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Thu, 29 Oct 2020
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John Waters: On escaping viral entrancement

lockdown covid social isolation propaganda
There is an ancient principle of the common law, whereby it is held that the people may do everything except that which they have expressly forbidden, and the state may do nothing except that which the people have expressly permitted. How did this principle come to be unstitched and reversed in the past three months? How did the people come to agree to its reversal?

In a search of answers, I have been reflecting a lot on a phrase I transcribed into a notebook years ago from Martin Amis's Koba the Dread: " . . . a contagion of selective incuriosity, a mindgame begun in self-hypnosis and maintained by mass hysteria."

While not discounting the impact of short-term welfare payments (buying the people's freedom with their own money) I have gotten to thinking that the answer maybe includes, as a primary factor, something along the lines of mass hypnosis — the viral entrancement of entire populations.

Comment: Waters has exposed the outline of the psychological operation the elite are running on the world's population, fronted by puppets Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci. The isolation, social distance rules and interminable disruption of daily life is taking a severe toll on the world's mental health. This is by design. The population is being worn down so the Gates/Fauci vaccine will be accepted with a minimum of fuss, all in the name of getting back even a little of one's previous life. The more you know . . . . For more on Le Bon's book, The Crowd see:

The Truth Perspective: Herd Behavior: What Gustav Le Bon's Classic Book Can Teach Us About 'The Crowd'


Book

A mutilation of young lives: How the radical transgender bandwagon is wrecking girls' bodies and destroying their mental health

Irreversible Damage
© Blackstone Publishing, 2020
Abigail Shrier "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters"
A new book, Irreversible Damage, reveals how teenage girls are being duped into believing they want to be male, and are pushed into taking puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and undergoing double mastectomies.

Whether it is a statement or a question, the title of this book conveys the necessary urgency of this desperately sad story. Amid the trans debate, seemingly a battle between grown adults, vulnerable children are prey to a malevolent ideology that survivors call a cult.

In a superb piece of investigative journalism, Abigail Shrier focusses on teenage girls - most with no history of gender dysphoria - who become captivated by the belief that they are transgender. Behind the glittery exterior portrayed in the media, she encounters damaged children - many alienated from their families - in poor mental health and facing the prospect of infertility and medication for life.

Shrier, a writer with the Wall Street Journal, pulls no punches when describing phalloplasty, the construction of an artificial penis. The complications can be horrific. She reports the experience of one nineteen-year-old, "whose phalloplasty resulted in gangrene and loss of the appendage." On the cusp of adulthood, that young person has been left without normal genitalia, for either sex, and tethered to a catheter.

I am a transgender person, but I transitioned as an adult when I could understand the implications on my body and my relationship with society. Besides, by then I'd had my own children. Yet children too young to even give consent for a tattoo are being corralled into making truly life-changing decisions.

Comment: Se also:


Info

New theory of why we dream

Bruno Dreams
© Image courtesy of Fox
Bruno dreams of an infinity beyond the classical universe.
Why do we dream? Psychologists and neuroscientists have been debating the function of dreams for centuries, but there is still no accepted answer.

Now, David M. Eagleman​​ and Don A. Vaughn​ have proposed a new theory. Their preprint article, which has not yet been peer reviewed, is called The Defensive Activation theory: Dreaming as a mechanism to prevent takeover of the visual cortex.

To my mind, it's a highly original and creative theory, but I'm not convinced by it.

Here's Eagleman​​ and Vaughn​'s theory in nutshell: The role of dreams is to ensure that the brain's visual cortex is stimulated during sleep. Otherwise, if the visual system were deprived of input all night long, the visual cortex's function might degrade.

We know that the visual cortex, in the brain's occipital lobe, can start to respond to non-visual signals if it is deprived of visual input. In blind people, for instance, the occipital lobe strongly responds to touch. This rewiring or repurposing of under-utilized brain areas is a form of neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is generally considered a good thing. But Eagleman​​ and Vaughn point out that for the visual system, neuroplasticity could actually pose a threat, because vision — unlike our other senses — isn't active all the time.

If we are in a dark place, or it's night, we get little or no visual input. So — in theory — our visual cortex would be vulnerable to 'takeover' by other senses, every single night. Dreams, on this view, are our brain's way of defending the integrity of our visual system by keeping it active.

Books

Reading printed books to children more beneficial to child's development than e-books - study

Reading books with children
Picking what book to read isn't the only choice families now make at story time - they must also decide between the print or electronic version.

But traditional print books may have an edge over e-books when it comes to quality time shared between parents and their children, a new study suggests.

The research, led by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and involving 37 parent-toddler pairs, found that parents and children verbalized and interacted less with e-books than with print books. The findings appear in journal Pediatrics, which is published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Shared reading promotes children's language development, literacy and bonding with parents. We wanted to learn how electronics might change this experience," says lead author Tiffany Munzer, M.D., a fellow in developmental behavioral pediatrics at Mott.

"We found that when parents and children read print books, they talked more frequently and the quality of their interactions were better."

Comment: See also:


Hearts

Young children with pet dogs seen having fewer social interaction problems than other kids

Child playing with puppy
© fizkes - stock.adobe.com
There's no doubt that dogs can bring a whole lot of joy to a household. Our canine companions are loyal, caring, and offer unconditional love to every member of the family. Now, an interesting new study finds that a pet dog may also offer improved social and emotional well-being for children.

In a nutshell, the study concludes that young children living with at least one dog at home display far stronger emotional and social development than kids with no pups at home.

The research, conducted at the University of Western Australia in collaboration with the Telethon Kids Institute, includes 1,646 households (42%, or 686, of which own a dog) with at least one child between the ages of two and five. Each family was given a questionnaire to fill out.

Best friends with benefits

To start, a number of additional factors were considered for each child, including age, gender, sleep routine, parents' education, and usual daily screen time. Using this data, researchers say that kids with a pet dog were 23% less likely to have problems with their emotions or social interactions with others than children with no dog at home.

Nebula

Blindsight: A strange neurological condition that could help explain consciousness

Plant Consciousness
© YouTube/Unsplash
Imagine being completely blind but still being able to see. Does that sound impossible? Well, it happens. A few years ago, a man (let's call him Barry) suffered two strokes in quick succession. As a result, Barry was completely blind, and he walked with a stick.

One day, some psychologists placed Barry in a corridor full of obstacles like boxes and chairs. They took away his walking stick and told him to walk down the corridor. The result of this simple experiment would prove dramatic for our understanding of consciousness. Barry was able to navigate around the obstacles without tripping over a single one.

Barry has blindsight, an extremely rare condition that is as paradoxical as it sounds. People with blindsight consistently deny awareness of items in front of them, but they are capable of amazing feats, which demonstrate that, in some sense, they must be able to see them.

Comment: For more on the study of consciousness, check out SOTT radio's:


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MindMatters: The Ideal And Value of Beauty

beauty
From time to time we are struck with something we may deem "beautiful". We see a work of art, a landscape, or a face that speaks to an almost ephemeral ideal which demands our attention, acknowledgement and contemplation. But why does this occur? What is it that we, as individuals, are perceiving as beautiful? And what exactly is beauty anyway? In exploring this largely taken for granted dimension to human experience we ask: What place should it hold in our lives, and what value do we hold for it - and it for us?

This week on MindMatters we explore and expand on some common conceptions of things beautiful - from the mundane to the sublime. And we see how noticing and arranging things to be beautiful can be an invocation of our greatest ideals and values. In a time and place where we are surrounded by ugliness, the gifts and astonishment that may be found in beauty may be one more key in connecting to the highest part of the Universe, and to ourselves.


Running Time: 01:04:28

Download: MP3 — 59 MB


Donut

'Sweet tooth' cells identified in brain

FGF21
© Potthoff Illustration

New research has identified the specific brain cells that control how much sugar you eat and how much you crave sweet tasting food.


Most people enjoy a sweet treat every now and then. But an unchecked "sweet tooth" can lead to overconsumption of sugary foods and chronic health issues like obesity and type 2 diabetes. Understanding the biological mechanisms that control sugar intake and preference for sweet taste could have important implications for managing and preventing these health problems.

The new study, led by Matthew Potthoff, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience and pharmacology in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and Matthew Gillum, PhD, at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, focuses on actions of a hormone called fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21). This hormone is known to play a role in energy balance, body weight control, and insulin sensitivity.

"This is the first study that's really identified where this hormone is acting in the brain and that has provided some very cool insights to how it's regulating sugar intake," says Potthoff, who also is a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at the UI and the Iowa Neuroscience Institute.

Bullseye

Stoicism, Materialism and the Search for Divinity

Stoicism
Confined indoors due to the coronavirus and the lockdowns, I had a lot of time to think, to read and to watch videos on YouTube. I'd like to take you on a little journey, to show you what I found and what I learned, and how I think that all this connects to what is happening in the world today.

Covid-19 has sent people into a frenzy. Despite the low mortality, a lot of people fear for their lives. There is a big disconnect between the actual numbers of deaths and the fear of death that this crisis has elicited in people. There seem to be a number of reasons for that.

First and most obvious is the relentless pounding of the populace with images of apocalyptic scenarios. Switch on the television, and you will be flooded 24 hours per day with stories of doom, gloom and death. Quite illuminating in this regard is the bellicose language - the current health crisis is compared to and described as a war. Terms like "a battle between life and death", "battling the virus" and "front-line workers" are testament to that.

But if you look at the numbers - even recognizing that they are entirely manipulated and fabricated - they talk another language. The latest numbers suggest that between 5 and 20% of the population has had contact with the virus. At least half of those get infected but don't develop any symptoms at all. Of those infected, most only experience mild symptoms, analogous to what a majority of people experience during any flu season. Only a small minority fall gravely ill, and still many fewer die.

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MindMatters: Father Joseph Azize Interview: Gurdjieff's Legacy and the 'New Work'

azize
Few scholars and writers in the world today have the experience and in-depth knowledge that Father Joseph Azize has of G.I. Gurdjieff's Fourth Way work. In this new interview with the author of Gurdjieff: Mysticism, Contemplation and Exercises, we explore a range of issues : Have students and organizations based on Gurdjieff's work watered down and distorted what the great teacher wrote and instructed? At what point do ideas - in an attempt to make them more "accessible" - lose their power and potency altogether? And by contrast, what does it look like when integrity is maintained?

This week on MindMatters we discuss these issues as well as some more of the specially designed exercises Gurdjieff prescribed for his pupils that we began to explore with Fr. Azize in our first interview. Looking specifically at the mystic's "Second Assisting" and "Web" exercises we examine what they were intended to do for the practitioner - as well as what the larger implications and possible benefits that such work had, and has, for humanity as a whole. Join us as Joseph Azize gives a number of very nuanced and informed explications of Gurdjieff's ideas, and what value they hold for those seeking to climb the staircase of one's own being.


Running Time: 01:52:54

Download: MP3 — 103 MB