327. “See How I run” by Sarah McCarthy

I was going through “See How I Run“, the blog of Sarah McCarthy (a leading editor of a magazine) who recently passed away due to Ovarian Cancer. She maintained her diary online through out her ordeal sharing her realizations and experiences with the world. Many of her posts have some very useful advice for those wanting to prevent cancer or those who have and looking for guidance. One such post was the recommendation of an anti-cancer book – Anti Cancer: A New Way of Life by Dr David Servan-Schreiber. I thought I would share her site and that book recommendation with my readers for their information too.

Just pondering more on death – it can happen anytime, to anyone, anywhere. It’s so important that we deeply understand the depth of death and how awareness of it can cause each one of us to make a positive impact in the world. It’s not at all necessary that one has to wait for old age to leave the body and till that time, we can enjoy as much as possible. Every human should use their intelligence and time to prepare for death – this includes maintaining affectionate relationships with one and all, undertake serious study and practice of spirituality and make a strong habit of eating clean, fresh, organic and vegetarian diet. This is just the basic foundation upon which we can build higher values. But it is a great way to start and finish one’s life.



308. Fast Food Nation

american meal_Capture

Are we what we eat?

To a degree both engrossing and alarming, the story of fast food is the story of postwar Amerca. Though created by a handful of mavericks, the fast food industry has triggered the homogenization of our society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled the juggernaut of American cultural imperialism abroad. That’s a lengthy list of charges, but Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.

Schlosser’s myth-shattering survey stretches from the California subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many of fast food’s flavors are concocted. He hangs out with the teenagers who make the restaurants run and communes with those unlucky enough to hold America’s most dangerous job — meatpacker. He travels to Las Vegas for a giddily surreal franchisers’ convention where Mikhail Gorbachev delivers the keynote address. He even ventures to England and Germany to clock the rate at which those countries are becoming fast food nations.

Along the way, Schlosser unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths — from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate. He also uncovers the fast food chains’ efforts to reel in the youngest, most susceptible consumers even while they hone their institutionalized exploitation of teenagers and minorities. Schlosser then turns a critical eye toward the hot topic of globalization — a phenomenon launched by fast food.

 More info on the book at Wiki
Summary & Pic came from Google Books
I was searching for something else and came across this book and it’s summary. Could be a worth-while read this book.

I have always felt strongly that our demise as a decent human society began when we started to eat wrongly. Scriptures say clearly that we must nourish our body and brain with food in the mode of goodness and avoid those in passion & ignorance. If we are what we eat, how good are we?

Could the solution to world problems be our very own tongue?

305. Diconnected community

In the 1990s, the suicide rate dipped with the crime rate. But since 2000, it has risen, and jumped particularly sharply among the middle-aged. The suicide rate for people aged 35 to 54 increased nearly 30 per cent between 1999 and 2010; for men in their 50s, it rose nearly 50 per cent. More people now die of suicide than in car accidents, and gun suicides are almost twice as common as gun homicides.

This trend is striking without necessarily being surprising. As the University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox pointed out recently, there’s a strong link between suicide and weakened social ties: people – and especially men – become more likely to kill themselves ”when they get disconnected from society’s core institutions (for example, marriage, religion) or when their economic prospects take a dive (for example, unemployment)”.

That’s exactly what we’ve seen lately among the middle-aged male population, whose suicide rates have climbed the fastest: a retreat from family obligations, from civic and religious participation and from full-time paying work.

via All the lonely people: the cost of loss of community.
(The Age, May 21, 2013)

It’s so sad how many people lose hope in their lives. This is because they have not been given an opportunity to understand who they really are, their purpose in life and about their inherent nature to pursue spirituality. Sadly, many people view spiritual activity as something meant for the emotionally weak, the superstitious, the old-fashioned and those who have nothing better to do. What many don’t realize is that every single human (atheist or theist) has a natural inclination to serve God. This is what separates us from animals. It cannot be taken away. But without proper facilities, teachers and encouragement to help people connect spiritually, they continue to work hard to serve their own senses hoping to find an answer to their lives and not knowing that their own body & senses will eventually let them down. It always has and it always will.


304. Arianna Huffington’s Smith College Commencement Speech On ‘Redefining Success: The Third Metric’

Success has largely been determined by money and power, Huffington argued, but we need a third metric. That should include be one based on “well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder, and to give back,” she said.In her speech at Smith in Northampton, Mass., Huffington told graduates not to settle just for breaking through glass ceilings, but to change the system by “going to the root of what’s wrong.””Don’t buy society’s definition of success,” she said. “Because it’s not working for anyone. It’s not working for women, it’s not working for men, it’s not working for polar bears, it’s not working for the cicadas that are apparently about to emerge and swarm us. It’s only truly working for those who make pharmaceuticals for stress, diabetes, heart disease, sleeplessness and high blood pressure.”

via Arianna Huffington’s Smith College Commencement Speech On ‘Redefining Success: The Third Metric’.

I read that commencement speech from the founder of The Huffington Post with interest. And what do I think? Yes, she is right that we need another metric to determine success but it should be the primary & most important metric.

Everyone knows the importance of wisdom, well-being and the need to give it back. But who trains you on this? How many young people seriously wants to spend time in today’s chaotic world to wonder and ponder on changing the world for better? When people graduate out of college, they are carrying huge debts, entrepreneurial ideas to execute to gain fame, carry their parent’s hope & aspirations, a possible $500k future mortgage and the overall need to be financially successful by the time they turn 50. Everyone wants to be rich, bold, beautiful and famous.

It’s said in the scriptures that natural leaders of our society (teachers, parents & administrator heads) should take it as their responsibility to help their students & children understand how to manage the miseries of material nature and remove them from a constant state of fear. From a very early age, young individuals should be given proper training so that they develop as a person with very good character with a genuine concern for all others. If our schools and colleges are only concerned with generating better accountants, biologists and engineers, what will be the state of our world?

We have successfully guided missiles but misguided human civilization.

303. Indian Farmers

With 40,000 farmer suicides in Maharashtra between 1995 and 2007, there are thousands of households where children have been forced out of school and into the fields to shoulder the family burden. Vidarbha is one of the worst-affected regions. This series of articles by Jaideep Hardikar reports on these children who have inherited debt and distress

via infochangeindia.org
Hope you get a chance to read the full article. I highly recommend it.

What a sorry state of affairs in the country that could have correctly taught the world all about organic farming, joint family, spiritual practices and protection of cows. The country has collapsed at every stage of lifestyle that it was so deeply known for. Seems like no one really cares. As long as there are corporate jobs, close friends, cricket and Bollywood movies, who cares about anything else? What to do – all countries will follow suit. When we have no food and water, we will still never learn. Such is the quality of today’s population.

Will the below ever take place? ISKCON can make it happen – of this I am sure.

“Our farm projects are an extremely important part of our movement. We must become self-sufficient by growing our own grains and producing our own milk, then there will be no question of poverty. So develop these farm communities as far as possible. They should be developed as an ideal society depending on natural products not industry. Industry has simply created godlessness, because they think they can manufacture everything that they need. Our Bhagavad-gita philosophy explains that men and animals must have food in order to maintain their bodies. And the production of food is dependent on the rain and the rain of course is dependent on chanting Hare Krsna. Therefore let everyone chant Hare Krsna, eat nicely and keep their bodies fit and healthy. This is ideal life style. We do not condemn modern civilization but we don’t like to get it at the cost of God Consciousness, that is suicide.” —Srila Prabhupada : Letter to Rupanuga, 18 December, 1974

Pic courtesy : Back To Godhead article

302: UN urges: Eat more insects! – Vitals

ROME – The latest weapon in the U.N.’s fight against hunger, global warming and pollution might be flying by you right now.

Edible insects are being promoted as a low-fat, high-protein food for people, pets and livestock. According to the U.N., they come with appetizing side benefits: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and livestock pollution, creating jobs in developing countries and feeding the millions of hungry people in the world.

via UN urges: Eat more insects! (Seriously) – Vitals.

Looks like we have finally solved our food problem. Phew! I was getting worried..

What can you say? The world is going more & more into the animal kingdom. When will we ever learn to stop killing all animals, birds and insects for the taste of our tongue? We can benefit the world and our health if we learn to go completely vegetarian. But everyone is so stubborn!

292. “Daily rituals: Is waking up early the secret to artistic success?” – Slate Magazine

A friend of Frank Lloyd Wright’s once observed that for as long as she had known him, the architect seemed to spend the day doing everything but actually working on his building designs. He held meetings, took phone calls, answered letters, supervised students—but was rarely seen at the drafting table. The friend wanted to know: When did Wright conceive the ideas and make the sketches for his buildings? “Between 4 and 7 o’clock in the morning,” Wright told her. “I go to sleep promptly when I go to bed. Then I wake up around 4 and can’t sleep. But my mind’s clear, so I get up and work for three or four hours.”

Daily rituals: Is waking up early the secret to artistic success? – Slate Magazine.
You can read that full article on the link above.

You will find that many famous writers providing their testimonials on the advantages of waking up early. And spiritualists, especially in Hinduism have know this all-along. So, in your next spiritual lecture you can mention that in order to take one’s character to the mode of goodness (which is the stage you can properly advance), waking up early in the morning and practicing your chosen path of spirituality is very important. No matter how tough it is, we must keep trying to wake up very early just as much as we try to chant quality japa/mantra.

Check out the time when I posted that article 😉

Pic courtesy : Clarity