Most people are somewhat familiar with the Nobel Prize in regards to its much-venerated international Peace Prize component that has become the most popular hallmark of this award. But the Nobel Prize, which was first awarded in 1901, is also given to those scientists who have exhibited exemplary advancements and discoveries in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine, Literature, as directed by its founder, Alfred Nobel, in his will and testament.
Some notable recipients of this popular award were:
Albert Einstein in Physics in 1921 for his discovery of the ‘photoelectric effect’ that described how atoms emit electrons after being struck by photons; and
Francis Watson & James Crick in 1962 in Physiology/Medicine for their ground-breaking discovery of the double-helix DNA molecule, which helped initiate the whole field of Genetics(1), even though in truth they stole this discovery from a woman scientist, Rosalind Franklin, who had taken the original X-ray Crystallography image of DNA years prior to them being awarded the Nobel Prize.(2)
Even the basis for which the prize’s founder, the Swedish inventor Alfred Bernhard Nobel, originated the concept of the Nobel Prize is questionable, for when his brother Ludvig died of a heart attack in France, the French newspapers somehow mistakenly identified him as Alfred, writing a critical obituary that branded him as a “merchant of death” who gained his fortune by developing new methods to “mutilate and kill”.(3)
This take on Alfred Nobel’s life most likely stemmed from the fact that his life’s fortune was gained from the invention and sale of weapons such as dynamite, blasting caps and ballistite (a smokeless gun powder) and that one of his nitroglycerin factories that tested and manufactured a precursor to the more stable dynamite he later invented, blew up in a horrific accident that killed many people, including his younger brother Emil Nobel.
It’s widely speculated that the bizarre reading of Alfred Nobel’s own obituary inspired him to place in his will and testament the provisions to pass on his remaining realisable assets, formulating a foundation that would award prizes to those who have done their best for humanity in the field of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. One could infer that the inspiration for this decision was based on Nobel’s wish to clear his name of the public’s negative perception of his work and to create an image of a more positive legacy after his death.
Even the original inventor of nitroglycerin, Ascanio Sobrero, was mortified to hear of Nobel’s discovery of dynamite (a more stable form of nitroglycerin) and once stated, “When I think of all the victims killed during nitroglycerin explosions, and the terrible havoc that has been wreaked, which in all probability will continue to occur in the future, I am almost ashamed to admit to being its discoverer.”(4)
Since its inception in 1901, the Scandinavian based Nobel Prize has been marked by much controversy, especially in relation to the Peace Prize and the funding and selection processes that the Nobel Foundation have adopted over the years. Anja Bakken Riise, the leader of the Norwegian environmental and social justice organization ‘The Future in Our Hands’, has expressed her shock at the Nobel Foundation’s ethical practices after deeply researching their funding and investment history and has stated: “It’s a paradox that they (Nobel officials in both Stockholm and Oslo) hand out Peace Prizes to those fighting climate change and to human rights activists, but on the other hand go along with financing what the prize winners are fighting against.”(5)
When it comes to the historical nomination process for recipients of the Nobel Prize, there have been many questionable nominees that were chosen for seemingly spurious reasons, especially in regards to the prestigious Peace Prize. In both 1945 and 1948, Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader who according to Soviet historian Roy Medvedev was responsible for the deaths of approximately 20 million people by various means, was nominated by a Norwegian, apparently for political reasons, as Norway was partially liberated from German hostilities during WW II by Stalin. (6)
Along with this was the nomination of the Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in 1935, the same year he invaded Ethiopia, by both a German law professor and another professor from France. The records of all the nominations are normally kept in the Nobel Institutes archives, but these two just happen to be missing. (7) Very interesting, indeed.
As for actual Nobel Peace Prize winners, Yasser Arafat, the famous head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, a well-known terrorist organization, won the prize in 1994, apparently for his work on the Oslo Accords that were attempting to bring peace between Palestine and Israel. In 2008 Harald zur Hausen received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his discovery of the human papilloma virus (HPV) and its link to cervical cancer. The problem? AstraZeneca, which produced HPV vaccines, sponsored the Nobel Prize website. In addition, two members of the panel that selected zur Hausen had ties to AstraZeneca. This conflict of interest drew criticism but was not addressed by the Nobel Institute. Even the woman who originally discovered pulsars in 1967, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, was overlooked for the prize yet her advisor, Antony Hewish, to whom she had submitted her discovery, was later awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974 for the exact same discovery of pulsars. (8)
The nomination of Barack Obama for a Nobel Peace Prize before he even officially stepped into the White House as the U.S. President in 2008 is also extremely questionable, considering the fact that his administration went on to continue the escalation of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, tortured supposed terrorist captives at Guantanamo Bay Detention camp in Cuba and was responsible for the greatest proliferation of deadly aerial drone strikes around the world. ‘The 542 drone strikes that Obama authorized killed an estimated 3,797 people, including 324 civilians. As he reportedly told senior aides in 2011: “Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”’(9)In consideration of all that has been expressed thus far in this exposé, one may begin to question not only the validity and value of an organization like the Nobel Institute, but how and why we have created a world where we give away our power to so-called ‘experts’ in their various fields, rewarding them as the Nobel Institute does with $1 Million+ prize money and lavish celebrity awards ceremonies; putting them on a pedestal that was potentially constructed under political, financial and even nefarious means, without truly checking in with ourselves to feel if what is being presented even makes sense for all of humanity.
How did we get to this diminished state of affairs within the science community and in particular, the Nobel Foundation? An example of the immense responsibility scientists have in regards to the choices made after any new discovery may be ‘just what the doctor ordered’ here.
It is interesting that nitroglycerin, the foundational component of Alfred Nobel’s dynamite, has also been used for treating chest pain since 1879, when London physician William Murrell realized it had a similar composition to another chest pain medication, amyl nitrite. It has now been determined by scientists that the human body breaks down nitroglycerin into a very beneficial molecule called nitric oxide, which has many health benefits, including the fact that it opens blood vessels and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart, ultimately providing relief from chest pain caused by contraction of blood vessels (angina). But what is even more paradoxical is that Alfred Nobel himself was incidentally prescribed nitrogylcerin for his own heart problems and actually declined to take the medication, even though at that time it was already proven to be effective. (10)
The irony of Nobel’s decision to not utilize nitrogylcerin for its known health benefits, even for himself, but instead for its destructive capacity brings to the fore the critical point of responsibility aforementioned. Because it always comes down to a choice for scientists and all of us – do we consider the whole of what is beneficial for all of humanity when we bring something to them in the form of an invention, new theory, medicine or concept, or do we merely push forward in a drive for personal financial gain, fame and power? These are the considerations that must be at the forefront of our approach in order to allow a more true science to be our norm.
True science brings to humanity the wonderment of a child who is watching for the first time a butterfly emerging from its cocoon or a phenomenon as majestic as the Aurora Borealis, and a sense of humbleness at not having all the answers for what is causing it all to occur, but at the same time feeling deep within that there is a Divine origin to its unfoldment. It is within this innocent inquiry of the Nature of things where true science is born and there exists great wisdom within every one of us that can be expressed by even the simplest of observations. There is no need for a laundry list of PhDs or history of attendance at elite Universities, just a noble thirst for Truth through scientific inquiry.
These words feel like they were coming from someone who was able to see through the pomp and circumstance of the Nobel Institute’s approach of rewarding scientists for their discoveries with fame and fortune, as Feynman is touching on what it means to be a true scientist, to not make discoveries for one’s own personal gain, but to expand the awareness of all of humanity of the mechanics of the Universe, as that is more than enough award for any noble man or woman.
We tend to go about our lives ‘online’ using computers and other electronic devices in a flippant manner, wandering from site to site as if we were some kind of digital nomad looking for a long-lost home that never was. We may think we are browsing to ‘chill out’, relax or take a break, when we’re looking for excitement, stimulation or adventure, but there may be other forces at play, and often we are using the internet to numb ourselves from feeling something we don’t want to feel. And through our own desires to numb the pain of our disconnection, separation, abuse, lack of intimacy etc., feelings that we cannot help but feel, no matter how hard we may try, there are times that we may even find ourselves drawn to a website or video that involves such things as violence, extreme stunts, and pornography … to name but a few of the plethora of distractions that abound on the web.
Perhaps there is another reason we call it ‘The Worldwide Web’, since we many times end up entangled somewhere like a bug in a spider’s web and are not sure how we got there in the first place. There is also a certain amount of irony involved in the fact that many of these things that we are drawn to on the net involve an equivalent or even worse forms of abuse to self and others than the ones we are trying to escape from! The most obvious example is the use of pornography in its many and varied forms. Most people, men in particular, think using porn is just part of the rites of passage of being a man, and it is becoming more and more acceptable to view it and act it out, at younger and younger ages. But how can anyone in truth see anything but physical and energetic rape in the acts of pornography that objectify and denigrate the female and male body in a way that reduces us to the point of bestial behaviour? Are we aware of the harm that is being done to tender, sensitive people in the acts being filmed in this porn, such as being drugged to not feel the pain, and sometimes even needing surgery afterwards to repair the damage done? How separated from one’s true self and given up on a true and loving life does someone have to be to get off on watching child pornography? And what are we getting out of seeing other people (in news, films and video games) involved in a graphically violent fight or an accident that results in their injury or death, or even being subjected to torture (all things that are all too accessible via the dark web)?
After viewing some of these vulgar, violent, offensive and all-together raunchy sites, we may have a tendency to want to erase any electronic record of our foray into this darker area of the web because deep down we can feel that it is a massive departure from our true soulful origins and it would most likely be incredibly embarrassing to get caught indulging in these sites for our own pleasure or escape.
This attempt to erase any web history is a very real everyday thing in today’s workplaces, as a 2013 Forbes magazine article stated that 25% of working adults admit to looking at pornography at work and 70% of all online pornography access occurs between 9:00am and 5:00pm, the hours of a typical working day.(1)
But what if there was no true way to eradicate any search history on our electronic devices? I’m not talking about any back-door IT magic that can detect anything that had ever been viewed on a computer.
Therefore, any attempt we make individually or collectively to ‘cover our tracks’ by deleting our browsing history or switching to the now common ‘incognito mode’ that automatically erases all the digital steps we have made is futile. The effects of the energy we’ve aligned to when watching those abusive sites will inevitably unfold in the lives of ourselves and other people, and in fact all of humanity.
But there is a beautiful thing about every decision that we make, no matter if it is to support violence, the objectification and abuse of men and women through porn, or the pursuit of more and more extreme behaviours that takes us further away from any form of stillness that could otherwise bring a deeper connection with our Soul and settlement to our body. And that beautiful gift is the Universal Law of Karmawhich will undoubtedly bring a re-harmonisation to the Universe by offering us a reflection and experience in our life that shows us clearly that when we have gone ‘off course’, this is not The Way. Alternatively, karma also provides the confirming flow of support and expansion when we are on the right track and is in no way just a negative punishment for our desire-based behaviours (as is commonly believed). In fact, it is the ultimate form of Love from God that slowly guides us back to a soulful way of living in harmony with ourselves and eventually all other beings, and this re-alignment is felt throughout the Universe.
If we could live with the understanding that we all energetically live in transparent glass houses, that nothing goes ‘un-noticed’ in the Universe, and that we have an incredible responsibility and power to directly determine our future as beings of the Universe, it would certainly go a long way in transforming and returning us to living our true selves and the human race to its Divine origins. Based on the current level of corruption, control, manipulation and disharmony that abounds on Earth, there is a massive call to contemplate why we have chosen to be oblivious to the power that we truly have in every movement we make. But we can literally re-imprint all our actions with each step taken with the Fire from our inner hearts, the Love of our Soul and by living in a way that is loving for all. Our Souls are patiently ‘waiting in the wings’.
I told her I guarantee he’ll call back if she said this, and on cue, right when she finally exclaimed to me, “Daddy, I am NOT going to say ‘Who cooks for you’ to that owl”, the Barred Owl emphatically responded with his classic ‘Hoo, hoo…hoo hoooooooo!’, at which point we both cracked up with hilarious laughter until our bellies almost hurt! The owl’s timing was truly impeccable, like any great comedian’s.
As we continued our walk, I had a renewed sense of the magic of how Nature communicates with us and would later come to realise how that owl was also providing a prophetic symbol of wisdom to come. Walking amongst a grove of old majestic oak trees, I noticed a number of dead branches that had fallen on the ground and instantly gained an insight into what this scene may be showing us on another level of awareness.
So, by releasing these branches (and for us, the beliefs that were previously rigidly held and protected), this wise old tree has opened up space within its canopy of branches for the Sun to shine its beams of light that so lovingly illuminate all the areas that were formerly cast in shadow, thus allowing not only the opportunity for renewed growth within the lower and inner branches of the tree, but also providing an opening for young, fresh seedlings around its base to flourish in this rekindled area.
Even the particles of dead wood that have fallen provide the minerals and nutrients that act as a fertiliser to help support the young saplings that now have fertile ground to thrive, which reminds me of the way an elderly person, after letting go of pictures and ideals on how people and their surroundings should be, can share their experiences of observing life in a way that helps the younger generations understand the world in a more loving and deeper manner, as well as how they can then support others in the same way.
It’s amazing for me to feel how there is in reality no true death involved here, only the illusion of it being so. Because if one simply looks at a dead branch or the whole body of a tree that has eventually rotted and fallen to the ground, even though over time these woody structures eventually seem to disappear, the reality is that all this material has been transmuted into its constituent particles of energy that are then passed on to nurture future incarnations of other plant and animal life.
Moving back to the observations of elder trees in Nature, there seems to also be an intelligence that knows just when to surrender those decaying branches that no longer serve them. This is synonymous to when we move down a particular path in our Life after making a certain choice (like a fork in the road or the same on a branch that splits into two directions) and we come to the realisation that even though we may have gained a certain level of understanding and awareness along the way, it ultimately does not serve us any more to continue down that track. It’s as if that branch (of the tree and of life) moves to a stage where it hardens and loses its flexibility to a point where it is brittle enough to simply let go and fall away, as needed to support the growth and evolution of not only itself by allowing more light to its inner being, but also that of the surrounding organisms in an act of True Brotherhood.
This ‘consideration’ of the surrounding biome that the elder tree feels to be holding may also indicate just how much cooperation is the prevailing model of life in Nature, rather than the competitive ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality as prescribed by classic Darwinism. There are countless examples of symbiotic relationships found in the realm of trees, one of which is that between conifers and mycorrhizal fungi, where the fungus encapsulates and sometimes penetrates the roots of the host trees, facilitating the enhanced extraction of nutrients and water from the surrounding soil in exchange for valuable sugars the fungi derive from the tree. A beautiful marriage indeed, if you ask me.
Most of these observations came to me in an instant while walking with my daughter after our joyful encounter with the wise owl initiated a kind of greater awareness to the ceaseless reflections and symbolism that nature provides for us to learn from every day.
And having my gorgeous daughter reflectively say, “Hmm, that’s pretty good, Daddy!” after I shared my observations that dropped into my mind about the elder oak tree, really brought a delightful exclamation point to our wonderful walk together. She’s pretty hard to impress, after all. 😉
The one baby firework that brought me the most joy as a little boy was the common, yet amazing sparkler. Twirling and spinning them around gave the impression to any onlookers that there was a continuous circuit of light being painted in the air, as the after-image seemed to hover in space like some trick of a magician, and we were the ‘Merlins’ behind it all! I loved watching the intense star-like sparks emanating from the centre of the rod and shooting off like miniature meteors; a fleeting glimpse that leaves a lasting impression, just like seeing a real meteor in the evening sky when you least expect it.
But the one aspect of playing with sparklers that to this day deeply touches my heart is the ephemeral moment where someone would hold their unlit sparkler up in a gesture requesting it be lit as mine was still going (or vice versa) and we would touch the tips of them together. There was always a pause of anticipation and then voila!, the previously dark sparkler was brought from a state of potential to fiery and glorious light and life.
Even at that young age and very strongly now, I can see how I felt a kind of symbolism in this action, whereby when one person may not be feeling very ‘sparkly’ themselves, but instead depressed, withdrawn or contracted, they can be inspired by another who is shining their inner light brightly for all to see.
This effect can manifest itself in many ways, from someone showing up to work in a joyful and purposeful way, ready to dive into whatever job is needed without hesitation or judgement, to simply placing one’s hand gently on a friend’s shoulder in a gesture of love and understanding. All of these gestures offer the potential of setting up a chain reaction of movement within our lives, of igniting and emanating light that spreads that ‘sparkle’ from one person to the next by the reflection of that light that is shown without reservation.
Of course, we also have the choice to do the opposite – holding onto our hurts and associated anger, bitterness and resentment and then carrying that over into our conversations, workplace, and relationships. But I’d venture to guess that most of us can relate to the fact that this never really results in anything other than misery and thus offers others nothing but to stay in the same circulation of negativity and emotional whirlpool of suffering.
Beginning with a foundation of deep honesty that we have been hurt and still feel hurt and a willingness to heal these hurts (which are not in truth ours, but emotional disturbances we have taken on), can be the catalyst to true and lasting change. It can create an opening to be inspired by others who have done the same, rather than continuing to buy into our old stories of suffering. It’s at this point that the light expressed through and from another can be ‘passed on’by reflection to the one who is ready to live it within their own life.
Just as the operation of ignition in an internal combustion or turbine engine involves the precise proportions and pressures of fuel and air to be combined before a spark is introduced to set this mixture ablaze, we can see this process playing out in our own lives between people. When we hold people in love, understanding and an offering of space for them to make their own choices without judgement, we observe that these qualities can provide the perfect environment for them to come to these understandings in their own time and there is then an igniting of an inner fire of purpose within them that can then inspire others do the same.
Similarly, when a person is living their life in a way that is in alignment with the qualities of love, truth, joy, harmony and stillness, and thus with their Soul, this is reflected to others and can either inspire an equal alignment to that joyful way of living or expose the fact that we are choosing to align to a way of living in resistance to this reflection, with all its resultant behaviours that are not in line with the way the rest of the Universe moves.
There also exist ‘sparkler effects’ within greater cycles of Light in the Universe. I know that whenever I go outside under a brilliant star-lit night sky I can attest to the feeling of being showered by the magnificent qualities of the stars and constellations that ceaselessly display their majestic light to us every night. The reflection of light the stars offer reminds me of the light that lives within. It feels like being wrapped in the arms of God during these moments, as this loving expression many times triggers within me an ignition of sorts, reminding me of my true home – amongst the stars and within the body of God who has created them. I then can’t help but carry this feeling within me to everyone I interact with in my life. And the sparkler effectcontinues.
The ‘Black Death’ or bubonic plague, as it was known – based on the boils or ‘buboes’ that formed and spread in the lymph nodes of its victims – devastated the continent of Europe and the Middle East from 1347 to around 1353, after it equally terrorised China, India, Persia, Syria and Egypt earlier in the 1340’s (1).
It was notorious for its rapid spread and vile characteristics that ranged from blood and pus-filled boils that seeped and covered the body, to fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhoea, terrible aches and pains – usually followed in short order by death, sometimes even overnight after the victim went to bed feeling fine. The Black Death was caused by a bacillus (bacteria) called Yersina pestis that was spread through the air and via the bite of a flea or rats that harboured the disease, wiping out about 60% of the European population (over 50 million deaths) and over 100 million world-wide (1).
Now, after reading the above description, you may be thinking “Phew, what a relief, thank God we don’t have to deal with anything like the Black Death anymore,” or, “Glad THAT’S over with!!!” But herein lies the point of this piece, and that is that even though it may appear that through modern medical and health practices we don’t have anything that compares to the ferocity of the Black Death (even the Ebola virus doesn’t even come close at 11,310 total deaths globally attributed to this disease (2)), there is a modern plague that has spread around the globe with equal tenacity and fervour. We could refer to this disease as ‘Smart’ Phone Zombie Syndrome and perhaps the energy that seeds the idea to create a video game called ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ is the one and the same energy that is turning us into so-called zombies walking the streets running into telephone poles while on our cell phones!
So, if 42.5% of the current world’s population have cellular connection via a smart phone (remembering the figure for connection via mobile devices is even higher at over 5 billion people and representing over 65% of the world’s population (3)!) and can talk to a friend on the other side of the planet with the push of a button, wouldn’t you think that we as a humanity would feel, you know… more connected?
But from my observations, and I’m sure the majority of the readers here would agree, this has indeed not been the case since the inception of the smart phone and other digital devices. Instead, I have noticed a rampant increase in people walking around as if their ‘smart’ phones were super-glued to their hands and with their heads and upper body hunched over staring at the screens as if in a trance-like state. Go to any employer’s lunch room and you will be hard-pressed to see an individual eating without watching or being consumed by some random internet entertainment like the latest funny animal videos or some random insane stunt that someone pulled off, which only seem to get more and more radical every day. Is it not crazy enough to jump out of a perfectly good airplane wearing a ‘wingsuit’ and glide precariously close to trees and rock-strewn mountainsides before opening your parachute at the very last second? Apparently not, as one can always find something more extreme with their ‘zombie-inducing device’ (aka cell phone).
It’s as if we are all looking for something – connection – but have gone astray in the attempt to find it and instead have inserted cell phones as the surrogate substitute. But when two people who are on a first date at a restaurant barely say two words to each other during their meal and instead have their noses in their phones or are not even really listening to each other when their date is speaking because they are busy texting some other person, we need to get honest about what kind of connection we are really fostering here.
Even the extreme act of the ‘wingsuit’ jumper can be interpreted as an attempt to gain connection with others via the attention and recognition that he or she may gain from performing such a dangerous stunt and pulling it off (or not, as some people are satisfied with a posthumous form of fame as well). I’ve also noticed how parents have used cell phones and iPads as ‘babysitters’ or given them to their very young children in the grocery store as a distraction when in fact I recall as a child riding in the shopping cart and looking all around in the store to be quite stimulating. Of course, one could also extrapolate this phenomenon to the ever-increasing video game addictions that are now at a global epidemic level as well.
What force is driving us to behave in these ways when we know deep down that it is not our true way? No one in their heart can say that it is normal or healthy to play an online video game all night on their phone that involves trying to brutally shoot and kill another person who is actually their friend living in another country playing on their own phone. Yet it is as if we are using these methods of ‘entertainment’ to distract ourselves from some form of inner unsettlement because we have bought into a system of living that is based on individualism, standing out, beating another, competition, gaining recognition or acceptance from an external source. And the pain that we feel inside, knowing deep down that this goes against our truly divine, interconnected nature that holds all in its universal love is too much to bear, hence the need for outer forms of entertainment and mental distraction to keep us, if but for only a moment, from feeling how we have deviated from a form of connection to our inner hearts, and thus, to God.
Now, to be clear, I have no intention here of vilifying all electronic devices in any way, for they all can be used in a way to keep us connected globally and for great service. In addition and with full disclosure, I have certainly fallen for the lure of the infinite amount of entertainment and thus distraction that cell phones and computers provide, and at times find myself way down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos that I may have justified as being work related but in truth were being used to check out from feeling something else that was going on in my life, as in after a difficult situation with a family member or co-worker, or feeling guilty about indulging in something I knew was not supportive of me. However, when I have used my phone in this manner, it has always left me feeling exhausted and icky inside, and definitely not ‘connected’. It’s almost like we use our cell phones as our ‘security blankets’ wherever we go, and they ironically become our ‘go-to’ method of avoiding the very connection that we so deeply crave.
With the aforementioned in mind, we can all take a step backwards and begin to observe what may have been the underlying emotional reason for our choice to use these electronic devices… to avoid the form of connection with each other that we know has been inside and in front of us all along. Imagine that same date night described above, but this time each person is actually looking deeply into the other’s eyes, feeling their Soul and all that it shines forth, and appreciating how much we are all equally amazing beings with so much to offer the world. How could any text or YouTube video compare to this level of divine connection, if one so chooses it?
This blog was inspired by a wise observation made by my daughter comparing the Plague of the Middle Ages and modern illness and disease.