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Wed, 23 Oct 2019
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The Power of the Breath

"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am." - Sylvia Plath

The breath is one of your most powerful assets for staying balanced throughout the ups and downs of living.

Using your breath you can positively impact your physiological state. By deliberately taking two or three diaphragmatic breaths in succession, you can counteract the stress arousal reactions that occur in your body when you become anxious, angry, or overwhelmed. Here is an easy way to shift into diaphragmatic breathing: exhale completely, once complete push even a little more air out, your subsequent inhalation will come from your diaphragm.

Comment: To learn more about how breathing can help relieve the stress of everyday life visit the Eiriu Eolas - Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program website here.


Health

Yoga Relieves Depression by Boosting Calming Neurotransmitter Levels

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© Unknown
Increasing evidence indicates that regular practice of yoga is effective in reducing stress and its effects and even appears to relieve the symptoms of clinical depression.

Yoga is a traditional practice originating in India designed to help the practitioner achieve and maintain both good physical and mental health, as well as fostering spritual enlightenment. The practice incorporates elements of physical exercise, meditation and breathing regulation.

This ancient Eastern discipline continues to gain in popularity in the West for its wide-ranging benefits and medical researchers are taking an increasing interest in its potential to contribute to the prevention and treatment of a diverse collection of physical and mental ailments.

Comment: To learn more about how to relieve depression by boosting calming neurotransmitter levels, visit the Eiriu Eolas - Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program website here.


Info

What You See is What You Hear

Synesthesia_1
© Psychology Today
Synesthesia Test Picture - How many 2s?
Although you certainly know the difference between a 2 and a 5, identifying the number of times that the figure "2" is printed onto the tile to your left is not necessarily the easiest of tasks. If you are like me, you will have to concentrate and look at the picture line-by-line to distinguish the essentially quite similar symbols that we use to denote twos and fives.

The task would be easier of course, if the 2's and 5's came to us in different colors as they do on the tile below. Or as they do for people who experience synesthesia, a particular neurological condition in which one sensory input is involuntarily linked to another sensory experience. Hearing color, seeing sounds as shapes, or - as in the opening example - numbers as colors are all examples of different kinds of synesthetic experiences.

Much has been written about synesthesia, and research on this perplexing phenomena has the potential to offer many exciting insights into how the human brain makes sense of the world; even for those of us who have never tasted yellow, seen a high-C or don't know what the solution to three times four feels like.

Arrow Up

Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Fatigue & Depression in Multiple Sclerosis

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© worldviewcentre.com.au
Learning mindfulness meditation may help people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) with the fatigue, depression and other life challenges that commonly accompany the disease, according to a study published in the September 28, 2010, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

In the study, people who took an eight-week class in mindfulness meditation training reduced their fatigue and depression and improved overall quality of life compared to people with MS who received only usual medical care. The positive effects continued for at least six months.

Bad Guys

The Pied Piper of the Left & Leftist Contradictions Undecided

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© Agência Brasil/WikiMedia Commons
Noam Chomsky
It is always a matter of concern when people look to a single individual for their worldview. The Right has its ideological spell-binders from Fox to Republican Congressional leaders. Religious fundamentalists have their "Man" who holds the staff of knowledge and soothes or inflames the congregation. Sports fans have TSN and the Military have their one stop mind-shop in Jane's Defence News along with their catalogue of the latest and greatest in destructive war toys. Fact is, every group and sub-group of people, more often than not, defer to something or someone to help shape their views.

This perhaps is a path of least resistance, chosen usually because one can solicit the goings-on of both sides of the fence from one single source rather than discovering the totality for themselves by direct exposure. Life is so much easier when your reality is pre-digested for you. As it happens, this tendency is just as true of the Left as it is of the Right.

This brings us to one representative of the Left World-View who is extremely intellectual and influential, not only in North America, but the world over. To the many Left thinking/leaning, there are not many of his calibre, and so when issues arise, many may acquiesce first to the words of Noam Chomsky before forming their own opinion which usually ends up being a kind of synthesis of Noam's own mind-view.

Eye 1

Ponerology 101: Psychopathy at Nuremburg

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© USHMM Photo Archives
View of the defendants in the dock at the International Military Tribunal trial of war criminals at Nuremberg.
If, as many people are saying nowadays, psychopaths are the ones running our governments, how come we don't know about it? Why isn't it common knowledge, discussed in households and classrooms across the land? Why isn't academia devoting courses to it? In short, why is such a simple, yet revolutionary idea so seemingly secret? The answer may actually be in the question: it is revolutionary, but not in the sense you're thinking! You see, most revolutions are either caused, influenced, or hijacked by psychopaths and quite often this is done by what is called "abuse of psychiatry."

A normal person's actions and reactions, his ideas and moral criteria, all strike the abnormal individual as abnormal. If a person with a personality disorder such as psychopathy considers himself and others like him normal - which is of course significantly easier if he and his friends are in power - then he would consider a normal person different and therefore abnormal.

That explains why, when psychopaths rise to power, as they naturally tend to do, their social systems - including education and medicine/psychiatry - always have the tendency to treat any dissidents - or potential dissidents - as "mentally abnormal". As Lobaczewski wrote, "A normal person strikes a psychopath as a naive, smart-alecky believer in barely comprehensible theories; calling him "crazy" is not all that far away."

Thus, such governments generally control psychology and psychiatry via control of funding and ideationally alert "thought police" in academia, and the myriad ways in which normal people unconsciously respond to a pathological environment begin to be defined as illnesses and "psychiatric solutions", including drugs, are promoted to force normal people to live in a pathological world and think it is normal.

The truth about psychopathy must be degraded and marginalized to prevent it from jeopardizing the system itself, and this very practice is then used as an expedient tool in the hands of the pathological authorities. Anyone who is too knowledgeable about psychopathy will be accused of anything that can be trumped up, including psychological abnormality. They're "crazy", "paranoid", "mentally unstable", and "dangerous".

Comment: Go to Part 7 in the Ponerology 101 series


Cult

Ponerology: Why the Corrupt Few Wreak So Much Death, Destruction, and Suffering on the Rest of Us

ponerology link
© Red Pill Press
Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes
Perhaps the most important question of our time why, throughout human history, have despicable characters repeatedly risen to the pinnacles of power. The 20th Century alone witnessed an estimated 140 million war deaths and another 16 million from genocide. Mass starvation kills millions in an era when there is plenty enough food to feed the world. And not coincidentally, in the world today 40% of the world's wealth is held in the hands of 1% of its inhabitants, while the bottom 50% owns only 1% of the world's wealth. That means that the top 1% owns 40 times more than half the world's population. There are of course numerous reasons for this sorry state of affairs. But certainly the tremendous wealth and power disparity in the world, along with the abuse of that power by so many who have the most of it explains a great deal. Why have so many despicable characters throughout history acquired the ability to inflict so much suffering on the rest of humanity?

I have read two books in particular that provide much insight into this issue: The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer (This link is to a free electronic version of Altemeyer's whole book); and, Political Ponerology - A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes by Andrew M. Lobaczewski. Both books talk about much the same process, but Altemeyer approaches it from the individual psychological perspective, whereas Lobaczewski approaches it more from the societal level. Both books were recommended to me by fellow DUer Larry Ogg.

Footprints

Reflections on Political Ponerology

ponerology link
© Red Pill Press
Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes
After reading the incredible book Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes by Andrew Lobaczewski, I had a transcendental moment of realization (sort of an "Eureka!" moment). I have to conclude that ponerology and psychopathy are two significant concepts that best explain the sorry state of human affairs in this world which continue to negatively impact on our society, our lives, and our future. No, I don't think it has anything to do with "greed" or even "moral weakness" (however you define it). It has to do with psychopathology and its influence on the nature of evil in society.

People in positions of power that systematically perpetuate evil behave as if they were a different human species; a 'para-Homo sapiens,' if you will. No matter how much good will there is in the world, there continues to be much war, suffering and injustice. It doesn't seem to matter what plan, ideology, religion, or philosophy great minds come up with, nothing seems to improve our lot. And it has been that way for thousands of years, repeating over and over again. We rationalize evil's existence as being part of "human nature," a necessary part of the complexity of the world, due to perennial greed or lack of enlightenment, triggered by mutually exclusive competing interests, etc.; however, those who subscribe to these principles and attitudes may have rendered a premature judgment and closed the book on evil without examining all evidence from different, previously unexamined points of view.

Ponerology and "successful" psychopathology (i.e. not the "violent serial killer" type, but the Stalin, Pol Pot, Cheney, Rockefeller, Kissinger, Bill Clinton, or Donald Rumsfeld type) clinically explain how "pathocracies" - the system of government created by a small pathological minority that takes control over a society of non-psychopaths - are generated and dominated by those that possess an inborn error (psychopathy) prevalent in 4-6% of the population, which is physiologically unable to feel normal human empathy. They are emotionless, selfish, cold and calculating, and devoid of any moral or ethical standards, yet they are intelligent, charming, driven, focused, and therefore tend to achieve the highest positions of power by concealing their true nature under a "mask of sanity." This concept applies to all existing hierarchical power structures.

Magnify

Danger! Empathy and Psychopathy as Competing Value Systems in Politics and Economics

suit skull
© Michael Herring
Four to five percent of the population is born without a capacity for empathy. It is a neurological lack. A psychopath may be a genius and become a multimillionaire, but he will never be able to understand empathetic values. In fact, because of the grandiosity of these personalities and consequent intense denial they have toward their shortcomings, they are arguably less capable of understanding empathy than a congenitally deaf person is of understanding music. Their minds are closed. Psychopaths treat the empathetic majority as the defective ones and seek relentlessly to remake the world in their own image, to proselytize their viewpoint and values and to "teach" their "defective" empathetic fellows to think like them.

Unfortunately, they can. A psychopath can never learn to think like an empathetic person. The functioning brain tissue is just not there. But people with a normal capacity for empathy can turn off that capacity and think like psychopaths.

To a certain extent, the empathetic do this as a matter of evolution. As studies of war, racism and genocide indicate, humans draw what Martha Stout called circles of empathy. They behave empathetically toward those in the circle and psychopathically toward those outside the circle. However, we are not hardwired for xenophobic violence like chimps. For us it is a function of learning and culture.

Eye 1

Ponerology 101: The Truth Behind the War on Terror

scared kid

Fearful children - fearful adults. Grist for the psychopath's mill.
Human relationships are plagued by fear. This cycle all too often begins in our first relationship with our parents. Too self-absorbed to recognize what their child truly requires of them, many parents betray their own child's weakness and dependency on his caregivers - his emotional need for comfort, security, trust, and the loving acceptance of those closest to him. Having missed out on these important periods of growth, this boy, now a parent himself, may come to feel threatened by the emotional needs of his own child, becoming dependent on his own children and spouse to provide what he never had. The vicious cycle spirals on, and in turn, his own children learn to stifle their needs, deny their own feelings, and live as hollow reflections of the needs of their father. When a child must meet the emotional needs of a parent, and not the other way around, the parent-child relationship is inverted. Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert Pressman call this the 'narcissistic family dynamic', and the problems it causes are directly relevant to the vast geopolitical problems the world currently faces.

Such children, like their parents, seek some source of comfort, some sense of security, but not knowing where to look and what to look out for, they often find it in all the wrong places: their own children, their lovers, their work, some religious or political cause. As much as they may deny it, they are motivated by the very fears they experienced as children - afraid of being alone, not belonging, uncertain, unloved, confused, abandoned. They find shelter from the pain in some literal or symbolic arms of embrace, yet it is incomplete in some way, like the 'security' of a sinking ship or of a castle built on foundations of sand. Not wanting to let go, and face that pain again, they shore up their defenses - a rallying of troops to give 'the people', their own fragmented personalities, a sense of security. But such a cover-up is built upon and dependent on lies, things half-seen through the lens of denied and distorted emotion. We may be denying that we are in a relationship with a psychopath, someone who, despite the abuse and mental torture they subject us to, offers us some sense of comfort and stability in life. Or we may deny our own betrayal of our loved ones' emotional needs: the child we criticize and deform according to our own twisted ideals or the lover we demand to be someone they are not.

Comment: Go to Part 6 in the Ponerology 101 series