Tuesday, September 23, 2014

“Smarty Plants” & the Roots of Plant Intelligence

“We think the Sagebrush are basically eavesdropping on one another.”
~Rick Karban, U.C. Davis Ecologist
Source: The New Yorker – The Intelligent Plant

A few weeks ago, PeapodLife posted a blog entitled Do Plants Hold the Secrets to Consciousness? . Today, we offer a good deal more dramatic evidence that plants not only behave, it is quite possible they have complex behaviour and even intelligence.

Genesis Eco Fund also wrote on the topic of plant communication as it relates to ecosystems back in July: Do Trees Communicate? Ecosystems & the Communication of Plants.

Mainstream materialist science has no choice but to accept plants are not the passive organisms it assumed them to be. And while many still dismiss the notion of plant intelligence, others are embracing a different view.

Probably the most well-known of these is Stefano Mancuso, Plant Neurobiologist. Here is his TED Talk from 2010:

Video: TED Talk - Stefano Mancuso: The roots of plant intelligence 

Listening to the passion of his presentation, one can easily comprehend why Mancuso is the Co-Founder of LINV - International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology.

Plant Neurobiology? Plant Neurobiologist? But plants don’t have a brain. “If you are a plant, having a brain is not an advantage,” Mancuso says. And yet, he has dedicated his life to the pursuit of plant intelligence. Source: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/23/the-intelligent-plant

There is certainly much more which could be said on this topic.

For starters, the conversation must invariably and inevitably move from the question of individual plant intelligence, or indeed, plant and animal intelligence, to one of ecosystem intelligence. That is, the ability for the superorganism to exhibit behaviours which show intelligence.

And certainly, in the view of Genesis, the conversation must (and will) eventually migrate from the question of intelligence, to the issue of consciousness and the discussion of what these two terms describe and how they differ from one another.

But today, we think we’ll just share some more videos demonstrating that something is indeed going on with plants, and it’s a secret world that we’re only just beginning to explore in any meaningful way.

Video Link: Mind of Plants: Documentary on The Intelligence of Plants, produced by Gédéon Programmes, K Production, ARTE

Video Link: Nature: What Plants Talk About – Documentary

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why “Education” Gets a Failing Grade;
Ecosystems Encourage “Growth Mindset”

Image: The Teacher from “The Wall”
We don't need no education
We dont need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.
Video: Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two (Official Music Video)
Source: YouTube: http://youtu.be/HrxX9TBj2zY

How little has changed in 35 years.

Oh, we know: the educators will cry foul at a statement like that. But the truth hurts sometimes. And that’s the point of today’s blog. To truly get better, one better get used to the idea of failure.

Real learning comes by way of trial and error, exploration, discovery and—effectively—self-learning. But our education system—and indeed culture—worships “success” and fails to recognize the immense importance failure plays not only in the learning process, but in personal growth, all manner of progress and evolution itself!

Allow us to change the dark tone to a more positive one by way of sharing a video from Khan Academy.

Video: You Can Learn Anything 
Credit: Khan Academy

Salman Khan started the not-for-profit Khan Academy on his earnest beliefs that:
  1. Anyone can learn anything—evidenced by so-called neuroplasticity of the brain.
  2. Everyone should have free access to learn anything—why his online academy is 100% free.
  3. Failure should be celebrated and efforts rewarded—in the struggle to succeed one will naturally and inevitably face failure, and that’s a good thing since failure teaches us more than success.

In a recent blog post, Salman Kahn describes a heartwarming story of his son reading a story out loud, struggling for over a minute before finally pronouncing the word “gratefully.”
“He then said, ‘Dad, aren’t you glad how I struggled with that word? I think I could feel my brain growing.’ I smiled: my son was now verbalizing the tell¬-tale signs of a ‘growth¬ mindset.’…I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.”
~ Salman Kahn
Brilliant. Finally, decades since the release of The Wall, educators are coming around to the conclusion that their job is about teaching how to think not what to think.  To create a learning mindset: immersing children in a culture of trial and error, where failure and success receive equal billing; children are rewarded for overcoming obstacles, not for succeeding at tasks that came relatively easy to them. Can calls this the “growth mindset.”

Of course, the challenge is we live in a culture which lives in a “fixed mindset.” Not only does society tell us what to think, how to feel, what we need to be, buy and/or experience to be happy, etc. Our culture also glorifies success. We are inundated with advertising, game shows, reality TV contests, films, newscasts, sports stars, celebrities and “success stories” of all kinds proclaiming “the glory of victory” and “the agony of defeat.”

More than anything else, our culture worships “celebrity”—sports stars, actors, billionaires, royal couples, religious icons, even mobsters and famous criminals like Bonnie and Clyde. This tendency to embrace a “cult of personality” suggests our conditioned belief that talent (such as intelligence) is fixed—something we are born with, in our genes, etc.—for the masses to celebrate (and envy). 

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell turns the ideas of innate intelligence and ambition—“born talent”—on its head. He argues that environmental factors and one’s attitude to achieving success through constant struggle and effort are paramount to success.

Image: Outliers Cover 
Credit: Malcolm Gladwell, Penguin Books Australia

In said book, he coins the phrase “the 10,000 hour rule,” implying that mastery emerges only after thousands of hours of efforts, failures and renewed efforts.

In fact, one “superstar athlete” Gladwell mentions in his book would like to take a minute to go on record and apologize if he added to the mass contemporary cultural delusion which forgot the old adage, “success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.”

Video: Michael Jordan 'Maybe It's My Fault' Commercial
Source: YouTube: http://youtu.be/9zSVu76AX3I

Controversial as Gladwell’s argument and Kahn’s “growth mindset” may be to those entrenched in their fixed mindsets and established worldviews, one cannot argue Michael Jordan’s first-hand experience, nor the fact that we are products of our environment. Even the recent science of epigenetics indicates that genetics are not “fixed”—that environmental factors can turn certain genes on and off.

Finally, we come to evolution and nature itself. In nature, nothing is fixed. We recommend watching the videos posted on PeapodLife’s Blog Article: Meditations in Motion, Living Ecosystems Give Life to see the significance of that statement.

Evolution is both success and failure. We recently coined the phrase, survival of the most fitting, in response to Darwin’s erroneous conclusion that evolution came down to survival of the fittest. The fact is that the environment of the ecosystem is an intelligent growth environment. Like the growth mindset described by Khan, it gives equal billing to success and failure.

What we know for certain is that evolution takes time. Ecosystems are patient; far more patient than individual organisms. Nature tests…nature experiments…nature explores…nature discovers and surprises itself.

Nature is not just always about ripping the throats out of prey, chasing off competitors, etc.  Evolution tries new directions with new species, and abandons species which longer serve the “superorganisms”—ecosystems, biosphere. Ecosystems function on collective harmony and symbiosis. Darwin’s model would turn nature into nothing more than a bleak free-for all and terrible chaotic anarchy.

Perhaps it’s no wonder that our world, fixated as it is on “fixed mindsets,” on success, on glorifying and rewarding winning while denouncing and punishing failure, on competitiveness and “survival of the fittest” is looking more and more like a bloody mess. And why, all too often, has degenerated and degraded into scenes right out of Pink Floyd’s legendary Rock Opera.

So here we’ve come full circle and wound up back in the dark, cold classroom of that rock and roll hell. Before we sign off, let’s do so on a positive note about the growth mentality, and receive some valuable advice and a hearty “Thumbs Up for Rock and Roll!” by a true expert on learning, and what it means to succeed.

Video: Thumbs Up for Rock and Roll! 
Source: YouTube: http://youtu.be/eaIvk1cSyG8

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Is FEAR of the Natural World our Future!?
Indoctrination, Education & FEAR

Video: Soldiers VS Camel Spider

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
~ Marie Curie, As quoted in Our Precarious Habitat (1973) by Melvin A. Benarde, p. v.

Image: Nothing in Life is to be feared…

Just what are these two soldiers afraid of? Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the camel spider:

Image: “The camel spider is a very fast member of the arachnid family, able to reach up to 10 miles (16 km) per hour. It is also not at all deadly to humans although its bite is very painful. Despite this, they are hugely vicious predators when it comes to prey they can handle which includes insects, lizards, small birds and sometimes rodents. They thrive in desert locations and have large powerful jaws which are sometimes up to 1/3 of their body length. They use this great weapon to seize their prey and smash them up with a chopping motion. They are not venomous but use their digestive fluids to dissolve their victims’ flesh which makes it much easier to get what remains into their stomachs. Their main prey are termites and beetles. … Camel spiders only bite in self-defense if they’re disturbed or alarmed. If you happen to be bitten by one you should definitely consult a doctor but as they are not venomous so you need not worry about dying!” 

Now don’t get us wrong, we recognize that arachnophobia and other animal phobias are real psychological phenomena in that many people have “irrational fears,” particularly of creepy crawly things. And seeing images of camel spider bites on the internet likely only disturbs people even more:

Image Collage by GenesisEcoFund.org: Effects of Camel Spider Bites

Clearly, what makes these particular bites appear so nasty is that they were allowed to become infected. They almost certainly hurt a lot, but being that camel spiders are non-venomous, it’s much ado about very little (not the spider, they can grow fairly large as described above).

But irrational fears are irrational fears, fed usually by folklore and myth, of which allow us to debunk a few right now:

Image: Myth vs. Truth 

  1. Camel spiders run after humans: Desert dwellers, Camel spiders don’t run after humans per se; they just want some shade. If you run, your shadow runs with you and the camel spider will chase your shadow to stay in the shade. If you stand still, the camel spider will, too. At night, they are attracted to light and will run towards it.
  2. Camel spiders scream: Apart from a few species of Solifugae which may hiss, most camel spiders are silent.
  3. If under a camel, they leap into the air and disembowel it, eating its stomach: This old myth is probably where the name “camel spider” comes from. Camel spiders may stand under camels for the shade, but they have no taste for camel meat (or human flesh for that matter).
  4. Camel spiders eat or chew on people while they sleep. Their venom numbs the area so people can’t feel the bites: Camel spiders are not venomous, and though their bites are painful, they are not deadly to humans. They also only attack in defense. It is conceivable a camel spider might bite you if you threatened it while sleepwalking or tossing and turning, but they would just as likely just run away.
  5. Camel spiders can run up to 30mph and jump up to a height of three feet: The fastest camel spider clocks in about 10 miles per hour. They don’t do any significant jumping.
Source: LiveScience Camel Spiders: Facts & Myths

Media and Pop-Culture Bake Such Myths into the Psyche

Let’s not forget how much Hollywood likes to take such “scary” folklore and myth and completely blow it out of proportion for the sake of “entertainment”—cheap thrills, chills and gags—for profit.

Image Collage by GenesisEcoFund: Hollywood’s Love-Hate Relationship with Spiders (movie posters) Image Sources: http://wewatchsoyoudonthaveto.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/movie-recap-horrors-of-spider-island/

From “Horrors of Spider Island” and William Shatner’s not-so-famous “Kingdom of the Spiders” to “Arachnophobia” and “Spiders 3D” (movie posters depicted above) Hollywood’s enduring love-hate relationship with creepy crawlies sees no end in site…well, except perhaps for this big REAR END…

Video: ‘Big Ass Spider’ Trailer 

Does it not beg the question? If all this is for “shits and giggles” (it’s all just old fashioned myth; harmless entertainment), then explain to us the reaction of the two soldiers in the video which opened today’s blog!? The answer lies hidden in the fact that these are SOLDIERS…

Institutions Indoctrinate “How Things Should Be” and Dogma Replaces Reality; Rationality

There is no question that the military is one of the most powerful, potent and ubiquitous forms of indoctrination there is. It is also without question that apart from certain fanatical religious organizations, there are few institutions which can match the military for indoctrination into strict codes of conduct…dogma by any definition. (Is this the hidden reason why soldiers wear “dog tags”?)

There is no authentic “education” in the military (despite there being military colleges and universities). The entire structure and programming of the military is designed to achieve one goal: a robustly constructed, finely tuned, well-oiled machine ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice…
…unless there happens to be a ‘big-ass spider’ in the barracks.

Indoctrination and dogma lays down track for the train follow. Sure, it can be a powerful locomotive, carry the weight of an entire nation, and run like clockwork (especially if it’s in Japan or Germany), but it’s not so good when it comes to flexibility and dealing with elements which don’t run on the rails…don’t follow arbitrary schedules…aren’t machines.

In other words, indoctrination leads to fear of NATURE.

Nature is the antithesis of indoctrination. Nature, as science now know, functions on “chaos” a lot more than “order.” Whereas indoctrination and institutionalized education seek to define all the possible parameters and acceptable possibilities within said parameters, nature constantly surprises and amazes.

No matter how often science thinks it has nature nailed down, something new and incredible is revealed which blows the lid of everything we knew was “out there” (or “in here,” as the case may be).

But our minds are so programmed, so conditioned into a certain “set pattern” of thinking and doing; so digitally, mechanically geared, we have the natural reaction to the appearance of anomalies in nature: WE FREAK!!! (Again, like our soldier friends in the video which opened today’s blog).

Our institutionalization, mechanization and digitization of minds (via indoctrination, education and entertainment) creates fear of the new; fear of the unknown; desire for “order” and fear of the natural world which is “chaos.” And the result?...


Is it just us, or when watching the video of the soldiers, you’re kinda worried that these are the same people armed to the teeth with fully automatic firearms and have in their hands some of the most sophisticated and destructive weapons systems ever conceived of?

Maybe this video is an exaggeration; maybe it’s the canary in the coal mine…a stark reminder of the slippery slope of indoctrination leading to tension, anxiety and fear from that which is all but completely harmless!

What’s the answer? Ecosystems of course!

What if our soldier friends had access to (or grew up living in; studying in) a vibrant high-order ecosystem? What if part of their education and training included being in an environment of mutual harmony and symbiosis, with a positive relationship with all living things?

Image by GenesisEcoFund.org & PeapodLife: It’s a Jungle out there, so get used to it with a jungle in here.

Now, no-one is saying ecosystems should come equipped with camel-spiders! (They wouldn’t like all the water anyway). But a spider or two may move into an ecosystem over time. There will be little tiny shrimp in it, almost certainly. Maybe some crabs. Fish. Maybe other animals (as per size of the system, comfort levels of the home/building owners/managers, etc).

If our educational system is already so institutionalized, we must carefully look at the current educational system and examine what role ecosystems can play in changing educational paradigms.

In contrast to a steaming locomotive, authentic education, modelled on nature and taking its cues from ecosystems, provides individuals with the equivalent of an off-road vehicle, enabling them to go exploring their world and be much better equipped to changing circumstances, adapting situations, and unknown, unforeseen encounters.

And possibly avoid rather embarrassing viral videos of the internet. (C’mon dudes…it’s only a spider. And we guarantee he’s more afraid of you than you are of him!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Intelligence vs. Fanaticism;
Education vs. Indoctrination

Video: Expelled: Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Super Trailer)   
Source: YouTube: http://youtu.be/xGCxbhGaVfE
“All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
- Arthur Schopenhauer

The evidence haunting the materialistic Darwinian scientific establishment is mounting; and so, as in all other such cases in times passed, the establishment is making a concerted effort to snuff out the possibility of even considering alternative paradigms—particularly those related to the origin of life.

No one described it better than Arthur Schopenhauer, the tragicomedy of the human condition that we tend to vehemently oppose that which threatens our established belief systems.

Today, GenesisEcoFund is doing just that, and intends to support all scientists in their endeavor to evolve our understanding of biology and the origin of species beyond the established, dogmatically held theory known as Neo-Darwinism.

To start with, like Ben Stein, we are appalled and disgusted at the hypocrites who call themselves “champions of evidenced-based objective truth”—materialist scientists and their backers with very particular economic interests and agendas—who systematically suppress the debate; not just on intelligent design, but also on the nature of consciousness.

Clearly, both intelligent design and consciousness are interpreted as being “euphemisms for religion” by mainstream scientists—hear that? Interpreted…subjective, selective analysis—though truly, nothing could be further from the truth; and there is evidence to back that assertion up.

Any debate, if it is backed by experiential evidence, is worth having; particularly if the new evidence—or past evidence re-examined in light of new knowledge—lead to a more accurate conclusion and understanding of our nature and the nature of reality.

This evidence is not only physical. The word “experiment” shares the same root as “experience” and are usually conducted in a “laboratory” which has as its root word, “labour” (“work”—a word that is intimately connected to experience). In other words, pure science is meant to be experiential.

The conscious experience of the laws of nature are the basis for evidence—the word means “to have experienced.” To limit accepted evidence to empirical evidence is to limit the debate, and any hope of understanding. For starters, we experience less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum:

Image: The electromagnetic spectrum, showing range of visible light spectrum

This is what we experience. As for the rest, we experience effects of the remainder of the spectrum only. Our so-called evidence is limited to how certain types of unseen energies on the spectrum affect material reality—that part of the spectrum we can directly experience.

For example, we have instruments which detect and measure types of radiation. We have machines which generate types of radiation, etc. Yet, our understanding of such energies is completely limited to their material effects; and, of course, the mathematics and physics equations which describe them.

As for our theories—like the theory of evolution as it relates to the origin of species (which has never been proven)—they exist only as belief systems. Interpretations of the empirical evidence at hand.

But there is another kind of knowledge which relates to pure experience; conscious experience. It is what science originally began as, with greats like Sir Isaac Newton consciously observing motion, gravity, etc. and comprehending the underlying forces at work responsible for their behavior. He then described said forces mathematically and thus were born our comprehension of the Laws of Motion: Mechanics.

But Newton didn’t then extrapolate his experience to say that Mechanics were the cause of movement, or the origin of mechanical objects. That would be absurd. There is no evidence to support the theory that mechanics account for the origin of matter.

Yet that’s exactly what Darwin did. He rightly observed the phenomenon of evolution: the gradual change of a species over time through the process of natural selection. The Law of Evolution and Devolution is a real Law. Mind you, Darwin only observed half of it: evolution; to this day scientists have not bothered to look for devolution, and thus it remains a mystery to them.

Then, having observed and explained evolution by natural selection, he chose, quite arbitrarily, to subject all of life and the question of the origin of life itself to the same law. This was, is, and shall forever remain a subjective act of intellectualism—a belief. It is no more pure science than any religious fable about the origin of life. That is why the origin of species by evolution remains only a theory. It has never, ever been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and can and never will be proven. It is incorrect.

What is our basis for such a bold—if not downright arrogant—assertion? Evidence. Experiential evidence. Our knowledge of ecosystems comes not from theory, nor from the authority of “peer-review” (pure science is not a democracy; experience is not a consensus question or statement of majority condition).

Anomalies can very well be real. A million people failing to see/hear something because of the condition (and conditioning) of their consciousness tells us nothing about reality.  One who sees/hears something they cannot is not automatically “wrong” because of the state of the million. The anomaly is not “imagined” because the million assumes the one’s condition must be the same as their own (and then the statisticians come to talk probabilities, the psychologists come to talk about motive, etc). Meanwhile, it’s precisely the individual’s different condition which allows him/her to experience what a million cannot.

Of course, the reverse is possible. Not everyone speaks the truth; and not everything that we experience (particularly under the influence of mind-altering substances) is reality—far from it. But if that is the case, what about the reality we experience through the framework of material existence and 5 senses?

Our mental condition is conditioned by existence within an experiential framework of electromagnetic energy equal to less than 1% of what’s currently detectable; what we “know” exists…here and now.

But what if, by some miracle, we could expand our consciousness to begin to experience reality beyond the 1% of visible light? What if we could experience, consciously—or perhaps better put, “access”—other laws at work, here and now, which do, in fact, have a direct impact on physical reality, but are more subtle; that is, their effects are not detectable empirically as such.

Consider the Fibonacci sequence and its impacts on physical reality…

Image Collage by GenesisEcoFund Fibonacci Foundations

This somewhat simple mathematical phenomenon (known as a recursive sequence, following the simple rule that to calculate the next term you sum the preceding two)… 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, etc…produces much of the phenomena we observe in nature. Not just beautiful geometric patterns like the ones we see above, but also growth patterns for everything from plants to rabbit populations. (Source: Light Grid: The Fibonacci Sequence, the Golden Mean and the nautilus shell).

It’s simple, subtle, yet to the Greeks and many other ancient cultures—foundational.  Mathematicians are fascinated by it and other such equations which begin to describe phenomena in nature which have huge implications on the reality we know.

Another example? How about E=MC2? An equation which allowed us to—on a very primitive level—work with the energies within the atom…

Image: Atomic Bomb; Fukushima Disaster

We’re inching closer to the question at hand. But first, let’s bring it back to biology for a moment and a look at the CELL…the smallest unit of life (as defined by empirical biology).

The film Expelled briefly touches on this, but we feel it’s important to highlight it for the obvious questions it raises.

Video: Inner Life Of A Cell - Full Version Credit: Harvard

Now, if watching that you are not questioning the likelihood/possibility that such an intricate and complex world could arise spontaneously or by accident, then consider watching the narrated version of the same video

Again, Neo-Darwinism would have us believe that the super-complex mechanisms taking place inside the first living cell spontaneously and naturally self-organized via random interactions of molecules.

The simple fact is there are forces, subtle yet utterly foundational forces, responsible for the operation and management of a living cell…a living organism…a living ecosystem. These forces are not yet detectable by empirical science, and thus it ignores their possibility of existence

This, despite the fact that all living things possess an electro magnetic field existing beyond the physical light spectrum…a field scientists choose to assume is generated by the matter existing on the physical spectrum, as opposed to even considering the reverse: that the invisible spectrum of energy present actually precedes and is foundational to the material, physical, visible matter constituting the body of the living thing.

This, despite the fact that physicists know that all matter is energy, and that at the heart of every atom of matter, there is no matter as such. But why don’t we let someone more qualified speak through the ages on the matter…
As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.

From evolutionary biologists to neurologists, most will admit in private that they can’t begin to understand how life emerged from insentient molecules, or how consciousness emerges from something as unconscious as matter. These are some of the “hard problems” known very well to science.

But they are problems which are quietly and expeditiously swept under the carpet, along with anyone trying to do any sort of rigorous scientific exploration—pure science—to get at the answers. Like a mother yelling at a child to stop picking at a scab, for fear of uncovering a lot of pus.

Maybe it’s because the establishment is infected. But what’s really scary is that the establishment has control over education. That means whatever it is infected with, it is almost certain to infect the next generation with (this, by the way, is an example of the law of devolution in action).

There’s really only one way out of this quandary; and that is to expand the scope of the current paradigms…but not just the paradigms, but the metaparadigm in which all other paradigms exist and condition established ways thinking—and permit/disallow alternative approaches.

Watch Peter Russell’s excellent talk, The Primacy of Consciousness to get a much better handle of where we’ve been in terms of established world views science, and where it’s all headed, despite the current effort by the establishment at “epi-cycling” its way out of the anomalies which it cannot ignore and it cannot deny. Here’s a taste of said talk:

Video: Peter Russell - The Primacy of Consciousness (Excerpted)