Science of the SpiritS

Bizarro Earth

Embracing realism with an attitude of pessimism and a foreboding sense of fatalism

We perceive our civic challenge as some vast, insoluble Rubik's Cube. Behind each problem lies another problem that must be solved first, and behind that lies yet another, and another, ad infinitum. To fix crime we have to fix the family, but before we do that we have to fix welfare, and that means fixing our budget, and that means fixing our civic spirit, but we can't do that without fixing moral standards, and that means fixing schools and churches, and that means fixing the inner cities, and that's impossible unless we fix crime. There's no fulcrum on which to rest a policy lever. People of all ages sense that something huge will have to sweep across America before the gloom can be lifted - but that's an awareness we suppress. As a nation, we're in deep denial.

- Straus and Howe (1997): "The Fourth Turning", FIRST EDITION page 2
The books "Generations" (1992) and "The Fourth Turning" (1997) by historians William Strauss and Neil Howe identified and categorized recorded cycles of history across multiple cultures and eras. Both books analyzed the timelines of historical events and correlated them to specific life cycles identified as generational "types". Strauss and Howe addressed the concept of time in the context of both circular and linear perspectives. In so doing, they described the "saeculum" as a "long human life" measuring approximately 80 to 90 years and comprised of four turnings, each lasting around 20 to 22 years.

Just as there are four seasons consisting of spring, summer, fall and winter, there are also four phases of a human life experienced in childhood, young adulthood, middle age and elderhood.

A warrior acknowledges his pain but he doesn't indulge in it.
The mood of the warrior who enters into the unknown is not one of
sadness; on the contrary, he's joyful because he feels humbled by
his great fortune, confident that his spirit is impeccable, and
above all, fully aware of his efficiency. A warrior's joyfulness
comes from having accepted his fate, and from having truthfully
assessed what lies ahead of him.
The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is
that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary
man takes everything as a blessing or as a curse.
The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence
of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of
the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks
impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The
average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked
only to infinity.
What seems natural is to think that a warrior who can hold his
own in the face of the unknown can certainly face petty tyrants with
impunity. But that's not necessarily so. What destroyed the superb
warriors of ancient times was to rely on that assumption. Nothing
can temper the spirit of a warrior as much as the challenge of
dealing with impossible people in positions of power. Only under
those conditions can warriors acquire the sobriety and serenity to
withstand the pressure of the unknowable.
--- Quotes from the works of Carlos Castaneda


John Sailer: The DEI rollback

© The Free Press/Getty ImagesDEI is slipping!
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices are still deeply entrenched at our institutions โ€” but the retrenchment is well under way.

When he took office in 2021, Utah governor Spencer Cox, a Republican, made advancing "diversity, equity, and inclusion" a key priority. He appointed a high-level diversity officer to his administration. His senior leadership was put through a "21-Day Equity Challenge," which instructed them in microaggressions and antiracism.

The universities were on board. Utah State's annual diversity symposium featured talks such as "Decentering Whiteness." The university also required DEI statements from applicants to the faculty, explaining how they infused diversity and equity โ€” a focus on race, gender, sexual orientation, and other categories of "marginalization" โ€” into their work. Even for positions in fields such as insect ecology and lithospheric evolution.

Then, in December, Cox announced a different priority: reversing the excesses of DEI. At a press conference he said,
"We're using identitarianism to force people into boxes, and into victimhood, and I just don't think that's helpful at all. In fact, I think it's harmful." So harmful that he announced his intention to bar the use of diversity statements in faculty hiring, condemning the practice as "bordering on evil."

Cow Skull

A nation of non-compliers

black sheep
The train wasn't scheduled for another 20 minutes, so I had a chance to contemplate the official sign on the door of the huge elevator leading to the platform. It said that only four people are allowed in because we must all practice social distancing. There was a helpful map of the interior of the elevator with stick figures telling people exactly where to stand.

Yes, these stickers are still everywhere. I recall when they first went up, sometime in April 2020. They seemed oddly uniform and appeared even permanent. At the time I thought, oh, this is a huge error because within a few weeks, the error of the whole of this idiocy is going to be known by all. Sadly, my worst fears came true: it was designed to be a permanent feature of our lives.

Same with the strange arrows on the ground telling us which way to walk. They are still everywhere, stuck on the floor, an integral part of the linoleum. If you walk this way, you will infect people, which is why you have to walk that way, which is safe. As for masks, the mandates keep popping up in strange places and strange ways. My inbox fills with pleas for how people can fight this stuff.

Magic Wand

Resilience is a skill that can be cultivated, a psychologist explains

man climbing mountain
© mihtiander/iStock via Getty Images PlusSimilar to building up the skills needed to climb a mountain or perform another physical task, resilience can be learned over time, an expert argues.
The word resilience can be perplexing. Does it mean remaining calm when faced with stress? Bouncing back quickly? Growing from adversity? Is resilience an attitude, a character trait or a skill set? And can misperceptions about resilience hurt people, rather than help?

To sum it up in a sentence: Resilience is the ability to manage stress in effective ways. It's not a static quality or attribute you're born with, or a choice of attitude. Instead, it's a set of skills that can be developed by repeating specific behaviors. As a clinical psychologist, researcher and educator specializing in training people to cope with stress more effectively, I know that resilience can be developed.

But as with physical fitness, you can't get stronger abs by just wanting them. Instead, you have to repeat specific exercises that make your abs stronger; intention alone just won't do it.

SOTT Logo Radio

SOTT Focus: MindMatters: From Archons to the Matrix: Understanding American Gnosis with Arthur Versluis

The ancient idea of spiritual gnosis has evolved and branched to reflect the time and place in which we live. Nowhere is this development more evident than in the writings and scholarship of author Arthur Versluis. In his groundbreaking new book American Gnosis: Political Religion and Transcendence, Versluis takes an in-depth look at the varieties of modern 'neo-gnosticism.' These include cosmological gnosticism - the worldly effort to escape from archons of darkness or hostile beings that would seek to subjugate the world through politics and other power structures. Another is metaphysical gnosis, or transcendence that is less a reaction to the perception of evil overlords than movement towards divine knowledge for its own sake.

Join us this week on MindMatters as we delve into the realm of cosmological gnosis with Arthur Versluis, and look at the plethora of ways in which some really old ideas have been reinvigorated (alongside some newer ones). How do these ideas present themselves in literature, TV and movies? Is there is a crossover between 'political awakening' and 'spiritual awakening'? And what, if anything, may this have to do with some developments we've been seeing with the so-called 'dissident right' in the US?

Running Time: 01:26:16

Download: MP3 โ€” 118 MB


The time traveling mistake we make when we procrastinate

head outline
Mozart, the great and enduring musical genius, doesn't conform to our stereotypical notion of a musical prodigy.

Did he practice for hours per day? Nope. Was he well intentioned with his plans? Also no.

More of a partier than a conscientious adult, Mozart, as biographers have described him, was someone who was "much addicted to trifling amusement."

Perhaps it's not surprising, then, that he also wasn't known for finishing compositions promptly. In fact, in late October of 1787, after having all but wrapped up the score for Don Giovanni, he decided to go out for a night of drinking with buddies. Toward the end of the evening, one friend nervously turned to Mozart and remarked that with the opera due to be performed for the first time the next day, he couldn't believe that the overture hadn't been written yet!

Mozart hurriedly returned home to start โ€” and hopefully finish โ€” this missing piece. But, because he kept nodding off due to the alcohol and the late hour, he asked his wife, Constanze, to help him stay awake by telling him stories.


Research shows that sniffing women's tears reduces aggressive behavior in men

tears old image
© CC0,
New research, published in PLOS Biology, shows that tears from women contain chemicals that block aggression in men. The study led by Shani Agron at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, finds that sniffing tears leads to reduced brain activity related to aggression, which results in less aggressive behavior.

Male aggression in rodents is known to be blocked when they smell female tears. This is an example of social chemosignaling, a process that is common in animals but less common โ€” or less understood โ€” in humans.

To determine whether tears have the same effect in people, the researchers exposed a group of men to either women's emotional tears or saline while they played a two-person game. The game was designed to elicit aggressive behavior against the other player, whom the men were led to believe was cheating.

Comment: Crying generally triggers feelings of sympathy and concern so it's interesting to see that it has a physiological effect too. Some instinctively recognize this and cry to manipulate or control others. That's not to say all crying is manipulative, sometimes it can be due to despair or frustration. It would be interesting to see if the males in the study had the same response to tears from a child or another male.

As a side note, the study was conducted in Israel, one wonders if things would be any different if their male citizens could smell Palestinian women's tears...


Gladness and silence amid chaos and violence

shadows at night
The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either โ€” but right through every human heart โ€” and through all human hearts.

โ€• Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.

... The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. The name written on her forehead was a mystery: Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes, and of the abominations of the earth.

- Revelation 17:1-5
I had been emotionally involved a few times with women with enough of a record of promiscuity to make me vaguely uneasy. It is difficult to put much value on something the lady has distributed all too generously. I have the feeling there is some mysterious quota, which varies with each woman. And whether she gives herself or sells herself, once she reaches her own number, once X pairs of hungry hands have been clamped rightly upon her rounded undersides, she suffers a sea change wherein her juices alter from honey to acid, her eyes change to glass, her heart becomes a stone, and her mouth a windy cave from whence, with each moisturous gasping, comes a tiny stink of death.

โ€• MacDonald, John D. (1966). "Darker Than Amber", Travis McGee series, Random House LLC, 2013, pgs 56-57
We live in an age of wizards and whores where souls are sold in the pursuit of material pleasures. Time-honored principles have been traded for profit and power as lawlessness intensifies.

Black Magic

Best of the Web: How scientific materialism begot woke ideology

lawrence krauss
Physicist Lawrence Krauss, die-hard materialist
Last week, I received the following email from the National Association of Scholars (NAS):
Join the National Association of Scholars on Friday, December 8, at 3 pm ET for "Restoring the Sciences: Science Under Attack."

Free inquiry, open debate, and skeptical questioning are the cornerstones of healthy science. But does that describe science today? Arguably, no โ€” those cornerstones are currently being eroded at universities and scientific institutions around the county.

Can scientists pretend that science is immune to the ideologies that have conquered the humanities and are now sweeping through a broad range of disciplines in the science ecosystem? "No," says Dr. Lawrence Krauss. Science is imperiled, and without scientists standing up for core principles, the vibrancy of scientific discovery and scholarship is in danger of following the liberal arts to a post-truth future.

This event will feature Lawrence Krauss, a cosmologist, theoretical physicist, author, and winner of numerous international awards for his scientific research and his writing. He is a passionate advocate of science, and for enlightening the public on the value of science to society, and the importance of defending science's core principles. He is president of The Origins Project Foundation.

To learn more about the event, click here.
The NAS here is attempting to stand against the subversion of the academy, and science in particular, from the assaults on freedom of thought and expression by woke ideology. Increasingly, I'm seeing people like Krauss (and Pinker and Dawkins) assume the role as champions of traditional academic values (reason, merit, free discourse) against the barbarian hordes.


Leading biologist explains why you can so often sense when someone is looking at you even if your back is turned

© Kathleen Hankins'Sherlock Holmes'
Have you ever felt you were being watched? Almost everybody has. It's a scientific phenomenon that is universal.

More than 80 per cent of women, and nearly three-quarters of men, questioned in Britain, the U.S. and Scandinavia, say they have experienced it โ€” turning around to find someone staring at them, or looking at someone from behind who turned and looked back.

Numerous studies have proved that the sensation can be reproduced under rigorous laboratory conditions. Those who watch people for a living, such as private detectives and celebrity photographers, have no doubt it's real. Professionals who use long-range lenses, including paparazzi and snipers, know the moment when the target senses their gaze and looks straight at them.

It's well documented in literature. Here is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, describing it:
"At breakfast this morning I suddenly had that vague feeling of uneasiness which overcomes some people when closely stared at, and, quickly looking up, I met his eyes bent upon me with an intensity which amounted to ferocity."
I have even interviewed people who believe they owe their life to it. William Carter, leading a patrol of Gurkhas on an anti-terrorist operation in Malaya in 1951, said:
"I had an uncanny feeling that someone was watching me ... the sensation of something almost gripping me at the back of the neck. I turned around and there, about 20 yards away, was a chap in uniform with a red star on his cap, gazing hard at me. He was bringing his rifle up and I knew one of us was going to be killed. I shot him before he shot me."
The ability can improve with practice. Some teachers of martial arts train their students to become more sensitive to looks from behind and to discern their direction.