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Mon, 21 Aug 2017
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit

Evil Rays

How smart phones make today's teens unhappy & cause dramatic shifts in behavior

It's concerning to see just how many young people have become consumed by their smartphones. We know the dangers associated with the use of various electromagnetic emitting devices, like cells phones and WiFi, and how cellphone companies suggest that users "use hands-free operation if it is available and keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.59 in (15mm) from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women)" to avoid radiation exposure. But what about their psychological risks?

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Which spouse's happiness is most important for marital satisfaction?

© Vladimir Pustovit
When the wife is happy with a long-term partnership, the husband is happier, no matter how he feels about the marriage.

For marital quality, it seems the wife's happiness matters more than the husband's.

The conclusion comes from a new study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, which looked at the marital satisfaction and happiness of older adults (Carr et al., 2014).

Comment: See also: Hugs that heal: The importance of touch

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The importance of finding common ground and empathy in a hardening world

The world is hardening as people grip ever tighter to their opinions and beliefs, entrenching themselves ever more deeply into their biases and echo chambers. Battle lines are being drawn and the rhetoric is heating up. Talk of civil war is being tossed around, as though there is no possible way to unite and find common ground.

But we are humans. We have consciousness, we have the capacity for empathy and also the intelligence to avoid senseless self-destruction. But, what makes it possible for us to find common ground, or to at least to tolerate each other?

The answer: Connection.


Making American parenting great again

The problem in American parenting is the 1960s. Among other things that defined that very interesting (ref. ancient Chinese curse) decade was the replacement of rationality by emotionality. It was during the 1960s that the media, various self-appointed spiritual gurus, and the mental health professional community urged people to "get in touch with their feelings." And it was during the 1960s that parents were told by mental health professionals that children had a right to express their feelings freely.

I was in graduate school at the time. My professors taught that (a) feelings - especially children's feelings - held deep meaning, (b) therapy was all about helping people recover the feelings their parents had made them repress, and (c) getting in touch with one's feelings was the key to happiness. To be polite about it, a crock if there ever was one.

Psychologist: Stop catering to kids' emotional whims


Keeping your head when many Americans are rapidly descending into madness

I don't live in an echo chamber, partly because there aren't enough people out there who think like me, but also because I constantly and intentionally attempt to challenge my worldview by reading stuff from all over the political map. I ingest as much as I can from a wide variety of intelligent sources, picking and choosing what makes sense to me, and then synthesizing it the best I can.

Though I'm certainly grounded in certain key principles, my perspective on specific issues remains malleable as I take in additional information and perspectives. I try to accept and acknowledge my own ignorance and view life as a journey of constant mental, emotionally and spiritual growth. If I'm not growing my capacity in all of those realms until the day I die, I'm doing it wrong. Life should be seen as a battle against one's own ignorance, as opposed to an obsession with the ignorance of others. You can't legislate morality, nor can you legislate wisdom. The only way the world will improve on a long-term sustainable basis is if more of us get wise. That's a personal journey and it's our individual duty to accept it.

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Study finds that optimism often leads people to inaction

© LZF/iStock
So much for optimism. Believing that the future or certain conditions will improve - particularly that others will come around to seeing things the same way we do - can lead us to inaction, a new study finds.

Researchers at Harvard and UC Berkeley conducted six related studies to explore both the prevalence of optimism among average people, and the consequences of keeping one's glass half full.

Feeling optimistic that others will come around to seeing things the same way we do can lead us to inaction, a new study finds.

One study, conducted online, asked participants to weigh in on nine unrelated topics - abortion, gay marriage, the NBA, climate change, ideology, party affiliation, President Trump, soft drinks, and phone preferences - while also providing insight on how they thought others would view the same topics.


Human thought and water

"The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence." - Nikola Tesla
This is exactly what's happening right now, and it's making its presence felt in all levels of academia. But we still have a lot way to go. Fortunately, a group of internationally recognized scientists have come together to stress the importance of what is still commonly overlooked in the mainstream scientific community: the fact that matter (protons, electrons, photons, anything that has a mass) is not the only reality. We wish to understand the nature of our reality, but if we only examine physical systems and ignore all the rest - things like consciousness, and the way it interacts with matter - we'll never be able to.

Comment: The Health & Wellness Show: Water: What Do We Really Know?

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Reality creation? Manipulating the mass mind & attention

In my 30 years as a self-improvement coach, the most important insight is that where you put your attention is where your energy goes. If you find that hard to believe, try this: Walk through a crowd. Put your attention on the people. Then walk through the same crowd again and put your attention on the gaps between the people. More of them will now make way. Try it. It never fails. Here's another experiment: Stand at the corner of any city street and look upwards for a while. You will notice people around you also look upwards. They want to know what you are looking at, and for that brief period you determined the direction of their attention.

If I tell a group of people to think of a red car, there is a great likelihood that all of them will do it. And if I tell them not to think of a red car... they will also think of a red car! They could have chosen to think of a blue mountain instead. From that you realise how easy it is to steer mass attention.

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Emotional intelligence in the workplace: Business leaders weigh in on what makes an exceptional employee

© Getty Images
A recent international study surveyed more than 500 business leaders and asked them what sets great employees apart. The researchers wanted to know why some people are more successful than others at work, and the answers were surprising; leaders chose "personality" as the leading reason.

Notably, 78% of leaders said personality sets great employees apart, more than cultural fit (53%) and even an employee's skills (39%).
"We should take care not to make the intellect our God; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality." -Albert Einstein
The problem is, when leaders say 'personality' they don't understand what they're referring to. Personality consists of a stable set of preferences and tendencies through which we approach the world. Being introverted or extroverted is an example of an important personality trait.


Even atheists view non-believers as less moral

© muratart/Shutterstock
Both believers and nonbelievers tend to think atheists are less moral.
Even people who don't believe in God judge other nonbelievers as less moral than religious types, new research finds.

The study showed that in 13 very different countries, people were more likely to think that a serial killer must be an atheist rather than a believer. These findings persisted even in highly secular countries such as Finland and China; they were also true even for people who reported zero belief in God.

"Even as secularism reduces overt religiosity in many places, religion has apparently still left a deep and abiding mark on human moral intuitions," study researcher Will Gervais, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky, wrote with his colleagues Aug. 7 in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.