Saturday, June 13, 2009

The red meat scare

The study, which is the largest of its kind, came out recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine. For 10 years researchers tracked 500,000 people, ages 50-71, documenting what they ate over the course of that decade. The results find that people who consumed the equivalent of one hamburger a day increased their chances of dying by 30 percent.

To fully understand the implications of this research, "The Takeaway" talks to Barry Popkin who wrote an editorial accompanying this study. He is a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where he heads the division of nutrition epidemiology.

Professor Popkin breaks down the numbers and the study: "Going from one steak a day or one Whopper a day, to once a week would reduce your risk of dying by 25 - 30 percent. To put that in real terms, that would mean about a million reduced deaths over that ten-year period for those just 50-70 ... where we have 25 million men.

"The risks are about the same in terms of reduction of women, but there were fewer female deaths during that period so the numbers aren't quite so startling.

"This is a very well-done study -- they controlled for your weight, they controlled for your fruit and vegetable intake, your drinking, your smoking, your supplement use -- this is the additional effect of just consuming red meat.

"This is the first study that had such careful data on such a large representative sample of people of retirement age -- members of AARP -- that we can say that it's a little bit more like the Rolls Royce of studies such as this done in the U.S.

"These results were backed up by a second set of analysis looking at the effects of processed meat -- and processed meats are hot dogs, sausages, pepperoni, cold cuts -- and that's even more startling. If you consume about an ounce a day of those ... processed meats -- that's essentially a hot dog a week -- you are going to increase your risk in a comparable manner of death. So going from eating some processed meat -- a hot dog a week to once a month or every two months -- will ... make the same kind of savings in your long-term health."

Major oil companies on trial

Oil companies Exxon Mobil, Chevron/Texaco and Shell face lawsuits alleging they engaged in environmental and human rights abuses, including wrongful deaths.

The world's biggest oil companies are facing allegations of crimes ranging from failing to clean up spills all the way to murder. On "Living on Earth," George Washington University’s International Law Professor Dinah Shelton walks host Steve Curwood through three landmark cases from Nigeria, Ecuador and Indonesia.

The Exxon Mobil case involves Indonesia. The Chevron/Texaco suit is in Ecuador. And the Shell case involves Nigeria. That case is about to go on trial in a New York federal court.

The relatives of author Ken Saro-Wiwa and other activists allege Shell conspired with the Nigerian government to falsely accuse and execute Saro-Wiwa and eight of his colleagues.

Professor Shelton: "Well, Shell is saying that they had no deal, that they were simply conducting their own activities, they were not responsible for what the government did and that they had asked the government to grant clemency to Saro-Wiwa. And the family says that they can prove that Shell's Nigerian subsidiary director met with Saro-Wiwa's brother and offered freedom in return to an end to the opposition to Shell's activities. So all of this is evidence that will have to be litigated in the trial."

The case is coming to New York because, "... Shell is in New York, and the very first United States Congress in 1789 passed a statute allowing aliens to come to the United States and sue defendants found here for violations of treaties to which the U.S. is a party or violations of international law more generally."

Chevron is being sued for 27 billion dollars for polluting the jungle in Ecuador -- Professor Sheltone explains: "... the case spent about fourteen years in U.S. courts with first Texaco and later Chevron arguing that it should be in the Ecuadorian courts and now they're trying to argue their way out of the Ecuadorian courts so. There doesn't seem to be a forum they really like.

" ... Originally when the case was filed in New York, the President of Ecuador came in and sought to have the case dismissed saying that this would be very harmful to Ecuadorian interests. The government has since changed. The government now is more concerned with environmental protection. One of the reasons why these cases often end up in U.S. courts is that the domestic courts in the foreign countries are not always strong institutions and the judges may follow the prevailing political opinion within the country."

Professor Shelton spent some time in Equador and has seen some of the polluted areas: "Well the pollution isn't always visible because it's primarily in the water system. But you do see as you go along areas where the oil company activities have occurred that there is a sheen on the water, the water looks like oil. It doesn't look like pure water. And this is an area, a rain forest, where there are inundations on a daily basis and yet, it is not enough to sweep away the oil."

In Indonesia, Exxon Mobile is being sued by some villagers in Ache for human rights violations allegedly committed by soldiers guarding a natural gas plant. The allegations in that case are, "... very similar in many ways to the Ken Saro-Wiwa case. That, in this instance, the company was directly hiring the military to protect their interests there with the result that there were what in other countries might be called ethnic cleansing, that there have been killings, there have been burnings of villages. It's very similar to the Nigerian case in respect of the type of violence and abuses that are alleged."

The cases signal a new focus for human rights violations: "Well, I think that it really is a break from traditional human rights law, which focused on strong, repressive governments. The whole paradigm of human rights violations was Hitler, and human rights law was designed to prevents types of massive human rights violations from occurring again through strong governments. In all three of the cases that you mentioned and many of the other corporate responsibility cases, there are very good laws in place in the states where these companies are acting, but those laws are not enforced, the institutions are weak, the policing is weak, there may be rampant corruption as there was in Nigeria under the Abacha government. And the consequence is that individuals are finding themselves victims of violations by a conspiracy, if you will, or a joint venture between governments and powerful multinational companies."

Professor Shelton recently testified in front of Congress about these cases, and explains why Congress should care about the abuses alleged in these cases: "... when companies are linked to abusive regimes, they're engaged in murder, they're engaged in destructions of property and whole entire cultures, it reflects back on the United States. So that's one reason. A second reason is because people whose rights are violated, who are no longer able to live in their own environment because it has been destroyed are going to move elsewhere. And we are going to see more and more environmental refugees as well as human rights refugees if this conduct continues. Thirdly, in the long run, the corporations are going to find themselves in enormous difficulty because the people turn to violence, and the corporations have seen hostages being taken, they've seen violence directed against them. So it's in their interest as well. Not to mention the fact that – it's the law."

The Hero's Adventure Overcoming the Trials in Life

Moyers: Why are there so many stories of the hero in mythology?

Click to Play Video
Campbell: Because that's what's worth writing about. Even in popular novels, the main character is a hero or heroine who has found or done something beyond the normal range of achievement and experience. A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

Moyers: So in all of these cultures, whatever the local costume the hero might be wearing, what is the deed?

Campbell: Well, there are two types of deed. One is the physical deed, in which the hero performs a courageous act in battle or saves a life. The other kind is the spiritual deed, in which the hero learns to experience the supernormal range of human spiritual life and then comes back with a message.

Moyers: Does your study of mythology lead you to conclude that a single human quest, a standard pattern of human aspiration and thought, constitutes for all mankind something that we have in common, whether we lived a million years ago or will live a thousand years from now?

Campbell: There's a certain type of myth which one might call the vision guest, going in quest of a boon, a vision, which has the same form in every mythology. That is the thing that I tried to present in the first book I wrote, The Hero With a Thousand Faces. All these different mythologies give us the same essential quest. You leave the world that you're in and go into a depth or into a distance or up to a height. There you come to what was missing in your consciousness in the world you formerly inhabited. Then comes the problem either of staying with that, and letting the world drop off, or returning with that boon and trying to hold on to it as you move back into your social world again.

Moyers: How do I slay that dragon in me? What's the journey each of us has to make, what you call "the soul's high adventure"?

Campbell: My general formula for my students is "Follow your bliss." Find where it is, and don't be afraid to follow it.

Moyers: Is it my work or my life?

Campbell: If the work that you're doing is the work that you chose to do because you are enjoying it, that's it. But if you think, "Oh, no! I couldn't do that!" that's the dragon locking you in. "No, no, I couldn't be a writer," or "No, no, I couldn't possibly do what So-and-so is doing."

Moyers: When I take that journey and go down there and slay those dragons, do I have to go alone?

Campbell: If you have someone who can help you, that's fine, too. But, ultimately, the last deed has to be done by oneself. Psychologically, the dragon is one's own binding of oneself to one's ego. We're captured in our own dragon cage. The problem of the psychiatrist is to disintegrate that dragon, break him up, so that you may expand to a larger field of relationships. The ultimate dragon is within you, it is your ego clamping you down.

Moyers: I like what you say about the old myth of Theseus and Ariadne. Theseus says to Ariadne, "I'll love you forever if you can show me a way to come out of the labyrinth." So she gives him a ball of string, which he unwinds as he goes into the labyrinth, and then follows to find the way out. You say, "All he had was the string. That's all you need."

Campbell: That's all you need--an Ariadne thread.

Moyers: Sometimes we look for great wealth to save us, a great power to save us, or great ideas to save us, when all we need is that piece of string.

Campbell : That's not always easy to find. But it's nice to have someone who can give you a clue. That's the teacher's job, to help you find your Ariadne thread.

Moyers: Like all heroes, the Buddha doesn't show you the truth itself, he shows you the way to truth.

Campbell: But it's got to be your way, not his. The Buddha can't tell you exactly how to get rid of your particular fears, for example. Different teachers may suggest exercises, but they may not be the ones to work for you. All a teacher can do is suggest. He is like a lighthouse that says, "There are rocks over here, steer clear. There is a channel, however, out there".

Moyers: In all of these journeys of mythology, there's a place everyone wishes to find. The Buddhists talk of Nirvana, and Jesus talks of peace, of the mansion with many rooms. Is that typical of the hero's journey - that there's a place to find?

Campbell: The place to find is within yourself. I learned a little about this in athletics. The athlete who is in top form has a quiet place within himself, and it's around this, somehow, that his action occurs. . . . There's a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held. If you lose that center, you are in tension and begin to fall apart.

What Is A Hero?

The Hero Deed

Examples of the Hero




The Mother As Hero

Moyers:Don't you think we've lost the truth in this society of ours, where is deemed nore heoric to go out into the world and make a lot of money than it is to raise children?

Campbell: Making money gets more advertisement. You know the old saying: if a dog bites a man, that's not a story, but if a man bites a dog, you've got a story there. So the thing that happens and happens and happens, no matter how heroic it may be, is not news. Motherhood has lost its novelty, you might say.

Moyers:That's a wonderful image, though- the mother as hero.

Campbell: It has always seemed so to me. That's something I've learned from reading these myths.

Moyers:It's a journey-you have to move out of the known, conventional safety of your life to undertake this.

Campbell: You have to be transformed from a maiden to a mother. That's the big change, involving many dangers.

Moyers: And when you come back from your journey, with the child, you've brought something into the world.

Campbell:Not only that, you've got a life job ahead of you. Otto Rank makes a point that there is a world of people who think that their heroic act in being born qualifies them for respect and support of their whole community.

Moyers:But there's still a journey to be taken after that.

Campbell:There's a large journey to be taken, of many trials.

Moyers:How is consciousness transformed?

Campbell:Either by trials themselves or by illuminating revelations. Trials and revelations are what it is all about.

Moyers:So does heroism have a moral objective?

Campbell:The moral objective is saving the people, or saving a person, or supporting an idea. The hero sacrifices himself for something greater - that's the morality of it. Now, from another position, of course, you might say the idea for which he sacrificed himself was something that should not have been respected. That's a judgement from the other side, but it doesn't destroy the intrinsic heroism of the deed performed.

Moyers:So the hero goes for something, he doesn't just go along for the ride, he's not simply an adventurer"

Campbell:There's both kinds of heroes, some that choose to undertake the adventure and some that don't. In one kind of adventure, the hero sets out responsibly and intentionally to perform the deed. For instance, Odysseus' son Telemachus was told by Athena, " Go find your father." That father quest is a major hero adventure for young people. That is the adventure of finding what your career is, what your nature is, what your source is. You undertake that intentionally. Or there is the legend of the Sumerian sky goddess, Inanna, who descended into the underworld and underwent death to bring her beloved back to life.
Then there are adventures into which you are thrown - for example, being drafted into the army. You didn't intned it, but you're in now. You've undergone a death and resurrection, you're put into a uniform, and you're another creature.

Moyers:Is the adventurer who takes that kind of trip a hero in the mythological sense?

Campbell:Yes, because he is always ready for it. In these stories, the adventure that the hero is ready for is the one he gets. The adventure is symbolically a manisfestation of his character. Even the landscape and the conditions of the environment matches his readiness.

Moyers:In George Lucas' Star Wars, Solo begins as a mercenary and ends up a hero, coming in at the last to save Luke Skywalker.

Campbell:Yes. There Solo has done the hero act of scarificing himself for another.

Moyers:So perhaps the hero lurks in each one of us when we don't know it?

Campbell:Our life evokes our character. You find out more about yourself as you go on. That is why it's good to put yourself in situations that will evoke your higher nature rather than your lower. "Lead us not into temptation."

Moyers:What about happiness? If I am a young person and I want to be happy, what do the myths tell me about happiness?

Campbell:The way to find your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you really are happy - not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. That is what I call "following your bliss."

Moyers: But how does mythology tell you about what makes you happy?

Campbell: It won't tell you what makes you happy, but it will tell you what happens when you begin to follow your happiness, what the obstacles are that you are going to run into.
For example, there's a motif in American Indian stories that I call "the refusal of suitors." There's a young girl, beautiful, charming, and the young men invite her to marriage. "No, no, no," she says, "there's nobody around good enough for me." So a serpent comes, or, if it's a boy who won't have anything to do with girls, the serpent queen of a great lake might come. As soon as you have refused the suitors, you have elevated yourself out of the local field and put yourself in the field of higher power, higher danger. The question is, are you going to be able to handle it?
Another American Indian motif involves mother and two little boys. The mother says, " You can play around the houses, but don't go north." So they go north. There's the adventurer.

Moyers: And the point?

Campbell: With the refusal of suitors, of passing over a boundary, the adventure begins. You get into a field that's unprotected, novel. You can't have creativity unless you leave behind the bounded, the fixed, all the rules.

Moyers: And life becomes-

Campbell:-harmonious, centered, and affirmative.

Moyers: Even with suffering?

Campbell: Exactly. The Buddhists speak of bodhisattva - the one who knows immortality, yet voluntarily enters into the field of fragmentation of time and participates willingly and joyfully in the sorrows of the world. And this means not only experiencing sorrows oneself but participating with compassion with the sorrow of others. Compassion is the awakening of the heart from bestial self-interest to humanity. The word "compassion" means literally "suffering with."

Moyers:But people ask, isn't myth a lie?

Campbell: No, mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth - penultimate because the ultimate cannot be be put into words. It is beyond words, beyond images, beyond the bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told. So this is the penultimate truth.
It's important to live life with the experience, and therefore the knowledge, of its mystery and your own mystery. This gives life a new radiance, a new harmony, a new splendor. Thinking in mythological terms helps to put you in accord with the inevitables of this vale of tears. You learn to recognize the positive values in what appear to be negative moments and aspects of your life. The big question is whether you are going to be say a hearty yes to your adventure.

Moyers:The adventure of the hero?

Campbell:Yes, the adventure of the hero - the adventure of being alive.

Excerpts from "Joseph Campbell - The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers"

MOYERS: But aren’t many visionaries and even leaders and heroes close to the edge of neuroticism?

CAMPBELL: Yes, they are.

Tête à Tête

MOYERS: How do you explain that?

CAMPBELL: They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience. Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and so you’ve got to work out your life for yourself. Either you can take it or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations. The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience – that is the hero’s deed.

CAMPBELL: The reference of the metaphor in religious traditions is to something transcendent that is not literally any thing. If you think that the metaphor is itself the reference, it would be like going to a restaurant, asking for the menu, seeing beefsteak written there, and starting to eat the menu.

For example, Jesus ascended to heaven. The denotation would seem to be that somebody ascended to the sky. That’s literally what is being said. But if that were really the meaning of the message, then we have to throw it away, because there would have been no such place for Jesus literally to go. We know that Jesus could not have ascended to heaven because there is no physical heaven anywhere in the universe. Even ascending at the speed of light, Jesus would still be in the galaxy, Astronomy and physics have simply eliminated that as a literal, physical possibility, But if you read "Jesus ascended to heaven" in terms of its metaphoric connotation, you see that he has gone inward – not into outer space but into inward space, to the place from which all being comes, into the consciousness that is the source of all things, the kingdom of heaven within. The images are outward, but their reflection is inward. The point is that we should ascend with him by going inward. It is a metaphor of returning to the source, alpha and omega, of leaving the fixation on the body behind and going to the body’s dynamic source.

MOYERS: Aren’t you undermining one of the great traditional doctrines of the classic Christian faith – that the burial and the resurrection of Jesus prefigures our own?

CAMPBELL: That would be a mistake in the reading of the symbol. That is reading the words in terms of prose instead of in terms of poetry, reading the metaphor in terms of the denotation instead of the connotation.

MOYERS: And poetry gets to the unseen reality.

CAMPBELL: That which is beyond even the concept of reality, that which transcends all thought. The myth puts you there all the time, gives you a line to connect with that mystery which you are.

Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature. And that’s what it is. The nature is your nature, and all of these wonderful poetic images of mythology are referring to something in you. When your mind is simply trapped by the image out there so that you never make the reference to yourself, you have misread the image.

The inner world is the world of your requirements and your energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That’s where you are. You’ve got to keep both going. As Novalis said, "The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet."

MOYERS: In classic Christian doctrine the material world is to be despised, and life is to be redeemed in the hereafter, in heaven, where our rewards come. But you say that if you affirm that which you deplore, you are affirming the very world which is our eternity at the moment.

CAMPBELL: Yes, that is what I’m saying, Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off. And if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. The problem with heaven is that you will be having such a good time there, you won’t even think of eternity. You’ll just have this unending delight in the beatific vision of God. But the experience of eternity right here and now, in all things, whether thought of as good or as evil, is the function of life.

CAMPBELL: This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be, This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

MOYERS: So the experience of God is beyond description, but we feel compelled to try to describe it?

CAMPBELL: That’s right. Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called "On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual," points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others, The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else. And Schopenhauer concludes that it is as though our lives were the features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too; so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature.

It’s a magnificent idea – an idea that appears in India in the mythic image of the Net of Indra, which is a net of gems, where at every crossing of one thread over another there is a gem reflecting all the other reflective gems. Everything arises in mutual relation to everything else, so you can’t blame anybody for anything. It is even as though there were a single intention behind it all, which always makes some kind of sense, though none of us knows what the sense might be, or has lived the life that he quite intended.

MOYERS: And yet we all have lived a life that had a purpose. Do you believe that?

CAMPBELL: Wait a minute. Just sheer life cannot be said to have a purpose, because look at all the different purposes it has all over the place. But each incarnation, you might say, has a potentiality, and the mission of life is to live that potentiality. How do you do it,’ My answer is, "Follow your bliss." There’s something inside you that knows when you’re in the center, that knows when you’re on the beam or off the beam, And if you get off the beam to earn money, you’ve lost your life. And if you stay in the center and don’t get any money, you still have your bliss.

MOYERS: I like the idea that it is not the destination that counts, it’s the journey.

CAMPBELL: Yes. As Karlfried Graf Durckheim says, "When you’re on a journey, and the end keeps getting further and further away, then you realize that the real end is the journey."

The Navaho have that wonderful image of what they call the pollen path. Pollen is the life source, The pollen path is the path to the center. The Navaho say, "Oh, beauty before me, beauty behind me, beauty to the right of me, beauty to the left of me, beauty above me, beauty below me, I’m on the pollen path,"

MOYERS: Eden was not, Eden will be.

CAMPBELL: Eden is. "The kingdom of the Father is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it."

MOYERS: Eden is – in this world of pain and suffering and death and violence?

CAMPBELL: That is the way it feels, but this is it, this is Eden. When you see the kingdom spread upon the earth, the old way of living in the world is annihilated. That is the end of the world, The end of the world is not an event to come, it is an event of psychological transformation, of visionary transformation. You see not the world of solid things but a world of radiance.

The science behind making decisions!

Jonah Lehrer is author of "How We Decide," which examines the latest research on how humans make decisions. Share your thoughts on Jonah's assertions about decision making with the author and other listeners at "The World" Science Forum.

In this interview on "The World," Lehrer explains the neuroscience behind decision making, the "sin of certainty" and when we should let our emotional brains take over.

In his book, Jonah explores what scientists refer to as the "certainty track" or the "sin of certainty" where our strong desire to believe we're right leads us to neglect evidence that we're not right. He points to the example of the subprime mortgage crisis: "You had all these very, very well trained, well-educated investors working for big fancy hedgefunds, and big fancy investment companies, who had convinced themselves -- they had these nifty equations showing these subprime mortgages when they were sliced and diced, weren't actually risky -- they had, you know, this very complicated algorhythm which they used to measure risk ... and what they didn't question was the underlying assumption: Well, what happens if real estate prices go down across the country at the same time. So they locked down on this belief ... they were so certain of that these things weren't risky."

Jonah also covers how a lot of decisions are best left to the emotional brain, and not the logical: "I think the short way of encapsulating when we should trust our emotional brain -- all this kind of unconscious activity -- is in situations that involve lots and lots of information, and this gets back to I think, one of the flaws of the rational brain ... is that you only take in about seven pieces of information at any given moment, you give it more than that, it starts to short circuit like a computer running Windows Vista.

"You think about when you try to buy a car, how many things there are to think about that if you ask your rational brain to try to assess all that information, it's not going to be able to do it, and it's going to start cherry-picking facts. So that's one situation where you should learn to rely on your emotional brain."

Work and the meaning of life

Philosopher Alain de Botton has been thinking about what constitutes a meaningful life. For his latest book, "The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work," he followed working people around the world, going behind the scenes with fishermen, career counselors, and cookie manufacturers, to offer perspective on the working person's life.

On "The Takeaway," he talks about what he's learned about work and the meaning of life: "Everybody has to work. You can be a best-selling writer, you could retire; but the point is, everybody needs to work because it's right at the core of who we are as modern human beings. You can't get through a conversation with anybody without the person saying to you, 'what do you do?' And they're not just asking you, as it were, for a piece of information, they're asking you for your soul; they're asking you what keeps you going, what kind of a human being are you? Not to have an answer to that is really terrible. That's what makes unemployment so tragic -- it's not just the money, it's the denial of your sheer existence."

In his book, de Botton covers ten very disparate professions and with each, asks the big questions: "What I wanted to do was to give a picture of the modern working economy. We hear words like globalization, etc, but we often don't really know what that really means. So I wanted to make a book that would look at ten very different, deliberately eclectic professions -- I've got everything there from transmission engineering, to accountancy, to rocket science, to people who make cookies ... and threaded through these explorations of particular work places are large questions, like 'what are we doing this for, where is this headed?' And also, a very subtle thing that keeps coming up is, does this deliver happiness, and if it doesn't, how can we inch a little bit closer to what we all want from our work, which is that we don't notice it IS work."

de Botton says meaning is what we all strive for in our work: "I went to hang out with accountants partly because accountancy is the quintessential boring job, and I was challenged by this and I thought it can't be that boring. I mean, really what it is, is incredibly detailed. We live in a world of such complexity that you do get these professions, like accountancy, where practitioners will devote their lives to a question that seems so arhane ... and it does lead on a bad day, to a feeling of disconnection, a feeling that, what is the meaning of this work? Because one of the things I think we're all desperate for in our work is meaning -- what is meaning? I think meaning comes when you feel that through your work, you've made an improvement to somebody's life, or you've reduced their suffering."

And its role in our lives: "We want from our work now what we've always wanted -- which is the sense of connection to other human beings, a sense of helping them, a sense of imposing order on a chaotic world -- that's what we love work for. It distracts us from terrible things, like the fact that we're all going to die, it keeps us focused, and on a good day, we manage to make something which is that little bit better than we manage to be in our private lives and in the rest of our lives."

"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

The Future of Work

What will the jobs of the future in the U.S. be like? According to a series of articles in "Time" magazine, there may not be cubicles and receptionists, jobs will migrate to Florida, Texas and Arizona and US manufacturing will rise — but we won’t be making cars, we’ll be making higher tech devices like heart valves.

There is a generational divide between the Gen Ys entering the workforce, wanting more flexibility than their parents ever had; members of Generation X, born from 1965-1978, are about to be in charge, and Baby Boomers. Many of the Boomers can't retire because they didn't save as they should have and their retirement plans are bust. This is a particular problem, says Stephen Gandel, a senior writer at "Time" magazine, because retirement waves are important to smooth out recessions.

"It wasn't exactly meant for this reason, but when they put in Social Security, it helped us get through the Great Depression because people were willing to leave the workforce. So, those kind of forced retirements, or eased retirements, helps get people out, it creates more seats in the workplace, but also it doesn't remove that income when the person retires. They are still guarnateed a certain amount of income so they can continue to be a consumer. When that process doesn't happen, it can make downturns worse."

Gandel writes in "Time" magazine that some economist think the unemployment rate will pass 10% for the first time in decades in part because this retirement cycle has been disrupted and younger people aren't going to be able to get in. Gandel also states that companies are coming up with clever ways to get around this. For instance, Boomers sharing jobs.

"In the short term, this is going to be a bad thing -- it is going to produce more unemployment. But, in the long term, this could be a good thing, because companies are going to have more choices. They are going to have a more diverse workforce, and they are going to have this mix of experienced workers along with younger workers who may be more willing to more things that someone later in their career won't want to do. So, we see a lot of positives here.

The other thing we learn when we talk to economists is that the economy is not stagnant; it is elastic. If there are more people that want to work, the economy tends to accomodate that, and, when more people work, there are more people who can spend. That generates more economic activity and that generates more jobs.

"The example we found of this was that when women entered the workforce for the first time, this is a new cohort, they were in the workforce but they entered in the 60s and 70s in more numbers, and we didn't see long term unemployment go up. We saw it actually hit new lows. That just shows how the economy can absorb this."

"Here and Now" is an essential midday news magazine for those who want the latest news and expanded conversation on today's hot-button topics: public affairs, foreign policy, science and technology, the arts and more. More "Here and Now"

De-coding the Alhambra

There’s a painstaking mapping process underway now in Spain. We’re not talking about a geographic map. What Spanish investigators are trying to catalogue are thousands of Arabic inscriptions that cover the walls and the columns of the Alhambra. The Alhambra was a Moorish fort. It was the last one to fall during the Spanish reconquest in the 15th century. And those inscriptions could shed more light on the palace’s history. The World’s Gerry Hadden reports from Granada.

GERRY HADDEN: Thousands of tourists file through the Alhambra’s gardens and courtyards on a recent morning. Visitors here admire the architecture, the decorative fountains, the tiled arches, the ornate plaster moulds but one man in the crowd, Juan Castilla, is focused on something the untrained eye often misses. The entire complex is literally covered in words.

HADDEN PARAPHRASING: Castilla says when you stroll through the Alhambra reading its inscriptions it’s like leafing through a volume of beautiful poems. In that sense he says it’s unique.

HADDEN: Castilla is heading a project to locate and transcribe the more than 10,000 inscriptions here. They’re all in classical Arabic and most were commissioned during the reins of the last Moorish kings in Spain in the 14th and 15th centuries. They’re a mixture of poems, proverbs, remembrances, and verse from Koran. They’re chiseled into nearly every wall, column, fountain, and doorway and they tell stories of sorts. First and foremost the story of Muslim devotion. Most of the inscriptions are simple declarations – thanks to God for example or God is great. Other texts are more elaborate. Castilla reads allowed a poem inscribed around a shelf once used to hold vases of water at the entrance to a prayer room. The poem compares a vase being poured to the inclined posture of a kneeling worshipper.

TRANSLATOR: As you approach me consider this. The pouring vase whispers like the faithful devotee praying within. Each time he’s emptied he must start anew.

HADDEN: There are also short histories – a victory in battle over the Christians at Algeciras. The circumcision of the son of King Mohammad the 5th. Other inscriptions are odes to beauty. One poem is in the first person. Its white flowing letters form a circle. Although it’s etched in simple plaster the verse appear to shine like alabaster in the soft light from surrounding open arches. The poem itself speaks of the exquisite workmanship.

TRANSLATOR: The arts have offered me their beauty. Given me perfection and splendor. He who looks upon me is the deceived by his eyes and thoughts for I am so translucent that even the moon sits happily upon me like a halo.

HADDEN: Castilla says such poems help researchers today understand the appreciation of beauty in Moorish Spain. It’s become a labor of love. Castilla has been working on this literary map now for seven years. But he says the writings have fascinated the Spanish since the Catholic Kings Ferdinand and Isabella took the Alhambra in 1492. That marked the end of Al Andalus the Moorish kingdom in Spain. The Christian monarchs were so impressed with the inscriptions that they set up a special school of translators to do exactly what Castilla is doing now. But they failed Castilla says as have many others since.

HADDEN PARAPHRASING: He says the cataloguing has never been finished because each researcher would get sidetracked, drawn into investigating some small detail or verse for a year or two, then they’d return to the cataloguing only to get sidetracked again. Eventually, he says, they’d fall off the tracks all together. Castilla is confident that this time things will be different. He and his team predict they’ll be finished within three years. They have it a bit easier than their forbearers. They’re using modern equipment. Hydraulic lists give them access to the most remote inscriptions hidden high up in the ceilings. Remote controlled high resolution cameras help them decipher the most deteriorated pieces of writing.

HADDEN PARAPHRASING: Whatever happens after we’re finished Castilla says, if the walls crumble and deteriorate, we’ll have this map forever. This will be our legacy.

PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston.

Padre Alberto ¿librándose de todo mal?

Ahora se sabe que, desde el 2007, en conversaciones con el obispo de la Diócesis del sudeste de Florida, Leo Frades, Cutié se informó mucho más sobre las tradiciones episcopales. Sin embargo, en su permuta ha pasado por alto los protocolos vigentes y previstos por la Iglesia Católica Apostólica Romana, para quien “pida ser baja” como oficiante de esa congregación.

La Arquidiócesis de Miami manifiesta sentirse herida, por cuanto hasta el sol de hoy no ha recibido del sacerdote un pedido de dispensa. Su arzobispo, Juan Clemente Favarola, declaró haberse enterado como uno más, por la prensa, del ingreso de Cutié a la rama estadounidense de la Comunión Anglicana.

El jueves 28 de mayo, Favarola expresó que si el Padre Alberto recapacitara, sería acogido como mismo relata el pasaje bíblico de la vuelta del hijo pródigo.

Por su parte, Frades dio a entender a los medios que aprovecharía el talento y carisma de Cutié para rehabilitar parroquias trayendo nuevos fieles a sus misas, como logró hasta hace poco el propio párroco en la iglesia de Saint Francis De Sales, de Miami Beach.

Viejas heridas
Para el comentarista Rodríguez Tejera, de la emisora local WQBA-1140 AM, las palabras de ambos dignatarios se asemejaban a la disputa entre dos clubes de fútbol por un jugador estrella.

Se cuenta que Favarola y Frades no se hablan en persona desde hace dos años, y que aún persisten entre ellos restos de las tensiones seculares entre sus instancias, pese a ciertas distensiones observadas a partir de los años 60.

El tema Cutié abre viejas heridas, y, tal como se ha desarrollado el asunto, deteriora la coexistencia entre religiosos en esta parte de la Unión Americana, que venía tejiéndose bajo el tapete con mañas de artesano.

Religión predominante
El Catolicismo abarca el 23 por ciento de los aproximadamente 300 millones de personas que constituyen la población estadounidense. Además, por la gran influencia hispana en la historia de la región, así como la amplia presencia de habitantes originarios de Ibero América, es la religión predominante en Florida.

Tan sólo en el sur del Estado unos 117 santuarios operan bajo los designios del Vaticano, incluyendo las 13 parroquias que han cerrado por falta de presupuesto, de cara a la recesión que sigue atravesando la economía estadounidense.

Los episcopales suman unos dos millones 200 mil fieles repartidos en 107 diócesis por toda la Unión, y en Florida cuentan con cerca de 38 mil feligreses. Sólo en los condados de Broward, Miami-Dade y Moroe –que conforman el sudeste del Estado hasta llegar a Key West- se totalizan unos 80 templos, en 15 de los cuales la feligresía es casi totalmente latina.

En la mañana del domingo 31 de mayo, Alberto Cutié llegó a la capilla de La Resurrección, en la localidad de Biscayne Park, bajo escolta policial y rodeado por un enjambre de periodistas. Allí pronunció su primer sermón en condición de Ministro Laico, ya que debe pasar al menos un año para ser oficialmente sacerdote de su nueva confesión.

Unas 300 personas - cifra que esa Iglesia no batía en años - lo recibieron y despidieron con ovaciones, besos y abrazos, mientras otras forcejeaban por tomarse fotos junto al actual reverendo.

La Iglesia Episcopal es más liberal que la Católica Apostólica. Entre sus reformas, aprueba el uso de anticonceptivos en las relaciones matrimoniales, ordena a mujeres al sacerdocio, no reconocen al Papa de Roma como su máximo representante y autoriza a los canónigos episcopales a contraer nupcias, lo que se espera de Cutié con su novia guatemalteca.

Las diferencias entre ambas confesiones comenzaron en el siglo XVI, cuando la reina Isabel I de Inglaterra se proclamó cabeza de la Iglesia Oficial del Estado y fue excomulgada por el Sumo Pontífice Católico.

Iglesia nacional
La Iglesia que se considera nacional de Estados Unidos fue fundada en 1789 a raíz de la proclamación de la independencia por parte de las Trece Colonias, y el clero de la nueva República dejó de aceptar la supremacía del monarca inglés, acogiéndose a los requerimientos del Colegio Episcopal de Escocia.

Observando en retrospectiva el caso del padre Alberto, todo pudo haberse resuelto de otro modo, como el mismo religioso se reprochaba en sus confesiones exclusivas a Univisión, sin precisar al respecto.

Todo pudo ser zanjado buenamente si este mortal - seguramente turbado en su crisis de compromisos - antes de exponerse a los chismes y cierto escarnio público, primero hubiera ventilado sus tentaciones con sus cofrades, analizado con ellos sus inconformidades sobre el celibato y otras reglas, y luego presentado su renuncia ante la imposibilidad personal de seguir obedeciendo lo dispuesto.

Seguro se le hubiera dado una licencia para que siguiera siendo un buen cordero de Dios en otras facetas de la vida, no sin antes atravesar los trámites burocráticos más o menos demorados que conlleva un asunto tal, hasta recibir el permiso del mismo Benedicto XVI.

Ojalá esto nos reafirme lo sano que es lavar nuestros paños sucios siempre en casa.

Imprudentes devaneos
Lo cierto es que para una solución seria a un problema de igual índole sobraba pecar a sabiendas y reiteradamente. Siendo alguien tan notable, Cutié fue imprudente en exceso al estar en sus devaneos tan a merced del público, como corroboran recientes videos mostrados por televisión y en Internet.

Para muchos, resulta incomprensible que un clérigo tan asentado y convincente en sus tareas espirituales se comportara tan desordenadamente cuando llevó el amor carnal a su alma. A no ser que todo este enredo fuese su modo de protesta o liberación personal ante los rigores del catolicismo, que en su opinión, deben ser modificados a la sazón de los tiempos actuales.

Hay quienes no se explican cómo un ente queridísimo en nuestra comunidad y en el extranjero, luego de casi tres lustros de ardua labor en parroquias, la radio, TV, prensa escrita y hasta en el ciberespacio, propiciara tanto “circo” en el manejo de sus decisiones.

Hasta que reconoció ser el sujeto que aparecía en las instantáneas comprometedoras y publicadas por una revista mexicana de cotilleos, el padre Alberto dirigía Radio Paz -WACC 830 AM, voz en Español de la Arquidiócesis de Miami. Asimismo, escribía una sección de consejería del diario en español, El Nuevo Herald.

Y aún sigue saliendo al aire por el canal 8 Gentv, de la cadena colombiana Caracol, todos los viernes de 7 a 8 p.m., en cobertura desde Palm Beach hasta los más australes cayos de la península floridana, con un programa grabado en el que el sacerdote entrevista a personalidades del arte y la farándula.

Aplauso y censura
Naturalmente, la opinión pública está dividida entre quienes aplauden y censuran a Cutié. Sus defensores abogan por sus derechos individuales. Sus contrarios lo repudian por el escándalo cometido, llevado de la mano o no, sin rescindir previamente sus compromisos con la organización social que lo hizo clérigo.

Muchos se sienten decepcionados por haber confiado en un líder que, ciertamente, predicaba lo que definitivamente no hacía.

Parecía que lo habíamos visto todo en materia de dobles morales, cuando políticos de hoy día se agravian entre sí, y luego se visitan con sus rangos de Jefes de Estado, o comparten los cargos de un Gobierno ¿Y acaso es verdad que se condonan sus ofensas como perdonan a quienes los ofenden?

En opinión de este redactor, un guía como Cutié, con un apego sin par en la sociedad conseguido hasta por sus dones personales, no tenía por qué enrumbar su vida echando mano a la fórmula de los “artistas” que se afianzan haciendo notorias sus propias bajezas, en tanto los medios se alimentan de sus miserias y nutren a la vez a una audiencia gustosa del morbo ajeno.

Así las cosas, la cadena televisiva Univisión promete continuar con la saga del Padre Alberto, a propósito que curas católicos, a lo largo y ancho del país, aducen estar siendo acosados sexualmente por devotos de uno y otro sexo.

Author Delves Into 'The Art' Of The Counterfeit

Author and journalist Jason Kersten knows a thing or two about creating phony cash: His new book, The Art of Making Money, recounts the life and crimes of ace counterfeiter Art Williams, a man who printed and spent millions of phony bills.

As Kersten tells Scott Simon, Williams — who has been described as a thief, a thug and a true craftsman — grew up on the southwest side of Chicago, the son of a criminal who abandoned the family when his son was 12 years old.

As a youth, Williams spent time in juvenile hall for auto theft. Upon his release, a gentleman caller of his mother's introduced him to a new racket — counterfeiting — as a means of keeping him off the street.

It was a crime that took years to perfect. Williams focused on the hundred dollar bill, which was protected by a watermark, a security thread and color-shifting ink — none of which could be bought over the counter.

"It's a very grueling process if you're going to do it right. ... To make money on that level is a process that takes years," Kersten explains. "You have to know how to defeat the security measures in the bill."

Over the course of his career, Williams manufactured $10 million worth of fake money, including a counterfeit of the 1996 "new note," which was purported to be the most secure currency of its day.

Williams and his girlfriend passed their phony bills during buying sprees, at times spending $5,000 worth of cash in a matter of hours. And, in a bizarre twist, the two counterfeiters became civic benefactors, donating the cheap items they purchased to the Salvation Army.

"That became part of the entity itself, a part of the crime that they loved, because they felt like modern-day Robin Hoods," Kersten says.

Unfortunately for Williams, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor landed him in federal prison.

After Williams was released from his initial prison stint, Kersten says he thought the con man would go straight, perhaps becoming a security consultant like fellow trickster Frank Abagnale Jr. But Williams was dissatisfied with the salary he was able to earn legally. He decided to supplement his honest income with a few print runs on the side and was soon recaptured.

The great irony of Williams' criminal career, Kersten says, is that the con man probably could have made a fortune legally if he had set his mind to it: "Everyone who met him said if he had spent the time and effort in just a regular job, as he did making his money, he'd be CEO of a Fortune 500 company."


Jurame que aunque el tiempo pase estaras aqui
Pues como el viento barre con las hojas nuestras cosas
Serab solo recuerdos que atesora mi corazon

Jurame que apesar de todo pensaras en mi...









Ya que voy a estar sin ti ....

Necesito prepararme,
Ya que voy a estar sin ti
Perder el miedo al silencio,
Dicen que es cuestion de tiempo
No suelo estar solo, no quiero estar solo

Necesito acostumbrarme,
Ya que voy a estar sin ti
Los sentimientos que sobraban
Son los mismos que hoy se acaban
Hoy quedan heridas en lo que antes eran caricias.

Porque solo?
Resulta que me esta cobrando el tiempo
El hecho, de haber vivido solo para ti
Y al velar tus pensamientos,
Me quede vacio por dentro
Porque hoy nada tengo,
Ya que voy a estar sin ti

Tanto tiempo dedicado
Tu a tus cosas, yo a ti
Y si al principio enamorados
Terminamos siendo extraños
Firmando con jueces
Sin vernos las caras

Y es que solo
Me duele el hecho de quedarme solo
Pues yo vivia solo para ti
Con los recuerdos como herencia
Y un divorcio por sentencia
Voy a prepararme, para acostumbrarme

Ya que voy a estar, sin ti ......

Pero al final ...

Pero al final no llevo espinas en la piel
al final soy más hombre y ser humano de lo que crees
pero al final hay mas orgullo que temor y dolor......