Monday, June 22, 2009

Culture and the Individual

This text below, I believe, if every human being were to read and understand what is being said, has the capacity to carry the human species to great distances. Its alternative (original?) title is "A Philosopher's Visionary Prediction". It's the last lengthy text Aldous Huxley wrote that is related to psychedelics. He died later that year, in 1963, a few hours after he was injected with LSD at his own request.

BETWEEN CULTURE and the individual the relationship is, and always has been, strangely ambivalent. We are at once the beneficiaries of our culture and its victims. Without culture, and without that precondition of all culture, language, man would be no more than another species of baboon. It is to language and culture that we owe our humanity. And "What a piece of work is a man!" says Hamlet: "How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! ... in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god!" But, alas, in the intervals of being noble, rational and potentially infinite,, proud man,
Dressed in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he is most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep.

Genius and angry ape, player of fantastic tricks and godlike reasoner—in all these roles individuals are the products of a language and a culture. Working on the twelve or thirteen billion neurons of a human brain, language and culture have given us law, science, ethics, philosophy; have made possible all the achievements of talent and of sanctity. They have also given us fanaticism, superstition and dogmatic bumptiousness; nationalistic idolatry and mass murder in the name of God; rabble-rousing propaganda and organized Iying. And, along with the salt of the earth, they have given us, generation after generation, countless millions of hypnotized conformists, the predestined victims of power-hungry rulers who are themselves the victims of all that is most senseless and inhuman in their cultural tradition.

Thanks to language and culture, human behavior can be incomparably more intelligent, more original, creative and flexible than the behavior of animals, whose brains are too small to accommodate the number of neurons necessary for the invention of language and the transmission of accumulated knowledge. But, thanks again to language and culture, human beings often behave with a stupidity, a lack of realism, a total inappropriateness, of which animals are incapable.

Trobriand Islander or Bostonian, Sicilian Catholic or Japanese Buddhist, each of us is born into some culture and passes his life within its confines. Between every human consciousness and the rest of the world stands an invisible fence, a network of traditional thinking-and-feeling patterns, of secondhand notions that have turned into axioms, of ancient slogans revered as divine revelations. What we see through the meshes of this net is never, of course, the unknowable "thing in itself." It is not even, in most cases, the thing as it impinges upon our senses and as our organism spontaneously reacts to it. What we ordinarily take in and respond to is a curious mixture of immediate experience with culturally conditioned symbol, of sense impressions with preconceived ideas about the nature of things. And by most people the symbolic elements in this cocktail of awareness are felt to be more important than the elements contributed by immediate experience. Inevitably so, for, to those who accept their culture totally and uncritically, words in the familiar language do not stand (however inadequately) for things. On the contrary, things stand for familiar words. Each unique event of their ongoing life is instantly and automatically classified as yet another concrete illustration of one of the verbalized, culture-hallowed abstractions drummed into their heads by childhood conditioning.

It goes without saying that many of the ideas handed down to us by the transmitters of culture are eminently sensible and realistic. (If they were not, the human species would now be extinct.) But, along with these useful concepts, every culture hands down a stock of unrealistic notions, some of which never made any sense, while others may once have possessed survival value, but have now, in the changed and changing circumstances of ongoing history, become completely irrelevant. Since human beings respond to symbols as promptly and unequivocally as they respond to the stimuli of unmediated experience, and since most of them naively believe that culture-hallowed words about things are as real as, or even realer than their perceptions of the things themselves, these outdated or intrinsically nonsensical notions do enormous harm. Thanks to the realistic ideas handed down by culture, mankind has survived and, in certain fields, progresses. But thanks to the pernicious nonsense drummed into every individual in the course of his acculturation, mankind, though surviving and progressing, has always been in trouble. History is the record, among other things, of the fantastic and generally fiendish tricks played upon itself by culture-maddened humanity. And the hideous game goes on.

What can, and what should, the individual do to improve his ironically equivocal relationship with the culture in which he finds himself embedded? How can he continue to enjoy the benefits of culture without, at the same time, being stupefied or frenziedly intoxicated by its poisons? How can he become discriminatingly acculturated, rejecting what is silly or downright evil in his conditioning, and holding fast to that which makes for humane and intelligent behavior?

A culture cannot be discriminatingly accepted, much less be modified, except by persons who have seen through it—by persons who have cut holes in the confining stockade of verbalized symbols and so are able to look at the world and, by reflection, at themselves in a new and relatively unprejudiced way. Such persons are not merely born; they must also be made. But how?

In the field of formal education, what the would-be hole cutter needs is knowledge. Knowledge of the past and present history of cultures in all their fantastic variety, and knowledge about the nature and limitations, the uses and abuses, of language. A man who knows that there have been many cultures, and that each culture claims to be the best and truest of all, will find it hard to take too seriously the boastings and dogmatizings of his own tradition. Similarly, a man who knows how symbols are related to experience, and who practices the kind of linguistic self-control taught by the exponents of General Semantics, is unlikely to take too seriously the absurd or dangerous nonsense that, within every culture, passes for philosophy, practical wisdom and political argument. As a preparation for hole cutting, this kind of intellectual education is certainly valuable, but no less certainly insufficient. Training on the verbal level needs to be supplemented by training in wordless experiencing. We must learn how to be mentally silent, must cultivate the art of pure receptivity.

To be silently receptive—how childishly simple that seems! But in fact, as we very soon discover, how difficult! The universe in which men pass their lives is the creation of what Indian philosophy calls Nama-Rupa, Name and Form. Reality is a continuum, a fathomlessly mysterious and infinite Something, whose outward aspect is what we call Matter and whose inwardness is what we call Mind. Language is a device for taking the mystery out of Reality and making it amenable to human comprehension and manipulation. Acculturated man breaks up the continuum, attaches labels to a few of the fragments, projects the labels into the outside world and thus creates for himself an all-too-human universe of separate objects, each of which is merely the embodiment of a name, a particular illustration of some traditional abstraction. What we perceive takes on the pattern of the conceptual lattice through which it has been filtered. Pure receptivity is difficult because man's normal waking consciousness is always culturally conditioned. But normal waking consciousness, as William James pointed out many years ago, "is but one type of consciousness, while all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these forms of consciousness disregarded."

Like the culture by which it is conditioned, normal waking consciousness is at once our best friend and a most dangerous enemy. It helps us to survive and make progress; but at the same time it prevents us from actualizing some of our most valuable potentialities and, on occasion, gets us into all kinds of trouble. To become fully human, man, proud man, the player of fantastic tricks, must learn to get out of his own way: only then will his infinite faculties and angelic apprehension get a chance of coming to the surface. In Blake's words, we must "cleanse the doors of perception"; for when the doors of perception are cleansed, "everything appears to man as it is—infinite." To normal waking consciousness things are the strictly finite and insulated embodiments of verbal labels. How can we break the habit of automatically imposing our prejudices and the memory of culture-hallowed words upon immediate experience? Answer: by the practice of pure receptivity and mental silence. These will cleanse the doors of perception and, in the process, make possible the emergence of other than normal forms of consciousness—aesthetic consciousness, visionary consciousness, mystical consciousness. Thanks to culture we are the heirs to vast accumulations of knowledge, to a priceless treasure of logical and scientific method, to thousands upon thousands of useful pieces of technological and organizational know-how. But the human mind-body possesses other sources of information, makes use of other types of reasoning, is gifted with an intrinsic wisdom that is independent of cultural conditioning.

Wordsworth writes that "our meddling intellect [that part of the mind which uses language to take the mystery out of Reality] mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things: we murder to dissect." Needless to say, we cannot get along without our meddling intellect. Verbalized conceptual thinking is indispensable. But even when they are used well, verbalized concepts mis-shape "the beauteous forms of things." And when (as happens so often) they are used badly, they mis-shape our lives by rationalizing ancient stupidities, by instigating mass murder, persecution and the playing of all the other fantastically ugly tricks that make the angels weep. Wise nonverbal passiveness is an antidote to unwise verbal activity and a necessary corrective to wise verbal activity. Verbalized concepts about experience need to be supplemented by direct, unmediated acquaintance with events as they present themselves to us.

It is the old story of the letter and the spirit. The letter is necessary, but must never be taken too seriously, for, divorced from the spirit, it cramps and finally kills. As for the spirit, it "bloweth where it listeth" and, if we fail to consult the best cultural charts, we may be blown off our course and suffer shipwreck. At present most of us make the worst of both worlds. Ignoring the freely blowing winds of the spirit and relying on cultural maps which may be centuries out-of-date, we rush full speed ahead under the high-pressure steam of our own overweening self-confidence. The tickets we have sold ourselves assure us that our destination is some port in the Islands of the Blest. In fact it turns out, more often than not, to be Devil's Island.

Self-education on the nonverbal level is as old as civilization. "Be still and know that I am God"—for the visionaries and mystics of every time and every place, this has been the first and greatest of the commandments. Poets listen to their Muse and in the same way the visionary and the mystic wait upon inspiration in a state of wise passiveness, of dynamic vacuity. In the Western tradition this state is called "the prayer of simple regard." At the other end of the world it is described in terms that are psychological rather than theistic. In mental silence we "look into our own Self-Nature," we "hold fast to the Not-Thought which lies in thought." we "become that which essentially we have always been." By wise activity we can acquire useful analytical knowledge about the world, knowledge that can be communicated by means of verbal symbols. In the state of wise passiveness we make possible the emergence of forms of consciousness other than the utilitarian consciousness of normal waking life. Useful analytical knowledge about the world is replaced by some kind of biologically inessential but spiritually enlightening acquaintance with the world. For example, there can be direct aesthetic acquaintance with the world as beauty. Or there can be direct acquaintance with the intrinsic strangeness of existence, its wild implausibility. And finally there can be direct acquaintance with the world's unity. This immediate mystical experience of being at one with the fundamental Oneness that manifests itself in the infinite diversity of things and minds, can never be adequately expressed in words. Like visionary experience, the experience of the mystic can be talked about only from the outside. Verbal symbols can never convey its inwardness.

It is through mental silence and the practice of wise passiveness that artists, visionaries and mystics have made themselves ready for the immediate experience of the world as beauty, as mystery and as unity. But silence and wise passiveness are not the only roads leading out of the all-too-human universe created by normal, culture-conditioned consciousness. In Expostulation and Reply, Wordsworth's bookish friend, Matthew, reproaches the poet because

You look round on your Mother Earth,
As if she for no purpose bore you;
As if you were her first-born birth,
And none have lived before you!

From the point of view of normal waking consciousness, this is sheer intellectual delinquency. But it is what the artist, the visionary and the mystic must do and, in fact, have always done. "Look at a person, a landscape, any common object, as though you were seeing it for the first time." This is one of the exercises in immediate, unverbalized awareness prescribed in the ancient texts of Tantric Buddhism. Artists visionaries and mystics refuse to be enslaved to the culture-conditioned habits of feeling, thought and action which their society regards as right and natural. Whenever this seems desirable, they deliberately refrain from projecting upon reality those hallowed word patterns with which all human minds are so copiously stocked. They know as well as anyone else that culture and the language in which any given culture is rooted, are absolutely necessary and that, without them, the individual would not be human. But more vividly than the rest of mankind they also know that, to be fully human, the individual must learn to decondition himself, must be able to cut holes in the fence of verbalized symbols that hems him in.

In the exploration of the vast and mysterious world of human potentialities the great artists, visionaries and mystics have been trailblazing pioneers. But where they have been, others can follow. Potentially, all of us are "infinite in faculties and like gods in apprehension." Modes of consciousness different from normal waking consciousness are within the reach of anyone who knows how to apply the necessary stimuli. The universe in which a human being lives can be transfigured into a new creation. We have only to cut a hole in the fence and look around us with what the philosopher, Plotinus, describes as "that other kind of seeing, which everyone has but few make use of."

Within our current systems of education, training on the nonverbal level is meager in quantity and poor in quality. Moreover, its purpose, which is simply to help its recipients to be more "like gods in apprehension" is neither clearly stated nor consistently pursued. We could and, most emphatically, we should do better in this very important field than we are doing now. The practical wisdom of earlier civilizations and the findings of adventurous spirits within our own tradition and in our own time are freely available. With their aid a curriculum and a methodology of nonverbal training could be worked out without much difficulty. Unhappily most persons in authority have a vested interest in the maintenance of cultural fences. They frown upon hole cutting as subversive and dismiss Plotinus' "other kind of seeing" as a symptom of mental derangement. If an effective system of nonverbal education could be worked out, would the authorities allow it to be widely applied? It is an open question.

From the nonverbal world of culturally uncontaminated consciousness we pass to the subverbal world of physiology and biochemistry. A human being is a temperament and a product of cultural conditioning; he is also, and primarily, an extremely complex and delicate biochemical system, whose inwardness, as the system changes from one state of equilibrium to another, is changing consciousness. It is because each one of us is a biochemical system that (according to Housman)

Malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.

Beer achieves its theological triumphs because, in William James' words, "Drunkenness is the great exciter of the Yes function in man." And he adds that "It is part of the deeper mystery and tragedy of life that whiffs and gleams of something that we immediately recognize as excellent should be vouchsafed to so many of us only in the fleeting earlier phases of what, in its totality, is so degrading a poisoning." The tree is known by its fruits, and the fruits of too much reliance upon ethyl alcohol as an exciter of the Yes function are bitter indeed. No less bitter are the fruits of reliance upon such habit-forming sedatives, hallucinogens and mood elevators as opium and its derivatives, as cocaine (once so blithely recommended to his friends and patients by Dr. Freud), as the barbiturates and amphetamine. But in recent years the pharmacologists have extracted or synthesized several compounds that powerfully affect the mind without doing any harm to the body, either at the time of ingestion or, through addiction, later on. Through these new psychedelics, the subject's normal waking consciousness may be modified in many different ways. It is as though, for each individual, his deeper self decides which kind of experience will be most advantageous. Having decided, it makes use of the drug's mind-changing powers to give the person what he needs. Thus, if it would be good for him to have deeply buried memories uncovered, deeply buried memories will duly be uncovered. In cases where this is of no great importance, something else will happen. Normal waking consciousness may be replaced by aesthetic consciousness, and the world will be perceived in all its unimaginable beauty, all the blazing intensity of its "thereness." And aesthetic consciousness may modulate into visionary consciousness. Thanks to yet another kind of seeing, the world will now reveal itself as not only unimaginably beautiful, but also fathomlessly mysterious—as a multitudinous abyss of possibility forever actualizing itself into unprecedented forms. New insights into a new, transfigured world of givenness, new combinations of thought and fantasy—the stream of novelty pours through the world in a torrent, whose every drop is charged with meaning. There are the symbols whose meaning lies outside themselves in the given facts of visionary experience, and there are these given facts which signify only themselves. But "only themselves" is also "no less than the divine ground of all being." "Nothing but this" is at the same time "the Suchness of all." And now the aesthetic and the visionary consciousness deepen into mystical consciousness. The world is now seen as an infinite diversity that is yet a unity, and the beholder experiences himself as being at one with the infinite Oneness that manifests itself, totally present, at every point of space, at every instant in the flux of perpetual perishing and perpetual renewal. Our normal word-conditioned consciousness creates a universe of sharp distinctions, black and white, this and that, me and you and it. In the mystical consciousness of being at one with infinite Oneness, there is a reconciliation of opposites, a perception of the Not-Particular in particulars, a transcending of our ingrained subject/object relationships with things and persons; there is an immediate experience of our solidarity with all being and a kind of organic conviction that in spite of the inscrutabilities of fate, in spite of our own dark stupidities and deliberate malevolence, yes, in spite of all that is so manifestly wrong with the world, it is yet, in some profound, paradoxical and entirely inexpressible way, All Right. For normal waking consciousness, the phrase, "God is Love," is no more than a piece of wishful positive thinking. For the mystical consciousness, it is a self-evident truth.

Unprecedentedly rapid technological and demographic changes are steadily increasing the dangers by which we are surrounded, and at the same time are steadily diminishing the relevance of the traditional feeling-and-behavior-patterns imposed upon all individuals, rulers and ruled alike, by their culture. Always desirable, widespread training in the art of cutting holes in cultural fences is now the most urgent of necessities. Can such a training be speeded up and made more effective by a judicious use of the physically harmless psychedelics now available? On the basis of personal experience and the published evidence, I believe that it can. In my utopian fantasy, Island, I speculated in fictional terms about the ways in which a substance akin to psilocybin could be used to potentiate the nonverbal education of adolescents and to remind adults that the real world is very different from the misshapen universe they have created for themselves by means of their culture-conditioned prejudices. "Having Fun with Fungi"—that was how one waggish reviewer dismissed the matter. But which is better: to have Fun with Fungi or to have Idiocy with Ideology, to have Wars because of Words, to have Tomorrow's Misdeeds out of Yesterday's Miscreeds?

How should the psychedelics be administered? Under what circumstances, with what kind of preparation and follow-up? These are questions that must be answered empirically, by large-scale experiment. Man's collective mind has a high degree of viscosity and flows from one position to another with the reluctant deliberation of an ebbing tide of sludge. But in a world of explosive population increase, of headlong technological advance and of militant nationalism, the time at our disposal is strictly limited. We must discover, and discover very soon, new energy sources for overcoming our society's psychological inertia, better solvents for liquefyingthe sludgy stickiness of an anachronistic state of mind. On the verbal level an education in the nature and limitations, the uses and abuses of language; on the wordless level an education in mental silence and pure receptivity; and finally, through the use of harmless psychedelics, a course of chemically triggered conversion experiences or ecstasies—these, I believe, will provide all the sources of mental energy, all the solvents of conceptual sludge, that an individual requires. With their aid, he should be able to adapt himself selectively to his culture, rejecting its evils, stupidities and irrelevances, gratefully accepting all its treasures of accumulated knowledge, of rationality, human-heartedness and practical wisdom. If the number of such individuals is sufficiently great, if their quality is sufficiently high, they may be able to pass from discriminating acceptance of their culture to discriminating change and reform. Is this a hopefully utopian dream? Experiment can give us the answer, for the dream is pragmatic; the utopian hypotheses can be tested empirically. And in these oppressive times a little hope is surely no unwelcome visitant.

©1963 Aldous Huxley, originally appeared in Playboy magazine.


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pure Being

I strongly recommend every human being to try this:
Psilocybe Mexicana (Philosopher Stones)

But do it right. Inform yourself before you try. It can have very different effects, changes from person to person, mind to mind, mood to mood. My experience had little to do with the description in the above link for example. I took the time to psychologically prepare myself for an awesome experience without any problems. I anticipated an amazing experience and that was what I received, and it was actually much better than I anticipated.

I ate 10 grams and.... well it was truly fascinating. I guess it's safe to say that it changed my life a bit: I learned a lot about perception, consciousness and meaning. I plan to write down my experience in detail. What I experienced was very striking, beautiful and real but also very slippery and really hard to keep in mind, let alone catch with words. I'll just say for now that I used to assume that the thing called Nirvana was just a stuff of Buddhist fairy tales, now I believe I intensely tasted it. :) And I mean literally Nirvana, not just "being high" or anything like that.

Philo stones are currently the only legal types of mushroom-like things in Netherlands. This was my first experience with things like these, and it seems that I'll be a strong defender of legalizing, at least under controlled conditions, all herbs, mushrooms etc. (I realized that I had a lot of misconceptions about this stuff.) I don't know what other riches of nature the authorities forbid people to experience, but after what I have been through 2 days ago in Utrecht, I must conclude that it's a terribly ignorant and self-defeating thing to ban these things (the psilocybe mexicanas at least). I can't imagine anyone who ever lived what I lived being afraid of them.

That's all I have time for right now. And I still couldn't read The Doors of Perception although I took the book with me. I'll have to do that soon. Other than that, now I can understand what Terence McKenna is talking about in this video:

This is important stuff. Believe me. I'll try to explain it later much more in detail. The potential is mind-blowing.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Eyes and Vision

I suspect that these things are quite useful:

-Eye Movement Exercises
-Eye-Focusing Exercises
-Exercises for the Pupil of the Eye

The exercises are really basic stuff, nothing spectacular or counter-intuitive. I was already doing some of them on my own before I found these, every once in a while.

I never carried glasses(or lenses) in my life and probably never will. I'm also inclined to believe that glasses are in fact generally unnecessary, as controversial as it may sound. I even think that they prevent a real healing and improvement. Eyes are adaptive things: If people with healthy eyes start to carry glasses, their vision begins to get worse, while adapting to the new glasses.

Similarly if people with sight problems decide to carry glasses which make them see better, then the eyes become content with their flawed performance, thus make it impossible to adapt back to a natural, better state. It's like if people's legs are tired or feel weak they go to a doctor and ask for some leg braces to assist their movement, and live with the leg braces for the rest of their life believing they need them. When they could've just worked on their legs, strengthened their legs to adapt to the lives they want to live somehow... and run if that's what they desire. (Edit: Oh hey! I noticed that the guy here used the same analogy a week ago in a comment: VIDEO - Natural Eyesight Improvement )

Most people start wearing glasses at a very young age without even considering any alternatives, since it's "common knowledge" that glasses/lenses are the only way to fix the eyes. Just within the past 12 months I'm pretty sure that I was pretty myopic at times, for example after a few days spent almost exclusively in front of the PC. I can clearly remember how surprisingly blurry my sight was when I went out to grab something to eat during that time. Over time it got better on its own and that was when I first grew suspicious of the conventional wisdom about sight. If I had the same experience when I was a child a doctor would've certainly prescribed glasses to me. That's basically how most people start wearing glasses as far as I can tell, and as far as I can see it's just an unscientific tradition.

There are many books written on the subject of natural vision, the oldest ones go as far back as 1920. Check it out. It makes a lot of sense in my opinion. Too unbelievable? Maybe not if you try it.

I suppose describes how the majority of people who carry glasses/lenses would react to this natural vision information pretty accurately, even if just for marketing purposes:
...Why hadn't anyone told me?

Then I revisited my old friend... Mr Skepticism.

"If it was really possible to fix your own eyes with simple daily exercises, no-one would be wearing specs or lenses anymore. Surely, everyone would have perfect vision!"

I didn’t want to believe I’d spent so many years of my life being 'technically blind without glasses', when the 'cure' was so simple.

"It must be a load of old rubbish!"

Thank you, Mr Skepticism...
Oh and by the way, the reason I looked up these exercises is because sometimes I'm having trouble focusing on long distances (20+ meters), probably related to the amount of time I spent in front of the computer. I guess I become a little myopic because of that every now and then. I see sharper if I squint my eyes/eyebrows. Let's see if I'll be able to fix that completely. My focus will be on Eye-Focusing Exercises for now. I also wanted for a long time to be able to dilate my pupils at will. I think I'll seriously invent some to do that in the near future, but that's irrelevant to sight. Just interesting.


The eye relaxation stuff seems to be what I was missing. I was trying harder and harder to see sharper, when what I was really supposed to do was in fact the opposite, apparently . (I do most of my basic sight experiments with a tree across my window, the distance is ca. 40 meters to the trunk I guess.) Today, after listening to what the guy in that video above says, I played around with eye relaxation and it really did make a substantial difference. It appears that the tension in the eye muscles require attention like all the other muscles. Interesting... I thought it would be mainly about muscle strengthening when I created this blog entry. Apparently this misconception is not uncommon:
The Most Misunderstood Aspects of the Bates Method

This human also makes similar points: BATES METHOD FOR EYESIGHT. And I also found a paper from 1912 talking about this: EYE TRAINING FOR THE CURE OF FUNCTIONAL MYOPIA
...Mrs. X. was wearing glasses, concave 1.00 D. nearly, with astigmatism, prescribed by a competent ophthalmologist who had used a cycloplegic to relax the accommodation. Her vision with the glasses was nearly normal. Without glasses her visin was about one third. She had myopia apparently with the retinoscope, but spasm of the accommodation or functional myopia by the direct method with the ophthalmoscope. She was told that a cure without concave or other glasses was possible.

“How long will it take?” she asked.

“About five minutes,” was my reply. She was asked to read the Snellen card at ten feet and to note her ability to see. Then she was directed to read it by making an effort and shown how to make an effort by partly closing the eyelids, by staring, etc., in short, to imitate the efforts of the children she saw treated. She was convinced that the effort materially lowered the vision. It was explained to her that her poor vision was caused by a continuous effort which was unconscious. The suggestion was then made that she read the letters on the distant card without trying so hard. The vision improved immediately and became normal in a short time. Her sight was now better without glasses than it had been before with glasses. She was quite excited over the prompt relief...
Some more interesting stuff here: Better Eyesight Magazines - 1919-1930

Oh and a fun fact: I just found out that if your myopia is cured, then they call it Pseudomyopia, since "real myopia" can't be cured naturally as everybody knows.

Now the only problem I have left is that I still can't shift my focus as fast as I'd like to from that tree to my finger right in front of my eyes. Maybe that delay is "normal" for such extreme shifts of focal distance but I'd prefer to be able to do it faster. I'm not sure if that's because my muscles are too tense or too weak. I think the latter is more probable for someone who spends most of his time in front of a computer screen. I use that focus-shifting function of my eyes pretty infrequently and I simply lack training. The eye-focusing exercises should help me improve. I didn't invest any time in those today.


Of course the experts would tell you if all this was true though. This is clearly pseudoscience. [Edit: When I wrote that, Wikipedia was describing the Bates method directly as pseudoscience. Now for some reason it's changed to alternative/fringe category.] So don't be an idiot and don't take what I wrote above seriously. It's an insult to all the experts! It's impossible that all those people can lack the critical thinking skills and the objectivity to notice this and the honesty to let others know! Obviously I'm just deceiving you because I'm a psychopath. And Dr. Bates is just another psychopathic, idiotic, liar and a conspiracy theorist for finishing his book like his:
...The fact is that, except in rare cases, man is not a reasoning being. He is dominated by authority, and when the facts are not in accord with the view imposed by authority, so much the worse for the facts. They may, and indeed must, win in the long run; but in the meantime the world gropes needlessly in darkness and endures much suffering that might have been avoided.
Pff... Sickening propaganda from a fraud! bising Just like Margaret Corbett!

And Aldous Huxley is another fool! I mean look at this crap he wrote, from Wiki:
Huxley reviews the unique status of vision, according to the prevailing medical view
If orthodox opinion is right – if the organs of vision are incapable of curing themselves ... then the eyes must be totally different in kind from other parts of the body. Given favourable conditions, all other organs tend to free themselves from their defects. Not so the eyes. ... it is a waste of time even to try to discover a treatment which will assist nature in its normal task of healing. ...
He quotes Matthew Luckiesh, Director of General Electric’s Lighting Research Laboratory who wrote:
"Suppose that crippled eyes could be transformed into crippled legs. What a heart-rending parade we would witness on a busy street! Nearly every other person would go limping by. Many would be on crutches and some on wheel chairs."
Huxley goes on to stress that when legs are imperfect, the medical profession make every effort to get the patient walking again, and without crutches if at all possible. "Why should it not be possible to do something analogous for defective eyes?"
The orthodox theory is, on the face of it, so implausible, so intrinsically unlikely to be true, that one can only be astonished that it should be so generally and so unquestioningly accepted. ... At the present time it is rejected only by those who have personal reasons for knowing it to be untrue ... It is therefore no longer possible for me to accept the currently orthodox theory, with its hopelessly pessimistic practical consequences.

The stupid, it burns! tension

P.S. I just ordered Huxley's The Doors of Perception after watching this video.
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Power of Suggestion and "Science"


I plan to review this video here in detail:

It's a hidden camera prank from an old comedy show in Turkey. So its in Turkish but it's content is remarkable, so I'll go with it. It's related to "Swine Flu", "AIDS" etc... All the highly "praised" diseases. And it's the best example I know of. Actually it's also related to things like Global Warming.

To sum it up for now: While the victim is eating at the restaurant, suddenly an ambulance arrives and they try to take him to the hospital, as if there's a medical emergency. At first, not knowing what is going on, he resists and tries to push them away. But when his friend too suggests that he should get on the wheeled bed, he stops resisting. He asks if he looks pale or something, and his friend confirms. From that moment on he's convinced that there really is a medical emergency that he wasn't aware of for some reason. He suspects that there was something wrong with the food. At one stage, the victim even scorns the comedian in disguise when he asks irrelevant questions while our victim is "heading towards death" in his own words. After a while they tell him that he actually looks ok and then it is "revealed" that they got the wrong guy at the wrong restaurant. But interestingly even after that revelation our victim is still angry and says somewhat irrational things like "What if I really died!?". Then it goes on for a while but that part is not relevant to the power of suggestions.

How all that is related to "scientific" propaganda, I leave it to you for now. I'll just say that back then, when I was still a believer in the "global warming", I really was convinced that the temperatures were significantly and dangerously rising. It was easy to see the evidence for it. But immediately after I became skeptical it all began to seem pretty normal again. Similar with AIDS, flu etc. Think confirmation bias.

What's also funny is that I would preach my parents about the terrible global warming which is going to destroy my future and all that. My father would say to me that there have always been some doomsday scenarios like global warming in the past, and he was fairly skeptical. But of course the evidence was so obvious and all the glorious "scientists" were insisting that it was true. So my father's skepticism would appear very silly to me. Now I know better. But I really was a hardcore global warming zealot once. I can write a little more about that later I guess...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ethics and "House of Numbers"

For your information today is Rethinking AIDS day. And I'll make a few points about the accusations against the filmmaker Brent Leung and HIV/AIDS dissidents.

I'll focus on this news story:
Crazy ’House’ by Ethan Jacobs (Wednesday Apr 22, 2009)

Basically this is what happened apparently:

A panel discussion about a controversial AIDS documentary, House of Numbers, descended into a screaming match April 21 at the Boston International Film Festival.
And I consider this the most important part:

... Following the panel Leung told Bay Windows that he nearly pulled the film from the festival 15 minutes before the screening. He said festival organizers had promised him that there would be a "two-sided" panel discussion, and he objected to the selection of Cranston as moderator, calling him "obviously biased to one side" because of his work on HIV/AIDS in the public health sector. ...

The "panel" consisted solely of proponents of the HIV/AIDS theory. And what's the defense?

...The film festival released a statement saying that ... "The Boston International Film Festival never intended to host a formal debate about the film; we intended to provide a forum in which members of the community could engage with, and respond to, the film. ..."
Great. What kind of forum was it exactly?

The panel, organized by Amit Dixit -- a board member of Massachusetts Area South Asian Lambda Association (MASALA) -- in conjunction with Fenway Community Health and the festival organizers, included Kuritzkes [an HIV expert and Harvard Medical School professor] and Fenway president and CEO Dr. Stephen Boswell. Kevin Cranston, head of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Infectious Disease, served as moderator...

Even if we ignore the fact that they seem to have deceived the filmmaker, what sense does it make to create such a one-sided panel? How did the organizers really decide that this was a smart thing to do? It seems that knowing that they were doing something that is completely unbalanced and unfair, the panel organizers also felt that "the presence of a police officer at the screening in response to concerns about security" was necessary. Of course they knew that people wouldn't welcome such a blatantly biased panel. But this is actually their alleged excuse for the police:

Dixit, who worked with the festival organizers to organize the panel discussion, said the festival requested a police officer because an AIDS denialist with a past history of violent actions and run-ins with the law had posted on the Internet that he would attend the Nashville screening, and the Boston festival organizers were concerned he would attend the Boston screening as well.
As if anything to be worried about happened at Nashville... All I heard about it was that it was a calm event, with a respectful Q&A afterwards. So why so much tension at Boston? Again, they knew that their obvious bias would get some reactions, and rightfully so. The excuse with the anonymous criminal "denialist" who attended the screening at Nashville is just pathetic. It's irrational, paranoid, hysterical, and probably dishonest too. I'd argue that the police officer was there to strengthen the authority of the one-sided panel.

[UPDATE: More info on that from Clark Baker, who was the "dangerous" individual apparently]

At the end of the article the bias of the panel becomes evident:

Dixit said that he believes the film presents a biased perspective in favor of the AIDS denialists, and the goal in selecting Boswell and Kuritzkes as the panelists was to bring in respected members of the local scientific community to present their response to the claims laid out in the film.
Yeah sure, but couldn't they have done it if there were others who disagreed with their views on the panel? Why the need for inviting just one side?

"I said [to the filmmakers during the planning process] you have 87 minutes, and then the director Q&A, but for me to put these people on the same panel [the night of the screening] who barged up, who have no credentials, it’s an absolute insult to the people we know, it’s an insult to Boswell and Dan who have been doing this for years. ... Fenway, myself, we were about creating a scientific dialogue, that was what the whole premise was," said Dixit.
They felt the need to barge up because there was no balance at all, in that "scientific dialogue". Liam Scheff is a Journalist who was involved in the controversy for years, he was the journalist to expose the controversial NIH clinical trial issue. And Christian Fiala is an experienced medical doctor, who spent the time to write a whole book on AIDS. Fiala was even a member of the South Africa Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel alongside people like Luc Montagnier; Nobel Prize Winner for the "discovery of HIV". If we're going to play this game, neither Kuritzkes, nor Boswell are really "HIV scientists" either; they are not virologists. Apparently Dixit thinks that a M.D. with a belief in HIV/AIDS automatically has more credentials than a M.D. with doubts.

If Dixit wasn't satisfied with people like Dr. Fiala, he should've invited people like Duesberg, Margulis, Mullis or whatever. What he attempted to do was inacceptable, especially for discussing a documentary that seeks to create dialog.

And in real science, real scientists don't have such huge egos anyway. They are not supposed to feel insulted even if people who don't have any credentials at all challenge their views. If they're really that confident in their science, they should be able to respond to any challenge easily. If they don't have a complete answer for some challenges, they should be able to acknowledge that, and they should be looking to all kinds of challenges as an opportunity to learn from others, independent from the challengers' credentials. As an example Alfred Wegener's contributions to geology come to mind, who was an astronomer by training. As far as I know he was primarily dismissed, not being an "expert" geologist and all. For years his geological work wasn't taken seriously. But nowadays he's remembered as a geologist, instead of an astronomer. (Note that this doesn't mean that Wegener was right. There is also room for doubting his science.)

Feynman once said: "Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" and Einstein once said: "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." Is that so hard to get? A certain disrespect for authority is one of the most fundamental necessities of science.

I'll write some more later, about how the filmmakers allegedly took stuff out of context and all that...

P.S. You can read a letter written by Liam Scheff to the reporter of the above story here:
From Liam Scheff to associate editor Ethan Jacobs and “letters to the editor”

...You wrote that people in the audience wanted to ’silence’ your expert, but the reality was that those of us in the film, who were invited from far and wide to the festival were also told, as was Mr. Leung, the director, that we were all to be on a bi-partisan panel - a panel open to the ‘establishment,’ and its critics (those you cleverly call ‘denialists,’ without regard to their humanity, actual politics or points of view). We were told that we were to be part of an open discussion about some the controversial statements revealed in the film.
So, when your ‘expert’ arrived on the scene to ‘debunk’ the movie - a film that had been accepted to a festival - we who were in the film, thought we were going to be part of an open discussion. After all, this would have been the same consideration shown to your ‘expert,’ who was also in the film.
But he was given center stage, the rest were excluded and, to use your word, ’silenced.’ The room was shut down, Kuritzkes began a lecture-cum-soliloquy, and wouldn’t pause or break for questions, until forced to by the moderator.
I’m sure you left those details out for some good reason. But the questions raised by the film remain...

And here you can read the South African Panel report, to which Christian Fiala contributed: AIDS Panel Report, March 2001

The central basis of the split was, in the opinion of the author of this report, not based on deeply entrenched ideological positions or blind passion. The split was instead based on fundamental disagreement on the interpretation of the scientific and clinical data and evidence on the cause and progression of AIDS. It was also apparent during the deliberations that there were many legitimate scientific questions to which scientific research has not yet generated answers. In the latter case, no amount of debate between adversaries can manufacture an answer. The only way of generating the answers is to carry out proper scientific investigations. An example of such a question is by what specific mechanism does the HIV induce the depletion of CD4 cells? ...

A little addition: Controversy lingers after premiere of Nashville director's AIDS documentary

Apparently Dr. Jeanne Bergman of "" have shouted "You're a fucking liar!" at one panelist after another screening. I wish I could be there to feel the atmosphere and observe all the interactions more closely...

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I'll work on my echolocation skills if I can find some time:

A better auditory perception would be useful even for those who can see.

Here's a description of how Daniel Kish experiences the world:

Here's a training guide and more videos and stuff:

UPDATE: Information from a recent scientific study on echolocation: "Physical Analysis of Several Organic Signals for Human Echolocation: Oral Vacuum Pulses"

From my perspective the reporting of this paper in the media was generally quite annoying, as if the scientists actually invented echolocation or something like that. I reacted HERE.

Part of it below:

I find it a bit disturbing that people say that it has now been "shown that human beings can develop echolocation". Specifically it is being referred to as if scientists have made a new discovery or validated an old unproven claim.

I think this indicates that people internalized the concept of science as the only reliable authority or something like that, and they won't even believe in their own eyes or trust common sense unless scientists publish something to support a certain view. Because it was already completely evident that people could use echolocation. I mean people were already using it. Didn't those people exist prior to the publishing of this article? Why did it take a few scientists to publish a paper on this topic for many other scientific minds to start talking about this properly?

This situation bothers me. For it shows that we're not relying on rational, individual thinking but "science" has become more like an authoritarian practice, religion-like in a way.


I think this is a small symptom of a big problem, that's why I made a big deal about it. For those who were curious enough the truth was evident out there. Unless you have an obsession with conspiracy theories or you're a peer-review worshiper you shouldn't have any reason to doubt all the evidence available online... I guess my problem is that many times I've seen people refer to peer-review as if it's a perfect, holy process, that they seem to have lost touch with the reality. Blinded by peer-review, sounds about right. And similarly, the problems with peer-review are also often overlooked. Sure there is always room for doubt, but it shouldn't always necessitate peer-reviewed publications for people to take things seriously, and the room for doubt shouldn't magically become tiny because of an excessively-praised, problematic process...

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Critical Look at the Holy Book of the Modern Lemmings

Take a look at this Wikipedia talk page if you never did:

It has always been an illuminative page, but I'm pointing it out now because I noticed that the Wikipedia admin named Natalie Erin wrote something that I consider especially unwise. There is a discussion about whether or not it is really neutral to refer to those who do not agree with the HIV/AIDS theory as "AIDS denialists". Of course the anti-scientific zealots over at Wikipedia ridiculously insist that it's a perfectly objective term, I'm sure similar discussions take place with many other scientific viewpoints which are considered "fringe" by the majority of recognized authorities.

But anyway, what happened was that the "denialist" wiki user named Haytham2 wrote what you can read below when he faced dogmatic resistance to neutrality from others at Wikipedia. They were saying that since it is so common to call the skeptics "denialists" then it belongs to their "encyclopedia". Haytham2 responds:
...Ah, if only the internet were around a couple centuries ago, where Wiki would (apparently?) have a heading called "[The N word]" and "common usage" would be invoked, racist theories defended on the [the N word] article, because that was the scientific consensus of the day, and all would shrug and go on upholding the status quo of the day. Consensus One, Truth Zero. Do you get my point? Intentional demonization of one side of a debate is antiscientific, to say the least, and certainly not consistent with any kind of respect for knowledge. "AIDS denialist" is in use in AIDS orthodoxy, a term specifically invented by that faction to libelously evoke holocaust deniers, rather than be a descriptor, where it fails miserably since literally no one "denies" AIDS (another intentional muddying of the waters by HIV theory proponents). I am new to Wiki and apologize for my slowness in getting that Wiki is not reflective of truth but rather of consensus, which has a long history of making tragic and fatal mistakes, and requires much less rigor, hence anyone can sign on here and take part. I assumed an encyclopedia would strive for truth rather than consensus. That was my mistake. This is why I suspected that this would be a waste of time for me, since I noticed an alarming lack of rigor in some Wiki articles I've seen. I will leave you to your consensus, as I see libel is all part of any groupthink/consensus ideology, and apparently none of us will profit from my posts calling anyone out on this...

Haytham2 (talk) 09:05, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Then Natalie, the glorious defender of justice, responds:

Yes, actually, we would [defend racist theories, the usage of the N word and we would uphold the racist status quo back then because of the scientific consensus of the day and because it was common usage]. If Wikipedia had existed in 1750 its coverage of race would have reflected the racism of the day. Why is that so hard to believe? If you ever get the chance, pick up an encyclopedia from 200+ years ago and check out their article on, say, the Congo...

Natalie (talk) 12:46, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

That right there is all that you need to know about Wikipedia... Logically the situation would be similar for Wikipedia in Hitler's Germany: The content of Wikipedia would directly reflect the views of the Nazis, no Wikipedia rule can prevent that.

And I just replied to Natalie with this:

Natalie said: "If Wikipedia had existed in 1750 its coverage of race would have reflected the racism of the day. Why is that so hard to believe?"

Unfortunately it's not hard to believe at all, it is very obvious. The point is just that it is incredibly depressing, and it makes it even more so that people like you think that this is normal and this is the way Wikipedia should function. Unless you're a racist, you directly admit that according to your rules Wikipedia inevitably must be an unreliable information source when it comes to certain things, and you even defend this situation as if this is the way it ideally should be. It's fascinating and just sad how blind you are to your insanity...

Sadunkal (talk) 11:50, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Don't know if anyone will reply to that.

UPDATE: Heh, funny... Another wikipedia administrator actually removed what I said from the talk page and warned me:
Please stop. If you continue to use talk pages such as Talk:AIDS denialism for inappropriate discussion, you may be blocked. MastCell Talk 16:29, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Apart from that, there is nowadays a WikiProject Alternative Views:

This project aims to improve Wikipedia's coverage of significant "alternative views"—those theories, hypotheses, conjectures, and speculations which, though notable, lack widespread acceptance, and which may challenge a "dominant view" which does have such acceptance.
But it is completely meaningless as you can see from their discussion section about "AIDS denialism":

...Due to the nature of Wikipedia, our coverage will naturally be biased towards the mainstream point of view and naming conventions. This wikiproject exists to help ensure minority views are covered appropriately within the rules of Wikipedia. While this means making sure significant and notable minority views receive proper coverage, it is not meant as a counterweight to mainstream views, intended to correct gaps in reliable source coverage, nor correct any great wrongs.
... says another Wikipedia administrator named Vassyana.* And great wrongs better remain great wrongs. It would perhaps be more ethical if such statements were directly visible on the front page of Wikipedia so that people know what Wikipedia is really about when it comes to scientific controversies and the like:

Just another tool for maintaining the status quo, nothing more.

*: They apparently pay a lot of attention to ensure that only those who are biased towards the mainstream can become administrators on Wikipedia. If you're objective you're out.

EXTRA: See also this here: Beware the Internet: “reviews”, Wikipedia, and other sources of misinformation

Take a look at the comments over there too. A link to this article was posted for example:
Psychologist finds Wikipedians grumpy and closed-minded

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Overwhelming Evidence" ?

What does overwhelm one may not overwhelm the other.

So it makes more sense to focus on the quality and the relevance of the evidence instead of its volume or mass or whatever is perceived to be so overwhelming about it.

This thought was inspired by what I had to deal with here:
The Australian "Skeptics" and the Perth Group

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Little Zackie Achmat

I was too lazy to read this earlier, still didn't actually:

But after I took a look at this:

...I found this part pretty interesting:

...By the way, let Achmat tell you in his own words what awful things ARVs did to him when he briefly tried them, and the toxic effects he concealed for several weeks because ‘I can’t let Manto win and I can’t let Mbeki win’ – which is to say be shown right in their warnings against ARVs by his own pitiful example; I quote him in my Draft Bill of Indictment filed at the International Criminal Court at The Hague in 2007 (a serious joke) posted on the TIG website. ...
So I took a look at the first document above and it does indeed look interesting.

With the above section Anthony Brink is referencing this news story:
Aids, ARVs and the activist

And yes, referring to the side effects of the "AIDS" drugs, Zackie Achmat does really say:
Going into my fifth month I started feeling a sensation in my feet. At first, I dismissed it, thinking I'd done something at the gym. The second week it was clear to me and I thought, 'I can't let Manto win and I can't let Thabo win', and I kept quiet for three more whole weeks.
Originally he says Thabo instead of Mbeki... But that's rather insignificant and irrelevant.

Anyway, I consider this evidence that Achmat and his influential TAC is ready to be dishonest whenever it might seem necessary and affordable so that they can feel like they're the ones who "win", without considering what that may cost to the rest of humanity. It's obvious that the priority is to "win", instead of finding out the best way to deal with what's called "AIDS" in South Africa. It's sad. I wonder what they're trying to "win" really...

What may be more sad can best be described by this quote from Camus, as used by Brink in another document on
The evil that is in this world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I'm pretty sure that I lost my sketchbook/journal, and all that there was within.

It was the most interesting and informative object about my past, and something that I was hoping would inspire or entertain me in the future too. It was pretty thick, I probably started with it about 8 years ago, which is more than 1/3 of my life at the present. I was rarely adding content to it, but there were still many personal notes, designs, drawings etc. in it. Many memories, many thoughts. In short it meant a lot to me. I do feel kind of... down. But it'll pass.

It's a good thing that we can store information digitally nowadays.

In a way this actually freed me from my past and forced me to focus more intensely on my future I guess. I can't rely on my past creations, must keep creating.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Insane Authorities

Take a look at these, from Seth Kalichman's blog:

Yale University AIDS Science Day kicks off with AIDS Denialism
University of Connecticut promotes Denying AIDS
REVIEW of Denying AIDS at Open Mind, Insert Book [This one is actually irrelevant]
FOREWORD to Denying AIDS at
SCIENCE NEWS POSTINGS of Denying AIDS at Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
ZAMP Bionews, MedNewsToday, & EurekAlert.
Article 'AIDS Denialism's House of Cards' at ButterfliesAndWheels

There are also positive reviews from the following people at the bottom of Kalichman's blog:

"A must read..."
Michael Merson, Director, Global Health Institute at Duke University and Former Director of the World Health Organization's Global Program on AIDS.

"This excellent book..."

James Curran, Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Former Director of the CDC HIV/AIDS Division.

"Seth Kalichman has superbly captured the contradictions..."
Salim S. Abdool Karim, Member of the 2000 South African Presidential Panel on AIDS, Professor at University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Director of Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)

"...Anyone who cares about the global HIV/AIDS pandemic should read this book."
Helene D. Gayle, President and CEO CARE USA and former Director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Assistant Surgeon General, and Member of the 2000 South African Presidential Panel on AIDS

"...Everyone should read this book."
From the Forward by Professor Nicoli Nattrass, University of Cape Town, author of Mortal Combat: The Struggle for Antiretrovirals in South Africa.

And then check these out, from Henry Bauer's blog:

Kalichman’s Komical Kapers

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll-Kalichman and Mr. Hyde-Newton
Bonus Material:

What do you think?


I'll comment on this later, I feel obliged to do so.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Killer "Science" !

Here are some excerpts from "Comprehensive Textbook of AIDS Psychiatry":

Reports suggesting an association between HIV seropositivity and suicidal behavior in the United States can be found in the medical literature during the first decade of the epidemic (Rundell et al., 1986; Pierce, 1987; Frierson and Lippmann, 1988).A more definitive association of HIV infection as an independent risk factor for suicide was established by autopsy studies (Glass, 1988; Kizer et al., 1988; Marzuk et al., 1988; Plott et al., 1989; Cote et al., 1992). These autopsy studies from cohorts in the United States showed decreasing suicide rates from 66 to 7.4 times greater in persons with HIV infection than in the general population, as we moved from the first to the second decade of the epidemic. But even after the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which has substantially reduced morbidity and mortality in areas with access to these treatments, recent studies in the United States (Marzuk et al., 1997)(, Australia (Ruzicka et al., 2005), and France (Lewden et al., 2005) continue to show an increased risk of suicide among persons with HIV infection.

Clinical studies, likewise, demonstrate high rates of suicidal behavior in persons with HIV infection. In a primary care setting that serves patients with a wide range of demographic characteristics in New York City, 63% of HIV-seropositive subjects acknowledged current or past suicidal ideation (Gil et al., 1998). In a cohort from Missouri, 17% of HIV-positive gay men reported serious thoughts or plans to end their lives at the time of routine clinical interview (Goggin et al., 2000). In a rural cohort of small communities in eight 196 UNIQUE PSYCHIATRIC MANIFESTATIONS OF HIV INFECTION U.S. states, 38% of persons with HIV infection admitted that they had suicidal thoughts 1 week prior to responding to self-administered surveys (Heckman et al., 2002). Similarly, 27% of middle-aged and older persons living with HIV admitted to suicidal ideation within 1 week prior to a clinical survey (Kalichman et al., 2000). In a municipal general hospital in New York City, suicidal behavior was present in one out of every five persons with HIV infection (Alfonso et al., 1994).
Stressful life events in the context of poor social support can heighten suicide risk (Kalichman et al., 2000; Haller and Miles, 2003). Persons with HIV infection can have distorted perceptions of illness. Just as an asymptomatic HIV-positive individual can become suicidal upon learning of his or her HIV serostatus, changes in immune parameters can also trigger a suicidal crisis. Learning that one has an increased viral load or decreased CD4 cell count can precipitate a suicidal crisis, even with reassurance that a change in medical treatment can easily reverse the situation (Alfonso et al., 1994; Haas et al., 1997).
Studies of long-term survivors with AIDS in the New York City area have demonstrated that high levels of hope and low levels of distress and depressive symptoms result in psychological resiliency and an extended life span (Rabkin et al., 1990, 1993). Another study in Miami showed that higher emotional expression and depth processing, including positive cognitive appraisal change, experiential involvement, self-esteem enhancement, and adaptive coping strategies, were significantly related to long-term survival status of men and women with AIDS, as well as to lower viral load and higher CD4 cell count in women with AIDS (O’Cleirigh et al., 2003). The clinical implications of these studies underscore the importance of psychotherapy in the treatment of suicidal persons with HIV infection. The psychotherapeutic component of treatment will be elaborated on further in the section on prevention strategies below.
And here's a recent paper from some more genius scientists:
Role of Depression, Stress, and Trauma in HIV Disease Progression

...We found substantial and consistent evidence that chronic depression, stressful events, and trauma may negatively affect HIV disease progression in terms of decreases in CD4 T lymphocytes, increases in viral load, and greater risk for clinical decline and mortality...

More from South Korea:

" Almost 30 percent of Koreans with HIV/AIDS eventually commit suicide. ..."

And Taiwan:

" 79.6% HIV/AIDS patients had depression. 67.1% of cases attempted suicide when they knew they had HIV/AIDS. ..."

Should I continue?

If you add to all that the extremely negative role the Nocebo effect plays in such an extreme diagnosis, then it shouldn't be hard to imagine the possibility -even for HIV/AIDS believers- that the so called "HIV tests" might have killed many more than they may have saved. I'm pretty confident that this is the case, as someone who disagrees with the fundamental assumptions the "HIV tests" and the "HIV"/"AIDS" theory are based on... And I'm not even taking the drugs' side effects into consideration when I'm saying these.

EDIT:I also keep forgetting the location of this and it's relevant, so I'll put these links here:
The Effects of Intense Stress on the T-Cells
Occam's Razor and CD4 T-cell loss

More importantly; was there ever any evidence supporting the assumption that "AIDS" is irreversible? Where is the evidence showing that whatever the tests are detecting inevitably kills? Even if just fraudulent, pseudoscientific evidence?

You see... this is how panic, hysteria and conformism turns Science into "Science": When pressure is too much you jump on to conclusions without any evidence, and you even forget that there is no evidence. For more on that see The Gravest Show on Earth: America in the Age of AIDS. Nowadays it is known that a positive "test" result is not a death sentence, but this fact is still not enough stressed today. The fact that it doesn't lead anybody to question their beloved theory should already be obvious.

This was written more than 200 years ago, from Dr. Faust:

This was the medicine—the patients' woes soon ended,
And none demanded: who got well?
Thus we, our hellish boluses compounding,
Among these vales and hills surrounding,
Worse than the pestilence, have passed.
Thousands were done to death from poison of my giving;
And I must hear, by all the living,
The shameless murderers praised at last!"

Just saying...

These times too will be remembered as dark ages one day. So I hope at least, I hope it will get brighter.

No matter how you look at it, the failure is evident. Many mistakes were made and are still being made. They are being ignored, swept under the carpet and even exploited. The humanity has a loooong way to go... Let's just hope that we don't find ourselves at a dead end one day.

UPDATE: Hey hey hey... Look what I just came across:
...I hate it when people give no hope - like the [Washington] Post front-page story saying that 100 percent of people infected with HIV will die with AIDS. We don't know that. We shouldn't be predicting that, and it could even precipitate suicide. They shouldn't have put that on the front page, even if it were true. But the fact is that we just don't know. ...
And who says this? Robert Charles Gallo, the Godfather of HIV/AIDS. :) During an interview for Spin March 1989.

Isn't that interesting? I wonder why people won't obey what this man says when he miraculously says such relatively wise things. Nobody seems to have disbelieved him when he was the one to imply that the "AIDS virus" will probably be 100% "efficient". So why disobey him when he makes a statement like this..? Not apocalyptic enough? I guess Spin was just not that popular among physicians back then. It's a shame really, it could've saved many lives... maybe.

P.S. Reduce the burden!

And you might also want to take a look at these books:
What If Medicine Disappeared?
Hippocrates' Shadow: Secrets from the House of Medicine

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Peter's Principles

Below you can find the PDF version of the Discover article titled "Peter's Principles", by Jeanne Lenzer.

But before that, this here was the little info box on that article in the DISCOVER issue:

Von Consciousness in Development

Text Form:

JEANNE LENZER ("Peter's Principles", page 44) is an investigative medical journalist based in Kingston, New York. recently she met with biochemist Peter Duesberg to profile him for DISCOVER. Duesberg received attention in the scientific community in the late 1980s after he advanced a controversial theory that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. Throughout history, rebel thinkers have been essential to the advancement of science by putting conventional wisdom to test. Lenzer therefore was stunned when, during her research, several respected scientists who were willing to consider Duesberg's theories told her they preferred to remain anonymous rather than risk being ostracized by their peers. "A few highly placed physicians didn't want their names used even though they thought Duesberg could possibly be right in part, if not in whole, about HIV," Lenzer says. "Some were skeptical but felt that at a minimum his ideas should be tested rather than rejected out of hand." Lenzer is a frequent contributor to the British Medical Journal. Her work has appeared in The Scientist and Slate she recently completed a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT.

Peter's Principles (2008) Discover, Jeanne Lenzer
Here are some more comments on the article: - The Real Duesberg Discovered