 percent of those who were treated with antidepressants during their first depressive episode experienced relapses (17). It is telling that despite record high rates of antidepressant use, prevalence of depression continues to soar.

Lastly, meta-analyses, which compile data from placebo-controlled trials, indicate that the differences in levels of symptoms resulting from SSRI use “were so small that the effects were deemed unlikely to be clinically important” (18). Further, a meta-analysis involving 6,944 patients participating in 38 studies underwritten by drug manufacturers found that “Antidepressants demonstrated a clinically negligible advantage over inert placebo” (19). This is all the more shocking, since the efficacy of the drug was likely artificially inflated. Researchers state, “This analysis probably overestimates the antidepressant effect because placebo washout strategies, penetration of the blind, reliance on clinician ratings, use of sedative medication, and replacement of nonresponders may penalize the placebo condition or boost the drug condition” (19).

It is incumbent upon physicians to provide patients with true informed consent as to the potential disastrous consequences of consuming mind-altering psychotropic drugs, to identify at-risk individuals and mobilize support, and to provide alternatives where applicable. For instance, luminary Dr. Kelly Brogan, who has been a pioneer in debunking mythologies of conventional psychiatry, recently published the success of her holistic protocol incorporating mind-body techniques, dietary and lifestyle interventions, detoxification modalities, and targeted supplementation in producing dramatic clinical remission in a patient with bipolar disorder with psychotic features, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (20).

Other Risk Factors for Amok and Mass Shootings

Compounding the effect of skyrocketing prescription rates for violence-promoting psychotropic drugs is the unprecedented social isolation that accompanies the digital age. The common thread uniting amok and contemporary mass shootings is what is branded mental illness, which is often inextricably intertwined with social alienation in a chicken-or-egg scenario.

In the anthropological curiosity known as amok, dimensions such as grief, acute loss, and interpersonal stress are intimated to be contributing factors (1). For instance, an 1846 Malay incident was concluded to be caused by an elderly mans bereavement of his wife and child, while the offender in a 1998 Los Angeles incident suffered financial bankruptcy (21). Furthermore, individual characteristics, such as predilection to aggression, and recurring cognitive themes such as persecution and revenge are speculated to constitute instigating elements (1).

Undoubtedly at play in mental illness is that we are divorced from our nuclear families, proverbial islands adrift from the quintessential tribe and support system to which we are evolutionarily adapted. Social ostracism was historically the ultimate ancestral punishment, as an individual was ill-equipped to survive when banished from a community. Moreover, admissions of psychiatric disorders are met with derision and social stigmatization, and the mobilization of social and professional support needed to contend with mental illness is radically deficient. Therefore, many individuals are deterred from seeking professional help.

Initial narratives by amok witnesses chronicled two forms characterized by differential causative factors: “The more common form, beramok, was associated with a personal loss and preceded by a period of depressed mood and brooding; while the infrequent form, amok, was associated with rage, a perceived insult, or vendetta preceding the attack” (1). Many of these traits can be reconciled with the diagnostic criteria for modern psychiatric disorders such as depressive, mood, psychotic, dissociative and personality disorders, as well as paranoid schizophrenia (1). Some argue that psychiatric classifications are not reproducible or diagnosable with objective biomarkers, and therefore do not constitute objectively delineated and non-overlapping categories, but they do have utility in their ability to describe and operationalize behavior in recognizable terms.

According to Saint Martin, “Viewing amok from this new perspective dispels the commonly held perception that episodes of mass violence are random and unpredictable, and thus not preventable” (1). However, the modern medical infrastructure has failed to support these individuals with anything other than pill-for-an-ill psychotropic cocktails and psychotherapy, rather than undertaking a holistic, root-cause resolution approach consistent with the precepts of personalized medicine. Instead of deferring to this standard of care, which has proven inadequate, we would be wise to use these societal tragedies as impetus for revolutionary reform and the heralding of evidence-based natural approaches that address the underlying causes of mental illness rather than applying symptom-suppressive chemical band-aids.

Going Forward: Making Sense of Devastation

In summary, the behavior exhibited in modern mass shootings bears uncanny resemblance to amok, indicating that indiscriminate violence has long been intrinsic to the human psyche. It is fundamental to recognize, when drawing parallels between the two constructs, the role that social isolation, collective disillusionment, violent proclivities, and mental instability play in precipitating this behavior in order to generate effective solutions. More recently, the widespread use of psychotropic drugs no doubt contributes to the rising incidence of mass shootings, yet it is a topic mainstream media outlets fail to broach.

However, the prescribing of these pharmaceuticals is only symptomatic of more upstream causes of psychological imbalance, many of which remain to be elucidated. Fundamental, though, is the profound disparity between the circumstances to which we are evolutionarily accustomed and the modern-day stressors we encounter, such as micronutrient deficiency, toxicant burdens, a genetically engineered and irradiated food supply, and a deeply-entrenched sense of dissatisfaction and loss of social connection.

This is not meant to catalogue excuses for such egregious and monstrous behavior, or to rationalize the very worst in humanity. Nor is it meant to represent an exhaustive survey of all the multifaceted socioeconomic, psychosocial, and geopolitical variables that contribute to acts of mass violence. But rather, this article serves as a commentary on some of those little-discussed instigating variables and the pharmaceutical industry-promulgated predecessors to such tragic events. It also attempts to paint a portrait of how massacres are not isolated to the modern era, and that by using critical analysis of the historical patterns of amok we can garner insight into shared risk factors such as detachment of an individual from the fabric of society and lack of supportive resources or constructive coping mechanisms.

By finding common psychological threads, and exploring their physiological origins, as well as unearthing novel variables such as psychotropic drugs which contribute to the never-before-witnessed frequency of fatal massacres, we can take productive action to prevent their recurrence. We can transform our righteous indignation into meaningful change. Although it is tempting to abdicate all blame and to employ the bad apple narrative, this does nothing to prevent the recurrence of these home-grown acts of terrorism, but rather, represents a society-wide coping mechanism and means of distancing oneself from some of the sources of these ultimate acts of unimaginable aggression.


References

1. Saint Martin, M.L. (1999) “Running Amok: A Modern Perspective on a Culture-Bound Syndrome”. Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1(3), 66-70. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181064/?tool=pmcentrez

2. Teoh, J-I. (1972). “The changing psychopathology of amok”. Psychiatry, 35, 345–351.

3. Cooper, J. (1934). Mental disease situations in certain cultures: a new field for research. Journal of Abnormal Sociology and Psychology, 29, 10–17.

4. Hampton, L.M. et al. (2016). Emergency Department Visits by Adults for Psychiatric Medication Adverse Events. Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, 71(9), 1006-1014. doi:  10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.436

5. Harasim, P. (2017). Las Vegas Strip shooter prescribed anti-anxiety drug in June. Retrieved from https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/the-strip/las-vegas-strip-shooter-prescribed-anti-anxiety-drug-in-june/

6. Albrecht, B. et al. (2014). Benzodiazepine use and aggressive behaviour: a systematic review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48(12), 1096-1114. doi: 10.1177/0004867414548902

7. Tilhonen, J. et al. (2015). Psychotropic drugs and homicide: A prospective cohort study from Finland. World Psychiatry, 14(2), 245-247. doi: 10.1002/wps.20220

8. Moore, T.J., Glenmullen, J., & Furberg, C.D. (2010). Prescription drugs associated with reports of violence towards others. PLoS One, 5, e15337.

9. Friedman, R.A. (2014). Antidepressants’ Black-Box Warning — 10 Years Later. The New England Journal of Medicine, 371, 1666-1668.

10. Harris, G. (2004). F.D.A. Links Drugs to Being Suicidal. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/14/health/fda-links-drugs-to-being-suicidal.html

11. Hamad, T., & Racoosin, J. (2004). Relationship between psychotropic drugs and pediatric suicidality: review and evaluation of clinical data. Silver Spring, MD: Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/04/briefing/2004-4065b1-10-TAB08-Hammads-Review.pdf

12. Maslej, M.M. et al. (2017). The Mortality and Myocardial Effects of Antidepressants Are Moderated by Preexisting Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-Analysis. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 86, 268-282.

13. Garland, E.J., & Baerg, E.A. (2004). Amotivational Syndrome Associated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Children and Adolescents.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 11(2), 181-186.

14. Gerber, P.E., & Lynd, L.D. (1998). Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor-induced movement disorders. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 32(6), 692-698.

15. Shear, M.K., Frances, A., & Weiden, P. (1983). Suicide associated with akathisia and depot fluphenazine treatment. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 3, 235–236.

16. Preda, A. et al. (2001). Antidepressant-associated mania and psychosis resulting in psychiatric admissions. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62(1), 30-33.

17. van Weel-Baumgarten, M. et al. (2000). Treatment of depression related to recurrence:10-year follow-up in general practice. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 25, 61-66.

18. Moncrieff, J., & Kirsch, I. (2005). Efficacy of antidepressants in adults. British Medical Journal, 331 (155). doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7509.155

19. Antonuccio, D.O., Burns, D.D., & Danton, W.G. (2002). Antidepressants: A Triumph of Marketing Over Science? Prevention & Treatment, Volume 5(25).

20. Brogan, K. (2017). Resolution of Refractory Bipolar Disorder With Psychotic Features and Suicidality Through Lifestyle Interventions: A Case Report. Advances in Mind Body Medicine, 31(2), 4-11.

21. Burton-Bradely, B.G. (1968). The amok syndrome in Papua and New Guinea. Medical Journal of Australia, 55, 252–256.

About the Author

Ali Le Vere holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Human Biology and Psychology, minors in Health Promotion and in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society, and is a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine candidate. Having contended with chronic illness, her mission is to educate the public about the transformative potential of therapeutic nutrition and to disseminate information on evidence-based, empirically rooted holistic healing modalities. Read more at @empoweredautoimmune on Instagram and at www.EmpoweredAutoimmune.com: Science-based natural remedies for autoimmune disease, dysautonomia, Lyme disease, and other chronic, inflammatory illnesses.

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

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

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FBI Confirms Report of “Cylindrical” UFO “Moving Really Fast” Over New Mexico

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CE Staff Writer 4 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The FBI has now confirmed that they are aware of the American Airlines pilot's UFO report. They did not say they are officially investigating the incident any further. The incident remains a mystery.

  • Reflect On:

    The increase in UFO coverage and reporting in mainstream media is raising public awareness about how prominent and well documented the subject is. What does the reality of the UFO phenomenon mean to you? Does it change your worldview?

Before you begin...

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

On Sunday Feb. 21, 2021 a pilot on American Airlines flight 2292 from Cincinnati to Phoenix reported seeing a long cylindrical object fly very fast over New Mexico, reporting that it looked a lot like a cruise missile. Now, the FBI has confirmed that they are aware of the mysterious report but did not say whether they are investigating any further.

The pilots report, which can be heard here, went like this:

“Do you have any targets up here? We just had something go right over the top of us – I hate to say this but it looked like a long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing – moving really fast right over the top of us.”

Steve Douglass, an experienced radio interceptor, was the first to report on the incident and claimed he heard the pilot’s transmission while recording from his multiple scanners.

Initially, American Airlines did not confirm that they had information the incident had happened, but later on, they provided a different story to journalists at The Drive who pressed for more info.

American Airlines initial response:

“At this time, we do not have any indication the radio transmission was from the flight crew on board American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,” an airline rep told the outlet initially.

American Airlines updated response:

“Following a debrief with our Flight Crew and additional information received, we can confirm this radio transmission was from American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,”

On Feb. 25th, a FBI spokesperson Frank Connor told Fox News in an email that:

“The FBI is aware of the reported incident, […] While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, the FBI works continuously with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to share intelligence and protect the public. Anyone who is aware of suspicious or criminal activity should contact their local law enforcement agency or the FBI,”

The Federal Aviation Administration did release a short statement regarding the incident as well:

A pilot reported seeing an object over New Mexico shortly after noon local time on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. FAA air traffic controllers did not see any object in the area on their radarscopes.

Up to this point this incident remains a mystery. It is unclear if further formal investigation is happening behind the scenes, but given what we’ve learned over our years of researching this subject, intelligence agencies tend to take these incidents significantly more seriously than they make the public aware of.

There has been a long term veil of secrecy surrounding the UFO phenomenon and only in recent years has the discussion turned more mainstream. It has been interesting to see further media publications pop up who are now taking this phenomenon a lot more seriously as well. This will continue to push this conversation into the mainstream over the course of time.

While it’s always intriguing to explore these new reports, there is decades of research and credible whistleblower testimony that fill in a great deal of ‘blanks’ when it comes to questions regarding the UFO and ET phenomenon. Indeed we know a lot more than what is being circulated in mainstream media at this time, and the phenomenon delves deeply into the field of consciousness research.

I recently received permission to release my full, raw, interview for the Dr. Steven Greer’s latest film ‘Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind.’ In it I cover my perspectives on discerning mainstream coverage of the UFO subject, the societal and cultural implications of the phenomenon, and what it means for humanity as a whole. You can watch the full interview exclusively on CETV.

Dive Deeper

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

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

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Global Food & Farming Issues: Dr. Vandana Shiva Slams Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg & Monsanto

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  • The Facts:

    Physicist, environmental activist and renowned author Dr. Vandana Shiva explains modern day global food and farming issues. There are links within the article to her very informative work.

  • Reflect On:

    When organic agriculture has shown to be the best way to feed the world, why do giant corporations insist on taking over and doing things their way? Why do they have so much sway over government policy?

Before you begin...

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Dr. Vandana Shiva is a renowned author, environmental activist, and physicist. Shiva founded Navdanya, an international movement started 30 years ago in India to defend seed and food sovereignty and small farmers around the world.  Navdanya pioneered the movement of seed saving and seed freedom, which began in response to the crisis of erosion of agricultural biodiversity and introduction of GMOs and patents on seeds through intellectual property rights (IPRs) and so-called ‘free trade’ agreements. It has long fought against biopiracy, the patenting of indigenous knowledge by self-interested multinational corporations and won cases related to Neem, basmati rice and wheat in India. Navdanya promotes a new agricultural and economic paradigm, a culture of food for health, where ecological responsibility and economic justice replace the present greed, consumerism and competition which have become dominant in society. It aims at regaining the common good as a foundation for a renewed sense of community, solidarity and culture of peace.

In the last 30 years, Navdanya’s research on Biodiversity based Agro-ecological farming has shown how Agroecology can increase nutrition and health, as well as farmers incomes while rejuvenating soil, water and biodiversity and enhancing climate resilience. They have a membership of more than 650,000 farmer families in 22 states of India. According to Navdanya:

The COVID public health crisis and its resulting economic devastation have accelerated calls to respond through the ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism through embracing the fourth industrial revolution. For food systems, this would mean a ‘food systems transformation’ where all areas of the food supply chain are further centralized, digitized, and mined for data in the false names of ‘public health’ and ‘economic recovery’. This push is now being supported by international organizations and world leaders who stand hand-in-hand with big corporations’ desires for further agrifood system concentration. This translated to a more aggressive push toward false solutions of farms managed through artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms, precision farming, fake foods- such as lab-grown meat, synthetically produced oils, and breastmilk- robot pollinators, biofortification, gene drives for more advanced forms of GMOs, and digital sequencing genetic information (DSI) of agro-diversity.

They recently put out a very informative report titled “Gates to A Global Empire.” Be sure to check it out. I suggest you read a recent article written by Dr. Shiva (her twitter account) titled, “Indian farmers’ 30 year struggle against corporate globalisation and 40 year struggle against the green revolution.” Her books are also a great resource documenting the takeover of seed and the immoral and unethical actions of big corporations, like Monsanto, in India and all over the world.

The clip below is from 2019 but it’s still very informative.

 

Dive Deeper

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

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

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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‘Big Short’ Investor Michael Burry Warns Central Governments Could Squash Bitcoin

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Well known hedge fund Michael Burry feels that Bitcoin could be squashed by the "legally violent, heartless central governments" who won't allow Bitcoin to stay decentralized.

  • Reflect On:

    Our societal structures, like the economy, are certainly in question as many continue to lose faith in them. Is the path towards a better future through cryptocurrency? Could humanity dream up a world without money?

Before you begin...

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

You might remember the famed hedge fund manager Michael Burry from the film ‘Big Short,’ his character was played by Christian Bale. He is best known for forecasting the 2008 financial crisis, and he made billions from that bet. In a recent tweet, Burry has suggested that governments could “squash” Bitcoin (BTC) in a coming inflationary crisis due to further pandemic stimulus.

Burry also feels that further regulation of the decentralized currency could hamper BTC’s performance in the long term. With one of the main motivations behind cryptocurrency’s like BTC being that they are intended to operate outside of government control and regulation, you can bet that the millions who invest in crypto intend that it stays that way – out of the governments reach.

In a now deleted series of Tweets, Michael Burry stated some intriguing opinions about Bitcoin and potential government interventions:

I don’t hate BTC. However, in my view, the long term future is tenuous for decentralized crypto in a world of legally violent, heartless centralized governments with lifeblood interests in monopolies on currencies. In the short run anything is possible – why I am not short BTC.

Burry claiming he is not ‘short’ on BTC means he is not betting that its price will fall significantly anytime soon.

One of the major reasons Burry feels governments could squash BTC is due to coming inflation as a result of more pandemic stimulus. “In an inflationary crisis, governments will move to squash competitors in the currency arena. $BTC #gold,” he said.  As you can sense by Burry’s words, he feels governments will do anything in their power to maintain control over their own currencies, and protect them at all costs, regardless whether it’s what benefits people most or not.

In his recent string of tweets he discussed Germany’s path to hyperinflation in the 1920s. He currently sees America’s economic trajectory to be similar to the post-World War I climate that eventually led to a 320% monthly inflation rate in the country.

If Burry is right about the upcoming inflation and the governments potential regulatory actions on BTC, this will be the 2nd time in recent years that he predicted a seismic shift in the US economy.

“People say I didn’t warn last time, I did, but no one listened. So I warn this time. And still, no one listens. But I will have proof I warned.” – Burry said in a tweet.

Modern Structures Are Failing

This inevitably brings up the discussion of our current way of life when thinking about our societal design. Does a capitalistic economy really create a world where people can thrive? Does it inspire big business and governments to think about people’s well being first? Or does it motivate them to think of profits first? Perhaps it’s our underlying worldview of competition and separation that causes us to create society in this manner? Either way, history over the last 30 years has shown us that financial crisis’ are happening at a faster rate, each time pushing more and more people into a lower socio-economic class while the few become richer. Aside from available spending money, think of how this affects people’s basic ability to survive and enjoy life.

COVID-19 served to make billionaires even bigger billionaires, while the average person struggles to get a job, feed their family and make basic payments. Is this a world we want to live in? Does this truly feel like what we’re capable of or are we being convinced to accept something because someone said so?

Are we really to support the idea that governments should regulate cryptocurrency, a means of exchange that is outside their control? What’s the motivation behind their regulation? As faith in our institutions crumbles year after year, is the culture within governance feeling their increasing loss of power over the people?

I don’t intend to write a lengthy piece deeply exploring the ins and outs of our economic model and why it’s not serving the people, I’ll save that for another time. I sense that the questions I’ve posed will already bring up thoughts and feelings within you that tend to ‘know’ our current ways aren’t working to help people thrive, perhaps that’s enough.

Where I’m curious to push the envelope a little further is in the question of why do we believe that we need currency and exchange to begin with? Why must our economies work the way we do? Have we really chosen to ask this question? Or have we accepted the limited and dishonest historical belief that “we tried everything else and this is best?”

A radical idea to consider I know, but one I invite you to imagine for just a moment. Given all the the incredible technology we have available to us today, can we really not imagine a society where money is not required? Given the emerging information in post material science that is telling us a different story about the nature of humans, can we honestly say we are simply competitive and warring animals still?

For just a moment, set aside the judgements someone might cast upon you for considering that we could live in a world without money, things like “that’s socialism!” or  “That’s communism!” If you were tasked with the project of coming up with a way to live in our world without money, how might it look? How would we go about creating that type of community?

Aside from what we’re commonly told, human beings are incredible, with extraordinary abilities to connect, build community and solve problems. If we changed the conversation from “that’s never going to be possible” to “how might we actually go about doing this?” that innocent little shift allows us to be open, sense possibility and activate our creativity, even if it means we aren’t going to take action right away.

I’ve been doing this sort of work and asking these questions my whole life – professionally for 13 years – I don’t hold the naive position that all of this can just happen on its own or that we don’t require deep questioning of our current worldview, I recognize all of this is necessary. What I am saying though is, if we don’t begin to think and explore down this path, we can’t ever make things ‘better.’

So what are you choosing to do? Accept the world as it is today? Or are you open to imagining a world where people can truly thrive?

Dive Deeper

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

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

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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