NEWSLETTER VOLUME 1, #6
Ideas for people pursuing an empowered life,
Intelligence in Nature
On a recent late afternoon I gave the keynote speech to the annual general meeting of an important computor consulting firm. A couple of hundred senior managers attended and I spoke to them about the need for constant innovation in a world that is being transformed at the speed of thought. As I often do, I delivered a multimedia show with pictures, videos, sounds and even odors from the park and reserves of Costa Rica to impress them with a few rules of the jungle's «deep wisdom».
My presentation was enthusiastically received - passion for the subject is contagious - and then the assembled gathered for cocktails and a sumptuous buffet. Invited to stay for the festivities (it was a good year), I had the opportunity to chat with several people and got into a lively discussion on the subject of intelligence and strategy used by animals in their daily lives. Most of the comments wondered about intelligence as we humans describe it - i.e. self-awareness, problem solving, dealing with abstract concepts, logic, etc..
I answered where I could but the discussion stimulated me to surf the Internet where I "googled" through a billion pages of data to discover that human intelligence isn't as exclusive to our species as we might suppose. Considerable research shows that many animals are even more amazing than we imagined.
Research at both New York State and Santa Clara (California) universities for example, found that apes and chimps have a very strong sense of self, They will even recognize themselves in mirrors or photos and some - like Koko a gorilla with remarkable language skills who signs his own name in the language of the deaf - refer to themselves as distinctly individual.
Psychologist Marc Hauser at Harvard University says monkeys have outstanding problem-solving skill and will generally succeed when he gives them puzzles or logic games to solve in order to get food. Tuffs University psychologists report that some animals can easily recognize abstract concepts - like when things are similar of different. They taught pigeons to peck corn from a pile on the left when they saw patterns were the same and on the right when they saw things were different. Research continues in even more abstract ways.
The Atlanta Language Research Center has a unique specialty - it teaches chimps to understand oral English. One named Kanzi has the language comprehension skills of a 2 1/2 year old child and can spell scores of words on an alphabet board. When observed communicating in their own language though, many animals have shown very sophisticated and intelligent exchanges. A prairie dogs, in example, uses different signals to tell others if he spots a human, a coyote or a domestic dog and about a predator's shape, size, color and speed. And monkeys will tell their tribe to look up for an eagle, look down for a jaguar or look around for a snake - or a thief.
I was amazed at the volume of work I found that proves animals can think the way we humans do. Then I saw a TV show on spiders; the narrator explained that an Arachnid can make up to 9 kinds of silk. It'll vary the tensile strength of its filaments by adjusting the speed with which it stretches a gluey liquid - the faster it pulls the liquid away from its body, the stronger it'll be. That liquid could glue a helicopter to the ground so as to resist its engine thrusts.
I watched as one beauty built a large web with a selection of fibers; an elaborate communication network emerged. It spun support beams from one kind of silk, a spiral cross-weave with another thread, used a "stick-um" fiber to bind them together and wove in a platform and some wider non-stick guy-wires to allow it quick access to everyplace. As insects collided with the deadly trap, other silks were used. Some tied down larger prey, others looped over pincers, held stingers or anchored wings; some wrapped a whole life in film-like preservative mesh and one secured, trussed and readied-to-eat a newly caught morsel.
I was transfixed as the spider went about its daily routine at the film's accelerated pace. I saw it think and make intelligent decisions. Then I wondered how many people can think like a spider... (or any other species for that matter). And are we any less a species because we can't?
Stress and creativity are antipodes - that's why creative people look forward to vacation time. While out and about over the summer holidays, try a technique that will rejuvenate you and prepare your return to the "real world". Profit from your time outdoors and use the Sun's healing rays in a creative way.
Sorcerer-scientists from 1100BC Costa Rica knew that the Sun was the creative force behind all of "Life on Earth". Modern science confirms they were right; those first Americans learned that the Sun's energy could be used to replenish our own energy reserves and they thus lived vigorous and stress-free lives.
Click here for two breathing exercises that act directly on the body's energy reserves. They will allow energy to be gathered in your storage banks and will awaken the neural-pathways that operate your "energy gathering and releasing systems".
Instead of being depleted by stress, willfully draw on reserve energy... to transcend limits and perform extraordinary tasks.
This time the focus is on "How to prepare for a jungle adventure". Visitors to the tropics soon find that their encounters with the exotic wilderness seems familiar and offers them "deep seeing" and access to intuitions and inner wisdom. Eco-psychology will explain the details about the sense of wellbeing people get from rainforests but simply... we humans feel at home there.
Life on this Planet originated in the tropics. The rainforest is the womb from which human life emerged and Nature encounters there can awaken primal memories. If you've never been, you owe yourself a trip into the tropical jungle; belore long you'll find yourself entertaining the idea that "Paradise on Earth" can only exist "here and now". To plan your trip "home" click here.
If you are traveling this summer you'll need to change your money into other currencies so click onto http://www.xe.com/ucc/ to find an engine that will do the work for you.
Vacationing at home? If you need TO BEAT THE HEAT - GO TO THE MOVIES. Visit http://www.ifilm.com/, learn about the latest releases and see the movie clips.
"Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored." --- Abraham Lincoln
"Talent is always conscious of its abundance, and does not mind sharing." ---Alexander Solzeniskyn
"I don't think there's anything in the world I can't do. In my creative source I don't see why I can't sculpt. Why shouldn't I? Human beings sculpt. I'm a human being." ---- Maya Angelou
"The imagination imitates. It is the creative spirit that creates." --- Oscar Wild
"Where ever you go, go there with all your heart." --- Confucius
The consultant was asked to coach two business partners who had fallen into a pattern similar to a tired, grumpy, old couples - constant bickering and bouts of pettiness. Their attitude was affecting their company, a prosperous biotech concern ready for "the next level". As bad feelings are infectious, "nastiness" ran rampant and was slowing company growth. After assessing the situation, as it was mid-summer, the consultant invited the partners out for a "...long lunch to discuss my findings...".
Ordering drinks before eating, he told them the following story: "Long ago on a far-away island... the best-known and wealthiest married couple was John and Mary. John was a strong and steady worker and Mary was both easy on the eyes and very clever. They worked hard together for many years and were so prosperous they owned almost a quarter of the island and had large herds of cattle, sheep and horses and huge gardens. Both completed their daily chores while recognizing the value they contributed to the union and to their prosperity. Each brought their best effort forward and was proud of it
One morning, on their way to the village to run errands, John and Mary happened to pass the small hut of a very poor couple, Bill and Jane, who were quarreling and shouting at each other. The fighting couple blamed each other for their considerable misfortunes in life. Jane blamed Bill for being lazy and not knowing how to lead a family properly or earn a decent living. On the other hand Bill blamed Jane for not knowing how to be thrifty or keep things neat and tidy. They were loud, nasty and near-violent, each drawing the worse from the other.
Overhearing the quarrel, John stepped in to admonish Bill, setting him straight on a husband's role. And Mary told Jane she should be ashamed to call herself a wife. On their way home John and Mary continued to discuss that poor couple's quarrel and then they took sides and began to argue. John blamed Bill for being incapable of making a life for his family. Mary put the blame on Jane, saying: "If Bill were managed by a good wife, he'd be a good husband who makes a good living."
John and Mary argued on late into the night - each asserting a point of view; both insisted on being right until their argument broke down into a serious quarrel. Now each swore that he or she could reform that poor couple by being the better half. The bitterness continued for a long time and the relationship degraded to a critical junction: John and Mary parted ways.
Soon after, John brought Jane to live with him and then - as if to argue - Mary went to live with Bill. John offered his new companion everything she wanted, telling her that he would tutor her in finery and when she was ready, he'd be pleased to receive her as his mate. Jane demanded the finest foods and wines to eat and drink every day, at every meal, and the finest sarongs and perfumes; these were given to her. She was transformed by the attention - from an argumentative shrew into an attractive if passive yet demanding woman.
One day the island chief came to visit. Jane dressed to the nines and pranced about like a princess. John was very embarrassed at the reception she showed their important visitor. She didn't lift a finger to serve neither the chief nor him, not offering a drop nor a crumb and, in fact, she did nothing except speak of herself and preen before them.
It was then that John became convinced Jane was a lazy, vain and capricious manipulator. He also realized that his wealth would gradually vanish through her indolent ways. He suddenly and deeply regretted his argument with Mary and how he'd berated her conviction that Bill was a good man.
Meanwhile, Mary had found Bills' house in a terrible state of repair. Assessing her new home on its small lot, she told him that they had a lot of fixing-up to do. Bill answered that had no tools. She told him: "Why that's silly. Why don't you have any? We can make some." Then she gave him her Swiss army knife and told him to start with the easiest things first.
Settling in, Mary told Bill not to near her with intimate intentions because, in truth, she was not yet divorced from her husband. She had an arrangement that allowed her to move away and work freely. So they would work together, side by side, on his lot. She would work without remuneration until that day she could - in law - share the fruit of their labor with him. The deal was done.
Then Mary asked Bill for food but he did not have any to offer her. So she instructed him on how to gather ferns and fruit from the forest for dinner while she tackled the kitchen. When he returned, Mary sent him back into the forest to gather plenty of firewood. And so their life went - at every moment of every day she told him what to do and he would shuffle off and do it; without her urging he seemed to have no initiative of his own.
Sitting by the window one day while Bill cleaned the lot, Mary noticed a huge tree that now stood out from the others. She asked Bill about it to learn it was sandalwood, a very precious and useful tree. She told him to cut several small branches from the tree, to further trim these into twigs and then to wrap them in a cloth.
Mary knew the chief traded in sandalwood so she sent Bill to tell him about that tree and give him the twigs: "Tell him that no one will find such a fine sandalwood such as this one on the whole island." The chief was very much interested and Bill led him back to his lot. The chief had the beautiful tree cut down and carted away; then he paid Bill very generously and left.
Bill now had a goodly amount - enough to expand the small lot into a real farm. The next morning Mary was up early, anxious to put the gain to work but she found Bill very resistant to move. "Why bother?", he asked, "I already have enough. This is more than I ever had before... and it's thanks to the deal I made with the chief. Now I need never work again and you can't tell me what to do anymore."
It was then Mary became convinced Bill was a dull-witted, lazy egoist. She also realized she'd worked very hard to get him to do things, that he was unlikely to change his ways and that poverty would soon reclaim him. Suddenly, she deeply regretted her argument with John and rued how she berated his conviction that Mary might be a good woman.
As their lunch was being served, the consultant quickly concluded his story, saying: "John and Mary met at a picnic that Sunday, fell into each other's arms and lived happily ever after. And the moral of my story is this: 'We don't know what we have 'till it's gone.' In order to appreciate how partnerships work best, partners must take time to look at the value the 'other' brings to the table. Tell me, what originally attracted you guys to each other?"
So! Do you have a partner to appreciate today?