Interview with Will Arntz, co-author of “The (not so) Little Book of Surprises”

will-arntzHerald – What triggered the creation of The (not so) Little Book of Surprises?

Will – I would have to say it was meeting and marrying Deirdre. Basically I had the clutch pushed in and was cruising to the finish line. I’d done the BLEEP thing, which was one of my great dreams. And I built software companies and made money, and those were big dreams. And I was kind of thinking, “That’s enough for one incarnation.” And then Dierdre came along and she really pulled me back into the game.

Herald – What was the inception of this project?

Will – I had this mountain of transcripts from Deirdre’s teachings and poems. As a documentary filmmaker you’re always looking through interview transcripts … you don’t read it all. You just develop this ability to pick things out, you know? And stuff just kept jumping out at me—things I hadn’t heard put in that way before. It was like haiku where the last line is so often a surprise. Same thing with Deirdre’s quotes and poems. Sometimes the last line would spin me into a 90° turn like, “Whoa! I didn’t see that coming.”

I loved that. I laughingly call this book BLEEP 1.5. It’s not scientific material. But it presents things we all know in a way that makes it fresh and exciting again. Hence the word “surprise” in the title.

Herald – Do you have any favorite passages in the book?

Will – It’s kind of a quote du jour. My most recent one is on page 113 and it goes:

“All the beings of light say, ‘If we can get enough men and women on the ground to hold the light—we’re not even talking about enlightenment because it’s so misunderstood and has so much baggage, let’s just forget about that. If we can get just get enough people holding the light of love love love, not perfection, just the practice of love; if we can get enough people doing this then when the rocket ship planet Earth begins to take off, when she shakes, she will only lose a few pieces of herself. She will make it through the age of the chrysalis. She will survive.”

She will become her new frequency and we will make it. The oceans will come back, the two lions that are left will multiply. We’ll get the streams back, the forests will grow again and they, too, will come back.”

I just keep walking around saying to myself, “We’ll make it. We’ll get there.”

Herald – That’s a good quote for a lot of people to hold onto right now after the elections.

Will – Bucky Fuller once said we’re about to find out whether the human race was a successful experiment of nature or a dead-end. And I really feel that we’re at that choice point. I’m not a doom and gloom person. But sometimes the dinosaurs go away, you know? We’re no different.

Bottom line, it’s time to wake up. This is the eleventh hour. One of the messages of the book is that if we just get enough people here on the planet to practice love, it’s not too late. And that’s very very hopeful for me.

Herald – The whole book is gorgeous and the pictures are total show stoppers. How was it working with violist/photographer Endre Balogh?

714aea4dkulWill – It was a great pleasure working with him. Endre is an amazing artist. Sometimes he’d suggest pictures to combine with certain passages and I’m like, “You’re crazy. There’s no way that works.” And then I’d wake up the next morning and go, “Oh, my God, that’s perfect!”

So much of this project was done with sheer delight. Sure, it’ll wake people up … the book is designed to give people some good deep moments. But you’re not going to sit in a room with one candle burning and contemplate each page for five days. Well, you could do that. But it was designed to be a lot more fun.

As Deirdre says, “Look, it’s like a rock n’ roll song. Half the time you don’t even hear the lyrics. And if you do hear them half the time you don’t understand them. But you love the ride.” So here we go …




In Memoria: Candace Pert, PhD

Candace Pert, Ph.D.
June 26, 1946 – Sept. 12, 2013

On a Friday evening in 1973 Candace Pert, a pharmacology graduate assistant at John Hopkins University, crept into the university lab of her supervisor, neuroscientist Sol Snyder, and injected morphine tagged with a radioactive tracer into the brain tissue of a mouse.

Within a couple days she realized she’d identified the first opiate receptor in the brain, the cellular bonding site for endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which she called our “underlying mechanism for bliss and bonding.” This breakthrough presaged a sea change in scientific understanding of human internal communication systems, pointing the way toward the information-based model that is now supplanting the long-dominant structuralist viewpoint.

She didn’t get credit for the discovery.

After taking her Ph.D. in 1974 she moved to the National Institutes of Health, where she rose to become head of the brain chemistry department at the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health. In her work there she went on to identify endorphin receptors throughout the body and to show that a variety of proteins known as peptides (including endorphins) are key “information substances” which can affect our mind, our emotions, our immune system, our digestion and other bodily functions, helping to found a field of science known as psychoneuroimmunology.

In 1986, the year before she left the NIH, she and her second husband, Michael Ruff, identified Peptide-T, a substance which they felt had potential as a therapy for people infected with HIV. In 1987 she founded a company to study peptides in more detail, which closed in 1990 after financial backing fell through.

From 1990 to 2006 Candace Pert was a professor in the department of physiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. In 2007 she and her husband founded another company, Rapid Pharmaceuticals, to develop new peptide-based drugs and were used in trials in San Francisco for the treatment of AIDS and neuroAIDS.

She also researched the relationship between the nervous and immune systems, developing documentation of a body-wide communication system mediated by peptide molecules and their receptors, which she perceives to be the biochemical basis of emotion and the potential key to many of the most challenging diseases of our time. In 1997 she wrote and published the book Molecules of Emotion. Over the course of her career she published over 250 scientific articles on peptides and their receptors and the role of these neuropeptides in the immune system. She took out a number of patents for modified peptides in the treatment of psoriasis, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, stroke, and head trauma.

She died at home at age 67.