Welcome to Sott.net
Tue, 19 Mar 2019
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit

SOTT Logo Radio

The Truth Perspective: How to Numb Your Conscience with Totalitarian Religion

Chief Rabbis Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (L), Rabbi David Lau (R)
© Yaakov Coehn/Flash90
These men have a lot of power over happiness for Jews in Israel. The Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (L) and Rabbi David Lau (R)
Religions provide a collection of values by which their adherents strive to live, a story in which they play an important role. These timeless values and stories are some of humanity's greatest achievements. But they can also go wrong - very wrong. Just as religions can offer the impetus towards the development of conscience, they can also be distorted to such a degree that they actively stifle conscience, elevating a group of believers to a chosen status denied to all others, and thus justifying the worst of attitudes and behaviors towards such outsiders, regardless of such individuals' individual character.

Today on the Truth Perspective we continue our discussion of Israel Shahak's Jewish History, Jewish Religion and Shiraz Maher's Salafi-Jihadism, and the two religious ideologies they criticize. Both are founded on a distorted view of human nature, a demonization of outsiders, and rigid doctrines of political and social absolutism: religious pathocracy. Tune in to see how the operate, and how they justify the unjustifiable.

Running Time: 01:32:03

Download: MP3


How to de-clutter your thoughts and emotions

Everything starts with a thought, so let's start by making space for some new ones. The mind is the root of all clutter. It has helped you create everything you see and live, the good the bad and the ugly. Now let's put it to work, to de-clutter your whole life, step-by-step, freeing you from unwanted and unneeded life-sucking energy and burdens.

First and foremost, you need to monitor your thoughts. What are you thinking? Look around. Your reality is a reflection of your inner terrain, both mentally and emotionally. Be mindful of your thoughts. Be observant of how you respond to situations and your own beliefs. You can only hold one thought at the time, so remember that a negative, or un-serving thought is occupying the space of a serving one.

Comment: Read more about Picking up your mental garbage


Too much 'idiot box' leaves older folk lost for words

Too much Television
© track5/Getty Image
Say what? Too much television for the over-50s is linked to loss of verbal memory.
Readers above a certain age may well recall, several decades ago, regularly being told by parents and teachers that watching too much television rots the brain.

Now, research by two scientists at University College London in the UK suggests that, at least metaphorically, the oldies were right.

In a study covering a seven-year period, Daisy Fancourt and Andrew Steptoe tested the effect of television watching among people over 50 years old. Most research into the relationship between television and cognition, they point out, has focussed on children and adolescents - older people have been largely overlooked.

The researchers used data from a long-term project called the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), an ongoing population-based mission to collect information regarding health, wellbeing and economic outcomes for over-50s

To establish a baseline, they looked at television-watching data for 3662 adults recorded in 2008 and 2009. They then flipped forward six years and looked at levels of cognitive decline in the same cohort during the period 2014 and 2015.

Cell Phone

Stop iPhone parenting and give your children the attention they need

family on cellphones
As a trauma therapist I am always interested in learning about my clients' childhood attachment patterns. Growing up with parents who were either emotionally unavailable, inconsistently responsive, frightened by or frightening to their child has a profoundly negative impact on social, behavioral, emotional, and neurological development. "Trauma-informed care" includes assessing for adverse childhood experiences and reframing clients' subsequent "symptoms" and struggles as the inevitable by-products and coping strategies of attachment trauma. However, I am concerned that a newer version of attachment trauma has invaded even the most "loving" families. Our reliance on, and, in some cases addiction to, digital gadgets and technology has hijacked the face-to-face parent-child interactions that are necessary for consistent, sustained and secure attachment.

Is this scenario familiar? After standing in line at the post office for fifteen minutes - a somewhat inherently traumatic experience in and of itself - I witnessed a two-year-old having a complete meltdown. Her mother's immediate response was to hand her an iPad. In her wisdom, the child initially rejected it. In a soothing yet frustrated tone, the mother said "Use your iPad! Do you want to look at pictures? Play a game?" The child was not appeased and continued to wail. As the woman bent towards the stroller, I felt a sense of relief, assuming she was about to pick up her dysregulated child. Instead, she turned on the tablet and said with greater agitation, "look at the pictures on your screen!" After several more minutes of crying, the child realized that what she wanted and needed-to be comforted by her mother, not an inanimate object-was not going to happen. I watched as she went into collapse, emotionally shutting down and compliantly staring at the screen.

Comment: That may already be too late. Although we are more 'connected' than ever digitally - it is no substitute for real live human contact. See also:


Jordan Peterson on Art, Mythology, Fame and Education

jordan peterson
Jordan Peterson joins Tyler to discuss collecting Soviet propaganda, why he's so drawn to Jung, what the Exodus story can teach us about current events, his marriage and fame, what the Intellectual Dark Web gets wrong, immigration in America and Canada, his tendency towards depression, Tinder's revolutionary nature, the lessons from The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, fixing universities, the skills needed to become a good educator, and much more.

Listen to the full conversation

No Entry

Do Not Disturb: How I ditched my phone and unbroke my brain

phone addiction
© Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times
Who needs a smartphone when you’ve got ads for discount dentistry?
My name is Kevin, and I have a phone problem.

And if you're anything like me - and the statistics suggest you probably are, at least where smartphones are concerned - you have one, too.

I don't love referring to what we have as an "addiction." That seems too sterile and clinical to describe what's happening to our brains in the smartphone era. Unlike alcohol or opioids, phones aren't an addictive substance so much as a species-level environmental shock. We might someday evolve the correct biological hardware to live in harmony with portable supercomputers that satisfy our every need and connect us to infinite amounts of stimulation. But for most of us, it hasn't happened yet.

Comment: A digital detox is good for phone users of all ages, read more about the highjacking of your brain with smart phone tech:


Bring 'Hygge' principles in to your home: How the Danish lifestyle can change your winter

Hygge principles
Homesteading attracts people wanting a simpler lifestyle and self-sustainability. In the most recent USDA census of agriculture, the government found that out of the approximately 2.1 million farms in the U.S., around 88 percent were small family farms.

In a 2017 survey of over 4,746 young farmers, about 75 percent stated they didn't grow up on a farm and 69 percent had post-secondary degrees. A first winter on the homestead seems long and cold when you aren't used to the lifestyle.

Fortunately, the Danish lifestyle called hygge - pronounced hoo-gah - makes things much more comfortable. Hygge is the concept of enjoying the simple things in life. Most homesteaders already live a relatively simple life, but for the winter months on a small farm, this means staying warm and cozy and enjoying the slower pace after the harvest passes.


Why stress is one of the best predictors of high life satisfaction

stress sunset freedom
© Pixabay
My life is messed up, why can't I get my act together?

Most of us have heard a variation of this talk track in our heads, or we've heard it from others. If only, we think, I didn't have this problem, then everything would be all right.

We feel burdened by what seems to be our unique sticky problems. Immersed in such a mindset, our actions may not demonstrate our highest values and purpose. What if, Ryan Holiday asks, the adverse circumstances we face offer "a formula for thriving not just in spite of whatever happens but because of it?"

Comment: With so much information circulating on the harmful effects of stress, it's nice to see a more realistic and balanced perspective. Any challenge is inherently stressful, so without stress, there would be no growth, learning or expanding of knowledge. Learning to deal with stress in beneficial ways by shifting our attitudes toward it, seeing it as an opportunity to learn and grow, is one of the keys to not succumbing to the detrimental effects of stress. Don't wish for an easy life, but for the strength to overcome and grow from the obstacles thrown in your way.

See also:

Eye 2

Describing Wetiko: Colin Wilson's Sci-Fi Classic 'The Mind Parasites': Fiction or Reality?

mind parasites 1

Comment: For the first two installments of Paul Levy's insightful series on the wetiko virus, see:

The Masters of Deception and The Greatest Epidemic Sickness Known to Humanity

It should get our attention that every person or group of people that have discovered what the Native American people called wetiko unanimously consider it to be the most important topic - there's not even any competition - to understand in our world today. To give one example: Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan refers to wetiko (though by a different name) as "the topic of all topics." Called by many different names throughout history, the spirit of wetiko renders every other issue secondary, for wetiko is the over-arching umbrella that contains, subsumes, informs and underlies every form of self-and-other destruction that our species is acting out in our world. If we don't come to terms with what wetiko - which can be conceived of as a virus of the mind - is revealing to us, nothing else will matter, as there will be no more human species. Wetiko inspires the darkest evil imaginable while, at the same time, potentially helps us to wake up to our true nature as creative beings. How wetiko winds up actually manifesting depends upon whether we recognize it as the on-going revelation that it is - it is showing us something about ourselves that is of supreme importance for us to know.

Comment: Whether one calls it social contagion, mass ponerization - or wetiko - there exists a sickness of the mind and of the soul that is just as virulent and dangerous to the well-being of individuals - and whole populations - as any of the worst biological diseases we can name.

But before one can actually do anything to address it, one first has to acknowledge that it, on some significant level, even exists.


Should you listen to music while doing intellectual work? It depends

girl with headphones

People more prone to boredom performed better without background music
Given how many of us listen to music while studying or doing other cerebral work, you'd think psychology would have a set of clear answers as to whether the practice is likely to help or hinder performance. In fact, the research literature is rather a mess (not that that has deterred some enterprising individuals from making bold claims).

There's the largely discredited "Mozart Effect" - the idea that listening to classical music can boost subsequent IQ, except that when first documented in the 90s the effect was on spatial reasoning specifically, not general IQ. Also, since then the finding has not replicated, or it has proven weak and is probably explained as a simple effect of music on mood or arousal on performance. And anyway, that's about listening to music and then doing mental tasks, rather than both simultaneously. Other research on listening to music while we do mental work has suggested it can be distracting (known as the "irrelevant sound effect"), especially if we're doing mental arithmetic or anything that involves holding information in the correct order in short-term memory.

Now, in the hope of injecting more clarity and realism into the literature, Manuel Gonzalez and John Aiello have tested the common-sense idea that the effects of background music on mental task performance will depend on three things: the nature of the music, the nature of the task, and the personality of the person. "We hope that our findings encourage researchers to adopt a more holistic, interactionist approach to investigate the effects of music (and more broadly, distractions) on task performance," they write in their new paper in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

The researchers recruited 142 undergrads (75 per cent were women) and asked them to complete two mental tasks. The simpler task involved finding and crossing out all of the letter As in a sample of text. The more complex task involved studying lists of word pairs and then trying to recall the pairs when presented with just one word from each pair.