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Tag Archives: diabetes

The Vagus Nerve and Meditation

Brainstem

An image of a human brain stem illuminated with fluorescent proteins.

I don’t think I use this blog enough to share info like I do on Facebook. As I think about it, though, it seems the things I post here have a much longer shelf life than those I share on FB. Also, my original intent for this blog was to address issues of seeing systems, particularly emphasizing how infrequently — and incompletely — we do so. The piece from Business Insider I’m going to link to here was shared with me by Jon Husband who, in my mind, is inextricably linked to systems concepts via his pioneering work with what he has labeled Wirearchy.

The article concludes with the researchers, Kevin Tracey and Paul-Peter Tak, recognizing how science and, particularly, medicine have approached understanding of the human body as an effort to understand each organ in isolation, and as separate entities. They now realize the systemic nature of the body, and argue for an understanding that is more holistic and that recognizes how everything is connected.

I also found myself thinking about the progress of our understanding and how it shows just how indifferent nature, biology, and evolution are to anything resembling “fairness” or “justice”. Those are human concepts, creations that make sense to us, but have no place in how or why things happen in natural systems. Evolution is interested in what works and a level of adaptability that allows for constant change in survival strategies. Everything else is merely part of the side-show.

What really struck me was the thought of all the people who have existed before us and how much discomfort, pain, and agony have been suffered in the past, prior to our gaining the various understandings we have come to embrace over the last few hundred years of our existence as a species. The “breakthrough” discussed in this article seems somewhat revolutionary and serves to point out how valuable the ability to see systems really is at improving our lives.

Here’s the link. Check it out. Shouldn’t take more than five minutes to read.

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Intelligent Design is Really Stupid

Unintelligent Design

The Intersection of Stupidity, Religion, & Politics

I had an experience this morning that reminded me of something Neil deGrasse Tyson said, which I’ve read in many places. I’ve also had the experience many times in my life and consider myself somewhat lucky so far having managed not to suffer the final indignity the experience portends.

I’m speaking about nearly choking to death because I fell victim to the inherent – as Neil points out – stupid design of my body that has me breathing, eating, and talking through the same hole.

I was at my weekly QBN (Quality Business Network) breakfast meeting. We meet each week on Tuesday, at 7:00 – 8:30 am at The Junkyard Cafe here in Simi Valley, CA. Most of what is on a breakfast menu I can’t conscientiously eat if I want to keep my blood sugar under control. Pancakes, waffles, french toast, regular toast, potatoes, syrup, jam . . . they’re all verboten. I can have a plate of bacon, eggs, and cheese . . . and sometimes do.

However, today I asked for a salad, with ranch dressing and balsamic vinegar. I don’t have a cholesterol problem, so I don’t worry about the dressing too much. I’ve long liked ranch and Italian, which the vinegar substitutes for nicely.

No sooner did I start shoveling food in my mouth than a stream of vinegar squirted off the salad on my fork into my throat. I inhaled it slightly and immediately started coughing; nearly choking. It was so bad others started to get alarmed for my safety and I had to leave the room to keep from interrupting the presentation that one of our members was giving.

Obviously, I made it. It wasn’t the first time this has happened. I once inhaled some hot sake at a sushi bar in Venice Beach. The owner was horrified. He thought I was going to die right there in the restaurant and indicated how much he would like me to die outside on the sidewalk. I ignored him.

Anyway, back to Mr. deGrasse Tyson. I thought I would share this lovely video of his explaining – by pointing out how stupidly we, and the universe, are designed for life – how there is no such thing as intelligent design. Keep in mind, please, I’m not attacking religion, faith, or spirituality. I don’t care what you believe in. However, if it’s intelligent design, I (and Neil) maintain there is absolutely no evidence for it and only someone who refuses to face reality would entertain such a belief. Here’s the video:


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