Science of the SpiritS


It's Okay to Be Angry

Jude Bijou Serves Up the Recipe for a Peaceful Life

attitute reconstruction
After 20 years in the making, the book Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life by author Jude Bijou has finally hit the bookstores. Recently, the Santa Barbara marriage and family therapist appeared at Chaucer's Books on State Street to explain "how honoring our emotions physically and constructively can without fail, bring us more joy, love, and peace."

In her book, Bijou introduces a blueprint of the mind which is a theory based on her own experiences in life, conversations with clients and colleagues, and meditation among other things. Based on the blueprint, Bijou believes that anybody can turn around negative emotions - sadness, anger, and fear - and instead feel joy, love, and peace. The key is to allow yourself to feel.


Learning and remembering linked to holding material in hands, new research shows

© Unknown
New research from the University of Notre Dame shows that people's ability to learn and remember information depends on what they do with their hands while they are learning.

According to a study conducted by Notre Dame Psychology Professor James Brockmole and post-doctoral fellow Christopher Davoli, people holding objects they're learning about process detail and notice differences among objects more effectively, while keeping the hands away from the objects help people notice similarities and consistencies among those things.

The study will be published in an upcoming issue of Memory and Cognition.

Participants in the study were asked to analyze a set of complex geometric patterns in a series of images. Half the subjects did so while holding their hands alongside the images, while the other half held their hands in their laps.

Magic Wand

Finding Relief in Ritual: A healthy dose of repetitive behavior reduces anxiety

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What do a patient with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a basketball star, and an animal in captivity have in common? According to new research from Tel Aviv University, they share a clear behavioral link that reduces stress.

In a new study, Prof. David Eilam and his graduate student Hila Keren of TAU's Department of Zoology at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences found that repetitive behavior in general - and especially ritualistic-like behavior - is not only a human phenomenon but also one in the animal world. They concluded that ritualistic behavior in both humans and animals developed as a way to induce calm and manage stress caused by unpredictability and uncontrollability - heightening our belief that we are in control of a situation that is otherwise out of our hands.

Heart - Black

US: The Fraying of a Nation's Decency

amazon warehouse
© Unknown, the books-to-diapers-to-machetes Internet superstore, is a perfect snapshot of the American Dream, circa 2011.

It grows by the hour, fueled by a relentless optimism that has made America America. First it sold books. Then it realized that buying printed words in bulk, sorting and shipping them was a transferable skill. It has since applied it to anything you could want.

In 2011, for example, I have bought the following from Amazon: a hard drive, an electric shaver, a Bluetooth headset, a coffee machine and some filters, a multivoltage adapter, four light bulbs, a rubber raft (don't ask), a chalkboard eraser, an ice cream maker, a flash drive, roller-ball pen replacements, a wireless router, a music speaker, a pair of jeans and a shoe rack - and, oh yeah, some books. (Disclosure: A book and a long-form article I have written are sold on Amazon.)

Magic Wand

Why singing helps people with speech disorders - it's about the rhythm not the tune

It was a technique that therapist Lionel Logue used to help George VI, as shown in The King's Speech - now scientists have discovered why singing is so effective at treating a stammer.

Surprisingly it has nothing to do with the melody but instead is based on the rhythm, say scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Researchers found that highly familiar song lyrics and formulaic phrases expressed rhythmically had a strong impact on articulation - regardless of whether they were sung or spoken.

© Associated PressStuttering: George VI as played by Colin Firth received help from Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, by listening to music and singing
The results may lead the way to new therapies for speech disorders.


Can We Invent A World Based On Moral, Ethic And Empathy?


It has been almost a decade since 9/11/2001, and for the past ten years we have all lived in a stressful global reality in permanent flux. The Chinese culture, inspired by Confucius, places at the core of its value system the notion of balance and harmony. Almost ten years ago, any hope for even some harmonious outcome of world events was smashed to pieces and it hasn't be mended ever since. A vicious cycle of crisis has engulfed our global reality: wars, food crisis, financial crisis, natural disasters and man-made disasters.

This inexorable cycle of death and destruction is a fast spreading global disease taking its toll on all of us, and none of us are immunised from it. The storms have become tornadoes or hurricanes aiming straight at us, and the big waves must be killer Tsunamis to make it into the headlines. It can not be contested by anyone that we are currently living in a period of deep turmoil, but very few propose solutions which are not purely cosmetic and merely at the periphery of the core issues. Most of us shift the blame for this global crisis, unfolding since a decade, on entities such as corporations, governments: what can be called a global system of governance and production or exploitation of people and resources. But, first of all we could have resisted this global system a long time ago, and secondly most of us carry within ourselves the psychological attributes we so vehemently reject in the global social context. Character traits such as greed, quest for power, narcissism and lack of empathy.
dead bird,fence

This year some positive changes are occurring in the global consciousness: Arabs are challenging the power of corrupt autocratic rulers across the Middle-East, protests are spreading in Europe within Greece, Spain, and now London. Activists are reaching across country boundaries to join forces and define common goal. Some are talking about the need of a global revolution. However, we can only challenge the order of a ruthless, amoral, "dog eat dog" mentality that is our global reality, by having a revolution within ourselves. We must change our own psychology, otherwise we will never make lasting progress in a global consciousness where brutality, selfishness, corruption and amorality are the real driving forces of social success.

Comment: For more information on this topic please see Political Ponerology: A Science of Evil Applied for Political Purposes.

Eye 2

Study: 1 in 25 Business Leaders May Be Psychopaths

Psychopath CEO
© Getty Images
One in 25 bosses may be psychopaths - a rate that's four times greater than in the general population - according to research by psychologist and executive coach Paul Babiak.

Babiak studied 203 American corporate professionals who had been chosen by their companies to participate in a management training program. He evaluated their psychopathic traits using a version of the standard psychopathy checklist developed by Robert Hare, an expert in psychopathy at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

Psychopaths, who are characterized by being completely amoral and concerned only with their own power and selfish pleasures, may be overrepresented in the business environment because it plays to their strengths. Where greed is considered good and profitmaking is the most important value, psychopaths can thrive.

Comment: For more on the corporate psychopath see:

Ponerology 101: Snakes in Suits

Eye 2

Ignotas Nulla Curatio Morbid - A Review of Political Ponerology by Andrzej M. Lobaczewski

Ignotas nulla curatio morbid - do not attempt to cure what you do not understand - is the opening theme in this study of evil. Political Ponerology is "a science on the nature of of evil adjusted for political purposes." The author, Andrzej Lobaczewski, describes himself as a Polish psychologist who - with many other colleagues - found meaning living through Nazism and then Communism by studying how evil happens and triumphs in a wider political and economic system.

Lobaczewski's hypothesis is that a small percentage of humans are born psychopaths. He describes the research to back up that data that was destroyed and supressed. Another minority percentage are of a nature to go along with psychopaths while the vast majority of people are essentially healthy. The majority who are healthy have a difficult time understanding that some people are not - they can not fathom being a psychopath or acting like one.

No one has worked harder in the last five years to understand the Tapeworm than Harry Blazer. It was Harry who discovered Political Ponerology and sent it to me. I found it chock full of deeply useful insights that can inform organizing to shift our situation. For example, Lobaczewski discovered that dealing with psychopathic systems made healthy people neurotic. However, they could heal very quickly when he gave them a scientific framework for understanding what had happened and why. With a sound framework, they could start to differentiate who was healthy and who was not and to devise strategies to deal effectively with psychopaths in power. Rather than having their relations with all humans destroyed, they were able to discriminate between healthy and unhealthy and increase their immunity to the drain of unhealthy culture and systems.

Arrow Up

False Perception- A Modern Philosophy

© Nerd Trek

Consider the old saying that perception is 9/10th of reality. I was never a fan of this saying since it can be such an easy outlet to take everything at face value rather than to seek the truth. Instead, let us consider that reality is but 1/10th of reality.

It is important to note that early Greek philosophers made the common mistake of basing their reality on their often flawed sense perception since they lacked sophisticated scientific equipment capable of measuring and calculating the world around us. In fact, it was not until thousands of years later that humankind could more accurately calculate and determine atomic structure with microscopes while advanced telescopes were used to ascertain cosmic distance, to name a few examples.

Based on the leaps and bounds of modern science and the ability to closely examine the world around us, we now know that what we perceive, as humans, is only reliant on 5 human senses which remain greatly biased according to our own prejudices and beliefs (The 6th Sense is another topic for another time which still remains unknown)


Best of the Web: Bad to the bone - Some children are just born evil

Eva and Kevin
© UnknownEva (Tilda Swinton) and son Kevin (Rocky Duer) in a scene from Lynne Ramsay's "We Need To Talk About Kevin."
Are some children just born evil? Michelle Griffin reports.

A mother sits in a playroom with her young son. The phone rings. When she picks it up, a researcher watching through a two-way mirror asks her to look into her son's eyes and ''show him, in the way that feels most natural for you, that you love him''.

The mother is doing her best to connect, but this little boy won't return her gaze. He looks at her mouth, where the words are coming from, but it's as if he can't understand what she means.

Mark Dadds says some children literally cannot see the love in their mother's eyes. Professor Dadds, a parenting expert from the University of New South Wales, has just published results of his work in the British Journal of Psychiatry and the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology that suggest the ability to make eye contact is vital in learning how to love other people.

For the past five years, he has been working with children referred to his Sydney clinic for sustained rages, continual aggression, calculated violence and, occasionally, cruelty to animals.