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Thu, 28 Jul 2016
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The stories of dying patients and doctors, will transform the way you think about your final days

© Getty Images
Within roughly 72 hours of the end of their lives, many dying people begin to speak in metaphors
At around 4am that morning, my father gave an audible sigh. It was loud enough to wake my mother, who sleepily assumed that he was having a bad dream.

But he wasn't. That sigh was his final breath as he died.

No one, least of all my father, had known he was ill. As for my mother, she'd assumed he was still asleep when she rose a few hours later and had breakfast alone.

Afterwards she'd returned to the bedroom and tried, with increasing desperation, to wake him.

There was, however, one person who knew about Dad's death well before Mum did: my sister Katharine, who lived 100 miles away and was herself suffering from terminal breast cancer.

'On the night of my father's death,' she told mourners at his memorial service some weeks later, 'I had an extraordinary spiritual experience.

'It was about 4.30am and I couldn't sleep, when all of a sudden I began having this amazing experience. For the next two hours, I felt nothing but joy and healing. I felt hands on my head, and experienced vision after vision of a happy future.'

When she awoke that morning, she'd described them to her teenage son Graeme as she drove him to school. Among the visions of the future, she told him, was one of his own child - a yet- to-be conceived five-month-old granddaughter - whom she'd played with on her bedroom floor.

It wasn't till Katharine got back home that my mother phoned to tell her Dad had just died.

Suddenly, she knew the reason for the powerful surge of energy and joy she'd felt in her bedroom, the sense of someone there. 'I now know that it was my father,' she said.

Now, my family isn't in the habit of channelling ghosts. Indeed, my first reaction to my sister's vision was close to hysterical laughter.

But, almost immediately afterwards, the vision began to make profound sense, like puzzle pieces slipping perfectly into place. Without discussing it, we were convinced as a family that Dad had done something of great emotional elegance.

Bad Guys

Refreshing rationality: Why NOT believing in conspiracies is a sure sign of mental retardation

© Natural News
The phrase "conspiracy theorist" is a derogatory smear phrase thrown at someone in an attempt to paint them as a lunatic. It's a tactic frequently used by modern-day thought police in a desperate attempt to demand "Don't go there!"

But let's step back for a rational moment and ask the commonsense question: Are there really NO conspiracies in our world?

The Attorney General of South Carolina would surely disagree with such a blanket statement. After all, he sued five pharmaceutical companies for conducting a price-fixing conspiracy to defraud the state of Medicaid money.

Similarly, in 2008, a federal judge ruled that three pharmaceutical companies artificially marked up their prices in order to defraud Medicare.

In fact, dozens of U.S. states have filed suit against pharmaceutical companies for actions that are conspiracies: conspiracy to engage in price fixing, conspiracy to bribe doctors, conspiracy to defraud the state and so on.

The massive drug company GlaxoSmithKline, even more, plead guilty to a massive criminal fraud case involving a global conspiracy to bribe doctors into prescribing more GSK drugs.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. A deeper look into the criminality of just the drug industry alone reveals a widespread pattern of conspiratorial behavior to defraud the public and commit felony crimes in the name of "medicine."

What is a conspiracy, exactly? As any state or federal prosecutor will gladly tell you, a "conspiracy" is simply when two or more people plot to commit an act of deceit (or a crime).

People 2

Keeping the beat: Cognitive science shows how drummers' brains could be smarter than the rest of the band's

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© AP
In the music world, drummer jokes are always popular. Most of them have the same punchline: Drummers are idiots. Take, for example, the following: "How do you tell if the stage is level? The drummer is drooling from both sides of his mouth."

Whether it's being ruthlessly mocked for their idiocy, repeatedly killed in This Is Spinal Tap or just lusted after less often than the lead guitarist (whom we've already studied), drummers walk a tough road. But it turns out science holds them in really high regard: They have a rare, innate ability to problem-solve and change those around them.


For starters, rock steady drummers can actually be smarter than their less rhythmically-focused bandmates. A study from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm found a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving. Researchers had drummers play a variety of different beats and then tasked them with a simple 60-problem intelligence test. The drummers who scored the highest were also better able to keep a steady beat. Apparently figuring out how to play in time is just another form of problem-solving. At last, hard proof that John Bonham really was a genius.

People 2

One in 10 16-year-olds have considered self-harm

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© Photo by Lee Morley / flickr.com
One in ten 16-year-olds surveyed in a new study by Queen's University and the University of Ulster have considered self-harm or taking an overdose.

The results of the annual Young Life and Times (YLT) survey, which are published today during Mental Health Awareness Week, also found that almost a third of 16-year-olds questioned had experienced serious personal, emotional or mental health problems at some point in the past year. 1,367 16-year-olds across Northern Ireland took part in the 2013 survey undertaken by ARK, a joint initiative by Queen's University and the University of Ulster. The research aims to give an insight into the lives of 16-year-olds across Northern Ireland, by addressing a range of key issues. In 2013 the survey focused on 16-year-olds' sense of community belonging, their experience of financial hardship, and their mental health, including self-harm.

The key findings of the 2013 survey on 16-year-olds' mental health include:

Family

Good relationships keep you healthier for longer

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Arguments with the people we are close to can have a serious impact on our health and mortality rate, a new study has confirmed.

The link between having supportive friends and family and serious health outcomes has long been recognised, but this research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health, takes our knowledge of the impact of relationships on health one step further by showing how stress can even impact on our life span.

Stressful social relations with partners, children, other family members, friends and neighbours, were examined using questions about everyday life. Questions addressed the degree to which people felt their relationships demanded too much of them, worried them or involved conflict. These questions were scored from always through to seldom, with people reporting frequent stressful social relations being deemed as at high risk.

Info

Wheat vs. rice: How China's culinary divide shapes personality

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Villagers transplant rice seedlings in Minhou County, southeast China’s Fujian Province.
In China, as in many countries, the north-south divide runs deep. People from the north are seen as hale and hearty, while southerners are often portrayed as cunning, cultured traders. Northerners are taller than southerners. The north eats noodles, while the south eats rice - and according to new research, when it comes to personality, that difference has meant everything.

A study published Friday by a group of psychologists in the journal Science finds that China's noodle-slurping northerners are more individualistic, show more "analytic thought" and divorce more frequently. By contrast, the authors write, rice-eating southerners show more hallmarks traditionally associated with East Asian culture, including more "holistic thought" and lower divorce rates.

The reason? Cultivating rice, the authors say, is a lot harder. Picture a rice paddy, its delicate seedlings tucked in a bed of water. They require careful tending and many hours of labor - by some estimates, twice as much as wheat - as well as reliance on irrigation systems that require neighborly cooperation. As the authors write, for southerners growing rice, "strict self-reliance might have meant starvation."

Eye 1

Why elites and psychopaths are useless to society

© SOTT.net
The ultimate and final goal of evil is to obscure and destroy our very conception of evil itself, to change the inherent moral fiber of all humanity until people can no longer recognize what is right and what is wrong. Evil is not a wisp of theological myth or a simplistic explanation for the aberrant behaviors of the criminal underbelly; rather, it is a tangible and ever present force in our world. It exists in each and every one of us. All men do battle with this force for the entirety of our lives in the hope that when we leave this Earth, we will leave it better and not worse.

When evil manifests among organized groups of people in the halls of power, power by itself is not always considered the greatest prize. The true prize is to mold society until it reflects the psychopathy that rots at the core of their being. That is to say, the elites, the oligarchy, the mad philosopher kings want to make us just like they are: proudly soulless. Only then can they rule, because only then will they be totally unopposed.

The problem is humanity is not only hardwired with a dark side; we are also hardwired with a conscience - at least, most of us are.

Comment: The propagation of the psychopathic myths and lies mentioned in this article have intensified in recent years as information about psychopaths has become more prominent. The mask of sanity that psychopaths wear is most effective when people know nothing of it. Now that the cat is out of the bag they're maneuvering every which way to remain unnoticed. But as always, knowledge protects and having an accurate and comprehensive understanding of psychopathy remains an essential building block for discerning truth from lies.

We're faced with a psychological information war from psychopaths that goes further than any government sponsored propaganda. It reaches into our psyches and into the social fabric of the present and past; it corrupts our philosophies, our morality and our family relationships. It's pervasive but it can be countered with human connection and a desire to understand.

In Political Ponerology, Andrew Lobaczewski describes his initiation into recognizing the world of this corrupting influence and describes how he and fellow students learned to counter it's influence from a pathological professor:
"We thus wondered how to protect ourselves from the results of this indoctrination. Teresa D. made the first suggestion: Let's spend a weekend in the mountains. It worked. Pleasant company, a bit of joking, then exhaustion followed by deep sleep in a shelter, and our human personalities returned, albeit with a certain remnant. Time also proved to create a kind of psychological immunity, although not with everyone. Analysing the psychopathic characteristics of the "professor's" personality proved another excellent way of protecting one's own psychological hygiene."
Recreating a more human world is integral to overcoming the effects of the imposing psychopathic reality. Working on stronger bonds with friends and family, disconnecting from the stress induced rat race, and taking the time to talk over our problems with loved ones can provide a protective measure that we all need now and will certainly continue to need in the future. Pathology flourishes in isolation and the more we connect with others who want the same things, the better we can handle and process the hardships we face as individuals and as a larger society. While pathological types may be the origin of many of our world issues, we've only gotten to where we are because of our participation. It's our responsibility to create something else, and we need a clear head to do it. And as Lobaczewski writes, understanding the characteristics of psychopaths provides an additional layer of protection.

For further information check out these shows on SOTT Talk Radio:

The 'Wetiko Virus' and Collective Psychosis: Interview With Paul Levy

Surviving the Psy-pocalypse: Interview with Stefan Verstappen

American Heart of Darkness: Robert Kirkconnell Interview

Predators Among Us: Interview With Dr. Anna Salter

Are Psychopaths Cool? Uncovering the predators among us


Family

Mothers' symptoms of depression predict how they respond to child behavior

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Depressive symptoms are common among mothers, and these symptoms are linked with worse developmental outcomes for children.
Depressive symptoms seem to focus mothers' responses on minimizing their own distress, which may come at the expense of focusing on the impact their responses have on their children, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Depressive symptoms are common among mothers, and these symptoms are linked with worse developmental outcomes for children. The new study, which followed 319 mothers and their children over a two-year period, helps to explain why parenting competence seems to deteriorate as parents' symptoms of depression increase.

"Children can often be demanding, needy, unpredictable, uncooperative, and highly active," says lead research Theodore Dix of the University of Texas at Austin.

"The task of parenting, particularly with children who are emotionally reactive, is especially difficult for mothers experiencing symptoms of depression because they are continually attempting to regulate their distress and discomfort."

Comment: Something that can help against depression and help one to be more calm and focused is a breathing program called Éiriú Eolas. You can find more information here.


Magic Wand

The power of imagination

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John William Waterhouse’s painting “Miranda—The Tempest.”
Those in the premodern world who hoarded possessions and refused to redistribute supplies and food, who turned their backs on the weak and the sick, who lived exclusively for hedonism and their own power, were despised. Those in modern society who are shunned as odd, neurotic or eccentric, who are disconnected from the prosaic world of objective phenomena and fact, would have been valued in premodern cultures for their ability to see what others could not see. Dreams and visions - considered ways to connect with the wisdom of ancestors - were integral to existence in distant times. Property was communal then. Status was conferred by personal heroism and providing for the weak and the indigent. And economic exchanges carried the potential for malice, hatred and evil: When wampum was exchanged by Native Americans the transaction had to include "medicine" that protected each party against "spiritual infection."

Only this premodern ethic can save us as we enter a future of economic uncertainty and endure the catastrophe of climate change. Social and economic life will again have to be communal. The lusts of capitalism will have to be tamed or destroyed. And there will have to be a recovery of reverence for the sacred, the bedrock of premodern society, so we can see each other and the earth not as objects to exploit but as living beings to be revered and protected. This means inculcating a very different vision of human society.

Life Preserver

Crucial decisions often taken with poor guidance for those with limited mental capacity

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Professionals often veered between being too empowering or too restrictive when helping with decisions.
People who have limited mental capacity need better help with making decisions according to a clinical psychologist at Lancaster University.

Dr Stephen Weatherhead says the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act by health and social care professionals is often inadequate. Research he supervised, conducted by Irram Waji is published in the journal Social Care and Neurodisability.

The research found gaps in training and misunderstandings in the implementation of the complexities of the Act.

Stephen said: "With an aging population and more people surviving serious injury, this Act will affect nearly everyone at some point.

Whether from Alzheimer's, autism or brain injury, people can lack the mental capacity to decide things like where to live or whether to have hospital treatment."

He said that professionals often veered between being too empowering or too restrictive when helping with decisions.