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Join Richard as he discusses how the process of violent political and religious “radicalization” can be both understood as well as potentially prevented through appreciation of a similar process of disease creation and healing that occurs in our bodies. Learn how the keys to neutralizing the danger of free radical formation, which is a major cause of inflammatory and autoimmune disease as well as cancer, holds important insight for how we can do the same to prevent the violence of radicalization in human society.
And we have this new word, radicalization, we’re talking about the radicalization of individuals that lead them to these atrocious acts of violence. And it seems to me that there is something we can learn from the body and the immune system that may help us in a way understand not only the process, but also the remedy. So I want to talk today a little bit about how the body can teach us something about the radicalization process, and also how to repair it.
Well, in the body, when we are exposed to chemicals, toxic things, when we’re eating processed foods a lot, when viruses, bacteria get inside of us, they can cause the formation of so-called free radicals. And what a free radical is– it’s a molecule that’s highly reactive. And what it wants to do is it wants to go and grab another molecule and steal– well, steal an electron, steal a charged particle from that other molecule, which then turns that other molecule into a free radical, and then we get this cascading effect of free radicals in the body.
And the result of that is a process of inflammation and a process of we don’t feel well. It can be a prelude to cancer. It can cause inflammation in blood vessels and increase the heart disease. And what we know is that nature provides us with a natural protection against these free radicals in the form of what are called antioxidants.
And the antioxidants are– I’m going call them generous molecules. Examples of them are like vitamin C, and vitamin D, and vitamin E. But there are thousands and thousands of antioxidant molecules that we find primarily in plant and fruits– plant foods, vegetables and fruits. And what they do is that they travel through the body and when they come to a free radical they don’t punish it, they donate what the free radical needs. And the free radical becomes neutralized, and an antioxidant doesn’t in turn become because of its donation another free radical.
So it breaks this kind of cascading effect of inflammation and reactivity in the body. So the word radical by its very nature means to be at the root of something, to– it means having roots. It means going to the center. It means the foundation– the source of something. And when we start talking about radicalization of individuals, were talking about a way in which, in the collective body, certain human beings need to borrow identity from– there’s something inside of them– it doesn’t feel connected to themselves.
They’ve been abused, or they felt marginalized, they felt disenfranchised. They’re often actually fairly well-educated, but they don’t feel anchored. They don’t feel anchored in a deep sense of self. And as a result, they’re borrowing their identity from the extreme forms of philosophy and ideology of religions or political movements. And they become, in the body collective, they become free radicals. And what they need to do is attack and take– take life, take joy, take happiness, act out a kind of compensatory revenge, a creating of identity by stealing from others the joy of life.
And it’s a really painful thing to see because these people are often fairly well-educated. We don’t understand easily why they want to do it. But what we do have an example from the antioxidants in our body that if they could meet an antioxidant, if they could meet human being who could overflow, whose internal connection to self is deep enough, the process of this relationship, of this transmission of sanity, this transmission of connection, this transmission of belonging, this transmission of welcoming that happens from a human being that we could call an antioxidant human being, an overflowing human being.
Now, I know once a person is radicalized, then the immune system has to come into place. In our bodies, once there are free radicals, either the antioxidants gobble them up, or if they form disease, or inflammation, then the immune system will come and it even uses its own capacity to create free radicals to neutralize disease.
What happens if we’re constantly excited with so many free radicals and we’re over activating our own immune system? We begin to develop autoimmune processes, which are diseases in which our body and our immune system in our body is attacking our own body– attacking our own cells. So if we shift out of this analogy to the human body, out into the collective body, what we see is suddenly we have human beings attacking human beings.
It’s like we have this collective autoimmune response that’s growing. It’s growing worldwide. It’s not like the small– the massive monstrous horrible wars of the past. It’s more an inflammatory process within the collectives psychology, the collective soul, and it’s painful to see because once marginalized, once radicalized, there’s the immune system in the form of the police and the military come in to kill and destroy these radicalized elements.
But the actual cure is that we need a population of people who more and more and more are operating like antioxidants. We need generous hearts that realize that the people that are most prone to being radicalized they are people who have been, as I said earlier, marginalized, disenfranchised. They don’t feel like they belong to the system. They don’t feel like they have any hope. They don’t feel that they can ground themselves and find identity by being part of the collective– the so-called healthy collective consciousness– the healthy collective psychology.
It means that we need, as a body, to let nature teach us. I mean healthy human beings eat a great deal of natural foods because they’re full of antioxidants. And healthy people, healthy souls need this richness of connection to the deeper self that the intrinsic essential consciousness that– where you are not borrowing your identity from money, and what you have or don’t have, or borrowing your identity from your tribe, or your community, or your religion, or your political affiliation. And you’re not borrowing your identity from what you look like, or how clever or smart you are– that your actual sense of self is a rising spontaneously from a deep connection to source, and you overflow.
And as a result, when you interact with other people nothing is taken away from you. A person that’s borrowing identity, for example, from wealth, if they lose their money, they lose a sense of self. If they’re borrowing it from smart, and they meet people who are much smarter, they can feel very insecure. They lose their sense of self in the face of someone who seems to be brighter than them.
If someone is more attractive, suddenly, if you’re borrowing your identity from your sense of attractiveness, boom, you lose that because someone’s more attractive. But if you’re really connected to yourself, if your self-image and your self worth is not derived from externals, but from some deep inner connection, you become an overflower. You become someone who can donate, contribute, generously give to others, so that when they’re with you, they have a natural sense of well-being for reasons they can’t even understand. They feel as if, oh, they’re brought to a quality of stillness, or peacefulness, self-acceptance.
We’re acting from that source inside of ourselves, and very much the way an antioxidant molecule in the body is acting. It’s donating to these bad molecules in such a way as to make them neutral and not punish them just end without losing anything from within themselves.
So here we are coming to the Christmas holidays, and it seems to be really, really important for us to understand that the very ground of our culture and society, we need to be more generous. We need to be more concerned with the well-being of the young. We need to give an education that grounded not just in buying the conventional notion of success through education, but really a sense of being part of the earth, part of each other, part of a community of life, so that there is a real sense of fundamental identity– identity that can’t be taken away from you, that you can celebrate with others.
And if we can live that way, obviously, this is a long-term path. But if we can live that way, then the danger of the radicalization of individuals, or the danger of the formation of gangs to create a sense of collective identity, or even nations that are in conflict with other nations, which are just larger forms of the same borrowing identity, and not having a sense of deep inner source– all of that can become quieter.
So our work as individuals– to be generous, to be able to dominate from our hearts to those around us in words, with our eyes, with a touch, and sometimes with our money when we donate, when we contribute to causes that we really want to help with. All of that helps create less of an autoimmune reaction within society and to decrease this tendency for radicalization.
What we know about the body and what we know about how we can make it healthy through natural living, and through eating natural sources of food that same message belongs to us collectively as a species, as cultures, and as a society. I see the analogy. I wonder whether you can feel and sense it in yourselves as well. Blessings to you all,