Key To Success

What do you do when you come across a key to success in a book you're reading? You ponder over it. Since I read many books and come across many keys, I thought it would be fun to share the ideas that arise as I contemplate a key to success. Reading is not just about absorbing information, it's also about contemplating, allowing the ideas to blossom within, and nurturing a seed tossed in the rich soil of the inner garden.

Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

I got my Master's degree in psychotherapy more than a decade ago. Since then I've studied the human condition with fascination. Over the years, I've learned a singular lesson: your life does not work when you oppose your soul nature. If you want a magical life, you have to drop your inauthentic transactions with the world. You discover your own power when you spend time alone to figure out what you really love to do.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Explore Your Potential

Your potential is not quite a thing, yet more than an idea. It awaits in a twilight zone between idea and reality, where all things are possible but none are actual.

It took 15 billion years of evolution for you to be where you are now: a conscious being capable of self-consciousness. It is from the depths of this interior awareness that you can shape your destiny. With imagination alone, you can shape what has never been before. An act of imagination is the seeding of an idea that will bear fruit in a time that has not yet appeared.

This specific form of imagination is what you can call visionary thinking.

When your heart and mind can look into the past, into your reserve of memory, select its most choice ideas from it and project it into the future, then you have begun the journey of exploring your potential.

Will you be rich or poor, well-educated or ignorant, loved or abandoned, alive with a new intensity and purpose or merely drifting upon the tide of circumstances, depends not on the movement of the stars nor on the opinions of those who hold you dear, but on one thing alone: your inner clarity about who you are and what you want your life to mean, both to yourself and all those who will come to know you.

All men and women dream but only some have the courage of their convictions. Most through default float upon the sea of mediocrity, responding to biological and social needs but creating nothing new, ennobling, or in some measure liberating.

Many, unfortunately, are capable of going through their days without entertaining a single original idea, content with acquiescing to the propaganda of vested interests. A few, however, think about their potential and what they can do to explore and expand it. These are the ones who push the race forward, stretching the limits of consciousness further into the realm of new possibilities.

You cannot succeed in anything alone. Your success is a wave that carries others, inviting them to examine their own potentiality. You vibrate at a higher frequency when you choose excellence; you influence others with your presence alone.

The urge to be more than you are right now, to express a nobler speech, a finer mind, a more uplifting outlook, a larger reach of resources is the urge of life itself to explore its dimensions.

The idea of entelechy, a motivation for self-determination and directing inner strength for more life, growth, and capacity is an idea that arises from Aristotelian philosophy.

A human being is in a perpetual dynamic tension between potentia and actus. In other words, a quest to translate a potentiality into an actuality. Potentia is determinable. Actus is determined. These terms should not be confused with the ideas of physics which refer to the capacity for change through work from one state to another. With a human being, the urge to translate potentiality into actuality is intrinsic. With material objects, an external force is extrinsic, some outer force is making the conversion from one state to the next.

The ultimate goal of self-determination is happiness. For as a sentient creature evolves, it increases its power, secures its survival, and experiences the happiness of a broader and fuller expression of itself.

Another way of looking at it is to say that all human misery is due to some level of frustrated potential. At times, this frustration is felt so acutely as to result in self-destruction, either through suicide or self-degradation.

A human being is rooted in teleology. The human psyche hungers for design, and it will do almost anything to satisfy the quest for meaning.

The best and most satisfying lives are those where meaning is found and where a conscious and deliberate movement is made from potentiality into actuality. Ultimately, the conversion is one through the medium of intelligence, from the creative intelligence of envisioning to the practical intelligence of bringing about and maintaining a higher order of adaptation. As intelligence and adaptation increases, so, too, does happiness, which is a symptom of increasing power as the means of survival are ensured. As Spinoza once said, "Happiness is power increasing."

Happiness, like life itself, is never a final state, but an evolving one. You can be happy now and as you increase your power in the world, converting more potential into actuality, your happiness will also correspondingly increase. The highest state of happiness, of course, is self-realization, when you transcend the limitation of the idea of a singular ego battling a hostile world intent on its destruction and embrace the idea of being unified with all sentient life everywhere. Mystics have reported this state of oceanic consciousness as blissful.

As the cosmic conspiracy unfolds, life becomes more complex, more engaging, and ultimately more fulfilling. Our task is to engage the great game of life and ride the beam of evolutionary advancement of consciousness itself.
Resource Box

Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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Monday, January 15, 2007

How Reliable Is The Law Of Attraction?

If thoughts are things, then those who are familiar with the Law of Attraction should be living the life of their dreams.

While a few may attain this enviable state, the majority do not rise to that level.

Is it the Law of Attraction that is at fault or the person who uses it? Does it work for some and not for others? Does it work some of the time and not at other times?

It is my contention, both from my study of it and from my many years of experience with it, that the Law of Attraction is as reliable as the Law of Gravity; if applied correctly, it works with unfailing exactitude. I also hold that anybody who studies it and applies it will come to the same conclusion.

"Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you."

Those are the truest words ever spoken. They not only come from an expert source, who repeatedly demonstrated it, but they can also be proved through your own experience. These are not idle words, philosophical opinions, or rhetorical exhortations; they are words that stand up to the test of observation and experience.

There is no need to rely on authority, even if it happens to be the highest known to the human race. Experiment will definitely prove its value.

The problem of insufficiency then has to do with the practitioner.

Everything that you desire can be yours with the Law of Attraction. If most people appear not to be living in abundance it is due to either not knowing about it or dismissing it as a serious idea.

If this is the great secret of life, now openly revealed by many teachers, why is success with it not apparent everywhere?

Assuming that you know about the Law of Attraction, what is preventing you from living the full expression of it?

In reflecting on this subject, I have isolated three possible factors:

1. Improper application.

Ask for something, then let it go with the full expectation that it will show up. That is the entire principle right there. However, when you fail to ask properly, being vague in your asking, or if you fail to let go, clinging to the idea, then you have not fully exercised the law.

Another way of improperly asking is to merely ask using words devoid of positive, expectant feelings. Your feelings are the vibrational signature that sets the law in motion.

2. Fear of failure.

People are afraid to get what they want. They are afraid of being disappointed and not getting it. They feel unworthy of asking. And they are even afraid of what will happen if they do get it. These fears and others are disguised as doubts, rationalizations, and anxiety. Unless there is a complete lack of resistance to getting what you want it will not show up.

3. Unclear vision.

People are not clear what they want. Unless there is a clear vision and a strong sense of what it means to you, things will not show up.

4. Reluctance to pay attention to intuition.

Sometimes your answer comes as an idea. This idea is subtle. If you do not pay attention to your subtle faculties and develop it, the answer to your problem may very well have shown up but you did not notice it.

5. Reluctance to act.

Sometimes by acting you speed up everything. The action to take is the action before you. Even if action is not necessary, as the answer may come from a person or event that has to show up in your experience, action reinforces the energy that you have sent out. It is making a statement that you are in earnest. The use of feet and hands has an amazing way of putting you in the right place at the right time. The Master Practitioner may not need to act, but at an earlier development stage, it does speed up results.

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Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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Sunday, January 14, 2007

The World As Experience And Idea

The world is an illusion. This is a view held by Vedanta, Sikhism, Buddhism, Plato, Arthur Schopenhauer, Christian Science, and A Course In Miracles.

Contradicting this view is your own sense experience of realness, the constancy of stimulus, the enduring nature of time and events.

Which view is correct? The idea of the illusion or your experience of the realness?

This answer proposes an objective observer, one who is not part of the system that is being observed. Newton held that time is absolute. Einstein held that it is relative to the observer. Perhaps that same paradigm shift can be applied to answering the question of what is real and what is not.

Those who propose that the world is an illusion are correct.

Those who propose that the world is real are also correct.

The idea that the world is an illusion can be argued in the following way.

1. You do not see the world as it is.

You see the world as you are.

This happens in two ways:

One, you can never escape your subjectivity. You may claim that the world is objective, but this is a claim made from the subjective state. Hence, if you were to lose your mind, you would also lose the world. Without an observer, there is no world. With your disappearance, the universe disappears. Does it exist despite you? If you are not there to ask or hear the answer to the question, it has no meaning.

Two, the world that you see is a direct result of your experiences in it. A rock is not just a rock; it is also your memory of all rocks seen by you. When what you see is more complex and engaging, you experience more emotions, sensations, and ideas about it. Thus, you never really see anything as it is. You only see it through the lens of your own thoughts about it.

2. All forms will pass away.

Entropy is built into the system. Nothing can escape this iron law of nature. Neither beauty nor truth, wealth nor power, genius nor intent ever last. Death and decay is the lot of everything, from atoms to stars, from our own sun to the universe itself. However, this collapse is a dissipation of energy, not an absence of it. According to the law of conservation of energy, which has never been refuted, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. What dies, then, is the form of things, the structure the energy was supporting.

3. The microscopic.

On the level of atoms, a vast space exists between the electrons and the nucleus, and even the subatomic particles are not solid bits of matter but transient energy forms that appear and disappear and reappear again. It is mainly empty space.

4. The macroscopic.

On the level of the cosmos, a vast space exists between stars and moons and planets, gas clouds and nebulas and galaxies. The universe, too, is mainly empty space.

5. The field of all possibilities.

On the level of the consciousness that organizes all things, this world is only another possibility out of an infinite choice. How many worlds with sentient beings exist? Is our universe only an electron in a cosmic atom? Given a field of infinite choices, how much weight does one choice hold?

The idea that the world is real can be argued in the following way.

1. What you are experiencing is real to you.

When you think of the world as an illusion, a sense of despair arises because it slights the beauty of your realness. It is pleasurable to touch and hold, to see and hear, to act and change things. It is ennobling to see the vast sky above your head and feel the wind in your hair and hear the squawk of a passing bird. It means much for us to be here and to be alive in this moment.

Neither science nor philosophy can deny the realness of your experience.

And in this context, even your dreams are real enough, because while you are in them, your entire experience is authentic enough for you. If you are being chased by a lion in your dream, it will feel as real to you as if you were being chased by one in the waking state.

2. Who you are is important to you.

Your life is important. You desire to be more than you currently are because you can feel the vast throb of life within you expanding ever forward to know more, experience more, and touch a fullness not yet known.

Your past is not just useless memory but a scrapbook of struggle and change, triumph and adversity, risk and new learning. Your present is the vividness of your current experience. Your future is your promise, to yourself and to the world.

Reality, then, is not fixed. It is an interpretation of consciousness and how it is interpreted depends on the inner and outer experiences of the observer. The world you live in is real enough to you as you live it. If this world is an illusion, does it mean that there is a really real world, as Plato conjectured. Probably not. If this world is an illusion, then so, too, are all worlds. And if this world is real, so, too, are all worlds.

Appreciating the miracle of having a consciousness to live in a world may be all we need to know to live happy, fulfilling lives, whether in this world or in other worlds which we will transition into after this one.

Consciousness, like the law of conservation of energy, can neither be created nor destroyed. Where you find consciousness, you will also find energy structured into the form of a world. And since consciousness never dies but appears to only grow increasingly more refined and sophisticated, worlds, too, probably evolve along similar lines. Are these worlds illusory or real? They are real enough to those who live in them.

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Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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Saturday, January 13, 2007

How Can You Tell If Something Is Nonsense?

How do we move beyond our prejudices to distinguish what is sensible and what is nonsensical?

When Albert Einstein created the Special and General Theory of Relativity, initially it seemed like nonsense, because nobody had ever thought of things like that before, but both the logical consistency of his arguments and the proof that was later found made them sensible theories.

Understanding the difference between sense and nonsense is vital to your well-being. Unless you can draw some clear understanding of something, you will be confused, and when you are confused, you cannot orient yourself to the world you live in.

Something makes sense when it aligns with an organ of perception: you can see it, hear it, or feel it.

However, this is not always an accurate measure of what is sensible. A mirage appears to be water until you get close to it and realize that you experienced an optical illusion. A hallucinogenic drug creates unusual experiences, until the drug wears off and you revise your opinion.

Sense, however, did prevail. You revisited the experience, perceived anew, and revised your opinion on what it meant.

So far, living on the level of the concrete and experiential, it appears rather clear the difference between sense and nonsense. The mirage was seen as nonsense after you got close to it. The unicorn was seen as nonsense when you recovered from the hallucinogenic drug and saw that you were looking at a plain horse.

But as consciousness advances, it has to embrace abstractions. An abstraction is best described as a statistical generalization. As a child, when you saw your first dog and then other dogs similar to it, but not like it, you created a generalization called dogs. Through a survey of many dogs, you were finally able to see that both a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd are both dogs.

In Quantum physics, you can't really see subatomic particles, but you can infer their nature and their properties through the statistics of mathematics and the impressions of white dots and streaks they leave on a photographic plate. Thus, you can distinguish between an electron and a positron. You can also tell when a complex interaction takes place. For example, through a sophisticated instruments of observation and interpretation, you know when a negative pi meson collides with a proton. You then observe how the two particles annihilate each other, creating a lambda particle and a neutral K meson. Further observation informs you how these unstable particles live for only a billionth of a second. Now the neutral K meson decays into a positive pi meson and a negative pi meson, while the lambda particle decays into the original two particles, a negative pi meson and a proton.

Now, although this entire description is beyond the senses, it is not nonsense. This is because observation took place. This was done through mathematical descriptions and the use of highly sophisticated measuring devices. You may not have been able to "see" in a literal sense, but various instruments did that for you and your task was to interpret what they were telling you based on past knowledge.

In the realm of the abstract, unless you can test the idea in some way, it has a high tendency to be nonsense. In fact, the more removed it is from sense experience and the less testable it is, the more nonsensical it is likely to be.

It may be well-argued nonsense, but that does not make it sensible.

Something is considered sensible if you can arrive at it through induction or deduction.

Induction is working your way up from particulars to a general idea. For example, all dogs are dogs, regardless of size and predisposition. You arrive at that by examining a number of different dogs and pooling a list of characteristics. You know the difference between dogs and cats, because while both are four-legged, hairy, and have whiskers, they also have other characteristics which distinguish them from each other.

Deduction is working your way up from a general idea to a particular one. This is basically breaking down something into smaller and smaller units. You know, for example, that plants originate from seeds, by observing the nature of plants, both in their dead form, through dissection, and in their live form, by observing their growth and decay.

Nonsense comes in when we have to rely on authority. When things are believed not because some evidence was gathered about it, but because someone in authority said it was true.

Human beings love stories, and the more unusual and compelling the story, the more they are likely to believe it.

One example is channeling. People claim to be channeling all sorts of entities, from God to spirit guides to ascended masters, or even whole teams of enlightened beings. The mediums appear to change personalities, taking on unusual vocal intonations, unfamiliar gestures, and speaking words of surprising wisdom. If you hook them up to various instruments, they may even show physiological changes.

Is this nonsense?

It is an appeal to a higher authority, in this case someone from outside the system, talking from the other side, who appears to be giving us clear directions. In addition, our scientific instruments may even indicate that a change has indeed taken place.

On the other hand, you can get the same results if you use the hypothesis that a multiple personality phenomena is in effect. It has been shown over and over again that in disassociation, the new personality has unique traits, including more intelligence.

Thus, someone who claims to be a medium can be (a) a fake; (b) a multiple personality; or (c) genuine.

In trying to sort out sense from nonsense, you can discern what is true from what is false not on the basis of the reasonableness of their statements, but through putting to the test some of the things that they are saying.

A perfect example is Edgar Cayce. After he went into a trance state and started dictating healing formulas, he uttered unusual remedies. These were surprising because they were (a) outside known medical treatments and (b) highly effective. In this case, despite the highly unusual nature of the entire phenomenon, it is possible to rule out fakery and a multiple personality disorder, simply because he arrived at answers that were not in general circulation. There is no way to prove this to be nonsense; hence, based on available evidence, the best hypothesis is accepting him as he claimed to be.

In religion, occultism, philosophy and politics, the abstractions, unless they can be proven through evidence, should not be taken at face value. They tend to be nonsense. They are not accepted as this, however, because of the credible way that they are presented.

Most human misery, as far as I can tell, is following a well-reasoned line of thought from authority. When you think from your emotions, rather than from induction or deduction, and when you rely on authority, rather than evidence, then nonsense may very well have replaced a sensible way of thinking.

The most dangerous nonsense is that which is subtle. In the case of something bizarre, like the Edgar Cayce story, at first blush it does appear to be nonsense, but upon closer examination, it is not possible to cling to that verdict. On the other hand, when a politician says something there is a tendency to believe, although a closer examination will reveal no substantial evidence of the proof of his or her statements.

Thus, the element of sensationalism or the lack of it, is not a proper criteria to distinguish between sense and nonsense. Something may be hyped up and still be true. Something may be toned down and appear reasonable and still be false.

Insanity is not easy to perceive. Some of the brightest people have fallen into it. Apart from organic damage to the brain and the sense organs, insanity is the inability to distinguish between sense and nonsense. The rise and power of the Nazi party could be considered an outbreak of pervasive social insanity.

The scientific method of observation and experimentation is the highest form of reason invented. All other forms of reason may be entertaining, but they do not warrant the stamp of truth. True reason is the ability to sort out sense from nonsense on the basis of logical consistency and evidence.

Without the Age of Reason, the era we live in today, of marvelous scientific advancement could not have been possible. Prior to that time, humankind thought about things in an emotional, often nonsensical way.

Reason is not something relegated to the province of the scientist or the philosopher. It is something that we all need to live fulfilling lives. And the most reasonable form of reason is one that distinguishes sense from nonsense on the basis of careful inquiry, patient observation, and the accumulation of evidence.

Resource Box

Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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Thursday, January 11, 2007

How To Enjoy More Of Your Life

If your life were a movie, how would you go about changing it, making the plot more amenable to your interests and pleasures? At first this may seem like a hopeless quest, but when you look behind the scenes, you will see a simple and elegant answer.

In a regular movie, you sit in a seat away from the unfolding drama, and you can always look away or even leave if you are bored or angry.

In your life, you are in the movie, and it takes a momentum of its own, where all the other actors work to create some kind of reaction within you. Your life is like a total immersion movie.

While you may often feel that the way the entire story line is unfolding is not what you want at all, a little insight will show you that not only are you the main actor, but also the producer. In fact, you also finance it. The quality of the scenes depends on your budget and how you manage it.

In other words, your experiences are both a projection of your mind and an interpretation of your mind.

In this movie, most actors have forgotten that they are in a virtual movie because they can never leave or take a break from it. This results in some really superb acting, and everybody appears to be very serious about what they say and do, even if, as often happens, the scene is quite comical.

However, at times, you and others weary of the intensity and try to break away from a scene by moving to a new town, divorcing your spouse, avoiding your friends, wrecking revenge on your enemies, or getting drunk, taking drugs, sleeping a lot, or making yourself sick.

These strategies of escapism seldom work, because before you know it, you're back where you started, finding yourself still stuck with all the wrong people in all the wrong places. No matter how hard you try to get away from it all, it happens all over again. The scene may have shifted and the faces changed but you find that after the novelty has worn off you're actually faithfully reenacting exactly the same plot.

After less than a decade on this planet, it gets very confusing what you are making happen and what appears to be happening to you. The momentum of each shifting scene and the impact of each new actor on it may even make you wonder if you have not been entirely swallowed up by the movie and have no real say on what happens next. Sometimes you even beg the invisible producer to give you a break.

What is particularly irksome is the lack of any really good answers on how to solve any problem, even the simplest ones. And after awhile, this can drive you nuts. You find that you either get no straight answers to your questions or so many that you can't figure out which one is the right one. You, then, make a decision based on desperation and end up with the plot getting increasingly thick and foreboding.

In this movie analogy, is there any chance that you can redo everything and have a shot at living a fulfilling life, where love, money, hope, and moments of pure abandon are possible?

The answer, surprisingly is "yes." In fact, a resounding "yes!" It is surprising because not many people talk about how to get out of the actor role and slip behind the scenes and make some necessary adjustments.

The way you do this is to slip into the projection room. This place is in your own mind.

Inside this room, you will find a white light that is projecting all your experiences onto the screen.

This white light is consciousness. This white light appears to dutifully project all the images that you are holding in front of it.

You can't really do much with the white light but you can change the images, and when you do, your entire movie show changes as well. How it changes depends on the new images you select.

Resource Box

Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Brave New World

O' Brave new world, That has such creatures in't
(Miranda in Shakespeare's The Tempest.)

Sometimes the best way to look ahead is to look behind. Where is humanity heading? Will it survive or will it die out? Our problems are not small ones.

Briefly, at a population growth of 1.9 percent a year, the population doubles every forty years. This means that at the end of this century it will be around 48 billion. By the year 2600, there will only be standing room.

In addition, when you realize that worldwide energy consumption is rising, things are getting red-hot. In 1900, we consumed around 1 billion tons of BCU, where 1 ton of a Bituminous Coal Unit is equal to 8.13 MW-hr. In 2000, a hundred years later it was past 12 billions BCU. Again, using 2600 as a benchmark, the physical earth will literally be glowing.

Of course, these are just two problems. Many others exist. The monetary system is designed to create insufficiency and indebtedness; nuclear technology is proliferating; bacteria are adapting to antibiotics and becoming deadly; food is creating a malnourished population; and disease and starvation in the third world countries continues unabated.

In order to overcome these problems, we need to evolve even further, eventually becoming an ocean-dwelling and star-navigating species. For this to happen, we need to become less superstitious, more intelligent, and increasingly more cooperative, not with the self-serving agendas of those who control governments and corporations, but with the idea that we are all in this mess together.

Can we do it? Can we evolve, pull together, and change the world? Because if we can't, it is over. This is not rhetoric. When we review our
current global situation, you will see that this is not an overstatement.

In order to understand our situation better, briefly looking back over the past 1000 years, let us see how we got where we are today.

In the 11th century, trading and learning expanded with Islam, Confucianism, and Hinduism as champions of subtle thoughts and cosmic philosophies.

China was the most technologically advanced civilization in the world. It had already invented the printing block, paper money, kites, gunpowder, the compass, a water clock and an earthquake detector.

Islam, less than 400 years old, flourished as an intellectual force, and as the travelers bartered in distant lands they shared knowledge. Islamic scholars carefully preserved the knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome by rewriting the manuscripts of those earlier cultures. Besides its reputation as a center of learning, Cordoba, in Southern Spain, was also renowned for it's architecture.

India, like China, was a vast civilization and steeped in knowledge of spiritual things and an elementary science. It was the only country China respected.

But not all cultures craved knowledge.

Japan was an insular culture; its elaborate court culture separated it from the peasantry.

Christianity was at war with itself: the impoverished and plain Western Catholic Church looked to Rome, while the wealthy and ornate Eastern Orthodox Church to Constantinople. In 1054, the Pope excommunicated the Eastern Church.

In the 12th century, ambitious building began.

In the southwest of North America, Pueblo Bonito, a monumental city, fashioned out of wood and clay arose from out of the desert.

In Northern Europe, Gothic cathedrals, glorified God with stain-glassed windows of exquisite colors and poignant Christian themes, and gold ornaments of intricate design lit up the altars.

In Ethiopia, King Lalebelia claimed to have received a vision of the churches in heaven and ordered his stone masons to fashion beautiful churches out of the depths of the unyielding rocks.

In Italy, cities declared themselves republics, banished Emperors, overlords, and popes, gave themselves charters, and established their own rights.

Not everyone followed the desire to build. Nomadic tribes flourished by hunting, gathering, and honoring the land. In Australia, for example, the aborigines, thought nature their cathedrals and their wanderings were their pilgrimages. They disdained artistic immortality and often even covered their intricate artwork with dust before they moved on. They spoke of the Dreamtime and considered human life a restless adventure.

In the 13th century, terror prevailed then transmuted into a new order.

Genghis Khan and his Mongol horde of one million strong swept across the wide sweeping grasslands of Asia, striking terror everywhere they went. Psychological warfare, where spies in enemy cities spread rumors of his ruthlessness, was reinforced by carnage. In Western Europe, the devastation was described by monks as a swarm of blood-thirsty locusts pillaging all human civilization.

The Mongols imposed peace on their captured territories and made safe the trade routes all over Asia. Prior to their invasion, roving bands of thugs had made it highly dangerous for merchants to travel. Now the corridor between Europe and the Orient was open and trade and an exchange of knowledge became possible.

Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis, conquered the whole of China, and his pleasure dome in Xanadu was described by Marco Polo as the greatest palace ever known. Kublai Khan made the Chinese feel like slaves in their own country and controlled them through propaganda and rumors of magic. After his warships sent to conquer Japan were destroyed by a typhoon, the myth of Mongol invincibility in Asia was shattered. In that same year, his favorite wife died (he had four wives), and to drown his sorrows, he spent the rest of his life in a drunken stupor. Self-serving Chinese governors then ran the kingdom.

The Mongol advance West was halted by the Mamelukes, a Muslim dynasty of former slaves who had toppled the previous sultan. They followed a Spartan-like discipline of raising their children to master all the arts of warfare. They not only stopped the Mongol invasion but completely defeated all its ambitions to conquer the West. The Mamelukes not only preserved Islam from the Mongol terror but made Cairo one of the greatest cities in the world, known for its learning and its architectural beauty.

In Northern Europe, Venice prospered as goods and ideas from the Orient to Europe passed through their hands. Science and technology now began to flourish in Europe and fostered learned men like the monk Roger Bacon, who not only invented the science of optics but also foretold of the coming of mechanical ships, helicopters, and aircrafts.

In the 14th century, the reign of death held the bulk of humanity in its grip.

Cairo, thought by those who beheld it to be the most magnificent city in the world, without equal in beauty and splendor, greater than London or Paris, crumbled under the reign of the Black Death. 20,000 people died a day. The city was to never regain its greatness.

Sweeping from Asia to North Africa and then on to Europe, the Black Death caused such devastation that it was believed to be the end of the world. All kinds of magical concoctions were tried everywhere. Europeans massacred Jews and heretics then turned on themselves. They flogged each other mercilessly as penance, but it did not stop the ruthless plague.

Beyond the reach of the Black Death was the kingdom of Mali in West Africa. It flourished, trading gold and salt. It was a kingdom where gold was found in abundance. Islamic learning spread. Great Mosques were built.

In Central Europe, Timur, a Turk born near Samarqand, rose from a sheep and horse rustler to become a new terror, one that rivaled that of Genghis Khan. Ironically, this savage man, to whom human slaughter was a way of life, was also extremely pious and gave the world some of its most spectacular Islamic architecture.

Using the monsoon winds, seaborne trade flourished, and in East Java, the kingdom of Majaphit, under its ruler Hayan Wuruk, became exceedingly wealthy.

As the century came to a close, Europe again faced a natural disaster, but this time it was not pestilence but bad weather. An ice age created terrible famine and as the lords worked the surviving serfs into exhaustion, they rose in rebellion. Peasant armies demanded greater equality between the people and their rulers.

In the 15th century, new worlds were discovered as sea navigation inflamed the imagination.

A curious lesson about the implications of appreciating and withdrawing from curiosity occurred between 1405 and 1433, when the Ming government, under the foresighted Yongle Emperor decided to establish a Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean basin. He assigned Zheng He 317 ships, with 28,000 armed troops. This expedition awed the people of the coastlines, who were amazed by the nine-masted ships. These were the biggest ships ever known in the world, with a technology about 500 years ahead of its time. But after 30 years, Ming bureaucrats, believing that China had nothing to learn from barbarian kings, "who should be treated like harmless seagulls," put an abrupt end to this voyage of exploration. Compounding this error of not expanding learning, they decided to also destroy what they had learned. The records of the greatest expedition in the history of China were burned and the magnificent ships rotted in the harbors. Even the technology on how to build these ships was forgotten. China would, in later centuries, be outstripped by younger, more robust nations, who would master the oceans and humiliate China in war and seize its vital ports.

In Northern Italy, the Medici prince, Lorenzo the Magnificent, bankrolled a new era of artistic creativity, whose like would never ever be seen again. It was called the Renaissance. Bankers and merchants nurtured painting, sculpture, poetry, music, and architecture by lavishly paying artists. Multi-talented men, like Leonardo Da Vinci and
Michelangelo, amongst others, created classical works modeled on the golden years of ancient Greece and Rome.

In what is now Mexico City, arose Tenochtitlan, an Aztec capitol grander than any European city. Built on marshland in Lake Texcoco, it was an empire built on blood, those of the victims of their wars and those of their human sacrifices to appease their gods. The nobility dined on chocolate, mixing the cocoa beans with honey and nuts.

The Byzantine empire, now weak, fell to the assault of the Mehmed, a 21 year old prince, who conquered Constantinople. After the butchery of priests, women, and children who sought refuge in the church, he made the city the seat of the Ottoman empire, which was to spread its tentacles over vast regions. His palace had a harem of 2,000 women, a stable for 4,000 horses, 10 mosques, 14 baths, two hospitals, and kitchens that could feed up to 10,000 people.

This century, however, was that of the great explorers of the oceans. Vasco de Gama found the Indian Ocean and Christopher Columbus the Atlantic and the lands of America.

In the 16th century, the trend for conquest continued, including the ambitious conquests of religions for men's souls.

A Spanish missionary, Diego de Landa, stationed in Yucatan, converted thousands of Mayans to Christianity and tortured them mercilessly when he discovered that they secretly honored their sacred idols.

In Russia, Ivan the Terrible, extended Muscovite rule from the Baltic to Siberia, ruthlessly crushing all opposition.

In Japan, Hideyoshi, a peasant soldier who rose to a high rank, conquered all the warlords and then dreamed of conquering the world. He created a Japanese navy, and it sailed to Korea. The Koreans, however, squashed his dreams of world dominion by defeating his navy at sea with a secret weapon, ships with dragon heads carved on the prows that breathed out cannon fire. Japan closed its doors to the world and concerned itself with palace intrigues.

In northern India, Akhbar conquered the land and created the Moghul empire. India, in turn, conquered him, seducing him with its exotic culture and diverse religions. Although a Muslim, he created a philosophic blend of the prevailing religions, seeking the truth of the meaning of life through synthesis.

In Europe, a different type of fascination prevailed, one with the oddities of nature collected from all corners of the world by explorers. "Museums of the Universe" were created in rooms full of cabinets. These Cabinets of Curiosities contained weird objects. The most famous collector may have been Emperor Rudolf II of Prague. His collection included a lock of hair from Petrus Gonsalvus, the Hairy Man of Tenerife, and fossils and souvenirs of exotic animals.

In the 17th century, science emerged dramatically and forever changed the fate of humanity, transforming it from superstition to a reason informed by observation and experimentation.

The towering figure of this era was Isaac Newton, who sought to prove the existence of God through cataloging all the rules that governed an ordered universe, from the way an apple fell to the ground to the way a moon navigated the earth in a steady orbit.

Social experimentation also occurred as a colony in Jamestown, Virginia, was established. It would have perished except for the discovery of the marketability of tobacco, a weed used by the Indians. Running out of labor, because of how many settlers died from disease and starvation, slavery proved a means of servicing the new colonies.

Captured in North Africa, slaves were shipped and sold in the Americas, both North and South, and the agricultural products of their labor was shipped to Europe and sold. The money was then used for more expeditions to Africa.

The largest number of slaves were taken to Brazil to cultivate sugar plantations. Their lives were short and brutal, and those that survived the crossing usually died in the first ten years. Slaves who tried to run away were whipped, sliced with knives, and salt, vinegar, and urine was rubbed into their wounds.

While Europe and America prospered, Africa was never to recover.

In Europe, the Netherlands, referred to derisively as "the buttock of the world" by visitors because of its marshland, discovered a way to prosper.
The Dutch found a unique trading advantage by sailing around the whole of Africa and onto the spice islands, taking advantage of the seasonal winds. The South East Asian spice trade conducted by the Dutch East India Company transformed Amsterdam into a rich and artistic city. Women entered business, great painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer were commissioned with the emerging middle class, and merchants lived in grand homes. The Dutch became so wealthy that they slipped into the decadence of conspicuous consumption, trading houses, gold, silver, and other riches for tulips from the Orient.

European science expanded so rapidly that they outstripped Arabic and Chinese eminence in knowledge, and visiting Jesuits proved to the Chinese Emperor that their science could predict planting and harvesting seasons better than that of the Chinese scholars, thus saving China from the famines and national disasters that arose from miscalculations of when the seasons changed.

In the 18th century, revolution and colonialism changed the world forever.

In Europe, science continued to expand, reason overthrew privilege, and religion retreated. After the great earthquake of Lisbon, which leveled the city, two opposing views emerged. The religious view held that this was the wrath of God. The rational view held that man wove his own destiny and needed to control the whims of nature.

Lisbon was rebuilt, but as a testimony to the ideas of the enlightenment. The new streets were geometrically straight and the architecture praised the ideas of balance and symmetry.

The encyclopedia was created to describe the world in a reasonable way, and the catholic church threatened to excommunicate anyone who did not give a copy to their local priest to burn.

Reason itself became a religion in an effort to overthrow the fears and superstitions raised by centuries of religious belief and control. During the French Revolution, the argument that reason outweighed privilege in a just society resulted in a hysteria of Guillotine executions. Just as reason overthrew religiosity, it too was overthrown by an unstoppable rage by the downtrodden masses, manipulated by blood-crazed politicians.

The idea of freedom from rank and privilege, from class structures, caught on in North America, but here reason did not turn to savagery, instead it resulted in freedom, as the settlers overthrew the yoke of the English crown. A new promise was born in the world, the idea that men could enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Yet, not the entire world, was becoming free, India lost it and was enslaved by colonialism. India, rich in natural resources and a manufacturing giant, exporting cotton, tea, and silk attracted the attention of Britain. Imperialism began by taking advantage of the political dissent of rival Indian kingdoms. Only Tipu Sultan of Mysore successfully fought the British off, but they eventually gained the upper hand and demanded the ransom of his two sons. After he had paid the exorbitant ransom amount, they attacked his fortress, killed him in battle, and ransacked the country, looting it and controlling its natural resources.

Just as Africa was never to recover after the slave trade had bled off its population, so too, India, too, was to never prosper again. Her riches were drained westward.

China prospered, colonizing territories to the north and west and rebuilt its agricultural basis with the new labor force of the conquered people. They also became a manufacturing giant, making a fortune by selling tea and porcelain pots and dishes, called China, to the West. British envoys asked the Emperor if the payment could be made in goods instead of money. Although, the Emperor did not desire any Western goods, he allowed foreign trading houses to be set up in China. In the next century, this rash generosity would lead to the fall of China.

In the 19th century, the era of the machine began.

The steam engine transformed the world. Ships no longer had to be powered by sails, and emigration to the New World, North America, rose to the level of millions. The Indians of the plains were overwhelmed, not only by the population invasion, but also by the railways built by Chinese and Irish workers, and the power of the Winchester rifle.
The buffalo population was reduced from 60 million to less than a 1,000 and their way of life was reduced forever. Buffalo Bill created his famous wild west shows, and Indians were transported back to Europe where they enacted the battles of their defeat for the entertainment of Europeans.

Thomas Cook, a British itinerant preacher, created the first multinational company, a tourist business, transporting people through railways and steamships, and tourists explored the newly opened up world, vacationing in exotic locations.

Charles Darwin reluctantly published his book The Origin of Species after he found that another naturalist had discovered the same thing that he did. He had kept the information to himself on how species evolved for 20 years. Now his book shook the religious order.
Europeans had believed that God had made the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th; Darwin showed that not only were they ancient creatures but also related to apes. He was mercilessly lampooned in the popular press, with cartoons depicting his head and posture as ape-like.

But the imperialists hijacked his ideas, invented the idea of Social Darwinism, and colonized Africa, dividing it amongst themselves. The Africans, like the American Indians in North America, were ruthlessly gunned down and subjugated.

China, still the most powerful country in the world, was in for a rude shock. Britain had an unfavorable balance of trade with China, importing silk, porcelain, and tea. China prospered in a magnificent way. Then the British found that the Chinese people liked the opium that they brought over from India. British traders penetrated the water ways of China and sold their opium. Alarmed by an increasingly drug-induced population, where people could be seen lying in the open streets and market places in a stupor, the emperor appointed a high official to stop this trade. After an appeal to Queen Victoria was ignored, the opium from British vessels were seized and destroyed. In retaliation, the British navy invaded China. Britain with its superior technology and weapons won and China was made to pay for the war the British started and five of their chief ports were seized.

Industrialization spread from Europe to the USA to Japan and had powerful social consequences. A new working class emerged, people who slaved over the tireless machines; the damp and filth of their working conditions led to disease. A new struggle began for decent working conditions.

The camera was invented and captured the images of a world that had been completely transformed by the machine.

Toward the close of the century, the first movie was made. It showed a train pulling up to a station and people milling around it. A fitting image to represent the dawning of a new age, the age of the machine forged from the fire and steam of the industrial revolution.

In the 20th century, the world reinvented itself in a way that had no precedent in earlier centuries. It even made the remarkable previous century pale in comparison.

The journey of the exploration of inner space began in the twentieth century. Sigmund Freud explored the unconscious, linked neurosis to the sex drive, and sought to heal the past by examining it in the present. Initially shocked by his ideas, those who read and understood him then spread a new burst of awareness.

In the famous painting, The Scream, Edvard Munch, a Norwegian artist who followed the tradition of French Impressionism, epitomized the anxiety and terror of the human psyche, the grief that arose from recognizing the personal and collective pain in the unconscious mind.

Pablo Picasso's Cubism and Salvador Dali's Surrealism created more waves of awareness about the anguish of the individual soul tormented by the traumas of life, and this imagery of suppressed emotional pain spread even faster through the medium of surrealistic films.

But while a small proportion of artists were making public the existential angst of humanity, other great minds were marveling at the mystery of the universe. Albert Einstein declared that energy and matter could be exchanged, x-rays showed the insides of a living human being, and microscopes and telescopes started to reveal the world of the very small and the very large. In addition, amongst numerous other wonders, science developed contraceptives, giving couples the chance to experience intimacy without the need to raise a new family.

Human genius was on the rise everywhere. Startling discoveries were being made in the sciences that were radically transforming the very essence of human understanding and the way society functioned. But the most startling of them all, was the power of the atom. By isolating the atom and smashing it, an enormous power of unimaginable magnitude was to cast a shadow on the world for the rest of the century.

Before the nuclear shadow fell on humankind, total war had already been invented by the industrial age during the first world war.

The first world war escalated human territoriality and aggression to an industrial scale. The mechanical energy that had been used to transform humanity from an agrarian and localized population to an industrialized and globally expanding population was now used for wholesale slaughter. Man became the victim of his own machines. Armaments could be manufactured on a large and rapid scale. The lethal invention of the gun now became the even deadlier machine gun; in the few seconds it took to kill one man, now a dozen could be killed.

But this was only the beginning of mass-scale suffering because never in the history of humankind had evil men had the means to exploit and destroy so many people so efficiently.

Joseph Stalin initiated the collective farms of communism. Under his interpretation of the ideology of communism, 22 million people died in the labor camps of his slave empire.

The Japanese invaded China in 1937 and slaughtered 60 million Chinese.

Adolph Hitler promised the German people the restoration of their honor and self-respect after the humiliation of Germany's earlier defeat and the penalty imposed upon them by their victorious enemies. Nazi Germany slaughtered another 50 million. 27 million of these were Soviet citizens. Six million were European Jews. They were systematically captured, stripped of all human dignity and murdered with ruthless efficiency.

Yet the havoc that was unleashed by the machinery of the industrial age was only the beginning of the flagrant abuse of raw power.

After the first atomic bomb was tested in Los Alamos, the chief scientist Robert Oppenheimer quoted a passage in the Bhagavad-Gita, "Now I have become death and the destroyer of worlds." The scientists were shocked at what they had discovered. America introduced an unfathomable nightmare: the potential to destroy every living creature on earth.

The second world war had leveled down many previously flourishing cities through continuous bombing over months like Rotterdam, Dresden, and Tokyo, but when the atomic bomb was dropped by America on Japan, two whole cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were leveled in seconds.

Despite the overwhelming violence of these horrors, human cruelty continued unabated on a scale that had never ever before been witnessed in History.

Mao-tse Tung promising the Chinese people "a great leap forward," publicly humiliated landowners, initiated widescale persecution and torture on anyone who disagreed with him and gave the land to the peasants. These peasants overworked the soil, creating a famine of immense proportions and 30 million Chinese starved to death.

In Cambodia, Pol Pot, waged a war on his own people and one out of three Cambodians was murdered.

In Cambodia, Viet Nam, Rwanda, and Kosovo the bloodbath was relentless.

War had become remote, precise, and deadly. Human beings had become the cruelest and most savage creatures ever to have walked upon the earth. Even the Dinosaurs that once roamed the earth in the distant past did not have the same vicious intensity. They killed to survive, but human beings killed because of wounded pride. Intelligence enlisted to satisfy dark human drives created unspeakable suffering.

Yet somehow, remarkably, humanity, despite its new penchant for efficient slaughter, as a whole, still continued to progress.

Around 1950, America's statue of liberty became a symbol of hope for immigrants from around the world. With their zestful energy they infused renewed life into the country. Some of these immigrants were the greatest scientists in the world, including Albert Einstein; others transformed the New World through backbreaking labor. The result of this influx of brilliance and massive effort transformed the United States into a formidable economic and military power. To the rest of the world, exhausted and depleted by the aftermath of war, everything appeared bigger and better in America. It boasted taller buildings, bigger cars, a vast network of roads and railways, and a love for innovation and technology. America became the new hope, its vision of a promising new humanity dominating the rest of the world.

However a migrational shift existed across the whole world. Those who could not travel abroad moved in large numbers from the country to the city. Calcutta became overwhelmed with a population of 10 million people; Tokyo swelled as millions of country people became urban dwellers; and in the 18,000 square miles of Mexico city, an urban sprawl spread.

All over the world, in rich and poor countries, cities became highly attractive: a place for greater wealth, broader freedom, and more excitement. Running out of room, cities began to grow upwards, becoming vertical, climate-controlled, and neon-lit. Their growth was due to a flight from the poverty experienced in the countryside and the lure of the promise of living in a consumer paradise. Shanty towns became common place around the fringes of many cities in the developing world, and the gap between the rich and the poor widened, with women becoming the poorest of the world's citizens.

Europe having exhausted its resources and population in colonization and total war now experienced an influx of the people whom they had subjugated. In the spread of imperialism, ties had been made with the conquered people. For example, Asians from India, Pakistan, East Africa, and Trinidad made England their new home. In Wembley, North London, the local Hindu people imported a magnificent temple, stone by precious stone, from their native country.

In the United States, too, migration continued, not only from overseas and from the country to the city, but also from its borders. Los Angeles has the largest Mexican population outside Mexico city. Preserving their cultural traditions, the growing Hispanic population is slowly changing the European mix of America into a Latino one.

After its victory in the Second World War, the United States became the strongest economy on the earth. Besides the influx of new ideas and labor from immigrants, the emphasis on science and technology created a revolution in telecommunications. Radio, television, Hollywood movies, satellites, and advertising from America influenced the rest of the world. American celebrities became popular everywhere, from the songs of Elvis Presley to the fights of Muhammad Ali. A celebrity in America usually became an international celebrity. Towards the last decade of the century, America initiated the network of computers that we now know as the world wide web.

Communications created the first sense of a global community. Everyone was able to see everyone else and share common human interests and values. 200 million people watched the wedding of Princess Diana and a little over two billion watched her funeral. During the final World Cup Soccer match in 1998, 2 billion people watched it on television. With the advent of the mobile telephone, anybody on any street in the world could talk to anyone else anywhere on the planet.

Besides the thrill of watching each other, the human race also had a chance to watch itself. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the lunar expeditions was not pictures of a dead moon but the pictures of a living planet. Humanity began to see itself for the first time as a single species, rather than a collection of warring factions. From space, the planet looked like a big, blue marble floating in inky darkness. People noticed more ocean than land, the absence of any political borders, and the possibility of multinational friendships and the sharing of common experiences. Besides seeing itself, humanity also vicariously experienced the thrill of watching their home planet as a whole. Listening in to the astronauts live broadcast, they shared in their sense of awe.

While the balance of power shifted from Europe to North America, it then slowly began to shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific Rim. American supremacy was being challenged by the countries of the East.

One thousand years ago, Japan was isolated; in the 20th Century it started becoming an economic super-power.

Similarly, other "tiger economies" also erupted around the Pacific, with Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore creating cities that rivaled the cosmopolitan grandeur of North America. In Singapore, for example, the island has become a metropolis whose breathtaking skyline is only rivaled by that of Shanghai.

One thousand years ago, the silk roads to China led to the most refined civilization on earth. China had already invented printing, paper currency, the compass, the water clock and gunpowder. In the 21st Century, it is poised to become the new global super-power, because of huge foreign investments, particularly from Chinese living overseas, as well as the money generated by its population of one billion people.

The greatest dilemma of the future is not our powerlessness, but our power, and not our stupidity, but our immense intelligence.

We have used industrial and nuclear power to create the terror that made the terror of Genghis Khan, Timor, and other megalomaniacs of previous centuries look like amateurs.

We have also built up cities, explored space and our own minds and hearts, migrated closer to each other, and shared technology and communication.

In our most glorious century, we have known both the agony of wide scale destruction and the joy of rebirth.

We have seen what we all look like and shared our fondest cultural snapshots with each other.

It seems that in the last century of the last millennium everything changed for humanity.

Sigmund Freud exposed our dark human instincts. Evil men dominated whole nations and slaughtered millions. Conquering people began to coexist with those that they had once subjugated. Economic power shifted from one part of the globe to another. And the rate of knowledge expanded at a bewildering pace. Never before had humankind experienced so much, learned so much, and been exposed to so much raw power that it had learned to harness from nature.

In this new century we find ourselves experiencing an expansion of the cultural and global patterns we created earlier, and our greatest strength, our raw power and unsurpassed intelligence, can also turn out be our demise as a planet.

Through the past 1,000 years, humanity has suffered immensely through widespread pestilence, freakish changes in weather, wholesale slaughter instigated by ambitious men, and political and economic oppression. Much of our history has been founded on death and destruction, rape, humiliation, and torture. Human beings repeatedly proved themselves more cruel and savage than any other animal on the planet. This trend still continues in war regions around the globe.

Humanity has survived despite the disasters of the past. But now things must change because another epidemic, another change in weather, or another war is enough to end it all because the world is much more populated and much more closely knit.

Now in the 21st century, we see that in order to evolve we have to give up religious intolerance, territorial aggression, and the lust for power and dominion. The barbaric element in human nature has to die out. The combination of megalomaniacs as well as the sheep-like obedience of the masses created unspeakable misery. Ironically, many of these megalomaniacs are worshipped as heroes in their countries to this day, from Genghis Khan of the Mongols all the way to Hideyoshi of Japan. Perceived as "strong men" their atrocities and cruelties forgotten, they are celebrated in songs, dramas, and ceremonial rituals. Many of them were extremely pious men, like Timor or Mehmed the Conqueror, who built mosques with the same fervor with which they slaughtered and tortured their enemies.

If humanity has made it through all the centuries, it has not been because of its heroes, who followed a pattern of brutal conquest followed by eras of law-giving to preserve their gains, but despite them. It is the saints and the thinkers who allowed knowledge to be preserved and transmitted until it has expanded to be what it is today.

We must cultivate the virtues of curiosity, intelligence, and consideration. None of this is new. It has been preached by avatars, prophets, philosophers and scholars for centuries.

As the communication tools of technology become more sophisticated across the globe so does the grasp and power of big government and corporations, leading to the possibility of a new serfdom.

Eventually our problems will be too big for any one government to handle and a world government will evolve, but will it be a totalitarian government, where all citizens are electronically tagged and controlled with ruthless efficiency, an Orwellian nightmare, or will it be more like Athens, where genius and creativity birthed whole new visions of what was possible.

In a nutshell, a whole new design is in the making and each of us can play a small role in making a difference to the welfare of the whole of humanity.

A brave new world awaits us and each of us most do our part to birth it. Generations yet unborn depend on it. Unless humanity evolves to become more intelligent and peace-loving, we will not survive past this century. The next 100 years will be ones of pivotal change. Will it be change for good or ill? As the forces of change accelerate, we will experience a psychedelic pandemonium, which if left unchecked will create hellish conditions for all, unless we take the time now to perceive the subtle order that arises from wisdom and kindness.

If human history were a game of chess, the last 1,000 years could be considered the middle game, and the present time we are moving into is the end game. If human decency prevails, we have a chance to win. Looking at our past, we see our savagery and stupidity far outweighed the glimmer of intelligence and humanitarianism. Perhaps, it can change.

A brave new world awaits those who will rise to be intelligent enough to work its transformation. This intelligence will not be only of the mind, but of the heart as well, an intelligence of compassion.

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Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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Monday, January 08, 2007

The Greatest Invention In History

Before we get to what is the greatest invention in the history of the world, we should visit Germany in 1447. In that time, a goldsmith and printer, Johannes Gutenberg, created the Gutenberg printing press. This technology spread like wildfire throughout Europe and then on to the rest of the world.

The impact of it is comparable to the invention of the alphabet and the development of writing.

Prior to the printing of books on a massive scale, books were painstakingly copied. This resulted in both fewer books and also more inaccurate books, because the copying of the original changed from one version to the next. In addition, since in Europe, Latin was the language of scholars, only a small population could even read them. When books were printed, popular European vernaculars were used to communicate to a wider audience.

Our next evolutionary leap was creating a medium of instant publication and a worldwide audience. This is the World Wide Web.

It may be as significant a leap in the consciousness of humankind as was Albert Einstein's revolutionary reinterpretation of the Universe. Despite the brilliance of Isaac Newton's work, the new theory of the Universe changed the consciousness of humankind forever.

The World Wide Web may very well be the greatest invention in history. Tim Berners-Lee has invented something that reminds one of a multifaceted diamond. When you look at each face, you discover a new reality.

One face of the World Wide Web is like The Glass Bead Game.

In his Nobel Prize winning novel, Magister Ludi, The Glass Bead Game, Hermann Hesse defined the nature of knowledge and intelligence in a beautiful metaphor. He described it as a game where pieces were played on a board.

"The Glass Bead Game is a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture. All the insights, noble thoughts and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concept and converted into intellectual values, the Glass Bead Game player plays like an organist on an organ."

Like the Glass Bead Game, the World Wide Web ranges over the entire intellectual cosmos.

Another face of the World Wide Web is like the marketplace of Ancient Athens. Here democracy evolved in its purest state. People talked to each other, shared information, challenged points-of-view, and understood each other. This informal gathering of thinkers birthed one of the most significant early cultures of the Western World.

Because there are so many contributors to the World Wide Web, neither governments nor corporations nor media organizations have much control over it. Blogging, especially, has evolved to a place where absolute candor is possible. In addition, writers are free to wax eloquent in their pdf or exe files without waiting for somebody to approve the marketability of their ideas. Discussion groups for everything under the sun exist. Then there are the social networking websites, like You Tube and others, where all kinds of opinions are expressed through videos. Never in the history of humanity has it been possible for the common man or woman to speak their mind to so many people in complete freedom.

Another face of the World Wide Web is like The Great Books of the Western World series.

The quintessence of the value of that series has been captured by the original associate editor, the late Mortimer Adler.

He said that to read them was to be involved in a great conversation because it was like "authors sitting around a table in the same room--totally oblivious to the circumstances of their own time, place and diversity of tongues--confronting each other in agreement, disagreement or otherwise differing about what they have to say on the subject. The sessions of the conference thus imagined would take many days, months, perhaps even years, for it would cover the whole range of ideas and issues that are the objects and concerns of human understanding, always and everywhere."

As you surf from one website to another, from one discussion board to another, or as you communicate instantly by email, is this not like a great conversation that informs your mind and feeds your soul?

Finally, another face of the World Wide Web is like A Global Brain.

Philosophers from Plato to Aristotle, from Thomas Aquinas to Herbert Spencer have always considered knowledge to be a unity, where everything is potentially connectable to everything else. The human brain is a powerhouse of networks of infinite complexity, where every neuron has the potentiality to connect with every other. Similarly, knowledge itself, as described by writer James Burke, is "a gigantic and ever-growing sphere in space and time, made up of millions of interconnecting, crisscrossing pathways."

Knowledge has never been so linked together as it is now on the World Wide Web.

The World Wide Web is growing organically, like a great shout of unity across the world. Perhaps each day, we who use it, are reinventing the freedom of speech that once existed in ancient Athens, a freedom which will lead to a whole new world of creativity for everyone.

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Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Do You Get Dumber As You Grow Older?

You have brains enough to run a galaxy. What are you doing with it?

If you were to count all the synapses in your brain, pointed out Nobel-prizing winning neuroscientist Gerald Edelman, it would take more than 32 million years.

The number of possible neuronal circuits in your brain is even more astonishing:
10 followed by 1,000,000 zeros.

To put this into context, the number of particles in the known universe is 10 followed by 79 zeros.

Ironically, despite this enormous potential, many people not only discount the power of their brain, but they fail to keep it in shape.

The myth that the amount of intelligence you have developed as an adult is somehow fixed has long been discounted in science. Research now shows that the brain is plastic.
Just as when you exercise, you develop more muscle fibers, so, too, when you use your brain more, you develop more neuronal circuits.

When you learn something new, your brain changes. New connections are formed. As you learn more and more about a subject, the thicker these connections, until you have a trunk line and some level of mastery on that subject. However, when you discontinue learning about that subject, those connections atrophy.

This is why an adult may know a lot less about a certain subject than someone in High School, even if they had studied the same thing. The brain of the High School student is developing connections, while the adult brain is atrophying them.

Physical fitness is something you notice right away. You know when you are out of shape. You can see it, feel it, sensate it. With the brain, it is more subtle. You have a tendency to forget more often. You are only interested in simple books and programs because you find comprehension a challenge. You think learning new things is boring. All these are symptoms of an out-of-shape brain.

It is not necessary to be older either to have an out-of-shape brain. Many people in their twenties, fed on a diet of superficial conversations, undemanding media exposure, and a disdain for any intellectual pursuit, show all the symptoms of inefficient brain functioning.

Age is often used as an excuse to neglect your brain. Again, another myth is responsible for it. The myth is that your brain is in a gradual state of atrophy. Your brain cells like your physical cells are aging rapidly. Actually, even if this were true, there is such an abundance of brain cells that it should not even make any noticeable difference.

The brain is plastic and it grows with use. The older you are, the more chances are that you have built a significant neuronet of ideas. It is actually possible to grow smarter as you grow older because you have more associations built up in your brain and therefore it is easier to grasp something. You don't have to start from scratch. You have internal references in place already.

Even after a neuronet on any subject has atrophied due to neglect, it can quickly be restored. Just as muscle-memory allows an out-of-shape athlete to get back into shape with exercise, so too does restudying your favorite subject quickly make you an expert at it again.

The most powerful youthing formula is doing mental exercises. Studies have shown that those seniors who play chess, card games, solve puzzles, or pursue an interesting hobby, not only have a great attitude, but they are also biologically younger than others of the same chronological age.

The idea that you get dumber as you grow older, it is just not true. Those who are considered "knowledge workers" are as sharp in their older years, then when they were younger. Einstein, for example, was still working out problems in Physics on the day he died.

In some older cultures, wise men are portrayed as old. They are imagined with long white hair and long white beards. In those cultures they understand that an older person has had more time to learn more things.

In Western cultures, older people are portrayed as senile. They are tolerated, rather than respected. This new archetype is a destructive one. Those who embrace it, even unconsciously, come to live it out.

Senility is a condition of atrophy due to brain neglect. This neglect eventually results in some form of physical manifestation, a variety of organic damage and dementia.

Senility is not a symptom of old age, but a symptom of prolonged neglect.

Getting your brain in shape is a lot easier and faster than getting your body in shape. Your brain does not tire and it grows fitter faster.

It is not possible to lead a full, significant, and happy life if you are in poor mental shape.
The good news is that all it takes to become an interesting, vibrant, and progressive person is to start to exercise your brain.

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Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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Friday, January 05, 2007

Are You Asleep?

People are often accused of being asleep. This assertion is made by people who believe that they are awake.

Is this just a metaphor used to launch a pejorative statement?

Or is it, like the difference between waking hours and sleeping hours, a condition where awareness is partially or completely absent?

Actually, it appears to be more than a metaphor and also a part of the human condition to be asleep.

Here are five ways we are all asleep.

One, we fail to notice things.

Due to the way our brains work, our minds can only notice a few possibilities out of an infinite sea. There are many reasons for this phenomena. Despite having 15 billion brain cells, the bulk of these are used for unconscious processes.

Brain lateralization is one reason, for example.

The left brain sees things differently from the right brain. And most people favor one over the other due to cultural bias.

The left brain focuses on language, mathematics, logic, numbers, sequence, linearity, and analysis.

The right brain focuses on forms and patterns, spatial manipulation, rhythm, musical appreciation, imagination, and daydreaming.

Those who do use both sides, communicating ideas between the corpus callosum, are those who have adopted special measures to override the cultural bias, like meditation, to create whole brain thinking.

Two, in a literal sense, the world is not what it appears to be. We appear to live in a world of spaces and objects, but actually this is an illusion created by the brain and the sense organs.

The smallest thing that we can see is made up of atoms. To see the atoms in a tennis ball, we would have to blow it up to the size of the earth. The atoms in it would then be the size of grapes.

If you were to now blow up an atom to see it more clearly, you would have to make it the size of a 14 story building. The largest part in the atom, the nucleus, would be the size of a grain of salt. However, since this is 2,000 times bigger than an electron, these would be the size of dust particles.

The real world is mainly empty space, punctuated by bits of matter, whose real nature are not hard bits of something but patterns of vibrations.

Three, we think of many things throughout the day, but most of this thinking is done in imaginary time. Imaginary time is the past, where things, events, people, and places have ceased to be. Sometimes they have passed away from our sense perceptions. Sometimes they may not exist at all. When we project the memory of the past into the future, we spend time in an imagined state where things will be different for us.

The only real time is now. The only real place is here. However, are awareness is seldom on the here and now. While maintaining enough of our consciousness to be rooted and functioning in the present, we frequently drift of into imaginary time.

The only difference between day dreaming and night dreaming is the intensity of our inner images. During the day, we are partially aware that we are not in imaginary time, and our experiences have a certain order to them. During the night, or when we are asleep in bed, we are completely aware of only imaginary time and our experiences have no clear logic, and one experience can transform into another within seconds and without an explanation.

A fourth way, we are asleep is because we think that our consciousness is our own. This may not be true. Our thoughts are only borrowed from the general thoughts of all humankind. Further, we may all share in a collective unconscious. Thus, all our thoughts are only variations on the theme promoted by our environment and our cultural conditioning on what things mean.

Finally, a fifth way we are asleep is that we assume that there are only four dimensions to reality, the three of space and the one of time. But both mystics and physicists often speak of the possibility of other dimensions

If we are all asleep, then, is an enlightened person awake?

Only in a relative sense. They know they are dreaming, while everyone else is convinced that their dream is real. In a way, an enlightened person, is like a lucid dreamer, while others are convinced that all this sound and fury called life means something and that the hour we strut upon the stage is of some great significance.

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Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

How To Create A Golden Age

The entire universe is measured out by an intelligent process. It is an ultra rational scheme. From the singularity that shaped the world that we now know to the final collapse of all galaxies under their own gravitational weight, this intelligence is at work.

While the universe is energy, it is organized energy, and it is this capacity to organize that we call intelligence.

This intelligence extends from the orbit around a nucleus to the orbit around a planet. It whispers into birth the growth of a blade of grass with as much ease as it fashions the borders of the Milky Way. Nothing is beyond its ken. Without it, nothing can be. With it, everything is.

The universe is a grand design. The designing force that shapes it, the abstract intelligence that fashions its infinite structures, the animation that makes life possible is what human beings call divinity.

The nature of this divinity is not known, despite the eons of literature about it. Most literature has defined it as an anthropomorphic principle and some have defined it as an incomprehensible abstraction. Ultimately, the only thing these ideas define is their authors. The Tao that can be spoken of is not the Tao that is.

Nevertheless, however, we conceive of divinity, it would not be unreasonable to assert that as human beings we appear to be both shareholders of the design and the designer. We are shareholders in the design because we are as embodied as any other creature on this planet and our elements are the same elements as the earth. We are shareholders in the designer because like it, we are intelligent, capable of organizing nature into new forms, transforming sand into a glass or a microchip, or a roving band of Neanderthals into a civilization-creating species of homo sapiens.

Despite the intelligence that organizes energy, an interesting illusion exists: that the subset intelligence is independent of the universal intelligence. This is an illusion because without the universal, the subset has no ground of being. It is a pervasive illusion, and may be better called a hallucination.

This hallucination exists despite the obvious symbiotic network of relationships identified by biologists, despite the probing of physicists that show that all particles are in instantaneous communication, and despite the experience that survival is not possible without cooperation. Yes, despite nothing but evidence of the unified nature of all things, animate and inanimate, microcosmic and macrocosmic, human beings persist in the notion of separation.

This idea is the source of all grief. Yet, like a hallucination, no argument can dispense with it. We believe in what we see even when it is not there. Ultimately, it may even be considered a form of insanity, an insistence in mistaking the imaginary for the real.

However, the universe is a self-regulating organism.

The instrument of this regulation is so disarmingly simple that it is often overlooked.

It is simply this:

What you do unto others is what you do unto yourself.

Here is what it means:

A malicious thought, one designed to hurt another creature, is your own nemesis. Similarly, a benevolent thought, is your own blessing.

In the moral universe, it is as irrefutable as the law in the physical universe that states that light is the absolute speed limit.

In this sense, it is a constant. It keeps the balance of all things and to deny it is to suffer the consequences of that ignorance.

This simple formula regulates all things. It is an absolute law. And it is an obvious one.

A single moment of reflection about your own or cultural history will reveal evidence for it.

Yet despite this self-regulating constant, only the wise notice it and align with it. Since these are few in numbers, an insane world of human affairs exists, where those who lust for power and control over others do not see that as they smite their enemies, as they abuse their victims, and as they violate the dignity of those who are perceived to be somehow different and inferior, they place a curse on their own heads.

It is the denial of this self-regulating constant that allows infamy and injustice to perpetuate itself eon after eon.

The only way the ills of this world will reverse themselves is to use the constant in a way to perpetuate the greatest good for the greatest number. Individually, this is experienced as an abundant life, where all the riches of experience appear to miraculously shower themselves upon you. Culturally, this is experienced as a renaissance, a golden age, a time when happiness is not an idea but an experience.

Why does this constant appear invisible when its dynamics are everywhere?

Perhaps it's simplicity makes it complex. Those who inflict their own pain upon others are diligent in the pursuit of their own destruction. Pushed to an extreme rebellion against it, the race of humankind will destroy itself. Yet the opposite is equally possible. Intelligence might prevail, the constant will be noticed, and like a flower blossoming, the self-corrective measure will be embraced, adopted, and make manifest a pleasant world to live in.

Resource Box

Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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