Amma: The Chronicles of the hugging Saint

26-AMMA-slide-57Q6-articleLargeGurus emerged thousands of years ago in India as learned explainers of the Upanishads, philosophical teachings underpinning the Hindu religion.

Amritanandamayi is an Indian Guru from Parayakadavu (now partially known as Amma), was born to a family of fishermen, she was the third child of Sugunanandan and Damayanti. LikeRamakrishna Paramahamsa, Sudhamani displayed an intense love for God right from very tender age. Her favourite god was Krishna. She started praying, crying and shedding tears seeking the darshan (meeting) of Krishna and she composed and sang impromptu several devotional songs on Lord Krishna right from childhood

This amazing woman is changing the world through kindness with the help of magic hugs (seriously) Amma is best known for literally embracing the masses; she has hugged millions of people around the world, a feat that has earned her the nickname “the hugging saint.” Her status as a spiritual therapist has attracted a large following in the globally.

Amma Begins.


Amma’s education ended at the age of nine, when she began to take care of her younger siblings and the family domestic work full-time.

As part of her chores, Amritanandamayi gathered food scraps from neighbours for her family’s cows and goats, through which she was confronted with the intense poverty and suffering of others. She would bring these people food and clothing from her own home. Her family, which was not wealthy, scolded and punished her. Amritanandamayi also began to spontaneously embrace people to comfort them in their sorrow. It was not permissible for a 14-year-old girl to touch others, especially men. But despite the reaction of her parents, Amritanandamayi continued. Regarding her embracing of others, Amritanandamayi commented, “I don’t see if it is a man or a woman. I don’t see anyone different from my own self. A continuous stream of love flows from me to all of creation. This is my inborn nature. The duty of a doctor is to treat patients. In the same way, my duty is to console those who are suffering

In a New York Times article “Amma’s multifaceted Empire, built on hugs‘ by JAKE HALPERN, he goes on to speak of his meeting with Amma and the profound and impressive work that she does;

Amma has energized an entire organization that often fills the vacuum left by government. When a tsunami devastated parts of southern India in 2004, it took the state government of Kerala five days merely to announce what it would do by way of aid and relief. Amma, however, began a response within hours, providing food and shelter to thousands of people; in the following years, her organization says, it has built more than 6,000 houses.



How Amma’s efforts are paid for remains something of a mystery. Her organization raises about $20 million a year from sources worldwide, according to a spokesman, but in India, the finances are not public. And the M.A. Center, her United States organization, is registered as a church and thus doesn’t have to disclose its finances the way secular tax-exempt groups do. However no evidence of illicit funding or financial malpractice has been found.

There have been attempts on her life; In August 2005, Amma was attacked by a man named Pavithran. He was sitting with other followers praying and singing in front of Amma. He then rushed to Amma with a knife, but was overpowered by a group of disciples.

The Embrace


Amma’s transformation from an eccentric girl into the mother guru started in the late 1970s. Word of her hugging spread, and she received a steady stream of visitors, many of them Americans like Neal Rosner, a Chicago native, who would take up residence. Mr. Rosner, who moved to India after graduating from high school and still lives at Amritapuri.

She has travelled the world promoting her Hindu philosophy, ‘which espouses love, introspection and selflessness, as well as her many charities, which now include hunger and disaster relief, free health care for the poor, orphanages and recycling efforts’. Amma’s hugging phenomenon is known world over even inspiring a film-Documentary- “Darshan-The Embrace’

Though there is a malaise of politics that goes along with a person of Amma’s fame, if there is one salient lesson that can be taken from her, it is that a hug can be the purest expression of Love for all people.

*Free hugs for everyone*

Our next evolution (part 3) : Brave New World.


“As long as man has roamed this world, we’ve sought and invented new means to augment our minds and bodies. Evolution is painstakingly slow, but in our DNA is writ of imagination and the will to be smarter, better, faster, stronger. Man has learned to define its own evolution by building. And the most elemental of the things we build are our tools.” from the article ‘We Are What We Use’ – Ryan Block

Man’s long standing relationship with technology has been an attempt to transform not only our lives but ourselves, our very being. We  envied the birds so we built machines to help us fly to break the speed barrier and to enter the void of space,

The human body is a remarkable work of natural engineering. But for all its grace and sophistication like all things, it decays with time and through the trials and tribulations of life, it can be broken. With a mix of medical and technological advancements, a great change is coming.


Human enhancement refers to any attempt to temporarily or permanently overcome the current limitations of the human body through natural or artificial means. The term is sometimes applied to the use of technological means to select or alter human characteristics and capacities, whether or not the alteration results in characteristics and capacities that lie beyond the existing human range.



Human Augmentation is already here, and the future of what is possible with human body is almost limitless.

As it happens, most of us have been alive to witness the single greatest revolution and expansion of individual capabilities man has ever known. Not even twenty years ago it was still unclear the role technology would play in our personal lives — or if it would play one at all. After all, the “personal” in your personal computer was in reference to the fact that it didn’t need to be housed in a university’s mainframe complex. Otherwise there was simply nothing personal or individual about it. Everything has changed, and is continue to change in the most subtle of ways.


We are becoming something more..

At some point within our life time it is theorized that we will cause our next evolutionary leap.

dean kamen

the current reality

future potential

Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

On the other hand, what Transhumanism heralds is the point at which the current model of humanity becomes obsolete.

This Brave new world poses problems.

However, with this leap will come problems and that is of those we leave behind. Unfortunately access to technology is always been a case of wealth disparity. For those who are in the working class section of society, these technologies will be a barrier to entry into our new society. These technological augmentations will make those on the upper strata of society physically faster, stronger, smarter and more mentally agile. This would lead to an ever greater stratification of wealth as these advantages will make it so those who can not afford these augmentations can not compete with those who do.

Even in today’s world, technology is already creating a gap and that gap is growing. Those who have access to computers at a young age surrounded by the wares and devices are granted an edge in today’s tech and I.T focused world.

Into the great unknown.

Humans are physiologically well-adapted to life on Earth. Consequently, space-flight has many negative effects on the body. The most significant adverse effects of long-term weightlessness are muscle atrophy and deterioration of the skeleton (space-flight osteopenia). Other significant effects include a slowing of cardiovascular system functions, decreased production of red blood cells, balance disorders, and a weakening of the immune system. Lesser symptoms include fluid redistribution (causing the “moon-face” appearance typical in pictures of astronauts experiencing weightlessness), loss of body mass, nasal congestion, sleep disturbance, and excess flatulence. Most of these effects begin to reverse quickly upon return to Earth.

The engineering problems associated with leaving Earth and developing space propulsion systems have been examined for over a century, and millions of man-hours of research have been spent on them.


one can only hope…

What Transhumanism does give us a species is the ability to venture deeper into the deepest recesses of space. The vast distances of our cosmos have not only limited our aspirations in terms of speed, but its effects on our current fragile bodies. A new kind of human will however have the capacity to endure the immense distances and gruelling void of interstellar  travel. Our newly designed bodies will have nothing to fear from the bone degredating effects of zero-gravity or the harmful radiation of nearby stars. This could be a great step in our final frontier.

The Human Revolution.


For the first time in our history we will be the force driving our own evolution, we have become more connected in our lives as the power and the ubiquity of internet has freed us from the binds of information restrictions . We have used the net to connect to our external tools and made the net and all its machinations a part of us. And finally in the logical next step, we change our bodies to better incorporate these technologies. There will be obstacles and gulfs to bridge, but this progress can bring us endless possibilities.

We can change positively, what it means to be Human. 

 This series of blogs was inspired by Deus EX: Human Revolution by Eidos Montreal (check it out if you get the chance).
  As you can see from our stories, we believe positive evolution is the progress of global culture, environmental awareness and action, collective intelligence, disruptive policy, innovative technology, life-saving science, conflict resolution and above all, kindness.
If you are inspired by the stories you read here, we urge you to click on the peace button and donate some change to a charity of your choice.
Let’s accelerate the positive progress of people kind.

Our next evolution (part 2) : the rise of the SMART Screen Society.


here comes the new pope, quick lets blind him!

In my last post I talked about our renaissance with information (part 1,Voices from the ether), how everything was now at within reach, global news, events. Life today is lived through the myriad of screens that surround us. From Smartphones to tablets, we are now connected wherever we go, wherever we are.

According to go-gulf

– Out of the 5 billion mobile phone users in the world, 1.08 billion are smartphone users

-More than 91.4 million smartphones users are from the U.S -Smartphone platform Android has the higher market share of 46.9%

-89% of smartphone users use their smart phones throughout the day

-92% of smartphone users use their smartphones to send text messages to other phones. Whereas, 84% of users use their smartphones for browsing the internet.

In his article ‘The Man-Machine Merger‘, Ray Kurzweil asks; ‘Is all of this connectivity helping us to evolve into a more intelligent species, as some futurists speculate, or is this actually hurting us’?

“Never have we had greater access to knowledge than we do right now—limitless information just a few clicks away, the line between man and machine increasingly blurred. We tether our brains to our mobile devices, relying on them to tell us when we’re hungry, where we should go for cocktails, what driving route we should take, and what we should buy our significant others for their birthdays?”

The truth is, we are all ‘jacked in’


at least learning kung fu will be a breeze

Our mobile and tablet devices now connect us all the time to the (web), the smartest thinking machine we have ever conceived, using social media, search history, interests and hobbies it can translate patterns in our browsing using metrics to allow for a predictive estimation of our behaviours.

A Revolution of the Mind.

Your laptop, tablet, and cellphone are, as Steve Jobs once put it, “bicycles for your mind.” In her BBC article ‘Screen use is bad for brain development, scientist claims‘, Zoe Kleinman discusses the conflicting impacts of our connected screen-based society. The theory of brain plasticity states the human brain’s ability to evolve to adapt to its surroundings. It is largely held to be scientifically credible – and also fairly ubiquitous. “The whole way that we learn anything is through our brain changing and adapting to our surroundings,” “If I read a book it will change my brain, if I go to work it will change it.”

cellphones-and-egyptian-demonstrators-celebratingIt’s the question of whether, in the case of computing devices, the change is likely to be for the better or worse that is dividing opinion.
We no longer learn facts, we go to Google to retrieve them. As these technologies begin to change our minds, soon they will change our bodies.
Smart devices that are always connected can’t be stopped, the best and smartest minds of our generation (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zukerberg, Sir Tim Bernard Lee, Bjarne Stroustrupetc)  have and will continue to spend their lives thinking of ways of making it stronger, smarter and more self-sufficient. Our dependence on it will force us to protect it, and we will turn on anyone who threatens it, while maintaining the illusion that it is our choice, that we are in control.
Ryan Block says ‘We Are What We Use‘, As we become increasingly engrossed in our tools, we’re only just beginning to learn how our newly augmented lives will work within society, and our society will almost certainly spend the next decade or two adapting 
There will be no ‘rise of the machines’
we will not rely on machines to do EVERYTHING for us. After we have adapted to the shifting sands as our technology, we will evolve. A new kind of people will emerge, all the while ‘watched over by the machines of love and grace’


 As you can see from our stories, we believe positive evolution is the progress of global culture, environmental awareness and action, collective intelligence, disruptive policy, innovative technology, life-saving science, conflict resolution and above all, kindness.
If you are inspired by the stories you read here, we urge you to click on the peace button and donate some change to a charity of your choice.
Let’s accelerate the positive progress of people kind.

our next evolution (part 1): voices from the ether

computerbrainWe are living in very interesting times, that are fraught with uncertainties and upheavals. Is the human psyche designed to handle the amount of change the world now undergoes with the mere passing of a handful of years?

I was born into a world you could view with contemporary eyes as ‘innocent’: this was a world without mobile phones and the very inception of the home pc. Today we comfortably talk to our phones and ask it where to go to get the best rhubarb sandwiches within walking distance and the phone politely draws you a map. 

StarTrekWallpaper51024THIS WAS THE STUFF OF SCIENCE FICTION in my formative years.

My next 3 entries will look at our technological advancements and the continued penetration of disruptive technologies, and ask the question: Is the assimilation of machines a part of our positive evolution?

This first post will look at the information age (the rise of connectivity). The second will look at the rise of the ‘SMART’ (the ubiquity of SMART technology). And the third will look at the future, the fork in the road that could lead to a more prosperous human revolution.

The topics I will be covering are massive and to say I will be covering them is an over-statement. There is so much material theorizing about theses subjects and a vast cornucopia of studies I wont be able to penetrate in a mere blog. What I will do is look at the importance of technology and it changing roles in humanity’s evolution.

Now, there have been a myriad of films, books and games that have dealt with our precarious relationship with technology, mostly ending in a heavy-metal showdown.


hey I just met you, and this is crazy…

The mid 90s to the early 00s were defined by the global revolution of connectivity – it made information free. A tool which is not merely for the elite, it is for everyone. For the first time ever, the world had its first interactive, receptive, ever-learning, exponentially-omniscient system of communication, a true bastion of democracy.

It is connecting us all in ways never before imagined, creating markets and economies where previously not thought of.

The increasing ubiquity of its presence is beginning to change us in ways we did not expect. From social media to the societal make up we see around us. You see, it’s in your head, right now, this internet thing. Rewiring it, changing the way your eyes and ears interact with your brain, making you consume, store, process information differently.

In 2012 Bernard Keane wrote in his article ‘How the internet rewires the circuits of our public space — and you’ about how the internet is changing Australian society and its very cerebral make up. He says: “And if it’s not rewiring your head, it’s changing your society, changing your social relations, changing your job. It’s changing the economy, and changing politics, redistributing power.”

“That’s what media do and have always done — print, the telegraph, radio, TV: they rewire humans inside their heads and in how they relate to each other, except the internet is doing it on a far bigger scale and more quickly than any previous medium.”

Back in in the early 00s when the net was starting to really hit its stride, I remember coming across a set of ads that really asked the question if our dalliance with an all pervasive network of information was a good thing or a bad thing;

…the jury is still out.

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”  — Marshall McLuhan, 1964

According to Royal Pingdom in 2012;

  • 85,962 – Number of monthly posts by Facebook Pages in Brazil, making it the most active country on Facebook.
  • 1 billion – Number of monthly active users on Facebook, passed in October.
  • 47% – Percentage of Facebook users that are female.
  • 40.5 years – Average age of a Facebook user.
  • 2.7 billion – Number of likes on Facebook every day.
  • 24.3% – Share of the top 10,000 websites that have Facebook integration.
  • 200 million – Monthly active users on Twitter, passed in December.

We have become the creators of content. Media is no longer a one-way system. This is emphasised by the sharp decline in newspaper and libraries and the emergence of eCommerce has drastically shifted the landscape of retail purchase beyond recognition.


What does this mean for the human evolution?

An immense political tool for change.


A connected always on-line world. ensures that not only ideas are shared they are dissected, it ensures that they are challenged. It is a place for the human imagination to grow unfettered by the confines of society or religion, a place not governed by the constraints of morality or conservative ideals,  a place where all views are taken into account, even those which may be against popular liberal views.

Social media played a major role in the political upheaval of the Arab Spring in 2011. In doing this, technology and its embryonic union with the internet has shown  it has the power to tap into the ‘General Human Consciousness’ and generate change.

Screen-Shot-2013-02-21-at-10.04.40-AM The revolution may not be televised, but it will be face-booked, twittered, and tumblred.

So great is the impact of the internet on our lives, that the U.N has proposed the adoption of access to the web as a fundamental human right on par with access to food, water and life. “[It’s] an empowering thing for humanity to be connected at high speed and without borders,” says Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The implications of the net on human evolution is still to be determined, as it is an ever evolving, continuously expanding phenomenon that will have even greater impacts on our development intellectually, physically and environmentally in years to come.

The assimilation of technology, not just as external devices (phones and tablets) but as part and parcel of the sacred person, is surely the next logical step in our evolution.


Watch this space.


You can’t take the sky from me

Image We live on a planet with finite resources; commodities such as oil and gas will not last forever. In realizing this the world’s largest energy conglomerates have been setting themselves up for the game of the next century; a defining break-through in end to end renewable energy. The race is on for the big investment opportunity of the next decade and this race is in the energy business. A prime candidates we have turned to is the Sun, a readily available, infinitely renewable nuclear reactor 95 million miles in space.

On the other side of this is the consumer’s stake in the access, viability and cost of renewable energy. As fossil fuels become scarcer the price for energy increases a lot of which will be coming from nature for the very first time.

As far back as 10,000 BC, history is abundant with carvings and writing depicting people’s respect and adoration for this object and it is easy to understand why. As the Sun would rise it brought vision, warmth, light, and security saving man from the cold, blind predator-filled darkness of the night.

These realities assured that for countless civilizations the Sun would become the most adored object in all of history from Babylonian to ancient Egyptian to Greek mythography, history has worshipped the Sun as a deity.

Because of the bounties of the Sun, man is now blessed with light heat, electricity, and magnetism even the power that drives the winds; all the abundant energies of the universe he so required to dominate the world.

How much energy comes from the Sun?

The possibilities are amazing.


In 2011, the International Energy Agency said that “the development of affordable, inexhaustible and clean solar energy technologies will have huge longer-term benefits. It will increase countries’ energy security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible and mostly import-independent resource, enhance sustainability, reduce pollution, lower the costs of mitigating climate change, and keep fossil fuel prices lower than otherwise. These advantages are global. Hence the additional costs of the incentives for early deployment should be considered learning investments; they must be wisely spent and need to be widely shared”

the People and their Sun.


In 30 October 2012 Oxford researchers have developed a photovoltaic (PV) technology that has the potential to deliver low cost, efficient solar cells that can be readily incorporated into glass building façades.

According to consumer reports, Two thirds of UK households benefiting from solar energy say their bills have been significantly reduced since investing in the technology, with most making an average annual savings of hundreds of pounds and as technology and energy capture becomes more efficient, households will save more and more.

with continuing breakthroughs happening all the time, we can look forward to an energy secure future that is cheap and safe for the environment and future generations. Solar energy will play a part in helping to reduce the increasing burden on dwindling fossil fuel reserves.

The prospect that 2/3 of the world’s population have no access to have access to the light energies that come from our nearest star affirms the need to innovate in this field. And to ensure that the energies of the universe should not become corporate commodities, especially that which comes from the sky.

The solar array in Spain.



the human kind

kindness“Imagine that you’re asleep, and you then you wake up, you’re not sure where you are, you’re not sure if anyone else is around.

What would you probably do first?

You would likely look around and say ‘hello’? ‘hello’? – You’re attempting to find out (AM I ALONE?)” – Richard Berendzen

Asking that question ‘Am I alone’? throws into sharp relief the importance of people, and the relationships we form. humans are social mammals we need each other and there is no greater demonstration of this dependence than how we treat each other.

In light of the recent tragic events in Boston (the family and friends of whom our deepest condolences extend)  and what will be the continued torrent of media frenzy for the upcoming weeks, I feel this week’s on-line journal (because using the term ‘blog’ makes it seem like an alien being what made of mucus and lives in a cave) is as good as any to talk about why I ‘write’ for pplkind.

I used to believe that there was no greater indication of our positive evolution than our technological advancement further punctuated by our venture into space. Since the early 19th century we have been unknowingly beaming radio waves (television, radio) into vastness of space at the speed of light. I have always wondered with my nerdy curiosity that to any technologically intelligent life forms that may stumble across these inter-stellar ‘messages’ the Earth would seem like a very scary place.


This is not the case.

Let it never be said that I am against the reporting of negative news, I write for pplkind to try and balance out the proliferation of negative news in our everyday lives. It serves to blind us to the oft unreported positive deeds of the many all around us (from the mundane to the monumental).

Contrary to what popular media would have us all believe, we don’t live on a world teetering on the edge of oblivion where anything worthy of mention is centred around war, crime, poverty and terror, but the rolling 24 hour nature of coverage of the world around in which we live often feels like being trapped in some cynical puppet-master’s ‘hunger games’. With the help of bombastic news graphics and Hollywood tier theme music, the previous week in particular has felt like the end of the season finale to ’24’.


from our stories, we believe evolution is the progress of global culture, environmental awareness and action, collective intelligence, disruptive policy, innovative technology, life-saving science, conflict resolution and above all, kindness.

The Future is Ours

courtesy of Michael Marantz

pplkind wants to bring you undeniable proof that even in these times of uncertainty there lies an opportunity for change in the most profound way. A change that can push our evolution as a species.

People say good news doesn’t sell? Well we’re not selling it.


I and founder of pplkind (Clare Saxon) believe we are living in very exciting times, times where technology in communications can allow the free sharing of ideas in economic, political or environmental solutions and innovations. I have rambled on for about 400 words now about people, kindness and progress the such, but if that has left you still baffled as to what I am rambling about kindly visit the pplkind website for a better understanding.

I must confess, I have never actually seen ’24’.

Never Stop Playing

ImageIn my formative years I was a very active child; I ran, jumped and played in the great outdoors, taking advantage of the boundless energy my adolescence afforded me. However upon visiting a friend one day during half-term break, I discovered video games and became a convert. And on those cold dark winter months the glow of the television was my portal and my Mega-drive and PlayStation(1) my allies in the war against reality

As a child of the 90s I am fortunate to have been a part of ‘gaming’ Zeitgeist before it entered the lexicon of popular culture. It is a hobby I am passionate about and a topic I will be talking about in greater detail in the future as I believe it to be a medium with boundless potential to enrich our everyday lives.

Gaming is no longer the sole reserve of disenfranchised young men, the oft preached negative image portrayal by mass media’s of ‘gamers’ as awkward shut-ins who retreat into the digital world is no longer the case because:



Advancement in technology has allowed the proliferation of devices like smartphones, tablets, handhelds and casual (easy to pick and play) consoles like the Nintendo Wii to penetrate the mainstream in ways like never before. Currently Games lay claim to the world’s most lucrative entertainment medium edging out music and film by a wide margin.

ImageMeet Hilda Knott, 86, pensioner and certified AAA gamer. In January the BBC ran a story about her in which she expresses her love for the medium and the benefits it gives her as an elderly person. She is able to mentally stretch her muscles through incentives and puzzles and due to her eye-sight plays on a 64 inch beast of a plasma TV.

In a rapidly aging population, keeping the elderly mentally active as well as physically active is more important than ever. Games combine a potent mix of mental challenges of games such as ‘Brain Training’ and the physical exercise through devices like the Wii.

According to research done by the benefits of interactive entertainment are:

Spatial-Reasoning Skills

Spatial-reasoning skills play a critical role in development and education. Children with good spatial-reasoning skills tend to score higher on IQ tests and often excel at geometry. Spatial reasoning can also improve navigational skills and in mental manipulation. Some research indicates that girls are less adept at spatial-reasoning tasks than boys, but spatial-reasoning skills can be learned, and video games are one method that can improve mastery. Video games require players to anticipate movements and, in the case of three-dimensional video games, force players to manipulate objects through a three-dimensional plane. Several recent studies have demonstrated an improvement in spatial-reasoning skills among both children and adults who regularly play video games.

Collaboration and Social Skills

Gamers are often stereotyped as people sitting alone in front of a television or computer, never bothering to take their eyes off of the screen, completely uninterested in social interaction. But contemporary video games often encourage players from around the world to work together to solve problems or complete tasks. This can help build social skills and improve problem-solving abilities in children and adults. Particularly for self-described loners and introverted people, video games may be a less stressful way to interact socially.

Critical-Thinking Skills

Critical-thinking skills enable children to master concepts rather than simply accept rote memorization. This vital skill is key in many pursuits, including science, maths,  engineering, and the humanities. Video game players are constantly presented with novel problems, many of which they must solve in a split second. This process improves critical-thinking skills and can teach gamers the value of trying several different solutions to a problem.

Rehabilitation and Specific Skills

Video games are increasingly realistic, and while this raises concerns about violence, it also offers new opportunities for teaching skills. Some schools now use video games to simulate real-life procedures such as surgery or flying a plane. Video games can also be used as a form of rehabilitation. For example, a 13-year-old boy with Erb’s palsy noticed marked improvement in control over his arms after playing video games.

What Hilda teaches us is the importance of engagement in our everyday lives, without consistent quality of stimuli, the human brain atrophies




As you can see from our stories, we believe positive evolution is the progress of global culture, environmental awareness and action, collective intelligence, disruptive policy, innovative technology,  life-saving science, conflict resolution and above all, kindness.
If you are inspired by the stories you read here, we urge you to click on the peace button and donate some change to a charity of your choice.
Let’s accelerate the positive progress of people kind. 

Read the research paper