Richard Manning – Free Yourself from the Afflictions of Civilization

manning“Agriculture is really the dominant system of 8,000 years, and it’s more than a way of growing food. It’s a way of domesticating humans and organising humans. It is ‘the’ system.” So says the environmental author and journalist Richard Manning in the latest podcast from The Eternities. “And the system that brought us here and made us sick is not going to fix us.”

 

Manning is the author of Against the Grain: How Agriculture Hijacked Civilisation, which argued that major world shaping forces, such as trade, imperialism and disease, were conditioned and driven by agriculture, both for good and ill. But, mostly ill.

 

Manning has now returned for another tilt at civilisation with Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization, co-authored with John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of such titles as A User’s Guide to the Brain. The book attempts to show that our human physical evolution is lagging far behind civilization’s socio-cultural advances, significantly affecting health and wellbeing.

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Dao Earl – What on Earth is Food, Anyway? A Fresh Take on Human Diet

Dao pic3“You only need to do something as stupid as a detox because you’re eating stupid things,” said the nutritional researcher Dao Earl.

Dao is co-founder of Sura Detox, a retreat centre in Devon on the south coast of England. “I was troubled for a long time in bringing people into the retreats. They go through this fantastic process [then] go back out into the world and do exactly the same things and come back next year. The retreats allow me to nail home this nutritional information. It’s about making conscious eaters.”

I thought I knew a fair amount about diet and nutrition until I attended one of Dao’s public talks. I was quickly engrossed, the whole room united – all of us sinners – but I felt inspiration rather than shame. We don’t know any better – until now. Effectively our taste has been corrupted from a finely tuned sensory apparatus and commandeered for use in a pleasure circuit, blurring its capacity for determining the most applicable nutrients.

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Philip K. Dick: The Man Who Remembered the Future

PKD bookIt’s over thirty years since his death, but fascination for the work of science fiction author Philip K. Dick continues to grow with more than ten major Hollywood movies based on his novels and short stories, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and The Adjustment Bureau. A new biography shines further light on the man himself, attempting to sift the details of his complex personal life and penetrate the unique inner life that fuelled his work with something that may have been more than merely imagination.

 

“What I wanted to do was get into the man’s head,” said author Antony Peake. “His psychology is as interesting as his novels [as is] his life itself.” A Life of Philip K. Dick: The Man Who Remembered the Future is the first biography to emerge following the publication of Dick’s Exegesis, the fabled million word, late-night diary, that was his attempt to fathom the bizarre visionary experiences of 1974, which he termed “2-3-74” and described as, “an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane.”

 

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Tony Wright – Oral Sex, Molecular Engineering and the Fall from the Brain of Eden.

return to the brain of edenHumankind was expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating the forbidden fruit. But, according to a radical theory, it was actually for not eating enough of the stuff.

Consciousness theorist Tony Wright argues that human evolution stalled around 200,000 years ago, an event that may have been recorded in the world’s myths as “the fall from grace”, humanity’s rude ejection from a “golden age”. According to the theory, climate change forced humans from tropical forests where a high fruit diet had fuelled the rapid development of the brain. Beyond the forests, with fewer nutritional components present, the brain degenerated, a trend which included the growing domination of the left-hemisphere over an actually better preserved right.

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Giulio Prisco – Transhumanist Spirituality, A New Religion for the Modern Age

Giulio_PriscoPascal’s Wager demonstrated a certain rationality to a belief in god. The seventeenth century philosopher, Pascal, argued that if one believes, yet god does not exist, nothing is lost in death. But, if god exists, the reward is eternal happiness.

For the transhumanist thinker, Giulio Prisco, if god doesn’t exist, he believes we will create him. Or her. Or, more accurately, perhaps – them. Prisco’s reasoning results not so much in a wager as an expectation.

Speaking to The Eternities podcast, he said, “Richard Dawkins … the atheist mastermind … writes in The God Delusion [that he] finds it very plausible in the universe that there may be very powerful beings like gods. He thinks these beings are a product of natural evolution like ourselves. That’s exactly what I think myself. I don’t place any artificial limits on the achievements that will be possible to intelligent life in the future. And I do think that some of our descendants, perhaps in a few thousand years, will be so advanced … that we could only call them gods.”

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