The death of democracy: Why the radical Left may end up killing what it loves

Heather Heying, Evolutionary Biologist

Evolutionary biologist Heather Heying rose to prominence as a member of the Intellectual Dark Web after she and her husband, Professor Bret Weinstein, spoke out against a planned “Day of Absence” at Evergreen State College, where white students, staff and teachers would vacate campus and only minority students would remain. Their opposition to the event led to accusations of racism and a string of protests, threats, and violence, leading The Seattle Times to call the college a “national caricature of intolerant campus liberalism.” Democracy depends on protest, Heying asserts above, but a new strain of unintelligent protest on the Left may damage the very values liberals are trying to protect. “Increasingly we have groups who are claiming to be emerging from this age-old culture of protest who are actually tamping out dissent, who are saying there are things that cannot be said, there are things that cannot be thought, there are research programs that cannot be done,” she says. “… But they don’t tend to be armed in the way the extreme Right is, and so it’s easy for people to imagine that they’re not as dangerous—but shutting down dissent, shutting down the ability to discuss ideas, is actually the beginning of the death of democracy.” In this video, Heying looks at tribalism and dissent from an evolutionary perspective, and highlights how technology has hijacked our ancient brain to create a more polarized society than ever before. Follow Heather on twitter: @HeatherEHeyingand on Medium and through her website,

  • Transcript
  • April 26, 2018


Heather Heying: Society-wide, people are becoming ever more tribal. And tribalism is as old as social groups, which is older than humans. So it’s no surprise that people are looking to find those who sound the most like them, and who they imagine will be the most likely to keep them in their heads when things go wrong. But the way that it’s manifesting is a particularly modern instantiation that I don’t think we’ve seen before.

So protest is old and is honorable and is important; we must be allowed, in any system that calls itself democratic, to dissent. Increasingly, we have groups who are claiming to be emerging from this age-old culture of protest who are actually tamping out dissent, who are saying there are things that cannot be said, there are things that cannot be thought, there are research programs that cannot be done, and that’s dangerous, and it comes from a place of fear, and fear is very powerful evolutionarily. It rises to the top of the emotions when it shows up, and it’s hard to get through the fear with an argument that is rational. Emotion and rationality don’t tend to interface with one another very well, and some of the language that we’re hearing from the extremes on both sides of the political spectrum—I’m not sure that calling it a spectrum is really apt, but everyone is familiar with it.

So the extremes on the right and on the left are both using fear to further polarize people, and the people on the right, the people on the far right, the extremists on the right are both, I think, a smaller group and better armed and thus in some ways more terrifying, but there are so many fewer of them that they don’t seem to have as much voice in society as the growing numbers of extremists on the left who are using words and increasingly, in the case of some of the groups, violent tactics.

But they don’t tend to be armed in the way the extreme right is, and so it’s easy for people to imagine that they’re not as dangerous, but shutting down dissent, shutting down the ability to discuss ideas, is actually the beginning of the death of democracy.

So why does it work? It works because since people have been social, which is to say since before people were people, since we were great apes and before that primates that weren’t great apes, and whatever social mammals came before that, we have been splintering into groups and watching out for our own. And it wasn’t just kin groups, it was kin groups and extended family, and then friends and family.

But the tribes that we see forming now are able to garner more power because they can use modern technology to move into old, old circuits.

So social media can be used to mobilize a group and to enrage a group, to inflame a group, where a town crier 500 years ago or a roving storyteller thousands of years ago might have brought news that would have alarmed a group of townspeople or a village or a hunter-gatherer tribe when they came together in their annual fusion event with lots and lots of tribes together, they might hear something that struck them as dangerous, but things didn’t change at the rate that they are now, and so what we have now is a rate of change that is unprecedented, in concert with these endocrine systems, all of which are evolutionary, that are so old that we are chasing—it’s been said before by many people—we’re are chasing dopamine, we’re chasing serotonin, we’re chasing hits of “that feels good, now I feel like I’m in, now I feel like I’m part of the group and everyone else is an enemy.”

And it’s dangerous precisely because we are global now, we’re a global society, we’re a global species, and we need to be thinking and acting globally because there’s not going to be a local solution to climate change, for instance. There’s not going to be a local solution to nuclear escalation.

So our very personal, very individual, and very much evolved responses to “Oh that feels good I want to be on the in, and that requires an out,” means that we have increasing polarization, and people who are opposed to each other in this increasingly tribalistic culture cannot find a way to converse, to come together and say, “You know what, actually that what unites us is greater than that which divides us,” and that’s what we need right now.

We can do that too. There is as long a history—almost as long a history of cooperation and evolution as there is of conflict. The evolution of cooperation is long and complex and beautiful, and somehow we need to try to enhance our ability to find the desire to sit down with people who don’t sound like us.

And it takes, I think it takes meet-space, I think it takes being in real time with one another. Because when you do 280 characters on Twitter or some other post where you’re sending it out to people, most of whom you’ve never met, all they have to go on is those pixels in front of them and so they respond in real time and come to a judgment and are off again. Whereas when you sit down with someone, whether it’s for 15 minutes or, better, for an hour or a day or a week or spend time in the field together, you come to see that everyone is flawed, everyone doesn’t feel about some things the way you do. Even if you’re an idealogue, even if you think you both bought the same ideology at the store and you’re in total agreement, you actually will find that you have disagreements and that those disagreements are where the juicy stuff is. That is where it becomes interesting to talk to people, and that is where you find, actually, the common humanity.

So there’s an evolutionary basis to finding the common humanity as well, but somehow we have to trick the algorithms—well, we have to trick ourselves into not falling prey to the algorithms that are being fed to us by an ever more technological culture.


April 25 2018 (

The book comprises the artist’s statements on the humanitarian crisis that can help people better understand and address the problem.

Source: Ai Weiwei Studio

Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei in collaboration with Larry Warsh released the book titled Humanity. The book was published by Princeton University Press, the New York Times reports. It is a collection of thoughts and aphorisms the artist said in his interviews.

For example, “The tragedy is not only that people have lost their lives. The tragedy is the people who, in the very rich nations, have lost their humanity,” Ai Weiwei told the BBC in 2016.

Source: Patricia Wall/The New York Times

Larry Warsh, a longtime collector and fan of Ai Weiwei’s art, thinks it is important to gather the artist’s most powerful statements under one cover. He describes Humanity as a continuation of the 2012 book Weiwei-isms – a collection of the artist’s thoughts on human rights and freedom of expression, also edited by Warsh.

“It’s [the book] is a real snapshot of something that most people have a hard time grasping. It’s about putting it together in a way we all can see the significance of these issues,” the editor says.

Ai Weiwei has long been using media and his fame to promote humanistic ideas. Chinese authorities detained him for three months for his popularity on Twitter and severe critisism of the government. His passport was seized in 2011. His Instagram posts, as well as his documentary Human Flow, have increased international attention to the refugee crisis.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of April 24, 2018

April 24, 2018 (


Your life will soon cross the line from comedy to tragedy, sending an entirely different group of people into gales of laughter.


You’ll slowly start to see the value of improving communication in all your relationships, if only to better understand what the frantic firemen are trying to tell you.


You may feel you’ve run out of gas, but don’t worry: It’s commercially available and that trick with the empty bottle, the rag, and the match still works like a charm.


You’ll finally learn you can’t run away from your problems, but you haven’t given up on escaping by donning a clever disguise and hiding in a crowded restaurant.


Mars rising in your sign usually indicates increased conflict in life, but in this case it means the orbital plane of Earth has shifted and we are all about to die.


It’s becoming almost impossible to wake your lover up for sex, which means you’ve finally hit on the right combination of drugs.


It turns out you’re the reason your sign is associated with daring, free-spirited people who like to borrow whole seasons of shows on DVD and not give them back.


A heralding angel of the Lord will appear unto you, seem confused, ask the date, apologize for visiting a few years early, and tell you not to use birth control for a while.


You’ll soon enjoy a nice hearty Italian dinner with your family, just like you always do after convincing Mom to enter rehab.


You might think it’s wrapped up nice and neat and you can just wash your hands of the thing, but it’s a baby, for Christ’s sake.


You’ll provide much-needed insight and deep wisdom when you loudly proclaim that those politicians are just a bunch of crooks in front of the whole bar.

“Imperfect Spirituality, Truth” by Suzanne Deakins, H.W., M.

Please join us tomorrow, Friday, April 27th at 6 PM Eastern Time and 3 PM Pacific Time on Paltalk at the room of ACIM Gather. We will be talking about the Prosperos’ technique Translation and how it relates to ACIM principles.

No one ever told me it was wrong to think outside of the box but somehow I got that impression that to step outside a proscribe procedure or pray differently was forbidden. When I first took the Prospero’s seminar called Translation I saw it as a kind of prayer. I diligently wrote my translations and saw my perception change. I saw my world was changing. Like Job I said life is good. Every time I translated I looked more and more at the importance of keeping the structure as perfect as I could.

Then a real crisis came in my life. My 2½-year-old daughter lay dying in the ICU. The illness was rarely survived. Eyes filled with tears I could not see to translate on paper. I called someone not sure who, who put out the word to the translation service… but I began translating in my head… starting with the Truth syllogism … going through the first step I reach the phrase complete, whole and perfect in my reasoning. I was stunned. How could I see perfection in this horrible illness that was sucking the life from my daughter?

I began to explore Truth. Not Truth as some pretty and perfect concept, but Truth that was a driving force. I saw that Truth could appear cloven in our consciousness and a Truth that allowed children to die and really bad people to hurt other people.

It was and is apparent that Truth/God must in some manner see life, experience consciousness different than my human mind. This was serious stuff I was, to my thinking, challenging the very idea that Truth was perfect. I began thinking about duality and evil. The disease was evil, bad and separate from God.

Like Job I began to see evil everywhere. My consciousness, my intellect, and heart would not rest. Truth, as I had known was whole, complete and perfect, but this was not whole, and not perfect by a long shot. It was to take me 2 ½ years before I had a eureka moment of understanding. I am not sure what I Translated (sense testimony) but all at once I saw it all. Consciousness was not limited to a body but was confined to my thinking. I saw that the seeds of constructs (beliefs and assumptions) are in us all. When the right conditions (proper soil and water) are present the seed will germinate. Out of this germination can come what appears to be a great evil, pain, and sorrow. But out of it can come great freedom.

The working word in this illumination is the word appear. With all sight, our vision relies on Not what we see but what our mind tells us we are seeing. We see nothing but light, which our unconscious mind labels according to our experiences and beliefs. For the first time, I saw that perfection was not in sight but in the mind. Truth is indeed perfect, ever evenly present without beginning or end, total, whole, complete. I had a eureka moment of knowing, seeing, experiencing that Truth didn’t reside in anyone’s pocket. No one had more Truth than anyone else it was indeed every star and blade of grass. Truth was what my mind saw as evil, bad, and imperfect, for Truth is all that exists.

Life is not about humanly perfect, but being engaged with all that comes to you. Truth is all there is. It does not depend on your recognition of it as good or perfect it just is. It is our thinking and knowing that turns it into the palate we call life. If we stay engage and continue to paint and repaint our life sooner or later we get to a place where we understand we have never left the father and like the prodigal son we find that the feast has always awaited us, that we have always been the child of Truth and the understanding of Truth being all there is, is now present.

Translation is a lifelong act of unveiling and lifting the fog from our minds and thinking. It is remembering no matter what our senses seem to be saying, Truth is all there is ever evenly present.

Life is not perfection or the quest for perfection, but being engaged and mindful of our actions and reactions.

@ Suzanne Deakins, “When God Whispers” available on

Suzanne Deakins, Ph.D., H.W.M.

The Ascent of Money — Four Episodes

These 4 episodes from Curiosity Stream are a masterpiece in both the high quality of its content and in all its wonderful ways of expression.

You’re in for a very rewarding adventure!



No Joke: Uranus Smells Terrible, Study Says

 No Joke: Uranus Smells Terrible, Study Says
Methane in the atmosphere gives Uranus its blue hue, as seen in this image from the Keck telescope from 2004.  Credit: Lawrence Sromovsky, University of Wisconsin/W. M. Keck Observatory


Uranus smells like rotten eggs, and that is not a joke. A new study finds that the seventh planet from the sun has an upper atmosphere flush with hydrogen sulfide.

Hydrogen sulfide is a gas best known for its repulsive smell; the gas emanates from sewers and volcanoes on Earth, explaining why some hot springs, which are fed by geothermally heated water, smell like breakfast gone bad. Astronomers have now discovered that the gas is common in the cloud tops of Uranus.

That hydrogen sulfide composition is different than what is found in the upper atmospheres of Uranus’ fellow giant planets Jupiter and Saturn, where ammonia dominates, said Leigh Fletcher, a study co-author and senior research fellow in planetary science at the University of Leicester in England. Ammonia is made of nitrogen bonded with hydrogen, while hydrogen sulfide is hydrogen bonded with sulfur. [7 Everyday Things That Happen Strangely in Space]

“During our solar system’s formation, the balance between nitrogen and sulfur (and hence, ammonia and Uranus’ newly detected hydrogen sulfide) was determined by the temperature and the location of the planet’s formation,” Fletcher said in a statement.

Scientists have long debated the precise composition of Uranus’ upper atmosphere, simply because they lacked instruments sensitive enough to detect the gases found there. For the new study, the team used the Gemini North telescope, a 26.5-foot (8.1 meters) telescope that sits on the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii. Researchers used the telescope’s Near-Infrared Integral Field Spectrometer (NFIS), first designed to image the outsides of black holes in far-off galaxies, to sample reflected sunlight from Uranus’ high atmosphere.

Thanks to that instrument’s enormous sensitivity, researchers were able to detect very faint lines on the light spectrum indicating that hydrogen sulfide had absorbed some wavelengths from the sunlight, the scientists said.

“Only a tiny amount [of hydrogen sulfide] remains above the clouds as a saturated vapor,” Fletcher said, and this made detection a challenge.

The findings will help clarify how Uranus and its neighboring ice giant, Neptune, formed, the researchers said. They reported their results April 23 in the journal Nature Astronomy. There is likely a more-concentrated reservoir of hydrogen sulfide beneath the cloud deck, the researchers said, but this likely lies beyond Earth-bound telescopes’ detection abilities.

However, the clouds on Uranus definitely contain chemicals that a human could detect in person, the researchers said.

“If an unfortunate human were to ever descend through Uranus’ clouds, they would be met with very unpleasant and odiferous conditions,” study co-author Patrick Irwin, a professor of planetary physics at the University of Oxford, said in the statement. That is, they would if that person miraculously lived to take a whiff.

“Suffocation and exposure in the negative 200 degrees Celsius [minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit] atmosphere made of mostly hydrogen, helium and methane would take its toll long before the smell,” Irwin added.

Originally published on Live Science.

Is Atheism a cult?

Article Image
Atheists and non-atheists talk during the Reason Rally on the National Mall March 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

Cults are, justly, often viewed negatively. The term reflects this, having lost its original meaning of ‘care’ or ‘community’ long ago and now refers negatively to a small religious organization. Despite this, cults needn’t be religious, they can be political or ideological as well—the religious ones just get all the attention.

Due to the popular use of the term as a catch-all slur against new religious movements, experts don’t like to use the word cult very much. There is some agreement on what traits a cult has, however. Cults are typically groups of people dedicated to an extreme ideology who follow a charismatic leader. These groups tend to dominate the personal lives of members and use various techniques to keep members from leaving or questioning official doctrine. These elements can be seen in almost every cult you’ve heard of, from the relatively small Manson Family to the international cults of personality for political figures.

Cults can keep people from leaving and often cause psychological harm to those they trap; because of this, the overuse of the term is a disservice not only to the people you may be falsely accusing but also to society at large who may come to see the word as a catch-all insult for any religious movement you happen not to like. Is it at all accurate to use the word cult to describe atheism?

What is atheism?  

While we noted that a cult doesn’t have to be religious, atheism isn’t a unified movement of non-religious people. While all atheists agree that there are no gods, most atheists come to that conclusion independently. There are also many different kinds of atheists: implicit atheistsChristian atheists, weak atheists and strong atheists to name a few. This lack of ideological purity or unified structure runs counter to the idea that atheism is a cult.

Furthermore, most cults are organized around a charismatic leader. The names of the most notorious—Jim Jones, Charles Manson, and David Koresh among them—remain in the popular consciousness. Atheism, on the other hand, has few prominent figures in the public eye and none of them would claim to be a “leader” of the philosophy.

The so-called Four Horsemen of New Atheism, Richard DawkinsSam HarrisDaniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens generally work independently and argue for positions that are not held by all atheists. If atheism were a cult, their views would have to be treated as gospel. As many atheists reject their viewpoints, atheism again lacks a criterion. Dawkins also points out how he doesn’t profit from the merchandise his foundation sells.

Skepticism for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

The lack of organization or leadership previously mentioned would prevent the most unsettling element of cults from being part of atheism, such as the repression of doubt and punishment of critical thought. An atheist who comes to have faith would find little opposition to their conversion.

This is important, as this is the part of cults that most concerns people: the use of tactics such as brainwashing, indoctrination, and the controlled use of shame to prevent members from being able to leave or have meaningful lives outside of the cult. Without this element, can atheism be said to be a cult?

Cults can be dangerous, as the memories of Jonestown, the Manson Family, and Waco remind us. It behooves us to treat the term with some respect and not to toss it about at every organization we dislike. Atheism refers to a single intellectual position: the lack of belief in the existence of a god. It is not a sect, organization, or cult.

While some institutions for the non-religious do exist with the intention of providing the community and ethical guidance that religion used to offer to a secular audience, there is no indication that any of these, let alone all of them, are cult-like. Referring to atheism as a cult weakens the term and is absurd in light of the facts presented above. The merits and faults of the atheistic worldview can be debated, but to slander it by calling it a cult does nobody any good. Let’s rise above it.

Richard Tarnas: The Value of Astrology

Richard Theodore Tarnas (born February 21, 1950) is a cultural historian known for his books The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View and Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Tarnas is professor of philosophy and psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is the founding director of its graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness.


Tarnas was born on February 21, 1950 in Geneva, Switzerland, of American parents. His father, also named Richard Tarnas, worked as a government contract attorney, former president of the Michigan Federal Bar Association, and professor of law. His mother, Mary Louise, was a teacher and homemaker. The eldest of eight children, he grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where he studied Greek, Latin, and the Classics at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy.

In 1968 Tarnas entered Harvard, graduating with an A.B. cum laude in 1972. He received his Ph.D. from Saybrook Institute in 1976 with a thesis on psychedelic therapy.[1][2] In 1974 Tarnas went to Esalen in California to study psychotherapy with Stanislav Grof.[3] From 1974 to 1984 he lived and worked at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, teaching and studying with Grof, Joseph CampbellGregory BatesonHuston SmithElizabeth Kübler-Ross, and James Hillman. He also served as Esalen’s director of programs and education.[4] Jeffrey Kripal characterizes Tarnas as both the literal and figurative gate-keeper of Esalen.[5]

From 1980 to 1990, Tarnas wrote The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View, a narrative history of Western thought which became a bestseller and remained in use in universities as of 2000.[6][7] The book was highly acclaimed by Joseph CampbellHuston SmithStanislav GrofJohn E. MackStanley KrippnerGeorg FeuersteinDavid Steindl-RastJohn SculleyRobert A. McDermottJeffrey HartGary Lachman, and others.

Tarnas is the founding director of the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), where he remains a core faculty member as of 2014.[8]

Tarnas’ second book, Prometheus the Awakener, published in 1995, focuses on the astrological properties of the planet Uranus, describing “the uncanny way astrological patterns appear to coincide with events or destiny patterns in the lives of both individuals and societies”.[9] Tarnas suggests that the characteristics associated with the mythological figure Uranus do not match the astrological properties of the planet Uranus, and that a more appropriate identification would involve the mythological figure Prometheus.

In 2006, Tarnas published his third book, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. It claims that the major events of Western cultural history correlate consistently and meaningfully with the observed angular positions of the planets.[10] The book received favorable reviews in Tikkunmagazine,[11] in an anthroposophical journal,[12] and in the web magazine Reality Sandwich (by Daniel Pinchbeck),[13] but was panned in the Wall Street Journal.[14]

Tarnas featured in the 2006 film Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within, a documentary about rediscovering an enchanted cosmos in the modern world.[15]

In 2007 a group of fifty scholars and researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area formed the Archetypal Research Collective for pursuing research in archetypal cosmology. An online journal, Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology, edited by Keiron LeGrice and Rod O’Neal, began a year later, based on the research orientation and methodology established in Cosmos and Psyche.[16] Advisory-board members include Christopher BacheJorge Ferrer, Stanislav Grof, Robert A. McDermottRalph Metzner, and Brian Swimme. Contributors have included Keiron Le Grice, Richard Tarnas, Stanislav Grof, and Rod O’Neal.

In 2008 Tarnas was invited to address members of the Dutch Parliament about creating a sustainable society.[17]

In 2007 John Cleese and Tarnas gave some public lectures together at Esalen and in Santa Barbara. The lectures discussed regaining a connection to the sacred in the modern world.[18] Cleese and Tarnas then taught a seminar at CIIS called “The Comic Genius: A Multidisciplinary Approach”.[19]

American Astronaut Susan Helms cited Tarnas’ The Passion of the Western Mind as one of the five ‘classic American books’ that inspired her career as an astronaut.[20]

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