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You can slide the video along–much of it is very repetitive…

And here are a couple sites about Octopuses that I also find interesting…

Octopuses of the family Octopodidae adopt two major life-history strategies. The first is the production of relatively few, large eggs resulting in well-developed hatchlings that resemble the adults and rapidly adopt the benthic habit of their parents. The second strategy is production of numerous small eggs that hatch into planktonic, free-swimming hatchlings with few suckers, simple chromatophores and transparent musculature. These distinctive planktonic stages are termed paralarvae and differ from conspecific adults in their morphology, physiology, ecology and behaviour. This study aims to review available knowledge on this subject. In benthic octopuses with planktonic stages, spawning characteristics and duration of planktonic life seem to play an important role in their dispersal capacities. Duration of the hatching period of a single egg mass can range from 2 days to 11 wk, while duration of the planktonic stage can range from 3 wk to half a year, depending on the species and temperature. Thus these paralarvae possess considerable potential for dispersal.

In some species, individuals reach relatively large sizes while living as part of the micronekton of oceanic, epipelagic waters. Such forms appear to delay settlement for an unknown period that is suspected to be longer than for paralarvae in more coastal, neritic waters. During the planktonic period, paralarval octopuses feed on crustaceans as their primary prey. In addition to the protein, critical to the protein-based metabolism of octopuses (and all cephalopods), the lipid and copper contents of the prey also appear important in maintaining normal growth. Littoral and oceanic fishes are their main predators and defence behaviours may involve fast swimming speeds, use of ink decoys, dive responses and camouflage. Sensory systems of planktonic stages include photo-, mechano- and chemoreceptors controlled by a highly evolved nervous system that follows the general pattern described for adult cephalopods. On settlement, a major metamorphosis occurs in morphology, physiology and behaviour. Morphological changes associated with the settlement process include positive allometric arm growth; chromatophore, iridophore and leucophore genesis; development of skin sculptural components and a horizontal pupillary response.

THE HARDEST WORKING MOM ON THE PLANET:  AN NPR BLOG BY RICHARD KRULWICH

This is egg laying season, if you’re a bird.

An Illustration of a giant Pacific Octopus.

Antar Dayal/Getty Images

If you’re an octopus, particularly a giant Pacific octopus, you’ve been there, done that. In fact, you died doing it, in what is the saddest mommy story I’ve heard in a long while. It comes from biologist Jim Cosgrove who describes it all in a lecture he calls, “No Mother Could Give More.”

We begin with a pregnant octopus. She’s been that way for four or five months, carrying the eggs inside her body until one day, in mid winter, when the water temperature is right, she starts expelling her eggs, one by one, into the water. She will produce (and this will take her a month or so) about 56,000 individuals, who float free until she gathers them into groups, then stitches them into hanging braids, like a bead curtain in a Chinese restaurant.

Eggs and newborn giant Pacific octopus (Octopus dofleini), Victoria, British Columbia,  Canada.

Fred Bavendam/Minden Pictures/Getty Images</div

This is her octopus “den.” It’s usually an underwater cave, protected by rocks that she’s put at the entrance to keep hungry crabs, sea stars and fish from getting too close. She’s glued about 170 braids to the roof and there she sits, often right under the babies. “Each egg,” says Cosgrove, “is a gleaming white tear-drop about the size of a grain of rice.” Months pass. All this time, the mother is constantly on guard.

A female giant Pacific octopus broods thousands of eggs, and will die after the eggs are hatched.
Stuart Westmorland/Corbis 

As described by Wendy Williams in her new book Kraken, the mother spends five, six months protecting her 56,000 children:

She constantly waves her arms gently over the plaits of eggs, making sure that nothing harmful settles on them. With her siphon, she blows water gently over them to keep them aerated…she uses her arms to keep potential predators away from the eggs, and as far away from the den as possible…she normally does not leave the den at any time.

Throughout this whole period of more than half a year, she never eats…All of the energy in her body is slowly consumed by her work until, by the time the offspring emerge, she has nearly starved to death.

Then one night, though she is weaker, smaller, and says Cosgrove, “her once brick-red color is now a deathly gray and her skin shows signs of decay,” her breath now coming in “sporadic gasps,” she repositions herself and blows all of her babies out of the den into the open water. It’s essential that she use her siphon to blow them free, and once they detach, the babies know exactly what do to, says Cosgrove:

The babies are spectacular. Measuring 6 mm and weighing just 0.029 grams, they are perfect miniatures of their parents. They have 8 tiny arms adorned with suckers. They can change colors instantly and can even produce a miniature puff of ink when they are disturbed.

A scuba diver views a baby giant Pacific octopus near Powell River, British Columbia.

Stuart Westmorland/Corbis

But the mom is near exhaustion. She hasn’t eaten for so long (probably because food could attract predators, or because debris from eating could bring parasites near the eggs), she keeps gently blowing water over the babies, pushing them from the den for as long as she can until she herself floats free and sometimes, only two or three meters from the den opening, she stops breathing…and dies.

Her babies? They go straight to the ocean surface, feed there, grow; some will descend deeper into the ocean where they will dodge jelly fish, sharks, blue whales and hope to survive. How many of 56,000 babies make it to adulthood, where they become the largest octopuses in the world?

It took two octopuses, a male and a female, to make the 56,000 eggs. On average, says Cosgrove, the yield is “stable,” meaning that the two parents will be replaced by two children. Out of 56,000, after so many months, so much sacrifice, so much care, after all that, mom’s “yield” is…just two.

Jim Cosgrove has written a book about octopuses, Super Suckers: The Giant Pacific Octopus and Other Cephalopods of the Pacific Coast (Harbour Publishing); you can read more about his work at the Royal BC Museum here. Wendy Williams’ book is called Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid, (Abrams, 2010).

 

A FUTURE NOT OUR OWN

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom [of God] is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No programme accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

Oscar Romero

This is the day which the Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it.
O praise the Lord of heav’n: praise him in the height.

Praise him, all ye angels of his: praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars and light.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
The Lord himself is thy keeper: the Lord is thy defence upon thy right hand;
so that the sun shall not burn thee by day: neither the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in: from this time forth for evermore.
He shall defend thee under his wings.

Be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart, and put thou thy trust in the Lord.

Psalms 118: 24; 148: 1–3, 5a;
91: 4a, 11; 121: 5–8; 27: 16b

Carl Jung’s near-death experience

 

In a hospital in Switzerland in 1944, the world-renowned psychiatrist Carl G. Jung, had a heart attack and then a near-death experience. His vivid encounter with the light, plus the intensely meaningful insights led Jung to conclude that his experience came from something real and eternal. Jung’s experience is unique in that he saw the Earth from a vantage point of about a thousand miles above it. His incredibly accurate view of the Earth from outer space was described about two decades before astronauts in space first described it. Subsequently, as he reflected on life after death, Jung recalled the meditating Hindu from his near-death experience and read it as a parable of the archetypal Higher Self, the God-image within. Carl Jung, who founded analytical psychology, centered on the archetypes of the collective unconscious. The following is an excerpt from his autobiography entitled Memories, Dreams, Reflections describing his near-death experience.


It seemed to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the Earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light. I saw the deep blue sea and the continents.  Far below my feet lay Ceylon, and in the distance ahead of me the subcontinent of India. My field of vision did not include the whole Earth, but its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light. In many places the globe seemed colored, or spotted dark green like oxidized silver. Far away to the left lay a broad expanse – the reddish-yellow desert of Arabia; it was as though the silver of the Earth had there assumed a reddish-gold hue. Then came the Red Sea, and far, far back – as if in the upper left of a map – I could just make out a bit of the Mediterranean. My gaze was directed chiefly toward that. Everything else appeared indistinct. I could also see the snow-covered Himalayas, but in that direction it was foggy or cloudy. I did not look to the right at all. I knew that I was on the point of departing from the Earth.

Later I discovered how high in space one would have to be to have so extensive a view – approximately a thousand miles!  The sight of the Earth from this height was the most glorious thing I had ever seen.

After contemplating it for a while, I turned around. I had been standing with my back to the Indian Ocean, as it were, and my face to the north. Then it seemed to me that I made a turn to the south. Something new entered my field of vision. A short distance away I saw in space a tremendous dark block of stone, like a meteorite. It was about the size of my house, or even bigger. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space.

I had seen similar stones on the coast of the Gulf of Bengal. They were blocks of tawny granite, and some of them had been hollowed out into temples. My stone was one such gigantic dark block. An entrance led into a small antechamber. To the right of the entrance, a black Hindu sat silently in lotus posture upon a stone bench. He wore a white gown, and I knew that he expected me. Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside, on the left, was the gate to the temple. Innumerable tiny niches, each with a saucer-like concavity filled with coconut oil and small burning wicks, surrounded the door with a wreath of bright flames. I had once actually seen this when I visited the Temple of the Holy Tooth at Kandy in Ceylon; the gate had been framed by several rows of burning oil lamps of this sort.

As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me – an extremely painful process. Nevertheless something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me. I might also say: it was with me, and I was it. I consisted of all that, so to speak. I consisted of my own history and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am. I am this bundle of what has been and what has been accomplished.

This experience gave me a feeling of extreme poverty, but at the same time of great fullness. There was no longer anything I wanted or desired. I existed in an objective form; I was what I had been and lived. At first the sense of annihilation predominated, of having been stripped or pillaged; but suddenly that became of no consequence.

Everything seemed to be past; what remained was a “fait accompli”, without any reference back to what had been. There was no longer any regret that something had dropped away or been taken away. On the contrary: I had everything that I was, and that was everything.

Something else engaged my attention: as I approached the temple I had the certainty that I was about to enter an illuminated room and would meet there all those people to whom I belong in reality. There I would at last understand – this too was a certainty – what historical nexus I or my life fitted into. I would know what had been before me, why I had come into being, and where my life was flowing. My life as I lived it had often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing. My life seemed to have been snipped out of a long chain of events, and many questions had remained unanswered. Why had it taken this course? Why had I brought these particular assumptions with me? What had I made of them? What will follow? I felt sure that I would receive an answer to all the questions as soon as I entered the rock temple. There I would meet the people who knew the answer to my question about what had been before and what would come after.

While I was thinking over these matters, something happened that caught my attention. From below, from the direction of Europe, an image floated up. It was my doctor, or rather, his likeness – framed by a golden chain or a golden laurel wreath. I knew at once: ‘Aha, this is my doctor, of course, the one who has been treating me. But now he is coming in his primal form. In life he was an avatar of the temporal embodiment of the primal form, which has existed from the beginning. Now he is appearing in that primal form.’

Presumably I too was in my primal form, though this was something I did not observe but simply took for granted. As he stood before me, a mute exchange of thought took place between us. The doctor had been delegated by the Earth to deliver a message to me, to tell me that there was a protest against my going away. I had no right to leave the Earth and must return. The moment I heard that, the vision ceased.

I was profoundly disappointed, for now it all seemed to have been for nothing. The painful process of defoliation had been in vain, and I was not to be allowed to enter the temple, to join the people in whose company I belonged.

In reality, a good three weeks were still to pass before I could truly make up my mind to live again. I could not eat because all food repelled me. The view of city and mountains from my sickbed seemed to me like a painted curtain with black holes in it, or a tattered sheet of newspaper full of photographs that meant nothing. Disappointed, I thought, “Now I must return to the “box system” again.” For it seemed to me as if behind the horizon of the cosmos a three-dimensional world had been artificially built up, in which each person sat by himself in a little box. And now I should have to convince myself all over again that this was important! Life and the whole world struck me as a prison, and it bothered me beyond measure that I should again be finding all that quite in order. I had been so glad to shed it all, and now it had come about that I –  along with everyone else – would again be hung up in a box by a thread.

I felt violent resistance to my doctor because he had brought me back to life. At the same time, I was worried about him. “His life is in danger, for heaven’s sake! He has appeared to me in his primal form! When anybody attains this form it means he is going to die, for already he belongs to the “greater company.” Suddenly the terrifying thought came to me that the doctor would have to die in my stead. I tried my best to talk to him about it, but he did not understand me. Then I became angry with him.

In actual fact I was his last patient. On April 4, 1944 – I still remember the exact date I was allowed to sit up on the edge of my bed for the first time since the beginning of my illness, and on this same day the doctor took to his bed and did not leave it again. I heard that he was having intermittent attacks of fever. Soon afterward he died of septicernia. He was a good doctor; there was something of the genius about him. Otherwise he would not have appeared to me as an avatar of the temporal embodiment of the primal form.

The dreams of those who are dying can be interpreted as preparation of the consciousness for the transformation of the psyche and its entry into the afterlife. “All of the dreams of people who are facing death indicate that the unconscious, that is, our instinct world, prepares consciousness not for a definite end but for a profound transformation and for a kind of continuation of the life process which, however, is unimaginable to everyday consciousness.”

Marie Louise Von Franz

What would Carl Jung make of 2011?  (a birthday remembrance)

Carl Gustav Jung died 50 years ago today. Alongside Sigmund Freud, he is arguably one of the two people of the 20th century who most shaped the way we think about who we are. But what would he make of the 21st century so far, asks Mark Vernon.

Have you ever discussed whether you were introverted or extroverted? Undergone a personality test on a training course? Wondered what lurks in the shadow side of your character? Carl Jung is the person to thank.

The Swiss psychologist devised a series of personality types. He coined introvert for someone who needs quality time on their own and extrovert (although Jung spelled it “extravert”) for the person who never feels better than when in a crowd. Personality tests, such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, draw directly from them.

The shadow side of your character is that part of you which is normally hidden, but sometimes leaps out, catching you unawares. Why is it that the calmest people curse and swear when driving in traffic? Why is it that upright citizens sometimes commit crimes of passion? Jung had an answer – we all carry a shadow.

He also put his culture and times “on the couch” – or rather, in a chair, as he was the first psychotherapist to sit opposite his patients, like a counsellor. He tried to understand the terrible collective energies that drove the two great events of his life, World War I and II.

So what might Jung make of our psychological well-being today?

He would see signs of progress. Take the way we worry about the care of children. In the last 50 years, attitudes towards parenting have shifted markedly. Psychologists now widely recognise that children do best when they receive the dedicated attention of their mother or other primary carer from an early age.

This has much to do with the work of British psychotherapists like John Bowlby. But Bowlby’s “attachment theory”, as it is called, was anticipated by Jung. While Freud spoke of incestuous passions in his infamous Oedipus complex, Jung had a very different point of view.

As Anthony Stevens points out in Jung: A Very Short Introduction, it was Jung who first theorised that a child becomes attached to its mother because she is the provider of love and care.

Alternatively, consider the way that our culture tries to tackle ageism and cares about older employees. That again is absolutely right, Jung would say.

“The afternoon of life must have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage of life’s morning,” he wrote. For a culture with an ageing population like ours, Jung offers a vision of the glories of growing old, seeing it as a path to wisdom rather than a decline into senility.

We shouldn’t despair over our mid-life crises, he thought, but seize them as the chance to find new vision and purpose.

The last 50 years have seen changes in the way mental health is viewed
Modern neuroscience has done much to back up Jung’s understanding of the unconscious too. It confirms that emotional intelligence as well as reason is vital when making decisions.

Further, in much the same way that you mostly aren’t conscious of your heart pumping or your lungs breathing, Jung argued that the unconscious mind is continually working for us. Personality development, he thought, has a lot to do with becoming more attentive to how you are affected by the whole of your inner life, in a process he called individuation.

An integrated personality is what we should seek. It’s the rounded character we love in our wise grandmother or someone famous who has become a reflective national treasure.

But Jung would also be troubled by the way life is unfolding now. For example, he lived in a period “filled with apocalyptic images of universal destruction”, as he observed – thinking of the Cold War and nuclear bomb.

These particular horrors have receded. But it is striking how quickly they have been replaced by new threats. The most obvious is the devastation that is anticipated as a result of climate change. Or you could point to terrorism. And it does not stop there.

We seem to have a fascination with ruination that extends beyond the possible or probable to the purely imagined. Look at how the end of the world provides an irresistible storyline in movies. Or recall how the Rapture predictions of Harold Camping spread like wildfire across the internet last month.

Jung would spot the high levels of mental illness in modern society as well, marked by the boom in prescribed anti-depressants and other drugs in the years after his death. He would see that even politicians and economists are becoming concerned that while a nation’s material wealth can grow inexorably, it does not appear to deliver true happiness or fulfilment.

There are many factors that contribute to these trends. Jung was gripped by those that are psychological and reasoned that such concerns – real or imagined – arise in large part when we become disconnected from our spiritual side.

He argued that while modern science has yielded unsurpassed knowledge about the human species, it has led, paradoxically, to a narrower, machine-like conception of what it means to be a human individual.

This presumably explains why complementary therapies are flourishing in the 21st Century. They try to address the whole person, not just the illness or disease. Or it suggests why ecological lifestyles are appealing, because they try to reconnect us with the intrinsic value of the natural world.

In short, the life of the psyche is crucial. Jung believed it is fed not just by psychology, but better by the great spiritual traditions of our culture, with their subtle stories, sustaining rituals and inspiring dreams. The agnostic West has become detached from these resources.

It is as if people are suffering from “a loss of soul”. Too often, the world does not seem to be for us, but against us.

Towards the end of his life, Jung reflected that many – perhaps most – of the people who came to see him were not, fundamentally, mentally ill. They were, rather, searching for meaning.

It is a hard task. “There is no birth of consciousness without pain,” he wrote. But it is vital. Without it, human beings lose their way.

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory