Archive for the ‘ABC Talks To...’ Category

Femke interviews Marianne Williamson

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

This spring, our former colleague Femke Wijdekop had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. She got the opportunity to interview bestselling author, frequent Oprah-guest and Course in Miracles-teacher Marianne Williamson!

Marianne Williamson is the author of A Return To Love and The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles. Her famous lines “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us” have inspired Femke ever since she first read them as a 19 year-old working on the Second Floor in the good old Kalverstraat store!

Click here (or the on the player at the bottom of this post) to hear Marianne and Femke talk about love, money, miracles and a visionary woman called Polly Higgins who is letting her light shine to save Planet Earth.

May this interview inspire you to work miracles as well!

ABC Talks To: Author Dr. Bruce Lipton

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

“Ninety percent of sickness is connected to stress, and not the result of genes.”

An interview with Dr. Bruce Lipton by Femke Wijdekop.

Bruce Lipton is a cell biologist and the author of The Biology of Belief and Spontaneous Evolution. Described as a ‘scientist on caffeine’, Dr. Lipton is spreading the good news of Epigenetics all around the world. Why are the scientific findings of Epigenetics (also known as the ‘New Biology’) such good news? Read on and find out…

How did you get from being a University Professor, teaching mainstream science (maybe we can say “genetic determinism” to medical students), to being one of the spokesman of the New Biology?

Well, it’s a very interesting story, Femke, because I have to let people know first of all that when I was teaching medical school students and I was working at the university, I was not into the belief of spirituality at all. I was teaching life as genes and biochemistry and physical mechanisms. I had no grounding in spirituality.

And then my research, which was on stem cells (and I just want people to understand that I started my cloning of stem cells back in 1967 – that’s like 45 years ago. Most people think that stem cells are relatively new in the science community, but almost half a century ago, I was cloning them)  – the research was so profound, it blew my mind, and then ultimately caused me to leave the university when I was introduced to a new understanding of science. And the fun part was, that science was introduced to me by the cells I was studying!

Basically it was a very simple experiment. What I did was, I isolated one stem cell. A stem cell is the same as an embryonic cell. It has multi-potential. It can become anything. We call it a stem cell, not an embryotic cell, for a very simple reason: before you’re born, I would look at this cell and say “this is an embryotic cell”. And then the moment you are born, I look at the same cell and now I call it a stem cell. It’s just because after you are born, you are no longer an embryo so we change the name of the cell, but is still an embryonic cell.

So I put one cell in a petri dish all by itself and it divides every 10 to 12 hours, so I have one cell, two, four, eight, and it keeps doubling. And after a week I have maybe about 50.000 cells in the culture dish. But all of them came from the same parent-cell. So I have 50.000 genetically identical cells. Now here’s where the experiment actually blew my mind.

I take those 50.000 cells and split them into three different petri dishes. So I have three dishes with genetically identical cells in each dish. But I change the content of the culture medium – that is the fluid the cells live in. Cells are like fish: they have to live in an aquarium. And I make a culture medium with all the things they need to live. So that’s their environment.

Simply, I have three petri dishes, all the cells are genetically identical in all of the three dishes, and I change their environment by changing some of the chemicals in the culture medium. And in one dish, the cells formed muscle. Another dish, the cells formed bone. And in the third dish the cell formed fat cells. Well, it’s a very simple experiment, but it has a very profound meaning because the question I asked was “What controls the fate of the cells?” And the answer is the environment, for a very simple reason. All the cells were genetically identical. The only thing that was different was the environment.

So what it really showed is: the cells adjust their biology to the environment they are living in. So the control is not in the genes. And I was doing these experiments, and when I was doing these experiments I was also going to the classroom and teaching medical students that genes control life. That was the conventional story then. But my cells kept showing me that the genes had no control. And so basically, I started to try to find out: how did the environmental signals control the genes?

And it led to a new understanding, which is today a new science, a whole new field of science called Epigenetics. Now most everybody has learned the science of genetics in school. Genetics is the science of the DNA that represents the genes and the genes control our physical and our behavioral and our emotional life; that is the belief system, so we talk about genes controlling us. When you teach that to a person, what you are teaching them is that they are victims. For this reason: as far as we know, we do not pick the genes, and if we don’t like our traits, we can’t change the genes, so we are stuck with genes that control our lives and that means that since we didn’t pick these genes and the genes control us, we are victims of our heredity. That’s the belief. Let’s say there is cancer in your family or diabetes, or Alzheimers, and the belief is: “Oh, I am a genetic sibling, and therefore I have the genetics for these diseases and now I am going to be a victim of these diseases.” Well the new science, which I saw 47 years ago in the tissue culture dish, shows that the genes don’t control things, it’s the response to the environment. And all of a sudden I said ‘Oh my gosh, there is a whole new science’. Now the science is called Epigenetics – which is not the same as genetics. And Epi, the little “epi”, that means “above”. So if I say “genetic control”, the old story, that’s control by genes. But the new science is called Epigenetic Control and that simply means “control above the genes”. Now we realize genes don’t turn themselves on and off; genes don’t control anything: it’s the cell’s ability to read the environment and then the intelligence of the cell, the brain of the cell, controls the genes.

And when you ask “What’s so important about that?”, then I answer “Well if the environment controls your genetics, then that means that if you change your environment, or change your response to the environment, then you control your genes.” And all of a sudden I thought “Wait! I have been telling people in the Medical School all those years that genes control them… but the new science is WE control the genes.” And that becomes very important. Because we are not victims – we are masters, because we can change our environment, and we can change our response to the environment, and therefore we are not victims to the genes because we control it. Now of course there is a problem: if you don’t know that you control your genes by the way you live and the world that you live in, then you don’t realize that every action that you do in the world, is influencing your genetics. And this is where the problems come from: we always blame the genes, and it turns out only about five percent of the population in this whole world was born with genes that do not support their health and their happiness. Meaning, 95% of the people on this planet were born with genes that should allow them to be healthy, and have a happy, wonderful, loving experience on this planet. And when we look at all the sickness around the planet, you say “Look at all the sick people!” and then I say “It’s not the genes, it’s the environment and the way we are living that causes that sickness, and if we understand that then we can personally take actions to control our lives and to control our genes.”

I know that was a long answer, Femke. (laughs)

Beautiful. So much information. But this is a true revolution in our thinking: the fact that we are not controlled by our genes but that our beliefs influence and control our genes. And that we are the masters of our lives to a big extent. So what was the reaction of your academic environment to your discoveries back in the ‘60s?

I have to tell you they really didn’t support it because back in the 60’s, that’s when the move to genes and the future Human Genome Project and all that focusing on genes, and all my colleagues were working on genetic research and I am the one guy in the room that says “I don’t think genes are that important!” And so at some point, they didn’t really support my work and they were not being, what I thought, good scientists because my research was repeatable. You could repeat the experiment over and over again and get the same results every time, but it just didn’t fit their belief system. And I left the university, and then I did my own research and tried to find out how the environment controls the cells. And the fun part about that was, that research led me to the connection between the mind and the body.

Right, because what you first discovered was that the environment controlling the cells in the dishes, but than there’s the other step of the environment not only being the physical environment, but also our thoughts and our level of consciousness, right?

Absolutely. You know a lot of people talk about the mystery of the mind and the body and I can tell you in about two minutes that there is no mystery, and I can explain how the mind and the body are connected. And it is so simple. Remember, I have a petri dish with cells in it and the environment of that petri dish controls the fate of the cells. So for a very simple understanding: if I take my plastic dish with cells and put it into a bad environment, the cells get sick. You can see that; you can watch them get sick. And now I have a plastic dish with sick cells in it, and the conventional belief would be: “oh your cells are sick, we should give them some medicine.” And I go ‘absolutely not’.. all you do to make the cells healthy again, is take them out of the bad environment, move them back into the good environment, and they instantly become healthy again. So the point about it is this: the fate of a cell, its health or disease for example, is not in the gene program. The health and the disease of a cell is a response of the cell to the environment.  Your health is a reflection of how you respond to your environment.

So then you say “How does that connect?” And so here is the simple, quick understanding of the relation between mind and body, and it goes somethings like this: Basically I say that the fate of the cell is dependent on the culture medium. And then I say when you look at yourself, Femke, in the mirror, and you see yourself, you see a single human being looking back named Femke. And I go “yeah, but that’s not really a true perception,” for the reason that you are not a single, living entity… your body is made of about 50 trillion cells. The cells are the living entity! When you say “Femke”, and I say “Bruce”, you are speaking and I am speaking for 50 trillion cells in a community! Your body is not a “one thing”… it’s a community of 50 trillion cells. So here’s the simple truth: your body is the same as a petri dish with 50 trillion cells in it, but it is a skin-covered petri dish, not a plastic petri dish. Inside your body, you have a culture medium. The culture medium is called the blood. And so the chemistry of the blood controls the fate of the cells, just exactly the same as the chemistry of the culture medium controls the fate of the cells in the plastic dish; the chemistry of your blood controls the fate of your skin-covered dish. So now basically, it says, your health or your sickness is not really based on genetics, but is based on the culture medium called ‘blood’.

And then I say “OK, what controls the chemistry of the blood?” And here comes the connection: the chemistry of the blood in your body is controlled by the brain. The brain releases hormones and specials factors and signals that release into the body. These chemicals from the brain go into the blood (the culture medium) and then these chemicals control the genetics of the cell. So all of a sudden it says: “Your body is a skin covered petri dish. Your cells have a culture medium called blood. And the chemistry of the culture medium is controlled by your brain.” Now I have to ask the next most important question: “But what chemicals does the brain put into the blood?” And then I answer “It’s based on your belief and your mind, and your perceptions.” A very simple point: if you open your eyes and see someone you love in front of you, your brains releases beautiful chemicals like dopamine and oxytocine and growth hormones. These chemicals, released by the brain when you are in love, when they are in the blood they cause the cells to be very healthy.

If I take the same chemicals from your brain, and put them in a plastic petri dish with cells in it, the cells grow beautifully. That’s why, when you experience love in your life, the chemistry of your brain is controlled by your mind and the mind is perceiving love, but the brain in response to the mind releases those chemicals. And that’s why you feel so healthy and happy and energized when you feel in love. Because the culture medium contains those wonderful chemicals. But then I say “Wait! What if you open your eyes and you see something that scares you?” “Oh,” I say “then you release totally different chemicals into the blood.” When you are scared, you release stress hormones and you release immune system-controlling chemicals and all these different chemicals that make you ready for fight of flight. Well the point is, if I take those chemicals released by the brain when you are in fear, and put them into the petri dish, guess what? It causes the cells to stop growing.. and if you keep those chemicals in the petri dish, the cells will actually start to get sick and die.

This is relevant because most people in this world are living in fear. Most people are afraid of their future and their life and not being loved or whatever. And that means that during the day, the chemicals they release from their brain are chemicals that shut down their growth and shut down their immune system. The more stress you are under, the more sickness the cells express. Because the culture medium, the blood of a stressed person, has chemicals that actually shut down the growth of the cells. So all of a sudden it says ‘we have been looking at sickness as a result of genes or bad chemistry in the body, and now we find that 90 % of sickness is really connected to stress’. And the reason why is because the mind in stress releases chemicals into the blood, the culture medium for your body cells, that cause the cells to stop growing and strike down the immune system. And that’s why when we are stressed, we get sick, and the world is very stressed right now…

To listen to the entire interview, click on the links below or visit ABC’s Soundcloud page.

ABC Talks To: Author and Toltec Nagual Don Miguel Ruiz

Friday, January 18th, 2013

“If we start changing, like a miracle everything around us will start changing right away”

An interview with Don Miguel Ruiz by Femke Wijdekop.

Don Miguel Ruiz is the author of The Four Agreements, a surgeon-turned-shamanic healer and one of the ‘grandfathers’ of the Self Help industry. He recently published The Fifth Agreement, together with his son Don Jose Ruiz. Excited to visit the Netherlands for the first time last October, Don Miguel agreed to do an interview with ABC.

We started off the three of us: Don Miguel in Quito, Ecuador (where he would deliver a presentation to the Secretary of Tourism the next day), Don Jose on a mountaintop in California and me behind my laptop in good old Dutch Haarlem. However, a Californian storm disrupted our Skype connection with Don Jose and soon Don Miguel and me continued the conversation on our own, talking about lies, truth and ultimate liberation of realizing our perfection is already established.

Don Miguel, could you tell our customers that haven’t read your books yet, what the four agreements are and why they are so important?

The Four Agreements is an introduction to a whole way of life. You know, the word “Toltec” means artist. From that point of view every single human is an artist. These four agreements help us to shift our attention from what we learned all of our life, and start seeing the beauty in everything that surrounds us. As soon as we start perceiving beauty, our whole life will change right away, because from that moment, all the judgements end, all the opinions end and we understand that every single human is here on planet Earth with one mission and one mission only for everyone. And that mission is to enjoy life, to enjoy the beauty of life. To really make a difference in the creation. Because we all are artists.

Once that we understand that, we are no longer searching for perfection, for perfection is just the biggest lie that we all learn. With that point of view, we understand that we are already perfect. We don’t need to search for perfection and from that point of view our whole life starts shifting. Because really we can enjoy every single moment of our creation, every interaction that we have in life is so enjoyable.

And these four agreements are an introduction to live our life in that way, and it’s extremely simple. The first one is ‘be impeccable with your word’, then ‘don’t take anything personally’, ‘don’t make assumptions’, ‘always do your best’. Four simple agreements that challenge everything that we learned in our lives. When we have that awareness, we can start changing everything and we can see how our life changes completely. Because if we change our own story, the benefit is not just ours, but is also for the people who surround us, like our beloved, our children, our brothers, sisters or society or parents, religion or country, etcetera.

These four agreements are the introduction to that way of life. And The Fifth Agreement is the conclusion, the end of that training.

What I read in the four agreements is that these agreements serve to break other agreements, agreements with illusions, with lies that we have made when we were very young. We were ‘domesticated’ as human beings, just like cats and dogs are. So how did we create or make these agreements, when we were very young, with ideas and beliefs that don’t serve us?

Well, we have to understand that when we were born, we had no knowledge. We didn’t choose where to be born, we didn’t choose the language, we didn’t choose the religion. But our parents hooked our attention and they started downloading to us what they believed. Every single word, everything that we learned, the whole language that we speak, is only true because we agree with the meaning of every word. It is only true because it’s an agreement, not because it is the Truth. But it’s working. We can communicate with each other by using the language. Then when we learn a language, we also learn a way of life of society, the way of life of our family. This is what we learn and what we practice all the time.

In certain points of life, we start searching for our own identity, what we believe we are, the way we love to be perceived, the way we express. We create a whole story – the story of our life, that is true for ourselves but for nobody else. When we believe in that story, we believe that that is the truth.

And on a planet where 7 billion people live, and every one believes that they have the truth and that everybody else is wrong, then we can understand easily the behaviour of humanity. We can understand the war, the injustice, the violence, poverty.. We can understand why society is the way it is. Because we really believe in the agreements that we made.

But with these four simple agreements we can challenge our whole way of life. It’s like Jose was saying, it’s nothing but common sense, and it’s extremely simple. But once we apply it, it looks extremely difficult. Like to be impeccable with your word looks almost impossible. Not to take anything personally also looks impossible. Not to make assumptions – wow..

But what we can really do is do our best all the time. And this is what I really like the most.

Me too..

(Laughs) Because we can see that everything that surrounds us, everything that we humans create, first exists in the mind, and with the action we make it real. Then we understand all the cultures that exist here on the planet since thousands of years, until now.

You call this state of being trapped in lies and trapped in confusion, you call this ‘mitote’. Is that right?

Yes, the mitote we could say is our knowledge speaking in our head. You know, knowledge has a voice that no one can hear but us. And we call it ‘thinking’. And in our thinking we create big dialogues. It’s like a thousand people talking at the same time, and nobody is listening. And that’s what we call ‘mitote’. Mitote is a word that comes from Nagual and means ‘big gossip’. When everybody wants to talk at the same time, and nobody is listening. This is what our mind is – a big mitote. A lot of thoughts. Like a wild horse that is going nowhere. But it’s a lot of noise in our head that only we can hear. Sometimes we cannot even sleep because we are thinking and thinking.. It’s incredible all the noise that exists in our mind. And that’s the reason why humanity is searching for inner peace for thousands of years. That’s how we created yoga, meditation, chanting, mantra’s.. music. Whatever can stop the mind is worth it, to find inner peace.

I really love the passage you wrote in The Voice of Knowledge about your not being able to sleep and going out into the desert. There you had the experience of feeling so alive, and so connected to everything you saw around you. It seemed like you shifted from the identification with Don Miguel to identifying with something bigger. It was a real expansion in consciousness, would you describe it that way?

Yes, what I found out, that wonderful, inspiring night, is that there is only one being and that it’s alive. I saw all the stars and I knew that all the stars are part of one being, and it’s alive. It’s something extremely interesting. I see all the stars, and I knew without a doubt, that the light that comes from one of these stars, they come from a different distance and a different speed. They come from millions of lightyears, far from my eyes. And every star sends a light in a completely different time. But I was perceiving all that light at the same time.

Then I understood completely that there is no real time-and-space. I understood at that moment that I’m part of all those stars. In the same way I perceive them, they also perceived me. And I looked around, and I saw the beautiful desert, I saw the Earth. And I knew it’s alive, and it’s part of the same being. And I look at my hands, and of course being a surgeon, being a medical doctor, I know that they are made by cells, and every single cell is a whole universe, and the cell is made by billions of atoms, just like the stars. And there’s 7 billion humans. And I understood the entire humanity is only one living being. And it is alive – that there is no difference between men and women. That all together, we are humanity. And I also understood that humanity is just an organ of this planet Earth, just like the atmosphere is another organ, the ocean is another organ, the forest is another organ.. well, every single species is an organ, and we all work together to maintain the equilibrium of the planet Earth, what I call the metabolism of the planet Earth.

Once you have that awareness, you start to feel an intense gratitude. So intense that the tears are coming out of your eyes. It starts to change right away into generosity. You want to share with whoever wants to listen, that experience.

What was the biggest lie that you had to unmask yourself, in your own life?

That of perfection. Because this is the biggest lie that humans believe. Since I was a child, I always feared that nobody’s perfect. I went to church, they say that nobody is perfect. I went to university, they say that nobody is perfect. Everybody around me says that nobody is perfect, and they use that to justify whatever mistake they do. They say ‘oh I’m just a human, I’m not perfect’. We are completely wrong! Everyone is perfect.. they just don’t understand their own perfection. Every single human is unique. There is no one like you, there never was any one like you and there never will be any one like you. You are unique. And that uniqueness is perfect. You’re perfect just the way you are. When you finally recognize that, then you find out that you respect everything, including yourself. You don’t try to impose your beliefs on anyone. Because they have the right to belief whatever they want to – it’s OK. It’s not personal. And life becomes easy.

So you don’t only free yourself to be who you are, but you also free others from the way you want them to be.

Exactly, you don’t try to control anyone. And no one really can control you.

To listen to the whole interview, click the audio files below, or visit ABC’s Soundcloud page.

ABC Talks To: Elisabet Sahtouris

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

“Our task as humanity is to move from Growth to Flowering”

An interview with Elisabet Sahtouris by Femke Wijdekop

Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris is an evolutionary biologist, futurist and the author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution. She was a UN Consultant on indigenous peoples and spoke at many venues around the world like the World Bank, the UN, Unesco, and the World Parliament of Religions. Citizen of the USA and Greece, she lives in Spain, where she works with Mallorca Goes Green toward a sustainable local economy.

In her work Elisabet integrates physics, biology and spirituality. Her main message is that the crises we are facing in our world today are good news: they are part of humanity’s evolutionary movement from competition to cooperation.

She visited the Netherlands last summer to speak at the Science and Non Duality Conference in Doorn and I took this chance to have a most inspiring – and hope giving! – conversation with her at the Ambassade Hotel.

Elisabet, thank you so much for this opportunity and for your time. I am really thrilled to have you here and to have this talk with you.

My first question is: How has life taken you from your job in mainstream science, working at the American Museum of Natural History, to being an evolutionary biologist and futurist, speaking all over the world and presenting this very promising outlook on our possible future?

Well, that’s an interesting question, Femke. It is nice to be here with you.

I was actually doing my postdoctoral work at the Museum of Natural History in New York, as you correctly said. And at that time the Museum had the first exhibit on pollution. It was just coming into people’s consciousness that we are polluting the world. And they hired a very good Japanese architect to build this fancy maze right in the first great hall of the Museum, where the big mammoth bones are and things like that. And when you walk through this exhibit of plastic garbage and other things at the end of the pollution exhibit was a picture of Pogo, the comic character, saying “The enemy is us”, and a mirror under it, so that you were seeing yourself. And it said “Don’t drop that gum-wrapper, don’t drop that gum wrapper’ as you walked out.

And I was furious. It was accusing people that were dropping their gum-wrapper on the street of being the perpetrators of pollution in the world. And meanwhile the museum I was in was belching black smoke all over Northern Manhattan so that you could not even ascend to the roof, and women couldn’t even hang up laundry. And when I pointed this out, you know they were furious with me, that I was attacking the Museum as a polluter.

So I said “What am I doing here, doing trivia research in Science when this pollution is going on, people are being thrown out of their homes”.. the oppression in the country was growing and the environmental problems were growing.

Around which time was this?

Oh, I’m sorry – this was in the 1960s. And so I finally decided one day “I can’t do this trivia research anymore. I have to get out of this place.” And for quite a while, I tried to do Science jobs in Boston – a big hospital in Boston, a research hospital – and working for some Think Tanks in Boston, but then I just decided that Science is never going to answer my big questions of Who are we?, Where did we come from? and Where are we headed?

The Greeks, when they named Science, called it Philo Sophia – it was supposed to be the Lover of Wisdom. And the purpose of Science was to find guidance for human affairs by studying Nature. I didn’t see any of this happening. And my colleagues didn’t want to talk about these things.

So I actually went off to Greece, to write novels (laughs), to try to explain the human condition to myself in those terms, as a writer. But I found after some years that I still wanted to be a scientist. I was trained as an evolution biologist – that’s why I had gone to the Museum of Natural History. So I just put the story of evolution together for myself and started to write books and essays about it, to try to figure out how the whole universe works and who we humans are.

So you say that the context, or the paradigm you had to work under as a scientist, felt like too tight a jacket?

Exactly. And I sometimes wrote it in those words – that it was like a too-tight suit that you had to shed, like a snake sheds its skin. To become a more holistic scientist, especially.

Right, because you say that Western scientists have forgotten that their science rests on cultural assumptions. So which are the cultural assumptions that the Western sciences of physics and biology and chemistry – the general scientific outlook on life – rest upon?

Well you have jumped right to into the biggest question of all. And that is the question of fundamental assumptions. You see, there is no way to make a scientific theory about a universe you have no concept off. You must make certain assumptions about what kind of a universe you are going to study in order to make theories about it, and testable hypotheses about it. You can’t do that about a ‘blank’ universe, as if you know nothing about it.

So Western scientist adopted the first fundamental assumption of what Western science is: this is a non-living Universe. It is meaningless, purposeless, intelligence-less, and one can study it objectively, as though you were standing apart from it, without changing it as you study it. So these are the very, very basic assumptions. And also that consciousness is a latent emerging product of accidental material evolution. You see, if there is no purpose, no meaning in this Universe, then it must have evolved by accident. And eventually you get brains that somehow ‘issue’ consciousness.

Now there are older Sciences in the world that had completely antithetical assumptions. And some of them are still functioning – for instance Vedic Science, the knowledge of which was brought to the West by the hippies and the beatnicks before them, who went off to India and studied with the gurus and some of them became gurus afterwards, as in the case of Ram Dass. They brought back the information about a science that had been studying consciousness for thousands of years, and which says: “No, the universe begins in consciousness, and matter arises within cosmic consciousness.”

So the West was saying: consciousness arises within matter, and the East was saying: matter arises within consciousness. Now I found this fascinating, that they could build Science on two completely antithetical assumptions about what kind of a universe we were in. And back when I was trained, in the 1950s, we were taught Philosophy of Science, and we had to construct science and list our assumptions. But nowadays, my grandson has now become a scientist, and he wasn’t taught any of that. He’s not aware that cultural beliefs are the foundation of Science, which is supposed to be only tests that give you facts and the truth, the reality.

And so Western Science has created a particular reality that everyone is supposed to believe in, about this meaningless, purposeless universe, that is running down by entropy, and they then added: it is a one-way, decline universe, starting with the Big Bang and then dissipating ever after. And Biology came in with Darwinism, saying “Life is an uphill struggle, against this tide of entropy, that is washing everything away, and it’s a fierce competition in scarcity.” But there are sciences that are older, much, much older than Western Science, but Western Science has hegemony over the world: it gained the status of the Authority that tells the official creation story in secular societies. And it’s very important because we are living by this story of Western Science, which is now taught in universities all over the world. Yet in a living universe-model, in a conscious universe-model, you have much more hope for the world.

Why is that?

Because you see how evolution really works, and you see that it is a series of maturation cycles, in which small things come together and build larger entities, as cooperatives, after going through a juvenile, hostile, creative competition phase. So Darwinian biology is like the biology of youthful species. And the Soviet Union adopted Kropotkin’s book Mutual Aid as the basis for teaching evolution biology there, because unlike the capitalist world, which was based on fierce competition, they were trying to get people to sacrifice themselves to the community in cooperative ways. Now both of them had a half system, from my perspective: one had a mature version (in theory, at least), and one had a juvenile version. And if you put them together, you see that just as we expect an adolescent human to first be feisty and competitive and thinking it knows-it-all, and then to eventually become a cooperative, mature citizen of his community, the same thing happens to a species, from the first ancient bacterias to us. And the whole process that we are in now – the globalization process – is that process of ending the juvenile mode and moving into the sustainability of cooperative maturity.

So you say that there are three phases in the evolution: Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3. The first one is the Juvenile Stage, the second phase is the Adolescent Stage, and the third one is the Mature Stage. So which systems in nature have reached the third stage of mature cooperation? And how can this example in nature inspire us to get out of the crises, into our own maturity as humankind?

To hear Elisabet’s answer, click on the audio file below, or else visit ABC’s Soundcloud page.

ABC Talks To: Bob Pozen

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Interview by Lynn Kaplanian-Buller

Bob Pozen was in town to speak earlier this month and generously offered to sign and present his book in at ABC Amsterdam. I had read his book, Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, and offered to host the event, hoping for a chance to pick his brain a little – after all, how many times do I meet a person who taught full-time at Harvard Business School while also serving as full-time chairman of a financial services firm? And who writes about how to be productive? So I formulated a few questions:

How does a Baby Boomer anti-war activist become CEO of a financial assets managing company?

That was a continuous line from my undergraduate days at Yale where Ralph Nader was a shareholder activist. From there I went to the SEC regulating board, which is a public sector function trying to keep up fair play. I branched into law and did work on both economics and law, but discovered that I liked to do deals.I wanted to be in Boston after the sudden death of my brother, and Fidelity Mutual was then a small regional company with a genius of a leader, Ned Johnson.

All the jobs I’ve taken have to do with corporate governance and financial decision-making.

Why did you write this book?

I discovered that decision-makers in diverse settings – government, entrepreneurial and corporate life – all face the same deluge of information to be processed. Procrastination is everywhere. So the book is about how to approach any kind of work and get things done effectively.

Can you give us a few examples?


First of all, get the small stuff out of the way quickly, and OHIO – Only Handle It Once.

Start at the end. Write the last page of your research, and work backwards. This will help you focus on the information you really need. If you find that you need to draw a different conclusion, do that. Structure helps creativity.

Throw away 80-90% of incoming emails immediately.

Routinize unimportant things like what to eat for breakfast, so you don’t have to think about them.

Don’t call a meeting unless you have to.

Click here for the Washington Post’s (slightly longer) Q&A with Bob Pozen, posted in November, 2012.  And click here for Mr. Pozen’s NY Times article on productivity, published in October 2012.