The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Three Harmful Metaphors the Scientific Revolution Bequeathed Us

Religious and philosophical conceptions of how humanity interacted with nature very likely influenced the perceptions of most European people for almost 2,000 years from the 5th century BCE onward. Then, in the 16th and 17th centuries CE powerful and compelling new discoveries and insights loosened humanity’s connection with nature irredeemably. The Scientific Revolution served to firmly infuse three long-lasting metaphors within human consciousness:

  1. Nature as a machine,
  2. Nature to be tamed and conquered,
  3. Homo sapiens exceptionalism.

In 1605 the German astronomer and mathematician, Johannes Kepler, wrote to a friend stating that his aim was to show that the ‘celestial machine (can be) likened to clockwork.’ The implication is obvious. There is no life, no animation, no essence, in a machine that runs like clockwork. Robert Boyle, the Irish chemist and physicist, took up this refrain later that century stating that, ‘The world is like a rare clock.’1

By characterising nature as a machine, the early pioneers of the Scientific Revolution stripped away any mystery, wonder and vitality from nature. The door was opened to enable people to tinker (as might a clockmaker) with nature.

Moreso, the machine characterisation led inevitably to the second metaphor – that nature was to be tamed and conquered. For, if nature was nothing but a machine, then any relic of a wildness trait had to be purged.

For at least one of the major scientists of the time – Francis Bacon – his imagery was violent and contained disturbing sexual innuendo. Bacon genderised nature as female, but not in the wholesome manner of earlier personifications. The scientific method for him was to discover ‘the secrets still locked in (her) bosom… (so that) she can be forced out of her natural state and squeezed and molded.’

Bacon was vehement in his desire to conquer nature. He exhorted his fellow scientists, and indeed humanity generally, to ‘storm and occupy her castles and strongholds and extend the bounds of the human empire.’

Descartes was enamoured by Bacon’s crusade and asserted that science could ‘render ourselves the masters and possessors of nature.’ Bacon and Descartes were not the only ones to promote the metaphor of conquest and domination; others wrote of ‘commanding her’ and putting it (nature) on the rack.’

It is little wonder then, with our westernised exaltation of the Scientific Revolution, that nature today continues to be exploited, dominated, and treated with disdain.

The third metaphor – human exceptionalism – is not a metaphor that has its origins in the Scientific Revolution; however, it does find a novel expression in the scientific method.

Human exceptionalism – the notion that humans are different from, and superior to, all other life forms – can be found in early scriptural writings and monotheism. The human right to dominion over all other beings goes back to the Biblical story of creation. What science offered the notion of human exceptionalism came as a result of discoveries in evolution. The Theory of Evolution arose not during the classic period of the Scientific Revolution (the 16th and 17th centuries CE) but during the 19th century CE. It did however, owe its instigation to the scientific method developed during the Scientific Revolution. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (published in 1859) was promoted by the German naturalist Ernst Haeckel as the tree of life in his 1879 publication The Evolution of Man. Haeckel’s depiction of evolution as a tree placed humankind at the apex of the tree, suggesting that humanity was the inevitable and only possible outcome for evolution. This depiction still has favour today, with humanity’s superiority being at least tacitly assumed.

Thus, although the Theory of Evolution dislodged creationism as the process by which life on Earth has been formed, it did not (until very recently) dislocate humanity from our place of primacy in the scheme of things.

Human exceptionalism has come to be described today as anthropocentrism and is viewed by many as the major obstacle to a more environmentally friendly attitude towards the Earth. Indeed, many environmental thinkers and activists have suggested that we are in a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene.2 The Anthropocene describes the epoch in which human activity significantly impacts the geology and ecosystems of the planet.

Although we do not go about our daily lives thinking of the world as a machine, or that we must conquer nature, and assert our place of superiority, these three metaphors continue to influence our behaviour and beliefs at a subconscious level, both individually and collectively.

To that end, they are threatening and harmful.


1. All citations in this section from Jeremy Lent, The Patterning Instinct, Prometheus Books, Lanham, Maryland, 2017.

2. In July 2022 the International Union of Geological Sciences officially approved the term.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Cultural Narcosis

The great 20th century Indian philosopher, writer, and speaker, Jiddu Krishnamurti, is alleged to have said, ‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.’1 (some references to this quote substitute insane society for sick society.)

The founder of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Marshall Rosenberg, was even more forthright. Quoted in the book Say What You Mean by Oren Jay Sofer, he states,

“If we use Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to liberate people to be less depressed, to get along better with their family, but do not teach at the same time to use their energy to rapidly transform systems in the world, then I am part of the problem. I am essentially calming people down, making them happier to live in the systems as they are, so I am using NVC as a narcotic.”

Instead of referring only to NVC, Rosenberg could have mentioned techniques and practices such as; counselling, mentorship, mindfulness, various religious practices, psychology, psychotherapy, and many other forms of the helping professions.

As our world tumbles into a mess of inter-enhancing and mutually reinforcing environmental, social, cultural, and personal harms and troubles, the need to steer clear of providing narcotics becomes of ever greater significance.

For in attempting to help someone or heal them, without acknowledging and concurrently addressing these issues and troubles, all we do is help prop up the very roots of how people come to be seeking help and healing in the first place.

By helping, assisting, or guiding someone to adjust to social norms we, unwittingly sometimes, help to return them to a social expectation of what is normal, or usual. And that, in turn, serves to maintain the sick (or insane) society spoken of by Krishnamurti.

There are some within the helping professions who understand the magnitude of Krishnamurti’s counsel. The Canadian physician Gabor Maté is one of these. He has posited four healing principles (based on the letter A) for individuals – Authenticity, Agency, Anger, and Acceptance. These, he notes, are healthy qualities corresponding to human needs.2

However, Gabor Maté recognises Krishnamurti’s counsel and adds two further As that help in the pursuit of social and cultural transformation – Activism and Advocacy. Advocacy, he declares, includes using ‘whatever privilege we may have to amplify the voices to whom society denies a voice.’

With activism and advocacy, we have the means to escape the narcosis of modern society. We must use them to escape the snare we find ourselves in.3


1. Although attributed to Krishnamurti, I have been unable to locate the source, except in a reference in a book by Mark Vonnegut (son of the author Kurt Vonnegut) – The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity, 1975.

2. Gabor Maté with Daniel Maté, The Myth of Normal, Vermillion, London, 2022

3. It is revealing that the word narcosis (a state of numbness, insensibility, or unconsciousness) is related etymologically to the word snare (a trap, net, or noose.)

Wednesday 15 November 2023

The Dreaming Path - Book Review

Another self-development, personal growth book? Well – yes… but wait! This one is different.

The authors of The Dreaming Path1 – Paul Callaghan and Uncle Paul Gordon – offer life changing insights and practices that ‘have been passed on for over 1800 generations.’ Paul Callaghan and Uncle Paul Gordon are First Nations men from the country now known as Australia.

The two of them braid together three strands of knowledge and wisdom that, combined, form a coherent and pragmatic whole.

Paul Callaghan draws on his experience of living through a mental breakdown, which he now acknowledges as a breakthrough. As you read his thoughts and the many exercises he offers, breakthrough is an highly apt description.

Paul also draws on his experience with the mental health system of modern-day Australia. He notes the helpful and healthy aspects of that system that enabled him to breakthrough.

Third, and most significantly (certainly the point of difference from other similar books,) Uncle Paul Gordon shares stories and myths that have been passed down over 60,000+ years of continuous cultural expression and development. Each story he writes has gems of wisdom and practical advice; all told with an intimate connection with land, sky, animals, fish, and birds of this world. We read, for example, of how Crow and Magpie got their black feathers. This story teaches us the need for respect and for listening to ancient wisdom of what the land has to teach.

The concept of Lore (not to be confused with Law) is well known within most indigenous cultures, and Uncle Paul refers to it when he writes,

‘If we don’t look and listen to the land, we create imbalance… we create disharmony. If we don’t look and listen to each other, we create imbalance… we create disharmony. If we don’t look and listen to ourselves, we create imbalance… we create disharmony.’

This happens, he writes, when Lore is forgotten. He finishes by announcing that, ‘There is no time like the present to restore it.’

This book offers simple, no-nonsense, practical wisdom. It is highly readable. The many exercises offered within it are easily undertaken. The combined wisdom of Paul Callaghan, Uncle Paul Gordon, and 1800 generations is offered graciously and honestly.

If you want to change your life for the better, read this book.

If you want to create harmony in your life and those around you, read this book.

If you want to understand 60,000 years of Aboriginal culture, read this book.

Towards the end of the book Paul Callaghan declares that the journey is more important than the destination. Then, anticipating that some may mock this as New Age gobbledegook, he succinctly states, ‘Wisdom is wisdom, regardless of how cheesy it may sound.’

This is a book of wisdom and practical advice. It is a simple book; therein is its appeal and its great achievement.

Wisdom is wisdom, regardless of how simply it may be written.


1. Paul Callaghan with Uncle Paul Gordon, The Dreaming Path: Indigenous Thinking to Change Your Life, Pantera Press, Neutral Bay, NSW, Australia, 2022.

Thursday 9 November 2023

Eleven, Eleven, Eleven, Eleven

Part of painting by John Thiering
(used with permission)
In two days time some nations of the world will celebrate the 105th anniversary of Armistice being the ending of World War 1 in 1918. The nation of my birth (New Zealand) and the country I now live in (Australia) will be two of those.

Dubbed the war to end all wars WW1 was a war that should never have happened – if indeed, any war should ever happen. The phrase came from a series of articles by H G Wells published in London newspapers soon after the war began. The articles were later compiled into a book with the title The War That Will End War.

But, as we sadly know, it didn’t end war. Nor did it end the arrogance and stubbornness of those directing that (and any) war.

When we consider Armistice Day one number comes to mind – the number Eleven. The ceasefire in WW1 took place at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

There is a further little known eleven that can be added to those elevens. On the last day of the war (11th November 2018) there were around eleven thousand casualties; dead, missing, or injured on all sides.

11,000!! On the last day!

Surely, that is the height of lunacy. Knowing that the war was ending, 11,000 soldiers still suffered, with a couple of them within just one or two minutes of the ceasefire.

How many lives could have been saved (on all sides) had the commanders not been so bullish and arrogant?

By October 1918 German commanders had realised that continuing the war was futile and that they had all but lost the war. Consequently, on 5 October the German government sent a message to President Woodrow Wilson seeking to negotiate terms based on Wilson’s Fourteen Points.1

However, the British, French, and Italian governments declined to accept this offer of truce, nor did they accept all of Wilson’s Fourteen Points.

The war continued on.

With these offers not being sufficient for the Allied Forces, Wilson then demanded that negotiations would not take place unless the Kaiser abdicated. This demand was deemed unacceptable by Erich Ludendorff (chief policy maker for the German military and government.)

The war continued on.

Finally, it was not to be the Allies or Ludendorff who opened the way towards Armistice. It was the German people themselves, and principally the sailors in the German navy.

The German command issued an order on 24 October 1918 designed to engage the British navy in an all-out climactic battle.

German sailors responded with an emphatic No! Revolts took place first in Wilhelmshaven on 29 October and spread to Kiel (opening to the Baltic Sea) on 3 November. The sailors’ example quickly extended all along the coast and to large cities such as Hanover, Frankfurt, and Munich.

The German people had had enough of the war and their Kaiser. The German Revolution had begun. Kaiser Wilhem III abdicated on 9 November.

An Armistice could now be negotiated.

At 5am on the 11th November, a time for a ceasefire was set for 11am.

But still, the war continued on.

The belligerent and obdurate minds of military commanders meant that 11,000 were killed, went missing, or were wounded in the final hours before 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month. The Americans in particular were commanded to press on right up until the 11th hour, resulting in almost one-third of those 11,000 being American personnel.2

Lest We Forget; Best We Learn

Armistice Day is sometimes referred to as Remembrance Day. We often hear the refrain Lest we forget on this day. We read it too on WW1 memorials in many parts of the world.

Knowing what happened in WW1, and in all other wars, the refrain Lest we Forget and simply remembering is insufficient. We need to supplement it with a further three-word refrain.

Best We Learn.


1. President Wilson’s Fourteen Points were 14 statements of principle to underpin peace negotiations. They included German evacuation of Russia, Belgium, France, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro, the establishment of the nation of Poland, freedom for the Austro-Hungarian people, sovereignty for Turkey, a re-adjustment of the border with Italy, a reduction of armaments, and freedom of navigation on seas outside of territorial waters.

2. The commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during WW1, General John Pershing, later had to face a Congressional hearing to explain why there were so many casualties when the hour of the Armistice was known in advance.

Wednesday 1 November 2023

We Are All One, Except When We're Not

I hear the phrase ‘We are all one” often. And, it is true – on one level. We are all Homo sapiens, we are all human beings. We are all of the genus Homo, albeit we are the only species of that genus still existing.1

Our DNA attests to our oneness – any two human beings have at least 99.6% of their DNA in common. However, that other 0.4% difference represents around 12 million molecular base pairs.

Our culture can play a big part in shaping our genetic variation. Even something as apparently simple as dialectical difference can shape our genetic differences. A recent (published June 2023) study out of Vanderbilt University explored these differences. The researchers examined high-density linguistic and genetic data from England, and found that the subtle linguistic markers affected the movement and mating preferences of individuals, ultimately leading to genetic differentiation.2

Yes, we are all one.

Except when we are not.

This is one of the paradoxes of life. We are the same and we are different, at the same time. The paper referred to above suggests that there are cultural differences, and that we are not all (culturally) the same or one.

We are rather like the paradox of light – it is both a wave, and a particle.

With light it is possible to measure its wave-like structure or its particle-like structure, but not both at the same time. So, it is with us humans. We can measure, describe, notice, and acknowledge our similarities. And, we can measure, describe, notice, and acknowledge our differences. Most of us though, have difficulty doing both at the same time.

Sadly, there are many who steadfastly hold to just one of these views.

Holding to the ‘we are all one’ view can lead to a dismissal, even to a condemnation of difference. Usually, such extreme views are held by those who, even if subconsciously, think that oneness is congruent with a same-as-me ideology. When a person, consciously or unconsciously, believes that oneness (read sameness) means that everyone is like them and is subject to the same cultural, historical, political, and judicial imperatives this can lead to racism, misogyny, homophobic and other judgemental formulations.3

On the other hand, too much emphasis on difference can lead to similar unhealthy beliefs. Such an emphasis can get displayed as ethnocentrism, cultural superiority, and ultimately a harmful display of toxic individuality.

Both conceptions need to be held; furthermore, both need to be held lightly.

Comparing Apples with Apples

An analogy may be helpful when trying to understand the sameness and difference paradox.

Consider the apple. Apples are the fruit of the genus Malus, and are the most widely distributed tree fruit in the world. Apples are one genus. We could say, Apples are all one.

But we wouldn’t want to apply that notion to the way in which we eat or bake with apples.

Apples vary widely. There is the Cox’s Orange variety, with its golden-yellow skin and semi-tart taste. The Ambrosia variety is mostly red, sweet and crisp. Gala apples have a distinctive red/yellow striped look to them and are sweet and aromatic. For a very tart variety then Granny Smith suits the bill, and has a bright green skin. A favourite amongst many for eating is the Pink Lady variety with its red/pinkish skin and a sweet, crisp taste.

Apples vary in taste, skin colour, and crispness of flesh. Apples come into season at different times of the year. Expert chefs amongst us know which varieties are best for different dishes – apple pie, apple crumble, stewed apple, or apple sauce.

Yet, apples are apples. Apples are one, except when they are not.

Another Analogy

Think of a forest. It is one forest. Yet, the variety within that forest is almost limitless. What makes up that one forest? Trees, ferns, mushrooms, lichen, insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, ground-dwelling animals, tree-hugging animals, butterflies. That is just the species we think of as alive. Within the forest, and making up what is called forest, there are streams, rocks, sticks, stones, dead leaves, waterfalls, knolls, dales, mountains. Well, you get the picture.

A forest can only be a forest because of the variety of life forms and other forms that make it up. It is one, only because it is many.

So, beware the phrase ‘we are all one.’ It may hide an ideological belief of cultural superiority, or at least, a belief that my way of thinking and behaving is the norm.

As the old saying goes: No one size fits all.

We are all one, and we are not. We must acknowledge the former and respect the latter.


1. Other species of the genus Homo include: H. erectus, H. habilis, H. neanderthalensis, H. ergaster, H. naledi, H. denisova and up to perhaps 7 or 8 others.

2. Evolutionary biologists determine that culture shapes genetics within, not just between populations, Vanderbilt University Research News, 29 June 2023, accessed 31 October 2023.

3. Some politicians and political parties use such claims of ‘we are all one’ to spread ideologies of xenophobia and racism.