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Websites associated with Contributing authors

The Belief Doctor (Steaphen Pirie)   Infoworks (Steven Lesser)

Disclaimer

Please be aware that the opinions, beliefs and materials of contributing authors need not reflect the beliefs or opinions of other contributing authors. As a general rule articles are posted on this website which infer or in some way point towards, or add weight to an "integral systems" or 'holodynamic systems" world-view.

Health and wellbeing

Articles, blogs and courses on health, lifestyle, wellbeing and resilience

Brains and Beliefs

Submitted by Stephen Pirie, 2008-10-03 11:26:59

The field of neuroplasticity is offering valuable and useful insights into how the brain functions.

Recommended viewing is this interview by Kerry O'Brien (ABC TV's 7.30 Report with Dr Norman Doidge).

From the interview:

for the longest time, for 400 years, we thought of the brain as like a complex machine with parts. And our best and brightest neuroscientists really believed that. It was a mechanistic model of the brain and machines do many glorious things, but they don't rewire themselves and they don't grow new parts. And it turns out that that metaphor was actually just spectacularly wrong, and that the brain is not inanimate, it's animate and it's growing, it's more plant like than machine like and it actually works by changing its structure and function as it goes along.

In a broader context, Visa International founder, Dee Hock voiced a similar perspective a few years ago ...

[from this FastCompany.com article ]

We are at that very point in time when a 400-year-old age is dying and another is struggling to be born -- a shifting of culture, science, society, and institutions enormously greater than the world has ever experienced. Ahead, the possibility of the regeneration of individuality, liberty, community, and ethics such as the world has never known, and a harmony with nature, with one another, and with the divine intelligence such as the world has never dreamed."

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Factors in employee health, wellbeing and resilience

[Submitted by Stephen Pirie, Belief Institute, 2nd Dec 2008]

Introduction

This article is an introductory analysis of the factors determining health, and how awareness of these factors can form a useful guide for employers.

These factors are derived from the long-term research conducted by Sir Michael Marmot, who has found that one's 'psycho-social ecosystem' is at least two thirds* responsible for health and longevity.

A checklist of considerations is provided to help the development of workplace policies. Our programs have been specifically developed to focus on, and enhance the "psycho-social" factors that lead to health and wellbeing.

* According to the research, factors such as smoking, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise and hereditary issues account for only 1/4 to 1/3 the total cause for ill-health and premature death.

Social Determinants of Health

When considering the nature of employee health within organisations, it is worthwhile to expand the context to include as many factors as possible that may impinge, directly or indirectly on the quality of health.

In the 2003 World Health Organization’s report on social determinants of health, Dr Michael Marmot and Dr Richard Wilkinson reported that:

“Even in the most affluent countries, people who are less well off have substantially shorter life expectancies and more illnesses than the rich. Not only are these differences in health an important social injustice, they have also drawn scientific attention to some of the most powerful determinants of health standards in modern societies. They have led in particular to a growing understanding of the remarkable sensitivity of health to the social environment and to what have become known as the social determinants of health."1

The research into social determinants of health is sufficiently broad and rigorous to link social factors with corresponding levels of health and life expectancy.

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Moving beyond a 2,450-year-old era

The Art and Science of Blinking

Around 2,450 years ago the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea was perhaps the first to methodically question a simple fact of life - how do we physically move, such as when blinking an eye, running, or simply falling down?

Culturally we are about to fall off a philosophical cliff. Fortunately, a safe landing in a far more compassionate, sane and exciting world awaits those who come to the edge with the understanding of how to fly.

His questions and arguments, which have become widely known as Zeno's Paradoxes, pointed to the seemingly logical impossibility of the everyday experience of physical movement.

His considerations have perplexed and troubled philosophers and scientists even since. Various assumptions that underpin our modern technologies and sciences were taken for granted. We take for granted that there is always a physical cause for every physical effect - as exemplified by scientists researching to find physical cures for disease, cancer and viruses; and to find the physical genes or brain cells responsible for thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and the experience of love, creativity and joy. 

Now, with the advances in the field of quantum physics, we know that a 2,450 year era is nearing its end .. an era in which it has been assumed that our physical brains, bodies and the entire physical universe is continuously existent. An era in which each part (atom, virus, cell, organ, person, planet) was assumed to be continuously existent and functional, with every part contributing to the running of, or dysfunction of, the machinery of life.

We stand at the edge of a grand new understanding of our universe, and ourselves. As Visa International founder Dee Hock foretells, a new era

is struggling to be born -- a shifting of culture, science, society, and institutions enormously greater than the world has ever experienced. Ahead, the possibility of the regeneration of individuality, liberty, community, and ethics such as the world has never known, and a harmony with nature, with one another, and with the divine intelligence such as the world has never dreamed."

 

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