Archive for the ‘Science’ Category.

Patch Adams a Beautiful Spirit and an Example of Bipolar Disorder

 


By Abbey Mikha

Dear Readers,

A lot of people left comments that said they enjoyed my analysis of the British actor Peter Sellers who suffered from borderline disorder.  For this reason I have created another analysis of Patch Adams according to the movie by the same name.  Many of you may have seen the movie, but you may not have known that the character suffered from bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is prevalent in many communities including the Assyrian community.  Four percent of Americans have bipolar disorder.  That is a lot of people!  You may know someone with bipolar disorder.

As a Psychology student I was so shocked to hear of all the various mental illnesses that I never even knew existed.  Now as a Psychology graduate I believe it is important to know about illnesses such as bipolar because people we love may suffer from them throughout their life.  I also believe it is important to share this knowledge.  If we have more information about these disorders we can help our friends, family, and anyone else who needs it.

Feel free to let me know about any other kinds of disorders you would like to know about and I will try to create an analysis for them.  For now I would like to introduce you to Patch Adams.  This movie was released in 1998 and starred Robin Williams.

 

An Example of Bipolar Disorder: Patch Adams

Identifying Information

Mr. Patch Adams is a Caucasian male, 40 years old.  He has had several jobs throughout his life, which he believes did not suit him.  He became depressed and suicidal; therefore he signed himself into a psych ward.  He eventually left the ward without the doctor’s approval and he discovered that he wanted to be a doctor.  He now attends Virginia Medical University and is in his first year of studies. He is currently single and living on campus with a roommate who questions his validity in being at the medical university.

Behavioural Observation

Patch’s behaviour varies.  One constant aspect of his personality is that he appears to be a very sensitive person who genuinely feels the suffering of others.  He is talkative and a jokester.  He dresses vibrantly and has various opinions, which he is confident enough to express, even if the person on the receiving end disagrees with him.  An example of Patch’s sensitivity is when at one point the staff of the hospital, where he was a patient, gives a hysterical patient a shot.  Patch is surprised by this act and also upset because of the way that the patient was treated.  Another example of Patch’s sensitivity is where at one point he plays with his roommate in the psych ward by shooting imaginary squirrels. This was Patch’s way of trying to help his roommate go to the bathroom.  As a result of this Patch feels a connection with his roommate and decides that he therefore wants to help people.

A further example of Patch’s immense sensitivity is when he played with the patients when at the hospital affiliated with his medical school.  He appears to have an elevated level of energy, is anxious, and appears to have some out of the ordinary behaviours.  Patch defied most of the rules. Something interesting about him is that he was a firm believer in the Golden Rule which is, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Patch believed that doctors should get emotionally involved with patients.  The problem was that while he was getting emotionally involved he was also sometimes becoming unrealistic and what is called unprofessional.  One of his older patients had told him about a dream of swimming in a pool of noodles before she died and he made that dream come true for her.  This was very sweet though insensitive individuals who would judge Patch and would most probably say he was mistaken.

Patch received a ninety eight percent on his exam although his friends said that he did not study much.  Not only was he talented in academics, the patients also opened up to him and told him about their lives and dreams.  The doctor at the hospital continuously tried to remind Patch that the patients do not need to be entertained, they rather need a doctor.  Patch said that he was concerned about improving the quality of life of the people in the hospital.  He appeared to have always wanted to be exciting and even risky.  He said that doctors did not help him when he was in the hospital rather the patients helped him.  Sometimes Patch’s dialogue seemed very rapid especially when speaking of his dream of a free hospital.  He said that he wants to open a community where, “Joy is the way of life, and love is the ultimate goal.”  He said that humour is to heal all suffering.

Current Circumstances and History

Patch’s father died when he was 9 years old.  His father was in the army and had told him that in the Korean War he had lost his soul.  When his father died Patch thought it was his fault.  At the hospital, which is affiliated with the medical school, Patch tried to reach people in unique ways.  He said that the patient must be treated as well as the disease.  He asks for the patients name first and in this way was considerate.  He felt sorry for the little cancer patients and tried to cheer them up.  He made elaborate costumes to entertain them. He had an enormous amount of energy and this is evident in every aspect of his life.

When his girlfriend at the medical school was murdered, he was very sad and blamed himself for her death.  He was contemplating suicide and was thinking about jumping off the mountain. He suggested that God should have spent the 7th day of creation on compassion instead of taking a rest.  Although Patch appeared to be depressed after his girlfriend’s death, in his record at the school the dean accused Patch of “excessive happiness.”  Patch believed that indifference is a disease.

Conceptualization

The pathology I believe Patch to be suffering from is bipolar I disorder most recent episode manic.  For a diagnosis for this disorder a person must have at least one manic episode. Patch has had elevated self-esteem, he is more talkative than usual; he has flights of ideas, a reduced need for sleep, and perhaps he is even easily distracted. The highs have led to difficulties for Patch especially where it concerns authority figures.  Patch has experienced some depression as a result of recent events such as his girlfriend being murdered as a result of visiting a patient of their small free hospital house.

The DSM-IV-TR states that there must be a presence of only one manic episode and no past major depressive episodes for this diagnosis. Also, recurrence is defined as either a change in polarity from depression or an interval of at least 2 months without manic symptoms.  It must also be noted that the manic episode is not better accounted for by schizoaffective disorder and is not superimposed on schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or psychotic disorder not otherwise specified.

The etiology of bipolar I with recent episode manic is that research has shown a strong genetic component for this disorder, with the environment throughout childhood, adolescents, and adulthood playing a factor in the acceleration of symptoms.  Genetics and environmental influences triggered in Patch this disorder.  He had been spiralling out of control for some time and the disorder has now reached a peak.

Further information that is needed and is to be considered has to do with Patch’s family and past.  What stressful environmental events could have caused him to become ill?  There must be more information about his childhood and his relationship with his father, mother, possible siblings, and friends.  Did Patch have any great disappointments in his life like for example failed love relationship?  How did Patch deal with emotions before and cope with the stress of life?  This is information that is not given to us in the movie.

Formulation

Axis I: Bipolar I most recent episode manic.

Axis II: Deferred.

Axis III: No physical diseases or current medical problems.

Axis IV: Death of father early years, and after the death of his girlfriend in university.

Axis V:  Functioning of patient is moderate with GAF score of 65.

 

Patch’s symptoms appear to merit the diagnosis of bipolar I most recent episode manic. The reasoning behind the GAF score of 65 is that Patch shows some mild symptoms, some difficulty in social, occupational, and school functioning, but he is also functioning pretty good generally speaking, doing good in academics, and has some meaningful interpersonal relationships.

Other disorders to be ruled out are schizoaffective disorder, since Patch is not delusional nor does he hallucinate.  Schizoaffective disorder suggests a mixture of symptoms of schizophrenia and a mood disorder.  Schizophrenia has also been ruled out.

Treatment Recommendation

Patch should be treated with a mood stabilizer such as lithium because this medication has been proven to work effectively for patients with bipolar.  Also, Patch should seek therapy because this can be useful in helping him understand the illness he is suffering from.  It will be beneficial for Patch to try to learn when a manic or depressive episode is impending, and to prepare for this.  Learning coping skills is important.

Patch needs support because without it the illness will intensify during manic episodes when he is alone and does not have anyone to turn to for help.  Medication plus psychoanalysis plus education about mental illness is the best treatment for Patch.

It is obvious that Patch is a wonderful human being, but he needs help from mental health care professionals.  Mr. Patch Adams is a beautiful spirit and idealistic person, but he should take the medication prescribed and follow through with the care recommended, so that he can live a productive life, do the good that he wants to do, and be the change he wishes to see in the world.

 

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Peter Sellers an Example of Borderline Personality Disorder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Abbey Mikha

Mental illness is a very taboo subject in the Assyrian community and always has been even in the days when our great grandparents lived in towns and villages. How many Assyrians have been diagnosed with mental illness in the past ten years in the homeland and outside of the homeland?  Does war, depression, trauma, and pain increase mental illness?  Is mental illness on the rise in our community?  In university my majors were Psychology, History, and to a lesser extent Philosophy.  Since studying Psychology at this level I found the various kinds of mental illnesses to be very interesting especially after reading that the Essenes and Jesus Christ of Nazareth were known to cure mental illness in the days when He was a Healer on earth.  It is even said in the Bible that Jesus cured Mary Magdalene of seven various illnesses some of which were mental illnesses.

There are many interesting mental disorders but the most thought provoking to me are the various kinds of bipolar, schizophrenia, and antisocial personality disorder.  Two disorders, which I also studied in university, were borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.  I came across these disorders in various classes such as Abnormal Behavior and others.  In this specific class we had to study the personality of someone many of you may have heard of.  Peter Sellers was a very interesting person who was among other things an actor and the star of the Pink Panther movie.  He was rich and famous, but the amazing mechanism which we call brain, by which his psyche manifested, in many ways made him act out in ways which, had he been rational and stable, he probably would have never done so.  Interestingly the etymology of “Psyche” in ancient Greek was among other things “self” and “conscious personality.”   A question to the Greeks and psychologists and psychiatrists out there from Abbey is, “What would you call someone who is acting out of their subconscious mind?”

I want to dedicate this post to all Assyrians and people of our nation who have suffered from mental illness especially those who suffer from borderline personality disorder and features of narcissistic personality disorder like Peter Sellers.  When I say Assyrians I mean all of our people regardless of whether they belong to the Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, or Aramean churches.  Mental illness does not discriminate based on ethnicity.  A percentage of people in our various name groups are affected.

It is a shame that there are supposed religious people in our communities who teach that people with mental disorders are beyond repair, lost souls who have behaved badly in their life.  This is untrue as evidenced by actual Science!  Also, regular people are many times afraid of individuals with various mental illnesses.  Statistics show though that most people with mental illness are more likely to hurt themselves than anyone else.

I also want to dedicate this post to my uncle Salem Mikha who lived in Iraq and was a member of the Chaldean church who had mental illness and was presumed dead during the past years during the war on Iraq although his body was never found.  God rest his soul and God help the souls of all those poor helpless people in Iraq who suffer from mental illness and are living with it as best as they can, and those who have passed away and struggled throughout their life without the help of psychiatrists, psychologists, and medication.

If you know anyone who is acting out or just very depressed or in a psychosis of any sort please be kind and help them get in touch with a psychiatrist or anyone else in the community who can help.  As Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Note: The following diagnosis was created by analysis of the biographical movie, “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” 2004.  It was for a specific assignment for the class called Abnormal Behavior.  The professor said we did not have to use quotation marks in regards to the DSM-IV-TR criterions.  This diagnosis is a good introduction for anyone interested in mental illness and in borderline disorder, which goes undiagnosed as a lot as people cannot figure out what is going on in their life, which seems like a rollercoaster ride.

An Example of Borderline Personality Disorder- Mr. Peter Sellers

Identifying Information For Mr. Peter Sellers

The client Mr. Peter Sellers is a Caucasian British national who is 48 years old and currently employed as an actor.  Peter is of a high economic status and has lived in upscale neighborhoods.  He was married to Anne with whom he has two children.  Their marriage ended in divorce.  He also married Britt Ekland with whom he has a daughter.  Their marriage also ended in divorce.  Peter smoked marijuana, drank alcohol, and used cocaine on a regular basis.  He is currently single.  Although previously very affluent, he is now lacking in funds and thinking about taking part in the next Pink Panther movie. The main reason for this is that he wants to maintain his standard of living.  The producers at United Artists have requested that Peter undergo a psychological assessment because the director Mr. Blake Edwards is reluctant to work with Peter again.  Peter has reluctantly agreed to comply.

 

Behavioral Observations

Peter presents himself as a wealthy individual with above average intellectual ability, yet he is childlike and very much a jokester.  Upon meeting him Peter is well dressed, talkative, and wanting to exchange ideas.  After some discussion he opens up about his difficulties.  Peter appears to lack self-confidence and he does not keep eye contact continuously.  He expressed that he had been told by his wives that he has not been receptive to his children’s emotional needs.  He says that he tries to provide as best as he can, including things like a pony and a motorcycle for his children.  He also feels guilty that he could not tell his mother that he loved her when she explained to him that she was dying in the hospital.  Nonetheless, he says that he sobbed at her funeral.  Peter appears to be an extremely creative and intelligent person but he is also contradictory in many ways.   He recently has watched old videos of his time at the old comedy show, times with his mother and father, and his two wives Anne and Britt and their children.  Although he had positive and negative memories he says that he does not necessarily treasure them.  After thinking it through Peter burned all of these pictures and videos.

Current Circumstances

Peter was referred for a psychological assessment because he appears to be acting out and the producers at United Artists are worried about his mental health.  Peter fell in love with Sofia Loren who was a fellow actress.  He idealized her as a human being and a friend, and he wanted to be with her, although they were both still married. He misunderstood his relationship with Sofia Loren.  Peter tried to approach her for a relationship, but she told him, “Go home to your children, and go home to your wife.”  Her dismissal caused in him a great deal of pain and anxiety.

Other stressful events in Peter’s life are that his father and mother have both passed away.  He is haunted by the image and words of his mother.  He had a stressful relationship with his second wife Britt.  He wanted her to have an abortion but she persuaded him to keep their child.  He has also had a near death experience and this has changed his outlook on life.  He is tired of all the characters and roles.  He has come to the realization that he wants to be himself even in the movies, although he realizes this is impossible.  Peter displays great instability, including major shifts in mood, a very unstable self-image, and impulsivity. His interpersonal relationships are also very unstable. Furthermore, Peter is grandiose, needs much admiration, and at times appears to feel no empathy with others.  Peter is an amazingly intelligent person who is also very talented at making people laugh, but his chronic feelings of emptiness have deprived him of his own happiness.

Background Information

In Peter’s childhood his family moved around a lot.  His father wished he had more influence on Peter and hoped to have raised him differently.  Peter’s mom spoiled him and allowed him to have whatever he wanted.  At the beginning of his career Peter had a role in the Goon Show, which was a radio comedy show.  He became an actor after he persistently tried to get movie roles.  Peter is very proud of having received a British Academy Award. He loves taking on characters and becoming them for films, but sometimes this carries over to real life.  He encompasses the characters very well.  These personas fulfill in him the need to be someone.  He believes himself to be without much personality of his own.  At one point he was passionate and wanted to play the part of a man who has no discernable personality.  He felt a kinship with that kind of a character.

Peter appears to be hard working and he takes care of his family’s material needs.  After his first marriage to Anne ended he started dating Britt Ekland.  He told her soon after their first few dates, “I think I’m in love with you” to which she responded, “But you have just met me.”  At first he idealized Britt as he had done with Sofia Loren.   When Peter was not able to be with Sofia Loren he tried to satisfy his desire for her by having sex with her stand in, in the back seat of his car, although he was still married. Peter also used cocaine while having sex with his second wife Britt.  During one of these ventures Peter had a heart attack and almost died.  He told his children after his near death experience, “The Spirits have spoken daddy has come back from the dead…and nothing can hurt him ever again.”

Generally when Peter was upset he visited his mother.  He confided in her when Anne left him that he thought if he just gave the world a little push it would all fall in to place.  Peter got mad at his mother for not telling him his father was not well and in the hospital.  Peter’s mother acted like she was his protector.  She said things to him like that the press notices when he misses his daughter’s birthday.  Peter recalled his mother telling him that when they went out to dinner someone asked her, “How was lunch with your son,” and she said, “I don’t know I did not see him.”  He clings to his first wife more than to his second wife at his mother’s funeral.  Peter had an out of the ordinary relationship with his mother.  He goes to a therapist who hypnotizes him in order to be able to speak to his mother once again after her death.

Clinical Conceptualization

Peter appears to be suffering from borderline personality disorder.  The following five criteria from the DSM-IV-TR further explain this.  Peter shows symptoms of criteria three in the DSM-IV-TR, which states that, for borderline personality disorder to be diagnosed there must be an identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self present.   This is evident in various aspects of Peter’s life.  He voiced his concern about his unstable self-image when he told of the time he was once asked, “Peter, how are you able to inhabit your characters so successfully,” to which he responded, “I don’t really have any personality of my own… there used to be a me behind the mask but I had it surgically removed…If I didn’t have characters like Clussou I don’t know who I’d be, perhaps I’d be you.” Furthermore, at one point Peter’s children are trying to cheer him up and he expresses to them that, “Your dad does not exist.”

Criterion two in the DSM-IV-TR for borderline personality disorder, which appears to be present in Peter’s personality states: A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.  Peter’s interpersonal relationships are intense, as is evident in his relationships with his first wife Anne, Sofia Loren, and Britt Ekland.  He idealized them all.  Concerning his first wife Anne, he was deeply in love with her for many years until he met Sofia Loren, and suddenly decided that he did not love Anne as much. In Britt’s case he idealizes her at the beginning of the relationship but after devalues her to the point where he hit her and pushed her around after his mother’s funeral.

Criterion eight in the DSM-IV-TR for borderline personality disorder states: a person with this illness has inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.  For example frequent displays of temper, constant anger, and recurrent physical fights.  An example of this anger is when Peter destroyed his young son’s toys because he painted a striped line across his brand new car.  Peter averted to physical aggression and violence against his sons toys when the boy was only trying to make his father happy.   He also destroyed his house after he realized that his wife Anne was sleeping with the interior decorator.  Furthermore, after his mother’s funeral his anger was unleashed at his wife Britt and they also got into a physical fight.

Criterion seven of the DSM-IV-TR for borderline personality disorder states that there must be symptoms of chronic feelings of emptiness present. For example at one point Peter said to his daughter Sara that he is, “A useless, talentless, empty man.”  Peter also confided to a psychic about this emptiness.  He said, “I keep making changes, you know, big ones, and little ones; always hoping that the next one will be the right one…nothing makes me happy the way that I’m supposed to be happy.”

Lastly, criterion four of the DSM-IV-TR for borderline personality disorder, which states that impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging, for example: spending, sex, substance abuse, and reckless driving.  These are all evident in Peter’s life.  For example, Peter was always changing homes from one mansion to another.  He splurged on various types of cars and had other types of spending sprees.  Peter tells of the times he raced down the highway with his boss trying to escape his responsibilities to the movie he was filming. Peter also misused alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine.   Moreover, he also had sex with Sofia Loren’s double in the back seat of his car while he was still married to his first wife Anne.

The etiology for borderline personality disorder is that like most personality disorders, there are interrelated issues that may contribute to the progression of symptoms.  A fear of abandonment tortures Peter, psychodynamic theorists look to early parental relationships to explain this.  Object-relations theorists propose a lack of early acceptance or abuse/neglect by parents.  Research has found some support for this view, including a link to early sexual abuse.  This may be indicative of the unconventional relationship Peter had with his mother Peg.  He even mockingly expressed to his mother at one point that he was going to marry his then girlfriend Britt because he was not allowed to marry his mother.  The Symptoms of borderline personality disorder may continue on for the remainder of Peter’s life.  Some features of the disorder have also been linked to biological abnormalities.  Sufferers who are particularly impulsive apparently have lower brain serotonin activity.

Clinical Conceptualization

Peter also appears to have some narcissistic features.  The DSM-IV-TR states in criterion six that a person with narcissistic personality disorder is interpersonally exploitative.    For example, when Peter took Anne to meet the interior decorator, he was fully aware that the man was handsome and Anne might be attracted to him.  He set this situation up because he wanted to start a relationship with Sofia Loren.  So, he was introducing Anne to another man because he had ulterior motives.  He told the interior decorator, “Whatever is fine with Anne is fine with me”, which was suggestive.   A further example of criterion six is that Peter remembered someone saying that he, “Always got the last cake even on someone else’s plate.”

In the DSM-IV-TR it further states in criterion one, of narcissistic disorder, another characteristic of Peter’s personality, which is that he has a grandiose sense of self-importance.  For example, he exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements.  An example of this is when Peter said to his mother, “I’m a star now; these people can’t do anything without me.”  Peter also remembered saying in front of a crowd of people that the only reason he, “Compromised his artistic integrity by walking in front of his cameras” (referring to Blake Edwards the producer of the movie Pink Panther) was because of money. He embarrassed Blake in front of the crowd and inflated his own ego.  Peter also said that no matter how bad the picture is he will always be the best thing in it.

Moreover, Peter is seldom interested in the feelings of others in this innocent way; he does not realize this about himself.  The DSM-IV-TR for narcissistic disorder criteria seven matches with Peter’s personality where it states:  He lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.  This is very evident in his interactions with his children.  Peter’s daughter asked him if he still loves them, to which he responded, “Of course I do sweetheart, but not as much as I love Sofia Loren.” He does not seem to understand what he is saying.  He also inappropriately tells his son at one point that his mother is sleeping with the interior decorator.  If he was considerate of his children’s feelings he would not have said such things, but Peter did not even realize how much these words could have hurt them.  On the other hand, Peter does show empathy for his dying father on his deathbed.

The DSM-IV-TR criteria nine for narcissistic disorder is also evident in Peter’s personality.  It states that the person shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.  An example is when Peter says to his pregnant wife at the hospital while she’s having contractions, “Make it quick we start filming in a week.”  Another example is when Peter overreacts about taking a role another actor declined.  He does not want “sloppy seconds.”  Other times he gets mad at the director and yells at him.

The etiology of narcissistic personality disorder like most personality disorders is that there are many interrelated reasons that may influence the development of symptoms.  Symptoms are long lasting, and start to show in childhood and later in adolescence.  The full symptoms show themselves when the individual becomes an adult.  Psychodynamic theorists have theorized about this disorder focusing on cold, rejecting parents.  Object-relations theorist interpret this grandiose self-presentation as a way for people with this disorder to convince themselves that they are self-sufficient and without need of warm relationships. Cognitive-behavioral theorists propose that narcissistic personality disorder may develop when people are treated too positively rather than too negatively in early life.  Peter appears to have features of narcissistic disorder and is projecting this type of characteristics for protection of his equilibrium.  His disappointments, the pain that he felt as a result of the relationships with his parents, the failed marriages and friendships, and the harshness of the reality of life are being projected as narcissism.

Formulation

Axis I:  Deferred.

Axis II:  Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic features.

Axis III:  Heart condition.

Axis IV: Problems with primary family.

Axis V:  GAF score of 70.

There is evidence of borderline personality disorder present in Peter’s behavior, and features of narcissistic disorder.  The GAF score is 70 because there is some mild symptoms present like depressed mood.  There is evidence of some difficulty in social, occupational functioning, but Peter is generally functioning well, and has had some meaningful interpersonal relationships.  In the DSM-IV-TR criteria three, eight, two, and seven have been met for diagnoses of Mr. Peter Sellers as having borderline personality disorder.  In the DSM-IV-TR criteria six, one, seven, and nine have been met for narcissistic personality disorder, which therefore suggests that Mr. Peter Sellers has features of this disorder.  Disorders to be ruled out are multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia.  Peter does not appear to have different personalities; he is more just an actor who takes on different roles, as opposed to being different people in real life and having certain personalities take over at different times.  He also is not delusional nor does he hallucinate, which would rule out schizophrenia.

Further information to strengthen the conclusions of the primary diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is that Peter had that great fear of abandonment, and psychodynamic theorists look to early parental relationships to explain this and the disorder.  Peter always tried to fall in love and be with someone he cared about, or just randomly date, as long as he was not alone.  When things did not work out with the women he found comfort in the arms of his mother, but as of late even the thought of his mother is not comforting to him, and the stress of being an actor has reached an ultimate high level.

Treatment Recommendations

Psychotherapy can be very helpful in Peter’s case when used in combination with medication.  The most helpful forms of psychotherapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy and two broader sociocultural therapies: family therapy and social therapy.  For borderline personality disorder it appears that psychotherapy can eventually lead to some degree of improvement for Peter.  Antidepressant, antianxiety, and antipsychotic drugs have helped some individuals to calm their emotional and aggressive storms.  Narcissistic disorder is one of the most difficult personality patterns to treat, and since Peter has features of this disorder, once in treatment, he may try to manipulate the therapist into supporting his sense of superiority.

In regards to Mr. Peter Seller’s assessment, it must be said that it is unfortunate to think that the directors Peter worked with were not sensitive to his personality and condition.  Perhaps they did not realize that Peter suffers from mental illness.  Peter’s talent for being able to express himself through various characters is a gift but should not be misused.  Peter complained to one director that, “Three characters are enough!”  He said three is a good number, but the director responded, “You are being paid for four.”  This director also said to Peter, “I think you are whoever I want you to be.”  People in show business should be kind and gentle with people like Mr. Peter Sellers.  They said that Peter was, “A vessel in which characters and personalities ran like phantoms.”  The director also said about Peter that, “There was no person there to begin with but even an empty vessel can become too full.”  Sometimes Peter was not treated with humanity and he was you could say even abused by these people.  The reality though is that Peter subjugated himself as well to continue living in his life style.   I would recommend that firstly Peter receive treatment for his drug and alcohol addictions.  I also would only recommend that Peter continue working in show business if he is allowed to find himself and be whoever he wants to be.  The directors of his next movie should understand what Peter has been dealing with all along.  If they do not want to understand him then they do not deserve to work with him.

Note: How many Assyrian Peters are out there and are undiagnosed and living their life in a supposed normal way without realizing that borderline personality disorder is devastating their lives?  How many fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends?  How many have never even heard of borderline disorder?  Hopefully this analysis of Mr. Peter Seller’s life and personality was a good introduction for any of you who are interested in the subject.  Please take the time to read more about this issue if you find it of interest and if you have similar symptoms.

 

 

 

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Abbey’s Defense of the Maharashtra Region in India and all Poor Farmers of the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Use for Degraded Lands in Western India Project

Think of the following essay in relation to our homeland.  We have water shortage in Iraq as well and in all our villages, like for example in Bartella.  Our Assyrian people need help as the people of India also need help.  We are an ancient people just like the Indus Valley people.  What is happening in India is happening all over the world.  Take fifteen minutes of your time to read through this report.  Our friendship as Assyrians with peoples of the entire earth is a testament to our humanitarian spirit as a nation.  Let me know what you think.

By Abbey Mikha

Summary

Changing the ideas of modernized people of the earth in relation to poor peoples of other nations has to be part of an education process for modernized people in regards to human and humanitarian issues. Abolition of rural poverty should be an extremely important concern for all persons and nations. We need to help peoples of the Third World! In our project area in the Maharashtra region in India there live a simple ancient people who have not been influenced a great deal by the progress other regions of the world have seen. Though they may be poor they certainly have people of intelligence and wisdom. Our team wants to help improve the situation of the people who are trying to survive on a seasonal basis. We have to aid in the development of farmers who can serve as future leaders in the field of agriculture. Also, we realize that water is the source of life. We want to provide help and opportunities for creative people and even inventors to influence the future of their land and villages by implementing ancient wisdom combined with modern knowledge on water harvesting techniques to cure the ecological degradation in the area. We have researched the opinions of various individuals and experts on the three approaches to land use under consideration. In our research it was our hope to find the best solution for the peoples of the Maharashtra region of India. Although it would be amazing if we could make each person in our project area rich, a more realistic solution is to provide practical advice and support in order to influence their life, so that their living conditions can improve and they will have hope and joy not just for a moment but for a lifetime.

Structuring the Problem definition

Trying to help people of other cultures is every good human beings hope regardless of which culture they are from, but there are problems to achieving those goals and dreams, most of which are financial. In the following research project and report the opinions of various individuals and experts on the three approaches to land use under consideration will be evaluated. The opinions of individuals who are actually from India like Dr. Narayana Shenoy, Greeta Nair, K.G. Kshirsagar, and Madhav Gadgil have been considered. Additionally, the views of Kevin Conway and Thomas Rosin have been presented. We also referred to Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd report called, “Modern Irrigation and Fertigation Methodologies for Higher Yields in Sugarcane.” We are of the opinion that considering a variety of views will lead us to more accurate conclusions.

It is rather confusing to think that poor peoples of the world could not want help from those who are modernized, but the fact is that people are afraid of change. The peoples who wholeheartedly want to help are often times received in a suspicious manner by the villagers in the Maharashtra region. Accepting help from those who are strangers to the ancient land of the Indus Valley is a choice and cannot be provided by force.

The ancient water harvesting techniques that the people have used for generations must be developed and combined with modern techniques to improve the livelihood of the people. To take for granted this ancient wisdom of water harvesting would be a testament to our ignorance. Therefore, we will do our utmost to appreciate this knowledge, which springs from a distant time and even an eternal source.

Background Information

In his report titled, “Conjunctive use of water resources in the Decan Trap, India” Dr. Frank Simpson gives a detailed explanation of the area of Akole Taluka which is very similar to our project area located on the eastern flanks of the Western Ghats mountain range. He says:

“Akole Taluka is located on the eastern margin of the Western Ghats mountain range in the westernmost part of Ahmednagar District, Maharashtra State, India. This area is comprised of uplands to the west and south, which give way to rolling and relatively even topography, at lower elevations to the east. The taluka is part of the Deccan Trap plateau, where generally flat lying basalt lavas make up the bedrock beneath a variable cover of weathered basalt and soil. In these respects, it is similar to much of the Deccan region, which covers an area of 500, 000 km2 in western and central India. Superficial deposits are thin to absent at higher elevations and up to 2 m or more in thickness in the valleys. The annual rainfall, which ranges from 600 to 2,000 mm across the taluka, is largely confined to the monsoon period, from June to September. July is the wettest month. Typically, there are sporadic showers during the post-monsoon period (October–January) and little or no rain in the pre- monsoon months (February–May). Before the onset of the monsoon, temperatures in the 40–50°C range are common.”

The tribal and rural people are subsistence farmers. Their main crops are rice, groundnuts, ragi and local grass during the autumn growing season, and wheat and gram during the spring season (Simpson). The quality of the harvest depends on the amount of soil moisture and there is also fluctuating water availability that decreases gradually after the monsoon period, which affects the soil and agriculture (Simpson). Water is the source of life, and attaining it is part of the difficulty for this region.

Measures of Effectiveness

We will consider that we have succeeded in our project not necessarily when we have changed the whole region. Rather, through simple signs like when the local people trust us and have learned to more effectively subsist from their land, as a result of a combination of their ancient knowledge and our suggestions and expertise. When we have shared our information of modern strategies and combined it with the people’s ancient approaches and they start to believe that we want to help them, we will have accomplished something amazing. Our goal is to help the people of Maharashtra region and those near Akole Taluka in moving forward as a group, society, and even as individuals.

We are certain that humanitarian work will and would be embraced by many individuals of the world if the funds were available. This though should not be an excuse for non-action; we must at least attempt to help poor peoples of every nation. Nonetheless, funds are one aspect of our project that we had to keep in consideration and under control. Our team of agrologists and volunteers have decided to live amongst the people of the Maharashtra region and in this way avoid unnecessary expenses. This also will help us in understanding the daily difficulties of the people. The funds we have been granted have been expended carefully with the hope of making the best of every dollar.

Alternative Solutions

Water Harvesting Solution:

Water harvesting is an ancient water collection method, which has been improved and improvised throughout the ages from the time of the earliest civilizations including that of the Indus Valley. A most pleasant verse indicating a part of the water cycle is found in the ‘Kiskindha Kanda’ of Valmiki’s Ramayana. It states: “The sun’s rays have drunk the water of the seas, and carrying it as an embryo for nine months, is giving out the elixir of life” (Shenoy). The ancient peoples of the Indus Valley realized the necessity of water and its obvious connection with all the living beings on earth.

In the article titled, “Traditional water harvesting methods of India”
 by Narayana Shenoy he states:

 

“Ancient Indian Sanskrit literature reveals the extensive knowledge our ancient predecessors possessed, of very complex and dynamic phenomena of movement of water in nature i.e. knowledge of rainfall, run-off, weather pattern, properties of water, properties of soil, etc. They designed and constructed dams, aqueducts and a variety of water harvesting structures much earlier than the commonly believed Greek, Roman or other ancient civilizations.”

This is a testament to that although the majority of the peoples of this region are poor; they are the descendants of a rich culture and civilization from a mysterious forgotten time in history. They were able to make it to this century from so many thousands of years ago! This is an achievement considering the difficult environment they live in. It is the opinion of our team that the ancient water harvesting techniques should be continued and developed and combined with modern techniques that suit the area. There are solutions, which will cause the least harm for the land and also the people.  On the subject of rainwater harvesting Dr. Narayana Shenoy states:

“It can be simple to construct from inexpensive local materials, and are potentially successful in most habitable locations…Roof rainwater can’t be of good quality and may require treatment before consumption. As rainwater rushes from the roof it may carry pollutants in it such as the tiniest bit of mercury from coal burning buildings to bird feces. Although some rooftop materials may produce rainwater that is harmful to human health, it can be useful in flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering the garden… these uses alone halve the amount of water used by a typical home…Overflow from rainwater harvesting tank systems can be used to refill aquifers in a process called groundwater recharge, though this is a related process, it must not be confused with Rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvested from roofs can contain human, animal and bird feces, mosses and lichens, windblown dust, particulates from urban pollution, pesticides, and inorganic ions from the sea (Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cl, SO4), and dissolved gases (CO2, NOx, SOx)) ( Shenoy ).”

This is exactly where modern science and technology and technique can help. After collecting the water as described in the passage, it must be treated. Clean water can be made available for the population of the region. In this world of coincidence there are so many ways to lose ones life, but not having drinkable water is not an acceptable reason to die for anyone in the world, for any child of any nation. We are responsible for this as human beings and as friends to our fellow human kind.

Another opinion is that of Kevin Conway who asserts that, “Over the past 70 years, human numbers have tripled but our thirst for water has surged six-fold” (p.1). He continues:

“Supply is only one part of the growing water crisis. For an increasing number of people, water quality is every bit as threatening. Population growth, industrialization, and urbanization are not only depleting lakes, rivers, and aquifers, they are polluting them as well. Already more than 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water; 3 billion lack access to basic sewerage systems. For millions, life-sustaining water is now a deadly menace. Water- and sanitation-related diseases will rob many more of their health and a productive future. The history of rain harvesting is rich in technique and innovation. The Greeks, the Mayans, and island peoples around the world all developed ways of harvesting or holding back rain as it cascaded from their roofs or flowed across their fields. IDRC-supported researchers tapped into this broad base of traditional knowledge and used the tools of modern science to improve water-harvesting techniques and safeguard water quality (Conway p.1).”

We agree with this strategy. The water harvesting solution is beneficial for the villagers near the area of Maharashtra. There are no negative consequences for the people using the various ancient techniques of water harvesting. This knowledge may come in handy at times of great need. We can help improve upon this way when combining it with some modern strategies to insure the best results.

The Sugarcane Solution:

According to the Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd report called, “Modern Irrigation and Fertigation Metholodgies for Higher Yields in Sugarcane” India is the world’s largest producer of sugar and sugarcane (p. 5). It also states that sugarcanes requirement for water and fertilizer are also equally high (p. 5). Sugarcane is grown with flood irrigation in all other states except in Maharashtra, which is the location of our project area (p. 5). According to this article the constraints for sugar cane production are:

1. Non availability of high yielding varieties
2. Dearth of good quality seed
3. Improper water management
4. Use of imbalanced fertilize doses
5. Negligence in plant protection
6. Low awareness among the farmers to use improved cultivation practices.

In this article it also states that sugarcane grows extremely well in medium to heavy, well-drained soils, and high organic matter content. Water logged soils and soils of poor drainage are not suitable. Growth of sugarcane will be poor in sandy soils (p. 6). Also, heat, humidity, and sunlight intensity play important role in sugarcane germination, tillering, vegetative growth and maturity. Sugarcane grows well in humid and hot weather (p. 6). In the JISL report it also states that the mean minimum temperature and the relative temperature disparity are comparatively lower in Maharashtra (p. 7). It seems that for all those reasons some are of the opinion that Maharashtra is a good region for growing sugar cane. This must be analyzed further with the reality and truth at heart. The motive of those trying to promote this alternative must be considered. Are these individuals trying to take what they believe to be the easy way out? This idea of making fast money while not considering the future of the land will cost the poor people in the end, not those making big money.

In an article titled, “More Maharashtra farmers shifting to sugarcane cultivation” the author Greeta Nair said the following:
Favorable conditions not necessarily climatic but more political, financial and overall support, are making farmers shift. Increasingly land in Maharashtra is being diverted to sugarcane. This shift is significant in Solapur, Beed and Latur. Traditionally cane has been grown in western Maharashtra and accounts for more than 60% of the state’s contribution to the sugar bowl. But now, cane is also been grown in areas that have historically known to be chronic drought prone areas and they are contributing 25% to the sugar production (Nair p.1).

In this region of India politics hardly considers the destiny of the common folk. Politicians should not make decisions about degraded lands and best alternatives. Politicians study politics and should contribute to their field. Geologists study the earth and these scientists and engineers should be the decision makers in regards to earth issues. This would positively influence our destiny as a human race upon this planet we call home.

All things considered, the district of Maharashtra is actually facing the problems of water scarcity and sustainability due to sugarcane cultivation. Therefore sugar cane cultivation is not the solution. A society cannot make all of its decisions based on a one-year economic plan. The income made within one year of sugar cane production will only be beneficial for those with the money in their pocket.

In the Agricultural Economics Research Review of 2006 called the, “Organic Sugarcane Farming for Development of Sustainable Agriculture in Maharashtra” by K.G. Kshirsagar the issue of how much sugar cane costs to grow is discussed. Also, how much fertilizers cost chemical and non-chemical, costs of irrigation, and plant protection chemicals. In this article he states:

In Maharashtra, about 80 per cent of water is utilized for agriculture (World Bank, 2003), and more than 60 percent of it is utilized for the sugarcane crop alone. Moreover, farmers mine water from deeper aquifers for the sugarcane crop, especially in the study district. This is a cause of great concern and demands conservation and judicious use of water, as it has endangered the stability and sustainability of agriculture. The organic sugarcane farming (OSF) has been found quite successful in the study area and has offered several benefits as compared to those by inorganic sugarcane farming (ISF). Although OSF requires more human labor, cost of cultivation has been found lower due to savings on chemical fertilizers, irrigation, seeds and agrochemicals. The yields have been observed to be relatively lower on OSF but are more than compensated by the price premium fetched by the organic sugarcane and the yield and profit stability observed on OSF. The OSF has been found to conserve the soil and water resources, increases farmers’ income, thereby enhancing their economic well-being and livelihood security. Thus, OSF is important in achieving the goal of sustainable agriculture. It has been suggested that organic farming should receive prime attention from all the stakeholders to realize its full potential in increasing profitability and providing the much sought after sustainability of agriculture.

This is an exaggeration of the reality of sugar cane production in Maharashtra and the future of its lands, soils, and economy. Although it is always good to consider various opinions in the end the truth must be the guide, for the harnessing of truth of those of the poor of Maharashtra region will be a beacon of light that will enable them to subsist well into the future. Their truth may need to be considered on a global level. It may well be a simple truth, that they need honest advice and help. The future of the lands in the region must be well thought out and although the people are being pressured to grow sugar cane by the government this solution is not the best alternative.

Do Nothing Approach

In his article called, “Conjunctive use of water resources in Deccan Trap” Dr. Frank Simpson stated, “Indigenous knowledge, attention to local religious practices, and respect for traditional and folk approaches to communication were indispensable to the success of the project.” This is a very important factor of our project also. Allowing the people of the Maharashtra region to continue on with their traditions and the way they have subsisted since ancient times without any help may be a choice, albeit an unfair one. It allows them to live life as their ancestors have done. So many times throughout history modern peoples have intruded on the lives of ancient peoples and have caused a lot of unpleasantness in the life of the people as a community. Although our project is an honorable one and we want to help the people of Maharashtra, they may not want the help we so want to give. Though they live in poverty they may have found some greater meaning to life.

A simple question may be, “Does what we want to provide for the people of this region fit with their life style as physical and spiritual beings?” The answer to this question may be contradictory depending on whom we ask. Some of the people might be very attached to their practices and consider them holy. Nonetheless, our goal is to try to increase their self-esteem so that they can change their future, but we must remember that this may not be ours to control. The natural way of living may be satisfactory and the most environmental friendly system for human beings to subsist at peace with the earth. Perhaps someday there may not be any better permanent solution and therefore we must think about the meaning behind this approach.

It is true that we should try to influence other cultures in order to help them move forward. Aiding people of the area in the Maharashtra region will benefit them physically, propel them forward as a community, and give them a better life. Nothing is certain in this world but the philosophy of brotherhood and sisterhood is everlasting.

In Madhav Gadgil’s article titled, “Biodiversity and India’s Degraded Lands” she discusses a very interesting topic. She says that, “ecosystem people” subsist by producing or gathering a diversity of biological resources from their immediate vicinity. The people of the Maharashtra region are such “ecosystem people”. She says:

“Their quality of life is intimately lined to the maintenance of modest levels of biodiversity in their own circumscribed resource catchments. Their resources base has been extensively degraded by pressures created by “biosphere people”…the Third World elite and citizens of industrial countries, who can draw resources from all over the world and are thus, indifferent to environmental degradation in the Third World. “Ecosystem people” have a genuine stake in biodiversity maintenance in their immediate surrounding, it is important that conservation efforts include maintenance and restoration of at least modest levels of biodiversity throughout the Third World (p. 167).”

So the question must be considered, “Do we want to help the poor of the region in order to give them bits of our life style, or rather so that we can continue our own life style in the future?”

Our projects incentive is moral so we can help poor farmers and villagers and give them our knowledge. After we do so though we must be careful not to consider ourselves their managers. We must not allow ourselves to believe that after we have given the people in Maharashtra newfound information that we must now stay in the country and become the overseers of events. It has been said many times that the world has become a global village and this is true, but we have overstepped many boundaries as a western civilization. We must deal with the people in a very considerate and sensitive manner. Their culture is fragile. We should help them and protect them but we should not govern them. We should never destroy that which makes them unique. Above all we should ask what they want.

Analysis of Alternative Solutions

The positive and negative consequences of each possible solution to the alternative solutions will now be considered. In Mintesinot Behailu and Mitiku Haile’s report about water harvesting they state:

“The aim of water harvesting is to mitigate the effects of temporal shortages of rain, so-called dry spells, to cover both household needs and productive use. This involves storage component and various forms of storage exist such as: micro-dams, farm ponds, subsurface dams, tanks… Water scarcity is a critical issue for many developing countries in general and for those in the arid to semi-arid areas of the world in particular. It has long been understood that intensive water resource development can have a decisive role in the economic and social development of a country and in alleviating drought. Alleviating food security related to drought and famine through sustainable agriculture and environmental rehabilitation…attempts are being made to harvest runoff water in micro-dams for use both in households and small-scale irrigation schemes. It is recognized that the construction of micro-dams with proper irrigation and agronomic services will result in micro-climatic and environmental changes with positive impact on sustained productivity. Notwithstanding the positive impacts on increased agricultural productivity and improved community welfare, the negative impacts of water resource development require constant assessment and monitoring on environmental changes (Behailu and Haile).”

Therefore, there are innumerable positive aspects to water harvesting. There are no negative consequences for the people relying on their ancient techniques and further developing them through our modern knowledge of water retrieval. This solution can only bring constructive results for the land and the people. Although the water collected may not be directly drinkable instantly, it is usable in many other ways, and there are many procedures to clean the water so that every person in Maharashtra will have enough to survive and hopefully prosper.

The positive aspects of sugar cane productions are that it provides a multitude of jobs and thus influences the economy positively. Negative aspect of sugar cane production other than the negative influence on soils, is that sugar cane is a water intensive crop, and enormous amount of water is required for its cultivation. This water is lacking in the area. The water to cultivate the sugar cane will be taken from the mouths of the people.

Although local politicians, representing both the State and Federal Governments, have proposed that there is money to be made from growing sugar cane on a large scale in our project area, we must consider the needs and the thoughts of the villagers. We are of the same opinion as the villagers. We believe that the proponents of the widespread production of sugar cane and scarce soil nutrients would be depleted on a large scale, with every harvest. Therefore, although the politicians think this strategy would be a big money maker it is not the best long-term solution for the land or the people.

The do nothing approach which would allow the villagers to live their life as they have done in the years before, since many thousand years ago in ancient times, also has positive and negative impacts. The positive aspect of this strategy is that the people would live as their ancestors have lived without disruption of their life style. The negative aspect is that the people may not be able to survive as they have because of changes upon the earth. Also, it must be said that our future as a human race is codependent. Yes, we may also need to learn from the people of the Maharashtra region, perhaps to balance our own life style of greed, waste, and excess. Therefore, we must lift the people of Maharashtra unto a higher standard of living and perhaps in the future lower our standard of living, in order to meet somewhere in the middle in a forthcoming time where we all must coexist together. Balance and equality of living standards will be essential so that we all survive into the next thousand years upon the earth.

Evaluation

Although it might be difficult to explain to all the people of Maharashtra what the solutions are for the project area, our team of volunteers and experts are eager and ready to meet with all the various village councils who oppose the growing of sugar cane as a major crop, and anyone else who may wish to attend our meeting. We believe that the village council is correct in that they believe that the problem of land degradation would get much worse in the longer term as a result of the mass production of sugar cane for profits. We also agree with the village council that the only way to reverse the processes of desertification, which are well under way in the region, is to prevent the monsoon rains from flowing out of the area as surface runoff. This is best done through the widespread introduction of the technologies for water harvesting and water spreading. These involve very simple modifications of the hill slopes, which are cheap, small-scale and easily replicated. The new technologies would raise the amount of soil moisture and permit the production of a higher-yield second crop. When this knowledge is combined with that of ancient harvesting methods the people will feel comfortable because they will sense a familiarity with the practices.

In Thomas Rosin’s article, “The Tradition of Groundwater Irrigation in Northwestern India” he expresses that research indicates that there existed a different groundwater irrigation system of dams and perennial canals redesigned for India by the British during the early nineteenth century and have been continued by modern Indian government. There were though also indigenous principles and practices that the people in the region followed before. He writes about a folk system of hydrologic practices in India and gives importance to the surface impoundments of rain (p. 51). He further expresses that there is a interlinking among surface water facilities and their significance to the all over hydrology. This article argues that the opinion has been voiced that the indigenous system is actually superior to that of the British (Rosin p. 51).

It is very true that some modern civilizations have lost admiration for the ancient world and the knowledge that its peoples hold within their memory. Ancient knowledge is precious and we were all once connected to peoples who were originally ancient. One day we will know perhaps how those ancient people built the great civilizations of the world including that of the mesmerizing Indus Valley, and how they survived for so many thousands of years. Until we better understand these civilizations we should never undermine the knowledge of its people.

In conclusion we cannot accept the sugar cane solution, which would cause further problems down the road for the land and the people. Therefore, we must work with the locals of the Maharashtra region to bring about changes in the area through the ancient water harvesting techniques combined with our modern knowledge. The do nothing approach in our opinion is also not acceptable. We must do something! We must be able to earn the trust of fellow human beings in that we will help them and contribute our knowledge in order to make their lives better. The Indus Valley people are a link to the past and our sincere friendship with them and all peoples of the world is our link to the future.

We should respect all the farmers of the world and not just in Maharashtra.  We must always also remember just like human beings need rest the earth also needs its rest and can only produce so much.  Do not abuse the earth that freely gives of herself and be true to our planet.  God only knows how much time there is left on earth.  This was an Assyrians point of view in regards to Geology and what is going on in India and the world.  The big question is though do you agree and what do you think and believe?

References

Brooks David, Shames Tilly, Wolfe Sarah (2001). Local Water Supply and Management: A Compendium of 30 Years of IDRC-Funded Research International Development Research Centre. Retrieved from: http://web.idrc.ca/uploads/user- S/111711308618Brooks.pdf

Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. Irrigation & Fertigation Methologies for Higher Yields in Sugarcane. Retrieved from: http://www.jains.com/PDF/crop/sugarcane%20cultivation.pdf

K.G. Kshirsagar, Agricultural, (2006). Organic Sugarcane Farming for Development of Sustainable Agriculture in Maharashtra. Economics Research Review Vol. 19 pp 145-153. Retrieved from: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/57785/2/DrKG-Kshirsagar.pdf

Madhav Gadgil, Biodiversity and India’s Degraded Lands. Published by: Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Page 167 of 167-172. Obtained from Jstor: Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4314063.

Mintesinot Behailu and Mitiku Haile, (2006 June). Highlighting the impacts of North– South research collaboration among Canadian and southern higher education partners. Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada.
http://www.aucc.ca/_pdf/english/publications/colloquium_proceedings_e.pdf

Nair Geeta, (2011 Jan 14). More Maharashtra Farmers Shifting to Sugarcane Cultivation. Financial Express. Retrieved from:
http://www.financialexpress.com/news/more-maharashtra-farmers-shifting-to- sugarcane-cultivation/737292/1

Rosin Thomas (1993). Human Ecology: The Tradition of Groundwater Irrigation in Northwestern India. Obtained from Jstor.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4603074

Shenoy Narayana, (2009 August 16). Traditional Water Harvesting Methods of India. Retrieved from: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage& pid=304&page=22

Simpson Frank, and Sohani Girish, (2003). India BP-II.13: Conjunctive Use of Water Resources in Deccan Trap. In: MOST/Nuffic (IK-Unit) Database, Register of Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge, Chapter 4 of Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge, Joint Publication of the Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST) and the Centre for International Research and Advisory Networks (CIRAN), MOST Database of Best Practices. Web-link Reference: http://www.unesco.org/most/bpik13-2.htm

 

 


 

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Assyrian Astronomy is Known to NASA

 

By: Ashur Sada

 

 

Assyrian and Babylonian astronomy goes back to some 4,000 years ago.  Given the very primitive advancement in science and technology back then, Mesopotamian astronomy in general, was quiet advanced.  In fact, it lay some of the foundation upon which modern astronomy is based on.  NASA for example, acknowledges that Assyrians were one of the first nations to discover Mars, the red planet. Yes that is right, Assyrians, using the famous lens of Nimrod, detected Mars first.  It is not surprising then, that a basic search for ‘Assyrian’ on NASA‘s website, will yield many results.  Here is what we found.

The Search Results

The first result was about who Assyrians are in general. They did a decent job in describing who Assyrians are:

“Assyrians are People who originated in the northern Tigris River valley, in the Armenian Mountains. They later conquered much of Mesopotamia, as well as Phoenicia and Egypt. The Assyrians brought to their people great advances in civilization. The Assyrian Empire lasted from about 1350 B.C. to 612 B.C., when rival armies destroyed Nineveh, the Assyrian capital.”

Then there was a table of solar eclipses as recorded in history, and Assyrians had their own recording of this.  It puts the date at -0762 Jun 15 (763 BCE), and this was a total eclipse. The duration of this eclipse was recorded at 04m59s.  And finally, there is a link to a map that details this eclipse, as well as a graphic path.  Notice that the year is at the peak of the Assyrian empire.  This tells you that the state cared a lot about science and education.

There was even more results about Assyrian recordings of eclipses in history. One such interesting finding was the following:

“Babylonian clay tablets that have survived since dawn of civilization in the Mesopotamian region record the earliest total solar eclipse seen in Ugarit on May 3, 1375 BC. Like the Chinese, Babylonian astrologers kept careful records about celestial happenings including the motions of Mercury, Venus, the Sun, and the Moon on tablets dating from 1700 to 1681 BC. Later records identified a total solar eclipse on July 31, 1063 BC, that “turned day into night,” and the famous eclipse of June 15, 763 BC, recorded by Assyrian observers in Nineveh. Babylonian astronomers are credited with having discovered the 223-month period for lunar eclipses.”

 

There is also a mentioning of Assyrians as being the first in history to detect and study Saturn. In a PDF format, the article “Getting to know Saturn: a Timeline of discovery” puts Assyrians on top of the list, chronologically speaking: “~ 800 BC Assyrian and Babylonian observations”, and that being the time they first discovered Saturn.

Yet more results relating to the Red planet, and this time about some volcanic region on this planet, called Cimmeria.  Interestingly enough, a section on NASA’s website notes:

“The Cimmerians who give their name to this region were an ancient, little-known people of southern Russia mentioned in  Assyrian inscriptions and by Homer.”

And that makes you wonder about just how much the Assyrians knew back then, that they would write about people, who are named after a region in Mars? could be a pure coincident, or could be some knowledge we are still not sure about.

Conclusions

It is interesting and ironic in that a lot of these articles and documents, use the name  ‘Assyrian’, ‘Babylonian’ and even ‘Sumerian’ interchangeably.  The fact that NASA, arguably the biggest and most authoritative body in space and astronomical research, mentions and credits Assyrians for their historical exploration, reinforces the notion that Assyrians are indeed a nation that has given humanity a lot. Sure these exploration were made over three thousands years ago, but their implications and applications are more relevant today than they were back then.  George W. Bush, the current US president, has called for the US to go back to the moon, and go even further and send a manned mission to Mars by 2024, still some 17 years away. Seventeen  years is more than enough to raise a new generation of astronauts.

Now what on earth could stop an Assyrian or Assyrians from having their own astronauts then, who could ride on NASA’s spaceship and go to Mars. That would be one giant accomplishment and irony for Assyrians.  The people who discovered the Red planet, are finally able to see it face to face.  If that is impossible, NASA should at least credit Assyrians by taking their flag and digging it on the red soil of the red planet.  Assyrian flag flying over the Red planet? not bad at all, we will take it!

 

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