- The Facts:
A new commercial from Gillette tackles the issue of 'toxic masculinity.' The commercial asks us questions about male culture and challenges us to step up and change what we're doing. But did they tackle this well?
- Reflect On:
What else can we take from the commentary of this commercial? Where else can we find these same behaviours in our society? Further, what is the purpose of the extreme, identity-based politics we see today? Is it causing more harm than good?
In an age of extremes, the nuance of this article is going to be what helps us understand what we are truly seeing in terms of the challenges we face and how we can solve them without generating a strong opinion on these issues. I encourage you all to carefully read this article as if we want to help move away from things like “toxic masculinity,” “toxic femininity,” racism and so forth, but we must do so wisely by truly understanding the depth of what is being said.
Before I continue on, I want to say that in many cases, when talking about issues regarding men, women, or any particular race as politics and media often do today, we must remember that what is talked about does not represent the whole of any group. In fact, in many cases, it only represents a very small percentage of the group being discussed.
As a result of aspects of our consciousness, which we will discuss further in this article, there is no shortage of extremism in society right now when it comes to the discussion of gender. The #MeToo movement helped the greater population recognize that sexism is a huge problem within prominent industries, like music and film, where women are being harassed or abused sexually by men. This then extended to a greater discussion about sexual abuse in society in general, which I feel anyone can agree is an important topic to bring awareness to. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever come across anyone who actually opposes putting a stop to something like this, yet due to extreme positions, many are being wrongfully accused of such opposition. This is where we need to have a deeper discussion.
By now we know it happens, we don’t need another article exposing it, we need one talking about solutions, so that is what I’m going to focus on.
We exist in very polarized states of consciousness, and because we are a society who has not put a large focus on emotional intelligence, many issues that come to the forefront go through a long period of extremism before/if we become grounded again in order to truly understand what’s going on.
Of course, what I am talking about doesn’t relate only to what occurred after the #MeToo movement began, but with anything, including people’s views on government conspiracies, race, politics and other societal issues. In short, we attempt to apply blanket statements to issues instead of viewing things on a case by case basis or through the properly grounded facts that we do have about an issue.
As Stefan Molyneux puts it,
“The general leftist approach is that all disparities in group outcomes are the result of prejudice, of racism, of sexism, of colonialism, of exploitation of generally bad white male behaviour.”
Ultimately he goes on to say that if you choose not to look at the larger reasons as to why certain things are happening in our world, you will always be stuck blaming racism, sexism, the patriarchy, men, women, or any particular race. We must preface our discussion with this gnosis before discussing what’s next because it is only in the grounded understandings of our world that we actually can tell where we are at.
Gillette Aims To Help Raise Awareness About “Toxic Masculinity”
I’ve put the terms toxic masculinity and toxic femininity in quotations both times thus far because many people have very different ideas of what those things look like and mean. In fact, some people don’t even think “toxic femininity” exists, similar to the way they feel only white people are capable of being racist.
For the purposes of this article, I refer to the term toxic masculinity as partaking in a destructive form of male culture that does not operate on the basis of respect, equality and self-responsibility, and that will often exude overly strong behaviours of sexualizing women and competing with others to maintain egoic power. In short, much of what we have seen as male culture through pop culture, movies, music, and so forth can tinker on promoting this form of masculinity. It’s seen in situations where a female is marginalized down to simply being a sex object or situations where male dominance is valued and strived for.
Let’s have a look at this Gillette ad before we continue the conversation.
As Gillette accurately illustrates in its new ad, justifying certain behaviours that are not self-responsible and that do not create a harmonious world with statements like “boys will be boys,” is not something we can continue to do if we want to create a better world. Furthermore, leading by example and being able to speak up about behaviours you observe in others is important. It’s important not to do so in a condescending and judgemental tone, but rather by using a compassionate tone instead that truly questions the behaviour and allows you to empathize with how the other may feel in a situation. Further to that, we must recognize what this ad fails to point out, these behaviours don’t and haven’t come from all males, likely not even the majority.
As Gillette brand director Pankaj Bhalla told the Wall Street Journal,
“This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own, … “We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘boys will be boys’ is not an excuse. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our ‘best’ together.”
I have been in a number of situations where I’m in an all-male setting and one or two males are talking disrespectfully about females and I will observe other males join in simply so they feel included in the conversation or so that the other men don’t judge them. I personally know the men who joined in on the conversation don’t actually agree with the others, but do so because they feel they have to. Or better put, they do not know themselves or are comfortable enough with themselves to take the potential backlash that can sometimes come from not joining in.
This is why I say the way through these challenges is not by creating an enemy, judging their behaviour, and casting them out like many are doing, but instead by helping people question what they are doing and encouraging a culture of self-responsibility, empathy, and a deeper relationship with self. These sorts of conversations can be openly had, but it’s challenging because of our societal norms. Instead, our culture is often either that of the ‘toxic masculinity’ in question or that of extreme judgement towards unfavorable behaviours. Both are extremes, and neither help change the individual in a deep manner.
To be clear, any gender, any race and any person from a socio-economic class can take part in the disconnected behaviours mentioned above. It is not just men.
This is also where the nuance comes in. It’s important to recognize that not all men represent characteristics of “toxic masculinity.” Male pop culture might, and male pop culture does affect a certain subset of people, but it is not representative of the whole. This leads to my one small issue with the Gillette commercial. It, like many people today seem to be doing, is throwing the baby out with the bath water, i.e. not paying attention to nuance. In the case of #MeToo and this commercial, this behaviour does not apply to all men, perhaps not even to most men. We must remember that societal issues don’t apply to everyone within any particular subset of people, yet that is what people often focus on. This is also why so many enemies are being created. It’s like how some will view all Muslims as terrorists, for example.
Let’s recall the quote from Stefan Molyneux above, “The general leftist approach is that all disparities in group outcomes are the result of prejudice, of racism, of sexism, of colonialism, of exploitation of generally bad white male behaviour.” He is absolutely right in pointing out that the reasons for these things are not as simple as people want them to be, and thus we run in circles of extremes. I bring this point up not to turn the focus away from men, but because I actually care about seeing our culture change. I’ve spent enough time coming to understand that people have become outright extreme and misinformed about issues because we are too focused on an enemy and choosing sides. Thus, we have no clue where we actually stand. This is about changing how we live and operate as humans, not just of any particular race or gender.
If there are feelings of wanting to say or utilize some of the classic deflections of today including “easy for you to say from a white male privileged standpoint,” please save it. Let’s have the courage to have mature, grounded conversations, ones that can help us solve the challenges we face together.
If Not Careful, Our Unchecked Behaviour Divides Us
Like with any movement that begins, it often starts on a positive and helpful note. In this case, bringing awareness to sexual abuse of women is important to address. But the movement has come under fire to some extent as it appears to be going too far. The reasons for this include sweeping judgments, assumptions, and a lack of understanding of things that are said or what’s happening.
This has caused great divides amongst people whereby gender happens to be the card played when any issue is brought forth, even when gender truly has nothing to do with it. We are similarly seeing this with race.
This has given rise to grounded voices like Candace Owens, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Cassie Jaye, to name a few, who are discussing gender inequality in a way that is helping us to diagnose the problem more clearly and ultimately understand how to move forward. This is, of course, in contrast to the extremism out there where you begin to see women hating men or men hating women simply because we are always attempting to blame people for problems.
Cassie Jaye talks a lot about humanizing your ‘enemy.’ In her case, her enemy was males. As she discusses in her TEDx talk, when she released her movie The Red Pill, she received a great deal of backlash from feminists as her film explored The Men’s Right’s movement from her perspective as a feminist. As you might imagine, in her film, Cassie decided to go and speak to people directly. She learned about the people she was fighting against, and in some cases hated, only to realize that in most cases the issues and people involved were not quite who she thought they were.
She goes onto discuss that the greatest issue and challenge she faced was “having to peel back the layers of my own bias.” She goes deeper saying “it turned out I did meet my enemy while filming. It was my ego saying that I was right, and they were subhuman.”
Near the close of her talk she states “It’s no secret now that I no longer call myself a feminist, but I must clarify, I am not anti-feminist, and I am not a men’s rights activist. I still support women’s rights, and I now care about men’s rights as well. However, I believe if we want to honestly discuss gender equality, we need to invite all voices to the table. Yet this is not what is happening. Men’s groups are continually vilified, falsely referred to as hate groups and their voices are systematically silenced.”
The point here is not to pit men’s groups against women’s groups and see who is right, the point is that we have to stop creating sides and enemies. We instead must create a culture where we truly see one another beyond the physical realm. We also must see that in our own ways, we experience challenges from a system that truly does not support our growth.
When her film was released, the media entered into the popular groupthink of our modern times when it comes to gender politics, causing her to become one of the most hated filmmakers at the time. All she did in her film was explore the truth, beyond the fight of side vs side. She instead chose to see things for that they truly are, and this led to what I like to call an upheaval of emotions in viewers that struggle with neutral viewpoints, and instead are addicted to the fight and having an enemy.
This is where I believe many of us exist today. We live in a world where we’re encouraged to choose a side, accept limiting beliefs about what is going on, and ultimately become addicted to the drama of having an enemy to fight… even when they are not doing what you think they are doing.
What benefit truly comes from identifying as a certain form of activist? I’m not talking about simply saying “I’m an environmentalist” so people understand you care about the environment, I’m talking about when we identify so deeply as an environmentalist that we now filter everything we hear and learn through that lens, thus blocking us from not only hearing the truth but understanding where we stand as a collective. What benefit does that serve other than to show us what disconnection looks like?
I feel it’s time we pay attention to the nuance, the facts and the feelings within our hearts and stop working so hard to find or even create an enemy.
Why We Need To Take A Look At The Way We Treat Prisoners And Do It Differently
- The Facts:
The USA locks up more people per capita than any other nation in the world. The rate is 668 per 100,000 people which equals over 2.3 million. There has been an increase of 500% over the last 40 years. Changes in sentencing law and policy - not change
- Reflect On:
What really goes on in many prisons? Why does this breed more violence, adds to social disharmony and increases mental illness issues? We also highlight prisons that are a shining example of what can be done to truly rehabilitate people.
“Violent offenders, more often than not, are victims long before they commit their first crime: A former inmate who spent two years in a Boston prison for robbery was given away by his mother, a heroin addict, by the time he was 5 — the same year her boyfriends began beating him up; when he was 8, he watched another kid get shot in the head in his housing project.
Another man, in and out of prison from age 18 to 33 for assaults and drug crimes, grew up getting routinely beaten by his mother and frequently saw neighbors get stabbed and shot in the New York community of his childhood.” (source)
If you had been around violence, crime and poverty all your life, and this was all you had known, would it be any surprise that you too, may also end up committing crimes? Would you think it might be difficult to grow up as a ‘good person’ if all you had seen was the opposite of love? Would you think that being forced into another repressive life, which was even worse than what you had experienced previously, would be good for you and would somehow turn you into a better person by the time your sentence ended?
No – of course, it wouldn’t.
This is the reality of many prisoners face, that their time spent locked away for their crimes, actually makes them worse. What does this do to society as a whole? Do we ever really think about how this impacts all of us?
With the numbers of those incarcerated, increasing all the time, it is not hard to fathom the implications this has on all of us for the future.
‘Corrections’ Is A Term That Is Not The Reality
Whilst many prisons are called ‘correctional centers’ shouldn’t they be a place of rehabilitation so that the prisoners become better people? So that they don’t commit these crimes again, and instead start to contribute positively to society? The reality of what goes on inside prisons is often the exact opposite. For those that have spent time in jail, there is a strong chance they will end up re-offending. Texas for example, incarcerates more people per capita than any other country in the world, and suffers from a staggering 60% recidivism (re-offending) rate.
Shouldn’t we take look at why this is so, and try and stop it from happening?
Hurt People, Hurt People
I know, you may be thinking that if a person has committed serious offenses, they deserve to be locked away, to do ‘time’ to pay for their sins? Yes – that is true. However, what we don’t often realize is that the way prisoners are treated in the majority of prisons often makes them worse, and they become even more broken, as prison life encourages more violence and increases mental instability.
If someone is never shown any kindness and compassion, will they ever become an example of this themselves?
The causes of crime are complex. Poverty, parental neglect, low self-esteem, alcohol and drug abuse can be connected to why people break the law. Some are at greater risk of becoming offenders because of the circumstances into which they are born. (source)
For the innocent victims of a false sentence – which you will always find in any jail – can you imagine what these harsh and cruel environments would do to their own spirit?
With over 2 million people incarcerated just in the USA alone, there are over 11 million prisoners worldwide (source). These are astronomical numbers and it is clear that there is indeed, a very big – and growing – problem, particularly in America.
This subject has so many layers that it is impossible to give them all the focus they need, and I do understand the reaction many people have to this subject; those that do the crime should pay the time. However, as a concerned citizen who believes that we are all actually spiritually connected to each other, I think it’s important to highlight these issues.
The number of women in prison has been increasing at twice the rate of growth for men since 1980. Women in prison often have significant histories of physical and sexual abuse, high rates of HIV, and substance abuse problems. Women’s imprisonment in femaleled households leads to children who suffer from their mother’s absence and breaks in family ties. (source)
To become more aware of this problem, Netflix and Youtube have many eye-opening documentaries that highlight issues that I want to bring attention to, which are all mentioned below.
Another huge layer to all of this is, how many innocent people are actually in jails? Is the system breaking good, innocent people that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and are in fact, terribly unfortunate victims of a failing ‘justice’ system?
Prisons Should Not Be ‘For Profit’
USA prisons (and others around the world) are often run ‘for profit’, so the increasing numbers and overcrowded jails, may in fact, actually be all by design to line the pockets of powerful people and companies.
Because of this reach, the market for privatized services dwarfs that of privatized facilities. The private-prison industry’s annual revenues total $4 billion. By comparison, the correctional food-service industry alone provides the equivalent of $4 billion worth of food each year, according to Technomic, a food industry research and consulting firm. Corrections departments spend at least $12.3 billion on health care, about half of which is provided by private companies. Telephone companies, which can charge up to $25 for a 15-minute call, rake in $1.3 billion annually. The range of for-profit services is extensive, from transport vans to halfway houses, from video visitations to e-mail, from ankle monitors to care packages. To many companies, the roughly $80 billion that the United States spends on corrections each year is not a national embarrassment but a gold mine.
Today, a handful of privately held companies dominate the correctional-services market, many with troubling records of price gouging some of the poorest families and violating the human rights of prisoners. But the problem doesn’t end there. These companies are often controlled by private-equity firms, which through financial alchemy transform the prison-industrial complex into lavish returns for pensions, endowments, and charitable foundations. And, as successive administrations have ramped up immigration enforcement, they’ve also squeezed money out of immigrant detention. (source)
It begs the question, Is the prison system actually a legal human trafficking industry? Is it in their interests to keep them at overcapacity?
Coloured People Incarcerated In Higher Numbers
There is also a very high disproportionate amount of people of color compared to white in USA jails, which is of huge concern by itself.
The reality of what is going on inside the prison system makes for indeed, truly brutal viewing, but it is very important for us all, to beware of the reality. It is another part of our society that desperately requires great change because it does truly impact us all.
The USA, and other countries lock up many people for what are seemingly minor crimes. Some, as you will learn below, are almost unbelievable.
What impact does this have on the families who are left behind: a young child’s father or mother taken away, leaving them for years, without that important role model in their lives. What psychological damage does this do to them, what impact does this have on society, and how will it impact their own futures? Will they too, resort to crime, or drugs and alcohol one day?
On a positive note, I also show you what good is being done in some prisons around the world that are actually able to rehabilitate people in a way that is truly transformative. This is what we need to do for broken and hurt people, we need to help give them a purpose for taking control of their lives and making amends of the mistakes they once made. Only then, will this help society.
This documentary, available on Netflix is the best place to start if you are interested in looking at how the justice system became such a mess, you will see why it became an industry for profit, and why there are far more colored people incarcerated.
You will discover the very shocking untold history lesson about slavery and how it never really left the USA, coloured people were instead moved into the prison system for very petty crimes at an ever-increasing rate.
13th, a film by American Ava DuVernay, explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States. It was named 13th after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the United States except as a punishment for conviction of a crime.
Prisons that are run for-profit, mean that some people may go to jail for a long time, despite their offense being quite minor. This also means that there are now many young people in adult jails.
In the USA it seems that it’s very easy to be put in detention centers for seemingly minor crimes. This robbing of their childhoods can ruin their entire lives which we will cover below when we discuss the documentary Kids For Cash.
DuVernay shows that slavery has been increasingly perpetuated since the end of the American Civil War through criminalizing behavior and enabling police to arrest poor men and force them to work for the state under what is known as ‘convict leasing’ This factual documentary shows eye-opening statistics about the huge increase in prison numbers that are of colored people.
Ava examines the prison-industrial complex and the emerging detention-industrial complex, discussing how much money is actually being made by corporations from such incarcerations.
Kids For Cash
This is a great one to watch after viewing 13th, because it then brings attention to the concern regarding young children being put in detention centers, also for very petty crimes. These centers, are again, mostly run for profit.
The kids for cash scandal centered on two judges at the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. In 2008, two judges, Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella were accused of accepting money in return for imposing harsh sentences on juveniles simply to increase occupancy at for-profit detention centers.
This documentary shows the damage this can do to the individual, quite often exposing a typical ‘naughty’ pre-teen to horrific and frightening treatment which goes on in ‘kid’ jails, that they really aren’t mentally able to cope with.
This, of course, can impact them for life, because of the trauma (imagine being 12 and not able to see your parents for months at a time, whilst being involved in, or witness to many extremely violent acts) they may themselves end up turning to violence in there just to survive, which then means they likely will end up staying imprisoned much longer.
Judge Mark Ciavarella was found to have forced thousands of children to have ‘extended stays’ in youth centers for offenses as trivial as mocking a school staff member on Myspace or trespassing in a vacant building. How utterly ridiculous, and a crime in itself, that so many kids have been put away for these kinds of silly things.
This incarceration of minor offenses has led to permanent emotional trauma, and some victims have ended up committing suicide or becoming drug and alcohol addicts. This is what psychological trauma does. A life, and families ruined because of money-hungry people in positions of power.
Thankfully, Judge Ciavarella was convicted on 12 of 39 counts and sentenced to 28 years in federal prison.
Whilst it is great that he has been locked away himself, it does not mean that the youth prison system is now a good one, they are still being run for profit.
Time: The Kalief Browder Story
This documentary series found on Netflix is an absolutely harrowing and gut-wrenching story of what goes on in many prisons around the world. It is hard not to feel your own heart break after witnessing this horrific account of what maximum security prisons did to an innocent, young and good man who had a promising future ahead of him.
In 2010, 16-year-old Kalief Browder, from The Bronx NYC, whilst walking home from a party, was accused of stealing a backpack by police, and not only was he thrown in jail without a trial, but he was sent to one of the toughest adult prisons in NYC, Rikers Island. If convicted, Kaleif faced up to 15 years in prison – for stealing a backpack no less.
This lengthy sentence seems unbelievable, yet this is how punishment is dealt out in the USA. They are incredibly tough on minor crimes. It seems like any of us could be easily accused of something, thrown in jail, and unless we had money to pay for bail, we also may have to wait a very long time to have our case heard. This is very wrong, and once again, the vulnerable, and impoverished people have to pay a price whilst those with money will have a much easier time dealing with the justice system. When we look into the ‘for profit’ prison industry, could this be why they are so tough on crimes, and quick to send people to prison?
Sadly, Kalief’s family were not able to afford his $3000 bail, so Kalief went straight to Rikers Island, a jail notorious for it’s violent criminals and for being very poorly managed. It is widely known as ‘hell on earth’ and somewhere no teenager should be found in.
Whilst waiting to have his hearing on the alleged crime, Kalief ended up spending an astronomical 3 years in jail experiencing what can only be described as completely disturbing and ongoing violent, physical and mental abuse.
Kalief, slight in stature and still a teenager, was regularly attacked by dangerous and much older gang members, and was thrown in solitary confinement for months at a time. He often had food withheld from him, and never had any access to mental health programs. Kalief was also often violently attacked by cruel prison guards.
Due to this ongoing inhumane treatment, and, not surprisingly, feeling so hopeless, Kalief tried to commit suicide under the watch of prison guards – who were later found to have cruelly taunted Kalief whilst he was doing this – they took him down from the noose just as he was about to pass out, then they proceeded to violently beat him. This was not the last time he tried to take his own life in jail, yet nobody of authority helped him with his mental health issues.
This gruesome footage of what happened to Kalief was released to the public and is also shown in the documentary, and it indeed displayed this sickening and cruel treatment by the hands of the prison guards. This is the reality of many prisons, where the guards commit despicable crimes themselves.
Those guards, to this day, have never been held accountable for their own disgusting behavior against this innocent, young man.
Kalief never had his case go to trial, the ‘witness’ disappeared to Mexico, and after an unfathomable 30 separate visits to court to see if his case would, at last, be heard by the court, Kalief eventually was released.
Whilst Kalief was now a free man after 3 years of mental and physical torture, his mind was anything but, and his story does not have a happy eneding. After his release, and when the trial against the city began to try and receive compensation for his time in jail, Kalief wrote this:
“People tell me because I have this case against the city I’m all right. But I’m not all right. I’m messed up. I know that I might see some money from this case, but that’s not going to help me mentally. I’m mentally scarred right now. That’s how I feel. Because there are certain things that changed about me and they might not go back.” He also said, “Before I went to jail, I didn’t know about a lot of stuff, and, now that I’m aware, I’m paranoid. I feel like I was robbed of my happiness.”
Kalief’s unforgettable and deeply traumatic experiences caused such everlasting damage to his health and well-being. His time in jail crushed his spirit and most tragically, he wasn’t able to cope with his haunting memories and how his mind had now become.
Akeem Browder, a prison reform campaigner, is the truly inspiring, fiercely intelligent, brave, older brother of Kalief, and has since started the Kalief Browder Foundation in honor of his brother’s life:
The KBF strategies support youth and young adults, typically in middle/ high school and college, who were negatively impacted by the incarceration system and the school to prison pipeline particularly and labeled “At Risk Youth”. We aim to enhance their social emotional learning skills through critical thinking exercises, relationship building lessons, mentoring through narrative change and skill building. The KBF has engaged the youth impacted by the incarceration system to shift into the role of leaders for systems change through its work in New York within it’s legislative body. Listening to the community and its needs allowed us to develop a curriculum that speaks directly to the necessities that our youth and young adults face day to day. The criminalization of poverty, race and trauma has held our poor communities in its grips far too long for us to not find a way out.
Akeem has since been campaigning to get Rikers Island shut down. The documentary received much press and celebrity attention after it’s release, but sadly whilst there has been a lot of ‘talk’ about Kalief’s story, to date, no one has helped much financially to get the foundation seriously off the ground. To make real changes, to hire staff and to run a foundation properly, funds are needed.
You can help keep Kalief’s memory alive, and to support the foundation which strives to bring about much-needed change to the justice system.
Kalief’s story deserves to be heard, in the hope that something good can one day come out of it.
When They See Us
When They See Us is a 2019 American miniseries which was created, co-written, and directed also by 13th director Ava DuVernay for Netflix. It premiered on May 31, 2019 and is a four-part series. It is based on the highly publicized 1989 Central Park jogger case and explores the lives and families of the five male suspects who were prosecuted on charges related to the brutal rape and assault of a woman in Central Park, New York City.
The series explores the shocking way that 5 innocent young males who were targeted for committing this crime against a young white woman in Central Park, just because they were black, and were in the park that night. The film shows they were coerced into a false confession and there was actually never any solid evidence that they did it, yet the prosecution was still able to pin the crimes on all 5 boys.
After spending years in jail, they later ended up being exonerated, what they all experienced whilst in prison was truly horrific, especially Korey Wise, who having been beaten many times in jail – sometimes almost to his death – was often placed in solitary confinement for long periods at a time.
A truly harrowing scene in the film is of Korey (played by the brilliant Emmy Award-winning actor Jharrel Jerome) shouting ‘Why doesn’t anyone care about me?’.
This, I think sums up the prison system and how many inmates feel, innocent or not.
Whilst DNA evidence ended up clearing their names (how this came to be, is an extraordinary story in itself) and they are all now out of jail, their lives of course, have been forever turned upside down. How can you get back that time, or how can you ever erase all of those horrific experiences? How can your brain ever really recover from that?
Whilst the exonerated 5 have been able to seek financial compensation, it took a whopping 11 years of fighting in court to be eventually given to them, and the money of course, does not make up for the time and the destruction of their health and mental well-being that they lost in prison due to a justice system that can often be anything but.
Many victims of false incarceration do not ever win any financial justice for their time spent in prison.
Those who targeted these boys, have not been punished for their own despicable behavior, which is another example of how the system gets away with their own criminal activity.
I am now able to share with you now some more positive stories about what can be done in jails.
Happy Jail is a documentary that is currently streaming on Netflix. The story revolves around Marco O Toral, who became the manager of the Philippine jail known as CPDRC in Cebu province, known for a Michael Jackson dance video that went viral in 2007. What is immediately fascinating is that Marco was a previous inmate of this exact jail for seven years.
I highly recommend watching this 5 part series as it is very heartwarming and inspiring in that you see for your own eyes, what compassion, kindness, fun, and joy can do for people who have ended up in jail due to the crimes they commit. Marco Toral, is I think, an extraordinary human being, who was able to keep violence and drug use at a minimum, due to the way he treated the inmates.
Marco would meet every new inmate and treat them with kindness, often giving them money to use at the jail shop. He would, of course, lay down the rules, and the punishment for breaking them was a painful paddle on the bottom, as a last resort.
Whilst watching Happy Jail, I was struck by how the prisoners were constantly smiling, seemingly enjoying their time, and this is because Marco allowed them to dance, play music, play games, and have their family members not only visit them each week but that it would be in close contact where they would come inside the prison.
I personally feel that perhaps it is enough punishment simply being locked away in the same building for years at a time, never being allowed out until their time is served. Surely, during this time we can then work on encouraging people to learn from their own mistakes from a spiritual level?
Marco received harsh criticism by the media and some government members as he was seen as being ‘not tough enough’ on the prisoners, but you perhaps you will see for yourself if you think this was the case.
Bastoy – Norway
Bastoy, which sits on an island in Norway, is quite an incredible place that is doing a remarkable job to rehabilitate prisoners. Inmates, who live in small houses, not cells, are required to look after the island, (which also has its own small shop) have work duties and responsibilities that require them to get close to nature and to work with others. They learn to also look after themselves and learn to interact well with other people. There are animals to look after and they can play music, learn cooking and study.
A Governor was interviewed for this short documentary (below) and I think what he said should be how all Governors look at their own prisons.
‘I think my job as a Governer at Bastoy Prison is if I can put a person back into society who has actually been trained to be a good member of society’
Another guard said this:
“We punish them them by taking away their freedom, but we don’t take away their life”
Halden Prison – Norway
Also in Norway, Halden Prison is known as the worlds most ‘humane’ prison. It is designed with an architecture that takes into account it’s surrounding nature, where prisoners have access to beautiful views of the land, because connecting with nature is good for the human spirit. The warden’s of Halden state that ‘being imprisoned’ is enough punishment.
Punta de Rieles – Urugay
Located in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, Punta de Rieles is known as “the prison from which nobody wants to escape”. It is set on a 100-acre property which has lots of outdoor space where inmates can live, work, do yoga, have pets, and play music. At Punta de Rieles, the focus is on helping prisoners prepare to go back into society after they leave.
The prison’s director shared that their focus is to help the inmates be ‘better’ people than when they first arrived. Using ‘repression’ won’t rehabilitate people. They allow their inmates to study and also teach them how to start up a business. The funds earned enable the inmates to purchase things from the prison shop, or they can save up for when they leave. Punta De Rieles has a bakery, restaurant, brick factory, barbers, carpentry, and grocery stores.
Rehabilitation IS Possible
It seems very clear that the common way people are incarcerated today is simply not helping them become better people.
However, rehabilitation IS possible, and the way we can actually do this is seen in the last few documentaries above.
They all have a common theme, allow the inmates to have access to nature, to not be ‘locked up’ in ugly and depressing surroundings, give them responsibilities, encourage them to learn skills, have a purpose and above all, to be treated with compassion.
Whilst it must be said, that rehabilitating serial killers and very violent gang members might not be an easy task, it is something that must be attempted. Violence breeds violence so if we want to put an end to it, we have to see all people as human beings that may have had a very damaging upbringing which has affected their behavior.
Monkey Sharpens Rock & Uses It To Smash Through Glass Enclosure At Zoo
- The Facts:
At a zoo in China, a monkey uses a rock to smash its glass enclosure in what appears to be an attempted escape.
- Reflect On:
Are we treating animals on this planet in a way that we would want to be treated? If not, why? How does it feel to know we impede on the freedoms of living beings on a mass scale, and they don't like it?
Intriguing footage shows a Colombian white-faced capuchin at a zoo in China using a rock to smash through a glass enclosure in what appears to look like an attempted escape. The incident took place at the Zhengzhou Zoo in Central China’s Henan Province on the 20th of August 2019. Was it an actual escape? It’s hard to say, the monkey was surely surprised by the shattering of the glass, but why else would they be doing this if getting out wasn’t on their mind? Something to ponder.
In the video below you can see the monkey next to the glass, with a rock in its hand, examining the glass before hitting it multiple times with a rock before finally shattering it.
According to Metro UK, a bystander by the name of Mr. Wang told reporters that the monkey was actually sharpening the stone prior to hitting the glass. If this is the case, the attempted escape idea becomes much more likely.
‘The monkey was sharpening the stone, then it started hitting it on the glass. The monkey scared itself away, but it came back to take another look and even touched it,” Mr. Wang said.
Zhengzhou Zoo staff member Tian Shuliao said that this monkey actually knows how to use tools.
“This monkey is unlike other monkeys. This one knows how to use tools to break walnuts. When we feed walnuts to other monkeys, they only know to bite it. But it had never hit the glass before though. This is the first time. It’s toughened glass, so it would never have got out,[…]After it happened, we picked up all the rocks and took away all its ‘weapons’,” Shuliao said.
Why it matters: If this monkey is indeed attempting to escape, perhaps it doesn’t want to be in captivity. There are certainly times when humans intervene in nature to help animals who are hurt or cannot survive in the wild. Providing them with humane and expansive natural, yet safe, environments to live in can be helpful. But how often is this really the case when so much of what we do to animals is abuse and murder?
Perhaps humanity is at a time where we must reflect on whether using animals or entertainment and profit is not in alignment with a heart centred humanity.
The conscious takeaway: When it comes to the CE Protocol, looking at step 4, Living Aligned, is key because it points to being connecting with our true authentic self, beyond programmings of societal norms, but instead focused and being from a space of the heart. In this space and state of being, we are living from our authentic self and make decisions from that state of being.
From that space, how do we feel about animal captivity and the way we treat animals? This isn’t a question of belief systems, rather it’s a matter of first getting connected with your true authentic self and asking yourself how you truly wish to act in relation to animals and nature. This is why our focus is on the protocol and using the 5 Days of You Challenge to learn connection. It’s through this practice that truths and decisions become self-evident, not based on what someone else tells you or what you have to believe.
Scientists Discover That The Heart & Brain Respond To Future Events – Before They Happen
- The Facts:
Multiple experiments have shown strong evidence for precognition in several different ways. One of them comes in the form of activity within the heart and the brain responding to events before they even happen.
- Reflect On:
Do we have extra human capacities we are unaware of? Perhaps we can learn them, develop them, and use them for good. Perhaps when the human race is ready, we will start learning more.
Is precognition real? There are many examples suggesting that yes, it is. The remote viewing program conducted by the CIA in conjunction with Stanford University was a good example of that. After its declassification in 1995, or at least partial declassification, the Department of Defense and those involved revealed an exceptionally high success rate:
To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the (remote viewing) phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise… The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions. (source)
The kicker? Part of remote viewing involves peering into future events as well as events that happened in the past.
It’s not only within the Department of Defense that we find this stuff, but a lot of science is emerging on this subject as well.
For example, a study (meta analysis) published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” examined a number of experiments regarding this phenomenon that were conducted by several different laboratories. These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems to know of an event and reacts to the event before it has occurred. What occurs in the human body before these events are physiological changes that are measured regarding the cardiopulmonary, the skin, and the nervous system.
A few years ago, the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Dean Radin, visited the scientists over at HearthMath Institute and shared the results of one of his studies. Radin is also one of multiple scientists who authored the paper above. These studies, as mentioned above, tracked the autonomic nervous system, physiological changes, etc.
Scientists at HeartMath Institute (HMI) added more protocols, which included measuring participants’ brain waves (EEG), their hearts’ electrical activity (ECG), and their heart rate variability (HRV).
As HMI explains:
Twenty-six adults experienced in using HeartMath techniques and who could sustain a heart-coherent state completed two rounds of study protocols approximately two weeks apart. Half of the participants completed the protocols after they intentionally achieved a heart-coherent state for 10 minutes. The other half completed the same procedures without first achieving heart coherence. Then they reversed the process for the second round of monitoring, with the first group not becoming heart-coherent before completing the protocols and the second group becoming heart-coherent before. The point was to test whether heart coherence affected the results of the experiment.
Participants were told the study’s purpose was to test stress reactions and were unaware of its actual purpose. (This practice meets institutional-review-board standards.) Each participant sat at a computer and was instructed to click a mouse when ready to begin.
The screen stayed blank for six seconds. The participant’s physiological data was recorded by a special software program, and then, one by one, a series of 45 pictures was displayed on the screen. Each picture, displayed for 3 seconds, evoked either a strong emotional reaction or a calm state. After each picture, the screen went blank for 10 seconds. Participants repeated this process for all 45 pictures, 30 of which were known to evoke a calm response and 15 a strong emotional response.
The results of the experiment were fascinating to say the least. The participants’ brains and hearts responded to information about the emotional quality of the pictures before the computer flashed them (random selection). This means that the heart and brain were both responding to future events. The results indicated that the responses happened, on average, 4.8 seconds before the computer selected the pictures.
How mind-altering is that?
Even more profound, perhaps, was data showing the heart received information before the brain. “It is first registered from the heart,” Rollin McCraty Ph.D. explained, “then up to the brain (emotional and pre-frontal cortex), where we can logically relate what we are intuiting, then finally down to the gut (or where something stirs).”
Another significant study (meta-analysis) that was published in Journal of Parapsychology by Charles Honorton and Diane C. Ferrari in 1989 examined a number of studies that were published between 1935 and 1987. The studies involved individuals’ attempts to predict “the identity of target stimuli selected randomly over intervals ranging from several hundred million seconds to one year following the individuals responses.” These authors investigated over 300 studies conducted by over 60 authors, using approximately 2 million individual trials by more than 50,000 people. (source)
It concluded that their analysis of precognition experiments “confirms the existence of a small but highly significant precognition effect. The effect appears to be repeatable; significant outcomes are reported by 40 investigators using a variety of methodological paradigms and subject populations. The precognition effect is not merely an unexplained departure from a theoretical chance baseline, but rather is an effect that covaries with factors known to influence more familiar aspects of human performance.” (source)
“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
– Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)
We are living in a day and age where new information and evidence are constantly emerging, challenging what we once thought was real or what we think we know about ourselves as human beings. It’s best to keep an open mind. Perhaps there are aspects of ourselves and our consciousness that have yet to be discovered. Perhaps if we learn and grow from these studies, they can help us better ourselves and others.
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