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liberation (6)

The following is a very brief version of a peer-to-peer counseling method that two or more people can utilize, without any necessity of either parties being "trained counselors."

I am offering below the simple explanation and process of how humans are hurt (focusing on emotional hurts) and how they heal. Everyone deserves attention when they are experiencing pain of some kind. That is a way to prevent unnecessary suffering. We are a social species that requires attention from a caring other during our distress. With confident support, all of us will destress, and more or less heal and recover our becautiful inner nature/self.

This short step-by-step process has an underpinning detailed theory which you can access in another blog I've written (see LPC) and an intro video I've made for how to 'balance' the peer counseling session so it is focused on the 'good' and the 'hurting' and not only focused on the hurting. There are many ways to destress from daily life, and how to heal and recovery our zestful and flexible inner nature/self.

Have you ever wondered why there is so much fear in people, perhaps in yourself, and in society overall? Fear that is toxic and damaging to our well-being and functioning as a society is due to excess hurting and over-reliance on "coping" as if this coping is better (more efficient) than healing. I am interested in us all moving from a fearful existence and life-styles of coping to to a fearlessness way of being that is truly liberating for all. I teach this peer-to-peer method (LPC) because we've grown to be way too afraid of the healing process itself. We've been taught to rely on professionals for healing (e.g., therapies). Sure professionals may be needed in some cases, but our first line of defense to prevent excess distress is to do our own work on hurts and help them heal, the sooner the better.

MAKING A HEALING CHOICE (At no cost)...

Most of us never learned in a coping culture how to heal our emotional wounds. Most of us are operating on attention deficit because we never received adequate quality of attention when we were emotionally distressed in our lives. "Hurting" is defined by this shortage of attention when we needed it. This shortage is more profoundly damaging to our well-being than the original injury we experienced as painful or traumatic. ATTENTION is key to everything good!

We never learned about hurting much...and therefore, we never likely learned that we have at least 10 natural healers:

1. laughing   2. crying   3. talking spontaneously  4. shaking and trembling  5. yawning and stretching  6. righteous indignation (anger)   7. spontaneous creatiion-making  8. sweating   9. dreaming/trance   10. deep breathing

In a coping culture we have learned for the most part to negatively judge all of the above natural healers. This is the first step we have to reverse. These are all positive functions and are "natural" to us but our culture tends to tell us otherwise. Being patient in accepting these natural healers again, in yourself and in others... is the first step to recovering who we really are deep inside--and, is the way to leading a more joyful existence.

"Healing" in this peer-to-peer counseling involves getting "attention" on what is bothering us but not getting advice! What this model is about is freeing oneself using the natural healers (one or more at any point in a "session") and letting them bring us back into a more balanced self-regulation where we will be able to then think better to solve our own problems. The peer helping us is there to listen deeply without judgement and trust and encourage the natural healers as first priority. "Let people heal" and be confident in them that they can do so, including yourself.

When you and/or someone you care about are hurting, and you see their distress is getting the better of them, or of you. You can potentially partner up and offer each other positive attention (sometimes called "unconditional attention"). In this peer-to-peer way of supporting each other, you both need to take responsibility to follow a few guidelines for a "session" (i.e., of destressing, healing, and recovery).

GETTING A "SESSION" (Beginning to build a healing relationship, and a healing culture)...

A "session" here is defined as a conscious choice for you and another to willinging do "peer counseling" which involves taking say 15 min.'s each to get positive attention from another person for the purpose of destressing, healing and recovering your inherent nature as a curious, loving, playful, and zestful intelligent and empowered person. Excess stresses and hurts if not manage well become barriers to your functioning inherent nature and well-being--and, thus distress will inhibit you being able to treat others and yourself well. We all have stress and hurts in life and typically in a coping culture we do not deal with this stress and hurting very well. We often suppress it. In peer-to-peer counseling you will reverse that habit of suppressing and "forgetting" pattern and move towards healing and recovery. 

A "session" in this model of peer-to-peer counseling is a unique opportunity to care about another person without getting "attached" and "submerged" in all their distress feelings and thoughts. You take turns. Use a timer (start with 15 min. each). You (as counselor) don't interrupt the person sharing when it is their turn to get attention. You will get your turn right after them. Timing the session, with equal turns, really helps to prevent over-dependency on another person for emotional care. Too much giving care to another creates a path to eventual "burnout" for the caregiver.

DESTRESSING

This is the most basic means of releasing emotional and physical tension that builds up as inner and outer conflict, with feelings of hurt, anger, sadness, grief, depression etc. Humans are designed by nature to have good stress to function well and creatively in the world--it is part of all problem-solving and growth itself. However, if you have stressors over and over that become accumulating that can lead to chronic distress and post-traumatic effects, where you are not recovering back to a healthy stress level so you can function well. 

The most simple "session" then for destressing is merely to take time in a session to process tensions, using any or all of the natural healers. What you are aiming for is to be more flexible in your body and thinking after the session---if not, take another session or book another session soon. Sometimes it will take several sessions to find a more peaceful and joyful 'norm' for yourself. There is no magical pill here that will make everything better all of a sudden. It takes discipline and practice to get well.

HEALING

This is more complex than merely destressing. It requires in a session that you as the client getting attention to put yourself in-charge and ask for exactly what you want (though, note: asking for advice from your counselor is not advised). You are to honestly face into and "feel" and use the natural healers to express and destress and keep going into what it is you feel hurt by--even if you have to guess what it is. You can 'bitch and complain' get angry and yet always notice that your aim is to recover your beautiful, natural nature/self. Healing requires the discharge of emotional and conflictual energy (i.e.., destressing) but also to then find clarity and rational thoughts that make sense for you in what is happening to you.

Healing involves dealing with the current hurts distressing you as well as looking at connections of how what you are feeling now may be related (in a post-traumatic way) to past unhealed painful memories and events that you experienced--or you even watched because other people were getting hurt. Healing fully is complex and requires this reconnecting of present with past--and, then rationally and intelligently planning out how you want to see your future and make your future the best it can be because you deserve it. Note, even thinking "good thoughts" about yourself at times will bring up pain, fear, shame, guilt and distress in general. You and your peer-counselor can work through this by you getting unconditional attention on it--and, at some point the counselor may offer non-judgmental observations from your session to bring more clarity to you (again, observations without advice-giving).

 

RECOVERY (Patience)

This is the short-term and long-term process of you taking charge to become the person you really want to be without all the negative thoughts and painful memories and habits that are so critical of yourself. The main thing in recovery is to journal on your healing and destressing sessions. To journal and keep notes on what you are doing well today, and when something doesn't go to well, ask yourself questions about how you could have maybe handled things differently with a better outcome. You have to be patient with yourself and say, "I'm still in recovery" and so are the people in a "session" that I may be assisting. We all have been brought up in a coping culture not a healing culture and so we have to recover a lot of our natural healing capacities and thinking rational capacities.

I always believe when you are in recovery it is best to not try to "change the world" or "change another person"--but focus on changing yourself for the better... and, that's a good place to bring more joy and intelligence to society--it will rub off.

 

Cautionary

When you first try this getting unconditional attention from a peer (who is informed in this model and guidelines)--there is the problem of finding it all very uncomfortable, and even the timing of the session--it seems to formal and not natural. This is a common complaint. My experience shows, the guidelines are very important to maintain vigilantly to make peer-to-peer counseling work best. Most of us have learned not to receive good quality attention--so, it will feel perhaps a little weird at first.

After the end of a "session" (say 15 min.) make sure you as client being listened to are coming "up and out" of the distress patterning and negative emotions and thoughts that may have come up in your session. Bring yourself to look around the room, and see the "benign" and "good" things in life right now in the moment--even though all is not perfect by any means. This is important also for the counselor to make sure the client is "up and out" and has some free and flexible attention for well-being and functioning in the world. Although, it is legitimate that a client also may want to rest after a session, have a nap, etc. It is important to give yourself some "space" from the day-to-day grind of responsibilities... because you want to let the healing effects of a session percolate and integrate a bit too. Again, you can always "book" another session with your peer-counselor and that helps for you to know that there is still good attention there for you.

Ultimately, all of the above guidelines and information are quite incomplete... so, seek further reading and study on this peer-to-peer method when you can make time for it.

If you wish to email me with questions on this material and method: r.michaelfisher52 [at] gmail.com

 

 

 

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New Teaching Videos: R. Michael Fisher

I have slowly been getting media savvy and starting to put out to public access some 15-30 min. teaching videos on themes related, more or less, to my passions and fear and fearlessness. 

The first one was done by Greg Wendt, a film-maker in Carbondale, IL, USA, on my approach to coloring and aesthetic development re: fearlessness practice.

The second one produced by my own amateur means from my home in Calgary, AB, Canada, on "Ethical Practice of Fearology"

The third one also produced on my own, is "Peer Counselling Outside of Distress"  (on my passion to bring Liberation Peer Counseling back to life after a long hiatus)

The fourth one also produced on my own is "Ethical Referents of Fearology"

The fifth one "The Fearology Institute: Introduction"

The sixth one "Study of Fear: A New Turn"

The seventh one "Developing a Critical Literacy on Fear"

The eighth one "Fisher Responds to Michael Moore: On Fear"

The ninth one "The 'Big Four' Talk: Advancements in Liberation"

The tenth one "Fear Vaccine Process: Two Stories"

The eleventh one "Path of Fearlessness: Lucid Dreaming, Visions and Alters"

The twelfth one "Fear(ism): Philosophy Along the Difficult Path"

The thirteenth one "Michael Moore Meets Fearologist-II"

The fourteenth one "FearTalk 1: Four Arrows & R. Michael Fisher"

The fifthteenth one "Do's and Don'ts of Fearology"

The sixteenth one "FearTalk2: Luke Barnesmoore & R. Michael Fisher"

The seventeenth one"Understanding Jordan Peterson 1: Social Implications"

The eighteenth one "Greta, Fear and Youths' Future(s)"

The nineteenth one "FearTalk 3: Luke Barnesmoore & R. Michael Fisher"

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Also, I've produced with Barbara Bickel, a couple recent book trailers on my new books: 

"Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-based Social Transformer"  (published 2018)

"Fear, Law and Criminology: Critical Issues in Applying the Philosophy of Fearism" (2018, still to be published in early autumn)

 

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What does it mean to be a conscientious objector to Western society?

This blogpost is directly related to the current political situation that Barbara and I have experienced living in the USA for 9 years (July 2008- July 2017). Because Barbara was an Illinois State public employee at SIUC also added to us becoming "very political" relative to our other years living in Canada together (since 1991). Although, few know, that in 1994 or so I created a brochure to outline the NO FEAR PARTY that I was going to lead. People didn't pick up on it. In a sense, we've grown into being more civically aware, involved--albeit, she more than I, and I have spent most of my 9 years in conflict with various civic and activist and political groups in Carbondale, IL--not because I wanted to fight with them, I merely tried working with them and found them unworkable--and, perhaps that's what they would say about me. I do feel I confronted head on, not just intellectually, the stubborn American-psyche/personality that Americans generally take on because of the way America is and has been for centuries. The other-side to this was to face a lot of unsuccessful ventures and collaborations that fizzled rapidly here and thus, I turned very inward and contemplative, read, researched and wrote a whole tonne of good work, I think. I'm also exhausted by supporting Barbara's work out there and my own having to deal with vast rejection--to point I have said I live in exile and am undergoing social death.

Yet, Barbara and I continue to be quite political. A distinction is required, and one we both emphasized in earlier blogs this year with the Presidential 2016 election here and the shock n' awe of so many progressives. There is "politics" (and all its history and structures and discourses of power differential and hegemony) and there is the "political" realm which is basic relations in groups and society and the planet. The latter is the sphere of sociality as sociologists call it--and many might just call it the "cultural" sphere--as these overlap for sure. Barbara and I are moving into a time of our life where we just cannot ignore or put aside the politics of the world as much as we have in the past, and we have to be very aware of doing political work. That doesn't mean we'll like this change. We haven't. But to be responsible as a citizen (e.g., global citizens, which we identify with) there is no way to sluff off and remain unpolitical or slightly political. I wish it were different. The world is becoming too 'on edge' in terms of any healthy, sane, sustainable future--and if one is half-awake as a citizen, there is just too much critical work to do now to attempt to stave off the massive destruction going on, in politics, economics, education, and you name it--all are in big trouble. The next decade will be not an easy one. The intense violence and insecurities due to global warming alone, will "test" the sociality of trust and cooperation to the nth degree. We may not make it as a species. No need to try to scare anyone with this. I have thought about this and studied it for nearly 50 years more or less systematically, and my conclusion is not fearmongering or my own fear talking. It is really an intelligent future projection. And, don't forget Barbara and I have a grandson who is 7 years old.

Why I Haven't Been Successful: Costs of Being Too Political (Critical)

My political life is based on the theory/praxis of conscientization (or critical consciousness development, a la Paulo Freire and others)... this, I find is the only way to be a citizen and educator, a therapist and spiritual teacher, or whatever I do... yes, even being a father and grandfather, a husband, a friend or ally... critical consciousness has to be the ethical foundation for a life on this Earth... especially so, as Life becomes more and more threatened... I am angry that people deny this is going on.

How one is political, and chooses to grow their political sensibilities and skills by taking conscious action is a big issue. How ethical is one if they do not grow in the political sphere of life? But let me reflect on my life. Now, 65 years old, I feel there is so much work to be done in the political, that I am more and more shifting, albeit, slowly, to being less focused on other areas that I have been traveling in. So, to put it bluntly, as I was journaling this morning, a realization: Most people, especially young people, I encounter or who encounter me (mainly my writing) are not impressed by my life. Why? Because I haven't been successful. Not really by any business standard, not by a mainstream economic standard, not by a cultural or political standard as in being known or even a celebrity. So, I am thus, not likely to be effective in influencing anyone or anything out in the wide-world. Sure, I have a small circle of influence, but it is virtually still invisible on the big picture scene--and, hey, I am not even on Fb or Twitter. And, clearly I have no economic power nor am invited to be a public speaker, etc.... or if so, only rarely and I have not got onto Ted Talks or anything of the like. Sure, you can Google Scholar me on the Internet and I am somewhat impressive there, but who looks there?

So, the insight... I am too political, meaning radical and thus too demanding to have been able to take advantage of the various paths and platforms that our Western society has offered in order to 'climb to the top' (or at least near). A whole lot of people who know me or of me, frankly, wouldn't see me as "political" and, I certainly don't usually gt involved in politics. I don't even vote (and, for lots of good reasons). So, let me start with all the areas I have had access to and have even developed somewhat but they have all led to me not being perceived (not really) as successful in them: being a son, a brother, a father, a husband, a biologist, environmentalist, rehabilitation practitioner, artist, musician, psychologist-therapist, educator, writer, teacher, spiritualist, leader, scholar, public intellectual, academic, and you could add others if you want. None of those platforms of my engagement has worked for me really. And, my conclusion today is because I have been more "political" than even I thought into all of these forms. They were supposed to work, and they really didn't and don't to this day. I am too political, means I "resist" all of these platforms for their inherent (seemingly) collusion with the 'Fear' Matrix that dominates the world--and, has for at least 5000, maybe 10,000 years in the evolution of our species and cultures. That's a pretty big claim. That's a political claim--that's a critique. I am a big CRITIC of everything. I even critique the liberation movements, and the Fearlessness Movement as much of it is ... and, as much of it still needs to improve and unite, and grow and evolve and become more effective.

Well, all of the above, doesn't "pay" worth a damn, as I found... that is, being too political in everything, just doesn't pay... rather, it costs... and costs me big time. Yet, I have not near the kinds of oppressions and problems that most of the world has. What to do about this? Food for more thought... I'm sure I'll write more about it... I have thought of going into politics once I get back into Canada (Alberta)... Calgary... watch out!

Bottomline... unsuccess breeds more unsuccess... in a capitalist society that wants success and that success breeds more success... no body wants to be around a 'loser' without success(es)... by the standards of great variety that are constructed and promoted on TV and in the culture at large... if a young person looks at my work and my life, they may say, "interesting dude" but that's about it, because they look at what I don't have, and they are not impressed with the image of a (non-) "hero" of success in anyway that they want to follow, learn from and model... this has been very painful to experience on my end. Geez... I'm not even a good postmodern "anti-hero" like they may admire in popular culture.

Oh, and the most hurtful criticism I get back... in slight variant forms, is that "Michael you are too angry" that's why you aren't successful. "Lighten up." I think that is the easy way to put me and my political work in a 'box' with a pink ribbon that makes people feel comfortable with who they are, and has little to do with understanding who I am and what my life purpose of conscientization is all about.

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This is my most "complete" summary of my work on Love & Fear for the past 28 years. I highly recommend it as the "basic reader" (document) to consult to get you familiar with and to guide you to further study on this universal problem that we have to understand and resolve--the sooner the better. Here it is in pdf Love-Fear & Uni-Bicentric Theorem (2017)

Here is the full title of the article and Abstract

Love-Fear: Uni-Bicentric Theorem as Basis for

the Fearlessness Movement

 

R. Michael Fisher

Technical Paper No. 65

2017

 

Abstract  This is the latest articulation and upgraded version of the Love vs. Fear theory/discourse found universally across historical time. The author traces a summary of his own working with these “forces” under the label of archetypal metamotivations. His own articulation of the Fear Problem is only part of a more encompassing Uni-Bicentric Theorem he discovered and has promoted for 28 years, all as part of the Fearlessness Movement/Tradition. He claims that the language/theory of Love-Fear, rather than Love vs. Fear, is more healthy and effective for liberation than the language/theory of Good vs. Evil (dualism) underneath the discourse of Love vs. Fear. His unique Uni-Bicentric Theorem offers the foundational thinking to make this shift in our dominant current guiding kosmologies that tend to default to Good vs. Evil when under pressure and less than ideal conditions. He also critiques his own work, while drawing upon (mainly but not only) the theories of Ken Wilber and Abraham H. Maslow. He suggests viral ‘Fear’ complex is a different ‘beast’ than fear or Fear, and so the entire Love and Fear discourses/theories all need revision, via a confrontation with the Shadow (e.g., ‘Fear’ Matrix, and/or “culture of fear” meta-context) and a thorough ontopsychosocial therapy (or therapia). 

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My View on Social Movements

After many prompts from dialogues with my daughter, with Barbara and others, and listening to some interviews on the radio, it seems I ought to put down some thoughts on my views about social movements (including environmental movements). After all, the Fearlessness Movement is my own term for many movements that I have recorded historically across cultures, that work to move the world from Fear to Fearlessness. 

Although I consider myself an activist-educator at heart, I am many other things too. I cannot dismiss there are other social/environmental movements also going on now, and have been throughout history. I cannot suggest they are of lesser importance in the liberation of consciousness and that they have no important role to play in achieving a better quality of life for all beings. That said, I am discerning, and have learned to be so after near 64 years on this planet. I am a social movement watcher and have also participated in several movements, from the environmental movement to the various human potential and new age movements to the critical education movements that have attempted to transform Education on this planet. Once I even joined a political party, but not for long. 

Yes, politics is part of everything I am interested in. Social movements, OLD (like Marxism) and NEW (like Black Lives Matter), it doesn't matter the topic of their content and lobbying, there is always a point of where I discern how much I want to be involved in these movements. I am rarely asked to be part of them or to consult to them. I'd love to do a lot more of that. The point of this short blog is to summarize how I have come to understand it is best for me to align and/or critique such movements. Btw, if you haven't noticed, or don't know my work that well, it is typical that I tend to 'go after' and critique the hypocrisy of 'my side' of the political spectrum rather than go after the obvious enemies that have their hypocrisy too. It is the obvious enemies that so many others are criticizing that I have not felt I need to join them (e.g., the Leftist criticizing the Rightists)-- on and on. No, I prefer to 'go after' my-side, my own kindred types and critique everything they do that I find hypocritical, contradictory to their mission, and sometimes just down right unnecessarily fear-based and violent. 

So, now you have some sense of where I spend most of my energy in my critiques of social/environmental movements... I critique those that are closest in philosophy to mine, and those that espouse the very best liberational ideas that I would ally with--however, my allyship is not without discernment and critique. I often introduce myself to those movements with a desire to help them--and, then I critique them. I challenge what I see is inconsistent with their mission as stated, officially or not. As Barbara says, "This doesn't go over so well." Because they want supporters and allies alright, they want their numbers to get larger, their funding to grow, so they can be more effective achieving their goals or even defeating their enemies. I see that practical need. However, that's not how I want to be part of helping any movement, including the FM. 

So, you can see I quickly get labeled a pariah in many of these movements I come in contact with. They are more interested in advocacy (lobbying) than inquiry--and that's where I have to draw the line when those two forms become too overly weighted--on one side or the other. I look for a 'balance' in operations and philosophies in any healthy and sustainable movement. I think politics can only be really "useful" to the many when it has that balance of advocacy and inquiry--and all that comes down to what i think I can best offer these movements (e.g., the current men's movement battling feminists, and visa versa, of which Vanessa and some other colleagues of mine are involved with now)--it comes down to HOW they do their movement--meaning, how they do critical praxis. That is, how do they use theory, and practice, to combine in a critical consciousness that is an ongoing self-reflexivity to make sure they are not reproducing the very same symptoms (e.g., violences of oppression) that they declare they formed to be against. 

This last sentence is worth re-reading. 

I am a critical pedagogue, cultural critic, and curriculum designer and consultant by profession, and by choice of vocation. I support social/environmental movements pretty much just because they exist and want to improve the world--now, whether I like their agendas or not, they have a right to put them out on the table of any healthy democracy. That's my initial thought anyways... then, they also need to be responsible for the reactions they bring upon themselves. I will help any movement deal with that 'backlash' phenomenon, if they want my help, of course. And mostly, I will look to see how fear-based perceptions, thinking and actions may be undermining the movement. Fact is, fear-based conflict has ruined just about every good movement there is on this planet--to be dramatic in my generalization. 

Indeed, conflict within rips them apart. I was just listening to an interview on NPR radio, on a documentary film-maker talking about his 7 year study and filming around the historical Black Panther Movement in the USA and around the world in the 60s-70s especially. I think that was such a cool movement, as their goal was to monitor and prevent police force and military interventions into civil society (especially involving people of color)... today, this is still going on as a major concern of the Black Lives Matter movement. In this interview, Stanley Nelson told how he discovered that the reason the Black Panthers fell apart after some years and have not reformed well is because of the interior conflict in leaders. And, I don't doubt it at all. The In Search of Fearlessness Project in Calgary, AB that I co-founded in 1989 broke up after a decade also because of rifts within. Now, Nelson also says that the riffs were fanned by the FBI and other forms of oppressive agencies and forces that added to the conflict that couldn't be resolved within the organizations. In my masters degree, after ISOF Project (Calgary) fell apart, I went to study New Social Movements (NSMs), because I realized ISOF was one in fact. I was its main leader. So, there was a lot of interest on my part to find out what happens in the birth and death of NSMs as they are called by sociologists today. 

In my graduate research in 1998-2000 I started by examining the feminist movement and what happened, why it was largely gutted by the 1990s. Time and time again, feminist commentators on the movement, as academics, and as participants, recall the inner-organizational conflict--splits in agendas, and power that corrupted. They also mention that those inner conflicts were flamed by agitators outside the movements (and anti-movements contributed as well). Oppression dynamics work that way-- you are in an organization and think that you are liberating yourselves until you look hard enough, one day, and see that the efforts at liberation are being distorted into fear-based patterns, curriculum, agendas and practices that oppress the very organization itself--and all the members in it, more or less. I was furious to watch this happen in ISOF (Calgary) and not be able to stop it, turn it around-- even though I worked for years to get the community to see what it was doing in some of its behaviors (e.g., internalized oppression). 

Turns out, all Old and NSMs have this problem, as just about any organization of people--right down to families as institutions or even relationships with an intimate other. Yes, that's why I have made a systematic study of conflict and fear. I trust you will remember that is my expertise. I also know, it doesn't mean much for me to say it, if you don't get it, or simply haven't studied my work enough to make a discernment.

So, in FM ning, it behooves us as a liberation movement to likewise question HOW we are operating as an online community--and to develop a critical praxis that demands ethically that we are not operating as individuals or as sub-groups, or as a whole, with a fear-based structuration--otherwise, the entire Fearlessness Movement ning means nothing--nothing liberational, that is! 

There's some grist for the mill... 

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