The Power Of Soft Power: Japan, Russia & The USSA

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
May 12, 2017

Every now and then I receive an article that is so thought-provoking I have to share it, and my own opinions about it, even though – as is the current case – my thoughts are still in the process of formation. This is consequently not quite an “op-ed” piece; it’s more of a “thinking out loud ramble”. In this case, the subject of my ramble is that of “soft power”, the idea of “culture” as a geopolitical card that looks increasingly, to my amateur eyes, like it is being played on the world scene, and played deftly by some players that know how to play it.

Permit me an anecdote here: months ago I had a private conversation with a friend who is a financial advisor for a major government in the Pacific. We were discussing the way Mr. Putin has been able to so successfully play the soft power culture card. At the time, I was analyzing Russia’s moves on the world stage in terms of a rather radical thesis, namely, that Putin’s Russia is not a “neo-Stalinist” state, as it is usually misunderstood to be by the West and in particular by the corporate controlled media of the West, and its quackademic “think tanks.” Rather, I opined to my friend, Russia was experimenting with something very unique, something defined by its long history: its grounding as a culture in Eastern Orthodoxy; its invasion by, and eventual expulsion of, the Mongols; its Drang nach Osten and the “collection of the Russian lands” under Ivan the terrible and the drive across Siberia to the Pacific; its “westernization” under Peter the Great; and, of course, its sad experience with Marxism, a western philosophical import; its invasion and surrender to the Central Powers in World War One and following civil war; the devastating invasion by Hitler in 1941; and finally, the collapse of the Soviet Union.

What Putin’s Russia was and is, I argued with my friend, is that it is the world’s first “post-post modernist State,” and that meant, I argued, that we would see Russia doing some “unusual things” on the world stage: (1) it would challenge the dogma of the globaloneyists that the nation-state is obsolete, and the world needs to be run by the likes of David Rockefailure and Darth Soros. (I don’t know about you, but that idea appeals to me even less than the world being run by Bonaparte, Wilhelm II, or Adolf Hitler.)  (2) Russia would begin to play its soft power culture card, not only domestically, but internationally, and make a play to speak for the culturally and politically disenfranchised conservative in the West. To be sure, that was a very radical idea, but I was perfectly serious in proposing it. Mr. Putin had, at the time we were having our discussion, made several speeches to the effect that Russia’s way forward lay, in part, by not neglecting its spiritual heritage; Russia would, he opined, protect the rights of minorities, but it would not allow them to tyrannize the majority nor overturn that inheritance. But that was for domestic consumption. Shortly after we had our discussion, sure enough, Mr. Putin began to address these types of remarks to the outside, and more specifically, to the West, targeting those individuals in the West of similarly conservative cultural values, while taking direct aim at the cultural progressivist left in the West. In short, Mr. Putin was maneuvering Russia – and himself – to be the representative of the culturally and politically disenfranchised conservative in the West.  Mr. Putin and his advisors are attempting to create a new national branding of Russia, and they have been more or less successful.

Which is why I found this article shared by Mr. T.M. about Japan’s use of the soft power culture card so very thought-provoking:

Japan has turned its culture into a powerful political tool

In the main, I have to agree with this article: Japan has managed, quite cleverly and successfully, to create a national brand of “western technology and traditional Japanese culture” and if one looks closely and carefully, much of that philosophical approach has spread to the other Asian powerhouse: China. Both countries are rearming, but if one looks carefully at their diplomacy, they are interested in two things: (1) getting things done and (2) producing things. The sweeping nature of the agreements already in progress in the aftermath of Mr. Putin’s visit last December to Japan, and Mr. Abe’s recent visit to Russia, are testament enough of the recent effectiveness both of Russian and of Japanese diplomacy, and I strongly suspect that it is the fact that both governments and their leaders understand and respect the soft power of culture, and the absolute necessity of preserving it, no matter what the nutty Gramscian progressivists and Mr. Globaloney might say in their perpetual use of shaming tactics.

With that in mind, think of the “national brand” of the United States…

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
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About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

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The Many Benefits Of Meditation

Source: Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola
June 18, 2016

There is growing evidence to show that meditation can make you healthier and happier. For example, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is sometimes used to treat depression, and brain imaging technology suggests meditation actually changes your brain in a number of beneficial ways.

MRI scans have shown that long-term meditation can alter the structure of your cerebral cortex, the outer layer of your brain. Additionally, brain regions associated with attention and sensory processing have been shown to be thicker in those who meditate.

Previous studies have linked meditation to benefits such as improved attention, memory, processing speed, creativity, and more. Recent research also suggests that meditation helps counteract age-related loss of brain volume.

In short, meditation can be viewed as a form of brain exercise that strengthens it and keeps it “younger” longer. Other studies reveal the benefits of meditation are not limited to your brain; it also has anti-inflammatory effects and affects gene expression—all of which can boost overall physical health and longevity.

Long-Term Meditation Tied to Reduced Loss of Brain Volume

One of the most recent studies1,2 in this field looked at 50 long-term meditators and 50 control subjects between the ages of 24 and 77. Among the controls, advancing age correlated with a loss of brain volume, as expected.

Those who meditated, however, were found to suffer less age-related brain atrophy. As reported by GMA News:3

“People who reported meditating for an average of 20 years had higher brain volumes than the average person…

[T]he study’s senior author told Reuters Health that the team of researchers expected to see more gray matter in certain regions of the brain among long-term meditators. “But we see that this effect is really widespread throughout the brain,” said Dr. Florian Kurth…

[T]he meditators’ brains appeared better preserved than average people of the same age. Moreover, the researchers were surprised to find less age-related gray matter loss throughout the brains of meditators.”

How Meditation Increases Productivity

In the featured Google talk, meditation expert Emily Fletcher explains the differences between two popular styles of meditation, and how they affect your brain.

She also discusses the similarities between meditation and caffeine. Both have the effect of energizing you and boosting your productivity, but meditation accomplishes this without the adverse effects associated with caffeine.

As explained by Fletcher, caffeine is similar to the chemical adenosine, produced by your brain throughout the day. Adenosine makes you sleepy, and caffeine effectively blocks the adenosine receptors in your brain, thereby disallowing your brain from recognizing how tired it is.

While this may not be harmful in and of itself in the short-term, caffeine also stimulates more neural activity in your brain, which triggers your adrenal glands to release the stress chemical adrenaline.

Eventually (whether you’re drinking lots of coffee or not), remaining in a chronic state of “fight or flight” that adrenaline engenders can lead to any number of stress-related disorders.

Meditation, on the other hand, energizes you and makes you more productive without triggering an adrenaline rush. According to Fletcher, meditation provides your body with rest that is two to five times deeper than sleep.

Meditating for 20 minutes also equates to taking a 1.5 hour nap, but you won’t have that “sleep hangover” afterward. Instead, you’ll feel awake and refreshed, and as she says, “more conscious.”

Meditation de-excites your nervous system rather than exciting it further. This makes it more orderly, thereby making it easier for your system to release pent-up stress. It also makes you more productive.

She notes that many are now starting to recognize meditation as a powerful productivity tool. Contrary to popular belief, taking the time to meditate can actually help you gain more time through boosted productivity than what you put into it. In a previous interview,5 Fletcher stated:

“[People say] I’d love to meditate, I know that I need it but I’m so busy right now, my life is just too crazy to meditate. And what they don’t understand is that once you start practicing you actually end up having more time. It’s this weird paradox that happens.

Even though you’re making a pretty significant time contribution to your day to meditation, because it in turn makes your brain function so much better, that you end up accomplishing your tasks much faster and so you end up with more time in your day and your sleep becomes more efficient because you’re using your sleep as a time for sleep because you use the meditation as a time for stress relief.”

Benefits of Meditation Beyond Brain Health

Stress is a well-recognized culprit that can promote ill health across the board, and the ability of meditation to quell stress is an important health benefit. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently published a study claiming they’ve found the biological mechanism by which mindfulness affects physical health.

In a nutshell, meditation impacts your biology and physical health via “stress reduction pathways” in your brain. As explained in the press release:6

“When an individual experiences stress, activity in the prefrontal cortex — responsible for conscious thinking and planning — decreases, while activity in the amygdala, hypothalamus and anterior cingulate cortex — regions that quickly activate the body’s stress response — increases.

Studies have suggested that mindfulness reverses these patterns during stress; it increases prefrontal activity, which can regulate and turn down the biological stress response.

Excessive activation of the biological stress response increases the risk of diseases impacted by stress (like depression, HIV and heart disease).

By reducing individuals’ experiences of stress, mindfulness may help regulate the physical stress response and ultimately reduce the risk and severity of stress-related diseases.”

Such effects may explain why meditation can help to relieve stress-related diseases such as:

High blood pressure Sleep disturbances and fatigue
Chronic pain Gastrointestinal distress and irritable bowel syndrome
Headaches Skin disorders
Respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma Mild depression and premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Other research, such as that at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine has sought to quantify the benefits of the relaxation response by assessing gene expression before and after meditation, and have compared effects of short- and long-term meditation routines.

Among their findings, they discovered that meditation has anti-inflammatory effects. In one study,8 participants who participated in an eight-week long meditation program, as well as longer-term meditators saw increases in anti-oxidant production, telomerase activity, and oxidative stress.

Among their findings, the Benson-Henry researchers discovered that meditation has anti-inflammatory effects. In one study, participants in an eight-week long meditation program, as well as longer-term meditators, saw increases in anti-oxidant production, telomerase activity, and oxidative stress.

The researchers noted that benefits appear to be dose related, with changes even after one session7.

Continue Reading At: Mercola.com