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InvisibleDiploidM
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Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo
    #4474563 - 07/30/05 08:52 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

A recent study conducted to asses the efficacy of the herbal supplement echinacea found that it is totally ineffective at preventing colds. What makes this study different? It was one of the few that used a scientific methodology called double-blinding.

In a double-blind study, neither the researcher nor the subject knows who's getting the chili and who's getting the sugar pill. This is done to prevent bias, which as this new study shows, creeps into even the most well-meaning observers.

In the new study, director Dr. Stephen Straus secluded 437 volunteers in hotel rooms for five days. Each subject had cold viruses dripped into their nose. Some swallowed echinacea for a week beforehand, others a placebo; still others took echinacea or a placebo at the time they were infected.

The researchers then took samples of the subjects' nasal secretions and assayed the samples for cold virus and for interleukin-8, the classic immune system response.

The investigators found that those who took echinacea fared no differently from those who took a placebo: they were just as likely to catch a cold, their symptoms were just as severe, they had just as much virus in their nasal secretions, and they made no more interleukin-8.

Near the end of the study, each subject was asked if he/she believed they'd gotten echinacea or placebo. One unexpected result (maybe not that unexpected) was that the subjects who believed they'd gotten echinacea faired better than those who believed they'd gotten placebo. This result occurred across the board with patients who did get echinacea and those who didn't.

What does this have to do with mysticism? When you know what you're looking for, you're likely to find it even when it's not there as demonstrated by those in the study who thought they were getting the supplement. This is why those who claim telekinesis, telepathy, astrology, dowsing for water, fill in the blank, are always convinced they see it happening when it really isn't.

Edit: a slew of typoes... my typing goes to shit after a couple beers.  :tongue:


--------------------
Republican Values:

1) You can't get married to your spouse who is the same sex as you.
2) You can't have an abortion no matter how much you don't want a child.
3) You can't have a certain plant in your possession or you'll get locked up with a rapist and a murderer.

4) We need a smaller, less-intrusive government.


Edited by Diploid (08/02/05 07:00 PM)


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4474575 - 07/30/05 08:59 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Near the end of the study, each subject was asked if believed they'd gotten echinacea or placebo. On unexpected result (maybe not that unexpected) was that the subjects who believed they'd gotten echinacea faired better than those who believed they'd gotten placebo. This result occurred across the board with patients who did get echinacea and those who didn't.
_________________________________________________________

Who cares about echinacea, what about the placebo effect? That's worth discussion IMO. How can this be possible, what is the scientific explanation for this? What is the mechanism by which this effect is produced?


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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InvisibleDiploidM
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Icelander]
    #4474617 - 07/30/05 09:18 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Who cares about echinacea, what about the placebo effect? That's worth discussion IMO.

I agree!

Fabrizio Benedetti of the University of Turin in Italy recently performed an interesting experiment.

For several days, he induced pain in volunteers and controlled it with morphine. Toward the end of the experiment, he substituted saline for the morphine without telling the subjects. Not surprisingly, the saline worked almost as well as the morphine. This is classic Placebo Effect.

Now the interesting bit:

Benedetti next added naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of morphine, to the saline. Guess what happened then? The pain came back even though the patients still thought they were getting morphine!

How can this be?

It is not understood how or why this happens, but it is becoming apparent that the placebo effect is somehow at least partially biochemical and not entirely psychological.


--------------------
Republican Values:

1) You can't get married to your spouse who is the same sex as you.
2) You can't have an abortion no matter how much you don't want a child.
3) You can't have a certain plant in your possession or you'll get locked up with a rapist and a murderer.

4) We need a smaller, less-intrusive government.


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4474639 - 07/30/05 09:28 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Can spirit/psychology influence biochemistry?  Step by step,  spirit, to material, spirit to material, and the reverse also. Are they one thing, in different aspect?

I think so. I think your experiments point in this direction. Anyone got other explanations? :mushroom2:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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InvisibleShroomismM
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4475251 - 07/31/05 12:22 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Ok, they used a scientific methodology called double-blinding... but were they good herbs? Some herb suppliers have very low quality, low potency product.


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OfflineBraveheart
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4476110 - 07/31/05 03:40 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

This herb you speak of, forms lasting blossoms of weeks, a purple pink cone of flowers, princess of the annuals.
As I walk into my garden the sweet sting strikes my nose from ten feet away. See, this plant is ancient, and brings healing when needed. You must understand the herb. You attack with doubt and remorse, you strike at the heart you don't know.
Used properly, Echinacea is more effective than vitamin C! And there are many studies to back this. But no study can back the joy of growing patches yourself and basking in the bitter leaves and flowering roots of this magnificent summer herb and enjoying it from long weeks in July late to august.
See, this is a plains flower of our native Americans, the red man who wondered spirit plains and sought the inner self.
Scientifically speaking, echinecha is pretty weak compared to modern cold fighting medicine. it works for only three days, and extend use of the plant will NOT yield health altered benefits. It is a pinch hitter, a trio of days and doses to stop a cold in its path. And it works, I will attest.
Thus it stands as a weak statue in the realm of modern health care. A simple highway flower to stand for once was. Don't judge!


--------------------
William Wallace


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Invisiblezorbman
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Shroomism]
    #4476267 - 07/31/05 04:31 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

but were they good herbs?

That's a good question. Many scientists trained under the paradigm of conventional medicine are not familiar with the naturalistic medicine mode of treatment and vice versa. These are two different cultures which have grown apart. Unless the researchers are unusually broad minded each is probably not fit to judge the other half. And that's a shame.

I remember reading of a traditional herbal tea remedy being formally studied decades ago. The results showed marginal activity versus disease, but not as much as had been hoped for based upon anecdotal reports. It turns out the researchers had been freeze drying the plant material, directly contradicting the instructions of the herbalist. Extremes in temperature destroy the living enzmymes in plants among other things.

Scientists aren't trained in these things. Most medical schools don't require even one course in nutrition- their approach has focused on treating the body with synthetic (read: profit producing) medications ever since the health care industry fell under the sway of the drug companies.


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: zorbman]
    #4476557 - 07/31/05 09:07 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Well that's the problem with studies. Is the protocol correct. I also have seen the studies on vit C being ineffective for something (I forget what) and when I saw the dosage I knew why. It was way below the dosage that health food advocates claimed results at. Yet the headline says Vit C Fails to Show Results. There are so many variables it's ridiculous. And any one with a bias ( which is everyone) can get the results they want if they aren't honest or are not doing thorough research.


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Offlinefresh313
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4476588 - 07/31/05 09:32 AM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Diploid said:
On unexpected result (maybe not that unexpected) was that the subjects who believed they'd gotten echinacea faired better than those who believed they'd gotten placebo. This result occurred across the board with patients who did get echinacea and those who didn't.





people with the psychological mind set that they could fight the disease, the echinacea being the added power to do so, faired better than those without the extra booster. the echinacea probably has very slight or no impact on its own.


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InvisibleDiploidM
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Shroomism]
    #4477021 - 07/31/05 01:51 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

You attack with doubt and remorse, you strike at the heart you don't know.

This is classic True Beleiver Syndrome.

I did not attack anything. I neutrally presented evidence that you can look up for yourself in the study. It's all documented. Had the study shown that echinacea was effective, I would be the first in line at the drugstore buying some for my medicine cabinet.

The simple fact is that of the 437 volunteers the only ones who fared better than the mean were the ones who THOUGHT they were getting echinacea, not the ones who were actually getting it.

Still, even in the face of such clear results, you guys make up excuses and explanations for why echinacea didn't work in this study. This is the same mindset that insists telepathy and astrology work even when hundreds of experiments in controlled conditions have shown that they don't. :shake:


--------------------
Republican Values:

1) You can't get married to your spouse who is the same sex as you.
2) You can't have an abortion no matter how much you don't want a child.
3) You can't have a certain plant in your possession or you'll get locked up with a rapist and a murderer.

4) We need a smaller, less-intrusive government.


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Invisiblegettinjiggywithit
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4477124 - 07/31/05 02:45 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Diploid said;

This is classic True Believer Syndrome.




hahahah ! you're cute dip!

You just labeled why those who thought they had the echinecea fared better even when they didn't.

You give us evidence for the power of belief to make things real even when they aren't while you knock the power of belief to make things real when they aren't.

You wonder why people bother with beliefs? Hmmmmmmmm

Can I pinch your cheek you cutie!

This Post wins a prize for the most self contradictory!!!!!!!

I'll take two bottles of believers syndrome please if it works that well!

You brought up telepathy experiments failing. I know nothing about them. I would be curious to hear your explanation for something like this.

I can be driving in the car with my daughter in the back seat. It's quiet. I will be thinking back on something that happened well before she was born, about people she doesn't know about, in places she has never been. She will out of the blue start asking me specific questions about those places and people.

She does stuff like this all of the time, jumping in on conversations I am rehashing in my head.

It's spontaneous. She isn't trying to read my thoughts. I am not trying to send mine to her. She isn't even aware that her thoughts were mine right before they popped into her head. She thinks they are hers even though she doesn't have the memory history for them.

How I simply explain it is that when we are in calm zones together, we fall into resonance, and like tuning forks, start humming at the same tune. if she was quiet and still and I was mentally humming a tune and we were like tuning forks, she would start humming the same tune in her mind.

I don't know what science has to say about it but I think thought patterns done to words carry their own electromagnetic frequency. Applying resonance principles, this could explain how it happens.

We know through the use of EKGs that our brains do emit EM frequencies that are measurable.

We also know through them that brainwave patterns while consciously awake or in dream states are the same. That would mean that the brain is experiencing waking reality the same way it is experiencing day dreams. How would the body know the difference.

Look at a wet dream. How does orgasm in their sleep with zero physical stimuli? The body can't tell the difference between the real and imagined in such cases. The imagination of the dream experience is powerful enough to trigger the same chemical production that the real experience triggers.

I think this only happens when their is no strong physical stimuli to over ride it.

I can start thinking thoughts to make myself feel tremendous fear and get adrenaline pumping even when there is zero real threat. It's all in my head yet my body is responding as if it were real.

I thought it was common knowledge that placebo effects were biochemical and you act as if this is news to you. When you fantasy to get off by yourself, you are using placebo effects or what you called believers syndrome to get hard and off. Sorry to be graphic but its easy for people to relate to.

This is common every day stuff. Why act like science needs to prove it? They have only to work on explaining how it works, the relationship between thought stimulation and bio-chemical production that is. We already know it happens. We also know that people can use yogic meditations to lower their heart rate. This is one of many many examples of how thought can trigger bio chemical production and release.

Imagine the possibilities!

Why do you have a problem with the idea of myself talking myself into feeling good using false beliefs as if they were true if it works and I start to feel better?

Granted dip, power is neutral and can be used for good or bad, healing or harm. You've made it clear that you are concerned about people who cause or experience bad and harm with something like the power of belief. No one would argue that with you. It happens. Does that mean we can not work on exploring how to use it for good and for healing?

I will continue too and I have a feeling anyone else who has been will continue to as well no matter how many evidence you post to support our doing it. That's what you did ya know. Thanks!
:kiss:

This is exciting stuff diploid and your knowledge of science would make it awesome if you worked with others on how we can better harness the "syndrome" for our own good and benefit. We are doing with or witout the help of science anyway and getting results.

if you feel so strongly that a power exists there to work at peoples disadvantage that you must speak out against it then you must know that power can be used to ones advantage as well.

We can light a home (good) or burn our cat (bad) with the same electrical power.

Maybe its job to raise awareness for those using it to their disadvantage however, I think very few of them are at S&P. I think many here are using it to their feel better live better advantage.


--------------------
Ahuwale ka nane huna.


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Invisiblegettinjiggywithit
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: gettinjiggywithit]
    #4477159 - 07/31/05 03:01 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

I wanted to ask you something about that morphine study. Does science know what chemical our body produces from the stimulate of morphine that relives pain and when the people were on the placebo and still out of pain, did the researches run tests to see if that biochemical was present in the patients systems.

That would say alot about what we can do with belief.

I did catch where they found that when they administer a block to the effects of morphine that the pain kicked in again.

This suggests that physical stimuli can and will override imagined stimuli related to the physical body.

Obviously, it has limited use as it can only serve us when a counter physical stimulant is not present.

It makes you wonder more about psychosomatic illnesses where people are in pain and the doctors can find nothing physically wrong with them. I wonder if doctors ever test the patients biochemistry and look for natural pain blockers being absent. They may be told the pain is all in their head, but has any research been done to see if the pain in their head is triggering a biochemical reaction that results in the actual experience of physical pain with their being no physical cause.


--------------------
Ahuwale ka nane huna.


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Invisiblezorbman
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4477435 - 07/31/05 04:29 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

You still have not demonstrated that the herb used in the study was fresh. If it was purchased from a supplier in powdered form sitting on a shelf for 6 months its potency would be greatly reduced or negated. And all the results that followed would be meaningless.

Variables like these are probably the reason why you have one study come out this week showing no effect on the heels of the study last week showing significant effect.

This is the same mindset that insists telepathy and astrology work even when hundreds of experiments in controlled conditions have shown that they don't.

Let me get this straight. Just because I question the viability of the plant matter used in the study it then follows that I also believe in E.S.P. and astrology? What next? If I go on to question another aspect of the study will that make me a believer that a subterranean race of shape shifting lizard men are using mind control to take over our government?

I don't know if echinacea works or not- I don't know anything about it. But just because I pose a very reasonable question about one crucial aspect of the study does not make me some wild eyed nutbag.


--------------------
“The crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought.”  -- Rudiger Dornbusch


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InvisibleShroomismM
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: zorbman]
    #4477525 - 07/31/05 05:00 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Echinacea, when fresh and preferably grown organically.. is beneficial for short term stimulation of the immune system. As you pointed out, many suppliers will freeze-dry their product, and let it sit for months, thus degrading the quality significantly. Not to mention that many of these bulk herb suppliers also do not grow under conventional organic methods, and are not regulated by the FDA so they can get away with many things. When going with herbs it is always best to either grow them yourself and use fresh, or else find a reputable company that is well known for their quality standards.

However the greatest results are achieved when echinacea it is combined with other herbal stimulants such as cayenne as this seems to produce a synergistic effect. In taking herbal supplements one must find the proper combination that works for them.


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OfflineBraveheart
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4477921 - 07/31/05 07:17 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Did you even read my post? I'm saying your study was bogus, and until you GROW IT YOURSELF, you will never know the joys of the flower. Scientific study or not the information that echinecha is worthless, is well, worthless.
No, it's not a miracle cure, but yes, I have not been to the doctor in 10 years. You do the math.


--------------------
William Wallace


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InvisibleDiploidM
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: gettinjiggywithit]
    #4478034 - 07/31/05 07:44 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

You give us evidence for the power of belief to make things real even when they aren't while you knock the power of belief to make things real when they aren't.

You misread me, jiggz.

I'm a believer in the power of belief. To deny its power is to deny the truth of the evidence.

My post goes to how this study found no benefit whatsoever to echinacea re colds, none at all. Greater benefit was found in belief than in the herb itself.

Yet even in the light of this stark evidence, the True Believers come up with all sorts of excuses and explanations (the herb wasn't the right type, it wasn't fresh, it wasn't prepared correctly, it wasn't bla, bla, bla) rather than accept that echinacea is useless for preventing colds or reducing their severity.

The True Believer is so heavily invested in the warm, snuggly feeling that echinacea helps colds, that they irrationally cling to their false belief rather than accept that none of over 430 people participating in the study was helped one bit by the herb.

The True Believer, sans evidence, buys into the supplement industry's advertising lock, stock, and barrel and even defends the industry to irrationality. This is the same attitude that clings to belief in magical powers even though a giant avalanche of evidence shows there is no such thing.


--------------------
Republican Values:

1) You can't get married to your spouse who is the same sex as you.
2) You can't have an abortion no matter how much you don't want a child.
3) You can't have a certain plant in your possession or you'll get locked up with a rapist and a murderer.

4) We need a smaller, less-intrusive government.


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Invisiblezorbman
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4478073 - 07/31/05 07:59 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

No one is claiming the herbs were not fresh or mishandled.
We are simply raising the question. One you thus far have failed to answer.

For now your study is worthless.


--------------------
“The crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought.”  -- Rudiger Dornbusch


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InvisibleDiploidM
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: gettinjiggywithit]
    #4478081 - 07/31/05 08:01 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

I thought it was common knowledge that placebo effects were biochemical and you act as if this is news to you.

Any psychological effect must be biochemical by definition. What's new about Benedetti's experiment is that not only did the expected pain releif occur when the patient received saline but thought it was morphine, but when they were given naloxone, it canceled the placebo effect.

Naloxone, if given together with morphine, cancels out the morphine effect. This means that somehow, the biochemical effects of morphine were being manifest by the placebo; the effect was not psychological or the naloxone would not have blocked the placebo effect.

This is why it's interesting.


--------------------
Republican Values:

1) You can't get married to your spouse who is the same sex as you.
2) You can't have an abortion no matter how much you don't want a child.
3) You can't have a certain plant in your possession or you'll get locked up with a rapist and a murderer.

4) We need a smaller, less-intrusive government.


Edited by Diploid (07/31/05 08:29 PM)


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InvisibleDiploidM
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: zorbman]
    #4478082 - 07/31/05 08:02 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

You still have not demonstrated that the herb used in the study was fresh. If it was purchased from a supplier in powdered form sitting on a shelf for 6 months its potency would be greatly reduced or negated. And all the results that followed would be meaningless.

More True Believer verbiage.

No matter where the herb came from, the TBs will find some excuse for the failure of the herb to show even the slightest trace of evidence that it works.

But just because I pose a very reasonable question about one crucial aspect of the study does not make me some wild eyed nutbag.

It's hard to take you seriously when you make statements like:

"It turns out the researchers had been freeze drying the plant material, directly contradicting the instructions of the herbalist. Extremes in temperature destroy the living enzymes in plants among other things."

Enzymes are not alive. Do you even know what an enzyme is?

This is yet more typical TB behavior. Make lots of knowing statements about things you know nothing about, all the time accusing the biochemists and other scientists involved in the study who have spent their entire lives studying the topic at hand of being ignorant. :shake:


--------------------
Republican Values:

1) You can't get married to your spouse who is the same sex as you.
2) You can't have an abortion no matter how much you don't want a child.
3) You can't have a certain plant in your possession or you'll get locked up with a rapist and a murderer.

4) We need a smaller, less-intrusive government.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Echinacea, Mysticism, and Placebo [Re: Diploid]
    #4478089 - 07/31/05 08:03 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

It does demonstrate that the mind has sway over our processes.


--------------------
"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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