Norman Cousins

The Power of Belief

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In this episode of “POTENTIALS . . . Envisioning the New Millennium,” host Barbara Marx Hubbard goes deep in conversation with the legendary editor & author to explore the power of belief. Connections between mind and body are discussed in reference to Cousin’s seminal book “Anatomy of an Illness,” which helped to usher in the holistic health revolution. Cousins longstanding leadership as a global peacemaker is explored as well as envisioning a world within which peace and mutual respect could exist amongst all people & nations. This episode is deeply inspiring and hopeful.

CousinsNorman Cousins was born on June 24, 1915, in Union Hill, New Jersey. Norman attended teachers college at Columbia University. Norman then went on to lead an illustrious career as the longtime editor of the Saturday Review. During his lifetime Cousins fended off a life threatening disease and a massive coronary, both times using his own regimen of nutritional and emotional support systems as opposed to traditional methods of treatment.

Cousins is often described as the man who laughed his way to health, a simplified explanation of the controversial healing method the author/editor employed when he was diagnosed in the mid-1960’s as having ankylosing spondylitis. The degenerative disease causes the breakdown of collagen, the fiberous tissue that binds together the body’s cells. Almost completely paralyzed, given only a few months to live, Cousins ordered himself checked out of the hospital. He moved into a hotel room and began taking extremely high doses of vitamin C and also exposed himself to equally high doses of humor.

Slowly Norman regained use of his limbs. As his condition steadily improved over the following months, Cousins resumed his busy life, eventually returning to work full-time at the Saturday Review. Cousins detailed his journey in “Anatomy of an Illness.”

In December, 1980, some fifteen years after winning his bout with ankylosing spondylitis, Cousins suffered a near-fatal heart attack while teaching in California. As before, he made his body a personal laboratory. He refused morphine, changed his visiting schedule to ensure rest, and gradually improved. Cousins once again published his findings in “The Healing Heart” for millions to learn from and enjoy.

Norman Cousins died in November, 1990. Norman Cousins led an extraordinary life. He received hundreds of awards including the Peace Medal from the United Nations. Cousins received nearly fifty honorary doctorate degrees and served as a diplomat during three presidential administrations. Cousins spent his lifetime challenging the odds.

Books in Print:
Anatomy of an Illness As Perceived by the Patient : Reflections on Healing and Regeneration by Norman Cousins

Earth at Omega : Passage to Planetization

Head First : The Biology of Hope and the Healing Power of the Human Spirit

Persuasion and Healing : A Comparative Study of Psychotherapy

The Words of Albert Schweitzer (Words of Series)

Voices in America : Bicentennial Conversations With Benjamin Barber, Wendell Berry, Norman Cousins, Henry Steele Commager, Geraldine Ferraro, John He

Writing for Love or Money : Thirty-Five Essays Reprinted from the Saturday Review of Literature (Essay Index Reprint Series)


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