For Nathan's Curriculum Vitae (CV) click HERE
NATHAN BATALION'S LIFE STORY
Nathan tells a unique life story of how he was a math prodigy who, due to a high fever, had a temporary brain impediment. He became aphasic (his left brain shut down for a time period, similar to the experience of Jill Bolte Taylor a Harvard brain scientist). Though he later recovered his faculties, inside he was never the same, having learned an entirely different language and kind of wisdom about the nature of the cosmos we live in.
I was born in 1949 in Germany and into a Jewish Holocaust surviving family. As a result I still remember the war-torn streets and burnt out buildings in Germany that were left after World War II. More importantly, the suffering of my family (my aunt and step-dad both survived Auschwitz, my parents and grandparents survived Stalin’s Russia) and friends around them too. Most of my extended family lost their lives during the war. The knowledge thereof was imbedded deep in my soul, and I have carried feelings about this inside me always, and all my life – and enough to wail about at times.
For example, one of my mother’s suitors was Joel Brandt who was famous for having sat down with Eichmann to negotiate the sale of the lives of one million Hungarian Jews. Can you imagine? Many did not believe him as he travelled around the world to collect money. The impact of all of this was to make me more sensitive to global sufferings, both human and non-human, including human health pandemics and the vast eco-holocausts we are still undergoing.
After the war, my parents separated. My father, Samuel Batalion organized and was headmaster of a building trade school for young Zionists wanting to emigrate to Israel. As to my mother, one of the first steps she took to heal her experience was to surround herself with anabundance of food and gaiety. She opened a Russian restaurant in Frankfurt called the Troika. I remember best the music, dance and joyfulness of that time, it was also the period of the “cold war.” Somehow my mother opened letters she wasn’t supposed to, and thus became the subject of threats from Russian spies who worked as musicians at the restaurant. She turned over the letters to the CIA about murders they were planning all over Europe. This forced me and my mother to become refugees. When I was seven, we came to the US, first living in Newark, New Jersey and with my uncle and aunt, also survivors. There in the US I felt very different than the average Jewish boy, far more serious inside, interested in the deeper questions of life. No doubt, I had come from a world more unthinkably torn apart than most of my friends could ever imagine. My mother remarried in the US, and to a Holocaust survivor with a great heart and sweet soul, my step-dad Gabriel Bross, and whose last name I took on as my middle name. He 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 with an abundance of meat. Later my parents jointly opened a grocery store, and subsequently other related businesses such as a delicatessen, beach food stand, also a liquor store and later a health food store. Thus again being surrounded by nourishment this made them feel “rich” and well taken care of by the universe.
For me, as a child, this also meant I could have whatever I wanted to eat, and at any time, especially candies, soft drinks, ice cream, canned goods, you name it. The grocery store was also in a Afro-American or ethnic ghetto neighborhood. There we had certain luscious ethnic foods like fat-back, chitterlings, hog moss, and pig’s feet, all extremely fatty. During this time of my life, I followed what you might call the “you see it diet.” I would eat whatever I could see, especially in the most colorful wrappings.
Soon and as a result, my health began to suffer. As a young teenager, I got hepatitis and was hospitalized for a week. Later at age 17, I fell subject to a high fever that left me quite ill. This was so serious it caused me to drop out of school for years. And the latter experience, combined with my deep feelings as a child and the urgings to make sense of a senseless world, all led me to become a truth-seeker. Now this was focused on the many issues of health and as explained latter, also on still deeper issues. After 40 years of explorations, this evolved into my current philosophy of raw-wisdom and naturolism.
TEENAGE YEARS AS A MATH PRODIGY
In between these experiences, it was discovered that I was somehow a math prodigy at age 12. Before then my schooling had been uneventful. In Newark I attended an orthodox Jewish private school, learning Hebrew and Jewish liturgy in the morning, and English subjects in the afternoon. I kidded others that English was only my third language. When we moved to the suburbs (Springfield, NJ) and a highlight of that time was having a science teacher who had worked for Cape Canaveral in designing rocket fuel, plus having met Martin Luther King (when he gave a sermon at a synagogue across from my junior high school). However, my academic performance up until then seemed routine.
Then at age of 12, I was quite bored during a summer and so I signed up for a math course on Channel 13, the only educational channel available in those days. Somehow I was fascinated by this course, namely in differential and integral calculus. There was only one catch. To follow the lectures I had to first pick up many books at the library, such as on Algebra I, II, Geometry, Trigonometry, etc. And I liked the antiquated math texts (much like old carpentry and construction skill texts) from the turn of the century. They were more demanding and interesting. Then by the end of that summer, and before entering high school, I passed a proctored final exam given for this TV course at Fairleigh Dickenson University.
When entering high school, they didn’t know what to do with me. It wasn’t until 1971 that John Hopkins University started the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) program, tracking and helping approximately 200 math prodigies found per year in the US (or about 5,000 over a 25 year period). And NJ state requirements mandated that I still take some basic math courses. At least I adamantly refused to take the geometry course, and God knows but they obliged me. It took me just a week to read the entire geometry book, memorizing its propositions/theorems, and passing the final exam. Needless to say, with the courses they did force me to take, and all year long, I was bored out of my mind. This made me immensely philosophical in pondering over ( having little else to daydream about) the deepest nature of the simplest of math symbols. What does the number “1” really mean? What value and significance do the symbols + and – and the equal sign have? I also became interested, more generally, in philosophy and I recall my high school English teacher was so impressed by my knowledge of Renaissance philosophy that she asked me to teach a class on the subject.
Then in 1964, I won the Union County regional math competition, and by a wide margin. In my junior year I wrote a critical paper on Godel’s Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Naturalis and Related Systems. Already then I sensed something very deep was wrong or missing in the completeness of a math-based understanding of nature. But what? Was Godel onto something huge?
Also around that same time, I scored two perfect 800’s in math on my college entrance exams, and the highest high school score in physics. I vaguely remember it was something like 779 or close to perfect. Then at age 16, I just couldn’t stand high school any more and I matriculated at New York University’s Washington Square College. This is partly because I was interested in NYU’s famed Courant Institute of Mathematics.
COLLEGE YEARS, MY HEALTH CHALLENGE, & LIVING AT THE BARN
The college years were quite an incredible time for me, 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 tuned to the disciplines of mathematics, science, linguistics, logic , philosophy, or just about everything “left-brain dominant.”
Economics was among those interests and partly because of my mother’s influence. Having survived Stalin (including being sent to Siberia where the “roads were paved with blood”) she was an enthusiastic follower of Ayn Rand, a brilliant writer and also a Stalin-survivor, and an avid laissez-faire capitalist. So by age 16 I met both Ayn Rand and her followers, including Alan Greenspan, who at that time was largely unknown except in Ayn Rand circles. I also sat in on a course taught by the famous Ludwig von Mises, an economist idolized by the same clique. Another great interest was linguistics, and so I studied several ancient languages, most notably Chinese, and especially for a summer at the University of Hawaii. At that time Hawaii was unbelievably pristine, largely untouched and magnificient, and this was one of the greatest summers of my life (except for a bicycle accident that broke a front tooth). Back in NY, I also had fun working a college job at Merril Lynch’s headquarters on Wall Street, handling the receipts of transactions worth $millions each. Overall I was flying high then, at least intellectually.
Then one auspicious day everything in my life changed. We had moved to Hillsdale, NJ by then and I happened to be home from school when I suddenly got a high fever. I imagine it must have been 106 degrees or more because there was subsequent nerve damage. For the next morning I woke up and was definitely not myself. My mind was racing out of control, and I could catch it with words swirling through my brain cells at top speeds. I could barely speak in whole sentences, a condition known as aphasia. I don’t think I had a stroke, but rather, and more simply, that the high fever had a damaging impact on the corpus collasum that connects the two sides of the brain.
Needless to say this was traumatic. I literally cried for a week, thinking my life was come to an end or maybe I should better commit suicide. My brain power had been my life, but now I was cut off from the high levels of mathematics, logic, analytical philosophy, and linguistics that had been within my reach. I was lost trying to deal with an inner world that was foreign. If one multiplies the chances of having been a math prodigy (one in a million) times the chances of becoming aphasic (1/3 of 1%) and then recovering (25-40%), the final result says the chances of this kind of alignment are slim. I may be the only or one of a handful of persons on the planet to have undergone anything like this. What I learned was profound. It led me to a revolutionary philosophy of raw wisdom, one that actually challenges Newton’s kernel vision of a mechanical, clock-like cosmos. This is an understanding that has guided humanity for the past 400 years. What the philosophy of raw-wisdom implies is that there is a different life-centered vision possible, and wherein the classical math-centered view not only does not hold, but misleads us to many of the environmental, social and health crises of our times.
But first I struggled quite immensely in the dark, and for years, and to just get back to my basic faculties working. I tried turning for help to others, but to little avail. My father in Germany, estranged from my mother, blamed all my inner troubles on psychological factors having to do with my mother causing me some emotional harm. My step-dad was comforting but not guiding to a solution. My mother desperately led me to several physicians, but the drugs they administered were toxic and made things worse. Since she could see that clearly, she stopped taking me to those doctors (having gotten wiser than when she let them remove my tonsils as a child, justifying a mutilation). This was my own first taste of a medical system that can do potentially more harm than good. So all this left me with a sense of abandonment, especially helpless to verbally defend myself. This was a frightening experience at age 17, and caused me, nevertheless, to yearn to understand myself, my consciousness and the world around me more deeply. I had to solve a problem far greater than any mathematical riddle I had ever encountered, and where my life’s course hung in the balance.
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 I let a chartered plane take off without me. I thought I might go to India instead on a spiritual journey, but after about two weeks, I relented, returning to the US and re-matriculating at NYU. There I took a job as an errand boy for the School of Continuing Education, and which required no mental skills, to help pay for everyday expenses. And now the courses I was taking were no longer about mathematics, physics, or linguistics. The subjects changed to things more right-brain dominant, 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 that didn’t need to make logical sense. With some ingenuity, I managed to get by. Living amid the free-spirited culture of Greenwich village helped at times.
Overall, I thought, if my parents had survived the Holocaust, I could survive this no matter how difficult.
Ultimately I found my continuing stay at NYU and in New York City, however, almost impossible to bear. I dropped out and moved to an intentional community in the more rural reaches of Warwick, New York. There I had better support for my physical and emotional survival. The community was called The 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 out 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 most needed 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 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 it appeared to others, my body now was somewhat stressed. On the construction sites in Warwick, I had often been drinking upteen cups of coffee with white sugar and processed cream, altogether eating poorly. I was still following the “you see it diet.” In the intentional community there was relatively little health guidance, and as the philosophy of Gurdjieff showed scant integration of diet and spiritual disciplines.
And so I became interested on my own path to the healing arts, including via matriculating at Seton Hall University to work on a masters degree in Asian Studies, and writing a thesis focused on the early history of Chinese medicine.
In between, my dad in Germany had access to tax credits for sending a child to college. He also expressed pity that I had little or no professional skills to venture into life, or make a living and he offered to send me to either medical or business school. I had a taste of what modern medicine was all about, and so I opted for business school. This led me to get an MBA in accounting from NYU’s Graduate School of Business.
FAMILY LIFE & 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 in 1977. This led me to work in the accounting field. In my teenage years I thought this was one of the two most boring of subjects in the world! Still I was no longer a math prodigy, and this was practical and made sense. And so paradoxically I started working as a CPA and have been ever since. It 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 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. Again this was just a way of making a living, and not what my heart and soul really wanted to do. Still I was grateful to be there as an observer, and learning from what life was like in the “belly of the Behemoth.” I soon tried to drop out of that kind of lifestyle and went for two years training at the Pacific Institute of Oriental Medicine, and toward a degree as an Oriental MD/acupuncturist. During that period of my life, I became a vegetarian (1981) and also ran several NYC marathons with the Gary Null Natural Living and Running Club and worked helping Gary Null on his radio show and other health activists. I organized a hunger organization called Food & Water that later changed to become the leading organization fighting food irradiation. At Pacific, I wanted to see how deeply the ying/yang philosophy worked in the healing arts. Ultimately I was disappointed. 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 that! I had studied nutrition with great teachers like Dr. Bernard Jensen and this didn’t quite sit well with me. That and unrelated financial pressures made me decide, months short of qualifying for licensing, to drop out, or not to become an acupuncturist. I went back working to rescue my partners and their handling of our 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 manage the Gerson Wellness Center at Sedona, combining my business skills with my deep interest in holistic healing and the revolutionary therapy of late Dr. Max Gerson. This clinic only existed for a year but it has inspired other centers. At the clinic, we reversed the cancer of many patients with natural therapies, including reversing 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., prompted by a girl friend. I have since loved living in this small town, despite the cold winter weather, and where there is a much cleaner environment and ample opportunity to build community. The first year in Oneonta, I lived on funds from selling my home, and had 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 be more practical for awhile. The job was demanding and this left me no free time for what I really loved. I didn’t even have time to pursue the publishing of my book on genetically modified foods. It was thus posted for free on a website in 2000. In the years that followed I had largely done nothing since to promote it. To my surprise, I found it ranking on Google, as it was being linked to by countless sites on the Web.
PLANNING FOR A LIFE CHANGE
During my years of living in Oneonta, I also realized I had very little retirement savings, so I began buying some nearby homes to renovate, thus applying and enjoying the use of my construction skills from living at the Barn, my art skills that were learned in college, and my knowledge of stained glass imparted by my uncle, Ignaz Fabiarz with whom I apprenticed. See www.viewallrentals.com for pictures of these renovations. Overall it has been very gratifying to create such beautiful living spaces, mostly for students, in the Oneonta area. This led to managing a full-time construction crew, the maintenance of many houses, plus my accounting practice or in short, a very busy life. In my mind I still really wanted to get back to holistic pursuits and on a full-time basis, and despite having turned away from the acupuncture career.
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. Additionally I received a certification at the Ann Wigmore Institute in living foods. Subsequently I taught the great findings of Ann Wigmore, and Victoras Kulvinskas and others in a five month course in healing modalities in Oneonta. A teacher teaches what he needs to know the most, so I also began to myself transition to a vegan diet, and not only a vegetarian life-style. This was for ecological reasons as well as to avoid the major diseases of our times (cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s and digestive ailments). It was reading the China Study that finally helped me make the transition. This is one of several major studies that confirms and corroborates the same findings. Then a most important turning point was my life partnership with Melinda Elliott. This was begun in 2005 when she moved up to live with me from her home in Virginia. We are committed to each other and to helping others, and our whole planet, make a healing shift. In the past two years we’ve also been transitioning to a highest quality diet, not merely organic, whole food and vegan but also near 100% raw, and to further empower us in our goals. What I was gradually discovering, the hard way, was that while I avoided the major diseases of civilization, I still had lingering prostate inflammations, serious stiffening of the back, loss of energy, fungus infections, skin outbreaks, one or more terrible flu attacks during the winter, periodic losses of mental clarity, and so on. The aging process was still sneaking up on me, until we decided to make this important and countercultural shift.
And with this in mind, we have travelled to Sedona, to the Raw Spirit Festival 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 become a branch of the Tree of Life. Both these visits inspired us to move further along our respective paths. Also I have recently attended two international symposiums on the science of consciousness, one sponsored by the Center for Consciousness Studies in Arizona and the other by Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness in Taiwan to present my unique views – making many networking contacts.
CURRENT 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 on he site. Along with this we are working at building an online community we are
· Sponsoring events
(with ever new classes and supporting learning materials)
· Creating a local raw-wisdom community that will stretch throughout most of central New York
· Organizing holistic health centers, affiliated with one in Troy NY, The Waltja Foundation, and another we envision in the Oneonta area
· Providing private counseling services
We invite you to kindly support these effort. We are so grateful and blessed by others who can freely volunteer time or make cash contributions. This concludes (for now) the story of my life and I look forward to hearing how others might share their life stories, experience, teachings, and inspirations as well.
Yours in leading the world toward raw-wisdom ,
Nathan Batalion ND
Contact Nathan or Melinda at