The Wim Hof Method

The Wim Hof Method (WHM) is a meditation, exercise and cold endurance practice that has been scientifically proven to enable people to control their autonomic nervous system, immune system, combat illness, and become extraordinarily healthy, happy, strong and fully energised.

The method was developed by Wim Hof, a Dutchman whose impressive abilities, often under conditions of extreme cold, have earned him the nickname ‘The Iceman’.

He has accumulated more than 20 world records, including climbing the world’s highest mountains in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, running a full marathon in the Namib Desert without drinking, and standing in a container of ice for more than 112 minutes.

The three main components of the WHM are breathing, mindset and cold therapy.

The WHM is similar to Tummo (inner heat) meditation and Pranayama (yogic breathing); yet it is also something completely different. Hof has studied yoga and meditation techniques for many years, but his method comes from what he calls “cold hard nature”.

Through training and listening to his body, mind and spirit in hard natural environments, he has developed a meditation technique that enables people to overcome mental and physical illness in a way that defies scientific convention.

In 2012, the results of two studies carried out on Wim Hof by the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands were published.

He first participated in an 80-minute full body ice immersion and was next injected with components of E-coli bacteria which usually induce headache, fever, nausea and muscle pain.

The results showed that Hof was able to control his autonomic nervous system and innate immune system by regulating his body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure in ice, and suppressing the effects of the E-coli bacteria.

Hof only suffered a mild headache at the time when the symptoms should have been their strongest. The results also showed that Hof produced less than half the number of inflammatory proteins in comparison to test subjects.

A 2013 study (results published in 2014 and 2015) showed that people who practise the WHM for only 10 days are also able to use breathing and mindset (or “outcome expectancy optimism”) techniques to voluntarily influence the sympathetic nervous system, control the fight or flight response, and reduce the negative effects of the same E-coli bacteria.

The body temperature and influenza (flu) symptoms of the WHM test subjects were far less than the control group, normalised much faster, and far fewer inflammatory proteins were produced.

A  2014 report in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine found that a group of 26 trekkers trained in the WHM were able to prevent and, if needed, reverse symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS) while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The participants “aged 29 to 64 years” were “nonathletes with little or no prior climbing experience, inhabitants of low altitudes, some with typically handicapping diagnoses such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and metastasized cancer”.

The mainstream medical narrative states that the autonomic nervous system and immune system cannot be willingly regulated; the WHM method proves this to be incorrect, and a standard issue 3rd year university text book now acknowledges this in the USA.

Recently, a 2018 brain imaging study designed to generate mild hypothermia in Wim Hof and a control group found that the WHM changes brain activity, activating pain/cold stimuli modulation, as well as areas of the brain associated with self-reflection, internal focus and sustained attention in the presence of averse external stimuli.

A downloadable official e-book, weekly podcast and a fan-made animation video explain the fascinating science behind how the WHM works, and the importance of each component.

The video also explains the method itself, while the e-book explains how the method differs from other meditation techniques, and how it benefits people with auto-immune disease, heart or vascular disease, and obesity.

Multiple video testimonials demonstrate how the WHM helps with illnesses such as diabetes, lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as progressive wound healing in burn victims, and much more.

The official website explains many other benefits, including boosting the immune system and concentration, improving mental health, creativity and sleep, increasing will power and sports performance, and relieving symptoms of stress, depression, arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

There are many other completed and ongoing studies on the WHM, and the method is also being used as a tool to go into other meditation practices more deeply and as a tool to explore dream-state consciousness.

In a 2010 TEDx Talk in Amsterdam, Wim Hof explains:

My mission is to show that … We got healing power. We really got it, but if we block it because we say “yeah I cannot heal myself. I need to go to the doctor” .. then you won’t have access towards your own healing power.

In a 2015 TEDxYouth Talk in Maastricht, he continues:

The only goal on this planet, this beautiful planet, actually is to become spiritually aware … Our spirit wants to evolve, grow, become strong and expand and become happy therein. There is only happiness from living from this belief, feeling, within the depth of our being.

In a 2015 TEDx Talk in Breda, he concludes:

It’s time that we not only develop beautiful technology, amazing technology, but we become this time happy, strong and healthy, and we got the data to prove that it is possible for every person in this world, very accessible just in a couple of days. …

Any scripture tells compassion and love – that’s the message. [yet] They only fight. This time we are going to show scientifically that we are able to make happen our own happiness, strength and health for our children and for the Earth.

The Method

Sit (or lie) in a comfortable position.

Breathe 30 times by sucking deeply through the mouth or nose and releasing most (not all) of the air through the mouth. Focus on the breathing.

On the 30th breath, release and then stop breathing. The body is charged with oxygen. Focus on the sensations in the body. Imagine the body healing itself. Explore your state of consciousness at this time.

When you feel the need to breathe again, take a deep breath in and swallow that oxygen deep into the body. If needed, direct it to where the body needs healing/heat. Feel any aches or pains reduce. Hold for 10-15 seconds (or longer if you wish).

Repeat the 30 breath cycle 2 more times. On the final cycle, release the air and do push ups. Use your mindset to focus only on the push ups. With the cells and muscles charged with oxygen, you will find you can do more dynamic stretches than usual.

Do some mobility stretches (e.g. yoga) in this state. Take deep steady breaths in and out and focus on the mind/body connection. Your body will be able to stretch further but be careful not to overstretch and cause yourself an injury.

Finish with cold therapy. You can take steady deep breaths in and out, imagine a ball of heat in your body (e.g. in the stomach), and/or take 5 deep WHM breaths (breathing out without fully letting go) then squeezing the oxygen into the chest, neck and head to create heat.

The goal is to gradually introduce your body to cold exposure. Start with a warm shower and finish with a cold shower for a few seconds, or turn the water back to warm and back to cold. Start with the feet and hands first. Then the legs, stomach, shoulders etc. When you are ready, you can try a cold bath.

Always listen to your own body, mind and spirit (intuition). You can increase the breathing repetitions and number of breaths to go deeper (but do not pass out), and increase push ups, stretches and length of cold exposure over time.

You can also experiment with Win Hof’s unique breathing technique for deeper stretches explained via videos as part of the mobile app. Make the whole process about learning, discovering your own body/mind/spirit connection, and having fun.

The end goal will be an ice bath; then exploring ice-cold temperatures in nature. Cold exposure is important for the full cardiovascular health benefits, and you will eventually be able to control your body’s core temperature, innate immune response, and experience a deep inner connection between your own mind/body/spirit and nature, but it is not a competition so continue at your own pace.

The WHM breathing, mindset (focus) practice and controlled exercises/stretches are already scientifically extremely beneficial, for example in enhancing mood, mobility and energy levels while decreasing inflammation and pain, so they are a perfect place to start.

Safety Information

There are 3 official online e-learning courses available, as well as official in-person workshops worldwide; there are also many videos online from official Wim Hof Instructors and serious practitioners, e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, but the technique is very simple and can be viewed in the video below, and via the free WHM mobile app, so explore the science, learn the practice, experience its benefits, and have fun becoming superhuman.

Source: https://www.wimhofmethod.com

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Yahoo!

Abstract

This research article demonstrates that Yahoo! is a personal and global health risk. Yahoo! now holds the three time record for the the largest cybersecurity breaches of all time and is the first confirmed company to willingly agree to let the U.S. government scan and collect information from all of their users. This article investigates what happened, and concludes with a simple solution for everyone that promotes personal and global wellness – use encryption.

Introduction

The cyber attacks on Yahoo! occurred back in 2013 and 2014, but Yahoo! first informed the public of these attacks in September 2016 and December 2016.

Names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, passwords and security questions and answers were accessed from all Yahoo! services, including Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Groups, Flickr and Tumblr.

All of their 3 billion users were affected, some of whom on two occasions, but in between these two announcements, another revelation occurred.

Incoming emails from all 3 billion Yahoo! users’ accounts were also systematically scanned by the U.S. government in 2015. This time with Yahoo!’s cooperation.

Some 43 consumer class-action lawsuits have since been filed against the company.

According to the World Health Organization:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The potential stress Yahoo! may have caused to any number of their 3 billion users around the world, as well as any number of non-Yahoo! users who sent emails to Yahoo! users, make them a global public health hazard, but the mainstream narrative focused on Verizon consequently paying less to buy Yahoo!, and CEO Marissa Mayer having to forfeit her annual bonus and stock award.

Research

Yahoo! announces the largest user data breach in history.

Sept 2016 and Yahoo! announced that “at least 500 million user accounts” had been hacked in 2014.

Having retrieved names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, passwords and security questions and answers, it was hailed by the media as one of the largest cybersecurity breaches of all time.

The company said they believed a “state-sponsored actor” was behind the data breach, meaning an individual acting on behalf of a foreign government. They did not state which government. The FBI said that is was investigating.

Yahoo! collaborates with U.S. government to spy on user emails.

October 2016 and Reuters revealed that Yahoo! users once again were having their emails accessed without their knowledge. This time by the U.S. government.

The FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) approached Yahoo! to build a custom software program to read all of their users’ incoming emails. Because all incoming email messages were targeted, this program spied on every person who emailed a Yahoo! Mail account, implying every Yahoo! Mail user is guilty and violating the privacy of people around the world.

The program was in operation by May 2015 and was designed to search all incoming emails for a specific string or digital ‘signature’. This could be a phrase in an email or an attachment. When that ‘signature’ was found, that email or attachment was then copied and sent to the relevant U.S. intelligence agency server.

Both Reuters and The New York Times stated that this is the first known case of a U.S. internet company agreeing to the systemic scanning of all arriving messages and real-time data collection at an intelligence agency’s request, as well as the first known time that a new program was created to do so.

The New York Times wrote:

News of the order has opened a new chapter in a public debate over the trade-offs between security needs and privacy rights that has cast a spotlight on the sometimes cooperative, sometimes antagonistic relationship between Silicon Valley companies and the United States government.

Yahoo! did not need to cooperate.

Yahoo! complied with a classified U.S. government edict. According to Liza Goitein, co-director of the National Security Program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, “If Fisa is being used for mass surveillance that creates a whole other problem”.

FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, can allow the secret national security court to issue such an edict, but a specific target should be identified, and section 702 of FISA exclusively applies to agents of a foreign power located outside the United States.

The NSA and FBI used FISA to justify the global top secret mass surveillance programmes tracking foreign nationals and U.S. citizens revealed by Edward Snowdon in 2013; yet these programmes remain unconstitutional.

“This is another example of how the government is pushing secretly novel or innovative interpretations of surveillance law” to conduct wiretapping in broader ways than the public realise, said Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society.

“It is deeply disappointing that Yahoo declined to challenge this sweeping surveillance order, because customers are counting on technology companies to stand up to novel spying demands in court”, Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

Yahoo! announces the (2nd) largest user data breach in history.

Then just two months later, in December 2016, Yahoo! announced they had discovered another major cyber attack had taken place in 2013.

The Gaurdian explained that this second “state-sponsored” attack had affected more than 1 billion user accounts, making this one the “biggest data breach in history”.

Yahoo! announces the (3rd) largest user data breach in history.

October 2017 and Yahoo! revealed that every one of their 3 billion accounts had been affected by the 2013 data theft, tripling their earlier estimate and making this new number “the largest breach in history”.

This means that every Yahoo! user’s account information was retrieved, and that means all of their Yahoo! services could have been accessed, including Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Groups, Flickr and Tumblr.

Although Yahoo! claim neither of these attacks breached the system where user payment card and bank account details are stored, the fact that all Yahoo! services became vulnerable means that any account numbers, log in details or other private details found in every Yahoo! user’s personal emails could also have been retrieved.

“For years I have been urging friends and family to migrate off of Yahoo email, mainly because I watched for years as the company appeared to fall far behind its peers in blocking spam and other email-based attacks”, states security researcher Brian Krebs.

Yahoo! is responsible for jeopardising their own users’ safety.

March 2017 and Yahoo! disclosed the results of an internal investigation which found that CEO Marissa Mayer had reacted too slowly, other executives had “failed to act sufficiently” and the companies legal department had also been negligent.

It was revealed that the company’s security team had identified that a hacker had accessed the 500 million or more user accounts at the time of the attack back in 2014. Yet Yahoo! chose to notify only 26 users that their accounts had been breached. They informed the rest 2 years later.

The mistake was nevertheless repeated again. In October 2017, when Yahoo! announced that all 3 billion of their users were hacked in 2013, and not 1 billion users as previously stated, the company said they will begin alerting accounts that were not previously notified of the attack. They also stated that “in connection with Yahoo’s December 2016 announcement of the August 2013 theft, Yahoo took action to protect all accounts”.

The action that they took was to ask 1 billion users from the 3 billion affected to change their passwords. This does not protect users from being hacked. All users had passwords before.

Being the first of the big email providers to encrypt their services so that user information cannot be read by anyone would be protection.

But as security researcher Kurt Baumgartner from Kaspersky Lab explains:

The company has demonstrated that it isn’t quick to implement best practices and available security technologies, such as the delay in encrypting IM communications, implementing https for its web properties and more. These types of breaches highlight why all companies, need to be cybersecurity leaders, not followers.

Conclusion

Whoever hacked Yahoo!, whether state-sponsored or not, the facts are that the company did not inform all of their users in 2014, and they did not inform all of their users again in 2016, leaving the safety of millions then billions of users at jeopardy.

The revelation that all 3 billion Yahoo! users had been unknowingly hacked by an alleged “state-sponsor actor” caused media outrage, two FBI investigations, and some 43 consumer class-action lawsuits against the company.

The revelation that that all 3 billion Yahoo! users’ emails have also been unknowingly scanned systemically by the FBI and NSA warrants a similar reaction.

Journalists keep citing experts in U.S. law who state that these secret mass surveillance programmes are unconstitutional, and that means against the law.

Yahoo!’s cooperation was not necessary. The company could have contested the request to create a custom software program to spy on their own customers in court. Instead, Yahoo! users were not only spied on in 2013 and 2014, but again in 2015.

In 2018, Yahoo! still state “Once you register with Yahoo and sign in to our services, you are no longer anonymous”.

The only way any big email service like Yahoo! Mail, Gmail or Apple Mail can successfully protect your personal data and online privacy as an internet user is by encryption as standard.

The only reason big companies do not want to do this is because they want to have access to your personal information.

The solution is simple. Choose a different narrative to the ongoing infiltration of your personal and private information.

Cybersecurity is available to everyone, and it starts with a simple-to-use encrypted email account elsewhere, such as Tutanota or Protonmail

Protonmail

Protonmail is a free, secure, email service offering end-to-end encryption, zero access to user data, and open source AES, RSA and OpenPGP cryptography, meaning anyone can check their code.

Protonmail is also the world’s most versatile encrypted email service, supporting PGP encryption of Facebook notifications, and easy-to-use encryption for email clients such as Outlook, Thunderbird and Apple Mail.

Protonmail includes an encrypted contacts manager with digital signature verification, encrypted email for Android and iOS through their mobile app, and state-of-the-art protection against DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.

For organisations, Protonmail meets HIPAA’s privacy and security requirements, and their service level agreement (SLA) guarantees 99.95% uptime or better – or a partial refund.

Launched to the public in 2014, Protonmail was founded by a team of CERN scientists, engineers and developers “with deep mathematical and technical knowledge” drawn together by “a shared vision of protecting civil liberties online”.

Based in Switzerland, their goal is “to build an internet that respects privacy and is secure against cyberattacks” and their aim is to build “the encrypted communication technologies of the future”.

In 2018, they passed an independent security audit in which “no major issues were discovered”.

Protonmail is more versatile but more expensive than Tutanota, providing 500 MB storage free with paid upgrades starting at €5 per month.

Source: https://protonmail.ch

Stare into the Lights my Pretties

Jordan (Jore) Brown is an artist, musician and independent film-maker whose work focuses on the interaction between the mainstream narrative, or “the dominant culture”, and “the real impact on people, society and the environment”.

Stare into the Lights my Pretties is Jore’s first feature-length documentary, and likely the first film ever to analyse today’s technoculture in such depth.

Award-winning, the film critically evaluates modern screen culture, which Jore refers to as “the society of the spectacle“.

It explores such prevailing topics as digital privacy, surveillance, the phenomenon of big data, the concept of the filter bubble in which “many of us are having very personalised and targeted information experiences online”, the psychology of addiction, and the concept of behaviour modification.

According to Modern Times Review, “Jordan Brown delivers a strong, straightforward study filled with statements from a remarkable panorama of speakers and witnesses”, including “technicians, political and social scientists, web engineers, philosophers and psychologists”.

Jore presents the position that “we are sleeprunning into some dystopian nightmare with the machines at the helm” and asks us to consider how the convergence of these technologies is “being used as a very powerful form of social control”.

“On the upside”, states Dr Joseph Mercola, the film “also offers the chance to make changes in how much it [screen culture] influences your daily activities”.

In terms of “achieving optimal wellness”, Dr Mercola states that we can take a break from social media, reduce the time we get distracted online, and “devote that time to offline endeavors instead”.

WUWE agrees. Personal & Global Wellness Training concludes that most important is to “get out of your comfort zone (cognitive dissonance), go out into the solutions-focused world, and participate”.

Dr. Mercola continues “If you find your life has become more focused on technology than relationships, now’s the time to make changes for the better, before it’s too late”.

The film also suggests that we face the misinformation, manipulation, our collective addiction, and then “avert our eyes”. In other words, participate in a different narrative.

The documentary is screening internationally and has won some significant industry awards and accolades, including the “Most Unforgettable Film” Silver Award from the Spotlight Film Festival in the USA, “Edward Snowden Award” in Argentina, “Most Challenging Film” from Indie Lincs in Lincoln, England, and winner and semi-finalist accolades from events in Poland, Bangladesh, Russia, Ireland and Belgium.

Jore distributed this film for free because he wants the documentary to be a tool for deep analysis, critical discourse, education and a catalyst for positive change.

This video is a non profit educational resource for free classroom and personal use to develop critical thinking skills and encourage discussion about how to increase personal and global wellness.

This video is free to download and share with no restrictions.

Source: https://jore.cc/film

You are Special

talkThis presentation delivered at Reading University in the UK in 2017 presents the position that you are not normal. You are special.

Just like a snowflake, every one of us is born individually different – both genetically and through our experiences.

We are all unique and we are all special, and we are here to realise our own personal passions.

How would you like to shape your world?

Many of the world’s most successful and influential individuals became successful because they did not follow the mainstream narrative, the story which we are educated to accept as reality through a given message about the way things are.

Steve Jobs was fired from Apple for wanting to do things differently to the mainstream, Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard after his social media platform was deemed “completely improper”, and J.K. Rowling was rejected by twelve publishing houses and told she had little chance of making money in children’s books.

Regardless of one’s opinion about these individual people, each one of them shaped the world we live in today by staying true to their own personal passion and belief in changing the narrative of what is normal.

This motivating, uplifting and humorous talk encourages people to remember that each and every one of our life experiences makes us different and special, and personal and global wellness comes from discovering who we are, believing in our abilities and following our passions.

We can all stand out. Don’t be normal. You are special.

This video is a non profit educational resource for free classroom and personal use to develop critical thinking skills and encourage discussion about how to increase personal and global wellness.

This video is free to download and share with no restrictions.

Source: https://vimeo.com/296263553

The Mainstream Narrative

This presentation demonstrates that the mainstream narrative is just that – a chosen story that we are all educated to accept as reality.

The Oxford Dictionary defines education as: “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”, but is it only in academic institutions that we are given systematic instruction on what to think?

Adverts in newspapers, on TV, online, and on billboards across the world, constantly teach us that we are here to buy and consume.

Consumerism, the message goes, will make us feel happy and create a healthy economy at the same time; yet mental and physical illness is at epidemic proportions, while the world’s economies are in ever-increasing debt.

Meanwhile, in the news, we are systematically taught about the world’s problems. We learn this somber story is the world we live in and that governments are working to fix the problems; yet climate change, war, poverty and environmental destruction keep increasing.

The mainstream media, then, also fit this definition of education. We are being systematically educated through TV, newspapers, adverts and online with chosen messages about the reality of the world we live in which shape the way we think, feel and act.

In terms of personal and global wellness, the problem with the mainstream narrative is that scientific research clearly shows that it is having an incredibly detrimental effect.

However, the mainstream narrative is just that – a chosen story that we are all educated to accept as reality. But is there an alternative narrative, another version of reality, that we could choose to focus on instead that increases (rather than decreases) personal and global wellness?

Author, scholar and environmental activist Joanna Macy states in the film Planetary:

“There are three stories actually”.

“The first story”, she says “is business as usual. All we need to do is grow our economy”, and then “there’s another story, which is seen and accepted as the reality by the scientists, the activists: when I lift back the carpet, look under the rug of the business as usual and see what it’s costing us. It’s costing us the world”.

She goes on to say “That’s not the end of the story though because there’s another narrative” and that is “that a revolution is taking place. A transition”. She calls this story “The great turning”.

This Trews-style presentation by WUWE founder Robito Chatwin follows the first two narratives – “business as usual” and “what it’s costing us” and demonstrates that no matter what the conclusion, when we follow the reality given to us in the mainstream narrative, the outcome is always increased doom and gloom.

This is not to say that increased doom and gloom is not happening, but increased personal wellness is also available to each and everyone of us, and global wellness will occur if we stop participating in this narrative and participate in an alternative positive narrative instead.

Evidence supports the position that there is an academic, scientific and social/spiritual movement taking place worldwide right now, and academic research confirms that focusing on this opposing narrative has an incredibly beneficial effect on personal and global wellness.

All we have to do is shift our focus away from the mainstream narrative towards the solutions-focused narrative of personal and global wellness, and participate in that story instead.

This video is a non profit educational resource for free classroom and personal use to develop critical thinking skills and encourage discussion about how to increase personal and global wellness.

This video is free to download and share with no restrictions.

Source: https://vimeo.com/296274978

The Truth Behind Capitalism

The Truth Behind Capitalism critiques capitalism from the perspective of philosopher Karl Marx who popularised the terms socialism and communism.

The idea of socialism is picking up momentum around the world, but what is it and does it increase or decrease personal and global wellness?

The film presents evidence and opinions from both sides of the debate, and analyses the philosophy and structure of both capitalism and socialism.

The purpose of this documentary is to encourage viewers to critically think about the idea of community versus individualism and co-operation versus competition and encourages debate about where you would put these two opposing values within your own economic model.

In under 30 minutes the film covers the history of the banking system, the Eurozone, the Occupy Movement, recent revolutionary events that took place in Iceland and in Greece, and the increasing number of coalitions and demonstrations taking place worldwide.

The film concludes that capitalism is being replaced with a new ‘people and planet before profit’ ethos and capitalism, post-2008, is falling apart under the weight of its own contradictions.

The Truth Behind Capitalism features business professors, philosophers, journalists, campaigners, and footage from the TV, radio and news broadcasts, as well as footage from some of today’s most important and successful documentaries on the topic, including:

Inside Job (2010)
Zeitgeist The Movie (2007)
Zeitgeist Addendum (2008)
Ethos (2011)
Marx Reloaded (2011)
Who is Saving Whom? (2015)

The film features on Top Documentary Films.

This video is a non profit educational resource for free classroom and personal use to develop critical thinking skills and encourage discussion about how to increase personal and global wellness.

This video is free to download and share with no restrictions.

Source: https://vimeo.com/185961480

Mainstream Media – The Movie

Mainstream Media – The Movie presents footage from some of today’s most important and successful documentaries on the topic of media to show how the mainstream media is having an incredibly detrimental effect on people and the planet.

It is clear from the vast amount of academic studies available that the mainstream media is one of the biggest hindrances to personal and global wellness.

In just 43 minutes, the film takes you on an in depth journey through how the human mind is being shaped by TV programmes, newspapers, video games, advertising and the news to believe a particular story that fits current political and economic interests, and the consumer them-and-us ethos of our times, but does not serve humanity in moving forward towards a peaceful, loving and sustainable planet.

The film demonstrates how mainstream media use psychological techniques and systematically repeated messages to tap into our deepest wants, fears and desires in order to influence our behaviour and our beliefs.

The effect is that mainstream media are causing people to become more stressed, fearful, racist, sexist and even abusive, which in turn is a major cause of depressive illness, human cruelty, and environmental destruction through consumption and war.

The documentary features experts in academia, architecture, engineering, film, TV and more, and features footage from some of today’s most important and successful documentaries on the topic of media, including:

Manufacturing Consent (1992)
Ethos Genesis (2015)
True Cost (2015)
Miss Representation (2011)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Project Censored (2013)

The objective of this documentary is to help viewers develop critical thinking skills by considering to what extent the human race is being conditioned to believe in a made-up reality, and the effect that has on the health of people and the planet.

The proposed solution is simple yet profound – Turn off the TV.

We can stop participating in the story and choose a different narrative that promotes personal and global wellness instead.

This video is a non profit educational resource for free classroom and personal use to develop critical thinking skills and encourage discussion about how to increase personal and global wellness.

This video is free to download and share with no restrictions.

Source: https://vimeo.com/296111513

The Art of Critical Thinking

readingCritical thinking is the art of taking a topic or position no matter how controversial (in this case ‘The bombing of Syria is creating freedom’), acknowledging this may only be an assumption (not a fact), and then showing our ability to find fact-based information to investigate that topic or position to discover what the facts actually are.

Lee Spiegel, writer and researcher of controversial topics for Huffington Post, states in the documentary film Travis:

No matter what your perception of something is, or your belief, or your opinion, or your speculation, … just follow where the evidence takes you, and no matter where it leads you to, no matter what kind of an outcome or result, whether you like the outcome of not, you will always stay credible if you follow the evidence.

Almost every important topic today is controversial – poverty, food security, climate change, sweat shops, social benefits, privatisation, refugees, Donald Trump – we all have opinions about these topics, but if we are not willing to look at the facts surrounding these topics, our opinions are based on ideas that are given to us, but not on objective analysis (critical thought).

Being able to critically think about controversial topics is essential because, when we do, we are forced into the important process of cognitive dissonance.

Encyclopedia Britannica defines cognitive dissonance as: “the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The unease or tension that the conflict arouses in people is relieved by one of several defensive maneuvers: they reject, explain away, or avoid the new information”.

Thus, being presented with reliable data that strongly challenges our worldview, we are directly challenging our preconceived beliefs and assumptions.

These preconceived ideas are the result of our conditioning, and our conditioning is the mainstream narrative, which we have been educated to accept as fact through the systematic repetition of a given message, particularly through the medium of television.

But if we are developing and mastering the ability to form objective opinions and make informed decisions (The Art of Critical Thinking), we cannot “reject, explain away, or avoid the new information”. Instead, we explore the topic with open-minded examination, and accept reliable evidence as a possible new truth – a new narrative.

These moments raise our awareness (or our consciousness). We experience firsthand to what extent our conditioning is shaping our decision-making and our perception of reality. They expand our minds, and open our world to new possibilities.

As we practice, cognitive dissonance occurs less and less, enabling us to progressively spend less time focused on the mainstream narrative which endless studies show is having an incredibly detrimental effect on personal and global wellness.

In this case, the evidence clearly demonstrates that the argument ‘The bombing of Syria is creating freedom’ is indeed an assumption not based on facts.

The final stage of critical thinking is to then be able to make a conclusion based on the facts and not on our own pre-conditioned assumptions.

This is the hardest part because cognitive dissonance means people are more likely to argue black is white rather than hold a view that goes against their previous conditioning/assumptions.

This talk on The Art of Critical Thinking delivered at Reading University, England, in 2016 is challenging because it delves deep into the facts that show us the extent to which we are being conditioned, thus creating significant cognitive dissonance, and it does this to present the most important skill – understanding that every assumption is conditioning – not reality.

This is the ability to critically think (leaving conditioning behind) and it is very hard, which is why a plethora of scientific studies show that few people can do it.

This talk concludes that instead of accepting our given reality unquestioningly, we can instead take back control of reality by choosing a new narrative that is solutions-focused and promotes personal and global wellness.

This video is a non profit educational resource for free classroom and personal use to develop critical thinking skills and encourage discussion about how to increase personal and global wellness.

This video is free to download and share with no restrictions.

Source: https://vimeo.com/296227893