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Sun, 25 Feb 2018
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit

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Physically attractive people more likely to fall on the right and be engaged in politics, says study

people outside
© Sputnik/ Vladimir Sergeev
Good-looking individuals are more likely to have right-wing political views than less physically attractive people, according to a university study.

The authors of the report, Rolfe D. Peterson from the US Susquehanna University and Carl L. Palmer from the Illinois State University, examined the connection between physical attractiveness and political beliefs, applying multiple surveys measuring people's attractiveness.

"More attractive individuals are more politically efficacious than their peers and more likely to identify as conservative and Republican than less physically attractive citizens of comparable demographic backgrounds," the report read.


Anxiety, anguish, anger: What it feels like to survive a collapse - and how to work on it

Hello to all those readers interested in learning from my personal experience of surviving an economic collapse.

I decided to write this article, the first of a series of several similar that will be posted because I am experiencing a huge emotional mix these days. I am not embarrassed in any way for this, I am a normal person, I have feelings and emotions like everyone else, and until not long ago I had a home, a job, and a conventional, peaceful life like perhaps many of you are enjoying right now.

May God keep it that way!

As a former oil worker, one learns to control emotions, because being in this business, a bad decision in the field if there is danger present, could cost one's life. Or someone else's. This said, when we made the decision (as a family we discuss all this of course) and, once my salary stopped being useful for three weeks worth of food, we decided that was the inflection point. After 14 years in one of the most profitable industries in the world (except in Venezuela), I was left with nothing in my bank account. The hyperinflation ate away all the little money that was there. The next step, fleeing to a foreign country (yes, I had savings in hard currency) and trying to find some stability was relatively easy, as my sister-in-law and mother-in-law were already here, and they had some space. So I started a small business (mainly private lectures) just to meet the ends, and it became more or less profitable. A phone call every two days to home, to speak with my family, and long, newspaper-like emails, social networks sometimes. (We decided to not disclose my departure because of OPSEC).


Putin shares what keeps his spirit up

Super Putin
Jeb Bush should be taking notes ...

A human moment during the grueling workdays that has the whole country wondering how he keeps it up ...

In the following clip, (with transcript include below) he is questioned as to what keeps him so energetic, and reveals his driving motivation.

Comment: It is surely no coincidence that President Putin has similar insights as Jordan Peterson.


Discarded treasures: Why we forget most of the books we read

© John Frederick Peto / Getty
Discarded Treasures
Pamela Paul's memories of reading are less about words and more about the experience. "I almost always remember where I was and I remember the book itself. I remember the physical object," says Paul, the editor of The New York Times Book Review, who reads, it is fair to say, a lot of books. "I remember the edition; I remember the cover; I usually remember where I bought it, or who gave it to me. What I don't remember—and it's terrible—is everything else."

For example, Paul told me she recently finished reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Benjamin Franklin. "While I read that book, I knew not everything there was to know about Ben Franklin, but much of it, and I knew the general timeline of the American revolution," she says. "Right now, two days later, I probably could not give you the timeline of the American revolution."

Surely some people can read a book or watch a movie once and retain the plot perfectly. But for many, the experience of consuming culture is like filling up a bathtub, soaking in it, and then watching the water run down the drain. It might leave a film in the tub, but the rest is gone.


"Socratic ignorance": In praise of slow thinking in the internet age

© Creative Commons via Pixabay
Take it slow and don't pretend to know. Socratic ignorance is the hallmark of wisdom.
We live in opinionated times. Between a relentless news cycle and deep ideological divides, we feel pressure to take positions quickly, often on stories that are still developing, or on topics we know little about.

If we don't come to a quick conclusion and choose a side, it can feel like we're letting the proverbial bad guys-whoever they are in a given case-win. Thus, an opinion becomes a moral imperative, an act on behalf of humanity, or at least on behalf of whatever cause we support.

Consider the past month's debate over the Shitty Media Men list, a shared Google document created in October that compiled anonymous allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against specific men in the profession. After reports circulated that the list's creator would be named in an upcoming essay for Harper's, writer Moira Donegan decided to out herself as the woman behind it. In an essay for The Cut, Donegan admits that she didn't fully consider all the possible consequences of creating a document that transformed a "whisper network" into a written record. She lost her job, as did some of the men on the list, and she found that she had no control over the circulation of the list or what was done with it. Many have been quick to defend Donegan for creating the list, while others, like Andrew Sullivan, criticized her for it.

Comment: Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow is good book to read to understand our cognitive biases.
In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.


Generation smartphone: The scary truth about what's hurting our kids

kids cellphone use 1
In the past week, I've read several studies that are scary to me... it's the scary truth about what's hurting our kids. We all know that what our kids hear becomes their inner voice, but it's hard to control what they hear from others, isn't it?

CNN recently interviewed Dr. Jean Twenge, author of iGen and her interview worried me - because I saw the truth that I would be facing in just a few short years. Dr. Twenge started doing research 25 years ago on generational differences, but when 2011 -2012 hit, she saw something that would scare her to the core. This is the year when those having iPhones went over the 50% mark.

The results of that should scare all of us.
  • This was the year that more kids started to say that they felt "sad, hopeless, useless... that they couldn't do anything right (depression)."
  • They felt left-out and lonely.
  • There is a 50% increase in a clinical level depression between 2011-2015.
  • A substantial increase in suicide rate.Before I give you any more, I want you to look at these graphs and look at how the information correlates to the iPhones being released. They aren't hanging out with friends nearly as much.

Comment: While today's devices give the appearance of being more connected, the reality is that we are more disconnected than ever, substituting real life connection with others for that of a smart device - from which one can't experience true empathy, love or caring when it's most needed during those years. See also:


Focus on the basics: Never underestimate the power of repetition

The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore the basics in your profession. This is true no matter what you do, where you live, or who you are.

When you ignore the foundation of what makes you a good person, athlete, friend, entrepreneur, student, etc., you will never be consistent.

That's the biggest lessons I've learned from studying athletes. People who play professional sports are under constant pressure to perform.

Take Daniel Cormier, the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, and former Olympic wrestler. The 38-year-old champion has an impressive career until now. He won multiple gold medals as a wrestler. And in MMA, he has won 20 of his 22 fights in total. He's considered as one of the best.

On top of that, he's also a combat sports analyst and co-host of UFC Tonight on Fox Sports. The man is highly active. What is his key to success, according to himself? Focusing on the basics. He says:
"You don't get to the highest levels of the sport without having the basics in order."


Perspectives on wisdom from end-of-life patients

fear of unknown
Wisdom is typically considered to be the fruit of a long life, the accumulation of experiences lived and lessons learned. In recent years, scientists have created a consensus definition of wisdom as a complex trait with several inter-related components, such as compassion, emotional regulation, spirituality and tolerance.

In a paper publishing January 24 in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine asked 21 hospice patients, ages 58 to 97 and in the last six months of their lives, to describe the core characteristics of wisdom and whether their terminal illnesses had changed or impacted their understanding of wisdom.

"The end of life presents a unique perspective," said senior author Dilip V. Jeste, MD, senior associate dean for the Center of Healthy Aging and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "This is an extremely challenging time, a confluence of learning to accept what's happening while still striving to grow and change and live one's remaining life as best one can. It's this paradox that, if embraced, can lead to even greater wisdom while confronting one's own mortality."

Comment: See also: Top five regrets of the dying


Interpersonal synchrony: Holding your partner's hand can ease their pain

© Laura Bass/EyeEm/Getty
Around 100 million adults in the United States are affected by chronic pain - pain that lasts for months or years on end. It is one of the country's most underestimated health problems. The annual cost of managing pain is greater than that of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and the cost to the economy through decreased productivity reaches hundreds of billions of dollars. Chronic pain's unremitting presence can lead to a variety of mental-health issues, depression above all, which often intensifies pain. And our most common weapon against pain - prescription painkillers - generates its own pain, as the ongoing opioid crisis attests. But must we rely on pharmacology to stave off pain? Perhaps there is a more natural nostrum - partial and insufficient, but helpful nonetheless - closer to hand.

Most pain research concentrates on a single, isolated person in pain. This allows researchers to simplify their analyses of pain, which is useful to a point, though it does yield a somewhat distorted view. The problem is that, outside of the laboratory, people are often not isolated: they take part in a social world. Without involving social interactions into the study of pain, we risk ignoring the part that social communication might play.

Comment: Read more about Hugs that heal: The importance of touch:

Shopping Bag

Wearing more clothing makes you look more intelligent

Wearing more clothing makes you look more competent, a study finds.

Something as simple as taking off a sweater is enough to make you look less competent, the researchers found.

The finding applies to both men and women, said Dr Kurt Gray, the study's first author:
"An important thing about our study is that, unlike much previous research, ours applies to both sexes.

It also calls into question the nature of objectification because people without clothes are not seen as mindless objects, but they are instead attributed a different kind of mind."