On the day of the rapture that never happened, I interviewed Lynne McTaggart on my radio show, "Connect the Dots." The author of the new book, "The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us" (Free Press, 2011 ). McTaggart told me that she wrote "The Bond" because "We're in crisis and we all know it. We've been watching this series of disasters, ecological, economic, terrorist -- and while it may or may not be the end of the world, it's the end of the world as we know it. We're at the end of a certain mindset that has caused these compounding crises. Understanding and changing that mindset is the path to a viable future."
The signature of McTaggart's journalism and writing is her keen interest in frontier science, and her ability to synthesize complex findings in a way that resonates with core human needs. In her previous books -- the bestseller, "The Intention Experiment" -- and book before that, "The Field" -- McTaggart explored the farthest reaches of quantum physics. But in following the unfolding research at the pioneering edge of science, McTaggart learned that once science penetrates into the sub-atomic particles at the core of all matter, they found (surprise) "relationships." The relationship between particles defines matter more than anything inherent in the particles themselves. "It's a bond, a relationship so intrinsic and profound that you cannot separate where one thing ends and the other begins," McTaggart explains.
This realization lead McTaggart back to sociology, psychology, human beings and relationships. The core of the modern dilemma, as McTaggart sees it is that "We see ourselves as individuals in competition, striving to the death for survival, rather than working together for survival." She wondered, "Were we meant to be this competitive?"
When McTaggart investigated the scientific research, she found that the answer is that we aren't.
The way we live is in contradiction with nature. We're in crisis because we're not living the way we're designed to by nature. We've got it backwards. We believe we're strong when we compete. But the truth is that we're weak when we compete, and we are strong when we cooperate. Nature has a drive for wholeness, and when we ignore that, we operate against nature, and against ourselves. We've been operating on the wrong story.
We've been operating on the story that we are separate things, fighting for survival, but it's not true. We're designed to care, share, and be fair. It's the survival of the Fairest, not the fittest. Unfortunately, we are living in the opposite way so it's no wonder we're trouble.
According to McTaggart, we're neither relating, acting, nor seeing in ways that will allow us to survive and thrive. The way out? "To live as connecters, givers, car-ers, and shar-ers."
"Taking our turn is wired into us. If someone is talented, and makes more money, people don't mind that," McTaggart says. "People mind when the banking industry executives pay themselves record bonuses after they engineer things that cost others their jobs and homes," she says. "Right now, all Western countries are at the unfairest they've ever been in history. According to studies, we have the same levels of fairness as those countries in the Middle East that have just had major upheavals."
Studies show that "The more unfair any society, the worse the health care, and the higher the rates of crime, violence, and mental illness, the worse the survival statistics." McTaggart claims that this effects everyone in the society.
People's natural tendency is to give and to share, but when someone is given to, but interrupts the give-and-take process by not giving back, greed develops. There evolves an ethos of 'keeping what's mine.' This mindset undermines the cohesion of a society, to everybody's detriment. We've been following the wrong story. Our heroes are the lone wolves -- but they are perfect candidates for a heart attack.
Surprisingly, this increased heart attack risk is not due to known risk factors, like smoking, diet, or high blood pressure. The key factor is social cohesion. Social cohesion and support are stronger protectors, and the lack of them, stronger risk factors for developing heart disease than any of these other physiological determinants, according to a triad of studies McTaggart uncovers in "The Bond."
Lynne McTaggart's book, U.S. book tour schedule of events, and programs can be found on her website.
To hear the full conversation between Lynne McTaggart and Alison Rose Levy on Connect the Dots radio, go here.
More Connect the Dots on cultural attitudes, health, society, and environment with blogs, radio shows, and action links, at: www.healthjournalistblog.com