Welcome to Sott.net
Sun, 28 Aug 2016
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit
Map

Question

What, exactly, is psychoanalysis?

© Bill Strain/Flickr
Psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a way of treating longstanding psychological problems that is based on the belief behaviours have underlying drivers which may be unrecognised and unconscious.

With this understanding it's possible to think about the meaning and reasons behind that behaviour and enable the possibility of change.

Although Freud's psychology of the mind was premised on the existence of an unconscious, he was not the originator of the term. Seventeenth-century Western philosophers John Locke and René Descartes and, later, Gottfried Wilhelm Liebniz grappled with the idea of an unconscious, speculating the existence of something within the mind, beyond awareness, that also influenced behaviour.

Evil Rays

Noisy busyness and the disappearance of silence

Silence is a word pregnant with multiple meanings: for many a threat; for others a nostalgic evocation of a time rendered obsolete by technology; for others a sentence to boredom; and for some, devotees of the ancient arts of contemplation, reading, and writing, a word of profound, even sacred importance.

But silence, like so much else in the present world, including human beings, is on the endangered species list. Another rare bird—let's call it the holy spirit of true thought—is slowly disappearing from our midst. The poison of noise and busyness is polluting more than we think, but surely our ability to think.

I am sitting on a stone step of a small cabin on an estuary on Cape Cod. All is quiet. Three feet in front of me a baby rabbit nibbles on grass, and that nibbling resounds. A mourning dove moans intermittently. I see the wind ripple the marsh grass and sense its low humming. I feel at home.

People 2

Tactile synesthesia: What it's like to have emotions in your fingertips

It makes sense that the word feeling can refer to an emotion and a sense of touch. Like smells and songs, certain textures can call up specific emotional states — the sense of calm coziness, for example, that comes from stroking the fur of a cat, or wrapping yourself up in a fleecy blanket.

Most of the time, these connections follow pretty predictable patterns. Studies on touch preference over the years have generally yielded the same results: We like things that are soft or smooth; we dislike things that are jagged or sharp; depending on what we're feeling, we experience a mild sense of pleasure or displeasure. Research has shown that these preferences can have measurable effects, influencing our moods and how we relate to others. We've made room for these patterns in our metaphors, too: A particularly harrowing experience is "rough." A sweet moment makes you feel "warm and fuzzy."

In some rare cases, though, the link between touch and emotion can take some strange and extreme turns. Imagine being so disgusted by denim, for example, that running a hand over jeans makes you want to puke. Or feeling the urge to laugh whenever you touch silk. Or getting the creeps whenever you put on a fabric glove. That's life for people with tactile-emotional synesthesia, a mysterious condition in which seemingly arbitrary textures can be enough to make someone laugh or cry.

Comment: More on synesthesia:


Light Saber

Grace under pressure: The cool-headed strategy of observation and response

Think for a minute about how many times you felt pressure today—pressure to do something you were nervous to do, pressure to perform in the moment, pressure to make the right choice, pressure to take a big step toward a change or experience you want in your life? What was it like? I find pressure to be an intriguing concept. It certainly feels stressful, but it's ultimately more than stress. Whereas stress at its core is really just a state of physical and/or emotional strain (generally in response to what we somehow perceive as challenging circumstances), it's initially a response versus a force (but can become a force when chronic).

As a result, stress is most essentially a reaction we can at times avoid or use any range of strategies to minimize or manage. Pressure, on the other hand, is more of an input, a force not just acting in us but on us, influencing and compelling us toward action, much like the concept in physics. The pressure we experience may come from outside expectations or from internal sources (e.g. perfectionism), but the net effect is the same: in one way or another, we're called to act.

Let me say it a different way. When it comes to stress, the most pressing issue is how we take care of it. When we're talking about pressure, however, the question is how we will meet it.

Comment:



People

25 ways to maturely respond to constructive criticism

However way we look at it, criticism is judgment, and most people don't do well in managing or accepting either.

Perhaps only a micro percentage of the population can claim to have control over their bearings while being told what's wrong with them.

The criticisms themselves may not sting as much as how it is delivered or who delivers it. Sometimes or ever so often, it's the person at the receiving end who tends to blow things out of proportion.

However, it is important to recognize that not all criticisms are essentially true or hurtful. A lot of them might actually be helpful when assessed with an open mind, regardless of the manner by which it was made known to you.

2 + 2 = 4

No fact zone: Both liberals and conservatives easily reject actual facts, says study

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule—and both commonly succeed, and are right."― H.L. Mencken, Minority Report
On a daily basis, the Free Thought Project is accused of being a conservative mouthpiece, funded and run by the Koch brothers. Also, on a daily basis, the Free Thought Project is accused of being a liberal mouthpiece, funded and run by George Soros.

On a daily basis, these assertions are wholly and undeniably wrong.

When there is a government boot on your neck, whether this boot is from the left foot or right foot is of no concern.

The Free Thought Project does not keep it a secret that we hold no faith in the two-party political paradigm or process and we seek only truth and liberty for all.

We believe in freedom — and we do not follow that statement up with the word 'but.'

Gear

Are lazy people smarter? Study says thinking people are less physically active

© Getty
You may now have another excuse to binge watch television shows and take naps during the day.

A new study reveals that intelligent people live a more sedentary lifestyle, as they rarely become bored and spend more time lost in their own thoughts.

Researchers found that those who fill their day with physical activity are often 'non-thinkers,' and do so to stimulate their minds in order to escape their own thoughts.

In a study published to the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers from the Florida Gulf Coast University explained that 'the relationship between cognition and physical activity is an important question for the human experience, and the interaction likely extends across the lifespan.'

Comment: No, don't take that as an excuse to binge watch TV. Ignore the click bait in the first sentence and you'll see that smart people are more sedentary because they probably spend that time being mentally active. Or at least, that might just be the ideal. If thinking people actually do spend more time vegetating in front of the TV, then that's just a sign of how much our society wastes the potential of its brightest.


Life Preserver

Understanding the subtleties of emotional blackmail

Movies love to portray the inner and outer conflict that arises from being blackmailed, especially when someone's life hangs in the balance. There is the villain (the blackmailer), the victim (the target), a demand (what is being asked for), and a threat (what negative thing will happen if the victim refuses to comply). But blackmail does not have to be a life or death threat to be real. It can be more subtle than that.

Blackmail

Here are a couple of examples in everyday life. At school, one child says to another, "If you don't say I'm the coolest, then I'll beat you up." In a neighborhood, it is a neighbor threatening to do property damage if turned into the homeowner's board. At the office, a co-worker who knows some private personal information threatens to use it against another in exchange for a small fee. This type of blackmail has some sort of physical or tangible harm attached.

Emotional Blackmail

This is a bit different. The threat is not tangible, rather it is emotional. Susan Forward and Diane Frazier (Forward and Frazier, 1997), coined the acronym FOG (fear, obligation, and guilt) to describe the three main emotions a blackmailer uses against a victim. Because the threat is not tangible, the villain can easily claim no responsibility. Their logic is that if the victim did not feel fear, obligation, or guilt then they wouldn't be able to blackmail them. The target gives into the demand because they don't want to experience the negative emotion. This is often cyclical and can build in intensity as the threats are effective.

Question

Really? Cursing, being messy and staying up late are signs of a high IQ

© mel0dee/flickr
Stacks of papers, books, and folders cram into every available space on your desk, you glance at the clock to see it's 2:31 a.m., and utter a swear word — you're up late, again, but far too enmeshed in what you're doing to even consider getting sleep yet. Perhaps your friends perceive you as an insomniac slob who swears too much; but they probably haven't heard the good news: Studies suggest these traits are a sign of intelligence.

Popular mythology frequently equates swearing with low intelligence, limited vocabulary, and lower social status. But a study by psychologists Kristin Jay of Marist College and Timothy Jay of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and published in the journal Language Sciences dispels those stereotypes.

Fluency in "taboo words," they found, parallels fluency in mundane, neutral words — in fact, a billowing vocabulary of curses and slurs indicates a larger vocabulary overall. Those who swear abundantly generally tend to be more eloquent — "fluency is fluency," the scientists found.

People 2

Do your friends actually like you?

Think of all the people with whom you interact during the course of a day, week, month and year. The many souls with whom you might exchange a greeting or give a warm embrace; engage in chitchat or have a deeper conversation. All those who, by some accident of fate, inhabit your world. And then ask yourself who among them are your friends — your true friends. Recent research indicates that only about half of perceived friendships are mutual. That is, someone you think is your friend might not be so keen on you. Or, vice versa, as when someone you feel you hardly know claims you as a bestie.

It's a startling finding that has prompted much discussion among psychologists, neuroscientists, organizational behavior experts, sociologists and philosophers. Some blame human beings' basic optimism, if not egocentrism, for the disconnect between perceived and actual friendships. Others point to a misunderstanding of the very notion of friendship in an age when "friend" is used as a verb, and social inclusion and exclusion are as easy as a swipe or a tap on a smartphone screen. It's a concern because the authenticity of one's relationships has an enormous impact on one's health and well-being.

"People don't like to hear that the people they think of as friends don't name them as friends," said Alex Pentland, a computational social science researcher at M.I.T. and co-author of a recent study published in the journal PLOS One titled "Are You Your Friends' Friend? Poor Perception of Friendship Ties Limits the Ability to Promote Behavioral Change."

Comment: Indeed, our own mental health is strongly coupled to the quality of our human relationships.