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Tue, 22 May 2018
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


Brain abnormalities: Huge mood swings caused by borderline personality disorder

personality disorder

The disorder affects between 1 and 6% of the population.

People with Borderline Personality Disorder experience very stormy emotions, commit self-destructive acts and are sometimes aggressive.

Often considered the most severe personality disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder is linked to a long history of instability in personal relationships.

The personality disorder causes very strong mood swings as a result of brain abnormalities in two key regions, according to a host of neuroscience studies.

Comment: See also:


Try these 5 ancient Stoic tactics for a more fulfilling life

ancient stoic tactics
Stoicism emerged as a philosophy, a way of life - similar to a religion, really - most famously in ancient Rome somewhere around 50-100 AD (even though it was Greeks who pioneered the thinking).

Two millennia later, the philosophy is enjoying a revival of sorts, and it's not hard to understand why.

The primary goal of ancient Stoicism was to figure out the best way to live; as modern philosopher Lawrence Becker writes: "Its central, organizing concern is about what one ought to do or be to live well - to flourish." And this question of how to live is perhaps humanity's most enduring - becoming especially acute in ages in which a sense of shared meaning has atrophied and every individual is left to find meaning on his own. Stoicism's answers, its fundamental tenets - what many modern writers and thinkers have deemed the "art of living" - thus feel just as relevant now as they did a couple thousand years ago.

While we've covered some tenets of Stoicism on the Art of Manliness before (and given an introduction to it in a podcast interview), we've never laid out its more concrete practices - the tactics that lead both to personal joy and the betterment of society. It's my aim to present five ways you can start to inject Stoicism into your life today, and begin experiencing more happiness and fulfillment.

Comment: Much more on Stoicism:


Hyperstimulating TV during childhood can lead to behavior and attention problems later in life

brain connections
What happens to the minds of children who are exposed to television?

This is an important question to answer because children between the ages of 2-11 watch an average of over 25 hours of television per week. That's a part-time job. And TV is basically an electronic babysitter due to its pacifying effect. What's really going on?

And is it possible for "educational" technology to inappropriately stimulate and harm the developing child's brain?

"...this is important because we're technologizing childhood today in a way that is previously unprecedented." - Dimitri Christakis

Forty years ago, children began watching some television at age four (like the soothing Mr. Rogers).

Now they start big screen time as infants with rapid, high stimulation (like Baby Einstein and Powerpuff Girls).

Comment: See also:

Cow Skull

Emotional biases and avoiding the pitfalls of America's Dunning-Kruger epidemic

Dunning Kruger
It's time to address an epidemic in the United States. It's one that could be deadly, particularly to liberty.

It's an epidemic of Dunning-Kruger. It's why ignorant people are so certain that they're right.

What's that, you ask?
The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which individuals, who are unskilled at a particular task, believe themselves to possess above-average ability in performing the task. On the other hand, as individuals become more skilled in a particular task, they may mistakenly believe that they possess below-average ability in performing those tasks because they may assume that all others possess equal or greater ability. In other words, "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others." (source)
And haven't we all seen that lately? Let's look at a recent example right here in the good ole USA.

Cell Phone

Phone snubbing: How to alienate friends and ruin relationships

phone snubbing, phubbing
Ignoring someone in a social situation to look at a phone threatens people's fundamental need to belong, new research finds.

It is a form of social exclusion, making others feel invisible and eroding their self-esteem.

'Phubbing', short for phone snubbing, was linked to poorer communication and lower relationship satisfaction, the study found.

Examples of phubbing include:
  • Placing the cellphone where it can be seen during a social interaction.
  • Keeping the cellphone in the hand.
  • Glancing at the cellphone while talking.
  • Checking the cellphone during a lull in the conversation.

Comment: People have become so mesmerized by their electronic devices that they now find it increasingly difficult to interact with others face-to-face. And they wonder why they feel so lonely and disconnected.

Pocket Knife

Strengthening your moral compass in the midst of a disintegrating society

underwater statues
When historians and analysts look at the factors surrounding the collapse of a society, they often focus on the larger events and indicators - the moments of infamy. However, I think it's important to consider the reality that large scale societal decline is built upon a mixture of elements, prominent as well as small. Collapse is a process, not a singular event. It happens over time, not overnight. It is a spectrum of moments and terrible choices, set in motion in most cases by people in positions of power, but helped along by useful idiots among the masses. The decline of a nation or civilization requires the complicity of a host of saboteurs.

So, instead of focusing on the top down approach, which is rather common, let's start from the foundations of our culture to better understand why there is clear and definable destabilization.

Declining Moral Compass

There is always a conflict between personal gain and personal conscience - this is the nature of being human. But in a stable society, these two things tend to balance out. Not so during societal decline, as personal gain (and even personal comfort and gratification) tends to greatly outweigh the checks and balances of moral principles.

2 + 2 = 4

The idea that we each have a 'learning style' is bogus

person reading
© Jazmin Quanor/Unsplash
When I was at school, a fair amount of time was put into determining our "learning styles." Teachers told us that some people learn better visually with pictures, whereas others retained information by reading or making notes. To be honest, I never worked out what mine was.

In a survey, 96% of teachers were found to believe in learning styles. But it turns out this theory is nonsense.


According to science, reading books should be your priority

You're not doing yourself any favors if you're in the 26 percent of American adults who haven't read even part of a book within the past year.

More than a quarter - 26 percent - of American adults admit to not having read even part of a book within the past year. That's according to statistics coming out of the Pew Research Center. If you're part of this group, know that science supports the idea that reading is good for you on several levels.

Comment: More interesting information about how reading benefits your brain:


Free-range children? Unstructured play is critical for kids & their brain development

muddy kid
© Daily Mirror
Unstructured play is play without predetermined rules of the game. There are no organized teams, uniforms, coaches or trainers. It is spontaneous, often made-up on the spot, and changeable as the day goes on. It is the kind of play you see when puppies chase each other around a yard in endless circles or a group of kids play for hours in a fort they created out of old packing boxes.

Unstructured play is fun - no question about it-but research also tells us that it is critically important for the development of children's bodies and brains.

Comment: Read more about the benefits of unstructured play:


People who are depressed have difficulty appreciating or recalling positive experiences

depressed guy
The study compared depressed and non-depressed people.

People who are depressed have difficulty appreciating or recalling positive experiences, research finds.

Compared with non-depressed people, those who feel depressed find it harder to remember positives.

For example, a depressed person starting an exercise programme might notice their new aches and pains, but not the weight they are losing.

Comment: Chalk it up to the inertia of depression - a body depressed tends to stay depressed.

See also: