In an enlightened society of sentient beings, what is more important and what is most reflective of a spiritually advanced culture: (A) protecting the intellectual property rights of innovative creators within that culture, or (B) making the innovations of innovative creators within a society available for the benefit of the largest number of people everywhere?
And what if the innovations are life-saving, illness-curing, sickness-abating drugs that have been researched, invented and manufactured at considerable cost by major, privately owned pharmaceutical companies, and sold by those companies around the world?
The above is not simply a philosophical inquiry. It may be playing itself out very soon in international courts — and it drives to the question of why the large pharmaceutical companies produce their products to begin with: to save the largest number of lives, or to make the largest possible profit?
According to a report by writer Abby Zimet published at the website CommonDreams.org, the CEO of the German-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Bayer — a gentleman named Marijn Dekkers — gave the reasons that Bayer researched, created, manufactured and has sold its anti-cancer medicine Nexivar around the world . . . and it was not to make the potentially life-saving drug available in places like, say, India, where Nexivar cost around $5,500 a month to use.
“We did not develop this medicine (Nexavar) for Indians,” the Common Dreams website reports Mr. Dekkers as saying at a little reported pharmaceutical conference. “We developed it for Western patients who can afford it.”
A check with the global information reference site Wikipedia appears to have confirmed the report. The Wikipedia article says: “In an interview given to the Businessweek following controversies surrounding the Indian government’s decision to award a compulsory license to Indian company Natco Pharma Ltd. for Naxavar (sic) (Sorafenib), Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers equated the compulsory license with theft.
“Regarding targeted markets, he said, ‘Is this going to have a big effect on our business model? No, because we did not develop this product for the Indian market, let’s be honest. We developed this product for Western patients who can afford this product, quite honestly. It is an expensive product, being an oncology product’.” (“Merck to Bristol-Myers Face More Threats on India Drug Patents”. businessweek.com. 2014-01-21).
As noted above, Mr. Dekker’s comments came in response to media inquiries regarding an action taken by the government of India, which has compelled a local Indian drug manufacturer to produce a generic version of Nexavar for the Indian market, saying that because the product produced by Bayer violates Indian law because it is not available to the public at a reasonably affordable price.
The government invoked what it says is its authority to compel the manufacturing of sorafenib, a generic version of Nexavar, and have it made available to the Indian population as a life-saving measure for its citizens suffering from kidney cancer or liver cancer.
As a result, a local Indian company, Natco Pharma, is now allowed to manufacture and sell sorafenib in India for about $178 per month, rather than the $5,500 per month that Nexavar costs. By government order, Natco must make the generic drug available for free to 600 Indian patients per year who cannot even afford this cost, and must pay a 6% royalty on all sales to Bayer quarterly.
The Bayer company — which reportedly finished 2011 with a near-doubling of net income year-over-year to €2.5 billion (about $3.3 billion) — has said it will evaluate its options “to further defend our intellectual property rights in India,” a Bayer spokesperson said in media reports. Bayer said it was “disappointed by the decision” of the Indian government to grant a license to a local drug firm in India to produce a generic version of its highly touted cancer-treating drug so that India citizens could afford it.
As reported by the media, Bayer’s CEO equated the action with theft. The question, then, for highly evolved beings: Is Bayer being stolen from . . . or are the people whose lives are being taken by kidney and liver cancer in India being stolen from because they cannot afford $69,000 a year for a drug that could be made available to them for $178 a month in its generic form, if Bayer would only let it happen?
What responsibility — if any — does a company which nearly doubled its net income from 2011 to 2012 have to a global society? (A major percentage of India’s population lives below the poverty line. The government’s most recent estimate is 32%. The World Bank says it is ten percent higher.)
I’d very much like to hear your answer to the above question. Please post your comment below. Thanks.
Life is a gift – a very true statement, in my opinion. Recently, I have experienced this, not just in living Life Itself, but in all of the things that happen from moment to moment and day to day. These little incidents are the gifts! And the gift of responsibility is probably the one that stands out the most.
Have you ever felt completely at peace with all the responsibility that you have? Seriously, take a moment and think about it. Do you think most people have gratitude for the daily responsibilities that they possess?
Recently, I have taken on the large responsibility of becoming a full-time, hands-on grandmother to my son’s ten-month-old daughter. I am not raising her; however, because she and her mother have moved into my home, I am with her nearly every day. Although it is temporary, it brings the idea of change, and what it means, to me – full force.
That reminds me of something. Didn’t Neale Donald Walsch write a book about that? When Everything Changes, Change Everything! Of course he did! It has been very helpful to me.
My current situation is a complete 360-degree change from where it was a few months ago when I didn’t get to see her as I would have chosen. It was a very devastating time, and in missing her, I truly felt the loss of a soul. With this being said, after talking to God and the universe, my prayers were answered. When the opportunity arose, or when the door opened to embrace change, the only question I asked myself was, “What would love do now?” Then all fear, doubt, anger, and frustration left me and instantly turned to joy, forgiveness, selflessness, and, most importantly, love.
Embracing this responsibility has been one of many blessings and gifts in my lifetime. Not only do I have the opportunity to see and hold my grand baby on a daily basis again, but I am now blessed with seeing her grow, explore, and learn new things. Instead of viewing my house as more crowded, noisy, and inconvenient, I am choosing to view it as more filled with love, light and laughter!
I feel we all are given the gift of responsibility and all of the things we get out of it. I bet you have seen this with friends and loved ones?
I have a friend who, together with his wife, decided to allow their niece to come live with them when she was in need. They took on their niece. And the experience (the gift) of this responsibility, watching her grow and flourish with their love, has outnumbered any potential negatives or inconveniences(financial or otherwise) that one could hold around it.
Parenting (and grandparenting, too) is the biggest responsibility there is, and we feel every decision we make for our precious children to our core in one way or another. For me, gratitude is the key to finding peace in what society calls responsibility. The gratitude for experiencing what you have asked for, what may be in front of you, and being the person you are in order to feel the responsibility. The beautiful, heartwarming, devastating, sometimes frightening wonderful thing we call life.
Do we call it responsibility or do we call it life? Do we embrace all of life or do we run from it? Gratitude, my friends, abundant gratitude, will allow the responsibilities of life to flow. This is my door to CwG core concept which says that the wonderful ways to be are honest, responsible, and aware. My gratitude runneth over with the beautiful responsibility of being alive. Having my granddaughter with me is beyond living; it is heaven.
Am I suggesting, then, that every day can be heaven? Yes, I am! I feel if we can find a way to see the gift in everything, even those things that feel overwhelming, pressing, exhausting, or out of our comfort zone, and even our “responsibilities” as gifts, we then experience heaven on earth. Breathe in life and all that it sets down in front of you. The gifts are waiting!
(Laurie Lankins Farley has worked with Neale Donald Walsch for approximately 10 years. She is the Executive Director of his non-profit The School of the New Spirituality and creative co-director of CwGforParents.com. Laurie has published an inspirational children’s book “The Positive Little Soul.” She can be contacted at Parenting@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
I am a 31 year old woman, living in South Africa. I work for an NGO that deals with domestic violence. I work in the administration office as well as in the reception, but because we are under-staffed, I often do basic counseling for clients. The environment has changed me and made me rather highly sensitive. I cry myself to sleep weekly because I feel the pain that these individuals go through daily. It pains me so much that I feel paralyzed, not knowing what to do with the amount of violence in our country.
I want to be 100% sure that it is His voice that I am hearing and not mine, so that I can receive solutions step by step like in the 3 books. I think that is all everyone wants. Your help will be appreciated… May
If you go back and read pages 4 and 5 in Conversations With God Book 1, you will find the answer to your question of discerning whether it is God talking to you. It says, “Mine is always your Highest Thought, your Clearest Word, your Grandest Feeling. Anything less is from another source… The Highest Thought is always that thought which contains joy. The Clearest Words are those words which contain truth. The Grandest Feeling is that feeling which you call love.”
Those of us who work in the helping professions must create boundaries that protect our well-being. We must mentally separate ourselves from those with whom we are working, lest we take on their problems as our own. For how can we help anyone if we are dwelling in sadness ourselves? We simply can’t let anyone take us down with them. Our jobs are to lift people up!
Would it help for you to remember that everything is truly in Divine Right Order, and that anything that looks otherwise is nothing more than an illusion? When we are surrounded by negativity, it is of the utmost importance for us to remain steadfast in our faith that God knows exactly what It is doing, all the time. No exceptions.
You mention that there is a lot of violence in South Africa. Do you realize that every single person on this Earth, even if they seem to be violent villains, goes back Home to God? There is no path that doesn’t eventually lead to God, yet some paths certainly seem to be more fraught with chaos than others. Conversations With God says that there are no victims and no villains because God is all there is. It shows up in ways that are hard to recognize sometimes, so it’s very important to trust that given the benefit of hindsight, we will see the perfection that may not be obvious to us now.
I, myself, was once involved in a relationship where anger escalated to domestic violence on a regular basis, and I can tell you now that I am grateful for the experience! It opened up the space for all kinds of wonderful things in my life, including healing the relationship with my mother, and the opportunity to marry my soulmate. Talk about a happy ending!
The best thing we can do for another who is in pain, is pray for them in the affirmative. Not cosmic begging or pleading; rather, knowing for that person that he or she is Whole, Complete and Perfect, and that anything that looks otherwise is not the truth. I hope this helps, dear one. I implore you to shield yourself from others’ misery. Ask God to help you in every waking moment, then pay attention to your feelings as you are guided. Remember the guidelines for discernment I mentioned above. Then walk as closely with God as you can, in order to be strong enough to do the work you came here to do. Perhaps the serenity prayer might help:
“Dear God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Amen and amen.
(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Life Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com.
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
An additional resource: The CWG Helping Outreach offers spiritual assistance from a team of non-professional/volunteer Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less. Nothing on the CCN site should be construed or is intended to take the place of or be in any way similar to professional therapeutic or counseling services. The site functions with the gracious willing assistance of lay persons without credentials or experience in the helping professions. What these volunteers possess is an awareness of the theology of Conversations with God. It is from this context that they offer insight, suggestions, and spiritual support during moments of unbidden, unexpected, or unwelcome change on the journey of life.
I have a daily practice of saying affirmations. I publish a new affirmation on my Facebook account every day (ok, on most days….). Affirmations are a way in which we can “reprogram” our subconscious mind, replacing thoughts that no longer support our highest goals.
I hear so many people say something to the effect of, “Simply repeating the same thing over and over to yourself isn’t going to change anything! It can’t be that easy!”
And yet these are the same people who are wearing “Duck Dynasty” hats, “Keep Calm and (fill in the blank)” T-shirts and who hum the latest jingle to their favorite fast food restaurant as they wait in the drive through to order.
The Bible says “In the beginning was the Word.” Words are what creates. We first have a thought, which is nothing more than “silent words”, and those words are energy that is put out into the universe and when enough energy surrounding those words accumulates, those words take physical form.
You’re frustrated at work yet you say nothing. Every day, your frustration level increases. Soon you begin to notice that you’re having stomach problems or your blood pressure is rising. These are physical manifestations of your thoughts of frustration.
You think of a new idea for a more efficient way of doing something at work. You spend time putting together a presentation for your boss. She loves the idea and your original thoughts are now a new company policy and you have a nice bonus check to bank.
You want to try skydiving, but you keep thinking “What if the chute doesn’t open?” or “What if I land in a tree?” and soon those thoughts create a real fear and you don’t ever go skydiving.
There is an undeniable trend in society today: we are becoming more and more violent. We see this violence manifested in our lives every day: mass shootings— some by children, suicide bombings, car bombings, people murdered over the clothes they’re wearing, road rage….
Some say that art imitates life, but I’m of the belief that it goes both ways: life also mirrors art. The movies we go to see, the video games we play, the television shows we TIVO so we don’t miss a single episode, the books we read, the music we listen to— all have become so much more violent.
The lyrics of some major artists like Eminem (among many others!) glorify the beating, degradation and even rape of women.
Television shows, especially “reality TV” shows like Survivor and Big Brother, glorify lying, cheating, backstabbing and deception in order to win lots of money. “True life” shows like “Wives with Knives” and “Deadly Affairs” (among many, many others) make murder and violence a big money venture. Other reality shows, like “American Idol” and “The Bachelor” take special pains to show some of the participants in their worst possible light, some even making entire episodes that are devoted to making fun of someone for following their dream.
Video games, wherein a player gets to rape a prostitute or steal cars or shoot gays or burn down buildings, are being played by children who are far too young to understand the difference between fantasy and reality. The traditional joystick has been replaced by guns or steering wheels or “wands” that recognize the realistic movements one must make to accomplish what their character onscreen is doing, thus blurring even further for some the difference between reality and fantasy.
Of course, the makers/publishers/producers/directors/writers of these violent media products deny that these have any influence on the level of violence in society. They say that they’re only giving the people what they want. Then they turn around and spend $4 million dollars on a 30 second commercial to play during the Superbowl because they understand the power of advertising and the power of words to influence what you buy and what you think.
And that is the paradox with the power of words. Until you recognize that words only have the power that you give them, words have an enormous power over what you think, what you feel, what you believe and what you do. The more you understand that the power of words is in your control, the less power words have over you.
We have been inundated with words from birth. These words, because we do not yet understand that words have no power over us, affect what we think, feel, believe and do. And we hear them repeatedly, time after time after time. The average person in today’s western society sees more than 240 images every day that are specifically aimed at advertising. That’s not including the ones our brain does not register. We’re hearing these messages over and over and whether we want to admit it or not, if we’re not doing something to consciously prevent it, those messages are becoming part of our subconscious thinking and directly influences our behavior and our thinking patterns. (There’s a reason subliminal advertising is illegal!)
And so we come back full circle to the use of affirmations. Affirmations combat those messages from advertisers that say we can’t be happy unless we buy their product or we won’t be pretty unless we use this make up or we won’t find our true love unless we use this perfume or we’ll lose our partner to another if we don’t know how to perform this particular act.
Affirmations are taking conscious control of our subconscious. We are reprogramming the subconscious and building a wall of protection around it that limit the influence that media input of all sorts has on what the subconscious believes. In doing so, we are creating our own reality in which our happiness doesn’t depend on anyone or anything but ourselves. In which Love is not measured in how many times we have sex or how big the ring is on our finger. In which success is not determined by how big the house we live in or the label of the clothes we wear or the kind of car in our garage. In which beauty is not determined by weight, the appearance of age, the color of our hair or whether we have “flawless” skin. In which the world of peace and harmony and brotherly love that we all profess we want to live in becomes reality.
Hong Kong billionaire Cecil Chao is offering $130 million – double his earlier offer in 2012 of $65 million — to any man who can turn his lesbian daughter, Gigi, straight. In response to Chao’s extravagant dowry, over 20,000 would-be suitors have crawled out of the woodwork, hoping to be the man who finally succeeds in un-gaying Gigi Chao and winning the grand prize.
Despite the fact that two years ago Gigi married the love of her life and partner of nine years, Sean Eav, Cecil Chao still insists that his daughter is single. He said that he did not want to interfere with his daughter’s private life, but that he wanted her to have “a good marriage and children.”
Gigi Chao, an executive director at her father’s property development company, part-time pilot, and founder of anti-poverty charity Faith in Love Foundation, has maintained throughout her father’s persistent quest that she knows he is only doing it out of love and concern. “I understand that he loves me, it’s just he’s from another time and it’s difficult for him to understand the plight of the LGBT.”
Billionaire playboy Cecil Chao, who claims to have slept with over 10,000 women himself, says, “I would not force her to marry a man. But obviously I would, from my point of view, prefer her to be married and to have grandchildren.”
Ms. Chao has demonstrated a high level of understanding in response to her father’s very public and peculiar theatrics. In an open letter to him, she said, ““I am comfortable and satisfied with my life and completely at ease with her. My regret is that you have no idea how happy I am with my life, and there are aspects of my life that you don’t share. I suppose we don’t need each other’s approval for our romantic relationships, and I am sure your relationships are really fantastic too … However, I do love my partner Sean, who does a good job of looking after me, ensuring I am fed, bathed and warm enough every day, and generally cheering me up to be a happy, jolly girl. She is a large part of my life, and I am a better person because of her. Now, I’m not asking you to be best of friends; however, it would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being.” She also added, ““I would be happy to befriend any man willing to donate huge amounts of money to my charity Faith in Love, provided they don’t mind that I already have a wife. Third and lastly, thank you Daddy, I love you too.”
So here we are once again presented with another example of someone attempting to squeeze love into a one-size-fits-all box. Here we are once again standing witness to the obscenely wealthy’s weaponization of money, using it to control and exert power over others, including those who are willing to take the bait. And here we are once again collectively observing another loving relationship being told that it is broken, bad, insufficient, unworthy, and wrong.
How must it feel to not only have your partnership publicly dismissed, but to further suggest that its legitimacy or authenticity could be proven invalid by someone who was paid top dollar to do so?
How do we create a world where the idea that love could be manipulated, controlled, or bought simply does not exist?
Sure, in the way we have constructed our society, there are a lot of things money can buy and does buy. But is someone else’s sexuality really one of them? Can even the upper crust of the world’s most elite and financially influential have that capability and the power to do so?
(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
When I was in junior high, my daddy had a heart attack. The medical bills piled up, and we lost our family station wagon.
So my mother did what she had to do: She went to work answering the phones at Sears. The job paid only minimum wage, but it was enough to make sure we could keep our home.
If minimum wage had kept up with productivity gains since that time, it would be $22 an hour today. But it didn’t – and today millions of hard-working moms and dads work full-time and still live in poverty.
No one should work full-time and live below the poverty line. That’s why the Democratic women of the Senate have joined together to say it plain: It’s time to raise the minimum wage. Please stand with us now, and urge Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
To me (and probably you), raising the minimum wage is a no-brainer. We know that if hard-working families have money in their pockets they will be able to help grow the economy.
Why should people work two or three jobs and still struggle to make ends meet? Why should people who work full-time have to count on food stamps to feed their families?
This is the answer: Raising the minimum wage would cut into the profits of those who have already made it, and they have an army of lawyers and an army of lobbyists to make certain that the system stays rigged in their favor.
Powerful interests might need to be dragged kicking and screaming to raise the minimum wage, but I’m going to keep fighting – and so are the rest of the Democratic women in the United States Senate.
Please stand with the Democratic women of the Senate now – and urge Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
When I was growing up, full-time work would keep your family out of poverty. Now, the game is rigged against working families.
Raising the minimum wage is one way we can start to level the playing field. Change like this is hard, and I can’t guarantee the success of our efforts. But I know this: If you don’t fight, you can’t win. So let’s fight.
Thank you for being a part of this.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message, in our opinion, fell short in at least one area. The elected leader of one of the most powerful nations on Earth failed to give even passing mention to the cause of all of the difficulties and problems that he said he was committed to solving with or without Congress.
With an audience estimated at 30 million, the chief executive of the United States said not a word about what’s true in America — and, for that matter, around the world.
Even a casual observer can see that not a single one of the systems, institutions and devices that humanity has put into place to create a better life for all is functioning in a way that has generated this outcome.
It’s worse than that. They’ve actually generated exactly the opposite.
Our political systems — created to produce safety and security for the world’s people — have generated widespread disagreement and disarray.
Our economic systems — created to produce opportunity and sufficiency for all — have generated increasing poverty and massive economic inequality, with 85 of the world’s richest people holding more wealth than 3.5 billion…that’s half the planet’s population combined.
Our ecological systems — created to help us produce a sustainable lifestyle — have been abused to the point where they have generated environmental disasters right and left.
Our educational systems — created to lift higher and higher the knowledge base of the planet’s population — have generated such a drop in global awareness and sensitivity that each year our intellectual common denominator seems to sink lower and lower. We can’t even remember our own telephone numbers anymore, or how to spell equanimity, much less produce it.
Our health care systems — created in hopes of producing a good and long life for an increasingly higher percentage of people worldwide — have done little to eliminate global inequality of access to modern medicines and health care services, thus providing the highest level medical services each year to an insufficient and unsatisfactory percentage of the global population.
Our social systems — created to produce the joy of community and harmony among a divergent population –have generated (and in some cases even encouraged) discordance, disparity, prejudice, and despair.
And, most sadly dysfunctional of all, our spiritual systems — created to produce a greater closeness to God, and so, to each other — have generated bitter righteousness, shocking intolerance, widespread anger, deep-seated hatred, and self-justified violence.
What gives here? What’s going on with the human race that it cannot see itself even as it looks at itself? Where is humanity’s blind spot?
Might it have to do with our understanding about God, and our relationship to God?
Yes, I’ve mentioned God here because, in my opinion, unless we change our minds about God — about who God is and what God wants and who we are in relationship to God and to each other — none of the problems that Mr. Obama mentioned in his January speech are going to be solved. They may perhaps — perhaps — be given a band-aid, but they will continue to plague humankind as they have for lo, these many years.
For a country that declares itself to be “one nation, under God,” the leaders in Washington, and local political leaders across the land are doing a remarkable job of ignoring the topic of God when considering how to meet our collective challenges. They appear to be trying to solve our problems at every level except the level at which those problems exist.
The problems facing us are not political problems, and they are not economic problems, and they are surely not military problems. The problems facing us are spiritual problems. They have to do with what we believe about ourselves, about our world, and about God.
Specifically, the vast majority of humans adhere to the belief that we are separate from God, and separate from each other. It is this idea of separation that is killing us.
As we said in our headline story here on January 15: Might this be a fine stretch of eternity during which to declare that there is clearly something we don’t fully understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which would change everything?
To put it more dramatically, is it possible that unless we enlarge and expand our primitive ideas about God and about Life in the decades just ahead, we may find that we have backed ourselves into a corner, from which there is no escape?
Conversations with God told us that humanity nearly rendered itself extinct once before. Barely enough of us survived to regenerate the species and start over. Are we at this same turning point again? Have we arrived once more at the intersection where theology meets cosmology meets sociology meets pathology?
Right now we are still embracing a Separation Theology. That is, a way of looking at God that insists that we are “over here” and God is “over there.”
The problem with a Separation Theology is that it produces a Separation Cosmology. That is, a way of looking at all of life that says that everything is separate from everything else.
And a Separation Cosmology produces a Separation Psychology. That is, a psychological viewpoint that says that I am over here and you are over there.
And a Separation Psychology produces a Separation Sociology. That is, a way of socializing with each other that encourages the entire human society to act as separate entities serving their own separate interests.
And a Separation Sociology produces a Separation Pathology. That is, pathological behaviors of self-destruction, engaged in individually and collectively, and producing suﬀering, conﬂict, violence, and death by our own hands—as evidenced everywhere on our planet throughout human history.
Only when our Separation Theology is replaced by a Oneness Theology will our pathology be healed. We have been differentiated from God, but not separated from God, even as your ﬁngers are differentiated but not separated from your hand.
We must come to understand that all of life is One. This is the ﬁrst step. It is the jumping-off point. It is the beginning of the end of how things now are. It is the start of a new creation, of a new tomorrow. It is the New Cultural Story of Humanity.
Oneness is not a characteristic of life. Life is a characteristic of Oneness. This is what we have not understood about our existence on the Earth, the understanding of which would change everything.
Life is the expression of Oneness Itself. God is the expression of Life Itself. God and Life are One. You are a part of Life. You do not and cannot stand outside of it. Therefore you are a part of God. It is a circle.
It cannot be broken.