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Wed, 20 Sep 2017
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


Characteristic behaviors of highly creative people

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don't have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they're complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it's not just a stereotype of the "tortured artist" -- artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

Comment: Creativity is not magic, and there's no such thing as a creative type. Creativity is not a trait that we inherit in our genes or a blessing bestowed by the angels. It's a skill. Anyone can learn to be creative:

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Surprising ways that shame can be triggered in our lives

© withfriendship
Shame is an insidious emotion that can sabotage our lives, especially when we're unaware of its presence. Shame is like the many-headed mythological hydra. As soon as we lop off one head, two more appear.

We may be unaware of the shame we carry and what triggers it. One way to detect whether shame is contaminating our operating system is if we often get defensive and reactive. Perhaps our partner expresses disappointment that we didn't complete a chore and we immediately think, "Nothing I do is ever enough. I'll never make her happy!" We might defensively respond, "I was just about to do it, you're always on my case!"

Our reactive anger may spring from a fear of losing love and acceptance. We're prey to the fight, flight, freeze response when there is a real or imagined threat to our emotional safety. But another possibility is that a subtle shame is being triggered. Somewhere deep down we might think, "She's right. I did promise to fix the damn faucet and I got distracted by other things." Or, "I'm overwhelmed at work and need time to relax. But if I say this, then I won't appear as the hero I want to be. I'll feel like a failure."

The power of vulnerability

Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging. The most primitive human emotion we all feel and the one no one wants to talk about. Shame is believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. It creates feelings of fear, blame and disconnection. It's the fear that something we've done or failed to do, an ideal that we've not lived up to, or a goal that we've not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection. I'm not worthy or good enough for love, belonging, or connection. I'm unlovable. The only people who don't experience shame lack the capacity for empathy and human connection. Here's your choice: Fess up to experiencing shame or admit that you're a sociopath.


Shame needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment. Shame cannot survive being spoken. It cannot survive empathy. Empathy and shame are on opposite ends of a continuum. Shame results in fear, blame (of self or others), and disconnection. Empathy is cultivated by courage, compassion, and connection, and is the most powerful antidote to shame.
See also: The difficult emotion of shame


Groups motivated toward benefiting others perform better and are more cooperative

When team members are motivated toward promoting the benefits of others, they are higher-performing and stay in their teams for a longer period, according to a new study.

Jasmine Hu, assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, and her colleague Robert Liden of the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a field study with 67 work teams from six companies in both U.S. and China and a lab study with 124 student teams at Notre Dame.

"Findings from both the field study and lab research showed that the greater motivation to benefit others, the higher the levels of cooperation and viability and the higher the subsequent team performance," Hu said. "These types of teams were also less likely to have members voluntarily leave their teams. Furthermore, we discovered that these positive effects of team motivation to benefit others were stronger the more the tasks required close interaction and higher interdependence among its members."


Let sympathy lead to action

Whenever there is a tragedy somewhere in the world, people tend to react with an outpouring of emotion and sympathy. This a healthy and excellent thing, but oftentimes the sympathetic impulse rises and extinguishes all within the confines of a person's chest and without producing any external effect. Too often we compulsively consume the news the way we consume a book or a movie: as removed spectators who enjoy the drama — the emotions it elicits — for its own sake. (Most people do not think of horror and sympathy as pleasurable, but all intense emotions, when experienced in a situation of safety, offer a certain gratification.) This passivity is understandable — we feel powerless to do anything beyond broadcasting support on social media. But in this we think too narrowly. While it may not be possible to turn our sympathetic feelings into actions that will directly help the victims of tragedies, we should not let this noble impulse — an affirmation of our best humanity — pass by unutilized either.

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Tell-tale signs that you are in a relationship with a narcissist

A Narcissist is someone who after taking the trash out gives the impression he just cleaned the whole house"

Have you ever got the sense that your partner thinks he/she is generally superior to you, or more entitled to things than you are? Does he/she find a host of ways to devalue you or ignore you? Does he/she try to control you? If so, you may be living with a Narcissist.

If you are in a relationship with a Narcissist, it will be a one-way relationship, as he/she is particularly self- absorbed.

Narcissism is considered a spectrum Disorder, which means that there are degrees of manifestation of the characteristics, so a person could have a couple of Narcissistic traits, or have many and be considered to have a full blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as defined in the DSMIV, or sit anywhere in between.

Comment: Trying to maintain a relationship with a narcissist is exhausting and futile. The best way to protect yourself from the depredations of narcissists is to learn how to spot them before you become entangled. Learning how to set healthy boundaries by being able to say No to their outrageous demands will make you unpopular with these types of people and could help you escape from a toxic relationship.


The psychology of death

We all have to face it at some point; an event of such enormity that it can make everything else in our lives seem insignificant: death, the end of our existence; our departure from this world. We live in a culture that denies death. We're taught that death is something we should shy away from, and try to forget about. If we start contemplating our own mortality - so this traditional wisdom goes - we'll become anxious and depressed. And there's no doubt that this is often the case. In psychology, Terror Management Theory suggests that a large part of all human behaviour is generated by unconscious fear of death. This fear generates a fundamental anxiety and unease, which we try to offset with behaviour such as status-seeking or strongly defending the values of our culture. We feel threatened by death and so seek security and significance to defend ourselves against it. Studies have shown, for example, that when people are made more aware of their own mortality, they tend to become more nationalistic and tribal and more materialistic.



The stark lack of wisdom in the age of information


The US National Geographic Society published a survey of geographic literacy. This international survey of young people in the US and either other countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and Britain—asked 56 questions about geography and current events. The organization's survey discovered that about 87% of Americans, aged 18 to 24, the prime age for military service, could not place Iraq on the map. Americans could find on average only seven of the 16 countries in the quiz. Only 71% of the surveyed Americans could locate the Pacific Ocean, the world's largest body of water.

John Farley, president of the National Geographic Society, thought that these results reflect something deeper than lack of geographic knowledge. He referred to the "apparent retreat of young people from a global society in an era that does not allow such luxury." This survey occurred over 10 years ago.

Fahey said that this "generation is highly skilled in what they want to block out and what they want to know." "Unfortunately, the things they block out seems to include knowledge of the world we all live in." One can also assume that the inability to locate Iraq on a world map means that these students know next to nothing about Middle Eastern culture and politics or anything much about Islam.

  1. the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise. synonyms: sagacity, intelligence, sense, common sense, shrewdness, astuteness,smartness, judiciousness, judgment, prudence, circumspection; More

2 + 2 = 4

Let the child cry: How tears support social and emotional development

The classroom is one of only a few primary places in which children can develop sense of self, communicate, and grow in relation to others. Any educator will attest to the fact that it is not a simple ride. Children experience conflicts and growing pains that can be challenging for a teacher who is balancing instruction with individual learning and group dynamics. In my work in education, I am fortunate to interact with a diversity of children and teachers in any given week, enhancing learning through the arts. This affords me the opportunity to observe a variety of class dynamics between teachers and students.



It's not really love: Western culture's misunderstanding of romantic attachment

The modern creators of cultural idols and ideals--especially Hollywood and television--have hoodwinked us into believing certain things about love. If we believe the message, then it is attraction, focus, and an intensity of feeling that define romantic love. Here is a common example of our deception: "falling in love" is a phrase that indicates we cannot help ourselves, that we have little control over the process and little choice about who we love. This is completely untrue. We may have little control over attraction but this does not equal love.

We now know that romantic feelings have little to do with loving the "real" other person. "Love at first sight" is a misnomer-- frankly impossible. It is often some combination of lust and idealizing the person (fooling oneself into thinking the person is 'the one'); but of course, these things are not really love. The main reason for understanding these realities is so that we will not let passion over-rule our higher mind and best judgment.

Comment: Romantic love can lead to growth or stagnation
Your Brain In Love
The science of romance: Brains have a love circuit


'Sorry' doesn't heal children's hurt, but it mends relations

© Tjook
Most adults know that a quick apology for a minor transgression, such as bumping into someone, helps maintain social harmony. The bumped-into person feels better, and so does the person who did the bumping. It's all part of the social norm.

But do apologies have this effect on children?