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Wed, 22 Aug 2018
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit

Alarm Clock

Slowness rage: How to reset your internal timer and regain patience

crowds manhattan
Slowness rage is not confined to the sidewalk, of course. Slow drivers, slow Internet, slow grocery lines--they all drive us crazy. You too can measure yourself on the "Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale," a tool developed by University of Hawaii psychologist Leon James. While walking in a crowd, do you find yourself "acting in a hostile manner (staring, presenting a mean face, moving closer or faster than expected)" and "enjoying thoughts of violence?"

Slow things drive us crazy because the fast pace of society has warped our sense of timing. Things that our great-great-grandparents would have found miraculously efficient now drive us around the bend. Patience is a virtue that's been vanquished in the Twitter age.

Once upon a time, cognitive scientists tell us, patience and impatience had an evolutionary purpose. They constituted a yin and yang balance, a finely tuned internal timer that tells when we've waited too long for something and should move on. When that timer went buzz, it was time to stop foraging at an unproductive patch or abandon a failing hunt.

"Why are we impatient? It's a heritage from our evolution," says Marc Wittmann, a psychologist at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany. Impatience made sure we didn't die from spending too long on a single unrewarding activity. It gave us the impulse to act.

People 2

Top predictor of divorce: Arguing about money

couple divorce argument angry
Arguments about money are the top predictor of divorce, research finds. While arguing about money, couples use the harshest language and the arguments are also more intense and last longer. Money arguments also take longer than any other to recover from. Naturally, then, the more arguments about money couples have, the lower their satisfaction with the relationship.

Dr Sonya Britt-Lutter, study co-author, said:
"Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce. It's not children, in-laws or anything else. It's money - for both men and women."
The conclusions come from a nationally representative survey of over 4,500 couples.

Dr Britt-Lutter explained the results:
"In the study, we controlled for income, debt and net worth. Results revealed it didn't matter how much you made or how much you were worth. Arguments about money are the top predictor for divorce because it happens at all levels."
The researchers found that arguments from the very start of the relationship about money were a particularly bad sign.

Cloud Grey

Mess to Meaning: From breakdown to breakthrough


The stumble from grace

You were feeling great! You decided to taper your antidepressant medication, did the Reset, reclaimed your body, took a red line marker to many of your former perspectives and beliefs on health, and you were loving all of the spiritual tropes parading across your Instagram feed, feeling super proud of the fact that you were at half your dose of Pristiq.

Then something shifted.

You binged on cookies, lost one, then two, then 8 days of meditation, and you had a potentially relationship-terminating "discussion" with your brother. Now you're what you used to call depressed. Again. You tell yourself you were an imposter to think you could ever break free. You question all of your gains. You question your ability to get off of meds. And you question who you are. I don't even know who I am or what I'm doing here! You sob. And you withdraw. You've had to let go of the rope, and now it's whipping around in front of you behind a boat that's getting smaller and smaller in the distance.


Simple math and the right tools: How to read 200 books a year and change your life

Reading books
Somebody once asked Warren Buffett about his secret to success. Buffett pointed to a stack of books and said,
"Read 500 pages like this every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will..."
When I first found this quote of Buffett's two years ago, something was wrong.

It was December 2014. I'd found my dream job. Some days, I would be there, sitting at my dream job, and I would think. My god what if I'm still here in 40 years? I don't want to die like this...

Something wasn't right. I'd followed the prescription. Good grades. Leadership. Recommendations. College. Dream Job. I was a winner. I'd finished the race. Here I was in the land of dreams. But something was terribly, terribly wrong.

Every day, from my dream job desk, I looked out into their eyes. Empty, empty eyes.

There were no answers.

In January of 2015, I found Buffett's quote. I decided to read. I was going to read and read and read and never stop until I got some damn answers.

I didn't quite make 500 pages a day, but, in these last 2 years, I've read over 400 books cover to cover. That decision to start reading was one of the most important decisions in my life.

Books gave me the courage to travel. Books gave me the conviction to quit my job. Books gave me role models and heroes and meaning in a world where I had none.

I want to say reading 200 books a year is an amazing thing. But the truth is, it's not. Anybody can do it.

All it takes is some simple math and the right tools

Comment: Related:


Neuroplasticity: The good & the bad - what happens to someone's brain from complaining every day?

"Thought changes structure ... I saw people rewire their brains with their thoughts, to cure previously incurable obsessions and trauma." ~ Norman Doidge, Canadian-born psychiatrist and author of The Brain That Changes Itself

The human brain is remarkably malleable. It can be shaped very much like a ball of Play-Doh, albeit with a bit more time and effort.

Within the last 20 years, thanks to rapid development in the spheres of brain imaging and neuroscience, we can now say for certain that the brain is capable of re-engineering - and that we are the engineers.

Light Saber

How to take a stand against manipulation

I've been busy working through some of my own stuff lately, while marveling at how closely my personal journey has been mirrored in the larger world. I wrote out the following as a personal exercise while meditating on all the similarities between abusive personal relationships with manipulators and our relationship as a species with the sociopathic plutocrats who rule us. I got a lot out of writing it, and it came out relatively readable, so I figured I'd publish it as-is in case anyone else finds it useful too. Here ya go!

media manipulation disinformation propaganda
© Garzon
Humans are hackable. Ask any conman. Our desire to think we have control over our lives often hides this from ourselves, but most of us are highly suggestible and hypnotizable. If you think you're not, you're in more danger of being hacked than someone who has humbled themselves enough to see how this works in them.

There's no need to be ashamed of being conned. Realizing that you've been, or are being, conned will naturally bring up feelings of embarrassment, but it's never your fault that someone's taken you for a ride. Get clear: conning someone is the crime; being conned is being a victim of that crime. That's how the law sees it in fraud cases. Manipulators would love you to think that it's your fault for allowing yourself to be manipulated, but that's just another manipulation isn't it?

Manipulators use one of our most astounding, useful, and beautiful human characteristics when they con us - empathy. Our innately trusting nature is the reason why we've been able to collaborate on large scales to create and innovate in extraordinary ways unseen anywhere else in the animal kingdom. Because we learn by modeling, and we are shaped by the group we inhabit and our urge to create harmony will make life viscerally uncomfortable until we are back in alignment with our tribe. We are the peacemakers; we seek alignment, which is how we are paced by manipulators into aligning with their sick agendas. How gross is it then that our ability to empathize and relate to each other is one manipulators use to control us?

Comment: See also:


Paul Joseph Watson: The age of emotional incontinence

Kim Kardashian
Though Watson brings a great deal of social commentary (and even humor) to his discussion, the conclusions and approach he advises for individual stability, balance and growth show great insight: Stoicism.

Comment: See also:

Post-It Note

Writing your way to wellbeing

Writing by hand
© joebuhlig.com
Ask almost anyone you know how they are, and the response is likely to be: "busy". Our inboxes are bursting with emails. Appointments and social events keep stacking up. Family woes, work worries and money matters make our minds work overtime. Not to mention commuting, pollution and the "million and one things" to remember.Add to this the uncertain political times we live in and, well, it's not surprising that many people feel overwhelmed.

Life is fast-paced. And it can be difficult to slow down - especially if being busy is effectively masking anxiety, grief and hard-to-handle emotions.

The end result of all of this seems to be widespread depression. According to The World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. They estimate that more than 300 million people are living with depression.

There is no fast-fix for depression, nor for other forms of mental illness. However, creativity is a remedy - a tonic that can help bring about real change. And many hospitals have arts programs to help patients heal.

Comment: See also:


Almost two-thirds of Americans have this sign of an unhealthy brain

Too much belly fat is a warning sign of an unhealthy brain, new research from over 5,000 people concludes.

The more belly fat people had, the worse their brain function was, as measured by tests of memory, language and their general mental faculties.

Belly fat is assessed by measuring the waist and the hips and then dividing one by the other to get a ratio.

Belly fat may be particularly bad for the brain due to increased secretion of inflammatory markers.

Inflammatory proteins - too many of which are bad for the body - frequently increase before people get dementia.

Comment: See also: The Age of Metabolic Syndrome - Inflammatory Fat Is Worse Than Obesity


Effects of DMT can mimic near-death experience

© Global Look Press
Shaman paints pot used for the traditional ceremony involving ayahuasca.
Taking the powerful psychedelic drug, DMT, can have the same effects as a near-death experience, British scientists at the Imperial College London have suggested.

The researchers displayed results derived from a questionnaire that showed a "striking similarity" between people describing a near-death experiences and those who had taken DMT.

From this, the researchers concluded that near-death or "complex subjective" experiences had been caused by physical changes in the brain.

The discovery has led to hopes that studying DMT can lead to a better understanding of what happens to the brain as it dies.

DMT is a psychoactive compound in ayahuasca, a drink made from vines and used in certain tribal ceremonies in South and Central America. The drug is also popular amongst tourists who are permitted to take part in said ceremonies. Those who take it often note the feeling that they transcend their body and enter another realm.