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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 1st June 2018 > Mickey Hart

Mickey Hart

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“I HAVE A RHYTHM-CENTRIC VIEW OF EVERYTHING,” SAYS MICKEY HART, THE Grateful Dead’s former drummer. For years, the percussionist and musicologist has been promoting the healing powers of music. In 1991, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging invited Hart and the late neurologist Oliver Sacks to testify about the positive impact rhythm can have on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. And this spring, at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium in New York, Hart performed “Musica Universalis: The Greatest Story Ever Told,” a sonic and visual voyage spanning 13.8 billion years in 30 minutes, from the Big Bang onward. As he played an electric, 8-foot aluminum instrument modeled after Pythagoras’ monochord, a giant MRI revealed the effects of all that sonic stimuli on his brain. “The whole universe operates with rhythm, and we are all rhythmic animals in it,” adds Hart, who spoke to Newsweek just prior to his band, Dead & Company, going on tour.

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BIBLE THUMPERS: RUSSIA IS CRACKING DOWN ON JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES It was just after sunrise on April 10th when the doorbell rang at Anatoly and Alyona Vilitkevich’s apartment in Ufa, an industrial city in central Russia. Their early morning visitors: masked police officers armed with automatic weapons. The police’s tactics that morning were the type often used to detain dangerous criminals. But Anatoly isn’t a suspected terrorist, murderer or drug trafficker. Police arrested him because he and Alyona are Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian evangelical movement known for its members’ door-to-door proselytizing. Jehovah’s Witnesses are also committed pacifists who historically have been persecuted by governments all over the world for their refusal to perform military service, or salute the flag. Some of the most brutal repression took place in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. And now it’s the Kremlin, with the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church, that’s ramping up the pressure. The state’s crackdown comes as part of a government-backed drive against minority “foreign” religions.