Significant Finding — The Interbrain

The Science section of today’s edition of The Telegraph features a story about how a form of  ‘wi-fi’ connects human brains.  This phenomenon is known as The Interbrain, and is based on the research of Professor Digby Tantum, a clinical professor of psychotherapy at the University of Sheffield.

Reading this article helped fill in some blanks on my own theory of culture, and how it manifests within people.  I would like to develop a paper, after putting finishing touches on a different (current) thesis, that comes at this very same idea from a different angle.  I already believe that we are wired together, and I have a lot to say on this subject.  This only confirms some of my suspicions.

If you have not read today’s article from The Telegraph, do so.  It helps to explain aspects of our social nature.  Here is a passage I found particularly pertinent.

Prof Tantum believes that the communication between brains may happen as an ‘inadvertent leak’ and it may be linked to smell. Areas of the brain which have the most activity of neurons are located in the prefrontal cortex, and are linked with smelling. They also are situated where they follow the gaze.

Our social nature may be linked to smell?  I am willing to go out on a limb with a detail of my own theory.  I think the word ‘may’ is not necessary.  But in order to explain this, I will have to first explain how similar we are to social insects.  In my younger days, before i lost my strength, I was a beekeeper (among other things).  I had the chance to study bees, and later ants, up close and personal.  Those experiences have remained with me.  I look at human behavior through a lens formed during those years.


I have not abandoned my NaNoWriMo project.  I have only set it aside for the time being.    When i finish the project i started 36 years ago — only days from doing so — I will have more time for that, and this blog, and maybe talking about some things that Professor Digby Tantum is introducing to the world.  His ideas allow me to begin discussing my own.  Many of which bleed over into spirituality and its various forms of religious manifestations throughout history.

Have a wonderful day.



Discovering Death

Two days ago I was exploring the Bolin Creek Trail.  I wanted to photograph ‘autumn,’ but in the forest I am drawn to fallen and rotting trees.


I got onto my knees in front of this stump and stuck my camera into the holes in the wood.  Seeing through the view-finder was impossible.  I couldn’t maintain the necessary posture.  So I just snapped about a dozen photos, pointing the camera at the bottom, at the top, and so forth from the entrance.  Outside, scrolling through images on the camera, I couldn’t recognize what was in this photo.  But after viewing it on my computer I was surprised and pleased that I went to the trouble to get on my knees.  Do you see it?


There is a dead bird attached to the wood.  A bird or a bat.  I don’t know which.  The skull of the animal is almost dead center.  A foot is visible in the upper right portion of the image.  It appears to have just died and decayed there.  Perhaps on a cold and stormy winter night.

A new direction


What I originally envisioned as a book has instead become a project to occupy me until my death.  Instead of a book, I have decided to begin publishing papers and articles.  The last few years left me with a lot of time to think about what I wanted to write.  I have so much more than a simple book.  Eventually, (hopefully), a book will come.  But my goal at the moment is to stir the cultural pot.  I seek to challenge conventional religious thinking.  I am convinced that Christians and Muslims see the world incorrectly.  I am convinced that for many, faith has become an obstacle to thinking.

Without rationality, we are socially controlled by a dynamic system of opinions.  Without knowledge to compare with our beliefs, we cannot know whether our opinions are actually true.  A correct understanding of the world allows to make correct decisions.

My goal is to marry rationality with our collective spiritual practices, by challenging the idea that Christians and Muslims speak for God.  I am an atheist who believes in God.  My goal is to demonstrate that within Christianity and Islam, a false understanding of God is being taught.

A hell of a week. A wonderful year.


This week my furniture and belongings were moved from my apartment to my new pad.  A home I found in a fantastic location.  Close to everything I daily frequent, yet on a quiet wooded dead-end street.  My home is surrounded by pine, oak, and something I will share after I learn its identity.  When I bought the house I had to have a deck built to replace a porch that was never designed to hold a power wheelchair.  That project is mostly completed.  I am waiting on a county inspection before the deck and ramp can be finished.  After moving, my apartment happily suffered a disaster.  The night after my furniture was moved, I went back to the apartment to plug in my chair.  I can’t keep the thing at the house until the deck is done.  The next morning (Wednesday this past week), I went back to the apartment and found between 50 and 100 gallons of water in the living room.  It came pouring from the ceiling in the kitchen during the night and migrated into the living room rug.  Squishy squishy.  I reported this immediately to the landlord.  They drug their collective feet in addressing the issue.  By that afternoon, the apartment was smelly smelly.  That evening I wrote a letter demanding to be let out of my lease.  By the Friday evening, my wish was granted.  I am grateful I don’t have to pay those last two months on an empty apartment.  Although I am an atheist, it is moments like that which leave me feeling that maybe an angel does have my back.  I also had to get a new tire put on my van.  I had a slow leak that turned out to be a nail in the inner sidewall.  The picture above is of one of my two cats, Sylvia.  A year ago this is how she felt between our first and second moves.  This is how I feel now, after the third move in a little over a year.  Maybe I can finally settle down and share what I am up to.

The Limits of Faith


This has been in the making for some time.  I was inspired to write a book.  I was disturbed enough to try.  For the past few years I have been hard at work developing the themes and concepts I wish to discuss, and integrating them into a model of the book.  The book itself was too complex to write in one go.  I had to build a model of it, to help me see what I was trying to say.

In some ways, the book has been a healthy diversion from life’s problems.  I have a form of muscular dystrophy that makes things quite challenging.  Several years ago I was forced to quit the working world, and deal head on with this.  It took a lot of effort to learn how to live with failing strength.  But I have.  Recently I moved from Arizona to North Carolina.  Soon I will move from an apartment into a home.  This was unthinkable three and four years ago.  But think it I did and now here I am.

Last year, at the beginning of summer, I made my first road trip, on my own.  I went to the 29th annual Pima Writers Workshop, in Tucson.  I submitted a manuscript to be critiqued by an agent.  First time doing that.  The guy likes my writing, but not as a book.  This did not stop me.  But it got me thinking about the scope of what I am trying to describe.  I have an awful lot of material that contradicts our understanding of ourselves.

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this year was to write for an audience.  Begin publishing.  This blog has been on and off the back burner since its inception.  It has been difficult to keep this up while dealing with everything else.  But when I found the home, it occurred to me that I had achieved a goal I had set when I first could no longer work.  I had gotten myself out of one living situation I could no longer handle physically, and into one that I could.  A couple weeks ago I met at the house with a contractor to get a quote on a wheelchair ramp and a front deck, to replace the wooden staircase leading to the front door.  Afterwards, getting back in my van, I had to pause for a vision.  Something was telling me that I could finally pick up the blog again, and sustain it.

We live in a world gone mad.  I have been following the problem of radical Islam with intense disturbed fascination.  My writing interests have converged with world events.  I have spent my life finding the words to describe a phenomenon that regularly now is making the news.  Then, in the past few days, news broke of the pending executions of 14 pro-democracy demonstrators in Saudi Arabia.  As a writer, I feel a need to do something.  It is time to put an end to this madness.

My goal is to stop these executions from happening, by bringing attention to their plight.  But this is a short term goal.  Long term, my goal is to challenge our understanding of God, so that radical Islam loses its power.  My method will be to counter the narrative of radical Islam by describing it in new terms.  Religions like Islam and Christianity present a false view of God.  I am building a case.  We need a new understanding.  Something rational.  Because we have reached the limits of faith.

The Next Step


Religion is my endless fascination.  I have studied it throughout my life.  I am convinced  that God is not what religion teaches us He is.  This is why I have decided to write.  God is something other than how we have traditionally imagined him.

My evidence lies in an argument I am composing.  I am analyzing Christian and Islamic theology within the context of logic.  The Christian half  of my analysis is completed.  But because I am not Muslim, I needed better knowledge of the subject of Islam.  So I bought the Kindle version of The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Caner K. Dagli, Maria Massi Dakake, Joseph E.B. Lumbard, and Mohammed Rustom.

I have been taking notes as I read the book. My argument develops out of this exercise.  Work this week has been good.

Establishing patterns


So, yeah.  I picked up and moved.  For the past few years I had been stuck.  Stuck largely to furniture, thanks to gravity.  Stuck in a relatively small home that grew to overwhelm me as my strength diminished.  Stuck, in the sense that I had never been disabled before.  I had so much yet to learn and experience, before I could even begin to think of getting myself unstuck.

Four years ago I was still working.  48 months ago I had been living with my diagnosis for only about seven about months.  Working had become extraordinarily difficult.  Like a stubborn mule, I did not know I had to change my thinking.  I already was disabled.  But it wouldn’t register.  So I persevered into 2013.  March, April and May were the months that changed my thinking.  I kept missing days at work.  Every time I called in, I remember believing.  Even though I can’t move today, I should feel better by tomorrow.  My boss knew my situation.  And I had accrued close to a year in sick days.  Until the previous year, I never called into work.  I prided myself on my endurance.  By that spring, I was missing two days a week, then three, then four.  Will power and intention were no longer sufficient to move my body.

Things would eventually get a lot worse.  But now I live in North Carolina.  I relocated to be nearer to immediate family.  And I am dealing with things much better.  I still have muscular dystrophy (of course!).  In terms of strength, I am weaker than before.  But in terms of energy, and ability, I have improved.  In the coming days I will begin to share this story.

About three years ago I began this blog.  I was further into my collapse, but still hadn’t bottomed out.  I began the blog because I felt moved to write about my experiences.  Not so much the physical.   But the spiritual.  I was in the midst of another big change in life.  This one was about as profound as any I have been through.  While I felt called to write about my experiences, the act of writing was becoming increasingly difficult.

Back then, I was stymied.  My life was no longer moving forward.  It still had momentum, but mine had spun out of control.  Three years ago I wanted to tell this story.  Now, I finally can begin.  Back then, seeing my story was not yet possible.  I had lessons to learn, and difficulties to overcome.  I realized I couldn’t tell this story while living it.  First, I had to change my circumstances.

Now, I can begin to unravel things.  Here’s what happened, as I remember it.  First I crashed headlong into reality.  Recovery was an ordeal.  But eventually I got up and reassessed things.   I had to make a lot of changes.  But my life is finally moving forward again.  Attention to the patterns that make up my life was key.