Brain, Don’t Fail Me Now!

Image > Imagination > Creativity

Language-learning, according to the professionals, the pedagogues, proceeds in several steps: recognize a word or phrase, speak or write as part of instructional dialogue… but you do not own the word/phrase until you can “produce it,” saying it spontaneously in new/unscripted situation. That applies to all learning.  “Put your hands on the subject.”

Yunus Emre wrote, “The world is a lie.” What you believe is not. This is no paradox. Words and thoughts are no lie. Atheism is an oxymoron, belief is the existence of God. The taste of words… bitter, sweet, nauseating. Thinking of a friend who said that mushrooms made him vomit. He could eat a pizza believing it did not contain mushrooms but finding out later that it did he became nauseous!Far_Side_-_Cat_Fud

At what stage and level of abstraction, at what junction and under what circumstances will a small mind draw the line, refusing to accept a higher or deeper meaning of symbols? A letter in the alphabet is just a line. A word is just a series of letters. A phrase is only a series of words…

Science and Sanity

>He survived the horrific battlegrounds of World War I and wondered why humans could progress and advance in some areas, but not in others. He theorized that the attitudes and methodologies responsible for advance­ments in engineering, the sciences, and mathematics could be applied to the daily af­fairs of individuals, and ultimately cultures. He called this new field “general semantics” and introduced it as a practical, teachable system in his 1933 book, Science and Sanity.

Korzybski  “argued that human knowledge of the world is limited both by the human nervous system and the languages humans have developed, and thus no one can have direct access to reality, given that the most we can know is that which is filtered through the brain’s responses to reality. His best known dictum is “The map is not the territory”.


The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog’s head and the words “Dog Cookies.” The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. “You see,” Korzybski remarked, “I have just demonstrated that people don’t just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.”[4]

Typically we spend the first twenty years of life learning to think, speak and write. Assuming mostly that direct, definitive and explicit language is best. That we must be able to put everything in words. Certainly for most studies that is true. Isn’t that necessary for law, science, medicine? But poetry is always there if we recognize it, or use, or not! USA Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote in one famous decision about pornography, “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.” Chinese poet Zhou Zuoren wrote, “What can be contained in words has little value.” No student in Math or quantitative sciences or of a second language can go far without mastering principles related to semantics and symbols, although he or she may not know them by name or in other contexts.

“In the beginning was The Word and The Word was God and The Word was with God.”-Gospel of John

In the original Greek version of the Bible, Logos was the word now translated in English as The Word. Logos meant much more than could be translated to any English word. It corresponds to meaning and logic, relationships, structure and content of all objects, physical and abstract.

Has the English language after 2000 years still no translation to fulfill the Greek word Logos? PO, Meme’s The Word. God is a meme and memes are God.

I find it useful when discussing this distinction to consider the Greek words from which our English words “logical” and “mythical” have been derived, logos and mythos. Both Greek words can be translated as something like “story” or “account”; mythical thinking and logical thinking both provide an account of the world, but they do so in very different ways. Those using logical thinking approach the world scientifically and empirically. They look for explanations using observable facts, controlled experiments, and deductive proofs. Truth discovered through logos seeks to be objective and universal. Those using mythical thinking, on the other hand, approach the world through less direct, more intuitive means. A person might gain poetic insights into the nature of the world by seeing a caterpillar emerge from a cocoon or watching a full moon rise as the sun sets. Truth discovered through mythos is more subjective, based on individual feelings and experiences.

In the modern view of semantics and thought, connotations and denotations, Logos may be less subjective than Mythos, and Logos may seek to be more objective and universal but can never be divorced from personal and individual circumstances and subjectivity.

Isak Dinesen discussed Logos and Mythos in one of her short stories but I have not found a good link.

Flush With Health Success

To what extent is flushing from nicotinic acid/niacin and beta-alanine positively or proportionally related to health?

With a mean follow-up of 15 years, nearly 9 years after termination of the trial, mortality from all causes in each of the drug groups, except for niacin, was similar to that in the placebo group. Mortality in the niacin group was 11% lower than in the placebo group (52.0 versus 58.2%; p = 0.0004). This late benefit of niacin, occurring after discontinuation of the drug, may be a result of a translation into a mortality benefit over subsequent years of the early favorable effect of niacin in decreasing nonfatal reinfarction or a result of the cholesterol-lowering effect of niacin, or both.”

In particular, both the precursor for the coenzyme beta-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)), nicotinamide, and the growth factor erythropoietin offer novel platforms for drug discovery that involve cellular metabolic homeostasis and inflammatory cell control. 

More recently, the health benefits of niacin have been shown to be far more extensive than previously appreciated — Numerous reports indicate niacin might help prevent atherosclerosis, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. Niacin is effective in assisting burn-wound recovery, and in the prevention of cataracts and skin cancer.

In addition, new NAD+ boosters are welcomed since the side effects of niacin generally lead to poor compliance, despite its known efficacy in a myriad of diseases. Therefore, the dosing and safety of these new NAD+ boosters (e.g. NAD+ precursors, CD38 inhibitors and PARP inhibitors) must be thoroughly assessed to translate these exciting insights into NAD+ biology towards human relevance.

Interestingly, niacin is found in maize but is not bioavailable unless given an alkali treatment, a process used in Aztec and Mesoamerican times termed nixtamalization (Gwirtz and Garcia-Casal, 2014). In animal products, and probably in all uncooked foods, the NAD+ and NADP+ cellular content accounts for much of their dietary niacin content (Gross and Henderson, 1983), yet, as exemplified above with corn nixtamalization, their bioavailability might be affected by food processing or cooking.

However, the clinical use of NA has been limited by the fact that it induces cutaneous flushing, which compromises compliance (Birjmohun et al., 2005). This flushing does not derive from the ability of NA to drive NAD+ synthesis, but rather from the activation of a G-coupled receptor, GPR109A (Benyo et al., 2005).

Alternatively, strong evidence for the ability of NAD+to enhance the activity of sirtuins provides a mechanism of action that also drives benefits on lipid homeostasis (Canto and Auwerx, 2012).

NR was recently demonstrated to have a surprisingly robust effect on systemic metabolism. First, dietary supplementation with NR protected against diet-induced obesity (Canto et al., 2012). NR treatment increased both intracellular and mitochondrial liver NAD+ levels, concomitant to an enhancement of SIRT1 as well as SIRT3 activities (Canto et al., 2012). As a result, there was a SIRT1-dependent increase in FOXO1 deacetylation, along with elevations in SOD2 expression, a FOXO1 target gene.

Maintaining NAD+ levels seems to, hence, sustain basal metabolic function and health in neurons. Furthermore, based on the preliminary evidence above, NR might have a privileged position among different NAD+ precursors in the prevention of neurodegeneration, as the effect of NR may be enhanced by the increase in NRK2 during axonal damage.


  • Adaptive cellular metabolism relies on NAD+ to mediate energy signaling
  • NAD+ therapeutics is showing its potential to treat disease
  • Metabolic syndrome, cancer and aging all involve NAD+ signaling

Many more cherries to pick here but I picked the most edible.

Take it to the bank!

>The problem, Guarente says, is that it’s nearly impossible to prove, in any reasonable time frame, that drugs that extend the lifespan of animals can do the same in people; such an experiment could take decades. That’s why Guarente says he decided to take the unconventional route of packaging cutting-edge lab research as so-called nutraceuticals, which don’t require clinical trials or approval by the FDA.

This means there’s no guarantee that Elysium’s first product, a blue pill called Basis that is going on sale this week, will actually keep you young. The product contains a chemical precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, a compound that cells use to carry out metabolic reactions like releasing energy from glucose. The compound is believed cause some effects similar to a diet that is severely short on calories—a proven way to make a mouse live longer.

Guarente says Elysium’s pill includes a precursor to NAD, called nicotinamide riboside, which the body can transform into NAD and put to use. In addition, the pill contains pterostilbene, an antioxidant that Guarente says stimulates sirtuins in a different way. Both ingredients can already be found in specialty vitamins.  “We expect a synergistic effect [from] combining them,” he says.

Here is a more direct approach to the title question:

Tangentially, the inflammatory metabolite (related to inflammation which niacin may be protective against) can be measured in sewage to give a marker of community health.

As the company notes. stress-related health factors found to correlate with 8-isoprostane levels can include obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, smoking, cancer, and alcohol consumption.” Thus, it is indeed a useful test for evaluating community health.

Hence, we think that chronically high levels of PGD2 are likely to prevent or reduce the effect of acute signals of PGD2 that would otherwise be anti-inflammatory. See sections on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) below, where chronically high PGD2 signaling is thought to be a major cause of the neurodegenerative features characteristic of AD (Maesaka, 2013).

A very interesting recent paper (Vong, 2010) was published by scientists who believe that the increased expression of prostaglandin D2 synthesis and its EP1 receptor that they detected in individuals in long-term remission from ulcerative colitis suggest that the release of PGD2 in response to acute releases of inflammatory stimuli could be important antiinflammatory protection to maintain colonic mucosal homeostasis.

It appears to us that pulsatile PGD2 release a few times a day with immediate release niacin supplementation may offer better protection against a variety of inflammatory diseases.

PO, hypothetically, if the flush is associated with purging or reducing pre-existing inflammation levels and inflammatory mediators then tolerance or adaptation to a particular dose, less flush with repeated doses, might indicate success.



Beams And Motes, Memes And Quotes


“A single word can brighten the face
of one who knows the value of words.
Ripened in silence, a single word
acquires a great energy for work.”-Junus Emre

Beams and Motes refers to Jesus’ advice, “do not tell your neighbor how to remove a speck of sawdust (mote) from his eye when you have an entire plank (beam) in your own.”

Memes in the current and present definition are the fundamental functional units of language, expression, thought and memory. A phrase can be a meme. An acronym can be a powerful meme. Think PTSD or the acronym meme PO invented by Edward deBono as a tool for lateral thinking. A rose is a rose is a rose, in the words of Gertrude Stein, is a meme. Similarly we can say “meme” is a meme, and further, “a meme is a meme” is a meme.

Upset the Apple Cart to find the Hidden Jewel

Someone wrote as an answer to the question, what is it that essentially distinguishes humans from other animals, “Hawaiian Shirts!” That the statement is superficially true but not correct is an example of PO, a provocative operation that compels you to try to reconcile the dissonance, a paradox or counter-intuitive or counter-factual statement.There is an excellent French word, “invraisemblable,” not true seeming, unlikely. Why is a statement true but not correct? A better answer to the original question would be abstract pattern recognition.


Inauguration of the new sculpture, Puzzle, at the Grand Marais Public Library

Humans are problem solvers and one of our most valuable tools is to recognize patterns, not only visual but on many other levels of logic, behavior, representation and correlation. Coincidence is not causality but it is a good clue. We try to find patterns, as if all things were pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and our challenge is to find how they fit together. We classify, generalize, interpolate and extrapolate. We like to make rules to govern our thoughts and behavior. Then we extend the rule, the generalization or pattern definition to see how far it will go until we run into a contradiction. Given the complexity of the universe we might better sometimes accept without shame, as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography, “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.”

To Know the Means Look at the Extremes

“Presuppose and put it to the test.” Faced with a contradiction or limit to our generalization or algorithm we try to deny it rather than see it as PO. Many times we rationalize. Emerson wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

The Existential, Viral, Fractal, and Subjective Nature of Memes

Symbols, letters, words, are like hyperlinks in the myriad dimensions and levels of the universe and of each person’s mind; the exact nature or meaning, the connotations, are necessarily different for each person and for any person from one moment and context to another. The medium and the message, the structure and the contents. The map is the territory. Like a cascade or chain reaction propagating internally, within the mind, and externally, through time and the universe.

Deep or shallow is a measure of the person more than a characteristic of any meme. The connotations of symbols and images, memes, concepts, thoughts and ideas, have only subjective power, the energy referred to in the poem, in relation to and with each person. What resonates with one is wasted on another.

The Turkish TV series Yunus Emre is on Netflix in the USA. It loosely dramatizes the life of the Sufi Dervish poet who lived in 13th century Anatolia and his mentor or guru Taptuk Emre. Taptuk Emre speaks in parables, metaphors and aphorisms. In our world, especially in politics, circumlocutions and indirection are abused to hide the truth. With Taptuk Emre the tangential and sometimes seeming to be irrelevant words and phrases reveal the truth within each hearer or reader.

Taptuk Emre says, “Don’t know what you know, know what you don’t know.” One connotation of this is about Pride, Anger, and Ego. A parallel could be, don’t let your knowledge interfere with learning.

He tells of a Holy Man on his pilgrimage to Mecca. Standing outside the shrine the Holy Man recognizes Satan with many horses’ reins draped over his arm up to the elbow. The Holy Man asks Satan, are you waiting the horses’ return? Satan agrees. The Holy Man then asks, am I one of them? Satan smiles, “I do not need reins to ride you.”

God permeates the whole wide world,
Yet his truth is revealed to none.
You better seek Him in yourself,
You and He aren't apart - you're one.
The man who feels 
the marvels of true love
Abandons his religion and nation.

“Faith, Hope, and Love… And the greatest of these is Love.”-St Paul

Oneness, One World, One Love, One Life. I see the threads connecting Buddha, the Torah, early Greek Stoics and Cynics, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Christianity, Islam, Rastafarian and Bob Marley.

Heads-up: On Netflix the two seasons are presented as consecutive continuous episode numbers. Around episode 20 must be the second season with better subtitles translation to English and better sets and picture quality; even script writing seems better. In the first season each episode has 15-20 minutes of recap (you can fast-forward past it) followed by 40-50 minutes new content. Season 2 has shorter recaps introducing each episode. Some viewers have less patience, though impatience is associated with the goose of Pride as you may learn in this series. Those viewers may be content to start around episode 19. Much of the first season is recapped in brief flashbacks and dreams in the following episodes.


A single word can brighten the face

by Yunus Emre

English version by Kabir Helminski & Refik Algan
Original Language Turkish

A single word can brighten the face
of one who knows the value of words.
Ripened in silence, a single word
acquires a great energy for work.

War is cut short by a word,
and a word heals the wounds,
and there’s a word that changes
poison into butter and honey.

Let a word mature inside yourself.
Withhold the unripened thought.
Come and understand the kind of word
that reduces money and riches to dust.

Know when to speak a word
and when not to speak at all.
A single word turns the universe of hell
into eight paradises.

Follow the Way. Don’t be fooled
by what you already know. Be watchful.
Reflect before you speak.
A foolish mouth can brand your soul.

Yunus, say one last thing
about the power of words —
Only the word “I”
divides me from God.

The fault belongs to who speaks of it

Mind your words, do not mind others words

Do not waste strength on being offended

Calling the vicious innocent would be vicious to the innocent

Slander belongs to the speaker

Noah’s son said I know how to swim

The World is a lie, your property is…

If you break a heart once you do not need to pray