Nathan Batalion was a competition-winning math prodigy who at the age of 17 suffered a high fever. This affected him similar to a brain stroke or where his left-brain functions temporarily shut down, including his math abilities. He became also aphasic (unable to speak in whole sentences). This was similar to what happened to Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard brain scientist who had a stroke and thus gained an inside view of disorders she routinely studied in the lab. Nathan later recovered but was likewise never the same. This experience inspired his decades of study of what is the essential nature of our consciousness. It led to a revolutionary philosophy of life with deep insights and powerful prescriptions. Nathan came to the radical conclusion that our modern root and foundation philosophy of nature, and thus of our own nature, is misguiding; that nature’s essential essence is not pointed to by the language of mathematics as it unveils mechanical relationships around an atomic model. He differentiates the surface appearance of mechanicality from an opposite depth-essence of nature composed of life and consciousness.
Nathan’s revolutionary view is highly relevant to the modern developments of global chemical pollution, increasing climate changes, the proliferation of atomic weapons, growing pandemics like cancer and diabetes, and the impact of genetic engineering to threaten the sustainability of life. These all can be seen as derivative developments of a core worldview that fails to yield a deeper understanding of nature.
EARLY UPBRINGING IN A HOLOCAUST-SURVIVING FAMILY
I was born in Germany and into a Jewish Holocaust surviving family. I thus heard personal accounts of the great suffering that my parents experienced and it was profound. My aunt and step-dad both barely survived Auschwitz. My parents and grandparents lived through the hell of Stalin’s Russia in Siberia. Most members of my extended family, however, were less fortunate. They lost their lives during the war. The knowledge of such experiences was embedded deeply into my soul as a child, and I have continued to carry these feelings inside of me all of my life.
One of my mother’s suitors was Joel Brandt. He was famous for having sat down with Eichmann to negotiate the lives of one million Hungarian Jews for a certain sum of money. Can you imagine? Many did not believe Joel as he traveled around the world to try to collect that money. The impact of such childhood memories made me extremely sensitive to global sufferings, both human and non-human – including current health pandemics and the vast “eco-holocausts” we are still undergoing.
AFTER THE WAR
After the war, my parents separated. My father, Samuel Milek Batalion organized and was headmaster of a building trade school for young Zionists wanting to emigrate to Israel. As to my mother, among the steps she took to heal her suffering was to surround herself with an abundance of food and gaiety. She opened a Russian restaurant in Frankfurt called the Troika. I remember best the joyous music and dance, learning Russian folk songs and dances myself. At that time my mother inadvertently opened letters at the restaurant that she wasn’t supposed to. They described intrigues of Russian spies (who posed as musicians at the restaurant). She turned over these letters to the CIA, especially about murders they were planning in different parts of Europe. This caused my mother to fear for her life as well as mine.
Thus at age seven, we emigrated to the US and first lived in Newark, New Jersey with my uncle and aunt who were also Holocaust survivors. In the US I felt very different than the average young Jewish child. It seemed that from all my post-war experiences, I was more interested in the deeper questions of life than the average American Jew. Yes I flipped baseball cards, played chess, liked Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges – nonsensical fun, but deeper concerns were always burning within. No doubt, I had come from a world far more torn apart than most Americans could imagine.
My mother soon remarried in the US, and to a Holocaust survivor, Gabriel Bross. He has since passed and I wrote a commemorative post on my step-dad Gabriel. He had a great heart and a sweet soul. Later I even took his last name as my middle name on my citizenship papers. Gabriel had come from a very poor village in Poland and where even having one piece of meat a week appeared being “rich.” Not surprisingly, he became a butcher in the US, surrounding himself – like my mother - with an abundance of food. Later my parents opened a grocery store, and subsequently other businesses such as a delicatessen, beach stand, liquor store and later a health food store. Being surrounded by nourishment of all kinds, again, made them again feel “rich,” fulfilled, or feeling well taken care of in the universe.
AFTER-EFFECTS OF THE “SAD” DIET
As a child, this meant I could have whatever food I wanted to eat! This included all manner of candies, soft drinks, ice cream, canned goods, you name it. Because our grocery store was in an Afro-American ethnic ghetto neighborhood, we also offered luscious ethnic “soul” foods like fat-back, chitterlings, hog moss, and pig’s feet. During this great time, I followed what you might call the “you-see-it diet” or ate whatever I wanted whenever from the Standard American Diet of processed, high animal protein and fat cornucopia. I also ate whatever our culture’s marketing offered to attract the attention of a kid – like rainbow-colored M&Ms, epicycles and gummies. In an age that believed in “chemistry for better living,” I was not aware that food additives were full of carcinogenic chemicals.
Soon my immune system began to suffer from all the accumulated junk food. As a young teenager, I got hepatitis and was hospitalized for a week. Later at age 17, I also had a high fever that made me more ill. It caused me to drop out of school for years. The latter experience, combined with my soulful feelings as a child, led me to become an intense truth-seeker on issues of health and well-being. After 40 years of such inner explorations, there evolved a philosophy of life, nature and healing I call raw-wisdom and which has a radical perspective on our world.
TEENAGE YEARS AS A MATH PRODIGY
Before all this happened, my schooling had been uneventful. In Newark I attended an orthodox Jewish private school, learning Hebrew and Jewish liturgy in the morning, and English in the afternoon. I kidded that English was thus my “third language, ” after German and Hebrew. When we moved to the suburbs (Springfield, NJ) one of the highlights was having a science teacher who had designed the rocket fuel formulas for Cape Canaveral Florida. I also met Dr. Martin Luther King (who gave a sermon at a synagogue across from my junior high school in Springfield). However, my academic performance up until then seemed routine and not out-of-the-ordinary.
Then at age of 12, bored that summer, I signed up for a math course on Channel 13 This was the only educational channel available at the time. There was a course that really fascinated me. I covered the intricacies of differential and integral calculus. But there was a catch. In order to follow all these TV lectures, and get credit I had to register for the course and take a proctored exam at the end. I then picked up some elementary books from the library, such as on Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, etc. and gravitated toward the older math texts (which much like older carpentry books) were of greater interest and offered more charm. Then, by the end of the summer, and before entering high school I competed this TV course passed the proctored final administered at Fairleigh Dickenson University.
When I entered high school, they didn’t know exactly what to do with me. It wasn’t until later that John Hopkins University first started a program to help math prodigies – see their Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) program. John Hopkins has since been tracking and helping approximately 200 math prodigies each year in the US . This equates to about 5,000 prodiges over a 25 year period of time. These children thus represent one-in-a-million. At the same time, NJ state requirements mandated that I, nevertheless, take elementary high school math courses like Algebra I. At the time I adamantly refused to take the geometry course, and they obliged me. In a week’s time, I skimmed through the required text and passed the final. I was, however, forced to take Algebra I. Bored out of my mind, this inspired a life-long meditative pondering over the meaning and role of the simplest of math symbols.
What does the number “1″ really point to? What value and significance do symbols like + and – have, or the equal sign? I further became interested in a larger philosophical issues of knowledge and I recall how a high school teacher being impressed by my grasp of Renaissance philosophy and she me to teach one of her classes on this subject.
I also won a regional math competition, and by a wide margin. Later in my junior year I wrote a critical paper on Godel’s Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Naturalis and Related Systems I. Already early on I sensed something missing in the completeness of our extraordinarily math-based ideology of nature. I call it an ideology, a stuck cultural fixation rather than an truly objective or purely scientific view. But what was wrong with that universally math-bound vision? Was Godel onto something huge?
Also around this time, I scored two perfect 800′s on math college entrance exams, and the highest score in physics for my and surrounding high schools. Then at age 16, I couldn’t stand what my high school had to offer any more, and matriculated into New York University’s Washington Square College early admissions program. This was due also to my interested in NYU’s famed Courant Institute of Mathematics.
The college years were an incredible time for me, especially living in Greenwich Village during the 1960′s. But at the beginning of my academic career, I was oblivious to the surrounding cultural turmoil and rather turned to the disciplines of mathematics, physics, logic, the philosophy of knowledge, or just about everything we might call “rational” or the result of a “left-brain dominant” view.
Economics was among my interests and partly because of my mother’s influence. Having survived Stalin’s Siberia (where the “roads were paved with blood” as she put it) my mom was an enthusiastic follower of Ayn Rand Ms. Rand was a brilliant novelist who was a Stalin-era survivor. She was therefore an avid anti-communist and passionate proponent of laissez-faire capitalism. So by age 16 I met Ayn Rand and her key followers, including Alan Greenspan, who at that time was virtually unknown except in Ayn Rand circles. I also sat in on an NYU Graduate Business School course taught by the famous Ludwig von Mises, an economist idolized by this clique. Lastly, linguistics was a major college interest, and I studied several ancient languages, most notably Chinese, and especially during a summer at the University of Hawaii.
Hawaii then was an unbelievably pristine and magnificent place. I spent one of the greatest summers of my life there (except for having a bicycle accident there that broke a front tooth). Overall I was flying high all the while, at least intellectually.
LEFT-BRAIN SHUT DOWN
Then one auspicious day everything in my life changed.
We had moved to Hillsdale, NJ and I happened to be home from school when suddenly I got a high fever. My temperature may have been 106 degrees or more because subsequently there was some apparent damage akin to a stroke. For the next morning I woke up and was not myself. My mind was racing out of control, and I couldn’t catch words swirling through my brain cells at top speeds. I could barely speak in whole sentences. This is a condition known as aphasia. I don’t think I had a stroke, but rather similar damage to the corpus collasum which connects the two sides of the brain.
Needless to say this was traumatic. I cried myself to sleep for a week, thinking my life was coming to an end or maybe I should better commit suicide.
Obviously I was cut off from having the high levels of mathematical, logical and linguistics skills that in prior years had been part of my ego’s sense-of-self. I was lost trying to deal with or know who I was or what to now do with my now disabled life, especially since there seemed no effective medical help.
Curiously if one multiplies the statistical chances of being a math prodigy (about one in a million) by the chances of being aphasic (about 1/3 of 1% of a given population) and also by the chances of recovering (25-40%), then the final chance of what befell me was a kind of 1-in-a-billion predicament. Also who was I to turn to for advise to help me in such rare shoes? There were no experts. And thus I started a journey of my own exploring, especially of my inner world. I learned thereby some things profound. This led me to a revolutionary philosophy, one that challenges Newton’s kernel Renaissance, 17th-century vision of a mechanical, clock-like and math-based cosmos. This is an understanding that has guided humanity for the past 400 years to create the Industrial Revolution and ultimately our modern world. What my philosophy of raw-wisdom suddenly implied was that there could be a different life-centered understanding of nature, and wherein the classical math-centered view misdirects us, misunderstands our world and misleads all of us towards major environmental, social and health crises we now experience ubiquitously.
But first I struggled immensely in the dark, and for years, and to just get back to my basic and simple faculties working. I tried turning again for help to others, to “experts” but with little avail in finding any. My father in Germany, estranged from my mother, blamed my inner troubles on psychological factors having to do with my mother causing me some emotional harm. Freudian psychology was then popular in the 1960′s. My step-dad was comforting but not very guiding to a solution. My mother desperately led me to several conventional physicians, but the drugs they administered were toxic and made things worse. Since she could at least see that clearly, she stopped taking me to such doctors. This was my own first taste of a medical system that can often do more harm than good. So all this left me with a serious sense of abandonment, especially helpless to verbally express and defend myself. This was quite a frightening experience at the age of 17, and caused me to yearn for a deeper inner, wordless understanding of myself, my consciousness and the world around me…. rebound as one. I had to solve a huge problem of reaching a far greater unity of understanding than any mathematical formula offered. I needed to bring my life back on course and into balance.
ON A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
What I decided was to study things then quite out of the box.
My mother took me to Israel to attend my sister’s wedding, and on the way back, stopping awhile in London, I let a chartered plane take off for the US without me. I thought then I might travel from England to India on an inspired spiritual journey. But after about two weeks, I relented, returning to America and re-matriculating at NYU. There I took a job as an errand boy for the NYU School of Continuing Education, and which required no mental skills, plus this helped me pay for everyday expenses. And now the courses I was taking were no longer on topics such as advanced mathematics, physics, or linguistics. The subjects changed to things far more “right-brain fulfilling,” such as art, dance, and poetry. I also remember a religion course taught by a Dr. Perry, where the final exam was a poetic essay, one that didn’t need to make any logical sense. With some ingenuity, I got by. Living amid the free-spirited and inspired culture of Greenwich Village also helped – as long as I avoided using drugs. Overall, I thought to myself, if my parents had survived the Holocaust, I could survive this challenge, no matter how difficult. I would do what it takes.
For numerous reasons, however, I found my continuing stay at NYU and in New York City almost impossible to bear. I thus dropped out and moved to an intentional community in the more rural reaches of Warwick, New York. There I had far better support for my physical and emotional survival. The community was (and to this day remains) calledThe Barn and was led by a Willem Nyland who was a disciple of the Russian philosopher Gurdjieff.
Two things were most important in this move. First I didn’t have to tax my mind and could be employed doing manual labor, from picking fruit in orchards, to helping with simple chores in a machine shop, to working on construction sites. These skills also stayed with me for the rest of my life and as a balancing and grounding influence. Secondly, the group followed a spiritual path that gave me great insights, and exactly what I needed most to extricate myself. They chiefly taught a method of self-observation or to learn about myself as if from a distance and with enhanced objectivity.
I thus had time to heal my mind, though I finally left the community when I was able and ready. Four years later, in 1971, I returned to finish a few courses at NYU (as needed to graduate and with a BA degree in Religion – not mathematics). While my mind healed enough to function minimally, almost normally as it appeared sometimes to others, my body nevertheless was stressed. On the construction sites in Warwick, I had been drinking umpteen cups of coffee with white sugar and processed cream, and otherwise eating poorly. I was still following the “you see it diet.” In the intentional community there was relatively little health guidance, as the philosophy of Gurdjieff showed relatively scant integration of diet and spiritual disciplines.
And so I tread on my own path toward knowing the healing arts, including via matriculating at Seton Hall University to work on a Masters degree in Asian Studies, and writing a thesis on the early history of Chinese medicine. This was also derivative of my fascination with the Chinese philosophy of a universe composed of yin and yang forces, as an alternative to the western (mechanical/math-bound) view that I knew already then, made no real sense to me.
In between, my dad in Germany had access to tax credits for sending a child to college. He expressed pity that I had little or no professional skills, or means to make a living to support a family so he offered to send me to either medical or business school. I had a taste of what modern medicine was all about, so I opted for business school with such a choice. This led me to get an MBA in accounting from NYU’s Graduate School of Business.
FAMILY & PROFESSIONAL LIFE – STRETCHED IN TWO DIRECTIONS
I then got married to a former classmate at NYU, and needed to actually make a living, especially with a child on the way! This led me to work in the accounting field and fro a small regional firm. In my teenage years I thought accounting and law were two of the most boring of all subjects in the world! Still I was no longer a math prodigy, and this was a practical, relatively easy skill to acquire, and so it made sense. Paradoxically given my background and deep spiritual inclinations, I became a very practical CPA and have been ever since. This helped me support my family, and my two beautiful children. My daughter Shira is now a cantor and religious educator and my son Aaron is a successful entrepreneur (one of the founders of www.livingsocial.com)
In my professional career, I first worked again for a regional CPA firm and then very soon thereafter set up a practice. Over the years, tax shelters became popular and this led me to get a securities license. Ultimately this redirected me to work on Wall Street, twice as head of securities firms with over a hundred employees and engaged in investment banking. On the one hand, this was just another way for me to make a living – even if it was not what my heart and soul yearned to do. Still I was grateful to be there to become an observer, learning about life in what I called the “belly of the Behemoth.” -Wall Street really reflects a major part of the soul of western civilization.
I soon tried to drop out of that kind of lifestyle and thus went for two years’ training at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and for a degree in Oriental medicine or as an OMD/acupuncturist. During that period of my life, I also became a vegetarian (1981) and then ran several NYC marathons with the Gary Null Natural Living and Running Club and volunteered to help Gary Null on his radio show and assisted other health activists. I organized a hunger organization called Food & Water which later changed to become the leading organization fighting food irradiation. In NYC, I ran a “nature of consciousness” study group sponsored by the Institute of Noetic Sciences. At Pacific College, I wanted to see how effectively the ying/yang philosophy of nature’s consciousness worked in the healing arts. Ultimately I was disappointed. My expectations were higher. A turning point was when I was working in an acupuncture clinic and they forbade me from giving nutritional advice to patients because their insurance didn’t cover the same. I had studied nutrition with great teachers like Dr. Bernard Jensen and this injunction didn’t quite sit well with me. That experience, and unrelated financial pressures, made me decide just months short of qualifying for a license, to drop out acupuncture school – and not adopt that training for a life-long profession. I went back to help rescue my partners and their handling of the Wall Street brokerage, if just briefly.
During that time, and as soon as we got some money out of our venture, I helped envision, fund and organize the Gerson Wellness Center at Sedona, combining my business skills with my passion for holistic healing and the revolutionary therapy of late Dr. Max Gerson. This clinic only existed for a year but it has since inspired other centers. At the clinic, we reversed the cancer of many patients with natural therapies, including the Stage IV or metastatic melanoma of a chiropractor from Oneonta.
Then with seeing more of Wall Street’s corruptions, I decided to pack up. I sold my house in Nyack, and moved to live in Oneonta, N.Y., attracted to move there by a girl friend. I have since loved living in this small town, despite the cold winter weather, but where there is a much cleaner environment and ample opportunity to build community. During my first year in Oneonta, I lived on funds from selling my home, and had amply free time to write 50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified Foods plus engage in health activism especially to fight genetic engineering. However, as funds ran out, I took a job as an assistant professor of accounting at Hartwick College, again to practically get by.
The job was demanding and this left me no free time for what I really loved. I didn’t even have time for finding a publisher for my book on genetically modified foods. The book was thus posted for free on a website in 2000. In the years that followed, I had largely done nothing to promote it further. Then to my surprise, I found it ranking high on Google, as it was being linked to by countless sites all over the Web.
PLANNING FOR LIFE CHANGES
RETURNING TO HOLISTIC PURSUITS
So in 2004 I took additional courses sponsored by the American Naturopathic Certification Board, got credit for the work at Pacific, and earned a naturopathic certification and licensing. Officially this is a CTN or certified Traditional Naturopath designation. Additionally I received a certification at the Puerto Rico Ann Wigmore Institute in living foods. Subsequently I taught what I had learned from Ann Wigmore, and Victoras Kulvinskas in a five month course in healing modalities in Oneonta. A teacher teaches what he needs to know the most, so I began to myself transition to a raw vegan diet.
This was for ecological as well as health reasons – or in my senior years to avoid the major diseases of our times (cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s and digestive ailments). It was the fortunate reading of the China Study that finally helped me make this transition to a more vegan diet. Previously I had always been an ovo-lacto vegetarian. The China Study was one of several major studies that confirmed and corroborated such findings – and I have posted many of these research studies on the raw-wisdom site.
Then a most important turning point in my life came via a partnership with Melinda Elliott. This was begun in 2005 when she moved up to live with me from her home in Virginia. Melinda had been suffering from breast cancer at the time. For a little over 4 years we were committed to help each other and others, and our whole planet make a healing shift. We both transitioned to a purer healing diet – more whole, raw, organic and vegan to empower our work. What I gradually discovered, the hard way, was that while I avoided the major diseases of civilization, I also had lingering prostatic inflammations, stiffening of the back, loss of energy, fungus infections, skin outbreaks, and so on – so that further adjustments were needed in my diet and lifestyle to overcome the same. The aging process was sneaking up on me, at least until I decided to make further countercultural shifts.
And with this in mind, Melinda and I traveled to Sedona, Arizona and Washington DC – to the Raw Spirit Festivals to meet thousands of like-minded people – and especially Dr. Gabriel Cousens at his Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. After that trip, we decided to form a branch of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. Both these visits inspired us to move further along our respective healing paths.
Covering another arena of major interest, I recently attended two international symposiums on the science of consciousness, one sponsored by the Center for Consciousness Studies in Tuscon, Arizona and the other by Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness in Taipei Taiwan to present my unique views – again making many networking contacts. See CV link below for more details.
C URRENT PROJECTS
The above has been a prelude to completing my PhD at Binghamton University and with a thesis entitled Raw Wisdom: Moving from a Death-Centered to a Life-Centered Vision of Nature. A gist of the first half is posted. Melinda has moved to Florida and is working there as an OT, while I remain in Oneonta with the housing and accounting projects, working on building an online community with the healingtalks blog website, sponsoring events, and creating a local intentional community.
Lastly, and from time to time I offer naturopathic counseling and educational services.
We thus invite you all to kindly support our life-long and passionate effort, especially to make a global mind change from a Newtonian mechanical to a life and consciousness centered vision of nature in order tol turnaround some of the key ecological and health crises of our times.
This concludes my life story and summary of my life work.
I look forward to hearing from all others would like to inspiringly partake – either online by networking or more actively by visiting – to share stories, knowledge, experiences, teachings, energies and passions to make this a better planet for all.
ANNUAL JOURNAL ADDITIONS TO BIOGRAPHY