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Wed, 23 May 2018
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


A wise Easter message: How to face suffering

Professor Jordan B. Peterson
A professor friend who endures the inanity now routine at universities - touchy, twenty-something totalitarians, or identity politics which makes ethnicity, skin colour and culture relevant instead of character, academic ability and aptitude - told me of how he first heard about Jordan Peterson: His University of Calgary colleagues were near-unanimous that Peterson, a University of Toronto clinical psychologist, was racist, sexist and beyond the pale.

Peterson became famous in late 2016 for opposing federal legislation to include artificial gender categories in the human rights code. Add to that Peterson's refusal to bend to his own university's diktats that he use made-up gender pronouns such as "zhe" in place of evolutionary-derived and fixed gender categories.

Comment: From Peterson's website:

On the ark of the covenant, the cathedral, and the cross: Easter Message I

There has to be a bridge between the finite and the infinite.

There has to be a place where the ephemeral meets the eternal.

There has to be a bridge between the knowable and the unknowable.

There has to be bedrock at the foundation.

The ark, which is the portal to God, is to be carried on the shoulders of those who are Holy. It is not to be touched. To touch the ark is to risk death. There are holy things that cannot be touched except at mortal risk. These things that cannot be touched are the very foundation of the community.

The ark must be placed at the center of the temple. The temple must be placed at the center of the community. The community must be arranged around what is untouchable and unshakeable. The untouchable and unshakeable is what is axiomatic. The people following the ark have determined to journey toward the eternal Promised Land.

The city arranged properly around the ark of the covenant is eternal Jerusalem.

Something must be axiomatic, or everything shakes and falls. The axiomatic cannot be expressed fully in words. The axiomatic, untouchable and unshakeable, is instead what makes communication possible. The axiomatic is a spirit, a process, a living force. Its manifestations, however, are concrete. That is the transformation of the spirit into matter. That is the generation of the Tablets of Stone.

The ark of the covenant contains the Rules that are derived in the first order from the axiomatic principle. That principle is the Spirit that made the Rules manifest. The Spirit is the ultimate inhabitant of the ark, and the rules the result of its action. That Spirit is the creative Logos.

The ark of the covenant and the temple is replaced by the cathedral at the center of the community. The cathedral is the cross in architectural form. The cross is where the transformation takes place. The transformation is the incorporation of the body of Christ. That incorporation is a dramatic pretense; is the embodiment of the decision not to believe in Christ but to act Him out, which is to believe in a much deeper manner than to merely believe.

Christ is He who transcends death by voluntarily accepting death. Christ is He who rejects the kingdoms of this world for the Kingdom of God. Christ is He who speaks the truth that creates the habitable order that is good from the chaos of potential that exists prior to the materialization of reality. Christ is He who wields potential as the sword that cleaves death. Christ is He whose radical acceptance of the conditions of life defeats the hatred, bitterness and vengefulness that the tragedy and malevolence that taints Being otherwise produces. Without the acceptance of death, bitterness rules, and Hell triumphs.

Christ is the potential of man and woman.

It is said that man and woman alike are made in the image of God, and that God is He who uses the eternal Logos to generate habitable order from the chaos of potential. This is the axiom. This is the diamond at the center of the world. This is the Spirit in the ark that is untouchable. This is the bedrock of the culture that brings peace and prosperity and that respects the dignity of man. This is the Great Truth. This is the responsibility whose acceptance allows each of us to live despite the catastrophic fragility of our limited being. Our likeness to God gives each of us a value that transcends the finite. Individual and society alike are charged with the ethical demand to respect that value. This is not only the presumption that grounds the idea of the Rights of Man. It is the presumption that lays upon each of us the Ultimate Responsibility that is the inevitable corollary of those Rights.

Face the chaos of the future.

Employ the Logos of which you are a part to transform that chaos into the habitable order that is Good. Speak the truth. Embody the truth.

Accept, impossibly, the limitations that make Being possible. Dispense in that manner with resentment, hatred, and the desire for infinite and unbounded vengeance and all the cruelty and evil that accompanies it. Pick up the cross of your tragedy and betrayal. Accept its terrible weight. Hoist it onto your shoulders and struggle impossibly upward toward the Kingdom of God on the hill.

The alternative is Death and Hell.


'Rise in possessions' leads Vatican to hold exorcist training course

still from the exorcist
© Rex/Shutterstock
A still from the 1973 film The Exorcist. A Christian thinktank said exorcisms were a ‘booming industry’ in the UK, particularly among Pentecostal churches.
Critics warn exorcism can be a form of spiritual abuse as priests report jump in possession claims

The Vatican is to hold a training course for priests in exorcism next month amid claims that demands for deliverance from demonic possession have greatly increased across the the world.

The Vatican-backed International Association of Exorcists, which represents more than 200 Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox priests, said the increase represented a "pastoral emergency".

According to a priest from Sicily, the number of people in Italy claiming to be possessed had tripled to 500,000 a year, and an Irish priest has said demand for exorcisms has "risen exponentially".

Comment: The rise in demand for exorcisms could be ascribed to more mundane, non-spiritual causes including the rise in mental health issues, increased toxicity of the environment, and likely many more possible cofounders. But could it also be that, during such trying times as we're currently experiencing on this planet, spirit attachments have more opportunities to take hold?

See also:


What happens when social psychologists cry wolf

Boy who cried wolf
"The boy leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as he could, 'Wolf! Wolf!' But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn't come."-Aesop, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"

Sure, she was young and cute. But that's not why I gave her the money for the payphone. Regardless, she put up her hand like a crossing guard when I tried to hand her the quarters. Said she didn't need the money. Said she was just doing a study: a study of people's willingness to give money to strangers. Her thesis-soon to be published, no doubt, in The Journal of Incredibly Obvious Results-is that the race, class, and gender of the person being asked (and the person doing the asking) are important. "For instance," she said-with all of the sanctimonious seriousness of an annoying nine-year-old boy who's memorized the names of the dinosaurs-"men like you are far more likely to give money to an attractive well-dressed young women than to a guy with a mohawk who looks like a junkie and smells bad." "Um, yeah," I replied-visibly pissed off at this point-"because I figure he wants the money for heroin. I thought you actually needed the money for the phone. Regardless, does it occur to you that I might be less likely to give money to anyone in the future?" She looked perplexed. Vaguely hurt. "Um, no, why?" "Because I'm gonna think it's just another stupid study."

Cell Phone

The happiest teenagers only use digital media less than an hour a day

kids social media
Worried about your child's smartphone use getting out of hand? You should be. A new study finds that teens who are hooked on their phones and other digital devices are "markedly" unhappier than their less-plugged-in peers.

Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Georgia examined data on more than a million 8th, 10th, and 12th grade American students participating in the longterm "Monitoring the Future" study. Participants were polled on their mobile device and computer use and their amount of face-to-face social interaction with others. They were also surveyed on their level of overall happiness.

The authors found that teens who spent more time hanging out with friends in person and less time texting or video chatting were happier than those who spent more time in front of a screen. There was a notable increase in overall life satisfaction for students who participated in more extracurricular activities or sports, as well as those who read actual print publications more frequently. The research team believes that habitual use of smartphones or computers to socialize was a key factor in how unhappy a participant felt.


2 + 2 = 4

The symbiotic relationship of ideological possession with its host

It's not the content of your belief that makes you dangerous, it's the way you believe it.
ideological possession
Jordan Peterson, the Canadian professor of psychology who in the last year has become North America's most popular public intellectual, has spent many decades studying tyranny and its antecedents. As a result, he frequently warns his audiences of the unparalleled destructive power of "ideological possession."

As someone who has long been writing about the threat posed by this all too prevalent epistemic disease, I am delighted to see the attention that is now being paid to it.

Ideological possession is to healthy political discourse as scientism is to science.


Alarm Clock

Sleep on it before making a big decision, says science

woman in bed
When it is difficult to make an important decision, especially about something that may impact your life, you may want to sleep on it. It's logical to assume that it is easier for a rested brain to evaluate choices and make a decision. But come to find out, your brain actually makes some of its own decisions while you sleep. As well, sleep helps the brain process your emotions about a situation, so you are less irrational in your decision making.

Parts of the Brain that Impede Decision Making

During our awake hours, we are consistently making choices. There are times when we're on automatic pilot, like making the morning coffee or driving to work. But most of the day we have to make decisions about what we want to wear and eat, what we want to do that day, how to tackle work and life situations, etc.

Your personality and society are big influences when it comes to decisions. So are all of the beliefs that you've formed based on your interactions with others. Essentially, all that makes you who you are will impact what choices your make in life - big or small.

Comment: Why Sleeping On It Helps


Sad introverts make the best psychologists

Introvert extrovert
People not trained in psychology were given tests of basic psychological findings. The type of people who did best might surprise you.

People who are sadder and more introverted are the best natural psychologists, scoring highest on tests of human nature, new research finds.

The conclusion comes from a study in which people not trained in psychology were given tests of basic psychological phenomenon.

Along with being sadder and more introverted, those who scored highest were also smarter and more curious.

Mr Anton Gollwitzer, the study's first author, said:
"It seems to be a case of sadder but wiser.

They don't view the world through rose-colored glasses as jovial and extroverted people do."


Jung's 'discovery' of the collective unconscious and the beguiling spell on popular psychology

The first decades of the 20th century saw a raft of psychological terms fall into popular usage. Freudian notions of 'denial' and 'displacement', 'projection' and 'transference', were the first to become part of everyday language; thanks to Alfred Adler, feelings of 'inferiority' and 'superiority' (and the forms of compensation that accompanied the former) were soon common parlance; and courtesy of Carl Jung's Psychological Types (1921), more than a few educated men and women in public began to identify themselves as 'extraverts' or 'introverts', while examining the 'complexes' that inhibited them.

Another aspect of Jungian theory, barely touched upon in Psychological Types, was destined to cast a longer and more beguiling spell on popular psychology. 'The collective unconscious,' wrote Jung in his essay The Structure of the Psyche (1927), 'appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images ... In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious.' The archetypes that Jung initially had in mind were essentially sub-personalities of the ego - the persona (a people-pleasing mask) was juxtaposed against the shadow (the negative qualities hidden by the persona); the anima was the male sexual essence, versus animus, for females. Over the course of four decades, this therapeutic symbolism would expand to include mandalas (expressions of the 'the specific centre of the personality') and UFOs (a fantasy that swapped heaven for interstellar space). To ignore these powerful archetypal symbols was, in Jung's mind, 'to rob the individual of his roots and guiding instincts', to let her become a mere 'particle in the mass'.


Taoist cosmic healing: Energetic medicine for health & spirit

© Tao Hamburg
The word "Tao" means way, or path. In Chinese thought, Tao includes both meanings. On the cosmic level, the Tao means the war of Nature, the subtle laws and forces animating the patterns of change in the universe. On the human level, Tao is the path or war of life that we must follow in order to discover the universal laws and to live in accord with them. Then we can live our lives in balance and harmony with Nature, with ourselves, and with society.

Those who seek to incorporate the cosmic laws into the microcosm of their own lives are called Taoists. I have studied the Tao under many great masters. Through my studies I discovered that out of all the methods in the Tao, ranging from meditation, Chinese Medicine and Chi Kung to the martial arts, successful practice all comes down to one thing: understanding Chi. Out of this understanding, I have created a straightforward and systematic approach to working with Chi that I have named Universal Tao.


Put your laptops away - taking notes by hand will improve learning and retention

note taking
© Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
Laptops are common in lecture halls worldwide. Students hear a lecture at the Johann Wolfang Goethe-University on Oct. 13, 2014, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster - which comes in handy when there's a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

For one thing, research shows that laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting - it's so easy to click over to Facebook in that dull lecture. And a study has shown that the fact that you have to be slower when you take notes by hand is what makes it more useful in the long run.

In the study published in Psychological Science, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles sought to test how note-taking by hand or by computer affects learning.

Comment: Why Does Writing Make Us Smarter?