Epilogue to 'The Dipolar Field of Opportunity and Purpose'

Montréal, October 16, 1999


Every 'system' in nature 'lives' within some containing space inhabited by other 'systems'. Each system is, in effect, a member of a 'family' of systems and participates in exchanges of information, energy and materials with its englobing 'family'. In interpreting and documenting 'the way the family works', ... two modes of perception and inquiry present themselves. One is a 'crow's eye view' which examines each family member starkly and analytically, looking from the outside in, and closely observing the individual's tangible behaviors. This same process is followed for the multiple levels of subsystems within the individual, ... seeing the 'families' of organs, cells, and molecules, respectively in these same 'crow's eye view' terms.

The 'crows eye view' of systems is incomplete in an important way, and is the lesser of two alternative modes of perception and inquiry. As Bergson observes, there are "two profoundly different ways of knowing a thing. ... the first one implies that we move round the object [the crow's eye view]; the second that we enter into it [the immersed view]... ".

It is not difficult to imagine how these 'two profoundly different ways of knowing a thing' impact the observer's understanding of 'family members' and the overall system which includes the observer as well. For example, the crow's eye view sees behaviors in terms of stand-alone facts to be judged in 'their own right'. Meanwhile, the properties of the individual being observed (gender, ethnicity etc.) relative to the 'preferences' of the cultural container, give rise to 'opportunity-constraints'. Tension is thus set up between the individual's aspirations and purpose to 'become who he is meant to become' and the 'shape' of the opportunity channels which are available to him, inducing him either to change his 'shape' (betray his authentic self) or struggle against the odds to sustain and nurture 'being who he is'.

The 'crows eye view' ignores the tension between environmental container and authentic self, ... how the 'channels of opportunity' in the containing environment mesh with the individual's innate purpose, ... an issue which is, nevetheless, as valid to an electron searching for 'dynamic equilibrium' (stable orbit) as it is to a human being reaching out to become who he was meant to be.

Where does the crows eye view 'go wrong'?

Like classical gravitational theory, ... the crow's eye view assumes that 'purpose' (what induces a person to do this or that) is the innate property of the individual, and judges the behavior of the individual on this basis.

And as in physics, ... such a view is innately incomplete with respect to 'how the family works' since it does not consider the 'shape of the opportunity field' in which the individual is immersed. Perceiving the 'shape of the opportunity field' is beyond the capability of the crows eye view which homes in on the individual and his tangible-causal behaviors, seen 'in their own right'. Like the 'poor pool player's view', the crow's eye view assesses behavior in terms of the 'quality' of the shots made by the individual and ignores the role of 'shape', ... the 'opportunity landscape' relative to purpose. Thus, the crow's eye view in its assessment of observed behavior depends, in a fundamental way, on statistical norms for shot-making and ignores the 'shape' of opportunity relative to purpose which 'opens the way up for' tangible-causal or 'shot-making' behaviors.

This non-relativistic 'crow's eye view' of 'the way the world works' delivers a literal and judgemental view and ignores the overriding influence of the dipolar field of opportunity and purpose on the behavior of the individual.

For example, the skilled pool player sees 'the game' in terms of the cultivation of 'shape' of opportunity relative to purpose, ... a view in which tangible behaviors or 'shot-making', ... the prime focus of the crow's eye view, ... are secondary effects.

If the population is not 'homogeneous' (which it never is), then the non-relativistic referencing of the 'quality of behavior' to statistical norms leads to distorted perspective and dysfunction. For example, aboriginal children educated in 'white' schools tend to reference the behaviors of their parents to white cultural norms and judge their parents behaviors to be deficient by this standard, making them ashamed of their parents and their culture. Seen in the relativistic terms of the field of opportunity relative to purpose, however, ... such negative judgement may well invert and the parents may be seen in the positive light of 'being who they are' in an environment where opportunity is closed down for them in proportion to their commitment to preserving their own traditions.

Recently, amongst aboriginals, there has been a growing recognition of the incompleteness of the crow's eye view which looks out and judges on the basis of politically centered statistical norms, and a correponding appreciation of the cultivation of opportunity relative to authentic purpose (being who you are). This shift is discussed in the essay 'Pow wow on Ile Bonsecours: Voices from Space-Time' along with the influence of supportive artforms, an example of which is ElizaBeth Hill's music and lyrics, e.g.;

"I am Ongwehonweh, I am Annishnawbek

I am who I am, you are who you are

Call out my name and my spirit will answer

I am Ongwehonweh, be who you are"

In politically correct western white society, ... the sacred space to 'be who you are' seems more and more denied by parent to child and by child to parent. This is leading to a stark and judgemental view of 'the way the world works' which has been stripped of the authentic beauty of the ethnic individual as he struggles in his 'becoming' within a containing environment where the 'channels of opportunity' are increasingly shaped to pass those and only those willing to betray 'who they are' and allow themselves to be shaped by the market forces of a materialist society, and by the respect and access to privilege within the ranks of establishment icons. Such forces co-opt the observer to become 'the crow's eyes of the establishment', imposing the severe filters of mainstream cultural norms upon his observations and destroying the whole-and-part harmony of authentic ethnic traditions, as he distances himself from them, and moves into embrace with the dominating cultural strain.

Reinforcing this trend is the fact that the clear crow's eye of the detached individual is much admired in western journalism and literature, ... the crisp, logical view which looks down in judgement on the behaviors in its objective plane, ... seeing them like the movements of a deer in a telescopic gun sight, ... out of the context of living purpose, ... out of the context of a whole-and-part harmony which engulfs both observer and observed, .... seeing them only in relation to the 'huntsman's game'.

These two alternative modes of perception and inquiry, ... the crow's eye view and the 'field' view of opportunity relative to purpose are, as Bergson suggests, ... fundamental options, options which dramatically effect 'systems management' and system behavior. These are examined in a more general context and subsequently reviewed in the context of live current issues, as follows;


Perceiving and inquiring into 'the way the world works' in the reciprocal terms of the primacy of 'field' over 'matter', ... in terms of the primacy of the containing space over its constituents, ... is a more 'complete' way of thinking, and one which 'contains as a subset', ... its reciprocal abstraction of 'matter-over-field' and 'constituent-over-container'. While 'container-over constituent' is standard fare in the east and amongst aboriginal traditionalists, ... it is counter-cultural for we of the west. In fact, our success in 'matter-over-field' (crow's eye view) science seems to be responsible for making us forgetful of our older and more 'complete' traditions, ... and it is in science, from whence our regulatory schemas in society take their lead, ... that the greatest need now arises for a return to the more complete 'field over matter' perception and inquiry, to pull back from an exponential rise in self-infused dysfunction. A few current examples may serve to illustrate.

First, a refresher on the mental process involved in 'establishing' material cause, ... the manifestation of a 'matter-over-field' perception and inquiry approach and our culturally accepted way of looking at things in science and society.

Phase 1. Identification of 'Effect'

An unexpected result attracts our attention. There is an unexpected emergence of something or an unexpected demise of something, ... a 'birth' or a 'death'. This is our starting point, and we generally do not question the 'balance' which existed prior to this discontinuous upwelling of something new or subduction of something old.

Phase 2. Identification of 'Causal Relationship'

Now that we have spotted the baby or the corpse, ... we speculate on how this emergence (upwelling or subduction) might have occurred, ... the type of tangible cause which created the new, tangible effect, .... or the type of tangible cause that delivered the tangible destructive effect.

Phase 3. Identification of the particular 'Causal Agent'

In the materialist tradition, we look for 'culpability, .... for the direct, tangible contact between the emergent result and the causal agent. We could call this 'the smoking gun' approach. If the environment is complex, ... if the containing environment is complex and multiple agents are involved in the system behavior, we look backwards in time from the emergent event and seize upon the causal agent which is tangibly the closest in space and time, ... the one who's finger pulled the trigger, ... the one who 'put the puck in the net', ... and not the agents which might have held the target immobile or opened up a clear path for the 'causal agent'.

Systems Management Approach

In effect, we in the west key our 'system management' and/or 'regulatory policy' (education, business, justice) to 'material cause' as accomplished via the three phases above, or some equivalent model of 'cause'.

From a systems viewpoint, there is an important IMPLICIT assumption in this approach with respect to the notion of 'balance' or 'equilibrium'. That is, our notion of 'equilibrium' or 'balance', ... the state which was disturbed by the emergent 'birth' or 'death', is NON-RELATIVISTIC. What is meant here?

It means that we see the change of state constituted by the emergent event RELATIVE TO to an assumed equilibrium state. This accepted base of equilibrium therefore serves as a fixed reference for our causal inquiry, and this makes the inquiry system NON-RELATIVISTIC, since to be relativistic, we must see things in relation to themselves and not relative to a fixed reference base. In other words, in order to see things in a relativistic sense, ... we need to look at systems in terms of 'interference patterns'.

What difference does this make?

It makes a huge difference if the nature of the 'equilibrium state' is a dynamical balance amongst multiple processes. In this case, ... emergent events, ... 'births' and 'deaths', ... can be visualized in the reciprocal terms of 'something not done', rather than in terms of 'something done'. That is, if the overall system was unchanging or in 'dynamic equilibrium' due to container-constituent dynamical balance, and the opportunities closed down for some processes and opened up for others, ... opportunities being conditions which 'space-gate' or 'modulate' 'what the system does', ... but which cannot be described in terms of 'what is done', ... but instead in terms of patterns of 'what is not done'.

Geometry-wise, the basic unit of 'something which is done' is a one-to-many process which 'pushes' radially outwards (broadcasts) or 'scatters' 'purposelessly', while the reciprocal 'something which is not done' is a many-to-one process. which 'inducts' objects to move in a certain direction 'purposefully'. One could imagine this in terms of a person in the middle of a field and people 'pushing' him, ...each push having a scattering effect wherein the pushee might go in any number of directions, and the reciprocal geometry being a person encircled by others each with a rope with which they could pull on the person in the middle. The imbalance in the pulls would establish the trajectory of the person, and not leave his directionality to random chance.

Similarly with the electron stream in a cathode ray tube; i.e. the electrons are not 'pushed' to make them go in the desired direction, ... it is not 'what is done' to them which determines their directional motion, ... but the pattern of 'what is not done' to them. In this reciprocal 'what is not done' mode, ... the 'containing field' induces the dynamic rather than a material-cause, and the effect is 'purposeful' (directed) rather than 'causal' (non-directed). Meanwhile, the electron does indeed hit the screen and cause it to fluoresce (a causal event), ... and, ... the billiard ball does hit another and knock it in the pocket etc., (a causal event).

The critical point here is, that relativistic motion involves the shifting of geometric patterns which 'space-gate' the causal events, ... as well as involving the causal events themselves, ... but our cultural focus and our language is geared to 'what is done', ... i.e. our focus is oriented to the tangible causal events rather than the shifting space-time configuration which opens the way for the causal events. If a person asks you what you do, ... it is normal to describe one's trajectory in causal terms and not in terms of the web of environmental factors which opened up to make these causal events possibilities.

Consider a black male, a white male and a white woman all about fifty years old, ... who are asked to talk about their lives. The will give an account in the 'causal' terms of "I was born here and grew up here", ... "I went to school there", ... "I got a job here", ... "I was promoted there", and so on. Another, 'reciprocal' way of describing their trajectory would be in terms of how channels of opportunity opened up for them, the confluence of a multitude of diverse 'pulls' in their containing environment, ... the limited numbers of opportunities, ... the particular timing when vacancies came open relative to their own movements etc., effectively inducing the direction of their forward movement as in the case of the electron in the cathode ray tube. The question naturally arises, ... which is a more truthful view of 'the way the world works', ... what the individual 'caused' to happen or, the patterns of what the individual 'did not do', ... the opportunity channels which opened up for them?

The accomplished person would probably argue that they were 'self-made', ... that 'they made their own opportunities' and ignore the opportunity channel description. The unaccomplished person might well accuse the system of having closed down the opportunity channels for them, ... and thus view the containing environment as having limited their ability to add some positive causal events to their trajectory description.

This question is easy to answer in the game of pool because it is possible to 'shape' the configuration and make your own opportunities, .. and thus the opportunity channels are clearly the mother of causal results. But in pool, ... its only YOUR imagination (and not the balls) which recognizes 'shape' and cultivates it, .... and in a social system, ... all of the 'balls' in the configuration have imagination, ... and the opportunity channels are going to emanate from the collective imagination where your imagination is only one small minority contribution. If one inspires the imagination of the containing environment, ... channels will open up, ... and if not, ... they will close down. If the containing ensemble fears or distrusts diverse others, ... the channels will close down. This is a major problem faced by youth today, ... where they are asked to betray their authentic selves and reshape themselves to fit into culturally prescribed opportunity channels. The alternative is to deceive the imaginations of others (to cultivate the 'shape' of the opportunity landscape) so that channels of opportunity will be opened up, ... while one conceals one's authentic purpose.

In summary, if the equilibrium is a dynamic equilibrium, new system states can emerge from changes in the 'shape' of the opportunity field. And if we look on the 'material-causal' side of the reciprocality, rather than on the inductive 'field' side, ... we will always be able to identify a causal agent and describe the system in terms of material-causal dynamics. In fact, since the 'shape' of opportunity is implicit and 'complex' (has an imaginary component), ... it can only be described and never explicitly explained, demonstrated or 'proven'.

In this sense, ... all causal descriptions are 'analytical backfill' since things cannot and do not occur in a vacuum but are induced by the shape of the opportunity landscape in their immersing container. Most people would agree that Karla Faye Tucker committed murder and that her trajectory in doing so was influenced by 'inductive' effects in her environment (her mother's influence, drugs etc.). Where the disagreement comes in is with respect to the appropriate management process to deal with such developments. Should the management effort concentrate on CONTROLLING the causal events or should the management effort concentrate on SHAPING the inductive field?

In our current culture, we give lipservice to SHAPING and we invest heavily in CONTROLLING. Unfortunately, 'controlling' in itself disturbs the shaping in an undirected way which drives the system further out of balance since its suppressive action narrows the opportunity channels, making them more selective with respect to who is able to pass through without betraying 'who they are'. Betrayal of self leads to, as Laing says; "repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience." These side effects of management by suppression, in our society, are handled with drugs such as Ritalin and Prozac which suppress the symptoms induced by suppressive management via chemical lobotomization. According to the consistent findings of psychiatric research; "If the patient responds well to the drug, he develops an indifference to both his surroundings and to his symptoms" ('Modern Clinical Psychiatry', Noyes and Kolb).

The notion that all causal explanations of systems are 'analytical backfill' can be seen in terms of basic (relativistic) physics. That is, for material change in the system to occur, material has to physically move. Matter (and billiard balls) will move into the channels which open up for them. When we look at things in terms of the equations of behavior of 'things', ... these equations do not consider the 'shape' of the containing environment. For example, we can use Newton's laws of mechanics to determine the motion of billiard balls and the dynamics of their configuration, but this says nothing about the unique and particular configuration of balls in a real-life situation, ... the 'shape' of the opportunity landscape, ... an overriding condition which determines which shots may be made. Therefore, ... though we can always describe the 'play' in terms of material-causal dynamics, such explanation is innately incomplete and 'after the fact' with respect to the shape of the opportunity landscape. Thus all causal explanations of 'the way the world works' are non-relativistic analytical backfill.

How might this incomplete perception and inquiry which comes from focusing on the secondary effect of causal dynamics as 'the way the world works' and ignoring the bigger, containing story of shifts in the dynamic equilibrium get us into hot water?

Pool players who focus solely on causal dynamics and are blind to the primacy of 'opportunity-purpose-configuring' tend to be losers. This equally describes the current status of western mainstream scientific and regulatory approaches.

Where does this narrow cultural focus on 'things' out of the reciprocal context of 'containing environment' come from?

Our attempt to simplify our view of 'the way the world works', as Poincare has pointed out, ... has us make the low level assumption of 'homogeneity' of systems components. This assumption allows us to use statistical techniques to establish 'the norm' or the 'equilibrium' based on 'mean behavior of things', relative to which we establish the existance of 'abnormal' states such as the birth of a new behavior or the death of an established behavior.

Its worth noting that we do not need to make any such assumptions about 'homogeneous behaviors of constituents' when we start with the reciprocal notion of 'opportunity landscape'. Again, the game of pool shows how this 'shape' view is dimensionally larger and 'contains' the causal dynamic view as a subsidiary aspect.

This assumption of homogeneity of behavior (which violates relativity since it ignores reciprocal disposition effects) is what enables us to formulate real life problems mathematically. 'Mathematically' as used here is intended to connote those formulations giving rise to explicit solutions and not 'mathematics' in a descriptive sense, wherein mathematics can play a very insight-giving modelling or emulation role on nonlinear and relativistic problems. Explicit mathematical solutions, as Poincare noted, ... are often confused with 'the way the world works', as opposed to being seen as devices to assist us in interpreting our experiencing of the world.

For example, we can mathematically describe the 'laws of motion' of the sun and planets, ... but as Kepler pointed out, ... as Newton conceded, ... and as Poincare underscored, ... nature does not 'work' according to those laws. The laws are approximative and descriptive and the sun and planets engage in a simultaneous harmony of whole-and-part which emanates from the containing space (the 'ether' or 'field') and operates on all of the constituents at once. In other words the 'field' or 'containing ether' is in a primacy over the dynamics of its contents, ... and no mathematical formulations which are based on the behavior of parts (discrete variables) and which construct exact solutions can be equivalent to an 'outside-in' inductive source for behavior. What this means is that mathematical formulations (laws etc.) which deliver explicit solutions constitute after-the-fact descriptions (analytical backfill). In this regard, in the 'Author's Preface' to 'Principia', ... Newton struggles with the 'opportunity landscape' or 'field' issue, saying;

"I wish we could derive the rest of the phaenomena of nature by the same kind of reasoning from physical principles; for I am induced by many reasons to suspect that they all may depend upon certain forces by which the particles of bodies, by some causes hitherto unknown, are either mutually impelled towards each other, and cohere in regular figures, or are repelled and recede from each other; which forces being unknown, philosophers have hitherto attempted the search of nature in vain; but I hope the principles laid down will afford some light either to this or some truer method of philosophy."

The descriptive problem associated with the 'field' view is as tough in language as it is in mathematics. People can describe their personal trajectories, ... in terms of 'what they have accomplished', ... but a description of how channels of opportunity opened up for them cannot be delivered in terms of 'what was done', ... but only in the implicit terms of the pattern of interference between multiple interfering processes. 'Implicit' understanding depends on imagination and is innately ambiguous.

In the case of inanimate objects, the problem can be stated in the terms that the inductive field is finite and unbounded (the reciprocal of a 'thing' in relativistic space-time is unbounded) and since space is a participant in physical phenomena, there's a basic ambiguity between 'space' and 'material things'. In terms of mathematical formulation, any discrete characterization of a 'thing' or its properties in terms of a 'variable', fails since all variables 'bleed' into their containing space and vice versa.

Our western philosophical heritage, however, has us accept the fact that we can build up our understanding of 'the way the world works' from material constituents and their dynamics. This 'materialist' notion has not only been a pillar of western science (until relativity and quantum physics) but also a pillar of western ethics, in the following way.

The following excerpt from Aristotle, "The Doctrine of the Mean", Nichomachean Ethics II., 6-7 illustrates how "virtue" is associated with simplicity and stability of form, while evil is associated with complexity and metamorphosis;

"Virtue, then, is a kind of moderation inasmuch as it aims at the mean or moderate amount. ... Again, there are many ways of going wrong (for evil is infinite in nature, to use a Pythagorean figure, while good is finite), but only one way of going right; so that the one is easy and the other hard--easy to miss the mark and hard to hit it. On this account also, then, excess and deficiency are characteristic of vice, hitting the mean is characteristic of virtue: "Goodness is simple, evil takes any shape.""

This ethical proposition speaks in the active terms of 'going wrong', ... 'going right', ... 'missing the mark', ... 'hitting the mark', ... i.e. in terms of 'what is done', ... with no mention of 'what is not done'.

Aristotle develops in this ethic, the notion of establishing a non-relativistic STATISTICAL MEAN as the NORM, ... relative to which BEHAVIOR is referenced. The implicit non-relativistic reference here is the 'majority' in the containing society.

Once one starts to think in the non-relativistic terms of statistical norms of the behavior of 'things', as in western psychiatry and medicine, science and management, ... one becomes blind to the reciprocal 'field' notion of the shaping of 'opportunity and purpose' which comes from putting the 'container' in a primacy over the (material) 'constituents'. That is, referencing behavior to the statistical norms of 'good' and 'bad' equates to becoming a 'shot-making' pool player who is blind to the management of 'shape'.

It is evident that this ethic emanating from 'material-causal dynamics' put into a primacy over 'field-induced opportunity and purpose' leads directly to management based on 'control' of 'what is done', ... rather than to the 'shaping' of opportunity, ... making space for harmonious evolution of system dynamics.

The message here is simple: Putting matter in a primacy over field, ... causal dynamics in a primacy over inductive shaping of opportunity, leads to a management based on control, suppression, and political correctness, ... judgment of 'good' and 'bad'. Putting field into a primacy over matter, ... inductive shaping of opportunity over causal dynamics, leads to a management based on cultivating natural harmony, ... 'making space for authentic behaviors', ... a management based on induction and encouragement, and appreciation of diversity.

The intended inference here is that the combination of 'incomplete' causal thinking, which leads to blindness relative to perceiving the overriding role of the shaping of opportunity and purpose, ... in combination with technological development, ... is leading to massive dysfunction (physiological pathology and societal dysfunction).

A number of essays in the series have been written on this theme (implicitly, the theme underlies all of the essays). A current note, which applies these reciprocal concepts to a selection of current issues is herewith appended, as a further illustration of the points.


Appendix: Note on Differences Arising from Causal and 'Field' based Inquiry

The combination of 'causal thinking' and technology appears to be becoming more and more lethal. Controversy over the likelihood that the electro-magnetic radiation coming from cell-phones associates with brain tumours seems also to be tied up in these two different viewpoints, causal-sourced and field-sourced (interference- sourced). That is, ... there are strongly opposing views on this issue from seemingly well-meaning people on both sides (as in the HIV - AIDS debate). Business interests are also surely involved, ... and one can imagine them either as 'sinister' and 'conspiratorial' or simply flooding into the gap opened up by the divided opinion.

As Ackoff has pointed out, 'causality' implies the 'necessary and sufficient condition' of X CAUSING Y, ... however, in the more normal case in nature of the 'acorn and tree' type of 'cause', ... referred to by Singer as 'producer-product' relationship and by Sommerhoff, 'directive correlation', ... the notion of 'sufficiency' does not apply and environmental conditions or the 'opportunity landscape' 'space-gate' (either open up or snooker) whether the acorn becomes a tree.

Our mainstream science and regulatory commissions, meanwhile, work on the basis of 'causality' in the 'necessary and sufficient' sense, which denies that the environmental conditions can induce 'space-gating effects' (as in 'shape-gating' in pool). Thus, if one regards cell-phone radiation as an 'acorn', ... it may or may not produce a tumour, depending on the overall interference pattern or 'shape' of the opportunity-and-purpose field which prevails in the environmental container (the biochemistry etc. of the person). While the controversy rages and experiments are being done (which could well conflict one with the other if the environmental gating conditions are different, ... intensifying the finger-pointing and conspiracy charges), ... no investment is being made to prevent the e/m leakage in the cell phones and thus nullify or 'make moot' the possibility of cancer-causing effects. Similarly, as Professor Duesberg points out, no efforts are being made to study the space-gating effects of chemicals and drugs while HIV, ... a seemingly 'innocent bystander' is accused of being the 'cause' of AIDS.

The following part of this appendix is in the form of an edited note sent out today, bringing together several observations on our human experience (for connection in the readers mind) which relate to how our reliance on causal thinking blinds us to the notion of the shaping of the 'dipolar field of opportunity and purpose', ... a notion which allows us to perceive 'the way the world works' in higher dimensional terms which include 'snooker effects' and the 'gating' of 'space' for the selective amplification or suppression of natural behaviors'. In the domain of AIDS, such snookering of our body's immune agents can open up space for the unnatural overbalanced thriving of the natural growth of microbes. In the domain of society, our snookering of the authentic behavior of our children with a growing policy of control and political correctness is leading to rising depression, drug use and suicide.



this issue of electromagnetic radiation from cell-phones inducing brain tumours seems to follows a similar pattern to the HIV - AIDS issue i have previously written about and the 'story' on asbestos forwarded by paul. linear science {and our justice and regulatory systems) look for 'cause' and do not recognize 'interference' effects.

on the basis of what dr. george carlo now seems to be saying, which reinforces prior concerns by others, ... my inclination would be to get rid of any current-technology cellular phones and i am copying 'family' with this note to alert them to the hazard. while it appears that modest usage may never induce any problem, ... the probabilities seem clearly to be there, ... thus children who model after their parents in regarding the cellular phones as innocuous, .. will likely have much larger exposure to this postulated radiation hazard, and from an earlier age.

public awareness of the danger is needed, as has been achieved with smoking. meanwhile in the case of HIV (where those being diagnosed HIV-positive are often advised to take dangerous AIDS-inducing chemicals like AZT --- while a minority body of reputable research suggests that HIV does not cause AIDS), the public seems largely unaware of the divided opinion; i.e. the classical science based notion on the one hand that that HIV _CAUSES_ AIDS, ... and the 'interference'-based opposing view on the other hand, that AIDS is not infectious and that HIV is not a factor in the development of AIDS. the public should at least be given a clear warning of the divided opinion, however, as in the case of Y2K, the establishment seems often to prefer to take it upon themselves to suppress this 'interference'- based minority opinion, so as to avoid 'disturbing' the public (and/or business).

the 'complex systems' studies i have been exposed to, based on relativity and quantum effects which mainstream science seems slow in 'catching up with', support models which show that 'cause' is simply an approximative way of looking at interference effects, ... and building one's theory on the back of 'cause' can lead to misleading interpretations and conclusions.

that is, the enveloping, environmental conditions 'set things up' for what we call 'cause', and while we focus on 'the smoking gun' and 'corpse' of 'cause-and-effect', ... we ignore the prevailing interference configuration which has 'set up' the 'cause-and-effect'. thus we ignore the interference patterns (role of drugs etc.) which opened the path up for Karla Faye Tucker's pickaxe murders, ... and in medicine, we ignore the possibility of drugs and chemical agents pre-occupying the immune system agents so that microbes can walk in freely and go on the rampage. According to Professor Duesberg (Berkeley), HIV is a common 'bystander' to an interference effect 'crime' but it is not in itself the immune system blocker or 'cause'.

to newtonian researchers (the vast majority, it seems), in the case of HIV, the suspected cause comes from statistical correlation which cannot 'see' interference effects (statistics just ask 'who is always there when the 'shot' was fired'). Statistical correlation cannot detect situations where recreational drugs and chemicals, rather than 'doing something', .. simply tie up the immune agents so that they can no longer do their job. so we look for a causal agent, ... and not for a 'non-causal' agent which 'works' by screwing up the normal balances (throwing the dynamic equilibrium out of balance) and thereby allows member processes of the interfering ensemble to 'go ballistic'; i.e. become pathological, .... thus the true situation may be missed (e.g.the possibility or likelihood that AIDS is non-infectious and develops by interference effects in the immune system as a result of chemical exposure and drug usage, ... as proposed by Prof. Duesberg).

Researchers have tried to point out that the same effect in drugs such as Ritalin, .. .where usage is continued, as the child develops, ... blocks normal process and allows the tampered with balances to develop pathological resonances. In the August 30th issue of BC Report (Vancouver, B.C. www.axionet.com/bcreport) entitled "A Paradoxical Effect" -- subtitled -- "Across the continent drugged children demonstrate better killing through chemistry", the associations of drugs with recent youth homicides are listed. April 28th, a 14 year old in Taber Alberta kills one and wounds another, he was taking dexadrine for ADD (attention deficit disorder). April 16th in Idaho, 15 year old Shawn Cooper fired a shotgun narrowly missing students and school employees, .. he was taking Ritalin for bipolar disorder. April 20th, Eric Harris, 18 year old, killed a dozen classmates at Columbine H.S. in Colorado. He was taking Ritalin for depression. Last year, Kip Kinkel, 15 year old Oregon high school student killed his parents, two classmates and wounded 22 others. He was taking Ritalin and Prozac. Numerous doctors have written about this 'interference effect', ... or 'chemical lobotomization' (lobotomization connotes chemically messing with the BALANCE in the dynamic equilibrium between the two brainlobes or brain functions).

As usual in this case, the newtonian thinking built into our regulatory authorities is guided by the premise that, as the article states; "a causal relationship between pediatric medication and violence has not been proven.". And neither has it been proven in the case of asbestos and cancer, ... a fact that enables asbestos producers to continue their marketing as long as they put warning labels on the stuff.

appended to this note is the note forwarded by paul on the current status on marketing of asbestos. business, it seems, always works up to the limits of regulatory structure. in this case, as in the case of cell-phone technology, ... the regulations are directed to the buyer and seller, and not to those who may, in a state of total unawareness, have subsequent exposure to the hazard.

the primary point intended is not the specifics of what to support and what to ban, ... but the confusion which incomplete notions of perception and inquiry give rise to. the pro and con arguments about whether or not something 'CAUSES' something else are not being resolved because of an incomplete perception of 'the way the world works'. and while the sides dispute with one another, ... business persists in selling into the gap and research persists in barking up the wrong tree.


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Canada's Asbestos Crusade


Thirty years since the lid was blown off industry's cover-up of asbestos hazards, most Americans are familiar with the slow death associated with what was once called the "magic mineral." Less well known is that Canada, our environmentally sensitive neighbor to the north, is the world's number one asbestos exporter--and is now spearheading a fierce campaign to fight international efforts to ban its product.

Since new use of asbestos has almost disappeared in the United States and other industrialized countries because of government regulation and market pressures, the main target of Canada's drive has been developing countries. Indeed, seven of Canada's top 10 markets are in the Third World. Canadian mine owners--backed by the federal government and the Asbestos Institute, a nonprofit industry group--are peddling their deadly product largely to countries like Thailand, Korea and India, where the powerful heat-resistance and binding properties of asbestos are valued in the production of low-cost building materials, as well as automobile brake linings and textiles. Critics fear the epidemic of illness and death that has plagued the West will be repeated.

Asbestos causes cancer of the lung, lung lining and abdomen and can take 20 years or more to manifest. According to a report in the British Journal of Cancer in January, asbestos will claim 500,000 lives in Europe by 2035. In the United States, the death toll is expected to be 200,000, report researchers at New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine, which first linked asbestos to cancer in the '60s. Many public health experts say these are extremely conservative estimates. Incredibly, there are no comparable estimates for Canada, where asbestos has been mined since the 1870s, according to Jim Brophy, executive director of the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers. "The Canadian public is being kept in the dark," he says.

What's more, Brophy says, few Canadians know that this fall the World Trade Organization (WTO) will rule on a Canadian appeal to overturn a 1997 French ban on asbestos products, which Canada says violates international trade rules. Canadian officials fear the French ban will create a "domino effect," inspiring similar actions in former French colonies such as Morocco and Algeria--both clients of Canada's asbestos industry. Britain also is poised to ban asbestos, joining nine European countries that already have bans.

According to Claude Demers, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Ottawa, the Canadian government is claiming before the WTO that France doesn't have the right to ban asbestos imports because "when used properly" asbestos is safe. If Canada wins the WTO challenge, France would have to amend its law, accept trade sanctions or pay annual fines. "We believe the bans on asbestos are based on erroneous scientific evidence and therefore are not justified," Demers says. "We have a right to regain access to those markets."

Meanwhile, Canadian officials are debating whether to file a similar claim with the WTO after the European Union announced a ban in late July. If the EU ban holds up to Canada's challenge, all 15 member countries would have to amend their laws to comply with the directive. Beginning in 2005, the EU decision would ban chrysotile or "white" asbestos--the type produced in Canada and that constitutes 95 percent of use worldwide--in cement products such as pipes and roofing, brake and clutch linings for trucks, seals and gaskets, and a number of other specialized uses. The decision was based on evidence that chrysotile is carcinogenic, causing a variety of often fatal respiratory ailments, including mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining.

Why wage such a battle over a sagging industry that itself is dying a slow death? Although asbestos industry revenues last year were $160 million, there are just 1,100 miners still at work--800 at the Thetford mine and another 300 in the town of Asbestos, both in Quebec. Total Canadian production--second largest in the world after Russia--has fallen sharply from 1.5 million metric tons in 1975 to just 370,000 metric tons last year.

But as asbestos demand has disappeared in the industrialized world, it has grown in developing countries. The amount of asbestos used by Asian countries almost doubled between 1970 and 1995, increasing to 1.1 million metric tons, the U.S. Geological Survey reported last year. During the same period, use in the United States and Canada dropped 96 percent, from 763,000 metric tons to 30,000 metric tons. While Natural Resources Canada reports the value of asbestos in worldwide markets fell 22 percent from 1997 to 1998, the industry is still optimistic about future sales based upon overall growth in the Third World.

As in any business, the asbestos industry sees its reputation as critical. Today, the mine owners and the Canadian government are growing concerned as more countries and international trade groups enact tougher regulations or outright bans on asbestos. "Pushing a product that industrialized countries have banned doesn't look good in those areas," Brophy says.

Canada's decision to continue peddling asbestos, of course, is not simply economic. The strategy is also political, flowing from separatist tensions constantly rippling through French-speaking Quebec, where there is great pride in the industry and where, in the mining towns, there are few employment alternatives. Government support of the asbestos industry is intended to protect mining jobs--but more importantly votes--in the politically powerful province. Canada's complex political landscape has contributed for years to the country being out of step with revelations about asbestos hazards, explains Brophy. "They missed the boat," he says. "In the late '70s, the government was nationalizing three mines while the rest of the world was learning about the dangers of asbestos."

Like unions in the United States, organized labor in Canada has battled asbestos exposure in work settings from offices to textile mills, according to Colin Lambert, health and safety director for the 450,000-member Canadian Union of Public Employees. He says CUPE is currently leading a campaign in Quebec to safeguard workers in public buildings from crumbling asbestos, after a cluster of mesothelioma cases recently emerged. But Brophy says there has been no public outcry for a ban on asbestos production from labor or Canada's environmental movement. "The mining industry in Quebec is seen within the context of the vision of an independent Quebec--and the unions for one are very supportive of that," he says. "An attack on the asbestos industry is an attack on Quebec."

When the question of a ban on chrysotile asbestos was raised at a Canadian Labour Congress convention in the mid-'80s, Brophy notes, "The whole Quebec delegation--every major union in the province--walked out. That broke the back of any kind of serious discussion within labor about an asbestos ban."

At the same time, there is a growing sense that miners themselves are at very low risk of asbestos-related disease. "They have had some real success in reducing dust exposure and miners are certainly bearing less risk than asbestos users in developing countries," Brophy says. "Unfortunately, miners may now think that everybody can use asbestos under the controlled conditions they work in. They don't blame the product."

Brophy says what's really at stake in this fight is the right of independent countries to regulate toxic substances within their own borders regardless of industry claims that their products can be used safely. But Denis Hamel, director of the Asbestos Institute, says chrysotile asbestos is no more hazardous than many other substances in industrial use, and that white asbestos has been unfairly targeted. Asbestos is a general term, but we can't get confused that chrysotile and others are the same," he says, noting that the other asbestos fibers--crocidolite, amosite and anthophyllite--are more potent carcinogens. He points to evidence published in "peer-reviewed journals," without mentioning that many of these studies are industry-funded.

It is not hard to find scientific experts who strongly disagree with the benign attitude of Hamel and Demers. In an editorial published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, Mount Sinai's Dr. Philip Landrigan wrote: "All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic. All have been shown in clinical, epidemiological and laboratory studies to be fully capable of causing lung cancer, mesothelioma and the full range of asbestos-related diseases."

Hamel is undeterred by such assertions. Of course, part of his job is to advance the reasonable-sounding notion that chrysotile is not only safer than many substitute materials, but also less expensive. Thus, it can be more easily used by poor countries attempting to construct affordable shelters and infrastructures. Founded in 1984, the Montreal-based Asbestos Institute that he heads has a budget of approximately $520,000, 60 percent of which is provided by the federal and Quebec governments, with the remainder coming from membership dues paid by the asbestos industry. The organization has a full-time staff of four and uses many consultants, including a labor liaison who is a former member of the United Steelworkers of America and the Quebec Labour Federation. Hamel travels all over the globe to promote the "safe use" principle and combat what he calls the zealotry of "green evangelists" calling for asbestos bans. He has logged more than 100 such "missions" to date, promoting the Institute's Responsible Use Program, a voluntary agreement signed by buyers of Canadian asbestos and their governments. Buyers agreeing to the program promise to uphold the safe use of Canadian asbestos, including implementation of worker-training programs and the use of appropriate protective equipment and clothing.

They also agree to submit to random air monitoring conducted by "independent" laboratories. These labs, hired by the buyers, are charged with ensuring that airborne asbestos is less than one fiber per cubic centimeter. Who would blow the whistle if asbestos levels exceeded the voluntary policy's limit? Hamel says the consulting laboratory--the lab on the payroll of the buyer--would notify the appropriate government officials.

Critics insist that safe use of asbestos is impossible to manage. "I seriously doubt asbestos can be used safely in those countries," says Ed Olmsted, an industrial hygienist who has consulted with a number of construction industry unions in the United States. He adds that to use asbestos safely requires such costly and complex precautions that the risks and the expense are too great for most contractors in the United States, let alone the Third World.

Making matters worse, in developing countries there may be little or no enforcement at all. Cathy Walker, director of health and safety for the Canadian Auto Workers, says that conditions for the 15,000 asbestos workers in India, where she visited last year, are "appalling." Walker recounts reports of workers slicing open bags of Canadian asbestos with knives, then shaking the bags into troughs and mixing it with cement to make piping. The unprotected workers, according to the reports, were covered in asbestos dust. "Precautions are absolutely not in place," she says.

Asbestos already is causing problems worldwide. A recent study of asbestos in a South Korean textile mill found that dust levels well above U.S. standards were "commonplace." Other studies in China point to an elevated risk of lung cancer and respiratory illness among factory workers exposed to asbestos. In Brazil, some 200,000 workers use asbestos at work, and many are exposed, says Fernanda Giannasi, an inspector with the country's labor ministry. According to a 1997 study conducted by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Safety and World Health, there will be at least 30,000 asbestos-related cancer deaths annually for the foreseeable future.

Canada's efforts to thwart opposition to unbridled asbestos export--whether to developing or industrialized countries--are not new. In 1989, Canada challenged a comprehensive asbestos ban proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and succeeded in exempting many products from the rule, including asbestos cement pipe, disc brake pads, roof coatings and automatic transmission components. Five years earlier, when Thailand wanted to label bags of imported asbestos with a skull-and-crossbones symbol, Canada intervened and persuaded the Thais to drop the idea.

Yet neither mine owners nor Canadian government officials deny that chrysotile asbestos is dangerous. "We're saying we have the product and the safety technology and [asbestos] should only be used safely," says Jim Leveque of Natural Resources Canada. "Once we sell the stuff to a sovereign nation--if, for instance, we sell to a U.S. company and it chooses not to follow safety procedures--what the hell are we going to do about it?"

Observing proper safety precautions undoubtedly reduces heath risks, but those who support widespread asbestos bans contend it is preposterous to expect such vigilance. The reality, they say, is that bans will continue to be implemented and the market will shrink. As a result, the relatively high-paying mining jobs in Quebec, as well as the jobs of many other workers who support the industry, will vanish. "In some areas of Quebec, these are the only jobs," Walker cautions. "So you simply can't throw the workers out on the scrap heap."

She suggests a "just transition" strategy for asbestos workers. This would accept that the industry is dying and that jobs eventually will be lost. But, like the GI Bill in the United States following World War II, it would provide generous assistance to those workers whose jobs are eliminated. "You have to guarantee retraining for those workers being displaced who are in a position to go elsewhere," Walker says. "For people who can't go elsewhere, they should be retiring with a decent income. Given the amount of money the federal government and industry have spent to prop up the asbestos industry, probably people could have been given full income pensions decades ago and closed the industry."

But Brophy says that within Canada the risks of asbestos don't get much public attention compared to the country's defense of the asbestos trade, so implementing such a program would be a long and difficult process. "The European ban presents us with the opportunity to take a global stand against the most documented workplace killer in existence," he says. "But right now we don't have any of that. Just this silence."

Jim Young is a labor writer based in New Jersey.

For the second year in a row, Project Censored, the Sonoma (Calif.) State University media watchdog program, has awarded Chicago- based In These Times top honors in its annual ranking of the year's most under- reported stories.

In These Times editor Joel Bleifuss,who has won more Project Censored awards than any other individual journalist, was awarded first place this year for his investigation into the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). ("Building the Global Economy," Jan. 11, 1998).+

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