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Thu, 24 May 2018
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


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?


Busy hands make happy brains

garage tinkering, hand work brain health
© CBS News
Matthew Crawford tinkering. In the garage, using his hands, he finds that his mind goes into high gear.
Admiring your own handiwork" is a familiar expression containing an important truth about the mind. We handed this particular story to our Tony Dokoupil:

Are you the kind of person who actually likes washing dishes? How about folding laundry? Yardwork?

What all these have in common, of course, is they occupy our hands. And as it turns out, some researchers think that may be key to making our brains very happy.

"I made up this term called 'behaviorceuticals,' instead of pharmaceuticals, in the sense that when we move and when we engage in activities, we change the neurochemistry of our brain in ways that a drug can change the neurochemistry of our brain," said Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond.

She says our brains have evolved to reward us for getting a grip on the world

Comment: See also:


The role of brain waves: Focus attention and keep the information flowing

© GuidoVrola/Shutterstock
CATCH A WAVE Created by collections of busy nerve cells, brain waves may help the brain organize information, new studies suggest.
We can't see it, but brains hum with electrical activity. Brain waves created by the coordinated firing of huge collections of nerve cells pinball around the brain. The waves can ricochet from the front of the brain to the back, or from deep structures all the way to the scalp and then back again.

Called neuronal oscillations, these signals are known to accompany certain mental states. Quiet alpha waves ripple soothingly across the brains of meditating monks. Beta waves rise and fall during intense conversational turns. Fast gamma waves accompany sharp insights. Sluggish delta rhythms lull deep sleepers, while dreamers shift into slightly quicker theta rhythms.

Researchers have long argued over whether these waves have purpose, and what those purposes might be. Some scientists see waves as inevitable but useless by-products of the signals that really matter - messages sent by individual nerve cells. Waves are simply a consequence of collective neural behavior, and nothing more, that view holds. But a growing body of evidence suggests just the opposite: Instead of by-products of important signals, brain waves are key to how the brain operates, routing information among far-flung brain regions that need to work together.


On sovereignty and becoming more resilient

lifting the eye
It might very well be the case that 2018 will be known as the "Year of Jordan Peterson".

If you happen to have read anything that I've written, you will have noticed that I come from a very different place than Dr. Peterson. I spend most of my time in high abstraction, thinking about global systems and long term dynamics. Not about how important it is to clean your room. Accordingly, if you are thinking, you might be puzzled. Just what could I mean by proposing that Peterson is not merely popular nor controversial. But that he is important and precisely of the moment.

In this essay, I will endeavor to explain. Naturally, I will be using my own personal approach to making sense of things. So if you are a Dr. Peterson aficionado, this might be a bit of an odd journey. Perhaps you might consider this an invitation down a particular rabbit hole. I wouldn't be spending the time to write this if I didn't think it worth your time. But, of course, the choice is entirely yours.


What you pay attention to ends up controlling your life

optical illusion ladies lake
One of the best insights on what true productivity means in the 21st century dates back to 1890. In his book The Principles of Psychology, Vol.1, William James wrote a simple statement that's packed with meaning: "My experience is what I agree to attend to."

Your attention determines the experiences you have, and the experiences you have determine the life you live. Or said another way: you must control your attention to control your life. Today, in a world where so many experiences are blended together - where we can work from home (or a train or a plane or a beach), watch our kids on a nanny-cam from work, and distraction is always just a thumb-swipe away - has that ever been more true?

Comment: Do you have a time management problem or an attention management problem?


Three guidelines for truth-telling

Word Truth written with words lies
© Inconnu
(Warning - this may get a little philosophical)

Should we tell the truth? At face value, it's a question we all most likely would answer in the affirmative. I believe most people would agree that they should tell the truth but at the same time admit that they don't always tell the truth. Some would even suggest there are certain "exceptions" for when we shouldn't tell the truth - times when it's "ok" to fib a little (Hope Hicks might be one of these people). On the surface, truth seems pretty easy to understand, but when you dig deeper, things can get a little more confusing.

For the sake of argument (which I enjoy, by the way), we might ask, "well what is the truth exactly?" Does it mean telling it like it is, or telling it like we see it, or telling it like we think it should be? And to go further, you might ask if truth is the same thing or within the same arena as reality. In other words, does what we see in reality amount to truth, or is truth something else altogether - something transcendent, something outside of humanity that gives it its authority. Here, we're not talking about the truth as something we can attest to in the real world but about the idea of truth - Truth with a capital T.

Comment: The Health & Wellness Show: Liar, liar, pants on fire!: The truth about lying


Three reasons people botch big decisions

© Desconocido
"It was so obvious! How could you mess that up," you hear your internal voice resound deeply.

Maybe you messed up a critical job interview, a keynote speech, a text to your significant other, an introduction to a new connection, a presentation, or a test.

We've all experienced sizable failures one way or the other.

Are you the type of person to just "go for it and hope for the best?" Here's some advice.


Actually, do go for it, but only after you've thought through and evaluated these three cognitive biases extensively.