Newspapers, Media and Advertising

Although there are certainly useful functions to newspapers and other media, many critics have decried the biased coverage of news by the media in America. First, four huge conglomerates control about 90% of the media. These conglomerates are owned by the rich and powerful and serve the vested interests of the rich and powerful; how fair can they be? People complain about how liberal the media are, but this is a smokescreen. I once saw a bumper sticker that read: “The media are as liberal as their conservative owners allow them to be.”

Clever rhetoric, but is there anything to it? You’d better believe it! Once again, let me refer you to Wade Frazier. His essay Lies I Was Raised With brilliantly covers the distortions of history books as well as the media. Also, Tim O’Shea (see www.thedoctorwithin.com) has a must-read chapter on public relations, advertising, and the media entitled “The Doors of Perception.” After reading these two essays, and maybe following up on some of the references cited, can you really believe that we are not being lied to and brainwashed on a massive scale?1 It’s not only that the news is presented from a limited, perhaps distorted perspective, as we will see below; a lot of important news does not even get reported. There is a website called www.projectcensored.org that specializes in stories, many dealing with health and environment, that simply fail to make the mainstream media. Do stories about alternative energy or cancer cures get much space in the New York Times? Who decides what’s “fit to print”? Dubious? Let me offer a few examples. You may remember a flap about “cold fusion” some years ago. Two scientists claimed they had discovered it, but pretty soon it was found to be all a hoax or an error, right? That’s what the media would have you believe. Alternative science websites I found (for example, What If Cold Fusion Is Real?) make it clear that these results have been replicated numerous times all over the world! Why don’t we hear about this potentially earthshaking research on an alternative energy source?2 Another: When the FDA illegally raided chiropractor Gary Glum’s office and took over $100,000 worth of material relating to a Native American herbal formula for cancer known as “Essiac,” did it make the news? Hardly. And speaking of unconstitutional FDA raids, check out Stevia Book Burning—Article by Julian Whitaker, M.D. for a story about how the FDA not only confiscated stevia, a harmless herbal sweetener, it even attempted burning books that contained stevia recipes! I thought the Nazis had cornered the market on book burning! This should have made headlines, but did it? Yet another: I always thought actor Steve McQueen died of cancer, proving that the laetrile treatment he had received was worthless. I was stunned to read later that, in fact, he did not die from cancer, but as a result of surgery. Why were we misled about McQueen’s death—and about laetrile? And finally, from the mainstream media you would assume that it’s been clearly established for years that HIV causes AIDS and that there is not a dissenting voice out there. But check out this website—www.virusmyth.net—for a totally opposite view. I’m not talking about an opinion being put forth by wild-eyed conspiracy theorists. Many of the people quoted are world-class scientists, including Nobel Prize winners! You would hope that scientists of this stature could get the attention of the press, but apparently not. There are at least three other aspects of the news media that disturb many of us. First, the depth of the news that is covered, especially on television, is extremely shallow. We get “sound bites” or scenes of politicos arguing, but without a real opportunity to expand on their ideas. Watching Bernie Sanders, Congress’ only independent representative, trying to get his ideas across on The O’Reilly Factor was an exercise in frustration! The issues we are facing today are highly complex and cannot be reduced to sound bites or simplistic notions. Some years ago the NH gubernatorial race was between an old-time, “ax the tax” candidate (meaning no broad based taxes, like sales or income taxes), and an opponent who favored some taxation, but had a complex system of checks and balances to try to make the system work. It took at least an hour of dialogue to get a grasp on her ideas. You had to be able to think systemically to appreciate her approach. Guess who won, with 55% of the vote? Of course the simplistic approach, aided and abetted by our state’s leading newspaper, won the day—except that all the underlying problems, like unfairly funded school systems, did not go away and are now coming back to bite us! Gee, this sounds a lot like the problems with allopathic “kill the tumor” cancer treatments that ignore the underlying systemic imbalances that allow the tumor to form and grow in the first place! In short, we need systemic thinking in our media—as well as in our healing modalities—and we rarely get it. Second, even when media plumb’s issues “in depth,” we are typically exposed to only a limited range of perspectives. I know the “consensus” view is that the Republican Party leans somewhat to the right of center and the Democrats somewhat to the left of center, but many critics3 argue that, when examined in the light of the Social Democratic systems of Canada, Australia, and Western Europe, both of America’s major parties lean to the right, although the Democrats less so. As a result, there is a large area—from the center to the left—that is hardly represented in the media. Ralph Nader, who received 3% of the vote in the last election—and who would have probably received at least double that under a Parliamentary system—was not even allowed to take part in the presidential debates in 2000! Why not? Where did we get the idea, in a country that prides itself on political freedom, that only two parties “count?” My opinion (and I’m not alone here; check out www.culturalcreatives.org) is that many people are disenchanted with the two major parties, because of the strong conviction that neither major party’s platform is workable anymore. According to the website just cited, more people than you may realize believe that only some sort of “green” approach will ensure a viable future. This may partly explain our extremely low voter turnout; we really don’t have much of a choice, so voters become apathetic. Maybe I’m way off base on what the electorate is feeling, but how can people seriously consider an alternative political economic perspective which the media considers dangerous or unworthy of consideration? Speaking of voting, I recently came a cross a rather chilling quote: “If voting could really change things, it would not be allowed.” A seemingly paranoid notion, but when you consider our limited range of viable choices, and the dearth of candidates pushing for real, necessary changes, it does make you wonder… Third, too much of what goes on in the media is a distraction from really important issues that frequently get under-reported or are not covered at all. While the Savings and Loan Scandal (see Wade Frazier’s essay on this: The Savings and Loan Scandal and Public Accounting) was bilking American taxpayers out of hundreds of billions of dollars, the media focused instead on the OJ Simpson trial and the President’s personal life. Seventy years earlier, President Warren Harding had a mistress and nobody cared. This is progress? Aside from all the omissions and distortions in the media, deeper down what bothers me the most about the media is that, as a result of constant exposure to our history book mythology and media-induced vision of reality from day one, the average American develops the sense that, despite some flaws here and there, the system, i.e., “business as usual” works. In other words, we gradually construct a “consensus reality” that we and everyone else around us subscribe to, thinking that the way things operate is all basically reasonable, normal, sensible, etc. What if it’s not? What if it’s dangerously destructive instead? What if some of the underlying premises, like never ending growth,4 are insane? The mindset we emerge with makes real change extremely difficult. Indeed, naturopaths, homeopaths, herbalists, acupuncturists, etc. have to deal with this problem all the time, because part of the consensus reality we absorb is that allopathic medicine is the only “real” scientific means of healing. Fortunately, more and more Americans, like Thomas Edison (see the banner quote on this website’s home page), are seeing through this bit of “reality” and embracing alternatives such as naturopathy. Another part of “reality” we learn is that food “comes from” supermarkets—although in rural NH many of us do have some experience in growing our own food or buying from local farm stands. How much does the average supermarket consumer really know about where their food comes from, what kind of soil or feed was used, what was done with the food during processing, and so on? We’d probably be horrified! When the “mad cow” story broke in England, weren’t you disgusted to learn that cows and other livestock were being fed, in effect, recycled animal waste? I thought cows ate grass! Maybe we need a “mad consumer” syndrome! Another major problem related to the media is that we see tens of thousands of commercials and advertisements by the time we grow up. Now, there is informational value here—we do need to know what’s out there. And organizations like Consumer Reports can do a fairly objective job of evaluating the products offered. Information and objective appraisal are rational functions of advertising, but advertising as it now exists has a very different agenda. There are two less-than-rational functions of advertising, it seems to me, one obvious, one more subtle. The obvious purpose of advertising is to get you to buy a particular product, whether you really “need” it or not, using whatever psychologically manipulative techniques are available—sex, fear of being unpopular, snob appeal, “good old folks” appeal, pleasant associations, jingles, catch phrases—all the usual tools of propaganda.5 Years ago I heard someone say that, with a few exceptions, the more something is advertised, the worse it is for you (or for the environment or both). I’ve been watching TV ads with this in mind of late and it’s amazing how many ads there are for fast food, candy, milk, cookies, doughnuts, coffee, high fat snacks, soft drinks, beer, and so on, as opposed to foods that are actually good for you.6 Catch that clever commercial for organic spinach? I didn’t think so! There are also lot’s of ads for gas guzzling automobiles and trucks, but none for public transportation (unless you count airline ads) or for non-polluting means of individual transportation, the hybrid car being a partial exception. More subliminally, however, the underlying message of those thousands of commercials and ads is that buying for its own sake is good. The Western credo is fast becoming “I consume, therefore I am.” Never mind the ever escalating waste, the planned obsolescence, the depletion of resources, and the pollution of the environment; never mind the social envy and “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality generated; never mind the tremendous waste of manpower and creativity squandered on advertising that could be put to better use; never mind that much of our money could be used for far better purposes than accumulating more “stuff” in George Carlin’s brilliant phrase (like, well, providing food and shelter for the homeless or helping the Native Americans emerge from the genocide and discrimination they have been subjected to for centuries);7 never mind that possessing material goods beyond a modest level is not required for spiritual growth or even happiness (think, say, of Buddha, or St. Francis; now think Howard Hughes); never mind the animals sacrificed for product testing; never mind the Third World sweatshops that produce many of the goods—just buy! So, if you are getting fed up with the version of reality fed to you in newspapers, media, and advertising, do yourself a favor and expand your horizons by reading the alternative press. And while you’re sitting at your computer, check out some of the many good alternative websites available, some of which are listed above and in the website link section of Dr. David’s website. It may take some work, but, to paraphrase an advertising slogan, “You’re worth it!”

Footnotes 1Here’s a quote from Wade Frazier, summarizing his position: “The notion of a “free press” is one the biggest fabrications in American history—a myth concocted by the media itself. The biggest lie that our media serves up is the self-serving pretense that it is objective, merely seeking the truth. All the first amendment says is that the government cannot tell the media what to write or not write. “America has never really had true freedom of speech. It is the world’s freest in significant ways, but it still is not that free…The American media is also the most manipulative of its consumers. We may have relative freedom to speak, but it does not mean that anybody will hear us. Ever since the Sedition Act was passed in the 1700’s, free speech has had a rough ride in America. During World War I, the Espionage Act was passed, making it illegal to speak out against the war, and the U.S. imprisoned hundreds of Americans for the crime of speaking out. “If the same interests that run the government also own the media, how free can the media truly be? They are stenographers to power.” 2Well, you are hearing about it here—and I read it on the Web myself. One of the great things about the Internet is that it is a truly democratic form of media. For better or for worse, you don’t need the approval of a newspaper editor or publishing company to get your ideas out there. The dissemination of non-mainstream positions is now far easier than in the past, thanks to the Internet. 3Regarding this point, and in fact, everything in this essay, I highly recommend a small but insightful book entitled Social Problems, written by my colleague, sociologist Robert Heiner. I am indebted to Dr. Heiner for reading and commenting on earlier drafts of this essay. 4See Commandment #12 in my Five Missing Commandments essay. 5Few people realize that the founding theorist of capitalism, Adam Smith, disdained advertising, because it subverted the basic ground plan of the capitalist market place. For Smith, the beauty behind capitalism is that products and services competed with one another on the basis of quality and price. Today instead, thanks to modern advertising, they compete based on the appearance of quality. Image overlays substance while manipulation subverts rational choice. 6Selling or even advertising junk food violates Commandment #13 in my “Five Missing Commandments” essay. 7Lest the reader think that genocide against the Native Americans is a thing of the past, consider that the average life expectancy of Native Americans is 10 years below the national average. One contributing factor is alcoholism, with an alcohol abuse death rate five times average. Another factor, especially on reservations, is poverty—do I need to point out the positive correlation between income and longevity? A Native American student of mine reported that she knew of several attempted and “successful” suicides, usually brought on by despair about one’s seemingly hopeless conditions.

Joel Funk, Ph.D.

The Missing Five Commandments

You’ve all heard of the Ten Commandments, right? Maybe you’ve even seen the movie (it was good, but the book is better!). On the subject of movies, did you ever see the old Mel Brooks spoof The History of the World, Part One? There’s a scene in it where Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai with three tablets containing fifteen commandments, but it’s awkward and unfortunately he drops one of the tablets! The upshot is that today we are short five commandments. What could those missing five commandments have been about?

Popular theologian Sam Keen gives us a clue. He states that the big questions like “What is the meaning of life?” or “Why is there evil?” have been around forever, but that today there is a new, unprecedented “big” question—Will the earth survive? So, if the first five commandments deal with the relationship between humans and God (e.g., do not worship other gods), and the second with the relationship between humans and others (e.g., do not steal), I propose that the missing five commandments deal with the relationship between humans and the environment, including our immediate “environment,” the body. So here’s my attempt at reconstructing those missing five commandments, complete with extensive commentary. (What else would you expect from a know-it-all professor?) Please recite the boldface commandments out loud in a deep, Jehovian voice: 11. Thou shalt not harm the environment, My creation. This means not polluting the air, water, and land; not exhausting resources; eliminating waste by recycling virtually everything; replenishing the soil; reforesting to prevent soil erosion and desertification, and so on. Put more positively, it means living much more lightly on the earth. This shouldn’t necessitate going back to tribal living; there are many developing eco-technologies, such as free energy, which would allow a fairly high standard of living without taxing the environment.1 However, if we continue the way we’re going, tribal society may be all that survives! I once came across the case of a schizophrenic man who suffered from the delusion that all the scraps of paper, all the used razor blades, bubble gum wrappers, and tissues, and all the hundreds other sorts of trash littering the world would be gathered together and stuffed into his body. Of course, like all schizophrenics, his mistake was to construct reality with his own ego autistically located at the center of the universe—all the trash in the world is going into just his stomach! But if he had had the ability to think systemically and expand his sense of identity, he would have seen that his concern for where the garbage was going was legitimate. His mistake was in believing that the trash was going into his individual body, rather than into his “larger body,” i.e., the environment. As philosopher Alan Watts once observed, when we throw things away, there really is no “away;” what we really mean is that we throw trash where we don’t immediately see it (or smell it). But if the environment is truly our larger body (just as for many Native American cultures ones real mother was the Earth Mother, not just one’s individual mother), then we are simply moving trash from one part of our “body” to another, which is not a very wise thing to do! Thus that poor schizophrenic, in a distorted way, was actually tuning into a real problem most of us ignore every time we throw things “away.” As a result of socialization by our highly individualistic society, we unfortunately tend to construct our identities far too narrowly. Could it be otherwise? I once heard a story about a Native American youth who went off to college. When he returned after a year, his father took him out on a lake in a canoe and asked his son, “Who are you?” The son responded with his English name, then his Indian name, and a few other conventional definitions, such as student of anthropology, member of such and such clan, etc. Each time his father rejected his definition. The frustrated son finally asked who he in fact was, and the father responded, “You are the lake, the sky, the trees, the moose, the beaver, the birds, the land.” Well, you can extend this list, but the point is clear. The father was reminding his son not to forget his “natural identity.” Most of us are too much like the son. If we identified with the land and the water and the sky, we’d think twice before polluting “ourselves,” wouldn’t we? Until we can regain this sensibility, we need this 11th commandment! 12. Thou shalt limit thy population and thy growth. The 12th commandment supports the 11th, because with fewer people living more lightly on the earth, we are far less likely to harm the environment. Now, the 12th commandment seems to contradict the very first command in the book of Genesis—“Be fruitful and multiply”—but, hey, times have changed! The world population at the time Genesis was written was perhaps 4-5 million; today it is more than 1000 times that number! Furthermore, the actual cost to the earth is proportionally far greater, given the demands most of us in industrialized countries place on the environment. Depending on the technological base, there is probably an optimal number of humans the earth can safely support. Tribal hunting and gathering technology can support only a few million people worldwide, while the introduction of agriculture and, more recently, industrialization allow for many more people. But not 6 billion and not for long, given our current patterns of consumption, pollution, and waste. In a real sense we are living on “credit,” and if we persist on living beyond our ”means” we will be “bankrupt” at some point. This was the thesis of the pioneering book The Limits to Growth, which caused such a stir in the 70’s, and yet it should be obvious, even to a child, that things can’t keep expanding indefinitely. How many people should there be on our planet? One source I read cited two billion as a workable number; I think one billion would be better—why not err on the side of caution! Wade Frazier feels that we could support as many as 10 billion people at a high level if truly radical innovations, such as complete recycling and free energy, were developed. But should we? Is the earth a better place to live with more people on it? On my office bulletin board I have a handout from the Sierra Club entitled The Twelve Big Myths of Growth. We always hear about the economy growing as if this were inherently a good thing. Beyond some optimal range, however, growth is not a good thing. Growth for its own sake, as has been noted many times, is the ideology of the cancer cell! Eventually the parasite kills its host and dies too. Anyway, here are just two of the myths cited in the handout. One is that “growth is inevitable.” Although, overall, Americans can’t seem to “just say no to development,” dozens of municipalities have capped their population based on real environmental limits, to their benefit. So “to grow or not to grow” is actually a choice. Usually, myopically, we choose to grow. I was recently in the Tampa, Florida area, and was dismayed at how vast and monotonous the sprawl was. A beautiful environment has been transformed into a seemingly endless stream of resorts, malls, restaurants, and stores. Sometimes we couldn’t tell where we were because so much of the landscape looked the same! A second myth is that we have to grow or die. Perhaps this is true in the qualitative sense, in that while we are alive and well, we can and should continue to learn and grow, i.e., psychologically and spiritually. In the quantitative sense, however, this is simply not true—many economic studies show that growth costs more than the benefits it brings. Beyond a certain point, the more growth, the poorer we get! As a mundane example, consider that cities require garbage men, whereas here in rural N.H., just about everybody brings their own garbage to the recycling center. Far less in salaries to pay, no trucks to buy—thus, lower tax bills for everyone. True, there is the cost of driving to the dump, but it’s rather minimal. The problems resulting from overpopulation are psychological as well as material. Research has shown repeatedly that crowding is unpleasant and leads to aggression, both in animals as well as in humans. That’s one more reason why Dr. David and I eventually made our way from metropolitan New Jersey to rural New Hampshire. As I head towards more populated areas, the air gets dirtier and smellier, the traffic gets worse, my mood gets worse, people seem to be “in each other’s way” more and consequently we all get pushier, the noise level goes up intrusively, and the “feel” of the environment gets more impersonal and unnatural. And cities are expensive—recently I paid $39 to park for five hours in New York City! I never have to pay in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Well, OK, maybe a nickel to park downtown if all the free spots are taken! Finally, although cities can be exciting to visit, living there is bad for your health. Think about the bad air and water, the faster pace of life, the ”noise pollution,” the stress of crowding, the higher risk of being a victim of a crime, etc. Some people even talk about the negative emotional energy or “vibes” emanating from urban areas. Maybe, but do the data support the idea that cities are actually bad for your health in the long run? In one of the textbooks I use, there is a table that allows you to estimate your expected lifespan. One factor is where you live—you add four years to your lifespan if you live most of your life in a rural area, but you have to subtract two years for living in an urban area. That’s a total difference of six years! Remember, for 99% of our history, humans lived in relatively small groups—tribes, clans, etc. Thus, ironically, although surrounded by crowds in cities and sprawling suburbs, we are apt to be lonely in our isolated apartments, condos, and nuclear family homes. We have social units that are both too large and too small for the 20–500 size groups we evolved in. There have been attempts, going back centuries, not just since the 60’s, to create reasonably sized intentional communities, communes, eco-villages, etc. Although some of these, like Oneida and the Shaker communities, had guiding philosophies that most of us would not choose to live with, I applaud such attempts at creating a more harmonious, human scale-appropriate lifestyle. 13. Thou shalt not harm thy body and the bodies of others. Our body is also “part” of the environment, so that the prohibition against polluting the earth with toxic poisons stated in the 11th commandment also applies to our own bodies in the 13th. Beyond this—on the “thou shalt” side—we are also instructed to eat foods as “God created them,” i.e., only whole, organic foods, with an emphasis on raw foods. This takes some work if you shop at a supermarket, eat at restaurants, etc.2 It also commands us (gasp!) not to eat sugar, white flour, and junk food, smoke, drink,3 or use any drugs that may be harmful to us. It tells us to get adequate water, rest and exercise. So far pretty familiar stuff among the alternative health community. But the 13th commandment goes further and instructs us not to sell any harmful products to others. This is an offshoot of the Golden Rule—if it’s bad for me, I am certainly not going to sell it to you! Thus, growing and selling food is not just a “business” in this view; it is a sacred task. Therefore we should not only eat organic food, we should produce only organic food; we should not make or sell non-organic or junk food, cigarettes, and so on. I once attended the funeral of a relative who was buried in a cemetery which was the final home for many celebrities (e.g., George Gershwin). I noticed a large tomb emboldened with the name of family known for selling “fine” chocolates and candies. This family became rich and famous, but they persistently violated the 13th commandment by selling sugar-loaded candy to children and adults. By extension, it would also be a “sin” to even advertise the sale of candy or junk food. How can we morally encourage other people to violate a commandment? 14. Thou shalt not harm animals. This really ties into commandment #15 below, for if we respect nature, we would be loathe to cause unnecessary harm to animals. As some eco-activists put it, we should avoid “speciesism,” defined as the belief that the earth and all of its non-human inhabitants are here exclusively for our “use.” Where the Bible speaks of having “dominion” over all the animals and the earth, today the more enlightened members of our species refer to “stewardship,” a term emphasizing responsibility, not hierarchy. Specifically, this commandment would mean reducing or eliminating the use of animals for vivisection and in the majority of experiments. Many scientists argue that much animal research is unnecessary and even useless, as human physiology is not identical to that of any animal. The idea of caging animals and spraying, feeding, or injecting poisons of various sorts to see what happens seems bizarre to me. Why not avoid using these poisons in the first place? The Aubrey Organics cosmetics line, for instance, uses no chemicals and does no animal testing. We only need to test the chemicals used in other cosmetics because we don’t use all natural products in the first place! And of course, kindness towards pets and farm animals goes without saying. It pains me to read occasionally in our local paper about someone who has been starving or abusing their “pets.” And the manner in which cows have been selectively bred so as to be little more than “milk machines” is a good example of the speciesism mentioned above. As milksucks.com makes clear, milk, as it is currently produced, is as bad for the cows and the environment as it is for the humans who drink it. Personally, I think we should start breeding cows back to the stage where they produce enough milk for their own calves—as God and nature intended—and nothing more. As for eating animal foods, this is a controversial issue. You might expect me to state that commandment #14 should make us all vegans or at least vegetarians, but I think the issue is more complex. Humans are omnivorous and some people, depending on age, blood type, and other factors, may require animal foods. Recent studies suggest that during hunter-gatherer times, which comprised most of human evolution, perhaps 65% of our diet was animal based! Some vegetarians harm themselves by excess grain consumption and because they do not ingest enough of certain necessary nutrients, vitamin B-12 being the most obvious. I once witnessed a naturopath trying unsuccessfully to convince a pale, anemic looking vegetarian to have some eggs or liver powder! On the other hand, I am not pushing a “meaty” diet, partly for ethical reasons, and partly for environmental reasons. It takes a lot more land and water to raise 100 pounds of beef than 100 pounds of soybeans, to say nothing of the waste products involved. A good compromise solution is the “quasi-vegetarian” diet, with the strict vegetarian diet held as an “ideal” that only some will achieve. A quasi-vegetarian will eat less meat, especially red meat, thereby sparing the earth somewhat in the process. Dr. David’s recommended diet allows for some meat products, e.g., poultry, fish, bison (low in fat!), and even some beef—if it is organically grown, that is, without the pernicious growth hormones and antibiotics usually fed to cattle. Interestingly, in light of the Biblical tone of this essay, two types of animal are prohibited by both Dr. David and the Bible: shellfish and pork. In addition, this commandment dictates that any animals eaten must be treated humanely; that means they must be given sufficient room to roam (“free range”), must be fed an appropriate diet (for example, grass, not grain, for cattle), and slaughtered with a minimum of pain. If you have ever read about the evils of factory farming (see themeatrix.com), which I can’t bring myself to describe, it’s enough to turn you into a vegetarian. I refuse to eat veal, and I try to buy organic, free range chicken. 15. Respect nature and look to it for thy health. Above I mentioned that food production is more than a mere job; it is a sacred task. In today’s secular world, however, we suffer from a serious “desacralization” of life.4 I mean, how can we even think of genetically engineering food? Despite efforts by some far-seeing individuals and groups, our collective lack of respect for nature is all too obvious.5 In contrast, indigenous (tribal) cultures feel they are intricately related to the natural world and thus have great respect for nature. Notice I said that they “feel” this connectedness—it’s not just a nice ecological theory. Indigenous peoples believe that all aspects of nature, even stones, have a form of consciousness, and that humans can learn about life and healing from plants and animals. Many go so far as to give thanks to animals before eating them or to plants that yield medicinal secrets. If this seems “primitive,” consider this: the Hoxsey therapy for cancer was developed by observing what specific plants a horse ingested when it was ill! The horse had an intuitive wisdom or “attunement” to its environment and somehow knew what to eat. This sort of intuitive wisdom will allow one to attend to meanings and patterns invisible to the objectifying and mechanical (i.e., lifeless) methods of science, although occasionally a pioneer like George Washington Carver or Nobel prize winner Barbara McClintock speaks of “communing with plants”. Regarding health, we are commanded here to use natural means to prevent and treat illness: herbs, natural supplements, good food, massage, acupressure, good exercise, good water. Even good music and good light! And yes, even “spiritual technologies” like shamanic healing, meditation, and laying on of hands. Secondarily, we can use scientific technologies that do not harm the body, such as light therapy or the Rife Frequency device.6 Lastly, “heroic,” i.e. intrusive measures, like drugs and surgery, will undoubtedly be necessary some of the time, but probably 85% or more of our medical ailments could be prevented or treated via natural, supportive measures. Of course, we collectively have a huge problem obeying the ten commandments we already have! Take, for example, the prohibition against idolatry, which in essence means valuing something relative in place of that which is Absolute or Ultimate. This commandment is being violated on a massive scale by our civilization, with its rampant materialism and worship of wealth, status, power, technology, science, ego—you can add your own favorite “idols” to the list. And as for the second tablet, didn’t we steal virtually the entire Western hemisphere and kill the majority of the natives who were here first? So how likely are we to observe the missing five commandments, especially since they are not (yet) carved in stone? On second thought, I take that back a bit. The majority of Americans are concerned about the environment and are increasingly participating in holistic prevention and treatment. A small but growing percentage of Americans are truly serious about following commandments #11–#15 and choose to live a “green” life, which I envision as a synthesis of postmodern sophistication and technology with indigenous attunement to the natural world. The vital issue, as Sam Keen noted, is whether the Earth can survive. Can we create a green society in time to prevent environmental collapse?

Footnotes 1Once again, Wade Frazier, especially in his essays The Energy Racket and Visions of What Can Be, and in his own Links section, provides copious information about a free energy based, alternative future. He also has a short essay on vegetarianism. 2At the end of my last column I promised an essay on “stupid markets.” I will get to it next, but the missing commandments idea just, well, took over. I’ll also do one on fast foods and dining out. 3Ah, alcohol…Haven’t we all heard that drinking a glass of red wine daily is good for you? That lifespan expectancy chart I referred to above says to subtract 5–10 years for heavy drinking, but also to subtract one year if you are a teetotaler and to add two years if you are a light drinker (1-3 drinks a day)! How can this be? Well, there are two benefits from (red) wine—there are certain compounds found in grape seed, antioxidants called “flavonoids,” that are good for you. But you can get these antioxidants from grapes, grape juice, or grape seed supplements, without canceling the benefits by imbibing the poison of alcohol! And then there is the “relief from stress” factor. But, again, you can relieve stress by exercising or doing TM or yoga. The point is you can obtain the benefits of wine without the many negative effects of alcohol. See Tim O’Shea’s Sugar essay on his thedoctorwithin.com website. See also: Grape Juice Provides Health Benefits Without Alcohol for a detailed comparison of wine and grape juice. Guess which comes out better? I also suspect that the reason teetotalers live, on average, a bit less than light drinkers may have little to do with alcohol per se, but more to do with the uptight lifestyle of some non-drinkers. 4Nothing seems sacred these days except money. Remember “In Gold We Trust” from the Inconvenience Stores essay? Here’s a statistic I found which illustrates how the system prioritizes money over health: In 1979, U.S. government appropriation to fight smoking: $29 million; In 1979, amount U.S. government spent in price subsidies, farm loans, and other direct support for the tobacco industry: over $1 billion. (On a sheet found in the ACS [American Cancer Society] distribution shelf.) 5As a striking example of our collective lack of respect for the environment, here are several facts gleaned from just one magazine, the latest issue of Sierra, the house journal of the Sierra Club: The Bush administration is pushing to resume nuclear power, despite all the ecological and economic problems that have already been observed; climbing the Matterhorn is now more dangerous than ever due to the increased likelihood of avalanches, a result of global warming; the same global warming is held responsible for the spread of West Nile virus and soybean munching Asian aphids; The Bush administration has opened up hundreds of thousand of square miles of former wilderness area to logging, mining, and oil extraction; and the same administration is trying to strip endangered species status from the manatee and other threatened animals. There’s more, but you get the point. 6In a later column I will offer a categorical analysis of the different types of natural, psychological, spiritual, and technological healing modalities that we could ideally use first, before resorting to allopathic medicine.

Joel Funk, Ph.D.

Inconvenience Stores

If you read my previous column, or my essay contrasting allopathic and naturopathic approaches to healing (both located on this website), you will see references to “systemic thinking.” Basically, this means the realization that everything is connected to everything else. For example, naturopathy recognizes, in a way that allopathy typically does not, that the different systems in the body are part of a larger system (the organism), which in turn, are part of an even larger ecosystem. So you don’t just treat the symptom or even the diseased organ, you treat the whole person. You even try to improve their environment to the extent possible.

Similarly, aspects of our society that may seem entirely separate, like medicine, energy, education, economics, science, politics, the media, law, spirituality, etc., are in fact intimately connected. The way a society approaches each one of these issues will be reflected in the way it deals with each of the others to a large extent. If you want to see a superb example of systemic thinking, applied to every one of the topics mentioned above, read as much as you can of the Wade Frazier website (see Links), especially the long essay entitled The Medical Racket. Thoreau once stated that “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Frazier is one of those striking at the root, and I’ll be referring to his mind-blowing site in the essay that follows and in future columns. See footnote1 for more details. The reason I’m bringing all this up, is that in my columns, I too will be employing systemic thinking as much as possible. At times, it may seem like I’m rambling or going off on tangents, but the point is, it’s really all connected. So… I was once walking with Dr. David and he referred to one of the local “Quickie Mart” stores as an inconvenience store, a name that struck me as particularly apt. There is very little that is convenient at these stores for someone concerned about health and the environment. Let’s pick a typical “convenience” store and mentally walk through it, applying systemic thinking as we go. What’s often right out in front of the store, before you even walk in? You got it—gas pumps. If you fill up your tank, you are feeding the colossal oil industry, the one that made Rockefeller rich and famous over a century ago. Doesn’t it seem strange that with all the amazing new technologies over the past century, there has been basically no change in how we fuel our vehicles? Actually there have been alternatives developed—and I mean truly radical alternatives beyond merely the hybrid car. The hybrid car is in the right direction, but still works within the fossil fuel paradigm. No, I mean truly radical ideas—free (or nearly free), non-polluting forms of energy and transportation. Check out The Energy Racket and related essays and links on the Wade Frazier website; Frazier was personally involved in a situation of a brilliant innovator trying to bring a radically novel super-efficient engine to the market only to see the technology suppressed and the inventor jailed. Another inventor was threatened and then bought off when he showed up with a carburetor that allegedly could get over 100 mpg. Here’s where systemic thinking comes in. It turns out that Rockefeller, Carnegie, and other corporate moguls were not only influential in preventing public transportation and the development of non-fossil fuel sources of energy, but they were also involved in fostering the dominance of allopathic medicine in America! A century or more ago, the allopathic system was not very efficient and was in competition with naturopathic, herbal, and homeopathic systems, which often worked considerably better. There is more money in hospitals, drugs and surgery, however, and guess what we mostly have available today? As with Frazier’s inventor friend, those who try to promote cheap, harmless, effective alternative treatments—especially for cancer—are also likely to have their research destroyed and their careers ruined.2 Frazier makes clear the systemic connections between the two rackets, the same power mongers—or at least people of the same ilk—being behind both. Many of the pharmaceuticals developed, in fact, were “useful” ways to recycle industrial waste, fluoride being a prime example. Frazier includes a nightmarish essay on the topic of fluoridation, explaining how a tooth destroying, mind-numbing toxin became fraudulently promoted as a way to “protect” teeth! So when you pump that gas, think systemically. Realize that you are ultimately going to be spewing toxins into the air; when you then get sick from these and other industrial pollutants, your doctor will most likely prescribe further toxic drugs to help restore you to health. (Right!) It’s not a coincidence. It’s all part of the same system, with the same corporate hucksters getting rich poisoning you and then “curing” you. Maybe next time you’ll consider seeing a naturopath, one of whose primary goals is to help you detoxify. Ok, matters are getting depressing and we haven’t even stepped inside the store yet! I once asked the owner of a convenience store what his “big sellers” were. His response was—no surprise here—alcohol (beer), cigarettes, and lottery tickets! And then he added that in the morning coffee was a hot item (pardon the pun). In other words, what paid his bills was the demand for harmful, even addictive substances (well, gambling, while psychologically addicting, may not be physiologically addictive; however, some people claim they get an endorphin “rush” while gambling, so this too may be something of a physiological addiction). Alcohol and tobacco of course are two of the easiest ways to reduce your life span by 10-20 years (more if you drive drunk or smoke in bed). Caffeine isn’t good for you either—it doesn’t give you energy, merely helps you squander what energy you have, so you get exhausted later and then need another cup. Coffee is also acidic, and remember what people typically put in coffee—sugar and cream. The only health promoting use of coffee is in enemas, believe it or not, and it has been used that way as an adjunct in some alternative treatments of cancer, e.g., Gerson therapy. So if some irate coffee lover tells you to stick it up your butt, just smile! Anyway, none of these “best sellers” are very convenient if you are following Dr. David’s regime. I could talk about lottery tickets being a subtle way of taxing the poor, but perhaps that’s getting too far afield (although nothing is really too far afield when thinking systemically). But really, gambling does relate to a deeper addiction: greed. One Native American spiritual teacher once half-jokingly stated that Americans left off a letter on the dollar bill. Where it says “In God We Trust,” it should actually read “In Gold We Trust.” Greed was seen as a form of insanity by most Native Americans, and some Northwestern tribes even had a “potlatch” ceremony wherein tribal members gave away and even destroyed their excess wealth. Wade Frazier has some extensive essays on European and American history pointing out that the search for gold was a major impetus behind the voyages of Columbus and other conquistador’s. Things don’t seem to have changed much. Greed, as we have already seen, not only underlies gambling, but also explains why we pay lots of money for toxic fossil fuels and pharmaceuticals, and why cheaper, cleaner, more efficient alternatives are not available. Speaking of Native Americans, I often muse that they achieved a sort of inadvertent revenge for the genocide and cultural destruction inflicted on them (from perhaps 80,000,000 inhabitants to a tiny fraction of that number today, with lots of poverty and deprivation still for the majority of the survivors). How? By offering us various harmful, addictive substances as part of a “cultural exchange.” Alcohol was an addictive drug that Europeans brought over here, and it is still a major problem for Native Americans. But tobacco, cocaine, sugar, and—on many reservations today—gambling, are all addictions that intentionally or not, we took over from them. Of course, Native Americans used tobacco sparingly, for ceremonial purposes. They chewed coca leaves and probably natural sugar cane. It took the ingenuity of Europe to refine the sugar, mass produce the tobacco, process the cocaine, and build the casinos—to the detriment of us all. Back to the store… Let’s see, suppose you are thirsty and you walk around to the coolers looking for something to drink. Basically there’s nothing you can drink on Dr. David’s plan aside from water. Forget the milk, iced tea, soda, beer, wine, juice, lemonade etc. (What about diet soda? It has no sugar! Let’s hold that for a later paragraph). If you can get fresh apple cider at some point during the year that would be OK. Orange juice is usually from concentrate, which kills the enzymes, but even if not from concentrate, is still rather acidic. Dr. David maintains that citrus fruits should be kept to a minimum, although lemons and limes are good cleansers and hence ok (but lemonade has lots of sugar!). Limes, as you might know were what allowed British sailors to avoid scurvy, earning them the nickname “limeys.” What you may not know is that in the 1500’s when Jacques Cartier was exploring Canada, the natives gave him a brew made from pine bark needles, which cured the scurvy of his men. The British medical establishment ignored this for several centuries leading to much unnecessary illness and death, until finally some British doctor got all the credit for sending limes along on naval voyages. As for diet soda, first of all, any soda has stuff in it you don’t want, aside from sugar: caffeine, phosphoric acid, and artificial coloring, for example. I’ve heard that certain cola drinks are good at taking rust off automobile chrome. True or not, better use it outside your body. It’s anything but the “real thing.” Sugar is awful, being deleterious to virtually every organ and system in the body, but Nutrasweet (aspartame) is worse. Dr. David told me that the FDA has had more complaints about aspartame than any other drug or additive, ever. Aspartame, when warm, decays into formaldehyde! It’s been implicated in Gulf War syndrome and lupus. Dr. David told me he has known several cases of women who drank a two liter bottle of diet cola every day and later developed cervical cancer (one friend of mine developed lupus, but stopped her soda addiction when I showed her an article I had on this). And, ironically, aspartame apparently does not even help you lose weight! Tim O’Shea, D.C., quotes one study in which weight gain (!) was a side effect of aspartame. In fact, do yourself a huge favor and visit Tim O’Shea’s website The Doctor Within for a must-read essay on sugar that also deals with aspartame, diabetes, and alcohol. Maybe it should be posted on the door of every inconvenience store… So why, you might be wondering, does the FDA allow aspartame? Interesting question. Why also did the FDA ban stevia for a while? Stevia is an herb that is about 50 times sweeter than sugar, but is actually good for you. It helps regulate blood sugar. Dr. David told me that in Japan stevia is used in cola drinks. Why was a harmless herb banned (I think it’s now available, but cannot be labeled as a sweetener per se) while a potentially toxic chemical sweetener was given the OK? Does the FDA truly represent the health of the American public or the “health” of the sweetener and agribusiness industries? Several of the cancer books cited in the footnotes2—and Wade Frazier, again—have great information on the fraudulent, even illegal activities of the FDA. In fact, Herbert Ley, Jr., former Commissioner of the FDA stated, “People think the FDA is protecting them—it isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what people think it’s doing are as different as night and day.” So better skip the aspartame. Well, water is ok, right? Except for this: why should you have to buy water? Aside from the cost of pumping it up, which is minimal, why isn’t it free? Mostly because tap water is so impure. It has chlorine and maybe fluoride and God knows what other chemicals in it. I never drink from the water fountains where I work, unless I’m dying of thirst. I bring water from home, but we are fortunate enough to have our own well and a good filtration system. I still wonder what’s in it, but I figure it’s probably as good as what comes in those plastic bottles. Speaking of which, I recently read that you shouldn’t reuse those bottles as water bottles because some carcinogenic chemical in the plastic will get into you. You need a hard plastic bottle. Apparently they don’t leach plasticizers into the water. Even buying water isn’t such a simple matter!3 OK, you’re hungry too, so what do you buy? Almost everything inconvenience stores sell is high in sugar, fat, salt, dairy,4 white flour, chemicals, preservatives, etc. Most of it is dead, processed, devitalized food. If there is any fresh fruit, well, it doesn’t usually look all that fresh and it’s doubtful if it’s organic. The only items worth buying might be sunflower seeds, trail mix, and nuts (if fresh and unsalted). Sometimes I wonder, though, how long these packages have been hanging there on the rack, since most customers are apparently not there to buy healthy stuff! Then there’s the ice cream freezer. In my less enlightened days I used to like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. It had neat flavors, neat names, neat owners, and they seemed pretty fair in how they ran the company. But, the product itself is still essentially dairy, high in fat, sugar, and has additives like propylene glycol and other nasty toxins that they don’t usually list on the label. Much better for you is Rice Dream, which makes an occasional summer treat. Even better, if you must have dessert, try pineapple or papaya, which have digestive enzymes in it. Or wait an hour or two after eating and have any kind of fruit. Our “sweet tooth” is Nature’s way of getting us to eat fruits at their ripest, and our fruit eating in turn helps spread seeds, but this symbiosis has been perverted by modern day pancreas-zonking candies, cakes, doughnuts, etc, that are loaded with refined sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup, etc.). Sugar is the first item on Dr. David’s “Do Not Eat” list and yet the average American consumes almost 150 pounds of sugar per year! Which is one major reason why, as I noted in my introductory column, that most of us are full of crap! So whether it’s outside at the pump, or inside with food and drink, you are probably not going to find much that doesn’t pollute you one way or the other. Here’s an interesting quote that gets to the heart of things: “There are three things which build and maintain civilization throughout time: pure air, pure water, and pure food. And as an eternal truth I say unto you, that there are three things which bring the end of civilization, even the mightiest that have ever been and shall ever be, from the beginningless beginning to the endless end of all time: impure air, impure water, and impure food.” –Zenda Avesta, c. 3000 BC. That was 5000 years ago—you would think we would have learned this basic lesson by now! What would a true convenience store offer? (not that I’m naïve enough to expect such a store to gain widespread acceptance tomorrow). Well, it could offer fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. It could have a salad bar and a juice bar for smoothies, carrot juice and the like. There could be reasonably healthy snacks like dried fruit, unadulterated trail mix, not too junky health bars and such (but you’d better check the labels), maybe home-made soup in the cold months, and pure, free (or nearly free) water on tap or in non-plastic bottles. Even the miscellaneous items like laundry detergent could be the environmentally friendly kind you can get at health food stores. And, oh yeah, because we’d all be using cleaner, more efficient forms of energy in this fantasy, there would be no gas pumps outside (maybe there would be some kind of recharging unit; perhaps even that wouldn’t be necessary). Being able to purchase any item in the place without worrying if it’s good for you or not—now that’s a convenience store! ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I had hoped to be able to tackle “stupid markets” here too, but space demands a separate essay. There are some promising movements afoot in some supermarkets, however, like organic produce, so they can actually be a bit more convenient than inconvenience stores, if you shop carefully. Next time!

1The Wade Frazier website is truly awesome. First, it’s about 1200 pages, the length of six 200 page books! Indeed, several of the longer essays, including “The Medical Racket” are the size of books. Second, regardless of whether Frazier writes about science, medicine, history, spirituality, politics, personal experiences, economics, or whatever, everything is tied together; in fact, the essay is densely cross-linked so that a passing reference to a particular topic can be followed up in depth on another of the site’s essays. That’s why I said above that it’s a superb example of systemic thinking. Frazier also includes numerous links to other websites and extensive footnotes. It would take years to follow up on the books and websites he cites as sources. Now, I don’t always agree 100% with everything he says. Here and there I find a point where I take issue or at least feel that his conclusions may be a bit extreme. Still, overwhelmingly, I resonate to what he says. Whether you ultimately agree with his views or not, you owe it to yourself to spend a few hours reading his basic introductory material, and “The Medical Racket,” and then anything else that catches your eye. If you don’t find much of his writing to be mind boggling and a serious challenge to many of your long held assumptions, you’d better check your pulse. 2This may seem like a strong, even incredible statement, but there is a mountain of documentation to back it up. It has happened not once or twice, but dozens of times. For some readers this will be old hat, but if this all sounds to hard to swallow, take a serious look at the following books, in addition to the Wade Frazier website: The Cancer Industry by Ralph Moss, who actually worked at Sloan-Kettering during the laetrile controversy; World With Out Cancer by G. Edward Griffin; The Healing of Cancer, The Cancer Cure that Worked, and The Cancer Conspiracy, all by Barry Lynes, and Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book by Richard Walters. The Frazier website provides a huge historical overview of the two competing approaches to healing (“masculine”/heroic/allopathic vs. “feminine”/nurturing/ naturopathic). To steal a line from the Walters book, if you think this sort of medical racketeering could not happen in America, you’d be dead wrong! 3Dr. Tim O’Shea’s website thedoctorwithin.com has an excellent—and scary—essay on water. Did you know that some European swimmers won’t even go into a chlorinated pool? 4In case you are wondering why I keep harping on dairy products, a topic I’ll most likely return to in a later column, see the notmilk.com and milksucks.com websites (see Links).

Joel Funk, Ph.D.

Most Americans are full of…

Most Americans are full of crap!

Ok, I’ve gotten your attention, and I will expand on that idea in a bit, but first a word about who I am. As might be obvious from the title of this column, I’m a university professor (married, three kids, mortgage, etc.) Now, I’m a professor of psychology, not medicine or biology or health, so why am I writing a column on a site dedicated to the activities and ideas of a naturopathic physician? First, I always take a broad interdisciplinary view of whatever I study and teach. Then again, my B.A. is in chemistry, so I do know a little bit about the hard sciences. My main qualification, though, for writing this column is that I’ve been a patient—and friend—of Dr. David for over 10 years. As part of my own journey from illness to health, I’ve read a lot, as professors do; and I’ve thought a lot, as professors do; and now in “The Professor’s Corner” I’d like to write about what I’ve observed, experienced, read, and thought.

Since nothing grabs a reader’s interest more than a story, let me relate a bit of my own personal experience with naturopathy. When I first came to see Dr. David in April of 1992, I was in ghastly shape, physically and mentally (as if these are two separate things). One of my many symptoms was that I lost 25 pounds in six months without even trying! If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ll know immediately that this means something is drastically wrong! For six miserable months I went from doctor to doctor receiving virtually no help whatsoever. The allopathic (“against symptoms”) doctors I saw literally did not have a clue. I often felt worse after leaving their office. A few alternative healers I sought out had a clue or two, but not much more. What they all failed to realize was that I needed to seriously detoxify my system. In other words, I was a typical American, that is, full of crap—no wonder I felt like crap! Through a series of twists of fate I wound up in Dr. David’s office, rather reluctantly, since I knew nothing of naturopathy and had been disappointed by a number of alternative healers already. When I asked Dr. David if he knew my diagnosis, he responded, “I don’t treat illnesses, I treat people.” I was immediately struck by that statement. Furthermore, Dr. David made it clear that he does not treat mind and body separately; he works with the whole person. This was a novel approach since the allopathic doctors I visited, having found nothing obviously physical to pin my woes on, asserted that my problems were “all in my head.” I felt intuitively that this simply could not be true; I may have my psychological issues, but feeling “poisoned” didn’t seem to be one of them. And Dr. David did not have that “dismissive” attitude I had encountered all too frequently in my quest for help; he actually listened to me. That first session took about 5 hours! At the end of the initial session, Dr. David gave me a huge list of dietary and other “dos and don’ts,” plus a long list of supplements to take. This demanded an almost total lifestyle change, and since I was so out of it I could barely function, I decided to make my life easier and do only about half the prescribed program for starters. Fortunately, the detoxification part of the regime was in that half and I started to improve. I started to phase in more and more of the regime and after two months the most horrible of the symptoms disappeared and never returned! Interestingly, if I deviate from the program for a few days, which occasionally happens when I’m on the road, I often wake up with just a hint of the old misery. So when people ask me how I have the discipline to stay on such a demanding program, I tell them that my body simply won’t allow me to stray for very long. When you are not full of crap, you become sensitive to crap! Am I in perfect health today? No, but I’m in pretty good condition for a 57 year old guy and, remember, I had 45 years of bad choices to atone for and even naturopathy has its limits. But I’m doing a lot better than I was in 1992! And I’m doing a hell of a lot better than the 15 or so friends and colleagues who, in the intervening years, have died from what I believe are preventable and treatable illnesses, primarily cancer. None of them followed a naturopathic regime, or if one or two did, they inexplicably did not stick with it. (The idea that a person would voluntarily stop following a life-saving health regime—for whatever reason—seems incomprehensible to me. As a student of psychology for 35 years, I guess I should know better!) One thing I did as I regained my health, perhaps out of a sense of gratitude for being given a second chance, was write an academic paper which took theoretical concepts from developmental psychology and used them to contrast allopathic and naturopathic medicine. I presented this paper, entitled “Naturopathic and Allopathic Healing: A Developmental Comparison,” at a psychology conference in 1994 and it eventually got published in the Townsend Letter for Doctors. Dr. David has kindly agreed to add this paper to his website, so you can read it here if you so choose.1 It’s a bit technical in spots, but not overly so. If you do read or skim it, you can get a deeper sense of why I believe natural, holistic healing is the route to take. In either event, I can summarize my conclusion in a sentence: Although we need allopathic healing (especially for emergencies and when natural methods are not working), overall, naturopathic medicine is inherently a higher, more developed mode of healing, more developed in a cognitive, ecological, moral, and spiritual sense. For example, I maintain in the essay that naturopathy requires a level of conceptualization that developmental theorists refer to as “systemic” or “systematic,” whereas allopathy rarely reaches above the pre-systemic “linear” or “formal” level. (That’s why allopathy focuses on symptoms of illness rather than on the more complex systemic processes producing health or illness.) And that’s only one of the 18 points of comparison made in the essay. In this column, however, I have the opportunity to write in a more informal, less academic tone, something I’ve wanted to do for years. After all, health issues affect everyone, not just academicians. So, to return to my original point. What did I mean above when I said that most Americans are full of crap? Nothing really new or surprising, but it needs to repeated until the message sinks in. Here’s my spin on it. Due to the depletion of soils by agribusiness farming methods, and to the over-processing and devitalizing of foods by agribusiness “manufacturing” methods, and to the typically very poor dietary choices made by most Americans, and to the many pesticides, herbicides, and thousands of industrial waste products polluting our environment and ultimately our bodies, and finally to the lack of a real conception of health on the part of the allopathic doctors, most of us eventually wind up full of crap! That is, toxins, parasites, harmful bacteria and numerous chemical poisons (including prescribed pharmaceuticals) accumulate in and infiltrate our system, crapping up in particular the liver and colon (the two main organs responsible for detoxification) as well as the lymphatic system. These poisons then leak into our bodies and make us ill in a myriad of ways. Regardless of the location and nature of the particular disease(s) we get, however, the true source lies deeper. Naturopathic healer Bernard Jensen, citing Hippocrates, said that death begins in the colon. Unfortunately medical schools ignore this fundamental truth, so that most allopathic doctors don’t concern themselves with the colon unless there are obvious symptoms there, e.g., colitis or colon cancer. For example, I didn’t have any major complaints about my colon per se, so it was not until I saw Dr. David that cleansing the colon even came up as a subject. Well, to be fair, there was one nutritionist who attempted to rid me of a candida infection he thought was the root of my problems. I don’t know whether I had candida or not, but his program did not work. My take on it is that his focus was far too narrow—he didn’t deal with the question of why the candida was there (if it in fact was) and what else I needed to do to rebuild my depleted resources. Bernard Jensen lived until 93. The average life span of MD’s is about 58 or so. Whose example and whose advice would you rather follow when it comes to your health and life? So until more of us wake up and start making saner health choices—and this includes environmental and political, as well as medical choices—most Americans will remain, literally and metaphorically, full of crap! Fortunately, there is a groundswell towards natural healing as more and more people realize that allopathy is not the total solution. Let me leave you with one final thought: According to one of my favorite websites, when Elvis died he had about 20 pounds of undigested food in his colon; John Wayne allegedly had over 40 pounds!2 Does this make you wonder about your own innards? Or, to paraphrase a recent credit card ad, “What’s in your gullet?” {Next time: Inconvenience stores and stupid markets—we’ll start with some everyday observations on the daily choices that contribute to the crapping up of Americans and expand into the politics and sociology of health.}



1For an even broader philosophical comparison between allopathic and naturopathic healing, I heartily recommend the chapter Conventional Medicine vs. Holistic: A World of Difference on the wonderful website of Tim O’Shea, www.thedoctorwithin.com. While you’re there, you’d be doing yourself a favor by reading his chapters on Sugar, The Sweet Thief of Life and Water. In fact, read as much of the website as you can! 2See To the Cancer Patient also on the Tim O’Shea website, www.thedoctorwithin.com. While you’re there take a look at Journey to the Center of Your Colon to get a detailed look at colon problems, leaky gut syndrome, reflux, and related issues explaining how and why we become full of crap.

Joel Funk, Ph.D.

Our Health Corresponds With the Fertility of Our Soils

G. H. Earp-Thomas, Ph.D.

Director of Research, Bloomfield Laboratories

Americans showed the world how to fly but the airplane had to be developed commercially in Europe before Americans would accept it. Our soils are degenerating rapidly—our health is getting worse all the time but although soil regeneration was started in this country, it will take demonstrations of how to save it in other parts the world before Americans will be roused to meet this vital emergency.

Over 45 years ago I found that soil was being poisoned by chemicals, that the balance of soil fertility as exemplified by what we know as virgin soil had been disturbed, and that the trouble was progressive. It takes about 50 years to wear out the inherent fertile powers of arable lands. It was apparent that the road to ruin was well established, and that the health of crops and animals was foredoomed to failure in progressive degeneration. Today we know the truth of this, in the great increase in degenerative diseases, notably heart disease and cancer attacking one out of four, encroaching on the survival of the races.

I determined to give my whole energy to the solution of this problem. I believe that today there is good prospects of at least reducing the incidence of the degenerative diseases by restoring to the soil the factors that are essential to produce foods with the thirty-two and perhaps more factors that are essential to normal well-being. We not only have to have the thirty-two factors, but they must be in the proper proportions and concentrations with the right reaction to maintain buoyant well-being.

Gravity is a positive force and is constant—a natural law which cannot be digressed, likewise health is a natural phenomenon governed by natural laws and is dynamic and cannot be maintained if the fundamental basic elements needed to make a complete organism are deficient in any of the essential factors. That is so evident that all should understand the principle. One couldn’t construct a building or an automobile without all the parts to complete the structure, therefore we cannot maintain the complex issues and organs of the body if factors are missing that are needed to maintain the cells in complete balanced nutrition. Many years ago I found that complete nutrition was absent in foods grown in many localities. In feeding animals on foods raised exclusively in some states it was inimical to the health of animals. This fact also became evident to other workers and vitamins and minerals were added to animal feeds to correct the deficiencies. Later, human foods were also reinforced and vitamins became almost essential to maintain vitality. Today these facts are apparent to all, but little has been done to attack the problem at its source, the soil. You would think that the authorities would have become alarmed at the progressive decline in the fertility of our soils and would have made every effort to correct the disastrous conditions that dated from Professor Liebig’s great idea about 80 years ago: to acidulate phosphate and potash rocks to make them more soluble as plant food. Since then, plants, animals and man have degenerated year by year until today it takes large books to describe the diseases of plants. One interesting book pictures the changes in appearance of plants, their leaves, blossoms and stems for each element that may be deficient. This allows the agriculturalist to determine a cure of the condition. Doctors likewise can diagnose many deficiency diseases by the examination of the patient and the symptoms he exhibits. But much more must be done along this line because nutrition in a complete form is yet but poorly understood by the doctor. Too many believe that disease is due to a mysterious force or due to microbes. Many such cases are disguised but are only due to inefficient or lack of factors to maintain well-being. When supplied by any means, the cells rapidly recover, if diagnosed in time and the proper factors supplied. There is no greater protection than phagocytes of the blood if they have the needed food with which to fight the invading microbes. Clean blood can destroy both toxins and microbes of all common varieties. We have injected mice and rats with the septicemic virus of Dansyz and when the animals were completely fed the virus was harmless, but when the animals were improperly fed a drop on their food or by injection was fatal. I introduced Rax and also Dansyz virus to the people of this country for the wholesale destruction of rats. The mortality rate was 80% showing that 80% of rats were improperly fat. The immune rats could not be killed by injections of the virus in heavy doses. The susceptible animals were found to have pure cultures of the virus in the blood or in the heart in most of the dead animals. I found this work to be most helpful in producing foods that protected animals from disease. Through this knowledge I have been able to increase the herds of chinchillas in this country and Canada. No end of letters attest to this from grateful ranchers. Because we receive our nourishment from soils, it is there that we must look to maintain our well-being. I have spent over 40 years in studying means to restore soil to its greatest productivity to raise human foods to produce them in a balanced form, also to restore to the soil a new flora and fauna to discourage the growth of toxic microbes. To accomplish this I put friendly bacteria with their best food to aid in destroying the disease producing kinds engendered by the chemical treatments so lavishly applied to the land. While doing this I have had great opposition from vested local interests but have been greatly encouraged by the kindly and sympathetic support of foreign nationals, so that I am now well reinforced with production abroad and records amply back up my belief in the value of restoring organic matter and all factors found deficient in the land. The results are beyond my early expectations because such treatment gives rapid and profitable results to encouraging my agents to oppose those not versed in this new system of soil improvement. It must be remembered that there are over a million tons of soil in each acre foot of surface and to change an unfavorable environment by a few hundred pounds of corrective organic fertilizer is expecting a lot in a single season, yet reports show that the soil responds remarkably well and increase noticeably the favorable effect for several seasons. Having turned the corner in a lone fight and with the cooperation of many agencies, there is hope to change the rapid decline in soil and produce crops of higher nutritional value and at the same time progressively restore the soils to a higher state of health and fertility. Before the white man civilized the Maori’s in New Zealand, diseases were unknown, there was no diphtheria, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, cholera or tuberculosis. Skulls of the natives showed all teeth in perfect condition, their bones large and well formed. They lived off the virgin soil. A similar condition prevails today with the Hunza’s in India who also live on the production of good soil. Animals fed on their complete food show excellent health. What a different picture is shown when similar animals are fed on food that is given to children in England, as an example. The animals have sixty-five different named diseases just the same as the British children. In New Zealand the early settlers thrived almost as well as the natives for years, until the population increased, and the soils were adulterated with chemical poisons to increase production, milk production went down, animal diseases increased, then the population had flu, diphtheria, tuberculosis, heart and circuitry diseases and cancer grew at an alarming rate. Farmers have recently reported that upon changing to organic fertilization their cattle have had less disease and are giving greater quantities of milk. They have set up numerous clubs to teach the people the new means of restoring soil fertility. They are the first people the world to see, in a short lifetime in their country, the disastrous effects of tampering with nature’s own method of maintaining soil productivity. In this country over 480 acres of land are washed out to sea daily and over one million acres eroded yearly to unproductiveness. If this was all the damage done it might be bearable but when children are born unfinished, deaf and dumb or half-witted, and older folks filling hospitals with unnecessary deficiency diseases, it is evident that corrective methods are long overdue. Our asylums are so overcrowded that no more can be admitted unless they are dangerous maniacs. There is a cause for everything and an effect. Drugs are no answer to this problem. It is a question of nutrition, not as we have known it, but brought about by restoring to soil all the factors needed to produce complete food saturated with all the items needed to promote the complete welfare of all the cells of the body. Food, produced from a well-balanced soil, is quite different in flavor and value then the food we have become used to. Such food is full of vital factors, less fiber, more protein, minerals, vitamins, ethers and esters, less carbohydrates, therefore less acid producing. There are more protons and less neutrons to the higher percentage of bases. It is these bases (the alkalies) which, if in proper strength and proportion, supply the blood cells—particularly the phagocytes—with their lethal effects on microbes and give us the natural immunity. Later I will outline what I have done to overcome this deplorable condition and how several countries of the world have joined me in this new means of rapidly restoring health to worn out soils. Also, the new analysis of food as it should be. This work is well underway on a large scale. It is beyond the laboratory stage. In fact, there are many large operations which are turning out thousands of tons of new life for the soil everyday. Soon, if these operations continue to enlarge as they now seem to indicate, it will be unnecessary to buy minerals and vitamins at the drugstore as the food you buy in the grocery will contain more than enough of all these essential factors to maintain your good health.

G. H. Earp-Thomas, Ph.D.