"Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good." (Thomas Paine, 1737-1809, Political Theorist, Activist, and Author, in 'The Rights Of Man', 1791)
This is Rolf Hefti. I'm the founder and editor of Supplements-And-Health.Com.
Originally I'm from Switzerland. Currently I reside in the USA.
Below I share some background information about myself and the creation of this website.
"Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value." (Albert Einstein, PhD, 1879–1955, Scientist, Nobel Prize Winner)
When I was about twenty years of age I began studying sociology and social psychology at the University of Zürich, Switzerland.
Unfortunately, some unforgiving health issues which plagued me since I was a child forced me to ultimately abandon my promising academic path. Consequently, I didn't get a degree. And never have.
Fortunately, my health problems opened up new and more fundamental perspectives about my personal aspirations and about the value of my health and of life itself.
In other words...
My “derailing” off one set of tracks led to a “rerailing” onto another set of tracks.
I perceived the customary goals of individualistic ambitions, which tend to be primarily economic aspirations and yearnings for high status since they are strongly shaped and mapped out by a capitalistic Western culture, as insignificant, hollow, and shallow compared to attaining and having good health.
Apparently, actor Christopher Reeves (1952-2004) who played Superman in feature films, experienced a similar shift in perception after his tragic horse riding accident that left him severely paralyzed for the rest of his life, as he openly admitted in a public speech:
“I’ve had to leave the physical world. By the time I was twenty-four, I was making millions. I was pretty pleased with myself...I was selfish and neglected my family. Since my accident, I’ve been realizing...that success means something quite different. I see people who achieve these conventional goals...none of it matters.” (Schlosser, 2002)
It became painfully clear to me that health is wealth, rather than wealth is health. It became painfully clear to me that the value of, and the respect for, human life trumps the fabricated “need” for material aspirations and prosperity.
So I recognized that my ambition should always be directed towards attaining and maintaining health, first and foremost, rather than attaining and accumulating wealth.
And as importantly...
My own personal experience with pain and suffering fostered my feelings of empathy, compassion, and appreciation. Both for my own life and for the lives of other people, and life in general. I wanted to make a constructive difference in other people's lives. A difference that would prevent or relieve suffering in others.
This website is an outcome of my metamorphosis, a term that essentially means a "profound change" (in order to assist me in the online effort to reach a large number of individuals to have a positive impact on I selected an outstanding integrative website platform system I felt confident was reliable, cost-effective, and proficient).
“Our goal should be a world such that every person born into it has the possibility of leading a good life.” (Linus C. Pauling, PhD, 1901-1994, Scientist, Two-time Nobel Prize Winner)
My health issues, my world of seemingly endless pain and suffering, naturally urged me to adopt, and inevitably enforced in me, a disposition to (critical) thinking rather than (blind) believing. The unpleasant personal state actually demanded of me to question and doubt some of the most fundamental things. Things many people consider "sacred", "taboo", or "crazy" to ponder about, or things that are assumed to be so absolutely and completely true or “obvious” that there's no need to think about them.
For example, I asked myself...
How can alleged “intelligent” and “good” people of various (industrialized) nations consider themselves (or humankind) a “success” when much of humankind is starving, and afflicted by disease and suffering? How can any person perceive himself or herself as “a success” in view of this most basic and painful reality?
After all, most misery, injustice, and corruption in the world is sustained by presumed “good people”, by “intelligent”, "successful", “nice”, law-abiding citizens. How? The human rights advocate Martin Luther King, Jr, (1929–1968) illuminated the answer for us:
“We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.” [emphasis added]
The life conditions of an individual, and by extension of a society and the state of the world at large, are, as a rule, the outcome of what we as individuals focus(ed) on and/or have not focused on, such as errors and mistakes.
Therefore, are “conventional goals”, the official concepts of human intelligence, prosperity, or success nothing but states of denial? Intellectually concocted notions devoid of any real compassion?
What's more important, an individual's success or the success of humankind? What's more important, an individual's success or the “success” of nature?
Where is my cultural socialization leading me to on these crucial issues?
The recognition of the immense value of health (and life) made me ask myself in astonishment why we –as individuals and as a society– don't first (above everything else) focus our personal and collective efforts and ambitions to guarantee basic health for every person (and pet) on the planet, rather than predominantly pursuing economic individualism and running after other personal prestigious goals and ever-increasing corporate profits.
Because of the ramifications of my health issues I could, on a deeper level, relate to the saying by Pauling (see his quote above).
Wouldn't the preferential focus and actual manifestation of the “goal” Pauling pointed at be the type of empathy humankind could be rightfully proud of? Wouldn't it epitomize “success” in the most basic, most valuable way possible? But in “developed” nations individual success is most often thought of as a sign of, or result of, possessing intelligence. If you're “successful”, i.e., have wealth, status, and possibly fame, the assumption is that you obviously must be intelligent.
Is it a sign of intelligence that humans, via their actions, have plundered, severely polluted and destroyed much of the ecosystem of the planet with toxic chemicals and all types of harmful radiation, and with the use of other technological “wonders” which are all invented and developed by so-called highly intelligent people?
The acclaimed writer Aldous L. Huxley (1894–1963) noted that:
“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”
The heralded physicist Stephen Hawking, PhD, uttered this admission in 2010:
"I believe intelligence is probably overrated. It's not necessarily a good thing for a species' survival."
I realized that intelligence, ambition, "goodness", and success are terms defined by the culture we live in.
Not by the planetary environment. Not by people who are in reverent touch with nature.
Looking at the results and impact of human intelligence, ambition, and success from the perspective of nature, the environment, and all living creatures, the way human endeavors have affected them, clearly, human intelligence and prosperity haven't much reflected upon them in a positive manner. What really shines, however, are human neglect, negligence, disregard, ignorance, arrogance, cruelty, and idiocy.
This is reminiscent of a recent statement I've read:
“[...] people today [=all types of people, including scientists and other highly intelligent persons] have no better grasp of the consequences of their actions than superstitious and unscientific people centuries ago. Modern technological man is just as easily bamboozled by propaganda as ancient man was by superstition and ignorance.” (Paul Craig Roberts, PhD, American economist and former US government official, in 2012, commenting on the main lesson that emerged from reading Charles C. Mann's book '1493' (2011)) [explanation & emphasis added]
Nature doesn't “care” about the multitude of important-sounding terminologies, designed and defined by some arbitrary human standard, such as intelligence, success, wealth, ambition, fame, authorities, or whether a person has impressive professional degrees, but...
... whether its life-enabling presence is respected, valued, guarded, protected, and fostered.
It is the reason why the perceptive filmmaker Peter Joseph said in an interview of 2009:
"We have to learn how to identify and break our own indoctrination if we expect to move forward at all as a civilization."
It all comes down to preserving or adding to the life force of the environment, not to taking it away. This suggests that humans, in relation to their behavior to nature, should lead with giving, nurturing, and sustaining, not with taking, neglecting, and exploiting, just like in any mutually flourishing person to person relationship.
The author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn (1930-2009) once said:
“Success is not so much what we have as it is what we are.”
Ultimately, I propose, “success” is really “what we are”... as a conglomerate of people, as a whole of humankind and nature.
I sensed that real, true intelligence, success, and goodness, regarding any human being's “achievements”, is the demonstration of respect for all life and nature by way of a person's actions, despite that this may not bring you personally the much-sought-after acclaim and glory by many of your human peers.
A while back, a famous anthropologist remarked:
“I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.” (Margaret Mead, PhD, 1901-1978)
Without a doubt, externalizing Pauling's reflection would make for a better, more compassionate world.
The necessity of Pauling's insight is apparent for no other reason than that poor individual health oftentimes leads to poor productivity and performance, and, especially in third-world nations, to poverty and an early death.
Around 1914, for instance, over 1,000 people died each month in the southeastern US from pellagra, an acute vitamin B3 deficiency (=a lack of niacin), because their diet consisted primarily and almost exclusively of corn, and those who survived the scourge had not enough energy to care for themselves –which lead, in a vicious cycle, to increasing rates of poverty (Martin, 1977).
Undoubtedly, good health is generally a prerequisite to, or a part of, “leading a good life”.
“One time when I was around 10 I went home from school, went into the backyard, my father was there and he said 'Well Ralph, what did you learn in school today? Did you learn how to believe or did you learn how to think?'” (Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate & Former Presidential Candidate)
The “truth”, for most people, is what a society or culture exposes its people to. Whether it is by way of its traditions, mores, its formal educational system, its media outlets, or the influence of its private industries (corporations) via their marketing and public relations power.
My health predicament also led me to view the traditional system of education in a critical manner. In particular as a student of sociology, certain thoughts and observations began to slowly emerge...
What direction, on what path, is our society and educational system steering us into? What is the function of governments and institutions such as the educational system (formal education)? What purpose does a government and the institution of formal education serve? Is it to develop independently thinking, compassionate people or is it largely the indoctrination of the culture's ideologies and agendas by establishing compliant “intelligent” and “good” members of a society to the effect of securing the status quo?
The fundamental answer to all of that is practically the same now (after over a decade into the 21st century) as it was when I attended the University of Zürich (at around 1990). John Kozy, PhD, for instance, supplied an appropriate description in 2012:
“Governments have never existed to solve problems domestic or international. Governments and their institutions exist merely to further and secure the interests of favored groups, but We the People are never the favored group.” [emphasis added]
In corroboration of this, Eric G. Campbell, PhD, a sociologist, described the fundamental condition which leads to the well-documented bias of scientific objectivity in a (deregulated) capitalistic society when he stated:
“There isn't a single sector of academic medicine, academic research or medical education in which industry [=for-profit corporations] relationships are not a ubiquitous factor.” (Seife, 2012) [explanation added]
Few people seem to be aware of these facts because we live in a culture whereas official authorities and the conventionally taken path of formal education are perceived as exclusively trustworthy and reliable. This in spite of many contrary observations by some of the most insightful and influential people of both modern and past times.
Here are some fitting examples attesting to that:
“I should wish to see a world in which education aimed at mental freedom rather than imprisoning the minds of the young in a rigid armor of dogma calculated to protect them though life against the shafts of impartial evidence. […]. The wish to preserve the past rather that the hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young.” (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, Philosopher & Social Critic, Nobel Prize Laureate)
“Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.” (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, Philosopher & Social Critic, Nobel Prize Laureate)
“We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.” (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, Philosopher & Social Critic, Nobel Prize Laureate)
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” (Albert Einstein, PhD, 1879–1955, Scientist, Nobel Prize Winner)
“I was not expected or taught to seek for truth, but to receive what my masters imposed on me as truth.” (William H. Holcombe, MD, 1825-1893)
“Education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of prejudices.” (Laurence J. Peter, PhD, 1919-1990, Educator)
“I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.” (Michel de Montaigne, 1533-1592, Writer)
“If you take a highly intelligent person and give them the best possible, elite education, then you will most likely wind up with an academic who is completely impervious to reality.” (Halton C. Arp, PhD, Contemporary Astronomer)
"[...] self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." (Isaac Asimov, PhD, 1920-1992, Scientist & Author)
"The most valuable degree is a degree of common sense." (John J. Moelaert, Author)
“[...] when you go to school and use your intellect every day for years it is not easy to let go of it. Intellect becomes the apotheosis [=saintly ideal], and takes the place of where feelings should be.” (Arthur Janov, PhD, Psychologist, Academic Hall of Fame, in 2011) [explanation added]
In other words, being educated doesn't necessarily equate to having wisdom or having common sense.
It dawned on me that getting MORE cultural inculcation (such as through "higher education"), or adhering to its pervasiveness and persuasiveness, wasn't the answer –the true answer, and challenge, was in becoming (MORE) aware of all types of inconvenient truths, disregarded by the culture, and then acting acccordingly.
Above all, the world, it seems, needs aware, perceptive, empathetic people rather than "educated" (i.e., heavily culturally indoctrinated), mentally/emotionally dull people.
As Janov proposed:
“Our goal should be to produce feeling human beings, not mental giants because feeling is the essence of life; there is no life without it; not joy, no ecstasy, no depths of sadness, no nothing; just a big emptiness.” (Arthur Janov, PhD, Psychologist, Academic Hall of Fame, in 2011)
“We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspirations or desperation.” (Jim Rohn, 1930-2009, Author and Entrepreneur)
Unfortunately, people tend to change predominantly because of pain (“desperation”) rather than because of gain (“inspiration”).
Hence, it was pain and suffering (“desperation”) that led me to new insights. And it was pain and suffering (“desperation”) that motivated me to make constructive changes in my life. By the way, this is a very common phenomenon because it often takes a serious health problem or some other personal crisis to make a person change.
It was pain and suffering that also motivated me to try to make useful changes in other people's lives. As with this website, Supplements-And-Health.Com, for instance.
Alongside gaining eye-opening and inspiring but disenchanting recognitions, my central focus and intent was to solve my debilitating health issues.
Starting in my early teens, my pain-fueled desperation sparked in me an ever-growing interest in the things that support and maintain human health. I read ferociously and passionately a substantial amount of information on medicine, nutrition, health, nutritional supplements, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy.
I've read anything that would elucidate what the facts are about human nature and human health. Anything that would give me a truthful clue on how to resolve my deep-rooted health problems. Researching (reading and studying) became the greatest passion of mine. And still is to this day.
Among the pearls of value I came across was the recognition of a vast amount of sound scientific data on the immense benefits of nutrition and nutritional supplements, topics I developed a strong fondness about.
I was particularly very impressed by the myriad of remarkable scientific evidence in favor of high-impact supplementation. And I was saddened, horrified, and flabbergasted that –it seemed to me at the time– very few people were taking food supplements in Switzerland (a supplement market practically didn't exist). I wasn't well aware then of the deep political and sociological forces behind this inexplicable, non-constructive, truth-muffling reality. (It is this indelible personal discovery about the power of supplements which, ultimately, forms the springboard for the website you're on now).
In my search for a solution to my health issues, I discovered that the reason why a number of healing approaches failed me was because they weren't based on valid facts but were rooted in authoritarian dogma, tradition, or marketing propaganda.
... dogma, persuasive propaganda, and the veneer of authority and traditions didn't change one iota on my health problems. These purveyors of presumed importance couldn't wow or cajole my profound suffering.
"You have a choice in life between two sets of principles: power and privilege, or justice and truth. And you have to make a choice." (Chris Hedges, U.S. Author, Social Critic, and Pulitzer Prize Winner)
Upon the resolution of my health issues I decided, due to my different outlook on things, not to re-enter the formal educational system to obtain official credentials.
Instead of once again taking on the usual conventional path of getting a “higher education” and getting subjected to theories and views favored by a particular university, and the agendas of a certain culture, I choose to do my own research and gain knowledge “freely”, without being methodically led into a peculiar way of thinking and or adhering to a particular ideological perspective.
To cite the astute John Kozy, PhD, once more:
“Human beings had been teaching themselves and others for millennia before what we know as a “teacher” ever existed. [...]. A healthy curiosity is the only weapon against ignorance. [...]. Learning whether what is taught makes sense is ultimately essential.”
And as Steve Jobs (1955–2011), Co-founder of Apple Computers, said at his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address:
“The minute I dropped out [from college] I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me. And begin dropping in on the ones that looked more interesting.” [explanation added]
In a similar manner, but reflecting a more intellectual, further reaching form of observation, the following words by Ray Peat, PhD, bear great significance:
"While self-regulation and the generation of knowledge is pleasurable, having knowledge imposed isn't. When our steering system is commandeered by authorities, our patterns of knowledge will be compartmented, and arranged in a fixed pattern. This kind of knowledge either deteriorates, or it seeks more of its own kind." (Peat, 2010)
“Our job, in our own culture, is […] trying to make our culture more humane [...] to open whatever is closed, to generate possibilities by working on what has been neglected.” (Peat, 1976)
After I became more and more aware of the prime motivations of industrialized societies, whereas respect for life, the environment, and the truth frequently take a backseat to private industry interests and dogmatic traditions, I decided to do independent research to hopefully arrive at the facts about nutrition, health, nutritional supplements, and the culture in general rather than getting ensnared by some ideology and agenda of a corporation-dominated nation.
All of the material on this site is totally self-funded by me, Rolf Hefti, hence the reference thereof as a source of “independent” (=free from outside funding) research.
“[...] I have found that people with philosophical or scientific “training” are often very intent on telling others what they “can't” see, or mean, or experience.” (Raymond Peat, PhD, Biologist, in 1976)
As mentioned above, I don't have a formal degree or any other official “trustworthy” credentials attesting of my “authority, intelligence and success”. Should you, therefore, disregard what I, Rolf Hefti, come up with?
Well, according to the advice by a scientist with remarkable official credentials, John W. Gofman, MD, PhD, (1918-2007) what really matters is this:
“Whether a report is by an XYZ committee [=a person with a degree, or an organization of authority] or by an independent analyst, what will count in the end –with regard to human health– is the work's scientific content. The rest is noise.” (Gofman, 1990) [explanation added]
The esteemed Nobel Prize recipient Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) denoted:
"Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found." (Russell, 1951)
In similar fashion, another scientist with highly acclaimed credentials, Nobel Laureate Richard P. Feynman, PhD (1918-1988), advocated:
“Have no respect whatsoever for authority; forget who said it and instead look at what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, 'is it reasonable?'” (Feynman & Leighton, 1988)
In other words, what really matters in the end are scientific facts, not your educational background, not your race, not your nationality, not your gender, not official degrees, awards, and the guise of authority.
Naturally, this rather liberating notion tends to challenge and threaten the sanctioned decrees and the commonly glorified status of authorities, whether they be persons, institutions, corporations, governments, or the tenets of so-called superior races –so they categorically don't popularize it or acquaint their adherents with it.
Trust facts, not authorities.
Of course, this means that if the information is factually valid, regardless of its source (official or unofficial), if the data has “substance” as Gofman referred to it, then anyone, potentially, could come up with reasonable insights and draw sound conclusions, whether the person has a conventional formal degree or not.
Human history, especially that of the civilized world, reveals that the vast majority of people have always exhibited a strong tendency to readily rely on the ruling or formal authorities (or bodies of authority) for guidance and entities to place their trust into, despite that this trust has consistently and reliably been undermined by the reigning authorities –and thus, has largely been unjustified– throughout the ages.
In alignment with an inclination anchored in human biology, having been brought up through the process of socialization to always "respect authorities", i.e., obey and follow authorities (rather than to always respect, obey, and follow truth), it is always much easier and much more agreeable –and it happens practically automatically– for people to conform with authoritative edicts, advice, and narratives than to think about, and independently examine, what the authorities want them to believe or do, or don't want them to believe or do.
The psychologist Arthur Janov, PhD, had written about this:
"The powers who reign do not want us to think; they want us to believe, to be engaged in endless studies of the official scripts so as to be further inculcated and more easily led. It looks like thinking but it actually replaces thought. [...]. That is the ticket; impregnate ideas until they become part of us, and then we follow them without question. It is a true principle in advertising [...]." (Janov, 2015) [emphasis added]
(The big danger of conformist "thinking", and acting, is encapsulated in a striking Einstein saying –see the home page for the exact Einstein quote).
In commercialized cultures, so prevalent across the planet in the 21st century, official "education" is more often than not unofficial advertisement of corporate industries and cartels, which frequently operate under the disguise of non-profit groups, foundations, institutions, or other organizational set-ups with crafted images of high social approval.
Moreover, the surrender of individual responsibility is most becoming to those individuals and groups who will "shoulder" that disposed responsibility and who assume and hold power –that is, the authorities– which enables, builds, and amplifies their power.
The convenient abdication of individual power results in the convenient enhancement of authoritative power.
Wade Frazier, an independent investigator and writer, has called attention to this symbiotic interplay between the individual (i.e. the general public) and the authorities when he stated:
"The American medical paradigm plays into people's sense of learned helplessness and their desire for immediate self-gratification at all costs."
Perhaps my greatest unofficial “qualification” is my rather strong curiosity, my inquisitive desire to find out the truth of things, my propensity to question all kinds of things. Which, and this is very important, is different to “finding”, repeating, or rather thoughtlessly believing, the truths propagated by people and organizations in positions of authority and tradition.
“Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted than when we read it in the original author?” (Philip G. Hamerton, 1834-1894, Writer)
Besides the fact that many notable quotations tend to convey sharp insights and timeless wisdom, there are two principal reasons for my generous usage of citations:
Ultimately, both reasons serve the purpose of “taking me, Rolf Hefti, out of the picture as much as possible” so that you hopefully are left with the objective facts, rather than my own personal opinions, views, and potential biases.
"[...] with love comes truth [...]." (Wade Frazier, Writer)
I do have an agenda: your health, and mine.
My agenda, the most basic intent or mission of this website, is providing value to you.
My intention is to make your life better, by helping you to maintain, improve, or re-gain your health by sharing my research findings with you on this site.
To phrase this more poetically, my mission, my goal, is to be a light which illuminates the truth, to the extend I'm succeeding at uncovering and recognizing it. My aim is the facts. The truth.
By increasing light you can see what is accurate, as the illumination dispels darkness, revealing an environment in which assumptions are less common, or, ideally, are largely gone.
Now, this mission includes raising awareness about vitamin benefits, supplement risks, and misconceptions surrounding nutritional supplements.
But it also includes...
... because this type of information only appears to be completely unrelated to the theme of nutritional supplements.
And, at last, it boils down to:
“[...] knowing is for others. Knowing is for the world, knowledge is responsibility.” (Raymond Peat, PhD, Biologist [Peat, 1976 ]) [emphasis added]
This website conveys provisional conclusions on nutrition, medicine, health and nutritional supplements based on my research of these subjects.
Because I am of the belief that this information can help to improve your health and make your life better (as it has done for mine), I decided to share it with you by creating this website. Especially since I had crippling health issues myself, know quite well what pain and suffering is, and then found help after searching for a solution, I feel a moral responsibility to share what I know, in the hope to make a difference in your life, to make your life a little bit (or even a lot) better.
The vision of Supplements-And-Health.com (and thus of Rolf Hefti) is to help create a better, more compassionate, more humane world.
I believe this cannot be accomplished efficaciously without good health, both on the individual and the collective level. (Despite that disease, pain, or personal crisis are often the springboard for igniting a stronger sense of empathy and compassion.)
In the end...
“People need to raise their sights and get away from the idea that material needs are the ultimate in importance. People need proper food and shelter but they also need –if they are to be healthy– knowledge, hope, love, friendship, and many other things of a non-material nature.” (Roger J. Williams, PhD, 1893–1988)
This website strives specifically to pass on to you some “proper knowledge” on nutritional supplements (and associated topics), whether you arrived here to seek nutritional supplement advice out of “desperation” or “inspiration”.
That sums up most of the backstory about me, Rolf Hefti, and Supplements-And-Health.Com.
To Your Health,
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