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Sun, 17 Oct 2021
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


Hearing mother's voice can lessen pain in premature babies, study suggests

neonatal nurse premature baby
© Hannah McKay/Reuters
A neonatal nurse caring for a premature baby. The author of the study said the team focused on voice because it was not always possible for parents to hold their babies in intensive care.
Researchers measured pain responses in preterm babies during routine procedures in neonatal unit.

Premature babies appear to feel less pain during medical procedures when they are spoken to by their mothers, researchers have found.

Babies that are born very early often have to spend time in neonatal intensive care units, and may need several painful clinical procedures. The situation can also mean lengthy separation from parents.

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Are incels a violent terrorist subculture, or collection of disenfranchised, misguided souls who need compassion and treatment?

Gravesite stuff
© AFP/Niklas Halle'n
North Down Crescent Park in the Keyham area of Plymouth, southwest England
August 14, 2021
Britain has been rocked by a rare mass shooting, carried out by an incel. The US has already witnessed several attacks by incels. But why are they happening and are tougher laws the answer?

A three-year old girl, her father, two passers-by, and the gunman's mother were murdered in cold blood in Plymouth, southwest England last week. Mainstream reports attributed the blame to Jake Davison identifying as an incel, a term short for involuntary celibate.

According to them, the subculture is creating dangerous killers.

As proof of how that narrative is being consumed by the public, an online petition was created to have incels formally recognised as a terrorist group in the UK. The direct link with terrorism was repeated by platforms such as Sky News and The Guardian, which wrote that previous shootings should have "brought misogynist terrorism into the awareness of law enforcement around the world."

It's true there have been several high profile incidents, most notably when Eliot Rodger killed six people in a stabbing spree in California, back in 2014 and when Alek Minassian took 10 lives by driving into pedestrians in Toronto in 2018.

But the reality is, incel culture is vastly misunderstood.

Evil Rays

Mass Psychosis: How to Create a Pandemic of Mental Illness

insane crowd mass psychosis
The 20-minute video above, "Mass Psychosis — How an Entire Population Becomes Mentally Ill," created by After Skool and Academy of Ideas,1 is a fascinating illustration of how mass psychosis can be induced.

Mass psychosis is defined as "an epidemic of madness" that occurs when a "large portion of society loses touch with reality and descends into delusions."

One classic historical example of mass psychosis is the witch hunts that occurred in the Americas and Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, when tens of thousands of people, mostly women, were tortured, drowned and burned alive at the stake. The rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century is a more recent example of mass psychosis.

Eye 1

Gaslighting: The psychology of shaping another's reality


Still from 1942 movie Gaslight
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

- Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
We are living in a world where the degree of disinformation and outright lying has reached such a state of affairs that, possibly for the first time ever, we see the majority of the western world starting to question their own and surrounding level of sanity. The increasing frenzied distrust in everything "authoritative" mixed with the desperate incredulity that "everybody couldn't possibly be in on it!" is slowly rocking many back and forth into a tighter and tighter straight jacket. "Question everything" has become the new motto, but are we capable of answering those questions?

Presently the answer is a resounding no.

Comment: See also: Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Echoes of Nazism - Governments' Vaccine Passports Spark Mass Disobedience

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MindMatters: The Postmodern Bible: An Interpretation for Everyone!

bible multilevel book
For some it is the holiest book, they only one you'll ever need. For others it is a tool of conquering. Some find in it the loftiest values, others only the basest superstitions. Today on MindMatters we delve into this contradictory world of interpretations: religion as a source of extrinsic morality, or a call to the spark of divinity within, or somewhere in between. Perhaps, just like humanity, the Bible is multilevel in nature, with a little something for everyone, from saints to psychopaths.

MindMatters on odysee.

Running Time: 01:18:39

Download: MP3 — 108 MB


Why Do Some People Support Tyranny While Others Defy It?

There is a fundamental question that haunts the pages of history and it is one that has never been addressed in a satisfactory manner. There are many schools of thought on why and how tyranny rises in any given society and all of them miss the mark in terms of explanations, primarily because they all allow their biases to rule their conclusions and blind them to the deeper aspects of power and conspiracy. In other words, they are willing to go down the rabbit hole only so far, and then they deny that the rabbit hole even exists.

The common assumption when it comes to autocracy or oligarchy is that people are "stupid" and easily manipulated into following compelling personalities that make promises they never intend to keep. This is a foolish oversimplification. In truth, the level of manipulation needed to lure a majority of people into dictatorship is so complex that it requires an advanced understanding of human psychology.

In our modern era, people cannot merely be ordered to submit at gunpoint, at least not right away. They must be tricked into conforming, and not only that, but they must be made to think that it was THEIR IDEA all along. Without this dynamic of self censorship and self enslavement, the population will eventually rebel no matter how oppressive the regime. A thousand year tyranny cannot exist unless a number of people are conned into applauding it, or, they directly benefit from it.


Our brains perceive our environment differently when we're lying down

woman lying down
© shutterstock
You're agitated by the sound of a mosquito buzzing around your head. The buzzing stops. You feel the tiny pinprick and locate the target. Whack! It's over.

It's a simple sequence, but it demands complex processing. How did you know where the mosquito was before you could even see it?

The human body is covered in about two square metres of skin, but somehow even before looking you knew the precise location of the spindly predator. After visual confirmation, your hand found its way to the scene of the crime and applied fatal force to the bug, but you didn't hurt yourself in the process.

What did it take for all that to happen? Good question.

For all the advancements the world has seen in every field of science, including neuroscience, the mechanics of perception and thinking still elude complete understanding.

Even the list of basic human senses is still up for debate: beyond the five traditional senses, many argue that balance — the body's mechanism for orienting itself in space — should have been included long ago.


Sleep loss sabotages new memory storage in the hippocampus

© Frank Raven
Somatostatin-expressing interneurons in the mouse dentate gyrus, labeled with Brainbow 3.0, which labels each neuron a distinct color. cFos, labeled green, is present in the nuclei of surrounding pyramidal cells which are active during sleep. I
While some students may think it's a good idea to pull an all-nighter before an exam, conventional wisdom may be correct: A good night's sleep may actually be more helpful, according to University of Michigan research.

U-M scientists Sara Aton and James Delorme found when mice are sleep-deprived, there is an increase in activity in inhibitory neurons in the hippocampus, an area of the brain essential for navigation, as well as for processing and storing new memories.

"Because these neurons limit activity in their neighbors, this physiological response makes it impossible to muster normal neuronal activity in the hippocampal structure," said Aton, an associate professor in the U-M Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and a member of the U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine executive committee. "I always tell my students that an overnighter is not helping them prepare for an exam."

The researchers' results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and their findings could have implications for human performance and learning strategies.

Previous research has shown there is a sensitive window of time — a few hours following learning — during which mice have to sleep in order to fully consolidate a memory. During this period, neuronal activity must remain undisturbed in the hippocampus, and RNA transcription and translation within the neurons must occur normally. Aton and Delorme, formerly a U-M neuroscience graduate student, studied the possible links between changes in neurons' activity after learning and changes in their protein translation.


Longer breaks during learning lead to more stable activation patterns in the brain

We remember things longer if we take breaks during learning, referred to as the spacing effect. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology gained deeper insight into the neuronal basis for this phenomenon in mice. With longer intervals between learning repetitions, mice re-use more of the same neurons as before - instead of activating different ones. Possibly, this allows the neuronal connections to strengthen with each learning event, such that knowledge is stored for a longer time.
© MPI of Neurobiology / Kuhl
Longer intervals between learning events improve memory and lead to more robust activation patterns in the brain.
Many of us have experienced the following: the day before an exam, we try to cram a huge amount of information into our brain. But just as quickly as we acquired it, the knowledge we have painstakingly gained is gone again. The good news is that we can counteract this forgetting. With expanded time intervals between individual learning events, we retain the knowledge for a longer time.

But what happens in the brain during the spacing effect, and why is taking breaks so beneficial for our memory? It is generally thought that during learning, neurons are activated and form new connections. In this way, the learned knowledge is stored and can be retrieved by reactivating the same set of neurons. However, we still know very little about how pauses positively influence this process - even though the spacing effect was described more than a century ago and occurs in almost all animals.

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MindMatters: Finding Your Red Line: Lessons from Milgram and the Holocaust

red line
As things continue to get worse culturally and politically, it pays to ask oneself how far one will go. What are the limits to my obedience to authority? At what point do I become what I hate? To avoid becoming a monster, the first step is to draw some red lines: things we simply will not do. But will we actually stick to them, or simply go along with the crowd when the challenge proves too difficult? History is not flattering to our high ideals and self-images. When it comes down to it, the vast majority of people will do whatever they are told to do, given the right conditions. That's why a study of history and the famous Milgram experiment can be so helpful.

Today on MindMatters we look at the limits of obedience to authority (with reference to Christopher Browning's book Ordinary Men, and Philip Zimbardo's Lucifer Effect). These facts about human nature may be depressing, but they also offer the way out by providing the motivation to prepare for the future, now. Without a bit of self-knowledge, there is no guarantee you will not be just another miserable cell in the collective mob. But with it, there's at least a chance of hope that you can resist, and that others will be inspired to follow suit.

Running Time: 01:10:05

Download: MP3 — 56.2 MB